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  • 5. I Was the Green Ray

    By Jon Stephen Fink

    I first published Jon Fink’s delerious Further Adventures more than a decade ago; all these years later, I can still recite its first paragraph from memory. Today I shelve it next to A Confederacy of Dunces, in its handsome new Harper Perennial edition. Come follow Ray Green through a landscape one part contemporary New Mexico, one part midcentury Radioland, and all parts inspired,
    knowing dementia.

    October 11 1989
    My Kitchen
    18910 Pecan Street
    Apt. 8
    Mason New Mexico

    To Who It May Concern—

    I was The Green Ray. Now it can be told the Story which many tried to silence many refused to believe & many did not want to hear about. I believe that there are Contracts which prove this fact amid the papers of the late Mr. Howard Silverstein of Westchester New York. I do not know where those Papers could be filed today or even if they still exist but he was a V.I.P. and maybe all of them became donated to his Alma Mater back East. I am of the opinion he graduated from Yale. Or Princeton. One of those two or Harvard. If they are not there then I do not know what to tell you please take my word for it. My name was Ray Green.

    To tell you the truth I think it was the main reason why the V.I.P.s of the Liberty Broadcasting Company gave me the job on account of my name. Many choices which change a person’s Life happen on the spurt of the moment on account of hunches & Mr. Silverstein had a hunch about me because of my name. Since he rose up from messenger boy to President of Liberty by playing such hunches & angles (you may remember it was Howard Silverstein who took a gamble on the popular appeal of Spiller’s High Energy Buckwheat Breakfast Flakes & the rest like they say is breakfast food history) the other V.I.P.s took his word for it & lapped up the idea that I was the right man at the right time walking in. I will always be very thankful to him until the end of my Life which will be as soon as I finish writing this Note.

    I would have told him my name was Franklin Delano Roosevelt if it was going to make a difference because the year was 1938 & good jobs were scarce on the ground especially jobs on the Air. Radio jobs being the ones cherished very high in New York i.e. besides the Stock Market which anyway did not feel itself since the famous Crash. It took a World War plus millions of deceased to puff it back up to its old level of success & there is a Moral there I believe. Nor I do not mean to sound unpatriotic but I claim in the heart of everything beneficial that is done you will find some kind of selfish Human motive & this makes a mockery of all decent human efforts. I know this is true because I was The Green Ray who defended the defenseless—punisher of the criminal who fought to purge wrong & keep America strong. I held Life & Death in my fingers & stared Evil in the face so even if Ray Green went down in the final round The Green Ray lives on in 12 tough washable plastic statuettes available Free inside every single specially marked box of Spiller’s High Energy Buckwheat Breakfast Flakes. Ask Mom to buy some today!


    I will not go on about this but I want to die by myself. Most of my Life that is the way I lived. Most of my days were very quiet except for the ones between September 12 1938 & March 5 1946. Plus the last 3½ weeks. The first day I was The Green Ray before the American audience was a carbon copy of the day that certain events forced me out of Retirement. The weather & everything. This is a fact you can look up.


    I am a little jumpy at the moment since I do not know what that scraping noise outside my window is. Wait. I am going to go check on it.


    No it was not who I expect here it was only the loose cover coming off my air conditioner unit which aggravates me something terrible since it is brand new from Sears and not cheap merchandise either.


    Here are the facts of September 12 1938. The first thing that Mr. Silverstein ordered me was nobody NO MATTER WHO is allowed to know the True Identity of The Green Ray. “Keep it under your arm, Pieface.” Secret from my family even. I promised him I would do it until my dying days but he replied for the term of my Contract was good enough. Off the record he advised me this way—if anybody else found out who was really The Green Ray i.e. this skinny Jewish kid from Philadelphia who was bald on top by the unfair age of 19 then said Jewish kid etc. would find himself selling matches on a street corner pretty darn pronto. Public knowledge of my identity interferes with the mission of The Green Ray it hampers my ability to do anonymous unrewarded Good.

    I had to agree with Mr. Silverstein who also spoke on behalf of Mr. P.K. Spiller who owned Spiller’s Foods Incorporated the makers of Spiller’s High Energy Buckwheat Breakfast Flakes the sponsor of our program. I even asked Mr. Silverstein if I should change my name Ray Green being a dead giveaway in spite it was a Fateful Coincidence but he made back a good point that such a obvious move would arouse suspicion in the public mind. The newspapers for instance Walter Winchell could get a hold of it then BOOM curtains.

    Of course the Producer Mr. Argyll knew of my identity and the Engineer Mr. Burrows also his Assistant Leon Kern. Other persons who became connected to the show knew who I was & I mentioned this fact to Mr. Silverstein but he responded I could relax about it these individuals are hand picked and paid very high for loyalty we could count on their Honor to keep quiet.

    My Life before September 12 1938 was dark. My Life from then until March 5 1946 was light. I had a strong voice for a man of my frame which fact Leon Kern made a remark on this way—“He’s all sticks & bones but with his voice who needs the echo chamber!” After that it was Leon’s job to remind me I should keep back from the microphones even further back than anybody else did in radio history.

    In that studio I came to Life like I never did before I felt like I was just as live as the electric wires that carried my voice out of there & up into the Air & down into living rooms all across America. And when I walked out of the Liberty Building after our first episode I strolled around very light in my head. I heard a bunch of boys & girls talking about The Green Ray in front of a drug store. A icy wind was slamming across Broadway but I walked right into it with my overcoat wide open. I was invincible. Also anonymous & above rewards but I was walking with a secret inside me my Secret Identity. I knew who I was & what I did plus I knew what a good thing nobody else knew me even if they did not realize how their ignorance was protecting them.

    My whole Life changed. It was light all over.


    The bright light of my Life faded almost all the way out in 1946 & when I came to again I was sitting in my kitchenette 43 years later in my apartment on Pecan St. in Mason New Mexico. I had my pot of water boiling waiting for me to drop my onion in it then blooey! A blackout! All the electricity gone to Hell in a flash nor not just my apartment but this whole side of town.

    I sat in my dark kitchenette for a few minutes I waited for the Authorities to turn the juice back on. But the blackout kept going so I left my onion in the pot & went into my bedroom to sit not sleep. I waited 2 hours & still no Electricity. A blackout it quivers very uncertain. In the middle of the dark it teases you by the promise if you wait eventually your Life will return to Light & Power. With different people the hope of things getting back to Normal takes different times to fade out. My hope faded out after 2 hours and 10 minutes which I believe is somewhat longer than the National Average.

    One minute your Life is Normal—you have light & air conditioning & the TV with a baseball game playing on it maybe & a person has plans—to sit down & be comfortable with a boiled onion for instance & a can of beer he will spend a couple hours rooting for the winner. And next minute it is gone! Silence is everywhere. The game is playing somewhere or maybe it is not. Maybe it has been called on account of a Meteor destroying the field or a Anarchist invasion. All of a sudden anything you can think of is possible. The dark conceals a person from the world and it conceals the world from a person. So a person can stew or a person can change his plans.


    I did not stew. I left my apartment I walked around the neighborhood. The dark was Everywhere and even though by my watch it was only 9:00 PM it could have been any Time it could have been the Middle Ages.

    I believe it was the silhouettes by the fences & the ones running back & forth behind the Elementary School that gave me this particular idea. Ring Around The Rosy I believe was not a innocent child game always but was in the beginning of it a game they played to take away the terrors of the Black Plague. The ashes in the song meant the ashes of burned corpses I believe.

    I heard children shouting over there in the playground and I followed the sound of their voices because I could not hear the exact words which they shouted i.e. the Purpose. I could not tell about the words they called out but I felt they were not calling them in Terror. It was playing. You know those kiddies hate like Hell to be in School Monday to Friday but now they were not allowed to be there so they just flocked in. Gangs of them & I believe that fact has a Moral in it about the way people act in unpredictable ways when the Circumstances change.

    The blackout changed all of the Circumstances all right the Normal world took a vacation. My side of town was gone for sure and for all I knew so was the rest. The state of New Mexico. The whole Country. If it was not for the many transistor Radios in Mason which brought news of the Emergency everybody would have thought it was The Finale of one thing and the first episode of something else. But the Emergency was not the condition of that 100,000 volt transformer etc. it was the condition which surfaced & sank then surfaced & sank again in everybody’s Mind i.e. something in the world was different now & nobody knew for sure if it was all going to be the same again when the Sun came up. The Balance of the World went in this minute it was too dark for this time of Night.

    I believe my step must sound like it has a Purpose because the kids ran away when they heard me walk over. Only a couple of them did not run away maybe they did not hear me since their Purpose was stronger than mine. They were a boy & a girl in the shadows there leaning between the bungalows. “Where’s my kiss honeybun?” the boy said & I thought it was not dirty it was beautiful. I doubt it they had much practice at kissing etc. like Adam & Eve on the first moment of their Romance.

    They made the dark gentle around them there I thought & I thought if it was safe enough for them to show their Love outside then the World was safer because it had their kissing in it. I am guessing about this. Maybe they were not a boy & a girl. Maybe they were short old people but so what is the Difference. I walked away from there & I imagined in my Mind what it felt like to say “Where’s my kiss honeybun?” & how it felt to hear somebody ask me Likewise.

    In this minute my feet fainted in my shoes. When I looked around I did not see any local Landmark I did not recognize where I was. But that was beside the fact of what I did recognize. It is a remarkable thing how a person can not see inside the innocent things of this world the seeds of Doom. They are in everything like dust is in the Air like Death is in Life. No matter what a person does he opens the door to worldly Doom. I think this is remarkable how a normal person will ignore all of the Warnings!

    The little stroll was the only time I went over 2 blocks from my apartment since January. And that was only down to the drug store for the baby aspirins. But look what I did I wandered all the way over to the East 8th which is a lousy rotten part of Mason. So I turn around & walk a Block this way then I turn around & go the Opposite and all the time I am sniffing the Atmosphere like a dumb animal so I can zero in on the odors of the bakery on Rose Ave. which I can follow back to the right Neighborhood. All of a sudden it hits me the ovens in Bea’s Bakery are Electric so they are knocked out so I am in misery.

    I sat down on a bus bench I had to catch my breath & figure things out which was not easy. Maybe you can locate this exact spot & go over my exact footsteps for the Record. It had a Happy Valley Cemetery ad painted on it permanent—“A Real Nice Place To Spend Eternity” & if I was paying attention to the meaning of my surroundings I would take this as a Warning Message but I got very distracted by my predicament so I did not Notice this. Since also all of a sudden I could not think of my own Address.

    Something invisible was choking the Air something was pressing down. I heard shouts but not playful ones anymore. The fun of it was finished. I heard feet not strolling they were running away or home. I decided to go find them & join them before this idea of dread came out of the Air & fell on me like a net and trapped me so I could not move one step more.

    I did not want to attract anybody’s rough Attention so I went slow with my back to the storefronts. I waited in the shadows of the doorways until it felt safe again then I made it to the next door. I pretended I was on a ledge 30 flights up & the moonlight on the sidewalk was the open Air. From one of these places I saw a woman very terrified in the street running on one shoe. I heard the roar of a big car it was a 1978 Cadillac El Dorado with New Mexico plates BBS 312 which pulled up sharp in front of her. One wheel jumped the curb and she doubled back very quick & only animal instinct driving her. A man jumped out of the Caddy he made a grab at her dress but she jumped back too fast for him. He was portly I saw. She belted him with her other shoe & then she made a twist & rush out of his reach.

    By now the Caddy rodeoed around & I saw it skid after the man & woman in the street both running and it cut them off a Block away. The Driver heaved his door open and that frantic woman socked him in the eye & tried to run for it again. She did not get Free from him. Her leg caught on the edge of the car door and that gave those rascals a chance to pounce.

    I did not know very clear what to do. I heard her shout a curse she was spitting acid at them so then I heard her cry out for Help. She did not say “help” but I knew what she meant by Instinct. She cried out in Mexican. I believe those men beat her up very bad they kept on shoving her into the door of the Caddy & in that moment I felt something inside me snap. My stomach went dizzy and I felt my hands faint but my feet did not faint when I took a step out of the shadows I crouched down & coiled up like a cobra snake. The two men did not see me. I swallowed hard and with all of my Courage I blasted out of the doorway I ran away from there as fast as I could go.

    I was ½ a block away when I heard her Cries again until a long hoot from the Caddy’s horn drowned them under I think it probably was the front seat pushing against it. And when the horn stopped I still heard the woman’s cries. I thought she must be putting up a Hell of a fight just 1 woman against 2 men & a Cadillac. Then I recognized her voice. I heard it before i.e. the same rage & helplessness. It was the Voice of Innocence crying in terror. Then I stopped in my tracks. I ran back down the street toward her Cries and the 2 men grunting like Low Animals and I felt my dingle go stiff in my pants because of the Excitement. But I did not stop & rearrange my clothes I threw my body in between her cries and their fists.

    The woman at first thought I had to be another attacker & I believe those men did not know what I was doing either. Getting in on their act! The woman started kicking me in the shins but as soon as I started shouting “Get your mitts off her!” and I got in a punch here and there the situation cleared up very fast.

    I believe the idea I could identify their faces in a Police line-up really hit those lowlifes hard all of a sudden & the portly one cursed me using these words: “You crazy old bastard!” Nor he did not loosen his tight grip on the lady’s throat at that time either. His friend did not say a word he hauled off & punched me in my stomach so hard I doubled over like in a Comic Book. Nor I could not breathe. “Get him in the car! Get him in!” he ordered & hit me in the neck for luck. And his friend pushed me on the back seat also the woman on top of me unconscious & drove off with us prisoners against our will speeding into the dark in the direction of the East 8th.

    I have read reports & articles of what dying is from people who died & came back in the National Enquirer. They die completely and then come back into the World into their body and they all say how they take a look at their own body underneath from a place beyond Pain beyond any Emotion. And in that State they drift down a long tunnel where they find a bright Light pulling them along. But their body will not let them go or the will of the world will not let them go and they float back down heavy into the Pain & Emotion of their last predicament. People get pulled back for some Purpose maybe just to tell others about how Death is so do not worry about it. It will be O.K. So concentrate on Life. This is a medical fact.

    I concentrated on the sound of Voices of the men in the front seat of the Caddy. They talked very free because I believe they figured that I was unconscious from the smack they gave my neck. So I got a picture of their Characters which gave me a good idea of my predicament. I had the power to observe & look at their Characters so I could guess their plans and get a jump ahead.

    What I had to do was go on & lie still an easy thing since they had me pinned to the floor under the back seat with a fainted woman on top of me doing 50 M.P.H. First I learned their names—Nilo (doing the driving the fat slob with a Voice on him like a girl) and Perry (who fiddled with the radio & sang along with the Country & Western & static).

    “Aw shut that off Perry. It’s making my head hurt,” Nilo growled at him. “Kids tore off the damn antenna.”

    “What kids?” Perry said.

    “My kids. Nilo Junior and Kyle.” He said to himself, “Nilo and Kyle-o.” Perry kept on squeezing noise from the dial going back & forth he just ignored whatever Nilo said to him. “Perry! Come on now. Show some mercy.”

    “I’m tryin’ to find out something on the blackout. If they fixed it yet.”

    “Look outside boy and tell me what you see.” Nilo even slowed the car down a little. A empty beer can rolled out from under the front seat & hit my nose & leaked.

    “Nothing,” Perry noticed very frustrated. “It’s too damn dark.”

    “No streetlights?”


    “No house lights on?”

    “Right, don’t make a big song & dance out of it. It ain’t been fixed yet. What’s that make you? Some kind of electrical genius?” Perry twisted the Radio knob and shut off the static and pushed himself back in his seat.

    Nilo tried to make things right. “Means there’s no electricity at the place.”

    “Guess that’s right.”

    “Guess that ice cream I bought’ll be all melted.”

    “You got ice cream?” Perry brightened up. “What kind?”

    “Fudge Ripple.”

    “I hate Fudge Ripple and you know it.”

    “Back off Perry. I got other stiff I hafta think about.”

    Ditto I had some things on my mind too. I will say between the 2 of them Perry was crueler. Nilo treated him like a baby brother but by my Observations I did not see affections only some partnership of convenience. It looked like it was going to End someday & not with a weeny whimper either I mean with a bang. The way it turned out it ended with both.

    I got out of worse messes before in earlier Episodes of my Life nor it was not finding out what Nilo & Perry wanted to kidnap us for. It was the idea of the dogs I heard barking and snorting inside the house. “You’re makin’ too much noise!” Nilo scolded their jumping against the door. “Quiet Princess! Shut up Harley! Here I am goddamnit your automatic kibble machine!”

    Perry guarded the car. The woman on my back cried herself awake I felt her tears on my neck & turned I looked up and I saw all of a sudden that most of the Fight was knocked out of her. Her dark eyes were dead staring into my face & I could only see the shiny surface of them. But she was trying to tell me something not in her Language or in mine. In the oldest Language that most people have forgotten. It is the one from our time before words when people only had their emotions & that was how they understood things. What she wanted was I should make it better—to give her Hope that I was not feeble I could help her & not just lay there like a bump on the Earth.

    When I had this silent conversation with her I was not 100% sure about how this Adventure with Nilo & Perry was going to end up—maybe they were going to repent and return us to our side of Mason or maybe it was on the cards I could rescue us with some fast talking. Even if they tied us together her back to my back I knew how to get out of the Ropes I did it many times before for instance in Night Of The Clown also I tried to communicate this to her in some way by my eyes. What I tried to do was bring her Hope out of the hopelessness a smile & a wink. This did not do the trick.

    The rear door on my side broke open and Perry made a rough grab for the woman & yanked her out by her arms her knees hit the Ground hard. “You ain’t no trouble, are you Amelia,” he warned her but she spit in his face then Perry did not think about what to do he just did it—Punched her hard in the stomach and it went that fast: spit-punch it was a cruel Reflex.

    I watched from inside the car where I started to think that Nilo & Perry just forgot about me but no such Luck there was Nilo with his hand on my wrist like a Strict Teacher. “You walkin’ or you want me to carry you in?” I went under my own steam because what else? Pole vault over the chain link fence?

    Those German Shepherds tore around the house in wild happiness & escorted Nilo when he put me & Amelia in the back bedroom. “This is illegal what you’re doing,” I informed him.

    Nilo chuckled. “Tell me about it!”

    So I did. “You think you can get away with this? Kidnapping innocent people off the street!” I got worked up now & even though it was my desire to remain calm & set a good example for Amelia not to mention the dogs I did not have the Strength to hold my Emotions down. “What the hell do you want from us?”

    “Shut up and sit down before you give yourself a heart attack you old fart.” Nilo was not interested in my Health nor my comfort when he pointed at a bulbous shape that looked like it just oozed out of the corner of the room. “Sit down.”

    “On what?”

    “On that beanbag thing. Follow my finger.”

    “Those things are terrible for your back,” I advised him.

    “Sit!” he told me and Princess & Harley obeyed their master’s Voice. I did not obey. “We all want to get through this thing in one piece,” was Nilo’s advice. His fist was raised he took a step toward me but I did not flinch until Perry came in so I decided to sit. “You got ice cream all over your chin,” he said to Perry then he said to me like I am his Dear Friend, “He likes Princess to lick it off him. Disgusting ain’t it.”

    “Does the other dog get jealous?” I tried to lull him with a conversation.

    “Harley’s a boy.” Then some aggravating thought broke into Nilo’s mind. “What I gotta explain anything to you for?” He looked at his wrist watch and in the softest Voice I heard him use so far he said, “Yo Perry. If you’re done messin’ around with Princess call him up and tell him we got Amelia here but don’t tell him—nah hell tell him we got this other problem here too.”

    Nilo came & sat on the window sill or anyway he leaned his flabby Buttocks against it pressed his hands together and stared down at his shoes. Amelia did not say a word and I got the picture that these men were not complete strangers to her so her vision of what they wanted her for did not come out of her Dark Imagination. I put my arm around her shoulder.

    Perry came in he sprang into the room barking & playing Princess & Harley chasing him until he let them believe that they overpowered him so he fell on the floor rolling around there saying, “You got me! I’m dead! I’m dead meat!” Then Perry jerked up and got Harley in a armlock around his neck. “Gotcha! I’m not dead you bastard! I gotcha!” Nor his grip was not playful the poor dog started choking & twisting his head to get away digging in its front paws. “All right. That’s uncle.” He let Harley go. “Told me sit on ‘em till he gets here.” Perry was talking to Nilo but lying on his back staring at the ceiling.

    “Where’s he at now?”

    “Secret location. Said it’d be least an hour.” For the first time Perry said something to Amelia in a gentle tone of Voice. “You know why Messican men all have mustaches?” He answered it himself. “So they can look like their mothers!” Perry’s laugh sounded like Harley choking it was the only Sound in the room.

    “Look you finish wiring up those lights?” Nilo wanted to know.

    Perry shrugged & he threw a rubber bone over to Princess. It bounced off the wall and landed between her front paws where she ignored it. “What’s the point?”

    “Point is the power ain’t goin’ to be off forever and when he gets here I don’t want to be trippin’ over things in the dark like a fool.” Nilo tossed Perry a flashlight.

    Perry sat up Indian style he got busy fixing the wires on a pair of lamps shaped like bowls of fruit spray painted gold. “Where’s my needle-nose pliers?” He shined his flashlight around the floor he located them in front of Amelia’s feet. “Kick ’em over Senorita.” Amelia did not do it. Perry crouched down to pick them up & held them close in front of her face & menaced her with them making the pliers open & close a few times then he went back to work on the fruit bowl Lamps.

    Nilo checked his watch again he yawned. From 10 feet away I smelled the sour beer & dirty teeth. “What do you do?” he asked me. I did not give this kidnapper the satisfaction. Then he asked me again & he wanted the Respect of my reply. “Tell me.”


    Nilo shifted his Buttocks on the window sill it Sounded like any second the wood was going to split underneath him. “Retired what?” He was getting nothing from me. “Retired dog catcher? Retired garbage man?” Nilo was not a interested party just trying to goat me.

    Princess dropped her rubber bone at my feet.

    “What’d you do before you got retired from it?” Perry got in on the Act.

    The dog reared back and barked to command my attention. I threw the bone & answered Nilo simultaneous. “Doctor.” I was NOT going to let that cheap bully feel Superior to me! But my answer meant something special to Perry because for the moment he lost his interest in the lamp.

    “Jew doctor?”

    Amelia squeezed my hand and I did not say anything back.

    “We let a kike into our home?” Perry asked the room. Nilo laughed like it was the punch line of a dirty joke. Perry had his teeth into something fun i.e. Yours Truly and he just fiddled with the shaft of the screwdriver & flicked the loose wires back & forth to give his twitchy fingers some business to do. “You a kike Izzie? You a Zog Jew bastard?”

    I gave him my profile. “Kish mir in tuchas!” I was not going to admit anything!

    What happened after that I imagine now as if I did not see it from in that house but I saw it from somewhere in the Air over the East 8th. I imagine I see the Lights coming on street by street a line of streetlights flicking on cutting more pieces out of the dark. A rolling wave of Light and a surge of Power humming down the wires under the street under the crabgrass into the walls of that house spraying like a Fountain out of the bare lamp Perry forgot to unplug… Light swelled in the bulb and broke it and let out the smell of Electric smoke & Perry was on the floor with his hand clamped very tight on that buzzing lamp… his jaws locked together… blue smoke came curling through his fingers with those raw Volts belting into him.

    Nilo tried to pull the plug out of the wall but in the dark again he only knocked over a table it fell between him and the socket. I did not need to signal Amelia what to do nor I did not have to think very cautious about it either. She pulled the front door open so hard it bounced on its hinges & almost slammed shut again in my face. We ran out across the front yard and I heard Nilo shouting his head off in my direction. “Come back here! Help! Help him! You have to you’re a doctor! He’ll die and it’s gonna be your fault!”

    But I did not stop. I saw Amelia duck into somebody’s backyard so I could guess that she knew how to reach her best Avenue of Safety. I fell over the rusty handlebars of a bicycle that was on the front lawn and I had no Guilt about stealing it to use for my escape. The house was on a hill so I could coast down with no brakes and Nilo shouting at me all the way. When I got to the bottom I pedaled for my Life.


    How did this Country fall so far? How did it get this way for people to Act so low and hurting and disrespecting to feel Satisfied? The United States of America used to be a lamp unto all the Nations and then in that time the American Way meant the pursuit of happiness not greed and Liberty not lust. All the Foreign masses who suffered in the mud yearning to breathe free lived with a Hope in the world in the form of a place with standards of Public Decency. The Public was decent I remember nor I do not believe my memory is tricky about this. Tell me how a place like that turned into a place like this.

    I pedaled that bike out past the end of the neighborhood which was also the end of Mason only the gas station after that and then only the Desert. I did not know where I was going I just pedaled with all of my Strength to put Nilo & Perry & the dirty events of that night behind me. But a big push on the pedals was 1 push too many & the rusty chain snapped off the gears it whipped against my ankle & I almost broke my Testicles on the bar under the seat. (I am 73 years of age and I still do not know why they put a solid metal bar on a boy’s bike and no bar on a girl’s bike when it does not take a PHD in Anatomy to see that it should be the other way around.) I had that idea in my mind and between my legs this Ache the size of a watermelon. I heaved the bike into the middle of the road where a big truck should crush it to Death.

    My ankle felt like a snake bit into it and it bit harder & deeper on each step I took. But I could not stop making tracks because my feet had a mind of their own nor they did not want to be stuck in the middle of Nowhere in the wee small hours. So I noticed that it was a different Sound under my shoes—not the slap of them on Asphalt anymore but the soft dull pad of sand underneath me. In the dawn’s early light I saw how I was off the road I was in the middle of the Desert i.e. the middle of red sand red rocks & tumbleweeds. A mackerel would feel more at home than I did & I thought a mackerel would have a better chance of Survival.

    The Sun always rises in the East this is a scientific fact so when it poked its early rays over the rim of the mesas I almost fainted from relief. If I knew which direction was East then I knew which direction was West North etc I was Calm for about a second because then I realized I did not know what direction from there Mason was. I believe it was that moment when my heart started beating faster from the worry but I did not want to cry I wanted to laugh! What a thing after I made it through all that terrible business with those apes Nilo & Perry then I end up lost in the hot desert! What is it going to be now—40 years of Wandering before I get home to Pecan St.?

    So I did not stand still when the Sun came up I went walking toward it while the Dark shrank to shadows under the rock ledges. And then the Sun rose up fiery in front of me it was not a sight I ever saw before it came Roaring into my eyes—the Air opened up & the same way the Sun was rising so was I floating up in clouds of Light—I had sharp gravel grinding inside my chest & all of my Breath sucked out of me—my skin & bones dropping out of me nor my Body did not have anything left for Gravity to pull down & if I moved a muscle the sun was going to suck me through a hole in the sky—if this is a Heart Attack I promise NO MORE FAT FOODS!—& I saw the Light of the stars pushing everywhere it is not shining already—everywhere it is empty dark the Green Light of stars wants to fill it—I heard the Voices of Angels without teeth it was the Sound of air hissing & I breathed in I floated higher & I looked down then I saw my Body lying in the desert curled up like a sleeping baby in the middle of Nowhere—there was my own face set apart from that dry dead place I saw how I am Singled Out in the world. It was very beautiful to see this Sight. Also I saw which direction Pecan St. was from there then I fell again. I came back out of the blue of the thin Air I was coming back for a High Purpose.

    My Purpose was not for my own glory I say it was to bring back Hope to the world. A kind of Hope that mocks & ignores Human barriers the way the weather mocks & ignores the borders of Nations.

    I was a little bit shaky on my feet when I stood up and looked around. I did not see anybody else anywhere. “Me?” I cried up to the sky in that empty place with my Voice like a echo in the Air. “Who? Me?”


    From Further Adventures: A Classic Revised. © 1991, 2009 by Jon Stephen Fink.

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