En route to Donno Where I say to myself at last I’ll check out Well Street. I haven’t been there in a while, not since the frogs were reported witnessed bellies up in the Water Vertical. I accelerate for about three lanes to Almost There. Right of Meckel’s Cave it says —Welcome to Your Well. Sweet. I hit the brakes right before Freefall Lane and press Gravitate. My wheels roll in and I tilt 30 degrees too far down. Having almost hit my nose against the pavement I struggle to lift my flat chest up to witness the tunnel of damned lights.
Just as I begin my so-called descent, overhead I witness the naked freefallers saluting y’know who dive. Into the tunnel, before me, a mother kicks down her son. Miss mine. Out of the well, water-fighters rescue someone’s daughter. Round and round all around me the horizontally inclined employed descend, unemployed ascend. Strolling the white lines, boys sell church-approved New Age zines. Someone bumps into me —‘what a bird-fingered fella you’re, sir, lemme polish your wheels for naughts.’ ‘Shit, arsole.’ The spectacle is so many miles away, there are enough distractions to wade through already. Girls cry —‘look better than you ever will, wear my mask, willya,’ and thinking let me give some to the beggars when I get out I get myself a couple.
I scan the alleys and causeways hoping to spot Cyborg Manifested. Last time I checked she or he or it having infested printed books and digital creams was screaming out an awful song. Here things don’t change much except on the surface, so it always looks different and they call it Progress. Chill. This time he spots me and sings —‘get outta your skin, you holy piece of cow.’ I promise him I will get back to her before getting out of here and elbow my way through to the Vertical Spectacle. Living away from here, reading it out of papers is unlike living out here. Kid you not, they tell it different. Very.
The water is full of rattlesnakes. A freefaller dives in, splashes and burns. Cool. Another dives, splatters and explodes. Yet another dives, splashes and swims, grabs a rattlesnake, bites. Activists cry their lungs out for animal rights. Those I took for tourists turn out to be snake charmers. Their gears to their waists back there they looked like —‘book me a room, Miss Façade.’ These undercover charmers get the snakes the easy way to the surface to get them bit by the divers.
For a while the rattle is full of watersnakes. Shit. You get the picture. Sweet. Once their number lessens, at about lunchtime, things horrendous emerge. The things human order sushi, beef and such for side dishes and bite rattlesnake steaks. Activists boo at them and show banners like Be Persons — Not Human, Never People. Confound me. Ever so slowly, in the crowd, I think I recognize a person. Behind his inverted Guy Fawkes mask, I know his slanted shoulder, I know it’s my brother. Gawd. I wave, I whistle, he gives me an A-ok. He shifts his slant and I now know it’s not him. No, it’s him but not really him.
The drive-in dance floor shudders. The crowds outside shake their bottoms to CCM songs and burn Liz ‘Diva’ Grant effigies. I think I recognize my in-laws at one point, my only best friend at another, my cousins, too. Miss me. And not just that, y’know. I get ideas about my husband. Where are my parents? They’ve either got mask facies or masked and they all give me A-ok’s through the unebbing cascade and eat beloved rattlesnakes. I look for a doorway so as to gain access to the Water Vertical and out of nowhere Manifested bumps in to me singing —‘there’s none for you, you …’ ‘Stop it right there!’ I was just getting back to her, I tell her. ‘You get to the Freefall Lane and then …’ ‘I know, you infesting, shifting piece of titanium.’
Miles away, from up here I witness the Water Vertical Spectacle as a drop, a tinted dot. I take my wheels off and chew on sour candies to take the edge off the ache that comes with such detachments. I bend, loosen my neck, stretch my Achilles, get on my tip-toes, flap my arms, thrust my scapulae, throw my hands up and envision a bird-becoming. Few feet before me tourists ascend and descend. The son gets stalked. Beside me comes, stands rolling and thrusting, a friendly perfume and I say —‘y’know what, I looked through and I wasn’t there and not just that …’ and hear back —‘shit.’ I turn around and sweet wolf, shit indeed, I tell her. There stands my only worst enemy. She hops, pulls down her Pollyanna mask. I throw my hands up once again, pull down my Garuda mask and headlong into the well, into the tunnel of bleeding blinding lights we dive.