RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Friday, August 12

45s on 33 – #61: “On The Floor”

After the demise of Chubb Rock and disappearance of the James River elves, my desire to conquer the space-time conundrum I’d found myself immersed in somewhat accidentally kicked into overdrive. So I called Rey-Rey.

“Man, where you been? I’m 69 steps ahead of you.” Rey-Rey told me to meet him at a mutually known spot in the tunnels. He had apparently rented a trailer in the early 1980s (“can’t beat the price!”) outside one of the exits within walking distance through the woods. We went there – a vintage wonderland scenario with a couple dozen junk cars in the woods behind the trailer, which sat by itself at the end of a long rutted driveway, like a pre-fabricated institutional mint blue abrasion against the otherwise entirely natural scene. The footpath from time tunnels to trailer front door was about half a mile through the woods, so Rey-Rey kept the gate at bottom chained shut. The official lord of this land was absentee, reachable only by phone, so they never questioned why Rey-Rey came and went without ever unchaining the gate at the end of the raggedy rugged driveway in much need of fresh ton of gravel.

Rey-Rey didn’t have a key, but he kept a butter knife under a cinderblock by the steps (also cinderblocks) which he used to jiggle the lock free. Inside the trailer was zero furniture, excepting a couple car bench seats which looked like Rey-Rey probably got them from the junk cars in the woods. All these notecards had been laid out and tacked to the floor.

“These are all the exits I’ve mapped out, what I know about them, what we’ve seen. I’ve talked to Railroad Time about a few things but he don’t seem to like too many questions and shit.” Each card had scribbled notes in obsessive Sharpie squiggles, urgent yet self-medicated looking, kind of like how east coast graffiti starts to look once you get below the Mason-Dixon line. There were hundreds and hundreds of index cards scattered across the stained sandpaper carpet, indexing the time tunnels multiple worlds as best as a single man’s experience and weed-hazed memories could lay out. It was also – bizarrely – a living testament to the obsessive behavior I was capable of. Rey-Rey was, after all, a version of me, one without a wife and kids, unchecked by responsibility to anyone but himself. It disturbed me a little, probably because it forced me to imagine my life without my family’s anchoring influence. A dilapidated trailer rusting back into the earth beside a forgotten auto junkyard certainly seemed kitschy and appealing in notion, but to see it in reality, with obsessive compulsive scattering of notecards tacked into manufactured floor with semi-permanent hopes – it made me thankful I was not this version of me.

The realities of multiple versions of yourself is kinda fucked up actually, and Rey-Rey was explaining the basic layout of what he’d laid out, but I was lost in the existential crisis of hating a version of myself that wasn’t really me. Rey-Rey was excited to have his life, and to have this early ‘80s escape from that life as well, and he smelled like dirtweed, and his hair was greasy about three days beyond having needed a shower. It honestly fucking disgusted me. Why was I here? Why was he here? Why were we together, when we were the same fucking person, branched off in different realities? And god, he was so fucking annoying, with his stoner laugh.

“So over here, this is where that future dude lives who is trying to control all our shit. But I been watching him, and he’s also got spots at these other two exits he stays at.”

I zoned back into Rey-Rey’s actual words, the results of persistent reconnaissance. Rey-Rey sucked, but he was the only other me I had as an ally against that worst of all versions of me that caused this whole convoluted mess. I think.

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