You ever see a dead body? No, I don’t mean a corpse… I mean something that, as soon as you see it, the words, “dead body” pop into your head like the words, “flat tire” when you see a car on the side of the road or, “fucking tourist” when you see someone jay-walking at LAX.
Say it just right, and you feel like you swallowed an ice cube whole. Say it again, and the words burn cold and razor sharp, cutting your insides at that special place between the dry lump in your throat, and your fear-shrunken ball sack… because you’ve seen your future’s end, and read the last page of the unwritten story of your misspent life.
Is there really such a thing as “Indian Summer”? In L.A. the closest thing to it is something called the “Santa Ana’s”. Every fall, for a few days… okay, sometimes weeks… the cool breezes off the gray Pacific are swallowed up by a pissed-off furnace, blowing hot from the far north. It’s a time when Chamber of Commerce weather is kidnapped and forcibly replaced by highs in the upper-90’s and gusts above 50 miles an hour. During the days, dirt and smog blows against the grain from the mountains to the sea. Palm trees are bent backwards, and the sky for a hundred miles is turned to 1960’s postcard brown… like it was when Dodger Stadium was new, and Marilyn Monroe was still breathing. And the nights, tinted blue-black under a ghost-white moon streaked by blowing debris, glows with no life above the screaming of the wind.
And at full-moon-midnight, near the end of another shift, a dead body spoke.
Copyright © 2012 Bill Friday
Original Copyright © 2011 Bill Friday