Feeling Its Pulses and Phase Shifts and Oscillations.
I drove over the bridge to work. The sun was shining to the south. Big crazy cloud. Rays of light like beams of steel. A treasure of riches. Water all over. Mr. Marley on the cassette from my business class factory installed standard fm-am radio cassette player, singing “sun is shining.” How apropos, Mr. Marley. If you only knew. But then, I suspected that you do. Knew. Or did. Know. You know.
It was the week of Thanksgiving. Nothing much was happening over at the Logoff Complex, at my suite of offices. The courts weren’t having any hearings. Fighting clients were now drunk happy clients. A group of the bar members that met for lunch on Fridays took a hike up the Sheep Mountain trail. Hiking through the clouds. Lawyers in the mist. Would Miss Firepink be jealous? Wish she were there? Think they were stealing her thunder?
I brought sandwiches. Zara, who clerked for Judge Hollings, was hanging with Ray. I was kind of jealous. Ray was my friend. I introduced them. Now they were getting all cozy and snuggly. Where did that leave me? The be-all happy. Get married. Live in a house and go kayaking. Have three kids and things to do on the weekends. I’d sit around lonely. Some friends.
But she didn’t mind the three of us hanging. The rest of the lawyers had to go back into town, commitments and nooners and such. We stepped around some big rock outcroppings and found a nice place to sit, dry and with a view of the big ships sailing in to port.
“Hi Ray. It’s been so long, you never call me anymore, now that you’ve met beautiful Zara. What gives, Haruki?” The ultimate insult. I didn’t even know what it meant. I started saying it a long time ago. Duffy would be mad. He was so steamed when I started making fun of Haruki. But I thought Haruki was a dipshit. Was I supposed to say otherwise? Betray my thoughts? “Oh, Haruki is so nice. I can’t wait to see him again. Why don’t you call him and tell him to come over and we could eat cucumbers together.” But I wouldn’t mean it.
Zara gave Ray a peck and let him come over and say hi. “Don’t be bogarting my friend, Princess Zara. I mess you upside the head.” Zara and Ray started laughing. Ray began to just float around us, nodding to the rhythm in the forest, a native beat of wind and birds, whooshing and stomping, small animals and big, running round, eating nuts, gravity pulling down detritus. I had headphones. I was not so connected. It was as if Ray was rooted to the earth. Feeling its pulses and phase shifts and oscillations. I wish I could be where he was. Zara was. They were more connected.
We ate some nuts and I had some hard, crusty French bread and salt and vinegar chips. Those are good to suck on. Letting the tongue get pickled. A real pickle we were in if Ray decided to leave. He had so many friends, everyone loved him. Some people tried to get rid of him, lock him up, destroy him, kill him, and put him in his place.
I didn’t understand those people. It bothered me. Scared me. Like the local Taliban. The thought police. The thought restriction police. Let my thoughts go where they could.
At least up here, on Sheep Mountain, the Committee had no censors. We were free to do and think as we pleased. The Committee members were too lazy and didn’t care what went on up here. It was a two hour hike from the trailhead. If people wanted to violate the law, as long as they were not hurting anybody, so be it, was their take on the situation. I had a friend whose best friend was on the Committee. They were pretty reasonable, thoughtful fellows. They just wanted to invoke a little fear. In order to keep the peace.
Apprentices of Faith.
The rains came. The crazy clouds we watched from a distance now surrounded us like a shroud. Ray was cold, so he took advantage of the moisture trails and used them like a slide, leaving lovely Zara and me behind, watching as he flowed all the way down to Gastineau Channel. He disappeared under the shimmery surface and popped up beside a tourist boat heading south to show the visitors the glacier calving at the eastern end of Tracy Arm.
We watched as he and the captain played a game of cat and mouse, or more appropriately, boat and porpoise. The little yacht-like boat with 30 passengers was up on step, skimming and bobbing through the breakers, busting out a clear channel amidst the turmoil that was the surface. Ray could easily outrun them a few feet below the surface, making sure to keep away from the furiously spinning propellers, fighting against a turbulent wall of water.
He would swim to the front, coast and hang back, then speed up to the front. He was such a little dynamo. The Urchin of the Channel, is how the Venue Firelight, the local newspaper, described him. His antics were known throughout the Alexander Archipelago.
Now he shot for the wow factor. He never failed. Never misjudged. Unsuspecting tourists propped themselves at the front of the boat, the bow and the stern, perched on the railings, faces drinking in the breeze, enjoying the cool, marveling at the scenery, taking pictures of the happy family, the wandering minstrels, the cacophonous raven above, following, the light reflecting and refracting, completely captivated, Ray saw his chance.
The merry leader of a band of brothers, apprentices of faith, he made his siren signal, and 4 of the strongest, fastest of Ray’s friends, within sonar shot of his clarion call, came to do his bidding. In formation, like a fleet of fighter jets, they matched the boats movements to a t. Moving like one entity, a feeling of reverence overcame all of Ray’s friends and neighbors who watched his latest exercises.
One by one, with scores of Irish eyes about to listen to another point of view, they took turns altering their speed and altitude. With nary a sound, Ray’s first chair sped up with a manic frenzy, breaking formation, much to the chagrin of the underworld watchers, and ramped up, like a rocket, up up up towards the surface at a just so angle, when, followed by an unintelligible but understandable child’s exclamation of “Poochie Mama!!!” he broke the surface and soared past the speeding bow, the front of the boat barely missing his torso. A collective “whoa” pervaded the passengers as Captain Shillington shook his head and muttered to himself, sucking on a wooden pipe, “That darned Ray. What in tarnation is he up to now.”
He pulled back on the throttle, the boat sank and bore the weight and force of the waves, scared of slicing a friendly porpoise in half and causing terminal PTSD in his passengers. A license censure for sure.
But he got a sonar signal. “Oh, no you didn’t.” Captain Shillington muttered to himself as he saw that Ray had penetrated his GPS and sent a message, cryptic but clear nonetheless. “LGO.” Let’s go. Alright, mother sisters, mickey fickey tricksters, let’s see what you’ve got. Captain Shillington took it up a notch, and the next three soared and spun and one winked as they slipped back into the salty sea.
The GPS malfunctioning indicator flashed a red-yellow combination. “TAYGCHMP.” That all you got, chump. Now Captain Shillington was really steamed. He gave it all he got, “C’mon Bessie. Don’t fail me now, ye old fart-faced hag!”
But it was to no avail. Ray and his gang started doing more and more elaborate tricks. Combinations, doubles and quadruples, spinning and dancing in the air.
Captain Shillington couldn’t take it anymore. He sent a message to Ray over the GPS. “ENF.” Enough.