It was like a movie. — act seven: The Great Switchout! (& read-along scored w/ seven oneiric compositions)
—or, to read all episodes of It was like a movie. in their god-given order, feel free to begin with act one: prologue in the archive & just follow the ole 🔗chain . . . ——or-or, you can start here & read the earlier episode 🔗s as you randomly go-along for a comprehensive twist of a different order . . . ———or-or-or, none of the above & just get down to it — full autonomy is the contrary myth of nature — an unquestionable riddle with legendarily convenient non-answers as-will-be below with any of the seven oneiric compositions, implanted throughout the following asides to score as you read along: We take, what we take, for ourselves — what’s conjured as deserved, is verifiably not. Fuck it — let’s go.
oneiric composition #13:
It’s called The Great Switchout! Billions of northern half-spheres are now putting cold-weather clothing into bags, boxes or closets & resurrecting Summer’s musty heirs of cargo shorts & nineties tour tees habitually premature. As for myself, this is a superstitious matter of fact. Here is my belief: each alleged Spring, a series of warm days teases our reasoning. Based on all of history, we know the very day following The Great Switchout — wherever it randomly drops — that some once-in-a-generation arctic spell will typically strike like a late guest & we’ll have to backslide on our adapted wardrobe, pranked by a common anomaly. Again. Spring is an inside joke to all seasons — it’s an equinox classic! We’re only semi-dumfounded, actually. Verily, some nearly expect the disbelief as an out-of-time punchline from above. I’m not falling for it this year, though. Instead of a knee-jerk Switchout, I’m subtly shuffling in a few snap-button short-arms & thirty-year-old heyday pullovers. I need to defend myself from the mocking climate, but don’t want to come off as a radical Pollyanna Pavlovian either, so I keep it extremely casual & on the down-low. Season? — What season?! I’m inhabited by them all! This is how extreme it gets . . . Yea, listing towards sixty, the pretense of a graceful segue has gone on long enough. You see, I innately hesitate — it’s how I engineer — it’s my interior drive. I walk into rooms slowly, whether familiar or otherwise, sussing out possible escape routes should they become immediately necessary, which they regularly do. When in doubt, get out.
oneiric composition #15:
We’re also at another seasonal change — the external view: when the temperature rises enough for the hibernators of our nightmares to stir & storm home improv centers in a pent-up insurrection of crazed troubleshooters. The parking lots fill with technically antsy conviction borne by home-art angst. In my neighborhood, the construction/razing noise level revved up this week with leaf blowers, chainsaws & some in-between sort of machinery that involved what sounded like chains dragged by a swarm of laughing livestock congested with smokers’ cough flying somewhere in the nearby hills, disquietly hovering above their unmet pastural perceptions. I see what I hear what I see . . . Other fellow beasts, guided by their leashed strays, can now freely circle the block again, dropping little blue bags of warm-weather tidings in strangers’ garbage cans like subtle assessments of purpose & properties of place that don’t belong in their own pens . . . . . . usually, anyway. Sometimes the walkers leave their business camp-style for the elements to finish on a front lawn minefield as tiny totems of brazen, domesticated relief.
This next scene, reanimated from six months ago, will lead us to where we just were. Conclusion is overrated. To kill that time, too, I suggest we go back & play catch-up with everyone. Let’s roll the doc. I’ll narrate: (Or, you can, if you want, read aloud. In fact, when you’re reading the embedded parenthesis & italics (as-is embedded here, say, for example, thus i.e.), say it to one side, physically, with a hand cupping one side of your mouth like you’re intimately implying a secret. Those embeds’ll be noted with an *. It’s like an assignment you can ignore! Go ahead — either way, it’s Theatrical!)
It was the nation’s holiday-bender midsection. Winter hadn’t kicked in yet. Every year, it arrives here, shy, as odd-jobbers rush to cram in as many unfinished tinkerings as possible before the season makes an inevitable, sudden lunge. It’s how the solstice swings — it watches quietly as the animals prepare their next-to-last resort shelters. It covertly nips at their work boots, hinting its potential like a warm-blooded stare, unseen lying somewhere low inside the wasteland — alerted only by the senses whose first instinct is the scarred imagination. (I’m not looking for more suspense, but, ya know, maybe I am.)*
The last time I saw Gabe, workers were repairing his two-step porch for, perhaps, the fifth (?) time that year — always with a different contractor: The first one dug the whole thing out. Then, a second came by cleaned it up & set up a step frame to mold the cement. Next, a third one made a side extension for Gabe’s garbage cans, but it wasn’t absolutely level & had to be calibrated with garden rocks. Then, the first one showed up again wondering why someone else was hired for the rest of their job. Gabe’s reply was so ambiguously unhinged that the contractor just turned around & left. A fourth poured cement in the frame made by the second one, but it wasn’t the right dimensions, so that contractor was sent off for incompetence, as well. In the past, Gabe would normally contend with the workers about the estimated price or the quality of what he was paying for, pacing the yard telling them what he expected while they were trying to do it. The clash would end when commercial trucks with dented tailgate tops would invariably drive off, mid-completion, usually yelling something out their window as Gabe would fire back, ringing off with a jeering platitude such as “Guess you shoulda got that in writing, then, huh. Tha-ha-hat’s right.” It’s how Gabe’s serial porch-project progressed: a little at a time & ultimately unpaid because of the manic badgering that no one, even the happiest handy, wanted to deal with. It was as if it was the intention — which it probably was in that way that we all manipulate our inherent talents to achieve subconscious-or-not end results. Gabe was quiet this time, though. He stalked the yard while the latest crew spaded cement into a wooden frame of a six inch step, but didn’t say anything unless the workers did. Something was different. (I just assumed his medication had been increased.)*
Benny came down the street hunting for an argument. He could rely on Gabe for this. They were neighborly in this way, like going next door to borrow an egg or lend a hand in some way, except, every so often, the police showed up. But, however the outcome, Gabe & Benny were always there for each other, ready to assist. On this occasion, it began with an idling car stopped with its emergency blinkers on in front of Gabe’s place. A woman inside the car was speaking to one of the workers from the driver’s seat & handed a bag through her window. Benny drove up in one of his auto-auction-gas-bomb half-tons, a house away from his own, & stopped behind the car, but in the middle of the narrow street. There was easily enough room to go around, but Benny yelled out of his window like he was stuck in thick traffic a “Hey-hey-hey!” followed by three short honks. Work stopped. The woman looked back with “I’m his mother. I’m just dropping something off.” Benny doesn’t make exceptions, except to himself, screaming “No no no. No parking here. There’s the sign.” He pointed to a street sign as his evidence. Gabe stood in his yard, watching the exchange. The mother wasn’t having it with “Knock it off — I’ll be gone in a few minutes. Get outta here.” Benny fought back “No ya don’t. You’re in my neighborhood. Move it or you’ll find out what happens!” Gabe turned his back in Benny’s direction. The mother yelled “Are you threatening me? You just threatened me! Keep it up & I’ll call the cops.” “No-no-no, I’ll call the cops,” Benny vowed as his truck choked out & he stepped to the street with his cell, repeating “I’ll call the cops.” The mother’s call went through first with “Yes. I need an officer. I brought my son his lunch & a man is threatening me.” Benny was next with “Someone is illegally parked on my street. They refuse to move. Okay. Thank you. I’ll hold.” Gabe left his front yard & silently walked down his short blacktop driveway, towards his backyard. Benny held up his cell & yelled “You’ll find out.” The mother, to anyone outside watching: “You heard him — he threatened me!” Benny started his gas-bomb & drove around the mother to park in his driveway yelling “Yeah-yeah-yeah.” The mother flipped a finger & then a U & parked across the street.
Two patrol cars arrived. As the cops got out, the mother pointed down the street with “That man threatened me.” Benny stayed a house away, calmly now, saying “I was just explaining that she couldn’t park there, officer.” The mother defended, “I wasn’t parked. I was dropping off my son’s . . .” One of the cops interrupted the volley & told Benny to go back to his house, then another approached the mother. Benny stood in his driveway. His hellhound was inside his place, barking & screeching wildly as if fighting itself. The cops left the mother & pulled their cruisers up to Benny’s. He met them on the street. All four got out & stood stood in a horseshoe formation. Benny made a few jokes & said he was “sorry I had to you call you guys. I know yuh got better things to do than come around for parking violators. Some ladies, ya know? — ya know what I mean? Just some . . .” All the badges chuckled & looked towards the mother, then down. Benny watched them. The cops left. Benny went in his house & yelled at his dog. The mother told her son she’d pick him up later, then drove away. The workers continued spading & smoothing. Gabe stood in his driveway, next to a hedge that separated his property & a neighbor — a hedge that had a plastic No Trespassing sign stuffed between a few branches — a sign that Gabe’s neighbor, Rita, passed like a cold phantasm every time she went in or out of her house. On Rita’s other side, past her driveway & backyard jacuzzi veranda, sirens stop a few times a year, as well, at an eroding multi-unit three level. Exhaust-stained eggshell paint peels curled blade-tips from from blushing brick walls. Ivy-ish vines appear to be devouring portions of vinyl siding, leaving a scar where it’s died away. Two new sports cars park down a grade, around back, near a basement entrance. Several times a day, a worn coupe parks street-level, on the sidewalk in front, idling with its lights on. Occasionally, a woman in a bathrobe runs out, hands something into the car, then hurries back inside. Above the entrance, a light seems muffled from a dormer, resembling an irradiated haze. At any given hour of the twenty-four, shrieks billow like invisible steam — sometimes in short bursts as if surprised, but also in patterns over the course of an entire night, as if not surprised anymore. The aural texture is between a mucous infant & a rabid train whistle. The quality has remained constant over the years. I suspect that it is something ageless. Fire trucks have even arrived before, with ladders to look inside. Sometimes, they’re let-in by the bathrobe person & then leave without sirens — but not before Rita talks to some of them. Rita wasn’t home this afternoon, though. Her mini SUV was missing, possibly on a box wine run. Too bad — she would’ve loved this . . .
A state trooper appeared at Benny’s door a few times over the holidays. He & his wife (whose name I can’t recall, so I just refer to her as Mrs. Benny) answered & Benny screamed something about not having “to be at home every second. I have a right to go to my church!” then “Get t’fuck outta heuh!” as the trooper was driving away. I didn’t see or hear Benny for about three months. Even his front yard flag pole was bare & there was no barking from him or his dog. I only saw Mrs. Benny once during that time: as I drove by their place, she was was sitting on their porch, eyes locked on my minivan as I passed. Gabe’s porch undertaking paid off just in time. His neighbor, My Pajama Twin, shoveled the new widow’s sidewalk after the last blizzard. Gabe’s sign in the hedge is gone, too. Some downfalls are less unwelcome. The mind tries to calculate its surroundings, but loses its curiosity when the conditions grow common enough to almost seem explainable, though they never are. Midday guesses escalate restless fantasies, themselves unsure which is which. Like I said, it was quiet around here until last week. Or, it could be that it just coincides with the ever-altering seasons of nothing’s-changed. At least, the masses are getting dressed at-all with nowhere to go unless you’re a gambling-type & dicey is just your thing to share with the ongoing event that is so-called Humanity. Ultimately, though, no one escapes The Great Switchout — (until next time, that is . . .)
The below implanted incidental music has words now, but remains here like it did at final mix in 2007 as an instrumental. Because the original tracks were individually lost, this one’ll be re-recorded with vocals in an answer-&-call style with a periodic stand of chorus. As it stands here, it’s open for you to fill, for now, as you please. Meditate on what you demand, place your cerebration in lyric thought & hum along until both of you fade. Go with where it takes you. Stay where you are.
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