Prologue in the First Person -- Part Two

I was feeling like a broken man.

Well, not quite broken. Lenore saw to it that certain springs and gears stayed in very good shape. Lubrication, that was the secret. But everything had begun to look and to taste and to smell like the essential ingredient in lime Jell-o. God!

I took another pull from the poisonous-looking, near-dry absinthe bottle in the linen rack, and another drag on my cigarette. I tried without success to blank out the memory of that long-ago night... I still remembered the rain and crickets, the droplets tracing lines on the window, the background sounds of the water and the fluorescent lighting, the stained arborite lab counter. And the horror. The horror....

The strains of Box of Rain dragged me abruptly out of my reverie. Sparking the crude, reeking joint, and inhaling deeply from it, I passed it over to Lenore's grasping, crab-like, spatulate fingers, and exhaled slowly, pondering her fuzzy, vaguely simian body.

She, in her twitching manner, had passed the joint to her urinating offspring, Armand, when I was seized by the old, overpowering desire to have sex with her, to take her, savagely, to have my animal way with her. Thoughts of the two of us, wine sores running on our pasty grey bodies, rutting like beasts on the engine cowling soon had me removing my stained undershirt and thrusting my hips toward Lenore, manhood in evidence.

Lenore, never a woman mistaken for being overly perceptive, in matters of carnal pleasure could detect one's intent in the subtlest gesture. True to form, she was quick to seize upon mine. Grabbing the joint back from Armand, then unceremoniously shoving him aside, she drew once again on the fuming reefer, and deftly removed her thrift-store tutu. My oil-soaked dungarees had by now found their way to the van's floor, and I stepped forward, grasping Lenore's fleshy shoulders, lust burning in me like a torched stack of tires.

Maybe it was the absinthe, maybe the music, or maybe the marijuana; it was something nonetheless that blinded us both to the tawdry surroundings, the unspeakable decay of our bodies, and the foetid odor pervading the van that night. We met, and performed the eternal act.

Max belched. The whole scene was degenerating badly, but we managed to dress before he came to.

"This tutu is itchy," I thought, working up a fake-spaz smile as Max's eyes fluttered in a semblance of consciousness. No denying it -- Max was even more of a drag than Lenore.

"Someday," I thought idly, "I'd like to catch them both in flagrante delicto and commit justifiable homicide."

Meantime, I made Max an acid sandwich, neatly killing two woodchucks with the same rock, as we always said in Kansas. Sated, he passed out again.

Lenore and I stripped ourselves of our hastily-donned, ill-fitting apparel and once again ran together, our arms wide, in slow motion, just like in the old long distance telephone ads. Except in a cramped laundry van. And, once again, we spattered the interior of said van with the usual odd noises and bodily fluids.

But what was this unmistakable ennui I was feeling? The letdown from lust was always such a bummer. I couldn't explain it, but for some reason the whole direction of my life lately reminded me of Sartre, of Kafka. Or maybe Dr. Seuss.

"Jeez," I thought, "We're almost out of absinthe, and I don't think I can stomach Lenore sober. Nothing would ruin this vision of utopian perfection faster than a hangover."

I mentally stuck another bottle on tomorrow's shopping list, and rolled over to pork her undulating rolls of flesh again.

It was Lenore's lemur-like eyes that first had attracted me. Bright red, rimmed with the barest hint of sky-blue, I knew the instant that I saw them, that there was something I really needed to see in the depths of a serious cocaine jag. Unfortunately, I was too broke to any longer afford cocaine, and Max had seriously depleted my supply of acid. So my fantasy of screwing Lenore, on the ultimate coke high, as I surfed the waves and particles of those vibrating lanterns from hell, remained just that -- a dim velleity in the opium landscape I'd learned to call my mind.