Monday, August 5, 2013

Street Guitar

Oggy's fat free ass rested hard on the concrete flower bed that protected a few weeds dispersed by wind and fate. The bearded one had to shift his decrepit hips to avoid sores. Graffiti and pain were painful distractions that Oggy wrestled against, mentally pinning one against the other and grappling alternatively with reality and an image of symbolic warfare. "Famuz G." was one such purple paint tag. "BLK BOYZ RULE" was another. "Vato Street Brothers...V.S.B." Nowhere was the wingnut nation represented, lacking literacy and publicity department of the aforementioned...and this omission bothered Oggy because it touched on a larger problem within a problem, a hidden problem, one of education strata enjoyed by the dispossessed, not merely defacing property but a subclass of undesirables who were voiceless.


"If you examine the Vato Brothers, their sources and motivations," said Oggy to a barely breathing wino slumped nearby, "then the assertion would suggest a cry for representation, not a lashing out against a belligerent culture. There's also a belligerent culture, true, but is that the source of all sources? I don't think so. No, it's more than that...more than a cultural difference and more than a designed disillusionment. The combination creates an awful vacuum, powerful, overwhelming and sick minded, ignored by everyone." Facetiously, Oggy yelled, "WHY WOULD ANYONE CARE?"
Oggy flailed his arms, accidentally rapping his own knuckles on the branches that he had lashed together as crutches. The Wino awoke and asked a pedestrian if he could spare some change.
"Yeah, change your socks..." said the pedestrian but the wino didn't hear him and nodded politely, "God Bless...." he whispered through stained mustache and dry lips.
Oggy regretted his outburst because it appeared to have awoken the wino.
"I'm sorry if I disturbed you, sir," Oggy mumbled apologetically.
"Do you have a cigarette."
Oggy patted his chest and pockets like a third base coach giving a base-runner a  signal to steal a base.
"I'm terribly sorry. No. I don't smoke."
The wino mumbled a dismissal of the topic. He wiped his unfocused eyes and licked his lips. Tomorrow, he would go back to rehab, he decided. Tomorrow.

Oggy swallowed and asked, "Sir, I'm new in town...and I've been living under the rollercoaster. I was wondering..."
"I can't help you."
Recalling a conversation amongst meth pushers between dumpsters Oggy replied, "I heard some gentlemen at the beach discussing a private forest monestary where people grow food and live a sustainable life."
The wino painfully coughed phlegm through constricted lungs.
"Do you have a cigarette?"
Oggy gave the steal sign again.
"Private farmland?" asked the wino eventually. "In Santa Cruz?"
"Like a commune," plied Oggy with delight and great expectation in his voice. She would be there, naturally, he thought. She would be the queen of the commune. The girl who had recycled the plastic bottle, the girl with the earth mother hips and the short strawberry blonde hair. She wasn't vain like everyone else in this poisoned society. She was honest and pure. Her clothing was recycled...not designed by pompous textile architects and assembled by indigent slaves. And She would be the queen of the commune in her recycled clothing. He'd serve her.
"Because," continued Oggy, dreamily and distantly, already kissing her goodnight in their mud Wigwam. "There's a girl with soft skin and...and lips..."
"What? What whore?"
"She lives there...do you live in the forest."
"WHERE I LIVE IS NONE OF YOUR GODDAMN BUSINESS!"
Venomously, the wino raged and spit.
"YOU AND YOUR WHORE STAY AWAY FROM ME."
Oggy shook back his pride from the eclipsed fantasy. He'd offended someone and the sickness and self--loathing boiled inside him. In a moment he had to, he was compelled to, recreate all the trespasses he'd forced on others, the lines he cut in Grade School, the ice cream cookie sandwich he stole from the lunch line...the girl whose back he spit on in the bleachers, the boy with braces he'd insulted. There was no forgiveness since the ethical calculus would never balance in his favor...there was never a way to divide by the common denominator...never a way to subtract from the sum total...any plus failed to eliminate the past subtractions.
The Vato Street Brothers graffiti could not be erased because every molecule of the words could not be erased. It would exist somewhere. Likewise, Oggy's regret would immortalize his insensitivity...each particle of insult and offense would always float over him, somewhere, the time he slapped the catcher's arm as he was about to throw out a runner at first base. The umpire didn't see it but the catcher cried for justice. Oggy was so smug as he trotted back to the dugout...but how smug was he know as the guilt demons flocked merrily around his concrete bench, the judgement seat, the trial lair, the sentencing room? Not smug, not victorious, but guilt-ridden and alone. Now this latest offense that would follow him like an oily wake behind a bullet ridden barge. Curses!

Oggy apologized again and used his branches to support his weight as he limped to the bike rack where his bike was parked. He removed the sign that read "Please Don't Steal My Bike" and as he was adjusting the broken seat post he found a flower in his basket. A flower. Oggy looked around breathless, looking for her. She was the one who placed it there. Who else would make such a kind gesture?

Oggy thought he saw the tire of Her bicycle roll out of sight into one of the alleys. She was making her rounds, delivering blessings and food to the needy, and she knew that he would be in need. The guilt demons still flew merrily in circles around Oggy's feverish head, but they competed with the soft visions of Her paisley peasant dress, Her worn cruelty free sandals, Her bra-less undulating breasts. The wino was appeased, having reclaimed the sovereignty of his corner flower bench. Oggy was adrift in future delights. The farm...the fabled fruit and nut utopia was where he would find Her.

Oggy pedaled toward the beach, coasting past the chain restaurant where Robert and Kim walked placidly in small circles carrying signs that read "Boycott Taco Hell. Wage Slave Profiteers". Oggy waved and they waved back. Oggy coasted because that saved energy. And the more energy he saved now would mean more people could have energy and that would matter and make the world a better place which is what She would appreciate most.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.