(01-24) Dexter

Paris always imagined people before she met them but was seldom accurate. However, when she was accurate, it wasn’t imagination, but memory. There was no other way to explain it to herself. Some people she remembered before she was supposed to have met them, and when that happened, she knew her passion was being stirred to life.

It was this knowledge she turned to in her grief for her cousin. If she remembered what was not yet made manifest, then she wasn’t tied to time, and neither was Louis. Once he had talked about time slowing down in the moments where everything is changed forever, like when somebody is going to shoot you and there’s nothing you can do to change the script. It is manifesting. “And if it can slow down then it can speed up,” he said, “so what’s with all this tick tock tick tock bullshit anyway?”

He had been lightly toasted and, as little men are wont to do when they are with their little women, he was strutting his hour upon the stage. She wasn’t going to get sucked into a question like that, so she turned down the audio and enhanced the magnification until she could see a moment where he was confident she was holding the ground, letting him fly above his life as a little man.

Now she unfolded the stray thoughts from around the image she’d captured that day, laying back the dark fabric in a geometric progression until she was focused on the icon she’d stored away. He was inside his time, and he could never, ever exist anywhere else. This was where her time and his time parted, like bubbles formed together separating and floating apart. “I think I wished he was dead as often as I was glad he was alive,” she finally admitted. Then she felt better.

What was working beneath the surface of her mood was the freedom from an obsession. Being in an obsession is the best there is the first time through the loop, and even the second time through the loop it’s so hot you only feel a vague surprise to see familiar scenery. After awhile, though, you know every snap turn and every funhouse door, and a crazy clown sweeps off his bowler and snaps a pose: “Let’s do it one more time before closing time.” You just can’t get off the fun ride, even when it’s not fun anymore.

Louis had been an obsession. They’d realized it and he’d realized it and agreed that it wasn’t a healthy relationship, but that was on the rational surface of things. Beneath the surface there was a predator and there was that which longed to be the sacrifice. The only deity Paris knew was Art, because it was the footprint of the creative urge. Beneath everything else, she reasoned, was the urge to create. And so that was where she placed her faith.

She knew Louis was gone but she transfigured the wounding into art, a death from which the new and unexpected showed up at the border, tired, confused, trying to get their passports stamped. She’d been passive to him but nothing exists in isolation. She found her own helplessness to be the light in which control could reflect on the impermanence of beauty. Louis didn't really want control; that was what he had already. Adventures are into the unknown. Louis began to withdraw his projection from her and face the disturbing truth about the object of his obsession.

She watched him go through the stages of grief. He began with anger and dominance over her, demanding her submission. It wasn’t enough. Then he began to deny his involvement. It was just she who cared; he could leave anytime he wanted. Then came bargaining. He set down rules for her to follow in order to please him. Through all the stages of his grief she watched through unblinking eyes with large, liquid pupils.

Finally came acceptance. He came out the other side. He’d told her he was finished. She’d thought he was being dramatic, but he added, “I’ll die with my balls on.”

“You be a million miles gone,” the boy said, shifting his skateboard to the other arm. “What you on?”

She wasn’t paying attention. She was just following now, her body beginning to replace numbness with pain. On the other hand, she remembered, she’d done a stunt woman routine that could have cracked her head like a melon, and she wasn’t damaged. She was on her way to find the Patriarch, maybe to impregnate herself with him. It was what he'd told her he wanted from her. “What a fucking coup that would be,” she said.


“I could be the mother of a god,” she said, and all her strength came back and her thinking went straight. She wasn’t washing around in the tides anymore, between right and wrong or true and false. She was growing into her own mythology , and as she was slowly getting access to top management decisions, she was seeing its shape. In her myth she had saved herself for something in the future which she knew, but had forgotten she knew. If Louis hadn’t anchored her in surrender she could not have grounded who loomed over her now as the genie above the lamp. She imagined awakened DNA flooding her progeny with intelligence and beauty beyond imagination. “Do you live in that apartment building? She asked.

“How’d you know that?” the kid asked.

“Just a guess,” she said. It was the only place on the stree that looked like it might be occupied by a motorcycle gangster calling himself Demon Seed. It was painted a celery green and there were half hearted plants on iron balconies, trying to look interested in the mist enfeebled sunlight. The green box looked like it had been lifted out of an inland farming town and dropped on an otherwise high value street.

Halfway up the stairs the boy turned back and asked her, “What's your name again? And before she could answer he remembered. “Paris France. My brother’s name is Dexter, like in dexterity, he says. I have to knock if somebody’s with me because Dexter might have his clothes on and he might not, depending of whether he’s on the internet.” The door had opened while he was turned back toward Paris, talking.

Dexter grabbed the toy and knuckled his head. “What’s the matter with you little son? Say something like that to this little girl. That’s against the law, don’t you know that?”

“She’s not a little girl; she’s a midget.”

The kid relished Dexter’s attention, even it there was a little pain involved. He wasn't afraid of Dexter, who could have inspired fear, with his powerful upper body and bull neck, if he'd wanted to do that. But he seemed to be awfully playful for an outlaw biker.

“I know who she is, idiot.” He beamed a smile at her. “Paris Short,” he said, “you are a genius.”

He didn’t sound like he was in a motorcycle gang. “You were my inspiration. I read Midget with a Dwarf Tattoo, and then later on I read about how your brother, Troll …”

“He’s in jail right now.”

“I saw it on the news. Do you ever just have a feeling something’s about to happen, like you remember it, even it it’s not quite here yet? That’s how I been feeling all morning. And you show up at my door.”

She validated his feelings, even the insecure ones, hanging around on the fringes, until he finally quit talking and listened to what she actually needed. “I’m willing to pay you well,” she added.

“I wouldn’t think about taking money for doing you a favor,” he said, “except my credit card is temporarily out of order.”

“I’ll give you three hundred plus gasoline money to get me there.” she said. “By the way, you said I’m your inspiration, before. What did I inspire?”

“Demon Seed,” he said. “The same way you looked at yourself in the mirror and knew you were perfectly formed, but that somewhere inside you there was a demon? I’ve thought that for years now. Perfection is the demon seed. It opened up a new world for me. I was an outlaw trapped in he body of a bank branch manager.” He touched her arm, “And here is the call to adventure. How can anybody not see Mr. Big behind the scenes of this mother fucker? Let’s ride.”

Dexter was in ragged denims with a red bandana around his head. Paris was wrapped in an Indian blanket, secured with belts, so that she felt like a papoose. It was early morning when the Harley crossed the Golden Gate and picked up speed, cruising up 101. She wondered how Dexter was going to feel about it if they had to deal with real outlaws, the ones with a license to kill. On the other hand, out of the entire city she’d managed to find this guy, who had read her books, and she wasn’t exactly getting rich from royalties. It was a sign that she was in the flow of the Patriarch's plan.

Posted: Tue - September 9, 2008 at 05:09 PM