Darkness

A place where silence is dominant.
Where the tangible is still, and dormant.
Where the intangible is active, and dynamic.
A world of unseen shadows and specters.
A realm of infinite depth and fininte understanding.
A kingdom where the wise are confounded.
.... and where the lost are found.

Where a Baron of Darkness can stand still, and traverse an eternity of dimension.

From where I'm sitting, I can stare out my office window and up into the Hollywood Hills. The Hills have a fantastic grade, very very steep. They are covered with houses. Pink houses, white houses, houses on stilts, houses made of concrete. At the very top of the hill is Merv Griffin's house. He's up there like a gay Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, looking down on West Hollywood through a brass telescope, looking down at the gym rats, leathermen, and Abercrombe & Fitch escapees.

Across the street from my office there's a rope, a long nylon climbing rope. It's got two Petzl ascenders on it. I clip onto the ascenders and climb. I climb over the green trees, and the swimming pools, and the security gates and hibachis. I'm like the a master of the wu dan in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, barely touching down as I climb the hill like a ski lift. I'm there, standing on the concrete modernist rotunda of Merv's house.

I look into the cool, dry interior of the home through one of the windows. The window isn't made of glass, it's made of rubbing alcohol that refuses to fall to the ground. I slide through and am inside, vapors offgassing from my body. The maid is there. She's a young, very beautiful latina. She points out the window to Merv looking down at west hollywood, then motions for me to follow. I climb a spiral staircase to the roof behind her.

"He can't see us here, he can only look down. The only things that can see us here are God and the Sun." I can feel the fine down of hair at the small of her back as she pulls the white smock dress of her uniform over her head. It's hot on the roof, mirage hot, and we are blending together in the heat, lost in the convective updraft of the heated column of air, rising up with the smock, the ascenders, the sweat and the turbulent air, above the mountains, away from the computers, out of text and into the body, into the totality of becoming heat, a heated parcel of air, turbulent and moving.

I think about the airplane.

I first saw the airplane when I was nine. I was smaller then; we all were, except the adults, who were bigger. I saw it sitting in a field, behind a shack which I later learned had been its hangar. Its wings were streaked with grime, and had gone brittle long before, the plastic crumbling slightly at the edges. Weeds grew around the nosewheel, and the landing light in front stared off into endless nonexistent runways approaching from the existing night.

I turned off the road to walk across the field, curious.

It didn't turn to look at me. I wasn't insulted. I walked around it. There was the trash of several years littered about the cabin, and one of the doors was open, making it inevitable that I should climb in. I didn't. I looked at the instrument panel from outside, looked at the cracked and crazed glass and plastic, and then walked around behind to look at the empennage.

It was taller than me.

I looked up it, and cautiously reached out a hand to move the rudder, then thought better of it. The airplane remained supremely unconcerned at my presence. Wonderingly, I ran my gaze down each wing, slightly swept back and angled up, and tried to imagine what it would be like with the grime removed.

It hadn't flown in years.

Backing away from it slightly, I put my hands in front of my eyes and made a circle, trying to cut the airplane away from its surroundings, to imagine it in flight. I couldn't remove the shed from the background, though, and dropped my hands. I went to the front, to stare at the propellor, the airscrew, the spinner, the blades there. They still had faded red slashes of paint at the tips. I imagined that when in motion, they would produce a blurred red circle.

I wondered if it meant something.

The tires were flat, of course. Small plants grew out from under them, struggling to reach the light. There was a stain under the wings where the fuel had leaked into the ground oh so long ago and fewer plants grew there. The windows were slightly blurry with age, and the plastic had turned slightly yellow.

My fingers reached out again, slowly, and this time I did not stop them; they brushed the wings and came to rest on the propellor, cold slash of metal in the warm afternoon. The birds sang suddenly, then stopped. I removed my hand. I turned and left the field. The airplane didn't turn to watch me go. It sleepily stared out into space, where it had once been, and thought of the forgotten taste of gasoline.

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