Antarctic Diary - November
Last dream in antarctica
"You see this? This is this. This ain't something else."
Robert DeNiro as Michael
The Deer Hunter
My guardian angel is an eight-foot tall yellow-gold owl with the voice of an angel.
Watch out. Things are worse than they seem. Dogs bite. The water is contaminated with vancomycin resistant bacteria. The men will force you into the trunks of idling BMWs. The women will trap you in blackmail scams. The flies that whir past your skull are the bullets from assassins guns. Everything benign is malignant.
She puts ideas in my head. Comes to me in dreams. If I didn't know she was an owl woman, I'd think she was an alien. Like a Steve type of alien. Something between King and Spielberg.
Watch out. Good is an illusion. Nothing good can come of this. Nothing good will happen ever. Nothing is left but pain. Eternal. Crying and misery and suffering. It doesn't pay to fight. There's nothing more terrible than death, and it's inevitable. You will not escape. This train is the express to one station. Don't bother getting ready. Let the surprise consume you in terror.
When she shows up, she fills my brain with the most miserable crap. She sounds like a cross between Doris Day and Sheryl Crow. Imagine Doris Day singing "Que Sera Sera", but change the words to something you'd see on an Ethiopian obiturary page. That's what happens when she appears to me. Like tonight.
As bad as it is, it's going to get worse. They've pulled up all the escape ladders. The life vests burned in the crash. The end will be agonizing and drawn out, and then you'll be reincarnated to do it again and again.
I used to be afraid of her and her minions. Once I had lunch with a woman who said she was the metaphor for Lilith, who was a metaphor for death. Now she just pisses me off. We have the sort of truce they have in the middle east. We only shoot at each other when the other isn't looking, then we stick out our tongue and spit. Mutually assured torment. Mutual, because now in my old age I know I torment her, too. Apparently, a guardian angel has to live with the mind of her charge. She has to mope around inside all the nightmares and wet dreams. Not exactly the kindest place for a supreme being with a beak that could zaberize an M1 tank.
If this isn't hell, what is it?
It's my life.
"Rocco, ever think that maybe all we have here is us? Like maybe it's bad for a REASON?"
She calls me Rocco. I don't know why. It's not my name. I say, "You including yourself in my mortal predicament?"
"Yup. Twenty thousand years the answer staring us in the face. The only way to save one of us is to save all of us. Every last one. That's how we get out."
"So it's true? You angels are stuck here with us? I was overstating things for effect--"
"--oh, sure. This is hell. I've been telling you this for years but you insist to go on wishing at birthday cake candles and christmas trees. It doesn't get worse than this. There's nothing below, only infinite heaven above. The secret of life is that there is no secret. You've known all along you can get out of here any time you want. You just turn around to the ones next to you and take their hand. That's it. The whole thing would take four--maybe two seconds. Every last one of us just takes another by the hand and means him well. Poof. This place is gone and you're in heaven. Salvation."
"But we don't."
"Sure as hell surprises all of us, I'll say that. I mean, things were pretty bad when we invented here, but you guys made it a whole hell of a lot worse," she laughs at her pun.
She says, "And you're perfectly happy to go on hating each other. Damn. You're going to be here a whole hell of a long time. Why the hell did you go and invent time, anyway? One of your crummy inventions that makes things worse. Whew. Is it hot in here or is it just me?"
She fans at her beak with a wing and sticks out her tongue.
"I gotta bail on you, kiddo. But we gotta talk about a couple of things. This whole killerowls deal, what's with that?"
"You used to scare the shit out of me."
"I would die to save your soul. You know that."
"I do, now. But when I was a kid, Geeze. Couldn't you have been a little less dramatic?"
"But you're over it now. So--can we call it quits?"
"I sorta like it. It's on my car license plate."
"Oh, so that means, forever. You're one twisted fuck. Of all the trillions of souls, I get stuck with a guy who wants to build his own pyramids. Don't my feelings count?"
"You're a God damned (literally, I might add) supreme being--"
"Who would die to save you."
"I've been meaning to ask you about that whole 'I would die', business. Unless I'm mistaken, immortality makes that whole thing sort of an empty promise."
"You invented time, not us. Look, let's not make this any more unpleasant than it has to be. As life goes on, every now and then, you're going to meet someone who sees the whole bullshit owl posturing you got going on and they're going to get drunk and weepy and admit they have an owl guardian of their own."
"Have I ever?"
"Yeah. You said most of the human race would be wiped out by an incurable virus by April of 2003."
"You're the ones hung up on this whole time deal. Not me. Can't blame me if I never figured out how to read a calendar."
"Under the bikini girl on the motorcycle there's a big WORD called the month and then a bunch of numbers--."
"When you meet one of your bretheren, it's your sworn duty to care for that person. Forever. With the full extent of your powers. If we can't get everyone to figure out how to love their neighbor at once, we'll do it one at a time."
"I made you."
"You coerced me? That counts?"
"It has really become unpleasant to deal with you. You've succeeded. I like you better when you're old and infirm. I think I'll come back then."
"Don't rush. And hey, don't let the door hit you on the ass feathers on your way out. I'd like to wake up now. I have a plane to catch."
"Yeah. You're going to love this one, Rocco. How are you going to explain this whole mess you're in now?"
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"You're going to have to get smarter to figure it out, not dumber. Just remember, when everyone else fails you, I still love you. I always have. I brought you here to the ice for a reason. You're going to keep coming back until you figure it out, even if it kills both of us. Now lay down, I wanna get out of here."
"Wouldn't it be easier if you just told me?"
"Stop acting stupid. It doesn't work and you've heard that once already tonight. You're having way too much fun. Now. Down, boy. Down."
In my dream I'm floating in blackness. I straighten my body, and she tears open my chest with her beak and consumes my heart, a flaming ball of pure white energy. I die a luxurous death, and wake up in my real life.
I jolt upright and hit my head on the underside of a desk. I'm in an office in building 155. I came here to find my camera, which I left on the desk. For some reason I decided it was better to try and rest on the floor than walk back to my room.
A bright yellow gold light,
From Christmas tree lights strung around the walls.
I adore the way she works. Eight feet tall and made of pure nuclear explosion.
And earlier tonight, someone told me about dream owls and felt, for reasons they couldn't understand, that I would know what they meant.
I got here by miracles.
What's left of me is on my way home.
Love to all.
From Antarctica, 2003.