Back to The Beginning: Every Beauty is a Tragedy Waiting to Happen
Back to Part 8C: Beauty Surrounds Me
Part 9C of the Tragic Beauty Anthology
One of Three Potential Part Nines
I sat quietly in the passenger seat of Miles' car. He drove with something resembling reckless abandon, whipping around corners and squealing the tires as he kept up with the frantic pace Candy's truck was setting for us. Candy and Don had been spooked, but I hoped Candy had the presence of mind to hold it together. She had been through a lot in life, but after Jerry attempted to strangle her to death and then seeing Miles shoot him in the shoulder, she probably wasn't thinking as clearly as she might have under different circumstances. I mean, if she had just enjoyed a really fantastic seafood meal down at the beach and then had received a satisfying massage from a really big Swedish guy, her mindset would probably be a lot different.
"You ever wonder sometimes?
I mean, it is possible that there are thousands of microscopic people in your hair, right now.
Maybe they are watching the finals of a basketball game in your hair, right now.
You don't even care who wins.
But the tiny people care.
They really do."
I could not, for the life of me, figure out why Miles was telling me this as his car whipped around another corner and narrowly missed spinning off down the embankment. What could possibly cause an otherwise normal college student to begin talking about such things. I was appalled.
"Dude, what the fuck are you talking about?
People in my friggin' hair?
I wash my hair every day."
Miles shook his head and started to tell me that my thinking was too clouded by what I learned in school. Then his diatribe was abruptly cut off when Miles stomped down hard on the brakes. Candy's truck had overturned and slipped off the side of the road. There were flames streaming out of the side of it and we could not see the occupants. It was likely they were trapped inside. Miles pulled over to the side of the road and leaped out of his car as if he were some modern day superhero. Bounding into action, he all but flew down the embankment and tore open the driver's side door of Candy's truck.
I wasn't sure what course of action to take myself. Miles told me to stay back, yelping like a child whose pudding pop just slipped out of his mouth and into his eye with phenomenal force. He was pulling Candy's body out of the truck. She wasn't moving on her own power. Either she was unconscious or dead. I couldn't see Don at all and thought about running down to seek out my friend. Even against Miles' warnings I wanted to do something. Then I started to wonder if I would ever fall in love and whether or not I would pass my comparative politics mid-term. Those thoughts distracted me until well after Miles had pulled both Don and Candy from the wreckage and dragged their limp bodies to a safe distance. I was brought out of my trance only when the truck exploded. It was like a scene from The A-Team.
I found myself more and more disturbed by the trappings of my life. So empty. So scarce. Was it that I was still young and that for me, life would not come into its own until later years? I had stood through most of it and watched people change, go through traumas and experience incredible circumstances. There had been a light of beauty in them as these changes took hold. For myself, there was only steady on, not even a charge of the light brigade. I was almost totally indistinguishable from a common marmoset. When would life happen to me? Even with all that was happening with Jayne and Candy and Miles, I was but a bystander. As pen to paper, to be the observer is the curse of the writer. We watch what others experience so that we can describe it from an objective point of view. When events and circumstances pour onto our own heads they become magnified and overstated in their relevance because the point becomes subjective.
"I have to do mouth to mouth on both of them.
Do you know CPR?"
I had failed again. Although high school health and safety classes had presented the concept of CPR to me, I had never paid enough attention to really know what to do. These sort of things only happened to "other people." Nothing was going to happen to me. I just sat at home reading books, writing stories, inventing games in my head and occassionally pulling my little feller out of my pants and massaging him when I thought about that cute girl playing tennis in her little white shorts. The thing was, they had this plastic dummy in health and safety class. His mouth always tasted like rubbing alcohol, mostly because they wiped him down with it after each student had a go at him. Who knew what happened to Mr. Dummy when he was left unattended after class. When it was my turn to play bring the dead guy back to life, I was sheepish and closed my eyes. I couldn't remember what to do. Miles was on his own and it was all my fault.
"Whatever you do, don't call 911!"
I have to admit, I thought about it. That was what you were supposed to do in situations like this, but remembering back to the investigation of the actor formerly playing Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream I realized that the police in this town were little or no help. They served the will of wretched life forms like Jerry.
Speaking of Jerry, I wondered if he had made any progress in recovering from the wound Miles had bestowed upon him. We were pretty far down the road, but Jerry was not the kind of guy to throw in the towel and go home. He was already pretty steamed at Candy, Don and myself for deserting him at the pancake house. I did not want to think about how steamed he was going to be about the bullet between his shoulder blades.
"Are they going to be okay?"
I knew it was a stupid question to ask. Miles was doing everything he could to revive Candy and Don while I watched and wished I had been more of a student instead of just a horny kid who always imagined girls doing heart-wrenching calisthenics. Homework was an afterthought compared to the possibility of sexual fantasies. What kind of person was I? Amidst all the tragedy happening around me, and all the beauty that had been conspired against, I was surely nothing. I was a fly on a pile of white dog excrement.
"Candy is going to be all right!"
Miles yelled out those words as Candy coughed, gagged and sat up. She rolled over and began crying as Miles jumped over, still in superhero form, and began breathing air into Don's lungs. I felt useless still, but at the same time I witnessed beauty. One human being saving the life of another. Whether it was the beautiful Candy with her perfect body and smooth, supple skin or Don with his developing beer gut, overbite and dandruff problems, it did not matter. Life bestowing life was beautiful and I was frozen as I watched.
"Too bad it is all too temporary."
The last thing I remembered was how much the baseball bat hurt when it hit me in the side of the head.
Thus ends Part 9C of the Tragic Beauty Anthology
To Part 10: Seeing the Beauty