“…Say Goodbye, My Baby”
Written by: Terry Allen Cummings on 04/29/12
Brought to you by Cous’n Cumm’ns Entertainment
Cous’n Cumm’ns Entertainment: Where ‘pretention’ is a full time job!
I find myself frantically searching for something. I don’t know what, but my desire to find it borders on insanity. I know it’s somewhere nearby, but the objects of my surrounding impede the finding of it. I come upon drawers that won’t open and doors that won’t shut; locked cupboards and blacked out windows which make it impossible for me to scan the landscape outside for my mysterious quarry. If it doesn’t open or close it’s thrown haphazardly on the floor; broken vases and picture frames, shattered lamps and pillows litter the plush white carpet. No colors exist; white walls lie in stark contrast to the black skewed paintings that adorn them; ‘The Screamer’, ‘The Mona Lisa’, and a rotted out tree in front of the burned remains of a barn haunt the picture frames, but instead of bright lucid colors, the pictures appear as photographic negatives, hiding their mystery and beauty. What do they mean? I frantically pull the sheets from the bed and see myself in the shattered mirror that hangs on the back of a door. I don’t recognize the broken image before me. My father? No; it’s me, but older. Beads of perspiration run down my face like rain drops on the windshield of a broken car left to rust in the tall grass of a dilapidated and boarded up home’s front yard. A radio lies on the floor, playing a familiar tune…
“Bobby’s drivin’ through the city tonight, through the lights, in a hot new rent-a-car…”
An unexpected and ominous creaking noise snaps me back to reality as I realize that one of the doors that were previously shut to me is slowly opening on its own. I can feel the soft luxuriant carpet between my toes as I slowly walk towards it…I suddenly know that what I’m searching for is just beyond that exit. Relief washes over me and replaces my desperation with a calm solitude…just beyond that door. I step through and find myself falling into the black night; I see far away stars twinkling and wonder at the contrast of their fixed position against the stomach churning velocity of my plunge. I feel the air whipping past me, whistling through my hair as the ground rushes up to embrace me…I’ve never seen so many stars…so wondrous, the heavens. I have no fear; I am completely calm as I close my eyes and let the rushing air underneath caress my body like a newborn kitten in the palm of a woman’s hand. If a billions stars is to be the last sight I see, then death is welcome to walk by my side. The song from the radio above follows my descent.
“He joins the lovers in his heavy machine; it’s a scene, down on Sunset Boulevard…”
I never reach the ground; an instant and an eternity disintegrate around me. The cool air I felt on my skin a moment in perpetuity ago, is replaced by a stagnant heat; an unbearable and tortuous roasting heat. I don’t remember opening my eyes, but I’m suddenly blinded by glaring white intensity. I realize that my eyes are open and I can’t close them; I can’t move my limbs to cover them, I can’t even squint in order to focus my sight. Sightless and baking, I scream but no sound comes out. In my mind I struggle and fight against nothing, yet I don’t move. There is a noise above me…faint but close. The sound of old rope pulled tight against wood. Another noise; a bird caws in the distance. Underneath these sounds is a hum…a faint buzzing that fades in and out. The shocking white begins to leave my vision, and a blurred dark shape slowly moves back and forth in front of me in time with the sound above my head. Whereas I was calm minutes and decades ago, I am now filled with terror. I am not in control…I am as nothing in someone else’s circumstance. The song continues in my mind…
“Say goodbye to Hollywood, say goodbye my baby; Say goodbye to Hollywood, say goodbye my baby…”
I am a bird. Effortlessly floating on the invisible heat that comes up from the cracked and dry desert floor. Shimmering lakes dance on the horizon, but I’m not fooled by earth’s trickery. The sun has just come up and the mirages it creates are beautiful, but foreboding. Flying towards them would lead to certain doom…but complacency here would mean the same. I could pump my wings and rise into one of the small lazily moving clouds above me; but that expenditure of energy without food or water would kill me as well…I need to perch. I need to watch. Sustenance has to take priority over shade. The lack of one in the grip of the other will kill me, and death is not an option: For I am the watcher in the sky, the harbinger of fortune, good or bad. I survey all and tell no one. One day this world may be taken from me, but the secrets I hold will continue to soar in the endless sky, so long as there is wind to carry them.
“Johnny’s takin’ care of things for awhile and his style is so right for troubadours…”
As my vision blurs and becomes clear again, I see a tree slowly swaying from side to side in front of me. Ten feet away it dances just out of reach. Black dust zips in and out of my vision, tiny and then huge as the particles come toward my eyes. The buzzing grows louder and then fades away. Beyond the tree is nothing; a white void of dry earth stretching out to meet the sky; the image before me is that of a camera lens that I’m not in control of. The tree fills the frame on the right as its barren grey branches stretch out over the top of the picture, bending back down out of my sight to the left. It would be beautiful if I were holding the camera instead of being held within its lens. It’s then that I notice…the tree isn’t rocking slowly back and forth…I am; and although I feel the unbearable heat, I’m not sweating. One of the dust particles lands on my eye and fills my vision with a huge and frightening horror; a fly. There are hundreds of them and now that I know what they are, fear grips me by the throat…no, not fear; a noose. And then the realization washes over me like lava over the black rocks of a mountainside…I’m hung. A slight breeze cools my brow for an instant, but relief is lost in my panic as the pace in which my corpse twists quickens slightly. The taught rope overhead groans louder against the wood as my husk dangles and sways. I’ve woken up to death, the eternal sleep that all men are privy too. A welcome respite from the cruelties of the world…and I have been denied its comfort.
“They got him sitting with his back to the door, now he won’t be my fast gun anymore…”
A crow lands on a low hanging branch in front of me, offering the tiniest respite from this lonely chaos. It comes and goes from my view as lifeless eyes sway within the body before it. The crow caws and stares at me with black dead eyes, alive in their dark fury. There is no surrender in those eyes, no compassion or promise. They are the eyes of death come to drag me away, and I welcome them with all the submission a dead man can display. As a spider skitters around from the back side of the branch, the crow plucks it up into its beak, throws its head back and swallows. It looks back at me, lifeless eyes staring into lifeless eyes. It caws in triumph and takes wind leaving me to my conscious death. The panic that filled me a moment ago is turned to a selfish horror. “TAKE ME WITH YOU!” I scream in my mind…”take me with you…” I sob into my own thoughts. But dead men have no secrets for the crow to carry and I hear its final caw like laughter from high above.
“Say goodbye to Hollywood, say goodbye my baby; Say goodbye to Hollywood, say goodbye my baby…”
A long voluminous hallway stretches out into eternity before me. The only color is that of the black corners where the ceiling and floor meet the walls. There is no form; there is no substance, only those black lines which stretch before me threatening to come together beyond the distance ahead. My search continues and again I can feel my objective close at hand. I look down and notice dust on my boots. I feel good, I feel that I’ve been somewhere, that I’ve done something…but I don’t know where I’ve been or what I’ve done. This moment is my birth, these are my first thoughts and with no past concerns, my quest takes on a deeper and more rabid focus. I scan my surroundings and notice that although the hallway is lighted, there are no lights. Miles ahead of me is darkness and I know that fear haunts those shadows. But there is no fear that can outweigh my desire, whatever it may be, so I press on. With my first step, I realize there is no sound. I stomp on the ground and shout into the empty void ahead to confirm this, and am met with silence. Not even silence; silence in itself denotes a LACK of sound…there is just nothing; No sound nor lack of it, as if I were blind to resonance of any kind. I’m trapped again, but this time in my own thoughts. I tell myself it doesn’t matter and press on.
“Movin’ on is a chance you take anytime you try to stay…together”
The light moves with me as the darkness stretches out ahead, always out of reach. I walk for hours, years, decades, forever, in the empty noise of desperation. Alone in my thoughts, I feel a presence behind me. I stop and turn to see the darkness behind coming forward to envelope me. I quicken my pace, running forward while looking behind. It presses on faster, reaching out, threatening to overtake me. Exhilaration pumps blood faster through my veins; where I should feel fear, I feel power. Control is often the last thought one feels before they are caught; “FUCK YOU, COME AND GET ME!” I mouth at the following shadows. I can feel an anger coming from the dark wall as it gets nearer; condemning my impudence and arrogance. How dare I not fear it. A defiant smile stretches across my face, and I run faster. I dare because I’m me, how dare you expect less.
“Say a word out of line, you find that the friends you had are all gone…forever”
Tendrils of black shadow shoot out from the encroaching darkness, lifting me from the ground and wrapping themselves around my arms, legs, and torso. They hold me above the silent white floor as I mock maniacal laughter at the two sinister and faceless forms which grow from the tendrils on either side of me. They hold me violently, rigidly; they squeeze tighter, wringing the air from my lungs…but I refuse to submit to their dominance. I feel their anger at my defiance. And then a black hand protrudes from the faceless head to my left and points down the hall. Its anger morphs into a defiance of its own, a coy triumphant sentiment spews from it and my laughter turns to dreaded curiosity as I follow that colorless bony finger wisp to its intended target.
There, miles and an eternity before me, is what I had been searching for. Never knowing what it was, through perplexity, death, and defiance I had searched impatiently with fervor beyond the grasp of thought…but until the exact moment I saw her? I never knew of her existence. How could I, how can any of us know what or who we truly want until we find it? It’s not the quest that drives us, but what lies at its end. And in many situations we can pick and choose what we search for; a certain colored t-shirt, a religious artifact, a treasure hidden beneath the ocean. But in our hearts, love is faceless. It resides deep in a formless soul, waiting for someone to unleash it so we can wield it haphazardly, but there’s no way for us to know who that someone is UNTIL we come upon them…until THIS moment, when the dark shadows of my past hold me before that one true desire and my laughter turns to theirs…as their anger turns to mine.
“So many faces in and out of my life, some will last, some will just be now and then…”
I know who she is, but I squint and flutter my eyes to better see her all the same. She’s so fucking far away…I see a speck of blue, tiny but bright in its brilliance, and I focus with all my might on…her eyes. As our eyes meet, the distance between us disappears. Although still miles apart, my sight puts her in front of me. An apparition, floating effortlessly above the floor, and although she has no corporeal form, her eyes grip me and everything melts around us. They sparkle like blue diamonds forged in the heart of a star, those eyes; and in them are all the mysteries of the universe, unbound and waiting to be discovered. Blonde hair gently caresses her neck giving form to my jealousy. She nods pleadingly to my right, then to my left, and the darkness that held me in its grasp gently recedes, like water leaving a clean swept beach. I fall to my knees and close my eyes. When I open them and look up, I find myself in a field of lilies. Lilies? Why does that sound familiar? The purpose of my quest stands before me, an unshakable beauty stationed defiantly in her independence. A cool breeze lazily brushes itself against the white and green field around us and the sound of flowers dancing under the deep blue sky fills my ears with languid pleasure. Her splendor has brought color into my life. Her magnificence fills my world with sound.
“Life is a series of Hello’s and Goodbye’s, I’m afraid it’s time for goodbye again…”
As I stand before her, I realize that she’s at least a foot shorter than me. The face in front of me laughs at all I thought beauty was before this instant. Her smile only serves to further brighten her eyes and she puts a hand on my shoulder, pulling me down towards her. She stands on her toes and reaches her mouth up to my ear; “Illyana” she whispers. Did she say that? Or was it the sound of wind rustling through the flowers around us? She takes my face into her tiny hands and kisses me; lightly at first, like a child dipping her toes in a lake before diving in, and soon a passion rises between us that could snuff the flames of hell. We take deeply of each other as we fall amongst the lilies, never wavering from our mutual fervor. Our desire has become one and reaches out from the gentle beginnings of a first touch to envelope us in a growing ferocity. Above, dark clouds form and thunder shatters the air. She runs her fingers through my hair as I pull her tightly to me by the small of her back. Rain begins to slap against the petals around us, slowly at first and building into a crescendo with our passion. We rip wet clothes from each other in a desperate attempt to get at the sweet fillings underneath. Hundreds of dark tornado funnels fill the sky for miles around as the world turns violent in time with our need. She aggressively throws me down on my back and climbs on top of me, digging her nails into my chest, she throws her head back as she skewers herself on my manhood. Thunder claps in fury, rain angrily pelts us, lightening violently rips across the sky, and tornados rip the earth around us.
“Say goodbye to Hollywood, say goodbye my baby; Say goodbye to Hollywood…
I wake in an unfamiliar room. Something important just happened, but what? Vacancy stabs my heart as I scan my surroundings…I’ve been here before, but when? There’s something I need to find. Déjà vu? I jump from the bed of my unfamiliar yet familiar surroundings. It’s here somewhere, it has to be…but what is it? I know it’s somewhere nearby, but the objects of my surrounding impede the finding of it. I come upon drawers that won’t open and doors that won’t shut; locked cupboards and blacked out windows which make it impossible for me to scan the landscape outside for my mysterious query. If it doesn’t open or close its thrown haphazardly on the floor; broken vases and picture frames, shattered lamps and pillows litter the plush white carpet. No colors exist; white walls lie in stark contrast to the black skewed paintings that adorn them; ‘The Screamer’, ‘The Mona Lisa’, and a rotted out tree in front of the burned remains of a barn haunt the picture frames, but instead of bright lucid colors, the pictures appears as photographic negatives, hiding their mystery and beauty. What do they mean? I frantically pull the sheets from the bed and see myself in the shattered mirror that hangs on the back of a door. I don’t recognize the broken image before me. My father? No; it’s me, but older. Beads of perspiration run down my face like rain drops on the windshield of a broken car left to rust in the tall grass of a dilapidated and boarded up home’s front yard. A radio lies on the floor, playing a familiar tune…