The International Writers Magazine: Dreamcapes Fiction
Adventures of Foxman and Brodie
day I met Foxman was the strangest day of my life. I didnt
see the sun all that day. It was summer solstice and overcast
from sunrise to sunset. That night, as if on cue the clouds broke
to reveal the night sky and the moon began to rise.
It was one of those
days that stops you cold and makes you panic because you have this dread
that something big is going on, but youre out of the loop. You
go out of synch with the world. Everyone else is moving like they should,
but you cant seem to catch up. Thats what it was like on
the day I met Foxman.
He was moving out of synch too, but he always does that. When he starts
catching up with everyone else he gets nervous. Thats why we were
behind his house this evening. I have to mellow him out. He probably
turned on his television again. Foxman doesnt react to popular
culture with a great deal of grace like the rest of us. What we passively
tolerate, terrifies and infuriates him. Theres a big dirt canyon
behind his house which was littered with beer-can targets for his assortment
of rifles. This is his major outlet for what ails him. We smoke an obscene
amount of weed and down some vodka then blast anything that looks like
it might possibly have moved; twice, just to be sure. There arent
any streetlights where he lives, he took care of those when he moved
in. The stars can be just as bright if the night is clear, bright enough
to read by. Foxman sustains himself on guns, cameras, drums and poetry.
Once after a particularly bad case of sitcoms he called me up at about
midnight. He told me to bring some Ginsberg and some beer. He made me
sit on the roof facing the lot with a bullhorn and read Howl while he
set up flood lights around a rusted out car. (I didnt ask where
or how he got it). He switched between taking pictures and shooting
holes in the car while I tried desperately to yell over him in erratic,
beautiful verse. I might have thought this strange if not for the omens
of the day I met him. Now its business as usual. Once or twice
a week he goes through his catharsis and I help in anyway I can. Sometimes
I read and he shoots. Sometimes I shoot and he takes pictures. Frighteningly
good pictures. He makes his living selling them. He takes them with
ancient looking cameras and develops the film and the prints himself.
He finds a way to make everything he photographs expose something about
himself. I think it frightens and mystifies people. Whatever it is,
they cant get enough of it; he makes a very comfortable living.
Once I bought him a digital camera for his birthday. He was always repairing
his old ones and I thought he might appreciate the gesture. He looked
at it, then very politely and graciously thanked me and declined to
accept it because, "digital cameras are for pussies." Never
argue with a purist. Especially if they get results like Foxman does.
I never see anyone come anywhere near his place. The bible belt has
labeled us unredeemable. Were out on the fringe where the bravest
or most foolhardy of them dare not go. They dont even stop by
to warn us that were going to hell or to show us their path to
salvation. Thats just as well. You can only hear it so many times
before it loses all meaning. We cant expect them to understand
us, so we accept the truce wholeheartedly. Although occasionally we
break it. We wander out among them with impunity. Like tonight, after
working up a ravenous appetite from all the shooting and a raucous jam
session, we decide to brave the general population and get some fast
food. One of the marvels of the modern age is that you can find something
to eat at any hour of the day. This lends itself readily to those of
us with illicit habits that leave us crawling with the munchies in the
hours after everyone else have long since passed into the non-R.E.M.
stages of sleep. There is a trade off for our infringement on the unsteady
peace between us and the rest of the world. Perhaps its the moon,
or the delta brainwaves permeating the atmosphere, or it could be that
Foxman is just a magnet for weirdness, but every time we pass beyond
the boundary line of Foxmans front yard something happens to us
that gives the finger to rational belief. Tonight is no exception. We
are the great attractors of the odd and unexplainable. Usually its
passive in nature.
We drive along a major artery into the city, and after exactly one mile
we see two white police officers searching the car of a black driver
who is handcuffed and seated in the back of their car. Then this scene
proceeds to duplicate itself exactly for every half-mile afterward until
we reach the city. This kind of thing would seriously disturb other
people, but Foxman has been dealing with it his entire life. He doesnt
seem to notice. Ive only been dealing with it since I met him,
and I think Im becoming desensitized. It doesnt stop when
we get into the city. There are two people screwing on a street-sweeper
parked in front of a row of closed, dark shops. We wave to them as we
pass; they wave back. The grease-pit is open when we get there, but
the doors are locked. Theres a lot of noise inside, so we walk
around to the windows. Inside we see two teenagers in uniforms and five
more in regular clothing having an old-fashioned, Beavis and Butthead
style burger war. There are milkshakes and cheeseburgers flying everywhere.
Ketchup and mustard are smeared on the counters and walls. There are
unrecognizable particles plastered to the ceiling. They all seem to
be having a great time. One of the uniformed lads pours a full cup of
liquid down the back of anothers pants. The other uniformed one
then smacks him in the ass with a tray. It squirts out in an eruption
of brownish goo; probably special sauce. The floor is slick and they
collapse like dominos when one loses his balance. They disappear abruptly
from sight below the counter in a massive pileup and we leave.
We are now desperate for food. Ravenous beyond all rational capacity
to find another restaurant. Somehow we make it to a coffee house and
get inside without a food assault. Theres a waitress behind the
counter and a cooks head visible through a window to the kitchen.
They look like zombies under the florescent lights. We order too much
food and chain smoke until its ready. We try to eat slowly and
at some point we realize that were alone with these two, and there
is absolute silence. Foxman gives me some change for a jukebox against
the far wall. My footsteps echo much too loudly as I make my way there.
All the songs and their corresponding numbers are printed on yellowing
paper and taped to the inside of the glass. They all say exactly the
HERBIE HANCOCK "CANTALOUPE ISLAND"
I put all the change in and make my way back to the counter. Foxman
doesnt say anything when it plays through the fourth time, but
the proprietors look like their nerves are at the breaking point. We
pay quickly and leave. A good buzz is one of those rare creatures that
will die if you feed it. So we drive in circles around the city and
light a joint. The air is cool and clear and oddly missing the smell
of a city. There are sounds coming from everywhere; insects in parks,
industrial air conditioners, buzzing streetlights, and cries for help.
These last from an empty lot where a gang rape is taking place. We park
the car and open the trunk. Then, each of us armed with a limited edition
Louisville Slugger we sneak through the shadows toward the scene of
the crime. There are four of them. The young woman is still fully clothed,
so we arent too late. Their backs are to us as we pause for a
"You take the knees, Ill get the elbows" says Foxman.
We go in quietly and take the first completely by surprise. Joints crack
audibly as we cripple him. The others follow seconds later, each cradling
extremely painful wounds. All the malicious fight drains right out of
them. I watch while Foxman tends to the victim. Shes trembling
and a large bruise is darkening on her face. Foxman offers to call the
police, and she adamantly refuses. Then he proffers the bat. She considers
for a moment, then takes it uneasily at first. They start to recover
somewhat and one seems to think four against two guys and one battered
woman are decent odds. He lunges for Foxman who steps out of the way
easily. This renewed attack triggers something inside her and she lets
loose on them while we stand clear and watch. We have to step in before
she kills any of them. This takes some careful maneuvering; shes
swinging at anything near her. Total emotional collapse overtakes her
as we take the bat and lead her back to the car. All the would be rapists
are motionless, but theyre all breathing and have steady pulses.
Theres some blood loss and there may be concussions, but who cares.
I search them for weapons but they only have cash and some drugs. I
take both and their clothing, and deposit the crack and garments in
a storm drain.
I give the money to the girl as we drive her to the hospital. She starts
to refuse, but I tell her to use it for the hospital bill. She accepts
it and babbles at us over the entire drive. She cant seem to stop
herself and Foxman and I just let her vent. She asks all kinds of rhetorical
questions; rhetorical by virtue of not having time to be answered. Her
hands shake as she smokes the cigarettes we supply her with. She turns
down the weed, but thanks us anyway. When we walk her into the hospital
theres no one in sight. I go to the service desk where a sturdy
piece of glass separates the worker who isnt there from the sick.
I bang my fist against it until a figure appears and shoves clipboards
with forms on it at me. Our very appearance seems to be an abomination
to her. She returns to whatever she was doing before we arrived and
we help her fill out the paperwork. We wait with her until a nurse wheels
her into the bowels of the antiseptic smelling gulag of well-being and
then wave goodbye. A few blocks away we place an anonymous phone call
to the authorities from a pay phone.
Foxman describes what we do on these outings as a balance to the universe.
He quotes Goethe and Nietzsche as we follow the streetlights back to
his home. I get it all ready and I agree, but I let him wax poetic and
philosophical anyway; it does us both good. For a solipsist, Foxman
takes a rather heavy handed approach to reality. Or maybe its
because hes a solipsist, Ill never know for certain. I do
know that the day I met Foxman was the strangest day of my life, and
every day competes fiercely to top it.
© Brodie Parker July 2005
You can read Brodie's Serialised novel The
Great Beyond starting here.
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