The International Writers Magazine
: Dreamcapes Fiction

The Adventures of Foxman and Brodie
Brodie Parker

The day I met Foxman was the strangest day of my life. I didn’t 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 you’re out of the loop. You go out of synch with the world. Everyone else is moving like they should, but you can’t seem to catch up. That’s 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. That’s why we were behind his house this evening. I have to mellow him out. He probably turned on his television again. Foxman doesn’t react to popular culture with a great deal of grace like the rest of us. What we passively tolerate, terrifies and infuriates him. There’s 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 aren’t 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 didn’t 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 it’s 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 can’t 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. We’re out on the fringe where the bravest or most foolhardy of them dare not go. They don’t even stop by to warn us that we’re going to hell or to show us their path to salvation. That’s just as well. You can only hear it so many times before it loses all meaning. We can’t 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 it’s 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 Foxman’s 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 it’s 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 doesn’t seem to notice. I’ve only been dealing with it since I met him, and I think I’m becoming desensitized. It doesn’t 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. There’s 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 another’s 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. There’s a waitress behind the counter and a cook’s 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 it’s ready. We try to eat slowly and at some point we realize that we’re 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 same thing:

I put all the change in and make my way back to the counter. Foxman doesn’t 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 aren’t too late. Their backs are to us as we pause for a moment.
"You take the knees, I’ll 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. She’s 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; she’s 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 they’re all breathing and have steady pulses. There’s 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 can’t 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 there’s no one in sight. I go to the service desk where a sturdy piece of glass separates the worker who isn’t 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 it’s because he’s a solipsist, I’ll 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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