Well, I said, pull that river barge up. Let me come up. Up, up. Out of the city, off the cement docks, the wharfs. Let me up there, and I swear, I'll help you clean this river.
River barge captains are notorious bargainers. Sure, he said, sure. But first, you need some gloves, and then grab onto this rope. Now, pull.
So I pulled. I pulled all day on that rope, and the next one, ropes all over that barge. Thick gray ropes wider than my wrists. We skimmed the river, catching stuff that fell apart from the city. It got so all I could see was the disintegration of civilization, here in my river. Our river, our river.
Hauled aboard and manifested, piled high, and then I thought about the people in the disintegrating high-rises. How they looked out their windows and saw the barge going by, piled high with garbage, and so they'd look out another window. Windows onto brick walls. Windows onto alley ways with cans and paper. Anything other than to look at the barge going by.
Seagulls chuckled and laughed at me, still pulling my ropes, lines into black water and up cracking poles, and we sailed that barge right into the dump, which was its own island.
You've got to get off now, said the captain, and he meant it. I disembarked, afraid of dry land now, afraid. He threw me a line, said to keep it. I'd earned it. I climbed to the top of a mountain of garbage and watched him float away, light as styrofoam on top of that river now. We both waved. I was afraid.
But he was right. This was home. The garbage like waves under my feet, well, well. It felt like home. I took my rope and began building my own high-rise, right here in the dump, and maybe when the river barge comes back, I'll look out another window instead.
And that is what happens when you've had a bloody nose at bloody five a.m. and then been up ever since, washing sheets and pillowcases. Not enough tea, a banana (potassi-yum), and kids climbing the fence you put up to keep them out. Sunday morning is evil, on the eighteenth of April.
There's a book fair later, Bookstock. We're going to ride up and see what I can buy.
As for the above, I should also thank the Novel Design Blog. An out-of-head experience.