Well here it is, unedited (at least not edited by anyone but myself) and, for the most part, unread by anyone but you and me. It’s quite different than Ticket to Ride but I hope you will enjoy it just the same. Brace yourselves. This piece will, at times, be angry and dysfunctional, raw but redemptive, and, hopefully, beautiful and inspirational. Enjoy.
Here We Are Now
A Novel of the Grunge Generation
by philip scott wikel
Here we are now, entertain us. – Kurt Cobain, 1990
Dylan walked into Walmart thinking “I need to hook up with some white trash slut and get laid.”
This thought troubled him.
When did I become so shallow, he thought?
His answer was that he believed he’d been cursed by his ex-girlfriend Heather. He also believed, he’d become acutely aware of the way in which the women he seemed to attract functioned. He was wise enough to know it wasn’t all women. Heather had been a good liar and quite adept at acting and it had taken only a few weeks to figure it out. The old wives tale goes something like, “you have to convince a man to do what you want without letting him know that you’re doing it. Make him think that what you want is what he wants.”
Dylan wasn’t having it.
He’d seen behind the curtain… ignored passive-aggressive behavior… watched her try to associate herself with things he liked, trying to create triangular desire. Triangles were best left to geometry, he thought. The subliminal was useless with someone who perceived everything head-on.
He was wise for his age and at twenty one he understood how people could be under-handed. And he preferred when people were up front with him. So many men are snared by sadly deluded women, he thought, and he wanted something more. He believed he was more than a stomach, a crotch, or a “good-looking young man.” Heather didn’t really give a damn about him, she just wanted the security she thought he could offer. He wanted more, and less, at the same time.
by Dylan August Blake
there is no mystery
to the lady dancing
veiled and waving the feathered boa
surrounded in smoke
reflected in mirrors
she needs only a bubble machine
to complete the mirage
cold cream removed
and tongue tied
she either is
or she isn’t
and though she may move
“in mysterious ways”
the keen eye
sees more deeply
As he walked around Walmart looking for an inner tube for his bike, he thought he was, alternatively, thankful to her in that he could now see a common thread between her and women like her. The less attention paid her, the more she craved it. She seemed to interpret his avoidance of her as as some twisted invitation to get in his face. And further, he believed that she believed his avoidance of her was just his playing coy. She’d left a million of her little “signs, ” like Amelie in the film by the same name. But Dylan had become something of a detective and could see through bullshit. He wouldn’t be coaxed by women who hid behind “signs.” Freakin’ wacked-out carrot-danglers, he thought.
He wasn’t consciously looking for a girlfriend anymore but part of him hoped that there was someone different than all this. With his high school sweetheart Katie away at college and with little in the way of a promise for their future, he had in his mind a vision of a wide-eyed young woman with a face full of love. One who’d not learned the ways of so many other women, one who could be an equal. Many women who fail at making you love them will attempt to cultivate hatred and scorn you spitefully. There’s “a thin line between love and hate” but this was a line Dylan chose not to walk on. Truth he thought, pure, unadulterated, un-convoluted truth. Do you hear me goddess, he thought, no, I didn’t think so. But then men like his hero Howard Roark from the Fountainhead were very rare. No one understood them. So many men he’d seen in relationships seemed weak and lacking in manhood. One should never need a woman, he thought, it should only be that we want them.
It was only when the head games ceased, that he would be willing to come forth.
The one in his vision would have the innocence of a child and, at the same time, a foundation in the love of truth. She would be pretty, and made beautiful by the warmth of her spirit. He had an artist’s sense of balance and proper composition and, in his mind, he saw big, brown, or maybe, blue eyes, olive skin, and thick, light brown hair that bounced as she walked. Her body would be well-made, not too thin, and something like the Nike of Samothrace combined with the earthiness of a wood sprite. She’d be his height or shorter and have the quiet and dignified, disposition of royalty. She’d be intelligent and funny and he hoped that when he saw her he would know and he also hoped that she would know at the same time.
Despite these warming thoughts, at this moment Dylan looked much older than he was. Many said he took after his father, others, his mother. He was average in height, had short, light brown hair and his father’s blue eyes. He was of Swiss, Irish, English and Russian extraction which manifested in Dylan the appearance of a modern day Odysseus, strong and assured, yet troubled and distant.
All experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untraveled world whose margins fade
forever and forever when I move.*
For Dylan the arch was his heart.
* from Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson