Ketch a wha? Catch a chicken! KETCHIKAN! It’s a wonderful place. Idle down the old fishing city, built above the sea, and there’s sights to be seen on every corner… mostly touristy, but still an amusing stroll. The real gems lie in the locals and the seasonal transients outside the boundaries of the “city.” Here, tucked in far corners of the northern and southern regions of the single highway in Ketchikan, perched on looming hills and peering from cedars, the locals nest.They nest like stubborn, well fed, well established termites in an aging, neglected house. And as they gnaw for their amusement and survival, inevitably, a few things go a little haywite.
And so I’ve been told…
Rob, Markus, and a girl, for all intensive purposes we’ll call her Lindsay, as that’s what I’ve been told, lounged in an obtuse yurt under the cover of hemlock. Now, Lindsay was a good girl and wasn’t one for illegal shenanigans (I can tell you this, personally). She held it high in her honor to obey the laws – mostly – because she deemed it hypocritical to defy the laws if one day she wanted to enforce the laws. But on this night she thought:
Why not? (The phrase would become a motto for many, many more things that all ended in sad decay… why not is a horrible philosophy. Seriously, it’s no better than asking “what’s the worst that could happen” and as soon as you ask that, the very moment you ask that, the worst is going to happen… it’s like “hold my beer and watch this” or “I’m a large busted slutty blonde woman in a low budget horror movie, I better check this dark room… alone.” Why not is the incantation of all terrible and foul lazy demons looking to wreck happiness because why not implies that you have let go of the reins and left the outcome to indecision and fate… and I will never, ever, never ever ever let go of the reins again… rather, Lindsay won’t… my b.)
And so they passed around some “tobacco.” (Lindsay would appreciate the subleties here), and as time passed Rob and Markus chattered and bantered but poor Lindsay was lost in her own realm. And I’ve been told that her thoughts were absolutely maddening.
Every fiber in her being was convinced that she was not real. The entire world had hit a standstill and suddenly slowed to a level where the repititions of a fly’s wings could be counted in clarity and external sounds vibrated in union with the groans of the earth deep below… and all of this was irrelevant to her personal existential crisis.
For a moment she was sure that she had died, and that suddenly she was nothing more that a spirit haunting a room of former significance, and before her stood… her murderers? Her friends? Who the fuck were these people? “BUT OH MY GOD… if I’m a ghost I can strip naked and snail trail these fuckers and they’ll never know. (Because… important ghostly duties and all, you know). Oh the ghostly wonder! No… no I can’t do that. Because…
What if I’m not dead?” Thus began the beginning of the end.
“I’m clearly not alive, but I’m not dead either. What does that make me? Am I real?”
Suddenly, all the joys and dancing naked and running free faded to the impending question: Am I real? There was a brief burst of inane laughter, enough for Rob and Markus to notice, but they brushed it off as Lindsay slipped into the rabbit hole.
“But I am real. I must be. I imagine that a misinformed lie, upon thinking of itself, would fade out of existence the moment it realized its false identity. But I’m still here, so in some way… I am real. But what if I am merely a thought? What if I’m a thought in a higher creature? What if gorillas dream? What if I am a thought in a gorilla’s mind (after coming to terms with her blunder, Lindsay would eventually be immensely proud of her recollection of the horror she experienced)? But I don’t want to be a thought… just a thought… that means all the things I’ve fealt are not my own but merely at the mercy of… a gorilla? I am real! I am more than a thought! I am my own thoughts!!!”
She stared silently at her hands for the remainder of this twenty minute spell.
“Guys,” she nervously interrupted her comrades, “am I alive?”
Markus immediately fell to fits of laughter, and Rob stifled it to answer the question, fear obviously strewn across her face. “You mean, for the past twenty minutes you’ve sat there in torment wondering if you’re even alive? That’s terrible. Yes, you are alive.”
Thus began the slowest collapse in the history of falling over. I’ve been told that she leaned so slowly it was nervewracking. Her slow vertical descent was as thrilling as glaciers creeping through years with an added touch of a drop of amber to seal the fate of prehistoric insects, slowly engulfing it’s victim in sticky, thought provoking dismay. Hydrolics had hooked her limbs and lowered her with such ease and precision that it was almost impressive. And at the completion her floating dismount, she lay still and silent, before sitting upright and repeating once more. She was melting.
“Well then… if I’m alive I want to explore. Maybe I’ll just sneak out of the room…”
With the grace of a palsy patient, she proceeded to stagger from the room. For all her efforts in sneaking, she circumnavigated every object, tripped over everything, and wasted several more minutes, but in her mind… she was a master of disguise, the kind to make 007 quiver in envy. She was a tiger, a sleek, lean, and skilled huntress!
THE OUTSIDE!!! She slammed the door and stood on the porch to absorb the smell of wild, and feel the blanket of darkness on her skin. To any person outside her vision, the yurt was set up with a small, abrupt porch. And where it ended it curled around a gravel path against the zipline course. But inside her vision, there was no sudden end to the porch.
And when she fell the two feet off the porch it was a complete shift in existence. Any sober creature would have loathed the pain, but to her, the fall was evolution in action. The tiger goddess had flown free to join the gorillas in their masterful thoughts of creation and being, sipping fine wines and wearing Kashmir suits. In this moment, she felt the soil and life and the pulse of the earth, and she was inclined to feed the urge to understand what she felt. She crawled back up the porch and lept… lept wildly into the woods before her!
Lindsay ran with what she felt was grace and prowess, but in reality, it was maybe two steps and a tumbling collapse into a hole, head first. She buried her head into the dirt and stuck her legs to the air. At last, she could photosynthesize. And she laughed wholeheartedly to be a tree.
Yes, you read that right. She planted herself in the dirt because she thought she was a tree and then laughed her ass off. She was tripping balls to say the least, and not a damn thing outside her realm could bring order or reason to her eyes. She simply had to do and had to experience these things before her as she did.
The time had come to evolve further, and Lindsay heaved herself upwards, flailing in the hole she had found, but to no avail. She struggled for some time without luck until she remembered the unevolved creatures in the yurt she fled. Laughing, she whispered, “help,” and burst into uncontrollable laughter.
“Help.” She asked again.
Amazingly, Rob had heard her and came to her rescue. He would later say that he felt it a serious situation as Lindsay “was not the girl to ask for help.” When he found her crumpled over and half buried, he assumed she had broken her neck, and he fretted over how to move her contorted body. But as he gently lifted, his embrace offered Lindsay the leverage she needed to fully free herself, and she looked up at him, enamoured. She wanted to tell him how great it was to be a tree, but there was too much to do at that moment, and perhaps he had not reached that point in his existence where becoming a tree had any spiritual significance or teachings for him. Best keep that much quiet, for now.
And so he led her to her own yurt, where she skipped up the steps, head spinning and overwhelmed. The crisis she created had gone on long enough, and she simply wanted some normalty as she waited for slumber.
But as she reached for the curved bronze handle to her canvas yurt: there it was. In a spectacular display, everything whined to a screeching hault and her hand hovered in suspension above the knob. Every sound, save for one, had devolved into the pressurized sounds of deep water, but against it there was the hum of a bee’s wings. She cocked her head slowly, as if rigor mortis had set in, to examine the humming.
The bee investigated the vague blossoms of a scraggly huckleberry bush. But when Lindsay peered over to see it, it saw her, and it changed its position to acknowledge her for a fleeting moment. As it flew over her head, the colors of the huckleberry plant burst into red and the bee morphed into an eagle, then back to a bee, then to an eagle, and then into a bee-gle and off into oblivion.
Lindsay lay in her bed, white-eyed and mystified, chanting, “beeeeeee-guuuulll.” There was certainly some lesson, some compelling moral behind the encounter, but the bee-gle would not divulge its secrets, and wary sleep took her with no answers to her vision quest… only a holarious story to share later.