Check out Desert Son by Glenn Maynard
Warm weather streaked through Boston for a cameo on this late
March afternoon. Mid-70’s usually did not emerge from
hibernation until April, but none of that mattered much for Carter
Spence. No temperature could affect him now. Temperature
usually made all the difference in the world to Carter, but now
springtime’s rebirth seamlessly transpired.
Carter’s mood elevated, but temperature played no role. For a
split-second, he thought perhaps his mood had a calming effect on
his body, but only because his 175 pounds felt fluffy, like he’d been
influenced by helium. Just to contradict this sensation, he
remained still. He felt silly even testing. This feeling had only
captivated him while running around the bases at the baseball
fields near his home, or even when he was a tad tipsy at the bar,
but this still overpowered those other times.
Carter questioned reality. As a recent college graduate, he’d
dabbled in binge drinking, even though not nearly as frequent as
his “crowd” did. In fact, every so often, Carter would be the one
strong enough to volunteer himself as designated driver. Carter
was able to glance beyond the average college student in an
attempt to supersede peer pressure, and assume responsibility for
his actions. He always was the responsible type.
As Carter found himself suspended in a position enabling him
to oversee earth, he knew this transcended a typical mood swing.
He unquestioningly went along with whatever life threw at him,
even in this extreme case, surprising even himself.
Surveying the earth below, feeling not an ounce of care in the
world, Carter continued wafting like a loose sheet of paper in the
wind, drifting inch by inch, contentedly, as he began keying in on
an object. He seemed more preoccupied with this new attraction
than with his sudden participation with the solar system. It would
have been cataclysmic had both his feet mixed with the earth’s
dirt, but that wasn’t the case.
As much a presence that this altered state should have been,
Carter began battling a continual attraction to the object. This
diversion was enough to cloud the reality and incomprehensibility
of the situation. He finally stopped moving, involuntarily; no
further elevation. He awaited the presence of normalcy, but this
delay only lengthened his journey.
He sensed that he had no encasing. He felt that he was just a
feeling, or that his existence was just a thought. He couldn’t see his
body, but never really cared to check, either. He just had a gut
feeling that his thoughts were in a mind of their own. He felt like a
breadless sandwich. However, he did not care one way or another.
Carter astonished himself when his focus zoomed in like
human binoculars. This felt so empowering, so controlling, so
consuming, and he felt that the sky was the limit. For a 26-year-old
guy who had felt so powerless in the city of Boston, this certainly
boosted his confidence, but he only wished he could have this
focus and earth simultaneously.
He began reflecting on the bullying that he’d received as a
child on his school playgrounds. He wished he could find those
punks now, even though he since had learned to defend himself
fairly well. Nobody much messed with Carter once he hit the 10th
grade and began pumping weights vigorously. Nobody was going
to offend him, and in the city it was sink or swim. He had taken it
upon himself to get in a position where he could defend himself.
He looked at it as survival of the fittest.
He did not get revenge by beating the hell out of those bullies
who had previously roughed him up. No, that was not Carter’s
style. Rather, his presence became his revenge. And with this new
image came a certain macho sex appeal that ushered in his debut
in dating. He discovered that the two scenarios were intertwined,
and that did not pose a problem for Carter Spence.
Carter did love women, but he could not be in love with them.
He believed that he had just never found the right girl, but deep
down wondered if he even had the ability to love. This disturbed
him greatly, making him, for the most part, uncomfortable around
women. He had convinced himself that he was just very picky
when it came to women.
During his peak conditioning, the one-time bullies would look
up at Carter in the high school hallways, acknowledge his presence
with a nod, and then humbly mumble, “What’s up, Carter?”
Although Carter considered this sufficient sweet revenge, the
thought of toying with these bullies from above did tickle his
Carter eventually determined that the object on the ground
resembled a body, but it wasn’t moving. Then his focus zoomed in
some more, and quickly the body took on an eerie familiarity to
him. The scene below grew chaotic. Cars jerked to the highway
side. Doors swung open, remaining that way while people flocked
to this object, which was a body lying face down in an
embankment. Carter watched this scene unfold before him as if he
was watching a movie on television.
The first man to arrive shouted in panic to an unresponsive
body. He carefully turned the body on its back, eased down by the
second and third man to arrive. Carter continued to zoom in on
the victim because he felt as if he knew this man. He recognized
the strong face attached to the muscular frame. He recognized the
worn denim jeans with the oddly-shaped tear just above the knee,
and even the tan polo shirt, which by now had absorbed blood. The
shoes that had detached from the man’s feet were familiar, as were
the blue Gold Toe socks on his feet. His eyes moved back up the
body to the face, and saw that it was his body.
Carter felt indifferent while observing his poor, lifeless body. I
look so pale, he thought, aside from the streaking blood on his
face. Carter couldn’t believe it was really him. He would have been
hard pressed to select that body out of a lineup if asked to identify
him. However, he barely was able to recognize his own facial
features below. Just how observant and aware of his own self was
he, Carter pondered. It seemed interesting to Carter, more than
anything else, to see himself from another vantage point, yet treat
the situation so matter-of-factly.
Between the lanky frame and the short, light brown hair, he
thought that it had to be him. But why, he wondered, confident
that there would be no dream to awake from, or no Allen Funt to
emerge out of nowhere to tell him about a camera. Besides, if this
was a dream, he wouldn’t be wondering if it was a dream. He didn’t
think he’d be wondering if it was a dream, but what he wouldn’t
give to test this theory of his.
Carter zoomed to within about a telephone pole’s length away,
even though he felt like a satellite in space. He noticed the traffic
really starting to jam. Cars could no longer pass by. One woman
screamed hysterically after discovering an upended automobile
streaming fuel onto the ground. She placed both hands on her
head and let out a series of chilling wails. Carter watched
Some good Samaritans flocked to the car to help, while others
ran from the danger. Most drivers rubbernecked their way past.
Carter shifted his attention to directly above the car, where a solid
oak shook off contact. A penetrating scar splintered the tree,
which was evidence of a speedy impact. Carter faced all four
wheels, witnessing the last tire as it finally slowed to a stop. This
all happened so suddenly that this new scene before him appeared
almost before the previous scene had ended. A dirty, scraped arm
flopped outside of the car, limply touching the ground, and a thin
tornado of smoke rose through Carter.
Carter could see that tire marks had blackened the highway,
and then dirt marks continued off the side of the road to where the
car rested. He did remember getting into his parents car, but he
could barely make a positive identification of that car. It had rolled
and wrapped itself around the tree at the roof. The smell of
gasoline enveloped the air and the potential danger was
incalculable. However, good people still stopped.
Gas dripped at a steady rate from the gas tank vicinity. Streams
of smoke billowed from under the hood. Carter hoped the smoke
and the drips didn’t merge, but when there’s smoke, there’s fire,
and within minutes the car flickered flames. Carter felt helpless to
try to save those inside. He wondered if it even mattered as he saw
that the car’s front bumper meshed with the dashboard and the
roof the car rested on met up with the bottom of the windows,
which were smashed all around.
He knew those inside hadn’t a chance, and then Carter
positively identified the car as his parent’s car, so it was his
parents who were trapped inside. My God, Carter thought. This
isn’t happening. They could die. This thought flashed through him,
but he was emotionless.
Emergency vehicles nudged a path to the wreckage, and a few
heartless people took advantage of this path to better their
positioning. This was the city life, and nothing was going to spoil
the day of some people. Cars edged closer to neighboring cars on
the left, while cars in the far right lane eased off the road, some
entirely. Sirens blared, while red and blue lights flashed through
the light of day. Carter took notice of numerous police cars,
ambulances and fire trucks.
Carter knew his parents had expired, but what about his body?
Where was he now? Was he dead? Paramedics swarmed his
physical body below, and he wondered if he would ever be
reunited with it. He wanted badly to be able to help himself, but he
could only watch, unsure if it was his unwillingness or inability to
intervene. He felt like an actor watching his own movie, but he
certainly possessed more peacefulness above than what was being
transmitted at the chaotic scene below.
Firefighters in yellow coats squelched the flames with foam,
but the people who had jumped from their cars to throw mud at
the flames controlled the spreading. These people will be the ones
dubbed heroes, but will refuse the tag on the local newscast. Carter
could envision this before it even happened. He wasn’t being
disrespectful to those trying to help his parents, but he felt his
folks stood no chance by the looks of things. Maybe the car
wouldn’t burn to a crisp, but if they did survive the impact, any
fire would be enough to finish the job.
Carter believed his ejection from the car came prior to impact
because of his distance from the vehicle, and then it occurred to
him how he had gotten into the situation he found himself in. His
thoughts moved away from the chaos momentarily, zooming out
of that scene and into another.
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