Tucker Cummings

Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Chapter 21: Like Bones

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2011 at 5:36 am

I can’t drag myself out of bed today.

It’s perfectly warm under the covers. My skin is stretched and heavy. I can still feel my eyelids throbbing and my knee still doesn’t feel right.

Too little sleep, my brain is a delicate heap. But I know I should go, I should hurry. There’s so much left to see in what little time I think I have remaining.

Maybe, just maybe, today I can find something to help me, someone who knows what the hell is wrong with me.

I roll over and unplug the clock. Then I shut my eyes.

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Chapter 20: Back in Bed

In Uncategorized on January 20, 2011 at 5:26 am

I’m sick in bed again, feeling uncommonly maudlin. My mind keeps turning to family long lost.

They said my Grandma was full of arthritis. I never understood that phrasing, like the pain was a tangible thing.

As a child, I imagined them cutting the pain out of her, wondering if they opened her just so, would all the pain just run out of her? I thought it would be like cutting open a burlap sack, the contents falling in tiny clatters.

And then what to do with the pain, now that it was out? Would someone come haul it away?

Chapter 19: DMZ

In Uncategorized on January 19, 2011 at 2:19 am

It’s a suburb. Jesus Christ. I’ve never seen gunfire in real life, and I’ve never seen gunfire like this outside an action movie.

Something happens. A percussion wave, a colorless gas? I hit the ground, dreaming frantically.

Her voice was like hot steel hammering against my skin, and my will was no longer my own. I would raise anarchy, foment revolution, kill and maim. All this and more. I would give up my pulse, hissing like a viper, for just one more minute alone with her.

I asked: “What do you want?”

She answered: “Insurrection,” and shot me.

I wake up.

Chapter 18: Whirring

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2011 at 1:46 am

There’s a sound like insects coming from behind me, but when I whirl around, it’s just two kids riding bikes. They have baseball cards stuck in the spokes of each wheel, and they zip past me. Neither boy is using the handlebars.

Was I ever that young?

Time passes at the same rate as always, but I feel ancient. It’s not natural, a body isn’t supposed to be exposed to this. I never stopped to wonder if there would be radiation, or undue stress, or something else. Like an idiot, I jumped in head first.

Will it be months, or years?

Chapter 17: Cigarettes and Broken Eggshells

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2011 at 6:13 am

I’m lying in bed, aching for a cigarette though I haven’t smoked in years. Even when I did smoke, I’m pretty sure I did it wrong. I rarely let it hit my lungs; I smoked cigarettes like they were fine Cuban cigars, just savoring the mouthfeel of the smoke.

The path from my cot to the kitchen is littered with eggs I threw in a fit of rage last night, their sticky albumen weeping over aging linoleum. I dance around the slicks of the eggs, opening a cabinet.

Thank god. A pack of Djarums bought in last night’s drunkenness. Carpe diem.

Chapter 16: Ambition

In Uncategorized on January 16, 2011 at 6:25 am

The question is: “Am I ambitious?”

I could say that no one has ever done this before. And I’d be partially right. No person other than Margery Jones has done this…but there have to be dozens of me, maybe even hundreds just like me who are also on the move.

I did this because I could not see that I had any other choice. The possibility was there, it was impossible to resist, so I started off.

What is the difference between ambition and destiny? And why does even asking that question, relevant though it may be, make me feel corrupt?

Chapter 15: Meager Hearts

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2011 at 6:49 am

So here, I see, we made the same foolish choice.

I’m watching like a burglar from just outside their living room window, and she’s clutching his dead body. His left shoulder is burgundy, not from blood, but from tears darkening the red fabric. Our hearts break simultaneously, mine for the second time.

We must have made different decisions somewhere along the way, but right now I cannot stay, and I cannot say how we differed.

There has to be a way to save him. Right?

I will find him. Even if it takes me the rest of my natural life.

Chapter 14: “Tell me a story to kick at the dark…”

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2011 at 6:36 am

I didn’t bring much. My bugout bag has vitamins, MREs, cash. Just the basics to subsist in worlds where I can’t earn a paycheck. I abandoned a fortune to become a vagabond, and sometimes I think I’ve made a terrible mistake.

It’s never been this hard. There’s been too much death lately.

I want to go home, but I’m sure that will pass. I’m holed up, waiting for something to happen. A sign, something saintly to show me I made the right choice. I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t this.

I miss you. I’ll find you soon.

(Title taken from “Waiting For” by Olga Nunes, and written under the influence of same.)

Chapter 13: Haggard

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2011 at 1:57 am

I caught a glimpse of myself in a puddle this afternoon. It was in a parking lot, and the surface of the puddle was swirled with some oily residue that danced in the sunlight. I look like hell, and I wish I could blame it on how dirty the water was.

I never knew that people actually looked “waxy” or “drawn” when they were sick, but I really look like some reject from Madame Tussaud’s.

I’ve been going non-stop. Pretty much anyway. I think I just need to pause here a while. No agenda. Put my curiosity on ice and rest.

Chapter 12: Le Mot Juste

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 1:58 am

I called what I do a “trip” once. That wasn’t quite right. I still really don’t know what to call it.

“Adventure” makes it seem like I set out to engage an enemy or get into trouble.

“Investigation” is more accurate, but also more clinical. And it wasn’t just one mystery I wanted to unravel, but hundreds.

“Journey” implies that all this has a predetermined ending point, which it doesn’t. I don’t know how I’ll know when I’ve reached the end of all this. I think I won’t know until it hits me.

“Mistake”? Possibly.

For now, maybe “experiment” is best.