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Well of the Damned #3
Diridon Station Thru-Bus Stop, San Jose, California: April 26-27, 2023
© 2023 James LaFond
DEC/27/23
Angry Wigger Wayne stood angry all the way down to the left in his black backpack and blue hoody, “Bitch, don’t be drivin’ better bitches off! We fo’real niggas up in hea!”
Viking Bitch: “I will cut your fucking head off you fucking homo—try me.”
Young Jemima: “That’s right, we bitches runnin’ this—go get some fаggot!”
Angry Wigger Wayne: “Look at that! Don’t ruin this…” his voice trailed off in fear and indecision as a short woman in fur coat—and nothing else—paced like an Olympic gymnast doing floor exercises to some unheard music, approached from the Great Road, and came dangerously close to the Cave of Norns.
We all gawked.
The little pixie, 5”, 3” short bobbed brown hair, wide blue eyes, a soft tan, and softly muscular bare legs and bare feet streaked with fresh dirt, mused in tiny circles under the towering Viking bitch. The reclining man gagged on his glass pipe and stared up at the little nymph in a flash of absent-minded ecstasy. Viking bitch looked down in wide-eyed fear into the lost eyes of the Nymph and recoiled as if struck. She then kicked her man in the meth pipe with her shin, scattering glass and sparks, and rolled him over into the gutter like a lesbian Lot trying to save his wife from looking back and being turned into a pillar of salt.
An unsullied 25 years, the Nymph was beautiful, seemingly wonder struck by the night as she wandered about towards each of us as if attracted by a mirage in the distance and then finding on closer approach that it was not real, wandering towards the next. In some ways her progress was like that of a stage actor doing a monologue, looking out into a darkened theater full of unseen watchers. Her voice was lush, youthful, never smoked a thing, and spoke in a highly cultivated middle class dialect:
“I fuck. I do? Yes, I fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck and fuck.”
Young Jemima looked on as if she glimpsed her death and walked off quickly for the bus shelter without a backward look.
Angry Wigger Wayne backed away and hid in the shrubs.
Viking Bitch and her man cuddled in the gutter under a blanket, shivering.
Little Dog Woman hugged her pet and pulled a spare coat over her head.
Trash Bag Woman squirmed more deeply into her corner.
The engineer in the train yard stood silently and stared, as did Yo, as if at a risen goddess.
Big Neon rolled away under his sheets and blanket, afraid to look.
Manila Trench, what convinced me that she was one of the crazies and not an anthropologist, looked on aghast and then hid behind the bus shelter where Young Jemima was lying on the bench looking into her hands.
I sat and looked only at her feet and legs, afraid to meet the gaze of those magnetic eyes. She seemed so athletic, that I feared, if I rejected her, I’d have to fight her like a man, despite her small size.
She paced, pixie like and lithe as a snake, towards Yo and I.
Yo licked his ashen lips in absent-minded thirst.
We were all, even I, by far the least cursed of the lot, hollowly alone.
I looked and noted that she wore a lush, high-end fur coat and that she was seeking eye contact with me.
She was not talking to me, but seemingly to someone she used to be, whose name she had forgotten, “All I do is fuck. I fuck, and fuck, and fuck some more. Did I ever do anything but fuck?”
She stopped, bent into a sprinter’s stretch to her right, our left, and then to her left, our right, looked away from me to the sky, and said, “It wasn’t always so. Then I drank the Orange Koolaid. Now,” she said as she stood and spun on the asphalt lot on bare tip toes like a ballerina, “all I do is fuck.”
She broke down into a low sweeping bow, looked up at a lifting plane, and smiled, then said, in dim recollection, “Yes, I danced!” and her arms rose to heaven and she smiled.
The engineer boarded the train and shut the steel door behind us.
Yo had a sad look gathering across his face, the lust seeming to fade.
I looked at her legs only as she walked in straight-legged, seeking, feeling strides, like a gymnast about to charge the pummel horse, towards the lit brick-pillared alcove to the closed gates. She was seeking the light, like a dancer on a stage did the spotlight.
I looked right and saw her there under the alcove and she declared in a rich, lush voice, full of youth and confidence, “I danced!”
In one motion her hands pulled up the bottom of the fur coat and it came off entire, with the Russian style hood, and she stood naked with the coat overhead stretched between her hands as she affected the pose that female gymnasts use to finish their dance routines, not the victory pose after the vaults, but the pose with one leg forward and bent and the other straight behind.
She was breathtakingly beautiful and I felt wrong for admiring her figure. I heard Yo smack his lips.
Then she asked the blocked out sky, “But who am I?”
She stood, her shoulders slumped, the coat balled up like a teddy bear before her belly. With her small breasts and stupendous dancer’s hips, she looked like a model for one of the 1970s Conan book covers, like she should have been a slave girl tossed over the barbarian’s mighty shoulder.
But there was no barbarian hero here to rescue her, merely we lesser, slower burning lights among the damned.
Now she looked only at the sky when she asked questions, and then looked at her expertly pacing feet as she tried unsuccessfully to answer them. Her tone and diction changed to that of a 4 to 6 year old orphan girl, the sky her warden auntie, declining to answer her many questions about who and what she had been before her debasement. This reminded me so much of listening to Little Emma muse about where her “Daddy” was when he was in prison and I was walking her around her block at 4, or when, at 6, she lost a Barbie doll and walked about the living room trying to summon her favorite toy from its lost place with questions about where she was and what she was wearing.
She mused in outward crescents of elegant feet, topped by toddler poses and innocent musings towards the great street named after the great man.
Despite her perfect form, I could feel no sense of attraction, even in the abstract, only a sadness.
I wanted to cry.
Yo, sighed sadly, unable to take his eyes off of her perfect posterior yet with guilt increasingly framing his tired, ashen face.
Then she was gone. The visitation lasted until 3:10 AM.
With the passing of that sorrow song tempest of madness, the lesser crazies emerged from their shelters and bathed their faces in the starlight.
4 AM came and I approached the first stop, near Big Neon, before Little Jemima’s napping form.
She rose and joined Yo on the wooden bench, the warmest spot, which they had granted me, as, I suppose, the least crazy of the crazies, all of us still feeling dwarfed in the wake of the Nymph.
Big Neon rose, a dark black man, with middle class university diction, and none of the ebonics of Angry Wigger Wayne.
“Good morning, Sir.”
I nodded, ‘Yes.’
“Sir, I always say it is good to beat the dawn. Look at this, sir,” he says as his neon sweat pants slip slightly and expose his clean white long johns. He holds, with some reverence, a red can of Pringles, with the Brand cartoon showing a big open mouth.
“Remember, the zombie movies from back in your day—the best horror, really—when the really terrible thing about zombies was their yawning mouth and not their nails and teeth, but their soul hunger?”
‘Yes,’ I nod.
“Sir, that’s why I postscript the dawn, bringer of the day’s sorrows, with a song. I will, for your peaceful soul, sing a song.”
The man shook loose his mass of glossy braided hair, spread his arms, held the red can to his mouth like it was a microphone and then belted out a song in a deep, though not baritone, pleasing voice. I can recall no lyrics, as I have a hard time absorbing song. The impression I got was of an upbeat plea with Dawn, who did seem to be a singular subject of the song, to intercede on behalf of we damned souls, with her terrible Daddy, the coming Day. Dawn, Daddy, Day and Happy are the only words I can remember, perhaps because they were repeated and emphasized. This was no rap, but a Motown style song.
The man then spun to a stop, a good 6’ 4” and 320 pounds of fairly athletic youth, and declared, making kind eye contact with me, “You have to start the day, Happy—only way to keep the badness at bay! Would you like this can sir?”
‘No,’ I nodded and he set down the can and attended to the packing of his things. The first buses were about to arrive. The silent pact these shadows of night seemed to keep with the civic authorities, was that they would not impede the progress of the first wave of the working herd headed for the Caltran, where the gates were being opened and Trash Bag Woman was gathering the shreds of her plastic world.
Manila Trench was walking to each camper, standing off three paces, and simply looking at them, like a silent, psychic alarm clock, until they gathered their things and pretended to be awaiting the bus or train, rejoining the illusion of the workaday world.
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Haunting.
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