Sunday, November 11, 2007

Llewelyn and Me

"An adventure, perhaps?"

"No, sir, not now." Mr. Gryphon says nothing more. I am gazing out over the dry dusty land. We are sitting on an overlook, the hot rough stones are jagged and unforgiving. Below us is the desert floor dotted with scrubby bushes. I can hear the sound of his boots on the ground. I look over my right shoulder at Moss approaching the cliff. He's wearing a straw cowboy hat, his dark hair sticks out here and there, his brown cowboy boots have taken a beating. He's also carrying a shotgun. He can't see Mr. Gryphon and me sitting nearby. Moss is looking down on a group of trucks and SUVs below us. They are parked in a rough wagon style circle. He squints his eyes and then looks at the scene through his binoculars.

I look out beyond the vehicles at the line of scrub in the distance, above is the open blue sky.

"Bad things down there, Miss Turtle."

"Hm yes. Heroin deal gone wrong," I say absently, still looking out beyond. I can't see all the dead bodies lying on the ground, but I know they're there.

"It's hot," Mr. Gryphon observes. I look at him directly. He is wearing Raybans and clutching a large transparent yellow bottle of water with a straw sticking out. Pieces of ice float in the water. Llewelyn Moss is making his way down to the trucks. I want to watch the rest of it, want to follow Llewelyn on his journey through hell, but I'm only distracting myself again.

I stand up with effort, dust myself off. "All right, Mr. Gryphon." He stands up as well and we turn to go back the way Llewelyn came in. I take the bottle of water from Mr. Gryphon and drink deeply. A door appears after about a quarter mile of walking in the beating heat. It's hanging in mid-air, fading slowly in and out, like a ghost door that got separated from its haunted house. I reach for the doorknob and give it a turn. The door goes solid and it's dark blue color comes into focus. I open the door and walk through. Mr. Gryphon follows and pulls the door shut behind us.

We are back in the newly constructed giant maze in the new wing of the living quarters of my imagination. I'm tired and a little hungry. I walk through the twisting corridors to the front entrance, climb the stairs and move towards the huge kitchen down the long hallway.

After we get there, Mr. Gryphon bustles around the kitchen after shooing the Cook away. He is making a smoothie for me (blueberries and raspberries). I am sitting at the counter, not doing anything.

"I keep thinking I need a manual, an outline for how to live, Mr. Gryphon."

He looks at me before turning on the blender. He knows better than not to say anything when I start talking like this.

"Thing is, I can't seem to find that manual. What about a code? Do you think that will help? What am I supposed to do next?" I watch Mr. Gryphon pour out the purple contents of the smoothie into a tall glass. He pours out another one for himself.

"I just don't know what to do," I say, "I mean, the stakes are much higher now. I mean, I don't have a job anymore so I have to figure something out soon, right?" He places the smoothie in front of me and slips a clean straw into it. I take a drink. It's wonderfully cold.

"If I were Llewelyn my purpose would be very clear, take the money and run from the horrific evil that's pursuing you, but I got no horrific evil pursuing me."

"We could find that evil if you want, Miss Turtle," says Mr. Gryphon carefully. I look at him over beautiful stone counter tops and shiny new gas stove.

"Seems a little counterproductive, don't you think? Shouldn't I be focusing on larger issues?" I ask.

"There is no larger issue that running to save your own life. Nothing like it to bring everything into focus," Mr. Gryphon sits next to me and takes a sip from his smoothie.

"Maybe that's what I need more focus, less mission statement, less broad overview. More specificity," the tiles on the back spash above the sink are a repeat of the beautiful stone countertop but also have hand painted tiles here and there to add color.

"More specificity," I mutter. Mr. Gryphon says nothing more. I am tired from talking about it. I am tired from wondering about it. I'm just plain tired. I feel like my brain is on overload. I feel like my brain is exerting too much effort even for the simplest of decisions. I even have difficulty trying to decide what to eat for dinner nowadays. I need quiet and rest.

Maybe I should go back and start following Llewelyn around until I get my bearings again.

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