[Liminal Spaces] - An Introduction. Jun 25, 2022 17:43:38 GMT Casanova English and Max f'n Daemon like this
Post by Johnny Bacchus on Jun 25, 2022 17:43:38 GMT
I’d taken a tab in the parking lot of the airport before leaving Santa Fe, just to be sure the sun shined a little brighter when we landed. I’d scored back in Vegas, but the past few destinations had afforded me the luxury of driving the 83’ through the desert and really getting a feel for how it handled. I kept the top down almost the whole drive, letting that desert wind get right down into the roots and sun beat down a bit of well needed bleaching into the leather seats. After all, what good is buying something beautiful if you’re not gonna break it in?
But that wasn’t the point; the point was that I’d taken a tab before getting on the plane. Riding dirty across multiple state lines didn’t concern me, but I didn’t feel brash enough to try my luck at the airport. The last thing I needed was some swollen TSA piglet oinking and squealing like they won the lotto because they’d caught some Californian degenerate trying to smuggle psychedelics in his wallet – and during Pride Month, no less. They may even drag me into some back room and cut my head off, letting the sockless little rent-a-cop mount it on their starter home wall beside their prize fish and a photo of their first marriage.
I passed the keys to my road agent, Chelsea, who’d met me at the airport. “Hope you packed your sunblock,” she said as I handed off my car keys, “real hot in Miami right now. And you’re getting into Hurricane Season, so get ready to get wet.” I shrugged in return. It had been a long month, and I wasn’t particularly interested in the small talk. Plus, I needed to get through security as soon as possible, less the body feeling of the come-up hit right as I was trying to remove my belt and go through the scanner.
“Did we close?” I asked, turning to pull my duffle bag from the passenger seat. Chelsea nodded affirmatively.
“When you’re back in town? Welcome home,” she paused to look over the car before her eyes wandered to me, a small little grin creeping over her face, “Wish I could go to Miami.”
“Wish you could go instead,” I replied, “the less time I can spend in a dunder pit like Florida, the better.”
“You were just in Vegas,” she scoffed, the sun in her eyes never dimming, “It can’t be that much worse.”
“Of course it can,” I countered as I looked back to the airport terminal, and I could hear my voice trailing off in my own head, “S’not many cities quite like Miami. In every sense.”
She hugged me good-bye, and I made my way through a wave of dry heat. Once inside, it was your usual monotonous drone of standing in line, presenting documents, and waiting patiently to move onto the next step. When I was able to keep a low profile and remain undisturbed, I enjoyed the airport. The airport was liminal. Everything flowed peacefully and organically in the airport. I only wish I could remember the days when one could simply go to the gates just to watch planes arrive and depart.
The come-up began shortly before boarding, and by the time the plane hit cruising altitude, I had relaxed back into the waves. It was only a tab – a touch more than my regimented microdose but certainly less necessary to achieve euphoria – but it buoyed my mood through the doldrums. I finished the crossword in the back of the airline magazine, as well as a couple sudokus, before we landed in Ft. Lauderdale.
I took a taxi down to Las Olas, where I had the most mediocre fish tacos of my life and had an overpriced pina colada. That, of course, wasn’t why I’d come here: the glittering expanse rolling just beyond the A1A was. As I sat on the patio of a seaside tourist restaurant wedged between a tattoo parlor and a designer sunglasses hut, I took a deep breath and let a long, slow exhale release the tension I’d felt in my lungs since the deal had been set. We’d done it all over the phone – I was on the road, and English didn’t like his location being pegged when it wasn’t necessary – but I remember the insidiousness of his intonations and the itching feeling that his eyes were alight with something more brilliant than malice when I gave him my word.
He’d given me a name for my courier. And oh how fucking appropriate it’d been.But that was then – this was now. And this hit wasn’t like the other night in Santa Fe when I’d been drowning in the delirium of the moment. The street could’ve been empty – maybe that would’ve even been preferable – but it would’ve still been me and Mother Ocean, even if Auntie Atlantic was filling in for the Pacific. The sky was darkening just off the coast, and the distant appearance of whitecaps reminded me all too well of my setting.
This was the start of Hurricane Season – I was merely enjoying the calm before the next storm.
My phone pinged with a text I expected. It was tense – laconic – apprehensive. I didn’t take offense, for truth be told it was a reciprocated feeling between myself and my courier. In a few short hours, we’d be spending intimate time together for the first time in quite some time – the first time since that night. And so much had changed so suddenly.
What was I to make of her? I understood her position; she had validity to her feelings of betrayal, confusion, and hurt due to my decision making. I doubt she took inventory of her own actions and decisions – the belligerence, the coyness, the casual cruelty and deliberate double-dealing. She wanted to hurt me; she succeeded.
So why was I here? What did I want?
The first raindrops began to fall when I entered the cab. At the Brightline station, I paid extra for premiere class and helped myself to the complimentary beer in the lounge while I awaited my train. I wasn’t here for her – of this, I was certain. But I knew so long as we stood in the same room, we were the elephant to be addressed. She’d taken me by the hand and led me into the back the first time I’d stepped through a CU:LT door. In fact, it was that night. I wondered if she’d lead me by the hand once more – if she’d offer and if I’d accept.
I couldn’t dwell for too long. My train arrived.
I’d heard about the Brightline, but it was even more pleasant in person. The ride was smooth and swift, the interior of the car was clean, and the selection of beverages and refreshments was generous. This was the template for proliferated public transit in the 21st Century, and if more people rode a vehicle of such comfort and efficiency, perhaps they’d be less hostile to the concept. Today was a series of liminal spaces and bodies in motion. Today, I crossed the threshold.
I knew there was that awful, heady level which came hand-in-hand with the iridescent film which coated the sky while this deep. As we glided on towards the Cadillac minarets of godless Miami, my mind went back to her – and to her – and to her. And the thought of seeing her again made me grip the arm of my seat practically whiteknuckled, and it activated that alkaline, electric feeling a good tab sends up, around, and back down your jaw. I took a deep breath and let the downpour take me as it began to batter against the windows.
This was my first time going to Miami, but I knew its reputation far too well. I could see its alabaster spires looming just over the horizon like the white sails of a murderous fleet, and it filled me with a sense of palpable fear and loathing I hadn’t felt since looking over Vegas and seeing where the glitter ended and the shadows lurked. You could feel it in the air and see it in the water – behind every ostentatious angle, there lurked something hungry and predatory in Miami. The houses we passed were replete with private boat docks to the water, the walkways passing the utterly superfluous backyard swimming pool – a neon sign in a bar read “TikTok Famous”. Nobody in this town has read a book in the past five years – every single one of them could be a violent rapist.
And now that I could take it in, I saw how Miami ate its young.
Was that why I was here? Is it because I remember when those jaws closed in on her? Is it because I remember getting the news on my phone and practically sobbing over it in a grocery store aisle? Is there some ritual bloodletting I needed to accomplish to properly purify myself for the remainder of my journey?
Or was Miami simply the mouth of Hell, and there was no other entryway to go under?
By the time the Brightline pulled into the station, the rain had ceased and the clouds dissipated as though they’d been a dream. I was entering the comedown, and my body felt rocked and heavy. Every beat from a speaker and breath from a lung seemed to crescendo before collapsing into the concrete below. As I stepped out onto the platform, I felt the humidity blanket itself down upon me – oppressive, sticky, and utterly alien in comparison to Ft. Lauderale – as I crossed to the interior of the station. On the escalator, I sent her a text.
Out front of the station, I smoked my last cigarette as I waited for her arrival. I’d tried my best to blend in through my choice of attire, but through the corner of my eye, I knew this city already had its sights set on my throat and its blade to the sharpener. I thought back to this morning, when I’d been behind the wheel of the ‘83, and I thought about how seamlessly I could’ve slipped below the radar in a bright, loud, gaudy motherfucker with a V8 engine. Only in Miami would that sort of noise and display of wealth allow you to keep a low profile. I turned my face back to my phone as I closed my eyes and took another drag from the cigarette.
I breathed her out in a cloud of smoke. And the cloud of smoke was scattered in the wind by the arrival of a V8 roar, as though God's own chariot answering the call. A final wave of Las Vegas color flooded my vision as she stepped from the driver’s side door, glowing like in all the profound ways this city only wished it could emulate. And when our eyes met behind sunglass lenses, I said a silent prayer to Saint Christopher as I swallowed my soul.
The journey was over. I’d arrived at my destination. She collapsed into me, and my blood went numb.
“I didn’t know you were coming for this,” she said softly. I accepted her for as long as I could take.
“Neither did I.”