Naufrage by Ray Ogar

>>> COPYRIGHT 2001

i point the cell phone microphone in the direction of
the ocean.
i even try to enhance the sounds of the water
lapping so boringly with whisper and
calls from my lips.
i turn the phone back to my face, “come pick
me up,” i then turn the phone away again—
this time because i do not wish to hear the
thick verbal dose of mom’s string of
street talk and cursing. i simply
flip closed the phone and know somewhere
inside myself that she’ll make her way here
to pick me up.
if not today then maybe in a few days.
i look back to the house boat wreckage
that piles across the beach.
that and maybe
twenty million dollars blowing over the
some bills are shredded.
others are glassy and neatly merged with
several dense pockets of superheated sand
where pieces of the wreckage are still
actually it all smells like seaweed,
rot and dirty newspapers.
a few kids move in from the surf to the beach
where i’m sitting. two girls and a boy.
one of the girls, dressed in a gaudy
reproduction of 1920s bathing gear moves over to
the wreckage while her friends wave at her
from the water. the girl starts to fondle
some of the dollar bills. at one point i
squint because i think i see her
suckling on one wad of money. she seems
to teeter for a moment. and i understand
she’s trying to cull the remains of
any cocaine from the bills.
i shake my head and nearly doze in the
rust and light.
all the cars seem
to be retuning their engines as they drive by.
in this case they aren’t passing so much as
approaching me then disappearing
from existence right before entering my back.
so i think.
i snap to the cell phone ringing.
“i lost you on satellite,” the phone voice returns.
“what...? oh,” i start to laugh because
the little coke sniffing girl waves her friends over and
they too suckle different wads of money.
some rambling goes on over the phone.
“... and that was two days ago, she had maybe
one or two translucents and believe me you’ve
missed... hey! magsman! are you listening?!”
i shake from watching the kids and try to
listen to screever talk about some girl with
newly translucent breasts and hands, “please
tell me those are the only parts that are see thru...”
i don’t want an answer from him, i’ll just
suspend my disbelief for a moment and wonder
why every time a new medical technique
comes into practice it gets picked up
by either the porn industry or
generation next (in this case harvesting
certain gelatinous proteins from deep
ocean fish and injecting said protein into
human flesh—this causes temporary
translucency in all local membranes...
i just let screever talk on while i watch the
sun corrode the horizon. the kids have moved
off to a mom or pimp of some kind who yells
at them while she pulls a grocery cart from the
sand. the whole family unit digs in to clean the
skeletal remains of the buggy.
the pimp/mom hits one of the boys.
i wince out of some remote vestige of
“screever... why don’t you come pick me up?”
“no way, i don’t have a way of getting to you—being that you’re
out in the middle of fucking nowhere...”
“you do now, the house wrecked and i’m
stranded on the beach waiting for mom
to pick me up... of course there is almost
no light...”
screever laughs in some machined wheeze,
“you’re actually on land?”
“yes, i’m on land and sitting down, i’m not used
to a stationary surface under me—it’s been
nearly three years...”
“what could have brought you back...”
“the house was bombed and i just floated
in on the debris...” i look to the
one clear plastic bag full of clothes i
scavenged from the water and glance
to a shirt i have drying on a rock behind
me. i had to beat the thing with a rock
to try and get some of the salt out.
i’m too woozy from stationary land to
walk anywhere yet. but of course the shirt
will probably have bioluminescent
residue if i don’t peel it off the rock soon.
“so are you coming?”
screever frowns i’m sure, “i have a party
to go to, i’ll swing by around 4 or 5 am.”
“great,” and i hang up.
the sun finally collapses away behind the
earth’s curvature and i continue to wait.
i try not to think of mom and her
odd obsessions and the possibility of
actually having to talk to her for more
than 10 minutes, in the car no less.
that and forget the money—since it has
busted from its plastic pouching it’s
already started depreciating in value
(as the bills’ polycotton fibers are
exposed to oxygen the bills slowly depreciate
from 100% value to their ever low 25%
value—this forces users to spend it,
not horde it. whatever, version 2.0)
i just want to know how i’m going to get to
the 3 years worth of surveillance data
i dumped from the houseboat before it
was bombed.
i sigh.
it’s only 115am.
i need screever so i can get a smoke.
and fuck if i can only get text web access on my cell phone.
the bones in my legs shift like
tectonic plates... i try to stand.
a lame breeze catches around me
as i peel off my shirt and trade it
for the one i had drying on the rock.
i pick up a bundle or two of bills.
pocket my cell.
i try to walk and my legs slowly erect
assurance against the ground as i
make my way into the city.