He watches the docks.
He breathes. He turns off the engine.
Take solace in the real. He glides his hand over the leather, over the glass. Real.
His dark mind filled with the faces of those who judge him, those he hurt. Imaginary.
Take solace in the real.
It's not that the crows live in their own world, so to speak, that bothers him.
They have their own conversations out there, sure.
They don't include him.
They fly up and land again, in the order that they land there is a posturing. The man watches. One crow asserts himself and then another. Friendships are formed, vengeances are exacted. Grieving hearts are eased. Their own little world.
It's not that they don't include him that bothers him, it's that they don't listen.
He opens the glove compartment. The gun just lays there.
He lights his cigarette, he smokes in the presence of the gun.
Memories of his childhood, what guns were to him as a child. Frivolous.
He looks at the gun now, he places his hand on it. It steals the heat from his hand. Real. Very real.
He places it on his lap.
What will make them listen, he laughs.
Dance my fingers into her crotch.
He looks at himself in the mirror. He holds a tumbler of scotch, not the flask.
He steers with his knee to light a cigarette. He takes the corners in a way that makes you think he is on the edge of crashing. He is drunk and on the edge. You would like to think he is in control. That in his stupor he is secretly in control.
Veer off the cliff.
He considers it for a second. He closes his eyes, takes a drag. He laughs.
His wife laying there half asleep. He dances his fingers on her thigh, he walks them up her silky. She opens an eye at him. What the hell? No. She covers up.
How did it get to this point, that she rejects him.
He gets under the sheet. Her warmth. He reaches over for her hand. Look at how tenderly I hold you. So tenderly. He takes her hand again, softer, he squeezes it very slowly. He closes his eyes and breathes her in. True intimacy.
She puts her hand under the pillow.
The feeling in his stomach.
The events that lead to her insolence. Her innocence when he met her. Her disappointments, her thorough disillusionment with him. With men. She is grown up now. She is grown up and power hungry, now. It was the kid. The kid listens to her and not to him. His little kid arrogance, his damn toys. An array of toys of varying types and sizes. His command over the toys, his greed.
The look on the faces of the family in the oncoming car that interrupts his daydreaming and, unable to retake the road after swerving out of his way, goes down the side of the cliff.
Right in front of his eyes. Right then and there.
He smokes the cigarette.
There is a certainty now.
There is a certainty that he will drive to find a phone. That his hands will shake on the steering wheel. That this time of driving around will be torture. When he arrives at the store he will take a second before coming out. He will vomit three steps out of the car.
There was a second when he thought the car would not go over. When the right front and rear wheels
He is in the parking lot now. The cashier girl has no idea what just happened. She sits there in the window, bored. He submits to the certainty. He breathes in the certainty of things. He opens the door. He counts his steps.
Three. He releases the vomit.
Okay, he says. He walks. He sees the phone. The girl just stares at him. The dumb look on her face. She hands him the phone. She doesn't know but she knows.
No dancing his fingers into her crotch. No judging the kid. No kid.
You know they are dead?
They are dead.
How do you know?
They are all dead.
How many people were in the car.
Four, maybe five.
Four or five. Oh my God.
My God. My God.
He sits in his car. He waits.
The fantasy of the family man. He knows men who are like that, men who are about their family. Kids who play baseball. Discipline. Trips. It all stemmed from some fantasy those men had of themselves before they had a family. Some people had thought of him that way.
The sunset in the mirror there. He adjusted it so he could see it better. Be honest, John, he said. Those were never your fantasies, anyway. They were other people's.
He spent the night in a hotel instead of heading home from the police station.
Something great about hotel rooms. You reach into your pocket and put money on the table and pick a room. That's perfect. Hotels are a perfect thing. They'll never go away. No wonder some people live in them. The way the light makes a hotel room look in the morning. It's like no other feeling.
He stopped a block away from his house. The street never felt right.
She stood there and waited for him to look at her. The premise was that the look on his wife's face was important to him. What she's thinking. There was a time when he did come home and anticipated what she would be thinking. Idiot, he said. I should have never met you. That's what should have happened. He turned to her. She was looking at the gun on the bed. There's no fucking food, is there, he said. He turned back to the window. Never anything to fucking eat in this house. She walked down the hall and down the stares.
There is a certainty now.
He drives. Slowly. His hands shake in the certainty of things.
The rubber crawls on the road, pulls the road under him.
The sound of pebbles and sand.
He will find a phone. In the parking lot he will pause to appreciate the certainty of things. Three steps out of the car, he will vomit. He cleans his shoes with his hanky.
The girl at the counter watches him.
The girl real. Her pretty face, her hair.
There is a certainty now. He will drive to find a phone.
His hands shake in the certainty of things. That's all right.
When he finds the store, he will sit there. He breathes.
There is a certainty. There is a certainty he will drive to a phone. His hands shake in the certainty. His stomach turns in the certainty of things.
When the car was going over there was a second where he thought it might not. When the front and back left tires were over the cliff and the belly of the car was sliding in the dirt, there was a second when he thought might stop. But it went over.
That fucking second.
When he steps out of the car he will vomit.
He looks at the girl there in the window. She's staring out the window, bored. She stares at him.
He steps out of the car. One, two, three. Okay. He releases the vomit between his shoes.