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Into the Night

We have barred the night from our city. Even when the sun sets and the moon gambols between the buildings, we bring the daylight closer to us. We wrap ourselves in it, children in a radiant safety blanket. It shines forth from every corner now, from street-level street lamps, SUV headlamps, and the ambient glow of business towers. It is a night-light of cosmic proportions, which even astronauts can glimpse from the heavens. They cannot, however, hear the noise. The jackhammers, the bulldozers backing up. The sirens wailing, peppered by motorcycles' angry revs. And accompanying it all, we congregate, filling the air with the roar of human chatter. It is a commotion that soothes us. Like a child held to its mother's chest, we hear the pounding of a collective heartbeat. And in this way, we know we are alive and our city is thriving.

I'm waiting at 5th and Colorado, just three blocks from Austin’s notoriously debaucherous 6th St. Periodically I reach over my bike and ring its bell, shouting to the passersby, “Pedicab!” But nobody approaches me, and I sit back in my cab and watch them cross the street. They’re an attractive crowd. Anywhere else it would seem remarkable to have so many beautiful people crammed into one intersection. But on the weekends, it’s like this everywhere downtown. When the crosswalk beeps again, my eyes casually delight in their faces, their legs. It’s only 10:30 and already the streets are thronging with them. I’m reminded of my grandfather’s Alaska and how the streams up there would choke with salmon every spring. They were migrating to their breeding grounds, he told us, thousands upon thousands of them leaping over each other to get there first.

The remarkable thing is, not a single one of them wants a pedicab ride. I ring my bell again, and they continue to pass by. They’re discreet about it, too. Just as I come into view, they casually turn their heads and start talking with each other. Or, if I do manage to catch an eye, it quickly darts away. To the sidewalk, to the roiling crowd, to the darkened asphalt with its broken glass glistening like crystals. Anything, really. Anything but me. It’s like I'm a leper in a Charles Dickens tale. Though, I suppose, their avoidance isn't nearly that offensive. It's just disappointing. Business has been slow recently, but this is slow. After waiting here for nearly two hours, I still haven't gotten a fare. I glance at the pedicabbers waiting behind me, and one of them catches my look and shrugs. He doesn’t know what’s going on, either. This is particularly bad timing, too. The only money to my name is three dollars.

The best I can do is walk away, pace off some steam. If I were a smoker, I'd light up a cigarette right now. But, for lack of anything that dramatic, I simply lean against a lamppost and sigh. The salmon keep leaping around me, oblivious to my worries. It would be nice to be like them right now, obeying long forgotten instincts, lost in the urge to swim and procreate. They have become childlike in their drunkenness: entranced by the neon lights, taking in every detail like they were reborn with their jagerbombs. Many others stare fixedly at their friend's lips, trying to hear them above the din of downtown chatter. All these shouted syllables amplify each other into an undulating roar, a chorus of midnight revelry. It's as though the city itself is sighing and we, tiny people that we are, must stand deafened by its roaring mouth. No matter that we, ourselves, are the mouth. We are the ones crying out. After a strained workweek—sharing eight to five, Monday through Friday—the people of Austin are now laughing, screaming, sighing as one. It's catharsis on an urban scale, the city murmuring through human intoxication.

I walk back to my bike, ringing its bell ceremoniously. “Pedicab!” But it's like invoking the favors of some forgotten god; nobody reacts. I want to laugh, but I know that's a bad idea. It will come out all wrong. Like a stone tossed in the water, it will scare away the fishes. So I return to the lamppost. I take a deep breath, and I don't think about money. I don't think about living in a nylon tent. This is a big, exciting world. I'm just happy to be in it.

But I look at all these people and can't stop wondering, why doesn't anyone want a ride? There are more people out here than a census could count. They overflow the sidewalks into the streets. By the next intersection, they're so tightly packed that their bodies bleed together. Their faces disappear in the distance, leaving only shadow and movement. It's like watching an unruly sea at midnight, the wind whipping it into a frenzy of waves and noise. I wonder if I could slide a kayak on top of them and how far I would get, passed from shoulder to shoulder, hand to hand.

Somebody once told me that the sea was a god incarnate. She said Homer believed it, too, as did many of the ancient Greeks. To them, it was alive. It was an organism in its own right, though on a scale unfathomable to man. And staring at this crowd, I wonder if the Greeks would say the same thing about it. Would they also say it lives? Because right now, it has a will of its own, winding through the city streets like some great seething serpent. It breathes with an undulation of bodies. And I realize, this is how a flea must feel when watching the slow rise and fall of its host's belly.

A girl drunkenly waves her hand in my face, and I snap back to attention, immediately all business. “Would you like a ride?” She nods absently, and I motion to my cab for her to get in. Before she can move, though, her boyfriend yanks her by the arm, assuring me that they do not, in fact, want a ride. As they turn to leave, I shout after them, “I work for tips! You can pay me whatever you want!” But they keep walking, soon disappearing into the folds of the crowd. Oh well. Things are just getting interesting, anyway.

* * * * *

It's like I'm in the seventh grade again. It was a year split between wandering the woods by my home and studying from a dense, school-issued microbiology textbook. I spent entire evenings laying belly-down on my bed, flipping through its obtuse images of ribosomes and mitochondria. It was my first struggle to comprehend something that I could not see, and it led to an obsession. Lysosomes, cytoplasms, DNA. I knew there was some fundamental truth waiting behind the curtain of unfamiliar terms. And even when I was in school and should have been learning about David Copperfield and two-plus-two-equals-four, I would stare blankly out the window and think about cell walls, instead. TV, once such a great pleasure, became a dull escape. The only thing that could pull me out of this muddle was a walk through the woods. The sight of a lizard still excited me, as did peeking under rocks and watching the insects scurry away in dizzied alarm.

Incidentally, it was during one of these retreats that I found the truth I'd been looking for. Chasing a rabbit through the underbrush, I scraped my arm against a wall of briar. I hissed in surprise, and moments later, the rabbit had disappeared, leaving me alone in those woods, bleeding from three deep, parallel lines. It wasn't terribly painful, of course, but as I watched the blood seep out of my skin, I suddenly felt like crying. It was in that moment that I realized this blood wasn't really my own. It was thousands of tiny lives, just like the cells I had been studying. I could see them clearly in my mind's eye, a tide of crimson bodies, pulsing to the rhythm of their own nucleus. And as they left my skin, emerging into a bright, unwelcoming world, they were rapidly dying of exposure.

This was the realization that my mind seemed so keen on ignoring. My blood, my skin, my teeth, my tongue—they were all alive in their own right. They were independent lifeforms that ate, drank, reproduced, interacted. Like the lone protozoa of the wild swamps and waterways, they had their own DNA, their own volition, their own need to survive. However, they also had something more. They had the propensity to collaborate. They had joined forces like the people in a nation, each filling a specialized role like lawyers, farmers, truckers, and janitors.

This was a bizarre and exciting thought, but one that left me in unsettling territory. If my body was a trillion independent lives, then what was I? What was Timothy? For the longest time I had thought of myself as a face in a mirror. But now, those eyes and nose which were once so solid revealed themselves to be vibrant with life. There was nothing left to identify as me. Everything was now them. Even my thoughts were just the whispers of several trillion neurons. And this left me wondering, maybe there was no “I” at all. Maybe there was only “we.” Timothy was just an avatar, an identity created to simplify the complexities of my true nature: not as an individual, but as a society of cells.

* * * * *

I'm still at 5th and Colorado, waiting for a fare, when my eyes settle on a woman passing through the crowd. Already, I recognize her form. She is deer—graceful and beyond human reach. Despite this, I want to get closer. I want to kneel beside her, to offer her my hand so that she might lick it. So what if I'm a simple pedicabber? So what if I have to cut my own hair and patch my clothing? I can't be so unworthy. And yet, experience tells me that I will only wreck this moment with a bold and hopeless gesture. If I move towards her, she will flee. She will flee with such alacrity and poise that I will never find her, never touch her, never know her. The closest I will ever come is this watching: the surefooted steps, the calm round gaze. And before long, she is gone.

The streets are once again full of noise, loud and leaping with motion. I shout into the throng, “Pedicab!” But of course, nobody responds. I'm a cowboy with no cattle to herd. A Bedouin with no camel. Even with my freedom, I'm now stranded in the desert.

The last decent tip I got was three weeks ago, from a trio of tourists. They wanted a ride to the capital, and although it was an uphill climb, I did my best to charm them. I assumed the character of a Texan, weaving wild yarns from the midnight air. Soon they were laughing, and by the time I'd taken them to the end of the road, they were in good enough spirits to hand me $40. I thanked them with all the winded gratitude I could manage. It was truly a relief to make some money, and even after they had packed off onto the capital lawn, I stood there, elated. In that state of mild euphoria, I stared at my city, and it was then that I began to notice.

It was the speckle of lights in the office towers, the handful of clerks and administrators staying after hours on a weekend night, working while the rest of the city partied below. It was buses roaring by with their heavy loads, careworn faces staring out the windows. And it was also the cars, and the strange rhythm of the stop lights. I stared fixedly at the road, my eyes discovering patterns within the chaos of moving vehicles. A light would turn green, and suddenly cars flowed into the intersection, blooming in all directions—veering, u-turning, plowing forward as absolutely as a force of nature. And just after the final cars trickled by, a curtain of pedestrians would sweep across the street from the other direction, obscuring my view. When they parted again, it was simply to reveal a fresh scene of the automotive ballet.

In time, it seemed, I was not watching cars, but rather the choreographed flow of steel and rubber. It was like what my friend once told me. We are not matter, but form. We are not atoms and compounds, but rather the shape they make. Molecules shuffle through our bodies like water through a stream, and even though the stream remains, the water itself will always flow away. Matter is too transient to be claimed. The only thing left to us is a pattern; the only thing we can identify with is a shape. And like the water in a stream, those cars were just shuffling aspects within the traffic, giving mass to a form dictated by the layout of roads and the rhythm of stoplights.

* * * * *

Still only three dollars. On a typical weekend, I would have had fifty, sixty dollars by now. But this, this is no typical weekend. This weekend I’m a leper amongst the silken-skinned, and everyone wants an invigorating walk before arriving at their beauty bar. I certainly don’t blame them. Pedicabs are expensive. I would never take one. But on the other hand, there are many (many) people down here with more money than me. They love pedicab rides; they love chariot rides. How better for a moneyed salmon to distinguish himself from the plebes, for the scarlet scaled patricians of 6th St to assert their viability for casual sex? I don’t know if it works. But people take pedicabs anyway. Usually quite often.

A bachelorette party clamors by, the bride-to-be carrying an inflatable penis nearly as tall as a child. The thing even has sagging testicles. I want to think I'm better than this, but I shout after them, anyway, asking if any want a ride. Of course, I get no response, but I’m tempted to follow them. Off this corner, to busier lanes and better places. Maybe just three blocks away it a bustling intersection where people as light as cardboard tip in $100 increments. I could make everything I need in twenty minutes. It could happen . . . though it will never happen. Instead, I’ll spend the next two hours scouring the streets, looking for a ride. I’ll make no money and exhaust myself in the process. Only a fool would leave Colorado and 5th at this hour. I've been doing this job for over a year, and I'm not going to make that mistake again.

I reach over my bike and ring its bell, flashing the passersby a roughish grin. One smiles back, but continues on her way. Just as I expected. Still a leper. A leper who gets smiles, which is nice, but a leper all the same. As I lean back into my cab, I notice one of the pedicabbers behind me pedaling off. I can’t blame him. May he find greener pastures. Most likely, though, he’s casting himself into the void. Off into the great black night, where rides are as rare as meteor showers. Patience is a difficult virtue to master, but it’s vital to surviving downtown. It's vital to any job, for that matter. I would have done well to have had more of it two years ago, when in frustration I shut down my computer and told Sara I wouldn't be returning to the office. Now I live in a tent in my friends' backyard, right next to the chickens.

Not far away, the police start barricading the road. It must already be 11:00. They do this every weekend as the crowd overflows into the streets, transforming downtown Austin into a blacktop carnival. It's amazing how many thousands of people come out here just to get lost in a crowd. All those heads bobbing into the distance, filled with an elation like school kids wandering the carnival grounds. Spinning lights, laughter, the darkened sky. There is no word for that feeling, and yet we all know it. The compulsion to congregate, the yearning to dissolve our egos in a sea of unfamiliar faces. We all become one, screaming and dancing—at least for a while.

Looming over all of this is the half-built husk of a billion dollar condominium. I forget its name, but after a year and a half of construction, this building now stands dormant in the heart of our city. The bottom half appears complete with blue-tinted windows, yet the upper floors are exposed like the ribs on a starving giant. Just six months ago its crane would swing in the middle of the night, construction workers scurrying through the ironworks and welding sparks exploding in their wake. But now, economic instability having finally caught up with Austin's real estate, nobody touches this building any more. It looms over us, half-built, a testament to the things that might come—if only the gears of America could resume their grinding. For now, Goliath slumbers.

There are more than a dozen other towers like it, some complete and many still under construction. The Frost Bank Tower came first, and now it looms over our city, its logo watching us from every corner like the eyes of Argus. Truly, people say that The Frost Bank Tower can see you no matter where you stand. A friend told me once that it was designed after the visage of some pagan devil, some masonic symbol of power. And although I doubt that claim, it says a lot about his fears. After all, a claim like that is itself a symbol, a thinly vealed anxiety about these towers rising amongst us. At this very moment, I can count five cranes on the horizon. There is a silent invasion, one that flows through all the legal channels and doesn't stir controversy on the TV. But it is every bit an invasion, a sudden influx of people who have no history with this city and yet claim its most central real estate, placing themselves atop pedestals which overshadow everything that Austin once was. They may not be branded with the faces of cruel, by-gone devils, but their sudden appearance makes us worry about the future of our city and the character it will soon assume.

In the past five years, I have lost many friends to the West Texas desert. Marfa, Terlingua. These are becoming familiar names, escape valves for a populace that feels increasingly pressurized. Everyone is fleeing our city. I watch this with mixed feelings. Sadness at seeing my friends leave, but also anticipation. Even if these towers herald the coming of a new social elite, they also mark the maturation of our city. They are the whiskers sprouting on the face of a teen-aged Austin. He is growing up, and it is our duty to stay here and guide him through the most difficult stages of self-discovery. We cannot allow him to lose himself, to become just another soulless city.

I cry out, “Pedicab!” But it's just part of the ambient noise now. My voice is scarcely different from a siren or a motorcycle. Bleeding into the stratosphere, mingling with spotlights and the bluish glow of business towers—all these words are lost. Not just mine, but everyone's here. The sound blurs together as it climbs ever higher into the sky. Even by the time it passes the second story clubs, it's drowning beneath a DJ's structured music, so that the heavens hear only an overlay of electronic harmonies and a heavy dance beat. Our prayers are lost. Soliciting the gods is hopeless down here. Better to beg in the wastelands, where a coyote's howl is the only competition. Or better yet, to climb those very towers we fear and, with arms outstretched, stand atop their half-built lofts and scream at the stars. Maybe, just maybe, they'll wink at our effort.

But it's not like I haven't tried. In the middle of the night, I've clamored over security fences and climbed forty flights of stairs. I've claimed the apartments of executives and celebrities as my own, if only for a night. And while up there, beneath the open sky, I wondered. Maybe all this time I've been looking in the wrong direction. Were the gods in the heavens, or were they down here on Earth? I only had to stare at the city sprawled out beneath me, its own lights twinkling in reflection of the sky. It was alive. Cars pulsed through the intersections, moving in an organic, statistical harmony. Their brake lights were crimson as blood flowing through a giant's heart. It was something I never saw down there, wandering its veins, lost in its flesh, a part of it. But standing so high, this creature seen in a single glimpse, it was as clear as a diagram of the human body. I was forced to wonder, was this what the elite saw? When they moved into their loft apartments, was part of their reward a truer perspective of human society? As crazy as this sounds, maybe Athens was Athena. Maybe Poseidon was the sea.

Maybe we are the cells of gods.

* * * * *

. . . and yet, I play no role in it.

I mean, I live on the fringe of society, where dead cells are schloffed off and bacteria festers. It's a place were the university educated should be ashamed to go, and yet I threw myself here with such eager abandon. Maybe it was desperation. But maybe it was because I saw something glinting in the decay. I saw something I'd longed for ever since I was five years old, ever since I was put in a desk and told to be quiet for forty hours a week. It was freedom. Freedom. I threw everything away in pursuit of it. And now, I live in a tent—dirt poor and half-charmed by my fellows. This latest chapter started three months ago.

It was actually enjoyable at first, a sort of extended camping trip in my friends' backyard. I felt like I was getting back to nature, though that thought could only make up for so many sleepless nights. At first, I tried piling four layers of bedding beneath me, and still some jagged rock or protruding root would burrow its way into my back. I woke up sore. And I woke up early, the sunlight streaming in through nylon fabric. After a while, I learned to sleep with my arm crooked over my face, my body casting its own immutable shadow on itself. But, as I've discovered, not even that helps for long. Soon, the chickens start clucking. They strut impatiently at the gate, anxious for release. And if human hands don’t promptly free them, they call out to me, pull me out of my dreams with incessant wailing. At times they sound like a bizarre and haphazardly played organ, and at other times they're the keening of a grandmother watching her daughter die. It's unbearable.

But beyond all of that, I've lost status. I mean, what would your friends think if you moved into a tent? I pride myself on not caring what others think, but that pride is a facade. I do care. As soon as I moved in, I stopped inviting friends over, became a little withdrawn and slightly pensive. This was exacerbated by a fact that I kept secret from everyone. I couldn't afford better. The winter months of pedicabbing had been bleak and I was lucky to make $30 a night. My savings burned away, and when spring finally came, business didn’t rebound the way it was supposed to. I struggled for months, then finally gave up and moved into this tent. And, since this was a choice of necessity, it became a badge of shame. Sure, I've played it off as something I really wanted, and that's saved me a degree of face. But in my heart and by my own standards, I know living here makes me a failure. And I hate myself every day of it.

* * * * *

Pedicab!” I yell, this time with such force that the salmon part before me. It's infuriating. Why don't they want a fucking ride? Do I scare them? Are they afraid of this half-starved pedicabber, as thin as a twelve-year-old ballerina? Because I'd be a lot less scary if they just got in my cab. It's easy. “Pedicab! Delightful, affordable, fun pedicab!” I laugh in some close approximation of joviality, a carnie clown before the ferris wheel. It's the best ride on Earth folks, right here for your convenience. The other pedicabber gives me a look.

I need money. I've got three fucking dollars to my name, and nobody wants a ride. They must see the desperation on my face. It scares them. It scares them the way somebody would be scared by a true case of leprosy, by some disease of the spirit that could easily spread through a handshake or a cough, through a dejected conversation or an intensely uncomfortable silence. Whatever the case, I don't deserve this. I don't even want this job.

During the day I stare with such envy at the men in their ties, carrying their leather briefcases and talking to each other about things that actually matter. They sit in their boardrooms and ask, where will we buy our lumber? How will we feed a million hungry mouths. . . . Okay, honestly, I don't even know what they talk about. But somehow, they're making this big, unwieldy conglomeration of people work. And I'm playing no role in that. Not anymore, at least. Instead, I've been banished to the night to witness and facilitate people as they debase themselves, as they get drunk and brawl and slur their words, wincing at the artificial light.

I want out of here, but I have no idea where I'm suppose to go. I've been looking for meaningful work the way people look for their “one true love.” It's led to almost everything: a year as a cook, a farm worker, a foreman, a substitute teacher. I even tried working in an office once, but I might as well have stayed at home and done nothing. Every week, I spent forty hours in front of a computer, struggling to just stay busy. Often, this meant I scoured the Internet for articles on haiku and the Finnish education system. I don't know why I even cared about these things, but at least they transformed the tedium of that flickering white screen into something resembling research. So I quit. I even wrote this letter in my journal, then tore it out of its bindings and stapled it to my bedroom door:

You will regret your choice.

You will look back on today and you will wonder why you quit. You will reprimand yourself, think that you caved into a fleeting unhappiness, tell yourself that everything would be better if you had just stayed on the path. You will blame future failures on this choice.

When that day comes, and you know it will, return here and read this. Remember your computer and how you stared at it for eight hours on end. Remember how numbed you felt by the end of the day. Remember the obligation to appear at the office, even when there was nothing left to do. Remember how frustrated that made you, especially when there was so much to accomplish outside of those walls. Remember how every line of your proposal was revised.

You had reasons to leave. Many of them.

There's a lot you will miss, true: your coworkers, who were as lost as you—who you loved because of the hours and months you spent together and the meaninglessness that you confronted as one. The back patio, which offered daily respite from the air-conditioned office, with its constant computer hum and music you had no control over. Mostly, though, you'll miss the opportunity. You'll miss the dream of leading a respectable life, of being a professional and owning a home and having a wife.

But every day you spent there was a joke, a nasty joke directed at the very value of your time. When you appeared at that desk and squandered eight hours a day, you allowed your obligations to laugh at you, to tell you that life really is cheap enough to waste.

Quitting this job is a statement, a very simple one: Your time is worth something, and you value this opportunity to live.

Needless to say, I do regret it. But I would make the same choice again.

I know there must be meaningful work out there, somewhere. But it's hard to come by. These days, there's a sort of pandemic of low-quality work. I have a friend who's spent the last three years at an architecture firm. He designs fireplaces. And the woman in the cubicle next to him designs staircases. They once thought they would become master builders, single-handedly manifesting their visions of stone and glass. Instead, they now devote fifty, sixty hours a week to the minutiae of somebody else's project.

I have another friend who retired from engineering after a similar experience. Apparently, he was given a comfortable desk, free food, a hundred thousand dollars. And then for the next forty years his employers proceeded to smother his soul. He sighed when he told me this, relishing the drama. The noble engineer is dead. No longer will he roll up his sleeves, kneeling beside the broken railroad ties. No longer will he spend five months in his garage like a hermit, tinkering with filaments until he's discovered the secret of light. He has been replaced by an entire office of “team workers,” bored out of their minds and shivering between cubicle walls.

Something is so clearly fucked up these days. Why is it that people who want to work are being gagged and stifled? Shouldn't a nation encourage its people to do the most they possibly can? Isn't that what makes a strong economy? Personally, I'm not going to compromise again. Even if it means lingering in the shadows and wallowing in the company of drunkards. I'm doing something with my life!

Pedicab! Ped-i-cab!”

Chained to a desk, chained to a corner. Even here, though, I'm wasting away. As stupid as this may be, I've got to leave. I've got to get a fare.

And this is where it will all begin. I pull my cab out of the curb and pedal away. That corner was as dead as the noble engineer. Out on the street, though—out on the street I might just have a chance. I'm young and my legs are strong. I can move fast. Even when a jaywalker leaps into the road, I have the reflexes to swerve away, giving him the finger. Sure, it's too damn crowded out here. But I can make that work to my advantage.

Pedicab!” I shout to the people, ringing my bell. “Pedicab!” The sidewalks are overflowing with them. If I were a bear, I would be feasting. Salmon after salmon in the early spring. I call out to their thronging schools. I wave them into my cab, their sequins glistening in the lamplight. “Pedicab! Pedicab!”

Nobody reacts, but I won't relent. Weaving through taxis, I bike on. It doesn't matter if they honk at me. It doesn't matter if I blaze through the stop signs. I'm following my destiny. I'm finding that ride that will end this streak of terrible luck. “Pedicab!”

But still, nobody reacts. It's the shadow that follows me, and I need to outrace it. They never taught you about this in physics class, but if you move faster than light, you'll leave your shadow behind. You'll be free, just you and the moonlight. And maybe, if you're lucky, a passenger that knows how to tip well. “Ped-i-cab! Ped-i-cab!” I yell this again, and again. I fill the air with cries like thunderclaps. I make the towers tremble. “Ped-i-cab! Ped-i-cab!”

But where the hell is my passenger? Why won't anyone take a ride with me? I shout into the night, but for nothing. There are no fucking rides out here!

And just then, a car peels into the intersection, and I realize with sudden horror . . . I'm about to get hit. It's a huge, black SUV. Something out of a primal nightmare, its eyes glaring bright, its tires reeking of burnt rubber. Reflexes take over. Squeezing my brakes and turning my bike sharply to the left, I curl into myself, balling over my handlebars. A moment later, a hot gust of wind breezes by my face, tires roaring into the distance. And I realize, I'm alive.

I sit back on my bike and start pedaling again, this time even faster than before. What the fuck could I have done to deserve this? I cry out into the night, but there's nobody around to answer my question. Unless, of course, I consider my lack of a passenger to be the answer. That, or the the three dollars hanging around my neck like an albatross. Yes. Unless you should forget, keep those three dollars in mind. Because they are the answer. They're fate slapping you in the face, telling you that you didn’t do your part. You passed the entrance exam but then stopped attending class. You impressed the interviewer but never showed up for work. You transformed gold into lead. You ignored fate's invitations and now she’s barring you from the party.

The lone protozoa are dying off. This is an age of multicellular organisms. Millions of people working together, sitting in cubicals, chinking away at projects too vast to comprehend. My friend is designing fireplaces, and the humble are inheriting the earth. They have learned to work together, and through their collaborations bring wonders into this world. Buildings now rise higher than mountains. Roads connect continents. Rockets fly into space. And those people who neglect their call, who squander their lives in a bid for independence, will become just the forgotten fossils of a bygone era.

But this is nonsense. This is what makes pedicabbing such a fucking ordeal. It's not about the ache in your legs, which even a banana can cure. It's not about the passengers, who barely notice your existence at all. It's about you and your own darkest reflections. Because beneath these artificial lights, it's true, your shadow is given an unnatural life. It rides alongside you. It grows long and stretches out before you. It explores the things to come. And then it rushes back. It rides at your side, whispering nonsense in your ear. Things you would never believe coalesce from the mix. Mutterings about repentance and guilt, God and society and fate. And you tell yourself that these things can’t be true. But the shadow never leaves you, no matter which lane you ride down. And when one week its predictions come to pass, as likely out of sheer odds as divine intervention, you begin to believe. You allow the doubts to enter your heart. You see the shadow in your eyes. Your eyes, which are growing darker every day.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Feb. 17th, 2013 12:24 am (UTC)
Locals looking for you Go Here dld.bz/chwZQ
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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