The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 31
So, rather than involve myself in the complexities of Shana’s game, I pretended to take a call on my cell phone. Then I said to Mr Badboy: “Listen, tell Shana something’s come up. Gotta go.”
I kept returning to the desert because there was no better place to shake off the dust and rust and worry and distraction caused by human entanglement. No better place to re-establish a link with The Spirit. And I remembered as I passed the deserted ranger station near Cottonwood, a little after midnight, the promise I’d made myself last time I was here, less than a year earlier—homeless, no car, low on food and money—that if I ever returned it would be under wildly different circumstances.
And so it was. I not only had a car, food, money, a great place to live, a fantastic job, but, if I wanted, I also had Shana.
Transient things, all. All loaded with happiness and the opposite of happiness. Filling, draining, filling, draining. And it somehow didn’t matter that I was by now an “expert” on the subject of Tibetan Buddhism, or that I understood Zen, practiced meditation and yoga. Those things weren’t enough to counterbalance the nonsense I’d hooked myself to in exchange for… what, a little comfort?
If the Middle Path existed somewhere between pure asceticism and opulence, I’d strayed too far in the direction of the latter. And I was about to stray further. Steve was promoting me, giving me a nice salary increase, greater responsibilities, a healthcare package, pawns to move across the board.
As if by magic, campground # 1 at Belle was open. I grabbed a Corona—no more cheap beer for this guy—and climbed the enormous boulder where those lovely sweethearts sealed their love so long ago.
“Ah, if only… “ I thought to myself, but I wasn’t sure what I meant by it. I knew, after all, I had zero control over who I was.
Then Monday back at work. I was silent and stoic when Bill questioned me about the nature of my relationship with Shana. He didn’t know it, but he was soon slated to become one of my pawns. Ha!
Messages on my phone from Shana: Call me when you get this. Where are you? Why aren’t you picking up?
Then Steve walks into the office, smiling: “BRAZIL 66, BABY!”
Me: You landed it?!
Steve: No. YOU landed it, amigo! EXcellent work.
Me: Swear to motherfuckin god I thought he was just some lame-ass beaner when I took the call.
Steve: (Laughing) Sergio fuckin Mendes, bro.
Me: You know, it’s interesting. You’d have to be about our age plus relatively hip to even recognize the name. Like if Bill had taken the call…
Steve: Fuck Bill. Listen, I know this is your first year with me, but we need to start thinking about Christmas. We do a huge number decorating movie stars’ homes, sending out floral arrangements, the whole…
My phone was ringing. “Get it,” said Steve.
“It isn’t about business.”
Steve grinned knowingly. “Why you sly, cradle robbing motherfucker!”