In case you don’t remember ( !!!), we last left our intrepid traveler, the one on the one-way detour, at the Alzheimer’s Cafe ….
It turns out that my meal is just what the doctor ordered, nutritious, tasty, and not too filling. Maybe it’s the triple shot of turmeric, but I feel like moving around, doing something besides sitting around digesting.
Not that those marathoners are any inspiration. They seem to have taken to aiding their digestion with random calisthenics, punctuated with grunts and smiles. My guess is that they’re so smug because, unlike mere mortals, they say they are not living under a death sentence. They’ve figured out how to beat the system. As their mentor, Jack LaLanne, crowed, “Death would be bad for my image.” Then, as quickly as they arrived at the Cafe, they are out the door, flexing, preening, and grinning as they go.
“Wow,” I say to the maitre d'. “What’s the story with those guys?”
“Oh, yeah. They’re special. At least they think so. Rim Runners,” he snorts.
“Yes, Rim Runners, sir. Cocky bastards. I call ‘em. They think their latest diet fad will save their sorry bulked up asses. So they spend their time running around here on the rim, congratulating themselves on how smart they are. Funny thing…they don’t look all that smart when they get blown off the edge.”
“Blown off the edge? I never heard of that,” I tell him.
“Of course you haven’t. But I see it everyday, from the restaurant. You might not believe all the people who have gone down, and the ways they’ve gone down. It’s mostly on the quiet, you know what I mean ?….The Rim Runners sure aren’t going to brag about it.”
“What about you? You seem pretty blasé about this whole thing. I mean here’s a Canyon that’s not on any map, and it sucks people up without warning and…”
“Well, it’s not that bad of a job, really. My daughters and I are pretty well used to it by now. Somebody’s gotta keep up the basics.”
“Oh, gee, that was your daughter working at the Welcome Center? I’m afraid I might not have been that polite to her.”
“It happens a lot, what with the detour and all.” The oily smile was creeping over his face again.
“OK, my man, I think it’s time for me to take a wander…” Did I really say that? Take a wander?
Checking my pockets I realize I can’t cover the fancy dinner I just ate. GOD this place is weird!
Maitre d' has seen all this before. “You’re in the System, right?” he asks.
“Then, we’ll take it from here. Have you changed your address yet?”
“Wait! What? Why would I ne - n -…..?”
“Oh, just keeping the billing up to date, sir.” The oil’s getting thicker now, and I’m imagining a full-blown anxiety event coming on. Definitely time to hit the road. There’s just one problem: no more car.
Uh oh…. two problems: no more road.
Mister Maitre d', always helpful, offers, "You’ve got your guide. Remember?”
“You didn’t give me any guide!”
“You have what you need. Remember?”
“Remember! Remember! What am I supposed to remember? You never told me I had to Remember! YOU NEVER TOLD ME I HAD TO REMEMBER!” I’m pacing, now. Pacing and shouting at the smarmy waiter. Has he really told me something important?
I JUST DON’T REMEMBER!!!!
How can I be silent and ripping apart in the same second?
How can I worry so hard…
Yet keep my train on the rails?
I can tell you a hundred ways it will all go down.
In an instant….
One to the next…
And the next…
And the next…
All twisted and wrong.
Peace is out there,