Is Jed Dead? – Albert (iii)

II When Henri Paul is taken up on the UFO he’s just killed Princess Diana. He’s rocking up there, he’s got sunglasses on and he’s playing the keyboards, lasers are everywhere, smoke, moog synthesizers, the whole bit. He goes into this song that talks about how Princess Diana didn’t really die, but was also taken up on a UFO. He’s sort of a message bringer. But then, when Diana appears on stage again, all dead, but born again, so to speak, as if there were a place called heaven, Henri sees her, and falls to his knees in shame for having killed her. Jed’s little place inside, the place it seemed his killer eyes were trying to see, is what I thought about when I was thinking about Princess Diana. It was what I was talking about when I said that Jed lived for that little melody deep inside his head. Henri represents the bullshit inside of Jed’s life. But in the play, Diana calls Henri down from off the UFO and he comes. Like a baby, he climbs off the flying saucer and joins Diana in the other world. She rescues him from hell. I kind of think of myself as Jed’s Diana. I’ve got $1,600 in the bank. A bus ticket to New York is $200 round-trip. The American Youth Hostel costs $20 a night. I’m no good with math, but I think that would give me at least a few months in New York. Everything points to New York, especially the submerged GTO. I’ve called everybody who knew Jed and none of them have seen or heard about him for years, but all of them said that he liked New York. The only problem is I can’t seem to make myself go. I almost went a few months ago, but then I thought that maybe Jed didn’t want to be found. I don’t know why I thought that. I have no idea. But I listened to it and heeded it and saved more money. Now it seems that he does. How I know this I can’t say. It seems there is never a good time to do something. We all wait for the perfect time before we step forward. A few days ago I mailed a check to Greyhound, not wanting to go to the bus depot myself. If I could float through New York invisibly that’s what I would do. I would float through New York, and when I found Jed I wouldn’t even touch him, but would be able to look at him there, and being so invisible and him so exposed, I could reach into him and fix him, and then he would see me and I wouldn’t be invisible anymore to him. Then maybe he would come home again. But the way I’ve got to do it is the other way, physically, my face just another face walking New York streets, then his face meeting mine, our eyes joining and then, well, that’s the scary part and why I haven’t gone yet. We would need time to process each other and we’d be embarrassed. If he saw me and is as lost as I’m sure he is, as I know he is, then I would have to give him something to believe in me by, as he worked to remember what it is he is supposed to do with me. Or maybe I could be all he needs at first sight. But no, not with heroin. I’ve racked my brain trying to figure out how to coax a bonafide heroin addict out of his shell. I don’t think I’m enough. You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to take all my rock operas with me and when I see him I’m going to say that I came looking for him because all these rock operas need to be performed and he’s the only one who can do it. I’m going to hold them up. Then if he says no I’ll just look at him and plead a little bit about how important it is because it would be worthwhile, especially the tribute to Princess Diana. Or maybe I’d make up some lie like mama was sick and couldn’t afford medical care or something. Then I’d take Jed by the hand, just like he used to take me, and I’d buy him dinner and put him in a hotel room, and then we’d go down to a clinic and get one of those new drugs that keeps people off heroin. I’d tell Jed all about my writing, about how, and this is true, the Millsville Community College produced one of my rock operas, and we’d walk out of that cesspool together. Maybe then I would have paid him back a little bit of the debt that I owe him for having been the best big brother anybody could ever or has ever had. My mama cried when I told her that I’m going to New York. I’m leaving tomorrow morning at seven. She busted down and just cried. I don’t understand it. It seems she would be happy, but not my mama. She cried and said she failed and all that shit. It’s not true. My mama was a single mama. She did the best she could. She didn’t beat us or anything, but she was hard on Jed for doing drugs. That’s because she was scared and there was no man around the house to take him and shake him a little bit like he needed. I think Jed actually made her despair over being a woman. If she were a man she could have kicked Jed’s ass, been tougher than Jed, and kept him home and in line, and not dead as she truly believed he was. She didn’t believe like me because she didn’t read or anything like that. I like poetry and plays and good music and that stuff makes you believe in the impossible. She just doesn’t want to believe that she could have driven her son to this place, but somehow she can’t help thinking she did. But it was the heroin and my daddy’s dying. I keep trying to tell her that, as though asking her to believe that Jed wasn’t dead was the same as asking her to believe that she hadn’t driven him to drugs, to demise, hell, or whatever it was that mothers believe is the worst thing that can happen to their child when their child disappears forever off the face of the earth as hers did. I screamed: He’s not dead, Ma! But she never believed me. “Why doesn’t he call then?” she whines later after a period of sullen desperation. “Why doesn’t he call then?” Christ, I think, because Jed’s Jed. I’ve got one day left to plan this out. The rest is going to be up to the fates. Actually, I don’t know how to plan anything out. I know all about New York City, uptown, downtown, Hells Kitchen, The Hudson, Joisey, blah, blah, blah…I wish they had maps to crack houses like they do the homes of Hollywood stars, but they don’t. Jed’s a musician, will always be a musician, so I’ll start there. I’ll just ask around. I don’t know why I didn’t do this earlier. I’m stupid, I guess. Jed’s alive, he’s just jamming with his druggie friends in New York City. It’s 10:32 at night right now. I should be in bed. I leave in the morning. I’m looking at the stars on the ceiling right now. I just turned out the light. I put these plastic glow in the dark stars on my ceiling. They’re orange and green, but when the light is off they look like real stars. It’s cool. What is this music in my head now? I know. Just sleepy. The heavenly spheres are visiting me here in Tennessee. Hell, I’m not asleep yet. Music takes you into sleep, but I can’t hear music before I sleep because I’ll never get to sleep. I got too much in my head already all the time, whether its words or melody or even memory. Memory is like music too when you’re about to fall asleep. It’s a big mythological pool with faces and happenings and none of it has any order, except for when you actually fall asleep. Then the images line up however they will. In the morning you have the memory of the night’s images and start the day all over thinking about them somehow. Then, come that night, you’re back to the same place again with memory all jumbled up in your head. Your pantheon of images is either good or mischievous depending on how your day went. All the thoughts mesh together like some whirlpool of stars and they lift up off your body as you fall asleep. Your processes and you are taken away like Henri Paul on his flying saucer was, a little bit in fear and desperation, but also in hope that you will survive on the other side of reality. And so you sing like Henri Paul sang. You sing a crazy song like Henri Paul had to sing. You sing to yourself just before you fall asleep. You sing to yourself after. You sing like Jed sings when he is about to stick a needle in his arm. You sing to ward off the devil on the other side of the universe where you are about to be taken, because you lost something a long time before, because you simply lost it, and that’s all.

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Published in: on September 5, 2009 at 9:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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