Plantation General called me this morning to tell me that I am dead. It wasn’t news, but a relief nonetheless to hear my suspicions confirmed. That being said, I have other suspicions that I am still, in fact, alive. For example, I went running and while running saw lizards (some also running) the size of labradors. Anywhere else, I would call this definitive proof of my Death, but this having taken place in the Swamp, it seems Truly Weird enough to be real.
In the Swamp, the horrifying and Truly Weird is mundane.
Truly Weird does not mean that hipster weird we cultivate out West. It’s not long hair and face tattoos, not pierced dicks sun-saluting in bike parades, not the bearded fabulous women of the psych wards, not homeless Black vampires who disappear forever and are better men than you will ever be, not friends who won’t look you in the eye, not lattes with broken heart foam, not curlyque mustaches, not trans punk babes who don’t give a fuck, not the ghosts of gutter punks in squats that are now condo highrises but the squats still forever there forever haunting too, not rainbow sidewalks, not vegan intellectuals with veggie chips on their shoulders, not gum walls, not suicide bridges or the corpses that wash from them onto lawns that make bigger headlines, not your best friend from the needle exchange, not the forever-children at Westlake, not the sex-crazed mountain hikers, not even Pants the chicken.
The Truly Weird is the every day scamartist that screws you over with the lights on and the cops watching and still gets away with it, the 20-year old with the silver grill who steals your useless shit screeching high-speed into the night with the cops watching and still gets away with it, the rubbing-alcoholic who lies under oath with the cops watching and still gets away with it, the expert with two weeks under his belt who testifies without knowing a thing and gets away with it, the Judge who makes up the law on the spot and racists on the Bench and gets away with it, the skinny rednecks who catch and roast lizards the size of labradors and get away with it because there’s nothing to get away with that’s legal here, the rain storms that flood playgrounds and get away with it because there’s no climate change in the Swamp, the psychofuckboys who call you a cunt out loud and get away with it and maybe you’re starting to even like it, the weight-lifting alcoholics and turtle-egg smashers who always get away with it, the kids who don’t know better than to do it the same exact way because they always get away with it too.
In the land of the Truly Weird, a phone call telling me that I’m dead is not much of a surprise, but it does emphasize the need to check one’s sources. Which I guess is what they were doing by calling me. The problem being that I’m not sure I’m a qualified expert on this particular topic. In fact, actually, to be honest, and almost certainly, I am not qualified. Though I did get a good dump of brain-morphine after running from lizards the size of labradors, which suggests some intact bodily functions that imply life. But that happened after the call and anyway its irrelevant. My answering the phone seemed to satisfy their inquiries. Which I think is bad fact-checking. I’ve known many a phantom to answer a phone on occasion.
To return to the subject of why I am not an expert on whether or not I am alive: You may find that strange, thinking yourself an expert on your own liveliness. And if so, why shouldn’t all people be able to ascertain whether or not they are, in fact, alive? Reasonable enough, but for me it’s a matter of unreasonable doubt (which is enough to remove children from their parents in Court of the United States, and if it’s good enough for that, and so on). I’ve high-wired this mortal coil too many times to tell whether I fell or am still toe-clutching onward. Since last March or April, I feel a constant in-the-air sensation. It’s like butterflies in the belly but also through the hips and face and limbs and out my fingers and toes just about a half an inch, which yes, means I can now feel about half an inch past my fingers and toes without trying. It’s too midline to discern as falling or flying. Only adding to the confusion are my ticket stubs from the Narcan Revival Shows. Even worse were the times without it. Chokehold seizures and pavement blackouts. Waking screaming simultaneous with R, both of us with arms twisted bloodless beneath us in the white van (was it white?) behind the gym with the bathroom and shower and pool that was cheaper than paying rent. Heart-punched by a meth head in a motel room while R shot dope that looked like cigarette ash and felt like heaven or death or whatever comes in-between. Crawled halfway out of a bathroom. On the bed where the devil revived me but let me fall out again. Alone in the corner of the room exactly like those visions from the weeks before.
Is it clearer now, why I should pause when the voice on the phone says “Plantation General here, are you Elizabeth? Are you dead?”
Sources say They got me.
Sources say it was Cult related. Or maybe:
Sources say it was drug related. Or maybe:
Sources say it was random chance.
Sources say it happened quickly. Or maybe:
Sources say it was a slow agony. Or maybe:
Sources say it’s a slow agony that’s happening still.
Elizabeth is dead. Long live Elizabeth.