I had this fever dream that I was having friendly drinks with Jack London, and he was telling me how the world is on fire and how we are plum out of fire exits.
He spoke of how the world had driven itself off the shoulder of its Dharma in the middle of the night, with a gas tank that was running on empty and an engine that was shit for.
Jack said it was meant to be . . a fait acompli borne out of the wedlock of boomers and hippies and all those lies they built fortunes and fairy tales on.
Big lies, like the stunted pupils of one of those gated community white girls who think they’re bad ass because they shoot up while listening to gangster rap.
Me and Jack are drinking scotch and smoking Camels and making eyes with the ladies hustling C-notes in the billiards room in the same way Eve once tended to that garden.
The Jukebox spill is Elvis Costello, whose nasally quiver is singing about another love gone wrong. But I think he’s talking about the end of innocence.
Jack insists there was no beginning to innocence, that the game’s always been rigged. So it stands to reason we shouldn’t be holding any funerals for its death.
When the barkeep does last call, we double down. And then we talk up zombies and Marilyn Monroe, Tupac and Nixon and Julia Child’s unmistakable laugh.
I run my hands across the caramel veneer of the oak bar and Jack laughs a staccato whilst cursing in stiletto. He says I’m a purist and purists are fools.
To Jack’s way of thinking, Charles Darwin was a glorified safari guide and Isaac Newton was a frustrated astronaut and Paul Sartre was our greatest fucking truth.
We opine on Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes and the death of baseball doubleheaders and the curious timelessness of pirates and Liz Taylor’s porn star lips, and we both agree that Stalin would’ve shopped at Target.
I tell him the world is equal parts Gatsby and Garibaldi; it’s a beautiful lie dressed in Army boots, intent on planting a flag on the moon and then digging into a stack of pancakes.
Jack London says it’s more like Hemingway and Cobain. He says the world is a brilliant and tortured place, that it’s a great big tease of a loose marble, looking down the barrel of a gun.
He says we have it coming.