Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Travels 7............

The dark red amphitheatre stands teetering on the tall side of a dead grass, treeless hill. Gravel and slick black shards of broken asphalt is scattered all along the sun-bleached sidewalk. The entire scene is painted bright in purples and creams and blues, the breeze off the lake is cool. The world spins too fast here and the ground moves too quick. The car ride has confused my head. I am shaking. The sweat on my brow chills me as the briney scented air surrounds and chokes me. We all line up and look over the side of the hill, straight down into the white capping waves. Long grey rocks shoot up at us until off to the left a bit a short narrow beach appears.
“What in the fuck are we even doing here?”
“Ah, Dover likes to hang around the amphitheatre here sometimes.”
“Well, he aint here…lets go.”
Jeff is chewing on the end of a cheap cigar that he stole from some convenience store pillaged along our way. He chews and chews on it and finally pulls out a lighter and a sparks the gutted and restuffed cigar. The smell of crime fills the crisp sweet atmosphere. The scent of sin…of bored.
“Hey.” Jeff suddenly blurts out.
“Why don’t we burn it?”
“Burn what? The amphitheatre?”
“Yeah, it would look fuckin cool, right.”
“We would get caught.”
“Bullshit! Come on.”
Jeff walks back to the car and grabs a half-filled gas can and Styrofoam cooler and a deep empty metal jar. He sits them down in front of me. I grab it up and help him lug it down to the small beach. Doug will have no part of this and Dan is busy just watching the madness unfold. Jeff pours the gasoline into the jar. He holds the gas can up in the air and the golden liquid pours though the breeze, leaving a greasy rainbow of fumes trailing behind it. He throws the Styrofoam cooler on the ground and stomps it into little bits…little flakes and bits of white foam flying around like a diseased plastic winter snowstorm. The wind blows cool off the lake and it smells like dead fish and slimy rocks. To the left a little bit down from where we stand on the narrow beach is a clump of dead trees standing solemnly in the green and blue bubbling water. The water bubbles and rushes because just past the trees is the spillway of the dam. It is a long way down…the spillway is extremely steep. Jeff piles up all the mad crushed pieces of cooler, tosses them in the air like a lunatic and then gathers them back up, and one by one places them into the jar with the thick smelly liquid gas. We all stand around and watch the foam disappear into the mixture.
“Man, we cannot really burn down this amphitheatre.”
“Oh, sure we can.”
“No man…fuck this is way too fuckin’ illegal…even for us.”
“It will be cool. Fuck it.”
We all stand there watching for what seems to be forever….waiting for someone to do something…no one does. No one does anything at all in fact…fate does it all for us. A long neglected ash off the “cigar” burning in Jeff’s mouth falls slowly, like a feather; down down down…it looks like the breeze is going to carry it off into the lake. I watch it going along gingerly and then suddenly it falls straight down…straight down into the homemade napalm…right into the jar. All at once, a bright orange light illuminates our shocked faces. Hairs are singed. Flesh is burned. Eyes are widened. In a flash I do the only thing I think possible…I kick the jar. The jar, flaming, flies far out in front of us and lands in a dramatic splash. The fire does not go out. The fire burns brighter and higher and spreads wildly across the water. A flamey froth of fire and watery foam…it spreads as far as our eyes can see. It climbs up the dead trees and begins to consume them in an eager rush. The flames bounce and writhe about…they reach the spillway and dance along the horizon for several seconds before the whole fiery display throws itself down the dam in a giant curtain. As soon as we witness the fall, we all break into a simultaneous run back to the car. Jeff already with the jangling keys in his fire blackened hand.
“Run away!”
We all scrambled back into the grey rusty car and exited the scene, rising flames behind us.