An Old Man Remembers
It was ten o clock on a Tuesday morning when we broke into the old farm. They had raised mostly cows here, keeping them in a large pen. Not too many heads. Enough to be sufficient for the needs of the town, before they moved the interstate over and increased the flow of traffic ten fold. The chain restaurants showed up and killed off the diner, which then forced this farm to close, since no one within a few hundred miles needed Russ's beef. They all started ordering from the local Tyson plant which produced a lot more meat but it was shitty, shitty for the animals shitty for the people shitty for the water and the air, just plain shitty. We liked coming up to Russ's farm because it was a broad expanse that crested up above the little city and we could see down into the long valley below. There were hot springs off way back into the hills which we hiked to on occasion once even in the snow. It had been terribly cold and we decided that a hot tub was really just as rewarding under the circumstances. Fortunately we didn't have to contend with the forces of an ill tempered season, it being a really temperate may morning, cloudless gigantic sky. Nothing is as impressive as the gaping open blue of a mid western sky. When God created it I suppose he started here and then moved on to other places, realizing he perfected it and now only need to attempt to recreate it elsewhere, it's a shame people came along and put building after towering building, eating it up. Maybe that's why God knocked down Babel, because he hated to obscure the view of all that blue. I do love the drama of the clouds but today it didn't suit and so I was glad that things were clear up there. The little creek that split the grazing pen was up today, due to the rains that had come the past couple of weeks. The snow pack was still apparent on the western mountains but we could feel nor find it here. We'd have to backpack a long way to stick our fingers in it, if we so desired. Janey wore tight blue jeans, and walked ahead, swinging her hips due to long legs, creating elegant strides and not necessarily because she realized the effect it had on the viewer but because growing up a tomboy she always moved more quickly than the dainty girls. We wore no gloves nor caps, it had just reached the mark on the thermostat where it was unneeded but could be allowed if personal taste dictated it so, Janey was never cold so she didn't. Jaime her sister always was and so she did. Jamie was that prissy girl that played with dolls and houses, dresses and tiaras, they despised each other growing up, not understanding the others' needs. Now that they were both on the verge of adulthood, if one could demarcate it, they realized how the other complimented the set. Every once in a while we'd come up to the old barn, smoke, and discuss our opinion on the nature of being and our plans once this last year of school was over and we need to formalize our life. This was a terrifying prospect to me. I'd had many dreams growing up that my mother or father alone or together had squashed as being terribly impractical. “Oh yes Tommy, I think that being an actor is an excellent pursuit, but Tommy, you do so well in school. You must have a back up plan. Well I understand that you don't care about being well off, but what if you want a wife or children?” I didn't though, most definitely not now and I didn't think ever, I realize that you can never be sure of those things, and that often times you don't make that decision. It comes as a surprise, or the person you fall in love with makes you do things you swore you never would. I suppose that's why love is so dangerous and disastrous to men who want to champion and control their destiny, it makes a man an idiot willing to throw away his ideals. Not that I'm shitting on it. It helps keep society running I understand that now. Maybe more than I ever did. It just seemed that at the time that nothing was impossible. We were going through such radical times with the most amazing changes in technology and understanding, the world was getting ever so much smaller. Although, in hindsight, I imagine that everyone alive since the Renaissance, and perhaps before has the same premonition about the time within which they lived.
Janey started climbing up the barn's ladder, to the hay loft, Jamie followed and I took up the rear. Appreciating the commonality and high quality of asses shared by Janey and Jamie, and presumably their mother when she was their age, so many years ago. Janey, who outpaced her sister up the ladder by a great deal caught me looking and admonished me for my lewdness. She said, you go up the ladder and down the ladder first from now on if you're going to be staring. What if she'd worn a skirt? I imagined I'd enjoy the view more if that were the case. Janey kissed me as I popped my head over the landing, hard. Jamie laughed. Jamie always had the prettier laugh, bell like and angelic. Janey laughed deeply, and ugly, which was the only thing ugly about her. I don't think angels would laugh, cherubs would, but not the angels. If I heard God's angels sing would it be terrifying or glorious? I asked the girls. Janey said that it would be the most terrifying thing that a person could ever hear, more frightening than guns from a ship or air raid sirens. If the angels come then it's for the rapture, and she didn't believe that anyone would be taken up to heaven. Jamie strongly insisted that it would be wonderful to see God's presence on Earth. Janey said that everyone in the world no longer was able to follow God's laws, since men had corrupted and used them for their own ends, and we couldn't possibly be expected to be able to keep the covenant since the tablets were gone and we could only trust the word s of the translators and kings. All people inherently untrustworthy. Jamie claimed that no one in the world could undo what God had done, that God's words were too powerful to be mistranslated or abused, and anyone who would attempt to do such a thing would incur God's wrath. Janey laughed and said, Is that why the Jews were put into those camps? Jamie barely whispered, that's horrible. We sat silent for a long time, not knowing how to pull the conversation back into neutral territory after such a fucking awful joke. Janey wasn't all that funny most times, she had an ugly laugh and an ugly sense of humor, gallows humor. It never ceased to upset Jamie. I got up and walked to the far side of the hay loft, a window looked out over the windmill and ranch house. We assumed that it had been long since abandoned, but we weren't sure, so we never went inside. Most everyone around here had a shotgun or two. We were afraid to risk accidental shooting by some myopic diary farmer. How long have we been coming here? I asked, not turning still gazing out the window. Probably, what, eight months, I guess. Jamie? Yeah, I know it was at least before Halloween because we came up here in our costumes, remember? I couldn't have forgotten, Jamie was a ballerina, beautiful in pale pink and tights, her lithe figure the perfect representation of those famous Russian dancers. Janey was Guinevere, robe tightly sashed, carrying Excalibur, no one knew who she was supposed to be. I knew who she was though, I'd like to think so. She was so upset that no one could guess her costume. I tried to explain that 13th century English queens weren't one of the more popular characters to portray. She just felt most people were dullards. I don't know if I disagree with her. Just for a moment I thought I saw a curtain wave. I slid back against the wall of the loft, waiting for my heart to pound 10 percent less, give or take, and slowly peered around the window. Janey thought I was joking around, which was fairly common for me. I for some reason think it's fairly funny to trick people into thinking that something is wrong. It isn't really, it's just cruel to those who go for it, but I do it anyway. Sometimes I don't even realize. Jamie was not accustomed to my behavior and asked what was wrong. I said I saw the curtain move, Janey told me to shut up. I said I wasn't kidding around this time, that I really did. Janey slowly crawled over to the window and looked out from the other side. Which window? she hissed. I said far left, with the white lace, above the sink. Jamie said, let's just leave, we can go right now. I looked over at Janey and I saw that she was hatching something, it's her eyes, her lids collapse and I'm left with the pinpricks of her pupils and a slit of white. Her brow comes together. Jamie quietly pads over and sees her sisters face. Oh no, she whines, what are you doing? Janey smiles, we should knock, why shouldn't we? We've been using this loft for months now, we've never paid a visit to the owner. We should, we really should. Jamie was clearly not interested in any sort of thrill seeking of that nature, she thought that the pot was enough of an adventure as it was. Janey, of course, was very interested. I went to work on Jamie, since I was also interested in learning who was living down at the house. No Jamie, wait, we won't say, oh hey Mr. farmer, we've been hanging out in your hay loft smoking grass, we'll say we're collecting money for the local high school booster club, something like that. Jamie thought it over for a few seconds and turned to Janey, do you promise to stick to that story? Janey smirked and said she would. We climbed down from the loft. Me first this time.