written by Innocenzo LaRocca



            The peeling white paint on a splintered board, nailed to a stake in the ground, scribed “Gehenna” in black letters.  Funny, I can not recall the last time I ever saw a city sign hand made.  So much for the town, there’s nothing here but a paved road, the only sign of mankind.  A paved road laying across a golden red colored sand, with a warm breeze coming in from the south side.  It’s got to be noon, because the sun is exactly in the center of the sky, I remember reading that in science class about 20 years ago.

I awoke this morning to find myself walking on this paved road.  My hands were laced with small cuts, dried blood.  I must of been walking drunk or had a fight, though I don’t recall where I had been, or even where my hang over is.  I smell like clean clothes, no alcohol or cigars, nothing.  The only person on this road seems to be that shadow just to the side of me, yet somehow I’m not nervous at all, my mind hasn’t played any tricks on me.   I went through my pockets like a starving man, nothing but a dead cell phone, five dollars and forty cents U.S. currency.  I know I’m American.  Oh yes, and a pen for my thoughts.  I wish I could see the next town over or a car, or even a some animal so I could figure out some kind of direction or create some sort of story as to where I am or could be going.

The day passes on, rocks, sand, a few weeds, it’s safe to say I’m somewhere in the desert.  “Hello, is anyone out there, hello can you hear me!”  I brush the sweat off my brow, my lips are sticking together.  As the sun is falling lower right and I’m certain my Atari logo t-shirt and dark blue jeans are going to be the only cushion on this bed of rock, I see the gleaming flash of some metal object reflecting the sun light.  In excitement, I start running as fast as I can screaming.  “Who is there, hello, my name is George, George Stand, hello!”

It’s a town, I see four buildings made of wood, the paved road ends about 50 feet before the town which sits on sand.  I get closer to the metal object which is hanging from a stake in the ground.  It’s one of those silver pocket watches with a wallet chain attached to it.  I grab it up and open it.  No engraving.  The time on there is five forty p.m. and its still ticking.  It must be five forty p.m.  I take the watch and place it in my pocket with my few belongings and wander into this town.  Four buildings, a bar, what seems to be two shafty houses, and a store.  Every structure was a bunch of splintered, hanging boards, I got the feeling that I was in the wild west.  This is either a poverty stricken town of outsiders or a resort for photographers, who else would live like this.  I couldn’t recall where I lived or was from though, I some how knew to call this place the wild west. Wierd.

I walked up to the outer deck platform of this bar thinking, someones got to be there and I could really use a drink.  Two swinging doors, yeah I must be in the wild west.  I walked right in there “hello”, a few bar stools, a bar, two tables, a wooden pool table, a wooden pool table with a hammer and some carpenter nails on it.  No one else around.  So I walked around the bar to fix myself a drink from the four bottles of whiskey, tequila, vodka, and jameson.  These bottles didn’t seem to fit this place, like they were props or something.  They looked too new.   Anyhow a drinks a drink.  So I poured myself a glass of whiskey and toasted to the flavor that somehow seemed familiar.  Thinking to myself, I hope someone walks in that door.

I then heard footsteps of what seemed to be a few people outside.  The door swung open, and a crumpled ball of paper tumbled over the wooden floor.  I went over and stepped over it, looking outside to see if there was anyone there.  Two shaft houses, a store, and a warm breeze sat watching me.  I picked up the beige tainted note paper and opened it to reveal a partially smeared poem in black.

“Where the wind is calm, the sun sheds its regrets, the end of an era, and I am warm as I lay my war to rest.”

I could not quite figure it out, but somehow it seemed someone was narrating me and this place around me.  I suddenly felt panicked and unnerved by the strangeness around me, and I again screamed out for anyone to answer me please.  I screamed out and ran into and out of every building around me, pushing my aching hands into every door, only to find nothing but empty rooms, no furniture, just windows open to the warm breeze.  Nothing would happen for a while.  Time passed and I looked at the watch in my pocket, 10:50 p.m.  Wait a minute, the sun hasn’t set, its lower right ground level in the sky, like it was stuck or something.  I sat down in that house, just in front of the window.  I could feel the sun shining on my face, I was warm.

Then suddenly the confusion no longer mattered.  I wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  It was like the warmth calmed me, because I began to notice I wasn’t frightened anymore holding this poem in hand.  Maybe my memory will come back to me, maybe I’ll realize in a few hours why my hands are cut, maybe someone will come for me or I’ll wake up from this dream.  I remained cross legged in the corner of the house, just in front of the window, with the un-setting sun upon my face, and opened this paper up and recited the only piece of conversation I could find.

“Where the wind is calm, the sun sheds its regrets, the end of an era, and I am warm as I lay my war to rest.”