TOM WHALEN THE RIDE M ysituation was perilous. Two Bonnevilles sped head-on toward me. I froze and saw the people on the sidewalk, like upright insects, freeze also. What could I do? An unwillingness to respond overwhelmed me. I waited for the end. Then a bulldozer came steaming out of a dark alley, scooped the Pontiacs up against a brick wall, and squashed them until their squealing drivers popped, slashed and bleeding, out of the windows. Their heads were loosely hinged and flapped madly against their shoulders. A silver Coronet ripped off my front fender and I maneuvered the sliding car away from a telephone pole only to send a blind man and German shepherd, who had been frantically trying to cross the street, smack into line with a Mack truck. Car horns drowned out the thud. An armored car's guards were firing randomly into the downtown traffic. Bullets flew around like excited electrons causing the pedestrians to do likewise and opened up gaping holes in the sides of windows and heads. A priest ran robeless and naked into the street. I got him waist high throwing him into a Coca Cola neon sign that poured electric liquid twenty-four hours a day into an equally electric throat. Emergency hospitals were being set up on the corners and blood donors were grabbed from the running crowd. Cameras, black rectangular brains atop each light pole, made 360 degree turns clicking at each degree. Click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, etc. News flashed against a tall building's flat side. "Debris fall offensive at misplaced conference seen last our logistic baked out chill of senate seated multi-million K-49's slung over symbol world-winded government corporation confrontation enlargement." I tried to see (or not see) this in light of Husserl's transcendental phenomenological reduction but a cabdriver side-swiped me up onto the sidewalk where it was rougher going due to the number of prone bodies on the ground that bubbled and juiced all sorts and shapes and colors of body organs on the pavement. A gold fingernail file slit a traffic cop's throat. I followed a stop sign that seemed to know its way around the city. A red figure was using a fog machine on some frantic housewives clamoring for his attention. The stop sign led me to a dead end where purple flies hovered over a twenty car rotting pile-up. Salvation Army nurses were passing out loaves of bread that refused to multiply. Fish gushed up from the stinking gutters along with the sewage and spread a yellow liquid onto the pavement. I backed up and got back onto the avenue. Police were blow-torching traffic light poles and shouting, "Geronimo!" when they fell. (The Traffic Coordinator was rumored to be on vacation.) 161
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