Why hadn’t he thought to bring some fucking water? He believed he had a half a case of bottled water in the trunk of his car for emergencies. That didn’t do him a damn bit of good right now, did it? He didn’t know where in the car was at this point – he was all twisted around. The poet stared toward the brightness of the brilliant sun. He wondered if anyone had started searching for him yet.
Maybe by now they found the car.
Maybe his face was plastered all over the news as missing? He hoped to God they used a decent picture.
Just maybe he could reclaim his cult status and his books would be yanked from the bargain bins, where they now sat and be sold at a much higher collector’s price.
You really know you’ve made it, Bucko, when your books end up in the supermarket bargain bin.
At this moment Bob was likely bumping uglies with his wife instead of out hunting for him. Probably laughing their fool heads off and counting the insurance money (if there were any insurance money.)
He smacked his dry, cracked lips. His bottom lips bled some, as he could taste the metallic flavor when he ran his sandpaper tongue over it.
I desperately need water, he thought. So he quickly prayed for rain. Then he cried out, or tried to. His voice was harsh and sore.
God said, “I knew this would happen.”
“Will you just shut the fuck up,” Richard replied in his mind. “I need help. A river, lake or stream. Yes, give me a damn stream!”
Then a memory nugget hit him as if it was an answered prayer. Something he had seen on television or in a movie or a book, he couldn’t remember. I can use my urine to quench my thirst.
God said, Um, I’ll check back with you later, Ricky.
Then God disappeared from his head.
Urine! At first, he was excited and feeling very clever with himself. He didn’t have a cup to piss in but he could cup his hands and drink from his -- until the reality set in. He was actually thinking about drinking his own piss. He found a rock formation and stood in its shadow. He unzipped his pants and pulled out his limp penis. He began to piss and slipped his hand underneath to catch the warm liquid. He brought his hand up to his lips and the pungent odor hit him full force in the face. He gagged.
What the fuck am I doing?
Richard wiped the piss from his hands on his pants, zipped up his pants and walked away onto the hot sun.
Suddenly he was not alone anymore . . . .
God had left but Naomi and Bob were now at Richard’s side as he stumbled over the rough terrain. More than once, he tripped and fell, barely breaking his fall with his outstretched hands. His palms were bleeding from the sharp brush and tiny rocks.
Every time he fell, Naomi and Bob would laugh.
The air smelled sour.
Richard wondered if he smelled himself.
Naomi was wearing one of Richard’s favorite outfits: short shorts, revealing her long shapely legs, and the tight halter-top where her perky sun-tanned breasts were popping out of.
For some reason, Bob still wore his wife’s pink bathrobe. The one he wore the night Richard caught them cheating. Bob also sported a pair of white fluffy slippers, which Richard should have found odd but somehow didn’t. He noticed the new couple didn’t look as if the heat bothered them one damn bit.
Bob said, “Peek-a fucking –boo, Ricky!”
Richard wiped the dirt from his face and pulled himself slowly to his feet.
”You look like shit, Ricky, doesn’t he, Sweet ‘ems? You ought to turn back, before it’s too late.”
Naomi playfully slugged Bob in the shoulder and he yelped in mock pain. “Oh, just leave him alone, Bobby,” She said. “He’s got a point to prove. Don’t you sweetie?” Naomi blew him a kiss.
Richard’s hatred for her started to build in his belly and work its way down like a tape worm to his groin. “I have a lot of reason,” he said smugly to his wife’s image.
“And they are?”
“I needed some time away. Like a vacation.”
“Ha!” she rolled her eyes as they started up a small hill “You’re a writer, you don’t get one of those. You know the rules. You have to write every day. You can’t write if you’re lost in the damn wilderness now can you? Some vacation anyway, where you go off into the middle of nowhere, where you are forced to drink your own piss.”
“She’s right,” agreed Bob.
“Of course I’m right,” said Naomi matter-a-factly.
Richard shook a dusty finger at her. “I didn’t swallow, you bitch. I didn’t drink. I almost drank but I didn’t, so it doesn’t count.” He stumbled over an outcrop of rock as he finished his sentence but managed to stay upright this time.
“Good recovery,” said Bob, flopping along in his fuzzy slippers.
“I think maybe Bobbie has the right idea, Hon.” His wife continued. “You should go back. Turn around, go back to the car, call me with your tail between your legs and I – Bobbie and I, will come and get your sorry ass.”
Richard stopped in his tracks just at the peak of the small hill. He scratched at the stubble on his face with dirty fingernails.
“Listen up, you two assholes. I’m not going back; not to that life. That chapter ended the minute I found your butt in the air like a bitch in heat. I’m done.
Besides, you two aren’t even real. You’re just a figment of my water starved food depraved imagination. So go the fuck away,” Richard tightly closed his eyes. “I want to die in peace, please.”
When he unclenched his eyes they were both gone. But he thought he heard a whisper in the wind that sounded like, “It’s all good.”
Actually, the peace and quiet of the woods baring the normal outdoor noises of animals going about their businesses doing animal things like hunting for food and running from predators, gave him a chance to re-evaluate certain things, like himself. Why did he always run away from a situation instead of tackling it head-on. Why didn’t he get mad? He should have punched the son-of-a-bitch in the mouth. He had a knife in his hand, didn’t he? Why didn’t he just stab the fuck-tard . . . jail time, prison? So What? Richard wasn’t sure what the law was about stabbing a drunken gigolo diddling his wife. Not that Bob was a gigolo or if he was he was a sorry looking one.
Richard also pondered on the fact, as he climbed up a steep incline, he did have a history of his own secret affairs. But he never brought anyone to their bed, or in the house. It had been too easy with all the Richard Spalding groupies out there – and he had trouble avoiding the forbidden fruit. He would have made the perfect Adam to their Eves.
Many of the naïve female readers of Venus Flytrap had made it all too clear during book signings and Poetry Slams that it wouldn’t have taken much to get one of the slim, tight bodied college girls in the sack. In a way it was Naomi’s fault hands down. He didn’t even want to come to Montana. The idea was for Naomi to spend her time acting and some directing for the community theater. She had been a successful actress before she decided to retire and Richard could continue flaunting his poet personae at University and even do some book signings at local book stores. They would buy a cabin a ways from town, he would write a new collection of prose (to which he had several ideas but nothing substantial as yet) or that great American Novel that sits in the back of every writer’s mind. That was the plan. The cabin didn’t happen – neither did the novel.
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