|ashiwi pipe - circa 1850-1870|
I have taken sambucol and elderberry, drank tea with honey, done everything I could possibly do but still feel really lousy.
I woke up about six in the morning and decided to search my shelves and found an old bottle of codeine cough syrup. "God, how old was it? Can I still take this stuff?"
The syrup was now thick as molasses, a real science project, years old, but what did I have to lose?
I took about half a teaspoon and then went back to bed, waking up again around 9:30.
Leslie made me breakfast but I really can't taste food. I somehow managed to chew a piece of the last sourdough boule I had made, which was awfully tough and dense.
I laid on the couch but at some point convinced Leslie to take a little drive with me, to a friend's trading post. Be good to get out of the house after being cooped in all week. She surprisingly assented. Nice to get away for a moment. It seemed like the drive took no time at all, must have hit all the good lights.
We arrived at my old friend Victor Ochoa's Trading Post. It was an 18th or 19th century stand alone adobe in the middle of nowhere, situated on a high desert plain. The warm wind blew heavy on the butte. I opened the old screen door and it made a jarring creeky sound before it clanged back behind me.
Victor came in from a back room and said hello. A dark, intense man, tough, an ex bull rider. We have had a back and forth relationship for many years, mostly good, but were both cordial and friendly today.
I told Victor that I wanted to buy a pipe and he said that he had further business to attend to in his office and would be right back. A woman, maybe his daughter, came out and said she was interested in trading for some beautiful beadwork I had. I told her that it was my wife's and that she was still out in the car.
"Why hadn't she come in?"
I walked outside into the hot sun to look for Leslie and had a strange epiphany. She was gone. But she had just been there? I was on a high ridge in the middle of Arizona and there was no way I could have driven the seven or eight hours to get there, not in that amount of time unless we had flown. No way that she would consent to the ride in my condition in any case. What in the hell was going on? Where was she and where was I? And how did I get here?
I had somehow found a seam, a wormhole in space or perhaps I was merely in a dream? This caused me no small amount of existential consternation, trying to balance reality and make sense of things. An unruly mystical energy hung in the ether, waiting to be spontaneously ignited by one stray spark.
Leslie never did come back in. The next thing I knew I was back home on my couch.