by Ian Haight
I.First you are an aging rock star playing to small auditoriums. Only a few rows for your shows sell. Audiences don’t know your music, or mistake you for someone else. A few know you. One, a teenager, wears a green military-fatigue jacket, has a dog wearing sunglasses, its hair trimmed like yours, “Spike” on the name collar. Smoking dope has thinned this teen’s blond hair, cut thinly jagged on the side, like dog teeth. The too-young groupies get you thrown in jail if you sleep with them. Burned out sex addicts choose you because they think you easy game.
You divorce but soon become engaged again. The woman you promise to marry is rich and from an Asian country. But the police stop everyone on the road as you drive alone to your wedding. Cars slow near the checkpoint. You see Confucianists tell the police about you. Soldiers divert your car. You move slowly as they wave you forward carefully, cautiously angling you into a space, perfectly positioned. III Your car falls onto a stack of other cars in a pit. You have few minutes to get out. No one helps. A crane drops a slab of stone and lead; it destroys your car, flattens the stack into a several foot-thick mush of blood and metal. They accuse you of being a spy, something vaguely familiar. They find a gun and plans to bomb a government building inside your briefcase—items you never saw before in your life. The post officer, however, acts as if he knew what he would find in your briefcase. He was waiting for you, specifically. IV Comes the car. Think you will be taken to jail in the city. Take him out back, the officer says. A man nods and drives away, you in the rear seat.No safety windows separate you from him, but you know fighting him is too dangerous. Notice his head covered by a flesh colored pig-like-in-its-roundness papier-mâché globe-hood-helmet, revealing nothing of neck, eyes, nose or mouth. Light blue buttoned to the top, his California state prisoner’s shirt. The radio plays hardcore punk music about killing people. He drives fast looking vaguely for traffic at stop signs, but then always turns and accelerates without stopping. V Out into country roads, all of them gravel covered dirt. Hills rise and fall below the speeding car. To jump
out is to die, scraping and rolling in pebbles. Long grass ditches
and hills course under rusty barbed wire fences along roads. Aware of the pitiless presence of
death try to concentrate on other things. Sunlight plays through tree leaves on boulders of slate above ditches. Think of the light moving the same way under small surface wavelets along shallow ocean shorelines. Stop at a corner. He says Get out and drives
away. VI After two heartbeats, realize no car will pick you up. Run into tall ditch grass. Lie hiding for days hoping your assassin has no infra-red sights on his gun.