I was thirty years old. I smoked pot every day. I drank beer almost every day. I was living in an old friend’s garage. I was a professional pornographic letter writer. I had three letters to fire off to different editors, and checks to write for past due bills. My car was about to break down. Only the sad songs made me horny.
The monument to all this stood on the front lawn. It was a surfboard. It was neatly trimmed in shape, and a crack from some mishap ran down its spine. The surfboard’s owner had planted it to stand for all time. It was orange and yellow. It had one fin. Plants had grown up around it. In the morning, if there was no fog, the board would cast a shadow across the dewey grass that was cool if you walked through it with bare feet. It was there in the shadow I woke up that morning.
I stood up, looked around. There was a strange lady watering her lawn with a green garden hose. She cut her eyes at me and moved cautiously toward her house. The front of my clothing was all wet from the dew as I had been resting face down in the grass. A man was bringing his trash out to the curb. I made a move for my front door and he became startled.
The dirt felt good. It was cool and dry. I told myself I would get up when the shadow of the fence reached my head. It was getting close.
“Goddamn,” he said, “I didn’t see you there.” I wanted to say something but I puked on the sidewalk in front of my doorstep. “Goddamn, buddy,” he said, “you’re, like, way fucked up.”
I finally stumbled to the door but it was locked. I fumbled for my key but couldn’t find it. I would have to jump the fence. I rounded the corner of the house by the garage where I usually jumped over. I could hear music from inside the garage. I banged on the door. Nobody answered. I vaulted over the fence.
Suddenly I was face to face with Tipsy Russell, my roommate’s English Mastiff who apparently didn’t recognize me. He immediately had me on the ground with his jaws locked in a grip around my throat.
“Tips! You beast!” The dog answered the call of Jack, my housemate, friend and Tipsy’s master. “Come here, boy!”
He released his death grip. My heart was beating fast and breath was steaming out of my mouth. I stayed on the ground for about twenty minutes. The dirt felt good. It was cool and dry. I told myself I would get up when the shadow of the fence reached my head. It was getting close. Soon my face would be in the sunlight. I wanted to beat the sun by rising just before it had a chance to shine in my eyes.
There was a parrot circling overhead. I could hear the neighbors leaving for work, slamming doors and starting cars. I was almost lonely waiting for the sun. I wanted Tipsy to come back and lick my face. I could hear the sound of the freeway. There was mad laughter from inside the garage to go with the music.
I fell asleep.