Despair and the Inscrutability of a Bush – Teddy Duncan
October 19, 2022
Wind’s silent impression sweeps across a sun-drenched orange-hued late-evening final-light landscape: curtains of green foliage conceal endless rows of suburban mono-colored homes with sprawling sidewalks and semi-lengthy driveways that lead to two-car garages and carpeted beige interiorities which shroud domestic scenes of banality, hidden latent desires, loss, reproductive sex, whirring laundry machines, revelations, foreclosures, dinners getting cold, fleeting manic euphoria, neo-natal care, and death. An incontinent baby shits their diaper and looks at their mother, knowingly. An incontinent grandparent wheezes out their last breath and looks at the ether-void, knowingly. The insect cars on the interstate wisp by beyond the screen-enclosed backyard pools just past the foliage.
Horizon of highway stretches out before Eco Universal through the transparency of his windshield streaked with innocent pedestrian insects, idle accrued dirt, and fingertip oil—fractal sunlight (splintered by windshield streaks) enters the car and Eco reaches for sun visor, remembers he doesn’t have one, covers his eyes with hand extended toward sky protecting himself from sun-glare and realizes he has to pee (a biological epiphanic moment!): terrestrial asphalt crunches evenly beneath treaded tires.
The sun pisses on the earth in final golden rays of ubiquitous sunshine.
A plastic grocery bag (infused with wind) dances between the cars, joyously leaping from lane to lane spasmodically contorting in violent shapes and whirling naked and free; bag swept up beneath the tire of a semi-truck only to be spat out at a motorcyclist’s Florida state-mandated helmet, temporarily blinding her. She swerves as she seizes the grocery bag and mindlessly tosses it behind her. Eco Universal changes lanes and the amorphous wind-imbued plastic bag clings to his windshield: he jerks the steering wheel left and right trying to free the bag but it obstinately remains and Eco reaches out the driver-side window to grab it but can’t and resolves to just turn over on the road’s right-hand shoulder.
Cyclical flow of traffic passes like implacable waves.
Eco gets out, grabs the grocery bag and rips it into fluttering petals of plastic—the torn remnants fall onto the floor and languidly blow away in the wind (these fragments of the grocery-bag-totality are aimlessly carried away, some landing in retention lakes on the side of the highway, some stuck to truck tires, some end up in sewers, others float endlessly above fields of grass). When he goes to sit back into his car, the pelvic urinary pressure reminds him that he needs to pee: past the metal-barrier separating mechanical road and Nature, among the stoic-erect trees and grass (these trees and grass are in heaven), there is a sufficiently hidden Bush—Eco heads towards this Bush to piss on it.
Standing over the Bush, Eco Universal takes his penis out (which hangs limp, barely past his pants zipper). He stretches his flaccid member to avoid getting urine on his pant-leg. Before he starts peeing, a tiny candle-wick flame appears in the Bush and the burning-unburnt Bush says:
“Eco! Eco! Can I get a dollar and a cigarette? You smoke cigarettes? Let me get a dollar I see a dollar outlining your pocket you little prick motherfucker! Whatdaya doing with that thing out anyways tryna piss on me? We don’t even know each other Eco. We aren’t even formally acquainted Eco! And here you are with your fucking cock out about to piss all over me. I’m just sitting lonely in heaven trying to enjoy an earthly cigarette and you’re over here approaching me with your dick out like a fucking creep—you trying to proposition me? I don’t suck cock for cigarettes oh no no no … Really though, I’m serious: you got a cigarette? I’m just tryna get the head bust—a burst of blood to the brain hit you just right at a time like this … Word became flesh, but the flesh is a single cigarette. Flesh got needs and this flesh needs a fucking cigarette. Or a black and mild … I already know you got a dollar.”
Eco looks blankly at the God-Bush—then pats his pocket and takes out the faded and unevenly folded bill.
“Where should I put the dollar?”, he asks the burning unburnt Bush.
The Bush responds: “Ahh I knew you had a dollar on you brother! You’re a godsend! Har Har Har. Just go ahead and throw it in my flame.”
“In your flame?”
“Yep, just right in the good ‘ol flame.”
“Seems like a waste of a dollar…”
“JUST GIVE ME THE FUCKING DOLLAR ECO—THROW IT IN MY FLAME.”
Eco tosses the dollar into the flame: the dollar bill disappears in a flash of radiant-white-luminance.
“Now how about that cigarette?”
“I don’t smoke … sorry.”
“No, it’s fine. No worries. Can’t give what you don’t got.”
An inconceivable, unnatural, brilliant ultra-light—the diametric opposite of all—appears in a beam from the sky and Eco turns to shield his eyes and when he faces the bush again (with confused tears running down his cheeks and a feeling of multiplicity; of being fractured in all directions, exceeding himself and exploding outwards from a single bodily point like a burst firework or an overflown river flooding formerly dry land: the water meets the soil and is surprised—Eco was outside of himself and surprised) the unburnt bush is flameless and green and resembles every other bush.
A dark gradient begins to impose itself on the sky—the sun has set.
Eco pees into the extinguished unburnt bush, gets into his car, and drives off; macerated clouds hang in the early-night-sky like spectral cotton balls.