Jimmy threw back his head on the over used sofa-couch that sat squarely away from Graham’s apartment window that overlooked Ponce de Leon. His eyes slowly glided across the white textured ceiling of the apartment. Just moments before, he shot heroin into his toes. Graham, helped, of course – gliding the needle into the vein that bounces. The bounce is somewhere between the toes. Sooner or later one is going to find that vein and the drug will pounce.
The wet pavement outside marked the time as the cars streamed a soft swishing sound, sliding in one series after another. Each car was like tracers inside Jimmy’s head. A Doppler effect. A gliding movement of mass times undefined purposes divided by the drivers behind the wheel.
The sofa-couch had a wooded frame that served to rest Jimmy’s neck. The couch was also a mix of green and orange entanglement of leaves and branches spun within its upholstery, but the couch was fading into an ugly yellow remorse produced by aging. Jimmy always experienced a snake like hissing comfort sitting in Graham’s apartment. Graham never ran the air conditioner, and even if had to due to his guests, it was always set at a slow cycle. The windows were always open – or slightly open, letting in the sounds of the environment outside. Swish-swash-swuash – another car – another movement from outside. Another dream untold. The busy Atlanta street always spoke outside the window of his friend Graham’s apartment, recording nature moments joined together by pedestrian interaction.
Jimmy was acquiring the habit of assigning his experiences and thoughts to mathematical formulas. Words became numbers, and numbers became words. Solutions, a figment of imagination. It was the same when he suffered from insomnia and he would picture a baseball batter constantly hitting home run balls. He really didn’t know if the latest mathematical trend was a way to detach from the pathos of his environment, or just another one of his compulsive obsessions.
In a somewhat startling moment, he thought he saw his friend Graham cross the room without the movement of legs. It was difficult for Jimmy to direct his concentration, because he was fading in and out from a daze to a blurry focus. The street-life hissed nightlife revealing the outside environment. The hot humid rain became a serpent’s tongue caught in the dormant breeze. Slitter-splatter and pitter patter. Everything was dancing in a pattern of eight … seemingly eternal … circling in on itself … a cycle … without end. Amen.
The face of Graham suddenly appeared smiling bewitchingly in oversize ridiculousness before Jimmy. “What haunts you?” Graham asked beguiling.
The pause stood the test of time like a spiral within a Mandelbrot Set. Everything reaching back on itself within Jimmy’s mind. Memories. Blank. Then reappearing. A cascade of thoughts pouring out a stream of moments – lost – captured in time – searching to reunite – connecting to something within him. Perhaps, even with another, outside of himself.
“How does one do it?” Jimmy asked with narcotic subtleness.
“Do what?” Graham responded with what appeared as suspicious intimidation.
Jimmy said nothing for the moment. Silence. Pondering. Eyelids half open. Closing. Then eyelids opening wide again and wandering, as if seeking the room for an answer. “How does one perform the tasks of this life?” Jimmy finally asked gazing at one corner of the ceiling. Pause. “Any life.”
A green haze seemed to rise from the floor. Everything appeared in a milky emerald fog. The street night whispered the sliding and slithering sound of a hot humid thick breeze and the pacing of cars. Occasionally, conversations from pedestrians echoed from the street below, undeciphered and indistinguishable. Jimmy thought he saw Graham standing center before him, and then bending down to gaze into his face. The embodiment of Graham appeared to be fluxing in and out like dialing in the frequency of an AM radio station.
“Separate your actions from your meditations,” Graham finally responded, looking squarely into Jimmy’s face. “Let each and every moment transpire … without questioning.”
Feeling his eyes roll backward into his head, Jimmy slighted nodded. “Who are you? Really? What are you?”
The emerald haze softly drifted in the room. Jimmy suddenly saw Graham reclining cross legged opposite him in a lazy-boy chair. Noticing a beguiling smile from his friend, Jimmy could detect no real physical form, presence, or shape to Graham. Moments wandered. Searching. Something concrete waited in anticipation to reveal itself. Nothing. Time floated above without any answers for what was taking place.
Night dwindled. Street life resounded as distant echoes. Thoughts awakened. “Graham, there’s something that feels different today.”
“How’s that?” Graham asked with a calm nod of his head.
Jimmy paused and shifted his eyes to stare at one corner of the room, but finally asked. “These are no longer hallucinations, are they? I mean, like what happened today at the cafe. Time stopped outside our field of conversation. You know, Lydia, you, … myself.”
Graham pulled himself up from the chair. He walked over to the open kitchen and pulled off a numerical clock hanging on the wall. He then approached Jimmy and held the clock before him. “Look at the numbers on this clock. You see the numbers? The numbers are mere references points.” Graham pulled the clock close to his chest and continued. “The numbers are a poor assimilation of a sun dial, and the sun dial is a poor assimilation for what the ancient civilizations measured in the sky and cosmos.”
Graham then took the liberty to walk about the room. He didn’t say anything, but only occasionally looked back at Jimmy. He then stood still and pondered. Finally, after releasing a long drawn in breath he continued. “The numbers don’t stand for anything, but are arbitrary markings for what you perceive as the passage of time. A consensus decided upon using them as a way to measure the production of labor.”
Jimmy tilted his head slowly, seeing that the room was out of focus. “Time is an illusion?” he tiredly asked.
“Oh please,” Graham scoffed. “Time simply doesn’t exist. It’s merely a concept in your head.”
Jimmy then offered. “Motion gives us a sense of time?”
Graham grunted, growing somewhat impatient. “Motion. Another concept in your head. I can see this is going to take a while.”
Jimmy blinked innocently. “I move from point A to point B. Sometimes I take detour and move from point A to C or D.”
Graham stared straight before him with growing agitation. The pondering pause filled the room – suddenly the balloon of anticipation popped. “There are no points,” Graham shouted. “In fact, there are no lines, curves, circles, squares, triangles!” <another pause>. “You get the idea?”
“Please,” Jimmy smiled and laughed. “We’re both high, right now.”
Stone cold silence surfaced. Staring off out the window opening to the sounds streaming along Ponce de Leon. Graham finally remarked, “I never mix business with pleasure.”
“Lighten up, man.”
“No. I will not,” came Graham’s direct and cold response. “The game is over, Jimmy.". The room suddenly seemed to become 15-degrees colder. “Point A and point B,” Graham began, slicing the air demonstrably with one arm. “Well, point A and B are abstractions, because a point is merely a mathematical abstraction. So, the lines or curves you draw between point A and B are nothing more than abstractions? Why do you think these lines and curves produced by movement are any more real than the points that you choose to connect to that movement?”
“And the raven said, nevermore,” Jimmy intruded, as he was dosing off.
Suddenly, in a sun burst flare, Graham grabbed hold of Jimmy’s shoulders and shook him violently. “Don’t you dare. The drugs are not sold to you on a mere monetary and pleasure value, but what you produce from the ingestion of these drugs.”
“What do you want me to say?” Jimmy responded, now hovering midair from the violent shaking.
“I want you to answer the question to gain firmer and further understanding.”
Jimmy flung himself forward, kicking his legs about . He then took a series of exhausting deep breaths. “What the fuck is this, man? This was a night to focus on getting high. Instead, I’m bogged down in some deep philosophical bullshit.”
Graham’s intensity seemed to wane. He rethought his approach. “I hate these goddamn things, but they do work to mollify your species.”
“Your species?” Jimmy groaned.
“We’ll get into that later. Now, look at the hands on the clock. See? The hour hand, the minute hand, and the second’s hand.” Graham oversimplified the lesson pointing to each hand on the clock. “You are measuring points of abstractions. This hand goes from four to five, but four is just a representation of a point, as is five. Nothing is really moving between the four and the five, but your experiences. If you think yourself in the realm of time, you lose the true essences of the experiencing. Time is a distraction … something cultivated as a mere concept … it’s all in your head.”
“My man,” Jimmy began with small huffing sigh. “At the café tonight, motion stopped all around us, but you, Lydia, me – did not.”
“We were on a different frequency,” came Graham’s blunt reply.
“There’s movement in frequency, Graham.”
“No, Graham said, slowly shaking his head. “There is vibration. Something is awoken like a spider detecting something in its web – a realization.”
“C’mon. There’s movement in vibration.”
Graham cocked his head slightly signifying his subtle disappointment with Jimmy’s deduction. “No. The vibration appears from sheer will.”
“A mere thought?” Jimmy offered.
“No. Thoughts come afterwards. It is the will to exist that creates that comes first.” Graham paused and pondered. “Look at it this way. In the café tonight, the surrounding environment was suspended – negated. Everything within the environment with all its social interaction could not relate to what had transpired between Lydia and me. There were no reference points for the outliers of actors to attach themselves to the scene taking place. It was then impossible for those others to interact – different frequency, you see? They seemed frozen because there was no entrance and exist designed for them within the drama. You then came on to play your bit part … no offense … but you were already tied into trying to play the white knight and protect Lydia, thus you were tuned into the frequency between Lydia and me.”
“Oh,” Jimmy said with played up dismay. “I’m always relegated to the secondary roles.”
“Yes, but if you play your role well, you might get notice in the credits.”
“Where are we going with this?”
“Tuning in, Jimmy. Tuning in. There are no points. There are no lines. There are no curves. Your entire existence is vibration … a will to being … a conscience effort to exist. Sometimes, the thoughts are a sound, and sometimes they are a word pronounced, which is a vibration – a sine wave in electronics.”
“Why do I feel nauseated?”
Graham sighed. “It will take some time for you to tune into this new frequency.” He then leaned back and observed Jimmy.
Jimmy then attempted to rise from his chair, but his hands locked until the arm rests, and he wavered. The wavering signified his doubt. “Movement,” he cried. “Let me move. Please.” His head sunk forward. “I want to know distance and time. I need to. Please. Too many opiates. Release me from this mortal coil.”
“You need the opiates to sedate you for your next journey into the hallucinogens. I don’t want to see you spiraling out of control from paranoia. Do you want me to prepare the needle – again?”
Jimmy’s face became the tragic mask of an Attic Play. “I’m in hell,” he said, still trying to push forward from the chair.
‘Heaven and Hell are mere concepts in your head,” Graham simply responded. "When you come to finally realize that there are no points, lines and curves, and space and time are merely perceptions that you hold unto - then when ever a line is drawn in the sand and you're told what to do, say, and think - you'll have no problem crossing that line realizing it simply isn't there."
Suddenly, Graham’s apartment appeared to drop in temperature. The night seemed caught in a still frame. Everything once again stopped. Pausing like the breath between a pumping pulse. Purple night painted the passing. The apartment then glowed a green liquid hue. Jimmy stared at Graham, as he still grasped the arm chair of the chair that gave him rest. Graham’s eye pupils became slits and stopped blinking.