[a thankfully short imaginary trip down a twisted memory trail – by Sha’Tara]
I’m trying to imagine a place, first of all. Then something special about that place. Logically, what comes next, if this is going to end well, is imagining a story that has to be dragged out of a vision about that special thing from the very place.
Well, a place should have a name, shouldn’t it? The question is, should the name be of some familiar, everybody knows, place, or should I imagine some kind of fictional place which would much easier lend itself to any sort of story, much as a stranger’s story is likely to be much more interesting, never having been heard, and possessed of a tangy doubt of credibility, than a friend’s whose stories we’ve all heard, often too often, and to which we now listen out of politeness, not bated breath. Ah, a name, a name – Oh, the pain! Eureka! I have it: Cussack’s Corner. But don’t worry, it’s not as small as it sounds. Just imagine a very large corner that everybody has painted themselves into and can’t get out of, not particularly out of fear of messing up a still wet landscape, but for the much greater likelihood of being shot for trespassing.
If it’s to be imagined, that entails anticipation. Not only from those who will read this story, but primarily by the imaginator. What is an imaginator, you may ask, and why not use an already created word for same? Well, an imaginator is an artist who not only creates a work of art, but who makes it come alive. That makes me wonder if I have that in me – it’s a tall order. Nevertheless, one’s reach should, ever and anon, exceed one’s grasp, so at the risk of finding out the painful truth, I think I shall attempt to imagine a story, then create it. Thus, imaginator: dreamer, shaper, describer, writer, soul-giver. As the imaginator it stands to reason I had to invent, or create, a proper term for myself. “God” came to mind, and it is a good one, but dreadfully overused, and somewhat over the top in this case. I’ll pass.
Not wanting to delve into science fiction I’m choosing earth as the place for my place. After all, it’s already here, why not use it? Now, I need a time frame. I need a season. I need a prairie, an ocean, a park in a city, a small village or town, something, anything! Finally I need a drama, or a comedy. Ah, so many delightful choices, so little time! Give me time, or give me death! I’ll let you guess at some of the above by delving into my unabashed creative genius while you thrill at my penciful descriptive powers.
Stanley McGuire was his name. Until the day in question, and, I must admit at the outset that it shall remain a day in question, a rather unremarkable name, whose bearer was known locally at work, the huge tire re-capping plant on Industrial Road; at a couple of local pubs and at the stock car races where Stan spent most of his otherwise, non-pub, non backyard barbecue, non-bowling alley time as a sort of stand-in would-be driver. Stan fancied himself quite the professional know-it-all of track activities, and thought himself a most accomplished driver. His problem was, he didn’t own a car, and despite his earnest talk, was never asked to drive anyone else’s either except for test runs at which Stan also did not excel. When you roll a rather expensive car on a test run, that’s got to take out a couple of gold stars from your driving record.
But it was the kind of place where Stan felt truly at home. There was the burning rubber and fumes to inhale with gusto; the heavenly racket; the excitement of loudspeaker announcements of winners (and losers); the camaraderie of others like himself who all pretended to like each another, and most of all, the beer. For Stan there was nothing like a six-pack of cold beers to give meaning to a Saturday and Sunday at the track. For Stan, as you have readily surmised already, was quite the philosopher in his own mind, even if it was a one-track mind. (Please excuse the pun – if you’re in the excuse mode. If not, oh well, it takes some to leave some…)
Well, let’s see. I’ve got my man, and I placed him in his own little paradise. Truly Biblical. Touching too. But Stan is lonely, walking among the cars, winners, losers and wanna-be’s. Among all these wonderful things, anyone can see that the imaginator is either artless or heartless. Where be poor Stan’s mate? Where his home where he goes nights to repose his tired head? Who is there to praise him, adore him and comfort him; to assure him that he is the paragon of men and mates? No one, it would seem. Was that an oversight, or a deliberate writer’s trick to gain the reading public’s sympathy for an otherwise rather every-day sort of guy of the redneck variety? Time will tell because time must. That is, after all, time’s business and no one, nothing, can be counted on to stick to its business like time. Time is always on the clock, 24-7. You can bet the house on that one, take it from me.
Well, on this particular Sunday, with Goodyear, Dunlop and fat balloon man Michelin flags beginning to wake up to a late afternoon hesitant breeze after a somewhat murky, muggy day; with most of the racers already loaded in, or on, their respective trailers to be hauled who knows where and three-quarters of racing fans having left the field in one solid cloud of slowly settling thick brown dust, Stan, driving his Dodge “guts and glory” Super Ram followed the others out past the gate. Stan, though quite the philosopher, you may have guessed wasn’t one to give much thought to natural surroundings, but he noticed that he felt lighter if he looked at the Entry gate rather than the Exit one on the way through. It was a bit like re-living the expectations of the morning. How he wished it was still morning, with his anticipations running wild or at least as wild as anyone with Stan’s IQ and imagination can run wild. Alright, no one’s expecting a stampede. Perhaps more like a race between two cockroaches across the kitchen counter to that overlooked dried up crumb of cheese still stuck to the plastic wiener wrapper.
Should we follow Stan as he makes the sweeping right-hand turn unto the lane leading to the bridge over the Tamarack river to Stan’s not-so-remarkable digs in a ubiquitous trailer park tucked for comfort and security under a projecting rock beneath Joseph mountain? Sure, why not. It isn’t like he will object since it’s only because of our curiosity that Stan actually exists at all. With cliff-hanger suspense we follow and watch Stan pull into his driveway, deftly avoiding the two wrecks, a once-navy blue rusty Chevy Blazer minus a hood and motor on the left side, and a dusty yellow nondescript once-pickup truck minus three of four wheels and a box, on the right. Stan’s Ram stops inches from the sagging front steps leading to the yet-to-be imagined insides of a single-wide trailer that had seen better days over fifteen years earlier.
Are you still with me? I wouldn’t blame you if you aren’t but there’s a story in store write here. Yes, write here, right now. What would happen if someone, some daring soul, were to say, “Left now” instead of “Right now”? You’d probably get “the look” is it were, if said to someone who happens to know you, and your particular bent for corny jokes. I like corny jokes. It’s like popcorn at the movies. It’s not the movie, of course, just popcorn, but if one were to judge by the number of folks who just love to get supremely ripped-off buying popcorn at the counter before entering the holy of holies to have their eardrums blown out of existence; their eyes lied to with special effects and their remaining strands of imagination utterly deadened, there has to be something to it. I digress of course, but it’s my prerogative, I’m the imaginator, I own this computer, and those are my fingers running wild over the keyboard. A slam-dunk, hey Stan!
Remember Stan? We had him cornered up there. I think he’s still there, opening the door to his own peculiar style of Eden. Well, here’s a twist! Out of the bedroom, languidly stretching, comes Dancer. Oh, she’s beautiful, and not a stitch on, just her own particularly lovely russet fur. With tongue lolling, she greats Stan with large soulful brown eyes and a couple of tail-wags, just enough to let him know that she appreciates his showing up for dinner. After a heart-warming reunion over kibbles and left-over cold wieners, a couple of slices of white bread to hold the mayo and pickles and a couple of beers, the two friends sit side-by-side in front of the TV to watch re-runs of WWF. Eventually, as always, they both fall asleep.
A fitting end to a beautiful day. And a fitting end to six harrowing days of creation for the imaginator. Tomorrow, even if promised to no one, is another day. Perhaps a day of well-preserved rest.
Thank you again, my faithful reading public, for your stalwart support. I shall never forget your heartfelt applause as I humbly accept the Writer of the Moment award, the Pullet Surprise and gaze at my picture as New York Times Best Seller for the nth non-time in a row. I am blessedly dessicated and humblified.