Swimming Inside the Sun Excerpt 3

Swimming Inside the Sun Excerpt 3

I’ve never been one for drugs. Even liquor doesn’t suit me; the way rubbing alcohol feels on an open wound is the way drinking alcohol feels in my stomach; and anything hallucinogenic, narcotic, or illicit, I simply (as if you couldn’t tell) don’t have the disposition for. I’ll say it – I’m afraid. Who knows what could go wrong. And, so, like I am doing right now, I watch TV all the time. It’s the non-pharmaceutical way for me to clear-out or at least drown-out or maybe just tire-out this sonic fuzz infecting my head until the noise fades down to its essence, a near subsonic, a-harmonic hum: my anxiety engine. Vroom Vroom! Here we go. I’m on fire baby and I’ve got everywhere to go! I have so much to say! So much to do! But you wouldn’t know it by watching me. I’m still here, sitting in my apartment watching TV. I’m just a sloth curled in the corner of a couch. But let me tell you, inside that sloth is a dynamo. It’s like the dream where you’re screaming but no sound is coming out. That’s my life. Inside this immobile figure you see before you, his eyes vacant, staring, his feet in three-year-old slippers with the fur lining all matted down, in his boxers and t-shirt, with the light of the set flickering on him as if he’s a screen in some abstract art exhibit, is a person running around the world. Please imagine the damage being done to this body. There is a person inside running, laughing, arms flailing like Keith Moon doing a solo – all this is happening inside this immobile body.

Potential.

I’m a Ferrari with the rpms red-lined but the gear is stuck in neutral. Pop the clutch! Please, I need to pop the fucking clutch already. I want to peel out and scream down the blacktop. I want to floor this fucker and blow everything down in my wake. But I am still right here. I keep pressing harder and harder on the damn pedal and it’s down as far as it can go and the tach needle is pinned to the right but I’m stuck in neutral. And I’m getting scared now because smoke is starting to come out from under the hood. And I could almost take it, being stuck, if only I weren’t burning all this fuel. And what happens if I run out of fuel before I can get into gear? So I’ve got to just ease up on this pedal until I figure out what the hell is going wrong here but I can’t, I keep flooring it. And so the engine is roaring and I am going nowhere. I am stuck right fucking here.

I’d say I was the horse at the starting gate, getting ready to explode when the bell rings and it flies open but that’s not quite right because I’m not waiting to explode, I am exploding; I’m just not going anywhere because the Goddamn gate is stuck. So really, I’m the horse galloping in place—[Yes, yes, follow me with this analogy!]—head down, ramming against the metal gate, pushing, braying, a patch of blood is visible where I keep making contact, giant horse nostrils flaring in desperation as the trainer looks on in horror. OPEN THE MOTHER FUCKING GATE. I am wasted potential. I am the sperm in the bottom of the condom. I am the spoiled food never to be served, the honors student hit by a drunk driver, the husband and father lost at sea.