Paid my dues at the front desk, eighteen bucks to a guy named Sagan. He tipped his head, like a connective wire before an execution, zzzt.
He slowed down, handed me a manila envelope. Had my name, the name of the motel, it was stamped forwarded from the Joy Motel. Dammit all.
Shuffling out back, corn field, stalks talking, I can hear their voices. Elbow my way in fifty yards and sit down. Manila crinklywrinkly.
My name in redpen, blood oath. Familiar script, aggressive K. Cornerbiting I tear it open, spit out the paperscrap, mash it badboy soily.
Tip the envelope and gravity pulls as gravity does and the black and white glossy slips out and falls like a petal from a monochrome rose.
It's me. I'm dead. Blank head. Blood red. My face is mashed into the lap of a woman wearing a floral dress, summershift thin, me eyeglassy.
In the picture, future-me is breathlessly innocent, mouth open, saliva bubbling at the corners, her small hand mashpushing my head down.
Relooking at the envelope. Handwriting hardedge K. Familiar, yeah. That's mine. I sent the manila surprise to myself. From the Joy Motel.
Postmark 3-15-72. Sent to the Third Mind Motel. How did I know where I'd be on this day after hours of wheelspinning on a westward quest?
How did I get this death image? Why did I die? Who is this tiny woman with the bony hand smothering me into her lap, bigheadedly deadeyed?
Folding the photo until it is the size of a baby's heart and stuffing it pocketly. Hawk slips westward sliding above on God's last breath.
I bounced in my seat, threw my back out, opened the car door and retrieved it. So I meet an old dame in the next 4 yrs. Memo:avoid old dames
Simple as that, stick with the schedule, snipe the disciple, avenge dad's lovegone, emasculate Hitler a generation later. And then, discord.
Kindred hadn't gone a single exit ramp from that shitty motel when a squad reeree'd out of nowhere, zeroing him. He pressed his jugular.
An old trick, get a move going, effects of the meds vamoose for a bit, waiting behind nerve bundles until Johnny Law skidoos to the sunset.
The cop walked up to Kindred, kept it quick. Handed him a note, smelled like corn, told him it was in that envelope, wagged his finger once.
Kindred saw his teeth marks; it was where he bit it open. Cop all smiley, told him he was lucky, littering was legal but only until 1973.
Random scribbles, did he write this, in haste? The cop car did doughnuts in a Stuckey's parking lot off to the left, clue or distraction?
Dad's old flame had moved on. Scott AFB, southern Illinois, near St. Louis. Space Command, reported for duty the day Jackie grabbed JFK DNA.
Dammit, might as well just start paddling the Mississippi. Deep down, Kindred seemed pleased. He thought of ships in a Midwestern night.