Sometimes It Just Ain’t Going Well

Kyle Perdue 

We were in a meeting—the six of us—divvying up projects for the next year. Tensions were high as people sipped their coffee and looked at the projector screen. Each person had a color, and I was purple but that didn’t concern me—none of it did. I was looking at the wooden table, observing the streaks and the knots and the burl, wondering what kind of wood it was. It was too dark to be Maple, but too light to be Walnut. Could it be Chestnut? Or Pine that was stained. Pine…

I was transported to a trail just outside Rancho Santa Fe and I was underneath a Pine tree. There were needles at my feet and I could smell the dewy sap oozing from the bark and the fallen limbs that had rotted away. I remember this spot; it was where I’d seen many a coyote and deer. Once, just over there in that tall grass, shining nearly translucent from the sun, underneath the crooked Eucalyptus, I saw a coyote curled up and resting. It would reach its muzzle all the way back and pick at its coat with bloody teeth, itching at some tick or flea. Then it would go back to sun bathing and I would watch it for another minute. It was here that I began to feel a warm fuzziness in my gut, the feeling that would come seldom too often. It was the feeling of being free. Truly free. I was no longer trapped in that office, sucking money through a straw and wondering if the coffee machine had been refilled. Here I embraced nature’s hypnosis, like a fine, tempting woman lying in some bed, she curled her finger toward me and I succumbed without hesitation; like a newborn baby I was baptized in the sun, cleansed of all despair.

I ventured further down the trail toward the coyote, breathing in all the delicate smells the forest had to offer. I smelled water and grew excited. Then I heard a brook and thought, there’s got to be a stream nearby. Let’s find it. But as I got closer to the coyote, perched in that grassy field under the Eucalyptus, I noticed it was no coyote, no god damn coyote at all. It was a woman and I, sitting at dinner. And the water I had smelled was no brook, no god damn brook at all. It was a waiter pouring us water. We were setting the napkins on our laps as she said,

“I need to tell you something.”

“Okay,” I replied.

“Another guy asked me on a date, and I said yes.”

And I was no longer baptized. I was a man who’d lived a life of sin with a knot in his chest and a crack in his brain. I had taken myself here. But why had I taken myself here? I watched myself from a distance, at this terrible memory of a dinner, as I uncomfortably sipped at the glass of water. And with boiling blood I became angry.

“Why would you tell me that?” I slammed my glass down, steam coming out my ears.                 

“How is that supposed to make me feel?”

“I just wanted to be honest.”

“Yeah, and I want to get the hell out of here,” I said, getting up and throwing the napkin onto the table.

I could see the tears forming in her eyes. They began to form in mine. I peered at her from the trail and I thought about where she was now if she was happy and if she ever thought of me. I remembered how well it was going, and I remembered how badly it had ended. We shed a tear and it began to rain. I looked to the sky and back to the grassy field. There was nothing there. No coyote, no sun, no dinner. I heard a voice.

 “What are you working on?” 

“What are you working on?” It kept saying.

God? Is that you? I thought.

“What are you working on?”

I looked to the sky again.

“God?” I asked it.

The sky had become the face of my manager. It asked again,      

“What are you working on?”

I looked down at the wooden table. It’s Manzanita, damn it. It’s got that red tint. I looked up to my manager.

“I’m working on escaping.”

Everyone around the table stirred. They squirmed uncomfortably.

“Escaping?” she asked.

“You got that right,” I said getting up.

“Where are you going?” she asked.

I left the office, began home, and took a turn to go to that trail outside Rancho Santa Fe to escape, or try to, at least.

 

Me and Dogs

Kyle Perdue is a scientist born and raised in Carlsbad. He loves animals, family/friend time, the outdoors, playing music, writing, snorkeling and much more. His favorite writers are Bukowski, Hemingway, Hamsun and Turgenev.

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