Sammy Levi's Bones
by Jeff Phillips
A cabin. Harsh winds knock at the shoddy piecing together of logs. Snow fall outside. The cold draft prevails. A bearded fellow, in glasses, wraps himself in a flannel afghan.
FREDS BALOU: I can never quite get down to business. Which is why I only vacation in the wild as opposed to thrive and survive amongst it's blows. Some may say the corporate agenda is a vicious jungle of it's own, but goddamn friend, that's been stated by a bunch of fucking pussies. Corporate games are cushy. Once you set your blackberry down on the nightstand, silenced, and pour yourself a glass of scotch, vino, ale, vodka, or whatever your goddamn choice to forget is, you have nothing to worry about because your digital security system is on and your guard dog is on the clock. The art of forgetting. Long has civilization designed it's strengths to get to this point. The wild animal can never comfortably forget because of the art of predation. Neither could our homo erectus ancestor. Eons beyond a long millennium rotated new dawns and danced new thrills in technology until we got to this point. Eleven months out of the year I hide out in my metropolitan penthouse, with state of the art security, protected with precise heating and air condition systems. The cleaning lady does well to sparkle the place and give it that touch of pristine. The other one month of the year I renounce running water, electricity and protection so I can remember what it's like to feel alive and awake. In the mountains, I hear wolves, grizzlies, and mountain lions. Harsh blizzards, avalanches, and sandstorms talk the naked rant of a jealous god, as though every creature still offends. Let us not be led into temptation, the temptation I touched upon, the art of forgetting. Slumber is the biggest sin in the wild. And for that matter, the well kept city. For every hour, minute, second, dancing molecule, nature is not witnessed. The subconscious is a feux, distorted back drop and insomniacs have the right idea. Why do you spend 5 minutes in line when they make your latte? I stand behind you, wanting my black coffee but have to wait for you to describe your beverage of choice. But neither of us have won that coffee. So easy to toss our salary to a sales kiosk and immediately get what we want. I respect the hungry wolves, that exist with raw critical thinking, and fight for their food. A pack of them can communicate with pagan precision and also can shut the fuck up in the same act. It's as though they pissed in a tavern bathroom where the wall announced Zen Sarcasms on the fact that you can actually learn something when you're not yackin'. But they got this born into their cranial wiring. I wish Sammy Levi had that instinct. A slick Jew who was my business partner, whom I convinced to join my monthly retreat into the uncivilized mountain scape. A day light hike found awful consequences. Sandstorms blew in from the north uninvited. We both hid in the shelter of caves until it passed. I thank God I chose the right cave. A day later when I emerged, I felt my way about the crevices in the cold moonlight and had to rely on the art of touch to feel about the dark cave depths I periodically got lost in. I froze when I touched what felt like wet bone. I froze until dawn ushered some light in because I thought I heard inhuman breathing. When the light peaked with more exposure, I saw shreds of Sammy Levi's North Face jacket and back pack. His canteen crushed like a beer can. I chose not to touch again the wet bones scattered amongst pockets in the rocks. I crept away from Sammy Levi's bones. Away from the slumbering grizzly bear, in his thanksgiving coma. Crept back through the calm of day light, through arid terrain and built myself a fortress with pine branches. I went on hiatus and allowed my stocks to sink with apathy. Stocks cannot fight off big bears and hurricanes. I have a hard time pretending nature don't exist for twelves months straight. I feel better if I respect it and give her time in the spotlight to scare the living piss out of me. The shiver of wind aligns with the universe with greater conscience than a Walgreen's electric blanket. And for me when I do shut some eye in a humbled mountain shelter, I dream in color. And can't tell the difference between that and waking thunder. I have a hard time getting down to business which is why I never built my own home and my log cabin is an unfinished piece of shit that cracks beavers up with silent giggle fest. And good ol' Freds Balou makes a fine stew from Sammy Levi's Bones. And it warms my belly and I respect this rare method of staying warm because in way, I'm burying my friend. Maybe not in the ground, but his remains I had second thoughts about just leaving, and it was easier to touch the second time because the blood had dried.