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|Seeing the Dragon (standard:Psychological fiction, 6844 words)|
|Author: Joe E.||Added: Jul 27 2003||Views/Reads: 1964/1546||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Jack takes his teenage son to a concert and reafirms the beliefs that he began to develop in the coffee house days of the early sixties. As he is blown into a different reality, we see that time and space are illusions of thought.|
"Seeing the Dragon" I had a long string a dat bad luck... And I pray it's gone at last. Gone at last... Gone at last... I sang to myself though I knew I was pushing it driving all the way to Santa Cruz before I even had a chance to road test the junkyard carburetor that I put on the day before. In fact, going to the concert in Santa Cruz was the very last thing I wanted to do right in the middle of our Christmas vacation. For at least two weeks, I had tried to talk Stoke out of it; saying that we couldn't afford it after all the expense of the holidays, that we could wait until the group came to Oakland later in January, that the car wasn't running right, that I was right in the middle of my cab driving novel. "Donny's dad took us to the Coliseum. Eddie's dad already took us twice. You never take us any place," Stoke argued. To make matters worse, Anne wouldn't think of going. I couldn't talk Alex into it. Just me and the kids, I told myself thinking I'd have a really great time... The second we hit that first long up grade south of San Jose, I knew I was right. The engine began to cough and sputter. I made my way to the inside lane and geared down. The hill got steeper. Creeping along at twenty miles an hour and holding up a long line of Sunday afternoon traffic, I was telling myself, I knew it... I knew it; we're not even going to make it to Santa Cruz. Why do I always give in to them? I wondered as I glanced across to where Stoke sat long legs stretched out in front of him. There he was just as tall as me, a little less than six feet, at a hundred and sixty pounds a bit heavier. Like yesterday, I remember teaching him to play catch... Even back then, I always let him have his own way. When will I ever learn? When will I learn? I was asking myself. When we cleared the last up grade, the engine seemed to run a little better, but I knew we'd never make it home. I pictured us on the way back some time after midnight, breaking down on the Nimitez, fighting the wind and cold and dark. I thought how embarrassing it would be if I had to call Donny's father to come pick us up, how we wouldn't get home 'til three or four A.M., how I'd lose another day's writing... In Santa Cruz, there was a long line at the only open gas station, an off brand where I couldn't use my credit card. I counted the change from my last twenty and tried to figure out just how much the whole thing was costing me. Twelve fifty a ticket, and Anne insists that I buy one for Stoke's tenth grade pal, Donny. "It will make a nice Christmas gift," she told me. A tank of gas. They'll wanna eat after. And, Christ, if I have to get a tow... I told myself and wondered if we shouldn't start home while it was still daylight. Yet, even back then, in seventy-nine, there was a little part of me that took the whole thing as a small adventure, a part of me that identified with Henry Miller and Castaneda and wanted to experience the concert as a writer might. To my surprise, there were parking spaces just a couple blocks from the civic center. As we walked by the empty government buildings, Donny was telling me about the time Ed's dad took them to a Kiss concert in Oakland. "He had these little bottles, you know, the kind they serve on the airlines. Driving over he was just sipping. But, when we got on the Nimitz, he started chugging 'em. I guess he didn't want to get caught with no alcohol going into the Coliseum. He was chugging and throwing the empties out the window." "Right on the freeway? " I asked and told myself, God damm. Santa Cruz in the wintertime! My eyes opened wide as I got into the feel of that early December evening. A damp chilled breeze blowing off the Pacific. Streets lights blinking on. Stone civic buildings standing sentinel behind trimmed evergreen hedges. Strangers and Blue Oyster Cult fans funneling in the same direction. A touch of excitement sparking off the sidewalk and bringing to mind the old Trivia Coffee House days. How long has it been? I wondered as an image from the winter of fifty-nine flashed through my mind. It's after closing, around two A. Click here to read the rest of this story (652 more lines)
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