Cruising on Thought
Michael-John Shea

It’s like being inside Dylan’s thoughts. I’m in a cab to the airport. People gathered round as I headed for the door. Monstrous raindrops bounced on flat concrete soaking a pencil-thin moustachioed, urban cowboy’s boots of Colombian leather. Where once was parody in a house of emptiness, it’s now only because we know little better, that the muse’s Stetson is coming closer than we can second guess whatever devils are coursing through cuckold minds. Eyes peeping from cellars, well-stocked wine bars, merchants sitting their lunch breaks out exchanging points of law, whether it is more expedient to suck or blow the first harmonica note. If I knew where I could find you I would pay the fee you name to get in bed beside you and draw the curtains around contrariness keeping us apart.

We crossed the railway tracks into the uptown section dragging downtown tragedy behind us on a
chain. It was you who cut back through the piney woods in search of whatever it is you are looking for; truth, secrecy, a long-time love affair, smoke from a distant fire, or time to kill. Shadows creep, crawling along a wall following the passers-by or spies from a corrupt government. Everybody beware the music from the Turkish instruments; droning, humming, saddening moods or lifting spirits, locked in time from centuries past. I wished I could express my emotions better than I can mow lawns. When my brain whirls in slow discontent inside my skull my idiot ideas of running instead of facing, of facing instead of fighting, I am hounded by the image of you packing your lace underwear, drawing material and the silver-framed photograph; leaving behind my heart and clean circle islands surrounded by dust on a shelf.

The cab stopped at traffic lights and pedestrians looked in the window and thought they saw their idol. A woman stepped around the stranger blocking her progress in the plaza thinking from a Hyde-like point of view and speaking in Jekyll’s voice. Sex is freedom, man, freedom is the reason, reasons don’t matter. What does it mean to know what you don’t know? On an empty street where previously the woman I loved was walking with a suitcase in her hand was a lonesome conversation battling blindly, forlorn as a gesture from a widow in the early hours of the morning. I crowd amongst the departing passengers alighting from their cabs, stretch limousines and hire cars trying to get through to followed them down to the departure counter at New Orleans airport with my passport, visas and papers in my hand. I was feeling like I was being abandoned on the avenue of getting my life back together before the axe fell on the uneasy spot-lit failures and embarrassing moments I was anxious to forget. The jet plane rested, wings-out, on the simmering apron and I knew if the aircraft could make it I could make it too. Escaping is the coward’s option; I’d rather not do it for you.

Michael-John Shea lives on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. He mostly writes fiction but has had non-fiction articles published in an independent Australian online news journal. He is currently reading for a doctoral degree in creative writing.