Life Is Hard
No, itís really not. Life and living is the easy part. This complex social mockery is what complicates the beauty of an otherwise spectacular thing. Here I am, confined to this world of three-dimensions, doing the petty nuances for the bourgeoisie while lying inside of me is so much more. The fact that I can bring this information to you for you to read, does that not amaze you? Stop and think of where this comes from. Where does an innate idea, brought to light by a physical mechanism of moving flesh, come from? The other side, man. Iím gonna put this joint down and start over.
Anyways, yeah we all hear the life is hard bullshit. Nobody could have yelled that louder than Russell Billings. The son of an Appalachian politician brought with it a lifetime of ridicule from the good folks of eastern Kentucky. This discrimination was not unjustified, however. Russís father was behind a good deal of the coal mines leaving, in return for a nice ass kissing (keep in mind where you store your wallet on daily travels) from the Environmentalists. Whether you want to get into a pointless debate about whether this was done with good intentions to restore Appalachia from the anal probing of mines on her, or done to justify that he was mayor of the richest acre of land in all of eastern Kentucky, matters not.
The Kentucky River flows like shit. All of the kids would say this phrase once they figured out it was cool to say shit, damn, and faggot. This made you sound like the older kids who sounded like the high school kids, who we all knew were headed straight for the bottom. There was no rafting in this river, oh no. Therefore, the youth of Appalachia would play along the bank, catching critters. There was a bridge that ran over the stream, that bridge was visited daily by only one young man: Russell Billings.
Anyway, back to our golden boy Russ. You see, Russ was always dolled up to be the poster-boy for Mayor Shawn Billings. He never minded that role, until he was away from his beloved family.
ďGive her your lunch Russell I know your daddy has Cheetos at home,Ē the fat and loudmouthed little girl said at lunch, they must have been no more than eight years old. But her rage was always met with silence. You see, Russell had appearances to keep up. Now if it were to get around that he called little miss round-ass a shit-spewing roll of dough, that wouldnít look good for our politician now would it?
Russell would go get wasted at his one and only friendís house in high school and usually drive home late at night since his parents were so worn out from their day, or fucking. Russell chose to believe the former. His dad was gone for a whole two days on a meeting to Frankfort. This was in the middle of a humid filled early summer, when the critters really started getting loud and the kids played by the banks in exponentially increasing numbers. Yes itís a small town, but kids to these families were gold mines the hardworking taxpayers were paying for. My point being, there was a lot of kids.
This constant pressure to be a poster-boy eventually wore down his psyche. Everywhere he went he felt like he was being judged for wearing Abercrombie & Fitch, when his subordinates in class were wearing only what they could salvage at the local merchants. But not his buddy, you see Russís buddy was the only halfway smart one of the whole bunch. He knew little Billings had a house with an above ground pool and satellite television.
ďGet the bowl, weíre gonna smoke on the way to your house,Ē his buddy said one humid, early summer day. ďYou sure your parents are out of town? Iím not getting caught with this and have to bang your mom to get out of it.Ē Russell chuckled to himself and uttered some generic comeback that anyone could have thought of.
Driving to Russís house from his buddyís was no picnic, even for the backroad aficionado dynamic duo. It was usually started after a drunken path from the old, wooden back porch his buddyís house. The porch was raised about 25 feet off the ground and overlooked some of the greenest patch of forest youíll see in all of eastern Kentucky. There was a clearing about the width of a football field until the start of this jungle, always silently protruding and beckoning you. This particular day was no different; it was only 2:00 in the afternoon, the gravel shining and bringing a squint to Russís eye. He heard the back door do the infamous squeak and slam routine, alerting Russís primary senses it was time to go. The truck lie just ahead of them, ready to take them home. He was wasted, his parents werenít home, and his buddy was there by his side. It was a sunny day. Today was going to be good.
The backroad used to travel was one of those dirt, pavement mixes. The kind your parents thanked Reagan for because thatís the last president most of them can remember, and the last one to issue pavement, and any kind of repair that comes with it. Flying down the road at a reasonable pace for him, is none other than Russell Billings. Russell rounded turn six, the one past Raymond Coxís mailbox with expert precision. Rocks were flying behind the vehicle. The last little straight stretch led right to the bridge. This ragged infrastructure made of a block of pavement dropping off into the gravel caused Russellís front two tires to be momentarily suspended; this was just enough time for Russell to jerk his steering wheel right because he thought he was sliding on the dirt.
His heart skipped a beat and lurched into his throat, for what he saw was a wide-eyed little girl about seven years old, directly in front of his ram horns positioned on the middle of his hood. Braking was an inevitable but futile task, as the dirt slid him and his four-wheeled death machine into the red iron supports of the bridge, with the girl sandwiched in between. The force blew her back into the posts, and that look never left her face. Russellís head slammed against the steering wheel, and all went momentarily black. Which was great timing, considering he was about to throw up from the nerves mixed with alcohol.
When he came to, he glanced over at his buddy, not moving. He screamed at him and went to grab the door to check on the little girl, when he noticed the air around him starting to change. Not the air, necessarily, but reality starting to shift. It was almost as if he was looking at a pond with the softest of ripples right in front of him. This is when he looked to his left and saw down at the creek the kids catching critters, frozen in disbelief. But no, everything frozen. No leaf twirled a little dance in the gentle breeze, the creek stopped like a picture you see on all the Jesus art with him baptizing people.
Not being able to move, he was mesmerized and entranced by this shifty scene unfolding before his eyes. A black hole the size of a golf ball appeared before him amongst this pond of reality and the ripples got stronger. Strong enough that now he couldnít see the other side of the bridge, a mere 100 feet away. Thatís when it spoke. Not with words, no this was all sent directly to the understanding part of the brain, and although ďitĒ didnít use words, this is what was understood by Russ after his encounter:
(Italics) This girlís life was taken by you. There is no divine intervention, the only thing divine is the structure and order of the universe in perfect harmony. But Russell you have much to learn in the ways of life. Your own stupidity and ignorance led by your desire to cleanse some kind of pain that never really existed deep in your soul was the culprit. I am not God, I never claimed to be. I am merely from the other side, and this girl I will take with me now. She will see all the wonders of the physical world as well as the realm beyond.(Italics)
The kids were screaming again, Russ jolted from his hypnotic daze and saw the girl resting the top half of her body on his truck. What happened next is a blur and isnít important to our story.
Our politician lost favor with the good folks of this small, eastern Kentucky town and was not reelected, leading him into a life with no purpose and therefore had idle hands. These do the devils work, as they say. He began to fall in love with the bottle and out of love with his wife, who wasnít financially secure enough to leave him.
Russís buddy never spoke to him again after the tragedy. He went on to play baseball at a college in western Kentucky and never looked back.
Russ himself, well he went on to do nothing for the rest of his life. Literally. He lived on food stamps by himself after he was kicked out of his home during one his fatherís alcoholic rages. He was content with this life, he never had much ambition. But, luckily for him, life is hard and reality is soft.
Copyright © 2015 Anthony Wilhoit