Monday, March 27, 2006
The metropolis: a smothering jumble of towering facades, sullied air and noise. There I was, trudging through it when I wondered how pleasant it would be if it were a peaceful Japanese meadow instead. In the honk of a city horn, my entire field of vision blurred and I was strolling through just such a land, but it was considerably more elaborate than I had expected. In the distance loomed a massive volcano, and across the grassy plains loitered a modern Japanese maiden, giggling mysteriously at something. At me? At the mountain? Or some secret? She stopped and fixed her gaze in my direction.
"Why are you dressed in pink?" I asked her.
"My clothes were blue a moment ago." she stated enigmatically, and giggled again.
The sky was blue, but her clothes certainly weren't. I decided not to press the matter, choosing instead to engage a new subject, "Could you tell me about that volcano in the distance?"
But she continued giggling and finally answered not the question I had asked, but the one I was actually thinking of, "I'm not really a Japanese girl, I'm that cloud over there.
I took this as slightly presumptuous. After all, this was my day dream, and not hers. I looked at the cumulus formation drifting high by the mountain's peak, and wondered if the volcano itself might have puffed it into existence. It looked to me like a sage poring over an ancient volume, a dictionary perhaps. But not a young Japanese girl! More giggles.
"April fool!" she exclaimed, causing my thoughts to trip backwards and fall flat, if thoughts are capable of such a thing. "I'm not really that cloud over there, I'm Doug, Doug! Don't you know me? You do recognize me, don't you?"
Then I did recognize him, and that we were standing on a Los Angeles street corner, waiting for the light to change. "What an odd happenstance, meeting you here," I told him," I heard you were down in Guatemala."
"Oh, no. Not anymore. I came back."
Then the light flashed green and he was off before I could ask the most important question. I called urgently into the moving masses, "Did you find Ambrose Bierce!?" but not a single person looked up.
And that's how I met Doug. But when I was home something happened to make me wonder whether I had simply imagined my imaginings. I recalled quite lucidly that I had never in my life been to Los Angeles, nor had I ever seen Doug or spoken with him in person.
Afterword: I suppose there are some people who have never heard of Ambrose Bierce or Doug Pascover, who blogs impeccable modern-day versions of the Devil's Dictionary entries. Bierce, author of the original Devil's Dictionary disappeared in Mexico in 1913. It is my opinion that Doug doesn't need to search for Ambrose Bierce. He's already found him. Doug has recently posted a five part account of his travels in Guatemala, a wonderful excursion into the real and the imaginary, which were the inspiration for this story. It's well worth reading/listening to:     . Also, these and more of Doug's audio stories are collected at dougdroneson.blogspot.com.
Story contributions have been reposted at indeterminacies.blogspot.com.