The Drawing of the Three
Footfalls echo deftly through the empty house as Albey shuffles and reshuffles his feet down the staircase.
Instead of going right outside and relieving himself in the primal way nature intended, Albey makes a pit stop in the bathroom – the powder room, as his mom has called it ever since she heard one of her clients refer to their own main bathroom as such – and drops his various smoking instruments off next to the sink. He then assumes the position in front of the toilet, drops his fly, and lets rip only the yellowest of flows, and no, it doesn’t smell good. Above the toilet is a framed watercolor painting of some rando’ standing on the hull of a sailboat, which both goes wonderfully with the other nautical decor Albey’s folks have displayed in their bathroom and also provides a wonderful momentary distraction from the scent of his most liquid of excrements.
“The Sailor,” Albey says to himself. A chuckle escapes him as he shakes his head. “Fine, that’s the prologue.” He shakes twice, never daring to go for the triple, and returns his own little sailor to the cabin beneath his zipper. “What were the other chapters? The Pusher was Mort, Susannah was The Lady of Shadows, and Eddie Dean…” he can’t remember. Albey flushes the toilet, turns around. Sees himself in the bigger of the two mirrors in here, the one not framed by a piece of wood carved to look like a rowboat. “Eddie’s door said The Prisoner, that’s right.” Begins to wash his hands. “Because of the heroin. Yeah.”
Albey takes his stubby claws of weed and his fully loaded piece and leaves the bathroom, winking at the tiny seagull standing on the post of the mahjong-board-lookin’ wallhang thing that’s supposed to resemble a dock but looks more like a clusterfuck than anything else.
“I will never understand my mom’s need to make our bathroom reminiscent of the ocean.” Halfway between the living room and the door out to the porch, he proves himself wrong. “Oh, duh. She probably stole the idea from one of her clients. Or one of the folks her clients talk shit about.” Opens the door. “I love the woman and I know she loves me too, but I think she loves her gossip more.” The door closes behind him. “Maybe even more than I love my weed.”
As Albey plops down on the wicker chair with the cushion of the atrociously gaudy floral pattern his mind drifts off to the Western Sea, the waves of which crash at the far end of the Mohaine Desert. Roland wandered along that deadly seashore and came across three doors which led into a world entirely foreign to him, a world all too similar to Albey’s own. The doors all had names – The Prisoner, The Lady of Shadows, and The Pusher, each of them corresponding to the three tarot cards the man in black drew when he and the gunslinger held palaver high in the Cyclopean Mountains (The Prisoner, The Lady of Shadows, and Death, respectively). Exchanging The Peace Piece for the white lighter in his pocket – don’t worry, the bowl won’t leak out into his pocket; Albey packed that shit tight – Albey draws the first of his three joints (the second one he rolled, by happenstance and not much else) from between his fingers, takes the crutch with his teeth, and lights up. As he exhales, he begins to pontificate.
“The Prisoner, The Lady of Shadows, and The Pusher.” He tokes deeply and releases, admiring the air as it grows hazy. “Well my mom has to be The Lady of Shadows, she’s the only lady in this house… that doesn’t really make any sense, though.” Another hit, another cloud of happy smoke. “Unless… wait, maybe it does. She’s a gossip queen, she knows all about what goes on behind the closed doors of this town.” Three small hits are toked in rapid succession and held. “What go–” is cut off by a rather painful coughing fit. Tears spill down his cheeks, but Albey’s smiling wide nonetheless. “What goes on in the shadows behind those closed doors. Christ, my mom is The Lady of Shadows.”
Though the screen windows of the porch do not trap the air, the smoke refuses to flow through them. The wind is still, as if it wants Albey to soak up his high, and he does just that. Three quarters of the joint is burned before Albey speaks again.
“I guess my dad is The Prisoner, then. Working at a public school and all.” Nah, that doesn’t sound quite right. Karl works at the school too, and he likes it. “Or at least, he acts like he likes it. In front of his friends.”
The pot smoke is beginning to burn Albey’s throat. He’s coughing after every hit now, like a newbie. Like he’s never smoked before in his life. Like a chump.
“I ain’t no chump,” Albey tells himself, reminiscing on The Stand, another one of Sai King’s master works. One he has not yet read but knows is very closely related to the Dark Tower series and can quote. “I’m a nice guy, but I ain’t no chump.” Well, sort’a quote.
A staring contest is then held between Albey and the joint, which is now beyond any reasonable doubt a roach. Albey loses this contest. He shrugs, as if he was done smoking, then hits it a few more times anyway, burning the end of the crutch in the process and choking on the violent coughs which ensue. When he can breathe again, Sidney wipes his eyes clean of the tears, reminds himself that the world has moved on, and stands up so he may move on with it.
Creaks follow him through the back porch and down the stairs. Averting his eyes from the rot of foodstuffs passed, Albey drops the roach into the compost pile next to the stairs as he rounds the corner and makes his way towards the driveway. There waits his trusty ol’ sedan, parked and alone on the black pavement. It’s at this point, the moment when Albey grabs the doorhandle with his left hand, that he realizes he doesn’t have his keys on him.
“Whatever,” as he opens the door and plops himself in. “Probably better if I smoke before I leave anyway. ehL riding is fun, but it’s never really the smart thing to do.”
The keys – well, the key fob – are sitting in the change tray at the base of the gearstick. They’ve been waiting there since the last time Albey went driving, which was…
The car starts with the push of a button. Albey draws his second joint, the tightly packed one, and pops it into his mouth. He lights it as he backs out of his parents’ driveway and decides to take the long way around the circle – the wrong way, that is – as he fights through the papery tip-hitty smoke and gets down to the weedy good stuff. As he begins his slow cruise up Sawblade Lane, Albey’s tokin’ proper.
“I guess my dad would have to be The Pusher, then,” he says after a few moments of silence. He didn’t bring any music for this drive, as doing so felt pointless. What, would he listen to half a song and then finish it on the way back? No, that’s stupid. If he wants to listen to music he can just do it when he gets back home. Do it right. He’s not going to be at The True Commons for long, anyway. Just long enough to smoke a bowl. “He pushes a broom at the high school.” Oh, and to take down the hammock. Can’t forget that. “Yeah, that fits really well, actually. Mom’s The Lady of Shadows, gossip queen of Logger’s Pond, and dad’s The Pusher, janitor supreme, golf buddy of Principal Torez. And I’m… The Prisoner? I guess?” He takes a long toke then, exhaling it immediately out the side of his mouth so the smoke may marinate above his passenger seat before flowing stealthily out his passenger-side window. Despite the fact Albey just lit this bomber, the smoke is burning his throat. Burning it pretty bad, almost worse than the roach was on the porch. “Nah, that doesn’t make any sense at all. Eddie was a prisoner because he was addicted to heroin. I’ve never done heroin. Never once wanted to. Never plan on trying it, either, not even on my deathbed.”
The forest thickens considerably as Albey drives along Sawblade Lane. More coughs escape his mouth than puffs of smoke enter it, but goddamn is he going to be high as shit by the time he gets to The True Commons. Might not even need to smoke that bowl.
“Who am I kidding?” Sidney asks himself between coughing fits. “Of course I’m’a smoke the bowl. What is this, fuckin’ amateur hour?”
Albey goes to hit his joint again, but he tastes no smoke. Only ash. The little fucker must have went out, and he’s only halfway down the road, too.
“Guess I got’a pull over,” as he flips on his blinker, alerting the zero other drivers on the road with him that he’s about to pull over into the nonexistent shoulder of Sawblade Lane. Pulls over. Puts the sedan in park. Lights the jammer, takes a hit. Then another, without coughing between them. The third hit is cut off early by the worst coughing fit yet, and the fourth hit signifies his pulling back onto the road.
A fifth, a sixth, a seventh, an eighth hit. More coughs than he can count. His windows were only cracked when he left the house of his father (and mother), and the passenger-side glass is still most of the way closed, but Albey lowered the driver-side window all the way so he could hock loogies without inadvertently splattering them on the inside of his window, and hock loogies he does. One thick and meaty loogie after the next, each one browner than the last. Albey pretends not to notice, but half-asses doing so.
“Just like everything else I’ve done lately…” mumbled in self-pity.
Serendipitously enough, Albey tokes his last puff from the second joint he drew (the third joint he rolled) as the dirt parking lot shoulder thing comes into view. He makes to flick the roach out the window, pauses, considers the consequences of the police finding the roach in the road and raping it for DNA and tracking said raped DNA back to the house of The Pusher and The Lady of Shadows, and decides to just drop it on the floor of his car, which is pretty dirty anyway. Police dogs might be able to sniff out a spent joint littered in the middle of the road, but one banished to the floor of a locked car they have no reason, warrant nor otherwise, to enter? Not likely, especially when the windows of said car are closed, which Albey makes sure of now.
He pulls over in the small dirt parking lot and idles for a moment, trying to find the trailhead through the smoke fogging up the closed windows, but has no luck.
“Luck,” Albey scoffs at himself. “Luck’s the word those with poor hearts use for ka.”
And so Albey opens the windows of his sedan, all four of them, and cranks the air conditioning, making sure to hit the recirculation button so all the stale air gets cycled out. The smoke billows towards the sky in obvious, rank clouds. Not a soul drives by to notice.
“Damn,” he curses himself. “All that worrying, too… I’m paranoid as fuck right now, aren’t I?”
The quiet rumbling of his idle car answers, but not in words. If it answered in words, there would be a problem.
After a few minutes Albey closes his windows, confident that all the weedstink has been properly vented, and opens the door to step out into a world that moved on, leaving the keys to rest on their bed of coins. Everything looks… the same as it always does. Huh. Usually when he smokes this much everything has a super vibrant vibe to it, like god cranked up the saturation in Photoshop, but everything just kind’a looks… meh. Average. Normal.
“What a waste,” Albey says as he draws his third joint, the loosest one, the one he rolled first, and places the crutch between his teeth. Leans back against his car. Lights it. Burns it down in eight fat hits, one toke for each of the Dark Tower books, without removing the joint from his mouth once. Takes the roach out of his mouth and stares at it for a long moment, as if he was studying it, trying to figure out what exactly it is.
“Jesus Christ,” he whines as the dead roach, no longer smoking, flies off into the forest where a police dog could easily sniff it out. “I am The Prisoner, aren’t I?”
The wind blows, the bugs and birds chirp, the Earth spins so fast it feels like it’s not moving at all. In other words, nothing happens.
“Yeah, I guess I am,” as Albey pushes himself off the car. “If only by process of elimination. After all, there was a fourth door. The one marked The Boy, and I ain’t no boy.”
Albey struts towards the trailhead leading to The True Commons, hands in his pockets. One clutches his lighter, the other clutches his packed bowl.
“But that one wasn’t in The Drawing of the Three.”
Walking feels like floating. Dead leaves crunch under the weight of his shoes anyway.
“That one only showed up in The Waste Lands.”
Hello Commons, this has been the second subchapter of the second chapter of Untitled Bigfoot Project, a novel about a writer who writes a novel about bigfoot.
Untitled Bigfoot Project is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Untitled Bigfoot Project is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
If you like Untitled Bigfoot Project and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here.
Be well Commons~