I Met Death & Sex Through My Friend, Tom Meuley: a novel about spinning into not here

Read it here, first. One tweet at a time, I am adding bits of my second novel. Okay, I’ll get it started with the first paragraph….

a prologue

It’s only at the last breath, when no air and no next one comes, when there is only a wide snow field spread out before you, when all you can see is the end of the Spit disappearing into Lake Ontario and a broken cord of cormorants sewing the sky in their feeble way that you see that it’s the same for you, for Tom Meuley, for your mom, for that cop pissing down your throat, for Grandma and Uncle Louise, for Mr. P. That those gulps, those breaths, those comings up are what hope is.

Get this. Door iced. Kick handle, it popped. Danforth quiet, no traffic. Center lane, Joes drag. Maple leaves, Du Mauriers, La Batts caps. Frozen, the plastic cracked. The Joes spill out, their arms and legs reaching and clutching each other.  Desert Storm Joe has Cobra Commander by the neck. It is that moment as the temperature falls where gasoline fumes are held, mid-air, for remembering. Like Smith’s class, metaphor spins out.

You as metaphor? Neutrino.  Electrons exposing their bellies. Falling into weakness. Stinking into vulnerability. Susceptibleness makes the neutrino. Shot out by the sun, a neutrino passes through undetected. Unnoticed except by super-sensitive, Grade A equipment like at CERN or outside Chicago in Plainfield. A neutrino gets through undetected because it has no weight, no odour, no mass. It can’t be pulled by some scent coming in from one direction or another. At least, not measurably. You only know a neutrino is present because it disappears. It spins into absence. And so is not accountable, either. No residue in the nostrils. Thing is that when a neutrino disappears, it is actually becoming something else. µ (Muon) neutrinos become t (Tauon) neutrinos. You’d never know it though until you notice that the µ s are gone and now you’ve got a bunch of ts. Because it is absent, you can tell it was there.

It was the same as when your Mom has all of her pictures out, the sweat from her armpits leaking down the inside of her arm, and you see yourself all fat at three in a striped shirt and cock-eyed hat, at eight treading water at Charlevoix and that lake water mossing in your nostrils still, now. You can tell all those Milks are you. You can tell your squinty, pig-eyes, the handle bars at your waist that won’t let go and the lop-sided ear-lobe. No question, every one of those other yous disappeared leaving you here. If they hadn’t oscillated into you now, no one would know that they had existed. You, too, remain unaffected by the forces that affect every other particle and person. You would have passed right through, unnoticed and undetected.

Like electromagnetism that cannot be smelled. Electromagnetism, you thought as you dragged the big bag of G.I. Joes out of the car, had to be something like the care that pulls you into now. Because you were leaving a thick track in the snow now, all those other Milks must have existed. Each you is a neutrino, too.

The Joes were a tangled mess and their faces were pressed into the plastic. Their eyes fixed, focused and fast. The nostrils peeled, dug and ready. The fingers of a cupped hand caught the neck of another. First thing was to get them into the back seat of Tom’s limo. You pulled them out too hard and the bag skidded some across the ice. Marine Joe fell out again same as he did in the garage. He couldn’t catch a break. You didn’t see him until he got caught in the headlights dropping back into the street. Tonight would be a lot of catching in headlights. You got a hold of that bag good, kicked the door shut like your mom would and hauled them down aways to where the limo sat. Losing these Joes had to be like making neutrinos. Tonight would be the release of a boatload of weakness.

The limo is like that ship Telemachus oars out looking for his dad. It’s as a ship when it leaves shore going out to look for his father. When you go out at night it is as if you are unmooring from a dock and riding the water farther and farther out. The limo disciplined and sweet. No question. Black and shining in gunk. Salt and slush, freezing and melting. Salt and slush, freezing and melting. The rhythm and pace come this time of year. At this point in December, the weather tips head on into full-blown ferocity or takes its foot off the wheel and sails steady into spring. In Toronto, you could pretty much guarantee that if they said it was going to be a mean snow, a few flakes would float down. But if they said clear skies, you better duck. Tonight they were predicting a gruesome storm. Tonight, though, it felt gruesome.

Your elbow ached with that bag of Joes. Their eyes look at you, the sky, each other, the right, the left, the past, the future and the limo. You hauled them up. No way you could get them over your shoulder. With both hands you got the bag as high as your chest, stepped a couple of steps, heaved that effer. Tires had left deep tracks there so the bag didn’t slide. You got it up again. Two steps. Drop. Up, two, drop. Up, two, drop.

You weren’t far off now and with the streetlamps out there the bag had become an elongated reflection along the shiny, black side panels. Tom kept that car looking pretty swell even in this weather. The slush and crap got on there, for sure, but he got it right back off. The Joes stretched all along from the long driver’s door. When the doors opened, all six of them, they were great dark wings, or oars even, that invited you to climb aboard and be carried to some far shore or some new land. Four of the doors winged out from the passenger compartment. Two facing the front, two facing the back. Or, as Uncle Louise would say Bow to stern, son. Bow to stern. Getting the Joes in took opening both doors but ducking in or you’d whack your noggin. Going through those doors was the same as walking into St. James where all of those old gravestones are tacked to the wall. Tonight, your velocity was so fierce that you, even you, could spin into presence.