1 a: exceeding usual limits b: extending or lying beyond limits of ordinary experience c: in Kantian philosophy: being beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge 2: being beyond comprehension
He walked in the door. A real scum bag. I knew him from the neighborhood. He was trouble. The vision of a thousand drunken brawls came back to me. I’m tired of this shit. I want nothing more than to sleep. I’m no tough-guy. But push me. To the limit. And friend you got a problem.
It was midnight in the tavern I was in. Which one? Doesn’t matter. There is one on every corner of this stinking little town. When I walk they whisper. They say I’m crazy. I am fucking crazy. But not like you think. I’m a prince. Regal.Proud. But I got this shit job. Doesn’t pay me much. I’m not stupid or nothing. I read. A lot. I see things too. Movies. Good ones.
A lot of people say I’m playing this role. Like Klinger from MASH. Section 8 straight out of life. I’ve never been locked up. Surprising though. I don’t think I’d do well in the bighouse. I don’t think I’d do well in a psyche ward. Those places are for animals. Not sane men. Those places are for the sick and venal. The perverted and deviant. Not me. I rise above. I transcend.
But I know what you’re thinking. If I’m such a good guy, then why the hell was I in this joint drinking cheap booze, smoking my cigarettes and playing Sam Cooke on the jukebox. I don’t have an answer. Why am I wasting my life? I don’t know. But there he is. Al Bartone. The town badass.Feared by men. Not an ounce of intelligence in him. Not a prince like me.
I order scotch. I drink it. I look down the bar. There’s that broad. She’s hot. She thinks who she is. Nobody knows me. I’m great. I’ve got transcendence under my belt. They’ll see. Greatness. Alexander. Achilles.Odysseus. Vito Corleone. Humphrey Bogart. Jimmy Cagney. The guy from Highway to Heaven.
Malevolence.Venom. That’s what the world has in store for its youth. For its generations of mindless automatons.The MTV machine. Reality shows. I’m sick of this society. I’m too good for it.
But there he is. Al Bartone. Sitting there.Big hulking.Insane.Gold jewelry hanging off him.An earring.A shaved head.Tattoos.A slim blonde on each arm. King shit in a small pond of toads. Not like me. I wasn’t meant for this world.
I go to the bathroom. I take a piss. I wash my face. I look in the mirror. Skinny.Emaciated. Acne scarred. Eyes blood shot. I walk back to the bar and sit down. My head is spinning now. Nothing can stop me.
“Another one,” asks the bartender. He is a fat, bald fucker. Pushing shot glasses and sliding mugs up and down the bar all day.
“Yeah, might as well,” I mutter.
He pours the brown amber poison and pushes it my way. He takes my rumpled bills and hits the register. It’s jammed. So he bangs on it until the drawer opens up. He slides my change and throws down a coaster. I’ve got a free one coming.
Al is laughing. His stupid fucking laugh. He casts a glance my way. He usually instilled fear into the hearts of men. Not me. Not now. I stare at him. He’s everything I despise. Aggressive.Loud.Ignorant.Rigid.Unforgiving. The music comes on.
It’s an old .38 Special song. I laugh. Time to get my life in order. Time to stand up for myself. Time to transcend.
How can I be better than I am? How can any of us be better than we are?
I go over to Al Bartone. I say to him, “Hey, Al. Howz life treating you?”
Or something like that. He crushes out his cigarette. His girl looks shocked.
Al says, “Do I know you buddy?”
He begins to rise from his seat. He is big. Tremendous, towering, hulking, bulking. His head nearly reaches up to the fan twirling around and buzzing with flies.
“Yeah. You know me.”
“I do,” he says.
“Yeah. You’ve seen me around.”
“I don’t recall it. Well I’m doing pretty good.”
“Can I get you something,” he asks, bordering on annoyance.
“No,” I say and turn to walk away.
“No, No. Hey Johnny, get this guy a shot of bourbon.” He motions to the bartender.
“No, that’s alright,” I say. He puts his big meaty paw around me.
“No. Stay have a drink,” the bartender pours the poison.
“To my new friend,” says Al as he raises his glass, “What’s your name.”
“Well Vincent here’s to ya.”
We raise our glasses. Only I empty it on his shoes. He drinks his shot and looks at me. He smiles.
I feel it in me. Transcendence. Fuck you to all the Al Bartones.
“Well, Mr. Vincent, you spilled your drink. I don’t like drinks spilled near me. Let alone on me.”
“Fuck you. You fucking mutant thug.”
He laughs again, “I’ll give it to you kid. You’ve got balls.”
With that he takes his beer mug and thrusts it into my face. I can feel the bones break. I can feel that hot flash of blood and bone explode. My eyes well up with tears. I fall to the ground.
It’s not over. He takes a barstool and raises it up and slams it into my rip cage. I feel the ribs shatter. I can’t breathe. I inhale. I can’t exhale. My chest feels like it is going to erupt.
“Listen you crazy little fucker. You so much as look at me again and I will end your life. Just like that,” he says as the bartender his pulling on his shoulder, and I am writhing in pain on the bar room floor.
I look up through the blood and tears. I see the neon Budweiser sign in the window. I can hear the fan whirling and the flies buzzing. What did I tell you?
I can feel it now. I am in agony, but I feel my spirit swelling within. It’s coming. Finally.At last. All my life I’ve waited. I’ve sought out. I’ve lived and waited. Finally it has come to me. Aaaah the transcendence.