One More Time for the Road: An American Nightmare


Most of us live in a soap-opera farce, a world where the punch lines have been deleted and the canned laughter silenced. It’s like waiting for the reruns to start and realizing they have been playing over and over to the point that one can no longer tell heads from tails, the film sequence seems to have drifted into a dark zone where the color has faded to an unhealthy mixture of sallow and slime green. We keep hoping against hope someone will say something new, realizing in the end everything has already been said; all that’s left is to forget one’s lines and be done with it. Problem with that is that something keeps opening your mouth and speaking the lines you never meant to say. You are no longer even sure you’re the one saying it; and, in fact you’re no longer sure anyone is there to receive it. The message seems to be so lost among the ruins, and the ghosts you see before you keep hitting each other with cartoon efficacy – as if the ineffable were not something unknown in the drift of sense, but rather just one more iteration of the same voice from a repeat commercial; drone of a drone sequence yapping for you to buy some new product when nothing is left to buy – the shelves have long been empty, and the isles are lined with zombies seeking your flesh rather than some consumer paradise. You head for the door thinking there has to be an exit only to discover on walking through it that it enters the other side of the same room. Like a comic routine from the three-stooges or a Marx brothers festival of linguistic jibes you yell at anyone who will listen, but everyone is so busy sleepwalking through the paces of this endless circuit of fakery that they can no longer stop to listen even to themselves much less your wake up call. So you sit down and try to cry but instead begin laughing uncontrollably, tears falling from your eyes till the world, the film, and the fake chatter of the white noise eclipses your last thought, and like some demented guest of a flickering gray world of cinematic noir you begin to feel the darkness of the abyss within… engulf you.

-S.C. Hickman, One More Time for the Road ©2016

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