We used to be hardcore. Hardcore in Rosendale. That meant running a series of underground tunnels with the Native American warlocks, keeping giant Smilodon tigers at bay. The whole town used to manufacture cement so there are these mining tunnels in the hills. Some of them you know about. The other ones the warlocks keep actual Cerberuses and sabertooth tigers in, waiting for their moment to pounce. They feed them farm animals to bide their time. I was on the payroll on Wallstreet but I’d drive up the Thruway every weekend to see the girls and the tigers underground. The lower you went the hotter it got and you’d have these three-headed dogs biting your leg and a half-naked dominatrix biting your ear. There was a Shaman who led me down there. Molten lava and sacred Indian rituals. They put some paint on my face and I’d sit there in the glimmering torchlight waiting for the visitation. I paid big money and then all I see is this little puny pink guy with what looks like a tinfoil wand. I remember thinking, He’s not even green. This “alien” told me a few things though.

After that I sold my car and homes and moved out to the desert. I forgot about Rosendale and lived in an Airstream, eating powdered soup every day. I’d been there about six months when Sabra showed up. I was outside under the canopy with my shirt off, smoking a corncob pipe. Red from the sun. I squinted at her as she towered over me. “Take this, brother,” she said, handing me back my old 9mm. I thanked her.

Once I had the gun I politely carjacked my way back to civilization. I found myself back on the train trestle in Rosendale with four dollars and enough pills to keep my conscience at bay for another 40 minutes. During that time I made it to the tunnel entry but was denied entrance. I did not draw my weapon. Instead I headed up the turnpike back to Manhattan and got a slice. Before long I was wearing a suit again, two sizes too small, standing in an elevator listening to the little bells with each floor passing. I reached my old office and the Shaman was there.

Later we were at the deli and still later we got to the airport. I’m glad to be back, I told him as we buckled into 2E and 2F. I couldn’t take another Airstream minute. You’ll like this place, he said as the plane left the ground. It’ll remind you of Rosendale.




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