Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I wish I could remember when it happened, though the date is unimportant. What is important is that it happened, and that I was with my friends, who were only just contracting their illnesses -- politics, economics, drugs, AIDS...

We had heard about the satellite, though it was no big deal. A broken Soviet (Russian?) satellite would be re-entering the Earth's atmosphere and, in doing so, burning up.

I am not sure if we had piled into R's car, or if we arrived in two cars. Again, it doesn't matter. Point is we were at the beach -- the one between Spanish Banks and Foreshores -- but not Tower Beach. We had made a fire, smoked some pot, and had allowed things to settle in, get dark.

O, who had a long lean body and who worked as a lifeguard at one of the downtown beaches, kept talking about the VPD's new hovercraft, how "incredibly quiet" it was, how they would be using it soon, while B, his life-long tormentor, kept doubting him, goading him.

P left the circle of our fire to rinse something out. On his way back I saw it. Over his shoulder. A long orange line in the sky. It was moving quickly.

"Look!" I pointed.

P looked over his shoulder. Then he said it, "The satellite!" and everybody looked.

Coming towards us -- the satellite behind them -- were four VPD cops. P was now facing them. He implored the cops to look, but there was no way these cops were going to turn their backs on us when it was their job to give us a hard time, put out our fire and sprinkle out our dope.

Later, in Bino's over coffee, I overheard O remind B for the twenty-second time how "incredibly quiet" that hovercraft was, and B just sitting there, looking sicker for the silence that engulfed him.

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