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The Bad Magician And The Net of Gems

MJS's picture

The Bad Magician is two months shy of his tenth birthday. He is in a kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Bobby Kennedy lies on the floor, bleeding, dying; the kitchen lights are dark stars and the floor is the bottom of the night. One almost got through, almost touched The Everything, but the Universe was having none of it.

The Bad Magician sits for thirty-eight years in that kitchen. Everything that followed led ineluctably to the shattering of forms.

Daylight. The shamans are silent, the crows drunk. You can hear the cars, the trucks, sirens, but cannot see them. Motorcycles take to the air. Helicopters bend down to pick up quarters. The Bad Magician turns to leave the kitchen but finds only walls. A man with a camera becomes sick and grows bacteria on his hands. Get me out of the kitchen. Bobby Kennedy twitches, stands up, combs his hair across his forehead: I'd love to hang out with all of you but its on to... He can't remember where he's on to. He looks down at his corpse and bows his head. This is the black hole of America, where gravity runs the primary; hard boiled eggs explode on the line. I am, he is, you are...the walls rumble, shake, vanish.

Bobby Kennedy emerges from a tidal pool. The Bad Magician peers at the creatures moving and swaying among the rocks, revealed by the receding water. The backwards crabs take time away and leave bottles of fiction in the sand. Bobby Kennedy walks into the ocean, over and over and over.

One almost got through. One almost got through. One almost got through.

The Bad Magician points to a captain's map of all the lights in the world and blinks. We were here and now we are here. The warships see Bobby on the shore and aim their canons, the titan drums thunder in the hollow, and the shells come flying. "And now it's on to Andromeda!" says Bobby, remembering. The Net of Gems washes up on shore. A busboy finds a starfish stuck in the weave and gives it to Bobby. A salad sits on the counter, uneaten. The tangerines are Vietnam, the shallots Africa; Ronald Reagan retches onto the plate.

Bobby Kennedy opens a door in the shallows as mortar fire vanishes the self. He pours in and is always returning to his pool of blood at the Ambassador Hotel. He asks "Is everybody all right?" The Bad Magician is stuck on the beach, shaking his fist at the warships: Yadda-yadda, warden. Yadda-yadda.

Thirty eight years ago a young boy was trapped at the end of someone else's dream. He almost got through. He almost got through. He almost got through.

Waves crash in the parking lot of the Ambassador Hotel. Seagulls flood the dining room and send the guests into the hurly burly. Cracks everywhere. The Bad Magician circumnavigates a large fissure, takes a deep breath of air and swims down Wilshire Blvd. He carries Bobby Kennedy's goodbye and holds it, at last, like a precious bird.


Image of Robert F. Kennedy's grave is from here.


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