Topography

Lincoln: No Safety In Numbers

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In Lincoln, where I am currently staying, the roads are long and flat. It’s farming country, the kind of place where you will drive for an hour banked on either side by herbivores and hands of wheat. When the roads, which are generally built to support agricultural death traps of all shapes and sizes, quickly narrow, you realise you are travelling alone along a one-way widow-maker. Trees that had been so open and extended, now lean in across the light. In the reeds, you catch glimpse of a drainage ditch, see it moving in your wing mirror; teeth rusted, stomach exposed. And it could end there, but doesn’t. Y’see, there are other things moving in the margins. Not the cats piled flat against the causeway; you’ve already given up counting them. Nope, something else, somebody else.

The

old

folk.

Out at all hours in their retirement tanks. Monster trucks for the blind. In fucking Lincoln.  As we pass one another, and my car, a tin dwarf, falls into darkness, I can often times make out a tiny pink head at the controls, spot the grey eyebrows of winter coming over the dashboard.

You could be going to the beach, to a deli counter to talk pound-able meat. Doesn’t matter, you fucked it.

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The obvious question to ask is why; why are they in armoured trucks? Why not graceful machines with chrome orbs for head lamps, smooth hoods, and well-rubbed paint jobs; something that will draw envious glares before crushing a man the traditional way?

By way of an answer, I’m thinking now of the body as it dries out and thins, as your calcium content wavers. As you shrink. Maybe that’s why: it’s a new body. I don’t know, I guess it’s funny.  Maybe this is how mecha manga started.

“So many wrappers everywhere” tuts Rita as she and Cyril roar along the inner ring roads of Boston in their 4-wheeled nuclear fission chamber. Except it’s not a wrapper – it’s never a wrapper – it’s me, it’s you, lying in pieces at the side of the road in our crushed tin cans, bodies level with the bank, level with the singing crickets, hearing now the panicked cry of birds and, behind that, distant at first, the scraping of the drainage ditch as it inches ever closer towards its meal.

Fucked it, mate.

(recommended listening for this piece: Hood – Trust Me, I’m A Stomach)

 

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