Life turns Electric:
There was once someone who was able to look up to the sky and scream his wrath at it, though had nothing in his own possession but a spare tire. It was an elderly tire, worn down from the steady scraping of tar caused from the man rolling it wherever he went. He rolled it down gloomy banks, past rusted over playgrounds holding children of past memories in their iron grasps, past graveyards filled with the ever growing bodies of mankind.
He rolled it past beds of wildflowers planted in dull springs of old, along the streets of growing cities, past the brink of crimson illusions. He had no one else to rely on but the old tire which grew thinner and thiner each day. He had no reason to carry it, it was a useless burden but he still did so. Since that tire was his only friend in the dim lights of afternoon and the only one to listen to his bashful singing in the shadows of firelight.
All the man owned were the clothes on his back, the tire, and his voice. And along his coasts and dreads of society, along his treks with the tire, he passed people. And the people briefly took him in, most blaming him to be a madman, and allowed him to continue along his desperate ways, his haunted journey. But some, and very few, studied him closely and though he appeared to be a very young man, at least late teens, they curiously wondered if he were perhaps immortal and had lived for hundreds of years. His face was wracked with the listless sorrow of past endeavors, creased with age. Though he trekked onward, from coast to coast, he and the tire. Not really caring what others saw in him.
He understood that some may believe he was mad but truly he had a better grasp on the world which moved steadily beneath his feet and could trust in its movement, had the knowledge to know when it would have a sudden collapse and he would have to grab onto his tire and wait it out.
It was once a beautiful tire, its rims were once shiny and untouched. Who knew why he lugged it wherever he went, only he did. And only he cared. No matter what, he brought it daily, past the short houses and across the sprawled highways which seemed to trail forever with endless headlights and taillights. It was a tragic existence, he saw, and didn't mind where he was so much, steadily rolling the tire beyond the landscape of his world. To him, it wasn't a dull existence and he found more joy in it than in any other existence he could ever own.
And finally, after broiled weeks, he made it to the opposite coast, to her sandy shore, where he slipped toward the water and fell against it, washing the grime from his hands and splashing his face with the senseless water. There, after his first glance at the broad Atlantic, he was shot down. He was allowed the sensation of the water crossing his face, mixing with the blood flooding from him.
And as he took his last breath, he hung onto that beaten down tire.
I was the first to discover him, along with Cindy Lu from Leigh Street. It started out as an easy walk down the beach with a good friend, before we came upon it: the somewhat left rim of an old tire, sticking partially from the sand. I remember how bland it looked, how tired and worn out, as if it had been taken millions of miles before winding up there. But it had been wasting away lazily in the water for that million years. Cindy Lu had wanted it, for no apparent reason except the challenge of drawing it, and only it, from the sand and saving it from however long it had been there. So we both tried to tear it from the beach, and the sandy beach held firm. We pulled till our muscles ached, but it still would not budge and she and I had given up. It was a waste of our time and effort, there were better things to do, and we continued with our walk along the cove.
It was a soft beach, with a subtle wind blowing from the east to set our hair adrift. The beach was littered with rocks and frosty glass, abandoned plastic bottles and blackened rockweed. It was a small beach where people rarely went and as Cindy and I walked, our feet sinking into the deepened pits of sand, she spoke in that quiet voice of hers,
"I think there was a man holding onto that tire." she was joking and we laughed at the amusement of it. A man buried deep in the earth, living and breathing there with the simple purpose to hold a tire in place? it was pure lunacy. And as we turned back around, we passed that tire once more and I gave her a nudge with my elbow,
"How 'bout we try to pull it from the sand once more?" it was a daring question, one that probably shouldn't have been asked. But the words of the man buried in the ground seemed to cause curiosity to spread beneath our spirits. And we pulled at the tire, dug at it, tried for what felt like hours. And the tire wouldn't budge.
Finally, in a closing try, I tore at it till my fingers pained me and the sand released its grip. I went tumbling onto my back in surprise when it gave way, and was quite startled when I noticed the skeletal hand still warped around the rubber. But a mere curiosity soon filled me to the brim.
And so we went about digging the rest of the man who held the tire up, and soon uncovered him. We were young and foolish then and we found the remains of the lonely young man, placed on display with the setting sun illuminating the bones and the gripping sand lending us a backdrop for him.
That was when I noticed the paper held in the pocket on his shirt. It was almost secretive in its hiding place there and I tugged at it, unwinding the paper and reading the barely legible ink of his smudged handwriting:
LIFE TURNS ELECTRIC.