Birkenhead


After a night of drinking, a plan:

me, them, some costumes and

a forest north of Pemberton.

Come morning there were four of us,

and one of us wasn't exactly wonder-woman

as thought to be the night before,

but instead a hungover demon

wondering aloud if the mannequin

she was promised mid-bender

resided in the forest was real.


Unlike some classier parties,

fancy dress would be required in this forest,

and anyone lacking in this department

was shuffled over to a trunk of tricks

in the corner of the sitting room,

and force fed some Seventies-era

monstrosity that was

never to know the dignity of a drag ball.


The morning of departure, or

the morning after the night before,

there were delays of a practical

but also culinary variety.


So

one of us brought potato salad and

another sung about 5 packets of cigarettes

-sweet jesus have mercy on our lungs-

but the car itself had made

a jaunt to a destination unknown

while we were drinking,

and had yet to return from its own night on the tiles.


En route with only one of us knowing how to drive

I gave thanks, to be with fellow undriving people

and to be given time to gather my anxiety,

to stare out the window

to write my pending eulogy;

God knew how little sleep we'd all had.


The car was a crotchety old battle-axe

a scrapped tin can full of bullshit,

but it fits the last of the required supplies:

a 10 litre jug of water

coffee

two litres of wine and chocolate

and me

dreaming up my eulogy.


Whether the driver was sober enough

to drive wasn't my problem,

my own desire to learn how to drive

frozen in time

in an old deep freezer dated 1994,

and as we drove towards downtown

aiming for the narrowest of bridges,

the wheels rattle and bump

like they are about to fall off.

And even though the car didn't look so bad,

we were comforted by her declaration

don't worry I put air in the tires.


But my fear of death and my fear she was drunk

were two different animals

and so I was convinced:

we were going to die.


We were in a turning lane

before suddenly a bus

screeched

down

the side of her car,

and took the passenger window clean off'

Quick,

like it never happened at all.


Our driver pulled over curb-side

into the bus lane,

turned to her passengers, and

saw three faces staring into hers

like she was a fucking oracle

and could portend the drive to come,

but all she could pull out of

her bag of tricks was

what the fuck.

Indeed.

A man walked by,

tucked the violated mirror

into the window, opining

shitty deal guys,

to which she she answered:

that's why I don't have a good car,

like a Camry.


Still, we arrived eventually,

and built a fire meant for sunrises,

put on our fancy outfits

watched for the meteor shower

promised to appear mid-bender,

and drank wine until we were

hoarse,

tramping through the forest,

searching for a mannequin.


© Christy Frisken



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