There’s Navy SEAL training where they put a bag over your head and you are on the floor and when they take the bag off you need to react to whatever situation is in front of you, like the bag comes off and it’s 4 people kicking the shit out of you, or the bag comes off and it’s one guy kicking the shit out of you then you have to go into some room and find a gun and shoot at things. Or the bag comes off and you are shoved into a tank of water. If you don’t drown you get to keep on being a Navy SEAL.
I think it’s supposed to be the culmination of all of your previous training. Complete improvisation under duress. Free-flowing and jazz-like violence.
I can run 50 metres before I’m out of breath. I can take a shower without crying. I can wake up with the sun creeping through the slats in the blinds, tired of being alive, and I can slump down the stairs after three hours to eat microwaved oats and look at the grey and sunless sky floating past dead tree branches, and despite this I can still go on with the act of being alive.
It’s night and I am lying down on a couch in a room where a box of pizza is pressing grease into the coffee table and I eat another slice not bothering to get up and I watch the TV as Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans do…something…and consciousness escapes me.
I’m straining against the inevitable. I’m going to great lengths to lose an argument. I have a bad haircut. I’m shirking responsibility. I am looking to find a one armed man.
I’m a fugitive.
I’m on a garbage island with all these billionaires. They have white hair and unbothered faces. An auctioneer is calling out a number that only goes up.
A worker from a sweatshop is combing the beach for rubber bullets.
I’m here by accident. I’m just a millionaire. I yearn for the Tuscan countryside, where I can lay about striking poses with this really cool sword I bought. I miss getting drunk and playing the piano beautifully.
I hear one billionaire asking another “How much would you pay for a pill that turned you into a dog?”
“Like 12 dollars.”
I interrupt their conversation to say,
“How sweet to think that Nature is solvency,
that something empirically true
lies just under the dead leaves
that will make us anchorites in the dark.”
Which is something I stole from a poem.
They turn back to each other.
“What if when you changed back from being a dog there was a 10% chance you were different?”
I see the worker pluck a bullet from the sand and put it in his pocket.
There is no longer darkness. Harsh light off the snow outside makes the room look bright and cold. I see the same room as before. There are three foot-long cylinders of aluminum foil that I know to be deli submarines. One is on the floor, one is on the coffee table, one is in the hallway that leads to the door.
I react fast. I unwrap the sandwich on the floor and start eating. Loose bits of lettuce fall to the floor. I’m done with the first sandwich. I unwrap the sandwich on the coffee table and I eat that one, chewing chewing chewing, swallowing in big gulps, etc. I have not moved from the couch. I am doing great at eating the sandwiches. I have been training my whole life for this. A good deli meat sandwich should have a cross section where you can see like three types of deli meat, and ideally one of those meats is cured, and you need some good mustard and mayonnaise, and shredded lettuce and tomato, and you want a bun that is soft sure, but with a good crust too, but also not too crusty. My brain is a fog of black plastic bags being picked at by gulls. I leap off the couch (I stand up fast and feel a rush of blood to my head and see spots) and I pounce on the hallway sandwich (walk over to it too quickly and almost stumble), and I eat the last sandwich (slowly I am not hungry anymore).
I stand up in the hallway, still in my sleep clothes, and see the door to the outside. I open it and feel the invigorating shock of cold air, and I run outside in my slippers, and I keep running.
I’m the best Navy SEAL there ever was.