Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bad Valley Takes the Night Bus.

She’s got generic cigarettes, a Zippo, gummy bears and an illegible map streaked with blood and beer stuffed in the side of her bra. She has taken other forms of public transportation including hitchhiking and moustache rides, but now she’s on the night bus without a clue as to where it- or she- is going. She finds the middle of the night the best time to listen to institutional escapees talk about their lives and the ghosts only they can see flying past the tinted windows. Bad Valley listens as the lady with the wig takes out her teeth and tries to offer her $100. Bad Valley doesn’t take it, but she lets the woman give it away to the man in the back, huffing down a beer underneath the brim of his baseball cap.

Bad Valley pretends to listen while she daydreams. It is Bad Valley’s Jesus Year and she is full of sin. She is full of hellfire and damnation and those little guys in Purgatory that wait around with hooks and crooks to drag good people down. Bad Valley rides the tilt-a-whirl backwards. She knows where and why and how the grass is greener and yet still she steadfastly refuses to plant or tend to anything.

She closes her eyes, nodding occasionally and lets the wig lady buy her a cheeseburger and a coke. And a coffee. And a beer. Bad Valley is always drinking something and usually way too much of it. She is ready to sleep on someone else’s floor. She is ready to abandon someone else’s dishes and someone else’s laundry on someone else’s dime. She wants to listen to scratchy records and smoke unfiltered cigarettes indoors all day, without a clue as to whether or not the sun is out. Bad Valley doesn’t want to call home or check in. Bad Valley doesn’t carry the proper documents for travel. She shreds her parking tickets, her state taxes and any evidence of having being insured, past, present and future. Her license and her visa are expired. She only keeps them around for their pictures, which are pretty and dark and difficult to discern.

When it stops, Bad Valley has no desire to get off the bus and doesn’t have enough money for another ticket so she cries until the driver takes pity on her and takes her where she thinks she wants to go. Bad Valley arrives unannounced, unaccounted for and unexpected. Even so, Bad Valley is welcome where she is found.

Bad Valley doesn’t care what Good Valley thinks. Bad Valley doesn’t have a bedtime, watches the sun rise, makes the sunset hazier with smoke from her swishers sweet cigar. Bad Valley doesn’t teach, she takes. She doesn’t’ listen, she tells. She doesn’t wake them up when she gets to where she is going. She crawls into their bed, puts her arms around their waist and whispers to them until she is the most important thing they have ever dared to dream.