July 4, 1970
Independence Day. It was my last day before boot camp and summer was in full bloom as soon as the sun came up.
I found a half-tab of “Magic Kite” in the back of Heartless’s sock drawer, smoothed it out with a fat roll of cheeba-cheeba, and took off for Maidens Landing, where the Notseau Riche put in their leaky motorboats. When Heartless was alive we’d go there sometimes and sell watered-down sno-cones and always made a killing.
The “kite” was kicking in just about the time that I arrived. When I opened the door of my pickup all I could see were smudges of red and yellow and blue and black, zooming up and down the river.
I waded out into water among the smokers, arguers, laughers, yellers, sexers sending ripples off all the way down to Richmond, loners, lookers, exhibitioners, people that would die within the week, cooks, masons, carpentrix, bakers, children ignorant of the veil – and I stood there motionless for hours until a giant bird – some kind of egret or crane – fluttered down into the water in front of me – blocking out what was left of the sun – the coronal flares setting his wings on fire. He stared. He leaned in until his beak was almost touching my nose. And then he spoke.
"I am the god, Bujimi and I have come to ask you one question."
"Yes?" I said.
"Mud-One, what the fuck are you doing?"
And then he flew off, leaving me alone in that black river, relentless as the coming day.