Johnny America


Up­ward­ly Mobile


Sum­mer wasn’t so kind this time around, thought Jack Crow as he clung pi­geon-toed atop Rushmore’s scenic precipice. He knew he wasn’t ready yet. So, he ad­mired the ea­gles a while longer as they planed the mid­day haze in­to clean blue an­gles as new safe­ty scis­sors do old bits of con­struc­tion pa­per. Still, he wait­ed; re­mem­ber­ing how in­spired the old ele­giac forms of he­roes had once made him. Now, he sim­ply gazed about the rough mounds of Pres­i­den­tial brows and felt noth­ing but hate. He must make his move soon. He was through with the tri­als —through with his long-suf­fer­ing tol­er­a­tion of fools.

He wa­vered at the hard thought and at the hard­er act of plum­met­ing so deep in­to the quaint green­ery that masked the jagged end of his ill-spent va­ca­tion — of plum­met­ing so deep and dul­ly in­to the busy tourist sea­son. Pen­sive­ly he peered be­low, re­call­ing how up­on his as­cent those vaunt­ed nos­trils had mocked him, all the while of­fer­ing up the worst damna­tion to man. He wasn’t ready just yet, but he was con­vinced. Sad­ness meant see­ing. Sad­ness made sense. Be­cause of this, he closed his eyes, sim­ply breath­ing. His mind wan­dered through his con­ven­tion­al child­hood — red wag­ons, lemon­ade stands, knife fights be­hind the Frosty Cream — and sud­den­ly he re­mem­bered he hadn’t had a chance to cash the re­turn de­posit from his rent. But, he wouldn’t be de­ceived: no sum of mon­ey made the least bit of dif­fer­ence now.

Sub­du­ing all thoughts, he jumped. He screamed. He looked as el­e­gant as any man dressed in dou­ble-breast­ed busi­ness black can, set against the blurred back­drop of a huge mus­tached lip. He felt weird­ly weight­less for a sec­ond, then heavy, so heavy — as if all the grav­i­ty of the so­lar sys­tem filled his guts with boul­ders and de­mand­ed his descent.

Mean­while, a tru­ant troop of cub scouts mis­took a comet for a wren. When they looked down to check their hand­books all they saw were their own emp­ty fists punch­ing the life out of a dis­card­ed suit vest. Jack Crow, for all his reser­va­tions, had been a success.

Filed under Fiction on April 27th, 2006

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