You step into the lobby of an apparently deserted building just as the elevator door opens. There is nobody inside and although you think you detect the faint odor of luncheon meat or brackish water from within you can’t be sure which it is, if it’s either.
Some items of clothing remain on sale for months — much longer than any legitimate sale period.
A guy looks at you and you know without a doubt that if things were different, if, say, you and he were suddenly transplanted to the Nevada badlands of 1874, for example, he’d kill you. You’ve never been so sure of anything.
You find yourself suddenly captivated and then unexpectedly moved by Steve Ferrone’s drum solo in the live version of “Pick Up the Pieces.”
A grayish feather floats by your window but you neither see nor hear any birds.
Everybody around you speaks another language. You can’t communicate the fact, but you need some hand cream — urgently.
The front wheel on the abandoned, overturned bicycle never seems to stop spinning.
For a split second, it all starts to make sense. Then things go back to normal.
Your sister calls to remind you that you still owe her twenty dollars from 1987. Or maybe your sister calls to tell you that a cousin you never met died in a house-fire under pretty suspicious circumstances, and then she goes on to remind you about the matter of that twenty bucks.
A little high on cocaine you stare at a map of a city, perhaps New York, though it could be any large metropolis. As your heart beats too quickly you become paranoid and afraid and too aware of your own smallness in relation to everything, not least you’re simply standing there and having terrible yet banal thoughts. You think that if you died right there and then, of a heart attack or a stroke, that nobody would know, and that surely there is a novel buried somewhere within that notion. Only trouble is, while that may indeed be true, you are far from equipped to express it properly, cokehead.
That time with the elevator? It was definitely the smell of brackish water. How it got there remains a mystery.