The flames weren't as intense now, but held a steady orange flicker about waist high.  I sat on one side, Brad on the other. We were both still and quiet, the only noise the crackle of the bonfire or occasional coyote howl in the distance.  The elephant in the room, of course, is the just slain body about fifty feet away, directly to my left next to a dry scrub bush.

My eyes closed, I could see the scene replaying in my mind: the minor struggle, then the subject's acceptance of that fate that was coming to him.  I could see him groaning, bleeding, not looking at either of us. And now I could see his spirit lifting like a ghost, then growing larger and larger.  As it grew, it became fainter and fainter, being stretched to its limit and then vanishing completely into the aether.

When I opened my eyes and looked across the fire, Brad's eyes were still open, staring, unfocused.  And then he blinked a few times as if coming back from somewhere and looked back at me.

Hello there.  I'm Jim. Thrill me, fool.

This was what I was waiting for, what I had come for.  But I have been with this guy before and I am always self conscious around him.  He has a way of seeing directly to your motives and judging them like a knife wielding poetic assassin, dissecting and swallowing your ego and then raising an eyebrow in mild satisfaction.  But really, Jim was a totally good dude. You know, as long as you weren't anything related to authority or exploitation.

Friend, hello.  I'm Gone. I said, my voice low.

Friend?  Well friend...

As he spoke he raised his tone as if asking a question, then it shifted to song.

Looooong one dooooown.  Waaaaay dooooown Goooone.

I rose up slowly and lifted my arms up over my head slowly like I might be doing yoga.  I touched a couple of my fingertips together, not unlike a ballerina. Jim began slapping his leather clad thighs, drumming out an Indian beat.

Goooone a go go.  Gooooone looooong Gooooone a go go Gooooone.  Dance... Dance a ballerina Goooone.

I danced in lethargic rhythm and found my throat moaning out an "ahhhhhh" that jerked every fourth beat at which point I would shift directions.

Friend Gone came a roooound.  He crept aroooound the tooooown.

Now whispering "He knows what every sooooound.  He hides behind the moooounds."

Now speaking "He let loooooooooo-  ooose... HELL... HOUND!"

He leapt through the fire with a tribal scream and lunged at me.  I yelled as he tackled me, part panic, part animal excitement. We wrestled in the soft desert sand and I felt my sanity depart.  We were Hell hounds, both of us. I escaped his grasp and trotted around the fire in a circle on all fours and then leapt back upon him.  We howled and scuffled in the sand. Two deranged men, our only drug, lunacy.

Tired, we stopped for a rest.  Me sitting upright on my heels, Jim laying on his back, one arm out and the other by his side, completely comfortable with himself.

What's your favorite word, Long?

I have two.  And lucky you asked that, I don't elevate a lot of things to favorites, or even lists.

He looked at me then back up to the sky, waiting for me to finish my response.

Ride.  Ride is my favorite word.  And lurk. Is my favorite word also.

Why, Long Gone?

Because I like to sneak around, to hide and spy on people.  I usually think of it as planning an attack. Lurking. I like to lurk.

Well I know something new about you then.

With that he stands up and picks up the buck knife, still bloodied.  Then crouches, walking low, stealthily, exaggerating his movements to look like a caricature of a caper from a black and white movie.

Shhhhh.  Oh, look who it is.  It's just the devil's girl.  I'm here to give you your first kiss.

Then he leaps up behind a cactus about his height and wraps his left arm around it, the knife blade at the "neck" of it with his right.  I'm sure he has spines sticking in his arms, probably in his chest, but he doesn't flinch.

Now, Gone, NOW!!!

I jump to my feet and sprint toward Jim and the cactus man.  At as much full speed as I can get on sand and gravel I unleash a flying jump kick to the head.  The cactus bends and then snaps and we tumble to the ground. Then Jim pops to his knees quickly and thrusts the raised knife onto the broken off part of the cactus, continuing like Norman Bates until the thing is left in shreds.

I'm standing now and laughing hysterically, diabolically, the villain that I am and begin yelling.


Jim jumps up and stands over the victim, breathing hard, knife in his hand.  Then suddenly, he runs to me and grabs me like he did the cactus, left hand around my stomach, top of his right wrist over my mouth, his hand still clutching the knife.

Shhhhh, Gone, shhhhh.

I'm dead still and can feel both our hearts pounding.

Only if I can drive.

He lets loose of his grip a little and I'm now tasting blood in my mouth from either the knife, the scuffle, or the cactus.

His left hand slips into the front of my jeans.  My cock is already mostly hard by the time his fingers reach it.

Long Gone.

I laugh.  Yea.

He starts gripping and stroking me.

I was there, Gone.  Nineteen Ninety... One.  That spring night. You and the boys were stirring up the universe, fueling questions with Dr. Albert's medicine of fools.  That lame, long haired boy says "Maybe, I mean what if Jim Morrision really did break on through to the other side?" I watched you and your brother exchange glances at that poor boy.  You know he's dead now. No, you wouldn't know that. Oh, wait, yes. Yes you would now, wouldn't you, death boy?

I jerk and slip out of his arms in a quick maneuver and face him, arms clenched, staring at him with fuming contempt.  I've never seen him back down before but he does this time.

Not ready yet, I know.  IIIII know, just don't let this thing slip away.  You've got the handle for it. There's a reason for the season and right of might in your plight...  Don't give up the good fight. Hm, hm, hm.

We laid down on the sand and looked up at the stars.  Jim recites poetry for about half an hour straight. I find myself sitting up, trancing deeply.  I feel something like winds tickling the insides of my muscles and organs. I feel calm, very comfortable, almost unharmable.  One of those times that you don't want to end.

I open my eyes and I'm back.  In my bed at Gray House for the first time in a month.  I look over to see that Brad is sleeping next to me. It's 6:30 AM and I pull the satin sheets and down comforter up to my neck and fall dead asleep.