Viggo pulls out his cell phone as soon as he gets in the cab, scrolls down to Sean Bean's number as soon as the driver starts the ignition, but they've been on the highway for a good five minutes before Viggo actually hits "send." When Sean doesn't answer the phone after three rings, Viggo starts thinking about leaving a message. Does he tell Sean in the message or should he just ask him to call back? The fact that Viggo isn't entirely sure Sean will call back makes his right eye twitch a little.
Five rings and Viggo thinks he should probably hang up and try back later, but he gets momentarily distracted by something fluttering outside the car window.
"Yeah?" Sean's voice is rough and Viggo wonders if he's still smoking. "Viggo?"
"Sean." Viggo glances at his watch. "Are you asleep? I forgot to figure out the time."
"No, I was in the shower. Just got home from work." Viggo thinks he can hear the water running somewhere in the background. "How are you?"
"I'm good. Great, actually. I'm on a book tour, in uh, Salt Lake? I'm headed to the airport, but I think the flight'll be delayed. It's raining a little bit. Drizzling. Um," Viggo pauses, shifting against the vinyl of the car seat and resisting the urge to pull at a thread on his cuff. "It made me think of you, actually."
"Aye?" The water is still on and Viggo wonders if it's run cold yet. "How's that?"
"It's sort of like sheets of metal."
Sean laughs, softer than Viggo expects even after all this time. "I see." The water gets louder, closer and then stops. "So, Vig, what's this all about? We haven't talked in ages."
"We should talk more." A blue Jetta passes with two bumper stickers-- 'I [heart] Mormon boys' and 'God is my co-pilot.' Viggo cranes his neck, but can't catch a glimpse of the driver.
"We're all just busy, mate. Book tours and movies and I'm working long hours to get this project done before we go on holiday."
"What are you working on?"
"The frame for an office building." The tension in Sean's voice isn't unexpected, but it still makes Viggo sit up straighter in his seat. "Just an office building."
Viggo pictures a city clogged with grey buildings, boxes inside boxes on arrow-straight streets. "That sounds great."
Dom once told Viggo-- in a bar in Portugal-- that Viggo was a perfectly fine liar, he just wanted an excuse to force his opinions on other people. Viggo thought Dom would know, but all Viggo said was that he believed artists should strive for honesty in all things. Dom rolled his eyes and bought them another round of whatever they were drinking.
Viggo still believes it goes against his nature to lie, but when the heavy breath of Sean's sigh presses out of the phone, Viggo almost wishes it didn't or that he didn't believe so strongly. "Really, Sean--"
"Viggo, is there a point to this call? I still need to get cleaned up."
Viggo doesn't answer, just pulls at his fraying cuff.
"Vig," Sean's voice hovers between irritated and pleading. "I don't want to do--" A pause. "--this, so just--"
"We're getting back together. Again." Viggo hears Sean inhale and Viggo is absolutely not thinking about the last time they got back together because he's not even a little interested in masochism right now, so he doesn't let Sean interrupt, just thinks of the whale and keeps plowing ahead. "The band, I mean. Obviously. For the tsunami, so it's a great cause and some of the other bands specifically asked for us--"
"That's great, Viggo." Sean's voice is actually cheery and Viggo can't tell if it's a lie or not. Sean never did think of himself as an artist. "You're getting everyone back, then?"
Viggo nods. "Bernard called and I'd had this dream about a whale with Lij's eyes, so I'm to gather the troops and head to California for--" Sean's laughing again.
"Of course, mate. Sounds great." Sean catches his breath. "You'll send me a copy?"
Viggo's cuff is completely unraveled. He hopes he has a suitable replacement. He doesn't think he'll be home for a few days. "So, you don't want--"
"I want a copy of the cd. Maybe some autographs." Sean pauses and Viggo hears the water start up again. "And tell the lads I said hey."
Viggo realizes the car's stopped and he wonders if that just happened or if he's been sitting still for awhile. "Uh-huh. Okay, I will."
Sean says something before he hangs up, but Viggo stops listening and starts gathering his bag from the floor of the car. He didn't really want to do this either. When he's standing on the curb waiting for the cabbie to pass him his change through the rolled-down front window, Viggo closes his phone and drops it into his coat pocket.
"Thanks, sir. Have a good flight," the driver sounds bored and Viggo suspects he doesn't care about the quality of the flight one way or another.
He nods, though, says, "Thanks," and stuffs the five ones in his jeans pocket. He adjusts the bag on his shoulder before heading inside.
Everything in the airport is bright and loud and busy. Just past the gate he narrowly avoids a couple walking fast and arguing about something. Viggo stops and watches them walk away, then turns. He's standing in front of the gift shop, staring at the cheesy postcards in the window. There's a small collection of similar postcards in his house in L.A., purchased in other airports and never mailed, some written by him and some by other members of the band.
He goes into the shop and buys a few cards, thinks maybe he'll write something on the plane, something more eloquent than he could say in any awkward phone call and maybe that will be enough to convince Sean to try again.
I've been told in the past that as prophetic dreams go, mine are vague, unnecessary and not especially helpful. I choose to believe that Dominic was just testy at the time because we were waiting to be arrested at a way-station 30 kilometers outside of Munich. But it's only hindsight that grants us understanding of the precise degree of relevance of any given event, and if this argument didn't fly with anyone at the time, I still hold to playing it safe when it comes to unconscious. Last week I had another one and did my best to document what the whale who might have been Elijah, or possibly my mother, said to me.
I keep a notebook for this purpose on the nightstand – a converted coffee table, actually, turned on its side with the feet angled toward the wall – but space on top is at a premium and lately the notebook's been relocated to the inside of a shoe on the floor. Beside the shoe, a bit further back and under the bed, is a box. I really believe that there is some hitherto unexplained, impenetrable universal law of synchronous subconscious suggestion. It is something that I have felt in tune with at several key points in my life, and the sensation is not unlike time-lapse photography of the brain – or several other comparisons I could make but that's a different letter and besides, the point I'm making right now is that I opened the box.
And I couldn't tell if the things in the box had fallen straight out of my head or my dream, but there they were, the debris of years, months, days, all unconsidered but fragrant, full of foreign dust, like a suitcase of gypsy history. Some of these things I'm sending out with this letter to their original owners, including 4 clove cigarettes wrapped in a napkin; some clots of what might be peyote, or maybe just camel dung; a fossilized Darjeeling tea bag; a map of West Berlin with a set list written on it (including a specific notation that Billy was to sing lead on “Ode to Vowels”, which I know he never did); a warranty on a Yamaha keyboard with a bunch of room service orders and corresponding price lists (gherkins are an extra 90p); and a tube of chapstick.
These are the things that can't be erased, rewound, remixed, cut, or spliced, their effects muted or redubbed. We're all far-flung these days, maybe further than we even went together, and if it were possible I'd draw a constellation of our points with the destinations of this letter, a lacy map traced across the our many landmarks and place-names. All the windmills, irrigation canals, boulevards, promenades, watchtowers and lighthouses, public parks and fountains, medicine trees, sacred groves, forked roads, goat trails, pedestrian walkways, open-air malls, amphitheaters, the bus shelters and sports arenas that have marked our passage.
But why should I stop there? There's no convenient end to an arc that hasn't touched down yet to make its landfall, not when I still can keep a counting house of the places we were, are, and have yet to be: the windowledges and windowseats, airport bathrooms and dressingrooms, the podiums, pressrooms, orchards, vineyards, rodeos, storage facilities, gas stations, trams, vans, coat closets, disused railroads, the sinking ships, tents, freeway underpasses, smokehouses and long-term parking lots. Not when these yet await.
We were, we are, and we have yet to be. I'm writing this letter because of a dream and the contents of a box and the contents of shared time and distance, none of which can properly explain why I still wake up in the night ripe with forgotten sensation and food smells, like some part of me is poking through our trash can, hoping to excavate a reason for things ending. I'm finding a lot of chicken bones, threads of citrus fruits, peanut and seafood shells, scraps, cheese wheels, rinds, cores and trimmings; nothing really compelling.
Our natural state was one of continuous beginning – I've never been interested in reason enough to edit my own arguments. If reason dictates that beginning must end to return, then let it return and return and return. I may paste a couple copies of this letter to some telephone poles in LA and, for good measure, throw some into the Atlantic. Otherwise you know how to find me, and each other.
Wednesday around 3ish
on the porch