Walmart Parking Lot Gon’ Dark
Matt Clifford • September 18, 2017 • Creative Writing •
When America goes totally dark, I will be at Walmart eating cookies from a blue school bus. It will happen on a weekday, seemingly summer like any other except Wyoming is crowded but nobody notices. Most won’t call off work. Some may take lunch early, wear a fresh pair of glasses. Sun gazing has been claimed as an adequate source of potential nourishment. Donald Trump is hungry on a balcony.
It starts like a cloud, familiar unchecked, this too shall pass. Then the colors mist, shift, run. Something is different now and there’s no turning back. The blackness overtakes the light becomes it. Crescent sun lunar flare the air is colder goosepimples thicker jackets in August absorb rapid changes. Temperature, this is not yesterday’s duskglow, this twilight is new. The apparent takes getting used too. Nobody here has done what they are doing right now. I have felt things like this before, I have not felt like this before, my temples are dizzy with magic and my hands are full of science, if I threw them up together I’d be looking right at it. I could eat a reality sandwich and taste the chills ringed around the edges, digest crusts until my knees buckle, shoes off I am earth now, if I fall I know a little bit more about the gravity of my equilibrium for next time. Next time I leap with the unbearable excitement of nowness and the ground will never hold me. Next time you become a bird and fly into a telephone pole when the schedule betrays the calendar. Howl like a dog. Take a picture. Vuvuzela. Car horns.
The engine of interference, night and day can be switched by cosmic positions, how big are the gods, what other rules don’t exist anymore? Check for my math, check with my language. Remember to drink water, check for my wallet. The traffic stopped the commerce; no purchases were transacted for three minutes, it was a festival. Jubilee. Streets full of the people. Lookout mountains. Let’s all look up and be children. Anyone can grow up to be president. No more grownups, no more presidents. Stars. Dying, shooting stars.
Was it worth it? The combustion and energy and waiting? The ephemeral, the frustration? The confusion? Getting in the middle of it? Being covered by directions and forced into movement? I need to sit down, this does not slow down, the dark crowds the light exposes, this will be quiet soon. The answer is the experience, what just happened? My body learned what temporary is possible, how unstable our hardfought steadiness is. Be alert, stay vigilant, the impossible experiment could break any minute. There are heretics among us.
When America sees the light again Walmart will close. America was built to be a twentyfourhour supercenter, I’ve never seen it closed. McDonald’s cashiers in the parking lot, a UPS truck drives by, the vats of Casper industry shine the same steel slightly dimmer, I still haven’t an idea what processes in them. Refined ignition, everyone agrees that was awesome and leaves. Reno, Miami, Texas, Salt Lake City, Denver. Outdoor living through these automatic doors. The lines are long, there is work to be done. It’s time to do the work, to work to work to pull the sun up when we aren’t sure we can meet it. The floodgates open.