You ask the physicist to explain the Big Bang. With diagrams please so you can point and pontificate on forthwith and hereafter. But aren’t you the king of doctors, he replies. You use the initials, but history is not a science. True science trumps the humanities on any death bed you say as he says this shouldn’t hurt for long and swabs up your nostril into the cortex. Last time, the doctor spread your knees with hers and glovelessly grabbed the back of your neck and smothered your fear with mountainous cleavage. Happiness is the best deodorant.

Make sure to give us five stars, the physicist’s receptionist text arrives as Fernando the Uber mimes the perfect arm curl between gear shifts. Set. Repetition. Dumbbell size. You must always keep the elbow in front of the hip. You love the phonetics of elbow and hip. Keep driving Fernando. Keep talking doctor.

You ask if Monday is a holiday. It is here but not there. But there is only 10 minutes up the coast. Another town, another saint, another sausage sauce for the same sausage. They crush their grapes barefoot. We use paddles. You took the less expensive and that has made all the difference. Will you stay long? Fernando asks, pecking Use Me into the Spotify search window on the dashboard. Can you drive closer along the sea? Clearly, I can drive you anywhere, but there will be more traffic. Traffic is an illusion, you tell Fernando. So is gas and money and time he tells you and takes a right into the rising sun.

99% of all lyrics are false. He asks, can you be that 1%? Do that thing you do. The nose bridge retracts into the depressor muscle, your eyes close, and your throat opens involuntarily. Fernando rolls down your window. The joggers and cyclists and dog-walkers and yogis and disco-dancers doing that heels-in-hands smirky walk of shame with gulls fighting over chips shaking palms and street sweepers and shadow-boxers and churchgoers bible clutching best dresses draping all hear the clearest Big Bang report that ever rocked this coast.

Let’s drive as long as allowed.


  1. Andrea Marcusa

    Hi David, another fascinating piece packed with so much. I loved all of it but at the end I was left asking, what is the underlying story/emotion? Its there, I’m sure. Suggest pruning back some of the amazing phrases and images so we can see it more clearly. Thanks, andrea

  2. Sarah Freligh

    David, I’m loving how second person is working here and how it both implicates and involves me as a reader on this wild ride of a brief journey. If it were first or third narration, I might be able to sit back and watch as “l’etranger” meanders into strange territory, but you is me and we are all together here. And the details are so good at highlighting the differences, however large or small: Yeah, there are saints and sausage sauce, but here they “crush their grapes barefoot. We use paddles.”

    I wondered about the ending, what the narrator is left with, takes away from the ride, the brief interlude in the town up the coast, and the interchange with Fernando. Think the key is in those final details, the observation of “the joggers and cyclists and dog walkers” and how the narrator sees them. Shading your images just so will convey that, allow you to avoid a heavy-handed pronouncement of MEANING.

    Intriguing and so lively!

  3. Len Kuntz


    This was a wild ride, chock full of metaphors, juxtaposition, and a myriad of wonderful phrasings and details. I’ve read it four times now and each time I’ve come away with something new to glean, which is what the best writing does. I was picturing a mashup of Under the Volcano with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Dazzling language.

  4. Koss Just Koss

    Love this strange little flash with so many great details and lines. Love that happiness is the best deodorant, rather than medicine, or??? I wonder about two things, the last line, and that you interject “please” in the second line. I kept getting hung up there and re-reading. It might work better in a quote, or just omit? And what if it were to end on “rocked this coast.” Overall, a wonderful piece.

  5. Robert Vaughan

    Hi David, I hope the books, collections, poems, whatnot that you are reading lately are as hallucinogenic as the pieces you are creating. This one, no exception: the phantasmagoria of the “wild ride,” the odd, yet exhilarating surprise lines (e.g. Happiness is the best deodorant.) Please, sir, may I have some more?!!! Not entirely sure what the deeper message is here- does it matter? It feels like David Foster Wallace meets William Burroughs meets Gertrude Stein and I am waiting for Godot!!! Digging your path, my brother!

  6. Francine Witte

    I loved a lot of the language here. Happiness is the best deodorant is just a great line. And I love the receptionist asking for five stars.

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