The phone rang four times before I stumbled over the couch in a cold desperate sweat. It had been two months since the phone rang last, this had to be him, or her, but that voice that spoke without a pause, the cool sweet vibrations that sent me through. I picked up the phone with a gargled, “Hhhhello???”

Silence, and then a clicking sound, almost like the strumming of a coke can tab…..I uttered another senseless word, “Uhhh hellllo??”

The answer threw me back onto the ground, into a warm horizontal inch worm pose……”Yes, hello, I’ve been waiting for you.” answered the plastic ear piece. I quivered in response, this was like heroin for my eardrums, I hadn’t heard a single vibration in over two months, what did I do to deserve such a pleasure??

The voice pondered, “Can you play today, it’s raining, I thought of you.” Quick and to the point I thought, as I flipped through my mental plans for the day…..

Eat, poo, or was it smoke after I eat and then poo? Buy some whiskey and ice, drink, tv, eat, sleep….I couldn’t think of where I could fit playing in the rain with this mysterious voice, this mysterious voice that had only called once before, the only voice that I had ever heard.

I’ve heard other voices before, but never from this phone, this mysterious phone that was given to me by the DHL man. Weird I remember thinking, who uses DHL?! As my paranoia continued, so did my whiskey bath, for I was always working on a solid saturation, something my grandpa would be proud of.

“Fine,” I answered, now that the warm buzz had left my toes and run through the crown of my head, “Fine, I’ll be outside in the rain, where do I meet you?”

“You will know when you walk through your door.” Was the sly answer that sent another warm buzz through my soul. Jesus, I thought, this has to be Jesus on the phone, who else could send these warm feelings through a plastic piece plugged into a wall?! Jesus and I didn’t really agree with each other, from all the infomercials on the TV and my whiskey baths, it was common knowledge that we were at odds, but I had heard of all the “amazing” feelings you can get, and the what nots from the old men on the tv, screaming and hollering, usually dampening my buzz…….but this was no time to remember old times, this was the calling, THE CALLING….

I grabbed my jacket as I tugged the plastic phone from my ear, “Excuse me,” said the voice, “You don’t need any clothes where yurrrr going…..” I quickly shot a glare to the open window at the front of my house. Outside was dark except one street light, I couldn’t make out anything out there except the misty haze from the rain and the single light. Damn, I thought, I’m being watched through my windows, from the dark, and I have to waltz outta my own damn house naked? Because a damn voice told me?

“I don’t even know your name!!! How can you demand a naked whiskey drunkard to dance in the rain?” I screamed in protest, I hadn’t been truly naked in the outdoors for more than 2 minutes since I was 3.

“I was with you when you were born,” replied the all mysterious voice. “Ok,” was what I heard myself say, and then I felt myself drag my feet to the kitchen for my roadie. The phone cord was getting stretched to its limits, but I didn’t care anymore, if the line was cut, I knew all I had to do was walk outside in the rain, naked, and somehow I would know where to walk….or so said this voice that was with me when I was born….”What the hell is in this whiskey?”

My hands shaking now as I attempted to pour whiskey into a red solo cup, almost half spilled onto the floor, giving me a visual of a slowly sleeping whiskey waterfall down my cupboards. Screw the ice I thought the rain was enough to keep it cool. I turned my head in a frantic manner, opened my cigarette drawer, only to find a half smoked stogie, rolling to and fro from the force of my opening. I grabbed the stub, took a sip of my drink, and side stepped out the front door.

Don’t worry, I was already naked when the phone rang, that’s normal on Tuesdays. It’s the coat that I feared I would miss, the rain was cold and the wind colder. I stood at the front entrance of my house, naked as the day I was born, now with a wet stub of a cigarette and more confusion than I had ever felt in my life.

“I’ll know where to go….bs….” I muttered with a wet filter now, simply dangling on my lower lip. I glanced around the street, through the medium mist and focused my attention on the only street lamp, for it was the only light I could make out through my drunken haze.  The light flicked off, and then on again, and then off, and then somehow transformed its mellow yellow light into a bright purple blaze. This was enough for the wet cigarette butt to drop from my sticky lips and land beyond my toes.

The purple light was pulsing now, almost breathing, my eyes transfixed….I took a quick glance down at my whiskey to see if there was any sign of foul play. Watching the amber liquid constantly beaten by rain ripples, I decided to reopen my focus back upon the purple light across the street.

It was at this point that the color and intensity of the light gave me a flash of a memory from two years before. A place called Cutie’s Kitchen, a strip joint not far from here. I slugged the rest of my cool burning drink, threw the cup into my chaotic hedges and stormed off in a naked blur to Cutie’s….the show must have gone on without me…..

I had been a regular at Cutie’s for a good part of two years. I had my place at the bar with enough elbow room to cut steak….that’s all I did there, eat steak, drink whiskey and waltz out like I owned the place. Cutie’s was a low end dive that cut me a deal after my 30th steak dinner. Management gave me the green light to bring my own bottle of whiskey, on the preface that I would walk home. I didn’t have a car nor a bike so that wasn’t a hard sell.

The lights still flickered on and off, “Dive in and Mellow out” it read, on and off. There were only a few cars in the parking lot, but I felt myself lurk in the shadows and search another entrance to my old watering hole. I had been thrown out once before, so the knowledge of the back door was sketchy to me, but I had a faint memory. All I could remember was the steel door and the sound it made. Spiderman is jealous I thought as I climbed naked up the wet railing and up to the steps to the back door.

As I reached out to knock on the cold door, the door opened, and there in the red haze of beauty stood Shelly, the only stripper who talked to my carnivorous ways. “What the hell are you doing naked on my back door? You still on that whiskey?”

“Did you call me?” I muttered through wet lips.

“What the hell are you on kid? You left your phone number on a napkin 2 years ago, and I used it to wipe up that grizzle you  left on the bar…..you jackass!!!” She spat back with a quick flick of her hair and a gleaning of her eyes.

“Uhghh, never mind, I just thought you called me, and I was confused, and some thing is telling me….ughhh never mind damnit, I thought…awww gawd, never mind. Nice seeing you Shelly, tell Curly to keep the steaks medium rare eh?!” I couldn’t think of a better response, my mind was blurring out and I could feel a grip of blackout coming fast.

“Go and tell him yourself you naked bastard, you’re the only one that eats his steaks. Here, take this, you look a little cold, judging from your therdadometer.” As she threw a pink scarf at my head.

I grabbed the scarf and looked down. Damn, this is no way to greet a steel door, nor a woman behind it, I thought……whatever, I wrapped my ass like a burrito and waltzed in. Ever since I was 9, I couldn’t walk through doors normally, always waltzing…..whatever normal is anyway…..

I found myself in the kitchen, the infamous Cutie’s Kitchen, home of the breast fried steak and the pumplin’ girder. I saw Curly in the back, sittin on a bucket smoking a cig. The radio blared some Latina cries, and I warped back to my childhood with my mother who would always sing Latina.

“Curls, keep the steaks medium rare you cranky bastard!!!” I yelled above the cries from Latina land.

The man turned through is cloud of smoke and gave a grin. He poked a chicken steak on the grill for good measure, and slowly asked me,”Last time I saw you in pink was Mardi Gras, and my old friend, we aren’t close to that nonsense, what brings you through my door?”

I shuffled around the cluttered kitchen to the warmth of the grill and sat my bare ass down on a bucket. “I got a call, the first call to my shack in years, and for whatever reason, I found myself here asking more questions than I have answers.”

Curls looked at me with one eye closed and gave me a silent nod as he slowly reached behind his spices. He uncorked a slender bottle with a pink cork and no label. “Here, you need some of my lady’s home brew,” he muttered as he slowly leaked the contents into a coffee mug next to his work station. “You may see things after this, but trust me, it is meant to be.”

This sent a chill through me as I immediately smelled the liquid through the grease and the grizzle from the charred grill.

The coffee mug was handed to me through a blur, and I sank my eyes through the brown muddied puddle holed up in its essence. I didn’t need to be told what to do, I slammed my head back and felt the entire contents grab my throat as the work of gravity and insanity took hold.

“Ohhh hombre, you got something coming for you,” came the raspy words as my eyes opened to find Curly grinning once again through his fog of smoke. “Order up!!!” He screamed as he threw a plate of chicken and sloshy vegetables to its delivery window.

The liquid immediately sent its essence throughout every inch of my body, I felt myself sweating through every pore in my body and at this point I nearly fell off my bucket. Wrenched with fear for what was to come or rather what was occurring, I staggered to a straw man stance and felt a warm gush of hot air explode through my mouth. “Whhhat, whhhat did you just give me?” I asked through gritted teeth and a slender memory.

“My friend, that was a hybrid medicina brew from a root in the Amazon, my lady stirs up some magic after each new moon,” replied Curls as he slapped on another chicken steak, throwing some seasonings and spanish curse words on its new shivering form. The smoke rose from this and through the smoke I saw a giant purple serpent, stretching its way up through the air making a perfect swirl of chaos.

I screamed in horror as this snake grew in intensity and approached my gaping mouth with a slither of its tongue. “Why have you called me?” asked this magical beast. I fell over off my bucket and tried grasping for something to hold on to. All I found were some old tongs beneath the oven to which my fingers wrapped around like a version of their own snake form. Slowly inching my way back on the cold cement I started snapping the tongs through this snake’s tongue in a frantic fit of pure fear. Again it asked, “Why have you summoned me?” All I could do was spit back, “You called me you crazy gypsy!!!”

My mind was racing, and then it happened, the snake coiled back and in a flash of purple light, consumed my entire body with its gaping jaws. Instantly I was transported to a jungle floor deep inside a wet lush landscape I had never experienced. My body wouldn’t move nor did it want to. “Damn whiskey,” I sputtered through rain soaked lips.

The jungle floor was alive with the symphony of insects and water droplets. The vibrations stirred something deep within me. A voice through my mind spoke to me gently, as if it was Mother Earth herself, “If you want to free yourself, do so, it is only a matter of communicating through your soul to the other listeners.”

“Buuuuttttt, I have to pay my taxes, I have to go to work, I have to……I have to do things…..” I felt myself answer, to which it was responded through this gentle whisper upon my soul, “All that you see and all that you do are only dreams, begin to dream the new dream, based through love and infinite possibilities…..”

I choked on something that was coming up through my everything, I purged four strong pulses of anything and everything, it was as if I was purging belief systems that cluttered my life. The rain now started into another gear as the storm had intensified almost as if it had sensed my need for cleansing. The mud now spattered from the jungle floor up into my pores. I felt myself drifting back to her, back to the Earth. Her gentle touch was foreign, yet her essence was that of mine, I could see a bridge, feel a connection, sense the unseen. I wrapped my heart around the beating of the jungle, the living being, the breathing and thriving of an organism, free, on its own.

The jungle floor now enveloped me and sent me through a worm hole of magic muddied proportions.

My eyes slowly cracked open, seeing the whispering clouds in a blue sky flash by. I stayed horizontal for what seemed two more life times. It was after the second lifetime that a strange bird I had never seen came through the above clouded ceiling. Its flight circled down to me, I watched as it gracefully used every cell of air to its benefit, without thought, simply through its natural essence. It landed next to me on the ground, a giant golden eagle. It cocked its head in a degree of confusion. I slowly rose to a sitting position and took in my surroundings.

I was in my backyard, naked covered in an orange mud. “It did happen,” I thought, and a voice answered, “Yes, your heart took you on a wild realm crossing last night.” It was after this voice that I looked over to the eagle to return its inquisitive gaze. As if it was talking to me through my mind, I gave a huge sigh and found myself back in a child’s mind. “Why did I ever grow up?” I thought, and the eagle responded, “We are all circles in a cycle of creation, welcome back to the beginning, your life ahead of you is bright if you let it be.”

I stood up as the sun broke through the clouded sky. A beam of light running up through my spine and I felt myself become whole. “Thank you,” I muttered to the eagle, as I shuffled up the back porch stairs, mud falling off of me at every step.

“That was one helluva ride….” I sighed as I walzted through my screen door without bothering to open it.

Somewhere in the distant jungle a child stumbled upon a pink scarf wrapped around an ancient tree like a candy cane, “Momma look!!! What’s that?!?!”

To which the mother replied gently, “Another Westerner found his roots……”