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A Little Death
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“In my line of work we get used to a little death, but we never get used to the really violent ones. Blood and bones and bodies you can’t recognize.”

The detective starts to go on but I’ve left the room, floating over the table in a room where they probably joke amongst each other about their dead people, vics, is that what they call them. But I’m on the ceiling, then I’m through the ceiling floating over the desert. The raven’s with me, as big as me. It flies over me and casts a shadow as if it knows I need protection from the sun. We sail along and the wind fills my ears with the sweetest woosh that sweeps my soul. My insides feels clean and light and open. We sail and float. The current of the raven flying over me carries me forward. i can see Mexico now, big and flat and extending as far as I can see, only the purple mountains stop what I can see. Orange red earth and the purple mountains of the sonoran desert. We float and the colors fill the clean spaces within. Time is forever.

I feel a heaviness coming on and the sounds of the desert around me fades. I’m floating but not at all worried about falling from the sky. The raven is smaller now: the size of a cow, then a dog, then a cat, then a bird. Blackness fills me and I’m gone.

I wake up, but I hadn’t been asleep. I know that was not sleep because I’m sitting here in the room where the detective talks to people like me, not the room with the one-sided spy window where they watch people accidentally tell the truth. This room has a window that looks out into a sea of cops. Plain clothes, mostly. Men, mostly. A big room with messy desks and lots of pictures and papers stuck to boards around the walls. Sun comes in from windows practically at the level of the ceiling. No one can see into this secret den of detectives.

“And so we did originally think your father’s death was what we call a small death.” He looks at me when I make a choking sound. I can’t breath and now I’m folded over trying to get my breath.

“James, what’s going on. Try to breath, can I get you water, do we need to get you help?”

I try really hard to move my chest and succeed. I stay a little folded over with my elbows on my thighs for support. I’m sweating and I’m embarrassed. “Whew,” I say. I straighten up and put on my strongest look. “Nah, fine. The heat in here I guess.”

Of course there was no heat. The place is fucking freezing in the way LA likes to keep its public offices. I know that from when I was a kid.


I love it! Of course it combines two of my favorite places: LA and the Sonoran desert, but you manage to balance the specificity of a noir with the sweep of a western.

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