At first I thought perhaps this might be a series of story notes, a monologue done in character, but it soon became clear I may actually have been recording some hallucinatory event, my own personal zombie Dr. Strangelove apocalypse brought on by god knows what. All that I can be certain of is I began to experience "a growing numbness I can't get comfortable with. It doesn't match the particulars of anything I'm used to enjoying... am I too tight? Am I too loose? Is it possible to be both at the same time?" Chemically induced or not, the sound of my voice suggests that the events which followed appeared all too real.
As the recording continues I describe some type of feral people rioting in the streets. They're devouring the city; demolishing buildings by raping the bricks right off the walls. No one is safe. Fires burn everywhere. Blood runs in the gutters, and children paint their faces after coating their fingers in these greasy rivers. Naked groups of modern primitives surge through the streets forcing others down onto the sidewalk, and branding them. Those so marked are soon descended upon by human locusts who strip the screaming pedestrians down to the bone. The primitives then return to collect the bones, etching them with mystical runes then wearing them as jewelry or hollowing out femurs and ulna to use as pipes. Mad men with Mohawks sport three piece suits and filed down teeth as they rocket about on homemade motorcycles of dubious quality but definite monstrous sound -- the machines roar like dinosaurs yet seem ready to fly apart. I find a .357 magnum in the glove compartment, and start to feel safe because now I can kill myself at a moment's notice. Still, I maintain a certain documentarian slant. Instead of fleeing the scene I record:
"Jesus, what are these people? They're everywhere... flooding onto the highway, congesting traffic to a standstill. There's no getting away from them -- no escape... we may have to go nuclear."
For a brief moment while listening to this, I indulge an oddly hope filled part of my mind, and start doing research to see if at any time in the recent past Chicago went through a stretch of temporary mass insanity. Alas, no such luck. The reality I recorded appears to have existed nowhere except for my mind. A shame in a way, or so it seems until the record shares with me my realization there is no hope. The crazies rule the city leaving only one grim option: "A handgun in one hand, a grenade in the other, and a cigarette clenched tightly between my teeth. Burn it down. Burn it all away."
At which point I can imagine myself pulling into a gas station, in fact hear background sounds suggesting as much during a pause in the rambling monologue. The clunk-rattle-clatter of a gas pump nozzle being pulled free. The hollow splashing noise one expects from a plastic jug filling with liquid. The low hum of the highway in the distance implies a station not far from my house. Like bits of a blackout resurfacing, a foggy memory returns to me, as I recall staring down two Mexican teenagers, one with a tattoo on his face of a crying skull, both of them obviously harder than me yet still somehow unnerved. If the recollection is to be trusted, perhaps they're unease stemmed from the fact I have no shirt on though it's a chilly November evening; and I'm slicing a large dripping red X across my chest with a broken bottle.
On the cassette a car door closes. The tape plays an engine grumbling to life. Indistinct mutterings follow, the decayed tape infrequently confessing in coherent bits the rest of the night:
"Guns. Bombs. Liquor. Drugs. Sex. Rock 'n' roll. They're all outdated and useless. We need bigger guns. Bigger booze. Bigger sex. Bigger Rock 'n' roll. Bigger, bigger, bigger bombs... Carpet bombing. What I'm proposing is... flying across, around, up, down, diagonally across the planet just carpet bombing."
Some music in the background, but I can't make it out, played too loud to be anything other than barking static. The volume drops. The rant continues:
"It's a curse to realize the edge is in fact behind you; it's only a matter of time before the Wiley Coyote realization gravity exists, and is still in full effect. Though for the time being the revelation carries a blessing: I will be less than legally responsible for whatever I do... ready to set things on fire."
Then that's it. All I wrote, or spoke as it were. Whatever happened afterward, either I didn't feel the need to document it, or I failed to realize the tape needed to be turned over. In any event, I have no idea where the night went from there. Though maybe it's better not to know. Maybe I burned something down. Maybe I did nothing at all. It's hard to say which is worse. On the one hand is arson, while on the other is someone who didn't follow through.