AND IT WAS LIKE THE GARDEN OF THE GODS WHEN IT SMELLED LIKE RAIN. the children it’s as if they don’t know the danger. There are no guard rails there. No fences. Yet I watched them I watched you so close to the edge on wet rock that edge the edge where once you go over only you know where it was and where when did the fear begin because I remember then you weren’t afraid of heights but maybe you thought about it you imagined your feet slipping your grip letting go and you felt what it was to be falling the stimulus of that to your body your mind and like shock you went back you went in to that smelling brain that knows only anger lust aggression fear and you forgot that you were more than that and you said it beats working at Wal-Mart nights but when George got busted after the cops got called on his girlfriend maybe you knew you still were a slave and that lie we’re told in school a lie even my father told about how fundamentally we’re all the same which sounds nice in an abstract form of thinking where you look at what does and what doesn’t belong but then you find out these are just confidence intervals of a projected curve a linear regression that looks fine on colored charts in PowerPoint presentations but if you just look at one man and one woman you know we aren’t fundamentally the same and even you said take the same situation and one person will know everything that happened who was involved who talked to who and feel no shame see it not as gossip but just a healthy curiosity of their environment a genuine concern for other people and judge people who mind their own business as stuck in their own little world locked in their own problems and who wants everybody in a sickening state of introspection anyway people don’t want to see what’s going on in your head on the outside that looks boring they want to see action and they want it to be real authentic—they want to be entertained—even if they know they’re being lied to

and you said

take the trichomes on this here bud. That’s what gets you high. But see we smoke it all—don’t we? And that’s good too there’s other good stuff in there and that’s what we do when we read a story. We aren’t really looking for the trichomes that stuff that gets us high we want the whole experience the taste the smell the way a beautiful bud looks with all those red hairs and glittering crystals… In order for it to be emotionally satisfying we want the whole thing. The same with a story. They call it sugar-coating a pill. The pill is what we swallow. The sugar is what makes it go down… it’s amazing how callous we are about our heroes. What they do and what’s been done to them. And these sell-outs—that’s what I call them—can be quite smug saying all kinds of things about deeper hidden meanings and observant discussion on relevant topics like population control and the role of machines and technology in society but of course it helps to have a fast-paced plot where the dashing leading man has a love interest helping him save the world and, well—you get the formula… but the people who read these stories are no better. There’s nothing more fickle than a fan and my God it’s ridiculous how heated they can get over a simple story if they don’t like the way it ends. It’s like getting mad at your food in a restaurant where you don’t have to be polite to the chef. After all, you are a paying customer…

so what if you didn’t smell it?

The sky was overcast but the rain had stopped and I stood back as you stepped closer to the edge and it was like you weren’t even talking to me you had your back turned and you were facing out to the forest below the wooded land and you stopped at the sign that said What’s going on out there? and I could see your mind working thinking wondering What if I was out there? In this unspoiled Nature left untended by Man. And how many times do we let it go by a mistake something we know is wrong which will have to be fixed later and we even let the person walk away trusting us that we gave the right information when we know that we didn’t but by the time they know that it’s not like you will be held accountable and that’s sad and you know it and like the land left alone by Man it’s our ignorance that saves us… but that’s not the sign I read. I read here like at Giant City about the Devil’s rock the Devil’s stand table. Each time I read the science was the same. Time and pressure on sandstone from the shallow sea receded some three hundred million years ago much like our evolved smelling brains had left the top layers un-eroded while the bottom layers the foundation succumbed to erosion and while he wondered about ignorance and accountability I wondered about that.

then he said

it’ll all be different in a few years. Our taboos are changing…

and of course then I was walking behind you this at Burden Falls and I was mad because you were laughing at me:

you didn’t have to eat the whole gram…
what do you care? you said it only cost fifty bucks. wax is cheap
ya but that would have lasted a whole month the other way…
I was trying to make myself sick of it
it didn’t work