Du Bist Im Labyrinth

Given that there are only so many things a man can count, Jerrod was lost at that finite point when the geometry of the alley-maze formed a sort of geodesic hyper-real extension of the shrub-lined, narrow paths that wound through the scrub barrens behind his childhood home.  This is not to say that Jerrod, a man of no mean intelligence, mistook the alley-maze, with its garbage heaps, detritus, rats and human baggage for the scrub barrens, but when, as a boy, he had wandered into the barrens and become confused by the tangle of the narrow trails and dense, dry flora, the feeling of rising panic that he felt then, he felt now.

And like then, as now, he lost all sense of time; although, unlike as a child, as an adult lost in the alley-maze, he was, more or less, able to keep his heart from racing, breath from gasping, mind from whirling in panic.  Despite this, he felt once again the odd sensation that his very identity had been left behind, back with the notion of knowing one’s way.

As such, Jerrod was quite a surprised to round a corner, stepping past a pile of moldering cardboard that had assumed the color of stale bread, to find himself facing a dead end:  a rough brick wall ruddy with age-old human waste, decay and, oddly, scrawled writing that spelled out, in German, Du bist im labyrinth!

“Klopf, klopf,” he muttered, the strains of Neue Deutsche Härte reverberating through his subconscious.

He let out a deep, focusing breath.  He felt himself wet with sweat and, almost for the first time, recalled the warmth of the day—the day that apparently resided beyond the temporally stagnant alley-maze with its eerie, yet apropos German statement.  He shook his head and checked his cell yet again—still no reception but an accurate digital log of how long he had been lost in the maze.

Twenty-seven minutes—although that only reflected the point he had first queried the phone, several minutes into confusion.

A scuff sounded on the asphalt.

He turned to find a small boy standing behind him.  The child was Hispanic, probably around nine or ten, dressed in stained khaki shorts and a blue and red superhero t-shirt.  Absurdly flashing back to a college visit to Ensenada, Jerrod half expected the boy to emphatically ask, “Chiclet?”

Instead, the boy just said, “Hi.”

“Uh, hi,” Jerrod replied.

“Are you lost?”  The boy asked.

“Yeah, how could you tell?”

“You aren’t from around here, that’s all.”

Well, that’s true.  “Do you know which way it is to Corning Street?  I’m supposed to meet someone at a book store there—of course, you didn’t need to know that, but…yeah.”

The boy shook his head.  “No, I don’t.”

“Oh.  Ah.  Okay.  Is your mom or dad ’round here?”

Another shake of the head.

Jerrod blinked at that.  “Where do you live then?”

The boy smiled and simply pointed behind Jerrod who turned, somehow surprised to see the rough brick wall still behind him.  His eyes fell to the German graffiti.

Du bist im labyrinth.

“Okay, right.”

He turned back.  The boy was gone.

~ by liberdementia on April 5, 2009.

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