94 EAST HEADS OUT OF MINNEAPOLIS and into the lushness of Wisconsin where the highway opens up like a museum and abruptly one recognizes the cheese state is worth considering.
Two hours out of the twin cities: only to escape Minneapolis, only to escape Minneapolis, I repeat to myself, my only motive, my chant, my prayer. I speed along, a little high from the hash in the trunk of my car. I promised Klippinger I would only skim off the top and he agreed that it would be best if I smoked or else I might be a danger to others on the open road. “You’re going to kill someone behind that wheel if you’re so fucking sober all the time,” he spit at me. I’d told Klippinger as they pulled my car away the night before, with the snow plows descending upon us, that I would never return to the dreadful city again. He cackled and hit me in the head with a snow shovel. I awoke in my car this morning in the holding lot. How I got there, how he transported my body, I’ll never know – these are the elfish trickeries Klippinger is capable of, to both entertain and rid the world is his motive.
When I had first arrived in Minneapolis 26 hours earlier I was hopeful at the prospects; to visit the city in the midst of its winter, a season it wears on its sleeves all year, seemed only appropriate. No other city, no other people could sustain the goodness, the progressiveness, the straightforward logic and rationale of the city itself. Minneapolis makes too much sense in the summer, it is too damned humane and this is why it must endure the winter – a deathly, icy grip that chokes relentlessly beyond decency – none should have to recall, let alone relive the blinding horror of subzero migraines, a frozen hell. But it is this same sufferable winter that molds a sound mind, a clear disposition of rightness, a beacon of intellectual prowess in the midst of the large continental body America.
I arrive to find Klippinger living in a chic vacant townhouse with only a couch, a TV, an X-Box, the complete works of Tolstoy, cupboards full of Kellog’s name brand cereal, and a closet full of top-grade hash. There are no pleasantries, he is in the midst of a fantastical journey on the X-Box, “Sit down, get high,” he commands, his eyes arrested on the screen. I stand in the foyer of the magnificent space, attempting to piece together what story he will tell me, what patchwork line of bullshit brought him to reside so meagerly in this small castle. “Hey dickwad, sit down. Smoke this.”
I exhale. Shit. I revel in it, unlike the pot I’ve been smoking out of my tarred and feathered one-hitter for the past few months this is monumental, original and fierce. I fall back, a bit wearied from the haul, having taken the back roads from Denver in one ambitious charge. When I open my eyes from the glistening Pink Floyd-induced crystal dream sequence, I see a black spider dangling in front of me. I bat at it. It’s a heavy metal spider.
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by Steven Gulvezan
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