Many years ago, from a screening of The Piano Player I attended at the art cinema with my mother and one of her friends: I gnaw my own arm off, leaving it there in the darkness to keep the older ladies docilely believing I am still sitting peacefully, enraptured by the film. Then, I rapidly crawl up the side of the theatre and burrow out through the wall with my handy penknife. I arrive in the bar next door, knock back six cocktails, and return to the theater in time to reattach my arm and earnestly discuss the film. It was so beautifully shot, I will say. And so movingly symbolic.
Some years later at the same cinema with an on again off again lover, watching the Coen brothers’, or one of them at least, thinly veiled biopic: I will just lean over and whisper that I must go to the bathroom. Lady problems, I will murmur meaningfully. Might have to run to the store. No, you stay. It will only take a minute. If they won’t let me back in I’ll meet you in the bar next door.
When I worked as a cashier at Home Depot for four interminable months: I will shimmy up that pole and launch myself across the ceiling, clinging bat like to the pneumatic tubes that funnel the money overhead all day. At the point in the dim back of the store just before the tubes reach the office I will saw one open, seizing the pods of cash within. Then I will scurry out the loading dock with my ill gotten gains. I can get far on $423 in ones. Or I could just go back to standing at my register staring into space and contemplating the many varied and splendidly outré ways there are to kill yourself at Home Depot.
Today, at an unfamiliar doctors office with my increasingly demented aunt in a wheelchair and my brother, only just out of the hospital himself, pale and ill: In a flash, I will leap to the window. I will force it open and wiggle through, magically shedding years and pounds. I will run to my car, also rejuvenated, and we will drive. And drive. And drive until we reach that cool pine shrouded campground in Oregon that I know waits for me.
Even if I have to gnaw my own arm off. Gndhsjfn. Shmgnrgggg. I am gnawing as fast as I can but it is just not fast enough.