“Time’s not space, it’s just measured in space,” I said. “You go from here to there. That’s time. Kinda fucking funny that without space we wouldn’t have time?”
They weren’t listening. Gina and Mike played euchre like they did every night, sitting Indian style on the middle of the floor in the trailer, passing a joint back and forth. Seemed like I was talking to myself, one theory leading to another as certainty faded.
We were way out in the middle of nowhere, the Gila wilderness, and darkness always brings on thought for me. I’m a theoretical sort of person, see. I once got an A on my ninth grade science project. Our knowledge of the world can be altered with a simple idea, a new way of looking at things. Things are blurry. Ready to explode.
Gina was wearing her cut-off jean shorts, perhaps the genesis for my deep thoughts that evening. That and a cigar laced with our first harvest of doobage—leaves snipped without Mike’s knowledge because he was afraid I was going to smoke it all instead of sell it. He was the accountant on our team, you might say. My thoughts spun madly as I stared at Gina’s shorts tucked up on her thighs, squeezing flesh, the curls of her pink hair brushing against her shoulder. I wanted to whisper in her ear.
Sometimes when Mike went out on a hike or something, Gina and I made out. Once we had sex. I wanted to give her an orgasm because she said she never had one with Mike, but I came like a junior high boy, despite the images of war and famine I conjured to prevent my tendency to overexcitement. She and Mike didn’t do it much, she said. Mike was like that, all distant and into himself. But girls always preferred him to me, they always had, since we met each other in the first grade.
“Now here’s the question,” I said. “If time is contingent on space, is space contingent on time? Would we have space without time? It’s fucking crazy. You have to admit it’s fucking crazy.”
Neither one of them acknowledged my remark. I was hoping to distract Mike so that he’d go out for a piss or something. I wanted to kiss Gina real quickly, hold her tight, and I was getting a hard-on just thinking about it. I’d tell her I loved her. I wanted to know that one thing was definite in the world.
“One of the wheels was sounding funny today,” I said after a while.
“So why don’t you go out and check it,” Mike replied. The tuft of hair just under his lip stared at me. His blond dreads hung over eyes that hadn’t shown any joy since he got a Big Wheel for his third birthday. Or so it seemed. He’d mastered aplomb like he’d completed a training program in it.
“You know more about that shit than I do,” I said.
“Maybe it’s time you learned.”
“It’s your trailer.”
Gina shot me a look. I tried to read her eyes, but I couldn’t tell one way or another what she was thinking. She was like the wind, you never knew if she was going to come from the west or the east. One night I’d written “I love you” on a piece of paper and stuck it inside a pair of her underwear. I thought I’d find a note from her the next day, something, but there was nothing. So then I wondered if she thought Mike put it there, and if he got the love meant for me.
Life is tricks. One night last week I came rushing in from outside and told Mike there was a drunk Indian lying down on the road clutching a quart of Coors and wearing a feathered headress. He dashed out the door like there was a spaceship out there. I kissed her, put my fingers into her, and later she told me my touch was full of chi, magical.
I waited for her to tell me to leave with her. Sometimes I fantasized that she’d ask me to kill him. I wondered if I would. He’d once been my best friend, but I’d started to see Republican tendencies in him. “I don’t understand gay men,” he said recently. “How can they fuck another man’s butt?”
“Maybe they don’t understand what you see in a woman’s cooz,” I said.
“That’s obvious,” he said. “That’s just fucking obvious.”
He’d inherited the trailer from his grandfather, a 1957 El Rey Airstream. No one else in the family wanted it. He liked to think he called the shots since he owned the trailer. It was like we were his sharecroppers, but I didn’t care as long as I could keep living the life I’d decided to live.
Tomorrow we were going to hit the trails with our mountain bikes. Everyday we rode—our bodies baked tan by the sun and our muscles tight. Next week we were going up to Boulder. That’s where we’d sell our weed. Funnel some more assets into our gypsy aspirations. Then move on. Gina wanted to drive across Nebraska because of the Springsteen album, as if life were music. We didn’t have a destination, didn’t think of ever really stopping. All I had to do was call a number each week and tell a computer voice back in Phoenix that I was still looking for work, then make sure that my cousin Zeke sent in the forms that came from the unemployment office, and the checks just kept coming in.
The worst moments were when I heard Gina and Mike laughing in bed, making such a point of their joy. I’d think about walking in there with my knife and pinching it up on his throat. Out there in the middle of nowhere, nobody other than Gina would ever know. And she loved me.