The 11th hour.

I walked to my truck at 11 pm. It was the only parking space that wasn’t empty on the metered run. From my cabin I saw, two spaces away, a hooded fellow. He was plugging a meter. He was plugging the meter on an empty space. And I’ve never seen that.

I’ve seen a lot of stuff.

When I was just a little guy canoeing with my dad I used to see stick bugs mating. Two breathing twigs, screwing each other mid-air. That’s natural. That’s God’s law. Makes sense, right? I’ve seen house dogs greet me with a cheerleading pyramid. One on top of the other. Their owner was an animal trainer and it was how they were taught to show excitement. They were just passing down the custom. It was cultural. I’ve seen air, spin and pick up houses. It’s science.

But there’s no science to feeding an empty meter. It’s not cultural. And there’s absolutely nothing natural in it. It’s an unexplainable phenomenon. The same enigmatic energies that cause Auraura Borrielles going hog wild in a concrete world, that’s what it is.

I think the most unsettling part for me was that I couldn’t make sense of it. It’s nuts.

First of all, a penny saved is a penny earned. And the best way to save 25 pennies is to not buy those next 30 minutes of space for a car you don’t have. If you’re plugging an empty meter you’re just being irresponsible with your finances. And during a recession no less. Think better.

Second: the meters stop at nine.

There’s no logical explanation for it. And I’m already terrified. I’m afraid my 30 year old life is like bangs on the pipes. The ones that come from the floor below and swear in your ear that they’re the footsteps of lost souls. My world has felt like plasma in the stratosphere. The stuff that discs and refracts the light until you’d swear you’re being watched by something more intelligent than you’ll ever be. That’s what I feel like. Confused and overwhelmed, but cradled by an out-clause of logic. At least this life can be explained. I can tolerate a sad reality over a terrifying surreal one.

But I could be wrong. That might not be me. My life, maybe, is just a lonely man.

Standing under a broken street light and plugging an empty meter. I can’t explain that. And I’ve called on everything I’ve known and seen. And I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen crazy things. I’ve seen Pee Wee Herman’s bedroom. I’ve seen Lane Frost bleed on the horns of a bull; I was there when Cheyenne died. And I’ve seen double rainbows, bald eagles, James Brown and flaming rocks falling from the clear night sky. But seeing a man plug an empty meter? That’s the craziest fucking thing I’ve ever seen.

But it was 11 o’clock. So I just drove home.

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