Midnight Cowboy Sleeping Underwater

western grass and sky

There was some Western, some movie on last night. But he didn’t know what it was. Something hanging by a noose or a noose with somebody’s name on it pinned to a tree. At any rate, he didn’t know. He just woke up in the same clothes he’d gone to sleep in. And he didn’t know it. He didn’t know that. He just woke up turned ninety degrees body around in bed in the same black morning darkness he always woke up in. Except that he was all dressed already. And they were nice clothes. Nice pants, nice shirt, and a nice moleskin jacket. He didn’t know how’d it happened. It just did. That’s all there was to it. Now he knew and remembered that he’d been discouraged that night before. Everything was pretty much shipwreck. But that’d never stopped him, not from watching some old Western where men mete out either death or life according to some ad hoc game among the tumbleweed and dirt they play by and by, each man and each gun according to each man and each gun’s rules. And he kind of liked that a lot. No, he damn well liked that. A world where life itself isn’t ever held to be the summum bonum. Heck, no. It was how a man lived was how a man died. Which was always for good watching when he was feeling low and pretty ruined, which could have been that that did it, even to him. But he’d always felt some notice before. Some clanging and whooping some doomed submarine’s hollering wail or the fatal sounds of Comanche warriors swarming down the silhouetted embankments that meant one thing. The night before? That was just a silent night. Sleeping into the ether death or sleep or whatever spent dreams there were during those lost hours. Well, hell, he just got up as though it had been a regular night and didn’t bother to shower or shave. He was too finely dressed to change out, and the clothes were warm. He just got going with a fresh pot of coffee, a good, solid breakfast, and headed out to walk the day as he walked every and any day, past the garden, past the newly fallen dead white birch at the back, and straight up his own mountain, up the steep pitch where the sun and the ferns and the old brown leaves and the chips of half-broken bluestone and the old farmers’ low stone walls belonging to nobody always were when he went there that time of day.

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