Dead, or a Spider Bite

by Nic Olson

Drive down Victoria Avenue in the work van. There’s Len crossing the street to get pot of coffee. And there’s Pat, the guy that helped me self-publish that book, standing at the crosswalk. Head south to drop someone off at home and there’s Kim, Sid and Scottie’s kid, walking home from school. A few blocks up, Jim and his grey beard are cruising on the bike, being slowed by a stiff headwind. Drive towards to the hood to drop off a few boxes at someone’s house and see Rocky cursing at a non-existent person in a downtown bus shelter, the closest thing to her own living room. Get to the hood and see Sonia walking down the street to her place. Holy shit, have I been rendered dead from a black widow spider bite on my tit, or is it just a normal day in a small town? Is this treasure-trail-like rash my death wound, or just a minor stress-related skin irritation?

I have nearly died several times in my life, as have we all. Nearly fall off a cliff. Crash a truck in the mountains. Eat really old rice and feel your body seize up (regular occurance). These are days I celebrate and remind myself that I am indeed invincible, and that no matter how poorly I treat my body, how many times I bike home and can’t remember doing it, how often I put a cellphone in my pocket to fry my balls into ancient legumes, that I will survive, and survive forever.

I took no photos of my unemployment, an idiotic attempt to live in the moment, but mostly to have less expensive garbage on my shoulders thus less reason for desperate locals to beat the shit out of me for something to sell on the black market. Now I doubt it really happened. That time I had papaya salad on an island, the time I biked 120km in two days between ancient cities, that time a monkey stole our bag of chips, were all fabrications of the mind. Did I grow up in the suburbs? Was there really several times where I had a girlfriend? I don’t believe a damn bit of it.

Same job, same apartment, same old habits.

Driving down Dewdney next time, if I see Rocky in the bus shelter, I will stop and ask her for verification of reality, because at this point, she knows as well as I do.