Originally posted 4/14/2008; original title, “Cryptids.”
So, there’s this website where you click to spin a wheel
and it tells you how to make a life decision
based on you doing what a unicorn would do
if a unicorn was in the same situation you’re facing.
I spun the wheel this morning
and it said i should
“whinny and rear.”
Well, I do this all the time so it didn’t seem to be a huge stretch.
I was glad I was not advised to nuzzle a newborn or frolic in a meadow.
I was hoping that I’d be told to impale evil things
but I confess I’m not really in shape for that —
good call, wheel.
So: out the front door on my hind legs,
waving my arms around.
My voice has too much tobacco in it for a solid whinny,
but I made some sort of approximate noise
as I went forth.
At the gas station, the pump refused my credit card. I whinnied at it.
There wasn’t much space to rear since I’d parked too close to the pump,
but I managed something that didn’t look too un-unicorn-like
and fulfilled the prophecy. I was becoming mythical!
Certainly, the pump’s refusal to honor my credit made that belief credible.
I drove out to the Tower Hills, just outside the city.
I knew I’d be the lone unicorn out there, since it’s not the season for the regular unicorns —
while they equally adore frolicking in meadows covered in snow or wildflowers,
the mud of a Massachusetts spring is something they’d rather not touch.
They go to Arizona, I think, in winter.
I pulled off the road by the reservoir
and found a trail there,
which I followed to a bar
in a clearing.
The bar was better furnished than I would have expected,
and the drinks were well made and cheap.
The bartender greeted me with a nod;
apparently I had been there before,
though it all seemed new.
I knew no one else,
at least by their faces,
though I recognized them by their traits —
gryphons whose wings had been stolen,
chimeras with odd parts from random plastic surgeries,
basilisks who could turn you to Corian with a single glance.
I joined my fellow cryptids there
and we indulged in our fortunes
for many, many hours
until I was drunk on the dizzying rhythm
of my whinnying and rearing.
I came home flecked with sweat
and exhausted. I dreamed of virgins
seeking me, I dreamed of eluding capture —
and then I woke up — here. Again.
I’m going to return
to that website with its majestic wheel.
It tells me old stories
that make me feel like I’m not alone
in believing that there’s a greater purpose.
I know it’s supposed to be for amusement only,
but it’s a joke
that has led me to the place
where I feel most justified,
and most at home.