In ancient times, I watched the sunset at Mallory Square in Key West. While I gazed at the exquisite, surreal dreamscape that engulfed me, I felt the heat of the glorious sun, my spirit moved by its majestic beauty. But its red sunset drove me mad too. Couldn’t bear the pain and agony of its beauty; couldn’t witness its celestial metamorphosis without dreaming of G-d and eternity and my unknown mission on earth.
Now, I remember those unreal nights that fed my soul. I watched street vendors and performers fill Mallory Square with a magical and hypnotic ambience. Magicians amazed me with grand illusions. Circus people fascinated and freaked me out with lethal tricks. Fire eaters frightened me by swallowing mammoth flames. Acrobats risked their lives walking across tightropes by the Gulf of Mexico. A cornucopia of freaks entertained me. A Houdini wannabe freed himself from a straight jacket with forbidding multiple locks. A Cat Man with a crackling whip and half-a-dozen cats revealed an eerie sadomasochistic gift to control his beasts. I watched with hungry, desperate eyes.
Unfortunately, those dreamlike nights fed my dark soul. And it emerged one night just before I witnessed a gorgeous sunset. It saw the other, a man who had been stalking me since I left Brooklyn. He followed me to Key West. The cabal hired him to kill me. I know.
In ancient times, I meandered through Mallory Square with a small pocket knife taped to my hairy chest, hidden beneath a Key West T-shirt. I looked for my predator and found him. He had become my prey. About ten feet and a thick crowd separated us.
I drifted through the throng. As I approached the stranger, I staggered and reeled. The crowd I had penetrated seemed to push and pummel me. They surrounded and engulfed me. I almost fell to the ground.
Suddenly, I felt trapped and suffered a bout of claustrophobia. On this sultry August night, I began to sweat profusely. And I listened to my heart pound relentlessly. The thumping and palpitations triggered a full-fledged panic attack. I lost my balance and suffered unexpectedly from vertigo.
The anonymous people in the crowd encircled and lifted me high into the sky. I struggled to no avail. When I looked at a few members of this throng, I saw alien faces. I blacked out.
When I opened my eyes, I found myself locked in a square cage tied to a long metal tightrope, hanging a few feet from the Gulf of Mexico. I screamed, but no one seemed to hear my cries for help. Or perhaps, they didn’t care.
I talked quietly to myself. I listened to my susurrations. Shriveled up inside my cage, I watched the monsters watching me. But soon, the darkness came. And then they sauntered off, leaving me alone in my cage hanging high over Mallory Square.
The cage swayed back and forth in the pitch-black darkness. I waited for the dawn and the monsters to return.