Lazy Lie-Abed’s Wild Ride

The black sedan rockets down the road. There is a monkey at the wheel. He has on a chauffeur’s cap, and a little jacket and no pants. He jabbers and points at the road, and yanks the steering wheel back and forth. Lazy Lie-Abed is sprawled on the back seat. “Oh my delicate constitution!” he says, his pink bulk tossed side to side in the car. “Oh, my liver! My digestion!”

The car speeds on over dusty lanes, into a village of gray stone houses with window boxes full of red and pink geraniums. The monkey pilots the squealing car around the village square, knocking into tables heaped with produce, scattering oranges and chickens in his wake. At the corner café, the coffee drinkers observe the flight of the car, cups frozen halfway between table and lip, their heads swiveling silently. “Oh, my paws and whiskers!” cries Lazy Lie-Abed from the back seat. He licks the backs of his wrists and passes them over his eyebrows.

Lazy Lie-Abed plucks crumbs of Cheez-it crackers off his chest. He peers into the empty box, then out the car window. “Ooh! Oooh! Look, it’s a drive through. We’re out of Cheez-its. Oh, stop here, you must!” The monkey wrenches the wheel over and the car screeches sideways into the Dairy Barn driveway. The reflection of the red silo slides across the windshield. The monkey leaps halfway out the window, only his bright red ass visible, his tail wrapped around the steering post. Boxes of foodstuffs come hurtling in through window: Cheez-its, Ho-Ho’s, Ring Dings. A can of Poppycock sails all the way to the back seat and bangs off Lazy Lie-Abed’s head. He is momentarily cross as he rubs the point of impact. But than he sighs philosophically, pries open the lid, and stuffs a handful in his mouth. “Drive on!” he says through a mouthful, and small pieces of the popcorn spray out and stick to the back of the monkey’s neck.

Down a hill into a small valley. The hillside is flecked with snow banks and dark green pines. There is an A-frame chalet with a goat perched on the very peak. Across the second story of the chalet there is a wide balcony, with a row of whirligig flowers all along the wooden railing. The flowers spin around as the car flies past. The monkey tosses a red sweater with white snowflakes on it over the seat back to Lazy Lie-Abed. “No time to ski!” moans Lazy Lie-Abed and the car skids around the corner into the flat and dusty desert. A cloud of dust spews out from under the car, and the horizon leans back away from the car in all directions. “Oh for my couch! Oh for my books. Fetch me the book about the car ride.”

The monkey tosses back maps. Lazy Lie-Abed examines a map closely. “Am I here?” he asks the monkey, pointing at a place in the map. The monkey turns over and grasps the steering wheel with his feet. He leans far over the seat, grunting whenever a bump forces the backrest into his belly. He looks at the map upside down. The car runs off the road, knocking aside cacti, roaring in and out of gullies. Small rocks flick out from under the wheels, and lizards skitter away.

The car plunges over the side of a cliff and tumbles down, down, down. “Or am I here?’ asks Lazy Lie-Abed, pointing at another place on the map. The car drifts down slowly now, suspended by a large parachute. It swings back and forth like a pendulum. The rocking car descends past a cloud that is supported by four balloons, each tied to whatever passes for the corner of a cloud. There is an angel on a barstool playing the harp. The monkey bounces on the seat. He scoops up a handful of his own feces and flings them in the direction of the angel. But the window is only partly open and most of the handful sticks to the inside of the pane.

The descending car is framed in the window of a kitchen where a Bored Child asks, “What is there to do?” leans over the kitchen table and contemplates an empty afternoon. The kitchen table is covered with linoleum imprinted with a faux-marble pattern. It doesn’t look much like marble; it looks more like chunks of snow or ice, floating in a violet gray sea, or like yogurt parting to reveal a fruit filling on the bottom. The Bored Child doesn’t examine the table very closely. If he did, he would notice that there is a two-dimensional car tearing across it, no bigger than an ant.

The monkey is wearing a tall Russian hat and a long trailing scarf. The car bounces over the ice floes, airborne half the time. On each jolt, the monkey is lifted clear of the seat, but still clings to the steering wheel. He pivots as if he were hinged there. The window is still open, and the breeze blows the scarf straight back, into Lazy Lie-Abed’s face. Between brushing the scarf out of the way, and being jounced around the back of the car, Lazy Lie-Abed is having difficulty concentrating on his game of solitaire. “Red Queen!” he says, “Where is the Red Queen?”

The Red Queen rears up over the horizon, enormous. Her mouth is pulled down in a great frown, like a mailbox. When she speaks her whole lower lip flops down to reveal white teeth, like letters. She plucks the car up and plunges it into her pocket. Darkness envelops the interior of the car. The monkey shuts off the engine. Lazy Lie-Abed turns on the reading light and settles back into the seat, turning the pages of an action novel. He turns to the section where the lean and chiseled hero is climbing up the boulder strewn mountains. It’s the part right after the lean-and-chiseled one swims the raging torrent, and right before he slides down the cable of the ski lift, his rock hard biceps straining. Lazy Lie-Abed sighs contentedly and settles back against the seat. He props his head up with the sweater and a box of Cheez-its. His lips move as he reads.


About Tom Weiser
This blog is devoted to the development of the Bad Lama's Guide to Meditation.

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