Upwardly Mobile

Summer wasn’t so kind this time around, thought Jack Crow as he clung pigeon-toed atop Rushmore’s scenic precipice. He knew he wasn’t ready yet. So, he admired the eagles a while longer as they planed the midday haze into clean blue angles as new safety scissors do old bits of construction paper. Still, he waited; remembering how inspired the old elegiac forms of heroes had once made him. Now, he simply gazed about the rough mounds of Presidential brows and felt nothing but hate. He must make his move soon. He was through with the trials—through with his long-suffering toleration of fools.

He wavered at the hard thought and at the harder act of plummeting so deep into the quaint greenery that masked the jagged end of his ill-spent vacation—of plummeting so deep and dully into the busy tourist season. Pensively he peered below, recalling how upon his ascent those vaunted nostrils had mocked him, all the while offering up the worst damnation to man. He wasn’t ready just yet, but he was convinced. Sadness meant seeing. Sadness made sense. Because of this, he closed his eyes, simply breathing. His mind wandered through his conventional childhood—red wagons, lemonade stands, knife fights behind the Frosty Cream—and suddenly he remembered he hadn’t had a chance to cash the return deposit from his rent. But, he wouldn’t be deceived: no sum of money made the least bit of difference now.

Subduing all thoughts, he jumped. He screamed. He looked as elegant as any man dressed in double-breasted business black can, set against the blurred backdrop of a huge mustached lip. He felt weirdly weightless for a second, then heavy, so heavy—as if all the gravity of the solar system filled his guts with boulders and demanded his descent.

Meanwhile, a truant troop of cub scouts mistook a comet for a wren. When they looked down to check their handbooks all they saw were their own empty fists punching the life out of a discarded suit vest. Jack Crow, for all his reservations, had been a success.

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