map Visions of Hahk

by Jae H Lee Jr.

Published in Issue No. 5 ~ October, 1996

February 18, 1996

Everything about this evening sounded so magnificently sadistic, lewd, and reeked of guilt and deception. All the while knowing that the true me would never allow any strange acts to occur tonight. My significant other is far from me at this moment. Being that I was once used to the 24-7 routine I never thought I would be able to go back. It was the touching, the need for bodily contact at least a few times a day. Most of the time, it was the best way to cap the day after your burnt mind can no longer keep up with the physical demands of the body….lulled right to sleep. No conversation afterward, no discussion of the emotions that overtook me, just pure burnout in the worst way possible.

My “sweet baby” ( we have a patent on this love phrase!!), is gone farther than I’ve ever mentally traveled. She is amongst her people, being one in the near billion that infest the every corner of our lives. So far, it becomes out of sight, out of mind, and this will not interrupt the one night of corrupted thought that I’ve yearned for silently.

A friend who has his own intentions for the evening asks me along to create an atmosphere that is non-threatening, and at the same time conducive to the “action” that we all seek. It will just be a night that we go out and burn, smoke saggies, sling back a few of the Tanq and Tonic, and lot of small talk. The odd thing about going out tonight, I don’t feel the pressures of a blind date … which is essentially what this was. Knowing in mind that tonight had no significance ( I am happily committed) and I had nothing to lose. Be the wildest self that you can be. Be Beat!, impress everyone with the wit that you only think that you possess. Just see if the fall is the same.

It is another post Friday work hours search for something to do. Studying hasn’t been a thought in years, let’s head back to your place and burn. Noe Valley is the destination. Yes, the neighborhood that is just a small paradise in the midst of urban hell. In fact, one of our female companions has grown up,, and been shaped by this environment that I really only know through the electromagnetic waves. We discuss the possibilities of tonight in the guise of pure manly ego that feebly attempts to overshadow the sheer little boy terror that we feel. I can’t speak for others, but this man still lives in a sandbox world.

We travel down the path that leads us to the heart of the Mission in San Francisco. An area of town where the majority of it’s inhabitants are of Latino background. Tonight, we venture into the heart of it all. My mother works near by…so it was thought. Every neon and face has a burrito and quesadilla sensation that spills all over my shirt, never on the napkin. Who is this mysterious woman, and does she know that we are baked. Probably better not. As we leave for her humble abode, she enters the mind.

Her friend works in the Embarcadero at the Boudin’s. She will be waiting for us there. It should be interesting. Being that I am Asian, and my date white, you can’t help but to wonder what thoughts are going through her mind. Does she expect my breath to reek of Kimchee, does she expect an accent, or is she one of those hip 90’s San Franciscans who would die for a chance to go international. It’s ironic , but tonight she is the Dutch. Speaking of the Dutch, it has all of the properties that I require for an eventful passage of time.

We head into the North Beach area of town. It’s where you can go to Italy and China in a matter of a few blocks, hops, and chops. We make our way past several stores, Thai massages, bums, butt-pirates, and dwellers of the night that have nothing but the expression of the personal life that I know nothing about. In the distance, there are more neon lights that depicts a naked bird…The Condor. Only the slimiest of the Red Light District does this area keep itself busy with. Perverts, masochists, narcissists, pedophiles, voyeurs, analinguists. All looking for the nastiest pose, the most erotic of the extreme, what will make you cum before you puke. As in an instant my head is pulled towards the City Lights. It’s not oh so bright, the colors don’t radiate in any hue that makes you temporarily blinded, it’s the City Lights of the darker side of town.

“Subterraneans” was all that ran through the mind of this naked soul wandering through the life of one whimless female. Purely for her delight is this festive occasion. Her one chance to go out with a sane guy with an insane past and green. The pheeling overtook me as I felt my mind wander into a time period that I associate Beaver Cleaver, and Donna Reed with. But here it is, the store that has transformed Kerouac’s life morosely into an adventure and Bible for rocking out. Whatever rock you like, the roll, the line, the ice…everyone likes to get rocked.

Immediately I notice the long blond hair, the wide sagged eyes of tireless nights of physical abuse. Or is it mental, you can’t tell with the dim lighting. Vesuvio, a corner bar that is not even 6 steps across the street from San Francisco’s hippest literary source. Not quite how I would imagine a bar such as this. Sorta hip, but not knowing. Of course, for my viewing pleasure there are several photographic art displays that are focused on the body of a woman. Again that pheeling has overcome me again in the same area twice. Is there some cosmic aura that I need to be aware of. I realize that having two erections in the last 15 minutes can be a sign of some serious pre-ejaculation if I ever get to it. The inside of this establishment is lined with fake logs, a shiny tarnished finish to the walls. Photos of people, groups, and the stare of a young man into a camera. The look of hip, the cool one, the original James Dean of the Underworld, it was none other than “Ti Jean” himself. Messed hair, khakis and a Dover shirt, legs crossed with back against a telephone pole. That pole, that street, that store, is all about him. Unbelievable, this place is just decorated in the most insane Jack decor that would even make him run to the road from this putrid inner gratifying recognition. It was then I realized, the alley street that we were soon to root ourselves in for the next 4 hours was named for the coolest Beat from Lowell to Denver, to San Francisco……Jack Kerouac.

As I was soon to be told, this watering hole was fictionalized as “The Place” in Jack’s most famous novel, “On the Road” . This is where he fed his junk cells, where he recorded some of the most harrowing feelings of a lost soul in a form that moves this 90’s no-one-wanna-be-someone deep inside. I guess you can say it touches me in a humanistic way. Essentially, he was a hobo who depicted his life in written format for all people to see. He was what was honest about writers in his time period. Somehow I am drawn to the sights that he sets his pen upon, molds emotion into background pictures, weaves a story from one continuous web of non linear events.

I know that I will have a few drinks tonight, and the prospects of an intellectually stimulating evening would propel itself to the comically infantile autonomic response to the over ingestion of the body’s favorite poisons. The Dutch has now been flowing through my system at a steady rate for the last few hours. The clean buzz, the light headed fuzziness of the warm all encompassing massage of the mental waves. It’s this kill Bud that comes from Holland direct. Rumor has it that someone had smuggled seeds from Amsterdam. Someone grew some, and it just happens to be a strain that provides a healthy sensation for a few hours of your life. As it turns out, she is of Dutch descent. It’s almost sinful to have had the thoughts that flashed in the stoned mind. Could the Dutch be this good, and this real. To be able to sample the fruits of the Dutch descent loomed highly probable in occurrence and highly prioritized in the Franklin Planner of values.

She was heavily into the beer scene, a scene that I am genetically impaired from joining. It’s like not having a liver to kill at will. It’s unfair at times, but it is also a God send that I am so adversely affected by the potion, that all bodily and cognitive control dissipates with every pump of the heart throughout the head of this red-faced, fully cooked lobster. She pounds the brews with smooth gulps, the swallowing so rhythmic, the eyes bagged with months of heavy ingestion. There is something that occupies her conscious thoughts, something that represents an immense feeling of loneliness and pain.

I can’t help but to veer my eyes from wall to wall as the voices of strangers and sights of ponderous persons decorates this wild haven for the generations. Young people gathered together, enjoying life and meeting everyone there is to meet. All lost in an internal turmoil of where we are and where we’re headed. It’s that uncertainty of what the future holds that drives the common person to a mental state where it doesn’t really matter. To the point where everything sounds good on a philosophical level, but in reality it’s a pain we would rather not face. The pain of “growing up”. I don’t see too much of the progression….or maybe I keep myself blinded.

The Dutch wears off in an hour or so. It’s at that time that we need to adjourn to the alley, and reload on the Carbon based heaven that keeps my real thoughts at bay. I ask the Dutch if she would like to partake in this ceremony. I guess a good time to talk about Kerouac, and lead this evening into a direction of sinful bliss. It’s in the mind that we head off, while the sandbox is still occupied with the presence of the dreamer.

She takes a few drags off of the pipe. Deep, slow inhalations that penetrates every avioli in the lungs. As some have said…”deep lunging it” “burying it”. All metaphors to the different ways of inducing the mad and painful cough that we heads refer to as the “hack”. When you hack, you know that you will be in a more enhanced and dazed state of stony-ness. Painful, but well worth it. In this case, as I yapped about Ti Jean and his infinite meaning to my meager existence, I noticed the Dutch could no longer handle the unbeknownst trip that she was about to take to the exotic Asian pearl cream palace of wontons and calculators. Her eyes started to flutter and instantaneously look off into several directions at the same time. She had the look of one who was soon to fall victim to the dreadful combo….booze and pot. OUCH!..

We decide that maybe the night has taken a turn for the worse. We need to sit and just chill!! As my friend blindly looks off into the eyes of a young mother of one, and puts his tongue where he wishes his otherself were, I quietly place a bet with myself that the Dutch will lose her self in just a few moments. While the other two are tongue wrestling, the Dutch gives them a look of angrified envy, as she excuses herself from the presence of an act that she has now categorically denied herself access to. Once the hurl, the gurl is no longer the tasty that you could force yourself into believing. I look at the pictures of Kerouac, think about the adventures that my girlfriend is on, the adventure I’m in, and the sheer boring terror of a night that was denied due to my own inability to regulate. Now I sit a visual victim of the date gone bad.

Maybe she drank to forget how Asian I am? May be she denied herself the chance because the “beat” in her was over taken by the Anglo-Christian in her. It was unfortunate at this time that I would have to interrupt the flow of my friend’s evening. It was now time to leave this god-forsaken junk cell and try to remember all of the events that haplessly meandered through the heightened state of mind and body. Who really knows if it all happened in this way.

I can not believe that we need to make sure that this 21 year old pre-pubescent drunk doesn’t spill her evening’s story all over the place. As we head back to the car, it’s me alone again. Staring into the walls and doorways of other people’s lives. Eagerly observing the movements, carefully noting the phrasing, gauging the level of comfort, and deriving a thumbnail sketch from a random series of interactions. Tonight I am offered nothing but the sight of pure hellish bliss. Her bed and water are the only tangibles that her mind can discern. This is pure survival instinct. Rest…get some sleep. The body needs to recuperate. There is nothing that I offer to substantiate the observations that I have penned. Just a note to myself that it all happened once, but most likely never again. She was suffering in many ways, as I was soon to find out. ….

The brisk San Francisco night laid a warming chill on the mind of this no action poser. I pose wherever I go. It may be walking down the street. The walk is the pose. I cross my eyes and recede my teeth back like a physical transformation. Where for a moment I was cruising North Beach, hip, Beat, and white, I once again regain the Asian traits that I am physically tied to. Chinatown, I’m not Chinese, but to many….close enough. Even though ancestrally speaking that’s a possibility, but no one ever makes such references with that in mind. We will be parting ways…oh wait….I’m giving them a ride home. Transparent eyes that stare into the city lights, but emptiness is all that we see. Her loss is of no gain, and I don’t like to discuss the possibility of this event occurring to me. Something so stone cold chilling, that you quickly resort to denial of the thought. SO here we are, the international representation of the melting pot, a Benetton advertisement of the lost Korean, the young mother of the Mission, the Flying Dutchwomyn, and the eternal mutt of the Americas. All cruising a different world on the same ride.

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This is a short story about a day in the life of Corporate 90's America, and how the search for life is real in the eyes of one writer. This story takes place in San Francisco, CA, where the characters are passing time in the City Lights, dream of booze, young pseudo-hipsters, tea and the zest for living life to it's self- envisioned potential. I don't have any writing credentials, as this is my first short story. I am 25 years old having lived in the Bay Area all of my life. I received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego. I am profoundly influenced by Jack Kerouac, as my title and setting suggests.