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"Five to one, baby,
one in five,
no one here
gets
out alive...

-from "Five to One", by The Doors

 

Pamela lives by the sea, I’m a free spirit, she says. She takes my hand and pulls me along the beach

You’ll see, she says. It’s him, it’s really him. 

I met her at the Food-Rite, I was buying baking potatoes. She was stealing bananas. She wasn’t very good at it; she peeled the little stickers off, and stuck them on her forehead

She pulls me along a stretch of beach that fronts a trailer park and campground. I know every song by heart, she says, I have all their albums. I used to. He’ll be here soon, c’mon. 

The tent reeks of mildew. There's a makeshift clothesline at one end. A pair of men’s underwear. Two pairs of small white socks

A man coughs, unzips the tent. Pamela is on fire. And I’ll be damned if it’s not the Lizard King

Of 1968. Maybe ’69. In a slow burn, he looks away.

Pamela, he says.

***

When I was six years old I burst through the door one day, with a ball of orange fur on the end of a length of rope. This dog, I explained, followed me home.

Pamela takes your hand. She pulls you along the beach. Pamela isn't free and Pamela knows.

Five to one and one in five. It’s coming anyway. 

Might as well come from the Lizard King.

 

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