The self-medicating animal, remembering the kind faces at the bar of the night before, and somewhat mindful of the litter of plastic, paper, glass around him here and there in his apartment space to be sorted for recycling and glassware and dishes to clean, put himself into the shower. The warm water with all its little atomic genies worked its way through his scalp and skull and the thick skin of his face, down through the shoulders and into the vertebrae, the hips, the tight muscles that come from lifting and carrying. He addressed the water to the body to loosen it, to prepare it for a yoga session before work.
The animal's friend, who had type A blood, had once suggested to him that, after he packed up his own bar, that he find one that stayed open later, just to have that one drink, to be waited on, to sort of let the weight of his problems down on the bar of another amidst a field of human company. But the animal himself, though he liked to do that very much, sometimes found it better just to get home on his bicycle, and ride indoors, his other road bike on a certain kind of stand with the back tire against a rolling bar, supported by a clamp on its back axle. He would ride slowly, watch some television, drink some wine and some water, and feeling from time to time how the bands of muscle fibers in his legs and thighs pushed and pulled in a way that satisfied him, occasionally patting his belly wishing a layer to vanish, and the chemistry that had allowed him to charge directly into the night and respond to everything would slowly blow away or go up in some form of invisible smoke, which was calming, even if he acknowledge his state of being alone in the night, crickets chirping outside. This seemed to please the type O blood he was built of.
In the shower, as he soaped himself with an olive oil soap, he allowed a thought to coalesce, about how it made sense that the figure of a virgin woman would have its appeal, to the male soul, to men in trouble like sailors lost at sea, to men who in life's competition had made certain appalling mistakes of an everyday garden tomato variety, mistakes that were simply there, not so much offending, but just the stupid mistakes that male creatures make, headstrong, sometimes drunk, sometimes blinded in one way or another, sometimes as if they craved ignorance or freedom or who knows what, or for good reasons based on philosophies deep and in need of utterance. The virgin woman indeed would be a religious ikon, indeed properly paired with a sad suffering gentle Christ stuck at odds with the society he found himself in. The virgin woman, of course, would be forgiving. There was not the threat of having to bear the very real consequences of reproduction in a world where one may have done too much following and not enough leading, carried out through the role of being a strong protective supportive male human being. It would make sense that she would basically offer forgiveness, particularly if you prayed to her image.
Drying himself off, he took a good sip of green tea, and it too did its job of washing things out, as if cleaning a vessel with a garden house, particularly the filtery parts down deeper inside it. He poured himself a glass of filtered water and dropped a few ice cubes into it, and this too tasted good, sweet in a subtle way. Cleaning the counter top next to the sink from various cooking residues, dried grains of cooked brown rice, the ring left by the gluten free soy sauce bottle, refilling the Britta pitcher with tap water, he remembered the talk the night before of the musicians, talk of Miles Davis one liners, usually critical, a terse "rhythm and harmony," talk of seeing Mick Jagger lead a group of blues legends in the basement of the W Hotel, calling for a different arrangement of an old standard, a different triad, as Jeff Beck riffed away, Buddy Guy, Spencer Davis. He liked with the musicians sat down and talked quietly over the dinners before they packed up their equipment and drove away in their humble weather-beaten cars.
The dumb animal had written something once, about walking on a quiet road underneath the stars, a road nestled in the Berkshires, and the night being Easter night, and how the animal had thought of girl he'd kissed wonderfully the night before. He had written it finally, years later, in terms of how he saw it then, seeing somewhere far off the maturing of a growing season, of how ripeness would come, the self-protecting tannins would rise, and the male creature would be coming to a spiritual maturity. Self-consciously, as he hydrated, after his shower thoughts of saving virgins, he hoped that did not come off as a bad Hemingway imitation, that it made some kind of hick sense.
"Ach," the creature said to himself somewhere in the mind or the forepart of the brain, "ones and zeros, ones and zeros... The news is created out of ones and zeros, popularity defined by popularity." He knew his own cravings, for information, for words, and it had surprised him to find out that his iPhone knew the particular New York Times articles, one on wrestlers finding health and redemption in yoga, the other an opinion peace about how, yes, education is not ultimately a business, that he had left open on his laptop. Thinking perhaps of his own great insignificance in the human sea, he acknowledged that there was little wonder why one clung to hokey religious thoughts, images, Irish crosses, rustic Polish hand carved wooden Jesus with head resting on a fist as if to say "oye yoe yoye," statues of Buddha calm in lotus position with a hand reaching down to touch the ground.
Then turning on the television, to be better able to discuss the news should any customer want to, feeling ill informed, the sense of one thing begetting another. "Violence begets violence, wealth begets poverty..."
How kind, the animal thought, as, out of some necessity, he returned himself to the poses of yoga and meditation, "how thoughtful of the yogis to figure out the poses in terms of animals; for animals are in full possession of their own strength; the snake must meditate just like we do; the cat uses all its brain power: whereas we are almost over-wired, is that it?, too much equipment?, or maybe we've forgotten to to be the creatures we are, listening to the powers within..."