Lah Jatai

Given enough items to play with, you can find pretty much any pattern you want.

Lah Jatai is my real;name: the name chosen for me by man;myself;lah jatai.

Which isn’t to say my mother didn’t give me another one, but we won’t talk about that here on the bus to the face in the window.

I’m so tired, so tired of talking that I won’t shut up.  It’s like a buzz, a constant buzz in my head and I’m heading back to that place. I know what it is now.  Why I saw myself;me on that platform so soon from now.

Sleeping rough is tough and it’s been so dry that I can still smell the desert on me.

I think that woman can too.  That’s why she moved.  Sorry lady.


The driver’s listening to me.  He’s listening to me now.  They’ll all be listening to me now or soon when it’s now.  I wish I could go back to then, back to that bus platform when it was now and I was both there.  Soon I will.  I wonder if I’ll see myself;man lah jatai or… boy; that other name.  If I was that other then or now then was I myself?  Am I myself or will I be myself when I get back to then or will I be the other, the boy, the fictional me?

This suit, this meat suit is made of wool.  I know how it works.  Between now and then I had one like this.  I even know how the tie works.

I don’t smell of the desert.  I washed it all off.  I was very careful.  Leave it all behind he said.  Leave it all behind, you can come and get it when you get there.  Leave it forwards.  Is the bus backwards?  Or is it me?

If I don’t smell of the desert why did she leave?


The driver’s looking at me.  He’s always looking at me from the other side of the window in among the passing cars.  He’s got brown hair and brown eyes and that stupid weak chin.  That’s why I never got laid – I’m ugly.  I wish I still had my cards.  THAT OTHER NAME, Supply Chain Management.  Supply Chain Management!  Lean manufacturing.  All those little boxes moving together into the future just in time.  It had to stop.

At least the driver shaved.  It took so long.  I didn’t do it.  I can’t touch my own face.  I made the barber do it.  I paid her good, green gold.



I didn’t say that.  The man;myself sitting up front said that. I paid for the shave.

Why am I driving this bus from the back seat?  Isn’t that dangerous?  Should I do something?  What about all these people on the bus.  I wore my best suit.  I can drive from back here.  Looking out the window.  If I can drive the bus backwards the way we were going I can drive the bus.

Little boxes, that’s what we are.  Little boxes on the flip side.  Little boxes on the flip side.  I’m not driving the bus, I am the bus.  A little box moving along the supply chain just like everybody else.  We all look  all the same.

I shaved.  I put on a suit – not the meat suit; I can’t take that off.  Charlie called from then and said that now they were selling the farm from then which means I won’t have it back then.  I’m so tired.  Stuck on that bus platform with that other name that was me before I found me;myself.  I can’t go forwards so I’ll go back and find the one who bought the farm.  The one who bought the farm from me.

Charlie said I had to sell it since it was mine back then.  It wasn’t mine back then.  It was theirs.  Sometimes back then I was so sorry I turned out this way.  That other name wasn’t me.  I am man; myself.  I wasn’t theirs not now, though I was then when it was now.  Then it was mine, so now it is mine, so I have to sell it then to have it now.  But it’s not mine, not now not ever.  They did it, not me.  I barely even helped when it was now and not later.  I had to go.

I did help.  I told them what to do now but they didn’t do it and now they won’t because they aren’t here then.  I’m so tired.   The sun is so hot and it smells.

The bus is yellow and the noise is like a constant low buzz or hum in my ears – all the busy little people working on the supply chain.  When will it finally be now and I can meet myself on the platform and Charlie and sell him this thing.  Not the farm.  No, I’m afraid he only thought I sold him the farm.  That’s why I shaved.

Who is Charlie I wonder.  They wouldn’t let him have the farm.  He’s a robber.  He want’s to cover it in cows and suck the milk out of them.  Now is the time to stop him from taking away their then.

I shaved.  I put on the suit.  I sent the letter.  He thinks he bought the farm but I’ll see the other name there and I know what happened when I get there because the other name told me.  I was prepared for the robber.   I remember I was prepared for the robber when I saw me arrive now.

I have the gun that the other name saw me bring to the platform.  I got it and I wrote the letter.  Now I’m in the chain, in the yellow box.  Then I will see me.

The face in the window that drives the bus has been telling me this.  He should be quiet about the gun.  They didn’t like guns and they might be listening then because they can’t listen now. I wonder what they think of me man;myself.  I am Lah Jatai and not their other name that they made so much over.  They never met man;myself now but knew him then when I was the other name.

Is that the other name in the window?  Is he driving the bus?


Everybody’s staring.  People don’t like it when I hit the windows.  The bus driver’s going to come back here and now I’ll get off before the platform.  Is this the right bus?  I meant to go backwards but maybe this one goes forwards.  Is this the right bus.  I have to get to the platform at just the right now.

I wonder if I remembered the bullets.  Should you use a gun you’re not going to load? Should you load a gun you’re not going to use?  Do I have any bullets?  I can feel it in the bag at my feet.  It’s heavy and rusted.  The girl said it still worked – that she’d killed somebody with it just Tuesday.  I don’t think so.  She didn’t kill anybody.  She wasn’t big enough.  But it still works.  I know it still works because I saw it and seeing is believing.  It’s the only way you know what will happen — if you see it first.

Charlie said he’d give me money and I didn’t need to bring anything, but I know.  I need the gun because I brought the gun.  I saw it.  If I didn’t bring the gun I wouldn’t have it and then I couldn’t go.

I dream about flying – and buzzing.   There’s always the buzz.  It’s pitched too low for most people, but my ears are tuned.  I tuned them to hear the constant buzz so I dream about it.  But mostly I dream about flying.  This isn’t flying.  All the cars going by, the little boxes on the flip side, all dressed up in yellow; they all look all the same.  Part of the chain.  Working the chain.  Little boxes just in time.  I’m in a box – a yellow box.

This isn’t flying, but even if it is then we’re still just little yellow boxes in the chain, making our appointed rounds.  Everybody has their role to fill, everybody has their job to do.   That’s what I said.  That’s what I told her before the pills ran out. I made a plan.  I don’t think I told her.  She had a gun, but I bought it… or was that someone else.

“fuck you.”

man; myself; lah jatai head hurts so much. He;I doesn’t think I have remember when I’m here.  I’m going to get the farm back from Charlie.  I’m going to buy the farm.  No he’s going to buy the farm, the other name was there and saw man;myself;lah jatai give it to Charlie.  It was so loud the little boy covered his ears.  It was so loud and lah jatai is hurt.

No cows.  Charlie covers everything in cows and sucks up the milk. They said no cows.  They say no cows.  They’re still here, not on the bus here and not here so anybody else can be with them.  But they’re still here, and I’m going to make sure.

The face on the side of the window has a no-beard. It’s important to have a no-beard when talking to Charlie.  Buying and selling were business  – part of business – I knew in the other now and for business you wear a wool suit and you take your no-beard.  But the no-beard is covering up my beard that people should have seen. The man who made my plan had a beard and I think I should have one too.  Or am I in disguise, is the no-beard disguising the beard?

Was I the beard too?  Am I beard and no-beard?  It’s exhausting.  I wish they wouldn’t fight.  The noise hurts my head.  The no-beard — the man with no beard — and beard — the man with the beard keep arguing about the plan and I have to sit here between them and look out the window.  Beard says I will bite him, decapitate myself and my head will hang from his body and stop him from flying,  glorious blow. A great symbolic victory has been struck!  No-beard just wants to sell the farm or buy the farm right?  Am I selling or buying.  You can’t do both.  It’s their farm back then when it was now.  No-beard thinks we should shoot him with the gun that I loaded in my bag.  Beard thinks… thinks I should shoot him with the same gun.  Only one can be right.  I can’t shoot him twice with the same gun.

Beard made the plan and no-beard follows it.  Or no-beard will make the plan and beard followed it.  No-beard is beard in disguise.  I made the barber shave me, because I can’t touch my face.  Charlie has to buy the farm.  I have to buy the farm.  I will have to have had sold the farm in order to buy it.

No cows!

When the other name was now he recognized these fields and that house.

“Samantha”  Samantha lives there.  The other name used to go there and play the piano keyboard for her, not the piano but the piano keyboard.  Gone.  The houses are slowing down and now more fields.  It’s the SICKLING TIME. Then man;myself;lah jatai went to that school before he was man;myself;lah jatai.  He didn’t learn about supply chain management and lean process control.  That was a different now and another here.  That school is where you learn baseball with coach dec. francis of the family of dec.

I wonder if he would think I was the other name if he saw me.  Probably not, I’m also wearing the no-beard so it’s kind of a disguise.  I’m also moving very fast in this bus, so he’d have to look quick to see me.

The bus stops and the buzz changed.  Everybody should hear this now.  The wings relax and then everybody hears their own buzz that pushes (or pulls?) them on to follow it.  Man;myself; lah jatai follows his buzz just like no-beard said he would.

We’re in the town now and there’s all the activity.  Activity, everybody follows their buzz just like me.  I’m so proud of that to have a buzz.  Over here the other name as a boy is coming to meet me on the platform, where he’ll see man;myself;lah jatai and Charlie.  Charlie is already here, but not on the bus.  I don’t remember which way I came.  Down the hill?  Because they lived in the farm with him on the hill.

But a long way, away.  Now we came here to town from a long ways.  We took the bus, now.  The other name boy must be on a bus.  There’s only one bus.

The other name is on the bus.  He is sitting next side to me.  He is sitting here in the same seat but then not now.  Then and now in the same seat on the way to the platform where we will see what happened, what has already happened, what will happen.  What I saw lah jatai then and now I’ll see as lah jatai.  The bus leads us to an overwhelming question.  I must not ask what is it?  I will go then lah jatai.

The buzzing has stopped.  There is no more buzz.  My wings!  Am I dead!  If I stop moving I might die like a shark that can’t get enough oxygen over its gills, I can’t breathe on my own.  I can’t be on my own which is why I keep the then and the now together so I will never be alone.  I can’t be on my own.

It’s the bus.  It’s stopped moving forwards to carry me backwards.  The bus has stopped and the buzz has stopped.  The lady got off. The driver got off.  I think they’re waiting for me to get off.  Even the other name, the little boy from now got off and has gone ahead to the platform to see Charlie and wait for man;myself;lah jatai to arrive.


The buzz hasn’t stopped.  I can still feel it inside and all around.  I’m still part of the supply chain, I am the lean process change I want to see in the world.  The other buzz has just left me to prepare – like a warrior – for my starring act.  I have my bag, and I have the gun.  Charlie is here.  The other name is here.  This is the platform and it is now and then.  Did I bring bullets?

The platform lays out in the sun like the back of a snake, rough and dusty.  The wooden terminal to one side,  its slanting porch roof making a dark line of shade down the center cutting it in half.  On the other side the buses stand up straight, their dark windows hiding watching eyes.  There’s a clink like spurs.  It’s just man;myself;lah jatai on this platform, alone with the crowd bustling about, my black suit billowing like a trench coat around my waist.  The gun hangs heavy and naked.

There’s Charlie.  There’s Charlie five posts down with a notebook in his hand, alone talking to a conductor.  He hasn’t seen me.  Nobody ever sees me.

They can see the gun.  Then I’m walking backward from that now three posts down when the crowd began to scream and scatter.  It’s like watching water flow into a faucet, faces changing from terrified to worried, mouths closing on a scream, hands coming down as I pace slowly backward toward the bus.  Forward and backward across the everlasting now I pace to and from Charlie, five posts down.  The conductor raises and lowers his head as I raise and lower the gun.

Two posts down and the gun is outstretched before me.  I can see the empty chambers full of paper bullets.  The buzz of wings is so slow it sounds like the thumping of a heart winding down to its last beat. Charlie is so big, he’s bigger than I expected, filling the street in this dusty one horse town, filling the showdown.  There should be horses.  Where are the horses?  Or is it cows?

This is about cows.

I can smell the metal of the gun like blood on my tongue.  I can see Charlie on the iron sight as the conductor falls away.  The hammer rises.

I am crushed.  Crushed to the platform under a great weight, smeared toward the platform’s edge like a slug under a boot, hands grasping my arms and twisting them.  The other name is watching from now.  This isn’t what happens.  Man;myself;lah jatai was shot, not captured.  I struggle toward the gun which lies a little way away – the barrel pointing accusingly.  A boot stamps on my hand.

The now is gone.  The then has changed.  The other name vanishes.  My wrists are bent and breaking.  Somebody has a knee on the back of my neck and there’s a great weight on my legs.  This isn’t right, I have to go back to the other now.

I have to find the other then when they shoot me and the other name watches me fall, pitching forward in my long coat and mustache.  Was that a wig?  I forgot the wig.  Now I forgot the wig to disguise myself from Charlie.  He saw me too soon.  I have to find the wig.

“WIG!  WIG!”

The knee moves to my head.  They are binding my legs and tying them to my hands.  I’m losing the then.  The other name has gone away.  Charlie won’t buy the farm.  They roll me over.  Charlie is there staring down at me, big with other big me.

“Who is he?”  one of them says.

“That’s Charlie.” I reply.  “He made me kill people for their land.  He has the money with him now.  I have the proof in my coat.”

I followed the plan.