JOHN CAGE WAS DRIVING on the Cross Bronx Expressway when he decided to throw caution to the wind and let chance decide his itinerary for the rest of the night. If the next car that passes, he said to himself, is white, then you will stay on the Expressway, but if it is not white you will get off at the next exit. A blue car whizzed past and Cage hit the off ramp. At the bottom of the ramp he said to himself, Turn on the radio, spin the dial, and if the station you stop at is playing music, get back on the Expressway; if it is playing a commercial, make a right; and if you land on static, make a left. Cage turned on the radio, spun the dial and landed on static. He made a left. At the first red light he said to himself, If there is an open business on this street you will make a right at the next street, and if everything is closed you will make a left. Cage drove down the barren street, spied an open bodega, and made an immediate right. Now he was surrounded by bombed-out buildings, garbage cans sprouting fire, and the twisted metal skeletons of abandoned cars. He said to himself, Open your glove compartment, pull out your registration, and if it is folded into fours then keep driving, but if it is folded in half park your car and get out. The registration was folded in half. Cage parked his car and got out. He stood in the cold night air with his hands on his hips and looked around. There was not another human being in sight. His breath formed the shape of Mickey Mouse and then quickly dissipated. He said to himself, Look at the moon, and if it's a full moon then get back in your car, but if it is anything other than a full moon then you must strip completely naked, including your shoes and socks, and begin walking away from your car. It was a crescent moon. Cage took off all his clothes, folded them neatly, placed them in the passenger seat and started walking. It was silent, and, of course, Cage found it utterly beguiling. He could hear a baby wailing in the distance. His nipples were erect and his scrotum had almost completely retracted into his groin. He said to himself, if the next sound you hear is a gunshot you will sprint towards the closest building and go inside, but if the next sound you hear is a siren you will put your clothes back on, get into the backseat of your car and take a nap. Almost immediately there was the sound of gunfire, and to Cage's ears it sounded like a machine gun. Ratatat. Ratatat. Ratatatat. Cage ran as fast as he could to the closest building. He had trouble opening the door, but he managed to jimmy it open and step inside. In front of him were an elevator and a staircase. He said to himself, Press the elevator button, and if it works, and the elevator opens, walk up the stairs to the first floor and knock on any door of your choice, but if the elevator does not work then you must walk up the stairs to the top floor and knock on the first door to your left. Cage pressed the button. The elevator doors opened. Cage looked inside the elevator, which was covered in graffiti. There was a Styrofoam container of old Chinese food on the floor. Cage let the doors close and starting walking up the stairs. When he got to the first floor he chose to knock on the door at the end of the hall. No one answered. Cage turned the knob and the door opened. He walked into the apartment, which was totally unfurnished and almost completely dark save for one bare light bulb. Cage walked past the kitchen and into what he assumed was the living area, and lo and behold, there was Brian Eno, who was handcuffed to a radiator. A tattered copy of the I Ching lay at Eno's feet, which were covered in gloves instead of shoes. Eno's shoes were on his hands, his jacket wrapped around his waist, and his pants wrapped around his torso. There was a sock stuffed in Eno's mouth and kept in place with a piece of duct tape. Cage waved hello to Eno, gently removed the tape and pulled out the sock. Eno looked up at Cage and said, I don't know about you, but I'm feeling very inspired right now, a sentiment which Cage could not help but agree with.
Chris Okum lives in Los Angeles. His work has appeared on McSweeney's, Metazen, Opium Magazine, The Alarmist Magazine, The Olentangy Review, and Digging Through The Fat.