Nether Lands

Amsterdam is still dry. The whole country is. It’s hard to believe, I know. But it’s true.

That’s how you can tell the tourists. Not a single Dutch person is amphibious. They don’t have to be. They’ve held back the waters, just like the little punk in the story.

Stories got to come from somewhere, I suppose.

This’ll knock you flat: I was at this coffee shop there, right? And I’m downstairs, with some pals, and we’re lit and we’re relaxed. The smoke is thick in there, but not bad thick, just enough that you can feel your eye-membranes slide on down. Good times.

And these kids, these obvious tourists—high-schoolers or some such, their skin was still bright green—they come on down the stairs and they look at us all laid out and we’re like “Right now, right now they are having their First Amsterdam Tourist Experience. And it’s just like the stories. We are a part of their First Amsterdam Tourist Experience.”

How amazing is that? I mean, I remember my First Amsterdam Tourist Experience, right? That was what? Years ago. The world was different then, you know? And I’ve made, like, fifty trips back since. And here are these kids, right? Probably can count how many times they’ve set foot on dry land on one webbed hand. But they’re giggling and all excited, just like I was.

It’s hard to come back to the water after that, you know? It’s like stepping on Atlantis, or Avalon or some such. It’s another world, one of fire and smoke and dreams.

I feel like I live there, sometimes. That this city, here beneath the waves, this is just visiting. That where I live is somewhere else. Where I live is in my head, and in Amsterdam.

Hand me that fishbowl you call a helmet, man. I feel the need to light up another trip home.

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The Past

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