Buried deep in the Pacific Northwest, under flannels and Father John Misty albums, Ballerball was able to uncover a vast number of writings from Shawn Kemp. These are his words.*
October 18, 1994
The world doesn’t know what I am capable of and that is a frustrating and real fact that I will combat and come at with every inch of me.
I’m somewhere in Kentucky tonight. I’m on a dirt road. I sit on the hood of my Cherokee and I look up and the glittery sky will not stop trying to blind me. The road has no name. It’s running parallel with a farm and my beating heart pounds out into the Kentucky wind a beat this land has only ever reserved for herds of galloping mustangs, sweat and rain dripping off their flowing manes, looking for trees to hide under, looking to escape the storm.
And this storm….oh, this storm. Lightning cracking off like a rim at Concord.
What does she want from me? She knows how much I care, how I adore her so. I explained to her a thousand times that, if she was going to be with me, she would need to accept that I enjoy McDonald’s and will take her there on occasion. I don’t understand her apprehension and her anger. It is not a money thing for I am, quite literally, swimming in it. You know that better than anyone, Diary. I literally have a room dedicated to looking exactly as Scrooge McDuck’s room looked. Diving boards are really hard to install inside a home. I do not want to dedicate myself to a tangent. Find the task again, Shawn. Bend to it.
I bring her to McDonald’s because of the delicious taste and the fantastic service. There are no smiles friendlier, not that I’ve seen. Under the Golden Arches the world slows to something we can all understand. It is the eye. I want to see and be seen in its light.
I offered her whatever she wanted. Get two of everything on the menu, I’d told her, but she was too sad, too proud, to order. These egos we’ve been given will ruin us all. She leaves. Storms out the front door. Gets into a taxi, something I didn’t think this town had any of, and rode West, off into the dying day, into the coming blackness.
I am left in the parking lot, tears trying to make their way to the ground. They sprinkle my Reeboks. Gary calls me. I don’t answer. It was his sister and that is a conversation that I don’t need. I am alone on the concrete staring at the decrepit and decaying PlayPlace before me, the colors all pulled from some forgotten and faded rainbow, the gold at the end of it already stolen. I go back in and try to enjoy my 20 piece but it is of no use. She’s taken from me my heart and not even the McNugget can stop the pain.
And so now I sit under the Kentucky night sky with a pen in my hand and I write to you because you will always listen. The crickets are out. Sounds like they’re all trying to have sex with each other.
Gary won’t stop calling. At last count there were seventeen voicemails, thirty missed calls. The first voicemail just said “MACDONALDS, BRO?” I didn’t listen to the rest.
How I wish he would shut-up once in a while so the world could take a rest around him. He won’t, though, and it won’t. It’ll whir and buzz and bing and pow and everything will shake because Gary made it that way. I’ll sit here with you, and I’ll quiet myself, and I’ll listen to the sky’s stories, and I’ll remind myself what it’s all for. I’ll keep my eyes fixed on that great above and hope for two shooting stars to arch themselves, one after the other, a cosmic set of mountains. Mountains I can climb because I went and got me a delicious McNugget meal from McDonald’s.
My Dr. Pepper is good and so are your ears, Diary.
*These are not his words. Not at all.