November 22, 2012
Kansas City. Or more rightly Leawood, Kansas. 119th St. A street fair of sorts. Jazz and barbecue. White tents. A billion people swarmed it seemed. Overwhelming. Overwhelmed. I was in the deepest basement of a store storing display props. A mannequin on a stand. A woman horizontal. Shaped like a dolphin. The leg came off. I had to wrestle to carry it with the rest. Awkward, wobbley, moving through dim-lit aisles. Found a good spot, threw the extension cord over. The added weight started it leaning forward. It wasn’t going to stand. Fukkit I thought. Picked up my phone. Went upstairs. Outside. Street was crazy. Growing bright. Noisy in the dusk. My phone rang. It wasn’t my ring. It wasn’t my phone. Had a coiled expansion cord with three loose wires. I tried to call its number to find the owner, realized I had the owner’s phone. I think I remembered where I left my phone. It was on a shelf in the society department of the store where I worked. I went into a store-front. There were refreshments. Gordon Lish followed me in. White hair wisping like his white hair does. I said Gordon! What are you doing here? Getting my boat fixed was his reply. He head-gestured toward the drive out front where sat a long, long cigarette boat. Black. Shiny. I said what’s that on the back? Jet engine he said. He was gone. Sheila walked up wearing layers of clothes. She said the outer layer was her on-the-lam-bswool vest. She asked if I wanted to go out for a smoke. I said oh, hon, I stopped smoking….Back in March she finished. I nodded. She looked disappointed. I said you want to sit a minute? We sat. I couldn’t stay seated. I needed my phone. I said you want to walk with me? She nodded. We started up the street.