As Dr. Baskin strapped me in, her face was twisted uncharacteristically, but I couldn’t tell what emotion it conveyed. Was she holding back tears or just concentrating on getting the tension right? When she was done she paused, which in itself was strange in the midst of the efficient, hyper-kinetic whirlwind of preparations that were underway. A smile flickered across her face. “Little monkey,” she breathed, before looking at her watch and turning away suddenly as if sucked back into the machinery of launch preparation. Continue reading Little Monkey
I’ll be sitting on a park bench, looking like a picture, a little old man with a little fuzzy hat. I’ll put my elbows on the back of the bench and tilt my head into the sun, like I used to, but my eyes will be rheumy and start to water, and my right hand will twitch as if the sharp edge of the bench is pinching a nerve. I won’t be too disappointed to notice my frailty. Of course not, because I will have become used to it, and years earlier, decades earlier, will have seen it coming. So I will shake the twitch out of my hand, take an only slightly damp handkerchief from my inside jacket pocket, and wipe my eyes. I will lean my head back again, and this time my eyes will remain dry for several minutes of close-lidded, red-drenched, sun-warmed pleasure. Continue reading My Old Hands
After dinner today my daughter remarked about how much alcohol I drink. “No offence,” she said. This elicited from me a dissertation on the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, which transitioned into a history of fermented beverages, upon which civilization as we know it depends. She immediately saw this as the elaborate rationalization it was. Man, I miss the days when my kids were easy to bullshit.
I’m not one of those that come in a string-of-pearls line from a magical pinpoint at the bottom of an aluminum can or iced glass. I made it all the way to the stomach, and that’s where the real adventure is. Continue reading The Life of a Soda Bubble
The difficulty in life is not getting what you want but knowing what you want. So crouch down to yourself as if to a dying man and place your ear to your mouth–an impossibility but a necessity, and what is a necessity must necessarily become possible–and listen to your body’s faintly murmured wishes, a glass of water, a lover, an occupation, a green salad, and deny yourself nothing as long as it is murmured honestly in need. Beware the body’s constant wheedling requests for a knife to slice its own throat because it does not want to die. Not really. At least it will never really make up its mind on that point. Tell it to ask for something else.
For a while, we did everything together. We slept late on a Saturday morning. Just at ten o’clock, the morning sun rose above the neighboring apartment building and slid blades of light through the venetian blinds. The blades of light cut across the bellies and arms of our naked bodies, letting us know that early morning was long gone, and midmorning had begun its progress. That’s when one of us got up to start the coffee. The other rolled on their side and propped their chin on their hand, and only when the first returned to announce that the coffee was percolating did they look at the ceiling, smile, and roll out of bed. We turned the news on and ate breakfast at a leisurely pace. Our movements were completely familiar to each other, along with the sounds we made. If one of us happened to belch, the other sometimes forgot and said, “Excuse me.” The one who had belched laughed. We rolled back on the bed to caress our bodies and watch the sunblades sharpen themselves into oblivion. Continue reading We
June we go to visit my Aunt Jenna in the country. I like it because of the pond nearby. It’s shaped like a battleship. Just like a battleship. One side is long and straight and then it curves up to a point, like the prow of a ship. And the other side has all these little gullies that poke into the land, and that’s where we can pretend to be the sailors on the deck of the battleship. “Are the torpedoes prepared, Jeffrey?! Then fire torpedo one! Fire torpedo one!” Continue reading Battleship
You’re reading a book now that he recommended. You use the tip of your thumb to hold your place as you gaze at a corner of the ceiling and thump the spine of the book on the arm of your easy-chair. He won’t have thought of that particular angle on that passage, and you are formulating your thoughts into sentences which you imagine him listening to with a serious nod, the palm of his hand resting firmly on the library counter, the top three buttons of his knit shirt open so that you can see the contour of his neck and upper ribs. He thumps his hip against the side of the counter, like the book spine against the chair arm. But really he might have thought of it, you think. Your gaze shifts along the darkened crevice of where the ceiling meets the wall and you have the urge to run your finger along it. You try to read again, but the echo of your ill-formed sentences does not allow it. He is bumping his hip against the counter. Continue reading You Are Thinking of Him
When he sat down at the computer terminal, he thought that maybe something good would come to his mind, and he would find himself in the midst of writing a great novel. How vain were his hopes in this regard? It might very well have happened. The fact that it didn’t, this time, should not have been a great disappointment to him, and it wasn’t. To amuse himself, he pretended that the computer keyboard was a piano keyboard and, as he typed, raised his eyes to the ceiling as he had seen great virtuoso pianist do on the concert stage. Whether their show of emotion was involuntary, caused by the passion and intellect of the music they played, or, as it sometimes seemed, feigned for effect, it was certainly great theatre. Continue reading Novel #1
“Great news!” Salem sat down and leaned forward eagerly. He held a piece of paper in his hands. “We can pay you $1000 for your nice car!” He formed his mouth in the shape of a smile and set his frozen gaze on my wife. Continue reading Great News!