Whenever I go into the restroom at my place of employment, my current boss is already in there like he’s waiting for me, just washing his hands, giddy, happy. He leaves while I’m doing my business, but before I’m out of there he’s back again, washing his hands again, grinning and happy, happy and smiling. Apparently he wants something, but I’m not going to let him have it.
I used to take a short cut through the meadow on my way home. But when I got home my wife would be waiting for me, wondering where the hell the car was because she has aerobics at six. Those flowers must be poppies because I could never explain myself.
I’d been through hell. I’d taken a beating. I’d lost all my money on a sucker bet. Someone had stolen my car radio. I’d been shot three times. I’d been slapped in the face. I’d started listening to light hits of the 70s and 80s. This rabbit’s foot has lost all its charm.
Three Petes sit outside Freddy’s every day. They exchange hellos with passerby. They don’t ask for money but money is given to them. They’ve never asked for money and I need to make this very plain and very clear. They don’t even look like they need money but even so I give them money. Yes indeed, even I, who gives to no other cause. I give them five dollar bills and I write them checks and I let one of them use a credit card with my picture on it. I hate that picture so I never use the card myself. Someone might as well be using it. They don’t report any of this income on their taxes. Can you imagine how much money they must make? Welfare reform is working working working.
Crime is on the rise in my neighborhood. There have been three shootings. Several burglaries. Stolen virginity. Peeping Toms. Speeding cars. All of this since I moved to town. The same thing was happening in the town I moved from. Clearly I’m being followed by some shady folks.
When I look at the clock in the bathroom it says eleven oh five. When I go and look at the clock in the living room it says eleven oh eight. I look at my watch and it eleven ten. I go back into the bathroom and it says eleven oh six. Meanwhile my watch has changed to eleven eleven. Ergo: There is a time warp in the bathroom.
Once upon a time a brother and a sister were playing doctor in the brother’s bedroom. The sister was the doctor and the brother was the patient. The patient was a construction worker. He had two kids at home and a wife who claimed she didn’t love him anymore, she’d found someone else, someone who worked higher on taller buildings, who could walk a beam and weld a rebar. When his doctor/sister looked in his ear, he cried. She consoled him. The doctor was a lesbian. She’d tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant by artificial insemination. Her partner was absolutely against carrying a child so it had to be her. Her partner said she couldn’t do it. It would be disgusting and unnatural to carry a child inside her body— though she seemed to want a baby just as badly, and had no qualms with the sister/doctor/partner carrying the baby. She was going to try once more, and if that didn’t work, she knew it would be the last straw. She was going to have to lay down the law. They held on to one another. The brother and the sister. The two of them. For all they know they are the only two loving humans in the world.
A visit to the post office brought about a moment of anxiety, a long thirty minutes of madness in the car, unable to move, no feeling in his hands, a strange coldness in his feet. It can’t have been long since the accident. You can still see his scars.
The mayor’s daughter has been after me for months. I find her repulsive. She is too pushy. She’s tall and gaunt but in an elegant way that is difficult to pull of, but she does it with seaming ease. It’s not her outward appearance that repels me. She wears a waistlet and calls me chickadee. When she makes a call she doesn’t hold the phone against her face. I can’t bring myself to tell her about my mother.
The definition of “eraser” is wrong in my collegiate dictionary. It says “of or influenced by makeshift outbuildings.” I called the publisher and they claimed ignorance. I pointed out the page. They remained silent. I stayed on the line for most of the day. It was so quiet, as if drawing all the noise out of he room, as if the cacophony of life was drained directly into the help line. Apparently they are familiar with gold. Golden. The golden rule.
There is great concern in our building about the new FedEx guy. He seems lonely. Too lonely. He visits our mailroom so often. Twice, sometimes three times a day. I sign for packages, he grins, knows my name. He calls me Bud, but I know he knows my name. When he’s not here, all of us in the office— even the receptionist who barely has spare thought for anyone other than herself— miss his enormous smile.