Thursday, March 26, 2015

We live in the Age of Horror. Beheadings, school shootings, the slaughter of cartoonists. And now an apparently normal young man who turned to the earth to plunge himself, men, women and children to their deaths.

It got warm quick today, from about noon till about mid-afternoon, around the time a gas explosion shook 2nd Avenue at around 7th Street, not far from the old Fillmore East, where other kinds of bombs went off so many years ago.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

TROOPS


“He lost sight of what he was supposed to be doing up there. What the priorities were.”

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Streak - 99

You go to the men’s room to splash some water on your face and have a look at the mirror. Not quite sure who that is, frankly. That’s OK. Stay calm. There’s only one thing you must do. Find him and take his place. Replace him as you. Become yourself.

You exit and walk back down the long, dark hallway. It turns a corner where there’s some old video game and a man there, on a stool, playing, his face aglow from the screen. You walk a little closer and you think, fuck, it’s that guy Matt, or Joe, one of those fucking two guys. He doesn’t notice you. His face is impassive, a little sad.

You think, I’ll slip by him. Like a ghost. But as you approach he lifts his head and looks right into your eyes.

“Hello Evan.”

“Joe!”

“Joe’s dead,” he answers calmly. “This is Matt.”

“What?!”

“I’m joking,” he continues, in the same eerie monotone. “Joe’s still alive. In the car.”

“Oh! Well, I… I came in to use the bathroom,” you say. Lamely. Feeling guilty. Wanting to make everything alright somehow.

“Uh-huh, uh-huh. Joe is dead.”

“What?!”

“I was kidding when I said he was alive.”

“You killed Joe?”

“He was dead a long time ago, Ev. Dead inside.”

You feel sweaty and a little sick.

“What the fuck are you talking about, Joe? Matt?”

Matt’s eyes have returned to his game. He fiddles with a large trackball set into the dash. You look to see the name of the game. You have to know the name of the game. The name of the game is Golden Tee.

“Evan, you can’t tell me you never noticed.”

“Noticed what?”

“The putdowns. The infuriating little needling comments. Jesus fucking Christ. If you were me you’d kill him too.”

“Jesus. Matt.”

“Now,” Matt says, lining up his golfing avatar. “Watch this drive.”

You can’t help but do as he says. With a sudden forward jerk of his hand on the trackball, Matt whips the club down and sends the little pixellated ball high over the trees and the hazards. You wait for it to land, safely on the green. As a sort of courtesy.

“Now what?”

“Hmm?”

“Now what, Joe? Matt, I mean. Now that, uh, Joe is dead.”

“Will you help me dispose of… his corpse?” Matt asks distractedly, setting up his eagle putt.

“Good God no.”

Matt shrugs. He rolls the ball, lightly this time, and winces as he just misses the cup.

“Cocksucker!”

“I’m going to—I’m going to stay here awhile. Matt. I’m going to stay here.”

“Don’t you want a ride to your safe house? I still feel somewhat obligated to complete my duty to you, Evan.”

“That’s where we were going?”

“Mm-hmm. Until the dust settles regarding Mooooooo…” he explains, drawing the last syllable out theatrically, sardonically. He peers again at his game, lining up another shot.

“If it’s all the same to you I’m going to stay here, J—”

“Matt.”

“Matt, Matt, Matt. I’m going to stay here and take my chances. Take a shower, hitch a ride. I don’t know.” You’re nervous now. You want to terminate this conversation.

“Uh-huh. Uh-huh.”

“So I guess this is it.”

“Yeah?” Matt says, lifting his eyes. “Yeah, OK.”

“OK!”

“Goodbye, Evan Benjaminson.” Again, Matt’s eyes are back on his game.

“Goodbye.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

TROOPS


"Payment," Jamie said. "For his nose—plus interest."

Friday, March 06, 2015

TROOPS


All fugitive slaves faced daunting odds

Thursday, March 05, 2015

We awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of Jackie singing. I didn’t recognize the song, and I couldn’t really hear the words, but her voice was tuneful and clear. I walked in and asked her what was going on.


“I’m singing so I can remember my dream,” she said. Then she began to cry, because she couldn’t remember it now, because she wasn’t singing anymore.