Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Act--part two.

The Manager went to town and bought a velvet hammer. The clerk who sold it to him said it would make a quieter bang when he used it. The clerk tapped the hammer against his own knee a few times as if proving the point. “Does it hurt?” he asked the clerk. “It’s still a hammer, isn’t it?” the clerk said, the smile spreading across his face like a red flower in bloom.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Act--part one

It was his job to wrestle with the ape. It was the girl’s job to watch and look frightened. It was Manager’s job to turn the screw. The audience was always just half a dozen locals sitting in the metal bleachers. You could not say it was their job; they were not getting paid.

After it was finished, the spotlight went out and the man and the ape stood up, brushed the sawdust from their respective knees and went into the dressing room. The girl usually followed though sometimes she stayed behind to talk to the locals. She liked to call it “working the locals,” but really it was just talking, and sometimes she ended up going out with one of them and coming back late with her hair mussed and her shirt on backwards.

“Who’s working who,” the man sometimes said while they waited for her to return, and the ape would nod in agreement. When she came back, she would not look either of them in the eye.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


We sat on a red-checkered cloth laid out on a green hill. Ate slices of pineapple from a Tupperware container until our gums began to hurt.

“It’s a lovely day,” she said and I did not stray from the script.
“Very lovely,” I said. “And so are you.”

My cell phone was in the glove compartment a quarter of a mile from here. The Internet was a good day’s drive away. I might as well play along.

“I love a picnic,” she said and I smiled and nodded.

Trees in the distance swayed and all you could hear was the sound of their soft leaves rubbing together, like the hands of a million evil babies plotting something. Birds chirped like car alarms. Clouds floated by and she was happy, but I felt as if the world were spinning on somewhere without me--somewhere close by perhaps, but slightly off to the side.

“It’s romantic,” she said.


Through great effort, I did not check my watch. I pulled several muscles not doing it.