the old one-two

by dschapman

leviticus rubs shoe shine on his sneaks. he’s wearing a poncho in the rain. he hasn’t done his laundry in weeks. his old underwear is mixed with his wool sweaters in scrap heaps on the floor. their are mice and roaches sleeping in his walls. he knows a word or two of wisdom, though, such as ‘always leave a paper trail,’ when referring to art and love and humanity, and ‘never leave a paper trail’ when dealing with the government. stock market incomes come and go, but mannerisms stay the same. you start bluffing; and calling bluffs. that’s why people take poker seriously. and chess. and other men in general. simulations and reenactments of bluffs.

‘i’ve lost my taste for milk chocolate, hazelnuts, marzipan, battenberg cake, non pareils, petit fours, you know, the tasty things, the wholesome things. all i can stomach now is wet fruit and oats. and milk. i eat frosties and milk all day. i eat it because i am the lower class american, and that is my food; corn. corn flakes in milk. my grandfathers ate it in the war, the great war, ate boiled corn cobs as their rations dwindled, and i today eat milky corn flakes as a compassionate tip of the hat to my ancestors. and lucky strike. gotta smoke that lucky strike. it’s what my father smoked in the world war, you see. they all did. it’s the cigarette that fought the war. or won the war. or… well, it’s like they say; what are you fighting for? for mom and apple pie!’

he mutters something to a pretty girl about ‘value in aesthetics’ or something petty, speaking out in defense of vanity, but suddenly he’s tired as can be. warm, and tired. stasis. homeopathic, homeoerotic, homeostatic, what have you; just snug as a bug in a rug. feet tangled up in wool. mold washed out of the mugs.