Minute Fifty-Nine

by dschapman

Each night like the last; peasants singing in the street, laymen squatting to shit in the unlit corners of my alleyway, overgrown women hustling their organs under the unforgiving glare of each street lamp. The singing is what drives the good doctor to drink. To drink, the simplest of past times, the most sustainable pleasure for the common man. And the good doctor takes no pleasure in it. His thoughts are elsewhere. He coasts along on passivity. He keeps his mistress out of pure wit, for his sexual ennui keeps him from any greater pleasantry than pride. He keeps a few thousand notes tucked away into his bible. It’s a Gutenberg. A masterpiece. His fingernails click along the fine mahogany floorboards. His glasses are hanging from the ceiling fan, still, its wings tucked into its side. He gave his typewriter to a friend so he’s left to his own cigarette cutter and coca-cola. Nothing to think about but the present. What a droll, preposterous thought. He’d stick to narcissism and petty arson. There were games to be played, and games to be politely excused from. If you pass the damn man every day and turn him down every day and now he when he sees you he doesn’t even say anything, does he? He just looks away. One day, just stick the fellow with a meal. But you wouldn’t do a thing like that, would you? You’re sensitive.

I’ve been running over rats in my car for days. The highways go forever in this country. It’s like they’ve been there since the buffalo herds. But we all know what happened to those gorgeous, gallant buffalo herds. A friend of thy enemy is an enemy of thine, as the forefathers said, their hearts blown to pieces in their heads. Marco Polo lied; Colombo lied; the lie is the most faithful trick up the sleeve, a weapon which no one can disarm. Yesterday I hit a raccoon with a tin can on his head. Tonight I’ll hit a deer. It just gets better; there’s no way forth from here but forwards. Stay well read, and you’ll do well enough. Eat your share of fruit; they’re better than candy. Leave the butter sitting on the kitchen counter, in a proper butter dish. Keep your piano well-tuned; leave the harp in the attic.

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