Strange Intersection

10 Jun

“And remember Adi,” he says and rattles the cubes in his Manhattan.
He is sinewy and thin and bronze all over, from working on his land in the static, putrid, summer air. He is so trim at seventy-three, that I am jealous of his well-defined biceps and thighs, and his unbelievably flat stomach. And I am half his age.
“Well?”
“Yes,” I say, “I remember him.”
He swirls around the cubes in the rocks glass, and makes a circle with his small finger in the condensation, on the side.
“Terrible tragedy.”
And then he takes a pause. A long pause. He knows how to work a story. Even if it’s a real story. He knows how to push or withhold narrative. Move it through dialogue. Pull it back. He’s a writer. The tactics come out even in conversation. I wait for him without asking. And then he goes.
“Mmmyea. Just awful.”
I wait for him.
“Dickens couldn’t have written it out like that, what happened to Adi.”
“Shakespeare?”
“Not him either.”
I wait for the story. This is his realm. His turn. This is how I learned to construct, to eviscerate, to step on the gas, to slam on the brakes. He’s good. I give it to him. He’s brilliant. If only he could’ve channeled this into…
“Horrible fate,” he comes back.
“Dickens.”
He smirks a little, looking through the wall.
“His seven-year-old girl, yes?”
“He had a girl? I knew about the boy.”
“The boy was older. Fifth grade, I think. Now.”
“Right.”
“His girl was an angel,” he says. “Remind me. I need to send you a picture of her.”
“All right.”
“The boy, too.”
D’accord.”
“He was making sausages. Adi. And Daniella… Dani was the child…Daniella somehow did something, like all kids do something sometimes…Dani did something and got her fingers chopped off in the machine. All fingers on her hand.”
He rattles his cubes. I finish my drink. I wince. He watches the wall.
“His wife took the children and left him.”
“Because of the accident?”
“No. Well, that too. And other things.”
“Right.”
“And Adi stopped working. Became a drunk. What else is there to do in that godforsaken village?”
“Drink. And nothing. Both.”
He thinks: “Mmmyea.”
I like how he says that. He’s always said that. Like he’s processing, but still in the game with you.
“And then one night he stumbled home from the pub…Adi.”
“Right.”
“And came up on the crossroads there. You know the crossroads right by the river?”
“Mhm.”
“There’s that bridge there.”
“Mhm.”
“You remember? Honestly.”
“Yes.”
And I do.
“You were six last time we were there.”
I was. I tell him I remember things from when I was two.
“From the other side, the opposite side, came a logging truck with no headlights. You know how things are in that village. Nothing’s right.”
Nothing is right in any village in my country.
“Adi was drunk and didn’t hear. He was walking in the middle of the road and the driver didn’t see him. You know how things are there. No one cares about headlights at night.”
“Yes. Still.”
“And, plus…that crossroads…it’s not planned out right, somehow. There’s something about it.”
“I remember that.”
“You do. You’ve always had a good memory.”
“It’s slipping, though.”
He looks through the wall. I let him.
“But the amazing part, the Dickens part, is that in that truck was Adi’s wife and the children. They were getting a ride from town. They were coming back home to him that night.”
I let him take a long pause. I want to mix another drink, but I wait for him to get himself out of the story. It takes him a minute, usually, to jump out of his tales. There’s something disrespectful about getting up and pouring a drink now. I don’t know what, but just…something.
“Mmmyea,” he says. And I know he’s out. He stretches. He looks into his dark red drink. He smiles at the maraschino cherry with stem that I’ve put in his glass, floating around the thin half-moons of ice.
He says:
“Strange intersection.”
And I’m not sure of which way he means that.
“Listen, remind me to tell you the story of Antoine de-Saint Exupery and how he got shot down over the Mediterranean in World War II by a German pilot who, obviously, didn’t know whom he just killed, but whose favourite author was Exupery. Now that’s some strange fate, don’t you think?”
I don’t answer.

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6 Responses to “Strange Intersection”

  1. parisian cowboy 10/06/2007 at 11:38 AM #

    An enjoyable ride. Thanks.

  2. slyboots2 10/06/2007 at 3:27 PM #

    Strange intersection, indeed.

    I really like how you step out of the way of the narrator and let him speak for himself. Ya got style, kid!

  3. Anonymous 10/06/2007 at 5:14 PM #

    nice.

    femme

  4. Anonymous 11/06/2007 at 10:02 AM #

    Yes and yes for above. This one rings very personal. I like the switches you can make. Someone said it in another comment, on another piece, you’re a versatile tale spinner.
    J

  5. Lx 11/06/2007 at 2:21 PM #

    thanks.
    i don’t know about style.
    i have new shoes
    and some pretty decent ideas.
    and that’s it.

    hi femme.

  6. Kunstemæcker 12/06/2007 at 8:57 AM #

    Sounds like a good short movie to me.

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