. . .

5 May

–Yes, I’m waiting.
–Are you?
–Yes, yes.
–Because you have that music playing in your ears, is all. And you sometimes don’t pay attention with the music…
–I know. Don’t worry. I’m waiting at lights before I cross. Don’t worry.
The old man jams his earphone deeper into the canal. He scratches at the other lobe.
–Dad, what were you doing in College Park?
–When?
–When Rommie saw you.
–When was that?
–I don’t know. Last week maybe.
–I don’t know. What was I doing?
–Walking. That’s what he says.
–That’s what I was doing?
–Yes.
–Well, then that’s what I was doing.
–Yes, but why? What’s there for you?
The old man hits the remote. Jerry Springer. Then an infomercial for some ab machine. Then Jerry Springer again.
–Dad?
–There’s not enough spice in the tandoori at the Rasika.
–What?
–Ninety-nine per cent of Indians do not have a tandoor. Did you know that?
–Dad?
–I would love some tandoori naans. Can you run out and get some? Son.

The way I get in is, I jump the fence out back. The chain link. Out back by the stinking garbage and dumpsters. It’s tall, 15 feet, but I climb it anyway. They keep the back door to the place open, so if you can scale the fence, then you can come in. That’s how I get into the bar. I don’t have identification. Well, I do, but I’m not of age yet. Mo doesn’t care. He owns the place, but he doesn’t care. He doesn’t want to know how I get in, just as long as I don’t go in through the front door. My money’s as good as any other drunk’s. It’s how I get in. Scale the chain link fence out back. And in any case, they’re all students. The guys who drink here. They’re all students anyway. They have fake identification. The ones who’re underage. Tomorrow I have to go visit my father. Check up on him. Rommie said he saw him around here sometime last week, walking. He had on headphones. Crossed the street up and back and up and back.
–For twenty minutes.
For twenty minutes.
–Straight.
This place is an hour by metro from where he lives. I got to go and see if he’s all right. He shouldn’t get on the metro. He shouldn’t get on anything. Once, he was locked inside a train car overnight, in the metro rail yard. He fell asleep in the cubby out back, by where they steer the thing, and the mechanic didn’t see him–he was behind a blacked-out Plexiglas window–so the engineers backed up the train into the yard and locked him in for the night.
–You’ll never guess who I saw on the Red Line today. Go ahead. You’ll never guess. Go ahead.
–I don’t know, dad.
–Doctor Ruth! Eh? Eh?
Once, he followed who he thought was Ted Koppel from the Capitol all the way downtown and up Connecticut Avenue, to DuPont Circle.
–He ran over my foot, that Koppel.
–What?
–With his car. With his fancy car.
–I thought you said he was walking…
–Fancy car. Acura, I think. It looked like a Ferrari. A Ferrari maybe. Ran over my foot, that Koppel.

–You have to go see him.
–I know.
–I don’t know what he was doing walking all the way down here; he shouldn’t be wandering away from the property.
–I know, I know.
–Will you find out?
–He won’t tell me.
–Why?
–He won’t remember.

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8 Responses to “. . .”

  1. Slyboots 05/05/2008 at 7:35 PM #

    I am really liking where this is going. It is kind of the anti-Jhumpa Lahiri. And I think that is a really good thing- I can’t stand her writing. And I really wanted to.

  2. (S)wine 05/05/2008 at 7:38 PM #

    Cool, thanks Sly. I haven’t delved into her, despite the Pulitzer for “Maladies.” I read the back of the jacket and none of those shorts appealed to me, even in subject. I know it’s not really a good way to pick books, but…ah well. Time is limited.

  3. zombieswan 08/05/2008 at 8:49 PM #

    I always judge books by their covers. I’m very biased that way. I don’t care if it sounds interesing, if you have that “chick lit” cover, I am not reading it. Candace Bushnell covers do nothing for me. (Even though I liked the TV series– enigma, wrapped in mystery, I am.)

    I do like this, too.

  4. (S)wine 08/05/2008 at 10:28 PM #

    I have actually never seen a Candace Bushnell book/book cover…or the TV series for that matter. Something tells me I haven’t missed out on anything.

  5. zombieswan 10/05/2008 at 6:44 AM #

    Damn. I feel partially responsible for you not liking Gaiman. Damn. I like him, but…. anyhooo, too much wine plus babies making typind realy hard. Babies. can’t beat ’em.

    I don’t know if I’ve seeen a Bushnell cover, but i’VE SEEN

  6. zombieswan 10/05/2008 at 6:45 AM #

    dammit. Baby A made me click post… I’v seen similar chick lit cover. Theya re white, with pink and cool black and a funky font. Probably shoes of some sort,

    Ah screw it. I can’t make this work with two 3 year oldl sand a glass of iwne and a wiglgly chair

  7. (S)wine 10/05/2008 at 4:09 PM #

    zombie, nah…it was my book club who recommended this book.

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