17 Jun

nobody calls me that no more.
just the old timer.
nobody calls him that either. old timer.
now look…no…don’t. kid, don’t.
that’s how he talks.
don’t, lookit. you gotta baste the dough with the egg mixture first before you put it into the oven. glaze it. and then sprinkle the salt bits so’s they gets baked on there and stick. the salt. sprinkle the salt now, kid. atta boy.
nobody says that no more.
atta boy.
i think i’m living in the funny papers.
so long now, see you in the funny papers.
nobody says that.

i wake up early on sundays.
earlier than my parents, who sleep on a pull-out in the living room.
someone stole our car.
i deliver the sunday newspaper.
the plain dealer.
the free times.
the news daily.
the stater.
bake at three se-nty fi for twenny minutes.
before i leave i put the tray into the oven.
i’ve made them pretzels.
pretzels for breakfast.
nobody has that.
nobody has what i eat either.
green onion with salt, radishes, and a cup of mint tea.

hey kid, where can i take me the RTA Paratransit?
where you going? stadium? flats east? parmatown mall? where?
any of them.
take the 67AX or the e-line trolley. switch over to the 20A or the 23 for parmatown.
jesus, kid, watch the time on those things. you’re gonna burn them. how long they been in there?

i walk back into the kitchen at the end of my shift with two bottles of champagne.
someone clipped them and left them in the trash room.
and i stole them a second time.
i sit down and sear tilapia in a cast iron pan.
pour the fizzy drink into a green glass jar.
i can hear my grandfather scream through a layer of putrid generations:
kid, lemme make you a fillet of…


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