Owens (a sketch)

14 Feb

Owens is worried that the sun will obliterate our planet in three billion years. He’s concerned that the video cables at the Rayburn Building won’t match up with the satellite truck’s equipment. (Male-Female/Female-Male and all that). He’s aflutter about security pat downs and being flagged and blacklisted for carrying a Leatherman tool. Owens drags quickly on a fag twenty-five feet away from the building, on 18th and K Street. He’d like to see what an Euro banknote looks like. He believes something will happen sooner or later. Owens eats at Dave and Busters and gets food poisoning. He picks up a donated dining room set piece by piece, worried the table won’t fit through the width of, first, my doorway on the load out, second, through his doorway on the load in. Owens reminds me of Bukowski, only without the drinking, the writing, the women, the horses, and the talent. Owens finds God fifteen years later, at the age of fifty-nine, and plasters Him all over Facebook. He is nearly illiterate in posting the daily, inspirational messages online. Owens questions my atheism over electronic mail. He judges my position. He decides I’m spending eternity in Hell. I say no, the Eighth Circle with Pope Boniface the 8th or 7th or some other number, and Satan embedded in ice below that. And maybe Bosch. Owens smokes a menthol alongside Ann Coulter in 1994, before Ann Coulter was Ann Coulter, listening closely to her expostulations on the New York versus Washington club scene and understanding none of it. Owens marries a woman three years older and without the full use of her neck. He is worried about the impending snow storm. In ’96 Owens dug himself and his father from twenty-six inches of snow. Owens would like to DJ weddings for a living. He is from Detroit. The Motor City. Owens roots for the Lions and the Red Wings. But what he is aggrieved about the most is the sun becoming a Red Giant. (only he doesn’t call it that)

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