Saturday, September 9, 2023


I'm not excited to write this morning.  I feel disconnected.  I don't even know if you will be able to read this.  Google has changed something and I don't know how to do what I need to do to fix it.  If this does reach out to you through the ether, I won't know.  It is as if I am back to writing in my journal.  Well. . . I've doet that for many years, so. . . .   

It is only an indication again that I am not in control of this publication.  

I was muzzy yesterday for sure, but I made it to the gym.  Late.  I texted Tennessee and told him so, but when I got there, he hadn't been seen.  Hmm.  About half an hour into my workout, however, he walked in.  

"Dude. . . you won't even believe what I did last night.  After I left your house, I got a text from my buddy that I needed to come over.  They were planning his bachelor party.  My wife said I should go."

Now I knew this was bullshit.  He spent half his time on his phone while we were fucking around.  He said it was his wife wondering when he was coming home, but now the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.  He left my house because his buddy was texting him to come over.  

"I didn't get home until three in the morning.  I was sick.  I'm still dizzy."

I wasn't feeling "all that" myself.  

The afternoon was rolling on by the time I finished, got home  and had eaten lunch.  I lay down for a nap, and much later when I woke, I took a hot Epsom Salts soak and shower.  It was after four.  I tried to call my mother to tell her I would not be over.  I poured a Campari and soda and went to the deck.  There had been a tremendous downpour earlier in the day, and now everything was cool and green.  Plants had already sprouted new leaves.  I lit the remainder of last night's cigar.  I was limp as somebody else's noodle.  

The phone rang.  It was a good work friend who was now a VP at a college in Virginia.  She was in town.  We were supposed to get together at the Pig for a drink on the 8th.  I answered.  

"What are you doing?"

"I'm drinking a Campari."


"On my deck."

"You need to get up to the Pig," she said. 

"I thought we were supposed to get together on the 8th."

"Yea.  It's the 8th."

I was shocked. 

"Really?  Jesus."

"I'm not going to stay long.  You need to get up here right now."

"O.K.  O.K.  I need to put on some clothes and call my mother, then I'll come up."


I called my mother.  This time she answered.  I heard someone in the background.  Her 99 year old neighbor was asking her to come over for a glass of wine.  She was leaving for good in the morning.  Some other neighbors were already there.  Good, then.  My mother was otherwise engaged.  

I didn't want to go out, but it was o.k.  I didn't want to cook, either.  My friend was at a booth with her sister and another woman I didn't know.  I had last seen her sister many years ago at the same bar but when it was in another location.  The old place was much groovier.  She is the younger sister and is a bit of a looker.  She is, by her sister's reports, a lot crazy, too.  Believable.  

I slid into the booth.  Hellos and introductions.  The waiter arrived.  I ordered a Mahi sandwich and a chard.  

"I'm as limp as a noodle," I said.  "I just got out of a hot soak in the tub."

I was sitting next to the sister.  

"Show him your comic book," my friend told her.  She passed me a handmade book of cartoon panels.  As I opened it, she began to explain it to me.  It was about a fellow she didn't like.  I didn't follow it all, but he was a villain of some sort.  He was stupid and he stunk.  

"That's a hell of a curse."

"I don't stink," she said.  "I smell good."

"Here, let me smell you."  I was leaning in to tickle her neck with my breath but she held her arm in the air offering her armpit.  What the hell?  I leaned in.  Then, slowly, I straightened up and looked at the table.  

"What do I smell like?"

I grinned.  "Patchouli and klonopin."

Quick as lightening, she said, "CK Klonopin, please."  

I giggled.  "You're clever," I said almost under my breath.  

It had begun.  The woman I didn't know kept checking her phone.  I learned that she was sad and anxious, that her husband of seven years had disappeared leaving only a note.  She had tracked him down and he was supposed to come over that night for a talk.  Then he texted and said he wasn't going to come.  Then, a bit later, he said he would come.  

"Fuck him," I said.  "Tell him he's a piece of shit and you don't want him around.  If comes over, punch him right in his goddamned nose.  Tell him he's a loser and nobody will ever want him." 

Her eyes popped open.  They were lit.  The girls at the table were in agreement.  It came out that all he did was play video games.  

"Video games?  Are you shitting me?  Jesus Christ girl. . . L-O-S-E-R!"

Well, she wasn't the only one at the table having troubles.  My friend's sister was getting out of her long term relationship.  She and her boyfriend had built some kind of engineering firm selling something, and in 7 months, she said, it was a million dollar business.  Now she was going to have to figure out how to split the house they both owned and the business which, as it turned out, was in her name.  

Sooooo. . . . . 

My friend said I had her dream house, that it was beautifully decorated, etc.  

"My house is, I'll bet, like yours.  I like art. . . . "

"C.S. has a lot of wonderful stories.  He's led quite a life."

"You should write a book about your life," the sister said.  

"I do.  Every day."

"I write, too.  I write poetry.  Do you want to read some of my poetry?"


She turned to me quickly.  "Why?"

"Because I won't like it and I will have to say something nice about it and I don't want to.  I'll wait until it is published in the Norton Anthology."

"He's a wonderful photographer, too," said my friend.  


"What do you photograph?" 

I was looking at my friend, thinking.  

"Naked women," she said.  Now she had seen my photography hanging in my office, big 36"x24" framed prints, one of a boy, one of a girl, both in their underwear.  She had seen some, too, in my house, but none of them were nudes.  

The sister and the friend looked at me.  I laughed.  

"Do you shoot on film?" asked the sister.  

"Both film and digital." 

"Do you develop your own film?"


"Can you teach me.  I really want to learn."

"It's easy," I said.  

"She can come to your house and you can teach her," my friend said.  

Suddenly I saw a warning buoy in my mind's eye.  


"I'll come over any time."  

My friend was grinning.  The room was spinning.  

"I don't know," I said. "How long do you plan on staying?"

"As long as you want."

"Oh sure. . . I can hear you now.  'What do you mean?  I'm not leaving.  Why would I leave?  This is my house now.'"

She was great.  With enthusiasm she played right along.  She got the head bobble and the crazy eyes.  She did smell nice.  I glanced down at her legs.  I imagined many things.  It scared me.  

She'd been to therapy, she said.  She wouldn't do that anymore.  

"Therapy?!?!?  Jesus Christ!"

They all scowled at me.  They had all been to therapy.  Now they were right as rain.  

I looked at my friend.  "C'mon.  You're kidding, right?  We both know therapist.  Really?  Stan says he falls asleep sometimes when clients are talking.  He has to tell them that was good, but could they rephrase that and say it in another way.  You know that.  What?"

She laughed.  She had heard such things, too.  She knew it was true.  

"And what about Molly?  Who in the fuck would want to listen to her and her bullshit happy therapy stuff?  Would you?"

I did not consider Molly an intelligent person.  

"Oh, we'll have fun," said the sister.  "I'll come over." 

"Just call him," said my friend.  My phone lit up.  A text.  Her sister now had my number.  

Then, just like that, they called for the check.  They were going to a concert and had to get on the road.  I was having fun, then they locked up the brakes.  Shit.  

I pulled out my card.  Nope.  No dice.  The sister was paying.  

"Business expense," she said. I tried, but it was no use.  

The friend stood up.  

"You don't have to hit him, of course, but be strong.  Don't be weak.  Nobody respects weakness."

I followed my friend and her sister to the parking lot.  My friend hugged me and told me she loved me.  Then the sister.  It was a passionate hug that was sure to leave me sad.  It felt too good.  When we disengaged, I looked at her.  Sure as shitting, she was crazy.  My kind, if history is any indicator.  

When I got home, I waited for a text.  My friend wrote saying how much fun she had.  I wrote back some beautifully written stuff.  I waited for a text from the sister.  

Ha!  Of course. . . I'm still waiting.

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