Z.Z. had a sixth sense. A magician, he bungled through many close curtain calls. On a rainy Seattle night, Interpol surrounded the stage where Z.Z. was performing. Once again, he disappeared.
The trickster took a cab to the train station. He caught an express to Canada. Amelia, fetching in black lace, bewitched him in the dining car. Upon arrival, they checked into a Vancouver motel.
Within days, she’d talked him out of his fingerprints, tax returns, and aliases. “Can’t be too careful with magicians,” she said running her finger along his spine. Ten minutes later, the Mounties got their man.
Bert’s Berth, in Sleepy Hollow, is where Ichabod Crane bunks between late night rides. It’s quiet, since Bert’s doesn’t have much in the way of a lunch crowd. Around three in the afternoon, the pub scene starts. There’s beer, stout and ale on tap. Twenty four different kinds of quench, all told. Half are bottled and a third are obscure. Ichabod takes dinner in his room. At ten pm, he slips out. He stops in for a hot toddy around four am. It’s a small group by then. Most of the guys are off their heads. Ichabod fits right in.
Beats and Barts are both slangy guys. Beats hang in coffee houses reading obscure poems. They wear black jeans, and turtlenecks, and maybe berets.
Barts are regular Joes. Not the coffee kind of joe. They dress
casual, cool, and colorful. They’re likely to play pick-up basketball
and treat everyone to ice cream afterwards.
How can these two men intersect? They’re father and son. Or a woman is involved, one who time travels from the fifties to now. A feminist before feminism found itself. Imagine, she realizes that her poet isn’t woke. She walks into another dimension. There’s conflict either way.
Word Ladder, Death and Taxes, will continue next week.
We left Paris on Easter of 2015, after ten days of being tourists.
Though we hadn’t intended to, we witnessed the veneration of relics
from the passion of Christ ̶
the crown of thorns, a piece of wood and a nail from the cross ̶
at Notre Dame Cathedral. This is how that happened. My husband and I
were standing in an apse, whispering about how difficult it would be
for photo recognition software to distinguish between the apostles
pictured in the stained glass ̶
their faces are virtually the same ̶
when a deacon indicated we should move and shushed us with a finger
to the lip. A little puzzled, we complied. Looking around, we saw a
procession moving along the aisle. A priest (most likely the bishop)
held aloft a reliquary containing the glinting gold crown. Assistants
on either side held the other relics. For about twenty minutes, they
moved slowly through the church as people crossed themselves and
bowed their heads.
It is this scene that came to mind when I heard on the radio a few
days ago that Notre Dame was burning. My first thought was to hope
that it was not the result of a terrorist attack. Following the story
in the news during the next few days, I was relieved to hear that the
fire was accidental. As information has come in, it seems that
someone miscalculated. Things got out of control. Often they do. This
might be true for political conflagrations as well. If so, let’s hope
that we can get those under control and that a respect for the
accomplishments of the past can rescue the future. Notre Dame has
been rescued and rebuilt several times.
The Easter Week commemorations for Good Friday and Holy Saturday
will be held at Sainte Sulpice and Easter Mass will be celebrated at
Sainte Eustache. Sunday organ concerts are held each week at Sainte
Sulpice, though I’ve never been. The organ at Sainte Eustache is is
quite powerful. I’ve heard it. The seating is spartan, consisting of
folding chairs. But this is true of most churches we visited in
The organ at Notre Dame was spared from fire by a stone roof. When we were there in 2015, a sign was posted on a collection box requesting donations to make a few repairs to that organ. Perhaps now that people have opened their pocketbooks to rebuild the cathedral, the organ can be restored completely. This is how things progress, in fits and starts, forwards and backwards, with a crisis often required to concentrate the mind.
The Queen of Hearts did heat some tarts. Baked them in an oven, ten minutes at four hundred then three hundred fifty until brown and bubbly. It was an old family recipe passed down from Aunt Alice before she died and after all was forgiven.
The young Red Queen did vary the ingredients using, for instance, flamingo and mushrooms. That one pinked up nicely, the juices oozing from the vents. Red also made a nutter pie, chock full of died in the wool ideologues. The Cheshire Cat always attended the tea, accompanied by the Mad Hatter. They never grow old.
A heath hike is full of surprises for the observant. Quiet! Do you hear a tittering in the bush there. It’s noisy under that blanket. Don’t be so nosy. Maybe it’s children or birds, in heather or tare, not secretive lovers panting. Imagine hide and seek games or the rattle of empty seeds. Take a minute away from the world. Avert your eyes. Give them some privacy. It’s no more than you’d want on a cool spring day in the middle of April, after the lambs are shorn and before the wool is knit into sweater gifts for the holidays.
The whole thing started when Joe
decided to do his taxes. He got himself a mug of coffee and poured in
a little Irish whiskey left from St Patrick’s Day. Stirring in sugar,
he took a sip and decided it was just the thing for an afternoon of
crunching the numbers. He whipped up cream and spooned it on top.
Carrying it into his study, he sat in front of the computer and
opened his tax software. Three hours later, he was finished. He had a
heart attack when he saw the bottom line. His wife blamed the whipped
There’s a buzz in Bezerkeley. Just a fly. Not a contact high. Swatting the pest, I cross campus. The fly follows me.
I took a shower. I say it out loud. That gets a few looks.
Embarrassed, I wave it away with my copy of The Daily. Sprinting through Sather Gate, breathing hard, I slow. Gliding ahead of me across a wide swath of grass, an owl skims the air just inches above my head. The fly tumbles in the jet stream of the bird’s wings.
Psst, a pesky whisper. It’s back. A streak of grey, a flycatcher. No more fly.
He could not sleep. Padding to the kitchen in pajamas, he heated milk. Needing a cozy spot to sip it sent him from room to room, landing him in an overstuffed chair. Children’s illustrated books jumbled together with thick tomes, Pooh next to Jung, a shelf up from Wittgenstein, a shelf down from a huddle of keepsakes. He touched their textures, wound up a song. A tiny bowl, a Nutcracker ballerina, a music box, a rabbit tail.
A last ounce of milk. He rubbed his eyes and paged through his wife’s last drawings. Their life together. Now he might sleep.
Imagine an elevator on Thanksgiving. You are hurtling into a conflagration of turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes, and post-modern politics. Your mother, the feminist, stands left. Taking the middle, you and your school chum play at Cockney rhyming slang. Your Uncle Uncle embraces the Madmen Era. He never suspects that your friend, whose ass he pinches, is an expert kick boxer. He expects that gender rules. But it doesn’t. In the hall, she will enlighten him and he will nurse his bruised balls with one highball after another, reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the library.