A GRAY DAY IN A GRAY DOWNTOWN where I’m apparently accepting a new job or making a big sale, establishing a relationship with a new client, a major newspaper. There are perks, including coupons or trade-outs for dining at fancy restaurants, where I’m encouraged to venture.
That afternoon, in one, the owner leads me to a happy alcove and introduces me to Colin Powell and his wife, both in matching Hawaiian shirts. Insisting I join them at their table for martinis, they then herald another couple, greeting them warmly. When the drinks arrive, we clink glasses merrily – so skillfully, in fact, we look out to see ourselves receiving a standing ovation. The retired general and secretary of state ars quite sociable and at ease, very warm and effusive. We don’t discuss politics.
In this episode, my name’s Luther.
WE’RE UNDER STADIUM BLEACHERS, assisting with a college graduation.
The girls walk two-by-two from the dark interior out across a bridge over a stream into the stands where they’ll sit. Only half wear white gowns (with mortar boards) – the rest, red shorts, yellow skirts, white patterned blouses, etc.
As for the boys, where presumable I am?
Somebody helps a girl in wheelchair to the bridge. I accompany a blind, partly blonde girl who carries a cane but can see enough to smile at me as she enters more sunlight.
Still under the stadium, I’m handed a paperclip set of credit card slips – my name hadn’t come out on some of the carbon copies after all – some of the others, just faintly.
So this is the reason I’m not graduating? Many of these charges had nothing to do with the college.
Coffee (ground?) war, the GIRL, her older brothers, and mother are graduating.
The soft package.
THE DOOR WON’T CLOSE RIGHT and he keeps opening it to wipe me out of business.
They finally blow it open in wind and spitting rain.
Kit’s a black-and-white coffee bag with a picture of me with a gorilla on the label urban grocery.
First see her in a movie or auditorium a row or two behind me and ask her to help me with this snake like a boa, and she does, admitting later she normally would have been afraid or inhibited and thus not spoken to a stranger.
WE’RE STAYING IN A MOTEL and look out. There’s a moose. No antlers yet. Leafy, forested. But also somehow urban, and somebody has to do something. Summon help. “That’s all right,” I say. Looking right, toward a swing set, when a fire truck comes into sight – emergency workers – but they crash into the swing set, can’t clear it. (I could see the collision coming.) When the truck hits, it’s no fire engine after all, but garbage. A Dumpster goes careening across and spills. A man – cowboy? – leaps from the truck cab, maybe, and lunges for the moose. Leaps through the back legs, grabs the front left – with a whoop and a holler from this truck companions. Pulls the moose over. It falls on top of him!
“Why, he’s OK,” I say to my companion.