Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Rhynda is daily studying a Mallard because she is a zooligist and because she was born in the Year of the Duck. She works in a large metropolitan zoo, and she specializes in the one duck kept in a cage of one wooded acre, bounded by a black wrought-iron fence such as mark trails in city parks. It is two feet high and there is space for the passage of any bird between the rails and also this mallard can fly as well as any.

Yet she doesn't. She daily paces out her ritual. Rhynda has diagramed her route, and she sees it resembles a giant skull in profile, and she notes always the duck ends her walk at the limits of what would be a huge grin.

Then something occurs to Rhynda. She is idly plotting her own various movements since she left home some years back. A circuitous pattern from Florida up through North Carolina and over to the midwest and back down to Texas and then over to Mobile.

It forms the outline of a skull in profile! She is so amazed. Maybe fate has designed her very existence!

But her travels are not complete. She has yet to describe the grin. On the map, she sees where she must go to match the pattern of the mallard in the zoo. There is a small burg in the middle of nowhere, and she immediately pulls up stakes and heads out for that destination.

She is working now as the checker in a local supermarket, and living in a cabin way out on the outskirts. In the night, one month after she has arrived, there is a feathery thump against her window. Instantly she jumps to jerk open her door and rush outside to investigate, for she has come to believe in signs, you see.

It's just another dopey dove.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Casey is slapping Max. I am very much troubled. It's to help him relax, as he has dental work pending. Sort of like sodium pentothol, but I'm not laughing. I love Max, and this draws on family patience.

Max the beauty "golden medley" is rearing up and Casey is slapping him. I must tell him it does not work like that. So, I consult the vet.

I have her number here, but I'm not sure she is the one. I have no visual memory, but I have her picture in my wallet just across from her address and phone number. She looks a lot like Jilla. But is she the vet? I need an expert to tell Casey that isn't the way you relax your pup.

I look up and - is this her? Like at a country fairgrounds, others saunter by, and here she is, right in front of me. Is this the vet?

I guess there's only one way to test the premise. Are you her? I ask, and show her the picture from my wallet. Is this you?

I have no visual memory.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

I'm going to football camp! It's a generic "post-highschool" league, just forming. I'm to be a quarterback again. I'm not sure of my arm strength. I'm assured I was graded as "one of the best" prospects, rating maybe third in the nation. That encourages me. I'm going to football camp!

When I do show up, tentatively, one else is there. There is someone in charge who says, it's no matter. This was supposed to be a great rejuvenation of fabulous careers grounded on the shoals of misfortune (like on the rocks of poor arm strength) ! Where is everyone? There is an excuse given, which is meant to logically explain why a great opportunity is missed by everyone but me, and doesn't do so.

I remember something which might have a bearing, and then it seems utterly conclusive. I'm 62 years old this month. This is a sudden discovery of mine. You cannot go back and pick up the threads of lost youth at 62. Even if you're rich as Gatsby.

I go to work then. It's not a job I'm familiar with, but like in all my dreams I am aware it's familiar territory although it isn't. My boss is very genial but I know he's waiting for the proper emplyee relation moment to tell me he wants me to work more punctually, to show up more often, spend less time attending faux football camps. He takes time to make small talk about the job.

Here is a pretty model. The cameraman is very roughly plugging a suction device the size of a camera lens onto her face at various points. The operation seems very invasive. The skin of her cheek follows the device as he quickly unplugs his suction lens and plants it again a few inches away.

"He is taking light readings," says the boss, with some distaste. He has yet to mention the reason for our pleasant interview.

Someone marvels about the cute puppy outside. I go out into an alley (which resembles the one which ran between the gym/auditorium and high school back at my old Flatlandia alma mater) and see not a pup but a small duck. "Why, such an adorable little doggie," they swoon. I decide to withhold my opinion about the duck.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

I attempt to modify a small icon of a bean seed. There are about six miniature panels of pictures of the bean. I want to edit two of the frames, and also add a drawing for the back of the portrait.

The artwork is to go up somewhere, perhaps online, perhaps, who knows? as a display in a train terminal. I must work from an enclycopedia article on the bean, because it no longer exists on earth. The presentation is an elegaic psalm to a strain of life now lost. There is no editorial sidebar to the image collection.

"They didn't even hug the kids this morning," says Niki J. It is the time of the confrontation. Each dawn we gather on our side of the line. The sides are selected by age. No one knows the exact demarcation, but youth however defined is over there.

One of them says, the line held this day. It is the crepuscular standown hour. I ask, what if way down that way one or another breached the line? It runs directly down the center of an otherwise unremarkable street. And this one, a stolid non-confrontational studious sort, replies, oh, then one or the other side would be overrun. He says, the line held today.

I am called to see about something. Someone requires an assay. She is making her way down this street. Pushing along a table tilted to run on wheels. I go ahead of her. I can do this something.

At the end of a street which meets this street, there are wonderful sinewy oaks languishing, with branches thick and twining and beginning low on the trunks. There are veins of gold running along the branches, motherlodes of them. They run just off the ground and then swoop up like the flights of birds. The bark is so white and the gold is brilliant in the afternoon sunlight of another day, another confrontation ending back on the street where this one perpendicts.

I have to go for something. I am thinking, if she arrives, perhaps she may do damage to the wonderful oaks. I must go for a tool and then I can do something, but I hope I'm back before she is here, moseying with her table tilted on wheels.

I come across Scoobie! Hey, here's Scoobie! I bend to him, love him. He's on the second floor of a walkway near a door. The restroom. I open it, and he bounds inside. He picks up something from the floor of a stall, and I worry, but it's only a stick, carved, a toy. Someone is lying in the floor of the room beyond the entrance. It's all right, I think. It's all right anyone behaves peculiar here.

It's all right, but if there were a soundtrack, it would be one of those mournful, slightly portentous, cello solos.

[And today, the morning after, we went to the beach as we do on Saturday mornings, Niki J and Scoob and I, and after we walk along West Cliff around the bike path, and we look back at the beach, and just beyond the barricades before us is unaccountably some guy just lying there on the rock escarpment some twenty feet above the surf.]

Monday, April 11, 2005

I identify him easily enough from descriptions at the office. I sit down across from him, smiling. Soon we are chatting. I am good at chatting. Eventually we move over into the personal. His life. His wife. Lots of folks, you think they are chary of their privacy, but there is hardly anything these days they would sooner dispense with. Everybody is obsessed in these screaming hysterical publicity times with ADD - no one has enough of it.

We talk, and I take mental notes. I retreat to my berth, and my partner is steaming. What's taking so long?

I tell her, I must be sure. She rolls her eyes. I have to be saddled with a conscientious hit man. I go back to my subject.

Over the miles rocking over the countryside we talk. Yes, yes, he has had much trouble but he expects it to go away soon. He has made an unfortunate match and she will leave him and he will accomodate that. Yes, it can be hard, but what is one to do?

I can't do it, I say back at our berth. I can't.

When I go back for one last talk with my subject, he isn't alone. He is sitting with a most voluptuous blonde. I am close before I realize they are together. Her hand is on his knee and they are laughing.

I catch the eye of my partner, then stand smiling beside the happy couple. When my partner has her camera ready, I reach an envelope to my subject, across the heaving bosom of his friend, wish them a good day, and quickly exit the car just behind my partner.

It's really a small job, she said. You are paid to do a small job. And here we are clear over on the other side of Flatlandia and must travel miles on these bloody rails again today, all because you are a moralist. I'm saddled with a plagued priest.

The subject is still smiling as he opens the envelope, expecting great tidings perhaps from his new friend.

He unfolds - a subpoena.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

He is somehow trapped in the net he has set. It is legitimate somehow, though wrong; he has reported an abuse for which he is punished. There is much dismay in his face and something is happening though I don't know what it is. It is not fair, but logical, given the milieu, which is strange and unidentified. A cubicle is closing in on him. He is all alone, and in much woe. It's like the rabbits caught by the wily hawk.

My right hand fills. I am walking with Niki J on my left, and I become aware a young gamin is to my right, holding my hand. Isn't that sweet?

But Niki J comes around the front of me to tell her, no, no, you must walk behind. So the little girl does that. Disengages, falls back apace.

I have a sense in my right hip now. I feel and realize...the little waif has sliced the seam of my rear pocket and she almost has my wallet free.

She jumps away, climbs onto a scaffolding. Maybe she thinks I won't follow her. I follow her. It's my duty.

We proceed up the dark steel bars. I catch onto her, grab hold of her flank. That seems to be enough. I return down the tubing.

I have now a little hound, a "Golden Medley" like Max. I return her to her owner, a young guy who knew the waif. He is so pleased, he is playing with the pup. I say, "We must report her, I suppose." The waif has apparently stolen the hound. All this, like all else in my dreams, I become aware of through some unknown learning. It is just understood, though nothing proceeding before has even suggested it.

"Oh, no, no," he says, laughing and rolling with the little pup. "Just forget it."