Saturday, May 14, 2005

I don't remember the mission. I am rumbling around a common area, like around the pool of a condo, but it's well-appointed dark wood and sedate fabric...only I realize it isn't really the commons anymore...I am going back the way I came and I see the kitchen area with folding cabinets like short walls closing it off, and I realize...

Mrs Standsbury is home.

She is startled to see me. I pass through her kitchen smiling. She has a classy new sweep hairdo and she looks younger than her years; she's put together like a middle-aged widow.

[Mrs Standsbury was our nextdoor neighbor when I was young. Once we were in her back yard. She came home, spoke to me, said, `I thought you were a nice boy.' We'd been on her front porch and left dirt, maybe from her flowerpots. We meant no harm. We were just careless. I said nothing, eked away from her yard. I realized I should go back up front and clean up, but I guess I just accepted I wasn't a nice boy after all...

In those days, most September there was a heavyweight champeenship on radio. We picked it up early during the ring announcements but the signal faded during the fight. Like, this time, it was over, but we could not tell who won. Mr Standsbury was in his bedroom, turning off his radio. In these days, there was no air conditioning, so windows were open. We ran to his screen, called out, "Mr Standsbury, who won?" He paused in the dark room. "Patterson," he said.

Mr Standsbury was locally famous for a quote of his about working the graveyard shift on the railroad. He said, `If they'd just taken the first guy who agreed to work nights out and shot him, it would've been a better world.']

It is an ordeal. I am now moving what I had brought with me, and must distinguish what belongs there. I pass before Mrs Standsbury and her friends or family out on their veranda, and I see they aren't angry. It will be okay over time.

There is a broadcast pending, and I must appear for it. This is more than just flipping on a radio. I have to lower myself down a narrow chute like a spelunker. Uh-oh. I step down on a trashcan and smash it. Plastic.

I think, maybe I can make do in all this. I say, it could've been worse...

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