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Greta’s riding low on distractions and unfiltered courage. She’s somebody else’s Pensacola baby, and she’s got a crush on Harold Lloyd. She says, “Put ‘er there,” with a smirk and spits in her palm. She wears burgundy corduroy jackets and cusses under her breath when somebody sneezes. A working class schmooze, she’s got John Lennon’s pajamas and Luise Rainer’s haircut. There are wishes in her eyes that’ll stay put for as long as she’s able to keep that cigarette lit and dangling from her lip. Greta’s got it unmade in bed beneath an Oakland moon, and her legs are lazy with restless twitches. The land’s never is her ever. The best of her bad is somebody else’s good, and she fries eggs in camel fat. Don’t look her way in the mirror; she’ll get moody with an applesauce tongue and a broiled vinegar-soaked heart. She appeases the sun with a white panama hat. She quotes Samuel Johnson, listens to Halloween music, and she’ll ride any carousel in town. The takers give her away almost every night. What’s left is what’s able to get her up and at ‘em and dancing once again. The devils of her whims are the angels of my every care. When the ravens dart and dash, smarter than any crow around, she dumps perfume in the gutter and spills chartreuse in the cracks in the sidewalk, and she fights fire with canola oil. She watches airline movies in the bathroom on a nine-inch Panasonic portable. Nothing gets her to give up her switchblade — or her comb. It’s all mashed potatoes and boiled light bulbs, and the cops all know her as Mockingbird. Greta’s making fists at chickens. Greta’s hauling around a vat of rat tales in rainwater. Greta’s putting the “you” back in New York. Greta’s lining the bottles up just to knock ‘em down. Greta’s lying to the president and the pope; she’s teaching magic tricks to kindergartners, and she’s shoveling mud on the mayor’s grave. Give her a mile and she’ll take a good pull of felt and rip. Show her the holes in your shoes and she’ll show you hers. It’s not up to the sky to give her the time of day; it’s not up to her to mislead the piper all the way past the bank and back, scratching olive-shaped scars into day-old bruises, topping off the parlor’s best shoe-box display case with oatmeal and walnuts, coloring in stills from black-and-white movies, guessing all the clues back to forthcoming; and she’s got misguided motivation, and she’s got champagne in her veins and a chancy sparkle in her heels; and she’s intimidating raccoons with a water pistol; and she’s the closest thing to soft that any plumber’d ever find beneath the sink. Her legs should win a prize. She lives in hotel rooms from time to time; you can find her out by the pool wearing a white linen suit and silent-film-star sunglasses. She changes the color of her hair almost every week, depending on how she feels. Greta’s over being underwhelmed by it all. Greta’s ice-water cool. Greta’s bad and Greta’s great. And most of all, Greta’s always behind the wheel anywhere this broken-down Chevrolet ever goes.

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