a: but she’s fucking gorgeous.
b: but the parkinson’s?
a: yeah. the p-fucking-d.
b: crazy. parkinson’s. shit. that’s some serious point scoring with the world though, you know?
a: damn straight. that’s part of it too. that’s like what i’m kind of trying to relate in this fucking situation. i was like all up on this chick and shit, you know? we were going vertical with the horizontal, and this parkinson’s, fuck, the parkinson’s made it like fucking crazy. all those random jittery shakes and shit. it was fucking amazing.
b: fuck. parkinson’s. the pd. that’s some serious shit man. fucking parkinson’s.
a: that’s right. fucking parkinson’s, like michael j. fucking fox and a bag of popcorn. and i was so like taken by her too. something about her just drove me pit-over-pendulum wild.
b: ain’t that about’a bitch.
a: let’s think strategically for a sec.
b: got it. i see. let’s make the course fucking clear here. um…
a: yeah. there’s a hump in the street down there, you know, on grand avenue, for drainage i guess, and all the one-way lanes, you know when there’s no parking on the street, like during rush hour, and it seems, i don’t know, kind of clear, clean even. nothing but the sweeping gush and swish of traffic. i sit outside of that sandwich shop there and look at that damn humped street and listen to the sound of cars going by, people chatting on cell phones, the footsteps of peds xing, walked dogs barking and pissing, you know, just stupid shit like that.
b: teriyaki beef. kimchi sub. kalbi. crab. fried egg sandwich. bad rap music and a tube tv. cute japanese girls slicing bread.
a: yep. that’s the place.
b: rattrap. no wiggle room in there.
a: sure. that’s why i fucking sit outside.
a: so i’m sitting out there one day, checking out the street’s hump, as per usual, you know, trying to muster up some serious get’er done.
a: yeah. and i’m like tossing around the possibility, you know, because i see this chick walking towards me, and i can tell something’s up.
b: all systems are not quite go.
a: but she’s smoking hot.
a: and so i’m giving my eyes a little pleasure cruise.
b: who wouldn’t?
a: and i’m working up a nudge into my disposition, wondering if i can at least catch a smile off of her, maybe do a flyby, scope out the sitch.
b: yup. caught in the bitch of being between things.
a: always. fucking always. anyway. i’m sketching snappy plans in my head, just spur-of-the-moment shit, like, “whoops, I dropped my phone,” or whatever. something better than your ordinary do-you-got-the-time bullcrap.
b: hatching a snare.
b: you know, like…i don’t know. you know.
a: whatever. so, she’s wobbling and jerking her way towards me, elbows and knees jutting out, legs like rubber, kind of like a sketchy robot gone berserk.
b: awesome. like robot theater on laugh in.
a: what the fuck are you talking about?
b: it was a show in the 60s with goldie hawn.
a: goldie hawn. shit. she was hot.
b: i know.
a: nobody knows what the hell that show is anymore, you moron. shit. just shut the fuck up and listen.
a: so, this chick comes hobbling by. and she doesn’t have a cane or a walker or anything. she’s just gyrating on about her way, and she seems to be pretty deft at it, at maneuvering her way about and not bumping into things and like injuring herself or others. it seemed dangerous, you know, to be strutting around all wild and out of control like that. could’ve broke a window with a flying elbow or something, or scratched a cornea with an unbridled finger. but there’s this strange sense of her body’s movements that she seems to have. like she knows just exactly how far her flailing limbs are going out from her, and how to swing her hips around so as to never give the whack to anything around her. it’s kind of amazing. i’m not talking anosognosia. no. it’s more like she’s got an extremely high level of proprioception.
b: like a woman with windmill arms.
a: what? no. not like that at all. that doesn’t even make sense. could you can it for a minute and listen?
a: so she works her quaking way up to me, and i’m just kind of lying back, pretending to be all aloof and not paying any mind to much. cool and unconcerned. all iceberg-slim style. and i can sense her likely getting near. so, in a moment of spontaneity, i stick out my foot a bit, just knowing, somehow, what would happen. and sure enough, phi slama jama, she steps on my shoe.
b: wow. taking some serious chances there.
a: sure. but it works. she’s like so apologetic. and i’m milking it a bit too.
a: whatever. it did kind of hurt. anyway, i’m faking a little losing my breakfast there before i’ve even got my lunch in me. it’s quite possible i shed a tear.
b: son of a bitch.
a: Well, lick a stamp and send me off to the races. you have not the slightest fucking idea of what the fuck you speak. just shut it and listen. you might learn yourself something.
a: so i’m doing a little play acting there, grabbing at my toes and wincing and all the likes, and she’s like, ‘i’m so sorry, oh my god,’ and all those likes. i’m dosing her with dabs of woe-is-me, and she’s soaking it up and like exuding fucking pity for me.
b: you’re like one of those guys who calls shin guards “greaves” or “jambeaux.”
a: you going to pipe down and let me finish? or am i gonna have to plug your pie hole for you?
a: well, i’m going all lump-in-the-throat tongue-tied and all the likes, faking it though, you know? and she’s buying it ham hock and lunchmeat and all. but then i’m like, of course, not blaming her at all, and am like being very forgiving, and we’re both caught up in this it’s-not-your-fault-it’s-mine thing, but i’m discovering some very interesting things about her figure. she’s built, this chick. all rolling soft hills and slender curves of leg. an ass that you could set your drink down on all night without spilling a drop, hips you just want to grab a hold of and never let go, and the neck of an egyptian goddess. i’m stuffing my head with fantasies of what she’s going to be like naked, and it’s making me more than a lot glad. but there’s this palmist place next door. you know. one of those places where they perform chiromancy and shit. tell you your future by looking at the wrinkles in your palm. and i’d been checking out the sign out front, these purple and yellow bent neon tubes spelling out, “palms read. tarot cards,” and stuff like that, wondering about what’d happen if i did something like that. never done something like that before. let some fat corpulent lady in a cloak run her hand over mine. shit. i don’t know. i was just pedaling it around in my head a little. and this idea just like sprouts, and soon i’m like telling her we should get our palms read at this place.
b: just out of fucking nowhere?
a: well, no. there’s more to it. we started chatting about the window display for some reason. there are a couple of busts of caesar in there, and a plaster-of-paris hand, kind of like that hamburger helper hand character, with all the markings of different astral signs or some shit on the palm. also there are these what i guess were tarot cards or something positioned among giant candles with gold crosses, the cards were bearing like religious pictures of like the virgin mary praying or something, and there’s your usual assortment of potion bottles and a chart of the chakras scattered around in the window plants there. but i’ve got to leave some shit out, you know, or else we’ll be here until fucking xmas. can’t tell you every little scrap of conversation between us. shit. let’s just say it was a fairly easy veer point.
b: okay. get on with it.
a: so she’s like feeling all sorry for me. this girl with parkinson’s, you know. and i feel kind of guilty but, it’s not a big deal. i figure i can swing my way out of it. i’m not really positive about the parkinson’s yet anyway. i knew something was wrong, but wasn’t quite sure exactly what kind of beast i was dealing with. so, after a bit more jabbering and are-you-okaying, she decides, sure, why not? and we stride on in to the palmistry place, both us kind of limping, mind you. her in her way. me in my faking way. we must have been a little bit of a sight. but the chiromancer’s pretty chill about it. she’s this old bag in a veil. she’s maybe middle eastern or something. i don’t know. but we sit down at her table in the low light, and we’re both kind of nervous, and the parkinson’s girl’s making a little bit of a racket clattering around, you know, with the parkinson’s and all, but we settle in and get started. there’s a small genie-type lamp on the table, tarot cards lying around, the aroma of scented candles, the whole bit. i’m decorating my head with delusional visions, as per usual, and sitting rather close to she of the parkinson’s and curvaceous figure, endowed with all of the pleasantries the more-superficial man holds in high regard. her knee knocks into mine every so often, and she’s very apologetic about it. i don’t mind it of course. whatever brings her closer on over to me is right as a rainy noon. but i’m way the fuck out of my element, to say the least. sitting next to miss parkinson’s, who i don’t even really know at all, in a palm reader’s den. shit. what’s next, you know? and i’m still feigning nursing a sore toe.
b: it’s not like she had stilettos on or something, right?
a: well, whatever. i’m just trying to extract a bit more sympathy without really appearing to be trying to. it’s a very delicate operation. you’ve got to play it very carefully. not overdo it.
b: sounds stupid.
a: i don’t disagree. but once you start in with something like that…well, anyway, i’m sitting there and the room’s pretty dark and this chick with the parkinson’s is right next to me, and i’m thinking, this is great, you know? this is prime territory to start making inroads to a coup d’éta of her undergarments. you know, it’s dark, candlelight, strange old lady in a silk robe, hands being held. i was thinking this all seemed very auspicious to a romantic affair. i can tell looks, you know? she was giving looks. i could feel her looks. and what i was feeling was like hop on the wagon and get this hayride started right. even accounting for the mercurial nature of people’s looks, well, even then i still felt i had that feeling that you get maybe when like a girl whom you’re like majorly crushing on says your name for the first time. there’s nothing like that feeling, and i was flush with something akin to it. i just knew.
b: you sensed it. maybe you’re the one with esp. maybe you should’ve been doing the palm reading.
a: a fly. a fuck. so maybe i’ll just go have lunch with your mom on a roof deck tomorrow. can’t you nix the interruptions for even a minute?
a: so we’re laying our hands out on the table, palms up, and this old lady is like chanting this divination-like shit at us, and i’m hoping my palms aren’t too sweaty to be read, you know, because i’ve always got sweaty palms. i wasn’t sure if this would like skew the reading or something. like maybe the clamminess would foul things up. i don’t know. there’s a lot of i-don’t-know about these astrological matters. anyway, i’m starting to wonder if there’s a chance on mars that i’m going to actually get into this parkinson’s chick’s groovier parts at some point in the not-too distant future. you always start to weigh those things at some point, you know, like if the risk is worth the reward. but nothing was too bad yet. the whole vibe situation was seeming alright. interstellar connections were being made. i hooked wise to a chance and held my ground. the palm-reader lady was rather lumpy and creased, and her fingers were swelled with all kinds of rings. she had a musky, sour-milk odor to her and seemed to be wearing a cape of some sort, though it was rather dark and being in a strange environment like that one was making my head dull to subtle differences in the fabric of things. but i’m pretty sure it was a cape. i remember how chubby her fingers were, how massive and bloated her hands were, and as she took my limp, scrawny hand in hers i kept thinking about that mike wells’ picture. you know, the one where that beef-jerky skinned, emaciated ugandan’s hand is juxtaposed with that much larger well-fed white hand like black twigs on a pillow. it was that dramatic of a dichotomy. i don’t know, maybe i felt a sort of uxorious tug there, or just an emasculated jab at my efforts, thrown in to bebop me back to the reality and not just the, you know, quote-unquote aura of the situation. a large, odiferous, bovine-like woman with a swath of curtain for a dress and wearing what could quite possibly be a felt cape, well, it was just so strange, with my small delicately thin fingers lying spread in her chunky paw, and i can’t quit the feeling that she’s got this eerie power over me, like i’m under her control almost. part of me, though, i think, was actually enjoying this. something submissive rousting about in my unconscious that maybe desired to be controlled and therefore, you know, free of any blame or care, like, you know, somebody else is doing all the decision making and all you’ve got to do is sit back and watch it all happen and be carried away like a feather on the wings of wind.
b: something like that.
a: so she’s starting in with the jumbo and the mumbo, and i’m just playing along, and sharing a few looks with my newfound friend with parkinson’s there sitting next to me, kind of clanking her legs around a bit, but mostly pretty calm and still. and i’m a little nervous so i’m making dumb small talk and wiggling around a little. telling her that this is my first time and that i’ll always remember it and that it’ll never be just like this again, and the fortune teller lady is kind of liking it and kind of over it too, you know, as she probably hears this kind of shtick all the time. but we’re getting going there, and i make a few cracks about my sweaty palms and shit, and the plump clairvoyant starts in on the palm digging. and she’s going over the heart and the head line, the life line, the girdle of venus, the whole ninety-nine yards. and it kind of tickles and is nice. i like it, which surprises me. this fat madame rue’s got a soft touch.
b: she does do this for a living.
a: yeah. and so this parkinson’s girl is like leaning in close with her elbow on the table, and she’s trembling a bit, but not too bad, and she’s nodding some with her chin cupped in a hand, almost like she’s going, ‘yes, yes, uh huh, yes,’ with an eager interest in the goings on. neither of us was worried about a thing.
a: it’s just the way it was. i don’t know.
a: i don’t know. anyway. i ain’t no miracle worker. i ain’t no miracle man, you know?
b: no. i don’t. what the fuck are you…?
a: no, no, no, no, no…don’t you…can’t you see what i’m saying? don’t you know what i’m telling you? don’t you? huh? huh?
a: i’m just me. i do what i can. i don’t control things. i just go along. does it matter what i’m saying if nobody else is there to listen?
a: anyway. so i’m shipping up and shaping out, and i’m getting dizzyingly snug with omens and harbingers and prophecies of what’ll be surely, she says, coming on up ahead for me, waiting for me like a dream/nightmare i’ve yet to have. she’s perspicaciously going on about how the convergence of my life and my love will derail my destiny with mothballs and origami wings, and she tells me that i’m a loner but not a rebel, and that i’d better strangle the demons of my past with somebody else’s hands. it’s all a blur from there on out. my hands were soaked with sweat and i kept apologizing under my breath, and my fingers were squirming around, and miss parkinson’s is kind of laughing at and with me at the same time, and the palm-reader lady is being polite and nonchalant about it, and she like takes some gauzy fabric from her sleeve and wipes down my hand a few times, assuring me that this is normal, that this happens to everyone. her smile is very comforting and reassuring. it makes me feel like i’m in good hands.
b: that’s one way to put it.
a: and this parkinson’s girl. she’s leaning in real close. she’s interested. she’s quirky and unabashed. the walls melt. i’m stealing signs. the whole shebang’s gonna blow. but i can’t move. i’m just sitting there letting it all happen. and somewhere there are heads of various flora gently nodding in a morning breeze like a mother’s soft hand on your cheek.
a: well, it gets loneliest at night, you know? and, also, that pedestaled crux of the matter, well, it just hasn’t happened yet. come tax day you’ll come to know these things. a bloom of rust, a makeshift curdle of cloud, an open door. i will heave forward and wretch back. give me a gas mask and a lead jacket. curtail my desire to just drift. skew lines in a sky the color of canted dusky salmon.
b: harmonize with me. you better. seriously. get in line with…
a: no. it’s a loose-leafed instinct. i was entertaining the thought of going insane, actually. but that soon became irrelevant.
b: thoughts like that come and go and go and go and come again but then they go and then….then….well, um, you know.
a: i wasn’t crying or anything like that. but parkinson’s chick was copious in her grief. parkinson’s miss was blowing an oboe of sorrow for all the dead and/or fallen robins. there were things we’d still have to learn. under certain suspicions we withheld our honor and spit into kleenex.
b: not that we’d have to expect…
a: no. that’s not…well, you see, well…i was hangnailing some boldness there, and there were mistakes i knew i’d never get to make if i didn’t, you know, act fast, while supplies last, you know, and i phoned in my weakness, and it was all a mess.
b: so. what happened next? what’s next? and then, and then, and then…you know?
a: i was fucking sapped. parkinson’s was clinging to me and laughing and smiling and it felt like i was on the cover of that bob dylan album freewheelin’. but inside i was torn to bits. there’s a matter of bragging and keeping it all safe on the inside. shit. like slamming the car door on jealousy’s fingers. it didn’t do any damn good in the long of the short of it. everything’s a coincidence.
b: i was born under the sign of come-closer-or-don’t-come-at-all.
a: we can count now. so, i was…one, two, three…shy enough at the time…four, five…up a tree…six…
b: shouldn’t we be counting down?
a: doesn’t matter. that girl and me, well, we ran away from it all and back again, and we went all over and around. we clasped hands. we kissed. her lips were a flurry of soft, wet, quivering frisson. she shimmied and shook in my arms. it was like being electrocuted, like dancing without even trying. wild spikes of energy pinballing through us. it just happened and there was nothing we could do about it. i don’t know if it was the parkinson’s or what, but it was like hitching a ride on a lightning bolt, and we flopped all around and twisted and jangled our way down the block, almost running too, hand in hand, missing everything except each other. it was all the thrill of being alive without any of the worry. and then it was like, well, blue my past and mint the gold of now. past the liquor store, past the parking garage, the smell of gasoline and cigarettes and the sewer, past the video store, and the scent of bacon from the sandwich shop is long gone now. she’s whistling a captain beefheart tune. i’m doing my best farley granger two-step. something about it breaks my heart. it doesn’t matter. it doesn’t. we keep dancing. the sidewalk’s sparkling silver. we keep dancing. we keep dancing.
b: strychnine is good. i like the taste. that kind of thing?
a: well, i don’t know. i pray in my spare time. i tinker around with necessity. my doorbell sings to me all through the daylight. under the right set of wrongs, well, i just might allow for a song to keep me warm at night.
b: and then, and then, and then…seven, eight…come on. you know.
a: nine. okay. so i peeped into my future a teeny bit. so what?
a: is that it?
b: guess so.
a: but i was just getting started…but i…
b: doesn’t matter. time don’t care. And anyway, who are we except what’s been done to us?
a: and then you drop your fork and the whole place shivers with the threat of a falling-out over things to come. and then? and then, well, i guess you’re left with nothing to depend on.
b: but that’s okay. but that’s okay. but that’s okay. walking in the rain. nothing left but pain. it’s okay. it’s…okay.
a: everything will be alright. everything will be…
b: so what now?
a: now? well, i’m a violent and a tender man. the ways of seclusion stain my days. a hurried occupation kicks in the waters, and i float and float and float. cardboard soles on my shoes, a richter-scale needle jabbing at my heart, and an empty picture frame where her face used to be. more and more each day i am coming to appreciate the simple fact of being alive, but it’s also becoming something that i am scared less and less to lose.
b: we’re different now. we’re enabled by faulty wiring.
a: yes. we’ve come to know things we’d only heard about before. a more direct way to beg, borrow, and steal away the days.
b: god. i’m getting choosy lately. i run towards green lights and wonder about hiroshima. guilt and anxiety and awe. what a confluence of feeling to get by on. i want to do something for myself but keep not doing it. hey. you’ve lost count. you forgot an and-then.
a: there’s stability in being lost and forgotten. everybody’s misunderstood. we all need, we all need, we all need…
b: a little bit o’ soul to put you right, to see you through.
a: with the right kind of eyes, well…fuck it. let’s count backwards from ten.
b: fads of being, looks of seeing, a better way to laugh…ten, nine…
a: the locals are going native…eight…scoundrels are having their moments…seven…
a: there’s a crook in her back, and she’s straining, it’s unbecoming, and i’m clock-less and twenty hours behind as always.
b: six, five…
a: i’ve lost my fingerprints.
a: i want a national silence…three….falling down, and then, and then, and then it’s all over and begun.
b: the good guys. the bad guys. we’re all wearing bandanas on our faces these days.
a: two. messed up pretty good, huh?
b: yeah. can’t help it. and then…?
a: there was…one. that’s that.
b: good. i was starting to think that you….huh, never mind.