Like thunder on a dry day, big dogs rumble above my head. I imagine thick black nails clicking as sloppy paws knit rythmn unto polished wood. Earliest morning, I had peddled around the lake toward work, narrowly avoiding geese, their fat brown-pinioned bodies scrambling in a terror to be forgotten once I, the pig-tailed four-eyed two-wheeled monster, had whizzed past. Loose-jowled pelicans groomed themselves near the dock where Jimmy had painted PS+JR 4eva.
Rippling gold, the lake placidly laid in its algae-ringed bed, no longer paperknifed by yesterday’s sailboats. A serenely Technicolor day in June, like a quiet leafy moment in Hitchcock’s Vertigo.
. . .
At break, I sit near the threshold, close to the street, familiar noises - car horn, ambulance siren, children screaming. A banal resonance, the kind of resonance you might hear on any hot day in any small city in America. I try to imagine what a city in Europe or Asia would sound like on a day like this day - would the same sounds resonate exotic?
Lying on my lap is a novel I had put down last year - the author had mined the first chapter with too many explosives. There are too many bad first chapters, too many writers calculating blithely upon their beginnings, before understanding, finally, what sort of story they had really meant to write.
An old woman creeps past. Though she’s slim, her ankles swell, blue-threaded flesh gathering like blood sausage above old lady shoes. The Little Old Lady Who Lived in A Shoe. Or melted into them. Pick a story. I think, surprised, of Ray Bradbury’s family made of sugar.
I had read that story years ago on a hot day like this one. Mr Ward kept a poor watch as we, one by one, read a paragraph each in a sluggish drone that faintly resembled English. After my turn, I resumed my study of Brian G.: buck-toothed, violent, prone to pawing girls whose misfortune was to sprout breast-buds early. He was sweating so much, his freckles swam beneath a briny gloss. I hoped, vaguely, that he would melt.
Later that year while Mr Ward directed Guadalupe (aka Miss Booger-Bank) on the difference between this and these, Brian hissed, Hey, Peanuts. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sight of it. A little penis. Zipped free from denim, it wiggled between his fingers, like a bald worm nosing for earth.