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Best just to imagine

I nearly said “wall,” I swear. I wanted to say “wall” and truth be told, I still do, in a way. “Fence” is maybe the right word here and I know this, but when one cannot see through, what then? O, to have reached this age without knowing the difference between a fence and a wall!

It’s the other side that concerns me anyway. Of this fence, I mean. This wall.
On my walks, it bows out and across the sidewalk almost. I cannot see through it. It’s twelve feet tall so I cannot see over it. It is wicked. It is tempting. It is wicked and tempting.
Bamboos peer out over the edge of it, the top – you should see them peer! – along with preternatural light and there’s something about the way sound carries. “Preternatural.” I chose that word, instinctively, just now, without a care, and I’m really having second thoughts about it. I’ll leave it.
What’s on the other side of this wall?
I checked it out on Google Earth and I was not satisfied. There’s just a feeling I get. It’s a mystery and I’ve got to kn…
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Your information is secure.

This is an interruption. I am sorry. This is not the usual thing for here. I apologize. I spend much of my life apologizing, really, if you must know, and I hold some degree of certainty I will do so again before all this is over and finished.
This is a security check. It is necessary. I am sorry. (There I go again.) Your security – the cyber variety, I’m talking – is so important to us. Here at The Rise and Fall of Harry Hamid. The most important thing there is, probably. Possibly.
I am Tom. You remember me probably. I worked at Myspace once and people saw me. Now I work here. At The Rise and Fall of Harry Hamid. I have fallen behind. It has been brought to my attention that I have fallen behind. “Social media algorithms.” That’s a thing. I know it is a thing, Mark. If you don’t stay on top of a thing then you fall behind, Mark, I know.
This is a security check.
Your security is important to us.
Your information is secure here. When you think The Rise and Fall of Harry Hamid, think “sec…

Doctor Wren who says 'dude' a lot

A Play in One Act

HARRY and BLIND FATHER TOM walk slowly amongst crepe myrtle trees. HARRY’s house is in the background. BLIND FATHER TOM wears sunglasses and carries a white stick, indicating blindness.
HARRY:(continuing a conversation we can presume is ongoing) …and I got nothing out of Flaubert’s ‘Anthony’-
FATHER TOM:Nothing at all?
HARRY:Not a thing. Nothing stuck. I’m not saying it’s Flaubert’s fault, but-

FATHER TOM:Now, Athanasius’ ‘Anthony’. That one would be-
HARRY:I have that! Inside the house… (motions towards his house)
FATHER TOM:I’ve searched and searched because I’ve heard such good things-
HARRY:It’s a very old hardback. I don’t remember where I found-
FATHER TOM:They don’t make it in Braille or books on tape, last time I checked, so-
HARRY:I’ve got a digital recorder, I could record um, it’s a short book, and-
FATHER TOM:If you could do that for me, Harry, I’d be forever gratef-
WREN appears, running from HARRY’s front door. She is heard before she is seen.
WREN:(waves her arms …

Gerber is your last chance

Chris Knapp was six-foot-two, which is pretty tall, really, but he seemed taller. Maybe he levitated then. We called him “Zeus” for he birthed designs and goddesses from his golden-locked noggin on a semi-regular basis. It’s true, or else it seemed true, which is nearly as good.
On Friday nights, Zeus would hold court at his parents’ house, and we’d gather ‘round drunk and starry-eyed like, well… what’s the word? Acolytes, maybe. Devotees. Young flesh everywhere. We were drawn to him!
But when I saw him last month, he was ordinary. A man. He was just like me, or maybe less. Did this guy even remember his former divinity? Did he remember 1990? I don’t know.
It was disappointing.
I looked for Nicky but when I found him, where the wonder had been, there were guns and conservative memes. No light lived there. And Richard – beautiful, angelic Richard with the violet skin, I swear he was like that once – looking at him now, you wouldn’t know.
Where does charisma go? I wondered. One only meets …

A container of stories

I enjoy telling stories, Tim. That’s one of the things I like to do.
Like this:
When Astro came to live with me, I embarked upon a long, ambitious campaign to buy him cat toys. That’s just what one does with cats, Tim. And after that, after the toys, I mean, whenever I sat in my reading chair upstairs and I began to read, Astro carried his toys up from downstairs and dropped them at my feet, even the large ones, like the stuffed monkey which is bigger than he is. Cats don’t do that, of course – I think you’re thinking of dogs – but no one ever told Astro the difference.
And one night, two or three days in I guess, you wouldn’t believe this, he brought me up a toy I had not purchased for him. It was this little ball, purple and white and very worn, that had once belonged to Stagger Lee. This surprised me and yes, it worried me a bit, because Stagger Lee had been gone more than six years and I would like to believe, for my image of myself, the one I’ve pieced together carefully and rely o…


The too too intense eye contact. The bull ring in the nose, yes, probably that. Plus she was left-handed – I have been known to be annoyed by less.
In many ways, easily counted, I must rank Barnaby’s Restaurant on Fairview among the few enemies of mine. Or, if not Barnaby’s, then its odious customers, definitely, who insist upon moving, prior to pickup, my trash cans, for parking nearly every Monday morning. And it’s all the same, to me, in the end – the restaurant, its customers – for how could it be that a single restaurant should attract so many thoughtless customers? It’s a coincidence too large to be swallowed, I say.
Enemy or not, though enemy it most surely is, I found myself at Barnaby’s – I know, I know – on a cold January night for one reason and the reason was this: It’s very near my house and I could get drunk there.
The laugh. That laugh would get old quickly, I’d wager. And the choice of St. Arnold’s Christmas ale. And the tattoo, I believed it was a tattoo, not a birthma…

Am I superstitious?

There’s that thing about nothing new under the sun. Somebody said it once and so people say it – “There is nothing new under the sun!” – but people say it and they’re wrong.
I do what it is I’ve always done. For nineteen years now, people come to me, thirty-five a week (can you believe it?), which is a hundred fifty a month which is eighteen hundred a year which is nearly thirty-six thousand people in nineteen years. They’ve all got their fears, their angers, their monsters who will rip away these people’s homes and children and jobs and their security.
People always say sorry for their tears.
These people get sued by credit card companies. They drop the kids off at their ex’s five days late. They do battle with landlords over windowsill mold, and it’s harmless mold too, really, but they insist it’s killing them.
It’s nothing new. It’s just my job.  
But now there is something new. It started last November. Just one at first. He was a young black man and the first thing he ever said to m…