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Showing posts from November, 2017

How to stage an accidental walk-out

I can explain, wait, I can explain. Insofar as my powers of explanation – unacceptably limited though they are – allow for it, you will see I was only leaving. It is a matter of intent, you know, in the end, the difference between leaving and staging a walk-out, but what a difference.
It was my intent to be Don Cook, or to be like him, rather, to disappear from the room, as he had earlier. No one else even had to know. In life, you will agree, a person sometimes just wants to leave a room like I wanted to leave the room last night.
Perhaps, it occurs to me, in Don Cook’s day, a basic education might have included a learning unit on the ways to extricate oneself from a plastic chair with metal sleigh legs. Perhaps there was a test. Probably there was. Extra points for getting out of a plastic chair with metal sleigh legs noiselessly.
Yes, probably.
I have learned only three things in my life and one of them is this: When faced with a toxic environment, one should leave. A…

The astronauts underground

I walked back. What did you expect? I had to return home, after my long walk. That’s how it worked. But on reaching Stanford Street, I could see, clearly, my eyes were fine, the whole block was bustling with some indeterminate activity.
I went forward, nonetheless. Forward. Ducked under a police tape. An officer came to me and blocked me, said, “Sir, we’re asking that everyone just stay back-”
“But I am trying to get to my house,” I said, explaining. “Over there. On Fargo.” I pointed in a general direction, generally. Smoke blocked the view. Or was it fog? I reached for my wallet. My ID. To show him, you know. He’d see… But he waved me past, let me on through. He did not seem to take an interest in my ID.
In the place where my house had been was a mud hole. Four feet deep. In the place where my mailbox had been were sandbags, piled high, all around the edge of the hole. I double-checked the street sign to confirm.
The officers in the hole were not officers. They were soldiers. They were…

Today I crossed the street

I am putting this here, now, so that you can see what it was I did today. What it was I learned today. And with this thing, learned, a thing you’ve probably already learned and which, in theory, even I sort of knew before, though in a hazy kind of way, I have surprised myself. My world has grown bigger, even at this lamentably late date.
For nine years – no, let me be honest here, for eight years ten months – I have run the three-mile perimeter track at Rice University. Three or four times a week, the same track, in the same direction, passing the same trees, the same driveways and, more often than not, the same people.
Three or four times a week for eight years ten months is, if you bother to sit down and work it out, more than one thousand six hundred thirteen times, which is a lot. It is as much as I’ve done anything.
But today, on the occasion of my one thousand six hundred fourteenth time around the Rice track, a voice came to me and it thundered inside of my head, “Harry, why don…

1 snigirO

Dirt, dirt, and dirt. O, but I could have gone with fire! Should have, I believe, probably. It was a choice available to me, once. To you, too.
With fire, you see, there would be no voices, nothing at all, whereas now, with the dirt, there is nothing but. Babbling, babbling, and babbling, without end. One does not think of these things, though, not when it matters, ahead of time, when the choice is made. Only later does one think of these things and later is too too late.
If only I could raise my little hands to my ears, I think, were that still possible, what a dream, I would shut out the voices forever.
Off on my right (what I take to be my right, somehow) a voice makes itself known. Speaks to someone perhaps much farther away than I am, to it, and much too loudly, for me. It is one of the voices I know, or knew, from before and from what came before. It is an East Texas voice that calls itself Pirkle [1].
Pirkle says, “I shit you not.” He says, “I mowed the hell out that grass. No on…