We used to make tables from soft balsa. I can still picture them now; so many thousands of little tables, all the same shape and colour, stacked drying in rows inside warehouses. This was near Pattaya, Thailand, a few months after we left Myanmar. I would take the drums of lacquer – it was three years in this country before I found this word in English, lacquer – I would roll them around the outside of the building, where the high-pressure hoses were attached. I was a sprayer. Aung worked the assembly line, drilling holes for dowels. It was repetitive work, and the warehouse was sometimes so hot that all day sweat would be in your eyes. Still, we knew there were worse ways to make money.
Bullet Brown sittin at the bar sparked the fire when he tells Tall Tan, “Don’t start no shit and there won’t be no shit.”
Tall Tan, the Collector Man, poured some gas on the spark. “Too late for that. The shit started when you opened your goddamn lying mouth.”
Bullet smiled his gap-toothed smile. “Well, fuck, man. If we gonna do it let’s get to it.”
Hello there folks!
In-case you had forgotten, we are now at week 156 and we’re back to business as usual!!
…Do you think a prostitute ever says, ‘It’s a business doing pleasure with you.’?
We were sitting on empty nail kegs next to his icehouse on the edge of Lily Pond in Saugus, Doc Sawyer and me, talking about everything and nothing in particular. It was his way of communicating. In his gray felt hat, shirt collar buttoned but with no tie, Mackinaw open so I could see red suspenders clasped at his paunch.
Like I was saying, with the holidays just around the corner, I was feeling in a somewhat generous mood. I took a ten from my wallet and handed it to the guy at the counter. The library’s been awful good to me, I said. Please accept this as a token of my appreciation. It’s the least I can do. As I headed toward the exit, feeling good about doing the least I could do, the man called out, Excuse me, sir, but you gave me a hundred-dollar bill. Not remembering the last time I even had a hundred-dollar bill, I turned and said, Well then, I guess that’s the most I can do. With that I left, prepared to forge on with my muddled life. This whole thing started just over a year ago. My wife, I’ll refer to her as X since she no longer deserves a real name, decided she had had enough of me. She took off to Colorado to be with a pot farmer she had met on some online dating site for unhappy spouses – ifatfirstyoudontsucceed.com or something to that effect. The last thing she said to me as she was walking out the door was, Sorry, Jack. I just don’t get you anymore.
All the Jews I know have an uncle named Max. I have some idea of what an Uncle Max might be like, but little actual experience. Max, I reckon, is a man of the world, but not a very successful one. Gentiles like me rarely have such a person in their lives and if they do he’s probably in prison.
Amelia strode through Victoria Gate into Kew Gardens. She held an umbrella over a colorful bag from Hamley’s toy store, leaning forward to shelter her head as well. She was of medium build. It was how she thought of herself: medium all the way around. Medium height, medium brown hair, medium weight, and mid-thirties.