Nineteen is the number of times I stabbed my father. One in each forearm, shoulder, thigh, calves. Neck back stomach balls. Between two ribs the knife plunged and pierced one lung, two, and caught on a shard of bone, a tendon shred. Wrench tug free. I’d pictured each puncture in detail one by one. Not over and over on loop like some freak but while waiting for the bus or falling asleep I thought about the order of it, in and out and back in, the quiet shrill of it. Muscle rip against blade, bone scrape against metal.
Acton had never spent much time contemplating writer’s block. This had everything to do with the fact that he had never previously found himself its victim. Perhaps everything is too strong a word. Acton had no trouble considering the ins and outs of things and events he had no personal experience with—although these things and events necessarily carried with them some intellectual element that sparked his curiosity in the first place. Writer’s block, as an idea, had never presented such an element to command his attention, and on top of that, it seemed too cliché a notion to even deserve it. Nevertheless, the prejudice of abstraction doesn’t always hold up under the weight of actual experience, and he now found writer’s block to be a fascinating object of examination.
Acton was at his desk, unable to write.
My promotional Facebook ad campaign is far from ready. An upside down, high resolution, Marlene Dietrich holding my self-published book awaits my intervention. I hesitate before choosing the rotate option or is it the flip? Marlene looks regal, confident in her fur coat. What would Marlene think of a book starting with:
She loved lemons and would squirt them on everything, their yellow rind reminding him of her sunshine. Lemons never tasted sweeter. Without her, his heart wouldn’t beat right.
A small bird lands at the roadside, scuffing the hot dust, and she asks the tour guide what it is.
“Zebra finch,” he says. “They’re what you wanna see if you’re lost out here.”
Eilidh watches the bird dab at the earth with its orange beak.
“Must be water somewhere close,” the guide says. “They never stray far from it.”
“I wouldn’t either,” she says.
For once, Audrey was glad Mason had worn that maroon knit cap his dad had given him. The wind swept low around them as they sat on the park bench, chilling Audrey while the bare tree tops remained still.
Her son did not look up from doodling on his hand as he asked, “What did the people at the garage tell you?”
“They think they know what’s wrong, but they can’t fix it until tomorrow.”
“How much?” Now he started on the other side, turning his hand before she could look at the ink splotches covering his palm.
“Enough to cut into our hotel money. No continental breakfast for us, kiddo.” One transmission leak leaves us scrambling, she thought.
My son and I meet in the City, dinner and talk. And drink. More and more drink as time goes by. He is quite the drinker, my son is, Old Overholt Rye on the rocks–a drinkers drink. None of those blends that people call Rye. Who am I to talk? When I was his age, twenty-seven, I was out drinking every night and my poison of choice was Tequila.
But it’s not the same. Sometimes I think he needs his golden anesthesia to tolerate our time together. We hug hello and goodbye and he never acts embarrassed to kiss me when he sees me. We never have a bad time, not like the old days, which were rocky as all Hell. That’s okay. Fathers and sons should have a little conflict to make them stronger and bond as more than just parent and child when they get older. By now we should be bonded at the hip, but I worry that he’s getting the Irish disease which is even worse for a Jew than for a Mick. I should know.
Alyssa Doorumple was delicious.
To see her enlightening any sort of space or form of clothing was to experience a deep sense of want. To touch her, to smell her, to connect with Alyssa in any way she would allow. Perfection in the female form. Ally-do, as known in Manhattan social circles, was simply scrumptious and the light that was always surrounded by frantic moths. Ally-do was the one you wanted to be photographed with and the name that was on most lips at any social function. AD to her closest friends and fans. If AD was making a party then that was a party to be at. AD was on the cover of all the society magazines because that’s what sells magazines. Magic. Beauty. Mystery.