I’ve taken to a big steer named Cowboy who lives over the hill from my mother-in-law’s at the Second Hand Ranch, where they take in animals who would otherwise be turned into coats or eaten. But flies gather around his eyes and settle there as he stares at me and at any moment he could flick his head and his horns to brush them off, could hurt someone.
An empty beer can goes down on the deck and gets pinned under the grill and when it comes up, it’s matted with cobwebs and pine needles and hangs there defiant, an adolescent’s first beard.
There’s a girl at the bar next to me with hairy armpits in a dress that doesn’t look bad, and after a couple Aperol spritzers she starts talking about what it was like dealing weed to college students in Philadelphia — the administration protects on-campus drug dealers, they keep the kids from wandering too far and getting killed, it’s not good for admissions, security says just don’t let me see it.
Our old real estate agent Vivian is a thumbnail on a sign at a house that just got sold and I run into her in the driveway as they’re closing; she just got back from Bosnia to visit some friends, drove down through Zagreb, but could only stay a week, says she envies us taking off for nine months, could never get back into the business if she left that long.
I didn’t know Gary could play the drums, and he lowers his sunglasses in Chris and Erica’s basement and flashes a wild smile at me: Gary on drums, Chris on bass, his son Casey playing piano — I make the mistake of thinking I can pull off vocals for Helter Skelter, and can’t. Don’t fuck with Paul McCartney, no matter who you think you are.
When Donnie says goodbye he presses his palms together and says Blessings and looks at me deep, but I might cry, so I just say bye and I’ll miss you, and get on the elevator. He’s been cutting my hair for several years, since we bought this house, and has a small studio in a wedge of a room in the Starbucks corporate office just 20 paces from my old desk. I can’t stand the idea of going there during work hours for him to cut me so he suggests I come in on a Saturday, and just gets into it: no discussion about what I want, he just starts brushing and spraying and cutting, and tells me about his upcoming trip to the Amazonian basin, a 10 day ayahuasca ceremony with a 105-year-old shaman, his son filming it half his age, a Fibonacci leap. He says just look up DMT. DMT freaks me the fuck out.
We talk about his memoir, which we consume every few months in small talk. He says with each moment of his life as he writes it, he’s blessing it. And I believe him, and believe that is the way.
The moon just came out as I’m writing this. It’s a white hook in a sky of fading blue, and I texted my friend to go look. It’s true, you can picture someone fishing off it if you look long enough.