Aug 29, 2015

"Hi Sunshine" --- This is heaven --- teaser (2)

Part I of the GREEN EYES is out, and so we've started a rerun of what we got of Part II so far. We have ca 60% of the text, but there are some problems with the plotting, how the various story lines of this soap opera will come together...

...The Happy Ending Is over now, is the title of the second (ie. the first) chapter, and John will know it. He's picking himself up, dusting himself off after yet another morning triangle in the gay dunes, and the plot thickens already.  John is with Alex of course---so much is still left of the happy ending (go here for the previous teaser)---but now Ben is calling, the other guy John met last week:
  
My cell rings.

“Hi, Sunshine,” a male black voice speaks into my right ear. It’s the ear next to Alex’s left ear. I’d almost forgotten about Ben. Well, no, I didn’t forget, I've been too busy. ‘Sunshine?’ I think.
“This is me. Can you hear me?” Ben says. I can hear him loud and clear. Perhaps I should lower the sound. Where’s the button? I hate my cell-phone.
 “This is me. Can you hear me?” Ben repeats. Alex softens his grip.
“Yes,” I answer, the phone now on my left ear.
“John?” Ben asks, or retreats.
“Yes,” I say.




I should say ‘Ben’ now, or ‘Hi Ben,’ or ‘Is that you, Ben,’ mention his name at least (his name is “John,” by the way, like mine, Ben is his pet name).
“Is that you,” I say.
“John,” Ben answers, the voice more relaxed.
“Yes,” I say.
“Where are you?”
“On the beach, more or less.”
“All by yourself?”
“With a friend,” I say.
“Cool,” Ben says, “you know what?”
“No.”


I sound monosyllabic because I am monosyllabic. Last time Ben and I talked I said things like ‘I thought I’d never see you again.’ I sounded very different then.

“You know what, Luke has hired me for the festival, for his market stand at the venue. Selling cookies and stuff.”
“Stuff?”—I say just to say something.
“Coke. Cigarettes. Substances. Condoms. You get the idea.”
“Luke?” I ask as if I wouldn’t know. I’m disingenuous here, I had introduced them to each other last week. Luke runs a convenience store next to my condo. We’re friends of sorts, I buy condoms there myself, sometimes in the presence of other friends. I almost bought condoms there in Ben’s presence.

“Luke?” Alex interjects, “do I know Luke?”
“Don’t think so,” I say.

“I’m excited,” Ben says. “Luke’s stand is near the stage. We’ll be part of the festival. Sweet.”
“Sweet,” I say.

“You know about the festival, right? It’s about vampires this year. A contest. America has undead talent, sort of. Spiders eaten raw. Contestants eaten raw. The survivor gets an award. He's crowned King Dracula. Right up Luke’s alley. Or Queen. Starts today.”
“Why isn’t he manning the stand himself, putting you behind the counter at the store?”
“Because he’s busy. He’s a contestant himself.”
“Cool,” I say.
“Cool,” he says.
“Cool,” I say.

“I let you go,” he says. “You sound busy. See you tonight.” There’s a sound that could be anything. The line goes off. “Wait, Ben,” I say to the phone, “wait.”

Do I feel Alex’s eyes on my skin? He knew about Ben, didn’t he? In the hospital, last week, didn’t we talk about Ben? Or at least about the concept of Ben? Like Ben being subsumed by a larger concept, like a ‘you’ve-been-all-over-the-place-haven’t-you’ concept? Yes, we did. Alex asked about Luke though, not Ben.

Luke is easy. “Luke,” I say, “runs a convenience store. Luke’s Convenience Store. Next to the Penny Lane Mall on Route one. He has a vampire section, fang dentures and stainless blood and garlic equipment. And he runs a vampire agency. You can hire him for birthdays and funerals.”

This is perhaps not the moment to add that Luke’s store also has a sex toy department with dildos in rainbow colors.

“Luke,” he says, “Luke, sure. The sex shop. Next to the mall. Dildos in rainbow colors. I remember the shop.”
“The first person you remember,” I say.
“Well, I remember the shop. Luke’s convenience store. There’s a Luke owning the shop possibly, whom I don’t remember because I know him.”
“Do you remember any living people?”
“Sure I do. Barack Obama, for example.”
“Obama is easy.”
“Michael Jordan.”
“Michael Jordan is easy.”
“We talked about Voltaire and Leibniz this morning, so I must remember them.”
“You didn’t remember Alice,” I say.
“Only from the last few days, since I woke up.”
“You didn’t remember Amy-Lou.”
“No, same as Alice.”
“Me.”
“Same.”
“Lady Gaga?”
“Yes. I remember her.”
“Beyoncé?”
“Yes.”
“So, if you remember a person as a person, you don’t know him.”
“Or her.”
“You know only people you don’t know.”
“Cool. Alex knows only people he doesn’t know. Alex’s paradox. No, John’s paradox—the honor should go to you, you would have discovered it. John’s paradox.” He grins. “It wouldn’t be a real paradox, though. It depends on an equivocation of the verb ‘to know.’ Anyhow, nice try.”
“I didn’t say it’s a paradox, you said it’s a paradox.”
“Let’s see. Let’s forget about the equivocation. Let’s look at a few more examples. You talked to a Ben, right? I don’t remember Ben. Do I know Ben?”
“Ben?”
“Yes, Ben. You talked to Ben. Or a Ben. I don’t remember Ben. Do I know him?”

I could say many things now, like ‘yes,’ or ‘no.’ Or I could seize the chance and come clean. “There are people outside your paradox,” I say instead. “The unknown unknowns. People you don’t know even though you don’t know them.”
He laughs: “Sure, people who’re not Lady Gaga. Like, say, John Doe of Wichita Falls, Texas. Or Ben. What’s Ben’s last name?”



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