Jul 15, 2016

"I love your soul, Alex!"

We're excited to be back to "This Is Heaven,"---which is, among other things, about terms like "excited," "awesome," "renowned," "inspired," "accomplished," "creative," "award-winning,"(not to forget "wonderful," basically the only word left in the language of contemporary literary criticism). Anyhow, we're re-posting teasers according to the plot line, but here's an in-between morsel written a few days ago. Context: the story is set in 2014. Alex and John have a quarrel, Alex has already decided to move back to his own place, and John fears being ditched for good by the love of his life, to whom he has just said: "You are beautiful."

Alex & John

We’re trudging through the evening crowd along Georgia Avenue, heading seaward. He grabs my arm, then lets go. “Okay, John, for the sake of argument…my physical appearance, or my perceived physical appearance---that’s the reason you want me back?”  
“Of course not.” 
“What is it then?”
“You soul, Alex, I love your soul.”

“Ha,” he snorts. “You nailed it.”

We’re passing the Dream Creamery, one of the lesser ice cream parlors, popular with the confessive rainbow crowd. “Let me buy you an ice cream,” he says. He fumbles in his pockets and issues various pieces of paper. The paperwork is resorted and repacked, a plastic bottle of medication puts in a cameo appearance, a twenty dollar bill is found.

“What do you want?”

A sheep led to the slaughterhouse, a rabbit in love with a cobra, John Lee being ditched by Alex Iglesias, what do they want?

“Banana, stracciatella, and lemon,” I say. 

“Good,” he says, exhaling. He appears relieved.
“Good, why?”
“I can’t read thoughts.”
“You were trying?”
“Yes, I was. You were telling me I could read thoughts, remember. I my previous life. Glad it isn’t true.”

“Well,” I say, “actually. I don’t want any ice cream.”
“Oh, shit.”

He proceeds to order anyhow---he’s always served first, he only has to show up with his cat-licked eyebrows and he’s served banana, stracciatella and lemon.

“You don’t want to live with a person that can read thoughts, especially you…don’t,” he says, and hands me an already dripping ice cream cone. Anthropology books come to mind where you read about overextended natives that want to get rid of you and serve you too much food---and if they don’t have it they order it at the Dream Creamery out of line.

“Did you realized you were served out of line?” I say. 
“It’s your beauty.” 

“There we go again, John.” 

“If you want to ditch me, Alex, just say it. Don’t prolong the agony.”
“I don’t want to ditch you, John. I want you to ditch me.” 

(There you have it. Dripping ice-milk mixing with tears.)

He puts his arm on my shoulder, for the last time. Passerby are ogling us---doesn’t happen all the time that a gay couple is splitting up in mid-crowd on a touristy summer evening.

Like our overextended natives he didn’t order cream for himself. I hand him the soaky cone.

“Why?” he asks. 

“I don’t want your ice cream,” I say. 
“Man up,” he replies, “you need to ditch me.” He pads my shoulder and slobbers on the banana flavor. Tourists of all genders are ogling his crotch. We’re all set.

Rehoboth Av., Rehoboth Beach, DE, the model for Georgia Beach's Georgia Avenue

“Alex,” I sob. “Yesterday, only yesterday you were saying guilty sex is good sex. You were happy about Taylor, you were saying.”
“It’s not about Taylor.”
“We had a great time, you said.”
“It’s not about sex.”
“You were happy.”
“We’re not the American constitution,” he says.
“‘We’re in Heaven,’ you said. Only three days ago.”
“It’s not about metaphysics.”
“You said I’m beautiful” (sniff) “you said.”
“It’s not about physical attraction.”
“You loved me, you said.”
“It’s not about emotions.”

“What is it then?” I ask.

“It’s about my soul.”
“Alex, I love your soul, even more than…”
“…my dick.”
“Yes,” (sniff).

“You can’t love my soul,” he says, “because there is none.”

He may have no soul, but he has sticky fingers now. He stares as the ruin of an ice-cone in his hand as if it were a love-sick rabbit, then tosses it into a garbage on the corner of the boardwalk. We’ve arrived at the Tee, where Peggy Noonan, in all her Wall Street glory revolves about herself. And talks to herself: And there’s the thing about the yard sign, she says. In Florida a few weeks ago I saw Rom-ney signs, not Obama ones…

The Peggy Noonan statue (which turns about itself)

“Boo,” somebody says to me. Normally I would have paid attention, since this is also the corner of Nick’s Restaurant where you might expect the owner outside at this busy hour, surveying the crowd, and even saying a word to me, his blogging friend and partner-in-crime Jane-wise. Well, it’s not the first time Nick sees me in a state of Alex-distress (think of Saturday), plus, he’s distressed himself, the way he gestures at the Noonan statue. “There’s a mole down there at the Republican Club,” he says. “Listen to this.” We listen:  From Ohio I hear the same. From tony Northwest Washing-ton, D.C., I hear the same. And there’s this thing about yard signs...

“Well, she’s supposed to quote her most famous quotes.” I say.
“But not this one,” Nick replies. “My patrons hate this. And they are all like this, the quotes. She’s still blabbering about George the forty-third. This is not good, not good for the markets. People have a right to forget. Think of the second amendment.” He puts his hands to his ears, monkey-no-hear. “How you boys doing,” he adds somewhat belatedly.
“Great,” we both reply in unison. There’s a crack in Alex’s armor; last time, on Saturday, he’d been in full attack mode, questioning me about any (“John, please”), any manifest traces of a relationship between him and yours truly---of which they were none, admitted-ly---and then he ran off with Amy-Lou. Today is different. Nick has let go his ears. 

Says he: “People have a right to forget, especially us conservatives. Think of slavery. That wasn’t ‘slavery’ all---that was ‘our peculiar institution.’ ‘Suffragette’---that was a term of universal derision. ‘Miscegenation’---that was miss, miss, you understand. ‘Separate but equal’---my God, we swore by it until fucking Truman put them all in the same bunkbeds. And Brown versus Schoolboard---have you seen the clips, Brown emanating from a court hearing, and the entire American press stalking him with sneers and laughter because he’s black and wannabe white? And now you guys, with your rainbow marriage. There’s only one way out for real, real Americans, and that’s forgetfulness.”

“Or suicide,” Alex replies. 
“Or suicide,” Nick echoes meekly.
“Well, Nick, I can tell you, it works.”

“Talk to you later,” Nick replies, and waves us off.

Are you still there? Then you'll possibly like the GREEN EYES. The first part is available as Kindle book on Amazon, under this link:

Night Owl Reviews

No comments: