"She wants to live with me, the woman in the long black cocktail dress with her hands around my shoulders..."
"I've just moved here," I say to someone else, slamming the 5 sideways into the corner pocket. I'd told them I sucked at pool. I didn't lie: that's my only skill shot.
And then she's on me like my long lost lesbian lover. Move in. Play a game with me. Buy me a drink.
But there was no need for that last one; she snatched up every stray glass in the bar.
"Can I have a drink of your beer?" she asks me once.
"No. Yours is sitting right over there."
At one point Dave returns from the bar with a stack of napkins.
"I asked you for coasters," I sigh, and snap the cap off my pen.
She sees me. She slides the whole length of herself up against me.
"What are you writing?"
"I'm taking notes."
"Take a note. Write it. Write a note. Can I have some of your drink? Why aren't you writing?"
So I write, "Still here--this saloon,"
I meant to take a note about the bouncer who chewed holes in the door frame back in the seventies. This is a place with visible history; my favorite kind of dive. But all she reads is "still here" and she thinks I'm writing her life story.
"Still here is right," she says, trying to snatch up my hand from off my arm. "Still here. I'm still here."
I take dictation: "still not working much" "its too much work" then with out quotation marks, though I'm still quoting her, blah blah blah.
She's still there now. Her teeth marks are on the wall. A permanent fixture like the deer head hanging off the wall. Not aging, perhaps, but covered in dust. Visible history.
The worst thing about being trapped in my car for the next eight hours with no company besides my cat is that the cat won't take dictation.
Words are the bricks I made this wall with. One by one, I slid them into place, careful not to leave any cracks; careful not to leave any wounds through which I might be seen. I am a writer and I suffer the writer’s disease: incomprehensibility. No one digs this jive and so I build this wall. Recluse-Writer: she is typical of her kind.
Then it hit me: I have a kind. I am not an aberration, nor unique in any lasting way. So I took the words dynamite, c-4, Boom! and Ka-Pow! and blasted a hole right through to the other side.
I do not wish to write in a vacuum. I have traveled the world to discover that the one thing we all seem to need is community, and that is what I am now using these same words to build a staircase towards.
Separate names with a comma.