Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Section 7 & 8 - Liza and Tom

It's been a hectic week. I have been trying to get a lot more work done on "From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt," as well as work on putting "The Journey Forward" on CreateSpace. I'm having trouble formatting my cover design for the CreateSpace templates. It's not really as easy as they make it out to seem when you read about it in praising articles and the visions of self-publishing grandeur you have in your head. I am going to work at it. In the meantime, to tide anyone who reads this over, I will post the next two sections of "From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt." I have some good rambling ideas for posts to come in the next few days or next week. This weekend, one of my oldest friends will be visiting from out of town so I have to pay attention to that. I want to write big posts about 1. Dwayne Wade - his never-ending greatness and his resurgence, 2. Role Models and the ascension of The State alumni to pop culture, 3. Red Rose Speedway (see above) and solo Paul McCartney for any doubters of the Pop Jesus. I will get these up as soon as I have the neccessary time to ramble them as well as any readers of my words that I type deserve.

Below find Tom and Liza's sections. You will have to scroll further down for Section 7 which is Liza and the Tom's section follows that. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me your complaints. Any mail is appreciated over here at Fuck City.



I forgot how much I liked spareribs. I chomp into the grey-colored meat with its reddish brown crust or marinade on the outside. I’m ripping flesh and meat off the bone. Tissue too. Leaving it bare and grey with a few white marks that may or may not be from my teeth. The bone rattles on the old light-grey ceramic plates we’ve always used. There is a pile of four bones. Two are licked clean and two have pieces of chewed pale meat sticking to them. I’m a pale piece of meat.

James is talking.

“I think what we first should do is box up all of our old bedrooms. We can start that tomorrow. Then we work our way around the house. The moving truck gets here on Wednesday and they’re going to pack it that day and the next.”

“The funeral is on Monday?” Maggie asks.

James is eating his food and he nods.

“We’ll pack up the kitchen last right?” Liza asks.

“Absolutely. That way we can cook if we need to and have an area that’s not a complete disaster. Can you hand me the rice, honey?”

Eve passes the rice. But with her, there is something more. I want to say that she is swanlike in the way her arm raises, falls, rises again and slides the box of steaming rice. I think I’m in love with her and always have been since James first brought her home for Christmas. There was nothing like the way she looked on the wedding, though. She wore a white dress of course, but it was everything. The way her skin looked even more glowing in that way it has. Like honey in the sun or a bright penny but, no, lighter than that. And her hair was done in a certain way with strands threaded in a design I don’t even know the first thing about. I hate that he gets to live with her down in D.C. I still haven’t been to their house yet. I ride the train every Saturday and hope that a girl like her will come and sit down next to me and if she did, I know I’d have the courage to make her fall in love with me.

James again:

“Dad, did you really have to buy a new place so quickly? I hate to think that you just wasted some money by being brash.”

Dad is licking a sparerib bone. He turns to the Cutty Sark, which has about a third or so of its orangey liquid left. I look around the table. Eve looks concerned and so does James. Maggie tosses back her hair; she still has so much of it. Liza is quiet sitting next to Dad; she’s looking at her food.

“Jimmy,” Dad says. He rarely ever called him Jimmy. None of us did. “That’s the way I’ve always been. But didn’t you know?”

“Know what?” James says.

“Know that he was brash,” Maggie adds.

“No,” Dad is shaking his head. He lazily pokes his fork at a dark dripping piece of beef. “Didn’t you know that your mother was a magician?”

James looks at Eve.

“A magician, Ben?”

Dad nods and chews. Nods and chews.

“How do you mean, Dad?” Liza has piped up at the mention of Mom.

Dad looks over at her and smiles. He grabs the top of the Cutty Sark and begins to rotate the bottle. It makes that hollow sliding sound that glass makes on wood.

“She played a trick on you all, on anyone that has known us, and even on me.”

I’m confused. It seems like he’s going to drop a bombshell. But what kind of bombshell? What kind of secret is he toying around with? Or is he just playing, patting some dead rat around like a tomcat. That’s what his legend was. The big joker, the wit, the famous drunk. He has to be playing. My stomach feels bloated and it flips for a moment. Maybe Mom tricked him? An affair?

James is talking.

“What are you talking about, Dad?”

“The greatest trick of all that only your mother could pull off.” Dad is looking at Eve as he talks. “Making me seem like a respectable and successful man.”

I feel relieved. Everyone is rolling their eyes.

“C’mon, Dad,” Maggie says.

“No, Mags, it’s true. Now that she’s gone I can feel my old ways coming back to me. I’m becoming undone. All the stitching she did to fix me up over the years is loosening. She turned me into a doctor, but not a surgeon. That was her job.” Dad is standing with his plate in his right hand and the bottle tucked into his armpit. “I hope you will all come visit me at my new home. Feel free to bring any grandkids. You know how I always loved children. That’s what I wanted to be when I grew up.”

“Oh, come on, Dad,” Maggie says. “Don’t be like that.”

The faucet comes on and then there is thud of the dishwasher door opening. After that, it’s the clank of the dish and then the muffled close of the dishwasher. I hear Dad unscrew the bottle.

“I’ll be in the study,” he says.

We’re all quiet at the table. The Chinese food has consolidated into a lump in my stomach. I feel my skin bulge out and I’m tired.

Maggie is looking at James.

“What?” James says.

“Let him go through this.”

James plays with the food on his plate. He sighs. “I can’t just let him act like a fool. He’s got to take care of his money and himself now that Mom is dead.”

“This is how he’s grieving.”

“By reliving some sort of fantasy of himself from thirty years ago?”

“She’s gone.”

“I know.”

Maggie wants to speak but she remains quiet. James is home now and all of the feelings are starting to come back to me. The way he was always in control, trying to help everyone, taking responsibility. I’m looking at the grey bones on my plate. I love him and I’m glad he’s back. But I hate him for leaving and I hate that he’s going to go away again with his wife who I’m in love with. And I’ll still be here, riding the train, taking walks, stuck on this jut of land, which I’m tied to for some reason that I don’t understand.

I’m standing with my plate.

“I’m going to go for another walk.”

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