Thursday, January 10, 2008

Take Morphine and Die.

Bill Westerberg’s House.

It is Tuesday.

The bees and the hot tarmac roads hum with heat and life as the city squeals in delight. There is more in the air today than global warming and asbestosis. Today is fresh.

Outside of the house two men are talking in mock raised voices. Sniff, sniff, a tiny dog made of grey and white fluff investigates one of the man’s ankles. Some children watch from the front window as the sun first strives upwards away from them then, then sprints downwards and further afar.

The puppy blinks as one man laughs and slaps a woodworker’s hand on the other’s flannel shirt back. Then it lazily coughs and pisses on some daisies.

This was Tuesday and it was squandered, because it was a nice day and nice days aren’t made for the kind of progress that bad days are likewise used as an excuse to not make. All of these two men’s good intentions couldn’t make up for all their bad ones. But the dog doesn’t mind. Nor the kids.

Another dogged neighbour walks up the street by Bill’s house. Old and just a little bit whistling, her puckered lips blow an unrecognizable version of “Goodnight Irene”. Will she stop and talk to these men? She does. It is nice. It is Tuesday.

Spilt on the first man’s shirt is a dried stain of bourbon and cola from a 375ml can, and the others don’t see it. On the second man’s fingernails are the marks of a life too dull to be filled with anything but the duel cultivation of roses and stamps. On the lady is nothing except the vestments prescribed to women, by men such as these, and none of them see these either.

Inside the window, the children have stopped watching the sun and are watching effigies of themselves on afternoon television.

A man breaks away from the conversational dogs and checks the mailbox, where he finds mail. He has never found mail anywhere else. He doesn’t see the miracle of this. Of mail at all.

He sees catalogs and fallen leaves, which he must clean. And yet he doesn’t, instead returning to the others who are now debating why it is so often cloudy and rainy immediately after extremely hot days.

It was not an extremely hot day.

What have we become to see this as normal? Who could be watching the men and children of Bill’s house on Tuesday? No one except for people just like them.

No one is looking.


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