Twenty-nine is no longer young. Not old, two-thirds life ahead—possibly. But alas, beyond the market age bracket of the eighteen-to-twenty-fours. Let them pass. We are huge, despite unmarketable advanced degrees, dollars blown on our ‘afraid to work with our hands.’
Look at me. There. In the mirror. Cleansed and dapper. Green-and-yellow Topiary Techniques t-shirt; blue jeans; green-and-black sneakers. Ready to go. Ready to go. Ready to go.
BEING already in the kitchen, sipping coffee he’d picked up at the corner bakery. Sticky buns, muffins and The City News.
BEING was a big man, not a fat one. A soft man. Big soft man-child, BEING. I offered coffee I was brewing but he had his cup, preferring the bakery blend, extra sweet. He craved sweet morning foods and The Bakery Girl who worked the cash register.
Comics. Headlines. The War and its progress; murder trials; this person does this gets
into trouble; that person does that gets into trouble.
“So what about this guy killed his parents?” I said.
“I’ve thought about it. Often,” said BEING.
“But this guy was a regular successful Joe Citizen. ‘Administrator of Creative Product Strategies’ of Something-And-Such Associates. Had a wife and kids,” I pointed out.
“So what happened?”
“What it says. Went out and whacked his folks. With a tuna fish.”
“He killed them with a sandwich?”
“Poisoned. He poisoned them. Doesn’t say anything about a sandwich, actually. Or tuna. Could have been sushi. Bad sushi. An accident maybe.”
“People are fucked,” said BEING. “Eating raw fish like that. Just asking for it. Food poisoning. Hepatitis. Whatever.”
He read comics, I the clock.
“I have a gig,” he said.
“Next week. Here in the neighborhood.”
Freelance factotum for Starlight, “Caterer and Facilitators to the Stars.” They called him occasionally as extra staff: food services, production. Film, television. BEING prepared and served. BEING would work every day, if he could, among The Stars, but there was not always work among Stars to be had. His was a pair of Starlight’s extra hands. He hoped to break into the business full.
“Television show,” said BEING. “Taping should last weeks.”
Meanwhile the phone. Loud cough, flick of Music’s Zippo.
“Yello,” then silence. Then Music screamed, “Don’t you talk to me like that, fucker! I’ve got guts. I’ve got guts!”
Slammed the receiver.
Five-foot eight 250 pounds of Music built for roof work, construction, not to lead his band to fame. “Puppets of Weltschmerz.” Hard, loud music for the Angry Young. Music huge in boxer shorts and t-shirt, poured coffee, tossed his butt into the swampy sink.
“It’s gonna be one hot fucker, one hot fucker on that roof,” said Music, facing a day of smearing hot tar on asphalt for his blazing father under blazing Sun.
“Been down to the bakery, BEING? Ask that girl out?”
“I don’t know. . . .”
Music patted BEING’s shoulder.
“We gotta get you laid. What we gotta do. We gotta get BEING laid. Too long, if ever. Ever been laid, BEING?”
“Damn, it, man. Stop,” with conviction.
“How old, BEING? Twenty-eight?” asked Music.
“October. I’ll be twenty-seven all Summer.”
“We gotta dip that stick, BEING. Gotta dip that stick.”
“Yeah. Yeah. On the ‘to do’ list after ‘first morning smoke.’” said BEING.
Back to my room. Collect my gear. Breathe. Assay the Day.