A Salem, Massachusetts Fairy Tale (30:30 writing)

05/12/2020 0 By BuddyCushman

1371 Orange Street, I’ve just come back from the settlement house basketball courts, sweating up a storm and who’s hot on my heels up the wood staircase but the one and only Louise – I call her Lou in intimate, tender moments of which we have way more than our fair share, though that’s a little goofy as how can there ever be too much of tenderness or even intimacy, I guess I was thinking that relationally like in relation to other folks and me having what I’m guessing and predicting and pronouncing is me having way more than most folks which is not only their loss but fuck ‘em if they can’t take that proverbial joke. Anyhow Louise squeezes past me as I’m passing through the open door and runs into my room and swooshes that door closed behind her and already no doubt she is half naked and getting all that way and soon enough sliding under the covers and then becoming, as she’d say all spiritually and everything, at one with the evening, which I like, the sound of it, kind of sexy and hip and cool and vibrational.

But that’s all for later like in 25 minutes or so because I need to check in with Billy first and never mind who wants to get hot and bothered with a sweaty skunk like me so there may be the shower quickie pre-Louise, all cold temp Bro show’s who’s ‘The Man’ or not, but first it’s Billy time and his door is semi-open so I all quietly slink around the space I have increased with my left hand and, I’m being quiet for a reason because as I expected Billy is sitting on his flattened-out maroon cushion (how many hours of nirvana on that piece of furniture, Holmes?) and like me he is a serious sweat-case, he’s dressed in cutoff corduroys, light brown, and thick winter socks and high-top work boots, laced up about three quarters of the way and no shirt which is how I see all the sweat and his room is dark and there is a candle lit about two feet in front of his cross-legged self and his eyes are closed though his ears must be wide open because the turntable on the orange crate (empty, upside down) in the corner is turning and I hear Billy digging The Beatles, in particular ‘Rubber Soul’, and as I walk in the intro to ‘Girl’ – “Is there anybody….” – you know it or add yourself to the “Loser” list, but Billy though deep in his mantra of at one-ness with quiet and the Beatles feels me – “You feel me, Brah?” – and his eyes open and he holds up his right hand and I walk over to give a high five and then gently so as not to bounce the record I slide down onto opposite wall space and we have a 10-minute convo which you could summarize as what it was, what it is, what it shall be.

So, yeah, pretty much our usual, and he is all mellow and good and happily informs me a government check arrived hours earlier while I was down the Willows staring over at Beverly, well up towards where you might see Manchester if the earth was curved a little more, anyway that’s a meditation for moi, so the check arrived and he scurried down the credit union and cashed it and then raced to the Bunghole package store where he copped – and Billy is giggling when he tells me this part – three sixes of tall Michelob cans and a fifth of gin, whatever label the dude behind the counter gave him when all Billy said was “Gin”, and we already have about seventeen plastic bottles of tonic as we both basically live off that stuff along with submarine sandwiches from Lupe’s over and down on Essex, and assorted vegetables when we get all organic, so we have our verbal update and I tell him my team took three out of five games on the court where I volunteer with the drop-in program and that I nearly had a fist fight with one of the dumber teens tonight, not really a biggie that kid is generally considered an asshole and people stepped in and I got a couple of winks like “go go daddy-o” which when you think about it who wouldn’t like to be called “daddy-o”, so anyway it’s all good and we make a plan for a midnight walk down to the end of the wharf and just maybe perhaps (like there’s any chance in hell it won’t happen) for a late-night doobie party with the semi-twinkling lights of Marblehead across the way.

I’d say looking over toward the rich section but M’head’s pretty much all-over wealth incorporated and I have fantasized periodically about moving over to the ‘Head and getting on welfare, meaning more government checks – and let me say right here that anyone who isn’t hip to the fact that receiving regular sustenance in the form of freshly-printed checks indicating large sums from the Feds don’t get it, is out in the cold, misses the point of America, so this is a scheme for me, get on welfare and be “the one poor person” over where the dawn comes up over Marblehead and then maybe once every couple of weeks walk up Washington Street to the town hall and protest with a hand-printed sign that says “Unfair” only, walk back and forth for a couple of hours, it’s paying dues to physical health for sure and reflections of when we were in a picket line in front of that veggie store in Salem where they were selling non-union grapes and so about 12 of us from the college show up creating a human ruckus and the owner comes running out with his second-amendment device and threatens to kill us all so we scatter down the surrounding streets laughing our asses off and I hear Phil Giffin yell back at the guy, “What the fuck good that pistol gonna be when I fire bomb your ass shit for brains?” which is fun to hear, like what do you expect when you breaking up our amendment rights clown, plus Phil don’t play when it comes to making public proclamations which predict bad things for right-wing motherfuckers everywhere,

Anyhow yeah we picketed the grape store and I’m saying I’ll be reflecting in Marblehead that walking in a big, slow, possibly never-ending egg-shaped circle in front of town hall with my one-word sign and whenever anyone approaches me and asks what I’m doing or why I’m protesting or, and especially if it’s an elected official, why I’m here and what did they ever do to me – as exactly please specify your grievance so’s we can potentially remedy it — I will stretch my one word sign to a two word response and say “Fuck off.” Gets ‘em every time, faces get all red and oohs and aahs.

Anyway, you never know where you’ll be putting down roots.