A Bad Day Gone
Her name was
Heidi. She looked like an ostrich with glasses
and frizzy hair and she was easily the cruelest
boss I ever had. Shed been looking for an
excuse to can me since I got hired at the casino
ice cream shop, and she found it when she caught
me sneaking a bite of the butterscotch ice cream
one day. She pulled me outside of the store and
on to the boardwalk and started to screech at me
in her cruel, cigarette voice. I stood there numb
and indifferent which seemed to make her more
enraged and eventually she began to look and
sound like Godzilla.
I took the bus
back home, and the bus driver stopped in Ventnor
to kick some fat, drunk guy off. The stop was
right near my brother Vinces place and I
decided to get off and go visit him. I was pretty
sure it was his day off and I was right. Some
lady who lived in his apartment building answered
the door. I met her before. She claimed to be one
of those alien abductees. She let me inside the
building and I went up to knock on my brother's
door. He answered the door smiling. He had a
great big smile that took over his whole face. It
made his eyes shine bright like they were seeing
the world for the first time and made his cheeks
glow like a white winter sky.
eat lunch yet? he asked, I was going
to order some hoagies. What kind do you want?
I said tuna. We watched Raising Arizona
while we ate. After the movie, he played a new
Kinks song he just learned on his guitar. I've
been practicing, he'd always say. I watched
and listened. I had a flash of the ugly
morning incident going through my head like a
bolt of lightning but I brushed it away by
watching on Vinces long fingered veiny
hands fretting and strumming. It was
hypnotic and this morning vanished from my mind
as if by magic.
stopped playing and asked me what I thought of
Plato and Spiritualism. Hed always pop
philosophical questions out of the blue like that
so I wasnt at all surprised. He
poured a couple of coffee cups of Baileys and it
was suddenly easy to talk philosophy. When the
Baileys ran dry, we decided to finish the
conversation at a nearby bar.
On the way
back, a shoe store window caught my eyes. I knew
I shouldnt be looking at shoes on the same
day that I got fired from my only job but what
the hell. I tried on a pair of blue suede clogs.
What do you think? I asked Vince.
crazy about them, he said with a squished
up look on his face.
just jealous because you cant sing the
Elvis song, I said. He laughed.
I caught the
bus back home and when I said goodbye, Vince had
that big smile on his face again. I can
still see it now.