[Author's Note: Nothing got better in the intervening year, did it? There is no editor. ]Oh yeah. Just.
Accommodated. Beautifully put. The place is full of men never cracked a spine except in a fight, and the proprietor says: accommodated. How about: put up, and put up with? Farmed? Stacked like cordwood? Buried like a Pharoah's handlers -- still alive but not going anywheres?
I climb the steps like the Aztec fellows must have on the way to the top to have the heart ripped out. It's the same. The world is more of a theoretical place now; that just means you can have it tugged out every day and it grows back for the next. Like Sisyphus in the school book. No, that's the guy with the stone. No matter; it's the same, anyhow.
There's no stone to push and the hill goes straight down anyways, not up. The stone rolled away, and a person gets winded real fast chasing it and thinks he might stop to rest a spell, then try again later. By the time he's picked himself up, it's rolled all the way out of sight. Even a man prone to fooling himself can't help but notice that the place he chose to stop and rest has a row of bottles behind the counter.
The house is like a woman gotten old, maybe missing a few teeth, gone thick and manly. But you can tell the ruin used to be something. The old frame shows something of the heretofores. I heard tell a captain of industry built it to prove to others -- he said, but to himself, I bet-- that he had made it in this old world. The bank took it and showed him that the world has no opinion. Find somewhere else that'll accommodate yourself. We're accommodating the men who heard about the fishing or the potatoes or the blueberry farms or the logging. Trouble is, they heard about two decades ago.
The inside shows nothing of the past except the ghostly outlines on the plaster where things were removed. If it was worth a damn, they pulled it out and reassembled it in a big house in Washington, D.C., they said. Fitting.
The bank stuck a guy behind the counter that they put in the front hall that don't care if you pull a razor or a roscoe or a long face or whatever. He collects the money if you got it, our your scalp if you don't. I like him, though, because he treats me the same as the rest. We do our business and he pushes the key across the pockmarked counter and there's no accusation in it. No kindness. Nothing.
It's the nothing you crave.