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Saturday, February 12, 2011

The New Churchill (The Song Remains The Same)

(Editor's Note: From 2008.)
[Author's Note: Nothing got better in the intervening years, 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 junks of cordwood? Buried like a Pharoah's undertakers -- 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 from him 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 they put in the front hall who 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.

3 comments:

Casey Klahn said...

I followed the title here, thinking I was going to see a cigar.

What do you do to write these? Do you see a photo, and free associate an essay? Beautiful writing, and I remember these traveler's hotels.

It is a privilege to read here.

SippicanCottage said...

Hi Casey- Thanks as always for reading and chiming in, and for your kind words about my essays.

I don't remember writing that one. Too long ago. I probably just liked the picture and went from there. I don't work on them. I just write them straight down in a half hour or so for the most part.

Anonymous said...

Blog noir...

A sub-set of short-short storytelling, placed on-line.

Nice - not quite Dashiell Hammett or maybe even Mickey Spillane, but nice all the same.