I really want to get this going....

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

THE MAN IN THE BLUE COAT (some small-town words

228. THE MAN IN THE BLUE COAT (some small-town words):

The guy with the blue coat said he was going to send me something but I always knew him to be a liar so I never expected much and he'd once told me he lived 'by the water with the blue spruce on the shoreline' and that sounded too pat for me to believe for I knew him to live adjacent to the canal where all the junk lumber had been dumped and where people dropped off washers and bicycles and other crap they didn't want and if he thought that was any sort of paradisaical existence for anyone he was surely nuts (the old tan-stucco boarding house was still standing but ready to fall in and had been vacant except for him for at least thirty years and it once held the canal workers who hauled the cargo which passed through from Philadelphia to Manhattan or wherever that stuff ended up and it all went in either direction anyway and they were all gone now and if he had any neighbors at all they were sure to be rats or rodents) and just over the hill from him in Liberty or whatever they called it now was the slimy graveyard where they buried all these people - old tottering stones from the 1800's and then the latest ones the newest or the most recent anyway - cut from a different stone entirely and bereft of anything cool to say - all the etchings of the latest ones being nothing but boring dates and names and such while the old ones with their cherubs and willow trees and angels adorning names and dates often too were held in groups with interesting sayings and slogans and epitaphs that were fun to read but "you're supposed to be sad in a graveyard not happy" was what he said to me when I mentioned this to him and now there's nothing there anyway except for some stupid farmer who has hours on Saturdays from 10AM to 4PM when he sells 'small dogs and puppies' whatever that exactly means - and I always wanted to get there and see for myself and maybe get a dog or a small dog at least or a puppy if they're not the same thing but his sign was always confusing to me and it never mentioned price so I never went - dogs being quite plentiful it seemed anywhere else you could look and I'd rather they were free anyway (that's a double meaning too FREE for me - as it were - and free for themselves to wander to roam and to run around unfettered) but the guy with the blue coat played the harmonica too and the dulcimer or zither or one of those old instruments that no one understands anymore and I'd see him sometimes a little farther off at the edge of the parkland by the water-bridge playing some soulful sad tune to himself - since no one else was ever around - and I'd figure right then that LIAR OR NOT he really was probably right about the graveyard.
And then like some unsought-for pterodactyl he would suddenly seem to come to life and be around everywhere I went - like some hillbilly in disguise with a flannel shirt for parents and two mud-boots for twin sisters he'd just be there hanging around listening and misunderstanding and then misrepresenting things and talking out of turn and he'd never read a newspaper - he said - that he could believe and even the 'car ads were mostly wrong' but he'd sit around eating candy and hard rolls whenever he found them to be available and the crusty old people at the general store down the patch by the river bend started taking to him and letting him in on rainy days and the like and he'd become a fixture at Busby's General that no one ever flinched anymore even if he came in covered in concrete and cement dust and with big patches of dried stucco and paste stuck onto his shirt - as long as he could still talk he would - and then he started smelling as bad as he looked but no one would ever tell him but there WERE people (it was said - after a while) who wanted him dead and who'd talked about shooting him during hunting season or mistaking him for a deer or whatever (but I said "whoever saw a deer with a fluorescent-orange farmer's cap on?") and then they'd argue over where to put the body or how to dump his remains (and I'd say "take him back home in your wagon and dump his dead ass in the corner of that shit-shack he's living in and leave him there covered with leaves for a month or two until some bear or animal gets him and then blame that - NO ONE ever convicts Mother Nature!" and they laughed me off and said "shut up or there'll be two to kill") so I did and - maimed stupid or dead or not - I began seeing much less of him after this sort of talk got around.
But people always told me it's like that in small towns and small places where everyone gets in everyone else's business and there's no reason for talking except to answer others' questions and if you start talking to yourself they'd just say you were crazy anyway and it would all be the same thing and I realized that was true in its way but so was the big city - every elevator floor on every stupid landing with people at every doorway watching who you are and what you bring or who and the deft little suggested things they mention in the elevator alone with you - who Mr. Johannsen's been seeing or how 'loud' that Betty Jansley in 224 gets sometimes (the subtext of that being she's a true sexual animal with all sorts of men laying pipe to her doorway 'if you know what I mean') and so just because the subject matter is a little different it's all the same shit - the communal doorway of some crummy walkup smelling of soup and potatoes or incense and peppers and the boots piled up in the alcove belong to no one at all but the garbage bags thrown about never move and Melly Katz in 28 is a nasty bitch Jewess and Murray Sabol on the third floor runs around bare-ass naked all day in his rooms and them O'Bannion brothers keep a filthy place and should be for certain run out - it's everywhere the same but in the small country-places I suppose MAYBE it's easier to just SHOOT someone and put the problem aside but America's always been a place of weak constitution - pun I guess intended - and the bill of rights ain't never been paid and marked 'overdue' it's probably ignored and if you have to do something you first have to grease the palm ('good ole' Americanny cash please') of some or another local magistrate intent on the boozing and with his finger in some dyke some Dutch Boy from Hell bamboozling Mrs. Fedders while her husband's away but the INFERENCE is never the same as the obvious distraction of what's being said - and just down the road is the turkey farm with two thousand white gobblers alive in the yard-pens every year until October comes around and they start taking orders and BOOM BAM just like that by mid-November there's not a fresh one to be found all orders for Thanksgiving having been already filled 'fresh kill is the best kill' the motto being : and the cutest thing around for sure is the babe who tends the turkeys and it's her family farm that's been around for generations and they were the ones who started the entire mess by going commercial and paving some areas for parking and trucks and turning their farm into a death-factory for turkeys and quail and geese and the rest but whatever she's beautiful as she goes about her late September chores looking like some homing angel from Heaven with a gleam in her eyes but she never steps out never gets about and the only boyfriend she ever had is the guy she met at Ag School and he now lives 45 miles away but all that stays in her mind as memory fresh and she scoots off every chance she gets to see him once more and his maroon BMW too is quite often on the scene right there in the yard and it's often been known the things she's done and the bedroom light upstairs comes on at the damnedest times - and right next to it that little bathroom light they keep - and now out front they've put a 'Help Wanted' sign and everyone knows what THAT means Ha Ha Guffaw Guffaw : that's the talk at Busby's when they get the chance to talk and every small-town crime like this is always the same LUST AND ENVY AND SLOTH all being mixed together like some gruel or slop one feeds to livestock and hopes it sticks.


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