To: The Boss
Date: August 11
The next morning, I cooked a huge breakfast, as I love to do on my day off. Especially on a sunny day. I read the want ads for an autumn apartment and walked over to inspect the outside of one not far away. Came home and, following your advice, threw the I Ching and read a bit. Valerie’s coughing woke her and she came out in Thor’s blue robe; its waist hit her below the ass, the pockets at the knees. I went into a giggling fit, setting her off, and then asked her if she wanted to go apartment hunting with me. I wanted another observer. She smiled, yes, as long as we could be back for Thor’s lunch – he would be coming home from the warehouse. I promised to drive her to Melton, where she could catch a bus.
We examined the new place. She noticed its leaky ceilings, the lack of a private bathroom. Thor’s brother, Wolf Jester, has promised to share the new place with me. I turned to Valerie:
“Jesus, you’re short.”
She burned the grilled cheese sandwiches she was preparing for our lunch (“I’m a lousy cook,” she confessed, “even Thor’s better”) while I washed last night’s dishes.
Over lunch, Valerie and I went into giggles again. Thor just stared at us. She was reminding me that I could love women again. Damn, it’s been so long! At least five months.
I had to run a brief errand. On impulse I bought myself a tie. When I returned, I showed it to Valerie. “You mean it’s not a present? Wow, it’s beautiful. You mean you just walked in and bought it? How nice, how wacky.” I threw the package at her.
She was writing a note to me.
We went over to the new place, deposited the first month’s rent and security deposit. Returning home, I took off my tie and put on my headband. We were off.
Along the interstate we picked up a young freak who was heading for some camp near Wilkes-Barre. “Wow, that’s a beautiful name,” she said, “I’ve always wanted to go there.” Having this stranger with us made us a little edgy. We looked at each other, like “Why? Why did it seem a good idea when you asked me? Why aren’t we still alone together?” So I looked at her and she looked at me. We giggled. “Wanna go back for a quick smoke-o?” I asked. She laughed, especially in her brown eyes. And Freakman pulled out his stash and papers, and expertly rolled two joints for the road. I lit one with the flivver’s cigarette lighter. The hills were so exceptionally clear and blue. There are no houses most of the way. At an isolated interchange we stopped at The Daerie McQueene for vanilla sodas and chocolate cones.
I told Freakman about Sloth. He, too, knew Sloth. Told me I could use his side of the story if I could remember it. I’m enclosing it in a separate report. We drove on. “Hey, if you’re interested, I can sell you some mesc for $3.50 a tab. It’s organic. Great stuff, I guarantee it.” Around here it normally goes for five bucks a tab. A little Dramamine would fix it. “But for fine people, I give a cut rate.” We accepted. Fortunately, I had just been paid. We went giggly again. He carried it in his camera, between the iris and the shutter, all the way from San Fantastico. You may want to check out that end of the operation.
Down by the Melton Square, we found the old bus station. A bunch of crewcuts stared at us. I was a little paranoid. I kissed Valerie on the forehead and watched her board. She claimed to be Italian but, as I later discovered, was actually Greek. The distinction is crucial, for I believe it explains her fascination with roving, which the Greeks share with the Vikings. I suspect the Italians and Inca lean more toward agrarian pursuits, which they historically mixed with cruel bloodshed. As if the Greeks and Vikings weren’t bloodthirsty. We’ll have to determine what ancient characteristics, if any, continue into the present.
The full Big Inca versus a New Pony Express Rider novel is yours at Thistle/Flinch editions.