Saturday, January 14, 2017

Lesson THIRTEEN : Pickleback


My father, the Pumpkin King.  I am moving his boxes for the umpteenth, as he directs, calls me names, throws things.  Coming around the corner to find a squirrel feasting in his cereal bowl. Letting the King give me orders, call me, again, a worthless motherfucker, not saying anything.  Letting him return to his breakfast, not saying anything.
      After 2 nights of rain the grass is still dead but it no longer crackles.  The pumpkins, now, will do something and the pears, too, are less tragic.  The apples honestly don’t look that bad to me -- OK, the Empire and the Winter Banana.  But nobody cares about Winter Banana.  Still, I talked to Cool Petah and Cool Petah says we’re in trouble and he would know, I wouldn’t.  Petah says the Delicious, Red and Golden both, are totally utterly toast. 
      Catching Cool Petah, original picker, on the corner of the soda aisle at Shaw’s, which is pretty much the only time you’ll ever see him with a shirt on.  Petah doesn’t drink anymore, doesn’t smoke (OK, just pot) but he’s got a thing for generic cola, which has given him a little paunch but he’s still the fastest picker, even after 39 years of work.  Lucky me, now I don’t have to haul my milk jug across suburbia and through the woods to get back to the bunkhouse.  Cool Petah gives me a ride his eternal beater car, where riding shotgun is reserved for his old German Shepherd who has decided, providentially, just this year, age 10, to stop biting people, or at least to only bite people on special occasions.  Even Petah, ever-cool, is sad about my mad old father.  Cool Petah says, Has he nevah heard about FORGIVENESS?
Thing is, it’s only ever interesting 
if it feels like a transmission.
The record matters only if
it’s a record of transmissions.
(only if it’s overheard)
(only if it appears as a dream)     
     Dan, deviant bunkhead, dearly loved, introduces me to a cocktail which corresponds.  Called a pickleback.  A generous shot of bourbon followed by a shot of pickle juice.  Both more or less equal and plenty of both.  Bourbon!  Pickle juice!  Like mowing down a Civil War re-enactment with a party bus.  Except nobody dies.  Not immediately.  It is kind of astonishing that Dan is able to sustain the belief that this is some kind of health drink.  Needless to say, I am highly in favor of the pickleback (it contains liquor) and also I find it a great support to my work in this, The Pickleback School of Literature.  It is a cocktail which is exemplary, which is illustrative: this is what it takes, nowadays, just to feel a little something.  

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