Issue Ten (Aug 2009)
Pepper got us ejected from the hotel, a vast porcelain dome of a site with fungal art phosphorescing on the lobby walls. He staged a tantrum, batting bags out of the porters’ straining arms, clattering equipment across the oily wood of the floor; adopting a magnificently aggressive stance, up on his hinds, baring those teeth, famous from an interminable array of snarling ads. And here it came: the full-strength, lungs at capacity howl!
Dominic’s pencil broke and he almost cried. Almost. He was down to the last nib, barely any wood clinging to the pencil lead, holding it between the tips of his index finger and thumb, scratching, really. This must be what it felt like to be a lonely cave man in prehistoric times smearing out disturbing thoughts in different colours of mud on cave walls. He was in mid-sentence.
An apple tree. A little girl standing beside it.
The apples are small and bitter, like old men; they are wizened and sour.
I park the Saab behind Dan’s pickup to find that winter has taken advantage of his absence. It has thrown itself in steep banks against the windward side of his vehicle; frosted his windows and layered the tailgate with ice. Snow hides all but a few of the bumper stickers he’s plastered across the back of the vehicle. “Custer was Sioux’d” and “Indians discovered Columbus” and “Caught you whitehanded”. A tangle of feathers hangs from the rearview mirror.
The ground swallowed the car. One minute it was there, the next, plop. Gone. It caused a commotion. An ambulance, cops and a bunch of onlookers gathered to mutter near the accident site. Leonardo banged his palm against his horn.