a voice said, “I know you don’t approve,
but you’re going to need to just buck up.”
I blinked and I peered out around my monitor,
trying to see who or what was speaking. Had I imagined the voice? What I finally
said was, “Approve of what?” but what
I was thinking was, “How long have I been
sitting here? In this office? Looking at this porn? Have I always been here?”
And the voice said, “Darnell and Damien and me,” and it was my boss, Adri, who was
saying it. Right there. Tapping the heel of her shoe on the floor in that
annoying way she always did. That annoying way she always does.
What I said was, “Duh... Dar… Darnell?” but what I was thinking was, “Could I really have been looking at porn for
five whole hours?”
I was thinking, “Is that even possible?”
Better and better,
then worse and worse. That is the way that it went. Maybe the way it always
goes, I don’t know.
But still, everything,
better and better, for years. I built the spiral staircase – finished it! – I spun it right up through where my childhood
bedroom had been. It blossomed up onto a landing above the old living room. I put
a garden in up there. A trellis with trumpet vines. A telescope so I could look
out across the harbor. Across the sky.
And of course by that
time, the entire west end of the house was different. New and improved. Expanded.
Remodeled. Remade in accordance with my dreams.
It was my life’s
work, this house.
I mean, flying buttresses.
I was going to have flying-fucking-buttresses! They were on back order, but I
was going to have them. Soon. Flying buttresses and an indoor swimming pool. And
a bowling alley. And a watch tower. And a mill tower. And a private theater for
movies and something called an “upper
bailey,” though I did not have a clue what an upper bailey even was.
So how this whole
shit started was that Martha from my office decided I needed to go out for the
Fourth of July, that my drinking alcohol all alone had become a problem and
that the solution to this problem was drinking alcohol around other people.
counter-intuitive to me as, in my experience, drinking alcohol all alone was the solution to my problems and not
a problem in and of itself. But Martha from my office was very insistent so right
away, I suspected she had ulterior motives.
The bar on the
northwest side of town was built to look like some kind of a big boat and the
band played Jimmy Buffett cover songs.
I suppose there may
be no other way of playing them.