I contemplate a tiny handprint on the window. Using hand signals & perhaps four words, I propose that it’s time to find out if it’s on the inside of the glass or the outside. The girl next to the handprint isn’t clear about what I’m doing. So I reach over & smear my finger across it – revealing that a child had pressed his or her hand against the inside of the glass. When I’m finished she grimaces & gestures at the handprint, still not sure what I’m saying.
I was surprised to find pages from my long lost mini-comic (in much higher resolution than they deserve) on my friend Cedric’s old band Outhouse’s website. I scanned those pages for him 2 years ago on my roommate’s PC, gave them to Cedric on a big stack of discs, and pretty much forgot about them. Now here they are, a slow-loading snapshot of my 20-year-old psyche.
The accordian player came back a year or two ago. I see him walking up Denny or Olive sometimes with his big black dog & his big brown dog. I’m speaking, of course, about the man who plays Beatles & Billy Joel tunes on Broadway. He was always there, then he was gone for a long time, & then one day he was back.
When he came back he had a mustache, the big black dog & the original big brown dog (though a little greyer). But after awhile it was just him & the black dog. And now he has a new brown dog.
I’ve never talked to him. I wouldn’t know what to say. He’s just there, like the piano man. (And he plays a pretty fine version of Piano Man by the way.)
I’m on a bus & I realize that all of my cash is in the wrong type of currency. I’ll need to make a transaction soon, so I go up to childhood acquaintance Ronnie & ask him to change my money into dollars. He trades me a stack of twenties & a few small bills for my foreign currency & I return to my seat.
Later I notice that the new money has a pulpy texture. I’m worried that I might have been given counterfeit money, so I search through the money: Among the ones & fives there’s a tiny four dollar bill. On the back of one of the twenties where it usually says “Twenty Dollars”, it says “Play Money” & the rest of the twenties have disclaimers printed on the front that indicate that the bills are counterfeit.
Confetti/mini-flyers covered with illustrations, slogans, & non sequiters in flurries around the sidewalks – apparently dropped by protestors: “viva zapata – viva zapata”, “GENERAL STRIKE NOW!!!”, “Fuck Authority!”, & the conflicting sentiments: “QUIT BEING PASSIVE” & “>whyvote >whyvote >whyvote”
The “Light up the night! Meet at crack park in Belltown, tonight at dusk.” mini-flyer from last year is still floating around here somewhere.
I’m guessing that I was 7 or 8, which would mean that Chris was 13 or 14. Chris & next door neighbor friend Robert were messing around with Robert’s motorcycle & had ridden out on the dirt roads that weave around in the grape vine fields. I hunted them down & was bothering them, asking them to take me for a spin. Robert said he was out of gas & that he’d let me ride if I went to a nearby house & asked them for a little cup of gas. I didn’t believe that he was out of gas, so I asked him to take the gas cap off & show me. He did & there was clearly still some gas in the tank. Robert insisted that it was oil, which goes in the gas tank as well. I didn’t buy it & bugged them for a while longer before heading back home, mad. Soon after I’d gotten out of their line of site, I heard the engine start & a couple of minutes later Robert & Chris rounded the corner on the motorcycle & passed by me, laughing. I continued stomping my way home. At some point they came back to me or they stopped & let me catch up with them. Robert let me get on the back & ride until we were just out of site of the house. I got off the motorcycle, so that mom wouldn’t see. Chris & I got home; and my mom was furious, somehow she knew that they’d given me ride.