Friday, October 7, 2011

anxiously awaiting the return of topcoat weather

a: Look at that.

b: Bonsai tree.

a: Up on the balcony.

b: Yep. Put on the ledge.

a: Way up high. Twenty stories?

b: About that.

a: Damn high up there. Different weather at that altitude.

b: Yep. Maybe some atypical condensation. Good for the tree.

a: Keep it wet. Like a mist. A spray.

b: Sure. Gotta keep them trees moist so they don’t dry out and die on you.

a: That guy’s got it pretty good up there, huh?

b: Could be a lot worse for him.

a: He’s way the fuck up there. Nosebleed stuff.

b: Yeah. Up there like that. Imagine moving in.

a: Hauling all that furniture up to that deluxe apartment in the sky.

b: But I’m sure there’s an elevator.

a: That’d help. Still. Hell of a move. Not for pansies.

b: Hire movers. They’ll do all the sweaty shit.

a: Maybe this guy, maybe he goes out there on his balcony late at night. Maybe he sits there and smokes and looks at his bonsai tree, looks at his view. Must be quite a view.

b: Yep. Lots to see. All those lights. Gold and yellow and white. The bridge. The bay. The sky. The whole dreaming immensity of it all. Traffic puttering away down there between the houses. Headlamp light. Brake lights. Red and white. Buildings bruising the horizon.

a: Plush. That life. Not too shabby of a way to be doing your living.

b: Yep. That guy probably ain’t got it too bad.

a: Not like us.

b: Nope. Not like us.

a: Look at us.

b: Us?

a: Yeah. What do we do?

b: We stand and talk.

a: We shiver in the cold. We smoke cigarettes down to the filter.

b: We’re nubbers.

a: Yup. Always got a nub between our fingers. Holding our shoulders.

b: Freezing in the wind. Breathing so you can see it.

a: Lots of time he’s got up there.

b: Up there all he’s got is time.

a: Down here all we’ve got is class struggles.

b: Looking Classes.

a: Those?

b: Sure. Like when you see a girl, and you’re not too scared to talk to her because you think she’s in a lower Looking Class than you.

a: Looking Class. Like that.

b: You’re above her. She should be thankful.

a: She should be down on her knees.

b: Intimidated by your dashing charm and good looks.

a: A man she’d never imagined would ever talk to the likes of her.

b: Yep. You can take charge. Don’t got to put yourself out there too much. Not much risk. Just a toe tap.

a: But if she doesn’t bite?

b: Well. Then. Yep. That’s bad. That’s the worst.

a: She’s rejecting me?

b: Yep.

a: Shit. She should be grateful.

b: Down on her knees.

a: I’m the one should be doing the rejecting.

b: Damn straight.

a: I’m the one slumming it.

b: Who does she think she is?

a: She’s nobody.

b: Girls can be so damn picky.

a: They’ve got their sights set. They know what they want.

b: But do we?

a: No. We don’t know shit about what they like.

b: We know what we like.

a: Of course. Everybody knows what we like. That’s easy.

b: They know what we’re buying.

a: But what they’re shopping for?

b: Nada.

a: One of life’s great mysteries.

b: Yep.

a: We stand and shiver. We blow smoke.

b: We get tired of ourselves. We chuck cigarette butts at pigeons.

a: This is living.

b: Yup.

a: Flick the glowing orange ends, make tiny sparks fly, pass the time.

b: I don’t want much.

a: Don’t get much.

b: It’s all we’ve got, though. And you gotta admit, it’s flowery sometimes. Sometimes it’s gold.

a: Damn straight. Weather the bad to bathe in the good.

b: Yep. Life’s a goddamn miracle. Live it like you mean it.

a: Seriously, play for fun.

b: The rain comes and goes, and for sure, yeah, the cold wind blows from time to time, but we’re here, stuck in the middle of it all, and we’ve got less, sure. But, shit, we’ve got more too, right?

a: Yep. More’s more.

b: What about that guy? That guy way up there with his bonsai tree?

a: That guy? He’s got his hard times too.

b: Rough stuff, now and again.

a: Sure. Maybe his dog died last February. His mommy might’ve beat him up when he was a toddler.

b: Some girl done him wrong.

a: Could be. What do we know?

b: We’re just a couple of nubbers standing around in the cold, holding our shoulders, blowing our nose. Who are we?

a: Working stiffs. Plebs without much chance. Just some jimmies on a pile of ice cream.

b: But the ice cream’s tasty. It’s got a good chance, right?

a: The ice cream? It’ll do okay. It’ll be alright.

b: Look at that thing.

a: Bonsai?

b: Yep. So high up there. It’s doing fine. It’s making it.

a: It’s scraping things together as best it can. Not too shabby, up there.

b: I bet.

a: Catching colds and throwing out yesterday’s news.

b: Pissing underneath a sign that says, “I ain’t got no name.”

a: Shit. More like, I ain’t got a dime.

b: My woman. My woman. Yep. She sure as hell won’t leave me none alone.

a: No more. No more. Nope. Never been so all alone.

b: My song’s all I got left.

a: Broken down hungry 5,000 miles from home.

b: Yep. We’ve got the cockroach-black sky at night. We’ve got knees to pray on. We’ve got guns we’ll never shoot. And then, well shit, our boat’s gone and sprung a leak.

a: The rats are jumping ship.

b: Should we too?

a: Nope. We’re here for the long haul.

b: Damn. It’s all we’ve got.

a: Yep. But that’s enough.

b: For a couple of nubbers like us.

a: Sure.

b: I get the shakes so bad sometimes.

a: It’s par for the course. It’s the residue from being alive like this, in this way, like we are.

b: Soap scum on the tiles gunking up the works of being me.

a: Yep. We all get jumpy here and there.

b: Scared and anxious. Waiting for something, you know? That feeling that something’s just around the corner. And you keep walking down these spiral stairs trying to get at it, but it’s never there.

a: Just close enough to be too far away.

b: But you can’t stop walking down, and you get farther than you’d like to be underground, way down there, and you keep thinking, ‘It’s just right there, right around the next bend,’ but it keeps not being there.

a: Chasing and never catching.

b: That’s life.

a: Always just an almost away from where you want to be.

b: And we dream of better days just up ahead.

a: Sure. Better times. We’re sure of it. Almost there. Any day now.

b: There are limits. These things are in the act of balancing, you know?

a: Maybe. I do and I don’t.

b: Maybe.

a: There was a time, you know, when I was wearing the same suit jacket every day.

b: I remember it. Yep.

a: It had a rip in the shoulder…

b: Uh huh.

a: and that rip kept ripping larger, and the lining was hanging on by a few threads. I’m not sure that there was anything magical about it, but it felt like it sometimes. Anyway, I was used to wearing it, and without it on I felt exposed and lackluster, like I wasn’t myself. So, there you have it. I wore the thing way past wearing out.

b: Everything’s got to wear out sometime. Can’t hold on forever.

a: The passing’s what all things must do.

b: Can’t grow a new now in a here that’s always gone, always changing into a then.

a: Wait. How big you think one of them trees can get?

b: Bonsai? Don’t know. Not too big, I’d figure. Always see them rather on the tiny side, you know?

a: Yep. Miniature trees. Like midgets. Wonder if any of them ever get really big, though. Like some mutant ones. Imagine, giant bonsai trees, a forest of them, like redwoods. That’d be something.

b: Sure would. Don’t reckon it too likely. There’s a good reason, probably, that they’re so small. That’s the way they do best.

a: Their best shot at making it in this cruel, cold world of ours.

b: Uh huh.

a: And us?

b: Two guys like us?

a: What’re we going to do?

b: Anxiously await the return of topcoat weather.

a: That’s what we’re made for. Enduring. Getting by. Sticking it out. We abide. We survive on other people’s scraps.

b: What they throw away.

a: Huddled here, scrapping our shoes back and forth on the sidewalk, spitting in the street, making it the only way we’ve got.

b: We know how to get through the days.

a: But the nights?

b: The nights? Well, that’s too much, even for a couple of nubbers like us.

a: Trolls sucking up air. Farming out our souls for the right to live the way we do, day to day, week to month to what he hope is another year. And then…

b: And then.

a: What’re you going to do? A guy like you or me? We’re stuck being ourselves.

b: But that guy, way up there with his bonsai tree, think he’s got a chance?

a: That guy? Hell. That guy’s got no chance. None at all.

b: He’s way up there.

a: Yep.

b: Above everybody else.

a: Sure.

b: And he’s looking down.

a: Right.

b: And he’s thinking that maybe, just maybe…

a: He’s giving it quite a bit of pondering.

b: It’s not worth it, all alone, up above it all like that.

a: Perhaps.

b: With that bonsai tree crumbling in the chill of winter wind, and his dead dog, or his woman who treats him bad, or the skylight in his ceiling that doesn’t quite give him a glimpse of god.

a: Could be.

b: And maybe being down here, in all the muck and hollering madness and free-for-all horseshit that makes up our daily lives, well, maybe it just starts to seem to him…

a: Yep. Down below’s where it’s at, and he’s long gone from it.

b: But he can’t get back down. It’s not so easy once you’ve climbed up so high like that. There’s only one way back, maybe, and it’s a much more direct route. Maybe he start’s to think he’s only got one way to go from there, and it’s a long, fast fall.

a: A falling through to the bottom. One final plunge.

b: A leap from faith to cold, hard fact.

a: Happen just like that. Like pigeon shit.

b: Maybe it comes to him that being up there’s worse, you know. It’s only like he’s making believe that he’s got it so good. The weather still arrives from the same place. Comfort only feels nice for so long.

a: And then it’s too much dessert and not enough meals.

b: Stuck.

a: Yep.

b: Up there. So far away. So tiny. So useless.

a: What’s the point? Right?

b: I don’t know. Maybe he’s just sad enough to be alright…to be…happy.

a: Fuck. I don’t even know what the hell to say to that.

b: Yeah. It’s freezing out here. Shit. I’m going back in.

a: Me too. What’re we doing freezing our asses off out here? They got the heater on in there. Shit.

b: Just a couple’a nubbers.

a: Shit. Not going to argue with that.