The Ghost

I’m bound to find that ten pounds I lost last year, but I’ve not had pizza in ages, due to the Wife’s dietary requirements.  So, the phone line to the Liberty Pizza Hut is sending a busy signal.  I order on line, hit the Food Lion for some beer and go to get my pizza.  As I’m standing inside, the ex-girlfriend of someone I used to know walks in, takes one look at me and walks back out.  At least twenty-five years ago, and all I said then was, “No.”

Last night was spicy Pad Thai with shrimp and almonds from Basil’s.  Outrageous.  Rather than pay rent in GSO, they bought the old Pizza Palace and work when they want.

Harry and family have been an institution at China House for over twenty years, but I can’t stand the garish lighting, while waiting for take out.  I see faces from my childhood, grown flaccid and corpulent.  I pretend not to recognize anyone and get away quickly.

The kids at He-Man Woman Hater’s U. don’t know what to do with me.  I’m a crushing bore, going on about arcane things like Trump’s lunatic Libertarian foreign policy and how the Russians can spoof our GPS.

They’re only here to sleep, anyway.  And trust me, with no cats around, we’re well rested.

I finally found time yesterday to change out the battery in the ’91 Toyota truck.  It was ten years old.  The guy at NAPA had owned two of them – the truck, not the battery.

Despite my MO of making ridiculous excuses for Trump, including most recently blaming Ayn Rand, I remain horrified with the prospect of sanctions on Iran.  Somewhere, deep down I feel like Trump is playing a cosmic Libertarian joke on the Zionists by making all their dreams come true.  Pompeo graduated first in his class at West Point and is from Wichita, just like the Koch brothers.

The eponymous Rand Paul questions why we’re not asking KSA and Israel the same questions we’re asking Iran about their weapons.  Fuck, he coined “lunatic Libertarian foreign policy.”  There is obviously a schism here and I’m not enjoying the Randian boutique excuses for imperialism.

I was leaving the Quik Chek (I’ve met the owner from Troy.  The spelling is not ironic.) when a black guy my age approached and my chromosomes glowed with the recognition of Jeff Clay, by his gait.  Sure enough, the same cut jaw and great grin.  I asked him if he was Ok, he said yeah, paid for a can of gas, got back on his bike and pedaled across the road.

The Clays were The Ravens in the sixties, and were putting out what the Beatles were stealing.  Unfortunately, they lived on a side of town the WP called Pig Foot, for all the trails in the woods, and you’ve never heard of them, beautiful as they were… are.

I even feel like an interloper in my house, which this kid has turned into a home.  I can’t help but feel that I’m cramping his style, and that of his beautiful girlfriend, whom he has known since they were zygotes, even though things were arranged for this purpose.

They are as ever, very polite.  This process has been so organic that I’ve not put a lot of thought into it.  But being a landlord didn’t suit me, or the Wife for that matter.  So, I pay all the bills and he slips me a couple once a month.  The rent is based on his ability to pay.  I have found other arrangements to be inhumane.

As things are, he can afford to maintain a car, work a job, attend university and coach AAU basketball, all with a cheerful countenance.

Every time I walk by someone seeking alms or thank an underpaid cashier, this little place stands for something against the gale of guilt at my complicity.

The altered states have reminded me that like the John Prine song, I don’t live here anyway.  I live way down in my head.  Wherever I am, the embrace of chaos beckons.

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