I Would Give Him a Comic Book If I Could

Los Angeles is yellow today. Several of my colleagues joke about pollution, nuclear fission, a chemical experiment gone wrong.

I don't think it's that bad. It looks kind of nice actually.

"We're all going to die," Lady M says. "It's just a matter of time."

"That's the truth," I say.

***

"Just read the first sentence," I hear a man say. "Read it, and if you like it, then we can add it to the list."

I am now alone. It is yesterday. Thunder keeps sounding. There is no rain. It is still Los Angeles. The sky is almost yellow. It is only a matter of time.

"You have to read a full page in the middle," the father continues. "That way you get a real sense of the author's style."

"Okay," the boy says.

"Are you reading the full page?"

"Yes, I'm reading it."

"What do you think?"

"I don't like it."

"It's Vonnegut."

"You told me to read the full page. I don't like it."

"Well, we'll check some more books on the internet when we get home."

The father reaches for the pile on the table. He picks one towards the middle. He hands the book to his son.

"This is John Gardner," he smiles. "He wrote Grendel."

"What's it about?"

"A monster."

"A monster?"

"Yeah, read the first page."

"Oh, I like it," the boy says.

"Yeah, the author died young. He was only 30."

"30?" I ask. "John Gardner was only 30? You got that wrong. He was older than 30."

"He was?"

"30 is too young to die."

"I think it was 30."

"Oh," the father consults Grendel. "You're right. 45."

"Ah, see," I say. "A ripe old age."

"45?" the father asks. "A ripe old age?"

"It's better than 30."

"How'd he die?" a woman asks.

"Motorcycle accident," the father smacks his lips. "That's good."

"Good?" the woman asks.

"At least it was that."

***

1 comment:

F.G. Marshall-Stacks said...

Richard Farina died on his motorcycle
the very night his first (highly acclaimed) book was published.

beware the bike.