Thursday, June 17, 2010

Morning Blast #6

He ignored the Road Closed sign and swerved around the barrier. The rattling of stones against the bottom of the car and the acrid smell of creosote slapped him into attention. He stopped when he could go no further, when block concrete and exposed rebar would have mangled the underside of the Civic.

He could still hear the ripples of piano from Schumann’s “Adagio und Allegro” seeping out from the open door of the car as he walked across the patchy field of rye. The dog followed without suspicion, eager as ever just to accompany, to be along for the ride. He found a spot where the scrappy, kudzu-covered trees grew thicker and he sat, scratched her chin one last time and took the gun from his jacket pocket.

Watercolor - Morning Blast #6 by Gary Riggin

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Morning Blast #5

Danny woke up from a Nyquil-induced nap and began singing a song he'd dreamt. Joanne McGraw, the girl he'd kissed when he was twelve, troubled his mind and he felt the lyrics shift into place:

She had eyes that burned like the blue flame on the stove
And a nose that twitched like a mouse
Her hair was the color of the paneling
In the basement of my parents' old house

And it gave me the chills when her tongue hit my teeth
And her hand touched the tip of my spine
I'm not sure whose gum ended up in her hair
But I think it was probably mine

The tune came out like a sea shanty and Danny rubbed his eyes to erase an image. Joanne as an adult, a mother with children, mangled in a car accident on 95. Or strung out, never married, no kids, having hooked for so long she was a worn out shell, survival instincts at a minimum.

He stood in the shower and let hot water beat a soft message into his head: A paralegal in White Plains, counting days until retirement and wishing she hadn't had the tuna melt for lunch.

Watercolor - Morning Blast #5 by Gary Riggin

Monday, April 19, 2010

Morning Blast #4

Woke up this morning to the sound of a ball smacking a mitt with a deep ferocious pop that sounded like velocity. I pulled on some sweatpants and peeked out the back window. Jim Palmer stood on the new mound in my backyard and bent himself into a slow windup, unfurled and delivered another resonating blow to the hushed April morning.

To compensate for the loss when the diseased and crumbling cherry tree in our backyard had to come down, I used the unsettling new open space to install a pitcher's mound. I tended a verdant span of dwarf fescue between mound and plate and now was waiting for a dry day so the boys could try it out.

By the time I pulled a shirt on and went downstairs to go out and investigate, another pitch popped the mitt and I realized that the guy catching was Rick Dempsey. I had some kind of Field of Dreams thing going on in my backyard. And I hadn't even had to plow the corn under.

Palmer was taller than I remembered him, and tanner than he looked on television. Something odd occurred to me, though, as I stepped to the mound, all my weight forward in a poor Earl Weaver impersonation.

"Wait a minute, Palmer. You're not a ghost. You're not even dead."

He put his glove hand on a hip and looked over at Dempsey, then back at me. "We were over the Levinsons and saw your mound, thought we'd hop the fence and toss a few. I hope that's cool."

"Alright--sure," I said.

"I feel great on this mound," he said. "I haven't thrown this well in twenty years."

I smiled and told him to take as many throws as he wanted. I waved to Dempsey and went back to the house and got some coffee. I didn't have the heart to tell him that home plate was a mere forty-six feet, Little League distance, from the pitcher's mound.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Morning Blast #3

Throughout the night, the sounds of the house disturbed him. He wrote it off as the settling of the wood, the easing of old joists and supports into their various roles, but he knew better. The water was finally coming for him. A long winter with multiple heavy snows, a spring beginning with a crush of steady rains--it was too much to hold back anymore. Even the dog looked worried, or does she look like that all of the time?

The fear was not for the rain pouring down the sides of the house, running down the slant of roof, but for the ground. Bubbling up through the saturated ground and into the basement floor. The yard turning into liquid and the house teetering, gliding through the muck of the neighborhood and bobbing like an ill-designed ship.

He would take the helm if necessary, jump to the back balcony and keep watch for errant telephone poles and trees that had not yet sunk or toppled in the viscous lawns. He would guide the house inland, navigating suburbs west to Pittsburgh, to Chicago, to Denver and maybe to drop anchor in the Rockies.

The Silverites!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Morning Blast #2

Met Carbone for lunch and at once the meal deteriorated into name calling and hurt feelings. Hack, poser, pansy,etc. Once the plates and little sake cups started flying, they threw us out of B Lounge and the fracas spilled out onto Pennsylvania Avenue. I slammed a newspaper box onto his back and that seemed to be the final straw. I left him in the soft mix of rain and snow, crawling towards York Road in hopes of making it to his car before the pain was too great to move. We've been banned from B Lounge for now. I think we'll have lunch at Souris' next week.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Morning Blast #1

I didn't believe for one minute that this guy had seen the rat we were now down on our hands and knees looking for. Not that this guy hadn't seen his share of schnauzer-sized rats, working down here, but right now he's just using a bullshit distraction and I'm playing along with it because I don't know what else to do.

I shine my light down behind the cars and see nothing but some old kids' toys, broken and scattered among the trash. I haven't seen any sign of an actual kid in the four hours I've been on this block today, but that doesn't mean anything. Kids make themselves scarce when I come around just like everybody else does.

I'm not a cop. Let me get that straight right off.