And her smile? My God…


Back on the Russian bench,
the atmosphere was a
bit warmer. “I never

caught your name,” she said. “I
never offered it,” was
my reply. Our eyes met.

She smiled. So did I.
It was a hell of a
moment in time. Heaven

knows when we were, but we
were somewhere, that was for
sure. “I know one thing for

certain,” she mumbled. “There
are hearts breaking in all
the big cities and small

towns across the world right
now. Thousands of others
are fucking as we speak.

Some people are fighting.
Some people are loving.
Some people are writing.

Some people are doing
massive amounts of Coke
or Meth so they can stay

up later and smoke more
Meth. But what about you?
What do you do, when you’re

not here, talking to me?”
I shrugged and took a sip
of strong coffee. “Not much,

really,” was my reply.
“I work. I go home. I
write. I shower. I play

guitar and video
games. I read books. I drive.
I drive all the time and

when I do, I listen
to music and sing with
the songs I know, which are

many. The other day
I was going 80
on the highway with the

windows down, yelling ‘How
does it feel?’ at the top
of my lungs along with

Bob Dylan as that
goddamned organ played the
melody just behind

the rest of the band. Why?
Because Al Kooper was
not an organ player.

He just wanted to play
and I love him for that.
Talk about inspiring.

My God, man. Al Kooper.
Not many people know
his name, huh? But they should…”

I stopped and took a breath.
“I sound like Pat Bateman,”
I said. “This is not good.”

The woman just smiled.
“How do you feel?” she asked.
“Shredded,” I said. “Mostly

dead. I stay up until
all hours of the night
and end up in places

like this and Kansas
and Minnesota and
Purgatory with old

poets like Virgil. It’s
madness. I’m going mad.”
“We all go a little

mad sometimes,” she said. I
had to chuckle. She was
funny. Her eyes were kind.


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