DFW From Another Angle

“The door opens a crack, and in the spilled, triangular glow, a tall kid wearing a red bandana over his streaming brown hair slips out. He stops six feet away and bends slightly forward –– almost a butler’s bow –– saying, Excuse me, Miss Karr. Mind if I join you?

Who is he? With his formal demeanor and gold granny glasses, he could be a student –– some Ivy League suck-up.

Join away, I say, adding as I flash my wedding ring, I’m a miz.

My goodness gracious, ma’am, he says, those are some seriously blinding stones you’re flaunting. We met before…

And we had. David was a Harvard Ph.D. candidate in philosophy I’d once been introduced to at the back of a reading by mutual pals. Some kind of genius, David’s meant to be, though his red bandana is the flag of gangster or biker, ditto the unlaced Timberland work boots.

I ask him how long he’s been coming, and he says not hardly any time, and I say it’s my first go, and he asks if I get it, and I say if I got it, I would be out here smoking. He says same with him, adding while he drank a lot, he mostly did marijuana, which can’t be so bad because it’s natural.

I say –– cleverly, I think –– Strychnine’s natural.

He concedes that’s true but also points out how, since the average pot smoker doesn’t tend to steal your TV, people don’t frown on it like they do, say, smoking crack, then plowing over the crossing guard.

We stare at the cannons facing us, both agreeing we really have better places to be as we grind our cigarettes with our boot heels. Climbing the steps back to the lighted doorway, he holds the door, bowing as he says from his scruffily bearded face (this is the pre-scruff USA.) After you, Miz Karr.

–– Mary Karr, Lit

To be continued… !!!

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