Interview With The Scampire

Albert and Ernesto walk the cart down the long hall toward the Interview Rooms. The silverware clanks softly on the top of the cart. “Goddamn sonovabitch ordered a second dinner—a whole bucket of Extra-Extra Crispy with double gravy and Moar Bigger Biscuits. Geeze. You did remember the Diet Coke? Yeah?”

Ernesto looked down at the middle shelf of the cart; the two cases of Diet Coke were there. “Yep, just like he likes.”

Albert Schutz and Ernest Wache, erstwhile production assistants cum guards cum Uber Eats drivers at the TRUMP WORLD entertainment complex, were delivering dinner to The Boss. Mr. Trump had finally agreed to talk with Special Council Robert Mueller, but it had to be here in New York. The interview started at 7:30 this morning and is still going strong at 8:15 this evening.

Ordinarily, the interview would have been the Breaking News story of the day, or at least for a portion of the day, but, not now. Earlier in the summer, Trump and Melania had started divorce proceedings and he had lost the White House to Melania. The DC judge overseeing the case was, according to Trump and his council for political matters, Rush Limbaugh, a Femminazi. After Melania threw all his clothes to the curb, Trump retreated to New York to take up residence in Trump Tower.

Avoiding appearances of favoritism and whatever else was to be avoided, Trump and Mueller met at Trump World (The RUses are Mendacious Prevarications) where some of the voice looping for Celebrity Apprentice used to be filmed. The facility, located at 882 E 52nd Street, Manhattan, was agreed to by Mueller’s team as it provided quick access to Rikers, just in case.

Albert and Ernesto knocked on the door once. 

“Your second dinner, sir.”

“Get in here, you bring more Coke? Good.”

Trump was finishing up his steak, cooked to the perfect char that he loves. Tonight, he’s eaten even more of the catsup than he usually does. He looked on with great interest as Albert started setting up the buckets of chicken along with cartons of gravy. Ernesto began pouring the Diet Cokes in the X-Large mug.

“What about the Twinkies?” Trump asked.

“Right here, sir. The bodega had a whole carton of them.”

Thirty minutes later, as Trump was finishing off the last of the Twinkies, Barry Oberhaus, One L at Columbia, walked in.

“Good evening, Mr. President. Are we ready to resume?”

“Sure. Let’s get going.”

Earlier in the day, Mueller and the top staff conceded they were not going to get very far with Trump. Too combative and not willing to give up anything except admitting to using a Moscow distillery to make Trump Vodka—till he realized it was going to cost to much to make and then farmed the job out to the Old Ward Healer distillery in Atlanta.

Someone—maybe Weissman?—suggested sending in the intern to break down Trump’s resistance. It worked like a charm; they now had him on 14 counts of money laundering. They just needed the obstruction of justice count, and since, well, Oberhaus had delivered, in he went. Soon, they’d have their obstruction charge, and Oberhaus would have a much more interesting story to tell than driving an Uber thru the West Side to get through law school.

“Just want to remind everyone we are still under oath here—it’s a lie-free zone.”

“Got it. Nothing but the Truth, so help me God!” Trump said, dipping one of the Twinkies in catsup. He raised an eyebrow at the faint hint of steak char in the catsup. He’d have to try this again.

“So, Mr. Trump, we come to the issue of collu…”

“Collusion?”

“Yes sir. Now you’ve said there is no collusion, and, well, we were actually wondering if you know what collusion actually entails?”

“Sure. Collusion is illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially between ostensible opponents in a lawsuit, or, in our case, non-opponents in a presidential campaign…”

“Wait, Mr. President, are you now saying there was collusion?”

“My name is not Donald Trump.”

“Sir?”

“My name’s not Donald Trump?”

Oberhaus shot a glance at Giuliani who shot a glance at Sekulow who shot a glance a Flood who shot a glance at his DSM-IV.

Behind the one-way glass, Mueller and Weissman looked at the other. “Make sure you get this.” Weissman said to the FBI technician.

“Well, uh, sir, could you state your name for the record?” Oberhaus asked.

“My name is Pussy Grabber…” he said, fingering the long blonde wig and slowly making a triangle of his hand and fingers, and looking up said “Dennison. Pussy Grabber Dennison.”

“So, uh, Ms. Dennison, where, uh, are you from?”

“I live in Trump Tower, I have a penthouse on the 69th floor of my block that Mr. Trump gives me each month. I used live in Washington, but after all the divorce proceedings, I got kicked to the City. You know, only Donald Trump rules Trump Tower, least, that’s what he thinks. But, I gotta tell you, it’s me, I tell him what’s going down. Believe me.”

Oberhaus looked straight ahead then down to his yellow pad.

Pussy Grabber, née Trump picks up another Twinkie, dips it in the leftover gravy, and attacking it with all the gusto usually reserved for Miss Universe, sez “Say, do you have any more catsup? This Twinkie is great! The best,” thru slurps of Diet Coke.

“You know, it’s sad, when you have to say all the words, all the beautiful words, that condemn your lover. But I can’t allow you to think that I colluded with all those Russians. I know you are going to put him away now; I should have years ago.”

Behind the glass, Mueller hands the Single Malt to Weissman, they clink their glasses and head down to the waiting limos taking them to Le Cirque.

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Hail to the Baron!

Yesterday was the 153rd anniversary of Lee surrendering to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse. The 153rd anniversary of the Rebels getting their ass handed to them on a silver charger. Actually, it was the 153rd anniversary of the first of many defeats. Union defeats. US defeats.

The actual defeat was 10 years later, when the Union troops withdrew from the Southern states. For the next 100 years, Jim Crow reigned supreme. Still reigns today, even if it’s not quite as obvious as it was at the turn of the last century. The reality? The South won that war, and has been running the country since.

Trump’s win is the cheery on the sundae. The Rebels, who have squawking  that the South’s Gonna Rise Again Boys!, have finally gotten their man, and what a man he is! A composite of Jefferson Davis, Baron Münchhausen, and a Tri-State mattress salesman hawking his wares in self-produced commercials, he is everything the Ignoratti ever wanted: A racist, tough-talking bully, promising them the moon, though incapable of delivering so much as a Moonpie, and an endless monologue of his greatness.

Believe me.

Mommy Says Hail To The Chief

“Daddy, why are you up so early?”

“Uh, nothing, uh, go back to sleep, Mommy.”

Pence looked at this wife thru the early morning darkness, while fumbling the handset in his hands. Looking down at the device like some undocumented alien, he slowly replaced it on the bedside table. He remembered the first night here, wondering why there were two phones, only to have it explained to him that the gray unit, with ever so slight more heft to it, was the secured line, the one that Very Important Conversations would take place one. Hey, HE was one of those Very Important People on Very Important Conversations.

And now, he was even MORE important. The phone call had been John Kelly telling him that the Chief had been Called Home To Be With The Lord.

They found him on the Golden Throne a little after 5, about an hour ago. He’d been in mid-Tweet: “A government shitdown will devastatingg…” and that was it. There were few clues to go on: a bucket of Extra Crispy, a bucket of gravy, and crate of Big Macs and Mexican Diet Cokes, scattered throughout the bedroom. What did it mean?

“Mommy, you have to get up.”

“What’s going on?”

“That was Kelly, they found him in the little president’s room…”

“He pulled an Elvis, didn’t’ he?”

“Huh, uh…yeah!”

Mommy and Daddy broke into laughter.

“You have to swear me in.”

“Won’t the Chief Justice do that, dear?”

“Yes, but you have to do it first. God’s way.”

“Oh. Yes! Okay, get the me the Bible; it’ll be just like we practiced.”

Daddy reached over and grabbed the large leather-bound study Bible that they had purchased just for this occasion.

“Assume the position, Daddy” said Mommy. “Are you prepared to take the oath office?”

“Yes, Mommy!”

Mommy proceeded to whack Daddy’s bared behind, 21 times.

HAIL TO THE CHEIF!” they yelled together after the 21st.

Daddy—now President Daddy—goes downstairs, where he was greeted by his chief of staff.

“Sir, we should get you to Trump Tower, er, the White House as soon as possible.”

“Yes, let’s go, we’ll make our usual stop.”

“Wha…oh, yes, of course.”

Minutes later, the cavalcade rolled out of the gates of the observatory, bound for the White House. They paused momentarily at McDonald’s on 17th; Micky D’s staff brought out the mobile order of 10 Egg McMuffins.

Daddy now has a legacy to uphold.

Eternal Vigilince

Eternal Vigilince
Guardiaship sculpture by James Earle Fraser, 1935 | Photo ~ kentwill

There is a reason the press is the only industry given specific protection in the Constitution. The free press reports what your government does; you use the information to make an informed decision in an election or to directly question your elected representatives.

The press also provides a channel of communication for people, like the women in Alabama, to tell their story to the world. A story which may never have been given much credence by the legal authorities in Alabama once upon a time—and in some cases, even now.

Without the free press, Roy Moore would be galloping to DC today.

I am not holding up the Washington Post and others as gods; they are not. However, without the free press in this instance, Roy Moore would be galloping to DC today.

Our civic responsibility as does not end at the ballot box; indeed, monitoring what those elected do in our name is just as important as the vote cast to put them in office. As we all can’t follow these people around, we rely on the press fo tell us and the press, in turn, should be held to no less a standard than we hold the elected representatives they cover.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

The Hardest Part

Now comes the waiting, or, if you’re into legal speak, Comes now the waiting.

Anyway.

Richard Nixon was elected in November of ’68, days after he may or may have not committed treason with a little help from Anna Chennault. The Johnson administration caught her on tape making whoopee or something on behalf of the Nixon campaign, which may or may not have amounted to treason.

Once in office there were all manner of hijinks and shenanigans, like the Huston Plan, a 43-page document of Nixon’s plan to step up domestic intelligence and do, amongst many other things, set up interment camps in the West where anti-war protesters could be stashed. Even J. Edgar Hoover said, “DA FUQ‽”

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 10.04.17.png

Jump cut to the gigantic pile of Italian rubble on the Potomac, the beautiful Watergate complex—which, just for Shits and Giggles, sits next to the Kennedy Center—and a coterie of ham-fisted operatives hired by G. Gordon Liddy—Bannon and Gorka were not the first Goebbels Wannabes working at 1600 Penn—get nailed by plain-clothes DC Police. And they’re off!

Over the next almost two years we had denials, non-denial denials, modified limited hangouts, twisting in the wind, Katie Graham’s tit getting caught in a big fat ringer, Saturday Night Massacres, Congressional hearings, Maximum John Sirica threatening to put the whole lot of them under the jail, cancers growing on presidencies, horrors on tape. The Original Shit Show. Nothing has quite equaled it; until possibly now.

Finally, Squad Impeachment—Goldwater, Scott, and Rhodes—went down to the Big House to Nixon the thrill was indeed gone. Days later, the Supreme Court unanimously—with Rehnquist recusing himself; he had worked in the Justice Department under Nixon prior to his appointment to the Court—declared Nixon had to hand over the tapes.

Caught ’twixt a rock and bottomless pile of shit, Nixon sprouted wings and flew to California.

My point: Forty years later, not much has changed. You will not get indictments on Monday and impeachment by Friday. It. Won’t. Happen. True, given Trump’s nature, he may very well resign in a sudden flurry of ShitTweets, and leave us hanging, just like in one of his idiot reality shows; time will tell.

I’ve heard Trump and Nixon compared endlessly, but really there is not much of a comparison. If nothing else, know this: when commanded by the Supreme Court, Nixon gave up the tapes that he knew would destroy him. In the end, he could, and did, place the country first, something this carcinogenic orange buffoon can never do.

Atlanta Babylon

I was walking by Colony Square this afternoon and, wonder of wonders, 14th Street west of Peachtree was closed because…you guessed it: Hollywood.

No, I am not going to note that Atlanta’s horrible traffic situation is being made worse by the Moovies or TeeVee. No, I’m just going to say something about those people standing around looking to get a glimpse, however fleeting of a Celebrity.

One of my first jobs out of college was working at a Wolf Camera. At the time, In the Heat of the Night was being filmed in and around Covington, where today, I believe something about vampires or zombies, something about the non-dead, is made.

In the six or seven months I worked there, there were several regulars that dropped roll after roll of film that they’d just shot while standing around on location during the filming of a scene. Some came by on a daily basis. In the time I worked there, one of them must have had 50 or 60 rolls developed. Rolls of film that had nothing but dubiously composed and exposed photos of Carrol O’Conner or Howard Rollins or Anne-Marie Johnson or some other member of the cast—none of them up close and personal. All of them pretty much interchangeable.

The folks dropping these Kodak Moments off could go on for hours about who they’d seen and what that person was doing about town and what show or movie they’d be in next. To hear them talk, you’d never guess they had a life of their own—at least in theory.

Today, walking across 14th, there were nearly as many people on the Colony Square side, necks and arms craning, to catch a glimpse and a photo of whatever Famous Actor(s) was across street waiting for another take.

Jacqueline Kennedy once noted to her step brother, Gore Vidal*, how—I forget the exact wording that she used —hard it was to believe the lengths some people went to lose themselves in someone else’s life.

There is an entire world out there waiting for you. Live your own life, not vicariously through anyone else. I can’t tell you what the movie is or who is in it, but it does involve a red pickup that apparently will perish via flames.

*  That had to have been one hell of house to grow up in—a fact which Vidal’s step-brother-in-law Jack noted more than once.

The Fall

A cloudy, wet fall morning. Looking out the window, you can see the chill, the nip, in the air that promises leaves, Halloween, and pumpkins—if not their spice.

Instead, the first clue is the woman walking with an iced coffee. The chill the calendar in your brain promised you is nowhere to be found.

Like in some Bad B horror flick, Humidity wraps its warm, clammy hands around you, and drags you back to June.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes are a lie in more ways than one.

Terminal Süd

After you are used to Starbucks, or have it so many times, indie lattes take on a different taste. Maybe they have a distinct taste, depending on the skill of the barista or the make of automated machine. Land of 1000 Hills’ lattes are good and have a taste that is neither Starbucks nor anything I can think of. Not bitter, or, sin of sins, the milk to damn hot. Oh, and the chocolate croissants are awesome. Starbucks, QT, and Dancing Goats are all a fail on chocolate croissants. As with any chocolate croissant, it’s hard for me to say if they are the real thing; the only question is, do I like the taste and texture. In other words, did they use a a metric shit ton of butter.

The latte and croissant are spot on this morning. I sat on the patio in front of the re-purposed building LTH Coffee sits in. The other half of the main floor seems given over to one off workspaces for freelancers, and others for whom traditional offices or working from home is not the first or best choice.

In any case, MARTA has taken me south, and now I am sitting here in Terminal Süd, watching the people mill around or sit around. I’ve never figured out why they sit in here. If they are waiting for a connecting flight, why leave the secured area? If they are here, why not go ahead and go? Why ask why.

The same fucking canned announcements that have played for years play once more. It’s been nearly 10 fucking years and more since the American-bound planes were threatened with takeout by shampoo or hairspray or whatever, yet here is the TSA and their enablers, still making us pay attention to our liquids and gels. Damn good thing the planes weren’t threatened with jizz, piss, or poop or we’d be 10 years into really awkward screenings.

The morning’s entertainment is turning up the music, the canned music, way too loud. Usually, there’s a lone guitarist or solo instrumentalist of some stripe. Not so today, the Muzak is provided by purple-shirted Jimmy Buffet wannabe with a Moody Bluesish mellotron-like accompaniment track that I am sure is digital playback. Now we have Sting.

Now is a really good time to let the croissant and coffee to do their morning magic.

ooooo

The Red Line train shuffles onto the Northbound tracks as it approaches the Airport station, and coasts to a stop; the end of the line. The doors open and he steps onto the platform as a humid gust of wind blows through.

He walks to the end of the platform and looks over the long runway as an MD-80 shatters the hum of the airport, starting its take off roll. Taking off east, he thinks. The journey West will start east.

He walks down the stairs and out of the train station into the South terminal—Delta International Airport—passing the always silent messengers of the Lord, some church or religious group always in the MARTA stations, and courteously never coming after you, just waiting to pounce should you ask them.

He and Phil walk into the South Terminal and out to the Sky Caps to get their boarding pass, for good or ill, this is a carry-on excursion to New Orleans. It looked like they’d make the flight even though they had just spent more time on the Alstom train than they were likely to spend on the Boeing plane. God, nearly an hour from the hospital station to here. Did Kenny make to? They are getting ready to find out.

Walking up to the kiosk—do they even have Sky Caps now?—he snaps back. He slides his card in and out and follows the prompts to check a single bag. He drops the bag with the attendant at the nearby desk. “Have a good flight, sir.” He’s thinking that at least these people no longer have to ask who packed your bags, as if a terrorist would volunteer the info that the bomb maker packed the bags with a surprise.

He walks through the atrium and eyes the TSA line and breathes a sigh of relief: the line is short. In the line, he takes off his shoes, belt and lays them and his dignity on the belt. He goes thru the x-ray machine but still get called for a pat down. He eyes the TSA guy who eyes him and pats him down. The last squeeze is, well, slightly x-rated. He thinks for once, all this nonsense is worth it. He puts his shoes on again but is halfway down the tunnel before he notices his belt’s not buckled.

He gets to the gate and gazes out at the L-1011. This was his first time flying and his first time away from home for this long a time. He is still surprised his parents took as little persuading as they did to let him do this. A shortened summer term with two classes and independent study. This will be fun, he thinks. He’s overdressed in coat and dress pants, but, well, this how people are supposed to dress when flying, so his parents, and others that would know, say. Between chop over Harrisburg and Albany he winds up with creamy Italian dressing on his shirt and hot coffee on his crotch. Stained shirt is one thing, burnt Dick & Balls is another…a narrow miss, to put it mildly.

The one thing running thru his mind now is the Jew of Malta. They saw the Marlowe play at the Barbican; Alun Armstrong played Barabas; he’d been fascinated that there was yet one more way to spell Alan/Allan/Allen/Alain. The beginning of play had Machiavel rising from pit in the floor  to proclaim, amongst other thing,  “I count religion but a childish toy,/And hold there is no sin but ignorance.”

He remembers the others, Dalton and Redgrave in A Touch of the Poet, seeing Queen Elizabeth at Saint Paul’s. He’s seen the Queen twice: once in London and once in the colonies when she was on her way to Monticello to mark the 200th anniversary with Ford. He never saw an American president.

Now, looking out at the 777 as the catering trucks and luggage trains swirl about, somehow never colliding with each other or the trucks pumping Jet-A into the wings.

The plane taxies away from the gate and down the apron. He is surprised when the plane turns left without hesitation and heads down the taxiway to 27R. The first time in all his years flying that the direction of the airport changed between checkin and takeoff. The L-1011 went down the taxiway, flaps and slats noisy grinding down, as they prepared to takeoff into the setting sun, golden light glaring off the cabin. He could feel excitement all over.

Now the concourses slid past as 777 slowly rolls down the tarmac, its flaps and slats going down with a bit less noise than its predecessor. He thinks the first time he left Hartsfield, it was on 27R; now, he leaves one last time on 27R He hears the pilot say something over the PA, but really pays no more attention to than he had the safety film. At the point where the plane should have held, the engines started spinning up; what the hell, he thinks. A rolling start on a 777…never done this.

He sits back as the giant plane gathers speed on its take off roll. Being a short—for this plane—domestic flight, there isn’t much fuel so the plane rotates climbs out quickly. He briefly glances out the window but does not tarry his gaze on the city where he’s spent most of his life. In any case, as the plane quickly climbed out, the city fell further behind.

When the cabin crew, stewardesses in his uncle’s day—stews, he called them—started circulating again, he asks for a ginger ale, his more or less official drink on a plane. Growing up, his parents only kept ginger ale around for sick days, never much else. He loved the stuff, but always associated it having just thrown up or waiting for a stomach rumble to end in a shart.

John had taken him down to Hartsfield once to ride in a simulator, a 727. He had a go at it, and managed to put the ’27 in the weeds just beyond the FLY DELTA’S JETS sign. John’s air stories were always the best, and apparently this one time, at LAX, a stew walks into the cockpit and told them that Liz Taylor was on board. The flight engineer—a quaint DC-8—goes back and has a look, comes back and says, “yep, that’s Liz.” Captain goes back comes back and says “sure as shit, that’s Elizabeth Taylor.” John goes back, sees her at her, uh, not mid-70s best, comes back and says “Christ, how are we gonna get this thing up?” Flight Engineer says “That’s what Fisher used to say.” They all laugh. Stewardess says “Come on guys, she’s had it rough the last couple of years…”

His mother’s mother never liked John, and he, well, never liked her. For his part, she was one more scold telling him how to live, for her, he was living proof that someone somewhere was a having an unauthorized good time. He always loved John cuz he was fun to be around, always had jokes you couldn’t repeat around the other adults. And one time, when someone made fun of his stutter, John had instantly cut them off.

Plus, if they were all in Roanoke, he might take the cousins down to the Roanoke Weiner Stand, down on the market. True to it’s name, it served hotdogs and little else, fries and soft drinks. All the way was mustard, onions, and chili. One of the original owners was usually there to put chili onto the dog, and the last time he went in, the guy was still there, at the age of 150, still putting chili on dogs and still saying the age-old “Somebody’s gotta be next.”

As he got older, he preferred the Texas Tavern several blocks over. The Tavern’s menu is a bit more extensive, even if the only thing he’d ever ordered was the chili dogs. He usually saved the Tavern or the Weiner Stand for a post-hike bite. The AT arc’d North and East around the City, and he always hiked some portion of it when he could.

He’d been on this flight more than a few times, the first back, way back, when it was a MD-11, bless its 3-engined heart. He was listening to a Coltrane playlist when he faintly heard a cabin announcement; he took his earbuds out in time to hear the captain explain what and where Shiprock is; to give everyone a chance to see it, he was dropping the left wing. He looked down at the massive rock formation on the New Mexico desert.

He was flying on an accidental flight with Phil to Los Angeles when the pilot did the same thing so everyone could see a crater put there by a meteorite eons ago. That flight was supposed to be a short flight to Toronto to see the Film Festival there. They got to the airport, and Phil realized he didn’t have his birth certificate and the Delta people told him he might not be able to get into Canada. They weighed their options and decided to burn some miles and go to the capital of movies and create their own film festival. So instead of a Mad Dog to Toronto, they had a ’57 to LA.

They found a room in West Hollywood at a Ramada that had clearly been redone by the Gay Decorating Mafia. It was not yer Grandma’s Ramada. One of the guys at the desk had pointed them down the strip to a local dive. Walking into the bar that evening, they hit it off with the bartender and a local. Soon enough, they were joined by a woman who, claiming to be a singer, would occasionally belt out some faint hint of a show tune—well, he guessed, show tunes were never his thing. Phil and the local guy talking, and the woman starting telling him about her career, she was,as her voiced confirmed, from England. She told him how she wound up in Hollywood and he guessed that story had been told a thousand times by as many people. Oh, and she was scheduled to be on Jay Leno next Tuesday night.

The woman’s attention was suddenly directed toward someone else. The local guy and the bartender asked him if he’d enjoyed his conversation with the Queen Mother. The Queen Mum? Yeah, that’s her nickname. She’d been around for a long as either one of them could remember and she was laboring—mightily, it appeared—under the impression that she could sing. Oh, and she almost always tried to bum a drink or a cigarette or something. Phil looked at him, “You didn’t give her anything…”

“No, she asked for money for something, I think. She is charming, I guess.”

The next Tuesday night, when the Queen Mum of Hollywood  was supposed to be on Leno, she wasn’t. Nor was anyone, for that matter. September 11, 2001 was the day that interrupted a lot of things.

She was still occupied in the back of the bar. Phil had struck up a conversation with a couple, the girl of which knew a dance club down the Santa Monica; she could get them all in sans cover. So, well, why not. They got in her car and went down to the club. It was fun doing something totally on the spur of the moment with someone you hadn’t known an hour before. Since smoking was verboten in California bars, it was equally nice to walk into a bar smelling like Chanel and walking out smelling like Chanel.

Going around Los Angeles watching indie films was a lot of fun and so was touring Paramount, including the Soul Train set. Going totally rogue on plans was a great time had by all.

His mind is thinking ahead to what do once this plane lands. This trip is beyond any plans he’d made. He was going to LA and then, maybe, San Francisco, driving, he guessed, up 1 and 101. He wanted to see Gordita Beach, Manhattan Beach as imagined by Pynchon in Inherent Vice. Somewhere in the area, just up from the beach is the house where he’d written Gravity’s Rainbow. He was now trying to finish re-reading the book. The book, in fact, was why he was now heading to LA. He wanted to come to an end in the same place where the narrative is ended by 00000.

Gravity’s Rainbow, his favorite, he guessed, had started off in London, and now the L-1011 was, showing by the chart on the bulkhead by the center lavatory, halfway across the Atlantic. Gordon was doing an independent project based on A Word Child. He’d thought about suggesting doing something similar with the Pynchon novel, but, well, he was guessing someone like Pynchon would be viewed dimly by the powers that be in the English Department and, he was reasonably certain he didn’t even understand half the book. It defied easy explanation by anyone, let alone him. He did, fueled by gin and tonic, go looking for the approximate location of Prentice’s digs, the house with the bananary on the roof.

He was imaging what the finished paper would look like. Him standing at all the places on the map where the rockets hit…where Slothrop had a one night stand, where he’d gotten a boner. What does he do? Stand there are make a self-portrait with a boner in some London neighborhood? He could think of a person or two that might like that….

The late-morning sun glares off the knife-edge of the wing as the slats and trailing flaps slowly cut down into the current. Clouds and time rush past as the 777 slices down toward Los Angeles. The journey westward is nearly complete.

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