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Short Ode to Salinger

by Antonio Gloria 

 

(Preface)

Salinger is taunting me. He tells me to write a short story. -I can spell so I’m supposed to write a short story? I question him stately. -What the hell am I supposed to write about? and how the hell have I all of a sudden become a character?

  

*

            Alexandra, a beautiful, slender girl and wavy brunette, with the God given talent to walk confidently, walked into Samuel’s room and sat down at the foot of his bed. -Well, are you up? Alexandra asked while playing with Samuel’s hair; ‘he’s always upside down on the bed’, she thought. Samuel, a strange and attractive young man, had been listening to Stravinsky conduct Stravinsky and the end of La Sacre du Printemps had finished a little after Alexandra entered the room. Samuel heard silence and Alexandra’s hands by his ears and so decided to speak.

-I heard that Chelsea will beat Milan, Samuel answered, somewhere in the song. He wanted both teams to advance, but neither had yet, so Alexandra figured he was talking in his sleep. The game was only a possibility at that point. But he’s thinking about it because he had a dream or something or other.

-I want Milan to beat Chelsea… But what day are we on? she replied.

-It’s Friday, right?

And we’re going to a show for the festival tonight, he thought, and then remembered she couldn’t go.

-Turn the stereo back on.

-What do you want to listen to?

-It doesn’t matter. Samuel answered opening his eyes a bit to make sure that the world he had ordered by sound was at least similar to the world he could see. He watched Alexandra look for a song; she was in a blue dress wearing his light (as in not heavy), also blue jacket. Samuel couldn’t feel it but figured it was cold in the room. He had gotten used to his cold room. 

-Are you almost ready? he asked Alexandra; she was expected at her sister’s.

- You have time to eat here first…or you could always go see your mother. Alexandra said. Alexandra gave counsel to Samuel in an attempt to mend the relationship between Samuel and his mother that he, Samuel, had let fall away.  -But we still have time, I’m in no rush to go anywhere too soon, she sleepily had continued on talking to keep him for herself a little while longer. Alexandra had eaten while Samuel was asleep and had grown tired herself. ‘He’s still half asleep’, she thought wanting to fall into sleep.

An instant later just before Samuel woke from half asleep something interrupted his thinking.

-I say to you, I wonder where else we are? I’m trying to keep it in order but it’s not simple, someone said, startle yourself!

            Samuel woke from his half asleep.

-Do you have the phone? It was on the desk.

-Hold on. Alexandra found the phone inside a book of poetry, on top of the book was Samuel’s wallet and on the wallet was three quarters of a pill. She gave him the phone and went down stairs for a few minutes. On the third step she called back to him, -hey I took a quarter.  

Samuel thought for a while that if he was going to be out anyway he might as well see his mother, if only to please Alexandra, but he’d better call first to make sure she’d be home. Samuel called but his mother was getting ready to go to church. -I’m damn sure not going to mass today, Samuel said after he’d hung up the phone. He didn’t feel like it. He seldom ever felt like going to mass. But at least it’s an enviable cause, he thought hearing Alexandra on her way back up the stairs.

-So are you going?

-No, she’s going to church.

-And you’re not going to church?

-No; I’ve hell on the inside as well as the out, Samuel said with half a laugh, you know that.

-You’re a dumbass. Who said that?

-Cash, Samuel said and then went on, I do respect her religion. I wouldn’t care if I didn’t believe some of it but I’m not a fan of going to mass.

-But you did finally find God?

-Yea, I found one that acts and behaves like yours, but mine is better.

-You’re an idiot.

-You see, my God teaches me to be kind.

-and to be an ass?

-yea, you’re get’n’it.

-shut up. She said and he smiled.

-What time did you need to leave? Samuel asked lifting up his legs to let Alexandra lie across the bed, at a right angle from what would properly be right side up, but the bed is soft all the way around and both of them took full advantage of that fact. Samuel replaced his feet under her thighs to warm up his toes.

-Seven  thirty, eight. She said with her eyes closed.

-Sleep for a while, I’ll wake you up with time.

At seven twenty seven pm Samuel woke up Alexandra and within fifteen minutes they were in his car and on the way to S. 5thstreet. It took twelve minutes to get there, so Alexandra would be a little early but not too early, like she always likes to be whenever she shows up anywhere. Samuel always liked being late. He always wanted things started before he got there.

After leaving Alexandra, Samuel went downtown and pictured crazy worlds in front of him but only normal people passed. He called his brother to see if he, Samuel, was still sane and if he, David, his brother, had gone to the festival or not. There were several shows and he knew David was going to one or more but Samuel didn’t know if he himself could get in any place, all the places were packed, at least the places Samuel had any interest to attend. David was in a bar, if the drinks were still free…or a venue tonight. Samuel didn’t have a damn clue what to do with himself.

Aftersome disappointing events Samuel went home.

-I have returned and I am full. He announced upon his return to Alexandria. Alexandra, he called. But the city had been deserted. She wasn’t there. His drunk mind imagined strange conversations. And he lay himself down on the bed with one foot on the ground to keep the world from spinning too much.

-Did you speak? He thought she’d ask of him, concerned about the relationship between he and the city.

-Of course.

-Of what?

-Of many things. What does it matter to you? Samuel replied like in a play, with every emotion. Then it would be alright at the time, and Alexandra could relax again, and Alexandria can again be the great city of learning. -I have to get ready to leave unless you don’t want to leave me, he thought he heard, and he thought Alexandra was somewhere (still playing) in the room.

            Samuel got up getting ready to leave for some reason. He’s out of his mind, but he stopped and had a thought, ‘am I asleep’, and he opened his eyes to darkness and sounds of the Boss coming from his radio. He was still lying with his foot on the ground.

            He felt like leaving but didn’t want to move.

In the dream he didn’t want to be in…everything seemed inconsequential. I’m back! something may have or may have not shouted aloud. -And I got turned the fuck down. A character said, and another voice said -show a little faith. And a reel spun lighting the wall with moving pictures but the sounds of the room matched the movie only when the people talked. What happened? Samuel heard someone say from the film and was surprised the moving image on the wall refused to speak to him directly; then the music got loud. Samuel could make out that the image projected; it was the festival and the vague rolling portrait of the main character, that Samuel had no clue who the hell that character was, was sent there to find someone to interest him. ‘Ignore everything that isn’t perfectly worldly’ Samuel thought to keep himself grounded. But the character was similar to Samuel and stood in a line that had been split to two and next to him, in the newly formed line for the privileged, was some girl that was cute but the Samuelesque creature couldn’t move or speak.

She was divine however.

-Was she beautiful? Samuel heard this inquiry from outside his dream. But still replied aloud and to his dream scene. -I said leaving that you’re very beautiful Julie.

Samuel hoped she knew he meant to be honest even if he was asleep. Alexandra, also drunk, walked in and fell into bed with him.

In the middle of the night Samuel woke up.

-I was quite horribly outside myself yet still I was present, Samuel said. And so was I, Alexandra answered asleep.

 

***

 

            The morning Samuel felt was incorrigible. First, like every morning, he noticed his room was quite literally a mess and he needs to clean, both the room and himself. He looked past the mess and got up and went to the bathroom. He pissed and then took a shower to clean off the goddamn alcohol sweat he had accumulated in his sleep.

After he bathed, Samuel reentered a world of dirty floors and dry air. The conversation from before, that played intermittently in his head, was two days old.

 

            Late in the evening Samuel was relaxing before bed, thinking of the soccer game he played in earlier that afternoon and went over the events that had taken place. Samuel isn’t bashful with his talent but he had always been lazy with it. He’s a player whose feet and mind deserve to be on the field, and his heart is only strong when he’s on the field but he can’t make himself train to be great.

 

***

 

Around 10:34 Monday morning Samuel was greeted by Alexandra’s great woefully loving eyes. He’s no longer in the house by himself. He has an audience. She sits eager, concerned and posed.

 

***

Wednesday evening. Slept half lost through lost.

 

***

 

Samuel was sitting in his Thursday morning theology course unconsciously watching the pretty girl playing with her phone. ‘There is a desert here’ he thought for some reason. It’s funny that in a room with thirty other people there is still a desert present. The girl with the phone was playing with her hair. Samuel looked to kill Buddha, as he had heard was only customary, (he often heard a lot but only payed attention to the stupid shit). Samuel sat there trying to get all the people to realize that this very pretty girl was just sitting there in everyone’s presence; but he didn’t speak to them so they didn’t have a clue about what he thought. He is ill-immediate.

Pope, pope and cardinal fight a fourteenth century battle and there is no order. ‘People ar’tryin’ to label God and Godhead.’ He always falls into paradox.

Samuel heard a joke from the professor.

-two brothers attending seminary cheated on a test and they’re sent away in trouble to the Prefect’s office. The younger brother goes in first and he’s asked by the prefect, “where is God...where is God?” repeatedly and getting louder (trying to get the boy to understand that God is everywhere). The boy didn’t know how to answer so after a while he’s sent out of the office. When he got outside his brother asked him, “what happened?” “I don’t know, but apparently they can’t find God and they think we have something to do with it.”

Samuel found it funny.

Professor caught him looking at her tits. She has nice tits.

 

Vishistadvaita. (was learned)

 

Still Thursday (later in the day). Samuel remembered that he wanted to remember today was Thursday. For some reason. He sat and listened to a group of fifteen students discussing internals and externals. The girl that likes him sat directly across from him…across the room she had a somewhat disappointed look about her. Today asusuall. Attention. Old-gray-not- so-shining-grey- professor talked about noticing variations and distinctions.

 

***

 

Tired Friday. I spoke with Lehrerin Somer. Somer is an older, gorgeous woman…and there’s beauty somewhere in there.

-I’ll explain. She said but Samuel wasn’t really paying attention.

Explain away…Samuel thought as she continuously spoke joyfully, stressed, tired, worn-out and hopped up on caffeine. She is happy, stressed, tired, worn-out like something happy, stressed, tired, and worn-out should be. But she’s even more bubbling than that, he thought…and even though she doesn’t talk about why she’s so often under stress, she still has so much energy.  And she shines also.

Somer is beautiful with her vigor. With all its abundance I picture Somer a character arrested and depressed and I know there’s something beautiful there.

 

In there if you like.

She’s a kind,

foreign affected

fascist.

Now she is free.

And seamlessly so.

She is right

And still

Somer understands abstraction.

 

I happily picture her joyful and depressed.

 

Because I only know her superficially I find the dichotomy at home. (I should know.)

 

But Samuel felt like a child alone lost in a strange city when she told him she might not go. But don’t worry.  She will go.

The point is …you look at her hand and you want to hold it.

I looked at her hand, and this might be confusing, but I in time present in the future talk to him as I talk to you now. “Soon enough you’ll be somewhere foreign where they speak her language and you can let her speak all she wants.”

He didn’t think but came up with a lot of things that were useless.

 

***

 

The only problem is I love excess. Tilt, tilt. Glass and head. And so we further progress. I’m filthy, I need to shower but I’m waiting for the girl to leave. I don’t mind my filth for a little while longer. It’s quite alright and bearable. She’ll be gone soon; out of each other’s lives for a time.

I woke up in darkness as I fell asleep in darkness. There was little noise but some obstruction. Though they didn’t call it. I haven’t bathed. It’s morning. I should shower. So have done so, says next sentence. He’s drying himself listening to the girl. She grieves singing. He benefits while she sings, and she knows that ‘for the time be patient’. She’s a gorgeous little apple heard.

He’s in his room still listening to her…concerned with faith.

Faith is on the upsurge. Something must be. It’s interesting how it brings light. Interesting discovery. I never really knew that. I guess its part of the difference. He approaches a level of understanding he wasn’t aware existed. He’s allowing himself to learn. She’s still singing.

He had been lectured since dawn. Her thoughts are thoughts unbecoming of him. Samuel finds listening to an old friend’s voice over hers is better, so he tunes out the broad. Blue frog is starring at Ellie from the window sill holding the pipe holding Blue frog. He scratches a hand with an opposite hand and realizes he needs to cut his nails. His focus is everything as near immediate as possible. He plays his guitar. She has long since fled.

 

***

Famous long-dead men believe his quandaries absurd. Similar famous men think like he does.

Samuel hears two knocks on the door.

-what? he asks

-what?

Nobody answers.

Another knock. Then more.  He rises. A hanger hits the floor, now dead.  Quick knock. P-bptpt. Rise quickly. Nothing.

He ran into boredom an hour after discussing its good qualities. You can think but it doesn’t let you do a god damn thing, he thinks. Thinking and producing. But horribly alone. And he realizes it is not boredom but loneliness.

He doesn’t feel bad having hung the traitor.

 

I need a love. Someone. Having hung out all I’ve known I’m left here without. Alone. Not even wanting; I need to find a place, among this mess, of sincerity and comfort. I believe I am making an effort, and so I can progress. Their many million things running through my head.

-I think curiously of my failed efforts, he says to Elle.(yes, Ellie)

His day was growing dark on this early spring late morning. He’s beginnning his fall. There are many things needing to be resolved. He calls upon patience for the day. Alexandra’s not around. He cannot see her eyes. He sees the same expression, and while she is lovely, he cannot find her smell.

***

 

Alexandra separated the whites from the jeans and the darks and placed the delicates to the side to be washed first. She needs to wash; she’s wearing only his old yellow soccer shorts. She can gorgeously only wear yellow old soccer shorts. She’s in perfect shape, gorgeous condition. She’s thinking over her piano music. She practiced earlier but was disappointed. But because she’s eine Schauspielerin she’s alright to finish it later.

Her character here was something interesting. This is where her mind went.

Something he had not. I have to change. Go. That too. Go. Go. G.o.mhmm. hmmm. ..hmnmmnhuummmh..hm hm. I don’t know… find that damn paper.

Schauspielerin Alexandra was to play Girl 2. The writer hadn’t even named her. But she works with what she has. She’ll improve the character; she knows what she is doing. And she is a model actress. Tall, thin, perfectly curved and beautiful. Alexandra should play Alexandra and she should tell him that. She looks for him because for some reason she’s comfortable and not afraid to make her suggestion. She can make him name his doll for her.  

 

***

 

-Alexandra, come here please. Samuel says to her nice and sarcastic.

-Please what? she plays.

-Please doll, now get your ass over here.

            Alexandra had successfully worked the film to make her the star. In less than two weeks. She had succeeded in satisfying the attention of the writer. Samuel only needed the girl to write the film about; he found that an actress and muse fuck the same. Comic transition. Alexandra found the man talented and intelligent enough to capture her qualities and write them out correctly for her to express them again. She found her mirror in a person. Luckily for him her acting was comparable to his writing, it needed to have been or otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to recreate what she once acted out on accident.

They play well together.

            Alexandra, wearing clean clothes as always, looking lovely in a blue summer dress is deciding between a cheeseburger or a piece of pizza and she really wants both. She’ll take one of each and only eat a little. She doesn’t care if people are starving. It is not even a thought. Her hair is soft mittelblonde and is turned away while she stretches, showing him her breasts. Samuel looks on attentively. –so did you decide? He tries to care what she wants to eat but he can only really pay attention at looking.

           

***

 

S-         AC Milan will meet Liverpool in Athens.

A-        So what do you say?

S-         Milan

A-        Yea

S-         Kaká and Gerard. That’s all I have to say.

A-        Are you ever goin’ to play?

S-         Yea. I need to commit myself…I have the talent.

A-        You just need to be in good form.

S-         Exactly.

 

            Alexandra has begun to be the catalyst for Samuel to endeavor to move forward with profitable, and satisfying, work.

 

 

***

            Samuel spent the day alone; it was very humid and uncomfortable. At night he erects a miniature pillar of rolled paper by rolling paper. He holds the ends, pressing down on the cylinder, imagining its strength; he only doesn’t know the mathematical interpretation. He’ll have to learn it.

            Outside is raining.

            He couldn’t imagine himself capable. The day was spent watching fuetball and getting high. The day had been a needed dull day to overcome a gap. He doesn’t know what he understands.

            Crhh’—chrreahh.

            He thinks of the thunder he hears and wonders from where the light flashes in the window came. Cruel acts crash into each other and he doesn’t know how to make all other persons know he is only playing.  He wants to look at himself from outside himself. He wants to be objective, and he starves for God.

            Pbchchh—chpbhh.

            After a while it is silent; the rain subsides quietly. Dies like all good things should die.

 

I feel these cruel penalties.

            He thinks of the soft girl playing, changing color with her hair. He had no clue how she did it. He only remembers she did it so perfectly so that he knew who she was, always.

 

***

 

            Samuel feels a flurry of existence. It’s like being repeatedly punched.  There are insequential movements bowling over about in his head…and he doesn’t understand where his thoughts are. –I thought there was more to it but that seems to be it. I remember I was in a room like my brothers but much cleaner.

            And it fades to a long time ago that doesn’t really matter much…to a pause.

           

He hears a pleasant score…AC Milan  2 – 1 Liverpool…  

 

 

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