Friday, April 14, 2006

Police blotter: nude elderly male

A South Buffalo Street caller reported a nude elderly man on a porch in the area

Lloyd couldn't find his wallet. No, he knew he'd left it right there on the coffee table, or maybe on the desk, on the kitchen counter, next to the bed. How could a person find anything, all these papers, all this stuff? Why do we have so much stuff? The mailman keeps bringing paper, slipping it in all innocent through that slot in the door, you hear it shuck in and its another layer of dirt on your grave, another thing, another piece of stuff, seventy-five years of stuff piling up, report cards from when he was eight years old, letters from his mother, bills, catalogs, instructions on how to use the microwave, the toaster, the can opener, seventy-five years of paper, enough to suffocate Lloyd enough to drown a city, and still it kept coming, still that sinister little snick of the paper slipping through the slot, the whole world is drowning in paper and tissue boxes and blankets and keychains with people's names on them and postcards from Hawaii.

Lloyd's hands moved over the papers, the photographs in frames, the band-aids, the tweezers, the reading glasses, it was enough, he was done with all of it. Seventy-five years was enough, too much, it all had to go. His hands locked down on a pile, magazines and Christmas cards and checkbooks; holding it to his chest, his breath coming faster, he pushed open the door, out into the light, and heaved all of it into the street.

No, that wasn't right. No, then he'd just shift it all to the street, to the outside world, and he'd still be in the box, the mail still snicking in every day, no, he had to get out, himself.

Lloyd left the door open, and walked out into the street.

Yes, this was better. The air breathed lightly on his cheek, springtime air. There were cherry blossoms on the tree across the street. His feet were hot in his shoes, so he unlaced them and stepped out, leaving them behind, then his socks, one at a time. He put his feet in the strip of grass between sidewalk and street and remembered the park where he played when he was a kid. Grass like this, soft in April, so green it almost hurt to look, walking along the sidewalk barefoot with his pal Harvey, ice cream dripping over the hand that held the cone, their shirts off, and Lloyd unbuttoned his shirt, letting it float gently to the ground, the breeze in his chest hair.

This was good, nothing else felt like this. His belt was next, then the pants, jingling heavy to the ground, keys in the pocket, boxer shorts last.

Nothing closing him in, now. Lloyd took in a deep breath, and smiled. Down the street was a big, deep porch, like he remembered from when he was a kid, the kind with a porch swing.

Lloyd sat down on the broad steps, cement cool against his skin, and settled back to watch the world go by.

5 comments:

monkey 0 said...

only the keen eye of chemical billy could have discerned that the porch in question was not, in fact, his porch.

Geo said...

This is great. I'm waiting for my gram to follow suit (birthday suit) any day now.

I miss you.

azuremonkey said...

I agree with Lloyd. As soon as I hit fifty, I'm going to walk around bare-naked all the time. No one will be able to get me into clothes, no matter what.

You just wait and see.

Chemical Billy said...

Geo and bluemonkey, I'm with your gram and you. After a certain point, clothes are superfluous.

Monkey0, well, obviously. (or not)

mysfit said...

the whole world is drowning in paper and tissue boxes and blankets and keychains with people's names on them and postcards from Hawaii. this line is really striking

nicely done, m'dear - i knew all along that the porch in question wasn't his - it was so , um obvious ;)