Showing posts with label Mississippi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mississippi. Show all posts


Short Story: "The Levee"


You would hardly know a snaky muddy river flows behind the levee in front of my house, but it does. I live on the Mississippi River. So did Mark Twain. But he lived further up north in Missouri where the river’s clean. Down here it’s like somebody threw up in it. It’s not like the old days though when they sold cotton and had slaves. It’s like it runs through everyone’s mind like a sewer, which isn’t so bad because we’re not that different from Paris — they’ve got great sewers. The school bus passes along the levee zillions of times and I hardly take notice that the Mississippi is right there, flowing and churning. Is it true that oak trees are swept underneath its current and that no man has ever swum across the river alive? That’s what I heard. A guy fell off the ferry once and nobody ever saw him again. I’ve been on that ferry. It takes off with a gush of brown water spewing at the back. Kind of like when I am under the water in the bathtub and push the water out with my mouth, making monstrous bubbles.
I’ve ridden the ferry a couple of times with Sidney when he would take me to Algiers. It doesn’t cost any money so it’s kinda fun to get on when you’ve got nothing else to do. Sidney told me if you notice good enough you can spot spikes, like nails, in the crevices where pigeons like to roost. Up on top where the pilot sits. The spikes keep ‘em away so there are no pigeons on the ferry, at least none that I’ve seen, and the water looks so scary from up on the balcony; I think of the oak trees floating at the bottom – or maybe a dead body, thrown into the river from a dock downstream, careening, now, through the Mississippi, like a bullet. I saw this movie once about this British lady and she like kills herself in the river and they show her body whizzing by like a submarine. It was really weird. So, it made me think that maybe they got cars down there lodged in the mud and dead bodies and stuff. Or living creatures. You never know. It's really freaky. When I was like nine, Sidney would pick me up when we were on the ferry and I could look down from the banister and see all the yellow and gray swirls and trails of rainbow-colored gas coming from the ships and stuff.
Sidney and me look at the city. He points to the places he knows. The spire of the cathedral, he points out to me. He writes down stuff in a black leather notebook he keeps in his pocket. Even though he’s a schoolteacher he tells me he’s a poet. And I believe him. We gotta squint our eyes really good because the city’s like beneath the waves and the steeples on the churches seem to barely peek out from the green hills. And I know Sidney’s a poet because he can see into my eyes and look out with me and see the same things I see on the horizon. We both see things. Like an owl fly past the car on the River Road at night. Sidney says it was a Bard owl; you can tell it by its cry, who hoots for you? it says. And we both saw it.
When I was really young my mom and dad split up. I thought my dad was going to kill my mom when he came to our house one night yelling at the doorway, yelling to come in. Mom let him in and Dad stopped shouting and started crying. I saw Dad in Mom’s arm like a child being comforted after falling off a bike or somethin’. All I heard was Mom singing like “It’s over” and Dad just cried and cried until I thought he would never stop crying. I didn’t even know my dad could cry like that.
Dad moved into a trailer and sold his truck for a Monte Carlo. I was embarrassed when he dropped me off at school on Monday after spending a weekend with him. All the cars were new and shiny. Dad’s car was flaking and the exhaust spewed out plumes of hot smoke when it idled. And the car was so long that you could see it all the way from the playground.  When he finally got a better car, my brother and I volunteered to smash the Monte Carlo up with a jackhammer, but Dad wouldn't let us. In a way, I admired my dad’s love of old, huge cars, because it seemed to be genuine and I liked that. I liked that he bought a car that he could tinker with on weekends. Like I would tinker with my bike. I felt Dad and I had something in common.
The times we got along alright is when we went hunting up in Tensas Parish. You had to be real quiet or you didn’t catch anything. When I killed my first deer I was eleven years old. Dad’s voice, “You gotta learn to shoot that rifle good now” and he wouldn’t leave me alone about it until they had told him to lay off of me. “Why are you so hard on your kid?” Uncle John asked. Dad and Uncle John smeared me with that doe’s blood. Sidney said it was something like a William Faulkner novel and I told him what are you talking about? But he just said don't worry about it. I told Sidney I didn’t like the blood stuff but I knew it made me and Dad close. But I didn't like that I had to be so quiet in the deer blind because I wanted to talk and Dad would say shut up. Uncle John cut up the meat and I took some of it home and Mom and Larry made sausages. They were really good. Sidney even ate some even though he’s a vegetarian. I told him he didn’t have to but he ate one anyway. He said it tasted like the woods. I told him the whole story of killing the deer. I know he doesn’t like me hunting, but I think he minded me telling him about it. But I don't go hunting anymore because it's no fun because you can't say anything and I'd rather do stuff than just sit there all day.
When I get up in the morning Mom is really loud and she pulls the covers off my bed.  I go and turn the shower on really hot and go back to bed.  Mom comes upstairs and sees that I am still in bed and the shower is running really hot. She yells again and I yell back. Anger is the only thing that gets me up. I yell and scream and she tells me I’m too young to have a temper tantrum. I would never do that with my dad, she says. She’s right. Dad makes me say, “Yes sir. No sir.” Mom doesn’t make me say that but I wonder sometimes if she really loves me. I know she does, though.
I walk to the bus stop at like six thirty in the morning. On the levee they don’t pick you up in front of your house. The bus never veers off the route on River Road. Redeemer Middle School is in Destrehan five miles away but it’s still on the River Road. I hate school because people make fun of me. And it’s so boring too. Why do I need to know all this stuff anyway? And when I go to sit down at lunch I can never find a place to sit. They say you’re supposed to learn from your mistakes, but I didn’t do anything wrong. I looked on a map and River Road goes for hundreds of miles. All the way to Baton Rouge. I think they call it the Great River Road. And you can hardly see the river. You gotta climb up the levee and look out. You can see big ships with Russian written on the side in big letters and Greek written on the sides. In Kenner I went with Sidney and you can see where some pirate landed and we ate sandwiches there, once. We had walked all the way from our house and mom had to come and pick us up.
But, on our bus, I sit at the very first seat, my head cocked sideways on the windowpane, the visceral bumps shocking through my scrunched legs, propped against Miss Thibodeaux’s driver’s seat, her weight balancing my scrawny, elementary frame so she barely notices. Clay and Sparrow sit behind me, swapping MAD magazines. We like to find the funniest pictures so we can try to imitate ‘em and send in an idea of our own one day. I don’t draw but Clay does. Sparrow has ideas and so do I but Clay’s really good at putting it down in words.
Usually, we all get off at Clay’s stop.
The bus lurches to a halt at the corner of Leander and River Road and all three of us climb out like children coming home from the crusades. With the stop sign still blinking red on Miss Thibodeaux’s Yellow Bird, we walk in front and I wave. Throwing our stuff down on the green grass we’ll roll down the levee to the soft mud at the bottom. We’re finally free.
The river looks calm on the shore. Like you can step in it and nothin’ll happen. But we know better. We’re not that stupid.
I really don’t like rolling down the levee, though. Once I laid on my back and Sparrow and I rolled down together like two fighting cats. He held on to me so tight that I thought his ribs were going to rip into my chest.
“I feel like I’m going to throw up, Sparrow,” I said clutching my belly after we had rolled down. My body felt like a spun top and I couldn’t see straight.
“Then, throw up stupid, I’m not going to stop ya.”
Clay laughed.
“It’s not funny.”
“Yes, it is.”
“Shut up.”
“You first.”
“If you don’t shut up I’m gonna throw up on ya right now. I mean it.”
I tried to walk up the levee but it was so steep and I felt so drunk I didn’t think I’d make it but I was so angry at Sparrow that I forced myself up the hill and threw up Monday’s macaroni when I got to the top.”
“Jesus, Lane, that’s disgusting.”

I was embarrassed but didn’t want to show it. I felt for my schoolbag and flung it on my shoulders.

“Yeah, you look like you puked your whole lunch on the ground. Did ya bring a pooper scooper?”

They continued talking about it and I continued to ignore them.

I didn’t say anything and walked ahead of ‘em. “Come on don’t be mad.” Clay hollered out.
Trampoline ©2022 Greig Roselli Stones of Erasmus
©2023 Stones of Erasmus
Back on our street, we went through Clay’s backyard gate. Watching his cherry faced sister jump up and down on the trampoline, we laughed and tried to join her but all of us couldn’t fit; but I imagined while I jumped peeping over the fences, seeing into other peoples’ backyards, like jumping on the river, if it were elastic, jumping really high so that I could see the whole city. If I could jump high enough I might be able to see Lake Pontchartrain. Clay’s dog Brutus came barking and running from behind the shed. Slobber hung from the bitch’s lips. She looked like a sick version of Juliet and I wasn’t planning on being her Romeo. If I ran fast enough I might be able to escape Clay’s rabid dog. I was really afraid of it; the creature ate my fear, nipped at my pants, scared me too death.
“Lane, he won’t hurt you,” Sherry called out from the top of a cloud. “He’s really nice but dogs sense fear.”
“Yeah, he won’t hurt you,” Clay told me as the dog was running right for me. I was shorter than the mutt’s head. Instinct told me to run. I ran for the back door and slammed it shut. By the time Clay and Sparrow were both inside, his stupid dog barking viciously and Sherry still jumping, they looked as scared as I was. “God, I hate your dog, Clay.”
It’s like when I was like six. The coach told us to be aggressive and I never forgot the word. Aggressive. I had an inchoate idea of what the word meant: mean, rough, not reading a book. He had us in a huddle, "You guys gotta be more aggressive!" I felt like he was looking straight at me: the one who preferred to pick through the crimson clover patch by the goal post. Our soccer shorts were like two lollipop colored paper bags filled with air, strung around our puny legs. We bared our chests through our V-neck cotton t-shirts, about as much bravado as you can get from a pack of prepubescent boys. A fury of boys. And me. Furious in my own way; Dad yelling at games, "Keep your eye on the ball!" and Grandma not minding if I read to her entries from my dictionary, as long as the team was on the other side of the field. I couldn't understand the point of the useless fumbling, so I kept on reading. After a game, we were standing around the merry-go-round.
This one kid, Clarence, kept on making fun of me and he didn’t let me sit down where I wanted to sit. Sidney tells me to ignore him but it’s impossible.
We were standing around the merry-go-round. The dust in the air swirling around in nonsensical motes. A bigger kid and Clarence appeared from nowhere. “Lemme see that book.” It was a comic book version of Moby Dick. “No,” I said. “Come on,” he said and took my book. “No,” I said, “Give it back. It’s mine.” “I’m just gonna look at it. Geez. Get a grip. pussy.” Johnny, the bigger kid, with thicker legs than mine, interjected, “Yeah, fuck face, just let him look at it; he ain’t gonna hurt it.” I eased up and said sure; I wanted the book back, though. He read from my book. But not the real words. “And Lane sucks dick. Says so here. And eats his momma’s pussy and Lane is an ass wipe. Man. This is good shit.” Hahhhahhhh. They all laughed. Spat on the floor; looked like blood clots on the concrete. And just like that the bigger kid tore the book in shreds and deposited the pieces, like confetti, over the playground, the husk of the book sprawled on the ground like an emasculated man; its flesh swirling in the dust. “Don’t like your book, sorry,” and he laughed. And they were gone.
I gathered up the pieces I could find, sat down, and tried to put the pages back together. My hands shaking, I tried to calm down. The eye of the whale looked at me from its torn pages. The other children in the playground comforted me after the bigger kid and Clarence had left. Sitting cross-legged, a boy my age told me not to worry about it; I could get another book. By this time, ten or twelve other kids had gathered around me to see what was wrong – why was Lane so sad? – I had gained some composure, got up, as if nothing had happened, stuffed pieces of the book into my pockets (maybe I could save a few words) and to no one in particular, I said thank you. We played in the crimson clover patch until it was time to go home.
So, one day I just got fed up with him.
At lunch, we were standing in line and he was behind me; he said something to me about being a fag so I turned around and pushed him down with all my might. I couldn’t believe that I had just done that. I saw the blurred faces of the kids around me; I saw Clarence on the cafeteria floor. I was so nervous, the energy was spewing out of me like a fire hydrant had exploded and I ran for the hallway. I ran into the bathrooms and found a stall to sit in until I calmed down until I could muster up enough strength to go back outside. I kicked the stall door and the noise sounded like shotgun backfire. I know it sounds stupid but I didn’t know my own strength when I pushed that kid down. I thought everyone was going to make fun of me. I thought I was going to get in trouble and get suspended. I thought Clarence was going to come looking for me and beat me up.
I must have stayed in that bathroom for no more than five minutes but it felt like years. I heard the door close and a familiar voice calling my name. It was Ms. Lavern, the lunch lady calling my name. I came out of the stall, still shaking like a thumped violin.
“What are you doing in the girl’s bathroom, Lane?”
“I don’t know. Is Clarence okay?”
“Oh yeah. He’s okay. Done sized him up, all’s I could tell. But you shouldn’t be in the girl’s bathroom, sweetie. Somebody might mistake you for a peeping tom.”
Ms. Lavern brought me to Principle Sloon’s office. Mrs. Sloon asked if I was okay. “Did I want to go home?” “No?” “Okay.” “Well, then go back to class.”
I was still petrified that everyone would make fun of me. I still thought I had done something horrible. Something irredeemable. The banner in the fourth grade hallway read, “Forgive 7 X 700 times”. Ms. Cinder’s room was 131. I opened the door to my classroom. When everybody saw me they clapped and cried, “Woohoo. You made Clarence go home! How did you do it? He told the teacher he wasn’t feeling good and his grandma came and brought him home!”
And you know what? I never knew why they were clapping for me even with all of their explanations. I was utterly stunned and sat down at my seat. And Clarence Lotts never teased me again.
The only other time I fought a bully was at Jeremy Accuri's house. We were playing in the empty lot next to his house – filled with cans, nails, rotting pieces of wood. On the edge of the Mississippi. The River Road humming. His little sister tagging along. The neighbor too. Josh. I forget his last name. He was skinny and punctuated by a raggedy set of dress, torn holes in his torso and thigh. Suffering from a cold, he coughed at us as we played, snot pasted to his cleft. I don’t know what triggered inside of me my soccer coach’s mantra to be aggressive, but in the middle of hide-and-go-seek, I hurled a rusty, empty can of USDA peaches right at him; hit him square in the forehead. Blood was everywhere. Jeremy couldn’t believe it; ran to tell his mom. His sister screamed. Josh stood still for a minute. I thought he was going to topple over, dead. But he lunged towards me, angry. When he caught me in a grapple he couldn’t do anything except bear hug me to the ground; I pushed him off and we both walked to the house, both of us sniffling. In shock, not believing my own aggression, I was horrified that I had hurt him so badly. Blood was smeared on his head. Jeremy’s mom saw I was upset and told me everything was going to be all right. “Do you need a hug?” she asked me and I said, “Yeah, I think so.” And I tipped toed to clutch her broadly for a second then let go naturally. I was relieved that the adults seemed nonplussed. Josh went to the hospital. Got stitches. They didn’t call my mother. I never saw Josh again, on purpose. If I saw him on the playground, I avoided him. I didn’t even go back to Jeremy’s house after that. I was afraid of seeing them again; fearful they would remember the day I broke open a kid’s head.
Back at home, I can relax for a little bit. I have French homework to do and Sidney, when he comes to visit, will help me a little bit. Last week I had to memorize the days of the week in French. I don’t know why I took French. I just wanted to. But I am going to take French again next year. When I am in the shower I recite the numbers out loud so I can remember them. I told Sidney not to talk to me when I am in the shower. Because I can’t hear him. He tries to have a conversation but I am like, “I can’t hear you Sidney!” but it doesn’t stop him. He just goes on and on. So I just say the stuff I know in French and if I forget something, I can poke my head out of the shower, and say, “Sidney, what’s Thursday in French?” And he’ll say it if he’s still around. Usually, he’s gone by then, grading papers. Or whatever.
Standing by the car on Sunday night, we went riding out to Ruddock. There are two bridges in Ruddock, side by side where the interstate cuts through the swamp, (the Mississippi River a faint treacle of music) trailed by the railroad, intersected by the Bonnet Carré spillway, where one hump lies, a measly device made from pre-stressed concrete, hardly a limp over the bog, standing next to the integrated freeway, carrying its burden, finesse — (cutting, slicing, bifurcating, dividing) we don’t even notice the smaller bridge until we come down the ramp to meet it and Sidney expounds on the merits of democracy, and I mention that you only have to whisper to this little brother, listing to the side, an experiment in contrast and from here, at the bayou’s edge, the watery pass, drenched with sweat, blood filled frogs, dragonflies, rotten fish bait on the side of the service road; you can notice the smudge of water, at this more introspective level, the whirr of transit on the freeway above, seemingly distant, the one, two, three car salute on the smaller bridge, thumping along — the transition of life, squirming, unconscious, almost, impervious, almost, to the apparent arrogance of the freeway above, looming almost, carrying its burden of trucks and eighteen wheelers, little foxes and patrols, sharing secrets — see, you can go a quarter of a mile, cross over Maurepas Pass, and come back over the yellowing trestle, and then go back again onto the Eisenhower Freeway Interchange, in an agreeable neverending circuit; back again, back to the bogs, and the suspended water minnows, a secret every time even though there are some secrets that can never be told, for they are too much to hold, too much of a burden, if I can call it that; these are the secrets that I save for later. We both feel complete, satisfied almost, even if a little relieved, and in the quiet space of an afternoon, the stench of that morning’s fishing still in the air, after throwing pebbles at the wasp husks underneath the John J. Mayer interchange, the water the color of chickory, brown as the coffee I drink from the Mississippi, we take a nap in the car, our secrets, for now, floating like the dragon flies whizzing through the air and I think I am so lucky, the luckiest guy in the world.

Greig Roselli  @ 2009


Google Maps and the Christ Haunted Way to Jackson, Mississippi

Read about a backroads car trip from New Orleans, Louisiana to Jackson, Mississippi.
Figure 1: The route I took on a recent backroads car trip from New Orleans to Jackson
    Obsession with the world’s best search engine and an itch to travel led me to plan a trip for myself earlier this summer with Google Maps.  With Google’s clever map service I can actually get satellite imagery of my own backyard, sans the barking dog, by typing in an address and presto -- after a couple of seconds, an overhead satellite image appears on the screen. Like electrons swirling in a vacuum, maps are possibilities, discovery.  Looking from above like a god over a cosmic machine, I can see the earth’s surface, tops of houses, beaches along rivers, even the shadows cast by buildings. The ripples of water over a lake. Matchbox cars parked on the sides of the streets. If you peer closely, even mailboxes. The odd thing is, I noticed, after playing around for an hour or two -- the streets are empty, hardly a person in sight, which causes me to believe that the planet is vacant.  Where are the people? Inside, hooked up to high-speed internet? Well, why not? It is delicious information accessible to the layman. It feels intrusive, yet enticingly fun; almost too powerful for the ordinary person. Without even being there, without the aid of an airplane, from a chair, I can pan over a river that follows a paved two-lane road. When I click on the Hybrid button it indicates in startling yellow that this is Highway 17 (See figure 1). Wow.  Well. That’s awesome. I check out my friend Tony’s apartment.
   I can’t peer into his window with Google, but it’s pretty darn close. There are limitations to this voyeuristic peeping tom engine. Limitations. Restraint. I am restricted to the US and a little bit of Canada and Mexico and an outline of the rest of the world. As of this printing, you can’t get a bird’s eye view of the Louvre or the Great Wall. And, even in the ole US of A, you can’t see everything crystal clear. There are coordinates that Google won’t allow you to see. Either the satellites didn’t take pictures of these regions or Google technicians haven’t gotten to it. Or maybe Uncle Sam wrote them a letter, saying -- whoah now, you can’t be showing the tops of those oil refineries or those top secret coordinates. When I scroll over those areas with my mouse, it’s all a gray ambiguity but I can outline the details of every housetop in the French Quarter in New Orleans and survey the breach in the levee caused by Katrina along the industrial canal. I enjoyed the aesthetic of taking note of the design of the roofs, a strange patchwork of L’s and Z’s built on a solid uniformed grid. Strange.
    It is interesting what Google purveys to the common user and what it shuts out; maybe it’s arbitrary. Some of the satellite images are discolored and difficult to zoom into, but urban areas are crisp and easily zoomable. I can get a great shot of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Lower Manhattan. I can even zoom over the roof of my own house. While I’m in it! It becomes a tad solipsistic: here I am with a laptop computer outside a coffee shop wirelessly tapping into the world wide web, looking from above, exactly where I stand. As I get a bird’s eye view of where I stand here, I stand before me, looking straight out into the parking lot. I look up into the sky to catch a glimpse of the satellite that took my picture. All I see is blue sky, clouds on the edge of the horizon. No sight of the all-seeing eye. I found out later Google Maps is not a real-time camera. The images are created by still Landsat satellite images.
    And most practically, I was able to map out a trip to Jackson, Mississippi without using interstates.
    I wanted a Christ-haunted trip through the old south. The back lanes of rural Mississippi. I wanted to see the white starched steeples of every church even before I drove by. So I packed some notebooks, a pencil, my Power Book G4, a flashlight, trail mix, a few books and a bathing suit in case I wanted to swim in the Bogue Chitto River or the Pearl and I set off in mom’s car. I was on a mission to find the South I had read about, her regal lords and ladies, whitewashed churches, myths and images of Eudora Welty, Beth Henley, Lewis Nordan, Walker Percy. Even O’Connor (not born in Mississippi, but I am sure that her characters populate its hamlets).
    And in reality, there they were. I saw ‘em. On Sunday I was there. And saw. Looked. Wrote. Every town I drove through was like a queer recursive. In Tylertown. Georgetown. Monticello. Florence. Pearl. Lexie.
    I started out on Highway 437. It’s called Lee Road by the locals because supposedly General Lee marched down it with his troops. I stopped at the corner store to fill the gas tank. As is usual with corner stores, there is a dumpy matron positioned behind a counter who serves you without a smile, suspiciously eyeing any stranger who walks in; I wasn’t a regular so I didn’t get a cordial “hello,” just a stare. I was in and out of there but I did notice on the way out the cover of the Times-Picayune: Local Gas Stations Fudge Tax Rates. Through no fault of their own, it seemed, local corner gas stations were overcharging tax on goods without realizing it. 
    From seven in the morning until three in the afternoon everyone was in church. Every time I drove by it was a different stage of worship: the gathering at the steps; the Sunday waltz inside the main doors, the big-bosomed belles pulling themselves out of their cars in time for service. By half-past one I was still seeing the same scene, becoming a little afraid that I would be caught inside this never-ending reel of praise and worship. On Sunday along Highway 27, the only “hopping” places are the churches. If you aren’t in church you’re reminded of Jesus on every corner. Jesus saves. Jesus the Lord of All. Have you read your bible today? Jesus over Tunica. Get right with Jesus. It is a constant reminder inscribed on every inscribable pulp, branch, and tree. Names of the churches stick in my mind: Abundant Life Church. Starlight Church. New Life. Living Word. King Solomon’s Church (White and small with a big propane tank out front with a graveyard on the side). Cornerstone Church. New Bethel. Saint Paul the Apostle (that was the one Catholic church I spotted). Some churches were plain white clapboard edifices while others were veritable theaters, replete with jeweled studded bas-reliefs on the sides which at night lit up in neon like the downtown cineplex. All the Baptist churches had similar architecture. Reddish brown buildings with a simple white steeple. The differing characteristics were the size and the extent of the stained glass windows. In one town, the largest Baptist church I saw, boasted tall windows detailing the life of Jesus in stained glass. Graven images, I thought. But no. These windows are didactic, not worshipful.
    Also status. The name of the pastor printed in large letters on the front. People ask, “Which church do you got to?” At the Catholic church, the priest processes out with a handful of children at his side, the electric organ bubbling away orthodox tunes while boys sitting next to me snicker and yawn. At Greater Starlight Church there is a menagerie of color and light, the pastor not processing out but skipping, jumping. Not chaotic. It is very organized. As if everyone knows their role. The older folk get into it much more, while some of the younger people fold their arms. In one church there is a coffee shop just outside the sanctuary so you can get your joe on the way out, just before picking up the kids at Children’s church. Clever. One church proclaims: Make your family apart of our family. Doughnuts and jam available in the parish hall after Mass. Signup sheets for vacation bible school.
    I swear I was waiting to see Manly Pointer come out of church with his hard top bible and shitty grin, gin underneath the flaps of his books. But I didn’t seem him. Nor Hulga. Everything looked clean and decent. But I didn’t check the contents of folks’ bibles. The dilapidated Hard Times junkyard was certainly O’Connoresque. As well as the propinquity of the bars to the churches. The downtowns were unchanged; old store fronts. Some closed up with boards while others still open for business. 
    Walking the streets of Jackson on a Sunday afternoon confirmed my suspicion the South is still alive. A car stopped at an intersection I wanted to cross. The window rolled down. A beefy African American woman eyed me down. “Wanna come to my place?”
    “Ummm. No. Have a good day,” I said.
    I walked around her car. And walked through the park. I realized the city was mostly dead. Everything was closed on a Sunday. But the park was full of people. And the few cars circulating traffic were ladies looking for a quick fix. I was not really in the mood to pay out cash for a quickie, especially with a beefy lady. And none of the blokes in the park looked that attractive. So, I found my mom’s car and fled Jackson and headed for the burbs. Ate Chinese food. Found the interstate and avoided the Christ Haunted route.