Friday, September 12, 2003

The loneliest numbers

Our world, that wonderful talking box, continues to crumble.

First the Tunnel King permanently "slipped on a bar of soap" and magnificently subtracted yet another integer from that magic number of seven. On the road to Zanzibar that is to be expected. Because even centenarians eventually wear out their welcome onstage awshucksing the crowd, waving the flag while one-lining prewritten material. But that paled in comparison to what happened last night on the irony of all days.

The Man in Black said "don't to worry" one last time and who else but Jack Tripper seriously pratfalls. And the ring of fire burns brightly and loudly. Chrissie, though, is shocked, dropping her Thighmaster to the floor. Where in heaven is Tex, anyway?

Three is company after all.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Remembrance Because of Things Passing By

On Highway 301 South, Edisto Drive, one mile out of Orangeburg just past the rosed gardens, he pointed ahead to the oncoming bend in the road, at the fruit stand owned by Jewel and her oldest son Monte Philips now that her husband Monroe passed. The corrugated structure still looked makeshift despite all these years, a silver revival tent around which a fairly modernized refrigeration system kept the perishable produce fresh as the van sped by. The old place should be only one minute away on the left.

Hong Kong Restaurant, where the Brother Reverend Heywood headed twice a week after his show for his Lobster Cantonese style, shut down almost fifteen years ago when the ungrateful sons of the landlord refused to renew the lease. Flanked by an outdoor pool, the ranch building housing not only the kitchen and dining area but party room and huge pantry for storage, belonged to the Palmetto Motel, part of the small empire of businesses run by the fittingly named Wilson Lee, a roly-poly walking cliche of Mayberry, RFD which also included a slaughterhouse whose roadside billboard advertised "custom killing". Their delusions to convert the banquet room into a fancy nightclub called Bogarts proved too fancy and too rich by way of entertainment for the resident redneck folk unaccustomed to such city extravagances. This fatal error in judgement began what proved to be the dismantling of a business, the ruin of a fortune and the besmirching of a legacy.

And as the van turned into the vacant lot, nothing remained except white gravel. Nothing so much as a grave marker for any to see. All but the memory is gone.