They had me in a corner - the lot of them - pummeling
me over and over again - till I was black and blue.
What a scary sight I had become, but perhaps apropos,
because Halloween had just passed. And so I sat alone
in my vulgar apartment.
But then, later still, there I was, again, standing outside
your door, soft-shoeing and humming a Cole Porter tune
under my breath; rubbing my hands together in a futile
attempt to keep warm; in the cold wintry night.
It was Christmas and not even a lump of coal in my bare
stove. An undulating wave of nausea filled my stomach
cavity and my only wish was to throw up everywhere - to
rid myself of the demons inside me. A catharasis or an
expurgate would have been helpful. A ringing in my ears
and a well founded fear of base and coarse people had
caused my anxiety to register off the richter scale. And
now I'd become immobilized, unable to carry out even
the most basic of human endeavors - such as eating
and sleeping and that other thing which I just can't bring
myself to repeat.
Sweat poured from every available pore - and I have
pores the size of dixie-cups! A consumptive pock-
marked wretched soul I had become - a product of
dissembling nature no doubt.
And then, there you were: standing in the your doorway,
eyes furrowed, hair in curlers, cigarette dangling from
your mouth, one hand on one hip, the other cradling a
drink. Feral, flea, worm-infested dogs yapping and
barking about your thick ankles. The odor smelled
inside of boiled cabbage and stale ale, when you said
condenscendly out of the corner of your mouth: "What
the hell do you want?"
"A lump of coal," I replied sheepishly, "It's freak'n cold!"
I entered your home uninvited and gravitated towards
the fireplace; to warm my weary bones beside the fire.
Spent, smelly, hungry and cold, I fell upon a chair next
to the hearth. And with a death rattle beginning in my
throat and spittle forming at the corners of my mouth
and a skeletal frame resembling a small primate's I
raised and clasped my hands together in the manner
of a pious monk and said to you in a haunting raspy
voice: "Please, honey,sweetheart, surgar pie, for old
times sake, give me a little something to eat - and a
lump of coal, please if you would!"
But you had turned your back on me and began
speaking with your new beau - Paul.
"Honey," Paul said, "Who is that at the door?"
"It's no one," you said, and poured yourself another
And in between fits of coughing I implored you again,
"Please, one lump of coal and I'm out of here. If I
don't have coal I probably won't make it through the
night. And perchance, do you have any cough syrup,
I've developed this horrible cough?"
By now your attention was entirely focused on your
new husband - touching and covering him with all of
your attention. And I, in a break-through moment,
came to a painful realization, that, despite all
expectations, and despite my numerous pleas to
god and any other deity worth their salt, that
everything had now become finalizedand nothing
would return to the way it was before, in short,
there was no turning back. And while you yammered
on to your new husband I spied in the corner of the
room the thing I had come searching for - a bucket of
coal. Black and matte and beckoning me to come
over, I stood up and hobbled over towards the giver of
life. And secretly I placed two pieces in my pocket
and immediately excused myself, for you see I had
partly found the thing I had come looking for.
I returned to my flat, relieved that I would probably
live to see another day, and placed the two lumps of
coal into my stove and put match to paper. And for
a short while I was warm and happy and even
contemplated recovering lost time and missed
opportunities. But of course it was all just dangerous
dreaming. And later still the fire extinguished itself,
and again, I found myself, outside your door, soft-
shoeing, and humming a Cole Porter tune under my
breath, searching for another lump ofcoal, in the cold