Miller Time

Bedside (21)

UNITED STATES—"You know I figure I owe mom about twenty thousand dollars over twelve years." "You carry that around?" Karen says. "I do," says Davy. "Somebody told me not to worry. That whenever a mother gives something, they never expect it to be paid back. It was comfort at the time." "You were comforted." "And it was the beginning in Los Angeles, my...

Laughing Gas

UNITED STATES—Today was the day. Allegra Newton (nee Scruggs) had had enough of dental profiteering, and she was going to hold the dentist at gunpoint till he performed emergency work on her son. In preparation, she went to the living room, which had been overtaken by all her son’s toys in the trophy house they moved into after leaving...

The Two Buddhas And Other Sketches

UNITED STATES—1. The Two Buddhas. “Are you, as a teacher, able to learn something new?” asks Buddha #1. “Yes, of course I am,” smiles Buddha #2. “You need to give people a chance to take off their shoes before you suddenly bark out the very instant they cross the threshold, ‘TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES!'” says Buddha #1. “Look at you, you came...

Nostalgic

UNITED STATES—Lovely event at the library in Echo Park last Friday. The poet Patricio Maya gave the first of three Friday talks devoted to his poetic influences. The endearing Borges, the Whitmanesque Pablo Neruda were featured, and I got to read a couple translations, as well. So we left the event walking on a cloud, taking some pictures with the...

Keeping Up With The Joneses

UNITED STATES—Mac Murphy got out of the honor camp near Baker, in the high Mojave, and came to take one last look at his upstairs room with the window bay, where he’d imbibed during Christmas, toasted us in the driveway, and cranked up his stereo like he was driving a hundred miles down a Montana highway straight as a...

Finally Remembering Kevin

HOLLYWOOD—Kevin had found the Jesus thing by happy accident. This robe got a rise out of people and he gladly embraced his resemblance to the popular notion of Jesus. The qualities were in him, as his friend and neighbor Brian Hamilton observed, “He put on the robe and somehow grew into it.” It changed him subtly, but changed him...

Panic Alley

UNITED STATES—"Uh hrm," clearing throat diffidently. "I think it's time to talk about a r-r-raise again." "A raise?" "Yes, again." "We just talked about that a month ago." "I was checking the calendar and it was eight years ago." "Surely you must be mistaken. In fact it was two weeks ago and I told you to wait until the Fall." "I'm astounded..." "Well I would...

Endgame

UNITED STATES—The house on 1514 Manhattan Place was emptying out, prelude to its new career as a sober living facility. As part of the Wylie team, we already had the wife of the handyman Lorenzo staying in the long windowless room that opened onto the cathedral ceilinged living room. After the meek postman, the next tenant out was the relative...

Bedside (19)

UNITED STATES—"Hello, this is the son of Betty Bird, and we'd like Dr. O'Leary to prescribe anti-anxiety medication for our Mom, Betty Bird, here at Wastonville Manor." Davy hangs up his phone with a sigh. "They're out to lunch, I left a message." "Yeah, yeah, I could tell," says Karen. "I can tell when it's your message voice." "The doctor's are out for...

Independent Judgment

UNITED STATES—A journalist posed an intriguing question to me. Knowing what you know today, what would you have chosen to do differently in your writing methods? Top of the list would be to develop independent judgment as soon as possible. This quality of judgment plays as vital role in health and nutrition as in becoming the next Ernest Hemingway. Independent...
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