He took his laptop to work, but didn’t use it. He left right at 5:30p, with drops in their diligent descent, only to hop into a car deep in coma. He left the headlights on, must have. Mike checked, yes. He did. Clown, he said, once in his chair, at home, not in the rain with a dead car. He spoke other tongue under that cloud collection, in Napa. He called a truck, car jumped, and at 6:28p he was on the road back to Bennett Valley.
No mood to write, none to sip. He didn’t want to deal with another mild hangover that wouldn’t go away. This morning’s stoic post-nightcaps station felt like he’d had a whole bottle instead of just the late beer and two glasses of Lancaster Cab. Tonight, strictly ginger ale, music. He listened to what remained of the passing front flirt with his roof. His phone rang, it was Kelly. Mike thought of picking it up, answering her, but he didn’t. To voicemail. He hated himself for not clicking to her call, but then was florescent with sensations scenic. He waited a stitch over a minute for the voicemail to store, show on screen. Nothing. Why didn’t he pick up? Another distraction, he thought. Read, he decided. He opened his collection of Faulkner stories. First, “Barn Burning.” His eyes skated in the first paragraph: “...and the hermetic heat which his intestines believes he smelled coming in intermittent gusts...” He read, refusing the rain’s distraction drain. What did tear him from ‘Burning‘ was the night screen of his phone. Why didn’t she call back?
The Wine Bar, in his head. But, he preferred his desk, book, music. Equilibrium after hellish Monday. He found himself in autonomous hazes with each sentence in his favorite author’s collection. He looked at that phone, below his right forearm, on the keyboard shelf that was slightly outwardly slid.
NewWineGig on his mind, oddly. How dare it interrupt Faulkner? How dare he let it? He did everything to burn those images from his cognitive tabula. But he couldn’t. Should he run with it? He thought about it. Then, more. He removed the Comp book from his bag, which had only a half page of cubeNOTES in it, from today, page 92. He thought about bringing nothing with him to work, no Literary implements, gadgets or gizmos, meaning paper, pen, notebooks. He would try to memorize his day, for the first time. No, he thought. “That’s a dumb idea that really stands out, and I’ve had a few, recently.” He looked at his phone, picked it up, on. Nothing. He wanted to text her. Forget Faulkner, he thought. He wanted her in the Room, in his analytics, deconstruction. But that wouldn’t work on her. He shouldn’t be writing about her, should he?
He hoped his car would start in the morning, having to be at work early to start a new assignment. But then, he hoped it was dead. Now. There, in the rain, in his complex’s cruddy lot. He’d go over to her house tomorrow, bring coffee, croissants or something. They’d talk, stumble whirlingly in their respective Crafts, the whole day. Sequestered sweetly. With her. But how would he get there?
His phone quavered, purred.