I pulled beans from the dirt this morning, before the storm arrived. I set them in in a bright orange tub of water. The early hours slink away like possums with needle-toothed grins, proud of their cunning. I’m late for work.
My hands are muddy from the dew, and my hair is matted from sleep sweat.
My ‘76 Datsun, low on gas, is a old man’s car, copper and rust, with a radiator that overheats, but it takes me to the promised land of the Cadillac Gift Shop.
The rabbit-eyed contraltos are posing at the counter when I arrive, and they cradle their Stella McCartney clutches like they were designer babies. Their Big Daddies stroke Platinum MasterCards with round pink thumbs. They match the Escalades with their shoes, white for casual, black for special, maybe an ATS-V Coupe for the hell of it, can we, sweetie?
We have baubles and shiny things for sale, and they aren’t cheap, but they are worthless. How about a key ring, 18 carats, or a crystal snow globe autographed by Kanye, koveted by Kim, or look here, a digital (platinum!) rectal thermometer for that Affenpinscher you store at the kennel.
Yes, there is dirt under my nails, and I could use a haircut, but all is well unless somebody pouts. But no one notices, because I’m not shiny, and I fade under the pink track lighting. No one ever saw the grimy work crew of the Yellow Brick Road and no one ever sees the man behind the counter of the Cadillac Gift Shop.
I work with the conviction of an insomniac, and think in soft colors on hard steel. Mr. Robinson appreciates my work ethic and every payday he pats my head as if I were a stray border collie. I am like the son whose name he never remembers.
He is in the trunk of my Datsun right now.
A supermodel’s mother asks me about the Ethan Murrow table setting. Her peasant blouse was hand-stitched in Portugal and her voice is like Meryl Streep and gin.
I have fresh beans waiting for me for supper.