THE ADDENDUM is a showcase of my favorite writings. My personal hope is that others will be able to enjoy and appreciate these works, and possibly serve as a hook for other writings by the authors.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (an excerpt)
It was exactly one hour since we entered the tunnel. According to the Professor's instructions, there ought to be a turn to the left under the tree-lined avenue toward the Art Forum. This was early autumn, I seemed to remember. The leaves would still be green. Sunshine, the smell of the grass, an early autumn breeze played through my head. Ah, to lie back and look at the sky. I'd go to the barber, get a shave, stroll over to Gaien Park, lie down and gaze up at the blue. Maybe sip an ice-cold beer. Just the thing, while waiting for the end of the world.
"You suppose it's good weather out?"
"Beats me. How should I know?" she retorted.
Were the stars out when I left the house last evening? All I could remember was the couple in the Skyline listening to Duran Duran. Stars? Who remembers stars? Come to think of it, had I even looked up at the sky recently? Had the stars been wiped out of the sky three months ago, I wouldn't have known. The only things I noticed were silver bracelets on women's wrists and popsicle sticks in potted rubber plants. There had to be something wrong with my life. I should have been born a Yugoslavian shepherd who looked up at the Big Dipper every night. No car, no car stereo, no silver bracelets, no shuffling, no dark blue tweed suits.
My world foreshortened, flattening into a credit card. Seen head on, things seemed merely skewed, but from the side the view was virtually meaningless—a one-dimensional wafer. Everything about me may have been crammed in there, but it was only plastic. Indecipherable except to some machine.
My first circuit must have been wearing thin. My real memories were receding into planar projection, the screen of consciousness losing all identity.
The couple in the Skyline came to mind. Why did I have this fixation on them? Well, what else did I have to think about? By now, the two of them might be snoozing away in bed, or maybe pushing into commuter trains. They could be flat character sketches for a TV treatment: Japanese woman marries Frenchman while studying abroad; husband has traffic accident and becomes paraplegic. Woman tires of life in Paris, leaves husband, and returns to Tokyo, where she works in Belgian or Swiss embassy. Silver bracelets, a memento from her husband. Cut to beach scene in Nice: woman with the bracelets on left wrist. Woman takes bath, makes love, silver bracelets always on left wrist. Cut: enter Japanese man, veteran of student occupation of Yasuda Hall, wearing tinted glasses like lead in Ashes and Diamonds. A top TV director, he is haunted by dreams of tear gas, by memories of his wife who slit her wrist five years earlier. Cut (for what it's worth, this script has a lot of jump cuts): he sees the bracelets on woman's left wrist, flashes back to wife's bloodied wrist. So he asks woman: could she switch bracelets to her right wrist?
"I refuse," she says. "I wear my bracelets on my left wrist."
Cut: enter piano player, like in Casablanca. Alcoholic, always keeps shot glass of gin, straight with twist of lemon, on top of piano. A jazz musician of some talent until his career went on the rocks, he befriends both man and woman, knows their secrets,...
Par for TV, totally ridiculous underground. Some imagination. Or was this supposed to be reality? I hadn't even seen the stars in months.