Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lohbado Writes a Book

Lohbado decided to write the story of his life. He grabbed a popular novel off the shelf and tried to write like a pro. He knew he would never be able to compete with the opening line of Chapter 6 in Jim Thompson's novel, Heed the Thunder: "Winter fell like a harlot upon the valley. One day there was only the musty odor of her ... the next she lay sprawled across the land ..." (page 53, Black Lizard Edition, 1994). His favourite spring line was from Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse: "The spring without a leaf to toss, bare and bright like a virgin fierce in her chastity, scornful in her purity, was laid out on the fields wide-eyed and watchful... " (page 198, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1955). Lohbado closed the book and wrote:

Summer came in like a middle-aged man sprawled out on a ratty old sofa. Grandmother winter got on a plane to the opposite hemisphere. Spring came and went, without a flea to squash. When the sweet showers of April ended the drought of March, Lohbado was filled with inspiration to go on a pilgrimage to visit friends in another neighbourhood. Or, as Shakespeare put it, now was the winter of his discontent made glorious by a cheap bottle of port. He poured a glass of fortified wine, gulped it down and ran out the door. Let us go then, you and I, while muttering men lie on metal tables, with catheters to prevent incontinence.

Lohbado hopped the subway to another neighbourhood. He got off at Metro de Calstelnau, rode the long escalator from the underground to the turnstiles, climbed some cement stairs and emerged on to the street. He gazed at dark clouds. A strong wind nearly knocked him down. Dark ragged clouds, strong wind, sneeze, dust in the eye and nostrils, Lohbado walked past a dilapidated building. Don't ask, what is it, let us go and make a visit. We'll talk about Michelangelo, while the wind rubs yellow dust on window-panes. I am no prophet. I had no moment of greatness, thought Lohbado, without meaning it at all.

 He decided to grab a coffee before heading over to Randy's place. Lohbado went into Cafe Italia and read a newspaper article about the stormy relationship of Ruth Winters and Tony Tomatah. He gazed up from the newspaper and made eye contact with a young woman at the next table. He got lost in her shiny eyes, an unexpected plunging into intimate, dream-like connection, doors flung open, completely exposed. He looked away. He didn't want her to be disappointed. Whatever she saw in him, he knew he would be unable to satisfy her expectations. Nobody could fully satisfy the passion of love-longing, the yearning of the soul for beauty and truth. No human could give her what she was looking for. She would have to find it herself.

She invited him to move to her table. Her friend hadn't shown up. Ruth got called into work, a nurse on call at Gore Hospital. Ruth went to work. Wendy sat alone. Wendy's eyes invited Lohbado. Lohbado smiled and moved to her table. She was pleased to have company. After the initial shock of ecstatic contact, he calmed down and listened to what she was saying.

Of course, he was far too old to do anything except listen. Lohbado's silver hair was not exactly sexy. His brittle teeth were starting to break.

Lohbado's pen ran out of ink, just when he was on the verge of writing an inappropriate love story about how he met a woman thirty years younger than him. Let's face it, the most heart rending love stories are the inappropriate ones, just like  in Ovid's collection of brothers and sisters, mothers and sons, aunts and nephews, kissing cousins and countless tales of adultery, all kinds of people getting high on love. What would Charles Bukowski say? Then of course, you can't beat good old Oedipus or Electra. Sophocles had it down pat.

Lohbado was glad his pen ran out of ink. He would have to put off the story of his life until tomorrow. Maybe, in the meanwhile, something worth writing about would happen.

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