My friend Ari tells me he’s going to tell me something he does not want me telling anyone. I agree and he tells about going to a philosophical discussion about aesthetics that took place at a house in the hills. Most of the people had never met before. He says, They had pigs in a blanket up there, unfucking— But you can tell that part, okay?
Women and men equally in attendance. Some old, some young. Some very attractive. My friend Ari tells me there was one woman and I ask if this is the part I can’t tell. No, not yet. This one woman looked younger but was actually older, just how he liked them. Her fingers were long and he guessed pianist and how did he know, she said, folding her hair before it sprung back to where it normally lay.
The discussion devolved when someone opened Schopenhauer to show he was right and became especially fetid when a woman from the Michaels Endowment pushed out a slow, meandering fart so it registered as two different trumpet chords, and that you can tell, Ari says.
When a man who named his dog Adorno started yelling about platonic love, Ari motioned for the pianist to follow him out of the room. They were on opposite sides and he thought she was looking in his direction (she was but pretended not to because everyone could see he was motioning to her) and he kept jerking his head toward the door like a moron, desperately trying to get her attention—that’s the part not to tell, he says.
The pianist eventually followed him to the kitchen and he suggested they walk outside together and they did. The grounds were wet from an afternoon shower but they walked amongst the apple trees and began kissing—you can tell that, he says, but I’m not so sure they were apple trees.
She knew how to kiss, she was older, but never let that fool you into thinking all older women can kiss well. How old are you? he asked me and I told him the figure. Well, you know what I mean. And my friend Ari decided he wanted to go to Hungary with this pianist right away and not because she had been there many times to give concerts but because he had never and was a little afraid of traveling to foreign countries that weren’t English-speaking—and that’s probably another part not to tell, he says.
Leaning on a tree, he called an airline and bought two tickets so the pianist would know how serious he was about her—and now we are back to the things you can tell, he says.
And this woman, who was petite and had a leafy autumn scent about her, laughed and said how Ari was outrageous and she liked outrageous, but outrageous only to a degree and Ari smiled because he knew he had her and it felt good to come to a philosophical discussion with nothing and leave with the world, especially when the world was women and don’t you forget it, he tells me, because if Flaubert were alive he’d say the same thing and they kissed more because the kissing was of a different nature now—it was kissing with future assurance, so though a little less heated, the kissing had progressed to a satisfied stage'”and be sure to tell that, he says.
When they came back to the philosophical discussion the same man with the dog called Adorno was yelling but the room smelt sweeter—potpourried. And then the discussion ended.
As their car keys jangled and people promised to keep in touch and even have lunch next week, the pianist told Ari she would be getting married in Philadelphia next weekend so Hungary might not work so well—and that you can tell, he says.
No, I say, you don’t want me to tell that, do you?
Yes I do. Tell them and tell everyone because I need to put someone in that seat next to me.
THE PIRATE SHIRT
He went to pick up his pirate shirt from his avant-garde filmmaker friend. She’d held on to the pirate shirt as he went through a tough time. She certainly didn’t have to, but she did because, she said, You would do the same thing for me. So he traveled across town to find her a special gift brownie and then traveled back, arriving with blinking eyes. After a moment his avant-garde filmmaker friend went to her closet and delivered the pirate shirt. He forgot to present the gift brownie right away, his heart already savoring the fabric in hand, and he reached into his satchel and almost said, Here’s a little something for you but changed it at the last second to And look what the cat dragged in—equally awful, but without the nettling diminutive. He smiled and held the gift brownie aloft.
While his avant-garde filmmaker friend did like brownies, she did not like ungrateful people or at least people who weren’t grateful in time. She’d allowed him almost two complete minutes to give her a rightly deserved gift first and he’d failed. Now he stood there holding the pirate shirt to his nose, but their friendship was over and she bemoaned the fact her art took so long to produce because she wanted to make something about this character who she was once attracted to, still was, but dismissed for monetary reasons. And would he have ever held her pirate shirt if it needed a safe place as she went through tough times? First of all, even if they made female ones, she would never condescend to wear a pirate shirt. But if she did succumb to the pirate shirt phenomena and lost her house or her job or her print of Stan Brackage’s Dog, Star, Man and she went a little coo-coo, she would not visit his expectantly sour apartment to store her many times laundered in preparation for separation pirate shirt because he probably wouldn’t be there and if he was he would probably leave his I-pod on the whole time she talked so any special instructions would be just the same as synthesized drum beats to his ears and if he didn’t have an I-pod on he would have a young woman in his room who he’d recited the Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow speech from Macbeth to—so depressing, learn a fucking sonnet—and if he didn’t fill his bed with Willy’s help then he’d have filled it by doing something daring like putting his hand on her heart and mumbling about flower petals—that’s why she was friends with him, she liked the daring of the population, they made the world go round but were also repellant and thus wonderful subjects for film, just not avant-garde film because character was not so important, image everything or most things and that was what she specialized in and she wasn’t going to go narrative, no goddamn way, she was who she was and wouldn’t change and they would just have to accept that. And when he left with his pirate shirt she repeated how they would just have to accept that. And when she smelt her closet to make sure the scent of the pirate shirt was gone she repeated it again.