I know, I know, I haven’t written in a long while, but I wish for Chrissakes you’d stop yammering on about it. I have obligations, obli-fucking-gations, and there’s no getting around them. If you think for one second that I’m going to flake out on an obligation just to write you a letter, well you’re dumb, then, or self-centered.

Which is it? Are you dumb? Or are you self-centered?

In any case I’m no St. Paul, and you’re not the Ephesians, as far as I can tell. So cool it with the guilt-trip.

And as long as we’re on the subject, where the hell were you last Sunday? I waited for an hour, nigh on an ­hour-and-a-half. It was freezing and the line was way ’round the block and this guy in front of me, he wouldn’t stop gabbing and gabbing about the goddamn Knicks– you know I hate the Knicks. He smoked, too, this guy, and his coat was all black like with soot, and he had baggy fucking eyes and dandruff and he kept turning to bloviate to this nine-year-old, maybe, ten at the most, wearing a black bustier. I had to stare at him because of you, and so I did, to spite you, since you weren’t there, probably at home with a nice book and a cup of tea, or maybe with that strumpet Melinda, or Melissa, whatever-her-name-is, smelling of VO5 Hot Oil the way she always does. The two of you canoodling and her come-cry, they’re enough to make me sick, which is how I feel anyway, on account of my accident.

That’s right, I couldn’t even tell you that story, since the phone in the goddamn hospital was being slobbered over by a crumpled

old hag. Man was her robe ill-fitting, her teets like nothing I’ve ever seen, just two yams. And the same color, too, that weird off-yellow. She went on and on into the receiver, saying something about her husband, how he’d be coming if he’d only pull his ass off the sofa, that maybe he’d be there after The Price Is Right, which is two hours, you know, not one, at least I’m pretty sure it’s two; she’s saying all this and there’s blood running down my leg, the nurse is gone – she was a real looker, that one, probably went off to boff the doctor in the janitor’s closet, all six-hundred pounds of her – and I’m trying to signal to this woman that it’s time to get off the phone, but she’s having none of it. Absolutely none of it. And the next thing I know I’m in a bed and the hag’s gone, I must have passed out there on the floor with no one to help me, and that nurse’s rack’s right in my face when I wake up, so much so that I might have suffocated at blood-letting time if I hadn’t averted my head. Boy, that one could stand to lose a few ell-bees.

You might be wondering how my leg was bloodied up so bad, that is, if you wonder at all about me, what with your leaving me out on line for two hours behind Mr. Fucking High-Fallutin’-Sports-Analyst and his tight-crotched friend – well, as explanation, I should say that I was in the car with Sal. Not the Sal I introduced you to last month but a different one with darker hair, frosted at the tips, and bang muscles like you wouldn’t believe (those two that cut in at an angle on either side, you know, making a sort of chevron downward). We’re driving to the bowling alley because it’s late and there’s not much open, but we’re not tired and we’ve been kicked out of Cindy’s place for no good reason; the alley’s on the other side of the road and Sal says that he’s seen this maneuver a thousand times even though he’s never tried it, and he doesn’t have his license, but yeah, he’s seen the movies where the driver cuts the wheel real hard and jams the E-brake, so he does this on the highway going about fifty just so we can make the Glo-Bowl parking lot and he fucking flips the car, flips it right over onto the grass separating the alley from the nail place, and we’re fine, we think, just fine, Sal has a headache and there’s a gash in my leg but everything’s kosher, that is until the cops come and find out about Sal’s record, his speeding tickets, and so I spend the night in the ER while he’s looking out a jail cell


Two weeks later I’m at home with a stack of Gentleman’s Quarterlys and a leg like fucking Robocop’s, Sal’s out of telephone contact, there’s a bunch to do but no time to do it, seeing as how I’m in bed with a sore neck and a pretty noncommittal leg and a woozy head-feeling to top it all off. All this is true, I swear, and don’t you put down the page and say it’s not because it is, it’s not easy bouncing back from a near-fatal injury, let alone dictating a letter while in such a state. So between my meltdown waiting on line (I guess I didn’t mention that, but I had a bit of a tiff with Knicks-man over his GF or whatever she is, fuck-puppet, a chick who knows exactly what her problem is, because I told her what her problem is) – between that and the Sal fiasco, I was pretty well spent.

Then just this afternoon some guy bursts in the door saying he has news for me, and I think about what news I’ve been awaiting and there’s none, and he says he knows me, he met me the night before and I have no recollection of him whatsoever, not his face or his hands or his arms (which were tanned), not any of it. He says we’d seen a movie then gone out for a drink, that he’d had a vodka martini and I’d had a gin on the rocks, that we’d shot the shit for a bit for retiring to his place, but I asked where he lived and he said on Northumberland, and I’ll be damned if I’ve ever been to

Northumberland except by mistake, and certainly never to spend the night, and so I kicked him out even though he claimed to have the keys to my apartment, which I suppose explains how he got to my bedroom in the first place.

In any event as he was heading down the steps I told him to stay a while, lay his coat on the chair; I told him I needed to do an old

friend a service, keep an old friend abreast of my situation, and so he found a pad and pencil and I started talking, and here we all are, the three of us, you and me and this guy with the tanned arms, together, chewing the fat. Just thought you’d be wanting to know.