Aqaara: More Expunged

“I have no fortune for you today.” Liyuan gave Dee a cigarette.

She reached out with indifference.

“How is Icarus?”

She smoked passively, staring out.

“Sleeping poorly?”

“This is worse than a cruise ship. It’s like high school, always stuck in fucking high school.”“You had a bad time there?”

“Always seeing the same faces, doing the same things, going nowhere.”

“That’s not entirely true, Dee. We really are going somewhere.”

“Jesus, Liyuan, what’s wrong with you? Did you actually like high school?”

“Very much. I loved to learn. It was a very exciting place.”


The Voyage of Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”

As I started out on my epic reading journey of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, I wondered why I had never read it. Eventually, all became clear.

So far as what there be of a narrative in this book; and, indeed, as indirectly touching one or two very interesting and curious particulars in the habit of sperm whales, the foregoing chapter, in its earlier part, is as important a one as will be found in this volume; but the leading matter of it requires to be still further and more familiarly enlarged upon…(141)

It was an impossible read, more a meandering collection of musing on whales, whaling and nautical life than anything to do with narrative. Having already in various ways put before you the skull, spout-hole, jaw, teeth, tail, forehead, fins and diverse other parts, I shall now simply point out what is most interesting in the general bulk of his unobstructed bones. (302)

And yet, despite the ramblings, there were moments, the minutest of hooks scattered about, that made me seek the distant spout.

Nothing seemed before me but a jet gloom, now and then made ghastly by flashes of redness. Uppermost was the impression, that whatever swift, rushing thing I stood on was not so much bound to any haven ahead as rushing from all havens astern. (284)What is it, what nameless, inscrutable, unearthly thing is it; what cozening, hidden lord and master, and cruel, remorseless emperor commands me; that against all natural lovings and longings, I so keep pushing, and crowding, and jamming myself on all the time; recklessly making me ready to do what in my own proper, natural heart, I durst so much as dare? Is Ahab, Ahab? Is it I, God, or who, that lifts this arm? (357)

Until the end, at the sinking of the Pequod, the vanishing of Ahab and crew, Moby with them, when I realized I had survived just to tell the tale.

Win, Lose or Indifferent

When I cheer, I cheer. And when I don’t, I don’t. And when I’m looking at something else – or asleep – leave me alone so I can do that.

New York Subway Story

“I had a chance to do something another time a week or so after that, on the subway again,” Liyuan offered. “A young boy, maybe 10 years old, was performing a dance for a crowded train, with his father watching beside him.”

The boy approached Icarus again, head twisted to the side, humming a tune to himself.

“It was late at night, maybe midnight, and so I said something this time. ‘There’s a reason for child labor laws, you know.’ He glared back as the train pulled into Union Square. The doors opened, and he kicks me, hard, just like that. I was so surprised by that. ‘Mind your own damn business.’ And he storms off the train, pushing his kid ahead of him. It took me days to realize that I had been assaulted.”

“I liked living in New York,” Dee offered. “The people are real.”

“Even if they’re racists?” Faith demanded.

Florida Keys: After Hurricane Irma

Four months after Hurricane Irma, the Florida Keys are still covered by the detritus of the storm. Although many residents have returned, abandoned homes are still a common sight. Big Pine Key, the worst hit of the keys, remains cluttered with boats, refrigerators and motor homes. And yet the Key Deer, an endangered species, seem to be as plentiful as ever. 

The Dehanced DMV

I went to get that new enhanced driver’s license today – something which requires two proofs of address, passport, green card and social insurance card, to say nothing of the undisclosed number of unmarked bills, blood and Stem cell samples. This was my third attempt. A guy stood wavering at the entrance and then puked on the sidewalk. It didn’t seem like a big deal to him, more like he was spitting. The woman at the front door was very nice and upbeat and steered me to Counter 30. I thought that I might actually get my enhanced license, and the counterperson made me even more confident. She accepted my unopened utility bill and asked for my Social Insurance Card. I had forgotten that. I would return. That’s what I told myself as I sat down at my desk and realized I had forgot my glasses on the counter.

Expunged from “Aqaara”

Fragments are getting set adrift from Aqaara as I trudge through Draft One:

“Lying to your maker, Em. That won’t get you anywhere.”

“I miss you, Dee. I really do. I look forward to seeing you. I think about coming here. I look forward to coming here to see you and my cat.” Em opened her Bearing, glancing through the images. “And then I don’t.”

“There’s nothing worse than high expectations.”

“I keep mine very low.”

“This is cellular,” Liyuan interjected. “This exchange, all of this is cellular. That’s who is speaking to each other, your cells.”

“Ignore him,”’ Dee replied. “And tell us about your politics. They make you a senator yet?”

“Lai got me an Ethi for a present.”

“What do you get out of it? To do your bidding?”

“Her name’s Emma.”

“I mean, what’s the point of it? Does it tell you how great you are?”

“Dee, why don’t I bring Emma here so you can insult her, like you do with me.”

“Insult you? Em, I only talk to you like you were me.”

“That’s it, isn’t it?”