A Prophetic Digression



My Delphi was a bench on Yamhill which had seen better days, two feet left of a new yield sign, beneath Mallory.

My oracle was waiting for me that night, expecting me, her hair too glossy and stinking of cheap red. She tapped her maimed hand on her knee, black leather glove gleaming in the streetlights, just waiting. She was always waiting.

I sat and she offered me a peanut out of her purse and hunched against the misty rain. Her voice was Lauren Bacall on a very bad day. “He called…told me you would probably be coming here. He said it was quite a day. Quite a day, was it?”

I nodded and shelled my peanut and watched an ugly dog dodge traffic.

My oracle spoke to the yield sign. “Bev says you deserve a goddamn break one of these days, calls you a poor baby boy. I told the shiksa to shut the fuck up, excuse my language.” I nod again. Bev was like that.

“The old man sounded done with you…you really do plotz his gorgal. He can’t even buy a fucking vowel to save his own life, pardon my language. He has nothing more for you.”

All in a rush.

I knew that.

I nodded and finished my peanut.

“You’re going to have to work it out for yourself, he’s got nothing more for you. Christ knows she don’t got anything either, meiskeit. She never did, and the other two are long gone. Just you, you poor bastard. You and whatever you can find…just make sure it’s yours. Understand? It has to be yours, not theirs.”

I knew that too.

My oracle smoothed her hair back and stood up, the rain growing lighter. “Bev says if you show up before she goes to bed, you can have the TV room. Later then that you can forget about it, you little faggot.”

I nodded. Bev never went to bed.

My oracle wandered down the street in the spring rain, gloved hand holding a damp Virginia Slim like a drunk holds a ten-spot. She thought they made her sexy. “Good luck Cochise..” she called back. “Don’t get picked up for anything indecent.”

I stood, shaking peanut crap out of my lap, and went into my temple two hours before it closed for the night to find what I could find.

Beneath Mallory.


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