The Clothesline World Tour / 25 May 2001
I’m on the back porch, slouching. I pivot on my heel and face inward, making a fist with my thumb resting alongside my index finger and pressing the whole concoction against my lips. It’s like I’m deep in thought, focusing, blotting out the externals and airbrushing in a vague and colorful replacement. Alexis’ clothes are still damp, swaying from the clotheslines that span from beam to beam. I tap my foot, nod, then thrust myself between two drifting blouses and spread my arms to the backyard.
“Thank you! Yes, haha, thank you, oh,” trying to pat down the roar with my hands, “please, that’s, yes, thank you, th—”
I notice the neighbor dragging a blue tarp from his jet ski. He glances up and waves, and I quickly hide the wooden mixing spoon that was about to be used as a microphone. Memorial Day Weekend is imminent, crowds from Boston and New York are heading up, but my neighbor — and this is absolutely true, his name is: Frank Boring — knows someone on the police force up in Camden and got this pass for his car that lets him park pretty much wherever, and sometimes he goes up there just to park.
“Warm enough to skip the pants,” Frank says.
“Eh, heh.” Luckily I’d already done my laundry and was sporting the clean Don’t Mess With the ‘S’ Superman-themed boxer shorts and not the ragged ones which could accurately be described as both hot pink and more or less crotchless. “Sweet jet-skiing weather.” I should also add that, when wet, my hair naturally creates an S-shaped curl that hangs over my forehead.
“Hope it holds,” he says, giving a cursory glance at the skies.
“The woman next door, she—”
“Malik.”“Yeah, I always want to call her Milky,” I say. “She was putting something special in her birdfeeder yesterday, said it would help make this whole weekend sunny as a little girl’s smile.” I actually said sunny as fucking shit.
“How does that work?”
“I’m not really sure. Something about the birds eating it and … you know … exhausting some kind of useful … something kind of useful, for, for the air. I want to say methane. Encouraging the greenhouse effect.”
Frank Boring folds up the tarp and I get the idea of making a giant cootie-catcher — or have I seen that somewhere before? “That’s crazyhouse crazy,” he says, pitching his voice low.
I slap my gut, breathing in the cut grass. Some guy showed up yesterday and mowed the lawn, not sure what his deal is. “Well, I’m going to wait and see what happens.”
“Me too, I guess,” Frank says. “So you going to do a little number for us today?”
“Haha, no, I reckon I’ll head back in, maybe read a magazine.”
Frank gives me a little salute and I withdraw behind the makeshift curtains, gathering my invisible backup dancers around me for a group hug/prayer. “We really connected out there, people,” I whisper, my voice wavering with emotion. “Didn’t you feel it?”