The Impromptu Weekend / 29 May 2001

This is Impromptu Weekend, so I’m already on the four-poster bed (looks so harsh and naked without some diaphanous, peach-colored canopy draped from the overtall and deadly wooden spikes, or better yet mosquito netting which I have slept under, once, far away, in what’s got to be maybe 1984, a fort that breathes, providing a nice visual tapioca for your pre-sleep thoughts to sit upon, tra la la) and cursing my new shoes—

the big black ones too big and cracked
(per KC: “I think it’d be fun if we all worked at Subway. I’d like to see Josh in one of those little paper hats. do they have those there? a little paper hat and his little black shoes with his little white socks and his little homeboy outfit.”)

but they made my stunted, dolllike feet appear at least more proportionally sound even if they did chew up my delicate, precious flesh but these new ones despite being a triumphant return to sneakers are not much better at least not until they’ve been split open like all the pathetic duct-taped weaklings that have come before them tho it’s nice to wear corduroy pants and sneakers and a shortsleeved and collar’d shirt so it’s like I’m once again meandering through sixth grade looking for a wild cherry capri sun into which i could jab my flimsy straw as it were et cetera

—before I realize that we’re in a B&B, that it’s not an inn like the sign says, it was ye olde bait and switch, and didn’t I vow to never set bloodied foot in another B&B because they scare me? That I don’t want to stay as a guest in someone else’s house and eat breakfast with them even under the best of circumstances, let alone pay for the privilege to do it with strangers? Me, 1999, the State of Rhode Island, what you’d call unprecedently cold, pelting rocks at the window of a building in the National Registry of Historic Places, built ca. 1783, because I was locked out and didn’t want to wake the owners but in the end I did anyway..?

Still: That one had a white noise maker, and this one had a fold-down seat in the shower for when you got tired, plus one of the showerheads that is attached to the wall via a long, flexible tube, allowing one to take it down from its hook and sing into it, jets of steamy water pummeling one’s face like the screams of coke-fueled fans. And really: The B&B was just a place to look at the tiny map book and have dreams about being in a little time loop where I’d reach a certain moment — this happens in an airport — at which I could opt to continue living my life as normal or go back in time like a day, and every time I got back to the Airport Moment, I was again forced to make that decision: Do I proceed, or do I live that day over again? I think the story went that I became enamored with my mastery of that 24-hour stretch, discovering all sorts of subtleties that the non-loopers missed, getting a handle on all the infinite details, the interplay between them, the nuances of speech and color, and then I started minutely altering my actions, or even the intonations in specific words, to watch how the day spun off in novel directions. The thought of losing that, suddenly being thrust back into normal life, became increasingly terrifying.

Q.E.D. I can’t complain too much. Even though the B&B lacks payperview and microbe-ridden blankets and all-nite room service and curtains that can be ripped open, letting me gaze down down down to the bleak orange lights of an anonymous city, it nevertheless encourages my unconscious head to manufacture entire plotlines for future episodes of some X-Files ripoff.

Joshua Green Allen

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