with your wealth and my greed we could rule the world

Enos? Yeah, he’s been in the neighborhood a long time. Settled here after spending some years restlessly roaming the country after he got out of the Army in 73. Arkansas hadn’t felt like home anymore when he got back, so he tried San Diego, having remembered once hearing a Corpsman say that the weather there was always perfect. The guy was right; it was a comfortable place to nearly die a couple more times before he finally got his union card, dried out, and went from one out-of-state job to another for a while, searching. He didn’t think he was going to be here that long, but now every parking space along Mayberry Street, Sobel Avenue, and Arcadian Blvd has the exact same stains; the oil spot five inches southeast of the one made by transmission fluid, from his old green Buick Regal. The slim man looks across the street and bemusedly shakes his head at the sight of the gray cat that nightly shows his face at three different back doorsteps for a meal. They’ve all got different names for him. Two years retired, Enos finally has time to notice that sort of thing now. He still keeps busy, but serving as an unofficial handyman for his neighbors doesn’t fill every day, so he watches. It catches his attention nowadays when they put up different magazines on the newsstand on the way to the hardware store. Little changes. Fresh bus stop ads arrive every few months from some inexhaustible supply somewhere, so bright those first couple weeks before the sun gets to them. Years past, they used to just leave them up there till they blew away. Somebody bought the building where he lives, and they’ve been repainting the lobby. Fixing the elevator. Outfitting the vacant units with new refrigerators, all to the neglect of the leaky faucets, closet light strings, and window latches of the folks he’s been nodding to in the stairwell nearly half his life. Kids he’s watched grow up, sometimes leaving, sometimes coming back. New stores coming up. The storefront real estate office working out of the place where Nestor’s grocery used to be has a window full of flyers for apartments in Sylvan Heights, a neighborhood he’s never heard of, though he recognizes the addresses as being right down his block. This morning he turns and enters the park and follows a path deep into the woods, past even the condom wrappers, to fill a sketch pad with pencil drawings of fungus growing on trees.


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November 2012
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