tales of sin and virtue
February 8, 2001 | Kick

When not paying attention I realize I'm thinking how good it would feel to kick down a door. Something urgent needing me on the other side.

Last day of fire class no one could find the key to the padlock on the ladder shed. "Take it off," they told us; I took up a flat-head ax and Bob grabbed a Halligan bar. What a great feeling to wreck things and walk away.


A woman applying lipstick to the stone face of a library lion.

A fight between drunken boys in front of a bank of softly undulating store-window lavalamps.

Rich enough to go into the Japanese store and buy all the stones carved with sappy inspirational words. A bag full of "Imagine" and "Believe" and "Creativity" and "Faith" which you later dump off the Memorial Bridge into the river. One by one they fall, smooth and twisting gently before they touch the water and vanish with almost no sound at all.

The film gets hung up on the projector and the scene freezes: a spaceship held motionless against the stars. Then the film melts, brown soapy edges opening to become white light. Many people in the theater groan; many more cheer, though they paid to be here.

From the window of a car sliding past the police station, a hand baring a solitary middle finger.

Tourists in the Catacombs touch the smooth ends of long-dead femurs. In damp, lyed semi-darkness, some blush without knowing why.

This man standing at the fence in the zoo, describing the sea lions for his blind son. Sometimes he lies, just a little bit, to make the animals' antics sound funnier than they really are.

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