We stood there, kind of dick swinging, eyeballs pinned to each other. He stuck his short, stubby index finger in the direction of my chest.
"You're saying the prayers of a depressed man," he said.
I just glared like steely knives, but it wasn't him I was mad at. Walked to the bar, got out the rye whisky. Stuff ain't appreciated today like it used to be. Made myself an Old Fashioned.
"You know, Jeff, you & I are a lot more alike than you think," Matt said.
And not for the first time. I figure the man wants to remind me we're not a world apart. Kind of scary, really. The whole damn thing, I mean.
The details of my job are not important for what you're taking in. I work for an underworld society. We dabble in things. It's a never ending train that makes you cry if you stop to think too much. I've seen tougher men than me or Matt cry. But I remember what my dad said when I was 19 and our poor, sweet old 91-year-old neighbor man got hit by a train.
"Just one of those things."
It was wet outside when I walked this morning. Rainwater from the leaves of the tree I walked under poured down lovingly over my head as if they were shaken. I thought of Picasso's "Blue period" -- (circa 1901-1904) Emaciated nude mothers in apartment holes and prostitutes smoking in windows. A phase brought on by the suicide of his friend, Carlos Casagemas over some stupid unrequited love for a girl. Much like that fucked-up kid in Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werner. The damn kid is obsessed, practically stalking the damn girl who's someone he wants to save, but can't be saved. Why must love be a condition in which someone has to die? All those university students in pre-Napolenic Europe dressing like the sensitive, stupid young, fictional man who committed suicide while in the pubs and beer gardens.
"We gotta get you shooting farther from the goal line," Matt said.
"I just may pull the grenade on something and knock you on your ass," I told him.
Christ, you sit there, drinking. You smoke too many cigarettes if you're one to smoke. Personally I don't need the aggravation. Crushed out my last Marlboro Light somewhere around the time my girlfriend told me she was pregnant. (She had so much innocence and hope in her eyes when I would look in those days.) You love your kids more than you ever loved a woman, and you worry about them someday living your life, but it's all the same life.
How much emotional inoculation do you put your child through to prepare him for the bastardness of this world and how much do you protect him?
I saw a film today about an unlucky man who walked out of a church, his mind troubled as he loosened his tie. (The director of marketing at an old job once told me the next time my boss hurled insults upon injuries upon me, I should yank on his necktie and say, "Don't fuck with me.") The man looked disconcerted, but not sad. Me? I once dreamt I talked to a priest, barely visible, behind the haze of holy smoke and Christ looked down from the cross to point his finger at me. I'm not Catholic, but that was the damn dream. I was always dreaming on condemnation in those days.
But I felt like I was in a good space in this pissing match with Matt, locked in the bowels of our secret organization where we made our careers. No more judging and being judged and guilt and hell rolling over.
"Perhaps we can talk strategy, Monday morning," Matt said, almost as if he were nervous to ask.
(I knew I'd pray about it. I knew I'd decimate plans on purpose and get love, doing it.)
"Goddamn right we will," I answered.