JIM AND THE DRY CLEANING

Jim wished that he could relate to what she was saying but the truth was that he was deaf to her verbal marksmanship. At least that’s what she thought about her sentences, that they constituted some kind of verbal marksmanship. Jim thought that this was a load of crap, really, and was about to tell her so when he thought better. Was this what our country had become, a nation of verbal marksmen taking aim at each other, word-sniping? If it was, well, he wasn’t going to live in such a place, No, he’d tail it where there were a hell of a lot fewer men talking that kind of shit, where the green grass procluded such tomfoolery. “God’s will!” thought Jim, to no one in particular. When he was a kid, he used to pray a lot. One time, he prayed that his dog would be turned into solid gold and then he would melt down the gold dog and feed all the hungry kids in the world. Of course, his yearning never amounted to anything and eventually he went to work in New York’s garment district. But back to her verbal jousting. Jim thought it sinful to be as verbally aggressive as she was being, offending his soul with her venomous phrases. He felt like he was being buried and burnt alive at the same time. But he had faith that she would stop and stop she did. He went outside. It was a warm Arkansas evening, one that reminded him of that night years ago when Westmoreland and he had stomachs full of wine and passed out in old man Johnson’s pasture. They’d woken up the next morning with heads that felt like lead crowns. It’s times like this that you could see old age down the road, thought Jim, as he looked up in the Arkansas sky. Tomorrow was his day off. Don’t forget to pick up the dry cleaning, he told himself.