Monday, May 18, 2009

From the park to the bar

The golem rose and walked forward, trudging on its clay stubs to fulfill its mandate. The golem was composed of a soft gray mud mixed with clay. The muddy substance squished as the golem moved towards the wall. As the golem neared the brick barrier Dante drew a breath. What would happen to his creation, he thought. Would it break through the building or would it stop? When the golem reached the wall it tried to move forward, relentlessly trying to push itself forward. Its momentum was stopped by the wall and its movements only mashed its soft clay flesh. Dante squealed with glea smitten with the actions of the golem.

William put down his pen. His notebook was filled with sketches like these. The notebook served as part diary and part writer's sketchbook. He rarely finished stories to completion instead jotting out a brief picture. His lack of time never allowed him to flush out the stories was what he liked to say to himself. He looked up from his notebook.

The sun was bright and hot. It cast its rays down on his fair hair. His white skin was turning a bright red burnt by the afternoon light. He sat at a picnic table at the Middleshore Park near the bay. He stood up to stretch his hands and his legs. He'd been seated for an hour. His hand was cramped from writing both a journal account of the past few days and the brief bit about the golem. He walked to over the grassy portion of the park to where the dirty water of the bay met the small beach. The tide was out and so the beach was composed of a dark soft mud. The mud made him think of golems. He'd never had much of a fascination for the Jewish protectors but found himself musing about them as he stared into the mud. He picked up a piece of wood that lay on the beach and threw it into the mud. It made the thick brown surface splat. He laughed aloud.

On the horizon was the Golden Gate Bridge. It was expansive and picturesque. He took out his camera from his messenger bag and snapped a picture of the bridge. The bridge connected Marin, a bougerois town north of the city with San Francisco. William couldn't remember if he'd ever been on the bridge but admired its constructions from afar. His phone began to buzz in his pocket. He took it out of his jeans and looked, it was Andy.

"Hello," William answered.

"Hey, what are you up to," Andy asked. In the background William could hear the sound of traffic.

"I'm down at a park by the water. What are you doing?"

"Well I was looking for a job, and now I've found a job, but heavens knows I'm miserable now," Andy said laughing. "Want to get a drink somewhere?"

"Its 3 o'clock in the afternoon."

"Yeah, I have about 5 hours to kill. I don't want to bother going back to San Francisco, I'm attending an important reading group tonight."

"You're in a reading group," William said with mild surprise.

"Yeah, we're reading 'Society of the Spectacle' at this hipster girl's house. I want to fuck her so I show up at her reading group. She's a prude but whatever. I've got nothing to lose but my chains."

"What are you talking about?"

"You know, the chains," Andy said.

"What? Listen where are you now?"

"I'm up by Ashby Bart. My interview was up here in Berkeley. Want to meet up at Radio in Oakland?"

"Uh okay. It will take me a little while to get there."

"Yeah, that's fine. I'll wait for you there. Make sure you come this time," Andy stressed.

"Yeah, okay." William hung up the phone and looked at it for a few minutes. Andy rarely ever called him. William didn't understand why he was calling now. William hadn't bothered responding to his friend's messages and phone calls lately. He wrapped himself up in his work and spent his free time writing and reading. William gathered his stuff and got on his bike. He made his way east on seventh street towards downtown Oakland, wondering as he rode why Andy had asked to hang out. He'd never been close to Andy. They'd spent some time together at Dolores Park but the two of them never really talked. He'd seen Andy at shows and various events but they'd never delved beyond pleasantries.

The ride took about fifteen minutes. He locked his bike in front of Radio, a small red bar close to the downtown Oakland Bart. When he walked in Andy was already seated on a stool. He had two thirds of a pint of beer in front of him. He was tearing the coaster that the bartender had given him into tiny shreds. He looked up when William entered.

"Hey. You want a beer," Andy asked. He waved at the bartender who was idling at the end of the bar. The bartender came over and poured William a beer then looked at the torn up coasters in front of Andy with dismay.

"I hate when people do that shit," the bartender said. "Its fucking annoying to clean up."

Andy shrugged and turned to William. "So Billy, what have you been up to?"

"I don't think anyone has ever called me Billy."

"Not even your grandma?"

"I never knew her," William replied. He drank a sip of his beer and looked at it for several minutes. The two sat in silence.

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