Upon returning

Gamma gave me a hug. And a kiss.
“Good thing you’re back,” she said. “I had completely forgotten what you look like. All I could remember was that you have white hair, and you’re nice.”

Perfect day

Sunny, mostly sunny. A bit of fog on the way into work this morning but that cleared up early. Out walking at lunch, it was perfect. Absolutely no wind. The city of Vienna was perfectly still, and silent. The air temperature was cool but still warm enough to walk around in a suit without a coat.
Just walking around in the stillness. There were no cars on the street and no people on the sidewalks.
Or in the stores. No one said anything, and when the streetcar went by it didn’t make a sound.
It was like being deaf.
I went into a small supermarket and helped myself to a sandwich, leaving a euro ninety-nine on the cash register.
I ate the sandwich as I walked through an outdoor market marveling at the spicey red peppers and orange pumpkins. Big dates and figs and nice looking fat pears.
I bought eight sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving. They cost fifteen euro, for eight lousy sweet potatoes. I placed the bills underneath a pomegranate so they wouldn’t blow away in case the wind started up.
Just me, and eight sweet potatoes.


We play dice. In turns, we take five dice in our hands and toss them into a round black plastic tray with green felt along the bottom. According to the rules we collect points and advance or lose. We talk trash. Especially Gamma, she totally started the trash talking. Gamma gets some amazing rolls.

The day before yesterday, a grey November evening, we were playing. Four people, five dice, thrown over and over. On one of my turns, I threw the dice and when they came to a stop one was balanced on its corner. Sometimes they will come to a rest against the wall of the tray, you know, and you can slap the tabletop and they will fall over onto one side. But no matter how I slapped the table, this die stayed on its corner. And it wasn’t even touching a wall.

In all our years of dice playing, none of us had ever seen such a thing. You can’t balance a die on its corner even if you try, not even on felt.

One or two rolls later, it happened again!

Then it stopped.

The next morning, my mother called early to say my father had passed away.

Two ideas walk into a bar

There is the one idea, to sit on a chair in the garden and watch the sunset and maybe see a bat or falling star, and it is in bed with another idea, to demolish a failed casino with dynamite. The idea to sit on a chair in the garden and watch the sunset and maybe see a bat or falling star moves closer to the idea to demolish a failed casino with dynamite, but not so close that they are touching. It leaves at least an inch between them at all points because if it gets too close the second idea might push it away or go sleep in another bed. It might not, too, but the idea to sit on a chair in the garden and watch the sunset and maybe see a bat or falling star never knows; it lies there in bed and can’t fall asleep.
“Why are you sighing so loudly?” says the idea to demolish a failed casino with dynamite.
“I am only breathing,” says the first idea.