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“Guess what?” said the boy in the laundromat, “I can do a cartwheel from this couch over to that one.”

I sat on the floor of the place with one dry cycle left; reading up on torture, Prague and paintings of the sublime before the boy raced in. He looked about nine. He asked me for a few quarters, ran and jumped around the room in an abundance of energy, and began every sentence he spoke with “Guess what?”

So time was swallowing me amused for the hour.

“Guess what? I can do karate. I’m about to get my yellow belt.”

He attacked an already cracked dryer door with a roundhouse kick, and I thought for a second about getting up and joining him in his Chuck Norris kicking frenzy- taking over the Laundromat and forgetting about everything I'd been dealing with recently. Death and addiction and other such blood and water.

I was waitressing for the spring. Not doing much else. Time always seemed to be eating up surroundings before I could recover from some event, and then another one would take place.

I learned about wine at the restaurant I was working at. From dirty vodka soaked olives to the tannics of a hundred Grenaches. I could never seem to drink enough.

I thought about taking up a martial art. Still imagined being devoured by time, but with my Sensei.

“Guess what? Isn’t this place cool? No one is ever in here. Wouldn’t it be neat to live in here?”

Usually empty, plenty of clean clothes and lots of open, freshly scented space… terrif. Really.

“Guess what? Why does God make people kill people?”

A thousand thoughts arrive, like the one where the twin towers fall away- the dust of human forms arching in the firmament, then spilling down… this is what the sky in hell looks like.

With nothing I could say to him, I tossed another quarter from my tattered sack of laundry change his way. Happily he continued his battery of random profestations.

“Guess what? I had a dream about driving a go-cart the other night, and tomorrow my mom’s gonna take me go-cart riding.”

Hmmmmm. I dreamt I got high with Samuel Beckett the other night. We talked about Descartes and fragments and non-existent space of course, and I asked him his thoughts on life and death. He told me life is a choice between boredom and suffering, and he said death is truth and truth is the madness of dying, so be careful what you witness.

Sometimes it takes a sweet, blithe little child to pull you out of the doldrums and think about something other than your sufferings and your annoyingly "deep" dreams.

"That's cool," I managed. The boy smiled sweetly. He tossed his quarters from hand to hand.

My laundry was soon dry. The boy soon left and so did I, without saying too much more.

I didn't know if I'd ever see him again, but one day soon I'm going go-cart riding.

I'm friends with the monster
That's under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head
You're trying to save me ? stop holding your breath...*

Are you curious?

I bet you are, you want to know what this is- these notebooks. They are just words on a piece of paper. I mean, it could be an instruction, or it could be a warning. There are sooo many voices- the one I can hear inside my head, the person next to me on the bus- on the radio (that one person who speaks to me in code). So many voices. Multiple choice voices.

I start the day with a list. Ok, there is more than one. It is a list of lists, if you will. If you must, if you insist. You are insisting, aren't you? You are requiring that I give you a full accounting, and well- that's ok.

See, I keep good records. So I can tell you what they said, those people on the radio- and that crazy lady in line next to me at the Grocery. At the Sav-a-lot. She was pretending to talk to someone on her cellphone, but I know an inside job when I hear it. She was wired. It was a setup.

You know and I know how it is. How it really is.

Am I right? Don't say anything out loud- just nod your head or put your fingers to your lips. Yep, I got it. Keep it between ourselves. On the DL. Our little secret. 'k? Yes, walk away, that's perfect, that way the hidden cameras won't see anything unusual. See you around, ok, the circle, coming back, complete. Exactly.

Exact. Lee.



* Rihanna = Voices in my head -


Sitting there as if a trance
watching the clothes tumble in the window of the washing machine.
They're partially hidden by a thin line of soap and water
and just like the thoughts in my mind they seem to travel in circles
and always, always end up back in the same place.

Soon, the clothes start spinning faster and faster
and I can feel the floor vibrate beneath my feet
as the machine begins to rock back and forth in rhythm
and my thoughts keep time with the tempo it provides
moving so quickly I can hardly keep track of them.

Later, the machine slows down and comes to a rest
and the clothes lie there damp and ready for picking
to be placed in yet another sort of spin
where there is no water or soap
and the speed of the spin and the heat remains constant.

Sitting there as if in a trance
watching the clothes tumble in the window of the dryer
no longer hidden by either soap and water
the thoughts in my mind take on a certain clarity
and my eyes focus on the pretty girl lost in the pages of her book

Although they’re both probably not aware of it
the girl, much like the dryer, radiates heat
and when the spin has finally spun, I remove my load and begin the folding process.
The clothes are warm to the touch and I cast a glance in the girl’s direction
and am rewarded with a warm smile of my own in return

I take my time and cast a few more glances in her direction
until our eyes meet and our grins widen.
My basket is soon filled with the warm clothes
and my heart is filled with an even warmer feeling
as we make our way out the door to go who knows where

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