the Warm Up Act

‘Goodbye Poppa,’ reads the message inscribed on the grave’s footstone, ‘I love you!’

I knelt down, traced my fingers over the words, then swooshed my hands, a bit angrily, over the whole damn thing – as though I were some kind of wizard who, by mere gesture, could make the gravestone and all it stands for go poof & disappear.

I opened my eyes. The grave was still there. I cried.

My friend Absynth Eve touched my shoulder. I looked up and saw that she was crying, too.

The grave belongs to an old friend. He died 10 years ago in October. The inscribed message is from his son, who was 4 when his Poppa died. The boy, Kaya, he’s 13 now. I haven’t seen him in years, but hope I’ll get a chance – it happens that I’m friends with his classmate, Althea.

They (YIKES!!) dated for awhile recently. Anyway, Althea told me they’re real close friends, still, but it didn’t work out with them dating because Kaya is a ‘Player.’

The headstone is a giant rose quartz, the size of my old friend’s heart. A mighty big rock. Big enough to sit on. Or stand on. Turns out it is (just barely) big enough for two people to dance on.

Absynth Eve is the kind of friend who helps you figure out about how someone’s gravestone is just big enough for his two skinniest friends to dance on. I was still weeping in the grass, when she left suddenly, jumped in her car, and drove it right alongside the quartz rock. Tuned the FM radio in on the local Classic Shits station, turned up the volume to eleven & flung the car-doors wide.

The last notes of a song faded. Absynth Eve hopped on the rock, held her hand out toward me.

‘Would you like to dance?’ she asked in her surly yet child-like British accent, ‘Our friend is about to play us a song.’

Now, what Absynth proposed was a big No-No. We were in a Jewish cemetery. And the Jews strictly forbid song & dance at their dearly departed’s graves. As a side note, I propose a tactical shift to Hamas & Hezbollah. If they really wanna get to the Israeli’s, why not storm their graveyards with hookahs, boom-boxes & chicks – and have themselves a party?

That’d freak ’em right out.

Maybe it was the geopolitical overtones that got me on my feet. After all it’s not every day you get to break a major law of an Ancient Religion – that is, one I’ve never broken before.

Really, though, it was simply Absynth Eve, holding her hand empathically out to me, which made me dry my eyes & climb with her on the rock. She got that skill. To tempt a weeping friend to dance is Absynth Eve’s predilection.

I think she does it for Art.

It was little awkward with us both on board. We kind of held each other up, and I kicked off my shoes to gain a better toe-grip. Still, there seemed to be just room enough for three of our feet, atop the rock, which meant one foot, of the four between us, needed to be in mid-air at all times. It was kind of silly & fun.

Perfect for 2 people Dancing.

It didn’t occur to me, right then, that Sting played warm-up at my allegedly dead friend’s first Grateful Dead show. That’s not why I fell off the rock when the next song came on. The song itself hurled me on my ass.

I hope that someone gets
my Message in a Bottle…


4 Responses to “the Warm Up Act”

  1. 1 pippi July 24, 2006 at 9:47 am

    for once, i’m at a loss for words.
    i thought i could push past these tears and say something funny or clever or mystical; but i can’t.


  2. 2 david wang July 24, 2006 at 6:20 pm

    I need a drink !!!! love ya bro

  3. 3 Mike E July 25, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    Thanks, both you guys. It’s a story I’ve been wanting to write for awhile, but it’s hard…couldn’t finish it it one sitting.

    It gives me extra anxiety, on top of my usual blogger stage-fright.

    But if the 2 of you dig it, I know I am On To Something.

    More to come…

  4. 4 jayherron October 25, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    My friend in life-my first day in Florida was on fathers day 1970 tripping on window pane…hmmm,might of been some kind of sunshine-who da fuck knows,but…my first day in Florida was spent in a jewish cemetery tripping-so I might of danced?? but crazy thing is-I celebrate in that cemetery was my first homeless home-dig it?? hmmm.found them dark beers I wuz talking about yesterday and a few puffs of sum….hmm,good stuff Mike-dig the jewish cemetery.

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