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Professional Driver, Closed Course

Sorting through the sounds of words.

On the television is an advertisement. Its sound is muted while I talk on the phone. A camera travels with the car, inches away from the front tire, pointed down. The shot requires complex rigging equipment, operated by an expert in front-mounted mobile camera-work. As the tire spins over the wet asphalt, beads of rain spin out like stars, sprayed from crashing galaxies. Headlight glow refracts inside the droplets.

“They would do anything we wanted for an hour. So we got high with them and the three of us sat on the bed with pillows in our laps and watched. One of them was a Colombian, she was kind of scrawny but cute, and the other was a French-Russian, who was porn-model hot, and they put their fingers inside of each other and licked each other, and they both came. They offered to fuck us for free but we said we couldn't because we all had girlfriends. So what are your stories about?”

One. A young man goes to meet a friend, and drinks on top of his anti-anxiety medicine. He becomes almost unconscious, and gets himself in trouble.

Two. An old man walks around his neighborhood in a small city, and sees 20-25 year old women wearing the clothes of his dead wife. He thinks he's hallucinating. He talks to one of the young women; they have a polite discussion. He pulls a picture of his wife from his wallet and the girl says, 'she's very beautiful.' The young women bought the dead woman's clothes, 60s and 70s vintage and well-maintained, at the Salvation Army next to her office. The old man had brought the clothes there, piled in boxes in the back seat of a station wagon, a few months after his wife's funeral.

“I like the last idea.”

Earlier, a call from my father: “I sensed things weren't going so, ah, I'd give a ring.” “How do you sense that?” Genomic resonance, harmonics tuned across four decades, 26 year old boy, gray hair showing up in Brooklyn, copious with every mirrorful, salt-colored.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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