New: An Extra "Fairwil" Passage

A number of readers have mentioned that a particular "Fairwil" moment is one they rather like. It's Fair and Gomery on the bell cart, on New Year's Eve, heading down Wilshire Boulevard to the grocery store (and then back to the museum lampposts, where things take a few turns).

Here's the moment, from the book, if you need a memory jogger. And, below it, under the word "NEW," is a bit of new writing to further fill out that passage.

From a fresh perspective. :)

**

From "Fairwil":

     Two people driving a hotel bell cart is a push-and-pull study in hurly-burly lurching, sudden stops, and side-to-side careening. But after we’d rolled it across Fairfax Avenue, controlling our wee ride grew progressively easier. We took our positions with confidence, me at the front, the captain of the wobbly ship, and my first officer at the rear, providing rudder support.
     The bell cart protested as we pushed it to greater velocity but soon piped down. Perhaps it desired solidarity with its two-person crew, a young man and woman who wheel-wobbled at their own start before finding that acceleration is only mastered with moxie.
     Increasing speed, however, brought increasing wind, which tore the red streamer necktie from my throat, sending it fluttering into the night sky.
     “Goodbye, necktie!” I yelled, because I was in a yelling mood.
     We sailed along the sidewalk heading east down Wilshire, past the art museum’s contemporary wing, the glowing lamppost installation, the sculpture garden, and the tar pits, picking up speed the further along the block we got.
     “No rocks, no rocks,” Gomery chanted as we neared the wilder side of the park, because he understood what I did: If our wheel met a sizable pebble, our unsturdy vessel would capsize and we’d fly. But my first mate was a master of rear control and easy helmsmanship. He leaned to and fro as required, and dropped his foot when deceleration was in order, like a skilled skateboarder might when rounding a corner.
     And I was no slouch in the navigation department. My uniform was a gossamer frock, but one might have suspected I boasted captain’s epaulets beneath my dress, given how easily I took to the captain’s position. Granted, we piloted a cart made to hold luggage, not human cargo, but the “wheees” that arose every few seconds revealed that, in our own minds, we were at the wheel of some legendary ship, and Los Angeles was our glittering sea.

NEW:

     The idea that a wobbly wheel attached to our less-than-sturdy vehicle might meet a sizable rock, the kind that people absentmindedly kick from the sidewalk as they stroll, was ever-present on my mind as we grew closer to the side of the park that held the tar pits. Nature wasn't tidy, and stones able to upend a bell cart, stones the size of a tip of a thumb, had a way of inching away from the dirt plots running alongside the concrete walkway.
     "No rocks, no rocks," I chanted in my head before I realized I was actually vocalizing the thought.
     "Aye aye," the captain sang back, not at all worried, her voice as bright as the bulbs in the lampposts we'd just passed.
     The officer in charge of our ship possessed far keener sight than I did. If a fist-sized hunk of granite or clump of hard mud came into direct view, she'd surely alert me while taking sudden measures to avoid it. I couldn't speak to her better eyesight for sure, but she was free of eyeglasses, a claim I could not make. 
     Other matters were impacting my sight that had no bearing on her clear view of the situation. For example, the captain currently did not have the skirt portion of an evening gown billowing up and down inches in front of her. The billow, up and down, up and down, came courtesy of the speed of the bell cart and the dress's feather-fine material catching the breeze. 
      It was a long and proper gown, as befitted the elegance of the night and the proper preferences of the person wearing it, but the way the skirt whipped and danced greatly varied the dress's length, moment-to-moment, from ankle to knee to thigh.
     Er. What was I looking for? Rocks. On the sidewalk. That could send us, and our clanky metal vehicle, toppling.
     "Fair?" I called. I gripped the cart's top bar, the one made for hanging garments, with one hand, while I hastily used the other to free the hem of my captain's rippling dress from the underside of my cummerbund. The cummerbund had clearly acted with impunity in deciding to snag the hem, with no input from the man it encircled. "Are you watching for rocks? Please look down."
     "Looking up at the stars!" she countered in her yelling voice. Another lusty yell -- a single shouted word, "mastodons!" -- told me that while skilled and more than able to masterfully lead our two-person crew, our captain was currently less attuned to rock-monitoring and more interested in plugging into the socket of the world. 
      It was difficult to discern what sensation was flowing off her in a more palpable fashion at that weird, joyful juncture. While I could feel the taffeta hem of her skirt as it brushed against my pants, I was heart-jolted by the waves of electric happiness zigzagging backwards off her, zigzagging as easily as diaphanous fabric.
      And then I knew: She really didn't care if we hit a rock. 
      She was here but gone. She had leveled up to another way of being. She was the very rock our bell cart's wheel might meet, the stone that would send me tumbling. I wondered, as I again untwisted her tuxedo-caught hem, if she might also be the bell cart, the stars, and maybe me.
      These realizations all gelled during a singularly electric second. It was a hot blue spark in a lifetime's worth of colorless tick, tick, ticks of the clock. It was a second that would surely galvanize all future seconds of my life, the ones still to come, to stand up and be counted.
      I wanted to tell her about the hot blue spark and the heart jolt and how I now knew how it feels to have the hem of happiness brushing against the pants of your life, but instead I dully called "red light."
      There was little-to-no traffic at that time of night, but the light at Curson Avenue was green, which put a stop to all cars traveling along Wilshire. Including, of course, a sidewalk-idling bell cart. 
      We slowed our brass vehicle near the official entry to the tar pits and waited, eyeing the traffic lights in breath-puffing silence. We could go, due to the lack of automobiles, but we wouldn't, because we just wouldn't. Our shared adventure wasn't about crossing against the light when traffic was absent, a naughty pursuit we'd leave to those who didn't want to dream bigger. Rather, our rule-breakery was about challenging life's larger line items, the tenets governing our unspoken impulses. Leveling up and stand-out seconds and memory creation and mastodon impressions seemed so much hinkier than mere jaywalking.
      "Red light," she sighed, then spied something. Reaching down, she picked up a small rock from the sidewalk, and tucked it into a hidden pocket.
      "Souvenir?"
      "Insurance. What if we all found, then kept, like, the things could hurt us? Just to keep an eye on where they are? Protect ourselves by owning the hurt?" She took it out again and stared at her palm. "Nah." A throw later and the pebble was over the fence and inside the tar pits park. "I gotta keep the good stuff. I only have so much room in my drawers for what I love."
      I pressed the heels of my hands into my eyes and tried not cry. But the laughter wouldn't stop. The hot blue spark lit my laugh fuse and I bent over, attempting to steady my jerking shoulders. I reached a hand up to steady myself against the bell cart, and catch a breath, but the rattletrap conveyance was gone.
      My captain was halfway across the intersection, riding the bell cart towards the newly green Walk sign. "Oh c'mon now, Gomery!" She yelled back as I ran to jump aboard. "Really now. Whatever were you thinking? I didn't mean my drawers, like, 'my drawers,' as in my dresser, where I keep my cardigans. The other drawers. You totally knew that, right? That was clear?" She waggled a bit, all over, a provocative punctuation to what she'd just said. It was a move which again sent the hem of her skirt billowing with the building breeze.
     I leveled up, fast.


6 comments:

Melbourne on my Mind said...

asdjflka;sdjglak;sdjgalk;sdjgaskldjaskdlfjasdf!!!!!! <-- the only response I can come out with right now. But seriously. This is perfection.

M said...

SIGH. Love love love! "Protect ourselves by owning the hurt?" Another AGP perfect moment.

Caitlin said...

Gomery POV is always a treat. Yayyy!!!

Ginny said...

LOVE.

Caitlin #2 said...

GOMERY!!!!! so much love <3

Wilfair Book said...

Thanks everyone! More (maybe?) to come, I hope.

 
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