Wednesday, 28 September 2016

In Cassidy's Care: 6: Last Friday

6. Last Friday

Cassidy woke in a cold sweat, checked his face in the bathroom mirror and took a long shower. Toweling himself down he paused to wipe the condensation from a framed photograph: ‘The Cassidy’s’ after a gig, his mother’s 40th birthday. The four of them stood with their backs to a wall, mugging at the camera, sweaty and exuberant. They all wore tee shirts with oddly portent messages:
Tom: ‘I Love Bread’
Dick: ‘Let’s Share a Doobie, Brother’
Harry: ‘The Grateful Dead’
Peter’s own shirt was blank, ill fitting, chewing gum white.
Christ, you couldn’t make that stuff up.
He made himself some strong black coffee and reached for his laptop. There was a message from Dick. He had always wanted to be Dick. Where Tom had inherited his father’s rigid resolve, Dick was very much his mother’s son, a free spirit. As a kid, Cassidy was always dressed in Dick’s hand me downs and had secretly hoped that some of that laconic sang-froid would rub off on him. He longed to inherit his brother’s bohemian bones, but his shirts and pants were always a misfit. While Cassidy’s teenage years had seemed like an endless parade of twitches and taunts, this brother somehow floated above the torpid tedium, serene and self contained. Dick didn’t do rehearsals; he was always ‘on’, yet he could look at his world without pointing and shouting.  He now ran an art gallery in San Francisco, smoked pot, screwed other beautiful bohemians and lived Peter’s perfect other life; the life he’d have chosen for himself. He read the cold text, imagining his brother’s scruffily elaborate handwriting:
Hey bro, how are you holding up?
I know that Tom’s been in touch about the funeral details.
I’m singing one of dad’s favourite spirituals, ‘Eye on the Prize’.
What are you doing btw?
Want a verse?
Remember the campfires?
Remember ‘The Cassidys’?
Thought I’d accompany myself, but bring your tambourine.
I found my old guitar in dad’s garage yesterday.
No strings.
Well, one actually but that’s worse than none.
I took the bus into Worcester this morning to get it fixed up, new strings and such.
I haven't taken that bus since I was a kid. 
I love crazy Worcester people.
Overheard this on the #27, 10:30, April 4, 2011:
A large guy, wild hair, looking a bit rough, gets on with another fellow on Pinehurst.
(Loudly to everyone)
“Que paso?
It's a nice day, any day I’m alive is a beautiful day.
I’m sleeping in a tent. I got a little dog; that’s why I can’t stay in the homeless shelter. It’s a terrier, looks like a little pit bull. I got her from the shelter. Her face was all scratched up from rubbing on the cage.
I slept outside last night. It was beautiful. The wind picked up this morning and I got in the tent. I was lying there all night with my little dog next to me…
Look at that guy running to catch the bus!
Hey, he’s gonna make it. I’d have petered out half way.
(Bus beeps at car blocking driveway)
Look at that nitwit! Pull in buddy! That’s why his fender is all bashed in – he didn’t get out of the way last time.
 (Near Clark University)
Look what my college degree got me –well prepared for homelessness.
Hey, I like the way you’re dressed. Very stylish.
I’m gonna cut my hair like that too. Gonna get me a girl friend.
See that guy with a guitar? (referring to me) I’m gonna follow him around and see if he plays a song.
(Me, not turning around, “It’s got no strings.”)
Hey, well alright. We’ll take up a collection.
I used to drive for Peterson Oil.
I got arrested driving the wrong way on the highway.
That company’s no good.
People used to give the finger to Peterson trucks…
Gonna get to the shelter and get me a hot meal…
If you go to court, good luck! All them judges and lawyers sitting up there, do they care?
They say justice is blind. No, it’s sold off to the highest bidder…
Justice is a ten-ton truck. Just don’t get in its way….
We oughta send a missile up Gaddafi’s backside!
Didn’t he learn from last time? We shot a missile and killed his entire family, now he’s making trouble again. We didn’t have to put anyone on the ground. We dropped a lot of leaflets so that people would get out of the way:  ‘The sheriff’s coming. Get outta Dodge!’
I hear the Belgians are going to fight him.
The Belgians? What are they gonna do, bomb him with chocolates? But good luck to them.
Bin Laden and his buddies, they only win if we blink. I say look ‘em in the eye and say ‘Boom’. They either laugh or they don’t. Just like their bombs get you or they don’t.
Fate is a ten-ton Peterson truck… what can you do?
 (Getting off, to driver)
OK, buddy, put it in turbo!"
They say that hell is other people Pete, but I love weird strangers.
Crows and doves eh brother?
I’m seeing the old man everywhere.
Starting to talk to birds and shit.
Crows and doves indeed…
‘Hi’ to the boys (and to you).


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