by Louis Bertrand Shalako
All Rights Reserved
To pick up a phone book is to reveal a rectangular bare patch surrounded by slightly-tacky black fuzz.
To look at a folder is to disturb a quarter-inch of fine gray dust. To open a kitchen drawer is to despair. To pick up some old hats, and to realize that he will never wear them again...and the hats are too dirty, too old for the Goodwill.
To open up the door and go into the room is to smell bear-smell. Sweat, old socks, dead skin, and Gold Bond, slightly fermented.
To look in a drawer is to see fifteen years of bills, all neatly bundled, in order, labeled in blue ink along the top edge. 'Paid.'
It is to wonder about an old photo, to ask what will one do with a handful of old Scout badges...should they go on E-bay? Or isn't it better to let them die with dignity?
To look at a bookshelf and wonder what will happen to all of those books. Some of them are worth keeping...but not all of them. They're just falling apart.
Who wants the couch?
'Not I,' said the cat.
An old table will burn, old bed sheets can go straight to the garbage. The Health Unit would condemn them anyway. I don't ever want to see another man wearing this coat or this shirt...
The pendulum clock on the wall hasn't worked in years, but it belonged to Uncle Ed.
Straight to the garbage.
Remember the electric organ in Uncle Ed's dining room?
He used to take me over there and he would play the thing. He never had a lesson in his life. He wasn't too bad, actually.
The basement leaks. It will affect the price, no doubt about it.
Where he is now, is clean, and tidy, and he gets three square meals a day. He has people to look after him, and someone to talk to.
I couldn't look after him any more.
They tell me I'm free now.