DO NOT OPEN: THE DISCARDED REFRIGERATORS OF POST-KATRINA NEW ORLEANS
Laborde, Katheryn Krotzer (McFarland, August 2010, ISBN 9780786437894)
Colin knew the igloo would cause trouble. I’d erected it in our freezer from rings of ice-cubes I shaved so they’d lean in to make a dome. A tiny ice Eskimo kept watch near the door until, one day, Colin snapped it off to put into a drink. With its dying breath, the Eskimo vowed revenge. It placed a curse on the freezer.
After Colin moved to California to marry a woman he met on the internet, Hilary insisted we clear out the freezer so we could store food there. A hairdryer had no effect, so I started chipping out the igloo with a butter knife and mallet. Continue reading
We spent the month after our after our refrigerator entered Valhalla eating canned goods and Saltines. When they delivered the new refrigerator at last, Ken and Benji helped us shuffle it into the apartment. It looked like the fridge IKEA would sell you: a white, enamelled box with no curves or decoration.
Hilary and I dashed out to the supermarket. We placed Ken in charge of the fridge. When we left, its unrelieved cleanliness made it look like a vector model with the textures turned off. By the time we got back forty minutes later, Benji had written, “Phear My Elite Skillz” across the front of it in indelible marker. We found them trying to scrub it off with methylated spirits.
THE SONG OF ROLAND
Sayers, Dorothy L. (translator; Penguin, reprint December 1957, ISBN 978014044075)
On the phone, she‘d told me that she’d driven the car on to a raised section of the concrete, where she’d had to leave it. It took the security guard and me half an hour to find it. I’d enlisted his help at the parking garage near the haematology building. I thought of him as the squire. Without his help, I’d never have found it.
“Cooey!” he yelled out. Continue reading
CRAFTING WITH CAT HAIR: CUTE HANDICRAFTS TO MAKE WITH YOUR CAT
Kaori Tsutaya (Translated by Amy Hirschman, Quirk Books, 2011, ISBN 9781594745256)
Bendy crept upon the moth. He moved his limbs one at a time, between clock ticks, splitting each step into tiny motions. He had to keep calm; if he yielded to the temptation to dash, the bell would jingle on his flea collar and scare the moth away. Three more inches and he could pounce.
“Bzzzzzzzzzzt!” Continue reading
Herbert, Frank (New English Library, ISBN 9780450011849)
Hilary shared an apartment, and thus rent, bills and housekeeping, with Sophie. Like Hilary and me, Sophie supported herself through a mixture of Austudy and various atrocious part-time jobs. After a brief stint working for a telephone sex line, she found her niche as a telephone psychic.
An ineradicable optimism endeared Sophie to you as a friend, but it made her an appalling housemate. It amounted to the faith that when you found yourself without the time or money to do something, you could do it anyway. Continue reading
Herbert, Frank (New English Library, ISBN 978-0450011849)
Sophie kept a boyfriend named Alan – the same way that one might keep a housecat or a gerbil. Alan belonged to that shadowy class of persons who somehow leave no discernable impression in your thoughts. You would’ve found him listed in the credits as ‘fireman #3’ or ‘guest at party’.
He had a genial temperament; he’d amble out to see you when you arrived and make small talk. He just appeared underwritten. When you looked up from a conversation, you’d find him standing in the background fiddling with something, as if his actor didn’t have any lines and needed to full up the time pretending to do something. His presence left so scant an impression that to this day I can remember only two facts about him: he owned a video camera and slept heavily. Continue reading
Lewis, Sinclair (Bantam Classics, ISBN 9780553214864)
Hilary and I both held tenure as delivery drivers at a pizza restaurant on Centre Road called, ‘La Casetta‘. I majored in second-hand smoke inhalation while Hilary pioneered a study into the effects of alcohol on Italians.
The cook used a substance called, ‘Beef Booster’. Like Sinclair Lewis’ boosterist, he knew that you had to have pep, by golly. When the pizza needed more pep he would open a bucket of Beef Booster and heap it on. Continue reading