excavations

karen’s driving me through her old neighborhood, taking me to see where she lived before—we’ve got a photograph of a big white house and her stories of all the people who lived there, but now there’s only an empty lot and I find it hard to believe that whole house fit there.

when I get into the driver’s seat, I have to reset all the adjustments she’s made.

I lose my car in a parking ramp.

I look into the eyes of an ill-shorn guy and say, wow.

I show up at a party everyone’s been planning, and it turns out it’s for me, and I’m ashamed and embarrassed and start backing out of the room. I say to sue ann, you really should write a book of comedic essays, and she gives me a funny look and pulls out her book which has just been published earlier in the year and which I should have known about.

I dig a little ways into the hillside behind my house and open up a whole underground system of tunnels and dirt-carved paths—a rabbit warren, I think at first, but it quickly becomes clear that george has been going down the tunnels and making use of it—first I notice the size of the dug paths, george-sized rather than rabbit-sized—and then I start to notice the corruption—it’s full of piles of dog shit, just everywhere, and worse, the stink and moisture have collected and compounded, and an evil-looking red mold has begun to grow and spread—so at first what looks like a cool, mysterious underground world to explore becomes something I loathe the very idea of stepping into, a problem to solve, a mess to clean up, which I hadn’t even realized was there, somehow.

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