And so this guy tick-tocks down the street, merry as a puppy that gets it all the time, the tit. His eyes are wide and the whites of them are bloodshot bright like crizzled candies—bloodshot because there’s just so much living he’s doing. He is audacious America all by himself with his Levi’s and his Nikes and his Polo shirt and his blond hair and his candy eyes. His wife is named after jewelry or liquor or maybe a lamp to show how precious and consumable she is, and you know looking at him that she has long soft hair and pert breasts that pop in your mouth and hips so sharp you could bleed to death in her embrace.
He’ll talk to anyone, this guy whose name is Richard. He’s got one finger good for making points into your chest because that—goddamnit—is how things are! Lord, you love this guy on Sunday carrying the ball and on the news when he drops the bomb. Tick-tocking down the street, this guy, Richard. The people ladle smiles at him as he passes and that’s his due, his just desserts. He walks into a bar and they give him bourbon knowing he can hold his booze. He talks to his friends about the world and how the eskimos have four hundred words for snow just as if they really did and everybody—holy cow!—everybody listens to this guy.
Richard’s folks are still alive. His mom’s name is Sandra, Sandy to her friends, and she is a vital woman still because people would talk about her if she weren’t. Richard does not know that once a week she has it off with a retired plumbing contractor named Horace who can’t believe his good luck that an old guy named Horace can still get laid. Even if Richard did know he’s been trained to think “Good for her.”
So let’s all say that for him. Ready? “Good for her!”
Richard’s dad is Frank. Frank spends most of his time beside the condo pool with his cronies and because he didn’t bequeath his whole finger to Richard he can still make some pretty goddamned good points of his own. He and his fallow pals sit around a patio table. They’re dubbed the “dead pecker choir” by the meaner ladies in the condo association most of whom have their own secret Horaces tucked away. Every night Sandy and Frank go into town for dinner, steak and lobster on special, and drink just enough to get them home to drink in earnest. Their lives are full and vital and from time to time Richard calls them on his smartphone to tell them how much money he is about to be worth. It’s this felicity for making money that Frank and Sandy admire most about their boy; that’s what they would frame for their piano if they could.
Late at night Richard stares at the street below through a pane-gliding raindrop that eschers everything, bringing the street to bend back upon itself like the universe is said to do. Richard gains no insight from this power of water to change the pattern of light, to bend the world itself in its mystical waves, to create an infinite supply of humping plumbers from no more than an organic rag it belches onto the beach on some unwitnessed primordial Super Sunday. It all goes right past Richard who dreams instead of washboard abs, who sips his 5 Hour Energy contentedly, extending his busy day while the rain tick-tocks outside.