Clyde Smith Waltzes with Martin Luther in the Moonlight for Old Times' Sake
Ian Sanquist

I said stick a microphone on Lester and I don't give a damn how you do it. I told Marco to go pay Jarvis a visit in the hospital, and if he couldn't get what he wanted there, go and talk to the man's son over at the high school. I couldn't stop thinking of all those fucking Rene Magritte lookalikes and how in my dream they all had dollar bill signs over their faces instead of bowler hats. It made me want to puke. It made me want to shoot a live pigeon.
I heard that Colleen's boyfriend got arrested with a bomb in a backpack in the Barcelona underground. They asked him for the name of the organization that put him up to it. He said something about a Palestinian man, and another person named Carlos. Carlos, supposedly, had a moustache, but the Palestinian man never took off his sunglasses. I suppose the moron probably asked the police for a glass of water. He probably pissed his pants and started babbling about some idiot plot to kill the president.
Well, it was the first Saturday night of April, I saw Jarvis's son making negotiations with a homeless man to buy him a six-pack of Bud Light Lime. I wanted to take the boy by the shoulders and say, Why do you do it to yourself? You really think you're going to be happier like this? You really think your teeth won't fall out just like everyone else's? But I only watched as he gave the bum his ten-dollar bill, and I thought, well, in any case, I hope his night goes more prosperously than mine.
Yeah, Marco could have choked a guy with a telephone cord any day, but it wasn't his style. He liked being subtler, like the upholstery of some velvet submarine, or a basketball star's linen closet. The morning after they announced the winner of the Palme D'Or, I got a call from Lucille that Lars was on camera again making careless comments into microphones about Nazi occultism and a government-sponsored euthanasia program that he believed existed in the Netherlands.
I found myself in the back of a taxicab once more asking myself, my god had I gone and murdered a whore. What Marco told me is that Jarvis had gotten himself a whole new nose. He said it didn't even look like Jarvis anymore; if I saw him on the street I'd probably mistake him for Gregory Peck. I didn't feel like going home right away, so I asked the taxi driver to drop me off downtown. I felt like maybe handing out some spare change, making a difference in somebody's night if the opportunity presented itself. Well, that all changed when I saw that diamond-dicked valet walking around wearing shoes that I knew for a fact had been swiped right off my feet while I was waiting for a streetcar. Now I knew the name of the Negro who stole my shoes, but I didn't know the places where he hung around, so I asked the valet to tell me a few saloons where I could find a good time and I tipped him a quarter and a fifty-cent piece.
Jarvis may have had his new face, but we all knew the score. Back in 1986, Jim Cervantes killed my older brother in Toledo in a duel with steel sabers, and then he ran away to Madrid. I'd been looking for him for years, obviously, but the trail had gone cold multiple times. Thing is, Lester had been taking care of Jim's finances over in Sweden, and Lester wasn't smart enough to get plastic surgery.
Jim Cervantes deserved everything he got. You know, he once pushed somebody's grandmother down a flight of stairs. She'd just gotten out of the hospital too, I'd never heard of anything so cruel happening outside the film Scarface. Well, Jim never loved anyone. I believe he was a man who possessed a heart of truly twisted evil.
Had I not won the Academy Award for best supporting actor when I was twenty-three years old, I believe I would have ended up opening a tropical fish store in West LA. But I always wanted to be famous, and I don't have any regrets about anything I've remembered yet.

Ian Sanquist lives and writes in Seattle. His work has appeared in Juked, The Coffin Factory, SmokeLong Quarterly and others.

Detail of photo on main page courtesy of Cayusa.

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