Indian Corn

In front of the bathroom mirror, Henry cut himself shaving, motionless, in a stupor, he let the wound bleed for a while, too lazy and not knowing for sure what to do, then tearing off a piece of tissue, placing it on the wound, much the same as he had always done.

Wrapped in a towel, out of the bathroom into his bedroom, Henry old, shedding vanity and hair, oddly shaped, avoiding mirrors at all cost, the pay off for the fabulous mental life of old age.  

At the closet, as usual chinos, no socks, no underwear, choosing the shirt of the day was the only decision to be made here. He picked a Hawaiian shirt, sky blue and white, and would wear his leather slippers that were in a pile of shoes at his door step.

On the computer  watching  a bit on You Tube about the most decorated war hero in U.S. History, Robert Howard, a country boy from Alabama. 

Mannish pluck, a soldier in Viet Nam, a Medal of Honor recipient, comments on YouTube like —Semper Fi and God bless the American hero— jingoistic raves from veterans, empty dispatches to Henry's ears. 

Henry wondering about the other-side of the coin? Wondering how many Asians Howard had killed? What suffering he caused the "enemy"? Under a different more universal system of judgement, would he be a hero or a pitiless killer?

As Henry left his apartment he checked his mail box, it had been empty a few years. Henry living in Akron, in the heart of the dead city that tires built, walking down Main-Street on a golden summer day, just walking, with a straw hat on and Ray Bans. 

Up ahead on the sidewalk, he could see May's Dinner and a newspaper stand, regular stops and conversations for Henry. Buying a newspaper from Blind Al who had lost his eyes somewhere,  asking him what he thought of the war hero Robert Howard? Blind Al saying…

"Who the fuck is he, man?"

At Mays ordering waffles and tea, siting at the counter reading the Akron Beacon Journal, talking with May, wearing an apron on a flower dress,  white hair up in braids. Henry could see the outline of her hairy push through the thin material of her dress.  Henry asked her what she thought the war hero Robert Howard and the Viet Nam war? May quick to say…

"Why Henry you know I was against that war and all wars, I believe in peace and the inner light of love, staying focused on it, simply, without much fuss, avoiding churches and institutions of any kind"

"Does someone like a Robert Howard have an inner light May?" 

Henry asked

" Henry we all have the light shining in us, but some of us just choose to ignore it and take the deadly path, sweetie."

"May, when a  person's inner light is shinning inside will they kill?"

"Oh no Henry, they would be protected and shielded from darkness, joined together in radiance with others, in the high pine darling, avoiding violence and loud talk, flying in the clouds, hero angels, invisible, brimming over.

Henry ordering a second waffle and a raisin donut, more tea, thinking he could walk off the extra servings. Having a plan, to walk south out of Akron till he reached the Indian cornfield 12 kilometers out of town, believing a few ears of dried Indian corn could ward away ghost and evil spirits, cleanse his apartment, keep his inner light shining.

Once out of town, Henry ducked into an old barn with a Redman chewing tobacco logo painted on the side, he loved the smell of hay, flopping down on the hay, lighting a joint, careful not to set the barn on fire. 

Laying in the hay, in reverie some, thankful for the moment of serendipity, thinking he would like to fuck May in the hay, May's inner light sending signal to Henry, he, thinking about her tits, the zaftig, corn-fed rounded shape, imagining her sizable brown nipples, flaccid on an oval patch of skin, surging to the touch. Thinking of her long legs thrusted upwards towards the clouds, Henry's cock pounding out a rhythm inside her, wondering if she would keep things at a low moan and progress to a high pitched, repetitive scream?

After day dreaming in the old barn for an hour or so, Henry walked outside, going down the road, reaching the Indian Corn field and walking down the rows of corn, getting lost some, feeling the stuff that nature was made of through and through. Finally, picking two ears of Indian corn, pappy, new born, it would have to dry some before the cleansing power could be released.

The walk back never seems to take as long as the walk there, but it is more of a struggle. Henry walked back to his apartment on the back roads of Cuyahoga County, ten miles maybe. He thought of the character, Travis, in the film "Paris, Texas," played by Harry Dean Stanton, wondering aimlessly, walking for days at a time through the Chihuahuan Desert. Wanting to forget something, haunted by love gone wrong, or the tragic death of someone he loved. Sleeping in patches of fury bush, lighting mesquite at night to keep warm, his soul detached from his body, oblivious to the harshness of the desert.

Erotic fantasies of May in the hay, exhorting him, Henry calls May around 5 PM, asking her if she had supper yet? May says…

"Why no Henry doll I haven't eaten yet, are you asking me out? Are you feeling aroused baby?" 

Henry choking on the biscuit, goaded by May, lying throw his teeth…

"Oh not ah… not at all May… why I just would enjoy your company over a good bottle of red wine and a steak at the Emerald City Grill"

"Why Henry darling wouldn't that be sweet?  We can meet at 8:30 baby." 

(The Emerald City Grill was in the center of downtown  Akron,  under a freeway overpass that urban development had passed by, walking distance for booth Henry and May) 

Henry shaving again after a long hot shower, doing the stuff that men do to make themselves attractive to women —male birds fanning out their feathers, boy lizards turning orange, blushing red, aroused, sending signal— virility moon-struck by lady hummingbirds, glands engendering the fetching scent of honey. The yin & the yang of passing the message of life on, love and sex.

Henry sat in a booth at the Emerald City Grill, talking to his friend Teddy, the owner, waiting for May to show. The Grill was famous for steaks, where they bought the meat a protected secret. The interior hadn't changed in 60 years, retro, run-down, once gentrified, light green banded wallpaper, fumes of cigarettes smoked past still permeating the now of the no smoking place. Teddy like a Chinaman, waiting for the property to appreciate, not spending a penny to renovate. The prosaic and aloof decor saying....  "fuck you and who cares."

Eddy had one arm, Henry once asked Eddy how he lost his arm?

"Oh, somebody hacked if off with a meat cleaver by mistake" 

Eddy never one for giving straight answers, enjoying diversion, he had nicknames for everyone, he called his brother Honda, my brother Patrick was Patta, a waitress, Stephanie was Rodney, a Greek friend Nick, Cudots and so on and so forth. 

Eddy the restauranteur, who loved to play, prudent, never grim, not as gone as Travis wondering the desert, but gone as much as he wanted to be. Hilarious, full of stories with odd twist of humor and fate, a character himself and a lover of characters. He made thousands of dollars a night at the Emerald City Grill, not caring really, spending allot on cocaine, calling it toot, to be snorted at after-bar parties. 

May arrived at the Emerald City Grill a half hour late, Henry half in the bag already, drinking M 16s  and snorting some toot in the boys room with Eddy. Henry happy to see May, she was grand, fabulous, palatial everywhere and on the spot. Ultra hip, wearing a red Chinese dress, slit at the leg, with a high buttoned collar, fuck me pumps, fish net hose, guys in the restaurant rubber-necking her, eye-balls popping.

"Why May what a surprise sweetie, I have never seen you without an apron on or out from behind the counter of your cafe babe" Henry says

"Oh you will Henry trust me, you will, be patient darling, you will see allot of things in the future baby" May winking at Henry

Henry very turned on sitting across from May in the booth, turgid, sliding his foot out of his leather slipper and running it up Mays leg toward her crotch, May ordered a Flaming Mexican Flag, apropos. Henry gave May a small vile of cocaine to snort in the ladies room.

May back at the booth, after snorting, stars in her eyes, feeling fabulous, ordering Lobster, Henry ordering a T-Bone the meal toothsome, succulent, drinking Mescal Flame Throwers, on fire, blue-flame rising from goblets, going outside into the parking lot to snort, Mays inner light scintillating, consuming Henry, the moment boiling hot. 

It was a highly charged summer night in Akron, Henry borrowed Eddy's Cadillac Convertible parked in the back lot of the Emerald City Grill, taking May for a ride to the Indian cornfield. Henry put the canvas top down, May leaning back and looking at the moon, her hair blowing about, she put her legs up on the dash, satisfied. 

At the Indian cornfield, Henry parked on the road, it was dark and there were no streetlights, the moon lit things up some. "Sure Enough I Do" by Elmore James was playing on the Radio. 

May and Henry took their shoes off, not caring much, wasted, running into the dim field, down the rows of corn, falling at times, laughing out loud, forgetting allot, falling on each other, striping down, balling, the two realizing they had been in love forever and for the moment, that was enough.

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