Sunday, January 16, 2011


I turned and there he was, sitting in a small, corner booth. He smiled, raised his glass and nodded. I went over and stood there looking down at him. He gestured for me to join him. I did. He spoke first, lapsing into a more or less current jargon. He said - Sonny Boy!.......He offered his hand. I grasped it. We maintained physical contact for a heartbeat or two and then let go. He sipped his drink. I do not know how he did that. But he has many tricks. I glanced down at the table and saw an opened copy of Gentleman's Quarterly magazine. He had obviously been reading it. Yet another trick, considering the tiny pool of warm, gold light, issuing forth from the small, shadded lamp.......Planning a shopping trip? - I said.......For many things - he added........Perhaps you will help me? ........... I hesitated, but he continued uninterrupted, talking of our long seperation. And if I still went by Tomas, or had adopted another name. I told him it was not so much  an adoption, as a reassertion of what had  gone before. He said - So, you are Jonathon then. I remember. How could I forget? .......And you? - I asked. What should I call you? How are you addressed?...... He shrugged and said - I don't know. Call me papa........ and so 'papa' he became.  We spoke of many things, about the others in our band, about our refuge, about our 'spiritual' tricks. He said that he especially wanted to meet my granddaughter/consort, my offspring in the spirit and the flesh. He wanted to know Sarah. Then he looked at his watch (something heavy, expensive and brutally metallic) and said that we should be going, since the night would be dying soon. So we went out to the street and walked on about three dozen cubits when he stopped and pointed toward an impressive, black sedan parked by the curb....... Yours? - I said.......He merely smiled and nodded. Then the doors clicked open with quick, modern precision. Was it his magic or simply some other sort of technological enchantment? I could not tell. But I walked around to the passenger side and got in. He lowered himself into the driver's seat and we were off. Soft music, jazz, I think they would call it, warmed the rich, leather lined interior. I studied him. How does he achieve all this? He could not have been here more than a day or two. I would have felt something. Edith would have felt something. Well, maybe we did. Denial can be very strong. Look at him, with his carefully styled salt and pepper hair, his suit, the soft, gray, suede overcoat, like a fit and dapper mafia don. We rode on in silence. Then he said - wilkravitz, your familiar, he is still gaming? Come, we shall pick him up......... So we went to the casino. He valet parked the car like he was born to it and we entered. 'Papa' led the way through the crowds, aiming right for a bank of video poker machines. We stopped short right behind my familiar, who looked up in silent, shocked surprise. I didn't know what to say. I had never intruded on him like this, but 'papa' spoke first. He said - Grab your things we've come to take you home..........wilkravitz cooperated. He gathered together his belongings. It was obvious that he had lost the fivehundred dollars. But at the last instant, 'papa' spoke and said - Look, five credits. One more shot,........He leaned over and pressed the button. The images flickered and three seconds later, wilkravitz was onethousand dollars the richer.  Four Jacks and an Ace. Five of a kind. He looked at me. He did not know what to do. Papa spoke and said - Take it. Take the voucher. It's yours....... So we waited while he went to the bank-like counter and traded the paper coupon for ten crisp one hundred dollar bills. Then we walked out, retrieved the car and rode home in silence.........

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