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The 42 Inch Hallway

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From the anthology, Complaining to the Clock, a work in progress.

The 42 Inch Hallway We’re stepping along the musty hallway now. I am taking us on a fast-moving memory ride; A mind-bending groovy slide to 1965, When Dylan music was seeping loudly like a germ, Down the green-carpeted hallway of my youth, from Within the record-filled yellow room of my older brother, Keeper of a hundred LP records with covers picturing gods. “Turn that music down!” His mother is hollering down the hallway. “Can’t you play some Mario Lanza music instead?” Now we hear the soothing voice of Vin Scully broadcasting, Another Dodger game on KFI with Koufax on the mound; Soon, another ad for Blatz Beer and Dual-Filter Tareyton. Presently, another annoying pause for station identification. “Shhh, peek inside there. The green room on the right. Do you see her? Do you see a fat brunette woman?” She is wallowing inside on the wide bed now, Fanning herself in the stifling heat with the LA Times; “Come on Maury! Steal that base,” she bellows. The crossword puzzle on page twenty six Is filled out in cursive with a number 2 pencil. Her bedside radio is blaring occasional static sounds Mixed with ghost music from Mexico. Turn left now forty-two inches into the third room, The faded beige-walled room with dead hanging draperies, And a broken-glassed window emitting dust creatures. Look! They are flitting in the air like crazy ballerinas, Dancing to Sonny and Cher with that oboe and the bells. See the boy reading Mad magazine? Batman and Argosy? See him play Dick Dale and the Del-Tones with a scratching needle? Now his grandmother is screaming in the yellow room, Yelling in pain, while writhing on the green-carpeted floor. “Call the doctor right away! Phoebe has fallen and can’t move!” Sunny and the Sunglows are singing Talk to Me on a distant radio. “Baba is going to die of a stroke! Get an ambulance now!” But Art Baker is now on television speaking to us from Television City in Hollywood; his voice as sweetly smooth as Bosco. But he looks like a guy who might sell you a Buick from hell. Whose footsteps do I now hear coming up from the dank basement? Whose voice do I now hear proclaiming loudly, The big discount sale at Leon Ames Ford in Encino? It is the pipe-smoking ghost from Nova Scotia, who Died in 1941, forty-two standard inches across the hallway. Can you hear them, my friend? The weeping whines from behind those doors? The grieving wails for the dead grandmother? The incredulous shrieks of shock of the dead grandfather? The wafting refrains of a drunk Tennessee Ernie Ford Singing baritone on a black and white TV screen: Let Me Walk With Thee? I do hear them still.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019




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