Blue begins the morning. This light comes into alley well and then the rain. The light there like a zoetrope. Strobic, bruising. He thinks I can’t start here and then he sleeps again.
He’s dreaming and the smell is bad. As if happening upon no small, petty or trifling foulness, but some deeper oozing and keeing of glands and orifices or maybe of time itself. A candle by the bed wavers and thrusts and leaps, like a hand is passing through, or a gas. In his dream hags ascend, merge, become one old white-eyed woman. Frightwig’d, classically hatchetfaced. Bluemilk skin and bugeyed in a hue hardly distinguishable, upper lip stuck to a lone tombstone tooth. Her hair and arms flailing as if caught up in her own unharnessable repugnance, some forgotten ancestor or maybe his own woman within. He screamed and she screamed. Up her legs and bare gut black veins swilled some unholy phlegm, she says Rub my belly for a quarter. He considers, then Wait: my quarter or yours? They fell together. Shush, kwicherbitchn. He thrashed, panicky, immersed in something neither solid or liquid. With her oldness and foulness growing multifold in its furies she at once calms and chews gingerly on her blue tongue and coos deadpan Yours, but I believe your wife dropped some change when I pushed her down the stairs.
Money changes hands, and then this vision in her belly:
You see your mother-in-law downtown. She is laying flat on the sidewalk but seems to be involved in a discussion with the businessmen that surround her. At first you stand outside the circle, but you don’t see her small, savage. savage toy dogs. A woman stands watching in the doorway of a gallery where you have shown recently. The door is off the hinges, the woman’s cheek is cut. A man takes out his checkbook after she declines a hotdog. The other men gesture with hotdogs in their fists. They now seem to be discussing strategy among themselves. Cell phones emerge. They all turn outward, as if to align themselves with indentured polestars. You crouch through them without being noticed. You mother-in-law lays there with a hotdog clutched to her breast. She looks at you and squeezes the hotdog but that is the only sign of recognition. Bright yellow mustard oozes.
White trash heroes, she says.
What? you ask.
She nods slyly. That’s what I must name my hotdog stand.