Justin Stone's creekbed

songs, prayers, poetry, stories, art, photographs, moving pictures, fondnesses, tall-tales and meditations

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Location: missouri, el paso

The Anterior Insula and Hwy W

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Dandruf-Headed Stranger


The dandruf-headed stranger, the bachelor, brushes clean his shoulders and the nape of his neck, sucks in his rounded belly, tucks the tail of his shirt deep into his baggy pants. He likes the grocery store, he likes the quiet activity of the place, the flourescent lighting, the colored packagings like dream wallpaper along the spacious aisles. He likes to place his hand on frozen meat. He likes to see women--women whom one and all he deems lonely in one way or another--steer shopping carts one destination to another, their gazes inward. He imagines their stories, their specific hopes and fears, their misgivings. He likes to think he could well prove something to each of these ladies, possibly invest their life with variation. “I’m a variable,” he thinks, “a wild card.” He likes to place his hands inside mounds of produce, and he then likes to wiggle his fingers. He likes to do this when he thinks nobody is watching him. The slow walking bachelor selects a narrow assortment of easily prepared foods: soups, macaroni, peanut butter, cereals. He does very little of what you might call cooking in his home. In his imagination he has had sex with literally hundreds of the grocery-shopping women of this town. He likes to imagine hurried, sweaty sex in obscure environs. Sex freighted with wild dilemma. He has had imaginary sex in parked cars on imaginary dead-end roads; he has had sex in shadowed afternoon bedrooms behind blinded windows to the imaginary sounds of kids at play in an imaginary adjacent room; he has had sex against numerous pieces of imaginary appliances, atop sinks, and living room couches, and, oh god, untold numbers of living room couches (rooms lived in by unsuspecting husbands and families) have seen the slow-falling imaginary snow of his very real dandruf. Snowy, brilliant afternoons. He is not a bargain shopper per se; he never uses coupons or hunts specifically for sale items--he simply does not eat foodstuffs that cost very much. God, the savings in this place. He misemploys the word frugality. He tells himself that his is a hard-earned and constantly demanding but ultimately rewarding base survival instinct. When a passing acquaintance bothers to ask him how he is doing he always answers in the same straight-faced reply, “Oh, I’m getting along,” and the passing acquaintance almost always says, “Yeah?” and he almost always says again, “Yeah, I’m getting along.”