He walked head down, chin tucked low, eyes riveted to the sidewalk, hardly aware of the people—a clutch of teenage girls, a woman talking on her phone, a stony-faced man dragging a shrieking girl—who were making wide circles around him.
Heartless monster??? It happened almost a year ago. Eleven months to the day. Time enough for…what? … shock and grief, yes, regret and shame, certainly. But not to reconcile, he thought bitterly, no, not that. He pulled the note, already fraying at the folds, from his pocket and examined it again.
We’ve been over this SO many times, I just can’t go over it again, I don’t have the strength. Time to start over. And no, not because of the phone business, whoever it was you were texting, Sophie-Ann Bimbo Slut or someone. I don’t care about that, not anymore. I just care about peace of mind, about sleeping again (though not with me, he thought), about that serenity the shrink says we should struggle to find. But I don’t want to struggle, not anymore. It’s over. I’m done. You say it wasn’t your fault. But whose fault was it? You say you need me more than ever, but then you cheat on me. You say it’s time to forgive. But it’s too late for that. Because here’s the thing: YOU NEVER CRIED, NEVER EVER SHED A FUCKING TEAR, NOT ONE DROP! HEARTLESS MONSTER. What more can I say??? I’m so very tired of being sorry.
In 1967 and ’68 I boarded with an English family while studying history at University College in London. But mostly I traveled. I started out hiking the city, miles and miles a day, for London, with its crazy-quilt streets and magnificent Victorian neighborhoods, was a walker’s paradise. After I had London mapped out I took the train to Manchester to romance a girl I had met the year before in New Orleans, and when that didn’t work out I widened the circle, first to Paris over a long weekend in the fall, then to Germany, Russia and Poland over the long winter break. Swapping traveling for classes was just fine with me, as long as my draft board and my parents didn’t find out. After all, I figured, there’s no better education than wandering free, meeting people and seeing the world.
In March I caught a cheap flight to Chicago to reconnect with my family and re-enroll at the University of Illinois, then flew back to London, packed a backpack, took a train to the south coast, and crossed the English Channel on a boat from New Haven to Dieppe, a four-hour, 90-mile crossing.
– In some dystopian future, it’s legal to trade options on people’s lives.
– “I’d hardly describe myself as a creep. Rather….”
– “Answer Man”: Play takes place in a radio station late at night. DJ hosts weekly show, “The Answer Man” taking callers’ questions, complaints and stories. DJ and engineer laugh at callers off the air, but the stories hit too close to home.
– Doctor who has lost his license (drink? drugs? malpractice?) starts investigating Medicare fraud by nefarious insurance companies and gets way too close to the truth.
– Liberia 1982: Peace Corps volunteer befriends brilliant and ambitious Army sergeant, who foments a violent uprising against the government. Volunteer is implicated.
– “Winter Is Hard”
– Song lyric: “World’s going to hell again, Troubles seem to swell again, Heading down and round again, All because of you.”
– “Prospect Park”: urban halfway house, each chapter is a life story.
– “Diapason” (Greek for octave): Researcher finds 3,000 year-old Greek music text, with many intriguing song fragments illustrating why the ancients thought music was the most profound art. Book hints at author’s life and leads researcher to Greece for further discoveries on the power of music.
This was my contribution to our annual April Fools’ Day issue. (Leonard F. Slye was Roy Rogers’ real name.) The published story deleted most of the specifics in the fourth and fifth paragraphs to the controversy, which are true.
By Leo F. Slye
With mounting pressure to repudiate John Evans for his role in a notorious Indian massacre years after helping put Evanston on the map, the City Council last week issued a media advisory saying the real namesake of the City was none other than Dale Evans, famed TV cowgirl and wife of the even more famous TV cowboy Roy Rogers.
Ms. Evans, who passed away in 2001, could not be reached for comment, but the advisory pointed out that the actress was also an accomplished, singer, songwriter and best-selling author. From 1951 to 1957 she co-starred with her husband in the TV hit “The Roy Rogers Show.” “As to this other Evans, the one who arrived here in 1855, where is the proof [he also founded the City]?” the advisory asked.
The surprising action was taken shortly after the City Council went into a closed-door emergency session to deliberate, after which white smoke could be seen emanating from the building’s chimney. Neither the Mayor nor any Aldermen could be reached to elaborate on their somewhat-cryptic announcement.
I wrote this shortly after hitchhiking through Europe in the spring of 1968, a wonderful trip that took me from London to Jerusalem and back. That trip is recounted in my memoir, Remember Me, excerpts of which are posted on this site. As I recall, the impetus for this story was suggested to me when I met someone at a youth hostel who was very much like the mysterious traveler described here, though, unlike everything else in the memoir, it is largely imagined.
In 1967 and 1968 I had been living and going to college in London, though really what I had been doing was traveling – throughout England and the continent, to Manchester, East Anglia, Paris, Russia and Warsaw. My draft board and my parents thought I was in college, which was fine, but college for me was the road; it was education enough. After a brief visit home on spring break I returned to London to embark on my most audacious travel plan.
I packed a backpack, took a train to the south coast, and crossed the English Channel on . . .
A poem I wrote as a thought experiment: what if I could see my dad when I died? This was published in 1998 by the International Library of Poetry in the book, “A Celebration of Poets” What I’d Like to See in Heaven My father Flesh to the touch and in his prime Standing next to his father Who’s next to his father, Each forgiving the last for the sins of the past And so on down the line. Past the city slicker and onion farmer, The potato picker and snake charmer Right back to Ur-man, The first of our clan. But he’s hairy-scary and goony grinned And he chases me screaming, Right out of my dreaming Back to the heaven I started in.