Friends & Neighbors
Featuring stories by Chris Arp, Anthony Tognazzini, Sarah-Jane Stratford, Jessica Lott, John Fischer; perfomed by Aimee Howard, Alexandra Gray, Jonathan Harford, Scott MacKenzie, Don Carter. Hosted by Andrew Lloyd-Jones and Elizabeth Murray at KGB Bar on 2nd May 2012.
The first time I met the great Abstract Expressionist painter David Carpenter he told me, “You have a rubbery face, similar to a thigh,” and then, probably because I seemed offended, “A young woman’s thigh, not one of my own.” He’d just turned ninety the week before. We were in his cavernous Tribeca loft studio—he had on some sort of bordello-style silk nightdress from which his arms protruded, welcomingly, pterodactyl-like.
A writer goes to an island. He is writing a story and wants to be alone. He takes a long ferry-ride to get there. It is winter and the water is choppy, knocking the boat back and forth as it clips through the waves.
“Good,” the writer thinks. He believes the violence of the ocean is a sign of how far he is traveling, and how productive he will be when he gets there. He has all of his things in a duffle bag; leather, worn, smelling like the bottom of his father’s closet.
The skirt was a dull pink-and-purple paisley that flattered nobody. It was pleated, and hit just below the knees. A garment worn as an only resort by some unfortunate young woman in the early 1960s. She would have paired it with a fitted blouse, to show she was slim – something the pleats gleefully belied. It was a skirt worn with the hope that, someday, she would only have clothes she liked. On that day, the skirt went straight to the charity shop – or was handed down to another victim. A disliked younger relative, perhaps.
I’m about to take a shower and use shampoo. I’m about to take a shower and use shampoo because I’m going to see my friend in two days, and two days of shampoo-less showering will get my hair to the sweet spot, where its natural oils add volume and create a sort of effortless sweep. I’m also about to shave, following the same logic. Then, when my friend sees me, he will fall a little bit in love with me, maybe.