Saturday, May 17, 2008

In America

I was parked in a strip mall in Palm Desert outside some sort of emergency medical centre. It was about 100 degrees. Behind me, amidst the usual American and Japanese ordinarymobiles, was an irridescent green Lamborghini Murcielago. It looked like an alien spacecraft, sitting there unnoticed by everybody except me and a soldier who walked around, whistling in envy and amazement. He caught me watching him and shrugged as if to express fellowship with another regular guy who could never afford such a car. I shrugged back to accept the offer. A while later I heard a terrible noise. It was a tearing, terminal coughing combined with desperate attempts to breathe. I could not see where it was coming from until, at last, I saw a paunchy, fortyish Asian man coming down the steps from the medical centre. He was just recovering from the spasm and noticed me staring at him. 'I'm dying,' he said and shrugged like the soldier, but this time as explanation and apology. His manner was so matter-of-fact and the coughing had been so appalling that I knew it was true. He walked out into the lot and climbed awkwardly into the Lamborghini. The car seemed to be justified. It was a last present to himself.


  1. Very, very good Bryan.

    Reecently I wrote a short article on how this can really make life meaningful. I shouldn't have been suprised, but I was, to see that nobody would read the article for days, and even now only a few.

  2. Interesting that many people who'd observed this - and really 'seen' it, and so taken away a memory - would, if they were literary types, make a poem about it; but a poem that would only be interesting because of the initial observation, the verse itself being nothing special.

    i like short prose pieces that have a poetic concentration.

  3. Thank you so much Bryan for your insightful and moving piece.
    I have read it to my creative writing students at Dagenham Poly and, disappointingly, they aver that it's "full of shit".
    What do they know? I still agree with your own assesment that you're a genius.

  4. Hmm. I don't think of you as a regular guy who couldn't afford that car...if you really wanted it. I picture you as a guy who wouldn't spend his money on that car, though he might admire it, 'cause he wasn't 'to the manor born.'

    As for the dying man, he's going where we all go; it is just obvious to you and other beholders that his end is imminent in the way most coming deaths are not obvious. Lucky him to have the car, at least, though he will find it difficult to get that through the eye of the needle.

    BTW, who the heck is Anonymous? He seems to dislike you intensely, Bryan. No doubt a failed writer who wishes he were in California, yet writing for the London Times.

    Which brings the question, WHY are you there? I know the zone and you are either a) vacationing at a spa b) losing weight at a spa, or c) getting free of an addiction at a pricy rehab. Well, okay, there may be other things you're doing, but can't you give us a hint?

  5. Heh, funny i was just contemplating (from reading other blogs) that abusive assholes always seem to be called Anonymous. If i ever meet someone called Anonymous i'll kick his front teeth in and do the world of blogdom a great service.

  6. Bryan,
    This is beyond coincidence. I am currently swimming at Santa Clara and just yesterday I saw that very car - flourescent green Lamborghini cruising round the corner of one of California's idyllic suburban streets. Is this where you are? If so, drop by the local swimming pool. And yes, the temperature has been unbearable.

  7. I have never at any time and in any place asserted I was a genius, quite the contrary. And, Robert, I'm not there now - that was about three weeks ago I'm afraid.

  8. Being male, I know that I should have a wish to own or at least drive one. But, I for the life of me cannot see a point. Yes, most of them are pretty, but in a queer eye sort of way. And Porche are the only group where a hammer is the instinctive tool reached for, one feels. There is something so catwalk about the rest of them. And anyhow, where the heavens
    could you open the thing up without every cop rightly polishing the stinger while adding up the decades of pay needed to own one himself.
    That tango one remembers of Scent of a Woman, not the blind drive through the NY dock area.
    But live and let...


  9. Lovely stuff - but a Lamborghini!?! Wrong car.

  10. Elberry, you are making cruel generalisations about people called Anonmyous. My parents christened my Anonymous and I have lived a blameless life. Many Anonmyouses out there are decent, peace-loving citizens. It is a small minority of Anonmyouses who let the rest down.