Monday, September 03, 2012

Historical Napkin

A light snow was falling as Charlie Reardon left the diner and made his way down Madison Street. Sky vomit, he thought. An archangel’s dandruff. A slow motion God sneeze. Not quite.

He took out his phone and acted more important than he was.

A tiny alien invasion. An Aryan alien invasion. Alliteration is always an improvement, he noted to himself with the confidence of the fully bearded, much better.

Charlie did not write it on a napkin. He thought about going back for a napkin from the diner, but he was confident in his memory. He knew he could remember such a good sentence. Such a well made sentence. He did not remember which was right grammatically. A perfect phrase. With this change of thought he corrected and congratulated simultaneously.

Professor Reardon liked Madison. The street had a gentrified air. Thoughtfully dirty white people and hearty smelling ethnics. Stores that sold things he never bought soothed Charlie. The diner did not have too many old people. He thought that that was probably ironic. Maybe paradoxical. Both.

His satchel was open just enough that the top his novel was visible but closed just enough to protect it from the elements. He knew it would impress the lip ringed girl who held the sign on the corner. She read, he thought.
An alien Aryan Invasion was wetting his mustache.

It occurred to him that if he were to write it on a napkin it might be worth something someday. Someday soon. He could put the napkin haphazardly on his desk. Or should he file it. He would file it so that a museum would have an easier time locating it.

He turned around like a Beefeater, toward the diner and bumped into an ethnic. She dropped her phone onto the supremacist spaceships on the sidewalk. He thought about apologizing in her native tongue as a gesture of cultural respect. She was gone before he had a chance to. It was kind of him to think of that though, he thought.

It had to be a napkin from the diner so that the biographer would know that the idea had happened at breakfast. Ironic him eating there and not being old, they would think. He rushed now intent on documenting history. The revisionism inherent in the act appalled him not at all. The winners craft it, he quipped. He did not think to himself what he had won at, only that he belonged in their circle.

The waitress was surprised to see his beard again. He pushed his hand deep into the dispenser and thought about being watched euphemistically. The waitress was not watching. It was empty and he thought about that symbolism.

Charlie asked after a napkin and the hostess handed him one from an open brown bag on her pulpit. The second wave of racist attackers from space slammed into the front window melting immediately.

The napkin was blank and brown. Ethnic. It did not smell.

How would the documentarian arrive at the place where the idea for that well made wordplay famously came to him while he ate waffles, if there was not a logo on the napkin? It could be from any number of places without paradox.

Charlie did not like this. He left the napkin and the sentence and went back into the light snow, late for class.