Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Shall We Dance

Shall we dance? Shall Yul Brynner approach your town and sling his Winchester Model 94 over his shoulder and laugh a strongman’s laugh and erupt into gunfire and cat-calling while his hands rub against each other with precision? He always said that: “With precision.” And then he’d grin and shoot a cow in effigy. On his estate we used to watch him make papier mache animals for days, adjusting the horns of the water buffaloes to look startlingly authentic in the hot midday Texas sun. Then we would gather at the bay window

and watch him shoot those paper animal effigies to smithereens while he laughed and laughed

until he fell down, watching bits and shreds of animal paper falling away into the wind, swept along into the fields where real animals grazed. Goats. Yul always had goats so that he had something to eat up the paper that he would shoot all over his fields. It sort of made sense to all of us. All of us except Young Jesus, who never showed up. I can’t say where he was at those times. Perhaps moseying around the village square, bumping into people, saying, “Excuse me, if my mother is looking for me, would you please tell her that I’m in my father’s house?” But of course most of the people he bumped into were little children being led by their mothers and they would usually pull the children away and look back nervously at Young Jesus, wondering what kind of child would have such bloodshot eyes and why on earth he would be wearing a weird loincloth with tahini stains on the seat.

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