Little Brown Dream Coats

Several of the gangsters were wrapped snugly in light brown coats. Distinctive cuts of meat from the dream butcher. Neat and bundled and cozy-like. Suggestive.

The warm rain promised. The sky did.

Maybe the mud would make the mistake clearer.

The one with a round pudgy face said, “He likes to talk about sexual juices, but he doesn’t like to talk about sex.”

Another gangster was saying he could have had any of the women he wanted; he’s not naming names, but he could have had any of them. He could have. That’s what he’ll tell you more than once.

Another gangster banged the flat of his hand against his forehead and said, “It’s just a bag of bagels. That’s what it is. It’s a friggin’ bag of bagels.” Several gangsters were listening and nodding, but no one said a word.

After all, what people want is to have their needs satisfied, especially the ones they’re unaware of. What people want is ever so many more satisfactions than they can have.

Could this be the source of another vanished tale of sorrow?

The man in the woods made himself a knife from a stone with a very hard edge. But this did not make the man in the woods a gangster, nor did it make the man in the woods a man who lived in the woods. Nevertheless, one of the gangsters decided on northern Wisconsin for his vacation. His son rode in the back, holding a baby tree with a green ribbon tied to it. It was a gift for northern Wisconsin. It was a nice gesture and it made sense to the gangsters, and that felt wrong, so they tried to remember what it was like to act crazy. They wanted to feel that freedom. They wanted to plant something dangerous in the world they didn’t live in, but they wanted somebody to live in that world, somebody who needed a sharp knife.

So listen to this. After a gangster’s leg fell asleep, he decided he ought to cut it off.  That kind of pain was outside the realm of his personal experience, though he had witnessed it second hand many times. It would not have been as foolish as those outside the range of his experience might assume, but it would have been a high price to pay for respect. Finally he decided the warm rain he had been watching had promised something else.

Meanwhile, outside the world’s great butcher shop, the man in the woods remained wrapped snugly in his own body. He was not intending to end anyone’s life or cut off any of their body parts. Some of the gangsters would say his intentions were not, therefore, relevant to destiny.

The rain promised, but perhaps the rain’s promise was not the promise we heard.  Just as the sky is open to interpretation. Sometimes we hear the sounds but we can’t find the story in them.

“Imagine that,” thought the loneliest gangster as he paid for his leathery dreams, “it’s as if I were experiencing my life all over again.” But the other gangsters could not hear this voice issuing from beneath the brown paper wrapping.

“A steak may not be a good steak, but it won’t lie to you.” That’s what the gangsters thought when they asked it how much it wanted, even though by this time they had forgotten its name.