It’s Saturday night, a warm summer night, and a light breeze has the leaves dancing. The temperature has dropped dramatically since the 102 degrees reached just yesterday, and the keg of Lonely Blonde on the corner of the deck sits in an iced garbage can swathed in a quilted blue blanket, perfectly cold.
Kathy has turned 40, and her backyard is full of people, beer, plates of food, cigarettes, coolers, and bug spray.
Her kitchen is full of food.
It’s got to be, what?, 11:00, 11:30?, and while the dining room table is fully occupied and the kitchen houses a half-dozen people circling the cocktail wienies, the majority of the party is outside on the deck, a dozen or so chairs making the leap on to the lawn. Groups arrange themselves in large, looping circles, expanding and shifting as people speak/shout/laugh with those next to and across from them.
We’ve been talking about our favorite ages. I have just declined reliving any particular age, citing how difficult it was the first time around, but Vin is fondly recalling his early 30s.
“ – and so I’m running cars in and out of
Got a lad out of Frankfurt – great
German bloke, masses of curls framing a massive square head. Eric, his name was,” Vin takes a drag off his
I nod appreciatively.
“He says to me, he says come on over, I’ve got three cars for you. I take the –“ and here Vin speaks of Ipswich and Callais and I am lost until he arrives in
Eric picks him up at the station.
“And right away, everything goes sideways,” Vin says. “Eric thinks I’m going to give him this great envelope of money before I get the papers for the cars, and yet it seems there’s been a bit of trouble. You see, I have to have these papers in order to sell them, and yet the possibility has arisen that these cars won’t pass inspection, won’t qualify.” Vin leans back in his chair. “I tell him, Eric, you get those papers, I’ll give you the money. It won’t be happening the other way ‘round.”
I nod. I am picturing myself in
Frankfurt, picture pine trees and
sidewalks without knowing anything about the city.
“So he finally agrees, he’ll take care of everything. He puts me up in a hotel – nice place, it was – and says, I’m going to take care of it. I’ll be right back.” Vin grins, takes a drag of his cigarette. “Two days he’s gone! Two days! I’ll be right back, he says.” He shakes his head.
“Well what did you do?”
Vinnie shrugs. “What can you do in
Frankfurt? I got bloody drunk, didn’t I?”
“That’s awesome.” James has been leaning forward, his elbows on his knees, listening intently. “Seriously, that’s awesome. That’s when you’re really living, right? When you don’t know where life is going next.”
Vin stands up, takes a drag from his cigarette. “Well it’s all awesome, isn’t it?” He holds up his empty cup, heads toward the keg. “There’s no telling what might happen next.”