In BURNT on March 9, 2010 at 7:58 am


Josey is jumping rope with some kids outside the Saratoga Market.  The place is packed with hippies, goofing on the locals and loading up on supplies.

I close the door to the phone-booth.

“So what happens if she’s there?  What do you do then?”

“I don’t know.”  I’ve been looking for her for three years, and I still don’t know.

“I’m going to be candid, Jay.  A lot has changed since we last talked.  I quit the University and became a cop.  Brooklyn Academy.  A year on the beat.  A few more in a squad car.  I just got my star.  Call it penance, call it what you will.”

A mini-bus scoots past.  I scan the windows.

“What I do all day is ask difficult questions.  So let me ask you a few.  What do you expect to happen when you find Phoebe?  That she’ll be well again?  That she’ll want to be with her daughter?  That she’ll want to be with you?  Do you want to hold her?  Do you want to hit her?  What?”

I can’t say “save her” so I don’t say anything.

Some jokesters are performing impromptu street theater.  They parade around with a battered trunk.  A bearded fool puts on a police hat and goose-steps.  Girls in face-paint kneel in worship before a runt dressed as an A-bomb.

“One thing is for sure.  If you find her, then you gotta ask Josey what she wants.  You gotta do that.”

I hang up, imagining that conversation.  Suddenly, I hope I never find my wife.

And that’s when I see her with the Magic Man.

The Story So Far

  1. with the Magic Maaaaan, yeaaaaah. Ooooohhh!

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