Succession

Every Sunday I check the tables and couches in the front of the bakery for bodies. There might be someone sleeping there. Instead I find huge, more than life-sized portraits of musicians. They loom over me in a flash of newspaper delivery headlights.

(I barely believe there's a newspaper delivery. There are no other witnesses. Just this white car driving by every morning, the slap of plastic-wrapped New York Times on the pavement. "When I was a boy, I would've gotten fired from my paper route if I delivered papers like that," says the man from whom we await no wisdom, only his silence, so that we may no longer hear that all women are the same. "Who needs newspapers?" reads a bumper sticker.)

The rat who used to torment the boss is gone, or he's just given up on catching it. I don't hear about it any more, but we still store all the bread pans face-down.

The former delivery driver sings from beyond the town: "Saturday and I've got work, drive and drive and drive. Never thought I'd be that jerk, who didn't want to be alive."

I see things in the corner of my eye, but he stole the list of bread to make for the day from right in front of me. He appeared in the back with his headphones on and his head down. He snuck in like his sister, aggressively inconspicuous.

The former newspaper delivery boy bellows your name when he comes in; he must be acknowledged. Where he has a massive block of a head, this new boy's is a narrow triangle, his mouth small in its corner. His headphone wires are red (Beats) a second vascular system that carries who knows what. I heard him before I saw him, before I even met him. Where is the boy I heard? A ridiculous question, like asking where leaves come from.

14 July 2015