When a man gives up drink, he wants big fires in his life.
Also, mammoth wheelbarrows of narcotics. Though never mind that now.
Because big fires, we have those here in abundance. Now. Here. At the Manor. Since the season—yea, verily—has definitively turned. And, to beat off the winter cold of space, we, the cats and I, have been ceaselessly feeding the Fisher. Schlepping up from the basement—me, not them; they, just experimenting, curious, Science Men Cats, to discover whether I can both schlep, and avoid some neck-snapping fall, as they swirl around my flailing feet—huge herniating logs. In an ongoing cardiovascular exercise. To determine whether the aorta is preparing to blow.
For reasons unknown to me, the power company, PG&E, otherwise notorious as the nation’s premier Energy Robber, suddenly and recently heaved several hundred dollars in “credit” into my account.
So, while I am using their juice, and they are billing me, I do not need to pay them. This is a fine feeling. And so I have decided that I shall endeavor to ride this welfare wave all the way through the winter.
When I first moved into the Manor, in February of 2012, it presented three sources of heat: an electric wall heater, a gas wall heater, and a wood-stove insert that some wino had installed in the fireplace.
I immediately placed a piano in front of the electric wall heater. For no one who does not work for BlackRock or Goldman Sachs can in this region of the land afford to even for one night power up such a thing.
For a couple months I fitfully grappled with the wino fireplace appliance. But the device made me want to stab and shoot. I had been spoiled, for fifteen years up in Cherokee, with a freestanding wood stove that was Right and Wondrous and Simple and Good. While this drunken boat of a Fisher, wheezing and belching here in the Manor, was more frustrating than a used and abused Jaguar automobile.
So last winter I basically gave up, got lazy, and ran the gas wall heater. And PG&E, surely, it did love me.
But not this year. This year, I have ripped the pilot to the gas heater out by the roots. And I have come to a wary accommodation with the Fisher. Using “rhythm logic,” to attempt to grasp what possessed the wino, to do what he did. And how I can make it work, for me.
I think I have it now.
And so, until furthur notice, here at the Manor, it shall be burn, baby, burn.
When one is arest on the fainting couch, reading something penned one or four or twenty hundred years ago, basking like a cat in the waves of warmth pulsating from the Fisher, it is easy to eschew drink. Even when the wheelbarrows are depleted.
However, when one, to earn one’s crust, goes to the tubes, or, far worse, actually leaves the Manor, one then inevitably encounters persons, places, and things, that congenitally spark an “irresistible impulse” to, as we say in the law, grab a big jug, with each hand, and stuff several more, down one’s pants.
Take tonight. I am there in the corner store, waiting for The Man to determine how much his duct-tape costs. He has no idea, because no one has ever bought it there, and his wife forgot to price it, when first she ordered, and then shelved, it.
Back before the Dawn of Man.
I only need the duct-tape because the cats have decided to blow holes in the walls of the Manor. These they have determined are necessary in order that they might frolic with the fairies in the moonlight. But this cannot be. For they, like me, cannot be trusted, to wander alone, out there in the world, without, potentially, even by fairies, getting Hurt.
The duct-tape is required to either repair the holes, or secure the cats to the floor. Or, perhaps, both.
Anyway. Pyramids, they are rising and falling, as this Store Man, over aeons, attempts to come to grips with a price. I can feel myself aging, alarmingly, until first I move into a walker, and then, finally, a wheelchair. I am like Bowman, there in the alien room, at the close of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I am hoping that I will soon resolve into a star-child, as did Bowman, when, suddenly, on the shelves of this store, I encounter what can only be described as the anti-monolith.
Lay’s “Cheesy Garlic Bread” potato chips.