“Eric,” I said, feeling somewhat sorry for myself, “I sometimes feel as if I am living in someone else’s novel.”
He laughed a controlled, soft laugh with little surprise in his voice. Maybe Gladys had confided in him and recounted the conversation we first had at my place in The Village, and he knew I had clearly stolen the line from her.
Still, I was glad to see from the expression on his face, that he had thought it was just as clever as I once had.
“Try being an editor,” he answered, sounding somewhat downbeat for someone who is always so upbeat. “All the people I work with live the so-called, ‘life of the mind.’ I know many, many people, but I am perhaps the loneliest man in The City. Sometimes, I feel I would like to live the life of the flesh.”
I perked up; in the back of my mind, however, I hoped he wasn’t hitting on me, since he has already told me he was bi.
Still, the life of the flesh, as he so artfully put it, is not all that it is represented as being. You can meet some strange flesh if you keep at it. Although we Africans are not noted for being such, I am a classic high T type.
I know better than most, how things of the flesh can all at once become strange, and suddenly spin out of control.
Still, despite the sometimes overwhelming delights of warm flesh, as it may be, it is the mysterious world that Eric and Gladys inhabited which intrigued me most, and I wanted to know more. A thought quickly dawned on me, which I quickly dismissed: that perhaps Eric and I should trade places.
Once again, we were being typical Big City types, and he was as well dressed as ever, and I was as geeky as ever. I still don’t know what he sees in me.
This time we were sitting in a recently opened “Soul Food” place, near my favorite hangout in The Village. The word in the bars was that it was frequented by African Americans. This was music to me. I was eager to join Eric when he buzzed me and asked me if I wanted to have a drink. Of course I did, especially now that I could get to meet some real African Americans up close.
“I thought that the life of the mind had been discredited, and feelings, intuition and blind faith had replaced it. At least that was what I had heard.”
Eric laughed loudly again. “So you mean that the barbarians have once again breached the gates?”
What a smart guy.
“Let me tell you about this new author I am thinking about signing. It seems that his great-grandfather, on his mother’s side, was once a Flamingo,” he said, changing the subject.
“What’s a Flamingo? It couldn’t be that bird because I doubt that your friend’s distant relative was once a bird.”
Eric only managed a half smile. It was apparent that this was something he was taking very seriously.
“Ancient Americana. Who knows if it will go,” he said, almost as if he was talking to himself.
Gladys was starting to notice that somehow I was becoming a far different person than the one she first met.
“You know, Jamison, you seem to be always somewhere else these days. Do you want to talk about it?”
“Oh, no, no. It’s just the strain of worrying about the job, and all of these bombs going off don’t help.”
“Maybe you should stay out of The City and move over to this side of the river.”
Hmmm. Was she asking me to move in with her? It made a hell of a lot of sense, both economically and for my frayed nerves. I have even made friends with her two “babies.” In fact, Morris, the jealous tabby, has stopped biting my fingers at night when I hold Gladys close to me.
He was sitting on my lap, purring away as I gently stroked him. The long hair always kept her distance but loved to stare at me with her beautiful yellow eyes.
But the truth is, I wasn’t telling Gladys the full truth. How on earth could I share this inner turmoil with anyone, including her? How could I tell her that my inner self was now in full rebellion at what I had become? How could I tell her about the wild fantasies, that now had entered my mind not only as daydreams, but in the form of night dreams as well, of me with a badge and gun single-handedly breaking up the plots; both the one to re-establish the New World Order and the one to stop the re-establishment of the New World Order.
How could I tell her that I was going to become world famous? No more would I be just another obscure geek, sitting in front of two large screens all day. My face would be everywhere. Books and videos about my daring exploits would pour out to every corner of the entire planet. I would be the star I always wanted to be.