Gains & Losses
After the Poetry Reading Someone Gives Me a Plastic Sack of Food

     It was one of those things where two people walk through a door and youíre forced to say something.  I said well that was pretty good and he said the same thing back to me in a way that was funny.  From the door we walked to the streetlight.  He had on shelltop Adidas and it sounded like there was plastic under his pants.  We were quiet for a bit until he told me he liked writing.

     His poem was about being in love with girls on the radio.  He wanted them to do to him what they did in their songs.  He would kiss a girl and like it he said, he would.  It was stuff like that.  I thought it was sincerely beautiful.  He read from a journal with loose sheets he had to look through.  He was wearing a blue pin-striped suit that was the same color as his hat.  Everybody seemed to clap a little harder then they were used to when he finished.

     He told me he wrote things for a file.  His mom his brother his frickin sister with breast implantsóthey didnít accept him living away from the doctor.  He lived in Seattle Seatac Tacoma.  He liked Olympia because there were other things to look at besides buildings.  In Seatac three guys beat him up for being a boy.  He wrote about that for his file.  In Olympia people listened or didnít care.  Last night he slept under a purple awning.

     We were walking and talking still.  We were at the parking lot where you walk through to get to the bar he wanted to go.  I told him there it was.  He said thank you and angled-off into the parking lot.  He took small loose steps.  He wore a nametag where he had written down Adam in blue marker.

     As I passed the Safeway theyíre tearing down to put up the new city hall it occurred to me that Adam may have been lying.  He seemed to remember things too clearly and didnít like the gun from my poem.  Maybe it was a joke I began to think.  Or an experiment for school. Or he was a punk rock Andy Kaufman.  Maybe Adam was already writing about me in his journal of loose paper the way I was going to write about him when I got home.

     I rounded the liquor store on the back way to my apartment.  I was hungry and it occurred to me that I was hungry.  I looked up at my window and remembered oh yeah I donít have anything to eat.  I began thinking Iíll just go over to the gas station and buy a bag of chips.  Then a van pulled up to the curb.  It was a family van where the front part angled down like a car.  A little girl was in the passenger side with the window rolled down.  She looked at me and said this is a care package from Evergreen Christian and handed me a bag.  I took it from her.  I donít know why.  There I was holding it.  Feeling it. An entire plastic bag of food.  As I turned the key and walked through the door.

Photo Credit:Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library

Copyright 2009,  Casey Fuller

Casey Fuller still lives in Olympia, Washington.  He's in his final year at Pacific Lutheran University's Rainier Writer's Workshop.  For money he drives a forklift in a warehouse.

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