The Stockbroker – 7

Even as he was in mid-air he knew that it was a mistake and when he hit the water he hit it sideways and he looked as if he made no effort to rise and eventually the others at the top of the cliff yelled down to him but there was no movement still. A few of the sunbathers lifted their heads and then one rose and dove in.

After he pulled him out and laid him onto the foot of the bluff he breathed air into him once and he coughed and spat out water and slowly sat up.

You okay, brother, he said.

He nodded and kept on sitting and the sunbather rose now and waived him off and returned to his place on the rocks. His chest had on it a tattoo of Adolf Hitler’s face and Morris had watched him and continued watching him now, the Fuhrer’s mustache broadening as he stretched out in the sun. Look away brother, he said. If you don’t like what you’re seein.

He gathered himself and stood now and went and sat in the shade near his belongings. Already his skin beaded again and with his hand he passed off the sweat from his arms and chest. He breathed in deeply. He coughed a few more times. He held out his palms and looked at them as if they were meant to tell him something. Then he looked up. As if perhaps he thought to thank Him. He crossed himself and lowered his head and hands and looked off eastward and then he turned to the west to check the sun. He reached for his tshirt and balled it and lay back and set it behind his head. He watched the honeyleaves rustling above. He watched a lone sparrow flitting amid the branches. He could smell the cookfire. After a few minutes he was asleep.


To the sound of Uncle John’s Band coming off a wood guitar in the mesquite grove he woke. Someone was singing. He sat and checked his sock and then looked out at the sky. Twilight’s band of violet was crisscrossing the horizon and there were bats now that came and fretted the celestial sphere, darting and skimming in balletic movements and flying off then toward the hillcountry. He sat there watching the sky and listening to the music. The moonlight towers were coming on one after another like a string of Christmas lights that would circle the old city. He took a bump from the stash and returned it to his pocket and returned his socks and shoes to his feet. He watched the towers. Then he looked over at the bluffs. Soon he pulled on his tshirt and smoothed his hair back with his hands and stood.

More had come making it very nearly a party and he walked over toward the bluffs and eyed the coolers and stopped exactly when she held up her hand and told him to go on and help himself. He took a beer up from the ice and pulled the tab and drank it halfdown before continuing ahead. He half-looked over at the Fuhrer at the opposite end of the bluffs and then turned to her as he came up. Thanks, he said. I’m Morris.


He nodded.

This is Holly.

He nodded once more.