Wednesday, January 14

I'm sitting in a bus station, trying to get wireless. It isn't working. Mike Huckabee is interviewing Ann Coulter about her new book on Fox News. A guy named Daniel asks if he can use my phone. He's clearly stoned out of his gourd. After he calls his dad, he asks me if I play any instruments and we talk for a while. Actually, pretty much he talks, but although I'm always at least a little nervous at the prospect of talking to some random dude in a Greyhound station (because, let's be honest, these places are freakshows, and before you know it some guy will be trying to sell you bad coke and/or encouraging you to join him in his personal relationship to Jesus) I don't really discourage it. CA, who has been talking to an old metalhead named David on the bus, arrives from Nebraska and we depart.

The next morning it is Monday and I'm laying in bed snooze-buttoning through these dreams of disaster and trying to decide if I should bike in when my boss calls to tell me it's a snow day.

Casey calls from work, where he rode on his bike and suggests that we should go play in the snow, it being a snow day. He seriously proposes to ride down 75th to Louisville. I drive in to pick him up instead, and we go to Boulder to smoke the hookah and walk up the path into Settlers Park.

Tuesday night it's 9:30 and I'm at war with a comically broken technical process of little actual consequence and nearly cosmic stupidity. I kick things. I jump up and down. I swear unimaginatively and at great length. The implacable void does not care. Neither does Microsoft.

Then it is today. I'm driving home from work and some guy on KGNU is talking about the CIA in Greece, the CIA in Guatemala, the CIA with rivers of blood on its hands, which in some way are our hands, which is all the stuff of madness and delirious conspiracy except that it appears to be basically, horribly true.

At home I make a pan of mac & cheese (a brand designed to appeal to granola crunchers: rabbit on the box, cardboard-colored pasta, bland cheese powder) and mix it with the leftovers of last night's mushroom + black bean + bell pepper + pineapple thing. It could be worse. Cayenne and soy sauce will cover a multitude of sins.

I decide to read a recent Spenser novel. It doesn't really matter which one: Parker must have this formula down so cold by now that he could run one off in his sleep with both hands tied behind his back, just dictate it all the way through, no edits.

Susan is beautiful. She is in fact a beautiful sexy older Jewish shrink lady who dresses impeccably and doesn't eat much. Pearl is a dog. Hawk is the ludicrously competent tough scary black dude with hidden depths. Spenser is more competent and tougher than everyone who isn't Hawk. Both of them are laconically/ironically aware of these things. Someone walks into Spenser's office and Spenser is a wiseass about it, but he gets involved anyway. There's a hot woman who's confused about life. At this stage in the series, probably she is 40 or 50 and married. There are a gazillion recurring characters, like Vinnie who is definitely a bad man but reliable, and Belson who is a cop. There are other characters who establish Spenser's quietly sensitive hardass Boston liberal bona fides. Spenser name-drops some brands (it used to be Rolling Rock and New Balance, which had some credibility, but these days it varies and you wonder if Parker isn't getting a big fat product placement check or something, I mean for chrissake in this one it is Blue Moon of all things). Things are not quite as they seem and someone gets shot. Innocents suffer. Spenser could walk away, but he doesn't because someone needs to even things up. Spenser and Hawk work out at that one gym. Mention is made of former boxing careers, probably in the context of someone noticing that Spenser is a badass who has had his nose broken. Spenser watches girls walk past his window, reads the comics, and thinks about sex. Scotch is consumed. Noxious yuppies, stupid hippies, and/or misguided academics with cringe-tastic lines may drift through a portion of the narrative. The events of one or more of the other 34 novels are referenced with degrees of subtlety ranging from "I might know what the hell you're talking about if I'd read it last week" to "please, please stop beating me over the head with it already". Some guy thinks he can fight because he's large, and is wrong. Observations are made about the physical condition and attire of many individuals, some of whom are women who'd be hot if they just put on makeup and a better outfit. Spenser and Susan discuss their respective feelings, and how being a P.I. is or is not like being a shrink. Pearl wants to be fed. Later they have sex (Spenser and Susan I mean; Pearl gets kicked out of the room). There is a Confrontation. People get the living crap beat out of them, or possibly are shot full of holes. Spenser and Hawk are still tougher than anyone else alive. Robert B. Parker sells about half a gazillion copies of the paperback.

At this point, I could almost write one of these, except that I don't know anything about any of: Boston, how to describe clothes and firearms, the mechanics of a fistfight, the algorithm for generating laconic badass banter.