Cabin Sessions


“I’m sorry.  I clearly have problems.”

“Go on then.”

“No one ever said I didn’t.”

“What are you doing with yourself?”

“That’s a really vague question.”

“OK … When do you go to sleep?”



“Depends.  Ten, eleven.  When the West Coast games are in their middle-to-late innings.”

“You’re watching baseball?”

“Oh yeah.  Watching baseball.  Reading all these books I’ve had on my shelf.  I’m learning a lot.  Looking up words.  Writing blog entries.  I’m scratching a little further beneath the surface.”

“So what’s the problem?”

“That’s a damned good question.”


“I hope this isn’t—”

“The same song.”


“It is.”


“I like it.”

“Yeah, it’s a good song…”

“Listen to that guitar.  So understated.  And that moan in the back?  Damn.”

“Yeah, I mean.  But—”

“It’s so chill.”

“How many times can we listen to it though before….”


“Before we don’t want to again.”

“Don’t know.  We’ll find out.”

“Sometimes you gotta save the nice.”

“Maybe.  But I need the nice now.  And I’m driving.”


Who can say why you like a thing, one thing more than another?  This book, that song.  It’s me, my essence.  Or: it resonates with me, it’s what I’d want to write, what I’d want people to hear me sing or see me dancing to.  This is me, I say, with this book, this song.  That’s an achievement I wish was mine.  I converse with you to this.  Will you read it, will you listen to it?  Will you hear me, do you read me?


On to a sleep but not my final sleep, not the Big One.  But I close my eyes simulating death.  I deliver myself away, I’m parked in the middle of the street, the traffic can go all around me, my mind is on order now, I’m slipping off into bubble wrap dreams, brave new ideas dropped off at the doorstep on the tip of my tongue, I dip my toes into them, a tingle.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t want to mention it because at this stage we are only still just candidates.”

“Hold on, hold on.  Don’t you dare.  Not me, not here, not now.”

Some old lady got the award, a permanent vacation.  Ah, but where to, that’s the problem.  She can’t exactly hold up her hand to object at this point, can she?  Aye, but no, but no.

“One day I simply closed my eyes and nothing happened,” she said.

Today I no longer seek your approval.  I seek your help, urgently.


The day spread out, like a river that gets dammed for a stretch and for that piece of itself it’s called a lake.  It moves, below, but you wouldn’t know it.  A long slow day, a slow wide river.  He carried a sweating Pabst across to the cemetery in view from the cabin window.  It was close, right adjacent, but not apparently connected to the family that owned the cabins.  He looked at the headstones to see if the names matched up.  They didn’t.  But he saw his name there, his great grandfather’s name.  But that wasn’t the deceased’s full name, just his first and middle.  It went ‘Harry Randall Lane’.  The ‘Lane’ he didn’t have anything to do with so old Harry was probably no relation.  It was just a little uncanny, a little unsettling.  He sipped from the can, wiped the condensation through his generations of hair and brushed a gnat from his face.


“Stop it.”

“Stop what?”

“Stop having conversations with people who aren’t here.”

“We’re here.”

“We can talk to each other.  I didn’t say we couldn’t.  But I don’t want you talking to them now.  You’ll see them in time.  They got somethin to say to you, they can say it then.  We got somethin to say to them we can say it then.”

“But not now.”

“It’s only us here now.  So let’s stay on track.”


I think about our conversation.  Our conversations.  They’re like a river.  One river, different river, it doesn’t matter.  What we say—it’s important to say it.  I’d like to remember everything but once you say something it’s in the river, the river takes it on down the stream, we can’t look at the river to remember whether we said something.  Did we say it, didn’t we?  If it’s important enough we can say it again, and it can go into the river again, and it’s not wasteful, it’s not pollution if we mean what we say when we say it.


“So, do you have, ah, plans for the weekend?”

“Yeah.  Goin’ to a cabin.”

“A cabin.”

“Yeah, out, somewhere in southern Illinois.  The so-called Illinois Ozarks.  They say.  I never heard such a thing.”

“You like cabins?”

“I guess.  In what way?”

“You’ve been there?”

“Not this cabin.”

“Others then?”


“Where at?”

“Missouri, I’d say.”

“The Missouri Ozarks?”

“Hah.  Yeah, I do think the Ozarks are in Missouri, maybe in Arkansas too, certainly not in Illinois.  That’s just outlandish.  But, no, the Missouri cabin was not quite in the Ozarks but getting there.”

“But you have a fond remembrance of it?”

“Yeah.  I remember.  Our dogs.  We were there with one, two, three different dogs.  Not all at the same time, and not always the same cabin, but all our dogs, one time or another.  I remember not even getting under covers.  We had our sleeping bags.  I can’t recall why we had our bags the first time but it turned into a good idea.  We just got into ’em, forget the sheets.  At one cabin I brought a box fan.  Good idea.  It was so hot.”

“The summer?”

“Yeah, in fucking Missouri.  June, July, August once.  They’re really some of the worst months.  The August I remember, though, I remember us renting Poldark on Netflix disc, not long before we dropped the discs from our subscription.”

“Pole dark?”

“Yeah, it’s just, it’s a PBS show, or was.  Masterpiece theater.  It’s, that part’s not important.  What I really remember above all else from that cabin is Jackie Bradley Jr.”

“I don’t know her.”

“It’s a he.  Or as my wife calls him ‘Jackie Bradley Junior Junior’.  Like Sammy Davis Junior Junior.”


“You never read Everything is Illuminated?  It’s a—well.  That trip was around the time of one of our anniversaries.  We had LTE in that cabin, surprisingly.  Ticks and LTE, can you beat it?  Probably because it’s near where the governor grew up.  He actually lives down the street from us now.  Anyway.  JBJ went off in a game while we were at that cabin.  Off of King Felix.”

“I don’t know him either.”

“Not a baseball fan?”

“Sports are never something I got into.”

“Hmmh.  Bradley, he’s not a great player.  But this moment, this day, a Saturday, it was a career day for him.  He hit a couple homers, had maybe a double or two on top of that, eight RBI, a monster day, an all-timer.  And I can just remember being in that cabin with baseball streaming on my unexpected LTE, the Boston radio feed, JBJ going off on King Felix.  I don’t know why I remember it so well.  My memory is, not what it was.  Maybe it’s me getting older, maybe it’s the drink or the smoke but a game like that fixed in the medium of that cabin, it’s like a diver that zooms to the surface, maybe a little too fast, he’s got the bends, but I’ve got the memory, and I’ll never forget it.”


They got so they would talk forward, just to talk, upcoming weekends, a birthday months away, a year even.  They had an unofficial list, the dates changed, the places too.  At some point they both realiZed no particular plan had any special chance of happening but it didn’t matter because there wasn’t anything else they’d rather be talking about.