Alan Catlin

Sometimes when we

were closing up
at 4 AM after last call
the Irish owner
and I would have
a pint. Watch as
the students paired off
and went who knows
where. “I hate to see
that.” He said referring
to a red-haired colleen
arm in arm with
a black guy.
I said. “I didn’t mind.
They’re young,
in lust and consenting
“Her parents live on
my street back home.
They’d lose their minds
if they could see her now.”
I thought, that’s one
of the reasons she left
with him. So, you’d see
her, tell her parents.
So they’d lose their minds.

Doug wanted to

Climb the water tower.
Add his initials to ones
already visible from
the Sunrise Highway.
I didn’t ask him why.
It was a Mt. Everest thing
I thought. I sd. “Everyone
will see you. It’s like a
totally exposed staircase.”
“I’ll go when it’s cloudy.
Or better yet, when
it’s raining.”
I didn’t point out how insane
it was. He was determined
to find out on his own.

Next time it rained,
off he went with a spray
can and a pack of butts
he filched from his mom.
He’d light one when he
got to the top. About halfway
up he was discovering what
that: Slippery When Wet
sign meant at the base of
the stairs.

I knew he saw me waving
at him but he just stood there
holding on, not waving back.

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