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
adults.”
“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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