"oh my Lord
why's it taking you so long
to give me grace
and the dignity to right these wrongs"
- Jonatha Brooke, 'Deny' (bonus track from _Steady Pull_, 2001)

It's a chorus, really; voices in my head taking on the voices of two particular friends, taking their words, doubling, tripling them until the sounds of their voices drown out my own.

Perfect spitting swan dive

"Just a little nap in the sun," I said, sneaking off to the deck to crank up the sunshade and recline on a deck chair. No nap yet, but it's a few hours later, and I think the miles of this week are rolling off of me like beads of sweat.

Could be worse. At least it's not hot out here.


I tiptoed out early on a Saturday morning to buy ingredients for salsa, leaving my spouse, still sleeping, to be guarded by the house cats. I bought a shower gift and salsa ingredients, and was well on my way through processing the vegetables into finished salsa by the time Jeff woke up.

It had to get done, not because it was a chore but because I had promised, and it was my own fault that I'd stayed up late with friends the night before, talking and playing games instead of shouldering responsibility and purchasing habañeros and peppers for food-making.

Friday night on People TV

We twisted our way through downtown, into the appropriate parking lot, and signed in. Brian was in the green room, and after a few minutes of discussion, we headed for the studio. For some reason, I expected quiet, but then I remembered that this was a live show, and that my expectation was - insane.

On the other side of the door, I found myself facing an older gentleman with a wide smile and a strong Caribbean accent. "Dey's no accidents in TV. You's here, you have to contribute. You gonna help on camera?"

millionth cup of midnight tea

Yes, it is Harry Potter Release Day, which means you and yours are probably slathering at the bit to get your grimy little midnight hands on Harry Potter V. On behalf of my friend Jessica and all of the other hapless dreading bookstore salesclerks in the world, I'd like to wrest this day back from Mr. Potter and Ms. Rowling and declare it the Official Be Nice To Salesclerk Day.

I slipped by the local Books-A-Dozen on Jessica's tip to pay for the little piece of paper that means I won't have to stand in line to buy the latest of Mr. Potter's escapades. Instead, all I will have to do is park the car (possibly a challenge), walk to the door (only a challenge if I forget my contact lenses) and toddle up to the line that says "Exchange Slips For Books Here."

Barring unforeseen forgettings of contact lenses or unfortunate and accidental poking-out of eyes after parking, I suspect this shall not be difficult.

'You got me. I'm listening.'

I can almost hear the voice, tactile and smooth in my imagination, curling and settling softly in my ears like the finest, cleanest lines of Miles Davis.

"This is the all-night request line, for those of you awake enough to know we're closer to daylight than midnight. Got a request? A dedication? Something on your mind?" A pause. If there was such a radio show, playing at an hour like this, on a night like this, I could imagine a speech like that hanging on a pause and finishing with "Give us a call. We'll see what we can do." The hiss of dead air would be followed by the the shuffling of notes and fingers, followed by shunting the current phone call to the live audio feed.

After all, a show like this one wouldn't exactly need a tape delay.

* * * * *

"A good night to you, caller. You got me. I'm listening. Talk to me. Tell us who you are."

"I'm Amy, from Huntsville. I've been trying to call in for ages, and just couldn't ever get through."