Where are the others? said Pablo. They’re inside, said Blurtso, sleeping off the pumpkin pie. Yes, said Pablo, not many animals have the constitution of a donkey. That’s for sure, said Blurtso. How’s life in Cambridge? said Pablo. Fine, said Blurtso, I saw an amazing jenny three weeks ago. Really? said Pablo, What’s her name? I don’t know, said Blurtso, I think it’s Lizzy. You think? said Pablo. Yes, said Blurtso, I’ve never spoken with her. Why not? said Pablo. Because I don’t know what to say, said Blurtso. Why can’t you say whatever comes to mind, said Pablo, and just be yourself? Because I want her to like me, said Blurtso, and she might not like me for myself. Why would you want to be with her, said Pablo, if she didn’t like you for yourself? Because she’s incredible, said Blurtso. That doesn’t make sense, said Pablo. No, said Blurtso, I suppose it doesn’t, but maybe I could convince her to like me. That would be the worst thing to do, said Pablo, because then you’d have to spend your life continuing to convince her, and you’d never be yourself. Perhaps, said Blurtso, but at least I’d be with her. Maybe not, said Pablo, she might eventually realize you’re a fake. Yes, said Blurtso, you may be right. So, said Pablo, what do you think you’ll do? I’m not sure, said Blurtso, I think I’ll do everything I can to convince her to like me. Yes, said Pablo, I thought so.
I’m depressed, said Blurtso. Depressed? said Pablo. Yes, said Blurtso, I went all the way to California and I didn’t find Mister Ed. Mister Ed? said Pablo. The talking horse, said Blurtso. Oh, said Pablo, the great white whale. What? said Blurtso. The great white whale, said Pablo. The agonizing obsession, Moby Dick, the one thing you cannot have… the thing that takes over your life until all your pastimes and pleasures lose their appeal. Yes, said Blurtso, that’s it… even the last pumpkin pie I ate… well… it tasted like a head of lettuce. Yes, said Pablo, the agonizing obsession. What can I do? said Blurtso. The thing to do, said Pablo, is not to focus on the object of the obsession, but on the process. The process? said Blurtso. Yes, said Pablo. You went to California. You must have discovered some things along the way. Oh yes, said Blurtso, I saw many marvelous sights, and I met many animals and people. Well then, said Pablo, those are the fruits of your obsession. Yes, said Blurtso, it was a great trip… you know… I feel better already. So do I, said Pablo. I’m hungry, said Blurtso, let’s have a pumpkin pie!
The birds are nice, said Blurtso, they sound very happy. Yes, said Bonny, Pablo can identify all of them by their songs. Really, said Blurtso, what was that one? That was a chickadee, said Pablo. And that one? said Blurtso. That was another chickadee. How about that one? said Blurtso. That was the same chickadee you heard the first time, said Pablo. Wow, said Blurtso, that’s amazing.
A university? said Pablo. Yes, said Blurtso, and we need another professor. What would I teach? said Pablo. You’d teach Where-101. Is that, said Pablo, a class about gardening? It can be, said Blurtso, as long as the questions begin with “where.” How many days does it meet? said Pablo. Once a week, said Blurtso. O.k., said Pablo. And what about me? said Bonny. What would you like to teach? said Blurtso. I don’t know, said Bonny, maybe a reading class. Reading? said Blurtso. Yes, said Bonny, what are your students going to read? Nothing, said Blurtso, we’re just going to talk. If your students read something, said Bonny, the discussions will be more interesting. You may be right, said Blurtso, what do you suggest? I’ll prepare a list of great books, said Bonny, and get them from the library. Great! said Blurtso.
“Sounds”: Rainfall. Cloudburst. I suppose the cloud got so full with all the things it sucked up, it had to spit them out—the sounds, the colors, the smells. The raindrops gathered together when they hit the ground and began to run around making noises and spreading flashes of color. They ran down my nose and flanks and haunches and tail, and found the holes in my shelter I could only hear before. Rain makes it easy to see holes, and it makes silent things reveal their sound. Like the stone outside my shelter that never made a sound until the rain came and all the nooks and crannies sang.