To snowboard or to ski? thought Pablo. Blurtso’s wetcat mctwist is wicked epic, but Bonny’s telemark turn is beautiful… visor beanies are sick, but my Jean Claude Killy is classic… there’s nothing like the glide of sticks, but gapping a blinger is phat nasty. There must be some way to decide. Pablo! called Bonny from the ski shop. Coming! said Pablo, rushing to join her.
What’s the matter? said Alex. I’m worried, said Blurtso. Why? said Alex. Because I have to speak at Commencement. But you’re not graduating, said Alex. I know, said Blurtso, but my scholarship requires I make an appearance, and the president wants me to give the opening prayer. The opening prayer? said Alex. Yes, said Blurtso, and I don’t know what to say. Well, said Alex, you’ve got to mention god, of course. God? said Blurtso. You mean the great donkey in the sky? Yes, said Alex, and no, because you can’t give preference to one god over another. You mean I have to mention all the gods? said Blurtso. How do I do that? It’s tricky, said Alex. What if I don’t mention any? No, said Alex, that won’t do…
Let us pray, said Blurtso, Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god… let’s see… where was I?… oh yes… oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, ad Infinitum… amen.
I trust you are well. I am at a café in Arles. It is fourteen past twelve, the streets are empty, and the café is closed. The waiter has filled my glass before leaving to clean up. My journey is half through, and I am years from home. I have made friends along the way. And lost friends along the way. I have seen beautiful things. Faces, sights, scenery. I wonder at the value of traveling alone. A single gentleman walks up a shadowed street. Watching him from the café, I sip my wine and go along. I return to the teacup and chair at his table, and the bed where he sleeps, ‘til I wake to the morning sounds at his window. I sit on the terrace and live the life of the waiter, wiping tables and stacking chairs, sweeping, mopping the floor, washing glasses, and sorting silver. And then the waiter is gone and the man is gone. And there is only the sound of the buzz of the lights, and the silence of the stars. The silent stars, filling the canopy of the raven-colored night.
I didn’t know you were Irish, said Pablo. Actually, said Bonny, I’m Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and English. My oldest ancestors arrived in the Isles around 400 B.C. and lived in all the various regions. I used to celebrate Saint Andrew’s Day on November 30th, Saint David’s Day on March 1st, and Saint George’s Day on April 23rd, but now I celebrate them all on Saint Patrick’s Day on March 17th. Does that mean you have to drink four times as much beer? said Blurtso.
“By yon bonny banks and by yon bonny brays…”