Two Candles

I’m sitting outside in our small garden. I’m trying to read a novel written by Hakan Nesser.  He writes great nordic noir mysteries.

It’s a warm night.  I bought two new candles to illuminate the dusk in the garden.  We had a friend over and ordered Chinese. I had my fried rice and dumplings. My little radio, in the living room was tuned to WQXR and I was listening, faintly heard,  from the garden, a Gregorian Chant.

We talked. I read a few poems from a new book from Barnes & Noble.  I had my friend listen to Bob Dylan’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize on my iPhone.

By the time we finished, the candles were melted into the holders. I paid $2.47 (+tax) for each candle….at the end of  the evening’s dinner and conversation, both candles were gone.

What does that say about candles? Friendship? Dinner conversation?

Candles, some of them, burn quickly….like life.

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Remorse And A Frozen Bottle Of Poland Springs: My Dinner With Chuck

Perhaps some of you remember a rather obscure film from several decades ago called My Dinner with Andre.  It was a really intense movie about two guys who have a conversation over dinner on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

A two-hour movie about two guys talking over dinner…’nap time’, you may think…but the film was brilliant (and nobody gets blown up or vaporized and there are no zombies).

What follows are a few recollections of My Dinner with Chuck:

~~~

beaconbeerchuck

I was sipping a Greenpoint IPA at the Beacon Bar on Broadway and 74th St.  I looked at my iPhone…twenty minutes to the end of happy hour.  I was waiting for my old friend, Chuck, from my home town, Owego, NY.  I saw him last at our 50th class reunion in September of 2015.  Before that, perhaps we crossed paths at a less significant reunion (although I believe all class reunions are significant life events)…I couldn’t remember.  The bottom line is that I haven’t really had time to speak with my friend in fifty years!

He lives in one of the Carolinas now…as do many of my class mates who moved to the south and mid-south to escape the rigors of New York State winters. His son (who lives in New Jersey) had scored tickets to the biggest hit on Broadway right now...Hamilton.

It was a matinée and Chuck said he’d love to meet up with me while I was in the City.  He had lived in the “hood” back in the 1970’s, so he knew the Beacon Theater and the adjacent bar.

I took another sip on the IPA.  I looked into a mirror on the column in front of me.  I see two guys walk in.  Heavy set…like Mafia hit men.  It was Chuck and his son.

We moved to a small table and chatted until my wife joined us a few minutes later.  Chuck looked great for his age and his son looked a Hollywood actor…like a young Jude Law.  Funny, but his son is a lawyer (Jude Law?? get it?).

Chuck’s son made a call and soon a female friend of his appeared.  She was a dentist.  I tried to show her my infected back molar but my wife stopped me from peeling my lip back too far.

The lawyer and the dentist went off and the three of us went to pick up a half-dozen slices of pizzas from a nearby joint.  We went back to our apartment and had a dinner of pizza and beer.  It wasn’t My Dinner with Andre, but we talked about so many things from so many years ago.  We discussed one important detail: who was the prettiest girl in the class of “65…we decided it was…(do you think I’m an idiot to tell you?…that’s our secret).  We never sang the Alma Mater but we recalled and exchanged memories that we had both forgotten…each in our own way.  We laughed and had several hours and several really good slices of pizza.

Chuck kept saying how great it was to get together…I agreed.

His son called and said he was busy for the night. Luckily for Chuck, we had an extra bed in the downstairs room.

We stuffed two pillows and found a duvet.  We sat at the top of a very scary spiral staircase and talked before I sent him down stairs for a good nights sleep.

chuckandme

I went into the fridge and found a bottle of frozen Poland Springs in the freezer.  I figured it would thaw in about twenty minutes and Chuck would have nice sips of ice water before he fell asleep.

Later, I sat up in bed…I had given my fine old friend a block of ice…it wasn’t going to thaw for an hour.  I felt guilty. I felt I let my friend down on one basic of hospitality…a drink of cool water.  A few minutes later I put my head back on my pillow and hoped he get up on time and connect with his son and get back to New Jersey.

He did.  He emailed a thank you note but didn’t mention the frozen bottle of water.

Will I ever do anything really right?  I fell asleep think of the way he described how delicious the cantaloupes were back when we were in high school.

Memories…old friends…these are the things that drive me to sit and write this at 1:30 in the morning.

Park Avenue on a Rainy Day

ParkAVe

I am standing in the rain at the intersection of the Mythical Avenue and Ordinary Life Street in New York City.  If there’s a map at your side, look for where E. 92nd Street crosses Park Avenue.  That’s where I am standing, safely protected from the speeding traffic, on the landscaped Mall that separates the uptown two lanes from the two downtown lanes.  In the Spring and Summer, the various block associations would pool their resources and have the Mall planted with thousands of  flowers, usually tulips…so red and so yellow that your eyes would water.  During the holidays, the small trees would be lit up in beautiful lights.  All along a quiet oasis of real earth on a strip that extends for fifty blocks to the south and another hundred-fifty blocks to the north…give or take a few. You’ve got a map, count them.

It’s a mid-January afternoon and the trees are bare and the planting areas are mulched.  I saw several faded and broken blue holiday lights remaining on one of the trees.

When I was growing up, I loved to watch old movies…those set in the ’30’s and ’40’s and New York City was the backdrop.  Park Avenue became for me, as well as with much of America, the “street of dreams” where the rich lived in enormous apartment houses.  “Penthouses” and “Park Avenue” were one and the same.  No wealthy person lived in a penthouse on First Avenue…at least not in the movies.  In these old films, the limousines would pick up the Cary Grants, the Ginger Rogers, the Ray Millands and the Grace Kellys and whisk them away to the Stork Club or the Copa.  No matter what time of day or night, the men wore tuxedos and the women carried themselves like goddesses in satin gowns, boas and ermine.

I am standing in the rain and looking south.  I can barely make out the ghost of a 50+ story building in the mist.  Once upon a time it was famously known as the PAN AM building.  Now, giant letters spell out MET LIFE.  The building sits atop the renowned Grand Central Station.  I’ve heard that Peregrine falcons nest in nooks of the giant neon letters.

South of Grand Central, the avenue becomes Park Avenue South and then ends around 14th Street.  I turn around and look North.  In only four or five blocks the avenue looses its famous allure and continues onto the upper reaches of Spanish Harlem, ending abruptly at the Harlem River Drive.  Much of the northern length is made of three or four-story walk-ups.  But, like most other sections of Manhattan, the luxury high rises are springing up everywhere.  The rentals, co-ops, and condos are growing like ferns on a forest floor.  The cost of a one-bedroom would choke a horse.

But, I’m standing along its Gold Coast.  I watch.  People on corners stick their hands out from under their umbrellas to hail a taxi.  The doormen hail cabs for their tenants.  They help unload the kids from the backseat of a giant S.U.V. or the bags of groceries from Whole Foods.  Sometimes a doorman will sneak away from his post to grab a coffee from a deli on a side street.  The deli displays pastries that would make anyone crave gluten.

A small group of high school girls cross the Avenue, talking so fast it may have been a different language.  At least they’re talking.  Not one of them is on her cell phone.  The girls are in identical kilts and knee socks…the school uniform.  They wear bright pink or green backpacks.  Three teachers lead nine children to an after school program.  The kids are holding a loop on a length of rope.  They are in pairs.  The ninth child is holding hands with the last teacher.  I hope she wasn’t left out.  I prayed she was not excluded from the other eight.  A group of five high school boys, passed the high school girls.  Their pushing and jostling stops for a few minutes.  They’re thinking of the soccer game or the rugby game…or the girls in the kilts.  One or two boys turns to get a last glimpse of the strange group of creatures…these girls.

One of the girls glances back.

There were quite a few school kids on the streets.  I checked on a street map later and found that from where I stood, there were at least 22 schools (mostly private) within an 8 to 10 block radius.  Somewhere I read that the Starbucks on the corner of 96th and Madison was centered in the largest cluster of private schools in America.  Of course.  I remembered that at least two of the girls were clutching a mocha.

A police car, with lights flashing and siren blasting is heading west on 87th.  An ambulance, with lights and siren wailing is running the lights northward to Mount Sinai.  Another, smaller ambulance, no siren and no lights is going south to 76th, toward Lenox Hill Hospital.  I hoped it was empty.  Was it traveling slowly because the occupant was beyond an emergency?

School buses of all sizes crept along the Avenue.

I looked down the Avenue and saw hundreds of red tail lights of cabs attempting to run the stop lights.  The red dots seem to go on as far as Ohio.

It came to me that there were no public buses on Park Avenue.  The only trucks were moving vans.  I surmised that this had a lot to do with the amount of rent along the Avenue and the fact that buses and trucks were not in keeping with the quality of life along one of the richest thoroughfares in America.

I thought again of the old movies.  Those were the glory years of this part of Manhattan.  The glory is still here…for those who can afford the extortion rents (or the condos or the co-ops).  The S.U.V.’s have replaced the Lincoln Town Cars, to some degree, anyway.

When I lived in Manhattan, I was an Upper West Sider.  But the private school I taught in for almost 13 years was on the far east side.  My school was so far east that the East River flowed a few meters below my home room window.  I could see Queens from that window.  I could see the abandoned asylums on what is now Roosevelt Island.

I often walked home and my walk would always take me across Park Avenue.  I would cross slowly, absorbing the history of the fabled avenue.  I was never envious of those who could afford to live in that area.  I knew that no matter who they were or what their portfolio contained, they all had their own broken hearts, pains, guilt, and illnesses everyone else had.  The people had season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera, the box seats behind home plate at Yankee Stadium.  These were movie producers and actors.  I would see ancient ladies with their nurses who were mostly black, being pushed or helped along the Avenue.  This did not surprise me.  There is a great deal of “old money” here and it was for most of its history, a white persons world.  People of color came from the Boroughs as maids and care-givers, nannies and companions.  Many of those old folks probably have forgotten where the family fortune came from in the first place.

Park Avenue is a symbol of all that is dreamy, wealthy, opulent, poor, class-ridden, lonely and depressing in the Greatest City in the World.

Yes, I would cross nearly every school day, wiping sweat from my forehead on warm summer afternoons.  On harsh winter evenings, I would wish for a longer scarf while wading through a foot of snow and small ponds of frozen slush at the corners.

But, in the Spring, I would always stop and smell the flowers–those tulips–those dazzling tulips.

Today and for the next few days, my home was a hotel room.  It’s only a few blocks from the corner of 86th and First Avenue, where I would stand to catch the cross-town bus…when I taught here…when I called New York City my home.

I held firmly to my new blue umbrella as I stood under dripping clouds and watched life happen around me.

On Park Avenue.  On a rainy day.

 

ParkAveMall

 

 

 

 

How Three Moments From An Evening With Bob Dylan And His Band Will Stay With Me

BeaconMarquee

It was December 1, 2014.  The mild afternoon had turned into a chilly evening. A light rain was falling on the gritty sidewalks of the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

The marquee of the Beacon Theater on 75th Street told the story of the next few hours in my life:

TONIGHT-AN EVENING WITH BOB DYLAN AND HIS BAND-SOLD OUT

PERFORMANCE BEGINS PROMPTLY AT 8:00 P.M.

The tickets hawkers were wandering amid the crowds who were amassing at the front door;

“Tickets? Need Tickets?”

~~~

I took my seat on the aisle in the first row of the balcony.  Next to me was my son, Brian.  My wife, Mariam sat in the third seat.

Great view of the stage, I thought.

I posted a picture on Facebook of the unattended instruments on the stage.  “8 minutes to go,” I wrote.  At 8:10 the house lights went down and a gong-like tone rang from the large speakers.  A guitarist stepped into the dark from stage right.  A dark curtain behind the drums and pedal guitar parted.  Four or five men walked out.  One man wore a cream-colored suit and a planters hat with a black band.  It was Dylan.  The lights came up slightly and the crowd cheered with intensity.

There is no need for a total recap of the songs.  I knew that when the show ended, Bob himself wouldn’t make it out of the stage door before the set list for the evening was posted for the world to see on bobdylan.com.

I’m not a music critic.  I have nothing to offer in the way of commentary on chord changes, lyric alterations or technicalities.

This was probably my 16th or 17th time I’ve seen Dylan in concert.  The first: the early ’70’s when, backed by The Band, he filled Nassau Coliseum.  I’ve seen him at Jones Beach in the heat of a summer’s night.  I sat in Madison Square Garden at least twice and saw him once with Tom Petty and later with Paul Simon.

I saw him at Roseland Ballroom when the audience stood for three hours.  I was so close to the stage that I could see drops of sweat collect at the end of his reddish-blonde curls.  It was at Roseland that I bent over to scratch my shin.  I stood up and Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen were on stage with him.

I last saw him in the summer of ’13 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.  He seemed tired.  The sound was poor and the stage was quite dark.

I was disappointed.

~~~

But this night, this rainy night of December 1st, he was solid, strong, not too raspy-voiced and in control of every step and every note.  His band was “infinitely listenable.”

Here was a hero of mine who, at the age of 73 was singing songs that helped define my own view of the world, relationships, life and death.  There were three sublime moments that night.  Three moments that rose up and flew to that place in my heart that taps a reservoir of memories and emotions.

The First Moment came quickly and simply.  Therein lies the power of that Moment.  Early in the show Bob walks from the center stage microphones and sits at a baby grand piano.  If you turned your head to say something you would have missed it.  If your attention had wandered…you would have missed it.  The audience had stopped cheering, the lights were down.  Bob sat in a shadow at the key board.  Then it happened.

A woman, below me in the orchestra section and to my left yelled, plaintively two words:

“Thank you.”

Her voice was not a GO BOB voice.  It was quiet, almost pained…lonely and singular.  It could have been the parting words of a heart-broken woman to her lover who has just walked out the door after gathering his blankets from the floor.

The people near her heard her.  I heard her.  I wondered if Bob heard her.  The moment was over in about six seconds and then the lights went up and he started a song.

I felt overwhelmed by how she, speaking on an impulse, spoke for a billion people who listened to Bob for over 50 years.

She spoke for me.

The Second Moment was during the first song of the encore.

Signature riffs and chords did not announce the song.  You listened to hear a recognizable phrase amid an altered version of the original piece.

Then there it was:

“How many roads must a man walk down before they call him a man?”

“How many deaths does it take till we find that too many people have died?”

Written a thousand years ago but all about what happened in the last few minutes…somewhere.

And, the Third Moment…it was NOT a Dylan song.  But it worked and it was a perfect end to an emotional night.

The words were written by Jerome Moross and Carolyn Leigh.

“Like the lamb that in the springtime wanders far from the fold,

Comes the darkness and the frost, I get lost, I grow cold…

All I can do is pray, stay with me,

Stay with me.”

~~~

I said good-bye to my son at the subway stop.  Mariam and I walked back to where we were staying.  We walked back in the drizzle.  Christmas trees lined the sidewalks…over priced but smelling like our own backyard.  That balsam scent stays with you.

I miss my son already.  I wanted his company.  I wanted him to stay with me.

My wife held my arm…my back was sore…she’ll stay with me.

In a lifetime of good-byes and loss, death and divorce, aging and illness, graying hair and arthritis…it’s heartbreakingly comforting to know something and someone will stay with me.

Thank you, Bob.

MeAtTheBeacon

The Maltese Stylus

I looked out of the port-hole and saw the contrails of 757’s heading east, toward LA or Frisco, most likely.  So, good for them, I thought, let them get somewhere fast.  Me?  I’m happy right here, in the small cabin of a tramp steamer heading straight into Nowheresvilleport.  Once I get there, I’m heading for nearest tattoo den to do something sexy, some design scratched into my flesh with a (hopefully) clean needle.  I would get something edgy, something that yelled “dangerous”, something that would set me apart from all the others and would be bold enough to show through the manly hairs of my chest.  I was leaning toward something…some image…some icon that would make lesser men stand back as I disrobed in the Turkish baths of Perth, or Rio, or Dkakarta…or even East Orange.  The image on my chest had to tell the guys in the shadows that stilettos would not help them, nor would knives save them from my lethal hands.  I thought of how a tat of Patti Page would go down in Macao.  Or perhaps a scary likeness of Donny Osmond.  I even gave a moments thought of having a naked Lady Ga Ga on my thigh, with her “delicate” parts covered with reproductions of Nixon/Agnew campaign buttons.  But, even I couldn’t go that far.  Even I had to draw the line somewhere.  I guess I would let Mingo, the bald albino tattoo artist from Dar es Salaam to make the final choice.

But I digress.

“Here have another”, I said, as I pushed the quart of rum across the rusty flat metal plate that served as our table.  Boris and I shared the “berth”, if you wish to call a 10′ x 10′ steel walled room a “berth”.

Boris was on the run…just like me, but from what, he never said.  Once after six bottles of Bud Lite, he broke down and mumbled something about failing the Revolution in Russia.  He seemed hurt when I told him that the USSR fell apart in the early 1990’s.  It was free-market now, I told him, no more black market in Levi’s.  He didn’t talk to me for a week, only mumbling something about Stalin during our frequent games of Canasta.  I warmed to Boris and he warmed to me during those long months at sea.  He taught me how to break the grasp of a black bear, kill it and declaw it with a dull Swiss Army knife.  In turn, I taught him a few new needlepoint stitches he wasn’t aware of.

He jumped ship on an island off Shanghai.  I hope he finds his revolution, or whatever it is he’s seeking.  I even hope he found a boat to get off that island.  And, I hope he didn’t get hurt jumping ship.  It’s a long way to the water or the dock when you jump off the ship.  I suggested he use the gang-plank but he smiled his brown-tooth smile through his thick back beard…and jumped.

I, on the other hand, would jump ship further along the line.  I didn’t care where as long as I couldn’t be found.

Not after what happened in New York City.  Not after what I did.

The sordid origins of what brought me to the South China Sea are now safe to reveal.  Safe, yes, even though I found myself with a new cabin-mate after Boris limped along the wharf and disappeared into the Asian western Pacific fog.  I had just completed my nightly stroll around the deck of the steamer.  When I returned to my berth, my new friend was sitting on the empty hammock that once held my Russian comrade.  Her name was Lisa and she was a defrocked nun.  I know that when a priest makes a serious transgression against the Vatican, they defrock him…priests wear frocks, see.  And I also know that a nun sports a habit…but I didn’t know what they call a “fallen nun” like Lisa.  Dehabited?  I don’t think that’s right.  She never told me what she did or thought she did to warrant fleeing a convent, in Paraguay, of all places, but it must have been pretty sinful.  I caught a glimpse of that sin when, after six shots of rum, she pulled up her black habit hem and showed me her ankle tattoo.  It depicted Justin Timberlake chained to the glass pyramid outside the front door of the Louvre in Paris.  You know the building.  Designed by I. M. Pei and was featured in The Da Vinci Code.

But I digress.

I revealed to Lisa my problems.  She heard my “confession” and was very forgiving.

I am, you see, an addict.  An addict of the worst sort.  I have sold my soul to feed my addiction and I know I will pay dearly when Old Scratch comes to collect his reward on the day when I should be taking the up escalator…and not the down non-stop elevator to hell.

My addiction?  Games.  Small games.  It started out with big games, but with changing technology, the games got smaller.  I was hooked on Scrabble on Facebook, Candy Crush Saga, Words With Friends, Pet Rescue Saga, Spider Solitare, Lost Bubble and worst of all, Angry Birds.  When I got deeply involved in these sordid activities, the devices got smaller.  I had a problem.

My fingers are thick and fat.  On a standard QWERTY keyboard, it’s not a problem, but when the keys are as small as ink blots, my problems got serious.  When I would text a friend, my message would be: “meet me at Joe’s bar @ 5” but what came out at the other end was “make my erasure large and hold the mustard” or “xkyjoihg kjnost kdjkkjdid, ow?”  Now that might mean something in a country that uses a language root far removed from any known by linguists today.

So I had to find an a solution  My scores in my beloved games plummeted.  I began to lose friends.  My Klout score fell faster than a greased brick on a Triple X ski slope in the Alps.  My Twitter followers walked away like I had herpes.  I was doomed to a lifetime of failure and loneliness.

Then, there at the counter of a Duane Reade drug store in Manhattan, I saw the answer.  It was a stylus.  Small and narrow like a ladies ballpoint pen.  It was only $5.00 so I bought one.

It helped.  My scores went up but not earthshaking enough to satisfy my craving for love and respect.  And, then the unthinkable happened.  I put my stylus down for four seconds to sip my Latte at my local Starbucks.  When I finished wiping the foam from my lips, I looked down.  It was gone.  Some geeky kid snatched it as he brushed against my table.

I was now in despair.  I went back to Duane Reade.  They were sold out.  I ran from store to store, darting in and out of at least twenty DR’s in the four blocks I covered.  Nothing.

I was finished.  I walked past a few sleazy bars and topless joints.  How was a cold beer going to help me know?

It was then when I felt him next to me.  I never saw him approach.  Never felt him sit so close.  I looked over at him.  He was wearing a goofy green plastic derby hat.  Then I remembered it was St. Pat’s Day here in N.Y.C. and he was clearly far off the parade route on Fifth Avenue.

I started to get up and put some distance between the two of us, when I felt his hand on my forearm.  He didn’t say a word for a very long moment, then he held out something that grabbed my interest…big time.  It was a small stylus.  It was of a green hue I had never seen before.

Its been said by some that there are 28 different shades of green in Ireland.  Others may argue.  But this looked like the 29th shade.  There was something strange about it.

“Here,” he said. “I hear you need one of these.”

“Who…”

But I never got to finish.

“It may be small, it may be green, but the spirits of the Old Country have been watching you.  This, dear Paddy, is your pot o’ gold.  It was hand fashioned on the island of Malta by a group of gay ex-priests, exiled from Old Erin by the Bishop of Cork.”

As soon as he placed it in my hand, he was gone.  What just happened?

I walked home, and on the way, by some weird bit of fate, I found a Duane Reade stylus like my old one.  I took them both home with me,  like I had just scored a 2 for 1 in the hooker department.

I sat down and began playing my little addictive games.  I won.  I scored the highest.  I blew the challengers away like a leaf-blower on steroids.  I was on top again!  I couldn’t believe my luck.  Just to check things out, I tried a few unimportant games with the DR stylus and it failed me.

I was making a name for myself.  I was gaining fame among the small gamers of the world.  But, the very fame and love I so desired, began to turn dark on me.

Groups began to form.  People stopped playing me because they knew I’d win and win big.  Some hacker found out my street address and crowds, small at first, began to gather across the street and look up at my apartment window.  The crowds grew larger until the street was blocked.  I began to get hate email.  The hacker had gotten into my email.  I was kicked out of Twitter for posting child porn, something I did not do…it was the hackers.  Someone even breached my WordPress blog site and began posting nutty, goofy and inane blogs in my name.

One afternoon, a brick came through my window.  Someone had made their way to the roof of the adjacent building and threw it at my window.  It nearly killed my Ficus tree.

I went down to the laundry room and took a few hallways that led to the back door.  I pushed it open, ignoring the alarm in the supers apartment.  But the crowd had anticipated my move.  Screaming people were all around…so I ran for my life.

The mob gave chase and from the side streets, more and more people were joining the mass of angry gamesters.  I made for Riverside Park.  But it was looking hopeless for me.  Even a few winos who were sleeping on park benches joined in the chase.  I was clutching the green stylus in my right hand like a relay runner with a baton.  Dogs were snapping at my ankles.  I began to pour on the speed with all the energy I could muster.

Then I saw them.  Ahead of me, blocking the walk, were about 25 NYPD.  Their guns were drawn and the squad cars were positioned to block any way for me to get by.  Each officers gun was pointed to my left shirt pocket, where I had pinned my Ozzy Osbourne concert button just this morning.

I was running full speed at the drawn guns.  I glanced back and saw several hundred hate-filled people screaming my name:  “Death to Paddy the Cheater!” was all I could make out.  There were some references to my grandmother, but I couldn’t make them out.

I had to do something.  The glocks were set to fire.  The crowd was closer on my heals than the dogs.  So I did the only thing possible.  I turned sharp left, leapt over a flowering scrub and fell down an embankment to the edge of the Hudson River.

I threw the stylus into the pristine waters of that grand old river.

In the resulting chaos, I managed to escape.  I took a lady’s arm and grabbed her dog’s leash and pretended we were typical Upper West Siders, just out for a stroll along the West Side Highway.  I dumped her and the dog on 91 st Street.  She seemed stunned by the whole thing, but as I ran off down Broadway, I heard her call out to me:

“Will you call me?”

“So, here I am, Sister Lisa.  That’s my story.  Now what’s yours?”

She dabbed a drop of perfume beneath her wimple, and opened a box filled with chess pieces.  Big, wooden chess pieces that I could get my fingers around.

As I opened with the Pawn to Queen 4,  an old crab man on the west edge of Staten Island pulled up his crab cage.  Clutched in the third pale white claw was a green stylus.  The crab man took it out and clipped it to his flannel shirt.

Now, maybe I can text my son in New Jersey, he mumbled to himself.

Styluspic

[The Irish stylus is on the right.  Notice the subtle difference in color.]