“Why did it take you so long to tell me you saw some of my cousins?” Coyote asked. “I’d like to hear about that!”
He was painting the dining room. I was a little surprised. When I left he said he was just going to paint the pantry so that had been fine with me. Now there were drop cloths everywhere.
“Well, yes, I did, as a matter of fact.” I said. “In Death Valley, between Mormon Point and Split Cinder Cone.” Read more
“I took a break,” I said, by way of conversation.
Coyote was wearing his wire-rimmed glasses, which he always does when he is concentrating.
“I noticed,” Coyote replied, not looking up. “No judgment.”
“I had Stuff going on,” I said. I guess I was trying to get his attention.
“We all do,” Coyote shrugged. He reached into a drawer for a file folder.
I hadn’t talked to Coyote in a while, not about the blog anyway. He still hung around, looking over my shoulder when I was writing in that annoying way he has and harrumphing occasionally. In a more successful ploy to get my attention, he made me a drink – passionfruit juice mixed with an aromatic and evocative rum he knew I would recognize.
“So what do you think I should do?” I asked. The heat of the day stirred memories. Upstate New York wasn’t Saigon but it was doing its best. Read more
“That was great!” I said, setting down my suitcase. I had been to my umpty-ninth high school reunion without having been to one in years.
“Yes?” Coyote smiled. He was working on a photograph album at the dining room table.
“It’s just so wonderful to have friends like that! We haven’t seen each other such a long time and we just picked right back up where we left off!”
This is so not a picture of Coyote, but it’s cool.
Coyote Reading a Candy Wrapper
North Central Washington Museum
1995, cast aluminum
“So how’s that novel coming?” Coyote inquired. Innocently. He was reading a newspaper, which I found quaint.
“Why does everyone have to ask me that?” I was counting stitches to figure out where I had dropped one.
“Oh, just curious, I guess.” He pushed his glasses back up a little way on his nose. If he had had a mob cap he would have borne a striking resemblance to the Wolf impersonating Grandmama. Or so it seemed to me in that moment. Read more
“I don’t know how Stephen King does it,” I said, looking up from my notebook.
“Does what?” Coyote asked. He was mixing a drink. I’m not sure what was in it but the bottle he was using had a faint green tinge. At least from where I was sitting.
“Keep writing all those scary stories that everybody loves so much,” I said, eyeing the bottle.
“Well, I didn’t think much of Cujo,” he said, looking through the liquor cabinet for something else.
“Oh?” I wondered why there was only one glass.
“Lacked subtlety,” he said, opening the fridge. “Do we have any limes?” Read more
“I don’t understand the objection to adverbs.” I said, breaking the silence.
“What’s the problem?” Coyote looked up from his novel. Tony Hillerman, I noticed.
I myself was reading about a murder in Savannah, Georgia, and I was keeping track.
“Well, it just seems like some people have a prejudice against them and I am pretty sure it’s not justified.” I was afraid I was picking a fight but I didn’t care. I wanted to get this straightened out.
“Listen to this, for instance,” I continued before Coyote could get a word in. “It’s a sentence in this book I’m reading. ‘This was the hole allegedly made by Danny Hansford during his rampage through the house a month before he was killed.'” Read more
“You’re getting a little scattered, don’t you think?”
Coyote kept his voice casual but he was fooling no one.
“What do you mean?” I matched his tone. No point falling into his trap by getting defensive. “I’m keeping up.”
“Keeping up … how, exactly?” He was helping me sort books. I was getting rid of a bookshelf. Spring cleaning. It had to be done. We had Loreena Mckennitt playing in the background to keep our spirits up. Read more
“I’ve been thinking about beginnings,” I said. I had been clearing the garden and had paused to marvel at some radish sprouts that were making a straggly line across one of the beds. Coyote was filling the compost bucket.
“In what sense,” he asked. “Spring? New life? Great Blue Heron eggs?” Read more
I had gotten a little turned around (as my grandmother used to say) and I suspected Coyote had something to do with it. We were making soup from the remains of the vegetable bin and we were each holding a knife. Not that I expected that to have any bearing.
“You’ve told stories for ever so long,” I said, starting in on an onion and hoping a little flattery would catch him off-guard, “so what do you think about The Tourist? Should I keep going with it?”