“Who are those guys” – Butch Cassidy 

Met my old sidekick, the charismatic dreamer Butch to my cool and dangerous Sundance, at the Hotel Mac in sleepy fog drenched Pt. Richmond yesterday for an early dinner. Duncan Hines proclaimed the joint, built in 1911, the best dining room in America way back then. It’s still pretty good.

We regret the things we didn’t do and the only thing I regret about the occasion was we didn’t start our feast with some alcohol. But through the warm bread and butter, the ice tea, the calamari and escargot, the pot roast and mashed potatoes, the gooey baked fruit and gelato deserts and cappuccino; we burned.

There’s that one friend you have that feels like home. The one born around the same time as you who you share history with and when you connect it’s like church. The only one you can talk to that has a clue what you’re feeling. We traveled the nostalgia road all the way back to where we started, some few years after Truman dropped the big one and made all the returning soldiers feel safe and secure and optimistic enough to create us.

We reminisced riding our bikes, free, daydreamers, explorers on the new frontier, dismounting our magic time machines like the horses the cowboys we stared at with awe and fantasized being that we saw on our black and white TV’s, back when our mom’s kicked us out of the house early and didn’t expect to see us again until a quick pit stop for lunch and then finally again for dinner.

We felt safe back then, ensconced behind sheltered suburban walls like Siddhartha’s. We slipped through the cracks barely noticed, just our fathers sons; but watched over by the entire village, with the big guy himself, Ike (Eisenhower: “steel masher” in German), protecting us from Nikita Khrushchev’s shoe pounding rants at the U.N. saying how he would bury us.

Freedom was our birthright and we reveled in it, believed it true and righteous and holy just like our parents, the nuns, priests, cops and our teachers told us it and we were; while all the time secretly, even to ourselves, we were plotting to one day take over the world. We shared our first mysterious and glorious encounters with women; his, a local nymphomaniac and mine the girl I’d end up standing next to with our baby in arms at ST. Joseph’s church while Father Bill married us.

What we didn’t know was the real world was closing in. While our contemporaries rushed to qualify for a slot, standing dutifully asses pressed to crotches, in a line waiting for their turn at Ozzie and Harriett lives; all the time wondering what we were thinking when we opted out; not willing to drink the Kool Aid and join the group tearing headlong in their suicide machines; we pushed ourselves away from the dinner table saying “no more Jello for me Mom!”  

We shared the angst uploaded from our own spawn’s resentment from having to leave them, protected by women we’d bonded with, while we followed our hearts and ventured out to find America and our own destinies. Many years later he would stay fixed on the path of the dreamer desperado while I took a hard right and spent a few decades proving a point and getting a paycheck. And as it always does, the conversation came to the now and what the hell it was we were going to do next.

Our paths had caused to freeze us out of the main stream where the mob struggled with mortgages and tax bills and that river of conformity that drove them all to the same place. We searched, unfettered by the fierce dilemma we now met, for the perfect question that would answer itself and tell us which way to go. The fact that we felt anything but safe was a silent acknowledgement that lay between us, ascending and wafting all around like the smoke that filled the room.

We passed the peace pipe as had the renegade Indians that laid everywhere beneath our feet in graveyard streets America. And as the sun set we knew nothing had been resolved, nothing affirmed, only the knowledge, unspoken, that while we may well end up like the last scene in the film of Butch and Sundance, we will keep doing as much as we can, for as many as we can, for as long as we can. We shared a feeling; not of remorse, but of honorable contentment, that in the end it won’t be the destination where we arrive that will be remembered by those we leave behind. It’ll be the the courage it took to take the journey we chose.


About circusinpurgatory
Nick Masesso Jr’s fictionalized short stories, poetry and prose have been published in the Starry Night Review, Elegant Thorn Review, Language and and Vagabond Press; the Battered Suitcase. His latest book “Armor of Innocence” and first book “Walking the Midway in Purgatory, a Journal” are available on-line and through bookstores.

One Response to Cathedral

  1. James Mcfarland says:

    Although I am modestly separated in age with the author, no generation or decade should exclude the reader from the collective conscience, the ambience exuding from this particular piece. 8.8 rating.

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