Everything Stuck To Him
What if mercurial and brooding Raymond Carver and the demure and fiercely intelligent Joan Didion met in mid-life and married? That was the central conceit and indulgence that informed “Everything Stuck To Him”, a ten-part short fiction cycle that I penned in 2008 for my former blog “Carver’s Dog”; the pieces were composed during a one-year manic burst of energy that produced more than 100 flash and short fiction stories, some of which have since been published in anthologies for Silver Birch Press and Underground Voices.
The relevance of “Everything Stuck To Him” will become evident after a brief digression.
I have hired a competent in-home services support person. She commences work tomorrow. For 70.45 hours per month she will play the role of my housekeeper, cook, and gal Friday. Now, as I have mentioned in previous posts, in about four to six weeks the financial windfall from the social service programs I have been enrolled in post-surgically will come to materialize. But until then I remain stuck in a financial rut (there will be a problem meeting all of my rent on June 5 but more on that in another post).
In the immediate, as in the short term, I need help with funds for gauze and cleaning supplies (no, she does not come with her own supplies, she’s not a professional cleaning woman, she is support personnel). Owing to my inability to clean my house is beyond a mess. I need to purchase all of these goods today at one of the local Dollar Store outlets that I frequent and should run less than $20.00. I also need funds for postage to mail more forms to Medicaid and the Department of Social Services. Most vital is the gauze bandaging.
Three five-dollar donations to Paypal (firstname.lastname@example.org) will help me meet these immediate needs this afternoon. To further that end, over the next 10 days I will be posting the entire “Everything Stuck To Him” cycle, which I was inspired to revisit yesterday after a stimulating Facebook conversation with Joseph Mailander regarding Raymond Carver. Consider this a fund-raiser to, initially, get me through the next 11 days before payday. The first segment begins .
“A Pound of Nails, And a Hemingway First Edition, Please”
“When I was a boy I knew a man who collected books and music with a mad passion,” Ray said. It was a hot summer night and they were on their backs, entangled in the sheets, Lorraine’s right foot dangling off the edge of the bed.
“What about him?” Lorraine muttered, eyes clamped shut, glass of ice water on the night stand at her reach as always.
“Well,” Ray chuckled. “He loved his records and his books — rare ones, all of them — but he never shared them with anybody, really. I mean, he let me borrow books and records but no one knew that this guy who worked in a fucking hardware store his entire life — his entire life — was so goddamn cultured. The guy was never married, had no kids certainly and no immediate family that I knew of. So, all that culture, all that great music and literature imposed upon one man with no ability to share his joy of it with the world because he had no wife, no kids, no family, no friends.”
Ray sighed, sat up in bed, and groped on the nightstand for cigarettes and lighter. “So one day he gets cancer.”
“And what? That’s the end of the story.” Ray fished a cigarette loose from the pack and lit it. “But some nights I lay awake wondering what happened to all those beautiful books and records.”