tongue-cut

he lives in the back and comes to my door
carrying his shotgun in one hand.
“listen,” he says, “there was a guy sitting
on your couch on the porch while you were
gone.   he didn’t act right.   I asked him what
he wanted.   he said he wanted to see you.
I told him you weren’t in.   do you know a
tall black guy named ‘Dave’?”
“I dunno nobody like that….”
“I saw this guy on the street later and I
asked him what he was doing in the neighbor-
hood.”
“I don’t know no tall black named ‘Dave’.”
“I’ve been watching your place.   I ran off a couple
of those Germans.   you don’t want to see any Germans,
do you?”
“no, max, I don’t like Germans, Frenchmen and especially
I don’t like Englishmen.   Mexicans and Greeks are all right
but there is something I don’t like about the looks on their
faces.”
“there have been more Germans than any other kind.”
“run them off…”
“o.k., I will… when you leaving town again?”
“tomorrow.”
“tomorrow…?”
“tomorrow, yes, and if you find some fucker sitting on my
porch couch, blow his god damned head off….”
“o.k., I will…”
“thanks, Max….”
“it’s all right…”
he walks back to his court in the back with his
shotgun and
goes inside.

“my god,” says Linda Lee, “you know what you’ve
done?”
“yes,” I say.
“he believes in you.   when we come back there’ll be
a dead body on the porch.”
“all right…”
“don’t you remember when I took my day of silence?
you told him you had cut my tongue out… and he
accepted it matter of factly…”
“Max is the only real buddy I’ve
got…”
“you’re an accessory to the fact…”
“I don’t like uninvited guys sitting around on my porch
couch waiting for me….”
“suppose it’s some poet, some guy who admires your
work?”
“like I said, ‘Max is the only real buddy I’ve got.’
let’s start packing…”
“what happened to my green dress?”
she asks.

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