East Of The HudsonI assume that you must not have had the chance to meet Edward and Gerda,
the last caretakers of this estate since you arrived here the day after they left.
Gerda was something of a secretive snoop, I must say, always asking questions
and then writing down the answers in her little black notebook and never showing
anyone what she had written. I believe that they’re going to settle in Battle Creek,
Michigan---where they make the cereal---and where Edward was originally from,
even though there was a rumor going around that they were going to go out west,
Cody, Oklahoma or someplace like that. I say good riddance to bad rubbish.
I hope you won’t take up any of their bad habits---smoking dope and getting drunk
for days on end and crashing the estate’s limousine into trees---they damaged that
big beautiful dignified looking oak tree on the grounds behind the greenhouse over
there. Good, you have no bad habits. I hope you won’t get upset, but you’ll have
to prove that statement as time goes on. Edward and Gerda swore the same thing
when they were first hired. Unfortunately they weren’t quite truthful.
I understand that your wife Elsie is coming to join you soon and I heard another per-
haps wild rumor that I hope is not true that she is actually Gerda’s sister? That’s
not correct? Good, glad to hear it. By the way, the new furniture is coming tomorrow.
Your rooms are all refurbished now after that mysterious fire. Edward and Gerda
claimed very strongly that they had nothing to do with it,
May I help you move all those cases of whiskey, vodka, gin and rum into your quar-
ters? No problem. Glad to help, glad to help. I surely hope that you and your wife
are responsible drinkers? Fine, glad to hear it, glad to hear it. Let me give you a hand
with that case of whiskey; it looks quite heavy. Jim Beam; you have very good taste.
American PerspectivesThe handsome suntanned boy on a tractor---
(Oh, let’s forget about him.)
All right then, the Wall Street broker in his fifteen hundred dollar suit---
(Never mind about him, either.)
All right then, Miss Fineslop trying on a horrible looking dress in a
Wal-mart dressing room--- (It’s too small or too big or too expensive
for her, what difference does it make?) She has few friends and is very
narrow minded. All her friends think like she does.
Or the middle aged banker who decides to make a run for it with his
compliant mistress. Yet what about his poor unknowing wife and little
Jimmy and Janie?
Or good old Mr. Samson who has to keep borrowing money to keep going.
Will his new house be forced into foreclosure some day soon? Then what?
No more children! thinks Mrs. Hasslebeck. Three are enough. We’ll have
to be more careful from now on.
Or how about Andy Morrison who just walked off his job at the laundry?
He couldn’t take it anymore. No more yelling from that jerk Hastings.
He decides to go to Charley’s. Maybe he’ll just get drunk. Nellie will
forgive him and so what if she won’t?
The suntanned boy on the jostling tractor smiles.
Copyright © 2014 Joseph Buehler
Joseph Buehler has been published by the Kansas Magazine, the "Canadian Forum", "Defenestration", the "Common Ground Review" and "Theodate".