Eco Boy vs. Yoga Girl.
Novellla: 108 Pages & illustrations, maps, diagrams.
Author’s Disclaimer. No one here is anyone I know, including most particularly the two lovers. I’m using what I know, here, to create new characters. Half of it’s composite, maybe, half of it’s ridiculous fantasia I’ve clumped together out of thin air. The characters and stories, in any case, are all bull and any resemblance to anything is our overcaffeinated imagination.
Chapter 1: the Perfect Hipster.
Introducting: Eco Boy. Imperial Books. Denton, Colorado.
Eco Boy was poor but lived a rich life in a good house in a good town. He bicycled and ate simply and wanted to change the world for the better. He didn’t like himself, or the world, or people much. He did love long hikes and the sky and food and plants and farms and animals.
It was eight am. He’d gone to bed at 2 am. Blue, his four-year-old girl half-hound, was pawing at him, half-standing on his mattress on the floor. He liked sleeping on a mattress on the ground–it was steady, with no frame to creak and sigh and protest at every girl he brought home.
He was alone now, had been for a month. He liked loneliness–a (cold old vintage white wool blanket with yellow and green and red stripes, $85 off of ebay) blanket that he drew about himself.
Loneliness confirmed his special-ness, his separateness.
It was a blue, cool but not cold winter morning. He hadn’t showered and his hair was sticking up, as if on fire. His hair was cut Mad Men short and his eyes were blurry. He sat up and looked himself on the floor mirror and stretched his tight neck and blinked his bleary eyes and tried to meditation.
His dog was standing by the bed, wagging his tail, hungry and impatient and sleepy with stuff in his eyes, too.
Licking his lips in anticipation: coffee; he bowed, dedicated the merit of his day to others. He was pale and dark haired. He was strong from climbing and cycling. He was an activist and a writer, and deeply self-concerned, and occasionally depressed. He loved the earth, and (understandably, perhaps) wasn’t so sure about people. He had a big, nearly black moustache. He was 35—a old boy.
His house was big and old. He had grown up poor and still had never really traveled or spent much money on big things…other than his house. He was a home boy.
He went downstairs to the mud room and, wearing only a thin blue robe and his dirty New Balances, took his dog out to the park behind his house. Blue wandered about smelling everything, and doing his business. Eco Boy, shivering, stretched and hung from a tree and looked at the sky and thought about girls and sex. Come here, Blue!, he called after a few minutes. They went back to the house, a boring, happy domestic pair.
The dog scampered his way after him and into the mudroom, ready for breakfast. Lie down! Down! But the dog was down before he said anything. Breakfast–raw healthy meat and veggie stuff–was served.
Okay! The dog jumped on the red food bowl and inhaled the overpriced yuppie dog food. It was worth it: loved his dog and raw was better for him: dogs don’t naturally eat corn, or know how to digest it well.
He walked back upstairs, taking his robe off and hanging it on a faux old metal hook that had been made in India, and shipped over for yuppies and hippies and Pinterest fans to buy for $10 bucks. He took a shower, singing Rabbie Burns softly and loudly.
He dressed: everything he owned was secondhand, just about. He combed his hair and put some moisturizer on his face: he didn’t much care about wrinkles or aging, they were inevitable, but Colorado is dry and his face felt like parchment if he didn’t.
He called “Blue!” and collared and leashed him and bicycled off. He had three bicycles, hanging in an outdoor bike shed outside of the brick and wood Victorian on a hill beneath another hill beneath big sharp mountains in sleepy foggy Norman Rockwelly Denton. Denton: a pricey nature-ringed park-full town of 108,000 that made the cover of Outside and Dwell and such: every top 10 list of towns to live in, bike in, drink coffee in, foodie in, retire in.
And so he bicycled his way down the hill, Blue bounding beside him. He rolled up to Imperial Book Store & Cafe, an historic old glossy green marroon and blue painted old school cafe than frowned on change and gripped tradition strongly.
He’d brought a section of the Times, the Week in Review that was now called something else…that’d been lying on a big pile of newspapers he hadn’t got to yet but couldn’t bear to recycle. He parked and locked his bike, smoothly and quickly. Combo lock takes a second to lock. Stickers and rust and scratches keep the gorgeous old bicycle from being stealable, despite the Brooks saddle and such. A college town, Denton had two kinds of crime: bicycles and a far darker one, one related to drink and late nights and college towns. Other than that, it was safe as any town in the US. It was a small town, but hipstered, listed on all the lists, a rare stop-by down among the so-called flyover states between SF, LA, NYC.
Can I get a double espresso?
You bet. Things good? Pulling the shot: tiny cup, tiny spoon. The small talk was highlight of his day…he had more fun with his barista pals than just about any friend of his. Something about the regular but un-intimate relationship. He paid his three bucks and “keep the change” and sat down and read.
Does Blue need a water bowl, asked Red Hair Tattooed Black Glasses Barista Girl. Nah, we’re just waiting for the dog store to open, buy more food, Eco Boy replied. But thanks!
He was reading about Obama’s 2012 campaign, gearing up, and how Obama wasn’t involved yet. and he was thinking about his conservative Mother and how it was nuts she thought the economy was Obama’s fault. Like blaming the rain on a puddle. He drank more coffee. Direct trade, not fair trade. That was a load of pretentious bullshit, but the coffee was damn good. What was that Arab expression? Dark, strong…I like my coffee how I like my woman, something about that.
Yo, good morning.
He looked up, nodded, grinned, looked back down slowly by instantly, to signal he was reading, not wanting to talk. He didn’t like talking before coffee.
He turned a page, thinking how paper was so clumsy and old-fashioned. When the wind blew, it was impossible. And you couldn’t read the Times in the bath. He folded the paper back, gently flipped it this away and that until it uncrinkled.
He was very precise. He was a journalist, and had been taught never to use “very,” if he could help it. He could help it.
He got off on movies where the tough guy was the silent type. Clooney, Bond (when he wasn’t cracking inane jokes), The Man with No Name.
He rode a bicycle. He had three bikes: a road bike, a flash old school stripped down bike, a daily commuter. The first one was his prize: he’d been broke for years and road bikes were pricey. He’d got this one for the Tiger story.
He was tall, thin, with dark hair. Boring brown. He had brown eyes, that seemed green. His parents, Zeus Hippie and Old Flower, had divorced when he was six, six years too late (they were young, too young for marriage).
He liked to think of himself as a womanizer, but truth be told he wasn’t too charming. He was far too self-absorbed and moody and self-concerned to be charming for more than a few hours. Luckily, it didn’t take him longer than a couple of hours to get from point A to point B. He wasn’t interested in Point C.
He made it a habit not to invest himself in things he wasn’t capable of.
When he met her he was sitting working at cafe, not working at the cafe as an employee, but as a coffee-drinking hand-shaking laptop-tapping regular.
He made it a habit not to become too much of a regular: he found that on the other side of chumminess and the special favors he got, there was a thin line. Across that thin line, he turned into family. He was not a family man. He wanted service, not to be taken for granted.
When he was a child he had know a plump girl and they had loved one another in the way that children love: all in, yet not too deeply. They had had a falling out when she decided that he was a coward, awkward, shy, insecure. After that, he rarely opened up any more: he had know love and lost love because he had opened up, and some boys learn fast, some boys learn young.
The sky was pale blue with heat and the clouds were shapeless haze. He was sweating, slightly: he liked sweating. He sweat all summer long. He didn’t like AC: it was stuffy, like on an airplane, and it killed something in him. He was working on a story about something he only half cared about when she came in, wearing a perfect summer dress, long and simple with some sort of light, bold pattern, and a bright wide belt. Kinda East Coast. She had gold hair, what F. Scott Fitzgerald would have called “yellow” hair.
This was his jungle, and he was not shy. He didn’t think, he stood. He got in line behind her, though he wanted nothing, and stared at Mahk behind the mahogany bar.
Mahk was being speedy and aggressive and funny, not making eye contact. Mahk could be very charming, when he cared to be. He’d know Mahk a little bit for a long time: 10 years? He was 35, now, no longer all so very young. But still young enough, for now.
“You want something more, Kerry?”
His given name was Kerouac, which was half-embarrassing, and all awesome. He loved Kerouac, though he hadn’t read him much since he was 18 and mad to live.
Uh, yah—and the girl looked at him as he spoke and she was picking up her drink, in a to go cup, plastic lid, he didn’t like to go cups with plastic lids—and her big wide almond blue eyes met his, open, and he looked back at Mahk and said,
“Water. Thanks, man.”
She walked out the door, or something, he didn’t pay attention.