Man in picture. The hospitality of Mr. Tarcisi.

I just can’t stand it. The way life attempts to imitate art. The way art endeavors to imitate life. The circle closes rarely for reasons other than serendipity. It’s never on purpose. We spend our lives looking to make sense of it and it refuses. It walks away without a word. It could not care less what we think.

I’m sure of one thing. It reveals nothing to no one. There is no game and there is no fate. It is random. Despite prophecy, religion or dogma. I think the universe barely affords the concept of time for example. At the very least, it does so in a way we won’t conceive or imagine for much longer than we can conceive or imagine.

That is not to say justice should not be pursued. Philanthropy, yes. Self educate by all means. Aspire to kindness and compassion. Eat right and exercise if you must. People should strive to be as good as they can for a reason that is simultaneously as insignificant as it is fundamental; as far as we know we have but one shot. In that one run at it, we only have ourselves.

The only magic is brains and the only miracle is will.

A train of thought that sounds like a bowling alley in my head.

My legs are killing me. I seem to be gaining strength, but they go from sore to searing in seconds. I’m glad I remembered my cane.

“Coffee on the veranda?” His head bobs while the car absorbs the road.

I look him in the eye and tell him absolutely.

I hold his gaze and thank him as sincerely as I can. I tell him I have so many questions.

“We have time to talk today. My villa is not far.”

This is the furthest south I’ve ever been, everything looks tropical. The grounds are lush and manicured. Gravel and stone paths. Palms and grasses. Plump cactus and moss just a few feet away. Desert flowers. I glimpse a healthy stand of cannabis through some trees. A handful of fountains and sculptures. The air is perfumed with an organic that is damp and sweet.

It’s humid and cool.

I’m happy to be here. I feel much better.

The driver opens my door and it’s the last I see of him. He’s never looked at me.

Carlo walks me to the door. The house itself is fairly modest. Like an early twentieth century LA bungalow. Broad granite steps to a deck of thick hardwood trailing around the side. The entire roof, including the deck, is black to grey and the turquoise of oxidation. Is the whole thing under one copper shell?

The twin front doors are heavy and black. Carlo opens them with practiced effort.

Inside is rustic. A river stone fireplace with a heavy wooden mantle. Silver candlesticks, pictures in elaborate frames and brightly colored glass. A pot boils over a small flame. The floors are black slate and hardwood. Beautiful rugs and sturdy furniture. Plenty of sunlight diffused as the the deck wraps around the house excepting the north side.

The fog has not burned off completely.

On the right is the living area with a high ceiling, the fireplace and beyond that, what looks like a book lined den. On the left is a small dining area and a large kitchen facing north. The appliances look robust but not new. The floor and countertops are terra cotta. There’s a pot rack suspended from chains over and island. Copper and stainles steel vessels glisten. Blenders, juicers, toasters and processors, none modern, festoon the counters and gleam.

It smells of smoke and apples and good tobacco.

Carlo grinds coffee beans with some hand powered device I’ve never seen. While wearing some welding glove, he takes the pot off the fire. We sit on stools at a small but high iron table with a wooden top. There’s an old glass French press, a small pitcher of cream and small glass bowl filled with chunky brown sugar. Two spoons, two mugs.

My guess is someone forgot about the veranda.

From another mug, he pours the ground beans into the press and the boiling water over them. The aroma makes me crave it. He seals the top with the plunger up and says, “Now we wait.” He is smiling.

He retreats to the kitchen and returns with a small plate of fruit and bread. Strawberries, melon, papaya, mango, grapes and what is definitely buttered cornbread.

He raises his eyebrows, rushes to the kitchen and returns with a shiny pile of caviar and creme fraiche on a small bone china dish and an actual silver baby spoon.

He smiles and says, “Killer with the cornbread.”

He takes off his coat and I see he’s wearing suspenders.

“I have much to tell you.” He plunges the coffee patiently. “You already know, you are in mortal danger. You are beset by a hound.” He forces the plunger down a little. “He is mean as a snake. A doppelganger of sorts. He is not your double. He is not your………contrary or inverse, either, as they say. They are often the worst, as are the doubles.” He leans a little harder on the press.

“Those pale and vicious poltergeists will harass a man until his heart explodes in his chest like a fruit pie dropped on a kitchen floor. The good news is, it is not the worst. The bad news is, it is very bad. Perhaps, as bad as I have seen.

He pours the coffee and generous cream into my mug. It’s sweet enough for me to wonder if I missed him adding sugar. It’s the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life. Until I think about what he’s saying and what he may be about to say. He looks at me like he’s gonna tell me I have colon cancer. Like I’ll bleed from the ass for awhile and then die.

He’s getting real good at looking at me like that.

“He is about you. He is of you. You are related to this hound. It cannot last. One of you must go. You cannot both occupy this time and place for very long. I’m confident you understand that? One of you must kill the other. He will kill you. He’s as afraid as you are, believe it or not. But, he intends to kill you.

How do you know? How did you find me? Who are you?

He raises his hand. “You found me. I was not aware of you until you were within a block from me. Really, the rest is decades of me seeing and understanding these things. You already know, we are not all the same.”

“Let me put this as simply as I can,” he says. “Do not doubt that the randomness of life is in some way synchronized with all the things that we do not understand about the universe. It is what we do know that confounds us. All the while, what we do not know blows us along.”

He offers me a hunk of cornbread with caviar and creme. The bread is warm and sweet. The caviar is salty with marvelous texture in a creaminess of creme. It’s so delicious I need to replay what he’s said in my head.

I come up fighting. I can’t help but ask what he does know. I ask him who he is and despite myself I press him hard on just what the fuck is going on. I realize I’m pleading. I try to shut up.

“Do notlook at me like that. I am no wizard” , says Mr. Tarcisi.

“Your only chance is yourself, but I think I can help.”

I tell him I was hoping for a wizard.

I tell him I’m tired and I’m a pussy.

He doesn’t smile. He tells me my humor is inappropriate. He is angry. He seems much older than me.

He walks to the end of the kitchen and back.

He pushes the plate of fruit at me with the rubied finger. I reach and so does he. We chew and look at each other. We begin to talk like yesterday. We laugh and point at each other. At some point there’s not much coffee left, Carlo brings a single malt whiskey to the table.

We use our coffee mugs.

Next thing I know I’m asleep in front of the fire.

It’s twilight.

I’m on the couch under a thick cotton blanket. My shoes are off but my socks are on. Carlo has left a carafe of water and a glass on the low table in front of me.

His last words to me, “Sleep. You are safe here.”

I look past my feet and he’s in the den reading furiously, his fingers drumming on his forehead. He looks old from here.

I look up to a polished copper ceiling some twenty feet above me with the fire dancing across.

I head back to the party.

5 Responses to “Man in picture. The hospitality of Mr. Tarcisi.”

  • Doberkim Pincher:

    Beyond Rebellion Ends today. Forget the L.A. Times Sunday, we head for another time zone.
    And Forget a “Taste of Maui”; Down below, Mexico is where I want to go. Around cape horn
    Michael, Christine and his crew have commandeered the controls, for the mutiny. We will dock at mid night, just after we make Trueblood walk the plank. Good Riddance we won’t miss you..,fresh Shark food, with Dolphkim to thank!

  • Trueblooded:

    Sure, I’ll walk your fake, stupid, imaginary bullshit plank.

  • psychotic red rainbow:

    This story keeps getting more interesting.
    Is Anderle a publisher? I recall seeing Rolling Stones magazine refer to him, not to mention seeing his name on c.d.s it seems.
    Before there was brainspank, there was the Beach Boys. “Pet sounds” me and Brian, both a bit crazy. I wasnt happy when he married some lady from the Midwest Cincinnati, whatever THATS RIDICULOUS, I was in love with him! Surfing USA!

  • psychotic red rainbow:

    True blood flowed as of yesterday
    Silent Riot…Its time to start today.
    It came to me while waiting to buy gasoline.
    Time to turn you and yours bloody.
    Your affiliation makes me sick, seriously..,puking from your shit..
    angry blood on my face, after dropping two of you.., I’m insane only blood red view.
    Then I go blow up 3 Humvees.
    Me and mine are tight like familee, sticky on each other like honey.
    Your already, blind in your reality! So wrong to Fuck with me!
    1,2,3, faster than the Chinese, Just me.
    I win, like a 1st place race horse. Space wars, step back fast, from the door.
    Wifey whore, goes down, blood spills on the desert floor!
    Republican woman’s, blood red club. The other side needs to be gotten rid of too.
    Dead, chicken dumbo, gumbo bow tie.
    Your aligned with a stupid Dick, and a ball’n chain man, drop you with one hollow point dead man.’Accomplished elimination, like a machine.
    I’m Queen B ‘n da machine!
    Chop, Chop, chop were free
    your affiliation make me, extremely angry, bloodline Irish Crazy1
    No regret, about the deaths.. All Glory with no brains that I can see.
    Gory, gory ending, but we’re free!

Leave a Reply