Home > The Good Luck of Right Now(5)

The Good Luck of Right Now(5)
Matthew Quick

You know this already, I know, because you are a wise man.

Not a bird.

Not a bird.




Your admiring fan,

Bartholomew Neil



Dear Mr. Richard Gere,

In order to remedy the gaps in our collective knowledge of each other, I went to the library and googled you on the Internet.

Patrons are permitted to look up anything at the library except pornography. I know because I once saw a man (with gray dreads that made his head look like a dead dusty spider plant) get kicked out for viewing Internet pornography in the library. He was sitting next to me, rubbing his crotch through his filthy, incredibly baggy jeans. On his screen were two naked women on all fours like dogs licking each other’s anuses. They kept moaning, “Ewwwww-yeah!” and “Mmmmmm-haaaa-YES!” I remember laughing because it was so ridiculous. The women acting like dogs, not the fact that the man was kicked out.

(Do people really enjoy looking at women behaving in this manner? I find it hard to believe, but if it is on the Internet, there must be a market. And not just crazy library patrons either—but people with computers at home, where such viewing is allowed.)

An older librarian came over and said, “This is not appropriate. Sir, you cannot behave this way here. This is entirely unacceptable! There are rules, sir. Sir, please.”

The man yelled at the librarian, refusing to go. He said, “I ain’t no sir! I’m a man! M-A-N MAN! H-U-M-A-N HUMAN B-E-I-N-G!” which made the old librarian jump and take a step back. She did not like his spelling at her.

Everyone in the library had turned and was staring by this point.

I was glad The Girlbrarian was not there to see.

(The Girlbrarian would not have been able to deal with such a situation, and I like that about her. She’s beautifully slow to take action. She thinks about things a lot before she makes a move. I watched her once as she sorted through books that had been damaged. I don’t know for sure, but based on my observations, I guessed it was her job to decide which damaged books should be thrown away and which should be taped together and kept. Most people would have glanced cursorily and quickly tossed each book to its fate one way or the other, right or left, keep or trash, but she examined the books so carefully, turning each over and over like precious dead butterflies that she could maybe open and make fly again if only she were gentle enough. I watched her for three full hours from the other side of the library as I pretended to read the newspaper. It was a miraculous sight to behold, until one of the other librarians came over and yelled at The Girlbrarian for taking so much time. She said, “These aren’t gilded in gold, Elizabeth!” The Girlbrarian flinched when the words hit her ears, and she hid in her long brown hair that covers her face like a waterfall can cover the entrance to a mysterious cave. That older librarian sorted through the remaining books in less than five minutes as The Girlbrarian watched through her hair with her shoulders slumped. I saw The Girlbrarian’s hands start to reach for several books as they were tossed into the throwaway pile, but she managed to refrain and her fingers never got more than five or so inches from her white-corduroy-covered thighs. You could tell The Girlbrarian wanted to intervene and argue on behalf of many of the books.)

Have you noticed that far too often the best people in the world lack power, Richard Gere?

China has power.

Tibet lacks power.

Are you impressed with my research into and knowledge of your favorite cause?

When the police arrived, the pornography man—who was most likely homeless, because he smelled like fish guts rotting in an old leather boot—shook his head several times, like he was really dismayed, disappointed even, and then he yelled, “I’ve paid taxes in my life! Dozens of times! Thousands of dollars. I’ve funded the U.S. government, which is your employer! You! And you! And you! All of you are government employees! Public servants. You work for us! The people! Not the other way around. I am your boss. You! You! YOU!” He pointed his index finger at all of the library workers and policemen. “Now I want my representation! This is a free country! If I want to look at porno, I can, because it’s my constitutional right as an American citizen. Porno for everyone!” The man ranted for some time about how much American presidents loved sex. Bill Clinton’s stained dress. Thomas Jefferson making love to his slaves. JFK and Marilyn Monroe. I wrote most of it down in my notebook immediately, because it was interesting, real, spontaneous, even if it remains unconfirmed, and is most likely an exaggeration.

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