Remember the Fall
Out of the corner of my eye I see something moving fast.
I look over toward the front door, out to the street, and see an old Chevy Vega with multi-colored corner panels screaming straight toward Doe’s, toward the Clinton Wall of Infamy. But when the Vega hits the curb, one side of its front end pops up in the air like a cockeyed jack-in-the-box and the whole car spins over on its side, coming to rest a few feet in front of Doe’s facade.
Charlene, George and the chef waltz to the front of the restaurant with sluggish curiosity. I point my Palmcorder toward the blundered spectacle and find myself more entranced by the crumbling clumps of fargy catsup crud on the lip of the Heinz 57 bottle. I laugh out loud when I remember the Heinz catsup "Anticipay-ay-shun" jingle and I think about all the doomed and never ending attempts to bring down the legend of Slick Willie Clinton.
Continuing to amuse myself, I ponder the uncanny and poignant interchangeability of the qualifiers for the terms "pop culture," "U.S. politics" and "dirty condiments." While doing so, I fail to notice the red ski-masked Vega driver is struggling to bang open the car’s upside door.
The Vega starts to waver back and forth and finally slams to a rest against the building, against the corner closest to me. The impact causes the smutty gray wall on my side of the restaurant to shudder. Before I fully realize what is happening, I feel the weight of the framed Elián poster crashing down on me.
I grab the poster before it tumbles off of the back of my head and pull it around in front of me.
"You just found yourself a new home, kiddo," I say to him.
After tucking the framed boy under my arm, I grab my Palmcorder, then casually walk out of Doe’s and past the car wreck without even being noticed.
--Little Rock, AR / April 2002