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| 53 james harms Where Is My Tree House? After all those years collecting lumber, I wake and find it gone, the view from my bedroom so woeful and unobstructed, no cabin floating in the limbs, no cottage in the morning air. How I loved it. I remember struggling the old sofa up the trunk and squeezing it through the door. My parents didn’t care, never noticed the cable snaking from their window or saw the blue glow of the ten-inch I bought on time from El Gordo on the corner, who threw in a dime bag for free. O, the narrow chimney made of bricks borrowed from the Fenleys’ crumbling wall, the wax paper windowpanes. I’d suspect Derek, but Derek’s in jail. If Jay weren’t dead he’d have done it for sure. I tried not to steal any nails or joists; I used one hammer I found in the hedge, and a saw I returned each day to my uncle’s tool chest. I did lift and change the phrase in line four above (“a dwelling in the evening air”), but he’s dead, too. It took twelve years to build and my children planned to live there one day. I would say I’m sorry to them but lately they snarl and spit when I enter the room. I named a comet one night while sitting on its roof counting stars. 8,124 before I gave up. The comet left a scar right here. If you want to know its name give it back. 54 | ecotone I’m going to have lunch with Jeff at Rick’s Burritos on El Molino, though when I check MapQuest to see for sure I learn it’s on Walnut at the corner of El Molino (it’s been a while, really, since I’ve had lunch at Rick’s, and I usually arrive from the north, descending El Molino and the foothills from Altadena, close kin but far superior to Pasadena, which is sometimes called the City of Roses, though its original nickname going back a hundred years was Crown City, now famous for little old ladies and parades and good weather). I assume our lunch is around lunchtime, though that’s a detail we didn’t discuss. Jeff tends to need a regular thing like “food at noon” or margaritas in sight of the sea, though a lake or harbor will usually do, Havasu or Newport, the hours we’ve spent floating and drinking or just watching the water do its number on the light. Rhythm and ritual matter to Jeff, as they do to me I suppose. We talked about burgers at Tommy’s in Eagle Rock, where they splatter chili on everything, but I remembered the last time after chili fries and an “original” burger when I tried to burp my way through a conference call with my boss, who wanted to know about inquiries versus yields in sector six, which includes Riverside and San Bernardino, places I try to avoid, and I had to pause three times to swallow air to keep from letting loose a fragrant one (thank God for conference calls), so Rick’s seemed a better choice. But now it’s 12:30 and no Jeff, and I’m wondering if maybe we did agree on Tommy’s after all. Should I drive over to Eagle Rock? That would take twenty minutes. I’d call but I washed my phone with a pair of shorts yesterday. So I order a number 3 with rice and a Dr Pepper, sit on the wall behind the patio and watch the lizards lick the sunlight. Whenever I raise my cup to sip from the thick straw they assume I’m attacking and head to their holes in the cinder blocks, then return to the warm spots as I chew slowly and evenly a beautiful fat burrito. Where’s Jeff? If you look at the liner notes for Sheryl Crow’s first record you’ll see where I’m sitting, though in 1993 it looks a little tired and now, thanks to the unofficial coronation of Rick and his blessed burritos as LA...


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