Having Forgotten the Cork Screw [Flash Fiction]

A man on the Alewife-bound Redline to Harvard Square from Park Street Station at Boston Commons down the hill from the gold-domed Statehouse Building and right next to Park Street Church whose graveyard has the grave of Paul Revere is reading Lowell’s Notebook 1967-68. He is on his way to Harvard Square to meet a friend for lunch at he Red House Restaurant at 98 Winthrop Street. He loves their smoked salmon BLT.

He will have it with one of the local beers they always have on tap. The gluttony of eating out alone or with friends here in Cambridge, he thinks to himself but almost out loud, yet under his breath. What he would he himself say, barely audibly, at this time, of course, he could also write in his journal, one he always carries with him wherever he goes, recollecting an afternoon with his friend Giovanni in Ginsberg’s office when the author of “Howl” was teaching at Brooklyn College, and the notion of discipline for a writer came up, and Jack Kerouac’s good friend said that the only discipline a writer needs is to carry pen and paper with him wherever he goes, and he smiled in recognition that he had already acquired the correct discipline for a writer, always having both with him wherever he went, continuing this over the years.

And now with his pen in his journal about Lowell’s poems and the afternoon spent in the Park Street Church graveyard, as well as some time in down-the-block investigation of King’s Church, he writes “I love Boston and Cambridge;” yes, he writes at the close of an entry he enters in his journal at the table he has gotten for lunch, waiting for his friend to arrive over a pint of the Farmhouse Saison they have on tap at the Red House from the Portsmouth Brewery which he visited last summer on a trip there to get away, as he likes to say, as he likes doing with his friend in Montauk, land’s end, as he likes to say to her, his friend, the one he is waiting for at the Red House with a pint from the Portsmouth Brewery. He has not yet made it to the Southhampton Brewery in Long Island, the South Fork, the East End, no time any time he has been out there, the east end (I wonder if I am supposed to capitalize east end?). He would like to this summer.

How long the ride takes he does not notice, almost never notices no matter how many times he takes this trip from South Station to Harvard Square. In noticing he rarely notices  he remembers the last time he was in Montauk how he had forgotten to bring a cork screw for the wine they intended to buy, one liquor store in town having quite a few good Alsatian wines and German Rieslings. They bought a bottle of Alsatian Pinot Gris the last time out and got all the way back to the room when he found out that he had forgotten to pack the cork screw or even his Swiss Army knife which has a cork screw attachment. He had to walk back to town to get a cork screw, all the while intermittently saying fuck or shit or asshole or isn’t that just like what the fuck would happen. 

On the way, and while saying fuck or shit or motherfucker or son-of-bitch, he sees a rabbit and pauses to watch the rabbit and considers the rabbit running in and out of the dune grass on the road along the dunes and stops to think about saying fuck and shit and piss and bastard and thinks that he should stop and be grateful he is alive and has to walk on the road to get a cork screw to see the rabbit who pauses longer than other rabbits he has seen here in Montauk, and thus has time to consider the rabbit’s eye that the rabbit seems to be staring at him with, fixed as the rabbit seems to be on him standing as still as he could, not wanting to scare the rabbit or scare him off. This goes on for a duration uncounted, unmarked by his watch on his cell phone that he has taken out to take a few photos of the rabbit. While doing so, the rabbit runs off and then he continues on his way to get a cork screw for the Pinot Gris they have had before and liked. They are having shrimp salad with the wine, shrimp salad and fish tacos from a new place that used to be where O’Murphy’s used to be.

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