Willie Nelson walks across a bridge behind the art gallery carrying a plastic shopping bag—Metro, Food Basics, A&P maybe. Long white braid down his back and a red lumberjacket over jeans. We pass and momentarily catch one another’s eyes. He is grizzled and possibly hungry, but he does not look unhappy. Or even slightly mad.
Going into the Quicker’s Dairy Mart, which is next to the place that will cut glass to size for you, is that blond guy from The Dukes of Hazzard. Not him grown up but as a kid. He stops to let me go by. He’s only about fourteen so I think this is sweet; in fact his politeness amazes me.
On a bench in front of Benjamin Moore sits Glenn Gould smoking a cigar without gloves. He wears black rubber-soled shoes and grey socks, a grey winter jacket and blue jeans. Not jeans but blue jeans, the kind that might be belted up around his rib cage. I can’t tell. The jacket is zipped. The cigar is two inches long and he holds it carefully, ceremoniously, as if he’d just signed a contract for the biggest deal of his life and he’s celebrating with the best cheroot his filthy lucre can buy. He inhales with a slightly addled smile, a kind of wide grimace that stretches his mouth a little too much [there’s a hint of yellow teeth] then exhales like a goldfish breathing, mouth rounded and pulsing like he’s trying for smoke rings. But you can tell smoke rings are the last thing on his mind. I suspect he may not even know what such a thing is. He goes on, rapidly, inhaling and exhaling like this, making those faces, until the cheroot is nothing more than a tiny stub, which he tosses onto the pavement. He stands, walks a few steps as if to leave then leans down when he spies a good-sized cigarette butt. He returns to the bench, finds his cigar stub and uses it to light his latest smoke. When it takes, and just fort the merest of moments, he smiles for real then returns to his weird face isometrics all the while watching a boy in a purple hoodie do tricks on a silver scooter.