One of our longstanding friends was murdered last week, another friend of even longer standing is currently clinging to his hard-luck life through a labyrinth of tubes and syringes and some sorts of electrical cords in the surgical intensive care wing of a nearby hospital, the memories of other friends are haunting us as if we were Ebenezer Scrooge on an ill-fated Christmas Eve, there are still bills to be paid and chores to be done, the weather has lately been incongruously perfect, and we’re still here in Wichita and out there through the vast internet to the rest of the troubled world.
We were out there through the internet to the rest of the troubled world even yesterday, with one of those rare and usually-on-a-holiday three-paragraph essays we crank out just to keep our perfect streak of Monday-through-Friday publications going, despite the double-whammy of the news about our old friend’s grave illness. The three paragraphs had a certain literary quality and satirical edge and necessary insouciance about them, as we far we were concerned, but one of our faceless readers, a faithful but frequently contentious sort who often adds his admirably agreeable disagreements to the comments section, read between the lines well enough to message us that “I hope that you don’t feel you owe regular posts to a bunch of faceless strangers.” We much appreciate the obviously sincere concern of our correspondent, but we want to reassure him that our typing is very much therapeutic, that the unbroken record of Monday-through-Friday publications is of some inexplicable importance that our more pressing friends would understand, and that the relationship between writers and readers somehow isn’t exactly the same as one of faceless strangers. Our hope is that is our novels and even some of this internet stuff will outlast even our own mortality, and that we’ll somehow enjoy something very human with anyone who stumbles across our humble scribblings in our afterlife, and that we’re certainly grateful for anyone who drops even an agreeably contentious note in the meantime. A new-found reader drawn here by the long obituary of our mutual recently murdered friend was kind enough to type, “Thanks for that Bud, I know that was something you had to do, and probably was not easy,” and such excellent between-the-lines reading and eloquent writing also makes our daily postings worth the effort.
We’re also glad to be here in Wichita, too, for all the problems it suddenly seems to provide. Our visit to the nearby hospital didn’t allow us any meaningful contact with our very longstanding but heavily sedated friend, but we were able to share the pain of it with his three beautiful and outstandingly grown-up children and two wonderful brothers, and on a subsequent visit to a favorite local dive we ran into a delightful fellow who’s known as “Fix-it” for his locally legendary ability to fix whatever automotive or other problems a struggling rock ‘n’ roll band might encounter on its shoe-string tours, who also shares our love for both our murdered friend and our clinging-to-life friend, and although he couldn’t fix any of our latest travails his company very much helped. On the day of that perfunctory three-paragraph posting shortly after the double-whammy hit us we were out with our most longstanding friend, soaking up such perfect weather that even his cold-weather tastes and our own hot-weather tastes were well-satisfied, and talking about the searing pains and subtle joys of our city. We remarked that it was as good a place as any for a writer, given its seemingly never-ending supply of all the good and bad of life that makes for writing, and he seemed to understand what we’re talking about, and we’re grateful to note that he also paid for a delicious bowl of steak soup at this terrific Mexican place we know on Waco Street. It hasn’t left much time to keep up with the news, the usual raw materials of our writing, but for a few days at least that’s just as well.
If you’re stumbling across these words inadvertently, as people often do on the internet, be advised we’re usually serving up some right-wing rant or another about the latest outrages of the damned guv’mint or the most mindlessly touch-feely aspects of the popular culture, and we promise to get back to that often hilarious stuff soon. So far as we an tell from all the Facebook postings our friends have been making in the past few days, which we’ve been uncharacteristically checking in on to keep abreast of the latest bad news, most of them won’t agree with us about any of it. We hope they’ll understand how we share their grief and worries about our mutual friends, and will be just as agreeable in their disagreements as one of our faceless friends, and we hope that all our right-wing readers will also be appreciative of their friends, no matter how crazily left-wing their opinions, and we hope that all you of will indulge our worried ramblings. For what it’s worth, that’s the view from the middle of America.