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Notes of an Old Man Who Lives Alone

By Luman Cans Harris

By Luman Cans Harris

The Lankville Daily News is pleased to present Luman Cans Harris’ column “Notes of an Old Man Who Lives Alone”. Mr. Harris’ column had appeared for many years in “The East Lankville Journal for People Taking Bus Trips” which folded in May.

I had a place on the second floor in the back. There were a couple of dark rooms and a kitchen and a bath. The tub was made of plastic and it had been pierced when the guy who lived there before me had been stabbed by his roommate. The landlord said, “I’m not fixing that. For $300 a month, I’m not fixing that” and then we had a couple of drinks in the kitchen and he started crying, telling me some sob story about how his wife had left him for a retired Lingus Nets player. Then, he gave me a roll of waterproof duct tape.

I’d have two baths a day. One in early afternoon and another about an hour before dusk. Then, I’d take a little walk around the neighborhood. I’d stop in at the Island grocery and pick up some bread and some salami. The Islander’s wife was something– big hips, big bust and when she bagged the salami, I’ll admit it, I got a huge hard-on. Well, at least a hard-on.

I’d eat the salami sandwiches at the kitchen table and read old phone directories. I had a pile of them, going back twenty years. The sun would go down about then. I’d keep an eye on the street. There was this girl, you see, who lived in an apartment in back of the geegaw shop. There was a gate and then a long walkway filled with trash and she lived back there somewhere, somewhere with all the trash.

One night, when I was sitting eating salami and reading the phone directory, I saw this guy come over in a brown suit. He was a big guy with a mustache and he was just standing there near the gate. She came to the gate and then he went in. “Huh, little funny business back there,” I said aloud. The refrigerator suddenly buzzed. It buzzed sometimes.

I saw her in the laundromat one time. She was a husky young thing with a pretty big bust and behind but a little on the dumpy side. She kept smiling at me.

“You live across the street?” she finally said.

“I live alone.”

“Well, if you ever need any company, come see me.”

“I’m Luman Cans Harris,” I said. “Would you like to come over for salami sandwiches one night?”

She didn’t know what to make of that. But she agreed.

Three nights later, she knocked at the kitchen door. I let her in. She looked around the place. There wasn’t much to see– couple of chairs, a sofa, a teevee, my shelf of phone directories. I led her back to the kitchen.

“Do you like salami?” I asked. “I can put the air conditioner on. I don’t use it much.”

“I’m a vegan actually. Do you have anything else?”

“No. I only buy enough salami and bread for one night. I have an agreement with the Islanders– they let me break up a loaf.”

“OK.” She went out.

I watched her cross the street. Twenty minutes later some guy was over there. When she met him at the gate, she had changed her clothes. She was wearing some sort of leather get-up. He had a plastic bag from a nearby party store. But it was hard to see.

I ate my salami sandwich. I put a little mustard on it on this night.

Further stories by Luman Cans Harris will appear in upcoming issues of The Lankville Daily News.

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