Full Cirlce, Or What?

“What do you want?” I ask Riley. We are squatting in a small, dense patch of the garden that needs to be weeded. A soft, slow rain falls but we don’t care.


“I want to write about you. I’m interested in choices. Choices people make and don’t make, how people get where they are.” We’ve been discussing why he dropped out of high school and college, how he learns best, why he lives the way he does.

“Then let’s get some drugs and drive to the coast for the weekend,” he says.

There is a long pause.

“The difference between me and you is that you say that without thinking first and I could only think something like that and then I’d never let myself say it. And we’re both wrong about it all, anyway,” I declare.

Riley smiles then chuckles, placing the end of a blade of grass into the corner of his mouth when it opens and at this moment I could almost crawl inside of him.

“Look, I’m going to New York next week…Then I’m coming back.”

“How long will you be gone?” I ask.

“’Bout three weeks. Got a ride up there, gonna hitch back by way of Kentucky. I’ll work here in August.”

“Who are you going with?”


“Danny the red-headed punk rocker who used to work here? You mean you know him?” I am surprised – after all, that was last fall – back in the days of MGL.

“Yeah, that Danny,” Riley says. “He worked up here with a guy named MGL.”

“Did you ever meet MGL?” I ask, almost afraid to know the answer.

“You mean the guy you were with? That one? No, I didn’t meet him. Danny told me he worked with an apprentice up here who really liked you. And that was it. What happened?”

“You want the easy answer or you want to know what really happened?”

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