Borges in Indiana
The Pan Am Stewardess Saying Good Bye in the Door of the Airplane at the Airport in Indianapolis
He paused on the platform at the top of the stairs and said, "Ah, Indiana. It smells like corn."
The Comp Lit Student Who Had a Car
From Indianapolis to Bloomington, about an hour trip, I counted between him and the prof, seven languages. But I was distracted by the new car.
A Farmer in a Field of Clover Near Martinsville Spreading Manure
I saw a big new car going by, south, fast.
The Pharmacist on Walnut Street
He says, indicating this other guy next to him, this is Borges, and he has a head cold.
A Grease Monkey at the Standard Station
The filler cap was hidden behind the license plate. Little flappy thing. I saw him in the rear seat nodding his head.
The Brakeman of a Northbound Illinois Central Freight Waiting to Set a Switch on the Other Side of the Viaduct as a Car Passes Beneath
Smelled like rain.
The Junior High School Art Teacher Supervising the Elaborate Painting of Fire Plugs to Represent Various Patriots in Honor of the Nation's Bicentennial
This car stopped, and he asked me, he had an accent, to describe what I was doing, can you believe it?
The Track Team Manager Scooping Out Dollops of Analgesic Balm with a Wooden Tongue Depressor
A car went by honking its horn.
The Morning Baker at the Sugar 'N' Spice in the Memorial Union Serving Him an Iced Fruit Bar
He said, "It has no nuts, yes? I can't eat nuts. Nuts give me gas." Something like that.
A Student in Front of the Von Lee Theater on Kirkwood Watching Bees Collect Around the Trash Bin There Attracted by the Dried Syrup of Spilled Cola
I told him: Careful. Bees.
A Waitress in the "Frangipana" Room Explaining How the Perfume Was Popular at the Time Hoagie Carmichael Wrote the Words for the Alma Mater Changing the I to an A so It Would Rhyme with Indiana
No, I am wearing musk.
The Flagman on 3rd Directing Traffic Around the Asphalting Being Done There Near the Green House
They were rolling up their windows real fast. The kid who was driving didn't want to take the new car down the wet street. He had no choice, see.
The Audio-Visual Guy Running the Lights at the Lecture
He erased the blackboard then clapped the erasers together a couple of times which made a huge cloud of chalk dust which he then walked through which coated him.
A Student Who Had Broken a Leg Slipping on a Freshly Mopped Terrazzo Floor Listening to the Lecture From His Hospital Bed
He was just beginning to say how he was reminded of Buenos Aires when the orderly starts to slop the floor with Lysol. I told him to knock it off.
The Union Board Representative Leading Him to the Podium
He sniffed the microphone before he spoke like it was a rose or something.
The Mayor's Wife Giving Him a Bouquet of Roses after His Speech
And then he held them up to his mouth like he was going to speak to them or eat them. I don't think he can see so well.
The Daughter of the Professor Who Sponsored His Visit (a Toddler at the Time) Recalling the Visit Years Later in Her Best-selling Memoir
With a crayon I had drawn on the wall and I was rubbing my little nose against it and this sweet old man with moth-bally clothes who can hardly see, my dad always says when he tells me this story, leans way over right next to me to get a good look at the wall with my scribbles.
A Librarian Who Brought the University's Collection of Books to Be Signed Standing in the Back of the Hall Cradling the Editions
He knew I was a librarian. How the hell did he know I was a librarian? I must have reeked of it.
A Freshman Who Was Required to Attend Falling Asleep and Dreaming He Was Mowing the Front Lawn of His Parents' House in South Bend
I can't remember.
In the Darkened Light Booth a Theta Making Love for the First Time Coming, Her Face Pressing Against a Humming Electrical Panel Where She Saw Out of the Corner of Her Eye the Twitching Needle in a Glowing Dial Indicating the Fluctuating Sound Levels Emanating from the Stage
It was great. Just great.
A Teenager Pissing into the Empire Quarry Thinking He Had Been Caught
I was naked and I about shit my pants.
The Stock Boy at the A&P Grinding a Big Bag of Eight O'Clock Coffee
The old guy, he didn't say nothing but held his breath.
An Old Woman in the Back Seat of the Third Car of a Funeral Procession Seeing a Man on the Corner of the Square Eating Popcorn from a Bag
I thought it was my dead husband.
Her Father Sitting Next to Her
I thought it was me.
A Clerk in Howard's Bookstore Watching Through the Window of the Store and Through the Windows of the Passing Funeral Procession
I was licking my thumb, counting money in the till.
A Yearling Gilt Roasting on the Spit of a Portable Barbecue Set Up for the Occasion on Dunn Meadow
At Night a Group of Fraternity Boys About to Pour a Large Box of Detergent into Showalter Fountain
This big old car circles around and the geezer in the back rolls down the window in the back to have a looksee.
A Reporter for The Herald-Telephone Lighting a Cigarette
He spoke to me in Spanish. Asked me for a smoke.
A Doctor at the Health Center Washing His Hands After Taking a VD Swab Out of a Young Man's Penis Telling the Person Knocking to Come In
It's a Borges in two. He says he has a head cold and fever.
Mr. Frango Mincing Garlic for his Pizzas
"Can I have change on the phone?" Honest to God, that's what he said. Honest to God.
A Graduate Student Who Was Reading Borges on a Bench Making a Mental Note to Give Her Dog a Bath When Her French Lover Who Left Her Two Years Before to Go to Algiers Sits Down Next to Her on the Bench
I said, "Phillippe, what are you doing here?" And he said, "Looking for you."
A Trumpet Major Blowing the Spit Out of His Trumpet Just as Borges Presses His Nose Against the Small Window in the Practice Room Door
I said hi, but he couldn't hear me. Soundproof.
A Sophomore Poet in a Workshop Watching the Great Man Slap Himself in the Face with the Paper Each Time He Is Handed a Worksheet
It was a ditto, man. He wanted the high.
Twenty Years After the Visit, a Sound Lab Technician Listening to a Tape of the Lecture
This platform is the stone ages. Scratchy, you bet. How should we label it?
Borges, Calling Home from a Phone Booth in a Pizza Parlor in Indiana Inhales, as He Speaks, the Scent of Talc Left by a Previous Caller
"It is snowing here," he said in Spanish.
A Man at the Counter of the Gun Store Sighting Down a Barrel of a Surplus M-1 Garand at an Old Man Across the Street Looking Up at the Courthouse
It had been recently oiled.
A Fireman Flushing the Hydrants on 10th Noticing in Passing How Small People Are in the Distance
Jesus, these plugs.They're a disaster.
The Night Auditor at the Union Hotel Runing Room and Tax on 415 at 3:07 in the Morning
There was a pick-up error of nine cents on that folio which threw the house out of balance. I found it around five before he checked out. It was direct billed so it didn't matter much really.
At RCA a Quality Control Inspector Fine Tuning a Set for Shipping
His head is blue. OK. His face is red. OK. And now it is blue. OK. Now it is green. OK. Now it is red again. And that's OK.
At the Waffle House Eating Corned Beef Hash a Graduate Student Translating Says He Said
The eggs. The sunny-side up eggs. They look like eyes. Like eggs. Look, like eyes. Something. Something. Something .
On an Indiana Bell Pole a Lineman Completing a Splice Listening
It was in Spanish, I think. Spanish. I don't really know since I don't really know Spanish.
An Undergraduate in the Language Lab Listening to an Elementary Tape
These guys come in and look us over. I couldn't hear what they were saying, but for a second it looked like their lips were moving to what I was hearing on the tape. You know, le chat est sur la table, stuff like that.
On the Edge of Town a Woman Selling Concrete Lawn Ornaments
There. There a deer. A chicken and a chicken with chicks. A frog. A frog. A frog. Another deer. A deer, there, there there, and there. Ducks. Two deers. This goes on.
A Dog Tracking Something on the Lawn of a Limestone Ranch House
The Engineer of the Southbound Monon Freight Waveing at the First Car Waiting at the Grade Crossing on 15th
It was ditch weed, you bet. I told the Maintenance of Way. Plain as the nose on my face.
A Bum in the Open Doorway of the 23rd Car of the Southbound Monon Freight
Spoiled grain. Old cardboard. Never get off where there ain't no shade.
The Conductor on the Rear Platform Turning and Walking into the Caboose as the Gates Begin to Lift
A Man at the Next Urinal in the Rest Room of the Airport
I couldn't say anything to him under the circumstances.
The First Officer Asking If He Would Like to See the Flight Deck
It was pretty close quarters up there.
A Woman in Seat 7A Turning Her Head Away in Disgust
Oh, I knew I was pregnant.
A Radar Operator Noting an Anomaly at 0744 and Informing His Supervisor
It smelled like trouble, but it wasn't nothing.