Jesse Jarnow

the motel party, no. 10

“Your Cheating Heart” – James Brown (download) (buy)

The Motel Party: no. 1, no. 2, no. 3, no. 4, no. 5, no. 6, no. 7, no. 8, no. 9, no. 10, no. 11, no. 12

It was a hipster’s musicality: a dry, bright singsong punctuated by occasional ironic drawls to slow the tempo. I’d heard it for hours, on every extant tape of Harrison. “What’s it there?” Peabody asked once more, arm around me again, in the voice he’d preserved. “Um, pretty alright,” I answered. His fingers gripped my shoulder once and let go. He looked disappointed. “S’okay,” he said in his dead friend’s voice and his face softened. When he stood upright, I realized he hadn’t been previously. He was only 18 when he met Harrison, who was then nearing 50. “Listen, don’t mind any of this,” he said, suddenly lucid and grinning. “It’s just a party, that’s all. You know what I mean. Who has time for all that?” He closed his smile, like a ghost in a corn field, and took of up three lines of conversation at once: one with the card players, one with a distant cousin, and one with the girl I’d seen earlier in the bikini. She took a step towards us as a Fire Angel staggered towards the bathroom.

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