Some nights I sit on the deck to watch the stars. They're beautiful out here, and the sky smells like chaparral, but after a while the silence creeps me out. Realizing all I can hear is coyotes yiping and the faint clinking of ice in cocktail glasses up and down the canyon, I go back inside even though I know what waits for me in there. The recycled air is stifling and the house is quiet as a tomb, the only signs living humans reside here being a faint hum from the refrigerator and tiny red and green and blue LEDs denoting where our electronics are; the thermostat just inside the foyer, an air purifier next to R's desk, the security system, the smoke detectors, the coffee maker, gas range and range hood in the kitchen. There are dozens of them everywhere, some blinking in confusion and others staring like voyeurs.
Downstairs in the family room more LEDs watch indifferently as I pass like a ghost into the library, or media room as R now calls it as part of his bid to steal a march on obsolescence. The far wall, thirty feet of it, is covered floor to ceiling in shelves holding books and periodicals and CDs and DVDs and vinyl records, each solid rosewood shelf subtly illuminated by its own invisibly recessed lighting individually adjustable from a bank of controls like something out of Star Trek. In the vinyl section, about four feet off the hideously expensive, aitcho en meh eeko custom terra cotta floor, I find the Ds, though it's supposedly alright to call him Zimmy now. Dead Kennedys, Dictators, Dixie Dregs, Doors, Dr. John and others no one not as hiply erudite as R has heard of or will ever listen to, but... there he is; Dylan. I pull out the original, mint condition pressing of Blonde on Blonde and go back upstairs to the kitchen. My laptop and drink are still on the little granite-topped table in the breakfast nook, so I take a seat, take a sip of martini and open my library. Another sip, and synesthesia as Gravity's Angel swirls through the darkened house like the scent of salt water and clove cigarettes.
R tells me he values my mind, but he thinks I'm too young or too stupid or too whatever to understand the layers of meaning in Bob Dylan's lyrics. He says Bob stopped the war in Vietnam or something, but since R is away on business selling cyber warfare secrets to the Chinese - or maybe it's Taiwan this week, or Singapore - I gently ease both discs of Blonde on Blonde out of their spotless paper sleeves and carefully set them on the table in front of me. Looking at the LPs, I'm grateful Mr. Dylan didn't stop the war in Iraq - if he had, we would never have been able to afford this house.
Langue D'amour segues into Golden Palominos - Laurie into Lori - as I make another martini, and who do you call for help when all your friends are dead? Drink in hand, I make a detour to our bedroom for my nail file, then sit back down with Bob.
R has never spoken an intentionally unkind word to me, let alone hit me, and that's not just because he knows doing so would lead to his own fairly immediate demise. I'm not one of those lost souls who equates abuse with love, but I know the desire to hurt someone is usually predicated on giving enough of a damn about them to expend the energy a backhand across the face requires.
I didn't mean
To treat you so bad
You shouldn't take it so personal
I didn't mean
To make you so sad
You just happened to be there, that's all
One time there in the media room as we were listening to Leopard-skin Pillbox Hat, I asked R what Dylan's particular problem is. I did so in part to see if such a question would penetrate his indifference, but I was also genuinely wondering what the hell is wrong with the man. I still wonder that from time to time, and whenever I do I ask myself, is Bob a misogynist or is he just afraid of women? Both? Maybe it's all of the above, or none, but it doesn't really matter either way because he is Bob Fucking Dylan and he stopped the war in Vietnam so R and I could profit off of murdering little brown people.
Gin and vermouth are swirling complicatedly around the fat, bullfrog green olive in my martini as, being sure to hold them gingerly by the edges so as not to leave finger prints on the vinyl, I use my nail file to very carefully incise a smiley face on each disc of Blonde on Blonde. Liz is saying something disparaging about her uncle as I slide them back into their sleeves and take Bob out onto the deck. The coyotes' yiping has reached a crescendo and the neighborhood dogs are barking furiously in reply. Walking over to the handrail, I look down at the rooftops suspended between myself and the canyon floor, then, holding the album like a Frisbee, I sail it out into the darkness. It instantly disappears from sight, and I wonder if tomorrow morning the neighbors' brats will find it floating in their aquamarine, star-shaped pool. Maybe their Filipino gardener, puzzled, will fish it out and dry it off in hopes of selling the thing for a couple bucks at Stax of Wax. Whichever, it's not my problem anymore, so I go back inside to finish my drink while Chrissie sings a lullabye in the breakfast nook.