a few days before that last road trip update, joe and i took a saturday-night ghost tour of charleston. our guide, a local historian, took us to the meeting street parking garage, which was built over a quaker cemetery dating back to the seventeenth century. you know parking-garage magnates: they say they've relocated the human remains their backhoes turned over back in C6 with due ceremony, but we all know what's under those rental cars. the guide motioned us over to a semi-walled area beside the garage where a wrought-iron gate opened to a little patch of grass. he himself hadn't felt anything standing in that particular spot, but other tour participants had: a coldness, for some of them, and for others something that made them walk back through the gate and out of the tour without a word. so who wanted to spend some time there? the twenty-five people who didn't gave the five of us who did the stinkeye. i hopped back through the gate a moment before joe did and apologized for not mentioning the spider that had slipped past his ear to his shoulder while we were on the grass. "i didn't mention the one i saw on you, either," he said.

on our last night in town, we took a lightless street back to our hotel after dinner. i didn't see the root that split the sidewalk and tripped joe, his fall, or where the better part of his front teeth ended up, but i will never forget the look on his blood-covered face, and i will give way to quakers henceforth.


from the robert clay

our shack in mississippi had a three-ring journal.

Oh, what a night! Katrina blew in and shook the Robert Clay for hours. The power was gone, the rain came in sideways in torrential sheets. The tin roof flapped but held through the storm. We sat on the church pew and prayed a cyclone didn't pick us up and set us down in Munchkin Land. We drank all the booze, smoked all the cigarettes and finally went to bed. Now its morning and no signs of a storm. Was it all a dream (or nighmare)? This is the place to be. The people are friendly and the shacks can withstand the worst of storms—even us.

(Dearborn, Michigan)


[Karen Green] knew it was love when [David Foster] Wallace agreed to go to Hawaii with her early in their relationship. Hawaii represented two of many phobias: air travel, and the possibility of swimming with sharks. While Green was in the ocean, Wallace would routinely stand on the shore, yelling anecdotal statistics about shark attacks at her.

("Karen Green: 'David Foster Wallace's suicide turned him into a "celebrity writer dude", which would have made him wince'", the guardian, 09.04.11)