When he awoke, which he did grudgingly, he bit down hard on a rasher of clothe knotted into a gag to stay the niggardly pain that he awoke to each and every morning like a scalding. He positioned his handcart to affect a bulwark between him and the outside world and mused on the day ahead. ‘Cupper’s are rot’ he mumbled, ‘rot and feces’. He saw the shamble leg man gambling and shimmying across the sideways his arms flailing like sailcloth. Empanada Del Amore strode defiantly across the sideways hissing and horning and making a general spectacle of herself. She tossed a bloodied butcher’s apron into the nearest dustbin and hurried up the downwash the harridan gibbering after her ‘sluttish slut, whore’s belly afterbirth!’ The legless man bellied from atop his handcart, ‘cock’s wattle and Gibb’s hard mustard, so much blather and nonsense, off with her head, sluttish whore!’ A coxswains’ shuttle whirled past his head, just missing his ear and the knob of his chin, and caromed into the Seder’s storefront window. ‘Cupper’s rot and feces; a tin of putrid sardines’ he hollered at the top of his lungs. Empanada Del Amore tippled sideways up the sideways, her feet marking the pavement like struck matches. ‘Never a moments rest for beery and incontinent: such rot and feces’. The lamplighter lit the street lamps with a kerosene wick held aloft over his left shoulder, his right holding forth and tight with the pavement below. As he was a wobbly old fool the lamplighter seldom lit a lamp on the first try, having to reposition himself, left shoulder level with his right knee, right shoulder beading an imaginary plumb-line on the asphalt, his eyes straining to find the exact spot on the lamp-wick. His greatcoat was grackle with ashes, the tops of his shoes piebald with burns and charred lamp-wick.
Chadwick Piebald stood in the exact spot where the lamplighter lit his last lamp and higgledy fished for eels, gently pulling the eeling-string to and up. His great, great-uncle Moesha Piebald taught him at his knee to eel and string, tucking the caught eels beneath the greatest part of his greatcoat. They caught dogfish (Mustelus and Squalus) and dried it in a sooty fish-kiln built out of tinder and woo-dash. There is no Chadwick Piebald nor a great, great-uncle they are mere knockabouts in my head, collusions and disruptions, nothing more. Without them I would be lost, lost to other thoughts, thoughts of a less savory character. Right now, this very moment, I am thinking about the loss of character in my own life, my lifeless life; a life spent in search of characters to fill the emptiness, the void, of my own characterless life. Chadwick’s and Piebald’s; great, great greater uncles and waifs with raffish hair; jaunty jaunts and steps that tap and tip and tack across the blacktop top, these I imagine, or imagine imagining, the point seems measly and not worth the bother of getting to the point of, piebald baldness, roughed-out and copied onto tracing-paper. This squalor of thought; this thoughtless thoughtlessness: such upheaval and boondoggledness.