What made anyone think I was a Communist I don’t know. I never went
to any of the Communist meetings. I didn’t know any other Communists.
I didn’t believe in any of their tenets. It’s true, I hunted elk in the
winter. I never actually shot any, but I followed them. And I laced my
cranberry juice with vodka. But these things didn’t make me a Communist.
I stood on the bridge and watched the boats go out to sea. I dreamed
of going with them one day. I danced alone in my apartment. I hated my
job with the government. I went to parties where I didn’t know anyone.
I went to the zoo and talked to the animals. I dreamed I had an affair
with a zebra and its stripes rubbed off on me. I met a woman I
liked and called her on the phone. She said she liked phone sex and I
didn’t know what she meant. I lay on the couch and counted my blessings.
There were none, or so few they slipped through my fingers. I got up and
looked out the window. A cloud of sparrows flew by. I made myself a can
of soup. I thought of my relatives, all gone except for one. I called
her on the phone. She didn’t remember me. I told her I was Edna’s son.
She said, “I remember Edna. I never liked her. She cursed too much.”
My mother never cursed, but I wasn’t about to argue. I went to the movies.
I saw Hopalong Cassidy. I wished he didn’t wave so much. But I liked
the popcorn. I walked about the city, feeding the pigeons. I bought a
soda on the street. I sat down in a garden. A woman came along and sat
down beside me. She said, “Nice day, isn’t it?” I said, “Yes, very,
I like it.” “What do you do for a living?” she said. “I’m an accountant
in the government,” I said. “That must be nice,” she said. “But most
people I know think I’m a Communist,” I said. “That’s a joke, right?”
she said. “To me it is,” I said. “To me, you look more like an
Argonaut,” she said. “What’s an Argonaut?” I said. “It’s somebody
who swims in the deep waters of the ocean in search of treasure,” she
said. “I found a penny in my bathtub once when I was a kid,” I said.
“Then you’re an Argonaut,” she said.