Austin Winter

March 17, 2017 § Leave a comment

Typically, Christmas in Texas is like fall in North Carolina.
Ours is white with snow, viewed through the mammoth picture window
of the simply elegant home of a world famous maestro, house-sitting.
I work on my play; Sandra crochets.
Then Sandra breaks the news.


Late one afternoon in early December Sandra and I dropd psilosybin, which we’ve never tried before. We’ve done a little acid, mescaline, some speed, in Kansas, most recorded elsewhere. Nor have we ever tripped alone, together; always there are other people. How we come upon two hits, or why we choose that otherwise un-noteworthy day, won’t come to mind; all I remember is a a buzz, a glow, nothing spectacular, as we walk through a cool mist up and down un-scenic streets remarking on bare branches shattering the sky until the sun peeks through on the horizon and the sky turns gold, then red, then deep purple, and we walk home.

Could it possibly be that night when we make love for the first time in a while and it’s like it is back whan, only better? We don’t do it often.

We don’t use protection. She’s been off the pill since Paris; it’s up to me to pull out. Now and then I don’t. So far we’ve been lucky.

Not that children aren’t somewhere in our not-too-distant future—if they’re to be at all (we’re almost thirty)—but we never talk about it. Only in a panic, when I come inside, or when her periods are late, which is often the case. (Her periods are always agony, physical for her, emotional for helpless me.) Stupidly, we figure, What the Hell? What will be, will be.


Sandra studies voice with Gina Duclux, a wonderfully gracious, celebrated diva who befriends her; their friendship befriends me with her world-famous husband Walter, who casts me in the chorus of The Love for Three Oranges, and we spend Christmas house-sitting their lovely wooded hillside home, my purloined IBM Selectric on his desk overlooking the spacious sitting room, the fireplace, through the picture window to bright sunlight on (unheard-of) glistening snow, where Sandra first suspects she’s pregnant.

I spend most of my time working on The Dog Man, getting nowhere, smoking cigarettes and pot, lots of coffee, typing half a page and fucking up, tearing it out, crumple it up, roll in another; repeat. Joel says play writing is like having a baby. One little seedling sperm grows in your brain, words and actions sprout like arms and legs, and nine months later you deliver. When I’m pooped, I read, listen to music on Walter’s excellent Hi Fi.

What do we talk about, Sandra and I, alone in that winter wonderland? I forget. What does she do while I write? Aside from the luxury of free time and comfort, the only incident of note is the night we entertain Mark, Charlene, and some one or three others (who? Bruce?) stuck in town, for wine and weed.  What we say and do is lost, except to say we solve the problems of the world and get to know each other for a while. It leaves a glow.

Meanwhile, Joanie calls me from New York, on holiday, to say hello, remembering her first trip there just last year. Big news: she’s dropping out of school to be with Tom, who’s joined the Unification Church and is living in a commune in Wyoming. I’m disappointed, but not surprised; she’s easily seduced. I think she means Unitarian.


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