A Phone Conversation. By Martin Green.
Well, what do you think of it?
It was my cousin Paul, calling from California. He lived in a retirement community there, just outside of Sacramento, the state capital. Since his retirement, hed become kind of a writer, doing pieces for some senior newspaper. Hed sent me what he called his autobiography, the first chapter anyway.
Its strange. Thats not the way I remember things.
You played singles on our handball team and we won the high school championship.
As I recall it, you and I played doubles and we finished second.
Well, we won all of our games.
We still finished second.
I decided to change things around a little, make things a little more upbeat.
But thats not the way it really happened.
So what? When politicians write their autobiographies, or have someone write them, they make it sound like theyre the only smart persons in the room. And what about those so-called movie or TV documentaries? They always embroider things, even invent whole new characters? So whats wrong with a little invention here and there. Besides, as the politicians say, those handball games happened years ago so what does it matter?
Maybe it would matter to the guys on those other handball teams.
Theyre not going to read it, if theyre even around any more.
I felt this was getting to be a pretty ridiculous conversation, as tended to happen when I talked to my cousin. Well, you say a little invention here and there. What about you and all those girls. Whos going to believe that? I dont think you had one date when we were in high school.
Hah, thats where youre wrong. I didnt have to invent there; well, maybe a little. Did you forgot I went to the prom?
Because Aunt Myra made her daughter go with you.
She didnt make her. She wanted to go. Besides, what about Joan Kaminski?
You never went out with her.
Shows how much you know.
You made all that up.
You think so? You remember that mole she had?
The one on her upper thigh. Guess you never saw her in a bathing suit. Or you forgot.
I wouldnt have forgotten seeing Joan Kaminski in a bathing suit.
Well, she had that mole, and another one even further up. I saw them when we, you know.
I dont believe you did, you know, with Joan Kaminski. Didnt you once tell my a writer is a liar by definition?
True, just like a politician. But not about some things.
Ha, ha. Ill send you the next chapter soon.
I cant wait.
I hung up the phone. My cousin was a funny guy. Writing an imaginary autobiography in which he was the all-winning hero. I remembered Joan Kaminski all right. Had I ever seen her in a bathing suit? Wait a minute. I had a sudden mental picture of her and I thought I did see a mole. Damnit. Hed ruined my day.
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