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Mary and the Fat Man

folksinger Burl Ives played deep cover agent Dr. Hasselbacher in Our Man in HavanaHe sat with a bible on a bench in Iowa City. Not always the same bench. Each time I noticed words underlined in his special bible:
individual words.   

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Like Burl Ives in "Our Man In Havana" black and white with espionage and codes. Was this bible his "Shakespeare without sonnets" - a special edition he prized - until his cover was blown by Alec Guinness? Silence. Did I have the nerve to ask?
Once I did.
"You will leave me alone!"
"Thank you"

So it was the annual art fair in Iowa City, year 2000. Scotty playing the kalimba echoing down rows of booths. Entire city now a carnival. A large stage set up in the Pedestrian Mall, town center: everyone walking and laughing, kalimba and drums echoing and some jazz appearing. The bars on Washington street were visible. As on a normal day you could walk there and not ponder the risk of DUI on the way home. Hello! Smiling bartender, not old enough to drink and wrinkled hippies drinking joyfully. Laughter. A biker chick's coarse laughter next to me interrupting.

"WELL I've got a story to tell too; there was quite a rumor out about when I was only 16 when I was in Dallas"


some muffled laughter from the phone, probably someone from Cedar Rapids

Her head began to bob on her shoulders as if from the force of the tale welling up, a voice long silent, a storm coming in re-arranging the buoys. Her shoulders, too joined the dance and turned fully toward me with a toothy smile: "I was 18 at the time they must've made a good deal of money on it."

He had been contractor for "housecleaners" in the finest homes in Dallas.

"It's by choice: that guy's got more money than God."

David Roknich
January 29, 2005



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