He Is Not an Old Fool

He Is Not an Old Fool

By Tim Ruane


Julienne Laniere, without really knowing why, jumped off a building.  I did not learn this until after I approached her yesterday at a café in Wasilla AK, where I hit on girls and women every morning between 6 and 7, six days a week.  On Sundays, I am an altar boy.  I serve Father Bennett Drake’s 6:15 at St. Rafael’s over by the inlet.

Had the psychiatrists seen her sitting there when I did, they would have said that she was depressed, but I didn’t.   I found her eloquently melancholic: black hair in mild waves down to her shoulders, bangs, lips—her bottom lip—curled, hinting at (no, begging for) intimacy.   She was, in fact, the reincarnation of Maria Shiver—Jeanne—in Last Tango in Paris.

Alas, she sat next to a boy, derelict, stubbled, soon to be bald on the top of his head, thin, probably once a junky.

She looked forward and down at about 40 degrees and held her hands in her lap beneath the table.  I waited for her to turn her eyes toward me, but she did not.  Nevertheless, I believed that her indifference was in fact an invitation, a tacit approval of my desire to have sex with her; so I sat down in front of her; and I paid no attention to her dolt boyfriend.

I thought: “She is 20, and I am 61, and I wish she were 21, but I should stop feeling guilty.  I am a great filmmaker, and the greatest filmmakers in the world run off with girls younger than this.  They run off with 17-year-olds and 19-year-olds and their 21-year-old step daughters from the Far East.”

 “Go to Yale?” I asked?

“Mr.”  She replied, though she still did not look at me, but her voice:  Adrenalin shot through my veins.  I felt as if I were on good LSD, but then:

“Mr., get out of here.  Do I look like I would ever make out with you?”

I drooped with each word she spoke and longed for foreplay with my high school girlfriend, yet I quickly revived.

“Coffee is good for you,” I said like a rabbit.  “It is a stimulant.  The Indians, after they pillaged the stuff from stupid dumb unconscionable fat white men, drank it with hallucinogens when they danced war dances around campfires, which impressed their teenage squaws greatly, by the way.”


“Yes?”  I spoke now with great optimism.

“My name is Julienne Laniere, and I jumped off a building two weeks ago just because.  Go away, Mr.”

“I should be a psychiatrist,” I thought as I walked despondent toward the skim milk and the half and half canisters, but there would be other girls.  I would hit on them by the coffee urns, over by the loaves of Asiago Cheese bread, and I would succeed.  I would take them to my apartment and show them my snakes and gerbils, and I would sing them a song I wrote about a sad girl who jumped off the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge.


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