We worked everyday for months together. I always made sure, I had something for him to do.
Thomas Brett Smiley is dead and I’m very upset.
Sure, I was his boss, but as he shuffled around in shoes with no laces, we always talked about everything. No subject was taboo… We would move heavy boxes of records and talk about the fucked up shit we did in our lives, or the fucked up shit we thought about doing, but weren’t going to do anymore.
Every day, no matter what, we would pick some book in the store and I would read to Thomas for a half hour. It’s amazing how much you can get to read in just a half hour every day. I read snippets from “The Ginger Man.” Ralph Ellison’s ” The Invisible Man,” Camus’s essay on Sisyphus, “Lolita”… Anything that would stimulate us and keep the conversation going as we continued to move boxes around for the rest of the day.
People would walk into the store and look at us strangely. We are strange guys. We had a lust for life. We would try to get customers to listen and ask if they would like to read a few pages from a great book. They listened but never read. They let me read.
We kidded people by saying,”We’re not Gay, we’re just weirdo’s. Want some milk and cookies.”
We felt refreshed after hearing some story or debated the worth of Dylan Thomas’s story. He did not like the story of Dylan’s where he comes home and destroys his mother’s kitchen and rips up all the photos.
Thomas payed attention to the stories I read, and we always had great conversations. We would meet early on the weekends to go work the flea markets, and we always had a blast. We would listen to KCR’s country show and their gospel show every Sunday morning.
Tonight, I will read a half hour of Confederacy Of Dunces out loud, and I’m reading this for Thomas, who I’m sure will be laughing and listening.