He worked on my motorcycle in the garage. He put on new pipes and spark plugs. His hands were black and dry when he finished. Then he sat down and fired up the bike so that it rumbled loudly. The pipes were much louder.
“It’s better for the carburetor,” he yelled.
He revved the throttle and took the bike around the city for a ride. After about half an hour he returned and made me sit and listen to him play the trumpet. Afterwards he lit a cigarette and told me that he’d enjoyed a poem I wrote when I was ten.
“Which poem?” I asked.
“The one about Ace Frehley,” he said.
We went to the horseraces. I had only maybe forty dollars but went anyway. We bought a racing form and he circled numbers with a red pen, picking out the longshots based on breeding and class size, training. After three races I was broke. He lost more than me, but wouldn’t tell me how much.
“We need to act fast, man,” he kept saying to me on the drive home. “Tonight we’ll eat good sausages and have hot bread and drink good wine. We can go out to a French restaurant.”
He’d returned with a whiter beard. The first thing he’d wanted to do was go out to eat at a French restaurant several nights a week, which we couldn’t afford.
“There’s so many things we need to do,” he said. “There’s gambling, the theatre, eating good food, drinking good wine. We’ll need to ride out to the country, go and see beautiful, naked women. Discussing quantum physics. Playing chess.”
“We have all the time in the world,” I said.
I was happy to see him. He’d lived for a short time in the public library downtown, claiming it was for thinking. His own personal mansion, he said, lots of tall windows and high ceilings. Quiet rooms. Plenty of books.