Someday you might find your soul endangered

Written by

Neil Young – Natural Beauty

They sit silently. There are three of them, taking up three of the 12 seats set up in a circle in the living room of an old Los Angeles house. The couches are plaid and floral and ugly and old. The ceiling has water damage. They sit in silence. It is an unprogrammed Quaker meeting. A peace sign six feet tall rests in the weeds out front.

A cat bounds onto the center coffee table and casually preens itself. The whole house smells like cats and cat piss. In an unprogrammed meeting, any member led by the Spirit speaks. If the Spirit does not lead, the members do not speak. They sit in silence.

Malory’s head nods briefly. She is wearing perfectly round silver glasses. Her hair is silver. Her clothes are frumpy and her body lumpy. The cat rattles something in the kitchen, so she shuffles to the back to investigate and slowly shuffles back.

Bill shaves his mustache but not his gray beard. The leather of his brown shoes is cracked. There is a gap between his two front teeth. He has not flown since 2001 because he assumes he’s on the no-fly list. A fly buzzes in the stale air for a bit and then leaves the room. The air does not move. He is the clerk.

On the mantle sits an old scale, the kind you have to use weights on the bottom to figure out how heavy something is. The only thing it is measuring now is dust. No one is measuring the time either; Marge’s mouth is open in snoreless sleep. They sit silently, praying, waiting. [Harvest Moon.]

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