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Junkyard Dogs Gods

James Dean--third row, Porsches, VWs, Ghias

Mussolini--5th row, Alfa 2500 Super Legerra, Fiats, lampposts, parts

Richard Burton--Airstream, east side, trailers

Elizabeth Taylor--back there with RB

Adolph Hitler--bunker by the BBQ, grilles, etc

Monty Clift--sunny place, way in back

Rosa Parks--row 1, bus parts

Sir Winston--scrap iron, curtains, pile

Josef Stalin--other side of scrap iron pile, bldg. matrls

Hank Williams--floorboards, scrap, '51 caddy

Geo. Patton--WWII surplus, track vehicles etc row 121

Jayne Mansfield--Buicks, convertibles, row 14

Lizzie Borden--row 22, implements, tools

And so on.  Those are some names I recognize. Most I don't.

Our guide wears canvas duck coveralls, a long beard. He speaks in a rasp.

"A looonnnggg-ass list and not even alphabetized. It's a big junkyard. Galactic. But only a small corner of it is occupied. Probably four trillion souls. Like they say about Hell, it's not half full. But there is no Hell. Or heaven as some people like to think of it. All of what's here eventually gets recycled. And there are records of it all. Take a walk over to Richard Burton for instance. We haven't gotten around to organizing it yet, but it's all here." He nods to a mound of boxes.

"There's a pile of labeled boxes, pick up the closest one."

I do. It's labeled Ringer. It's a small, porcelainized container.

"Open 'er up," he says and a sort of ektoplasmic hologram pops out. It begins to shimmer and assume space and size.

"Looks real, don't it? Ringer happens in Tiffany's and on the edge of The Grand Canyon. Pull up some lawn chairs."

We do. We focus on the charismatic Mr. Burton. He's in a private viewing room at Tiffany's. We know this somehow. I pat my wife's hand. She loves Burton.

"If she won't have me, I intend to at least impress the hell out of her." Richard Burton says, holding the ring to the light, watching the flashes of red and yellow and blue. Prisms of color glide over his handsomely pockmarked face.

"Seems a bit excessive, you don't mind my saying so, to throw a million dollar diamond ring into the Grand Canyon," says Mr. Kairos, the jeweler.

"Oh I won't do that. That's why I need a fake, also, and it needn't be a good one, something that will catch the light as I toss it away. If I toss it away."

"A dime store ring will do that," Kairos says.


The movie set is chaos, as usual, on an Elizabeth Taylor film. Late, or ill, or refusing to come out of her immense trailer at all. Burton raps on her door. "Meet me at the canyon's edge, where we kissed last night," he says. His rugged features are catching the beginning sunset. "Now?" her voice quavers.

"Now. It's too late to shoot the golden light scene. The crew has gone to early dinner. We'll have privacy. I have something for you."

She joins him at the railing. She is wearing a blue skirt, a white blouse and a magenta cardigan. As Burton shows her the ring, the sun is sinking on the other side in a majestic fulmination of colors that fade before our eyes. The moment is perfect. Then the glowing ball of sun is gone. Only ambient light remains.

"Oh, Richard, we can't, we can't. Too many divorces. Too much..."

He throws the ring and walks away. Then he stops, fumbles in his pocket and looks at the other ring. The sound he makes is, well, it's like Homer Simpson, when he's erred. He has thrown away the wrong ring. His knees buckle. He is kneeling. Taylor rushes to his side and says, "We are meant for each other. Who cares what others think." He buries his head in her skirt. I squeeze my wife's hand and the scene fades.

The bearded guide shakes his head, says, "Here there's no heat, no cold, no discomfort. It's like a big sim, you know, simulation, and so was life, but few knew that. Most struggled with it. Old Richard was never the same after that ring deal."

My wife strolls over to James Dean's pile.

"You and she never felt a thing. A head-on. Boom. Program. Anyway, you'll like it here. You can be seven if you want. Then seventy. Or however old you got to. Relive stuff. Great moments. Greet dogs you liked. You never get tired of it. You're never tired, period. Never bored. No guilt. I like to be about twenty a lot. Had some good times. And those whose lives were wretched? They can live as, say, Bernard Baruch or Constantine or Helen Keller. A soul's a soul. Oh you're gonna like it here. Let's get you guys situated."

Then he stops, looks aghast. "Says here you're a lawyer. Sorry, you're not allowed." He laughs at my expression. "Just kidding. I do that to everyone. You should'a seen Mother Teresa's face when I said 'no fund raisers.'"


Guinotte Wise wrote a book of short stories (Night Train, Cold Beer) at his farm in Resume Speed, KS where he welds and writes. It won, got published to not much acclaim. It's on Amazon. He got the soffits fixed with the money. His next two books Ruined Days, a novel, and Resume Speed, his second short story collection, (Black Opal publisher) are also available at Amazon and B&N. His stories, essays and poems have appeared in numerous literary reviews including Atticus, The MacGuffin, Shotgun Honey and Best New Writers Anthology 2015. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it. Some work may be seen at http://www.wisesculpture.com