—What in fuck's name is ludefisk?
—Ludefisk, what is that?
This is on the phone, in the throes of a massive hangover. Two days ago.
—What does that have to do with anything? What time is it? Am I paying for this call or you?
—Oh yea, he says —You're on Eastern time.
And he's not. He's in Veracruz. Actually, Alvarado. Still…that's 3 hours behind. That puts him around 2-something a.m. He's still up. The night before. It's today, the night before.
—Ludefisk. What is that, he says.
—Why do you ask?
—It's in one of your stories. Have you given up, by the way?
—Smoking. Have you given it up?
I hear him light up with a Zippo. To spite me, like.
—Piss off you cunt.
He laughs and coughs. And laughs phlegmatically like a donkey suffering from pertussis.
—Look it up.
—Look up ludefisk, I say.
There's a long pause and a huge bang.
—What was that?
A woman's voice. Irrational. Fighting. A struggle. He covers up the receiver and it all becomes muddled. Then:
Another bang. And:
—I can't look it up. She burned the dictionary.
—And then she took a…what's that…the…one big hammer…
—Yea. She took the hedgehammer and demolished my desk.
—SLEDGEhammer, I yell into the phone.
—When was that?
—Last week. We're all right now.
—Didn't sound like it. Is she gone?
—No, not now now, just in general now. I mean, yea, she's gone. She said she'd come back to throw my typewriter out the window, he says.
—Jesus, heh? Special trip and all.
—Yes well…you know, she's fiery.
—So then. Ludefisk?
—Yea, I didn't know myself until some lady said…
—Hold on, hold on, some guy is here with…
—You all right, I say.
—Hold on, this guy has a…, then he covers up the receiver but I still hear him:
—What is that? Wha? An X-ray…?
And the line goes dead.