K. M. Weaver
Because he didn’t travel well, Alexander Gödel packed his bags (an upright suitcase, an Italian calf-skin attaché, and a sparkling-new bowling ball tote to house his goldfish) and headed to his local airport. In purchasing tickets to a foreign country—“somewhere with tall women and almond trees,” he requested—he was kindly informed that a passport would be necessary, as well as an airport offering international flights. The terminal consisted of mismatched pieces of sectional furniture, a coffee table covered in flight magazines, and a plump recreational pilot with business out in Cleveland. “They have women and trees, at least,” the pilot said, trying to finesse a vending machine he hadn’t given money to.
It’s well established that Cleveland is the City of Love. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, American Splendor, the Cleveland Cavaliers—all common carriers of that letter “L,” just like love. There’s a woman waiting at the corner of Lakeside and West 3rd Street: her hair adding to her height, her horn-rimmed frames like owl eyes above the crowd, that orange parasol a beacon of brightness within the rainfall coming off of Lake Erie. She thinks she’s waiting for something other than Alexander Gödel: the B-Line Trolley, perhaps, the absence of wind, maybe even that scholarship offer to Akron (plus a time machine . . . has it really been that long?). There are trees in the gardens of Cleveland’s Metroparks Zoo proffering tropical almonds. Somewhere, there’s a sunny windowsill with a broad view for fish.
High above the world are Alexander Gödel and his pilot. This pilot is a real pilot, not one of metaphor or a symbolic bent, because those kinds do not have enormous guts that they use to steer their private planes. Alexander Gödel isn’t worried. Alexander Gödel is as far from worrying as he’s been in a long time. His goldfish is strapped to the front window of the cockpit with duct tape. He has removed his shoes and socks, because this is what you do when you are in an unfamiliar place and want to feel comfortable. He sips on a stolen Diet Coke and watches distant storm clouds funnel and recede over their right wing. He’s never been one to push too hard to get what he wants (and this won’t change), but at least he feels like he can ask where they’re headed and receive a reasonable answer for once.
K. M. Weaver received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland – College Park and his M.S. in physics from Cornell University. He has taught creative writing both at Maryland and in a remote Miskito village in Nicaragua. His work has most recently appeared in failbetter, Monkeybicycle, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Ken also writes regularly about craft beer culture, and currently serves as managing editor of Ratebeer.com’s The Hop Press. His first major freelance piece is the cover story of the March 2011 issue of All About Beer.