Dimock


   Every day he never combs his hair. His shirt is always half tucked-in. Maybe he’s shaved. Maybe not.

   Dimock is extremely good at deflecting topics not open to discussion. “Lets get in the car,” he says, seeming to avoid the conversation. But he is thinking. You can almost smell the grey matter burning, the intensity of his observation and the silent, self absorbed question which follows: “Do I call Huey—or—is this guy gonna make it through the trip?”

   Dimock can talk airplanes for hours, no matter how much beer he’s had, or Grand Canyon continuously, beer or not. If he is not talking about Grand Canyon, he writes about it. Or boats it. Or hikes. Or reads: books all over his house. Thousands of books, manuals, papers, envelopes, table after bench after chair cluttered with this amalgam of obscure information in piles. In piles or loose or all stacked caddywampus to the world. Period.

   Six a.m. in the morning. At the airport he’s touch and go, ten times he’s touch and go under simulated crash conditions; simulated fog approach; wind sheer take-offs; you name it doing nothing but zooming around at six a.m. And he wonders continuously even then, his long fingers close to his chest, playing tarantulas against themselves when the going gets tough. Auto pilot. When the realization strikes, the hands flash skyward in front of the wide open eyeballs still zooming around in space.

   “Fabulous!” No matter the obstacle, he feels “Perfect!” Today he is late. Hangover. But he has made it. Every day. Regardless. Always the questions, hundreds of them, and always at once. “What happens when...? Hey, cool! Lets move this over there... Now, what if...? Never Better!!”

   There are 7 pieces of paper sitting on the desk in front of me, like cards fanned across a blackjack table. “Whatdaya wanna do with this one?” he asks. Comes another. “Would you print this?” I read it. And another: “Well?” We talk about commas. We are in the last few hours of editing the bqr, Volume 7, Number 3. So far its been 8 hours a day for 4 days straight. Dimock speaks: A story about the earliest, darkest days at Hibernacle. He didn’t know squat about typing or computers. He worked hunt and peck style. Letter-word-sentence. Paragraph. Page. Another page. On and on for days and days. When almost done, near dead from exhaustion and frustration, he pushed the wrong button. The computer burped. One second later it showed a single comma where twenty pages had been. Damn!

   Ten minutes later I do the same thing with the bqr. My maiden voyage, 36 pages long. “What did you do?!” he demands. I dunno! It disappeared!! “That’s why we made two backups!” thunders Dimock, throwing me out of the pilot’s seat.

   More corrections. Another backup copy. Off to the printer we go. “Oh well! You could go over it all over again and come up with twice as many corrections.” Three or four side trips. Back in town he shakes my hand. “Wanna grab a beer?”

   Naw. But thanks. I’m nowhere close, even on commas. Besides, this isn’t about commas. This is not even about Dimock. Its about how, for years, Dimock has been everywhere at once. If not in person or on paper then in his head.

   Energy. Pure, raw energy coupled to an exceptionally bright, curious mind searching-out the solution to a challenge he’s presented himself. Across the room, down the river or off to lunch he goes. In those huge flops. Always thinking. Always in motion. Always. “Gotta fix the boat,” he erupts, bounding up the stairs. Dimock: that weird hairdo and oversized sweater and electric grin and wide, penetrating eyes. Flaps down and prop shut, a bunch of poles stuck into the sky with an old Avon PRO wrapped tight in the corner. “Help me carry this downstairs,” grunts Dimock, already half done with it. And then gone. In that old turquoise Cadillac with the weird Anasazi handprint flags over the hood and a PRO in the trunk. I said: Gone! But not far. Not for long. Thank God.

   When the bqr hits the street my error leaps off the page at me. Plain as the pimple on your nose, that one! And the next one, too... How could I have missed all these things? Maybe it was the hour. Maybe the day. Maybe not. Who knows?

   Dimock knew. And he let me fumble through that thing all by my lonesome. Not to mention he saved my you-know-what. And he more-or-less patiently let me piddle around for hours while he rode shotgun. Because he knew I would later stand at the mailbox and stare into the thing and realize I’d become President of Grand Canyon River Guides, something he had once done.

   I do not like to think about it. There is only one Dimock.

Shane Murphy