Me and Abraham Lincoln at Count Basie’s
I was talking to Abraham Lincoln up in
Count Basie’s place in Harlem.
Abe was listening but also watching Basie’s DVD of Amarcord
out of the corner of his eye because he’d never got
over the ocean to Italy in his life, but mainly because
Abe’d heard Fellini was fun and full of life and people,
all those flaws and triumphs. Basie was somewhere
out on the road. I said,
“I was a thief, often, in Kansas City.
I was working, of course. But minimum wage is,
you know, minimum.”
Lincoln looked at me with his worn weary wise eyes.
He was really listening now.
“I was arrested. I have a record, Mr. President.”
Abe looked all the way into me - that’s how it felt - then
he looked around Count Basie’s rooms; he was smiling,
then he was laughing. He said,
“So does Basie, I’d imagine. A gold one. So don’t you worry.”