daniel 1


“The new James Bond looks like a Polish plumber!”
my father declares.
We have been solving mysteries together
since I was a child:
how to multiply decimals,
the adventures of Sherlock Holmes
and his nemesis Doctor Moriarty,
the cases of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.
And when I was old enough to
start watching PG-13 movies,
we would watch 007.
I had graduated to espionage.

We would watch in the darkened theatre.
If I was tired, I would rest my head on his shoulder.
He was always in flannel.
Always resting a worn baseball cap on his knee.
After the movie, always Mexican food or pizza.

When I had outgrown mini-golf
and preferred movie musicals
and romantic comedies
to erudite spies
and fallen women–
we had less common ground.

My father still reads mysteries voraciously.
Now they are large-print. The Cat Who series,
Tony Hillerman, whatever the Minoqua public library
has stocked this week.

Men are now my mysteries.
I would like to see Mr. Bond
navigate the perils of online dating.
Women would reject his profile
for shirtless pictures, posing with guns
and lack of specific information.

I remember being 17 and sitting
in the mystery section of
a Barnes and Noble, bawling my eyes out,
not understanding why no one had asked me to prom.
Looking up at my father with teary eyes,
hoping that he could unlock the secret
to this mystery.
Instead he looked at the floor and said,
“I don’t know what to tell you, Katherine.”

The best detectives and spies
have little insight
into why we love
who we love.

“The new James Bond looks like a Polish plumber!”
my dad says over the phone.
I chuckle.
“Yeah, dad. He sure does.”