The paintings are turned toward the wall, you get sick of her Russian beauty. The gymnast naked, laying on a vault. Another piece of artwork of the Olympic champion. There's the art, and then again, Eli got Russian pornography, he's not sure about that though, he was about 12 years old. This is a true story.
Go to your childhood school. You've been sitting in a classroom for days on end. Suddenly the wave of summer springs abound the day, Field Day. Find it on Google Maps. They've changed the playground. More swings. Where it's empty now there used to be logs. That's where you got to kiss. Back behind are bad neighborhoods; pizza deliver guys don't go there. It's bad, say the kids. Hmm, there's a new gym.
Up two blocks we see the golf course. And the land where the golf course used to be.
There's his house. East side. West side. North side. Google Maps has many angles.
East side is where Eli and his brother stayed when they were first children, the window facing a rising sun each morning.
Zoom out. Across the street look at the the driveway.
5 rings. Olypic rings.
This is in Atlanta.
The house has columns, in this Georgia Suburbia.
It is the home of Olga Korbut. She was that figure that opened the front door to a darkly interior house. Often a question. She lived there for some time, and her son too. Her son had a new car each week. He would show it off to Eli's stay-at-home Dad and young Eli.
"Oh, you got it from Jamal Anderson, huh?"
"Yes, vhat of course. Very fast. Yes?"
"Bulletproof windows, see?"
The details of her leaving are vague. Things perhaps were not going so good, but I'm not sure I should say that. She got in trouble for shoplifting. From a grocery store, a whole cart load. It was doubtful though. She had forgotten her wallet, says 12-year-old Eli eleven years older now. Eventually she left, and just the son was there. He had parties sometimes, nothing big. And he worked at the Gwinnett Mall. At the camera store.
One day Eli was over at the neighbors house because the neighbor was a single woman who had no kids and a basketball hoop and Eli went over there all the time and every two weeks should would put a new net under the rim just for Eli and he went into her house and ate snacks and she was nice and sometimes he could watch scrambled porn you know on Channel 99 and by this time that son not her son but the son of Olga the son who had moved away or bailed because he wasn't paying the mortgage or something and no one showed up there for a while and I guess Olga went to live with her ex-husband but anyways Eli was just shooting hoops and shooting again and again and meanwhile this cop has to come and leave a notice so he pulls up and walks around the house and is gonna leave a note and he's in the back so we turn Google Maps to face that side with the swimming pool and the cop is standing by the glass backdoor and he hears a curious pounding noise from inside the house. So he breaks in and investigates and finds counterfeit money and stolen luxury cameras and home-made pornography.
By the time he figures it out, Eli is upstairs in his room. There's a cop waiting at the door for him. He cranes his neck upward.
Didn't the cop tossle his hair? Wasn't he a hero? Because of the basketball's pounding, the cop found some bad stuff. Eli did a great job. Didn't everyone smile?
So he's gone and they're gonna liquidate the house and everything hits the streets. Cops are going to just put it on the street, and then it's fair game. So they got the premo shit. Eli got pornography. Good, dirty graphic shit. They brought out arcade machines. Cameras. Eli got about $600 worth on eBay for those cameras. Not much else. By dark Hispanics came and took everything in a hurry.
One day a Russian TV crew was outside Eli's house and wanting to interview him. His friends were posed to play basketball on the very hoop that imprisoned their Olypic Champion. He answered questions and looked away from the camera. And that was his five minutes of fame.
His father contained the pictures for many years, moving through many houses. One day Sports Illustrated did a piece on his pieces of the olympic champion. He is quoted in Sports Illustrated.
In a couple of months, I will stand in Eli's house and acknowledge the paintings. And we know, as roommates, that our places in this world will be one with the wind and we will live away and in towns obscure and campsites hidden and homes not unpleasant and we are living in them and we have lived in them before and all that has changed is perspective.
It's late now.
"But why did she live there, of all places?" Eli asks.
All of us wondering the same of ourselves.