Friday, January 31, 2014

Give Us This Day Our Daily Test

As we crossed the street I focused my camera on the two coppers patrolling the event in a glorified golf cart. "Two cops" I said, hoping Linda wouldn't walk into the frame before I'd pulled the trigger. "Two chicks" she said in response, and I lowered the cam to see what she meant. It was two early twenties, monied girls, both in stylish outfits and both riding the new style of motorscooter. I thanked her and took the shot, getting the cops and chicks in the same frame, just so I could name it cops and chicks cuz I like the names almost as much as the pictures.

We'd finished crossing before the light changed and started down the next avenue of makeshift sidewalk sales booths when she slid in close behind me and said in her 'I'm sad cuz I wanna be' voice, "I've never been a chick, I went straight from girl to woman. How sad is that?"

I knew it only seemed to be a statement when in fact it was actually a test.

"You've been a chick" I said hesitantly, hoping I'd picked the right direction; "In fact you're a chick right now!"

"Nice try pal; look at me, I'm no chick!"

I'd forgotten to factor in the too long in the sun dizziness accompanied by slightly sweaty underarm uncomfortableness.

"Well ok sure then" I said feigning a mild case of ego crushing. "I think you're a chick today but I can understand why you might not see yourself as a chick at this very moment."

I was confusing myself and risking everything in the process; I too was hot and sweaty, hardly a match for womanly anti-logic. Any moment I could flub the final and spend the rest of the day squirming under the "look", that relentless glare women use to bore into a man's soul and remove his ethereal testicles. I had to think fast, her eyebrows were raising, a sure sign that no good was just around the bend.

"Wait a minute here!" That was clever, I'd needed more time and she has the decency to wait when I say wait because if she doesn't I lose my train of thought and then I start yelling and kicking stuff and she hates it when I do that so she figures 'what's a minute or two to save some short person a foot in the groin and then save me from having to lie about the fact that I'm married to this idiot.' I quickly flipped through every mental photograph I'd stored of my lovely wife, sorting through every season, every outfit, every haircut.

"Ya know when you always used to wear that denim shirt with the pearl buttons and the light denim twirly skirt?"

"Yea, so?"

"And then you'd wear the lace up granny boots and your fringe jacket with a bandana tied around your neck and your salt and pepper hair in that kinda pixie cut (so help me God they all look like pixie cuts to me)?"

"Yea? And those dream catcher earrings you got me?"

"Yea, and the turquoise bracelet and your blue shades?"

"Yea ok, I remember."

"Then... you're a chick."

I waited, scanning for a nearby corn dog vendor in case I was wrong and I'd need to medicate myself while she cranked up the pout. My ears were ringing, my head was pounding time; I was holding my breath and could barely hear her next word.

"Really?" She said it in that 'you're so sweet I want to eat you' way rather than that 'liar, worm your way out of this one' way. "You think so?"

"I do" I said confidently. As I'd noted originally, she's always a chick to me so I could have honestly answered yes had I described her outfit as a trash bag full of fish scales atop fireman's boots.

"I'm a chick!" she said to no one, a face splitting grin working its way from one ear to the other.


I've still got it baby!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Come to the Acerbity Ball (Na Na Nana, Hey hay aya, na na nana)

Some say a writer’s greatest worth is built upon one’s suffering
that depth is only reached through pain; then scripted without buffering
To honor true believers of the poet as enigma
I now invite you share with me a party for our stigma

I’ll send for you my favorite skull and crossbone clad balloon
you’ll ride in proper anguish to the dark side of the moon
You’ll wear your finest Visigoth, I’ll wear my blackest stare
we’ll danse macabre until the dawn (though dawn won’t visit there)

Let’s ruminate on sorrow, beat a fine dead horse or two
I’ll start a fear round robin, let’s begin with death by shrew
You’ll ride a foul but mighty wind, or play dismay charades
Let’s toot our funk on blue kazoos, let’s march in dirge parades!

I feel the turn already just by penning this request
I’m so much more an author when I’m sullenly depressed
So please accept this call to arms, let’s toast our gloomy trappings
lest we subject our readers to involuntary nappings.

Friday, January 24, 2014

From the Desk of Pins and Needles

A fine notice came this morning on a dainty gilded scroll.
It was headlined “Paying Homage to the One for Whom Bells Toll”.
Sporting paragraphs of eulogy and lengths of flowered verse,
it was dotted with small photos of a gravestone and a hearse.

“Mister Pins and Mister Needles urge your presence Thursday eve,
for the showing of the body, for a drink with his bereaved.
We must have a round of saucy tales that rascal spawned so often
as our lovely friend and benefactor lies within his coffin.”

Yet amongst the praise and folderol there was no dead man’s name.
I had thought some facts familiar, as my life was quite the same.
Still, I knew no Pins or Needles; I could only bid one guess
that the somber seeming duo had procured the wrong address.

So I called my business partner and I asked if he’d been urged;
when I mentioned Pins and Needles he immediately purged;
“I’m so sorry Master Tillerwhig, I’ve done an awful thing;
I have gambled off our fortunes on a Vegas weekend fling”

“So then who are Pins and Needles” I demanded from the lout.
“They’re the betting house enforcers, they turn grifters into grout.
There has been a disagreement, they think I still owe a tad.”
Once I’d heard a million dollars I was certain I’d been had.

Well at least I knew the whereabouts of “he who’d soon be dead”,
he was staring through the mirror at my not yet severed head!
So I gathered my belongings and I hit the open road
keeping clear of Pins and Needles lest my countenance explode.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Grok Bletchman, Underworld Census Taker

There was activity at the entrance as Jeeves and his security detail stepped onto the foyer proscenium and motioned for the doormen to allow the newest arrivals entrance. The double Waterford crystal doors swung open and there stood four mounds of mouldering flesh. If hair length could be used as a stereotypical marker, there seemed one female and three males; though it may well have been a boy guitar player and three crewcut lesbian groupies for all I knew. Such are the hardships of collecting monster demographic data by gender, my particular specialty.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Meet Wesley Cooper and his Family. Jeeves announced in his best Shakespearean voice. They are Zombies, he added smugly, as if the smell didn't give them away.

That about finished the guest list. Only the werewolves hadn't been introduced, and as it was only 11:40, I figured they were at least 20 minutes away, drama queens that they are. It was just as well. Another night of watching the vampires and werewolves flashing canines at each other would have made me puke anyway. I've about had it with creature oneupmanship. It reminds me of the Japanese enclave and that stupid Godzilla doing the teaberry shuffle every five minutes. I couldn't have been happier when Mothra finally knocked him on his ass, damn show off lizard deserved everything he got.

My stomach was beginning to rumble; I hadn't eaten all day and the zombies were scarfing up all the brain canapes. I'd almost left my position at the top of the stair when the mansion's doggy door flung open and in walks the bejeweled Disembodied Hand with a pack of things that could have been cooties following close behind.

Great, now the munchies would have to wait. I needed to do an interview and determine a species classification for the Hand's hangers-on. They look "hideous" to me, but sure as hell if I write that down they'll turn out to be "malevolent", and my boss will chew my butt for screwing up the numbers. Like a dozen more hideous would make a difference in the scheme of things. A monster's a monster for dammit's sake; Some nights this job really sucks!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Howl of Homicide

I have a love/hate relationship with nature. It's so incredibly farking beautiful it makes me want to weep in awe sometimes, honestly; I have, I hate to admit since my man card may be forfeit, shed a tear or two just from absorbing an amazing moment given me by the planet.

And yet it's so fucking malicious and cruel because of the simple fact that all creatures great and small need sustenance and many of those creatures are naturally carnivores. If we were created like some say, why wouldn't an all loving god make us in a way that would not require the destruction of other living things; and if we evolved as I believe, after millions of years couldn't we come up with a way to adapt something like photosynthesis to keep us going? Obviously the answer is no; we and our forest brethren must kill to survive; animals, plants, even insects. and many if not most of the hunted are hunters as well (IE: Killer Tomatoes).

It is what it is, I don't cringe, I'm not repulsed, I sometimes watch in fascination as others might the death throes of a beast in terror. But if wishes were horses and I were king, we'd all need a couple hours of sunlight every day and that would be that.

Winter's land before them stood ablaze in earnest white;
brittle, fragile, yearning to make day from moonlit night
The icy silence shattered,
creatures fought for space to hide
there is naught so chilling in the pale, as howls of homicide

It was seven that I spotted as they burst through powder snow
yet as only one they galloped, as if channeled water flow
they were on the doe in moments
it was helpless to it's fear
and the moon stood silent witness as the fittest persevered 

Sunday, January 19, 2014


My mother, patron saint of the psychotic, would buy a new spiral notebook every week, sometimes more often yet. She kept them on the kitchen table, the spot where she likely spent 70% of her life. It would sit next to the sugar bowl, salt and pepper, coffee cup rack, her cigarettes and the huge, glass ashtray.

She’d doodle...all day...all night.  She solved her oral fixation with smokes, her “being wanted” fixation with talking on the phone for hours and hours and yet she still had so much nervous energy that she had cheap, ballpoint pens in hand nearly 24/7.

Dinnertime? She’s at the table. She sets down her smoke and picks up the pen. A few dozen artworks later she sets down the pen and picks up the smoke, moves to the stove and stirs something. Then sets down her smoke, picks up the pen and so on.

She was multitasking, a pioneer, a living testament to the fact that some people CAN walk and chew gum at the same time. Sometimes I’d find her smoking, talking on the phone, nibbling on licorice sticks, doodling, cooking using a recipe AND she’d try to add a conversation with me to the mix. Maybe it took all that to keep her mind from wandering.

I wish I could say I have notebooks filled with cartoons or little artsy renditions of my siblings and myself. It’d be great if it was a collection of house plans or wilderness scenes. It’s none of those things. If I had been smart enough to save a few pieces, it’d be pages and pages and pages of......little triangles.

They touch each other, sometimes vertically, some horizontally. I’m sure a shrink would have some explanation for that, some deep meaning that eludes me at the moment. All I saw was triangles, rows and rows and rows of  ‘em.

Some would be colored in, some had little spirals inside. Sometimes they’d be inked over something she’d written like “I’m gonna getcha...” and then some name of a friend she’d talked to half the day on the phone, every day for 30 years.

I should have bought stock in the notebook company. I don’t remember her ever not doing it, so do the math; say 75 notebooks a year times the 34 plus years I was her son...that's 2550 books with an average of 100 pages. Think about how staggering that is.
255000 pages of little triangles, some with spirals inside, some colored in, all touching. At likely six or seven hundred triangles per page.......god my brain nearly explodes.

Everyone picks up some habit of their parents, it’s inevitable, it rubs off. If you’re lucky it’s not belching in public for a laugh or buying closets full of wing tip shoes.

If a computer keyboard had a triangle key, maybe I’d be doing little triangles with stick figure people inside; my slant, my variation on the theme. But instead, I write poems and little stories, reams and reams of both. So what you’re hearing from me isn’t truly made of whole cloth, it’s weaved of genetic material, the doodles of a doodling son trained subconsciously by a doodling mother. We should all be so lucky.
If only that key existed you could be staring at pages and pages of triangles rather than the babbling of a madman. I’ve never seen that key.

Your loss.