Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Wilderness Years - Norman Legend

There are stories that should be passed down from generation to generation, like fucking etchings on cave walls, they are the very essence and fabric of humanity, this is one of those stories, for they are of a place and time and that time will shine for it's moment or two and then slowly fade, only to be remembered by those of us who listen to the stories in order to teach the future generations or some such fucking non-sense...

And so i give you Norm, i'm sure Norm has been mentioned somewhere in the lounge, possibly under an alias ( but after 9 years of this shit one loses track), but in the history that this lounge has become i am free to revise, revisit, re-work, as it's all knowing lord and omnipotent master i shall make it up as i go along and so here is a tale of Norm, a man who i'm sure has long since passed from this mortal coil but who most definitely trod on the terra...

As a 23yr old aspiring barfly and part-time weed hustler Norm was straight out of Chinaski's hood, he was the opening bartender at Mitchell's Tavern (circa 1993-4), he worked 10am to 4pm, which means if you were going to get to know Norm you had to be there early, you see Norm was not what you'd call a morning person and he'd sit at the end of the bar smoking cigarettes and reading the paper, there was no jukebox, no television on, barely any conversation, you drank and read the paper and didn't fucking small talk until around noon when the telly would go on and Norm would watch the news and shake his head and begin pontificating on the days events, i could understand about every other word out of his mouth and usually could make sense of what he was saying before he'd let out a rasping, roaring sort of laugh or shake his head as the news unfolded, usually by this time Norm had started drinking...

The good Doctor and I were by far the youngest regulars in the bar and our hero was a bit leery of us at first but we were smart kids, we observed and understood the rules, abide by them we did and soon we were just the young bucks... of course it helps to know what Norm looked like, a barrel chest, about 5'9, the kinda guy who just looked strong, had the air of a bad ass in his youth, he wore glasses and had a glass eye, both thick forearms sporting what looked like old Navy tattoos, always wore button down shirts, hair slicked back, he was somewhere north of 60 but no one really knew how old he was, seemed to always have a younger (forty-something) woman meeting him when he got off and they'd sit and get drunk, the good Doctor and i always referred to his ladies as Wanda, he was the last of a rare breed, the sort i'm not sure you can find anymore or at least they're harder to find, and of course the whole fucking place knew him, he was like a fucking celebrity sitting at the bar when he got off, still smoking and drinking cheap bourbon on the rocks with a short glass of beer, he'd get fucking loaded with his lady friend, now and then i'd be next to him at the bar and he'd grumble and growl and laugh and slap me on the back, and i'd laugh and smile never having a clue at what had been said...

Now if you recall a little episode or seven of Raskolnikov's Blues there was a connection called the Finance Frat Boy, back when he was and undergrad at the local U. here in Steel Town he had worked as a cook at the restaurant next door that was connected to the bar by a side door, a situation beneficial to the owners of both establishments, now it was over semester break that Finance Frat Boy was opening one morning, he got there around the time the bar opened to do prep work and set up, it was the usual half dozen alcoholics sitting quietly around the bar, Norm could be heard ranting and raving which he knew was a good sign that Norm had tied one on the night before and was most likely still drunk, so Finance shut the connecting door and turned up the music and got on with the prep work, until of course he needed some ice and when he did he walked over and pulled open the door...

As he described it many to me many moons ago, the first step into the bar and something seemed a bit off, there was a smell, by the bottom step he wondered if there wasn't a plumbing problem somewhere, this place was a haven for bum shits, and often one could walk into the already filthy pisser to find a local member the homeless community evacuating his bowels, they broke so many toilets that the owner finally bought the stainless steel prison toilet, by the time he was halfway across the back half of the room and approaching the bar he was almost puking, by the time he hit the bar he had his shirt over his face and was gagging as tears filled his eyes, the stench of a horrible shit blinding him...

It was then the my old connection noticed the stain on the back of Norm's pants, a stain that then made it's way down both pant legs. Norm had shit himself. The half dozen drunks kept on drinking like nothing was amiss, my old connection got his ice from the basement and ran back up the steps into the restaurant and shut the door, he then told the owner of the restaurant the situation who promptly called the bar owner before heading down and investigating, the hi-jinx ensued, first his boss/owner came back up from being unable to stand the smell, Finance Frat Boy than told me the owner grabbed a towel and doused it with something to help kill the stench  and waited for the bar owner to arrive...

Of course the owners went down and laid into poor, old Norm, who still being half in the bag apparently gave it right back to them, cursing and yelling, he told them both he was the only one there and was afraid one of the half dozen drunks would steal the register if he went to take a shit and since he didn't know what to do and couldn't hold it anymore he had shit himself, and then proceeded to serve drinks to said drunks for over an hour without any of them saying a word, from what FFB told me the drunks never missed a beat, they sat and drank and pretended like the whole situation wasn't happening, it was a story that was to become etched in the lore of this old dive bar on the corner of Melwood and Centre...

A few years later Norm ended up having a stroke and though he survived it at the time it was the last we saw of him, another barfly, a 40-something hippie who hung around the bar as a half-ass bar back and who would pick up empties would soon take over Norm's morning shit shift, a shift that had you getting off right when the place was really picking up, but the continuity was there, Benny was the perfect guy to take over for Norm, but Norm was a legend, for a 23yr. old kid hung up on Bukowski he was like a walking, talking, graduate course in the art of booze and the barfly... and living...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Wilderness Years - The 6th of July 1996

Was a sticky Rust Belt summer day, i had spent the last hour being a complete pain in the ass and calling Hippie Jack's place every ten minutes or so because i needed to pick a pound and a half of grass, around this time i was approaching my one year anniversary of setting up shop, the new roomies were in, the old ones had moved downstairs, Sister Cheryl was still upstairs and the bidness was rolling along, that is when Hippie Jack wasn't being a fucking hippie, and so after making plans to be over early the next day, early being any time before 4pm happy hour kick-off, i was getting a bit pissed with my friends lackadaisical attitude towards our business dealings, after the fifth or sixth attempt he finally picked up and laughed it all off and told me to come on over, it was already established that i was Jack's meal ticket with Mr. Big, the new kid in town was doing a nice job in his entry level position, and so i tossed the money into the backpack and grabbed the bicycle and hit the street...

Now on this day i was attending my first real person adult type wedding, my friend Willie had invited me to his impending nuptials, for those keeping track Willie was the guy who introduced me to the Frat Guy back when i was in grad school and in need of a hook-up, and Willie was stopping beforehand to procure for his big day, of course being the conscientious type i wanted to make sure i could hook him up, plus there being a reception where i'd be rubbing elbows with a lot of old college friends i figured it'd be wise to have a few samples on hand, besides the fact i had a few orders to fill before i left for the wedding equaled i needed to get shit done, i needed the Hippie to be somewhat punctual about shit and after getting rather drunk the night before, the heat and hangover and ride were doing wonders for my disposition... and so i huffed and puffed and chugged and swore and released a half bottle of Dewar's and many beers from my pores all on the way to  Hippie Jack's...

Of course the drug business is filled with all sorts of weird rituals and protocols, a whole fucked up set of manners among us low-lives and while it was normally frowned upon to run in and run out on this day that was going to happen, oddly it seems like that's more a grass thing than a powder thing, with powder it's score and get the fuck out while the stoners of the world want to converse a bit, mainly to ease paranoia that the man isn't watching, a classic case of stoner over-think, Hippie Jack's hovel with that main city artery running by out front was fine cover, a black ghetto up above and white one down below, his place sat on a line that the cops could give a fuck about as long as no one was shot... and so i lugged my bike up the steps and rapped on the door and the bearded wonder that was Hippie Jack opened up all smiles and in i went...

It was a rare day when i was in a foul mood doing business, Jack could tell straight away i wasn't in the mood for any bullshit, it was a hint at how much had changed and how much power i was beginning to wield, for all intent he was like my boss, i was the star of the sales department, in this game though someone with skills is a threat to everyone above them and so those above do their best to keep them where they're at, i was a lucrative horse to have in the stable so a little acting up wasn't going to bother Hippie Jack too much... i tossed down the money for an elbow and put another half pound on my tab, Jack passed me a bowl and i took a hit and then he pulled a plate up from under his living room table with a pile of powder and some lines chopped out, here man he grinned, you should rip one of these for the ride back...

For a guy who had done a fucking boat load of hallucinogenic drugs, smoked grass like most people drank water, went through a brief angel dust phase, and had dabbled in the black arts of smack, blow was the one thing i considered passe, a bit odd i know but for some reason i associated coke with loud-mouthed assholes (and so in theory some would say it should have been my drug of choice) and for this reason i had always avoided it, that is until i sat there with my shirt sticking to me and the booze seeping out of me, knowing i had a long day and night ahead of me i smiled and said, what the fuck why not? and just like that zooted my first line...

I hung out for another 15 minutes and of course nabbed another line, left with a half gram wrap added to my tab, to get me through the reception of course, and hopped on my bike and rode back to my place, the ride back being downhill and fueled by Bolivia, i figured what the fuck, things were going good and it was going to be a long day, i'd probably never do it again i thought, i mean i was off and running, i had my shit wired tight, what could possibly go wrong?

By the time i got back to my place Willie and a couple of other appointments were already waiting for me, Willie took a look at me and laughed, you looked half-cooked already he said, long night i shrugged, i took him back to my room and weighed out his gear, tossed in a few extra buds on top and sent him on his way towards marital bliss (he just celebrated his 20th anniversary), i took care of the other customers and my new roommate laughed and told me i had a nice Henry Hill look going, at the end of the movie he said smiling, another shrug, sometimes you just gotta say fuck it i said and headed to the shower, somehow beginner's luck saw me not touch that wrap until sometime after i had eaten at the reception, a few more bong hits at my place and the realization that i was ill equipped to go to any sort of function that involved the straight world but what the fuck, my whole mindset was to fly both middle fingers to the squares anyway and so i put on some worn and threadbare pants, a shirt with tiny flowers on it, and a thick sport coat, perfect for fucking July, all of which i had procured at various Goodwill's and thrift stores over the last five years, tied back the dreads, took the lady's hand and set sail into those waters of normal people... whatever that meant...

In the end it was a fine time, yes the were a few stares, maybe more than a few, it's not often polite society is infiltrated by a 6'4 hairy beast in thrift store clothes who somehow doesn't act like a complete caveman, who chews his food with his mouth closed and knows which utensils to use and even in the correct order, hell of a few strangers even struck up a conversation with me, changing hearts and minds one person at a time as they say... and that little wrap? it was gone by the end of the night, i'd probably never touch that shit again i thought...


Monday, July 11, 2016

sixthirtyaughtsix

June 30th was a friday night, i know this because friday night was my church, for years i had gone out every friday night come hell or highwater, snow storm? fuck it i'm going out. No power? fuck it i'm going out.  Nothing to do? fuck it i'm going out. It was my night to chase whatever fucked up visions Jack Keroauc and Charles Bukowski and Nelson Algren and Henry Miller had filled my head with, i was chasing shadow and myth but fucking hell i was having a good time doing it, a fucking blisteringly good time doing it, but alas there comes a time when the party must end... or at least be put on hold for a while and that time had come for me, as my firstborn boyo was about to arrive in just three short weeks and this night, this last day of June was my send off in a way, a respite from of a life that had become a habit, oh and habits i did have back then but these last three weeks would see me somehow magically transform into some semblance of an adult type person, i mean that's what they were for, a test of domesticity, to ease into the waters so to speak... in reality i was about as prepared for fatherhood as the Jamaicans were for the fucking bobsled...

And so i walked out the door, wallet filled with cash, eight ball in pocket, pack of cigarettes, it was roughly 7pm, i drove down the street and pulled over and immediately keyed up some gear, lit a smoke, turned up the Happy Mondays and headed into Lawrenceville, first to play some foosball and then to close the bars... and close the bars i did, all my favorite haunts were hit and i ended my night in a certain Polish Hill joint where they'd lock in the hard cases so we could drink a few more beers and finish our drugs and talk while the jukebox was turned down to a reasonable level, it was always my favorite time of night at this place, i'd fuck with the owner, a great guy who leaned far to the right, and he'd laugh and call me a fucking hippy wastoid liberal and it was always a grand time...

It was somewhere east of 4am as i made my way to my car, slowly driving through the humid streets, the secret knowledge of city back roads leading me to Baum Blvd., past the strip club and my old apartment, past another strip club and my old place of employment, just past the all-night diner i took a left, circled the block once and then parked in front of my house, i crept in and listened to the girl breath, she rolled over but didn't wake up and i crept into bed and attempted to sleep, a hard night of partying put in, the girl had to work in the morning and i did my best not to disturb her, i lay still and tried to meditate, to shut off the mind that i had spent the night winding up, my last night, shit would be different in three weeks, as the sky lightened i finally began to doze off...

When the alarm went off i rolled and felt the hangover just peeking it's eyes around the door and saying hello, i closed my eyes and tried to get back to sleep as the girl got ready, she was moving about and i dozed back off when i heard her ask me a question, what? i mumbled, i keep peeing myself she said, you keep what? i said still keeping my eyes closed and hoping it was all a dream, i keep peeing myself she said again, it's really weird... it's happened like three times this morning, at this point now a strange sort of worry had begun to grow in my slowly pounding head, do you think maybe your water broke? i said, i don't know she said, it's just weird that i keep peeing myself. I stopped her and said, you need to call the doctor. Suddenly a flash from the night before came to my mind, standing in the stall and keying it up with a friend of mine who was laughing that i better enjoy this last three weeks of sleep, then he stopped and laughed, well not counting tonight of course, and then we both laughed and we keyed some more and now here i sat woefully unprepared for this event...

So the girl called and we immediately went to the emergency room and a short time later they did some simple little test, the nurse looked up and smiled and said, you ready to have a baby today? i probably still smelled like booze when i looked up and asked if we could push it off til tomorrow, she laughed as the girl told her the due date (july 21) and how dad here went out for the last time last night, the nurse chuckled again and said don't worry, dad will have some time to recover, this isn't happening anytime soon, heck it might not even happen today... while the women giggled i failed to find the humor, i was still proper fucked...nothing will straighten you up like fatherhood though right?I felt like the clueless fucking deer staring lovingly into the lights of an oncoming semi-truck... but alas i would be alright, i mean so would everybody else too of course, and soon various relation types would show up and there came a point when the girl finally gave up the hardcore shit and asked for the drugs and so when the doc came in he told us all to split cuz we probably didn't want to watch this shit and so i asked how long and kissed the girl's head and then bolted for the door...

I walked a block up to a sandwich shop, it had to be at least 90 degrees, i ordered my sandwich and sat down and watched Zinedine Zidane place a perfect dead ball free kick onto the foot of Thierry Henry thus knocking Brazil out of the 2006 World Cup, i walked back to the hospital and before long the main event got under way and by 6:47pm the I-mac had come screaming into this world thus sending his daddy's world into a dizzy spin, somehow since it was Saturday night the hospital's cafeteria had closed and since the girl was starving i ran across the street and got her some food, she wanted pizza, we lived in the city's Little Italy, i stood outside the pizza shop and felt the heat still cooking the sidewalk, i called Gulfboot and told him the news, i remember tears streaming down my face, for 35 years i'd been such a glorious fuck-up and now, suddenly, i had to attempt to get my shit together, i was surprised i could move, i was that fucking scared...

Needless to say the jury is still out on whether i'm still a glorious fuck-up or not, might depend on who ask, i do know that if the I-mac hadn't shown up that next morning i would never have remembered events of June 30 aught six, it would have just been another night in a long, long, string of nights where i roamed the streets looking for whatever grail i happened to be chasing that day, be it wine or women or song or gear, i smile when i think about how different today i am from those days and yet what's changed? nothing really, just these days i don't feel the need to run the streets like i used to, these days i'd rather climb the creaky steps and check on the boyos, years ago a few friends told me they thought the girl would save me, i used to laugh at them and explain that no woman was ever going to save me, for as horrible as it sounds a woman never stopped me from doing anything, i'd trip or go on a bender for days on end, i'd flirt and chase skirts and even with my wretched behavior in the end it seemed like there was always a woman who'd take me in, it was just more fuel for the myth, and in the end it wasn't a woman, the boyos have taught me more than i ever knew about myself and this world i so breezily had been floating through, it all started that night, my last so-called night on the town, i'm still waiting for that good night's sleep, though i have a feeling i'll be waiting for quite some time before i get one... and that's okay with me...


Friday, July 8, 2016

Goin Dutch (part two)

For those of us keeping score, which i'm sure is a number between none and zero, we may remember the complete fiasco that was scoring gear on my last Caribbean adventure on the island of Hispainola, the swell island which is occupied on the left by the Dominican Republic and the right by Haiti, depending on which way you're looking of course, that whole process was a textbook case of sketchy shit, twitchy drug mules and language barriers and guys believing they should get all kinds of tips, they didn't understand there was a limit i would pay for shitty weed and that at some point i'll tell them to fuck themselves, which is sorta what happened last year, but of course Curacao is not the DR, and the former Dutch colony (and slave trading hub) had a bit more going for it than most of the little islands dotting this beautiful light blue sea...

I walked over to the back of the shed and opened my second beer, Ligi smiled and said here you go and handed me a little bag, i rolled it around in my hand and it felt good enough, handshake drugs, he smiled and i handed him the money, his incredibly sexy girlfriend was sitting on the wall to my right, she smiled and we talked about things, they wanted to know where i was from and what it was like there, he explained that if i needed anything else he could get it and asked if there was a way to contact me, i of course explained that i was down on a domestic type vacation and that certain members of my party wouldn't be down with my gangster shit and we laughed and his girl said, give him your number Ligi, you gotta cell phone here Kono, sure do i grinned, and i told her she was a fine woman for her quick thinking and we laughed and chatted some more and Ligi told me that if i needed anything, anything at all, that i should not hesitate to call, i smiled and told him that a few years back and i would have been handing him a grocery list of shit to get me, of course i wanted to ask if his girlfriend had a sister who looked like her as she sat there with her mocha legs crossed in cut- off jeans, a white t-shirt notted at the belly, her hair teased out into a funky afro, she was gorgeous, smartly i kept my mouth shut and she ran and grabbed a pen and wrote down the number for me and i shook Ligi's hand and his fair maiden gave me a hug and off i went...

Back at the resort i ambled through the crowd fingering my gear and thanking the stars for my luck, i took up the bottle of aloe and then locked myself in the can and cleaned some gear and rolled a joint, it was a little damp and i smelled it to make sure i wouldn't be getting more than i bargained for, all i needed was a little loveboat (grass dusted with angel dust) and the boyos would wonder what the fuck was wrong with the old dude, but it was nothing more than the gear not being properly cured, i cleaned more and made sure to leave the bag open to dry it a bit, it was the average Colombian brick, a bit stony and nothing like the norm but it did the trick... and in the end that's all i really wanted...

Of course i'd be remiss if i didn't do my fucking Lonely Planet shit and give a rundown of my little trip... In short it was fantastic, i did my fair share of snorkeling around different parts of the island, the boyos seem to dig it and their old man really does, we took a catamaran to couple of spots, one of the guys on the boat was a Dutch national who usually worked on the boat but his mom had flown over for his birthday so he had the day off, a great guy who loved baseball of all things and we laughed at how he loved baseball and i loved futbol, his mother was a lovely woman as well who seemed to like talking to the boyos, and Davey the dreadlocked dive-master seemed to hand me a little Polar beer every time he walked past, there was an old man who was the cook/bartender and he made some of the best ribs i have ever eaten, there was the most delicious peanut sauce i've ever had to drizzle over them, there was Caribbean chicken and red beans and rice..,

 Davey and i snorkeled between a large docked tanker and some smaller docks, it was a bit darker and the water was deeper, probably about 30 feet but i could still see the bottom except when i looked to my left where a trench started and was told that it quickly dropped off to about 100 meters or roughly 300 feet, i saw some Puffer fish and to many exotic fish swimming the reef to name, saw on old tugboat that had sunk, took another trip to a different wreck where a different dive-master ( a stand up bass player with a handle bar mustache and also Dutch) explained to me the different types of coral and what the colors meant and what was dead and what was alive, on that trip i had to swim back to the boat in the open ocean, a fucking trip where the current can quickly move you ten or twelve yards any way it wants in a second, looking down into the blue abyss i realized just how small and insignificant we humans are, having smoked to much dope and watched Jaws to many times can be a bad combination when dangling out there in the blue, but as on old surfer once said, what could be more organic than being eaten by a shark?

And then before knew i it i was packing my bags and getting up at 4am to catch a plane home, i will miss that island and i will miss the strange versions of songs played in the resort buffet, a weird mix of folk and island music, covers of songs by Michael Jackson (Smooth Criminal) New Order (Bizarere Love Triangle), Bob Marley (Stir it Up, Could You Be Loved),  Pet Shop Boys (West End Girls), Smashing Pumpkins (Today) Marvin Gaye (Mercy Mercy Me), and as much as i like my little adventures and showing the boyos new places and cultures, i always like coming back to the old gaff, to see my crazy cats and to admire the stash known as Little Amsterdam (christened such by those who'e seen it), back to the grind and the routine and very shortly here at the lounge, back to our regularly scheduled program...

Monday, June 27, 2016

Going Dutch

It seems to have become a ritual, a migration possibly, around the beginning of June each year, a tall and pale man makes his way to the Caribbean and finds himself on an island or peninsula where he is free to drink and swim and eat as much as he can in a what could easily become an American display of gluttony and piggishness if not for his loose grip on his self control, it is the 8 or 10 days out of the year when i allow myself to drink with abandon, to often be the first guy at the bar smiling politely at the bartender as they set up for the 10am opening... of course i'm also a degenerate stoner and so my first order of business on every new island is the finding and procuring of the ganja.  And this year was no different...

This year the island was a rocky little place called Curacao, the new capital of the Dutch Antilles, the three rocks plunked down off the coast of Venezuela called Aruba, Bon Aire, and the aforementioned, nestled away in a spot practically untouched by hurricanes and with less rain in a year than my fair home city gets in a spring month... the wonders of the interwebs provide all the information you need to at least get one pointed in the right direction but with the boyos and their mamacita in tow it is always a challenge to find the free time to do my due diligence in finding the herb, the net had provided me neighborhoods and clubs and what not but i needed something easier and so i took special note of the beach stand paragraph, the one that said it could usually be found somewhere nearby, now the employees of these resorts can also be good at finding and procuring goods but i've also come to learn it depends on the country and the resort, some go through great lengths to make you go outside and some are a bit more lax, i clocked a couple of young chaps who definitely had the look but more on that later...

After hitting the ground on Wednesday by Friday one of the boyos had gotten a touch sunburned and since the boyos wear their asses out by going non-stop all day my nights are usually confined to reading or wandering into the casino and finding the roulette table, but on this day i needed some of that aloe gel shit made expressly for those of us pasty white types of Scotch-Irish descent, and since the little shop at the resort had closed i inquired about anything in walking distance and was told about a grocery store which was a ten or fifteen minute walk down the road, it was just the break i needed to get out and about, besides since my first trip abroad way back in 1998 i've always had this thing for walking about in foreign lands, i like it, it gives me a feel for the place and so i smiled at the bell hop and made my way toward the street...

Right on the other side of the resort was a public beach with a little restaurant and a dive shop that was closed, i took a wander towards it and said hello to the restaurant owner who asked if i was looking for dinner, declined his offer and began walking back toward the street while scanning the beach area, from behind a wall appeared a guy with long braids and extending off the top his head and running down his back, the Spidey senses immediately went off and i turned and smiled and walked toward him, i said hello and he said hello and i began a friendly repartee where i asked him if he knew where i could find some "chaiba", the native word for grass on the island, he smiled and said he did and then i asked about prices and what not and when/if i could get it, explained i was heading to the grocery up the street, he told me it was 10 Guilders for a loose joints worth (a loose joint being about two joints), i smiled and said i'd take 5 and pay in American money and throw in an extra 10 for his trouble just to let him know i was serious, i understood i was paying tourist prices but i believe that's the price of being a tourist, there was a moment of disbelief on his part as a big smile crept across his face and told me to meet him back there in half an hour, we shook hands and i was on my way...

I headed back up to the street and walked along with the Caribbean Sea crashing into the rocks on the shore to my left and a local neighborhood across the street to my right, i took of my shirt as i walked through the night as a sticky layer of island sweat began to cover my body, i passed people on their porches evading the heat of their little houses, i passed local bars with people talking and music playing and fans blowing, some stopping to look at the tall, shirtless Yank striding past, i passed betting parlors and locals out walking, i finally rounded a bend and saw the grocery store and made my way over... i'm always fascinated by supermarkets in other countries as well, i like leaving my American bubble and seeing how the real world lives and wandered the aisles looking at things both familiar and not, grinning at how all the athletes gracing the products were South American or world futbol stars, finding the aloe gel i grabbed a bottle and then grabbed two little beers and made for the exit...

The walk back was uneventful. I gazed at the houses and the people both inside and out, i noticed how spartanly they were furnished, i noticed one had a big American flag that seemed to act as a curtain for a back door, i listened to the sound of the ocean and opened my little beer which i drank in seconds to help cool off, night really providing no respite from the heat of the day, i walked on keeping my fingers crossed that it would work out, i still had close to a week left, it wasn't that i wouldn't consume my fair share of booze but i liked a change of pace, after gallons of Amstel and Polar beer, dark rum, and the occasional Mudslide or two i liked to kick back with my joint at night (and/or the morning too), the bulk of my drinking done from morning to early evening, after years of being an amateur i could now drink like a professional and maintain a buzz of varying degrees without the worry of hangover but i knew that without the grass sooner or later i'd tie one on and i swore about a year ago to be done with hangovers, maybe after 30 years i've learned something but more likely it's because i've always liked drugs better it's just that booze was the easiest one to get... and so i walked on in some strange reverie and without noticing i had come back almost to the beach stand, i looked up and heard a whistle and there stood my new found friend Ligi, i could practically make out his gold tooth shining in the moonlight... to be cont...

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

dodo

There was a long stretch  in my youth where i was adamantly opposed to pro-creating, i mean so much as a slight utterance from a female about wanting children or how much they liked kids and the mental notebook would open, a notch would be made and based on some horribly chauvinistic calculations an equation would be drawn as to whether to ever speak to this female again, of course if this conversation came up any time post-coitus and i'd be inquiring about the nearest Planned Parenthood or the closest Greyhound station, i was an incredibly selfish and arrogant prick often spouting some well worn re-tread of shit i had read and clinging to it like a priest to an altar boy, but of course things change...

I will however be the first to admit that i was woefully prepared for this parental shit, i mean i didn't read any books or pay much attention to shit people told me, fucking how hard could it be? i looked around and so all kinds of imbeciles raising perfectly fucked-up spawn so i figured i couldn't be any worse, right? then of course Kid A came along three weeks early and it just so happened that it was my last big night on the town before i settled down for the home stretch and so i stayed out until a few hours after the bars closed exhausting my not so little wrap of powder because come morning i was gonna be a fuckin' responsible sort, at least that's what i told everyone and anyone who would listen as i chain smoked and guzzled beer and made frequent trips to the bathroom to key it up... and so that next morning after 45 minutes of sleep or so, as the girl got ready for work and wondered why she kept peeing herself, i stared at the ceiling trying not to admit to myself how absolutely fucked i was, how i knew that Kid A was coming and his old man who was hoping for a few decent nights sleep in the next few weeks would not be getting one for the next few fucking decades...

And now this pompous and arrogant prick can admit he was wrong, fucking all wrong, i don't know what the fuck i'd do without the boyos, all that youthful posturing of mine, i like to remind myself of it as a way of proving to my thick skull that it is still possible for me to learn things, and of course it is different times we live in out here in the suburbs, the fucking level of organization when it comes to the youth of 'merica is staggering, the fucking burb i live alone has organizations for every sport you can name and that doesn't include all the clubs in the area as well, which brings me to my first foray into the world of youth club futbol...

Sometime around the year 2000 i began to spout off how someday i was going to build a better midfielder, a Yank midfielder who incorporated the qualities of the athletic "merican while instilling in him the intelligence, grace, and guile of the European footballer, fucking Paul Pogba with a midwest accent, it was a joke of course and it still is, i don't push the boyos to do anything other than be active, they still get their video game time and shit, i'm not some fucking knob, i played video games as a kid and it didn't do me any damage, i'd wager to say rock n' roll and books were more harmful (depending on how one looked at it) than video games, but they gotta do something other than sit on their ass and move their fingers, hoops and footie and swimming seem to be the big ones but like their old man they'll play anything as long as it's in season...

So they boyos play the futbol and while Nick Disaster has to wait another year to play club futbol his older brother, after a year on the community travel team, decided he wanted to give it a shot, as with most clubs around these parts their were two teams and the academy (which is what they offer the kid who doesn't make it cuz what organization turns down money), the blue was the A team and the yellow was the B team, and so the kid laced up his boots and walked out onto the pitch with 60-70 other hopefuls, a two day tryout, each day an hour and a half, i told the boy on the way there the same thing he will hear from me the rest of his life, to just go out and do his best cuz that's really all he could do, that his old man was gonna love him regardless and i wished him luck and he smiled and off he went...

One of the great pleasures of my life is watching the boyos play whatever it is they're playing, futbol and hoops are probably my favorite but honestly i'll watch them play checkers with the same wonder and awe, what i won't do is watch the tryouts and though i didn't have to the first day the second i had no choice cuz i fucked up and went to the wrong field first and blah blah blah but basically i got discombobulated and forgot my book and didn't know anyone or want to talk to anyone so i sat and watched... and there was some talent, maybe more than i expected to see and i wondered how the kid was doing and hoping he was doing alright cuz i knew how bad he wanted to make this team, around his school he's known as a bit of a footie whiz and these days even the 4th/5th grade crowd can be a rough lot, (of course maybe they always were) and since the kid has this beautiful innocence and sensitivity about him i was being like any old dude and worrying about him...

Well fucking hell cut to the chase dammit... the kid comes off the field and we're walking to the car and he's talking about his chances and he thinks he can make it but he surely thinks he can make the yellow squad and i can tell it's weighing on him and i tell him not to worry, that if he put it all out there he'd be fine and all that zen non-sense i so love, and so we get in the car and i let him play what he wants on the radio to get his mind off shit and we drive home and since we have all these UK coaches here teaching the game, and one was staying across the way from us, and it just so happened that night he was driven home by the coach who would be head of the blue team and he saw us and waved and watched the I-mac trot up the steps and waved me over, i smile and tell him i wouldn't want his job and he smiles back and gives me a thumbs up, i give a bit of a quizzical look and he smiles, he made he says, he's on the blue team, and i smile say can i tell him or should i wait for tomorrow and so he says wait and so i talk a bit more and then head in...

Now the young boy does not know that once upon a time his old man was a young hood and if a young hood wants to someday be an ex-hood and not an ex-con he must know how to keep a secret... which i did until the next day when i got the email and read it to him, i watched him and his expression, it was one of those things, you'll know what i mean if you've seen it, because you'll never forget it...


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Piss Boy

I realized the other day as i was putting together some rather expensive shelves that i had become Lester Burnham, you remember him don't you? Lester was shot in the head while he sat at his kitchen table daydreaming about his life and the people he loved by his closeted neighbor Col. Frank Fitts, it's a divisive film to say the least but the fact is i had become  Lester, which is not in all ways a bad thing, it's just that i was sitting around and looking at all the utter shit that cluttered up the fucking world.  I had recently been painting cold-air returns, never in my life have i had an interest in these fucking things, turns out there is a whole industry behind these insignificant pieces of metal and over the years they've apparently fucking evolved, evolved enough not to fit my wall so i got to spend some quality time with a can of spray paint so that i could put the old ones back... the last time i had a can of spray paint i was vandalizing schools as a youth in Parma, Ohio... now i was outfitting the Queen's castle to her specifications...

Now i never had a career like Lester did, i mean he was solidly white collar, he wore a suit and tie, the most reputable gig i ever had involved a uniform with my name on it, the first was classic gas station attendant threads and the second, because the Big World Bank Machine loved to blow money on useless shit, made me look something like an unfashionable suburban golf fanatic, it was fucking hideous, my rather prominently domed female boss made me model it for her an another female VP when the uniforms arrived, they thought the uni's were awesome, i told them i felt like a clown.  Lester also finagled his own exit while i would have stayed in this gig for life, the pay was shit but the bennies and the vacation were sweet and it was a rare day that i actually worked for more than three hours, mainly i read books and handicapped races, sometimes slipped out for a pint or two, jerked off, slept, fucked about online, it was fucking brilliant, then it got shut down, and that is how i ended up here...

And where is here? the fucking suburbs, a strange and weird landscape populated by people i don't really understand, the inhabitants are both friendly and evil and odd, it's a bit like high school but with fancier cars... and now i am in this world and i find it both fascinating and absurd, a world where one could have a conversation about cold-air returns or any other number of meaningless and vanilla discussions at the drop of a hat, there is an air of hamster on wheel, day upon day crammed with useless tasks and chores, i want to ask these folks why they don't just get a job if they want their days filled with shit, you see i am stuck on my island, the men of the burbs talk of work and golf and the women just talk, having no job to speak of and no interest in golf excludes me from the former and being a male excludes me from the latter, it's a bit more Ozzie and Harriet than the 24 hour news cycle would lead you to believe, the stay at home crowd is still overwhelming dominated by women, it's why all the supermarket  rags warn Hubby to beware the yoga instructors and the stay at home dad... and because of this status i find i am generally dismissed as if my position somehow indicates a lack of intellectual prowess, then again i probably can't smile and break into a discussion about various strains of cannabis and how i like to play astronaut by combining said strains and seeing what happens, fucking exploration man! though if i was talking Scotch it would be completely legit...

And so like Lester i work out and get stoned, Lester got a job at the fast food place and i got a job working around the gaff doing all the shit i never knew how to do, i don't mind the process i find it quite zen teaching myself new things and refining the ways of the old, like making your own freebase it's trial and error, the old ritual de lo habitual, a favorite saying 'round the lounge, the ritual of the habit, besides it also allows me to blast Bowie records and have a cup of tea, and i'll even give old Sam credit, he never preached, the critics and naysayer said it was ham-handed and obvious, i'd beg to differ, sometimes you have to look closer, listen with a quiet mind, there is no mention of god in the final soliloquy, it's spiritual but godless, it's an opinion on a question that we all ask ourselves at some point and time and the basis for the biggest charlatans in the world to beg for money, it doesn't matter, no one knows the answer, at least not anyone who can tell us... and it was unfortunate that Lester got shot in the head because i think the veil had been lifted, Lester had it sorted, or as sorted as one ever gets but once you get it sorted shit means less... and more, you just become a better judge as to what really matters...

In the end it's just a couch, such a simple statement, it's just a fucking couch, doesn't matter if it's made from Italian silk or purchased at Crate and Barrel, it's just a fucking couch, a place to sit, there are many places to sit and they don't have to be expensive, silk, or Italian... the new one at my digs is only the former, bought and paid for by the breadwinner, that of course is not me, i am piss boy... or Lester... or fuckhead... i'll answer to anything really, like Lester i do not delude myself with some picture of domestic tranquility, it is two people who barely know each other and more than likely don't want to, and while that may not be ideal it is the natural way of things... shit gets planted, shit grows, shit blooms, shit dies... or becomes an icy and indifferent vacuum, much like space, and the couch is a symbol, of meaning to one and meaninglessness to the other, neither is right, they are just different approaches to coping with the rising and setting of a giant gaseous orb that throws heat, allotted so many of these we do our best to apply some sort of meaning to it, who am i to impose my meaning, sometimes i'd like to see people care more about people than stuff but it's a capitalist society we live in and we are brainwashed from a young age to believe that stuff is what makes us happy and not the people around said stuff...

It took Lester a long time to figure out he didn't need all that stuff, l learned early on it was superfluous, the happiest times of my youth were lived hand to mouth, now there is much stuff, cold air returns and couches, fucking coffee tables and bookshelves that are used to hold books that have never actually been read, decorations for all intents, none of it is mine, i do have some stuff, mainly books and records tucked away in my one room, i'd miss them if they were gone but i'd forget about them soon enough, the only indispensable thing in my life these days are the boyos, one of whom crept up behind me while i was writing this and asked if i was writing a story, sort of i told him, then i walked up the stairs with him and we read a bit together before he fell asleep... and like Lester you can often find me sitting in various rooms throughout my house, usually looking as if i'm contemplating something, sometimes with a slight grin, sometimes an outright smile, sometimes a sneer, sometimes a look of total indifference, i relish those moments of quiet, where the only thing i can hear is the  humming of my eardrums, maybe a cat purring, the sound of silence or as close as i can get to it...

And i often wander around when the world is asleep, i make my way in the dark, i look out the window, i creep stealthily outside of rooms and listen to the boyos breath in the night, i climb steps and see the couch, it's just a fucking couch, and it has it's meanings and lack thereof, it's alright though, i think i got it sorted... or as close as one can get, of course i've been wrong before... and i'll be wrong again, who knows, might be the most comfortable couch i ever sit on... if i ever sit on it...