Sunday, January 31, 2010

Side Door Unhinged

"A prominent upper lip is a sign of power and confidence" ~ Jonathan Bartlett

When they let the light in Iskandor found that she could see behind the faces of the surrounding crowd of technicians.
Unsurprised she proceeded to explain to them exactly what it was that made them so who they were.
She watched as they processed her words; dispersing with expressions of discomfort.
“You are an Empath” said the doctor, smiling, and Iskandor felt his pity and Iskandor felt the his pride but she could not find a place to process that information.

When they let the light in Iskandor found herself unable to view her own hinterland; as if her outward attention were a current that allowed nothing to flow in the opposite direction.
When left alone on the white room she lost all sense of the world, hearing only the echoes of the doctor’s life; his hopes and dreams.
In her mind she could see the glass jar that sat on the doctor’s desk. She did not find this to be strange, even though her body had never left the white room.
The glass jar contained her until the doctor returned.

In the white room the doctor asked Iskandor if she could remember what she was.
Iskandor observed that the constant feeling of disappointment experienced by the doctor stemmed not, as the doctor so firmly believed, from the incompetence of others, but rather from the doctor’s own inability to accept, and act upon, criticism.

Alone in the white room Iskandor found that the glass jar on the doctor’s desk contained a small, self contained world; a world held in a delicate balance of plant life, light, decay and moisture.
Iskandor rested there, for in this perfect world there was no noise; no people; no ambition but the need to survive.

In the white room the doctor told Iskandor that she was a very special person and that her powers, with the doctor’s guidance, would change the world.
Iskandor observed that the doctor’s ambitions were not, as he believed, guided by altruism, but rather fuelled by the arrogance of one who believes that he can change the world.

Alone in the white room Iskandor noticed that the glass jar reflected light from a full moon. Unable to resist she was drawn up on the rays of silver light and found herself in a hush and calm more profound that that contained within the glass jar; a place where not even the air could touch her.
The moon spoke of isolation and subservience to unfathomable laws.
The moon called her “Sister”

In the white room Iskandor told the silent doctor that the reason he, the doctor, was unable to achieve his desires was his persisted in believing that he could define the world around him with words and that he could twist and shape those words to fit his own view of the world.

When they took the light away Iskandor had passed beyond the realm of light; she had taken advice from the planets; she had argued with the sun; she had answered questions posed by collapsing stars and infinite expanding universes; she had become.

Mr. Happy

My first idea is to give Pedro’s daughter a scholarship. “So when she grows up she can get all the higher education she wants.”

(click here to read the first episode and here for the previous one) 

But Pedro says, who knows if she’ll appreciate that?

“What about an open trust then? She can start a business if it’s more her style.”

Pedro nods, embarrassed, and lights a blunt. 

“Just stay close, Scottie. Be her godfather.”

“I’d be honored.” It’s an unofficial title—no ceremony is what I mean, since Pedro and Moira aren’t even married. Obviously Pedro’s not up to overseeing a long term fund so like a real jerk-off, I ask if his brother Hugo would manage it. Pedro shakes his head. He has faith in Hugo, but only up to a point. 

“You know what? I should do it. Consider it done.”

He thanks me and looks away, handing me the blunt. Ashamed to say, I didn’t take responsibility right off. My lifelong habit is to foist anything dull onto someone else. But it’s a habit I intend to drop—within reason.

Walking uphill and a little dizzy from the mota, I can hear Charlie’s amped up keyboards coming from the music studio. Charlie doesn’t care if he’s any good; he just loves to play. Half a beat later, Emma’s wailing out an old blues song. She’d rather drink dirty water than have a cheating man.

Charlie starts one song and then another. I listen outside to Emma singing “100 Days, 100 Nights.” The second I step inside, though, the door to the studio bursts open. “Leave me alone, Scott,” Emma says, flying up the ladder, her silvery little dress fluttering in her wake.  

Now Charlie’s patting my back. Emma’s doesn’t want to sing when I’m listening. Something about how I’m always pushing her to write her own stuff. (She can; she’s good; just impatient.) But still, I should back off. 

“Took serious wheedling to get her going,” Charlie says, but before long she was agreeing to accompany him Friday and Saturday nights at Le Fresco. That’s a little concrete-floored dance bar past the water fall. A light projector bounces pastel ping-pong balls off the nighttime jungle walls. The stage is a wooden platform. With my permission, they feed off my electricity, not Kitty’s, which is nearby; Kitty being strictly for-profit.  

Later, I’ll see if Charlie and Emma will welcome my bass playing, but I leave it alone for now. 

“Didn’t know for certain Emma would still be here,” Charlie’s saying, “but I brought the dress in case. Remember her wearing it in Chicago?”

Well, yeah. I remember it a lot, in fact.

“Before the shows, Logan’s girlfriend is gonna weave glittery braids in Emma’s hair.”

“Logan has a girlfriend? Since when?”

“Her name’s Sierra,” Charlie says, “and she’s cool with Logan’s converts. She’s a psychic from Oregon, and says Logan’s the same as any other man with his harem.”

All those weeks when I was delirious, waiting for Emma to finish her work at the yoga center, she begged me to hang out in the pavilion, where she’d be close. Why didn’t I rest in one of the  hammocks there? “Be good for your mental state,” Emma said.

I disagreed. Kitty lectures me and Berto keeps Emma too long in the kitchen. But Logan infuriates me. Last time we spoke, he asked if I had recognized what that pitviper was sent to teach me.

“Enlighten me, Logan, ’cause I’m not sure.”

“For once you’re dependent. How do you like that?”

Didn’t hit or even threaten him, that’s how enlightened I am. I walked away but the asshole followed me, saying he’d heard that ordinarily I was large and in charge. A womanizer, according to Kitty. “So did the snake bite teach you that you gotta rely on Emma or somebody like her?”

Hurray for me: I didn’t say a word; didn’t turn around; just kept walking.

Charlie says, “Just smoke with him. That all he wants when he comes at you like that.”

Maybe, but I don’t want to smoke with him. Charlie’s less particular and is happy to smoke with Logan or anybody else offering him weed. Now apparently Logan has offered Charlie a partnership in his Thai message business.

“My kinda work,” Charlie says. “Loosening up visiting yoga students for a hundred bucks an hour? And Logan has been working seven days a week for two years. So he needs me, man.”

“Is he training you?”

“I should have it down in a month.”

“And you’ll still have time for surfing?”

“If I work it right, yeah,” Charlie says. He’s heading for Kitty’s now, where he spends most nights.  Emma’s back in shorts and a t-shirt. He touches her head, saying, “See ya, darling.”

The whole yoga gang really loves Charlie. Berto asks him to taste a sauce and Charlie dances around. “Totally sick, man!”

He rubs Kitty’s feet and she invites him to spend the night, every night. Don’t know if her boyfriend Sean’s involved or not. But along with the rest of them, he calls Charlie, “Mr. Happy.”

(click here for the next episode)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

“A Town Called Disdain”, Episode Nine: flashing back to Harvey's brilliant military career

“Perhaps the only American novel of our time which could be compared to Moby-Dick for its scope and depth, and considerably less boring than Moby-Dick.” -- Harold Bloom

Previously in our serialization of this, the uncut version of Larry Winchester's recently re-discovered

September, 1969.

The young soldier Harvey, forced to join the army or face jail time after shooting his mother’s boyfriend in the leg and shooting and killing the boyfriend’s dog, returns after his hitch to his home town of Disdain, N.M. At the roadhouse where his mother works Harvey gets into a fight with the local bully Bull Thorndyke. Sheriff Dooley walks in, breaks it up, and sends Bull off to see the doctor, Harvey having smashed a beer bottle in Bull’s face. However, Bull comes right back in with a shotgun. The sheriff stands protectively in front of Harvey, but it looks like this might not stop Bull. A mysterious and attractive couple (Dick and Daphne) walk in just then, distracting Bull for a moment. Harvey draws the sheriff’s gun and shoots Bull dead.

The local big rancher, Big Jake Johnstone, who has been cowering in the men’s room through all this, comes out and greets Dick and Daphne. Later, apparently at Dick and Daphne’s request, he hires Harvey to act as the couple’s “guide”.

And it’s still only Harvey’s first day back.

(Click here to read the immediately previous chapter. Go here to return to the beginning.)

No sooner had Harvey landed in Vietnam than he was sent right out to an infantry outfit in the boonies. Morale there was low to say the least. This whole regiment had gotten mauled earlier that year in the Tet Offensive, and everyone’s number one priority now was survival. Things were relatively quiet in that area for the time being and everybody just wanted to keep it that way. Just about nobody from the rank of noncom on down really wanted to engage the enemy, and in fact they did their best to avoid the enemy at all costs.

The men realized that their officers had at least to go through the motions of patrols and ambushes, and they accepted this. The officers for their part realized that if they pressed too hard they were very likely to be fragged by their own men, so they falsified reports and invented or exaggerated bodycounts. Fortunately most of the enemy in the AO seemed to be as unmotivated as the Americans. They had gotten their asses kicked even worse during the Tet. They wanted to live, too, and they, at least for the time being, preferred setting booby traps and laying landmines to fighting. But every once in a while there was a firefight, all of a sudden out of the blue the pop pop pop of rifles, the rattle of AK-47s, and then just complete chaos with nobody really knowing where the enemy was, everybody firing on full auto every which way and yelling and throwing grenades, just as much chance of one of your own guys killing you as Charlie doing it. Harvey did what the other guys did, firing his M-16 in short bursts in what he hoped was the right direction, popping out empty magazines and shoving in new ones and firing until everybody else stopped firing. Sometimes a grunt got shot, sometimes not. A couple of times after it was all over they found a dead Charlie, some crumpled dead rag doll of a motherfucker, but in the few firefights Harvey was in or near he never once saw a live enemy soldier.

And for once karma was looking out for him because he’d only been out there a month, thinking fucking Christ, eleven more months of this bullshit, sweating his balls off in the heat and breathing that boonie stink and getting eaten up by mosquitoes and ants, and listening to all the positive-ass motherfuckers saying this AO had been too quiet too long and it was only a matter of time before the shit hit the fan again, and they were being Huey’d back in to their base one day and this gunner had brought a canteen of JD for them to drink and somebody had some weed and they all got all fucked up flying back in, and then when they were coming down Harvey jumped out too soon and broke his damn fool leg and he never got anywhere near to combat again which was fine with him.

The reason he never saw combat again was he was in the hospital one night and his leg was hurting so bad he couldn’t sleep. So he got his crutches and he left the ward and there was nobody around and there was this little room where they kept medicines and they were locked up but he figured maybe he’d find some aspirin lying around or something and he pushed open the door and there in the pale light from the window was this doctor Major Green putting the blocks to this blond nurse, Lieutenant Puckett, on this little table. Everybody looked at everybody else and held still for a second and then Harvey just let the door swing shut again and crutched himself back to his bed and jerked off in a wad of kleenex and went to sleep.

Come the morning and there’s old Major Green sitting by his bed and offering him an Old Gold.

“Y’know, I don’t think I have to bullshit you, Harvey.”

“No, sir.”

Major Green leaned in close so nobody could hear what he was saying except Harvey.

“Do you want to stay out of combat, Harvey? Do you want to never go out in the bush again? You’ve done your bit. You’ve been wounded for your country.”

Harvey wondered if Major Green even knew or cared about how he’d really been “wounded”.

Major Green pulled back the sheet and glanced at Harvey’s broken leg in its cast.

“I think I can safely recommend that for medical reasons, following your release from hospital and a suitable convalescent leave, that you be assigned strictly non-combat duties for the rest of your term of enlistment. Would you like that, Harvey?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. And remember, Harve --”

Major Green touched his index finger to his lips and then held the finger out in silent admonition.

“Yes, sir.”

“Discretion, Harve. Always the better part of valor.”

After the hospital and the convalescent leave came the cushy job unloading the body bags in Saigon. It was the easiest job he’d ever had. Some days they only had to unload two or three bodies and that was it, so Harvey and this intellectual pot-head guy Fred would just sit around and read and talk and get high all day. Except for comic books and certain sections of his mom’s Harold Robbins novels Harvey hadn’t ever actually read a book before, but Fred opened up a whole new world to him and before long Harvey was reading about a book a day. Fred turned him on to J.D. Salinger and Richard Brautigan and Herman Hesse and Kahlil Gibran and The Lord of the Rings and The Stranger by Albert Camus and something called Chaos and Night by this French dude Henry de Montherlant that he liked a lot and Catch-22 and The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot which he read one night with Fred while they were tripping with Fred reading the footnotes and explaining them to Harvey; that was really weird and for a couple of months after that Harvey walked around with the shiny grey and black paperback in the pocket of his fatigues and he’d take it out and look at it at odd times all through the day. He never could figure that motherfucker poem out.

Fred taught Harvey how to play chess, but even though Harvey soon was kicking Fred’s ass at it on a regular basis he found the game insufferably boring. He invited Fred to teach him something else, so Fred started him in on French. After a few months Harvey was puzzling his way through Fred’s paperbacks of Baudelaire and Beckett and Camus, and he especially liked Rimbaud, especially when he was ripped on good weed.

At night they would sit behind a hangar smoking the good weed and playing John Coltrane on Fred’s little 8-track player while looking up at the sky or the artillery flashes in the distance, and Fred would explain to Harvey the larger picture of why they were all there in Vietnam and the larger picture of why man was even on the face of the earth. It was karma why they were here in Vietnam. It wasn’t good karma but it was something they just had to get through, preferably without killing anyone if they didn’t have to and then they could go back to the World as new men, ready to live new lives of peace and love.

Harvey wasn’t sure about this karma business. It sounded fishy to him; but then he realized he was young and ignorant, so he kept his mind open on the subject. As for the peace and love business, well, Harvey hated to be a downer, but peace and love did seem to be stretching it a bit, at least in this life. He was however determined to try to live right. And he really did want to do something about this propensity he had for finding himself in violent situations.

After his discharge he decided to come back to his home town just one more time, say goodbye to it, and then leave. He wanted to find his own path through the cosmos.

So here the fuck he was.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Surf’s Up

Strange to say, I’ve almost enjoyed Emma taking care of me. The first month she had to do everything that used two hands—feed me, wash my hair, even put on my shorts and climbing shoes.

(click here to read the first episode and here for the previous one) 

Her goofy scenarios: “Pay attention, Scott. No more Emma. Tonight the big bad nurse is on duty,” distracted me from the pain, which for weeks came and went, and sometimes came back full blast.

That was one thing. The other was her overall affection and considerable beauty which never palled, no matter how warped I felt. If I couldn’t sleep late at night, she sang to me. Lullabies, she called them, but they came close to what I wanted her to record in the studio.

“Maybe my patience will last,” she said. “Wouldn’t that be great?”

Meanwhile, Pedro and Hugo finished the house and Moira gave birth to Conchetta. Emma asked if she could invite the three of them here for dinner.

“Emma, you can invite anyone you want here. Mi casa es tu casa.”

“Anyone?” she’s looking at me over her shoulder, eyebrow raised. “You don’t mean that.”

“What are you talking about?” I’m still resting a lot and sometimes even a little addled. “Invite who you like…oh, I get it: Not Logan.”

In a second, lighter than light, she’s nestled beside me under the mosquito net. “Tell the truth. You like him much more than I do.”

“Do not.”

She smiles. “Let’s say we feel the same then.”

Pedro and Moira are proud and happy. Moira’s nursing Conchetta, who looks comically like a baby Pedro, and Emma’s coaxing me to finish a coconut drink and raise my arms above my head.

Moira says,“Too bad you and Conchie didn’t undergo your big transformations about six months apart. ’Cause then you’d be on the same schedule. I’d be telling her to drink up and raise her arms, ‘Soooo big!’”

“Moira,” Pedro says, “Scottie’s not a baby. And a snake bite’s no birthday party.”

“It’s almost dying, though, so there’s some connection.”

Pedro has more to tell her, but I interrupt. “The upside is having Emma baby me.”

Six more weeks and I’m almost back to normal. Conchetta can raise her head and I’m taking Emma’s yoga classes, which equal an intense surfer fitness program. I follow all the “Surfing Training” DVDs so I know: Emma’s taking the whole regimen ten times farther. A few weeks of her vinyasa class every day and my arms and legs have never looked stronger. And lots of balance work. Half her class you’re standing on one leg and lifting the other to touch your nose, which is impossible for everyone except for Emma.

She’s at the yoga pavilion and I’m coming out of the shower when the phone rings. “Yup.”

“I’m outside Trixie’s.”

“Charlie? Since when?”

“Since five minutes ago. Wanted to say hi to Trixie, but she’s too busy at the restaurant. Tourists. So, Colossus, how soon can ya get here?” (Charlie calls me “Colossus” because of the old X-Men comics, which he collects. Don’t mention the movies to him.)

This season of serious waves sneaked up on me.

Muchacho,” Charlie says through the phone. “Ya doin’ okay?”

“Fine. But why didn’t you call last week or even last night? So we’d know you were coming.”

“Since when do I need to make a reservation, Scott? Don’t I always show up to surf?”

“Yes, you do, Charlie. I’ve been sick and lost track.”

“After fifty breaks, you’ll be fixed. I’m waiting under the awning between Trixie’s and the air strip.”

It takes me a little longer than usual to get there so I explain that I’ve just resumed driving.

“You’re here now; who cares?” Charlie’s wearing a sombrero and blue reflective Revos.

Is he clean? Charlie’s never clean. He’s steady, though. A lively, fun-loving guy, agreeable to practically anything as long as he gets his daily minimum, which he tries to limit to a gram. And if he’s doing more, you’d never know it. I’d never know it.

He slams the truck door, “Man, am I amped; I am ready to pop!” Trixie told him this season’s waves are pumping like she can’t remember.

“So who’s ‘we’ this time?” Charlie asks. “The ‘we’ you wished I’d called ahead for?”

“Come on, Charlie. I know you know it’s Emma.”

“Emma from my band? The hottest little singer you ever stole. That girl loves me like her funky big brother.”

We park by the mango trees, and before he even unloads his shit, he’s asking, “Where’s Pedro?”

“Pedro’s got a baby girl. See the new bungalow to the far right?”

“No shit. He’s still got his sideline, I hope.”

“Call him first, Charlie, in case the baby’s napping.”

Charlie goes in for blow, weed, and tequila. He’s never loopy or dazed, though. At the most, you might say he’s unfettered.

I head over to the yoga pavilion. Emma and I are home in three minutes and Charlie’s already lit.

Emma leaps up and wraps herself around him. He sets her down and tells her she look great, which she certainly does.

“Did Scott tell you about the pitviper?”

“We didn’t get into specifics.” I show Charlie the underside of my wrist, which still looks like a twisted mass of blue-black crud.

(click here for the next episode)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Stilled Life

He pulls the flannel sheet up
all the way over his head,
a purply plaid pretend shroud
very much in need of washing.

"If I can lie this way,"
he whispers, "ever so still, I might
convince Death his long-awaited
visit has come too late."

But, he's not sure how long
he can hold the pose, and then
there's the small problem of his
constant shallow breathing.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"A Town Called Disdain", Episode Eight: Dick remembers young Daphne and the bathroom

Young Harvey, recently discharged from two years in the US Army and two weeks in the San Francisco jail, returns home to Disdain, NM; goes right from the bus to Burt’s Hideyway (the local roadhouse, where his mother Doris works as a waitress); gets in a fracas with a local bully named Bull Thorndyke; shoots Bull dead in self-defense; and then gets hired by the local rancher Big Jake Thorndyke to act as a “guide” for two mysterious but beautiful strangers named Dick and Daphne “Smith”.

(This episode is rated PG for lack of sex or violence or any discernible plot development.)

(Click here to go to our previous episode . Newcomers may go here to return to the first chapter of this unexpurgated edition of Larry Winchester's long-lost masterpiece, A Town Called Disdain; a Desilu Production.)

I was in uniform that first time I became aware of Daphne, qua Daphne, at my little sister Betty’s eighteenth-birthday party. I had hardly worn a uniform in years because of my work in Q Section but that night I was sporting snappy new dress whites. I had been standing around getting quietly oiled -- and, wait, now I remember, I had eaten some of this hashish cake which I had mailed to myself from Morocco -- and anyway I couldn’t help but notice this slender tall gazelle-like creature talking to Betty. We traded glances, and a little later I was taking a piss there in the downstairs bathroom when she just walked in and closed the door.

She simply stood and watched as I finished pissing. If I hadn’t been half oiled and under the influence of this hashish stuff I might have been embarrassed but then there was something about her that precluded embarrassment if precluded is the word. I put it away, zipped my fly, washed my hands and dried them. With her just watching there.

“So,” I said. “A friend of Betty’s.”

“Yeah,” she said, taking her cigarettes out of her little white purse.

I gave her a light.

“Thanks,” she said. She exhaled, looking at me, and then she went over to the toilet bowl, lifted up her long skirt, pulled down her drawers and sat down. She smoked and peed, looking about my parents’ downstairs bathroom with all the framed New Yorker Arno covers. I just stood there. What the hell.

“From, uh, Miss Porter's?” I asked.

She rolled her eyes.


I stood and watched as she peed and smoked. I know, I was being completely perverse, but, well, she didn’t seem to want me to go. And I didn’t want to go. And after she finished and was washing her hands she looked at herself in the mirror and said, “You know, your mother and my mother are only the closest of friends. You’ve been introduced to me on several previous occasions.”

“I was? Was I drunk?”


My mother had all sorts of friends. I never could keep them straight.

And then this ravishing young thing turned, wiping her hands on a towel, and looked at me.

“Devon Horse Show?" she said. "Year before last?”

Devon Horse Show.

“I was sitting with Betty three seats away from you.”

“Oh. You know I think I was a little drunk that day.” (Actually I’d been tripping on this then-newfangled LSD stuff.) “Who is your mother?” I asked.

“April MacNamara.”


I suddenly had a vivid recollection of a Christmas party sometime back in the 50s. I had gone into the billiard room to have a quiet game by myself and I had been lining up a shot when I sensed someone come in and then, just as I was about to shoot, a hand grabbed my ass.

Of course I blew my shot and when I turned around I saw it was this young friend of my mother’s. I wasn’t sure who she was but she was good-looking. She put her arms around my neck and she kissed me quite sensuously, giving me an erection, then she leaned back and said, “I’ve been wanting to do that all night and don’t you dare tell your mother.”

I later found out she was this journalist April MacNamara. (And, later still, that April was the wife of that mysterious guy “Mac” MacNamara.) And now -- back to the bathroom on the night of Betty’s party -- with a shock I remembered this strange little girl April had with her at that other party, then I remembered the tall shy girl with Betty that day at the Horse Show, and so finally I was able to fit said ravishing thing now standing before me into my little Weltanschauung.

I know, a little slow on the uptake.

“You were quite dashing in your uniform that day,” she said.

“Was I?”

She reached out and touched my chest. I looked down, she lifted her finger up and flicked my nose, then she smiled and walked out.

It was very weird but her damned mother had flicked my nose exactly the same way that night in the billiard room a dozen years before.

Okay, suffice it to say I was enormously attracted, but look, she was only eighteen or maybe even younger, she was my little sister’s friend, and so, you know, just put it the hell out of your mind, pal. For the time being, anyway.

(Go here for our next thrilling episode.)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

on like this forever - chapter 3, part 3: the mouthpiece

sam kennedy was exasperated
in his experience he had seen a lot
nothing surprised him
confusion rarely entered his brain
eddie, though, was something else

he had approached sam about a month ago
entering his office by way of the service elevator

he had a proposition for sam
as always, sam listened
doubtless talk was cheap

regarding loyalty, sam had an open mind
eddie understood sam
at first, sam expressed surprise
loyalty is sacred, he insisted
i can't just blow kenny off
zero tolerance for rats is a law of nature
eddie just smiled
doubt never entered his mind

kenny was on the slide
events were conspiring against him
nothing he could do would matter
nothing he could say either
yes, thought eddie, i have him

when the first string is pulled
all the puppets look up
so long as he string is tight

fine, thought sam
out of all the guys he could have propositioned
lucky he chose me
little does he suspect
once he thinks he has me
when he's ready to spring the trap
i will be long gone
never to be seen again
goodbye, eddie!

ha ha ha
it was nice knowing you
mighty nice indeed

just then sam's phone rang
oh oh he thought
he picked it up
nick was on the other end
nothing he said made much sense
yes, yes. sam agreed

how come nick was calling?
always before it had been kenny himself
denoting caution

but now, was kenny getting careless?
everything pointed that way
especially now
nick was babbling away

politely, sam interrupted
right now were not a good idea
perhaps later
let's get together
eddie is the problem, yes
except when he isn't, of course
even when he seems to be quiet
doesn't this guy ever get to the point?

i wholeheartedly agree
no doubt

he finally got rid of nick
i need a thick porterhouse steak, he thought
so what if the doctor said no more

mulling the implications of nick's call
in the depths of his treacherous brain
notwithstanding his natural caution
decision time was reached

how had it come to this?
eddie had been nothing

was it destiny?
all sam knew was he wanted to pick a winner
so much for loyalty

continuing his train of thought
on his way out the door
nodding to the cleaning lady
flashing a big smile
under his restlessly probing eyes
sam never considered
eddie's true motives
decided long ago

Friday, January 22, 2010

the waitress and the satanist, chapter 13: the duke knew that samantha was just teasing

additional dialogue by allen toussaint, j t "funny paper" smith, merline "the yas yas girl" johnson, and sergio leone

"beautiful, isn't she?"

"haven't we been over this before? didn't we just have this conversation?
the duke put his hand on samantha's arm and steered her away from the center of the party to the little coffee table in front of the french windows. after samantha had made herself comfortable on the low divan, or maybe it was the high settee, they resumed their conversation in a more amiable manner.

in the center of the party, near the bar, harry and jake continued their heated argument.

"we sit here in club chairs, while a few hundred yards away, murder is being done for pennies - for a few grains of opium."
"but we aren't sitting in club chairs, harry, we are standing at the bar at the duke of r------------'s monthly get together, getting trashed."

"that's true, that's true. a great distinction. you know, i think i've had too much to drink."
"me too. let's get some fresh air."
harry looked around. "is there any?"

"let's get some outside air. outside."
"that's where the air is,"
samantha fingered the little green pincushion doll with the hong kong eyes and the istanbul hair as she watched harry and jake make their way with surprising resolve and singlemindedness to the windows behind her. she kept her eyes averted as they passed directly behind her.

"look at this one." the duke picked up another little doll, a red one with white eyes and the blue uniform of one of alexander i's hussars. it held a golden baton in one hand and a pair of gardener's shears in the other.

"a little elaborate for my taste," samantha murmured politely. "but it must have a history behind it."

"maybe your drink has cooled off."
outside of hundreds of dead men she is waiting for you polyethylene
"he shot that no good hoss." "she's waiting for you upstairs."
"this isn't a half bad party."
"but it's the duke of r----------'s. it should be good."

"there you go again - betraying your enslavement to the culture of expectation."
harry breathed the outside air. "it's not that fresh." he told jake.
jake took out his trusty old .45. it had been weighing him down all night.
harry took out his brand new silver plated .357 that his grandmother had given him on her death bed. it had the initials "p e" engraved on it. nobody knew what they meant.

"let's do it.'
jake nodded. "it's time."

'how much?"
"but the woman is a saint."

of hundreds of dead men worn with the heels packing company
"he shot that no good hoss."
harry went around to the right, jake to the left. there was no breeze.

"that's the first time i've heard the word saint used without irony since - since - "
"but the age of irony is over."
outside forever
"he shot that no good hoss."
in the hallway she's waiting for you hundreds of dead men she's waiting for you

"i've only got fifteen.'
"fifteen what? and you will have to speak louder.''
the gray carpet forever outside

'what i've got is worth more than fifteen."
in the hallway the white fog
'there is no history behind it at all. one of the maids made it this morning. i thought it had a little air about it."

"the maids have time to make dolls? what would the old duchess, your grandmother, have thought of that?"
"well, with the labor saving devices they have these days -"
"you allow your servants to use labor saving devices?"
the duke knew that samantha was just teasing and he smiled.

'if you only knew how sore my legs get."
the gray carpet the gray carpet forever in the hallway worn with the heels the white fog
"he shot that no good hoss"
the jockeys heard the shots and came running.

"you want to play?" the maid - the one who had made the hussar doll - and the young marquis were playing a video game in one of the upstairs bedrooms.
"no, it's all i did for twenty years in prison." the maid's son was seated in the old duchess's favorite armchair, which had been moved upstairs on her recent demise.

'a sepoy is more loyal than an irishman at any rate,"
"at any rate."
jake looked around the corner. it began to rain. but not, he noticed, at the far corner of the house, which harry would be coming around. harry had always had all the luck, especially with gloria and ever since gloria.
it started to rain harder. with his trusty old .45 held at his

the gray carpet of hundreds of dead men piranhas polyester
"you were in prison for twenty years?" the young marquis asked jacques.
"and all you did was play video games?

"when i wasn't working in the kitchen, yes."
two shots rang out in the white hall on the gray carpet in the rain on the far corner
"if i could pick a few winners i'd be all right."
worn with the heels the white fog in the hallway
"how many men did you kill in prison?"
"none, it wasn't a movie."

"harry the horse and jake the snake. a couple of right villains."
"actually sir i think they are - were - harry the haberdasher and jake the bricklayer - if you don't mind my saying so, sir."
two shots rang out piranhas on easter island in pursuit of a

"well, it's all the same now anyway, innit?"
"we watched the same movies you did."
"did ypu know these gentlemen, sir?"
"yes. i did."

'i believe they were harry the haberdasher and jake the bricklayer - a pair of notorious malefactors."
"as a matter of fact they were harold anderson, who owned a chain of home appliance stores in colorado and new mexico, and jackson johnson, the owner and managing partner of a fuel cell business in haverford, pennsylvania. i've known them both for twenty-five years."
"how many times did you have totally hot man sex with the other inmates?"

"liar liar pants on fire."
"rude little devil, isn't he?" jacques asked his mother.
"he is a marquis."
"that's no excuse for bad manners."
"what do they teach these kids these days?"
"ah, you were well served to be safe in prison, mon enfant."

"we'll sort it all out at headquarters, sir."

"we watched the same movies you did."