Monday, December 17, 2007

Mrs. Diamond

When the weather springed, he walked to school in lieu of taking the bus. His neighborhood formed a figure eight that was bordered by a sprawling network of gently rolling fields. His cereal eaten, his orange juice downed, his brown bag clutched in his hand, off he went past the Cape houses, split-level ranches, and A-frames. There was no cul-de-sac, just a bend in the road where no houses had been built yet. Cross the creek on the stones and you were in the first field.

Up to your left you saw a farmhouse that had been burnt down some time ago. An old woman named Mrs. Diamond lived there and she had taken on supernatural qualities in the mythic gossip of 3rd graders. Whether she was a witch or not, she certainly looked and acted the part, wearing a black dress, white apron, bonnet, etc. In his mind’s eye and memory she even carried a broom.

She had cows, chickens, crops. Everyone who walked to school feared these cows; somehow they’d become Pamplona killers, anti-Ferdinands intent on protecting their Mistress’ property. It was as if you had to walk through the end of the 18th century to get to school.

Rumor had it that Mrs. Diamond would shoot anyone who tried to cross her property. Perhaps the broom had been a shotgun? He couldn’t remember anymore. But he would never forget the crow.

The crow actually prompted him to walk to school earlier in the year than usual. It was a late spring day, which in his corner of New England meant something like winter. Damp. Chill. A winter coat made you sweat and a spring coat left you shivering. The morning bus stop ritual was exhausting and unavoidable. The worst part was that the school bus stopped directly in front of his house, which was something like having twenty uninvited guests every day. They were only in the front yard, to be sure, but the effect was the same. To walk to school you went left from his house. Two telephone poles down sat the crow.

The bus wasn’t due for another ten minutes or so. He wandered down to look at it. He later wondered if he’d have been as interested if it were sitting on the wire instead of outlined against the gray, underlined by the hard line of the top of the pole. Just as he arrived, it rose and flew two more telephone poles further away from the bus stop. He remembered thinking, “Why the hell not?” This sort of language was out of character for him inside of his own head. With the other boys he’d swear from time to time if he was really angry. This internal curse was his first casual profanity.

Before he knew what was happening, he was walking to school with the crow. It led the way to where the road curved away from Mrs. Diamond’s expanse. It expected him to continue the parabola, pushing up the hill to begin completing the figure eight. But when he detoured across the vacant lot, the crow overtook him and landed in the tree above the creek.

This pattern continued across each field. Sometimes the crow would take off and he thought that was the end of it, whatever ‘it’ was. But the crow always came back. He never broke his stride as he walked past the cow/bull; he didn’t worry about Mrs. Diamond rushing from her blackened husk of a house with a double-barreled shotgun. He breathed in the morning air. He surveyed the tops of the trees. He saw where each of his feet landed. His mind was blank.

When he walked through the back door of the school, he turned and saw that the crow was perched atop the jungle gym. The kids called it ‘The Dome’. Bars formed triangles, the triangles formed the dome. He thought about giving the crow a name and then thought better of it.

The day went by.

Recess came. The crow was gone.

End of day bell.

The crow was back.

They made their way across the fields again. His brain was no longer clear. Questions flooded his awareness like bugs around a picnic. Why him? Why now? What had happened to the crow in the world of crows that made him seek out human company? Would the crow be lonely if he took the bus? Should he feed it as they meandered, draw it closer? Should he call the ASPCA? Should he share this with his friends? His sisters? His parents? Could he train it to deliver secret messages? Would his relationship to this particular crow be some fulcrum on which the entire fate of mankind rested?

That last question was asked in a state of humorous hyperbole. But as it turned out, fate itself was at stake, not solely that of mankind.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fabricating Sports Animosity for World Series

Normally, this blog is a strange corner filled with spur of the moment fiction. Today is a little different. Since the Boston Red Sox are returning to the World Series and playing the Colorado Rockies, it is time to portray our opponent as the enemy. Here are 5 good reasons for Red Sox fans to go into a rage...

1. Their park is named after a man named 'Adolf'

2. Every time you fly to the West Coast there is turbulence over the 'Rockies'

3. They killed Kenny

4. They had YEARS to come up with a team name and the best they could come up with was the 'Rockies'?

5. There is now a direct link between the World Series and John Denver

Sox in 6.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Good Bye, New York

Soon I will be taking my last train
It's mainly in the evening
That it can all seem in vain
When the pain is raining canes on ya
But you don't have your legs no more
You've got to make your exit
Before slipping out the backstage door

So floor it, honey
Unpop that effing cork
Let's celebrate
Good bye, New York

They may have made mountains of your buildings
They made you walk the bridges home
They made you grieve in tiny boxes
They made you wanna hide your Cadillac chrome
They blackmailed you with severed heads
They made unreasonable demands

Too much tension
Too much torque
Good bye, New York

From Grand Army Plaza up to Harlem
Flies a scarred and angry stork
He cries, "It is today! They are forgiven!
Here's a New America baby!
Say hello! Good bye, New York!"

I could close my heart off to them
Write 'em off or back 'em down
I could hate all of their brethren
But that's not how we do it in this town
They have to wait 'til Paradise
We exalt our virgins now
Or were they really after raisins?
Either way I'd have shown them how
This road must fork
Good bye

Too much tension
Too much torque
Floor it honey
Unpop that effing cork
Let's celebrate

Good bye, New York

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Unreal Estate Agent

She had walked by this little storefront on her way to work in the haberdashery. When she'd applied for the job, she'd no idea what a haberdashery was. She thought it had something to do with meat. A flyer was posted on a lamp post asking for an assistant. She'd called the number and been offered the job before the call ended. The owner thought her voice was perfect for saying, "Good morning, Uptown Haberdashery, what kind of hat does your head need?" He had very specific ideas about how to get wrong numbers interested in hats.

Today was the 3 month anniversary of that conversation and her life had settled into an almost dreamy state of bliss. The haberdashery smelled fantastic, the pay was decent, and she could walk to and from work in less than 10 minutes. To top it all off, single men always seemed to crave something to cover their heads.

But in those 3 months of pedestrian commuting she'd never noticed this particular storefront. A dark green curtain hung behind the glass. An old fashioned globe sat immaculate on a dark wooden pedestal. In lettering so small she had to frost the glass with her breath, the words "The Unreal Estate Agent" was stencilled.

Her nose twitched and the faint scent of mesquite disappeared before she could place it. A discrete speaker drizzled some sort of clazzical elevator crap. Kashmir by Zeppelin? She couldn't say. Voices inside grew slowly louder as they approached the door. She had the strange impulse to shrink away, hide. Pulling her shawl around her she angled herself to the next door window and pretended to inspect religious pamphlets.

"Thank you so much for stopping in," a voice rumbled. "And I can't tell you how glad I am that you are happy in your new home."

Smoke and flute mixed in the reply. "A woman finds it difficult to trust. The thanks are mine."

Heels moved away.

"You don't really want to be reading that, do you?"

As she turned, she saw the buildings across the street in the window glass, a man stepping out of a shower through curtains, a cloud peeking over a fire escape, the globe on the pedestal behind those reflections, and finally the rumbler in the doorway.

"Come look at something before you go to work..."

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Icon Do It

Leaving home was hard back when home could be left. Now you're born without a home so you can never leave. The only way we distance ourselves from our birthplace is through personal upheaval and pain. Used to be folks went off to college to experience another environment. Not anymore. Today you go to college to get your heart broken.

Whitworth was your average guy in high school. Meaning he was unique and anonymous. Girls liked him from time to time and occasionally he liked one of them back enough to ask her out. Things would get a bit hot and heavy in a cinema parking lot and then the girl didn't seem familiar to him anymore. Sensing this gap the girl would reveal more of herself, but that only heightened his disconnect. Then he'd go back to hanging out with his friends, who always seemed familiar, never changed.

Lots of sports on TV with pizza and soda. Waiting for everyone to fall asleep so he could be alone for a little while. Never having enough sleep. College would be different, he'd hear people say. He doubted the transformative power of higher education but longed to see what it was all about.

It sounds same-ol' same ol', but things were different then, only 20 years ago. Catching a glimpse of the naked female form was a big deal, people still got freaked out when musicians screamed instead of sang, and cable TV was a novelty NBC/ABC/CBS pooh-poohed. If you wanted to find out about a band, you had to ask someone who might know. The last truly local generation.

All of a sudden, college. Whitworth now longed to traverse the unfamiliarity that opened up upon physical contact with a girl. The girl seemed to be shocked by this transformation from her high school equivalent. Boys and girls walk around campuses in a constant state of shock at their first unedited contact with the opposite sex. Tragedy and lust now coexist with morning coffee.

Them brains and hearts is exploding all the time. Today? They've been ash and debris since age 3. Zero to sixty in utero. Oh these poor children and the world they'll always know.

Whitworth ordered his first legal beer with no ceremony and punched the window out of his Honda Civic a mere 45 minutes later. They said he couldn't go in there anymore but why would he want to hang out with a bunch of frat boys and coke sluts? He'd quit the whole damn shebang but these were the best times he was ever going to have.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Blasted Femur

God can be such a shit. Seriously. Where is the parental intervention? When my kid busts a toy or rips a page out of his book, he gets put in a timeout. This dude summons tidal waves and giggles. Ooh, I'm gonna watch a virus wipe out a whole continent and I'm gonna let superstition and ignorance be the main coping mechanism!

Cause and effect means that somewhere the parents of this God are watching. And doing nothing. Are they celestial heroin addicts? What the hell are they doing while their kid toys with a whole planet?

I used to deny the existence of God but now I feel that we as a race must collectively spank the little shit and send him into his room. If we all meditate on it, I think we can make him cry and shame him into taking a little better care of his toys.

Monday, July 30, 2007


She rolled over, struggling with an angry pillow, tried to kill her alarm clock and knocked a lamp to the floor. She stubbed her toe on the little table outside of her bathroom that she displayed magazines on. After the inevitable shaving mishap and the strange lotion put on the toothbrush, she took one bite of an impossibly stale croissant before throwing her hands up and refusing to continue with her day.

Back in front of the bathroom mirror, an idea struck her...

So simple she was surprised she hadn't thought of it before. Her synapses buzzed with the beauty of it and she could already feel her cells rejoicing. The side of her neck began to pulse and she felt a small flicker of joy down below. No time to waste, or so they say.

That surge of energy began to channel itself madly throughout her system. The transformation was immediate and significant. Her hair began to elongate and flatten, her harms tightened and shrank. Her legs burrowed into the tile.

When her rent was late, the landlord sent eviction notices. Getting no reply, he went through with the eviction and hired movers to bring her belongings to Good Will. He'd been in the bathroom when he got back to his desk. 4 messages in the last 2 minutes from the moving crew. Great, had she barricaded herself inside, refusing to budge?

"Yeah, Mr. Banks, we got all the furniture out but you're gonna wanna come check out the bathroom before you try to rent this place. There's a tree in there."

Friday, July 27, 2007

Cardinal Syndrome

What does an old bird do when his feathers are less lustrous than they were back in some aerial heyday?

He'd left the house he'd lived in after 37 years, hired a full-time nurse, and purchased a plot of land somewhere between Montana and Pennsylvania. Identifying it on the internet was the hard part. The easy part was watching anonymous workers dump his belongings into the giant dumpster placed right beneath his crusty bedroom.

But what was the deal with the nurse? She wasn't some husk crouching towards a cemetery plot...what motive did she have for taking this gig? Sure, he offered her a lot of money, but still. She was 23 and had less connection with the vague state they were relocating to than he did. This intrigued him and he hoped the mystery would twist in front of him, never truly revealing itself until the moment before they put the coins on his eyelids.

As he pictured it, she'd be gently mopping his brow and cooing him to sleep. He'd intuitively know that this was no sleep, this was the real deal, this was the primo-el-end-of to end all be-alls. He'd gaze piercingly up at her and respectfully beg her to tell him why, why had she left everything behind to care for him who she had never met before taking this absurd plunge.

She'd purse her lips, look off into the distance, lean down closer to him, lavender and lilac enveloping him like a dress slit up to a thigh, and unburden herself in toto.

"You see, when I first saw you..."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Absence Makes The Heart Grow

I feel a frown. This is a cue that I might have a chip on the ol' shoulder, that I might be feeling a bit jerked around, that my red has been reached, that Mt. St. Helen's is reincarnating in my belly. So I do a little inventory...why the not-so-warm-and-fuzzies? Why the upside down camper? What the hell?

If I could answer that question, I might not find myself in this position. And no, I'm not frowning because I am currently incarcerated. I frown not because I am in a stalemate with my cellmate. Those are easy reasons, easy peasy. Something else is going on and I only hope I figure it out in time. When I don't, my life gets worse exponentially.

See, when I am angry and I don't know why, simple tasks become difficult. Words fly from my tongue before I speak them, forks become complicated. You know how an old toy that runs on batteries will herk and jerk while trying to suck the last bit of juice out of those little cells? That is me in the throes of an unidentifiable temper tantrum.

So whenever I get that twitch, that highway wreck, that double murder down the street, that thing going on in my lil' ol' noggin, I pay attention.

Like I said, today I haven't figured it out yet. But it might be time for a new cellmate.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Coin of the Realm

This was the part of the job he hated. All week he enjoyed the early rise, the long quiet bike ride with the heavy bag full of papers, the small signs of stirring, the late night stragglers struggling with house keys. But then the serenity of routine would shift come Sunday and people had to pay him for his services.

Yeah, he got paid, but all it meant to him was he had to deal with these people. They weren't asleep today, they had to pay up. You'd think he was coming to collect the vig from a late lowlife in a scummy Italian restaurant, instead of picking up a few extra bucks to be able to buy pizza after school got out.

To make matters worse, he had a new customer. He'd not met her yet, but she lived in an apartment building, house really, that was filled with angry septegenarians. As bad as making regular visits was, the first visit was always the worst for him. His normal bike-ride sweat would be layered over with a nervous sheen, an anti-social coat of perspiration. All of a sudden he'd be far more aware of what he was wearing, the sound of his voice, the way he walked, all of that shit.

The apartment complex was a big old Colonial house really, one he'd stood at the front door of many times. Someone would come trudging down the hall on a walker, or roll out in a scooter. He'd never had a customer on the second floor, which he'd not noted before this morning. He rang her buzzer. Just a second, she said, and buzzed him in.

Disoriented by the invitation, he hesitantly stepped through the door. Standing in the lobby he felt like an explorer. His bag of papers seemed to gain shape and weight, but somehow became more pleasant to carry. A door opened out of sight above him and heels clicked on hardwood. His blood picked up.

A brunette with wet hair and a purse over her shoulder approached the top of the steps. She asked him what she owed him but he didn't hear her. As she sat on the highest step and began to rummage through her purse, her bare knees clung together to repel his eyes. They almost totally succeeded.

Somehow he made her laugh; maybe about the huge sum she owed him, maybe a self-deprecation about his timeliness or lack thereof. Either way, that sound was to be the last sound he heard as a child. By the time her laugh had tapered off, he was thinking like a man.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


There was nowhere to hide. If nothing changed and quick, they were more than toast. They were some coyote's bread and butter.

The hike had started early and was peppered with recreational drug use, junk food, and not enough water. By the time they hit the small expanse of grassland that tucked up against the towering facade they aimed to climb, they were dehydrated, stoned, hungry, sugar crashed, and exhausted.

That was before the strange electronic bubble enveloped their little camp. It was like something out of an early MTV video...mildly menacing and slightly sexy, fakely real and velveeta cheese-y.

Daphne was the first to panic and try to break through. Since there wasn't more than three feet of space between the entrance to their tent and the inner edge of the wacky dome, her charred remains wound up smoking and smelling mighty nasty.

Cricket, who had dated Daphne on and off ever since he started dealing pot a year and a half ago, was horrified at the carnage but some small flame of relief turned on and he realized that he'd never loved her. He wisely kept this from Sandi, Daphne's best friend and his best customer. She'd freak out even more if she found out that he wasn't really sorry to see Daph go.

So, none of this was very reassuring, but then things got worse. The pressure of the lava lamp invader quickly rendered them incapable of moving. They could feel impulses racing to their appendages, attempting to deliver the message, and feeling like many sad adolescent teenage boys used to feel before call-waiting changed the world.

They all writhed under the shifting lights that raced through the membrane that surrounded them. The sun went down and shortly after that, the kooky cage simply disappeared. But they still could not move.

Many miles away, a pack of desperate wolves picked up their scent. Normally they wouldn't have anything to do with man, but something told them this would be like an all you can eat buffet. And that, as they say, was that.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Discovery and Stupidity

The young god was very far from home. His mom was going to be upset with him later on and would probably only let him eat one or two solar systems before going to sleep for millenia. But that was for later, when he returned to Mt. Crackitybang where all the gods lived. He was supposed to be meeting his Uncle Prism who was going to show him all about forging stars and blowing them up, but he took a detour to earth before his lesson began.

He inched over the mountain, shining his giant mag-lite all around. He didn't see the structure that tripped him up, but before he knew it he was face first in the ocean, bleeding from his lip. He was really going to catch hell now, because his star-garment was creased and wet.

He ripped a giant swath of sod from the slope of the mountain and began to dab at the stain. Little beings dropped from it and they looked funny. The little noises they made stopped when he stomped on them. They didn't taste so good.

The impromptu dab only spread the seawater around. HE WAS GOING TO BE IN SO MUCH TROUBLE. He hated it when his mom yelled; watching galaxies get sucked into her screaming vortex made his tummy feel bad. This stress made him think he couldn't find his way home. Oh boy, did he begin to cry.

By the time he was done crying, the teeny bad-tasting things were shooting things at him and arguing over what he meant in the grand scheme of things. He just made it in time for the star tutorial with Uncle Prizm, who promised that he could keep a secret.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Precursors and Lectures

It had not been a good morning for Professor Simmons. His automatic coffee maker had shorted out sometime during the night so he had to wait bleary eyed and weary for each little damn brown drop to plop. European presses are too kitschy to wake up to and this offended his faux Proletariat facade.

When he was younger, the whole cravat/tweed pretense read more like eccentricity. Now, it was like a cursor beeping at the end of a list of errors in judgement. Deep in his heart he heard every muttered derision, every passing car transported a soul that saw him and scoffed. His every moment was suffused with acceptance of his failure; and yet, like a late evacuee in a flood, there his head bobbed, there he denied the swirling fate that enveloped him.

He didn't have a bad wig, but he might as well have.

His first seminar of the day was in a bland hall tucked away behind the Biology monstrosity. The desks in the drably lit room were so like elementary school that he half expected Jimmy Travis to jump on him and pull his pants down in front of that girl he liked. His students shambled in like the suckers they use to fill out police lineups, innocent but just barely.

Without greeting them formally, Simmons began. Coffee lids, powdered pastry in plastic wrap, zippers on backpacks, earplugs coming out, all these sounds fought him until he was just far enough into the lecture so that he couldn't start over. The collective lack of interest in the room was enough to put pre WWII Germany to shame.

Suddenly, without provocation, to the surprise of all present, most of all himself, Professor Alton Simmons began to laugh at it all. And once he did this, something even more surprising happened. His hair began to grow at an alarming rate. By the middle of the seminar he almost tripped over it while staggering into the corner in a fit of giggling. Surprisingly, none of the students called 911...

Friday, February 9, 2007

Ooga Ooga and Such

A caveman sat among his cavemen brethren. Being a leader of men, a precursor to the great figures of human history, he exhorted his fellow strivers to attain new heights of knowledge and action heretofore un reached by man.

His hairy hand scratched his stinky ass, whereupon he raised it to his nose. "Ooga ooga," quoth he. "Oooga ooga ooga ooga, ooga! Oooga oo."

Hearing such eloquence, many of the men burst into tears, or perhaps the snot that was already dried on their face simply fell off all at once. Either way, they had been forever changed by this burning light of existence. Moving as one, they followed him out of the cave. A vast valley opened before them, teeming with God's spawn in all shapes and sizes. One of God's spawn jumped out from behind a tree and bit the arm off the third dude in line. The rest of them moved a bit further along the path and just let that shit happen.

After two fights and a few short stops so someone could take a crap, they emerged off of the rise and onto the plain. Then they got distracted by a few babes who were hanging out by the stream picking bugs off of each other and eating them. The cavemen sat drooling mightily and not one of the babes was afraid of being exploited by pornography. One of these fair maidens crapped too, so free she felt of pression.


The valiant voice of the chosen one was like a cold splash of water on a sleeping woolly mammoth. The day hung in the balance; a long brutal hunt which could result in little more than sweat, or a day of luxury with some hotties.

What followed was long retold ooga by ooga; tears of ooga ooga oo lifting the memory into more than myth. The sun went down and the cavemen and women rushed our race towards this blog.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Prophet of Dreams

There once was a man who found his system suddenly inverted...his daily life was filled with strange imagery, impossible feats, apocalyptic pleasures, and erotic tragedy. Once night fell and his eyes dropped shut, probability defined events instead of imagination, and calm settled over him even though he craved the rush of his waking life.

Soon his ability to maneuver through his day was impeded and he was forced to allow the full force of his reality to sweep him away. Whirling without limit he would find himself atop a mountain on the other side of the world with a strange arctic insect buzzing about his ears waiting for a tiny bit of skin to be exposed to a deadly bite. His fatigue would overtake him and he would find himself sipping coffee at his kitchen table reading the sports page. The relief was indescribable.

The dream would pass without incident and he would hold his eyes shut as long as he could. Flipping the lids up he would see a vast tract of pine covered grassland. Untouched by humanity prior to his arrival, he would nonetheless come across a carpet laid out perfectly between two identical firs. The swirling reds and browns and blacks of the rug against God's canvas created a hallucinatory effect and his bare feet hovered over it, feeling the man-made moss and marveling at the elephant next to his big toe.

The rug jerked beneath him and he fell into an Indian sit. Haltingly it raised to the first level of branches of the tree, which lightly brushed his arm. In a shot he was above the trees and the landscape spread out beneath him like a fan in front of a beautiful queen.

This time, the arrival of his nightly routine dream was not a relief...

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Welcome One and All

This is a whim of the highest order, inspired by my wonderful older sister Sheila. As I have leapt before I looked, the full style and look of this little corner of the web will be as fluid as needs be. As the big boys always remind us, everything is subject to change.

The first push-pin has been put onto the cork board.