Tuesday, April 24, 2007

bureau listed martini

After an embarassing week of lousy articles, Maxtor Simplex, a refugee, handed back his journalist's I.D. to his editor and caught the next plane for the Florida Keys.

Hours later, checked-in, unpacked and sporting loose fitting attire, he relaxed in a wicker chaisse longue under a palm tree in Key West and sipped sparingly at his drink, the bartender's own invention, mostly rum and tequila, called without a touch of irony, a molotov cocktail.

The bartender was not an emigre, he just thought the drink was explosive.

Maxtor let himself be lulled by the slurp of lazy waves along the white sand beach. The climate was idyllic.

In twenty years, he reminded himself, this beach, and the hotel where he stayed, El Relaxo, would be 4 metres under water.

But not now, not yet.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A song that could be sung by a Thomas Pynchon character

Johnny Hawkeye, a linguist and human oubliette, to the tune of some old nostaligic song from his childhood, began to sing:

I wonder when
The sun will rise
upon the day
when I will
climb onto the
shore from this
wet town this
ocean village where
I am drowned

I wonder when
people will see
there is a place
for those who pee
upon the cars
they do not own

is that not what
this life is for?

I've been away
and I've been home
but I don't know
which way I've gone

At darkest night
in midday sun
I see the stars
and songs don't come

I feel the creak
of years gone by

but less and less
as time goes by

No I don't know
but I do know this
as I grow on
feel less and less

Am less and less

As suddenly as he had begun, Johnny stopped. The auditorium was empty, the building scheduled for demolition, no crowds would ever fill these seats again. Johnny had sung his bad poetry out to an empty room, an invisible audience, lost in time, neither recorded nor written down, extemporaneous, off the cuff, improvised, incomplete.

Perfect, thought Johnny.

He was, as usual, more often than not, wrong wrong wrong.

Friday, April 13, 2007

smoke smoke smoke

Johnny looked down at his fingers, in a state which Johnny imagined to be anguish, at the end of his stubby roots he found, after several days happily without, a cigarette.

He had resisted, his friends had told him 'no!' But didn't they know Johnny often did the opposite of what people said?

But that was beside the point, Johnny had been enjoying himself, enjoying his company, the conversation, the evening, yet the ingenious nature of his former prison dragged him back for (is any pun ever truly not intended?) a few drags.

For the sake of memories, knowing full well the minor mental torture he may endure in the morning.

He'd tried the four d's: delay, deep breaths, drink water (okay, beer), and do something else.

Hopefully it had worked to the extent that he wouldn't have locked the door behind him this time?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

dates russian double

It was brought to Vera's attention by her neighbour.

"There's been a man watching your door," said Carol, a housewife.
"How can you be so sure?" said Vera, a product manager.
"He keeps leaving things under your door," said Carol.
"What, you mean these pizza flyers?" Vera produces a thick sheaf from her purse.
"Yeah! Hey, why don't you get rid of those?" said Carol, but Vera was already past her and out the door and waving goodbye to the doorman, Alphonse.

Carol couldn't see the love letters written on the other side of the flyers.

Vera had enough embarassment in her life already, by her estimation, An attractive single woman with a good job, good promotion prospects, a heavenly taste for fashion and a devilish taste for wine, who could refuse her?

Or fail to be intimidated by her?

She loved the pizza flyer boy, because he didn't know enough to know what couldn't be done!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

non-fiction guest appearance #1A

My non-fiction alter ego, Benny, has posted the following article on why boys and girls (of any persuasion) can't find one another. It may be provocative. Comments are encouraged, except for the smug ones:

All the relationship adviced off the top of my head.

And as an added footnote for those coming to Benny's site from B8A, some cryptic advice: Some things can only hurt you if you believe in them. The challenge is knowing which is which.

Salud mes Salops.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

suffice panic knacker

This time, would it be different? Terry didn't know but he was willing. Why was he willing? Because he didn't have anything to hold on to other than his willingness. Terry was one of those people who would keep trying despite themselves. In a sense, he had dug a hole in his yard looking for dinosaur bones and upon failing immediately, had resolved to dig deeper rather than dig somewhere else, or possibly go to the natural history museum.

We have not yet discovered what Terry was willingly trying to do.

Terry himself didn't know, he would follow his train of incidence through his day, with nothing more concrete than some other person's story, his old neighbour's in fact, in his mind.

Old Bob Johnson had lived in the neighbourhood long before Terry moved in. Everyone expected him to be there when they moved out. A quiet, reserved man, if not outright secretive.

Nobody knew how and where and when Johnson had made his fortune but everyone was convinced he had some, with no visible means of support, his house was always in top condition, making newer houses built on the street seem old by comparison after even a few years exposed to the elements, yet Bob Johnson's house was so old it even had a name, Carter House.

Then there were the lights. Once or twice, magical mysterious lights had been witnessed by serveral neighbours, including Terry, coming from the house, concentrated in the cellar, piercing the heavy shades that draped the tall Victorian windows.

Speculation on what Old Bob was doing down in his cellar ran from smelting Spanish gold to teleporting aliens onto earth from a cloaked ship in orbit.

That last was a favourite among the teenagers. Terry didn't subscribe to any of these theories himself. Naturally people had once or twice plucked up the courage to ask Bob about the lights when the opportunity arose, at street parties or the annual homeowner's association barbeque.

Bob wasn't antisocial, he attended neighbourhood functions, some might say he was taciturn but Terry had often talked garden-talk with Bob over the years.

Until that day, 6 months ago, when a lawyer had knocked on his door.

Bob had passed away in the night, he said, Bob had no surviving family, he said.

Bob had willed his house to Terry, he said.

Terry was now the owner of Carter House.

That was months ago, now. Terry rented his house to a young couple, he needed the extra income to continue the upkeep of the house. Or that's what he claimed.

The rent covered more than maintenance, utilities and upkeep.

There was enough left over to switch to part-time teaching duties at the university.

There was enough left over for that.

And the other thing. Which Terry couldn't really put into words.

But for the first time in his life, Terry felt that something was happening, it was thrilling, not a fright but a terror, something was happening that he couldn't precisely (even vaguely, he admitted to himself) define.

Many years later, after the lights coming from Terry's place had been witnessed by at least two neighbours, the current tenants of his old place asked him about them.

He answered, as enigmatically as Bob might have done, with the following story.

Once upon a time, a husband, dutiful to his wife in all things, and truthful and thoughtful and conscientious to a fault, was confronted when he came home one day by his spouse with a question: "Honey, I was in your study the other day and I noticed that your desk drawer is locked,"

Without mentioning his disapproval that she had been shuffling around his papers or being in his study at all, he replied to the question directly.

"Yes, it is,"
"What's in it?"
"Nothing,"

No more would he say. And his wife accepted this for a while because he was truthful and thoughtful and conscientious to a fault in all other things.

But that locked drawer tugged at her and yanked at her and in the end, though she would never have put it this way herself, that locked drawer led to her divorcing her husband.

In the separation agreement,. which her husband dutifully, yet sadly signed, she made sure she got his study desk.

She opened the locked drawer on the day it arrived at her new apartment, the key already in the lock.

There was nothing there.

Abandoning all pretense, she phoned her ex-husband.

“What was in the drawer!” she knew he’d know what she meant.
“I told you so many times, nothing,”
“Why?” she yelled, suddenly all their conversations about that drawer over the years clicked forward into a new and horrifying configuration, she knew what he was going to say, word for word, before he said it, she inhaled sharply.

“I just wanted a little space.”

He hung up the phone so he didn’t have to hear her scream.

That’s the story Terry told his neighbours.

Soon, Terry was the oldest resident on the street. Everyone thought he’d die there.

They were only half right.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Wordless Wednesday #1A


Peter Sobchak in Zakopane / March 2007
Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 02, 2007

screen blinks vanishes

It's a tragedy, having insight. But to make that claim unpretentious I'll have to explain with a story.

Imagine, if you will, a guy, lets call him Bob, who considers himself of average intelligence, average ambitions, average abilities. Now, you realize if the statistics are true that the average person will rate themselves as above average in questionnaires. Let's assume that's true of Bob too. so when he says average, he means a little bit more. Just like you?

Travelling into Bob's youth, we notice the usual triumphs, mistakes and humiliations. Schoolyard hazing and experiments with crime. So far, so average.

Now comes the big left hook, the road less travelled having made all the difference and all that.

Bob decides he wants to be a writer, how and why? The attention? The comforts of academe? Only Bob knows.

So Bob thinks about how his favourite writers got to where they are, way before Bob discovers there is even the concept of modelling behaviour, Bob chances on the notion. Even though his favourite writers don't always know how they do what they do, Bob will simply live how they lived.

The writing should emerge from the living. Life is a support system for art? Or the other way around? Bob never remembers which way the quotation swings.

Now many years later, having lived here and there, up and down, importantly in and out, Bob realizes he has something to say.

Too much to say in fact, everytime he gets his grips on a topic it mushrooms and associates out of control.

Bob has coherence, Bob has cohesiveness, Bob does not have the courage to cut the story short.

Put another way, all Bob's hard won insights are interconnected so tightly that he can't always capitalize on them himself, let alone cut one or two free in any viable form.

But he keeps trying.

Shouldn't he keep trying?

time information liminal

"Never give anyone the power to make you happy," said William, an old friend.
"But all I want is to find someone who'll make me happy," said Tery, an old friend with relationship problems.
"Give someone the power to make you happy and you've also given them the power to dissappoint you,"
"So what should I do?"
"Keep the power to yourself, take responsibility for your happiness,"
"What about when I don't feel like it?"
"Take responsibility for all your feelings, then you'll be free,"
"I'm not convinced,"