Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Menace

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                                                                         I’m the menace.
                                                                               . . .      . . .       

I’m the fly on the ass of the horse. The pestering gnat that soars congruently into the sclera of your eye. I’m the piss on the side of the toilet seat preventing you from sitting down. I’m the failure. The guy parent’s call an accident. I’m a curse word. I roll off the teeth, only touching tongue to the roof of my mouth. Mothers cover their children’s ears, because I’m foul audio. I’m the urban music your dad threw into the trashcan. I’m the walking disaster. The man with a bag and a bottle of two-dollar wine. People hold their noses when I walk by. They look to the ground and hope to god I don’t ask them for a dime. I’m a TV dinner. I taste like shit and I always burn the brownie. My corn goes down cold, and my gravy was pre-packaged in a Chinese sweatshop. I’m a couch potato, lazy and easily breakable. I’m a score of six hundred on the SAT. I’m a stalker. A watcher from afar. I’m the beast that periodically glances over from his end of the booth. I’m thinking. I’m always thinking. How the fuck did I get here?

                   . . .       . . .       . . .
           
She’s the cream that sits on the coffee. She’s the swirled storm shaped like a heart. She’s the poster on the highway. The November collection people can’t afford. She’s a nymph. Amethysts draped down the neck of a goddess.  She’s a French accent. The letter L. She’s the leading lady in an old Italian film.  She’s the second look. The too pretty to shut your mouth. The too smart to start a conversation. She’s two hundred on the BAR. A talker. A smile that meets nose to chin and a set of white teeth that say I do. She’s the angel on the other side habitually meeting my eye. She’s always looking past the dark and right back into the light. Her brown eyes tell me to relax. Stop looking so nervous. Everything’s going to be all right.  

                                                                              . . .        . . .
    
I’m the cat that landed on it’s feet. I’m the bingo spot on the slot machine. I’m the hole-in-one on a rainy day. The last man on earth. The guy that found his wallet. I’m the tree staring at the girl, shading her eyes from what we know as real. I’m not thinking that I’m a menace anymore. I’m not thinking that I deserve to die. I’m not thinking about anything, really. I’m not thinking.
                       
                                                                                   . . .

                  That I’m the luckiest man alive.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Down Blue Denim

            His fingers rubbed bloody across the thick stitches of his Levi Jean pockets. They were worn and grey, tattered from constant fidgeting. The knees had holes ripped across them like he had found the things lost in his mother’s closet circa 1979. Of course he had bought them like that. They were marked down forty percent, and it was a deal he couldn’t pass up. The pockets on the other hand; well he ripped those himself. The nerves would start at the heart and tremble outward towards his extremities. His speech was impeccable, but his hands shook like he needed a cigarette. Instead of grabbing for a pack, he wrung his fingers across the inner linings of his not so designer denim jeans.
            The dark man sitting next to him had a flat newsboy on his head, a cheap blazer, and a brief case that said he had either just moved to Hollywood or he had been there way too long.
             “Ser name, partner?” The man said.
“Robert.”
“First audition, Robert?” 
“First in a while.” Robert said.
“You don’t look much. How long you’ve been out here?  
“Came out here from Mississippi four years ago. Took a break for about a year.
“Say you couldn’t rid the itch.” The man said. “Looks like you damn wore those pockets.”
“Say I just about did.”         
             Robert pulled his fingers from his pockets and saw that the tips were starting to callus over. His sandpaper jeans were stained black across the belt from incessantly scraping his broken fingerprints over the top of them. If he had the money he would buy another pair, but all Robert had were his fucked up jeans, broken down van, and wadded up eviction notice that should've had a stamp splashed across the front of it reading: GO BACK HOME - YOU FAILED - BLACK PEOPLE DON'T MAKE IT IN HOLLYWOOD.
            “I think I just might have to catch the next one.” The man said.
            “What do you mean?”
            “Looks like this one’s going to you.”
            “You don’t know that.” Robert said.
            “But I do. I can tell. You want it so bad it’s printed on your face, your hands, your jeans.” The man said. “Say you don’t get it?”
            “Guess that’s the end of it then.” Robert said.
            “Desperate men prevail.” The man said. “Desperate men make hard decisions. Say desperate men make bad decisions as much as good... You really want this thing?”
            “I do. I better—at this point.” Robert said.
            “Hope you thought hard and read your lines.”
            “I read em’.” Robert said. “Every last word.”
            “I only got through half the damn book. Say you know more about what you’re doing in there than me.” The man said.
            They were waiting on a dark sound-stage blocked in by four fake walls that created a faux office. Artificial light hit them overhead in a low orange dim. Beautiful as the building shone on the outside Robert thought the inside would look much prettier. Of course it never did. Stubby walls sprawled across the large stage cramming a dozen sets into one building.  Just beyond the office sat a railroad and a street corner. A western movie built on concrete. Robert thought that fitting—for what he was about to do.
            “Robert Johnson.” A female’s voice rang out. She was wearing a sharp black pencil squirt that shaped her body all the way to her tied back up-do. Her hair was red, and her lips also, the color of fire. “You play the blues?”
            “I do not ma’am.” Robert said.
            “You’re auditioning for the lead?” The fire headed woman asked.
            “I am ma’am.”
            “Come along.” She said.
            Robert followed the woman out of the office and into the pitch-black sound-stage. Small lamps gave light to shadowy details of broken sets.  Costumes from old movies stood pushed aside in dusty corners. Relics from Hollywood’s past sat shoved away. Only time could tell when they would be boxed up for the next best thing. Somewhere at a rich man’s auction last year’s blockbuster was being sold in pieces, and here is where those pieces were made—at a crossroads built on concrete—with a fake train always ready to chug on by.
            “Stand on the red marker.” The woman said.
            A bright light shone across the marker blinding Robert’s eyes.  He squinted and could barely make out a train cabin, the large camera lens focused on him, the faint shadow of a man standing behind it, and the sudden largeness of everything that was happening. It was a suffocating feeling that started at his heart and moved slowly down the veins of his arms causing violent unstoppable shaking to the bones of his hands. 
            “Robert Johnson. Crossroads - Lead.” The woman said.
            “I know who he is.” The shadow spoke. “It’s nice to see you again Mr. Johnson.”
            “Wish I could say the same.” Robert Johnson replied.
            “We haven’t seen you in a while.”
            “Spose’ I was buyin’ my time.”
            “Have you read the lines?” The shadow asked.
            “I’ve read em’.” Robert said.
            “Have you thought about the role?”
            “I’ve thought about it.” Robert said. “That’s why I’m here isn’t it?”
            “Then we should start.” The shadow spoke.
             The camera light began to blink red. Robert still couldn’t see the figure causing the shadow, but he could feel it looming over him. He was standing there somewhere behind the camera and beyond the blinking red light. He stood on the other side of the body and the lens—the film that recorded the picture— it took a piece of Robert’s self he knew he could never get back. The camera would make a desperate man prisoner.
            “So Robert, what have you given us?” The shadow spoke.
            “I’ve given my home. I’ve given my family and my friends. I’ve burned every bridge I ever crossed. I’ve given my job—which was looking pretty good until I got the itch. Never had a loved one, Sir. Never had someone to call my own. All I ever had was this dream of mine. The work and talent—it doesn’t mean anything if you still have your soul.”
            “So what would you like from me?” She shadow asked.
            “I’d like to make an exchange.” Robert said.
            The shadow crept from beyond the camera and gently asked Robert to begin reading his lines. Through the bright light and fading black horizon Robert saw what he believed to be a smile. It curled up to the shadow’s cheeks exposing a row of white jagged teeth. Robert felt his heart stop, and his hand calm. He mustered up his courage and started reciting lines that he didn't remember to practice. They must've been around page 13; Mark: 4:15.
            “We’ll go far.” The shadow said. 
             And Robert knew it to be true.
           

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Watch Harry Abuse (Prologue)

  "One good thing about Music, when it hits you, you feel no Pain.” - Bob Marley

. . .                 . . .                   . . .

            When you know you know
            That’s what Harry’s mother once told him about the women he’d meet. There wouldn’t be electricity. There wouldn’t be stars. There won’t be that feeling that sticks to your gut. You won’t even see it coming, because you won’t be expecting it. But I tell you what Harry, when you know you know.
            Elizabeth liked to talk him up. She liked to whisper, “You’re the best, Harry. You’re the best damn musician I ever fucking met.”
            Elizabeth liked a lot of things. She liked her money, she liked her men, and most importantly she liked her drugs.
            “You’re the best. I swear it. But if you want to be the greatest you have to do what the greats did. Harry, you have to live their life.”
            “None of them lived past thirty!” – Harry said
            “What are you talking about? They’re still alive. They’ll live for eternity.”
She tapped the syringe lightly with her middle finger. It made a wooden sound that caused Harry to cringe.  He wasn't on the same level as Elizabeth. It's not that Harry was a prude. That was far from the case. It's just that people have to draw a line somewhere.
             Don't they? 
            “I don’t think I have to shoot heroin to be the next Mick Jagger.”- Harry Said
            “Who said anything about Jagger?” – Elizabeth proclaimed, “I want you to be the next Elvis Presley.”
            “Elvis! What makes you think I can even compare?” – Harry said.
            “When you know you know. “ Elizabeth whispered. Strapping a rubber band around his left bicep. “Sometimes things just are. You can feel it.”
            When you know you know, Harry thought. Which was crazy. It wasn’t more than three months ago Elizabeth first whispered that very sentence into his ear. He still remembers when he first saw her. She was wearing a black backless dress at a house party on Mulholland.  He spotted her at the fifty-yard line and her gaze practically dragged him towards her. She was the sun and everything revolved around her. Slowly her gravity pulled him closer. Now he realized, from a distance she was lovely- light and beautiful causing reason to his world, but when she brought him closer he saw her for what she really was. She was deadly. She was radioactive. And she was hotter than hell.  
            “Believe me, Harry. This is what makes them great. It’s not their music. They have producers for that. That's not their artistry. It's how they carry themselves. It’s what they do that make them good. Its what they abuse that make them great.”
            “How do I know when it hits?”
            “I just told you. When you know you know.”
Elizabeth stuck the needle into his arm and in that moment the sun shone brighter than it ever had before. He could feel it. The rays. It was great. He was going to be great.
He just knew it.