Monthly Archives: December 2013

Jazz Torn

Inspired by Jack. Digging the sneaky beat back rooms. Forever.

(c) 2013 by Tim Young

Jazz torn born from

The womb of a saxophone

In the smoky black room

Back room through a tangle

Of beads, seeds potions

Shot down like shots

Lungs bursting in the alleyways

Trying to keep with the beat

Big sticks falling hard on drums

Walking proud loud

Nobody ever says nothing about

Shutting it down

 

Morning is night when the time

Is right  the moon don’t know

Which way to turn

The sun is asleep

And nobody keeps watch

While the rest of the stars

 play in the twilight and burn

 

Someone was saying how long is the song

How long does this song intend to go on

Because the song is long and never  complete

 so no way was this tune ever gonna peak

 before another dawn had the chance to

 sit down and  eat

With the night who would soon be gone

 

In my dreams I still see his fingers moving

Like fireflies across them buttons on the horn

The riff repeats with the syncopated beat

Long after the drums have made their retreat

the piano perfect black and white

Croons like my baby in the jazz blast heat

 

Saxophone you shine like the sun

Perfect in your golden glare

Flaring at the end

Where all the notes bend

You call my name

Put my lame voice to shame

But lord knows how I love you

All the same.

 

Middle of the Night

I love the quiet of the stars and the darkness when there is no one else around.

(c) 2013 by Tim Young

 

 Crazy to sit here like this in the middle of the night surrounded by a chill and the silence of a billion stars. Getting lost in the distances and confused by the length of my arms poking into darkness. 
 
I crave a sandwich and a tall glass of milk in a well lighted kitchen with a kitchen smell where there’s a round table covered with a tablecloth yellow and blue. And a red candle glows.
 
And the little white lights way up high sparkle like the eyes of a big black bird.
And the bird is flying through the dark all the way into the night.
 
Then a moment arrives to move the billion stars into my little white bag. It’s too heavy to pick up so I push it under the tallest tree I can find. The tree sighs and shakes his heavy head.
 
It’s crazy in the middle of the night. I know the tree will kick the bag open. I know the big black bird will sit on my stars and claim them for his own.
 
 
 
 
      2.
 
 
I danced in the jungle with my foot a’shaking. The beat more than I
 
 could bare. The wind was a’blowing. The trees were a’bending like the road I drove
 
 in on. Nearly lost my life twice to speed and whiskey. And all I could feel was the 
 
 road under me. It felt hard, the road under me. 
 
 
 
 
     3.
 
 
Even in the middle of the night they still talked about a risky moon. A moon rich in gold. A moon like bacon, crispy and wrinkled. A moon tossed against a tall black wall. He swore it was higher than the sky and colder than winter.
 
Then the moon cried real white tears splashing into moon like memories covered with the ancient dust of lost love. The crying echoed like thunder and split the night in two. And one half raised a glass and the other blew a billion kisses.
 
 
 

Charlotte

Here’s a flash by the name of Charlotte. If only it were motels and wine all the time.

(c) 2013 by Tim Young

 

I smoked too many cigarettes under the big blue sky. I left my extra pack back in my motel room with the unidentified odor. I wandered over to the slow café where the bored waitress bummed a cigarette and smoked it leaning against the archway. Inside the radio was tripping through a static haze not quite as interesting as my hangover.
I plopped into one of the empty stools. The cook, I could see, was in the kitchen strumming poorly on a red beat up guitar. She stopped and looked at me with eyes whispering something about a love she had never found.
Since thinking was still on the drunk side I ordered a beer. The waitress came in and poured it in to a plastic cup. I didn’t say anything. I slurped it down in two enormous gulps. My belly rolled and the gas came up. With the second one I stepped outside to smoke. The waitress followed me. I caught myself staring at her hips and then the big blue carpet above.
I offered her another cigarette and lit it for her. She told me that was her mother in the kitchen. She said she could never finger the chords just right. She said she was a hopeless romantic. I thought about telling her how her mother had looked at me.
Half way through our cigarettes she told me her name was Charlotte. I told her mine. I told her how drunk I had managed to become last night after a few beers in the local dive and then half a bottle of Jack back in my room. She said she drank only wine. She said her mother was an alcoholic. I didn’t comment.
The late afternoon sun infiltrated Charlotte’s short reddish hair and brought mad red highlights to a fierce sparkle. She looked beautiful to my eyes and she looked sad.
The beer had perked my appetite, which until now had been visiting somewhere else. Charlotte told me after I had mentioned the word hunger that her mother made burgers to die for. I said I didn’t know about the dying part but otherwise it sounded like a good idea.
As I ate I thought about asking Charlotte to my motel for some wine. Tomorrow morning I would be driving to Omaha about ten hours east. After I paid my check Charlotte’s mother walked over to me and asked if I enjoyed the burger. I told her it nearly killed me. She laughed out loud and shook her head. I thought I noticed a little bald spot on top of her.
Charlotte met me at nine o’clock in my room. I opened the bottle of wine I had bought; and I had another just in case. We never did get naked in bed but her kisses, as the song says were sweeter than wine.
After a while we both fell asleep on the floor saying something about how it would be good for our backs. I couldn’t wake her when it was time for me to leave. I left a few cigarettes on the table along with a note.
Endcap

Snowed

Since the three previous posts of my writing have been on the extensive side I’ve decided to put up a shorty.

This is SNOWED. (c) 2013 by Tim Young

Hi. It snowed here this morning. The second I popped out of bed I had to run for my socks, the floors were freezing!

I looked out at the car and the windows were all plastered white. This meant I had to get out there earlier than I wanted to clean the stuff off. The radio said a ton of more snow was on the way and I have to drive twenty miles over to the next town to pick up Sally. Her girlfriend picked her up yesterday to do some Christmas shopping but then they ended up getting so drunk last night that Marsha, her girlfriend, couldn’t driver her home.

Now Marsha has to get into work so she can’t return Sally now either.

Between you and me, I’m not so crazy about Marsha anymore. She is constantly coming up with excuses to get out of things she has already promised. Bitch. I’m hoping this kind of thing doesn’t rub off on Sally. I’d be pissed…Oh and now, get this, i just tried to start the car and it won’t go and after i spent fifteen minutes scraping and picking at the snow. And now it’s beginning to snow really hard like the radio said.

Looks like Sally won’t make it home for Christmas eve. Hey man, let’s get drunk tonight. I’ve got this huge bottle of Patron I bought for Sally. I was only kidding about the car not starting!

Personal Shifts

 I had this fragment of a song I wrote years ago floating in my head the other morning. It went: “It’s so hard to believe that any of this is real.” I had the melody too but no other words or even the title. I’m positive I was talking about a political situation of the day, perhaps even one that hasn’t changed very much after all these years. It’s so hard to believe.

But I wasn’t thinking politics when the line merged into my conscious thoughts. Since July I have had a profound personal and cultural shift in my life. They say moving is on the list of top stress producing events and I’m of the mind that it’s true. 

I lived in mid-town Manhattan for over thirty years. I walked everywhere except to my girlfriend’s who lived in Astoria. Almost everything I had need for or wanted was right outside my door. The city surrounded me. I was able to observe my neighborhood slip into major changes over the years. New York is famous for change and it often happens while your eyes are wide open. 

My story, and I’m sure countless others, has important ties to the economy. I lost my job, my apartment was falling apart from the landlord’s constant neglect and then in the midst of all this my father falls seriously ill. The recession also pulled a major source of income out from under the feet of my girlfriend. New York was becoming an insurmountable roadblock positioned exactly on our checkbooks.

Then my dad died. My mother had passed five years previous. My younger brother before that. Aside from my grown son the ties to the city had now almost completely unraveled. So events seemed aligned to move us into another situation. With the little money I received from my father we decided on the radical departure to Sedona, Arizona.

Now there is a new life, new people and the culture of northern Arizona. Instead of skyscrapers, Sedona boasts its red rocks and they are stunning. And then there is the adjustment to a life with automobiles which were never on the list in New York.

Our checkbooks are still looking for answers but there is the hope and excitement of everything new including possibilities. Now instead of a crowded sidewalk outside the door there is a night sky crowded with stars. It’s so hard to believe that any of this is real.Image

Excerpt from RED BERET

Meet Happy. He is a most unusual one. Just when he thinks he has a grasp on things his whole world slips into another. He’s accustomed to it but that doesn’t make it any less strange.

Here’s an excerpt from the novel, Red Beret. (c) 2013 by Tim Young

 

I gotta tell you about my name.  I don’t even like to mention it but I’m feeling unless you know it you won’t be able to really know who I am.  And I want to tell you about myself so you will see that I’m not a totally crazy person.  In my opinion I am not a totally crazy person it’s just that I need to go off a lot.   I mean my head is a jumping off point but I’m sure that this will become a lot more clear as I go on with this tale.

My mother and father were folk musicians which always meant to me that they played acoustic guitars and weren’t that hot on the louder music that was the rock n roll.  They were big Bob Dylan fans before he went electric and were of that lot that thought he had betrayed the folk movement.  I wasn’t even born yet  and now I see it was just something he had to do.  Anyway there was this guy that sang and played with Bob Dylan in those early sixties and did the Newport Folk festivals and my folks just adored this guy.  His name is Happy Traum.  He never went electric as far as I know and so when I was born in nineteen sixty five my mother named me Happy after Happy.  Wow.  School was brutal.  There was no end to the’Happy’ jokes and I spent my time at school basically trying to hide under the nearest rock.  I begged and pleaded with the kids I knew to call me Happ or just ‘hey you’ anything but my name but of course that just made it worse.  In high school the kidding settled down a degree or two but never to the level I always wished for.  And it’s only for the fact that some jokes get tired that I was able to obtain any sort of peace at all.  I did manage to convince most of my teachers to use Happ but even they didn’t always remember or wanted to make some example of me by using my full name.  It sure didn’t make me want to attend college and go through all of those nightmares again but I was in the college prep section of my school.  My last name is Williams.  Simple,  direct, no problem.  My Mom and Dad have nice ‘normal’ names, Roger and Elizabeth and they were college educated but in the class of ‘what to name your kid’ I’m afraid they must have skipped every one.

So now I’m forty-two years old and have not attended college.  I’m still thinking about it though.  I think  about it often.  I look at college applications on line and I even fill them out but I never actually hit submit.  I live by myself about a ten minute drive from where I grew up here in Danport,Pennsylvania.
Roger and Elizabeth still live here too.  They don’t live in the house I grew up in because that was demolished to make way for the new Mall in town.  My father was never thrilled with that event but had no choice but to sell to the developer at a price that was ‘no damn good.’  So they moved to an apartment complex mostly because they were just sick that they had lost their home and because the thought of paying anymore in property tax to a town that would let this happen to ‘lifers of Danport’ as my father would say was just nuts.  I  live in an apartment too.  i guess I could say that it’s kind of a tribute to my folks but it’s also because there was no way I was ever going to spend money on a lawn mower or any of those things that one had to have to run a house.  No.  I just needed a room.  I never liked the idea of owning too many things; except maybe books and records.  Ideas really seemed to have more value to me than the latest trendiest whatever it was.

It was a damn good thing too.  My job, which I’ve had  for the past ten years now is not the cash cow that I would like to have.  I’m a night watchman.  I know today these jobs are generally referred to as ‘security guards’ but not by me.  Security guards?  That sounds way to much like something connected with the military or police force and those are two organizations that I choose to have absolutely nothing to do with. The idea of all fitting into the same uniform does not appeal to me.  That reminds me of one of the songs my folks loved and which I came to love to about people all fitting into the same box filled with ‘ticky tacky and all dressed just the same.’  Some of those folk songs did really hit the nail on the head.
but I was a night watchman because I could basically work by myself .  I didn’t need to interact with other people to earn my paycheck.  I simply had to make my rounds a few times during a night and stay awake.  Those were my two challenges every shift.  I had a desk with a phone and a fax machine.  I had one video monitor which revealed whoever was standing at the front door.  There was no one else in the building at night except for me.  The building was a storage facility and even though people had twenty four seven access to there stuff, after midnight they had to go through me, and so when someone did show up to drop off or pick up something it was a special occasion.  I didn’t really mind letting them in because it was my job after all but I never could appreciate that they might show up when I was well let’s say preoccupied.   

Man, time goes by like a whoosh.  I know it was  August when I saw that gawdy washing woman at the laundromat and right around then was the beginning of my sightings of the red beret girl.  Now November has just begun.  I’ve already done some Christmas shopping on line.  I bought my boss, Mr.
Miller, a new calendar for next year.  I wanted to get him a nudie one but sometimes I hear him mention something about Jesus; I don’t really pay attention after I hear that name mentioned but I do hear that name sometimes so I just got him one with exotic birds.  I don’t think he’d ever think that his version of exotic birds is not the exact image that comes to my mind.  So I was at work last night, as usual, and just about to crack open the snap top on an ice cold can of coca cola when I slipped.

The alley was dark except for one dim streetlight which stood erect at the dead end of the alley.  there were huge black and dark green bulging garbage bags stacked about tren feet high on either side  of the ancient red brick alley.  The street itself may have been paved a long time ago but now the surface was just bricks; all uneven and covered with a thin layer of something not so nice,  Kind of slimy.   i stood there smoking a cigarette i had just rolled from a package of Bull Durham.  The smoke hit my lungs and I felt so invigorated, strong and brave.  I flicked the ash carelessly and after a couple more deep drags i kicked the butt with my middle finger to a dark corner of the alley.  Then I moved closer to the stack of bags on my left and leaned against them, first cautiously to make sure they weren’t going to fall over, and then when I knew it was alright I leaned into it with my full weight.  My cell phone vibrated in my pocket.  I pulled it out and checked the caller ID, yeah it was Carlos, the man I was waiting for.  I guess my relationship with Carlos is like any of a junkie and his connection.  I needed the guy but I never thought of him as my friend.  Oh yeah, I’d call him friend to his face but we both knew it was a lie.  It was a lie because we had a decent connection together and so far there was no fuck ups.  No violence, no not even any misdemeanors, between us that is.  I really didn’t think of myself as a junkie.  Man I enjoyed every minute I was high.  I read that in England you could register with the feds if you were a junkie and they made sure your stuff was clean.  I could dig that.  My friend Amy who I had an affair with once for a few weeks, was a nurse and she kept me in clean works.  I never used the same needle twice.  Bad luck, I thought.  It was just a damn shame that Amy couldn’t hook me up with the smack too because then I wouldn’t be leaning against a garbage bag in a dark, slimy alley waiting for you know who.

Carlos had said five minutes.  I checked my phone and the five were history.  I began to roll another cigarette when i saw a shadow begin to fill some space at the opening of the alley.  I pulled open the tobacco pouch and took a whiff of the sweet aroma then i closed it back up.  I could see from the shape of the guys head that it was indeed Mr. Carlos.  I let him take about ten steps into the alley before I made a move to let him know i was waiting.  He knew it was me because this was a kind of routine that we had established over the past few weeks.  He wore a pork pie hat and stood about five feet seven inches.  His hair crawled down his back like a snake.  he wore it in braids and the bottom of it almost touched his ass.  His arms were short and powerful and covered with pin up girls tatoos.  He wore a red shirt with the sleeves rolled way high and everything else on the man was black.  I offered him the tobacco like i usually do and he kind of showed his teeth for a split second then ignored my gesture and reached into his hip pocket and pulled out what looked to be a portable CD player.  Once I saw that i reached into my jeans and put my fingers around the three twenty dollar bills that I had rolled in to one.  Then Carlos flipped open the lid to the CD player and withdrew my bag.  “What’s up?” I said as we made the exchange.  He looked at me, then turned around to leave.  He touched his hat as he walked back out of the alley.  I turned away just in time to see two large rats scurry behind the stack of garbage bags at the far end of the alley.  “Piece of shit,” I said to the rats as I turned and moved out of the alley.

My hand was wet and sticky.  I jerked it away from the puddle of goo that it had been resting in and hit myself in the head.  I had knocked over the can of  coke and the liquid had flowed down the desk and on to my pants leg and it was now dripping from my pants leg down into my sock and into my shoe.  I jumped up from my desk a bit too quickly and hit my knee under the desk as I stood up.  “Ouch, damnit ouch,” I wailed.  then I remembered a roll of paper towels that I had stashed in the bottom desk drawer because of a similar incident a few weeks ago.  I grabbed for the drawer and stubbed my thumb on the outside of the thing in my haste to open it.  Another ouch.  It seemed to take forever to clean up.   The paper towels just pushed the liquid around and around and after a while I could feel some wetness in my right sock.  I wondered if I had an extra pair of socks in my locker.  Maybe.  Locker always made me think of high school. why did I still have a locker now as a grown man?  Oh yeah, it must have something to do with the fact that I work for a storage facility.  Shit.  No sooner had I finished up with my mess did the red light on my desk go off indicating that I had a customer at the door.  I checked the monitor and saw that it was Emily,  Emily Conrad.  that was a relief.  Emily was one of the few customers that appeared on the over night and one of the even fewer customers that didn’t drive me absolutely nuts.  I knew that she was a night owl and keen to clean up her house at the oddest times of day.  As I buzzed her in I saw that she had a hand truck with her and several boxes stacked on there. She wheeled right on over to my desk.  “Hi Happ!”  She knew the drill.  Emily was my age, we had graduated high school together.  she had gone on to a Pennsylvania teacher’s college and has been teaching the third grade for as long as I could remember.  Her hair was a dusty brown, short and parted on the left side.  I especially enjoyed her eyes because they were somewhere between a blue and green and the sparkle inside them seemed to almost jump around.  She wasn’t real pretty but she looked cool somehow.  I think it was mostly because of that pinched smallish nose and the way her cheekbones protruded just the right amount.

“I was drifting off on my couch when I heard this ruckus in the hall closet.  Here Pepper, you remember my dog Pepper?  Well She was making a racket in the hall closet.  I guess I left the door open or something, anyway I got up and said, ‘Pepper, what the hell are you doing?!’  Then she barked and I saw that in the mess of things on the closet floor she had found an old box of chocolates I must have stashed there years ago.  she had opened it and  had eaten a few of them and was just then tearing at the rest of the box with her teeth.  Well, right then I decided that was my cue to get the junk out of that candy bin and get it out of the house.  So here I am.”  “Nice to see you Em.  Sounds like Pepper has a sweet tooth or two going there.  What’s in the boxes? ”  There were three tall boxes stacked neatly on the hand truck and they looked to be weighted down with a ton of stuff.  “Well,” she said, once I got in that closet I found that on the rack I had acquired  quite a collection of rain coats!  That’s pretty much all that was hanging on that rack, rain coats.  Slickers, some with hoods, some solids and  some prints.  You know real girly type rain gear but that’s not what’s in these boxes.  Behind the rain coats were stacked not even in boxes, old text books and stuff the kids had given me over the years.  I can’t imagine why I hadn’t put that stuff in boxes when I put it in there.  I haven’t even thought about those things forever.  And the chocolates, Happ, that’s the real mystery.  I keep my sweets in the fridge where I know I can find them at a moments notice but that box, well I guess I didn’t like the way it looked or something.  Ordinarily if I didn’t like a box of candy I suppose I would have just thrown it out but this one…well,” she laughed, ” at least Pepper got a little use of it before I took it from her and properly dumped it.”  I said, “you’re making me hungry with all this talk of chocolate.  You didn’t happen to bring any along with you did you Em?”  
“No, no I didn’t, but let me see,” she foraged around in her pockets for a second, “hey, I’ve got this pack of peanut butter crackers.”  she pulled out a package  of those peanut butter crackers those ones with the bright orange cracker, six to a package.  “Thanks, ” I said, “those are just perfect.”  “I’m glad,” she shot back, “because you still have a hunk of the night before you.”  “I know.”  With that Emily showed me that she had her key and moved down the long hall behind me making a right turn down the second aisle to her storage cage.

I heard Emily open her cage.  Just then a fearsome looking  jet black Hummer came crashing through the front window and three even more fearsome men, also dressed in black, hopped out of the vehicle, armed with what looked to me like portable cannons.  One of the guys ammo belts just immediately fell off the guy as he hit the floor.  The huge bullets scattered on the floor like rats running for cover.  I simply reached behind me in to my high powered rifle closet and grabbed a twelve guage pump shotgun.  The three men being distracted for a second because of the runaway bullets didn’t see me hit the floor on my belly and crawl into the drain pipe that had only been delivered an hour ago.  “Fuck this,” I heard one of them say, as they now made a sweep of the candle lit room.  The guy nearer to me, huge, like a football player, whipped out a flare.  The flame was so bright then there were crazy shadows all over the walls from the tall shelves loaded with machine parts for military vehicles.  Gigantic gears, rotors and chains now all appeared to take on a personality of their own and the room took on a malevolence  that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.  I held my breathing steady.  They knew I was in the room, I knew they could sense that but they didn’t know the room and I did.  They reached my rifle closet and saw that the door had been left open.  Damn, the devil is in the details.  So now they widened their arc to spread across the entire room which was about a hundred feet wide and many hundred feet deep.  What was this?  These guys, terrorists, for lack of a better word, looking for machine parts?  I couldn’t believe that.  Then it dawned on me.  If they had done their homework they would know about the safe in the floor just behind my rifle closet.  And was the reason I had the rifle closet to begin with.  The owner of this building had multi-million dollar contracts with the military.  When ever he landed another amazingly lucrative contract he would purchase a lot of precious stones and stash them in his personal safe.  I couldn’t imagine why upon the vehicle smashing the front glass that the alarm didn’t go off and the police be here by now but there was not even a hint of a siren in the now still night air which was now pouring in the gaping hole in the front where the window used to be.  I could feel the barrel of my weapon growing cold now from the breeze.  The three of them were all  spread out now and moving down the room.  The flare had faded and another one did not appear.  All three had ignored checking inside the drain pipe which was obviously large enough to hide a man.  Suddenly I saw that they were now all at once turning back and sweeping my way.  I had to scratch my nose.  I must have moved too fast.  The big guy motions to the others that he’s going to  head over to the drain pipe.  The other two take the flank.  I realize way too late that I had never pumped a shell into the chamber.  He’s now close enough that i can see his finger on the trigger of his weapon.  I begin to lose my breath, like someone has their hands around my throat and I can’t breath but I figure i can’t let this moron get me without even having pumped a shell into my gun.  I crawl out of the pipe on the far end away from him and just before I stand to fire I ram the shell into the twelve gauge.  Without thinking I point the thing right at his head and I hear the blast.

Emily had closed her cage door with an unexpected bang.  I had peanut butter cracker stuck in my teeth and discovered there was still one sip of tepid coke in the can to wash it down.  Emily walked over to me.  “See, that didn’t take too long, did it?  Sorry about the cage door, it just slipped out of my hand and closed with a boom.”  she laughed.  “I didn’t even realize, I mean about the time.”  I felt like I owed her some explanation but for what?  “So, did you get everything put away nice and neat?”  “Sure, she said, and I didn’t leave any old chocolates in there either.  Have a good night Happ, don’t let the little green men get you.”  She laughed to herself as she let herself out.  The bit of fresh air that sneaked through the door  smelled faintly of fresh gunpowder.  I looked at my shaky hands and laughed.

Excerpt from WRITING WITH WINE

Henry Jackson is a writer, although that’s a much simplified version of the true Henry. He’s a man who has created and is constantly creating his own universe from one second to the next.And while you may or may not agree with Henry’s opinions, you’ll have to admit he’s a man of contradictions!

This excerpt is the opening chapter of the novel Writing With Wine. (c) 2013 by Tim Young

Sliding my fingers through my hair reminds me of the way the wine slips down my throat.

  Slippery.  Very slippery.  I do not want to think that my fingers are sliding because my hair is a greasy mess.  But it is.  It falls down onto my face and then i can get a whiff of it or I can feel it more than i want to.  It’s simply another distraction.  Something else driving me mad in it’s attempts to take my mind off of my writing.  i’ve already disposed of my television and my ancient radio is definitely on it’s last legs.  i’m waiting for the static to move in permanently and commander the broadcast waves so that the next time I am tempted to turn that thing on all I’m going to hear is white noise.  The static of my life that not even i would choose to listen to.  Forget it.  I can not be bothered by the likes of modern mass communications sucking the essence of life right through my brain and clogging my nostrils so that I can barely breathe.  Damn, I joke with myself, who was the fucking idiot that bought this cheap bottle of red wine?  What fool wouldn’t have the sense to notice that this particular bottle is nothing but red vinegar trapped in a bottle that was created to contain wine!  I am so angry.  But i can not throw the shit away.  If i did that then i wouldn’t have anything to drink and worse, nothing to help advance the growing anger in my dilapidated brain that somehow is able to continue to punch the keys on this lousy typewriter.  I could have at least broke down my rules for once and bought a goddamn electric typewriter.  But no.  I’d rather not do anything like that.  I’d rather punish myself as frequently and as abusively as i possible can.  And with that comes the knowledge that this brand new story that I have been working on for the past two weeks is gonna be another throwaway!  And i have invested of myself in this story.  i have gone to the library and read several self help books on the wonders of being good to one’s self and now i can see plainly that there is not a drop of ‘good’ in this character i have created.  He’s the next thing to a scum bag.  He only arrives late or never even appears for whatever social function he might be involved with and if he does he invents lies and excuses that are quite obvious to the people he was supposed to interact with.  Then once he sees that nobody is buying his line he begins to roar a string of obscenities at them and invariably storms out of the room or wherever he is and if there is a door to slam, well then all the better and his hope is, of course, that if there would be some glass in the door that it would shatter into a million pieces.  And, yes, I have the power to insist that there is a huge glass panel in each and every door that Mr. Madman slams as he makes his hasty exit amidst a storm of continually savage obscenities.

Suddenly I push my ass to the very back of my chair and attempt to straighten out this horrible back of mine.  As I moan and grab my glass of red vinegar i see that the page of crisp white paper in my typewriter carriage is blank.  My fingers have not been punching any keys at all.  I see that all I have been punching is myself in the head with all these random throwaway thoughts and that i am probably my own greatest distraction.  Goddamn it where is the television?!  I could watch a ball game and get this much work finished.  Shit.  I realize I have to take a breath.  My vision seems to be clouding over and i can barely feel my heart beating.  I must be slipping into a coma.  If i do that then who will be able to dial 911?  I am unable to call out.  My voice has been reduced to a whimper and my strength has ebbed and leaked onto the floor like a puddle of this ghastly so called red wine so I pour the remaining few ounces of it right onto the floor.  And next with whatever little strength remaining I am able to pull myself out of my chair, my foot will without a doubt step immediately into that puddle of horrid grape juice and I will slip swiftly down to the prone position where my head will smash to the floor and a trickle of blood will track down from my lips to my chin only to eventually mingle with the fucking cheap wine which if i ever recover consciousness I will lap up like the thirsty dog that i am.  Like the filthy alcoholic that constantly pretends not to exist within this ribcage of bones and blood.  

I stop.  I look down and see there is actually a small stack of papers by my trusty old typewriter.  I look again and see that indeed there are words and punctuation typed all over these few pages and that with another glance I can determine that there is some logic built into the way the words are strung together.  I almost allow myself to smile but i keep those muscles in check because the ‘story’ if one can call it that is still in it’s infancy.  Gestation period is not truly at an end.  More birthing is necessary and some growth.  I stop and am pleased for once that I chose an almost undrinkable bottle of wine.  I put that detestable liquid next to the drainboard in the kitchen and find what I am hoping is a much more palatable bottle.  This time I choose a chardonnay.  Done with red for today.  i always keep, well almost always keep, at least two, hopefully, three or four different bottles of wine right on my windowsill in the kitchen.  It’s not really a kitchen.  It does pretend to be one what with the gas burning stove and the refrigerator standing buddy, buddy next to each other but that kind of friendship is flimsy at best.  They have no true connection and they know it.  Hot and cold is how it is with them and there is nothing that anyone can do about it.  It’s a joke.  One smiles and the other frowns and vice versa.  The poor excuse for a kitchen sink and the window that lives in constant seclusion because the blinds must be eternally drawn.  The reason is the neighbors apartment that lives barely ten yards across the space that separates us.  Those miserable bastards never close their curtains, shade or blinds.  I don’t even know what they have over there because I have never seen it closed.  Could be another brick in the wall as far as I am concerned.  i hate them.  One day I am going to stand there naked with a pile of rocks by my side as i pull up my blinds and throw the rocks like a machine gun directly through their window smashing the thing into millions of tiny shards that are impossible for them to ever completely clean up.  They will forever be running to the bathroom screaming for the tweezers so that they can attempt to, hopefully quite unsuccessfully, pull the razor sharp splinters from the bottom of their tender little barking dogs.  Oh boy.  This is when I could totally allow myself to let my facial muscles soar into madness.  Letting the laughter rise out of me like hot magma exploding from a much too long ‘extinct’ volcano.  And just when one might suppose that the flow has begun to quiet a bit it would begin all over again with a new ferocity.  A fresh energy that spits and gurgles and soars almost into convulsions.  Oh hell, let’s have some convulsions, so then my body would writhe on the floor and i would see the ever present phony friends of the stove and fridge and so continue to laugh and laugh.  And then the neighbors in pain would summon the police but i wouldn’t let them in because i wouldn’t be able to drag myself off of the floor and they would have to break the door down if they really wanted to subdue me, and if they did that i would straighten myself up in a wink and inquire to why would they want to crash into my apartment?  I was only sitting here at the typewriter working on a story.  I’d offer them a cup of coffee.  There wouldn’t be any rocks as evidence in the kitchen because they would all be across the way in the neighbor’s apartment. As for my window being broken, well, i live in a dump and surely there must be other broken windows other than mine.  I mean after all, my neighbors window is broken too.

My ass is killing me.  I gotta get up off this chair.  I want a new chair.  I want one with huge fat cushions and with a drawer underneath the seat so I could store essential items there so that I would not have to get up off of that most comfortable seat as i do have to get up and out of this most uncomfortable on that I still have not removed my ass from.  OK.  Now I have pushed myself away from the table and had to have used my leg muscles to raise this body up and finally away from my dear old table.  My table.  I do find i have a soft spot in my heart for this table.  it reminds me of the tables that used to occupy space in one of the larger rooms at my elementary school. Not a classroom is what I’m getting at.  But the point is the wood.  There is a grain to it that somehow reminds me of the movement of the ocean.  I don’t mean waves either but the way the sea moves out further.  When one is on a boat and is looking back to the shoreline and the ocean is lapping up against the side of the boat.  Those little slaps and then out away from the boat and how the water moves.  The rising and falling, the stretching and tearing, the ancient knowledge contained somewhere in those primordial molecules that have bashed about the planet since absolutely eons before any one celled animal dared to even conceive of splitting in two.  That’s what my dear old table reminds me of and why it is the one piece of furniture i would never, ever, consider removing from my life.  that is if for some reason i would never pretend to understand that i would be able to move into an apartment with more than one room.  That is not  dream of mine.  I repeat.  That is not a dream of mine.  Thoughts come and go and ideas play about the mind like dandelion seeds strewn about by the wind but a bigger apartment, well that is ,I’m sure, a dream for someone and perhaps many someones but not for me.

I rub my butt.  i pull my pants down over my tired ass butt and rub some moisturizer on there.  that’;s because when I stepped out of the shower the other day I noticed some dragging butt flesh.  it wasn’t pretty.  It was similar to some stretch marks, maybe, but more exaggerated.  More defined.  More disgusting.  So now when my tired old ass is tormenting me to lift it’s sagging old self off my almost comfortable chair that i continue to sit in for the better part of the day and night, when i simply can not stand to sit another second, i almost jump out of the damn chair and reach for the moisturizer as I begin to undo my belt buckle so that my pants can fall to my knees or ankles depending how far apart I have my legs as I am standing there and pump the little pump that dispenses the moisturizer into my waiting hand.  Sometimes left, sometimes right.  Sometimes I’m too exhausted to pull them back up.  Maybe I’ll stand there for a little while and see if I can catch a breeze or listen intently for a few seconds to see if the phone might ring.  i’d hate to waste a good standing up.  Sometimes I end up removing all of my clothes and then lay on my bed and look at myself.  I like to check things out.  i do like to know that I am still all in one piece.  i enjoy seeing how each piece is connected to the other.  Bodies are one of the few things that bring out the amazement in me; especially my own body. But by amazement, i don’t want to lead anybody down the wrong path, by amazement, that does not mean that I am fond of this casement that holds me together.  OK, it is cool to look at but i do not have to like it.  Like my sagging butt.  Who the hell wants that?  This skin and bones when all is said and done is not worth the price of a good bottle of wine.  It’s drained of any interesting fluids and put in the ground for god’s sake.  And, Oh My God, some people choose to have the damn thing burned to ashes.  Believe me there is no room on the stock market for human ashes.  There are no futures for those only perhaps, an expensive urn on a relative’s living room mantle.  Ashes are ashes and if they are ever spilled, well one can imagine that kind of mess.

Excerpt from RAISING THE BAR

Tom and Sharon live in NYC, each in their own pad. They’re looking out for each other and trying to have some fun.

I will be posting sections from the five unpublished novels I have written. Stuff that goes up will not necessarily remain up forever so keep checking back for the latest developments. Meanwhile, here’s a glimpse into Raising The Bar…  (c) 2013 by Tim Young

Monday morning Sharon woke at seven. She couldn’t sleep. It was the all

too frequent insomnia. She thought it was the drugs she had to take for her

high blood pressure. Unusual for her age she thought but her doctors

insisted she dose up on the ‘pressure ‘ drugs as she called them and as far

as Sharon was concerned they seemed to only make matters worse. She thought

about calling Tom for an instant but knew that she would just wake him at

seven in the morning; so she threw on a black sweatshirt and a short red

skirt and her rain boots because the skies were still the color of clouds.

She was being brave. Wearing a short skirt was not her most favorite thing

but it occurred to her that this particular morning and this particular

outfit just might brighten up the day somewhat.

Sharon bought some fresh fruit, some pineapples and strawberries, and then

hit up Dunkin’ Donuts for an egg sandwich on a croissant, a small latte and

a coffee cake muffin. She had to admit to herself as she caught her

reflection in the window leaving Dunkin’ Donuts that she was looking like

quite a cool fox, especially with the rain boots accenting her red skirt.

some guy across the street whistled at her but she paid him no attention.

Once home she cut up the fruit, slipped out of her clothes and took a

shower. Drying off she wished that she was still in bed sleeping like a

rock but instead she attacked the egg sandwich and latte. She put the

muffin away for later. Since Sharon wouldn’t call Tom at this hour she

decided to get in touch with him the way they sometimes did to test their

psychic powers. Both Sharon and Tom believed in the endless possibilities

of the human mind. that it was quite possible to accomplish anything if

only the powers could be set free. There’s the rub. Well, she thought,

practice makes perfect.

She gathered about half a dozen candles and placed them in no particular

design on her dresser. she also added a bottle of vodka, Tom was a

bartender, a can of mixed nuts, salted, some bar napkins, a tip tray and

several shot glasses of various sizes. Next before she lit the candles she

removed her towel and slippers from the shower. Sharon enjoyed looking at

her naked body in the mirror before these rituals because it gave her a

sense of something primordial. Something of the cave and when those

thoughts rose to the top that is when she would light the candles. Each

candle was of a different color and a different scent. the flames and aroma

began to add their ambience to her bedroom. With the blinds down and no

sunshine peeking through it could have been dark outside. Since it was

still so early just after eight by now, sharon thought that two more

ingredients would be necessary to complete the experiment so she lit some

sandalwood incense and put on the Moody Blues cd In search of the Lost

Chord. The volume was just enough to create the mood she wanted.

Now she sat cross legged on the floor in front of the candle lit dresser.

Before she said any words at all she just conjured up Tom’s face and then

his chest and then his legs and then the package between his legs. She did

this with her eyes open but staring through the wiggle of the flames and

aroma of the incense. At the moment she thought she must blink, she closed

her eyes and slowly and softly began to chant Tom’s name. Sharon chose a

rhythm of threes to get things going. “Tom, Tom, Tom beat, beat beat, Tom,

tom, Tom; like that. This reminded her of a tom-tom so she changed the

pattern to twos. After a few minutes she let things be quiet and actually

was listening just in case the phone might ring but all was quiet. She had

been holding her hands in what she called the’OM’ position, arms slightly

extended, thumb and middle finger touching on each hand but now that she had

passed the Tom Chant she just naturally began rubbing her hands over her

breast and belly very slowly and with just the finger tips as the new mantra

came to mind and the word was ‘awake.’ Call my name and I shall awake. it

sounded fairly biblical and reverent . Awake, Awake, Awake sharon began.

She had to stifle a laugh for a second because the ‘awake mantra made her

think of the Frankenstein monster. She imagined Tom with electrodes

sticking out of his neck. Oh but wait a minute, she quickly thought, maybe

I can use those electrodes as a carrier for my chanting! She began to

concentrate on the sight of them protruding from Tom’s sleeping visage.

Maybe if she could get his eyes to open in her mind then her message might

actually get through to her sleeping Tom in his Hell’s Kitchen futon.

Sharon’s concentration was intense as she attempted to move her ‘awake’

chant up and through the electrodes and into her man’s sleepy head.

The phone was quiet. After a few more intense minutes of concentration she

caught herself nodding off for a few seconds. Shit, she thought if i fall

asleep I’l certainly have no chance of waking Tommy boy so she moved

herself from the pose in front of the dresser to the last remains of her

latte and slugged it back. She checked the clock and it said 9:30 am.

It’s true that Tom was not sleeping well. He didn’t suffer from insomnia

but a nagging charlie horse would sometimes force him violently out of bed

to hop around on his right leg until the excruciating pain subsided. But

there was no charlie horse this Monday morning. He was actually involved in

this strange dream. It had to be about choices one makes, he thought, even

as he was in the dream. A tranquil green rolling hill loomed before him and

the second that he placed his foot on the lush carpet the scene changed to a

very long florescent lit corridor with two huge windows at it’s end. the

light emanating from those windows appeared quite attractive so he found

himself walking rather quickly down the hall and towards the light; except

that no sooner did he increase his pace then did doors fling open on either

side of the hall as if to say, ‘you must investigate me, you must come into

this room. This was definitely interesting but the abruptness with which

each room beckoned to him sent a shiver up his spine as if there were

things, spirits or killers or something not very nice inside those rooms and

so now the hallway was filled with this feeling of dread and walking towards

the light became increasingly more and more difficult. Toss and turn some

more. Wasn’t there any refuge or escape from this feeling? What kind of

choices were these that made chills run up and down? Finally the light

brightened again for it had dimmed in the middle of the dread and as he took

one more footstep the entire building vanished and he found himself sitting

on a rock in Central Park. A dog was barking and barking and…Tom woke up.

His neighbors dog was barking and causing a general riot right next door.

After a lengthy pee he picked up the phone and called Sharon to complain

that it was impossible to get any rest in this town.

Fate, coincidence, destiny, serendipity, magic mushrooms, candle light and

the Moody Blues; all these words made a mad dash around Sharon’s head as she

picked up the phone and immediately recognized Tom’s voice. Before she

could get a word out .however, Tom was saying how the damn dogs should be

shot and his neighbor drawn and quartered and then maybe he could get back

to sleep. Sharon flew over this and said, ‘Did you hear or smell anything

in your subconscious. Did you know anything was going on on my end?” Tom

shook his head, “No,” he said “but I was having an uncomfortable dream that

was chilling my bones and I didn’t like it a bit. That’s what woke me up

besides the fucking dog.” “Well I think I may have had something to do with

all that.” “What, you helped wake me up?” “No,well, I guess, I was

attempting to contact you doing one of my candle lit sessions. You know. I

was chanting your name. I was…” Tom cut her off, “Well, i don’t know. I

don’t think I heard my name. Why so early? No, i know, you couldn’t sleep

so you were trying to wake me without using the phone, right?” Sharon

moaned, “well at least you’re psychic.” “I don’t know about that but I know

you.” Then Tom said he would call back later after he copped a few more

Z’s. Sharon was still convinced that it was she that woke Tom so now

feeling like the morning had not been a complete waste she slipped on a pair

of shorts and sat down at the laptop to check her email.

Tom didn’t go back to bed. He was wondering why he only craved a drink at

night and not the earlier hours. He knew, of course, that there was a day

shift at Ricky’s, the dive he worked at, and that the day guy, Bernie, had

his regulars the same as anybody else but sitting in the bar during daylight

just seemed damn odd he thought. Tom dressed and decided to act on his

impulse so he locked up the apartment and headed right on down to Ricky’s to

pay Bernie a visit. Something new. Usually Tom only saw Bernie during the

change of shifts and then they didn’t have a lot to say except if Tom was

returning a book Bernie had loaned to him of a cd of some ancient Blues

artist. Bernie was the Blues. he looked the part. He was about six feet

tall with a tiny ponytail and a decent size beer gut but Bernie didn’t even

drink beer he was vodka on the rocks all the way. He looked like a bouncer

more than a bartender because he was a big guy. Bulging arms and chest and

then that belly, man, if he decided to stand in your way an adjustment would

have to be made in one’s trajectory.

Bernie didn’t see Tom as he walked into the joint and easily found a stool

next to where Bernie was restocking the cooler with beer. “Whatta ya got

good?” Tom queried out loud. “Tommy boy,” Bernie always said that, even

twice, “Tommy boy, what the fuck you doing in here this time of day? Let me

get you a drink…” ” Sure just give me a bottle of PBR.” “Sure, Sure…”

Bernie popped the bottle, grabbed a napkin and put the beer in front of Tom.

“I couldn’t sleep, kept waking up and having weird dreams and then sharon

called me,no, I called her. She was at her place trying to wake me up.”

“Nice girl, Sharon, yeah. Excuse me a minute.” Bernie had to go get the

door for a delivery guy was wheeling in a hand truck loaded with two kegs.

Bernie saw that the guy made it ok to the walk in cooler at the back of the

room. “How was last night Tommy boy? I had to bring up a lot of beer

restock this morning. You must have made some big money.” “Yeah, it was

busy but that wasn’t last night it was the night before. Saturday night.

tony must have been busy last night. Saturday night was busy but not crazy,

it’s just that everybody was really pounding them back pretty good. Yeah, I

did all right in the do-re-mi department. I should be home dreaming about

all my money right now instead of drinking beer with you right now. You

know I don’t usually come in here when I’m not working.” Bernie agreed. ”

I try to make that a habit myself but you know it’s fucking great to come in

and not have to buy this shit. Tommy boy, that’s why I’m a bartender you

know…You know my old man started taking me out to joints when I was just a

kid. He’d always say look at my kid, look at this boy a natural drunk if i

ever saw one. My old man thought this was hilarious but I wasn’t laughing

as hard as him and his bartending pals. Being a kid I thought to myself

I’ll never drink this junk if my old man likes it so much. Now that’s

pretty fucking hysterical!”

Tom had already begun to zone out on Bernie’s story but he did drift back a

second when Bernie said about his old man taking him to joints as a kid.

Tom thought about the Friendly tavern story but decided against it because

it was always easier just to have Bernie do the storytelling. Besides the

beer began feeling alright as a substitute for corn flakes or some other

breakfast grains. One thing about Bernie, he could keep an eye on his

customers beer bottles and he had another one in front of Tom as Tommy boy

was taking the last sip from the first. “Thanks,” tom said. “So what about

pussy, any new stuff in her last night Tommy boy?” Saturday night

Tom reminded him. ” If i ever get pussy during my shift I’m fucking

ecstatic. Rare in the daytime, pussy. I’m thinking of putting s sign out

side saying Day time Pussy Wanted, See Bernie. Oh man, I’d love to do

that.” The ‘pussy’ word always brought a broad smile to Bernie’s lips. Tom

always did get a kick from Bernie and his pussy vocabulary. Maybe it was

the second beer but Tom was scouring through his mental files from Saturday

night to remember if there was some girl that stood out for him. All the

regular boys had paid stopped by to oil their wheels: Peter, Ben, Paul,

Smokey, Adam and Reni. Stephanie always comes in Saturday night and

sometimes brings her friend Amanda. There’s also the gay couple Grace and

Erin and that one girl who is always trying for a buy back before it’s time.

Maybe it’s Georgia. Tom stopped thinking about the already long ago night

before last and was content to just absentmindedly peel the label from his

beer bottle. In mid-peel that thing that sometimes occurs when one is

drinking raised it’s bleary eyed pointed head and cooed in Tom’s inner ear

that this was now the time to get raging drunk. At first Tom attempted to

ignore his little demon but before that situation really had the chance to

develop Tom had asked Bernie to pour a couple shots of Jaeger. Bernie

poured two shots but Bernie didn’t want his so Tom was leading with his

right and tossed down both shots in two seconds as Bernie dropped off his

third PBR. Tom went over to the quiet juke box and slipped a five dollar

bill into the slot because this was apparently going to be one interesting

breakfast. he glanced at his phone which now said 11:09a. The first song

of the set by Steve Miller, ‘Keep on rockin me Baby’ filled up Ricky’s as

tom stuck his head out the door a second to see if there might be a chance

for a bit of sunshine on this lovely morning but even before he cracked the

door he could see through the window that several people had their umbrellas

out and that meant the sunshine today would have to be manufactured through

one of the only legal drugs sanctioned for public consumption. Vitamin A as

an old friend had once said. don’t go around without your daily dose of

Vitamin A for Alcohol. Tom was feeling like a new man.