Thursday, December 31, 2009
Just another one of your garden variety American haters
Suicide bombers have killed 8 American civilians and 5 Canadians including a 34 year old health reporter in the worst suicide attack since October. Are things heating up in the war zone? You betcha! Check out the story here.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Is the new one-injection method of lethal injection too humane for monsters who rape, beat to death and dismember their victims? See for yourself in the latest DD!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Why are we so obsessed with shooting one another up in this country?
Maybe the answer has nothing to do with guns whatsoever....
Get the latest here at RT's Dangerous Dispatches: "BANG, BANG; SHOOT, SHOOT!"
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Surviving in America isn't easy these days. Especially if you're African American. Just ask any investment banker or Wall Street criminal and they'll tell you for sure...
Click here for the story:Dangerous Dispatches at RT.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
And thus ends the odyssey in Russia. Made new friends, and some great professional steps forward with RT. But why did the hotel have to charge me double, huh???
Check out the story here
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
What happens when a child of the Cold War goes to Moscow in search of evidence, no matter how slight, that the Cold War still exists? Check out the story here.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Think you got it bad? Just check out the poor folks who reside in Pembroke, Illinois where unemployment has hit 50%. If Madoff, made off with everyone's dough, Pembroke is the US capital of broke...and I mean PemBroke with capital Ps and Bs...Wanna become witness to a what's almost surely going to become a 21st century ghost town of 1930's dust bowl era proportions? Click here.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
So what will happen if New York State runs out of money? Does Wall Street kick in to make things better? Do we borrow from New Jersey? China? Stephen Spielberg?
Maybe we should steal from the educational system and rob from from health care. Sounds logical to me. Reasonable even.
Here's the story about the Empire State crashing and burning in 4 weeks time, right from the Gov's mouth...CRASH!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
For an American child of the Cold War, landing in Moscow, Russia can be a life altering experience...Here's how: click for story!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Why do you travel? For me, I need it almost like I need sex. In fact, if I don't get any (travel, that is), I get irritated and depressed. Same thing with no sex. Must be a link there. Here's why I'm in Russia. Land of the Tsars. Land of impossibly beautiful women. A land, as a child of Tricky Dick and the Cold War, I have completely misunderstood for decades. Get ready to rewrite the history books people. Russia Rocks! And Moscow, Putin's personal crib, is on fucking intense town!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
"Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow..."
The Chinese are making it snow. With drought making things drier in Beijing than that two year old fortune cookie stuffed in the back of your junk drawer, meteorologists managed to seed the clouds which in turn, made it snow (don't ask me how this works). The resulting precipitation was welcome sight. Perhaps the Chinese will invent a way to make trees grow dollar bills.
Friday, October 30, 2009
"I want you to scream 'Health Care!' for me later. Really, scream it, baby!"
Nancy Pelosi's new 1,990 page health care bill weighs far more than most of the sick newborn to five year old's who are going to have to wait in a big long line with their parents to receive health care. Who the hell is really going to read it much less grasp its nuances, numerous caveats, rules, stipulations, calculations and whatever the hell else it contains? If I were a law maker I'd just fake it and say, "Oh yeah, I read the whole thing, cover the cover." In any case, I know this sounds like I'm not supporting socialized health care (which a freelance writer most definitely should do!), but then I'm not in bed with the rip off insurance companies either. I'm just me: suspect of both the government and the big business companies telling me what health care I can receive and can't. BTW: do you think the bill will cover another one of Nancy's tummy tucks?
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Afghanistan's Hindu Kush region was rattled by an earthquake just moments ago that has registered 6.0 on the Richter Scale. The quake has was felt in Chitral, Pakistan, some 130 miles away. The Hindu Kush region is notorious for its violent earthquakes.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Will the real Dick please get it up!
So Dick Cheney is now helping Bo out with his Afghanistan ah, well let's call it, conundrum. However, Cheney, who a few days ago received the "Keeper of the Flame" award by the Center for Security Policy, accused his 8th cousin (Yup Bo and Dick are cousins. Go figure!)of "dithering" on Afghanistan during his speech upon accepting his award...Hey, wait just one cotton-pickin' minute here Dick man. Didn't you and Jr. sort of ignore the Afghan thing for like 7 years? Look who's calling the kettle, er ah, the President, black (please excuse the pun, Bo). Ok, the good thing about having a head that won't turn completely around is you can only look over your shoulder for so long before you have to look ahead again. We welcome any kind of bipartisan effort that will aide the ground troops fighting in Afghanistan. On the other hand, if the fight isn't worth the cause, then we welcome a swift pullout. The point is, let's get something going Bo and Dick!
Friday, October 23, 2009
I'm gonna get crushed for this but the UK's Telegraph is reporting that BO's recent rating decline is the worst for any American president in 50 years. Don't yell at me, I'm just telling you like it is...apparently. I'm old enough to recall the Carter catastrophe years and if this was a game of Trivial Pursuit, I would have picked the ex-peanut farmer when posed the question, Which American President tanked the fastest? Okay, polls suck, I know, but hopefully BO can manage to salvage something out of the fire-bombed Dresden that George Jr. left behind. BO said it wasn't going to be easy and thus far his prediction is holding true. Stay strong BO. The polls can only go up.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Pelosi, Tenacious House Speaker
Is BO's White House using propaganda as a means for getting the average Jane and Joe to side with comprehensive health care reform? Apparently the Dept. of Health and Human Services website now features a button where you can "state your support" for the radical health care bill. Is the move legal? Not by a long shot. Or so says bill supporter Nancy Pelosi. It was only back in 2005 that the House Speaker decried such "underhanded tactics...not worthy of our democracy."
Goebels, evil master of propaganda
After all, how did the Nazi's get the German public all lathered up into a frenzy so heated, they viewed world domination a German obligation? Propaganda! So what will it be Nancy and BO? Are we obligated to press that button? Or do we choose not to be swayed by our government?
Monday, October 19, 2009
BO knows pot.
That's not a knock, but let's face it, he ain't even hit 50. He's likes to smoke cigs, drink some beers, play cards, shoot hoops. He's got a hot wife who looks like she could be a "player" (no dis intended to the first lady), so I'm sure he's smoked a little pot in his day, maybe while kickin' the hackie sack with some buds in the college common. What some more conservative paranoid people will no doubt view as BO's decision to have the feds lay off medicinal pot smokers as the first step towards a heroin addicted nation, is actually a progressive move to be applauded by the new president. Anyone close to anyone who suffers or has suffered from cancer knows that anything that can lighten the pain burden is a Godsend. Maybe Afghanistan is a mess and people are still being blown to smithereens in Iraq, but when it comes to going up in smoke, BO has made the right decision. GO BO!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Is our adventure in Afghanistan becoming more dangerous? This month we've seen 25 American servicemen killed and/or more maimed and Halloween is still two weeks away. The escalation in violent death is causing the Obama administration to reconsider its role in the area, despite the fact that the Taliban is growing stronger. Next year we'll be in the region as long as the Russians were during their failed, 1979-1988 Soviet-Afghan War, which lasted 9 miserable years. Back then, we referred to that war as the Soviet Vietnam, which reminds me of that famous quote about leaders not remembering the mistakes of the past being doomed to repeat them. Can we win in Afghanistan? And if so, what constitutes a win? Will the Taliban ever raise their white flags from out of their caves? Are we ever going to find the gigantic Osama Bin Laden? Lots of questions, but no real answers.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Okay, the boy in the silver, flying saucer-shaped balloon had been hiding out in the garage or the attic or somewhere at home after all. Gee, big surprise. Looks like he was afraid his dad might yell at him or worse for tampering with the balloon. Anyway, that's the story. But America loves a "reality" drama and I'm beginning to smell a stinky hoax here that kept America captivated for an entire afternoon. We all assumed that poor little six year old Falcon (no pun) had been carried aloft in storm/twister-chaser dad's cutting edge designed storm-chaser balloon only to lose his precious little life when he dropped a couple thousand feet to the Colorado terra firma. Splat! A still photo was even broadcast on CNN that showed a boy-shaped object falling from the faux-UFO. But all our demented hopes and hungry advertiser's dreams were, well, deflated when the boy was discovered alive and well and hiding out in the attic. You should have seen the look on Wolf Blitzer's face when he first discovered the truth. His closely cropped beard was covered in sweat. And here the master of German disaster had planned on reporting on the Arctic ice that's expected to disappear next summer. You know, something important and worthwhile. Jeeze, can you just picture old Wolf screaming at his producer, demanding to know "Who's running the fucking show here people?" Anyway, I'm sure some slimy New York agent is already putting together the "Falcon and Family" storm chaser reality TV show, which is what Falcon's pretty boy dad wanted in the first place when he staged this hoax. I mean, did you check out how nicely done up his hair was? Wow, how handsome! Did you catch his comment about going weak in the knees? I mean, even if he didn't plan a hoax and simply "lost" his son for the afternoon, this blog still screams, "Hey Falcon's dad, are you an asshole or what?"
A six year old boy who somehow managed to get himself inside the cargo space of a silver, experimental balloon is believed to be sailing over the rugged Colorado landscape. While some experts believe the boy has already fallen out due to the erratic flight characteristics of the balloon, others believe the boy is still trapped inside it. Word up is that the National Guard may be called up to follow the balloon and perhaps figure a way to safely bring it down without shooting it down. This blog begs the question, how in the hell was a child able to get inside that thing unnoticed? Get the up to date story and video here!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Handy work of the animals the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate must Deal with...peacefully?
Oslo-The Norwegian Nobel committee has announced that President Barack Obama has been named the recipient of this year's coveted Nobel Peace Prize. Not surprisingly, news of the committee's choice has sent shock waves throughout Washington, DC and the world. It's also left most people scratching their heads wondering if Obama, only 9 months into his presidency, is yet qualified to receive the honor. While his willingness to negotiate with international leaders on matters ranging from missile defense shields, to Guantanamo Bay, to climate change already far outshines George Bush Jr., the results of his efforts have yet to be realized. But he does get an A+ for trying so hard. But a Nobel? What this blog needs to ask however, is this: now that he's been bestowed the top peace prize in the world, how will Barack feel about doing some serious Van Damage on the Taliban and Al Qaeda? What about those pesky Iranians bent on destroying Israel before setting their sights on world domination? What about North Korea? Our advice for BO? Graciously accept your prize, then shove it in the closet for the next 3 years. You're going to have to make some tough heartbreaking decisions regarding the violent destruction of key enemy targets and even more tough decisions about sending more of America's youth into combat. The free world will depend upon these often not so peaceful-like decisions. BO must know peace, but BO also must know how to kick ass.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Michael Jackson will be appearing in Dubai soon. Make no mistake about it, the late pop singer is to become immortalized in the form of a 25km island to be constructed along the shoreline. According to rumors concerning the top three design ideas currently being mulled by developers, the shape of the newly created seaside landmass will likely mimic the moonwalk Jacko made so famous in his "Thriller" and other music videos. Says one proposed designer, the island will create "thousands of opportunities for Jackson's legacy to inspire new …leisure and entertainment centers in a variety of settings." Come on, kids, let's go to Dubai!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Did Hitler really manage to fake his suicide in April of 1945?
Newly uncovered evidence in Russia proves that what was originally thought to be mortal skeletal remains of the madman dictator are really that of a young woman.
According to the history books, on the night of 30 April 1945, Uncle Adolf and his newly wed wife, Eva Braun, popped a couple of cyanide pills a piece before blowing their own brains out. Hitler had always feared being captured by the Russians and the only honorable way out, or so he professed, was by taking his own life. In doing so he would deny his enemy the same enjoyment Mussolini's enemies had when they strung him up by piano wire--alive! The suicides complete, the bodies of Herr Hitler and bride of Hitler were then wrapped in blankets, carried outside the bunker doors, drowned in gasoline and torched.
But the recently uncovered evidence suggests that the Austrian born Führer und Reichskanzler managed to skip town altogether, perhaps spending his final years in a cozy Argentine condo.
So much for rough justice.
Now that just about anyone who ever had contact with the mass murderer are dead or fast on their way, the conspiracy theorists are sure to have a field day with this one. And Israel will no doubt be looking for blood. Can you blame them?
What should we expect next? Evidence that Hitler was the JFK shooter behind the fence on the grassy knoll?
Monday, September 28, 2009
A newsprint writer colleague of mine recently posted a message to FB friends about "buying a newspaper" for the sake of supporting his income. A little like asking a friend to climb aboard the sinking Titanic to help "bail." In any case, I ran into said colleague's boss (the editor in chief)some weeks later. I asked him how he was doing and he put it thusly: "Not bad for a dinosaur working in a dying business." My new book comes out in Kindle and paperback. I wonder if this is my last book to be printed...Here's what's happening to those old high glossy travel mags we all used to love. Click here.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Hey, there's a new brand of cig on the market. It's called the electronic cigarette. It apparently emits no smoke and is therefore not a hazard to those persons occupying the same piece of earth as you. Instead of smoke, the tobacco and "flavoring" filled electronic cancer stick produces a vapor that seeps into your lungs and bloodstream. Might make a neat stocking stuffer for the kids or your local crack addict. But at least now you can have "no mess, easy clean up" text sex followed by a clean electronic smoke. Jeepers, what will they make you Jones for next?
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Road Rage All the Rage
Ever been the victim of road rage? Maybe you cut some red neck trucker off by accident and he came after you with his middle finger raised high and his big mouth bellowing obscenities. Maybe all truckers should be crushed under the weight of their own semis. Who knows. But in this "Dangerous Dispatch," you'll get the true scoop on a spooky road rage incident with a strange twist. Click here to get the story.
Pond Scum: the Lowest Form of Life becomes the Hottest Trend in Bio-Fuels
Construction of oil refineries just might be giving way to the building of “vertical ponds,” or what’s rapidly becoming known in green circles as pond scum algae producing greenhouses. Considered one of the most efficiently produced “magic bullet” bio-fuels of the new century, algae, can be harvested inside a far smaller geographic area than that required of other alternative fuels like corn-based ethanol. But what’s really cool about that “lowly pond scum?” You can also drink it.
From Hero to Zero
New York Football Giant great Plaxico Burress made the mistake of his career when he carried a hand-cannon into a NYC nightclub. When the usually steady-handed receiver fumbled the piece, it went off. Plax, didn't your mom ever tell you not to play with guns indoors? Anyway, the former Giant will now be suiting up on the prison football team. Word on the street is that Hollywood is interested in filming a reality-slash-"The Longest Yard" type series. No doubt Burt Reynolds will make a return as the crusty old QB....
Check out the mug shot here:
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Click here to see why:
Sunday, August 16, 2009
NOTE: This piece originally appeared as a "guest blog" for "Over Coffee":
“Where do you get your discipline?”
That’s the question I’m asked most frequently about my solitary writing life. Most people who work according the programmed schedule of job and career find it inconceivable that a person can actually roll out of bed, face a blank page, and begin to make words. Yet, as writers, that’s what we do. We create and in order to create we have to have discipline. Discipline to work alone, according to our own rules, according to our own high standards, according to our own priorities and curiosities.
Acquiring discipline isn’t so hard when you are passionate about your work—when you have a desire not only to write well, but to do it better than anyone has done it before. At the same time you have to develop a skin of armor in order to feed the obsession. The first most important lesson of the disciplined writing life is learning that you’re not always going to be successful. Most of the time you will fail and must face the resulting rejection head on. That’s the most difficult thing about discipline: carrying on with your work unabated, even in the face of rejection.
So where does my discipline come from?
As clichéd as it sounds, I can only tell you that it comes from deep inside. It’s not something I have to work up, so much as it’s something I have to feed on a daily basis. Discipline means waking up early every day, day in and day out, and writing. It’s writing everyday in isolation no matter what’s happening in my life. Be it sick kids, angry spouses, insolvent bank accounts, a broken toilet, a terrorist attack… I write no matter what. Hemingway called this sometimes impossible but necessary process, “biting the nail.” And anyone who has the discipline to write every day no matter what, understands what biting the nail is all about. Writing, like the discipline it requires, can be an awfully painful process.
Back in 1992, I wrote in my published essay, A Literary Life, “In the morning, weariness begins with darkness. It surrounds me inside my kitchen like a weighted shroud, cumbersome and black. It continues as my fingertips search and locate a light switch next to the telephone, above my son’s hi-chair. White light stings my eyes when I flip it up. There is a clock above the sink…I interpret a big hand and little hand that have not yet made .”
Those were the days when I wrote in the mornings, worked a fulltime job and received rejections everyday. But still, I crawled out of bed and wrote. I guess all these years later, I can truthfully say, discipline is what I had in the place of sleep, in the place of comfort, in the place of security and success. Discipline was and remains the bedfellow I seek when I am at my most lonely.
Eventually the discipline would reap its rewards.
In the 12 years since I’ve earned my MFA from
For all its rewards, discipline demands stiff payment.
Because of my priorities, I’ve failed at two marriages and many more relationships. I’ve lost friends and lost the faith and trust of family members who have come to think of me as unreliable or flaky at best. Because after all, I tend to use a holiday like Christmas as a time to work, and when family events like birthdays come up, I might be traveling or locked up in my studio with my significant other…Well, you know her name. It starts with a D.
I have managed however, to find a way to balance time with my kids. Not that it’s always been easy. Children are a distraction, no bones about it. But they are also fuel for your discipline. I’m not entirely certain that I could have achieved any kind of success without them. Children open up emotional vaults that would otherwise remain sealed shut. You need to expose the contents of these vaults in your prose.
My writing simply wouldn’t be the same without kids. Now that they’re almost grown up, I still keep them as close as possible without smothering them. When it comes to my children, my philosophy has always been, hug them, tell them you love them, and make them laugh once a day. You’d be surprised how well this works. Also, don’t be afraid to tell them the truth. They know when you’re lying. If you can’t spend time with them because you have to feed the discipline, be honest about it. They will appreciate you for it and come to respect you.
Case and point: it’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I’m writing this article. My children are home, just outside the closed door of my studio, where I can hear them engaged in some sort of friendly argument. I’m not doing anything with them per se. But I’m here with them, for them.
This month alone I will write and published 36 short architecture and construction articles, three major blogs, present a revised version of The Concrete Pearl (my fifth novel) to my agent, write one or two features, engage in pre-publicity for Moonlight Falls, and maybe, if there’s time, pen a new piece for my personal blog. In between all this, I’ll juggle time with the kids, time for exercise, time to tip some beers with friends, time for a few road trips, time to be by myself and read. Have I mentioned the discipline required to read books?
One word of warning, the discipline, no matter how beautiful a bedfellow, does not always respond lovingly. Even after you’ve scored a major book contract or two. During my second marriage, I suffered through a writer’s block that lasted five long years, a period during which I published not a single word. The block just happened to coincide with my oldest son’s nervous breakdown and the onset of severe depression (see “Breakdown,” http://www.blnz.com/news/2008/11/12/Breakdown_8563.html). At that time, as I came close to going broke (after receiving a mid-six figure advance for As Catch Can), I never once stopped working, never once veered from the discipline of waking up every morning and trying to write. “Trying” being the key word here.
Looking back on those difficult years, I realize I wasn’t writing so much as I was just typing, but the process helped me cope with some very difficult and serious issues in my life. If nothing else, the discipline to write can be a mighty powerful therapy.
Eventually the damn breaks, as it did in my case, and I made a return to good writing and publishing. I’m not making millions by any means, but I make a decent living as a freelance journalist and novelist, and that’s all anyone can honestly ask for.
The late great Norman Mailer also understood about the financial ups and downs of being a fulltime writer. But more importantly, he understood about the discipline of biting the nail. He wrote 2,500 new words a day right up until the end when his kidneys failed him. It wasn’t the disciple or the talent or the mind that gave out, it was the 84 year old body. I’m told he died with a smile on his face. Not the kind of smile that accompanies peace of mind, sedated painlessness, or “going to the bright light.” But the kind of smile that only a disciplined writer can wear; the sly grin that means you’re about to embark on a brand new adventure, and that you can’t wait to write about it.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I'm way behind on my blog updates. But I have an excuse. Africa...Anyone who hasn't seen the dispatches can log onto http://www.russiatoday.com/About_Us/Blogs/Embedded_in_Africa/2009-7-13.html and catch them all.
The news bulleted:
-Back from Africa, making plans for South America in the Fall to report on stuff no one else does.
-I'll be doing a full-time (2 to 3 times per week) blog for Russia Today TV starting in August. I'll be writing about "the other side of any given story" be it travel to some strange destination or riding around with the cops in my home town...Should be a real cool blog.
-I've got a new girlfriend, Gina, who is a gifted artist and a college professor (even though I don't hold that against her...ha!)...Gina is the rare type of woman who can look at pile a gravel and find significant patterns, faces, unique color combinations, textures, historical facts and emotions ranging from laughter to tears. All over a simple pile of gravel...I dig her a lot. And the best part? She's totally low maintenance...Which leads me to...
-Things with Laura have cooled off ... a lot. She's a little upset with the girlfriend thing, tells me the emotions she's experiencing now she should have gone through four years ago...Whatever...
-Moonlight Falls is still scheduled to be published this Winter by RJBuckley....Heyday Films has shown an interest in producing it...Anymore takers?????
-I could mention something about sex here but...
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I’m barely through the front door of the house (her house) when she grabs hold of my arm, pulls me into the unlit bedroom that adjoins the vestibule and the bathroom. Without a word, she takes hold of my wrist, guides my right hand down into the front of her jeans.
The jeans are already unbuttoned.
Like a snake through wet grass, I slide in easily. She must have unbuttoned the jeans before I came through the door. She must have unbuttoned them knowing I would do this; knowing I would want to do this.
“Make me cum,” she whispers, wet lips pressed against my lobe.
She’s not wearing underwear, so I feel her moist, soft place. I feel it on my fingers, my fingers inching and moving in and over and around and in. It’s a nice, soft, warm, neatly trimmed place.
I work slow but fast; gentle but rough, her long black hair splashing against my face.
She kisses my neck with those lips I remember, breathes in and out hard and rapid, braces herself with her arms balanced on my shoulders, hands pressed against the back of my head.
She shudders, bites my neck.
Coming from the bathroom beside the bedroom, the splash of bathtub water.
And a voice.
“Coming sweety,” she says.
“Yes you are,” I say.
She pulls my hand out, buttons up, exists the bedroom for the bathroom.
“Time to wash your hair, my love.”
Later I walk alone in the deep night.
I still smell her on my fingers even though I have washed.
When I smell her, I picture her face--the thick lips, the small nose, the dark eyes. I feel my stomach go tight, my throat closes up. On the rare occasion this happens, it’s not unusual for my eyes to tear up. When I smell her scent I am reminded of loss. Loss washes over me like a waterfall of blood and tears. It’s the tangible things I miss: the scent, the feel, the touch, the lips on a neck, the fingers on her moist sex, her mouth on my body. It’s the chemical properties of us that I miss. The physical us. Us together as a whole. The tenderness of us.
Or maybe tenderness never entered the “us” equation.
I try to put “us” of my mind. But no soap in the world, no matter how expensive, can remove that scent.
I make a pit-stop at my local for a quick beer.
The place is dead. Empty. But I catch the eyes of young woman seated on the opposite end of the horseshoe bar. “Young woman” is a stretch. The girl is maybe 21, 22 at most. A couple years older than my oldest son. Long brunette hair, dark eyes, smooth skin. Knock out, drop-dead-gorgeous.
I’ve seen her around. I sit next to her.
She smiles that slow-mo, milky eyed smile that tells me she’s had a few already.
“You’re sexy for an old guy,” she says with a giggle.
I feel my 44 year old face go redder than Johnny Walker. I try to respond, but my mouth is clamped shut.
She leans into me, pert young breasts nearly pressing up against me.
“I’d fuck you,” she whispers. “Totally.”
I laugh. I laugh because my built-in auto-response mechanism appears to have malfunctioned. I laugh, like an ass, in the face of this beautiful girl. Yeah, I want to fuck her. You betcha. But I also want to crawl under a bar stool and disappear.
I’m a total choke.
But here we are seated next to one another at an otherwise empty bar. She, a ravishing 21 or 22 and me, a useless 44. The resulting heavy silence turns into senseless and stupid chit-chat that lasts for the length of one beer.
Bored, beautiful girl gets up and leaves.
The bartender, a young muscle-bound man not much older than she is, approaches me. He tosses me a glance that could cut a rattlesnake in two at thirty paces.
“Nice work, Chief,” he says.
The next morning, I buy two large coffees, bring them with me back to the house (her house).
She is still in her pajamas. She’s moving furniture around. A chair here; a sofa there; a desk up against the far wall. It’s what she does every Sunday morning. So I recall. This obsession with moving the furniture around: it’s not like she’s trying to rearrange the living room so much as trying to rearrange her life.
I smell her scent inside the house. It enters my mouth and nasal passages, jump starts my senses like hot volts to the naked wire.
I say “Hello,” set the coffees on the coffee table.
I ask about the little one. The little one is in the bedroom playing.
“Nicely,” she says, before issuing me a wave of the hand; before guiding me into her bedroom, and finally the bathroom.
She unbuckles my belt, unbuttons my jeans. She pulls down her bottoms, lets them fall to her ankles, turns to face the sink and the medicine cabinet mirror. She reaches under, guides me into her.
It takes all of three minutes, the bathroom door slightly ajar so that she can listen for the child.
Later, after washing, we sit at the table, drinking tepid coffee.
I smell her scent on my hands mixed with the rosy smell of pricey hand soap.
I feel the tightness in my stomach, the closing up of my throat.
“That was nice,” I say. “The past couple of times…It’s been nice.”
She looks up at me quick—wide, dead-giveaway-eyes.
“Don’t get carried away,” she says, out the corner of her mouth.
Tight stomach falls to the linoleum. You can almost hear it go splat.
“Why do you say that?”
She cocks her head, sips her coffee, peers off into a kitchen landscape of modern cooking appliances, junk drawers, rack drying china, cutlery and spilling over garbage cans.
“It’s just fucking,” she says. “And that’s all.”
Saturday, May 2, 2009
L and I talked a bit tonight...Correction, we've talked a lot since the first blog post a few days ago. It seems to have created a bit of a stir. From
Said reactions and commentary culminated with a call to me from L while I was grabbing a beer at a favorite dive after a Blisterz rehearsal.
"Who..is...L?" she demanded.
"You gotta ask?" I said about the clamor. “Helloooo?”
I'd been snagged, fair and double square.
The truth: a mutual friend had alerted L to what was happening via a Facebook message. Thank God for Facebook. “Oh my,” is how said mutual friend put it.
Oh my, indeed.
But L was and is, in a word, cool about it.
L is into it!
For once, we are in total agreement. My guess is that she is looking for a way to get me back. Which is nice, but I'm not that easy. Okay, yes I am... and I'm a big fat liar. I'm not sure she wants me back. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. Although I would never admit to this in public. Or maybe I just did.
But L did bring up a startling suggestion.
Perhaps we should write a book together... about love and heartbreak and reunion. I think it should be a crime novel. Our split…It was a crime.
Oh, and have I mentioned L invited me over to her house last night?
But only to talk...
To talk, damnit!
No Bootie calls!!!
I wanted more.
I always want more.
She was wearing a sheer blouse and low cut sweat pants...Hang-out-who-care clothes.
She looked ravishing.
She sat on her bed. I lay beside her. We were breathing in and exhaling our combined air, stirring to mutual heartbeats.
Moments later, I listened to the sound of my daughter's breathing through her bedroom door. I sensed her heart pumping blood through veins and capillaries. An integrated network of life. A body of cells, blood and oxygen. A body that is as much my own as it is L's.
Moments after that, I left, wondering how long my heart has to beat...Without L...Without our baby.
I wonder still.
(To be continued...)
Sunday, April 12, 2009
(What follows is the prologue of my new noir novel, Moonlight Falls, which will be published by RJBuckley later this Fall. Hope it peaks your interest.)
“He reached out and took the knife to slaughter.”
Man’s life is flashing before his eyes.
He’s a little amazed because it’s happening just like it does in a sappy movie. You know, when they run real fast through some homespun super-eight film starting with your birth, moving on to toddler’s first-step, then first day at kindergarten, first communion, first prom, first Gulf War, first marriage, first born son, first affair, first divorce . . .
So why’s the life flashing by?
Man’s about to execute himself.
He sits alone at the kitchen table inside what used to be his childhood home, pistol barrel pressed up tight against his head, only a half-inch or so behind the right ear lobe. Thumb on the hammer, index finger wrapped around the trigger, hand trembling, eyes closed, big tears falling.
On the bright side of things, it’s beautiful sunny day.
Outside the kitchen window wispy clouds float by like giant ghosts in a heavenly blue sky. Blue birds chirp happily from the junipers that line the perimeter of the north Albany property. The cool wind blows, shaking the leaves on the trees. The fall air is cool, crisp and clean. “Football weather” his mortician dad used to call it back when he was a happy-go-lucky kid.
On the not so bright side, a bullet is about to enter his brain pan.
But then, as much as the man wants to enter the spirit world, he’s not entirely insensitive. He’s thought things through. While he might have used his service-issued, .9mm to do the job, he’s decided instead to go with more lightweight .22—his backup piece. To some people, a pistol is a pistol. But to the man, nothing could be further from the truth. Because had he chosen to “eat his piece” by pressing the pistol barrel up against the mouth’s soft upper palate, he’d guarantee himself an instant death.
A good death.
Problem is, that “good death” would leave one hell of a spatter mess behind for some poor slob to clean up after his soul has left the building. So instead of choosing the safe, “good death,” he’s opted for the more thoughtful no-mess, easy-clean-up kind of suicide—the assassin’s death. Because only a professional killer with a steady hand knows that a .22 caliber bullet hasn’t got a chance in hell of exiting the skull once it’s made jelly filling of your brains.
Outside the window, the wind picks up.
The chimes that hang from the eaves make a haunting, jingly, ghost music.
The super-eight memories inside his head have ceased. His life story—the entire thirty-six year affair from birth to this very moment of truth have officially flashed before his eyes.
Roll credits . . .
Man swallows a lump, thumbs back the hammer. The mechanical action reverberates inside his skull.
There’s no stopping him; no penetrating the resolve of the already dead. He’s happy with himself for the first time in he can’t remember how long. So happy, his entire body weight seems to empty itself from out the bottoms of his feet. That’s when a red robin perches itself on the brick ledge just outside the picture window. Just a small scarlet feathered robin that’s beating its wings and staring into the house with its black eyes.
“Don’t look,” the man whispers.
He plants a smile on his face a split second before he pulls the trigger.
Four Years Later
Albany, New York
140 miles north-east of New York City
I’m escorted into a four-walled basement room by two suited agents—one tall, slim and bearded, the other shorter, stockier, clean shaven. The space we occupy contains a one-way mirror which I know from experience hides a tripod-mounted video camera, a sound man and several F.B.I. agents, the identities of whom are concealed. There's no furniture in the room, other than a long metal table and four metal chairs. No wallpaper, no soft lamp light, no piped in music. Just harsh white overhead light, concrete and a funny worm smell.
As I enter the room for the first time, tall agent tells me to take a seat at the table.
“We appreciate your cooperation,” stocky agent jumps in.
Out the corner of my eye, I catch my reflection in the mirror.
I’m of medium height. Not tall, not short. Not too badly put together for having reached the big Four Zero thanks to the cross-training routine my I put myself on not long after my hospital release. Nowadays, my head is shaved. There’s a small button-sized scar behind my right ear lobe in the place where the fragment of .22 caliber hollow-point penetrated the skull. I wear a black leather jacket over black jeans and lace-up combat boots left over from my military service during the first Gulf War. My eyeglasses are rectangular and retrofitted from a pair of cheap sunglasses I picked up at a Penn Station kiosk. They make my stubble-covered face seem slightly wider than it really is. So people have told me.
Having been led to my chair, I am then asked to focus my gaze directly onto the mirror so that the video man or woman stationed on the opposite side of the glass can adjust the shooting angle and focus.
“Please say something,” requests stocky agent while removing his suit jacket, setting it over the back of an empty chair.
“There once was a cop from Nantucket,” I say to break the ice.
But no one laughs.
“You get that?” the taller agent barks out to no one in particular.
“Okay to go,” comes a tinny, hidden speaker voice. “You gonna finish that poem Mr. Moonlight?”
“Knock it off,” stocky agent orders. Then turning back to me. “Before we get started, can we get you a coffee? A cappuccino? You can get one right out of the new machine upstairs.”
“Mind if I burn one?”
Tall bearded agent purses his lips, cocks his head in the direction of a plastic “No Smoking” placard thunder-bolted to the wall.
Stocky agent makes a sour puss, shakes his head, rolls up the sleeves on his thick arms. He reaches across the heavy wood table, grabs an ashtray, clunks it down in front of me as if it were a bedpan.
“The rule doesn’t apply down here,” he says. Then, in this deep affected voice, he adds, “Let’s get started, Mr. Moonlight. You already know the routine. For now we just want to get to the bottom of the who, what, wheres and hows of this train wreck.”
“You forgot the ‘why,’” I say, firing up a Marlboro Light. “You need to know the why to establish an entire familiarity with any given case.”
Stocky agent does a double take, smiles. Like he knows I’m fucking with him.
“Don’t be a dick, Dick,” he says.
I guess it’s important not to take life too seriously.
He laughs. I laugh. We all laugh.
Ice officially broken.
I exhale some smoke, sit back in my chair.
They’re right of course. I know the drill. I know it’s the truth they’re after. The truth and almost nothing but the truth. But what they also want is my perspective—my take on the entire Scarlet Montana affair, from soup to peanuts. They want me to leave nothing out. I’ll start with my on-again/off-again love affair with my boss’s wife. Maybe from there I’ll move on to the dead bodies, my cut up hands, the Saratoga Springs Russians, the Psychic Fair, the heroin, the illegal organ harvesting operation, the exhumations, the attempts on my life, the lies, deceptions and fuck-overs galore.
As a former fulltime Albany Detective, I know that nobody sees the same thing through the same set of eyeballs. What’s important to one person might appear insignificant or useless to another. What those Federal Agents want right now inside the basement interview room is my most reliable version of the truth—an accurate, objective truth that separates fact from fantasy.
“Ask away,” I say, just as the buzzing starts up in the core of my head.
“Just start at the beginning,” stocky agent requests. “We have all night.”
Sitting up straight I feel my right arm beginning to go numb on me. So numb I drop the lit cigarette onto the table. The inside of my head chimes like a belfry. Stocky agent is staring at me from across the table with these wide bug eyes like my skull and brains are about to pull a JFK all over him.
But then, just as soon as it all starts, the chiming and the paralysis subsides.
With a trembling hand, I manage to pick up the partially smoked cigarette, exhale a very resigned, now smokeless breath and stamp the cancer stick out.
“Everything you wanna know,” I whisper. “You want me to tell you everything.”
“Everything you remember,” tall agent smiles. “If that’s at all possible.”
Stocky agent pulls a stick of gum from a pack in his pant’s pocket, carefully unwraps the tin foil, folds the gum before stuffing it into his mouth.
Juicy Fruit. I can smell it from all the way across the table.
By all indicators, it’s going to be a long night.
“I think I’ll take that cappuccino after all,” I say.
For the first time since entering the basement interview room, I feel the muscles in my face constricting. I know without looking that my expression has turned into something miles away from shiny happy. I’m dead serious.