Sunday, October 9, 2016

Short Story In Progress...



     The guys were kicking it out front of Grant's Bar & Grill, or the 'Grant', as they liked to call it. They sprawled along the sidewalk smoking cigarettes and watching traffic. Sometimes they'd shout at the lookers, the ones who's heads would pivot while passing. The carrying on would increase until the car would exit their view, and then they'd all calm down a bit and go back to harassing themselves or any stranger unfortunate enough to walk down their sidewalk. The Grant was a real piece of shit bar located on Sixth & Hubert, opposite side of town as all the PeeWees (white privileged). Far enough away, in fact, that the PeeWees could completely forget that anyone other than themselves existed. But the Roach Street Crew didn't give a shit about none of that, none of them. Fact, they didn't really care much about anything at all, except getting fucked up and running shit round the Grant.

     Bobby sat atop a newspaper stand while rolling one; the heels of his shoes kicking hard against the plexiglass door while he licked the paper of the finished joint and twisted it between his fingers. He held it up and inspected it from every angle. It was good. He glanced over at Two Step.
     "Here, ya dumb dengo, light it up!"
Two Step took the joint and removed a zippo from his pocket. Holding both up high, he thumbed the lighter to life and began singing a song known only to himself as he pranced down the sidewalk like a fag. Down to the end of the block and back up again. Down and back up, like a real fairy. Until his friends all became lit  and started booing and throwing street trash at him. He stopped his sing song when he got hit in the head with a crumpled soda can.
     "Jeezus, ya fucks!"
     "Just light the stick, ya homo. For chrisake."
The rest of the crew laughed and chimed in and continued hurling insults at their friend as they stepped in closer to form a semi circle while passing the joint around. Just then, a cop car turned in off Sixth and slow rolled its way down Hubert. The Roach's stared hard; their heads on pivot as the cruiser drove by. The cop eyeballed the crew equally hard; connecting faces with names and activities and smiling like a real asshole. When he reached the end of the block he quick flipped his siren and made a "whoop whoop" sound before exiting from view.
     "Ya get a load of that shit?" exclaimed Bobby as he exhaled a plume of smoke. "Which one of you fucks ordered bacon-wrapped chicken?"
The group all laughed as they finished the joint and relocated back inside of the Grant.

     Grant was in his sixties. Retired veteran. Hated everyone. Used his returning home money to open up a bar where he could spend his dying days serving up fucks like these. Though the age gap was considerable, he didn't mind 'em much. Matter of fact, Grant kind of liked having them around. Reminded him of when he was their age. Still fit, not giving a shit, and ready to kill. Two wars, three ex wives and seven children later... Grant was the explosive type who could blow at any moment, depending on the prevailing inner city winds. The Roaches sauntered in and piled onto old bar stools. They slapped their hands against the bar repeatedly and the commotion caused other patrons to turn and look their way. For the most part, everyone knew everyone here, but there were a few outsiders who watched the young crew tentatively and with caution as they continued to bang the bar and yell at the bartender.
     "Why you even have that goddamn song on the box, Grant?" (American Pie played from a jukebox along the corner of the furthest wall).
     "Hey, how long we gotta wait to get served in this dive, Grant?"
     "As long as your mutha waited last night!"
The crew laughed. Others didn't. Grant began pouring beers and sliding them one by one across the bar into waiting hands. One by one, the Roaches sang praises unto his name as they lifted sloshing beer mugs.
     "Graaaant is the ant of my eye!"
     "It's apple of my eye, you ghetto goat!"
     "Whichever fruit... I don't... aw, fuck off anyhow."
More laughter. On the opposite side of the bar, nearest to the bathrooms, the pool table was being abused by a couple in love. Between shots, they would caress and kiss and dry hump against the rail as though their next shot depended on it greatly. The woman wore a skirt that continuously needed pulling down. Her thong panties.. orange.. on display like her own imperfections. Her man stood around 6 foot and wore a muscle shirt and jeans. He looked like the front cover of a magazine. The Roaches spun on their chairs and watched while the two continued making piss poor shots at the table.
     Grant surmised the future way of things and leaned in. "None of your shit tonight, fellas. Please. I've not got the energy."

     Pop Tart was the first to stand. As he started walking past his crew a foot crept out and tripped him up, sending him sprawling. He regained his balance and verbally terrorized his friend while simultaneously laughing. He grabbed his dick through his pants and began thrusting his hips against Bobby's leg. Bobby punched him in the nuts and shoved him off. Pop Tart shot them all the bird and continued walking toward the billiards area. He set his beer down on a table and fished a smoke out; his eyes never leaving the hot blonde's ass. Even after state law forbid smoking in all public and private establishments, the Grant continued giving the Man the finger by allowing his patrons to smoke wherever they damn well pleased. He had been heard screaming, on several occasions, "Just let them gov't pricks come in here and tell me how t'run my business! I fucking hope they try!"

     Cover boy noticed quickly that he had a set of eyes on his girl. In between piss poor shots, he sized up Pop Tart and watched as the guy's friends all commented loudly from the bar, egging him on. It was no longer safe here and he knew it, but little could be done at this point. He was now a mark.

     Pop Tart crushed his smoke against a beer coaster and moved over to the rack of cue sticks attached to the wall. He pulled down the first one he saw and started rolling it around in his hand and talking sexy to it. He held it flat against his cheek, the long end hovering way out into open air, while licking it with his tongue and saying all the naughty things he wanted to do to it.
     "I'm gonna shove you so far up my pussy, baby, oh yeah. Gonna bury you deep."
The couple immediately ceased their sexuality and traded it for an expert level of professionalism that far exceeded the world champ players seen on TV. They tried pretending Pop Tart wasn't there. They tried so hard, but their attempt was halted by a bent over bare ass walking backwards toward their table. Pop Tart had dropped his pants and underwear and was now shuffling at them while smacking his ass cheeks with the pool cue and yelling, "Fuck me real good hard for the money shot!"

"FUCK ME REAL GOOD... HARD FOR THE MONEY SHOT!"

     In a last ditch quick effort call, the cover boy decided for a brawn approach to solving the situation he found himself in and kicked Pop Tart hard in the ass sending him toppling over and into several chairs and without hesitation, he jumped in and began beating him with his cue stick, but within seconds the bar cleared and The all the boys were in on the action. The first wave of fists and kicks knocked the cover boy off of Pop Tart. In a scramble to avoid blows, he lost his cue stick and ended up on his back out in the middle of the bar floor. He curled up instinctively as a storm of hardened feet reigned down on his body. Ribs began to crack, teeth loosened, fingers broke, as the Roaches continued their torment. In a moment of strength, cover boy managed to stand up and even swing a few while his short-skirt girlfriend screamed and clawed at them from beside the pool table, but the Roaches made quick work of him, promptly knocking him unconscious with two solid whacks from his dropped cue stick.

     Blood flowed from multiple cuts on his face and head and his eyes were already swollen shut. His jaw went off in a weird angle as unconscious breathing gurgled through. The girlfriend went into full-on freak out mode and jumped onto her lover like a shield showing up late in battle, crying hysterically and slinging curses and kicking at shins with her high heels. She moved like a fish at the end of a hook. The Roaches looked down and laughed and Pop Tart, having recovered from his pantless debacle, walked over and gave one last kick for nothing, but as unbalanced as he was, missed his intended target.

     "That's enough now, you cunty runts! Take your niggerish shit outside!" Grant screamed from his side of the bar, slammed fists and snorted. A crop of grey hair tossed to and fro while his torso trembled into action. Grant would always carry on a lot, but always from his side of the bar. Everything that occurred beyond it was not really his business. He considered it part of the turf war. The battle zone. And he wasn't in charge of that. He manned the booze and the lights and the shotgun he had hidden beneath the register was for the thieving criminals, not for breaking up fights. So he'd just yell and carry on and tell everyone his opinion, but never back much of it up. Fact: he'd already fought his wars twice over and wanted no part in them now.

     One by one, each Roach started to step away from the hot blonde whose tits were was now shaking while she cried and sobbed next to her unconscious boyfriend. The bar sure could become a place for hot torso action in a hurry. Bobby was the first to walk away and as he did he made a clicking sound with his tongue and tapped Pop Tart on the shoulder and Pop Tart tapped Mickey on the shoulder as he walked away and Mickey tapped Two Step and Two Step tapped Fitz on his shoulder and the whole group stepped over to the bar to finish their beers before walking back out into the street. They slapped each other good and bounced around feinting punches and carried on quite a bit as they bid Grant farewell.
     "We'll see you later, ya grumpy stump!"
     "Yeah, why you gotta be so crotchety? We barely got to know the fella!"
     "Save us our stools!"
They laughed and went out the door and left Grant surveying the mess left behind.

                                                +++++++++++++++++++++++

     "Ya'll see the eye pop out his head?" Fitz said as the crew made their way down Hubert Street. They moved together like an unrehearsed street performance, each at a unique speed, with varying levels of attention to their forward direction. Two Step dragged a beer coaster along the building walls as they walked. The thin, rounded pad of pressed cardboard bent and flicked as it ran across gaps, indentations, and depressions, giving a pfffft pfffft sound as pieces of itself flaked off leaving a trail behind them.
     "His eye didn't pop out his head. What the hell are you even saying?" asked Bobby. Bobby walked out in front, like always, his eyes darting from faces he saw in windows to other noticeable things happening along the way. He memorized locations of doors. He knew every alley and cross street extension and just about every bar with a backdoor leading into them. For the past four years, Bobby remained the unelected leader of the Roach Street Crew and all the other members remained silently okay with it. He was their de facto frontman; the guy who could brain his way out of most things, but also had the scrap needed to handle what couldn't be handled smartly.
     "I'm just sayin, it looked like his eye popped out. From where I was standing," Fitz replied. "Eyes do pop out yannow," he added.
     "Cheesy crust, your mutha musta butt-fucked a dalmation to have a dip-shit like you for a son, you spotted mutt," Two Step badgered. Everyone laughed, including Fitz.

     The boys continued walking. It was nearing seven Thursday evening and the city was becoming alive with the buzzing energy of a horde of other humans exploring the myriad local businesses with open signs in their storefront windows. Families entered restaurants, couples went into bars, women exited one clothing shop only to immediately enter another, men disappeared into strip clubs never to be seen again. The city life was kicking into gear and the Roaches were just getting started. A commotion could be heard across the street and the gang all turned and looked. On the sidewalk opposite of them, about a block back, an elderly Asian couple began arguing. The man, who appeared to be in his sixties (according to Asian aging standards, but really, who can honestly tell) was wearing a white apron over black slacks and an olive colored dress shirt. Grasped in his right hand, which was currently held high above his head and being used as an exclamation to his sentences, was a three foot beef stick. The end wobbled back & forth in the air as the man waved it angrily at the woman, who in turn was giving it right back to the man. Together, the obnoxious level of their verbal assault rang out like a war song being played at high speed. Foreign sounds and syllables bounced and echoed off walls as passerbys paused to watch and listen.
     "They sure get animated when provoked," Fitz remarked. Bobby and the others nodded. "Sounds like pots and pans being thrown everywhere." Everyone laughed except Mickey. He stood with his hands buried in his pockets and his back pressed up against the wall, not really paying attention. Bobby noticed.
     "Mickey, what's got you buggin?"
Mickey shrugged and looked off in an opposite direction. Bobby stepped over and got right in his face; their noses nearly touching. He stood there, staring deep into Mickey's eyes. The exchange of warm breath could be felt on their faces. Mickey stared back... hard.
     Bobby clicked his tongue and whispered, "Hey Mickey you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind... hey Mickey."

Mickey cracked a smile and shoved Bobby away. "Back the hell off, you lunatic."
Bobby laughed and turned back to the action. The crazy Asians were still bickering in the street; the beef stick still flopping obscenely in the air.
     "This is ridiculous. They've went through the alphabet a hundred times already," Bobby remarked.

     The rest of the crew watched as Bobby crossed the street and made his way over to the arguing Asians. Without hesitation, he grabbed the beef stick from the old man's hand and started bouncing like a gorilla back across the street while waving the meat up and down with one arm, beating his chest with the other and making loud gorilla sounds. The couples' bickering ceased immediately as they watched gorilla boy make off with their beef. The old man stood completely frozen, dumbstruck by what just occured, but the old lady snapped into action and chased Bobby out into the street yelling foreign expletives at him. Bobby spun around to face her and the woman stopped dead in her tracks. They stared at one another for a brief moment before Bobby held the beef stick out in front of his crotch with both hands, wiggling it as if inviting her to take it.  
     The angry Asian lady immediately lunged for it, but with the quickness of an NFL kicker, Bobby punted the piece of meat as hard as he could. It split in two: one half went flipping wide right while the other half soared high into the air and made a rubber slapping sound as it bounced and smacked along the city street. The cacophony from the original argument ended and was replaced by laughter from the Roach Street Crew. Bobby looked down at the oriental and grinned. She looked around at everyone looking at her and then over at her husband who still stood motionless in defeat. Having had enough, she hissed disapprovingly at Bobby, yelled a few more quick curses and retreated back to her husband. Bobby replied by clicking his tongue and sauntered back across the street to rejoin his crew who greeted him with high fives and shoulder slaps and a bottle of whiskey.

     "Dude, did you see the look on Mr. Miyagi's face when you nabbed his beef?" asked Pop Tart excitedly. "He just stood there like a dumb fuck... no clue what to do!" Everyone was laughing. Bobby stole a quick glance over his shoulder as though to make sure the situation had indeed ended, and then turned back to his crew.
     "Alright... alright... calm yer nuts, okay? How about we go see Miss Tits. I feel like getting into it tonight," Bobby said as he took a long pull from the whiskey bottle, capped it and chucked it over to Fitz. Fitz unscrewed the cap, drank it dry, then tossed the empty bottle far down an alley. The faint sound of it shattering into pieces was drowned out by the group's audible excitement of heading over to Miss Tit's place. The night was about to get sideways.

                                                   ++++++++++++++++++++++

     The one hundred year old apartment high rise loomed over the surrounding buildings by six stories and outlived the oldest of them by at least thirty years.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Red Glow

"You're the master of whisperers, you're supposed to know everything" - King Joffrey Baratheon

The other night I decided to roam the city streets after hours. During the day, downtown Salem is a stale place, void of anything inspiring to me, but at night it becomes an enchanting forest haunted by the hungry, welcoming to the weary, and foreboding to those who live their lives only in the daylight. I walked up and down each narrow alley, casually, driven by a desire to locate the source of my own existence. I investigated the dimly lit nooks and crannies like a rodent would looking for crumbs. I stood silently, with my face upturned toward the dark sky, while a cool drizzle covered my naked head. I passed by several others; humans of the night lunging in and out of the shadows like ghosts in the making. Those of us who dare to explore the sadness of a sleeping city enter an agreement with each other: the randomness of the night becomes our play thing; our temporary home. And it is up to us to take what we discover and bring it into the daylight for the rest of you to see. Treasures found. Cryptic messages. The fragmented clues of the unborn. It's all there just beneath the surface, past the shadows, echoing within the night. As I was about to leave and travel back home I was greeted by a lone woman, bent inward into her own madness, ranting loudly at a store front. While part of me feels a little guilty for recording her, another part of me is completely fascinated by the human mind, especially when it cracks into a chaos that resembles spilled poetry. Here is what she had to say:

Transcript:

“The heart your father gave me, it’s hollow. My chest is dead like a cracked carcass. I can’t feel this; it’s not going to do anything for me. I have to be loved. I have to love. I don’t have a mate, that’s disgusting. I don’t know what you want. Ya’ll bit me on my scrotums, everything. I needed those. These men and me. I don’t know what you want. Fifteen years they’ve been saying that. I love sin. All these ladies, I don’t know what you want. All these blind ladies that you’re supposed to be singing to. To attract them to you. So I can be loved. Love. I don’t know what you want. You’re invincible; I need you physically. I told you I don’t and I don’t need you and I don’t want you. Invincible. You can’t tell me if you’re going to fucking stay alive or not. I needed you. Write that one down. And that’s not me, I do it natural. I already protected and sealed these baby boys. Literally. I already protected and sealed everyone. You’re trading me. My water is gone because you put a great prostitute on me. She’s eating me dead. Your crumbled bitch. I don’t know what you want. You’re sinning. You can’t tell me which one of you’s are gonna stay alive, that’s my decision. I don’t know what you want. I want your father’s musical heart beating in my big chest with my big breasts. I didn’t say that. My hands. Where’s my bat hands with my red glowing fingertips? My healing power I have to love. I have to. Now I’m dying with three hundred billion people taking it. We’ve already been in four to five boxes. I’m suffocating. I know how I need it, it’s pertinent.  Burgeoning. I don’t know what you want, you’re invincible. I think you’re being judged from ships you’re shrinking me. I can’t collect myself the way you wanted me to. It had to be done one step at a time; that’s how I needed it and now I can’t do anything. What am I gonna be? What am I gonna be, demons? What am I gonna be? I can’t hang out with my family. What am I gonna do? My back is fucking broken. We haven’t fucking… we’re tense as fucking hell man. It’s not funny. You don’t fucking do that to me. And then spread it out. What about me? There’s a bunch of old ladies in here. Look at what you did to me. I had already done all that. I don’t know. These people they have family members. Friends. It’s not only the people in the pictures. You gotta judge. Step in front of the thrones and get judged.”