If I am repaired, can we meet again for the first time, in all of the places I have feared to go, and then, again, in all of the places I will have forgotten, if I am repaired?



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Journal Post

I align myself with floorboards, perpendicular to a blackened glass, stretch; lengthen my life, they say, while coffee brews. Making a cat, a cow, a downward dog, I think of all that I have learned about you. How, for every question you have answered, another has taken its place, and a space, that should be closing, has only opened to new and infinite possibility. Herein, I think, as my blood stirs, lies the mystery that Enoch called God. It feels odd to find it between us—this space—undeserved. At least it does now, before coffee. Maybe this will change when my cup is full.           

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oh Little Star of Bethlehem (Mag 105)

...this is long and loaded with profanity.

image: epic mahoney

“Pick up the phone Martin.”

          Saturday, September 21, 1991, Larry-Lee Reddick found himself standing twenty miles west of Vegas, his home, in a phone booth out front of Dale’s Tax-Free Tobacco Outlet.

          In his left hand, Larry-Lee held the telephone’s receiver, the cord to which was too short to reach his ear (roughly six foot two inches from the ground), forcing him to stoop and pissing him off even more. His right hand steadied a bicycle, a cheap off-the-rack mountain bike, which was also pissing him off. On the line, Larry-Lee had both the operator, and Martin’s answering machine. The call was collect.

          “I know you’re there Martin,” Larry-Lee said to the machine. “Pull that little prick of yours out for a minute and pick up the mother-fucking phone.”

          Martin had a new woman. Otherwise, he would have been with Larry-Lee last night, and Larry-Lee wouldn’t be in this goddamn phone booth. Or so Larry-Lee was thinking. The two had been riding together since they were kids, nearly twenty years. They co-owned Vegas Customs, built choppers and an occasional street rod. 

          “Watch your language sir, this is an open line,” the operator said.

          “Sorry Darlin’. Goddamn habit.”

          “I understand sir. My husband’s the same way.”

          “You from Texas Darlin’?”

          “Yes sir. Austin.”

          “I thought so.”

          Martin’s answering machine beeped, disconnecting Larry-Lee.


          “He didn’t answer Sir.”

          “Can you dial him back for me Darlin?”

           The sky was clear, the sun nearly set. Downtown Vegas lay in the dusk of the Copper Ridge Mountains, cool and blue. Lights were coming on in the city. Through the glass of the booth, the twenty-mile stretch of flat desert between Larry-Lee and home looked more like five. He could easily make out The Mirage, Caesar’s, Martin’s apartment. That’s what kills you, he thought, listening to the phone ring, the goddamn illusion. Larry-Lee was still pretty high.

          Martin’s answering machine picked up again.

          “Martin! That Navaho and a goddamn hippie stole my scooter,” Larry-Lee said.

          The Navaho was Andy Longwater, a Cherokee actually, from North Carolina, who Martin had met that summer at Little Sturgis. Larry-Lee hadn’t been able to ride—stomach virus. Andy was an artist, airbrush mostly, but some ink too.

          “I’m out here at Dale’s,” Larry-Lee went on, “with a goddamn bicycle I sure as fuck ain’t ridin’ across twenty miles of desert in the dark. Pick up the mother-fucking phone!”

          “Sir, I’ll have to disconnect you…”

          At first, Larry-Lee was pissed when Martin came back from Little Sturgis with Andy. The spray booth was his territory. But Larry-Lee couldn’t deny Andy had him beat. Besides, the motherfucker rode a ’69 Shovelhead, damn near the twin of his. He couldn’t be all bad.

          “Sorry Darlin’,” Larry-Lee told the operator.

           Martin finally answered, laughing. The operator asked if he would accept the charges.

          “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Martin replied, between gasps of hoarse laughter.

          Yesterday, about this same time, Andy had asked Larry-Lee if he wanted to take a put out to Chuck’s and shoot a little pool. He did. They did. But for reasons Larry-Lee couldn’t remember at present, the two left Chuck’s, and wound up in the parking lot of a whorehouse called Maggie’s Hole, shortly after midnight.

          “Shut the fuck up, mother-fucker!” Larry-Lee said to the still laughing Martin. “That son-of-a-bitch stole my goddamn clothes! I’m out here in an Eddie Bower button down, cargo shorts and fucking Birkenstocks. Come and pick me the fuck up!”

          Andy and Larry-Lee had been getting off their bikes at Maggie’s when the Hippie rolled up.

          Andy saw him first. “Jesus H. Christ,” he said. “Would you look at this shit?”

          The Hippie was tall, like Larry-Lee, lankier, with a slightly longer beard. He was riding the bicycle Larry-Lee was holding at the phone booth in front of Dale’s. He parked beside Andy and Larry-Lee, and dismounted. He was ripe with Sandalwood.

          Larry-Lee and Andy lit cigarettes and watched the Hippie unwind from a denim backpack.

          “First time?” the Hippie asked.

          Larry-Lee told him it was, Maggie’s anyway. Larry-Lee was no stranger to a whorehouse.

          “Well…” The Hippie smiled, unzipped the backpack and drew out a Ziploc sandwich bag full of what appeared to be mushrooms.

          “…you might have a few of these before you go in.”

          The shrooms were marinated in peyote tea, the Hippie explained, filling both Andy and Larry-Lee’s palm, and guaranteed to enhance their Maggie’s experience.

          “Cheers!” the Hippie said, and tossed his handful into his mouth. Andy and Larry-Lee followed suit.

          The three went inside.

          In years to come, Larry-Lee Reddick would remember Maggie’s Hole as the second worst whorehouse he had ever set foot in. The five girls on rotation there, all in there late forties, were ugly in a way Larry-Lee had yet to encounter, and Larry-Lee had encountered some ugly in his life. There were only three rooms, one toilet and no public telephone. Not even for paying customers. Though that wouldn’t have done Larry-Lee much good at present, he had yet to pay Maggie.

          The peyote had kicked in as the three sorted out in Maggie’s foyer, who was going with whom. After that, the details became iffy for Larry-Lee. He had vague recollections of seeing the Hippie naked, his enormous penis swaying limp as he crossed the room—the bed—a woman removing her teeth, and Andy brandishing a bone handled Bowie knife.

          He woke alone, sun shining through the window. The room reeked of Sandalwood, sex and cigarettes. Larry-Lee rolled to the edge of the bed and looked where he would normally lay his clothes in a whorehouse. Nothing. He looked around the room. The Hippie’s cargo shorts and blue flannel shirt were folded neatly on a chair beside the door, his Birkenstocks on the floor, but there was no sign of his or Andy’s clothing.

          The room was on the second floor, facing the parking lot. Larry-Lee got up and looked out the window. From where the sun sat on the horizon, he guessed it late afternoon, about four-thirty or five. The lot was empty. Both bikes were gone. The Hippie’s mountain bike, however, still leaned against the porch.


         Larry-Lee knew from experience not to ask any question, stir the hive as they say, in situations like this. Just get the fuck out and pay the bill later, if there was a bill. He squeezed into the Hippie’s clothes and eased himself out the window on to the porch roof. From there, he jumped down to the parking lot, splitting the crotch of the Hippie's shorts.

          He had left Maggie’s with full intentions of riding the Hippie's bicycle the twenty miles back to Vegas, a decision probably brought on by the lingering peyote. Larry-Lee was not entirely out of shape, but his hangover and several mild hallucinations forced him to to stop at Dale’s, exhausted and in need of a cold beer.

          The sun sank below the Copper Ridge Mountains as he related all of this to Martin. In the glow that remained above the ridge, one star shone brightly.

          “Look at that,” Larry-Lee said to Martin.


          “Look out your goddamn window.”


          “Can you see that star?”


          “That’s Sirius man. The goddamn Dog Star. The star of fucking Bethlehem.”

          Larry-Lee knew next to nothing about stars.

          “Jesus, Larry-Lee, you are fucked the fuck up.”

          “Oh little town of Bethlehem," Larry-Lee began to sing, his voice a silky tenor, "how still we see thee lie…” The throaty roar of a Harley accelerating out of third cut Larry Lee short.

          “Hold on,” he told Martin, and went out to the road.

          The Hippie was riding Andy’s bike, wearing Larry-Lee’s clothes, and smiling through his wind-split beard. Andy was on Larry-Lee’s bike.

          Larry-Lee flagged them down.
          The two stopped, dropped their stands and let the bikes idle.

          Larry-Lee looked from Andy, to the Hippie, to his bike.

          The tank of his bike, once burgundy, had been been painted a dusky blue. One brilliant star shone near the gas cap. Beneath the star, the silhouettes of three men were walking. Wise men, Larry-Lee assumed, though one of them looked a whole lot like the goddamn Hippie.
          “It just came to me, man,” Andy said.

            Larry-Lee stared at the scene in silence. Andy looked to the Hippie. The Hippie shrugged, smiled. 
          Finally Larry-Lee looked up. “I ain't ridin' bitch Motherfucker,” he said, and waited for Andy to climb off his bike.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Lesson From James

‘That’s why I don’t get attached to no animal,’ James said.

          We stood outside my shop in the light from the open door. James was on his way to the Lodge. His truck was still running. He had heard about my dog, knew how I cared for him and just wanted to stop in quick and check on me.

          ‘I had a dog I kindly loved like that when I was a kid,’ he said. ‘She had pups and run off and got herself killed. I ain’t got close to an animal since.’

          James looked through the darkness at his house in the bend above mine, perhaps to see if the porch light was on, which it was.  

          ‘Well, I better git,’ he said. ‘Just wanted to see how you were.’

          He climbed inside his truck.

          ‘Thanks,’ I said.

          I didn’t think any more of James’s condolences until the next day. I was doing some menial task, sanding, my mind wandering over all the little joys my dog, my friend, had brought me, the love we had shared, moments I would never have again but in memory. There were tears. Through them though, I thought of what James had said.

          Why would anyone, I asked myself, deprive themselves of this kind of happiness, this much love, just so they would never have to loose it?

          How silly. How sad. You loose everything eventually. There are so many creatures—animals, people—in the world, any one of which could bring new love and happiness into your life. If you moved from love, to love, to love, without a moment’s hesitation, you could, in theory, live a life free from sorrow, be in constant joy. Love could actually conquer all. Is this not Heaven?

          And I said, ‘Get up. Make more love.’

Friday, February 10, 2012

Nothing you don't know.

          Life moves on around empty spaces, we skirt them, turn away our wet glances, to avoid another scene, up bootstraps and step into the glare of another day, numb with wonder at what comes and what goes.    

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I had to put Doggers down yesterday. A car hit him and broke his little spine, just above his tail. Fixing him was possible, but iffy, and he was old. Yes, I cried, and cried and cried. I am still crying. No, you don’t understand. You would have to have learned to love as a dog does: pure, relentless, regardless—to be loved that way in return. You would have to take away your wife, your husband, your sons, your daughters, grandkids, best friends—every creature you know and care for, who fills your every day, gives you purpose and reason to keep on. You would have to be alone, in a quiet, empty house, far, far away from the people who are doing their very best to understand.

Thank you for trying.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Jesus. My heart. My big, stupid heart. 
Doggers is gone.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Damn Stephanie, You Have Some Pull.

I used to be in a band,
that much I think you know.

We did all right... success wise.
That is to say, there were lots of chicks around.

On rare occasions, one of those chicks will find me, sequestered as I am.

On even rarer occasions, I will care.

This is one of those occasions.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Out of the Blue Clear Sky

Yesterday evening I was bringing wood up to the house, mulling over my bills, my lack of finances to cover them, and how I could use a little side work to pad my checking account, when Mike Lloyd stops out in the road and asks if I have a ratchet strap.

          Behind his Explorer, Mike has a small trailer in tow, on top of which is the twenty-foot flagpole (keep in mind, I live in a secluded, rural area and you can do stupid things like this), that he has been saying he was going to steal for several weeks now. 
          No, Mike did not steal the flagpole. Miracle of miracles, it was given to him out of the blue. Problem was, all he had in the truck  at the time was two decrepit bunge cords to hold it down with. Apparently, he had been creeping from house to house in search of somebody home to lend him a couple of decent tie-downs.
          ‘Yes, I have a ratchet strap,’ I tell him, ‘pull back to the shop.’

          Well, no sooner does Mike get in the drive, but some truck I don’t recognize pulls in behind him. I’m on the passenger side of the vehicles, trying to keep senile Doggers from getting run over in the commotion. The truck stops, and I poke my head in the window to see who it is; what they want.

          It’s some guy from over at Jackie’s, I know, but don’t know.

          ‘Jackie tells me you build cabinets,’ he says.

          ‘Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.’

          ‘Well I need a few.’



                                                                               Now if only Cupid was as efficient as the Job Fairy.