There is a breed of person that, if "that" is the correct thing to call a "breed" ...that never lifts its Guard.
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You never expect to find anything where it should logically be discovered behind an old dresser in a room you were never allowed to enter. tangled hair. Or maybe some disgusting ball of 'parent-smelling' weave of nylon stocking and scabbard rubbery band.
With a dead spider's leg resembling the Batman-ish eyelash grace ode to under the scary bed archeology.
You never even begin past the wedged channel entrenched into itself into carpet weave.. the only part still untrue to aging.
And the men come, and pump the lever-thingy and then it is just past the yellowed wooden channel door frame not called a threshold. And you know your brother would understand and still not be in awe..were he not by now a Judge with far too many recalcitrant apostrophes.
And you long for your sisters and their reasoning which always came with a logical start in some sentence about cleaning and PineSol like by now you hate that smell because all the pregnant pauses of women with young children and desperate corn-flaked cereal stains in white enamel sinks smelled that exact same way.
I forgot what I was going to say.
"Notes from my Father".
Not to me. To himself.
And I know the note I discovered was just from him to him.
Notes to a man from that man are spared the "Hi" and accolade reserved for others.
But then I wonder why if that is true he left it somewhere near the Dresser where my Mother kept her brushes. For her hair.
Those real and solid silver brushes long gone to a sister or a place where perhaps her hair is ageless but only old smelling from the dander in the brushes he would smell with the final forward thrust.
Like father like son.
Not my Mother you silly goose. It's a metaphor you sick Bastard.
Well now I am just distracted.
Now I will have to read from my iPhone 6s notes where finally I have learned to interrupt my own Dresser drawers and calm thoughts to take the holiday picture of seven or 100 words that refuse to not downpour less often than before. Just a dribble.
"Someday you will smile" he began.
No preamble. Again, no "Hi how are you."
Which is how you can tell it's from a person to a person. Or a Teddy. I have always kept a Teddy.
"But Someday you will smile."
I am writing it word for word now. What I found. I hope you will like it.
It's not from your Father but then I did not much know my own father so maybe we are not so unalike you and I.
"But someday you will smile"
"At how the silly man danced . His (actually) laughable silly dance. Not caring how ridiculous he always appeared. Eventually by himself of course. And finally .. As I suppose .. all such silly men do
In an empty house and always just for the memory of you.
I don't pretend you care anymore.
I understand when you say "..let's just fuck.." and I understand how at last you can just say that .
I'm glad you came so far so early but so necessarily.
I'm glad I'm not there to hear it.
The best thing is that I am writing this to you as if it's to you.
It doesn't matter that it is to you it only matters that I am writing it to you.
I've written so much to you.
All those years of silence.
It's really too much and it's really not fair to you.
I am trying to find other places to put these.
I miss you so much.
Here is just a vast distance to there from here but so close.
I know that you can understand what that means.
I am writing to you when you're older.
That's how I remember you.
Your hair is as you wish it to be but your eyes your eyes are what I remember.
Your eyes understand so much. And it hurts to look at you now as I remember you.
It doesn't matter that this is to you it only matters that I am writing it to you."
That's the whole thing. More or less. I left out a few things.
It was there, of course. Half-pressed in two by years and years of "Old Dresser".
Six pages of an old prescription pad. Neat little blue-ballpoint words.
One of the few country doctors with legible handwriting.
I don't know what else to say.
It turns out that "It's not my fault you got fat " is stated more often
as a rejoinder, or response to a man's excuse for duct taping his dick to
the roof of his own mouth, than it is retorted as a 'break-up' line.
Another good one, which I have also effectively deployed, is long time a personal favourite:
"Well, YOUR head is way too small for your body."
Seemingly a retort to something like : "You have a disproportionate body."
Or, more directly
"Has your Ass grown to the size of Montana, or are you actually sitting with your Parent's
Ranch in Montana stapled to your Ass ?"
The both sad and happy part about break-up lines is how they affect people.
Some people study their break-up lines with the diligence of a medical student.
These are what most
men call "Girls", and "Women", and "Soul Mate", and even "Lover" and all
kinds of a post-break-up chapter called 'Dumb Shit in General'.
Men don't generally practice their lines in advance of the 'show'.
The girls, however practice the material, the delivery, including a variety of hand accents as would make a Boeing
787 Landing Pilot Signaller nervous. And the purse that goes with the shoes (nothing like blade-silver
strapped spiked stiletto's for that final ass wag out the door).
Yes, and the right perfume; sultry, with a provocative hint of 'Fuck You.'
If 'the girl' finds herself practiced and positioned for break-up the day before 'that time of the month',
she will put it off. Also known to most North-American women as 'break-up sex'.
Not surprisingly, many men will, by this mere calendar happenstance, also known as 'fluke', be well-
familiar with such "break-up sex" by another name: "cuddling".
Lacking nothing in rehearsed delivery by a girl also gifted with the Aircraft Signaler ability of a writhing snake afflicted with a trampoline addiction.
And that's just the amateur part of the show.
Sadly, there's more.
++ End Chapter 1 ++
The 7-11 Clerk remembered my Dad.
"Every time he came in he gave me $20."
"First he bought a litre of Diet Coke from the Cooler over there.
Then he would walk over to the till right here and pick out x2 Snickers bars.
The big thick pack with x2 mid-sized bars in each packed end-to-end.
So that's x4 bars.
Then he would reach into his left-side vest pocket, and your Dad wore a lot of Vests with dress-pants and a tie.
Or a suit. He wore a lot of suits too. He could wear a suit, your Dad.
Some people they look worse in a nice suit than pajamas.
But your Dad, he looked real nice in the suits he wore.
And always with the shiny shoes. Like wet glass shiny. Like Vaseline on an aluminum tin balloon shiny.
And different color shoes too. Like ...
One day the patent leather blue shoes. Another day the red maroon shoes.
Next maybe a grey tip over cherry black. And always as shiny as a new dime.
A real head-turner, too. Hair just right. And a lot of it, but styled.
The girls looked too. Young, old, all kinds of girls.
Anyway he would peel off the $20 bill, and pass it right to me.
Just like that. A 12 dollar tip. Every time. "
He paused. I could swear his eyes softened a bit. Which for a Downtown-City 7-11 Clerk
might have been slightly out of character. Or so I imagined.
"And then he always had something to say, too.
If he was at the till and there was maybe a pretty girl or lady was up there too, he'd sometimes let her go first.
In front of him. So she was angled up front a bit.
Then he would wink. Back there. Standing right up close to a view like that.
But not too close. No, he gave them space.
You have to give a girl like that a lot of space.
But still, the view.
And your Dad appreciated a good-looking woman. Well, who doesn't, Right ? "
It wasn't a question.
"Like one day, it was raining. Not pouring but on and off, coming down pretty steady.
I was glad too, to be inside the store that day. Not just for the $12.
I got all the coffee and Slurpee's I would swallow. And fresh coffee too. I brewed it right from
the 7-11 Coffee beans and it was damn good coffee.
The whole store filled up like a French Barista when I ground up those fat black Mountain High
Peruvian 7-11 coffee beans. My store back then didn't just stock the cheap stuff.
No Sirree. " He road the last two "ee"s in "Sirree like a small tight pack of Happy Meal squeaky
Barney the Bear dolls run over in a MacDonald's Drive-Through Lane. Twice.
"And hot and rich and black. Once in awhile I threw that in
as a coupon, and your Dad always complimented me on my coffee.
Your Dad knew his coffee too.
So it's raining like I said, and I got to ask all my customers, rain or shine. Do they want a Carwash.
Every Customer. Hail sleet snow, hurricane cats and dogs falling from the sky, doesn't matter.
If I want that free coffee and Orange Crush Slurpee's I had better to learn to ask that same question:
"And would you like the Carwash today ?" And I hated the wise-assed answers people would give
Or just the look, like 'Are you Retarded ?'
So of course I have to ask the Lady, because your Dad let her in first.
And so I ask the Question, and by then, I'm
pretty well trained at the words. And so I said like "CarWash today" like it's a question.
I shortened it a bit just to speed things,
but I shortened it a bit more just to speed things
up a bit for your Dad.
And besides, it was just the two of them, and I knew your Dad, and 7-11 back then didn't tend to
hire lookers like that lady as inspectors. Too bad too.
But sure as jam jar honey your Dad saved the day on that one; so he jumps right in and pipes up, because
another thing is, your Dad wasn't afraid of the pretty in a girl. Not at all.
So I said " Luxury CarWash today ?"
I threw that first word in sometimes as an extra word. So that certain people could
see that I have a vocabulary.
And your Dad says:
"Well, Sir, the Lady sure as plain day likes the luxury. Wears it perfectly, too.
But looks like God
already bought her that carwash. For free ."
Well heck. That about sums it up. That was your Dad. "
He stopped talking just then and took a a big gulp and then a long slow swallow from his 7-11 Coffee Mug.
It was a big clay-pot fired iron clay cup, and thick.
The exact kind of a coffee mug that would make coffee
taste the most satisfying. And even when the clerk replaced the mug into it's own shiny jet-black and
orange Crush Orange colored Mug Heating cradle, that coffee kept on steaming.
I could tell that was fine coffee. I had the same coffee understanding that my Dad had.
I was completely sure of that now.
"That was your Dad." He said again.
"And then he peeled that brand new 20 dollars off from the bottom of that thick wad of money so it made that slippery crisp sound & snapped itself to attention at the end like a wet towel; snapped himself around too, pretty as you please, and gave that girl that look.
You know the kind like you know that the girl knows that there went some kind of a man. Yessiree.
They always gave it right back at him, too.
A couple even had that crooked smile, like Ellen Barkin, the sex-serial killer in Sea of Love.
"With Al Pacino ..." he added helpfully.
"That was your Dad. "
It was raining again when I left the Store.
I bought a medium Diet Coke and picked out a Dairy Milk Bar.
Not the Giant-Family-Size bar, with more checker squares than a Multi-Play church Bingo Card, but a normal Adult-sized portion.
I don't eat a lot of chocolate, but Dairy Milk is my chocolate of choice when I do. And a Diet Coke.
The Clerk looked at me kind of wistfully when it came time to pay.
But a herded bridge club of church-like-parishioners
was, happily for me, just blowing in through the main door, and he snapped his bushy quaff in the direction of the 7-11 Fresh-Brewed Dark Coffee, as a moment of sheer panic seemed to grip his eyes before he felt my $10 between his bony thumb and forefinger.
One hundred Canadian dollars in 10's & 20's is no 'thick money wad', but I wasn't going to start that with this guy.
No. Not yet.
I heard the 'Would any of you folks like the Carwash with that ? " but didn't wait for the reply.
No I wasn't my Dad yet. Everyone who saw me, and had known him also saw that right away too.
I look nothing like him.
Where Dad was slim-waisted, hard-muscled and lean into the face and square through the chin, I am somewhat
less in Movie Star quality.
More of a stage hand or maybe a stunt double, and then only for the way I walk and
learned to speak like he had. That much was learnable.
It probably began in me that day, however. Or close to that day with the Clerk at the 7-11.
In a few weeks I wearing more suits. And I had noticed men's shoes.
Turns out the girls take a real close look at a guy's shoes.
And his clothes. Hair, smell, eyes, hands, nails,
teeth. And anyone can learn that too. Just maybe not everyone understands that.
Not like that 7-11 Clerk did on that rainy day.
And not like my Dad. No Sirree.
That was some kind of a Man, my Dad.
Of course she thought that cool guys did not feel break-up pain.
That allowed him to be a Cool Guy too.
Facial expression aside Cool Guys are immune from the normal stress of loss.
It's from that bold body of judgement that they pick their shoes.
And an outstanding shoe is only one less component away from being a Cool Guy.
Still' you think : "Those shoes cost more than a my patent leather Moroccan Living room set."
Cool Guys get a lot of sex. They probably have to turn it down. Not up to standard.
That was the answer, he determined. Why be upset. There was redemption ten digits away.
That's how it began .
"You want to leave this relationship. Well go on. I can have another "You" in a minute."
"Your replacement is only ten digits away."
"You Must not Know About Me" .... Was Cool Guy's Byline.
That no one is 'Irreplaceable" ... could not be made too clear, or to early.
Or too Beyonce.
And the next ten digits later he had an Hawaiian Pizza loaded with extra parmesan and mushrooms in hand and was watching an old Episode of Friends. On the genuine Moroccan leather lounge chair.
Because what Cool Guy ever needed a 'couch' anyway.
The first lie they teach you is:
Happiness makes up for in height what it lacks in length.
Nice sounding bullshit.
Even Harvard will tell you that:
"The pain of failure goes in far deeper than does the joy of happiness and success."
Which is the evil sounding kind of shit that sticks to the wall.
Ten digits. Never any pain. Endless disposable pussy.
Just consider it.
Where's the harm in that ?
He checked his watch. It dated him pre-2000. No one checked a watch anymore.He was in synch.
Now and then he checked in with himself, too.
"I know that I am acting." He always began.
And then he acted because if you know you are acting, it's still ok, right?
Coke made him act better. But not really. More like all the time.
He was a Secret Agent, predictably. All the guys liked that one the best.
The danger. The girls. The excitement. The girls.
His cheeks were a little fleshier now, because he had started drinking again. Two years on the wagon, a spontaneous decision. Gym every nite.
But over 4 months, fewer and fewer ...
Johnny Depp. Amber Heard. 52 and married 15 months, and now this.
If you know you're acting, it's ok, right ?
It was beginning to make sense.
Examples can be helpful. Partly because they illustrate .
If your girlfriend describes in more explicit detail just what she is going to do to you that night, she is often depositing an immediate example. She is posting an 'hypothetical info-commercial " .
This works, because the most powerful consistent force within a person's life is both hidden, and is grounded in "beliefs."
What you believe, at the core, defines your future actions. Of course. But it need not determine what you do right now.
This is because 'beliefs' are in resident memory. This means that they are stored close by, draw upon, called up, applied and instigated after or even during the immediate life experience. When you examine what is going on, your brain will quickly scan and interpret that series of events against the backdrop of your 'Beliefs'.
If, for example, I give to you a gun, and say to you: "Go kill John." You will not even consider doing that if you believe in the core value of a human life, and/or fear punishment, and/or you are a passivist specific to 'killing a man', and for all of the usual reasons.
However, if you believe that your primary purpose in life is to eradicate from the world all bad people, and you have been further educated, experienced, designed to believe that John is a 'Bad Person", you may consider killing John. You might even do it.
And, as against that backdrop, what could be more important than 'What my girlfriend and her scandalous dirty mind has in mind for me in three hours."
Immediate circumstance, cast against the theory, or against a 'belief' [that at some point, even after she, or a friend, or even the Police, or a prying neighbour, releases you from the handcuffs anchored to the bedposts] that this could be painful, does not persuasively [if at all] enter the picture.
It doesn't even seem to matter that this same woman tried to light you on fire with Bar-B-Que igniter last July. Or that you suffered third degree burns. She will of course promise not to do anything after you utter the "Safe Word" this time.
Resident memory (Beliefs) are far less powerful than most people understand. This, in part, accounts for the numerous scandalous events that seem to plague every respected, family-type brilliant ground-shaking/breaking/earth quaking human being in historical recess.
No, I am not going to list these people for you.
You have read with relish these 'Society Front Page' fuck-ups .. yes you have .. like a family of Menonites slowing down to view another gruesome high speed highway [insert appropriate Highways and Infrastructure#] collision tragedy and then you have routinely subjected the same to your 'beliefs' and stored memory that these little vignettes have been given into your 'belief memory' ("Well, that would never happen to me .. because ...) and then moved on to your next likely boring/disapointing destination.
And I am going to tell you why this is sad.
And that, by way of demonstrative evidence, was a bit of foreshadowing, as my beloved English 10 teacher put it.
I promised Elsie that one day I would be famous. I was, but for all of the wrong reasons.
But then, the deal was .. "Be Famous, and then mention me as the reason. "
Kind of a strange promise to make to a seventy-one year-old English teacher in an upper-middle class highschool in 1969. So Elsie will, I expect, excuse me for not mentioning her as that reason.
I am told, but I doubt it, that everyone has (at least) 'one special teacher" in their lives. The one who 'gets' them, and perhaps even 'connects', and propels them forward.
My last word to Elsie at the time, in response to her solemn (and, I know, heartfelt) direction that I:
"Find a career in writing. Do not waste your gift Warren. "
" But Ms. Park-Gowan, writing doesn't pay any money. "
And that is where we left it.
She was seventy-two, I later learned, when she found love, in a man.
Elsie was quite a pretty girl, in the pictures that she could paint with words, that came true.
But that doesn't happen. It only happens to people like Elsie.
Three steps Sally. Bar car bed.
Some had four steps. None more than that in this neighborhood.
I met her after those years, too. She was a nurse. Just turned full-time. She was working to "make a life".
Still partied hard though. I took her to the Marriot off-the -strip in "Vegas".
You can't describe a body like that. It's like driving a wet windy ocean mountain road at high speed down the windward side sliced over an ocean of tequila and ivory liquid also high on something past the music blasting. Lots of sudden dips and hairpin turns made in easy desperation.
Sally wasn't easy, or desperate. But she was all of those two words together.
There was never anything to do in Vegas. There was lots of great las Vegas stuff like shows and clubs and shopping.
But there was never anything that came to mind on floor 62 of the Trump after the champagne and raspberries arrived. Shit just happened. There was no time to plan anything. There was a fire to put out.
Backfield in motion ...
She was a lot of fun. Sally 1-2-3.
A woman was with me on the elevator going up to the 16th Floor. She was a black woman, about 26, with purple hair at the roots, a not unattractive face, and a nice round ass that wiggled in all directions walking away.
We had ridden up that same elevator five maybe six times before, always with her starting a conversation beginning with "How was your day" from which I had deduced that she wanted to tell me things about her day.
I had lived on the 16th Floor of that highrise Downtown for about seven years, since after I had left my last black girlfriend.
My last black girlfriend was in fact my first one from that race. This one was a tone or two blacker but not as pretty.
She was, however, friendlier, and seemed more considerate and kind than the first one, who, after I left her seven years earlier had tried to have me charged with attempted rape and stealing her dead father's truck. She had continued raging forward to destroy me right up until the matter got serious enough that she would have had to back her own make-believe story up in Court, at which time she pretended to have a mental break-down, and made a midnight run home to Jamaica.
So aside from being embarrassed and momentarily troubled in a most personal way it wasn't that bad, but it was bad enough that I never wanted to date a black woman again.
This one, however had showed up at a particularly lonely time in my life.
I had just ended a very fulfilling three year relationship based largely on sex.
That had ended over the more and more bizarre sex requests of my very rich, sexy and troubled much older looking white female roommate, who had the notion that, since I was, in her view, raised by drunken wolves in a Hillbilly colony, I should be open enough to go along with whatever she could dream up in that department.
And bored rich women with too much time on their hands can get some pretty crazy ideas, even for my way of doing things.
Because there was limited time to talk in going up the full 16 floors, this new black girl, who called herself Grace-Ann, after her paternal Aunt who had raised her, gave me the impression that she had written her script to fit into the one minute and forty-two seconds we were generally alone together.
In addition, this time we had another passenger in with us.
He was a tall, Cohen-ish lad of about 18 with a tortured look, dressed in tight jeans and wearing very shiny navy blue patent leather shoes.
He added to our travel time, having pushed both floors 11 and 12 in trying to reach the 12th floor, perhaps distracted by the loud music blasting through his iPhone headphones. It was loud enough to hear throughout the elevator and sounded like Def Lepppard on steroids, which I appreciated, and was content to listen to in silence.
But Grace was having none of that, and had launched into something about having to do laundry all day, for herself and her retarded brother.
Martin was 17, had an IQ of around 50, was not yet toilet trained and marked his territory by wandering aimlessly around the complex in a yellow cowboy hat and dark Darth Vader sunglasses, carrying a very long luminescent plastic Star Wars Sabre, which he used to lop off the heads of any plants or flowers that the management placed in the main front entry foyer to smarten things up.
The management was a couple named Gail and Ernest.
She was a fat white farm girl of about 50, who still wore her dark blond hair in curlers every Friday night, and he was a short, round Mexican Truck Driver of maybe 40, but noticeably younger than his wife, who was attempting a 'new career in management'.
Trucking, as Ernst and I both understood, is hard on the back.
And besides, Gail appreciated that he was home a lot more now. And it seemed to me by the empty gallon-sized muscatel wine bottles crowding their front entrance, and the strange grunting and squealing sounds that the other tenants and owners were afraid to complain about, but also talked to me about, that they were quite happy together and well suited to each other.
Both had even adopted Martin, yellow cowboy hat and all, as a kind of Management mascot, never seeming to get upset at his leavings or the way he acted, which was not his fault anyways.
They had gifted him with the one T-Shirt that was the constant in Martin's costume, a dark green and yellow golf shirt with the word "Security' emblazoned across the front and back in four-inch block letters.
So, the truth was, I would have preferred to speak to Ernest about women, rather than with Grace, about anything.
But here I was, again, in an elevator with Grace, who, if I was not careful, I would end up in bed with, and then later in the dreaded silent fear for the revenge all attractive black women in my life so far, being one, had extracted from me.
By the 10th Floor Grace learned that the reason that I never seemed to be doing laundry was that I had discovered a real, legitimate Chinese 'Drop-Off' laundry that washed, bleached and starched when needed, and even pressed, neatly folded and bagged all of my laundry once a month for $60.00.
In Grace's opinion, I would be far better off by having her come by my condominium once a month, or "anytime I wanted", pick up my laundry, do the same as the Chinaman, and deposit it back the same day for the same money.
Because she had made the proposal sound more like a special gift than an offer, I was, also thanks to Music Boy nodding a vacant up-and-down to Grace when she had asked him for his opinion, just before getting off on the 12th floor, unable to find a way out in time.
Plus, not having had so much as a warm cabeza in three weeks, after coming off of three bumper years of daily Lewinski's, the little head kept interrupting.
The result was that Grace ended up doing all of my laundry and needed a spare key to drop it back off if no one came to the door when she was done.
I am not a light sleeper.
In short: A Disaster.
Part II : Blood in the Sheets.
(to be continued)