The Pawns of Parham Hill

Mother MacRee: Eddie!  You know you’ve got to deliver the morning prayer Sunday in church.  You gonna have to get your rear in gear in the morning.  And don’t spend all day down at Freddie’s shop, you here…Eddie?

Eddie: Yes Ma, I hear ya.  I’ll probably go fishin’ after I get done at Fred’s.  I’m thinking about a flat-top this time.

Mother MacRee: Eddie…you’re going to scare all the girls.  You have fun down at Winky’s pond, but be careful.  Agnes Molloy said her boy got bit by a Copperhead over there a few weeks back.

Eddie: I heard it was a Cotton-mouth Diamond Back Black Momba.

Mother MacRee: Whatever Eddie.  Just be careful.  Those snakes are vicious, and I’d like to keep my son around a while.

[The scene darkens on Eddie’s bedroom, and the dimmed kitchen from left stage where his Mother was chatting with him, darkens.  Eddie moves to stage right and the lighting in his bedroom falls, but not to black.  Eddie is in a soft spotlight (each time he speaks to the crowd)].

Eddie: You know, that is the way it is here in Murrysville.  No real excitement, and you can count on things.  I’ve stayed here for that reason. You can count on your friend, your neighbors.  Sun always comes up on time, sets the same.  Things just don’t change, much.  Every Saturday, I’ll either get up real early and head to the pond to see if I can catch a few “off the nest”, or I’ll head straight to the barber.  Fellas ’round here been getting crew cuts for some time now…sort of “our thing”.  We’d had enough of the long-hairs back in the 60’s and 70’s. Yup, things don’t change much.  I’ve kept my job down at the foundry, and I’ve just never wanted to leave.  Got my degree from the local college here in town.  Studied political science.  Not much use for a political scientist in Murrysville.  But it does make for good conversation over at Fred’s on Parham Hill.  The Parhams.  I remember my Grandfather told me once they were a big deal around here, once.  Over near Brick Hill. Yup.  It’s a nice pace around Murrysville.

[Light fade to black.  New scene opens on a barber shop.]

Fred: Well, look what the cat dragged in.  How you doin’, Eddie?

Eddie: Great Fred.  You still cuttin’ hair?

Fred: Boy, what do I keep tellin’ you?  Not much else to do around this old place, and we ain’t in the business of collecting hair.

Eddie: Damn.  Did you hear about that shooting up in Chicago ?  I heard there were fifteen people killed.

Fred: This world is going to hell in a handbasket Ed.  Sons a bitches are just killing each other left and right.  Better keep their asses outta this part of the world.

Patron: Y’all handle things different down here do ya?

Fred: Let’s just say we don’t cotton to our boys and girls kicking up their heels like that.  Round here, that’s not the idea of a good time.  Worse thing I ever saw happen was when Old Man Phillips barn caught on fire, but that was some squabble between he and his son.

Jenkins: Yeah.  They were dating the same woman.  Got real “messy”.

Eddie: How you doin’ Jenks?

Jenkins: Real good Eddie.  You been fishing this morning?

Eddie: Naw.  Rough week.  This hot weather and that damned mill don’t go so good together.

Jenkins: Gets hot around that molten metal, doesn’t it?

Eddie: Yeah, it do.

Fred: I heard there will be a layoff ? Any truth?

Eddie: Hell, Fred.  Them SOBs is always talking crap like that.  You know how it is.

Fred: Yeah, but it really hurts my business when you boys walk.

Eddie: Your business.  It never hurts.  You haven’t raised your prices in fifty years.  During that strike back in the 70’s your business kept cooking like a tea kettle.  You ain’t never hurt for nothin’.

Fred: Shit.  I was hurting when I had to go out there and work that time.  That place is hell. I don’t see how you stand it.

Eddie: Hell, son, I’ve got metal in my blood.

Jenkins: What do you reckon motivated that fella up there to kill all them people?

Fred: Probably living there.

Eddie: Chicago ain’t that bad.  I knew a girl from there once.  Saundra, I think.  Nice girl.  Had a real good time when I visited up there.  People treated me real nice.

Fred: Yeah.  I bet.  Dijou [did you] come home with any money?

Eddie: Spent most of it on her.  I remember, there was this one place…had the best damn chow-chow I’ve ever tasted.  It was an Italian-soundin’ name.  Giroddani’s, or something.  And popcorn…man, Cracker Jacks has got nothing on that bunch.  Nice town.

Fred: Yeah.  Great place to be buried.

Jenkins: Hey.  I had some fun in Chicago once.

Fred: Case of the crabs doesn’t represent “fun” in my book, Jenks.

Jenkins: Hey, Fred !  That’s outta line, buddy.

Fred: Okay, Okay.  Sorry Jenks.  I know your mom wouldn’t appreciate me talking about ya like that.

Jenkins: Damned right.

Eddie: Well, it ain’t like you don’t get around, Jenks.  Who you dating now?  The girls lacrosse team?

Fred: I saw him hanging out over at the dorms at Murrysville College.  He likes them Yankee girls.

Eddie: Jenkins?  Is it true?  You gettin’ all “cultured” on us?

Jenkins: I was over there painting one of the dorms.  Those girls are too young for me.

Fred: Too young, and too smart. [Bell rings and the door to the shop opens.  Several patrons move down “the prayer bench” to make room]

Fred: Come in, come in.  I’d say I can get to you in about 20 minutes.

Jenkins: Hey Rowdy! How you and Eilleen gettin’ along?   You still treating my girl good.

Pete: Your girl?  And what’s this Rowdy crap.  Thought you guys had decided to quit using nicknames.  She’s good, she’s good.  Swelling up like a pumpkin, but good.  Complains all the time.

Eddie: Don’t they all?

Fred: Hey.  Tell your momma that.

Eddie: How are things between you and sweet Mother MacRee, Fred.  You are still taking her to fancy restaurants aren’t ya?

Fred: Taking here over to Becky’s.

Jenkins: White’s Mill Chapel?  Man, they got one of the best hamburgers.  It is the rye bread. That’s the secret.

Fred: Hell son, that ain’t no secret.  Everybody in town knows it.

Pete: Yeah, everybody but the half-backs.

Patron: Half-backs”

Jenkins: Yeah.  You ain’t from Micheegan, are ya?

Patron: Nope. Florida.

Fred: Oh hell.  Gator fan?

Patron: Seminole.

Fred: Oh, well then, welcome to my shop.

Patron: You not like Gators?

Fred: Eat ’em every chance I get.

Eddie (to patron): Halfbacks are the people from up Nawth who move down to Florida, start back home, visit here and decide to stay.  They leave Florida ’cause the taxes are so high.  Settle here ’cause we ain’t got no taxes.  Then they start complaining about the services that are offered here (schools ain’t what they expect, they don’t feel like running to the dump on Saturdays to tote their garbage. You know, all the modern “conveniences” that taxes pay for.  Hell, go back to Florida.

Fred: yeah, so anyway, they are halfbacks because they move to Florida and only make it half-way back to Yankee-ville.

Patron: So you guys don’t like Yankees.

Jenkins: It is not really that.  We’ve been dealing with them as tourists for years.  I almost married one outta high school (Joy-see (Jersey)).  She was German.  Blonde.  Blue-eyed.  Gorgeous.

Eddie: Until she figured you out, right Jenks?

Jenkins: (chortling) yeah.  Suppose so.

Eddie: Anyhow, Mister, what Jenks is trying to say is, we don’t really hate them, hate them – we just hate taxes.

Fred: Yeah.  Damn revenuers.

Patron: Oh, from the moonshine days.

Jenkins (under his breath): Like they are gone.

Fred: Yeah.  Old man Naventhol still runs some shine.  It’s up at Butterfly Gap.  I wouldn’t trust that old geeser though.  I think he’s East Latvian or something.  Kinda got an edge to him.  Like he hates everybody, or something.  Probably mixes it with radiator fluid.

Jenkins: Yeah, likely.  I hear the best shine comes up Green Briar way.

Eddie: Well, it’s the water.

Patron: The water ?

Fred: Oh yeah, best shine is filtered through peat.  Gives it an earthy taste.  Good stuff up there.  Lot’s of old hardwood.  Water gets filtered really well, and so the still…they spring fed up there.  Good water.

Eddie: Yeah, good shine is always in the ingredients.

Jenkins: But no, mister.  We don’t hate Yankees.  We like ’em.  They got money.  They like to spend it.  We like to collect it.  Kinda works for us both.

Patron: Well, that’s good to hear.  My wife and I were just through here on vacation and decided to stop.  Nice place.

Fred: Yeah.  The people are friendly.  So’s I hear, anyway.

Eddie: Yeah.  Friendly (sarcastic).

Jenkins: You hear about what happened up in Nosey Holler?

Eddie: Perkins was telling me on the golf course the other day that he was hopped up on something.  That would explain it.

Fred: It was that damned crack cocaine.  Them guys get crazy with it. What’d Perk allow?

Eddie: Stan said it was domestic.  They got into it over some woman he was slippin’ around with on the side.  I reckon she blowed his brains out.  Perk said it was a real mess.

Fred: Well, he deserved it.  What if it’d been your wife?

Eddie: I ain’t gonna have a wife.

Fred: You keep taking them to Mickey Dee’s and you won’t.

 

 

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A Trellis for the Rose

It stood on the West side of their house.

My Great-Grandfather was a thin, lanky man – and prone to placing his hands on his sides, elbows at attention, left and right, and there in that position, he would ponder.

In his button down and slacks, he looked like Oppenheimer, and I always thought him some great and mysterious man.

To a little kid like me, tossing about at his feet, he seemed a giant, framed against a blue sky that was punctuated by the zig-zag of a lattice that seemed from my vantage “rolling” on the grass beneath his wing-tips some tremendous, white and pristine sky scraper. It was a frame to the hundreds of red savior-soldiers which climbed this jacob’s ladder to heaven.

I’d watch his every move, Great-Grandad.  I’d watch him load the canister with some white dost, and then pump the handle to charge it with air.

Then he would spray this powder on the roses.

He’d do this, early of the morn, before we went to church.  Mom and dad would leave me there on the weekends as they went “out” with their friends.  I’d spend the night, and get up early to follow at my Great-Grandad’s foot.

The early morning dew would fade, and behind the evaporation it would leave “spots” of the dust where the droplets once stood.

A vanishing act.

But a trail that was left behind (cookie crumbs, I suppose, for others to follow).

Great Grand-dad’s name was Thomas.

Thomas Milton Shepherd.

He died when I was very young, and my memory is served only by the time I spent with my Great Grandmother as I grew up.

Very fond memories of the house, but few of Thomas Milton.

But I remember the shed out back, and copper-colored “dust gun” he used to spray the roses.

And I remember his wing-tip shoes and how he would also squeeze my shoes to check for fit.  I remember my father would glare at him.

He was always cognizant of the responsibility a family entails.

When I got much older, and was on my own, his son, my Uncle Emerson died.

At the funeral, my Aunt asked me about my Masonic affiliation.  I affirmed for her that yes, I am a twice past Master, and that I have enjoyed my time in the lodges.

“You know, it saved his life, don’t you,” she inquired.

“Oh, how so,” I replied.

She went on to explain to me how they had divorced all those years ago.

How my Grandad, Floyd, went to work in the brick yards to support the family.

He was eleven.

She said they would have starved had it not been for my Grandad.

She said Thomas Milton, my Great Grandad, had been quite the gambler (and rouster) in his youth.

I sort of smiled inside.

The day came when he joined a lodge.  She said he gave up drinking, and gambling, and (I’m betting) “consorting” and tried to re-establish his affiliations with the family.

He and Myrtle got back together.

I’m guessing it is where he got his interest in shoes.

They were important to him, symbols of family and of the responsibility of a father to his progeny.

And then there were the roses.

I often thought, why would a man who had been such a rouster raise these red roses?

She was much, much younger than he, my Great Grandmother.

Mother told me she left her home at a very young age (maybe 15, or 17) to marry my Great Grandfather.

Apparently she had an unhappy home life, and that is about all I know on the subject.

It was said she was very close to her brother and loved him very, very much.

I have a picture of the two of them when he came here to visit, long ago.

You would think that two siblings, so close and who cared so for one another would be ecstatic to see one another.

Not the case.

In their photo, they look more as two who had just been to a funeral, rather than a happy reunion.

But she was always that way.  I was always very scared of her.

So, I think I finally figured it out – the roses.

He grew them for her.

She took him back, after his wild, and wicked ways.

He came back to the family, to support them…to raise them.

It must have been terribly hard for the couple, losing their son like that.

My Uncle Morrison, you see, he was killed as a lad.

Going out for a pass in sandlot football.  Who’d have ever thought this would have mortal consequence.

But he didn’t see the kid on the swing, and the kid did not see him.

Uncle Morrison was looking over his shoulder to catch the pass, and the boy on the swing was “pumping” just as they met.  He’d extended his feet and legs out stiff just after reaching the apex of the back swing and was coasting through the arc.

They collided, he and my uncle.  It burst Uncle Morrison’s stomach.  He died soon after.

It had to be hard on a couple.

But they did get back together.

And my Grandpa – he raised the roses (and we kids).

I remember looking at his wing-tips and thinking how sensible they seemed.

And the roses.

I was a kid who loved the grass, and the roses and the sky.

And my Great Grand-dad.

They would hang there against that white trellis, against a white house with green shutters.

They looks sort of like a kaleidescope of crucifix, hanging there against the wall.

I imagined how each rose seemed the Master’s head.  I wondered if they gathered the thorns for his crown from the stems of the rose.

It was all there.

The buds that had not yet bloomed hung their heads like a dying man on a cross must.

Others, although, had gone to full bloom and rose in their glory like Christ at ascension.

And for the love of my great Grandmother, he raised those roses and we kids.

I will be forever in their debt.  My Grandfather, his children and his grandchildren.

He taught us all very well, and we have grown up a good family.

Like the roses on a trellis to the sky.

I am forever indebted to them all; saviors, providers, lovers but most of all, the men and women of my family who my life so.

And to the roses.

Thank you Thomas Milton…

…for the roses.

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A Rattler’s Death for the Radical

Can it be?  Are “they” finally in their “final” days?  Is this the end of batman?  Stay tuned.  Same Bat time, same Bat channel.

Okay.  Cheesy, granted; but what article here has not been.  Especially since the advent of the “chosen one”.

You know who “they” are, don’t cha?

They are the fellas and gals who are constantly causing EVERYBODY trouble.

They are the smart-asses from class, disrupting everything and ruining everyone’s education (along with their good time).

They are the radicals.

The hippy-dippy, DT-laden, tune-in, turn-on  and drop-outters.

The bong-heads.

Pot heads.

Morons.

Morons like Keruoak, Joni Mitchell (Help ME ! I think I’m fallin’, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yadaaaaahhhhh (now I got this earwhig in my stinkin’ head).

Oh well.

They are like that, you know.  Like a song you can’t get out of your head.

They never cease.

Never die.

Or, do they?

With the latest on Hill-Baby, things ain’t lookin’ so hot for the radical demon-rat.

But what about the radical Republican?

Where is he?

Is Ted Cruz their only counter-weight?

We know it is not Boehner.

So who challenges the radical today?

Where is Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon when you need them?

Well the spirit do live.  Just not very “aggressive?”, of late.

But methinks the spirit is beginning to…stir.

And by-golly, it needs to.

 

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Seeking the Divine Through a Monocle of Forgiveness

And so it came to pass that a great Captain, of a great sailing ship, from a great, sea-faring Nation saw among his crew two men fighting, rather than focusing on keeping their ship in, well, ship-shape!

And because the men were brutes (they were from the rigging crew), he sent his largest mid-shipmen to break up the fight and deliver the men to him.

Once there, he scolded the men and asked “what was the brew-ha-ha all about, lads?”.

“We got in uh foite ov-uh who owed you more money.  And we’d been gambling, ya see, to keep you paid your monthly amount. Also, I had loaned him moneys to pay you, and he has not paid me back.  What shall I do but take it out of his hide? “.

“What, indeed,” said the Captain.

“I’ll tell you what. I will forgive both your debts if you can prove to me that you can both be stand-up men.  What I need from you, as Captain of this Queen’s fine vessel, is for you to concentrate more on the efficacy of this ship, and less on quarelling with one another.  Agreed?”.

And the two men agreed.

Unfortunately for the Captain, he had been so busy attending to the matters of the crew that he failed to notice a ship bearing down right on them – about to split them apart!

What shall he do?

“Ahoy there,” he yelled at the Captain of the oncoming ship, “move aside ya dark ringer; what do ya think you are a doing – you’ll scuttle us, boy”.

He continued to yell and curse the frigate, but to no avail.

Finally he came to his senses and realized the oncoming ship would not turn, and so he veered his own in just the nick of time.

As they passed, they noted that it was a ghost ship, and there was no Captain aboard.

He was angry at an empty ship.

Now, the two crew, who had before gone about their business and were attending to the ship began to quarel once again.

As it happened, the one crew member owed the Captain much, much more than the other.

And, as it turned out, the lesser of the two (who owed the Captain far less) was angry that the debt forgiveness was not more equitable.

So the Captain had them broken up again and returned to him.

“What is the meaning of this contined fighting?”.

“But Captain,” one of the men spoke, “I only owed you a dollar.  This man owes you stacks of money.  How is it a good deal when he walks away from his debt to you, whe I hae worked so hard for the money I have earned, and now he spends it like water?  How is that fair?”.

The Captain had to think long and hard about this one.  After much contemplation he proffered this:

“The other day, I almost rammed another ship in my anger.  I wanted to over-run it and its captain, as they were in my lane. But I thought ‘the ocean is large’ and there is no need for this sort of bicker.  So, at the last minute, I veered my course and found that the oncoming ship was pilot-less.  I was yelling at an empty vessel.”

“But you boys are not empty vessels.  Both are captains of their own lives.  As such, you may choose to spend your moneys as you please.  But do not get upset when your investment has proven fruitless.  Better to learn from this never to invest in such scoundrels.  It is a good man who pays his debts.  But an even better man who can forgive.”

“Had I rammed that ship yesterday, both ships would have been without a Captain.  Reason prevailed, and after chasing off the sea-wolf of anger, I came to my senses.”

“You boys must come to yours as well, and just as I have forgiven you both, forgive one another.  Oh, and one more thing,” the Captain said, pensively “it is a good and decent man who pays his debts; but it is a divine man, chasing after the heart of God, who may forgive”.

“To quote the good book: ‘For, it is in forgiving that we are forgiven, in loving, that we are loved, and in giving that we receive the greatest gift of all – eternal salvation’ “.

And with that, the men went back to attending the needs of the ship, and of their mates.  Wiser, gentler, happier.

Moral:  There is a waste that comes from yielding to the monster, anger.  Better to show class, forgive, and move on; but in so doing, doing so more wisely in the future to avoid scoundrels who refuse to pay their debts.

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Grey Lady Down; Black Queen Trumps

The land was defined by its patchwork of fields and pastures that from promontory gave the land a mosaic look, and thus its name, Mosaichron.

A witch oversaw the land. The Grey Lady was her name, and she ruled the land by casting spells over the Mosaichrons whereby there was a total acceptance of anything she put before them.

People trusted her as the source for all information, and the Grey Lady would bend the minds and souls of the average person in this community.

But a Black Queen one day arose from the ranks of the Mosaichrons, and the time of the lies was soon to end.

For the lies had outrun themselves, and no longer could the Grey Lady cover for brash antics, and cruel endeavors of the Black Queen.

Soon, the Queen grew wise of the Lady’s ruse.  She turned on them, and the lies, the became the truth!

But, alas, the truth also became the lies.

And the lion layed with the lamb, and course existence was the way of the land.

But then, one day a great lion of truth rose from the East like a star, and happiness was again to take over the land.

For no one could question this truth.

And the lies of the Grey Lady, and the Black Queen were no more; for in their avarice, and their lust for all things of this world, they consumed one another in a fury of lies.

And what was left was a simple truth, from a simple man.

When one practices certain things, he will be undone by them; but with only a smidgeon of belief, erring in the side of Truth – then all things became possible for man.

And man came to understand that he was truly divine in that he could differentiate the dark cloud, and the dark queen from the way of light.

And people were kind to one another.

And there was goodness throughout the land of Mosaichron.

The patchwork field turned again to green, and the creeks and rivers ran like liquid silver.

moral: do unto others

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Beyond an Ordinary Imagining

A Cardinal flew into view, and lighted on stony outcrop below.

No twig, no tree – no perch on high, but wobbly he stood on the broken edge of a broken stone.

I imagined something in this – something odd (for when does a cardinal perch on haphazard, sharpened edge of a shard of what once was a whole stone?).  Would his talon be sharpened against the stone?  Or would the edge cut into his leathery foot?

He did not seem aware of me, and with quickening pulse I became transfixed, aware only of he and my own beating heart.

His eyes were affixed to a tree above, and he swayed to and fro with the wind, and I thought “this is going to be good”.

My eyes gently rolled above (lest he spook) to see the object of his stare – and there it sat, a raptor on high, and his transfixed eye locked on tiny eggs in a nest.

The little cardinal was no match for this tremendous bird of prey, and I wondered, “how have things gotten so bad that a majestic hunter such as he would resort to scavenging the nest of one so regal, so reverent, so respected among bird ?”.

And then, it hit me.  He, that fabulous Falcon – he was expressing his domain.

I thought “send thoughts his way, on the outside chance that local tales were true, and birds have a connection to man’s soul – even delivering it to heaven on his departure from this gangling prison we call home”.

But the raptor was indifferent.  Oh, his eyes left the nest when he sensed a fellow predator, but his object was still making a meal of his own.

I prayed he would leave, but soar he did not.

I thought “is it you ?  Is it me ?  What is my motive ?  Why do I care ?”.

“But it is a cardinal,” I thought “so symbolic of we mortals; puffed plumage, and yet, majestic among the birds.  An anomaly of sorts,  a standout among the ordinary bird.  He rises above them, and yet now, how low he sits, at the presence of so mighty a bird”.

The raptor spat a screech and the world became silent.  Even the ground hog stood on tail, and rabbits froze in their track.

It is an unmistakable sound, that screech, and the raptor seemed proud in his command of this politic of the sky.

But off in distant field there lay, a murmuration of starling, eating, flapping, leaping and returning to the grain sway below.

They chattered, they chirped – and with them was their strength, for their strength was in their murmuring number.

Off on distant mount there rumbled a lightening crack, and over great distance it traveled and there was a muffled rumble that only the acutely attuned would hear.

The raptor on edge, the cardinal did chirp, and that murmuring of Starling took flight.

In an instant she came, she swoop and she lit upon eggs like a vicious predator from the sky.

The mother cardinal spread gray wing across nest and shielded her brood like an armor ‘cross breast.

The raptor did screech, the murmuring no cease, and the blackened sky caught the raptor’s eye, and away in flight he did leap.

Papa cardinal leaned back, and what I thought was a smile – it spread widely across beak.

And a pattern emerged across the blue sky there above, and I swear it seemed, for an instant, but brief, the pattern of an eye took shape against cloud in the murmuring’s sweep set against a blue sky.

“Is it you, is it me?”, I thought to myself, “is it thee in me, or do I call on thee for assistance from above ?”.

How vane am I, to think myself involved in the drama when in fact ’twas but a play staged for this audience of one.

But to perception I am entitled, and with entitlement in hand, I still fancy myself a part of this, this scheme so grand.

And after the fact, the skies grew quite quiet, and the evening began dropping her veil.

But just before the last inkling of light as it un-paints a vivid sky, a sparrow flew in and I thought how appropriate it is, as the good Lord will catch all them that fall.

And again in the nest, the cardinals were at rest, awaiting a dawn of new days.

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Working Title: The Old, Grey Lady is Dead

Actually, still working on this.

I like to get some meat on the table as I write this thing.

What to look for (in the future) – “snippets”.

This time around, I am not publishing in real time.

Working on a new concept…going to write this as two “novels” – one “lite”, and one, well, robust.

What’s published online will tell a story.  What will be available for purchase (donation, really) in the future will be “the full monty”.

Look for some of the “snippets” to perhaps give hints at the sum total of the work; but rest assured that what gets published here will be vastly different that what gets published in “e-print”.

Still working out details, but check back for updates.  Right now, it is shaping up to be a commentary on where we are headed…basing it on a couple of different novella’s and short stories (Russian) – and it will have to do with (yes) tech, and A.I.

Thanks to you all for being my friend, first, and then, my fan!

-Morrison Banister

 

P.S. – look for occasional updates at my sister site, The Precipice

 

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The Fickle Friends of Fortitude

Open on a farmer’s field.  Fresh bails of hay frame the stage, and trucks and cars spread out over the open spaces.  On a near, but somewhat distant hill, an architect has constructed a the lower portion of a medium-large “witch’s broom”, and the excitement builds as twilight descends on an evening’s festivities that will prove to be the “bonfire to end all bonfires”.

Constance: So why did Forty’s dad name her thus?

Prudence: Thus?  Give me a break, Connie.  We are not at the Pied Piper, Medieval pot party anymore.  That’s so “last week”. What’s with the “thus” ?

Constance: Oh, I dunno.  I suppose it is this lousy community’s predilection for naming the kids of our gen as if they’d stepped out of a Jane Austen novella.  What’s with that?

Prudence: Hang on.  I’m getting a text.

[time transpires; Prudence fans her face.  There is an afterglow about her.  Likely the light from her cell phone]

Prudence: It’s Arty.  He want’s to know where we are sitting for the bonfire.

[The girls begin to giggle, and all begin to “fan” themselves].

Prudence: What do I tell him.

[There are incessant giggles]

Chastity: Tell him we will be sitting next to the condom kiosk, next to the shack where they sell the hot kielbasa.

[More giggles]

Constance: It is “c.o.n.d. “I” . m. e.  n.  t. ” [she spells it out, staccato, with emphasis on the letter “I”).  Condiment.  Not condom.  How many times do we have to tell ya this.

Prudence: Yeah, Chas.  What the freak?  Chas the spaz.

[All the girls begin chanting, “chas the spaz, chas the spaz}

Prudence: I’m just going to tell him to look for us.  Guys are like wolves.  Gotta give them something to hunt for.  Long as they have something to hunt for, they keep coming back.

[More giggles]

[“Texts” display on a screen behind the stage.  The following interplay takes place concurrently].

 

 

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The Bohemian’s Dream

“Leave me A L O N E”, he cried unto these stars.

“I grow weary of your harangues,” (as if HE were of the NORMAL set).

“Weary, ya punk kid,” said his dad.

“Stop being a free-loader an go forth into the world and make some god-damned something of yourself!”.

As if he’d listen.

Pesker Thomlinson was a bohemian by birthright.

His Grandfather, it was said, once hitched a ride with Kerouac.  Damned French Canadian.

It is always the same with those damned French.  Started when some damned a-hole over there decided to become a “libertine”.

What the hell is that?

A libertine, for the sake of anté.

Who thinks of such things?

The French.

And especially, the damned French Canadians.

It is the source of all our trouble.

AS IF the liberal “Nawth East” t’wern’t bad enuff, go a little further into frozen head country.

Sorry.  There are probably some really swell French Canadians up there.  Trouble is, none of them are down here.

Nope.

They rid themselves, apparently, of the libertines.

Giving them too much grief, I am certain.

Well, anyhow, such was the way of Pesker Thomlinson’s great-Grand-daddy.

Yup.

He was an ice-head.  Regular snow-bird.    Dirty snow, to be sure.

Yellow, no doubt.

Yeah, my name is Husk Cologne.  And yeah, I am French.  It was on my maternal Grandfather’s side (or something).

Anyhow.  I think I am the milk-man’s son.

Just like a bunch of Bohemians.

But it doesn’t matter now.

I don’t like what they have done to my French heritage, and I just don’t like their slack assess.

I’m friend’s with Pesker’s dad.

We met up playing snooker down to the local billiards joint.

We became fast friends.

It happens in billiard joints (especially when there are chicks and free-flowing booze).

Yup.

It happens.

Regular basis for me and Jacques.

Yeah.  Can ya damned-well believe it?  Jacques.

Pesker’s dad.

It was said, when he was born, Pesker would just irritate the living poople outta Jacques.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Jacque loved him and did everything humanly possible for the runt.

Seriously.

If ya ask me, he did too much.

Far, far too much.

Well, hell, just look at the Bohemian he’s grown in to.

Damned skippy.

No ambition.  Happy as hell to live on Jacques’ and Diane’s living room sofa.  No smidgeon of an inkling to ever do anything any different.

Where will he be when they are dead and planted?

Jacques and I fish together.

We talk.

We talk over beer.

We talk over whiskey.

We talk over pool, and we talk over fishing.

We basically do a lot of talking.

A LOT.

But it is cool.

We don’t talk about girl stuff or anything.

AND, we typically do not talk about dying.

We both like living too much.

Sometimes, we both have a central tendency to live on the edge, but for the most part, yeah, we like living.

And we live life to its fullest.

BUT, UN-like the Bohemian, we both work for our  pleasures.

Thoses son’s a bitches don’t do a damned thing but free-load.

Perfectly happy to eat your food, dance with your wife, take your cat for a walk (huh?).

I don’t own cats.  Plenty of my friends do.

Got nothing against them personally.  Never killed one.

Just never really had a cat of my own.

Plenty of dogs.  But no cats.

Felines.

They move like women.

Seem like they have women’s penchant for “need” too.

Me, I don’t need much at all.

Just a cheap supply of whiskey, and plenty of dames (wait a minute – am I married?).

I’m gonna have to ask Jacques next time we get together.

But anyhow, back to the Bohemians.

Yeah, it would seem that plucky-old Pesker was A-Okay with his life “style” (by, the way, his mane could use one…currently looks like the style of a Kentucky Derby winner).

By god, no one wants to cramp that.  Pesker’s “style”.

I’ve learned a lot about Bohemians hanging with this bunch.

Pesker is all the time fighting his dad, telling him about how his Grand-Pap and Great-Grand Pap were the “great free-thinkers of the family”.

Now Jacques, he counters it with “yeah, but…yo Grand-daddy “converted”.  He voted Republican the rest of his life”, and it was true.

He did convert.

But he did not give up the heavy drinkin’.  Or the skirt-chasin’.  Or the general laciviousness of it all.

But he was a righteous man (I drank with him – once).

He was sort of mythical, Archard Thomlinson.  What kind of a damned French name is Thomlinson, anyhow?  Sounds down-right Dutch, or Scot or something.

Anyhow, he was something – that fella.

Was in love with one woman, all his life.  She wouldn’t give him the time of day.

They were married for fifty-three years, and I never heard tale of that man cheating on the old gal a single time.

No one talked much about Katherine.  “Kat-a-reen”.  Everyone called her that.

Truly elegant.  Never figured her for a Archard-type of gal.

But he was a bad boy.

Real cut-throat, so it has been related.  Didn’t tarry much.

You had something to say or ask, you’d better get it out.

Quick!

He became a Republican (so I’ve heard) after his daddy beat his Mother up at Thanksgiving one year.

Happy home.

It is the way of the Bohemian drunk and pot-head.  Always high.

High on life.  High on everything.

They’ve even poisoned our own kid’s minds into believing their “junk”.  It is a religion, really.  Not of self-sacrifice, like so many of the others.  Their’s is a religion of self.

Fits perfectly with the liberal.

All about what makes them happy, happy, happy.

Well, poop on that.

Who cares if they are happy.

Son’s a bitches don’t contribute anything but opinions.

Who can eat those?  I can’t even stomach most of them.

Real dirt bags.

But…free country and all.

AND, they don’t mess with my drinkin’.

Or carousing.

Speaking of which. I need to call the old lady and catch up…get back with ya later, gentle folk.

Chapter Two

A Hen-Pecked Hen-House

Life at the Thomlinon’s was quite different.

“Momma-Thom” (as the boys called her) was  a gentile lady, full of grace and much understanding.

She’d have to be with a boy like Pesker.

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