Before Hiroshima


    August 6th has become a date receiving outsized attention. Aesthetically that’s quite understandable. Hiroshima offers superior visuals to Pearl Harbor, a site whose tragedy lies beneath a placid surface.


    Pearl Harbor simply offers serene contemplation across Hawaiian waves. Hiroshima city fathers have done an artful job of propagandizing their preservations. Japanese ruins deflect guilt from the past. What incited 1941 America is mostly out of sight underwater and left to explanation. Continue reading Before Hiroshima

Dig A Grave. Lay Down. Bury Yourself.

    What was foretold came to pass. Ideally the doors to Mugwump, my former employer, would’ve closed in January 2012. Yet during the summer of 2011 I saw it barely surviving into October. The place staggered and face-planted one week before November.

    Awash in cocaine and/or drowning in vodka or THC fogging the remnants of their minds, Loca and Fea lost Mugwump, their patrimony.

    Wait. “Lost” isn’t the right word. “Frittered.” Nope. Still doesn’t convey the squander.

    “Squatted down and pissed away.” Much better.

    Coked out when not blind drunk, the Mugwump sisters squatted down and pissed away their company. In doing so they destroyed in five years what their father Blowhard established after 27. Before carelessly tossing the reins to his flibbertigibbet daughters, Blowhard built Mugwump into a company renown for dependability, reliability and accuracy. Continue reading Dig A Grave. Lay Down. Bury Yourself.

No Atonement Kabuki


    Oh man! Did I have a great time writing the three stories comprising Cool Brass, or what?

    When I wrote for newspapers my first immediate chief was an editor who loved quoting Red Smith’s dictum. The late Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times sportswriter likened our craft to “opening a vein.”

    Puh-lease. Continue reading No Atonement Kabuki

Ring-A-Ding-Ding!


    At my most recent meal in the neighborhood Italian restaurant the owner went aural wall-to-wall playing Frank Sinatra. That night maybe he had an urge to remember his hairline and when his wife still had a waist.

    The proprietor didn’t play one song on a loop. Instead, he tailored his listening preference after those Buenos Aires parrillas which nail their tuners on the endless Carlos Gardel, all the time radio station. Diners who appreciate Sinatra were even luckier.

    Rather than limit our listening pleasure to the crooner’s exhausted anthems (no “New York, New York,” thankfully) or the straight/no chaser/whole fifth downers (the entire In the Wee Small Hours album comes to mind) we ate while sampling the maestro’s oeuvre. Mostly mid-tempo selections personifying happy to be alive with my baby zest.

    The post-Ava canon. Continue reading Ring-A-Ding-Ding!

Perdu Is Lost


(*Names changed in order to speak freely.)

    My colleague *Perdu is the sort of woman who disturbs dreams. Clever, charming, at times nervy. Unlike women who instigate nightmares, one can lust after Perdu without worrying about a future involving boiled bunnies, knives or elaborately devised revenge schemes against friends and family members.

    Nonetheless her adherence to rationality borders on psychosis.

    After five years of serving at Mugwump*, our dying place of employ, Perdu’s just come around to acknowledging the daily waste, absurdity, and futility contained within its walls. Her acceptance of survival cynicism has been exciting to behold.

    For the longest two hurdles kept Perdu from seeing how our enterprise had become an asylum. Continue reading Perdu Is Lost

The New Brickburners


    Most of us should be supporting the protesters involved with the Occupy Wall Street actions. If not taking to Lower Manhattan streets, breaking our arches and straining our voices alongside them.

    Naturally money compels the protest’s basis. One would’ve preferred more purely motivated impulses. Yet as the late Reverend Ike preached, “Money makes the world go round.”

    Since life and death barely budge us from our daily numbness, it must be money. Continue reading The New Brickburners

Down the Line

 

    Despite the sad circus my place of employment has become, there’s still work to be done.

    On what would’ve been singer-songwriter Buddy Holly’s 75th birthday I kept an appointment in Saratoga Springs. While I wished we could’ve met at the horse track, preferably between educated selections of The Racing Form (a publication whose pages are prayed over more than any evangelical’s Bible), alas, the clients preferred wagering on whether our company could fulfill their request.

    One puckishly hopes we labeled the Saratoga Springs job “Longshot” and not “Out of the Money.” Continue reading Down the Line

Green Venom


 

 

(Names changed to protect the innocent. And me. Others in this post enjoy the courtesy because they’re too stupid to be embarrassed.)

 

    *Ruta died the next to last day of August 2011. Her illness was short but the final phase was acute. Whether deserved or not she suffered at the very end. Instead of palliative hospice care, she died at home surrounded by her things.

    On the cusp of 80, Ruta is survived by a husband and my boss *Blowhard, their son *Skip, and two daughters, *Loca and *Fea. Another son and daughter, *Speedball and *Borracha, predecease her.

    One imagines Ruta’s family will miss her.

    Here respect for the dead and the bereaved ends. It’s more they would’ve extended and will extend themselves. In reality Ruta leaves behind the shell she married, their issue who either chose alienation or became pieces of human wreckage, while she herself wasted life experiences to promote positive contributions.

    Like Palestinians, the Mugwump family never missed a chance to miss a chance. Continue reading Green Venom

His Bed’s Too Big Without Her

 

    Earlier this month real life made its usual appearance. Sudden and nasty.

    Kovacs, a kommilitone from university, announced he was divorcing his wife Penny. These days, with every second nuptials falling flat, his split shouldn’t be stupendous news. Nevertheless it is.

    The motivation behind the Kovacs sundering is rending. It is the obverse of a particular coin discussed within a rarefied sphere and under fine conditions.

    Five years ago in Paris (Is that not a magical phrase or what?) I dined with the only future grandmother I ought have lusted after. Of course when I should have desired her she had yet to become a parent. Or wife of her first of two husbands. Through what would have been my nights of wrestling with impure thoughts, she charmed deadbeats in Losers Lounge. Continue reading His Bed’s Too Big Without Her

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