Monthly Archives: April 2017

Chapter Three; Cabana Daydreamin’

This is the third chapter because it is the third written. It may not actually end up being chapter three – does that make sense?

Whatever.

This is preceded by blog entries; “It Was a Close Day” and “Though the Booking Glass”. If you’re a chronological sort (guilty here), you might look at those.

 

Chapter Three; Cabana Daydreamin’

It looked like a dive.

It wanted to look like a dive.

But what kind of dive featured brunch? With Eggs Nova Scotia and Mimosa’s – good ones?

And there was the jukebox, the old soda shop kind at every table, with tabs on the bottom to flip that displayed the 45’s available for play – hit sides and flip sides.

And the mahogany walls…well…the heavily and redly varnished tongue-and-groove looked like mahogany…if you wanted it to and you squinted a bit. That pressed metal ceiling however, would’ve been expensive to fake.

Maybe it was a dive of sorts, but it was a dive with a lively clientele. On any given night, you might see a local oil-painting legend and his goat, a gentleman from a fine thoroughbred-breeding family in the garb of a drive-thru carhop (fully attired in roller-skates and angel wings), narcotics undercover agents that everyone knew and flirted with, lawyers, dentists, judges, teachers, preachers… and if someone played Artie Shaw’s version of “Begin the Beguine” on the jukebox, it would be a deadly race to see who among this population would be the first to leap (or crawl depending on the age of the contender or the number of drinks consumed) to the top of the bar to prove that America’s got talent years before television took over that function.

It was a real good time.

It was the Cabana Club.

At this moment though, it was a slow time at the Cabana, a sluggish couple of hours between lunch and the dinner/drinking crowd. There was one couple at a table trying to figure out what to say next to each other that would be effective but not too direct. There were a few barflies sagging over their second or third time-killers (depending on how much soul-cipherin’ was required this afternoon). Morey Duke was in the kitchen contemplating dessert while scribbling the evening’s menu specials. Paulie Gasper was holding court.

Paulie was the waiter/bartender/maître d/dishwasher/cook of the Cabana. Essentially, anything the owners (Joe and John) didn’t want to do that day became Paulie’s lookout.

But it was a slow time just now, so Paulie was perched on a bar stool overlooking the room and it seemed to be an excellent time to read the just-delivered afternoon paper……out loud.

Paulie was a local actor – probably the best Concord had to offer. Consistent acting work was scarce in town (paying or non-paying), while the need for an audience was in plentiful supply. Paulie surveyed his domain and determined that bedazzled and befuddled low-rent rendezvous wannabes and blurry midday philosophers would suffice as an audience. Joe and John had fled in the heat of the afternoon so there were no sober, adult voices to stop him.

“Ha!”

Paulie’s “Ha!” could cut through the thickest haze, be it composed of alcohol or hormones.

But just in case…

“Ha!” he re-barked.

“Check out this play review by our local Frank Rich.

‘Of the actors involved in Piecework Theatre’s latest effort; “Belfast or Bust”, the least said the better with the exception of a seductive performance by Stella Nolan. Ms. Nolan purrs her dialect with heat and commands the stage like a jungle princess after a warm rain.’

“What the Christ does that even mean? I wish he would just fuck her and get it over with!”

Paulie held for applause.

It came in the form of slightly belated, ragged laughter.

John Prine describes moments like this accurately; “Well, ya know, she still laughs with me, but she waits just a second too long.”

Paulie thought it might be best to refrain from holding out for an encore. Besides, just as he was delivering his punchline on the review, he’d felt something; a bend in the room, a quiver in the afternoon light, a sussuration on the jukebox (Percy Sledge offering some painful, keening psychoanalysis of “When a Man Loves a Woman”)…something…or nothing.

Morey popped up at the kitchen window. He fluttered his eyes and waved his finger in the air. Paulie went to him.

Morey stuttered; “Did you feel that? I think the boys are back in town!”

(Oh, yes-s-s-s. To be most likely continued.)

Tis the Season for Tuxes

I love wearing a tux.

Androcles 01

And clearly I wear them well (see above).

I’m pretty well convinced that if God had worked on creation one more day, we’d all be born in a tux.

The tie, the cummerbund, the flow of black…it’s all good.

Also, I think I’m at least two inches taller in a tux and I’m real good with being two inches taller.

I move slower in a tux.

I’m more thoughtful.Janie 23 sprig's library photo bomb

My vocabulary increases exactly one syllable per word.

I only use fountain pens.

I constantly feel like I should be wearing gloves.

I get to wear cuff links.

I want to break out in irrational song.

 

Those are the positives.

 

The negatives?

When I’m in a tux, I wish I smoked cigarettes…foreign cigarettes…in a holder…from an engraved case.

No matter what subject is being discussed, I find my contribution to the discussion is all too often; “Bond…James Bond”. It draws strange looks which I interpret as “awe”.

I want to break out in irrational song.

It’s prom season and we will soon be inundated with pictures of young, hGN 02ormonally-driven/confused young people in tuxes of a variety of hues that God never intended. I’m OK and entertained by that, but young gents…if a geezer may suggest; bright colors may attract for the evening (and, as I remember the time, nothing else really matters), but black and white, slow and thoughtful, fountain pens and song…these will see you through life.

I love wearing tuxes.

Lent…Fail

I’m tempted to say I’ve given up for Lent;

  • Interest in with whom and how President Trump attempts to shake hands.
  • Interest in the flavor of the cake he was eating when he related the information to the leader of China, the greatest competitor the US has, that he had just ordered the bombing of Syria.
  • Interest in Ivanka Kushner’s clothing/jewelry line.
  • Interest in Hitler analogies…by anyone.
  • Interest in who gets to attend White House press briefings.
  • Interest in the wall.
  • Interest in the health department inspections of Mar a Whatever.
  • Interest in anything our president utters until it has been filtered through reality (I don’t particularly care if it’s been vetted by Spellchecker).
  • Likewise, interest in anything “Occupy Democrats” and its ilk utters until it has been filtered through reality.

I won’t go on – it’s a long list – you get the idea.

The problem is I never had any interest in those things to give up.

Perhaps I should be interested. Perhaps they indicate and reveal something about the character of our current leaders and their fitness to serve. But I think I have a pretty good fix on those concerns already.

I am interested in;

  • President Trump’s financial entanglements with Russia and Vladimir Putin.
  • The extent and effectiveness of Russia’s attempts to affect our elections – Presidential and Senate and House of Representatives.
  • The evisceration of the State Department, Education, and our Environmental Protections.
  • The current apparent effort to suffocate Planned Parenthood.
  • Keeping our roads and bridges functional.
  • The whereabouts and intentions of OUR warships and tomahawk missiles and who is directing their movements and intentions…whatever flavor the cake is.

…and more.

Unfortunately for my Lenten possibilities, I won’t be giving those interests up. They’re too important.

I will NOT “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

That would be stupid. I may not be brilliant, but I resist being stupid.

Ivanka’s jewelry line……give me a break.

Chocolate cake? Oh yeah…I’ll give that up in a heartbeat.

Chapter Two – Through the Booking Glass

This is Chapter Two – a continuation of an entry entitled; It Was a Close Day. You might want to scroll back and read it first. -RLL

Benjamin Andante wobbled a bit, stabilized himself, and visually assessed the shop; not an easy thing to do just now. The light was strange. Romantics would call it sepia-toned but they’d be selling it short. It was golden. Every spine of every book was a lighter or darker shade of gold. Every drifting mote of dust was golden and there was a blue million of those.

“S’pose that would technically be a gold million. Blue million…wonder where that comes from?” He made a note (for real, not mental) to look it up. He took the note, pulled a piece of Scotch tape, and stuck the note on the shelf nearest the book shelf marked “Economics”.

“Scotch tape”…why “Scotch”? Another note was duly made and attached to the shelf marked “Gaelic”.

He shuffled over to the front window. The outside heat radiated through the letters on the glass;

“pohS .T .I .A .B regooC & etnadnA”

And under that;

skoo-B

dn-A

gniugirtn-I

stibdi-T

He noticed the fluttering of paper across the street. The newspaper flickered in the hands of a more-than-amply-haired young man, on his butt, leaning back on the front of the chili parlor, gaping at the bookstore like he’d just seen…what?

…A light on the road to Damascus?

…A close encounter?

…His mama kissing Santa Claus?

“Well…” Ben thought; “Close, but no cigar.”

Then it hit’im;

“Uh-oh.”

From the back of the shop came a familiar, and always hideous “plonk”, followed by two more; “plonk, plonk”, and a growl; “This bastard’s gonna be a bitch to tune.”

“Sam, you just used ‘bastard’ and ‘bitch’ in the same sentence referring to the same object.”

“Well, I guess that’s just the kinda goddam’ poet I am.” Sam Cooger replied from the depths of the alcove marked “Counter-Culture Studies”. Four pristine copies of “Big Table” literary digest sacrificed their pristine-ness in a suicidal plunge to the floor in protest of the banjo assault.

The banjo chirped obliviously; “plonk-PLONK plonka plonk” in a key unknown to Schoenberg.

“Dammit!”

“Sam, we may have a problem. There’s a kid across the street. I think he may have seen us come home.”

“Do I need to kill the son of a bitch?”

“No…not yet……but he’s comin’ this way.”

 

(perhaps to be, yet again, continued)

The Further Adventures of Ben

Yesterday, I related to you an occurrence in my day…

“I just got a call from ‘Ben’ at ‘Appall sek-yoor-rah-tee’. Ben says my computer is ‘sending a vi-russ ah-lert to the main serrrverrr’. He seemed concerned.
I asked Ben ‘What server – where?’
(pause)
‘Noo-Jerrzee’
‘Is that where you are, Ben?’
(click)

As Jules Feiffer says in his clever play ‘Little Murders’; ‘If they’re that easy to destroy, you have to ask yerself if yer gonna miss’em when they’re gone.’

Waitaminnit!
What if Ben’s tellin’ the truth? Maybe my Dell elected Trump!
……I anticipate a sleepless night……”

 

Well, it was.

So, I got up this morning, blearily called one of geeky friends, and we investigated the Dell. Yes, before you ask, we notified James Comey of the impending investigation.

On the hard drive we discovered;

  • 331 emails from Hilary Clinton – mostly recipes and ambiguous limericks
  • Snatches of Noel Coward lyrics from unpublished songs – not so ambiguous, but quaint
  • A video of Citizen Trump in a Russian hotel room (sign on the door in the background stating room rates and check-out times in Cyrillic) – not even in the same area code as ambiguous
  • An offer to forgive my student loan in exchange for a small deposit – who says this is not a kind world?
  • An interactive map of coffee houses in Raqqa.
  • George Martin’s next installment in The Game of Thrones.
  • The football playbook of Davidson University.
  • The rest of Coleridge’s “Xanadu”
  • Lesson plans from the University of North Carolina (these were blank pages).

I felt pretty good when we had finished. Our discoveries were bizarre and vaguely unsettling but that seems “de rigeur” in today’s world. I couldn’t see anything that suggested my computer moccasins had scuffed the planet any more than others I could name.

Thus encouraged, we explored further; actually opening the box of the pc.

Oh my…

We found;

  • Al Capone’s whiskey bottle
  • A floppy drive (no, my younger friends, this is not something Viagra can fix)
  • Nixon’s missing eighteen-and-a-half minutes
  • 14 pounds of cat and dog hair
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • A chord, previously mislaid
  • Pluto (the former planet, not the pup)

Though it seemed we could go on quite a bit further, we stopped there. As intriguing as our discoveries were, they seemed benign compared to what I could see 24/7/365 on CNN under the heading of “Breaking News”.

Also, I was feeling a bit antsy proceeding in this wonderland without Carl Sagan or Joseph Campbell as a guide…or maybe Robert Langdon.

I did want to call Ben at “Appall sek-yoor-rah-tee” and thank him for opening a hidden world to me.

Is this how the archaeologists of the future will spend their time? If so, perhaps the City of Lexington’s computer dump facility on Versailles Road will be the Egyptian pyramids of the 22nd century.

Cool.

Please file this under “alternative facts”.