AC/DC – A Long Wait For The Day That Never Comes

I will occasionally edit for other writers.

This is something I edited for someone who had a story, but is not a writer. I chose it as part of my resume’ and collection here for that exact reason. That, and the content. Hopefully, you’ll be as entertained as I was.

__

A Long Wait for the Day That Never Comes

     “You fucking cunt!” 

The hostile words screamed from my mouth still echoed the walls as we were escorted out of Madison Square Garden by six large men and one fat, angry little woman into the dark, rainy New York streets. 

     AC/DC, arguably the greatest hard rock band on earth was finally on tour again after an eight-year hiatus. They were playing two sold-out nights in New York City. Years of waiting and planning – and I managed to procure floor seats. That’s right; the mighty AC/DC LIVE IN NEW YORK – AT THE HISTORIC GARDEN! Unfortunately, I was never going to see this show.

Acdc_backinblack_cover     From an early age, I’ve been involved in a passionate love affair with rock and roll. When my aunt died of a drug overdose, I was the beneficiary of her record collection. Among these was an AC/DC Back In Black album. While flipping through my newly acquired collection, I was immediately intrigued by the simple black cover and the spiky, violent lettering of the famous AC/DC logo that said so much by showing so little. (Looking back, it was a fitting follow-up to Highway to Hell and the untimely death of the great Bon Scott.)

     When I placed the album onto the turntable and laid the needle down, I was greeted with the ominous tone to the opening of Hell’s Bells. The bells of death slowly rang and Angus Young’s guitar riffs filled the speakers. I was enthralled. As AC/DC rocked out, I held the album in my lap and poured over the artwork and lyrics. I had never heard anything so overpowering and beautiful. I had never seen anything so bizarre as this crazy long-haired man in a schoolboy uniform sporting a guitar with horns running around stage. I was hooked. 

     Many alcoholics and drug addicts often go back to the first time they tasted liquor or their first shot of junk; a vivid memory because it was a profound moment that ultimately affected the rest of their lives. In addition, they say the first high is always the best and you spend the rest of your life trying to duplicate it. To me, this moment was profound because my life has never been the same since that day. My vice isn’t the bottle or dope; it’s rock music – and I will never get enough.

     If rock and roll can be deemed a religion, then I was officially baptized at eight years old by AC/DC. I’m now thirty-nine and still listen to the same music that I did when I was in the fifth grade.

     When I hold a record in my hands, I worship it the way the priest does his bible. From the print on the spine to the smell of the sleeve, I cherish every part of the album and savor every note of the music. This is primarily why I detest CDs so much; they have no soul. Listening to an album is an experience. Only people who truly love music can understand what I am saying. Music just seems more alive on vinyl and the album sleeve is a real piece of artwork in your hands.acdcscan0039

     There are two types of people in this world; people who like music and people who live and die by it. I am the latter. I’m one of those guys that could be in a bar surrounded by willing, beautiful women, but spending all of my time going nuts over the excellent jukebox instead.  Whenever I’ve had extra cash on hand, I spent it on an album. I once lost a job in college because I HAD to see Fugazi when they came to New Orleans. They rarely made it to the area and it was not going to happen again in the near future. I had skipped work and gone to the show. Of course, I got fired and almost couldn’t feed myself, but it’s still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I don’t think they made it down to New Orleans ever again.

     With that said, I will now tell you about the worst night of my life. I had been waiting years to see AC/DC live. I’d missed their tours in both high school and college. Military deployments kept me away as well. After years of sifting through web sites, magazines and chat rooms, rumors of their long-awaited new album had begun to circulate. My time had finally come.  AC/DC was going on tour again after eight long years and there was no way in a highway to hell I was going to miss it. 

     Because I am an anal retentive music fanatic, I strongly believe that there are only a few places that a rock show may be seen. These locations (in order) are New York, Donnington, Los Angeles and London. Additionally, wherever the band is from will suffice as well since hometown crowd enthusiasm is usually unparalleled. I am from New York and have had the pleasure of seeing most of my favorite bands there. Compared to other places around the U.S. that I’ve been, bands just don’t put out the same way they do when in the Big Apple – it’s a fact.  New York crowds also are the most responsive and fun, therefore making the concert experience a memorable one. If one of my favorite bands is playing, I will always fly to NY from wherever I am to see them.

    AC/DC rocks Madison Square Garden It’s literally impossible to get a good ticket from the Nazis at Ticketmaster, so I was forced to deal with a group of dirty pirates known as ticket brokers. AC/DC would be in NYC in November; by September my plans were in motion. After getting raped for almost $600, I had acquired floor seats. I originally wanted to spend $500 per ticket to get closer to the stage, but my brother, who was my faithful concert companion, would not go for it. We were still on the floor, which was fine by me.

     After waiting roughly eight years and two months, November thirteenth arrived and it was time to rock. I flew up to Long Island on the morning of the 13th from Orlando, Florida and met up with my brother. We had a great day planned; we were going to take the train into the city, catch up with our younger sister, who was a senior at Fordham University, and get properly smashed with other AC/DC fans at the bars surrounding the Garden. 

     Our first stop was the Blarney Rock on 34th Street. The Blarney is a carpenters’ union bar that has outstanding food. My brother and I downed four beers, a basket of wings and watched a bar fight between two irate carpenters while we waited for our younger sibling to show up. So far, the day was coming along famously.

     When my sister arrived we hit up a few bars around the Garden looking for trouble. Being that it was only three o’clock and the show didn’t start until eight, everything was still fairly quiet. We stumbled upon Brother Jimmy’s BBQ, where we heard AC/DC tunes being played full blast on the restaurant speaker system. Derrick, our bartender, was a great guy and seemed highly entertained by our rambunctious state due to the family reunion and of course, AC/DC.  We proceeded to drink several Pabst Blue Ribbon tall-boys while singing along to AC/DC tunes. 

     My brother was the first of the group to display his drunken state when he got up on his bar stool and screamed, “AC/DC…HIGHWAY TO HELL…WOOOOOOO!!!!!!” After being told to calm down a bit, Derrick gave us a round of shots on the house and asked us to please stay a while. My last clear memory of the BBQ establishment was the three of us slamming our hands down on the bar in synch to the bass drum opening of Hells Bells. The bar had gotten packed full of AC/DC fans and had become very festive. At 7:30 we parted ways with our sister and hauled ass over to the Garden.

     As we entered the front of Madison Square Garden, we immediately stopped at the bar and I ordered two vodka cranberries. In hindsight, I should have known better. My brother was a beer guy and has never handled booze very well. Despite this well-known fact, my brother, being the good Jew that he was, had never turned down anything that was free and eagerly took the cocktail.

     Our seats were great – right on the floor towards the back of the fourth section. We quickly made friends with everyone around us and settled in. Within minutes my brother was convinced that we could get better seats. He was a city cop and knew a lot of officers who moonlighted at the Garden. To my surprise and delight, he knew the ushers working the first section in front of the stage. His friend told us that if we came back after the first band was done, she would get us to the front without any problems. This night had officially gone from damn good to quite possibly the greatest time of my life. Or so I thought. This is where the story gets better for the reader and goes horribly wrong for the narrator.

 

******

 

   ACDC_edit  One of my pre-concert rituals is to take everything in around me; the stage, the lighting, the sound booth and of course, the impressive size of the arena. After all, if rock is my religion, then the concert venue is my church. As the lights dimmed, the first band made its way onto the stage.  They were called The Answer and also hailed from Australia. As I looked around the dark arena, little red lights began to illuminate the Garden. AC/DC sold these devil horn headbands that lit up and flashed red. It was awesome to see glowing devil horns floating in the dark all around me. My excitement suddenly kicked and the realization that I was finally there hit me hard. The Answer started playing and sounded a bit like a Led Zeppelin cover band.

     Halfway through the first song, I felt a tugging at my shirt. I looked down and my brother was sitting with his head between his legs, spitting onto the floor. Being the man of the world that I am, I immediately recognized his actions as the universal sign for “I’m gonna puke.” I grabbed him by the back of his shirt and dragged him into the nearest restroom.

     The floor seat restrooms are definitely the best kept secret in New York. Squeaky clean, never a line. No puke or some douche bag pissing in the sink. Furthermore, there’s a liquor bar right outside.  Instead of taking a twenty-five minute trip for a shitty, lukewarm beer, you can have vodka!

     Anyway, I dragged my brother into a stall and he immediately started letting the chunks fly. Up came the wings, beer, vodka cranberries and even a bagel we had at the train station.

     After about ten minutes, I asked, “Are you done yet?”  I heard a faint whisper emanate from the stall: “I have to shit.”

     My brother is a father of two and owns two properties. Recreational drinking is and has been a thing of the past for quite some time. When he gets a chance to go out, he blows the wheels off. Additionally, when he is really sick, he always has to defecate. One time he slipped on ice and hurt his back. At the hospital when he came to, they had to carry him to the bathroom to evacuate his bowels. I guess it’s some weird reaction his body has to pain. I think it’s totally fucking gross. I’ll just leave it at that. 

     So, at that point, my brother was crapping in a stall while spitting on the floor. The Answer had just finished their set and I began to get antsy. I got up on the adjoining toilet and looked into his stall, shouting, “Get your shit together, it’s almost GO TIME!” No response. I opened the door and slapped him in the face. “What the fuck!”  He was up. After a few moments of motivating words and cheers, he cleaned up and emerged from the stall. 

     He appeared okay and it was apparent that we were going to make it. My brother looked at me with sleepy eyes and asked where the sink was. As I turned to point to the row of sinks, vomit sprayed past the tip of my index finger. Jesus Christ. My brother coated two sinks in puke.  Luckily, there was no one in the bathroom. I felt so bad; I tried to conceal the mess by wiping off the sinks with a wad of paper towels.

     Finally, in a strong and confident voice, my brother bellowed, “I’m ready, let’s rock.”  He took two steps and did a header straight into the tile wall and slid to the ground. I put one arm around his waist and made him put his arm around my shoulder. As we entered the floor area of MSG, we looked like a couple of soldiers fresh out of a shit-storm firefight in Da Nang. 

     I walked him quietly by a group of ushers back to our seats. “Stop right there!” Fuck. A small, fat woman ran over.  “He’s too drunk.  He’s gotta go.” 

     I assured the woman that he was fine and there would not be any problems.  She wasn’t hearing any of it. I began to beg. Like a little bitch I stood over her and pleaded with everything I had.  “Please ma’am, these tickets were very expensive and I’ve been waiting years for this show.” Nothing.

     She said there was no way my brother could stay. At this point, I started to hurl every curse word I’d ever learned at her. In short time, we were surrounded by six very large, very black security guards. The guards escorted my brother and me to an elevator and boarded with us. As the elevator began to move, my brother came to and cocked his head up. It wobbled like a baby who had not yet developed the proper muscles to hold its head up straight. “I bet you all voted for Obama…fuck you!”  He then passed out. I looked up at the six large men. “I’m sorry; he doesn’t know what he’s saying.” Thank God they worked for the Garden because if we had been on the street, I’d be dead.

     I couldn’t believe this was happening.

We had floor seats and were about to have FRONT ROW seats. Now we had nothing.

     At this point, some readers might ask, “If it was so important to you, why didn’t you just leave him be and see AC/DC by yourself?”  Well, to this fair question I have a two-part reply. First, you never leave family behind. Second, the puke-spewing poop machine next to me was a New York cop. I couldn’t allow him to tarnish his record with a drunk and disorderly charge. 

     As the guards escorted us out, fans were making their way in. They were happy, rambunctious and walking into us because they were drunk. Drunk. I started getting mad and began pushing people away from me like I was in a mosh pit. We were surrounded by huge guards in red jackets so nobody messed with us. Before I knew it, we were standing in the cold rain staring at the entrance of Madison Square Garden.

     I dragged my brother down to Penn Station to catch the train back to Long Island. When I asked him which train we needed to take, he just laughed at me. I dropped him on the dirty floor. While my brother slept like a drunken snow angel on the station’s concrete, I searched for the information. Our train left in four minutes with the next one in two hours. I picked him up military style and we made our way for the track like we were trying to catch a chopper out of a hot zone. People stared and laughed. I was not drunk. I did have a headache and was sweating. It all fucking sucked. We made the train.

     The moment we passed through the doors, my brother informed me that he was going to get sick again. If we got kicked off the train, the next two stops we’d likely be dropped off were really bad areas to be stranded at night if you happen to be a couple of white Jewish guys. I wasn’t in the mood to end my stellar day by having my teeth knocked out, so I hustled him through five cars before finding the bathroom. Ripping the door open, I chucked him in. As the latch closed, I could already hear him wretching. “Whhhooooaaaaauuuugh!” 

     About ten minutes later, Old Jew Lady was complaining that the bathroom was still locked. I opened the door for her and of course, my brother is on the toilet shitting again with his head between the legs. “You can go ahead and use it. I’m sure he won’t mind.” She gasped and stalked off to another car. I held onto the railing as the car swayed. We would not be home for another forty-five minutes.

     Staring out the window, I wondered how the concert was going. I began to cry into my arm and choked back a sob. Really – I did. People were understandably staring at me. Here was a guy with steel-toed boots, ripped jeans and a full-sleeve tattoo, weeping like a little girl. I don’t even cry at relatives’ funerals. I had officially hit a new low.

     About thirty minutes later, my brother popped out of the bathroom like a goddamn jack-in-the-box. He was smiling, lucid and looked like a million bucks. “What’s up bro,” he said grinning ear to ear. My only response was a whispered, “Get the fuck away from me.” 

  acdccustom_1234388747870_forged_acdc_ticket_2008_front  When we got to his stop, my brother bolted off of the train and down to the parking lot. When I got down there, I could see his truck rounding the corner. Did that motherfucker just leave me stranded at a train station? Yes, he did. It began to rain again. I put my hands into the front pockets of my jeans and found my concert ticket stub. Taking it out, I held it up to my face for a few seconds and let it drop to the ground. I stood there and watched for a few minutes as the falling rain slowly seeped into it. 

     I was completely gutted because I was so excited to add that stub to my framed wall of concert tickets. This was THE prize; more important than my Stones ticket and more meaningful than the stub that proved I was lucky enough to be grossly underwhelmed at a Nirvana concert. I wanted to be hit by a car.

     I’m in my brother’s neighborhood once or twice a year, tops.  If you’re in Nassau County, you know everything looks the same. Every street has a pizza parlor, nail shop and deli. It’s the same type of house style, too – one after another. It took me over an hour to find my way back.

     I won’t go into the aftermath of this event, but I will say it was the single biggest let down of my adult life.

     I can only hope and pray that the lovely woman who threw us out got a raging case of herpes.

     To this day, I am still deeply scarred.

– Ryan S. Nichols

 

Advertisements

He Said

240dcb9360641e4f11813331cca33eb3

He said, “I’ll be there tomorrow.”

Excitement. My heart beats. I smile.

Then panic. I did not like the fact that someone had the ability to make me feel this way.

If he can make me feel happy, he can make me feel sad.

That scares me.

A lot scares me.

Having control is key. Key to focus. Key to life. Key to sanity.

Someone else making me happy is not having control.

 

When I was safe inside a relationship, there was control. There was the comfortable glide. There was security.

This is none of that. It’s up, it’s down. It’s long distance. It’s uncertainty.

It’s gut wrenching solitude.

It’s a hole in my heart.

It’s wanting. And not being able to have.

It’s being attached to the phone.

He exists in there when he’s not here.

His face, his words, our moments.

I had wanted unplug more.

 love-quotes-breaking-down-walls

How did this happen?

I’m usually so careful. Removed. Warm, yet cold. It’s hard for me to really care.

I’ve gotten it down to an art.

Smile. Converse. Drink wine. Ask them questions about themselves.

Even if it’s boring, act interested.

Eye contact. That’s what you have to do.

Sure, sure. Let’s do this again soon.

Let me check my schedule.

Oh, damn. I’m away. Maybe another time?

 

I’ve become more and more like a man in so many ways. I was raised by a man, I work with men, I have turned into one.

I’m not selfish. It’s self preservation.

Truth be told, most people aren’t worth it.

There exists a carefully cultivated fuck-you shell around me.

It intimidates.

Purposefully.

“You’re nothing at all like I’d thought you’d be. You’re smart…sweet.”

I know.

It’s a common comment I hear from people who make it past the muscle. The blunt truths. The loudness. The vibrancy.

I have a lot to give. I can’t afford someone who takes.

I only want real in my life. Not so easy to find.

 

He was different. His words alone were atypical.

He saw things differently.

He was strong. He was used to being the one to do the intimidating.

He had his own uniquely cultivated shell.

He got into my head. I couldn’t get him out.

I tried. I gave up.

Gave in.

 

We were a lot alike. 

Maybe too much alike.

 

He said, “You’re so different than I’m used to.”

How?

“Well…you’re like a guy in a pretty girl’s body. That’s what I like, though.”

Really? Someone who views sex as sex? Someone who swears far too much? Someone who lives on steak and bacon? Someone who takes no shit, will shove people out of the way and not think twice about punching another in the throat if there’s cause for it? Someone who would rather go to a shooting range than a romantic comedy? Someone whose dog holds more value than all the jewelry she owns? Someone who watches Das Boot and knows who Yngwie Malmsteen is? Someone who hates malls? Someone who doesn’t give a shit about designer labels? Someone who doesn’t cook very often?  Someone who believes “Great mind talk ideas, good minds talk events and small minds talk people”? Someone who “gets to know herself”…often? Someone who believes the word ‘cunt’ should be used as a noun, adjective and verb? Someone who only half-heartedly cleans behind the toilet?

 

He said, “How bad are you? I’m asking because I really like you and want to know.”

Extreme. Rapid cycling. Out of my mind. Crazy. Bipolar.

Medicated.

He said, “Okay.”

And it was.

 

He said, “I’m being recruited. The job is across the state. I have my second interview this week.”

My gut twisted.

I wanted to run. But I didn’t.

But I wanted to.

 

He said, “I’m not sure if I’m taking it yet.”

I allowed myself to breathe.

For the moment.

 

He said, “I’m on my way.”

And I smiled.

 

Then one day he said, “I can’t do this right now.”

Why?

He said, “I can’t give you any more than this. I can’t give you what you deserve.

There are issues about myself I’ve always had. I’ve been working on them and thought I was all right. Mentally…I’m not.”

 

I suddenly realized that I’ve been him before.

I’ve done this to others.

 

I hated how it felt.

I felt raw and ripped open.

 

I’d hated how I felt when I did it to others.

It’s taken this to make me realize what I’ve done.

What I’ve done to those around me.

 

I wanted to help him. But I can’t. 

I know from being me that only he can help himself.

 

He said, “I’m sorry.”

And I was right.

He made me sad.

10533847_1442993665968920_9151163915382310193_n

 

Chapter 21: A Southwest Air Stalking

The Tampa airport was frenetically busy at what I considered to be an ungodly hour of the morning. For many writers, 7 a.m. is still the middle of the night. I am one of those writers. The alluring smell of fresh brewed coffee from Starbucks was almost enough to make me brave the line that stretched around the kiosk and halfwaydown the terminal…almost.If I did that, I wouldn’t be able to get the two and a half hours of sleep on the flight I still so desperately need. I love my Starbucks…and not just because there are (so-called) rumors of it being laced with methamphetamines.

Starbucks-Schiphol

I’ve always wanted to be three things in life: a morning person, a black coffee drinker, and someone who can function perfectly on four hours sleep. I will never be any of these.

If I don’t get enough sleep, I literally feel hung over; nauseous, weak, foggy, and my head pounds. I’ve been on crazy wrestling tours where we didn’t catch more than a few hours sleep between a show the night before and getting on the tour busthe next morning to travel seven hours to another city. I was always deathly afraid I was going to drop someone on their head if I was sleep deprived.

It only happened once in my fifteen year career, but it DID happen – and it was bad. I was in Japan and jet lagged as hell. It was my first show on the tour. My opponent jumped off the top rope and I barely caught her in time; then I fell on top of her, snapping her ankle in several places. She needed surgery with metal rods and pins to put everything back together again. It is something I’ve always felt reallyhorrible about. I’ve also given myself several concussions by landing stupidly because I’m not all there while in the ring. Due to these things, I’ve managed to train myself to sleep anywhere in any situation. I know I have to when traveling in order to function.

I walked past the airport gates to find a water fountain for my refillable bottle. I’d love to say I’m environmental – and most days I am – but in this case, I’m just cheap. I refuse to pay $3.50 for water. Remember when water was free and you paid for porn?

An exhausted mother, herding three small children wearing Dora the Explorer backpacks and faces full of crumbs ran into me, her arms overloaded with diaper bags and…stuff. She apologized and I waved it away, asking her if she needed help. Her voice said “no, thank you”, but her sagging posture suggested otherwise. My heart went out to her. Then I secretly prayed if they were on my flight that they would be located far, far away from my row.

As I made my way back to my gate, a giant Mr. Olympia sized bodybuilder openly stared at me. Shaved head, shirt that was too tight and jeans that barely made it around his Hulk legs. He wasn’t bad looking, but he made me uncomfortable. He looked at me as if I was a steak and he hadn’t eaten in a week – and he didn’t stop staring. So, I kept walking.
I’m generally used to stares. But this guy started to follow me.
Sure, we are the same breed of alien gym rat. I’ll admit: our kind is rare. This does not mean I’d like to share my genetics with him to create miniature gym rats.

seriousFuck. I realize that he’s on the same flight I am. Southwest Air’s open seating policy makes people rush to board instead of clogging aisles trying to figure out what side A or D is on like aimless idiots. Most days I’m a huge fan of this concept…not today.

Naturally, Mr. Olympia was in “A” boarding as well and with nothing but open seats, he headed straight for my row. He and his much smaller friend squashed in, with him taking the middle seat.
Even the most petite human being will not willingly take a middle seat with other rows open. I was definitely being stalked.

He graciously allowed me half my window seat since his 300 pound frame and one leg took up the other half.

As if on cue: “You’re really vascular,” he stated. Vampires, athletes and Homeland Security agents looking for people carrying drugs love vascularity. I’ve learned to suffer the long sleeves in summer when returning through North American customs and immigration to avoid being “randomly selected”. 

“Um…yep.” I made a big show of opening my book wider and turning towards the window.

“You look great. I’m a personal trainer, so if you ever want help with your diet or anything, that’s what I do,” he volunteered.

“Ah.”

Him: “We travel to see Rush. Been to all their concerts. They’re playing in Philly tomorrow night. Do you like Rush?” I fucking love Rush. Red Barchetta, Tom Sawyer and Limelight got me through endless I-95 drives lasting twenty-two hours, between parental visits from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Enterprise, Alabama.so-i-see-you-do-gym-tell-me-more-about-how-u-lift-things-up-and-put-them-down1

“They’re okay,” I replied.

“So, what do you do?”

“I’m…an accountant.” I deliberately picked the least interesting career I could think of on the spur of the moment.

“Oh? That’s interesting,” he said.

“Really, it’s not.”

“I love your hair. Can I touch it?”

“What?”

My copper red hair hit the back of my jeans in length. At the moment, much of it was on the armrest. He picked up a handful, rubbed it thoughtfully and then – SMELLED IT.

I snatched my hair back. “Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m just going to read and sleep.” I dramatically put earplugs in and made my 5’8”, 150 pound frame curl up as small as possible against the window.
I could tell I wouldn’t be allowed to sleep. Hell hath no fury like a bodybuilder scorned. He fidgeted around and continued a loud running commentary which included something about A playlists versus B playlists for Rush concerts for the duration of the two hour and thirty-eight minute flight. I wanted to ask him if he minded shutting the fuck up, but had a feeling it wouldn’t matter. I began to wish for the mother and her backpacked toddlers. At least they tend to fall asleep at some point after the seat kicking wears them down.windowseat

Damn. I had to pee, but would face the sticky issue of getting out of my row.Do I turn my ass or front to pass the guys? Forget it. I’ll just hold it.

“So, do you want to meet us for the concert in Reading Thursday night? I can probably get another ticket for that show.”

I looked at him and said, “Sorry, I think I have to return some videotapes.” He looked confused, thus confirming that the only thing we had in common were dumbbells.

“Uh, no. Not my thing. I’m not much of a concert goer.” Unless you count Kid Rock, Reverend Run, Greg Allman, Def Leppard, Coldplay, Madonna, Blue Oyster Cult, Whitesnake, Great White, Guns n Roses,an awesomely absinthed night at the Stone Temple Pilots, The Trailer Park Boys live, nearly every Cirque du Soleil show…I pushed my earplugs in deeper, turned into the window and tried to ignore his jostling leg up my rear. My throbbing forehead pressed against the cold window and I desperately wished for a pair of those expensive noise cancelling headphones and sleep.
When you don’t sleep on a flight, it seems long. Really, really long. This was clearly one of those flights.

_U6C0001 copyx

Eventually, it was time to get off the plane. Or as the airlines call it in their made-up word, “deplane”.
Mr. O eyed me as I stood up, looking like he may make one last desperate attempt. With a big smile and a warm tone in my voice I told him, “Touch anything on me and my fist will ‘Rush’ into your face, sweetheart.” He went silent for the first time in hours.

I stepped past him and shook out my hair. He took a step back and made room for me to pass. Victory. Exhausted victory.
Pee or Starbucks? I desperately needed the bathroom, but Starbucks was………Closer To The Heart.

 

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS BLOG MAY BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

Truth or Lies?

lie

The problem with being around a writer is that you never know how much they’re taking from you. I steal – or am “inspired” – from many around me.

I take from people’s stories, personalities, problems and conversations.

Anything and everything can be material; I’m always observing. Nothing is off limits.

Bad decisions make the best stories.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been with friends who have begged: “Please do not write about this, April. Okay?”

Or someone will hover over my shoulder as I’m writing. “What are you…?”

“Nothing.”

“Yeah, right. Let me see…”

“You smell like drama and a headache. Get away from me.”

So, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie.    

 

April 054

 

There is a fine and sometimes blurry line between fake fiction and real non fiction.

 

“She kissed him and tasted cigarettes and disappointment.”

“Are you taking your medicine?”

“No.”

“But you’re depressed.”

“Good. That means I’ll be inspired.”

—-

Being single at fifty-two was confusing. She sipped her wine. Looking at the online dating sites seemed unreal. Half the men her age seemed on the defensive, clearly having been hurt before.

The other half looked like shit.

—-

“Mom died. You need to come home.”

That’s how he had ended up back in the tiny house, in a tiny Nebraska town full of tiny minds.

—–

Florian was only culturally Hispanic, because she found she’d had to translate a menu for him in the restaurant Paella. It was a culture Abby had quickly learned to appreciate after a small town, white bread upbringing chock full of aprons and meatloaf. His was one of café Bustelo and cigar factories.

She felt the heat emanating from his body as his full lips bit hers and brushed softly against her ear. He wrapped his hands in her hair and pulled her roughly into him in full view of whoever cared to watch in the busy parking garage. He pressed her against the car, burying his face in her neck. She liked the way he felt. She liked his dark eyes and aquiline nose. She liked his passion for life.

The next day Abby returned his text in Spanish and said, “I’ll make you learn this.”

“I know…I’m a bad Latino. I’m sure there are many things you can teach me. That’s why I’m keeping you.”

“Oh, are you? We shall see about that.”

“See we shall.”  

“Mind the gap.” The tube doors slid open and people rushed in as we shoved our way out, surfing along with the teeming throng of black and grey clad bodies pushing up the stairs. The grey-white tiled walls dripped with dampness…

She’s  late. Again.

Not because she’s high maintenance. Because she doesn’t want to go.

Procrastination. Stomach churning. She hates this.

Self revolving, self serving, selfish. Me, me, me. That is what she sees when she looks at them.

Far too stupid to be whores. They’d rather give it away like sluts. For attention.

“Look at me! How fabulous I am, right?”

Stupid, stupid girls.

Narcissism. Borderline personality disorder. Mommy and daddy issues. Undiagnosed bipolar disorder.  All rolled into one room multiplied by 35.

This is the entertainment business.

It won’t make you crazy. Crazy makes it.

He wrapped his arm around her from behind and in the filtered twilight, she could make out several skulls and the Virgin Mary on the colorful tattoo that ran from his shoulder to his wrist. One of many he hid under his crisp suit and tie during the week. He wasn’t one for words or sentiment. When he did speak, it was matter-of-fact, blunt and stoic. 

His was a character of contradictions. Punk rock and golf. Independent art and million dollar contracts. Athletism and exhaustion. Chaste and carnal. Impatience and biding. Supercilious and open minded. A love of food and an empty refrigerator.

She found him brutally direct and completely unreadable.

He dumped the Big Gulp cup with change out on his tatty blue blanket and counted. Thirty-eight dollars. Not bad for the day, but not good either. Most of it had been earned on his last trick, a coup des gras magic levitation combo. He’d waited until the New Orleans streets were packed with happy drunks. Timing was everything.

“I wish we could make more money,” he said to the scruffy brown mutt lying at his side. Sam was never far from his side. Her bushy tail wagged easily despite the conditions they lived in.

“Do you?” 

Rodney looked up. An old black man with a milky eye that stared off to the left stood before him. He wore a starched white uniform and had a Creole accent. Sam didn’t growl, which surprised Rodney. “I’m Claude. I work at La Richelieu and I enjoyed your act.” He reached down and scratched Sam behind the ear. “Tell me…have you ever thought about voodoo?”

Her eyes adjusted to the darkness and a large medieval contraption was before her. Leather straps, metal, cuffs. A sign read “Please tip your attendants. These rooms are not self cleaning.” In the corner, a blond was kneeling in front of a middle aged man sitting on a dark purple vinyl couch with khaki pants around his ankles and his hands on the back of her head.

She worked with the church, spending her nights taking calls and heading into the cold to pick up strays and search for lost pups. On this night, she’d found a little white dog with big, brown eyes and took him back to her place. He didn’t stop trembling until she wrapped him in a blanket and fed him.  He ate like there was no tomorrow and wriggled into her ankle afterwards in happiness. He wasn’t in bad shape, really. He couldn’t have been out there long because he was still groomed. She pet his soft white face, cradling him as he kissed her cheek and nose. Walking outside, she crossed the dusky yard to a sizable wooden pen. As she neared, the barking and snarling coming from it hit a fever pitch.

She kissed the little mutt on the head and then dropped him into the pit bull den as bait.

The left side showed me immediately why she’d survived and I hadn’t. A truck carrying long metal tubes had lost several.  One went through my windshield. The glass was a crumbled spider web splattered with blood and bits of skin. The metal was perfectly intact.

And it could be found pierced straight through my chest.

Mark Twain’s advice is to “write what you know” – which can be taken or mistaken in many ways.

 

 

Chapter 20: Men Are Like Shoes 

marche-bacchus-french-bistro-wine-shop-marche-bacchus_28_550x370

She sighed. We were sitting outside a cafe near the beach on a chilly winter day with our coats buttoned up tight and steaming cappuccinos in our hands. There were also two glasses of Cabernet…as chasers.

“I don’t get it. Some days I really think I’m over this and can do it all myself. Who needs him? He doesn’t do the things I ask him to. It’s almost like he doesn’t do them on purpose because I’m asking! Then just when I’m ready to end it he’ll do something amazing and I love him again. But next week…it’s the same thing all over.”

I looked at her. “Men are like shoes.”

“Shoes? I don’t get it.”a49b18f13a404bc3b77136b967e988a3

I pointed to her black stiletto boots. “Do you expect your shoes to change to fit your feet?”

She looked puzzled. “No…”

“Then why do you expect men to change to fit your needs? Those boots are hot, but I’m sure after a while they hurt. What happens then? Do you try to lower the heel and reshape them, do you kick them off and go barefoot…or do you slip on a more comfortable pair?”

She laughed. “You can’t be serious. Men and shoes?”

all-men-are-shoes

“Oh, sweetheart, of course I am! Think about it…the relationship and love between women and shoes can be as complicated and inexplicable as it is between any woman and man. If you don’t expect your shoes to change, don’t expect a man to change. Some are pretty and uncomfortable. Others fit great but lack flair. Some women can only love shoes that hurt their feet. However, sometimes you love shoes that don’t change, but loosen up. They become your favorite. So comfortable, that even when they start falling apart, you’ll never want to get rid of them. “

 

“Oh, wow. That makes so much sense. Where did you come up with that?”

“I didn’t. For a couple of years, while I was living in France I found that the French have a vastly different and much more honest way of looking at things. It was there that I heard the saying ‘men are like shoes.’ The more I thought about it, the saying clicked with me. I had a much better outlook of relationships afterwards. Namely, not being disappointed or bitter. It simply was what it was and I brought this saying back to America to amuse my friends.

Some shoes fit better than others. Sometimes you go shopping and there’s nothing you like. And then, as luck would have it, the next week you find two pairs that are perfect, but you don’t have the money for both.”

We drained the last of our wine.

Gathering our bags to leave, I looked at her and smiled. “Your time and energy is valuable. Don’t waste too much of it expecting your shoes to change. Shoes that pinch don’t have to be part of your life, you know. Sometimes you have to try on a few pairs to find something that is the perfect fit for you. C’est la vie.”

 

shoeper-shoe4-challenge

 

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS BLOG MAY BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

With or Without You…

(Written spring of 2013)

It’s such a cliché. When did we become a cliché?

We never did conform to anyone else’s rules.

We always colored outside of the line…but now we’re THAT.

I told you…I never wanted to be that couple sitting across from each other at the restaurant,

Not talking. Not looking at each other.

We became THAT.

 

Loyal. Kind. Negative. Criticizing. Witty. Smart. Nitpick. Divide…and Conquer.

My mind races and I can’t sleep.

I never could. Thoughts come faster than I can get them down.

Being this way…It’s a curse. It’s a blessing.

I know.

I know people don’t get me. They can’t. 

I know I may die young.

I know I’m smarter than most.

I know I do dumb things.

I know my father was this way, too.

I got this from him.

He said, “I will never be happy.”

Well…I have trained, read and learned.

It’s simple. You decide how you will see things.

I know I can be happy.

I don’t think you can.

When you are already past the age of where you could be dead, every day is a gift.

What should I do?

I don’t want to live like this. But I can’t imagine life without you in it.

We are two good people who bring out the worst in each other.

You look at me, but you don’t see me. You see an illness. That’s all I am to you now.

 

I don’t want that.

The constant reminders…

I don’t want to be looked at like that.

 

A dog loses his leg and learns to walk again.

Right away.

No one is in his ear, all day and night, telling him what’s wrong…how he’s a poor thing…there’s something wrong with him.

He just gets up and walks. 

Before this, I was just me. I’m still me.

And I’ll be fine.

Without you…I think maybe I can walk again.

 

Life_goes_on_edited

Reblogged from BipolarBlogging:Why Suicide?

Why Suicide?.

via Why Suicide?.

This is reblogged from BipolarBlogging. I found this to be very spot on and if you’ve read some of my BP blogs and are trying to understand the complexities of bipolar disorder, this explains suicide perfectly. Sometimes, however…nearing death makes you appreciate life and LIVE IT even more. I’ve found this to be very true for myself.

When every day could be your last…that’s when you truly live.