Tag Archives: drinking

Sunday, April 20, 2014

For most of Saturday, I was tapping away my thoughts about the digital age and the democratization of fine arts. I find it a very engaging topic, and wish to give it further study before I submit it to my blog. After a last-minute night of empty bars, I come home to a laptop and my thoughts… a dangerous situation indeed.

In a fit of tittering schoolboy, tabloid-esque humour, I decided to peruse the love advice columnist for the “perpetually single man.” Why would I do such a odd thing? That is me, you see, and with the aid of a finely etched, leaded crystal tumbler of Maker’s Mark I digest the salient point noted in more than one article:

Never-married men are questionable.

How lovely! It’s nice to have confirmation. At least you people aren’t telling me it’s all in my head, which is the gaslight programme of my foul, contemptible existence upon this absurd crust of rock. Thank you for being honest! It means the world to me.

It’s bad enough to deal with that “man of a certain age” poppycock, but to be faced with such acute judgment is just the thing I need to dismiss the human race in total. Out of my house! Out of my house! You confused my punch bowl for a bidet, and now it tastes like society. For shame. How many times have I wiped those cheeks without complaint?! Several, I tell you and I even used two-ply.

As I sit here in my home office, I’m left to contemplate my life and its owner-given meaning. What doesn’t sound so ridiculously unattainable right now? So, nothing. Not potential but rubbish thoughts for a rubbish life. Jessica, Shylock should dance to know my worth and your eyes.

With that in mind, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Nate the Skate and his Butcher’s Block Orchestra’s anthem: Giuseppe Verdi’s “Anvil Chorus” from Il Trovatore


Chi del gitano i giorni abbella?


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A million troubles, that is all the world’s worth. Set in its revolving loop, it swirls an elliptical hurly-burly of debilitating woe. What is this human to do? The boy of a nobody and man of no means, I am careening through the bumpers and flippers of existence. There is no defense I could raise against such a foregone conclusion. My life, as it is now, is meaningless to such a hunk of space rock.  The only moving and shaking to be done is my calf as it balances itself on the lowest rung of the bar stool.

“Hey, Chris!” With my hand raised like an elementary school student, I wave the bartender down for a moment. A stern, set-faced man strides to my end of the bar and props his hands up on the bar. “What’s a drink for a man down on his luck?”

Scratching his stubble, he contemplates while watching a patrol officer yell down a soccer mom using the turn lane as a parking spot. “Probably whiskey,” he lifted his forehead in honest resolution. “That’s my drink of choice when the wife starts screaming about one thing or another.”

“All right, pour me a glass.” I’ve never been one for hard liquor, but after funeral, a fallout, and a fight with the repo man, I’m willing to try just about anything at this point.

A tumbler with oaken-brown fluid slid toward my hand. This was like the Wild West, right? An unfortunate cowboy drinking up liquid comfort. It felt comforting, warm and simple. The alcohol was still swaying from side to side, a maternal-like motion.  It burns my nose before I even drink. My next resolution is to stick with beer.

Chris laughs and wipes up the sputter all over the counter. My embarrassment adds a feather to the Mariner’s necklace. Life-in-death. That’s what this was: a walking nightmare.

With a shout, a fist fight erupts in the other corner of the bar. Two patrons are fed up with their misfortunes and take it out on each other. Profanity and alcohol are thrown in all directions before the stolid arms of order chuck them into the street like a wrapper or peel. No one would consider them otherwise.

This is too much. There is no enjoyment here from my last sound decision of the day. Crumpled presidents slide across the bar top and I head for a walk in the afternoon. Going home would be the end of me. My exercise is a testament to life and existence. I would let the Earth know I live and breathe as flesh and blood for their own eyes to discover.

Wooden feet on concrete clap out a melody for the tone deaf. People careening into disaster weave a chaos-laden path around me: road rage, pugilism, dereliction… the subjects of a raw life on public display. What good was there to be found roasting in the sweat of a cement convection?

On the stoop of a project house sits a weathered musician. Time has bleached his hair cotton white while his skin hold the marks of age as if it were keeping score. Hacking out 12-bar blues, his head blocks out the rest of the street. Barring other people’s problems, his steady strums create a reply. That was his answer to the madness around him, an old man pushing back the insanity by creating beauty. The tune lingers long enough for the sane to catch.

A new home is found for my last dollar in the guitar case of the old man, and I sit listening to the rest of his resistance. His enchantment with his craft made for little acknowledgement of my presence, but that is of no consequence. My admiration for the old man and his guitar would only describe a small portion of my attitude. He was troubled; we all are, but he avoided the destruction. Creation in misery is a pacifist protest against human nature.

As the sun makes a silhouette of his figure, I resolve to be that man and his guitar. I need to find my guitar, whatever that may be. There are too many troubles in this world for me to shoulder. I, like him, won’t admit those problems into my life. I, too, shall play ceaselessly into the impending night.

© 2014 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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My City by the Bay (Chapter 3, Part 2 of 4)

The Gentleman

Several footsteps moved down Pierce Street and could be heard for what seemed like miles. A party of four, which included the likeness of Virginia Woolf and Phileas Fogg, were on their way to a monthly event at the Sable Saddle. Preparation for such a soiree was evident by the attention devoted to look the part.  The residents in the well-to-do neighborhood of Hooker lusted for a time of courtesy and fancy. They protested city council’s decision to pave the cobble stone street years ago, and instead levied a special tax to restore it. The gas lamp posts were single-handedly afforded by the neighborhood’s wealthiest individual: Truman Huckleberry. The HOA, albeit never feeling completely satisfied in pegging the source of his wealth, was more than ecstatic to hear such funds were being devoted to infrastructure. Huckleberry’s income was always shrouded in vague responses and hasty segues.

“Why do I have to wear this ridiculous, fucking get up anyway?” Moaned Virginia.

“Because, my dear, it’s Victorian night. They won’t let you in, unless you’re dressed accordingly. You would like to be with me tonight, correct? At the very least, the vodka.” Replied Phileas.

Virginia slapped Phileas in the chest, after catching the small barb. “Yes, I want to be with you. Dammit, do we have to go into it tonight? I just want to have a drink and maybe have some fun, not get stuffed into some stupid costume of some wolf woman.”

“I understand you’re not the biggest of fans, but you can’t deny you have a strong resemblance to her. Look, Jane, Emily, and I want to go. Humor us for one night, at the very least. We can all go to Dusty Gold Studios soon.” After which, he produced his great grandfather’s pocket watch from his breast pocket. “It’s ten o’clock,” Phileas looked up at the painstakingly refurbished clock tower near town square to make sure it wasn’t in need of winding, “we should be able to get right in and get a seat.”

Making another block in quick fashion, Phileas was caught by the sounds of Liszt. Surely such a masterful performance was worthy of investigation. Peering into the extremely large picture window of Monk’s, he discovered a man wrapping up the piece with vigor. To his surprise, he knew the figure quite well.

“Ladies,” Phileas turned to the group, “please excuse me for a moment. Better yet, I’ll meet you at the Saddle. It won’t take me long.”

“What?! You can’t drag me along to some snooze fest and then ditch me just like that! What’s all this shit about ‘being with me,’ and then disappearing when you feel like it?” Howled Virginia.

“Madam Woolf, the night is still young and I shall gladly spend the majority of it with you.” Phileas then grabbed Virginia by the hips and pulled her in close. Their bodies rustled with the sound of ancient fabric. “Besides, I have something planned for you later on.” The last sentence was within an inch of their lips and they kissed softly. “You’ll definitely thank in the morning.”

Sig stood up to a standing ovation, balancing himself on the edge of the Steinway. “Fooled you all, didn’t I?” He crowed with a grin. Moving slowly, and carefully, he teetered back to his seat.

Astonished with such a surprising display of showmanship, Ginny came down the bar to meet him.

“Hey, uh, that was pretty good.” Ginny couldn’t muster much eloquence with her astonishment.

“Catherine Monroe’s piano lessons were rough, but rewarding.” Sig remarked, remembering all the times he was rapped on the knuckles with a ruler.

“Here, this is one the house, but only ONE. You got that?” She slid him a thimble full of Wild Turkey.

“You’re the greatest, red.” Sig smirked with wild eyes. That curly red hair of hers could be seen from a block away.

Ginny flushed. She was always self-conscious of the fire engine that sat atop her head. Never getting over the childhood embarrassment, she started to sputter with temper.

“NO… no, no.” Sig patted the air with his hand. “I love it. I’m not putting you on. I love it. There hasn’t been one, single time I have come in here and not been captivated by that red ocean that rolls off your forehead.” Sig put his money down with usual gratuity. “It’s more intoxicating than the whiskey.”

Sig headed out the back door, too drunk to figure out how Ginny was able to replace all the glass with brick while he was there. Within moments, he realized he needed to gain a better sense of direction. A few moments after that, he then realized he might not make it home that night. Propping himself up on a brick wall, he took a few deep breaths. The lingering taste of alcohol made him more than uncomfortable. In a notion to head for bed, he tripped over some loose cobble stone and planted his face on the pavement.

“OWwww…” Sig laid there for a good long while. He was starting to think that the ground wasn’t such a bad bed after all.

“Excuse me, good sir, but it seems you have hurt yourself.” A man in a top hat appeared in front of him.

“Am I in London? Do you have tea?” Sig’s thoughts weren’t very attached at the moment.

“Please allow me,” Phileas said as he helped up the drunk.

“Say, thank the Queen for me. She has made fine examples of manners out of her subjects.” Sig was focusing again.

“My pleasure, sir. Are you OK?”

“Aw, nothing’s broken that wasn’t already. Thanks. Say, don’t I know you?”

“Me, sir? Uh… erm… why yes! I’m Phileas Fogg from Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days.”

“No, I mean the actor. You look awfully familiar.”

“Why… no… I think you may have me mistaken for someone else.” This excited Phileas something awful, as if to fully understand the implications of being identified.

“Oh, I apologize. It’s my mistake. Would you do me a favor though?” Sig said with the best possible serious face he could muster, which wasn’t even close.

“Yes. Yes! What is it?” Relieved, Phileas could continue roleplaying.

“Say ‘Long Island’ for me.”

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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