My old college buddy James showed up with a grocery bag full of those little travel bottles of vodka. I was on a forced writing holiday – five days away from my thankless, low-paying day job to focus on the Greatsociety book I was foolishly going to flog for the tenth anniversary. I’d spent four of the five days up at all hours cooking everything from rhubarb pie to homemade English muffins to difficult Portuguese stews.
By the time Monday morning rolled around, I was a little out of my mind. At 7am, when James hammered on the door, I’d been up all night. I’d whipped up some Scottish oatcakes and had moved on to experimental sauces and exotic desserts that involved torches and fire extinguishers. My freezer was full, and I was quietly debating searching for a President’s Day sale on a deep freeze.
Continue reading ‘Interlude’
James spun by for some post-Thanksgiving down time. I usually saw more of him as the holidays approach as he had a greater number of local family members to avoid. Though, for the last two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, he’d been completely off the radar.
He pushed past me when I answered the door, stumbled into the kitchen and pulled the gin out of the freezer. With shaking hands, he poured six ounces into a plastic cup and drank deeply, sputtering at the last gulp and gasping.
“Trying to go dry again?” I asked.
He shook his head, red-faced and blinking, then poured another six ounces. “Worse.” He rasped. He moved into the living room and collapsed heavily on the coach.
“Worse? I asked, taking a seat opposite him.
He leaned forward and whispered, “Worse.”
“I quit masturbating for two weeks.”
Continue reading ‘The Experiment’
I think about moving. Leaving DC. Escape. Getting away from the rush, the angry people, the crippled commuters, the twisted women, the broken souls. I weigh my options for relocation. Where do I see myself? If I give myself over to fantasy, then the answer is easy. I want to be in Brampton in the north of England. I want a townhouse in Brasov, Romania. I want to live in a seaside apartment in Puerto de Santa Maria in Spain.
But that is just fantasy. It’s a sort of sea-change that won’t happen unless I’m actually skilled in something, or loaded to the gills with money. My relocation plans must be more grounded… And, so, thank god for the occasional voice of wisdom from my old college friend James.
Continue reading ‘American Musings’
The challenge: I produce a completed and somewhat serviceable novel by December 15th.
The challengers: My old college buddy James and his unborn baby (due on or about the 15th).
The rules: I can’t share anything I write, and it has to be completed before the baby is born.
Continue reading ‘Two Novels and a Baby (August 19th)’
My old college buddy James had really toned down over the last couple years. He’d gotten himself sober, married a girl named Marcie, and started on a weirdly responsible career ladder. I hadn’t seen much of him since he announced Marcie’s pregnancy. His life entered one of those phases I equate to the turning of a great, invisible wheel. Like in Conan! The Wheel of Life. Except there’s no cool montage to accompany these turns and, in comparison to Conan’s destiny, each turn is actually depressingly mundane.
Continue reading ‘Two Novels and a Baby (August 7th)’
There’s a certain wildman in Bethesda, MD whose iPod keeps shuffling back to Donovan songs. Over the last few back deck sessions at his Palace of Wonders, I’ve found myself thinking again and again about an old story I wrote. It’s back on the antique GS page, and I’ll reprint it here… Because I have nothing better for you this week. I didn’t run the spellchecker through it, either, because I’m awesome.
Continue reading ‘The Tiger’s Path’
Nixon was easy. We could go anywhere, really, but James had been talking about the 600 at Watergate South, which wasn’t really the sort of place where we belonged…but they had a full bar. We somehow managed to get in and get a drink, but it was clear that our time was limited, so it was just quick shots of bourbon for the three of us, giggling at the black tie and gown folks, talking in funny voices to the waiter and manager as we were herded back outside, and then onto the street with a shot of Nixon warming our bellies.
Continue reading ’44, part eight (conclusion)’
Back to DC. It was bourbon at the Hotel Washington for Eisenhower. I don’t know the connection, but I’m sure it seemed logical at the time. I also couldn’t tell you where we ended up for Truman, but a deep slice on my arm was bleeding steadily. I had several napkins stuck to it, fouled with blood and dirt.
Continue reading ’44, part seven’
“Thirty.” James said.
Continue reading ’44, part six’
Twenty-eight. Wilson. The First World War. We ended up in Silver Spring, Maryland, at the Quarry House. None of us could remember how that happened, but it did, and so we made the best of it. Energy was flagging all around, and David and James had opted for Vodka and Red Bull while I played around with the wildly exciting beer menu. There was no link to Wilson’s era at the Quarry House, but the subterranean bar may have represented a warm place of safety for our tortured, withered souls. We were also moving into the Prohibition, and the Quarry House did have a vague speakeasy feel.
Continue reading ’44, part five’