27 December, 2017

Every day is a title fight, Part 2: down in round two

Endurance is patience concentrated. ~ Thomas Carlyle

A man on a thousand mile walk has to forget his goal and say to himself every morning, 'Today I'm going to cover twenty-five miles and then rest up and sleep. ~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
 


Mick Parsons, Vicki Aubry Welch, Louisville, Kentucky, winter flu
Seven days before Christmas I was knocked on my ass by some version or another of the annual winter crud. And I'm sure I've written about it before... and I'm I sure I will write about it again.... but I don't do sick well. I'm a lousy patient. All I want to do is wallow and wait for the sickness to pass and that's pretty much what I end up doing.

What happens then, though, is the part of me that can't bare to sit around -- call it my shark brain -- realizes that all I'm doing is sitting around and proceeds to annoy the shit out of me with all the stuff I could be doing, all the stuff I should be doing, and all the stuff I probably would want to do if I wasn't stuck with a low grade fever, uncontrollable chills, and a nasal cavity leaking like a Louisville water main break.

Someone reminded me today that I almost always get sick this time of year. Back when I was teaching, and I managed to get sick between semesters, I considered it good luck -- even though it usually meant I was sick over the holidays. At least I wasn't sick while class was session.  Now here I am, it's three days before Christmas, and I'm once again trying to convince my body that I am not on an academic schedule anymore.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that being on an academic schedule or not has nothing to do with whether or not I get sick. It's the seasonal change, or the fact that I still need to get a flu shot. It's the fact that everyone and their brother seems to be falling ill to some variation of the same crud and that this time last year, it was some other variety of some other super crud that was going around that no medical means could cure or alleviate.

That's not the way it really works, though. The human body has a sense memory, like animals have
instinct. We use it everyday, for things as simple as making a cup of coffee to driving a car.  Our bodies learn things and remember them for us.

And my body learned a long time ago that it was ok to get sick at Christmas. Whatever else is going
Mick Parsons, winter flu, Ohio River, Shark
on, maintain until mid-December. After that, it's perfectly fine to fall into a snot-dripping, fever chilled mess in the den binge watching old episodes of Monk on Amazon Prime.

Luckily, because I'm used to being sick the week before Christmas, I attacked it with an aggressive treatment of vitamins, cold and flu medicine, and a lot of frustrating laying about.  You'd think that level of commitment would help my body relearn NOT TO GET SICK near a major holiday.

But... no.

No, I don't have gout. But I do understand the artist's POV.
Because in addition to an annoying susceptibility to various ol'factory and respiratory, I am also perennially at war with my own feet.

Which is why, when my right heel decided to balloon up for no reason at all and make it impossible for me to walk without brain splitting pain, I didn't panic. It's usually my left foot that gives me that kind of problem. I mean, I've become accustomed to nearly perpetual low level pain when I walk, which is made tolerable by inserts and accepting that it's not worth the savings for me to buy cheaply made shoes.

I didn't panic. But I did recall that around this time last year, when I was working in catering, my right foot decided to take me out for about a week during the busy season.

Sense memory can be a bitch.

And, Dear Readers, let me tell you... it can also hurt.


Please check out my work available for purchase in the store (see the tab) or for sale on Amazon. 
 
 You can also throw a little in the tip jar:

15 December, 2017

Every day is a title fight, Part 1: the applicants

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.~ Pericles

Politics is the attempt to achieve power and prestige without merit. ~P. J. O'Rourke
Mick Parsons, every day is a title fight part 1
The day of the interview, we sat in the 3rd floor conference room at city hall along with the other distinguished candidates.   Everyone -- well, mostly everyone -- was friendly and polite. Chase Gardner had his game face on, and John Witt ... a notorious Beechmont crank -- sat in the corner as if he was worried about something rubbing off on him. But the presumed front runner, Nicole George, brought a box of chocolates, which showed not only a certain amount of class but also that potential political appointees and recovering addicts have something in common; namely, both groups rely on chocolate as a way to curtail the cravings. And apparently chocolate works both for booze and for blood cravings. 
I mean, who could have guessed? It does give a kind heart hope.
The pleasantries dissipated quickly after initial greetings and meetings the hopefuls broke off into their subsets: the political movers, the local activists, one crank, one cop's wife, and the rash outsiders. George and former horseman Bret Schultz, the lone Republican, commiserated over the ineffective advocacy of $500 per plate political fundraisers. The activists banded together to talk about everything but politics and the unspoken competition for a metro council appointment that might, if levied correctly, help any number of causes. Witt sat in the corner and spoke very little, except on points of procedure. At one point the topic of South End economic development came up and Witt said only that he was opposed to more traffic and liked being able to get to the grocery store without dealing much with it.
The rash outsiders -- Amanda , me, and Nikki Boyd  sat over at the end of the table, having very little to say about $500 plate dinners or the various and noble projects and organizations we should be involved with that the three don't know about because we're ensconced in our own projects and organizations.
Mick Parsons, every day is a title fight, part 1I knew I didn't have a shot. Not really. The odds were so far out there that only a gambling addict would put a borrowed quarter on me. Amanda didn't think much of her chances either, though I thought that between the two of us, she would have the better chance for a whole host of reasons. Nikki Boyd just seemed genuinely happy to be there and was, from what I could tell, a very nice person who also questioned her chances simply because of the number of politicos in the room.

Then the interviews started. We were sequestered until our turns so no one would know the questions asked by the metro council members who came out to see potential appointees kick at the clouds as they hanged.
I was nervous when it was my turn. I don't get nervous speaking in front of politicians. I've spoken before Metro Council twice before as a concerned citizen, most recently in response to the city's treatment of the homeless population. But I wanted to put a more conciliatory foot forward. After all, I wasn't there to try and admonish or cajole them. In spite of the long odds, I felt like there was a real opportunity to be in a position to help not only the neighborhood I live in, but the homeless population I serve.

Of course, this would be no Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. But what really is, after all? Life isn't a Frank Capra movie.


When it was my turn, I introduced myself and answered a couple of thoughtful and useful questions. I was nervous, but I was doing ok.

And then spake the Wicked Witch of District 13, Vicki Aubry Welch, who had already come out for the presumed, chocolate-toting front runner.




Now, did she attack my lack of political experience, my past and current activism, or some perceived questionable moral fiber?

No.

Instead, she decided to focus on the fact that both my wife and I were applying for the same political appointment.


I'm still not quite sure why she would find it difficult to understand that each person in a married couple might be interested in applying for the same political appointment. I can only assume that such thing would never happen in her marriage -- which would make me feel sorry for her if it wasn't clear from the rest of the video that she found some way to go after almost every other applicant ... except her pick.


 
Please check out my work for sale in the store and on Amazon.
You can also throw a little in the tip jar:

01 December, 2017

Speech to City Council about its treatment of the homeless population: ...





27 November, 2017

Rockabilly Billy and the Texas 5, Part 8: Angel and the Not Really Bad Man

Rockabilly Billy and the Texas 5 was into their 5th set in two days.  Himself had not yet slept a wink and did not look the least bit wore out or like he was likely to quit soon. It was common knowledge that Ol' Bill hadn't picked up that red hot cherry in more years than an alligator has teeth. But once the word was out, it didn't take long for The Place to fill past capacity. 

Bop a Lena was slinging drinks faster than people could order them, and they ordered them pretty damn fast. I did my level best trying to keep up. She like to flew back and forth behind that bar, it didn't matter what kind of crazy drink anyone ordered. She made them all and slung them to me without a word or a smile.

Except for Julia Dream, she was the damnest woman I have ever seen.

Himself closed out the final set with a half-time rendition of Just Because. And when he finished he called out

We sure do thank ye for listenin. Be sure to be kind, rewind, and do what the good book says and tip your lovely bartender!
 
As the crowd was shuffling out, Himself called out and ordered an Amaretto Sour, which Lena had ready for him before the last syllable left his mouth. Tex the Younger, Rex, Dolly, and Sue all ordered shots of rye, neat. Mr. Rifraff growled that he needed three ice cold beers and a bowl of maraschino cherries. Lena had those orders out licketysplit and I carried it all over to the band. They was each sitting in a pool of their own sweat. Rex pulled his wig off and fanned himself with his long nails. Madame Bub ordered cold water with no ice and a neat shot of Kentucky Rye. Dolly and Sue howled that they were about to strip down and didn't care two shits whether anyone didn't want to see their whatfor. Tex the Younger told them it would be harder to find someone who hadn't seen their whatfors, given what they used 'em for. Rifraff ate his cherries and drank his beer. 
 
The only one who wasn't sweating sheets was Himself, and he just sat there, leaning back on two legs in a chair, his rhinestone Stetson tipped down over his eyes, a beatific smile on his lips. 

It took Bop a Lena a couple of hours to clean up behind the bar and around the floor. When we finished, Bill nodded in my direction. 

We're going to get some sleep here before we journey ahead, for I am tired and in need of rest in a nice soft bed. Madame Bub and I will retire anon. You have until then to sleep. Follow your better angel, Pilgrim George. She will never let down.
 
I felt a warm hand on my shoulder, and when I turned around, it was Lena. Bop a Lena smiled and leaned over and kissed my cheek. Then she took me by the hand and led me up the side stairs to her room.

Himself must have felt my hesitation because he chuckled at me from underneath his hat. Come, pluck up, heart; let's neither faint nor fear. Better, though difficult, the right way to go.

 
Check out the STORE for more of my work. You can also find my work for sale on Amazon.  
 
Or, you can also throw a little in the tip jar. Thanks for reading.

13 November, 2017

Rockabilly Billy and the Texas 5, Part 7: Bop A Lena and Madame Bub

  The road stretched and bucked for three full days of driving, and eventually unknotted itself outside of The Place. I knew we was there because of the giant neon sign that called it out for miles in every direction, even to the center of the dark universe: THE PLACE. The signage was so bright the shadow it cast underneath dropped over the building like a long, thick shroud.  The parking lot was empty except for a couple old trucks and broken down fire truck.

You're about to start your education, Pilgrim George. Keep your eyes open and go with the flow. And for fuck's sake kid... Himself stepped out of the car and stretched and I heard a series of pops that sounded like rapid gun fire... don't screw this up. You do this right and you'll have set your boot on the path towards gen-you-ine enlightenment.
 
I followed Bill through the dark shroud covering The Place. Once inside, I saw at once that Dolly, Sue, Tex the younger and Rex were indeed waiting for us. I almost didn't recognize Rex for the sequined dress slit way up to his waist. His handlebar mustache and shovel beard still a dead giveaway, but I had to confess I found it difficult to keep my eyes off the rest of him. I never knowed a man with an hourglass shape that would have shamed Marilyn Monroe.
You keep your eyes and your paws ta yourself, there, Georgie! Rex growled at me and downed her shot. Then she called over to the bar. Another Amaretto straight! Stat! Then she smiled at me. Call me Madame Bub, Darlin'.
 
I followed Madame Bub's painted finger nail to the back of the room, where the bar was. The bartender was a tattooed beauty.. tall dark hair tied back and up, big red lips, and eyes like violet spears that cut through the din and looked right at us. She did not jump to greet us. She smiled a wry smiled, set out 5 shot glasses, and poured 5 neat shots of Kentucky Rye. 

Himself smiled large and howled. Good Lord Lena. You know me and what I like. Then He pointed back at me. This here is my driver, Pilgrim George. He looked at me. You go help here with whatever she needs. Just mind yourself. She doesn't talk. Not a whit. Not a bit. So you stay vigilant and be watchful. This is no time to napping. Then he held up his right and and snapped his fingers. It sounded like two tree limbs snapping. At the sound, Madame Bub, Tex the Younger, simultaneously set into motion and started putting the stage together. Tex the Younger strode over to the soundboard and started his fingers dancing over the knobs and switches, adjusting the stage light and sound levels. Dolly and Sue cat off their coats to expose two slinky sequined dresses similar to Madame Bub's. Madame Bub pulled what looked like a guitar case up from under the table she was sitting at and unlocked it, releasing a sapphire blue electric bass. 
 
Where's Mr. RifRaff? Himself bellowed. Leave it to that squirrelly bastard to be late.
 
He'll be here, Bill,  said Tex the Younger, calling from the sound booth.  You know his clock runs sideways.
 
And backwards, Dolly and Sue said together. He's probably still in tomorrow. 
 
But he'll be here, Madame Bub said with conviction. He'd not miss it for something as silly as time.
 
As I watched the scene unfold, I felt Bop a Lena's violet eyes upon me and could not shake the feeling no matter how much I tried to keep my mind on Julia Dream. Bop a Lena was watching me, waiting. I didn't know what to say to this woman that did not speak, but I felt my feet taking back to the bar.
 
She pushed the first shot from the left at me when I approached the bar. I drank it down without even thinking. Then she turned her back to me, unbuttoned her shirt, and slid the collar down her back to expose lilly white shoulders. she slip it down to her waist to expose brightly colored angel wing tattoos that covered the whole of her back from her shoulder blades to her waist. 
 
I drank down the second shot and looked at her in the bar back mirror. She was watching me in the mirror, smiling a woman's smile. Then she shrugged and the wings jumped off her back and sprung forth like she'd been born part bird. 
 
It was then I thought of the first thing Julia Dream told me: 
 
Ye will meet angels, George. Be kind, but remember - every angel needs a bad man every once in a while.
 
Bop a Lena's wings wrapped around the front of her like cloak and she motioned for me to follow her to the back room. Behind me, Himself was yelling at Madame Bub to get in tune for shit's sake, they have work to do.  I looked back at the stage as I was following Bop a Lena. A giant man with a drum kit had, in the interim, appeared out of nowhere. This, I would later learn, was Mr. RifRaff the Time Jumping Drummer from Butte. Himself had strapped his cherry red Les Paul special on stood akimbo on the stage, eyes closed, waiting for the downbeat.

  

 
Please check out eBooks and chapbooks for sale in the STORE!  
 
You can also throw a little in the tip jar ($5 or more gets a Thank You Gift!)

07 November, 2017

Just yesterday morning, Part 3

All things are made bitter, words even / are made to taste like paper, wars gets tossed up / like soldiers used to be/ (in a child's attic) lined up / to be knocked down, as I am... ~ Charles Olson
The life of reality is confused, disorderly, almost always without apparent purpose, whereas in the artist's imaginative life there is purpose. ~ Sherwood Anderson 
Daylight Savings Time, Marriage, Art
Give it about 30 years and no one will even talk about Daylight Savings Time anymore.

Seriously. As annoying as it is, as pointless as it is, and as completely illogical as it is, it will cease to be the topic any real discussion.  
This won't happen because the powers-that-be will suddenly come to their senses and realize that moving the hour hand backwards or forwards doesn't actually extend or shorten the day. As a matter of fact, if anyone talks about hour hands, it will be in the sense of a quaint curiosity. Like jewelry made out of the hair of a dead loved one or the concept of privacy. All things fall into the dust of quaint curiosity shops of the mind -- including curiosity shops -- so seriously, don't put too much stock in the illusion that you're getting an extra hour sleep when we  FALL BACK IN THE FALL.

Don't worry about it. The Internet of Things will do it for us. We won't have to think about Daylight Savings Time because the ability to think about anything -- like the ability to read a clock or have a private thought that can't be described by a meme -- will have disappeared and we will have the IOT (Internet of Things, or, as we'll maybe call it NetStuf) heft the apparent burden of consciousness for us.

But if this Internet of Things... I mean, NetStuf... is so damn dandy, why can't it fix the hole in my ceiling? It can, apparently, predict what kind of advertising I'll respond to based on (really, very) random keyword searches. It can tell me who I was in a past life. It can tell me how I'm probably going to die and -- based just on my Facebook profile picture -- tell me where my ancestors came from. This Internet of Things assures that I'm instantly and permanently connected to countless facts, factoids, fake news, friend updates, new business connections, and scores for everything from the little league game (in languid immobile Summer, anyway) to World Cup Soccer.

But it can't crawl up into the very small and sort of claustrophobic space under the ceiling awning off the attic and repair a hole. It can't climb up on the roof and make any necessary repairs. It's 2017 and there are robots that can vacuum your house while you're gone... not that we can afford one or could even make use of one with three dogs and two cats to either hunt it, stalk it, or asphyxiate it with the endless trails of shed fur.

Ok, I know. I signed up for this life on the margin, right? Making Art out your life isn't easy, nor, I suppose, should it be. Though I'm still unsure of why. And I feel like I've been asking that question a really, really long time.




Please check out my work for sale on Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/mickparsons You can also throw a little in the tip jar:

06 November, 2017

Rockabilly Billy and the Texas 5, Part 6: The Pilgrim's Process

Stop fighting it, Pilgrim George, Himself. He pushed his keys into my hand. We got to be at The Place three days hence and we cannot linger long here at the foot of the tree.
I asked him what this place was and why we had to get there, and why, on top of that, did Rex and Tex the Younger have to meet us there instead of just going with us. He slapped on the back then reached up and tousled my hair.  Then he told me not to worry and that all my questions would be answered by and by.

 Now you be sure and take extra special care of this Caddy while you're drivin' it. I like you, Pilgrim George, and think you got it in you to become something spectacular. He stopped to finished lighting the cigarette he just rolled and stuck between his clenched teeth. But that don't mean I won't skin you alive. A man don't need skin to drive.
How a man could drive without skin I didn't know, but I had no intention of finding out. But it was all I could do to keep the Caddy on road. The steering wheel pulled against me and the car bucked and swerved... 'cept it didn't buck and swerve like some broken down jalopy. No, sir. That El Dorado bucked and swerved like a horse that couldn't wait to jump the fence and run. All 12 cylinders were working their best to tear me off that wheel. That didn't seem to bother Himself none, though. He just sat in the passenger seatI tried telling him I didn't know where to go. He grunted and pointed towards the horizon. We're goin' that way, Georgie. Don't go losin' you head.
It didn't take long for the Treetop Bar to disappear in the rear view mirror. I still didn't know exactly why I'd agreed to this or what I'd done to deserve being dragged off my chair, away from my beer. Sure, I said I thought I another Rockabilly Billy show would be an amazing thing. And it's entirely possible that I was talking big to impress the company present -- Dolly and Sue, Rex and Tex the Younger, and Julia Dream.

Julia Dream, my dream boat queen. It hard not to think about that kiss and about the three things she told me -- which, I will recount as present, for posterity, if for no other reason, even if it incurs a little of her wrath. I don't think it will, though. Any reason there was for secrecy has long since passed.

So there I was driving the Caddy and Bill Hisself was sitting in the passenger seat, staring out at the road ahead from under his rhinestone stetson. He never said stop nor go. He never told me to turn or that I ought to expect to turn. The road south just unspooled in front of us like an old cassette tape.

Finally, I asked him how in the hell I was supposed to know where someplace with a generic and uninspired name like The Place, was supposed to be. He chuckled a little and told me to keep driving. 

Are you even going to tell me when we're gonna get there?

Bill clicked his teeth. You got to relax some, Pilgrim George. That there is half your problem. 

My problem?

Even though I kept my eyes on the road and the quickly fading daylight, I felt him turn and stare me down. Yessir, Pilgrim George. You got to relax. 

Now I was tired from the drive and from fighting that Caddy to keep it on the road. And I was thirsty and I hadn't eat since that morning. He dragged me away from my beer, from the comfortable confines of the Treetop Bar, and he dragged me away from Julia Dream. It was with the fading taste of her kiss on my lips that  I lifted my foot off the gas and stomped the break pedal. It like to take all of my weight to make that beast dig in and stop in a giant cloud of dust and rock and road debris.

Goddammit Bill! Now I know you're Himself and all that but I really think you made a mistake in dragging me out like this. I know I talked big, and I'm really sorry, but...

I heard him click his teeth again. He pulled his tobacco pouch out of vest pocket and started to roll another cigarette with his long, strong fingers. Then he shook his head and spoke like he was quoting scripture:

"I have it in commission, to comfort the feeble-minded, and to support the weak. You must needs go along with us; we will wait for you, we will lend you our help, we will deny ourselves of some things, both opinionative and practical, for your sake; we will not enter into doubtful disputations before you, we will be made all things to you, rather than you shall be left behind."


Please check out the STORE page
and my other works for sale on Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/mickparsons  
 
You can also throw a little in the tip jar:

31 October, 2017

Just yesterday morning, Part 2

But if you're gonna dine with them cannibals/ Sooner or later, darling, you're gonna get eaten . . . ~ Nick Cave
 

cynicism art life risk blog writing
Harold Lloyd, the King of Daredevil Comedy. 1923.
Inspirational quotes are a pain in the ass.

There. I said it.

I know I'm not the only person who feels this way. At least, I HOPE I'm not the only person who feels this way. And I'm not talking about ALL quotes... clearly. I'm talking about those ones that end up in jpegs with sky blue backgrounds with soaring birds or kittens hanging from laundry lines.

If I get told one more time to "Hang in there!" I'm going to punch somebody. And I make a point to not punch people anymore.

If I get told one more nutshell of cracked faux-homespun wisdom about how the squeaky wheel gets the used fryer grease and how the mouse shit in the cream and turned it to butter and climbed out only to get eaten by an emaciated cat, I'm going to steal a bicycle and ride headlong into traffic on I-71.

And this is what happens. All the time. Whether I ask for it or not. And the worst part is, it's not even the people around me. Amanda, who knows me better than anyone, is not one to dollop canned wisdom on anyone, especially me. My daughter, who is young and predisposed because of her youth and necessary optimism* to embrace  inspirational quotes, is kind enough to her old man not to pass them off on me, in spite of the fact that they seem to work for her.

It's true. I can be harsh. I can be acerbic. My second ex-wife accused me of having an antagonistic relationship with the world. She wasn't wrong, but I submit now, as I responded then, that the world started it.**

Even people who are tangentially connected with me have learned to spare me when it comes to canned advice.

I began exuding a derision to such things when I was 17 and my dad died. People offered up heaps of casseroles (which were greatly appreciated) and advice about grief (which was not.) Telling a child burying his father that "everything happens for a reason" is not compelling and does nothing to mitigate the long grieving process. Nor was it productive, as I was told by a particularly stern minister, not to cry. I took that rebuke so to heart that I learned to bury everything. My second ex-wife was so accustomed to me NOT expressing emotion that when I did, she also reacted with a harsh rebuke that seemed like a judgment of my manhood.

People who learn to bury their emotions end up one of a couple of ways: they become killers, they end up drunks, or they end up poets.

I suppose, as the song goes, two out of three ain't bad.

Where I can't seem to escape the endless, monotonous, and just gawd awful string of canned advice and inspirational quotes is... everywhere else.

Our culture is addicted to them. Simple slogans and pedantic jingoism describe what should be well-thought out political positions. We reduce our personalities to lifestyle labels. We hide behind commercials that call us to embrace a soulless materialist replacement for faith or spiritualism. We are told to believe in ourselves and only in ourselves. We are told we are the solution to our own problems. We are told we are enough.

What a load of horse shit.

Because when it becomes clear that we aren't enough, there is no one else to blame when our best
efforts crumble.  We're told we just didn't try hard enough and somehow a cute fucking kitten hanging on a clothes line becomes the overpowering metaphor for our existence. JUST HANG IN THERE becomes a mantra that erases any critical assessment. We're not supposed to think about all this stuff. We're just supposed to HANG IN THERE and let the world happen to us.

It's bad advice. Because sometimes you do your best and it still comes to nothing. Because many times we are not enough and we need a community of peers, a community of faith, or at least two honest bar buddies to tell us when we're screwing up.

And while I reject the faux-glow of inspirational quotes, I have learned that I have to embrace the idea that there's a community around me that I sometimes have to answer to. I've had to learn to embrace the belief that I am not always enough, and that I need help more often than I like to admit.

______________________________________________________________________
*Optimism is the only thing that makes youth bearable and even possible.
** Or, as stated in my self-adopted credo: ego sum non forsit. forsit est orbis terrarum. (I am not the problem. The problem is the world.)


Please check out my work for sale on Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/mickparsons 

You can also throw a little in the tip jar:

30 October, 2017

Rockabilly Billy and the Texas 5, Part 5: Hot Coffee, Sweet Tea

It's all settled then! Himself stood and crowed so loud it shook the whole bar. It damn near shook it out of the tree.

Now listen here, Bill,  I said.  I have just a few questions to ask before you drag me off from here on some hair-brained scheme.

He looked it me and his deep blue eyes -- eyes blue like winter wolf -- twinkled from underneath the wide brim of his bedecked shit-kicker hat. For a moment those trickster orbs looked ancient -- deep set and full of primordial cold fire. He looked at me and straight through me. The hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up. And I think he knew it, too, because he smiled, his teeth like shiny razors gleaming under the light that shone in his eyes. 
This here ain't no 'hair-brained scheme' Young Pilgrim. This here is nothing less than a divine epic quest thou hast been plucked up and chosen for. Worry not. It shall not murder thee, but thou mayst die at least twice along the way.

As the words rolled off his tongue, he stepped back, crowed again and slapped me on the arm so hard it popped my shoulder out of joint, making me scream so loud that Dolly and Sue dropped their whiskey shots on the floor.
Sorry about that, Georgie, he said. Sometimes I don't know my own strength. He looked over at Tex the Younger. Take care of it, will ye Tex? I'm good at the breakin' but not at the fixin'.

Tex the Younger nodded like he was annoyed, stood up, and lumbered towards me. I thought for sure he was going to break me worse. When he got to me he reached out with one of his giant chicken killing meat hook hands and snapped my shoulder back into place. He grunted. You'll live,  he grunted. But you may feel it when the rain comes.

Himself snorted and nodded at me. Time to go, Young Pilgrim. He turned to Rex and Tex the Younger. You two meet us at The Place three days hence. And don't be late. And Rex darlin' ... he paused, smiled, and tipped his hat... don't forget your trunk.  Then he looked at Dolly and Sue. And you two know what to do, he growled. Don't make me tell you twice.

Come on ahead, Pilgrim George. Let's slide down the rope and get this thing going. Don't you worry about the tab. It'll keep until your return. If you return. He laughed like he'd just told the funniest joke of any joke ever told in the history of jokes.

Himself Rockabilly Billy pulled me towards the exit and it was all I could do to stay on my feet. As we exited the Treetop Bar, headed for parts unknown, I look back at Julie Dream. Her smile was sad as she raised a shot glass and emptied it in my honor.

That was the first and last time I ever saw Julia Dream take a drink of anything besides hot coffee or sweet tea.

Please check out my work for sale on Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/mickparsons 

You can also throw a little in the tip jar:

24 October, 2017

Just yesterday morning, Part 1

You can't fix the weather - you just have to get on with it. - Douglas Adams

home repair fail
Buster Keaton & Virginia Fox. The Electric House (1922)
Sometimes I think I'm cursed by crumbling ceilings. I wake up early in the morning to write and read, to meditate and pray, while the house is silent. At that time of day, before the time-tracking part of my brain, before the you've-got-too-much-shit-to-get-done-today part of my brain, before the mark-my-obligations-off-the-never-ending-list part of my brain kicks in, I swim outside of the clockwork world. Even in the technological age I find there are mechanical underpinnings. This touch and go techno gratification stuff is just a thin skin for Descartes' bastard son -- a wholly mechanical model universe created by monkeys with bigger brains who also think God is monkey but with a machine heart.

And in this swim of mental time space, before the machines clang and the digital clock face on my cell phone reminds me that I'm simply not allowed to exist outside the artificial time loop, I take in the whole of my surroundings. The silence. The sound the dog's paws make on the linoleum floor. The sound of the cat jumping on top of the garbage can by the backdoor to be let out. The feel of the ceiling fan blades cutting the air. The sound of rain outside as the sun starts to come into view.

The leaking roof in the corner of the dining room.

I used to love the sound of the rain. Especially early in the morning or at night when it was time to (finally) sleep. When I was living in a friend's cabin out in Eastern Kentucky, I loved the sound of rain on the tin A-frame roof. The sound was hypnotic. The cadence was meditative. 

Now when I hear the sound of rain, my first thought is: "FUCK! Where will the house leak today?"

I once heard a man wiser than me say that it was a mistake to own anything you have to paint or feed. Most of the time I take that statement with a grain of salt. It's not that I'm all about ownership. Actually, I'm pretty certain my dog only tolerates me because I feed her most of the time, and as such I've never really thought of myself as a "dog owner" as much as I have a "dog person."

The same goes with home ownership. I tend not to think of myself as a homeowner as much as the
dog man
person helping pay the mortgage on a house that will, by and by,be someone else's responsibility. It's better than paying rent, in theory, because someday -- if Amanda and I are very very lucky -- we'll only have to pay property taxes to a municipality that has done nothing in regards to the care or upkeep of this house we call a home.  The bank doesn't help out either, come to think of it. All I do is live here and I'm bound and obligated to keep the yard mowed, see to basic repairs, try not to let it be too much of an eyesore, and take care of the place until the "mort*" part of the "mortgage" kicks in.

That's the deal. And most of the time -- like 88-90 percent of the time -- I'm perfectly fine with this. Life is about impermanence after all, and all we're doing is trying to figure out our purpose and find meaning in what mostly seems like a futile attempt to avoid being the target of rush hour road rage -- someone else's or, God help us, our own.

And I was still ok... until I heard the not so subtle drip of water from the corner of where, when it rains a little too much, water leaks in. We're prepared, of course. We have a bucket there, and towel.  But it is only a short-term fix. The leak is sufficiently bad that I will probably have to find the wherewithal to climb up on the roof -- something I don't excel at. OK, I'm pretty decent at the up part. It's the down part that almost always gives me trouble. It's not that I'm scared of heights. It's that I'm far too aware that Murphy's Law kicks in to triple time whenever I'm doing anything like, say, climbing a ladder, or working under a car, crawling into the creepy space under the ceiling to repair a hole (causing me my first and heretofore only panic attack.)

When Amanda got up a couple of hours later, I was annoyed at the ceiling, annoyed at my inability to either repair it or pay someone on better terms with Murphy to repair it. I'm not entirely sure I've tried to ever explain to her why I feel haunted by leaky roofs.

And I wasn't entirely sure I felt like explaining it then, either.
__________________________________________________________________
* In trying to find the etymological root of the word mortgage, I made the mistake of just typing the word  "mort" into Google. Apparently "mort" does not mean death, but instead is "the note sounded on a horn when the quarry is killed." Now, I know I'm not much of an expert on the sound that horns make while hunters are hunting, but I'm not entirely sure I trust Google Dictionary. 

The good news is that after I went to the trouble of typing in, Boolean style, the words "etymological" and "mortgage", I finally found the proper definition... just in case some of you good looking and clearly intelligent folks didn't know it already.

mortgage (n.)
late 14c., morgage, "conveyance of property as security for a loan or agreement," from Old French morgage (13c.), mort gaige, literally "dead pledge" (replaced in modern French by hypothèque), from mort "dead" (see mortal (adj.)) + gage "pledge" (see wage (n.)). So called because the deal dies either when the debt is paid or when payment fails. Old French mort is from Vulgar Latin *mortus "dead," from Latin mortuus, past participle of mori "to die" (from PIE root *mer- "to rub away, harm," also "to die" and forming words referring to death and to beings subject to death). The -t- restored in English based on Latin.


You're welcome.

Please check out my work for sale on Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/mickparsons

You can also throw a little in the tip jar:



23 October, 2017

Rockabilly Billy and the Texas 5, Part 4: All deals are non-refundable

serial short fiction
Before I could say anything else, Julia Dream was standing next to the table. She smiled down at me, her full lips curled up in a funny little smirk. Here eyes shone like the deepest blue green Gulf waters, taking me in.

Come on with me, Georgie. You heard what The Man said.

I was helpless to resist and unable to find my voice. I wanted to try and explain that there was no need for what I thought was about to happen. I mean, it wasn't that I didn't WANT to. Of course I wanted to. But not like that, like it was some mile marker on The Road to Rhinestone Glory.

You go with her, Kid, He said. You go with her and then we'll hammer out the details.

I let her lead me back behind the bar to the little room where she lived. She opened the door and bid me to follow her in. Her room wasn't no bigger than a medium sized closet, but there was enough space for a narrow bed, a dressing table and mirror, some shelves, a few books, and an old steamer truck. It was the kind that opened up and was a mini chest of drawers, like people took on long boat voyages back when people still traveled by boat for more than just over-priced vacations to foreign port where everyone speaks English and there's a fast food joint on every corner. The trunk was in great shape, too. Like she took pains to keep it clean and in good working order.

She paused in front of the bed. I shuffled in and closed the door behind me. Then I waited.

Then she laughed. You're so funny, Georgie, she said.

How's that? I asked.

She wheeled around on her heels, her hands on her hips, to face me. You're shaking like a rabbit that's about to get jumped by a coyote. You don't need to. What you think is going to happen AIN'T going to happen here.

But I ...

Julia Dream placed her lovely red-tipped forefinger over my lips to silence me. Now Georgie, she chided me. Insulting a woman's intelligence is no way to get to her bed. It wasn't going to happen... not today, at any rate... but still. If you're gonna be traveling with Bill, you need to learn how to act in front of women. She smiled again, and without missing a beat she drew me to her and kissed me. All of her was pushed up against me. Her arms were around my neck. I put my hands on her hips and she swiveled them a little so I'd wrap my arms around her waist.

The kiss lasted for what seemed like hours. Her lips were soft and tasted like strawberry wine. When it finally ended it felt like I'd never breathe right again without her lips on mine.

Oh, Georgie, she said, shaking her head. Where you been hidin' THAT? If I'd a known you kissed like that, I might not have let you run off with Himself. She locked her eyes on me. I could screw you silly, Georgie Boy, she said. I could screw you like you'll never be screwed again.

Then she pulled away and sighed. But not today.

In a fit of kiss-drunk foolishness I opened my mouth and told her everything I'd been carrying around in my heart. I told her I loved her, that all I thought about was her. I told her I'd stay there with her on her narrow bed or I'd sleep in the bar just to be around her. I told her I loved so much it burned me up thinking about what wasn't going happen... and that while I didn't exactly WANT it to happen, I didn't exactly want it NOT to happen either.


Julia Dream just shook her head and rubbed my cheek. You're already promised to Bill, she said. I can't come in between that. But if you go out with him and come back to me... and if you still want me...well, Georgie, I'll make sure you never forget it.

Before I answered she went on. I know what you're thinking. But I haven't had a man in my bed for many a moon. I don't take on lovers lightly, no matter what some of these old hound dogs around here think. 

I wanted to know who her last lover was and how whoever it was could have been so stupid as to leave her in lurch at the Treetop Bar. She shook her head.

Now listen, Georgie, and listen good. I got three things to tell you. They won't make any sense now, but they will. And these things I'm about to tell you are ONLY for you. You got to promise me you won't tell any of them what I'm about to tell you. Do you promise?

I promise.

Do you promise?

I promise.

Do you promise?

I swear, Julia. I won't say word. I promise!

She nodded and told me that I promised three times, which made it three times as sacred and three times as terrible if I was to ever break my promise. Then after she told the three things, she kissed me on the cheek -- there was still just a hint of strawberry wine -- turned me around on my heels and sent me out of her room.

I walked back out into the bar. Rex and Tex the Younger whooped and asked me if that meant I was man.  Dolly and Sue giggled and played with their cocktails. Sue told me I better not have laid the pipe down TOO good, because their drinks were about dry.

Himself told them to shush and he motioned for me to join him again at the table. He admonished me not to worry about them sorry onlookers. The last either Rex or Tex the Younger got it up they were toe up at a leather convention in Waukegan. And he told me not to worry none about Dolly or Sue, either. 'Cause the only reason they ain't screwed Rex and Tex is 'cause their old man taught 'em to sling it outside the family. He smiled at my dropped jaw. I'll tell you that story someday,  Himself said. When you're a little better seasoned.

He slid set of car keys across the table. They were attached to a key chain with two pendants: a crucifix and and a silver lightening bolt. Now before you take them keys, Himself intoned, there's just one thing you have to understand. 

Himself leaned forward and looked me right in the eye. His eyes were pitch black and his voice reverberated down my spine. You take them keys and that's the deal. There's no giving them up until the run is done, no quitting, no second guessing. You take them keys and the deal is made and you are bound by all holy writ and seals until the run is done.

Then he sat back and smiled. By then Julie Dream was back at the bar, only she wasn't looking at me or Bill or anyone else. She went around and refilled everyone's drinks and wiped off the tables. I looked at her, not looking at me, and thought about that kiss and what it felt like to have her body pushed up against mine.

But I could also feel Himself staring at me, waiting. I thought about what Julia said about coming back after and if I still wanted then, well then ok. I reached up for the keys with my right hand, and I asked Himself where we was going first.

If I didn't know better, I could swear I saw a tear trickle down Julia Dream's perfect face.


Please check out my work for sale on Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/mickparsons 

You can also throw a little in the tip jar:

17 October, 2017

Perpetual pilgrim, Part 2: exile amor fati

 I am an exile's book. He sent me. ~Ovid

Exile is more than a geographical concept. You can be an exile in your homeland, in your own house, in a room. ~ Mahmoud Darwish 


home and exile
Although I haven't lived in my hometown for better than several years and I rarely go back, I do follow some of the comings and goings there. There's an insatiable fascination about the place for me, in spite of the fact that there's nothing there for me but cemetery stones and geographically bound nostalgia. Think of it as something akin to voyeurism.

Recently on the Facebook page for my hometown's historical society I noticed an event. Five local authors were going to converge on the historical society... the old Grant Building where the library was housed when I was a kid ... to talk about how they became writers.

Each of them, I suppose, had written and published books. I only knew one of the names because other than random and terrible violence and the odd billboard paid for by a local church  proclaiming that Satan had taken over the school board, the only thing my hometown ever made the news for was the fame of the The World Walker. No one remembered him leaving on his trip, but everyone was there for the return, including a parade, a key to the village, and an invitation to speak to high school students about his experience.

Now, although I've made my home a few hours south and on the other side of the dirty, sacred river, the fact is that as much as I have no place or purpose in the place I'm from, I'm a transplant everywhere else. I guess it's fair to say that I haven't made The Big Time. There are no parades or keys to the town with ubiquitous invites to talk to ungrateful high school kids about my accomplishments.

Probably one of the most challenging parts of being a writer isn't actually the writing. That's always been the easier part. I don't believe in writer's block and I reject the idea that creative energy fizzles. It changes channel and sometimes doesn't march with popular tastes and trends, but generally the writers who chase trends end up burning themselves out -- not because their creativity fizzles but because they cut themselves off from it a long time ago and decided to sustain themselves on praise and marketability.

The biggest challenge for me has always been the subject of tradition... literary or otherwise. Although I don't remember much from when my thesis defense*, I do remember Dr. Glenn Colburn asking me where I would place myself in the canon of American Literary Tradition. I don't even remember exactly what I said because I was a bit taken aback by the question. I managed to write a collection of integrated (hopefully) poems and short stories. It was probably incredibly abstract and most likely total failure. My graduate advisor asked me once if I thought it would end up being publishable. My answer was that it probably was not at all publishable, because there was no way to categorize it in any way that literary agents and the publishing world would or could understand, or in such a way that agents and publishers could excise their percentages from sales.

I'm still pretty good with that. And I'm still pretty good with probably being a little too left of center for poets and a little to right of center for fiction writers. But it does sometimes nag at me that I grew up in  place that so assiduously tried to erase its history that I've been running all over the place for 30 years or more trying to find one, only to keep running into one inescapable fact: there is no such thing as adopting a literary root. Either you're born with one, or you cobble your own from the flotsam and jetsam of experience. It's that or it's creative death.

I guess it's OK that they didn't invite me, being as I'm not as news worthy as a guy who tried to rob a bank with a pocket knife (in my graduating class.) I suppose it's OK that I still can't answer the question of where I am in the scope of American letters because I'm not a Louisville writer or a Kentucky writer or, really, an Ohio writer... or even a Bethel, Ohio writer.

If you like what you're reading  here, check out my work for sale on Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/mickparsons You can also throw a little in the tip jar:

16 October, 2017

Rockabilly Billy and the Texas 5, Part 3: The Road to Rhinestone Glory

 Well, I'm no musician, and I told him so. He didn't seem all that concerned about it.

We got all the musical talent we need. But what we lack is exactly the bill you'll fill, Georgie.

Julia Dream smiled and licked her ruby red lips. I was so shocked at Bill's invitation and his dauntless confidence that I had a role to play that I didn't notice that she was smiling at me in a totally different light. Rex and Tex the Younger and Dolly and Sue were up on their feet, up in arms about him inviting me along at all. I can't say I blamed them. After all, I was just some green kid who'd climbed up and wandered into the bar and gone ga-ga for the bartender. To be honest, the Treetop Bar was the farthest I'd ever traveled in my entire life.

When I asked Himself what it was he thought I could do, he told me he needed a driver. But, He said, it's more than just driving.

When you drive for a hard driving rockabilly band,  He said,  you're a driver. You're a roadie. You're security. Sometimes you're an entertainment wrangler. 

 Himself leaned forward and pointed his bottle of Sioux City Sarsaparilla. He smiled and his teeth shone like razors. I ain't gonna lie, Georgie. I won't ever lie and I'll never steer you wrong. There's all kinds of romantic bullshit out there about being on the road with a band. Some of it's true. Some of it's shine. But you'll figure that out for yourself. If you've got the balls to drive a 1959 Caddy Eldorado with more horses than Pancho Villa.

Everyone in the bar -- Rex and Tex the Younger, Dolly, Sue, and Julia Dream -- were all looking at me. Himself took a big swig and drained his sarsaparilla.  It was like he knew before I could chicken shit out and say no.

Get him ready, Julia. Times burning on both ends and the road to rhinestone glory waits for no one.




  

If you like what you're reading here, check out my work for sale on Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/mickparsons You can also throw a little in the tip jar:

10 October, 2017

Perpetual pilgrim, Part 1: introduction to the off-the-road edition

God is at home, it's we who have gone out for a walk.~ Meister Eckhart

Home life is no more natural to us than a cage is natural to a cockatoo. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Lately my goal has been to try and apply the basic rules of the road to my everyday life.

It's not that I'm going to be out and about anytime soon... work and other responsibilities make this impossible... but it occurs to me that I've been living like the things I did out on the road had no relation to how I was living my life now. The problem is that in my most natural state, my mindset is that of a permanent traveler. It's not that I don't love the home I have with Amanda and Stella and Will; but I also know that as much as I love home... home as family, home as a place I'm comfortable... I'm not, in my natural state, much of a homebody. Yes, I like to maintain my space a certain way. When I travel I'm a tediously organized packer, too. So really, it's less about being domesticated and more about the aforementioned particularness ... whether home is on my back or four walls and a roof that needs to be re-shingled.

But I think part of my problem has been that I've still been trying to tackle this domestic bliss stuff the way I was socialized to by small town culture, by television, by mentors and heroes -- none of whom ever suggested, even remotely, that I orta do things the way they do things.**

In trying to figure out how to do this stuff  My Way, the only conclusion I've come to is that I have to live at home the way I live out on the road. Certainly there are some modifications. But overall, it's more about spacial awareness than a shift in awareness. Or, that's what I'm going with now.

My road rules went through multiple drafts and notions, but they boil down to something like this:

  1. Read and write everyday.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings.
  3. Leave things as nice or nicer than you found them.
  4. Etiquette makes society, not the other way around.
  5. Be grateful when things are good. They won't always be.
  6. Keep your head up when things are bad. They will be more often than not.Show appreciation and articulate love. Daily.
This isn't always easy, though I often think it should be. With four adults, three dogs, and two cats living under one roof, sometimes it feels like it's a little hard breathe. And I LOVE these people. But generally, if I keep my art at the center*** and tether myself to being essentially humane and focus on trying to be the best husband, father, and father-in-law that I can be, I believe I'm doing my part in helping maintain our conglomerated family unit.

Even if it's not altogether natural feeling sometimes.


___________________________________________________________________________
* No less than every girlfriend I've ever had and two ex-wives have pointed out/accused that I have an antagonistic relationship with the world. But clearly, the world started it.
**All of them actually said the contrary, on multiple times. A wise mentor will never tell you to do what they do, exactly how they do it. That's how you tell the difference between a mentor who has your best interests at heart and a megalomaniac who's interested in feeding his ego.
*** There's a reason why "Read and write everyday" is the first rule.


If you like what you're reading here, check out my work for sale on Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/mickparsons You can also throw a little in the tip jar:




09 October, 2017

Rockabilly Billy and the Texas 5, Part 2: Skinny Jim

 [If you missed the first part, read it here]


Everyone spent what seemed like forever giving me shit for blushing. Wasn't my fault, and like I said, Julia Dream knew the effect she had on me. I was just about to finish my beer and leave when the bell above the bar rang. The sound of it caused everyone to stop whatever they was doing.

Tex the Younger whistled long and low, and Rex had to pick his slack jaw off the floor twice. Dolly and Sue squealed and ran off to the restroom, squawking about putting their faces in the event that such an auspicious occasion might actually occur.

Julia Dream looked straight at me. Well now you gone and done it, Georgie. She smiled. You're something of a surprise, aren't you?

What exactly did I do?

She pointed to the old bell with one perfectly manicured finger. That bell there only rings when Himself is coming up. Julia turned around and looked at the bottles stocked on the back bar.  She put her hands on her hips like she was deep in thought. We're gonna run out. She sighed and turned back around towards me. I don't know that I got enough in the back, either. Dammit.

She smiled like she wasn't too worried about it though, so I repeated my question.


He musta heard ya, she said.

Who?

She giggled. You're a little thick, aren'tcha Georgie? Himself. Rockabilly Billy. That's his bell. He'll be up here anytime.


Tex the Younger finally found his ability to speak. You remember the LAST time he showed up here?

Rex nodded. Damn near toppled the tree. Took a week to clean the place proper AND I had to carry his boney ass back down, drive him home, and pour the bastard into bed. And you know what he said to me?

Julia Dream shook her head. What'd he say?

He said I was I was too ugly to be a woman but that he'd give it try if got a fifth of Johnny Walker Black and a paper bag.

Confused and wanting to distract the conversation from the impending doom everyone thought I brought down on the Treetop Bar, I inquired as to the purpose of the paper bag.


Julia Dream laughed out loud. For his head, most likely. When he's drunk enough Himself could screw a tree and leave it a pile a sawdust.

I didn't want to know how Julia Dream knew that. It hurt my heart a little to think of her acting like some love starved groupie and I was starting to regret suggesting that a show was a good idea. Not that I thought Himself had actually heard me. But everyone else seemed to.


That was mean of him to say, Rex went on. Just damn cruel. That was back in my cabaret days. Rex's eyes went all dreamy for a second. I performed in drag under the name Priscilla Divina Moreau. I could wail through my rendition of "The Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe".  And I was beautiful. Wasn't I beautiful. Tex?

Tex the Younger nodded. You sure was.

Damn right I was. I used to get plenty of phone numbers from people in the audience who couldn't tell. Men AND women. Ain't that right Tex?

Tex the Younger nodded again. Sure is. It fooled me.

Sue and Dolly rolled out of the Lady's Lounge dolled up like it was Saturday night. It's a good thing you put that bitch Priscilla to rest, Dolly cackled. She was making it hard for the real women around here to get any action.

Speak for yourself, said Julia Dream. She looked straight at me, licked her lips a little, and smiled. I get more offers than a respectable woman can take seriously. Hell, if I took up half of them, I'd spend all day and night on my back.

Then you're doing it wrong! Sue broke in and started laughing.

Just then the door swung up so hard that it shook the wall and Himself walked in. There ain't no such thing as doing wrong! Either you're doing it or you ain't. 

Julia Dream smiled wide and waved, jumped over the bar. She met him mid-floor and gave him a big hug.

How's tricks darlin? Damn, Honey. You still know how to show a man you care. You're gonna cave my chest in with those things.

She asked him what he was drinking and did he want his usual.

Not today. You got any Sioux City Sarsaparilla back there? 

The bar erupted into a shocked silence. Julia Dream smiled. I think I got some in the back. She turned towards me, smiled wide, and winked.

Dolly and Sue ran up and hugged him next. He kissed them both, squeezed them close and buried his nose in Sue cleavage. She squealed even louder and turned bright red.

Sorry, Darlin',  he said. I just wanted to make sure you still smelled like cotton candy.

He acknowledged Tex the Younger with a nod. How's the old man? Still kicking it with Redheaded Kate in Coalinga Junction? Tex the Younger nodded in return. Well you be sure and give them my regards. Especially Redheaded Kate. Then he looked over at Rex. Priscilla! You have an off day? Rex blushed and didn't say anything at all, but hid coquettish-like behind his beer.

Then he lumbered over and sat my table. Julia Dream brought him bottle of ice cold sarsaparilla.

You Georgie? 

I answered that I was.

You sure do take after your Granddaddy. 

What?

Sure! Didn't anyone ever tell you that before?

I answered that in fact, no one had ever said I vaguely resembled anyone in my family. As a matter of fact, it had long been a family joke that I didn't favor any of my relatives and so I must have been left on the step in an empty fried chicken bucket when I was a baby.

Well shit fire! Hell, son you're even named after him. Don't you know who he was?

I never met him, I said.

James George. His friends called him Georgie. Women called him Jimmy. Eddie Cochran wrote a song about him. You ever hear Skinny Jim?

Julia Dream cackled and smiled wide. Are you serious Bill? He's related to Skinny Jim?

A regular spittin' image! He looked over at Julia Dream. Probably in more ways than one, I'd bet. He looked at me. I can't believe nobody ever told you. You're practically Rockabilly aristocracy. Skinny Jim was the only guy who ever stole a girl from me. He smiled. It was alright though. She looked a lot like Priscilla back there.

That was first time I ever heard Julia Dream coo like she was melting from the inside out.

NOW YOU HOLD ON THERE BILL...

Rex was up on his feet and about to give Himself a piece of his mind. Bill smiled and motioned for Rex to sit back down. Relax, Priscilla. Don't tie your stage garter in a knot. 

Listen he said, turning back towards me. I need a driver kid. You game?

For what?

He smiled wide. For the last ride of Rockabilly Billy and the Texas 5.


[Another installment will drop on Monday 10/16. Please feel free to subscribe to my email list to get this in your email box before it posts.]
If you like what you're reading here, check out my work for sale on Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/mickparsons You can also throw a little in the tip jar:

03 October, 2017

Junktique Memory Palace, part 2: a place for everything and everything everywhere

 Do not encumber your mind with useless thoughts. What good does it do to brood on the past or anticipate the future? Remain in the simplicity of the present moment. ~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already I am. ~Thomas Merton


In his 20's a smart man -- if he learns anything at all -- learns to embrace failure as an educational experience as well as the importance of reflection. During his 30's, a smart man ... if he's paying any attention at all ... begins to understand the space -- physically, metaphysically, spiritually, and ontologically --  he takes up in the world.

By the time he reaches his mid-40's -- whether he's smart or not -- a man stumbles upon who he is in the world, regardless of whether he's aware of the space(s) he occupies or not.

And if there is anything about me that's true, it's this: I've always been particular about how I inhabit my living space.

It's not that I'm a neat freak. At least, I don't think I'm a neat freak. I mean... no. No, I am NOT a neat freak.

But I DO tend to think of it as working really hard in order to be lazy. I always put my keys in the same place. I always put glasses in the same place. I recognize two basic categories of things:

  1. stuff, and 
  2. stuff-without-a-home. 

As I wrote about in a previous blog, my spaces -- mental or otherwise -- are filled with things from which I derive a certain amount of comfort. The way I do things and how I organize things makes total and complete sense to me. By way of an example -

We own this lovely fruit bowl. I believe it was a wedding gift. I won't describe it, so, for the sake of illustration, picture a fruit bowl you would find lovely. Because we tend to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, we have a small table in the kitchen that has become the Spot Where Produce Lives. After we go shopping, the table sort of looks like one of those Thanksgiving cornucopias exploded. We're very fortunate that we're able to eat healthy in spite of eternally operating on a feast and famine budget.  But because of our sometimes bountiful amount of fruits and veggies -- and because my daughter is a vegan and so we tend to have a lot of rabbit lettuce type things on hand -- that lovely bowl was buried, never to be seen.

Yes, I knew it was there. But I didn't like that a lovely little bowl -- a very thoughtful wedding present at that -- wasn't in a place where I could see it at a glance.

So I moved the bowl. I moved it next to the toaster on the short side of the kitchen sink.

This created no small amount of controversy with my daughter, who -- like me -- is someone who likes to have things organized and in place... 

for the most part.

I'm certain she often looks at it and ponders moving back to the exploded cornucopia table. My wife, who has the wisdom to stay out of such odd and ultimately pointless conundrums, simply says "Well, that's where it lives now."


Lately I've come around to embracing the notion that my need for a certain amount order is simply who I am rather than something I ought to try and subvert. I do think sharing a home with others makes me more thoughtful about the impact my home-for-everything attitude has on other people, because the truth is, there are times when things need to be out of order. If things never change, if things don't move, then sometimes I don't see the need for something to change. And since the only constant in the universe IS change, it's good to be able to roll with it, too.

Just don't move the fruit bowl.

If you like what you're reading here, check out my work for sale on Amazon  www.amazon.com/author/mickparsons You can also throw a little in the tip jar: