Author Unknown (Pt. 4)

July 12, 2020

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Promoting yourself made you as many enemies as fans. Haters relentlessly trolled you online calling you untalented, vainglorious or worse. Colleagues wondered if you were paying more attention to your novels than your job. Your wife thought you were chasing windmills. To some extent they all were right. But the genie was out of the bottle; you simply had to keep trying. Something would click. You would have the last laugh.

One morning, you saw a complete stranger reading your novel on the “El” in Chicago. Small sample, but no less thrilling, it was all you could do to keep from introducing yourself to the reader. In terms of validation this rare sighting would have to do.

Much later, your daughter’s high school art teacher read two of your novels, one after the other. During that relatively long period of time, he had constantly told her how good they were. Your daughter respected her teacher and by him praising your work you knew she respected you. Any glimmer of awe she had towards you was significant. Especially given how you’d fallen from her pedestal. This would have to do.

The accolades you received for copywriting, the wealth it provided, ego trips. For many, that would have done quite nicely. For you it wasn’t enough. Like Icarus you’d reached sublime heights, until your wings got clipped and you fell to earth.

In the end as in the beginning, a writer writes. Writing for its own sake, without the obsession for income or outcome. A writer writes. This, too, will have to do.

(If you’re interested in any of my books please click on the links right side of this blog. Thank you!)

Fats (2)

May 28, 2020

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At work, your business partner had taken issue with your daily visits to the Equinox, which was the gym by your office. You’d told him the truth, that it calmed you down and helped you think, that it made you a better creative. It was your lunch hour anyway, you’d said. He’d called bullshit on that and said you always went longer. Ignoring his warning, at noon the next day you marched right past his desk carrying your gym bag. Two months later you would exit the building carrying your belongings.

The gym does more than keep you fit. Working out nullifies the committee in your head, same as opiates and vodka once did. Albeit healthier, working out is still an addiction. It keeps you sane, same as going to meetings.

To be continued…

The Lake (5)

May 11, 2020

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My Michelle

It was as if the two of you were co-starring in a divinely written play, a pairing far removed from the inglorious hook ups taking place in the muscle cars behind you. You didn’t know if you were being watched and to your delight you didn’t care. Rex and his ilk did not matter. Michelle would remain your fantastic secret for as long as possible, that day anyway.

You walked with Michelle, holding hands, which for once did not feel strange, and arrived at an empty apartment she said belonged to her mother. Inside it was cool and dark. She left the shades down and led you into her bedroom.

To recite what transpired there would require a poet’s gift, lest it sound obscene. The two of you swallowed each other whole. Satiated, her head resting on your chest, you both drifted into a deep sleep. You didn’t know it then but this would be the only time you would ever fall asleep in a woman’s embrace.

Like a pristine bubble dangling precariously from a child’s wand, it would not last. The nirvana of that afternoon did not follow either of you into the relationship. Michelle revealed herself to be insecure and vain. All too aware of her exceptional physique and its effect on men, she vacillated between flaunting herself and retreating into a pouty shell. She liked dancing and disco music and the culture surrounding it: the clothes, nightclubs, older men, black men – all of which made you uncomfortable.

To be continued…

“The Lake” (2)

April 30, 2020

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My Michelle…

No one dared admit how scared and insecure they were about the opposite sex. Per usual, drugs and alcohol helped and hindered at the same time, blunting certain fears while exaggerating others. Weird sexual tension, tinged by frustration, laced with anger, permeated the trumped up stories and bogus laughter, as dense as the smoke pouring out of Red’s van.

You found the scene both repellent and attractive, unsure of what you were doing there yet unable to refrain from being there. You were not fully invested in the burnout culture of the lake and this made you a peripheral character. You got high. You told lies. You tried to be cool. When it wasn’t working you simply retreated to a spot on the grass, kicked back, and watched leaves rustling in the trees or cars whipping by in the distance on Lake Shore Drive.

It was at just such a moment you noticed her jogging along the bike path. Even from the vast distance the woman’s curvy silhouette stood out. There was no other way to put it she had enormous breasts, just like the centerfolds in Playboy and Hustler. Up and down they caromed. You literally saw one rise as the other fell. Completing her teen dream looks, she had long tresses of blond hair and somehow you could see every strand of it, tickling and slapping her exposed back as she ran.

She seemed like a wet dream. But she was real.

To be continued…

“The Lake”

April 28, 2020

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From Lake Shore Drive, there was only one entrance to Montrose Harbor, a meandering one-lane road skirting the soccer fields and mostly empty grass leading to the parking lot, where you and the other “burn-outs” liked to party. From here was an excellent vantage point for spotting police should they make their sweep earlier than usual. This was the only way in. Everyone called it “the lake” even though few ever jumped into the lake from off the huge boulders rimming the shore. Unless the temperature was unusually hot or folks were tripping or both; the lake was mostly for smoking joints and drinking beer, cranking tunes and hanging out. Juice sometimes had Purple Microdot or Black Beauties. Then Pink Floyd rose from the car stereo like church music. Rex and his crew went the other way, preferring Quaaludes and Tuinal with their beer. They were more about the pussy. For them it was Van Halen and the backseat of Rex’s Trans Am or Red’s custom van. If the guy was lucky and the girl was the right combination of dazed and confused, she might grab his cock and pull on it until he came. This happened less than anyone imagined, as there were only so many girls, and too many guys. Lanky and muscled, leaning up against his gold Trans Am, Rex got his share. The wife beater, ripped jeans and dangling Marlboro cigarette created a character young females adored and he was able to bounce from one to another. He paid the price, too. Rex spent a lot of time dealing with drunk and crying girls. “You lied to me!” they’d scream after a stint in his car, punching his chest, making a scene. They were foolish as they were stoned.

To be Continued…