Saturday, May 26, 2007

the impossibility of being human

My life is clipped from glossy magazines (full of nothing, full of shit). Each bitter shred layered over so many others; all sense taken out, purposefully removed perhaps (or not) and all these garbled eggs covering over the emptiness or whatever passes for emptiness these days (I guess that would be commercials and prime time filler). Singing at the top of my lungs only when I am sure no one can hear me, because fuck them, because I want nothing to do with them (they might judge me, or worse, they might ignore me).

***
the night is young and so am I: a pleasant meandering for your enjoyment

It was a dark and stormy night and I just knew for fuck sure that I was going to wake up in a gutter. I wasn't celebrating and I wasn't mourning. I was bored and it was just one o' them nights.

Time was ticking interminably towards the grave and Bernie was the sort of man who made a point of measuring that sort of thing. He ordered a triple bourbon neat from Chucky at the bar and settled into his favorite little dark corner. Kat was going to be here tonight. He was sure of that. The rest was just waiting. Waiting was not, however, the sort of thing that Bernie was ideally suited for. So he was hoping for sooner rather than later and alone rather than with friends.

Jenny watched the three wanna be Abercrobie boys stare at her from across the room. Not even the slightest bit of subtlety. What did they honestly think was going to happen? That she was going to lie down on the floor right here in the bar and let the three of them run a train just because they paid $35 for a t-shirt with a stupid phrase on it or god knows how much for those jeans with all the cleverly placed dipshit tears? Her night was not looking up. She ordered another shot from Chucky and went looking for a real man.

He had stumbled into the place mostly by accident. Greg had just wanted a little break from the driving rain, but then he saw her and forgot about whatever else it was that he was doing before. He sat down at the bar and ordered a beer; surveyed the area. It looked like she was alone, despite the fact that he was not the only young professional planning on making a move. And he left his wingman at home with his umbrella.

Chucky poured me another corrazon on the rocks (lime wedge, salted rim) and I settled comfortably into the night. Jenny was in again stealing the spotlight from all the other girls, never really knowing why, never really wanting it. She had no idea how good she looked. Never did. I sipped casually and watched the dramas unfold. Why the hell not? I was waking up in the gutter, right?

Kat walked in from out the rain; drenched, beautiful.

And the story played out, just like I expected.

***

So I got distracted by a movie and decided to end it there. If you have a particular favorite way you think it should end, leave it as a comment. Peace Love Decadence.

Friday, May 25, 2007

it was something to do / I should have been doing something else

That's right, the song you just enjoyed was indeed that sweet summer classic: "Better Days (And the Bottom Drops Out)" by Citizen King. It's been a while, but it was due.

This is Billy Prophet coming to you from out of the depths of the Ether. It is currently 12:35 in the am and here's to hopin' all y'all kiddies are warm and snugly in your little beds right now(alone or with friends/because what's life without friends). But for those of you still awake (working, boozing, or fishing for new relationships in that Thursday night party scene) here's a Beatles number to ease you on your way: "Can't Buy Me Love" off A Hard Day's Night.

Back in the studio again, I have a little question for all you pretty young things out there in the "real world" tuning in tonight (and no, it's not going to be another open invitation to a party back at my place). How do you deal with the crushing weight of reality as your dreams slowly crumble beneath you somewhere along your commute to a job you still can't figure out how you got stuck with? How, indeed? Keep those calls coming. I'll be here all night, because you know I don't sleep. Anyway, here's some more mood music for ya. Straight out of the bar scene from Top Gun, it's the Righteous Brothers, and it would seem you've lost something. Here's looking at you, kid.

"Olympia, WA" by Rancid
"Hotel Song" by Regina Spektor
and
"Paradise City" by Guns N' Roses

And we're back... I didn't want anyone to get tired of the sound of my voice. I know some of you aren't quite as in love with it as I am. How could you be? So, I let the music speak for itself. However, that does mean that we are right about ready to take caller.

Billy: Hello, Caller?
Caller: Hello?
Billy: You're on the air with the Voice of the Wilderness. What do you have to say for yourself?
Caller: Billy? Is that really you?
Billy: The one and only.
Caller: Wow. Awesome. I'm a big fan.
Billy: That's good to hear, sir. Everyone loves a fan. So what do you have to say?
Caller: What?
Billy: Do you have anything to say now that you are on the show?
Caller: I love your show! WOOOOOOOOO!
Billy: Ok. So that was productive. And in his honor, here are The Raconteurs with "Together"

Tag Team, back again. Do I dare take another caller? Yes, they dare.

Billy: Hello, Caller, you're on the air.
Caller 2: Hello, Billy.
Billy: Oooh, it's a lady. How you doin'?
Caller 2: Quite well, thank you. I was calling in regards to the query you posed the audience earlier. The one which raised the issue of how one was to deal with the toil of daily life while still maintaining one's dreams (or at least attempting to do so).
Billy: Indeed. And your response?
Caller 2: Well, the situation is indeed quite difficult. Fiscal responsibilities, social and familial obligations, and the elusive nature of "achieving one's wildest dreams" in general pose a serious obstacle to overcome. It is certainly easier to give in to the sea of troubles, to let it wash over and to drown in the conforming mass of humanity. However, I do believe that the possibility to rise above it all and truly succeed on one's own terms exists and it requires but one thing.
Billy: And that would be?
Caller 2: Luck.
Billy: A woman after my own heart.
Caller 2: On one final and somewhat more personal note, and I hope you do not find me too forward in saying this, I find you quite attractive and wanted you to know that.
Billy: Thank you, Caller. Thank you. And now to close the evening: Death Cab For Cutie and "I Will Follow You Into The Dark." I'm off to my warm bottle of bourbon and my cold empty bed. Here's to the silences.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I was born on a Saturday

it's been a while.

It's been a while since I sat down with a bottle and just let loose on the page. I've been writing. Not much stops me from that. But it's been so neat, so ordered, so predictable, so dull. I tried to be clever and I tried to be interesting. You know, say something that matters. As if I have anything to say that matters. Peace Love Decadence. And so, on a regular Friday evening in (I have a to be up early tomorrow and no one was answering their phones anyway) I have returned to the blank slate to pour forth my soul, my anger, my rage and frustration, my bilious screed calling for and predicting the downfall of humanity. The new Modest Mouse album is on the box, the fan is dying in the corner threatening to leave me sweating away in a lovely Las Vegas spring evening, and I have two glasses of rye sitting in front of me. Seagram's VO. It was cheap and I was low on funds and unwilling to pay 19 bucks for fucking Wild Turkey. The bottle promises that this is Canada's finest and it the label tells it true then I have another reason to hate our brothers to the north. As if the Sundowner incident wasn't enough. It was. Whatever. I figure it will serve. Though the Turkey would have done it better. It just sets that perfect mother fucking mood. Eh.

I don't know where I am going from here. Not having much to say and the mailbox letting me down again this afternoon, I am somewhat at a loss for deep thoughts and meaningful conversation. Lapsing into a convenient fiction...

I am a lost and lonely mother fucker. I am full of dislocated fear. I wander around the city streets at night waiting for trouble to find me. Hoping to find something anything that will show me the way undercut my sensibilities or force my hand. I never had to knock on wood, I have never been in a fight, and my mettle has never been tested. There has been no crucible in my life and I cannot say that I am worthy of anything/I do not know the measure of myself and measure is unceasing. Mayhaps I am as useless as I fear. Mayhaps I am a awesome as I dream and imagine. Yes, I did say 'mayhaps'. I will now cross the bridge always looking down, always wondering what would happen if i jumped. I have seen to many movies. I have to wild an imagination. I want my life to be cinematic, I want it to mean something and draw to the logical conclusion at the end of the twenty second minute. Thus far I have been continually disappointed. Shit didn't turn out like it was supposed to and the pilot failed miserably. Even in Japan. I guess I'll never get that chance to fly to Paris in a jet nowhere near as sumptious as what Ted Danson would merit. Life has gotten beyond me.

I would tell you I love you if I knew what that meant. So long have I been shuffling along this mortal coil, unseeing, unfeeling, alone. Unlove-ed? If I ever knew how to feel, and feel deeply, to draw from the wells of human emotion, to let myself feel and fail and be - if I ever could do any of that and tap into my innate sentimentality, well, I sure as fuck don't remember how to do it now. I think I could love. I think. I mean, I read about love and seen it on tv. I could be a great Chandler to your Monica (Sawyer to your Kate). If you gave me a chance. Maybe. I might just be saying that because I want to belive it, I want to lie to myself. Because if it isn't true then I have nothing to offer the world at all. I keep walking because even if the streetlights don't drown out the white noise and the lampposts refuse to tell me what they are doing, at least it gets me somewhere. Closer to you or farther away. Because it has to be one or the other. I hate it here in limbo, waiting, watching, taking that long walk to the mailbox in the quest for truth and my future. No one knows what Fate has in store for us, no one what knows how long the thread will be or if Destiny is bluffing the pot on a 4-7 off suit. But at least I would be comforted it I had a slight incling of where I might be sleeping in three months. It doesn't seem like too much to ask. But fuck do I know? I see through the glass but darkly. I miss you though. I miss myself too. I think I used to be better than this. I think I used to be more. I can't remember when that was though. And it isn't even because I drank the memory away.

I'm no good on my own. I realize that being a misanthrope precludes me from the majority of interpersonal relationships, and I accept that. I don't want anything to do with those. And I am not a sidekick or a follower in need of a Batman to gently direct me to which nook of the Batcave I am to hang my shiny green tights. I do like to think of myself as an x factor though. That one spice that if it wasn't there you probably wouldn't miss it, but when it's around goddamn but does it ever make the meal amazing. I've always needed an audience. The voices in my head are too easily impressed and too busy arguing with each other to notice much of what I'm doing. With a crowd I have a chance to shine. To impress, to amuse, to offend, to intrigue, and perhaps, if the stars are correctly aligned, to woo.

I hate money. Nearly as much as I hate not having any. I hate my job. This should come as no surprise to anyone who really knows me. But it's not so much anything about my job specifically that I hate. Ok, so there are quite a few things that I easily could do without. But I am quite certain I would find those in any job. Which brings me to my point: I hate working. Or rather, all the things that have come to be associated with working and having a job: a routine, the need to wake up at specific times in order to "go to work" and "be on time," the need to know what day/month/year/hour it is, the people that I am forced to deal with and the pleasant way I am forced to deal with them, dress codes and the other small indignities that threated to break my rebel soul (feel free to laugh at the absurdity/I don't really believe it anymore either). If only I could be paid to write as I would (full on explitive and innuendo/grammar be damned) and the rest of life simply allowed to fall into place. If it wasn't completly impossible and utterly unworkable as a job in the 'real world' I suppose this is what you could call my dream. The only other one I have is not being alone forever and you know, having kids, so that whatever other legacy I leave behind at least I could, with hope, have at least some positive impact. And to think, I'm normally a glass half empty kind a fellow.

It was 11:56 pm. Nearly the 13th. Nearly Sunday. So much of my life is defined by those four minutes. I've been nearly a lot of things. But I was born into the chaos of Saturday night. And there is just no escaping that. I hope you can love me despite my shortcomings.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

meeting a couple dames

The scene at Cole’s isn’t bad. A lot of old timey Buffalo memorabilia on the walls. Nothing I could really appreciate, but Jack knew. I could have asked him about it all, but I wasn’t too worried. The music was a little loud, which wouldn’t be a problem if they had a system capable of handling it. Instead it was tinny and warped and the cones threatening to blow any second. No one seemed to notice so I guess that’s par for the course here. Jack and I grabbed blue lights from the bar and mingled, checking out the vibe.

“Normally it’s more crowded.” Tuesday at Cole’s is supposed to be a big thing here in Buffalo; Jack’s been talking it up all week.

“Maybe it’s finals week for these guys too.” Wasn’t that the reason none of the other guys had been able to make it out tonight?

“Nah, that’s just for UB.”

“No idea. Maybe it’s just too early.” Is 11 pm too early? I have no real frame of reference. I don’t hit the bars much in Vegas. It’s easier to just get a case and hang out over at Dean’s. We grabbed a booth and a pitcher.

“So how’s Monica doing?” Picking up a 35 year old at a bar. Talk about smooth.

“Fuck off, Isaac.” I do believe I found my way into a bachelorette party that night. Somehow I don’t think they wanted me there. I don’t really remember what happened

“Was she not able to get a sitter tonight?”

“That was her babysitter on Saturday. The crazy blonde one you were all over.” Oh, right. Her. That was what happened after the bachelorette. That did not go well. I don’t think she even talked to me. Too busy dancing alone.

“Oh yeah. So who was watching the kids?”

“Dude, it’s not like I’m going to call her.” I know. That’s why she should have picked me. I would have called her back. No. No, that’s not true.

“Sorry, man. It is still a little funny.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

“Well, we could wander around again. I mean, there are more people now…”

“With the pitcher?”

“I could carry it. Drink straight from it.” That wouldn’t be a bad idea at all. I could impress all these young coeds with my drinking prowess. Because that worked so well back in college.

“That would be your style.” I really need to change my style. That drinking thing is as much responsible for keeping me in this rut as everything else. Well, the job is probably a little more responsible. And I do hate living in Vegas. Fucking shit town.

“Or maybe I should work on not coming off like an alcoholic.”

“Probably a better idea.” You have it so easy, Jack. You don’t have to know that every instinct you have is wrong, that every decision you make you will ultimately regret. Just call me George Costanza.

“Any word on getting another pong game going?” Pong. The games of kings. Perhaps the most skill intensive drinking game extant and a glorious way to spend an evening. Or afternoon. Whatever.

“So far nothing. No trucks. No garages or rooms with high enough ceilings to really loft the ball.” Fuck.

“Beirut again?” Beirut. There is simply no comparison.

“I think it’ll have to be. Schmidt’s been wanting to get a game in at his place. After the Sabers’ game maybe.”

“Word. Want to get another pitcher?” My answer to everything: drink up. Yeah, I suppose it does get depressing. But it’s something to do. After all, there is nothing harder that waiting for the time to pass.

“Actually, I don’t really even feel like finishing this. I sort of feel like just going.”

“Yeah?” Really? Because this was my last shot at hooking up on this vacation. Last good shot anyway.

“Yeah. It’s too hard to pick up girls here if you aren’t in a group. It’s just the dynamic of the place. Groups meet each other here. We’re just too undermanned to do any good.” What a fucking excuse. I could go up to a group of hot strangers if you wanted me to. I could. What? I could.

“Too bad the Dawg couldn’t make it.”

“I know.”

“Alright,” finishing my beer and standing, “let’s be out of this bitch.” And after shoving our way through the now packed room all the way to the door, Jack turned.

“My phone.”

“What?”

“My phone. I forgot it back at the booth.”

“Awesome.” The booth wasn’t empty when we got there and the phone was nowhere to be seen. Not that I was looking. Now occupying the table were two rather buxom young ladies wearing low cut shirts which, from their sitting and my standing position, offered a rather nice view. The phone wasn’t my priority. Unfortunately, Jack was still a little too preoccupied with getting it back to fully appreciate our new friends.

“Excuse me; have either of you seen a phone? We were just sitting here and I think I forgot it on the table.” So which one do you want, Jack. Because I’ll take anything

“Oh, so it was yours.” The blonde is attractive, tan. She doesn’t look too tall though. More Jack’s type than mine.

“So you’ve seen it.?”

“Yeah. But I just gave it to one of the waiters. If we knew you were coming back we would have held on to it but…” Or there’s the redhead. Seems kinda quiet. Letting blondie do all the talking.

“Do you know which waiter?”

“Umm, not exactly. But I’ll be able to point him out to you when he comes back around.” Jack, forget about the fucking phone. There are more pressing concerns at the moment. Look at the situation we have here: no guys, no group. Work with me here. And then red, out of nowhere, kicked the conversation into high gear.

“Don’t worry. Your phone will be fine. We’re down with O.P.P.” Did she just say what I thought she just said? She can’t mean that. Shotgun.

“Oh really?”

“Yeah.” Did she just wink at me? In that case, allow me to sit down here next to you. I guess we don’t have to pick, Jack. She picked for us.

“I don’t get it.” Jack, what do you mean you don’t get it? How do you not know that line? You especially should know that line.

“You know, ‘other people’s property.’” She rolled her eyes. I commiserated. Jack still looked confused, but let it drop.

“So, hey, my name’s Isaac.” Insert mischievous grin.

“Caroline.” And she giggled. I shot Jack a look. He nodded back. Game on.

“And I’m Ramona!” Easy there, blondie. The spotlight doesn’t have to be on you all night. Jack took his seat. Everyone in their right place.

Caroline, despite her Naughty By Nature allusions, was often quite shy. It was like she was afraid of what she might say, but you could see the spark in her, that wicked troublemaking side just begging to be let out. Ramona, on the other hand, wouldn’t shut up. I don’t think her well went too deep either. Sorry, Jack. How could I have known? At least she’s pretty.

Turns out they were both seniors at Buff State. Which I guess should have meant something to me. Caroline an English major with no job prospects despite the looming graduation and Ramona a business/marketing major all set to join some family business or whatever. I can’t really remember what we talked about. I left the details of my life vague. They didn’t need to hear how depressing it was. Jack got his phone back. We shared a few more pitchers and everything went smoothly. We headed out just before last call. Jack and Ramona took his car and Caroline and I followed after.

We hadn’t cleaned up the beer cans and such from the last drink fest, so I suppose we should have been embarrassed. But, you know, whatever. They had already committed. They weren’t leaving now. With little fanfare, Jack and Ramona bid Caroline and I goodnight and retired to the bedroom. I set up the air mattress in the middle of the floor like I had every other night, spread Jack’s Bills blanket and we lay down together.

Caroline was still lying there next to me when I woke up. I wasn’t really afraid that she would have left in the night. But there is that moment just at waking when nothing is fully certain and everything is still half a dream and the worst crosses my mind. Her eyes fluttered open and she smiled at me.

“Hi.”

“Hi.” I heard Jack and Ramona stirring in the bedroom. They made enough noise for us to hear and waited long enough for us to get decent. How considerate. There was some talk of us all going to breakfast but Jack was quick enough to talk our way out of that and, upon double checking that we had correct numbers and a few goodbye kisses, they were gone.

Jack walked back to the living room, turned on the TV, and sat in the recliner. I grabbed the last beer from the fridge, popped it and took the couch. I cracked my back and my neck, stretched a bit, and took a long pull on the beer. Walker was on. Nothing quite like starting the day with a roundhouse kick. Thank you, Chuck Norris.

“That air mattress isn’t as comfortable as you would think.”

“I think there might be a leak.”

“Ah.”