Posts tagged ‘for the record’

For The Record, Chapter 3

(it ain’t dead yet)

“Shit!”

No one else is in my apartment–no one ever is–but I shout “Shit!” regardless. It feels necessary, like an admonition to my ass to keep its contents shut tight, even though there’s fucking bullets flying about.

Speaking of which, bullets number two and three embed themselves in my crappy couch even as I dive behind it.

“Shit! Shit! Shit!”

I crawl along the floor on my elbows like a soldier deep in the brush. I seriously have to concentrate so as not to wet myself. For a few seconds, I’m not sure where I’m crawling, but then I have the hare-brained idea to head for the open window and look out of it.

I’m a fucking moron. Just as the top of my mane of uncooperative short black hair rises above the sill, bullets four through six smash through the window glass. It shatters and rains into my hair. Goddamnit.

“Shit.”

I crawl toward the place I shoulda crawled toward to beign with–the fucking door–and after a moment or two, I realize I’m crawling in silence. Except the music–that perfect, lush music–is still hissing from the headphones, the details barely clear. Again, I feel a warmth wash over me.

Yep, it’s urine. I’ve gone and pissed my pants.
(more…)

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December 4, 2008 at 10:35 am Leave a comment

Holiday Road

sesame_street_thanksgiving

I have ambitions to give this joint a kick in the ass in the impending days–ideas for several posts and a vow to at least post as much of my aborted NaNoWriMo project as I have completed (I’m up to chapter 9 or 10, I forget, even though the posts here are only up to chapter 2 or 3, I still forget).

There is of course the One Tree Hill “midseason finale” to discuss, although maybe not–if you haven’t ever watched the show, just print out some pics of the cast and toss them randomly on a table. You have about as good a chance of guessing the various cast pairings as exec producer Mark Schwann.

But today I’m leaving early. I’m gonna try to unplug for at least a few hours. Let’s kick off the holiday season in style. Happy Thanksgiving, motherfuckers, and thanks for being readers, and for being friends, and for being human (or are we dancer?).

November 26, 2008 at 12:39 pm Leave a comment

For The Record, Chapter 2 (NaNoWriMo 2008)

Here’s everything important that exists in my apartment:

Roughly 5,000 vinyl LPs.

Half that many CDs.

Three iPods–a 160GB, which is my daily model; a 1GB Shuffle for the seven mornings a year when I try jogging along Lake Michigan; and a 1st gen that still plays even though I only keep it around for nostalgic value.

A bitchin’ stereo.

About 1,000 DVDs; I have several boxes full of irreplaceable VHS tapes in a closet, too.

A relatively expensive television.

Several hundred books. Reference, mostly, though I have no clue when I would ever “refer” to them. They’re about bands, or movies, or random bits of pop culture; having them around makes me feel secure, and if that isn’t a pathetic definition of “secure,” I don’t know what is. I read tens of thousands of pages of bad fiction annually, but I get that shit from the library.

Them’s the basics. Table steaks. Also:

A decent copy of Avengers #1, signed by Stan Lee when he was visiting the station to promote Spider-Man.

A Beatles butcher cover. Google it.

A commemorative cigarette case I received from Steve Albini after revealing on the air that I’d quit smoking. The inscription reads, “To Freddie Felon, Fuck You. Love, Steve Albini.” I shall treasure it always.

The December 1953 issue of Playboy, featuring Marilyn Monroe on the cover. The pages aren’t sticky, ya perv. It’s a collectible.

This gold record for Styx’s greatest hits that I stole from the station late one night when I was prerecording promos till one in the morning and I was pissed. No one ever noticed it was gone–proof positive that Styx sucks and deep down we all know it.

A framed photo of me with Harry Caray. It’s in the shitter, across from the can. I keep staring at it because I can never determine which of us is drunker.

Everything that belongs in a normal kitchen, and nothing that doesn’t.

A bed, well-worn.

Two guitars.

My clothes.

Furniture–shit I bought years ago from a consignment store. It’s filthy and comfortable.

And that’s about it.

I collapse into one of those filthy, comfortable couches upon my return from work. I rise immediately and slide “A Peeling” from its crusty sleeve. I set it on my record player, pull out those high-end Bose cans I paid way too much for last Christmas, and drop the needle in the groove.

Click, hiss, then music so pretty it makes me want to cry.

A familiar snare drum taps out a light shuffle beat. A snake of a bass line slithers above it. Open-tuned acoustic chords dance in my ear. Then the singer.

I’ve never understood idiots who can’t tell the Beatles apart when they sing. I’ve instantly known a Paul vocal from a John vocal from a George vocal from a Ringo vocal since early 1967.

And I’ve never understood why every band isn’t just a riff on the Beatles. They had it all–the sappy puppy dog, the razor sharp libertine, the quiet genius, and the screwball. Somebody for everybody to love–pick your poison. Sometimes I think if every band were exactly like the Beatles–rap groups, girl groups, emo brats–the music industry would be perfect.

This voice, on this recording, defies belief. Not because it’s just that great, although it is, but because there seems to be no way this voice can be delivering these words on this song.

It’s John Lennon. The voice cuts, swerves, dodges meaning as only Lennon’s could. It’s a scratchy John, an older John…which is why it’s unbelievable.

The harmony vocal–it’s Paul. And George. And that shuffle has to belong to Ringo.

This has to be from the seventies…but the Beatles absolutely never reunited in the seventies.

The possibility of what I’m hearing hits me just as the first bullet hits the wall above my head.

November 15, 2008 at 2:47 pm Leave a comment

For The Record, Chapter 1 (NaNoWriMo 2008)

June 27, 10:53 a.m.

Every year in Chicago, this is the perfect moment. The date and time when the stars always align to create the ideal weather.

I’m not what you’d call the religious type, but if there is a God, then that fucker knows what he’s doing. And if there’s a heaven, then Chicago, Illinois on June 27 at 10:53 a.m. is its annual location.

On this particular June 27, in the Year of our Lord whatever, I’m making my way down Heaven’s Magnificent Mile toward the WXLP studios. That’s where I work. I’m a DJ, one of those fossils old enough to still remember when there were actual discs to jockey. I still try to ignore the computer and do most of the thinking, some of the time.

I had been on the El, and I usually take it to Jackson and then walk a couple blocks to the studio, but noticing the date, and the time, and the urine-soaked homeless dude resting his head on my shoulder to grab some shut-eye, I disembarked at Grand, and hoofed it the remainder.
(more…)

November 11, 2008 at 5:05 pm 1 comment

For The Record: Prologue The Second (NaNoWriMo 2008)

Orlando, Florida
Three Days Ago

It is unnecessary to imagine a giant gaudy white castle rising up out of the former swamplands of Central Florida. Such a castle exists. You have seen it on television, or perhaps photographed your family in front of it.

The Magic Kingdom enables its guests to float past robot pirates pillaging a foam core village; it allows children to climb aboard the back of a flying elephant for three minutes of moving slowly around in a circle; and it invites families to pay outrageous prices for the privilege of eating shitty food inside the aforementioned castle.

This is Cinderella’s Royal Table. Waitresses in off-the-shelf wenchwear bustle about with trays of stainless steel mugs and microwaved turkey legs. Little girls in rayon blue dresses plead with their moms to take them to see a Princess who’s pissed cause she smoked her last Lucky Strike on her break and now she’s out.

A big guy in a loud Hawaiian shirt blends in and sticks out. In passing, he’s just another tourist, maybe one of the legions of hardcore Disneyphiles who live in apartments and condos surrounding the Disney property and spend their every free waking moment stumbling around the parks in a childlike daze.

Look more closely and he’s too slick to be a tourist; his shit’s too together for a vacation. This guy is here on business. He means it too.

He steals the occasional glance at a small man with a giant shock of curly long hair and a tie-dyed T-shirt, seated at a table for one nearby. This man looks nervous and uncomfortable. He always looks that way.

A third approaches. He’s quite clean. His crisp dark suit seems to stick its nose up at the Hawaiian shirt. The shirt responds by flipping the bird.

“Charming location,” the clean gentleman says.

“No one will ever find us here,” the big guy replies.

The clean gentleman unfolds his napkin, twists up his face at its state of cleanliness, then sets it next to his plate, which frankly, isn’t much cleaner.

“I was under the impression there was no one left to find us.”

“Probably true,” the big guy replies. “We lost Dominguez in Naples, and Maxwell–” he gestures to the nervous one in the tie-dye, “–made sure the O’Riordan twins never made it out of Sydney.”

A decidedly unregal, gawky wench approaches the table. Her “character” falls well short of convincing. Maybe it’s the braces.

“Good morrow, fair sirs, and welcome to Cinderella’s Royal Table,” she whines in a tone that indicates either extreme boredom or severe mental damage. “May I interest either of you princes in a beverage?”

“Tea, hot,” the clean gentleman says. The big guy covers his water with his hand and shakes his head.

“Right away, most gallant knight.” She slouches toward the kitchen.

“That leaves only us.”

“Not quite,” the big guy says. “Don’t play dumb; you suck at it. She made it out of Cairo.”

The clean gentleman rises in his seat and starts pouring milk and sugar into an empty mug.

“Was it with her? That’s probably the relevant question, isn’t it? We only know she vanished.”

“I only learned she vanished. Then I told you. Now we only know.”

“To where?”

The big guy reaches across the table and clutches a few of the clean gentleman’s fingers in his hand. The clean gentleman winces briefly. The nervous man stands up, until the big guy glares in his direction, and then he sits down chagrined.

“This ‘honor amongst thieves’ bullshit only works if we’re completely honest with each other.” The big guy’s grip tightens slightly. The clean gentleman’s eyes widen. “That’s where the ‘honor’ part comes from.”

The clean gentleman forces a smile.

“But why should I trust you?”

The big guy lets go of the fingers. “Why shouldn’t we trust each other? The record is thousands of miles away. Neither of us has it. Until we’re far closer, it’s only logical to share information. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

“I suppose you’re right.”

“Of course I’m right.” The big guy swipes a roll from the basket and peels open a prepackaged pad of butter. “Loosen up. Goddamnit, you’re so British sometimes.”

“When do you–”

“We leave tonight.”

“Is it cold there, you think?”

“Gotta be.” The big guy fills his mouth with the roll. “Why else would they call it the Windy City?”

November 8, 2008 at 10:18 am 1 comment

For The Record: Prologue the First (NaNoWriMo 2008)

Cairo, Egypt
One Week Ago

The tightly-packed back alleys of Egypt’s signature city look nothing like a scene from Indiana Jones, but let’s pretend they do. Let’s imagine for a moment that instead of dank spider vines shooting off dingy metropolitan thoroughfares, all too similar to those in New York or London or Tokyo, the streets of Cairo are sand roads packed tight from the endless feet and tires traveling over them.

Let’s watch this woman, clad in a dark ensemble that makes her resemble a cat burglar from a comic book, dart in and out of these alleys as she is chased by four hulking stereotypes. Large men wearing turbans and carrying scimitars, their swords swing haphazardly from their belts as they run.

The woman carries a small brown parcel, roughly the dimensions of a vinyl record album. She clutches it tightly, precious cargo, but not too tight–she doesn’t want to break it.

She explodes into a quiet coffee shop. Tables overturn. Chairs topple over. Mugs shatter; liquid covers the floor.

Hot on her trail, the stereotypes burst in behind her. The guy in front slides a few feet in a puddle of coffee before crashing onto his ass. The second guy trips over the first guy. The third and fourth guys narrowly sidestep the pile-up.

The woman approaches a massive Air Mail box. She darts glances to her left and her right. She reveals a second package, identical in shape and size, resting behind the visible package. One is a decoy. The other is quite real. She opens the slot and drops her package in.

“Please, Mr. Postman,” she whispers breathlessly.

Clutching the fake to her chest, she waits a split second to catch the eye of the last remaining thug before she darts off again into the imaginary Cairo crowd.

November 6, 2008 at 6:09 pm Leave a comment

NaNoWriMo 2008: Introduction

Because I am insane, and also I’m insane, plus you’ve no doubt heard of my notorious insanity, I am participating again in National Novel Writing Month.

Simply put, it’s 50,000 words in 30 days. A really short novel. Maybe a novella, but don’t call it that to my face, or I’ll kick your privates.

I managed it in 2005, and even posted part of it online. It was called Blockbuster and it was about the struggle of a bloated, wealthy writer of populist sci-fi flicks to get back his mojo and write a sequel that’s due in 30 days. Someday, maybe I’ll finish editing that and do something with it.

But for now, this is my new baby, born of a phone call from pal Steve many years ago, and cultivated through several drafts of an aborted screenplay…

For The Record
An aging punk hipster DJ must unravel the web of mystery, murder, and lies surrounding a lost Beatles masterpiece. First-person, present-tense rock noir.

Once again, as kind of an incentive to keep kicking ass on it, I plan to post it in chunks as I write them to this blog. I may stop at some point, because I get sidetracked; I may fail completely in finishing this, in which case, let’s never speak of it again.

Right now, I’m excited, I’m about 4000 words in, and I’m ready for more. Let’s boogie. Anything you can do to guide me, goad me, cheer me on or bitch me out, please do. It is very much appreciated, as always.

November 6, 2008 at 6:08 pm 1 comment


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