Monthly Archives: October 2011
We’ve lost 2 dogs in the span of 5 years. Oliver’s passing came as a shock one Christmas. He woke up in the early hours peeing and vomiting and we found out he had an inoperable tumor. A year later we adopted Graham and 11 months after that we lost him to a blood disease common to American Cocker Spaniels. Both young dogs. Both taken from us before their time.
Gina has been with us for 15 years and the stubborn old git is as strong and lively as the first day we got her. A couple of months ago she began peeing a lot. At first we thought it was a bladder infection (though, to be honest, considering my luck, I was thinking the worst) and so we put her on antibiotics. They helped a little but we took her in for more tests, something we can’t really afford with both of us under-employed right now, but some things are more important than money despite what Wall St. and the GOP want you to believe.
Gina has tumors on her bladder. We have to put her on medicine that will, hopefully, slow the growths and possibly regress them. We’re scared. She’s a great and loyal dog. I’m shattered inside. I’ve been prepared for something like this since Graham but all that preparation isn’t stopping my insides from tearing apart. I don’t know how much longer we have with her, she looks great, she’s lively, she’s eating, she still wants to go on long walks no matter how hot or cold it is. Every now and then she still wants to do that crazed run around the apartment that dogs like to do when they’re excited, I can’t let her though. Last time she did it she flopped onto her side with a thud looking like she had a heart attack (scared the life out of me!) Everyone I’ve known that had cancer, they were fine, looked fine, and then they were diagnosed and treated and it all went downhill from there.
She’s gonna hate me for giving her the medicine, you should have seen the looks I got when I gave her the antibiotic. For now I thank God she’s still with us and she’s not in pain. For now…
So I got this idea in my head about a homeless man that gets falsely accused of the murder of a homeless teen. My mind wants to write it a certain way but my instincts tell me that another way is much better. Sometimes my mind really pisses me off.
Anyhoo, here’s the final part of Other Ugly Scenes. So (gulp) tell me what you all thought about it in the comments, please.
OTHER UGLY SCENES: PART THREE
by AJ Beamish
“Problem?” Alex said to him.
“Am lookin fer Chris.” The Raggedy Man sprayed.
“He’s in the back seat, hop in.” Alex wiped his face and opened the car door. Raggedy Man wasted no time getting into the vehicle, reaching down and forcing Alex’s seat forward with such force Alex banged his head on the cracked and blistered dashboard.
“Wassup Chris” he said, half-heartedly shaking Chris’ hand and settled himself in the backseat, adding insult to injury by kicking Alex’s seat a few times.
“Thanks.” Alex muttered and rubbed his head.
“What up wid him?” Raggedy Man looked at Chris and motioned at Alex.
“He’s upset cause you ran a little late.” Chris answered without making any introductions. Alex knew he wouldn’t. No way in hell was Chris going to give up his contact. No way in hell would he get cut out of his share. Fucking middle men.
“My bad!” Raggedy Man said, tapping Alex gently on his shoulder. “Sorry dude, was banging my girl, you know how it is.”
Alex could feel Raggedy Man’s breath on the nape of his neck and suddenly he felt like a shower couldn’t come soon enough. “Let’s get this over with. Chris has my money. He knows what I want, just make sure the weight is righteous.”
“You sayin I’m gonna rip you off man?” Raggedy man perked forward in the back seat, hovering over Alex’s shoulder.
Alex sighed to himself, Great, he thought, another tough guy! “Look,” Alex shot at Raggedy Man’s reflection in the rear-view, “it’s been a long wait. I just want to get rolling on the business end of things so I can suss out a place to sleep tonight.”
“Just messin, little man.” Extra spray emphasized the little man part. Alex wiped the spittle off his neck with his hand and began to calculate exactly how much effort it would take to get the gun out.
“Hey Dude, you need me to measure any of your shit out into smaller packets. I can do dat, help you out considering you waited on me n’ all. I got baggies and a scale.” Raggedy Man’s tone was only a little less menacing than before.
“It’s all right, I can do that at my first stop.”
“Hey man,” Chris said to Raggedy Man, and started digging through his backpack; probably for his kit. “You know that song, Big in Japan?”
FUCK ME! Alex thought, placing an index finger on his temple, not this shit again.
“Yeh, yeh, I think I remember that jam. Eighties, gay band right?”
“Yeh, that one.” Chris nodded. “You know what it’s about right?”
“Masturbation?” Raggedy man asked without looking up from his scales. Alex was watching in the rear-view, faintly he realized he should be scanning the street for errant passerby’s but the fog was too thick to see anyway.
“See told you.” Gabe suddenly came to life. Raggedy man looked up, a little startled. Alex got the feeling he had not noticed Gabe sitting there.
“Shut-up Gabe.” Chris retorted, “it’s a far cry from masturbation to the weird shit you were talking about. Besides, he thinks every song is about masturbation.” Raggedy man chuckled a little as he handed Alex the package. Alex got a baggie out his pocket and fished some of the meth into it and handed it over to Gabe, then turned to watch Chris begin to fix.
Alex stared at the needle and shook his head. “Well it’s been real, but I have to boogie.” He started to gather his gear.
“Hold up.” Gabe grabbed Alex’s arm. “Let Chris fix and I’ll give you a ride.”
“No thanks, I need some fresh air.” Alex stepped out of the car then leaned his head back in. “And by the way, it’s about a couple of junkies trying to kick the habit.” But his tutelage was met with perplexed stares.
“Huh? What is?” Chris half mumbled, half drooled while staring at the needle in his arm. Alex knew he’d completely forgotten what they’d been blathering about all night.
“The song, numb-nuts. Big in Japan. It’s about a couple of junkies trying to get off heroin.”
More blank stares.
“That’s who the man is.”
“He’s the drug dealer they are waiting for. The girlfriend tells the boy to pay for the dope then she’ll sleep by his side.”
“Ssssso what’s all that crap about being big in Japan?” Chris said drifting off into his comfort zone.
“And the horse, what’s with the horse?” Gabe added.
“There’s no horse, Gabe.” Alex couldn’t help but smile. “They want to be big in Japan because they aren’t shit where they are, Gabe. They are so deep into the dope all they can do is dream about being somewhere else. The grass is always greener on the other side, the sea that much bluer.”
Chris had found his nirvana and Alex was sure he had not even heard him, soon after the initial euphoria he’ll be bouncing off the walls. Raggedy man was getting ready to fix with Chris’ needle no less. Alex looked squarely at Gabe, who–despite his dimness–had some faint sign of interest in his eyes.
“He’s not talking about fucking animals at the zoo, Gabe. The line is, shall I stay here at the zoo or should I go and change my point of view for other ugly scenes. No horses, Gabe. No farm sex. Just a song about people like us.”
“Your pretty smart, Alex.” Gabe said with a gentle smile, “where you off too?”
Alex thought a moment. There was something in Gabe’s eyes, something he realized he saw in Chris’s eyes as well, something that echoed back out to him. The reflection of himself. A reflection of what he was becoming. He could feel the weight of the gun in his pack, gently brushing back and forth along his back as he shifted his weight from foot to foot.
“I’m going to find Japan, Gabe.” He returned Gabe’s smile, closed the car door and walked off into the fog.
After giving this whole thing a going over I’m not too sure I like the way I handled Gabe’s speech impediment. I’ll have to ponder this some more.
Other Ugly Scenes: Part One (in case ya missed it.)
OTHER UGLY SCENES: PART TWO
by AJ Beamish
It was only a matter of time before he was unable to afford his room, a roof over his head just didn’t seem as important as Tina. Sure, the roof kept you dry but it could do nothing to hold the floodgates closed on the torment deep inside of him. He ended up rooming with some other addicts for a while. They had unscrupulously went through all his belongings in his absence, stealing bits and pieces of his life a little at a time, and still, he could not have cared less. All the friends he thought he’d had, for all the beers he had bought them, for all the shots of whiskey, and for all the bummed cigarettes he had handed out; in the end there was nothing to show for any of it. Through passing stares and sideways glances that felt like icicles piercing his skin, he could feel them all measuring him up against their own pathetic lives as he passed them by on the street, content, if not utterly elated, with his fall.
“He-he says he’s cu-cumming on someone’s back, CHRIS!” Gabe’s voice raised and yet it seemed far off in the distance.
Alex no longer bunked with anyone. He wondered the streets at night and slept in the Pan Handle during the day, it was safer that way. He’d trade a little meth for a shower every now and then, and man did those showers feel good. Simple things meant so much more to him now. He could deal with going hungry sometimes, or being freezing cold at three in the morning. The thing that was the most hard to digest, the thing that tore and twisted his guts up from the inside out. The one thing that made him cringe at having to face the next day was not having any place to go. Someplace with people that wanted him to be there for something other than the brief mundane escape the drugs he carried could provide. It was a feeling of helplessness that went beyond just feeling alone and unwanted.
He was weak. Powerless.
In more ways than one he was dying inside and the meth was only a small part of the problem. He smiled to himself, at least every one was enjoying the show.
“It’s been two fucking hours, Chris.” He said, pulling himself out of his malaise and lighting up another cig.
“Look Gabe, I’m telling you, the lyrics say it all.” Chris didn’t bother to acknowledge him.
A police car hit its lights behind them on Cole Street causing all three of them to sit up straight and stare in the rear views and an unheard collective sigh of relief filled the air as the patrol car raced past them. Alex tried to get its license in case it circled around on them again but the fog was too thick and it went by too fast. Being in one spot for this long was a serious infringement on acceptable risk factors.
“Call him again.” Alex twisted in his seat to face Chris.
“Look dude, the man don’t like to be hassled that much, OK? He’ll be here.” Chris said adamantly and turned his attention back to Gabe. “He say’s his comeback is on the road again, NOT I’m cumming on someone’s back.”
“I’m getting tired of this asinine conversation,” Alex interrupted, more than a little aggravated, “while you may not mind spending time in jail for something as stupid as going back to the scene of a crime, I on the other hand have better things to do with my time.”
“That’s cold man.” Chris said indignantly and frowned at Alex.
Four months back Chris and his scumbag friends had managed to get into a bicycle shop without setting off the alarms. Instead of just grabbing what they could and making off with it they decided it would be a brilliant idea to return to the shop two hours later and get more stuff. Alex snickered a little, the arresting cops had thought it was funny too. There are cardinal rules you just don’t break as a criminal. Not returning to the scene of the crime was one of the main ones. Another one was not waiting in the pan handle near Ashbury-Haight for a drug exchange for more than two hours. Again Chris shrugged him off and went on with his idiotic interpretation of eighties retro music.
I could just shoot them both, Alex thought, and remembered that the gun was buried under what few clothes he had left in his backpack. Far too much trouble to dig out just to put dumb and dumber out of their misery. He just wanted to get it over with. He still had to stop by Maureen’s place, which was not far, but Glenn would probably make sure he’d stay a while so it would not appear suspicious. Generally a good practice in his line of business, problem was he’d have to sit around while Glenn and his chick tweaked out and start running around the apartment, cutting the electrical cords off all the appliances so the “aliens could not listen to their conversations.” After that much anticipated fiasco he then would have to make a couple of drops in the Castro district where he would also fix himself a couple of lines so he’d be wide awake as he wandered the streets of Frisco till the next morning. Besides that, he didn’t want any of his customers scoring elsewhere, he needed the money for something decent to eat, maybe even get a hotel room for a night or two. It was going to be a long night.
He succumbed to his thoughts anew, hoping to drown out Chris and Gabe’s blathering. He thought about the Labrador, the way it had looked at him. What am I doing here? He felt like he could just start walking and never stop, like Forrest Gump did, only walk not run. Alex didn’t like running. He often told people if they ever saw him running they should probably start running as well, not because he was a bad ass with no fear–he was simply too darn lazy to run. He’d much rather take a beating than run. Same goes if the cops ever caught him, he’d just go to jail (he was reasonably sure cops hated running even more than he did.) So if something had him so scared that it made him run, it would probably be prudent people follow his example.
A knock on the car window rattled him back to earth and he rolled the window down. A toothless, ragged looking, almost homeless–almost, except for the gold chain round his neck–looking man was standing there.
About two weeks ago I woke up and discovered just how far down the rabbit hole I had tumbled. The realization that I am living inside an episode of Max Headroom has thrown me into a bit of a funk. A big funk, actually. While things seem to be improving on the OWS front, I can’t shake this feeling of literally being in The Matrix. That our society is more controlled and orchestrated than we’d like to think.
My excursion into fan fiction is not over. I only came up with the idea for the next part of ‘Fiery the Angels Fell’ a couple of days ago. I’ll work on it today sometime. While this funk that I am in has paralyzed my writing somewhat, I have had a constant flow of ideas that I’ve been jotting down in my creative journal. It’s weird how a depression can spur creativity in certain ways. The ideas fly through my brain in random parts and pieces and I have to rush to write them down before they are forgotten. A lot of them stem from snippets of dialog that suddenly pop inside my head, most come out of my scrutinization of the OWS movement and the disparaging coverage of it by both the left and (mostly) right wing press. But when I sit down to write them in greater detail, I freeze. Unable to focus as more random thoughts skitter across my minds eye.
To my readers and friends, I have been following your blogs, I’ve just been in too much of a daze to appreciate your creativity as much as it deserves. I apologize for that. I dug the following out of my short story file. I wrote it long ago just after I had gotten back with my wife and returned to Atlanta. The memories of being homeless in San Francisco still weighed heavily on me. The story stemmed mostly from a pet peeve I have when people get the lyrics and meanings of songs utterly wrong. And a bit of personal experience thrown in for good measure. Write what you know, right? I wish I could forget most of the things I know.
OTHER UGLY SCENES: PART ONE
by AJ Beamish
“I’m tellin you, Chris. I-it’s about some dude that’s into weird sex,” Gabriel stammered on, “cus’ them Ja-Japs; they do weird stuff. Like p-pee on each other.”
Alex drew deep on his cigarette, forced the smoke out through his nose and flicked it, half finished, out the car window. He tore around in his seat.
“Your boy is late, Chris.” Alex’s nose flared as he tried to stare down the slovenly shape of useless mass that was sprawled out in the back seat. “I don’t have time for this.”
“Relax man, he’ll be here,” Chris replied, brushing Alex off with a flourish of hand. “Look Gabe,” he said in a tone that Alex might have found amusing had the subject matter not already lasted half an hour too long, “the song is about a band that wants to make it big in Japan.” Chris looked didactically at Alex. Alex raised his eyebrows as his tongue scraped back and forth across the back of his teeth. “Hence, the freaking title of the song.” Chris continued, still looking to Alex for affirmation.
Alex gave him none, he let out a deep sigh and began fumbling in his pockets for his cigarettes as he readjusted himself in the seat. He gave up the search after dimly realizing he’d just checked the same three pockets five times and settled into a blank stare, past Gabe and out the window into the Golden Gate Park’s pan handle.
He didn’t like waiting, more importantly his customers–whose incessant calling was beginning to annoy him–did not like waiting. Right on cue his cell began vibrating in his back pocket. He ignored it and let his thoughts drift to a man and dog playing fetch in the park. Would be nice to have a dog, he thought, dogs where trustworthy, loyal. True-blue friends.
“E-e-explain,” Gabe said to Chris’ reflection in the rear-view, “why hu-hu-he’s waiting for his man and bonking a-animals at the zoo?”
Gabe was waiting on his fix–his loyalty was to the crystal meth. Chris was almost the same breed though a bit lower on the evolutionary scale. Chris had the contacts, Gabe had wheels, and Alex had the money and some very antsy people to sell too. He fished his phone out of his pocket and found his cigarettes. Lighting one up he checked the calls. Fifteen calls in the past half hour. Ten from Glenn who no doubt was pacing back and forth at his girlfriends house and cussing Alex’s name into the ground with each step. Five from Maureen, Glenn’s girlfriend, who was probably calling while she hid in the bathroom. Glenn was the jealous type, it didn’t matter that Alex wouldn’t screw Maureen with someone else’s dick. If Glenn caught wind of those calls…
His thoughts slowed and his gaze settled on the dog chasing its bouncing ball and catching it just a few feet from Gabe’s car. The black Labrador and Alex locked eyes for a second. The dog seemed a little surprised and cocked its head as if to ask, “what are you doing there?” Then it sprang off through the fallen leaves, back to its master and Alex was left looking into his own faint reflection in window. He needed a haircut, hell, he needed a bath too. He leaned forward a little, squinting, trying to see the color of his once blue eyes but he couldn’t or maybe he just didn’t want too. His phone started vibrating again, he didn’t need to see who it was; the way those two were burning lately he knew he’d never glimpse next summers heat waves in either set of their glassed over eyes. He rubbed his forehead with the back of the phone and then deleted the messages. Nothing he could do about it until he re-upped.
“What fucking animals at the zoo?” Chris retorted and smacked the back of Gabe’s head rest. “Gabe, you’re an idiot!” Alex could see the whites of Chris’ bloodshot and sunken eyes in the rear view.
“H-he says he’s ‘screw-screwing at the zoo’ and something about ‘you did what you d-did to me with the hu-hu-horsey’,” Gabriel said earnestly.
Alex shot him quick glance from the corner of his eye, is he being serious, he thought. Behind Chris, Alex could see a thick fog rolling quietly down Oak Street and his thoughts blurred and mingled along with it.
Six months ago he’d had a good job, an expensive room in one of the Victorians just down the street a bit from where they were parked, and enough Haight Street loser friends to make him go through 5 packs of cigarettes a day. Thanks to the drugs his memories were fading. He didn’t want them anyway. The predicaments that ultimately led him to this point in time were hazier than the mist engulfing them. He squinted out the window, the man and his dog were gone, consumed by the fog.
“La-la-then why does he say “p-pay, then I’ll s-sleep by your side”?” Gabe said, standing firm on hollow ground.
Well, at least he got one line right, Alex thought to himself.
“He’s talking about paying for the concert ticket,” Chris threw his arms in the air, “look, I saw the freaking video. They were in Japan getting mobbed by Japanese chicks.”
He never saw the video. Alex let out a little smirk and shook his head. Chris took it as encouragement and started sandblasting Gabe with even more nonsense.
“It’s just that simple, man.” Chris kicked the back of Gabe’s seat, jolting him forward a little.
Alex examined his smoldering cigarette. Whatever had happened, the experience had left a bad taste in his mouth for so called honest days pay; a bad taste in his mouth for living. He had fallen, hell, he was still falling. Depression and weakness stuck their needles into him and with a flood of rage and frustration he had ran into the comforting embrace of Tina’s arms. Tina being a sixteenth of an ounce of meth, or a “teener”, the lowest weight he could buy with a price break and make somewhat of a profit; all things considered. All things mainly being his own personal use.
We miss you Jeff. Love always. Your fans.