Choose The Fraudulent Life

29 08 2008

October

October

This is Maynard despairing. Despair is a funny thing. It points its finger at the truth. But in the darkness of its despair, turns away. The truth is depressing and something else. For if you stare long into that despair you can hear something… breathing.

…………………….

Choose The Fraudulent Life

July 1, 2008 by Maynard G. Krebs

“Most of humanity aren’t bad eggs. They’re just trying to get by. Get a little high when the mood suits them. Party some on long weekends. Eat too much at Christmas. But according to those born againers, humanity is made up of nothing but Hitlers, Neros, and liberals. Stick in the muds is what those ministers are. Party poopers. They’d put a damper on heaven. They couldn’t live with folks walking around blissed out. They aren’t folks likely to get to heaven. God would give them the boot in a matter of days. And can you imagine them in hell? They’d be telling everyone that the worst has yet to come. Oh ya, they’d make a lot of friends there… And so I’m stuck. In this conundrum. In this world of falsehood. Where I can sit back. Cut up. Or I can take truth. And die. My doctor says that that isn’t the choice. Death will come anyway. It’s just a matter of the calendar you’re looking at. But who dies for truth? Okay, Socrates. But who since? Fanatics. Religious zealots. Idealists and romantics. But what truth are they dieing for? Can you even ask that question? What truth? Like there was a choice. Different brands. Piled on shelves. And we are customers. And we are able to choose. That’s all nuts. Truth does not allow for choice. Truth will have no competitors. It dresses up in a brown shirt and stomps its hob nailed boots down cobblestone streets. Was Hitler family with Socrates? Maybe we should choose falsehood. Choose the fraudulent life. Yes, that’s it. Choose the delusion. Choose the drunkard imagination to the stoic priest. And yet.”





The Hunt For Red Crocodile Tears

29 08 2008

November

November

THE HUNT FOR RED CROCODILE TEARS

“Excuse me,” Wendy Passion responded, a weak smile carousing in her mouth. Small lines. Around the opening. Like a spider’s web.

Louie smiled. His whimsical smile. The one that made his customers in the dollar store feel like he was harmless. But which was not harmless. In a bar. Made the ladies swoon. Eventually.

Louie had been drinking. In the Canadiana. Restaurant. And looking. A crocodile. By the pool. Waiting for the wildebeest. To come down to the water. For an evening sip. He had been waiting in the weeds. His eyes melting. Over Wendy Passion. For more than two drinks. Before he had invited himself to sit at Wendy’s table. She was alone. Louie’s smile was broad. And pearly white. It was all he could do not to reach out and…

Wendy did not appear to be afraid. Perhaps she enjoyed the hunt. Perhaps she was confident. In her abilities to evade the mighty jaws of the might croc.

“You have no response?” Wendy asked. Her eyes flirting. Another brain in Louie’s head wondered. It was the back up brain. The one he used to fill out his income tax. To drive his car. To open the safe in the back of his store. And it wondered what Wendy Passion was doing. In the bar.

“I was,” Louie hesitated for a moment. “I was drowning in your beauty.”

Wendy Passion raised her martini to her mouth and took a sip. She never took her eyes off this erstwhile lothario. Whose best days were so obviously past him. What was she to make of this squirmy little creature? Posing as a man. She crossed her legs. The stealth sound of nylon on nylon. A thought passed through her mind. A little delicate thought that could only get her into trouble. I wonder what… She stopped herself. How could she entertain the thought of encouraging this creature’s advances?

“Does that line work for you?” Wendy asked.

Louie shook his head.

“Sometimes,” he confessed. Then shrugged his shoulders. Vanquished.

Wendy smiled. He’s cute.

“It was all I could think of,” Louie said. “But, you are very beautiful. And I was sitting across the room staring at you and I thought to myself that I had no chance with such a beauty. On the other hand, if you don’t buy a ticket how do you expect to win the lottery?”

“So I’m a lottery prize?” Wendy asked. She crossed her legs again. Ran her fingers around the edge of her glass. Licked her lips.

She’s listening.

“No.” Louie shook his head, smiling.

“You know you should stop smiling sometimes,” Wendy said. “It makes you look like a simpleton.”

Louie raised his eyebrows. “You use what you have.”

The expression was so plaintive that Wendy felt like she was losing herself in his melody. She took another sip of her drink. There was something appealing about him. What was it? He certainly wasn’t good looking. Not bad looking either. And once again a delicate thought passed through her mind. She wondered… No more of those thoughts.

“So you have a plan?” Wendy asked coquettishly. She reached into her pocket and grabbed her cigarettes. Placed one in her mouth. Louie presented a match. Lit. Out of nowhere. And then she remembered. The new no smoking rule in bars. And cursed the city of Toronto. She dropped her cigarettes back in her purse. Louie blew out his match. And then it disappeared as mysteriously as it had appeared.

Louie raised his eyebrows again.

“All men have plans,” he said. “But mine is simple. To pass some time in the company of a very attractive young woman. To make her smile. Perhaps to make her laugh. That is all. I am not very ambitious.”

“I wonder about that,” Wendy replied. She finished her drink.

“May I buy you another?” Louie asked gesturing toward her empty glass.

Wendy smiled. Louie waved to the waiter.

“Are you married?” Wendy asked.

Louie’s smile disappeared from his face.

“Widower,” he said. “My wife left us five years ago. The cancer.”

“Us?”

“My three sons and myself.” Louie took a deep breath. “It was difficult getting them through high school. My youngest is now in his last year. My oldest is in law school and James, the middle one, has taken a year off school to travel.”

Wendy smiled. There was something about the lines around his eyes that was very interesting. And she noticed his hands. They were large. Especially for such a small man. She liked large hands. It made her feel safe.

“And you never remarried?”

Moonlight Serenade came over the sound system.

“Who has the time?” Louie responded looking thoughtfully into his drink. “Being a single parent has been exhausting. And expensive. And with my business. Well, I haven’t had the opportunity to…” Louie hesitated.

“You haven’t been with a woman in all that time?” Wendy asked.

A small smile flexed across Louie’s face. He shook his head sadly.

Were those tears in his eyes?

Wendy reached out and padded Louie on the hand. There was a brief moment of silence. Louie looked down at Wendy’s hand. The middle finger was rubbing his skin. Seductively.

Louie was about to speak. When Wendy reached over and pressed a finger to his lips.

“Don’t say anything else,” she said. And dragged Louie to his feet as the waiter showed up with her drink.

“Dance with me,” she said.





Don’t Swallow The Eye Drops

28 08 2008

May

May

…………………….

Just some thoughts on the Democratic convention. Michelle Obama is a very impressive women. But something happens to women, or at least the wives of presidential candidates. They become Betty Crocker. They all look like they came out of 1950 television sitcoms. Completely sexless. Lifeless from the neck down. I’ll bet Bush’s wife is a lot more fun than she is portrayed. If not, I can’t blame George if he went back to the bottle. And McCain’s wife looks like she really stirred up the pot when she was younger. So what happens to them? Is this what American’s want in a first lady. Eleanor Roosevelt had a lot more intelligence and savvy than any of these women are given credit for.

…………………………………………

DON’T SWALLOW THE EYE DROPS

Curiosity. That was how Ford Harvey explained it. Still he felt ashamed. A grown man doing such a thing.

“How did it happen?” the doctor asked. The doctor was playing with his instruments. Or so it seemed to Ford Harvey. What were their names? The instruments. Everything had to have a name. So many new names. The twentieth century had invented names. The English language had expanded three fold. Harvey was sure they were all names of instruments or parts of instruments. That no one but a select few had heard of. Or cared to hear of. Ford Harvey held his head. He could fee a migraine coming on. But still the doctor played with his instruments.

“Do I have to answer?” Ford Harvey responded. Put that goddam what ever it is down! He wanted to shout. But shouting wasn’t in Ford Harvey’s nature.

“It’ll make you feel better,” the doctor replied. He put down the instrument. Which was a common pair of nail clippers. The doctor had been manicuring his fingers.

“I don’t think so,” Ford Harvey responded but knew the doctor was right. He also knew that the doctor was going to persist. He knew this without knowing the doctor. The doctor for his part was just making small talk. But Ford Harvey felt that confidentiality was important to his future needs. Which might include the doctor’s services. Things might get worse.

“I walked into the pharmacy,” Ford Harvey began. “Not a care in the world. Happy as peaches on ice cream. The sun was out. On display. Burning up the sidewalks. At least I think it was. If it had been raining, I think I would have noticed. I’m not sure. But it was always sunny inside the drug store. All those neon lights. Which is one of the things I like about the drug store. All that light picks up your spirits. I came into the store to buy my daughter bus tickets.”

“She can’t buy her own?” the doctor asked. The doctor had now taken a toothpick out of a drawer and was in the process of flossing out his teeth. Pushing the toothpick in one entrance of his mouth and pulling it out the other.

“Yes, of course she can buy her own.” Ford Harvey stared at the doctor. The doctor’s hygiene exercises were making him nauseous. The doctor noticed Harvey staring at him and stopped. He put the toothpick back in the drawer.

“But,” Ford Harvey continued, “I’d gotten into the habit. Of purchasing the tickets. Sometimes the clerks stare at you. Like they think you’re buying student tickets for yourself. When it’s obvious that you are not a student. I explain that I have a daughter. Who is a student. And I love my daughter.”
“I don’t doubt it, sir.” The doctor cleared his throat. And still he had not examined Ford Harvey’s eye. Wasn’t that why he was in the office.

“The reason I was in the drug store are unimportant,” Ford said. “I was walking passed the perfume stand. I looked at the cosmetician. A blonde. I think. Her hair was in a bun. She was busy with a client.”

“Did you find the cosmetician attractive?” the doctor asked.

Ford Harvey stared at the doctor in silence.

“Not particularly,” he finally responded.

“Then why did you look?” The doctor’s smug smile irritated Ford Harvey. Did he think that his superior intelligence had some how tricked Ford Harvey into a confession.

“They always look like they’ve worked on themselves,” Ford Harvey finally conceded.

“Worked on themselves?” The doctor’s eyebrows had dipped in the middle. He looked… interested.

“Put on makeup. That sort of stuff.” Cosmeticians reminded Ford Harvey of stewardesses. Without their wings. The polish of professionalism. Mannered. Each move practiced at home before the mirror. No sloppy impulses. The sex of individuality sacrificed to the job. Ford Harvey could never figure out why they made the sacrifice. For some higher ideal, he suspected. There was something noble about their behavior. Perhaps cosmeticians were the unknown martyrs of the beauty industry.

“I see,” the doctor said. “Continue.”

“Well, I don’t know what came over me. I mean I’d seen thousands of women do it and they seemed to be very pleased with the results.”

“So you went ahead and did it?”

“Yes,” Ford confessed. He dropped his eyes. “I stepped over to the counter and picked up the sample perfume bottle and sprayed myself.”

“Except?” the doctor asked.

“Except,” he sighed, “my aim was off. And I sprayed right into my eyes. Oh God, the pain. I screamed out, I can’t see! The girl was very good. She splashed some of the water from the bottle she’d been drinking into my eyes. And prayed.”

The doctor leaned over and shone a light in Ford Harvey’s eyes. He moved the light across Ford Harvey’s eyes.

“Prayed?” the doctor repeated.

“I think she was praying,” Ford Harvey responded. “Will I be able to see, doc?”

The doctor chuckled. “Your eyes look fine. I’ll give you a prescription for some drops. Just use it twice a day.”

“That’s a relief.” Ford Harvey smiled.

“One thing,” the doctor said. “Don’t swallow the drops.”

Ford Harvey pulled back.

“Why would I swallow the drops?” Ford Harvey asked.

“Well,” the doctor grinned, “with your aim.”





Lost In The Moment

26 08 2008

March

March

I have to work on these blog pages. For one thing they run backwards into the past so they have to be constructed as such so that they make sense if you read them backwards. At the same time they have to have a logic/ a meaning as they are read during the book. Reminds me of all those crazy people who were playing Beatle records backwards looking for secret messages.

Lost In The Moment

July 5, 2008 by Maynard G. Krebs

“Lost in the moment. That’s the key, daddyo. Never wake up from the moment. That’s what joy is. The pleasure of the thrust. Of course it helps if you have a girl. And I like girls. It’s just that it takes it so damn much work. And you have to pay attention. Girls aren’t into the moment. Like guys. Who all have ADD. Attention Dumb Disorder. What a mouthful for someone who just doesn’t give a shit. Girls want to make plans. They want to change things. Make things better. Civilization owes everything to females. Guys just want to roll around in the mud. But what is civilization? Isn’t it a veneer? A way of covering up the truth. That we are mortal. That we are damn lucky to be here. That our presence on the planet is an accident. That the only argument for the existence of God is sex. And God is good. He didn’t have to give us this wonderful gift. Let’s face it, the whole range of pleasure is a gift. Life could have been like the suburbs. Bland. Tasteless. Calm. Where was I? Lost in an argument. The children of Hegel fighting amongst themselves. Orphans of the war. My own father served in the Marines. He fought in Iwo Jima. Sounds like a dance craze. I spoke to my shrink this morning. He didn’t want to talk. Said he was eating his cereal. Funny how people don’t like to be disturbed when they’re eating their corn flakes. You only have so much time to finish the bowl. Before the flakes turn mushy. And the bowl turns into paste. Did they have cereal before they fought on Iwo Jima? Were their hearts longing for that girl back home? Or were they just whispering to the breeze that moved across the beach. Whisper that you love me because I’m in love with you. I had to talk to my shrink. I woke up terrorized. Couldn’t get out of bed. Afraid that I was on the edge of the world. Afraid that I would fall off. You know what he told me? Jump!”





Crocodiles Meander Through A Drug Store

26 08 2008

March

March

CROCODILES MEANDER THROUGH A DRUG STORE

“I wish I knew,” Wendy Passion said when confronted by her sister. Wendy tried on a pair of sunglasses. And checked herself out in the mirror. The price tag dangling down the side. Like a great white Swamp Dove dangling out of the teeth of a crocodile. Wendy sighed. The glasses looked so pretty on the stand. But not on her. Maybe the sunglass stand should hit some night spots. The thought of the sunglass stand being picked up in a bar by some Saturday night lothario made Wendy smile. And wonder. Were these God’s jokes? Why were they always silly?

“What do you really want to do with your life?” Her sister tried to rephrase the question. It was important to Elizabeth Passion that her sister face that question. She was not getting any younger. Almost passed the point where men noticed her. Almost to the point where she became furniture in other people’s world. Almost an embarrassment at family functions. Like aunt Bernice. The one no one understood. Such a nice figure. Lovely brown hair. That fell over her shoulders. Like water over the Niagara Falls. Oh God, everyone wondered. Why aren’t men all over her. And then suddenly that question was no longer asked. Aging had done that. Aunt Bernice was alone. And would remain so. Elizabeth didn’t want that to happen to her favorite sister.

“You want me to make something up?” Wendy responded putting the glasses back on the stand. She began to browse over the suntan lotions. Thought about a beach somewhere in Italy. Secluded. With only her and him. Him who was handsome. And muscular. Who couldn’t speak a word of English. And who adored her. Wendy sighed. And looked at the bottle of lotion. Bought now for protection against the sun rather than lotharios.

“I like my job.” Wendy looked at the hair dyes. Would she look better as a blond? Weren’t they supposed to have more fun? What did that mean? Fun? Jokes? Jewelry? Sex?

“You’ve given up any thoughts of a career,” Elizabeth responded.

“You have to be realistic,” Wendy responded. “It’s money. I pay my rent. I’m not in debt. I’m happy. And you know that I can’t stand heights. How would I ever have become an airline stewardess?”

“How many times a day do I think of you?” Elizabeth responded. “And it makes me so sad.”

“I’m not worth your thoughts,” Wendy replied holding up a bottle of wrinkle remover. “Look at me.”

“Remember who you’re talking to, sister,” Elizabeth said. “You were a cute girl one time.”

“Cute only counts in high school,” Wendy responded putting down the lotion. “The mirror doesn’t lie. I’m almost middle-aged, Elizabeth. If anything important was going to happen in my life, it would have happened by now.”

Wendy picked up a tube of toothpaste. One has to brush. And placed it in her basket. Beside a hair brush.

“You make me so angry,” Elizabeth cried. “You were so smart. Four years on the Honour Roll. A scholarship to York University. “

“Everyone got a scholarship to York,” Wendy responded.

“There it is, always putting yourself down.” Elizabeth shook her head. “Sometimes I could strangle you.”

“Why do you talk to me like that?” Wendy asked.

“Like what?” Elizabeth asked.

“Why do you think everyone has to be so serious about life? To make something of their life? Why can’t anyone be ordinary? And not be Joan of Arc? Or Madonna? Just live their life. Quietly. Maybe some of us just want to get by. To enjoy things. What’s so important about doing something? Where did it ever get you?”

“I don’t know why you are satisfied with so little,” Elizabeth said. “The world is there. For us. Only once. Wake up, Wendy. Wake up before you are asleep.”

Wendy shook herself and looked both ways. Down the sad empty aisle. There was no one with her. No sister. No one. A tear ran down her cheek.

“Elizabeth.” Wendy addressed the emptiness. “You were always giving me hell. Make more of your life, you’d say. I can’t believe it’s been six years. My sister. Beautiful Elizabeth. A murder statistic. A cold file. Crocodile.”

Wendy laughed. There was music playing over the intercom. No one heard her.





The Battling Sisters

26 08 2008

Andrew Sisters

Andrew Sisters

I used to hate the sounds of the Andrew Sisters. When I was a kid. And they were played all the time on the radio. Much like I came to dislike Motown when I lived in Windsor across from Detroit. You can get too much of a good thing. But now I’ve come to love the Andrews sisters work. It is so catchy. Grabs you and makes you want to dance. At least in your head.The music of the Andrew Sisters reminds me of the Beatles. The early Beatles when they were playing for teenagers.

YouTube – Andrews Sisters

Shoo-Shoo Baby by The Andrews Sisters on Yahoo! Music

The Battling Sisters

June 5, 2008 by Maynard G. Krebs

Daddy was Greek. Momma was a Viking. Three little girls. Knees bopping like apples. On a tree. In the breeze. Singing at full volume. La Verne played piano at the Silent Movie Hall. In exchange for free dancing lessons. For all three sisters. Now you owe me. Won a talent contest at the Orpheum Theatre. In Minneapolis. Sweethearts of the Armed Forces Radio Service. Hits. One after two after three. Bei Mir Bist Du Schon became the favourite of the Nazis. And the inmates of the concentration camp. I can’t stand being with you all of the time. Patty married Marty. Laverne got hitched up with Little Lou. Maxene settled for Big Lou. All the girls were happy as could be. Still playing the parts of sixteen year olds. Singing songs for Wrigley’s Chewing Gum, I want to be alone, Doles’ Pineapple, I need my own career, and anything made by Franco-American. Let’s ask ma and pa. Maybe they were jealous of that bugle boy. He stayed young while they got old. Or maybe this happens to anyone who tries so hard to harmonize.

………………

Still rough stuff. The final poems are much cleaner, shorter, and I think interesting.





Torture Is Mostly About Vanity

25 08 2008

June

June

TORTURE IS MOSTLY ABOUT VANITY

“It’s uncomfortable for you. It’s uncomfortable for me.”

The detective took his hands out of his trench coat and tapped back the fedora on his head. He took two steps forward and one to the side. Why did I do that?

“You say your name is Martins.” The detective looked around the almost empty drug store. He wondered if the in-house cameras were working. Probably not. Nothing works anymore. Except poor stiffs like me.

Mr. Martins leaned against the cooler where he had moments earlier filled a bottle of water. And put a cap on the bottle. Then opened the bottle of water. A procedure which he did not question but which he could not have explained. It was like smiling. His head cocked from side to side. As if he was trying to shake. Out a kink.

“Yes. That’s right, lad.” He took a swallow from the bottle. And smiled. Mr. Martins suffered from an odd social affliction. When being confronted by people who made him uncomfortable, Mr. Martins spoke in an accent. And he was not in control over the type of accent. This time he spoke with a Scottish accent. Or at least the sort of accent one picks up. From television commercials and B movies.

“You make it sound like I should know who you are.” The detective grunted and glanced at a nearby stand of magazines. He could see his reflection in the glossy covers. Not too bad.

“Like Martins was front page material,” the detective continued. “Well, who are you? Some kind of celebrity. I’ll tell you right up front, it won’t do you any good. I don’t cow tow to you. Hollywood types.”

Mr. Martins smiled. He looked around the drug store. He was grateful that there were no customers around.

“Why are you wearing a trench coat, lad? It’s summer outside. You must be bloody roasting in that garment.”

The detective stroked his chin. He took a finger out of the deck. And pointed it at Martins.

“You know how to avoid answering a question. I’ll give that to you. A business type. Let me tell you, I don’t care what kind of clout you swing on Bay Street. It won’t do you any good in this man’s world.” The detective took a second finger from the deck. The thumb. And jabbed it into this chest.

Mr. Martins bowed. He smiled. A kind of acknowledgement. Or so the detective thought. A recognition that the detective was a person to be reckoned with.

“Thank you, detective. I’m quite sure that you will be judicious. But I really wanted to know why you’re wearing a trench coat. I’m interested in such things. I listen to people. That’s my business.”

“Your business is listening to people,” the detective repeated. He rolled his tongue around in his mouth. “What are you, a priest? Let me tell you.” And here the detective took his pointer finger and jabbed it into the air in front of Mr. Martins as if his finger was a dagger. “I don’t care if you’re an agent from the Pontiff himself. It won’t do you any good in this confessional. The only that swings loosely here is the truth. If you even know what the truth is. And in case you haven’t notice, I decide what the truth is.”

Mr. Martins laughed. “Detective, I’m afraid we’ve gotten off to cross purposes here. I’m an investor. Mostly other people’s money. In businesses that I think will flourish. I speculate on the future.”

The detective placed his hands on his hips as he shook his head. A smile snuck across his face.

“I should have seen it. You pretty boys are all the same. Putting on the glamorous front. When you’re rotten through and through.”

“I’m an investor,” Mr. Martins repeated.

“You’re a gambler.” The detective smiled to himself.

“A consultant.”

“Use any fancy word you please.” The detective slipped his hat back off his head and scratched his scalp. “It all comes down to the same thing. You’re a gambler. House of the Rising Sun and all that.” The detective stepped to one side and leaned against a stand of contraceptives. “And you make a living out of this?” the detective asked.

“A good living,” Mr. Martins responded.

“On the future?” the detective asked.

Mr. Martins nodded.

“What makes you think there is any future?” the detective enquired.

“You think there isn’t?” Mr. Martins asked.

“What I think doesn’t matter.” The detective grunted. What the hell did I say that for? He glared at Mr. Martins for a moment. Then he took a photograph out of his pocket. It was a photograph of faeces. Against a set of shiny light blue bathroom tiles. Floor tiles.

“Do you recognize this?”

Mr. Martins took the photograph out of the detective’s hand and looked at it.

“Is it what I think it is?” Mr. Martins asked.

“That depends,” the detective said, “on what you think it is.”

Mr. Martins handed the photograph back to the detective.

“What do you mean by recognize?” Mr. Martins asked.

“Is it yours?” the detective asked.

Mr. Martins laughed. “Now how the hell would I know that?”

The detective moved to the left of Mr. Martins as if his intention was to walk around him. The cooler was in the way.

“Did you leave it in the middle of the washroom?” The detective barked, turning back in the other direction.

“I most certainly did not.” Mr. Martins was offended. Why would I do something so disgusting? Why would anyone?

“Can you prove it?” the detective asked.

Mr. Martins shook his head.

“Some sicko,” the detective said shaking his head, “left this souvenir in the middle of the men’s washroom last week. Who knows what else this sick mind has up his sleeve? Would you be willing to take a polygraph test?”

“A lie detector test? I most certainly would not.”

“If you’re innocent, what have you got to lose?” the detective asked.

Mr. Martins shook his head. He looked around. “I can hardly believe what I’m hearing. You think I want to waste my time taking a test because you’re out to find your great white leviathan?”

The detective took a toothpick out of his pocket and stuck it between his teeth.

“It wasn’t white.”

There was no smile on the detective’s face.