The last thing that I can do is to say that I am a failure. I can acknowledge my mistakes and misdeeds. But I cannot allow myself to not believe that tomorrow I can turn it all around. If I do I am dead. I am my families final chapter. They live within me. I am their history. Their entire lifetime all within me. Does it matter to the world? It matters not. They meant something, their lives and the dreams they instilled within me. I am their future as well as their past and I have gone fallow, Deep down within under the rubble of a life collapsed is the same little boy that would run to the comfort of his daddy’s arms to feel the love that was too quickly extinguished by the rueful circumstances of unstable life. In the end, I found much to our mutual regret that I had not cared as much for him as he did for me. At least not till he was past caring taken away by the inevitable natural cycle of birth and finally death. To late, my heart poured forth once again what it dare not admit while he was alive. Such was the great degree of my latent fear within. A fear that my sense of being in love would no longer be welcomed as an adult. A fear that I would have to surrender to the crushing mark of being a failed son. The one and only that could not outgrow his father long and ever widening shadow. In that I felt that I had truly failed. How could I not? He was a much greater man than ever I could have imagined. Than I found that I ever could be. Great because despite all the bad hands that he was dealt in life, he continued to persevere despite insurmountable odds. Angry sometimes? Sure! But never despairing always heading forward despite sheltering both my mother and I despite his own meandering inner flaws. No monument in my estimation could ever be built high enough to match his humble stature. A man who lived in the shadow of that larger than life personality that he himself created. Someone that despite how brash and brusque his unrefined manner appeared to me at the time would much later elicit posthumous comments of how that same demeanor would be sorely missed. Someone that many from all walks of life felt that they could call friend. This was the pattern that defines the direction of the weave of the cloth from which I am cut. My father. Someone that I so often regret the loss of and harbor that desire to be beside as I once was before. Just to reach up and find his warm hand holding my own yet again.
The small truck came to a halt three streets over just within the field of vision allowed by the canopy of trees that lined the streets far below some ten stories below. The most notable part of it being the yellow flashing lights that had caught his attention. Most of the horizon having been sequestered in Summer green. This was his day to play the role of exhausted past all reasonable possibility of useful activity. The cushion of gray that seemed to despoil the day before noon was barely a memory now. Hazy blue emptiness surmounted all by the faint hint of an airbrushed horizon. It was a different day completely. He was clueless now how to occupy his time as no occupation seemed fit to engage in. All occupations being essentially worthless to change his essential situation. He was old growing older every minute. The notion of attaining success was a topic clouded over by cynicism. A cynicism that was not without a certain degree of factual support. Three different careers had come and gone. The fourth was merely a hint of several vain hopes wrangled together from experiences long past. A sort of archive of topics checked off on a paper list. One that had not turned yellow enough with age to be illegible. The youth within him refused to be evicted. It lived in the here and there like a squatter ever ready to plan its umpteenth takeover of all things downtrodden and depressed. Yet fortune seemed ever elusive not allowing it to take a a foothold. Where was the world of lurking possibility as he had once known it. Now it was simply a bunch of empties littering the street.
While he was amidst his chat the emptiness of the sky just outside his window had birthed some small white clouds that as he caught him with the corner of his eyes were sailing just overhead out of sight. Was his brain boiling up the temperature just above him? It was not an obscure notion that could be discounted that one’s mood was ever the oarsman of one’s fate. No doubt this present tense could not be seen as anything else but being becalmed. The hermitage of this small apartment sequestered format he street a refuge from reality far below. A woman’s nightmare of inflexible orderliness and massing dust balls. The kitchen floor had not received a good scrub in nearly ten years. Carpets stained and worn like the ragged hems of the threadbare black jeans that hung clean upon closet hangers. Smelly old black socks hung out like guest towels.Time had stopped in the last decade. This had become a waiting room for passage to the great beyond. He was just another face keeping busy till his number was called. The previous night after the exhaustion and two refrigerated beers had stopped off the hard shell of his habitual indifference he lay in bed under the cool sheets naked. What did humans really have to look forward to that was not simply a sensation driven experience confused with something vaguely animal. Desire? Love? Companionship? All seemed established and nourished based mainly on the expectation of physical sensations? Desire involved touching or being unexpectedly touched in a manner that one had long repressed. Love was the embodiment of a reliable embrace provided at all costs in any situation. Companionship maybe two hands clasped on into the other? but certainly the calming of anxieties wrought from animal vulnerability to the unknown. Or the paucity of the other two aspects of a closer more intimate relationship. His concept briefly explored his mental focus snapped into itself like the sound of a lady’s compact snapping shut.
The world was to be viewed and the chaos that lurked around its edges respected. Yet no longer indulged in. The sky above him would vary at the whim of fate but there was very little remaining that had not already been charted out long ago. He sat in his easy chair waiting to be proved wrong and confident that behind all the barriers that were long tested that this was not ever going to be a possibility. This was not to say that he had not abandoned the notion of the opposite sex in his mind. The mind is the great builder of proper fantasies that while they may involved drama yet would always end in an expected happy conclusion. Yet this would inevitably evaporate by the next day no matter the positive level of confidence in one’s calming self assurance the night before. This gerbil was firmly locked in a cage of his own design. Such mechanisms ever proving to be impenetrable. Even if one knows where the keys are hidden.
Mediocrity has its own charms. Certainly it’s own following! Though not too many would take a step forward in public to advance that proposition. Old threadbare notions that are hard to release one’s grip from. The old car that needs some fixing. The job of painting the soffits of a house has gone over long. A job that won’t get one anywhere but that provides the confidence that it will still provide a ready location to go to the very next morning at 7:00 AM. A local store in the neighborhood where one can find some form of the basics of life at a cheap price. Even the upkeep of one’s own physical form in the form of some aches and pains that slowly seem to be becoming more acute. The safe harbor of little or no expectation for change has many phantoms hulks anchored anonymously residing within.
The need for food put off Jimmy decided on the spur of the moment that he was hungry. The Carter-Williams department store was an nicely location to admit to this condition as any sustenance that they could offer was merely a superficial accommodation. A traveling carnival setting up town to town having more substantial nourishment to offer. Worse yet closing time of five o’clock was fast approaching! The solitary clerk lingering about her department obviously had more pressing issues of her own flooding through her consciousness. Yet she took Jimmy’s order for the store’s house specialty with aplomb. In point of fact Jimmy had absolutely no idea of what he was ordering from the small flyer that he had picked up from beside the register. He figured like many that it bearing the name of “Carter’s Favorite Snack” it should be fast and reasonably satisfying to any palate. His own stomach was grumbling right now from inattention as the clerk walked off. Supposedly to pick up his order he surmised. “Service is our business!“, proclaimed a sign hung overhead of the store’s back exit. A reasonable proposition yet a curious one that one would be afforded the convenience of ordering food from any location in the store? He paced back and forth through the aisles nervously eyeing rows of lackluster items most of which struck him as particularly useless to his own conception of necessity.
Boredom dissatisfied, he decided to range farther afield opening a door to a patio and what appeared to be a lumber and lawn care wing. The light of the Summer Sun bore down with brutal efficiency convincing one that it was mid-afternoon when in truth it was closer to five hours past. Jimmy strolled down the lanes stocked full of potted plants, tall racks of two by four’s and quite literally found himself clueless as to how to mount a return journey. The light of the day was finally waning and Jimmy’s stomach had finally relented in its painful protest having rolled over and gone back to sleep. He really wasn’t interested in eating here at all. Besides it made more sense to just return home and rustle something up that wouldn’t cost him anything. Not being a regular customer he figured he could find a small exist far from his initial point of entry and slip away without causing much fuss. It was just past closing time and he formed a vision in his mind that the clerk had purposely forgotten anyhow. “So much for service!“, he mentally grunted ungraciously. He slipped out an open gate just before another store employee, equally hasty to close it, let him pass. The dusk was falling now as he walked alone across the mostly emptied parking lot. Here and there individual vehicles loudly exhaling that initial burst of exhaust after sitting silent since morning until by the time Jimmy had made the curb of the main intersection they had all flown off like a clock of crows.
What was it about waiting for a bus at night that seemed so lonely and chaotically vulnerable? Jimmy stood looking up at the weather beaten metal ensign of the route number static upon its old galvanized pole. The route numbers of three separate buses and an approximate range of time in small text etched in fluorescent ink. The traffic still seemed inordinately heavy even though ‘Rush Hour’ was officially far past its peak. No one else was in the vicinity beyond the many indifferent souls encased in metal and plastic passing indifferent to the world without. The only thing that Jimmy could summon was a reciprocal feeling of impersonal menace from the notion that none within this see of impatient ‘beetles’ would mind the distraction of running over him if he were so foolish to wish to wade in haphazardly before their paths. The equally taciturn sentinels of the traffic lights hovering high over over the intersection projecting their colored beams with a grimly efficient timing. No sense of a concern for the personal or the variance of individual human experience evident in this transitional wasteland. This was a place that humans might be tolerated to briefly wait but never inhabit. Jimmy looked about behind him at the thicket of bushes and the section of car exhaust inebriated forest behind it. What manner of dangers lurked waiting just yards within he could not fathom. A certain sense of unaccountable nightmarish terror that he did not wish to admit to. But he was very sure that he did not wish to explore. He turned back around to the inconstant sound of a sea of tires rushing endlessly past.
The long hulking oversized bulk of a breadbox congealed from the shadow moving towards him. The Route fifty-three rolled to a halt and bared it’s vertical fissure from two revolving door panels with an abrupt hydraulic hiss. The light brightly illuminating the passengers from within the closest thing thing to palpable civilization that Jimmy could now imagine. He felt instinctively inclined to step forward though the bus he was looking for bore the number fifty-eight. A darkened form trundled down the three steps of the entrance unsteadily onto the curb. The figure’s arms weightily encumbered with a large flat square expanse of what appeared to be a disordered pizza or cake. It was the same clerk from the store who with no hesitation she made her way straight towards Jimmy nearly colliding with him as he mechanically responded by bringing his own arms up to receive that large unstable surface that she was carrying onto his own. “Here’s your order sir!“, she commanded. Whatever this thing was it was not conventional in the sense of any identifiable foodstuff. The woman hopped back on the bus as Jimmy still confused by such an enigmatic encounter tried to take stock of what so precariously was sliding and leaking about. What ever this stuff was, good bad or otherwise it had need of a more robust container than just the soaked through corrugated square that barely kept it from sloughing off onto the ground. There being no place to put it down beyond the sordid junk ridden grass or gravel without incurring a hail of dust from passing tires and trucks. Jimmy was stuck with the dilemma of whether to let it default to destruction by unceremoniously dropping it straight to the ground? Or to continue the unwanted balancing act that the rankled clerk from the store had left him within? The general appearance of it just below his nose was one of an amorphous mass of something unidentifiable. It smelled strange and barely palatable as if its creator had be some store policy tried to produce something that would please everybody. But of course, would never satisfy any!
Jimmy’s stomach gurgled awake like some unfettered animal while his temper became short. The Route Fifty-Eight bus came to a stop across the street traveling the other way. And it suddenly crossed his mind that he was on the wrong side to get back home. The light was threatening to shift green and he hobbled across like some overly preoccupied sleepwalker, arms still fully encumbered. The bus driver seemed to sense the possibility of an unwanted complication heading his way and the rasp of the hydraulic hiss of the doors closing and the shiver of the vehicle as it edged forward had Jimmy in a steeplechase to gain the curb and race around the back of it. The driver’s conscious ridden face now staring back at him from the big mirror by the door reluctantly jamming the bus to a stop and the dragon-like hiss of the entrance yet again greeting Jimmy as he approached with his burden. “I can’t let you bring any un-boxed food on this bus!“, the driver warned with a scowl. Jimmy looked down his chin grazing what seemed to be some festering mess of hastily assembled dubious food products and frowned. It was not worth risking being relinquished any longer to these inconstant ‘moors‘. He nodded at the driver and turning quickly around he swung his arms towards the emptiness of the road’s shoulder leaving his unwanted parcel as an offering to the crow’s. The only evidence of his recent adventure a chin painted clown red with an oily tomato sauce like grease.
Roy could see it coming from miles away. All his life it was the same? Sitting in a movie theater by himself he felt normal. Once he stepped out intuit he light of day he was lost. It didn’t matter what the movie was a bout or the stars that were in it. Of course, like anyone else, he had his favorites. The world outside of that gave him palpitations. He could feel his heart pumping through his ears. The sheets would be wet from sweat each morning. No matter what he tried he was always back on the same old merry go round. He couldn’t hold down a job. Sooner of later he would get laid off. Not because he was a slacker! But perhaps, he took it so damn seriously enough that he would piss off his fellow coworkers because they didn’t. And that threw them off their game. But once he got back to the shack and shoved a VHS or DVD into the slot he relaxed upon one of this overstuffed threadbare ‘Barqa-loungers’ he was back in a pleasant limbo of another person’s life and not his own. Of course, that person did not exist. It was a very expensive patch of the collective minds and efforts of scores if not hundreds of others. It was always a strange mental calculation to add up the number of movies he had and multiply them by an average cost that was taken from sources that chronicled their making. If one took the number of films that a given production entity handled per year and multiplied that further against the result already arrived at then you might get an idea of what these characters were worth individually speaking. A useless mental calculation to be sure.
It had of late come down to a point of desperation as Roy’s peculiarities had been getting the better of him. Though he had never allowed himself to go so far as adopting the style and dress of any of the current movie avatars that came and went each half decade he would ten to adopt their scripted mindsets. It might be said this made Roy in line with a favored technique of getting into character. But society did not look favorably upon those who reached too far into the collective fictional narrative other that did not truly exist. The average employer wanted workers that were mentally uneventful, slow and steady whose greatest aspirations in life was to show up on time and work blissfully towards that day at the end of a week when they would gratefully received their paycheck taxes deducted. Those were the only waking dreams allowed by the current culture. All others were shown to the exit doors. That shared manifest destiny of the cataclysmic antihero might work on the page but stayed perpetually unemployed. The unintended consequence of this condition being that any lasting relationship with women was removed from possibility. The modern female too independent in her needs unlike the railroad track prone maidens of a century or more past. A solid home powered by a good steady paycheck was all the romance that most women sought though some considered that though all romance was dead in the current era it was no fault of their own. A fit male for breeding their fondest desires should come pre-equipped in both stamina to endure the most tedious of daily regimens and them return home reliably at the prescribed hour with mouthing more than the needs of his spouse predominately filling his universe. To Roy’s current mental mindset, another futile mental calculation.
The daily procedure of life degenerated into one where at a certain point the imagination of Hollywood having gone brain dead for the possibility of producing anything particularly novel that hadn’t been serialized in some was too many times previous had come to an effective halt. The invigorating feeling of stumbling back out into the light of day of old where one was fresh with plot heavy ideas posed in the corollary of the theme of the particular afternoon matinee needed no further mental energy. Too many of the same gambits explored by the big flickering of movie screen illumination. Where was the former bond of vision that he in the audience had once shared without he director in figuring out the novel plot line and being truly amazed or sometimes alternately disturbed by it stultifying implications? Now the cinema was merely a steady heartbeat of explosions on demand anchored betwixt hackneyed dialogue and a reliable twist int he end where the nemesis was reliably scheduled to by some incomprehensible means return back essentially unscathed bearing an increased amount of enmity for a go at round two of essentially the exact same thing. Imagine if in could bearing children that were cookie cutter copies of the first that you have born and raised but differentiated only by suspiciously similar names?
The rhythm of life for most was conducted by amazingly simple standards of routine behavior. There really wasn’t much complexity when one eliminated the inner workings of the assigned tasks each portion of society fell into. Each operated by he demands of inter connectivity to produce a complete organism of a cellular composition that heeded only the demands of the greater collective. Resources were doled out accordingly to a pyramid system in which those who took an active role keeping surveillance over their fellows in terms of monitoring the constancy of behavior and weeding out the deviants was considered of prime importance to keep the great worm of society inching forward rather thank stalling. The macrocosm of same mirroring any given particular example of the species that was in essence descended from successive direct parentage of a similar species over the eons under the phylum of plumbing dependent. The human body a maze of interconnecting pipes and open spaces where the balance of hydraulics reigns supreme. Any tampering with flow leading to a stoppage or inequality of expected pressure having to be resolved. Thus the ‘bread and circuses’ management of social diversion being key to the husbandry of the species. Where the Romans might have solved a problem on terms of the vitality of their empire by providing unwanted captives to die in the arena as a public spectacle. The modern era provided perpetual reliable boredom as an element of fostering both the flow of goods and the dumbing down of the aspirations of the viewer. By the sixth of seventh decades of existence given the perpetual burden of ennui, most were ready to fall away like dead leaves to make way for their children’s children to take up the dully flicking torch of meaningless existence. Given this reality, Roy felt that it was not unreasonable for him to demand a certain base level of entertainment on the fringes. The truth was that you could only bore everybody so far without occasionally adding a little spice to the same old stew.
The dark halls of public amphitheaters suited the nature of a personalized solitary enjoyment of common cultural celebration of the same old same old without endangering the whole with mutual contact. Isolation was after all the best way to hobble and possibility of deviating from the main game plan. So Roy felt as if he was being carried along in a great river of others that like the current of water of a great tributary was rapidly being him towards the inevitability of the falls. He had to wonder to himself how many others like himself in these auditoriums were as fully aware of this fact as he was. The big budget spectaculars were assessed with care based upon the likelihood of their trailers being too suspiciously as a blatant repeat of the same old well worn franchise waypoints of story and plot. Occasionally one might be surprised but the apogee of the reigning superstar too often leaked the fact of the ingrained repetitiveness to be warily avoided. Even the occasional foreign epic that could sneak through the tight network of distribution too often turned out to be a veiled variety of the expected pattern. It was inevitable that the only choice that this discriminating movie viewer had control over was the repetitive recitation of the lines of favored characters that were too often renewed again, and again and again. Roy sensed his psyche was unwinding slowly losing power like a windup toy. There was only this society to contend with or its total absence. Something that could not implicitly be shared with others because of course everyone had been crafted into the same state of hive-like mind. A consciousness that could only be escaped by the extreme poles of death or complete and total chaos. Not much of a choice feeling ones ever chained to that same old set in the twilight of the cave wall.
WARNING: This is by no means an attempt to make a full movies review. I just want to spout a little spleen on a few key points.
So, let us start with a very frenetic remake of “Sahara.” Not the 1943 WW2 Libyan desert German hating epic with Humphrey Bogart, but the one with Matthew McConaghey where the loyal but ever recalcitrant sidekick pokes the ribs of the hero for bad puns and then shivers terrified beside their ever invincible hero partner. In this case, the action packed super hero, Tom Cruise. Marvel, the graphic novel happy moguls, are sticking their nose into the production of this one sniffing the possibility of future Shekels! Utilizing the generally box office ‘gold‘ Tom Cruise persona for their new sobriquet to launch yet another limbic cortex cartoon adventure series. One that potentially will keep as many old name value ‘has been’ big name actors on the payroll. And hopefully introduce this latest hodgepodge to the hearts and minds of the youngest end limit of Z-generation families. The initial ‘mumbo jumbo‘ so exactingly lifted verbatim from those previous three films of the 1990’s “Mummy” franchise wrought by Stephan Sommers. Liberalism Hollywood styles demands that we grab as much as we can from a previous moneymaker not to mention plundering ideas from the Carl Laemmle Universal archive of famous monster films. The audience’s feet firmly planted in the usual action bullshit of massive explosions and sinkhole we continue the first act with this misadventure of a rebellious self-empowered egocentric alpha male who breaks all the rules for the sake of conducting a personal treasure hunt. And of course the Globalist social agenda of reaffirming that all white males need to be done away with. He then runs into the ‘one two punch’ of a Political Correct stereotypical duo. The first an “I could careless what you think white boys!” African American authority figure followed up by a skinny bitchy ball busting dishwater blonde acting like he had left her to pay the tab for last night’s dinner. Oh boy do I know that this is NOT going to be as story intelligent as another Tom Cruise vehicle, “Live, Die, Repeat!” We are just ‘ass packing’ cliches one behind the other, Hollywood style! Oh, Oh, here come the pedantic flashbacks that are taken verbatim from the movie’s initial sequences. What? Did they ran out of production money to stick in something new?
Well, after ‘Nicking‘ some neat gags from the “Alien” franchise we finally get to what Tom Cruise shines at in a plane crash scene. What is it with this guy and doing his own stunts at high altitudes? After some brainless stupid very badly edited scenes that again summon the less frantic bar scenes from “Jack Reacher” we end up eventually at the reconfigured spacious set that was used in the premiere episode of Captain America. There we see the old gladiator ‘Maximus‘ is looking more like ‘Proximo‘ in girth. Boy do the CG people have a lot of work to do there! The four-thousand year old bad girl steals the scenes, literally, from another old eighties UK Sci Fi classic, “Lifeforce“. “Go ahead, Ahmanet, suck the life out of those rubber dummies gal!” Of course, little bits here and there from Dracula, Bride of Frankenstein, etc., etc., etc. Don’t worry, unlike Disney Corporation most of the material lifted is under perpetual copyright by Universal! What develops over the second act is a supernatural hissy fit prone romantic love triangle that degenerates into a glass shatttering ‘big scene‘ apocalyptic London smoke blowing contest. And , as if more were needed, more very futile attempts at montage from the exact same footage that we saw earlier at the start of the film yet again! God I know that a typical Tom Cruise is not this brain dead! Even though some screenplay driveling moron named him ‘Nick Morton’! A few more of the plagues of Egypt are scaled down to size in order to harass the two mortal portions of this tiring love triangle. All roads leading of course to the big showdown where bad boy Tom on the edge of moral equivalency sacrifices himself by plunging a dagger into himself to assume God-like powers of eternal life as the head of the underworld. Big sacrifice! The blonde is resurrected and lied to as to where her hero ran off to. The black haired bad girl shrivels into a shrew and is given a mercury bath before she is put back to sleep in her big jeweled hope chest. Later, of course, to be resurrected in a future sequel. Dependent on the polling of likes and dislikes of her portrayal at select theaters. A lot of work for what have been very tediously early predawn makeup calls! Dark Universe hero Tommy rides off into the desert on a horse with his resurrected sidekick buddy leaving both dames to their own devices. The absolutely smartest thing his character has done in this whole damn movie! “Go MGTOW, Tom!”
So what is the point of reviewing what is a disappointing film? ‘The Evil’ talked about in the movie is in fact the incompetent direction of Alex Kurtzman who at every chance dumb’s down every scene to the point that even two-year would be bored by its simplicity of pedantic exposition. The overworked music score blasted at full volume to hide his total inability to do anything competent much less creative. Who says that secular Jew boys with big connections in LA are naturally ‘wunderkinds‘? The seven Hollywood legacy babies that each took scissors and shredded it to shit then scotch taped the mess together what might have really been a refreshing take on the old original movie tale by screenwriter John L. Balderson’s who re-crafted from Arthur Conan Doyle’s tale, “The Ring Of Thoth.” It left me giving a dump about any stellar effects scenes outside of the practical elements of the plane crash scene. The usual Marvel Comics dumbed down stupid shit for mental morons who find ‘real meaning’ in the horrendous dialogue that the Anakin Skywalker had to spout! This IS blatant evil of Hollywood’s banality in Byzantine big budget at the sake of the story and one’s actors production (lack of) values. All of course to sell more action figures, rental fees and games. Move on please!
POSTSCIPT: “Tom, do yourself a favor! Stick to your own franchises!”
It was after six o-clock and Jenner was a couple beers past finishing his burger. Somewhat past his general state of paranoia as to the unexpected events that had transpired earlier in the day. Whatever had occasioned his being questioned that morning by the police was now no longer seeming so nefarious. “A lot of people get questioned on a daily basis.“, he reckoned out loud to himself. It was no different than every once in a while getting a speeding ticket or a parking violation. Sooner or later your luck would fall short and you’d receive a citation. Just your tough luck! He grabbed at the morsel of a tiny cold French fry on his plate. It was the bit about the old record player that was the part that was bugging him. Was it stolen? Taken out the back door in the night from one of the sixth street antique stores? Or maybe some little old ladies garage? It certainly didn’t rate as the crime of the century! There hadn’t been much crime of a serious nature in this town since he lived here, if any at all? Sure, the usual stuff like shoplifting or theft when some holiday vacation residents went back home. Maybe a fist fight that occasionally got out of hand? Or domestic dispute that ended up with an abused wife going off to a shelter? Murders? Not more than the two that he had read about in the Kenosha News had written about in a poorer part of town. At least not since nineteen-eighty one by ‘murder alley’ by 65th street. But that was really something! Four murders almost in a row at housed on either side ore a period of a couple of weeks. Each with no convincing explanation? They finally found someone to pin it on some months later. But he was already in jail. Overall not the sort of statistic that one would expect of a backwater Wisconsin minor metropolis like Kenosha! Something more in the line of what one would expect from that big neighboring city to the south.
The area in general had suffered some hard blows since Chrysler Corporation had filed bankruptcy ten years previous. The old Rambler factory that had been making engines for AMC had finally run out of gas as far as the foreign accountants of that international mega-corporation were concerned. A lot of people had pulled in their belts an extra notch. Some of the younger residents had moved their families further north to Milwaukee. Better job prospects. There were of course worse places to be. Thank heavens he wan’t living in Zion on the opposite side of the state line down in Illinois. It had become a haven for big trouble. Drugs, gangs, assaults on the street, you name it. Jenner took another swig from his mostly emptied glass. It was warm now and had lost all its flavor. Its ‘Zazz’ as his father used to say when he used to go along with his younger brother to Hogan’s Goat, one of the old local taps in Delavan. his face seemed to sour. That was something he didn’t like to recall a lot. His brother Luke. Jenner had gone to the community college straight out from Delavan Darien High School. Their old man had worked for years making auto clocks at the Borg plant just a mile or two down where they lived just outside of town. Somehow he had expected that both of two sons would come up with something better than he had in terms of a career? Luke had joined the army that first year but had been killed unexpectedly in what they had been told was an accident overseas just below the 33rd parallel in South Korea. Bad rotten luck to have as a rookie on his first deployment. The resultant pall of his brother’s death casting a shadow over everything. Jenner had made the daily drive to the shores of Lake Michigan to earn a college degree at Carthage College. But due to low grades in too many of his classes he had dropped out much to the consternation of his emotionally father. Now he was part time as a pizza driver on the weekends picking up any odd job that he could. Ten years of drifting through life hadn’t left him very optimistic. The future of the family as one might say was a total loss?
The door swung open just behind him as Gabby hurriedly pushed through. “For Christsakes Gabby!“, Jim carped, “It’s already a quarter after!” “How long do I have to hold down the fort?” Gabby’s heels clattered upon the hard linoleum in the direction of the gap leading to behind the bar. She pushed by the old sour puss giving him her best casual smile. “Why Jim, you’re such a sugarplum today, aren’t you sweetheart?”, she smiled as she bumped him a bit with her hip. “That and everyday!“, another boozy voice rang out from an anonymous local down at the other end of the bar. Gabby picking up the small knife used to cut bar fruit shaking her head at the empty tray. “Leave our poor sugarplum alone!“, she mockingly cooed back to the shadows. Jim looking back past her in the direction of the comment growling, “So everyone is a comedian today!” “See ay all later I’m out of here!” Gabby still at the center of the bar’s back aisle with her hands on her hips looking down, “You better run mon ami, you didn’t bother to finish the setups for tonight!” Jenner couldn’t help letting out a snicker at the floorshow that was lit up by the ‘stagelights‘ illuminating the bar. “Mind your manners, I see you over there darling!”, Gabby said in her usual playfully disparaging tone. At five foot five inches tall, cutting an extraordinary female figure even for a movie star, Gabby had the ability to direct traffic from across the room with simple look back in one’s direction. The impression she left was part old French film star Brigit Bardot pleasantly mixed with a somewhat “Desperado” movie Mexican version of Selma Hyack. Small, beautiful but sassy and tough. She was the type of lady bartender that expected her customers to mid their manners. And woe betide those who did not. Rumor had it that she carried a .32 cal hidden somewhere nobody could see or would be allowed to unless they got really violent. An ’86’ in her book was a hard stare and no more drinks coming your way until she announced closing time by turning up the house’s work light. Since it was a regular stop by the local constabulary who would simply park outside the portholes with a flashing Mar’s light thrown in for good measure not one ever thought to object. Gabby knew everyone.
Jim had gone out the back and Jenner watched Gabby catching up on the chores that the afternoon Milwaukee Journal news edition had precluded Jim from completing. She wielded the knife chopping limes and oranges like an iron chef. “Don’t worry honey pie!, she tossed over to Jenner between cuts,”I’ll attend to you an a second!” Jenner was one of her favorites. Probably because when he first started hanging here two years back he was one of the few that ignored her. Not staring down her cleavage like so many others. Or watching her pear shaped ass as she traversed back and forth up and down the old wooden trellis never hitting an in-between empty spot with her medium set of high heels. “That girl’s got gravity all figured out!“, one of he customers declared one night some months back. He didn’t last long at the bar. She seemed to like Jenner as someone to roll around that general level of mundane conversation that regular people had stored up during a day’s existence to share with someone that they could trust. Someone who didn’t carry it around to others behind her back and twist it into something dirty and mean spirited. Sure she occasionally caught Jenner looking admiringly at her now and again. But in a polite kind of way that didn’t make her feel like an object. That was OK. Jenner got up from the table carrying the empty plate and beer glass and setting them down on the side of the bar. “Thanks honey.“, she said as she pumped some dirty beer glasses over the soapy sponge device in the sink. “Anything new with you?”, she added after a couple of fresh ones sat upon the rack drying. “Not really.“, Jenner lied really wanting to say exactly the opposite. It seemed to be disrespectful and sort of dumb to be asking what she new about a dumb old record player down at Police headquarters. She brought over a fresh glass of beer from the tap and looked at him. “Something on your mind besides crime?“, she chuckled innocently. “Now why do you say that?“, Jenner said defensively somewhat startled. He never figured her for a mind reader but he played on like he was innocent. “No reason!“, she turned and casually walked over to a customer who had just newly arrived. What in the hell was going on, Jenner thought to himself? Is this my day to play the most guilty looking party.
SPONTANEOUS INSIGHT: Despite what they may frequently say in public, most women do not wish to be considered as equal to men in the sense of a Utopian rolled of the absence of the descriptions of gender. They understand that this might mean stepping down from that artificial mental pedestal in men’s minds and a status of a weaker creature with too much venom and no balls to back it up physically forcefully. This act leading inevitably to them having to pay for dinner and drinks and taking out their own garbage while stoically keeping silent.
“DEFINITION: Man spread may palpably defined for the modern millions chastising the male of the species as taking your two tiny little breasts doubling or tripling them in size and weight, then stuffing the pair of them squashed between your upper thighs and of course having to sit comfortably through long lectures about same.”
OK, here I am at Logan Square in Chicago. “Hello Mrs. Depyester!” The historical northern stamping grounds of those Doyen’s and the well-healed more genial environmental batteries of my social betters. People that have more shoes in the closet than I have. And at a higher per pair price tag than I would have paid for the whole lot of my own over the decades. A place where one might breath in and out in a manner not too dissimilar to that of a reptile cooling off somewhere under a rock. Yet way too rarefied for those such as myself the starvation from that unique intellectual oxygen that one might have socially hoped for. None of the expected skull and crossbones warning signs or hobo’s chalk marks outside of the host establishment for all folks not totally absorbed in that milieu to stay clear of. But, and not without some irony, just down the block a former Knight’s Templar headquarters. Itself right across the grand promenade of the wide avenue from a significantly large Mason’s hall. Will wonders never cease considering the odds of that happening so spontaneously? One thing you can be assured of is that this establishment is a monument to male intellectual servitude. A shrine to all things females insuring there is no status level afforded to old white males tolerated. “Your segment and era are invisible sir! Perpetually to be judged in the stilted history of Political Correctness for crimes against Humanity, colonizing the Third World portions of the globe, and mistreating both women, minorities and their tiny little animals!” The same disgusting behavior by male dominated white European civilizations that led to the inequity of wealth that fostered these same independent Liberal elitist attitudes of these female children who stand before me frivolously spending that ill gotten gain. But this is not a fit topic for voicing aloud in this convenient public ‘safe space’ of the literary promotion of the superiority of Liberal fostered diversity at $29.95 a crack.
Let us just say in the most neutral sense of opinion possible that you are dealing with snobs. Ones who will give you very little beyond recent gossip and their ego maniacal points of social climbing points celebrating the material inventory of their banal life’s existence. Something that comes out in tedious length through spoken text at events like these. Ouch! Nobody gives anything to anybody! At least not without an implicit price tag to be paid with a pound of flesh. More or less! Yet here I sit yet again in a den of female authors in a woman’s bookstore, enchanted within the exclusive preserve of all things exclusively female. Sort of like a person burned raw from a sunny bright day at the beach having to endure the rigor of a therapeutic vinegar bath. Something that is supposedly considered to be a healthy experience. But boy does it sting! But, for the sake of practice of attending literary based events in general at some point in the future, I will endure this prickly feeling without making a fuss in public. Real men stay silent and suppress their egos, “Sheesh!” The observations spontaneously offered to the eye however bear a certain resemblance to a zoo. One where many of the participants of this event embody the current ‘creature’ stereotypes of ‘modern Feminism‘. Here they are in various sub-phylums! The overly opinionated Middle Class Jewish heritage queen bees! The man hating young economically privileged millennial female couples persistently showcasing their overt experimentation in the ‘new liberated female elite of modern Lesbianism! Fifty-plus perpetual ingenues bouncing off the brick walls of being too far ‘way past it’ for garnering and significant male attention. And the most pathetic of all! Those vacant forlorn humdrum dressing solitary souls sporting random splashes of garish hued food coloring over the worn out straw of the rapidly graying hair on their heads. All to attract the attention that, like some fairyland Blanch Dubois, they will spurn at the first opportunity. And who can says that I don’t possess both patience and the requisite discipline to endure this menagerie?
So here I sit in the last row further back listening to “Miss So-N-So pontificate while she conscientiously avoids eye contact with me. Cinematic perfection in the art of not looking into a camera lens so as not to spoil the illusion of movie reality. While meantime, in the back row I keep grinning at all the grossly insulting observations she routinely makes about a society ‘in absentia‘ of anything male. Her thesis being that she supports her ramblings in part with the handwritten examples taken from an obscure intellectually castrated feminine male. Continuously pounding nails into the body of wooden thought that contemporary literary absurdity is the perfect anti-venom for the universal tendency of a authors to describe their immediate emotional circumstances. She makes a big display of the fact that she does not care! “Do away with all that claptrap rubbish!“, said the Red Queen, “It irks me!” Well, what the Hell, she doesn’t care about anybody else’s opinions anyhow? She works as an assistant professor at University of Chicago! “WooHoo, Lady!” “I’m impressed!” Actually, I am appalled! Appalled that like some mid-nineteen-eighties space opera this country’s educational system has been fully infiltrated by alien drones with their ‘face huggers‘ that want to spread their virus of self-serving dogmas through mercilessly shoving them down your throat until they finally explode out of your chest. All empathy for the gender that they have corrupted in the process gone leaving a big hole in its stead. Their main body of the audience present that qualify as working adults being creatively brain dead beyond putting their car keys into their Lexus. Or planning their next important purchase for a tea cozy at Bergdorf Goodman. “Flaunt that wealth, Baby!” “Smile and nod your heads, as is anything could take them away from their own little Romanoff Easter egg-like existence. One that is effectively demonstrated by a mint tea blue colored Tiffany box within a Tiffany box, within a Tiffany box, etc., etc., etc.
POSTSCRIPT: There is no fear of being mortally challenged by being eaten alive. For one knows that the meat one has to share is so distasteful to this segment that any bites taken from one by these doctrinaire entities will be promptly spit out.