Winter Whisky – Part Three


Winter Whisky – Part Three

“Earth to Dave.” Donnie shook my arm. “You were out there with Santa.”

“I was thinking about Cindy.” I leaned back in my chair. “Hard not to this time of year.”

“I know what you mean Dave. I didn’t know how I could live without Suze, you know? I never met a girl like her before, you know? I was such an idiot for letting her get away. Fuck. I should have set fire to that guy’s place.”

We’d heard Scott’s Suze moan so many times now, Donnie would recite it word for word. Soon he’d pull that photo of the two of them on some beach in Mexico. Susan, the one that got away before any of us met her.

“Didn’t you say she met him when she moved to Alberta after she left band you started in Toronto?” I reminded him.

“Says who?” Scott’s scowl was comic. He reached for his glass and missed it.

I envied him. When he came back after his attempt to make it big we saw he was more than disappointed. He was broken. All Donnie and I could that first year was make sure the booze that numbed his pain didn’t drown him.

Through that I envied him. I wanted to know what it was like to love someone so much the pain of losing them could hurt years later. He’d met other women since then, but none of them made him love Susan less. What hold did she have over him?

“She was well rid of me anyway. She was right, you know. I’m just a drunken guitar player who’ll never get further than playing at the next bar for tips. She was well rid of me. Fuck.”

He downed his glass and signalled for another.

Jen came over. “Sorry boys. Time to close up. I wanna get out of here without a snowplow.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Donnie nodded. “Time we got out of here any ways. There’s more where this came from at my place any who.”

“Yeah, sure.” Scott fumbled to put his jacket on. 

But we sat at the table, immobile in the dusty yellow light of the bar. The other tables were empty. Hector turned off the swag of Christmas lights that dropped in loose loops over the dusty mirror behind the bar. The dim house lights got a little brighter.

“Time to haul ass, guys,” Hector shouted. “You’ll aha etc follow the snow plow home. If he’s going your way, that is.”

Hector was a large, heavy man no one sober would want to tangle with. His sturdy arms and shoulders needing a good massage was the one fantasy I had about any of these guys. “So get the fuck out of here so I can get home to my dog.”

“I’m gonna leave the guitar here. Bad enough we have to go out on a night like this.” Scott shut the lock on his batter guitar case. 

“Put it under the tree.” Hector said. “It’ll be as safe there as anywhere.”

“Thanks, Hec. You putting out beer and a pickled egg for the bearded one.” I said as we headed the door.

“Sure enough guys.” He said then locked the door once we were out. 

Outside the the night air was bracing. The snow had stopped. The sky was empty of all but a wisp of black cloud against its own black.

It took ten minutes to clear the snow off the roof of Donnie’s car. While it was warming up one of us suggested food. 

“Polly Cracker’s Chicken.” The three of us shouted at the same time.

The smell of the fried chicken filled the car. It made my mouth water.

“Has any of you every had Polly’s without a few good drinks first?” Donnie reached behind to me in the back seat and pulled a potato wedge out of the bag.

“Can’t say I have.” I pushed a wedge into my mouth. It tasted of salt and pepper but not of potato. 

“So where to now?” Scott asked biting into one of the wedges. “Man these need more than salt and pepper. I hope one of you put some hot sauce in here. He wiped his hand on the front of his parka. “I said, where to now?”

I knew he meant let’s go to my place. Both had parents to deal with who wouldn’t put up with our late night carrying on.

“Okay, okay. Let’s go to my house.” I rolled the top of the bag closed to keep them from eating it all before we got out of Polly’s parking lot.

Donnie started the car and carefully headed into the street. Luckily, there was no traffic. There were tracks from the snowplow that had recently been through. The streets were slippery from the snow, and Donnie was hunched over the steering wheel, squinting hard as he drove.

“I should cover one eye. I’m seeing double.”

“Come on, asshole. We want to get there while the chicken’s hot.”

We drove in silence for about ten minutes. It started to snow again.

“Hey! You missed the turn.”

Scott nudged Donnie’s arm. The car skidded to the gutter.

“Careful!” I clutched the bag with our chicken in it.

He pulled the car back on the road and turned down the next street. The steering wheel spun in his hands and the car continued to spin. It turned two or three circles and stopped.

“Look what you made me do, fuck-head.”

Donnie gunned the motor and tried to back up, but the car wouldn’t move. The wheels spun on the ice.

“Don’t baby it, for Chrissakes.” Scott leaned over and jabbed his foot onto the gas. The car jolted forward, and we were over the curb and into the trees.

“Where those fuckin’ trees come from?”

Donnie tried to turn the steering wheel, but we were on our way down the side of a hill. Branches smacked the windshield until the car bumped to a halt with a loud, tree-snapping crunch.

Donnie turned to Scott and pushed him in the face. “You dumb fuck.”

I opened my door. There was about three feet between me and the ground. I could smell gas.

“Let’s get out of here before she blows.”

“Blows up?” Scott sniggered. “You’ve seen too many movies.”

He opened his door and stepped out.

“Holy fuck!”

He dropped to the ground.

I let myself down cautiously.

“You okay, Scott?”

I made my way over to him.

Two fir trees were wedged under the front of the car, the front wheels spinning in midair, the back resting on the ground. Donnie had to crawl out of Scott’s door as the driver’s side was jammed shut by another tree.

“You got the chicken, I hope.”

“The hell with the chicken, Donnie. How are we going to get out of here?”

The car’s headlights didn’t give much illumination through the trees.

“Back up the way we came.”

“Get the fuckin’ chicken anyway, fer Chrissakes. At least we won’t starve.”

I boosted Donnie back into the car. He turned off the motor and handed the chicken down to me. The front wheels stopped spinning.

The way up had been cleared by the car’s descent. Clambering over bent and broken trunks, we were soon back on the street.

“Where the fuck are we?”

“Franklin Road!” I guessed. It was one of the areas that faced the wooded ravine.

As we slogged through the snow I could see a street light. I couldn’t figure out how we had gotten so far down Franklin without realizing we were even on Franklin.

“Fuck Donnie, you must have turned left instead of right at Kelly Road.”

Donnie was panting as he pushed through the drifts. “It’s not my fault the only place open to get food was Polly’s, the way the fuck out here.”

“Come on.”

Scott was a few feet ahead of us.

“If we go any slower, they’ll find our bodies in the spring.”

We got to the streetlight and stood leaning against the pole as the snow swirled around us.

“Can’t be much farther,” Donnie mumbled.

“Here.” I pulled the mickey of bourbon out of my inside pocket. “Seems like the right time for a good drink.”

The whiskey was ice-cold. I couldn’t gulp more than a mouthful before I passed it on. After Donnie and Scott, it came back to me half empty.

“Sure hits the spot. Maybe we should have a little something to eat with it.” Scott opened the bag of chicken and we each pulled out a piece. What was left of the greasy warmth was a welcome relief.

We lurched back into the storm. After a few steps the snow stopped. The wind died down. It was as if we had drunk ourselves into calm.

“Scott, isn’t that Saint Aggie’s hospital?”

A large building with random lights glowing in many of the windows faced us.

“Yeah, Donnie. What if it is?”

“If it is, we’re going in the wrong direction. My place is north of here, not south. I think we’re heading south.”

“No we aren’t. You are drunker than a skunk, Donnie my friend.”

“Where are we going then, Scott?”

“To Dave’s, right? We’re going to his place. Remember?”

“Shit! I thought we were going to my place. That’s why I took that turn back there.”

“Like fuck. That’s not even the right way to get to your place. Last time we’ll let you drive.”

We were on the bridge over the creek that ran behind the hospital. 

Scott stopped and leaned on the railing. “Let’s serenade them.”

“Who?”

“The dying fucks in there. Oh dying tonight.” He sang out to the tune of Silent Night.

“Quit it.” Donnie began to laugh.

“Oh you’re going to die tonight,” I joined in. 

Our thin voices echoed in the cold night air.

A couple of lights came on on one of the floors. 

“Come on. Let’s get out of here.” Scott nudged me. “Don’t want to get busted for singing out of key.”

“You should talk.” Donnie laughed as we pushed back into the dark.

“Where the fuck are we going?” I asked. The mickey was nearly empty. “There’s just enough in here for one more round.”

“I thought we were going to your place?’

“So did I, but this isn’t the way to anywhere.”

The wind came up again and we huddled at the next street corner. Snow was whipping around the light poles and the stop sign.

“This way.” I turned towards my place. The wind was coming from that direction.

We finished off the mickey, had another bite of no-longer-warm chicken and headed into the wind. In the distance we could hear snow plows.

We trudged in silence for what felt like hours. Up one hill, through the park and, at last, my place was in sight. The wind died down again though the snow continued to fall. Wisps of smoke rose into the dim moonlight along the rooftops.

I kicked snow off the back porch and opened the door. I glanced behind at Scott and Donnie. They were covered with snow and ice.

“Hope the fuck you’ve got something to drink in there.”

“Don’t I always? Basement,” I slurred. “Head for the basement.”

We trundled down the basement stairs. I fumbled for the pull cord on the laundry room light that swayed back and forth as we pried off layers of snow-encrusted parkas and pants.

Donnie reached for the pile of dirty clothes and pulled on grey sweats I had been wearing yesterday.

Scott sniffed first and wasn’t willing to do the same. Neither was I. I dashed upstairs in wet socks and undies to grab some towels and tossed them down.

“Here, dry off with these. I’ll find us something to wear.”

Winter Whisky – Part One: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-39y

Winter Whisky – Part Two: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3fR

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Sneak Peek December 2018

A quick look back before the peak – my TOpoet.ca following jumped to 290, a number I hoped to hit by the end of 2018 – maybe I’ll get to 300 bay the end of 2019. Lots of new followers from India. WordPress stats give one lots of breakdowns but they can’t tell me what countries my followers are from 😦 Twitter is up to 205 thanks to some book cover designers following me 🙂 & Tumblr has increased to 214 – it would be much more but I block any hetero-porn sites that follow me.

For December I’ll be changing my blog routine with Monday’s to include a Dolly Dinty piece; Tuesday’s will feature the rewrite of an old piece: Winter Whisky; Wednesday’s I’ll be talking about past seasonal poetry; Thursday’s I’ll be talking about Christmas decorations that have personal memories for me; Friday’s as ever will be what ever 🙂 Speaking of Coal Dusters 65500 words have been posted with another 57000 to go. I’ll be getting back to it in the new year.

Other than Christmas Day entertaining I have no big plans for December. No shows or poetry readings – I say no shows but there will be some shopping to deal with plus the joyful noise of people in transit. As it gets colder & with night falling sooner & sooner I’m less inclined than ever to go out evenings. If it takes me longer to get dressed & get somewhere than I’m going to spend there I’d rather stay home. Plus most venues aren’t designed for that much outer wear, who wants to put their shoulder bag into a puddle on a snow-lake barroom floor.

Wounds of the Saints

 Gentle Reader let me tell you that your friendly reporter has certainly had quite a week-end to share with you. As you may remember in my column on Friday, I said I would be checking out the Family Fun Fair at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral. I did this and also found time to go to the pet show at The Pig Driver’s Arena by Buttontown Airport and the Bridal Show at Pester’s Mall.

Yes, a very busy Saturday. Sunday was as bad, what with the opening of the new font at St. Sufferer’s, a baby shower for the latest in the McGinch clan and finally a fund raising dinner in Crab Apple Corners for the Maple Valley Fire Department.

So, where to begin? If I hadn’t had my trusty map with me I surely would have gotten lost at the very start. St. Sufferer’s Cathedral is one of the largest churches in Pumpkin County but also the most difficult to find. It’s spires can be seen for miles in all directions but every turn of the road seemed to put it at my back and not in front of me.

I hope the next function they hold is to find funds to put up more accurate signage. The Fun Fair was fun for the entire family. Bobbing for pears, a banana tossing contest and even some feet painting for the children. It was a carefree time that made all feel closer to their Creator’s pain. I was deeply touched by the drawings of the Sunday School classes that depicted the various wounds of the Saints.

I was reluctant to leave there for the Pet Show. Fortunately finding The Pig Driver’s Arena is much easier.

The first thing I was confronted with though, was the Hijil’s Farm elephants. Not the sort of thing one expects at a pet show and who amongst us can judge them? They did do some rather charming tricks – rolling over to play dead and fetching the tree – but I think a more simple approach would be better. The prize ribbon went, as it has the last several years, to the McCracken’s of Daw Hill with their trained herding sparrows.

So, I was pretty tuckered by the time I got to the Bridal Show. I did get there & walked down that aisle longing for the time I would have time to actually walk down the aisle of St. Sufferer’s for my sacred wedding sacrifice. Bea Petratica’s Bridalle Shoppe had a new shipment of fine pearl crushed velvet lace that would make any bride look like a dark queen.

One of these days Hank Grebly, one of these days. You – me & the aisle.

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

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returning every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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“Call in sick again”

Another cool Noir night – by cool I mean weather wise not hipster wise – the hipsters who come to Noir are way beyond cool 🙂 A packed house dug into great food & great entertainment at The Central. A wicked set of open stagers started the show off as ‘hormones & emotion arose’ because ‘it’s hard to write a love poem that doesn’t end in a restraining order’ so ‘come on girls, let’s rule the world,’ plus a fine Steve Stills cover. I did hints of my next two upcoming features.

dino01jurassic face planter

First feature Cynthia Gould  delivered a great set of original songs plus some perfect covers: We’re Not Going To Take It as a country waltz! She has a strong, confident voice that flows liquidly from whispered, sweet, gravel & full-out diva-tude. Her rhythmic guitar playing never pulled our attention away from her songs about bad girls, dangerous guitarists, sex & hangovers. ‘They’ll break your heart just to write a song’ ‘you were smoking hot five minutes ago but now you are unfuckable’ ‘fuck the day job in the morning, let’s get drunk tonight …. call in sick again.’

dino02

kiss my jurassic ass

After a break Whiskey Winter did a polished, sizzling burlesque routine to Bad Things. Her back jumpsuit with it’s sparkly seams was built for unzipping, to reveal lacy pink underneath to a final reveal & an all too brief tassel twirl. She was slinky, sensual, traditional & as always, left us want more twirl.

Another set of open stagers brought great covers of Eurythmics, Heart, ‘pressure points & pressure drops’ ‘she’s got one of those new tongue rings’ ending with a some sweet violin. But the pressure didn’t drop far before Conflicting Plaid hit the stage with a flood of bass, drums & guitar.

dino03

not another ice age !

Their songs are short bursts of complete entact punk, controlled mayhem ala the Ramones, early Elvis Costello but with less angst. These guys are in well into their 40s but aren’t revisiting their youth but reinventing the definition of age. This ain’t nostalgia. They charge full force into the propulsion without seeming to stop for a breath but do manage to down few beers on the way. ‘Back in the day, I got laid’ Love their ode to Glory (Holes) ’I don’t know if you’re a girl or a guy …. but for God’s sake don’t tell my wife.’ In Dead Sexy … ‘the queen of the zombies loves me for my brains.’ Are they really recording an album? If they do, not matter how long it is it’ll be too short.

sample

when I hit the open stage I read Negotiate from my Raunch & Roll set & this from my Summer Refections set:

Dad’s Pockets

as a kid

I would go through the pockets

of my Dad’s suit coats sport jackets

as they hung in the closet

I would find quarters which I’d take

sometimes fifty-cent pieces which I’d leave

I’d slip the over-sized jackets

off their hangers

wear them in the dark of the closet

in the smell of his things

his shoes miles too big for me

trying to steal into adulthood

 

I’d skulk out

from my secret foray

a little daring thief

sneaky   guilty

fearful of being found out

 

when he’d miss the pocket change

I’d be confronted

say too quick I don’t know what he meant

blurt out I didn’t do that

which he never believed

 

if only I’d hung those coats back the right way

he’d let me go with warning

that I never heeded

I’d be back there in a week or so

go through those pockets

try on those sport jackets

grow much too slow into adulthood

much too quick into guilt

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whitebearjurassic jilted

Nasty Naughty Noir

Cabaret Noir blasts the chill away with laughs, burlesque and propulsive punk with its first show of 2015. After a set of great open stagers: Brenda Clews with winter reflections; D S Campbell with a snippet of his Twitter novel @ZombieManifesto; Josh Goldstein with a fine poetic flow: & TOpoet plugging the Sunday benefit show; Heather Macdonald (Twitter: @heather_mariko) hit the stage.

snowballs

nasty dirty snowballs

Heather did a wide ranging set of stand-up comedy that went from warning signs that make he want to do what she’d never think of doing, Asian Flush (she’s part Asian so gets the flush half the time); Mennonite horse and buggies with modern car bucket seats and the kids in back playing Farmville on their iPhone6’s.

snowman

a shot of Whiskey crumbled this snowman

A sultry slinky Whiskey Winter did a temperature raising turn to Christina Aguilera’s Nasty Naughty Boy. Entering through the audience she treated the packed house to a polished tradition burlesque, flapping fringes, the tasty glove peel, glorious ass tease (is there a technical dance term for that move: pas du derrière?) – all of which left us wanting more.

Final feature Conflicting Plaid http://conflictingplaid.com/ lounge punk – were loud, fast, fun and energetic. Propelled by spot on jittery slippery guitar and bass, grounded by an excellent drummer lead singer Zed Dulac trampled through a batch of fun, short songs & some raucous covers. Sounding at times like early Elvis Costello, Eddie & the Hot Rods – the songs were moments of hot sex – those moments when you get in, get it done, get out before you wear out your welcome & everyone is satisifed. Glory would fit in on any Pansy Division cd. (the rest of the band: Ian Đaly Sean Macnab David Reichert)

snowfort (s)no(w) fort

With Nelson Sobral keeping the sound balanced it was a great set. By the end of the night the windows of the Central were so steamed up one couldn’t see in or out.

 

samples

I did ‘pillow’ on the open stage: http://wp.me/p1RtxU-11a.

another drop 

the float of cups   spoons
moons   leaves
wet midnights broken by laugher
left to reflect on the puddles
red sticky slicks that caress the stage
invite the applause of over-hanging gaspers
soon to be disgraced with apologies
wondering not aloud

what if this isn’t the moment

to leap up once and for all get it over with
no beginnings only ends
only a bar counter to wipe ready
for weary prisoners to stop rest gripe
about the fairness of their sentence
how they deserve what they want
and they want it now piping hot
heaped dishes of freshly chopped
branches of moon strung stings
to replace the end of things
we all know that end is looming
bigger

than that pole-dancer’s ass that hovers
over your out-stretched glass
another drop pretty pretty please
please squeeze harder

we know you can do it
before the song changes
it has to be on that note
the universal choir
chasing clouds of notes around
looking for car keys put down in a hurry
your car running in the garage
who is in the back seat drifting
as the red slick sends
reflection of spoons to the moon
each prisoner barely turning
in their stools

asking
are we up to guessing what comes next

snow03

snow what

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