Cover image courtesy of Feni Rathod: http://www.fiverr.com/fenirathod
William Fitzpatrick was annoyed enough he had to work as a janitor at Ferris, Callender and Goldberg. Now, his boss, Peter Ferris, wanted him to wait for Neil Callender at another law office for some papers that were not important. Dorrestein, Gladwell and O’Brien was located in a nice looking part of town but, whenever William walked in that neighborhood, he felt awkward as if he would be questioned by a police officer. He accepted the janitor job on a temporary basis, so he could escape the chaos of his uncle’s house and buy healthier food than what his uncle prepared.
Uncle Raymond, from William’s mother’s side of the family, was obese and depressed, at least from William’s observation. That side of the family, the Gold’s, grew up under strict Jewish traditions. William’s mother, Hannah Gold, never officially gave up her beliefs but she did not practice them either and neither did her brother, Raymond, who became a Christian just to make his parents angry. George and Yvette Gold, whom William never met, were known to be tyrants. There was a lot about that side of the family he did not know but he knew his mother and uncle both became obese. Hannah died a year ago and Raymond was in bad health.
William’s father, Patrick Fitzpatrick, left the family when William was five years old and never visited him but William talked to him on the phone during Williams eighteenth birthday and then his twenty-first birthday. William would have been angry at him but, knowing how screwed up Hannah was, he figured his father was smart to stay away.
When Hannah died, Raymond offered to let William live with him. That was nice of his uncle to do that but Raymond’s living habits were enough to annoy the most patient person on earth. Now, William did not want to think about it. He wanted to get the papers from Neil Callender and then get back to mopping the floors where he worked.
He had not entered the law offices of Dorrestein, Gladwell and O’Brien before and he was impressed. Too bad he had a stomachache from eating a cheap turkey pot pie Raymond served him. Not only that but Lily Lowell, Raymond’s next-door neighbor who always wore huge sweaters that smelled like cigarettes and mold, visited. Her voice was extremely loud and gave William even more of a stomachache. That was probably why he was upset now. He wanted the security of mopping floors without having to talk with many people.
The woman at the information counter looked like Lily Lowell and that made William angrier. Seemingly, he was surrounded by the type of people he wanted to avoid. She asked, “How may I help you?” Her voice was pleasant. That was a relief.
“I’m here to see my boss, Ned Callender.”
She nodded. “Yes. I know Ned. I suggest you ask to see him where he works. If he’s your boss, wouldn’t he be there? Wouldn’t you be, also?”
He was getting angrier by the minute. “I’m supposed to refer to either Mr. Ferris or Mr. Callender or Mr. Goldberg as my boss because I’m just the janitor working part time and I’m not a part of the union. My real boss, Peter Ferris, said Mr. Callender was here.”
She smiled. “Oh. In that case, he’s probably talking to John Gladwell. I don’t think they want to be disturbed. You should go back to work. Your boss is probably wondering why you wandered off.”
Jonathan was about to scream but, suddenly, he felt calm and he had no more stomachache. That never happened before. At best, his stomach might feel fifty percent better over a gradual period of several hours but he always had a pain of some sort, even if less intense than on other days.
Another woman’s voice said, “It is okay, Gladys. He is here to see me.”
He turned his head and noticed a woman with very long hair. That intrigued him. He remembered when long hair was in fashion and considered a sign of beauty. Most of the women in his neighborhood were getting what was called summer cuts. The women looked like men. He was noticing someone different. She was wearing her sweatshirt tucked in which was another rarity. He liked how women looked when presenting neat and tidy appearances, especially considering most of the women he knew were his uncle’s age and looked like him. Her sweatshirt had an unusual design of eyes all over it, as if the eyes were watching him. He did not know why but he smiled and said, “Thank you.”
She nodded. “Come with me.”
Gladys made a face that looked like a failed smile.
The woman opened a door and walked inside. William followed her. She shut the door and asked, “What is your name?”
She held out her hand. “I am Anusha Cheema. I will help you with your problem.”
He walked towards her and they shook hands. He said, “I am supposed to see Ned Callender and get a paper from him.”
“I understand. What good is the paper?”
I was told the paper was not of any importance.”
She nodded. “So you were looking for something that is not important.”
He felt embarrassed. “That’s not exactly what I mean. My boss, Peter Ferris, told me to come here. I’m doing it because it’s my job.”
She was still gripping his hand. He just noticed that. He was not bothered by it. She had taken away his stomachache, somehow. She said, “You have loyalty to your boss. That is decent, even if he is putting you on a wild goose chase.”
“How is he doing that? He is merely telling me what he wants done. I do it so I can get paid.”
“He pays you by having you do things that do not need to be done.”
“No. He pays me with money.”
She smiled. “There are more ways of getting paid than money. That is what I can show you.”
He was not sure how she meant that but he became nervous. “Can I see Mr. Callender?”
She shook her head. “I do not believe you really want to see Mr. Callender.”
He looked at the eyes on her sweatshirt. They seemed to be speaking to him also. They were telling him he did not want to see Mr. Callender. He asked, “What’s going on? What are you doing?”
She said, “You looked frightened. There is no need for that. Your eyes see everything. It is called The Eye Command. It is when you get the feeling from what you see. Right now, your mind is controlling what you’re thinking. We will work together on how to remove the fright.”
He tried pulling his hand free but her grip remained tight. “I believe I should go now.”
“That is fine. We will go where you want to go.”
“No. I want to get away from you. I’m going back to work.”
“What is your concern about me?”
He sighed. “We can’t stay like this. I have things to do. The eyes on your clothes are making me nervous.”
“That is only because you have not dealt with inner issues of yourself. Your feelings are a mirror of your interpretation. You see the eyes as causing nervousness. They are not. You are causing your own nervousness by what you are telling your mind.”
He tried paying prying her hand open with his other hand. He could not do so. “Can you please let go?”
“I can’t let go. It won’t come off.”
“I hope you don’t mean you’ll be holding on forever.”
She smiled. “I won’t answer that right now because you might panic and that is not good. You will learn everything in the time it takes for you to learn it. I will not steer you wrong. I will be your healer. I am your good luck.”
He realized the situation was unusual and he had no clue how to make it normal again. First, he was sent to see a boss in an office where that boss did not work. Next, he dealt with a secretary who acted like he was not telling the truth about why he was there. Finally, he was physically connected to a woman who was making his pain go away and who was good-looking and dressed attractively but refused to let go of his hand. He felt like he was in a puzzle he could not solve. He asked, “What will happen when I go back to work and you come along with me?”
She nodded. “Everything is connected in the universe. There are solutions in things we do not see. Nothing is out of harmony. You will discover this.”
He figured he might as well see what happened. She did take away his stomach pain. Maybe there was something truthful in what she said. He nodded. “Okay. I’ll go along with it, for now.”
Another typical Saturday
during the afternoon,
I was feeling hungry
and wanted dinner soon.
Close to Eighth and Webster,
a place serve beef chow fun.
Good location overall
if I talked with no one.
Too many times I’ll walk by.
A friend sees me and says, “Hi.”
I wish I could determine
exactly how and when
I could attract more women
and avoid annoying men
but now, as I walk out,
streets are bare and quiet.
A good time for adventure
but I don’t want to try it.
When I play a different song,
trouble then tags along.
Several blocks away,
the scene changes style.
Young people walk, happy.
One runs with a smile.
The women look similar
in sweatshirts with pushed up sleeves
ready for college classes
as each parent believes.
Learning with passion
becomes trendy like fashion.
The Asian-Pacific Mall
is just one block away.
A pleasant place to visit
as a breeze blows my way.
There’s benches by the fountain
where I can sit and rest,
thinking of the restaurants
and who looks well dressed.
There are many around
in this part of town.
Suddenly, like magic, as I walk down the hall,
I see a site so rare.
Could it have happened at all?
A woman approaches me,
quick like water flow,
looking into my eyes
and then saying, “Hello.”
Her sweatshirt’s tucked in jeans
like the best beauty queens.
She introduces herself,
holding out her hand.
I tell her my name
and try to understand.
Am I supposed to shake
or do I just hold on
with my right hand or left?
I don’t want to be wrong
but I extend the latter
to resolve the matter.
She holds on quite tight,
suggesting that we walk
without letting go
and avoiding talk.
The moment is surreal
but I accept the plan
until I’m overwhelmed
and I no longer can.
Her grip’s like sticky tape
of which there’s no escape.
I forget about my food
as we stroll every block.
How long, I can’t determine.
I cannot find a clock.
Finally, I stop and pull
with all my might,
causing an awkward struggle
that does not feel right
but I manage to break free
while she’s screaming at me.
I run off, relieved
but have a change of heart
realizing I ruined
a most promising start.
I retrace my steps,
return and wave. She grins.
I suggest we try
the whole thing again. I hold out my hand, ask, “Yes?”
What happens next? You guess.
“Thanks.” She extends her hand.
“Sure.” We shake.
Her expression changes to alarm. She is looking past me. I turn my head. Richard is there. His arms are folded.
Stephanie asks, “What?”
Richard nods. “Hello, Joseph.”
I return the greeting.
He shrugs. “What are you doing?”
She frowns and then notices our handshake. “I’m just thanking him.”
“That stuff Zack brought over, Joseph was good enough to help me put it away.”
“That’s nice of you, Joseph. You can go now.”
I start to walk but Stephanie is still holding on.
She says, “You don’t have to leave.”
He says, “We have things to discuss.”
“Just a split second after I thank Joseph for helping me, you walk in.”
“You say that but you’re holding his hand.”
“I’m shaking his hand.”
“Okay. Now, let go.”
I try to let go but she tightens her grip.
She says, “You’re not the boss of me. I can thank someone without you getting all strange.”
He says, “It’s strange what you’re doing. Let go of him.”
“If I want to shake his hand, that’s what I’ll do. Thank you Joseph.” She employs fast up and down movements.
I say, “I don’t want to be in the middle of anything. I should go.”
“Richard won’t do anything as long as you’re here.”
He says, “That’s enough.”
She sighs. “I’ve had it. I’m not putting up with it, anymore. Today’s the last day. No more mind games. No more threats or jealous bullshit.”
He shrugs. “Who’s doing the mind games now? I come home and see you touching our neighbor and you’re still touching him.”
“If I want to shake his hand all day, that’s when I’m going to do.”
I say, “I didn’t know any of this was going to happen.”
She says, “You don’t have to explain yourself. We should leave. Let him stay angry in an empty room.”
She walks towards the door. Richard moves out of the way, almost apologetically. As he looks at me, his eyes seem less aggressive and more nervous, is if my presence prevents him from reacting another way. She and I walk outside, her pulling me with a firm grip.
Arnold Thompkins was sitting comfortably in his living room, waiting eagerly. The show, Brentwood’s Big Stars, were named ironically. The artists were well-known in town but obscure in most everywhere else. Arnold saw a video for one of Alyssa Donegan’s songs called, “As I Go.” She was dressed in a tucked in T-shirt and belted jeans. He thought she looked great. Whenever he saw female singers wearing their shirts tucked in, he liked their style because most singers nowadays, whether male or female, preferred looking sloppier in loose shirts. He figured the situation was a matter of preference. Just like food: some people enjoyed linguini and clams with Alfredo sauce. Other people avoided pasta, fish and dairy. As far as he was concerned, he could not understand why more entertainers did not dress well. He was equally puzzled why more people did not agree with him.
After Alicia’s video was shown, there was a small interview segment called, “In The Studio.” She was the featured artist that week. She was shown playing piano, singing. She was wearing a plaid shirt tucked in. Arnold was pleasantly nervous. Did she usually dress like that? After the interview segment was over, he went into the bedroom and logged onto his computer. He looked up her name and what appeared with her name was under the category of singer songwriter. There were a few pictures, all showing her wearing the tucked in T-shirt look from her video. He clicked on the images category and saw some pictures just of her face or the top part of her body but not enough to see the whole outfit but he noticed, in the pictures of her whole outfit, her shirts were always tucked in. Some pictures were T-shirts and others were plaid shirts, always with rolled up sleeves and belted jeans. There were also pictures of other people, one of whom looked a little bit like her but not much, wearing a blue sweatshirt and jogging pants. He clicked on it and the caption showed, “Allyssa Little from Donegan County.” The computer showed results for anything with the words Alyssa and Donegan, including a church with the caption, “Alyssa’s and Donegan’s wedding.”
He looked at websites that posted interviews with her. In one interview, she said, “I don’t care what other people do. I do my own thing. That goes for my music and how I look.”
She was apparently from Brentwood. Arnold could not recollect if he saw her anywhere in town. He had just heard of her yesterday, when Brentwood’s Big Stars showed “As I Go” during the closing credits, indicating she would be featured tomorrow. There were a few other female singers who wore their shirts tucked in who Arnold liked but they fluctuated in their styles and sometimes wore dresses or cut off T-shirts. So far, Alyssa was the only one staying constant in her appearance. Arnold wondered if she only dressed that way for when she was promoting her career. Perhaps in private the situation was different. Howard wondered about the possibility of meeting her.
I thought the best stuff off the KISS My Ass tribute CD, when I bought it back in the day, was Lenny Kravitz’ “Deuce”, Garth Brooks’ “Hard Luck Woman”, and Toad The Wet Sprocket’s “Rock N Roll All Nite.” I hated Dinosaur, Jr.’s “Goin’ Blind” (but I can’t stand anything that group does anyway), and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones doing “Detroit Rock City” seemed just a silly waste. As far as if there’s another tribute CD like it, in the future, I really can’t figure who might be good for what song. Maybe Joan Jett could do “Shock Me” and I’d be interested in a hard rocking version of “I Stole Your Love” with Lady Gaga.
Oh… Julian, I bought a copy of the solo albums book and The Elder book. Great books! I live close to the Bay Area. I wouldn’t mind sometime buying you a beer and talking about KISS.
I have a question for Marcus: which particular place do you go to get your vinyl albums done? I’m asking for a friend of mine who wants to know in case he puts something on vinyl himself. 🙂 If you want to email me, my email is email@example.com
This time I picked a certain female singer songwriter, did not include one of her songs but went to the similar artists and then chose one song each from the twenty listed. Some of the songs I rate high, others good, and the rest mediocre or competent. I did not look to see who did what song. So these are my impressions of the songs only. I will now put the artists and songs next to my notes. As always, I knew that some would not be great and there would be a few surprises.
1) Emilie Nicolas “Pstereo”: It’s an interesting idea combining electronica with singer-songwriter material but this song doesn’t wow me. C
2) Nerina Pallot “Not Over You”: There’s nothing wrong with this song but nothing particularly memorable. It’s okay for background music when you’re doing housework. C
3) Tristan Prettyman “Song For The Rich”: Another inoffensive but not really memorable song. C
4) Merit Larsen “The Sinking Game”: This is interesting. Sort of gay 90’s (1890’s, that is) with traces of electronic flourishes. I’d be interested in hearing more of her work. A-
5) Susanne Sundfør “Meditation In An Emergency”: This is nice. Sort of Henry Mancini-esque. I dig it. B+
6) Highasakite “Hiroshima”: The song is just okay but the arrangement is really well done. B-
7) Sivert Høyem “Blown Away”: Very nice. Sort of like Chris Isaak, Bryan Ferry and Tom Waits with a crooner’s voice. A
8) Amy Macdonald “Let’s Start A Band”: I like the Ennio Morricone-style arrangement. This is cool. B+
9) The Wind And The Wave “Loyal Friend And Thoughtful Lover”: Sounds like a lot of other autobiographical-style country/emo songs I’ve heard, but I can bear it. C
10) Gin Wigmore “Don’t Stop”: This is cute and clever. The old-fashioned honky-tonk bar-room arrangement is nice. B+
11) Kaizers Orchestra “Evig Pint”: Wow. This is really trippy and cool. A
12) Rachel Yamagata “Elephants”: This is dreamy and nice. A
13) Maria Mena “Shadow”: The song is competent but the arrangement pushes it up quite a bit. B-
14) KT Tunstall “Someday Soon”: It’s a good arrangement but the song is merely okay. C+
15) First Aid Kit “Dance To Another Tune”: This is great. A+
16) Minor Majority “Take It In”: This is groovy and intimate. Very fine song. A
17) The Pierces “Take You Home”: Not great but okay. C
18) Brandi Carlile “Josephine” (live version): I like the sparse old-fashioned arrangement but the song could be better. C+
19) A Fine Frenzy “Liar, Liar”: Another mediocre but not great song.
20) Eva & The Heartmaker “Useless”: I like the electronic element added. It’s raised one notch above competent. C+