Monday, 30 March 2009

Third time's a charm

"Hey, yea, Bill? It's Mack Johnson here. Been trying to get a hold of you. Just pulled out some cash out of the bank, gotta buy me that suit I've been telling you about. A bit pricey but all worth the 4 big ones. No no, I know, meetings and all that, I've been uber busy myself. We just closed on the Triangle case. Yea yea, Macy didn't tell you? That bitch is going to get her ass fired. If she didn't have such a nice ass I'd have gotten rid of her ages ago if you know what I mean hehe.. Anyway, so I've been thinking, you know how those sharks up at mana- HEY! BUDDY WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING YOU JERK OFF! God! Sorry Bill, some lunatic taxi driver nearly ran me over. Fucking pakis. What happened to good ol' American workforce huh? Anyway? Where was I? Oh yea.. So them sharks up in management, I'm thinking its about time we try and get their goose you know? Where it really hurts. Wha? Loyalty schmoyalty, it's a dog eat dog world Billy boy. So what if we catch them asleep? There's big bu- Jesuschristallmighty in heaven, fuck that was close. Huh? yea, sorry, sorry, woah, I'm sort of out of breathe after that one, I just slipped on some stupid kid's ice cream, nearly went down a manhole.. Jesus... Yea.. ok, what? No no I'm fine. So where was I? Yeah yeah, so Nick could be the first to go. It's really simple.. Pull some strings, get some dirt on him an- huh? So what if he's clean as a whistle, nothing is impossible. With him out the way- hang on hang on some hobo's bothering me... I don't have ti-... *sigh* I can't shake him off. I'm going to have to call you back - "

" Yea, Bill? Sorry, some jerk ass good for nothing bum was insisting he wanted to show me something.. Huh? Yea, three coins lined up on their edge. How the fuck should I know why that's important. It was sort of odd how they were lined up like that though, they looked like they were magnetised. Must be one of those street hoaxes, yea yea exactly like that joker you told me about. Damn parasites. Yea, so we bring down Nick, Martins follows, then there are two nice fat juicy positions for us to fill. It's simple as A, B, C. HAH yea yea you know it. The cash will just come flowing in, easiest cash cow I've ever been smart enough to milk. Yea with udders like that she could be couldn't she HAHAHAH- WOAH WOAH HOLD IT THERE BUDDY, easy now! EASY!... There's no reason to point that thing this way, now now, let's not be hasty! Money?? Err yeah here here hold on man, that's 20$ that's all I got, huh? No No!! You can't tak- *BANG. BANG.... BANG*

* * *

"Yea, Nick. It's Bill. You heard huh? Yea, yea... I was on the line when it happened.. He must've argued over the rest of his money... Stupid Mack.. Poor stupid bastard... It was terrifying you know, after the shots, I heard him thud and a few clicks. Yea, three bullets. Odd thing though, I heard people screaming and all that, and then I heard this voice, it sounded like this guy Mack had bumped into on the street only a few minutes earlier, some bum or something... Yea yea, I'm pretty sure it was him. He was shouting. He was saying "Third time's a charm". Creepy huh? Man, I should call Carol, she must be devastated. How's Macy? Upset too huh... *sigh* yea. So, er, Nick, you considered what I talked to you about? Yea.. Getting to the top? Cool, so here's my idea..."

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Jerry: The Victim of Society

Grumpy ol' fella', he was. The easiest way to describe him is Dave Chappelle's "The Grouch" from his skit about Sesame Street. He was a very angry man. He sat among his pile of stuff, all day and night, watching the city go by. Every once in a while he would yell out at people and annoy them, they would throw some change into his coffee cup to get him off their case and they'd rush off. His belongings formed a perfect bell curve along the wall and the floor when viewed from my balcony overhead. He sat right in the middle, as if to emphasize the fact that he's just another average hobo.

I had been living in the apartment on this semi-ghetto Brooklyn street for a few years now. Every day, I would come back home and have to traverse the cross-fire between his glares and stares at the public to reach the door of the building. I used to smile at him every once in a while and he responded with a blank look, rather than the profanities he would catapult at others. When I first moved in, it was winter. New York has an unforgiving wind that whips through the streets. I had an old coat I had used just a couple of times, so I gave it to him. During the colder times of the year, I would grab him a cup of coffee; in the summer, an ice-cold lemonade. Still, conversation was less than minimal.

On my way back home one day, I walked right past him and was fumbling for my keys when I realized something was different. I had a double-take and looked back at where he normally sat. It was organized. He sat in the same spot, but there was a shopping cart full of his things, arranged by frequency of usage from the bottom to the top. His clothes were nicely stacked in a cardboard box near him which he used as a sort of table for his cup. He was smiling. I had never seen that before.

Just then, a passer-by crossed his path. "Hey! Hey you, walking with your mobile phone," he said while swinging his arms around trying to get his attention.
"Hang on, some hobo's bothering me... I don't have ti-," the man replied, still walking.
"I don't want anything from you," the hobo said, "just a moment of your time."
"I'm going to have to call you back," the businessman said and hung up the phone.
The hobo then pointed up at the windowsill above his head and smiled, "Isn't that beautiful?" Three quarters were standing on their edges, side by side. The man shook his head and walked away murmuring, "Crazy fuckin' people in this city," under his breath.

I went up to the hobo, he was still smiling, pointing up at the coins, "What has gotten into you?"
"What do you mean? There's just beauty in that, don't you think?"
"Well, yea... but what happened to the grumpy guy on the street?" I asked.
What he told me next made me question whether he had gone insane or not, "See that garbage can over there across the street? Well, last night, some chick came down from your building and had this awesome looking thing in her hands. It was all colorful and shit."
I was kind of lost as to where this story was going, "So? What about it?"
He continued, "It was a goat head, all funky colored... kinda like reminded me of all them psychadelic shits I used to do back in the 60's. I was shocked, 'cuz she just put it down on the floor next to the garbage and talked to it, and walked away. Made me wonder if she was a little cuckoo."
At this point I was seriously questioning his sanity and replied, "Alright man..." trying to end the conversation as I shifted me feet to turn away.
"Wait, wait... hear me out now. That's not all. Not even half an hour after she left, some dude was walking around, probably going somewhere, I don't know," he was close to coming to his point, "the dude was curious, picked it up, checked it out, dusted it, and walked away with it with a smile on his face."
His voice was rising in tone, the climax was coming, "As he was leaving, the damn thing smiled at ME and winked. I'm telling you I was shocked at first, but this morning I woke up and didn't mind where I was. I was always pissed at how and where I ended up, but there is beauty in this world and we usually take it for granted until it's forgotten."
I was really speechless. All I could really blurt out was, "Wow!" I realized he was truly being sincere, "You know what, I have been here a few years now and still don't know your name"
His smile held its position and he happily answered, "Jerry. I'm Jerry. Now you go on up and get some rest after work, you look like shit."
We both laughed a little and as I waved and turned away, he said, "Have a good night, Mr. Gerebtzoff." I stopped in my tracks for a split second, wondering how in the world he would know my name. It's not even written on the buzzer at the door. "Goodnight, Jerry," I responded, still in awe, and went up to my appartment.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Playing the goat

It happened after a long night of drinking.
I actually thought it happened because of the long night of drinking.
I thought i was drunk, but I've been drunk before, and this was completely different.
You're not going to believe me, but it spoke. The goddamn goat head hanging above my TV spoke.
I was sat on my lounge chair that was stained with tomato sauce from the nights I'd spent eating spaghetti on it watching crime night, and had more than a few burn holes from my cigarettes when it happened.

"Brush your teeth before you go to bed"
(great, a voice with a sense of hygiene)

First I ignored it, thinking it was just the voice in my own head. I turned out my cigarette in the ashtray balanced on the lounge chair's arm and began to walk towards my room (not in a straight line, mind you), when it happened again.

"Hey, that's still lit. Are you trying to burn down your house?"

This time, I stopped in my tracks. I slowly realised that my head voice did not sound like Anthony Hopkins crossed with that guy from Snatch.

"Whose there??" I said, frozen in a half step, head hunched and still while my eyes darted from one side of the room to the other looking for the voice.

"Up here, on the wall."

It was the fluorescent painted goat head hanging above my TV. I know you don't believe it. I didn't believe it either. But it was.
My friend had bought me that goat head as a gift from a shack shop on the beach a few months ago. He had heard about it through a friend of his who had bought this awesome retro 8 ball from there, so he decided to check it out, and ended up buying the goat head. It was meant as a tongue-in-cheek joke about how I always was playing the goat. I ended up hanging the head on my wall above the TV, where it witnessed my day to day life.

"Oh my ..." I began to stutter, as you would too, trust me.

"Didn't mean to startle you there. But it's time we talked," it said, and began to unravel the longest ball of story yarn I'd heard in a while.

His name was Shaman Billy apparently, and he had been bestowed with powers by Zeus (yeah, I know), and could speak with the tongue of man. His fellow goats had deemed him divine, not surprisingly, but the villagers soon took wind of his powers, and decided to eat him in attempt to claim some of it.
They ate his flesh and danced ritual dances, and then at the end of it, all that was left was his head. It was mounted and eventually was found, shipped and went from one end of the planet to the other until Shaman Billy ended up here. On my wall. He had heard all my phone conversations, seen me cry, seen me smoke and read, enjoyed listening to Seinfeld when I was watching it on TV, and was amused by my antics playing Guitar Hero. A lot.

And now I was conversing with a goat head.

"But now I have to go," he ended.

"Why? Are you bored? Did I do something wrong?"

"No. Not at all. But I've learned all I have to learn. I have to move on. Learning is never over." he replied.

"Ok.. Ok. I can understand that. What do I do? Is there some sort of ritual or something....?" I replied, stuttering slightly?

"Well, unless leaving me outside near the trashcans is a ritual, no," he said, smiling (You think it's hard to imagine a talking goat? Imagine one with a sense of humour who smiles...) "someone will pick me up sooner or later. Especially in this neighbourhood."

"Yea, ha. Yea, ok." I muttered smiling while I scratched the back of my head looking out the window at the semi-ghetto I call my home.
I got up on a chair and started to dismantle Shaman Billy. Funny how one becomes oh so much more careful handling furniture when it talks to you, you know?

As I stood outside in the dark, with the neighbour's dog humping the lawnmower only a few feet away, I looked at Shaman Billy in all his psychedelic colourfulness.

"This is it huh? I just leave you here?". Yeah, I was asking a goat.

"Yes. Simple really. I'll find my way." he said softly.

"Funny. For a legless thing, you've been around quite a bit," I remarked.

"Haha. True, true." he laughed. (I made a goat laugh. That's one for the grand kids)
"Listen," he said after composing himself. "You should know..."


"... You're doing ok. Don't worry. Keep going where you think you should be going, and it'll all be alright. I know it" he uttered. And you might find it strange, but I'd never been at such peace as I was after hearing those words coming out of Shaman Billy's mouth. Or muzzle or whatever.
Straight from the goat's mouth.

I smiled at Billy, reluctantly leaned him at the foot of the rubbish bin outside, and stood there, looking down at his gleaming eyes.

"I'm honoured to have had you around, even though I thought you were just a stuffed goat head..." the words seemed to choke me on the way out.

"Glad to have been on your wall. You should go now. It's late. " Billy replied.

I got the message. Goats don't like goodbyes. So I turned by back, and walked into my house, glancing briefly at the shape of the mount stenciled out of dust above my TV, walked into my room, and had beautiful dreams I couldn't remember the next morning.

Like a kid on Christmas morning, I rushed to the window the next day as soon as I woke up, to see if Shaman Billy was still there.
Yeah. You guessed it. He was gone. But you know what? It was ok.

In case you ever come across a brightly coloured goat head, word of advice. Don't scratch your crotch in front of it. And when it talks, listen.