Tag archive for "Boston literature"

The Written Word, Reaching A Limit, Then Breaking Through

Reaching A Limit, Then Breaking Through (The First Movement)

No Comments 11 October 2011

Each time he pulled back the handle of the deli slicer, I watched his rhuematic elbow brush up against his hip.  Silently, I observed the way his eyebrows reacted and knew faithfully that he was a miserable little prick.  He just had that look to him. Distant.  Arrogant.  Mechanical.  Nearly-broken. Regret followed him everywhere he went.  Not a look that scared me, per say, I just knew that I shouldn’t piss him off because he controlled the lunch meat.  And lunch meat was somehow holding my life together.

He was a stout man, with an undefined, squat quality rarely seen since the Paleolithic period.  I could imagine the mats of curled hair that forested his back.  I tore a number from the red machine, this time 36, which sealed my fate in line behind an elderly woman with her eye on roast beef prices, and a young mother juggling two unruly minions.  The old woman’s indecision and price-needling gave me time to watch the man behind the deli counter.  He began to fume as she haggled, a red blush of anger began to show through a face that had been five o’clock shadowed since the day’s first coffee break. If his complexion were a white shirt, that shirt would have to be trampled in dirt for a few hours then gently massaged over a piece of used coal to get the look right. Not to mention his jagged, insect-like teeth jutted out, spewing sadness and half masticated food.  Not that he would ever do this, but if he ever had a zen moment and bent down to smell a flower, the poor plant would wilt from the sheer grandiosity of his grossness.  A miserable little prick.

He was the bane of my existence every week. He made my visit to the deli counter as awful and uncomfortable as humanly possible. I’d try to time it right so I could get the other deli guy, but there seemed to be some type of cosmic magnetism driving us together. Every single time he waited on me. And he REALLY let me know he was waiting on me. I can see him now, just finishing up the previous order putting both elbows on the counter, head hanging down, and exhaling a sigh that must have contained the weight of the world.

“Next”, he’d cough as he looked up in some type of desperation and anger.

I used to say ‘hi’ and try to be nice, but I sensed that just agitated him more, so now I just go right into my order.

“ A pound of the Shaw’s roasted turkey breast, the one that’s on sale”, I’d say.

I don’t know if this was by design or maybe he just had some immense build-up in his ears but he never heard anything I said the first time.

“What!” he’d bark as he turned his head and made that cupping gesture around his ear.

“The Shaw’s roasted turkey breast, the one that’s on sale, a pound”

“You’re going to have to be more specific, I’ve got a lot of turkey breast here”, he’d snap.

“The Shaw’s roasted turkey breast…… the one that’s on sale….a pound”

The only acknowledgement I ever got was when he would waddle off grumbling, half nodding his head. This was on a good day. There would be some days he would ignore me completely. If I ran into the market within a half hour of closing?  Forget it.  I’ve literally stood no more than 10 feet away from him while he was packing up for the night and he wouldn’t even look in my direction. I didn’t want to speak up either. Those deli counters are high and you really can’t see behind them. I sure as shit didn’t want to find out what he’d do when he was out of my eyesight with the right motivation. So I’d just walk away dejected and without deli meats.

The Second Movement due out Friday and brought to you by I Love Sweater Vest Inc.

The Written Word, Features, Analyzing Albert

Analyzing Albert part 5

No Comments 06 October 2011

After a half hour I realized that my attempts at snoozing were futile so I decided to take a peak in the suitcase. Besides, I really didn’t have anything better to do. As I flipped the case open it was like a million kisses from angels fluttered on my face. The case smelled so good and was flawlessly organized. Shoes perfectly polished to the point where the glint of the light ricocheting off the shoe made me squint. The underwear and undershirts were perfectly folded into 4×4 squares neatly arranged by pair. To the left were the shirts. They were the most beautiful button down shirts I have ever seen. Majestic. It was obvious the gentleman that owned this case was a cut above the rest because these shirts weren’t just ripped from the closet. They were carefully taken out of their dry-cleaned boxes and arranged with the cardboard still holding the creases and a razor-sharp collar. The ties lay underneath the shirts tightly wrapped in tissue. The colors of the ties were so vibrant they made me sweat just holding them.  I had never seen clothes like this in real life, I had only read about them in the Sears catalogue.

The tragic memories of the fall were further away than God. I flipped on my clock radio and began to dress in the underwear, socks and shirts. Dion and the Belmonts serenaded me as I danced around the room. I kept posing in the mirror with different tie and shirt combinations. The only problem was I had only officially tied a tie once and it was back in my childhood so I could hardly remember the procedure. I decided clothes this beautiful deserved a proper full Windsor so I sat down next to the case and was determined to spend however long until I remembered how to do it.

As I sat there, jostling my neck and head back and forth I noticed that the case still had a fairly large bulge on the top flap. I couldn’t comprehend what could possibly make this day any better and as I fumbled with the zipper my mind was racing about a million thoughts per second.

The suit was radiating. I’m not sure if it was the late afternoon sun peering through my window, the silk undies against my privates or just my own euphoria but the suit was glowing. I sat there for what seemed like hours just admiring the craftsmanship. I almost didn’t want to put it on but how could I resist? I managed to put a mediocre knot in my tie and decided I would figure that part out later. I slipped into the pants and jacket and sauntered across the room to the mirror. Frankie Valli’s “Donna” came on the radio.

As soon as I looked into the mirror I was stunned. Honestly I almost forgot I was looking at myself. I really did.  For the first time in my life I was completely happy with the man looking back at me. Not only happy but impressed! I felt invincible in that suit. Everything just felt right and I began to waltz around my room listening to the chorus. As I danced around I realized that I wished grey suit girl was in my arms. Then I got sad. But as I turned around I caught another glimpse of myself in the mirror and realized that I was a handsome devil. I was sure all I had to do was show up at the coffee shop tomorrow and show off my new look and she would fawn all over me.

At that moment I decided I didn’t want to go to the airport anymore. I didn’t want to change from person to person week to week. I was finally happy and comfortable. I spent the rest of the day cleaning the house then went to bed early so I could get a good night’s sleep to look my best. It had been a long time since I went to bed looking forward to the next day.

The Written Word, Analyzing Albert

Analyzing Albert – The Final Movement

No Comments 05 October 2011


That night I slept with the windows wide open so the smell of the bread baking from the café would awaken me. For once, I was ready for the sun when it started shining and I started shining right back. I showered and dressed as soon as possible. Often times grey suit girl only came in for a coffee to go and I didn’t want her to miss me. When I walked through the door I felt like a virgin. When the girl behind the counter gave me my coffee she looked beautiful. Almost angelic. I took my coffee and grabbed a paper and retreated to the corner seat perfectly positioning myself with a view of the entire place.

All the usual characters came in, but they didn’t have the same piss yellow hue. There was something inherently different about them. The man in his too-tight brown pants didn’t remind me of shit. The brown seemed to resemble a deep colored chocolate reminiscent of a Hershey Bar. And I think he might have even lost some weight. I guess things were on the up and up for everybody.

While I sat there and waited an odd looking man came in. I didn’t recognize him and was fairly certain he had never come to the café. At least not on my watch. He was dressed ridiculously in jeans, sandals and a Hawaiian shirt. He sat down and ordered breakfast. The absence of grey suit girl started to concern me as 15 minutes turned into a half hour and a half hour into forty five minutes. Then I realized I had never come to the café this early before and by all estimations she was going to be right on time.

As I sat pretending to read the paper scanning the place to see how everyone reacted to my new look I caught the strange looking man staring at me a few times. At first I was nervous but he must have been admiring my new look. After all, I was stunning.

The chimes rang out and the door swung open and the heavenly breath of the lord blew my angel through the door. Grey suit girl was in my sights. She pretended to look around as she made her way to the counter but after a few steps she turned in my direction and gave me a smile that made my heart skip and beat and my palms sweaty. She was breath-taking. I couldn’t look away as she stood at the counter and all I could hear was “oooooh Don-na, ohhhhh Don-na”. I knew when she next turned around she would walk towards me and that would be the beginning of the rest of our lives together.

Just at that moment the record skipped and a wretched, almost satanic voice crept into my consciousness.

“ Where did you get that suit?”

I looked up and it was that absurd-looking man. Wow, I wanted to smack this insolent bastard for his rudeness. The audacity of him impeding on the moment that was going to change the rest of my life. I turned to him and said.

“If you would please step away sir, I’m expecting someone”

“No, I recognize you. You’re the fat bastard that fell on me at the airport yesterday. How could I forget? I ended up having to take those two women and that kid to the emergency room in my rental car.” He quipped.

“I’m sorry sir, but you must have the wrong person”. As I said this I could see grey suit girl getting her coffee and about to pay.

“Well may be” he replied. “But I doubt that it’s a coincidence that you showed up at the airport yesterday when I didn’t notice you on our flight. Now my suitcase is missing and you’re wearing what looks exactly like my clothes. So do me this favor. Look inside the inside left breast and see if you see the initials JWD on the inside pocket.”

I realized at that moment the smell of this man’s aftershave matched the kisses that greeted me yesterday afternoon when I flipped open that suitcase of treasures. I looked up and grey suit girl was paying. I couldn’t let her see me embarrassed like this. Especially not today. I fumbled to get up and pushed the man out of my way and made for the door. I could hear the man shouting ‘Stop!’ as I burst through the door. I looked back to see if he was gaining on me…

The brakes screeched out like a wild banshee.  The body was flung 15 feet up in the air and at least 30 feet up the road. Everyone rushed out of the café. The owner called the police and within minutes the ambulance was there scraping the remains off the street like a pancake being flipped to early.

There was no call to loved ones, no letters home or to work, just a new delivery to the morgue and a hell of a lot of people that got their luggage back.


Features, National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day October 4 – Danny Gatton

No Comments 04 October 2011

Taking a deep reach into contemporary Americana today folks. You know the reach. Its the type of reach when there are only a few broken Pringles left. Today’s DPD comes from John Pareles. Is it his best work? Hardly. However, Gatton needs to be revisited for obvious reasons…..


Danny Gatton, a guitarist who applied dazzling technique to down-home styles, died on Tuesday at his farm in Newburg, Md. He was 49.

He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, said Detective James Whitcraft of the Charles County sheriff’s office.

Mr. Gatton was revered by musicians for his speed and for a style he called “redneck jazz,” a sliding, twanging, genre-bending amalgam of country music, blues, rockabilly and jazz. He also played banjo and pedal steel guitar. In 1990, Guitar Player magazine named him “the world’s greatest unknown guitarist.” More recently, Fender began manufacturing a Danny Gatton Signature guitar.

He made two albums for Elektra Records, in 1991 and 1993; he also recorded for small independent labels. Because he was reluctant to tour or to move away from southern Maryland, most of his performances were in clubs in the Washington area, where he was a local musical hero. During his career, he won 19 Wammy Awards from the Washington Area Music Association. Continue

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