Something as sweet as a kiss goodbye could set the world on fire. The velvet touch of a candied kiss from the one you adore can make the devil cry. Walking away from a world that only brought sorrow is the greatest of triumphs. Hank couldn’t help but feel utterly helpless. “Never got to say goodbye to anyone of em.” Kicking dead bottles down the melting summer pavement brought back heartaches. With each clank of the glistening glass Hank could hear all the ghosts who had left for the clouds. Or where ever. The tears stopped falling years before but the feelings sat in his heart thrashing and kicking. Hank needed a way out. With each step the anger pooled, the bottles now were being thrown and passer by’s were making every effort to cross the street no matter how congested. As Hank turned the corner, a few miles from the hospital that housed the corpse of another friend, he looked up and saw the van drive up.
“Hank! Where the fuck have you been? We gotta gig up North. It’s 2 and 1/2 hours away so we gotta leave now. All accommodations, rooms, food, drinks and pay. But we have to play 2 nights…”
“No thanks. I’m done.”
Hank turned, threw a bottle at a raggedy old abandoned building and turned to walk off.
Jake, Hanks childhood friend and singer, came running up and grabbed Hank by the shoulders. Hank turned and took a half hearted swing but still connected with Jakes jaw.
“What the fuck man? Chill, come on man. I get it. I get it. Come here *Grabs Hank and hugs him* look man maybe this trip will do you some good. Cooler weather and no one knows us. We can disappear for a couple of days.”
“Yeah… I’m cracking man. I wanna disappear for good though. Find a nice girl and leave. No more drama. No more drugged out souls. No more decadence dance with the dead. No one gives a shit anymore. It’s sad. All I see when I look around is teared up faces and lost hope. I need to get away. Write and find a new life.”
“This is your life. We have gigs. You can write in the room. After the next few gigs we’re taking some time off to write new songs. Remember? You just need to recharge. Come on, get in.”
In the van, nestled in a sad corner, Hank grabbed a bottle and began cooling his pangs and weary carcass. In the make shift shelf Hank had made years before; he pulled out a notebook and began pouring anguish onto the script. Every word quenched with every sip.
BLACK LIKE SUNDAY
‘Mocking the morning
In bloom fine fragrances.
A cold new moon grows; a
Slave to a Dead relationship.
Black like Sunday,
With blind sunshine.
Plastic icy faces
A plastic attraction
Hearts full of memories and
Memories full of accidents
I wonder what it’s like
A hell without sin
A loud crowd grows, sitting
In the waiting room thats my head
I’m burning pictures of you
Inside my head
Spilling cashmere, on a heart
That’s never, never been fed
The ghost in you is killing
What’s been said
Cold new moon grows
Grey city sky,
Candy apple grey
The fine art of imperfection
Another Dirty Sunday
The radio’s on, Listening
TO “HEARTS DON’T FADE”
Hearts full of memories and
Memories full of accidents
And nothing, comes from nothing,comes from nothing
A loud crowd grows sitting
In the waiting room that’s my head
Burning pictures of you inside
Spilling cashmere on a heart that’s
Never ,never been fed
The ghost in you is killing
Whats been said
Black Like Sunday
Choking down bitter pills
To stay Awake
Down by a suicide
A fine invitation that would be a mistake
Another dirty Sunday
I wonder what it’s like
A Hell without sin
A cellophane wall of melody
A little taste of heaven I hope some one
LETS ME IN’
Feverishly tipsy, jolly and manic Hank fell forward as the van came to a stop. The 2 and 1/2 hours went by as fast as Hank’s life. As he left the van he felt a cool rush of fresh Mountain air and listened to the soft breeze whispering in his ear while cooling his flesh. The boys made there way to the hotel a few yards from where they were parked. The hotel was a large red bricked building that was attached to the small theater that they were playing the next few nights. After cordial introductions and the ins and outs of what was expected Hank made his way to the room. The rest of the guys and the crew made their way to the bar. Upon entering the room Hank made his way to the bed and collapsed. He spent the next few hours wrestling with the demons that wallowed through his dreams.
*Skies brushed of crimson and amethyst. On top of some gravestones sits a Raven, three Angels smoking cigarettes while Hank walks between the gravestones chatting with a man with salt and pepper hair and wearing what appears to be a priests attire. Yet it’s made of velvet and there is no collar. Hank can’t understand the voices as there were to many. The man turns, grabs Hank by the shoulders, screams in his face while the Angels smile and laugh exposing black toothed grins.*
Hank awakes screaming, sweating and punching . As he comes too, he realizes his fist hurts and looks up to find Jake rubbing his jaw.
“Goddamn it Hank. Thats the second time you asshole.”
Jake punches Hank in the jaw and sits down across from him.”
“We go on in an hour. Get yourself right. Here’s a drink. This place is crazy man. This Hotel is 100 years old and is apparently haunted or some shit. They put a whole spread out for us downstairs. Food and drinks. It’s already packed and the opening band is still playing. Everyone is pretty wrecked already so bring your A-Game.”
“Thanks for the drink. I don’t want to play man. Fuck all this. I need a break.”
“Are you having those nightmares again? Dude don’t be a shit. It’s just a show. You love this shit. Don’t forget that. Just enjoy the night and the weekend. I don’t want to play any shows for awhile after this anyway. We need some new songs and a new record. The time off will be sweet. Just chill out.”
“Yeah. I know. I’ll be right down.”
Hank splashed some water on his face and cleaned the blood from his fist from where he punched Jake. Staring into the mirror Hank came to terms with the creepy vibe of the hotel and how it fit into the way his life had molded so far. He dressed then made his way down stairs.
As Hank walked into the bar, adjacent to the Theater, he made account of the plastic icy faces fixated on the new bag of bones that just entered the room. Hank ordered a drink, raised his glass to the dead souls and sauntered into the Theater. Hank made his way back stage and strapped his bass on, checked to see if the crew had tuned it, took a drink and made his way to the stage.
By all accounts it was an electrified night. The crowd was large and alive and the band was ferocious. Hank left nothing on the stage that night. Every year of pain, anger and hate was let loose. A cathartic dump of emotion and with a quick “fuck all of you” into the mic as the last note of the last song rang out it was done. Hank walked off stage put his bass away and walked away. He grabbed a bottle of bourbon and a couple of beers and wandered off into the night to be alone for awhile.
Hank found a park just a block from the Hotel that over looked a lake. He sat down on the park bench, smoked and drank while whispering to ghosts. The night was clear and the stars pricked the night. The air was cool and the moon shivered across the lake as if it was aroused by the touch of every ripple. It was here that Hank started to make deals with himself and to the lingering souls that were swimming in the lake, or dancing in the grass, or to the ones that were sitting beside him on the park bench.
“I’m done with the scene….. I need more…. Who ever is listening… Ah fuck…
Hank finished the beers and walked back to the Hotel. As he walked into the bar he saw the band with their bags and Jake getting screamed at by the Hotel Manager. Hank approaches,
“Hey, whoa settle down a bit what’s going on Sir?”
“These sons of bitches make loud party up stairs disturb all the guests then take ladders and climb in and out of windows and urinating from the roof. They no longer welcome. I want to press charges, call the cops….”
“No wait. Why don’t we just leave and call it even?”
“I no pay you. Fuck you. You go now before I call the cops!!!!”
“Alright, alight. Settle down. Is the van packed Jake?”
“Yeah it’s packed.”
“Thank you Sir; sorry for the disturbance and thank you for not calling the cops.”
“They just lucky you come. You nice boy. These ones are fucks. Rude, rude boys.”
“Yeah. Goodnight Sir.”
Hank turned and walked to the van. There he sat, lit a smoke, took a few sips of the bourbon and watched the guys roll up giggling.”
“Thanks Hank. Wooo what a blast. Wait until they see those rooms. I think those two chicks are still doing it in the shower. Hahahaha. Wait, did anyone grab the blow? We gotta go get it!”
“Get in the van you fucking idiot. You go back and you’ll be in jail you dumb ass. I’m sick of this fucking shit. Get in the van. You all have until I start the van. Once in drive I’m gone.”
It was a long drive back to hell but uneventful at least. As Hank pulled up to the hood it was dawn and T.T was out walking his dogs and smoking.
“Damn son you look like shit nigga. Where ya all been?”
“Man, don’t ask T.T these mutha fuckas almost landed in jail. We got kicked out of a hotel. We were supposed to play two nights but these fucks… Ah man forget it.”
”Hah HA, yeah! Shit, fuck the police son. Get yo asses inside and wash the funk off ya. I see you niggas later.”
Hank walked inside and collapsed on his bed. Hank nodded off to the hum of the A/C in the back ground.
Hank awoke to the sun beating on his face and Jake standing over him with a note in his hand. Hank rubbed his eyes and asked,
“What time is it? What the hell man what do you want?”
“It’s 10:30am. Get up, you have message. A call came in for you.”
“10:30!?! What the hell man? What, I only get a couple hours of sleep before…”
“Dude, Hank, you’ve been asleep since yesterday. It’s been over 24hrs since we got home. You stink. Here’s the message and some water. Damn dude go take a shower. When did you apply for a job?”
“A whole day? Um, job? Oh that. I applied and interviewed for a driving job for an attorney service doing court, PI research and delivering documents to judges. I did this a couple of weeks ago knowing we were going to take some time off.”
“Oh cool. I got that sales job I was after. Cool. Hey, band practice tomorrow night. Bring your notebooks. I’ve got some ideas.”
“Fuck already. Yeah ok.”
Hank read the message as Jake walked out of the room.
Please be in at 9:00am sharp and make sure you bring a copy off your insurance.
Glad to have you aboard.
“Shit. Cool. 9 am? Ugh…”
The following morning Hank made is way through rush hour traffic; laughing. Laughing because usually he was driving in the other direction, opposite of rush hour, on his way home. Hank could’t help but feel a little excited. He found out about this job through reading the paper. It seemed perfect. Half the day was doing research on certain criminals and victims for the attorney’s that the company hired and the other half was driving a route to Law Firms picking up documents to be taken to the court houses. Real life.
The second half of Hank’s day had arrived and he was being trained on the route. The guy that was training Hank recognized him. This guy went to a lot of shows and had seen Hank’s band a dozen times.
“I dig you guys man. Good stuff. Hey, you’ll love this job. SO many pretty women. It’s unreal. No one bugs you either unless there is an emergency pick up. That can throw you off schedule but no big deal. I always have time to hit the record store on 7th AVE. This job is sweet. l’ll miss this route but I’m a P.I. now so whatever.”
By the 5th stop Hank had it all down and was ready to do it himself so the guy gave him the reigns.
“Dude, this next stop…Whoa is this chick fine. Smokin. If I wasn’t getting married I’d ask her out. She’s super cool too. Always friendly.”
As they walked through the doors they were meet with a soft voice offering greetings from behind a wall.
“They’re almost ready. I’ll be there in a sec. Here you go. Oh, Hi, who’s this?”
“This is Hank. He’ll be your new courier. I got the promotion so he’ll be taking over. Hank. Kay. Kay. Hank.”
“Hi Hank. Nice to meet you. We’re always late so please be patient. Hahaha.”
“Uh, nice to meet you too.”
Kay was the most amazing women Hank ever met. Long flowing blond hair and curves. A smile a mile wide and here eye’s were bright, friendly and deep with life. A fresh soul. They sat a talked a moment and Hank heard, softly in the back ground, music. It was a mix CD and the songs coming through blew him away. Chuck Berry, Ramones, Sophie B. Hawkins, Social Distortion, Cake… This lady had an eclectic taste of music, was soft, pretty, funny and kind. Hank had already fallen for her and they just met.
The weeks went by and Hank eagerly awaited the last half of the day just so he could see Kay again. So they could talk. So Hank could feel again. Just watching her and listening to hear made Hank want to cry. But not tears of sadness; tears of… Relief. Relief in knowing that not everything is dark and dead. She made Hank feel new again. They would talk so deep that Hank’s pager would go off because he was late getting back.
“Ugh… I gotta go I’m late getting back again.”
“Just tell them the attorney is late again with the filing. They know her. She was always making the other guy wait. He would always leave only to have to come back later to pick it up. But um, hey, you could always ask me out? We’d have more time to talk and you wouldn’t have so much trouble getting back in time.”
“Yeah? I’m not sure I’d have much to offer. ”
“Why don’t you let me decide that? You have a show coming up this weekend don’t you? Some special engagement/Birthday thing for a promoter? I’ll see you there.”
“Unless you don’t want me too?”
“No. No. It’s not that. Look I really do like you. I’m just nervous I guess. You’re real and that’s a whole weird scene. But I would love it if you came. I’ll put you on the guest list. Bring a friend with you too. I want you to feel comfortable and I’ll take care of both of you when you get there. I’ll look for you or tell the security guy at the entrance who you are and he’ll find me.”
“Ok. I can tell you’re nervous. It’s cute. Maybe it’s a weird scene but I’m not part of it. Never have been. I just want to see you guys play and get to know you better.”
“I’d like to take you on a real date.”
“I can’t tonight. I have studying to do. But I’ll see you Friday night and we can talk more about that then ok? Now get on out of here before you get in trouble. I’ll see tomorrow night.”
“Cool, see ya.”
Hank left a little lighter and his face hurt from all the smiling. Of course his heart sank to his chest at the thought of Kay going to the show.
“Man, I hope these fucks don’t ruin this…”