Hello Old Friend

It has been awhile since I’ve made a post on my WordPress blog and I’ve begun to worry about “True Stories” becoming a total failure.  But the visitor from several weeks ago has not returned like he said he would.

On the night of his visit his stay was brief.   When he left I watched him walk down the street for awhile. His bare feet splash in a few mud puddles until he got underneath the street light, where its hazy glow shined momentarily on his head, before he disappeared into the fog.

I am reluctant at this time to tell his real name.  For now, he will be called Martin.  He told me he was a gift.  But he seems more like a curse.  I’ve been waiting for him to come back, but so far he hasn’t.  Or has he.

Once I thought I saw him standing by the butcher’s counter in Safeway.  When I walked toward him he moved off and I saw him again by the pet food.  I tried to follow him.  But when I walked to the front of the store  store by the cash registers, he went out the door. I’m not really sure it was him.

But more recently something extraordinary has happened.  Just last Tuesday my wife complained about some  kid hanging around in front of the house.   “At first I didn’t think anything of it,” she said.  “but I’ve seen him there for three days straight and I’m wondering what the hell he is doing there.  He looks rather creepy.  Yesterday, I was polite and when I asked if I could do anything for him.  He just shook his head no and left through the alley way between the two houses across the street.   I want a gun, Tim.   A big one.  A .357.  I want a .357.  I think he is casing the house.”

“I only have a .22 Ruger Mark II,” I told her.  “The Mark II is a semi-automatic pistol with a 10 shot clip.  At close range, multiple shots in the face and shoulders, it should draw a lot of blood.”

I can’t be sure the kid she was talking about is the same one who visited in the middle of the night.  But that is my thinking.  He maybe scary.  But I’m pretty sure he is harmless.


A Strange Thing Happened a Few Nights Ago.

As I mentioned in a post from a few days ago, I had to stay up to watch the Beatles’ movie “A Hard Day’s Night,” which aired on the Flix Channel’s Late, Late, Late Show.  But a strange event interrupted the movie.

The movie got to the part where the Beatles were hanging out in a storage compartment of the train where their instruments were kept.  They sat on crates and dealt cards on top of a card board box.  They must have wanted to get away from all the stuffy people they had to sit by.

Then they were were shown as if an hour or so had passed with their instruments in hand.  They played the song “I Should Have Known Better.”  I sat in my easy chair, thoroughly enjoying seeing them together again after so many years.   After awhile, I became distracted by a strange knocking sound.

I turned the volume down.  I waited.  But I didn’t hear the noise again so I turned the volume back up.  Just when I got comfortable in the easy chair I could hear the knock through the music again.  I considered the sound was just a reverberation of Ringo’s drums on the walls in my house.  So back down went the volume.  But this time with the volume turned down low I heard it plain as day – knock, knock.

I stood up and walked down the hall.  I felt like I was inside the bellows of one of those old-time cameras, and once at the front door, I squinted my eye to peer through the little peep – hole.  An early fall had produced one of those weird and wet cloud inversions where a layer of fog blanketed the suburban streets.  I rotated my eyeball around in its socket trying to look through the milky fog.  All I could see was a hazy glow around a street lamp.

I stepped away from the door.  There was no one there, I thought. The sounds had to be a weird reverberation from the TV.  But as I walked into the well-lit and clear path back toward the living room I heard a loud thump against the door and a rattling of the door knob.  I could no longer think nothing was there – Oh my God, someone was trying to get into my house.

I rushed back to the door. “Whose there? Go home.  I got a gun in here and I’ll put a hole in you bigger than shit,” I said.  There was nothing.  I waited awhile before stepping back when I heard a little kid’s voice say “Let me in.”  I peered through the little peep hole in the door again, but didn’t see anything.  Figuring I could deal with a kid who must have been in some kind of trouble, I decided to open the door.  I stepped out side onto my front porch.  The cool damp air permeated my T-shirt and put goose bumps on my fore-arms.  I didn’t see anybody.  There was nobody there, and it was time for bed.  I must have been hearing things.  The Beatles are on the DVR recorder; I can watch them tomorrow, I thought.

But before starting back inside, I saw two little lights like eyeballs looking at me from behind the bare branches in my rose garden. “Who are you?! What are you doing there?”

A little kid appeared on my door step in the middle of the night.  On such a wet foggy night I couldn’t see the house across the street, but I could make out the kid’s face okay as he stood right in a shadow in my rose garden.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” he said pointing up to me.  He wasn’t wearing a hat.  He had on a white shirt with a skinny black tie and black slacks.  He was barefooted.  His black hair was cut down in a crew cut.

“Remember you? I’ve never met you. You should go on home now,” I said.  “It’s past midnight.”

“I don’t live around here.  My parents are dead.”

“You ran away from an orphanage?  What orphanage is there around here?  Aren’t you cold?”

“Yes, I’m very cold.”

“I’m gonna have to call the police.”

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.  They might just come and take you away instead.  Let me in,” he commands.

“Okay.  But only for a little while.  You’re going to have to go back to where you came from.”

Once inside, I stood in silence looking at him.  In the hall way lighting, I could see his ashen face and sunken eyes more clearly.  There were these bluish veins enmeshed around his cheeks.  He looked strangely familiar, standing there in his Sunday clothes.  There was an awkward pause.  But with the light glaring on him he said, “Do you remember me now?”  Oh my God, I thought, the last I saw this kid I must have been five or six years old.



Essay about Recent Dreams

I’ve wanted to publish something for True Stories, but a few dreams have gotten in the way.  Because of them it looks like I will continue with essay-type pieces of writing for at least one or two more posts.

In one dream, George Harrison — long hair, scraggy beard, blue jeans, and sandles — leapt out the window with me.  In no time, we were flying over the Indian Ocean, all roiling, turbulent, and white capped. George’s bell bottoms flapped in the breeze as the stars and moon came in and out of view from behind the clouds above us. We traveled through space and time, landing in Bangladesh.  We descended into plush velour theater seats to watch Eric Clapton underneath a spot light play the guitar.  A cigarette dangled from his lips.  There was an orange hue all around him.  I dream in color.

A few nights later, none other than John Lennon, appeared in my bedroom. He sat cross-legged on the end of my bed. He wore a black turtle neck, sun-glasses, and had his hair in a mop-top. Unlike George, who said nothing, John rambled on and on. I think he talked about Cynthia and the creation of the Rubber Soul album.  It felt to me like his words contained deep secrets about art and the true meaning of life. Unfortunately, I cannot remember exactly what he said.

But this morning, I see a listing for the old Beatles’ movie “A Hard Day’s Night,” which is to air on the Flix Channel’s “Late, Late, Late Show.”  Maybe by watching it I can retrieve some of what John told me two nights ago.  I know it is silly, but everything feels like fate.

Reflection on the Beatles’ Arrival in 1964

In the winter of 1964, I was not even three years old. Consequently, I do not remember if I watched the Beatles or not when they came to New York to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. What I do remember, however, is wiggling and jiggling, running around the house, and jumping on my parent’s bed with my sister to the songs “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and “She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.”

I think it went on all spring and summer. Because the songs would repeat, I remember them. Who played them? Thus I get to a place in my mind that is, I think, a cross-over between the imagination and conscious memory. I see a little 45. The Fab Four are painted on the record’s sleeve. I vaguely remember bothering my mother to put it on the Hi-Fi, which she would do, only to be asked to play it again and again. When she left the living room, I had to have it. I put my finger in its hole, I bent it, and felt its grooves. In no time, it got cracked. It was thrown away.

The 45 seems like something my father would have brought home. In the winter of 1964 people would still be reeling from the Kennedy assassination; but it also seems that by February people would be tired of being depressed, so they’d find something to be happy about, even if only on a superficial level. So I picture my dad driving down Indianapolis Boulevard on his way home from work. He’s in a Ford Falcon. He wears a fedora and smokes a cigarette. He is sick of the news droning on and on about the findings of the Warren Commissions, not to mention the Johnson Administration cabinet changes. And what about Vietnam? So he flips the radio dial. The Beatles come on. But it is not the first time he’s heard the song; it is probably something like the twenty-first time. He likes it; he thinks they are funny. So he pulls over to pick up the record.

I do not know that this had happened; but when one is three, the parents decide what is heard and watched, so they must have been the ones to let the Beatles in the house. And from the corners of my mind I see the 45 in my little hands, which needed to test its tensile strength so they bent it until it broke. Then it got thrown away. I hoped it would be replaced, but it never was. While a part of them may have wanted to, my parents had a responsibility on their shoulders and could not let themselves get caught up in the fads of young people. They needed to define themselves as adults and so set their generational proclivity towards the fifties, rather than the sixties. Besides, by 1964 they had both entered into their twenties. Thus the decision was made, perhaps unconsciously, to more or less ignore the Beatles thereafter and the little period of Beatlemania in my early childhood home came to an end. But not really. All through the spring of 1964 I would dance with my sister; we’d jump on my parent’s bed, and wiggle chaotically. We only knew the refrain “I want to hold your hand, I want to hold you hand.”

During the Sixties there was a schism in American culture. Did the Kennedy assassination create such a vacuum in leadership, that the establishment generation, so successful in its prosecution of World War II, knew nothing else than to beat the drums of war? How much was the schism affected by the Beatles? After all, they were a band that churned out pop songs about peace and love? So did America’s youth, perhaps conflicted by the futility of global nuclear war simply decided to follow the beat of a different drummer? Funny to think that something viewed as an insignificant passing fad would turn out to be so important.

Thus, the Beatles demonstrate, like no other, the power of music.  Such power grabbed little kids like myself too. I do not remember Kennedy or even Johnson when I was little, but I do remember the Beatles. The Beatles are in me; they are a part of who I am. And it seems that little kids in the Sixties got caught in the middle between the culture and the counter-culture. Did they grow up confused? But maybe in the end we are lucky, because we have been able to pick and choose between the two. We’ve gotten to decide what to keep and what to throw away. 


Introduction to True Stories


I have decided to move my creative writing efforts from Facebook posts and notes to a WordPress blog.  I have given my blog site the name “True Stories,” which some may feel think is just a cheap ploy merely designed to encourage the suspension of disbelief in my readers.  But I am a seeker of truth, and my stories reflect my journey.

I am a fortunate writer.  I get to write what I want to write.   In “True Stories” no one gets to tell me what to say or how to say it, and I can break all the rules, even those of my own imposition.    Consequently the first blog ( once I have completed my little introduction here) is not a story at all; it is an essay about my first experience with the Beatles way back in 1964.  It is the type of essay called a memoir. However, I was not even three years old in 1964, and memories from way back then are sketchy and unreliable.

I’ve come to realize that memoirs fit under the heading “True Stories” just fine, for essays are fact-based accounts of something that actually happened.  A memoir is in other words a true story. Consequently I am not breaking the rules of my own blog.