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And that was the last time… — By Michael

Michael

 

Let me tell you the last time someone conned me. I was 19 years old and I was a stupid 19. Somehow I ended up in London, wandering around the back streets of Piccadilly Circus. I see this gorgeous girl standing outside some strip club next to a sign that says “beer and a show £5.” Now this girl has got the thinnest smoothest legs I’ve ever seen. She could have been selling cancer in a pop can and I would have gone over to listen to the pitch.

“£5 pound for a beer and a show. That’s it?”, “That’s it,” she says. I give her a 5. She puts it in her purse and hands me a laminated white card and we go downstairs. She leads through a dimly lit lounge with a couch (occupied by some black guy with a girl on each arm)  and old woman behind a coat check, and into the next room. Then she asks me if I’m ready for the show.

In the next room there are dozens of couches and a stage with a single pole.  An even more beautiful woman comes up to me with my beer. This girl has straight blonde hair, gorgeous smile, and is only wearing black lingerie. She sits down next to me and starts asking me questions. Where I’m from, where I grew up, and she’s talking to me like I’m the most interesting person in the world. These days anytime anyone is that interested in me, I get suspicious, but 19 me kept yakking away.

After a couple of minutes, she stops me and says, the show will start as soon as I pay the bill. I hand her the white laminated card the other girl gave me, and blondie says, “No that’s for the show, I mean the bill.” I have no idea what she’s talking about but then she hands me the menu. She points to the bottom which says in fine print, Services of the companion £277. Everything comes to a screeching halt and I demand to talk to the manager (as if this were a respectable establishment).

I find myself back in the lounge arguing with the old lady behind the coat check. Blocking the stairs is the black guy from the couch, but now his arms are crossed, ready for any shit I’m going to pull.  Coat check lady is telling me the menu is clearly marked and that I have to pay for services. Normally I wouldn’t care, I’d just say “fuck you I don’t have any money.” But I had £500 on me for an… errand. That 500 needed to go where it was going. “If you don’t have any money, just open your wallet and show it to the camera.” I turn around and face the brother blocking my path. “You going to stop me if I leave?” and he comes back with “You wanna try me?”

So that’s when I pull out my cell phone. “Put that away. You can make calls down here.” the old lady commands.  And I know something’s up. “If you’re so sure the £277 charge is legit, why don’t I call the cops, they come down here, and if they say I owe you, I’ll pay.” Now I’m bluffing. Because that errand I was doing… well I still had some of the product on me. And believe me if the cops came down here, I’d be in a ton more trouble than she’d be.

She’s staring me right in the face and I’m staring right back. “We had a party of rich Arabs in here last night, they were more than happy to pay.” I spout back “I’m dialing 999. ” “I said put that away.” I can see the old lady making nods at the black guy, probably to grab the phone out of my hand. “I’m pressing send.”  Then curtly and with an air of superiority I hear “Get the fuck out!” And for some reason I reply with “Thank you.” And I bolt.

Now I’m outside making sure the black guy isn’t following me, heart racing, and I’m so fucking pissed at myself. All the little clues I should have seen are now painfully obvious. The cheap show, the black dude on the couch, the empty room.  And that’s when I decide right there, I’m not going to be a sucker for anyone ever again. That I would always been on the other end of it.  Couple of years later I see that old lady come into Vinney’s in New Jersey. Same woman, I swear to God. Right there right in front of me. So I… well that’s a story for another time.

—Michael
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Once Upon A Time – By Victor

The Glory

The Glory

 

Can you ever know where you’re supposed to be in life?  Some people will tell you, “you just know. “

Six years ago, the Viper Room. We may not have been the headliner, but still. People come to the Viper Room, not just your fans, and not just the bar regulars. People that can make things happen.

We get there for warm up and the place is heaven. But I got this nagging feeling. The crowd. No matter how nice the venue, a bad crowd can mean the difference between getting signed with a label or never playing there again. That’s when Sticks can’t keep his shit together.  His girlfriend dumped him Friday or some shit and he’s had a few fifths between last night and now.

15 minutes before the show Mike is trying to cheer him up and get him in the game and I’m calling every drummer I’ve ever met, I mean I’m literally on the phone with a guy from my high school marching band. But then Sticks jumps up like he just had a Five Hour Enema and says “Fuck that bitch, she ain’t going to bring me down.”

We go out on stage and the place is PACKED. I’ve never played for an audience this size. I mean it was constant crowd between the stage and the bar. We start playing with “Trueno de Mexico” and Sticks is off. We know it, the audience knows it, it’s bad. We stumble though the song. So I go off the setlist and play “Impossible Yesterday” next. Now Impossible Yesterday is our best song, we were saving it for the finale, but if I don’t do something, we’re not going to make it to the finale.

The lucky thing about the song is that starts with an a cappella solo. No drums. It’s just me. Maybe if Sticks listens to me, maybe he can get back on beat. But here’s the other thing. I… L O V E  that solo. When I sing it, the world shuts out and I just crush it.

I’m feeling it all, all at once, now today.
The fears and the problems creeping up once again.
The beds just too big, I wish you would come home.
And sooth the soul of this old tired fool.

I hear “clap, cla-cla-cla, clap”, “clap, cla-cla-cla, clap”.  I open my eyes. The whole front row has become our percussion.  Michael comes in on guitar, then the rest of the band. Now the audience is singing along. Sticks wakes up and back on. It’s just magic from then on out.

For years I would have said moments like that is was what it was all about for me. So when it all dried up, it was hard. Very hard. Seeing that possibility get farther and farther away. Maybe you never know where you’re supposed to be in life.

–Victor

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Marty’s Half Dozen: Chapter 3 part 1 — By Jill

The funniest things...

There was a tree I used to climb when I was a kid. I haven’t thought about that tree in years.

I wallowed in a bubble of nothing. My eyes closed, I focused on the cold air of my breath and leather-like-plastic of the steering wheel. There are moments one has to remain ignorant of…for at least a few minutes. Because once you peek around the corner of the unknown, you’ll understand the reality of the situation. A reality where your whole life will change. So instead I lingered in ignorance.

After what seems like hours, the wallowing becomes uncomfortably hot. Like a furnace left on all night, but you’re just too exhausted to get out of bed. There’s a knocking. Not the patterned *knock, knock, knock* *knock, knock, knock* but an incessant rapidity and increasing intensity. “tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, pound, pound, pound, pound, pound, pound” I never realized it, but those are all onomatopoetic.

“JILL!” I hear, muffled, but emphatic. “JILL!”

What…who knows I’m here. I don’t even know where my glasses are. I manage to swat my arm completely missing the door handle. My knuckles land somewhere between the locking pin and the window. The glass is so cold. Too tired to swat again, I work my finger tips around the locking pin. It’s so hard to get a grip, even once my fingers wrap around it, I can’t press them into a grasp.

“JILL, YOU CAN DO IT.”

I swallow. That’s painful too. I have to take a breath or two before I try it again. I try to pull the pin one more time, but instead I give up on manual labor and it occurs to me to drag my hand to the automatic door lock. Rounded and grooved at the ends, of course the first time I press it I relock the car. I then try the other direction on the switch. Immediately a gush of freezing wind and the smell of fireplace overwhelms my senses.

“Jill, you’re going to be okay.”

A warm hand cups my chin. Then moves to my forehead. Finally I feel a forefinger and a thumb pry open my eyelids.

“Jill, can you see me?”

I squeeze my eyes shut. It can’t be…what’s…Marty doing here?

Too be continued…(more regularly)

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2013 in By Jill, Marty's Half Dozen, Uncategorized

 

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Pimping a play – By BEN

Tomorrow’s the day.  A play I started writing a year and a half ago will be staged read by the Hudson Warehouse theatre company. It wasn’t solicited by me, it was chosen as part of their series. I am honored as I have crossed an important distinction between someone who has a talented hard drive and someone who’s work is recognized by others. If anyone is in the New York area and would like to come I would be more than happy to have you.

More Mack Jack and Jill to come.

Same River Twice
The Underground Lounge (107th and Broadway)
3pm

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–Ben

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The non-update — By …uhhh NO ONE

Been a while since there’s been an update. Sorry about that. I’ve been cripplingly ill for the last few days. I’m sure you’ll hear about it soon enough via one of the characters. Probably Jill.

Jill: Wait what???

Nothing. Anyway. This week I have to focus on a play I have to get done by mid week. So there likely won’t be an update till later.  SO…in the meantime enjoy some stuff that got me through the worst of it.

The promise of an awesome movie.

Our country losing the freedoms it was founded upon.

Sigh. Why won’t it embed like it used to?

 

The Gunslinger. Both the novel and the graphic novel.

 

And one more Batman thing.

So funny Collegehumor.

 

Anyway. I’m glad I don’t feel like this anymore.

Ugh. Links to videos seem so unprofessional. WTF?

 

–Ben

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Uncategorized