Author Archives: thepulseofharvest

Lyrics for sale by futsem

we are not gods:

i was a god once but traded it for mortality
to be with
to be with you until we stop and think
and begin to live our lives like we only belong actually

for the ones who have taken hold
for those stalled by the fray
to you and yours
i could have given it all away

so don’t go away
or go away
but make it fast
yes yes make it fast as you can baby

i got it figured out
so let me show you
some say just dance sucka
what you getting in to?

my arms around you only when you need
my legs are shaking
searching for something to eat
let’s get a bite
and work it out
we walk around to talk in circles
only to get down down get down

i got it figured out
so let me show you
some say romance sucka
what you getting in to?

way way down way way down
way way down way way down

just get it
take it with you
show it off
around town around town town town town

We Walk Alone

turn on tune in turn on tune in turn on tune in turn on
turn me on
tune me up
put something sweet in my cup
talk to me
oh so gently
i may crack but only evidently

so what did you do for your birthday?
how many people did you call?
how many showed without a call e at all?
where’s your team?
who sits the bench?
can you survive off your wits and intelligence?

answer me slowly
so tune me up
i’ll sit and listen
drinking from my cup

nods and quick responses are meant for you
so give me more what else can you do? oh blue, what can you do?

tell me tell me tell me tell me tell me

what’s the word oh have you heard
keep a secret
let me see it
show it off and make it known
you are the center of a world not shown

give me more give me more give me so much more
give me more give me more give me so much more

answer me fast now
so turn me up
gonna need a refill
on this here cup

tell me tell me tell me tell me tell me

How Should I Know

your vibrations can shake a house
how can you be angry at me
don’t put me down
hear me out

I’m worth more alive
so keep me in your heart
sitting beside you
thinking of when to start

show me that you care about me
feed me and fuck me
change my way of learning
and ignore our friends that doubt me

am i a mammal
or someone you want
can i be both
a secret to flaunt
yeah she’s with me
oh don’t you see it
or do you need to fight and prove
the ripples of my dying spirit

maybe she’s with him now maybe she’s with her
i doubt that another can
i doubt another can
i doubt that another can
i doubt another can
to be complete is to ignore me
and that is the worst part of the best thing for me

just breathe just breathe
just breathe just breathe
just shut your mouth
and turn about
if you miss it
it’s not my fault now
too highbrow too highbrow

look for the others who have smirked and moved on
to the patience of learning this song

then sing it to me then sing it to me then sing it to me
then sing it to me then sing it to me then sing it to me

when will we be able to look behind us
and see that we both have a crack
no play on words
yours always tend to hit back

now breathe and relax just like a man
just like just like just like you can

No Heavy Stuff

do not talk to me about politics
or who will win
or who will win the game of
the battle for your voice within

touch me slowly
and work it out
bring it closer to me
then hear me out

i want it all in you i want it all in you
i want it all in you i want it all in you

we don’t drive to go eat
but take a walk
bring your friend
and share the night sky
with meaningless talk

you are the one
so hear me closely
i’m not like most you’ve seen or heard
new faces, better descriptions in their turn
un-earned
un-learn
rooftops of uniforms and concern

i just want to go get something to eat
and maybe hold you
give you a perfect shrug
when the others scold you

so let’s make it work or have more drinks
i think i think i think i think i think
i need
more to drink

fill me up woman
fill me up bartender
fill me up neighbor
fill me up stranger

she said your eyes are your passport like someone told her
i’m convinced you’re not much older
are we going up or going down
she talks at me
am I the only one around

or so i told her or so i told her
or so i told her or so i told her

Doctor Notes

i feel fine i feel fine i feel i feel i feel

like we have no place to go but up
like we only have the choice to shoot or duck
can we make it on to the next fill up
when was the last time you poured it out your own cup

i so believe you i so believe
the power to fake break shelter conceive
who’s at the door
let them stare with a grin
win or lose
the blues can be pushed out from within

so break a sweat
and tell me your last lie
but make it fast
the silence in you must die

i know just the place i know just the place i know

you know
we know
they know
you know
you know
so let’s go let’s go let’s go

bring it out and get it dirty
wash it fold it
wear it again my friend
dont fold it

give it your best shot give it your best shot give it your best shot

and look at it later
get out and make the next one
reach out and tell the next sun
you can win and that it can be done

as we repeat ourselves as i repeat myself as we repeat ourselves

shake with it
shake to it
break from it
pursue it

This Feeling A Feeling

hey, you know what

hey hey hey hey hey hey hey hey
give it up

why not it will be fun
trying to do my best
doing all we can to win the contest
you digress

hey hey hey hey
what a mess

let’s think this over
and do it quick fast
have some pork shoulder
or maybe whip lash

either way we’re going for it
this doesn’t happen to often
getting caught and being let go
all in the space of a new coffin

hand him over now hand him over now
hand her over and

make me something to drink
or let me go buy what I want
how long has it been
since we sat and played a game of pretend

on the same side
fighting them
we want to tell you
then show it off
after we win

after we win after we win after we win after we win

they go home
after the win
people get in their cars to drive home
and try to begin

I Want To Think But Can’t

It’s hard to think with this fan in my face
let me sweat it out
and make it shout
and everything that you’ve heard before all the times we have went out

so grow up cause there’s nobody home
no time to rest
get up to claim your success
give a dog a bone
and brag to your friends

my friends are your friends and your friends are yours too
so what do we do what do we do what do we do
tell me what to do
show me how to lose
give me a pillow and couch to study out the rules

sit and wait
or yell out
and watch the sirens pass us by
with checkmate
God you are so beautiful
seeing you on that corner
holding you for just a moment
knowing you are a goner

the great escape the great escape the great escape the great

you gonna cry
she’s not anymore my worry
life’s a game
and we all best be in a hurry

why did i start with this
and how can i get going
to a place where i can see the road
and turn to walk
when its snowing

the cold don’t bother me the cold won’t bother you
so let’s be cool in a crowd
it’s way overdue
I’m way over you

way over who? way over who?

let’s hear it back now
let’s hear it back now
I like the act now
don’t fear the background

I’m Ready Now

go for it go for it go for it go

take off your shirt
give you mine in exchange
free to roam the plains
explore your inner lane

with what do we owe the pleasure
just you and you and speech
that feels under pressure
turn it down
and listen to her
make it lesser

she can tell you all that you wanted to know
if you are stubborn or taken for ransom
then you might grow
not all feelings are meant for show

when’s the last time when’s the last time
when’s the last time when’s the last time

tell me
show me
know me
slowly

change it fast now
make it last how
can we crash down
is it safe to pass out

when you see it done it makes it easier to do
when you see it done it makes it easier to do

so let’s go outside and work our fingers to the bone
make it last
this shall pass
your eyes are full of home

you are all alone you are all alone
you are all alone you are all alone you are
on your own
so change it fast and grab a hold
new belt new shoes new ways to be bold

won’t get you far
but you do good for yourself
so cash in your health
and claim your star

amongst the stars amongst the stars amongst the stars

Thank You Kindely

thank you
thank you
thank her for me
eat a burger for me
as you start to get boring

an important stop on my trip
where a lesson is told
see if it sticks
or gets sold
I wouldn’t know shit

thank you for her
thank you warning
in a place now
that my work is forming

the roles you started out with
made for all to see
your bright was shining
but now how can it be

chorus:
with all your things with all of your junk
can we really be happy
you’ve made a beautiful mess
cut to commercial fancy

I’m working out now
my body’s responding
too late to show you
am i too late to show off to you
oh well

all the girls will see all the girls will see
all the girls will see all the girls will see

all the girls will show me theirs
how the story came to be
it came to me
it came to me
don’t thank me
don’t thank me

Rules

tiny defeats in ordinary tasks
things break up
that were only meant to last
can’t take up
when only down is the way
show me how to stretch
and apply your makeup
what can we say

be polite
don’t excite
never fight
always in sight

unraveling is just another one of the those things
you take it
learn from it
nothing to strange

stop and look too long you’ll break the chain
don’t complain
lift up or dump down there’s another below or above
conveyor belt of love

being with you being with you being with you
being with you being with you being with you

it’s better to be with you than to be by myself
hear it out nice and soft
there’s nothing left
throwing rocks off shore
making memories we can’t shake off

i am so happy to be with you
i am so happy to be with you

you’d never know
i’d rather not
they wouldn’t understand
help me tie the knot

is it tight enough is it tight enough is it tight enough
is it tight is it tight is it tight it is it is tis it is it is it is

Don’t Brag About

woke up
just the same as you
maybe different way of messing about
and making it through

the day is bright and young
the night far from scary
teasing and talking
handling papers
waving clearly

what did you do today that made you better than me
what did you do today that made you better than we

let’s get involved
and pour it out
drink most of it now
before the crowd can buy a vowel

you know the way but it’s only meant for two
you see the way but it’s only built for you

so what’s the difference
we all button our shirts up top to bottom
or bottom to top
it doesn’t matter
the jacket covers many a bad thought

i’m only human
some say an animal
so what’s it to you
can you handle

we walk past each other never knowing how to be nice
we walk past each other never knowing how to be nice

kill or excite
thrill and entice
i never was right
planning out my life

but you’re here now
but you’re here now
it’s very clear now
it’s very clear how

don’t hassle me
i may break away
or cut loose
and never have more to say

that’s the past you are the future
i realize my costume
is a way to make it seem
all the progress has been to soon

i can suit ya i will suit ya
i can suit ya i will suit ya

World Women

cash in my chips
to take a trip
find out all the ways
i can say the same thing
in different boats of enlightenment

german girls with their innocence
glowing in disguise
cities modern to rotting
taking pictures behind the night’s eye

above all else you must be loyal to you
and the rest is for the children
and the rest is the the children
we know what you went through

my biggest fear is disappointing you
gonna make a name for myself
and live out the foreign days and months
changing my health

what is up
don’t look around
tall enough to pick you up
and always hold you down

in a way that i have never known
in a way that i have never known

borrowing some money
bet it on the black
double up
add one more
guess that is that

i only wish the best for you
and recognize and recognize and recognize and recognize
and recognize and recognize and recognize and recognize

is this the game
are we ready to reclaim
what’s my name
act insane
get out of the street
you’re a treat
and I’m to blame

Come Back

conversation continues indistinctively
conversation continues away from you and me

when will they change their minds
when is it okay to walk away or run
by definition the worst is yet to come
okay okay okay okay okay okay

tough cookie
such a tough cookie
only then it will be too late
what are you doing here
didn’t i make it clear

do you want to talk about it
do you want to talk about it
do you want to talk about it
do you want to talk about it

shake your ass
cross your legs
make it last
slow to fast

i’ve seen some things in my day
lips still smack when you cross my way
are we leaving it alone
are we leaving it behind

what are we gonna do first
what are we gonna do first

take off the lock
open the door
take a step out
dance until sore

and then repeat and then repeat and then repeat
you used to be so sweet

City Planning

we started going out and enjoying ourselves
the people turned to colors
this world is better each fine day
just don’t tell your brothers

i’m searching high and low
i’m searching high and low
i’m searching high and low

smiles for strangers
walking up and down blocks
are you in danger
morning tea will do

music coming from your ears

i can make a girl cry from talking
thats easy

anyone can do it
i wasnt telling the bad stuff

a dirty poem by futsem

Sitting here, my sleeping  penis exposed, beginning  to try
Look straight down and notice wrinkles
And hair
Then pull on hair to feel whole
here on the edge of the bed, keyboard on knees

where all faults begun
blueprint of man so desperately wanting to be
Trimming fat to look lean
Stopping to pull on hairs in agreement
This new me
The guy coming to surface, for air
Kicking over others who held down access to the fresh
But not just me
whole mess of folks exist, men, just like myself, who do as I do
Or worse.
couple more pulls and twists

stare into the unknown
ready to lose all
A grand idea
Now to end a piece of writing that is as dull and predictable as my own sweaty self.  Waiting for some sign to shit out fat accumulated in a lifetimes worth of indulgence and supervision.

—o

 

Where can you get a tooth extracted in this town? story by futsem

There are few aching pains in life that wake you from a sleep, and the worst, I feel, is the ache of an infected tooth. The pain is constant, not like a cramp that goes away for a few moments before returning or a cough that hurts your chest leaving you with the chance to gather yourself. The piercing pain of a tooth ache reverberating through your nerves not allowing you to focus on anything else other than the pain being shot straight to your brain is the king of all pain. With nothing greater in my reach than a mild aspirin, I reach for the bottle of Jameson to blind this great pain away from my usual troubles and give me some time to deal. I take a glance at the clock and it is five thirty in the morning.
The alcohol is taking its time working away the pain and the cold of the liquid on my infected tooth seems to be working against me. I try to drink more, but then begin to heave and vomit, with nothing in my stomach from the night before. The strenuous act of heaving has masked the nagging, aching pain for a split second and I am overjoyed for that second until the pain returns as if to laugh at my attempt to drown the king. It is now six in the morning and I gather my socks and boots, put on my shirt and grab my jacket heading for the door. The ‘healthy smiles’ van that sat in front of the government building the other day should be open and they will be able to pull my tooth and rid me of this horrible, unstoppable pain. I shoot out of my apartment and walk down the few blocks to the main drag, keeping a wet tissue in my gums to stop any cold air from irritating the tooth anymore than it has already. I am breathing hard and if you were walking anywhere around me you could hear it, the pain, and it was winning. I kept my head down and walked fast, hoping to run into a cab instead of courting one, per usual. My first thought was to get to the bus just as it made its way to my stop. At that moment, the pain almost dropped me to my knees as if it had entered my mind and denied the thought from inside my head. I found a cab, got inside and mumbled DC General Hospital as quickly as I could.
He was Ethiopian and the pain had stopped me from the normal how-do-you-do’s that would get a cabby to empathize with my situation. King pain and I just shouted orders at him and explained that I needed to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. The cabby driving down the road, with a green light ahead, pulls off the gas to explain he recently got a ticket for driving too fast. I pointed at the green light and interrupted him, as the pain started to swear obscenities at the window and I began to breathe hard. The pain did not change. It did not care that I was in someone else’s cab or that the stupid cabby pulled onto a residential, one-lane street behind a garbage truck. We seemed to be getting all the lights that would turn yellow then bright red as soon as we approached. The breaths were getting louder and turning up the talk radio didn’t help anyone. We finally pull up to DC General, after a few wrong turns as I open my wallet and fling out the few dollars I had. I threw the fare at the front seat and slammed the door, running into the old building to be greeted by a few officers and people who were going through a metal detector. I point to my mouth and the lady guard tells me to walk across the campus to the dental center.
I hurry across the parking lot and bit of grass only to see the cabby making his turns and we pass each other as the pain, impersonating me, cocks back my arm as if to punch the cab window out. I keep walking and enter the automatic doors to a guard sitting alone. I again point to my mouth, telling her I am with great king pain. She tells me that this is now residential housing and that they do not have doctors on site. The pain asks her to repeat it. Then when hearing the same lines come from her, the pain proceeds to walk out, not before punching and moving the door off its track. I look back and a few people outside begin to stare. I walk back across the parking lot and head for the main road.
I finally get another cab, this time an older West African man, and he is taking his time with ending his phone call, ignoring the great moans and loud breathing coming from the backseat. I explain that I need to go to Howard University Hospital and I am with great pain. The pain has introduced itself, by having my head gently pound itself against the window as I begin to massage my jaw line. The massaging did not alleviate any pain but it didn’t confuse it for a few seconds and for that I was grateful. I did not stop massaging. I didn’t stop when I explained that I needed to make a stop on H street to take out some cash for this unexpected trip. I got out of the cab and walked to that bus that I had seen a few days earlier. The workers were handing out cards and telling everyone that dentists on the bus were able to clean, treat or extract teeth and it wouldn’t cost a thing. I decided to ignore their suggestions at the time. The pain was worse now. The massaging was just a thing to do, at this point. I get the bus and knock on the door where an eastern European man opens and explains that they are not open until nine or nine thirty that morning. It was seven and the pain took over, asking him to explain himself. He told the pain that no doctors are here and he was simply a driver. I walked away and tried to grab another cab, this time to the hospital where I knew people were working.
I get to the emergency room of the hospital and immediately feel the disrespect of someone in pain, while others are just trying to do their job and get their bills paid. The women at the desk did not seem to show any urgency for my situation, still on the phone repeating her hours and schedule to someone on the other line. The pain let out some more obscenities and another woman come to my aid and quickly entered my information into the system and put my name on the list, next to the handful of strangers sitting in that desolate waiting area. From the looks of it, I was the only one is constant, aching blatant pain but how was I to know. The others may have had a worse situation and nobler pain than mine, but didn’t show it. All I could do was to keep massaging and hope that my name was called in the next few moments. Those moments turned into tens of minutes.
When inquiring about my status, I was told that I had to walk to another area to be help so the pain shuttled me to that destination, leaving a flurry of remarks, in case someone wanted to find me. I get to the triage and a male nurse asks me general questions and takes my blood pressure. This was all done with my head down and my hand continuing to massage my jaw. After a few more minutes, I am put into a room and told to wait until the sole doctor is ready. The pain had other plans for me and began to pace me around this little room and even pushed me out into the hallway. I looked around each time I circle that little room and hallway and saw no one around, to then seeing a worker pulling and dragging equipment to no one in sight, again. I stared at the tight outfit of the worker and how it hugged her body, staring at her visible panty line, in some sort of natural reflex. The nurse came back with a single pill for pain relieve and then second guessed whether he should have brought another, seeing myself standing beside my pain. The second pill took a while, as it had to be approved by the doctor. It took a good, long while, but the pain was now cooling down but not enough for me to collect my thoughts of the frantic morning activities. The massaging continued as I jumped into the hall and noticed the doctor to be, sitting in front of the computer entering data from her clipboard.
The pain began to have a couple of good arguments as to why the doctor could not wait to proceed with data entry after she had seen all the patients that desperately needed assistance. I agreed with the pain and began to lobby and plead with the empty room to take these valid messages to the doctor. The doctor finally arrives and begins to ask what the problem is.
I tell her of my accompanying pain and that my infected tooth has begun to take over any and all control of my body. She pauses, then reaches for her equipment, tilting my head back, then explains to me that I have an infected tooth.
She then tells me that the dental department of the hospital has not begun to work on patients and I would have to wait for them to open, with a warning of also having to secure an appointment before any work can be done. Before she exits the room to retrieve my prescription note, I explain to her the severity of the pain and how the pain has asked me to not be given a simple aspirin, and instead a possible high-tier pain reliever. She says nothing and returns with a note for some antibiotics and a mild pain reliever. The pills were starting to combat the pain and its army. The time is eight in the morning. The king is dead, for now.

[Author’s note:] The next few hours play out this way; I get called a pervert from a school girl while waiting at the pharmacy. The receptionist on the bus where I head to next distracts me with her disproportionately inflated backside and continues to bend over in front of me, directly challenging my medication with arousal felt each time she passes. The doctors on the bus that I returned to, heavily medicated, tell me that my tooth needs to be taken care of at a hospital. And, most importantly, I am down to my last few pills.

MINE, a short story by futsem

1. Early, Happy Days

“Yeah, I’ve always dreamed of being a writer like the piano bar guy dreamt being
the piano bar guy” was the exact quote that snuck out of Fitzgerald’s lips during
our lunch meeting that made me believe he was a real, living person. The moment it
was said he began to think about how perfect he had phrased his life up to that
point. This had been happening more recently to him; the overwhelming just
feeling of saying the right thing at the precisely the right time, to anyone that
would listen. To suggest that this was a natural evolution of the man would be a
stretch if you asked any of his childhood friends or close family, he would be the
first to say.
“Being the youngest of four children in a single parent household allowed for
more listening and watching then speaking out”, he recalls.
“I began to write at the start of my teens, after a bad thing happened to my family
and it sort of was just easy, after that.” he explained between sips of water.
The waiter has become short with him as he would constantly look over to their
direction in search of more fill. He uses the ‘thank you’ sparingly and when it
suits him, it seemed. I have been sent by a distinguished national periodical to
describe to our readers who this mystery man is, in three thousand words.
Reviewing the few, broad articles on him it seemed as though he just appeared
from nowhere. Conversations of his first novel, MINE, have been making the
rounds of the writing elite, trickling down to all those who take themselves too
seriously in the fleeting, literary world. Without looking at the menu, he ordered
a steak salad, medium, with a pair of fish tacos. The chips and salsa came
promptly so I began by starting with the dull, average questions. It was the end
of summer and just a few more unbearably humid weeks before fall, in our
nation’s capital.
For being so talked about, Fitzgerald was fairly young at thirty-two and,
at times, made comments and joke references that were not specific to his
generation. Some of the jokes that made me laugh the most seemed as if he had
heard them in a private social club with some of the greats of our time. There
was something about it that did not fit. The humorous wit and snappy dialogue
did not match the club security guard frame that he seemed to carry with a bit of
disdain. I did, however, notice how coordinated he seemed to be in a small space
as he explained that an adolescence filled with sports was the foundation for his
‘body confidence’ he so convincingly summarized as my next line of internal
questioning, without a hint of a lead in from myself.
“I used to work as a doorman, actually, for bars in the city” he explained, “and
there was an old black man that was a regular and he would always be dressed in
cowboy attire. You know, the boots and solid colors with the same, straw gallon
hat.” he began to say as the food had arrived.
“Well, one day I caught myself just staring at him as he walked down the long
dock towards the parking lot and realized that his ‘look’ was as natural as ever.
Throughout history in this country, black men have been every man and done
every job, so, to see him as this ‘cowboy’ and to be thrown off was only the fault
of my own.. I was pretty impressed with him, after that” he finished, and looked
over to his childhood friend, who had been sitting quietly, almost to a
non-existent hush, aside from his matching broad shoulders and abnormally large
frame that would let out deep breaths and sighs.
The few noticeable differences between the two men was the full head of hair on
his friend, as Fitzgerald had been balding since his early 20’s, he revealed.
“I used to wear a lot of hats” he confessed, as he took off his vintage newsboy
cap occasionally to scratch his head.
“One day, after remembering remarks of past women who told me that they
found me attractive, I simply stopped” he stated.
“Now I have money so it’s just a fashion thing” he whispered, as he began to eat
his tacos, almost without stopping.
I had a feeling that we would be sitting for a while, as the bill for our lunch
gathering would be graciously taken up by the magazine. I had explained that to
him upon arrival, and he nodded, then shared a quick smile with his longtime
friend.
“It would be easy for all of us, for me to just say that all of this is so foreign and
unexpected and that I am grateful for all the hype and accolades” he began, “and
it is, but you always read that and it’s such a ‘good boy’ thing to say. I would
rather you just write whatever you see and interpret from this lunch, as I’m sure
you will put in the bland, biographical filler as you see fit.”
He stared into my face for longer than usual and put a hint of fear into me but
then quickly tried to erase the hostility he sensed by tapping me on the arm and
squeezing my bicep. I’m sure he was just messing with me, but the sting in his
grab lasted longer than expected. For a brief moment I sat there in a haze, trying
to distinguish the persona’s of Fitzgerald’s presence; the man sitting before me I
began to gather as being a real life tough guy, posing as a literary darling. I
immediately began to think of the self-inflicted damage that would occur if I had
shared my last thought of calling him ‘a darling’ and what might have ensued at
that point.
“Growing up, I mean, this.. you guys picking up the check for us, so you can get
a story about me, is just so funny to us.” he began to recall, as his friend let out a
perfectly timed chuckle.
“To be honest, I don’t really like to think to deeply about things like that because
it tends to bring about memories of our childhood in a darker light, as if we were
just waiting for this day” he said.
“The reality is that we always had food to eat,” he remarked, pausing with a fork
full of salad and steak, “but the difference was we always watched it being
prepared or killed.”

2. Cellphones

The one noticeable characteristic of Fitzgerald that was immediate was his lack
of mobile technology on his person. He did not have a registered cell phone and
explained that he wrote his novel on a Underwood typewriter that had been
collecting dust at his sister’s apartment. It had been stored there since she
attended college, some two decades earlier and he said that he felt more
connected to the process and the old fashioned typewriter, with all of its errors
and inconvenience.
“For some reason I always remembered that name, Underwood, and quickly
associated it with Blair Underwood, the actor, as L.A. Law was a hit show during
the time I first noticed the typewriter” he paused, as if to relish in that bit of
coincidence.
“We grew up taking keyboarding classes in school and I was fortunate to have a
computer on my desk at home, so I can’t fully explain my fascination with the
typewriter” he said between bites.
“I guess it was just something I thought I should do, or have, you know.”
His childhood friend was the bearer and sole proprietor of an assortment of smart
phones and one tablet that, collectively, took up most of the table space between
us. As he began to explain about why he does not have a phone, he noticed me
looking at the plethora of devices in his friends corner and laughed.
“You think I am some sort of divided tongue, don’t you?” he said, pointing the
questioning in my direction.
I gave a quick, almost unnoticeable eyebrow raise and matching head nod that
changed his current demeanor. He seemed to be in good spirits and was smiling a
lot. One could assume that he had every reason to smile, as few writers get the
chance to do, at the start of a budding career. Upon closer glance, I took extra
time noticing how his smile did not fade as quickly as others, or even, myself.
This made for the first awkward moment of the luncheon and I immediately
broke the silence by asking about his siblings.
“Next line of questions, pal.” he replied, just as quickly.
“I’m not that comfortable with you yet.” he said and looked at his friend in a way
that evoked some hidden message.
My first instinct was a message of violence, naturally being dwarfed by these
men, but then that unnerving feeling was subsided by a round of tequila that was
ordered by Fitzgerald, after his water glass was filled for the umpteenth time.
The tequila arrived almost too quickly as the restaurant was bare, except for a
few patrons, with more staff standing around than there were seats filled. The
cool breeze from the open doors and windows hit us just as we had downed our
shots.
“Something tells me that this will not be the last shot we do today” his friend
spoke out, with a cluttered grumbling in the first few words, as people tend to do,
when joining a conversation in progress for the first time.
Fitzgerald let out an agreeable laugh and proceeded to drink his entire glass of
water. Just then, as if I had choreographed the next sequence of events in my
head, milli seconds before, he raised his hand and yelled to the bored waitstaff to
refill his water, and our tequila, in that order. Another noticeable occurrence was
that all of the mobile devices did not make a sound throughout our entire meal.
“I don’t like to be interrupted with phone calls during meals, now that I have the
money to avoid people, by choice” he stated, almost at the exact moment that I
had noticed the silence.
This young man, was someone that I had not encountered before; a man whose
conversation followed an internal cadence that was tuned and perfected,
seemingly, with each person that he encountered. There was an immediate
easiness about him that I am sure all around him were aware of, even as I began
to think he may or may not fully be aware of, himself. The waiter came around
again asking if we would like to see a dessert menu, while filling up the water
glasses at the table. The friends looked at each other with that same childhood
amazement from before and affirmed the waiter’s suggestion. Fitzgerald ordered
three chocolate pudding tarts for us and explained his routine and lifelong
relationship with sweets. He now only splurged on one dessert a month.
“I was a fat boy, growing up, yeah” he said, as he looked more at his friend with
a smile and look of confirmation.
“I always told people, with pride, that I was not allergic to any foods. Thinking
back now, I may have been but ate it all anyway and made due, after the fact.. I
mean, I don’t know… Jesus, that sounded like something completely fabricated
and fitting for your article, don’t you think?” he asked, as the waiter came back
now with a pleasant demeanor, and full tray as if he had just realized that these
huge men were some people of some sort of importance.
Fitzgerald sensed this waiver in attitude and did not change his temperament
towards the staff, but did give me a chilling glare, almost perfectly timed, as all
things had been since we had sat down that afternoon.
“The one thing I will reveal to you about my family is that my parents were both
in the customer service industry and I learned, first hand, the importance of
putting priority in kindness and the immediate recognition and disposal of small-
minded bitterness and petty, mental gaming.”
I was now feeling the effects of the alcohol and asked to be excused to use the
restroom and have a cigarette.

3. Meat and small potatoes

I had arrived back at the table at the same time as our waiter and overheard
Fitzgerald state that he would like to repeat his order of what they both had
eaten, without the dessert, but that they would like for it to be prepared to-go. As
I gathered myself in my seat, I smiled.
“I heard the famous dinner story Mel Brooks told about Alfred Hitchcock” he
told me, as he smiled back, looking directly into my eyes.
I explained that I was familiar with the story of when Hitchcock ordered a full
meal of steak and potatoes, dessert and coffee, finished it all, then summoned to
have it all again, in the same order.
“What a fat fuck!” his friend chimed in.
Fitzgerald gave him a side smile that acknowledged his light humor, with a look
of resonating depth of respect they both had for the man and his art. I was late to
arrive at this conclusion, as they both began to make more light of the man and
quote some of their most memorable Hitchcock films and television programs,
almost simultaneously. I suggested to stay in the restaurant and relax for a few
more hours, and they both agreed, ordering another round of tequila that would
serve as exclamation points to our change of plan.
“I’m going to take it easy after this one” he shouted out.
“You should be helping me not get too fucked up, man” he said to the table with
a hand up covering his face, letting out a loud belch.
I knew that he had directed that last remark to his friend, but somehow felt it was
intended for both of us, as we had started to get past a few more layers. Just as I
had made that assumption, in my head, his friend looked at me with a sort of
playful, mocking grin.
“You don’t have to be afraid of saying whatever you want now” his friend let up.
“If you pass out he can just label you an alcoholic writer, and you will be
inaugurated in the elite club of… elites.”
“Like Tom Cruise returning to his home town on the 4th of July?” Fitzgerald
replied.
“Ha. Yeah, just like that” his friend finished, “with Faulkner narrating the whole
thing!”
I immediately suggested to myself that better narration could be serviced by
William S. Burroughs, but would never have said that out loud, even if given a
numerous amount of attempts.
“You know who you remind me of?” Fitzgerald said to me in almost a mocking
tone, shortly thereafter.
“Max Perlich!”
He let out a big laugh, as his childhood friend followed suit. I had to admit, later
on to friends, that crack had me smiling on the inside. Just then the waiter had
arrived again, filled our glasses, brought our second meals and explained that his
shift was over, asking us to close our tab and restart it with the beautiful east
Asian waitress, who happily introduced herself and walked away.
A lighting quick remark of approval was the last thing I heard from Fitzgerald, as
he continued to stare at the bottle-shaped waitress. Excusing myself once again,
but not before meeting eyes with the man of the hour.
“You smoke too many of those and the lungs may give out tomorrow, buddy” his
friend belted out to me.
“Smoke one for me” Fitzgerald replied to him and me and all that were within
ear shot of our lunch turned soiree.
Just as I got out to the patio and lit up, I get a phone call from my editor. I
continued to let the phone ring a few more times while I decided to neglect the
call and wait until a more reasonable state of being. I’ve noticed about myself,
most recently, that in conversations I have, when intoxicated, lean more towards
the chatty, and I was in no position of coming of as unprofessional. The prior
strikes against me had sobered me up enough to make the decision to ignore the
office and continue back to ‘my friends’. As I smoked the last few drags I began
to also ignore my freeing thoughts of telling Fitzgerald of the non-actions that
took place. I was slowly circulating to understanding this man, or so I thought,
and noticed myself immediately impulsing to seek his approval. I promised
myself to also keep the drinking to a minimum for the rest of our interview.
“We ordered you a shot” the friend said, almost on cue when I returned.
I began to decline, but then turned to Fitzgerald, who already had his glass in the
air pointed towards me, and took the shot. I followed that up by calling over the
waitress to fill our water glasses, which created a big grin that Fitzgerald and I
shared.
“Thank you” his friend said to her, almost in a volume that could be inferred as
counterproductive.
“Max” Fitzgerald began to shout, before a hearty laugh stopped him dead.
“Max, you are.. I am sorry, James… James you are not a bad guy after all” he
blurted out. I returned the compliment and we downed another round of shots
that were brought to us by surprise, courtesy of the establishment.
“We gotta do this more often” his friend spoke, almost out of turn.
Just as quickly, Fitzgerald gathered our attention and lifted his glass, meeting us
at the top of our raised arms and sound of the clash to make a toast.
“Bro, that was cheesy. You’re better than that. Cheersy” he said, confidently and
without a hint of malice.
“Cheersy” we both replied.
Just a few moments after our last shot, the restaurant began to start filling up
with patrons. Where it had been comfortably empty, now people began to gather
and observe us, listening intently and almost sync repeating the same broad facts
of Fitzgerald’s biography that I had raced to find. I immediately got the attention
of the staff and closed our tab. The waitress, sensing our retreat, advised us that
the pub a few doors down had just opened and would be comfortably desolate.
Fitzgerald thanked her for the suggestion and began to flirt with her all the way
to the door, leaving with her phone number on the lunch receipt, of which he
handed to his friend who began to program her into one of the mobile devices.
Just then, he noticed the stunned look of admiration on my face as he took me by
the shoulder.
“I probably won’t ever speak to her again. I am so lazy when it comes to that
stuff” he said, as he wink at me and marched on.

End.