I am a firm believer that writer’s block is a devil that should be exorcised as quickly and as violently as possible. Although what I have been suffering from lately has been more of a writer’s cramp than an actual blockage, the sentiment remains the same. Any writer worth their salt who finds themselves running out of words or the desire to scribble them down has maudlin moments where wrapping a big toe through the trigger guard of self-destruction and pulling a Hemingway sounds like a good idea. Unfortunately, to borrow a quote from my hero, Hank Moody, I have not been able to write so much as a goddamn predicate as of late. It is frustrating to say the least.
It is way too late in the game for me to try to embark on a new career or to try any of my old ones again. If I run out of words at this point, it is either drug dealing or pimping for my limited future and I am way too lazy to pimp. All that ho-slapping would probably just sprain my shoulder anyway. Besides, with so many people in Key West giving it away for free, there is no money in pimping in this town. Drug dealing just sounds like waaay too much stress and I wouldn’t have any decent suppliers being that I do not speak Russian(For those of you out there who do not know, the Russians control all of the drug and pornography traffic in South Florida ever since the Italian Mafia deemed those trades a little too dangerous.).
So it looks like I am stuck with this writing gig. Any hindrance to that end is the devil in the cookie jar. I have decided to finally take the advice of a good friend and do something different for a bit. Write in a different style for a while, she says. Until the words break themselves free, write something else. I have been working on two twisted novels and a book of poetry, a musician bio, articles for the local arts and entertainment weekly rag, and other pieces of mine. The only thing that I haven’t written lately is limericks and dark horror. So here goes…
There once was a writer named Stan
Who slept with his pencil in hand
He couldn’t write shit
That could be considered a hit
So instead became a garbage man.
Terrible, I know. My apologies, Faithful Reader, for subjecting you to that pap. Let us try the dark horror then…
Morning sun stumbles headlong down the stairs, dust-mote heavy and thick. There is no hope for the lost. The misplaced. Falling down stairs crooked and drunken, she says, “What is wrong with you?” Hands on cocked hips, angry. “Are you drunk again, for fuck’s sake?”
“Yes. Yes I am.”
“What is that now? Three times this week?”
“Nope, eleven days now. And counting.”
“I fucking hate you.”
“I know. I’m not real crazy about you either.”
“You don’t even like you anymore.”
“My least favorite person. Your point?”
“You are killing yourself. I can’t stand to watch it anymore.”
“You shouldn’t watch so intently.”
“You know I can’t do that.”
“Sure you can. You did it before. When I actually needed you. “
“Bullshit. You will call when you need a shoulder.”
“Probably. But not you. Your phone will not ring.”
There are times when we wished we hadn’t said things. Times when keeping our big mouths shut would have changed everything about the muddy world in which we wallow. This was one of them. She walked on out the sliding glass door like the ghost of a scent lingering on a pillow. She never looked back as she took my Harley, my cd’s, and my only pair of flip flops. She also took what was left of me. Things I thought I had hidden. Things secret and wanting. Things irreplaceable.
I burned her clothes and photos on the front lawn with cheap, watered down lighter fluid. Thick black ribbons of soot rising from polyester thrift store blouses and denim. That was her. All gone now and nearly forgotten. She burned as easily as she burned me. It was easy. The neighbors all called me a prick for the deed but what else was I to do? She left me no choice but to eradicate her from my sunshine. I should have killed her.
I rumble back in the house and beg despondent cabinets for something to drink. Something strong. Pine cabinets stare back apologetically. I cannot imagine a life without booze right now so I climb in my old VW and drive to the corner where gin and lime wait. I sit in the broken down seats and sip the juniper poison like some greasy antidote. I have 4 dollars, a half empty fuel tank, and a hard on. What next? Where do I go from here? Does it matter?
I could call some friends of mine but they are not those kinds of friends. I could call my momma but she is not that kind of mother. I could call my father but he died the same day as Jerry Garcia. I don’t want to know for whom I cried the most tears. Jerry was a larger part of my formative years. So was Prince for that matter. Before he turned into a symbol and still believed in the power of purple. I could call…
I’ve made this trip before; broke, hungry, horny, and burdened with a serious lack of quality narcotics. It only involves an empty gas can and a calloused pride. I have never slept in a dumpster or knowingly ate from one, though I have stood in line at the soup kitchen and gratefully ate every morsel. I have endured preaching for a meal more than once. I have conned churches out of money for 100 more miles of gas or a hotel room just so I could have a hot shower and a bed not crawling with ants. I am very good at it.
Sleeping in the median of the highway in Arkansas is no picnic, either. The mosquitoes will destroy you.
I can’t stand the thought of going back to the house. Neighbors will call, or worse, knock on the door, to check on me and scoop the best gossip. I can do without it at the moment. Nosy bastards.
I point the Dub toward Benji’s, a local bar with a heavy pour and a decent cheesesteak and light a skinny joint of one of the few things she didn’t take. I don’t think she even knew I had it hidden in the sock drawer…
Ok, so maybe it is not horror, yet, but at least it is not horrible. Thank you, Nancy, for the wonderful advice. I finally wrote something. It may not be much, it may not even be good, but at least it is something. Now maybe I can get back to my real paying gigs and the stories that I create and love so much.
The demon has been banished. For now…
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