If A Tree Falls

by Fielding Goodfellow

The Doctor wasn’t really a doctor. He had earned the title due to his extensive knowledge of, and first hand experience in mind fucking psychedelics. My excursion into the wilderness, along with Sinee and Mailee, the Thai porn sisters was to be just the distraction we needed from the hailstorm of existential ennui that had permeated life. The Doctor and I spotted them just as we got over the ridge. They were hard to miss. Dressed in red and black flannel, the Doctor said that they stood out like Jayne Mansfield’s massive mammaries. But after 3 days of living on Peruvian peyote, neither one of us could be sure just what they were. Sinee, the Thai lap dancer the Doctor had been taking nude jello wrestling lessons with, and her sister Mailee, saw them too. “Lumberjacks!”, he muttered. “Fucking lumberjacks.”

The Doctor despised lumberjacks. Loggerheads, he called them, the bottom rung on the ladder of evolution. The mindless, mountainous fuckwits who came from places no sane man has ever been, and spread out across the continental forests, in their search for mature trees, and young, virgin women. Loggerheads were suckers for young, virgin women. But so were the Doctor and I. There were none in this part of the country. Not anymore. Not since the Doctor and I spent that long, holiday weekend at The Four Seasons Resort.

I counted 4 lumberjacks,  just beyond the tree line, and the Doctor said there were 3 more behind a burnt out Plymouth Valiant in a clearing. Mailee said that she saw 3 standing in line at Booster Juice. And, even with significant amounts of hallucinogenics coursing through our blood streams and setting up camps in our prefrontal cortex,  we were able to do the math in our heads. There were 10 lumberjacks skulking around the woods near our campsite.  After another round of peyote, and an hour or so of watching the Zebra string quartet perform Vivaldi on the hood of the burnt out Plymouth Valiant, the Doctor thought that he had read about a study conducted at Northwestern in the mid 1970s,  which found that DNA samples taken from deceased lumberjacks contained no human DNA. Theorists believe that they are, in fact, an extraterrestrial life form that was stranded here thousands of years ago. Yes, it seems that Earth had been invaded by aliens, with an affinity for flannel. The thought was mind boggling! “I don’t know how we’re going to deal with so many of those flannel fucks”, the Doctor said, “I think we need beer. Canadian Beer,”

As we sat pondering the existence of these space travelling loggers, Sinee and Mailee headed over the border for beer. The Doctor was a big fan of Canadian beer and probably would have gone himself, but he had been banned from entering Canada several years ago, following an international incident that involved tequilla, a rubber chicken, and Margaret Trudeau. The sisters returned a couple of hours later, armed with Labbatt’s Blue, cigarettes, and wet panties. There were not many women who could perform like Sinee and Mailee.  Before her career as a lap dancer  Sinee and her sister had starred in over 40 underground porn films. The Doctor and I had seen them all. Some were classics, like ‘Molly’s Magic Muff’,  ‘Ride Cowgirl, Ride’, and ‘Head Above Water’. Sinee was a pro, and could suck the seeds out of a cucumber without peeling it. Her sister, I soon found out, was equally gifted. The Thai sisters dropped to their knees and took to their work like rabid jackals. “Like I always say”, Mailee playfully stated when the job was done, “the best way to go down is to keep your head up.” From my side of a job well done, I had to agree.

As  the sun began to rise, the sound of chain saws, and the shouts of “Timber!”, echoed across the wooded camp ground, followed by the thunder of falling trees. “I think we need to call the G Man.”, the Doctor stated.

The G Man was a music writer who had served with the Doctor in the National Park Service. He had spent most of his life in the woodlands of Oregon, but we liked him anyway. Rumor had it that after being bitten by a logger in a bar fight in the summer of 1973,  developed super powers, and became ‘Loggerman’. The story goes that he was recruited by a clandestine government agency that kept tabs on potential alien infiltration of earth.  He was considered an authority on loggers. His treatise ‘A Tree Falls in 4/4 Time’, and its sequel, ‘There’s A Logger In Your Treble Clef’ are considered the bibles of lumberjack identification and eradication. There were small communities in rural Oregon that had named streets after him, and there was even a ‘Loggerman’ day celebrating the end of the Oregon winter. While we waited for the G Man to arrive, we dined on peyote, pretzels, and beer, and sat back to enjoy the red and black stripped Zebra String Quartet that was now performing Bach on the hood of the burnt out Plymouth Valiant.

Sinee wanted to know just what the G Man’s super powers were. No one really knew. No one was sure if the rumors were even true. What was known was that the G Man could write an article on any aspect of popular music before you could finish listening to side 2 of ‘Abbey Road’. The Doctor believed the stories. He claimed to have seen the G Man turn into ‘Loggerman’ right before his eyes, become flannel, and carry a Douglas Fir on his shoulder like it was a sack of sugar. That, and the G Man’s penchant for pancakes, and Irish Stew, the Doctor remarked, was proof enough.

The G Man arrived just before sunset, carrying a black valise, and blaming a strong headwind for his late arrival. Mailee made pancakes, and we all sat down to a lumberjack stack and beer, and worked out a plan to get rid of the lumberjacks. Are there any young virgins around here?”, the G Man asked.

“Not really.”, I answered.

“There may be some in Ohio.”, the Doctor added. ” Maybe Columbus or Toledo.We won’t go into Ohio.”

“I assume that these 2 young ladies here have been tainted by all of your perversions.”, the G Man stated.

“Not all of them.”, I answered. “Not yet.” The G Man suggested we all get some sleep and start fresh in the morning.

We awoke to find the G Man listening to the sounds made by the lumberjacks. There was sawing, and shouting, and chopping. But The G Man could detect nuances that our mortal ears could not hear. We had pancakes and psyolcilin tea for breakfast, after which the G Man stood tall, with hands on his hips. “This is a job for Loggerman.”, he bellowed, and as his skin turned red and black, he raced off into the woods to face the dreaded loggers. I swear that as he walked off, AC/DC’s ‘Hell’s Bells” began playing, but, it could have just been the ‘shrooms. There were sounds we had never heard before, and timber and shards of wood were seen being thrown across the morning sky. Sinee and Mailee, frightened by the noises, believed the devil himself had been awoken. I took Mailee into my tent and calmed her down with some wood of my own. The battle ensued for what seemed like hours, and when it ended, there was silence. Total and complete silence. We watched and waited, and then, through the dust and smoke, we saw the G Man walking towards us. He looked pale, and sickly, but being from Oregon, it was understood. “Do you guys have any Irish Stew?”, he asked as he approached the camp site. He had grown a mustache in his absence, one of those 1970s Magnum P.I., things. The G Man seemed to like it though, and he was constantly stroking it as he ate.

“Nice ‘stache’.”, the Doctor said.

“Thanks.”, the G Man replied. “I kind of like it too. I think I’ll keep it. And now, I think I need to get some sleep, and then head back home.” He retired to one of the tents, while the rest of us, sat around drinking the rest of the mushroom tea,  and watched the chem trails left by a flock of geese that passed overhead turn into fish and swim off into the clouds.  Mailee and Sinee wanted to get laid, and neither the Doctor nor I had ever disappointed a damsel in distress.

The G Man left for the Pacific Northwest, and we packed up our camp site. We took Sinee and Mailee home, but not before one more head to mouth battle royale, the results of which left the Thai Porn Sisters speechless.. “Where to now?”, the Doctor asked.

“Well”, I answered, “There’s the Quebec City Virgin & Psychedelic Poutine Festival ablout ready to get underway.”

“Say no more.”, the Doctor stated, as he started up the van. “Let’s see how many virgins are left in Quebec City by the end of the week.” And with that, and The 13th Floor Elevators playing on the cassette deck of the Ford Torino, we did our recommended daily dose of peyote, and drove off in search of French Canadian Virgin Women, and if there was time, perhaps some poutine.

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Bubbie Has A Boyfriend

 

There was quite a furor in my house. The kids were upset, my wife was uncharacteristically quiet, and once again I found myself in the role of therapist for this band of brooding, yet quite lovable barbarians. As innocent as it appeared to me, there was much anxiety over the news that my 80 year old mother-in-law had a boyfriend.

“Who is this man?”, one of my daughters asked.

“What does Bubbie need a boyfriend for?”, another one shouted out.

“We need to check this guy out.”, a son chimed in. “What if he’s after her money or something?” I sat listening to this diatribe, wondering what he hell had happened to what I thought was a reasonably sensible family.

“I don’t know who he is.”, my wife said. “Except that he’s younger than her, and he’s French.”

“He’s a gigolo.”, another son entered the fray.

“Are they, like dating?”, a daughter asked.

“It appears that way.”, my wife responded. “He just moved into her building.”

“Oh my God!”, a daughter quipped. “Are they living together?”

“No.”, my wife said. “He has his own apartment. A few floors above hers.”

“Well, that’s convenient.”, I said. Its probably not even furnished..”

“What is that supposed to mean?”, my wife asked, with arms folded.

“It means they are probably living together.”, a son replied. “He just rented his own apartment to make it look good.”

“They are not living together.”, my wife stated. “And please”, she added as she looked directly at me, “If you’re not going to help, then just say nothing.”

“I just don’t think there’s anything to get so upset about.”, I said. “The woman has been a widow for almost 40 years. She spent all of that time alone. I think its good for her to meet someone and try to be happy.”

“Well, it’s not your mother, is it?”, my wife reminded me. And true enough, it wasn’t.

“We need to meet this guy.”, a son said. “We need to check him out and make sure he’s okay for Bubbie.”

“We should just put him in the trunk of his car and leave him in the parking lot at the Airport.”, someone said.

“This isn’t a Mafia hit.”, I interjected.

“What if they’re having sex?”, a daughter asked.

“They’re not having sex.”, my wife answered.

“How do you know?”, I asked.

“Because they’re not.”, she said. “You’re still not helping.”, she said to me.

“Well”, I offered.”Why don’t we ask your mother and her friend to join us for lunch. We’ll all go. We can meet him, and see what’s going on. Maybe then you can all stop talking about it.” There are times when I have wonderfully brilliant solutions to all of my families troubles, but not one of them will ever let me know. This was one of those times.

“Okay.”, my wife said. “I call my mother and make arrangements for this weekend.”

“I’m going to grill him.”, a daughter said. “No one messes with my Bubbie.”

“We could take him outside and threaten him.”, a son said. “You know, scare the crap out of him.”

“Who are you?”, I asked him. “We’re not the Sopranos!”

“We will all behave.”, my wife said. “It will be a nice getting to know you, and welcome to the family lunch.”

“He’s not in my family.”, a daughter said.

“Does he even speak English?”, a daughter asked.

“He speaks English.”, I assured her. “But like a Frenchman. Just mumble, close your eyes and move your head around a bit when you speak to him. He’ll understand perfectly.”

As the day of the luncheon rolled around, everyone was working on their own agendas. There were those who had plans to batter the man with incessant questioning, while others were planning on intimidating and threatening. My wife wasn’t sure how she would react. She hoped that she would like him, for her mother’s sake, but she already had issue with him. Me, well, it made no difference to me whatsoever. I was pretty far removed from the emotional turbulence that had overwhelmed my family. If he was alright, then I was alright. All of the kids and their significant others met at the restaurant about 20 minutes before we arranged for them to come. We were an intimidating site for a newcomer, all 10 of us, seated at the table, some with a scornful demeanor, and visible uneasiness. “Please make sure your children behave.”, my wife whispered to me.

“Why are they suddenly mine?”, I asked.

“Because you taught them to be rude and disrespectful.”, she said.

“Okay.”, I said to my kids. “You really need to tone it down, and behave yourselves. Be nice. Be polite. We’re hear for your grandmother. Let’s try to make her happy.”

When they arrived, we all sat there talking, introducing ourselves, and trying to get to know the Frenchman. I’m sure he knew the scrutiny he was under. I’m sure my mother-in-law warned him about our family. But he was alright. He held his own. One of my daughters kept giving him the ‘stink eye’, and I had to glare at her to get her to stop. It turned out that the Frenchman had a crap load of money, owned several properties across Canada, including a beach house in Nova Scotia, and a Condo in Vancouver. I could see my daughter’s eyes light up,  with dollar signs floating around her face. My mother-in-law seemed happy, the happiest I had seen her in many, many years. My wife, struggling a little to let go of the ghost of her father, also saw her mother’s happiness. We finished lunch, and said our goodbyes, as they had a long drive back to Windsor. As the rest of us walked towards our cars, there was much chatter about the Frenchman.

“He seems okay.”, a son said.

“I still don’t like him.”, a daughter said.

“Do you think I could get him to pay off my student loan?”, another daughter asked.

“I hate the French.”, someone stated.

In the car, heading home, my wife asked me what I thought of him. “I don’t know.”, I told her. “He seems nice enough, and your mother is very happy.”

“I don’t want her to get hurt.”, she said.

“Ah, honey.”, I said. “They’re 80 years old. He can’t get her money because we have signing authority. What’s left for him to take? Her virtue? That ship sailed a long, long time ago. Let her have fun. We will take care of her, but she needs to live.”

“I know.”, she said. “I just worry that he’ll leave or something, and then she’ll have nothing.”

“She’ll have us.”, I reminded her.

“Thank you for looking out for my mother.”, she told me.

“And besides”, I stated. “If he hurts her, we can always have him stuffed into the trunk of a car parked at the airport. Your gangster son would gladly do the job.”

“Oh, so now he’s my son.”, she exclaimed.

“Yes.”, I explained. “The crazy shit they get from you. The kids and I refer to it as ‘getting Moroccan’.”

“Well”, she said, “We have some time without any kids. Interested in some crazy Moroccan sex?”

“It so happens that’s my favorite kind.”, I told her. Man, I love this woman..

 

 

 

 

The Freud That Was Sherlock Holmes

 

Here at the Institute of Psychofictional Studies, no stone is left unturned in our search for the truth. After 10 years of intensive research, Dr. Guillermo Montoya, esteemed tenured Professor and head coach of the women’s nude hacky sack and lap dancing team has uncovered evidence to support his hypothesis that Sherlock Holmes was not a fictional character, but rather the alter ego of Sigmund Freud.

According to Montoya, Freud, an emotionally weak buffoon, had, in his cocaine induced dreams, created the persona of Holmes, genius detective, who epitomized all that Freud knew he could never be.  As evidentiary proof, Montoya points out that there is not a single instance in which Holmes & Freud were seen together,  and postulates that Freud  revealed his dreams to Conan Doyle over the course of a long weekend, when the two men met at Reichenbach Falls in the Swiss Alps during the summer of 1893. Freud was so captivated by his alter ego, that he had named him Sure Luck, a reference to his own deductive reasoning prowess, and certainly he would have shared that with Conan Doyle.

Montoya has suggested that many elements of the Holmes stories were simply attempts by Freud to deal with his own personal anxieties and ‘meshugas’.  According to the research, Moriarty is the embodiment of Freud’s father Jacob, a cold, distant and emotionally disturbed man, while Watson, Holmes’ trusted protector and blindly supportive adviser, is in fact Freud’s mother, Amelia. It is not without possibility then that Holmes’ estranged siblings, with their ridiculously inane given names, are the characterizations of Freud’s own siblings, towards whom he felt great animosity, and the discovery of sibling rivalry.

Montoya and his team of Psychofictional researchers spent hundreds of hours interviewing family members of Freud and Conan Doyle, and it was uncovered, though never recorded,  that Holmes was freakishly fond of cats, and had taken in many strays during his illustrious career. Montoya states it is more than mere coincidence then, that Freud had an obsessive penchant for pussies himself. To further illustrate this , the research suggests that the numerous images of valleys, crypts, tunnels, and caves in the Sherlock Holmes tales, can be identified as vaginal openings, symbolizing Freud’s unsuccessful attempts to slip into his mother’s vagina, demonstrating a significant Oedipal complex. Montoya also theorizes that Irene Adler, Holmes’ love interest in ‘A Scandal In Bohemia’, who he could never quite get over, is representative of Freud’s beloved sister Anna, whom he desperately wanted, but could never have. In a final stroke of genius, Montoya identifies Holmes’ constant handling of his violin, as Freud’s  struggle with penis envy, and chronic masturbation.

Providing a fresh perspective into the two minds of one great man, the results of this ground breaking research are due to be published in the prestigious  Frostbite Falls Journal of Psychofiction and Melon Artistry. Montoya has indicated that while he views this as his crowning academic achievement, he is set to embark on an in-depth investigation in order to prove his theory, that Natasha Fatale, over bearing shrew and partner of Boris Badenov, is in actuality, the cross dressing Bullwinkle Moose at the infamous Wossamotta U.

 

 

 

School Of Hard Rocks

 

For as long as I can remember, I have lived my life in a blaze of psychedelic pornography. I suspect that it began with Mr. Norton, an American draft evader who came to Canada and wound up teaching English at my High School. We would spend many a lunch time, discussing music and literature, as we smoked a joint, and occasionally dropped a hit of acid in his car.

I first laid eyes on Wendy Glass in Mr. Norton’s English class. She sat directly across from me. Long blonde hair, tight sweater, and short skirt, that gave me alternating views of her wonderfully contoured thighs and pink panties, every time she crossed and uncrossed her legs. I painfully sat through discussions of ‘Brave New World’ and  ‘Heart Of Darkness’, with my eyes fixed on what lay beneath her skirt, and an erection that never seemed to go away. My days were filled with thoughts of her, and my nights were a series of cinemascopic dreams that rivaled any masturbatory imagery I had ever experienced.

She was wonderfully coy every time I spoke to her, with a flip of her hair over her right shoulder, a tilt of her head, and a giggle, that made me want to take her right there in the school hallway. By the following school year, we would sit in a stairwell and smoke a joint,  and she would talk about the other girls in our grade who ignored or disliked her. I listened intently, my erection straining the fabric of my jeans, wondering if now was the  right time to kiss her. Not just any kiss, but a kiss to end all kisses, full on mouth to mouth, with tongues dancing in synchronized rhythm for what seemed like eternity. When she stopped talking, I convinced her to join my friends and I for a day of cutting school and wandering around Centre Island. There was already talk around the school, since we had been seen together, that I was a drugged out sex maniac, and she was nothing more than a common whore. Now, to set the record straight, I was indeed a drugged out, sex maniac, but Wendy was far from common.

While I was trying to gain access to the uncharted, wonderful world of Wendy, I had also been busy dipping into the warm womanhood of Ms. Sherman, the young French teacher. I seemed to have a knack for languages, and while she praised my oral skills, I must confess that her own particular oral technique was incredibly developed. We would meet in the French room after school, and with the doors locked, begin our pas de deux, which we would move to her car, parked in the back of the parking lot, and complete our horizontal tango. We followed this up with smoking a joint, and then parted ways until the next time. I was quite proud of this achievement, but more than Ms. Sherman, I wanted Wendy Glass.

I had imagined her naked many, many times. I had decided our trip to Centre Island was my opportunity for a rousing bout of carnal calisthenics. As we boarded the ferry, she hung on tightly to my shirt. She sat close beside me, so close that I could feel her skin touch mine. The blood was coursing through my veins,  and ended up, as it always did, south of my belt. What was it about this girl that keep me in a state of perpetual erection? As the boat docked, and the all clear was given, she stood up, waiting for me to stand as well. It took me a minute, as I thought about baseball, Leo Gorcey, and Huntz Hall before I was able to stand up without looking like Pinocchio was stuffed down the front of my pants.

While my friends decided to take paddle boats for a ride, Wendy and I simply walked the island, crossing pedestrian bridges that spanned the inlets that separated the islands from each other. We walked, talking about music, books, and things existential, and I felt her take my hand. I turned to look at her, and I was completely taken by her beauty. It was as if I was seeing her for the first time. Without hesitation, I kissed her, long and deep. I would have been content with just that, but Pinocchio had other ideas, and I laid her right there and then, on the grass. We stayed there for what seemed like forever afterward, eating some peyote, and watching the soft early summer clouds explode in purples and blues and greens. They danced across the sky smiling, expanding and contracting, taking on weird shapes as they came closer, as if trying to swallow us.

As the school year drew to a close, I lost touch with Wendy Glass. We had classes, developed different friendships, and drifted apart. I would often see her in the hallways of  Newton High School, and we would smile, and say hello, as we continued on our separate paths. Ms. Sherman remained at the school for one more semester, before accepting a position at a French Immersion school outside the city. Mr. Norton stayed on for my entire high school career, and we continued to visit his car, getting wasted, and discussing my emerging interests in Kafka, Vonnegut, and existential nihilism.  Following graduation, I never saw him again.

I ran into Wendy many, many years later.  She was working as a veterinarian nurse at an animal clinic where I had taken my dog for his annual shots. . She looked the same,  long blond hair, tight sweater, and short skirt. We talked for a while, and fondly reminisced about that day at the island. I told her how I was constantly getting hardons every time she crossed her legs. She said that she knew, and that was why she kept crossing and uncrossing her legs. We both laughed.   It was nice to be able to look back with the clarity of retrospection, and to realize that time doesn’t change us unless we want it to, I mean she was still an uncommon whore, and I was still a drugged out sex maniac.

The Italian Job

 

Francesca  worked at the small trattoria not far from my room at a pensionne near The Spanish Steps. She was beautifully Italian, with long, dark hair, deep brown eyes, and an accent that had me hanging on every word she said in her delightfully, broken English. And, after touring Rome for several days, I discovered that of the 7 hills in Rome, she had the only two I had any real interest in seeing. She was, without a doubt, a dish that I would devour served hot or cold. She told me that she was an artist, and some of her paintings were being shown at a small gallery. She invited me to attend with her, and we agreed to meet when she finished work.

Julian, the bartender at the Hotel Cok in Amsterdam, had given me the contact information of a friend of his in Rome who would be able to meet my hallucinogenic needs, and I was able to secure some peyote and mushrooms. I spent the afternoon, milling around the city, fascinated by the way the people turned into lizards and sea horses, and were able to hover up and down the steps. There was a chimpanzee organ grinder collecting money after he danced. I swear his feet never even touched the ground!, The Via Dei Cerchi was filled with protesters waving placards. The Police were out in full force, donning riot gear, and armed with tear gas. The demonstrators began throwing bottles and stones at them, and the Police fired.I tried to run, but I couldn’t see through the thick clouds of smoke. In the ensuing confusion and pandemonium, I followed a group of radical Romans running down the street in what I thought was an attempt to elude the police. I ended up in front of The Coliseum, where I blended into the crowd of tourists. There was an older man there, selling religious artifacts from a cart. He looked tired, and his face was weathered from the years of being outside. He offered me a crucifix, rosaries, and a small bottle of holy water, all of which I declined.

I was still pretty high when I went to meet Francesca.We walked along the bank of the Tiber. I have no idea what we were talking about, but she laughed a lot. And every time she laughed, or even smiled for that matter, I got hard. The peyote was beginning to wear off and I had no intention of attending an art exhibit without mind altering medication. Francesca and I sat down on a bench along the walkway, and I managed to convince her to try some peyote. It was new for her, and she panicked when the river first stood up and began to walk over to us. We moved as quickly as we could with the river, and the monster that lived within in, chasing us.

There were a lot of people already at the gallery when we arrived, and Francesca went to stand by one of her friends.  There was a woman with a giraffe head examining a painting, and I went over to investigate. She made strange sounds as she peered at the painting, commenting on the colors, and brush strokes. I had no idea if there was another giraffe there with her, but I did not see one. I looked closely at the painting. “What do you see?”, she asked me with a very British accent.

“Demons and The Mahavishnu Orchestra.”, I answered. “And you?”

“The magnificence of life, and love.” she stated. “The wasted dreams of those who would not wake up long enough to take action.”

“So”, I asked, “Do you like art?” Her huge giraffe head turned to face me.

“I just adore art?”, she said. “I am a patron of the arts”.

“Well”, I informed her, “there is this wild painting in The Stedalijk Museum in Amsterdam.” I leaned over to her, getting as close as I could without having to endure her giraffe head landing up my nose or in my eye, and whispered. “Its filled with penises.”, I said.

“Pardon me?”, she asked.

“Dicks! You know. There are all sorts of them out for a day in the park, riding bicycles, playing tennis and volleyball, sun tanning, all kinds of stuff. And every character is a penis!”

“Are you on drugs?”, she asked.

“Well, yes.”, I told her. “Yes I am.” She wandered off with her big giraffe head, and stood by the watering hole. I saw Francesca with her friends, and headed over to them. I was introduced to Antony, a struggling photography who worked as sales rep for a car rental company, and Geovana, who made a meager living as a musician in a string quartet. I referred to them as Tony and Gee. We talked for a while, but I found it hard to look at Gee, as she had suddenly developed bat like wings, that seemed to flap back and forth every time she spoke. I think Francesca noticed them as well, as she kept turning away from Gee, listening to the cigarette machine in the lobby talking about neo fascism with an elderly couple of red necked wallabies, who were busily stuffing packets of cigarettes in their pouches.

We left the gallery, with Gee complaining that she was too tired to walk. Francesca suggested that Gee should shut the fuck up, start flapping her giant bat wings, and fly. We wound up taking a taxi back to Francesca’s flat. Tony took out some pot, and began filling a pipe, while I went and brewed mushroom tea, and we settled in for a night of drug induced transcendence. Not long after the flowers in the vase on a small table in the corner of the room began singing ‘Quando, Quando, Quando’, Francesca and Tony passed out, so Gee and I went outside to watch the flying gekkos perform a death defying Cuban 8.  We sat on the grass of the small parkette just outside the flat and talked about music, and art, and how to make a decent marinara sauce. She was funny, and smart, and insanely hot. By the time the sun came up we had made plans to visit the ruins of Pompeii, and I had agreed to learn the Tarantella. I would have agreed to almost anything then, with the flying gekkos gone, and the sun just beginning to rise. We returned to the flat to find Tony and Francesca still asleep, exactly where we left them, sprawled out across the living room furniture. I needed coffee, and headed into the kitchen. Gee followed and stood behind me, with her arms around my waist. She began moving her hands down my thighs, and kept brushing her hand across my junk. “Have you ever had an Italian job?”, she asked as my erection strained against the denim. I told her I had not, although I wan’t 100% certain exactly what she had in mind. It didn’t take long however, for me to understand, as she lowered the zipper of my jeans, and stepping in front of me, dropped to her knees and gave me an Italian job that I was sure surpassed all other Italian jobs.

I saw Francesca later, at the trattoria. I was watching the peyote induced images of combat ready squirrels, and dodging their semi automatic volleys, as I sat on the patio, soaking in the hot summer sun. Francesca was hovering over me, rubbing my shoulders every time she walked past, and bringing me another limonata as soon as I had finished one. I’m pretty sure it was the peyote, but it seemed like everyone passing by looked like the clown from Pagliacci. I sat patiently waiting for one of them to start singing ‘Vesti la giubba’, but before that could happen, I noticed the squirrels on the offensive, charging towards the trattoria. This hallucinatory fantasy was disrupted by Francesca asking me if anything happened between me and Gee. Sadly, I realized at that moment, that I wanted this woman so badly, that I was about to lie to her.

We had plans to meet Gee later in the evening, and Francesca wanted me to go to Blunauta in Piazza di Spagnato to buy a new outfit to wear to Gee’s recital. We wandered through he store, with Francesca picking out a bunch of stuff to try on. She took them into the change room while I waited for her for what seemed like forever. The leprechauns running around the change area, were getting agitated,  looking for a safe place to hide their gold. I heard Francesca call me, and I walked into the change room to find her naked, looking like a Roman goddess.. She reached out for me, and right there in that change room, in a crowded store in Rome,  we made our own Roman history. The woman was incredibly talented, and built to withstand attacks from all sides. The leprechauns cheered in appreciation, and I am pretty sure they were throwing gold coins at us.

The recital was well attended and when it was over, Gee and I went back to Francesca’s flat. After Gee fell asleep,  I spent the night in Francesca’s room, where we drank mushroom tea, cursed the vampires peeping in through the window, and watched the sun come up. With my time in Rome coming to an end, I said my goodbyes and promised Francesca that I would return. I never did.  I wrote her a letter which I never posted. I suppose it was intended more for myself than it was for her. I took the day trip to Pompeii, and afterwards returned to visit the old man selling religious articles from his cart outside of the Coliseum. I purchased some holy water, and a cross, ensuring that I would be protected from the vampires that had been following me for the last few days.

 

 

 

 

When It Rains, It Pours

 

My wife has spent the last 2 to 3 years tirelessly minimizing our expenses in an effort to maximize our savings for retirement. She has systematically eliminated all things that, as she puts it, ‘we don’t really need’. The selection process, fraught with anxiety and despair, has not always been an easy one.

“Do we really need cable?”, she asked.

“Yes.”, I answered. “We really do.”

“Its very expensive.”, she continued. “I think it’s frivolous. There are better things we could do with our money.”

“Like what?”, I inquired.

“We could save it.”, she said. “For our retirement.”  I sat silently, knowing full well that she wasn’t finished. “And I think we should look at our food budget. We spend way too much on food.”

“What are you suggesting?”, I asked.

“We have to eat differently.”, she explained. “Simple, inexpensive food. Meals like soups, and rice and beans.”

“Soup is not a meal.”, I told her. “It’s the stuff that comes before the real food arrives. It’s like salad, only wet.”

“Don’t you want to stop working and just take it easy?”, she asked.

“What for?”, I inquired. “There will be no cable, and no real food to eat.”

“You’re just being stubborn.”, she stated. “Do you always have to be so damned difficult.”

“I think so.”, I answered. “I have tried not to be, but it never works out. Maybe we could come up with some sort of compromise.”

“Like what?”, she asked.

“Maybe we could use the money we save from cancelling the cable to buy real food?”, I suggested.

“You’re missing the point.”, she explained, with a great deal of fervor. “We have to be prepared for the future. Didn’t you ever hear about saving for a rainy day?”

“I’ve heard about it.”, I replied. “But what if it never rains?”

“What are you going on about?”, she inquired.

“Look.”, I said. “We see things very differently. You like to plan for tomorrow by sacrificing today. I on the other hand, can’t be certain that tomorrow will ever come. What’s the point in saving up for something that I may not be here to do, if it means I have to give up the things I enjoy doing now?”

“You mean if you don’t live long enough to retire?”, she asked.

“Exactly.”, I said.

“Ok.”, she said. “But I will still be here, and I could enjoy the benefits of having sacrificed and saved.”

“Well, well.”, I replied. “And now we get to the heart of the matter. Its your tomorrow we’re planning for, not ours.”

“And?”, she asked, as if I had something more to add.

“Is there a difference?”, she asked.

“None at all.”, I told her. “There never really has been, has there?”

“None whatsoever.”, she answered. “But I’m glad we finally got it out of the way, and that we’ve reached an agreement.”

“So am I.”, I responded, somewhat dejectedly.

“Don’t worry.”, she said. “You can have your real food. I really only wanted to cancel the cable anyway.”

“I must be getting old.”, I told her. “You never would have been able to scam me like that ten years ago.”

“Really?”, she quipped, as she rubbed my shoulders. “What do you think we’ve been doing for the past 35 years?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rules Of Engagement

 

“I can’t sleep.”, my wife informed me as I was finally drifting off. “The atmosphere has been weird for the past two weeks. Do you know what I mean?”

“I understand the words.”, I replied. “But I have no idea what you mean.”

“Its like things are out of whack.” she continued. “It just doesn’t feel right. And its making me very uneasy.  Does that make any sense?”

“Not really.”, I told her. “But I don’t share your Moroccan sensitivity.”

“Do you think that’s what it is?”, she asked.

“Well”, I answered, “Either that or you’ve lost your mind.”

“We’ll go with the Moroccan sensitivity.”, she said.

“Either way.”, I informed her, “Its okay with me.” Several minutes of silence passed, and I could feel myself drifting off to sleep, once again.

“So what do you want to do now?”, my wife asked.

“What?”, I inquired, both surprised and agitated.

“Well, we can’t sleep.”, she stated, “did you want to talk, or watch tv or something?”

“We could fool around.”, I said.

“No.” , she answered, “I’m not in the mood for that.”

“Well.”, I said, “I think I’ll just go to sleep.”

“That’s it?”, she asked angrily. “You’re only willing to stay awake for sex?”

“Pretty much.”, I told her.

“You’re an ass.”, she said.

“Look.”, I told her, as I turned to face her. “There are only two reasons I have ever been prepared to stay awake. If you need medical attention, or sex. If you don’t need either of those, I have to get some sleep. I’m exhausted”

“Well, I’m over exhausted.” she said. “But this feeling is freaking me out.”

“You can’t be over exhausted.”, I informed her. “Exhausted is finite. There are degrees of tired, and exhausted is the ultimate. You can be over tired, but there is nothing beyond exhausted. You could use an adjective, like totally exhausted, but its redundant. Exhausted implies that you are the most tired you could be.”

“Shut up.”, she said, as she turned her back to me.

“You don’t have to be angry about it.”, I told her.

“Yes I do.”, she stated. “The rules are if I can’t sleep, you stay up with me.”

“Really?”, I inquired. “And if I can’t sleep, do you have to stay up with me?”

“No.”, she informed me. “Only if you’re very sick, or hurt.”

“Who made these rules.”, I asked.

“I did.”, she answered.

“It must be nice to just make up any rule you want.”, I stated sarcastically, sitting up in bed now, realizing that I was completely awake.

“It is.”, she said.

“Well, I’m awake now.”, I told her. “What do you want to do?”

“I’m feeling sleepy now.”, she said. “I think I’m going to go to sleep.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me!”, I stated with some indignance. “You’ve kept me awake, and now that I can’t sleep, you decide that you’re going to sleep?”

“Those are the rules.”, she said.

“What the hell am I supposed to do now?”, I asked.

“Well”, she said. “Medical attention or sex. You decide.”

“You know you make me crazy.”, I told her.

“I know.”, she replied. “That’s also one of the rules.”

 

 

The Rain Maker

 

Among her many talents, my wife has discovered that she has an uncanny ability to predict the weather. With an astonishing degree of certainty, she has been successfully able to determine when it will rain. I have seen it with my own eyes! At first I too was quite skeptical, I mean hundreds of meteorologists, with college degrees and years of experience have had limited success at correctly predicting rainfall, even with the technology of modern weather tracking systems and models. But I have seen my wife correctly predict rainfall consistently.

She was reluctant to discuss just how she was able to do this, with limited knowledge, and no equipment. I asked, and all she would say was that she just could. It was astounding. And then, on a day that she was feeling unwell, I asked her if it was going to rain and she stated that she wasn’t sure. I was dumbfounded. Had she lost her ability to predict the weather? Had she lost her super power? When I pressed her for the reason, she simply told me that as she was not going out, she just couldn’t tell. I asked her why that mattered, and then, perhaps in a moment of delirium brought on by as fever of 100.4, she revealed her secret.

It seems that she had discovered that every time she wore her black moccasins outside, it rained. Every time. Without fail. And so, using only deductive reasoning, she concluded that if she were to wear her black moccasins, it would again rain. Thus, she was able to predict rainfall. “Are you kidding me?”, I asked.

“No.”, she relied. “It happens every time.”

“Do you really believe that it rains because you wear those shoes.”, I asked.

“They’re not shoes.”, she stated emphatically. “They’re moccasins. And yes, whenever I wear them it rains. It seems logical.”

“Well, Mr. Spock.”, I told her. “Unless you’re out there doing some kind of rain dance in your moccasins, it is impossible.”

“I don’t care what you think.”, she answered. “I know that its right.”

“You realize  that with that power”, I continued, “You could be dropped into a drought stricken country and it would rain. You could save millions of lives. You could end hunger on this planet. You could get a Nobel Prize.”

“I suppose I could.”, she stated. “Wouldn’t that be nice.”

“What’s your temperature now?”, I asked. “You’re out of your mind.”

“102.3”, she informed me, glancing at the thermometer that had been in her mouth.

“Well, you just rest today. Stay in bed, and rest.”, I told her.

“Can you come home early and take care of me?”, she asked. “Can you bring me home some soup.”

“I’ll try to get home early.”, I informed her. “And yes, I’ll get you some soup.”

“Maybe you should take the umbrella.”, she remarked. “I don’t know if its going to rain or not.”

“I’ll take my chances.”, I said. “But thank you. With the moccasins safely away in the closet, I feel pretty sure that I can manage the weather today.”

“Lentil soup, please.”, she called out as I was leaving the room.

“Whatever you want, honey.”, I said. “Whatever you want.”

Aristotle Never Went To Amsterdam

 

Sometime in the early to mid 1970s, I set off to find myself, although I wasn’t even certain that I had been missing. Armed with pen and paper, and with the words of Kerouac, Salinger, and Thompson reverberating in my head, I headed down the psychedelic super highway of hallucinogenics. Hurtling headfirst at record breaking speeds, I found myself in Amsterdam, careening through a maze of idioms & isms, made palatable by copious amounts of sex, and drugs, and rock and roll. I was determined to ingest and inhale everything this deliciously, sordid city offered, fueled by the hallucinations brought on by my drug addled mind.

I checked into the Hotel Cok, on Jan Luykenstraat, renting a single room on the top floor with a view of the canal. There was a bar in the hotel basement which was run by Julian, a drugged out, French ex-patriot who introduced me to lager & lime. I spent a great deal of time hanging out with Julian, and we shared a fascination with drugs, and a love of music. We spent some afternoons in the bar as Julian introduced me to Moving Gelatine Plates, Magma, & Art Zoyd, while I flooded his brain with The 13th Floor Elevators, Spirit, and The Blues Magoos. We listened intently, having sampled the newly arrived hallucinogenics, and took turns chasing away the pterodactyls who had congregated just outside the door. And in The Hotel Cok, one summer morning, during a bout of existential ennui, I met Tessa.

She was insanely beautiful, with long blonde hair, green eyes, and legs that never seemed to stop, and worked as a maid in the hotel. We became inseparable after she walked in to my room to clean as I was standing there, naked, having just emerged from the shower. While I was uncertain what I was supposed to do next, Tessa was quite willing, and more than able to perform on her knees. We spent all of our time together from that moment on. She referred to it as dating, and who was I to argue with the older woman who was consistently offering herself to me. In the mornings we would head over to the Amstel Brewery tour, sampling several types of beer, and at night, we hung out at The Melkweg, a club located in the Leidseplein, the hub of Amsterdam’s night life, lingering in the hazy fog of the drugs that were readily available.

In the afternoons, as both Tessa & Julian worked, I was free to roam the city, seeking inspiration and motivation to continue my quest. One particular afternoon, I went to The  Museum where, after having dropped yellow submarines, I stood in front of a painting of penises. There were hundreds of them. Some were riding bicycles, while others were eating carnival foods. There were some in top hats, and little ones, running with balloons. I have no idea if what I saw was really there, but it was an enjoyable piece, whatever it was.

When I returned to the Hotel Cok bar, Tessa informed me that there was a free concert in Vondel Park that night, with Golden Earring set to perform. By the time we arrived at the site, thousands of people had filled the park, setting the stage for what I hoped would become the Dutch Woodstock. We found a spot on the grass, and sat back, drinking mushroom tea, and drifting in and out of places I had never been before, or after. There were Police on foot and horseback, patrolling the grounds, presumably to keep the paranoid schizophrenics, and, I hoped, the dragons at bay. The atmosphere was wonderfully psychedelic,  with people dancing to music that had not even begun to play. There was a roar from the enormous crowd when the band took the stage, and I sat in awe, as they opened with a 45 minute cover of The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High”. Sometime during an intense solo, in a foolish attempt to reach the heights being sung about, Tessa & I ate peyote buttons, that Julian was able to obtain through a smarmy, South American Art Dealer who appeared to look like a goldfish. I have no recollection of how many we ate, or for that matter, any thing else that happened that night. I awoke the next morning in Vondel Park with Tessa in my arms, and my pants nowhere to be found.

On the days when Julian had to work, Tessa & I would borrow Julian’s Vespa and head out to wherever the road took us. Inevitably,we found ourselves at some point in the day, hanging out at Dam Square. the meeting place for all of those who had no idea what they wanted, and really didn’t care to find out. It was filled with hippies, musicians, and artists, all banding together to protest against war, or taxes, or some plan to stifle their freedom of creativity. They were peaceful protests, the kind of protest one would expect from a crowd who had heavily ingested hits of acid that were being passed around in small wicker baskets. There was chanting, and singing, and the occasional panic stricken scream from someone in the midst of a bad trip. Tessa and I would occasionally wander off to the Damrak and contemplate threesomes with some of the hotter girls that she would pick out, sitting in their windows, dressed in leather, or lace, or both.

Trush, a Danish tourist from Copenhagen, had recently left her husband, and was trying to start a new life. She had been sitting alone at the bar most of the morning, Julian informed me. Tessa went over to speak to her, and before long, Trush had joined our little group of misfits. Julian said that he was attracted to her mind, that she gave him a mental hard on. It didn’t matter to Tessa or I what he said, we both knew it was her enormous tits. Julian made Mushroom tea, and we all sat around for what seemed like hours, drinking tea, listening to music, and watching the giant iguanas crawl across the walls. Bad Company was playing on the bar’s stereo. We drank lager & lime, and ate  Bitterballen, a weird, deep fried meatball, which surprisingly tasted better than it looked. We ate, and talked, and drank more magic mushroom tea. As the title track of the album began playing, Trush started dancing, swaying back and forth to the music, and removing her clothes. Julian felt the need to stop her, although I suggested that we let her dance. I must have drifted off into some far away place where Trush was completely naked, brought back only by Julian insisting that Tessa and I take her to her room.  As high as we were,  we scaled the 4 flights of stairs, and managed to get Trush into her room still partially dressed, and safe. Once inside, Trush continued to remove her clothes. She was beautiful naked. Tessa and I were both staring at her incredible body. Tessa and I looked at each other. It was decided. This was the dream.  I had heard that Danish women had no inhibitions, and it turned out that Dutch girls don’t have many either. When we left her, we returned to the bar, but quite exhausted. I was certain that Julian knew exactly what we had done.

There was a boat that toured the city through its myriad of canals. Julian & I had ingested Peyote buttons, that he had secured from his South American Art Dealing goldfish. As we cruised through canal after canal, the buildings that lined the streets seemed to melt, falling backwards, and dissolving in the blue and white hues of the late afternoon sky. The sun was hot, incredibly hot, creating a haze over the city, and I felt like I was looking through a cellophane filter of assorted colors. As the boat passed The West Church, the hands of the clock which sat on on the less than impressive tower, which protruded into the air like an enormous erect penis, began to spin erratically, changing time, and changing faces. It would smile, and scowl, and then grimace. I took out my notebook and wrote ‘time is quite emotional’ in large letters. It sounded wonderfully brilliant and poetic at the time, and I was certain that I could use that line somewhere in my work.

One weekend, Trush suggested that we go to Copenhagen with her, and visit Tivoli. Julian and Tessa had to work at The Hotel Cock, so Trush and I boarded a train, and ferried to Copenhagen. Tivoli is an insanely wonderful place. If you have never been there, I suggest you go on LSD. Or peyote. The movement, the colors, and the sounds are excruciatingly mind blowing. There were clowns floating on stilts, eight miles high, with crazy smiles and red noses, laughing manically, as they leaned down to pat you on the head. I have been told that there were in fact no clowns when I was there,  but I saw clowns. They had a magical wheel, that spun around high over our heads, with lights pulsating faster with every spin, and there were screaming people who seemed to be trapped on it, begging to get off,  until finally it slowed to a stop, and they went scurrying off in all directions. The entire weekend was filled with drugs and sex, and I can say with certainty that Trush was as incredible in Denmark, as she was in The Netherlands.

We returned to The Hotel Cok. As my money began to run out , and I had no desire or intent to leave Amsterdam,  Julian arranged a job for me at the bar. He taught me how to pull beer from the taps. It was a wonderful gig. We were high all of the time. I was making enough to cover my expenses and keep me on the far side of the moon. Things with Tessa and I had changed, at least that’s what she told me. She was upset over my jaunt to Copenhagen with Trush, and felt that she just couldn’t trust me. It didn’t matter, really, we were still sleeping together, and so were Tessa and Trush.  The three of us  continued to share my single room on the top floor of the Hotel Cok. There was an endless supply of psilocybin, peyote, and acid, and I somehow became quite a fan of Van Gogh. When Tessa worked, Trush & I spent hours at the Van Gogh Museum, not far from the hotel, lost in the madness I saw in the paintings. When we returned to our room, Tessa would be waiting with mushroom tea, and peyote buttons. It is interesting, I think, that I don’t remember eating much during this time.

That night we all went out to catch a screening of Rosemary’s Baby at the Cinecenter. While waiting in line, we met 2 American soldiers. They were stationed in Germany, and were on leave. They asked for directions to the Red Light District, and inquired if we had any drugs. Julian provided both directions and a couple of hits to the men in uniform. In the theatre, Tessa had a difficult time dealing with the movie. It was freaking her out. She had been raised a Protestant, and the references to the devil were unbearably frightening.  I was sure the the grab bag of hallucinogenics we had taken, did little to calm her down. She was experiencing a bad trip, so I took her outside, and we sat on a bench outside of the theatre, where we waited for Trush and Julian. I held her tightly, while I watched the flying monkeys circle the Melkweg, which was just down the road. “Good thing we didn’t go there tonight.” I thought. She was getting cold, so I took her back to our room, put her into bed, and lay down beside her. Trush returned a short time later, and informed us that she saw those 2 American GI Joes whom we had met earlier get arrested for refusing to pay one of the prostitutes for services rendered. It seems that they objected to the fact that she made them cum too fast. In her defense, which she shared with the Police, how is that her problem? As she was hired to provide a service, and not contracted for any specific length of time, she met her obligation and they were obligated to meet theirs. Days later, Julian told us that they had involved the American Consulate, who arranged for all charges to be dropped, and the 2 men were returned to their base in Germany for disciplinary hearings. Furlough cancelled.

I began to wonder about my reason for coming to Amsterdam. I had set out on a journey of discovery, and while I did learn much about myself, I was now thinking that I may really need to find a place for recovery, It felt like it was time to move on. It had been one hell of a party, with an insanely wonderful guest list. I doubted that I would ever be as close to anyone as I was to Julian, Tessa, and Trush.

Julian stayed on at The Hotel Cok, acting as bartender, drug dealer, and companion to many tourists for many years to follow. I stayed in touch with him for several years, but then, as it inevitably happens, we lost contact with each other. Trush left Amsterdam before I did. She went fully clothed, and rumor had it that she had returned to her husband in Odesne, long enough to relieve him of some of his money, and headed out to The United States to  begin a career as an actress.  I suspect that she would have wound up in porn, as that seemed to play directly into her skill set. And Tessa, well I guess I realized that I was never really in love with her.  I cared for her, but it was just about the sex. She must have realized it too, and she moved on, finding employment at an upscale, 5 star hotel as a hostess. We wrote letters back and forth for a while, but I suppose neither one of us really gave a damn anymore.

And me, well, my own memory, which I was pretty sure I would have lost in the course of my journeys through time and space was not to be trusted, and I was forever glad that I had written it all down in the notebook I carried, recording it for posterity.  I left Amsterdam, content, tired, and totally wasted, still searching for whatever I would find.