Excerpt from My First Novel Yellow Socks Confessions of a Non Don Juan

June 4, 2012

An Excerpt from my 2010 novel Yellow Socks- Confessions of a Non Don Juan

 

Skeleton Woman or Things Like Me Don’t Happen To You

 

Christ it happened again. Another notch in my “girls that want to be my friend” belt. It made sense. We were perfect friends and she was real cute too. I kept thinking that I was ok with it. I’d be happy just being a friend again. I keep turning to God for strength to accept my fate as “Friend to all women” that I’m attracted to. My acceptance level seems to be ok. I go to my happy place. I go to my cave. I say the serenity prayer over and over I am sure that I will be ok with this. Yes I will. (no I won’t)

 

Cut to a scene from Fight Club

 

TYLER

Stop it! This is your pain — this is your burning hand. It’s right here! Look at it.

 

JACK

I’m going to my cave. I’m going to my cave to find my power animal!

 

TYLER

No, don’t deal with this the way those dead people do. Come on

!

JACK

I get the point, ok, please!

 

TYLER

No, what you’re feeling is premature enlightenment.

 

Ok. I get the idea. Feel the pain. Feel the hurt. Feel the rejection saturating my heart until I bleed more than just these words all over the place and finger my open sore of a brain as it wants to dwell on her over and over again. Screaming and roaring her name with anger and grief and sometimes a slight relief that it’s done and I know that she will not reject me again unless I go back for more and more or less or a little bite of her cheeseburger and a sip of her Pepsi to tide me over until the next one comes along with better food and spirits for my, for me for. Four scores of seven years itch as I scratch the weathered tired out mongrel of an ego that was left stray years ago in a pound for wayward hearts and letches that can only love and never be loved.

 

The pain of being a friend. A friend. I’ve heard that “Let’s just be friends” millions of times in my life as I gargle a new mouthwash and toothpaste hoping my breath will be the answer to my problem. My problem is as follows: me, myself and I. We altogether are the problem. We want to be loved so bad that we give off the vibe that scares the shit out of women so they just want to be friends. Friends. Friends. I think to myself that will be fine. Friends is ok. It’ll do. I can accept that. Bullshit! Feel the pain I tell myself. Embrace it. the pain is your friend. To hurt is to be alive. I’ve never been so alive. I’m alive. So alive.

 

“Did you ever hear about the skeleton woman?” Morton asked.

 

“Was that a Glam rock band from the seventies?” I ask.

 

“Ha. Ha. Nah. It’s an ancient Indian story. This guy was fishing in the middle of a lake. He was totally into it. He was relaxed. Not a care in the world except catching the next fish. All of a sudden he feels a tug on his line and he yanks it up. A skeleton appears on his line. He doesn’t realize that it’s attached to his line and he gets scared. He starts paddling his boat away from it but it follows him. He still doesn’t realize that it’s attached to his line. He gets out of his boat and runs into the village and he is carrying his fishing rod and the skeleton is still right behind him. He jumps into his Tee Pee and it follows him in. He lies down and tries to hide not looking at it for a while. When he finally turns to look at the skeleton it has changed into the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. She is his. The moral of the story is that he was minding his own business doing something he enjoyed and that’s when the right woman came along. In other words when you are not looking for love is when it will find you. ”

 

“I know that but it’s so fucking hard to stay focused on other things without thinking about how much I want to be loved. Fall in love. Ya know?” I responded.

 

“I know. I know.” Morton said.

 

“We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.” Tyler Durden

 

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My First Acid Trip

March 11, 2012

 

“Rich, I just took a shit. I think I shit the acid out of my system.” Matt said.

 

“Is that possible?” I said watching the old-fashioned land line telephone bend and almost melt on my distorted hand.

 

Matt was freaking out and obviously still tripping on the acid we took a couple hours earlier. We shouldn’t have parted ways. Maybe I should have told him he better not flush it and find the hit of acid in his shit but I had my own demons to deal with. I was home with my family and on acid for the first time. I hid in my room trying to enjoy the trip.

 

It started earlier that day in High School. It was my Sophomore Year. By then I did drugs like candy when it was available.  Whenever the candy man came around with different pills, powders, types of marijuana and hashish or basically anything I tried it. Everything was cheap enough and I loved new experiences. So when he showed up at lunch time with a sheet of paper cut into tiny smaller than quarter inch squares of what was called blotter acid I was one of the first of our 15- 20 members of the “freak” gang to try it.

 

All of the kids that hung out across the street from the school before and after school smoking cigarettes and doing drugs when we had them were labeled as “freaks”. I liked the nickname and as Jimi Hendrix advised I wore my “Freak Flag high”. When I finally saw the 1931 Todd Browning’s film Freaks years later I appreciated the title even more. I even understood the lyrics to “Freaks by Alice Cooper and “Pinhead” by the Ramones after seeing the movie.

 

The group of us put the little square of paper on our tongues, some of us not knowing what to expect but looking forward to it, right after lunch. We made it to 7th period before it kicked in. Around 5 or 6 of us were in the same class taking a test for a health class. Back then they used the computer print out cards to fill out our multiple choice answers with out number 2 pencils now waving up and down in my hand as I stared at the yellow card morphing into various types of paper and creatures. I didn’t panic. I was just hoping that the teacher and other students wouldn’t notice but me acting weird in High School would have been no surprise at that point anyway. I didn’t bother trying to read the test questions at that point. I just drew designs that intrigued me on the yellow card with the red circled multiple choices with my pencil and handed it in and waited to be dismissed. The 6 of us watched each other and gave the smile saying “Wow. This is awesome.” Except for the one kid who was freaking and looking around the classroom. I learned a new term that day- “bad trip.” I also learned that some people can’t handle some drugs and some can’t handle any. I, of course, was superior and handled mine fine. By fine I mean I enjoyed the drug of the day.

 

The last period of school was study hall and we ditched sitting in the cafeteria and hung in the senior lounge with the Juniors and Seniors who were cool about it most of the time. We sat quietly and watched tv for the most part. Everything was moving that’s not supposed to move. As much as it freaked me out I was loved it. I couldn’t wait for the bell to ring so I could leave school and experience . . .

 

I walked home with my best friend of the year and band mate (which makes us family in the Rock n Roll world) Matt and another friend Mark my future best friend and band mate and to become more of an expert on drugs than Matt and myself combined. We cut through the woods and smoked cigarettes and pot. As we re-entered the streets of suburbia we ran into the keyboardist of our band, Alex who was straighter than a clichéd arrow that wasn’t bending if we saw one. He was Mr honor roll and advanced classes and all that ear morphing jazz and we were trying to conceal our psychedelic hallucinations and reality stretches as he talked his large teeth grew larger and larger and they looked there was another set of teeth coming out of his mouth like the alien in the movie Alien. When he started hissing and resembling the alien entirely I mumbled something and motioned Matt and Mark to follow me but they were busy staring and talking to rocks and bushes. Our jig was up. Alex knew something was sour in the grapevine cement we carefully paced upon. Eventually, we made it out of there safely and my house was only a few blocks away. I knew I could make it. Mark was only a few blocks from me but Matt had another mile to go.

 

Somewhere along the linear curly line to my house from the nappy black tar beneath our feet I lost sight of my destination and my friends. They were gone. I couldn’t see them anyway. I made it home and presented my parental greetings brief as I counted the moving and swerving steps to my safe getaway bedroom. Or so I thought.

 

Music. I wanted to hear some music to trip on acid to. I went for the king of hallucinatory drugs and the greatest guitar player in my teenage world, Jimi Hendrix. I used to hallucinate to his music totally straight and sober. I couldn’t wait to hear the music of a man who was rumored to dip his headband in liquid acid and cut his forehead open to absorb the drug faster. Electric Ladyland or Axis Bold as Love? I couldn’t decide. I still can’t 20 years later. I chose Electric Ladyland because of the right to left to right to left stereo sound designed to make my head spin. I carefully placed the needle on the groove of side 1 of 4 on my archaic record player. I let the genius chaotic madness of “…And the Gods Made Love.”

 

I made it through the opening (some say the greatest opening and I agree, on a rock n roll album) with the distorted voices of Hendrix indistinguishable from my own disfigured voices drifting in my psyche. Painful yet disorienting pleasure filled the room rivaled by electric guitars passing through every manipulative device made and invented at the time before reaching my ears. I made it to the 3rd track “Crosstown Traffic” before I had to turn it off due to the visual and audio hallucinations gone haywire. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the auditory attack but it was new to me and I wanted to calm down. I tried to find the least psychedelic music to listen to and pulled out my copy of the Blues Brothers’ “A Briefcase Full of Blues”, their album before the classic John Landis movie came out, thinking for some reason it would be less hallucinatory. Even the steady beats and blues guitars were no match for what I was experiencing.

 

When I later listened to Jimi Hendrix ask “Have you ever been experienced?” in his song “Are You Experienced?” I not only comprehended the question for the first time, I could answer “Yes.”. For the time I was experiencing and not quite experienced yet.

 

I decided to go with the quiet and draw. I wanted to cram all of artistic clichés into my first acid trip not knowing if I would ever do it again. I attacked drawing first.  I drew a pencil sketch of Jim Morrison once I could concentrate and was way too distracted to finish it. I have it buried somewhere in a drawing pad buried somewhere in my vast art collection of my own work. I tried writing a poem, something about my friend’s alien teeth and it was also too much for me at the time. I went back to listening to music and watching the ceiling tiles breathe until dinnertime.

 

My parents had invited my friend Doug over for dinner. I forgot. Doug was also very straight. He was one of my friends that actually looked the part of what society thought a drug user should look like. Long hair, scraggly half grown beard that wouldn’t quite grow yet. T-shirts and ripped jeans. He was very political and listened to psychedelic bands that the rest o weren’t into like the Jefferson Airplane. I was told he wasn’t always like this. He used to wear suits to school as a kid and bring his brief case. He predicted the weather to his fello 5th graders every morning. He changed by the time I moved to Haddonfield and met him in 8th grade. We bonded over our mutual lack of female attention, our dark sense of humor and our ability to discuss our feelings with another man or boy.

 

He knew I was on acid but my parents didn’t. I had to fake it through the meal and let everyone else do the talking. They did. At one point my father’s head was changing colors and contorting and I almost blew my cover again.

 

“You know, you look like . . . never mind.” I said.

 

That was the extent of my dinner conversation when the phone call from Matt saved the day.

 

 

“Rich, I just took a shit. I think I shit the acid out of my system.” Matt said.

 

“Is that possible?” I said watching the old-fashioned landline telephone bend and almost melt on my distorted hand.

 

At the end of the day when it started to wear off I decided I liked acid. I only did it a few more times in high school. I stuck with what was available the most: alcohol, weed and the occasional amphetamine. I always remembered my great experiences on acid and when I found steady suppliers in college and after I graduated I took it whenever I could. It seemed t have a reverse effect on me. I felt more in control on the drug that made most people feel out of control.

 

I don’t use drugs today except the ones my Doctor prescribes and I take them as directed but it’s not the same. Not to say I miss them. It’s like ex-girlfriends for me. I remember the good times then remember it all comes to an end.

 

Self-proclaimed addicts shouldn’t dream about how great their drugs were without remembering why they quit to begin with or is it end with.

 

Like all of my firsts- my first girlfriend, first time on the honor roll, first award for my art and poetry, first time I had sex and so on, I’ll never forget the first time I took acid.

image © Jon Kroll and Dave Bohn


Another Excerpt from my Novel Yellow Socks- Juan and Carmen

September 21, 2010

Juan and Carmen

I met Carmen and Juan Ramirez in third grade. They were Puerto Rican twins that I started to hang out with. They were School Safeties and I met them in Safety training. Yes, folks, I was School Safety responsible for crossing hundreds of other children from one side of the street to the other. I was good at it.

Carmen and Juan were pretty advanced street kids. They lived on the street that I was told where the really poor and bad people live. What that meant was blacks and Puerto Ricans lived there. Remember that my Grandfather was a racist. I didn’t care back then. They were fun. They knew things that I didn’t. They did things that I didn’t. They smoked cigarettes and had a lot of girlfriends. They were the first to tell me about sex. What it was and how good it felt.

The first time I was invited over their house I was excited. Their parents weren’t home. The decor was different than anything I’d ever seen. Zebra print furniture. The one wall was a giant mirror. There it was on the wall behind the couch. The first velvet painting that I have ever seen. It was a tiger resting with a black background. I liked it even though it was much different than my Grandparent’s framed needlepoint pictures and standard couch and chairs. I sat on the couch in front of their large twenty two inch television. I rested my feet on the glass coffee table resting on the black shag rug. Juan pulled out this four-foot square box from upstairs. Carmen grabbed it from him and opened it up. There was a stack of magazines and on top was a big wad of folded aluminum foil. Carmen unrolled it. Inside was what looked like dried grass inside. It was dried grass. Marijuana. Mary Jane. Pot. Reefer. Weed. I had no idea what I was about to try. They took some more foil out of the box and made a make shift bowl to smoke it in. I didn’t know that’s what they were doing and I had no idea we were going to smoke it while they were getting it ready. Juan put the weed in the foil bowel and Carmen held it to his lips. Juan lit a match and Carmen inhaled the smoke. He then passed it to Juan. Juan imitated Carmen perfectly. The fact that they were twins added to the effect. Then it was my turn. I took the foil thing and lit it up. I tried to inhale and did the first time smokers initiation cough and gag. Once I got passed the first time it went down easier the next few times. I felt pretty good.

After a while we started blowing smoke in each other’s hair just to watch it rise out of our hair when we shook our heads. It was funny. This was true.

After the buzz took effect Juan pulled out some of the magazines in the box. They told me it was their father’s porno collection. Porno. What’s that? I thought. Ahh. Naked women. I knew what they were. Photos of woman. Photos of men putting their penises in the woman’s vagina. It was another new experience to add to my thoughts. New goals. I felt really good in my penis as I looked at these photos. Page after page. Naked woman after naked woman. I wanted one. A woman that is.

Juan and Carmen told me about the girls in the neighborhood that they had sex with. I wanted to try this sex thing but I still wasn’t real sure what it was exactly or how to go about getting it. I was hoping that they would show me. I mean with another girl or something but I had no real sex drive yet so these interests passed. I didn’t smoke pot again until I was thirteen. I didn’t see porno again until I was twelve.

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Justina – Purest Evil

July 16, 2010

I wrote this in 2005 about a girl who participated in a murder in 2003 that I wrote a song about for my old band the World Famous Crawlspace Brothers. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to upload the mp3 to WordPress and I haven’t made a video of it yet. Yet.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Justina

I was exiting Starbucks in Olde City ( the one that took away the business of the smaller coffee shops) and I looked at the Newspaper box on the corner. I never look at the newspaper or the box but yesterday I did. I saw this pretty teenage face of a girl on the cover. The headline read “Purest Evil”. Hmmm. I was curious. It went on: The Chilling Testimony From Teen Temptress In Fishtown Murder Case. Interesting, I thought. How Much? Sixty cents. Yup. I bought it. I couldn’t wait to read it. I ran to my car and lit a cigarette, took a sip of my Venti Coffee with two shots of espresso and started reading. A few years ago this girl, Justina Morley, used the promise of sex to lure Jason Sweeney into a trap where three of Sweeney’s best friends beat him to death in order to gain the $500 Sweeney had, which after being split gave each of them $125 to use to get high.

Now she’s in court on trial. It went on to say that she was on a date with kid pretending to be his girlfriend and she watched as the three boys beat him to death with a hatchet, a hammer and a brick. When they were finished they had a group hug and went off to buy Xanax, weed and heroin. After reading this I was intrigued and disgusted but part of me was kind of turned on to this sick little girl. Pure Evil, I thought. The past day and half I’ve been reading more and more about her looking for something to satisfy my desire. I can’t figure out why this sick twisted event and this evil manipulative teenage junkie is exciting me. Maybe she reminds me of my mother or my ex wife but I hate them. Hmmm.

So, I wrote a song about her. My partner in my band, The Julian, and I have been talking about making a new World Famous Crawlspace Brothers’ cd anyway and this song is perfect for it. Amazingly once I wrote it, I was no longer obsessed. I stopped staring at her picture hanging on my wall. I took it down and moved on to my next project.

So, here’s the lyrics. It’s a country song.

I saw your picture in the paper today

You looked so sad and blue

The headline said you’re the “Purest Evil”

And I just stared at you

You lured that boy with the promise of sex into the nearby isolated woods

‘Bet your face looked purty with the moon shinin’ down

As your three friends bludgeoned him real good

Justina, won’t you do something bad to me?

Justina, do me wrong.

Justina, won’t you set me free?

Justina, hear my song

First kid hit him with a hatchet to the head.

You smiled as he hit the ground.

Second kid hammered him with all of his might.

Third kid used a brick he found

You left a bloody mess where his face once was.

All for $125 each

Hope you got real high on the Xanax and weed.

Hope the heroin gave you what you need.

Justina, won’t you do something bad to me?

Justina, do me wrong.

Justina, won’t you set me free?

Justina, hear my song.

I hung your picture on my wall today.

I’ll dream of you at night.

Justina, won’t you do something bad to me?

And everything will be all right.


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