This is the last section of David McWane’s Modern American Gypsy. Poems will continue to be posted daily.
Todays stories start in our Sprinter driving through France, then heading by boat to England, to finally fly home back to New England.
Enjoy & thanks for reading!
France to England
Even if spirits are high, after two months on the road, men need to tip-toe round each other. It is the time they come together in their exhaustion, or turn away from one another for survival. If you smell something rotten in a man after two months, best keep your distance, or it’ll be your throat he cuts.
We were bound for the 9:00PM ferry from France to England, just pulling out of a roundabout when the police lights came on. One French officer came to the left side of the Sprinter and rolled his eyes when he realized the driver was on the right. His back up stayed back right. The 1st officer spoke aggressive French to us, and when we told him we only spoke English, he continued his monologue until he felt validated or felt the emotional cadence of his message would at least be absorbed by us men. When the tantrum was over, he spoke to us in English. He asked us many questions that profiled us as the king pin drug dealers of western Europe. However, the only thing we were guilty of was sinful thoughts. We were asked to follow their car back to their stations one-hundred meters away.
The station looked as if it was an abandoned war bunker, crude and useless. There were plastic gloves and ointment out for effect. All the table tops were wet, with small puddles. Our bags were all brought in and they tore through them like a fourteen year old boy would go into a garbage bag with the promise of a dirty magazine inside. We had now missed our ferry and would have to drive extra miles tonight to be able to make the performance the next day. It was not the time to test us, it was not the time to push us.
Men from New England know to give people of authority a tea spoon of sugar of respect or they will find themselves downtown. But not us, not now, not tonight. Seven Americans and one tired Englishman stared at these four French officers as if we could see the cut of their throats was just passing their vocal chords. And they could feel it. Our silence, direct eye contact and quite focused answers tells any man, violence is a breath away.
“Whose is this, whose is this, speak up,” one of the officers grabbed a bag of aspirins mixed with vitamins and held his trophy high.
“It’s mine officer,” I stepped forward and turned my shoulders to the man, an unneeded act and everyone in the room knew it and the men know how I am when I’m tired, when I’m angry.
“What is this! Explain!” the officer said.
“Aspirin,” I said. “Head aches.” I pointed to my head and winced.
The officer dumped the pills on the table and his men, save one, surrounded the contents, poking with pens.
“What is this? Now you think about what you say, because what you say now will be for our records.”
“Aspirin, for headaches,” I said in the same tone.
“What, do you all then get headaches?” one of the men said sarcastically and they all laughed a little.
“Yes”, I said.
“Imagine that,” one of the men said under his breath.
The officer went over to the man and said, “Ce qui? Speak up.”
“I said they’re for headaches. Aspirin,” he replied.
At this point they knew they didn’t have anything on us and we knew what that meant. We were taken to a room to stand, to stand for a very long, long, long time.
Two hours later they came back and let us go – but not soon enough to catch the next ferry. We would now be six hours behind schedule and four hours away from sleep, if any hotel was to be open in England by the time we reached it. Our tribe was sound though; the officer’s shenanigans brought us closer. We were solid men again; one.
Once in England we got pulled over. The two bobbies were very kind. They explained that it looked like our Sprinter was too heavy and that they wanted to take a look at it, at the next off ramp. The interesting part is they wanted us all, save Dale, to ride in two different squad cars to the off ramp. “We don’t want to go and see the tires give lads, then the axel drop and find you lot barrel rolling. Ride with us, c’mon then, we’ll take a look, if all is fine, you can be on your way.” The coppers were honest and truly concerned for our safety.
In the back of the car I said, “Officer may I ask you an odd question?”
“Of course,” he replied. “Go on then.”
“The night sticks you carry are great. What, do they just latch on there to your belt and snap off when you need them?”
Surprisingly the officer said as he pulled the baton off and handed it back to me, “Exactly, yah, they’re quite powerful, just flick it and the rest comes out.”
His weapon was now in my hands. I flicked it and was holding a serious brain crasher.
“Yah,” I said as I swung it around a tad; like a child would.
As I handed it back to him, the officer said, “Cheers mate.”
All I could think of is how could he hand me, a stranger, his only weapon and how that would never happen in the States. You can get thrown to the ground for just looking at an officers weapon. I could have hit him, strangled him, anything. There are so many things us American don’t understand, because we basically live on an island and are too deep within ourselves, our sole culture, at this point to understand thoughts, ideas and values that are different from our own.
At the same time, I ain’t saying he should have given it to me; that was kind, but a bit dumb. But a good man is hard to come by these days. A man that doesn’t bark at other men, like dogs do, but good men, men who live by practical wisdom, men who care for others, because that is what’s right. And those officers we’re just that. Good men.
Laundry. Laundry can be more important then a woman – eventually. 8:00AM. Seven Modern American Gypsies and a Modern English one loaded our vinegar smelling cloths into washers, followed by the beautiful washing powder, scooped and tossed in by the kind middle eastern young man that owned the Laundromat. We were in South London – Gipsy Hill. That’s how it’s spelled. We all sat, drank coffee, some smoked and chatted up the young owner. He liked us. We liked him.
“Been traveling, I can see,” he started.
“Yes, for a while now,” I said.
“I love traveling. It is the only way to stay happy. Fresh.”
The young owner told us he’d watch our things and that there was a breakfast spot a couple shops down called – The Gipsy Rose. That’s how it’s spelled. The place was small. The smell of eggs, bacon and coffee warmed our souls. We took a table by the bricklayers, construction works – the only other type inside. We ate hardy, for we didn’t mind spending our left over, heavy English coinage. As we scooped beans on toast we spoke of the excursions high times and low times. It was easier to laugh at the low times now that Boston, our home, was a few days a way. We razzed the men that kissed the late night women and they razzed us for not. We asked Dale what his plans were for gathering his tossed out belongings. His mate told him that he was going to let him stay with him until he could properly find a new flat. After that we dined in silence.
The young owner had folded and bagged our warm clean clothes. It was a move that was truly kind. We gave him some copies of our record albums and the joy it gave him made it even.
“I hope to take holiday next year with my wife.”
“Well if you go to the States , let us know.”
Nothing on our front burners, we headed to a pub – the Paxton. There we drank down Guinness. I bought rounds for the men that were out of dosh. It was very dark inside. Seedy. The windows were covered by velvet curtains. In the small amount of light that did sneak into the Paxton, we spoke more about the trip, about the shows and about The Lovers of the Sound. Different men had different favorite nights. Mine was at Botafar in Paris.
“Oi, I have a friend stopping by,” Dale said, getting off his phone. “He’s going to take us to his wine cellar. ‘S brilliant place man. Brilliant. It’s old and you go down to like a dungeon. You’re all going to go mental. Good bloke too, good bloke, went to University with him. Good bloke.”
POP! And your glass was filled once again. POP! Bottle after bottle. POP! And we were starting to understand a peaceful feeling. Us men swayed, smiling, standing in The Wine Cellar with Sam and his men he calls – the Averys.
“Told you man, it’s fucking brilliant,” Dale chorused.
Sam took us down to the basement, then to the basement’s basement where the stone became much older looking. And then even further down until we stood in what looked to be an ancient castle’s dudgeon. The kind that if you ever saw it, it was the last thing you ever saw.
Massive barrels, the size of whales, holding wine distilling, were built into the old stone.
“This one here is very old,” Sam would say. I shouldn’t open it but bah.”
“It’s truly expensive, expensive?” I ask with a slur.
“You don’t wanna know mate.”
“But yes mate” one of the Avery men interrupted with a hiccup.
“Here David, mate drink that down, have a go at this here. This is my favorite. Smoky, not reeeally fruity, or what have you, yah, more smoky. Yah. Smooth. There, have a go, have a go. Right? Right? Was I wrong? Mm. Lovely. Here, here. Whoops. I’ll clean it later, no worries. There, yah. Cheers mate. Cheers.”
POP! And your glass was filled once again. POP! Bottle after bottle. POP! And we all had red lips and teeth.
“you’re so cool, you’re so cool”
I was reading the last few pages
of the screenplay True Romance
in a dark club in Kingston, England
when a young girl approached me
“are you really reading
or are you just trying to look cool?”
I said, “I’m reading a screenplay
I like reading screenplays”
“Well, you look like you’re just trying to look cool”
she double mentioned as she walked away
I wasn’t sure if I should feel bad for the girl
that the sight of someone reading sparks annoyance in her
or if I should feel happy that I look “cool” reading.
it’s a damn good screenplay
the wondering skye
she’s a model from Kingston, England
not the normal kind of model she says,
“the whole thing’s a bit silly really, ‘s rubbish”
it was the second to last day of a two and a half month tour
and the men and I
were packing up the trailer
for the last time that year in the United Kingdom
next was Canada and then the States and possibly Mexico
I turned to pick up some gear
when I saw her
and I said without apprehension
“lord, I love-a-love, love your hair”
it was red and done up in a way
I’ve only seen on the side of WWII fighter planes
she laughed and said “thank you”
“what’s you name Ms?”
“wow, skye, what’s next,
are you gonna to tell me you’re rich and single”
“well I’m not rich,” she said
then we both smiled
I remember her blinking slowly
or maybe things were just moving slow for me
there are some people you meet
in your life
that you can’t spend time with
for a number of reasons,
but distance is what I’m really speaking of
and for some reason
with these people
there is a short
and it makes you
it keeps them
in your mind,
and you like them
The last concert for our England and Europe excursion was in London at The Underworld, located in the center of Camden town, where rockers, artists, thieves and drug users reside.
Us men loaded in for the last time. Set up our equipment and merchandise for the last time. Sound checked for the last time. And sat at the pub connected to the venue called The World’s End for the first time that morning. Even though we are battered, we feel strong knowing that our bodies will soon have a chance to recoup.
At the corner edge of the bar we downed Snake Bite ‘n’ Blacks for memories’ sake, but moved on to popper cider, Guinness and Stella after two rounds. We had invited all the friends we had made on the first leg of the England dates to The Worlds End for some drinks a couple days before. They trickled in. Each one looked hungry for a pint. One of our men had a girl he had fancied on the first leg of the tour meet him as well. With lovey-dovey eyes, they sat close, at the end of the bar. Some of our new friends brought photos of us together from the month before and we all pointed and laughed. It was nice to be in London with friends and it was nice knowing that the concert would be mental.
And the concert was mental. Lovers of the Sound leaped off railings, speaker cabinets and even each other. With force they would grab at my microphone to sing, slamming it into my face, chipping my teeth and opening my lips. They would jump up on stage, knock me down, opening my palms and wrists as I slammed them down on the edge of electronics trying brace my fall. Lovers of the Sound would dog pile on my back, even leap off it tumbling my body back. If my hand got too close to the crowd they would pull me in, my back now on the dance floor looking up at legs and hands that would reach down and pull me back up. Lovers of the Sound tear my shirt and pull my hair unknowingly. Lovers of the Sound cheer and I cheer. Lovers of the Sound scream and I scream.
Sweat. Us men and the Lovers of the Sound were drench head to toe. We all slipped and fell from the sweat on the stage and like all shows that are on the brink of a riot the ceiling rained our perspiration back down upon us.
Looking out on the crowd that looked like religious pictures of Hell, in the middle of the last show on this continent of the tour made me smile. Somehow with all our bruised bodies, us men still had the fire in us. The crowd looked like swimming demons. And we were the minstrels of Hell.
Backstage I duct taped four open areas and rubbed my fingers and tongue against newly chipped teeth. My body steamed in the bathroom stall as I changed. I draped my wet cloths on the urinal and sat down with my dry ones on my lap. I changed very slowly. Exhausted. When I stood to put on my dry pants my muscles would give and I’d loose my balance, falling hard against the walls of the stall. The cage rattled. Semi dry now, I washed my face in the sink and stretched. I slapped my face to awaken my second wind.
Back at The Worlds End, above The Underworld, we found Ben. He had come with his lady. I spent most of my time against the bar listening and smiling at other people’s stories and ended my night laughing at a dark table in the back listening to more. It was nice for us men to sit with Ben and Dale together and recap the tour. It was nice to see Ben with a lady, who I could tell he was prone to make laugh and it was nice to see Dale flirting with a pretty girl, who I could tell liked him a lot. Everyone got too drunk, trying to spend all their leftover pounds, so not to bring them back to the States. Too good. Too drunk.
Outside the pub, some of our good English friends got into a brawl among each other about money. Bloody sidewalk. I broke the tussle up with one of my men and we both simmered our red hot mates down. It was an explosive night, a proper London night.
The next morning we had a lot to do in a small amount of time. On account that we slept until noon. And we didn’t leave the hotel until 1:00PM. We also moved slowly once we hit the bright streets, enjoying a long proper English breakfast and a couple pints down the street with Dale before we saw him off. It was our defiance against time restraints; it was our way of saying, ‘we did a good job, everyone take it slow.’
But when it hit 3:30PM we knew we were back to work.
London Traffic. Ben muttered under his breath, “They’re all fucking wankers I tell yah. Bloody wankers.” We reached Ben’s storage house, to return the music gear we had rented. London traffic. Ben pantomiming the size of the other drivers small unmentionables outside the driver side window while advising, “Grow some yeah twat.”
We reached the manufacturer plant to return all the merchandise we didn’t sell. London traffic. Ben laid on the horn screaming “Fuckin’ hell, bloody London traffic; move yah dozy cunts, go on son, sort it out,” to finally reach the airport with our personal bags and the instruments we brought from Boston, now packed in brown boxes wrapped in duct tape. I took a moment to check that nothing bladed was hidden deep in my belongings.
Once at the airport counter, we learned one man in our group’s passport had expired that day and we would have to leave him in England for two days until he was issued a new one. The man would have to meet up with us in Boston the morning before starting our Canada / North American tour. We left our man with Ben and hugged them both goodbye, but made sure to give our man a cheeky wave, while laughing and razzing him as he watched our tickets get scanned and watched us head to the plane.
England to The United States
The plane ride was spent in the back of the plane, with brave stewardesses drinking cans of Carling, listening to their dreams without giving advice. Unabashed flirting.
The United States of America
I believe when people don’t have much, they welcome nice things. Unlike The Fortunate, who often like to act in their play of life as people that don’t have much. And no, when I say ‘nice things’, I’m not referring to a hot car or a flashy watch. It’s more that one wants to come home to a kind house, hot shower, clean clothes, enough food, and not just the bottom shelf food at that.
4:30AM . We were heading home once again, all sitting up, looking out onto a silent and still Boston. We all share a feeling of happiness to be home, mixed with a sadness deep in our stomachs and throats to have the adventure be over. To see our sky line and streets gave us a connection that we haven’t felt in a long time. We felt home. Our love for Boston is great. Slowly, we dropped each man off. Separating from the group is always tough after a long expedition; the silence is eerie and short goodbyes were clumsy. One of the men and myself were the last ones to get home. And truly, it’s not my home, it’s his, but there’s a bedbug infested couch that I’m to collapse on for two nights and I was only two miles away from it.
We parked the van in a driveway. It was covered in snow mixed with trash. Hopping out, Boston’s sharp, biting air threw us into survival panic. Oh, how quickly our New England skin relaxes to the warmth of the vans heat and toughens when tossed outside again.
Of course, the last man of our tribe rightfully assumed I’d have the front door open by the time he latched up the trailer and locked down our exhausted van. But, with the complete loss of feeling in my fingertips, I was nothing but a fear-driven teenager in a slasher movie, illiterate in the functions of using one’s house keys. I had to reassure myself that if I kept enough pressure on my first knuckles, they would somehow relay a message to my fingertips to turn the key. This was one of the rare moments my body was so angry with me that it was reminding us both who was the real operator of this complex appendage.
Like most men my age, the last man thought he could get the job done faster on drive alone. Now stood two exhausted, bouncing, Boston boys, laughing, cursing, fumbling with their temper-testing house keys, as our half zipped up bags lay in the snow, collecting a nice new light coat from above.
Where could I find warmth? I found it by sticking both hands in my mouth and desperately exhaling warm breath on what used to be my fingers, a small amount of blood could slip down my first knuckle and will the key slightly to the left for a successful unlatching of the front door. Success. We danced inside with the grace of a first year Inuit modern dance class student.
The trash was as generous as the skunk cabbage in my father’s swamp. It lay ankle to chin deep. If filthiness is ever commended, the gang I run with in Boston have given it a new talent.
Yes, there were trash bags filled, the product of a brief moment of motivation. But now they lay open, almost guilty looking, as if it were they who were accused of vomiting up the filth. My good friend Todd’s underwear and socks hung on the coffee table drenched in beer and leftovers. There was no way to tell exactly what the leftovers were. The only name that could suit it would be, chinese-freeto-pizza.
The last man let out a long, fully sodden breath and went up to his room to inspect the damage. “Hopefully, there’s no one doin’ it in my bed,” he said, as he made his final tour exit.
Without taking my coat or my backpack off, I began to push the trash about. I grabbed one of the trash bags and began to clean off the table. The scattered change wouldn’t come off; it was coated with sugar-beer shellac. This new, powerful shellac coated the entire makeshift coffee table, eating up the covers of different magazines, playing cards, and cigarette boxes, forever documenting they’re existence.
I remember getting word from the road that the couch given to us by a fan was now, indeed, full of bed bugs. This couch was Todd’s favorite place to watch late night Twilight Zone reruns, but after getting bitten so many times by bugs, I hear he now uses the chair. No matter, it was now 5:00AM and I wasn’t about to sleep on the sticky wooden floor.
So, I looked under and behind the small couch and found the ‘smiley face’ yellow sleeping bag no one has ever owned up to. I then made a nice little area, free of trash, but not odor, and finally lay down. Every muscle thanked me by fully relaxing and falling asleep before me. My senses, however, scanned around in disgust. They could see what my muscles could not. No matter, I was in heaven.
I woke around 5:30AM to Todd discovering me. Todd doesn’t sleep, he never has. I thought that if I kept the blanket over my head and avoided eye contact, the four-hour drinking reunion was avoidable.
“Hey, buddy, when’d you get in?”
“Just now,” I said.
“Who is that?” from his bedroom.
“Baby, this is my best friend, wanna Pabst, or are you hittin’ it?”
“SSAK,” Todd opened a can, he was having a drink no matter what I was inclined.
I was wondering if the young girl’s voice was the girl I had met before tour. Or could it be some new girl I hadn’t yet met. No matter, I gave her no “hello.”
“No, man, I’m just gonna hit it,” I said under my warm drinking shield, “Tomorrow though, we’ll hit up Charlie’s.”
Todd was satisfied; he loves any talk of an outing to Charlie’s…Oh Charlie’s is a seedy bar in Harvard Square where young people research degenerates like us. My last view was of Todd heading back to his room and of my bruised feet at the end of the couch.
I woke thirty minutes later to someone slamming the door with a small fist. My roommate Johnny Trouble came down the stairs in his boxers, sleepy and annoyed.
“Oh shit! Hey bro,” he said to me. We hugged, then look at the door. “Man I think that’s Todd’s ex.”
BAM! BAM! BAM!
“TODD OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR. OPEN THE FUCKI…TODD! TODD!”
“Shit,” Johnny Trouble and I said in unison, stepped away from the door and took a seat on the couch.
Todd busted out of the room handing us all cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon, opening them as he did it. He sat the girl next to me and handed her a can as well, but not before taking a big long chug from it.
“Hi,” she said. She was sleepy, small and confused.
“Hi,” I said close to her. “Hey, I’m just saying, if this is the girl that I know, stick close by me, she’s really tough. She gives a new talent to daaamn meeean. She’s meaner than a fifty year old woman ordering in a nice restaurant.”
The door banged and banged and the screams got more frantic and insane.
Todd opened the door and the ex-girlfriend sprang in like she had been pushing the door.
“Where the fuck is she?” First she checked Todd’s room, then dashed to the bathroom, then dashed up the stairs, to the upstairs bathroom. She found nothing. Coming down the stairs with power she approached Todd. “Where the fuck is she, Todd?” Then she slowly looked over at Johnny Trouble, Todd’s new girl and me. She sussed it out. “You. Uh, Uh, nope, no way,” she said as she made her way over the coffee table. “This is my house.” She grabbed the confused girls wrist, dragged her over the table, dragged her across the room and out the door. Johnny Trouble grabs and drinks her fallen beer.
Us men just sat there looking at one another. We all kind of smiled in fear. Slowly Johnny Trouble and I rose from the couch drinking and we all walked to the front door. There we saw the ex-girlfriend tossing the new one half in the bushes, half against the van, fully in the now powdery snow, then storming back inside, slamming the door so hard the house shook and locking all the locks on the door. She then went into Todd’s room and slammed his door shut as well.
“Did you just get in now?” Johnny Trouble asked as we both took our seats again. Todd lit a cigarette, grabbed my beer for a long sip and made a defeated look as he went toward the front door.
“DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT GOING OUT THERE TOOODD,” Todd’s Ex screamed.
Then Todd turned around and went into his room.
“Night” he said dreadfully.
Watching him I thought, ‘Well, Todd still lives dangerously.’
Johnny and I talked until our cans were done; we both were happy to see one another, but we’d catch up later. What was on both of our front burners was being unconscious once again. Johnny Trouble quietly opened the front door and hid the girl up in his room for the night. She was shivering.
Morning. I pulled myself up and scratched the five-day-old beard I had grown. I spotted an old water someone had left but not finished, I killed it. However, my throat, my brain, and my body needed more. I reached for a full bottle of cranberry juice, what a score, and took a couple desperate gulps. My taste buds to relay didn’t have enough time to decipher the encrypted message that there was more vodka in the bottle than cranberry juice, but they tried as fast as they could. It was too late, I guess I was now partying.
My bare feet blackened as I made sticky steps to the kitchen. It was as if someone poured glue on the floor and was having a laugh at me.
To make my other buddy from the house a bedroom, I had poorly nailed to the kitchen ceiling an enormous blue tarp, which now drapes down, making him a makeshift wall. But, the six extra feet at the base of the tarp sat piled up on the floor. We all talked about cutting it, but never did. I tripped on it, of course, confused, forgetting the ways of the house and banged my knee on the open bathroom door. But I didn’t forget really, that’s just an excuse. I simply get confused in the morning; I trip on things every sleepy morning.
The kitchen looked like a cabbage patch of open trash bags over flowing. If you have ever seen the movie Aliens, it was similar to the scene where Ripley found the room full of open alien eggs. I noticed that every dish, bowl, glass, Tupperware product, pan, and skillet was used and then stacked. The kitchen was one big ashtray, an orgy of rotting food and cigarettes. I opened the fridge in the hope of finding a half drunk Gatorade. Todd, for some reason, only drinks half of his beverages. But when I opened the refrigerator door there wasn’t a small wave of coolness, it was a big wave of warmth and the most offensive odor I have come across to this day. In the first three minutes of being awake I hadn’t noticed that all the trash bags were full of rotting leftovers, eggs and milk. The fridge had been emptied for a reason I still don’t know. I found the Gatorade I was looking for on the floor next to the old broom.
I had to get moving, because I had a big day of going to get a haircut. I hadn’t talked to my father or mother for about two weeks and thought I remembered them saying they wanted to have dinner when I got home, or was it for me to watch the house for them – I had forgotten. Either way I knew they asked for me to come home and one must look nice for Mum. But the hair cut would have to be paid for not with money, because I only had enough dosh for a bus ride, a subway ride, and a train ticket home.
“How was he to pay for a haircut?” an observant person might ask.
Well, the way the underground-lower class of Bostonians works is ‘trade within jobs’. If I worked in a club, I’d let you and your friends in for free. In return if I needed a pair of new sneakers you’d give me your employee discount. Got it? Well, Will’s girlfriend Gillian knows how to cut hair, so I grabbed two new records of the group I run with and a small T-shirt to trade for a cut. But I figured I should shower, so I don’t lose the deal on account of my offensive body odor.
The last time I had a shower was more days ago than I’m keen on admitting, so it was time to wash up. After tour, a long tour, the first shower home reminds me of the old western movies when the band of cowboys stop in at a town’s brothel and draw a hot bath to wash away any memory of their excursions.
I sludge up the stairs finishing up Todd’s Gatorade, but when I enter the bathroom I see that it doesn’t have a trash barrel anymore. The back of the toilet is now used for discarding used products. So, I let my empty bottle slide down the mountain of toilet paper rolls, used tissues, boxes of new toothpaste, pizza crusts, old beers and, I guess, someone in the house has a girlfriend now. I place my empty ‘Mountain Extreme’ Gatorade bottle on the top of the pile, it rolls down and out the doorway.
The floor was coated with wet magazines and brown moldy towels. That brown scum in the toilet, similar to the scum found in abandoned truck-stop bathrooms, had managed to coat the floor, walls and sink. A movie director would have said that his set designers went too far trying to emulate a junkie’s bathroom.
But, my shower, was divine, I stayed in there for at least forty-five minutes.
In the shower, there were wet boxes of old products on the floor and on the shelf. The ink that labeled each box ran and stained the shower walls and floor, similar to a crying drunk girl’s running mascara. I combed through the wet boxes looking for a bit of soap. Under the sopping Zest soap box, (yah I didn’t know they still sold Zest either), was a piece of soap no bigger than half a dog biscuit. That piece of soap cleaned my entire body.
After the good wash, I threw on the same clothes and slicked my hair back in a manageable 1950’s pompadour. The way Pop does. As I walked downstairs, I eyed the crate of food that the last man was damn smart to bring in. The crate, well I should say the smashed plastic basket, was given to us in Texas by a fan four months ago, regrettably I never met her – so I don’t know her name. It was full of chips, cookies, and other snackable treats. But, I remember seeing some cans of Chef Boyardee raviolis in there one hungry night.
It was only seconds before I was back in the kitchen combing for a can opener. It was where I expected it to be, at the bottom of an old Tupperware bowl, covered and camouflaged by floating macaroni, used matches and cigarette butts.
When a can is frozen, the interior food doesn’t just slide out like we’re all used to, and the use of a plastic fork can only pathetically chip at the frozen future Petco breakfast. All and all, I managed, and dined on, warm in some places frozen in others, ravioli.
I headed out, the first time a lone in a long time. I took the 66 bus to Coolidge Corner and met up with Gillian. I asked her to cut my long hair like Calvin from Calvin and Hobbs. She did just that. It was about then that I realized I had bedbugs bites on my ankles, neck, fingers, and hipbone. They itch like a bitch, I mean, not as bad as poison ivy, but a bitch just the same. I hid them from Gillian.
After the cut, I took the subway to the commuter rail to catch the 2:00PM train home and I was scratching all the way.
Sitting on the train heading home with my bag beside me and my eyes closed, I received a message from one of the men.
“Mexico is on, are you in? So now it will be Canada, The States, then Mexico – a bit more than two months. And we’re gonna leave a bit earlier than we originally thought. Can you be ready in 2 days ?”
“Of course I can,” I wrote back.
Thank you to all who have joined me on this adventure. I hope you had fun spending time together. Currently I am working on my new novel, which its topic is a secret – ‘shhh‘. I am also work on ‘The Modern American Circus‘ – the continuation of ‘The Modern American Gypsy‘. Come Hallow’s Eve I will take a flight with my men to Asia. We will lay our feet down on Japan, China, South East Asia and Australia. During these days I will be taking notes and will craft this excursion for the third part of my wayward Gypsy series.
From today on, I will continue to post on this sight poems from my other books. I hope you will continue to peek, read and enjoy.
Thank you once again for taking the time and supporting wild writing.
– David McWane