Monday, May 11, 2009

Wedding Night Plus One

This excerpt from my novel"Confessions Of An Honest Man"is a character study of one of the four children of the family about which I write.It's funny and it's nasty,because the character of Marilee is nasty.Be ready to laugh and writhe.

Wedding Night Plus One

         Irv Josephson tipped the bellboy with a twenty and shut the door to the suite.  “Jesus. I’m exhausted.”  He loosened his tie and kicked off his shoes..
           Marilee, sitting on the bed, managed to look both wilted and rigid simultaneously.  Her white skirt had wrinkles going at oblique angles against the line of the pleats.  Her hat, a little black thingie with a funny half-veil that never actually got below the hairline, hung crookedly, almost falling from her pinned-up hair.
          Pushing through a curtain of jet-lag, Marilee got up and walked to the glass doors that led out to the balcony. 
          “Why don’t you get some sleep?” she asked.  Irv heard that and registered the word “you,” singular, that is, he could take a nap by himself so there was no chance to take another crack at Marilee’s virginity.  She’ll come around in time, he told himself, dismissing his own inadequacy in a sweeping gesture of sheer unconsciousness. 
          Marilee tossed her wreath of Hawaiian leis onto a chair and opened the double glass doors that looked out onto the beach.  “Waikiki,” she breathed.  “It’s gorgeous.”  The vista gave her some energy, it was a costly vista, the suite was a costly suite.  On the beach, rich people swam and lay in the sun, and rich people’s boats gently rocked on the expensive waves. 
          Irv disentangled himself from his own batch of guest-plumage and tossed it atop Marilee’s discarded mess.  He joined her on the balcony, putting his arms around her wiry, petite body from behind, enclosing her in his embrace.  He was considerably broader of build than his new wife, though his youth prevented that plumpness from becoming fat.  There was still plenty of muscle tone on his body, tone that was beginning to forget itself now that Irv had passed the Bar and was in practice with his father.  He so resembled his father, it would be a couple of years before he assumed Manny’s pear shape.  There was little doubt that he would achieve even greater corpulence.  He had bigger appetites.  He liked food, he liked sex, he liked to drink.   He was bottom-heavy.  His neck was of average proportion, his shoulders were broad, and distinct male breasts poked through his white dress shirt. His stomach seemed to lurch forward horizontally, giving his upper body the shape of a ski slope.  His butt receded somewhat but the cheeks were of equal girth to his legs, which were extraordinarily large, wide and strong.  On his face there seemed always to be an expression of slight confusion, as if he had awakened from an incarnation where he was a great prince, and couldn’t understand how he got into this poky Jewish identity where everyone bossed him around.
          Marilee made an effort to lean back into her husband’s embrace.  It didn’t come easily to her, touching, intimacy, the necessary looseness for sex.  Irv’s penis, now that she had seen it, loomed in her imagination like some fleshy atomic bomb. “Fat Boy,” she called it, remembering photos of the Nagasaki bomb.  Her husband’s organ was not overly long, but it had girth, like the rest of him.
          Last night, after the reception and before today’s flight, they had booked into the Chase for a honeymoon night.  Marilee had been unable to get that thing into herself, and Irv had finally just made a mess on her thighs, a disgusting spectacle that had taken half a roll of paper towels to clean up.
          She breathed in some of the sunset sea air, praying it would relax her.  She had thought about the challenge of her wedded sex life at some length.  She knew she did not like sex, and that Irv did.  Of course, he was a man, they all like sex, that’s all they think about. 
          “I’m not sleepy,” Irv said, nuzzling her neck, just beneath her ear.  She could feel Fat Boy like an ingot trying to wedge itself between her ass cheeks.  “We can try again, honey.  I’m not so drunk, and you’re not so sober.  Maybe we can figure out the formula, whattayou say?”
          She forced herself to be nice, against all her insticts of revulsion.  “Give me a few minutes, baby, okay?”  She turned around within the warm cylinder of Irv’s embrace and pecked him on the nose with her lips.  Her hands were more or less pinned to her sides, albeit gently, and she was aware of the natural animal strength in the male body to which she was wedded.  Her right hand rubbed Irv’s atomic bomb, and he sighed, and in that sigh, Marilee felt her sexual power and that gave her some position, some strength and joy, and she might be able to use that feeling to go through with this act enough times now and in the future that she could keep this rich man until his money was available. 
          “You know,” she crooned, “you’re so… big!  I was surprised! My poor little Miss Peekaboo wasn’t ready for such a big visitor.”  Her voice had gone up two octaves, all googoo squeaky, a little Sandre Dee, a little Marilyn Monroe, and just a touch of Annette Funicello.  She knew her prey.  She knew what Irv liked. 
          She could feel Irv expand with gratification at her comment on his penis size.  Men are so primitive, she thought.  “Let’s have a drink together, sweetie, let’s get all comfy and we’ll try it, okay?”  It was a sacrifice she was prepared to make.   On the plane, she had taken 15 milligrams of Valium.  It was hitting her now, and with a little Vodka and tomato juice, she might be able to relax enough to let Fat Boy come into Miss Peekaboo in a fashion that would gratify her husband.  She knew she had to gratify her husband.  It wouldn’t do to have him sniffing around other women if he couldn’t get what he wanted at home.
          “You pour the drinks,” she instructed, her voice getting soft with the flush of the valium, “and I’ll go in here and slip into a nice nightie.  Why don’t you turn down the lights, honey?”
          She could almost see Irv pant like a puppy.  She had ‘saved herself for marriage’ and that had kept her power at a high level.  Now, she thought, I have to give him something, or I won’t keep my power over him.  I have to make him enjoy having sex with me. 
          She ruminated on the dozens of magazines she had read, giving her tips on ways to keep her man happy.  A tumbril of anxiety raced down the cobblestones of her stomach.  There was an inward lurch of pure terror, and she closed her fists tightly, applying her considerable discipline, aided by a strong pharmaceutical, to conquer her misgivings.  “I can do this,” she affirmed. “I can act all hot and sexy.  All I have to do is think about the Forbes 500 list, and Manny Josephson’s place on it, albeit at number four hundred and fifty six, and that will make me horny enough.”
          Irv went to the suite’s wet bar and began making drinks, clinking ice cubes into elegant glasses with a pair of tongs.  Marilee got her night case from the pile of luggage at the door, and went into the bathroom.  She took out a black nightie, selected for this occasion, slipped it over her head, and then flung a kimono over herself, tying it with a matching wide belt.  It was white silk with pink chrysanthemums embroidered into it, each stitch made with painstaking attention.
          Outside, night was falling rapidly, and Hawaiian luau music wafted up on the smoothly modulated winds, drifting through the newlywed’s suite at the Waikiki Hilton.
          Marilee examined herself in the full-length mirror.  She flung open the kimono, showing herself the effect it would have, as it revealed the black nightie.  Holding the kimono wide, she examined her hair, her body.  “Even after twelve hours of jet travel, I look good,” she assessed.  The Valium was smoothing away her fatigue.  She pawed through her night bag and got out a bottle of Percodan.  Taking two, she chased the pills with water.
          “That ought to do it,” she decided.  “ That and the Bloody Mary.  I have to stay married for ten years, have to keep Irv happy for ten years.  I’ll have one child, hopefully a boy so we can name him Manny.  Ten years, one child, and I’ll be set for life.  What else can a woman do in this day and age?  Work like a dog?  For what?  A schmatte house in a schmatte neighborhood with three or four bratty kids?  And then, she gets old, the husband leaves, she’s got no money, no looks.  Screw that.”
          She had refused several suitors, one of whom she liked a great deal, to be with Irv and bask in the reflection of the Josephson family fortune.
          Under the black silken garment, her body was taut from regular workouts at the gym, her breasts just big enough to appeal, not so big that they sagged.  She knew she had a great body, and the nose job she had wheedled out of her father took care of the one major flaw on her face.  She was a good looking woman, she decided.  A damn good looking woman.
          Taking a deep breath, she re-tied the kimono, feeling the air currents moving as she wrapped the garment’s great wings around herself.  A dangling piece of toilet paper rocked back and forth on its holder until the little self-generated wind subsided. Applying the final touch, the coup de grace, she unzipped a shoe bag.  It contained a pair of black stilleto heels. Languidly, she sat on a wicker stool and put the shoes on her shapely legs.  Then A squirt of perfume in her armpits and at her shoulderblades punctuated and defined her sexual design.
          Marilee opened the door and stepped out into the suite.  Irv had taken off his jacket and shirt, and stood at the bar in his slacks and T-shirt.  His mouth fell open.
          “God, Jesus…holy mazoley!” he erupted.  His face was filled with genuine awe. Marilee felt lifted by her husband’s sincere adoration. “You look…in..cred…ible.” These last words were drawled so that each syllable divided in two.  The words were sung more than spoken.
          He turned for a moment and put the drinks down on the dark mahogany bar.  In three steps he was at her, lifted her up, staggered five more steps to the couch, and threw her down. He was atop her with a graceless plunge, snugging at her face, neck, arms.
          “Whoa!  Whoa, King Kong!”  Marilee pushed him away firmly.  “Remember last night?  I can’t do this so fast.  I’m a lady, I’m not a side of beef, for god’s sake, Irv! Get a hold of yourself!”  Fat  Boy was pulsing in Irv’s pants and she did not want an unplanned ejaculation to ruin any of her clothing.
          Shame-faced, Irv sat up.  “Sorry honey, you just look good enough to eat…I mean… you’re not beef, y’know, but still, you’re pretty fuckin’ edible, yummy yummy yummy!” His cheeks were flushed vivid pink and little sweat beads gathered at his receeding hairline.
          “We have to do this like civilized and sophisticated people, “ Instructed Marilee. “Now brng me that Bloody Mary.”  Irv crossed the suite, stumbling slightly where a pair of steps divided the room with an S-curve into distinct segments:  the bar on one side and a dining table, then, up the steps to the plush couch, the television, a mahogany cabinet for hanging casual clothing, topped by a tall wicker-covered vase filled with Bird of Paradise flowers. Next to the sliding glass door was a desk.  The master bedroom was behind a three quarter length double door decorated with a wicker Tiki mask.  In the master bedroom another balcony jutted from their eighth floor promontory.  Reproductions of Gaugain’s paintings augmented the suite’s Polynesian motif.
          Marilee gathered herself together and went into the master bedroom, opened the sliding doors and stepped onto the balcony.  Irv followed her with two Bloody Marys.  There was a large wicker contraption on rockers, supplied amply with cushions so that two people could sit together and watch the ocean, sipping cocktails.  The newlyweds sat on this divan, Marilee facing forward with her drink, Irv sitting sideways to face Marilee, his right leg tucked under his rump, his left leg sprawled out so that his foot rested on the deck.  His body leaned towards Marilee’s as if she were a magnet, his head groping forward on inexorable waves of attractive energy. Though he could barely control his lust, Irv magnanimously raised his glass and said,  “Let us toast our long and happy marriage.”
          Marilee raised her glass, clinked it to Irv’s, and concurred.  “A toast.  May our marriage be long and happy.”  As she drank, she kept thinking, “Ten years with the schlub, ten years.”
          Quietly, each to his or her own thoughts, the couple sipped their vodka drinks and watched the twilight descend on a beach as perfect as any in the world.  Couples walked hand in hand, silhouetted against the bright sea.  The sound of the surf gathered and grew loud with its inward surge, then quieted as it left the sand damp, glistening and black as it withdrew into the sea.  Hypnotized, Marilee felt the Percodan enter her pharmacological mix with a warm rush and knew that it was going to be now or never.
          She finished her drink in a gulp, then took Irv’s drink away and set it down on the nearby table.
          “Come on, Jungle Man, I’m drunk enough and you’re sober enough.”  She took his hand and led him into the bedroom.  He stood with his back to the sea, and watched his new wife slowly unwrap her kimono, to show him the body beneath in its silky black container. Marilee found enjoyment in the expressions of Irv’s face as she performed a not very sinuous strip tease.  The drugs and booze had taken away most of her inhibitions.  She wasn’t expecting to love anyone, but the concept of being loved had a certain fascination.  No question, Irv loved her. He adored, worshipped her.  It wasn’t the first time she had elicited this response in a man but it was the first time it was going to be taken to a serious conclusion.  So she hoped.
          The sun dipped into the ocean and spilled its light through the windows of the bedroom.  Shadows from gossamer curtains undulated on the carpets.  Marilee lay on the bed and gestured to Irv with both hands, her palms facing inward in front of her face.  She waved her fingers from the pivot of her wrists, inviting her husband as seductively as she knew how.  In spite of the lovely cocktail coursing through her veins, she was still frightened.  “I’m in command of this situation,” she told herself.  “I call the shots.”
          Eagerly, Irv hopped out of his pants, one leg at a time.  He tore his shirt off, popping  buttons.  His atomic bomb stuck out from the opening in his boxer shorts, and Marilee averted her eyes from it.  The room was somewhat chilly, and she jumped up, pulled the blankets from her side of the bed and slipped under them.  Wearing his tank top t-shirt and one sock, Irv got halfway under the covers beside her.  He slipped one arm under her neck, kissed her hard, too hard, his tongue seeming like a glutinous creature invading her mouth.  Then he rolled over on her like a flopping fish.  Between his groping mouth and his weight, Marilee was nearly smothered. 
          “Irv, Irv!” she gasped. “Slow down!  Haven’t you ever heard of foreplay?” She pushed her husband away, forcing him onto his back.  She was strong enough to handle him.
          “Oh!” Irv said stupidly.  “Yeah.  Sorry babe, I’m just so hot for you.”
          “You might be hot for me, but Fatb….uh, Atomic Bomb won’t get inside Little Miss Peekaboo unless you’re gentle with her.  Come on, Irv.” She took his hand and put his index and second fingers on the lips of her vagina.  She had an immensely powerful urge to call Irv an idiot.
          God, she thought, you’re an imbecile!  Don’t you know anything?  She clamped down on the urge to say these words aloud.  Calling him names might shrink his manhood, and that wouldn’t do, not at all.  She had to exert self control.
          Irv gamely explored the hair around Marilee’s labia.  He had no concept of a clitoris, no idea of the complexities that lay at the heart of a woman’s mystery. He put a finger partway up her.  She was dry.  She wriggled and said, “Ow!  Easy! Here, let me show you.”  She spread her legs wider and guided his two fingers to her clitoris.  “Feel this thing?” she asked.
          “Uh, I think so.”
          Marilee rotated his fingers just so, the way she would masturbate herself. She thought of Myron Goldstein, the man she liked the most and would have married, had he not been a plumber.  Myron had a cherub’s face and sweet puppy dog eyebrows.  Always, his blue eyes pleaded with her, oh love me as I love you, Marilee.  Love me, love me.  Myron was destroyed by Marilee’s rejection.  She felt badly ,but what would she do as a plumber’s wife?  Impossible.
          The room grew subtly darker.  Surrepetitiously, Marilee wet her own fingers and spread saliva around her opening.  Irv was impatient.  While he explored with his fingers, he was humping into her side, his penis bumping against her hip.  She’d better try to get him in her, before something happened. 
          “Come on, big boy, get on top.”  Eagerly, Irv obeyed.  He moved his legs and hips, groping for the right place.  He was near that place, but Marilee was small and dry, and even with her help, the entrance seemed impossible.  “Ow,” she cried again.  He had pushed at her with energy, and his penis rasped against her passage without going anywhere.
          Again, Marilee tried to guide him, but she was becoming frustrated with herself as well as with Irv.  This is a nightmare, she thought.  It isn’t working.  He’s just too big for me.  Down there, where their hands and genitals mingled, where hips worked and legs banged into each other, it was chaos. 
          “Okay okay!” Marilee gulped, moving away from Irv.  She intended to start over again.
          “Irv, sweetie, it would help a lot to get me going if you would try licking it, you know… using your mouth.”
          Irv’s usual look of surprise now mingled with a look of distaste.  “Wha…what? You mean……..down there?  Little Miss Peekaboo?”
          Marilee worked hard to suppress her impatience, because she knew from Irv’s expression what he was going to say.
          “Eeeewww,” he almost squealed.  “That would be, uh uh, gross!”
          “But you wouldn’t mind it one little bit if I, uh, paid a little attention to Mister Atomic Bomb, here, would you?”  She gestured with her chin at the now-flaccid organ.  As Irv indulged in the fantasy of a long-sought objective, the very possibility of it caused his penis to twitch and grow.
          “That’s different!” he said, almost happily.  He wasn’t stupid.  He knew that Marilee was about to attempt to point out the hypocrisy of his position, and he had already marshaled his arguments, as any good lawyer would.
          “My thing, my ‘Atomic Bomb’, it’s…well, it’s outside, it’s right here, it’s clean, it doesn’t smell or anything, it doesn’t have a period once a month.”  Raising himself to a full sitting position he looked down at his half-erect genitalia.  “It’s more hygienic!”
          Marilee considered.  Instead of attacking her moron of a husband, she needed to gratify him, and she considered the size of his penis, measuring its width against the capacity of her mouth.  Maybe with a little practice, a little trickery, she could fulfill Irv’s fantasy.  It was better than having him tear mindlessly at her vagina and spilling himself all over her expensive chemise.
          “Okay, you gorilla,” she forced herself to say.  She pushed him back down onto the bed with two fingers on his breastbone.  “Relax and enjoy yourself.”
          This would be her first attempt at oral sex.  She had talked to friends about it, and she had studied a little pamphlet from an organization called “The Houston Center for Sexological Research”.  It was all very respectable.  Photos of clean, middle class couples in various positions were accompanied by text written by doctors on the benefits of sexual education in furthering harmonious marriage.
          “Just relax and fantasize for a minute, Irvy sweetie,” Marilee oozed without sincerity. “let me prepare myself.  It’ll just take a second.”
          She scooted into the little second bathroom, where she shed her expensive black chemise and replaced it with a less expensive mid-length slip.  She grabbed a handful of paper towels from the dispenser. In half a minute she was astride Irv’s body.  She found that he was too big to enclose between her knees, so she shifted to one side and slid down the bed so that her head was near Irv’s ‘bomb’.
          He was already erect.  Experimentally, Marilee licked the thing.  It throbbed, and Irv groaned.  Marilee raised her head and began to insert Irv’s penis into her mouth.  It wasn’t impossible.  It made her jaw sore, and she managed to get about a third of the way down his length before she gagged. 
          “Oooh,” Irv sighed.  It hardly mattered how Marilee performed.  The fantasy had the ultimate power.  This was the third blow job of his life.  The first two were from prostitutes and they were memorable only in their context.  This was a blow job from the adorable and exquisite Marilee, his new wife.  This fantasy had been rolling around in his head for almost two years, and he could barely contain himself.  He did not hear Marilee’s gag.  He was trying to slow down the rising tide of thwarted lust that was boiling up from his loins. 
          Marilee made a second attempt to get Irv into her mouth, and she did a little better.
          “Oh oh!” Irv cried.  “I can’t hold it any longer, oh Jesus!”
          Shit! Marilee shuddered inwardly. She felt two powerful throbs from Irv’s penis and she moved her head away from him as quickly as possible.   Irv was spewing himself all over her slip.  Some of the sperm got on her lips, and she swiftly grabbed a paper towel and patted the stuff away.  Irv screamed and bucked a few times, then subsided with a long, long exhale of relief.
          She jumped from the bed and ran to the bathroom.
          “Im sorry, baby, I just couldn’t help it,” Irv called from the bed.  He was dabbing at himself with kleenex from the box on the bedside table.
          “Oh honey, that was great,” he added, “that was incredible.”
          “I’m glad you liked it,”  said Marilee, as she wet the paper towels and wiped drops of sperm from her Saks Fifth Avenue silk slip.  It cost seventy five dollars and she didn’t want to throw it away.  She feverishly hunted through her night case and found a small bottle of Listerine.  With this she rinsed her mouth, dabbed her lips, gargled repeatedly.  Between gargles she got herself into a clean slip.
          The ran the tap water in the batroom sink until it was hot.  There was a little squeeze bottle of soap in her  nightbag and she poured five or six drops into the water.  Then
she bundled her stained slip and submerged it in the sink, wringing it a few times.  It would have to do.  She left the slip in the soapy solution, hoping the slip could be saved.
          She returned to the master bedroom to find Irv snoring contentedly, lying on his stomach with his face turned in her direction..  His mouth hung open and a bead of spittle had formed at the corner of his lips.  His snore was an inhale with a high pitched buzz, followed by an exhale that was a whistle punctuated at the end by a little hiccup.
          Marilee snorted with contempt.  She felt agitated, hyped up.  Percodan acted paradoxically on her as a stimulant.  Blended with the valium and a little bit of alcohol, she had a fine buzz and was in no mood to waste it.  Irv would be out for hours.  She had no inclination to sit in the suite and watch Huntley and Brinkley . No indeed, she was in Hawaii at the Waikiki Hilton and dozens of excellent shops were no farther than the lobby.
          The bellboy had brought the large suitcase into the bedroom.  She opened it and hung some things in the closet, then organized a few drawers of the dresser with her underwear and cosmetics.  She made no attempt to be quiet.  Irv slept like a bear.  Tufts of  back hair showed over the top of  his t-shirt.   His arms were hairy.  The blanket covered the lower part of his body; the rest of him was a sprawl, left arm hanging off the side of the bed.  Marilee looked at her husband’s sleeping face for a moment, winced, then returned to her unpacking.
          Enough of this, she thought.  Let me see, what can I wear?  I have this cute little emerald pant suit from Nieman Marcus, a string of pearls, a pair of pumps by Ottolini.  Nice. She applied make up carefully to her face, chose a lipstick that went well with the pant suit.  She brushed and poofed her hair with some spray.  All dolled up, she cast one more look at Irv.  His pants were still on the floor, and she picked them up, found his wallet and checked inside.  In her own purse she had two credit cards with twenty thousand dollar limits.  She was angry with Irv, angry for his clumsy attempts to penetrate her. There were traveler’s checks in his wallet for five thousand dollars, and three or four thousand in cash.  She took a handful of hundred dollar bills, just for spite.  She walked from the room, and out the door.
          A couple in their forties were coming down the hall towards the elevator.  Marilee smiled distantly.  The woman had really let herself go.  No amount of hair spray and pancake makeup could compensate for the sagging cheeks, the slack belly.  I’ll never let myself get like that, Marilee smugly vowed.  It takes work, but it can be done.  Forty doesn’t scare me. Fifty doesn’t even scare me.  By that time I’ll have enough money for the best plastic surgeons.
          The elevator dinged and the three people got on.  Uncomfortable silence and avoided eyes marked the downward descent.  Marilee thought the woman was glancing at her jealously when she wasn’t looking, and the husband was studiously avoding letting his wife know that HE was looking. Let them steal a peek!  I’ve got it!
          In the huge lobby, a number of activities were in full swing.  Outside, in a little courtyard, a fire twirler spun his burning torches, while drums pounded.  Pretty young Polynesian girls were at the stations near the entrances, handing out leis and kisses on cheeks.
          Corridors of shops ran in two directions off the hotel’s mezzanine.  Lighting was provided by faux electric torches in wall sconces.  Wicker furniture and Tiki gods, effigies of Pele were on offer.  Marilee stopped at an antiques shop and looked through the window at price tags. Fifteen hundred dollars for a chair.  Thirty five hundred for a set of eighteenth century wrought iron fireplace tools. Marilee moved on.  Her antennae were set on clothing, her radars were tuned to the frequency of Italian shoes and handbags, Paris dresses, hats and scarves.  She looked down the corridor but her heightened senses were telling her that the clothing boutiques were in the other direction, so she backtracked, again passing through the lobby.
          At that moment, she saw a face approaching her, a man who looked oddly familiar.  She knew him.  The context was different and she couldn’t place him because he didn’t belong here, at the Waikiki Hilton.  When the man caught sight of her, his eyes grew in his face, his mouth opened, and suddenly she realized that it was Myron Goldstein.  Myron!  Her heartbroken suitor.  The puppydog eyebrows, the cherubic face with its blue eyes and sprinkling of freckles. There he was with the same pleading expression:  Love me, Marilee, love me as I love you!
          She stopped and her hands flew up to her cheeks, fingers spread taut with astonishment.  Myron ran towards her, his arms extended tentatively, as if he knew and acknowledged his rejection yet still held a desperate hope.
          He stopped a few paces away when Marilee’s hands came away from her face and went forward, blocking, blocking. “Myron!” she squeaked.  “What in God’s name are you doing here?”
          “Marilee, Marilee,” he tried to get through the blockade of her hands, and then found himself grabbed by the front of his shirt and thrust sideways into the lee of a large plant, a place of concealment.
          “Goddammit Myron, you’re following me on my honeymoon, you bastard!”
          The misery on his face was so abject it was almost cute.  “I can’t help myself, Marilee.  I have this compulsion, I don’t know what made me do it, I just can’t believe that you married that…that….fat lawyer for his money.  You want to marry me, don’t you?”  His voice rose in pitch as he repeated, “Don’t you?”
          Marilee’s eyes turned in all directions to see if anyone was looking at them.  No one was paying attention.  The hotel bustled with its business, the drums beat, torches whirled, the strolling singers serenaded.  Bellboys rushed here and there with dollies full of luggage.
          Returning her gaze to Myron’s face, she said, “No I don’t want to marry you, Myron. You’re a plumber.  Don’t you understand?  I like you….I almost love you if I could love anybody, which I can’t, of course.  Love isn’t in me, it isn’t in my soul.  Im just like my mother, I’m completely heartless.  I love you the only way I can.”
          “I know that, Marilee.  I don’t care.  I love you anyway, I love you the way you are.  I think deep down you’re good and you’re searching for goodness.”
          Marilee laughed a brittle laugh, each note like someone crushing a box full of tin foil. “No, Myron.  No goodness.  I’m not really so bad, either, Im just out for myself, that’s all. You’re too good, you don’t deserve the hell I would put you through.”
          Tears were streaming down Myron’s face.  “I don’t know what I’ll do, Marilee.  I don’t know how to erase the image of you inside my heart.  I came here just to see you from a distance, to protect you if you looked unhappy…I don’t know…I really don’t know why I came here….”
          Something in those boyish blue eyes affected Marilee, and her hands changed positions and she pulled him towards her body until man and woman joined in a sweet soft kiss.  Suddenly, Marilee’s dry female parts filled with warmth, a surge between her thighs almost crumpled her to the floor.  She reached to stroke Myron’s powerful shoulders, ran her hands down his arms. He was wearing a Missouri University T-shirt and his muscular biceps filled its sleeves, his sinewy forearms gripped Marilee’s hands.  He’s so handsome, she thought, Jesus he’s a good looking guy, and he’s sweet.  What am I doing?  What the hell is gong on here?  Oh fuck it, I don’t care.
          “Myron, where are you staying?  Are you here at the Hilton?”
          “I..I…are you kidding?  I have a motel room down the road a couple of miles.”
          “Then take me there.  Did you rent a car?”
          Myron nodded yes.
           “Don’t ask me any questions, don’t demand anything of me, don’t make plans, don’t fool yourself about the future. Don’t don’t don’t don’t.  You understand? Just take me to your motel room for a while.”
          His eyes betrayed confusion, hope, lust and a barely perceptible sunrise of promised satiation of a long, long obsession, the gratification of a desire delayed almost to infinity.
          “There’s an exit down this way, and the parking lot’s right out there.”  Myron took Marilee’s arm and propelled her along the corridor.  The hubbub of the hotel’s lobby faded away.  Panting, Myron and Marilee made their escape.
          All the way to the motel, Myron and Marilee were stroking one another.  She reached inside his pants, and he had his hand gently rubbing her everywhere, fondling her nipples, reaching down her waistband, stroking her neck.  They reached their destination and tumbled into Myron’s room.  Marilee’s drugs had worn off, and she didn’t care, she was glad, she felt more sensitive, more alive and that’s what she needed to feel.
          Myron’s kisses were sweet and he put her on the bed and knelt on the floor so he could put his head between her thighs.  Marilee pulled at his hair and moaned. Myron slithered his way up her body and entered her effortlessly.  They rocked their way to a staggering climax that was heard up and down the motel’s corridors.
          Myron drove her home.  He was quiet, sad, happy, forlorn, confused.
“Will this happen again, Marilee?”
          “No,” she said firmly.  “No. NO. NO NO NO!”  Each syllable was a brick and each brick built a wall.  “I’m married, Myron, and I have to stay married.”
          As she said this, she felt a chink in the wall, a little hole where the bricks weren’t quite cured solid, where her resolution felt a little crumbly.  This kind of pleasure would never come from Irv Josephson.  She took her hand from Myron’s hand and put it in her lap, determined.  Myron put his hand over hers, and she did not push it away.
          When she returned to the hotel suite, Irv was still sleeping, exactly as she had left him.  She began to put the money she had taken back in his wallet, because Irv was an obsessive counter, he would know to the dime exactly how much cash was in his pocket.  She reconsidered.  “What the hell is he going to do with me?  We better get this kind of stuff straight, right now.  Your pocketbook is open to me, Irv Josephson, full time.”
          She put the bills back into her own wallet and clipped it shut, decisively.  Then she showered, washed her thick black hair, put it up in a towel, and wrapped a towel around her body. As she emerged from the bathroom, Irv was standing bleary eyed in the middle of the room.
          “Jeez,” he said, “I needed that nap.”  His eyes cleared a little bit as he beheld Marilee. “You look good, you look really beautiful.  You want to try again?  You want to stay a virgin your whole life?”
          Marilee dropped the towel and let her husband see her nudity.  “No, honey, I don’t. Let’s try again.  I think this time things might go a little better.”
          To Irv, Marilee’s expression looked soft and inviting.  Marilee, however, was feeling only a steely determination to see her task through, and get what she wanted out of life.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Psilocybin, jazz and The Esquire Grill, an excerpt from Confessions Of An Honest Man

As I work on my novels I encounter small miracles.There are chapters,passages, sentences that move me in ways I can't describe.That's why there is music in my writing,and why writing about music sometimes takes me to places otherwise inaccessible.This chapter is from my autobiographical novel,"Confessions Of An Honest Man."
I think it's a book that is easy to read and can speak to a lot of people.

Here's the chapter:

The Esquire Club was an archetypal venue: a pure urban jazz club, on the ‘circuit’, right down on Euclid Avenue between the steel mills to the west and Western Reserve University to the east. It had neon martini glasses jiggling on its marquee. The clientele would be ninety percent black.
     Zoot and the boys had finished a week’s engagement at the Jazzland Grill in Columbus. The drive to Cleveland was short, and they arrived fresh and feisty at around four o’clock.
     Before checking into the hotel, before doing anything, Zoot wanted to see old friends and examine the new sound board at the Esquire. The gig was going to be recorded for Blue Note, a “coming out”, so to speak, of the new incarnation of the Zoot Prestige Trio. For Aaron and Tyrone, it was their debut. The record would be reviewed by Downbeat critics and writers like Leonard Feather and Nat Hentoff.
     It was big. It was important. The album was going to be called “Hot Sax”.
      Zoot entered the club first, majestically, placing his feet on the carpet as if he were dancing, doing his lanky walk, all his joints subtly undulating.
     “What’s up, buttercup?,” he inqured of the man sitting on a stool behind the bar. There were five or six people in the club, nursing drinks and chatting quietly. Two women spread white cotton tablecloths below the bandstand.
     “Zoot motherfucking Prestige!” said the club’s proprietor, “What is happenin’?” He put out his cigarette and came sailing from behind the bar, a tall fat man with a medium afro. He did a series of finger snaps and arcane handshakes with Zoot, then embraced him with a huge laugh.
     Aaron knew these sounds; they were the greeting rituals of adult black males. The words meant little. The tones of understanding and recognition were everything. He had tried, for a while, to imitate this hip black language, but felt artificial, and gave it up.
     Zoot did quick introductions. The club’s owner was Hilton Stubbs. When Aaron was introduced, Stubbs looked at him coldly. Then, as if Aaron didn’t exist, Stubbs pointed to him and inquired of Zoot, “What is this?”
     Zoot bristled. “What do you mean, ‘what is this?’, motherfucker. This is my drummer.”
     “This is a white kid from Shaker Heights, man, this won’t go down.”
     “Hilton, you don’t know shit.” Zoot extended a protective arm around Aaron’s shoulders. “You wanna cancel the gig?” Zoot picked up his saxophone case. “I can tell Blue Note we ain’t playin’ here. I’ll go talk to Alvin at Loose End and I’ll have my ass another gig.”
     “Naw, shit man, I don’t do that; but I don’t believe no white kid can play drums and sound like the real deal.”
     “Why don’t you talk to him like he’s here in front of you, man.”
     Stubbs looked at Aaron. “Hmmmph.” He lit a cigarette languidly, sizing Aaron up. “I never seen Zoot Prestige with a bad drummer. You can’t be more than fucking twenty years old, kid. What do you know about soul?”
     Aaron shrugged. “Gig starts at nine. You’ll find out.”
     At that moment, several other people came from the back of the club, saw Zoot and the greeting rituals were repeated. Aaron was ignored or treated to a cold stare, a lingering gaze of contempt and then a dismissive de-focusing of the eyes, as if he had simply vanished. Traveling with Zoot on the circuit, he had gotten a lot of racist attitude. He let it bounce off him. He knew that, later, things would be different.
     The equipment had to be unloaded and set up. There was already a Hammond organ and a Leslie speaker on the stage. Tyrone was off the hook. He helped Aaron with the drums. At half past five, the recording crew arrived, hauling in a big Ampex eight track recorder in a wheeled case. Aaron was miked above his snare and in front of his bass drum. Zoot got a single mike, Tyrone got two, and two mikes were placed at strategic points on the stage. By six thirty the instruments were assembled and a sound check completed. The band and the recording crew ordered some of the Esquire’s legendary barbecue and drank a a few beers.
     Zoot led his band to the Hotel Onyx, next door, where they checked in. Zoot had a room. Tyrone and Aaron shared a room. They showered, shaved, turned on the television, kicked back. Aaron fell asleep. At eight o clock, Tyrone shook him awake. He had a familiar, crazed look on his face, as if he were about to do something naughty.
     “Hey man, check this out.” Tyrone held two sugar cubes in his palm. They resembled pistils at the center of the long mocha petals of his fingers. Tyrone’s digits were like the tentacles of some carnivorous plant.
     Aaron sat up. Outside the window of the room, a neon sign was going bing! bop! bing! bop! Rooms! Hotel Onyx! Rooms! Hotel Onyx!
     “Aw shit, what is that?’’ Aaron rubbed his face, yawned.
     “Hee hee. Psilocybin.” Tyrone was full of mad mischief. His eyes seemed to melt and harden like molten glass. Aaron loved him, loved his playing, loved his daring. He was virtually illiterate, had dropped out of school in the sixth grade, but he was a thinker, a philosopher, a musical intellect.
     “With all the shit I just went through being white, you want me to take a psychedelic and play a gig?”
     “What the fuck, man, it’s not like you aint done it before. Here.” He handed a cube to Aaron, then sucked the remaining cube into his mouth. His cheeks dented inward so that the goatee on his chin went down like a sword blade. Behind his glasses his eyes were like the fires of a kiln. Aaron ate the cube, not without a tiny twist of fear. He knew taking a psychedelic was like going for a ride on a tiger’s back. It could connect him to the primal power; or it could turn on him and eat him alive. He would risk it.
    Having made this commitment, Aaron now had other preparations to make. He wished, now, that he hadn’t eaten the barbecue, but it was too late. He sat in a quiet corner of the room, putting himself into lotus position. There was a terror of annihilation in him, residue from other psychedelic experiences. He had learned to let go of himself, had even learned to function, to play music, to walk around in the ‘ordinary’ world of people.
     It was the initial phases of the drug rush that were the most difficult. Suddenly, one finds oneself….utterly….without significance, lost in a vastness beond vastness, so that the personality of Aaron Kantro was some kind of silly joke. It was this silly joke that Aaron had learned to dismiss with a figurative wave of his hand.What does it matter if I matter? Move forward into the risk, take the grotesque with the beautiful, take it all. Inhale and exhale universes with each breath.
     Aaron heard Tyrone settle down beside him. Yoga was something Aaron had imparted to his friend, only to discover that Tyrone had a natural ability to settle into a silence within himself. He was, perhaps, less intellectually encumbered. Whatever the reason, Tyrone was a natural yogi, he meditated and conjured mind exercises of stunning imagination.
     When Zoot came to fetch them at quarter to nine, the young men had donned their tuxedoes. The drug was working, beginning as they meditated, stretching their imagery into an immense hall in which they could hear one another’s thoughts like echoes from walls of a cave.
     “We got a gig,” Joey reminded Tyrone as he uncurled his now-stiff legs. Tyrone opened his eyes slowly, and they were like search lights being uncovered, a mighty glow emitted from their orbs. Pulling themselves into the mundane world, they dressed and looked at their reflections in the mirror, giggling. “Be cool, be cool, “ Tyrone admonished, sinking his head between his shoulders as if to mimic stealth. “The Zoot will be wise to this, and he won’t be happy if we’re melting.”
     “Promise I won’t melt,” Aaron confirmed. He was serious, he knew he had a responsibility to his mentor to behave and play like a professional jazz musician.
     Zoot entered the room, sat in the one easy chair and let his legs splay sideways. He brought out his little pouch and crumpled some weed into the corncob pipe. He examined his compatriots with an air of suspicion, but he had seen this before and had a measure of faith in his sidemen.
    “Dudes look good,” he said. “Feelin alright? Tight? Outtasight?”
    “Just fine, Zoot. Lookin’ forward to it, “ Tyrone replied. Aaron nodded agreement.
     Zoot eyed his sidemen speculatively.
     “Gonna get cosmological on me? Gonna do Coltrane riffs?” This was one of Zoot’s cautionary admonitions. He loved Trane, but knew his bread and butter, knew what the patrons of the Esquire Club came to hear: jumpin stompin’ blues shoutin tenor saxophone organ trio music.
     “Don’t you trust us, Zoot? We know the gig.” Aaron’s hands were paradiddling his kneecap. Warming up.
     “There’s something about you two, tonight. You’re glittering a little bit.”
     It was impossible to tell whether or not he winked, because when he wanted to, Zoot could wink but not wink. Aaron suspected he had winked. He lit the pipe, inhaled. Then he loaded it again and passed it to Aaron.
     “I would righteously appreciate some discipline from you young monsters. Don’t think I don’t know what’s going on here. This ain’t speculative fiction. This is the Kingdom of Funktonics. Aaron, you gotta stay inside the groove and let these Black Nationalist motherfuckers know that you can play some shit.”
     “We will play some shit,” Tyrone affirmed, making it sound like a solemn oath. Aaron repeated it. “We will play some shit.”
     Each of them had the requisite two hits of weed, enacted the pre-set ritual that was as much a part of their working life as their instruments and their PA system. They headed down the long stairs with its purple carpeting, into the foyer with its thousands of tiny hexagonal tiles and green trim. Euclid avenue was a parade of horsepower vanity.Caddies,Continentals and Grand Prix convertibles gurgled toward the traffic lights.A bit of rain had fallen and the smell of wet pavement and gasoline fumes mingled in the air, reflections from neon lights bounced up from the sidewalks. Aaron inhaled and marveled at the wild beauty of the world.
     They went around to the kitchen entrance of the club.Zoot gave a signal to Hilton Stubbs.The proprietor nodded and went to the bandstand.It was a good house.The tables were taken, the bar was full.The recording engineers were perched at their boards like alchemists over tables of potions and unguents
.     “Ladies and gentlemen,” Stubbs said into the microphone.“The Club Esquire is honored to present the reigning Master of Funk,the Prestigious One,The Zoot from Detroot and his smokin’ recruits, the one and only Zoot Prestige!”
     They came through the swinging door and made their procession to the bandstand. When the applause and whistles died down, Zoot looked at Tyrone and Aaron, snapped his fingers and counted off a blistering tempo for “All the Things You Are”.
     They were off. Tyrone’s organ vamped behind Zoot’s solo like butter rolling down a split yam. Aaron was crisp as a new hundred dollar bill. The stick in his right hand came down on the ride cymbal almost lazily; just enough behind the beat to give it tension, to make that indefinable suspense that was the elusive quality of swing. He pop popped with his left hand on the snare, talking to Zoot’s cadences. It was a glory. It was jazz.
      They played Monk’s tune,“Well You Needn”t. Then, to slow things down, Zoot called for “Angel Eyes”. That’s when the psilocybin began working at its full intensity.Tyrone played the dark moody chords of the song.Its story was that of an urban bar-room drama, of souls sliding toward damnation but gripping their humanity with ferocious desperation.When Tyrone’s solo came, he landed on one of those blue tones that the organ could sustain forever, while his right hand trilled and trilled pure funkiness. It was musical laughter.Aaron’s smile grew larger than his face, a Cheshire Cat grin where the rest of him disappeared into the curling lips and glowing teeth.Zoot rocked his horn and arched his back. The audience was screaming approval. The walls started to melt.Hilton Stubbs looked like a goat or a devil,behind the bar,smiling so that his gold tooth flashed across the room.
     Tyrone glanced at Aaron, wicked sly wit oozing from his eyes.
     Stay inside, Aaron mentally signalled. Don’t get crazy. Tyrone nodded. Don’t worry; I can get crazy and still stay inside. They were IT. They were tradition. They were milking all the conventions, all the known things of jazz. Tyrone arpeggioed to get to the head of the tune. It was like ocean waves, surf rolling in perfect cylinders toward the shore. Zoot heard the cue and they restated the brooding melodrama of Angel Eyes. The tune ended in a wash of cymbals, organ and saxophone. Perfect.
     Zoot knew what was happening, but said nothing.As long as they played well, he would let it slide. He couldn’t sit on these two young horses. He could go with them, out to the boundary. If he felt them slipping off, he would give them the infamous Zoot Stare. If he could keep them right there, right at the boundary but still within the vocabulary, the vocabulary itself would become the realm of exploration.
     It worked. It worked all night. At one moment, Aaron took a drum solo and felt his arms multiply, felt as if four right hands and four left hands were striking and bouncing off the drums with incredible speed. He was a Hindu God, he was eight-armed Ganesh, the elephant god, the lord of Jupiter. He rolled and crackled and flamed but kept it together, never got abstract, hit the One, the downbeat, right where he was supposed to.
     There wasn’t anyone in the room who was wondering if Aaron could play drums. There wasn’t anyone in the room who was thinking about black or white, soul or without soul, paid dues, ain’t paid dues, hipness or squareness.

     There was only the miracle of music.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ghost Voices

This is one of my most abstract and also one of my favorite poems. The image is
called "Shamaness Meets The Fire Spirit". It's a collage/composition.

Ghost voices grow
like weaving spires in the corridors of the night.
Stalactites of moonlight,
they hum and fade
through the wake of other minds.
A sheet of star rain in the night,
a mist of lightfall lost from sight,
these spectral hints emerge
from the night floor in the dark.
Silver waving plants recede forever
ever ever singing in twinkling winking echoes.
Ghost voices, shadow worlds
arise and converse,
while my sleep waits beyond the hills,

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