Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I have the Internet again. I think. Check back with me tomorrow. Seriously.There is much to this story of ineptitude and idiocies (if the latter is a word).

Several hours ago, as my computer rebooted and Internet Explorer finally let me online (which, thanks to %^^&####Comcast, my connection was lost), I sighed longer than I do every time the Cubs get in the playoffs and lose. Never mind that I got called in to work on the last three days of warm weather we won't see again until April, with my body again bent from lifting hundred pound boxes of enamel gloss paper that mockingly will become printed posters for a Miami Boat Show. I'm gone for now, gang....Wayne

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Back To The Rendering Plant

I was surprised to get a call to work a few days at my old job, pretty much just filling in so everything can stay on schedule. So many things about that place I miss, the smell of ink, the sounds of the huge four-color machines. I found myself pretty adept at still knowing 60# from 100# matte, text, velvet, or cover. I found boxes of stock that still had my writing on it from May. Tomorrow will likely be my last day, maybe Monday, though. It was a bitch to get there today, $33.00 for a cab. I could've taken a bus to 159th, then walked to 167th then a mile to Pulaski, but all that would have taken two hours. So I'll really get that cab fare back by the two extra hours I got on the clock. Tomorrow it will be like it was in the spring, Bart picking me up at the White Castle on 123rd at 8 AM, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel. For those new to my talk of this printing plant, it used to be at 127th, off the Cal Sag Channel. Now its pretty much in the ghetto-end of Oak Forest, where you have a huge drop off on one side of the unpaved lot, a red barn where drug deals often occur, and as taken from the lot itself, a photo of the infamous boarded up crack house. Why foreclose? Claim squatter's rights and sell crack, then wash the mattresses in the barn. The American Dream: 2008. Hey, I'm 49 now and making ten bucks an hour. That whole American Dream bit again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

O'Hare After Ike

Got these photos from a friend who has a family member living near O'Hare. I mean literally living there, just as with Midway (which is very close to me), as the block they live on is within a football field's length of the chain link fence at the end of a runway. All from a Category 2 Hurricane. Damn city is a crazy magnet.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Maybe Steve does know comics, maybe his comment yesterday was in jest. In the orrery of worlds that make up the multiverse of DC Comics, Earth-22 is where the events of KINGDOM COME took place. The artwork above is by Alex Ross, a friend of mine. His father was a minister and appears a man representing, well, US in the four issue book that was published in 1996. It had high religious overtones, the main thrust of the book being that the older heroes have retired and the next generation just doesn't give a damn, they are either in gangs or hanging out in bars. Violence escalates, Superman and the others come out of retirement, and its pretty much all about Whose Will Be Done? The humans...or the superhumans. It was written in novel form by Elliot S. Maggin, a Superman scripter in the 70s and currently a minister in Vermont. The novelization adds more dimension to the spiritual aspects than the visuals you see in the comic. Alex is an incredible painter, working primarily in gouche, and he auctions off a huge amount of his original artwork to charity. I've mentioned in past posts that I have modeled for him, as he has a vast library of different head shots and poses, an example being chair cushions being car roofs for Captain America to leap over. I had a small appearance in KINGDOM COME as a United Nations delegate, and recently I was on the cover of JUSTICE, you can see me on the right with the gun and wacky sunglasses. He's done quite a few covers of late, concentrating on the Superman franchise, and I think this painting of Krypto, from the upcoming Superman#689, looks pretty much like my collie. But, if you read my comment to Steve, Earth-22 is gone, so maybe he can visit me on Earth-14, my usual hangout. For everyone else checking this entry, I'm having a relaxing early Monday morning stroll down memory lane.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I Need Help, Pixie Pie!

Behold a comic with writing on it from some unknown hand in some unknown town circa the summer of 1972. Then look at me, feverishly reading a partial manuscript as I write the following chapter, brain veins showing my antagonistic excitement. I really could have used the help of Pixie Pie this last week of carnival horrors. The United States citizens could have used Pixie Pie. And if she was the new VP candidate, I'd bet there would be no PixiePieGate. Certainly there wouldn't be a country song called "Moose Shootin' Mama," and if you don't believe me (or my psychosomatically and psychotropically induced friend Pixie Pie) then just Google it. I'm certain PixiePie--oh, by the way, I haven't slept in about 32 hours now--would have incinerated the CEOs of AIG with her CEO Incinerator Breath. She would use her Alter Reality Vision to change the name of the Dow Jones to Tony Dow and Nasdaq to Jerry Mathers as The Beaver. At this point, I'm afraid to sleep, I'd much rather be on Earth-14, where I was on the docks, saving a week's paycheck so I can afford a Kryptonite-laced condom in the event that Earth-14 Supergirl (she has a crush on bald and badly aging dockworkers) will decide to seal the deal with the girl of steel. Someone call a psychiatrist, please. One from Earth-20, because their rates are cheaper (or so Doc Fate told me).

Friday, September 19, 2008

...Burbank, You're My (Swampy) Home

Sheesh, Its been so long between posts, I forgot about being clever and substituting Burbank for Boston in the previous post entry. Found out a few houses on the next block have bones for roofs now. The car in the water is from our CBS affiliates website, as is the map. I recall stories my father would tell of his beat cop days, walking into waist high water with his partner making a chain between him and their squad, pulling people out of their Vegas and Volvos and Pintos, people dumb enough to try and drive under the viaducts that run past Central Park Avenue and Damen Avenue, the latter still having the remnants of trolley car tracks buried in the cement. To be honest, they could have put the Damen viaduct in THE DARK KNIGHT, its so damn creepy, even at high noon in July. I'm certain that the bridges over highway overpasses are somewhat different where Sid or Bob live, and Charles or Lana might say that New Orleans had its tight squeezes, but a Chicago viaduct filled with water should only be entered, well, it shouldn't be entered AT ALL. Park the car and climb up over the embankment if the rain has stopped. But my dad would have Big Bill or Lenny Rizzi hanging tight because of the current that could easily suck you under the car or up against submerged concrete, glass, and the usual shit citizens of the city discard on a daily basis. That lone car reminds me of the viaducts because in most cases, its just that...one car. Anyhow. I was outside earlier reading a manuscript and to my disdain found that a child next door in that monster house had gotten his hands on one of those flute-like things that makes a sound effect when you pull on it, like the sound you'd hear if Stan Laurel dropped trou. The kid did it for whole minutes until I yelled at him in Make-Believe Polish, which is sometimes quite effective. Its kind of like BASZHA buzsse BHASZ JWEEE, only you mutter it and then get louder, then mutter again. Actually, I've done that with my head down in the worst neighborhoods while standing at a bus stop at 2 AM. Well, the kid went in, maybe to tell his parents so they could all laugh.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Love That Dirty Water

I know that song by The Standells is about Boston, but screw it. This is my blog. And we had lots of dirty water. See that first photo? We were under that big cloud in the upper right for maybe 60 hours, and there it was, the remnants of Hurricane Ike playing holy hell with pretty much everywhere. Our power went out on Sunday, the water was not cleaned up until Tuesday. Munster, Indiana is pretty much due east of here, and they had flooding like I've never see, just as I've never seen here since July of 1996, a day I remember because it was the same day TWA Flight 800 exploded over Long Island. Several homes have had gas explosions while still immersed in water and the aeriel footage is eerie, roofs poking up and one vacant spot with a few beams floating where the street should be. Spoke with my Auntie Dorothy in Shelbyville today, she told me Kentucky had no rain but gale winds up to 80 MPH, schools are still closed, the Gene Snyder Freeway (one big ass road) is blocked off, and the Humana Hospital Building (I believe the tallest structure in Louisville) had a two day power outage. So I've not blogged or emailed many people because I've been busy catching up on my ghostwriting and Salem Press jobs after way too much time walking things out to the garbage and building up my middle-aged biceps.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Flashback Monday!

New slogan for our cable company: "Comcast...It's like Payback!" A day after Ike and the only channels I get our, I swear to Mitchum, Lifetime For Women and Game Show Network. How many episodes of CARD SHARKS and JOKER'S WILD can you watch? I decided to post these photos that fell out of an old frame, I cut myself out of various shots. Me with that John Hurt in BODY HEAT hair getting all artsy with the Belushi headline, one of those Polaroid Land cameras. A photo of me SOMEWHERE in Pennsylvania in 1980, a bus ride from college to a nuclear demonstration in DC that attended so as to write an article for the university paper, I think I had just gone to the bathroom in a Hardee's. I read Frank Herbert's THE JESUS INCIDENT along the way and when the bus lost a tire in Toledo we were not allowed into the rest stop because about 95% of the riders looked like Caucasian versions of Cheech & Chong and pretty much people on the interstate ramp were getting contact highs off the fringe jackets. Then there's me in school photos. Yes, there's the bow tie, but I am still trying to figure out why I was sent to school wearing purple pants, plus purple shirt with yellow polka dots, never mind on photo day but on ANY DAY EVER and why the heck didn't I just run away from home and join a circus? I already had my outfit. There might be another photo there, its late and I forgot. Feel free to make up your own flashback anecdote...Wayne

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Don't Like Ike/Desperately Seeking Sulu

Well, here's the last 48 or so hours plus an anecdote that I tried to send Not From Michigan Mike in an email but rat bastid Comcast cut me off, and you know me, when did I ever retype anything? And to get people to actually check out the entry instead of ignoring the last few I figured (along with skipping punctuation) that I'd stick a nudie Bush/Cheney drawing up there. And now the Tony Perkins photo makes sense, it all falls into place. Ike. Certainly it hurt a lot more folks and interrupted their lives than up here in Illinois. But I was sucker-punched by the severity of the storms we had here starting Friday night. (I'm listening to a mix Greg Loudon gave me, "Ride, Captain, Ride" by Blues Image makes me want to be a pirate.) First it starts with a call about another writing assignment, some nonfiction articles for Salem Press. I agree even though I'm doing three million things already and still peeing orange from the steroid shots I got Wednesday. Well, I am when I'm looking, at least. Saturday morning was more of a damage control thing, seepage from the Chthonian depths below Burbank. Rains all day, never stops. Guess its like Seattle, but I'll tell you it'd be a lot more fun if I was able to drive around in a ragtop with a few friends, the water slapping around as The Doors sing "Riders On The Storm." Mind squirmin' like a toad. Well, at 7:30 this morning, and mind you I was up until 3:00 working on this ghostwriting gig, the power goes out. I wake up, not even having a clue. Maybe my border collie barked. (Nena singing "99 Red Balloons," I'm thinking of this girl I knew in Denver now. Damn CD mix). Anyhow, I go downstairs to assumedly pee orange, but instead I see the sump pump burbling over like when Jed Clampett struck black gold, Texas tea. Within an hour the entire basement is knee-deep in water, worse yet, the crawlspace is, insanely, its like a swamp, water dripping down the concrete walls. Seven hours of moving furniture, mopping, eating cajun rice from Popeye's, getting to watch part of Zambrano get a no-hitter for the Cubs, then change wet for dry towels every twenty minutes--as I'm doing now--to keep the water in the crawlspace from spilling into the family room. As ridiculous as that sounds, such a minor thing is working. At least until I fall asleep. I wanted to get so much more done on the book but life intervenes. And here I am at the tail end of Ike, which then shot out over Lake Michigan to piss on the Upper Peninsula, and those in Texas are still assessing damages. So I'm not pissing and moaning, just telling a stupendously long story. But now, what you've been waiting for: I've met several celebrities over the years, Lauren Bacall at an art gallery in Soho when I still had my hair, Dean Stockwell when I had the Tweety-Bird look that gave me the decision to shave my head as often as possible. I sat next to Walter Koenig at Wizard World thinking he was Davy Jones and he laughed and told me quite a few people actually think that. I guess what gave it away was when I asked him if he still hung around with Mickey Dolenz. I would attend I-Con in the 90s, at NYU at Stonybrook, on Lawn Guyland. Science fact/fiction, so I'd meet Gordon Cooper the astronaut and scientists from Brookhaven Labs who evasively did not answer my questions about the 1992 accident that they were covering up, and most every year a Guest of Honor would be someone from the Star Trek franchise. I'll tell you, Nichelle Nicholl is still as hot as Eartha Kitt. No one thought I looked like Patrick Stewart because I still looked like Tweety-Bird. (Someone photoshop my face over the bird and I can then describe where my hairline was back then. See that strip of hair under that clown mask up top? Imagine it straight up because of my bean head, the big ears, BAM! Tweety-bird. OK, at one I-Con George Takei was the GoH. The Saturday night party was, for some reason, not held at the Jacob Javits Center but rather at a hotel across the LI Expressway, I-666 or whatever it is. By the time I get there, walking across six lane of 10 PM weekend traffic with my backpack which sums up much of my regular travels, I then walk to the hotel in the distance, recognize nobody, but I see George Takei in this little gift shop thingie. He bought the most enormous cookie I have ever seen. To this day! I figure that Sulu has to be going to the damn party, he's Sulu, right? I follow him down three corridors. And end up at his room. Guess some of you saw that coming. He turns, I can't walk past him because there are no other rooms to go to, pretending one was mine. I'm drenched in summer sweat, the backpack sagging, I'm obviously not going for ice or a can of pop. Takei turns and in his Sulu smiley voice says hello, raising his eyebrows. For some idiotic reason, the first thing I say is, and I swear on a stack of Blue Beetle comics, I say, man, that's a big cookie! OK, I'm officially a stalker at this point, it would seem. Sulu was polite, laughed and asked if I wanted something signed, perhaps a photo? (Though still not opening the door to his hotel room, mind you.) I didn't want to dig in the back pack, and I knew that beside him I'd look like Bruce Willis in 12 MONKEYS only uglier and so I huffed, still out of breath, I mean, why the HELL would there be three corridors from the cookie shop to the hotel room, that I was looking for the party and just assumed he was heading towards it at the other end of the hotel or something. Anyone who has been to a writer's convention knows how spaced out and diverse the parties can be, location-wise. Well, George Takei gave me the easy answer. I was at the wrong hotel. He wished me luck and we shared a laugh the next day at the Javits Center. I'll always recall that time, and would throw myself into traffic to save him if the time came. I was in the wrong hotel, mine was back on the other side of the interstate. I really hate Long Island.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Welcome To Hell

I used to have a photo from the This Is New York exhibit, with a fairly intact car covered in WTC soot and somebody had written WELCOME TO HELL on the back window. I am posting a photo of a squad car as I do whenever I end up writing about 9/11, because my dad was a cop and I think the media tends to recall the deaths of the 343 firemen, not the 108 cops. As with every event that gives me nightmares, I expunged it by writing about it.


By Wayne Allen Sallee

Nine weeks now, the man has felt anger and anxiety and fear for all the right as well as all the wrong reasons. The past was a constant, everything that occurred with horrifying quickness on that achingly blue late summer morning framed in video and glossy magazine print, yet for the man, who turned 42 just two days before the terrorist hijackings, the present comes in fragments. One day he is right with his reasonings, that same evening it is as if his very existence is a terrible mistake.
The man had left downtown Chicago in a rush that Tuesday, heading south and west to suburban Belmonde. The train line ended at Midway Airport and he saw hundreds of unfamiliar faces. The FAA had landed all aircraft; these unknown bodies were finding Chicago a way station, shambling about towards taxis and hotels. The man still did not know the severity of the terrorist events. He did not know of the fourth hijacked flight, where the passengers fought their captors and all died in a Pennsylvania field.
He just wanted to get home and see his nine year old niece and godchild, who would be home from school on lunch. He walked briskly past workmen on 87th Street digging a new sewer and wondered if they had heard any news at all that morning. He cut across the parking lot of the Baptist church and was in the door, flipping on the television before even extracting the keys from the door.
When the man saw the film of the planes crashing, the towers falling, all he could think of was that this was the world we were leaving to the next generation. And then, walking into the small, suburban kitchen, a wind chime over the sink and refrigerator magnets of dogs in police and firefighter uniforms, and seeing his godchild eating grilled cheese sandwiches and reading a Dear America chapter book, his heart dropped. Not long before, he had realized that he had attained middle age, and saw himself as being less and less a protective source towards the young and the innocent, his godchild’s peer group. What good would it be to follow her back to class, dodging behind trees to remain unnoticed, if some religious lunatic decided the whole place should be bombed to dust?
And he had, for the first time this century, his first dark feelings towards ending his life. That is, he wanted to write a story in which the main character ends his life, not through suicide, but through heroism or some other form of self-sacrifice. He had gotten away from killing his narrator’s off over the years, as his godchild and now his sister’s twins, now going on three, were aware that their uncle wrote books and stories. In the twins case, they knew their uncle had his picture on some books.
He had stopped writing stories for shock value, attempting to create reaction regardless of it was good or bad. In his collection of stories, he dedicated the book to his godchild, saying that when he was gone, she could read the stories and see how he tried to make sense of his days.
In the weeks that followed, the aftermath burrowed into his brain. At first, the man was angry, feeling in that detached it-didn’t-happen-to-me way the betrayal and violation a rape or mugging victim might share. What could he have done?
The terror of the hijacked passengers. A glass and steel and concrete tomb, collapsing, girders and jumping bodies from 108 stories up looking like confetti. Mass murderers who use another language to speak to another God before gunning the motors towards the Promised Land.
The man had faith because he had been born crippled. Faith told him God made him this way for a reason, to learn, to teach, to write. That played a good part in why so many of his main characters weren’t around for subsequent stories; why they died, or succumbed to madness. This attempt at playing with his future kept him sane when he needed to be lucid the most. One of his fantasies was of making a planned disappearance; of course, this was before his sister had a family. People end up missing in the big, bad city every day. He thought of getting on a Greyhound and doing a Richard Kimble to Portland. Or maybe Denver. Take his new name from the TV Guide movie listings. William Hurt played seedy lawyer Ned Racine in Body Heat. Mitchum portrayed Jonny Algiers in the sequel to Thunder Road. Instead of accelerating his future by dying in his stories, a new name and job in a city of strangers would be like changing the present, of having it run parallel to the “old” present. But now (if he ever really could) the man couldn’t even do a
painless thing like vanishing, knowing that in time even family would forget, if only in a small, diminished way.
And it was all because of the nine year old washing her lunch plate in the sink, telling him how the second grade teachers had everyone looking up words in dictionaries, while in the other room, on a big screen television, two towers collapsed like white sand. The man had to stay sane for her.
And staying sane meant writing stories. Telling tales of other peoples’ psyches. And so he wrote. The man’s godchild spent several weekends at the house, eager to use the man’s computer and access various websites involving pop singing stars and cartoons on cable. But the news would always come on, or a news break; most times, there was news right there when America Online popped up on the screen. The girl knew Bush and bin Laden, and knew of some other things in generalized form. She said that the Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld looked like her friend down the block’s grandfather. She knew about Afghanistan, and in talking with other nine year olds on the playground, decided that the reason everyone talked about New York City and not the Pentagon was because the two tall buildings had fallen, whereas the Pentagon was just broken up a little.
The man listened to her tell him this, he loved their one on one talks, and he thought back to 1968. What the hell could the topic of conversation have been in the brick gangway of Charles Gates Dawes grade school? Certainly not Vietnam or the Apollo space program. How does a nine year old process what goes on in the world of today? The world we are leaving them? Yes, he could experience the end of his days through his fictional characters. And he could think of ways to alter or adapt to the present, by starting fresh, even though he never would, short of being in a Witness Relocation program.
But there was no changing the past. The seasons had changed, leaves of red and orange fallen, window decorations of ghouls and spider webbed hedges madly juxtaposed with flying flags hanging from poles near driveways and smaller flags on suction cups in windows next to the goblins and toothy witches. September 11th had happened. It wasn’t a story. And it might never be simply a thing of the past. Let go and let God. Maybe he would, come the snows of December or January. For now it was more difficult.
The man was putting up a front for the people around him; his family, co-workers, his godchild. Mostly his godchild, because of how he felt on that beautiful sky blue day when he realized he could no longer expect to protect her with absolute certainty. He had written horror stories for fifteen years, but the hijackers made him feel little and inconsequential. For that is what terrorists do so well. Mohammed Atta did what Hannibal Lecter never could. And the man understood why.
He was no longer sleeping well. He would type his stories to the point of exhaustion, masking the spasms with pain-relieving gel, laying down long past midnight, only to waken at three-fifteen to the sound and image of a passenger jet crashing into the Sears Tower in a sky the brightest blue. He would lay there unblinking in the darkness, his nostrils burning from the pain gel pressed into his shoulders and neck muscles only now, the smell was that of jet fuel.
Awake then until the false dawn that Chicago’s Octobers bring, he sees himself jumping from a hundred stories up because the very air around him is on fire, of the crunch of body parts beneath his feet, the crunch of the last hijacker’s nose as he, the greatest hero ever, crushes the terrorist into pulp and then that final hijacked plane goes into a nose dive and crushes everything into pulp.
He imagined screams and then the dreams were of explosions in Union Station or of several swarthy men leaping forward on an elevated train, praising their God, before blowing everybody up. The man used to remember when serial killers were the worst thing to conceive. His godchild knew all about Stranger Danger, but a Christopher Wilder or a Andrew Cunanen or the BTK Strangler operated almost by chaos theory.
But how do you live with terrorists who will just as easily die with you? Certainly, the man knew enough people of European extract who would say this terrorism is nothing new if you have ever been anywhere else in the world. His doctor emigrated from Croatia in 1984 and often spoke of mass graves. Even rotund Henry, who sold lottery tickets in the lobby of a downtown building, said that a plane crash and mass death meant next to nothing in Pakistani life. Just another day in paradise.
He explained this in simple terms to his godchild, how in other lands, you could not own a television or radio, women could not laugh in public and had to hide their faces.
The man finished up a story he would be reading that next week at a bookstore near the University of Chicago. He lay back in his chair and dreamt one last time. In his dream, he is on the rooftop of a building several blocks from the Sears Tower. It is overcast, rainy.
He turns to stare at me, a distance away.
“Remember the plane hitting the second tower?”, he asked. It came up in a graceful arc on the television while everybody was watching smoke coming from the north tower. A commercial plane, the newscasters were saying. “ Then, boom, the fireball.” I jerked away.
I looked over LaSalle Street, the elevated tracks like Lego blocks far, far below. But the air around me was not on fire, nor would it ever be. A gull arced past, not a bit of sky in its path, flying gracefully past building after building. Like the second hijacked jetliner.
The man wanted me to look at him, as if I was seeing into a mirror. He took a gun from his jacket pocket, waved it in an arc. Though the sky was grey, the weapon glinted and it could have been a less-benign bird. Aside from gulls and pigeons, Chicago even has peregrine falcons that roost like gargoyles on upper ledges.
“Look how it curves upward, purposefully, with a mission.” He stares at me, unblinking. He has an almost beatific smile. “Tell her I can’t take the dreams or the reality anymore, will you?” I don’t move.
Then he arced the gun away from him, off to the right, like a gunslinger in a bad film. He pulled the trigger then, after pointing the gun at me, and the last thing I could think was what was faster, the jet hitting the South Tower, or the bullet coring into my left eye socket?
I awaken on the couch with a start. It is an early Sunday afternoon and my godchild is typing away at my computer’s keyboard. I shut my eyes. A passenger jet hits the Bank One building and the keyboard clacking becomes severed bodies slapping into the plaza’s water fountain. I shake the image away and then I see a pair of hands in plastic handcuffs, a woman’s wedding ring on one bloody finger. The hands are twisted in a weird type of desperate prayer, and the tendons and muscle are severed past the wrists.
I do not know when I will stop living like this. The man who shot me in his dream nods his head in solemn agreement.
The gray behind my eyelids is a field of containment.

Wayne Allen Sallee
Burbank, Illinois: 25 September 2001

And my niece, Ashley, the girl in the story. She drew this for me a few days later.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Frozen Donkey Wheels & Nighthawks on Earth-14

Before I start, might I say that I would have understood the words of "The Weight" better if I knew that they were talking about Nazareth, PENNSYLVANIA. Ah, well. Thank you Sid and thank the wikipedia entry person.

Yep, the frozen donkey wheel (not to be confused with my left rotary cuff) has moved another notch. Rod Serling's stopped at 51, David Janssen's at 47. I'm an in-betweener. I did indeed purchase the Stuntman Mike action figure, but I can't put on the separate head (the Non-Smoking Stuntman Mike) and its too small to put on my finger to make a Kurt Russell finger puppet. I tried pulling the head off and found that the figure separates at the waist. I gave up. But I also bought Charlie Pace from LOST, I really wanted John Locke, but face it, I really look more like a hooded maniac writing on his fingers. Yet it all has become wayyyy overshadowed by the top pic. Capcom on my comments list and who I have never met but has a name that is meant to belong to a space shuttle commander in the next apocalyptic movie, she went and spent the day doing all that technology stuff to make an Earth-14 version of Edward Hopper's painting. I cried, because I was having a pretty crappy day for, like, at least 27 reasons, some happening simultaneously. I think the last time I cried involved the bottle of Mountain Dew incident, just trying to get a laugh and make people forget I was acting like a little girly-girl in between inwardly screaming at a Comcast operator and dealing with my body going all Mister Fantastic Being Probed By Skrulls on me. Complete strangers (well in real life) offer up cool stuff that they take time to make cool in the first place. I'm proud to share this timeline with so many of you and hope for redemption for each of you before I am gone...your chattel, Wayne

Monday, September 8, 2008

Breath As Hard As Kerosene

I skipped over blog entry titles from "The Weight" because, frankly, I really don't even understand what the damn song is about, and now I have Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard singing about Pancho & Lefty (nicknames for my testicles, a little known fact). It rained most of the day and my old roommate from the 80s, Gary Krejca, picked me up and we zoomed over to the open mike for Twilight Tales. As I was waiting for him, I took care of a few things. Cleared out my spam folder. Subj: Security Threat From The World. Hmnnn, curious, an email from Solaris perhaps? Pass. Subj: "Goodbye To Yellow Teeth!? Sounds like a movie starring Jack Palance. Pass. Then it was on the road, and I might have gotten a few good pics of choppy Lake Michigan for a future entry on the song "Lake Shore Drive." Open mikes are always fun because there's a huge mix of short pieces, works in progress are my favorites. One of the younger women hugged me for my birthday and then promptly read a story about a woman who evidently has sex about a dozen times a night but keeps putting her Supergirl underoos back on because she likes getting them pulled off again. I drank an entire carafe of water and I don't even know how to pronounce carafe most of the time. When it was my turn to read, I had to explain about an incident--never mind why--involving my working at the comic shop in the mid 90s, changing from slacks to jeans in the back room, my leg getting caught and me falling back hard enough to have the neck of a Mountain Dew bottle at least kind of, partly, I dunno, maybe the bottle was just curious, ram itself into my @$$. I still tell people if I go to prison one day, just bring it on, Aryan Nation, Nubian Nation or Kree-Skrull Warriors, I don't care. It got a good laugh as I intended because I still have a hard time reading, there is no mike stand and I also blame myself for not printing out pages that I could flip over with some semblance of ease. I'm actually thinking of duct-taping the mike upside down on my face next time around. I read a story, "Never Come Lopez," a riff on Algren's NEVER COME MORNING (the book I was reading when I was demolished by the car in 1989, a Pakistani clothing store owner found it later and returned it to the nurses' station at Holy Cross, several miles away. He couldn't read my name, but he asked where the ambulance took me from someone, after closing his store, returned the book.) Another of the Things I'll Always Remember events. The story ran in PALACE CORBIE, a fine book/magazine published by Wayne Edwards throughout the 1990s. I love the photo of the Mystic Celt here as it is very sharp, the way buildings and shadows look in the late fall and early winter. The werewolves will be at my door soon enough.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

He Just Grinned And Shook His Head, No Was All He Said

I guess the blog entries for the next few nights will be lines from The Band's "The Weight." I love that song, it reminds me of being younger, looking like the guy working the keyboard only with butter stains on the white t-shirt. Whenever I recall a girl named Ileana Cantu, I think of the song. But when I play the song, it doesn't work the same way. Ah, well, its the way the brain is wet-wired. And here I sit working on my clandestine project...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pulling Into Nazareth

Finally I have a visual of what my days are like. Thanks to this ad for the second season of the Sarah Connor Chronicles, I can show everybody what my back looks and feels like every second of the day going back to June of 1977. One of my ways of getting minor relief is using this odd little cane with knobs on it to screw around with various pressure points. But this ad shows it all, like an invisible spade trying to pull my shoulder blade out from my spine. That's why I'm on that skewed road by myself: I leave too many little bits of metal and flesh on the ground behind me. I'm in Nazareth because I have a job I can't talk about, I have to write approx. 400 pages of fiction is all I can say. I'm hoping I can do this and then cowboy up to write my novel CITY WITH NO SECOND CHANCES, which is a follow up with my cop character Frank St. Cyr's breakdown in "Shank Of The Night," from SEX CRIMES. Imagine that shredded muscle tissue moving as I type those pages. If I'm lucky, I'm not headed towards an October Gethsemane...

I Chose This Road 22 Years Ago

No one on it but me, and there isn't a crossroads where I can sell my sould to the devil. And I just keep on walking.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

We Work For The Dead

There's a serial killer in Los Angeles that has been named The Grim Sleeper because he stopped killing from 1988 until 2002. There's DNA and ballistics evidence, and the MO was always the same. Homicide cops will answer the phone saying "We work for the dead" or "We work for God." The first sounds better to me, after all, the dead need to be avenged, its not about closure, I word I have come to despise. And while some might argue working for God, I stand by my belief that there is a Higher Power, my belief coming from my being born a cripple. If that Higher Power wasn't benevolent, we'd all be goose-stepping Nazis in His/Her image or three-dimensional kids on Camazotz like in Madeline L'Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME. So, both phrases work, but I like the first. Grounded to the streets. Back in the 70s, it was more mafia hits than serial killings, a neighbor named Lourgis who lived at the corner house at 85th & Springfield (3901 to my 3909) was gunned down in his driveway and I worked for Sam Annerino at Pa's Italian Sandwich Shop on 95th Street, one Monday he went to Mirabelli's Furniture at 103rd & Cicero and three guys shotgunned him on the street during rush hour. Unsolved in the books. A girl was bludgeoned and dumped between McInnerney Funeral Home and the White Castle by Bogan High School when I was a senior. Her boyfriend did it. But back in the summer of 1974, Billy DeSouza went and disappeared. Walked to the carnival set up in Scottsdale Shopping Center at 79th & Cicero, never came home. The cops looked everywhere, I recall my father always talking with other cops about the case. At one point there was reason enough to search a wooded area that is now Orland Park and Homer Glen, many cops were on horseback to cover more ground because by then it was autumn and the leaves were falling. Another Unsolved. Until 1995, when a guy on death row in Connecticut gave up information with the uncanny detail, the photographic memory that I both wish and do not wish that I had. Sure enough, right there in a tree trunk within sight of the Orland Park Shopping Center at 175th, the skeleton of Billy DeSouza, intact. But during the latter part of 1974, my father was one of the Murder Police, and those are the men and women who work for the dead, to give an answer to the corpse's question of why was I killed?.........

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

10-4, Snowman

Jerry Reed died yesterday. I always enjoyed his antics and lyrics, much as I do (did?) those of George Miller and Del Reeves. I suppose most obits mentioned what most people remember, Reed as Cletus the Snowman to Burt Reynold's Bandit. It was through Reed that I found out what a Gimme Cap was, its derived from a guy who goes to a wall display at a truck stop and tells the cashier "gimme cap." As we fixed up the house on 85th Street before getting the hell out of Dodge, this was 1999, we tore off old wallpaper in the kitchen. Inexplicably, I took the time to write on the old wallpaper the entire lyrics to "Amos Moses" in August of 1971. I must've had a lot of time on my hands that summer. When You're Hot, You're Hot, and all that. Well, I fell into the When You're Not, You're Not part of the equation. I think I shall purchase a gimme cap at a Thornton's tomorrow and eventually toss it into Bubbly Creek. Bring a cassette player with Elvis singing "Guitar Man," Jerry picking with his fingers as the cap hits the water...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What Comes After The Clowns?

I used to use a program called Irfanview for storing and sizing photos, but Comcast seems to be battling me with this, more in the way of cropping photos. So I signed up with Photobucket. I haven't really used it yet, more goofing on it with the special effects in my spare time. I have a fresco of me at the bottom, I'm at Elvis's house in 1992, then there's a heat image of Michael Berryman and his twin, me: The Hills Have Eyes Dude. (Those that do not know that story, please ask). Prior to photobucket, all I could really do was screw around with my scanner as seen with the first two photos.