Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale. … “A tail?”
No. A tale. A story, damn it. Pay attention.
Just listen. I am not writing this lullaby for you to
judge my performance when I’m done. I’m trying
to help you sleep, you precocious little shitbird.
“OK, Daddy.” … Stop. Do not call me that. You were adopted
by the woman I married, and I’ve just learned
she was an orphan too. And her father is my…
Oh, man. Anyway, I wrote you this. Like to hear? Here it go:
Once upon a time she looked so fine, as she
wandered the busy streets of New York … or L.A..
“She’s a witch,” some claimed. “She’s a bitch!” howled others. … “No. She’s just shy.”
Damn it, who’s telling this story? You or me?
“Sorry Da-da.” Quiet, you. Now listen. All right?
So there she was, trudging across the pavement in some nameless,
faceless town you’ve probably seen on T.V..
“Google me,” screamed one passerby. “I love you!” shrieked
another. “Have my babies and help me eat them!” yelled an old
fiend sitting on a park bench, eyeing the jazz
flute being played by the four piece, half-time hipsters
across the street in a centrally-located park. On a
gazebo. … “Why a gazebo?” … Because they
saw My Morning Jacket’s Jim James do it in “I’m
Not There,” the film about the life and death of Miss Cate Blanchett.
Wait. Wait. Did I miss the point of that one? No?
Didn’t think so. Remember Nelly Furtado?
No? Why would you? Don’t bother. If you buy her first L.P., you’ll
only be disappointed going forward,
unless you just want to dance and screw , in which case …
uh … “No soup for you!” … Honey? I mean, Meg? … “Yes, Jack? What is it?”
Could you maybe turn down that Seinfeld rerun?
“What’s a rerun?” … It’s the rest of this story, kid.
Pay attention. This woman walking? Her name is Mary Ann.
She’s a tough lady. A warrior, heading
towards an abandoned theme park. … “Coney Island!”
Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe fuck yourself. … “Jack?” … Damn it. Yes, hun?
“Language!” … You‘re so right, snookums. Mea culpa.
“Eat shit.” … Yeah. Right back at ya. Where was I, kid? … “Uh…”
Right. The shy woman who didn’t know what to say, do or think.
“I can’t talk to anyone!” she shouts, snatching her
leopard-print hat off and throwing it on the ground.
“I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. No one understands. No one gets me.”
“So?” asks a man taking a leak behind a
dumpster in an alley. The woman looks his way,
scoffs, and gives him two middle fingers. “Thanks a lot, jerk!” she yells.
The man laughs, zips up his fly, steps out of the
shadow and into the street, shielding his eyes from
the blinding light of the yellow sun. “Have you ever heard the
old saying, ‘Only mad dogs and Englishmen
go out in the midday sun?’” The woman rolls her
eyes and gives him an odd look. “What the hell does that mean?” she mumbles.
“Nevermind,” he tells her. “Nirvana is not
just a good band that changed pop music. It is a
state of mind. You can be in it at any time, if you like.”
“No,” says the woman, wiping the mascara
streaming down her slender cheeks. Too slender, in fact.
She needs to eat more. She almost passes out now, but the man
walks over and steadies her, putting his hand
on her shoulder, the way an old friend might have,
that is, if she had any friends. Sadly, she didn’t. Not one.
“Is this story about me?” … Damn it, Meg! What
have I told you about these tales I spin? They are
not about you. They’ve never been about you. They will never
be about you. You are dead. Go watch Seinfeld.
“I don’t like you.” … I like you less. … “Beast.” … Harlot! … “Ass!”
Whatever. … “Mommy and Daddy are fighting again. Boo hoo.”
Pipe down or I’ll brain you with a candleshoe.
I’m trying to tell a story! Can I finish?
“I don’t know … give it a shot.” … Thank you, Meg, there in the hallway.
“You’re welcome, Jack. At least you’re not abusing
the high E on your little red plastic guitar.”
I’m telling you, people will eat that stuff up. Now shut up
and let me finish this thing so this little
shithead you adopted on a whim goes to sleep.
“To dream?” … Hopefully, about the days when folks sang songs by Lit
and played music just to play music. Back to
the city, and the young woman talking to the
seedy-looking man from the darkness of the alley. “You are,
he begins, “…a phenomenal singer. I’ve
listened to most of your music and it’s good. No.
Check that, it’s great. It was good until I saw you get mixed up
playing some little dive bar in Seattle.
You made a mistake and got a little doe-eyed.
Then you lost the beat entirely … so you paused.” … “And then what?”
the woman asked, pulling a strand of blonde hair
away from her face, showing off her hardened eyes –
two stars burning like smokeless fire beneath smeared eyeliner.
“And then you got back on time and rocked the joint.”
The man nodded and continued. “You got the crowd
back on your side. You yelled to them. They yelled back. Want to know why?”
She started to speak, but the man waved his hand.
No words came out of her reckless mouth. “All because,”
he said. “We humans love a challenge. It’s in our D.N.A..”
The woman smirked and pulled out her cell phone,
got on Twitter and sent a quick tweet to her fans.
… The end. Go to sleep. I’ll tell you another one tomorrow.
“Your stories are terrible, Poppa.” … I know,
kid. I know. If they were just a little better
maybe I could sell one instead of wasting them on you two.