Mike’s Musical Monday – Say Yes

I was listening to Elliot Smith the other day and this was just too beautiful a tune not to ruin. Or pay homage to. It’s a thin line, really.

I’m in love with the world
Through the eyes of a girl
Who’s still around the morning after

We broke up a month ago
I grew up I didn’t know
I’d be around the morning after

It’s always been wait and see
A happy day and then you’ll pay
And feel like shit the morning after

But now I feel changed around
And instead of falling down
I’m standing up the morning after

Situations get fucked up
But turned around sooner or later

I could be another fool 
Or an exception to the rule
You tell me the morning after

Crooked spin can’t come to rest
I’m damaged bad at best
She’ll decide what she wants

I’ll probably be the last to know
No one says it ’til it shows
See how it is

They want you or they don’t
Say yes

I’m in love with the world 

Through the eyes of a girl
Who’s still around the morning after

Flash Fiction Friday – The 5:22 to Greystone

The lyricism of the conductor’s voice as he says, “this is the 5:22 to Greystone, making all local stops,” was an incredible comfort to Keith after a long day’s work. He liked the sound of it, local stops, and could picture both the stops and the locals. The local train had the soothing advantage of being forced to travel at a moderate speed. It let Keith’s breath catch up with him.

At the end of the line was a woman. Not just any woman. His woman. Kat. Should someone stop Keith one day as he headed down Madison Avenue and hand over a billion dollars, tax free, he’d be a very happy man indeed. But if the transaction cost him Kat he’d be destitute. His tongue would never again taste anything but the ashes of poverty, knowing for all time that it should be sliding along her perfect olive shoulders as she stirred the curry pot. “Can I have a taste, honey?” he’d ask forever after. “Just a taste.”
Nobody can own her, of course. We’ve mostly settled on that much as a species: owning people is bad. But Keith would remain grateful through eternity if he could just borrow her for this lifetime. Whatever his flaws, greed was not among them. Just one lifetime.
Falling in love with Kat was probably a little too easy for Keith. It would have taken tremendous restraint, a quality he sorely lacked, to keep from falling in love. Once he’d fallen it was impossible to conceive how he would ever fall out.Why, he sometimes wondered, did he fall in love with her? And how, and why, did she fall in love with him? Even after all these years, he couldn’t figure it out. If he’s lucky he never will.

A List Of 25 Things You Should Never Do

A List Of 25 Things You Should Never Do:
(feel free to print a mirror image and staple to your forehead for ready reference)

First, the obvious things you should never do:

1.     Staple anything to your forehead
2.     Kill someone
3.     Take something that doesn’t belong to you
4.     Betray the trust of a loved one (or a stranger for that matter)
5.     Use it’s for anything other than as a contraction for it is or it has

Next, some less obvious ones:

6.     Eat too much, drink too much, sleep too much (or do too little of any)
7.     Despise (or admire) someone for something they were born with
8.     Call someone Hey, Guy (unless that’s their name), or Fucko (unless you catch them doing something on this list)
9.     Have sex with a child, a sibling, or another species (sorry, Fucko)
10.   Eat meat (this one applies only to vegetarians, pescetarians, and vegans).
10.   Repeat numbers on a list

Next, the clichés:

11.   Put the cart before the horse
12.   Throw out the baby with the bathwater
13.   Throw out the baby without the bathwater
14.   Throw out a baby

For lovers:

15.   Confuse lust for love (or vice versa)
16.   Deny or withhold love
17.   Turn your back on love
18.   Use love as a weapon
19.   Fall out of love

And finally:

20.   Intentionally tie up traffic on the busiest bridge in the country as political retribution
21.   Roller skate in a buffalo herd
22.   Work your entire life at a job that grinds your soul into a fine powder
23.   Take something that happens in Vegas out of Vegas
23.   Go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line
23.   Double repeat numbers on a list
24.   End a sentence with a preposition
25.   Make a list telling people what they should or shouldn’t do (sorry, Moses)

That’s all I can think of right now. Feel free to add your own.

Mike’s Musical Monday – (I Wanna) Stick It Out With You

Before Late Model Humans there was Racy Dates. And before Racy Dates there was S&M.

S&M was me and Rick Myers. Back then he was called Sal Iva so Sal and Mike made S&M. For reasons that escaped our understanding, Mike was S and Sal was M.

In the mid-eighties Racy Dates went into the recording studio for the first time. Joining Sal (drums and lead vocals) and Mike (lead guitar) were Matt Kennon (guitar), Nik Winters (bass) and Nancy Maher (backing vocals and percussion). This was Sal’s songwriting contribution to the session: (I Wanna) Stick It Out With You.

When I look into your soft brown eyes
Baby, baby I get hypnotized
I get a shiver and I start to shake
And when you kiss me my body starts to ache
            I wanna stick it out with
            I wanna stick it out with
            I wanna stick it out with
            You you you you
When you hold me oh so tight
I get a shiver and I start to fight
‘Cause I know when I’m holding you
I don’t know what I’m gonna do
I’m addicted baby can’t you see?
I need you and you need me
We are one, yeah we’re a team
When you kiss me I start to scream
I wanna sit and just watch you
Like a TV I’m viewing you
I wanna grab you and never let you go
I wanna take you and whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa

*The photos in the video include other collaborators from the same era, Sharon Emmitt-Klinger and Todd Elder, who aren’t on the recording.

Flash Fiction Friday – The Girl at the Machine

He could see her from the train. She was on the platform, standing at the ticket machine. A glove was hanging from her lips. Her teeth were holding firm to the glove’s index finger. She needed her naked hand for the job, what with the touch-screen and all. The tip of her nose, and a small radiant patch around it, glowed red from the cold. Beautiful? Indubitably. Impossibly.

Her soft grey coat was cut to her figure and it hung almost all the way down to her shiny black boots. A Victoria’s Secret bag hung from her wrist. As she entered the train it was her eyes, more than all the rest, that caught his attention. They were still alive.

He started to think about her in a way he’d told himself (many times!) he wasn’t supposed to be thinking. He wondered if she might also have thoughts sometimes that she wasn’t supposed to be thinking.
Maybe she was kept up in the middle of the night by dreams. Dark, heavy dreams that crouched on her cranium and rapped on her skull. “Don’t sleep,” they probably say, “don’t run away. I have something to show you.” And do they ever. They have to show her what becomes of little girls who follow their dreams. He could see it in her eyes when they locked with his.

She’d always been like this. She came into the world with her eyes wide open. They had to wash the blood out of them before she could see. That’s what people always said about her. “She’s got her eyes open.”

He watched her little foot, in her little boot, fidgeting on the subway floor and thought about how lonely his life had become. So what, he concluded, lots of people are lonely. When he looked back up at her eyes he thought, Maybe she’s lonely too.
He was hot. He was born hot. He was always hot. Hot under the collar, in his shoes and his shorts. His strain of DNA in the species Homo sapiens had never quite adapted from its African roots to the whole “clothes” thing. He’d prefer to have the fur back. He’d made the mistake of putting on a couple of extra layers this morning. People in the news were always panicking about cold weather and the paranoia had seeped into both his outerwear and underwear. Now he was standing in an overheated subway car with a hundred other overdressed,
overstuffed, overdone New Yorkers. He was hot. And she was obviously cold. He raised his puffy red hand to his own face before deciding hers would be a better fit for it. Hers had a slight trickle of a tear on it. Another gift from the cold.
She was like ice. Every cell in his body contracted on contact with hers.
She did something that astonished him: she did nothing. Even worse than nothing, she stared at him with unwavering intensity, like she could read his most intimate thoughts through his big hot hand. He took his hand away. He was cool now.
“Thank you,” he said.
She stared at him and said nothing.
“I was a little overheated,” he said. “I’m sorry. I know I’m not allowed to touch you.”

“Little late for that,” she said.

“Yes,” he answered and considered his situation for a moment before asking, “Is there anything I can offer you in reparation?”
“There’s nothing you want?”
She looked at him for a long time without saying anything. There were a lot of things she wanted, none of which she could see coming from him. “You should probably just quit while you’re ahead.”
He was a little too excited for his own good. “I don’t’ want to quit. I think I’m getting close to a breakthrough here.”
“The word you’re looking for is breakdown.”

“It’s a painstaking process.”

“You’re telling me.”

He nodded. “It’s fine line for me, really. I suspect it is with you, too.”
“I’m sure you do. You probably suspect all kinds of things. You’re a pretty suspicious character aren’t you?”
“Not,” he said and stopped. “No, not really.”
Her expression was an eloquent answer: You could’ve fooled me.
He gathered the forces of his counterattack and lined them up for assault just as the train pulled into the 23rd Street station.
“This is my stop,” she said before he could launch.
“Oh, mine, too,” he said. It was obvious to her that this was not his stop.
“Stay on the train,” she said.
So he did.