Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mayo

Now, you may be saying, "Domino, what is the deal with the Frosty The Snowman cartoon picture? It's Cinco de Mayo, we got beers and margaritas waiting as well as the big burrito platter that the boss promised us.  It's hot outside, I got bupkes in the bank. What gives?!"

Well, my little Puddler, the reason for the picture is because, like the Magician says in that Frosty movie, I have been, "Busy, Busy Busy."  I've been trying to scrape by on freelance writing work and it has been taking up a lot of my time.  However, I have some legit column ideas brewing for you.  I hope you enjoyed the Seattle SuperCivics post, where I espoused some of my half-assed aesthetic theories, as well as Andrew Hage's epidsode of Puddles of My Podcast. There should be another podcast going up tomorrow evening but there have been some complications in the scheduling of the next few guests so there may very well be only one podcast this week. Stay tuned on that.

Speaking of podcasts,  the download race between Nick Mencia's episode and Erik Lilleby's episode continues.  Lilleby currently leads Mencia by the slight margin of 24 downloads to 23 downloads. Although David Stern leads in votes on the podcast poll. Remember to log your vote.

Back to my freelance work.  You can view some of it by clicking the Puddles of My Sports section and any link that says (at at the end of it is an article that I contributed via freelance.  My music columns for TrashCan Magazine should be posted through this blog in the next month or so.  Please stay tuned for that.

For this evening, I am going to leave you with the next installment of From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt.  Now, where we just finished Section 2 of Part II of the novel, which followed the limo driver, Peter Kosciuzko as he drove the O'Donnell family to the cemetary for Rose O'Donnell's funeral.  Section 3 of Part II picks up at the cemetary from the perspective of two grave diggers, Ed Verlaine and Jack Simmons, as the observe the funeral ceremony from a distance and ruminate on the events in their own lives as well as bullshit with each other.  This may have been my favorite part of the novel to write, so I hope that you all enjoy reading it as well. Remember, this is a literary blog above all!

So, without further ado about nothing, here is the next installment of From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt:

The crowd gathered around the open grave site.  The sun was positioned high in the sky and the heat beat down over the manicured grass. There were red and purple flowers. Ed Verlaine held his shovel like a walking stick as he stood under one of the nearby sycamores.  He moved it across his body, holding it, momentarily, like a microphone in front of himself. Then, he pushed it over to his left and held it once more like a walking stick.  He wiped his brow. Ed looked at Jack who was leaning against the trunk of the sycamore, watching the crowd intently with his new short hair.

“I should have gotten a haircut like that,” Ed Verlaine said.

Jack Simmons stared ahead.  He watched the priest standing before the open grave.  It was a sight he had become accustomed to.  Jack wiped his brow with the cuff of his white long sleeve shirt.  He smelled the dirt as he did so – the summer never ended.

“Yeah, it keeps it cool.” Jack said.

Ed Verlaine studied Jack’s correct posture as Jack leant on the sycamore trunk; it seemed like the right thing to do.  Ed ran his left hand through the back of his moist, thick black hair.

“What’s the next hole, Jack?”

Ed followed Jack’s eyes on the gravesite.  He saw a girl with a head of big red hair standing near the casket as the priest spoke.  He wondered if her carpet matched the shades.  But the sun was hot and the thought faded quickly from his mind to that of the ocean.


“What?” Ed Verlaine said.

“Olivero. That’s the next hole.”


Ed looked back at Jack Simmons.  He liked working with Jack.  There was something – what was the good word he had heard recently? – nonchalant, about him. What was he thinking about staring out at the crowd like that?  Sure there was a lot to think about in a graveyard dealing with these dead bodies, but Jack could be very quiet.  Ed wondered if Jack was thinking about that girl with the red hair.  They’d seen some good looking girls at these funerals, but Jack never said anything.  Ed guessed that he had a fiancee or a girlfriend or a wife or something.

The sun was bright. It really felt like the Fourth of July – the colors, the green of the grass, the reds of the flowers, the little yellow dandelions poking up, were bright.  Ed Verlaine loved the Fourth of July.  The summer was never higher than on that day – and he always remembered the bright and hot Fourths.  When he was a child, the days were real with the sweat of basketball games on the black top of the cul-de-sac by his house.  The nights sticky but in some way refreshing with the dark and then the fireworks and the fried chicken he would eat with his family.  Ed Verlaine smiled.  He thought about the Fourth of July as he watched the priest raise his hands and the crowd swooned in the heat.  As he grew older, it was the feeling of watching the world move that disturbed Ed.  How people you knew were always coming and going in the heat.  Moving from one bar-be-que to another; in town for a few days and then moving on.  No one could sit down with him and drink a cold Busch underneath the orange light of a back porch with a moth flipping around the black cap, while beer condensation dripped onto the sedimentary concrete.  Ed saw the white stones and the brown concrete.

Across the grounds, the priest closed his book and moved to the side of the casket.  Jack Simmons knew that this was the time to move in to the hole. The family members would have their chance to speak now.  Then, the time came for the dirt.  Jack felt the gristle of dirt on the edge of his fingertips – he saw the black-green under his nails.  He appreciated it.  Slowly the motion from brown to green, he thought, slowly the step of the grass underfoot.

“What do you think, Jack? Time to move in, huh?” Ed Verlaine asked.

Jack Simmons rolled his jaw and nodded. “I’d say so.”  He watched the priest in black against the green and blue of the rest of the world.  He looked at the girl with the crimson hair.  “It’s damn hot today isn’t it?” He thought of a steak for dinner and the watery blood on the plate.

Ed wiped his forehead.  “It is.  That’s why I say, I wish I had a fucking haircut like yours.”

They moved from the shade of the sycamore into the sun.  Ed Verlaine cradled his shovel like a lacrosse stick. He’d been a defender.  He didn’t have the skill that was necessary to get you to a school like Princeton or Syracure or Duke, but he had the brute strength.  That quality had gotten him a college education and that had been enough.

Ed continued to walk down the hill next to Jack.  He looked at the dirt stains on his hands and on the cuffs and sleeves of his shirt.  It was true that this job was not his chosen profession,  but it would work for the time being.  He knew that his education had not been wasted, although his memories of beer cans and of looking out the window at girls caused him to think differently at times.  There was something wrong now with the world in front of im.  It seemed to  be too far open.  This job was not perfect – all of the manual labor, the burying of bodies – but it let him hold onto something, some part of a life that he knew as familiar, but which seemed to be getting further and further away from him – the tailing smoke of the fireworks.  The smell of his body odor rose up.  There was sleep to be had and there was beer to be had too.

Ed Verlaine looked at Jack Simmons’ brown stern face as they walked toward the crowd.


Jack Simmons raised his right eyebrow and looked at Ed with his left eye.


“You have a girlfriend?”

Jack Simmons continued walking, his eyebrow levelled out.

“You never talk about yourself or anything.” Ed said.

Jack Simmons remained silent as they walked.  Ed dug his hands into the wide pockets of his pants.  He felt dry fabric and he found his pack of cigarettes.

“Do you want a smoke at least?”

Jack eyed the box of Marlboro Lights.  He turned forward toward the crowd.  There was a woman standing in front of the casket.  She had brown hair and held her hands out evenly in front of her, moving them slightly from side to side.  Jack could see that she was speaking.

“Yeah, thank you.”

Ed Verlaine shook two cigarettes out. Jack grabbed one of the white sticks.  He pulled out matches from his pants pocket. He lit the match against his pants.  He held out the match for Ed.  Ed leant in and lit his cigarette as well.  He squinted and inhaled.

“Thanks,” he puffed.

1 comment:

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