Thursday, October 28, 2010

You suffered through it...And now you want to write a story about it?!



I've always had trouble with balloons as symbols.

When in love, the balloon is a beautiful symbol of the moon being a balloon, of things going swimmingly, of you being David Niven in evening wear and she in a silk taffeta gown, the two of you in a brisk foxtrot.

Kinda gay, what?

Don't worry, it gets dark.

At least darker.

Little did you know that you were dancing with a witch. You had no way to prepare for this. All your science, all your degrees. She got you by your your female side that you could never see, could never see in a lifetime if you hadn't met this woman who had just written and published a Texas novel, "She's Gone", all about torturing and murdering her rival, her sister. Can a writer's worst enemy be another writer? But no. She seemed a friend.
In between drinks she is is telling you that you had been a clown all your life, a professional clown of course, but a clown all the same.
And even at this, you have already lost your touch.

So she slips you a book, The Clown, by Heinrich Boll, and you see, finally, that you are a clown who is fast losing his skill and it is only the booze, the alcohol and the drugs that are greasing your optimism. That and the blonde Texas girl with the Betty Grable bangs.

She has shown you a part of yourself, the clown part, old guy who'd lost his turns, has been losing them for years in fact, and only the alcohol and cigarettes were in there keeping up what was left of your wind.

You listen to her. After all, she'd just been published by Alfred A. Knopf. Borzoi Books don't come a dime a dozen.
The lady has class.

At least she had some till we reach my aparment,
at the front of which is a fountain with faun in it.

She leaps into the fountain, hikes up her bouffant gown, drops her pants and has herself a pee.

Ah, Fata Morgana. Morgan Le Fey. Witchie-Poo. Strange Cindarella.

In the apartment, she is not yet danced-out. All she wants to do is dance.
Dancing on the dining room table, almost hitting the overhead light, dancing on the end tables. Dancing on floorspace that I hadn't littered with my manuscript pages.
We get to the moment of truth and out of her purse she produces a vibrator, and I'm wondering what the hell I am there for. To be a courier for Radio Shack batteries?

The turn excites me.

She might need a soother through all that action.

Saucy fellow.

Somehow, we got each other off. I was damned if I was going to put on her gown, her idea, but largely for a laugh.
"You like my gown so much? Why don't you wear it?"

Ah, the Night Full of Rain Syndrome. Liberated woman with antique Alpha male.

There is a strange song running through my mind, something from the time I had been in the service:

Her father was a brewer
But she was a ...ing hooer.

No wonder she wrote "Gone". Look what she was doing to me.

In the morning, she herself was gone.
I groped around for her...just the empty side. She had left a drawing on the Parson's table. A big red balloon.
And me on the shoosh end, hanging on for dear life.

Balloons.

I went on with my lonely little life.

The professor with the Blue Angel now so sadly vanished.

Jalbert in the clown outfit. Le Balon Rouge, chasing my balloon. Chasing her.

Crowing like a cock in between my juggling act. Cuck-a-ruck-a-koo.

Disoriented, half-mad,it was only a matter of time until I was fired at my college job.

I applied for a number of jobs, some with a circus. I even offered to be shot out of a cannon.

"We might be able to use a man of you calibre," the manager laughs. I could tell it was his favourite joke.

How does it come upon a man, so steeped in his philosophy, his physics, his science--that he has no idea at all of
the Bob Dylan line: "Don't put on any more airs when you're down in Rue Morgue Avenue
They got som hungry women there
and the'll really make a mess out of you."

Well, one Isis leads to another, and this one a bit kinder.

"She was going to kill you. But you somehow broke the spell, you little warlock you. And you escaped.
"Now I'll lie down with you, but I won't f*ck you." Migod. Another one.

Ah, easy conquests says old Herodotus.

Stay with the easy conquests.

Otherwise you'll be all on fire for the one you can't get, your whole being honed to get her, to get the unattainable.

I found an easier conquest, or, I suppose, let myself be conquered.

The obsession with The One was almost gone.

But the following morning, I peered out the window and say the most beautiful balloon, red-and-white striped, like peppermint or an oldfashioned barber's pole.

Fell into the goddamn rosebushes.

I used to know some wild guys who had been studying for the priesthood, something I was halfway now seriously considering. "Crown or no crown. Get the f*ck out of my rosebush!"


It is twenty years later. I had long ago given up my gig as a circus clown.

I had sensed for years that my Morgan Fey was probably on drugs in the first place, andl likely close to her supply-- in the clutches of the Mafia, like Richard Brautigan, who, some say, offed himself. Or was offed.

My hormones were acting up again.

Had to find Morgan Fey. I was in limbo, and needed to make a move--in any direction.

I had kept following her. Tracked her down. She was living with a Don. Beware of Italians bearing gifts.

I caught her with the don and took a swing at him. Strangely, Don Corleone dropped like a stone.

The next night the phone call. "You'got a problem, Ivan. If you don'lt fix the problem, I will." Musta been high on something. A few minutes later, the ring of the phone. "You got a problem, Ivan. If you don't fix the problem, I will."
And:
"I will, Ivan."

One night the don rang again.

"You've got a problem, Ivan.

"If you don's fix the problem, I will.
"I will, Ivan."

That evening, just as I went out for cigarettes, my aparment exploded.


What is it with middle-aged men?

You set up triangles--and even rectangles.

You can die of it.
##

14 comments:

benjibopper said...

ah the autobiography of pain, a true life story.

i've been thinking of ghost-writing an autobiography for an AK47. Those things have skeletons, man.

funny how certain phrases when uttered a certain way, from a distance, via a conduit, stay with you like a banshee.

but it makes for good writing sometimes.

Ivan, I've put a copy of Drive-by Saviours in the mail for you. Hope you enjoy it.

Mona said...

Benji wants an AK47? In India they would jail anyone forever for owning one!

middle aged men are suicidal it seems. menopause must be better than a middle age crisis affecting men!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Thanks, Benji,

I enjoyed "hearing" the book at your promotion.

It will be nice to read it now between covers.

...I have had a plethora of technical problems setting the above story up. An old editor once told me that difficulties create art. Heh. I hope he was right!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mona,

I think it was the painter Monet that said, "Some days I just want to get an automatic and shoot everybody"....This was a hundred years ago. Was he prescient?

Yeah. Mid-life crisis.

But in the case of our hero, permanent mid-life crisis, it seems.

Charles Gramlich said...

Very effective imagery here. The image of the woman in the taffetta gown having a pee in the fountain will stay with me quite a while.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

I'm positive that you're great teacher, Charles.

You're so durn kind!

Tanya said...

I enjoy this.

Mona said...

Comment on my blog...It could be you, what with the F word!

And the Deity you mention is Shivalingam!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hi Tanya,
And thanks. I enjoyed your piece on sunglasses...Made me smile and think of a song some years ago. "I wear my sunglasses to bed.." :)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mona,

Yep. DOM here with his f-words.

But the identification of Shiva linga worries me a bit. I am not sure if it's the temple I had in mind, but that Linga mystique seems somehow germane to my story.

From Wiki:

The Lingam (also, Linga, Shiva linga, Sanskrit लिङ्गं liṅgaṃ, meaning "mark" or "sign") is an aniconic representation of the Hindu deity Shiva used for worship in temples.[1] Although most Hindu sculpted images (murtis) are anthropomorphic, the aniconic Shiva Linga is an important exception.[2] The Lingam is often represented with the Yoni, the aniconic symbol of the goddess. The union represents the "indivisible two-in-oneness of male and female, the passive space and active time from which all life originates".[3]


Yikes!
Thank God we are not forever Jung. :)

JR's Thumbprints said...

Unlike my students, I try to keep my life simple. Triangles and balloons should never mix--three sharp edges Ivan, three sharp edges--leave the danger to those cherry poppin' daddies, hang on to the balloon, savor the static, let the air out slowly.

ivan said...

Wise advice!

Jen said...

You were ok with peeing in the fountain, but thrown by the vibrator?

ivan@creativewritig.ca said...

Jen,

Hi.


Well, I thought I was a man of the world.

But I was concerned that after that performance, she would have found my own lovemaking--dare I say it?-- mechanical.

...The story did have a happy ending. :)