Saturday, February 28, 2015

An Intergalactic Icon Passes on-Leonard Nimoy (Mister Spock) At 83

No I was never a Trekkie, never got into the series very much although most of the people that I know from back when the series started have now come out of the “closet” and admitted to their Trekkie-dom, admitted to seeing Mister Spock as the coolest of the cool on the show. Well what not he was a Vulcan after all, okay,okay,half-Vulcan for the purists, the smartest of the smart, non-earthling division. And that wisdom should speak volumes to new generations who watch the old shows.

My take on the death of Leonard Nimoy is a little difference since I will admit that growing up in the red scare Cold War 1950s when there was a heavily-invested drive to explore the universe (or universes) by both the former Soviet Union and the United States I was as caught up as any kid with the idea of space travel, or in lieu of that, becoming a rocket engineer and putting people into space to see what was out there. Of course I had one problem, I had two left hands, meaning every time I tried to figure out how to make a model rocket fly it ended up in flames, or almost killing somebody, including me. Despite that short-lived dream, replaced by more earthy concerns via politics, I had a sense of wonder long after about what was out there, about what we could learn about other possible civilizations on other masses in space. I don’t hear kids today speaking in that same kind of reverent tone but I hope I am wrong on that. That feeling of wonder was pretty contagious at the time as everybody worried through the various manned launches. That sense of wonder is also what I think drove shows like StarTrek to be so popular. And that is where Leonard Nimoy as Mister Spock is permanently etched into the heavens as the coolest of the cool.          

“Second-Faced Angel” Queen Of The Grifters-With Melinda Loring In Mind    

From The Pen Of Frank Jackman

Bart Webber, the writer, Bartlett Standish Webber III to those who need to know full monikers but nobody ever called him anything but Bart, or when he was a kid Black Bart after some television bad guy, had been in a funk, had had his seventh hell version of writer’s block ever since she, Melinda Loring she, had left town whereabouts unknown. As is well-known to any who have read his sketches and short pieces in some of the small smart alternative journals and on-line “zines” he had been subject to this writer’s block seemingly every other issue, although this was the first time that Melinda Loring had been the direct cause of his suffering. She had come whirling into town, into his life and then almost as quickly moved on, vanished really. But maybe we had better begin back when Bart and Melinda met and under what circumstances.

Bart had gone into his bank, the Boston First Bank, one day in order to apply for an automobile loan since his old Toyota Camry, vintage 1996, had bit the dust and he needed new wheels. Never having been much of a car buff in his youth back in Carver about thirty miles south of Boston he almost automatically went back to the Toyota Camry again, this time a brand new 2012 version, since what he knew about cars and their conditions would fill a thimble at best and so went the tried and true route that has been the default positon for lots of things in his life, especially recently. At the bank he was directed to the loan officer, a Ms. Perkins, as he found out when she introduced herself and then asked him to sit down as she was running behind on her work but she expected to be able to see him into about ten minutes. Since Bart was in the full bloom of his writer’s block he really did not mind the wait which he usually would have if he was in literary full flower.

When Bart sat down he noticed an attractive brunette who he thought had been waiting on the female customer who was being waited on by Ms. Perkins, or so he thought, roughly his age (although being wise to the ways of the world, the ways of the world with women of his generation despite being hit over the head constantly with the new sensibilities he would never publicly estimate a woman’s age), nice figure with very nice well-turned legs and pretty blue eyes behind her scalloped eyeglasses. Bart had a feeling that he had met this woman before, who turned out to be Melinda Loring later when they exchanged names, but like a million such situations once you have been in the world long enough to have these memory lapses you just do the best you can to see if you are right. Strangely Melinda after Bart made his first inquiry also thought that she had recognized him but she too could not place his face.

So they began the old routine, had they met at some literary function that Bart was endlessly being invited too, invited to when he was not suffering writer’s block and maybe had something new published in say the Evergreen Journal otherwise the literati or actually the non-literate social butterfly pace-setters went on to the next best thing. No. Melinda asked him if it might have been at some bar down on the Cape, around Falmouth since she had when she was on the East Coast always headed that way at the slightest whiff of summer and liked to relax at night either at Sailor Jack’s in Falmouth or Sandy’s Pub in Centerville. No.              

Getting nowhere with this line of inquiry they backtracked to their hometowns, hers’ Olde Saco up in Maine and his Carver so again no. Then they got to colleges, bingo. They were both members in good standing in the Class of 1984 at Boston University. Although they had not known each other then, had not been on speaking terms, the connection, the tenuous connection as it turned out, was that her best friend back then, Joyce Davis, had been Bart’s girlfriend Laura Parson’s roommate in the 700 dorms (the towers at 700 Commonwealth Avenue) and so they had seen each other a few times in passing, to give the nod to (not literally though since in those days guys only gave the “nod” to other guys they knew in passing as sign that while they were not companions for some reason they were cool. Females got the furtive glances and Bart did not remember doing so with Melinda since in those days he was enthralled with Laura.).

What Melinda did not know since Joyce had moved out to an apartment up off of Commonwealth Avenue in Allston for senior year and lost contact with Laura was what had happened to Laura. Bart, red-faced, proceeded to tell Melinda that Laura had been divorced wife number one of three divorces. Melinda laughed and said he was ahead of her since she had only two under her belt. Both making clear that they were now single as the mating ritual moved along right there in those waiting room chairs.  Melinda a bit coquettishly for a, ah, mature woman said she would not mind inspecting that new automobile Bart was about to purchase when the deal was closed. As Melinda’s  companion came out of Ms. Perkin’s office Bart no stranger to the wiles of coquettes, took the bait, they exchanged e-mail addresses and cellphone numbers and that turned out to lead to their first date. (That companion although she does not play any role in the future turned out to have been a fellow employee of Melinda’s who Melinda accompanied during their lunch break while she was arranging a loan, purpose unknown.)              

Of course for those who have been paying the slightest bit of attention to those smart journals and “zines” Bart wrote for he has a certain following more for his acerbic wit and clever eye than any serious pretentions to literary greatness. He always in mock humility called himself paraphrasing others a “first- rate third- rate hack.” He was no Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Kerouac, Banks, Tyler, or you name the well-known A-list author but he made his living at the trade and while many times he had led a hand-to-mouth existence he had survived and expected to continue to make his living that way. Apparently that blast of sincerity and candor sparked something in Melinda and they became lovers, the details of the affair need not detain us, or at least that was Bart’s position after Melinda left town for parts unknown. Bart argued that the less said about the details of their short affair the better since in the aftermath of Melinda’s vanishing many of the details probably were flat out lies or mis-directions.  

What does need to detain us is Melinda’s story. And that is where Bart met his comeuppance, had been the direct reason why these days he was in the throes of writers’ block. Melinda had had quite a ride after she graduated in 1984 having gotten married shortly after college to a guy, Jonathan Fairfield, from California who made a ton of money in the high tech field and then took off for parts unknown leaving her high and dry since she had no work resume then, having led the second level version of the rich and famous life as long as he Jonathan was around and showered her with whatever she needed as long as she “curled his toes ” (her expression for what Jonathan called sex, good sex). She assumed he had gone to Alaska since he had mentioned that he wanted to get out of the rat race but despite putting a couple of different private detectives on the case she came up empty-handed and had run out of dough anyway after the pawn shop-worthy stuff he had given her ran out.

Somehow Melinda survived all of that, having gotten her degree in accounting she got into the banking field out in Los Angeles for the Bank of America. That is where she had met her second husband, Lawrence Landon, a bank executive in the main office of the bank she worked at an after work party. After their marriage she was leading the life of the third level version of the rich and famous when the other shoe dropped and it turned out that old Lawrence had been dipping into the till, had been embezzling the bank for years to keep up his fantastic interest in antique automobiles which required much more money that he could access legally. (Melinda as a catch-line said she thought he loved those damn cars more than her which Bart thought rather sad and tried extra hard to console her about in the balmy days of their affair.) Lawrence must have had some inside information because he told Melinda that he was taking his automobiles to an auto show at Pebble Beach and would be gone for several days. The day he had the cars transported in a car van they waved each other good-bye like nothing was up. A couple of days later bank officials and governmental agents came looking for him out in their Topanga Canyon home. So again Melinda was on cheap street and back to accounting work.

Melinda related some other matters about affairs and funny trysts she had as well as some places a guy she met in Vegas, Jack Lang, took her to. So she had been around, been around the mean streets and she said survived if not with a smile then at least survived. Basically fleeing the West she decided to try her luck in Boston since she had gone to school there, had family close by up in Maine and knew the area and the prospects for a job. She quickly got a job at a large accounting firm and seemed to be getting along fairly well.            

Over a few month period Bart and Melinda got very close, and not surprisingly Bart produced some interesting articles based on the stories Melinda told him about her life, and about the men she knew. Bart also found out that he was getting very serious about Melinda despite the fact that after, Joyell, after wife number three he was off marriage, said that it was cheaper just to have affairs. Melinda also was putting a little bit of pressure on Bart to get married citing the fact that she needed at that time in her life to have some stability, have a steady home. She did not do a tom-tom drumbeat about the matter but she did make her point of view known.    

And that is where the other shoe fell on Bart’s head. One day Melinda called Bart from work telling him that she needed to talk to him as soon as possible, that their futures depended on the talk. Bart agreed to meet her at her firm within an hour. They met and went to the CafĂ© Blanc near Downtown Crossing in Boston. There Melinda told Bart that Lawrence Landon had called her and said that he was getting ready to turn himself in but that he would need her help to get bail money. Putting it plainer than that though Lawrence said if she didn’t help then he would implicate her in the embezzlement schemes the bank and government were looking for him about. Melinda started crying and then begged Bart to help her. She said Lawrence’s lawyer had told him to expect to come up with fifty-thousand dollars to gain bail. Melinda said she had twenty-five thousand or could raise that amount on her own, so could Bart loan her the other twenty-five to save her. Bart hesitated, seriously hesitated, since he had at most thirty thousand in the bank or that he could raise on short notice. Bart told her that and she pleaded with him some more to figure out a way to save her, couldn’t he borrow off of his 401k or grab an advance from a publisher. She was persistent and eventually Bart tapped part of his 401k to get the twenty-five grand.            

Here is where things got squirrelly though. After giving Melinda the money in the office he kept to do his serious writing in over in North Cambridge she said she was taking the train to meet Lawrence in New York City so that he could turn himself in, have his bail hearing, make arrangements to post his bail and so Bart would not hear from her for a few days. Bart was not happy about that but did not press the issue under the circumstances aided by the forlorn look Melinda gave him at parting. After a week though he couldn’t figure out what had happened to Melinda since she had not contacted him. He went to the manager of her apartment building to find out that she had left a least the week before owing six months’ rent and no forwarding address. The manager told him that he let her slide on rent because she said she had some money coming in soon and, well,  she was nice, and nice to look at. Bart winced. He then went to the accounting office in downtown Boston where they told him she had given her notice a couple of weeks before, no, no forwarding address. Also told him after he inquired about her position with the firm that contrary to what she had told him she was not a senior accountant with her own office but merely a staff accountant in a small cubicle. That last piece of information cut him to the quick, began giving him a sinking feeling, as other things she had told him over the previous started to not add up. Bart decided then he had to go to the cops to see if he should file a missing person’s report or whether they knew anything about Melinda Loring from a criminal angle.  

At the station, Station Four, after a fifteen minute wait, he talked to a Detective Sergeant Malloy from what used to be called the bunko squad when he was a kid but now was called the white collar crime department and gave him his story. Malloy in turn looked kind of quizzically at Bart and asked him if he had ever heard of a woman whom had the moniker “Second-Face Angel.” Bart said he never had, although he was not unfamiliar with monikers from his writing and from his addiction to old time private detection stories by guys like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Then Malloy filled Bart in on what had happened to him as he nodded in agreement as Malloy presented the facts. Melinda Loring, aka, Angel Lang, aka, Angel Linden, aka, “Second-Face Angel” among others in other jurisdictions had been working that “needs bail bond money” scam for a while, maybe two years around the Boston area. Malloy described the way the scam went which matched up with what Bart had told him in his story except Malloy snidely said Bart had gotten away cheap at twenty-five grand so she must have been desperate. Jonathan Fairfield had been taken for fifty thousand several months before. Lawrence Landon for almost one hundred thousand the previous year. Other guys, totally twelve as far as the detective knew, at least that is the number who had contacted the cops after she pulled her capers, had been being taken for amounts between that fifty and two hundred thousand, so join the line. The detective snickered when he asked if Bart wanted a list of the name of the other suckers and compare notes. Bart declined the offer and his writing declined from that time as well.           

Although Bart did not directly contact in person the other, well, suckers, he did sent some of them e-mails, made some inquiries and put a private detective friend, Rick Roberts, who usually did key-hole peeping for divorce lawyers but who thought he could help, to work for a while not so much to find Melinda, to find the Second-Face Angel (named that Bart thought from the contrast between her upscale front, her good looks, and her stone cold “grifter” heart). Here is what he was able to piece together from what Rick and other sources reported after a couple of months when Bart called everything off. He had had enough, had played the sucker in his mind enough:     

Melinda Loring had been arrested along with her parents up in York Beach, Maine in the summer of her junior year of high school in 1978 for running what amounted to a Ponzi scheme among the summer crowd when one “customer” though the whole scheme involving time shares in beachfront condos seemed fishy. Very fishy as it turned out since the Lorings were selling shares for five thousand dollars a pop in York and Wells giving out fake paperwork for property they did not own but which did belong to real owners who had not commissioned them to sell shares of their property. Melinda who role was to play the dutiful daughter to give the appearance that the play was family-friendly was placed on a year’s probation. Apparently off of that experience she decided to work her grifts alone since there was no record of her working her “bail” scams or any others she might have pulled off with a confederate.

Melinda, no question smart, an A student mostly at Olde Saco High up in Maine, got accepted at Boston University with a scholarship and that is where Bart and Melinda passed in the night through Laura’s roommate Joyce. Here is what surprised Bart though Melinda had never actually graduated in 1984, or any year. In her senior year she developed a little cocaine habit, the drug of choice at the time provided by a small-time dealer boyfriend, and dropped out to do some free-lance escort work (prostitution for the less faint-headed) advertising in the Phoenix back pages and working out of a Harvard Avenue apartment in Brookline. At some point in the late 1980s she broke her coke habit and had gathered enough money from her tricks to head west. That was at a time when the vicious Russian syndicates  were then attempting to corner the sex trade in Boston and wanted no free-lancers around to cut the price of paid-for sex and had tried with a belt buckle to her face by one of their thugs to put her in their stable, or else. So she split.

Out West Melinda may or may not have picked up on her escort service to make ends meet for a while, the evidence was inconclusive.  She did attempt to break into the film industry as an actress, model or in some capacity so she probably did wind up as some producer’s mistress for a while. In about 1992 Rick was able to find evidence that she worked her first “bail” scam nicking a well-known married film director out in California for about forty thousand (Bart wondered how she came up with the numbers in her demands, probably by a shrewd estimate of what the traffic would bear as in his case).

The next dozen or so cons ending with him went about the same way Bart figuring she had raked in at least a million plus if the numbers guys were taken for were right. Bart also figured only a very attractive, smart college-type woman with an ability to “curl a guy’s toes” and get him all confused with the jasmine scent of sex while carrying around a heart of stone could pull off that many grifts and not get caught. By the way Rick could find no record of Melinda ever having been married to anybody anywhere. End of story.                

Well wait a minute not the end of the story Bart thought later once the shock of his sucker-hood had sunk in and began to fade. He was sure some publisher, hell, maybe a pulp fiction publisher, would pay more than twenty-five grand for a dressed up version of that Melinda story as a novella or short novel describing how a well-educated good-looking woman with seemingly no guile decided at some point the “grift” was easier than working the straight and narrow. Guys would love it if he spiced it up with sex, especially a couple of “curl your toes” things she did and a few other alluring things, no, just the sex would sew it upon that end. Women would half admire her for taking a run of so-called smart guys over the hoops, maybe would pick up the book for some pointers.

Bart thought would work like he had done previously with such real live material by loading up the project up with various insights gleaned from his experience and that of the others. Like how easy it was for Melinda to con guys who were just looking to try to help her without question and without checking into whether the reasons she gave about anything were true or not (other guys gave small sums of money to help tide her over and he had given her money for rent a few times which as he found out she did not bother to pay in Boston), how according to Rick she stayed with each guy just long enough, a few months, to gain his trust and then spring her trap. He was fascinated by working through how she used the same basic understanding of men, certain men and Bart confessed that he had been in his life something of a con artist himself when he had his own addictions out of control, without much deviation according to the reports each time she pulled a con on the premise that cons of whatever stripe were the most susceptible to a con. How she sized guys up for the kill and for how much which really intrigued him since if she had say asked in his case for fifty grand he would have balked. How guys including him overlooked in their lust (he had originally just seen the thing as a fling, a little something to have nice memories of when he got older, and then move on back to his long-time companion Laura Peters), or plans for future togetherness (he had in the end took Melinda that he would dump Laura for her if it came down to it and she encouraged that train of thought), the inconsistences in her story. How she would always cover up her mistakes quickly like the time she told Bart she had been in California with Lawrence at a certain time when she later told him that she had been down the Cape during that time, or about her jacking up her job description, told a pretty story about her family which she claimed was doing well up in Maine when he father was sitting then in Shawshank for his part in an armed robbery, and that all her personal information after college was totally bogus. Worse and Bart felt he might get some play out of the idea how easy it was for her to put on an act about how much she cared about a guy when she was already half-way out the door. Talked about marriage and retirement and the big warm blues skies in California. All puff. Sure he could put together a hundred or two hundred thousand words easy. Yes the writer’s block was over.


Friday, February 27, 2015

F. Scott Fitzgerald At The Movies-Almost-The Last Tycoon

Book Review

From The Pen Of Frank Jackman

The Last Tycoon, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1941

I suppose that it is just a matter of taste, or maybe just being a cranky literary guy of sorts, but publishing a well-known author’s last unfinished work, as here with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon seems rather sacrilegious or perhaps just publisher’s greed to play off one last time on an author’s fame. I have no problem with, say, a publisher publishing a posthumous book like one did in 1964 with Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast since that book had been  completed and moreover provided a great snapshot into the self-imposed American literary exile community, including some interesting insights into Fitzgerald as well, of post-World War I Paris.

The subject here, the partially told saga of the last of the self-made maverick movie producers, is hardly definitive, or as compellingly told about the corporatization of that profit-filled medium. Moreover the pieces here add nothing to Fitzgerald’s reputation which will always hinge on the novel, The Great Gatsby, maybe Tender Is The Night, and a slew of his prolifically produced short stories.             

That said, that off my chest I will say that Fitzgerald who did do work as a screenwriter, although it is not clear how successfully, has a pretty good idea of what was going on in Hollywood once the “talkies” came in and forced the story line and dialogue of a film to ratchet up several notches. And then there is the question of putting what looks like a good idea on the screen with many times temperamental actors and inadequate financial backing. In any case the movie producer here, Monroe Stahr, is foredoomed to be the last of the independent filmmakers not only by the new system coming in place but by the fact that despite his “boy wonder” status for producing mostly hits and getting the most out of his employees come hell or high water he is headed for an early grave due to rough living and a weak heart.

The story, his story as far as it goes, is told by the daughter of one of his associates who is young enough, a college student at Bennington, to be seriously in love with him although he is only, at best, tepid toward her. The reason, or rather the big reason Monroe was still in thrall to the memory of his late actress wife, and, was smitten by a woman he met randomly on his studio lot who preternaturally looked like his late wife. That short tremulous love affair which ended in sorrow and departure is the human interest center of the story. Additionally there are scenes like how screenwriters write individually and collectively (or don’t write under either category), the importance of skilled cameramen in getting just the right effect that the director or producer whoever is hanging over him or her, how stars are made (or unmade), which gives an insight into the collective nature of the film industry no matter who produces, who directs, and who stars. That theme was done very well cinematically in the 1950s film, The Bad and the Beautiful about a post-World War II Monroe Stahr –like figure and the director, the rags to riches actress and the screenwriter he put the screws to in order to produce what he thought were great films.

There are also some interesting scenes, and some references sprinkled throughout The Last Tycoon, about the coming unionization of the industry, the fears that thought produced in the movie moguls, including Stahr, and a decidedly more morbid fear about the “reds” bringing revolution to their Hollywood front door which, perhaps, foreshadowed the post-war  red scare Hollywood Ten blacklist night. Nice pieces, nice insights but as a whole he does not hang together since the driven Fitzgerald have not worked out all the kinks in the story-line. Enough said.            
The Rich, The Very Rich, Are Just Like You And Me-Frank Capra’s You Can’t Take It With You, 1938

DVD Review

From The Pen Of Sam Lowell

You Can’t Take It With You, starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, Edward Albert, directed by Frank Capra, from  a screenplay by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart

F. Scott Fitzgerald is famously (or infamously) noted for having said that the rich, which by that he meant the very rich, the ones who in his day lived in open air mansions and who today we of common clay never see since they are protected from view by about seven layers of security which even the President would envy, are different, very different from you and me. I believe that there was more truth in that statement than he realized and certainly today with all the talk about the income equality gap getting very much skewed it is plain for all to see. Of course not everybody has (had) to buy into that premise even in the Great Depression when everything for lots of people was going to hell in a hand-basket like in the film under review, an adaptation of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s play You Can’t Take It With You. In America the notion of class and class differences has always had a murky existence, always been muted by the roads paved with gold dream, even when those differences are rubbed in our noses every day.

This film is a comic tribute from the master of the genre Frank Capra who plays to that murkiness and presents a counter-position to Fitzgerald’s take on class in America. Now during the Great Depression when life’s laughs were few and far between almost everybody could a few laughs at the movie theater and that is what at the comedic level Capra gives us, and even I can agree that such entertainment has its place. As social commentary though especially in the later 1930s when working people were in some very heavy battles to organize themselves into unions and performed other acts of solidarity it runs rather thin even today as archival material. 

Here’s the skinny on this one and you make up your own mind about what is what about the rich, the very rich:        

Young Tony Kirby (played by amiable James Stewart), son of a high-end aggressive big time New York banker who is learning the ropes in his father’s business as a Vice-President in charge of himself apparently, is, well, smitten, with his secretary, Alice (played by Jean Arthur) which already does not bode well for what is to come. See old man Kirby (played in a part that is tailor-made for him by Edward Albert), a ruthless scoundrel out of the old school of cutthroat capitalism where the idea is to grab everything of value not nailed down (and even then give it a shot) has big plans with his cronies to run up a big monopoly on munitions production for what everybody knew was the seconding coming of war to Europe. Not only are old man Kirby and the boys interested in huge profits but also in ruining a fellow munitions maker who needs to expand his operation if he is to survive. Kirby came up with the bright idea to buy up all the land of the people around the competitor’s operation and freeze him out. Nice work.          

The problem is that the whole area had to be purchased or the deal would sink and of course there was one hold-out, Grandpa, Alice’s Grandpa (played as a jolly wise old ex-capitalist who had seen the light and dropped out of the rat race by Lionel Barrymore), who sees no reason to leave the old homestead for no matter how much filthy lucre. So we get to step two of the problem. Mother and Father Kirby as parents to young Tony Kirby are looking for him to succeed his father after he retires. They are not interested in seeing that derailed by his being taken in by a gold-digging secretary (their take, she is just America’s sweetheart) no good can come of any of this. Ho also just happened to be a granddaughter of the guy who is gumming up the works for old man Kirby’s big plans.

But this is where this film as romantic comedy comes in and saves the day. Young Kirby loves his sweetie more than somewhat screwy family and all (“and all being related and unrelated hangers-on at the wacky family homestead). So he will not be put off without a serious fight. After several social mishaps Alice comes down firmly on the “no go” side of the decision that she cannot marry into the Kirby family since they see her (and her family) as beneath them. She takes off for parts unknown. Not good, not good for young Tony and not good for Alice’s family when Grandpa decides to sell out and find a place for the family near wherever Alice is. At the same time Tony gave the old man the word that he was quitting the rat race business even though it is on the brink of creating the monopoly the old man has dreamed of. That triggers an epiphany in the old man as he realizes that despite his wealth (remembering that he can’t take with him) the loss of his son’s respect and presence only leaves ashes in his mouth. You can figure out the rest, figure out that a certain secretary from a wacky family is going to be going down some church aisle with a renegade son and with the father’s (and hesitantly the mother’s) blessing. See the rich are just like you and me when it comes to family. I don’t think this one would have been played that way in let’s say a Theater Guild production of the time but for entertainment it is just fine.         
Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart-With Blues Queen Janis Joplin In Mind  


It was never stated in so many words, perhaps we being young could not articulate it that that, maybe too afraid to speak of it out loud fearing to unleash some demons that we could not control lived under a certain sign. Those of us who had been washed clean by the fresh new breeze that came through the country in the early 1960s lived under the sign of “live fast, die young and make a good run at it.” To be old, old being over thirty, reflecting the phrase of the time taking direct aim at parents “don’t trust anybody over thirty,”  meant “square,” a residue expression for the tail end of the “beat” generation which whether we knew it or not was our launching pad as we came of age in that 1960s red scare Cold War night. Meant too that if one did not imbibe in whatever one desired by the time we did get to thirty it would be too late, way too late.     

So we pursued our outrageous appetites, from the traditional fashion dress and hair statements and liquor addictions to the new ones of the era (new at least to young mostly white eyes not familiar with old-time Billie Holiday jazz needles and “Beat” high tea time) with the emerging hip “drugstore” of every imaginable medication to salve the soul. Tried every kind of living arrangement as long as it drifted toward the communal and every kind of love, including the love that could not speak its name (this well before GLBTQ times). Tried every way to take dead aim at old bourgeois society and turn it upside down. Wanted to, desperately wanted to, listen to new music that reflected the new drug-induced karma that matched the chemicals spinning in our brains. No more rock and roll music, or any music, that our parents might like, might even tolerate. Everything had be acid etched.          

If we sought to “live free,” to break from convention we expected out musical heroes (actually all heroes) to partake of our newly established ethos, to lead the way. Expected like our slightly older brothers and sisters who went wild over brooding Marlon Brando, sulky James Dean, and moody Elvis them to live high off the edge. And so they did, so anyway did what became our holy trinity come concert night, come party time, Jim (Morrison), Jimi (Hendricks), and Janis (Joplin). They lived hard, lived out there on the edge subject to their own doubts, subject like us to those rat ass things that formed our childhoods and would not let go and they needed release just like us. So Jim twirled the whirling dervish shamanic dance, Jimi fired up his grinding guitar and Janis, little Janis with the big raspy voice sang like some old-time barrelhouse blues mama reincarnate. Yeah, and they, she lived fast, and died, died way too young not matter what out ethos stated.       

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Woman Scorned-American Psycho #324-Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike’s Gone Girl

DVD Review

From The Pen Of Sam Lowell

Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, from the book by Gillian Flynn, 2014


No question modern marriage, I am speaking of modern twenty-first century heterosexual marriage here I will leave the same-sex variety alone until we have more anecdotal evidence but I have a feeling that will be a parallel universe, is a tough haul. Very tough in the case of seemingly well-matched America’s sweethearts couple, Nick (played by a laid back Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (she nee Elliot daughter of the famed Amazing Amy children’s books writers and maybe that will give us a clue to where things went wrong), in the film under review, Gone Girl, based on the book by the same name by Gillian Flynn. Now I am no stranger to the stresses of marital bliss having wed and shed three wives the old-fashioned way (divorce and some alimony) and have now determined that it is wiser (and cheaper) to just finish out my days with companions rather than wives. Apparently Amy Elliot Dunn (played with sardonic verve by Rosamund Pike) had a different take on the matter and despite her Type A Harvard-etched accomplishments she has joined the pantheon of cinematic American psychos (although it is not absolutely necessary to have an Ivy League degree to fit into that category).                

On the surface as the beginning flashbacks by Nick and Amy of their takes on about went wrong in order to fill us on how thing went off-track appears to be an old-fashioned vanilla marriage filled with the normal stresses of wedded bliss, You know both mates working in their respective professions, making love in the off moments and living out there in dead-end suburbia trying to avoid that counting off the years of marriage fate which seems to be closing in on them. Between losing jobs, moving from high-style New York City to Podunk Missouri to nurse Nick’s mother, after five years of marriage though the wheels were starting to come off.

So yes you can blame the Great Recession of the Bush-Obama years, blame the vicissitudes brought on by five years of marriage and blame the lonely crowd-ness of suburban living although I personally blame those star-struck parents but Amy has had an epiphany about Nick and their marriage, a devious one to boot. But who are we kidding it had nothing to do with economics, psychology, personality, or any such like it was another, younger woman, a junior college student for Chrissake that set dear Amy off after seeing them together one night coming out of Nick’s (purchased with her dough, ouch). Yeah, this is the woman scorned theme that had run through a ton of films since they started making them which we should have been hip to all along.              

Here is how it played out though because Amy really did plan her revenge for Nick’s boorishness and infidelity with Type-A zeal. Simple, on their fifth anniversary Amy went missing from their house when Nick came back after being at his downtown bar which his sister who he is very close to runs (and like I said Amy had financed). Then through the cinematic device of teased-out flashbacks we find out what this American average married couple were really up to. Amy was not just “missing” missing though but had set up the scene up in their house so it looked like Nick was so bent on being rid of his wife even a rookie cop coming to investigate could figure it out, although in this case it was actually a savvy female detective who put the two and two together that put Nick behind bars.

Amy did a beautiful job, a job any ordinary psycho would be proud of. A job they will be talking about for years, maybe somebody will grab a Ph.D. out of the thing. She really had put Nick in a box, a big old frame, from the look of things, jumping up her insurance policy to a big number shortly before disappearing, buying tons of stuff on credit in his name and stashing it at his sister’s house, leaving blood in the house, leaving evidence that she was pregnant, and a telltale diary hidden in a well-placed spot that explained her fears that Nick will kill her. The gone, gone girl, was gone. By her actions Nick, finally figuring out that everything was closing in on him as a wife murderer was all set despite hiring a crack criminal defense lawyer to take the big step-off in death penalty Missouri.     

Then Amy has another epiphany, not uncommon among the psycho set. Nick, now knowing that Amy has set the big frame-up for him as preclude to the big set-off in death penalty Missouri, now knowing that all the evidence points to the fact that she was alive and well and meant him every harm went on  the counter-offensive. Nick went on talk television which had taken Amy scorned to its bosom and used a popular talk show to make his confession of infidelity and contrition public. A not uncommon occurrence in these confessional age days although usually not in a murder case. Amy, who by this time had while hiding deep underground been ripped off of her cash stash by a low-rent couple who lived in her hide-out complex where she was staying turned to an ex-high school boyfriend who never got over her for help and was staying in his isolated summer house, saw the broadcast and changed her mind about Nick, wanted him back.

Of course the circumstances where Amy had supposedly been murdered by Nick left things a little dicey for their reunion so in a fit of mad genius she set up and killed, gruesomely killed, that ex-boyfriend claiming he had raped her. Nice touch Amy. Nick knowing that the rape was a set-up tried to tell that story but the public atmosphere of Amy’s return, their “joyous” televised reunion trumped that savage knowledge. Despite Nick’s fervent desire to leave he was caught in her web, doubly caught since she had made herself pregnant through artificial insemination. Good luck, Nick, you are going to need it. As for the rest of us we should take Nick’s attorney’s advice as he walked away from the case since his man was off the hook “don’t piss your spouse off.” I would add perhaps spreading newspaper around your bed to forewarn you of an advancing unhinged spouse just to be on the safe side.           


The Heart Of The San Francisco Fillmore Night, Circa 1967

From The Pen Bill Bradley  

A YouTube film clip of The Jefferson Airplane performing their classic wa-wa song Someone To Love to give a flavor of the times to this piece.

Scene: Brought to mind by one of the songs in After Bathing At Baxter’s, The Jefferson Airplane’s Fillmore West-driven classic wa-wa song, Someone To Love.


It wasn’t my idea, not the way I was feeling then although I had “married” them under the stars one night, one late June night, in this year of our summer of love 1967. Married Prince Love (a.k.a. Joshua Breslin, late of Olde Saco High School Class of 1967, that’s up in Maine) and Butterfly Swirl (a.k.a. Kathleen Clarke, Carlsbad High School Class of 1968, that’s down south here in California), my “family” as such things went on the merry prankster yellow brick road bus that brought us north to ‘Frisco. I had “adopted” the Prince here on Russian Hill one day when he was looking for dope. Before that I had traveled all through the great western blue-pink night, as my old North Adamsville corner boyfriend, Peter Paul Markin, would say from Ames, Iowa where  I got “on the bus,” the Captain Crunch merry prankster bus.


I had brought Butterfly and Lupe Matin (her Ames “road” name then although more recently she has been going under the name Lance Peters. No, don’t get the idea she has gone male, no way, no way in freaking hell and I have the scars on my back to prove it.  It’s just her, well, thing, the name-changing thing, and her real name anyway is Sandra Sharp from Vassar, that’s a high-end New York college for women, one of the seven sisters, Ivy League, okay) up here for a serious investigation of the summer of love we kept hearing about down in Carlsbad where we camped out (actually we looked out for the estate of a friend, or maybe better an associate, of our “leader,” Captain Crunch, as care-takers). Yes, the “old man,” me, Far-Out Phil (a. k. a. Phil Ballard, North Adamsville Class of 1964, that’s in Massachusetts, okay) married them but I was not happy about it because I was still not done with Butterfly myself. Only the residual hard-knocks North Adamsville corner boy in me accepted, wise to the ways of the world, that Butterfly had flown the coop on me. 

It was all Captain Crunch’s idea, although Mustang Sally (a. k. a. Susan Stein), if she was talking to the Captain (a. k. a Samuel Jackman) just then, which was always a sometime thing lately since she had taken up with a drummer from one of the myriad up-and-coming “acid rock” bands that had sprouted out of the Golden Gate night, The Magic Mushrooms, and the Captain was not pleased, not pleased at all, probably was the real force behind the idea. The idea? Simple enough, Now that they, the “they” being the thousands of young people who had fled, fled a millions ways, west, were about creating a merry prankster yellow bus world on the hills of San Francisco the notion that Prince Love and Butterfly Swirl were “married” under the sign of “Far-Out Phil” and would have now have a proper bourgeois “wedding reception” was impossible. Celebrate yes, no question. Celebrate high and hard, no question. But the times demanded, demanded high and hard, some other form of celebration. And that is where the Captain (or, as seemed more and more likely once more facts came out, Mustang Sally) hit his stride.    

Here is the “skinny.”  The Captain knew somebody, hell the Captain always knew somebody for whatever project he had in mind, connected to the Jefferson Airplane, a hot band that was going to be playing at the Fillmore that next Saturday night. And that somebody could get the Captain twenty prime tickets to the concert. [Everybody suspected that the deal was more nuanced than that, probably the tickets for a batch of Captain-produced acid, or in a two-fisted barter, a big pile of dope, mary jane most likely, from somebody else for something else and then a trade over for the tickets. That high finance stuff was never very clear but while nobody worried much about money, except a few hungry times out in some god-forsaken desert town or something, there usually was plenty of Captain dough around for family needs.] So the Captain’s idea was that this concert would be an electric Kool-Aid acid test trip that was now almost inevitably part of any 1967 event, in lieu of that bourgeois (the Captain’s word, okay) wedding reception.   And, see, the Prince and Butterfly, were not to know because this was going to be their first time taking some of that stuff, the acid (LSD, for the squares, okay). And once the acid hit the Captain said, and the rest of us agreed, there would be no sorrow, no sorrow at all, that they had not had some bogus old bourgeois wedding reception.     

Saturday night came, and everybody was dressed to the nines. (Yah, that’s an old Frankie Riley, North Adamsville corner boy leader, thing that I held onto, still do, to say hot, edgy, be-hop.)  Let’s just concentrate on the “bride” and “groom” attire and that will give an idea of what nines looked like that night. Butterfly, a genuine West Coast young blonde beauty anyway, formerly hung-up on the surfer scene (or a perfect-wave surfer guy anyway), all tanned, and young sultry, dressed in a thin, almost see-through, peasant blouse. According to Benny Buzz, a kind of connoisseur on the subject,  it wasn’t really see-through but he lied, or close to it, because every guy in the party or later, at the concert, craned his neck to look at the outline of her beautiful breasts that were clearly visible for all to see. And while she may have been “seek a new world” Butterfly Swirl she was also an old-fashioned “tease,” and made no apologies for being so.  She also wore a short mini-skirt that was de rigueur just then that highlighted her long well-turned legs (long flowing skirts were to come in a little later) and had her hair done up in an utterly complicated braid that seemed impossible to have accomplished piled high on her head, garlands of flowers flowing out everywhere, and silvery, sparkling, starry mascara eyes and ruby-red, really ruby red lips giving a total  effect that even had the Captain going, and the Captain usually only had his eyes, all six of them, fixed on Mustang Sally.                  

And the “groom”? Going back to Olde Saco roots he wore along with his now longer flowing hair and less wispy beard an old time sea captain’s hat, long flared boatswain's whites, a sailor’s shirt from out of old English Navy times and a magical mystery tour cape in lieu of the usual rough crewman's jacket. A strange sight that had more than one girl turning around and maybe scratching her head to figure out his “statement.” That didn’t however stop them from looking and maybe making a mental note to “try him out” sometime. (By the way, I told the Captain later that the Prince had no idea of making a statement, and being more than a little stoned on some leftover hash that he found around, he just grabbed what was at hand).

Now back to the action. In order to “fortify” everyone for the adventure the Captain proposed a “toast” to the happy couple before we left the merry prankster yellow bus to make the one mile trip to the Fillmore. So everybody, including the bride and groom toasted with Dixie cups of Kool-Aid. The Prince and Butterfly were bemused that, with all the liquor available around the bus, the Captain proposed to use Kool-Aid for the toast. Well, we shall see.  And they shall see.         

And they “saw,” or rather saw once the acid (LSD) kicked in about an hour later, more or less, just in time for the concert to rev them up. Now what you “see” on an acid trip is a very individual thing, moreover other than that powerful rush existential moment that you find yourself living in it defies description, literary niceness description, especially from a couple of kids on their “wedding night.”  So what is left? Well, some observations by “father” Far-Out Phil, now a veteran acid-eater, as I hovered over my new-found “family” to insured that they made a safe landing. 

The first thing I noticed was that Butterfly Swirl was gyrating like crazy when the female singer in front of Jefferson Airplane, Grace Slick, started up on their acid rock anthem, White Rabbit. Some of Butterfly’s moves had half the guys in the place kind of male hippie “leering” at her (mainly giving her a sly nod of approval, and making a mental note to check her out later when the dope hit her at the high point in another couple of hours or so). Remember she had on that diaphanous peasant blouse, and also remember that sexual thoughts, leering sexual thoughts or not, did not fade away when under the influence of LSD. In many cases the sexual arousal effect was heightened, particularly when a little high- grade herb was thrown into the mix. I thought nothing in particular of her actions just then, many guys and girls were gyrating, were being checked-out and were making mental notes of one kind or another. It is only when Butterfly started to “believe” that she was Alice, the Alice of the song and of wonderland, and repeated “I am Alice, I am alive,” about thirteen times that I moved over to her quickly and gave her a battle-scarred veteran’s calming down, a couple of hits off the Columbia Red that I had just coped from some freak.       

And where was Prince Love during the trial by fire honeymoon night? Gyrating with none other than Lance Peters, who you may know as Luscious Lois or seven other names, by who was my main honey now that Butterfly has flown my coop. But don’t call her Lance Peters this night because after a tab of acid (beyond her congratulations Kool-Aid cup earlier) she is now Laura Opal in her constant name-game change run through the alphabet. Prince Love had finally “seen” the virtues of being with older women like I had learned back in Ames, Iowa time, an older voluptuous woman and although she was wearing no Butterfly diaphanous blouse Prince felt electricity running through his veins as they encircled each other on the dance floor. Encircled each other and then, slyly, very slyly, I thought when I heard the story the next day, backed out of the Fillmore to wander the streets of Haight-Ashbury until the dawn.  Then to find shelter in some magic bus they thought was the Captain’s but when they were awoken by some tom-toms drumming out to eternity around noontime found out that they were in the “Majestic Moon” tribe’s bus.

No hassle, no problem, guests always welcome. Yah that is the way it was then. When I cornered, although cornered may be too strong a word,  the Prince later all that he would commit to was that he had been devoured by Mother Earth and had come out on the other side. That, and that he had seen god, god close up. Laura Quirk, if she is still running under that name now, merely stated that she was god. Oh yah, and had seen the now de rigueur stairway to heaven paved with brilliant lights. She certainly knew how to get around her Phil when the deal went down, no question.  

And how did the evening end with Butterfly and me, after I “consoled” her with my ready-teddy herbal remedy? After a search for Prince and Lance, a pissed off search for me,  we went over into a corner and started staring at one of the strobe lights off the walls putting ourselves into something of a trance-like mood. A short time later, I, formerly nothing but a hard-luck, hard-nosed, world-wide North Adamsville corner boy in good standing started involuntarily yelling, “I am Alice, I am alive,” about ten times.  Butterfly though that was the funniest thing she had ever heard and came over to me and handed me a joint, a joint filled with some of that same Columbia Red that settled her down earlier. I, like Butterfly before me, did calm down. Calmed down enough to see our way “home” to Captain Crunch’s Crash-Pad where we, just for old time’s sake, spend the hours until dawn making love. (I send my apologies to those two thousand guys at the Fillmore who had made notes to check on Butterfly later. Hey, I was not a king hell corner boy back in the North Adamsville be-bop night for nothing. You have to move fast sometimes in this wicked old world, even when the point was to slow the circles down.)  Asked later what her “trip” had felt like all Butterfly could utter was her delight in my antics. That, the usual color dream descriptions, and that she had climbed some huge himalaya mountain and once on top climbed a spiraling pole forever and ever. I just chuckled my old corner boy chuckle.  

And what of Butterfly and Prince’s comments on their maiden voyage as newlyweds? They pronounced themselves very satisfied with their Fillmore honeymoon night. They then went off for what was supposed to be a few days down to Big Sur where Captain Crunch had some friends, Captain had friends everywhere, everywhere that mattered, who lent them their cabin along the ocean rocks and they had a “real” honeymoon. A few weeks later Prince Love, now a solo prince, came back to the bus. It seemed that Butterfly had had her fill of being “on the bus,” although she told the Prince to say thanks to everybody for the dope, sex, and everything but that at heart her heart belonged to her golden-haired surfer boy and his search for the perfect wave.    

Well, we all knew not everybody was built for the rigors of being “on the bus” so farewell Kathleen Clarke, farewell. And just then, after hearing this story,  I thought that Prince had better keep his Olde Saco eyes off Lannie Rose (yes she has changed her name again) or I might just remember, seriously remember, some of those less savory North Adamsville be-bop corner boy nights. Be forewarned, sweet prince.   

***In The Be-Bop 1960s Night- When "Stewball" Stu Stewart ’57 Chevy Ruled The “Chicken” Roads

From The Pen Of Joshua Breslin  

Scene: Brought to mind by the cover artwork that graces the front of the booklet that accompanied a CD I had been reviewing. The artwork contained, in full James Dean-imitation pout, one good-looking, DA-quaffed, white muscle-shirted young man, an alienated young man, no question, leaning, leaning gently, very gently, arms folded, on the hood of his 1950’s classic automobile, clearly not his father’s car, but also clearly for our purposes let us call it his “baby.”

And that car, that extension of his young manhood, his young alienated manhood, is Friday night, Saturday night, or maybe a weekday night if it is summer, parked, priority parked, meaning nobody with some Nash Rambler, nobody with some foreign Volkswagen, no biker even , in short, nobody except somebody who is tougher, a lot tougher, than our alienated young man better breathe on the spot while he is within fifty miles of the place, directly in front of the local teenage (alienated or not) "hot spot." And in 1950s America, a teenage America with some disposal income (allowance, okay), that hot spot was likely to be, as here, the all-night Mel’s (or Joe’s, Adventure Car-Hop, whatever) drive-in restaurant opened to cater to the hot dog, hamburger, French fries, barbecued chicken cravings of exhausted youth. Youth exhausted after a hard night, well, let’s just call it a hard night and leave the rest to your knowing imagination, or their parents’ evil imaginations.


And in front of the restaurant, in front of that leaned-on “boss” automobile stands one teenage girl vision. One blondish, pony-tailed, midnight sun-glassed, must be a California great American West night teeny-bopper girl holding an ice cream soda after her night’s work. The work that we are leaving to fertile (or evil, as the case may be) imaginations. Although from the pout on Johnny’s (of course he has to be a Johnny, with that car) face maybe he “flunked out” but that is a story for somebody else to tell. Here is mine.


Not everybody, not everybody by a long-shot, who had a “boss” ’57 cherry red Chevy was some kind of god’s gift to the earth; good-looking, good clothes, dough in his pocket, money for gas and extras, money for the inevitable end of the night stop at Jimmy John’s Drive-In restaurant for burgers and fries (and Coke, with ice, of course) before taking the date home after a hard night of tumbling and stumbling (mainly stumbling). At least that is what one Joshua Breslin, Josh, me, freshly minted fifteen- year old roadside philosopher thought as for the umpteenth time “Stewball” Stu left me by Albemarle Road off Route One and rode off into the Olde Saco night with his latest “hot” honey, fifteen year old teen queen Sally Sullivan.


Yah, Stewball Stu was nothing but an old rum-dum, a nineteen year old rum-dum, except he had that “boss” girl-magnet ’57 cherry red and white two-toned Chevy (painted those colors by Stu himself) and he had his pick of the litter in the Olde Saco, maybe all of Maine, night. By the way Stu’s official name, was Stuart Stewart, go figure, but don’t call him Stuart and definitely do not call him “Stewball” not if you want to live long enough not to have the word teen as part of your age. The Stewball thing was strictly for local boys, jealous local boys like me, who when around Stu always could detect a whiff of liquor, usually cheap jack Southern Comfort, on his breathe, day or night.

Figure this too. How does a guy who lives out on Tobacco Road in an old run-down trailer, half-trailer really, from about World War I that looked like something out of some old-time Great Depression Hoover-ville scene, complete with scrawny dog, and tires and cannibalized car leavings every which way have girls, and nothing but good-looking girls from twelve to twenty (nothing older because as Stu says, anything older was a woman and he wants nothing to do with women, and their women’s needs, whatever they are). And the rest of us get his leavings, or like tonight left on the side of the road on Route One. And get this, they, the girls from twelve to twenty actually walk over to Tobacco Road from nice across the other side of the tracks homes like on Atlantic Avenue and Fifth Street, sometimes by themselves and sometime in packs just to smell the grease, booze, burnt rubber, and assorted other odd-ball smells that come for free at Stu’s so-called garage/trailer.

Let me tell you about Stu, Sally, and me tonight and this will definitely clue you in to the Stu-madness of the be-bop Olde Saco girl night. First of all, as usual, it is strictly Stu and me starting out. Usually, like today, I hang around his garage on Saturdays to get away from my own hell-house up the road on Ames Street, meaning almost as poor as Stu except they are not trailers but, well, shacks, all that the working poor like my people could afford in the golden age and I am kind of Stu’s unofficial mascot. Now Stu had been working all day on his dual-exhaust carburetor or something, so his denims are greasy, his white tee-shirt (sic) is nothing but wet with perspiration and oil stains, he hasn’t taken a bath since Tuesday (he told me that himself with some sense of pride) and he was not planning to do so this night, and of course, drinking all day from his silver Southern Comfort flask he reeked of alcohol (but don’t tell him that if you read this and are from Olde Saco because, honestly, I want to live to have twenty–something as my age). About 7:00 PM he bellows out to me, cigarette hanging from his mouth, an unfiltered Lucky of course (filtered cigarettes are for girls in Stu world), let’s go cruising.

Well, cruising means nothing but taking that be-bop ’57 cherry red and white two-toned Chevy out on East Grand and look. Look for girls, look for boys from the hicks with bad-ass cars who want to take a chance on beating Stu at the “chicken run” down at the flats on the far end of Sagamore Beach, look for something to take the edge off the hunger to be somebody number one. At least that last is what I figured after a few of these cruises with Stu. Tonight it looks like girls from the way he put some of that grease (no not car grease, hair-oil stuff) on his nappy hair. Yes, I am definitely looking forward to cruising tonight once I have that sign because, usually whatever girl Stu might not want, or maybe there are a couple of extras, or something I get first dibs. Yah, Stu is righteous like that.


So off we go, stopping at my house first so I can get a little cleaned up and put on a new shirt and tell my brother to tell our mother that I will be back later, maybe much later, if she ever gets home herself before I do. The cruising routine in Olde Saco means up and down Route One (okay, okay Main Street), checking out the lesser spots (Darby’s Pizza Palace, Hank’s Ice Cream joint, the Colonial Donut Shoppe where I hang during the week after school and which serves a lot more stuff than donuts and coffee, sandwiches and stuff, and so on). Nothing much this Saturday. So we head right away for the mecca, Jimmy John’s. As we hit Stu’s “saved” parking spot just in front I can see that several stray girls are eyeing the old car, eyeing it like tonight is the night, tonight is the night Stu, kind of, sort of, maybe notices them (and I, my heart starting to race a little in anticipation and glad that I stopped off at my house, got a clean shirt, and put some deodorant on and guzzled some mouthwash, am feeling tonight is the night too).


But tonight is not the night, no way. Not for me, not for those knees-trembling girls. Why? No sooner did we park than Sally Sullivan came strolling out (okay I don’t know if she was strolling or doo-wopping but she was swaying in such a sexy way that I knew she meant business, that she was looking for something in the Olde Saco night and that she had “found” it) to Stu’s Chevy and with no ifs, ands, or buts asked, asked Stu straight if he was doing anything this night. Let me explain before I tell you what Stu’s answer was that this Sally Sullivan is nothing but a sex kitten, maybe innocent-looking, but definitely has half the boys, hell maybe all the boys at Olde Saco High, including a lot of the guys on the football team drooling over her. I know, because I have had more than one sleepless night over her myself.


See, she is in my English class and because Mr. Murphy lets us sit where we want I usually sit with a good view of her. So Stu says, kind of off-handedly, like having the town teen fox come hinter on him was a daily occurrence, kind of lewdly, “Well, baby I am if you want to go down Sagamore Rocks right now and look for dolphins?” See, Sagamore Rocks is nothing but the local lovers’ lane here and “looking for dolphins” is the way everybody, every teenage everybody in town says “going all the way,” having sex for the clueless. And Sally, as you can guess if you have been following my story said, “Yes” just like that. At that is why I was dumped, unceremoniously dumped, while they roared off into the night. So like I said not every “boss” car owner is god’s gift to women, not by a long shot. Or maybe they are.