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RED HOUSE TAVERN TALES # 1 RED HOUSE TAVERN
(in memory of Deke) By Christopher J. Jarmick
When I snapped off the Unicorn’s horn
And blood gushed high into the air covering everything in crimson
I showered in its sticky warmth. . .
I didn’t wash wondering what they would say when I showed up at Red House
with Charlie the Indian, and Roscoe the crack dealer.
Veronica immediately asked me what happened.
I told her I had a little trouble, but I’m wearing all that’s left of the other guy.
She asked if she could lick it off.
I said, you’re too easy and I always liked Betty , better anyway.
Naturally she called me an asshole.
Fat-ass bought me a drink then tried to tell me about a con
he heard about at the gas station yesterday,
but I wasn’t in the mood to listen to anyone who spits when he talks
and whose breath smells like an open sewer.
I was still upset, I hadn’t heard from Deke for over a week.
He took Tommy’s Dodge Charger and ran to Vegas;
Bastard didn’t even ask if I wanted to go.
The last person I wanted to tell me about the accident was Zoot Suit Alvarez,
but that’s who first told me about Deke getting decapitated
in a head on collision with a truck that lost control
on some stretch of desert road.
When it was crunch time I decided to hit Four-Eyes-Rory in the face.
Veronica had settled on him and she was pissed about me
breaking his glasses.
She threw the beer mug right at me,
it hit Charlie in the knot in his forehead.
Charlie glared at Veronica who wilted
and bought us all a round.
We toasted Deke of course
and thought about all the hell raisin’ he had done
and what a great way to end it;
on your way to Vegas
in the middle of the desert.
I grabbed one of the hens outside of Red House
as we left to head over to the Stuckey’s off the highway.
Just for fun I snapped its neck and tossed it to the ground.
Bonnie would be pissed I did that –
Deke was dead,
I needed a shower,
needed to get laid
and then needed a good’s night sleep.
Last time I slept was a few days ago,
when I passed out for 20 hours
after guzzling down the half bottle of
Tequila that Boris had passed me.
He could out drink me turns out.
I should’ve known when Bonnie bet against me.
I knew then, probably time to give up this life,
I mean, when I start longing
for a good’s night sleep
I figure it means I’m getting too old for this shit.
I’m going to miss Deke damn it,
but not Roscoe or Fat-ass
or Veronica that’s for sure.
I’ll see Charlie around from time to time
and we’ll tie one on for old-time sake
once or twice a year.
Probably still head for Bonnie’s place just off old Route 66,
that would be Red House Tavern,
See, she don’t mind too much
if we get a little crazy.
Copyright© Christopher J. Jarmick 2002/2003. All rights Reserved. Originally published in Brutarian Magazine 2003.
and a scene from 1948’s Road House
RED HOUSE TAVERN TALES # 3
By Christopher J. Jarmick
– – – – – – –
“At least you’re alive,”
they told Charlie after they scooped him out
of thecrushed hunk of smoldering metal
that used to be my ‘72 Chevy truck.
He learned to run pretty fast on his prosthetic leg,
but it was hard for him to talk very fast.
So in most conversations he was quiet.
He never blamed me, though.
If you remembered to look at him you could see thoughts flashing
within his dark black eyes.
The conversation playing in his head was much better than any we had.
Yet he couldn’t always let us know.
Could have happened to anyone, is what guilty people often say.
I remember I wasn’t even looking.
Drunk, bragging, talking too loud,then blinded by the lights.
but I turned the wrong way;and knew it.
I knew we would roll down into the ditch.
A bruise to my rib, a gash under my chin,
I slithered out and laid down on the embankment.
They had to cut Charlie to get him out
only time I heard him scream in pain.
It sobered me instantly.
He never blamed me, though.
RED HOUSE TAVERN TALES #3
Copyright© Christopher J. Jarmick 2002/2003. Originally published in Brutarian Magazine 2003.
Sometimes inside my head too many ideas and partially constructed paragraphs form and demand to be typed out in grammatically incorrect run on sentences. I am deluded to think that these things might be brilliant and full of insight and a earned wisdom but they will bee peppered with pop-culture references that include everything from nearly forgotten 78 recording artists from the 20s and 30s to old movies and 70s movies that fewer and fewer people will ever discover or even need to. These sentences won’t have the intended impact or be embraced by anyone but an imagined few dozen (if I’m lucky) readers who are about my age and have had similar experiences. Do we pause as we read or simply go fast through the words, absorbing them without much contemplation, forgetting them moments later?
Some might perceive sharp satire, others bitterness, and many will see a sad trying to be hip old guy attempting to reinvent some minor revolutionary fad that eventually morphed into being an influence on the mainstream culture. None of these things are correct perceptions . . . but they aren’t completely false either. Hopefully, some will be amused since there is intended humor. Life is to short not to laugh a lot at ourselves, particular our own bullshit.
Oh but it’s clever and witty and I feel like when I reading this, there’s something very authentic and real about it. There really is some truth here. Truth is what we want. Well, okay, most of the time it is exactly what we don’t want…it’s exactly what we are trying to avoid and ignore. It’s exactly why we might read something like this. Poor sucker. He tries to make sense of it, he cares, he still writes things in long sentences that almost nobody is every going to take the time to read except if they are stuck waiting for something and there’s no cell phone reception. Long paragraphs? Long sentences? This is a Twitter world for fuck’s sake. So, maybe for a couple of minutes, the words seem like secrets whispered only for those strapping themselves down with temporary nostalgic patience to be able to focus on these things for a few minutes. The guy who wrote this is crazy, stuck in the past, doomed to be forgotten and remain an unhappy loser, but damn it, there’s a life here among the crumbs in the seat cushions that’s worth something. I sometimes know I need to stop doing what I’m doing, change my life, reinvent everything that I have become so that I can get a natural high from the adrenalin rush of a passionate belief that love really is the answer and people deep down all want the same wonderful blissful romantic lives as I do.
But then as I begin to believe these sentences are coming together in a way that possibly could be appreciated by thousands of readers – one at a time—I realize I am coming across like that sweating spitting old man ranting about perversion in that so bad it’s good 1963 cheapie – Scum of the Earth. This is so bad it is good and we get a stern slap in the face by some creepy middle aged man who verbalizes his criminality by blaming everyone he is using to get what he wants. A thin line seperates us from guys like this… he lurks within. . . Take a look if you dare. . .
Memorable. Awful…but memorable on several levels. The exaggerated, overly dramatic reading of those over-written lines of dialogue further exaggerated by the camera’s eventual too close, closeup right into the mouth of this guy. Wow.
I really don’t want my writing to be like that, but part of me knows to hold attention exaggeration even at a ridiculous overwrought level may get the job done. The writing won’t get respect but it will be remembered for a few minutes and then I can delude myself into believing that a grabbed reader will stay with me a few lines longer, possibly a few paragraphs or even pages longer and discover something more sublime and worthwhile in the writing. Can you give me more?