Articles and Essays, Ruffled Draft, Works in Progress

On Crack

Boom, [Crack, / ya think you’re all that], / the Beat goes On / and on and on and on and on.”  I had this neighbor friend  in Albuquerque–yes, in the Bad-lands of Bryan Cranston and gang–whom I had to rescue from the throes of a seizure he was on from crack, and might have died from.  He lay there sprawled in the hall, a seemly smell escaping his apartment, and barely croaking my name out of his throat. He was wearing underwear; I think even tightey-whiteys just like in the show. His eyes were sunken in, and purple, and looked like a raccoon’s–I mean, literally, looked like a raccoon’s.  Glassy, beady, darting alllll crazy! Then I realized the smell was coming from him. He shook and convulsed, and tried to get up to step the one single step from his door that was perpendicular to mine to knock on my door. He couldn’t. He fell in jerky slow-mo half-in, half-out of his apartment, smacking himself against the door and the dirty hallway floor as he seized, straightening out–only his fucked up muscles and nervous system, mind you, not his life–in seizure after seizure that he was fully awake for, aware of losing control and his muscles tightening up so stiffly he smacked his body on whatever was available, and couldn’t stop it. He tried to look at me and talk to me through the seizures. Y’know, between when his eyes were rolling back up in his head so that I could only see the whites, like he were some evil zombie ghost from a movie.
Now, I had a friend who had epilepsy in college. She drank too much and that’s what gave her the seizures, nine times out of ten.  But this was different….
Since he didn’t have epilepsy, there wasn’t a somewhat predictable broken, sizzling neuropathway that the crack sent his body’s electricity on.
. . .

Fiction or so

Wood Paneling

Her great first line evades her, off making a last impression on some scoundrel who’ll scamper away to the streets when you least expect it.  But there he is, lashes twitching, assuring her she’s caught his eye.  The great silver clasp of his bolo would cleanly reflect her image, she reflects.  He laughs open-mouthed, slugs back some tequila, no chaser, with his round table of wanna-be eses.  But his slacked jaw returns with the thick charcoal stick brows to her side of the wide, thin room, pausing almost like an old film in a left-right vacillation, not quite blinking.  The eyes don’t find her.  Not right away.  Ducks into view, she does, dives, head first plants her chin on Rootin Jack’s fringed shoulder.  Smacks the table with her dead wedding ring band.  “Let’s dance.”

Rootin Jack lumbers up from the tall booth, practically throwing her before him onto the dance floor.  Faux-rustic squares triangulate into the corners of her mouth when she catches them between dashing and snaking.  Rootin pounds his boot like he were trying to shake his knife off his belt, or clean out the old case.  Might’s well, she thinks, slice through the bottom of that cracked papery obstacle incessant on his left hip, a bulge misplaced, and pin his foot to the floor, give his stomp a purpose.  Add some real blood to his bloody stories.
It works. Shiny bolo man cranes his thick neck toward her table, narrows the eyes at the abandoned foggy glasses and their backwash.  Scans the place, or maybe just winds his head in disappointment back to his booth of ruffalos.  And stops, ramshackle papiay-machay plasters a grin into his own features.  Cocks his head like he’s hoping it will fall off his shoulders and roll across the laminate to her.  She wonders somewhere in the way back of her mind how fast she’d scoop it up in her skirt, but if she’d have to cradle it in the ruffles for a lifetime.   And there he is.  Quite the beeline for another bull riding type.  Nods his head to tip his hat to her.  But before he can say anything, Rootin blows out, “And what might you want?”
Frozen for a second, except for then his arm extending to her, and Rootin grabs her, seizes her into a polka of a two-step.  Uncertain Rootin looking like his leg’s a metal detector going off, the knife hopping on his hip.  The man begins a half-assed little dance beside them; does he think he’s invited?  His hand returns to its position of offering always finding a home in the air there, until he gets a chance to finish the gesture.  This time he taps Rootin’s fringed arm a little ways down from the shoulder.  Unnoticed, his second round, his two fingers curl; he knocks on the leather bicep.  His head bobs along now with a half-knock, half-nudge.  Rootin’s head jerks his direction; bolo’s eyebrows shoot up.  “We’re dancin’.  We’re dancin’!”  Rootin shouts.
She thinks his voice is smooth, but she doesn’t catch every word. “…with the lady.”  Rootin’s hand hits his knife case. “With me, I don’t believe with you,” she says.  “You can dance with that.”