A year that should not have been, was. After my second attempt at trying to leave San Francisco, an estranged girlfriend gets me back to take care of her apartment. During that time I survive a series of events that were farcical, tragic, life threatening and all together awesome. In the end I finally find true love. But not after trudging through the muck to get there...
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"Rabbit Every Tuesday"
"Rabbit Every Tuesday" is an urban fable based on absolute truths and is nothing like anything else out there. As it says in the forward note: Everything in the book is true...the rest is totally made up.
“Phil Collins”: Book excerpt
Even in the depths of my early morning dreamtime I could hear something. As my mind wandered through abstract images and memories I had collected from the past, a noise was breaking through. A thudding of some kind. Was someone knocking at my door?
By now I was used to the convex noise that permeated from Columbus Avenue. Sirens, busses, honking, religious freaks with megaphones, brakes slamming, late night drunken hollering, early morning delivery trucks, streetcleaners, bands performing in the park and the occasional parade were nothing new to me. By now it had all become white noise, much like the sleep machine I use every night. In a strange way, that constant cacophony was almost comforting. Now I can attest to those in rural states that insist it doesn’t bother them that the train goes by their house several times a day. You just plain get used to it.
I woke up to a new sound though. Khamish never played music loud and if he did it wouldn’t be this early in the morning. A check of the clock said 8:15. No, it wasn’t him. But just to be sure I sprung out of bed to see. His door was closed so I gently knocked. No response. I quietly opened the door to see his room, pleasantly messy as always, but no Khamish. This guy was the best roommate ever.
Pretty soon I noticed the noise was coming from upstairs. I always knew there were people living above Amanda but I never saw them. Up until today, I never really heard them. Once in a while I would hear the upstairs door close but that was about it. Whoever was up there was sure playing some bass heavy music.
Walking halfway down the hall I found the hotspot; the area where it was booming the loudest. The big painting on the wall was even shaking a bit. This person had their music cranked. And at eight in the morning This guy likes to party.
It was then I deciphered the song. It was Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight”. I could hear that chiming beat with Phil lightly singing “I can feel it...coming in the air tonight...oh lord.” Then that famous and very distinctive heavy drum beat, boom boom-boom boom-boom boom-boom-boom boom , and the apartment nearly shook from it’s foundation, which didn’t take much as it was 100+ years old and rickety so I often got rattled when a large truck would idle outside.
For real, the music was deafening. I was tired. I closed out the Crowbar that night and didn’t get to sleep till four. Not that I was doing the drug, it was the fact that I caught Black Belt Jones on the late-late movie when I came home. Jim Kelly is my hero and I just had to make it to the end.
So half asleep and cowering from the loudness that only Phil Collins could provide, I opened the front door, walked upstairs and knocked.
The music was thundering. So I knocked again, louder this time. Nothing. I started pounding on the door. Still nothing. Maybe this dude offed himself and wanted Phil to be the last thing he heard as he exited this world. It’s a good song to do it to. Pretty cathartic and rather symbolic. Still though, I wanted to go back to sleep.
BLAM BLAM BLAM I was hammering the door.
Finally the music cut out. I heard footsteps which stopped right on the other side of the door. A sort of shuffling really.
“Hello?” It was a man’s voice. “Who is it?”
“Um, hi. My name is Mark and I live downstairs.”
A lock unhinged, a chain slid loose. The door opened and standing before me was a frail old man, maybe in his 70s, in a light blue, rather unwashed, terrycloth bathrobe and house slippers. He was taller than me and looked like he hadn’t shaved in a while.
“You know Amanda?” he asked.
“Uh, yes. Yes I do.”
“You her boyfriend?”
That stumped me. “It’s too early to give you an honest response,” I said.
The old man then gave me the once over as I stood there kind of not knowing what should happen next..
“Well,” he grunted, “what do you want?”
“I’m sorry to interrupt, your, um, music...time...but, uh, it’s pretty early sir and it’s really really loud.”
He just looked at me as I stood there in my boxers and Skeletor tee shirt rubbing my hands in solicitude.
“I thought kids your age liked loud rock music,” he said with no air of humor at all. It was almost like he was challenging me.
“Yeah, I do,” I said, “but I’m actually thirty five and need to get some sleep.”
“Thirty five ” the old man shouted. He seemed drunk. “You don’t look a day over twenty.”
“Well, thank you. That’s...that’s nice of you to say.”
The old man leaned in real close and whispered. “What’s your secret?”
“Um, well,” I stammered, caught a bit off guard, “I drink a lot of water and moisturize every day.”
“Moisturize huh?”, he said with suspicion. “Aren’t ladies and fags the only ones to do that?”
“No. Not at all. In fact ladies and, uh...homosexuals...have great skin so why can’t I?”
“Plus I don’t smoke. Oh, and heavy metal will set you free ”
The old man leaned his head back and looked around his apartment and the hallway. I really didn’t know if this guy was high on those awesome old people meds that deviant grandchildren always steal or just a nutbag filled with a shovelful of crazy.
“Look,” he said in a low voice, “I’ll turn it down, but just remember...”
He was pointing a finger at me and paused.
“Um...yes sir,” I uttered.
“The wife is out of town for a few days and Phil Collins rocks my shit.”
I blurted out a puff of a laugh, to which I quickly crossed my arms and held my lips as if I was pontificating what he had just said.
“Uh huh,” I twittered. “Well, you know, I was a fan of Miami Vice when I was a kid and this song...”
Slam . The door shut right in my face.
All I could do at that point was go back downstairs and go climb into the bed. I lay there in stone silence and perfect stillness. Sleep didn’t come. I was in too much awe to do so.