Wednesday, March 19, 2014

***Out In The Be-Bop 2000s Night- Desperately seeking...


From The Pen Of Peter Paul Markin:

Yah, I know I switched up on you. Just when you had me written off as irretrievably lost in a time capsule in about 1964, or worse, suffering from some age-related infirmity and thus not capable of uttering the words “twenty-first century” I come up and sting you with just such a message. So be it. As is well known usually when I write about any part of the be-bop night, it concerns the times of my schoolboy “high-tide” feverish, mad monk-driven be-bop nights in the mid to late 1950s when I first got the itch, the wandering idea itch. A time when I heard some distant unknown, maybe unknowable, sound in my head that said follow the high white note. Or it might have been the early 1960s when I shared those be-bop nights, shared that faraway beat calling us like lemmings to the sea , with Frankie, Frankie Riley, king of the be-bop schoolboy night in our old beat-down, beat-up, beat seven ways to Sunday, beatified, working-class neighborhood in North Adamsville. Certainly for me, us, be-bop times did not extend later than the late 1960s and the hitchhike hippie on the road warrior highway, a separate highway and more visceral road, but on this sketch I have to extend forward to the new millennium to make my pitch. So hear me out, will you.

Desperately seeking…

an idea. Me, without an idea of all things. Me, a guy who bleeds red blood with ideas, some fanciful others fantastic but all bouncing off the world that I inhabit and usually plentiful. But like with lots of things, ideas included, ideas must be in a context that the “audience’ one is writing for can pick up on. Right now I have nada, nothing, no soap for the audience I am pitching to and so sheepishly I am looking for a little help. Who am I kidding I need a big over-sized lifesaver to staunch the bleeding titanic where that treasure trove of ideas has gone.

I will keep this short and sweet, short and sweet about how I got myself into this fix. Along the way I will have to admit to failure, abject failure, utter failure, despairing failure, and twelve other forms of failure, in my efforts to keep up a steady drumbeat of sketches about the old days, the early 1960s old days to be precise at North Adamsville High (many of which, mercifully, have been relegated to the recycle bin, trash barrel, deep freeze space or other designated welcoming cyberspace disposal sites). Failure, do you hear me? Why? I foolishly, again, foolishly meaning here when one of my “projects” did not turn out right that is the characterization they deserve, believed that my sketches would act as a catalyst and draw my 1964 fellow classmates, and other former students at North Adamsville, out. Hell, even an off-hand straggler from fiendish cross-town arch rival Adamsville who might have come across my offerings would be given a hero’s welcome in these quarters if for no other reason than to provide a foil for my words.

While fellow pristine classmates and other stragglers would have sufficed those sketches were really aimed  at some long lost comrades of the schoolboy night like hang-around guys in front of Harry’s Variety (where the white-tee-shirt, blue-jeaned, engineer-booted, cigarette-smoking, unfiltered of course, sneering, soda-swilling, Coke, pinball wizards held forth daily and nightly, and let me cadge a few odd games when they had more important business, more important girl business, to attend to) would find their voices. Maybe these revered corner boys (to me, jack-rollers, drifters, grifters and midnight sifters to the candid world) could tell, finally tell, the secret swaying of the hips, just so not too much left or right, that got them all those extra games, and the girls, fast girls too.

Or maybe the more preppie gang that hung around Doc’s Drugstore a place where all the neighborhood boys, all the sixteen year old boys, and maybe some girls too, all the plaid-shirted, black-chino-ed, “cool”, max daddies came of drinking age, from Doc's liquor cabinet shelves, sold for medicinal purposes of course in case there was a law against doing so for mangy recreational purposes, or more fiendish thoughts of getting girls drunk. They (the boys but girls too after they all sobered up) could tell us tales of magic elixirs from rums and raw whiskey, and confess, yes, confess that that first whisky taste was nasty.

Or moving on to later times to those who inhabited the be-bop schoolboy night at the holy of holies, Salducci’s Pizza Parlor “up the Downs” when Frankie, Francis Xavier Riley, was king of the night (and a few days too) and I was his lord chamberlain. Maybe the long gone daddies could tell of some pizza dough secrets, or how to snag a girl with just the right jukebox combination when dough was short and you were lonely. But no, no one came forth to spew their whitewashed stories almost a half a century later. Probably, on some of the stuff, some of the kid schoolboy night stuff, they didn’t realize the statute of limitations had run out, and had run out long ago. But that’s not my problem since I provided the gist for the mill.

At some point I figured out that this wholesale confession was not to be the case. Those phantoms had lost their voices or preferred snickered quiet, and I resolved to push on anyway at the whim of whatever demons were driving me on. Fierce demon, raider red bleeding demons, to speak out of gone-by days. I was going along fine until I realized and the readers, or at least a few readers, tipped me to this hard fact of literary life. I was recycling the same basic story just in little different guises. You know teen alienation, teen angst, teen love, teen hate, and teen lost themes. And girl-less-ness, or too many girls, or dream wanna be in such a situation. All the Same, ditto, Xerox. Praise be king trash barrel of the dark, dark just before the dawn night. And quick delete click fingers.

Now, frankly, and this is the core of my plea, I have run out of ideas for sketches as I mentioned above. A recent re-reading of some of my sketches has rubbed my face in that hard fact. Two themes, one mentioned above, in various guises have emerged; no, have jumped from the page at me- the 'tragic' effects of my growing up poor in the land of plenty in the 1950s be-bop working class night and that usual teenage longing for companionship and romance. Gee, those ideas have never been the subject of literary efforts before, right?

Okay, okay nobody asked me to volunteer to be the unpaid, self-appointed voice of the Class of 1964 and so I have only myself to blame. I swear I will get into a twelve-step program for the nostalgically-challenged just the minute I get out of the rehab program for political junkies. But in the meantime-help, or else. And what might that or else threat mean? I am desperate enough to steal someone else's thunder from the general North Adamsville High Message Forum that I have been peppering with my ravings.

Do you really want to hear me on the subject of Squaw Rock or other seamy, steamy tales of the seashore "submarine" night? And name names. Or, how nasty some of our teachers were? Ditto on the names. Yawn. Or the kinky, perverted, long-suppressed dark side of the North Adamsville High School Band and what they did with those seemingly innocent instruments? Or ........have me go into back into that dreaded Recycle Bin and dust off some of those rejects? Think about it. Send an idea-quick.


P.S. Someone has suggested a comparison or contrast between Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis along the lines of Rolling Stones/Beatles (Class of 1964-Stones or Beatles?) or Brenda Lee/Patsy Cline (Battle of The Sexes-Round 235) sketches that I did earlier this year. That does not count as a new idea though as that goes to the old lonely nights and girl-less days theme that we are trying to move away from.

Of course, Jerry Lee and his electric energy on the keyboards was better than Elvis except when Elvis was young and hungry about 1955 before military service and before those awful movies got the best of him-that's a no-brainer. But how about some North Adamsville-related idea? I am ready to start writing about our favorite son President John Adams, his wild and wooly wife Abigail, his over-achieving son John Quincy, his under-achieving grandson, Charles Francis, his blasé great-grandson, Henry and unto the nth generation if nothing better comes along. And believe me, Adamsville born and bred, I have all the dirt on those Adams guys and their dolls. I might make a saga or chronicle out of that mishmash. You have been forewarned.

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