Monday, October 26, 2009

stain, Part X


Standing on the brink
I’m at the crossroads of my life
Taking time to think
Making sure that I get it right
Waste my time no more
Because my time is all I’ve got
Gonna open up the door
To find what’s real and what is not

Maybe I should run
Like hell away from here
Get up with the sun
And slip away from here
Never looking back

Now life’s ahead of me
Get on the right track
Make dreams reality

But what is there that’s real
In life your open game
To man and Mother Nature
You’re not a face, you’re just a name
I’ll never lose my past
It’s such a part of me
It’s something I can’t hide
My true identity

Maybe I should stay
Right here with what I’ve got
Live just for the day
And a day is all you’ve got
Been searching all my life
To find security
I’ll never find it twice
And I know it don’t come free

Had to take off work early.  Mike wanted to know why.  Just said I had a doctor’s appointment.  Left earlier than I needed to, gave myself a little extra time to swing by the mall.  Good thing I remembered to take the flag out of my back pocket before getting in the car.  Almost forgot.  Would’ve broke the plastic pole, sure as hell.  I’ll take it over to the cemetery later, stick it in at his footstone.
     Gonna have to pay for this session myself.  Don’t even know if I can afford it.  Don’t know what Doc charges.  It’s payday though.  Second Friday.  Just hope I have enough left for necessities.  Got to keep my head right.  Got to bend my elbow.  I need Mules.  And get gas.  I got to eat.
     Drinking more liquor lately.  Keeping a pint of Jack Daniel’s under the seat.  Driving home the other night, you had to close one eye so there wouldn’t be so many lines on the road.  Made it 
easier to pick a couple of ’em out to steer between.  That’s fucked up.  You get busted, you lose your license.  Then you’ll be walking home from work again, having to stay home every fuckin’ night.  To hell with that.  Really go crazy then.
     Probably wouldn’t be that bad though.  I could get it reduced to Careless and Reckless instead of DUI, just have to pay a lawyer, go to court.  Might set me back a paycheck.  But the cops’d probably search the car, find Esmerelda in the boot.  Sure hate to lose her.  Keep the stink in by sealing her up in a plastic trash bag with a twist tie, with a few paper towels folded and rolled up and shoved in the top like a tampon.  Just have to drain her before I stash her, and keep a jug of water back there to fill her up.

Bottle Of Booze

My baby’s up and left me
My car won’t even crank
Don’t know what the problem could be
And I just filled up the tank
So I hit the streets a-thumbin’
Head to the liquor store
Buy a bottle of rum and
Stagger on out the door

I’ll drink another bottle of booze
’Cause I got another case of the blues
I don’t wanna remember what I can’t forget
A bottle of booze will be the death of me yet

Now people are tryin’ to tell me
I’d better watch my step
Say friends are gonna leave me
But, hell, they already left
It’s nothin’ I can’t handle
There’s no need to sweat
I got a friend whose name is Jack Daniel
And he ain’t left me yet

Well I lost my job this mornin’
Boss called me a drunk
Said my looks need improvin’
And that I smelled
He said, man, I really stunk
My eyes so bloody red
I can’t even see
I could pass for dead
If the shakes didn’t have a hold on me

I’ll drink another bottle of booze
’Cause I got another case of the blues
I don’t wanna remember what I can’t forget
A bottle of booze will be the death of me yet

The Bridge Is Out

Nonstop blacktop
Midnight drive
White lines blur
Keep flashing by
Running wide-open
Through a dead man’s curve
By the time I saw the sign
It was too late to swerve

The bridge is out
It’s no longer there
No way across
I ain’t got a prayer
The bridge is out

One-chance romance
Now’s the time
My at-bat
I roll the dice
Taking a chance
Can’t make no mistakes
Or I’ll never get you back
Be hanging out in space

The bridge is out
It’s no longer there
No way across
I ain’t got a prayer
The bridge is out

Been getting the green label shit ’cause it’s cheaper than Jack Black.  Didn’t even know there was a green label until Don got it for me once, before I was legal.  He’s still at the Sizzler.  A cook now.  Still share the room, but he might move into the old man’s now that . . . now that it’s empty.

Doc’s secretary wasn’t even on the phone.  First time ever.  Said they’d just bill me, made sure they had the right address.  Doc’s office hasn’t changed at all.  Just gonna sit on the couch ’til he gets in.  You can lie down after—
     “Jim.  Hello.”  Damn, Doc shaved his beard.  And he’s got a fuckin’ perm.  Kept the mustache though.  Mr. Kottare.  Geez, never shook my hand before.  Guess I was always lying down already when he came in though.  “It’s been a long time.  How are you feeling, Jim?”
     “Fine, I guess.”
     “How long has it been?”
     “Oh . . . a year, year and a half, I guess.”
     “That long?  Well, it’s good to see you again.  Very good.  Please, make yourself comfortable.  What can I do for you?”
     Lie down.  Fuckin’ couch is even worse than I remember.  “Uh, I don’t know.  I just thought maybe we’d talk a little.”
     “Of course.”  Doc sets the timer, sits back in his chair.  “I reviewed my notes from our earlier sessions.  I remember your case, certainly, but I just wanted to refresh my memory.  I hope you aren’t going to be as . . . reluctant as I had noted.  You had a lot of trouble getting in touch with your emotions.  We never really got to the heart of the matter then, did we?  I always felt you weren’t sharing everything with me.”
     “Yeah, I wasn’t . . . .  It’s just . . . hard to talk about.”
     “Well, you’ve made the first step.  You’re here now.  I take it whatever was bothering you then is still bothering you?”
     “Yeah.  Yeah, it’s the same . . . thing.”
     “Well, let’s try to get it exposed, Jim.  Let’s try to get in touch with it.”
     What in the hell am I doing here?  “OK.”
     “Great.  My notes indicate that on your last visit . . . .”  Doc flips through some pages.  “Oh, you were last in on the day before my daughter was born.  It has been a while.  Let’s see, I have it here that we were discussing a ballgame you and your friend attended.  What was his name?”  Doc flips some more pages.  “Suede, wasn’t it?”
     “Yeah.  But we didn’t really go to the game.”
     “That’s right.  I have it that you two were driving around town, getting yourselves into some mischief.”
     I know I never said anything like that.  Some mischief?  “Well, we were gettin’ messed up.”  God, I hate being straight.  Feels weird.  You should be buzzing pretty good by now.  At least halfway through a doobie and a beer.  “Swade was drivin’ . . . through leaves and stuff.”
     Doc keeps flipping pages.  “Yes, yes.  And you . . . let’s see . . . you were reminded of your 
childhood . . . when you and your brother would play fort in leaf piles.”
     “Yeah.  Yeah.”
    “And later that night, Suede was involved in an accident.  The young man died, did he not?”
     How the hell do I answer that?  Yes, he did not.  No, he did not.  “Uh, yeah, he . . . died.”
     “Is that what’s troubling you?”
     “I see.  You still seem hesitant, Jim.  I’m not going to let you do this again.  Talk to me.”
     “I want to, Doc—  I mean, Dr. Braxton.  You just don’t know how hard it is to talk about.  I’ve never told anybody.”
     “And it’s eating you up inside, Jim.  That’s obvious.  Dig deep now, and tell me.  My notes say you went to the football game over at Cummings, even if you didn’t go in.  Do you remember going?”
     “Yeah, I remember.”
     “Well, pick it up there, Jim.  Close your eyes.  See yourself in the car.  Suede is driving.  What do you see?”
     “Well . . . .  There’s police directin’ traffic with flashlights.  The stadium parking lot’s full.  The curbs are packed with cars.  I . . . uh . . . mash my head up against the window, try to get a look at the scoreboard as we drive by the entrance.”

“I think it says 10 to 3, man.  Looks like we’re up.”
     “Shit, this place is crawlin’ with law.”  Swade was giving the wheel a white-knuckle grip with both hands.  “Hey, man.  Gimme a cigarette.”
     “What’s wrong with yours?  You got a pack.”
     “Well, shit.  Just fire me one up and pass it over.”
     I lit a cigarette, handed it to him.  “Hell, let’s just blow this place.”
     “Shit!  It was your fuckin’ idea to come over here.”
     “Yeah, and now it’s my fuckin’ idea to leave.”  We both sat up straight as hell.  I didn’t make eye contact with the cop waving his flashlight at us.  As soon as we cleared the school, I lit the bowl again.
     “Hey, lemme hit that thing, man.”  Swade took a toke, coughed it back up.  Pussy.  “Damn, that stuff’s killer.”
     “Listen, man.  I gots to drain my main vein, make my bladder gladder.”  I can hold piss like a camel holds water, but even I got limits.  “Find us a place to stop, man.  My back teeth are floatin’.”
     “Yeah, I gotta go myself.  Shit.  I got a fuckin’ buzz.”
     “Yeah, man.  That’s the idea.”

“We were pretty messed up, I guess.”  Well, Swade was.  I could handle my shit a lot better than he could any day.  I could outdrink him, outsmoke him, outdo him at whatever.  He’d still try to get the best of me, but he never could.  He’d want to torpedo a beer—take a church-key can opener, punch a triangle hole in the side of an unopened can, down at the bottom, on the side opposite the rip tab.  Tilt the can sideways first, punch the hole in it, put your mouth over the hole, get a little suction going, turn it up, pop the tab and suck it down.  Take a deep breath first, or you won’t be able to draw air for a while.  That’s a mistake you only make once.  Just about died.  Three seconds to drain it.  Swade never could do any better than four, and it usually took him five.  He’d keep trying, and I’d keep beating him.  Still like to swing that foot, huh, Doc?  Well, you go ahead.  Still wearing those tassels too.  Man, I shouldn’t have come back.  Yeah, you tap that new pencil of yours.  Never did find the old one, huh?  Wonder what happened to it?  Big Red.  Bet you didn’t even know you could get a bong bowl out of one of those things.  Sure as shit.  I took that pencil apart to see how it worked the day after I stole it.  The eraser was mounted in this little sleeve deal that slid off the back, so you could load leads in it.  Under that sleeve, there was this little copper piece.  Pried it off with some pliers.  It was kind of shaped like a cup.  Round, flat on the bottom, with a little step around the middle where the whole thing got bigger, halfway up, so that the eraser sleeve thing fit on that fatter section real snug.  The bottom already had a hole in it too, where the leads went in, which turned out to be just the right size for toking.  Not too big, not too small.  Tried it out down in the basement, pulled Big Red from behind the furnace and broke him in.  The pot wouldn’t pull through before it burned, but the ash got sucked down no problem.  The skinnier end of the bowl fit down in the copper tubing I’d used for the stem, and the step kept it from going all the way down in it.  It was a goddamn bong bowl, ready to go.  Couldn’t believe it.  God, I pulled a bunch of hits through that thing too.  Doc, I really should thank you for supplying me with the missing piece of that puzzle.  Good ol’ Red.  Not that he can compare with Esmerelda.  I mean, she’s—
     “Can we continue, Jim?  Please?”
     “Uh, yeah, uh . . . .  Let’s see.  Where was I?”
     “You had to urinate.”
     “Oh.  Right.”  We drew numbers, and yer an eight.  “I guess maybe, oh, six or seven blocks 
from the stadium, something like that, Swade turned on a side street.”  Maybe it was only five or six blocks.  I’m not real sure.  Hell, it could’ve even been four.
     “And?  Oh, well, I started lookin’ for a good tree or somethin’, someplace dark enough that nobody’d be able to see me . . . you know . . . goin’.
     “And . . . and that’s when Swade . . . when he . . . he . . . he saw some more leaves.”

“You gotta hold that piss a little while longer, man.  I gotta take out another pile.”
     “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.  Only make it quick, ’cause there’s somethin’ else that this man’s gotta do, and soon.”
     “Yeah, yeah.”  Swade steered for the pile, pushed the pedal down.  “Man, I just love this time of year!”

I’m sick of this shit.  Coming back was definitely a mistake.  I could puke.  Could really go for a few good BHs right now.  Goddamn it!  Esmerelda, why was I not made of stone?  How much longer have we got anyway?  Too damn long.  Way too damn long.  That timer’s not gonna be dinging any time soon.  Won’t be saved by the bell this time.
     Doc pulls himself up on the edge of his seat.  That’s new.  “Don’t stop, Jim.  I think it’s important that we get through this.  Now, Suede was driving toward the leaves.  What happened next?”
     “I can’t, Doc.  I just can’t.”
     “Yes you can, Jim.  You can.  You must.  Now, what happened next?”
     Get in touch with your emotions, Jim.  Goddamn pussy.  Crying.  Fuck it.  Fuck it all.
     “Jim, what happened next?  Tell me what happened next.”
     “Swade . . . he . . . he drove at the leaves.  But . . . somethin’ . . . somethin’ . . . it looked . . . .”
     “Looked what, Jim?”
     “It looked . . . looked . . . .”
     “It looked what?”
     “Different, damn it.”
     “Different?  What looked different, Jim?”
     “The pile . . . it was . . . it was . . . .”
     “It was what?”
     “It was . . . it was . . . .”
     “It was hollowed out, goddamn it!  It was hollowed out!”
     Doc’s new pencil hits the carpet.  He bends and picks it up.  “Oh my God.”
     Well, why don’t you put that in your fuckin’ notes?  Go on, write it down, goddamn it.  You and your fuckin’ emotions.  Jesus Christ.  Fuckin’ crying.  Like a little girl.  You happy now?
     “Oh my God.  Oh my God, Jim.  I . . . I see now.  I remember reading about it in the paper, seeing it on the news.  My wife was pregnant.  I remember thinking how devastated the parents must have been.  Those two children.  That boy.  What was his name?  Smalls?  No, Small.  Wade Small.  Wade.  Swade.  He lost control of his car while he was running from the police.  He was killed.  You were with him.  You were in the car with him.”
     “I didn’t know!  We didn’t know!”
     “Calm down, Jim.  Calm down.  It’s all right now.  It’s all right.  Oh my God.  Oh my God.”
     Is that all you can say, Doc?  Oh my God?  You and your God.  You used to want to know if I believed in God, didn’t you?  Well, why don’t you just go ask those two kids about God, see what they have to say?  God.  There is no fucking god.
     “The worst part is over, Jim.  We’re almost there.  We’re almost through this, but we’re not quite finished yet.  And we have to finish it, Jim.  You have to go on.  Tell me what happened.”
     “Swade . . . he . . . he . . . he drove at the leaves.  The headlights . . . they . . . they lit up the pile.  I . . . I thought I saw somethin’.  I yelled.”

“Look out!”  Two heads popped up from the center.  Four eyes bugged out in the glare.  A couple of hard thuds.  Bumps under the front tire.  Thumps under the floorboard.  Bumps under the back tire.

Goddamn.  Fuckin’ crying.  I can hear the old man now.  Be a man, damn it!
     “It’s OK, Jim. It’s OK.  It wasn’t your fault.  Really, it wasn’t your fault.”
     Goddamn.  Doc’s hand on my shoulder.  Get your shit together, Alice!  You need a fuckin’ skirt?  Be a man, for Christ’s sake!  “I’m cool, Doc.  I’m fine.”
     “Are you sure?”
     “Yeah, yeah.  I’m fine.”
     “Can you continue?  I think we need to finish talking this through.  I think that will help you get some closure.  Can you continue?”
     “Yeah, I think so.  Yeah.”
     “Tell me, what did you do . . . after?”
     “Well, that’s . . . it’s . . . it’s not real clear.  Next thing I remember is . . . bein’ back at the carwash.  Beside the Kwickie Mart.  Down from our house.  Swade’d . . . pulled into one of the stalls.”

“You gotta swear you’ll keep your mouth shut, man!  Swear!”  Swade’s face was white as hell, and covered with sweat.  “You gotta swear, man!”
     “Goddamn it!  You killed those kids!  You and your fuckin’ leaves!  You killed ’em, goddamn it!”
     “It was a deer, man!  I’m gonna say we hit a deer.  I’m gonna tell my parents we hit a deer.”
     “Where the fuck was there a deer?  At the goddamn ballgame?  Somewhere in town?  You killed those kids, goddamn it!”
     “A dog then.  We’ll say we hit a dog.  A big dog.  You gotta swear, man!  We hit a big fuckin’ dog!”
     “Fuck you!  You killed ’em, and then you ran!  You fuckin’ killed ’em!  Jesus Christ!  You fuckin’ killed ’em!”
     “It was a dog, goddamn it!  We hit a big fuckin’ dog!  You gotta swear, man!  We hit a big fuckin’ dog!”  Swade checked his pockets.  “Shit!  I need some change.  Gimme a quarter, Jim.  I gotta wash the car.  Jim!  Gimme a quarter!”
     I was bent over, hugging my knees.  The bottle of liquor had slid out of the bag, was lying on the floorboard.  I picked it up, got out of the car, threw it against the cinder block wall.  Liquor 
and glass sprayed back on me and the side of the car.
     “What the fuck’re ya doin’?”  Swade was still behind the wheel.  “Get rid of the shit, yeah, but why the fuck break it?  Where’s the herb, man?  Get rid of the bowl.”
     I reached in, picked the bowl and the bag up from the seat, shoved ’em in my pocket, grabbed my ginger ale, threw it against the wall.  The plastic bottle bounced across the stall, off the far wall, off the hood of the car, landed at my feet.  It was all swelled up, started to spew out at the cap.
     “Goddamn it!”  Swade opened his door, climbed out.  “Stop it, man!  You’re gonna get us in trouble!”
     “Fuck you, Swade!  Fuck you!”  I took off running toward Glenwood.  Swade was yelling after me.
     “Gimme a quarter, man!  I gotta wash the car!  It was a dog, man!  You gotta swear!”

     I stopped a block from home, behind the line of bushes under the treehouse.  I stood in the shadow of the tree, away from the street light, pissed on the branches.  Everything started spinning.  Lost my balance zipping up my fly, fell to my hands and knees, puked my guts up.  I crawled back from the puddle, dropped onto my side.

I woke up shivering, curled in a ball, tried to tell myself that it was just a dream, just a bad dream.  Please, Lord, please.  Please, God, let it just be a dream.  I beg You, please, please God.  Make it just be a dream.  I sat up, started shaking my head, but I couldn’t shake those two faces out.  Got to my feet, squeezed through the bushes, stumbled across the field, across the street, toward home.
     I tripped over the curb in front of the house, got back up.  But I couldn’t just go in.  I couldn’t just go to bed.  I staggered across the street again, up the block three houses, grabbed Mr. Shanahan’s rake from against the tree, started piling the leaves up at the curb.
     The porch light came on.  The front door opened.  “Who’s out there?”  Mr. Shanahan walked across the porch in his slippers, tying his robe over his pajamas as he came down the steps.  “Jim?  Is that you, Jim?  What’re you doin’ out here?”
     “Stay outta the leaves!  Stay outta the leaves!”
     “Jim!  Settle down!”  Mr. Shanahan wheezed trying to pull the rake away.  “Good Lord, Jim!  You’re drunk!  What the hell’re you doin’ out here?”
     “Stay outta the leaves!”
     “Gimme the rake, Jim!  It’s all right.  It’s all right.  They’re just leaves.”  He got the rake out of my hands, tossed it in the yard.  “Calm down.  They’re just leaves.  Listen.  Listen to me!  You’d better go on home.  Do you want me to walk you home?”
     I dropped to my knees in the middle of the pile, started to hollow it out.  I was crying like a baby.  “Stay outta the leaves!  Stay outta the leaves!”
     “I’m going to get your parents, Jim.  Jim!  Calm down.  You’re just drunk.”  Mr. Shanahan tightened his robe, walked off toward our house.
     I fell to my face in the pile.  “Stay outta the leaves!  Stay outta the leaves!”

Doc’s touching me again.  I don’t think he’s even bothered writing any more.  “No wonder you had trouble talking about it, Jim.  I don’t know how you’ve managed to keep it in this long.  You weren’t scared that I’d turn you in, were you?  Were you scared that I’d turn you in?  There’s no need to fear that.  It’s tragic, Jim, yes.  Two innocent children killed.  But the accident was not your fault.  That young man, Swade, he was the cause of it.  He was the guilty party.  If not when he . . . accidentally struck those children down, then when he chose to run.  And yet, his death was no less tragic.”
     “He got what was comin’ to him, Doc.”  An eye for an eye, right?
     “That’s a cynical viewpoint, Jim.  But I guess I can understand your resentment.  Still, you need to let it go.  It’s over now, Jim.  You need to let it go.”
     “I don’t know if I can.  I don’t know if I can.”  An eye for an eye?  Well, there were two of those kids killed, and Swade was the only “eye” taken out in return.  Seems to me we’re still one short.
     “You have to try, Jim.  I know it’s hard, but you have to try.  You have to find a way to bring yourself some peace.”
     He’s right about that.  “I know I do, Doc.  I know I do.”  He fuckin’ sure is right about that.

I need a beer.  Doc told me to make another appointment, but I didn’t.  I got it off my chest.  I don’t need his sympathy.  I don’t need anything from anybody.  Just a fuckin’ beer.  And a good place to park so I can talk to Esmerelda.  Hit the barns for a while, man, then head over to The Bar.  Sanctuary!  Sanctuary!

Shoulda eaten something before you went drinking.  Battle of the Bands wasn’t hitting on shit.  Damn, old lady’s got the front door locked.  Since when do we lock the door?  Where’s your keys?  Dig ’em out, man.  Shit, what’d you drop?  Uh oh, the Master keys.  Can’t lose them.
     Man, I got to piss.  Get to the can.  Hurry, lift the lid.  Aaaahhh.  That’s it.  I did manage one leak behind the bar, but that’s it.  Oh, yeah, that’s good.  Shake it a couple times.  No more than that.  No time to be playing with it.
     Bed.  I’m coming, bed.  Bed good.

There’s a knock at the front door.  Mr. Frederick from Rich & Thompson’s Funeral Home is standing on the front porch.  “We’ve found out what killed your father.  We have the cure for it.”
     We’re at the grave with shovels.  Silver spades.  There’s a headstone, not just a footstone.  The moon lights it up.  Mr. Frederick watches while I dig.  The Deluxe is clean as new and sitting on the wet grass when I crawl out of the hole.  I open the lid, help the old man climb out.  He smells like the frog I had to dissect in Biology.  Formaldehyde.  He squints at the sun.  He’s wearing his old tan suit.
     The two of us walk home.  Everybody who’d come to the funeral or dropped by the house to tell us how sorry they were is standing in the living room.  He thanks them for their concern, for all the cards, for the flowers at the grave.  “Those were beautiful lilies,” he says.  “That was a wonderful ham you brought for the family.”
     Somebody blows their nose loud as hell in the corner.  Mike stands there blubbering with a Marine standing at attention facing him from either side.  “You’re a great guy, Dean.  You should be darn proud of him, Jim.”
     We walk back to Pine Hill Cemetery, climb over the low stone wall.  There aren’t any 
tombstones anymore, but just a lake, smooth as glass, with a wet, slick, concrete bank sloping down to the edge.
     The old man slips in his wingtips, slides down the bank and into the water.  I wade in, carry him out in my arms.  Jesus, he’s heavy.  I’m afraid I’ll drop him.  Don’t let go, damn it.  Don’t you dare let go.  Then I slip, and we both slide into Pine Hill Lake.  I lug him back out, fall again, we go back in the water.  Four times I carry him out, four times I slip, four times we slide in.  I’m worn out, have trouble catching my breath.  We finally manage to crawl up on the bank and sit there.
     I’ve got to know.  I’ve got to ask.  “Is it any better over there?  On the other side?”
     He looks me right in the eye.  I don’t look away.  He takes off my tie, hands it to me.  It’s folded into triangles when I take it from him.  Something inside clinks.  I reach in, pull it out.  It’s a key ring with two little Master keys on it.  I look over at him.  “I’m going back,” he says, then stretches his legs straight in front of him, crosses his arms over his chest, looks down at his wingtips, slides down the bank, into the water.  I can’t move.  I just watch him go under, sit there clutching my tie in one hand and the keys in the other as the ripples spread and disappear.

Man On A Fence

A man, a victim of his past
That’s his alibi
But it doesn’t hold water
A man, controlled by his vices
That’s his downfall
But it doesn’t really matter
A man on a fence
Can fall one of two ways
But both ways are down
And so only one way to fall
For a man on a fence
A man can realize his past
Is detrimental to his future
And change his ways
It’s not too late
For a man on a fence
A man cries for help
In a silent scream
Lives a love in a dream
With a get-rich-quick scheme
And it’s time to wake up
Climb down from the fence
You’ve been walking on
Can’t change what’s past
With change man can surpass
What man has gotten himself into
A man alone, a man on a fence
Ground zero
Dependency withdrawals
A small price to pay
For the freedom to live again
To breathe again
To understand again
To know on what to depend
And what not to
What seems the worst time of times
Can be for the best in the long run
If a man’s eyes are opened to sense
And a man can climb down
A man on a fence


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About Me

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my pen name, tj jude, is spelled EXACTLY like that. All lower-case letters, no punctuation. I write. Here you will find my novel, stain, also spelled in lower case. I post poetry on myspace and facebook. I also do artwork occasionally, mainly oil paintings. I have done some cartoons, a number of which are supposed to appear in this novel, but I have yet to figure out how to post them so that they will remain posted any longer than I am on this blogsite. As soon as I log out and log back in, they are no longer embedded in the text.