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CHAPTER  6

DAMN BUCKET

When Sam found Georgie on the Internet
One night over at Louise' place
He made up his mind it was time to go.
Told Joe. "Haven't seen her since high school.
you remember, smartest human being I've ever known,
Beautiful, funny, wrecked my car,
can't believe I've found her."
Joe shook his head, rolled his eyes,
said, "Georgie?' you gotta be kiddin'.
Yeah, Georgie...I've often wished...
Anyway, she's on my way to The Keys.
I'm leavin' in the morning,
See ya in three weeks."
The ride to Atlanta,
trees changin',wind in his hair,
Sam got to remberin';
wondered if Claudia still hated men,
Thought about her step-father."
If I'd known, I'd a-killed him."
But that was a long time ago.
When Sam looks back,
He thinks mostly about her auburn hair,
Cynical wit, and easy laugh.
When she came to the door,Her smile couldn't hide
the bitter down-turn of her lips,Her hair was the same,
But that was all,
Seems she'd taken a lover,
Name of crystal meth,
And he had not been kind.
Sometimes Sam wishes
There didn't need to be a bucket.

PARTY BARN

"Left Atlanta all snarled up,
been on the road all day,
heard the music, thought I'd see
if you got room."
The old man squinted, looked up,
swatted a fly on the counter, said,
"Six bucks, be out by noon,
party in the barn till eleven, eleven-thirty.
Got a nice spot under them pines
on Idlewild Lane back behind the office here
how long ya stayin'?"
Sam looked down at the mashed fly,
back up at the bead of sweat
running down the fat man's cheek
asked "Where's the bathroom?"
"Showers and stalls are over yonder,
in that building next to the pool,
pool's closed."
"OK, gimme some of that jerky,
a six-pack of Rollin' Rock, a bag of pork rinds,
and a Payday, how much I owe ya?"

After supper, a shower and a change of clothes,
Sam made his way to the yellow lights
and tin can music
comin' out of the campground party barn,
peeked inside at all the retired folks
playin' bingo, listenin' to a transistor radio,
figured he couldn't stand all the excitement
and went on back to his bedroll.

WIRED

When Sam got to Miami,
it was pretty late and he had to find a room.
The girl behind the counter
asked, "Short stay, or long?"
"How short is short?"
"Four hours."
That made Sam scratch his head
until the two guys holding hands
walked in...
"Guess I'll stay the whole night."
For dinner, he walked over to the Crab Trap
then headed to the Art Deco buildings down town,
watched some pretty weird people turn blue and red
under the neon,
but what got him was the Cuban Espresso
at thirty cents a shot.
Vibrated all the way back to the motel
and half the way through the night.
By morning, felt like he'd fallen head first
right in the middle of the bucket.

SORTA HOMESICK

Key West is just like Gatlinburg,
ten thousand ways to spend money
on trinkets and souvenirs,
so Sam just sat down at Chico's
and ordered some conch chowder.
Later on, took a walk around town,
found out something he didn't know.
Seems Hemingway'd brought home
a urinal from Sloppy Joes to get even with his wife
for the pool she'd put in,
just dumped it in the front yard.
She hooked it up to a natural spring
and built a fountain
where the cats could get a drink,
made him think of Flash,
said, "I need to get home."
But first, he figured he'd have a beer or two,
watch the folks walkin' by.
Noticed somethin' strange when along about five
things just stopped,
everybody got a blank stare,
quit talkin',
turned and walked toward Mallory Square,
reminded Sam of that scene in The Time Machine,
so he followed 'em to see what was up,
but they just stood there lookin' at the sun go down
over the Gulf, whole sky full of pink and green,
some guy playin' Amazing Grace on the bagpipes.
When it was over, everybody clapped.
Sam nodded his head a few times, said, "Cool,"
and walked to The Hogs Breath Saloon
'cause of some good blues rollin' out from under the door.
Says. "Man, I got to dancin', didn't quit till the band did,
wore out about eight good lookin' chicks,
hair all sweaty, stuck to their heads.
Had a damn good time;
figured "I'd leave in the mornin."


SALTY

Sam felt a little strange,
wearin' shorts and a tee shirt
two weeks before Thanksgiving,
but he wasn't complainin'.
Since he was leavin' early,
he figured on takin' his time,
see a little more of Florida.
Got back to Marathon about lunch time',
met an ol' guy called himself Salty
at The Cracked Conch.
That old man couldn't stop talkin'
about all the stuff he'd done
and the things he'd seen
and how none of 'em beat fishin'.
Invited Sam to spend a coupla days
out on the boat, "We'll see what's bitin'..."
Sam slept below decks on Salty's boat,
liked the way it rocked in the water,
said, "Sure do miss my tree.
And Louise."
Next mornin' they headed out
to some mangrove islands,
caught a little bit of everything.
Cut the filets into finger sized strips,
dipped 'em in hot sauce and cornmeal.
"Eat 'em while they're almost too hot
to chew," laughed Salty.
Sam figures he'll never forget
those hushpuppies and slaw,
tossin' those bits of fish from hand to hand,
they were so hot.
Went good with cold lager.
Just too damn good.
Afterwards, it was head first
through the sun sparks on the blue green water,
get a little tan time, happy he came.
Soon as he heard Salty laughin'
about the mahi mahi he was fightin' off the stern,
Sam wondered how come he never thought about
elves livin' on the water.

JUST THINKIN'

Ridin' North on I-95,
Sam got to thinkin',
said to himself, "Ya know',
there's only one thing a man can't learn:
the stuff he already knows."
Thought, from the looks of things,
a lot of folks need to go back to school.
 

r vol lindsey volwizard@msn.com

 

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