Author Archives: TheFrightening

I Die Daily

“Another day another $500” Rick whispered.

Click, and the office lights went out. By the front door to the office in reception, the timer hand wound down and that two hour block was over. Rick’s supercharged screen blazed into his eyes. Fingers still resting on the home row keys, he closed his eyes and wished the office away. Putting himself in his living room with his twin boys, they were sitting at his sides in front of Sponge Bob. He could feel the warmth of their shoulders nestled against his ribs. He could smile again for just a moment. Before he got up eyes open, he looked into the black ante room, a shadow stood there. With one elbow resting on one hand and it’s chin in the other the shadow cocked it’s head head, listening. Blinked, and again, the narrow book case with its globe on top and pirate ship on the middle shelf stared back at him. Globy was taken by Pee Wee’s globe so he decided to call his new friend Grampa Ave which gave a homey feel. Rick walked to reception and cranked the dial over for another two hours. As he turned and looked out the conference room window behind reception he saw that the sun had set.

Again in his seat he pictured how much his boys’ faces had matured in the last year. Early that morning as he poured cold white liquid over cheerios, his boys had smiled and joked that the milkman was visiting for breakfast. How did they know what a milkman was? At seven, maybe it was just that he was the man with the milk who was usually gone before they even got up. One year had passed again, their birthday was coming up and how much their faces had changed. Not quite identical twins, his mother in law had a flair for hurtful remarks especially when she wasn’t trying, that’s what she always said about them: “Almost not completely unlike twins,” then she’d add, “Maybe the postman got one and you get the other.” And Rick would smile and mentally shovel dirt onto her coffin. But now their faces looked like a dark haired light skinned Mexican and a light haired dark skinned Swede. “I die daily,” Rick typed. Backspaced it out of his client’s marital settlement agreement.

On Facebook, he’d seen them grow up, Lydia made sure to post them for every fun thing that happened. “I’m my sons’ facebook stalker,” he whispered, “and I have an imaginary friend.” Paralyzed fingers sat on the home row keys again for minutes. Mentally comparing the faces of his Joey and Zaney he could feel his throat tighten, chin crinkled. Rick’s computer screen went cloudy, and he slowly put his face in his hands and sobbed. Feeling the tears slide down, he elbowed his laptop out of the way and rotated his palms to catch them. Darkness again. Another two hours had gone by. Wondered if he slept for two hours or if he’d not cranked it all the way around. Grampa Ave stood there elbow in one hand, chin in the other and seemed to be shaking his head side to side. Time for a break, since no work was getting done. Phone in hand, he considered calling his boys but realized it would hurt too much. Clients sometimes asked if he understood what they were going through. Occasionally he’d quote to the obvious democrats, “I feel your pain.” His favorite was when they’d throw back in his face that he’d never been divorced before and therefore couldn’t possibly know what they were feeling. Rick knew. Last mother’s day had been a work day and he’d finished at about ten feeling good at how much was accomplished, satisfied that clients’ cases were moving forward and realized he’d hadn’t even called Lydia. Moments like that made him think of the wind in his hair standing at the top of the Coronado Bay bridge.

Clearly it was worse to be Rick. Rick had to sit in his office late nights and weekends doing paperwork and research so that bastards who told him that he didn’t know how they felt could get the most amount of time with their children that they wanted. Whether it was a lot or a little. Meanwhile Rick got not one moment, and he wanted them all. Again he typed “I die daily.” For a while he shut his burning eyes and remembered singing How Great Thou Art while holding one in each arm. Zane had to be bounced but Joe had to be rocked. That made it rough when they were crying at the same time. One time his mother in law came in, sat down looking like a battered wife, and crying she said, “I, I, can’t, sleep, with, two, crying, babies, in, the, house, can’t you do something about it?” Rick had looked at her and in his most intimidating voice, he whispered over the howling, “and I can’t take three!” Teeth tight together, you could see the muscles in his jaw as he spoke. She’d moved out shortly after that. Pressing print to pdf, “I should divorce you,” he whispered. Rick stood, stretched and emailed the MSA to his client and supervisor for review.

(c) 2011 by David L Nelson, All Rights Reserved

The Time Chain

“Between two Breaths,” you said . . .
smell Spring,
bee sound,
gentle breeze through headstones
barefoot running in grass,
jumping markers.
At last stretched out,
fingers gliding down pollen covered noses,
“Between two Breaths, you said, now is Freedom.”
Kissing,
compensates thirst.
itchy blanket,
wool n laughter.
Time crept up
enfettered us.
“Between two Breaths, you said, now is Freedom.”
Through pane,
dirty glass
grey clouds,
obscured gate twelve.
Couldn’t I have stayed.
The woman next to me
cried from Frankfurt to Fort Worth.
“Between two Breaths, you said, now is Freedom.”

(c) 1988 By David L Nelson, All Rights Reserved

a Frightening Music Lesson

Natalie Nee on “how to avoid a common issue when recording vocals PLUS VIDEO of me [Natalie Nee] singing “Lovin’ You” by Minnie Riperton”

Natalie’s Explanation:

“A couple weeks ago, I sang on a Climaxes session with Barry Donegan of Look What I Did and Evan Brewer of Animosity. Once or twice while recording Barry’s dynamic vocals, we ran into one of the most common and frustrating recording problems.

As a singer who performs both in studios and on stage, I can testify that the difference between those two settings (and types of microphones used) is huge, and failing to adapt your vocal dynamics (or volume) to a studio setup can have very frustrating repercussions. (Pun intended. :P)

The problem with being a naturally loud stage-singer accustomed to projecting your voice all the way to China is that studios are small, and microphone sensitivities vary. If a loud singer is too close to a sensitive mic, the mic will distort those ample vocals when the vocalist decides to go for a big crescendo.

This problem can usually be solved by taking a step back from the mic. Just be sure to come in a step closer when you get soft and intimate again. Moving for no reason when recording a vocal will mess up the levels.. so stop dancing while you sing. I won’t name any names… 😉

If you want to know what not to do in a recording session, watch this video I recorded of myself covering “Loving You” by Minnie Riperton whilst not being bored at work. :)”

Macbeth Act IV, Scene 1

A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.

First Witch. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.

Second Witch. Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

Third Witch. Harpier cries ‘Tis time, ’tis time.

First Witch. Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.

All. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch. Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

All. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Third Witch. Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver’d in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

All. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch. Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

[Enter HECATE to the other three Witches]
Hecate. O well done! I commend your pains;
And every one shall share i’ the gains;
And now about the cauldron sing,
Live elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.

Daddy Come Back

The little boy screamed, Shane come back! Shane! Shane! Come back Shane! Not having seen most of the movie, Little Brother just found it funny. “Great lisp.” Father-son camaraderie was lost on Little Brother. Even if he had seen it on screen, he’d have missed it. From the corner of the couch, little brother pointed at the 15” black & white TV. Between his thumb and forefinger he held a popcorn glistening with real butter. Salt sparkled on its edges in the TV light. Shane, obscured by a popcorn cloud, continued riding away in spite of the pleading shouts of the boy. “You . . Stupid Idiot”, thought Little Brother. In his mind, Stupid Idiot was a proper name.

Alan Ladd could pull off that fringy suede that made him look like a hippie on a horse. Maybe Little Brother would get one of those jackets too. Hanging on the vacuum next to the wall heater, his light blue denim jacket screamed anything but horse. Not even iron horse. Just bike. All holes, Little Brother’s pants could have used some mending. While they were at least down to his ankles, they gave an economic impression close to the situation of the boy in the movie. His hair once made Terrance Hicks ask, “Is that the wet look or the dry look Little Brother?” Of course, Little Brother had the benefit of free medical services, free education, free lunches, and free food. Even the bike had been free. None of which was available to the boy character in the movie.

In the years before the divorce Little Brother had been just a toddler. During that time Big Brother had experienced a paternal relationship with Dad, ballgames, Saturday matinees, tickle attack, but also task master, mean drunk, and hostile father due to sexual remorse that no nobody knew about and finally hide away time. Weekends were dad’s time with the kids, but only ones big enough that he didn’t have to change. Between Friday and Monday in his dad’s world, there had been no wife time. Ten years after, Big Brother’s heart was aching for the boy on the TV. Big Brother was the boy. He was also the teenager with a little brother who dressed like Oliver Twist, cracked jokes that would have embarrassed Groucho Marx, and hated their dad. Ten years before, watching as his dad rode away into the sunset in his brand new Buick in search of leaner pastures he’d felt so alone. The blue Skylark with the white top disappeared down the street. Choked, he couldn’t yell out, “Come back Daddy! Daddy come back!” Couldn’t cry. Several weeks later, the neighbor, Mr Landers remarked to his mom that his knuckles had been white and he could have counted every muscle in his jaw. Standing alone, he’d patted the top of his own head. Like his dad, he felt the comb of his crew cut poke into his fingers.

Before their parents split, every time their dad would come back to Metairie from a business trip, his brief case was full of toys. On weekends when he wasn’t pretending to work he’d take Big Brother to ball games, movies. Holding the boy in his arm, he’d smile like he was enjoying White Comanche, and maybe he was. Big Brother enjoyed the scratchy worsted wool grey sleeve on his ear. For Dad, even laughing wasn’t so hard once in a while. Something Little Brother had never experienced. Dad didn’t much like babies, though he’d always loved pregnant women. “Go get em Kirk” their dad yelled at the screen. It drew a couple frowns in the crowd but he’d just chuckle and stuff his face with oily popcorn.

As Shane rode away, Big Brother had forgotten the bad times, and he’d remembered only those moments in Planet of the Apes with his dad. Dad was a racist southern bigot who’d had to move south to fit in.

More than average, dad had a particular love for Planet of the Apes and took Big Brother to it on several Saturdays in a row. Futuristic science fiction cascaded into Big Brother’s psyche.

Big Brother dreamed up stories of flying cars, space travel, bug eyed slimy aliens. Talking apes made dad smile, as did cute mute girls in torn up animal skins with the apparent maturity of a pre-adolescent.

Watching Shane with his little brother, Big Brother had wondered if the love Shane had for this boy would sink into Little Brother’s soul. It didn’t. Big Brother had become the dad after the Buick had slid away in the afternoon sun with his hopes, dreams and his baseball glove in the back seat. How he ached to have dad’s arm around his shoulder again. To be the little boy again. Now a teenager, Big Brother sat in dad’s recliner with his feet up. By right of conquest, he’d won the recliner from Little Brother and Big Sister. Leaning back he watched the TV between his Converse Allstars. Clean pant legs of new Levi’s 501s ran down to the shoes. Big Brother earned his keep by mowing all the neighbors’ lawns for $4 per hour. Maybe he should have sat on the couch with his arm around his little brother, and been the father for a day. In his left hand he held a salad bowl of popcorn covered in salt, melted butter and a bit of black pepper. Dad had always brought little pepper packets from Denny’s to the movies for the popcorn. Pepper and butter smells combined to remind him of those few hours on Saturdays when Dad wasn’t yelling at mom.

Back when he was around, one of dad’s jobs had been as the family’s source of sarcasm. And he’d done it so well. Say something mean to a person. Laugh like it’s supposed to somehow be funny. Get mad at the person you’d just made fun of when he didn’t subscribe to your brand of humor. Make fun of them for being hypersensitive babies. That was Dad. Bastard. Big Brother had had to take over that job, though his heart wasn’t always in it. Doing his best, he’d worked hard to fill those shoes. Oddly, Little Brother had learned that dad skill to the best of his ability from his big brother. On top of that he’d spiced it up and made it his own. Clearly it was important to have sarcasm in the family. Little Brother could bend a situation to the funnier side with just the cruelest hint of sarcasm. Alienating the rest of the audience at the same time, not just the target of the ironic invective had often been the result. Who knew? Probably Little Brother won’t have a lot of friends and probably he’s going to be a lot like Dad.

There they sat, one on the couch, one on the arm chair watching Shane ride away. Little Brother laughing at that lisp. Big Brother’s heart aching for the boy with the crew cut whose little brother never knew a fun Saturday with his dad. Little Brother said: “What’s your problem? It’s just a stupid movie.”

“He’s watching his best friend leave, his father leave,” Big Brother answered.

“Pffft, like that’s never happened before,” Little Brother responded.

“Cut it out Little Brother, he’s probably never going to see him again.”

“Like, that’s never happened before. He’s better off anyway. We were. Besides what’s your problem? Big baby.” Little Brother had practiced that one. Big Brother leaned back in the arm chair a little while longer and nursed his bowl of popcorn.

“Hey” Big Brother leaned forward, put his feet on the ground and said, “you want to go to a ball game?”

(c) 2011 by David Nelson, All Rights Reserved

SNCF

S.N.C.F. (Société National de Chemin de Fer) – First published on AutumnLetters.com 06/10/2011
Ringless fingers
scratch nose
rub sore eyes.

Hours of FrozenTrees
Scream passed window seat
Misty tracks ahead
you are missing to me

close to station
Dive hotel, windows open
bedding slumped over sills
Cleaning lady
light blue smock
5’2″ 190lbs
salt & pepper hair, bun
should be enjoying those golden years
beating dust
Spanish mattresses
unmade.
Linen business suits
Armani
black, stylish
whose spouses
know
and ignore

I almost wished I hadn’t quit smoking.

Two day old chewy bread loaf stinky German cheese bitter-sweet French cocoa are no substitute

Hours of FrozenTrees
Sleep passed window seat
tuhthunkadunk paaauuse tuhthunkadunk paaauuse tuhthunkadunk paaauuse tuhthunkadunk paaauuse
tuhthunkadunk paaauuse tuhthunkadunk paaauuse tuhthunkadunk paaauuse tuhthunkadunk paaauuse

(c) 1988 by David L Nelson, All Rights Reserved