Slave to the Rhythm

My first thought was, “A guy like me could clean up in this town!” I havn’t been to Portsmouth in a hundred years. It hasn’t changed. L—- said she wanted to park at “The Whale”. I said, “I have some singles, I can pay.” She said, “No, you pay online.” That is how long it’s been.
[Earlier that day] L— brought me to her brother’s flag football game. I was excited because he was in the playoffs and he will be too old for the league next year. I never got a chance to see him play. He is undersized but his mom kept telling me he was the best player on the field. Mom talk, right? Oh no, this kid is naturally athletic, I have thrown the ball to him in the yard at his house. He is a ball of friggin energy.
I expected him to be good, but he was “good.’ He is fast, he has hops and most of all, he is smart. Each team has designed plays but he was all over it, he was everywhere! As soon as the other team snapped the ball he diagnosed the play. He made so many plays I can’t remember them all. The best was, he plays safety and he was covering the reciever. I could tell M– knew where the ball was going. He trailed six feet behind and let the other kid think he was wide open. the QB threw the ball and M– turned on the jets! He cut in front and he was a fingertip away from a pick six! I could go on and on. I texted my mom durning one game and said, “He is Edleman/Harrison on Offense/Defense”, before she could answer I sent another text, “I keep trying to text you but every time I look down everyone is yelling M–!
Okay, don’t take my word for it. The coach of the losing team came over after the game and did the sportmanship thing to our coach and, “Your team has really improved since the last time we played, blah, blah, blah… I want that little blond kid on my team!”
On the way back to the house I rode with L—- and she did it again! She told me to grab a CD from the door caddy. It wasn’t there but I saw one and asked her if she wanted to listen? Sure… Guess who it was? Hendrix! “Are You Experienced?” Okay, no big deal, she likes music from the nineties, right? Why is she listening to my favorite guitar player from the sixties? She doesn’t listen to anything else that old. I turned the case towards her and joked, “Are you experienced?” But I did not connote the double entendre and she had just spent the night at her boyfriend’s house. I said, “I don’t want to know”. We listened while she drove home on all the backroads I haven’t been on in years because nobody drives them anymore. Back in my day we called them, “Stoney Cruises” but she is anti-drug. But WTF?
I couldn’t figure out why she kept saying she wanted to park at “The Whale?” We got there and it was the common parking lot. I’ve parked there a million times. The first thing I noticed was it was the opposite from when I was doing Portsmouth. There were few cars downtown on the streets. All the traffic was on the sidewalks! Portsmouth has always been popular but I have never had to stop and press myself up against a building to let fifty people walk by before I enter!
If you’ve read me before, you might have your suspicions but let me put them to rest; I was sober as a judge. Still, we were in town for three hours and it is all a blur… I remember seeing a lot of businesses that had been there since before I was born, drinking and eating. My daughter was doing her thing and my mom and I followed. I just kept pointing things out. The funniest was asking my mom, if she remembers the name of that Mexican restaraunt we went to when I was eight, because it is still a Mexican restaurant but it has a different name forty years later. I said, “Of course you don’t remember, you weren’t there for the food, you were there for the Margarita’s” (Speaking of getting to the point… Would you like me to get to the point? Okay, here it comes)
I am walking behind my daughter and I spot a small sign, “Cotillion Bureau.” I took French in high school and I’m wondering what the translation is but you can forget about my memory bank. I’m lost in thought and I don’t even notice I just followed my daughter into the, “Cotilion Bureau.” Okay, vintage dresses, she says, “I like their jewelry in the back.” I almost respond but turn my head to the left and the owner, (How do I know she is the owner? She is maybe 30, it takes money to do business in Portsmouth.) is already got a huge smile and she is staring at me. But so what? She is trying to sell shit, right? But what am I going to buy? A 1950’s dress?
I’m in slow motion now. (Seriously, slow motion. My daughter moved far ahead of me and I was…? In slow motion.) Feeling like an idiot because my smile is getting bigger but it’s getting bigger because her’s is getting bigger and we’re like 20 feet apart but her eyes are tied with mine. She is saying, “Welcome to… something, something,” and I’m thinking something, something, but not sex! Well, yes sex, But people always ask me what my type is? My answer is I don’t have a type. My type is someone who has their own style! She has style! Yes, she is my type. But how the hell could I be her type? She is dressed to the nines and I’m in jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt?
I put my right foot down, mumble something incoherent but resembling a “Thank you.” I follow my daughter into the back room but I have had my head twisted for far too long.
Okay, Bill, back to reality, you are just shopping with your daughter, relax. There is a speaker playing in the back. How do I know this song? I know this song… But how? It has no lyrics, it sounds like disco… I’ve never been a dancer? Again… and another one. I keep saying to anyone next to me, usually L—-, The keep playing songs I know, but I don’t know where I heard them. Everyone ignores me. No lyrics! Finally Groove Me Baby, so I open my phone and type it in.
[Did I forget to mention? It was my intention… My daughter is telling me her favorite things to do, Drive down 1-A. and listen to music.. We’re fucking doing it! My favorite things., She is pointing them, out , says, says she Would have tuned onto Wentworth Ave She likes historical shit but it’s a long drive…. I don’t know? Go wherever you want. Ever drive down Great Bay Rd? The Bison Farm? I twist my neck to ask my mom and she is doing her favorite thing! Lost in thought… Staring out the window ,listening to people tell stories… How does she have these ancient stories? She is 16? I can’t type, She is playing better music, but come on?


“Sheep go heaven?”
“Now I just want to play on my panpipes
I just want to drink me some wine
As soon as you’re born you start dyin’
So you might as well have a good time, oh no”]

I asked L—- if they had any men’s clothes, I was getting bored. They had men’s suit coats near the front. I walked over and see, (I don’t know her name, I’m an idiot, I don’t ask) saying, I think sizes ran a lot smaller back then, and big gay guy says, “I think I have just gotten a lot fatter.” , Wink to him, I say, “I think she was just being nice about it. ha ha”, He gave me a dirty look but she gave me a smile and came back to put the coat on the rack where I was randomly holding the space. What? (Frozen! What do I say???)
Forget about it, I will go home and google. L—– is bored looking through the racks, she doesn’t like anything, but I see a pencil dress with a few tiny stars scattered, not glitter, part of the fabric. She is ignoring me as usual but I know it is her. I don’t know much of her tastes, But I know she will like it. I have pointed out a few dresses today and she shakes her head, no.
But this dress, I say, do you like this? Nothing,nothing agani
… I start waving it in her face, she can’t ignore,
Finally looks she looks and there on the same rack, another pencil dress, she loves both of them and … She is going to try them on… She never does that with me. My mom asks, I say, I can’t go in the dressing room. She iikes the dresses I chose, says she wants to go. Okay, we go up the register and I pull up some cash, (why didn’t I ask her name? Idiot!) says are you done? I said, “Yes, we found the only good item you have..”
I don’t know what to do! I reallly don’ knoew whatt
Cake sheeps go to heavan goat go to heill something drink some wine have qa good time
WHEN WE ARE BORN WE START DYING, MIGHT AS WELL (i’ M ALL messed up, that is Cake right?)

Am I trying to teach her or is she trying to teach me?

CInterluede, douceebag. big piece of shit@\
My lover says she will fold it and wait! I am so happy. What do I do? Walk away?
I givve up! I can’t describe her in any detail?!
My fuckinig piece ofs shit! You thinmk,I

We all have parcels of real estate, we all have souls to sell…]

Where the fuck am I? “I hope this wasn’t all I have to offer?”, You know what I mean? I’m not an animal but who let me outta my cage?I told this story three times yesterday, N—- was the only one who said, “I love the way you t talk, You say, ‘fuckin’ broad’ and I know”)

Okay? We’re in a conversation, I got the bullshit flowin’, she got the bullshit flowin’, but no! But it’s not bullshit?She asks me where I got my stupid t=shirt? Now Im in right field, you8 know? But why the fuck is ths broad talikng to me and asks, where I got the t-shirt? Fucking t-shirt? No, I don’gt say it, but i been wearing it for two months,

I can’t remeber shit! I tell her the story about meditation and they say< “Breante normally” I startedt, “breathe normally” and I wouild start, am I breathing too faset. too slow, am i going to stop breathing?” She reallyu wants to know where I got the fucking shirt?I know, I’ve beeen wearing it for a month!, I’m in no condition to and in no conditioin tob ber in thje condition I’m ijnthe condition, I’m in. (I know… I know,no way this can be true but I swear on my mother’s heart)

She is still asking me about tjhe frinnij@ shiret@!”

“I need someone, a person to talk to, someone who’d care to love — could it be you? Could it be you?
The situation gets rough, and I start to panic; it’s not enough, it’s just a habit and, kid, you’re sick…
Well, darling, this is it…”

“Kiss Off” Violent Femmes

How does my daughter even know this song? But it is her favorite?

I’m outta my fucking mind

Okay, no way, right? The woman you have been dreaming? (say something! say something!) “I am jealous of your playlist, I keep saying, I know this song but why?”

Why? Why? She fucking tells me why! I’m slow to type on my phone…” It will probably be faster if I write it out”

My impulse is to ask her to write her phone number! Right? Right? No! I’m this old, ugly dude, she can’t

even be, what? 30? She is still talking while writes, “Sister Sledge, Kool and the Gang” Fuck you, Bitch!…

“Yes! This is what I listened to in the eighties because I hated pop, but I guess this is Pop?” (She wasn’t even alive in ’83!)

She didnt write her number but she fucking wrote ‘Grace Jones’ Alright, I’m losing my fuckin’ shit now, you know?

“ohhhh! Grace Jones, I had the hugest crush on her!”

Dead on, straight into my soul, her pupils dialate,”I STILL have the hugest crush on Grace Jones!” (maybe that is the point of this story?)

And the fucking gay guy pulls me out of my reverie,”Oh, didn’t we all!” How do I know he’s gay? I don’t know? He’s only dressed as,ironic 80’s gay guy, ironically workiing in an antique clothing store, wearing the ironic gay guy clothing while he’s talking to me in this fucking ironic, ironic, ironic, (this can’t be happening! he was the one had me thinking I’m crazy, don’t start talking crazy shit to this young broad, that’s what I’m saying to myself) What the fuck is going on?

I’ve been trying to write this for two days… I already had it written Saturday. I even had the clever ending., Driving out of Portsmouth, my daughter asks, “What?”

I didn’t reliaze I had been talking, “Nothing, just saying, I used to tear this town up when I was a kid…”

I’ve been trying to write this for two days but shit keeps happening! I wanted to recommend “Gorrillaz” to her but she…. Keeps happening? I just googled the ‘perfect song to listen while I type.. Guess what came up? No, not Grace Jones! It is still happening while I type this! I can’t explain. I have been typing this all weekend, hearing the perfect song, This is what I’ve been doing all weekend. Google the lyrics to make sure… “Fuck! No! Stop!” Every song is the perfect song!

I had to get up hit “stop” on my ipod… Which songs? Why did I have to hit stop? You fucking tell me? Am I crazy?

There’s smoke in the sky again
So I’m getting high again
Take another hit to the diaphragm
I never drew the diagram
How to deal with this shit
So I steal and lie again, whoa
You’re my dream, you’re my nightmare
Life is a bitch, she don’t fight fair
Leave you right there
I was hoping that you’d notice my despair
Run away from the pain, I don’t care, ’cause”

“Oh No! grandson

I had to hit stop! Stop! She was super into him for like a month and I only like this one song! I’m trying to get her to listen to music that makes her feel the the way I feel. I don’t want her to feel the way I feel! But I didn’t turn her on to this song? I never heard of this song before Stone Cold Trippi’n’ Right? Hit stop, sit down, start typing, look up… What do I see? The last song I ‘googled’, Do you need any more guesses?

“I don’t look like my mother and I don’t look like my father
I look exactly like my grandfather
And I act like him
Do you act all the time?
Not all the time, no”

“Slave to the Rhythm” Grace Jones

I’m afraid to hit “play”, you know?

I checked my communications… Everyone thinks I’m crazy… Having one of my “episodes”… Episode? My whole life is a fuking episode!

Hundred year ago there was a bar down at the beach, “Whale’s Tale.”


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