Monday, August 11, 2008

The Sentencing

It was a dark and stormy night. No, really, it was, at least until the rain finally stopped for a moment, leaving behind memorials in the form of countless pools of polluted water on top of which floated a flotilla of flakes of ancient rust stained the color of raw umber -- since retired, so we'll have to come up with something else but not its wild strawberry replacement, so eat it, Crayola, you atomic tangerine motherfuckers -- torn off the decrepit, cobalt blue building by the howling gusting of winds or the occasional hellfire stroke of lightning.

His combover blown into oblivion by said aerial cacophony, the manager managed to hand me a stack of rain-spattered video cassettes.

"I need you to take these to the second floor. That's where we put the deposit box, so get to it."

Knowing this made absolutely no sense since 1)no one puts a deposit box on the second floor except Ludovic Vaclav, proud yet crazy owner of Vaclav's Video Vignettes, and 2)we had yet to finish moving the rental operation from the shithole it currently resided and into our new digs next door in a McDonald's abandoned after the horrible e.coli outbreak of 2005 which the authorities assured us, with all the assurance of a veteran insurance salesman, was clean, I grabbed the tapes anyway and, muttering under my breath, the keys rattling in the wind with all the Dickensian fright they could muster, entered the building, its weathered brick sides pockmarked from too many drunken electric funky Satan grooves or however it is kids get their kicks these days. Since the entire structure -- once one of those pristine, gabled McDonald's, not those cheap-ass, single-floored 1970s models dotting dying American suburbia -- was ringed by a wreath of broken windows, it was a good thing I remembered to wear my shoes to work this time.

Pushing a hastily constructed mountain of broken chairs away from the staircase towards the dining room tables caked with years of dust and Big Mac grease, I trudged up the steps with the dexterous aplomb of a hallucinating sloth. My left foot landing on the penultimate step at the base of the second floor, I heard, emanating from beyond a door bearing a copper nameplate struck with the letters R. CHE and a thick smudge of reddish-brown filth obscuring the rest, a muffled noise reminiscent either of a few people mumbling to each other as if their mouths were stuffed with octopi, or zombies munching on some trainees McDonald's had left behind.

Overcoming my excitement at the impending hot sex action, which is what was obviously waiting behind said door, my hand trembling with anticipation ignored the rumble of sloshing gore and muzzled screaming to grab the knob and twist --

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

Fucking alarm. I hate work.

Well, no, that's wrong. Work is where I craft most of my wondrous blogging, but imagine if I could work from home. I'd be able to git r done and save on gas, and what is more American than weening ourselves off of fossil fuels controlled by Evil Islamist Jihadists?

"Don't you take public transportation to work?"

Shut up.

That bizarre dream capped my Sammy Hagar Edgar Allan Poe weekend of holing up for two days underneath a deeply overcast sky with headphones strapped to my skull, pen and paper on my lap and copious amounts of the best wine I could afford. No Ripple this time, chumps. I'm guessing the wife and kids were around somewhere. Maybe my sometimes-better-half screaming at me to get off my lazy ass -- hey, fuck you, I did some laundry -- was that godawful noise I had heard.


















Cooler than you'll ever be.

Hell, I didn't even turn the computer on and only found out this morning that Isaac Hayes had kicked the bucket, no doubt in a suave way.

Who's the white blogging dick
That's a sex machine to none of the chicks?
GRAVES!
Ya damn right!

Who is the man that would risk his neck
For no fucking man?
GRAVES!
Can you dig it?

Who's the cat that will cop out
When there's danger all about?
GRAVES!
Right On!

They say this cat Graves is a bad writer
SHUT YOUR MOUTH!
I'm talkin' 'bout Graves.
THEN WE CAN DIG IT!

He's a complicated man
But no one understands him -- no, really
RANDAL GRAVES!
Hey, keep it down, people, I'm busy with art, dammit. Don't make me sic Mr. Hayes' angry corpse on you. He can still fuck your shit up. I can only fuck your shit up if you're not home and you've left your apartment unlocked. Six thousand words, baby, about 5,990 of them pointless. Boy meets girl. One scene, only ten percent of which is dialogue, zero percent of which is boy and girl talking. Don't ask. After rereading and rewriting numerous sentences both before and after grafting further explication -- or ripping some off like an angry Frankenstein -- to each, I couldn't help but think of something Flaubert wrote in one of his letters, I can't remember to whom:
"It is easier to become a millionaire and live in Venetian palaces full of masterworks than to write one good page and be satisfied with oneself."
No shit. I'm not sure how healthy it is to spend dozens of minutes either butchering or performing delicate surgery on a single sentence until it feels perfect and is able to walk upright, imparting emotion and wisdom that I probably stole from a writer who's actually talented -- but not Flaubert, I've never borrowed from him, the stupid hack frog -- given that it'll probably be one million AD before I feel good about any of them and by that time we'll all have mutated through centuries of nuclear fallout into beings who've lost all higher brain functions and exist only to feed, shit, butcher our neighbors for their stuff, sleep and die. Which isn't all that much different than nowadays, except we at least attempt to prettify the proceedings with our illusions.

25 comments:

thatgirl said...

you have me this close to laughing out loud up here. seriously.

susan said...

Well, that was a great start to yet another Monday morning in the working world that does nothing to deserve my presence (if you don't count the few bucks it adds to the bank account every other Friday). Very funny and well up to maximum snark levels.

Shut your mouth
I'm talkin' about ravin' graves
Give it up.

DCup said...

The writer's angst. May I suggest something more scatalogically centered?

No?

Fine then. Suffer for your art. I'll be here with the Urban Dictionary when you get stuck.

Dean Wormer said...

RIP Mr. Shaft.

Incidentally- he died exercising. Proof of the danger of working out.

Christopher said...

I love Shaft. What a flawless movie soundtrack. Perfect to dance, fuck, or and clean the house.

Wasn't Hayes a Scientologist?

I wonder what planet he ascended to?

Tom Harper said...

It was a gray foggy morning as he sat at his drab marine-gray colored computer console, vainly trying to pull a comment out of that surging pulsating morass inside his hungover head. In the terrifyingly dull stillness of the big mauve-chartreuse Empty, he grudgingly came to the inevitable realization that he wasn't able to think of one.

Randal Graves said...

thatgirl, there will be no spontaneous expressions of humor at work.

susan, snark? I was sad that I can't keep my writing from deserving snark! Is it too early to drink? Wait, it's the afternoon.

dcup, I'm seriously thinking of scrapping this emotional anchor and penning that cultural history of the dirty sanchez.

dean, well then, I'll live to be at least 90.

christopher, yeah, I think he was. When they die, do they instantaneous get zapped back to Xenu, or is there some flying mothership deal?

tom, see what happens when you drink? You can't think of a goddamn thing to write. For shame.

Je ne regrette rien said...

so R.G. is synonymous with Really Groovy, eh? who knew!

okjimm said...

//there will be no spontaneous expressions of humor at work//


Boy, must be why I get all those lousy performance reviews!!

May if I PLAN my out breaks of humor and knock off the spontaneity..... or some such shit.

Randal Graves said...

JNRR, if I ever get to the point where I need a publicist, you're hired!

okjimm, or it could be that you're simply a slacker like the rest of us. "Humor breaks are scheduled for 11:15 am and 2:45 pm. No exceptions." Sounds like Cheney's house.

Christopher said...

Maybe dead Scientologists spirits get to live on the mountaintop in Colorado, with TomKat and little Zera, or whatever the hell the kid is called.

Unconventional Conventionist said...

I think my favorite word combo in this post is "stupid hack frog."

Yup.

It is.

DivaJood said...

I didn't know Flaubert was green? Otherwise, I can relate. Completely. Except for the part about having a wife.

Utah Savage said...

You bastards are calling Flaubert a "stupid hack frog?" Madame Bovary is one of the best books ever written. Flaubert did not prettify a fucking thing. And it was a first novel. And we all need wives.

Sorry for your grief.

Randal Graves said...

christopher, hey, I heard she got a haircut! Wait, can I say 'her' since she and Cruise probably have some weirdo Dianetics mind meld going on?

UC, I kind of like that myself. I think I'm going to add it to my verbal repertoire.

diva, well, he was when he ate too much escargot. Don't worry about not having a wife, they can be overrated.

utah, any anti-Flaubert screeching is pure snark. After Proust, Flaubert is next on my list of authors I've, er, borrowed from. Madame Bovary IS a landmark, but I might pick L'education sentimentale as my favorite work of his. Of course, that's like picking my favorite Zep album, pointless at the end of the day.

DivaJood said...

Madame Bovary was courageous. It was courageous for a man to write about a woman who defied convention at the time he wrote it. So there.

Liberality said...

Well you got that right, about the illusion stuff I mean--some day me write pretty! Alright, so you tried and for that I am giving you an award dude.

Distributorcap said...

can i quote the raven?

susan said...

I'm impressed. You are a protean wit - a veritable Renaissance man of the Catastrophic Age.

Sal Kilmister said...

Great stuff amigo....

Christopher said...

Katie Holmes is a young woman. I'm not up on the details of Hollywood but I think she's still in her 20's.

The last time I saw her on TV, she looked really bad: skinny, dark circles under her eyes and easily in her 40's.

Being Mrs. Tom Cruise -- despite all that money, must suck the life force plumb out of you. Maybe that's how Tom manages to look so youthful? He's stealing Katie's youth and drinking it?

Randal Graves said...

diva, you won't get any argument from me. Chicks who give convention the bird and old frog scribes rule.

liberality, woo! It comes with a substantial cash reward, right? Hey, where are you going, you forgot to give me my money!

dcap, nevermore, 'cause I think he's retired.

susan, as long as it's not a protein wit, I don't want to be Jeff Goldstein. Now where I did I put my jerkin and breeches...

sal, thanks, mon ami. Oh, shit, we're bilingual. I think we have to turn ourselves in to DHS.

christopher, Cruise being a vampire would explain a lot of things.

Spartacus said...

Keep hacking away my friend. Write until your fingers ache and you've punched holes through the sheets in your notebook with you pen.

Remember, even sculptors have to start with a block of granite. It's all part of the process.

And, when it seems like all is but a futile effort, and you feel compelled to quit and do more laundry, think of Jackson Pollock - the first person to turn paint splatters on canvas into fine art.

Randal Graves said...

I have no musical talent, so I've gotta do something. I'll finish the fucker, even if it takes years and is truly a piece of shit. There are six billion people, there's bound to be at least one who gets it.

Dr. Zaius said...

"It is easier to become a millionaire and live in Venetian palaces full of masterworks than to write one good page and be satisfied with oneself."

OK, you've convinced me. I'll take the Venetian palaces full of masterworks. ;o)