I woke up feeling tired, even though I thought that I had slept through the night. My wife Sally looked like she hadn’t slept much either. I expected her to complain about my snoring, but she surprised me by saying “Duke, when did you become a great singer?”
Here we are at week 165. This is one of the most up to date postings that I’ve ever written.
Underneath a billboard beside the highway, an imperious impression of a gorilla spun a banana-shaped sign which read “Free cable & HBO & air conditioning.” It was early spring and the air cool and crisp, but the gorilla had been at it for several hours—throwing the sign up in the air, swirling it around his limbs, passing it around his back—the man underneath undoubtedly hot from the body heat trapped in his fake polyester furs. Cars filled with people on their way to work would occasionally honk hello, and the gorilla man would wave and point at the sign. The cars would then slowly pass, the occupants smiling and nodding but not looking directly at him.
This is the story of a girl who became a goose.
It began with a broken heart. Eloise found herself crying in unexpected places at unexpected times. In the grocery line, when a clerk with kind eyes asked with such sincerity, How are you today?, her eyes brimmed. The answer swelled in her throat. She had to look away and mutter Fine, I’m fine. She was not.
“Tell me where it hurts,” he says.
Are you fucking kidding me? There isn’t enough time for that. But I know he’s not asking about that. My eyes are black from the corners to across the bridge of my nose, swollen across the bridge. My nose feels like hamburger meat rotting on a kitchen counter that we forgot to put away because Kenny actually showed up on time with the dope for once. That meat sweated and swelled and stank for a week before we finally came down and realized there was a dead animal rotting next to the empty cans of beer and overflowing ashtrays and stacks of dollar bills from a great weekend at the club.
Whatever happened to the power-chord?
To which my boyfriend lit a bowl
Was A Stairway to Heaven really the greatest song?
Think it over as you pass that on
Said he’d love me till the end of time;
Forever came to stay in 1989
Still, he was never all so great;
For me that bell had tolled in ‘88
Thirty years go by in the glaze of an eye;
Can it be it’s always the promising future that lies?
When my sister Tess and I were girls we’d often visit our father’s grave in New Town Cemetery. Although he had died suddenly when I was two and Tess an infant (thus destined to be little more to us than a face in the family photo album and a grave in the cemetery), we’d make time for “Dear Father” because we had agreed that it was the sort of thing daughters should do. I would recite a psalm memorized from Granna Ivy’s Bible, and Tess would lay a hastily clapped-together bouquet of daisies, buttercups and bluebells on his headstone. I recall admonishing her for the frequent inclusion of dandelions to the arrangement, “Those are weeds, numbskull.” Tess would defend the addition of dandelions on the grounds that “Nobody grows daisies, buttercups or bluebells on purpose, either, bonehead.”
Aliens Invade Florida! You May Be Next!
There are weird spots all around this country—like Plano, Texas, home of the Cockroach Hall of Fame and Museum—and then there’s Hell Country, a patch of the Everglades so remote, it stands apart from time altogether. As a crack reporter for the Weekly World News, I’d visited a number of strange and eerie sites, but Hell County was a whole different animal. No one goes to Hell Country unless they’re running drugs or fleeing the law. It’s a network of badlands full of lightning-struck sawgrass marshes and impenetrable cypress and mangrove forests lost to the brackish reserves of time. Hell Country’s marshes are so vast, so immeasurable, that their topography changes over the hundreds of miles this river of grass consumes, from stale pine forests to coastal prairies whose more colorful denizens include stone crabs, alligators, and Burmese pythons. Oddly enough, though, it isn’t the pythons—which I’ve photographed—that haunt me to this day. It’s my friend from fifty years ago, Dalton Trummel, the last of a strange breed of tabloid reporters who never let well enough alone and vanished because of it.