Tuesday, August 18, 2009 

The NERVOUS STOMACH Series: Ego-Strategy 34 – The Perils of Blogging

 

So I’m twenty eight and thinking that it’s a sin to let a blog go unblogged for nine months. But sins, like modern art museums or severance packages, must be evaluated relatively: how bad are they really?

I log back into my MySpace blog and start thinking about what the heck I’m going to write about…I mean we’ve lost Farah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon, Walter Cronkite, and that OxyClean guy. I launch into a diatribe about the media’s uneven coverage of these events…when a screechy metal sound starts up outside.

I ignore it.

Cooper, my faithful spitz husky, runs to the window barking furiously. But he does this every time a leaf rustles down the sidewalk, so I ignore him too.  

The sound gets louder — I start wondering if I’m going to be one of those people you see on TV describing what it’s like when a tractor trailer drives through your front wall — and finally I get up from the computer and join Cooper at the window.

“What’s up, Boy?” I ask.

I think if he could talk, he might have called me a bad word for my slow response…but that all gets lost as the wall in front of both of us explodes inward. 

“Coop!” I scream, swatting at drywall and glass shards. A cloud of dust surrounds both of us. I cough and fall backwards, grabbing for Cooper’s furry mane. 

I think I would have actually got it, but at that moment, a cold, steel hand clamps over my wrist. “Yahhh!” I yelp a high-pitched, girly yelp and consider that it’s not just made up when they say in movies and books that the manly hero “…was so frightened he actually peed his pants.”

The cold, steel hand is attached to a cold, steel body. One cold, steel camera-like lens/eye stares me in the face from a semi-human robot creature that has attached itself to my left arm. I now consider that it’s not outside the realm of possibility to believe it when they say the manly hero “…was so frightened he soiled his trousers.”

“Are you looking for the Terminator set?” I joke, trying simultaneously to lighten the mood and wrestle my wrist free. The lens/eye regards me and a metallic voice from inside the robot booms forth. 

“Are-you-Gregory-Gerard?” it asks in a flat, I’ll-show-no-emotion-as-I-rip-the-male-parts-from-your-quivering-body sort of voice.

“Ummm…who wants to know?” I stall for time. 

The lens/eye flashes bright blue, which I might think was kinda cool if the situation were slightly less life-threatening. “Voice-match-confirmed,” it says. “I-am-the-MySpace-BlogBot-and-you-are-in-violation-of-MySpace-required-blogging-policy-you-will-now-pay-the-agreed-upon-penalty.”

“Agreed by who?” I squeak out, glancing left and right, wondering if I can reach my Treo PDA with my right hand. It’s on the left side of my belt, so my initial attempts are unsuccessful. 

“Agreed-by-WHOM,” the BlogBot corrects me. “When-you-created-your-MySpace-account-you-checked-the-I-agree-to-terms-and-conditions-box-terms-which-state-that-all-MySpace-bloggers-leaving-blogs-unattended-for-a-period-of-six-or-more-months-shall-forfiet-one-body-part-for-each-unattended-month.”

 

My scrotum retracts into a tiny ball.

 

“That’s crazy!” I yell at the creature.

 

“That’s-MySpace,” it replies, reaching another cold, steel claw toward a part of my body that a man never wants somebody to reach for without first asking permission.

 

My mind races with the possibilities for escape…in the movies, every cyborg has some vulnerability: high voltage, hydrochloric acid, molten lava. None are in the near vicinity. “Ahhh!” I shout instead.

 

That’s when Cooper leaps through the drywall cloud, fangs bared. He lands on top of the clawed hand, which swings out of control, missing me entirely. I use the distraction to grab my Treo from its belt pouch. I flip open the power port and jamb it ass-first into the chest cavity of the BlogBot. “Take that!” I shriek.

 

A huge load of sparks spews into the air, making that same cool blue color as the lens/eye. Cooper completes his leap and rolls out of harm’s way. An acrid electric-wire burny smell fills the air as the robot releases my left hand and slumps onto the floor, smoldering.

 

Cooper and I stand over the steaming hulk, breathing heavily. I pause, pet my trusted four-legged friend, and grab hold of now-defunct steel claws. “Facebook is better, anyway,” I say, dragging the BlogBot out to the curb.

 

For FUN, I put my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net
For SERIOUS, I put my stuff at www.JupitersShadow.com
I invite you to visit my stuff.

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Friday, October 10, 2008 

The NERVOUS STOMACH Series: Ego-Strategy 33 – The Eighties
Current mood:Weather Beaten
Category: Life

Okay, I’m fourteen and it’s raining buckets of pails of bathtubs full of water on the roof of my parents’ big brick farmhouse.  The remnants of Hurricane Whoever, according to the weather guy (the one with the cute dimples) on The Weather Channel.  I don’t really care, I just want to be in my attic fort by myself.

The rain is louder up here and I’m okay with that because I have my I-Pod with all my 80s music blasting into my ears.  My attic fort is one of the best I ever made; piles of boxes surrounded by hanging blankets.  I brought up a power strip, Christmas lights, some comic books, and snacks.  Nobody knows I’m up here.  And my whole family has gone out for the evening, so not only do I have the whole attic to myself, I’ve got the whole house to myself.  

I love 80s music even though my friends at school think I’m weird.  I just think Madonna, Annie, Sheena, Olivia, and Debbie had it going on — and I don’t care what people think of me anyway.   

I’m singing all the “shu-bop shu-bops” in all the right places in “Here Comes The Rain Again”…that’s probably why I miss the renewed wall of rain that pummels our house.  I think it’s my calypso dancing during “The Tide Is High” that distracts me from noticing the tide rising from the pond out beyond the barn.  And the crunching from my fort snacks during “Thriller” probably explains why I miss the cadre of ghouls dancing across the back lawn toward our farmhouse.  

It’s my Tina Turner strutting during “What’s Love Got To Do With It” that brings me in front of the gable window.  I see it all at once: the rain, the tide, the ghouls, my danger. 

Too late, I realize I’m experiencing I.E.A.S. (I-Pod Environment Affective Syndrome).  A under-reported phenomenon where I-Pod overusage in sensitive-yet-intelligent teens has occasionally produced the inexplicable ability to bring songs to life. 

As the ghouls reach the wall and begin to climb toward my window, I glance at the song list on my I-Pod and scream — a high-pitched Homer-Simpson shriek — as the next song, “You Dropped a Bomb On Me”, queues up.

I race from my fort as I can just begin to hear the drone of a jet approaching through the gale…something throaty and huge, probably Army, probably filled with enough bombs to take out me, my 80s collection, and the ghouls too.  

I grab at my I-Pod, trying to get my shaking fingers to work the round control.  My fingers are greasy from the Cheetos I’ve been munching on…which doesn’t help things in any measurable way.   

The plane’s roar is now louder than the rain, the flooding tide, and the moaning ghouls put together.  I glimpse a fuselage against the darkened sky for just an instant as I yelp a prayer, grab at any title on the list and punch at the “Play” button. 

“You Dropped a Bomb On Me” cuts out and immediately “Walkin’ On Sunshine” blasts in my earphones.  In response, the clouds outside my window crackle, rumble, and break.  The plane motor recedes into the distance.  A beam of sunlight floods the attic and I dance around in very gay fashion.   

After I document the whole thing in my journal and the local newspaper has dismisses my story as “an unsubstantiated tale from a disturbed teen”, I sneak back to my great attic fort, scan the songs on my I-Pod, and pull up “It’s Raining Men”.    

For FUN, I put my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net
For SERIOUS, I put my stuff at www.JupitersShadow.com
I invite you to visit my stuff.

 

Thursday, August 07, 2008 

The NERVOUS STOMACH Series: Ego-Strategy 32 – TRAP(P)
Current mood:Making it happen…
Category: Life

Okay, I’m thirty-eight and it’s been one of the worst days at work EVER.  I just want to spend the evening soaking in vodka and The Sound of Music.

I’m trapped at a company that makes zero sense – I’m just been introduced to my fifth “virtual manager” in two years (because they’ve reorganized my department AGAIN and I report to yet-another person in yet-another state); my new dual-processor laptop runs slower than my crappy old one (‘It’s the new anti-theft corporate encryption software,’ my sys admin tells me), and my five-thirty conference call included a thirty-minute discussion over whether a picture of dolphins splashing around in the ocean captures the “synergy” of our group. 

You get the idea.

So I’m REALLY ready to have a white russian on the coffee table and Maria and the Von Trapps on the high-def plasma screen.  I’ve seen the movie like forty times, but I never get tired of singing along with great songs.  Songs like “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria” and “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”.  The show is my ultimate favorite. 

All my life, I’ve secretly imagined what it would have been like if my parents had put me up for auditions for the movie — Kurt, when I was a kid, Freidrick, when I was a teenager, and Rolf, when I was seventeen (going on eighteen).  Lately I’m thinking I might be hard-pressed to pull off Gayorg – but to sing a duet with Julie Andrews, I’d at least give it a shot (and I secretly think I sing better than Christopher Plummer does anyway).

I pop the DVD into the player, peel off my too-hot penny loafers, and prepare to launch into my overstuffed couch.  That’s when I realize I don’t have any Half-and-Half in the house (a key ingredient for my white russian.)

“Fuck,” I say out loud to no one.  

I scrounge the fridge for a few minutes, wondering if stale milk or powdered Cremora will successfully pinch hit but, in my heart, I know it will be more painful than my last personnel review.  I put the DVD on ‘PAUSE’, hop into my hybrid Honday, and head to the grocery store.

I negotiate past a screaming kid (drooling what looks like Cream of Wheat on his Sponge Bob overalls) and enter the dairy aisle, wondering if I’ll still have time to watch the bonus interviews with the cast members.  I softly sing “Doe, a Deer” – nailing all of the tricky “Doe-Me-Me, Me-Sew-Sew” parts – while I scan the aisle.  That’s when the shopper next to me grabs my arm. 

“Is that ‘The Sound of Music’ you’re singing?” she asks, staring at me. 

“Yeah,” I say, mentally willing her to disappear like the Von Trapps at the Saltzburg Music Festival.  Out of the corner of my eye, I search the cooler shelves for Half-and-Half.

“That was really good!” she says, gushing.  “My friend is a singer and, believe me, she’d be interested in hearing you.”

“No, really, I just want to grab some creamer,” I say, seeing the empty slot for the Half-and-Half pints.  Maybe they have some in the organic section, I think, ploting my escape.  

“Sing some more,” she encourages.  Praying it will get rid of her, I briefly launch into “Climb Every Mountain,” vibrating the high parts in my best mock Mother Superior, hoping it will drive her away. 

It doesn’t. 

She laughs, claps her hands, and grabs her cell phone.  “My friend is at the shop next door.  I”ll have her come right over.  She’s gotta hear this!”  

“Listen, Lady,—”

“I hear Christopher Plummer got his start this same way,” she talks over me, turning to flag down an attractive older woman who’s just entered the store.

I grab a quart carton of organic creamer and turn to scream at the woman and her friend –  to tell them that I don’t give a shit, that I just want to get home to my vodka and DVD, that I hate my job and them too – when I recognize her attractive older-woman friend.

It’s Julie-freaking-Andrews

“Do you like white russians?” I ask instead, launching into a heartfelt rendition of “I Have Confidence”.

For FUN, I put my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net
For SERIOUS, I put my stuff at www.JupitersShadow.com 
I invite you to visit my stuff.

 

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The NERVOUS STOMACH Series: Ego-Strategy 31 — WATERLOO
Current mood: Heroicly sated
Category: Heroicly sated Life

Okay, I’m fifty-eight — the same age as Meryl when she filmed Mamma Mia.  I saw the play up in Toronto, and I really liked it, so I wonder if I am going to enjoy the film version.  But it’s a Thursday afternoon on my “staycation”, and it’s pouring gallons of buckets of cats and dogs with some water buffalos thrown in, just to make this screwy summer weather even screwier, so I hit the theater.  I pay the $7 matinee price…which was the price for seven movies when I qualified for “Under 13 pays $1”.  But everything is relative.  My mom tells me she used to go to the movies for a dime for the whole day.  Who knows, maybe $7 will seem like a bargain in a couple of more election cycles.

But I’m in my seat in the semi-darkness, and I’ve got my $12 worth of popcorn and soda.  I’m thinking about how I could maybe open a black-market popcorn and soda stand just outside the theater and quit my day job when the screen finally comes to life.  I survive the 15 minutes of commercials (wondering why my $7 admission didn’t exempt me from such fodder) and the music starts. 

Meryl and I are the same age, but I’m considering that she is freakin’ awesome playing a part that is twenty years too young for her and still pulling it off — jumping around the Greek inn, running along the dock, being a Dancing Queen.  The movie’s okay, but Meryl steals the show.  When she sings “The Winner Takes It All” to Pierce Brosnan on the steps of that gorgeous Greek island with the sunset in the background, pouring out her heart, I actually cry. 

The crying is why everything else happens. 

While the credits are rolling, I dab at my eyes with my buttery salty popcorn fingers.  The salt burns and I start to feel the sharp pain I get when something is under my contact.  For those who don’t wear contacts, it’s somewhere between having your cornea peeled off with a pair of tweezers and dripping hydrochloric acid into your pupil.  Either way, my eye is burning and I stumble to the nearest bathroom. 

Through my salt haze, I don’t notice it’s the employee bathroom.  Or that it’s “Closed for Maintenance”.  I rush to the sink, yank out my contact, gush water into my palm, and thank God that I live in a spot on the globe that has hot and cold running water. 

With my contact seated firmly back on my eyeball, I heave a sigh of relief and turn away from the mirror.  And stare at the small circle of half-naked men and women sitting yoga style atop what appears to my non-trained, salt-free eyes, to be a pile of explosive materials.  It’s not conclusive, but the wires, strange liquid tanks, digital timer (there’s always a timer!) and slightly acrid smell clue me in.  Like something you would see on TV or in a movie.  Except it would be somebody like Matt Damon or Angelina Jolie confronting the bomb, not fifty-eight-year-old me. 

“We are the Children of America”, a guy wearing what might double for a loincloth in a Tarzan movie, says to me, as they all join hands and stare at me.  “This room is closed for maintenance.”

“I had something in my eye…” I offer, checking out the digital readout.  It says “93”.  I wonder briefly if it’s minutes or seconds, until it flips to “92” and then “91”. 

Seconds.

“We are protesting the effect of America’s entertainment industry on the world’s morals,” Tarzan continues, shifting on his explosive perch enough for me to see more of his business than I care too at the moment. 

“By blowing up the theater?” I say, my eyes darting to the hand dryer, the soap dispenser, the mirror.  There are NO weapons in reach. 

“Well, actually, more like the whole block,” he smiles, a crooked, toothy grin, that tells me his parents’ didn’t believe in corrective dental surgery. 

I look again at the timer, which now reads “68”.  I have a little over a minute to act.  But what can I do?  My boss keeps sending jobs to India; my knees hurt when I get out of bed each morning, even when I take my glucosomine; my DVR deleted three episodes of Monk without asking me.  Maybe the American way isn’t worth saving, I allow the defeatist thought to float by. 

Only for a moment.

Because then I think of Abba singing WATERLOO; I think of my spitz-husky, Cooper, waiting at home for his supper; and I think of Meryl, at fifty-eight, racing through that Greek town singing DANCING QUEEN loud enough to blow a computer speaker.  Pride, anger, and indignation rise in equal quantities in my chest.

“Hey, Children of America,” I shout.  They all turn my way, still holding hands.  “Just because we’ve put out some dogs like “X-Files: I Want to Believe” is no reason to give up on American entertainment.  We also put out “Sophie’s Choice”, “The Sound of Music”, and “Nine to Five”, thank you very much!”

“I like “The Sound of Music”,” one of the girls to his right pipes up.

“Shut up,” he barks at her.  He turns his focus to me, breaks from the circle, and approaches.  He’s taller standing up, and muscular enough to make me rethink my position.  “So you believe American values should continue to pervert the global culture?” he asks, flexing his biceps.  The crooked front teeth have kiwi seeds stuck in them, I note. 

The readout is now “41”.

“Well,” I say, easing toward the first stall, “it depends on your definition of perversion.  For me, blowing up a movie theater ranks pretty high up there.” 

  He kicks out at my crotch but I anticipate him.  With visions of Meryl storming the Greek citadel, I dive sideways and scream “LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME!”

I reach into the stall and yank the predictably loose toilet seat from the top of the john.  It comes off cleanly in my hand, forming a large horse-shoe shaped weapon.  I’m good at horseshoes. 

Tarzan rushes me.

“TAKE YOUR CHANCE BUT BELIEVE ME!” I holler, swinging the hard-plastic seat at his skull.  The resounding crack brings him to a hard stop on the cold tile floor. 

“‘CAUSE IT’S TRUE!  I LOVE AMERICA!” I shout, whipping the horseshoe-shaped seat at the bomb’s digital timer (Did I mention I’m good at horseshoes?) I briefly see the number 22 blink and disappear, as a small cloud of smoke drifts lazily toward the flourescent lights above.

“I DO, I DO, I DO, I DO, I DO!” I finish the song, screaming at the Children of America.  They stare at me and blink.  The conscious ones, anyway.

Later, I love that MEET THE PRESS starts a blog about my patriotism; I love that OLDER AMERICAN features me in their “Fifty and Fit” anthology; I even love that Hollywood Boulevard dedicates a star to me — dubbing me “The Heart of American Entertainment”. 

But it’s the invite to a one-on-one evening with Meryl Streep in her own home –“Bring Cooper along!” she says, laughing that sweet, throaty laugh — that makes me feel truly heroic. 

For FUN, I put my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net
For SERIOUS, I put my stuff at www.JupitersShadow.com 
I invite you to visit my stuff.

 

                                                                     

Currently   listening :
  Waterloo  
  By ABBA
  Release date: 2001-07-02     

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The NERVOUS STOMACH Series: Ego-Strategy 30 — DRUNK
Category: Life

Okay, I’m nineteen and they are changing the drinking laws tomorrow.  Today, I’m old enough to drink legally. Tomorrow, when the state’s fiscal year kicks in, my sip of beer will be a matter for the courts.  So today, I stock up.

I’m actually sipping vodka — Grey Goose Citron, which sounds like something I would like, because I like lemonade…but it doesn’t really taste like lemonade, it’s just bitter vodka like everything other alcohol.  I bought a full liter bottle (which set me back $30) but considering that it’s my last vodka for two years, when I become “street legal” once again, I decide that it’s worth it.

I’ve squeezed some sugar and lemon into my Grey Goose Citron, to make it seems more lemonade-y…since I’m really too young to be drinking such things, and it’s much too strong to taste good.  I only succeed in making it less bitter, but, as I’ve learned since I turned nineteen and began to drink legally, it gives me the pleasant buzz that I crave — the one that helps me forget that I’m different from everybody else.  And that I don’t know how to tell anybody that.  

I’m camping with my high school friends.  We’re at my parents’ cottage on the smallest lake in the my state — only thirty feet deep, only one mile long — but a lake, nonetheless.  My friends are making a campfire near the shore, of course carrying on about which girls from college they want to pork.  I have no such desires and, with the numbing distance of the alcohol, I’m considering telling Bob, my high school heart’s desire, that he is my high school heart’s desire.  Bob with his large, masculine hands that give me a backrub whenever we’re hanging out in his bedroom in front of the drum set.  Bob with the ruddy outdoorsman tan even in the middle of winter.  Bob with the brown eyes that threaten to swallow me whole every time he stares into my face and smiles.

All of which will probably shock them, but ‘what the hell’, I think, through my tipsy reasoning.

That’s when all actual hell breaks loose by the campfire.  I have stepped away behind a tree to do that thing that men do in the woods behind trees, when the guys started screaming.  I finish quickly and hurry back, to see them cornered in the cottage’s maintenance alcove by the largest black bear I’d ever seen.

We’d read all the warnings when we drove through town: BLACK BEARS SPOTTED IN VICINITY — SECURE ALL FOOD ITEMS. We’d even listened as the old farmer at the gas pump told us how he’d spotted two or three bears near his cow-barn the previous week.  “I gave ’em a blast from ol’ Sam,” he said, patting the shotgun that hung at the rear of his truck’s cab.  “That gave ’em somethin’ to think about besides tearin’ into my cattle.”

But we’d been to the cottage lots of times — in winter, with our cross-country skiis, in spring with our rubber raft, in summer with our cases of beer, and in fall, with our school sweatshirts and Yahtzee board — and the only invaders we’ve spotted have been flying ants.  So we pay little attention to the old farmer or the warning signs.  

But now we’re here and we’re drunk on this last day of drinking and a black bear has trapped my dearest friends — including Bob. 

Bob.

I’m normally kind of shut down on rage — but Grey Goose Citron has empowered my expression.  A bear is threatening Bob.  The guy whose mental image keeps me from crying when my dad is stumbing up to bed after chewing me out.  I don’t need to know any more.

In a split-second, an episode from Scooby Doo runs through my head.  I was only five when I saw it, and I’m a little fuzzy on the details, but Shaggy and Scooby charmed some ferocious animal with classical music.  I consider I might do the same. 

“YAAAAHHHHHEEEE!” I scream (a very masculine, gutteral yaaaaahhhhhee — at least it seems that way to me) and I slap at the play button on the boom box. Unfortunately, it’s not classical music loaded in the player, it’s my PURE DISCO disk.  “I Will Survive”, by Gloria Gaynor, blasts into the night lake air.  The bear turns to look at the commotion. 

Something inside me snaps.  Maybe it’s seeing Bob backed flat against the cement blocks of the cottage maintenance area — maybe it’s the way the bear kind of reminds me of my dad and his belt when he’d had a couple of Tom Collins — or maybe it’s just the inspiration of great dance music mixed with great vodka.  Whatever the cause, I leap on top of the nearby picnic table and begin to taunt the wild animal. 

“BUT THEN I SPENT SO MANY NIGHTS THINKING HOW YOU DID ME WRONG, AND I GREW STRONG!” I yell.

The bear looks at me and grunts.

“AND I LEARNED HOW TO GET ALONG!”  I shout into his face.

“DO YOU THINK I’D CRUMBLE?  DO YOU THINK I’D LAY DOWN AND DIE?” I shriek.

The bear abandons my friends and comes at me.

“OH NO, NOT I!” I scream at him.  Grabbing the half-empty Citron bottle, I shove it straight-forward into the bear’s open gullet.  The clear liguid glug-glugs down his throat as he swats a massive paw at my midriff.  I dive sideways, motioning to my friends to retreat. 

“I WILL SURVIVE!” I wail into the night, dancing and feinting back and forth for several minutes, avoiding his advances as I leap across the table, around the trees, down toward the dock, the bear lumbering along, swiping and growling, becoming more and more unsteady with each step, until he finally pitches sideways onto the ground.  Breathing heavily, he lies there wheezing, another Grey Goose Citron drunk.

Later, after the local veterinary clinic picks him up (he gives a grand burp when they lift him into the transport van), after the lake association interviews me for an article in the local paper, “Lakeside Letters”, after my other friends have returned to their parents’ houses,

Bob hangs behind at the cottage with me alone, rubbing my back, whispering over and over how grateful he is.

   

For FUN, I put my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net
For SERIOUS, I put my stuff at www.JupitersShadow.com 
I invite you to visit my stuff...

 

                                                                     

Currently   listening :
  Pure Disco  
  By Various Artists
  Release date: 1996-10-08     

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The NERVOUS STOMACH Series: Ego-Strategy 29 — WICKED
Current mood: wicked
Category: wicked Life

I’m twenty nine — which gets me lots of age jokes — and listening AGAIN to the Wicked soundtrack from the Tony Award-winning play.  I’ve listened to it about a hundred times since I saw the traveling show, and my friends are now threatening intervention if I don’t switch back to some of my regular music — like Sheena Easton or Pet Shop Boys.  I just nod and turn up the volume.

I’m heading down Park   Ave. on my lunch hour with my headphones on, so I’m kind of tuning out the people who are walking all around me.  Except the guys who have their shirts off, but that goes without saying.

It’s one of those excruciatingly humid summer days…when, if I was 17, I’d spend the day by my mom’s pool with a Stephen King book and a six-pack of Country-Time lemonade.  But I’m 29, so I’m here on Park Ave. with only enough time on my lunch hour to take a walk around the ‘hood, grab an orange smoothie from my favorite cafe, and dream about “Defying Gravity” like Elphaba.

That’s when the people all around me start grabbing their ears, falling to the ground, and tearing off their clothes.  Shooting across the sky, then hovering, a thin guy wearing a yellow/green full-body suit a la Freddie Mercury appears above us, standing on some round flying device (it looks like a big upsidedown frisbee) laughing at the crowd writhing in pain below him.  Noting that his suit is a little tighter around the crotch than would be decent in polite company, I recognize him as “SoundByte”, our state’s most notorious conservative criminal, who overpowers any citizens he perceives as “liberals” with an incapacitating electronic sonar device.  Gays are at the top of his list.

He traditionally knocks them out with his excruciating sonic signal, then steals their cash and their clothing.  He’d victimized nearly every section of our vastly-liberal community (with the exception of the nudist beach).  Citizens hate and fear him. 

Staring up at his sinister sneer, I realize that I must be immune to his weapon due to my KOSS sound-blocking ear-bud headphones — and the extra loud decibels that I use when I’m listening to Wicked.  That’s when he locks eyes with me.  I see his mouth drop open in surprise that I’m still standing — and still clothed.  He reaches down and turns up a dial on some device strapped to his waist.  A piercing electronic buzzing tries to seep into my ears.  I grab my Treo and turn the volume up three more notches, as “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” screams in my ears.  Better that than what this villain has planned for me. 

When he perceives that I’m still unharmed, his head begins to shake with the kind of crazy rage you only see in movies like Clockwork Orange or Pulp Fiction.   I know that I (an probably most of the now-naked citizens lying around on the nearby ground) am toast if I don’t do something.  

The upsidedown frisbee begins to spin and dip, bringing SoundByte down almost face to face with me.  He’s got a look in his eyes that reminds me of a kid on the playground in third grade who beat another kid with his fist until the knuckles were gushing blood. 

I think about panicking.  But since most of the liberal/lunch-hour/Park Ave. citizens today are mostly handsome and well-built young men, who are now naked all around me, I am absurdly comforted.  A surge of adrenaline flushes through me.  That’s when I get the idea.  It just might save my life, so I actually laugh out loud, which only makes the protruding veins on his neck pump and throb. 

“You are DEAD,” I read his lips as he pulls two pulsing discs from a pouch near his crotch.  I can only imagine what pain they will cause me.  I don’t intend to find out. 

“Al Gore really won the 2000 election!” I scream over the sound of the Broadway soundtrack in my ears and dive hard to the right — directly through the doorway of our local “green” store.  Rolling a perfect somersault, I land on my feet and run to the far corner of this store I visit often.  If they still have the “Space Chamber” set up, I know I have a chance.

SoundByte can’t fit his frisbee-flyer through the doorway, so he hops off and rushes in behind me.  It delays him for only a moment — but it’s enough. 

As he tears down the aisle with the pamphlets on solar panels and sod rooftops, I squirt gobs of natural bee honey — from the 5-gallon barrel next to the checkout —  onto the floor.  It’s sticky enough to have the desired effect. SoundByte screams (although I only see his mouth move, because Elphaba and Glinda are now belting out “I Have Been Changed For Good” in my ear-buds) and slides through the bee honey, then flips, then lands in the green-energy Space Chamber display.  It’s been set up to demonstrate how radiant energy can transverse space in the absence of air — AND SOUND.  In a second, I’ve slammed the chamber’s solid hatch closed.  Only then do I dare to turn off the music to my headphones.  Although I can’t hear him — for sound requires air to transmit — through the smoked glass in the center of the hatch, I sense SoundByte’s silent shrieks.  I see him gasp for breath as I use my Treo to dial 9-1-1. 

When I’m convinced the police are on their way, I restart my favorite Broadway soundtrack and, watching the veins in SoundByte’s neck turn a cool blue inside the airless chamber, sing out loud “No One Mourns The Wicked”. 

I’ll let him out before he suffers permanent damage.

For FUN, I put my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net
For SERIOUS, I put my stuff at www.JupitersShadow.com 
I invite you to visit my stuff.

Or just come BLOG with me at Jupiter’s Blog:  http://s201469902.onlinehome.us/

                                                                     

Currently listening :
  Wicked (2003 Original Broadway Cast)
  By Stephen Schwartz
  Release date: 2003-12-16     

Monday, June 23, 2008

The NERVOUS STOMACH Series: Ego-Strategy 28 — BROADWAY
Current mood: in a New York state of mind
Category: in a New York state of mind Life

So I’m thirty-four and heading down to NYC to see a Broadway show.  Maybe Mamma Mia.  Maybe Wicked.  I don’t actually have tickets — my plan is to get in the “will call” line of some hit show and look pitiful enough for someone to actually take pity and sell me a ticket. 

It’s pouring, so I consider that standing in any line will be painful.  I pray for a wide awning.

I’m driving instead of flying, so I pay my toll at the Lincoln Tunnel and begin the game of “Frogger” on the streets of New   York.  The traffic is fierce; it’s Thursday evening and all the bustle of “tomorrow is Friday so we have to get everything done today” chokes even the little side streets.  Especially with the rain, that seems even more thunderous between the skyscrapers.  

I cut from the Roosevelt freeway down 42nd Street (singing the song in my head) trying to get close enough to Times Square that I won’t get soaked walking up the Avenue.  The digital clock on my dashboard is reading 7:23, so I’m starting to stress about my chances of getting a ticket to ANY show.  Or even getting to the theater on time.  I consider bagging the whole thing and just heading back home when I accidentally clip a pedestrian with the very tiny deer whistle that sticks out an extra inch on my front bumper. 

He goes down, out of sight over the dashboard.  I hop out of the car.  “Are you okay?”  I gasp, trying not to mentally calculate the dollars in the lawsuit he’s going to take out against me, the Honda Corporation, and the manufacturer of the deer whistle.  I also regret that I never believed in umbrellas — but that’s a secondary concern at the moment. 

He looks startled, but not hurt.  “I think so,” he says, standing up.  His umbrella (which he obviously believes in) is a mangled stump underneath my right front tire.  That’s when I realize it’s none other than Matthew Broderick, star of “The Producers” and “War Games.” 

We both stare at his ruined umbrella as the rain continues.

“I gotta get uptown fast,” he shouts at me over the crack of thunder.  “I’ll never get a cab in this weather.” 

“My carsa su carsa,” I joke, hoping my friendly humor will reduce the size of his settlement.  We get in.

“I’m Greg,” I say, wondering if it’s too early in the trip to ask for his autograph.  I fiddle with the heat controls, trying to keep the windows from fogging up — which I’m SURE is the reason I accidentally strike the second pedestrian.  I hope out again, mortified. 

Lying in the street in front of my car, it’s none other than Sarah Michelle Gellar, star of “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.”  “Are you okay?” I scream into the monsoon. 

“Just get me uptown,” she hops up and into my car.

My hands tremble as I introduce my two passengers and head north.  It’s probably the fact that I keep glancing in my rear-view mirror that I gently strike the third pedestrian. 

“Ahhh!” I shriek and throw the car into “Park”.  Before I can get the door all the way open, the guy pops up from the street and jumps into the back seat of my car.  It is none other than David Duchovny, my hero from “The X-Files.” 

“Uptown” he barks.

My mind is swimming like the torrent near the curbs.  I head uptown.  My three passengers chat amiably as I try to consider what to say to them — what polite thing do you say to your onscreen heroes in real life?  But I don’t get any words out before we pass 47th   Street.  “My stop!” Sarah yells.  I pull over and she slides a couple of tickets to a show my way.  “You’re a sweetheart,” she says, giving my cheek a peck and hopping out.

I drive north.  “Pull over!” Matthew yells and hops out, before I’m able to ask him about what it’s like to live with Sarah Jessica Parker.  He slaps a couple of tickets into my handshake.  “Come see the show sometime,” he says.

I continue driving up Broadway.  It’s my last chance to say something — anything! — to get my last passenger’s attention. 

“So do you keep in touch with Gillia–” I start to say.  His hand is already on the doorknob.

“My stop,” he grins at me and drops a couple of tickets on the front seat.  “Stay dry,” he says and steps away from my car.

I stay at the curb and kick myself for not even taking a digital picture of the three of them with my cell phone.  That’s when my car door opens for the fourth time that evening. 

“Can you give me a ride? I can’t get a cab in this weather!” says Christopher Meloni, staring hopefully into my face. 

For FUN, I put my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net
For SERIOUS, I put my stuff at www.JupitersShadow.com 
I invite you to visit my stuff.

Seriously./

                                                                     

Currently listening :
  Wicked (2003 Original Broadway Cast)
  By Stephen Schwartz
  Release date: 2003-12-16