Dateline - Portland, ME

The Screwheads almost got me today. It was a tight race. Left Malden MA in a state of general disarray and heat prostration, whatever the fuck that means. Had to drive Dan to work so i could use his car to get up here to register the new future Duke II, the BAY -oootiful Chevay(sic) Caprice Classic Brougham i picked up from Don Vito Sr., the 70-something tattooed ex-wiseguy still on the lam, still flying beneath the radar, laying low, being cool, a cool old dude outlaw from Boston's North End, no longer the leg-breaker of his younger daze but still more than at home in a front yard curbside conflict when some punks park in front of his house and toss their trash out the window & tell the old man to get fucked when he calls he them on it.

Got lotsa good stories like this outa my uncle last night when the power went out on Vernon Street and the two of us, unable to sleep in the humid heat w/o the blessed A/C, sat out back under the grape arbor and chewed the fat, shot the shit, whatnot all.

So when the punks piss him off, old Don Vito walks over to the trunk of his car, the car he just sold me, pulls a fuckin bigass club outa the trunk, and commences to go Al Pacino Scarface fuckin nuts on the punks, challenging any one of them to take him on, he and his WWII forearm tats from the Pacific "theater"(as i think its called) and his bigass kickass club and 70-somethin year old bones and his 20-something Italiano bravado, unaged like some chunk of plutonium lodged in the brain, shelf-life 4000 years, paying no heed to arthritic hands of time.

Fuck that. The old man is merely and more than merely the young man in a rumpled suit, like that of a fat man gone skinny with no money for new clothes.

Don Vito. The Screwheads. How to register an old car in New England when it will no longer pass these state's hardass inspections. Two bits of irony about all this: one, the Massatwoshits fuckahs wouldn't give me (give anyone) a temporary permit to transport the car outa state. "But you GUYS don't want it!" I said. "You won't let the old man register it anymore. Why the fuck can't i take it outa state, off your hands, recycle it without the horror and degradation to the vehicular soul of crushing, smashing, and reselling as a new fangled sure-to-fetch-a-healthy-mortgage Japanese piece of shit?

Okay, i digress. Point two: Maine, god love em they did let me register the thing here, but damn did my jaw drop when, after a trip to the motor vehicle registry led to a detour to the Portland City Hall to pay EXCISE taxes on the car which i thought would run $10 or so for an old used beater, the bastids charged me $57! Tax, apparently based on the original sale price of the car! Original sale price?!?! Give me a fucken brake. Or a break. The caaaah's 15 years old!

Fuckahs. To whit, i won the battle with the Screwheads today thanks to pure gonzo bullheadedness and the kindness of my tippy friends here in Ptown who let me "move in" to their 7th floor downtown flat for the sake of appeasing the beee-oreo-crack-tic fuckkas so i could drive my new Duke II across America for the betterment and the future gonzoment of mankind. Hu-mankind.

August 14th, 2002

Dateline - A bus on Rt. 93 north

Lightning crashes, an old mother dies, her intentions fall to the floor. WBCN Boston. Shaving on the T. Racing at the speed of x, roaring east coast urban day, bound for S. Station where i'll no doubt arrive w/seconds to spare to catch the Trailways to Manchester to catch the last seat on the last flight to Cali.

I'm Charley Bucket singing i've got a golden ticket.. a Southwest voucher i bid on & won literally in the very last seconds of the auction, winning two unrestricted one ways tickets to anywhere Southwest flies. And shit-o-damn the Red Line T connection is a mile away through a heinous labyrinth of underground tunnels, then whoosh! Away on the Red Line, first stop, South Station. But aurgh! I'm falling back fast, losing ground, losing hope as the stairways and halls and signs pointing the way stretch out ahead of me in Looking Glass-acid tunnel vision nightmare mode.

The jokes on me. And by the time I hit the bus terminal on the far outskirts of the vast & overpeopled city that is South Station, I hear the voice overhead. "Final boarding call for Concord Trailways to Manchester."

Up the escalator I bound. A strap on my Filene's shopping bag snaps as the vast assortment of my carry-on crap takes its toll in weight. Run. Run. Run like the devil to the ticket counter. But which one is it? There are easily a dozen, all with lines. I'll never make it. I run for the gate hoping the driver can take cash. I make it just as he's taking the last ticket. Can he sell me a ticket? I demand. No.

NO!??! "Come on, Man. I've got to catch this bus! Please!" No way. Can't do, he says. Gotta buy yer ticket at the counter. Dammit! This world just isn't configured for the simple yet harried logic which i unfortunately (in this case anyway) espouse. I run to the ticket counter. No line!! A flash of foolish hope. Two black women share idle conversation behind the counter. Neither seems to see me. Unbelievable. i'm forced to interrupt them. "Can I get a ticket for the bus??!" I'm frantic. Ten bucks. It's the fastest ticket sale of my life. Snap! Bang! Ticket in hand I run.

Gone. The bus is gone. I'll never make my plane. Doomed.

Now on the two o'clock bus. Not holding out a lot of hope. A little. I would never have dared think I could catch the 3:35 plane from the 2 o'clock bus. But why not?

I mean, if you're gonna play "rushin' roulette" with last minute ticket reservations and last minute fast runs from house to subway to bus to taxi to plane, you may as well bet the farm, go for broke. Really push those nerves to their penultimate end. God loves a good race and the best and bravest of men would never turn their backs on a spine-snapping, rabid gorilla challenge like this.

So i'm in. I cast my lot and ante up. It didn't take much synaptic ferreting to figure out that when that bastard bus driver who couldn't be bothered left me standing there with my balls in my hand, that there was no other, faster means of getting from Boston to Manchester than that of the next bus an hour later.

But much to the credit of the big Vegas house deck in the sky, missing the 1 o'clock bus didn't put me out of the game. It just took all my chips, stripped me to my underwear (which for those of you who don't know me well means `bare') and said, like many a nigger-killing, shotgun-totin' redneck has said to a terrified black man, "Run, boy. Run if you dare!"

So here i sit, utterly tweaked on checked-adrenaline, stuck in the millisecond vaporlock between lightning flash and thunder clap, staring bug-eyed over a bus driver's shoulder at a traffic-choked Route 93. And all i can think about is the taxi on the other end, the quoted 15 minute ride from bus station to airport, and what that leaves me to catch my plane: twenty minutes tops. More like ten.

I've called the airline, done the math, made my peace with the Universe (deal with the devil). Heck, it's only the last seat on the last plane out this weekend & they don't give away unclaimed seats til 10 mins. before takeoff.

I'll be fine. -RSM

(Later that same day..)

Uhoh. Pure madness. Total coverage. Justin, my attorney, just aggravated my hemorrhoids by driving over an embankment at 70 miles per hour. Naturally, he never spilled his drink. So its Jack Daniels Downhome Punch and smokes, the kind of "smoke after good sex" that we just had on the bar at Chilis with Barb, our surrogate mom, who fooled me into thinking maybe she had children given that she carded me (first time i've been in a long time- its all the eyes you know) and therefore i should have known that Barb, little hot trollop twang on a stick that she was/is, was/is only 19 years old. Shit.

I mean what professional bartender would ever, even on their most jaded, full-of-oneself sober night, never would they have looked into these eyes and questioned that i was anything less than a professional drinker. You don't, after all, become a professional drinker overnight. This shit takes time. Years.

And got knows how many uncollected bottle caps, corks, and spent empty tinfoil sacks of boxed wine (deflated like a birthday balloon in that grim week-after the party time when all the sane people have gone home to their sane and stable lives) i have drank in my long, weird squat on this planet. Me, left like tom hanks in Joe versus the Volcano, the poetic and sardonic yet so blatant message-conveying story about a bored to death cubicle dweller who would rather throw himself in a volcano at the behest of Abe Begota and a mad tribe of orange soda fiends than live one more dull and meaningless day of a life he did not invent for himself.

Me, left here in New Hampshire by Southwest (though all blame belongs to that fucking Concord-Trailways bus driver!!) like the last gringo reporter left standing atop the U.S. embassy in Saigon as the Khmer Rouge closes in for the kill and the helicopters in the distance peter out in an ever-softening wump, wump, wump.

Silence. Humidity. No more flights til Monday.



Dateline - Tilton Island

Tilton, New Hampshire. Home of the prestigious Tilton School, that place up on the hill overlooking town from whence a few years back, the story goes, came a couple of young outa town boys from privileged families (out of town because no resident of Tilton could afford the place) to gang rape a local girl and the town has kept the whole student body under lock and key ever since. My uncle cited this incident as one of two reasons why his local business here failed. The other? The arrival of Wal-Mart, of course.

(Later that night..)

Dateline - Manchester NH

Tool concert with the cuzins. Maynard in a black diaper singing to the back curtain. Free dope and a free ticket. And it's a good thing for the dope. I don't know. Yes I do. I am not impressed. With the performance anyway. Love the music, especially when it is rumbling around the corridors of my brain through headphones. But this? Ten thousand earnest fans throwing down $50 a pop to watch two massive video screens full of weird animation whilst far away on a poorly-lit stage a tiny white vocalist jerks and shudders and flails his hands in a curious one-sided conversation with the back curtain. Very strange. Good animation, mind you. But a very, very strange anti-performance if ever I've seen one.

But then concerts just don't do it for me. Never did I guess. I'm grateful for the ticket as I always am for any new experience. And this was a new experience.

And I'm lucky. I had the pleasure of meeting Maynard in the summer of 2000 when friend Paz played bass for Perfect Circle. We were backstage conversing in the final minutes of headliner NIN's performance, I think it was, Paz's sister Anna, Maynard and myself. Anna excused herself to go do something, leaving me standing there with this little bald man with no shirt and a goblet of red wine in his hand. Forever ill at ease with idle conversation, I fired up the silence with this little, genuinely naive out-of-the-loop question: "So, what do you do?"

I had no idea that this bald dude backstage was the same long-haired front man of my friend's new band. Wig. Get it?

Now in the club across the street from the Verizon Wireless Arena doing my best to duck away from the loud fucking dj music in here, to be alone with my vodka cran and my thoughts. No good. Too many tv screens and too much bad, blaring pop crap. Why is everything on tv a fucking courtroom drama? If I didn't hate tv enough before, i definitely hate it now. Should be call lawyer vision. And all these frickin "reality" tv shows. Voyeur vision. "What will it be tonight, honey? Lawyer Vision or Voyeur Vision? Hmm. Tough choice.

How about we shoot the tv and I just fuck you in the ass for an hour or so, like the old days, your tiny feet fluttering in the air while the top of your head taps time on the headboard and your little fingers choke fistfuls of hot summer sheets like the hands of children twirling tissue-paper ghosts on Halloween?

The day they make TV better than that, I promise, I vow, I'll hang up my hat.

Aug ust 18, 2002

Dateline - 35,000 feet over America

Well, it's about fucking time! Hoooray. Escape is soo nice. If you can get yourself some, i highly recommend it. The guy beside me is some kinda beverage automaton. The way his left arm goes up and down, drink up, cup down, drink up, cup down.

Escape. Yes. Which brings me to the subject of my wallet. You've seen the commercials and the little featurettes in dumbass style magazines where they tell you the contents of so-n-so celebrity's purse, or what's in their cd player, all that crap. Well, over the past year i have amassed quite a collection, sometimes spent but quickly replenished, of vouchers, what i call get out of jail free cards or golden tickets. in my wallet right now i have: one Amtrak travel coupon worth $63 of future travel (compensation for the last time i took that perpetually late-running beast the train); one Southwest Airlines voucher (truly the golden ticket!) good for travel anywhere in the U.S. at any time at a moments notice; one crumpled up leftover itinerary from some new airline, the name of which escapes me at the moment, containing the #s needed to claim the $70 or so i have left (after penalties) with them after the Tippy House project went into overtime prompting me to skip my flight west a few weeks ago; and still another crumpled scrap of paper containing the res. # from a flight ticket i purchased last December with SW, still worth its full $103. Is that it? Got to love it, eh Rocky?

Burning Man. I've been going since 95 and have watched it swell way beyond any imagined proportions. but then, after the tool concert last night, i am reminded why that is. the passive, sit back and be entertained, stick your self in a stadium w/zillions of people and squint at the little white figure far away onstage thing JUST ISN'T MY STYLE and really, i don't think is healthy for anyone. The sense of distance between you and "the creative act" your witnessing is too gross, big, wide that is.

That's the way the thunder rumbles. That's the way the bee bumbles. Flyin over the earth, America my cunt-tree tis of thee, getting radio reception way up here in the clouds, Amarillo Texas and 80s music, the kind of stuff i discovered beer and girls to, Heineken in a can, hind-end in a can, the brand of beer you drink because its the only import they serve on planes, the kind of beer you drink to time-travel back to those days in Amsterdam with the hotty Brit girls, van Goghs close enough to touch, and the Heineken brewery tour for one gilder (Dutch). Fifty cents American.

Wow! now its radio free Santa Fe. and oh how i wish i were down there with dear j.a. or her with me, but not really, not because i don't want to be with her, but because i am sooooo grateful to be on a plane and flying the fuck away from the east coast. don't like California? just go out east for a month and man, oh, man will you crave the open space, the openness of minds, the lack of tension in the air, the buzz of open sky opportunity, of new thinking. all that.

i gaze out the window at new mexico far below and for the first time perhaps since leaving her warm creosote dry smoke loving embrace nearly a year ago, i miss her. and as such i miss doc and tam and my beloved ferret children i had to leave behind along with any hope of a lifetime with k. now van morrison on the radio. i think of hunter in houston who taught me his secret of the van and a bottle of wine that no woman can resist. woman. what do they feel like? i'll be damned if i haven't all but forgotten. now this new feeling. china white. can't believe i actually considered tossing the shit out this morning before going thru airport security. i did the next best thing. snorted it. gone the evidence. hello friendly skies. if you have trouble flying, anxiety, discomfort with their fucking tiny seats, all that, i highly recommend dope, especially free dope. i am one with the clouds out the window. one with the universal spirit of spirited featherbed dreamlight reality.

35,000 feet over Albuquerque. Very bizarre. Familiar radio stations Wild 106 and 104.7, the edge, coming in strong up here in the sky. odd also that i have used the name Jill as a pseudonym for K. for years, and now flying over AlbuQQ my thoughts go out to a girl named Jillann. listening now to that country song, that gung ho post-9/11 patriotic country diddly about the stars and stripes.

The purple-pants lady with the almost-beehive across the aisle has been diligently at study on her "How to play blackjack as a business" book as this eventually-ontario bound plane begins its initial descent into Vegas and a short stopover. i'm surrounded by gamblers. wonder how dave is doing in mexico? is he back? how was copper canyon?

country singer woman sings that she's always looking for something more, what's behind door number two? ha, now that's funny. that would be me. oh, yeah. no doubt a deciding factor in k's repeated drunken rages at me and her insistence that i depart tout sweet (ritualistically retracted the next morning when the fog cleared).

the demon palm pilot. a monster has been born! for the record, pourin beer on dope is dumb. it's redundant, wasteful, and kind of a buzz kill, or buzz confuser. well, i never got to anne sexton's grave, nor jack kerouacs. i did see tool in concert last night, but that wasn't all that. short man maynard waddling awkward, his back forever facing the crowd. a very strange performance, if you could call it that, by the wig-wearing lead singer of PC, Maynard whom i oncemet backstage and didn't know who the hell he was.

and that's all she wrote. -RSM
August 19, 2002

Afghan Dream

i'm in a tent somewhere in the middle east or maybe Afghanistan. my outfit includes a bandoleer style leather belt which, rather than bullets, holsters sabers, a dozen or so long swords that hang nearly to the ground. I have stolen this belt and sword collection. I know this because later in the dream after some Americans are killed and hostilities are high, I sneak back to my tent and tear the thing off and attempt to ditch it somewhere.

I am all the more horrified to realize that I have lost all but one of the sabers. The set is some kind of sacred artifact of these people and if they find out I have lost the swords, I'm in deep shit.

I haven't stolen the swords after all. it seems they have been entrusted to me. i am some kind of known white man here, like Lawrence of Arabia, tho less leader/warrior and more Buddhist Bedouin. i am a walker, one who walks the long stretch of deadly desert that divides this country and one to the west where Americans and other westerners are safe. here there is great danger. following the murder of the Americans, retaliation was swift and profound. westerners are fleeing in hoards at the airport.

i am also a journalist in the dream, or a writer who travels in journalistic circles, for a journalist friend from London expresses concern for me when i decide at last that it is no longer safe, even for me, but that rather than fly out i will go my usual way, on foot.

"London will be just fine" he tells me beseechingly. he says my name. it is not my real name, something else. he continues "you cant walk out! you just cant. your beloved (sarcastic) walkers know every inch of that desert. its too dangerous.."

there was a girl, a beautiful woman. her vagina is bare-shaven, slate-bare and as moist for me as a vertical rock face from whose cracks trickle the sweet water of an underground spring. the air down there is musty sweet, dank and intoxicating and i know it like i know the scent of my own skin. i cannot recollect her face.

the desert is flat are bare, hard like the dried mud of a playa, barren. when i return to my tent in the dream, it is now in the middle of a shrine to the dead Americans and Afghanis and is surrounded by silent yet watchful Afghani eyes. they sit cross-legged on the ground and honor the dead. incense smoke and candlelight whisp and flicker, accordingly, around tiny figurative representations of the dead.

these are the native peoples who have allowed me to remain in their land because i share their reverence for the desert, for an economy of words, for the winds and the dust-dimmed sun. but war and hatred are fast obscuring our commonalties like the sun in a dust storm and my presence here has become a strain on all.

all this occurs not in some far distant past but now, or tomorrow.

i awake disoriented. in a minute, i realize i am in a comfortable bed in the plush suburban world of 60-inch televisions and four car garages. America.

And in the distance carpenters hammer oblivious suburban castles and i wonder, how long before this cake and champagne daydream turns to shit? For all my ankle-biting David distaste for Goliath Wal-Mart and all corporate greed, i hope never. i hope this wealth which we enjoy never ends but rather spreads to every corner of the globe so that all women and men and children most of all can enjoy the level of comfort that is ours, that is the American Dream.

- rsm

This just in from Rick M, in response to correspondences from webmaster rick which said webmaster insinuates claim that his father Ken invented what we call the "pixel"...

Awesome story is that. Proud you be should. I feel about as ugly,
small & old as Yoda at the moment, seated here in some bar in the
massive labyrinth of slots and flashing lights that is downtown Reno.
I had a close encounter w/this beau slavvic girl this a.m., a hotel
employee. so this afternoon gussied up best i could & went to ask her
out, for a drink, whatever. When i saw her, i closed up like a frikken
hermit crab. a stint of self-loathing was followed shortly by my
bursting into tears by some pretty rome-esque fountain full of bronze
grateful that i had the courage/wherewithall to go to the Burn this
year, where an entirely different me reigned supreme & paid no heed of
the X gf. Explaining the energy & atmosphere of BurningMan to you
should be simple: contact improv. It is everything you explained to me
from your san diego sessions. touching. hugging. kissing. no
veiling the fact of sexual attraction betw everyone present. very
nice. came here to reno to write about the burn. instead here i sit
wallowing in the lonely state of the "real" world. yours, r (ps: feel
free to post this & anything i send u that rings of




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