Saturday Night

Makes it kind of special down in the core; dreaming of them Saturdays that came before. Cruising down the boulevard; looking for the heart of Saturday night.” “The Heart of Saturday Night” – Tom Waits.

The carved pumpkin heads are frozen stiff; looking like decapitated zombie corpses in suspended animation. They hadn’t even started to wither and collapse in on themselves in that perennial grotesque ripening – decay dance when scarecrows upstaged them and morphed into snowman freak shows. Fall muscled Spring to the mat without much of a fight, pinned it, winked a few dying colors, then, falling early, crumbling and tumbling down on its knees; stepped aside. Strongman Winter, proclaiming itself the dominant season here; bullied its way in.

Heavy snow laid a thick blanket over catatonic ice; putting the pavement to sleep like a hit man until spring. After a couple dozen days of gloom and plenteous amounts of the powdered-sugary slippery skid stuff; the sun greets my morning. Its valiant appearance gives me a Pavlovian electroshock response that tickles my dreams of California. A glance toward the thermometer slaps me awake; the mercury has settled on one degree; O-N-E degree! What is that? That’s not a temperature; it’s a Three Dog Night song. It’s the age of an infant; the scenic route from San Francisco to Los Angeles. . The bitter cold in November has late night lovers at the Bijou sitting close together to get warm; while wet wind from the lake, struggling against the sense memory of months of the frozen concrete prison to come, rushes ashore; knifing through us as we exit the theater like the Almighty Hawk of my youth screaming off Lake Michigan. It cuts our faces like shrapnel and gets inside our skeletons.

We wear the red, raw Tenderloin complexion of hobos stuck street-side in a blizzard waiting for the flophouse to open; just two more stew bums queued up at the Salvation Army soup kitchen; two-legged shadows in the infinite surround of white on white; walking ghosts in the fog. Murph the Surf passes me the Dobbin; the last whiff of summer life from his horticulturist love-swaddled herb garden. I wash it down with sweet nips from my flask and thank the gods for still having enough bread to buy the good stuff. The weather demon sends shock waves down jet stream corridors; currents of wind come in waves; buried somewhere in her bowels lay the voice of a woman screaming something primal; on the order of the noise an animal makes while getting crushed by a steam roller.

Gods farts are like hammer blows banging my skull; I wince, imagining I could actually feel the impact. It is the wild country version of violence; equal to getting raped or slugged or dragged into an alley in the cobblestone city battlefield where combat is on an all out basis; where men fight with the white-hot fury that men display when they forget they are men. With shoulders hunched against the wind I pull up the collar of my Italian cashmere overcoat; its opulence as out-of-place here as me and my lazy Italian shuffle. This place is as clean and dark and quiet as the middle of the ocean on a moonless night; a silence colder than the wind slicing in from the lake. It is everything the city is not. The river stiffens and creaks; the wind is out for blood; snow drifts eerily ghost like; mimicking sand blowing across Highway 10 outside Joshua Tree.

Lets go to the diner” I said. “Naw man, they’re serving’ up hot germs in that hash-house” Murph said. “Well, how about Miller’s Cheese House. They got 70 kinds of cheese and they got fudge” I said; sarcastically mocking the ubiquitous radio commercial repeated ad nausea on the gym radio. “Naw to that to” said Murph; every time we eat in that joint I need to call roto-rooter to ream the cholesterol out my veins.” “Pass the splif Murph” I said. “You need to lighten up on this shit; brings a brother down; turns his brain to mush”. “Yea”, said Murph; I hope so.”


About circusinpurgatory
Nick Masesso Jr’s fictionalized short stories, poetry and prose have been published in the Starry Night Review, Elegant Thorn Review, Language and and Vagabond Press; the Battered Suitcase. His latest book “Armor of Innocence” and first book “Walking the Midway in Purgatory, a Journal” are available on-line and through bookstores.

3 Responses to Saturday Night

  1. James Mcfarland says:

    Great visuals, reader locked in a frigid cage, Morph ending out of the blue kinda different

  2. Reblogged this on Nick Masesso, Jr..

  3. James Mcfarland says:

    Thanks for resending!

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