Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Wed 2 / 11 2015





Sounded like a bee. Not your mellow, benign, honey bee. But, a carpenter bee. Big, thick- bodied, black. Sinister. Loud. Threatening.


Louder, and when the head of the clipper passed over the mastoid bone behind her ear, it intensified.


Vibration, tingling, ever so slight, reaching her jawbone. Making itself felt in her molars. Clipper head, now passing over the crown of her skull. Buzz, fading slightly. The first golden locks of her hair dropping, dragging across her face, feathering over her breast, down to the floor.

Shining, bright, against the black of an oil stain, one of many, spotting the garage concrete.

Hated hair. Curly kinky wavy. Unruly. Brassy. Disobedient.

Hated hair. Hated no longer. Oh! Stop. Bring it back. I love my hair. Now.

Too late.

The locks falling, ever faster now, as her husband’s hand became surer, warming to it’s task. Reluctant task. But one he’d accepted, understanding. Her. Perhaps for the first time in years, understanding, recognizing her need, powerful, undeniable. For the first time in years, she caught a glimpse of the man she had married.

Still her hair fell.

 Had she had that much of it? Apparently. Now clinging to her chest, littering her thighs, blanketing the oily floor, it was everywhere. Everywhere but on her head.

No more buzz. Rick had turned off the clippers.

It was done.

Tip of her tongue, exploring. Finding a stubborn lock, stuck by the tracks of her tears, in the corner of her mouth. Tongue licking, tasting salt tears, before dislodging the silken stowaway.

Her crying eyes, lifting, searching, locking on Shane’s.

Shane’s eyes leaking too. Red rimmed. From crying. From the chemo.


Almost as frightening as it’s target. Almost as destructive. Devastating. Ravaging.

Destroying cancer cells.

Destroying Shane.

Beautiful Shane. Forever friend. Confidant. Soulmate.

Shane’s magnificent raven tresses, ongoing source of Lena’s fierce envy. Bitch!

Tresses lying: shotgun shattered crow’s wings, strewn around Shane’s swollen ankles.

Her perfect features: puffed, bloated, distended. Hovering, iridescent, glowering, over her tortured throat. Throat firmly lodged in the skeletal grip of  a ruthless malignancy.

Sounds from the tortured throat, fighting their way over swollen lips. Lips, no longer ruby red enticements. Dry, cracked, words . . . from dry cracked lips.

Oh baby, Lena baby. You didn’t have to. Oh, baby.

Lena’s tears, wetter. Eyes brighter. Skin smoother. Words, whisper-soft, yet stronger.

Sure I did, hon. Couldn’t let you have all the fun.

Lena, remembering . . . Last thing to go. As if the pain, death at the door suffering, weren’t enough. Final indignity. Shane’s hair, proud onyx crown, deserting her scalp.

In clumps.

Large angry bunches. Patches of sallow scalp shining, helter-skelter, in mockery of what had been. Shane: shoulders slumped, fingering remaining wisps, shrugging,

It’s hideous. Shit. Bad enough I gotta die. But, like this?

Maybe. If. You. Shaved. It.

Shaved it.

Yeah. Shaved it. At least it’d be uniform.

Fuck you, hon. Shave it. Why don’t you shave yours?


Done deal. Just like that. Lena and Shane. Friends, right. Tight. Got your back, sisters. In each others arms. Scalps shorn. Shining. Cheek to cheek, tears mingling, stronger than blood. Hugging, laughing, sobbing.

Rick, an awed observer. Seeing something in Lena, something he’d never noticed before. Perhaps not bothering to look had had something to do with it. Maybe he’d give it a better shot. Try a little harder.

Lena and Shane, arm in arm, making their way to the mirror above the utility sink. Lena slowing her stride to accommodate Shane’s shuffle. Shoulder to shoulder, checking it out. The new look. Shock. Then, giggles. Finally, laughter. Lena to Shane.

Damn. We. Look. Hot.

And they did.

Five years later: Lena, alone. Rick’s shot hadn’t been much. After the moment had faded, so had his intentions. Lena handling it. Well.

 Lena combing her hair. Beloved hair.

No longer . . .  curly kinky wavy. Unruly. Brassy. Disobedient.

Now . . . straightened. Styled. Gentler shade of blond. Gentle.

Finishing touches. Lunch date. Doorbell.

Look at her. Damn it . . .  Shane, magnificent, as always. Lustrous raven’s wing mane, flashing sunlight. Face tanned, lean, radiating strength, confidence, joy.

Shane. Gorgeous. Bitch! Queen of the survivors.

In Lena’s embrace. Hugs, kisses, laughter.

What’s it been, hon, year? Year and a half?

Downtown. Side by side. Dudes lookin. Double-takes. Lots of em. Lena and Shane, girlfriends. Got your back buddies. Always.

Stopping before a mirrored window: stylin, vamping, posing, laughing. Shane to Lena.

We. Look. Hot.

And they did.

Still do.


Monday, February 9, 2015


Mon- 2 / 9 / 2015


Last time I took the shortcut past Johnny P’s house, he shot me in the head.

Lucky for me, his weapon that day was a B-B gun not the .38 Special he took to carrying in later years.

Still, it hurt like hell and, being a head wound, it bled like crazy. The projectile hit me in the hard bone behind my ear, traveled under the skin, came out near my temple, left the side of my face a bloody mess.

Johnny didn’t favor the much coveted Daisy Red Ryder Carbine. No, his weapon of choice was the super powerful, window shattering, rat (sometimes cat) slaughtering, Daisy pump. It was his latest tool of terror against the kids (Johnny was about 15, I was 9) of our neighborhood. Johnny couldn’t catch me on foot, and I’d once tried to keep him from smacking the shit out of me by whipping on him with a car antenna (impromptu weapon of choice for the era and area).

Sunday mornings a hung-over Johnny would take his pump gun and a quart of Rheingold beer, up on his roof, and wait for targets. Why would I deny myself the opportunity to taunt / outsmart my favorite asshole? Well, that day I was the asshole and I got outsmarted.

 If he’d lived long enough Johnny probably would have upgraded his .38 to a .357 mag. But, his psychotic zest for living on the edge took him to an early terminus on the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge. Johnny went down in a blaze of gory glory, blown away by a small army of both Queens and Bronx cops. Far as I know, none of those cops were armed with B-B guns.

Some of the other neighborhood kids (toadies / sycophants) held Johnny P. in awe, saw his passing as a great tragedy. Not me. I wouldn’t kiss his ass when he was alive, nor would I mourn his passing. When I heard the news? I laughed my ass off.

Writing this, I’m still laughing.

Hey, Johnny! See you in hell, mutt.