Hometown Blues

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
A glimpse into a typical day in Jack Herst, writer-in-hiding, as he tries to escape the parts, or members, of his life that follow him.

Submitted: January 14, 2013

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Submitted: January 14, 2013

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Hometown Blues

 

“Jesus-Christ, horse-people!” were Jack’s first waking words after that eventful night. Jack bolted out of his resting place immediately, or rather he tried to but it seemed that warm and inviting bed he had stumbled into the previous night was now a bale of hay. Nevertheless he persevered and, after much flailing and flinging of straw, gained freedom from the deadly trap and knocked away the equestrian intruders.

As he congratulated himself on his superior agility he noticed that the ‘hotel room’ he had stayed in was somewhat more spacious than he remembered. There were people in it too, why were there dozens of Spanish people in his room he wondered (before his brain quickly reprimanded him for deigning to think at this point).

“What goddamned kind of operation is this? I get a pile of hay to sleep on, horse-people as my wake-up call, and an audience too!” He felt that righteous fury building up that he so often used to avoid paying for anything, “Oi you people get out my room, understand me? Hablo English? Get-o out-o my room-o. Alright, I’m going to talk to the bloody manager about this!” With that he strode in what he thought was his most impressive manner (though the impressiveness was somewhat undermined by the swerving and multiple collisions it took for him to stumble out) focused wholly on the delicious barrage of bile he was going to throw at the manager.

“Oi Pablo, I don’t know how it works in Guadalajara or wherever the hell you sailed from but in Europe you can’t bloody stick all your cousins in the same room as paying customers!” He went on in this way for a fair amount of time, all the while the congregation of La Iglesia de San Amaro, who had gathered to watch their children’s nativity play, wondered at how strange the foreigners who constantly came to their village could be as they watched this disheveled, slightly mad-looking man shouting at the statue of Saint Amaro that stood in the entrance to their church.

“The world isn’t one big nacho farm you know, we’ve got bloody standards here! Are you even listening to me?” Frustrated, he reached over and poked the insolent man. “Oh.” That moment of realization when the dick who keeps shouting at everyone realizes they’re not as right as they knew they were a second ago is a beautiful thing to behold, unless you’re the dick of course. Luckily Jack had been that dick before and, as all expert dicks knew, the best way out is to just keep going with it.

“What kind of sick joke is this? You people should know better than to mess with an incapacitated man, its not right damn it. And you dressed up children as animals just to scare me? You sick bastards. I won’t stay a moment longer!” After negotiating that treacherous raised step out the door, which seemed to be there just to piss patrons off as they left, Jack took a few measured and graceful steps so the sadistic church-goers knew who was boss before opening up in to full stumble. The fact that it was a steep, downhill walk did not make keeping his balance any easier. Whose bright idea was it to put a village on the side of a bloody mountain anyway, he grumbled in his head. At least at this time in the morning he wouldn’t have to subject himself to a conversation with one of those bloody ex-pats from America, especially Mar-…

“Jackie! I’ve been awake all night since our ‘encounter’; I couldn’t stop thinking about you. Oh it was so romantic wasn’t it? I knew it was fate for us to be together and you proved it to me! We should tell everyone, dontcha think? No you’re right the boys might not be able to handle it if this lady’s off the market. Let’s tell my parents though; they’ll be so happy I found a smart, rich fella to take care of me. You know my daddy, he was always telling me ‘Martha a young woman like you has got to get a respectable man to succeed in this world’, but I’m sure they’ll be fine with a wealthy one. I mean it ain’t like he’s so-…”

Jack had at this point kissed Martha and was making sure to keep at it for a good amount of time. Not because he had suddenly fallen in love with this monster straight out of The Twilight Zone, but it was the only way he could think of to shut her up. That voice; that terrible, screeching, unmistakably Brooklyn-spawned voice. It had followed him ever since he had met her in New York outside a theatre, where she was auditioning for a musical about the food service industry. It seems there had been an impromptu fire drill 30 seconds into her audition, meaning everyone had to be rushed outside. Then when the drill had finished it appeared that the casting director had mysteriously disappeared, at which point good ol’ Jack stepped in to comfort the disappointed Martha (having spotted her outside in her spandex jumpsuit audition costume). In 5 minutes they were making out in his car, once again out of necessity on Jack’s part, and their relationship had followed this pattern ever since.

“Oh Jackie, you’re so naughty. We should go back to mine for breakfast. I can tell you all about this bitch back in New York who snaked a role from me, just because she has what some schmuck called ‘talent’. I mean what even is that, it’s like”

“Jeez look at the time, I got to go, I’m going to be late for lunch with the family. See ya.” Before she had a chance to resume her symphony of mind-knives Jack had darted down a shortcut towards his house. Jack did actually have a family lunch, but he had no intention of being trapped with a bunch of [his mother] Jane’s American, closet-alcoholic friends and her insufferable new husband, Jeff. All he had to do was get past Jane’s house, which was infuriatingly situated on the only road that led to his own house, without her spotting him. He had nearly made it by with his best sneaky walk when,

“You’re late.”

“Yeah, I got attacked by a horny gibbon.”

“Mind your language! I’m tired of having to tell my friends that you were dropped on your head as a child.”

“Yeah, yeah, don’t upset the punters. Got it.” Jack’s mother’s house was exactly what he hated to see on the island where he had grown up. Everything was operating room white, each room full of designer furniture that you have to spend an hour with figuring which way you slot your legs, and that fantastic new breed of ‘modern’ art that looked like they were some of those paint-by-numbers pictures done by someone who couldn’t count. It was all sickening, apart from the pool in the garden that Jack didn’t mind so much.

Jack followed his mother in to the kitchen, and there were the evil hags and their emasculated husbands who had been forced to this hell. Of all the men at the table, Jeff was the only one who seemed to be enjoying himself. This wasn’t a surprise; after all he was basically the same as those soulless gossipers, only with the addition of a prick.

“So Jack, Jane tells me you might have lost another book deal,” Jeff remarked as soon as Jack had been seated across the table from him, “what did you do this time? Have sex with the publisher’s wife again? Punch the editor?”

“Bingo.”

“You actually punched the editor?” Jack was pleased to see how taken aback Jeff was by this.

“Yep right in the kisser. Pandering bastard was trying to get me to change the title so that it wouldn’t offend anyone. I told him that Satan himself would have to blow me before I gave a damn if one of my books pissed anyone off. But he wouldn’t shut up about it, so I didn’t have much of a choice did I?” This is what Jack loved to do with these people; he made sure they knew that, while they thought that he himself was ‘uncouth’ and an ‘uncivilized drunk’, his life was a hell of a lot more interesting than theirs.

“So what was the title he wanted you to use?” asked one of the Botox witches.

“The Rise to Prominence of Sarah Palin.” A murmur of surprised approval passes around the table of elephants.

“And your original title?”

“Sarah Shags Her Way To The Top.” Silence. ‘Job done’ thought Jack, smiling sweetly at his mother’s stricken face.

Clearly recognizing an opportunity to win some brownie points with Jane, Jeff decided to pipe up once again. “Why do you insist on striving to be so damn controversial Jack? Why do you always have to be bitter and aggressive to anyone who tries to change even a microcosm of your world view?”

Jack leaned back in his chair/stool/stock, “Well Jeff I suppose, when you get down to it, I just prefer to be pissed off than pissed on. You may make more money than me so you can afford chairs, or whatever the fuck this thing is, that make you feel like you’re in the Bastille. But in the end, I’m the only one who doesn’t smell like his boss’ piss.”

Once again, that glorious awkward silence that meant Jack had won the exchange, apart from a small chuckle to his right, which was quickly stifled. He strained to see who had made the noise but Paul, a diabetic who couldn’t keep his hands off the locals’ sugarcoated pastries, obscured them. He just about glimpsed the back of a woman’s golden-haired head behind Paul’s sweat-crusted shirt before his attention was called back to the other end of the table by the sound of his mother’s voice.

“I’m so sorry, my son was just trying to be funny. He suffers from a touch of insanity you see.”

“Hey I don’t suffer from anything, I enjoy every minute of it!” replied Jack promptly, banging the table and giving his best maniacal smile for extra effect, “And with that I bid you adieu, as I have a white rabbit to chase.” And with that cue he goose-stepped from the room and out the front door, thinking ‘it’s amazing how a good family argument can sober you up’.

 


© Copyright 2020 Lucas Aldrich. All rights reserved.

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