THE FIVE SECOND NOVEL
I’m gonna write my novel 5 seconds at a time.-Joe Fuller
I’m back at Denny’s after a long abscence. Years since I made it a point to show two, three times a week.
I was in love then. Unrequited, of course. But passionate enough to write an entire album of songs, play them on the radio, make a cd, and, still, never have the opportunity to perform them for my muse.
That’s okay. I’ve fallen a couple of more times since. And more than one wonderful woman has been more than receptive to my artistic advances.
I am a very lucky man. Lucky coz fate never cooperates with me. Like, this morning, my godson has me sitting in a booth at Denny’s and our server is not crush material. All business, perfunctory greeting, no smile and I will tip her big for her lack of interest.
Life is good when I’m not desperate for attention. When I forget how much I miss the feel of skin on skin, I’m reasonably happy.
That’s why I’m letting my gray beard grow long and shaggy. That’s why I’ve moved from 34 to 42 inches in the waist, why I’ve gained 38 pounds in two months.
I don’t care what I eat and I don’t brush my teeth.
And, now, listening to Irene Cara sing the theme song from that 80’s ‘Feel Good’ movie, “Flash Dance,” I tear up coz I don’t think her last months, days, minutes and seconds were happy. I think, “Her hit song was just another broken promise.”
Damn, I just checked google while waiting for a warm up on my coffee and found out Irene Cara is still alive. And so is Jennifer Beales, star of that goddamn movie. Jesus, I was sure one or both of them died the tragic death of a coked-up has been.
I guess the broken promise joke is on me.
But, in my 5 second novel, they can be dead. Dead to me and dead to all 3 of my readers. This is fiction, not memoir. They’re dead if I say they’re dead.
And I’ll say anything to keep this work alive.
I am not good to smart phones. If they were all that brainy, they’d refuse to sell themselves to me. The one I’m using now is only a year old but the screen is cracked, the clear plastic protective cover is chipped and the letters on the keyboard sometimes stick causing a hundred strings of the letter “k” to be sent to text before I’m able to stop it from happening.
The only thing this has to do with my novel is that it becomes more difficult to write if I have to stop every 45 minutes and delete line after line of runaway letters.
So be it. My laptop was destroyed a couple of weeks ago by a forgotten glass of sweet tea left on the back seat of my brother’s Mescalade. Left to spill and drip between cover and keyboard of my 10 year old Mac.
I’ll stop complaining about my smart phone and be thankful it’s still working. Otherwise, I’d be using pencil and paper 5 seconds at a time.
Which reminds me of another complaint…Wait a minute. Complaint? Sounds so formal, so 19th century. Why not call it like it sounds to others having to listen to me rant? Why not call it for what it is? For what I’m doing, why not call it bitching, with a “g?”
For instance, the other day, at the music store, I started in on my buddy, Dr. Gitbox. I said, “Gonna get the Zydeco thing goin’ at BayWalk again this season?”
And he said, “We’ve been talkin’ about it, yes.”
“Gonna have me play accordion again. Or you gonna have Ted’s buddy, Liam, replace me?”
“Well, Liam’s schedule might prevent him from…”
“I knew it. Man, you just need to tell me I wasn’t good enough for your show.”
“Didn’t say that.”
“To me. You didn’t say that to me. But I know your boy, Curt. I know he thought I was kind of lame.”
“He tell you that?”
“Didn’t have to say anything, brother. Body language told me what he thought about my playin’.”
“Last year, Curt was the man who brought up your name.”
“And, this year, the first to rescind his endorsement.”
I continued to press Gitbox for bad news but he would neither confirm nor deny anything. And, through it all, he was Curt’s champion.
I can’t say I blame the good doctor coz I can’t say I gave a shit if I played accordion with those cats again or not. If I was to be honest with others about my performance, I’d say I pretty much sucked. But, before I owned it, I wanted to hear the same opinion from someone else. But Dr. Gitbox’s bedside manner prevented him from telling me the truth.
That’s why I said, “Okay. Have it your way. But remember, when Liam’s up on stage with y’all, you had better remember, you coulda had the best accordion player in this entire goddamn county.”
And, that’s when I walked out thinking, “Liam’s not from this county so I might not be tellin’ a lie.”