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.

Chapter One

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.”

Chapter Two

Posted in Blues, Denial, Fiction, humor, Money, Poetry, Recovery, Relationships, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Where I’ll Be Snug And Sheltered From The Storm

It is warm today. Scott said it’s going to rain. I don’t care.

Now, the radio is telling me to expect hail. Sixty mile an hour winds. I care about that…a little.

I don’t like driving in high speed wind. Being pelted by the sky is okay.

I like it when it all comes down.

Right now, I’m at the gas station disappointed the price of fuel has increased ten cents a gallon.

What can I do?

Not much other than take three dollar bills, eight quarters to the cashier and say, ” Five bucks on pump seven.”

Then, I think I’ll drive home and take a nap.

Posted in Blues, Memoir, Money, Poetry, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I Tell The Clock There Is No Reason For Alarm

I have no stories today.

No stories I want to tell.

I’m not up for it.

I’m out of practice.

I’m the Anti-Resolutionist.

What ever that means.

Last night, I closed my eyes promising myself a new attitude when I woke.

I guess I’m still asleep.

Posted in Blues, Denial, humor, Love, Poetry, Recovery, Relationships, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Story Of My Life

Jay’s message to me said, “We missed it by five minutes. They found another band in town so he’s going to use them. Sorry. We missed it by five minutes.” 

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Wide Awake and Singing

It’s cold everywhere this section of the country. Only problem is, here in Northwest Florida, we’re still not used to it.

Some forcasts call for snow. I hope that happens. I’d love to go walking in it and watch as some of those frozen flakes melt in the palm of my hand. I want enough to make a stunted snowman. I want it to cover my brother’s lawn.

Then I want the sun to come out and melt it all. I want that bright sky to warm things just enough to make me a working musician again. 

New Year’s Eve weekend has been a bust. 

Eighty percent of my shows are outdoors.

Club owners say, “Folks don’t care about tunes enough to brave the temperature.” 

And most places won’t move me inside.

I know and usually accept all of the drawbacks of my profession with good humor. But the drizzly rain falling from gray clouds to coat my winshield has put an edge to my mood. I want to go home, get warm and sleepy under the covers. 

But I won’t.

I can’t. 

It’s New Year’s Eve. And, even if I’m shivering, I’m going to stand and welcome the New Year

Posted in 12 Step Meetings, Blues, Co-Dependency, humor, Love, Memoir, Money, Parenting, Poetry, Recovery, Relationships, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Last Month Of The Year

Joey has a Christmas concert tonight. 

He plays the trumpet. 

His band teacher thinks he has a gift.

So do I but I’m biased and claim credit for his interest coz, when he was a baby riding back seat driver in his car seat, I’d play CDs of Louis Armstrong, Kermit Ruffins, Rebirth Brass Band, Fats Domino, Dr. John and I’d sing to him at the top of my lungs. 

Then, when he was in second grade, on holiday break from school, I’d pick him up and we’d go shopping for presents. 

He’d get in my car and ask, “Got any music to get us in the spirit?” 

That year, my favorite was The Blind Boys of Alabama’s Christmas Album so I put it on the player. 

Joey was jumpin’ from the first note and, by the time the final track, “Last Month of the Year,” started, he was singing full throttle, ” October, no. November, no, no. The twenty fifth day of December. When was Jesus born?”

I loved that time spent with him. It was joyous. Today, he’s thirteen and is concentrating on his mannishness.



The coaches love him. And he loves them.

The other day, he said, “I think I’m gonna quit band.”

And I said, “No, sir.”

“But I’ve got so much…”

“And all I ask is you keep that horn close to your heart. Even if it’s only in the band room.”

He rolled his eyes and dropped the subject.

But he’s on stage tonight and I’m in the audience. 

Afterwards, in the car, it won’t be Christmas music on his i-phone. That’s okay coz tonight he played that hundred dollar pawn shop trumpet I bought him like he meant it. 

Coz he meant it. Just like he means it on the football field, like he means it on the basketball court. Just like he meant it when he was eight years old singing, “When was Jesus born?”

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