I know, I know...
It has been a while. But, rejoice; there are many pics, below.
There is also a little bonus: A short story by "yours, truly".
It is, however, a bit naughty. Bad language, "wild men" and adult situations, so to speak. So, don't read it to your kids at bedtime.
Kids don't read much, nowadays, so we shouldn't worry about them burning out their hippocampus on this posting.
I can't remember where I found the Sasquatch sign; will post if I can find source.
Here is an important lecture. Canadian author and essayist, John Ralston Saul, makes the case that Canada is based not on the "European model", but on a "conversation with Aboriginal Peoples". I am not sure how long this CBC audio link will last, so listen, or download, immediately and listen at your leisure. CBC "Ideas" radio show.
(Pics click to enlarge.)
Sorry, folks. The giant "space-tick" on the side of the T-Bird's head had to go. See first set of "T-Bird/Sturgeon" painting, here.
Oh Christ. Not another "sky-snake". Can't we go five minutes around here without a dragon?
Wings?... That's original.
It's the leechy conjunctivitis, dicussed below.
This "Old Man" mask has been around the block, never finding its right hue. Maybe I have finally found it.
Rainbow and god-hammer, over Ranier, MN.
Minus 3 000m.
Chalk, on black paint background, with acrylic paint additions and highlights.
Painted on masonite board. Clearcoated, for install.
"Dumbo Squid"; google it, if you don't believe me.
Installed, at SpiritFire Park.
"Yellow Face" thing. New canvas. Will undergo change.
Rushing River; West of the highway.
Something loud disrupted my nap. It had to be loud, to cut through a light, rye hangover and the gyrating dream shadows of a recent ex, on the back of my eyes. She was in the middle of performing an act that I had never been able to persuade her of, before.
"Oh fuck."; I was made suddenly aware that I was sleeping, dreaming and fantasising, facedown, on a filthy carpet in the middle of a room. My eyes felt like they were flailing in a sack. A greasy, sticky sack. Sideways.
Thankfully, it was my own living room.
It was nearly midnight, according to the watch under the couch. A watch that I had been looking for, the last three months. The entire afternoon and evening had been spent drinking, smoking and sculpting. Mission accomplished on the drinking and smoking, but the small mountain of modeling clay in the garage still looked like a pile of rainbow turds that a baboon had been playing with, on a brown boulder, for only about three minutes.
Somebody was pounding at the door, demanding entry. After battling my way to a standing position, I freshened my drink with whiskey and orange pop. After the first tasty swig, I wandered towards the door, but stopped, to check out the visitor in a side window. I was momentarily repelled by the awful visage in the glass, I nearly gagged, before realising that it was a reflection. I lit a cigarette to quell the butterflies and flipped on the outside light.
The gentleman caller at the front door is known to me. He's called 'Dirty Jesus'. He's twitchy-lookin', tonight. More so, than usual. He was clutching something... dingy, off-white, in his grubby paws. The sickly yellow of the porch's bug light does nothing for his complexion, either. The doorbell rang again, followed by a pounding fist.
"What the fuck do you want?... Do you know what time it is?" I walked over and pounded on the door twice as loud as he had, to punctuate my voice.
"Hey man, I gotta show you this... This thing. Lemme in!"
"Fuck off. I'm busy."
Busy, what!? Jerkin' off and making ugly lumps uh shit that nobody wants?"
I took that bait without hesitation. I whacked at the chains and locks and ripped the door open with the full intention of stomping Dirty Jesus... With all the artsy love that I could muster.
I lunged out and jerked to a clumsy stop.
I was staring at the wrong end of a can of pepper foam. It was right at face level. That can had gone missing my from apartment a few weeks before, but I hadn't reallyreckoned Jesus as one of the primary suspects.
I had used that shit on guys before and I knew what it could do.
It came out as a hushed hiss.
I stumbled back, yanking on the door, but he stuck both of his scabby hands, my stolen mace and a dingey styrofoam tub, through the opening. The door smashed his leather-sleeved forearms, but he held to the can of pepper foam.
I might have disarmed him at that moment and avoided the rest of that wretched evening, but something, wet and warm, splashed in my eyes. I reeled back in anticipation of pain and stumbled over my rubber boots. I fell against and then through the broom-closet door. My vision wobbled as I blinked. I could see.
My eyes stung a bit, but not pepper-foam sting.
His head came through the door, eyes rolling around, searching for something. His trailing arm popped through the opening, waving around a small, poorly-sealed styrofoam tub. More drops of liquid splashed on the carpet.
"What the fuck!!", I yelled. The liquid in my eyes had begun to sting. Enough to make me squint, but not badly enough to keep me down. I had to roll over a pile of boots, squinting and consciously abandoning all remnants of dignity, in order to get up.
By then, Dirty Jesus had closed the door behind him and messily locked it. Also, he had trotted into the living room and homed-in on my whiskey-orange pop cocktail.
I call the recipe "Musty Prairie Tangerine". Pour, in order: 1) 2 Gills of Rye, 2) 1 Gill cheap orange pop, 3) Handful of fresh, clean ice cubes, 4) 6 dashes Worcestershire sauce 5) 1 Gill Soda Water (Bottled mineral soda water, preferable to soda gun).
I was rubbing my eyes, madly, yet took notice of my unwelcome guest's tweaking, hangdog demeanour. He was a mass of microscopic, marionette-like movements. His eyes had the unceasingly jerky blank stare of several days' missed sleep. He was using every last scrap of concentration to maintain. Wisely, I granted him the depressant and headed to the kitchen to make, us both, another one. My right eye is beginning to water and burn, however.
"What the fuck did you splash in my eye?!!!", I yell, over my shoulder.
Dirty Jesus stood up and walked into the kitchen hallway. He stood there, vibrating. A slow mask of comprehension bloomed on his grubby, sunburnt face; then, a nervous half-grin. He doesn't say a damned thing.
"What... the fuck... is in that fuck-ing bowl?... In my e-y-e?"
He was standing in front of me, with his eyes and mouth open, but was someplace else. I waited and he came back in a minute. His face moved again. He breathed in, licked his lips and says... "Leeches.".
"Yeah..." He smiled, nodded, shrugged his shoulders, twitched his eyes and let out a short laugh, kinda all at once. "... leeches".
I bowed, roughly, into the sink, ramming my diaphragm on the counter-ledge. I run the cold water, opened my eyes and shake my face under the stream. It's a real bitch to open the eyes, but I forced them with my fingers and let the amazingly good tap water blur my vision. Canadian municipalities, of a certain size, love to rip up the streets and constantly upgrade the pipes. The water's great, but the air quality sucks.
I know leeches; I use them alot.
For fishing. They're scrappy live bait; hardy and effective. You can keep them in your fridge for months without feeding them, if you change the water and flush the leech shit out of it. The tepid nature of the liquid and burning effect of it in my eye convinces me that it was full of various leech excretions and may never have been refrigerated, since it left the bait shop.
Dirty Jesus is exactly the kind of fuck that wouldn't change his leech water. Too ignorant of the ways of live bait; no fisherman, by any stretch.
The cold, hard tap water makes my eyeballs feel raw, but better than burning. Both eyes are open, under the stream. Now, they are cool, no... cold. I had flushed them as well as possible, but would have to watch the mirror for a few days to scout for signs of some exotic, leechy conjunctivitis.
After the water stops, I squeeze the water from my long hair and wipe my face with the dirty dish towel. No paper towels. I felt waterlogged and greasy at the same time, but cleaner. My eyes no longer burn.
Dirty Jesus is no longer in the hallway. When I enter the living room with two new drinks, he is sitting in my chair, drinking the last two fingers of his Musty Prairie Tangerine.
"This is pretty tasty... Like one of those fancy salad dressings."
I place another in front of Dirty Jesus. He smiled and offers a pack of obscure American cigarettes. I took one of the smokes that he offered and sat down, across the table. He got comfortable on the couch. He knew me well enough to know that I wasn't going to toss him out... yet. I reached down with a napkin and picked up the pepper foam spraycan, without taking my eyes off him. It was about half empty.
"You dirty fuck."
"I had to borrow it, at your rent party, last month. Someone was gonna beat the shit outta me!"
"You borrowed it off my desk, without asking me or telling me about it." I managed not to snap at him, but had to remind myself to breathe, after saying this. I paused, leant back and closed my eyes while counting to ten. The little scared part of us that we all share, the monkey mind, wanted to scream at him. To punish him.
I regained my calm.
"Who was going to beat... 'the shit' out of you?"
I couldn't keep the hint of a sneer out of my voice, but I did not yell, or raise my tone, or volume.
"Your old lady."
This time, it was I that went silent and motionless for a minute. I chewed the information and its implications.
"You stole a can of extremely dangerous chemical eye, lung and skin irritant from me, because my 'old lady' was going to beat 'the shit', out of you?"
"Presumably... then... You were planing to spray my 'old lady's' eyes, face and mouth with this extremely dangerous eye, lung and skin irritant?"
"Right. Now you are here... and you have brought my can of pepper foam back...
and it is half empty.
We've got a problem, you and I."
I clenched my fist around the can and growled out "Where the fuck, is the rest of this can
-and- did you fucking use it on someone I care about, you fucking fuck?"
Dirty Jesus hesitated a moment, glancing up to check his memories, then says... "No."
I smile, warily, and then ask "Whom, or what, did you spray with this pepper foam?"
"I think it was a cop?... She may have been a cop."
I have, so got to, lose this can soon, tonight. Permanently disappear it.
"... Dirty Jesus?..."
"Why are you carrying around a tub of leeches?"
"Well, Aaron... You ever get off while playing with jello?"
Now there was a question. "This has got to be good.", I thought to myself.
There may be a 'payoff', after all, for this evening's disgraces. There come rare moments, in our lives, when we can sit back and enjoy the cosmic joke. Precious clarity often found on those crazed, toxic shittrains that were our productive nights. If I could just chill, for a little while, I was going to hear a great story. Dirty Jesus was crazed and delusional, but he was a street-poet of the first water and a charmed adventurer. If you could create the right space in your head for him, he would fly you to the stars, drag you through the sewage and make you laugh through bloodied lips. Most people took a look at him and tried to put something else between them. Something wide and tall.
I lay back in the chair with my drink and cigarette. "No.", I said, " Tell me about it."
"Well ya see, there was this really creepy chick following me around the fishing tackle section at SportsWorld. I caught her looking at me, while I was feeling the plastic grubs. I love the way they feel between the fingers when you squish them. The dry ones squish real good, but the new, wet ones that come in their own pickle juice can make me come when I stick my hand in a big jar of these wet, fake worms in dayglo colours, floatin' in a big jar of stinking nectar that makes me, even me, wash my hands. There's no way that I can afford to buy one of these jars, ya dig; they're 20 bucks a pop. I imagine the day when I can bring one home; but, instead, I go to these big, fancy sports shops at odd hours, so that there are few customers or clerks around so I can wander to the tackle section, find the plastic grubs aisles and find a jar of my favourite grub colours... open it carefully, take a look around... make sure no one's lookin'. Then, carefully so's it don't spill on your clothes, puts my hand in. Just one hand, ya dig?
That japanese bug juice comesaspillin', overflowing, slowlydrippin', everstinkin'.
Don't get any on your shoes, your pants or your other hand.
Now; close your eyes and get to squishin'. Not too fast at first, loosen up, jes' swirl your fingers 'round, feel them gathering on your fingers. Now, gather as much, into a ball, as you can and slowly make a fist. Don't let any out! Slowly squeeze, feel it getting tighter, smaller, harder. Suddenly, pieces come squirtin' out your fingers, wriggling like they're alive.
If you do it right, it's a surprise and makes me cream my shotes."
"Dirty Jesus...", I interject, "You, are a profoundly disturbed human being.
"Yeeeaaahhh... I know."
"Why don't you just steal a jar?"
"That would be wrong!"
"Of course... Continue."
"I never got to cream my shotes, 'cause I heard a noise, opened my eyes and saw this really ugly woman staring at me from the end of the aisle.
I'm fucked and I knows it, so I pull a Heyoka routine: "I'm Okay! I'm Okay.", I shout at her. "I fell in, but I'm okay. I'll get a napkin." I pulled my hand out and make like I'm catching the drippings, but make sure not to get any more on me and started walking towards the bathroom. Well, I guess that I hadn't fooled her, 'cause she starts following me, but always a couple aisles over, not even pretending to look at the prices of coats, trail mix, or rifle brass. I don't see a walkie talkie, but she's talking to someone I can't see and what's my luck that there's a crazy lady following me from the tackle section of SportsWorld at 7 A,M, in the fucking morning? None, that's what. I looks down the store and see a couple monkeys in blue vests hanging around the bathroom door and trying not to look at me and 'oh fuck, I'm so busted'. There's no way to get out of this yuppie shit-hole aaannnd wash my hand of the damn sushi-juice..."
[Say "sushi-juice", three times fast.]
"and I'm gonna get it all over my clothes before this is over.
I know that you've covered yourself in fox-piss and sat on a rock, waiting for a stupid deer to come by, so you know what I'm talking about, you fuck, so don't you dare laugh.
So, I fucking ran. Cut left and headed straight to the closest emergency exit, but that pimply butt-faced lady cut me off and I ran towards the live bait kiosk, hoping that there was a back door to the 'employees only' section, where government law mandates an external egress, but was dead end. So I did the only thing I could; took out the pepper foam that you lent me and stuck my hand and a tupperware pitcher inna big leech tank to throw water at 'em."
"I did not lend you the pepper foam... Leech tank?"
"I didn't know it was the leech tank. Jest grabbed a handy container and stuck my hand in. I swirled my hand around... and it was just like the world's biggest jar of synthetic, salty, juicy, whale-flavoured flesh-bait that I had ever put my hand in, but without the dayglo colours or the stink.
It got too cold, actually. As the three employees entered the little room, I lost the feeling in my hand. My good hand.
I was jugglin' the can of mace you gave me, in my wrong hand, trying to get it to point right. The woman stares at my arm in the leech tank and she says 'My God, he's doing it again.' I figured that keeping my hand in the tank was giving me some sort of advantage in the situation, so I left it there... couldn't feel it no more, anyways.
'Don't come near', I says, "my hand's in there!'.
One of the monkeys said 'Maybe it's a suicide attempt... we should call someone.'
Then the girl starts to cross the room, sticking to the wall. 'Stay back!', I yells, but she keeps on comin' and says 'Let us call someone and help you', so I gave her a taste of the foam on her neck and mouth. She stops walking and blinks and wipes at the gunk on her face, then she drops to the floor, squealing and rolling like the tail you rip off a lizard...
If it could squeal.
The two monkeys stare at her, then they they stare at me, then they take a step into the room.
'I warned you!' I screams at them and rip my soggy, frozen hand out of the water...
and then things got weird.
I couldn't feel a damn thing, but the pale, firm appendage in front of me was covered in black globs that lay flat and weaved from side to side, dark boogers that hung and stretched and little tentacles that waved hello at us. Well, I nearly fainted. One of the monkeys ran screaming and the other just stood still as a rock and stared. The big girl still rolled on the floor but wasn't yellin' any more. 'I am leavin this shit-hole!', I yelled at blue monkey #2 walking towards the doorway of the live bait kiosk and monkey #2 backs into a corner of the little room, never turning his back to me. Then I run.
There are a couple more blue vests between me and the main door, but I shake leeches on them when they get close and I maced a big, tall customer in the doorway to keep 'em busy. Then I came here."
"... Oh my." I stood up and went to refresh my drink, fudging the measures. I took a slug and threw in an ice cube, for balance. I did not offer to top off his drink. I did begin to plot how to get him out of my place and stash him far away, for a couple days. I returned to my seat.
"Okay, DJ. This is how it's going to go: I am walking you to the 7-11 and calling my cabbie. He will take you to my cousins place upriver. You'll stay there for a couple nights. The cabbie will not give you the fare money. He will not take you somewhere else. He will not put up with your shit, nor will my cousin. I am giving my cabbie the rest of this pepper foam; he will get rid of it for me, but he will also use on it your crazy ass if you fuck with him.
Do you understand?"
It took a long moment. "Yeah."
My cousin owed me a shitload and didn't have any wife or kids to worry about. He also had a crappy cabin that would be like a fucking castle to Dirty Jesus. I have to remember to tell Brian, 'my cabbie', not to drive there in a straight line.
"Mix it up a bit, so Dirty Jesus can't find his way back there."
Him, I owe, huge. He's got enough juice with his cab company to get a legit car for days at a time, as long as the lease is paid, tank's full and no damage. He's also got a legit driver's license, legit hack license and no record. He looks pretty square, with Buddy Holly glasses and can pass for a banker with long sleeves covering his tats. Normally, he's expensive to hire out for special projects, but I find him things. Things that others cannot find, or would never touch. His wife loves my paintings. She has many.
"Tell me, Jesus... before we go; Where'd you get the tub and why did you keep some of these leeches, here?"
"I went down to the docks and picked up a bait tub that someone threw away. There was alotta them, down there. Tubs, that is. By that time there were only a few left hanging on my hand. I found a lid that fit and came here."
"Okay. But... Whyyy, did you keep the leeches?"
I'm gonna teach them the exotic Ojibway Walleye dance."
Let's get of here."