I Wish I Was The Moon

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Last time with Helene Troy: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/donttakemeforgrante/

A small piece of broken tile sliced into Helene’s left big toe as she stepped from her small, dingy shower. She was too tired to curse the poor condition of her apartment. She stopped the trickle of blood by stepping into her towel after dropping it to the floor. She hopped naked to her small black backpack next to her bed and pulled out a band-aid. Being a guitar player, she was used to damaged hands and fingers. Helene’s cell phone danced on her bed. She rolled her eyes, sat on her bed and answered.

“Can Leney come out and play?”

It was her ex-boyfriend Case. His band, The Golden Apples, were signed to a major label and experiencing the initial flashes of fame. She sighed into the phone. Music and crowd noise competed with Case’s deep voice.

“Leney, you okay? Your band is here at The Odyssey! Well, two of them! I think Sadie’s on her way! Darcy and Mara said you’re mad at them! Relax, okay, you’re the greatest opening act in New York City!”

Helene finished the band-aid application and pulled the bed sheet over her. She felt stupid, thinking Case could see her, naked, through the phone.

“Case Hill, go do your rock star thing on some groupies. I’m not interested. Tell Sadie to go back home. She deserves better than that crowd.”

Before she could hang up, she heard Case scream into the phone.

“I miss you Leney! Good luck Thursday!”

She flipped the phone closed and hunted a pair of white cotton panties and Television Marquee Moon t-shirt. After running a comb through her long, wet, wavy brown hair she picked up her acoustic guitar and the half empty bottle of Bushmills whiskey then headed to the tiny patio connected to her apartment. Helene sat down in a white plastic chair and glimpsed the crescent moon peering over the sunset. A swig of whiskey soothed her throat.

“I guess it’s supposed to be this hard. But I don’t have to enjoy it.”

She strummed the guitar and played with lyrics from earlier in the day’s band practice.

“Take me to dinner, take me to bed, take me to the moon

Just show me a place, other than the hard and the rock

I need something different, and I need it soon

Just make it some place that curses the clock”

Helene stopped and stared into the sky. Her fascination with the moon started in kindergarten when she thought she wanted to become an astronaut. The stress of the band and her frustration with not being further along as a musician overwhelmed her. She wiped tears from her eyes and stretched her bare legs over the white plastic table. She started playing Neko Case’s I Wish I Was The Moon. More tears streamed as she finished the opening verse.

****blogger’s note****

This is a new story episode from the reworked opening chapters of The Ballad of Helene troy, my novel work in progress. You can find the rest of the story, so far, here: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/the-ballad-of-helene-troy/ This also coincides with Write On Edge’s Red Writing Hood “to the moon” exercise: http://writeonedge.com/2012/06/red-writing-hood-link-up-to-the-moon/

I’m likely headed to see one of my favorite artists, Neko Case, next month. I hope she does this song. It’s perfect for this piece. Here’s I Wish I Was The Moon.

Every Day I Write The Book

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Robots, rockstars, a grieving parent, 100 Word Songs and my personal adventures as a man surrounded by women prompt a daily spectacle that over a hundred and fifty of you choose to click. Breaks at work, laying by the pool, watching sports, and stretched out on my bed on a saturday morning are how I provide something worth your internet surf. Four hundred and eighty five posts covering two years and three days later, blogging has made me a better writer and person . As Helene rocks her way into your hands and kindles, I’ll keep showing you my soul.

****blogger’s note****

May 23, 2010 I took my wife’s advice and staretd My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. I decided to recognize it in 100 words through my friend Velvet’s 100 Word challenge. http://www.velvetverbosity.com/  Her word this week was “SPECTACLE” .Thanks for reading, commenting, tweeting, the facebooking, and allowing me into your consciousness. Happy 2, My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.

Here’s the great Elvis Costello.

Bound For The Floor

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Last time with Helene Troy: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/the-denial-twist/

Helene struggled with the oppressive New York City August heat. Sun bore down on the summitt of her friend Sadie’s Hell’s Kitchen apartment building. Slipper Socks Medium’s band practice had become tiresome. Helene glared at Darcy and Mara who lit fresh cigarettes, drank beer and talked about their plans for later.

“I’m done, girls. We got three songs down and a set list for Thursday’s gig.”

Helene unplugged her guitar. Still gripping the instrument, she walked to the chipped brick edge of the roof and peered over the intersection of 48th Street and 8th Avenue. Sweat pooled over her tired hands. She watched construction workers getting off from work walk into Social Bar. Sadie’s voice carried over her shoulders.

“From up here, this damn city actually looks possible doesn’t it?”

Helene refused to turn around for fear of crying in front of her band mates.

“Sade, this place is two different towns. One’s for the people who are trying to live here and the other one’s for the people like us, who are dying to live here. New York’s going to belong to me if it fucking kills me.”

Car horns bounced off building walls. The whistles of policeman directing afternoon traffic tweeted throughout the warm air. Helene saw a green, yellow and red Nathan’s hot dog cart.

“Come on Sadie. Let’s make those other two pack up our stuff. I’ll get a couple of hot dogs and we can work on the the lyrics we didn’t get to earlier.”

 ****blogger’s note****

This is a new story episode of my work in progress, The Ballad of Helene troy. You can find the rest of the story, so far, here http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/the-ballad-of-helene-troy/ This 250 words is part of the reworked beginning. It kind of sorta goes with this week’s “Location” writing prompt from Write On Edge – http://writeonedge.com/2012/05/red-writing-hood-location-location-location/ 

Today’s song is really good. It’s the kind of thing Helene would listen to and play. Local H was an underrated 90s era band with great guitar work and depressing songs. Here’s the riff heavy lyric downer, Bound For The Floor. Perfect for this installment.

Tighten Up

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Last time on Soul To Body: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/youcantcountonme/

Jake waited for Mallory outside Starbucks. The warm air and light breeze felt familiar. He closed his eyes and let the memory wash over him.

“Jake, this moment is perfect.”

Camille threw her arms around his neck and brought him into her lips for a long, passionate kiss in the parking lot of the Atlanta airport. He bumped the back door of his green Jeep closed as their mouths engulfed each others. She pulled away and they exchanged wide smiles.

“Yeah, Camille, this weather’s amazing. I’ll take the tops off for our ride.”

She tossed her bouncy blonde hair and laughed. He peaked at the white g-string sneaking out of the back of her blue jean shorts as she reached for her backpack.

“No, Jake, I meant this moment in our lives. We’re free, loose and in love. We could go anywhere, do anythin’, be anyone we want. Isn’t is excitin’?”

Camille’s easy southern drawl made him melt.

He opened his eyes to the sound of Mallory dropping her keys on the sidewalk. They leaned down at the same time, bumping heads. Mallory fell back on her rear end. Her bag flew off her right arm. Its contents scattered over the concrete.

“Mallory, I’m sorry.”

Jake gathered makeup and a date book. He reached for what looked like a pill bottle. Mallory shouted.

“No, don’t!”

The togetherness she’d shown through before was replaced by a nervous negative energy. Her face tightened. Jake squinted at the medicine container as Mallory shoved in her bag. He saw at least two Xs in the name.

“It’s okay, Mallory. You don’t need to worry.”

She finished putting her handbag together. Mallory ran her shaky hands through her long red hair.

“I apologize Jake, I get flustered around you and I wanted to…..”

Mallory looked defeated. Jake knew he had the opportunity to walk away and go home to his daughter. Yet, he ignored instinct to make her feel better.

“I know what you wanted.”

He stepped toward her. Their faces were inches apart. Jake ran the backs of the fingers on his right hand through her hair and down the right side of her blushing face. Mallory closed her eyes and Jake kissed her thin lips. It was awkward as their mouths searched for each other. He squeezed her face and tried to fight the previous memory of so many years earlier in the airport parking lot. This one, outside Starbucks, would have to do, for now.

****blogger’s note****

After a two week break, this is a new story episode of Soul To Body. You can find the rest of the story, so far, here: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/soul-to-body/ This is also in response to Write On Edge’s Choice and Consequences prompt: http://writeonedge.com/2012/05/red-writing-hood-choice-and-consequences/ Obviously Jake makes a choice to follow through with Mallory.

Today’s song works great lyrically and thematically. Plus I just want to play The Black Keys. Here’s Tighten Up.

Through Glass

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Last time with Helene Troy: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/100-word-song-telling-stories/

Narrow lanes of red and purple scrapes stretched over the knuckles on each of her fists. Tiny specks of asphalt crumbled out of her cupped hands as she moved her thumbs over her palms. Helene picked up the bottle of beer and swigged from its settled brew. She sat it down and turned to face Sadie. Morning sunlight bounced off the glass patio door. She blinked and caught her reflection through the glass then looked away feeling shame.

“Leney, I think you hurt your hands when you fell out of the cab. You were screaming at the guy to take you to Ramona’s. We wouldn’t let you. You threw your phone at me and Dawn then rolled out of the cab. I think you punched the cab too.”

Helene’s eyes moved back to her patio door reflection. She was twenty-four but looked older. Out of nowhere, Mara appeared in the door’s threshold holding the two gray and white kittens.

“Helene, I didn’t know you were a crazy cat lady! What are their names?”

Mara’s interruption caused Helene to turn around in her chair and resume drinking. Sadie took one of the kittens and the two women stood around Helene’s chair admiring them. Helene finished the beer.

“Tegan and Sara. The one with white on her belly is Tegan. I got them from the Bodega on the corner. They’re seven or eight weeks old.”

Helene put the empty bottle on the table and stood. Her knees buckled as she tried to steady herself. She clenched her fists and breathed through pain and dizziness.

“I’m sorry. I’m just so fucking sorry. I don’t know why I lost it last night. I could say Ramona’s a bitch. I could say I was nervous. But I think…..”

She stopped as the words made her gasp and start to cry. Large tears fell from her sharp green eyes. Her head pounded from her hangover. Sadie handed one of the kittens to Mara and extended her arms. The two women hugged. Helene cried into Sadie’s left shoulder. Mara walked back inside with the kittens and closed the patio door. Sadie patted Helene’s long brown hair.

“Leney, other than whatever’s going on with you and Ramona Gallery, I think you made it out of last night alright. Jackson punched Case in front of a bunch of reporters right after you got seriously drunk. The Golden Apples fucked up a lot more than you did last night.”

Helene couldn’t stop crying. Through sobs and sniffs she caught her reflection again. She grit her teeth and swallowed, hard.

“Sade, I look like shit. Let me get in the shower, take care of Tegan and Sara, then we’ll go see the manager and get paid. You and Mara can help me buy a new cell phone.”

Sadie smiled and touched Helene’s left shoulder as she walked back inside the apartment. Helene opened and closed the patio door but refused to look through the glass.

****blogger’s note****

This is a new story episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. You can find the rest of the story, so far, here: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/the-ballad-of-helene-troy/ This is also patterned to the Write On Edge prompt for  detail:   http://writeonedge.com/2012/05/red-writing-hood-advancing-the-plot/ 

Today’s song just fits the story. It’s a little lame but there’s a point here. The lyrics are perfect. Here’s Stone Sour’s Through Glass.

You Can’t Count On Me

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Last time on Soul To Body: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/just-what-i-needed/

His crossed arms answered her question before he spoke.

“Well, Violet doesn’t need to know you’re with me. I’ve never eaten here so, why don’t you order for us?

Mallory fidgeted with her hair, separating the blonde streaks from the auburn while smiling at the waitress who approached the table. He eyed the waitress’ right arm sleeve of tattoos

“We’ll have BLTs and sweet teas and I like your ink.”

The waitress smiled and mouthed thank you. He caught Mallory’s eyes shoot darts at the her then lighten when she looked at him.

“Mallory, I like tattoos. I have seven.”

She grinned and played with her hair again.

“Oh, I do too. I don’t have any but I like them. Tattoos are sexy, especially on men.”

The conversation was awkward. He watched her struggle to recover. She held her breath. He tried to save the moment because they hadn’t eaten, yet.

“I think you’d look great with some ink.”

Mallory exhaled and then gave a wide grin. She leaned forward, placing her elbows on the old, round metal table.

“I know this is really forward, and you’ll have to figure out someway to keep it from your daughter but my girlfriend at work has two tickets to the Counting Crows show.”

He squirmed in his chair and closed his eyes.

“Jake! Jake Hanna?”

He remembered the male voice calling his name in the Atlanta airport on the way home from the Mexican vacation where he met his late wife, Camille.

“Yeah, I’m Jake Hanna.”

He shuffled and looked at Camille, who put her hands on her curvy hips and raised her eyebrows.

“You’re famous Jake?”

He laughed and turned to the man.

“It’s me, Gary Boggs, from Smyth’s Olde Pub. I used to work there. I remember your band Boxer Ego. I heard you guys opened for Counting Crows then broke up. That sucks, man. What happened?”

Embarrassed he looked over his shoulder at Camille, who smirked, waiting for his explanation.

“Oh Gary, you know. Jimmy quit, Jody got married. Shoulda known we’ve never get far.”

Gary gave a blank look and shook his head. Camille began laughing. She walked over to Jake and whispered in his left ear.

“I don’t think your friend got the Bryan Adams song reference. Nice to know I fell in love with a musician in Mexico.”

He picked up his right hand and touched her face. They kissed by the baggage carousel.

“Jake, so, do you want to go to the concert?”

He opened his eyes and looked into Mallory’s anxious green eyes. His picked up his recently delivered sweet tea and swallowed a moderate amount.

“Yeah, I’ll go. You can count on me.”

This is a new episode of Soul To Body. You can find the rest of the story, so far, here: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/soul-to-body/ This is also my answer to the StudioThirtyPlus prompt “she held her breath” and Write On Edge’s prompt of 450 words emphasizing dialogue – http://writeonedge.com/2012/04/red-writing-hood-prompt-more-than-words/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheRedDressClub+%28the+red+dress+club%3A%29

Today’s song is a spin on the band mentioned, Counting Crows, and Jake Hanna’s ironic statement “you can count on me” to Mallory. He doesn’t mean that. Here’s You Can’t Count On Me:

 

Animal I’ve Become

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The symphonic crunch of guitars and drums bounced around the roof of the apartment building. An hour into band practice for Helene’s four woman group, Slipper Socks Medium, produced more perspiration than inspiration. Her gray Pittsburgh Pirates t-shirt was soaked with sweat from the August heat. She stopped strumming her electric guitar and turned to her band mates.

“Hey, let’s take a break. Sadie, you want to work on some lyrics and let the other two run make a booze and food run?”

Sadie placed her bass guitar on a metal stand and wiped strands of wet ginger hair from her mouth.

“Of course, Leney. But I have no cash, can you spot me a few bucks?”

Helene rolled her eyes, making no effort to hide her discontent with her own financial situation. She pulled her guitar strap over her head and glared at her rhythm guitar player and roommate, Darcy Bridges. Darcy knew the look well, so she sprang into action.

“I’ve got forty-three dollars. That’s should get us enough beer, maybe a small bottle of liquor for our lovely Leney, and some snacks.”

Darcy turned to the band’s drummer, Mara Vincent, who yelled.

“Darse, I can pitch in too. Don’t worry we’ll at least get through this day drunk.”

The two raven-haired players left the roof in mischievous giggles. Helene shook her head in disgust, walked over to the nearest wall and looked out into the sky. When she heard Darcy and Mara close the door to the stairs, she spoke.

“Sadie, you ever think there’s a better way to do this shit?”

She turned and watched Sadie approach in a cautious shuffle.

“What do you mean, Leney? You could never quit playing music, it’s your life.”

Helene pivoted and held her guitar in her sweat drenched right hand, unplugged, close to the roof’s eave.

“It’s been two and a half years since I moved to New York from Pittsburgh. I share an unlit apartment with a drug addict and several roaches. I had more money as a college student than I do as a musician. We can’t afford to cut our EP. No matter how cool you and I make our MySpace page or rock a club on a Friday night at 1am, we’re spinning our wheels. Sade, it just isn’t working.”

Tears formed from of her deep green eyes. She didn’t expect Sadie to have any answers or words of wisdom, she just wanted those words to be spoken. Sadie tried to comfort her. 

“Leney, you’re the core of this band. You’re our Robert Plant and Jimmy Page together. I’m broke too and this is our apartment roof we’re playing on, but I believe in you. Everyone we play with or around thinks you’re fucking amazing.”

Helene took the guitar away from the side of the roof and walked to Sadie. She threw her left arm around her and the two women embraced for several seconds. Helene forced a smile and tossed her long brown hair to let some sun shine on her tired face.

“Come on Sadie, let’s go write our own Stairway to Heaven.”

This is a new story episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. You can find the rest of the story, so far, here: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/the-ballad-of-helene-troy/ Obviously this is part of the beginning that I’m reworking. I’m loaning it to Write On Edge’s “Core” prompt. http://writeonedge.com/2012/04/red-writing-hood-prompt/

Today’s song isn’t Stairway. I’m not neither that predictable nor cheesy. I heard this song a few days ago and it reminded me of where my head is in writing this book and where Helene’s is with the band at this early point. It came out in 2007, a year before this story takes place so Helene would have been listening to it. Here’s Three Days’ Grace With Animal I’ve Become.