Are you Lonesome Tonight?
Act one: was when we met
His name was Maurice, and he was attracted to calamity. In the insanity of our technological times he was a man amongst mortals and mistakes. Love was madam butterfly and a moth attracted to flame and fire. It laid eye’s on him like prey does to its predator. This story begins in a historical city, anyone will do. Maurice was walking from the bar on the uneven coble stones that laid adjacent to the paved asphalt that had cooled in the nights blanket. The alcohol made him oblivious and catatonic making him utter the most absurd conversation. Birds of a feather propagate together and this night was no different.
Maurice found himself draining his wallet and conciseness at a select dive bar. It had the essential elements for him to take residence at his barstools that was a home away from his shambles. A juke box, a decent whiskey selection and cold cheap beer. Maurice always fell in love with a few girls every night but kept it to himself. His heart would race and his body would blaze in an inferno of passion. He drown these thoughts in a beverage , salavie.
On the walk back to his residence he found himself engaged in a conversation with a dark haired youth of sad features. A face that always looked as if it was perpetually dismal and lost inside frowns. He had known her from the bar he was tending and her rebellious character of mingling with crowds older and wiser than her experience. In what seemed like nonsensical chatter she hit his akilis heal when she mentioned books. The both agreed that Silvia Plath was terrible and Albert Camus was gods gift to the whims of those boarding on uncertainty. This was the begging of the crush and curse.
“So you like books and poets?” Maurice asked. . He tried his best to look into her eye’s as his own shifted to her chest and down to her hips and ankles as they stumbled together down the cobble stone.
“It depends on what there subject is but i hardly have the time to read other than what I’m assigned to at school” Maurice began to laugh at this response bringing his head back up to meet her eye’s, empty as the concrete houses looming over them.
“I am sorry if this seems rude but we have been talking for a minute now and I forget your name”
“It is Elizabeth but you can call me Liz, Your Maurice right, you work at the bar over on Liberty street.”
“That is a fact, pleasure to reacquaint with you Queen” Maurice said this as if they had been lovers lost in purgatory meeting for the first time in this life. “Where are you walking to? And may I be so chivalrous to walk you to your chariot?” The Alcohol had turned him into a turn of the century stuff shirt red coat.
“That would be just fine, sir, just fine” She bowed gracefully and played along with his street side stage play. The world around them had gone into a blur as they discussed basic literature, interest of art and music and before long they were at her chariot.
“Well Miss Liz, we are here at your car and I have a walk ahead of me” Maurice put out his hand to grab hers and kiss it. To this, she grabbed his hand and lifted him off the one knee he was kneeling on, pulled him up to her face and examined his cavities with her tongue. This lasted till little rain drops fell and she slipped into her car and drove off.
Maurice walked home, not expecting his night to turn into what it had, his mind raced like a carnival. He floated home like Gene Kelly danced in singing in the rain. Swinging around light post, repeating to himself, oh sweet Grushenka (who was a character in a Fyodor Dostoevsky book The Brothers Karamazov he had just finished. Grushenka was a Jezebel that Dimitry Karamazov fell in love with and let her tare his world apart and upside down.)
On the walk home he stopped over at Roy’s house who lived a few houses down from him. He staggered threw the dirt and dark overgrow of his yard and up and under his window and knocked shave and a haircut, two bits. He saw the glow emanating threw the room and heard him typing, Roy was not a social butter fly like Maurice, he was more of a moth attracted the the light of his computer screen. Roy pushed his cigarette stained curtains to see who was there wrapping at his windows and motioned for him to go around front. Maurice jogged to the front door to be let in. Roy came to the door opened it and walked back to his room without saying a word and Maurice followed the plume of cigarette smoke that Roy left in his wake. Roy sat down in his chair in front of his computer screen and was typing as he had been before he was interrupted.
Maurice jumped on his bed staring at the ceiling and grabbed a pillow to his chest. “I have met the most wonderful girl tonight, she is amazing, oh Grushenka”
“Not again Maurice, love is the last thing you need, you know what it does to you and how it’s no god damn good ”
“This is different Roy, she pursued me, made the first move, give me a cigarette and lets ccelibrate, do you have anything cold in the fridge” Without even waiting for a response Maurice walked to the kitchen and opened up the fridge and grabbed a beer for Roy and himself.
“I know you think I’m a fool, I know i am a fool but I just can’t help myself”
Roy shook his head at him and laughed a snicker “You always get yourself into these situation man, who is this girl? Do i know her?”
“Her name is Liz, Elizabeth , she comes into my bar on the weekends”
“Oh you mean grumpy, everyone has kissed her or she has kissed them. Thats the same tree everyone has been pissing on”
“Thats insulting, maybe your just jealous”
“Trust me Maurice, I’m the farthest thing from that, but be a fool. I am not going to be here to console you at the end of your road to ruin”
“Oh and why not, its fun, I know how much you love my failure”
“I just cant take it anymore, not after the last one, you followed me half way across the country because you could hardly pick up your britches after the last mess you got your self into”
Maurice looked around the room blankly and sat up and took a big swig from his beer. It hit is stomach like an anvil. His eyes danced around the room and focused on a potted plant with a single flower growing out of it that Maurice had brought to Roy one drunken night, the four full ashtrays, the reminisce of food eaten and left to rot and the piles of books falling out of his bookcase. The wall paper in the room had even given up as it was starting to fall off the walls.
“Be that as it may, at least i have passion”
“In all the wrong things my friend”
“You just sour because love left you punch drunk”
“I am going to punch you Maurice because you are drunk and talking a fool, shouldn’t you be getting some sleep, don’t you have a home of your own and a cat to feed, I’m sure he misses you”
“You right, I’ll be off now, thanks for the beer and have a good night, I’ll see you soon, come in tomorrow night for a drink on me”
“I cant resist an offer like that, plus it will be good to get out of this house”
Maurice let himself out and walked home, contemplating why Roy just couldn’t be happy for him. He wanted to celibate but the celibate couldn’t understand the lust for loins and all things attached.
He jingled the key’s in his door and was quite not to wake up his roommates, his cat meowed as he tried to get in the house and was there waiting for him behind the door. Maurice’s house smelled of a cat box that needed to be changed and the smell water makes when dripped threw plaster from the holes in his roof. He walked up to his room, finishing the beer from Roy’s house and told his cat of his nights escapades.
Act: two: you seemed to change
Maurice and Elizabeth started seeing each other in the natural progression of things. They started hanging out, she started sleeping over and leaving in the morning for class. He first told Liz he loved her as he came inside of her.
Maurice has been avoiding Roy and his negative out look to his new relationship. They decided to meet up on a Wednesday and go to the strip club where it was all you could drink beer for ten dollars. They sat and drank, and drank and enjoyed the scenery. When they were well and loaded Roy looked down at his cellphone and opened up a picture message he got from a friend. Maurice happened to be looking over his shoulder and saw that was a half naked picture of his sweet Liz. He could recognize her small perky tits and bulbous ass anywhere.
“What the fuck is that Roy, who sent you that, that’s Elizabeth” Maurice said as he started feeling rage well up inside of him like an erupting volcano.
“I told you man, she was no good.”
“Are you trying to fuck with me man, who sent you this.” Neither of them were sober enough to deal with the situation rationally.
“I’m not going to tell you because I know you Maurice, your going to fight him, and then what? She is still a whore, no better than these girls we are shoving dollar bills at”
“Tell me who it is, NOW” Maurice’s cool was gone and he was forest fire of emotion. Roy turned around to ignore him and go on enjoying his night and his never ending cup of beer. Maurice grabbed Roy’s shoulder and spun him around and off of his chair. Roy looked up and gave him two good knocks on the chin and put Maurice in shock.
“Do it again, I dare you. Hit me , come on you trader. Where is your loyalty, come on pound my face in” Roy looked like a deer in headlights. The situation spun out of control and now some sense was knocked into it. Maurice got up , apologized to the bouncers and left slamming the door and almost knocking over two strippers as the door swung back around.
Maurice walked the few miles it was back to his house and phoned Liz and began to argue. She swore it was innocent and that the unnamed person who took the photo only shared kisses and she begged for his forgiveness and asked him to sleep it off and would be by in the morning. Maurice could not stop the tears in his eye’s feeling as though he was betrayed by everyone and the whole world was out to get him.
She came by in the afternoon and Maurice was silent. Liz convinced him to go with him to lay some flowers at her grandparents funeral plot. He went with her reluctantly and as she put the flowers down she began to cry, he empathized with her pain and forgave her.
Roy and Maurice had a falling out and stopped talking altogether. When they would see each other at a bar or passing in the street the acted as total strangers. Maurice clung to Liz,as she was the only thing he had besides his cat. The months passed as summer slowly sank into winter.
They did the normal relationship bouts by going to movies and eating dinners together and spending nights and weekends in bed wresting with the sheets and with each other. It wasn’t great or good, it just was. It ran along pretty smooth until one night she showed up at his house and was so drunk she tried to pee on his floor and passed out in his roommates bed who luckily wasn’t home for the sad sight.
Maurice would walk by Roy’s house on the way home from work and see the glow of his computer screen and feel bad that they had not been close anymore, Roy was his best friend and for a very long time. Maurice and Liz never got along , they both held contempt for each other with Maurice as the fulcrum of the sea-saw where Liz was now holding the higher position.
Billy Collins was performing at a school reading some of his poetry for people willing to pay seven dollars to see the former Poet Laureate of America wither away into obscurity. Maurice would have brought Roy if they still talked because he was the reason that Maurice had any interest in the poet. He asked Liz to go but had to beg because she wanted to go out drinking with her friends. He went around to pick her up before the Reading. He pulled into her driveway , parked and walked to the door to ring the bell. She wasn’t ready yet, she couldn’t find any clothes to wear. Maurice told her parents he would wait out side till she was ready. He sat there smoking a cigarette and looking at his watch as the hour approached and he hated being late. She walked out the door three cigarettes later and Maurice walked in front of her to open the door. As he sat there waiting he noticed she was wearing a really tight blouse and a scandalously short skirt, as she walked by him to get into the car he saw her frilly black panties sticking out of the bottom of the dress.
“You are not wearing that out tonight are you” Maurice said
“Why don’t i look nice, I spent forever getting ready”
“Your ass his hanging out the bottom of your skirt, your an embarrassment”
“Fine then I won’t go” she protested
“I already got the tickets and we are already late lets just got”
She got into the car and they drove off. He kept shaking his head while he was driving and uttering to himself “I cant believe you would do that” She finally heard him around the fourth time he whispered it.
“I could be out drinking with my friends, instead I’m going to see some stupid poet read tonight”
“First of all he isn’t stupid and second of all he has done more in a weekend then we have in this whole relationship”
“Your a failure Maurice and an asshole I don’t even know why i like you”
“I’m starting to wonder the same thing about you, you look like a slut”
“I am calling my mother when we get there and I’m getting a ride home”
“ I am sure you could just wait on the corner and not have a problem at all finding some nice gentleman caller to exchange his services for your’s” Maurice apologized and tried to plead with her, offer her a jacket or anything so she wouldn’t embarrass hi. After a break down in the parking lot and in embarrassing fight in front of a lot of the patrons of the evening she pulled her skirt down as far as it would go, just showing a crest of her ass and they walked in and found there seats. She got up to use the bathroom and Maurice’s face reddened as she walked up the theater all making it seem like a burlesque show rather than a poetry reading.
Billy Collins hit the stage and was reading but neither Maurice or Liz were paying much attention, they were to busy ignoring each other. One poem that got Maurice’s attention was Madmen
Bill Collins read:
Actually, they are the real artists,
you said, spinning the ice in your glass.
The screwdriver is their brush.
The real vandals are the restorers,
you went on, slowly turning me upside-down,
the ones in the white doctor’s smocks
who close the wound in the landscape,
and thus ruin the true art of the mad.
In the middle of the poem Liz got up and left. Maurice figured she called her mother when she went to use the bathroom and was going to go out drinking with her friends instead. Maurice tried to ignore his feeling the best he could and listen to the poetry.
I watched my poem fly down to the front
of the bar and hover there
until the next customer walked in–
then I watched it fly out the open door into the night
and sail away, I could only imagine,
over the dark tenements of the city.
Maurice drove home alone and on the drive he figured he wasn’t happy, so he was going to move. Get out of this town and go some place where he was unknown. This thought was interrupted when Liz came by the next morning and apologized for what she had done. Marice took her back but was cautious now more than ever, he didn’t trust her anymore and the love was slowly being let out of the balloon. She got more estranged and distant till one night when Maurice had enough of her false promises and apologies and drove to the bar she was drinking at. He walked in, drunk himself, stood on the bar and commanded the attention of the crowd.
“I am leaving you , all of you and especially you Liz,my time here is done I am sick of all the lies and dishonesty of this city, may you all burn like the wicked wretches you are. Whores, blackguards and villains. Fuck, kiss but don’t love because none of you know how, and sadly” At this point he was cut off and carried out of the bar by three bigger men and asked never to come back, they wouldn’t have to worry, he never would.
He picked himself up off the cobble stones and brushed him self off and walked his last night in the city in a drunken stupor. On his walk home, he must of forgotten that Roy and him where still at odds but he walked up to his house, threw the bushes and up to his window and knocked, shave and hair cut , two bits. Roy moved the smoke stained curtain and was surprised to see Maurice out there, falling over himself. The look on Roy’s face reminded Maurice about the falling out and Maurice begain to wallow out side his window like a dying Animal, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry” Roy let him in and Maurice passed out on his couch in the living room.
Maurice woke up the next morning with a terrible hang over and walked into Roy’s room asking if he could do him a favor, he was leaving in a few hours and was going to go home and pack up what he could and take off. He asked Roy if he could take his cat for him until he could get his feat back on the ground where ever he was going to land. Maurice was surprised as Roy said yes without even thinking about it, blood is thicker than water.
“Hey man, take this hat with you, its my good luck hat, ya know we can trade it for the cat”
“Ha-ha, a cat for a hat, thats great man, thanks again for being a good friend to me last night”
“Don’t sweat it man, it’s no big deal. I’ll swing by your place later and grab the cat”
“Sounds good man, I’ll leave the door unlocked and you can just take what you want”
“So your off?”
“Yeah, I am gone”
“Well, don’t be a stranger.”
Maurice walked out the door and shut it behind him and was off before the sunset.