You’d think that he, rather than say someone in Vancouver or another ultra-modern city, would be able to appreciate the noirish mood of my short story. St. Louis, Missouri—like an old man in a tailored suit. You can be happily miserable in St. Louis.
A man who has convinced himself he isn’t in an asylum but rather out, getting in car chases, listening to jazz in clubs and drinking whiskey or Scotch. He would meet a lovely young woman named Lauren, with gossamer blond hair, green eyes and scarlet, Chanel painted lips. She would betray him, and he would drink scotch or Whiskey and dwell on his longing for her. He would visit the scummy clubs of that dark, rainy city, the ones with the neon lights that flickered LIVENUDEGIRLS and PUSSYCAT DANCING THEATRE. He would meet hookers, working girls, underage alley candy, women darker and sadder than Lauren, that promise to “show him a good time” and do, and he has one: a good time. He would hate himself, he would hate the hooker and he would hate Lauren and the crook she left him for. He would seek retribution, wandering the dirty old streets and threading through Formica-bedecked diners to find it. The diners would have waitresses who ask him if he wants “the usual” or if he’d like a “warm up.” He’d wonder what they meant by that. He’d read into everything. He would be of Irish and Italian descent, the classic American mutt. As the song goes, he would find happiness in a warm gun and despite his hardened exterior he would love music: Billie Holiday and the like. At some point he would be startled, perhaps by a gunshot in a dream and would wake up again in the chilly, tiled rooms of the big mint green colored hospital. He would be bound in a straight jacket that smelled of sweat and mildew. His nurse’s name is Laurie–what a coincidence. He would get electrotherapy to cure him of his delusions. It wouldn’t work.
A bath would definitely clear my head. The bathroom is a place that nobody can hate. Who hates bathing? Slipping into the womb, night after night around 9:00, cushioned and protected—an ocean of comfort. Sometimes I honestly think I’m trying to sell myself a waterbed, what with all my used-car salesman sounding nonsense. “Ocean of comfort, a sea of happiness in a bed-frame.” Maybe this is why my writing is struggling. I wish I could call my parents. Long distance is too far away. My God I draw the water hot, one could even venture to say “scalding” should they have a flare for drama. I burn deliciously in the searing pain of the hard city water. My wonderful bathroom: sage green tile and butter-yellow walls, heated pipes, steam and next-to-nothing mirror. Darkness. I should drink a Scotch and maybe listen to an old blues record.
Cheers St. Louis.