Friday, December 25, 2015


From my novel, now in its fifth draft: Entertainer Paul St. Clair walks home from the club.

The alley was intimidating, but the crew, even the dancers, had grown used to passing through it to the street. There had never been a problem, except for an occasional wino…
“What do you say, Skipper? Gotten good right Friends with God Jesus ?”
It was Beautiful Joe, a vaguely nautical regular at the club, who came and watched the show every evening he could afford to, and tried to proselytize the cast after it ended. He wore a dark seaman’s jacket, a striped t-shirt, and rough jeans, hard with crust from lack of a wash. From under his cap, his gray hair and beard flew out of his head in every direction, giving him the appearance of a wounded yet noble porcupine. One of the Lord’s own oddballs.
“Jeez, Joe, you scared the hell outa me.”
“Just what I want to do, son. Well, how about it. Joined the denizens of Jesus Christ, our Lord of America??” Joe insisted in walking at Paul’s side as he continued up the alley.
Paul felt some empathy for this well-meaning eccentric, but was irritated by his constant harassment. Paul was simply not interested. Looking pained, he said, “Look, Joe”, he said, “You know I’m a believer, but I can’t dedicate my soul to it. I’ve got too many questions.”
“Ask the Lord, and he shall forgive them, Pappy. All you need is some spiritual food, and that’s free; anywhere, anytime. Let me tickle your palate.”
Joe was getting poised for one of what he considered his “masterful” diatribes. Paul nipped that in the bud. “He shall forgive me, you say. Why is having a question an error on my part? Isn’t the Lord generous enough to recognize that so many things about the world He created are going unexplained? That His world to us makes no sense whatsoever? That it hurts just to be here?”
“As you say, Paul-o, He made the Earth. And so there are no questions. Come; let me take you on the merry-go-round that is Our Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Merry-Go-Round was right. There was nowhere to go with this clod. Paul was losing his patience. He fumbled in his pocket, and laid a coin on the old man’s palm.
“Thanks, Paul-o, bless you. I shall pray for you. I shall use this money to lead others even less enlightened than you on the Path to Glory. Hallelujah, Brother! And then some…” His words faded into the distance as Paul walked out of the alley.
As he approached the stairs of the subway, Paul couldn’t help but consider that the fifty cents he had just “contributed” would simply be used to finance another grape soda at The Candl Club.



Now, some song:

Merry Christmas, Milt


1 comment:

nodnarB said...

Awesome! One thing I notice reading all these passages is how visual they are. I always have a very clear picture of what's going on. The fact that Beautiful Joe drinks grape soda cracks me up! What a cool character!