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Chapter Thirty-two
House Cleaning (some words)

This was going to be the beginning of Part Two. It was going to be the new leaf. My New Year's resolution. Things were going to be a lot different from here forth. Different for me too. I was going to quit smoking. Eat better. Strive to be a better person. I wanted to write better or maybe find someone who could write better for me. I wanted to grow my hair long. I wanted to fall in love... I had written an announcement heralding the arrival of a new beginning. Bradley has returned and has been seen running down South Grand Avenue carrying a brown leather briefcase, approaching complete strangers and yelling, "I have one hundred pages of Bud's Story in here! There was no Part Two, no running, no briefcase and no one hundred pages. Many strangers. As an artist sometimes I paint briefcases. Little paintings of men in suits. Lonely and tragic figures that might be seated in the cubicle next to you or pass you in the street. They're out there. Trust me. Weighed down by fantasies, dreams, hopes... whatever. Their dreams seem so significant to them, but how often do they look inside others. Would they think them absurd? Sad? Maybe humorous? Losers. So self absorbed in their own world yet still missing all the references, symbolism, the childhood tragedy or embarrassment - that lingers in the back of the mind never showing itself but tinting everything. Just pretend you're following here, it's easier than the alternative and far less disappointing. Nod your head, blink your eyes, these are the things an attentive listener does. I'm rambling but it almost make sense, so don't ruin it. The first movement had ended and the silence would be broken, not by the old theme but by a burst of horns rising up above the strings so prominent before and melancholy. A quicker templo, a higher range giving the composition an uplifting feeling for the first time, the slow repetitive strings, cello and bases, still lingered in the background as a reminder - a bridge, but the violins followed the wind's lead in dancing around the horn's melody, building to a crescendo. Joy. Joy. Joy. Hallelujah... Hmmm, so bored and no place to go tonight, Bud? Yea, I guess. I suppose I could watch TV. Rent a movie. Read. I don't know. How about you, what are you doing? Yes. No. Really? Na, I don't feel like going out... I was at an impasse, I needed to do something else with Bud or just get rid of him. His world was teetering on the edge. Bleak - not going anywhere. Should I ditch him like I ditched my 1986 maroon Volvo station wagon? I really liked that car. It played cameos in my dreams. Like me driving there or breaking down here. It epitomized my fluctuation moods, capturing them in all their glory and patheticness, from the day I had a flat and I wasn't sure whether I should change the tire or kill myself. It seems like a petty thing to do now, but then... then there weren't any other options, I don't know why, maybe I really liked that tire, maybe I was broke, maybe it was one too many things to be stressed about. Seeing it shredded there by the curve of my house was just too much. Nobody else could understand my relation with that tire; how it was an insurmountable tragedy that no one else would understand. Did I say you wouldn't understand? I think a tear came to my eye, and that lump in my throat kept rising. But there were more pleasant, even glorious days with my Volvo. A trip back from New Orleans. The mechanic said I wouldn't make it. That the differential was going to pull apart and I would be stranded. A hurricane was coming in from the gulf. There would be a mass exodus. Thousands of other people just like me fleeing up North. How exciting I thought to be a part of such a monumental event. Hell, that's okay if my car explodes. I don't need it. I can hitchhike, take a bus. Even though I love that car, I'll crawl away from the fire wreckage and start a new life. People would admire me for my perseverance and determination. There's nothing material in this world that I couldn't turn around and walk away from. There is no situation where I could live through finding some source of inspiration and thrill out of... So my old car is gone and yet I keep writing. Sometimes it seemed forced or self-serving. Sometimes I've been to depressed too write and when I start again things seem disjointed - out of place. They are. I am. So maybe you can see why I wanted to do something else with this book? Journal? Rag? What should I call it? If you have tossed it aside as much as I have, the past might all seem a bit hazy. So for your (and my) benefit I will try to sum up the story to this point. Our naked hero falls to the Earth. A pig farm somewhere in southeast Missouri. Besides the broken arm and sprained ankle from the fall, he is suffering from a mysterious ailment. Alone and hungry he takes refuge in a barn. The owner of the farm discovers him the following morning and immediately makes him his brother. "I'll call you Bud, you shall be my brother and help me build a great house upon this land." The recovery of our hero is marked by many odd but wonderful adventures, then the tale takes a frightening turn as Bud becomes a working artist living in St. Louis and is struck down by his mysterious illness, only in the end to lose his quarter in the Coke machine and exclaim, "Damn, I should have brought a whole dollar!" A melody swells up around Bud and guides his small row boat, Tara, through the stormy seas, when his soul is lost and his mind is troubled, weighed down by his failures, somber afternoons in the park feeding the ducks, watching the storm clouds form overhead, after his car breaks down and he realizes the blood stains can't ever be removed from his new tie, and then, as always there's the point were he can no longer hold his breath, he is falling, possibly for the last time, and as the ground below rapidly approaches all he can think of is that sweet moment at the end of the date with his one true love just before she slapped him. "Everything's going to be okay - we hope." Bud's chorus signs out, "Everything's going to be okay - we hope" The birds sing. "Everything's going to be okay - we hope." The trees and the small red cars join in. "Everything's going to be okay - we hope. Everything's going to be okay - we hope." He's not sure what key they're singing in; he turns to ask the priest who happens to be falling next to him. "I'm not sure." says the priest then points to the Earth, "But watch out for Saint John crossing the street!" While I'm sure I got some things wrong, you get the idea. A pretend stream of consciousness, really just fragments, espousing wit and charm while attempting self-deprecation. Yea, I know, and I suspect you knew it to. But oh God! This is me. My vanity, my shyness, my intellect and my stupidity. My longing for privacy and tranquillity, expunged by my bubbly quirkiness. I just can't help myself. Of course I did get sidetracked this past year by buying a house and completely renovating it. Why aren't there chapters about that? Frankly, I haven't figured out how the house comfortably fits into the narrative I was constructing. I mean it's a big, beautiful house two blocks over from were I was living. Far too expensive an area for some one of my means. But miracles happen or sometimes you get lucky, Get a break. A pleasant surprise that your friend and family marvel at. Now how do I explain this little bump in the story, coherently, believably and if I could think of a way, do I really go out on these tangents with Bud, covered in coal soot, dirt and pigeon poop, running around the house with a hammer knocking holes in the wall, looking for hidden fireplaces. So far, I've found four and suspect they're three more. Is this part of the story? Should I leave it at that and move on. Or stop, possibly because the third person thing is driving me crazy. The Bob Dole's thinks that...and Bob Dole thinks this... Who hasn't made fun of someone who kept referring to himself in the third person. I sure have, yet here I am cutting out Bud's small corner of the Universe. Bud walks home at night. He no longer owns a car and the busses had stopped running. Occasionally a car passes, headlights illuminating homes, Christmas decorations, imports, SUV's in the drives, a child's bike left on the front porch. He transposes his dreams in each house he passes. His dreams silhouetted in the darkened living rooms and bedrooms of strangers. It all started off so innocently, just me and my friend Amy and of course my injured arms. The passing of email. The telling of jokes. For her something entertaining to fill a boring day in the office, for me... well, I couldn't work, I could barely move, I was stranded in the country. I had to use a pencil in my wadded up hand to type letters on the computer... it was something entertaining to fill a boring day on a farm... Things just cascaded from there. I realized I had all kind of fun things I could write about and also some things that weren't that fun. Suddenly I found myself writing about what I knew, instead of what I wanted to know. For years I had been trying to write a novel. Something serious. Nothing to do with my experiences or me. Cause I know that's the trappings of most young writers. Submitting these semi autobiographical stories of their college days or romances. So I've now spent the past few years exploring a format I had already rejected. But darn it, I keep getting new material. All kind of things I haven't even mentioned yet... Trips to New York. An Art Representative. Galleries across the country. I even have an editor now. No really I do. Laura, she's gone back and edited the whole damn story, which if your reading this on line you wouldn't have noticed since I never have submitted any of the revised chapters. Of course I'm only mentioning the uplifting new material. The Dark and seedier side I'll hold in reserve - just in case... Can you see why I wanted a part two? A whole new beginning. This is not what I dreamed about. This has become perverted and sick. Sometimes I don't want to be a writer anymore. It irritates me - embarrasses. I'm not sure if I learned that much. Don't know if anybody else cares that much or thinks I should spend my time doing other things like I sometimes think I should... Even worse I think it's blatantly obvious that a story with a chapter in the middle called "Housecleaning" has some internal flaws. When the author feels it's necessary to come out personally and tell you what's what and then make light of it... and this is what you're stuck reading. No part two, nor a great American novel to look forward to. I have to confess in the midst of all this inner struggle, indecision, wanderlust... I do often giggle, I hope you giggle too, and have fun, at my expense, sometimes yours. I don't know your dreams, unless your my really close friends and family, then I might know a little, I'm trying to learn more. A map would help. A brief outline. A synopses, one hundred words or less, please, rent a billboard or take out radio ads. I really do care and I hope others do too.