Friday, April 19, 2013


Most of my devout readers know what I do for a so-called living. Those of you that don't well briefly speaking. I am an attorney that does only domestic violence cases. It is part and parcel of my job to prosecute men and women who are somehow even worse than I am at relationships. That bit is hard to believe, but it is all too true.  I like to think that I am good at my job, I mean who really thinks that they stink at their job? I like to think that, and I do not bother asking too many (i.e. any) people's opinion on my job performance.  After all, the people I would ask would probably be my 'friends' and would just tell me what they think I'd like to hear.

Either way that isn't really the point of this point (if there is a point at all). My job provides me all the drama that I need. TNT has nothing on my day to day existence. I know drama, and I live it daily at work, therefore I try to avoid it everywhere else. This drama filled job does provide me with enough ready coin to meet my daily needs of alcohol, which is necessary for my ability to survive the drama in the first place.  It is a bit of a never ending circle, but that is my lot in life. It's nothing awful, but I am sure that being a left handed relief pitcher is probably a bit more fun. It is a damn shame that I am not left handed.  This is a brief, and rare look into my professional life. Enjoy it because I certainly did not.

Two brief cautionary tales will serve to explain my typical week. This week I had to 'dry roast' a victim of a man that has beaten her several times over several years. The sad part of this particular tale is that the day this guy got out of jail, she ran to him like his house was on fire. After a lovely romantic interlude, and a few cold beers, things returned to normal when the fellow used her face to try to crush a beer can. Not a pleasant experience, from what the lady told me, and something that has landed him back in jail.  That dry roasting, that I gave consisted of what some people would call 'tough love', with me I focus more on the tough bit, and leave the love bit to others. I merely suggested to her, quite forcefully, that one day her paramour was going to kill her.  It was not a happy conversation for either of us, and it was not a something that I enjoyed doing. The bigger problem of this little chat was I had previously had the exact same conversation with the woman a little of a year ago. I told her then, and told her this week that one day I was going to have to explain to her next of kin why I had failed to keep her attacker from killing her.  That was failure number one.

The only 'good' thing, at least from my point of view was that I was at least able to keep the offender in jail. For how long is a different story, and when (not if) he gets out, I figure I will be having the same chat with the same woman again. At least, I hope I get to have the chance because if I can, then she will at least be alive. And here you thought TNT knew drama.

Failure number two arrived today, and it was expected which made it somehow even worse. Same type of situation. Boy meets girl, boys bangs girl, girl has boy's child, boy decided to beat the ever loving shit out of girl, rinse and repeat. This is the true American love story that I get to see on a daily basis, not the Tristian and Suzanna love of "Legends of the Fall". No, the love stories I see have there tragic bits as well but it isn't the lost my love of a lifetime type of tragedy. Our tragedies are more mundane, our feet are made of clay.  Out here on the perimeter of the world we don't have screen writers than can just make it all right in a certain time frame. 

This particular woman has been also a repeat victim of the father of her child  (otherwise known as 'baby's daddy).  And today thanks, in part, to yours truly, her abuser is out of custody, and she is probably waiting for the inevitable beating at his hands as I type this.  It was another unpleasant conversation, and while she understood (but was not pleased with the result), I still felt, and even told her that I had failed her. Once again a difficult thing to say, a difficult thing to feel, and a difficult thing to stomach. As far as failures go, it is not my first, nor my last, and it probably (I hope not even my biggest), but it was a failure nonetheless. And as far as all of that TNT drama goes, it just can't compare, and it can't be compared. Here's to the only solace that I will find this cold, April night, alcohol. I am so sorry.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Last Outpost

Spoilers! This post is a metaphor, for what even I am not exactly sure, but nevertheless a metaphor it remains. Any resemblance to any creativity is purely by accident, and will probably not happen again. Enjoy it if you can, ignore it if you want, but read it anyways.

This was it, the last outpost on a long, dry, dusty road. A road that had led me to this spot as sure as if it had been preordained in some holy book that your basic crackpot street theologian hawked on street corners for a dime a copy.  A road that while long, was not particularly arduous. It wasn't the straightest of roads, but it was by far the quickest one that I was able to find to this, the last outpost.

The weathered sign that actually hung outside the ram shackled dwelling read something else. Something that looked like "red" something or another, but age, neglect, and an overwhelming disinterest on my part to actually read the whole sign contributed to me never fully knowing the actual name of the establishment. Not that the name mattered, not that the establishment mattered that much. The location was the important bit, and like in all real estate it was location, location, location that mattered. This tiny outpost on the frontier of nowhere was going to be my last stop for a while. The path beyond this way station led directly into the unknown, uncharted territory, a place that I'd never been, never wanted to be, and was unsure if I'd be coming back from.  It was a path that I had mostly chosen for myself, but with a small of amount on none too gentle help.

Chosen freely or not, it was my path, the path that I was to take step by step to whatever bitter, sweet, or bittersweet end there was. And this shit hole, this last outpost was going to be my last brush with my fellow humans for the foreseeable future. Most places that are on desert tracks usually have a sign warning travelers about how many miles to the next water, this place boasted no such landmark, and that was one of the growing number of bad signs about the place, that made me want to turn around and retrace my path back the way I had came.  However, that option was not really open to me, and also not actually as enticing as one one think, so it appeared that this path to nowhere was the one for me.

Opening the door to the place did not brighten my outlook over much. The door creaked, and protested loudly, like a fishwife that believed you to underbidding her for her wares. It was as dark as a lawyer's heart in the place, and about as gloomy as talking to a Cubs fan about their world series chances. Not a place that welcomed an over long (i.e. more than 10 minuets) stay. However, it was the last outpost, and provisions, such as they were, had to be obtained somewhere. 

Of course, therein lay an entirely different problem. Provisions aren't free and I had arrived at this last outpost with at least two things broken, my heart which was part of the reason I was on this path, and my purse, which was part of the reason I was staying on this path.  The meager contents of my purse where all I had to work with, and I figured that the amount of provisions didn't overly matter too awful much all things considered.  I stepped into the dark, dank room and tested out my best inquiring "hello" with more than a little trepidation. One never knows what kind of monsters you are going to find in these types of places. 

Luckily for me, in theory at least, the 'monster' that answered my call was a wizened old man that closer inspection determined had had merely a passing acquaintance with modern dentistry. He had only a few teeth left, and none of them were adjacent to each other, and the less said of his breathe the better. How could one person actually eat that much garlic?  Well there are a lot of things we don't get to pick in this world, parents, place of birth, our noses in public, and sometimes we don't get to pick our trading 'partners' either.  He didn't look like much, but as it turned out he was one tough bird to barter with, and I figure I got robbed, but at this point of my journey I wasn't overly worried about exchange rates. I got most of what I needed, which wasn't much, and decided to stay for one more drink before I waltzed out into the unknown.

One drink turned to a few drinks, and eventually, as a few drinks will do, lead me to thinking. Thinking of all the mis-steps that had led me to my current location. This last outpost on the far end of nowhere that was, in many respects, my own "Last Chance Saloon".  It's not that I rushed to this place, and I had hopes that it wasn't what it really was right up until the last few moments before I encountered it.  It was the end of a long line for me, and I guess you could say that I was slightly fortunate to realize that. It was not an overly happy realization to suss out, but it was one that I figured out eventually.  Of course, like most of these type of things that realization came too late to do me any real good.  Realization and knowledge are wonderful, wonderful things, but when they are coupled with a certain sense of inevitability, the bloom comes off the rose a bit.

And that was the situation that I found myself currently in, a place that I had led myself with knowledge of forethought, and a place that I didn't really want to be. A place out on the frayed edges of society, and of the world, and a place that I probably deserved.  However, deserved or not, the sting of finding myself here still hurt, and hurt quite a bit more than I was going to allow myself to let on.  Perhaps my washing up onto this desolate shoreline like yesterdays flotsam wouldn't have been quite as painful if I hadn't told a certain someone, of some importance, that our arrangement was my own last attempt to form any sort of lasting partnership.

They didn't believe me and our joint stock company, as it were, quickly went bankrupt, both morally, physically, and financially.  Like most bankruptcies, there was plenty of recriminations and plenty of blame to go around. Fault was all over the place, and you could have as much or as little of it as you pleased. It didn't change the ending one little bit, and made exactly no difference to direction of my path.  They, whoever they are, say that the longest journey starts but with one step, and maybe those unnamed bastards are right, but I say, and I say this from cruel experience, that the longest journey also ends with one step.  As I walked out of the last outpost on my trail, I realized that the last step was a whole lot closer to me than the first step, and that somehow made all the difference. 

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Muse Wanted

I recently realized that I am the type that needs a muse. Perhaps that can be put down to a lack of imagination on my part, or perhaps I just need the inspiration that a muse provides. Though I like to think that I do posses both an imagination and an overly developed ability to lie with aplomb, I still seem to require the muse that allows both of those abilities to flourish. It was not a happy realization, figuring out that I need to, in some sense, feed off another person in order to allow that imagination to step out into the (mostly) unknown.

I also figure that the task (or more likely the burden) of being my muse is probably a job that keeps that person (usually a female) pissed off quite a bit. Such is the job of being a muse. I figure that the 'Julia' that Robert Herrick used or the Laura that so inspired Petrarch's poetry found a lot of things that could be considered (to them as least) less than flattering.  That is another hazard of the muse. The reading into everything that the person you are inspiring has written something to do with you is probably a terrible position to be placed into. The muse has to wonder 'was that last line, which seemed faintly critical, and vaguely familiar, apply to me?' They also are probably left wondering was that last post/poem/song trying to tell me something? Is this idiot writer/poet/songwriter trying to tell me something that I am just to dense to figure out, or is he or she just using me as a sounding board in order to get his creative juices flowing?

Truth is, that if the one doing the composing is good/smart enough, the muse will not be able to answer those questions, and will be left wondering if they are the cause, inspiration, or just merely a side line in the composition.  Still a muse is needed for those exact reasons. They may wonder that if any off hand comment they make can then be 'turned into' something with much further reaching consequences, but I suppose that is another hazard of being a muse in the first place. It must be a bit maddening of a position, and I suspect that not a lot of people would overly enjoy the job. Which is probably why that I, at the present moment at least, lacking a muse.

The position of my muse is clearly not something for the faint of heart. I can be a right bastard, as the temporary muse of last night reminded me when she repeatedly reminded me that she 'hated me'. Well, that sounds like a' her' problem not a 'me' problem, and that is how I divide all the problems in the world. From world hunger, to not enough hand soap in public restrooms, all the world's problems  are  placed (by me at least) on either side of that invisible line. My problems are the ones that I attempt, but usually fail, to fix first. Those are the important ones the problems that have localized themselves to and around me. The really tough ones that really need some serious solving.  There are, thankfully, a lot less of my problems in relation to the number of the world's problems, but there are a lot more people in the world dedicated to solving those problems. As far as I can ascertain, I am the only person on this rock, that is fully dedicated, using the term very broadly, to solving my problems.

Which is quite sad, because my problems, even though they might be few in number, have some real staying power. They have to, or else I, being such a clever lad, would have solved them by now.  Though I figure the muse, if she ever comes back into existence will have a high old time trying to convince me that her and my problems overlap. Which, sadly they don't, and even more sadly that lack of an overlap quickly becomes a whole different problem.  The desire to overlap our problems has been the 'death' of several muses in my past, and I figure that I should probably realize that, unless I change my evil ways, might be a serious obstacle to obtaining any new muses in my future. That brilliant insight, is of course, much easier to write or think that to implement, but one can hope that one can do better in future.

That my future dabbling in the world of writing might require the services of a muse is, in many ways, a very depressing thought. Almost as depressing as the current landscape of possible muses in my life. It is a very, and I mean no offense to anyone, barren field which I find myself staring out upon.  The job has been vacant for quite a while, and it does not look like the position is anywhere close to being filled.  Though one doesn't generally put out a 'Vacancy' sign in the world of muse finding. You can not just pop onto Craigslist to and scroll through the personals for a muse. I doubt anyone, ever, in any time or place has claimed to be a muse for hire. Which is quite a shame, but I guess that is how the world of muses works.  It is probably easier to build an atomic bomb that to unearth a muse. After all you can just bloody Google the instructions for making a bomb, which I recommend doing on a computer that you do not own, or can be traced back to you.

I also figure that if a muse is to be found, and tricked into taking on the job, it will not be from behind this keyboard in the crap hole of an apartment that is my current residence. I also figure that walking up to people and asking 'will you be my muse' will lead to me receiving a lot of odd looks, and polite refusals if I am lucky. More likely I will be called a creep, receive some withering looks, and a good slap or two for my trouble. However, one never knows the answer to this type of question until one asks, at least that's my theory, and for all of those no's that Petrarch and Robert Herrick probably received, they did manage to get one yes. And that yes, that wonderful answer, that answer that makes hearts go thump, and opens up an entirely new world of possibility, poetry, and prose, is the answer that makes everything else worthwhile..  And the search for that one yes, that one person that is just daft enough to take that wild chance that I am offering them, is in many ways, ironically enough, a muse in its own right.