Tag Archives: Freak Parade by Marilyn Jaye Lewis

You’d think she’d just dig the fuck outta this…

This idea that the entire Universe is forcing me to stay home and write, you know? You’d think I’d just fucking love that.

And in a way, I do. Because, thankfully, I’m really healthy. Although yesterday, when we had that brief burst of mild Spring weather and I was able to open a couple of windows — man, that fresh air felt so incredible. I really, really miss the fresh air.

But I do really enjoy being alone. And writing. (Although, I would of course prefer being with that guy I’m totally trying not to love, but since that’s utterly impossible — just more impossible than you can possibly imagine — I just enjoy the fuck out of being alone…) (grumble grumble grumble)

But the sameness of the days is getting sort of weird. A little too “Groundhog Day”-ish, you know? Except for the fraction of a second that I interacted with the gals at the pizzeria, and the few moments standing 6 feet away from the guys at the Granville Inn — aside from that, I’ve been alone in here for 168 hours.

Thankfully, I talk to Peitor a lot. Or we text (constantly). We get a lot of creative stuff accomplished, which feels so great.  Other than that, though, I don’t really interact with anyone. I call my dad every day because he’s getting depressed. Not only is he on lockdown, too, but he doesn’t actually enjoy being alone, and, it’s been raining a lot where he lives so he can’t even get outdoors and take a walk.

Aside from that, he’s still grieving the death of his wife of 35 years. She’s only been gone 2 months now. And even though my dad and I have not had the best relationship during my adulthood, by any stretch of the imagination, even I knew that he had a really happy 3rd marriage. My stepmom was just the best.  They loved each other so much. And she was the easiest person to be around. One of those rare women that you just enjoy being in the same room with — and you really noticed it when she left a room. She had such uplifting, delighted, joyful energy all the time.

So with or without the quarantine, my dad no longer has that wonderful energy in his life. Now all he has is the TV.  And it’s on constantly — always on the news. Every time I call him, I have to say, “Dad, turn off the news. It’s depressing you.” Of course, he doesn’t do it, but I still feel it’s my sworn duty, you know, to tell him to do that every single darn day.

(I’m guessing that the minute we hang up the phone, he’s saying “You’re not the boss of me.” And he’s turning the volume on the news right back up!!)

But anyway. That’s my day. Peitor and/or my dad. Then I eat endless vegetables — so boring. I’ve already “ice-creamed” myself out — totally not interested in the ice cream anymore. So it’s back to eating really healthy stuff. Doing my yoga and my Booty Core, so that I can feel and look great during my endless days of living in captivity all by myself. And I still meditate and keep my endless little journals, so that my mind doesn’t completely unravel.

And then, you know, I sit down at my desk and write. In so many ways, that seems like heaven — so how come it doesn’t feel like heaven? Hmmm……

Oh — I did want to thank you guys for buying my books yesterday and during the night.  Seriously. I actually do appreciate it, even though you steadfastly refused to be led in the direction of my more literary pursuits — i.e. Twilight of the Immortal. I still really do appreciate that the old erotica still sells. (It will remain on sale for the next 4 weeks on Smashwords only.) (See yesterday morning’s post.)

But I do want to point out something, and I have no qualms whatsoever comparing that specific novel (Twilight of the Immortal) to F. Scott Fitzgerald. I honestly don’t. I know it’s a really well written book (that a lot of publishers also loved but they did not love the fact that there were so many lesbians in it & I was not willing to delete them from history). Still, I’ll point out that when F. Scott Fitzgerald died, you could not buy a copy of The Great Gatsby in any bookstore. Nobody wanted to read it.  (And, frankly, it is my favorite novel of all time.) And now, almost 100 years after it was written, it is not only considered a masterpiece of 20th Century American literature, but right now, today, it is ranked at #5 on Amazon’s Classic Literature list, and ranked #131 in all books.

All books. Do you know what that means? Can you even estimate how many books are being sold on Amazon right now — and that nearly 100-year-old book, which at one point, while he was still alive, nobody wanted to buy, is ranked at #131 amid those millions of titles?

Image result for the great gatsby cover art

I’m just saying. Your great-grandchildren will be more than happy to buy my lonely little book, let alone get it for free! Even though it doesn’t have a ton of sex in it… (And you’ll be stuck up there in Heaven — with any luck, that is, because it’s getting dicier with all that porn you’re reading — but anyway, you’ll be stuck up there just listening to harps and stuff!)

All righty!!!!

So here’s good news. The numbers, while increasing for now, are still encouraging. Close to 94,000 recoveries from the virus as of today (3/21/2020). About 179,000 known cases worldwide, and about 171,000 of those cases are considered mild.

And some other good news — because of all this quarantine stuff, that portion of my bathroom ceiling that collapsed yesterday because of all that sudden rain? I get to just ignore it for now because no way on Earth is anyone going to be able to come out here and fix it yet.

I love, love, love ignoring needed home repairs!! It is one of my very favorite things to do! And usually it bothers my conscience when I’m doing it, but not this time!! Yay!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, guys. I guess that’s it for today.  I’m guessing that Nick Cave is out there, quarantined somewhere, too, and yet still wearing a suit and having some sort of a conversation!!! Alas, we don’t know for sure. It’s just an educated guess. (Yes, life’s getting a little boring here in my room.) Oh, I’ve started streaming re-runs of the British Crime Drama, DCI Banks in the evening. So that’s fun. And I did eventually finish watching Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary — man, was that good. If you like jazz and you haven’t seen that show, it’s totally something to watch. It’s about 20 hours, but still worth every moment.

All righty. Thanks for visiting! Wash your hands and stop touching your face already. Life is good. The world is beautiful. I love you and I feel certain that a whole lot of other people do, too! See ya, gang!!

“In My Room”

There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to
In my room, in my room
In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears
In my room, in my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming
Lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing
Laugh at yesterday

Now it’s dark and I’m alone
But I won’t be afraid
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room

© – 1963 Brian Wilson, Gary Usher

Gracias, Amigos!

Well, today is the final day for the free eBook downloads at Smashwords and I have to say, in all astonishment, my erotic novel from 2011, Freak Parade, (yes, that’s 8 years ago already), had over 1000 free downloads.

So, I’m sort of saying, “thanks,” and also trying hard not to do the math on my royalties had you chosen to download the darn eBook for the usual $3.99. (!!)

But, thank you. That novel meant a lot to me and it frustrated me beyond belief when my agent shopped it for 5 years and no one would publish it because they couldn’t figure out how to market it.

Only 2 editors hated the book, the rest loved the book. So it was just a very frustrating thing that no one would step up to bat for it. (And also to be expecting a 6-figure advance from one publisher and have that dashed at the last moment… at Christmas…)

How can you not know how to market a book like Freak Parade? It’s all about the covert & overt racism shown towards Puerto Ricans in New York City every single goddamned day.

Oh, wait. There’s all that graphic sex in there… God knows, nobody wants to be confronted with sex. It ruins all the racism! And the drugs! And the music! And the Mafia! And all the homeless people living with AIDS!

So frustrating.

Anyway, the book meant a lot to me and so I published it myself. And I think I did a great job. A lot of talented people helped me with it, for sure. The cover, especially. I think that cover alone helped me win the Silver Medal at the Independent Book Publisher Awards that year. I really do. (That was for the trade paper and hard cover editions.)

I am still planning on developing it as a limited online streaming series with Bohemia Originals in LA, but God knows, I’ve got a lot on my plate right at this particular moment.

That said, though, the rewrites on Tell My Bones are really, really going great. Through some miracle, all those things I struggled with before, when trying to translate too many elements from the screenplay to the stage — I’m working all of that through this time.  (I think  it’s because the director said, “Stop trying to stage it, let me do that.” It opened things up for me.)

Okay, I’m going to close now and get to work. I leave you with the theme song from Freak Parade.  And a brief excerpt from the novel below that. Thanks for visiting, gang! I love you guys. See ya.

 

(Excerpt from Freak Parade, approx.  4 pages)

He took so long getting there that I thought maybe he’d changed
his mind. But then the buzzer sounded at last and I let him in.

“You don’t look so good, papi.”

“I know,” he said. “Trust me, I know.”

He came in and flung himself down on the couch.

“What is it, Eddie? Tell me.”

He sighed heavily and took off his coat. “Nothing.”

I had the money in a wad in my jeans pocket. I pulled it out. I
handed it to him. I said, “Please, take it. Pay me back when you can,
there isn’t any hurry. I don’t need it right now. Take it.”

He wouldn’t take the money. He just stared at it, at me, holding it
out to him. Then a dark cloud came over him and not the look of relief I’d been hoping to see. He said, “Is this what you had me come all the way over for? So that you could humiliate me like this?”

“No, Eddie. I’m not trying to humiliate you. I’m trying to help.”

“That’s not going to help.”

“But it’s a hundred dollars,” I said. “I can get you more if you need
more.”

He stood up abruptly. “I’m going,” he said.

“Eddie, don’t – please. Don’t go. Let me help. It’s just money.”

He turned on me then. He was extremely angry. He spat, “Is that
right? It’s just money? Come here,” he said. “I want to explain something to you about money.”

“No,” I said, knowing where that would lead us. “Come on, Eddie.
Calm down.”

“No. Come here. Right now, come here.”

Instead, I moved farther away. “No, Eddie.”

“I want to make something very clear to you about money, so you
understand, mami.”

“I already understand,” I said. “I can tell – I’m punished!”

Sí, mami. You are so punished.”

But why? I don’t understand this! Why?

“I don’t know why,” he boomed at the top of his voice. “You just
are, goddamn it! Now come here!”

I was petrified. He was too angry for me to risk moving even an
inch closer. I realized I was still clutching the wad of useless money and I felt so impotent that I started to cry.

“Don’t do it!” he shouted again. “Don’t cry! That’s not going to
help me, either.”

I screamed out, “What is going to help?”

“I don’t fucking know!” He sank back down on the sofa, his head
in his hands now. It was as if every ounce of fight he’d had in him only
a moment ago, had run out through a gaping wound. There were tears on his face. I was dumbfounded.

“You have no idea, Genie,” he said quietly. “You have no idea. I
have really been having a fucked-up couple of days. I can’t handle it
anymore. First, the mail came and Father Andrew says that there’s
something in it for me. I never get mail at that place. My mother usually gets my mail. But I knew what was in that envelope Father Andrew gave me. I didn’t even have to open it. I recognized it, you know? Fucking Claudia was suing me for the child support. I opened the envelope anyway and sure enough, not only was she suing me but there was already a hold on my driver’s license until I report to some office on lower Broadway to fill out some sort of pile of paperwork to prove I’m fucking broke. That was it for me, you know? How much was I supposed to take from that bitch? I’m trying to be fair.

“So I went right over to Claudia’s, to try to reason with her. To get
her to drop the suit; to give me a chance to find some decent work and get caught up on the child support. When I get up to the apartment, I find out she’s now living with some guy, some pendejo who has a good job. The two of them both work for the city, Genie, do you know what that means?”

“What?” I said, coming closer.

“It means they both have paychecks coming in, good paychecks,
benefits out the ass, right? Why the fuck does she need to sue me at this particular point? Put my license in jeopardy like this? I have no
goddamned work!”

I sat down next to him. I put my arm around him, tentatively at
first, but he didn’t pull away. He said, “And then my son is there and
do you know what happens?”

“What?”

“My son calls that pendejo ‘papi.’ Right in front of me! Papi. He’s
not your fucking papi, I shouted. I’m your papi. He’s just the hijodeputa who’s fucking your mami!”

I didn’t know what that meant but it wasn’t the time to be asking
for a translation. I guessed it was unpleasant.

“So that pendejo lunges at me. And I’m fine with it. I am going to
bust his fucking head wide open. Let him come at me; let him make the first move. And he does. And my kid starts crying. And there’s a huge fight and of course, I’m winning. I told him, nigger please, just bring it on. And he’s bleeding all over the place and now he’s trying to get away. So naturally, Claudia calls the fucking cops and has me arrested. I got arrested for defending myself. Taken to fucking jail. But I made sure that mamabicho got taken in right along with me – so what? I spend the fucking night in jail. But did they have to handcuff me right in front of my son like that? I asked them to do it outside. Please. Do it outside, even out in the fucking hall. I’m not running anywhere, but they can’t even give me that break. They put on the cuffs. My kid is screaming like crazy at that point.”

“You spent the night in jail? Last night?”

Sí, mami. I spent the night in jail. And now I have thirty days to
pay that fine or they’ll lock me up again. But they made the mistake of putting me in the same cell as that pendejo and I managed to kick the shit out of him before they realized their mistake and moved me.”

Now at least he was smiling. Faintly, but smiling.

“And then I got back to the shelter this morning and you know
what I find out?”

“What, papi?”

“The church has sold the fucking building! The goddamned
church needs money so I gotta move! I have sixty days and then I’m
out.”

“Oh my god. Eddie.”

“Do you still think it’s ‘just money,’ mami?”

“Eddie, I’m so sorry. What are we going to do?”

“We, mami? It’s not your problem. It’s mine.”

“But how can you have a problem, Eddie, without it being my
problem, too? I love you.”

Clearly, I’d caught him off guard. He stared at me strangely then
he kissed me. “And to think papi wanted to punish you,” he said softly.
“Don’t worry, I still might,” he added. “I know how much it pleases
you…You’re blushing again, mami.”

“No, I’m not.”

Sí, mami, you are. It’s okay. You don’t have to be ashamed of it, I
know all about it.” He affectionately smoothed my hair away from my face.

“About what? What are you talking about?”

“Girls like you. You don’t think I figured out girls like you a long
time ago? White, Spanish, it doesn’t matter. A girl like you wants to be punished by her papi.”

I was indignant. “I do not.”

“Sí, mami, you do. It makes you come. I know all about it. You’re a
little girl who wants her papi to pay attention to her. I’m a papi, sí? I’m a magnet for girls like you. You aren’t the first one.”

I was speechless, utterly speechless. How had the conversation
wound its way to this; to me feeling like a total fool?

“However,” he said. “To get back to what I was saying. Father
Andrew said I could have a job again taking care of church property,
and not a shelter this time, a place where visiting priests stay. I could
have a house and a yard and a car and a little boat, a charcoal grill and a plastic pool and a goddamned fucking dog if I wanted one, but you know where this paradise is? In Pennsyl-fucking-vania, mami. So there goes that idea.”

“Pennsylvania?”

Sí, Pennsylvania. I’d have to leave New York.”

“But you wouldn’t have to pay rent?”

“I’d have to pay rent, but at least I’d have a job. I could actually pay
rent. But I’m not moving to Pennsylvania. Who the fuck would I know in Pennsylvania? It would be just me and a pooch and a bunch of traveling priests, like a sideshow or something. And god knows what those priests are ever really up to, you know what I’m saying? And how could I be without you, mami? How could I be without my little Ivory girl making me crazy every day, driving me out of my fucking mind? She’s living with fags, she’s sleeping with dykes; she’s putting cocaine up her nose. She’s doing things I don’t expect, that I don’t understand, she’s doing anything she wants in her little white girl way, whatever pops into her pretty head on any given day until she’s handing me money and I have to shout, stop it you’re punished, and she screams why, papi, why? And I don’t know why, I don’t have a clue anymore…how can I live without that, huh?”

Did I really make him that crazy? “You’d really miss me, papi?”

Mami, I love you. You know that. I can’t go away. I need to get a
job; I need to find a proper place so that you don’t have to live here like this, without a home, either. So that you can, well…”

This was curious. “So I can what?”

“I want to give you a home, mami. I love you. Whether or not you
want to have a home with me, I guess that’s something you’ll have to
decide. But right now, I can’t do anything anyway. I don’t even have a
place for myself, let alone for you – a girl who could live anywhere in
the fucking world she wanted to.”

© – 2011 Marilyn Jaye Lewis

Just Getting Ready to Figure it All Out…

Now it’s all about being a tuner, being a receiver, and allowing the signal to just come.

I’ve written this play how many times already, gang? How many times? Now I just need the best possible version of it to get itself onto the page.

I know it is all there. So I simply have to receive it.

We’ve all decided that Sandra is not going to come here to begin rehearsals on August 5th. We’ll start the rehearsals in September, in NYC. And the director wants to spend the next several weeks here, just working with me on the script. To finally nail it down.

I work well under that kind of pressure, but it is indeed pressure.

And when I say “here” I don’t mean that the director will be here in my ancient home that is from pioneer days. I mean “here” as in 20 miles from me, in his circa 1929 mansion that is just so beautiful and has more rooms in it than I can even remember (i.e., you need to consult your map to find the powder room).

So he won’t be exactly standing behind me, looking over my shoulder as I type; as I sweat, as I squirm; as I squint at the laptop screen because I refuse to wear my glasses; as I fumble with an unlit Pall Mall between my fingers — toying, for hours, with the idea of actually lighting it. Throwing it down angrily once in a while so that I can grab handfuls of my unwashed hair or rub the skin right off my forehead and say: Think, Marilyn, think! There’s got to be a better word here. Fucking find it already. Jesus fucking Christ!

No. He’ll more likely be drinking a whisky, neat, while sitting out on his sprawling veranda, admiring the 3-acre view of rolling lawns and sweeping trees, while listening to the birds and the gentle tick-tock of the grandfather clock coming through the screen door  from the vestibule; yes, just sipping whisky and silently awaiting more stellar pages to arrive from me. Where are those stellar pages? he might wonder from time to time, as he looks at his pocket watch, the sun setting serenely in the west…

That kind of pressure.

Anyway. I do work well under pressure. But it does mean that, yet again, Peitor and I cannot do any work today on our micro-script for Abstract Absurdity Prods. 3 weeks in a row now. So that bothers me.  But he still has his hands full with exhausting familial/ elderly parents/ obligation stuff out there in West Hollywood. I guess maybe it’s a needed “switching of gears” for both of us right now.

On the topic of short films, though. On Fridays, I get the weekly email from Short of the Week, which always includes about 5 or 6 short films in various categories.  Not to be snarky, or anything, but I rarely find anything that truly blows me away. I still watch them for the editing, the camera angles, the shots, the locations – that kind of thing. How filmmakers are best utilizing these things for short films.

Yesterday, however, there were actually 2 films included in the weekly round-up that I absolutely loved.  Both were Asian-American influenced themes. One Korean-American: Koreatown (12 mins).

Synopsis:  At a discreet host bar in Los Angeles, Kyeong uses his talent and charm to create the illusion of love for the women who hire him. When a new client pays him for a “2nd round,” Kyeong discovers too late that behind her kindly demeanor lies a disturbing request. Watch it online here.

And the other one, Chinese-American: Kiss of the Rabbit God (14 mins).

Synopsis: A film about an ordinary restaurant worker’s extraordinary sexual awakening. Nightly visits from the Rabbit God, who arrives in the body of a tantalizing mysterious stranger, blossom into a tryst that empowers the young man to embark on a journey of self-discovery.  Watch it online below:

Beyond that, what I really wanted to do yesterday was stream old episodes of The Flintstones on my iPad and lie around on my bed, delighting in the absurdity of all that old stuff.

However, under the above-mentioned circumstances, that seemed like a usage of my time that might be a wee bit hard to justify right at this particular juncture. So, watching The Flintstones (see yesterday’s post), I guess, will have to wait…

That said! I gotta scoot and get going on some new stellar pages.

Oh, wait! Two things. I never mentioned that my new passport photo was, yes, even more hideous than my new driver’s license photo! A feat that I didn’t think was humanly possible. And I get to keep it for 10 years….

And also: the Summer Sale at Smashwords ends in 5 days. So if you haven’t already downloaded my eBook titles over there (for free), you have 5 more days to do that in. Titles included are: The Muse Revisited Vols. 1-3; Freak Parade; and Twilight of the Immortal.  The links are above, under “About Marilyn Jaye Lewis”. (Only Smashwords-linked titles are free; Amazon is not.)

All righty! Now I’m really outta here. Thanks for visiting, gang! I love you guys. See ya!

Image result for the flintstones

 

There’s Only So Much You Can Do!

In this heat, I mean.

Besides  flooding yourself with caffeine on ice and doing everything in your power to not light up a Pall Mall cigarette. (I have a whole pack here because that’s what my mom smokes.) (Nicotine makes my brain work GOOD, gang! But makes the rest of me feel like shit later…)

My brain was completely locked down from all this heat by noon yesterday, and it never got better. I could almost think, but not enough to keep switching between 2 different versions of the script for Tell My Bones and try to get a firm grip on the revisions I needed to make to the play overall.

My brain was like a swamp, replete with all the lovely things that swamps  entail.

And that’s not the best way to undertake writing a play that will win a Pulitzer Prize! (Still, if the swamp/brain route is the only available way, then you gotta pray that everything else in the running that year is way, way, WAY less good than your swamp-ridden play…)

It was so frustrating.

However. I did get some really good input from a publisher re: a potential good home for my new novel, Blessed By Light. So that was cheerful!

And this morning, even while Peitor is back in Los Angeles, he still has his hands full with really pressing, disturbing, tedious familial obligations, so we once again cannot work on developing the script for our tiny yet delightful Abstract Absurdity Prods.  Which I guess is good, because I need to have the revisions of the play completed by Tuesday morning.

Which means, of course, that I’m gonna spend my entire birthday working on the play. But it will only be 93 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday, instead of 97 degrees. And instead of ungodly amounts of humidity, we will have ungodly amounts of humidity with torrential thunderstorms.

So, you know. Sure am looking forward to that!

Still. All that whiny stuff said. It is nowhere near as bad in here as last summer, before all the new insulation got installed. So most of my histrionics are just for show.

I got a really pretty birthday card from my father and stepmom yesterday. (My adoptive dad — the one who had the profound delight of raising me). It was really sweet. And it said that I was the kind of daughter who brought sunshine wherever she goes.

It cracked me up! I know my stepmom has to have been the one to pick that card out, right?  Even though she is confined to a wheelchair and in a nursing home, and ravaged by years of MS, her mind is still sharp & she is really sweet.  And there is just no way, ever, in a bazillion years, that my dad would correlate me with “sunshine” in any way, shape, or form.

If it was really my dad choosing the birthday cards, it would say something like: I’m Almost 90 and I Cannot Believe I Have Survived All the Joys of Knowing You for This Long; OR, No One Spews the ‘F’ word Like You Do, Darling Daughter! OR, As Another Birthday Comes Around for You, Darling Daughter, I Think Back on All the Years and Wonder What the Fuck I Did to Deserve You, I was Having Such a Good Time ‘Til You Showed Up.

You know, sentiments like that. (I only wish I was kidding, gang.)

Anyway. It was a cute little card and it perked up my spirits in the dreadful heat.

Today, I am going to split whatever energy I can find for my brain between working on the play and writing query letters to 3 publishers. It’s a really interesting adventure this time around, because I love my new novel but I also know that it’s really unusual. So I honestly have no clue with which publisher it will be a good fit.  My queries so far have been, “I have no clue if my writing is suitable for you at all but do you think you might like to see it?”

THEM: “Well, when you put it like that — I might!”

It’s an adventure! A literary adventure. Of which I have had many in my illustrious career.

(Including, but not limited to, on the eve of supposed-to-be receiving a 6-figure advance for my delightful, award-winning novel Freak Parade, the owner of the (large, very well known) publishing house, announced at a production meeting: “We are not publishing this filth and I would never publish this filth, even if my life depended on it!”) (Sadly, again, I only wish I was kidding.)

Okay, gang. My music-listening in this heat has gone in 2 distinct directions. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds when the caffeine is spiking, and then Jr. Thomas & the Volcanos when the heat & humidity swells back up and smothers me again.

So I leave you with those two listening options today!

(And for some reason — methinks a financial one — no lyrics are online for Jr. Thomas songs.) (And of course, I am aware that all these “free” music and “free” lyrics online, robs musicians and songwriters of a ton of royalty money that they used to get back in the Dark Ages. But all the music I listen to every day, is either a CD I paid for, or is something I stream that I also paid for. I can only hope that you guys do the same, but I’m thinking that a whole heck of a lot of people don’t really pay for music at all anymore. Which really does suck.)

Anyway. Have a great sunny Saturday, wherever you are in the world!! Thanks for visiting! I love you guys. See ya!

“Midnight Man”

Hold that chrysalis in your palm
See it split and change
It won’t do you any harm
It’s just trying to rearrange
It was born to live a day
Now it flies up from your hand
It’s beautiful
It’s the one they call
Your ever-loving man

Wolves have carried your babies away
O your kids drip from their teeth
The nights are long and the day
Is bitter cold beyond belief
You spread yourself like a penitent
On the mad vibrating sand
And through your teeth
Arrange to meet
Your midnight man

Everybody’s coming around to my place!
Everybody’s coming around to my place!
Everybody’s coming around!
O baby don’t you see
Everybody wants to be
Your midnight man

Don’t disturb me as I sleep
Treat me gentle when I wake
And don’t disturb me as I sleep
Even though your body aches

Even though your body aches
To serve at his command
Between the walls
She still adores
Her ever-loving man

Close your eyes, sleep in him
Dream of your lost sons and daughters
Me, I’ll raise up the dorsal fin
And glide up and down the waters

I’ll glide up and down the waters
Then I’ll walk upon the land
And call ’em out
The ones who doubt
Your midnight man

Everybody’s coming around to my place!
Everybody’s coming around to my place!
Everybody’s coming around!
Don’t did you see
Everybody wanna to be
Your midnight man

It’s early in the morning
And I don’t know what to do
It’s early in the morning
And I can’t believe its true
As I lay in the moment
And it’s happening again
Well, I called you once, I called you twice
Ain’t I your midnight man

Everybody’s coming around to my place!
Everybody’s coming around to my place!
Everybody’s coming around!
They want you, they love you, they need you
To be, your midnight man

Everybody’s coming here
Everybody’s coming here
Everybody’s coming here
To be your midnight man
To be your midnight man

c – 2008 Nick Cave

Absolutely 100% For Real, Done!

I finally finished the final edit, final re-write, final everything on Blessed By Light and it is done, gang.

I am just so pleased with it. I have the best Muse ever, and I just feel so blessed. What a strange little book it is but I really, really love it.

And continued thanks to all of you who keep downloading the eBooks at Smashwords. At this point, I know it’s people who probably aren’t even coming to this blog, unless of course, you all like to download the exact same books over & over & over.

But, still, thanks.

In fact, I remember the long ago days when each of those stories in those erotic “Muse” collections was brand new, and I would finish  writing one of them — it was always a great feeling. And a really great feeling when the story got sold.

The thrill of getting that letter from a publisher that said, “We are happy to inform you…” (Back then it was actual letters, not emails.)

In fact, I only wrote one short story – a really early one – that didn’t eventually get sold, gang. So if you are still new to your own writing career, just hang in there and keep believing in yourself. It all eventually comes to pass.

(And eventually the letters became, “Dear Ms. Lewis, We know how busy you are, but we are writing to ask you if you’d be willing to contribute” etc., etc.)

So, yeah, it’s a beautiful world!!

Okay, I’m gonna go collapse for a few minutes! Thanks for visiting!!

I leave you with my current favorite song for my Muse! (Honestly, I can’t stop playing this song, gang. I think this is gonna go down as the best year in my life.)

Buongiorno, Bella!!

Wow, gang. Yesterday was quite the amazing Instagram day!

The Raconteurs new album, Help Us Stranger, opened  at the top of the Billboard charts! I think it sold something like 88,000 copies in it’s first week.

Nick Cave made an appearance at the Glastonbury Music Festival, reuniting again with Kylie Minogue to sing their famous murder ballad from a million years ago, Where the Wild Roses Grow.

Really fantastic photos from that, gang. He should consider holding that gal in his arms for the rest of his life because I haven’t seen him look that happy in a long, long, LONG time. Just lovely.

Dana Petty uploaded a video from a concert Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers did on their final tour, 2 summers ago. It was footage of the song “Learning to Fly” where Tom is not even singing because the thousands and thousands and thousands of people in the audience are doing all the singing for him, and really joyfully and really loudly. It was wonderful. He looked really happy, too.  I think Dana had taken the video with her phone. (And he would be dead within, like, 90 days from an accidental overdose of pain meds, so of course, hindsight makes it all very poignant.)

Ronnie Wood was all over Instagram with before & after show footage from the date the Stones did in Canada. He was really adorable. Also a very happy guy. I think his wife was taking the videos with her phone.

Yesterday was also the month-ending review in my Italian lessons and I only got one wrong answer out of 100, so that was really cool. I have no clue how I did that, gang. But it was exciting.

It is a stunning day here. Some of the edits for Blessed By Light have come in from NY so I will focus on that and then, perhaps, just think about life! I’m supposed to teach piano later today but I’m not sure if that’s happening or not, because of it being a holiday week here. But we’ll see.

Meanwhile…

As promised, the Smashwords Summer Sale begins again today!  For the entire month of July, you can download any/all of my eBooks that are published on Smashwords — for FREE.

Posted below are the direct links. And, as always, here is my Extreme Cautionary Warning to those readers who have only known me as a script writer:

Freak Parade and The Muse Revisited Volumes 1-3 are exceptionally explicit (award-winning!) literary erotica, often with bisexual BDSM themes and with overtones of what is now termed  “questionable consent” (i.e. consensual rape). These titles are not aimed at the average reader and could be considered upsetting or extremely offensive.

However, Twilight of the Immortal is historical fiction, not literary erotica.

If you’d like to know more about any of these titles before downloading, use the drop down menu on the  upper right of this page, under “About Marilyn Jaye Lewis”.

Here are the links to my titles on Smashwords:

All righty! I’m gonna get an early start here. I leave you with this today. From Hypnotic Eye, Tom Petty’s final album with the Heartbreakers, from 2014, “Sins of My Youth.” I think it sort of sums up a lot of what happened all over the place yesterday.

Have a great day, wherever you are in the world!! Thanks for visiting, gang! I love you guys so much. See ya.

“Sins Of My Youth”

You will find no wicked way in me
Look me over, you will see
You will find no weary change
I’m worn and wounded,
but still the same

Whoa……
Let me tell you the truth
I love you more
Than the sins of my youth

When the past gets up in your face
Memories slide out of place
All those things that were hidden away
Ain’t so bad in the light of day

Whoa……
Let me tell you the truth
I love you more
Than the sins of my youth

You say you love me
wish you’d like me more
I’m no angel that’s for sure
Said you forgave me,
each time I was caught
But you still paint me as somethin’ I’m not

Whoa……
Let me tell you the truth
I love you more
Than the sins of my youth

I love you more
Than the sins of my youth

c – 2014 Tom Petty

It’s Good to Think & to Be Smart!

Yes, that is my gentle reminder to you that today is the final day of the Smashwords sale, wherein all of my eBooks that are published with them are FREE to download, in any and all eReader formats.

I’m guessing, though, that you’ve already done that. Still. It’s good to think and to be smart. LOOK at your desktop or at your eReader device! If my eBooks are not in there [Twilight of the Immortal; Freak Parade, and The Muse Revisited Volumes 1-3.], then you’ve forgotten to download them and must hurry and do that today. The final day.

Or at least until the month of July, wherein, Smashwords does it all over again…

However, this means that in those months between January and July, you will have to pay 3 and sometimes as much as 4 dollars to download each of these books. Yes – I said 3 or 4 dollars! It looks like this: $3 or $4. And we don’t want to go that route, do we? Because then, I personally – as the writer- would actually receive most of those dollars. And that could set a very dangerous precedent. I might expect you to start purchasing my newer books forever after that. So let’s just avoid all that potential unpleasantness and go download those books today.

All righty!

Well, unfortunately, the merriment of the holidays is over and I seriously have to get back to work around here.  Someone in LA, who shall remain nameless, had the nerve to email me on New Year’s Eve – albeit, on Pacific Time, so to her, it was not yet dangerously close to the actual moment of merriment. But still. I get an email late last night explaining when & where & how I need to begin the endless hours of Skyping with producers re: my pilot script.

I so don’t want to do this, people, and yet I so have to. It was stressful just looking at the email. Because it isn’t actually Skype – it’s “Skype-like” and so I have to download yet another app and learn how to use it and how to send my script, etc. And I have about 24 hours to figure it out. And I still have not revised my show bible.

I know. I said I was doing it. I also said I was going to stop texting the guy I’m in love with because he’s really busy now and I wanted to give him some space… However, even though I opened the show bible Word file every single day for the past several days, I would simply look at it and my brain would just sort of glaze over with inertia. I got nothing done.

And so now, someone is going to say, “Okay, let’s see what you did!”

ME: “Nothing. I did nothing.”

Not gonna go over well.

THEM: “We were under the impression you were serious about your script and really wanted our input here.”

ME: “I’m not sure what I was thinking when I said that.”

Anyway.

So I kinda gotta scurry around here and get things in shape.

And this also means I will go back to my non-holiday blogging schedule of posting once or twice a week, instead of every day.

Plus, I’ve decided to go back to writing in my journal more and stay offline whenever possible. I’m seriously trying to break my texting habit.  Frankly, I really wish I were addicted to smoking instead of texting. I could light up in the privacy of my own world and just sit & think & smoke, instead of dashing off yet another annoying: “Plus, I just wanted to be clear about…[fill in the blank about what on earth it is that I could possibly be more clear about].”

And with smoking, at least you get that awesome nicotine rush.

Okay, gang. Off I go! Enjoy your New Year’s Day festivities, wherever you are! Thanks for making a quick trip here part of your busy day. Sending you great big bunches of love! See ya!

And I also text…

Oh for heaven’s sake, people!

Okay, I’m just kidding. Nothing makes me happier than having readers download my books, whether or not they’re free.

But, seriously, this is getting insane. I have no clue where all these people are coming from. The numbers long surpassed the amount of followers I have on my blog.  And I only advertised the Smashwords sale on my blog. And only deranged lunatics would download the same eBooks over & over & over, ad infinitum.

And I like to think my followers are not deranged lunatics. It reflects better on me when they aren’t. My followers are all really cool, smart people!

Anyway, it just astounds me.  Where do they come from? And now people are starting to download Freak Parade like crazy. I have no clue why all of the sudden that happened.

And what’s funny is that almost no one downloads Twilight of the Immortal. It has erotic sex scenes in it, but it is certainly not graphic sex. And it is really well written fiction. But nobody wants it! They’d rather have, I don’t know, 5 pages of graphic fellatio or something. It’s just so funny.

I’ll tell you, though, sometimes I read over these old stories (from The Muse Revisited Series) and I am frequently flabbergasted.  The short story titled August on the Lake (in Vol.3) was written expressly for a French publisher and was immediately translated into French (as Aout sur le lac). I think the only English version of the story is in The Muse Revisited.

I was told that, in French, it was a really beautiful story. That it was literature and not the usual smut. (Thank you. I like to think that my entire life is beautiful literature and not the usual smut! Anyway.) I’d forgotten that it was written specifically for a French publisher and for an anthology about: Yes,  fellatio.  And as I re-read it, years after its publication, I was dumbfounded. Why would I go on & on about fellatio here? It was not a topic my work was ever really known for. It actually made me uncomfortable to re-read it. Like, What the hell was on my mind when I wrote this strange story that seems to be, in a lot of ways, about my second husband?

Eventually I figured it out. But really, I don’t remember any of my stories verbatim.  And if I happen to re-read one, it becomes brand new to me, and I’m reading it as any other reader would and oftentimes the stories are a little shocking. Yes, even to me. If a story wasn’t written  for a specified topic, then the stories almost always reflect something that’s going on in my mind, my world, my relationships, my life. (A reflection, not a memoir…) And sometimes it’s just too intense to revisit it.

“Awake in the Dream of Life” was only published once in print (although it’s included in the eBook, Dirty Filthy Lovely: Dark Erotica). A woman originally published it, even though she wasn’t really happy about it but she wanted me in her anthology of popular women writers so she published it – I guess in the category of: Popular Women Writers Who Are Out of Their Fucking Minds.

When I re-read the story several years ago, I was, like, Holy Moly. No wonder women were upset by this story. Men loved it, of course. Men into BDSM, I mean. One of my long-time publishers at the time read the piece and said it was the best thing I ever wrote but that he could never publish a story like that; he wouldn’t want to deal with the reader backlash.

At the time, I just could not understand why people were so upset. But I was in such a bad place and had no clue my mental state had sunk into that. Happily, though, it is now documented for all time! Because I’m a writer and I write stuff and out it goes — into the world!

I’m not even really kidding, you know? It’s one of the reasons I don’t actively seek “followers” on any of my social media accounts. If you want to be following me, thank you. That’s great. It is. But you have to actually want to be here of your own volition because only God knows what I am going to wind up putting into your world.

It was one of the reasons I was actively seeking obscurity. I had no control over the amount of people coming into my world by way of my writing. In the old days, I had thousands and thousands of people reading my blog every day. And those weren’t “followers” because there was no such thing back then. They were actual readers, every day. And nothing I could think or do or say was private anymore. Including, naturally, my family.

MOTHER: “Are you really that much of a drunk??!! Is that all you do is sit around and drink booze??!!”

ME: “Um, no, I was just being funny on the blog.”

COLLEAGUE IN SOME FOREIGN COUNTRY: “Is that what you really think about my writing??!!”

ME: “Um, no, I was just being funny on the blog.”

FATHER: “Is that what you really think about the President of the United States??!!”

ME: “Um, yes, that’s what I really think about the President of the United States.”

And for that comment, I was promptly disowned, disinherited, cast off, forgotten by my adoptive father. Seriously. Blogs can be a real pain, and sometimes damaging to me, when people are actually reading them.

But my attempts to live here in Crazyland in obscurity have come to naught.  I mean, I don’t want my career to be obscure. I just wanted my private life to be obscure within the town I am living. But it just doesn’t work if you have a blog that people read. Obscurity is an impossibility.

The other day, when I said that Kara was my only friend out here in the Hinterlands, someone wrote to me, personally, and reminded me that she was my friend, too. Oh gosh.  Of course you are. I’m so sorry if I hurt your feelings. I had no idea you were reading my blog…

And then also the other day, my niece, who doesn’t live too awfully far from Crazyland, sent me a link to an essay she wrote. She wants to be a writer, like me. It was a good piece of writing, but it was all about how she struggles with depression.

And I was, like: No, no, no! This is not acceptable. You were born to have a life that was better than mine.

When my niece was born, it was at a time in my life and in my marriage when I was coming to grips with the fact that I was going to remain childless. I was so excited for my brother when his daughter was born. And I was excited for me, too. A little girl, connected to me, who gets to have a much, much better life than mine was. A life not full of the garbage I had to deal with. And yet, all these years later, she’s dealing with depression. And here I blog about my crippling depressions and I guess I make it seem somehow okay.

But it’s not. It’s not an acceptable way to live. Her life is supposed to be better than mine.

Well, how is she supposed to know that, I had to ask myself; if you ignored her for most of her life?

Because I had a falling out with my brother – but the outcome for my niece was still the same. I was gone from her life from the time she was 4.

Choosing obscurity, choosing to isolate – I see now that it isn’t really very fair to other people, because they still exist. I know I still have to find a balance between the people who are toxic to me and the people who aren’t; and how to protect my private life but still be a public writer. But I’ve got to deal with it.

That balance is tricky for me, but I’m learning. When I consulted that reader in London a couple weeks ago, as a Christmas present for myself, I knew I was having some very serious problems with my mind. I needed help finding my balance; to feel grounded again, to get clarity.  How to show up in the world as myself, and not to detach and dissociate.

The reader in London was so helpful to me. He really was. He told me what I needed to work on, 3 times a day for twenty minutes each time. And he said, “Stick with it, and in 3 days things will begin to turn around. And if you stay with it for a month, you will be amazed by the difference in your life.”

Well, he was certainly correct.  Everything is changing, sort of at warp speed. And I think this indescribable frenzy of eBook downloads is part of the river of change. That flow. Suddenly, more and more people are also following the blog, and all my other social media accounts. People are just suddenly showing up, you know? Including my niece. And yesterday, even Mob Guy #2 returned very suddenly and said, “Please, Marilyn. Come on.  I’m still waiting for you to come back to me.”

What the heck??!! Where did you come from all of the sudden??!! (My answer was still no, but it was nice to be so suddenly thought of, so intensely.)

I mean, it’s certainly not bad stuff, but it is a lot of stuff. And I have to step up and be accountable for all of it, even the stuff that I totally fucked-up and can’t repair, because I’m not obscure. I do exist in the world. So. It has been very, very interesting. To say the least.

Okay, you guys have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for visiting Crazyland!! I’m always happy to see your bright, shining faces. I love you guys! Take care and see ya.

PS: I don’t actually live in Crazyland. It’s a play on words – on the name of the actual town I live in, which was founded by  a Mr. Samuel Frazey in 1828.

Best gift ever??!!

I think maybe it is, folks!

Kara, basically my one & only friend out here in the Hinterlands – and she’s from New York originally, so I guess that explains it.

But anyway. As luck would have it, Kara has been reading my novel, Freak Parade. We got together for dinner in town last night and to go see a play  (a revival of Gypsy), and she brought me a Christmas present!

This is not an appeal for anyone to read Freak Parade, it’s just that, in the book, the main character, Eugenia Sharpe, always  drinks Wild Turkey & Diet Coke.  And this is what Kara got me – a bourbon flask!!

How cool is that, really? How intensely targeted and thoughtful.

Yes, I used to also drink Wild Turkey & Diet Coke. But let’s not have that conversation again about  fiction versus memoir!

I don’t drink Wild Turkey anymore – I can’t handle hard liquor since becoming a vegetarian.  But I was still overjoyed to receive this gift and will just treasure it forever.

It is so wonderful to have a friend and to have the friendship just happen organically, you know? It’s not based on any sort of networking at all. Knowing Kara has really been incredible.  I’ve blogged about her before – she is definitely on her own planet, but it’s a planet I always enjoy visiting.

At one point, I finally told her I was a writer and she started not only buying my books, but also reading them! And we’re still friends. Go figure…

I don’t tell anyone out here that I’m a writer.  I came out here to the Hinterlands, to this wonderful, tiny, crazy town, to live in obscurity.  To have no past for anyone to know about; no career; no identity. In fact, I always remove my middle name from everything out here because it makes me even more intensely obscure once my middle name is removed.  I try to be friendly and everything when I’m actually out in the town and have to interact with people, but mostly I settled here because I just wanted to be a woman who practically didn’t exist anymore except when I was upstairs at my desk, all alone, writing.

In the last 15 years or so, I systematically lost pretty much everything in my life that meant anything to me. All I had left was my writing, and then my ministry. And I found a way to be content with that. I really thought that was going to be my life – writing, house in the middle of nowhere, 8 semi-feral cats, cemetery plot up the road.

I was so totally okay with that until I fell in love. And then everything inside  me changed and my head exploded. (I think that exploding head is what caused me to lose my mind – just a wild guess. Perhaps it’s on the floor here somewhere…) And then suddenly I wanted EVERYTHING.

Just everything.

But wait, I know what that means – it means you will once again lose everything. I can’t go there again, can I? The prospects of all that loss will kill me.

But who knows, right? I just gotta learn how to wake-up in the morning and try not to make everybody crazy right along with me. A tall order these days, gang! But I’m working on it.

And speaking of work… I gotta get back to the new novel today. So I’m off!

Enjoy Thursday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting. In spite of everything I grumble about, I’m real glad our paths are crossing, gentle readers. I mean that. See ya!

Yes, I Want You! The beginning of the end of sanity around here….

Smashwords Sale Begins Today

Merry Christmas, gang!

It’s that time of year again. The Smashwords sale starts today and runs through January 1st.

All of my eBooks that are published on Smashwords are available as FREE downloads, in all eBook formats until New Year’s Day.

This includes:

Twilight of the Immortal;
Freak Parade;
The Muse Revisited, Volume 1: Early Erotica;
The Muse Revisited, Volume 2: Erotic Novellas & Longer Works;
and The Muse Revisited, Volume 3: More Early Erotica.

Since today is Christmas, I thought I’d post an excerpt from Freak Parade, wherein our 2 main love interests – Eugenia Sharpe and Eddie Ramirez – resume that tortuous process of falling in love, and it takes place on Christmas Eve.

Freak Parade was sort of the turning point in my career, in that it came along in 2005, just as the publishing industry was starting to have some huge financial upheavals. Even though I was a steady seller in a niche market, publishers were shying away from niche markets in droves.

(That’s sort of an interesting image, isn’t it? To shy away from something in droves?)

Anyway, my agent shopped Freak Parade for 5 years. Every publisher except one loved the book but would not publish it because it was impossible to pigeon hole it; to label it. And they only wanted easy, massive sales.

Freak Parade is not an easy sell. It is literary with tons of graphic sex. It’s a romantic love story but it has rape, drugs, and violence in it. It has lots of gay, lesbian, and bisexual BDSM sex in it, even while it is primarily a heterosexual love story. And it’s also a book about how racist New York City is towards Puerto Ricans.

So, 5 years into it, I told my agent to stop shopping it and that I would publish the book myself. Even though it primarily sells as an eBook nowadays, when I published it in 2011, it was primarily a trade paperback book. It was my first time involved in the editing, formatting, designing, and packaging of a print book from start to finish. And, to my delight, Freak Parade took home the Silver Medal that year at the Independent Publisher Book Awards in New York.

So here is an excerpt from Chapter 15, it runs about 8 pages. 

Merry Christmas, everybody and thanks for visiting! I love you guys!!

*****************************************

Freak Parade

When I got down to the street, Eddie Ramirez was waiting in the falling snow, in a black cashmere coat and faded blue jeans. He looked too sexy, too indescribably tall, dark and handsome. It all came back to me now of course, just how handsome he was. I recalled him perfectly now, every chiseled angle of his face and the spark of fire in his gleaming brown eyes.

“Look at you, mami,” he cried. “I didn’t know you had such long hair. You’re such a little white girl – like an Ivory girl. You’re even prettier than I remembered.”

“Hi, Eddie.”

He held his arms open for me and I went right into them, effortlessly, like I’d done it all my life, like I hadn’t agonized over how he’d slipped right through my fingers every night for a tortuous week. He kissed me right on the mouth. “I didn’t think I would ever see you again, Boo.” He squeezed me tight. “No,” he corrected himself, “no that’s not true. I knew I was going to see you again. I wasn’t gonna have it any other way. But I couldn’t understand why you left me like that; I couldn’t make sense of it. And that Frankie – shit. She is so hard to reach on the phone, have you noticed that about her? I don’t have a phone of my own. I gotta go down to the street to the payphone if I want to call somebody, and then she never picks up. So tonight, I’d had it. I went over to her apartment and I waited in front of her building until somebody let me in. Then I pounded on her door until she opened up. I knew she was in there. She was in there with Pablo so I don’t have to tell you what they were doing – and I don’t mean fucking, excuse my language. Give it a rest already with the eight ball, you know? All I wanted was seven little numbers. How long can that take?” He finally paused to take a breath. “I called you twice, mami, but the first time, nobody answered. I’m so glad I tried again.”

Held in his arms like that, the scent of his incredible cologne was soon permeating my brain again, edging me into a swoon in record time.

“And how was your week?” he asked.

I didn’t even want to think about my week. I wanted to pretend my week had never happened. I was afraid it might break this phantom spell, this spell of Eddie Ramirez filling my senses. “It wasn’t so good, but it’s over. I just want to move on.”

“Whatever you say, mami.” He took my hand and we started walking. “Starting now, we’ll just move on.”

When he took my hand in his the thrill of it shot down to the center of my womb, the spark was that primal. He had such masculine hands. I wanted to be naked and at the mercy of those hands. But I couldn’t say a thing like that. I had to keep a lid on all the shooting sparks. I didn’t want to blow this chance again. Yet I wanted to say something – something extraordinary – but I had no words that could match the crackling sound my whole body was burning to make.

What was with this guy, I wondered. Why did he make me feel so breathless? At least it hadn’t been a figment of my imagination, I thought gratefully; that hypnotic trance we’d been in at the Sidecar Lounge had been real.

“So,” he said.

“So?” I looked up at him expectantly. Specks of snow had fallen into his thick brown hair and were melting there.

“You and me, we have some unfinished business, don’t we, mami?” He said this with such quiet authority, it made my pulse jump. Wow. He definitely had that daddy thing going on. I hadn’t counted on that. My electrified womb was quickly turning to a big quiver of Jell-O.

“What does that mean,” I asked; “Unfinished business?”

“We had something going there and you left me.”

Which reminded me: “Hey, did you really bring me flowers?”

“Yes I did, and do you know how far I had to walk to find a store that was selling flowers at that hour? Why did you leave me, mami? We hadn’t even said goodbye.”

“Well, I didn’t know you were buying me flowers. I thought you’d ditched me.”

“How could I ditch you? Mami, you were making me crazy. Don’t you remember what you were doing to me? I couldn’t hold you close enough.”

“Yes,” I said. “I remember.”

“And you think I get crazy like that for just any female? I can have my pick of the females on a Friday night, mami, trust me. And none of them get me as worked up as you do.”

Wow. What was he saying? I was almost afraid to find out for sure. I didn’t want this little bubble of delight bursting right in my face. “But you didn’t say where you were going. You were the one who left me sitting there all by myself. And besides,” I added half-heartedly, not wanting to remember but needing to plead my case, “my ride came.”

He put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me closer to him. “Your ‘ride’ came. Right.” He looked down at me disapprovingly. “And I hope you enjoyed your little ride because it certainly wasn’t a ride home – we found that out right away. You better be careful on those little two a.m. rides, mami, there are some freaky motherfuckers in this town.”

Ouch. No way on earth did I ever want him to know how right he was or how much I regretted that ride; now more than ever, I wanted Taddeo Fischetti to be a past chapter in a closed book. A book I was going to douse in gasoline and set on fire.

“I guess you think it isn’t any of my business,” he went on, “and maybe it isn’t. It’s just that I’ve been around, in places that pretty white girls like you shouldn’t even know about and I’ve seen some sick shit happen to females who were too stupid to be careful. It’s no joke what goes on out there.”

“I know,” I said.

“Right – you know,” he said doubtfully.

We walked as far as Fourteenth Street then we crossed Second Avenue and headed back down towards Chas’s place. The snow was beginning to stick. With so little traffic out, even the streets were taking a light dusting of pure white snow and holding it. I knew it wouldn’t last long, that purity. But for now, it was beautiful. The entire night was beautiful. It was Christmas Eve and for once, it actually felt sacred. The twinkling Christmas lights strung on all the fire escapes were ethereal now in all that snow. It was snow that was coming straight from heaven.

“So what are you doing tomorrow,” I asked. “Are you going to be with your family?”

“No, moms isn’t exactly speaking to me these days so I’m steering clear of her until she gets over it. And she’s pretty much all I got.”

“But what about your kid? Aren’t you going to see him on Christmas?”

“I already saw him. His mother gave me about five minutes with him this evening before she started picking a fight with me, so I had to clear out of there. It always gets ugly with her and then the kid starts crying. It’s almost better to not even go.”

“That’s sad. Where does he live, your son?”

“Over in the projects, on Avenue D. I seriously doubt you’d be familiar with it.”

I wondered if that was where Pablito lived, in the projects on Avenue D.

“And what are you doing on Christmas?” he continued. “Where’s your family, mami?”

“Far away from here; I almost never see them anymore.”

“Have you lived in the city a long time?”

“Long enough – fifteen years.”

“That’s definitely long enough. So you came all the way out here from wherever you came from just to work in a store? Isn’t there something else you’d rather be doing?”

“I don’t know what I want to be doing, but no I didn’t come out here to work in a store. I came out here to be a singer, I wrote songs.”

“So what happened? Why aren’t you doing that?”

“I already did it.”

“You did? Weren’t you any good at it?”

“I was. I just didn’t like it.”

“Really? You were good at it? Did you make CDs and shit like that?”

“Yeah, shit like that.”

We’d reached St. Mark’s Church now. It looked idyllic in the falling snow. We stopped and leaned against the iron fence. He said, “You made CDs, really? Anything I would have heard of? I listen to white music, you know. I listen to all kinds of music.”

“I only made one CD and you probably have heard of it. It was called Alarmed at Carnegie.”

He looked at me, puzzled, like it was ringing a distant bell. Then he said, “Hey, I know that one. That was you, mami?”

“That was me. My real name is Eugenia Sharpe.”

“That’s you, mami? Shit, you’re famous.”

“Well, I was.”

“How come somebody famous like you knows a female like Frankie? And what are you doing living downtown, taking a walk with a poor Puerto Rican like me? You’re one of those uptown girls. I can tell.”

“Not anymore.”

“Sure you are, mami,” he said. “You might not be living there right this minute, but you’re still an uptown girl. Put it this way, you ever want to move back uptown, you can, like that.” He snapped his fingers. “In a heartbeat. Me? I want to move uptown? It’s not so easy. Maybe as the super of somebody’s building, they’ll let me move uptown. I mean, I’m a plumber. I work on boilers and shit. I know my way around steam heat. But just to live uptown and enjoy myself? It’s not gonna happen.”

“Why do you say it like that, Eddie?”

He made a face, like he couldn’t believe his ears. “Well, you think about it. When you were living uptown, how many of your closest neighbors were Puerto Ricans?”

I’d never actually thought about it and now I was kind of appalled. He was right. There were plenty of Puerto Ricans uptown, even in Darryl’s building – Carlos, for instance. But none of them actually lived there; they lived farther up, thirty or forty blocks up. Strange that I’d never noticed that before. Where the hell had I been? All that time on Central Park West and my brain had still been living in a downtown world.

“What’s that look for?” he said quietly, his finger tip landing gently on the tip of my freezing nose. “Don’t feel bad about it. You didn’t make the rules.”

“There aren’t any rules, Eddie. Times are different now. You can live wherever you want to, if you can afford it, I guess.”

He leaned up against me, pressing me against the iron fence. There was that scent again, right up my nose, filling my head. The pressure of his body against mine felt so comforting, so full of promise. I wanted to make love with him, for sure. It was going to have to happen at some point. I was going to be naked with this man somehow, some day.

He kissed my mouth tenderly and smiled. He said, “You’re living in a dream world, my little white girl. There are rules. Trust me. And they are written in stone.”

I simply didn’t agree with him, but I didn’t want to argue. I wanted to be kissed some more.

I put my arms around him. “Nice coat,” I said.

“I know. Cashmere. But it’s old. I used to have a lot of nice things.”

“Used to?”

“Yeah. I had money once. Lots and lots of money.”

That sounded familiar. “Really? You, too? You’re kidding?”

“No, mami, why would I kid you?”

“Well, how did you get all that money, as a plumber?”

“No, mami, not as a plumber.”

“Well, how?”

“Just think about it. Where does a poor Puerto Rican living in the projects ever get lots and lots of money?”

I didn’t understand, or maybe I just didn’t want to.

“It’s an old formula,” he explained patiently. “You get rich quick but it doesn’t last. You wind up either dead or in jail.”

I stared at up him blankly, losing track of what he was saying, enchanted yet again by his perfect lips, his sensuous mouth.

“Drugs, mami. But that’s over now. Now I work for a living, so I have no money at all. Funny how that works out.” The tiny diamond in his left ear winked at me.

Drugs. Shit. Well, since he wasn’t dead it only left one thing. “Does this mean you were in jail? In Ryker’s?”

Mami, what would you know about a place like Ryker’s?”

“Nothing. But just tell me.”

“It’s Christmas Eve. Let’s talk about happier things.”

“Okay,” I relented, not wanting to know about anything that might spoil my vision of his perfection – not yet. “Kiss me again,” I said.

“That’s more like it, Boo.”

He kissed me again and his mouth opened this time, our tongues meeting with that sweet urgency, quickly becoming the focal point of the whole quiet, snow-covered world. He stopped briefly to unbutton his coat and then to unzip my jacket. “For later when I’m alone,” he explained, pulling our warm bodies up close, mashing us together. “It helps me to imagine you, you know? All your curves that are in all the right places; I try to picture what you look like.” Those large, capable hands of his held my face tenderly as he kissed me again. “When you’re naked,” he added, “you know what I’m saying? I try to picture what you look like.” He was already hard. He pressed up against me insistently. “God, I missed you, Boo. Did you miss me?”

That was putting it mildly. “I missed you,” I assured him, my head swimming.

“Sometimes it seemed like you were just a dream, I could barely remember you at all. But I couldn’t forget this, how your body made me feel, mami. That part was no dream. I wish I could take you home with me. I wish I had a home to take you to.”

“What do you mean? You don’t have a home?”

“Not a real one, not right now. I have a room in a sort of shelter. It’s a horrible place but it has heat – it’s mostly for homeless people who have AIDS. It’s run by a retired priest I know. He’s old now. I do plumbing for him, construction, odd jobs; things like that. So I don’t pay rent there. But maybe it’s better this way, taking our time. Maybe we shouldn’t rush, you know? I don’t want you to disappear again.”

“I’m not going to disappear, trust me. I won’t. I’d invite you upstairs for some wine or something, but my roommate has company. It’s his apartment. He’s letting me stay there for awhile so I don’t want to crowd him.”

“He has a lady up there, right now?”

“No, he’s gay.”

This news took Eddie off guard. “You live with a fag, mami?”

“He’s not ‘a fag,’ he’s gay. And he’s one of my best friends.”

“Forget it. I didn’t mean anything. I just don’t get along with fags, is all, or with gays. Whatever. They hit on me constantly. They’re aggressive about it and I’m not into guys. I just want to mind my own business, you know?”

“I know, but I can see why they’d hit on you.”

“And why’s that?” he asked. His dark eyes glistened in that promising, irresistible way. He rocked himself against me rhythmically. “Why do you suppose men are always hitting on me, Boo?”

I knew he was playing dumb, but I went for the bait anyway. “Because you’re gorgeous, Eddie. Who wouldn’t want to have sex with you?”

“Is that so? What about you, mami?” His cock felt rock hard now, pushing up against me. I was aching between my legs, totally aroused, going quietly mad for him. “Do you want to have sex with me?” he asked.

I couldn’t believe I was blushing but I knew I was, as if no one had ever asked me a question like that before. In fact, too many people had asked me that question and yet this time my desire to say yes, I want to have sex with you overwhelmed me.

“What did you say?” he asked softly. “I didn’t hear you.”

“What was the question again?”

“Do you want to have sex with me?”

I smiled but I didn’t reply.

“You want to know what I think?”

“Yes,” I said.

“I think I should get you back home. You’re covered in snow, you know. You should go in before you catch pneumonia.”

I moaned in disappointment. I wasn’t ready to let him go. He zipped up my jacket for me and headed across the street. With a heavy heart, I followed his tracks in the snow. He kissed me again when we were just inside the doorway. “I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Promise?”

“I promise,” he said. “I’ll make a special trip down to the street just to use the pay phone. I’m going to think of you tonight, you know what I mean, right?”

“Yes.”

“Will you think of me?’

“Probably.”

He shook his head. “You’re such a little white girl.”

“Merry Christmas, Eddie.”

“Merry Christmas,” he said.

 

© 2011 Marilyn Jaye Lewis