This is a continuation of a story that began at: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/teaser-to-a-novel/
Part 2 can be found at: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/novels-teaser-part-2/
Part 3 can be found at: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/novels-teaser-part-3/
Part 4 can be found at: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/novels-teaser-part-4/
Part 5 can be found at: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/novels-teaser-part-5/
Part 6 can be found at https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/novels-teaser-part-6/
Part 7 can be found at: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/03/07/novels-teaser-part-7/
Part 8 can be found at https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/novels-teaser-part-8/
Part 9 can be found at https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/novels-teaser-part-9/
Part 10 can be found at https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/9227/
Part 11 can be found at https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/novels-teaser-part-11/
Part 12 can be found at https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/novels-teaser-part-12/
NOTE: Considering I worked on this section during a time that bracketed Mother’s Day, it seems ironic that it involves a certain amount of disparagingly irreverent commentary about mothers and motherhood, by teen aged boys. I cringed at times, as I wrote, for my opinions of motherhood have changed since I was that young, and I now feel a need to make some excuses.
When Sigmund Freud studied the human psyche, he was basing his conclusions upon observations drawn from a society that thought it was at the pinnacle of sophistication, human achievement, and evolution, but actually was doomed. Vienna was the capital of an Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was about to go from being a World Power to vanishing from the map, and faced a future so bleak that the heir to the throne traveled to a ski resort with his girlfriend and, together with her, committed suicide.
Due to the bleakness of what he was observing, Freud’s conclusions were also bleak, and among his bleak conclusions is the general assumption we must have a hidden hatred of our mothers. In fact this goes against a very deep core-principle of the human heart, to some degree expressed by the fundamental commandment: “Thou shall honor thy mother and father.” It is only in extraordinary circumstances, when a society has become so rancid it is about to self-destruct, that Freud’s conclusions hold true.
I hope I can be forgiven for drawing a parallel between Vienna on the eve of its Destruction, and the suburbs of Boston I describe in this fictional work.
The American “Nig” has returned after a year abroad at a strict school in Scotland, and is writing the South African “Kaff”, using a shorthand the two teenagers devised which allows them to write with the speed of their frenetic thoughts.
Nig has been dismayed by changes that have occurred in the USA while he was away, and at this point is telling Kaff he has decided to make a lot of money selling lyrics for hit songs, and to buy a plot of land he calls “The Party Woods.” He plans to form a commune made up of his boyhood friends, but needs to convince his friends the scheme is possible.
What Nig is attempting to do is to figure out how to “get the gang together”, but his friends have gone in different directions, and the unity which the gang once shone with seems lost. Nig is attempting to end this divorce by being an amazing psychiatrist who can solve all problems with a single session. He imagines he makes progress in the magical atmosphere of the “Party Woods”, but feels that out in the unenlightened world he faces opposition to the unity of a commune..
At this point in Nig’s description he has concluded a discussion with Ham and Franks, who are two brothers who have become ardent communists, and another discussion with his boyhood best-friend Durf, who has lost faith in society and practices a sort of self-centered epicureanism at a commune of his own in the city, an a third discussion out in the Party Woods with his depressed friend “Spook” and his brother “Zooks”, who are two of the four Lasaumille brothers. They are returning from the woods to the inenlightened world, and in particular the unenlightened Lasaumille brother’s mother.
(The date is July 31, 1971.)
We went into the barn, which Spook’s Dad attached to the house with a roofed walkway with big picture windows along the sides, so he could go to the barn without getting wet or cold. In the barn is the children’s room, which is what Spook’s Mom made of his Dad’s den after she booted him out. I reckon she’s sorry she did it now, cos Spook loaded it with neat stereo equipment and now she always has to tell her boys to turn the music down, cos she can get blasted by it even up in the house. Also I guess the Padlock wants to turn it back into a den again, which may be one more reason she wants her boys to move out. However for the moment it’s still a really neat place, full of happy memories for me.
Spook has a cool collection of music, and I always feel better seeing him sit in there, cos music is good for him. He never seems happier than when he’s sharing some new album, or letting you hear a hit song before it’s a hit. I heard a lot of my favorite albums for the first time, in that barn.
However, even as Spook turned on the first song I heard his Mom yell like she was really angry. He quickly turned the music down, but she wasn’t yelling about that. She was yelling she was getting married in the morning and it was too late to have company, and she was asking who I was. When they said it was me, I could her footsteps coming clipping down the walkway from the house like she really meant business and was going to lay down the law. Spook seemed to cringe, and Zooks’ face took on a very, very patient look, as their Mom came bursting through the door with a real stern face, which then did a really funny double-take.
I think she expected me to be like I was, all pale and scrawny with long frizzy hair, and she wasn’t expecting me to be tan and weigh forty pounds more with short hair. Also my clothes were pretty clean, and not all that damp from the rain.
I stood up politely and walked to her to greet her using all the best manners Mother ever taught me, though I didn’t quite click my heals and kiss her hand when I shook it. I did try to ooze charm, and swab her with ooze like a bucket of slimy eels got dumped over her head.
The funny thing was, it worked. I don’t know, but it sure seems a woman over forty likes being flattered by an eighteen-year-old, once he stops looking like a speed freak. She was so impressed by the change in me she actually blushed, and I couldn’t help but smile, and that made oozing all the easier. I charmed her cotton picking socks right off, and she forgot all about laying down the law and not allowing company after dark in the summer.
We made polite conversation about the usual stuff, and I told the usual lies. I said I wanted to go to college and study journalism, when the truth is I want to write lyrics and skip college.
I noticed as I talked I was trying to make Spook look good, in a way I thought was pretty sly. Like, I said I wanted to get a job like Spook has, and get a car like Spook has, and save up for college like Spook’s doing, but rents were going to make it hard. Even renting just a bedroom in someone else’s house is up to $25.00 a week, so I want to rent a place and divide the rent up with friends like Spook to make things cheaper.
The whole time I’m saying this stuff I’m watching her face and calculating what is getting across. I figured she’d be wicked glad to hear Spook was even considering getting off his ass and moving out, but I didn’t actually say that. I said friends like Spook. So I didn’t actually lie, but I gave her a sort of false impression. In any case she decided maybe she didn’t want to interrupt our talk, and maybe it was OK if I visited after dark in the summer.
After she left Zooks was all chuckles, and said he was wicked impressed by how I wrapped her around my finger. I said it was amazing what a haircut could do. Spook got grumpy about his Mom only looking at superficial stuff, and started to go on about how haircuts shouldn’t matter. I sort of got fearful he was going to slide back into the dark, so I told him it wasn’t just the haircut. I put on forty pounds at Dunrobin, and got a lot healthier once I got away from speed, and health really does matter. Spook looked thoughtful, and said he’d been totally off drugs for two months last winter, and didn’t feel much better. In fact he thought he felt worse.
This got us back to talking about Audley Bine’s commune, cos Zooks said Spook only quit drugs cos Audley suddenly said drugs weren’t allowed any more because some new Baba said so. I said that was mighty odd, considering when I met Audley the summer before he twisted my arm to not quit, and instead to try the best hashish, in a beautiful inlayed pipe of turquoise and silver from Nepal, (or was it Kashmir?)
Spook said that was just like Audley, always convincing, always correct, and always in style. Zooks said styles must’ve really changed, cos Audley had totally flip-flopped. He was still trying to convince everyone to get high, but now it was to get high naturally, by doing that Kundalini Yoga stuff. A few kids always got suckered into giving it a try, cos Yoga is free, and back then it was still winter and kids couldn’t go lounge around on the town green, and Aufley’s commune was warm. Until the weather got warmer it was worth doing some dumb Yoga to sit about there, but the music at the commune sure did get old.
I asked why, and Spook said Audley played George Harrison’s album, “My Sweet Lord,” over and over and over again. It gave the place a sort of spiritual feel, but after hearing the songs a couple of hundred times he got sick of it. And when he tried to meditate he never got cosmic consciousness and instead saw a lot of unspiritual stuff in his imagination, like hot sluts, or gangsters with guns. Then Motey stopped coming, and all the work he did coming up with the rent hardly seemed worth it any more, and then other money problems made the commune get more and more uncomfortable. Audley even wanted to charge people just for visiting, at the end.
I said its always the same damn thing. It’s the money that wrecks everything. I told them about the coffee-can by Durf’s telephone in Boston, and how you couldn’t even make a phone call there without a downer spoiling the high. I said people shouldn’t be allowed to get high unless they promised to stick to the high stuff like generosity, and to stay clear of the low stuff like greed. I said that at my commune we’re going to get all the money crap clear right at the start, and have it done with, before we ever even smoke a joint. Otherwise things get worse and not better.
They seemed to like it that I was so definite and certain about the commune. Zooks was lounging on a sofa, really relaxed and comfortable as usual, but what I noticed most was that Spook didn’t look spooked. He didn’t exactly look relaxed, cos he was fussing with the dials to get the music’s balance and tone just right, but he was smiling, and I was real glad to see that.
Suddenly he sat bolt upright, a really fearful look on his face, and Zooks looked over towards the back of the barn as well. I hadn’t noticed anything, but Spook went rushing to the back window to look out. Then he turned around with a big smile of relief, and said, “It’s Zeck and Duke. They’ve already got it in.” Then he opened the window and called something down into the darkness, and it was only then that I heard Spook’s old Rambler’s engine running.
He shut the window and came back, and it looked like all the weight of the world had come off his shoulders. Duke and Zeck came up around the side and in through the door, wearing big smiles cos they had done a good deed for their little brother, and also cos the coil was cheaper than they’d expected. Lastly, it turned out the suit rental-fee had gone up, so they hadn’t rented suits for their Mom’s wedding, which meant the four had to have a sort of emergency powwow.
From what I could hear from across the room a sort of Stinedu was happening, because it turned out none of them had wanted to rent the damn tuxedos in the first place, but no one had dared say so. I’d thought it was odd myself, cos the Lasaumille’s are pretty sharp dressers, especially Duke, though of course everyone’s a sharp dresser, compared to me. But I guess they figured their sport coats were too sporty for a wedding, or something, and they should rent drab, black coats, until they saw how much the rent had gone up. Now suddenly purple corduroy didn’t seem so bad. Zeke said, in his mild, quiet voice, that all they had to figure out now was: Who was going to run the idea of corduroy suits by their mother? They all flashed big white smiles, and then Duke blustered that if their Mom didn’t like corduroy, she could pay the rentals for tuxedos. Then Zeck took out a wad of cash and got busy handing everyone their money back, and they were all real attentive. I noticed that when Zeck handed Spook a twenty he gave him a wink. Again Spook looked really relieved.
Again I was struck by how stupid and simple the problems were. Spook didn’t have wheels, and now he did. Spook had to snitch a twenty from his Mom, but now he could slip the twenty back in her purse. If money can’t buy happiness, how can chump change make the difference between being totally bummed out and high? It’s a joke, but most don’t get the joke. Maybe Beethoven did, when he wrote the thing Halsey was playing the other night called, “Rage Over A Lost Penny.” But most are all too serious, until the piddlely problem’s solved. It’s like a stupid penny makes the difference between joy and gloom.
I wanted to say what I was seeing, but, as I watched the four brothers talking and laughing together, it seemed pointless to ruin their joy over having solved problems by calling their problems piddlely. The stereo was playing that part of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young that goes, “We have all been here before,” and I was having that Deja Vu feeling really strongly. I felt wicked high, like I was standing up on a mountain and looking across the ages at the four brothers.
The best part was that the darkness seemed defeated. Spook looked totally different from how he’d looked earlier, when he seemed so high strung it was like the strings were all going to start breaking with loud twangs. Now he seemed like Mister Mellow.
It seemed a good time to go home, so I did. As I walked through the night, hearing the night breeze shake the last raindrops from the leaves, I had this strong feeling of well being come down on me, and seemed to see the road ahead really clearly.
I was only half-joking when I kidded to Zooks that English kids get brainwashed by Shakespeare. What you put in you head does matter. Here in America there‘s a place I call the Mad Ave, where these perverted poets are always trying to figure out how to write jingles that brainwash people into buying crap, and you can‘t watch a show on TV in America without all this inane drivel about how you should be ashamed to have a dirty collar, or an old car. But as I walked I could see how much better it would be if poets put the light into people’s heads, and if the stuff people watched was full of truth, peace, beauty, joy and love. And I felt a real certainty that‘s what my job is. That‘s what I’ve got to do.