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Thread: Cruisin' for a Bruisin'

  1. #1
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    Cruisin' for a Bruisin'

    Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’
    By

    Steven Hunley

    Kim, in Kipling’s book of the same name considered himself as a “friend of the world.” This sounds nice but it can be a dangerous stance to take. In these same boots Tony now stood on the mean streets of Rancho Dominguez.
    Tony had an attitude change going on and didn’t notice. When he went to do a delivery and walked through a door, everyone’s eyes lit up. He grew used to this attention and thought after a while it was him it was all about. He was mistaken. The bag was what it was all about. You couldn't blame the Tonester, he hadn’t been a bagman for long.

    He’d adopted the attitude the drug provided him which was “can do” and “can be done.” It didn’t matter what it was or what it wasn’t. He became gregarious when before he'd been quiet. He turned positive when he’d been negative. If something could be organized the Incas could organize it. If it could be moved they could move or shape it to their will, no matter how big. Rocks, enemy tribes, the course of rivers, you name it. This attitude was an Inca attitude as anyone who has seen the nine-angled stone in Cuzco will testify. It was attitude influenced by coca. In the Andes where life is hard Coca is needed. In Fat City where life is soft and easy… it isn’t. Anthony was no Inca but he thought he was. Poor deluded Toneman.

    The Incas were splendid organizers and workers and knew what coca was for. Tony, having adopted their plant helper into his own personal pharmacopeia adopted this attitude too. But he used the plant out of context and really didn’t know much about it. He thought he did. The difference between knowing and just thinking you know became acute. refined powder was responsible for this idiot attitude. Like heroin, the powder was a cheat. It's New World connection to earth was lost in toxic Old-World ether. So when he walked through a door and eyes lit up, and smiles graced every face, he thought they lit up for him. For him, being the apex of attention seemed as inevitable as a rainbow after a storm. Center of the Tonester Universe sort of item to soothe his reptilian brain. You couldn’t blame the fellow. Holding so big a bag had him all judgment-impaired.

    A confused and judgment-impaired fellow was he. And all the while he had fun. It was pretty sick. He thought, like Kipling’s Kim, that he was the “friend of the world” when really he was just the “bringer of the bag”. Kim's boots were proving to be dangerous footwear.

    To give you a true-life example of this attitude, let me relate what was said on a sultry evening in June. School had just got out. Parties were everywhere, and since the Tonester sold party supplies he was in demand. Invitations flooded his mailbox like Jonah’s boat.

    His woman of the hour was getting ready, fixing her hair, sitting on the bed putting on nylons. Searching for her shoes in the closet she noticed the time on her glowing wristwatch.

    “Honey, we better get moving. It’s nine-forty-five and the party started at eight.”

    He wasn’t ready. People that use blow always take entirely too long getting ready. The Beachboys were crooning Don’t Worry Baby in the playroom on Infinity speakers that could be heard upstairs.

    “Don’t worry, Baby. The party doesn’t start until we get there. Honey…we are the party.”

    That’s just an example, one of an arrogant hundred and fifty.

    When Tony was eight and racing down the street on his Flexi-flyer with no brakes, flying around corners like twenty-four hours at LeMans, his mom told him the first time. When he was thirteen and discovered puberty and a smart-mouth at the same time she was ready to smack him across the breakfast bar. Ready to make him spit sour-dough French bread toast she’d buttered herself with motherly love straight out of his disrespectful mouth. Same thing for the grape-fruit spoon-sized slices she carved out individually. So she told him again. But Tony was a chump. It took more than one kick in the butt to teach him anything, from his mother, his teachers, or anyone else that cared. He should have remembered the third time that afternoon at the Thanksgiving table when all our relatives were witnesses.

    “Anthony, don’t start.” his mom warned while clenching her fist after he started pushing her buttons until she grew so annoyed she figured he had it coming. It was time for her son to ‘straighten up’ and ‘fly right’.


    "But, Ma…”

    Ma picked up a turkey leg as big as she was and shook grease at Tony like Father Hooligan shaking holy water from a gold scepter.

    “Anthony,” she said, giving him grace, “you’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’.

    Indeed, the fellow was heading for a bust, which bruises the ego and is therefore much the same thing. I could never figure Tony or predict which way he was headed. It was hard, as the guy had too many angles. But no matter how many times life tossed and turned him, he always landed right-side up. Tony was like a pair of loaded dice... or a nine-angled stone...a freak of nature fashioned by man. A Holy man he was not.

    ©Steven Hunley 2012

    http://youtu.be/CPJO_9a01ps
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    Last edited by Steven Hunley; 11-26-2012 at 09:28 PM. Reason: added song

  2. #2
    Registered User Grit's Avatar
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    Nice slice of life Steven. You did a great job of capturing the attitudes and feelings of a coke head. Almost chronicling a person's path to an existence of destruction (drug abuse)

    There's a few things I think you could do to make this a better story.

    It's a bit unclear what's going on at some points. There's not a clear setting. Is it Incan times or modern? Also, I found the first sentence a little bit confusing. I understand that the sentence needs to be in there at some point, to relate later on, the confusion in Tony's mind. A friend of the world? No, a bringer of the bag. I really liked that shift, but I think if it's more clear, it'll have a much stronger effect on the reader.

    Really nice slice of life, like I said, and I think with a bit of fine tuning it'd be a lot stronger.
    While the truncheon may be used
    in lieu of conversation,
    words will always retain their power.
    Words offer the means to meaning,
    and for those who will listen,
    the enunciation of truth.

  3. #3
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    This was originally an untold "Dude" story with name changes and a Holiday hooked on the end. I made the opening scene in L.A. The kid's got too much imagination. The actual destruction part isn't written yet. Hard stuff to write.

    Kim, in Kipling’s book of the same name considered himself as a “friend of the world.” This sounds nice but it can be a dangerous stance to take. In these same boots Tony now stood on the mean streets of Rancho Dominguez.

    Rancho Dominguez is a city between Compton and what's left of the L. A. river. We lived there a spell. Tough as they come.

    Oh, OH, I'm thinking about changing the title to "The Nine-Angled Stone". Any feedback on this idea? What are the Inca's gonna do? Sue me?
    Last edited by Steven Hunley; 11-23-2012 at 09:30 PM.

  4. #4
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    Thanks Steve. The story gave me a peek into a side of life that I’m not familiar with; drugs & the attitudes they evoke.
    No, tell a lie. I was in a cinema in Montego Bay once and the Rasta’s in the audience were smoking “the sacred herb.” The film was crap but I came out elated and laughing from the passive inhalation.
    Snappy, incisive piece of work. Good technique in taking something you are familiar with States side and transfixing it to a totally different setting.
    Best regards
    M.

  5. #5
    Justifiably inexcusable DocHeart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Hunley View Post

    Oh, OH, I'm thinking about changing the title to "The Nine-Angled Stone". Any feedback on this idea? What are the Inca's gonna do? Sue me?

    I say go for it. The Incas know it'll cost them more to bring a case to the international courts than to rebuild Sacsayhuaman from scratch.

    Your writing remains top-notch, Steve. Your Tonester is a very well-sketched character, even in very few words. I'd love to read more of this.

    Best,
    DH
    Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine...

  6. #6
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    The Tonester is a combination of two characters I knew well. Both still living too. The tales they still tell. If anyone is afraid of hitting the song because it's unidentified, here's the identification:

    https://youtu.be/CPJO_9a01ps The Beach Boys and Lorrie Morgan - Don't Worry Baby (1996)


    Doc, like an Oldie but Goodie- you are missed.

  7. #7
    TheFairyDogMother kiz_paws's Avatar
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    Well told.
    Enjoyed this story.
    Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty
    ~Albert Einstein

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