Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dreams Of A Love Indestructable (Part Four).

The Pub stood on the corner of a thoroughfare that fairly bristled with traffic. It was encircled by an expansive enough sidewalk however, so it did not suffer from the potentially overpowering vehicular mayhem. It was an old building so it carried some measure of authenticity about its characteristically Irish theme. Someone had once told Andy that it was one of the oldest establishments of its type in Chicago.

To Andy, it was just a means to earn an honest income and, frankly, not a very good one.

As he stepped though the door to the main bar Andy hesitated, hoping like hell that no one here knew of his misadventure over the weekend. It was bad enough that his boss, the owner of this establishment and a friend if Andy's father, suspected that Andy was hooked up in some clandestine shit but, to date, he hadn't called Andy out on it.
If he were to discover the truth of Andy's overdose, Andy could kiss his job goodbye.

The main bar was busy but not crowded. Andy quietly slipped inside and dropped his head.

Andy knew he was regarded as a shitty employee, but his boss was honouring an obligation to Andy's father by keeping him there. Whatever that obligation, Andy didn't know, other than it was a long story and it went back many years.

Andy hurried through the main bar, skirted the counter and slipped in behind it brushing past a young, attractive female colleague who was serving two older men - an elderly Italian gent and a bulbous Caucasian with large sideburns and big jewelry.

As Andy disappeared into a cubby hole at the back of the bar the young woman and the bulbous sideburns - the owner of The Pub - exchanged glances of disbelief. Douglas Allan scratched one of his carefully manicured sideburns and checked his own watch before double checking a clock high upon the wall behind him.

Andy DeVries had never been early to work...ever!

Within a minute Andy emerged again, having swapped his shirt for a burgundy polo with an insignia of The Pub emblazoned on the left breast. Silently, he had grabbed a tray and begun moving about the bar gathering up empty glasses, taking orders for fresh rounds and quietly greeting a few of the regulars that he knew. All of them watched Andy somewhat suspiciously as he went about his work while, at the bar itself, both Douglas and the young woman - Samantha - watched with increasing amazement. This went on for a few minutes.

As Andy swung around behind the counter armed with the fully laden tray Douglas Allan coughed and cleared his throat.

"Ummm...Andrew?" he rumbled softly in a faint Irish brogue.

Andy deposited the glasses into a washer under the bar then began pouring fresh glasses. He regarded Douglas fleetingly.

"Are you ill?" Douglas continued a note of sarcasm tinged his voice.

"No...," Andy countered, a little too defensively. "Why?"

Douglas gestured with a thumb back over his shoulder at the clock on the wall.

"You've never been early a day in your life. I'm...concerned for your well being"

Andy looked up at the old time piece. He was a full half hour early. He simply went back to loading the glass washer. Both Douglas, Samantha and the elderly gentleman exchanged glances.

And that's how it went for the next four hours. Andy worked like he never had before, serving beers as though he had been born into it, taking orders for meals and getting them out to the customers quickly and efficiently, keeping the bar clean, He even quietly and subtly dealt with a couple of the rowdier patrons, diffusing a potential spat. The whole while Douglas watched Andy closely and with muted disbelief. Something was definitely up. The kid had never worked this hard...

...Or this well.

Rarely, if ever, had Andy been on time. He was, usually, a shitty bar tender, was lazy, arrogant and - frankly - a cockhead. What Douglas was witnessing now...it was though the young man were possessed...

Somewhere close to 6pm Samantha slid a plate in front of Andy - Irish sausages on a bed of mashed potato with gravy. Andy looked at the plate indifferently.

"Whatever you've been taking must've had an effect on the boss" Samantha quipped in a noticably Southern accent.. "Take a break and have a bite"

Andy wiped his hands with a towel and tossed it to Samantha.

"Hospital appears to agree with you huh?"

Andy flashed her an angry glare as he sat down to his meal.

"Whoa!" Samantha said, throwing her hands up mock-defensively. She leaned in close to him. "Don't worry, he doesn't know - none of them do. But you had better thank Beck and me for covering your ass for you - especially yesterday. The old man thinks you were actually home ill"

Andy's tensed shoulders relaxed then and he looked back at Samantha.

"Thank you" he muttered simply.

Samantha folded her arms over and appraised him.

"So what is going on with you today? You're making me look bad"

Andy shrugged.

"Nothing's going on. I'm just...I dunno...I need to focus on something...normal!"

Samantha's eyes narrowed then and she cocked her head slightly to one side.

"You nearly bought it the other night didn't you"

Andy chewed nervously on his food. He didn't respond, didn't look at her but Samantha could tell by the discreet twitch of his shoulder that she had hit close to the mark.

"That's it!" she crowed, trying to keep her voice down but attracting the attention of a few of the patrons.

"Look, can you just fucking drop it!" Andy snapped under his breath, his fork and knife cluttering noisily on the plate in front of him. This time, when his glare drilled into her eyes, she saw something there that chilled her. Immediately Samantha backed away and let him finish his meal in silence.

Inwardly Andy regretted having snapped at Samantha so harshly. She was perhaps the only person in the Pub who treated him with any sort of respect. Not that he deserved it. Though he never would admit it, Andy liked Samantha. She was a rare breath of fresh air in the smoke filled bar.

Checking his watch as he gave the plate to one of the kitchen hands as they went past he sighed, realizing he only had a couple of hours to go. He returned to his duties quietly and studiously.

Douglas sidled up to Samantha.

"So...what's with the kid? Is he doing some sort of illegal substance? He's positively wired"

Samantha shrugged, not looking at Douglas. He could see she was uncomfortable with the question.

"I dunno. Why don't you ask him yourself?"

Douglas regarded her curiously then shook his head, turning away from her.

"I swear, everybody in this place is going bloody bonkers"
he said leaving the bar and disappearing from view.

The door to the main bar opened and a group of 5 young males entered lead by an arrogant looking Latino who - despite the darkened interior of the bar - was wearing sunglasses. Slicked back hair, expensive street clothing and a bejeweled Stetson he regarded the patrons absently, chewing gum before he spied Andy behind the bar. His companions - a mixture of Latinos and Asians - were dressed and appeared as equally as menacing.

Andy saw them before he even looked in their direction.

It was Vasq.

Emilio Vasq, drug dealer, small time crime lord wannabe and self styled standover man approached Andy with theatrically outstretched arms as if to embrace him.

"Devvvvv - my friend! How are you you feeling tonight?"

Andy's expression set like stone. He didn't know where to look. The patrons looked on with interest.

"What are you doing here Vasq?" Andy seethed viciously.

"Awww, no reason dawg. I wanted to be sure that you were okay, you know. After all, the word was that you were pretty close to the edge"

Vasq and his posse spread out along the bar.

"Look, guys, how about a drink?" Samantha ventured, sensing that this situation could quickly get out of hand. Andy immediately brushed her away.

"No, these guys don't want anything to drink"

He slapped his bar towel down on the counter and brushed past her.

"Cover for me, will ya?"

Vasq watched Andy slip through the far end of the counter and go immediately to the side entrance that lead out onto the street. He disappeared through it forcing Vasq - after several moments - to follow him.

It was chilly out on the sidewalk but Andy ignored it, pacing back and forth as Vasq and his crew emptied out from the bar. The sun was disappearing rapidly behind the L track nearby. His breath was visible in the rapidly cooling evening air.

"I'm very concerned about what I've been hearing Dev. You were visited more than once by the police down in the City"

"So what, Vasq!" Andy responded defiantly. "You haven't had any blue and white visitors to your door since the weekend"

Andy didn't know that for sure of course, but the fact that they were standing here and now was enough of an indicator for him to push forward with his bluff.

Andy's gone and grown a set, Vasq thought amusingly to himself. He grinned menacingly.

"True, true. But I...,"

"That's because I said nothing Emilio! Nothing! After four hours!"

Vasq approached Andy, arrogantly stepping right into his personal space and studying him intensely. He often did that with his perceived subordinates, such was his bullying/domineering nature.

"But it's got me worried dawg. You see, I can't afford to have a marked 'associate' ...yet no one would deny that you are my best courier...you can appreciate my dilemma"

Andy stood fast and eyeballed Vasq - something he'd never done before. As had happened with Samantha earlier, something within those eyes unsettled Vasq, knocked him off center. His shoulders relaxed ever so slightly, he stood back and stopped chewing his gum.

"There is no dilemma Vasq," Andy said, his whisper more final than any scream. "Don't come around my fucking pub again!"

Abruptly, Andy turned on his heel and went back inside the bar. Vasq stood there considering... One of his Asian companions stepped forward.

"Man, are you just gonna let him go like that?"

Vasq said nothing. A dark cloud seemed to settle over him and he began chewing his gum again - angrily. He turned away from the others and walked off down the street.

* * *

Andy unlocked the door to the apartment and stepped inside. Blue-ish light from the living room bathed the entrance hall. The sound of a cheering crowd emanating from the TV told him right away that Beck must be home. Sure enough, as he appeared in the entrance to the living room there was Beck lounging in a Cubs shirt and boxers, balancing a bowl of Chinese noodles on his belly and a beer on the edge of the couch. The game was on.

Beck had a slightly rugged visage that resembled a bulldog. Big eyes, misshapen nose but a warm smile with, curiously, almost perfect teeth. An almost military grade flat top hair cut finished the look. Beck worked as a laborer on a construction site and, unlike Andy, had a work ethic worth it's weight in gold.

"Hey man," he greeted cheerily through a mouthful of noodles. Beck struggled off the couch, spilling his beer as he did so. "Where you been at? I tried calling ya but your cell was off again"

"Pub" Andy replied simply, taking off his beanie and jacket.

Beck appeared genuinely surprised.

"Fuck man, what are you doing working after being in hospital? You don't work even when you are functioning normally"

Andy wanted to be angry right then, but, of all the people who'd made some sort of jibe today, only Beck's carried no malice with it. And of all the people who'd stayed away over the weekend, only Beck had called regularly to check to see if Andy was okay. Three or four message slips were still in the pocket of his ruined shirt he discarded earlier.

Andy smiled wanly as Beck slapped his shoulder gently.

"Fuck man...thank god you're alright. I thought this was it, this time"

Beck turned his head towards the TV and gestured with his head towards it.

"I'd ask you to watch the game man but...ahhh..."

He hesitated a moment before nodding towards Andy's room.

"You got company"

Andy visibly winced.

"She's still here?!"

Beck chuckled under his breath.

"Man you better do somethin' with her quick. I thought she was gonna jump my bones at one point"

"Oh man, she is the last person I wanna see right now. I actually just want to go to bed"

Beck took a swig of his beer and flashed a mischievous grin.

"Well, I'm just gonna turn the teev up loud and try not to get hard listening to you two fuck, okay"

Andy scowled only half seriously.

"Fuck you man"

"Not bloody likely, asshole"

Beck turned away from Andy, mockingly grabbing his own crotch in hand as he plonked down again and went back to watching the game.

Though he thought he had little desire for it, by the time Andy stepped into his darkened room and saw her laying there in the half light, his erection pressed firmly against the inside of his jeans. He supposed it were the fishnets that did it. He had a thing for her legs and feet and the fishnets stockings she often wore tipped him over every time. She was topless except for the necklace and gothic cross she wore. Her breasts, milky and smooth, her nipples erect.

The room was thick with marijuana smoke. Music played quietly from his laptop on the desk. She was smoking a joint, the smoke trailing up and catching the light from the laptop.

Cassandra watched him as he stepped forward into the room and stood at the end of the bed. A smile tugged at her lips through her drug induced haze. She lifted her foot, placing it on his erection then moving it slowly back and forth. She offered him her joint. He hesitated then took it, drawing back deeply, feeling the cannabis infuse through his lungs and into his body. The effect was almost immediate.

Andy closed his eyes and sighed at the sensation of her foot on his cock. Slowly he undid the button of his jeans, unzipped them and allowed them to drop to the floor revealing his hardened penis to her. Taking it in both her feet she played with him for a while, expertly stroking his shaft while she massaged her own breasts, played with her stiffened nipples. Cassandra slid one foot up over his chest and up towards his mouth, pushing against his lips with her toes until they parted and he began sucking and licking her toes, the underside of her fishnetted sole. She licked her lips, luxuriating in this kinky, favored fetish of theirs. She heard him groan before her as she tickled his scrotum with the toes of her other foot.

In his mind's eye he could see another body, a woman's body glistening with droplets of water in black and white. Her flat stomach, delicate navel, shapely hips. A man's arm and outstretched hand moved slowly across her , his fingers touched her skin gently, stroking across her one way, then the other before moving down ...down...

Overwhelmed by waves of desire Andy kneeled on the bed as Cassandra rolled over onto her haunches, crawling in fours towards him. Once there she began licking and biting roughly at his belly. She growled playfully, stroking his thighs with her slender nails, digging into his skin, drawing blood. He shivered and flinched but did not move away. She licked at the droplets of blood on his inner thigh before cupping his genitals in her hands. She took his shaft in her mouth sucking him urgently, wantonly. He felt himself becoming more and more aroused. He looked down on her back, the elaborate tattoo of the dragon that extended across both shoulder blades. Her pale skin was powdery smooth...cool to his touch.

Two mouths meet - a man and a woman's. Their lips part, tongues touch one another gently , lovingly, then passionately. They envelop one another in a lingering kiss . The lips are familiar to him. The taste is slightly salty, like the sea. Hie feels a breeze nearby . His hand explores her slowly , gently. He cups her delicate breast in his hand. His thumb slowly brushes her nipple. Her body reacts immediately...

Cassandra's tongue ran slickly, expertly along the length of his cock. She was groaning now, feeling wet as her vagina became hot and engorged. God she wanted him inside her...

Andy reached out and ran his fingers down along the length of her slender spine, down between her buttocks and further until he found her wetness. He found her swollen clitoris almost immediately and her whole body shivered as he masturbated her eagerly. His fingers penetrated deep inside her, feeling the walls of her vagina. Cassandra felt the waves of pleasurable wetness engulf her. She was throbbing with desire for him, groaning wantonly. She lifted her free hand up to his rippling chest and ran her fingers down it, scratching at his skin with her nails. The action sent waves of pain through him that excited him. She withdrew him from her mouth and turned her body around so that he could have her from behind. He was drunk with an animal desire. He roughly peeled down her denim shorts and fishnets in one swift action, parted her buttocks. Feeling for her vagina with the head of his penis, he pushed inside her quickly and firmly. Cassandra squealed with ecstasy as he fucked her deeply, she brushed her fingers against her swollen clitoris with each movement. Their bodies were bathed in sweat. The air in the room was stifling but it only excited them more. She buried her head in the pillow before her, overcome with each penetration, moaning with desire for him.

Two bodies, entwined in one another's, moving rhythmically, synchronously under a silk sheet. Her gentle moan echoes in his mind as he makes love to her. His head is buried in her neck, she gently kisses his forehead. Slowly, he looks up at her...at her slender lips, up...at her porcelain cheekbones, up...into her single eye. A perfect jewel, deep blue...a world within a world...

Andy's eyes went wide as the single image of the woman's eye lingered in his consciousness.

Who is she?

The single question screamed silently in his mind, through the fever of his arousal.

He grabbed Cassandra's hips in his hands, pushed deeper into her, feeling the climax building within him as she could within her. Reflexively, he grabbed the back of her hair, pulling her up sharply, roughly. It only excited Cassandra more and she ground her hips against him harder and harder, grinning maniacally. He held her around her neck as waves of orgasm approached. The pressure built within him, focusing towards a central tiny point, his breath was sucked from his lungs as he exploded into her, climaxing hard. He let out a guttural moan as he came. Simultaneously Cassandra felt her whole body spasming as though pure electricity had been passed through it. Her vaginal muscles rippled, her clitoris throbbed so hard it took her breath away. She felt a satisfying gush within her as every single muscle fiber let go simultaneously and together they collapsed on the bed, bathed in sweat, bathed in smoke from the marijuana, totally and utterly spent.

In the darkness if the room, Andy gazed at the ceiling. That single eye remained, that precious orb that had eluded him in the visions which had come to him repeatedly since Saturday.

Who was this stranger that was frequenting his sub conscious more and more?

Was she a stranger...?

Copyright © 2009 Dean Mayes

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dreams Of A Love Indestructable (Part Two).

'How could it have come to this?'

The gurney rolled like a freight train down a dimly lit corridor, shepherded along by a medical emergency team of five individuals dressed in green scrubs, one of whom - a man with a salt pepper beard and gold rimmed glasses - rode on top of the gurney, straddling a limp figure beneath him. He was shouting desperately at his colleagues as he pumped the chest of the young man who lay lifeless on the gurney. The young man's skin was a pasty white. His clothing was dirty and damp. Everyone was damp. One mother of a storm was brewing outside and the team had barely made it indoors before being thoroughly soaked. Stringy, greasy, vomit stained hair covered the young man's face and chest. There was blood spatters everywhere but no-one had determined yet where the blood was coming from. Nor had anyone had a chance to work out who he was. At this point, all they knew was that he was about 25 years old, was found unconscious at some sort of rave party in the north of the City and that drugs were involved.

Yet another dead shit drug addict.

A non-re breathing mask concealed his mouth and nose as a nurse named Selwyn forced air into his lungs. A doctor named Kost opposite Selwyn struggled to secure a newly inserted intravenous cannula in the man's ragged arm – to replace one that had failed in transit. A transparent bag of fluid hung from a pole and as Kost checked a small chamber below it he saw, with great relief, a rapid, steady drip, drip, drip inside it. The infusion was working.

The medical team fairly burst through a set of double doors and into a fully equipped trauma room. Lightning flashed through a window somewhere nearby. Already, additional staff were ready and waiting with emergency equipment set to go. The doctor astride the patient glared decisively at a young woman - a nurse named Ruddiger - who was holding two familiar looking paddles. He instantly leapt from the gurney, nearly losing his glasses, as myriad hands went to work, applying lines to the young man's chest and abdomen. Another intravenous cannula was quickly stabbed into the young man's opposite arm. In the overt brightness of the trauma room the nurse jabbing at the arm noted, curiously, an inscription tattooed there.

Ancora Imparo.

Satisfied the line was secure, a second flask of intravenous fluid was hastily commenced, the flow rate thrown wide open. Large pads were slapped down onto the man's chest and for a moment all eyes in the room turned towards a monitor above the victims head. An erratic green line squiggled it's way across the screen accompanied by several other, different colored lines that were equally chaotic.

Lifting his glasses so that they were perched just above his brow the doctor grabbed the defibrillator paddles from Ruddiger beside him and shoved his dog tags, identifying him as Ellis, down the inside of his scrubs. Nodding to Selwyn, still manning the non-re breathing mask, then to Ruddiger beside him he adjusted his grip on the paddles and approached the young man on the gurney. Another crackle of lightning flashed nearby, seemingly closer this time.

Ruddiger turned a dial on the defibrillator and listened to a high pitched whine emanate from within. Her eyes met Ellis and she nodded. Everyone stepped back from the gurney on Ellis' command and he positioned the paddles on the chest of the young victim before him. As he did so an shrill alarm sounded from the monitor. Flatline!

Though he had done this hundreds of times before Ellis felt the same gout of nausea ripple through him every time he shocked a patient. Forcing the sensation from his mind Ellis thumbed the triggers on the pads sending electrical current streaming into the patient before him. The young man bucked sickeningly on the gurney, his muscles spasming and holding their tetany for a moment before he slumped back on the hard surface of the gurney again. Everyone in the room looked back to the monitor again.

Moments ticked by...

The green line remained stubbornly flat.

As if reading Ellis' thoughts, Ruddiger immediately dialed up a higher charge on the defibrillator and nodded to him again. Ellis pressed down on the paddles and pressed the triggers again. The victim bucked wildly on the gurney lifting a full three or four inches into the air...

Electricity crackled through his darkened mind, briefly filling his consciousness with a blinding white light. The light dissipated and, or a moment, there was nothing again. He was gripped by sudden panic. He tried desperately to move his arms and legs but couldn't. Wherever he was he was totally and utterly trapped.

'How could it have come to this?'

Beams of light then stabbed through the darkness, somewhere nearby, yet not close enough for him to grab their attention. Steady beams of a torchlight. Were they searching for him? He tried to scream but he couldn't fill his lungs. No air!! Panic again!!

But it didn't last. The panic melted away suddenly and was replaced by an enveloping peace. The beams of light continued to work their way closer to him. He was floating now...

The green line on the monitor failed to budge. Ellis spat an expletive so loud his saliva stippled the patient. Ruddiger dialed up the defibrillator once more. It was all or nothing now. Ellis slapped the paddles down and discharged them immediately. Kost, beside him shuddered, nauseous.

Blinding white light again. Where was it coming from? He became aware of a taste in his mouth now. What was it? He wondered. No, it wasn't a taste at all. It was a smell. He let it fill his nostrils - he had accepted now that he couldn't breathe in.

Mint perhaps? Yes that's what it was. Mint. Yet there was something else. Something he couldn't quite put his finger on. A plant of some sort. A herb. His grandmother used to use it in her cooking. Goddamn, what was that!? An oven door opens. Roasted meat, lamb. She had sprinkled some sprigs on it. Rosemary sprigs!!

Rosemary and mint...

Why would I remember that?

The oppressive blackness parted now, slowly but surely, replaced by shades of gray. There was movement and shadow, texture and something else...What was it? The texture was incredibly soft. Skin perhaps? Soft skin, a cheek bone, the cheek of a woman. A familiar woman? He couldn't be sure. A single tear trickled down, over the cheek and down. A single tear, perfect...

'This is not over'

Ellis and Selwyn barely leapt back in time as the patient suddenly vomited a thick stream and began thrashing wildly on the gurney.


Selwyn tossed the mask assembly aside and grabbed a suction catheter as the victim was quickly rolled onto his side to prevent him from choking.

Ellis leaned in close stifling his sense of smell against the odor of vomit, alcohol and blood coming from the kid.

"We got you! We got you! You're alright! You're safe!'

The young man coughed and spluttered and wretched over and over while Selwyn sucked out the offensive detritus from his oral cavity. Kost came in with another mask and positioned it near to his mouth and nose. He tried to resist but Ellis held him firmly.

"Just relax. Relax. Let the air wash over you"

Ellis expected the kid to continue thrashing but strangely, a calm came over him and he let his body go limp.

"What's your name son? I need to know your name!"

My name? What's my name? I can't remember?!

Through a phlegm filled throat came a single utterance.


'Andy!? What the...?'

"Andy, my name is Doctor Ellis! You're in the hospital. You were brought here in an ambulance!"

'Ambulance?? What's with the weird accents?'

"Can you hear me Andy?"

Andy attempted to nod against the hand that was holding his head down and succeeded - somewhat. Ellis nodded to the other team members who were holding him. They relaxed their grip and stood back. Satisfied they had him under control Ellis began issuing orders to all present. Bloods, chest film, CT, ECG, IV antibiotics, catheter.

'Catheter!?!? Not again!'


An hospital orderly entered through the double doors holding a small, clear plastic bag. One of the trauma room staff took it from him and casually inspected it. Wallet, keys, cell phone, a couple of what looked like guitar plectrums, a pack of cigarettes. Some foil wrapped objects the size of a nickel. She alerted Ellis who took the bag and rifled through it, plucking the foil objects out. He tossed the bag on a nearby bench and hastily unwrapped one of the foil objects. Inside was a single white pill. He flicked it over with his finger and saw a small, vicious looking skull imprinted in purple on it's surface. He eyeballed Kost beside him and handed it over. They shared a knowing glance at one another.

The kid was coming to more and more now. He remained calm and submitted to their care without protest. He was, potentially, in a lot of trouble and he should know it, Ellis thought. These addicts were cast from the same mold. It was as though he knew he was defeated and no longer cared. His eyes turned upwards towards the ceiling and fixed on a spot there. They appeared glazed but in truth they were fixed hard and fast.

Ellis knew it and it unsettled him...

Copyright © 2009 Dean Mayes

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dreams Of A Love Indestructable (Part One).

How could it have come to this?

He had the world at his feet, a life that was the envy of all those around him. He was handsome, athletic, he was warm and funny. He had a loving and proud family. He had many friends. He was young and, seemingly, indestructible. Approaching the end of his university degree he had a bright future to look forward to and could put his name to just about any architectural firm he wanted. It was said that he had wanted to draw buildings since he was six years old.

For this was his great love...

He loved complex problems, raw ideas that could be assessed and developed and turned into a real thing - a building, a tower, a house, a home...

He was in love with a beautiful woman who was his kindred spirit. He had secretly held a desire to ask her to marry him once they had graduated. Well...it wasn't so much a secret between Denny and Soneya than something that they wanted to wait for, once their respective degrees were out of the way and they could celebrate with their families. They had fallen in love through the guitar. He played for her, the most beautiful pieces - classical pieces, lyrical pieces, soulful pieces.

For this was Denny's passion...

He played for her songs of love, of travelling, of life, of living. Denny had the most exquisite fingers which were able to dance across the guitar as though they were floating on air. Soneya had once joked that Denny had cast a spell on her for his music was the most exquisite she had ever heard. It had hypnotized her.

Their conversation was truly synchronous. They had similar values, beliefs and viewpoints yet each of these differed just enough so that they challenged one another. Also, Soneya was studying law so Denny knew very early in their relationship that in order to be a good lawyer, Soneya had better be able to deliver a damned good argument. Denny and Soneya's debates were the stuff of legend amongst their friends but they all knew what it was all about.

For Soneya was Denny's life...

They dreamed of travelling around the world together. Of visiting obscure galleries in Prague. Of making love in a villa on the shores of Lake Como. Of skinny dipping in the Mediterranean Sea near Valetta, Malta. Of growing old together in the house they hadn't even bought yet on a hillside overlooking a quiet valley.

Now it was all about to be lost.

Denny lay in the bed now - a mere shadow of what he had once been. The life, that vibrancy that had so drawn others in had gone from his sunken eyes. His once strong and proud and face was skeletal, the skin bruised and pasty. His beautiful hair was almost gone now; a few faded tufts were all that remained. Those fingers which had once danced across the guitar, which had translated onto the page complex algorithms and intricate equations, which had held the fingers of Soneya's own hands. They are limp now, cold and barely useful. A warm feminine hand is entwined in them but he can but feel them. He no longer has the strength to even lift one digit.

It had taken mere months. A few days of feeling unwell, swollen glands in his neck. Denny had passed it off as the flu. Even though he had gotten better the lump in his neck had refused to go away. Still he ignored it for a time until it began to bother him. In what seemed like a matter of moments it had become all too serious.


Normally treatable with a good chance at cure, this however was a particularly aggressive one that had already metastasized before Denny had seen the Doctor. Lymph nodes, liver, one kidney, four ribs on the left side and most cruelly of all his brain. He was doomed from the start. Treatment was a stalling intervention only and not a very good one. All it really did was halt the spread of his dementia and rob him of his hair. Denny was 25.

The room was nice. As far as hospice rooms go. There was a pretty rose garden through the single window. Denny had looked through there sometimes but hadn't been able to venture out to appreciate them. Today, the sky was dark and brooding. A thunderstorm threatened.

A Simon Marty guitar stood on its stand in a corner of the room where Denny could see it. A gift from his parents on his 21st birthday. Just having it there was soothing. In his fractured mind he could hear his favorite pieces and it helped him to block out the pain. Now the only thing that helped was the morphine that slowly dripped into his body from a pump via a needle in his arm. At the end of the bed lay his puppy, a black and white cross breed called Simon. Curled up and fast asleep. Denny's lovely nurse had allowed Simon to be here.

Soneya sat beside him; her head lay on the bed near his arm. He could smell her lustrous auburn hair, freshly washed. Rosemary and mint. He could hear her soft breathing, even and steady. He could feel the warmth of her skin, the touch of her fingers. Soneya had been there for days...or what had seemed like days. Denny was no longer sure of time anymore. All he was sure of was that she was still there. Occasionally she would stir, lift her head and gaze at him through those wondrous eyes. Though their world was falling apart her face kept him anchored. She kept everyone anchored. Throughout their ordeal Soneya had never fallen apart. She tended to Denny's needs unfailingly. When others were losing their emotions she was there for them too with an arm around a shoulder, a hand in a hand, a loving, comforting hug.

Now, in these final hours they were all here. Denny's mother, father and younger sister, Soneya's mother and older brother. All sitting quietly, waiting...

Denny flinched suddenly causing everyone else in the room to do the same. He grimaced and attempted to move himself but was prevented from doing so. His abdomen was so distended from fluid collecting inside that it made simple movements impossible. The catheter which drained urine from his bladder frequently caused him intense pain and it had done so now.

Soneya squeezed his hand and slid hers up his right forearm, her gentle touch soothing him. Her fingers passed over a faded tattoo on the inside of his forearm - an inscription in a cursive font - Ancora Imparo.

'How could it have come to this?'

The single lucid thought punctured through his narcotic haze. The pain in his penis settled and he blinked, looking up at his family who were all gathered around his bed.

His mother and father, eyes reddened and tear filled. His sister, all teen angst and stony faced 'trying to hold it together'. Denny knew this must be ripping her apart. Soneya's mother, her brother - his best mate, similarly wooden with barely contained grief. Soneya...

Denny turned his head slightly towards her. Soneya met his eyes with hers and held them. She stroked his brow gently and smiled warmly. Oh how he wished to kiss those lips...

His breath caught in his throat, suddenly and his eyes rolled upward towards the ceiling. The room began to spin and Denny's heart thumped noisily in his ears. He was overwhelmed by a sense of panic and with a great effort he grasped Soneya's hand as firmly as he could. When he looked back to her Soneya's had swollen with tears and a single drop trickled down over her porcelain cheek. In that moment Denny knew.

It was time...

He focused on that single tear and was reminded of a line from his most favorite film of all time, Bladerunner.

'All those moments will be lost...in time...like tears...in...rain'

The tears fell freely from his eyes now and his emotions overcame him. Fear, anger, sadness and, curiously, happiness, love, peace and finally determination.

As another line from that most favorite of films entered his head Denny turned his head towards Soneya.

'Time to die...'

In that last terrible moment, when all else was spinning out of control, as lightning crackled ominously outside the window, Denny gazed firmly and deeply into his beloved's eyes. When he spoke, his voice had never sounded more clear.

"This is not over..."

And with an abrupt finality the eyes fluttered closed, the body sank back, the life dissipated. Denny was dead. Simon the puppy let out a grief stricken yelp, leapt from the bed and disappeared down the hall outside the room.

Soneya sat there stunned, the grip of his hand relaxed in hers. The warmth disappeared quickly. As their family gathered around her and held her collectively she let go of her crumbling stoic facade and sobbed uncontrollably.

Everything seemed to stop. Time, space, air, life. And nothing would ever be the same again...

Copyright © 2009 Dean Mayes

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Serioso

In recent times, otherwise known as -since I got into internet radio - I have happened cross a number of turns of phrase which I have adopted into my own lexicon. I like the way they sound. Phrases such as 'back in the day', 'excuse me', 'just sayin' and 'Do You Understand' are just a few examples of biting yet satirical quips that I can be sometimes heard saying now...

...Admittedly I'll kinda drop the volume on my voice because few times that I have uttered them, people have looked at me like I'm a 'douche'.

Of all the phrases that I have encountered, on my Alistair Cooke-like exploration of Americana via the interweb, the term 'serioso' I have come to regard with the most affection. I first heard this term on an episode of my perennial favorite podcast 'Keith & the Girl' (www.keithandthegirl.com) when the Girl (a.k.a. Chemda) used it to describe her boyfriend of something like seven years, Keith.

When I first heard it I had been my own relationship but a short time after being tossed out of a 7 year marriage and I was not quite sure how I was to refer to my own 'serioso'. I find the term partner rather sterile. There's not a great deal of warmth in it.


Partner in what? Imagine that, at a dinner party, making introductions. 'This is my partner in co-habitating...this is my monogamous sexual partner...we engage in consensual intercourse...occasionally'

Likewise the terms 'girlfriend' and 'boyfriend' doesn't cut it for me either. I'm 33 for Christ’s sake! Imagine me, making introductions like Skippy Handelman from Family Ties to a group of adults. 'This is my girlfriend guys! Later on we're gonna go make out over in the corner and maybe she'll wanna touch mah ding dong!'

One word...Douche!

To me, the term 'serioso' has an urbane affection about it, a kind of 30 something appropriateness that isn't stupidly child-like nor is it as a bland as a cardboard soufflé.

It's a kind of hip, warm New York-ism, (kudos to Chemda), that I find appealing...I love New York. Of course down here in backwards-conservative Adelaide, Australia dropping the phrase among friends doesn't get me very far. I get those same looks of derision...


Here however, on this page, I have the freedom to describe my wonderful serioso on my terms and I couldn't give a toss who it puts off...except maybe my small but very important readership.

So - my serioso...

I love her.

It's as simple as that. She is the single most important person in my life, my best friend, my muse, my confidant.

Our relationship has been a tumultuous one - the result of a lot of things happening around the time we started seeing one another. But the tumult has faded and I find myself in a rather happy place in terms of our relationship.

My serioso has an romantic, old world way about her - the product of several generations of farming women who lived hard, raised family in tough circumstances and had to be self reliant a lot of time. These women were principled women of a proud Germanic/Scottish heritage who often put their family, their children before themselves.

I often refer to her as my Barossa lady. The Barossa Valley in South Australia is where she grew up. The Barossa Valley is lush and green, a wonderful melting pot of Eastern European influences that prides itself on its wine, it's food and it's country living. My serioso is the product of that heritage. Women knew how to cook then - really cook. Recipes have been passed down through generations as sort of sacrosanct treasures; however they have been quite bettered by the newer generations.

My serioso once told me that her grandmother used to make a German tea cake like no other Barossa lady on Earth. We've had some in a café or two up there and it's been good...something special even. But it never has stacked up to the one my serioso's grandmother used to make.

My brother once described my serioso as looking a little bit like Joan Jett from back in the day, say around the time of that movie 'Light of Day' she did with Michael J. Fox, though I think my serioso looks way hotter. Besides, Joan Jett is kinda old now. My serioso is tall, stately, with long legs, equally long hands. She has a wondrous smile that can light up a room.

My serioso never appears more sexier to me than when she is standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom applying her make-up or doing her hair. She performs this unconscious pout when she's checking out her application of the lip stick, her handiwork with the heating wand or how a new blouse, dress, scarf or item of jewelry and it does look hot. She hates me looking at her when she's in fashionista mode. However if I fail to give her a 250 word appraisal on how a particular item looks, when she wants it, I hear about it - alot 

Bless her f@#^ing heart...

Like the older Osbourne sister, who declined to be filmed for the reality television series 'The Osbournes' my serioso - similarly - won't allow me to post pictures here or anywhere else on the interweb. And I can understand her point.

She, like a lot of people, doesn't trust the internet, its whole invasion of privacy thing. Given my recent, shitty experience with iTunes - again - she has a point.

But that is not to say that she doesn't completely discount the internet’s attraction. I often get home, late at night after an afternoon shift at the hospital to find my laptop lying on the couch - battery completely discharged (smile through clenched teeth). When I plug it back in and boot it up to make sure that it hasn't crashed out completely (because bloody Vista SP1 still has a tendency to do that!!), I find internet windows still open for online cosmetics stores, IKEA, Laura Ashley, Janesce, curtains, drapery, clothing...

It seems that the whole invasion of privacy thing doesn't extend to online shopping.

But there is no doubting her sense of style and grace when it comes to decorating a space. We have similar tastes and that is gold dust given the challenges we encountered merging our respective collections of furniture. I have invested in a number of items of antique furniture that are of a mixed Victorian/early 1920's persuasion while she, my serioso has gravitated towards some French provincial chic. Somehow they work together. We're furnishing our home with new curtains presently. And these are not cheap fabrics we're looking at either. Though it may cost a frigging fortune, however, I can be confident that the final result with nothing short of stunning.

As a mother, my serioso is exquisite. She has a firm but gentle way with my son which - most of the time - stops him short if he's out of control. She is tender in an almost ethereal way and can bring calm to the house that exudes warmth and love.

As a woman she is passionate...in more ways than one...

My serioso is a woman in the truest and bestest sense of the world. She possesses an old world femininity and loves to be a lady whilst being fiercely independent and self sufficient. I don't mind saying that she, often times, leaves me for dead. She has the ability to bring clarity to a situation where I have lost mine. She is inherently logical and can see her way through a problem much better than I can. And she is a fascinating conversationalist - something I don't appreciate nearly as much as I should. She has an emotional strength that can sometimes come across as being a little unforgiving, but she also has a vulnerability that lends itself to much emotion.

In the end, my serioso is my companion and my best friend. And I love her...

Just to be completely random here, I commented to my brother-in-law the other day that I thought that a noticeable amount of sexism has crept into the lead up to Father's Day (which is celebrated here in early September). During the lead up it seems that television, radio and print has served up a steady stream of advertising for hardware stores.

So much so that I got pissed off with it.

To me it's akin to advertising steam irons or washing machines for women. It's saying to men 'all you're good for is doing things around the house - even though we spend our time bitching and complaining about all the things that need to be done around the house on every other friggin' weekend of the year. 'Here's a drill...now go drill something'.

Role Reversal Ladies - all you're good for is standing at an ironing board - even though we spend our time bitching and complaining about all the crumpled shirts and trousers that need to be done on every other fricken weekend of the year.

Here's a $350 iron...now go press!

See what I mean?

Where are the advertisements for package deals on the PS3 or the X-Box 360! Where are the advertisements for say a weekend for Dad and his mates to go paintballing or hang gliding for the afternoon!! And, actually, where are the advertisements for Dad to have a session with a masseuse, where aromatherapy is involved, a bit of a manicure - hell even a bit of a facial!!! (Did I just go too far then??)

Those advertisements aren't there because the advertisers and corporations (read hardware chains) don't want Dad's to have any fun on Father's Day. They would rather the population be simply conditioned towards purchasing power tools. Well I have news for them...


(I myself don't mind the odd excursion into the hardware store and I can handle numerous power tools but...)

...Father's Day should be about big boys’ toys - X-boxes, Playstations, a flight in an old war bird or even a session at a day spa! NOT power tools, socks, friggin' cook books written by sporting hacks or Peter Brock tributes.

(Addendum - April 7th 2009 - I actually wrote this around the time of Father's Day 2008 but since I haven't posted for a while and I was stuck for updated content).

I got a nice bottle of aftershave and a DVD of my current, favorite TV show...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Eight Zero


Moscow! The first time I ever grasped the concept of an Olympiad and how utterly all consuming it was - apparently. I went to a circus for the first time and cried because the man was cracking a whip at the lion in a cage, goading it with a chair. The teacher wasn't happy - with me! Kids were supposed to love the circus. Pppfffttt! Not me. The biggest sequel, possibly ever, hit the cinemas and it wasn't too long before we were all chattering excitedly about the revelation that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father. Some of the local kids hadn't seen it yet and we really bumbed them out by giving away the most ground shaking plot point of all time. Dad came home from work one Friday night with a box marked 'Akai' and 'VHS'. It was to signal the beginning of a new era in home entertainment. Robin Williams in 'Popeye' and another flick called "Chomps" about a robotic dog. Welcome to the video age. The video membership cost a fortune, I'm told. Lakes Entrance at Christmas Holidays. The fair ground and the fireworks. The beach and the waves. Sunshine and iced creams. Could life ever have been better?


Columbia took to the heavens. I couldn't quite believe it was real. A real space ship!. We were in the space age. Star Wars and Smurfs and playing cricket on the front lawn. There was a storm like no other one summer afternoon. Belted rain down so hard it filled Mum's garden like a swimming pool. Me and my brother splashed around in it while the sky above crackled with lightning and the clouds broiled like pea soup. My grade two school teacher was a prick! Routinely cracked the shits for no real reason and had us writing words or sentences out fifty times, one hundred times. It was demoralizing. I grasped the concept of hatred. My brother kept getting lumps in his neck and kept having to go to the doctor. They couldn't work out what was going on and my Mum was flipping out. I learned a new word - lymphoma. My prick grade two teacher made me write it out one hundred times after show and tell because
"that's what you get for telling lies!".


Indiana Jones! Harrison Ford was taking off. Han Solo was my favorite. He was a favorite of most 8 year olds and now he was in a movie cracking a whip and making it look as cool as. We scrounged whatever bailing twine we could find so we could plait our own wannabe bull whips. Rocky 2 on the TV for the first time. I lost count of the number of lounge room bouts my brother and I staged...until we k.o.'ed Mum's Wedgwood soup tureen and I guess that was then end of that. My brother had several operations on his neck and one on his chest in quick succession. Then came the 'treatment' He spent hours connected to a drip. He became bony and he lost all his hair. He was sick a lot and I remembered that word I had been forced to write out last year. Lymphoma.


There were lots of trips between both sets of grand parents, a few trips to my Aunty Rhonda's - though I never called her Aunty. Little Nana made the most wonderful Cornish pasties in a gas oven while bigger Nana baked scones that no-one could out-do. Pa had an old school valve radio on which we listened to the cricket in the kitchen. Pa had his beer, I had my dry ginger. Nana had on her flowery apron. Always cooking something. I felt alone while my brother and my parents were away in the City. Left out. I knew it was necessary but it didn't make me feel any better. Dad broke down, one of the few times I ever seen him cry as he told me that 'Boody' might not be coming home. I didn't sleep for days after that. A yacht race was on TV - a big one apparently as everyone was talking about it. Australia won it. Me and my brother were kicking the pants out of Donkey Kong - a blue, mini arcade styled version. We had tournaments with Dad and Aunty Dorothy who made her own Baileys and got Dad rip roaring one time. Aunty Dorothy had the bathroom hidden in the wall.


Return of the Jedi! Even though the movie was like a year late, Star Wars was all that mattered. My paper round enabled me to save my money for Star Wars figurines. My brother got better though I sensed he would never be the same. The Melbourne Show. All my brother wanted was the KISS showbag. All I wanted...well I'm sure you can guess. The Pointer Sisters made it big with 'Jump'. Why I would remember that I'll never know. Mum and Dad talked about moving, then talking turned to doing. Dad loaned a big truck and we began moving things to a house in the hills. There was always a stubby and a chip on the way back. Caravaning holidays replaced Lakes Entrance. We met Don and Sheila that year.


New town, new school, struggling to fit in, not really wanting to belong. Grade six in a new school, I struggled with it. We went on a genuine holiday to the north of the state. A unique experience, the River Murray, the Pioneer Settlement, a caravan park and a bloke named Jeffrey who was a bit simple and had a bowl cut. The Titanic was found! Heard it on the radio early one morning. Huey Lewis & The News was my first band. Nana bought me their cassette. Jacob's Ladder was grouse! Was I cool? Was anyone cool?


High School. I belonged even less. Had a crush on a blonde named Vanessa. Unobtainable. Spent most of that year trying to work out how life was supposed to be. Challenger blew up early. We talked about it. Actually there's not much to tell. I was a geeky kid, small, freckly, awkward. I sucked badly at Maths. Yet I wished I didn't. Mosquito Coast came out that year and I swore black and blue that Harrison Ford was the finest actor ever. I was a film snob at aged 12! Looked forward to the end of the year, the summer holiday at Blores Hill. Sailing on the water, swimming and fishing. Good times, great times.


A continuation of the same. Wasn't so geeky but I was never a sheep, never a follower, so in a way I remained solitary. Found out I was good at something. I wiped the pool in the back stroke. The jocks who thought they were such top shit couldn't believe it. Suddenly I was somebody. Swimming was my thing. Stood up to one of the seniors who was bullying some of the younger guys. Surprised everybody. People are drones. Friends, however, can come from the most unlikely places. There was a girl named Lisa, a rock chick, pre-Goth I guess you could say, all G'n'R and Bon Jovi. Me with my Huey Lewis shit. But for some reason we got each other. The conversations were cool. They went beyond the pettiness of youth. Did we kiss? Never...Did we understand? Always.


Bicentennial. Forced to wave flags and sing patriotic songs about a country. Even then I found something rather distasteful about nationalism. I'd moved on from the News and had discovered Noiseworks, all bad hair and rock abandon but they were the shit! (Or was it 'Grouse'?) Saw their gig at Kernot Hall, my first ever live concert. Wanted to take a girl named Stacey - another crush - but found out she had a boyfriend. (me) Idiot! I went anyway. Show was awesome and vowed that I wanted to sing live with them. It never happened. Something else happened, however. I discovered jazz. Dad bought home an album by Vince Jones and I listened transfixed. Vocals of deep reflection. An imperfect trumpet, but soulful and full of truth. Like the girl named Lisa, I just 'got it'. My Dad passed it off as just a trendy fad but do fads last 20 years? I discovered a piece of myself through Vince Jones...


A 15 year old kid doesn't get chronic back pain, sciatica. There's just something not right with that. Having pain, difficulty walking, difficulty coordinating. There just growing pains. Don't worry 'bout it. It all changed in an instant. Collapsed umpiring football, unable to move, excruciating pain. Then nothing. Legs useless now. The scan reveals the truth. Tumor. Base of the spine, in the spinal cord. "We can take it out, but we don't know if you'll ever walk again" Vince Jones reveals the truth. Music is the only therapy. "But Beautiful", watching the jets come into land the night before. "It's Time, Son" The surgery reveals the truth. A tumor removed. Scars left in it's place. Scars... Anger, resentment, wanting to move, wanting to scream. Finally being allowed to sit up, given a wheelchair. Is this going to be it? I ask myself as the water from the shower cascades over me. Learning to walk again, starting over...baby steps. The excitement of having two legs functioning! Starting over...the streets no longer seem quite the same. I left the Children's on a cold and wintry Melbourne morning. Cold and gray. I am wheeled out into it but I stand from the chair and step into the car. I stand...Those Nivas were a shit-house car...

The decade was awful, garish, sharp edges and straight lines. I was awkward and unsure, I grew slowly and quickly. I loved it and loathed it all at the same time. But it was my decade...