The following one-pager was my first shot at “Iron Writer,” a kind of writer’s improv. I was given four elements: a saxophone, working a puzzle, a basement and Dylan Thomas’ poem “Don’t go gently into that dark night.” This is the result.
Living in Brooklyn can have its advantages. You could say that you would never be bored. For entertainment I have a ten story wall of the next building where the residents are either exhibitionists or blithely unaware they are exposing their daily drama to the world. It is better than one of those sports bars with twenty-seven different TVs blaring out at the same time. For example: Fourth floor and five windows to the left — a nightly “slug-fest” between Mr. and Mrs. X. Fifth floor and a few windows to the right — a shapely and more than amply endowed young woman who seems to like undressing very close to the window. I do not reject this odd practice and it is part of my evening enjoyment. Ninth floor, somewhere in the middle, the Boots Randolph (or Charlie Parker) wannabe who practices his alto sax nightly with excessive vigor. Exercises from Exercices Journaliers D’Apres Terschack Tous Saxophones. I can barely hear him but enough to know that although his technique is flawless, he is always a quarter tone flat. “Push in damn it, push in!” (the mouthpiece) I shout.
When my interest in this nightly show wanes, I turn to my puzzles: jig saw puzzles. I am a sucker for them. The harder, the better, like the 1,000 piece monsters you can find at K-Mart. So I usually have a million mili-pieces spread out over two card tables. My latest one is a tranquil fly fishing scene in Montana – cool river colors with a majestic back-drop of snow-capped mountains. So far it has been sitting there for nine month undone because the last piece is missing, the head of the fly fisherman and the central focus of the whole damn puzzle. The puzzle represents all the unfinished business and frustrations in my life. Add to that, Mr. Sax and my stupid cat Morris. The TV cat Morris is much smarter.
On edge lately, but having comforting dreams where I dispatch someone into the NetherWorld with barely a twinge. This may be a Freudian release of some description but is quite satisfying to me and I do not feel in the least bit guilty.
Tonight, after cleaning the cat box and cat house, what should I find but the missing puzzle piece of the fisherman’s head. Oh Joy! Morris had purloined it in the dead of night and hidden the treasure like Magpies’ propensity to steal and covet shiny baubles. I am thinking: why do I need Morris? Why do I need my puzzles? Why do I need the torment of the off-key musician? I begin to conjure thoughts most pleasurable.
Although I have never considered myself a candidate as a serial killer, the idea holds a certain allure. I could execute the musician, stuff the cat into the saxophone and bury the lot in my basement. At that point, I would totally ignore the admonishments of poet Dylan Thomas and WOULD go gently into that good night, without a rage, and whistling a happy tune!