Secrets of the Universe Revealed

Writer to the Stars

Writer to the Stars
Dallas, Texas, USA
August 15
Writer to the Stars
A long-time freelance writer who was fated to live in Dallas, Texas and marry a tall photographer. And who did. 31 years into it now. It seemed to be working. And then the whole damned roof fell in. But we've both been to the rodeo before, even this one, and we know what to do. You cowboy up.


Writer to the Stars's Links

NOVEMBER 16, 2010 6:20AM

I see the bad moon arising...

Rate: 44 Flag

Just read the fucking tea leaves, guys, I'm thinking as I drive past my clueless guy-neighbors hunkered together over on San Juan, like cave dwellers gaga over mankind's first fire, every one of them marveling over some lucky sumbitch's cherry-new leviathan RAM 2500 pickemup truck, with 5.7-liter HEMI®, V8 dual Variable Valve Timing engine packs, 383 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 400 lb-ft of torque at 4,000, the monster all pimped out with dazzling custom chrome wheels, a grill that could suck in a whale, and a hard candy apple finish, flawless as a baby's ass.

For a wonder, they don't notice me thrashing by, my ancient Benz making its horrible farm-machine sounds. Every one of those guys is a shade tree mechanic who would give his left nut to get his black oily paws on my ride, envisioning lucrative work well into 2012 when the world will end anyway, as we Jesus-lovin' souls know. Usually when I come choking past them, huge black plumes pooting out the tailpipe, those same fellas will bite their hands with thwarted desire, make whimpering noises, and feverishly wave me towards one garage or another. Not today. Every man-jack there is too absorbed with the pickemup's steam-cleaned innards.

No time for me.

Not a one of them even glances up as my car horks past. Dumbasses, I think to myself. It's as plain as God and the angels can make it. Signs and portents, guys. Drag your wild asses away from the shiny truck, look around, and you'll spot a bad moon arising with your very  own eyeballs. If you have a collective brain, you'll all wind up humming Creedence Clearwater the rest of the day and into the fearful night, even if you're not an old granola like me.

Lately I'd been hyper-aware and jittery my own self. I knew our deeply strange neighborhood could have its very marrow sucked out by lifeless assholes like these new neighbors, who are slowly oozing in. Most of them were home right then, sodding the yard, constructing fancy-shmancy privacy fences, notifying the cops every six minutes and otherwise believing they were improving the shit out of everything in their sight-lines.

At first, I thought I was wrong to have misgivings about my ratty neighborhood, and for thinking we were about to be outsmarted by a bunch of asswipe corporate gypsies. These cube-farmers swept down here like Visigoths, all the way from bleakest Plano. Probably thought our grubby little Casa 'nam was  another cheap-ass bedroom suburb, like that bare and blasted sinkhole they'd just escaped. I didn't believe these arrivistas could ever appreciate our own special tangy dope-tinged flavor, but they sure as shit loved the way we're ten minutes from downtown, fifteen minutes from White Rock Lake, while still butt to butt against more famous hipstery enclaves. Also the way Albertson's has suddenly begun stocking goose pate.

But I'd also begun to feel a bit guilty for my sneery view of the newcomers. So lately I've tried to overlook the sight of tiny exotic dogs shitting on my grass and, more bizarrely the owner picking up its bitty crap carefully with vinyl-gloved fingers. I was more inured to Destiny, an ominously named mastiff the size of a Smart Car, who's a sociopathic trespasser who has wandered through my yard almost daily, looking both resplendent and cartoony in her huge spiked collar, hoping to eat my cats and depositing her monster logs as an afterthought.

But now, when I spotted a bug-sized dog trot by and watched an anxious owner  jerk the bug's leash while clutching his dog-shit supplies, I dutifully reminded myself, C'mon, don't get your panties in a bunch. It's a weird little dog is all. Delusionally, I believed we could still be our rotten snaggle-toothed familiar selves, especially one particular morning when I noticed my neighbor's tree was newly torn out by its roots and mashed across the sidewalk, struck dead by a lawless car.

The tree, good-sized and one of a tidy set planted in a windbreak near the sidewalk, lay splintered under a car, and was clearly deader than John Quincy Adams. The outlaw car itself was a generic late model Toyota, about the same sheen and color of mayonnaise. It tilted uncertainly atop the tree-corpse and, as is customary here, both had been abandoned at the scene by the doer. Now that's what I'm talkin' about, I thought happily, trundling off to get my coffee and a pack of American Spirits, ready to grab a chair and comfortably snoop from my dining room window.

I knew the drill. The neighbors would emerge from the house, cursing loudly, punch in 911, and after, say, an hour or so, cops would arrive without the misery lights, listen to the bitter tale of sorrow from a slightly open window in the cruiser, shake their heads and drive off. Or maybe they'd leave a postcard first, noting that another sexual predator had moved nearby, and then take off. There's usually room for a little variation in the neighborhood, but it's minimal. The car and the tree would lie in a big wedded mash for a longish while, with midnight scavengers carrying off useful auto-parts and then finally, someone with energy, spirit, and no job would go fuckit and lurch out with a chain saw and haul off the remaining moldering tree crap.

Instead, by the time I returned, there was yellow crime tape (!) up around the tree and car, a bunch of orange cones set up, the street blocked off, and a very buff lady cop monitoring the situation. Somehow she'd found the miscreant: one of our standard truant and overall rotten 14 year-olds, his cap turned sideways, his skinny ass poking out of his jams. She kept a firm clutch on him too, until his bewildered mom showed up, furious and confused over being called off The Job for...what exactly? His hung-out narrow l'il ass? The stolen car? His six month truancy? Please.

And then, suddenly, they were both packed in the back of the cruiser, staring out the back window like abducted horror-movie people, and efficiently hauled away. Within fifteen minutes more, two City trucks showed up, dragged off the car and loaded up the tree, while the rest of us stood on our lumpy cracked sidewalks and gaped like we'd never in our lives seen the goddamn City Services In Action. Which we hadn't.

Shit. I thought. There was so much turning to goo before my very eyes. There was the Ugly Little House on San Lorenzo. For years the boy and I drove past it, me ignoring it, the boy cursing the guy for violating our largely ignored zoning, while the owner, a guy with a hairy back, dressed in the local standard, a tenement t-shirt and Dickey work pants, moodily machined parts in his porte-cochere, a big oil blob spreading around his feet.

His little shit-box just sold for $189K, I discovered.

And then, shortly after that I saw a sign in a yard. Not one comfortably advertising foreclosure, or pitbull pups for sale. It said Yard of the Month.

We're circling the drain, I thought. Right down the crapper we go.

Tell me I'm wrong.

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My front door faces a kickass subdivision and my back door opens onto a pretty sad trailer park, so I know the pleasures and drawbacks of both worlds. I take it you don't want to be Yard of the Month yourself.
"Improving the shit out of everything" always happens right before everything starts to look like everything else. Why is that? Sharing this one.
So happy to see you here! And in your usual fine form. Sorry the natural order has been disturbed. Hold the rebel faith.
You are amazing, and so not wrong. I wish I was sitting at your kitchen table listening to you deliver this hilarious monologue.
Generica cometh. It's creeping in everywhere. You tell it with such an authentic voice ...
Damn yuppies. They ruin everything.

P. S. Please write a book. Your writing is phenomenal and such fun to read.
Long time no read. That race walker was the writing on the wall.
Nothing else has ever made me want to visit Texas. So glad to see you back.
So glad to see you. Your writing is perpetually captivating. ~r
ms writer ... "bad moon a rising", indeed ... thanx for sharing your
slice of it ... rated ... lew
Right down the crapper with the designer dog poo. Glad to see you back! R
I'm with Lisa-- please write a book! Your "voice" is so compelling.
Your tags say it all and your writing is as tangy as ever. So glad to see you back here. You are one of the very best!!
Hahahaha. I always tell everyone who thinks this is a classy, upscale neighborhood, that we folks is in the cheap seats.....hahahhaha I so get this.
So good. This post is just so good. And the fix-it-uppers periodically attack neighborhoods in my town too, because we are minutes from Downtown PDX. Their improvements raise property taxes, dammit.
a neighborhood rule that you can't leave your garage door open longer than 15 minutes is next. missed you, woman. stand firm.
I won't try to tell you you're wrong . . . not at all . . . but damn, woman, you do write a vivid story. So good to "hear" your voice again . . .
glad to see you here again...
White Rock Lake!! I learned how to swim there, went on my first sailboat ride there....1965??
Great post, those damned corporates ruin every funky cool area...
The writing is so clear and so true here.
Missed ya.
Write more. many many more. This is so great.
Dang... The Yuppies with Bug sized exotic dogs move in, and suddenly the city realizes they have to take care of stuff! Local interesting neighborhood turns into yet another homogenized "gated community" or close to it.

Don't panic until GWB moves in.

So good to see you back!
Damn, I loves yur shit, Writer. I needed this laugh. I want to roll this up and smoke it. Rated, of course.
Wonderful writing. Truly.
talk about the neighborhood camraderie... ouch. uhm, where exactly would you feel at home anyway? uh, dont answer :p
Oh no! Not a yard-of-the-month contest. Clear, crisp and hilarious as always. I can just see those guys. It was my first adult neighborhood, right out of college. I miss it when I read you!
Dissipation can be such a... folksy thing, can it not? A cheap bottle of wine, some moldy bread - We may be going to Hell in this handbasket, but at least we're comfortable. r.
I'm just gonna deposit a log right here and mosey on over to the crime tape. I'll rate first though.

(can't stop laughing... hugely hysterical)
oh my G, you are so funny. Your turn of phrase; your adjectivization - perfection.

Good to see you again. Hope you're feeling stronger - obviously, your spirit is.
My wayward cats and I were so busy trying to cultivate patience over the past few days, I just discovered your latest. Brilliant, as always, Writer -- a veritable treasure trove of swaggering metaphors! I'd follow you down the crapper any ole day, just to hear you describe the journey! Rated, of course. And good luck with the fangmeister, when you finally get there!
Keep on keeping it real (meant ironically and...well...for real). Awesome.