DARRELL VICKERS – ‘BU HOUSE CHAPTER ONE: THE NEWS AND THE BLUES

DARRELL VICKERS – ‘BU HOUSE: Here Comes the Sun CHAPTER ONE THE NEWS AND THE BLUES

When the year 1992 was barely in its infancy, the world as we knew it was being turned upside down. It was being turned inside out. Its hair was being pulled and aluminum foil was being dragged across its front teeth. The Soviet Union had ceased to be. George H. Bush had just lost his lunch into the lap of the Japanese Prime Minister. The former Yugoslavia was about to be torn to pieces by three years of brutal war, genocide and inhuman suffering.

MEANWHILE, IN OSHAWA:   

David Sobanski was a 24-year-old, relatively ordinary-looking fellow of slim build and even slimmer prospects. Like many of his friends and even more of his family, he was birthed and baptized with a heart of gold and a brain of sand. If his ear leaked, you could time your egg by him. Davey had a small permanent crease in his sun-starved, alabaster forehead; the result of never quite understanding just what the fuck was going on. In short, Mr. Sobanski was dimmer than a Walmart flashlight.

He was the proud product of something called “M.C.V.I.” (McLaughlin Collegiate and Vocational Institute) Named; I’m lead to understand, in honor of a local car builder. This exalted temple of learning and phys-ed is still situated in the westerly section of the thriving metropolis of Oshawa. In its gloried and much heralded past, it had cranked out such luminaries as The Bobby Orr and the Head Writers of “The Tonight Show”. Alas, by the late eighties, it had been reduced to graduating the likes of Mr. David Fairburn Sobanski. One would hate to fall that far off a building.

THE LETTER:

If life is no more than an infinite number of crossroads, at which we are perpetually compelled to select one of two paths, then this singular, seemingly celebratory poretic bifurcation would forever stain the underpants of poor David Sobanski’s existence.

It was a day like any other on Nassau Street – and maybe even as far south as Hillside Avenue. Inside No. 32, cold, slippered feet shuffled along a crappy hallway carpet as our dubious protagonist made his lugubrious way from his drab little bedroom to his parents’ drab little kitchen. The life-reaffirming aroma of freshly brewed coffee and raisin-dotted cinnamon rolls, made lovingly from scratch and baking in the oven, was in no way present. It did smell a little like the cat had been sick again, though. A big juicy squelch as David stepped from crappy carpet to cold kitchen linoleum confirmed as much.

It was while he was washing a bloodied mouse-snout and a few loose whiskers out of his Goodwill-purchased, factory-second indoor footwear that David espied a small pile of unloved mail on the Formica countertop. Right next to an unused Veg-o-matic and a 3-Size Ronco Pancake Pooper. Hmm, perhaps he could use an especially absorbent real estate flyer to dry his puke-ridden pantofles. There was a dishtowel hanging from the oven handle but Alexander McKenzie King was still buying silky women’s underwear for his dog the last time it had been laundered. David wisely rifled through the envelopes and circulars. It was amazing how many different people were vying to steam clean his broadloom!

And there it was.

At first, David did nothing. Then he did more nothing. After a third really long session of concentrated nothingness, he contemplated possibly doing something, but then quickly thought the better of it. His brain struggled to process the enormity of this possibly life-changing moment. His hands verily trembled as they shook. The other communications were unthinkingly dropped onto the floor. They would have to ply their steam on other, less important people’s, carpets.

Could this singular envelope be the answer to a dream that was so transformatively transcendent, he hadn’t even dared dream it? Perhaps he was reading it wrong? David nervously rescanned the March of Dimes return-address sticker in the upper left-hand corner to confirm that it was so.

Son of a bitch, it was so!!!!

“The” Amos Drawling:

‘Bu House, Pacific Coast Highway,

Malibu, California, U.S.A.

“The” Amos Drawling, if you’re not already obsessively familiar with his work, was an indisputable genius (unless you’re talking to one of his ex-wives). He had an IQ that went into three digits! Writer, director, producer and all-round bon vivant, in the 1950’s and early 60’s, Amos had done it all (and was brought up on charges for some of it). In 1963, his celebrated career hit its zenith with the release of Journey to Sand. Widely regarded as a masterpiece, it narrowly lost out at the Oscars that year to West Side Story. Or “Fucking West Side Fucking Story,” as Amos mostly called it, though he also referred to it as “Dance of the Fucking Alley Fags” after he’d had a few snorts.

Oshawa’s worryingly lithesome wunderkind happened to catch Journey to Sand accidentally, one late eve, after falling asleep during an atypically lethargic episode of Baywatch on CHCH Television. When he startled awake, it took him thirty-five minutes to realize David Hasselhof wasn’t coming back and that the beach was now over 200 miles wide and littered with bleached cow skulls. This was the first high-art film young Mr. Sobanski had viewed that didn’t have Burt Reynolds giggling behind the wheel of a sports car. Needless to say, it was a revelation. Like a Quaker at a Polish-hooker Mazola party – eyes were opened to unforeseen possibilities. David immediately sat himself down and tragically misspelled a fan letter to “The” Amos Drawling.

And now, there in his hand…in his very hand, on the end of a wrist that he owned, was the stunning reply. Just imagine, David Fairburn Sobanski, PEN PAL to a big and famous person that people had actually heard of. A Hollywood director, no less! Oh, was his buddy Llew going to be jealous. But first, he had to summon up the inestimable courage to open it. Dave closed his eyes, did nothing for a really small period of time, and then had the heck at it.

“Please don’t say, ‘Buzz off.’ Please don’t say, ‘Buzz off,’” rolled casually through his anxious mind as he tore through the partially recycled paper.

And indeed, Amos did not.

Dear Mr. Sobanski: You are too damn right. I am a fucking genius and it is incontrovertibly criminal that I, “The” Amos Drawling, have not been recognized fully and lauditorially by my talentless and envious peers. I fart better material than what pollutes today’s screens (large and small). I demand that you hie on down to Malibu and chronicle my life’s Odyssean tale and thwart the credit-grabbing dogs that seek to Trotsky me out of my place in history.

David read it a second time, searching for the partially concealed cruel joke. Then, he looked up some of the longer words… and who Trotsky was. Did it actually, actually say what he thought it did? If he had even the faintest inkling of what cognitive dissonance was – he’d be having it at this very moment. Finally, like a winning lottery ticket holder – who would be divorced and bankrupt and homeless within a year-and-a-half – his sloth-like brain grudgingly allowed him to accept this unimaginable turn of good fortune.

“Holy Jibbin’ Cribbnits,” he proclaimed to no one in particular. “Malibu, California!”

A thought. David rushed to the kitchen window and gazed out upon his beloved Nassau Street. A blizzard was tearing up and down the working class road like a drunken Marvel Comics villain. Cars fishtailed and pedestrians cowered and shielded themselves from the sharpest teeth of the biting wind.

Nope. He wasn’t going to miss that shit at all!

THE SANTA MONICA PIER:

The weather that morning in sunny Cal. was as soft and warm as a supermodel’s buttocks. The sky was as blue as the eyes of the Irish. Gentle mists cooled the skin and made the ordinary shine like diamonds. What confluence of noble deed and happenstance had caused this small, thin stretch of land to receive so much of God’s favor? Plus David Haselhoff!

But not everything was juniper berries and corn chips in Casa de Beach Babes. Switch Siksay was attempting to earn his daily crust as a purveyor of wonderment on the bird-shit-coated boards of the Pier and business was far from bustling.

“Take a card. Any Card,” the rotund ex-biker entreated a zinc-oxided tourist on his way to the “Goblet Toss Booth”. “You sir. Let my willowy, mystical fingers amaze and delight you.”

In this part of the world, when a large man offers to amaze and delight you with his willowy, mystical fingers, it’s usually wise to keep on walking. Which is exactly what the Bermuda-shirted stranger did.

“Ace Hole,” came his witty, in-theme vituperation.

Luckily for this pauper-waged Mage, The Pier offers no shortage of garishly dressed out-of-towners to inveigle and monetarily bewitch. And behold, a widowed schoolteacher from Wapakoneta, Ohio drifted tantalizingly within earshot.

“You Madame. You will truly believe your senses have deserted you.”

Alas, she too raced on past his folding table of baffling bewilderments. A small, defeated sigh leaked from his expansive frame as she took flight. Switch dolefully gazed a short distance down the coarsely planked promenade in resigned envy at a shirtless bald guy performing insane dances to a cassette tape of late ’80s pop hits. A small-but-enthusiastic crowd had gathered ’round the patently unhinged Terpsichore and his tip jar veritably brimmed with paper and coin.

BACK IN OSHAWA:

Cataclysmically inclement weather be damned! David bravely braved the blistering winter gale, chiseling unceasingly into his tender forehead, all the way down Elmgrove Ave. His ultimate destination, the loving, central-heated embrace of the Oshawa Center concourse. No matter the personal prefrontal-cortex price, his majorly astounding tidings must be shared with those who would be suitably astounded! Once a small portion of the feeling had returned to his face, he glanced about for tidings victims.

Bingo! Llew – his best pal all the way back to West Mount Elementary – was nobly manning the mall’s key-copying kiosk. Just the kind of easily astoundable prey that David was in search of. And oh-rapturous joy, he appeared to have caught his amigo in the midst of a rare key-copying lull. Unable to contain his atypical joie de vivre, David was grinning from ear-under-his-tuque to ear-under-his-tuque as he shivered forth. Llew could not help but notice his buddy’s unusual toothy display.

“So, did you get blowed or somethin’?” Llewellyn inquired.

David’s momentarily-taken-aback brow furrowed. “What? Blowed? Who’d… I mean, what the deuce are you talkin’ about?”

“I’m talkin’ about you.” He pointed a happy finger at his cheerful chum. It was a well-known fact around the Mall that – right up until that moment – the female population of Oshawa had yet to harvest the fruit of his looms. “You got that ‘just got blowed’ look.”

“Smilin’ ain’t ‘a look,’ Llew. And it certainly ain’t about gettin’ blowed. Though, I’ve had my share – don’t you get me wrong on that. Plenty, as a matter of… No, this is more of a reflection. Transmittin’ my inner state of mind externally, so as to speak.”

Llew shrugged and dragged his knuckle across the pointy parts of some hanging keys. They tinkled ever-so-lightly. “Well, Boden looked exactly like you’re lookin’ now, right after Marybeth gave him a super major knob polish.”

David’s face dropped like your grandmother taking off her bra. “Ah jeez. And I was gonna ask her out on a goodbye date.”

“Goodbye date? You goin’ somewhere?“

“Exactly. That’s what I’m sayin’ here.” David pointed to his thoroughly trounced former smile. “The reason for all the pearly-whites an’ all is: I’m goin’ to California, eh?”

“Wow! The one in California?”

David’s effervescent glow began to re-bubble. Or perhaps he was just beginning to self-baste under his downy coat and three t-shirts. He loosened his scarf and continued. “Well, yeah. And even better, I got myself this plum job in Malibu.”

“The one that’s in, like, Hollywood?”

Sigh. Poor Llew was so comically uninformed when it came to the intricate inner-workings of big-time showbiz. David rested a knowing hand on the kiosk counter and began his sagacious tutorial. “Well, no. It’s not actually in your Hollywood as such. But, it’s pretty darn close, eh? All the really big celebs live there, you know, the ones that don’t live in your super swanky Bev Hills”

Only a real insider could pull off using a ultra-exclusive entertainment sobriquet like that!

“Big congrats, eh? Marybeth would have fer sure gone out with a guy who’s got a plum job near some big celebs.”

A few more drops of rain dripped down onto his once bright and shiny parade. “Well, that’s what I was hoping, eh? But now, what with the Boden news. Kinda puts a bit of a damper on the gettin’ to kiss her goodnight and stuff.”

“If Boden would’a known, he’d a waited, eh? He’s a real good guy.”

“Well, fer sure he’s a real good guy an’ all, but… perhaps I’ll just send ‘er a postcard or somethin’.”

“Probably best, considering.”

A small but forlorn abeyance in the conversation ensued. There was just something sadly off-putting about the thought of tasting the ghost of another guy’s jism in the mouth of your date that both men instinctively understood. Despite the honeydew-meloned pulchritude in question… it was another guy… it was jism… they were instinctively off-put.

“Nice girl, though,” Llew added, to lighten the increasingly dark tenor of their conversation.

“Oh, super nice. No doubt about it. That’s why I was considering askin’ her to step on out with me.” David let loose with the utter seriousness of his woo. ”Maybe even to The Red Lobster.”

Llew was appropriately impressed with his pal’s willingness to splash around the cash. “Oooh. You’d’a spent a wad there, fer sure. I guess she really blew that one… pardon the pun.”

David sighed the sigh of a man contemplating what could have been. “I guess what’s done is done.” He could feel the foot-sweat begin to pool in his Santana Canadas. Wait! Was there just the smallest glimmer of mitigation? The tiniest sprout of a posie pushing its hopeful shoot skyward from this great steaming hobo turd of news? “Was it kind of an accident, like she tripped, or was it more of your intended…”

Llew shook his head sympathetically as he explicitly dropped the hummer hammer down. “Total head washing plus…‘the money shot.’”

Crests were very seldom that fallen. “Oh.”

Llew sensed once again that the conversation’s mood was going downhill faster than Steve Podborski in a McCain’s Orange Juice commercial. “So, you takin’ your guitar with you?”

BACK STORY:

David had assiduously saved a small portion of his unemployment check for two whole years to purchase an Ibenez, Les Paul. Sunburst Finish! He’d fallen in love with this legendary axe after seeing a drunken French Canadian stumble about its rosewood fret-board in a Stampeders tribute band at Harry’s Hideaway tucked under the Genosha Hotel. He then generously upchucked on a busty beer waitress after a bout of immoderate fist-pumping during a particularly spirited rendition of Monday Morning Choo Choo. But even three quarts of re-tasted Carlsberg Lite and a major bitch-slapping did not diminish his ardor to one day own “A Paul.”

Alas and alack, David had enough musical acumen to realize his majorly rockin’ ten-pounds-of-sound was brain-stabbingly out of tune but not nearly enough acumen to actually tune it. This led to yet another four months of abject thriftiness, Burger-King-ketchup-packet-lunches and his highly successful five-dollar-a-time “Punch Me!” booth. Eventually, he raised enough jack to procure an electronic tuner. But no amount of near-fatal mealtime frugality or wrapping his feet in copies of The Oshawa Times instead of socks, could ever buy him a sense of rhythm. He wasn’t even good enough to play in Grand Funk Railroad! But, that flashy red axe surely did look bitchin’ hanging on his bedroom wall.

UNTIL:

The Sunburst bomb was dropped. “I had to sell it to afford the bus ticket to California, eh?”

“Huh.” Llew considered this for a number of seconds, like he was rolling a piece of vintage cheese around upon his tongue. “So, you don’t have your guitar no more?”

“No. I sold it. I said that. I don’t…” David wiped a thin sheet of perspiration from his roasting forehead as he mourned his grand scheme now ground to dust. “Had just enough money left over for that ‘so long night,’ out at The Lobster.”

“Their crab linguini is killer, eh? It’s like your major fine dining, fer sure.”

“So… where’d Boden take ‘er?”

“Beeno’s Pizza. It was Two-For-One Soda Night.”

“Oh.”

Some questions should never be asked.

=DV=

The entire book can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07J3XNJSW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1538935214&sr=8-1&keywords=darrell+vickers for a pittance.

Darrell Vickers, ‘Bu House, novel, vol. one, Here Comes the Sun, Amazon,

Please scroll down to leave Your Comments, Kudos, and Complaints

DBAWIS_ButtonDarrell Vickers started out as one half of Toronto area band, Nobby Clegg.  CFNY fans may remember the cheery song “Me Dad” which still gets airplay.  From there, he valiantly ventured to L.A. and eventually became head writer for The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Since then, he’s created numerous sitcoms and animation shows in Canada and the U.S.  He still writes music and has an internet band called Death of the Author Brigade (members in Croatia, Canada and the U.S.)   Mr. Vickers also had a private music mailing-list where he features new and pre-loved music.  Anyone who would like to be added to his daily mailing list, just write him at Radiovickers1@gmail.com 

2 Responses to “DARRELL VICKERS – ‘BU HOUSE CHAPTER ONE: THE NEWS AND THE BLUES”

  1. Jim Geiger Says:

    Outstanding, Darrell. Love your writing style. It has a smooth, country feel to it. Mark Twain comes to mind. Looking forward to the next chapter.

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