Tuesday, November 26, 2013
It has been a long time since Murdoc sat down and shoved words together. So long in fact, that he finds himself at a loss where to begin.
So he types, “It has been a longtime since Murdoc sat down and shoved words together. So long in fact, that…”
And the Universe steps in with great humour and his power goes out. Poof. He is left sitting in the cold and dark November, waiting, waiting, for the lights come back on so that he can begin again.
So he lights a candle and ambles about his tiny prison, his haven, his lighthouse, on the black water. In his head he composes this piece while he awaits and lit cigarettes glow amber in the dark.
“Out back, in the abyss, the black water is hardening. The ice has now reached almost out to the end of the pier. My side of the peninsula is dark; some young fool must have hit a telephone pole on our only road in and out, our only life line, and now we all just sit in the dark and the cold and wait. Wait.
Don’t be obvious and type “weight”.
Where have I been?
And he answers back…”Nowhere and everywhere”. It sounds so simple. And in theory it should be.
Where has Murdoc been? Where have I been?
He has been destroying things for a good deal of money. He has been a “demolition expert”. And it should be noted that this was not his first time, his first rodeo. He had been there before. When he was young, he loved this lifestyle and its terrible trappings. Now that he is older and wiser, he can no longer be a part.
But he did nine months. Nine terrible months that destroyed his body and mind. Nine months that took a toll on his beloved. During this time, at its infancy, Erdanus, Tippy, his love, stayed with him in their lighthouse by the black water. She was there…and he wasn’t. He hates himself for this abuse of their valuable, limited time and connection. But he was harnessed up and dangling in elevator shafts and bringing down mountains or rubble and twisted steel. Murdoc lost himself in his work, in the delicious destruction of man’s folly, and he is a lucky man that Tippy stood by him and let him indulge.
It took a toll on her. She hated hearing the stories of chaos and uncertainty and despised the reports of injuries. And there were many. One night he proudly reported that a shoring tower had collapsed upon him. “They think I might have two broken vertebrae in my neck and I definitely have a severe head concussion. They held me for a spell to make sure I was okay to drive home.” And he drove himself home, alone, because she was gone back to her side of the world and her obligations. And as he shares this news across the zeros and ones, her eyes well up with tears and she fights to be strong for him. This wasn’t fair. He was so broken at this point that a catastrophic physical failure was inevitable; and seemed like the only recourse, and the only outcome, to the work which he had committed himself to undertaking. And his angel across the black water never left his side, even if she wasn’t there by his side.
It took time, and understanding, and love to bring him back.
And he returned.
He resigned his post as “demolition expert” and locked himself away for a spell to regain his composure. He is a gentle man with rough sensibilities, and finding his way back has not been easy.
But he is on his way.
So Murdoc sits in the dark, waiting for the power to come back on so he can write, start getting things out again. And in the quiet he hears this,
It goes on, this comfort sound, and then restarts after a seemingly endless breath.
And here in is the silly.
It is not his great love across the black water trying to calm his combat weary soul. It is not her warm breath and slow exhale across his cold cheek. It isn’t her delicate finger touched to his cracked and brittle cold lips and the “Sssssshhhhh” of lovers understanding.
It is his toilet.
He wishes it was something more, and Lord know his great woman across the black water has called to him many times and eased his weary soul in moments of terrible need.
But tonight it is just his toilet.
The flapper inside the tank has chosen to sit improperly on the release hole ever so, and just a small trickle of water under four pounds of pressure, has created this comforting sound.
No math or semblance of reason for its breath and restart.
Purrfect. Murdoc has figured it out and is maddened by its non linear and lack of mathematical cadence and way.
But he loves it just the same. He will sit in the dark, waiting for the light and heat to come back on; return, and if he waits long enough, he will discover the rhythm. He is a patient fool finding his way back…Finding his way back into a universe that needs him. He cannot wait to share this story.
Don’t “Ssssshhhhhhhhhh” me.
The lights come back on after a long enough wait that his prison, his lighthouse, their tiny cottage by the sea, has grown cold.
Out back, the black water has frozen and reached the end of the pier.
Murdoc lights a cigarette, opens a beer and types…
“It has been a longtime since Murdoc sat down and shoved words together. So long in fact, that…”
Friday, May 3, 2013
And we are still out of the narrative…again. Going back and capturing such star birthed and overwhelming love is a taxing task. So we enter the here and now, because so much has changed and needs to get out. It is life or death it seems these days, at this point in time. So where are we?
“Slow down, don’t fuck with my eye; I want to be left alone here with my monsters.”
Murdoc is standing in the dark, on a dry dock, whipped by the cruelest of cold winds coming in off the black waters of the Coast Guard refitting yards on the
Shore. Above him, a cutter,
ocean going and vast, rises and balances on thick, compressed oak blocks and
steel. Something this vast shouldn't sit
so easy…on what seems like nothing. Two hundred and sixty-feet of twelve-story high rise steel, just hover’s above his
head in the soft moonlight.
“This shouldn't be.” He thinks this and repeats these words like a mantra as he walks under the great mass of the elegant woman suspended and out of her element.
The ship has been brought in on routine refurbishment. She will be scrubbed and blasted and purged of two years worth of world travel. Barnacles are blasted off her sides that may have hitched a ride from the Sea of Japan or the Adriatic, or the home shores of the
Atlantic. The ship’s manifest is kept secret from him
and he can only guess and wonder in the bitter wind and moonlight, where she
may have traveled. But he loves her
just the same. She is an elegant beast,
held up by engineering, revered and worth saving. You invest in great things.
The nightly task ahead of him is ugly…evil…unforgiving…and not for men of weak minds, body or soul and heart.
Holes are cut with torches, into the very bottom of the thing which keeps her afloat. These holes, the only way in and out, are fifty feet apart. This is the way in and out for the men who will fix this creature from within, from below. This is the way into the ballast chambers, one after the other, three feet wide and four feet high, one after the other, for two hundred and sixty-feet. And the only way to manage, from chamber to chamber to chamber to chamber, is to wriggle thru a cold, jagged space roughly engineered to the size of the opening of a household clothes dryer door. There is no quick way in…no quick way out. This is why there are few rescue efforts for confined space mishaps, only “recovery.”
This is Murdoc’s first time in “confined space”. He is prepped by a veteran named J.R. It is very clinical and matter of fact.
“Once the LEL meter tells us nothing will blow up and we can breathe, we’ll go in. We will not be able to communicate once the guzzler is running. And know this, if you have a cut on your hand and it gets close to the intake, the beast will suck you dry, your blood will be all gone by the time it takes to shut the pig down. Work with me and let’s go home safe. It’s all hand signals and eye contact in the dark. If you feel uneasy or panicky, signal me and we’ll get you out. So are we doing this or what?”
Murdoc smiles, “Yuppers.”
J.R. reaches over and touches Murdoc’s chest, tries to find his heart. “Christ man, nothing.”
J.R. turns on his headlamp and waves his hand to the guzzler operator, “Fire the fucker up, let’s do this, I want go home.”
And the noise, the white noise and cacophony of hell rises as they climb into the bottom of the ship.
It’s black and moonlight outside on the dry dock. They wriggle in, thru the tiny hole cut into the ship, and the only light, is the one LED beacon attached to the hard hat. Hand signals are passed and the lights are tested. They are only one ballast tank in, black out, and then relight. The seconds in the dark and howl of noise, test the best of men sent in, and send most of them out. Lights come back on and Murdoc is still there. J.R. smiles and flashes the “O.K.” sign.
And the work/madness begins.
Murdoc, because he is the new man, runs the line and follows J.R. into the dark.
And it is hell.
Murdoc is now deep into the belly of the beast and dark and the howl, and thinks, “Yuppers, this is pretty close to Hell. Fucking glorious.” He isn't afraid. He should be, but he isn't. Instead he studies the architecture and the welds within the scope of his head lamp that is his only light in the black, the dark. J.R. moves ahead of him into the dark and Murdoc follows. They keep each other safe and work at a job that no sane person would ever attempt…for the next eight hours without stopping in the dark and the howl and the bitter cold.
And when all is well and good, and it seems like the work is done, J.R, say’s to Murdoc, “Hey man, we missed a couple of baffles, how do you feel about going back in and getting them for me?”
And Murdoc knew exactly what was happening; this was his last test. He had to go inside alone and work the chaos by himself. And he did. And in one night he became one of the elite. He proved that the dark, the cacophony, and the danger; wouldn't, couldn't break him. But fuck if it didn't try. Out of seventeen new men tested, Murdoc is the only one that didn't wilt or fade, or give in to fear or weakness.
And standing by the water’s edge, held back by a fifty-foot wall of dry-dock of steel and concrete, wind whipping and howling, fury held at bay and tempered…
Greatness held above him by such delicate and purposeful means…
And men, good men, beside him that do the work that no one else should, or ever have to do, have taken him into their fold…
Murdoc smiles, again, and leans deep into the heavy cold wind that burns deep into his soul; his eye’s well up with tears. It could be the cold wind. It could be the chaos. Only he knows. But fuck if he doesn't just let the tears roll down and sear his frozen surface and smoldering soul beneath.
Murdoc returns home and walks thru the door to his quiet, lonely prison on the water, and says this aloud…
“This shouldn't be.”
Thursday, December 27, 2012
We’re still in the future…
It is the day after Christmas.
Rabbit calls Murdoc, “Hey, I’m bringing the big red, white, and blue train back home. I’m thinking I’ll stop and grab some beers and then if the cold in the garage isn’t too much, we tip a few. How’s that sound brother?” Rabbit is a locomotive engineer, one of the last down on Sparrows Point.
Murdoc is sitting in the parking lot of the Food Lion (roar!), the only grocery store out here on the end of the world, were time blends into the black water and nothing and everything makes sense.
“Alrighty Rabbit. Let me get my shit and I’ll meet you in a few. You need anything?” This is what they do. If someone else is making a run, they offer to pony up and get them what they might need. Momma Joe picks up dog treats for Rabbit. Rabbit picks up country ham for Funeral Ken. Some Sunday’s at the bar, the exchange outside in the parking lot would make you wonder just what the hell is going on. You have to be there, be inside, to understand.
Murdoc knew he was a part of the “family” when he was asked to step outside and found himself on the receiving end of a dozen fresh brown eggs and a box of Bisquix.
“Here ya go honey” Mamma Joe smiles, “We take care of our own.”
So Murdoc is sitting in the parking lot of the Food Lion (roar!). Rabbit asks for nothing, “All good, just come on over.”
Murdoc chimes back, “10-4”. It’s that simple.
The sky is beginning to change, dramatically. Two weather fronts have converged over Sparrows Point and if you were a weaker soul, you would think it was the end of the world. Gray and white, mottled blue hidden behind the blackest of fast tearing clouds on the heaviest and almost unimaginable winds. A couple leaving the Food Lion (roar!) comments, as the look up, “Damn maybe it is the end of days?” Two days have passed that the locals describe as “fuckin’
New England dumpin’ in
our back yard. They need to keep it to
themselves.” It’s gray, white, heavy
fog, snow, sleet and cold rain. It’s too
early in the season for this kind of nonsense.
The road into the Fort, along Todd’s Farm is flooded deep. Bauers Farm is under as well, and is again a water park. And the wind howls, and as the tide comes in
they all hunker down and ride it out.
Sane, normal people would run to higher ground. But these natives know and understand what
they’re up against. “Shee-at Murdoc, It’s only time to go when you have to wade out
or steal a neighbor’s boat. And you
never do that. Someone will always give
you a ride, as long as you’re family.” Millers Island
So Murdoc leaves the Food Lion (roar!) after picking up what he needs to get by and heads out the
Forest Road towards Rabbits. It is less than two miles, but in the winds
and rain and fog, it might as well be the South Pole. Along his drive he has to stop and let a
small group of deer amble across the road.
Lucero is playing…
It is all so purrfect, the deer, the fog, and the song. He knows where he has been and knows damn well where he is going. But something beautiful gave him pause asked him to stop. And as he sat in the strange white glow of the fog, he thought of her, his love so very far away. She would have loved this, strong delicate, dark beasts of the land emerging from clouds of white with diligent, slow purpose. They had no need to run or dart into shadows this night. It was us who needed to be afraid.
In an effort of good gesture, Murdoc kills his head and fog lights, only the yellow running lights on top of the truck glow, soft. The road has gone really dark now, but the white echo light of the fog seems to still illuminate everything. It is as if Murdoc and the deer are trapped inside the softest of clouds, He wanted to step outside and lie down upon the white ether, curl up with the dark creatures of the forest and be one.
But the song ended.
And just as he found himself jaded and back, just before he hit the lights and brought machinery and man back into being…
Two small, white speckled does emerged from the scrub, danced in the fog, chased and played with one another across the road and then out into field, out into the hidden expanse of Todd’s Farm. It is late in the season for such new things to emerge, to survive.
Murdoc sits, in the slow easy cadence of his diesel rumble, lights out, on a lonely road that leads to the end of the world. He waits, patiently; to make sure that all the beautiful and innocent things have found their way across.
When he is certain that all is well, he turns his heavy beast, his diesel fueled soul, out across the night and heads towards Rabbits.
“What took you so long Murdoc?”
"Everyone knows there ain’t no deer here. Hasn’t been since the Bauers hunted them out years ago. You’re seeing things in the fog.” Rabbit looks at Murdoc, raises his hands like a man aiming a rifle, and winks. “Deer, huh?”
“Yuppers. But what the fuck do I know?”
Rabbit get’s up from his chair in the garage and get’s a couple of beers from the fridge. As he hands Murdoc his, he also, by some well practiced trick of slight of hand, hands him a picture. It’s old, but still within their time. It is a picture of a buck, a big buck, twelve points, and it is standing in the clear morning light, right about where Murdoc saw his phantoms in the fog.
“Ain’t no deer here Murdoc.” Big smile.
Murdoc smiles back and replies, “Rightly so.” He winks back at Rabbit.
Rabbit speaks, “And that’s why you’re family.”
Murdoc turns his head to the side and down and, stops. “Hey Rab, you’re alright.”
Rabbit replies, “I know, you just need to know that you’re alright too. The cold and fog has a way of messin’ with peoples minds. You’re alright brother.”
And when all is well and good, Murdoc heads out into the heavy fog; towards his place on the even ender, edge of the world.
“You’re alright brother,”
These are the words he remembers…
As he pushes the door open to his cold dark, lonely, home.
“You’re alright brother.”