Friday, February 03, 2012

SECOND REWRITE: the storyteller

So I'm laid up a little, you might say, since I scuffled some with Eldred comin' outa Buddy G's 'round closing, what with the ice on the walk & all. Now, Eldred's a kind of an ass, but ever since Fat Allen's got missin' somewheres, he's the only one of 'em left, 'cept for Bickner. So Eldred feels kinda bad 'bout gettin' the best a me, or somethin', an he comes up t' my flat, gets me some supper. Brings pints of peppermint & blackberry. That's how y' know he feels bad or he'd a just brung Aristocrat. That's what he gen'ly drinks, cuz he thinks the name of it puts him somewheres in the upper crust. He even asked Little Bickner t' come over & that's who we figured it was at the door, thank y' Jesus, cuz Eldred's bin tellin' me some kinda tale ain't got no end to it at all, see?
He comes back in the room an' "Hey," he sez, "what was at th' door," he sez, "it ain't Lil Bickner, it was Magdalene. She sez come right now, Lil Bickner's hurtin' some. So I'll jez finish my story an' we . . ."
Well, I can't hardly say nothin'. but I'm tryin' to rise up from outa my chair, tryin' t' get Charlie L.'s old cane, what I won offa him, under me. Eldred sees I'm aimin' to go. ". . . yeah, but my story," he sez, "now where was I?"
"What happened to Little Bickner?!!!" I sez, in that kinda way where y' could see I wasn't just askin' t' pass the time.
"Oh, I dunno, Ralph" he comes back at me as he sits him down in that lazy boy I bought offa Suzy when Fat Allen got missin', "somethin' 'bout down th' block, somethin' 'bout that crazy fella down there, but hey, that ain't my story . . . doncha wanna hear th' end to my story? It's just Magdalene at th' door, it ain't Lil Bickner, an b'sides," he sez, "his story's bout over, sounds like."
Well, I can't get the damn cane under me nohow, so I settle back down. Pour me a little bitta that blackberry.

~ Ralph Murre

what was at the door
it ain't Little Bickner
it was Magdalene
she says come right now
Little Bickner's hurtin some
so I'll finish my story an we . . .
yeah but my story
now where was I?
oh I don't know
somethin bout down the block
that crazy fella
but hey that ain't my story
doncha wanna hear th'end
to my story?
just Magdalene at the door
it ain't Little Bickner
an b'sides his story's bout over
sounds like

Not a dream, exactly, but having just fallen asleep, I woke at two o'clock with this little monologue running around my head. I jotted it down exactly as I saw it, heard it, and went right back to sleep. I have no idea who these characters are, but if you know anyone named Magdalene and Little Bickner, you might want to look in on them this morning. ~ Ralph Murre

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