Writing

I got You, Babe

Babe Ruth visited and was impressed. It was a big building. And he was really just a big kid. Still fresh from the orphanage. And the doctor was a famous man. Babe was a famous man as well, but he never considered himself like that. He was just the Babe, after all. And he needed someone, a father figure maybe, who he could talk with. Not like the guys in his league. Great guys. But he had some trouble making connections. And the bosses, well, they was bosses. And they were taking him to the cleaners, he suspected. Nah, he was sure. But he didn’t argue with figures of authority. Didn’t realize his power dynamic had shifted in his favor yet.

Babe rode the elevator to Carl’s Penthouse. First, he was mobbed before he got in the building. Kids, mostly. Out and about. Wanting autographs. Babe Ruth got such an autograph. Wasn’t even a matter of worth. They wanted a piece of the Babe. Part of his soul. For communion. And he was happy to oblige.

This sort of thing made him late. He stopped wearing a watch. But found people willing to wait, for him, so it was all-reat, brother.

And he entered the spinning doors, revolving inward, and into the grand lobby. And the kids pressed against the windows outside, to see the Babe cross a room and disappear. Like in a terrarium, where living inside was hospitable while artificial.

People look out to look in, pressed against the window, seen inside-out.

There were two elevators. Both waiting for him. Identically attired attendants inside each with one hand on the door, keeping it open, and one hand waiting on the control, to take him to his heart’s desire. The ringers ringing against rhythm. People on other floors pleading for escape. The lights above the doors blink off and on in reverse. The rings were in. They both waited for Babe, on the ground floor. Babe chose one at seeming random and stepped inside. As he did, an apologetic nod to the other, dejected. The disappointment on that operator’s face projected into the faces of the kids pressing against the outer windows. Communion. Disappointment. Universal.

Is it better to be appointed or disappointed? To be ordained or pre-ordained? Does order matter? Who decides? First come. Serve up.

The doors to the elevators closed. Better luck next time. The faces on the windows faded away.

“Where-to?” said that lucky elevator operator.

“Up-top,” said the Babe.

“Will do,” said the operator, “Will do.”

Wasn’t nothin’ said otherwise. A ride up, uninterrupted in silence. And he was off.

For the operator it was over. “Good day,” he said.

Babe mumbled something and walked off. The operator closed the door. Felt a little empty inside, after all.

True ’nuff. True ’nuff.


What’s in a name? Everything.

‪Bonnie & Clyde. They put her name first. It has a better ring to it. And because they were ahead of their time. ‬

‪Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey. The position of these names was chosen in a street brawl.‬ A goof off.

‪Abbott and Costello. Abbott had a gun. He was a straight man. The heavy.‬ The ladies’ man. And he couldn’t take the pressure. In the end, he would become irate when you shouted his own name at him to get his attention. Somehow he made it work. For him.

Esoterica with Marx and angles

Sigmund Freud drew on his cigar, loathe to admit the truth. Sometimes a cigar is an analogy. Sometimes a dream is just a borrowed fantasy determined by social pressure. It tried his patients. Trial by fire. His cigar fell to the floor. Suddenly he awoke. Refreshed. But repressed.

‪The Marquis de Sade became tied up in his own affairs. An unexpected crisis of trust. Trussed up for the time being. ‬

Zeppo was a stand-in for Karl, whose interests were more involved with workplace organization. The anarchistic shenanigans of his other brothers were simply a sideline. Zeppo also later departed to become an agent for those working in the industry.
Labor relations. Kinky.

Her Story of Ballooning

An excerpt from the WIP “Sigmund, Falling Up!”

Man has always dreamt of flight, free through the air. A dream attained. Through effort and persistence.

But for the longest time it was attainable only in dreams. And what did that mean, they thought. Why want something which cannot be had? Madness. 

But that is the way of dreams. They persist. Timeless. In repetition.

The first dream was to fly like a bird. To rise, soar, and dive. To flutter about, careless. 

But this requires a fragility of bone structure. A hollowing out. And wings.

At first this is the desire. The simple answer, to attain wings. And man, initiative, looks to the construction of tools. To build wings, themselves tools, to attain lift off. To rise up. In emulation of birds.

Wings have feathers. These could be borrowed. These could be assembled. Blended in to the apparatus. They might even be faked. To make a man look like a bird, or a facsimile, a fake bird. 

Thus assembled comes the test. But there is no lift. There is no take off. No flight. To start from on high, to glide, is to have dreams deferred. No jumping, no flapping, no gliding to speak of. Just dreams dashed on the rocks of higher expectation. Even some birds cannot fly and they all have feathers. Feathers are more a mark of a bird than flight. Still, if a man were to wear feathers, it would not make him a bird. Hope dashed.

The same goes for women, though they are more grounded in thought. Though just as ready to rise up.

But a balloon. An artificial construct filled with air confined. Was discovered to be able to sail through the outer air. The air inside the construct being different than the air outside. An anomaly. Rises to the occasion. As long as it is mastered.

Ballooning is a rather safe way to fly. Do not let the thought make you a basket case. The balloon may be mastered. Our Lady Madeline Sophie Blanchard is a master of the balloon. She knows the way of the air. She keeps current. She has risen up more than anyone on earth, and let her passengers, and herself, down gently. Every time. You could do worse.

Further, to prove a point, she throws fireworks from the air. People come from all over to see the spectacle of lights popping in the air and a woman sailing away. Free. Like a bird. But not at all like a bird. 

Sigmund met her in the morning. In the field. In the commune of Avignon. By the left bank of the Rhone river. Once the home of seven successive popes. You can still see the ramparts.

He is an old man, a man obsessed. A father figure. She a vibrant woman of the air. Together they are classic figures of modernity, but a miss-match.

They size each other up and are impressed, each with the other.

“Shall we fly?” said Madame  Sophie Blanchard.

“Yes,” said Sigmund. “I have often dreamt of such.”

He held his hat in one hand, to his chest, and bowed slightly. His cane was hooked on his other arm. A cigar hung from his mouth.

She took him to the basket case. Swung open the door. They climbed in. There were seats inside, and under them a stockpile of explosives. Fireworks. 

“Is this safe,” Siggy asked.

“But of course, you silly man,” said Madame Blanchard. “Ballooning is the safest way to fly.”

“That is what they say,” Sigmund said. “But is it not, if we are to be clear, the only real way to fly?”

“Do not be pedantic,” Sophie said. “Fill yourself with the wonders of the modern age. This will do until something else comes along. If you will do the honor, Doctor Freud, please light the gas flame with your silly cigar.”

Sigmund did, and Sophie pulled in the grounding line. And soon they lifted off the field of Avignon. 

Up, up drifted the adventurers. Sigmund fell back into one of the seats. “Silly Sigmund!” Sophie said. “Falling Up!” He noted that the seats were simple. Not more than three legged stools attached to the basket, the walls of which made up the back. Certainly not first class seating. Or second. 

From the air they rose over the city walls, the ramparts. Obsoleting them. Though they looked nice from above. 

“This is what it is like to be free!” shouted Sophie Blanchard into the sky. “As a bird!”

Sigmund was well on the way to prove his point to the other gentlemen of the Psychoanalytic Club, those upstart whippersnappers. He would show them all. Again. Also, there was a matter of a gentleman’s bet.

Madame Sophie Blanchard needed to prove nothing to no-one. Different motivations. Altogether.