“What you got for me, kid?” Big Jake asked through the smoke of the cigar he’d tucked away on the left side of his mouth, as he leaned over his mammoth wooden desk to shake my hand. Then, he reclined back in a leather chair large enough to accommodate his 6’ 5”, 240 pound frame.
“Yeah, okay,” I handed Big Jake the demo I’d recorded in my dad’s basement while he was out of the country on business – just me and an acoustic Yamaha on a four track recorder. It was slow, melodic, and lyric-heavy. Nearly monotone. Something different entirely from the honky tonk sounds I’d made my name on – less about the way women will break your heart and more about the way life does. “So, I’ve written 12 new songs. Never done anything like it. Take a listen to this shit, Jake!” Continue reading
They went to school in the morning that Friday and wouldn’t be returning until the morning of the following Friday; my parenting week had come to an end. The moment I saw their backpacks disappear out the front door, I frenetically began organizing the crap on the tables in the living room. The pens, papers, books, remote controls, and graded school papers could all be tucked away for seven days. The empty glass that was kept in the refrigerator could be put in the sink and cleaned. The tiny, little spots of dried Ramen noodles could be plucked from the living room carpet. (How does dried Ramen even get into the carpet? And how come I was left to clean it?)
I sipped coffee and thought several times of putting on music, but each time I got distracted by another item, also out of place. “I haven’t been alone with my thoughts in days,” I thought. After two hours, four cigarettes and half a pot of coffee, I was satisfied.
The beds were made. The dishes were washed and drying on the side of the sink. The floors had all been vacuumed; the vacuum cleaner had been emptied of lint and dirt. The house was quiet and I, alone for the first time in a week, sat on my couch staring off into the middle distance.