Saturday, May 26, 2018


"I stayed in Detroit for about 6 months. I was pimping a little then. I had me two or three girlfriends. I was even enjoying sex once again. One of the girls was a designer who tried to help me all she could. I don't want to name her, she's a very prominent person now. She took me to a sanatorium to talk with a shrink. He asked me did I ever masturbate and I I told him no. He couldn't believe that. He told me I should do that everyday instead of shooting dope. I thought that maybe he should put his own God-damn self in the nuthouse if that's all the motherfucker had to tell me...

There were good musicians in Detroit and I was starting to play with some of them. That helped me and a lot of them were clean. A lot of musicians in Detroit looked up to me because of all the things I'd done. And so one of the things that made me stay clean was that they did look up to me and since they were clean it made me want to stay that way..

...Anyway, I REALLY kicked my habit because of the example of Sugar Ray Robinson. I figured if he could be as disciplined as he was, then I could do it too. I always loved boxing, but I really loved and respected Sugar Ray cause he was a great fighter with a lot of class and cleaner than a mother-fucker. He was handsome and a ladies man; he had a lot going for him. In fact, Sugar Ray was one of the few idols I ever had. Sugar Ray looked like a socialite when you’d see him in the papers getting out of a limousine with fine women on his arms, sharp as a tack. But when he was training for a fight, he didnt have no women around that anybody knew of, and when he got into the ring with someone to fight, he never smiled like he did in those pictures everybody saw of him. When he was in the ring, he was serious, all business. 

I decided that was the way I was going to be, serious about taking care of my business and disciplined. I decided it was time for me to go back to New York to start all over again. Sugar Ray was the hero-image that I carried in my mind. It was him that made me think that I was strong enough to deal with New York City again. And it was his example that pulled me thru some really tough days." --Miles Davis


       


       

       

Monday, April 9, 2018

Tryin' To Get Out To...Just Gotta Get Out!!


Mary Stallings at Smoke:

"All the best have either died, retired, or fully revealed themselves..."


This past weekend the plan was to go to Philly. To see music. Why someone who lives in NYC would have to go to Philly to see music is a question I'm still asking; but hey--NYC's got John Zorn and Henry Threadgill, and Philly's got The Outsiders. Exclusively from what I've seen. 

So the plan was to see my man Vernon Reid tear it up with my favorite electric bassist Jamaladeen Tacuma and avante-garde legend Calvin Weston on drums. That was the plan. But then my morning appointment showed-up over an hour late; it rained all day--which means my car wouldn't start; then a series of additional events no one cares about conspired to put the final kibosh on the whole idea. 

At this point in my middle-aged life, I've seen all my favorite artists and performers live. More than once. That's why I was willing to road-trip out to Philly. And why I really wanted to see this line-up. 'Cause I haven't seen them 20x already.  Plus there are so few bands or guitarists that I'm really into anymore. I've mentioned in prior posts--though maybe not on this blog, that I think the guitar's a pretty dead instrument these days. No one's gonna surpass Jimi Hendrix; or Jeff Beck; or John McLaughlin on it, and even if they could--who cares. Its just not the electric guitar's time anymore. Comments like that may sound odd coming from someone who plays as much guitar as I do; but the days of two guitars, bass, and drums being genuinely "alternative" or some kind of danger to the establishment are long gone. That formerly "Rock n Roll" niche has been taken over by Rap and Hip Hop. 

Actually, as I think about it, Rap's already a 40+ year old genre itself. Time to build a Hall of Fame for it and put the final nail in that coffin. Fact is, there doesn't seem to be much appetite for any kind of "outsider" music anymore.Young people seem more concerned with their student loans or finding a $40,000/yr job that offers some medical benefits than testing or pushing the limits of sonic barriers. Or challenging conceptions of aesthetic beauty. Pursuits like that are for rich societies that know what "in" means and have mastered it--let alone "out." But these days USA and the human race don't seem to know what's "in" anymore. They're just looking for an opportunity to sell out.

By the time Sunday came around I was really itching to see some music. I like New York, but if you dont go out to see/hear performances and eat good food; its just a real expensive, rat-infested place with shit weather and a lot of concrete. Fortunately NYC's got the best music; so my last-minute, revised plan was to see John Scofield's new band at Blue Note.  

But as the show got closer, I just wasn't feeling it. I love Scofield. For guitar he's definitely in my Top 10 of all-time. And one of the few guitarists I'll still pay money to see. But even he couldn't get me enthused this weekend. Not after seeing some of the clips from that Outsider's Philly show posted on YouTube. Nope, for me it was Vernon or no one on guitar. Least for this weekend.

As it turns out, I went to see Mary Stallings at Smoke.  A decision that 17 year old Lodo Grdzak would have just shook his head at in disappointed amazement. 

"You skipped out on John Scofield to see some cabaret singer?

"She's more than that."

"Whatever--you got old!

"That I did. Guess what--we can't hardly fuck anymore either." 

"What? Jesus, why don't you just shoot us and put us out of our misery?

"I ask myself that every morning." 

As it turns out, seeing Mary Stalling was better than a bullet in my head. She's nice singer. She's not really "out" at all--just the opposite in fact; but she has beautiful tone, a real classy delivery, and had a killer trio backing-her up. 

And it so happens that good singers are my favorite thing to listen to these days. Particularly female singers--usually Black. I like Angie Stone; Cassandra Wilson; Lalah Hathaway; Gladys Knight; obviously Aretha; Anita Baker; Carmen Lundy. Alicia Keys' early records. There's a few White chicks I like too such as Allison Krauss. I suppose if you're not gonna be out then best to be really in. Like perfectly in. Velvet, plush tone like Cassandra or Lalah. Vivacious personality with an extra hop to your step like Carmen Lundy. 

After singers, I think my 2nd favorite instrument for listening is Saxophone. Tenor sax.  I like Joe Lovano; Mark Turner; Chris Potter; James Carter. Wayne when he still decides to play it. That tenor's got the tone I like. Takes me out there like a distorted guitar used to do. 

And of course you gotta have drums. Drums are the best. Or at least the most exciting. Once in a great while I'll see an outstanding show without a drummer; but...that's pretty freaking rare. Gotta have the drums or I ain't paying cash-money. 

After all that, I guess guitar's my next favorite. For listening. I love playing it; but I can't really take it to any kind of elevated place. And the truly best on it have either died, retired, or already revealed what they have to reveal. It'll come back again. The pendulum always swings. What goes around comes around. But before you can bring something new inside, you've gotta be willing to go out and find it. And guitar--hell, music in general needs that right now. And so do I. 

       

"Gotta have the drums or I ain't paying cash-money."
          

       

Monday, March 26, 2018

I'm Just a Jazz fan:


"The first thing we did was 'Lawdy Mama,' one of the old blues numbers that Eric brought in. Felix [Pappalardi] asked if we could write some lyrics for it...and the result was Strange Brew."
Buddy Moss




I happen to be a big fan of autobiographies. Or memoirs. Maybe I'm wrong; but I think autobiographies are expected to be factually true to the best of the author's abilities. More the realm of retired world leaders and meant for academic consumption; whereas with memoirs a bit of embellishment is expected. Or maybe that's just with my memoirs. 

The memoirs of great musicians are probably my favorite reading 'cause I get all my favorite subjects in one source: writing; music; sex; drugs--even some dog stories on occasion. They're awesome. Knowing my tastes, a friend of mine recently let me borrow Ginger Baker's book: Hellraiser. Personally, I never gave a fuck about Ginger Baker despite his having a Colorado connection. I certainly never thought he was "the world's greatest drummer" (can anyone ever say that?). Plus I was never a Clapton fan; or a huge Cream fan. In fact, I'm not really a big rock 'n' roller overall, by which I mean that's not my favorite genre. I probably like jazz music the best; then R & B; then I guess rock n roll.

To me the best rock n roll--especially what became considered rock 'n' roll in the post-Beatles era, was from 1966-to-1975. After that,...fuck 85% of rock n roll. Course you can say that about most musical genres. Or people for that matter. Still, rock n roll did get me into jazz. It was the gateway drug as Jeff Sessions might phrase it. Santana; Allman Brothers; Jeff Beck; Jimi Hendrix. The old blues-oriented rock n roll with the extended solos and instrumentals. You felt like the songs would never end and you could just let your mind roam. Become awash with visions that ebbed and flowed; sync'd to the energy of the music. There used to be instrumental records that got played on hit radio. And hit albums with long improvisations: Cissy Strut; Freeway Jam; Santana stuff; Mountain Jam. Course if that stuff's your thing then eventually you're gonna become a jazzhead. And I did. 

We don't write book reviews here at Open Mic, so in regards to Hellraiser I'm not gonna get into whether its any good or not. I finished it (barely) and that doesn't always happen, so... I guess if I had to say something, I'd say that--despite the proclamation on its cover, it struck me as more of a memoir than an autobiography. Very much a Ginger Baker POV. 

I'd say the real thing I walked away with from the book was how pompous and full of shit the rock 'n' roll is. Its a very literal form of music--much like an American movie. Or a cheap, easy lay. As Sting might say, it reveals itself from the very first note, burns for about three to four minutes, then flames-out. The average post-1975 rock n roll song (or pre-1966 song for that matter) lasts about as long as a single solo in a jazz quartet. With no real space for interpretation or change of direction. It is what it is, and that's what it is. What had once been revolt music turned into predictable establishment music for plumbers and parents.  

The other thing I'd assert about rock n roll is that its all about personality. Its a big star trip. Pop music's like that too. Hell, rock/pop--same thing in 2018. Musically I'd say both genre's are the easiest to play--they have to be based on who's meant to consume it. Joe six-pack's not interested in 13/8 time signature's or Tibetan throat singing techniques. But in fairness, the ease of making pop and rock also make it the hardest to truly be original. If anyone can play it, how does someone stand out? You gotta be very unique. More than musical ability, you need to have huge powers of attraction. Of course overwhelming talent is the most attracting force; but only if the powers-that-be allow you to be heard. The music industry's famous for cock-blocking artists that don't meet certain criteria; stealing their shit, scraping off all the unwanted hairs and warts, and then giving it to others who have half the talent and forward vision.

In reviewing my mental Rolodex, my first introduction to the name Ginger Baker probably came from Bind Faith. That band was basically Cream with the addition of Steve Winwood. With all that 60's star-power, the band became known as one of the first rock n roll "supergroups."  

Umm hmm. 

"Supergroup,"--shut the fuck up! Only in white man's rock n roll/star-trip world would they call that band a supergroup. But that's the problem with rock and pop. It's all about individual personalities and ego's. One of my favorite things about jazz--aside from the open, abstract nature of instrumental music; is that everybody plays with everybody. All the time. You see that in hip-hop too. Even country. But not in rock or pop.

Here's a Blue Note album cover (below) from The Procrastinator by Lee Morgan. Look at the players on this record. 

Lee Morgan; Ron Carter; Wayne Shorter; Herbie Hancock; etc...that's a supergroup! But in jazz they don't call it a supergroup. They never would. They just call it...yet another awesome freaking band. In jazz McCoy Tyner plays on Michael Brecker's record; John Mclaughlin plays on Tony William's record; Tony Williams plays on Miles Davis' record; Miles Davis plays on Charlie Parker's record; Brian Blade plays on Wayne Shorter's record (and on and on and on and on). 'Cause its about improving and making the best music you can make at the time; whereas pop and rock are about star-making and earning the most money ASAP. 

In jazz you're supposed to collaborate. Its expected of you. Guys like Buddy Rich were really meant more for the rock n roll world. I don't say that 'cause of race or style; I say it cause he never seemed interested in playing with others who were his equal. Kind of like Eddie Van Halen never played in a band where he wasn't the best player. Or even tried to. Maybe his songwriting could have improved if he had. Why aren't there dozens of John Bonham recordings with other famous rockers? He was allegedly #1 of his era. Had money. Equipment. But no, Bonham just played with Zeppelin. Maybe the rock musicians can't play outside of their niche; but I think there's a selfishness to the rock n roll. And the rock n rollers. Musically a lack of sharing overall. And economically, those guys made so much polo and drug money off music and an overall sensibility that they flat-out ripped off. Least at the most fundamental level. Ginger Baker seems to have acknowledged the theft from the beginning; but for others its been a slow process. Grudgingly for some. The Brits got to make all the huge money in their prime living years. And pass it down to their heirs. That's not entirely proper collaboration. Least not in my book. 

But hey, I' m just a jazz fan.

         

       

       

Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Lodo Grdzak Status Report:


"Maybe you could establish an idea with us first before you start going off like John Coltrane?"

"...you brought an electric guitar to open mic?"

"I haven't found my new open mic yet."

So if you still visit this blog from time to time (all three of you), I gotta thank you. In the four months since the closure of my last open mic venue I've been scouting around for a new place to play. That's the reason for my ghosting-out. I'm looking for the right fit. 

But I still haven't found it.

After my last open mic closed down I really didn't care if there was a "right place;" by which I mean I wasn't concerned if I ever played live again. Prior to my man Murphy's prodding and Prince's death,  I hadn't expected to ever be a public performer; so the slightly-longer-than-a-year open mic experience was all gravy as the famous saying goes. I got a lot out of it. 

That said, now that its been four months I'm discovering things--or perhaps I should say re-discovering lessons that open mic taught me. 

For example one of the best lessons open mic taught me was knowing a song. I mean really knowing a song. You may think you have a song down, but when you get up in front of a group of indifferent people to play it, you'll learn very quickly (and publicly) if you actually know it or not. I can say with a touch of minor pride that I never stopped mid-way thru a song during open mic. I've seen a lot of people do that; but I'd just blow through "mistakes" and try to incorporate them. I'm not saying that worked--you'd have to ask someone who's heard me. But I was never after perfection anyway. Still, I've taken the lesson(s) with me--and now, when I say I know a tune; I know it.

When I play my guit now--at home, I play along with my stereo and my music library. All the time. For hours. Just like I did before I went to open mic. Once I get good and warmed-up I can play and jam my covers at a certain level of competency. Lodo Grdzak competent. But then on those very rare occasions where I actually get to play with a friend (usually someone I met at open mic), its a whole extended acclimation process. Its not like playing along with my stereo 'cause I'm not buoyed by the supporting foundation of the actual track. I have to provide that: the chords; the melody; the transitions. In right-proper time. Hopefully with some emotion and feel. I used to have to do that at open mic, but I don't get that experience anymore. And you can't fake that. So I think when I play with others now I come across as less competent than I would have if open mic had continued and I kept that weekly routine. 

Course I have a hard time learning new songs, so that doesn't help me win friends. At home its a one-way street. I play my tunes--the one's I've practiced. Lodo Grdzak tunes, the self-absorbed blogger. But on these occasions when I play with other musicians there's a bit of give-and-take expected. That's the idea isn't it? Communication. Connection. Collective self-expression. "Or we could just do my tunes guys."

"It's not that many chords Lodo, just put the pipe down for 5 minutes and I'll show you again." 

I'm very high and have been for a long time; to the point where its messed up my short-term memory. It's hard for me to hold new ideas in my head without lots of repetition and I can tell the people I play with get tired of my poor accompaniment. Especially after they've done a nice job of supporting me when I play. If I just had more experience playing in a collective setting I think could improve my pick-up rate. I mean, its a skill like any other skill; so the open mic helped in that regard. Its not the playing of any one particular chord that's hard for me; but keeping the arrangements together--or as I like to phrase it: narrative consistency isn't my strong suit. For the life of me I don't know how the singers can remember all those lyrics.

I was already pretty old by the time I got my first smart-phone; but I can see the damage has been done. The smart-phone coupled with the long-term weed smoking has really messed with my attention span. I get bored easily and even when I get to pick the song I don't often stay on it for long. Or long enough. I remember this guy telling me at open mic "Maybe you should establish an idea with us first before you start going off like John Coltrane?" And during a recent break at a rare jam session the drummer remarked, "I think you played about 30 tunes in ten minutes. Maybe there could be..some kind of connection between them?" At open mic it wouldn't have mattered if I stayed on-point. Each night was just a "jam;" not really meant to be a practiced performance. But when I erratically mash everything up at one of these jam sessions it hurts the unity of the group. And makes it hard to develop chemistry.  

But I love mash-up. Always have. I just think its cool. It implies a party and a shared culture. "Remember this one?" "Yeah!!" "And how 'bout this?" "Oh--shit yeah!!" When I saw James Brown the whole show was mash-up. Stevie always does some kind of mash-up. Prince used to do it too. You have to have a lot of songs and the crowd has to have a collective consciousness. A basic understanding of how blues and music works is also helpful. As a musician. If you can play a real blues, you can play 10 billion tunes. I can't play a real blues, but back when I played open mic, I'd still always do a mash-up.

And back when I was playing open mic it didn't seem odd for me to practice my guit for hours every night. I had a true hobby and projects to work on. An actual event I was going to play. Plus I'd re-torn my Achilles tendon and my injury took almost all of last year to heal. So staying home for hours and practicing was a response to genuine physical circumstances. 

But now, with no open mic to prepare for, I can't help but feel that maybe there's something unhealthy about all this time I spend on guitar. More self-absorption. Just like when I was first blogging; and then working on my book. Then again, maybe I've just been avoiding the book. Perhaps this post will get my writing jump-started again. That's the way its always worked in the past. That said, I'm not losing much sleep over it; and I think I'd rather find a right-fit open mic and keep improving then get back to the book.

Anyway, to bring this round full-circle; I haven't found my new open mic yet. And I have doubts I will. All my local open mics are acoustic, which...whatever. I brought my Strat to one. I didn't actually play but I brought my guit, the sight of which made one of the people look down their nose and say "you brought an electric guitar to open mic?" 

Yeah asshole. Fuck you and everybody all the freaking fucking time forever. 

But lets not end like that. If you still drop by here on occasion--thanks! My guess is that I'm gonna start a new blog soon. Least I always have, but I don't force things. So until inspiration strikes I'm just gonna keep posting my favorite music vids and playing my guit. See ya soon.

        

       

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Excerpt From Long Intermission:


So as I mentioned last post, this blog's likely gonna shut down after New Years, though I'll still post music clips. I'm going to be out-of-town for a few weeks; and then I'll either start a new blog (look for the link here); or perhaps go back to work on my book. Every two years or so I get re-motivated to write it--for about a month; but then I get sick of it. For those unaware, the working title of the book is Lodo Grdzak's Long Intermission. Here's a somewhat timely excerpt (below):

______________________________________________________________________________

From Lodo Grdzak's Long Intermission:






...sometime after that incident the old man himself called me into his office. A rare event, coupled with the added oddity of our being alone. Normally Margie would escort me to Steinway’s office, but this time the old man had called my extension directly. He gestured for me to take one of the seats in front of his desk, and after a dramatic pause in which his sagging grey eyes held my gaze, he slowly began to speak.

“Lodo, as you can see the office has been undergoing some…changes.”

“I guess I’ve noticed that,” I answered. 

“I’m sure you have.”

“Yes sir. Except for Margie, I’m glad she’s still here. She’s great.”

“Oh really? You know what she says about you?”

“No.”

“She says you’re terrible.”

“Really?”

“Really. Does that come as a surprise to you? Everyone says you’re terrible.”

“Everyone?” I responded with disappointment.

“Yes. It’s unanimous. I spoke with…”

“Wow--even Laura?”

“Laura _____? She said you couldn’t produce one simple subpoena for her.”

“…That’s only ‘cause I didn’t know where Reggie stored them in the computer. That was a tech problem. …What about Arnie?”

“He said it took you two weeks to draft a Motion for Summary Judgment, and then it got rejected.”

“That was a complicated case Mr. Steinway. Even he said so.”

“Be that as it may…”

“What about Ron _____?”

“Ron? He said he observed you watching internet porn in Reggie’s office.”

“What? I can explain that.”

“No one’s asking you to Lodo!  Listen, everyone here likes you. You wouldn’t have made it this long if we didn’t like you. They say you’re a nice kid..”

“Thanks, I…”

“Please Lodo” he said as he raised his liver-spotted hand off the oak desk. “They say you’re a nice kid, but that doesn’t help me. Your billing nowhere near justifies what we pay you. I’ve been taking a bath on you all year, you know that?”

“I’m sorry.”

“Not nearly as sorry as me. But we’re going to change that right now,” he said emphatically as he dug into his suit jacket and produced a piece of paper from his inner-pocket.

“You recognize this?” he asked as he allowed me to inspect it.

“That’s my resume,” I answered.

“Well it says here you worked as an investigator for four years. Is that right?”

“Yes sir. I worked in an S.I.U. unit in Denver. And I worked for Alex _____ in south Jersey. You know him?”

“I do. Very well. Listen, I want to show you something…”

Steinway pulled his chair back, reached under his desk, and retrieved a huge stack of paperwork which he laboriously dropped on his oak desktop with a thud.

“You see these? These bills were submitted to us by our court reporting service. Everytime we schedule a deposition we need a court reporter. Its jus…”

“I know that,” I interjected, but the old man just rolled his eyes.

“Please Lodo, don’t interrupt me. Ever again. …Anyway, these are their bills for the last two years. But you know what? I think I lot of these depositions didn’t go through. I think they busted or got re-scheduled, but they still sent us a bill. In fact, I think they sometimes sent us two bills. I need you to go through these invoices—all of them, and then make sure these depositions took place. Particularly for this year, and if any of these bills are wrong or duplicates I need you to note it and the amount.”

“Yes sir.”

“These cocksucks think they’re going to pull something over on me, but I’m not stupid!  No one takes me for a ride and that includes you Grdzak. I’ve done nothing but lose money on you, but now we’re gonna find out if you’re really the screw-up everyone says you are or if you and your old man are worth something to me. It’s gonna take some time so you’d better get on this. I want an answer by the end of the year—in time for me to do something about it. With documentation I can stick in their faces!” 

Christ. Prior to that meeting I’d had maybe three conversations with the old man in my ten months of New York; but now he acknowledged me daily. Sometimes it'd just be a head-nod; but more often there’d be direct engagement. In the hallway or elevator. Or outside the restroom. “How’s that project coming along? Let me know what you need. This is highest priority. Anyone drags their feet you tell ‘em it’s for me.”

The guy was fixated on the issue. Convinced that thousands--if not tens of thousands of dollars were at stake. Sometimes he’d summon me to his office where I’d find him yelling into the telephone, a singular invoice in his hand.

“This one right here Grdzak,” he’d say as he handed me the invoice and shooed me away in the same motion. “Check this one out right now while I have her on the phone. I wanna know if that depo went right now!”

Off I’d race; to the old-school, handwritten court calendars Reggie used to keep for each attorney. Or was supposed to be keeping. That said, half the entries were illegible. Or ambiguous. All Friday entries obviously written under the influence of Wray and Nephews Overproof Rum. The first few times I confirmed the correctness of an invoice Steinway went ballistic. “You’re sure about this Grdzak?! I’ll be God-damned if that depo went through; but you’re telling me to pay this? Is that what you’re saying?!”   

Soon I began to tailor my answers to give the old man what he wanted to hear. I just wanted to ride out the year, and I could see he’d become emotionally invested. So next time it came up I planted a little hope into my findings. 

“Uh, I wouldn’t pay that one yet sir. I want to cross-reference one of the other attorney’s calendars for that week; but I can’t find the book.”

“Cross-reference it?” he’d ask.

“Yes sir.”

“…So you don’t think I should pay this?” he’d say loudly to me as he also spoke into the phone’s receiver.

“No sir. Least not yet. I want to check that other book.”

“You hear that?” he’d say into the receiver defiantly as he flashed me a big thumbs-up, “my investigator says I shouldn’t pay this. He wants to cross-reference it.  You do that Lodo—you cross-reference it.”

Cross-reference it. Oh man, I don’t know where that came from. But that’s what I did. I’d drop in on the attorney’s and junior partners and grab their calendar books at all times of the day. I had carte blanche in this regard, though the attorney’s still stalled me or--on at least one occasion, told me to fuck-off to my face. Half of them had their own disputes with Steinway over money or clients and it was widely agreed that I was just his tool sent to shakedown attorney’s over time. Just like we were doing with the court reporters. Still I had my job and no one else was paying my bills.  And Steinway had appealed to my familial pride the way he’d tasked me the assignment.

But it was an assignment ill-suited for me. Sure I’d been an investigator—but just as there’s all kinds of writers (novelists, playwrights, poets, reporters), there’s all kinds of investigators. I was a “field guy.” Locating witnesses; performing interviews; securing scene pics and whatnot--that’s what I know how to do. Crunching long lists of numbers with detailed accuracy is an accounts investigator. It’s different.  I never passed high school geometry and to this day I can’t add two simple numbers without a pencil and paper. So I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my math and figures.

Stressful days. Winter had set-in, but each morning found us Jersey commuters lined-up for the ferry into the city. The wind ripping off the Hudson; the Trade Center still burning beneath the ground as we’d approach the bottom horn of Battery Park. Mysterious nose-bleeds and sinus infections were common; and I began to exhibit emphysema-like symptoms. New York was permeated with the stench of never ending welding; coupled with a sense of stagnant decay as Thanksgiving and then Christmas approached and went.

And then, intermission. That week between Christmas and New Years where nothing gets done.  Or everything’s done half-heartedly; with the passivity of one forced to succumb to time. A week where moments are lingered-upon introspectively as people contemplate the past year with one eye and the year-to-come with the other.

Assuming you have two.  

In the days leading to Christmas, Steinway had left me well enough alone; pre-occupied with more important matters such as bonuses, parties and staff-cutting. He’d told me he wanted my report before year’s end, so I had it prepared. That said, I wasn’t going to just give it to him since I knew I’d be fired once he read it. By my calculations we’d overpaid that court reporting service $540.00, which would have been fine if my publicly-schooled dumbass hadn’t needed 80 hours to calculate and document the amount. Exactly what figure Steinway had in mind was unknown, but no way I was letting him catch me alone. I ran every errand for the other lawyers I could. Need a subpoena So Ordered up in the Bronx? No problem. Lunch to pick-up at Sophies? Why go out in the cold? I’ll make the run for you. From here to there and back again, in that capricious void between unknown chapters. 

* NOTE: The photo of the old lawyers at the top of this post is NOT in any way related to any of the people or events discussed herein. The photo was stolen off Google and is simply being used to enhance the narrative. Hope you keep in touch--Happy New Year!