Distraction detrimental to this writer’s soul who resurrects a crazy character to keep it moving

Do I need to utter the words? The whys of being distracted? Not just me, but everyone I know is caught in the bubble of the inundation woes up today – anti this, anti that; you may get this or that; get the shot or not; die or live. Whatever the situation, it ain’t been good for this writer. A passion I swore to never let go of again – to keep it moving, this time — write more for my own soul if not for the soul of others.

2020 was the last I’ve written a word here and I can’t even give a good excuse. Yeah I work a full-timer taking up the bulk of my time. I don’t watch a lot on the TV tube even though I have all the popular streaming apps. Wishing I had a man boo is no longer a part of my repertoire unless he shows up for real. Welcoming a little of the man-boo distraction may help release the tension from my foggy un-Covid related brain. A path forward toward the stalled voices of many stories urging to be told.

Like my three half finished manuscripts started in graduate school, not that long ago, but long enough to have spent two years long undistracted and writing to my hearts content. Graduated with a new found determination only to slip into a current state of “I guess I should” open up the laptop and type, type, type to completed and published.

Distraction can be a killer of a writer’s ingenuity to incapsulate and release the voices ready to rock the world with a great story.

I hear you my friends, so here’s to you.

I will keep it moving by pulling out my most craziest and often misunderstood character Haraldr Madsen who is definitely an acquired taste. Whom my college professor hated lol. Said it was one of my worst pieces which made me love Haraldr even more. My releasing of this character definitely breaks the mold critics try to put African American writers into including the professor. Nope you won’t find Haraldr among some of my favorite fiction authors whom professors often attributed the similarity of my writing style–Monroe, and Morrison.

Happy 2022 Haraldr Madsen for keeping the dream alive. A sampling, two out of currently 9 chapters from Haraldr Madsen’s adventures. Once thought to write in the form of flash-fiction, the story grew into an adventure for those who love craze and no PC.

   Finding Benjamins

© Madsen Adventure 2

By A. Shakhete

Out walking in the cold of night half-past 10, when I run into a big find. Removed it from under the abandoned warehouse before this lone cop shows up. A good-looking skinny kid ‘bout late 30s, stand ‘bout 5/7. Smiles up one-side like a half-moon. Cop hat sits to one side. Waiting right when I come out, hand on his right holster. Looks me up and down scrunching his crooked nose. Got punched in a brawl, I bet. Couldn’t reach his gun fast enough. Punk. His kind is supposed to protect us, this new generation of what-cha call ‘em? Mellenums? Or X-Factions? I take being a tough Boomer any day. Take my age honestly with a pint of whisky, when I’m at home. Whisky makes me frisky.

I reach my large hand out to shake his.

He flashes his badge and says, “I’m Officer John Dunno.” Rears back in disgust, half-moon smile fades.

I hold my hand up to my face. Pull up my nose like his. “Whew!” I drop my hand to my side like the other. Wipe them down my stained blue jeans.

“Sorry officer. I dun-know why I offered my hand. Forget I got mud and soot on me from chimney droppings. I probably smell like shit too. Left behind by homeless peeps and vermin.”  I point at Dunno’s feet. His left foot clipping the side of vermin shit. He don’t look down; he don’t move.

Then I say, “You dun-know why I’m here?” I laugh. He don’t. I stop laughing. Don’t want Dunno to take me in ‘cause he dun-know.

I get serious and say, “Officer Dunno, I found them right in there. I wouldn’t lie about pickin’ through a pile of shit.”

“Dun-know,” says Dunno, shruggin. “How about you tell me what’s in your pocket.” He points with his right shoulder without removing his hand from his holster.

So, I tell the officer…

“I was out walking, left my house ‘bout half mile that way.” Flip, flip, flip my right hand in the direction behind him. “When I got near here, a ghastly stench attacks my nose like after inhaling boiled pig guts. Do you know what those are officer?” I ask. “Chitlins. A friend of mines’ colored wife cooks ‘em. Stink to high hell. But then I’m thinking, it’s the chili dog and warm brewskee blowing out my ass, and belching up through my throat.” I rub my throat. Burp.

Officer Dunno lifts his brows like what the fuck.

“S’cuse me, officer.” I begin again, “I was out walking because I farted up the house. Right after eating greasy chicken fried steak. Annoys my young wife Jody when I fart. “Calls my real name when she gets pissy. Haraldr Madsen take your stanky-ass outta here!” Right before I get out another fart.” I chuckle. “Otherwise I’m bubba.” I say this smugly. “I’m a lady’s man officer. Jody’s 35.” Dunno sighs, rolls his eyes around in a circle, raises his voice slightly and asks, “Why are you here? What’s up with the bulge in your pocket?”

“I’m getting to it officer,” I says. “See, I blows out most of my farts, decides to keep walking towards old town. Stop at Teddy Lumpkin’s Bar, pitch a few brewskees with friends.” I flip, flip, flip my left hand over my right shoulder toward Lumpkin’s.

“I stop here at this abandoned Worthouse Building once used for skinning chickens. Been empty for 20 years. Nothing being skinned tonight. Ha! I remember skinning a couple myself. On Tuesdays, when they allow folks to come in, pick a chicken, ring its neck and pluck the feathers. Reduce the price by a couple of dollars.” I cup my chin, thinkin’. “You probably too young to remember.”

I keep talking, ignoring his heavy sigh. “My wife complains ‘bout my big belly she rubs anyway. Probably ‘cause I still got these baby blues she fell in love with.”

“Anyhoo I turns up my nose, guessing the odor is comin’ from the rusty vents of this crumpling dirty white stucco. Leans sideways like a broken hip. You can still see the charcoal burns from the old fire.” I nod my head backwards. “A real shame how they left it. Dirt-stained, moldy glass windows ‘cross the front. Window pieces falling, cluttering the walkway with sharp shanks.”

I look down, right as a mouse crosses my foot. “Damn vermin.” Shaking my head, I look at Dunno. “They come from the large, jagged hole on the bottom next to the boarded-up door.” I nod my head backwards. “Alley cats, rats, possums constantly crunch, crunchin over these broken shanks. Disappear into that there tall, uncut grass covering the sides and back of the building.” I scrunch my forehead. “I seen newborn possum babies officer. Inside the hole.” I bend over slightly, thrust the tip of my shoulder toward the hole I come out of.

“Ugly vermin babies with raw pink skin in driblets of blood. Night predators gunna eat ‘em alive, if their mamas don’t show soon.”

Officer Dunno tilts his head left. Staring like he don’t believe me.

Don’t matter. I know what’s true. Like the hazy moon hiding half-way behind the withered roof. Blistered ivy traveling up the side of wall, up the chimney side. Topples over roping down the inside for water bugs and long-legged hairy spiders to grab hold of.

“The soot floor is where I find Benjamin after I crawled in. It was like St. Luke were guiding me over to the fireplace not far from the hole. I see the tip of something sticking from the soot. I pull on it. The angels sing. It was him. I dig through nasty soot and find more like the two I find right near the sidewalk. Count up to 5000 with the face of the statesman, inventor, diplomat and American founding father. Benjamin Franklin!

Teddy Lumpkin’s Brewskees  

© Madsen Adventure 3

By A. Shakhete

St. Luke protecting me cuzz Officer Dunno doesn’t believe a word I say about Benjamin. Ha! No skin off my ass. Son-bitch.

Dunno says, “No more trespassing. I’ll have to arrest you.”

I nod. Force my big hand back in my pocket. Protect my wad. Stroll outta there, whistling an old Scandinavian toon my dada used to whistle, when he was happy. Like right after paying mom a visit in the back room.

When I’m outta earshot of Dunno, I phone, “Jody my angel,” I call her. “I’m out walkin’ off that greasy chicken fried steak. Got gas real bad. Still fartin’ up a storm. Don’t wanna stink up the cottage.”

“Well you do that Haraldr,” she says, which means I’m still in the dog house. Any other time I’d be bothered. This time I got reason to be happy. Wanna share some of my found wealth with my guys. Brewskees on the house!

Outside Teddy’s, walkers some of ‘em homeless drunkards find Lumpkin’s hidden seven steps down at the bottom of an almost vacant building on 10th street in old town. Heavy wood door with a Schooner window, keeps out the little noise coming from the street. Once inside, down two measly steps lands me inside what we call the dungeon. The front bar to the right of me smacks me in the gut almost. It’s that close to the steps. The lowlight in here is just ripe for hittin’ brewskees. Won’t startle ya when your eyes droop from drinkin’ too much. Like me and my two buddies Joe and Ronnie do sometime. They’re warming up the stools chugging on bottle. Joe uses a glass.

The three of us know Teddy the owner from the warehouse we all work at. Teddy retired 5 years ago and bought this place. His wife Rita helps he out. She’s hittin’ 50 but is one of the cutest Brunettes I’ve ever seen.

“Hey Harold,” yells Joe the Jew.

“Harold my man,” my Negro friend Ronnie says. Always grinnin’ showing off the whitest teeth I’ve ever seen and he’s black as night, a good-lookin’ ol’ son-bitch. Jody whispered that in my ear once when I introduced her to him. We was at a company gathering where the three of us work—me, Joe and Ronnie. “Bubba,” she said. “Your friend is hella scrumptious. The football player type.” Then she kisses my cheek letting me know I’m her only.

 “Hey Joe, hey Ronnie” I yell back. Making it up to the bar, I slam my hand on the counter between Joe and Ronnie.

Patting Joe on the back, setting my face right in front of his, I say, “Your wife let you out on a Thursday night, brother?”

“She put me out,” Ronnie laughs.

Joe snickers.

Teddy the bar owner standin’ in front of us now. Sets me down a Rainer. Unhooks the cap, drops the top in his empty hand, “Hey Harold. You get put out too?”

Grabbing my Rainer, I move to Ronnie’s left. Plop my wide ass down on the stool. “I gotta excuse. I bet Ronnie here, really ran out. Your wife cookin’ them stank ass pig guts?”

Joe snickers.  

“Naw man. She only makes them for friends like you Harold.”

Scrunching my nose remembering the god-awful taste, I say, “Wrong of you brother to trick a friend into eatin’ guts.”

Joe snickers. Short and stout is what he is. Beer rounds out his gut like the rest of us.

“What the hell happened to you?” Teddy asks me. He tips his forehead at my shirt.

I look down, “Uhhh, I’m wearing some of Jody’s dinner.”

Then I remember, “Oh, hey Teddy, drinks on me. For my friends here. Hell, give ‘em a round in the corner.” I nod my head toward the interracials.

Teddy arches his brows. “You getta raise?”

“No. Just feelin’ mighty good today.”

Ronnie says, “How ‘bout whiskeys instead?”

“Whiskey makes me frisky,” I say this right as Teddy’s Brunette wife Rita, wearing tight jeans, low cut red blouse showin’ her tanned cleavage walks up. Holdin’ an empty drink tray she just emptied at the interracials table nearest the piss-room. A white haired, wrinkled faced white dude, a young black chick. We know what that’s about I’m thinkin’. Ronnie would be offended if he heard my thoughts.

“All black women ain’t hoes,” he yells at me and Joe once. He says this after I mumbled how much for this one Negro girl who had come in here. Tall, gorgeous, big eyed, almond colored skin, lanky thing with long blonde locks. Not hers. Big tits. Big butt. Right behind her come a Negro man. I was thinkin’ he’s one lucky son-bitch. Joe says he wished black women would just be natural. I think like his wife who wears a short afro. Lookin’ manly though. Not ‘cause of her hair. I’ve seen good lookin’ Negro women with short hair. Ronnie’s wife is an exception. Eatin’ too many pig guts I s’pect. Pigs are short and fat. Ronnie’s wife short and fat.

I reach in my pocket for a Benjamin. Pull it out. Slap it down on Rita’s tray. Her mouth drops wide. Ronnie’s back straightens. Joe stops snickering peers around Ronnie. She drops her hand on top Benny, fast-walks around to the back of the counter. Stands next to Teddy. Lifts up her hand. He drops his eyes, pulls his neck back. Eyes roll back up, looking at me with raised eyebrows.

“What you do?” he asks in earshot of us bar-mates.

“Long story,” I says.

The bar door opens. Slams after lettin’ in a burly white cowboy. Stomp, stomp, stomp down the two measly steps he comes. Cowboy hat half covers the top of his bushy brows, Chinese-like eyes. Mustache atop his ain’t smiling lips. Typical cowboy vest, calico shirt and boots on his person. Plops down on the stool at the far-left end of the bar. On my side. Teddy leans close to Rita, “Give ‘em what they want.”

Push my head forward, lower it quietly addin’, “Give us a couple hundred worth of rounds. Keep a hundred for yourself. Give me back the rest for Jody.”

Rita nods. Teddy walks down to the cowboy.

“What got your cool Bud?” says Teddy. He knows him.

“Went to pick up somethin’. Damn cop staking out the place. Told me to scram.”

My ear puckers up.

“Oh yeah,” says Teddy.

“Yeam,” says cowboy Bud. “Kindergarten cop Dunno can’t stand there all night. Just have to wait him out.”


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