Phicklephilly – 24 Hours Off From Everything And My Survival

“I hear the sweet hiss of the cold bottle of ginger ale open and take a sweet sip. After you’ve been as sick as I’ve been for the last 11 hours the taste is exquisite. It is as if I’ve returned from a horrendous bloody battle in a desert of puke and shit and now I have the honor to sup ginger ale from the breasts of Aphrodite herself.

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Disclosure: I know plenty of people who can’t handle anything that has to deal with bodily functions especially when it has to do with waste disposal associated with illness. My family has always referred to this as toilet humor and sadly it normally comes up at mealtime.  Like everything else here, this is a true story. I can’t make this stuff up.

You’ve been warned.

I woke up the other day like any other day. It was warm outside and I was looking forward to doing some work, and then going to visit my friend, Prova at her bar. (Prova – 2015 to Present – Glow of the Sun) I just wanted to sip a beer and have some snacks with her and my buddy Church. I’d be happy to see her lovely face and chat with them both.

I have a deadly immune system, and rarely ever get the common cold that everybody gets every year. My vessel is an inhospitable place for disease. I suppose you could call it one of my “superpowers.” Another one of my “superpowers” is having the ability of turning alcohol into regret. (But you  will read those superhero stories in other posts on this blog)

I’ve suffered with stomach disorders ever since I was a kid. It’s not a big deal. It’s just my biology. So, I wake up on a Monday, and just chill for a bit. I post a pic for Phicklephilly on Instagram to let everybody know what’s story is publishing that day.  I have a bottle of water next to the bed on the night stand. I take a few swigs from it like I do everyday.

After a bit I feel the urge that I have to go. That’s pretty normal for most people. Start your day with a movement. Hop in the shower and start your day with an empty colon. But this suddenly feels different. I have some cramping that has appeared out of nowhere. It’s as if whatever is about to happen, or whatever evil spirit that has taken up residence in my body has been awakened along with me.

I head into my bathroom and take a seat.  There is a sudden rush of diarrhea. Now this doesn’t make me panic. Because it could be just my biology that I’ve had for the last half a century, or whatever the hell I ate and drank last night at the bar. As we all know that if you mix Mexican food with beer and tequila, you realize you’ve discovered the formula for rocket fuel.

But I didn’t do that last night. I had dinner with Church (See: Church – 2012 to present –  Brand Ambassador) and 2 beers. I finish and go back to my bed for a few minutes just to contemplate the day. I’m a morning man, (ask the ladies) and I like to get up early and start my day with plenty of time to plan.

Now I’m feeling some cramping that is occurring not in my intestines but in my stomach. I feel the uneasiness of this because 30 minutes ago I felt fine.

But the beast has awakened.

I head back into the bathroom and again take a seat. Maybe I wasn’t done. Maybe it’s just middle age. But I soon realize as another rush of yellow tide bursts through the dam of my ass into the bowl, something is wrong. Very wrong.

I feel hot and cold. I’m starting to sweat. My breath comes in short gasps of ragged illness. I feel a wave of nausea wash over me. My ass is on fire. My mind is racing. Is this food poisoning?

I open the medicine cabinet and look for some sort of anti diarrheal and finally find a bottle of kaopectate. It says to take 30ml of it to stop diarrhea and make you less nauseous. Cool. I shake the bottle and crack open the crusty lid and do a good shot of it. It said it was peppermint flavored but I didn’t get that flavor in the finish.

I sit back down and more of the same foul brown water spraying from my dirt chute happens. I’m suddenly feeling worse instead of better and I look again at the bottle of kaopectate I just did a shot from. I see the expiration date… 4/2014.

Oh fuck. I just drank some 3-year-old expired shit. Oh nooooo….

With no time to stand, wipe or even turn around, I catapult off the bowl to the tub. My chest hits the cold porcelain and a Technicolor yawn gushes from my mouth like a river of evil.  I didn’t realize I had drunk so much water this morning, because my stomach should have been empty since last night. But there was more that came forth.

Everybody hates the feeling of throwing up. But the worst part is right before it happens when you don’t want it to happen.  Once it hits it’s awful because stuff is supposed to go in that orifice that tastes good or belongs to someone you love.  Not blast out in a foul-smelling geyser of filth. As it’s happening, there is the retch. That’s the trigger to open the flood gates. You have to gauge your breathing so it doesn’t go through your nose. Because once that hell train leaves the station, there’s no stopping it. So there I am on my knees with my shorts around my ankles, a foul yellow liquid running down my leg, and me blasting a second burst into the tub of all places. I’m retching and seeing the contents of my stomach pour forth. I reach to the left and grasp the cold water faucet and turn it on. I take some cold water in my hand and rub it on my face. I read once that cool water on the face calms you down. Apparently it works on everyone.

I give one last heave and I can feel that I’m done. I see these orange chunks in the mess that look like bits of carrots. I’m thinking, when the fuck did I have carrots? The I realize they are bits of sweet potato fries that I ate last night at the Wrap Shack with Church. I pull the shower control upwards and the shower comes on to wash away the dinner that I’ve have the horror of revisiting.

The cool porcelain feels good on my chest. Have you ever noticed that? That cool stone feels good against your sad sick face. I get to my feet and grab some toilet paper and wipe my soaked ass and legs. I pull my drawers up and stumble back to my bed and get under the covers. I check the time. Whenever you have a virus like this you should always check when and how often you get the Hershey squirts and when you get to drive the porcelain bus.

I am sick. I need some sort of comfort, but I can’t eat or drink anything for fear of purging it all up again. So I start watching my favorite show on Netflix on my phone in my bed. Some old episodes of Mystery Science Theater are in order. The nostalgia and laughs will get me through this.

I was back and forth to the bathroom every 20 minutes for number 2. I felt like I was a flesh water balloon that was just emptying the contents of my entire ascending, traversing, and descending colon. I couldn’t imagine where that much liquid was coming from. It was if I was just being completely emptied out.

Each time it would be as if I was an attachment to some backyard hose and the liquid would just shoot out of me like it was a giant urethra. It was if I had become a human bilge pump for a day. Just awful.

The shits intermittently happened every 20 minutes to a half hour. This went on for a few hours. Whatever the hell was in these foul anal waters was burning my ass. I mean not a burning sensation on the way out. Then it was just a rush of yellowish fluid.  but once you touched the toilet paper to your sweet star fruit, there was this searing pain that would literally make me cry out in pain. It didn’t feel like the pillow soft joy of cottonelle. It felt like someone had set some sandpaper on fire and then swabbed out my tender balloon knot with that flaming nightmare.  Wiping my nether regions was worse than the constant shitting and the throwing up combined.

I hoped I wouldn’t puke again. I had put out so much glorious regurgitation I couldn’t imagine there could be anymore. But 1:35pm rolls around and I can feel the familiar, fear and hot and cold sweats the come with the return of the puke alien. I’m in bed, and I’m like, oh fuck…not again. How can I give anymore after I’ve already painted the bowl so many times with my flaming brown mosaic.

I head back in to the bathroom. I’ve hit the bowl so many times the seat is still warm. I take a seat and let go of another hose down of the potty. While this is happening I go back to and old accupressure move I know.  If you are having stomach pains you take the index finger and the thumb and press on the web of your hand between your left index finger and thumb. It’s supposed to work and you go from one to the other. Did it work?

Without having time to even wipe, I rocket back to the tub and blast another sidewalk pizza into the tub. This one is as fierce as the first, and I can feel my stomach muscles getting pulled with the force. It’s usually the initial blast, that looks smaller that the first one I did before but there are usually three good shots in the chamber. I know I need to exorcise these demons from my soul so I go hard. It’s so awful. I again go for the cold water and just run the shower over my head. I wipe the cold water on my face and head and neck. The water washes away the filth and off of me. When that short painful ordeal is over I get to my feet once agin. I wipe my ruined anus and wince in the sheer agony as the soft paper sets my back hole into what feels now like an exit wound.

I go back to bed and set the time. I watch MST3K and stay curled up under the covers. My only comfort is the guys on the show. I’m so sick.

A few more regular trips to the bathroom and I’m hoping this ordeal will end soon. Or maybe I’ll just die and that’ll be it.

I’m counting the time between shits and pukes. It’s now 3pm and I’m thinking that maybe I won’t chunder anymore.

3:25pm. That familiar feeling. I start on the hopper and end up with my sorry head in the tub. This time it is only painful retching and a foul-smelling brownish-yellow bile that comes from my rasping gullet. This has to be the end. Please, God… no more. I get to my feet. Sandpaper on the bunghole brings tears to my eyes because the pain is so agonizing. I’m thinking am I going to die of ass cancer like my 1970’s pin-up idol Farrah Fawcett? Yea, this is how my mind works.

However, somehow I did start to feel slightly better after this bile blast.

I’m dehydrated and weak. I stumble to the kitchen and grab a bowl from the cupboard. I grab a few ice cubes from the freezer and toss them in the bowl. I head back to bed and suck one cube at a time while watching my show under the covers. I can’t take a chance with anything else.

I didn’t have to work at the salon that night, but Trish is on. (See: Trish -The She Wolf – 2012 to Present) I text her and ask her if she can bring be some ginger ale, Gatorade and some saltine crackers. I tell her I’m dying and if she doesn’t want the blood of her neighbor and co-worker on her hands she’ll do it. I’ll pay any price. She tells me she’ll be home around 8:30pm.

I watch my show. Joel, Crow, and Tom Servo carry me through my miserable plight. All I do for the next 2 and a half hours is suck ice cubes and blast ass fire into the bowl every half hour.

But 5:30pm comes and I don’t toss my cookies. It’s surpassed the 2 hour mark and that’s a good thing. The longer I can go with out becoming suddenly overcome with nausea the better. I keep sucking ice and watching my show and the clock.

I’m still spraying foul ass water into the bowl every half hour or so and my sphincter feels like it’s been cut with razor blades and doused with alcohol and salt every time I wipe, but I haven’t blown chunks in over 4 hours. I’m suddenly filled with melancholy joy.

I don’t know if I passed out a few times in the last few hours but I may have for 20 minute intermittent periods.

It’s now 7:30pm and I have sucked my way through 2 ice trays and sipped a little water. There is a glimmer of hope when I look at the clock and I’m actually counting the minutes when I will get that text from Trish to make delivery on the crackers and ginger ale. So that’s a solid sign I may be finding my way out of this black day of horror.

I think of Prova and how I told her I’d see her today at 3pm with Church. I told him hours ago I was dying and wouldn’t be coming out today. He wished me well and would have brought me anything I needed, but when I told him it was still early in this ordeal and I was in no shape to do anything but empty the contents of my digestive tract.

That day I had felt as if I was a broken tube of toothpaste. Ripped open at both ends and just squeezed at the middle by the ragged clawed hand of Mephistopheles himself.

8:30 I get the magic text from Trish. She says she just got home and will bring me what I so desperately need. I asked her how much, and she says $8.68. I grab $10 and head for the front door. I look like some sad, scruffy Dr. Seuss character that’s been hit by a bus and tossed in a dumpster outside the Gold Club Strip joint.

She hands me the bag. I hand her the $10 and then thank her profusely. I go back to my room and can’t wait to dine. I’ve still got the shits but I’ve grown accustomed to the squirts and the pain. At one point my anus was so raw I just sat on the edge of the tub and splashed cold water into my crack to clean myself because I couldn’t take the pain in my fire hole anymore.

I rip open the crackers and gently start to eat a few. They taste delicious, these plain lightly salted crackers. I haven’t eaten anything in over 24 hours. I hear the sweet hiss of the cold bottle of ginger ale open and take a sweet sip. After you’ve been as sick as I’ve been for the last 11 hours the taste is exquisite. It is as if I’ve returned from a horrendous bloody battle in a desert of puke and shit and now I have the honor to sup ginger ale  from the breasts of Aphrodite herself.

It’s that good when you’ve been this sick.

I’m feeling a bit better and even the butt sprays are becoming less. I eat some more crackers and finish the bottle of ginger ale.

I’m going to survive.

A lady friend of mine who has been texting me to check on me, says she wishes she were there to be my nurse and take care of me. I ask would she wear the sexy nurse outfit with the white stockings and short skirt. She says of course and knows I’m on the mend.

I may be sick, but it would take a lot more than a stomach flu or food poisoning to kill my libido.

I’m afraid to sleep for some reason, but I’m on the other side of this shit and puke demon possession. I still make a few trips to the bathroom. I’m feeling much better, but still weak.

I finally fall asleep.

 

The next morning, I awaken early, wondering if I’m really going to be okay today. Have I won?

A few squirts but now it’s mostly gas, because my entire digestive tract has been emptied of its contents. Nothing but air left in me. I can actually pass gas without fear of shitting the bed. I guess that’s a good thing and my ass hurts slightly less. I eat some more crackers and finish the bottle Gatorade. It too is delicious and quenching.

Rain is falling outside. I can hear it hitting hard and soft on my window sill intermittently. There are some small storms coming through. I’m snuggled down and it’s comforting. I’m safe. I’m back. I escaped the clutches of sickness and won.

I leave my bed around 11am and head to the bathroom. I turn on a hot shower and brush my teeth. I get into the shower. The water feels good on my body. I lather up and feel that the storm has really passed. I grab a fresh razor and shave off the 2 days of scruff from my face. Shampooing my hair feels good. I’m getting my filthy self all cleaned up.

I survived.

It feels good to throw everything I wore yesterday into the hamper and put on all clean clothes and comb my hair. I finish dressing and am feeling better. It was like I was kidnapped and held hostage in my own house for an entire day. It was awful.

I grab some cash and head outside. The day is beautiful. It’s not cold and the rain has stopped for a bit. The sun’s out. I’m alive. I feel great. Everything looks more beautiful to me. The people, my street, the fresh air. I’m so grateful for my health and everything in my life at that moment.

If you have your health you have so much. My immune system is working just fine and I spanked my demons and made them pay. Because here I am headed to Rittenhouse Square good as new.

I stop in Manhattan Bagels at 18th and Sansom. I grab a diet Snapple and order a bacon egg and cheese on a toasted rye bagel. I walk to the counter and happily greet the cashier, picking up a ripe banana and adding it to my order. I pay and take a seat at the window, appreciating life again outside my sickness exile of the past 24 hours. I crack the Snapple and take a sip of that quenching tea. Glorious. The banana tastes better than any I’ve ever eaten. I savor the firm softness in the fruit as the potassium goes to work to repair me. I can’t get enough of that banana. I’m like a gay man who just discovered what a glory hole is.

The girl brings me my breakfast. It’s perfect. Delicious. I’m back. Everything is new and I’m so grateful. That night I’m at the salon running around and taking care of our clients. All is right in the universe again.

Your health is everything.

So, like I said at the beginning of this tome, I have a deadly immune system. It’s scary when you get violently ill and especially when you don’t see it coming. But I have suffered with tummy troubles my whole life, so I’m well equipped to take what comes for me.

I rarely get the common cold that the world suffers with every season. I have no allergies. Nothing. But… when I do on occasion get the common cold I absolutely hate it. Here’s why. It starts out with you not feeling right. Just a bit off and you don’t know why. Maybe it’s an imbalance or that feeling around your eyes. You think you’re fine. Then the sore throat starts. Maybe on one side of your throat. Maybe it’s nothing. But then, why are the glands in my neck under my jaw line swollen and tender? My throat is now sore on both sides now. I start sneezing. Then coughing. My nose is stuffed up. Maybe one side is so stuffed I can only breath out of one nostril and it switches sides. Tricky! I’m starting to feel body aches. Maybe hot and cold flashes. I feel dopey. There are tons of discharge from my nose and lungs as my white blood cells go in for battle once again. They have honed these skills over millions of years of evolution. It’s what they do. But there’s always some new hybrid motherfucker that wants to come in and take their shit. But Homo Sapiens are a tough lot, and you don’t get to be number one on this planet by losing. Our species is a scrappy bunch.  Go ahead, bring your best. Some of us that survived beat the Black Plague, lived on to build new civilizations and thrive as a stronger species.

Sure medicine helps, but the immune system you were born with and those that built it that came before you is there for a reason. You don’t need to run to the doctor every time you get the sniffles. The world is on drugs of every kind. You’ve been sold an idea that every thing is dirty and you need a pill for everything. You don’t. That’s what your immune system is for. Your child needs to get sick and know what it feels like to feel like shit… and then get well by eating right and drinking lots of fluids and letting the body rest so the pros inside your body can go fight the battle and win again.

You can see tomorrow with a smile and be grateful that life is fleeting and fragile. Your health is everything. If you wake up tomorrow and feel okay. Then you’re way ahead. Make the most of the day, because you don’t know what tomorrow brings.

  1. Health.
  2. To love and be loved.
  3. Family.
  4. Good people around you.
  5. Something to look forward to.
  6. Fun stuff to do.
  7. Good work that you can do today.

That’s kind of it people. All the big houses, money, cars, and fancy handbags is all bullshit.

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I will make a final footnote here. If you made it this far through this disgusting, graphic story, I thank you. It was just gross but I wanted it to be real. But if you’ll notice, I tried to use every vulgar slang word that I could think of to describe what was happening. Even in darkness, I have to bring forth a little light and humor.

” Because that light at the end of the tunnel, may be you.” – Steven Tyler

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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Sun Stories: Haley – 2016 to Present – Lightning in a Bottle

“Now with what I’m describing you’d think that this young lady is a perfect little angel.

Quite the contrary.”

I got a text from Achilles (See: Sun Stories: Achilles, 2016 to Present – The Bronze God) He asked if I could work open to close today. That’s 10am to 8pm, on your feet, running around the salon for 10 hours. I agreed, because I have a flexible schedule at my other job, and I think he may have come down with a cold. On top of that it’s been thunder storming all day, and he probably doesn’t want to come out in this mess.

So I’m at the salon, and it’s a pretty quiet day. You’d think more people would come out to tan on a rainy day, but it’s the other way around. They come when it’s warm and sunny out.

I’m just standing behind the counter writing my blog on the computer. When in walks this cute 19-year-old girl. Raven hair, blue eyes and fair skin. She says my name, and I do a double take.

“Don’t you recognize me because I’m not tan?”

“Oh my god! Haley!”

I come from around the counter and she goes in for a big hug.

“I missed you!”

From mid April until the end of August is our busy season at the salon. We can’t provide the level of service that our customers deserve with only one person on shift at night. So Achilles usually will bring on a second person at night to ease the flow of clients. Haley had been working every summer at the salon since she was 16 years old.

Haley has a sister Elisa that’s a year younger that she is. She comes into tan but never worked here. Elisa’s cute, but Haley’s beautiful. There’s a difference.

Haley was also a straight A student last year in her senior year. Beauty and brains. A deadly combination. She wants to eventually go to medical school to become a doctor!

So Achilles brought her back again last summer to help out at night. I wondered how that was going to go. Me, a middle-aged man working with a senior in high school.

Well I’ll tell you how it went. It went fantastic! Working with Haley from day one was glorious. She’d been doing the job for two years prior, so she knew everything about the salon. We ran the place like a well oiled machine. I’m driving in the sales. Haley picks up on how I ask every customer if they need lotion or protective eyewear. She starts pitching it to every client thereafter. She’s like lightning when she works. Super fast and really efficient. She knows exactly when to put the laundry in the washer and stays on top of the time when to get it into the dryer. (I love her South Philly accent. Instead of saying “towels”, she pronounces it “tales”. It is to adorable!

“I’m so sick of these tales! I hate the color and they’re too hard to fold and they don’t fit under the counter right!” she would say.

Working with Haley was a total riot. We would take care of the clients but had a lot of fun working together.

On time this weirdo douchebag guy comes in to tan. Haley asks him what kind of bed he wants to tan in. (Stand up unit, or lay down)

He says: “How about a four-poster.”

Haley is silent but I look at him with a hard eye and say: “Dick. She’s in High School.”

Shut that fucker right down.

I see Haley like a daughter or a niece. Gotta protect the young ladies around us.

I told Achilles about the incident and he also gave them his own personal warning to the guy. I don’t know what he said or did, but we never had a problem with this asshole again.

One day told her that out of everyone I knew, she and my daughter Lorelei, are the only people I know who don’t use profanity, which I find very refreshing. Haley responded by saying that she doesn’t curse around parents. (Apparently this is the same story with my kid.) I like that!

Speaking of her parents, she said her dad is a bit of a curmudgeon, but her mom is a total sweetheart. Her mother would always drive up to the salon at closing in her truck with their dog and pick up little Haley. Her mom is kind of hot. But I love that she would always come and get Haley and make sure her daughter got home safe!

Haley went down the shore after graduating from high school with honors and went to work as a server at Mack’s Pizza in Wildwood, NJ for the summer. She told me they originally want her to work a bunch of hours but she told them she was down the shore to have fun, relax and enjoy her summer. She was still making around $800 a week slinging slices to the hungry tourists.

“It’s the most money I ever made at a job in my life!” she squealed to me today.

Currently she is in college and working part time at an Italian restaurant in South Philly.

Now with what I’m describing you’d think that this young lady is a perfect little angel.

Quite the contrary.

Sure, she’s a great student and is a really well-behaved kid. But technology is much better than when I was a teenager. She has a fake ID that looks exactly like a DMV issued drivers license that says she’s 21. She showed it to me and it looks better than anything I’ve ever seen. That’s so she can get served and go into bars and nightclubs.

She’s a good girl and has a nice guy she is seeing, and she behaves herself. They play it cool and are careful when she and her friends go out. They mostly just like to hang out somewhere and drink beer like teenagers have done for decades.

I love the paradox of the brilliant, beautiful student that has a touch of. I can trust that in a woman.

I remember she would bring her laptop into work and do her homework sometimes. The customers didn’t know what she was doing, and could care less. They just want to hop into an available bed and get their tanning session, and get on with their day. But I know Achilles doesn’t like any of his employees focusing on anything but the clients and what’s going on in the salon. I get it. It’s his business and the salon is his livelihood. But Haley is such a good student with high aspirations, and I never said anything because she’d been working there off and on for three years. So I didn’t care what she was doing because at the time I didn’t know what his arrangement was with Haley after all of that time.

Besides she was always all business when it came to being on point in the salon every night. She made my life easier and I absolutely loved working with this lovely, lively girl. She’s so full of life and apparently I’m good at making her laugh.

When she worked the Saturday shift, (Which is from 11am to 6pm) sometimes her  classmate, Lia would come in and hang on the couch and keep her company. I get it. It’s a 7 hour shift and teenagers get bored easily. She’s a pretty black girl and she’d sit on the sofa and hang with Haley, bring her coffee and snacks to pass the time because weekends are slower than nights during the week. I mean, I’ve had friends come and hang at the salon and chat with me while I’m working. On any given night, Church will swing in and hang for an hour until we go to the bar after I close up shop. (See: Church – 2012 to Present – Brand Ambassador)

But Achilles found out this black girl was hanging out on Saturdays and wasn’t happy with it. Again… it’s a business and his livelihood and didn’t want a bunch of kids hanging around in his salon not doing anything. I get it. He’s right, but I went in once on a Saturday to make sure everything was cool, and to tan. (I like to tan on days I don’t work. It just feels better) I had the pleasure of meeting Lia. She’s a lovely young woman who has been accepted to Yale!

Yes. I said Yale. You don’t get into Yale being a crazy reckless youth. This girl is going to go on to do great things in her life. She’s sweet, charming, and obviously very intelligent and focused on her future.

So my girl Haley surrounds herself with great people and I’m really proud of her. She gives me hope for the future youth of America!

Oh, and she has the exact same birthday as my daughter, Lorelei! Haley is 11/17/97 and Lor is 11/17/96. Two  Scorpios. Don’t mess with my girls or you’ll get stung!

I was so happy to see my former co-worker today. It made my 10 hour shift on my feet running around on a very rainy day just a bit sunnier. Haley is a ray of light that I am happy to have had the opportunity to work with and have in my life.

Oh… one more thing. Haley isn’t on ANY social media. Just doesn’t see the point of it. Hope!

Seeing her today inspired me to write about her, and I am now going to publish another piece about our adventures at the tanning salon. I’ll give you a little hint: While we were working together we came up with official rules for the salon, based on some of the stuff Achilles would lay on me about how to run the salon. We also created lists of clients we loved and hated. But the funniest list we made was the “Things that Annoy Us.” You may not get all of them, and I will explain what they mean in this future post. But if you’ve worked in retail or the service industry, you should be able to relate.

I love Haley, and didn’t realize how much I missed her smile and laughter until today!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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Tales of Rock – David Bowie Thinks Witches Are Stealing His Semen

In fall 1975, David Bowie went into the studio in Los Angeles and made Station To Station, one of the best albums of his career. It saw him transition from playing conventional if fantastic rock and roll to recording a series of genre-bending masterpieces that set a template for ’80s pop and whose influence is still being felt decades later. Pretty impressive, considering he was doing so much coke at the time he later couldn’t remember recording the album at all.

According to David Buckley, the author of the book “Strange Fascination: David Bowie: The Definitive Story,” Bowie’s diet at the time consisted of cocaine, peppers and milk, and he lived in “a state of psychic terror.” Interviews published in Playboy and Rolling Stone depicted Bowie surrounding himself with burning black candles and Egyptian artifacts and believing that bodies were floating past his window, witches were stealing his semen and that the Rolling Stones were sending him secret messages. He lived in fear of Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, owing to his supposed practice of witchcraft. In Station To Station‘s title track, Bowie yelped, “It’s not the side effects of the cocaine; I’m thinking that it must be love,” which was definitely the wrong diagnosis.

If Bowie wanted to clean up after this album, he made the wrong move by decamping to Berlin with Iggy Pop. Still, the trio of albums he recorded during this period—Low, Heroes and Lodger—honed his legacy. This trilogy along with Station To Station was cherry-picked to create a perfect soundtrack for Christiane F. We Children from Bahnhof Zoo, a German film released in 1981 that captured the harrowing lives of teenage junkies in West Berlin.

Check it out. I saw it at a midnight showing in LA in 1982. It’s great!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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Clarice – 2016 – Chapter 6 – Happy Birthday, Baby – Part Two

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

So it feels like we’re driving forever. I feel like I’m a million miles from the city. I really love living in center city, despite its problems. Driving through the rolling countryside of Pennsylvania this time of year, sort of bums me out. I’m just going by all of these big houses all isolated out here. It reminds me of the suburbs in South Jersey. Another depressing time in my life. I don’t like being out here. But again, I’ll be good because it’s her special day.

We finally get to the park. It’s a nice place and it’s not too cold out. It’s a pretty huge park. You can walk through it, but it actually has a road through it. So you’re not walking on any dirt paths. There’s a few people around. Mostly couples, families and people jogging or walking their dogs. Walks in the park in the winter aren’t really my cup of tea. Walks in the park anytime aren’t really my cup of tea. I’d rather be in a bar in the city, having a drink and a cig.

As we walk further into the park, I can feel a mix of anxiety and depression wash over me.

I think it was because all of the trees are bare for the winter, and I’m in a strange place.

There is actually something comforting about being in a city. I have some of my happiest memories back in Philly. I also am starting to get a very real vibe that I have to find a restroom soon. Brunch is starting to work on me. Not good.

We were out there for a while and I did see a port-o-potty out there. It almost beckoned to me off in the distance. But I just didn’t want to go in there. I figured I could make it back to the main area and find a restroom there.

During our walk through the park there was some good conversation and laughs. I also kissed her a few times. That was nice. She tells me how she’s had Bells palsy before. She feels like it has affected how her face looks and moves. I didn’t even notice anything.

Find out more here: http://www.webmd.com/brain/tc/bells-palsy-topic-overview#1

But now that she’s mentioned it, I see it. Normally it clears up after a few weeks and your face goes back to normal, but it appears in her case some of the paralysis has remained. I don’t mind, because it’s hardly noticeable and she’s still attractive.

We finally get back to the beginning of the park, and I tell her I need to use the restroom. I head over to the little building, praying to God that the door isn’t locked yet. Because the sun is nearly down and it’s getting dark.

Thankfully, the door is open and I make it to the stall. It’s a huge relief when my cheeks hit the bowl, and I’m sort of glad that it’s an outdoor bathroom. I’ll leave it at that.

I return to my lady, and we walk around the main property. There is a mansion there. It really looks cool. We stroll around the property and there are some more kisses exchanged.

I have been with her for five hours now, and I’d be fine with just going home. I’m also kind of dreading waiting for the train at 69th street. She wants to take me to her house for a drink. I’m fine with that, we’ll see what happens.

Her house is quaint. She lives on the first floor, and rents out the second floor to a retired gentleman.

I make myself a vodka and ginger ale, and she’s making some sort of cosmo or something. We retire to her living room. We’re just hanging out on her couch chatting and sipping our drinks. She then gives me a tour of the house. Now, this house is pretty cozy, and I’m assuming built maybe back in the forties or fifties. But she hits the lights in her bathroom, and I am blown away. It’s been completely remodeled and redesigned. Against the back right corner is a huge glass shower, with a stone floor. The commode is across from it. In the center of the room is a huge jacuzzi type tub. Along the south wall is a huge double vanity, and get this; the floor is heated. It’s one of the greatest personal bathrooms I’ve ever seen. Had I known this before, I may have been able to hold it until I got here so I could have dropped a deuce like a king!

She said it was a present from her father. She had purchased the jacuzzi tub and then didn’t have enough money to finish her dream lavatory. She said it sat in a huge box in her bedroom for a long time, and her father kicked in a bunch of money to finish the bathroom. It’s a killer bathroom, but it’s an over improvement to the house. I can’t for the life of me understand why one older woman would want a bathroom this nice. But maybe someone out there does. I guess if it makes her happy and she spends a lot of time in the bathroom, it works. But it’s just a weird purchase. It’s obvious she doesn’t have much money.  She’s sixty-two and her daddy is still buying stuff for her house. He’s got to be well into his nineties, so maybe he doesn’t give a shit about the money at that age. I guess if I had a tub like that, I’d be in there with a bunch of booze, and get a flat screen in that bathroom.

We had another drink and hung out in her living room again. I wasn’t getting a vibe that sex was happening, and frankly I didn’t care. It shouldn’t be something I was wondering about, or deciding if I think it should happen. It should be a spontaneous celebration of how we feel about each other. And I’m just not feeling it.

She volunteers to drive me home. I am overjoyed that I don’t have to wait at 69th street station tonight. It doesn’t take as long as I thought it would, and soon I am on my street in front of my building. We kiss goodnight and I thank her for the ride, and for choosing me to spend her 62nd birthday with her.

She drives off. Tomorrow she’ll discover the black and pink scarf I hid in her dashboard. It’s wrapped in a little black bag. Just a little something extra for her birthday.

But, I don’t really want to go out with her again.

 

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Marisa – 2017 to Present – Part III – Lost in the Translation

One man’s quest to find love in this city

Marisa gets back to me in regard to my arrival at the restaurant. The lunch is set for 1pm.

Let the madness unfold here…

12:45

Me: I’m at the restaurant and our reservation is for 1pm

12:51

Her: Hey Ok, I’m gonna be there.

Me: Ok. (smiley face and thumbs up)

(She’s lost.)

1:00

Her: Hold on.

Me: Ok

1:22

Her: Hey where is actually. the hotel.

(Hotel? What? Why doesn’t she know where the place is? I’ve given her the name and address three times.)

Me: 18th and JFK Blvd. Right on the corner.

1:23

Her: the restaurant

Does she have a flip phone?

Me: Where are you? Yes. (Name of restaurant)

Her: Ok. Sorry. Walking. Cause. I’m.

Me: Ok. Where are you now? I’ve been waiting here for half an hour.

1:27

Her: I was lost. I’m sorry. I’m walking now.

Me: Where are you now? Ok

Her: I went the other side.

On the other side? The other side of what? The city? The Earth? Has she died and gone over to the other side and is texting me from beyond the grave?

It’s been forty-five minutes now. I have asked her three times now what her present location is, and she hasn’t responded with and answer. Where the fuck is she? I can walk from Penn’s Landing back to Rittenhouse in forty minutes.

Me: Ok. Where are you now?

1:35

Her: Near by

(Nearby what???? I hate lateness. As I said above, that was drilled into my soul by my father.)

Me: Near what? What is the cross street of your present location? ???

(I hear nothing but the familiar roar of frustrating crickets.)

I should fucking leave. On top of all, of this there are two assholes that have been sitting at MY table for over an hour and a half. They finished eating a half hour ago and are just dawdling.

I hate everyone now.

Except Mary. She doesn’t know this is a date with a young Filipino delish that looks like it’s not happening.

I haven’t heard anything from her. It’s been an hour that I’ve been waiting and texting this idiot.

Marisa stood me up.

It’s now nearly 2pm and I have been here for over an hour. I tell Mary I’m just going to leave and tell Marisa I have other appointments and I can’t wait around anymore. Mary agrees. I tell her I am very busy, but I miss her and want to see her. She is her usual self and feels the same. The thing with Mary is; she has never been married, no kids, so she isn’t romantically minded. She actually is unable to be lovey and flirty at all. She explained this to me on one of our dates. I understand. This tells me that I can either remove her armor or simply be the man who opens her up.

“I’m not a player” she says.

I ask her to explain. Mary says that she’s not used to being in the game anymore. “It takes me a long time to warm up.”

“There are other ways to warm you up, Mary.” I smile, and look away.

It’s all very interesting to me how I am now. I want her, but if I never saw her again, I’d be just fine. I see me in her apartment, watching movies with her and us kissing, and then me taking her. This is new to me. I normally have spent my life with younger women. Maybe now that I’m spending time with some of these older women, the scale has shifted, and now I’m the jewel.

I tell her that we should go to Doobies (awesome dive bar) and get some cheap drinks and food and catch up. She agrees. I tell her I’ve never left a restaurant because of a delayed or failed client. She says, “Tell them you were here and had to go meet other clients. It’ll put you in a position of strength. They were late or cancelled, and you were here on time. You were on point. They blew it. Now they owe you.”

Mary’s great.

I leave and head over to 17th and Market. I was supposed to have eaten lunch an hour ago. I head for my favorite hot dog street cart. I’m done with this chick. I order a grilled dog from the cart. I go for the brown mustard of course. I don’t need a bag. I’m going to ram that burnt crispy dog into my open maw like a baby Caiman.

I decide before my two afternoon appointments that have now been compromised by this silly, scatterbrained girl, I’ll stop over at the salon and commiserate with my partner, Achilles. I get there and rage out on how frustrated I am with these idiots. He agrees and comes back full force. We’re a good team.

Then this text comes in when I am at the salon. Remember, I got there at 12:45 for our 1pm lunch. It is now 2pm.

1:55

Her: Hey I’m here a cross. What is the restaurant. Name. I’m calling you. I’m here. Hi. Are you still here. Are you. Still here.

2:03

Me: I left

Her: Pls. Reply. Still here.

Me: Are you really there?

2:05

Her: Yes. Misconduct tavern. ? I’m here. Where are you

Me: Ok. On my way.

I jump in a taxi and head back to the restaurant. At this point I’m just doing it for the blog.

Her: I cannot.

Me: Cannot what?

Her: Use. The phone. To call now. I cannot. I was using. Someone. Phone. Ok.

2:08

Me: I’ll be there in 2 minutes

Her: K. I’m in restroo

I walk back into the restaurant

Me: Ok. I’m at the table.

Her: Ok

Goddammit.

 

Tune in tomorrow for the crazy conclusion!

 

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Annabelle – 2013 to 2014 – Chapter 3 -First Date

What if I’m not falling for her at all? What if I’m simply in love with the idea of love, and not this woman?

It was a hot day in July of 2013. I remember that summer being especially humid. I didn’t want to get all sweaty before my date with Annabelle. So I took a taxi up to the Barnes Museum. But sadly, many of those cabs are still hot as hell in the summertime. I went inside, told them I was on the guest list and that I was waiting for my plus one.  The girl at the counter tells me it’s cooler downstairs. I head down to cool off and dry out. I was heavier back then, (36 waist!) so maybe that’s why I was sweating more. I get some water and have a seat.

I get a text from Annabelle that she has arrived. I tell her to just let them know who she is and they’ll let her in. She comes downstairs to get me. She is wearing her hair up, and has a black top and matching black slacks that just cover her knees. Is that called Capri pants? She is also wearing heels so she towers over me. I don’t care. I’m Phicklephilly. I cast a great shadow across this city. She goes to use the restroom, and I chill out looking at little models of what the building looked like when they were designing it. The are all in different stages under glass.  I’m looking at one of the tiny models very closely when she returns. She comes up behind me and I just feel her presence. I turn around and she is over me looking at what I’m looking at. I tell her it felt like I was being stalked by a raptor from Jurassic Park. She laughs and does this little impression of a raptor. I find this funny and ask her if she liked the film  Jurassic Park. (One of my favorite movies)

“I love Jurassic Park.”

“Okay….okay” I reply.

We go upstairs and into the main ballroom. They are having a little first Friday celebration. A live band plays some sweet jazz. For whatever reason we’re both starving. I get us high top with a pair of chairs, and tell her I’ll go fetch us some snacks and wine.

I head over to the bar and all they have is overpriced everything and some cheese and chips. It’s the Barnes for God’s sake. Can’t they afford any decent chow for the guests? I gather up two bags of chips some cheese and a couple of glasses of wine. I’m not even gone for five minutes, and some old codger has already swooped in and started talking to my date. This guy is easily twenty years older than me. I approach, drop the food on the table and hand Annabelle her wine.

“Really dude? I was gone all of five minutes. Get your own girl.” I joke.

We chat with the old guy. He seems charming and harmless. After a bit, Annabelle and I go over to tour the collection. Apparently, that wasn’t part of the passes I was given. I simply drop a name and they let us in. I had never seen the collection before so it was a real treat for me to see what a billion dollar art collection looked like.

The collection includes 181 paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 69 by Paul Cézanne, 59 by Henri Matisse, 46 by Pablo Picasso, 21 by Chaim Soutine, 18 by Henri Rousseau, 16 by Amedeo Modigliani, 11 by Edgar Degas, seven by Vincent van Gogh, and six by Georges Seurat. Other European and American masters in the collection include Giorgio de Chirico, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, Paul Gauguin, El Greco, Francisco Goya, Édouard Manet, Jean Hugo, Claude Monet, Maurice Utrillo, William Glackens, Charles Demuth, Jules Pascin and Maurice Prendergast. It also holds a variety of African artworks; ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art; and American and European furniture, decorative arts and metalwork. The museum also holds several significant works by cubist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz.

It was pretty amazing how one guy was able to collect this many fantastic, priceless pieces of art. We walk from room to room, looking at everything. At one point she says, “Out of everything in this room, which is your favorite?”  Then I would choose the one I liked the best. I would do the same to her. We did this enough times, until finally she asked me what was my favorite in the last room.

I simply pointed to her.

She smiled.

We then went downstairs to the rum tasting. We were all in a room and they gave us three different rums to try. The guy that was running the tasting really knew a lot about each rum and what made them different. But the weird part was, they were comparing the taste and look of the rum to different paintings in the collection. They had the images on a video screen on the wall. I’ve never seen this done, and I don’t even think it’s a real thing. But free rum is free rum. I remember the person talking about the mood of the paintings and the taste of the rum, and I was into it. there was a moment when my eyes drifted away from the host and onto Annabelle. I was looking at the painting and then my gaze passed over to Annabelle. I looked at her profile and neck. Was I falling for this girl? I took girls to events all of the time. What was it about this one? There’s nothing special about her really. It’s been two years since Michelle. I’m really taken with her. Has it just been too long since I’ve fallen in love that I just want that feeling again?

What if I’m not falling for her at all? What if I’m simply in love with the idea of love, and not this woman?

After the weird art/rum tasting we headed back upstairs. We probably shouldn’t have had all that wine and rum with so little food. I can handle it but it could be a bit painful for Annabelle tomorrow.

We leave the museum. It’s located in an area where it would be difficult to catch a taxi. I decide we should walk up to Spring Garden. We reach the corner and flag one down. We share the perfunctory hug. Dating’s funny. So much of it is tied to timing and ritual. I put her in the cab and ask her to text me that she has gotten home safely.

The cab rolls east into the night and as I walk back down into center city. As the city rises before me, I feel a little spring in my step.

 

 

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Sun Stories – Achilles Heel

Has Sharon finally found Achilles heel?

Achilles has had his share of challenges with his girlfriend Sharon off and on for the last ten years. There were times he wanted to just pack it in and end it. But Sharon has stood the test of time. Achilles’ only weakness.

He finished his shift at the salon, and rode his motorcycle home, just like any other Friday afternoon.

He went home and set the table in the dining room. Then he started cooking up a really nice dinner. He made the salad, grilled the veggies, cooked the steaks to perfection. He’s Greek. They can do everything.

The table was set. Candles glowed in the dimly lit room. Romantic music played softly in the background. Sharon would be home any minute. Achilles gently laid a bouquet of flowers at her place on the table.

She came through the door, to see him standing next to the table smiling. She paused, and then saw the flowers at her place.

“What did you do?” she said accusingly, as if he had done all of this because he done something bad.

Sharon approached the table. Achilles continued to smile. Beyond the flowers was a small black velvet box.

She gasped.

“Open it…” he said calmly.

With trembling hands, Sharon picked up the tiny vessel. Glancing up at him as she slowly opened the box, revealing a beautiful diamond engagement ring.

He proposed.

She said yes.

And they lived happily ever after. (Fingers crossed!)

Yea… Achilles is getting married!

 

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