Sunday, January 31, 2010

"I WANTA BE A ZIEGFELD GIRL" ~ By Absolutely*Kate of Harbinger*33

"I Wanta Be A Ziegfeld Girl"
~ By Absolutely*Kate

I wanta be a Ziegfeld Girl. I wanta swallow up glitz and sip the edges of glamahh and do somethin' more with my life than slammin' down countless cups of joe with the  stenographers and shopgirls of diamond rings and new linoleum kitchen dreams in the All Night Chock Full of Nuts Diner at 44th and Divine. I wanta glide when the orchestra glissandos, and I wanta swissssh silks and satins in all the personal places a goil's perfumed skin should swish her silks and her satins. And I want poils, oh gosh I do -- long twirly stringy creamy-whites to linger in the fingertip caresses of the pink passion manicure I can get half-price any Tuesday at Sylvia's Ladies Emporium. I wanta really reel'out snappy one-liners like I do with my bro, but ones that get big bounding belly-laughs center-stagin' Florenz's opening-night Follies show, and oh yeah, I wanta fan some of dose fancy feathers in all the right configgerations during my lavish cakewalk production numbers. Right now though, there's a hole in my reverie  ~  Ma's yellin' again --  "Mabel Jean Krenicky, it's YOUR turn to do the dishes!"

I think I'll need a stage-name too.

" Dear Diary:                                                                      
    To be continued, after I dream a little more . . . "
                              ~ Miss Mabel Jean K.

(C) 2010 ~ Author Absolutely*Kate

Absolutely*Kate believes in believers and sure wishes Miss Mabel Jean K. will dream again, into reoccurring characterizations and of course lavish dance numbers, (fancy feathers inclusive). From captaining creation and wordsmithery collaboration aboard HARBINGER*33, as well as being our guiding light AT THE BIJOU, luck be this lady who strives for class and distinction in authors and artists she comes across on any good sashay along any good street, stretta or gin joint in WebTown. Kate wisecracks with Bogie, knows the RatPack (intimately), and can belt out a tune with both Satchmo and Ms Billie when their presence transcends a room. 

Ignoring massive popcorn crunch under well'turned teal heels, Kate is absolutely proud of striding alongside all the amazing Authors staging their worthy writes up AT THE BIJOU Big*Screen, come our popular Double*Feature Tuesdays & Thursdays. She lives to promote to packed houses, with what she designed and wrote, taking themes, schemes, even dreams the higher. 

Our version of "KT Barnum", behind the spiffy kleig lights, asked us to "THANK*YOU HEARTY" once again ~ for over 500 readers at each of our recent performance shows. (Yippee that!) As more agents, editors, PR-honchos and publishers slip into our plush reader rows, Absolutely*Kate vows to take worthy reputations closer to where they're destined, deservingly, to go.

We kinda think she's cool too ~ 
You oughta get a gander how she renovated our staff lounge!
~ The loyal staff of renown . . . AT THE BIJOU

Thursday, January 28, 2010

BLUE IS THE NEW RED . . . read AT THE BIJOU on Double*Feature Thursday & Tuesday

BLUE is the new RED


touch the sky
or your heart
or its sigh

and the popcorn plays on . . .

Lascivious Ladies and Genuine Gents

 proudly presents

the debut

the return

True Colours
colour truth

BLUE AND SKY ~ By Carrie Clevenger

"And Finally, nobody died in the making of this flash. 
For your theatre of magic, I present to you:"

Blue and Sky
by Carrie Clevenger

I always use the blue sugar, not the pink. It is courteous, how they are always packaged just so. Pink or blue. My coffee shimmers steam of smoky azure. The cold creeps in around the frosted windowpane. I perch on my seat, precarious. Tall seats make me feel royal.

The people sit in short chairs and engage in small conversation over lattes and Americanas. Espressos for the distinguished. Skinnies for the ungainly. Crepes and sausage flavor the air. Cigarettes spice my coffee. I inhale the aroma of shared nicotine and anticipated caffeine. I am running late.

This is a morning I will be tardy.

A chime at the door. The sun peeks over the eaves of nearby slumbering motels. Diesel cloys with perfume of the rushed and the sparkle of the innocent. My coat crushes home around me; a cocoon of mixed warmth and security. I stir my coffee.

Murmurs of good morning and good day blend to form a low hum of human activity. I pause before the first sip to capture the moment internally. The youth in my hands, the heat of the cup permeating the cardboard collar. Pumpkin spice and cinnamon. Hazelnut and French Roast. Near the door, shining machines devised to never quite replace this sensation of togetherness yet solitude. A worn newspaper, touched by many hands, rests unfurled on a table nearby, forgotten.

Concrete walls, painted with swirls of mocha and raspberry. Stars stretch across the blue ceiling. The fixtures, blue-shaded.

I take a drink of sky. 

(C) 2010, Author Carrie Clevenger
In Debut . . . AT THE BIJOU
Colour this edgy trendy zingy author fresh and kalideoscopic. We found CARRIE CLEVENGER hunched into her own fave seat in her own choice row, throwing popcorn at Paul Brazill, and rollickin' at all she discovered to thrill, after her first soft'shoe tiptoe in . . . to every gosh darn performance AT THE BIJOU. Well folks, life here in the theatre has never quite been the same. Her voice sparks the dark and then holds up a flashlight so Laurita can find out where she put the cookies she baked to share but were quietly crunched by the Mikes and that Har ... over there. Then, when you go out on the streets, you meet up with whole packs of her gangs who 'troupe' around Carrie's nation. Many mumble memorably as Carrie does. It's getting so I can't walk by a streetcorner they desire without addin' to their wise'crack rapid fire. *FLASH!* There she is ... writing here, writing there, even cracking the code at the'6 and adding a new dimension of flair.

Well, all's fair in the flare of flair, which is why Carrie wrote this one up most profoundly to debut not any there ... but here ... at her welcoming home away from all her other creative homes, AT THE BIJOU. Clever Clevenger, (who aka's as Carrie Cleaver) worships Maynard and dreams of cephalopods on trains and other oddities in Austin, Texas. She doesn’t have to write the next great novel, but intends to leave a bloody print on her way down.

Carrie may feign astute apathy with her "Eh, Whatever" . . . at her killer-quirky-classy Mindspeak, but I say she keynotes clarity intensified with her taunting tagline:

"The struggles of the soul are intended to be lost." 

Feelin' glad all over you found AT THE BIJOU
  and we all found you, Carrie'On ..

~ Absolutely*Kate and the fine staff of renown
... already with grin

HE SAID YOU LOOKED GOOD IN RED ~ By Jeanette Cheezum of Harbinger*33

He Said You Looked Good in Red
~ By Jeanette Cheezum

Nights are torture, dreams are
unfulfilled. Why had he left her?
He said she looked good in red ...

Now all she had was muffled voices
and distant memories. Desires to
celebrate the contagious journey
of happiness.

Love opens the passage
to our souls, don't compromise,
sadness cannot appreciate laughter.

Engage, embrace, hearts are
delicate. Promises were meant
to unfold, love stories are
better lived than told.

Remember he said, you looked
good in red.

(c) 2009, Author Jeanette Cheezum
Originally published at vox poetica

Creative expression is what Jeanette Cheezum has a massive stack of, as the blue plate specials she spins -- you know the ones -- on the old Ed Sullivan show -- where writing projects and e'zines and of course HARBINGER*33 and awards, contests and contentions are all kept high, high up in the air while she Facebooks a small post that makes you feel even better that You too, spin in Jeanette's world. All this is simply the show'womanship she breathes.

Editor Annmarie Lockhart at classy vox poetica breathes in and out what sound, image, writer-resonation and communication truly are in attunement. That's why she, as we AT THE BIJOU, are pleasured to showcase the one we fondly know as Goddess Mother of Brilliant Authors. Jeanette as evocative poet graces our big screen ... while she prepares to debut a new story ... pages within Hampton Roads Writers keeping Virginia vital ... scribes her mark at all distinctive writing sites ... publishes ... praises fellow writers ... and could even be training for the Winter Olympics -- she's that good.

~ THANKS Jeanette, for  True Colours you represent 
~ Absolutely*Kate and the staff of fine renown, AT THE BIJOU

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

THE CIRCLE OF FRIENDSHIP AWARD Goes Around . . . Comes Around . . . AT THE BIJOU


Splendid thanks to a sensational author AT THE BIJOU, the enigmatic ERIN, the charismatic cool COLE for circling me out with her wild warm shout.

It seems fellow Harbinger*33 author, Paul Brazill rolled it out
Michael J. Solender's NOT'ed way . . . and the roll'outs spun
deservingly to elegantly eerie Erin over at LISTEN TO THE VOICES.

The rules of the rolls are that I must now bestow
this true blue award to another five who jive
in making writing and, to me, joie de vivre
all that more alive.

Thereby and Therefore
(er ... Therefive)

It gives me moxie and pleasure to hoop the hoopla
of The Big Blue Circle of Friendship to:

who makes Sundance a better kid 

Goddess Mother of Brilliant Authors,
the one, the only ~ Jeanette Cheezum

The sweetness of Sugar - Wendy
at the SugarShack ... naturally

The Queen of the Pirates, Johnny Depp's dame,
the Madame who puts the Z in Zing,


a tough temptress taunt of a MissUnderstood on the blog'along scene, our gal in sexy Sweden ~


In Novel ways ~  her mystery novel, Unearthing Jev, has begat its sequel, Wicked Tempest, on accident. When she isn’t writing, Erin Cole is thinking about writing, and when she isn’t thinking about writing, she is either in a chocolate induced coma or is experimenting with sensory deprivation. Since she promised me a Pinot Grigio *clink* with the Circle of Friends award, I'm sending chocolate to the Pacific NW from the confluence of two rivers on the Connecticut shore . . . so she keeps writing.

~ Absolutely*Kate,
believing in believers
and the grand powers
of friends to no ends.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

NOIR NOIR ~ Come Out Wherever YOU ARE ~ NOIR*ARAMA ~ AT THE BIJOU ~ Double*Feature Tuesday & Thursday


p r e s e n t s

Two Thrillin' Gents,

      ( Buttaci )      ***    ( Michael J )

with shots in the dark
to make you surrender




 Philip Marlowe:  Hmm.
 General Sternwood: What does that mean?
 Absolutely*Kate and Marlowe:  It means, hmm. 

~ from The Big Sleep, when Kate was still awake

CARLOTTA ~ by Salvatore Buttaci of Harbinger*33

By ~ Salvatore Buttaci

It would have been so convenient if the realtor could have explained it all away by confessing their dream home had been callously built on the sacred burial ground of some Indian tribe and the two of them had been victims of Century 21’s deceit.  Or maybe Satan had visited these posh-valley estates and decided, “Hey, what the hell!  Here’s a mcmansion where I can do some major damage.”

Floyd Yates could offer neither desecrated ground nor Satanic visits for what transpired at 14 ½ Townsend Terrace. He had to laugh.  14 ½.  It should have been an omen.  Who in his right mind shortchanges an address by adding insult to 14 and 15?  And the word “insult” caught in his throat like a bitter horse pill.  He coughed a few times so he could swallow past it, but he could tell from his pebbly voice it was still there, would remain there till the last stars came out that night, would stick––visibly, he imagined––as though to mock him right up to his own grave.

“She betrayed me.”  Was that his voice?  His thoughts, like his rage, could no longer be contained.  He hated the loneliness so he let those words bobbing in his head find a door out his mouth and he spoke aloud again, “Carlotta broke my heart.”  The ring of that!  “Broke my heart.”  Listen to me!  I’m telling it like it is.  This woman who was everything to me.  This woman who could have had any man in the whole freaking world picked me for her lover, the one and only man she said she could trust with her precious love.  We traded hearts.  We said the magic word “forever.”  We promised not even death would dare separate us.  Four years is a mighty short forever.

Too much sunshine out there to tie him down to an accountant’s boring desk, Floyd had opted for an early dismissal, took the 2:22 out of Hoboken instead of the usual 5:09, and felt so free and happy, he realized he was walking towards 14 ½ with a kind of man-in-control swagger that pleased him.

He heard the sounds coming from the master bedroom.  They were half familiar to him.  The moans that cooed from Carlotta’s carmine lips he knew so well,  but the voice like a film director’s instructing his wife, his Carlotta, the voice every few words grunting at her like a beast.  Another man.  In slow-motion mode, he glided towards the half-closed door and punished himself by peering inside.  He took a deep breath, then released it mutely from his nostrils, praying dizziness would not topple him.  Sweat popped cold on his forehead so he brushed it away.  Meanwhile, Carlotta and her new Sealy partner were still engaged in sweaty dialogue, and he knew if he waited any longer, he’d be forced to witness their explosive joy, a joy once his, now wrenched from his life.  Forever.

Floyd turned away.  Headed towards the den.  Quietly drew open the desk drawer.  Touched the cold revolver.  Placed it in his shaky hand and returned to the scene of the crime.  The two of them lay there panting, arms and legs in a comic tangle that did not make him laugh.  He raised the steel thing and fired it twice into the stranger’s hairy chest.  Floyd watched the man leap off the bed, lifted by the force of those two shots. 

Carlotta, too shocked to scream, walked naked towards Floyd who still held the revolver in a hand still trembling.  What he saw in her blue eyes, the eyes he once swore he could swim forever… Who was this woman?   Though the blood of the dead man had spattered across her breasts and her cheek, she did not palm it away.  Instead, she put her arms around Floyd, and for awhile the two of them were frozen in some kind of time warp, neither one saying or doing anything.  Carlotta began to cry, slowly at first as if she were trying to build herself into the role of the repentant or the soon-to-be victim, and then the crying came like a dam kicked down, heavy sobbing and, yes, begging now.  Begging him “Please don’t kill me.  I love you!  I don’t know why all this,” she said, waving her arm back at the dead heap on the thick plush carpet.  “It doesn’t mean anything.  I love you,” she said again, but he let the revolver do the talking.  He didn’t trust himself to speak.  And it was apparent she would not understand what he’d have to say.  

With the first shot she let her eyes grow big and her mouth sag into the pout of a child who doesn’t get her way.  With the second shot her arms reached up––a prayer too late?––and Carlotta was another crumpled body in the room.

Now he sat in the living room, far from the dying room where only a day ago the two of them loved the night away.  In one hand he held a warm full glass of scotch which he drank like an alcoholic who means it when he swears, “This is my last.”  On the end table lay the revolver, waiting for the tremble of his hand.  He stared at the steel thing, envying its power to close down the night, shut out the pain, the face of Carlotta. 

Floyd had given that woman his heart.  She had given him hers. He wondered now how he had managed to keep alive these years without the heart he had given away.  How had he been able to survive with Carlotta’s heart?  It was an unfair exchange.  He knew that much so clearly now.  She was gone and so was his heart.  Dead with her.  But the heart she had given him from what she called “the depths of me” could never keep love alive.

He downed the last of the scotch that seemed to melt away the bitter pill of learning love had fooled him big time.  He lifted the revolver, shoved the barrel deep into his mouth, and squeezed the trigger, still holding in his other hand, wet and red and soft as he always imagined it to be, Carlotta’s heart.
(c) 2010, Author Salvatore Buttaci

Sal? Aboard Harbinger*33, he's GodFather to me and the merrymaking multitudes. In writers' circles of any consequence, Salvatore Amico M. Buttaci is the hearty fellow leaning over your shoulder and chuckling at just the right write line he saw you scrawl; the same guy who sits back and leans into a confab about how writers are the most fab folks of all. Yes, that's our Sal, man of heart, mind, and spilling over spirit ~ a real nice splash when it comes your way. Sal is poetry the way a pen needs motion, right here, SAMBPOET, editor in chiefdom of The Poem Factory. Stick around Buster, and I betcha he'll sell you a few of his published books @ the Salvatore Buttaci Storefront. If you wink at him a certain way though, he pours a glass of vino from Grandma Buttaci's Sicilian cellar. (It's got clarity).

Sal, I'm as glad as that line outside AT THE BIJOU door ~ that you're around, that you inspire WebTown, that you're a poet and you know it and you don't let your flashy ancestry of a piratical past get in the way of your straight and true. Si, caro Sal ~ we all read/feel only the highest from you.

Grazie molto bene, Salvatore. T'amo.
 ~ Absolutely*Kate and the fine staff of renown

COLUMBO RERUN ~ By Michael J. Solender of Harbinger*33


By ~ Michael J. Solender

That image haunted me more than any other. The one I have of my mother, crying inconsolably with the disconnected phone still bleating in her right hand like a lost sheep.

Paralyzed by the shock and grief at the loss of her husband, her body heaved and convulsed. The phone continued to bleat until I took it from her hand and put it back into its cradle.

My stepfather. The bastard. Once again, I was the man of the family. Four years older than when I assumed that responsibility the last time under equally dire circumstance, I was still only fifteen years old and tired of my mother's husbands dying in distant places.

Harvey, the current, or I should say most recently deceased, was found dead in his room at Caesar's Palace. A high roller, he was comped and had nothing but the finest suites in Vegas and Atlantic City. Security had called my mother after they found him, naked, except for the nylons and bra he was wearing, in his bed in his free suite after an all-night bender of craps and Pisco Sours. The working girl who reported his "heart failure" had split the scene long before the cops came.

The Las Vegas coroner, overworked and understaffed that evening, did the most cursory autopsy and noting the nitroglycerin pills the cops found with his belongings, had quickly and neatly declared a natural death for the L.A. salesman who would be shipped west to the no-doubt grieving widow.

I learned all this after hearing my mother give Aunt Phyllis, her sister and the only relative alive or dead of mine that I really liked, the blow-by-blow on the phone that afternoon. She learned it all from the "Private Dick" she had following him.

She knew, and I knew, he wasn't in Petaluma at a manufacture's rep convention. The $300 a day plus expenses gumshoe was only confirming it all so she could file for divorce and gain the upper hand in the settlement.

Harvey, you see, was loaded.

Mamma didn't know how much exactly, but I did.

Four weeks ago, I found Harvey's Charley Schwab statement under the takeout boxes in the kitchen garbage. My watch band broke as I was pushing down the trash and the watch fell to the bottom, forcing me to dig around. Out comes his statement with a PO Box that I'd never seen and, lo and behold, there were seven very round digits in the account summary.

Harvey and Mamma had only been married for two years, but they fought over money like a couple who had been at it for decades. Harvey had wanted a pre-nup, which Mamma was having nothing to do with.

She knew he had some dough from his previous marriage to that society chick that died from that rare cancer. She left Harvey oodles of cash. He convinced Mamma it wasn't that much and managed to squirrel several mil out of her, and consequently my, reach.

Oh, we lived comfortably all right, but Mamma was tired of his running off constantly. She knew he was gambling and carrying on. She didn't have the strength to do anything other than divorce him and get whatever she could.

Occasionally, she felt sorry for the bastard. Forty-seven years old and a bad ticker. Popping nitros like a third-grader eating Pez on Halloween.

I knew from day one he was a snake and kept my distance. He was good for fifty bucks a week and an occasional Lakers game when he couldn't find a client to take.

That Charley Schwab statement was eating at me, though. $3.5 mil. And here was Harvey, pissing it away in Vegas.

I may have only been fifteen, but dammit, I was the man of the family and I had watched enough Columbo reruns to take Harvey out without even being in the same city.

It was really pretty easy. The meth tabs looked pretty much the same as the nitros and they were cheap. Harvey left his pills out and I had no trouble replacing them that morning while he was in the shower.

I knew he'd get worked up gambling. Either he'd win big and get excited or lose big, with the same reaction. He'd be reaching for his nitros before the night was over.

The rest was just damn fine luck, I guess.

Natural cause of death ruling by the coroner.

Me producing the account statement after Mamma had stopped crying and was bracing herself with a gimlet.

The guy on TV got busted when Columbo suggested to the insurance guy that they should have a second autopsy and look for poison.

Good thing Mamma had the sense to insist on having Harvey cremated before they shipped him home to LA.

I might have suggested that. I really don't remember.

(c) 2009, Author Michael J. Solender 

Hmmm, Michael Solender . . . where do I begin . . . to tell the story of a man who makes me grin . . . a man who gives his all in everything he puts in . . . he is what he's NOT. (That's the best I've got). He's the latest news and authors'  showings; he keeps Sphere and his golf score going . . . plus he ranks in as North Carolina's current most cultural stud. 

I bet he likes it that I've let his secret out ~ ask any dame around Opera Carolina, where nothin' could be reported finah; She'll tell 'ya, "Michael's simply the cat's pajamas!". A mysterious guy in a mustache, funny glasses and an outspoken cigar will then side-mouth, "How he ever got in that cat's pajamas we'll never know." But that's another story for another time and a man with a nose for news and a pen for writing his views has nothin' but success mainsailin' on his horizons. That's why I'm so damn glad he keeps comin' up to the steering wheel aboard the mighty reader'ship, Harbinger*33. He cares with such inner GPS-gumptions too, about authors' destinies.

Honoured MJS, to know, flow and grow with you.
All our bests are truly yet to be.

 ~ Absolutely*Kate and the fine staff of renown,

Sunday, January 24, 2010


So you say you want more NOIR?

Sure, sure. This is your lucky day. Ya see, on dark nights and bright days AT THE BIJOU can pull the punches and keep the hits comin':

Remember this one, me and Baby?
from The Big Sleep
Humphrey Bogart regarding Lauren Bacall: 
"She was worth a stare. She was trouble."

Well here's some more to chomp a bit on:
from The Big Steal
Jane Greer to Robert Mitchum:

"What I like about you is you’re rock bottom. I wouldn’t expect you to understand this, but it’s a great comfort for a girl to know she could not possibly sink any lower."

from Strangers on a Train
Leo G. Carroll: "She was a tramp."
Patricia Hitchcock: "She was a human being. And let me remind you that even the most unworthy of us has a right to life and the pursuit of happiness."
Leo G. Carroll: "From what I hear, she pursued it in all directions."

from Double Indemnity
Fred MacMurray’s narration:  

"She liked me. I could feel that. The way you feel when the cards are falling right for you, with a nice little pile of blue and yellow chips in the middle of the table. Only what I didn’t know then was that I wasn’t playing her. She was playing me, with a deck of marked cards and the stakes weren’t any blue and yellow chips. They were dynamite."

I got more rattlin'round my brain but Katie says the NFL playoffs are startin' and she wants to see Peyton's place in gridiron historee. A gal's gotta have her heroes. Don't let her get started on Brett.

pulls out all the tricks!

Out of the shadows, 
that Absolutely*Kate kiddo 
raises the curtain on ~
The Double*Feature Fest to feast'on
Reach, reach for your popcorn as me and Katie cue low-key lighting to bleak sleazy settings and stage up some corrupt hard-boiled cynical characters. Aw shoot, this is gonna be as fun as rapid-fire machine-gun repartee. And you know how you dig that scene.
~ Tell 'em BOGEY sent ya ~

Give it up with
a rat-a-tat-tat for ~

Harry B. Sanderford

SWEET CHILI PHILLY ~ A 1-2 punch by Absolutely*Kate and Harry B. Sanderford of Harbinger*33

ABSOLUTELY*KATE: Harry's gonna tell you how our tale grew. Fellow Harbinger*33 writer par excellence Eric Beetner's "FIST" contest urged our jab. We realized no matter how the bell rung, we had punched out something pretty cool together. If you know the vibrant young writer causing Australia to rock with spotty socks, Scarlett Rose . . . you'll dig Har's enlightenment:
HARRY:  My favorite Little Scarley Roo's proposal of matrimony to a spicy sweet cream-cheese snack was the inspiration for Sweet Chili Philly's naming. A*K and I had a ball spinning and knitting our little yarn in between football games over the course of one weekend. We were So Proud of ourselves we presented it to Little Roo for her birthday. I understand Roo has put off he wedding plans with this tasty snack spread and is mainly interested in human boy suitors these days.

Our good pal who calls me Hal, Michael Solender, was kind enough to debut SCP at the NOT and we were quite pleased with the response. SWEET CHILI PHILLY is back for a short engagement right here AT THE BIJOU during NOIR*ARAMA feature presentations. Absolutely*Kate and I think there is more to Sweet Chili's story and we might just . . . correction, I'm told we WILL hammer something out between basketball games and horse races one weekend soon. Until then, please grab a snack and enjoy Sweet Chili Philly!

 ABSOLUTELY*KATE: Prequel? Sequel? Well - yeah - BOTH ... You're nuttin' in this world if you don't create in prolific positives.

Here you go Folks ~ a memorable character,

A 1-2 punch by ~ 
Absolutely*Kate and Harry B. Sanderford

At 52, Sweet Chili Philly’s punchier days were behind him. But on a Saturday night, for a twenty dollar bill or a careless remark, he’d still dot your eye. Came one Saturday night, in rained a cold October bluster and just that kind of careless remark reconnoitered Philly’s muster.

Yes, it was autumn in New York for Philly when this uptown dandy in a brown plaid wool sport coat with a Norfolk style back, three patch pockets in the front -- one showing a hand clenching more than just plaid pocket lint -- barged into Sweet Chili Philly’s streetcorner. I saw the whole thing. That particular streetcorner held no desire.

“Hey Sport, got the time?” Otis Floyd was working wallets and watches when he spotted a beaut cutting off circulation to the ham dangling from the big lug’s sleeve. Probably a ten dollar Times Square Rolex but what had really caught his shifty eyes was the diamond studded doorknob glinting from this manatee of a man’s mammoth middle finger.

The stranger’s size did not intimidate Otis. A small man himself, he was armed and dangerous. He took a little too much pride in his appearance and still greater pleasure in besting a bigger man. He had no idea how poorly he’d chosen his mark or his words.

At 32, Sweet Chili Philly was riding the world higher than most ever gain a vantage point. Punchy successes followed round after round, match after match, in each contested bout on his way to the top. There was never any doubt that what Chili sought was what Philly got. The shining gem on his middle finger bore testimony to his ability to pulverize palookas with his sweet left hook. He earned his sparkly prize along with the WBF heavyweight title in lucky Round 13, if you know what I mean, against a mean crowd from Queens hooting and hollering for their very own local hunk of meat, two-time world champ Rodney Rocky-Jaw Brawlter.

Rocky Jaw presumably collected his moniker through his ability to take a punch, but after Sweet Chili’s methodical disassembly and ultimate knock-out blow, there was consensus among wagerers that it was his feet and not his chin made of granite.

Hard to know you’ve peaked until you’ve begun your descent. Sweet Chili Philly was on top of the world for approximately 72 hours before he started seeing phantoms. After another 72 hours of neurological examinations a team of specialists disagreed on diagnosis and treatment but were unanimous in their decision that the symptoms were the result of one too many blows to the head. And with that Sweet Chili Philly’s career as a professional boxer was over.

Phantoms may not exactly describe what Sweet Chili saw. What he saw wasn’t so unusual really. It was always a boy, the same boy. Sometimes he was riding his bike, other times maybe he’d be casting a fishing line. When he saw these phantoms they were as real and vivid as the crimson puddles he’d left on the canvas of the squared circle and he always saw them through the eyes of the boy’s faithful companion, Sport.

"Here Sport! Heeeeey Sport!" What dog day afternoons were Sweet Chili's run-run-runarounds in the sweet spot his brain refrained with this boy, a place akin to a Mayberry state of mind. The boy he saw as true regularly let loose with a piercing yet jaunty whistle to come home to, a playful sound that conjured the first rambunctious peace to which his pugilistic life had ever let down his guard. A ferocious loyalty to protect something more than a right cross or uppercut jabbed at his own glistening flesh in the ring, was resonating into all his realities recently.

I swallowed these truths to be self-evident as easy as the Chianti sloshed into my chipped goblet at Louie De Palma's Mangiamo in the Bowery, the night Sweet Chili held my hand across a checkered tablecloth. He held his breath too, wanting me to know and believe all the sides a tough guy was offering so sweetly to let him honestly into my life. Takes a strong man to offer himself up. I sipped. I listened. I considered. The waiter served another slice of pepperoni and mushrooms with extra cheese. Sweet Chili served more slices of life, straight up. That's the night I fell and fell hard for the big tough lug. When he clumsily leaned over the tortellini con farcia di vitello for our first smack at a smooch, I knew I was down for the count. I agreed to meet him on the weekend for a tentative trip to Atlantic City. The gamble was how his Ma would take to another woman in his life. I remember - he joked, said I'd have a fighting chance.

Sweet Chili Philly read the suggestion poking from the little squirt’s plaid pocket but did not look at his watch, “It’s time you move along partner, I’m meeting someone.” He saw the boy again and this time the boy was not alone. Otis Floyd decided showing the gun might improve its impact, “Listen Sport, just gimmee the ring.” The boy led the beautiful woman by the hand, they walked the path now familiar to Sweet Chili Philly. He realized he loved the boy and also that he loved the woman. Otis pointed the gun and cocked the trigger, “The ring Damn it!”.

His fighting days behind him, his loving days before him, one more fight, the fight of his life for his life flashed before his eyes as the boy’s whistle, the woman’s scream all careened in a single blazing moment of crimson pride rising again. His right leg came forward when the first two knuckles struck the side of Otis Floyd’s runty head. It appeared Sweet Chili dazed and weakened both the propensity for the little man’s clean shot as well as his desire for heavy flashy jewelry, but it didn’t stop there.

I was screaming, screaming from the streetcorner, pointing the young traffic policeman towards the scene of the crime in progress. In slow motion, I saw a fast flash of the full momentum of the man I now was sure I loved, pivot back, rotating anger and focus on his now blubbering target. His arm swung out like a fishing pole in a wide arc, the sheer speed of his turn and this turn of events drove his fist into this sap’s head. Temple, jaw, nose and ear were not in the same configurations when the cop made the scene.

His piercing but jaunty whistle emitted complete admiration, “Saaaay, wasn’t that the Spinning Backfist? And ain’t you Sweet Chili Philly? Man oh man, my old man took me to Queens the night you K-O’d Rocky Jaw Brawlter. This guy here was armed and dangerous, I’m hauling him in. Uh, can I have your autograph, sir?” 
(C) 2009, Authors Absolutely*Kate and Harry B. Sanderford
Very special gratitude for the soul of Solender's illustrative genius. 

What can I tell you about Absolutely*Kate and Harry B. Sanderford? That they swallow ideas for breakfast like Peyton Manning shows up on Wheaties boxes. FUEL, for thought, for wordsmithery, for just plain fun and for turning out stories . . . and then some. Watch for the book Harbinger*33 struttin' their stuff plus more published stories they tend to stir. 

Oh yeah, and their repertoire and links of other good stuff is over there, on the Showcase*ShowOff Wall to the right. Do carouse, browse and get to know the very fine authors AT THE BIJOU so proudly presents! 

~ Absolutely*Kate and the very fine staff of renown, AT THE BIJOU