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Thursday, 16 April 2015

Fifty Shades of he and She @TheSeriousReadr and @Wayne_Clark_1

What does a man do when nothing tastes good anymore?
 he finds She.

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From the day I first met Kit, when I went down to his apartment after I heard him playing sax and wondered if he were a professional musician, too, I suspected there were too many rats running around his head. He was obviously a nice dude, so maybe they weren’t rats, but were guinea pigs or something cute like that. Don’t really know. Never had pets as a kid. But K-Man… we’d be chillin’ with a beer and a ball game on the radio and between innings he’d start saying things and asking questions. How do I do this, how do I stop doing that? He’d be all over the place. It was like the fool was standing beside himself, on tiptoes trying to look down into to the cranium of the other him, the top of the head cut off like a barrel of apples at a little upstate country fair from the old days. But instead of bobbing for apples K was trying to sink his teeth into thoughts and certainties that would change his life.

If that image doesn’t make any sense, K sometimes didn’t make sense. That’s often the way I think of him, even now though he’s been gone for some time. I miss him but I don’t miss the questions. I still wonder why he couldn’t just shut off all that noise inside his head and be half-happy doing what he said he wanted to do rather than being miserable doing nothing. 

He could play decent horn. In fact, for a self-taught guy, K was pretty good. He could have made a half-assed living at it in New York if he stopped getting drunk because he couldn’t play like Bird or Cannonball. Tried to tell him he could practise 14 hours a day and he never would play remotely like them, but it didn’t matter. K-Man never understood that. Always said it was better not to play at all than not play the way he dreamed he could play. We talked about this and I believe him, that he really did dream — I’m talking nighttime dreams, not daydreams — that he was playing Bird solos note perfect. But why was he so miserable in real life because he couldn't do that? Why didn’t he just play what he could play and be happy? Never understood that.

K was the same with relationships, and all he got out of that was no life at all. He had a lady for years but instead of being content lovin’ and laughin’ with her he kept running home and looking into that dizzy head of his. He kept thinking there’s more to life than that particular relationship, and he ended up killing it. But, to my way of thinking, life doesn’t offer more than what it offers you, and you got to make the most out of that, and most of the time, that’s no bad thing.

Not long ago I was at a bar in Brooklyn, in Crown Heights, the same one where I got K up on stage for the first time. We owned the room that night and K was part of that. He even ended up going home with a foxy girl with purple hair. You can’t ask more than that, but K could.

He could never figure out how to flow with life. Turned himself into a drunk because of it. Anyway, I’m digressing. I wanted to say that at the club the other night in Crown Heights I met a woman who knew K-Man. I would have loved to take her home but she was married with two kids and one on the way. Anyway, she didn’t know that K had passed, and we got to talking.

She said she’d heard him play horn before at his place one day, and loved it. To her, he was a musician, although she also knew he paid his rent translating. Then about a year later he was visiting her at her place, in East New York if I remember it right, and she said they’d been talking about everything under the sun, until just before leaving. He’d put on his jacket and was standing just inches from her. He looked into her eyes and asked, almost sadly, “Why can’t I improvise?” She said she looked at him for the longest time before answering because, for one thing, she didn’t play an instrument and he certainly could, and for another, she didn’t understand questions like that.

Let me explain, this beautiful friend of K’s was Haitian. I didn’t grow up with the shit she did back in her own country but if you notice, people from there stand tall, shoulders back and they look you straight in the eye. They know that they have to come at life like that in order to have a life, despite the odds. She looked him straight in the eye and said, “How do you improvise? You just do it.” For this woman, having gone through what she’d gone through, she understood life will probably deny you a lot of what you want but you don’t waste time thinking about that. K did, half the time blaming life, half the time blaming himself. I’m not sure he understood his friend’s words. He would have been happier if he had. K-Man lived a life, but he died thinking he hadn’t. -
This post is written by LeBron Jackson, a professional New York area bass player. He was the best friend of Kit, or K-Man, or just K, the protagonist in he and She. Despite their friendship, they were opposites in many ways. 

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 he and She by Wayne Clark

5-star Silver Medal winner in the 2014
Readers' Favorite Annual International Award Contest

Growing numb to life, to his on-and-off girlfriend of many years, his career, even Scotch, a man turns fifty. 

He is a translator who can no longer dream of translating beautiful works of fiction. He is an amateur musician who can no longer dream of expressing his life on a higher plane, without words. 

As he glares inside himself he sees little but his declining sexuality, his crumbling hold on life, a growing list of failed relationships, and a darkening well of loneliness.

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Stumbling upon an image on the Internet one night, he suddenly hears cell doors sliding open. He stares at a young woman, in profile, beautiful, unblinking, regal. Instinctively he knows that by lingering on that image he will shatter a relationship that has kept him on the sane side of loneliness as surely as if he stepped in front of a speeding eighteen-wheeler. 

But desperate to feel alive again before time runs out, he knows he must see the stranger behind the pixels on his laptop screen.

Although it is her image that first transfixes him, his eye afterwards chances on a handful of words on the Internet page.

 She is a dominatrix. 

The word triggers something inside him, blows the dust off fantasies trickling back to adolescence, and slowly begins to re-choreograph his decades of sexual memories. 

Was he ever really the dominant male he thought he was? 

Did he have a sexual alter-ego? 

Was this the last card he had to play in life? 

The face on the screen held the answer. He would find out even if it killed him.

About the author

Award-winning author Wayne Clark was born in 1946 in Ottawa, Ont., but has called Montreal home since 1968. Woven through that time frame in no particular order have been interludes in Halifax, Toronto, Vancouver, Germany, Holland and Mexico.

By far the biggest slice in a pie chart of his career would be labelled journalism, including newspapers and magazines, as a reporter, editor and freelance writer. The other, smaller slices of the pie would also represent words in one form or another, in advertising as a copywriter and as a freelance translator. However, unquantifiable in a pie chart would be the slivers and shreds of time stolen over the years to write fiction.

More avenues to purchase he and She

Barnes & Noble

Amazon.com – Kindle
Amazon.ca – Kindle
Amazon.co.uk – Kindle
Amazon – Kindle
Barnes & Noble – Nook
Chapters / Indigo – Kobo
Google Play
iBooks – iPad, iPhone, desktop
Smashwords – all formats

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