Category Archives: microprose

Pass the dust, I’m apparently under the gravely mistaken impression I’m Bowie…

sunrise-2011-09-07-smScared of the Light [Electric Version]

[special hi fi preview stream]

When he awoke, it was dark. His heart was pounding. He felt as though a giant hand was wrapped around him, squeezing the breath out of his lungs. He must have been dreaming but he remembered nothing. He forced air into his lungs, but his breath felt odd and shallow and each breath seemed to take tremendous effort.

He tried to shut out the panic but that seemed to make it more acute. He threw off the covers and turned on the light on the little table next to the bed… but its dim and yellow light seemed, if anything, to make his room just that much more oppressive and claustrophobic.

Steeling his grip on himself, he quickly got out of bed and threw on the clothes he’d been wearing the previous night, a pair of bluejeans and a hooded sweatshirt. Glancing at the clock, he saw the red glow of 4:43 a.m. He pulled on his boots and laced them, grabbed his phone and keys, and walked out into the crisp pre-dawn air.

As he often had decades earlier, running from the all-but-forgotten demons of his youth, he found himself walking toward the ocean through the empty, dark streets.

He walked past the lagoon, the shadowy trees looming above languid, almost black water, along the manicured sands of Mothers’ Beach, finally across the trendy little business strip to the bay. As he walked along the crescent of sand, still moving toward the ocean beyond the little bay, the tiniest sliver of golden sun appeared above the houses and trees across the bay.

Until that moment, he’d just been walking. Not thinking. Trying not to feel. Just trying to get away from whatever unknown fear had gripped him in dream so tightly that he feared it would crush the breath out of him.

He searched inside himself for the sense of relief he thought the sun should bring. But all he found was a veil of vague and uneasy dread, pierced by a slim, rosy crescent.

He walked a few steps down closer to the shore, the shift of perspective returning him to the moment just before sunrise. He surveyed the low line of houses, the mirror-like calm of the water. It was beautiful, he recognized numbly.

So beautiful that it seemed a shame to waste it on this moment of vague and free-floating dread.

He paused, pulled his phone out of his pocket, switched its camera on, held his breath just a moment and heard the simulated sound of a shutter snapping open and closed.

_______________________________

 

From the very first zero
to the very last one
I can see what has happened
I can see what will come

Like a train in a tunnel
like a mole in a hole
like a bullet in a barrel
I know where to go

From the very first day
to the very last night
I’ve been through the darkness
but I’m scared of the light

From the very first zero
to the very last one
I can see what has happened
and I see what must come

From the very first day
to the very last night
I’ve been through the darkness
but I’m scared of the light

(C)2013, TK Major

The third (and final?) version of “Scared of the Light”…

(The title of this post is a light-hearted lift from the late, lamented Black Randy — of infamous LA punk/funk provocateurs, Black Randy and the Metro Squad — whose first album was called, “Pass the Dust, I Think I’m Bowie.”)

I’d written out about three quarters of the lyrics and was settling into the chords and melody when I started roughing out the arrangement… something about the way it was going together really made me think of post-Berlin-era Bowie and, I dunno, I ran with it.

 

 

Share

Flat Five Jump (Instrumental)

Flat Five Jump

 

 

 

new instrumental

Wet eucalyptus leaves buried the wipers on the old Falcon station wagon. He scooped up three handfuls, throwing them into the gutter by the curbside of the rusty wagon. A light drizzle was falling and he knew in his heart of hearts that the car wouldn’t start.  It’d been three days.

At least he’d prepared as best he could, even though when he parked the old beast he was just coming down with what would prove to be an epochal bout of respiratory flu. In the back of his mind, he had seen himself crawling out of a death bed to feebly try to push start the battered jalopy, a long term loaner from a budget body shop.

Prescience is often poor recompense, he told himself as he gauged the logistics of the presumed push start, even as he turned the key.

Clunk.

At least it clunked.

He looked around. Not a soul in sight. Middle of a rainy workday in a working class neighborhood. And his jumper cables had been stolen out of the wagon only the night before he started getting sick.

At least he’d parked near the corner and had a clear out — and he’d made sure to park on a street with a bit of a slope, downhill on his side.

But the Falcon felt about twice as heavy as his Volkswagen — and it felt like it hadn’t been lubed since the Johnson administration. Laboriously, he turned the leaden steering wheel and pushed with all his might as the car slowly nosed out into the traffic lane.

Leaning into the door jam hard, one hand on the wheel, he tried to put everything he had into it and, waiting until the car had passed a little bump, he jumped in and slammed the tree shifter into low… for a terrible moment it seemed like the engine would stop the car’s slow roll, but the old four banger caught with a deep, chassis shaking cough and he gave it a discreet amount of gas.

As he rolled toward the busy boulevard a block away, he had the clutch back in and was working the gas pedal warily, trying to coax the sludgy engine into steady firing on all four cylinders. It seemed to stabilize into a lopsided equilibrium and, since a car was bearing down on him from the rear, he engaged the clutch and gave it a little more gas. It lurched forward, as he backed off and then reengaged the clutch, trying to keep the engine running.

As he rolled to the stop sign, he disengaged the clutch — but he was too late… the engine lurched and died and with the car’s dying momentum he pulled over, rear end still out an an awkward angle to the curb.

Feeling broken, he lowered his forehead to the steering wheel. He thought about just leaving the station wagon there and calling the body shop — but it would surely be towed and they would surely be pissed and he would surely be on the bus for the duration, one way or the other.

He could try push starting it again — but he was pointed into a busy four lane boulevard and, if he turned the wagon around — in itself an arduous, shoulder-bruising task — he would then be pointed back up the slight incline he’d just come down.

He  looked around. Cars zoomed by on the boulevard, a few pedestrians walked across the mouth of the side street. Across from him, a pretty girl in a yellow rain slicker was headed toward the corner. As he looked at her, she looked back at the beat up Falcon and he felt, for the moment, shabby and broken.

As he watched, she changed direction, stepped out into the street and over. She put down the hood of her slicker, brown curls falling out, and smiled.

“I saw what happened as I was walking down here. If you can wait five minutes I’ll walk back to my house and get my dad’s car and his jumper cables.”

A few minutes later, she was holding an umbrella over his head in a light rain as he hooked up the jumpers between the wagon and the girl’s father’s Impala, double parked next to the Falcon. He banged some oxidation off the terminals of the Falcon, twisted to dig the teeth in, had the girl restart the Impala and twisted the key… for a long moment nothing seemed to happen. Finally the Falcon struggled to life. He nursed it along with a cautious foot on the throttle until, after a long time, it seemed to settle into something approaching a rough rhythm.

He looked over at the girl. She beamed at him from behind the wheel of the big Chevrolet. Maybe life wasn’t so bad after all.

Looking back on it thirty — or was it closer to forty — years later, he couldn’t even remember the girl’s name — though he could still see her smile and feel the sudden warmth that seemed to jump from her to him through the wet, winter air. It was a feeling he wanted to always be able to remember. He wanted to look back and think, maybe life isn’t so bad, after all.

(C)2009, TK Major

Share

I’m Starting to Really Hate Dreaming

I'm Starting to Really Hate Dreaming
New song alert!

He woke up with sweaty sheets wrapped around him like swaddling, like the shroud on a mummy. He felt like he hadn’t been asleep at all. His stomach felt knotted and empty but the last thing on his mind was food.

Every dream was different. Every dream was the same. A thousand different stories — but always with the same ending.

YouTube

more stream & DL options

Every night he met her again for the first time. Every night it was different.

Sometimes, in a dream they’d meet on the street, he’d pass her by and turn and look as she turned to look. Sometimes at a party or in the supermarket or in a park. Once at church. Another time, she was a new hire at his work and they had a cute meet in the lunch room, right out of the kind of sappy old romantic comedy she loved.

In another dream, he met her in high school but somehow it looked like his old, half-forgotten grammar school. There was an innocence to the dream that made it just that much more heartbreaking when it ended — as each dream always did — with them parting forever… a forever that seemed to stretch, empty and as lonely as space itself to the end of time, the end of the universe.

lyrics
I’m Starting to Really Hate Dreaming

I’m
starting to really hate dreaming
I can’t stand to see the night fall
if can’t close my eyes without dreaming all night
and I’d rather not close them at all

all my dreams start out happy
we have just fallen in love
day by day it starts slipping away
by the morning, it’s all come undone

Losing you one time
baby that was hard enough
losing you (each and) every night
makes me sorry I (ever) fell in love

Its better to have lost
than never fall in love
that’s what some loser said
I say it’s better better not to dream
time for dreaming when I’m dead

All of my dreams start out happy
in all of my dreams you’re the one
we fall in love every night
by the morning it’s all come undone
(C)2009, TK Major

Share

Looking for trouble… I’m already in trouble

The rusty little Bug was leaking rain in from the windows and they had to keep their feet forward to keep them out of the murky water that would slosh back and forth from back seat to the front, washing across the shifter linkage hump like the North Sea over a broken dike.

But they were stopped now, with the heater off and the windows streaked through fog, and she was crying long silvery tears that streamed down her cheeks amd fell to the damp wool of her overcoat. Her slim shoulders moved forward convulsively with her sobs and he sat in the driver’s seat, his hands shoved deep into the pockets of his own overcoat.

He alternated between trying to ignore her and stifling the compulsion to reach out and try to comfort her, an urge that cried from so far down in his wintry soul that it seemed like the shade of a feeling from some forgotten movie… some world he’d lived in, once, so long ago that it was spring there.

He tried to burrow down to find that feeling somewhere, lost in a snowdrift at the bottom of his emptiness.

But all he found were his fists balled in his coat pockets and a girl sobbing beside him.

previous versions
Monday, September 26, 2005
Friday, March 03, 2006
Saturday, March 04, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006

lyrics
Looking for Trouble

Some people say
Love is a game
but I’m telling you now that I wasn’t playing
when I fell in love with you

Here I go again
Looking for reasons where there aren’t any reasons
Here I go again
looking for trouble… I’m already in trouble

That day in my car
don’t say you don’t know
You held me so close
begging me to let go
I told myself you were just confused

Here I go again . . .
You always said
that it was fate
I’m telling you now
that I was framed
when I fell in love with you

Here I go again . . .

A dog barks
the wind howls through the night
I whisper your name and
stare in the fire
I can’ keep myself from calling out to you

Here I go again
Looking for reasons where there aren’t any reasons
Here I go again
looking for trouble… I’m already in trouble

Copyright 1981
T.K. Major


(C)2008, TK Major

Share