Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Crazy America" A short story inspired by the songs of Harry Chapin and Warren Zevon

It was nighttime in the switching yard as a werewolf from London sat holding a cat in a cradle. He was attempting to write a love song when the headlights from a taxi broke the darkness and out stepped Roland the headless Thompson gunner, who invited the werewolf to share the cab fare back into Denver, where he was headed to search for things to do now that he was dead. On the way in Roland filled the wolf in on how he was standing in his house as it burned down where he got in a scruff for a gun with an excitable boy, who had started the blaze. The gun went off and blew off Roland's head.

As they rode along they passed a rock that had made America famous years before as a humorous antidotal story featuring a boy afraid the giant stone would spin so fast in a circle, it would carve a deep dangerous cavern in the ground. Most people chalked the story up to the pipe dream of a French inhaler.

Once they arrived in Denver, Roland paid the cab fair and took off with his friends, the ghosts of the members of the dance band on the Titanic, leaving the werewolf alone with the cat. He decided to rent a Studebaker and drive East towards the coast.

As the Sunday morning sunshine began to peak over the horizon, the werewolf was just crossing the Mississippi River and tuned his radio dial to WOLD, where upon he heard a news report out of Scranton Pennsylvania, where a man crashed a truck carrying 30,000 pounds of bananas into a paper packing plant. The driver named Mr. Bad Example, was pleading for the state to send him lawyers, guns and money, to help him rectify the damages, both legal and personal.

It is at this point that the werewolf dropped the cat and the cradle off at a local animal shelter, deciding that America is crazy, and perhaps being on his own may have him singing about being poor and pitiful sometimes, but his new song would not be a love song, but one that celebrated splendid isolation. Otherwise, he could easily see himself wanting to hit somebody, and not in the legal way, like in the sport of hockey. Once he got to the coast he would go back to England, though he would keep a bit of the United States in his heart for a while.