7.22-24.15: ROSS MOORE
"You have such wild tales and you're so horribly lost"
I first met Ross last summer on the rooftop of my first apartment in Chicago - grilling hotdogs, sloppily strumming guitars and getting appropriately drunk. I was warned about him before I met him by his two best friends - "Oh Ross. Ross is the worst." These were new friends so I wasn't sure if they were joking or not. But they said it so often I thought maybe he was the worst human being out there.
But then up comes this fellow in carpenter pants with various contraptions streaming out the sides (film stuff) and heavy boots clonking his way with a side grin on his face and a type of atlantic accent you hear in old time radio shows. He was not the worst human being after all, and obviously his friends didn't think so.
Since then we had all become fast and inseparable friends, with Ross doing the job of cushioning and romanticizing all of our friend-escapades as this story teller is prone to do, and though he can be that SOB that makes you want to squash his face - he gives that endearing smile and affirming word that makes you stop and say, "What the hell. Whiskey?"
Below is some of his tale-telling from a couple of his days last week, in true story form. (Some of the names have been modified for security purposes - and there is a transcription below in type to make it easier):
Below is Ross's transcription of his days in case you have a hard time reading the micro handwriting:
Ross Buchanan Moore
Words, Light, Film, Ukulele
"You have such wild tales and you're so horribly lost."
-Conversation with Cynthia Harrig
My cat is named What. It was the first word I said to her. She is a sage of some sort, not like any cat I've met before. Her face looks like a gorilla and her body a blimp. I thought little on naming her cause I figured names should be chosen but would the first thought that a self-aware creature would have in life be a question?
"What is going on?"
"What am I?"
DAY ONE. 22 July 2015
Song of the Day: What A Diff’rence a Day Made – Dinah Washington, 1959
Around four a.m. I was jolted out of a terrifying nightmare. The last time this happened must have been years ago but waking up sweating, breathing hard and in a state of panic is no way to start a day. My call time to set was for six and it was only thirty minutes away from me. For the last three days I have been staying in my abandoned childhood home. It's on the last month of its tenure before some other family moves in. The first day I was to stay here I regrettably moved out every piece of furniture. Chairs, table’s beds, the refrigerator and couches. Only until I closed the hatch of the truck and smack the tailgate waving, "Bon Voyage!" to my father did I realize I had nothing to sleep on except floors. Today marks the third time I've slept on the floor this week.
It must be pretty obvious that waking up from a nightmare on a floor in an abandoned house is not ideal. Granted there was no going back into the land of nod for this fellow. So I picked myself up, put water on (and in) the face, stretched and took a walk. The rhythmic sounds of the early morning insects started to put my frantic mind at ease. In these mysterious hours all I heard was, "Tsica tsica tsiCA TSICA TSicatsciaca..." also the beat of the express trains from the country delivering the scores of suits to the city,"chico-ga-chica-ga- chico-ga chico-ga, TA-TA- Chicoga" Almost like the engine was saying "Chicago" over and over. Damn fine symphony for 5 a.m.
I arrived on set around Five-forty-five to start the preparations for the day. I am gaffing a shoot film set in Elmhurst, Illinois. It's some coming-of-age story that I didn't really like but I'm a bit strapped for cash. Gaffing is a term we use for being the head of the lighting/electrical Department. The call sheet (which I didn't read) said they would be doing exterior shots all day. This meant that with their small amount of supplies it would be pointless for me to stay around. I also didn't want to be in Elmhurst.
Almost a decade ago I worked in a quarry a few blocks away from where we were shooting, I also fell madly in love with a lady around that time and area. Both of those are long over so I'd be fine with still fading. I packed up my gear, set up anything the crew needed and headed for the train to check on the office.
My nine to five is working as an assistant professor and helping to run the Advanced Camera's Department at Columbia College. Now that my boss is on her month long vacation she left it all to me.
I walked into the mailroom after a hefty train ride. Sheila, the lady in charge of the mail greeted me with a shear look of doubt.
"Mornin', Dear." She raised her eyebrows at this but with the hint of a smile I knew she loved the charm.
"You got two clowns actin' like fools upstairs."
"In the office? Do they work there?"
"They ain't doin' work if they're s'ppose be workin' I went up to tell you a few packages arrived but you're late today...again."
“I’m doing a job out of the city the commutes rough.”
Sheila didn’t give a damn about this, but some motherly instinct in her puts herself above all others, in her own head.
“Mmhmm. You look hung over.”
“Better than coming to work toasted…or maybe not.” She always smelled too much of perfume which covered up her vodka sweats. Frustrated she ended the conversation.
“This whole corner over here, this is yours and I’m not able to help you move it.”
“In the mailbox, do you receive personal mail here too? Comcast keeps sending you letters, late notices I’m guessing.”
“I receive all my mail here. Don’t worry about the packages I’ll send the clowns to get ‘em soon.” And with that I was out. Victory.
When I entered the office Tommy was asleep with his head on his arms in the corner. I do not like to wake people up so I went to my desk and started typing letters then figured out what needed to be done for the day. On the far side of the office the other ‘clown’, Kurt, was playing my guitar on the fire escape and yelling on a megaphone to the passerby’s on the street five floors below.
“FUCK THE PACKERS! GO HOME CHEESE HEAD! ~Guitar riff~ WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?! FUCK THE PA-“
“Kurt!” I put on a loud, demanding tone, as he didn’t realize I came to work. This almost made him fall off the fire escape.
“Ross! Good to see you I didn’t think you were coming in today.”
“I wasn’t. Do us all a favor, don’t curse at strangers on the street while at work.”
“Aw, they can’t get up here, watch!” he said as he saw a group of skate boarders in an alley. “GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE, SKATEBOARDING SUCKS!”
The skaters ignored him. He laughed madly.
“Come inside, we got work to do. Can I see that megaphone?” I asked.
“It’s all yours.”
I retreated back into the office, went up to Tommy, still asleep, and switched the siren mode on. The way he woke up made me fear that I almost gave him a heart attack. Now that they were both awake I gave to them a list of jobs to do. First, starting with visiting the mailroom and driving Sheila nuts.
The day passed as normal after all the work was done I continued to write for this project. Tommy and Kurt came up with a game; throwing a huge ball of tape at a trampoline and into a trashcan. Unfortunately the trashcan was located right in front of the film camera lockers. So each time they missed, which was often, it would slam into a locker with a loud thud possibly damaging a camera.
“Guys, this looks like a great game-“
“But move the can so you’re not catapulting our camera’s with the heavy tape ball.”
The order triggered something, “You’re right” replied Tommy.
“Ross, what would be your dream job?” asked Kurt.
“I could see that. Mine was to be a cinematographer for LA and Tommy wants to play for the New England Patriots. But we thought you should think about becoming a Sea Captain.”
I cracked up, “I don’t know how to sail.”
“That’s just superficial but you should consider it.”
“Alright. Lets close down early I want to get some sun before those clouds roll in.”
“Spoken like a true Captain.”
“All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.”
“What?” asked Tommy not understanding the reference.
“Nothing, I’ll see you fellows later.” And I left.
I headed up Michigan Avenue and strolled through the park. A mime tried to get my attention but luckily a gaggle of children prevented this. Once I got to the river I headed down to an outdoor café and ordered a beer. I sat there continuing to write and watched the people pass by. It started to get a little dark from the clouds and the electric signs came on. Water taxi’s, joggers and tourists crowded the paths. I watched a good-looking girl try to take a photo of her self against the tribune tower. She went by and I caught her eye.
“Would you like some help? I shoot for a living.” I asked.
“Thanks, I’d love some I wanted to get the tower behind me.”
“I could tell. Here let me.” I took the photo with ease and invited her for a drink. The waiter came up instantly.
“What’ll you have?” I asked.
“What are you drinking?” she responded.
“Lagunita’s IPA.” I said.
“I’ll have that.”
“Two more please.” I said to the waiter. “My names Ross.”
She told me she was visiting Chicago for the day. She lived out in Mendota, IL a small farming town three hours from the city. Her grandfather and father both used to work at the tribune and hadn’t been to Chicago in years, that’s why she wanted the photo. She was young; seventeen. Hearing this almost made me choke on my beer while she drank hers like a professional adult. After the beers Greta asked how to get to Union Station. I said I had to take a train out as well and I’ll walk with her if she’d like. We left and headed down the river.
Greta put her arm in mine as we strolled, at one point she looked up as if I should kiss her. I turned my head politely. She got the drift. My mind was far from Greta; another lady had recently started to occupy it. We got to Union Station and it was still light out. I said my goodbyes and wished her luck then got onto an express train back to the suburbs.
I got back to set in time to close everything down and wrap. It was a fine day and sure enough there was no need for me. I was content with that. I received another check and left. At the moment I got back to the abandoned house the woman who kept filling my head was waiting for me.
“Hello, ole chap!”
“Do you even know how long I’d been waiting for you?”
“Maybe twenty whole seconds!”
“Damn, you are patient.”
“Let’s get to business.”
I first met Leila during the turn of the year in January. A group of friends (Heathe you were one) all went to a diner we frequented when staying in the suburbs. The night before we had a bonfire and drank like camels. So we were all in need of energy the next morning. Leila was our waitress and the moment she appeared and spoke I was hit. It was actually a crème container my friends, Rusty, and his sister, Holly, were playing with that went south and attacked my in the eye.
Leila has such a charm about her that the whole group wanted to be her friend. So in a very odd and creepy way we proposed to her as a whole. Holly was the spokeswoman.
“Leila, we were discussing it and we want you to be our friend.”
Leila, with her eyes filled with curiosity and happiness (which they really do) was overjoyed.
“Really? I’m overjoyed! You guys look like the coolest group of friends out there. Am I even worthy, you might get disappointed and shun me!”
“Nonsense, you’re wonderful!”
“Well, I accept! Hello new friends.”
ESP (N) chants filled our heads, “One of us, One of Us!”
We never saw Leila again until a couple of weeks ago. Rusty and Heathe moved to California. Holly lived in Woodridge and I was in the city.
I was on a gig in Plano, IL for a week and stayed in Downers Grove to beat most of the commute. One morning before the shoot I went to the diner and sat by the corner, mostly hidden, so I could work on the preproduction list. Then she silently approached and slammed her hands on the table.
“Alright, look! I’m suppose to be your waitress but Carissa took the table so if you need anything let either one of us know.”
“Friend!” I replied.
“What? Do I know you?”
“No, not really I was here a few months ago with a group of people and we all wanted to become your friend, you accepted. My names Ross.”
“Oh, you guys! Hah, you were the coolest looking group of friends I have ever seen. You all smelled of bonfire and had long hair, well except for you of course. Oh man it’s so nice to see you again. We should hang out soon, let me give you my number.”
“Here, I’m already writing, let me give you mine. What’s your name again?”
And that’s how it began, a day later Leila and I started becoming friends. Flash forward to modern times.
“Maybe twenty whole seconds!” She said
“Damn, you are patient.”
“Lets get down to business, we need some food.”
I took Leila to a small-dive Thai restaurant in downtown Downers Grove. I got incredibly spicy Green Curry and she ordered very bland Pad Se Yu. We headed back to the house sat on the porch and ate. She in a grand chair I brought over and myself on a rotten tiny stool. We made jokes and almost every damn word she says cracks me up. She’s the type of person that uses words like “swell”, “Gosh” and “Heavens”.
I told her once. “I can’t believe you actually say, ‘Heavens’”.
She responded,” Well I used to say ‘Oh, Fuck’ but I work in a family restaurant.”
After a while my brother, John, stopped by. Here’s a little about John.
John Willis and I met in kindergarten because we were both obsessed with making strange noises. We have remained brothers since. John has been the most determined, disciplined and responsible person I know. I always enjoy his company and love his tales. When John was ten years old his parents divorced. It was not a nice one and John had to be in the middle of it. When he was 16 his mom kicked him out and told him to go live with his father. When he was 17 his father left Illinois without a word and also left three months of unpaid rent. John worked his ass off, went to school and paid off his fathers’ debts.
Also when he was 17 he applied to be a carpenter in a trade school. Unfortunately, we were both pretty high in those days and John filled out the wrong form, which resulted in him having to become an EMT. Today he goes to college for the humanities; works round the clock as a specialized Paramedic, has a wonderful wife, two hilarious children and a home out in the country. This being said, I don’t get to see John often but when I do, it’s a fine time.
Once John came by I introduced him to Leila and we all started having more laughs. They got along great and it was good to be around. John is the life of a party; he kept telling embarrassing stories of our childhood, mostly of our fuck-ups which kept Leila laughing and entertained. He would tell her about the ways we were punished by my mom, writing long reports on why we shouldn’t do the stupid things that we did. I became comfortably embarrassed. As the night went on we climbed to the roof of my house and had a few beers, then picked up a pizza downtown and walked throughout the streets eating. Finally, we ended up back at the house and continued the stories of John’s horrifying experiences from being a paramedic.
Leila and I laid on an air mattress I had bought in hopes of not destroying my back and listened in awe.
“And there was one guy who tried to stab his neck off but missed all the vital points and just looked like a Pez Dispensor, oddly enough the doctors were able to sew him up.”
Our faces aghast while John chugged another beer.
“But did he live?!” Asked Leila.
“Probably, but he was out of my realm by then.”
“Yeah but I remember when I had to pick this guy up from County Jail.” John blurted out pointing to me and laughing. My face getting damned red.
“Shut up, John.” I replied but there was no stopping him. I really wouldn’t want to either. The fellow can really tell a wild tale and keep the audience riveted.
However, the sun was long gone and the moon was high above. Eleven o’clock approached and John needed to return to his family before it got late and before we got too toasted. We all had a fine time that night. John said his goodbyes. Leila asked for a hug, almost like a child asking to hug her idol.
“Can…Can I have a hug too?”
“Get over here!” And he gave her a big bear hug while I laughed. John took off leaving Leila and I with one another.
We sat on the air mattress and talked for a bit about other times, writers and what not. Both of us knew we had other thoughts in our heads, well, at least I did and I’m feeling confident she did too. Soon our interaction became romantic and I will leave out the too personal of details. It was the most fine night of the week for me. After hours of laying around I got lost starring at her. She dreamingly opened her eyes, meeting mine which were only inches away and gently asked, “What?”
I smiled and said, “Nothing.”
“Speak now or forever hold your peace.”
After a short pause I told her, “I think you’re the most gorgeous woman I’ve ever seen.”
She buried her head in my arm and said, “Nnnoo.” Being endearingly modest. But I’m sure I meant it.
I asked her to stay the night and in the morning she’d be much closer to her work.
“I was thinking about that too. I’d love that but I need to grab my clothes for work tomorrow. I wish I brought them with me.”
I walked her out to her car and asked her to go to a play with me Friday night. She said yes, kissed me and was off. I rolled a cigarette, sat back and listened to the night. It was 2:00 a.m.
The next morning I woke up to a message from John.
“I liked your lady friend, she’s a keeper.”
DAY TWO, 23 July 2015
Song of the Day: Hey, Bulldog – The Beatles, 1968 & I’ll Remember April – Miles Davis, 1954
I wasn’t able to sleep well last night. I figured it must have been the bare air-mattress mixed with wearing blue jeans and not taking my keys out of my pocket. The keys kept jamming into my thigh and ass while the blue jeans felt not so solid to sleep in and an air mattress is just a substitute for a real bed. Although, I’ve been in much worse scenario’s before like trying to fall asleep in the central southern jungle of Colombia using a plastic bag for a pillow and towel for a bed or being outside an abandoned gas station in the middle of gothic looking Kansas using a bench and getting destroyed by mosquitoes or, God Damn, sleeping at any relatives house, that’s always another circle of hell.
I awoke just starring off. I don’t know for how long but when consciousness fully got me it was around 7:15 a.m. Got up, washed the face, walked into the backyard and filled a bowl with mulberries from the tree then washed them with the hose. I sat on the back porch psyching myself up for another twelve hour shoot. If you don’t know much about the Mulberry, you should. It’s a brilliant fruit. The mulberry closely resembles the blackberry and raspberry. It tastes sweet and can also be used as dyes for painting or fabrics. After harvest season (nowish) you can create baskets from the branches. Growing up, my mother had dozens of these around the house. They last forever. I was told that mulberry’s had a dark red color because two lovers who tragically died were heard by the Gods who turned the color of the berry from white into red to honor their forbidden love. Anyways.
I drove over to the set and prepared for the day when the Cinematographer, Fiona, came up and said they were not renting a gear truck and all I had to light with was bounce boards, neg fill and a few china balls. I knew that she knew better than this but I started to see an aspect of the work force I never contemplated. We were all getting paid but someone wasn’t listening to our leader. The producers decided they knew better on how to cut back on casts. Unfortunately, this meant my job continuing to be nothing.
“This film is going to look like filth.” Fiona said.
“How the hell can they just cut out lighting?” I replied.
“The director says he wants it to look completely natural.”
“The guys an idiot, Fiona.”
After a few minutes I suggested we walk from the project.
“He hired us to obey him not to do our art. It’s really stupid. If he wants someone to hold a camera and press record he can use the PA. I can’t do this.”
Fiona stayed to finish out the day but I left shortly after wishing them all success. I walked to the quarry to visit the old drunks but when I showed up I decided to just walk around to the back, hop the fence and stare at them from high up.
I couldn’t see any faces from the ledge but being able to hear the thunderous sounds of the Caterpillars and repetitive bangs of the jackhammers was enough. I laid on my back out of sight and stared off into the sky for a while. I got a message from Cara, my old roommate, right as the lunch whistle rang. She wanted to hangout and grab some grub. I told her to come by the apartment in an hour. I threw a rock into the pit and was off, back to the jungle.
Cara arrived right as I did. The heat wave Chicago has been facing has made everyone mad, sweaty and anxious. Cara was no exception. She had on a small leather boots, a black shirt and jean shorts but she also carried a package with her when she entered through the back door.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Joe, got me a camera and …well can you teach me how to use it?” She asked humbly like a child. Now it made sense why Cara wanted to hang out.
Cara has always been like a little sister to me since the day we met. My friend Rust and I were looking for a roommate and it was either between a failing comedian from San Francisco or the adorable girl fresh from Mexico. We met her at a bar to “interview” her, which meant just making sure she wasn’t insane. Rusty left earlier as I was getting heavily toasted with Saul. By the time we arrived at the bar Rusty and Cara were having a pleasant conversation. Then the two drunks came by.
“So what do you do in Chicago?” Asked Rusty quite politely.
“I’m between jobs at the moment. My previous job didn’t work out.” Cara said nervously
“That means she got canned!” I blurted out.
“Don’t worry , we’re all jobless! Ross is in college, Rusty’s just faking it and I’m an artist. We’re a whole lot of Bohemians!” Saul explained.
“A wonderful lot! Who needs a job anyways?” I added. Saul and I started laughing uncontrollably; Rusty hung his head down in embarrassment.
“Actually, Ross works at Columbia College and I am a barista at Intelligencia Coffee.” Rusty said correcting us.
“Well I think I’m going to work at a bar soon.” Cara was lying but we didn’t care at that point. Bring her on in! And that was how we met our little sister. Back to the journal.
Cara entered the kitchen asking for help with her new camera her boyfriend had giver her. It was a fine tool and there was much to explain. I told her about aperture sizes in relation to shutter speeds and what the ISO is. Her camera had many “fancy” features about it but I suggested keeping with the basics to learn elementary skills then moving on to the rest. It was impressive the amount of focus Cara paid attention with. She really wanted to learn all about photography. Perhaps it’s because her mother was a photographer or, more likely, she just loved taking pictures and wanted to learn.
I suggested that we go take a walk through the park for practice. In reality there is a great taco joint south of Humboldt Park where I wanted to stuff my face at. We took off and about a block down the road Cara spotted something dead hanging from a tree.
Next to the boulevard hung a severed cow tongue. Don’t worry I took picture for you all. It was about a foot long and was wrapped up in itself held together by an intricate pattern of colored pins. Fleas and bees covered the tongue. We stayed there for a while staring at it. Then onward to the park/taco stand to order anything but cow tongue products.
While devouring savory tacos of all sorts Saul strolled into the restaurant ranting about a few poisonous mushrooms of mine that he ate. His hallucination trip was wild. For a bit he caged himself up in the apartment then adventured to the beach. He saw a herd of dragonflies hunt mosquitoes and bats hunt the dragonflies. At one point the sunset took over his whole being and became wrapped in the awe and wonder of the universe. Then he biked some more.
We walked back, stuffed from the tacos, to show Saul the tongue. After doing some research we found it was a ritual from Santeria. Our neighborhood is mostly Puerto Rican. The cow tongue is suppose to be performed when a person practicing Santeria wants somebody who is known to them to remain silent about something or just stop gossiping.
Soon Cara left while Saul and I headed to the café. Saul drew and read a book I recommended him, “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” by Haruki Murakami. A fine piece of literature. When I finished writing yesterdays article I remembered that I promised to take Leila to the theatre tomorrow night. Frantically, I searched for tickets to the show but it was all sold out. Damn you, Procrastination. All the other shows and plays in the newspaper looked very depressing and as the manipulative sex-driven mind goes, if I wanted to have a fun passionate and romantic night perhaps a depressing play about abortion, the holocaust or death might not be the best option.
I sent out an S.O.S. message to all the theatre actors I knew in Chicago. Immediately they sent back ideas. One in particular sounded great to me. Bard Fiction recommended by Lauren S. Deaton. This play was designed to emulate the cult film “Pulp Fiction” as if William Shakespeare wrote it.
“Gold!” I thought. Although there is one other thing you should know about Leila. She has hardly seen any films. A complete alien in my world. The fine folks I work with hold film up as the greatest art form. (I disagree) And, the moment I paid a fine amount for those tickets I knew she would say, “Is this a good time to tell you I’ve never seen Pulp Fiction?”
It creaked me up the moment I heard it.
“Whoa, that is on the most attractive things.” I wrote to her.
“Oh well. Gonna have to dive in head first.” She replied.
The night approached fast. All in all, Saul and I went to a bar. Got a drink, met with some friends went home, watched a film then I went to bed early. Not much to say about that.
DAY THREE, 24 July 2015
Song of the Day Fever- Elvis Presley, 1960
At 6:45 a.m. the heat woke my up. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is just this heat wave that destroys any way of sleeping in. And, apart from the growing lack of sleep, which feels like it has been cumulating since I was Twenty, I was very much appreciative to naturally wake up early in the morning again. It seems as if the rest of the neighborhood is on the same page. No one around here really has air conditioning and if they do it’s just a lame window unit. This means that all conversations and noises can be heard. Especially in an airshaft with all the other tenants. Even at Seven A.m. a heated argument between siblings began, a radio station of mariachi music blared and sounds of some passionate love making were clear. I love my neighborhood.
The smell of friend eggs and bacon are enough to bring me to my feet. To cover the noise I put some old Marx Brothers sketches on and started to prepare for the day. With the help of Groucho, Chico and, my favorite, Harpo getting ready is a cinch. Such good fictional friends.
I entered the streets and strolled to the nearest diner. Saying Hello to people on their morning commute. The crossing guard always has the best responses. Today she said, “Don’t look too long into the Sun.” Since I was starring up into the sky before greeting her. Sage advice.
At the diner I ordered my usual, a Mexican omelet and pancakes. The waitress kept giving me sweet glances as I wrote. I shoved in the food with record timing and devoured the pancakes like a wolves. Then I gathered my belongings and took the subway to work down town.
On the train I was going over the final touches of a mix tape I had made for Leila. There is a very subtle art about using another’s poetry to express what you’re feeling. You can’t be too direct, especially when making the first compilation. No songs with lines like “I love you” “Only you” or “You and me” bleh. Too much and the audience might not see that the message you’re sending is for the beauty of the song, not that you’re actually having Sam Cooke say “I love you” seven times in a row. So for this one titled Roadside Heat Wave, I started it out with the timeless classic Feelin’ Good by Nina Simone. Mmm, powerful, free and flowing. Feelin’ Good says everything about summer. You see the first song and the last song are the most important in my opinion. I’ve got to open up the show with something that’ll make the audience excited, then the first follower comes in. The second song shows your diversity. Give them something to think about, “What does he mean right here?” “Where is he going with this?” Keep them wanting more! The first rule of entertainment, right? For the second song I chose Soothe Me by Sam and Dave. Ah, sweet, easy and gentle Soothe Me. Always a nice reminder of driving through Chicago on a hot summers night.
The rest of the mix tape is for her so I won’t tell you any more except for the theory of the last song. This is your conclusion, wrap up all the tune, moods and themes of your tape and then push it further. Give ‘em something to really think about but bridge to the beginning of the tape, as most times a person will have the C.D. Player on repeat. Turn it into a circle! Connect the ends so the tape could be stopped and start at any point but there is clearly a beginning. I’ll just tell you all I ended it with a Beatles song from 1969.
Somewhere around Xavier Cugat I walked into the office and found that four employees had decided to stop in and work. That meant there was no need for me to be there. Hell yeah. The phone voice mailbox was empty and the email had no new request.
Around 12:30 my friend Marilyn walked in to visit. Marilyn is an extremely gorgeous woman. She helped me out acting in a couple films I shot through the spring however she is also a gifted director and has a fine personality. When she enters a room, like today, every person turns their head to her. In my world she’s kind of like the femme fatale I became good friends with instead of being psychologically ruined or murdered. She might be terribly insulted by that but I mean it with the most respect. She’s purty cool.
She came into the office to hang out as it has been about a month since we last saw one another.
“Ross.” She said. I was too busy on the phone with Comcast while simultaneously typing an email to notice at first.
“Ross!” She said a little louder. I hung up the phone.
“Hey, darlin’, welcome to Advanced Camera’s!’
“Thanks” she laughed.
“Let’s get the hell out of here.” I said.
“Sounds good to me.”
I said my goodbyes and took off. We walked through Grant Park and sat under a tree drinking some iced coffee from the café on 8th and Wabash.
“Where’ve you been the last few weeks?” She asked.
“All over, down south toward Panama, up north to the Peninsula. Haven’t had much time, where the hell have you been?”
“I got promoted at work.”
“Of course you did. Better pay?” I asked but she paused not saying much.
“Just more work.”
“Damn. Demand it. Don’t do more for nothing unless you’re completely passionate about It.” –(Thank you Don Julio Billboard on Fullerton “If you have passion, you have everything.” What bullshit.)
“Well, now I’m no longer a sales person.” She works for a sunless tanning company and was awarded as the best salesperson they have in Illinois. Also she’s very strict about not being called any masculine term like ‘salesman”,” dude,” or “man”. It’s a bit frustrating. “I started managing the suburban branches of the company and all I do is work. Sun up, Sun down, in my sleep and while I eat. I have no time for anything.” She said.
“That’s a pain in the ass.” I replied. I used to think her working as a sales person was a waste considering her filmmaking background but then I heard about the money she made and realized I overlooked such obvious reasons. She had to pay back her loans. Marilyn wore a flowing white sundress with a black top and a gold necklace that housed a golden sword. We talked about work then she opened up and mentioned some troubles with an ex-boyfriend moving in with a new lover. I become uninterested at this point, almost being a former romance of hers and said, “Forget about that. He can go to hell for all you should care. Let’s get a drink.”
“Actually I have to go teach a class on stage combat to some high-schoolers. Thanks for seeing me.”
“My pleasure, dear.”
We said our good byes and took off. I grabbed a sandwich and sat in a deli for a moment. Then I left, I had a date in an hour and wanted to get to it.
By the time I got back to the neighborhood I received a message from Leila saying she’d be by in twenty minutes. With the summer heat wave in full intensity I stunk like an old dog, was covered in sweat and probably as red as a tomato. I arrived home and Saul was lounging around in just his undershorts. The kitchen reeked of fish; there were a dozen dishes in the sink and hundreds of fruit flies in the air.
“What the hell?” I thought. “Shit. Ten minutes till she comes by.”
Quickly I said hi to Saul. Then leapt into my room to start burning the mix tape. While that was going I ran to the kitchen, lit some incense to cover the fish smell, took out the old trash, emptied What’s litter box and started on the dishes. Saul moseyed over and started causally eating raw honey comb.
“No time” I continued to think. I cleaned up the honey and spoon then went to check on the mix tape. On the way I received a message from Leila.
“Parking, be right there – L”
The tape was almost done. I walked into the front room and there is Saul, lifting weights while watching a film set during World War II.
“Nnnooo!” I unconsciously blurted out.
When Saul was 18 he was a body builder. Lately, he has had a lot of free time and is doing a swell job at getting a muscular beach body again. This is the second time in a week Saul has started working out half-naked moments before Leila comes by.
“Nnnooo!” I unconsciously blurted out.
“What, man?” Saul shockingly asked.
“Sorry, my mind went blank for a second. Leila’s about to come by any moment and I have to take a shower. Do you think you can not sculpt the guns, half naked while watching ‘Fury”, put on some clothes and chill with her while she waits?” I said.
Saul cracked up. “Of course, man. Probably not the best scenario.”
At the moment Saul got his clothes back on Leila was coming in the door. I took a shower and they talked. It was good.
Then I got dressed in nicer clothings. Leila looked absolutely beautiful with a sultry long red dress on. Gah. Already melting my heart. We took off and walked to Sultans Market in Wicker Park for Shawarmas. I don’t know what’s in it but I know it can come spicy and bland which is perfect for our taste buds. She was so excited to watch the guys prepare our sandwiches. It was band new to her and the lady is great with curiosity. Her natural self charmed all the chefs and employees. I enjoyed seeing their coy smiles and blushed cheeks from being flattered but this lady. She just has that way with people.
We sat, ate and talked our conversations never end. She had a passionate rant on why she will never read Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. When she was finished she apologized and all I could do was stare at her. I never heard someone give such a damn about a writer before. Leila loved Harper Lee and out of respect she refused to read a book Ms. Lee never wanted published. I was done for, heart completely melted. Afterwards we picked up two donuts and walked the Skyway (606 trail) home. Once we were back we had about a half hour till we needed to leave. Saul was still watching ‘Fury’ and now it was near the end. We went into my room to rest a bit before the play began. It was 6:30 at night; we didn’t come out of the room until 9:30 in the morning. The rest remains private.
-Ross Buchanan Moore
July 22, 23, 24 2015.
An excerpt of a phone conversation with Mr. Moore will be available soon on the Playing by the Hours Blog.