The QuickTurtle® Band, The 3 String Wheezer

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`      Howie Burn from CCB’s Radio Show “Tune In, Not Out” was scheduled to pick up the band at the airport.  The QuickTurtles had just left the Philippines and Howie was to meet them when they touched down in Seoul.  They had an interview set up at the restaurant in the hotel.

Unfortunately TBone was in one of his more meditative moods when they debarked.  He commandeered Howie to drop QT and Robbie off at the hotel and then directed Howie to head for the ocean minus a camera man.  Howie really didn’t mind, if he could get a few questions answered on the drive.  He could then write his article in the air-conditioned rental car while TBone traipsed around in the heat.

“I heard your new song, The Blue Guitar.”  Howie remarked.

“Creepy,” TBone replied as he looked out the window at Seoul.

When nothing further was offered, Howie plowed ahead.  “Are you having Alcohol issues, TBone?”

“See that pagoda with the green roof?” TBone asked, “I think that is the place QT and I ate the last time we were in town.  They have great Korean Barbecue.”

“You hungry?”  Howie asked.

“Not now.  I want to get to the beach and look for materials for this instrument that is rattling around in my head.”

“That song, TBone, are you doing okay?”

“Howie, I’m doing great.  It was just a song.  It was at the end of our tour.  We were stuck at the Limbo airport with nothing to do.  I wasn’t drinking or standing at urinals all night except in my imagination.  That’s what song writing is about.  We make it up.  We create something that’s not there.”

“Art imitates life,” Howie said.

“No, life imitates art,” TBone replied and set out to build an instrument that mimicked the chirp of the yellow birds that had been hanging around the hotel courtyard while the band was in Manilla.

TBone built what he dubbed “The 3 String Wheezer”.   After several aborted attempts he was able to pick the bird’s notes almost perfectly on it’s strings.  Now those damn birds keep showing up in strange hotels in places like Norway or Iceland.  Makes you want to chuck a handful of sunflower seeds just to appease them.

Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®

The QuickTurtle® Band, My Blue Guitar

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Beneath fluorescent lights

in crowded terminals

nothing to do but drink

and piss in urinals

too many times too remember.

All the hotel rooms

and tasteless airport food.

Nothing to do but joke

and buck up to the rude

vibe of  Security.

I strum my blue guitar

and fiddle with a verse

to vocalize my angst

and rawness of my nerves.

“My name is TBone Ditty

older and akimbo

pretending that I’m witty

with my blue blue guitar.

I’m feelin awful shitty

but I sing from the heart.

On the road here in Limbo

I’m lookin none too pretty

but I sing and I shout

it’s a pill of a city

where my fans hang out.

My name is TBone Ditty

and I’m down for the count.”

Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®

I Saw It Coming, Part 2

IMG_0984    I Saw It Coming, Part 2

I thought they were probably going to take me into the alley by Gordo’s Liquor Store.  I had been in there and knew there was a recess about half way down that housed the liquor store garbage containers.  It was smelly and full of shadows, a perfect spot for them to do their dirty deed.  I’m sure they had it figured to where they’d be long gone by the time I was able to pick myself up and scramble for help.

I was pretty certain I wasn’t going to need any help.  Of course a little doubt always seems to elbow it’s way in at times like these and this time was no exception.  What if Skinny had the rest of the gang sequestered away in the alley for reinforcements.  In that case, I would be overwhelmingly out numbered and in big trouble.  This wasn’t a Hollywood stunt.  This was real life, mine.

My antennae popped up and went on full alert.  I had to be ready for anything.

We paused at the alley and both boys looked around.  It was eerily quiet.  The street was mostly empty of pedestrians and devoid of cars.   Mrs. Cooley was putting out oranges in front of her tiny market and there was a lady walking her black poodle near the bank.  Other than those two people nothing was going on.  A surreptitious glance into the alley fortified my belief that it was also deserted.

“This way old man.”

Of course it was The Skinny One with all of his bravado that hissed and gave me a yank.  I had planned to take them by the garbage cans, but the yank disengaged me from The Vulture and I used the momentum to fall and roll.  I grabbed Skinny by the shirt, planted my feet in his groin and tossed him into the alley on the backside of my roll.  There was a disconcerting crunch.

“You Mo Fo!” he growled in obvious pain.

That was sugar to my ears.  I had him wounded but thankful that it wasn’t mortally.

I rolled back onto my feet into a crouch and braced myself to pounce on The Vulture.  But The Vulture hadn’t moved, he was standing frozen at the mouth of the alley.  His mind and eyes looked as if they were running on Meth overdrive.

“What the Hell you lookin at?”  Skinny railed from the alley behind me, “Get the old coot.”

Vulture mustered a hesitant lurch toward me and then stopped as we locked eyes.  He didn’t like what he was seeing and that was enough, he turned and boogied back up toward the bank.

I put my attention back on Skinny.  He had managed to get himself into a sitting position up against the brick of the liquor store.  His left ankle was clearly broken and was going to need a good surgeon to piece it back together.  He moaned.

“I am going to go into the liquor store and call an ambulance,” I said, “But before I do I want to give you a little advice to think about.  You do have the capacity to think, don’t you?”

He glared at me.

“I mean what I say.”  I emphasized.

He continued to glare but was obviously struggling with the pain.  I could see the beginnings of a crack forming in his facade.

“It goes like this,” I said, “The Vulture flew the coop.  It is not a bad thing to do when flying is called for.  He saved himself a world of hurt and a visit to the hospital.  I know in your mind that he saved nothing because he didn’t save you.  It is your intention to hurt him bad because you failed to hurt me.  I’m telling you to drop it.  You and your little gang.  Just leave him alone.  The consequences of dishonoring me and hurting him are not something you can afford.”

My eyes bore into him.  “Do we have an understanding?”  I asked as I pressed him harder with my will.

The pain was more than he could bear.  He dropped his head and looked away.  His body wilted and his bravado vanished into the broken lost child he truly was.  A sob suddenly escaped his constricted throat.

I knelt beside him and gingerly put my hand on his head.  It was a calculated risk I was willing to take.  He flinched but didn’t bite.  To his everlasting benefit, The Skinny One gave in.  He asked for help.

I rose and turned to go.

“Thank you,” he said or he didn’t.  I can’t say for sure, I can only hope.

Part 3 to come soon.  Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®