The Quiet Life of Paul Rudolph, Chapter 1, Pages 3-5
The next installment: taking up where we left off. In the first two pages, Paul has walked from his bedroom to his garage, back to his bedroom and into the bathroom. See what he might do next…a journey into innerspace, a trip through cortexes and lobes and chambers. Action and dialogue give way to the gears and cranks of thought. Can lists and language outdo shoot-outs and back-alley fights in a battle for attention?
The Quiet Life of Paul Rudolph (pages 3-5)
The hangover peaked. Reality was disarranged with flashbacks. Faces from the night before materialized and vanished. His head pounded. Maybe a smoke? Cure with a disease. Delay the pain. Pay Peter to rape Paul. Blackouts surely stealing some fond or humorous memories. Better bad than none. Those who don’t forget are doomed to remember. Remember when you could drink? Could be completely drunk but still there. A code hero? Impertinent intemperance. Pain, anxiety, nausea, guilt. P.A.N.G. of the alcoholic.
All I wanna do is get down, is get down, is get down, in the evening, in the evening and not wanna die tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.
What can honestly be extrapolated from these cloudy apparitions of last night? Call Randall. Chipping away at the archives of the hippocampus with each time traveling voyage? The short term must be weakening. What about Miller’s Magic Number? Shereshevskii’s eidetic memory. Kim Peek: Hoffman’s best role.
He went to the living room with a cup of strong coffee and blazed the coals of his marijuana bowl. His concerns turned to smoke and filled the air. He added some water to the bong from a bottle on the coffee table. Fuzzy feelings from a few tokes blanket cold crapulence. Was not born on the wrong side of the blanket but conceived there. On a chair, sofa, or table? Perhaps! Conceived out of bed-lock, out of wed-lock.
Time passed quickly as he read some from Meditations on First Philosophy, by Descartes, and smoked. He drank coffee. He walked back to his bedroom and into the other room with so many names.
Paul dressed. Brush the lengthening teeth. Wash the wrinkling face. Slick the cowlicks and duck-tails. Trim the soul patch. Squeeze blackheads and whiteheads; the sebum exits like snakes from their lairs. Pluck hair from the concha and vicinity, some as low as the lobe.
He looked hard into the mirror. Limpid gray eyes stolen from Athena. Pallas Athena. Andrea Palladio’s Palazzo Chiericati. Palladium…Any relation between an owl and William Hyde Wollaston? Red vessels of the sclera. The iris and pupil. The gray iris: a cold chromosphere housing coronal loops and spicules. The dilator muscle. The convection zone. Maybe palladium…Put some money into…Inflation. The conundrum of corundum.
Where does the answer lie? Living from day to day. If it’s something we can’t buy. There must be another way.
Paul Rudolph was ready for rehearsal. His memory jogged. Flirted conspicuously in front of Olivia. Ah. Ambulation of abode. Not forgetting…After several laps of the apartment, he went to the garage for the second time that day. Aftermath of aqua vitae.
The garage door opened. Laggard growl—making a kind of whistling sound—rising and folding to its highest resting place—ready for its inhabitant’s exit, slightly trembling, like a woman’s legs after orgasm.
P.R. conceived a vision of his childhood:
Next to the window. Ten years old? The neighbors in their yard. Parents downstairs. Fred and Sarah with some of their progeny. Whistled at them, and they all turned to face the back of their house. Recommenced their confabulation and disport. Whistled again. Still they turned and looked at the back of their house. Whistled again, after which they stood and leaned to look alongside the house.
He laughed while pulling out of his driveway and tapping eighth notes on the steering wheel. Funny they didn’t look up. Most people hardly ever look up—look up to think that we’re revolving around a yellow star, twenty-five thousand light years from the center of the galaxy, one hundred six thousand two hundred seventeen kilometers per hour, metrically speaking.
Rudolph tapped with terminal members the beat from the radio and admonished himself some for his drunkenness. Forget it. Malleate the membranes of cylindrical bodies. Sweat.
On this particular trip, he drove through his Excelsior neighborhood to the Bay View Area. Avoiding highways, he used Mansell Street and Third Street. Children played here and there on sidewalks and among shady individuals, with some of whom he may have dealt under other, previous circumstances. He heard some whistling and yelling and laughing. That’s the chair, Titi; that’s god. The radio blasted. Trite, meandering lyrics accompanied by an uninventive guitar riff. He passed Egbert Street while driving on Third. P. R. Egbert: the ophthalmologist. Studied the Onchocerca Volvulus at Stanford. An argument against god. Blindness. His report that maternal LSD ingestion may cause some ocular malformations for the offspring. Who’d take LSD while pregnant?
He thought of Chris from the night before, telling him they should go camping on Angel Island and take LSD. The modality of the visible not ineluctable. The world as an impressionistic painting. Colors and sparks and the breathing of inanimate objects. Synesthesia. Alan Watts’ assiduously fostered descriptions. Seeing things almost on a molecular level. Maybe should experiment scientifically, not recreationally. Hofmann’s bike ride.
Thoughts whirled; he arrived at the business park housing the studio and waited at the gate. He texted, I’m here. Cell phone: Linus’ blanket, as Eco says, though I don’t think he coined it. Lysergic acid diethylamide. Wonder how I managed it so well. Knew nothing of how to prepare. Now I know. Use as entheogen. Did it open something? Knew some dolts who did it. They didn’t change. Some were scared. I was…
Paul jumped in his seat and looked in the rearview to see Skip laughing through the windshield of his Civic. He’d bumped the rear of Paul’s car softly, jarred and startled him. From the opposite direction, Kevin’s Chrysler was decelerating.
”Paulie!” Skip yelled out the window. He opened the gate with the remote.
The three cars pulled in and parked. The men exited their vehicles. Typical niceties ensued: fumbled fist bumps, half shakes and half slaps. They talked briefly of whether or not the guitar player, arriving shortly, would be permanent. They walked inside carrying their burdens of amps, bags, cables, cases, speakers, and stands.
A music studio: an anodyne for Paul, an analgesic with no negative side effects. He entered one as one might enter a church, mosque, or synagogue: not as a priest, imam, or rabbi might enter those respective edifices, but as one might. At the trap set he dropped his equipment, closed his eyes, and stretched. Staring at the blackness through the conjunctiva, a white circle with a secant line formed in his vision. He fell into a modified form of meditation. Tahyler and Keith arrived. Skip tuned his guitar and Kevin his bass guitar in discord.
”Yo, Rudolph. Hey, Paulie! PAUL!”
Rudolph opened his eyes and the circle and line disappeared. He looked at Keith cradling his saxophone while sliding the reed into the mouthpiece. Chick with that birth-control device that felt like the mouthpiece of a brass horn.
”Keith,” Paul said in long monotone.
They shook hands. After one show at the Red Devil Lounge, Paul and Keith had drank and conversed with the female lead singer of another band for far too long after last call. They resisted and were rude when asked to leave. This had angered the bar staff and infuriated Skip; he fell out of favor with the bar for some time, but had regained it after a few stellar shows.
Paul went back to stretching. The circle with the secant line was not there. Keith was now talking to Kevin. Tuning continued. Paul sat at the drum throne twirling his sticks, warming his wrists. He greeted Tahyler with a nod.
Practice began in earnest. The songs played ranged from andante to presto. Time signatures of four/four were most common. Odd times, mainly threes, were used sparingly. Bars of supreme cohesion provoked twinkles of rapture. Paul occasionally felt the tempo push and pull, each musician imposing his perspective of space. P.R. despised any waver in time, and he educed all his vanity in these moments. No, Accelerando Ritardando. No!
Tahyler’s eyes…Skip…syllabic singing. Kevin. Listen. Fingers. Thumb and index. Keith’s solo. Sixteenth note triplets. Snare drum, bass drum, paradiddle fill. Tempo Giusto.