Archive for June, 2011

I Had A Drink With A Dead Man This Afternoon

Posted in Uncategorized on June 4, 2011 by billyg67

I haven’t posted a blog here at the good ol’ Diary Of A Gladman” blog site for a while. And I thought that little title for this particular piece would grab some attention.

Maybe it did…maybe it didn’t….but I’ll go on to explain the origin of the title a bit.

I had just gotten off the phone with my closest friend in the world….Frank Raynor. We had a great conversation. He helped me through a few things he knew was troubling me. I’m telling you good friends like Frank are harder to find than a golden ticket to the chocolate factory.

Afterward I took a shower and washed off the remnants of two and half hours of yard work. The shower felt good over muscles that have had their fair share of abuse the last few days. Found myself working on some orders at work the last two days of the work week that were a little on the heavy side. Thursday night I rode 24 miles on the local bike trail with another long time friend and former guitarist, Rick Lazear (we were in Perilous Sanctuary, Eternity’s End, and Project X together…and a short lived version of Misled)….and Friday night I was out playing a couple of rounds of disc golf with more friends of a high quality nature…Tim Hagans and Martez Sparks. (But after the way the two of them beat me up on the course….maybe I don’t want to be friends with them any more….just kidding.)

The shower was just what the doctor ordered…..turned on some tunes (Diamonds And Pearls by Prince was the first song that came on…immediately I thought of my dear departed friend Darrell “Buff” Buffington as I always do when I hear this song….the man loved this song and actually sang it quite well…the thoughts of his silly ass sitting at his drawing table singing that song….in a cloud of incense as he drew still haunts me in a pleasant sense of that word to this day.)

….made lunch….pizza rolls and cottage cheese….turned off the music and decided to read a comic book. Micronauts #30. I try to read at least two comics from my collection every day and I kind of got sidetracked with the Micronauts as I was reading my “Cosmic Marvel” long box.

The combination of the physical end of the last few days, burning the midnight oil last night (as I always do on Friday nights), a soothing shower, and a full stomach made me drowsy. I fell asleep and dropped my book right after Princess Mari and Commander Rann got swallowed by the whale (thingie) and Bug realized he was going to have to go under water in an attempt to rescue them…..

Bug hates water.

I forced myself to wake enough to finish the book (which wasn’t boring by any means). Somewhere the melody of the ghetto ice cream truck got sucked into the window by the fan locked in place there fighting off an early June afternoon that was about 20 degrees hotter than early June should be….and I decided….screw it. I’m taking a nap. I love naps. Nap is one of my favorite three letter words. I take one every day at work (during lunch) and I thought a short nap would feel great.

I was right. The nap was great……the dream I had during the nap was rather weird.

I have weird dreams….several of my songs and stories have been inspired by my weird dreams for years. I blame my over hyper imagination. Whatever the case I have written scenes from my dreams in songs, stories, blogs and role playing games for decades. This afternoon I find myself writing about aspects of yet another dream.

I was in a bar. (I don’t go to bars very often and when I do it’s to listen to local bands and I never drink anything other than soda…I only just recently celebrated 10 years of sobriety). The place was empty but at the same time full of cigarette smoke from a room full of un-seen smokers, I guess. I had never been in this bar but at the same time recognized it immediately. It was a strange hybrid hodge podge mish mash of Walden’s Night Club (my band Violent Whisper played that club quite often….I played my last show with Violent Whisper at this bar….just over ten years ago….the same night I had my last drink)…and a place called the Liberty Belle.

Funny thing is….the Liberty Belle ain’t a real bar. It’s a bar I created as a backdrop for two comic books I write….Necrotrancer and the Un-Naturals. Strangely in the comics I write….Buff is the bartender and owner of The Liberty Belle. A bar that is actually haunted.

It appeared this bar had a ghost too.

Sitting at a corner table, all by his self was one man nursing a bottle of Wild Turkey…I knew the man and his drink of choice all too well.

The man was indeed Darrell Buffington. Buff has been dead since Feb. 2000…eleven damn years ago. Buff didn’t drink…or rarely drank. He was diabetic and diabetes and alcohol don’t get along so good.

I pulled up a chair…he smiled and poured me a drink. And then he spoke.

“Thanks for coming by and seeing me this past Monday”. Monday was Memorial Day. My wife Ellie and I visited the final resting places of my father….then my sister….my grandparents…an aunt and uncle….and finally Buff. Buff’s headstone was overgrown a bit. Ellie and I spent a few minutes clearing the tall grass from the marker.

“I try to make it every year….sometimes I don’t make it.”

“You make it more than others.”

I took a drink of my shot of whiskey….it was like kissing a woman for the first time all over again. I put the shot glass down.

“You look good for a dead man” I said.

“So do you” he replied.

During the dream Buff’s comment did not really bother me…it just seemed to make sense somehow. But after waking up that statement bothered me quite a bit. Buff died when he was 44 years old. I will be turning 44 in just a few weeks…in late July. And yes immediately after waking up I counted the days…thankfully the amount of days between today and my birthday is not 44. It’s 51.

If it was 44 I think I would have pissed down my leg.

Back to the dream….weird….last night I read Micronauts #29…..and they fought Nightmare….an old for of Dr. Strange’s…..

“You wanted to talk” Buff continued.

I did?

“I….don’t know what to do.”

“You never did.” He tried to re-fill my drink, I waved it off. Even in my dream I wanted no more of the demon living in that bottle. “And you’ve always been a pussy. You and I both know that. You can’t hide that fact. You’re afraid. You’ve always been afraid.”

“Afraid of what?”

“Failure. You’ve always been afraid of failure. You hate that word a whole fucking lot and I don’t really know what it is about failing that scares you so damn much.”

At this point in the dream I knew exactly what Buff was going to say next…I’ve heard this speech several times while he was still living and when he wasn’t singing Prince songs.

“Failure is easy. Any damn idiot can fail. It doesn’t take brains or balls to fail. People smarter and braver than you fail every day. What you should be afraid of is success. Success is a scary motherfucker.”

And in the past….this was where Buff would stop. It was enough.

In this place… in this dream he continued.

“Finding success is hard. It takes more than time and money….it takes blood, sweat, and tears. It’s like climbing a cliff wall covered with thorns. To quote David Lee Roth you got to bleed for it baby. Sometimes you lose more than you gain in the effort. Friends fall to the way side and they curse your name as they plummet back to the ground….but if you really want it you keep climbing until you get to the top. And then you get there….success. Everything you ever wanted…..and she’s the sexiest damn bitch you ever laid your eyes on….but you can’t even say her name. She laughs at you. Picks you up…chews you up….and spits you out. Kicks you off the edge and you fall through the clouds and crash and burn like the friends you lost on your way to the top.”

“What then.”

“If you really want it….you start climbing again.”

And then the phone rang….and I woke up. I checked the caller i.d and scanned the number half expecting it to be Buff’s number…which I will never forget…but it wasn’t a number I knew.

Phone numbers I don’t know and me don’t get along very well either.

The dream started to already fade so I wanted to write it down quickly and while doing so…I couldn’t help but wonder what the Hell it was supposed to mean. I don’t feel like I have succeeded at anything…although at times I feel very chewed up and spit out.

How do you measure success?

And does Buff think I have succeeded where he never did…..or do I just fail often enough to entertain him?