Norman Allan
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Short Stories








I was telling Gerri about my burnt out poet friend. How he was the brightest kid at school and went up to Oxford to study law. He wrote poetry, and one of his poems became a Rock and Roll hit, briefly. He dropped out and fell apart, I learned bumping into him twenty years later. So what good are "brains", I wondered. His life is a toilet bowl.

Gerri said she understood. "Back in the sixties Rock and Roll had cornered the market on orgasm. You just canít imagine the power and glory. I had married a Rock and Roller. I was dancing on Olympus. One day youíre you, youíre me. The next day suddenly you are very special. Over night. You scribble on a napkin, everybody wants to know what it means. The luxury. You could do anything. Close the office for a week, hire a suite at the Ritz, drink Champaign. Call in the best dope. The party was eternal, for those on the inside."

"I was flying down to LA," she said, "with the baby in my belly. The candy man had insisted that I carry five joints of Nepalese down to my man. "Theyíre special. No hassle." As Bobby Dylan said, you had to believe you could walk through walls. I slipped the joints into my cigarette case."

"On the plane I was sitting beside these two heads. One looked like Frank Zappa. The one beside me looked like one of the Grateful Dead. He asked me if I knew where he could score some gear, some smoke. I was an innocent and I had no idea. I said so."

"It turns out he was a narc and he was extraditing the Zappoid after some big dope bust."

"Well, some hours later I remembered the Nepalese and I tapped the Deadheadís shoulder and told him Iíd just remembered I had five joints on me and he was welcome to them."

" "Oh, I only need two," he said." "

" "No. Take them all." "

" "No," he said. He took two." "

"Youíd think the Zappoid might have said something to tip me off, but no."

"So we were disembarking, and the Deadhead just pressed right up against me on the ramp. I thought that was strange. And as soon as my feet touched the runway he reached round to splay his badge in my face. And that was the end of my life. It all went sour after that. Oh, I got off with a warning, but the court case was interminable. Luckily my Drummer Man never turned up at the airport. I was praying he wouldnít walk in on this bummer. He didnít, and he walked right out of my life."

"I stayed with Mama Cass waiting for my court date. But the party was over. Iím a bank clerk now. And Iím bitter. Itís not fun telling your daughter, "Thatís your father on the radio, in that movie up there on the screen," and youíre living in a one bedroom walk-up and not enough money to buy her a bicycle."

"I think thatís what happened to your poet too. He stayed too long at the party, and not long enough."