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Lovely Music with no End

A Reminiscence on Decay

By Koby SampsonPublished 3 years ago 8 min read
Lovely Music with no End
Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

He was still up from yesterday.

Gerry had to think hard about the last time he slumbered.

Not that he wished to return to his dreams.

He dreamt mostly of traveling, of taking long walks or bike rides around a twisted version around his old neighborhood, of long drives to no place spectacular. All in the same twisted world.

Maddening stuff.

Mundanity perpetuated into the ether of his dreams and haunted each footfall there. No place where he remained untainted by crushing reality. No refuge nor sanctuary.

It seemed a few years ago there were some modestly lurid carnal dreams, a remnant of pubescence, scattered about, though there were no requisite emissions to be found the next morning. Not anymore at least.

Gerry poured a whiskey straight.

There was a doctor’s watch halfway up his spotty forearm. It told him it was just past five in the evening. He’d happened upon the alleged proper time for drunkenness, based on whose arbitrary drinking etiquette he did not know nor care. This was medicine. He wasn’t one of those burned out and broken down DT-ridden sad sacks and fat fucks who fought daily battles against the stuff in perpetuity. This was medicine and there was a definite deficit of wellness at every stop of the two hands on the clock face. He’d take a drink before he pissed in the morning, at three four five in the morning, after midnight, half past a monkey’s ass and a quarter to his balls.

It ticked on the wall, plastic and hollow, steady like a train, guiding the take-off and landing of each day with it’s waving arms. The apartment would be that much quieter without the goddamn thing, so it must stay.

The old union pacific roared past daily, a jarring and thereby welcome diversion. One of the few organic phenomena that was louder than the inside of his head.

Gerry couldn’t remember if the day had been sunny.

Maybe he had slept.

The medicine left streaks along the inside of the tumbler as he swirled the golden liquid between sips. There was an ancient crystal decanter and four tumbler set on a stainless steel platter. He rotated the four glasses daily. They used to be his dad’s.

The TV had been droning, could have been on for days as far as he cared to guess, cerebellum-molesting drivel so perpetual it did not register. More entertaining than a fan.

Daytime shopping.

The steak knife set looked tempting, awful tempting.

There was a December ‘73 Playboy on the kitchen island, from his old collection, with a Tennessee Williams piece and something about Alan Watts and the most dangerous book. He didn’t know the name of the girl sitting on the crescent moon on the cover, nor did he care to. That kind of classily-packaged smut had long since stopped pitching the tent pole.

He dumped two sleeves of cream of wheat into the boiling water, stirring tepidly. He didn’t care about the lumps. Once it completed thickening, he scooped brown sugar and drizzled rum into the pot, mixed it up and took it over to the couch.

He flicked through the channels as he slurped his concoction, absentmindedly flipping through the Playboy.

He found the Watts article, scanning the words but hardly reading, but some ideas managed to penetrate the fog. He said some things about God that he appreciated.

Gerry had long forgotten the lessons imparted in the Sunday school of his youth, though he had since come back to the Bible in more of an entertainment capacity rather than as penitence. He’d found that the good book was more deranged and wild than anything by Abbey and Castaneda, and used it as sort of a touchstone for discovering man’s inherent capacity for being far out.

There were nights when Gerry sat naked in the middle of the floor with the window open to simulate being outside, back to the streetlights, candles flitting and popping while he read of the spinning wheels of Ophanim the many-eyed one, of an entire city being taken up into God’s lap because they were that goddamn good, of Samson tearing a lion in half and later finding a beehive being formed in the carcass. He harvested the honey and gave it to his guests, and promised them exquisite clothes if they could answer a riddle he conjured up based on this private moment.

What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?

This shit was better than a movie and he could get it for free just about anywhere.

A King needs nothing while a beggar has nothing.

Maybe all of these things happened and now they simply don’t. Or rather the high desert simply has psychonautic capabilities on the human brain. Maybe the old wise men of the bible were onto something when they went out into the wilderness to ponder, to pray. They knew what a man could get himself into out there.

He had heard tell of Amazonians getting themselves into the same sort of trouble down in the rainforest more recently, and of the first world tourists seeking them out for guidance into the larger mental world. The very same botanical components existed in the rainforest as did in the arid deserts of the Holy land.


How goddamned wonderful is it that the moral majority, the Reaganites who fought so valiantly against the wiles of the devil in the form of drugs, were reading aloud and drilling into the skulls of their progeny the wild tales of pants-shitting acid trips as scripture in their own hallowed halls.

The clock struck six.

He rose and dropped his mush into the sink and prepared for his evening ritual.

He prepared his face with steaming hot water from his sink and lathered the soap on from a mug, clearing it away with his straight razor. A few drops of Pinaud-Clubman were dashed on his tender face and neck.

Gerry stripped off his greasy, fried food smelling shirt and put on his starched undershirt from his drop drawer. He slipped on his long woolen socks and the pants of his black Finchley suit. He laced up his nicest pair of leather shoes and tucked in a white button-down, cinched with a faux leather belt from Ross, allowing an extra notch of space for his increasing belly. The floral tie was fastened with the windsor knot, collar firm and jacket sleek. He slipped a gold chain on the opposite wrist from the watch, and took the twin gold band rings from the bureau and slipped one onto each pinky.

He looked himself over in his shaving mirror, reckoning he looked no better or worse than yesterday.

Gerry returned to the living room with a cigar in a sleeve and an embossed jewelry box, setting them down on the end table next to the sofa. He retrieved the cigar from the sleeve, a short Ashton. He took his Pakistan pocket knife and skewered the tip into the middle of the cigar. Holding it by the knife, he lit up and puffed a few times. The zinfandel had been breathing on the counter for a while. He set the cigar down to smolder, opened the window, and poured a glass.

On the way back to the sofa, he took the single 45 LP from its paper and laid it on the turntable, switching it on and letting Transbluency by Sir Duke simmer for a bit.

He settled back into the sofa and took a drag from the Ashton and sipped the wine in tandem.

He took the jewelry box into his lap.

Inside, alongside Meryl’s old trinkets, was a .38 special with one of six slots in the cylinder occupied.

Gerry set it aside and continued to relish his smoke and his glass while the ethereal piece cracked and popped. It did not skip. Never had, yet.

He finished chewing on his grapes by the time the song finished. The player dutifully lifted and retracted the needle.

Gerry, buzzing with the wine and earthy tobacco, put the .38 firmly in his hand. The grip was amber wood etched with tiny bumps.

He pulled the hammer back and placed it at his temple.

He looked out at the sunset through the open window, a deep and rich orange refracted off the cirrus clouds.

He pulled the trigger home.


Gerry held the position for a moment, then took the barrel from his temple, popping open the cylinder and examining the slug in the very next slot.

He held it over his head and spun the cylinder, closing it when it stopped, and placed it back in the jewelry box.

The cup was placed in the sink upside-down, and the box went back in the bureau. He slipped the LP back in the sleeve, and took a last drag of the cigar before stubbing it out. With the blade, he pulled up his sleeve slightly and made a firm incision, a small slit next to the rest dotting the pale flesh of his arm.

He recounted.


Gerry took off his jacket, shoes and pants, putting them each back into his closet, and placed his shirt and socks in the bin, with five more of each waiting on hangers and in the bottom drawer.

His jewelry went back on the bureau, except for the watch.

He dabbed the blood away before it could reach the leather and gold.

There hung in the hallway a picture of Meryl from Spring 1974 at Kapalua. She sat at a tiki bar, cooked from the day at the beach, sunset peeking through a wall of tropical foliage. She had a pina colada and a beer in front of her. All of 22 years old, eyes wild and teeth white.

“Rest easy, babe. Law of averages says I’ll be there soon.”

He will read from Job tonight.

Short Story

About the Creator

Koby Sampson

I’ve been a writer since I was about eight years old, and am now looking to make the transition to professional writer. If I could get paid to do this, each day would be better than the last.

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