The King of Bad Ideas

    I feel that most people aim to do good, but as I have seen in my own experiences, the complete opposite seems to flourish in the midst of my attempts to have discipline and respect for myself, as well as those around me. After my evil deeds are through, my mind settles back down towards humanity, whereas before I was a werewolf or a ghoul. Each boundary of “I’ll never do THAT” seems be crossed at some time. There is ample evidence to convince me that I am a scumbag and I wonder why this continues when I try to be a righteous dude. I am acquainted with a guy who may be able to offer me some insight, the King of Bad Ideas.

    The King of Bad Ideas is not a friend of mine but his number is always in my contacts, so I asked if he’d be willing to be interviewed by me. He agreed and said he’d see me at my home in five minutes. Five minutes later, I invited him in.

    He is tall and carries a canvas bag. I don’t know how old he is and it would be hard to guess, with a face that is so weathered, but not old, and hair flicked with white strands. He has a slinky stride that reminds me of a tomcat who may come up to mingle before he slashes your hand and darts off down the top of a fence. When I saw him, I asked, “Hey, man, how have you been?”

    “Oh, you know, that survival thing,” he cracks a grin, showing his straight, yellowed teeth. We laugh and shake hands. “I know you’re trying to get some business shit done but-“

“Well, I wouldn’t really call it business, I’m working on things I’m interested in and-“

    “Have fun doing,” he re-interrupts, “I get it, I’m the same way. Work and play is all the same. Nothing else is worth the time. If you can’t have fun doing it, or you aren’t getting what you’re after, don’t do it. Anyways, let’s hang out and spit some conversation at each other.”

       “Alright then, would you like some beer, Fizz?” Without hesitation he produced a new bottle of bourbon from his bag and handed it to me. I took it from him and poured two glasses. We sat down and the conversation rambled around as we drank. We talked about my dog and he asked if I would let him borrow my Robert Johnson recordings. He told me about his recent trip to the Adirondack Mountains, which didn’t sound at all like a bad idea.

      Fizz opens up his pack and pulls out a bag of powder. “Want some speed?”

      “I’m fine with the whiskey right now but thank you.”

       He takes a large bump off of his pocketknife, then takes another one before lighting up a cigarette. “Ok, well feel free to ask anytime, man, really, anytime. You are welcome!”

      “Thanks,” I said, watching him take one more before returning it to the hidden expanse of his magic bag.

      “Want some CD’s? I bet you didn’t think that I would have prepared a trade for the music of good Mr. Robert Johnson, eh?” He held them before my face and flipped through the stack, as if his discs and hands were a twacked-out slideshow presentation.

      “Captain Beefheart, Skip James, Latyrx, Townes Van Zandt, Bulbous Creation (Hell yes),” I squinted, “Man, you must know me too well, I already have most of th-“

      “GODDAMMIT!” He smacks his hand down on the ground.

      “Whoa, whoa! Take it easy, amigo! I said ‘most’ of it. I don’t have the new Latyrx EP and I’ll check the rest of it out in a bit. You need to chill out, man, we just vibe to the same music.” I joked, “I’d think that people would be surprised that the King of Bad Ideas is into this stuff.”

       He lights up another smoke and wipes the sweat off of his brow, “I’m the King of Bad Ideas, not the King of Bad Taste. There’s a big difference. Check out how the Satan-devil-dude is portrayed as a really slick guy. No one would play his game, otherwise. Why would you? See, there’s this goofy knucklehead paired with rocky paths that will most surely lead to the destruction of your soul?! No way would that work for him! Appeal, man, that’s the entry point. If that’s there, people are willing to ignore all the heavy reality until they bump into it like a drunken goon and it cracks ‘em in the jaw.”

      “So you’re comparing yourself to ‘Satan-devil-dude,’ is that who you want to be like?”

      “No, that would suck?”

      I started laughing and asked him why it would suck.

      “Because that dude doesn’t get a break. There’s too many of you fuckers to deal with. I’m better at the one-on-however-many, in person, thing. I like hangin’ out,” he grins without making eye contact.

      “Yeah, me too.” I noticed the whiskey has been expunged and wondered how much time had passed. “Hey, you have any more of that speed. Yeah? Thanks, man. *Sniff* Alright.” We sat as I helped myself to his stash and played “Killed By Death” by Motorhead on my cell phone. “Give me one of those cigarettes.” He hands me one and I light it. “Thanks.”

      “You’re welcome,” he lights one too.

      “So I would think that as the King of Bad Ideas you’d have something of a kingdom but I’m not sure I’ve ever been inside your home. You must have some place that you go to change your clothes, right?”

      “You wonder if I have a Kingdom of Bad Ideas? Why else would I call myself king, man? It’s everywhere, every town and every home.”

      “Hah! You think you own this home? You’re only sitting here because I brought you here to sit. You’re only here because I invited you. You can wait and see what happens if you try to claim this place.” I was smiling wildly, with all of the muscles in my brow tensed.

      “Exactly, you invited me here, knowing who I am, that’s good enough for me. Unlike most kings, I don’t care about stuff.”

      I laughed at him and took a serving from that bag with my knife and put it in my face. “But in that way, you’re my servant. I deal the cards, I just have bad judgment. If I ask you to leave, you’ll do it.”

   “Do you want me to leave?”

      I cackle, “No, man, I’m enjoying myself. I’m just messing with you, don’t get so nervous.”  We both lighten up and lean back in our seats.

      “Well… I don’t think I’ll forget when you tried to stab me,” he laughed. This made me smile but I had to turn my glance away.

      “I did stab you, just not as deep as I intended.”

         “Well, that’s what I meant, you didn’t kill me.” He lowered his collar to show me the scar just under his left collarbone. “I was lucky that we had gone to see those stupid Jacks and Janes. They turned out to be good for something. Hmm, which is what, a barrier between me and your blade?”

         I jokingly whip around my pocketknife prior to dipping it into the bag once more before handing it back to him. “You know,” I take a deep inhale of the powder, “you did land me in a good bit of trouble, you son of a bitch.”

       “Yes, I am aware.”

      “But I’m over all that. The statutes that made my trouble weren’t too good to begin with. They’ve all faded out, far behind!” We giggled like two insane children, though there was an air of sadness that we shared, a mutual acknowledgment that what we had lost to Bad Ideas was never coming back. We have employed haste to that which requires time to grow, snuffing it out time after time, spoken when there should have been silence, and stirred our surroundings with deep dark plans when we should have fallen to sleep’s stillness.

      “At least we get to be alive, talking about it now,” he says.

      “Yeah, I guess.” I leave to get two of the beers that I had offered earlier. I returned and cracked them open with my lighter, handing one to Fizz. He passes me another cigarette. “Fuck, man… My mind’s drifted into dark territory.” I thought about the opportunities that I had forfeit, my friends-turned-junkies who had ripped me off, the friends I had tossed so I could opt for junk, the people who are gone that I wish I could speak to once more, the women that I had loved but left. I take a deep swig of my brew in a feeble attempt to wash these thoughts out of my mind. “Grandma would kill me.”

      The King directs his glance towards me, “No, she wouldn’t. She would still love you. I’m sure she’s still loving you while she celebrates in the afterlife.”

      I rub my eyes out of frustration; I feel weary and old. “I’m too high for this shit.”

      “You solicited it… But either way, I’m just saying, I’m not going to let a guy think Grandma would kill him just because he seeks death, himself. That’s on you, friend, not her.”

      “I’ve solicited everything. You want to listen to some music? It’s the best thing for the drowning of sorrows.”

      “Yes, one song, but then I must be on my way.”

      We sang the words to Skip James’ “Crow Jane” before we shook hands a final time. I let him out the front door and he nodded his head, then turned away and strolled down the sidewalk until he was out of sight. I kept thinking about how I said that I had solicited everything, I still can’t figure out why, but I feel as if it is the truth. I felt wasted and tweaky, the clock had run far past my point of reference, and at the time, as well as now, there didn’t seem to be much more to a bad idea than that.

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