Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
Buon Giorno, Amici!

Our motto ...

Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Doping Game … The Home Depot … The Commitments … Water for Elephants … Playing the Blues … First Annual Casa Stella Summer Bash …


The Doping Game … Forget A-Fraud, Manny, Bonds, the Rocket, Giambi, et al … just when the Knuckled one thought it was safe to drive behind the Stellamobile’s new windshield again the clandestine operation forevermore known as “Here, honey, take one of these …” was perpetrated on his knuckleness. What she had told me originally was she needed help swapping the gas can (or, the propone tank, as the wife insists on calling it) for the barbecue (because it’s heavy). “We need a refill,” she said. The last time I went near one of these "propane tank" swapping joints was a few years back in Manhattan when I drove a friend of mine to the west side so he could swap an empty for a full can.

So, needless to say, there was no suspicion and/or resistance to the game plan when the wife (with such innocence in her baby blues) requested my aid. I figure we drive someplace and drop off an empty, pick up a full one, return to base and I reward myself for a job well done with a Beck's.


Complaining of back, knee and carpal tunnel pain the last few days, I asked for an Advil once in the car. To which she replied, “Here, honey, take one of these.” It was tiny and yellow and looked an awful lot like valium to me. Fifteen minutes later, starting to feel really strange (mellow), the boss directs me into the parking lot of the dreaded Home Depot … which leads to …

The Home Depot … there are several places on my lifelong list of places I never want to go … pretty much anywhere in the middle east (way too many random bombings) is one such place … anywhere in or near the Amazon (way too many random dinosaurs) would be another … there are some sections of the Bronx I continue to avoid (way too many skankie fans) but probably at the very top of the list is The Home Depot. Before I knew it, I was in a complete stupor from what turned out to be valium (I’m very sensitive to any drug and even 5 milligrams was enough to turn me into an obedient zombie). There I was in the middle of some Home Depot with all those dreaded tools (and worse, people who actually knew how to use them!). Fortunately, the drug pusher was in a beneficent mood that day and she let me leave with the full container of explosives before she went walking through each aisle in the store six or seven times each. So, I sat in the car and wondered just how in the F--k, I mean world, I had gone inside that store without kicking and screaming in the first place. By then the valium had taken full effect and I found myself back in Woodstock (I’d never actually gone there, I was too young, but once you’re hallucinating anything is possible) having a conversation with Ravi Shankar.

“Yeah, man, like whose your drummer?” I inquired. “You need a drummer, man?”

“No, sir,” Ravi said. “We don’t have a traditional drummer, you see. We don’t need one.”

“Far out, man. You a Bills fan? I will be once the Jets move to New Jersey.”

“The who?”

“The Jets, man. You know …” At this point I proceeded to spread my arms and pretend to be flying.

“Oh, those guys,” Ravi said. “The Y-E-T-S, Yets, Yets, Yets. I see. Good luck. You’ll need it.”

Eventually the boss returned from her marathon visit to Home Depot with a new garden hose, some gadget that unfolds into a portable floor for the portable sauna she’s getting for her birthday. I’m ruining no surprise here; she’s the one who told me. In fact, the way she put it (after she ordered it) was: “Go ahead, moron, break another windshield and I’ll have an Olympic pool installed.”

The Commitments … funny, funny movie about a Dublin band dubbed the Saviors of Soul this movie had us laughing out loud from start to finish (and we were forced to watch the censored copy on some cable channel). I can’t wait to see it with the full intended sound effects I so enjoy expressing myself. Great fun, really.

Water for Elephants … by author, Sara Gruen. I can just see DOC’s response to this one, but it’s a book, amici, not what the Principessa yells out when I’m choking in a diner. Apparently it was a pretty big hit (bestseller) and deservedly so. It’s a wonderful tale told by an ageing man going through Alzheimer’s. He keeps revisiting a part of his past that included working as an unlicensed circus veterinarian. No spoilers here, of course, but it can be a bit tough if you’re an animal lover. That said, it sure will open your eyes to just how cruel animal captivity can be and often is. I took a few days to read it, but the Principessa couldn’t put it down. It’s a very good read and highly recommended.

Playing the Blues … Up in Charlie’s Drum Room what we hope is the start of a new blues band (the should be committed?) was futzing around with some original blues tunes by Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, Elmore James and a few numbers by The Fabulous Thunderbirds and the Allman Brothers. Pete’s solid blues voice and guitar impressed the capo di tutti cappi enough so she lit a candle and raised it high enough to burn the ceiling. Granted I literally missed the high-hat a few times when I turned my head in the other direction (no doubt still feeling the effects from the doping incident the day before ... or it could've been fatso's belly misdirecting the stick--I don't get around the drums as easy as back in the 100 pound lighter days), it was still a good start, amici.

Well, a start. Let's call it a start.

First Annual Casa Stella Summer Bash … July 18th … keep it in mind and please let us know (they’ll be reminders about this) if you can make it. I’ll email directions to the house on haunted hill closer to the date. Everybody is invited but we do need to get some kind of approximate head count.

Speaking of headcounts … that’s what my protagonist did in my newest novel, Johnny Porno (to be published by Stark House Press next year) before being promoted to collecting the cash from the headcounts (where the novel begins). John Albano counted the numbers of paying heads that attended illegal viewings of the New York Court banned porno, Deep Throat. It was 1973 and Richard Nixon was inaugurated for his second term as President; the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 vote, legalized abortion with their decision in Roe v. Wade; U.S. involvement in North Vietnam ended with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords and Willie Mays hit his last home run (#660). Among these historic milestones was a decision by NY Criminal Court Judge Joel Tyler to ban the pornographic film, Deep Throat. Tyler wrote, “This nadir of decadence...this feast of carrion and squalor...this Sodom and Gomorrah gone wild before the fire... this is one throat that deserves to be cut.”

Deep Throat became the mob’s 2nd prohibition, reportedly earning more than $600 million dollars on an initial $25,000 investment.

Our government consisted of a bunch of geniuses back then, too. Just a thought, but maybe they should let somebody else run the economy ...