Blues For Breakfast
by Matthew Lyon
Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Marco and I’d like to help you. I’ll accept what credence you grant me, and work from there. I can, at least, entertain you on this bus ride. It’s three hours to Matagalpa, these vinyl seats are dreadful, and there’s not much scenery. Look out there, nothing but guava farms and snake pits.
Please stop before you think, Enough already with the Bible talk. I know there’s not a lot of good “news” in that collection. And it’s certainly thin on good laughs. Don’t get me wrong, I like Jesus; he’s a pretty dope cat. But I’ve got something for when he’s busy taking a bubble bath or whatever he does on Friday nights.
Besides, Jesus can’t mend everything, he can simply offer you an out. You can trade one problem for another, cash in your sins for your Sunday mornings. Salvation begins at 8am and shouldn’t go past 9am. Afterward, you may get invited to the cafeteria for donuts, but they’re always out of the bear claws. Believe me, an hour talking to Julio about his new retaining wall is not worth a glazed donut.
Sunday’s a good place to start, but then you have the rest of the week. KNOCK KNOCK. Hi, is Jesus home? No, I’m sorry, he left for the Catskills. You know when he’ll be back? No, sorry. Of course he conveniently forgot to leave a note, again.
Yet you still have your problems: You’ve lost your faith and you are lonely. Your ex-wife is a relentless Badgerwoman. And your son is turning into an asshole, which isn’t a new thing, but it’s reached a critical juncture with these criminal charges pending.
Some of you are thinking, This guy doesn’t know dookie about my problems. Look at him, all shiny and sharp from head to loafer. Listen, it’s really all a ruse. I’m not wearing an ounce of real leather or reliability. My watch doesn’t even run, I’m just told looking punctual is next best to acting on it. As my friend put it, It’s all symbolic ornamentation, signifying nothing. Real quality has been rendered obsolete by market forces, so why pay top dollar? That’s the modern design: polished turds. My slacks shimmy and shake for a month, then fade and unravel like your flimsy devotion to the Church.
I understand your struggle. I quit Bible Study long ago because one fat guy always arrived early and gobbled up all the bear claws. I thought, why even go if people are going to be like that? I don’t enjoy feeling hungry and spiteful in public.
That’s how I learned that even when you’re lying on his front lawn, Jesus can’t do everything. If chubby people upset you, that’s pretty much your own goat to roast. Jesus won’t save you any pastries. You can quote me on that.
I can offer you the HELP I mentioned before. I call it a Supplement to your embedded Superstitions. Lucky for you all, I have a running promotion on the Blues. Each capsule filled with tiny spheres of Happiness and Phenobarbital. It’s the best gift you’ll find this holiday season. Believe me, you’ll grow old and broken waiting for Jesus to dish out any sweet deals. Consider this: No Christmas bonus for his Choir of Fanatics this year. Or any year. That’s after record profits. But, that’s cool, he has shareholders to appease, a mortgage and a lifestyle to finance.
That Church group used to ask me, What happened to the cheerful Old Marco? Look at you staring feverishly into your coffee. Just pray, Marco. Ask for forgiveness. Repent and reinvent. Where’s your lust for life? What happened to that daring, youthful Marco, your flash bulbs bursting with bright lights, somersaults and sex? The Marco that leapt from bridges just for a goof? Where’s your faith gone?
I said, Easy, fellas. Jesus and I are cool. He’s just held up in Nashville or Fukushima. No beef there. It’s my wife, the soulless Badgerlady whom I’ve lost faith in. She slept with some big-city banker. You know the type: duffels full of cash, Jacuzzis and laughter, a pocketful of promises—all empty, of course. Not a crumb of dignity, that coward. I’ll put a contract out on him. And what to do with my loose and barbaric woman?
Plenty of broads can inspire leaving—even going into hiding, or taking Holy Orders. A Nobel Prize winner said that, so I gave it some thought. But I don’t know. If there is one thing the Church is short on, it’s practical dating advice. In my neighborhood, celibacy is not recommended. I wouldn’t want a pastor’s “mechanical” solutions either. An exorcism is a strong tonic, and reciting a rosary never left me the least bit aroused.
Are you stubborn like me, not entirely forgiving, and just want to forget life’s betrayals? I’ve got you covered. The Blues for breakfast works for me. Capsulized espresso with a strong memory-shaving, cheek turning agent. They helped me make things right with the lady with a night of brutal, passionate sex. The kind of tussle that left me sore and exhausted, but in that satisfying way. It was a painful, prideful buzz, like I just climbed the tallest Volcano, but my knees were mashed and swollen. Did I regret the climb? The beautiful vistas, the arduous push, dragging my spirit to the edge? Well, yeah, with two twisted knees, and a deceitful wife in my bed, I’d say regretful was my precise condition.
The next morning I thought, I’ve got bigger turds to flush than that cheating, tactless Badger of a woman. I don’t even have a job, and I think there’s room for a lousy wife? Oh, but love will conquer all, they say. That’s hilarious! What they really mean is, Well-heeled bankers will conquer my burrowing, badgering tramp of a wife! Hey, pal, take her off my trembling hands already!
Sorry, I’m triggering old battle hymns. Before the Supplements I was no gentleman to hardship. I was off in the ether for ages. I sat home on Saturday nights, lonely and badgerless. I called and called, but Jesus was holed up with parasites in Chinandega. I checked his blog, but he’d been offline for days, his connectivity growing fuzzier by the hour. I just wanted to swim again in velvet joy, caressed and swaddled in the electric opium of a lover’s wings. A new low is what I found instead. Flatlined. Catatonic with the booze. I can’t recall that entire year. It was my finest achievement, a 12-month Blackout.
I feel better these days. When I feel that bad blood boil in my boots, I say two Hail Mary’s and eat two Blues with waffles. They work so well, I even thought about slipping a Blue in my son’s cereal the other day.
He’s a colossal, walking itch, that kid. I believe it when my brother-in-law says the “terrible twos” drag into the late teenage years. At some point I have to stop making excuses for his failures; stop blaming the Internet for being rife with wormholes. He’s not a bad kid, just scared and stupid, a dangerous combo—good heart, lousy brains, no balls. I’d say a man needs two of three for a passing grade.
It’s no secret I’m running thin on love. I sit next to my kid in Church, so near (in proximity), practically touching him, but he’s miles from my expectations. What’s he got going for him? He’s a miserable, awkward athlete, fat and sulking, not even remotely respectable on the soccer pitch. A spectacle, really, almost comically inept. Sometimes he lumbers past the bleachers and the phrase “better than nothing” comes to mind. But that’s a little misleading, and shortsighted.
At this point, I would accept mediocrity. I can hardly look him in the eye with that ludicrous Stardust hairdo. I thought there would be a couple girls at Church that might keep his interest. Or some club at school that didn’t encourage criminal behavior. I do admire his cunning nature, but pursuing mischief is not sustainable. I just wag my head and repeat, It’s a shame, shame, shame.
Honestly, why is my son throwing rocks at passerby’s? Is he a complete imbecile, or a daemonic animal? Some lady is pressing charges for an incident last month and my son won’t talk. He’s just plugged into his monitor all day. The only thing he said to me all week was a fishing comment about his absent mother. Well, I said, Your mother, that streetwalking Badgerlady, didn’t take her medication. She took a vacation with a handsome banker, and never returned.
Well, looks like we are drawing near on the city. I think we just blew past Jesus coming up slow in his horse and carriage—he’s got quite the archaic, indifferent little chariot. With that sorry steed he’s hooked to, it’ll be an eternity before he hits the Tavern.
You wait for him if you want, friends, but I’m moving on. I urge you to join me. With volcanoes on your doorstep, active and angry, there’s no time to wait for His arrival. Pop a Blue and let’s boogie.
One last thought before we end our journey: There’s a homeless man in Matagalpa. They call him San Pedro. He sits on the stairs of the central church, wearing women’s shoes, red heels, in fact—ruby slippers withered and weathered. He has no home, no family, and is reduced to wearing busted heels. He begs for terminal illness, and exposes himself to the clergy. How’s that for a dying gesture?!
When you think your grind is bad, think of San Pedro. When you think you can’t cope, take a Blue with your bacon and eggs, and settle into the thick, contemplative fog.
Thank you for your time today, friends. Here’s a final offer: take a fresh approach. Get yours while you can, because eruptions are scheduled. Any day now, your volcano will blow. Mountains will be moved, valleys blanketed, and fault lines opened, disrupting all you’ve ever known. But remember, with Jesus coming around the mountain, and some Blues for breakfast, all is calm, and all is bright.