Empty Rooms, by Les Bohem
As all partings foreshadow the great final one, so empty rooms, bereft of a familiar presence, mournfully whisper what your room and what mine must one day be.
– Charles Dickens, Bleak House.
In the center of Verona is a Roman amphitheater. Operas are performed there on summer nights. I took a bus from the train station and it let me off near this amphitheater, in the town square. It was late morning. The streets were nearly empty. I had come from Venice, from thick summer crowds and the feeling of a big, important party where the guests are already drunk when you arrive. The emptiness of Verona had an expectant quality after Venice. It was a waiting that was somehow uncomfortable.
From Verona, I was to take a train for Munich. That train didn’t leave until one in the morning. I bought a tourist map and sat down at an outdoor cafe, facing the amphitheater. I ordered an espresso and opened the map. There was an “Artistic Itinerary” listing thirty-five places of interest in English, French, German, and Italian. Roman walls were listed. Bridges, churches, piazzas.
4. THE HOUSE OF JULIET — with the famous balcony.
I heard footsteps and I looked up from the map. A young man was walking slowly away from me. His footsteps were metallic on the empty street. He had long, dirty hair and a dirty Levi jacket. A dog barked off in an alley somewhere and somewhere else, a TV played loud and full of static. The day was already warm. The amphitheater looked new and fake. It was impossible to feel the hands of the builders. The Artistic Itinerary said that operas were performed there in the evenings, and that these operas were a popular tourist attraction. Perhaps too many summering Germans had sat there through warm evenings of Carmen. There were no ghosts, only the artificial-looking stone.
15. ROMAN AMPHITHEATER CALLED “ARENA”— It is the highest Roman monument, measuring at its axes 152 meters per 123; actual height 30 meters. Built during the 1st century after Christ. Three corridors with barrel-vault; it is divided into 4 zones: 73 sectors of wall, or rows of pillar cross it radically. The time has submerged it a little, earthquakes and robberies have dethroned it and deprived it of its precinctions of which only one sector, the highest “Ala” remains. Its acoustic is perfect. Opera is performed here on many evenings for the delight of both residents and visitors. Its plan is a unique geometric figure which is near to the ellipse.
I put the map away and drank my coffee. An emptiness was in me. A traveler’s homesick feeling that is like nothing so much as being very young and very lost. I got up quickly, thinking to escape this emotion by moving out of its way, as if it were a dark cloud or a man with a knife coming up from behind me.
I walked along a shopping street called the Via Mazzini. The shops were all closed. In Venice at my hotel, the desk clerk had told me that Verona would be crowded.
“It is the bank holiday,” he had explained. “August fifteen. Today you should go to Rome. There is nobody there.”
But there was no one here either. Just groups of old men in twos and threes and an occasional couple, walking slowly. It was early for the siesta, but the streets had that feeling, of a quiet that would end in a sudden flood.
I had been seeing something as I walked along the street and now I stopped, realizing what it was. The wall in front of me was grey and a huge red Swastika had been painted on it. The paint had dripped before it dried and it was the violence of the drippings that had stopped me. Below the Swastika in English were written the words KILL, BLEED, DIE. They were painted in the same dripping red.
It was this graffiti that I had been seeing as I walked. A trail of intended violence that I had been following down the street.
Far away there was the sound of children laughing and singing. There was also the sound of a man’s voice that was somehow amplified.
I continued walking until I reached the Piazza delle Erbe.
1. PIAZZA DELLE ERBE — For over two thousand years, it has always been a lively centre. In the background, the magnificent Maffei Palace (1668), the side of which faces the Gardello Tower (1370); beside it, the historical town houses, the Magazzini’s and the Scaligeri’s houses with frescoes on the facades and wide flowery terraces; the quadrangular tower of the prisons at the side of the medieval City-Hall, clothed by the neoclassical facade; the house of the Merchants built by Alberto della Scala in 1301. In the square, the Gothic niche of the viscount’s insignias, the Capital (improperly called also Berlin), (16th century), the St. Mark’s column (1523), and more characteristic than the other monuments, a fountain called Madonna Verona, built by Cansignoria della Scala in 1368.
It was a grey Piazza, filled with closed vendors’ stalls and pigeons. I walked among the closed stalls towards what I took to be the medieval city hall. It was an overgrown building falling into ruin. I walked into the courtyard. A radio played from a room somewhere on one of the upper floors. Laundry hung on line strung from window to window.
Along the far side of the stalls were several closed cafes and what I supposed was the St. Mark’s column. A group of eight or nine ragged teenagers was sitting around this column, leaning against the steps filled with pigeon droppings. They were all in dirty jeans and flannel shirts. Their faces were streaked with dirt and their eyes were hollow. One or two of them looked up at me without any interest. I thought that I recognized the boy I’d seen in the square by the amphitheater.
I walked past them and turned down one side street and then another. A tour bus was parked across the street from a church. I walked into the church. It was cool and dark. The tourists from the bus were inside. I joined them. The tour was in German, which I didn’t understand. I walked back out into the bright, empty day.
I came into another piazza. Two cafes faced its center. A statue of Dante stood there, in the center. Across the square, the low steps of an old building disappeared into cool shade. I was hot from the walk and the sun. I sat down facing Dante and I ordered a mineral water and another coffee.
It was an angry statue, glaring up into the building where the poet had once stayed. The waiter brought me my water and coffee and I studied my Artistic Itinerary.
2. PIAZZA DEL SIGNORI — We recognize in it the sign of a lordship and at the center, the guest who honored it: Dante. The Palazzo della Ragione, or the City Hall is from 1193. Inside, the puissant quadrature of the massive structure harmonizes with the deep arcade; in an angle, the light indentation of the Venetian steps called Scala della Ragione. The massive structure of the municipal Tower called Lambert (89 meters), which was built in the 11th century, rises high. Entering the Piazza again, we can see the Loggia del Consiglio work of Fra Giocondo, among the most important of our renaissance, and the New House of the City-Hall (1659). On the opposite side, the crenellated Scaligero Palace, present seat of the Prefecture.
There were only a few other people in the cafe. Several Italians reading the paper. A German couple fighting. Past the statue of Dante on the far side of the square was a large modern sculpture not mentioned in the guide. It was an aimless thing, forms jutting out from each other in a sort of ruined geometry.
A girl was walking past the sculpture. She was thin and she walked as if she were moving against a strong wind. She had short, cropped hair that shown, reflecting the sun.
I watched her as she moved across the Piazza towards the low steps of the building where Dante had stayed. She moved to join a group of teenagers that was sitting in the cool shadows there. I hadn’t seen them when I sat down.
They were like the group I’d seen in the last piazza, in fact, some of the same ones seemed to be there. This was a larger group. A group of perhaps twenty. All of them dirty and young and vacant. Someone began to play a guitar. The girl sat down, disappearing into the shadows and the others.
One of the young men stood up and walked into the sun. He had on jeans the he had worn for so long that they were no longer blue. They were no longer any color at all. They hung like flesh from rotting bones. He had no shirt on. His chest was pale under its layers of dirt. He put his head back and began to turn slowly, looking up at the sun. It was like some sort of ritual dance, but performed without feeling. It was like watching a sleepwalker.
The dance only lasted a few moments. Then, still moving with that slow, dull gracelessness, the young man went back to the steps and sat down.
There are junkies all over Europe. They move in packs like dogs, following the warmth of the sun. Perhaps this little dance had been some gesture of thanks.
You see the junkies everywhere. There is an atmosphere of despair that surrounds them like a fog. It is a diseased feeling, a sore infecting the land and turning it into a fever zone which h promises awful and terrifying changes. But you see them everywhere, until you are so used to seeing them that you no longer wonder about them or care where they come from. You are left with that feeling of disease without knowing why.
Here in Verona with the empty streets filled with graffiti and the sounds of life echoing distorted and far away, it was as though I had come to the center of that infection, and the slow eyes that rolled up at me from nodding heads were markers, like the writing on the walls, left just for me.
I didn’t like sitting in the Piazza with the junkies across the way and the greatest poet of hell gazing angrily into a distance somewhere inside the sky. Since I had come back out of the church the sun had been painfully bright and now it seemed too hot and as if the entire square might disappear into the brightness.
I began to walk. The graffiti was everywhere. Violent and red. Markers. Street signs. Bread crumbs leading towards, not away from the witch’s house.
Ahead of me I could hear the children singing. The man’s voice boomed, amplified and jolly. I was on a narrow street. A bakery had put out tables and chairs, setting them on the street in front of their door. Two old women sat, eating cookies. Next to them, a large, brightly colored parrot sat on the sort of dowel perch that is sold in pet shops. The bird’s eyes followed me as I walked past. It leaned its leather face towards me and opened its mouth and let out two sharp, staccato screeches that startled the old women. Then one of them laughed and held out her cookie for the bird. The parrot ate at the cookie greedily.
I had meant to walk towards the river but I had lost my way. Ahead of me on the side of an old house the graffiti read — “CHAOS FREAKS PASS IN SILENT SQUALOR.”
I turned a corner and walked into a crowd of children who must have been the children that I had heard. They had their hands joined in some game. They didn’t notice me. The street was decorated for a carnival. Sad streamers of faded paper hung from strings tied to the window bonds. They sagged from the weight of the paper.
A fat man with sweat on his face and in his moustache stood below one of these streamers. He held a microphone in his hand. The microphone was plugged into a very old portable record player. A recording of accordion dance music played, the record scratched and the sound from the speaker small and tinny. The man shouted over it into his microphone, apparently giving instructions to the children that had something to do with the game that they were playing. He would shout and laugh and the children, laughing too, would change the pattern of their game, switching directions or hopping on one foot.
I made my way through the children to the other side of the street. Adults stood there, watching with an unexcited pleasure. I smelled meat on a grill. I hadn’t eaten and the smell made me realize that I was very hungry.
At a booth on this side of the street a woman was cooking small hamburgers, little grey patties of meat that she put onto tiny buns. I smiled, pointed, and held up two fingers. The woman turned back to the grill without smiling and put on two new patties of meat. I watched them dripping fat down through the grill as they cooked.
I was still watching when a cold hand touched my arm. I turned to see the girl whom I had seen in the Piazza del Signori.
“Will you buy me some of those?” she asked. She spoke English with an accent that I had never heard.
I nodded and then she said something in Italian to the woman. The woman placed two more patties on the grill without looking at the girl.
The girl had turned away from me and she was looking at the ground, nodding her head in time with the children’s dance music playing on the old, portable record player.
I watched her. The moment that she had turned away from me I couldn’t remember her face, but I knew what she would look like naked. How her skin would feel cool and damp under her shirt. I knew how her breasts would glow with her translucence, with the blue of the veins underneath. She had a quality that might have been in the translucence of her skin or the junkie blood flowing slow and dreamlike beneath that translucence. It was as if she had cut across this world at an angle. As if I were only seeing an after-image or an accidental trail of light.
“I saw you in the Piazza del Signori,” she said. “I was with my friends.
“I was looking for the river.”
“I can show it to you now.”
We took our hamburgers and we walked through the adults who watched the children. We walked towards a narrows street. Behind us the man screamed into his microphone and the children all laughed at once.
We were soon there, at the river. It was cooler near the water. The river which cuts Verona is the Adige. It is slow and wide and shallow. The banks taper gently down to the water, weedy and unattended.
We crossed the river at an old bridge. We had finished our hamburgers. On the bridge, a middle-aged man stood, alone, shouting into a cell phone. Hallo, hallo. His accent, the flatted a sound of his greeting, he sounded eastern European. He continued to shout his hallos as we crossed the bridge for the other side of the river.
The part of the city across the bridge seemed even more empty and deserted than the section where I’d been. It was like a painted backdrop to the real city back across the river, not like someplace meant for people. There was a small park and in the park was a stand where an old woman sold slices of watermelon. The old woman might have been painted too.
The girl left me and moved up quickly behind the woman. When she was close, she grabbed two slices of melon and then she ran back towards me. The woman came alive then, screaming and she left her melon stand and came at us. We ran down the embankment and along the overgrown path that followed the river. The woman knew that she couldn’t catch us, but she stayed behind us, yelling, for a long time.
“She won’t want to get too far from her stand, “the girl said. “We can stop here.”
We had come far enough down the river so that we were close to the next bridge. We sat and she leaned back against the cement slope of the bridge piling. She took a bite of her melon.
“My name is Sam,” she told me.
I told her my name. The watermelon juice ran down the side of her mouth. I moved my hand to wipe it away. Her skin was damp and it was cool, just as I’d known that it would be.
I lay back on the slope of cement next to her. The cement was cracked and little dry weeds had pushed their way up through the cracks to die in the sun. I turned to pull at one that was digging into my back. The girl, Sam, was lying, I saw now, at the center of a spray-painted Iron Cross. Across the river and under the bridge I could see the words “DEATH TO TYRANTS.”
“Why is it always in English?” I asked, pointing across the river at the spray-painting.
“Because more people can read English.”
“There’s a lot of that here. Wall writing.”
“The summer is hot. Besides, we are close to Germany.î
“Are you German?”
“When did you leave Poland?”
“I’m from Milwaukee. I’ve never been to Poland.”
“I’ve been here a long time. In Europe, I mean. You’re from the States?”
“You have not been here long enough to have an accent.”
“It would take a long time.”
“Not so very. You’re travelling alone?”
“I’m on my way to Munich. A friend is loaning me his apartment there.”
“And you came to see the romantic city of Verona.”
“You’re a funny kind of tourist.”
“You strike me,” she said then, “to me more like a trespasser.”
She lay back against the cement. I thought about her. I didn’t believe that she was from Milwaukee or that she was Polish. I didn’t care. I felt feverish and hot in the sun and I wanted to unbutton her blouse and lean my hot face down against her coolness. I watched the river and the shadows under the bridge.
I watched her face. I hadn’t seen it before. I had seen her scruffy hair and her dirty junkie uniform and then later I’d seen her body and its secret glow. Now it was as if I could only see her face. The pale cheeks, the large, girl mouth and ancient eyes. She was talking and I heard her voice from far away, a sound like the river or the bees that buzzed now as they milked the sugar from the watermelon rind.
“You should meet Klaus,” I heard her say. “He is German. He’s interested in Americans. He saw Elvis Presley once when he was a boy. His grandmother was one of those big fans. She was the president of the Elvis Society in Munich, where you are going. She tried to kill herself when he died. One time, she had brain cancer or something and she was dying. Elvis Presley came to her in a dream and told her that she had to live, that there were things for her to do. And she recovered. Her tumor vanished and she is still alive today. Ninety-two years old. Klaus has a shirt that belonged to Elvis in the Army. His grandmother gave it to him. It says ‘Presley’ here above the pocket.î
She showed me where the name would have been, above the pocket of an army shirt. We were quiet for a while after that. “CHAOS FREAKS.” I thought, “PASS IN SILENT SQUALOR.”
She sat up abruptly. She shivered. “I will show you Juliet’s tomb,” she said.
I put my hand on her back and didn’t get up.
“Come on,” she said. “We’ll have to hurry.”
We walked up the embankment and crossed back over the river by the bridge we’d been resting under. The buildings here overlooking the water were modern apartments, squat and ugly, the kind that stand as markers to half the bombs that fell during the Second World War. We followed them along the river and then turned back into the city. Here, we walked along a Roman wall and then turned down a side street.
A wooden marker indicated “Juliet’s Tomb — Tombeau de Juliette — Julias Grab — Tomba di Guilietta.”
26. JULIET’S TOMB — It is the sacred place of the most noble and humane story of love.
Sam led me up a pathway to a vine-covered wall. There as a gate and the gate was locked. A gift shop stood to one side. The gift shop was open, its counter facing the closed gate. Sam turned to the man behind the counter and said something in Italian. The man was old and tired. One of his eyes was glass. He was reading a German magazine. He looked up at us, mumbled something to Sam, and shrugged.
“It is closed,” Sam said to me. “For the holiday. Do you want to see the balcony instead?”
Following the Roman wall again, we came out back in the town square, where the bus had left me that morning. We came into the square so that we were facing the amphitheater.
“Its acoustic is perfect. Opera is performed here on many evenings for the delight of both residents and visitors.”
The square was crowded now. Families were lining up to buy tickets for the evening’s opera. They sat down to picnic suppers in the square or to meals at the cafes.
We pushed our way through the sudden crowd and made our way to the Via Mazzini. It was crowded here too. Couples window-shopped. The restaurants were filled.
These were strange crowds, uncertain. It was as if they had been brought in to fill the space, the hollowness of the afternoon, without any other concern. But the effect was just the reverse, the city felt even more empty now with them here. They moved listlessly through the streets, looking into the windows of the shops without seeing the displays. They sat at the tables at the outdoor restaurants and ate burned tomato pizzas without interest. Later, they would move in a slow wave to the Opera and then, at the orchestra’s last note, they would vanish, leaving Verona empty and silent with the red-painted hate of the Chaos Freaks on its walls and a few stray cats sniffing in the dark garbage for something to eat.
At the Piazza delle Erbe we turned right, away from the Square. There was a gateway on our left. I followed Sam into a courtyard.
5. HOUSE OF JULIET CAPULETS — with the famous balcony.
The courtyard was small and unkempt. Against the walls was a line of old telephone receivers with a faded photograph of the hopeless couple from the Zeffirelli film in front of each and a recording in French, English, German, and Italian telling the story of the “star-crossed lovers.” On the far wall was a stupid little balcony.
There were several other people in the courtyard. All of them look reverently up at the balcony, as if they expected Juliet to come out on it at any minute. It seemed to me that, when she did come, she would be tired and fat, like the woman who made hamburgers at the carnival.
Sam was not standing next to me. I turned and saw her in a corner, behind two of the telephone tourist machines. She was bent over, holding herself as if she were cold.
She saw me looking at her and she came back to me. She took my arm. She was very white and her eyes were anxious and black.
“It took so much longer than I thought,” she said. “We should try to find my friend Klaus.”
We came out from under Juliet’s balcony and walked down narrow streets already dark in the late afternoon. We came out of the shadows into the Piazza del Signori, by the steps. I stared across the statue at Dante at myself, at where I’d been sitting that morning.
There were several junkies sprawled on the steps, nodding on the cool cement. One of them looked up at Sam and smiled. She didn’t smile at him. She kept her voice low and even.
“Wo ist Klaus?”
The junkie smiled a little more, looked at me without seeing me at all, then closed his eyes.
“Klaus,” she shook him a little “Wo ist Klaus?”
Another junkie looked up and said something in German, pointing back into the city. Without looking to see if I was still with her, Sam hurried across the Piazza and back into the shadows.
We were in empty streets again, with the noises of the evening tourists and the sounds inside houses. Radios, televisions, crying children, banging dishes; all without location. Sounds that were noise, that didn’t mean anything.
We walked past the street where the carnival had been. It was deserted now and littered with paper.
Three or four times we came on the junkies, always in groups, always in the shadows, always high. Sam spoke to them in German, in Italian, in a language that sounded Scandinavian. We would stop and she would speak and then we’d start off again in silence.
“He’s back at the mansion,” she said finally. “It’s just up the way across the river.î
16. STONE BRIDGE — Roman bridge constructed during the lordship of the Scalas and Venetian age, destroyed in April 1945. An arch of the Scalas’ lordship and the tower (1298) remained.
The mansion was across the stone bridge, back on the painted side of the Adige. It was a small, medieval structure, cylindrical, about twelve feet in diameter and six feet high. It stood just around a bend in the river and, when the town had been smaller, it had undoubtedly provided a perfect look-out against invasion. Slats had been cut near the roof on the riverside, and two or three men armed with cross-bows could have inflicted quite a bit of damage on any attacker. Now, the building was overgrown and sagging and looked more like a child’s mud castle than like a real fortress; it looked as if it were melting back into the river bank.
I followed Sam across the bridge and to this structure. The door had been kicked in a long time again and weeds anchored it now to the floor, slightly ajar. We went inside. The sun struggled in through the slats, but the room stayed dark. It would always be dark there, and damp and cool. There was a musty smell and the smell of burnt matches.
There were several mattresses against the far wall. A man lay on one of these. He turned slowly towards us as we came in. He looked to be in his sixties. He had long, silver hair and deep-set eyes with a look in them of what was probably permanent suspicion.
Sam said, “Klaus.”
He said something in German and Sam answered. He looked at me for a moment and then he nodded. Then he turned and took a leather pouch from beneath another of the mattresses. He took a spoon and a syringe from the pouch. Sam crossed the room and knelt facing him.
He took a pink balloon out of the pouch and emptied white powder into the spoon. They spoke quietly in German while he heated the spoon over a match. Sam tied herself off expertly with her rope belt while Klaus sucked the dissolved mixture up into the syringe. He found her vein and placed the needle there. In the cool stillness of the room I could hear the sound of the needle breaking the skin.
When he had emptied the syringe into Sam’s vein, Klaus pulled the needle from her arm, wiped it off on his pants leg, lit another match and sterilized the needle in its flame, then he put both the syringe and the spoon back in the pouch. He put the pouch back under its mattress.
Sam lay back on his mattress with her head on his lap. She was humming now without a tune.
Klaus looked up at me and smiled. “You are from America?” he asked.
“It is your first time in Verona?”
“Here it is not so good. It is more alive in Firenze in Florence. Florence is good for travelers.”
“He’s going to Munich,” Sam said without moving. “He has a friend there with an apartment.”
“Munich is awful,” Klaus said. “You will not like it.”
We were quiet. Sam hummed and he stroked her hair. I ran my fingers along the dirt floor. I was cold now. Finally Klaus lifted Sam’s head carefully and slid his legs out from under her. He set her head back on the mattress and he stood up.
When he crossed the room I could see him clearly for the first time. He had large, wet eyes and a nose that had been broken several times. He was tall and thin and his blond hair was combed straight back. He seemed, in spite of his broken nose, incredibly gentle.
“I am glad to have met you,” he said, offering his hand. “I hope the rest of your trip is fine.” He let go of my hand and went out the door.
On the mattress, Sam was still humming. I crossed the room and sat beside her. She looked up as my weight moved the mattress. I reached and touched her cheek.
She moved closer to me, touching my arm slightly with her hand. I unbuttoned her flannel shirt and my own shirt and held her against me. I felt her cool skin. Her skin would always be cool and damp, like this room.
She kissed me and pressed herself even more tightly against me. It was a different fever. We were nowhere else. Time was dead and I would save her from her life and from mine and we would dance together through the doors of that secret.
(We lie, holding each other as if that meant more. Then falling back on the cool Italian dirt beside the mattress, and a girl who will not remember my face or my name or the most important of my kisses. We lean away from each other, and all the truths that would rearrange history and sense are dissolved.)
It was evening now and dark. Beside me, Sam slept. Her breathing was even and calm.
I got up and walked out of the mansion and found my way back across the river. Here, the voices of the evening’s opera echoed in the streets, lost on a wind and then suddenly loud. I came back through the Piazza dei Signori. The cafe there was closing now. A waiter silently folded chairs. Dante’s statue seemed bigger in the darkness. In the shadows of the modern sculpture, a solitary junkie nodded, his head resting between his knees.
The opera was louder as I neared the Via Mazzini. There was no one in the street. For a moment, I felt Sam’s cool, damp skin and it was as if I had suddenly remembered something that had happened a long time ago.
I would go back to the cafe across from the amphitheater. I would have a coffee and listen to the rest of the opera. Then, as the crowd came from the amphitheater, I would take a taxi back to the station and try to find a seat on the train to Munich. It would probably be very crowded and I would have to sleep in the hall, using my bag as a pillow.
Leslie Bohem is a regular on our publication, and we’re honoured for it. Here’s his Bio as he likes to tell it.
I was part of the great Los Angeles music scare of the early 1980s. My band, Gleaming Spires, had a cultish hit with their single, “Are You Ready For the Sex Girls‚” (if you ever saw Revenge of the Nerds, you know) and I was at the same time holding down a day job as the bass player with the band Sparks. After this burgeoning career in rock and roll stopped burgeoning, I found a job writing screenplays about rock and roll musicians whose careers had stopped burgeoning. But no one makes movies about rock and roll musicians whose careers etc, and so I wrote A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 5, The Horror Show and bits and pieces of several other memorable epics. Eventually Twenty Bucks, which I wrote based on a 1935 script by my dad, Endre, (the apple didn’t fall – my father was a screenwriter and producer from the 1920s through the 1970s) was made. The movie earned critical raves and several awards, including an Independent Spirit Award. My other screenwriting credits include Daylight, Dante’s Peak, The Alamo, Kid, Nowhere To Run, The Darkest Hour and the mini-series, Taken which I wrote and executive produced (with Steven Spielberg. – so now, add “name-droppy” to “self-serving.”) and for which I won an Emmy award. I’ve had songs recorded by Emmylou Harris, Randy Travis, Freddy Fender, Steve Gillette, Johnette Napolitano (of Concrete Blonde), Alvin (of the Chipmunks), and the awesome Misty Martinez. My short stories have appeared in some rather embarrassing men’s magazines, on line and in print at/on Saturday Night Reader, Sanitarium, and The Lost Coast Review, Clever, Parcel, Art Decades and Popcorn Fiction, among others. Right now, I’m producing the first season of my television show, Shut Eye, for Hulu. My short novel, Flight 505, was published by Jack White’s UpperRubberBoot last September, and my short story, Geister, is included in Blumhouse Books inaugural offering, Book of Horrors. I’m just finishing recording on my first solo album, “Moved to Duarte.”