Sunday, April 09, 2006

"E" String, Bricks And Gravel (A radio play)

"E" String, Bricks, And Gravel
by John Pierson

Music: It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bob Dylan)

(A Foghorn - A crowd of People - keys begin to jingle, placed into a keyhole - a door opens- a door shuts. All sound stops.)


NARRATOR: It’s three in the morning sitting at a desk above Portland Maine, in my mind it is three in the morning, but actually there is nothing I know that unremittingly resonates with truth. A few days ago that suspicious spring forward thing happened, I have neglected to change my laptop computer clock and now, I am in Maine, where the time I’m sure is different. I presently have no clear perception regarding time, and at this moment, it seems fitting.

(A phone rings)

Just two days ago I received a phone call in the kitchen of my apartment in Chicago that has transported me to this particular seventh floor of this specific hotel in Maine. Nicki Flynn informs me that:

NICKI: (On the phone.) Peter killed himself.

NARRATOR: Peter Flynn has killed himself. She says, amongst tears and sidetracks that he was not mad at me.

NICKI: (On the phone.) He wanted so badly to talk to you, but you know how stubborn he is. (Pause) I sold a painting yesterday.

NARRATOR: We were both stubborn and we went five or six months without apologizing. Peter and I were sitting outside one or another bar in New Orleans when he said to me:

PETER: We are novelists who don’t write novels.

JOHN: Is that so?

PETER: Don’t get smart with me, you bastard!

JOHN: I wasn’t, I -

PETER: You’re something John, you are, you know that don’t you? I can’t do this anymore.

NARRATOR: We order a pitcher of Margaritas and he drinks most of it. He said his life was nearly over. I don’t think it was a direct foretelling of his suicide, it was more of a homicidal plea against passion. New Orleans was killing him. I wanted him to come back to Chicago. Chicago would have encouraged a much slower death, I could have watched over him.
I must tell you that what I have just said in that last sentence is only a salvaged echo of my old self. The me now and the me who had been listening to Peter that last night I saw him, was tired of alcoholics and tired of the passion puked into a void.
Nicki showed up to the cafe for a few moments just to say:

NICKI: I’m going home Peter, see you at home.

NARRATOR: She stumbled out to the car and drove away. I ushered Peter into my rent-a-car. He rolled down the window:

PETER: You’re all Bastards. I hate every last one of you! You disgust me!

NARRATOR: He wasn’t yelling at any body in particular, he was yelling at a strip of night clubs. I had just finished performing with a band on my record label, a bunch of young fellows from Wyoming who were nothing but congenial towards him. We were touring through the South. I called Peter when we arrived in town to invite him and NIcki to the show. The Boys were standing by their van dumfounded after he yelled:

PETER: I hate all you Goddamn Bastards!!

NARRATOR: They were caught between Peter and the night club world at large. They could not understand why this guy had just yelled at them.

PETER: To hell with all of you!!

(A smack on the face)

NARRATOR: I instinctively smacked Peter in the forehead, shocking myself more than he. It was harder than I had ever it anyone. Peter always swore at the people he loved dearly, an Irish Pub cordiality which I admired and found very comforting and genuine, but something about this late night drunken event was different, this one frightened and angered me. He meant it, not wholly toward the band but to everyone who could hear him. We pulled up along side the van and waited for the boys to finish loading the equipment. They followed us through the confusing side streets of the New Orleans Art district. I shouldn’t have been driving, not because of alcohol, I hardly had a drop, I couldn’t think straight, but what was I going to do, walk away from Peter and the boys, perch myself in some New Orleans graveyard and contemplate existential philosophy while I rub dirt in my hair?

PETER: (mumbling incoherent directions) around that street, forward, forward never back never back.

NARRATOR: He pointed his finger abrasively to the left. His pointer finger scratched my nose.

PETER: Turn!

JOHN: I can’t turn now!

PETER: Turn!

JOHN: There are people following us Peter. I can’t turn now. You have to give me better directions! We need sleep. I’m tired. They’re tired.

NARRATOR: We argued on. We both fell silent. He pointed in directions and I turned the wheel. Amazingly we arrived at his house. I walked him to the gate.
(Car doors opening, feet walking and stumbling)
I told him I wasn’t going to stay over, my friends needed sleep and I didn’t want him keeping them awake all night.

PETER: Fuck You!

JOHN: No fuck you Peter!

NARRATOR: I began to walk away.

PETER: Don’t ever fucking come back!

NARRATOR: He yelled at me from his gate. He pressed all the wrong doorbells, and sent his neighbors into the night to let Peter in once more, like so many nights prior. We argued from the opposite sides of the fence.

JOHN: I can’t follow your drunken directions; you're going to be awake all night. I can’t stay here. You look stupid.

NARRATOR: The words were irrational. I was panicking. I didn’t want Peter to die. I didn’t want to hear him speak of his death. I didn’t want to stay over night with the remnants of something great. He was awe-inspiring and wonderful, as a writer, musicians, philosopher, comic, a vital, volatile force sweating absurdity and literature.

PETER: Don’t ever fucking come back! You’ve changed. You’ve fucking changed. Don’t ever fucking come back!

NICKI: (From a distance) If you don’t stay over tonight, you have to come back tomorrow. Please come back tomorrow, John.

NARRATOR: Nicki spoke gently from the balcony. I told her I would come back tomorrow. I didn’t. That was the last time I saw or spoke to them up until Nicki told me that Peter had killed himself. It was a drunken death, but obviously no accident

NICKI: (on the phone) I found him at the bottom of the stairs in front of the house with an “E” string rapped around his neck. He hung himself.

NARRATOR: The coroner said that he tried to hang himself but struggled, maybe trying to break free, and tumbled down the stairs and broke his neck.
The first two years of our friendship were spent without drink. He was on the lamb trying to show his first wife that he could be responsible. That’s how I new him, sarcastic, ironic towards society. (The purest Irony, the one mixed with overwhelming compassion), more literary than most professors can claim to be, and one hundred percent sober. He started to drink again when his first wife left. He wrote some good music then, but for eight years I waited for him to stop drinking, through the writing of most my plays he was there drinking, playing music lambasting me for writing an easy play like Living In The Present Tense and congratulating me on Imaginary Dance. No one else new what he meant, but I did, I still do. He was there when I gave up on the world. We flew to New Orleans on a whim, on his credit card, and along side his heavy drinking for three straight days and mine for one, he made me feel better, hoe showed me the decadent macabre, wasteland known as the French Quarters. It’s like you’re visiting death, and giving yourself the option of walking away. Life meant more to me, afterward. I cam back invigorated. I knew from that day forth, he felt for me, he had my veins held close to his heart, and I had his pressed to my ear and wrapped around my eyes. I didn’t want him to die the historical death of an artist. I thought that that would be too easy for him. The easy way out.

So, yes, Nicki told me that he had missed me.

JOHN: Yeah, I missed him too.

NICKI: He knew that John, he was so sorry.

NARRATOR: I didn’t tell her how much I despised what he had done. Suicide: so pointless, so permanent, so dramatic and typical. So selfish; An ex-wife and two children left with a mystery they will have to spend the rest of their lives untangling, and Nicki, his adventurous partner soul mate final wife who loved him. Who loves him for the alcoholic, romantic pain in the ass he was. She will have a side of his privacy, the stories he only told her. They will be there forever, some to comfort, some to confound and others to regret. I can’t be proud of him, and that haunts more than his death.

(Foghorn - crowd - keys - door - door shutting)

I write this down the night before the wake. None of this is real. Sure I cried when I found out. I met with close friends back home who have told me to give their respects, but it’s not real, I wouldn’t be writing this down, if it were real. I’m sure I would be out howling at the moon or throwing myself into a brick wall, if it were true.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Book has been published

Weasels In A Box has been published:
You can buy it through the internet at:

or order it in your local book store

Weasels In A Box is a novel written by John Jughead Pierson, neo-futurist, screeching weasel, even in blackouts.
It is his fiction novel based on the 15 year career of Screeching Weasel.

More info about this book and other books at: