Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tales From The Bonus Round: The Package Pt. 1

L.A. 1996

(Read the previous entry here.)


After he got home from
The Last Cruise of His Life
After he had accepted that he was dying
With New infections taking over
Ear infections
Parasites defeating his immune system
All he had left in life was Jim,
Thurber the cat,
Jim’s childhood piano
A Radio Shack cassette of his songs
Recorded by himself in a single hour
And a desire to see his show
Just once

And the Internet
It was a new thing at the time
Like many desperately ill people
Needing help
Needing information about their disease
Needing community
Some trapped alone
Some with an abusive spouse
Some searching for alternative therapies
He went out onto the Net

And just told his story
About just being a patient
How being a patient makes you a nurse

People wanted to hear his healing music
So he gave the Radio Shack cassettes away
He signed and numbered them
“Remember me!” he sang. “I existed!"
He always gave it all away
He’d sing for anyone, anywhere
No matter how sick he felt
And, since he had nothing left to lose
He just told everyone that someday
He’d be in the rock and roll hall of fame

Or win a Tony
But right now, what he wanted most in life
Was to see his musical just once
One time before dying

But he knew little about theatre
He was just a guy with a cassette
It was Jim that made his songs into a musical
And Jim who filled the stage with people
People from the dying man’s life
Created The Last Session

How do you get something like that produced?
His cassette of songs
“the score” they called it
Recorded in a single hour of studio time
Of him singing the songs himself

Where are the orchestrations?
What are the harmonies like?
Which characters sing which songs?

He didn’t know
What he did know was that his ears were blocked
His throat was sore
This stomach hurt
They were burning things off his skin
He had massive diarrhea
He was eating only the BRAT diet

The BRAT diet

And the clock ticked away
Time had made him its numbering clock
He had wasted time
And now did time waste him

NEXT: The knock on the door

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