A dirt road, A pub, and Family

I splashed water from the bathroom sink onto my face and looked at my dripping curiosity. This is my third year as a father. Downstairs our son, Gavin, is running the pitter-patter pattern while yelling, ‘Oh No! The Dino’s a comin!’

Today we’ll drive to the White Mountains. We like old dirt roads that wind through the country side and give glimpses of lakes and mountain tops. We like to drive slowly, open the windows, and look for dinosaurs. These old roads are seldom traveled and when you’re on them they feel like they’re yours. Trees tower on both sides and the forest is so deep that it seems like there couldn’t possibly be an end to them; with that feeling comes thoughts that anything is possible, even finding a dinosaur.

We’ll most likely take my truck, where Gavin rides in the middle of the back seat. He sits up high because of his car seat and looks like a child-king. I’m fine with that. He’s the one child we have and we waited a long while to be gifted his presence. I laugh at people who try and determine our parenting style. All they need to do is ask. I’ll tell them, ‘Fucking awesome and nearly perfect.’ With a straight face. Hoping they piss me off.

After driving through the mountains we’ll eventually make our way into a small town and stop at a pub. I’ll order some kind of dark foaming beer, hopefully the foam will spill over the top of the glass and spill down the sides. We’ll order Gavin french fries with vinegar (he loves that stuff) and chicken nuggets and Megan will order anything her heart desires for the rest of her life.

I’ll scan the pub for people of passion. Let there be a few. Silent is the day when eyes cast shadows, drooping and lowering into their drink without thought. That is not the society to be. Have your pints, raise your whiskey, cheers the one next to you and talk about what moves you. Talk about why your day fetched its morning to deliver your afternoon. Hell, talk politics! Do it! Oh, I have…and will continue to. I find airing out differences over a pint of beer at a pub to be aggressively healthy; because how the hell do you find health with laziness? I think we’ve been lied to. Over and over. I see the lies floating out of mouths, especially the talking heads on TV, somehow those same lies find new housing and eventually find their way to me in person, and I put them where they belong, under my boot.

But don’t mind me. I was born with a bit too much energy. A bit too much passion. We’ll see what today brings. If it isn’t much, I’ll make it into something much more.

Matt

Cheers and Happy Father’s day to you all. Even the Mammas because, well without you…

 

white mountains
My cell does OK. White Mountains. 

A Real Man

Real men drink whiskey and beer
They get on their hands and knees and
clean the toilet because it needs to be cleaned
just after changing their baby’s shit diaper
while cooing with love and watching
their child’s eyes light up
Real men sit in pubs reading Hemingway
They salute the old brilliant fool by smashing
a shot because they wanted too and because they just did
They come home and stay home for weeks because
they want nothing more than to be with their family
Real men wake up early to make breakfast for their wives
They find the fluffy Maine Coon cat that isn’t allowed to sleep
in the bedroom, and walk as silently as possible as not to wake
their sleeping beauty- place Mr. Fully cat just so, and leave the
room wearing a smile. Check on the baby, race downstairs,
start the coffee, place the eggs on the counter near the stove
along with the English muffins, one package of bacon, butter, And
a can of beer. Because drinking a can of beer while making an
early breakfast before the family is up is fucking amazing.
There is no such thing as a real man. There’s only one thing a man
can be and that’s himself. And when he does that well, he’s able
to love the ones around him fully, wholeheartedly, and life will be good.

-M. Taggart

I close my curtain

You can learn from a curtain
Some demand to stay closed
I’m drinking a new beer
made in Massachusetts
I try not to think about that
The beer is good, not great
But I like it so I’m drinking more
Sometimes a definition of a word
sticks to my brain, but when I speak it
It sounds all wrong
It reminds me of when I speak truth
while no one sees
So I slowly peer out my window
And close the curtain

-M. Taggart

Black Cat Syndrome – A Short Story

Black Cat Syndrome
Fiction
Written by Matt Taggart

Black Cat Syndrome

 

It was late afternoon. The pub was busy. They had taken the last two seats. He sat with his elbow touching the wall. Pete was being crowded by an overweight man.

“Ever heard of the black cat syndrome?”

“No.”

“I was walking with Erin. Remember her? She was a good person. I wasn’t ready. Anyway, we were walking on the dirt road that splits the cornfield.”

Pete leaned closer to Eric. Not to hear him better, but because the overweight man laughed heavily and rolled his head back and crowded Pete even more.

The pub burst with noise as a new group of happy hour sympathizers opened the door and searched for their area of comfort. Eric noticed how everyone’s body language changed the moment new arrivals entered their space. He pressed closer to the wall. The wall wouldn’t change.

“Go on. I’m listening.” Pete said.

“We were walking toward the river. You could just make out the cliff face of Sugarloaf. I remember wanting to see how high the river was. As I looked toward the river a black cat walked out from the corn. It crossed the dirt road in front of us, and went back into the corn on the other side. I said to Erin, ‘You see the black cat?’ She smiled and nodded her head.”

Pete lurched in his chair. A portion of beer leaped from his pint glass and landed on his boots. Pete’s lips thinned as his head tilted. “Mother fucker” Pete murmured. The overweight man’s forearm had over taken Pete’s bar space.

“I’m sorry about that. I saw. I’ll get you another beer.” The bartender said.

“I’m fine. I have half left.”

“I’m still going to get you another beer. Be as fine as you want.” She smiled while walking back toward the taps.

“You’re always doing that. I see what you’re doing. You’re studying everyone.” Pete said.

“I don’t mean to. It just happens.” Even now Eric was looking passed Pete. The bar was dark oak. Half the patrons had food. Everyone had beer. Not one person had a whiskey. Someone needed to order a whiskey. It wasn’t right to not have a whiskey on this bar. A pub employee placed a hot plate of onion rings in front of a man. He could barely make out the scent of a woman’s perfume as the smell of onion rings filled the crowded air. And now the bartender was coming back with Pete’s beer, already smiling. The conversations filling the bar room were constant. Creating a noise with peaks and valleys, but it wasn’t random. It had somehow been designed with purpose.

“What the hell do you see?”

“I don’t know. Nothing really.”

“Here’s your beer, hun.” She smiled not the kind of smile demanding a good tip. And she lingered. Pete wasn’t very handsome. He was rugged, beautifully rustic, and sincere.

“Can I have a whiskey? Actually, a Manhattan. Not in a foo-foo glass either. I want it in a rocks glass. And I want the dirty rocks in another rocks glass, please.” Eric asked the bartender.

“You can, and will.” She didn’t look at him. She was watching Pete. Pete hadn’t noticed.

“Are you lost in the story?” asked Pete.

“Nope. So, we walked through the corn field, through the cemetery, and then to the river bank. The river wasn’t high. I thought it would be, but the storm didn’t bring it up hardly at all. I’m standing on the river bank, with Erin, and we’re taking in the view of the cliff face. For some reason I think of that damn black cat. I ask Erin, ‘Wasn’t it odd to see that cat walk out of the corn?’ I had thought it was odd because of its age. It was a young cat. Not a kitten, but not much older than one. And the farm was a long way off.” Eric said while watching the bartender make his drink. He wanted to see if she would spin the long spoon in the alcohol or shake it in a shaker. If she shook it, the drink would be spoiled. If it was spoiled he’d need to order a second Manhattan or else he wouldn’t let himself be comfortable. And the oak bar still wouldn’t be right.

“So that’s it. You saw a black cat on a walk?”

“No. It wasn’t that. It was Erin’s answer. She said, “What black cat? There wasn’t any black cat.”

“Why the hell would she say that? She just saw it with you. You said she nodded her head.”

“I don’t know. That’s why it’s the black cat syndrome. I’ve seen it everywhere since that moment. People have their eyes open and see about a third of what’s happening around them. Maybe less. I said to Erin, ‘You’re joking. You just saw the cat minutes ago. It crossed the road in front of us.’ But my flaw was that I was now talking with passion. Erin says, ‘Why are you yelling at me. There was no cat. Who cares anyways? Why do you always have to be like this?’ and now Erin’s upset and we’re on a brink of an argument and I can’t let it go because there WAS a black cat. If there weren’t a black cat I wouldn’t be passionate and it’s not even about the damn cat. It’s about her having seen it without locking it away as fact. And now I’m passionately digging through her mind to uncover this for her and it never works. It just never works.”

The bartender placed his Manhattan on the oak bar. He was afraid to taste it. “Why are you so fired up? You’re yelling.” she asked.

He wasn’t yelling, but that hardly mattered. “You’re right. I was remembering a time when someone wasn’t able to handle truth. And that pisses me off.”

“He’s not normal. He’ll talk to you, but he’s here and somewhere else too. Don’t mind him.” Pete said to the bartender.

Eric nodded in agreement. He slowly lifted the rocks glass filled with Manhattan. He brought the drink to his nose, smelled the tempting aroma of whiskey mixed with sweet vermouth, and tilted the glass. He wouldn’t need to order another. Unless he wanted to.

“You make a good drink. It’s exacting.” Eric said to the bartender. “Pete, take out your cell phone. You’re going to have her number.”

Pete had known Eric since childhood. He opened his new-contact screen in his cell and placed it on the bar.

She took Pete’s phone, entered her name, then number. She said nothing. She attempted a smile. She looked at Eric with something resembling anger. Beneath that was truth and that was all that mattered.

 

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Basement Writing

I think great writing is written in basements
while drinking beer alone
Or while rocking a baby and using your one thumb available
I think great writing does last the test of time
And to find what’s not been found
Is fear

-M. Taggart

Sent from my iPhone

A Beer. And a Window.

I’m so fucking tight right now
that I’m not allowing myself to think

One of the few qualities I care to have

I’m sitting at my desk
staring out the fucking window
drinking a beer
pushing myself
passed this bullshit
until I can think again

 

-Matt

odd walking thoughts

-a strangeness followed him deep into the woods. he wished it was fully dark. he wanted the thickness of its empty comfort. the moon however dispersed nighttime light onto every shadow. he sat on a stump and tried to watch his thoughts. “what do you do with your thoughts?” he asked a tree. the tree replied, “as soon as you have one, it is alive. it’s never again going to not be. you’ve born possible greatness. give your thoughts life and watch them be.”

-M. Taggart
copyright 2018

About-
https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/m-taggart/

Indoor Baseball

I play indoor baseball with Gavin
Gavin puts his binky on the T and hits it
He puts his stuffed owl on the T and hits that
He hits anything that’ll fit on the T
I don’t tell him only a ball can sit on the T
I don’t tell him it’s time to practice
I let Gavin tell me it’s time to play
Sometimes he puts the ball on the T
and hits the ball into the wall
I cheer!
It wasn’t long ago that I played indoor baseball
with ping pong balls and DVD cases
The impact makes a satisfying sound
There was beer and whiskey and friends
Two on Two, Three on Three
Stuffed into my bachelor aparment
Smashing away
We broke shit
We fixed what was broken
And played on
If you caught the ball in flight
Out
If you handled the ball cleanly
Out
If  you smashed the ball into the
far back wall
Homerun
Swing and miss twice
Out
We kept stats
And had arguments
We played
I think if Gavin wants to play baseball
Later in life
It’ll be nice
If he doesn’t
That’ll be nice too
But I’m sure as hell not getting in the way
of his indoor baseball

-M. Taggart

Gavin is 2.5 and going at life like it ought to be gone after.

Brother

My brother called a month ago to ask if I’d like to be his best man. This will be the fourth time I will be the best man in a wedding. I’m not sure how this keeps happening.

My younger brother has always been my soft spot. He was my saving grace.

He asked if I would do an old-fashioned best man’s speech.

He said, “With how you are with your words I’d like to hear what you have to say. Just please include the memory when I threw the rock through your window at 3 AM because I locked my keys inside.” He was outside drunk. Alone. Happy.

While my brother was talking about the wedding I tried to stay in the moment. I’ll admit I did drift.

With everything that’s happened in the past few months, including nearly losing my wife due to an internal rupture, and internal bleeding, I drifted. I started to imagine myself at my brother’s wedding. Me going into the old systematic fold that I’ve always used when I’m around many people. No one knows. People will tell me it’s great to see me and I’ll think something along the lines of, ‘We gain too much knowledge and we die.’ I’ll shake their hand and observe how much time I think they might have left. Some people seem to have a harder time absorbing knowledge than others. They’ll ask me a direct question and I’ll answer them very quickly. And we’ll head to the bar.

-M. Taggart

Cheers