Friday, July 29, 2016

freakboy classics: THE DETOUR

Before someone gets his or her knickers in a twist, I referred to my apartment in Omaha, Nebraska as ground zero well before 9/11.  After that day, I referred to my apartment as my tomb.  If I had been present during the break-in over Memorial Day weekend of 2004, it would have probably been an appropriately grim name.

The following was written after spending a few days in my old stomping grounds.  I was doing my best to avoid that particular building, but fate had other plans.


    I am driving through the streetlamp lit city.  The road is closed.  It was open two days ago.  I don't know what has changed this.  Road construction or perhaps a major accident?  The detour leads me to another road that I am no stranger to.  I know the cracks and bumps intimately.  I have been drawn to it once again.  Searching for the sight, I am unsure of what I'll find.  
    I travel further and it comes into view.  A looming mass of brick and wood.  I am shocked it still exists.  My shock is quickly replaced with a slam of memories and with them a variety of emotional emotions.  Names shoot through my mind...home away from home...ground place.  Now a new name makes my acquaintance...the mausoleum of my former self.
    I drive by and recall the outstanding ups.  Spending time with family and friends there.  Once falling to the floor from laughing so hard.  The ups reintroduce me to the serious downs.  The hopeless nights of mourning and the mornings of helpless thoughts.
    I shudder as I leave the mausoleum in reflection, just a distant spot in the mirror.  I catch my eye as I look back and wonder.  Have I changed from the person I used to be when I lived there?  If so, is it subtle?  Is it grand?  Was it a conscious decision or a natural change due to circumstance? 
    I shake my head and laugh quietly, resisting the urge to get into yet another stimulating conversation with myself.  I then realize the road of my former self is closed.  I am who I am now and I wouldn't want to be exactly the same person I was before.  As I continue to drive through the hazy city streets, I grin with the knowledge that I just answered my own pondering.
John L. Harmon

(polished: 7/29/2016)

For the record, the mausoleum of my former self has long since been torn down, but I carry him and the memories of that place with me, along with all the other former Johns, because they are a part of me, no matter who I am now, until the end.

Freak Out, 

P.S.  During the early days of this blog, I posted one of the original tales from the freakboy zone e-mails titled THE PROCESS.  Please click and enjoy...

Friday, July 22, 2016

freakboy classics: THE BEGINNING

The words were finished in 2008 and it was time for...


The place was my hometown of Broken Bow, Nebraska.  The date was Wednesday, December 10, 2008.  I had originally planned to wait until after Christmas, with the excuse of excess mail, but I was ready.  And when one is ready, why wait?
It started as such a common task—stuffing an envelope—which I have been able to do since I was old enough to write a letter.  So I set forth with a perfunctory attitude, not fully realizing what was occurring.  Neatly filled and addressed, the manila envelope was sealed.  I then placed it aside for a couple of hours.  There were other things to do before a trip to the post office could be made.  During those two hours, I occasionally glanced over at the envelope.  Just checking to see if it was okay…possibly to make sure I did not imagine its preparation.  The amazing and stunning nature of this manila-in-waiting was sinking in.
Finally the time arrived.  I slipped on my shoes and a pullover jacket; then shoved my billfold and keys into pockets.  I gently took hold of my cargo and walked towards the post office.  A last minute decision caused a minor detour.  I needed to stop at the library and share the moment.  After all, they had put up with me for the last two years while I wore out their computer keyboards.
I showed them my envelope and immediately they knew.  The looks on their faces were of shock, which did not upset me.  That was also one of my sensations.  After a brief discussion, I was given a “Good luck.”  I promptly replied, “You’re welcome!”— exposing my nervous excitement.  I corrected with a proper “Thank you!” before leaving the possible future home of my name.
The post office suddenly loomed and I was ripe with anticipation.  I entered and was pleased to find my usual clerk.  She weighed my cargo and slapped the postage label on the top right corner.  I paid her, thanked her, and then glanced at the manila envelope, safe in her postal hands, one final time.  It was on its way and I was in a daze!
My head was light and my heart was full.  Colors were vivid, hemorrhaging, while physical objects became figments of my wide-eyed gawking.  I seriously wondered if this feeling was an equivalent to being in love.  Somehow, through my lurid landscape, I arrived home without incident, but I was not content to idle.  My sister and I hastily decided to go for a celebratory orange sherbet at a nearby soda fountain.
We sat by the picturesque store window, watching foot and motor traffic around the town square, and conversed of my personal accomplishment.  That innocuous manila envelope contained what was once personally deemed impossible…a query to a literary agent.  To some this could be a shoulder-shrugging moment, but for me it was an enormous step forward.  An initial step on my road to becoming a published author.
(polished: 7/21/2016)

For the record, and in hindsight, I understand why this and other literary agents sent rejection letters my way.  They saw that my writing would not hold mass appeal and therefore I would make an unprofitable client.  These last few years have proven this assessment accurate, but, on a positive note, my name does reside in the library, in a self-published way. 

Freak Out,

P.S.  The Beginning was also the title of my very first post on this blog...

Friday, July 15, 2016

freakboy classics: THE LIBRARIAN

The following is the very first tales from the freakboy zone e-mail I ever sent to my unsuspecting friends and family.  They should have stopped me when they saw what was coming, but here I am 11 years later, now with a blog that can reach worldwide.

I am leaving this classic tale "unpolished" because I think it's amusingly fine the way it is.  As an added bonus, I'm including my e-mail sign-off from back then.  To be honest, I had nearly forgotten how completely awesome and vaguely obscene my sign-off was until I read the original e-mail again. 




    She watches me.  I can barely set foot outside my door without feeling her cold, judgmental eyes on my back.  Questions!  Always with the questions.  She is a near stranger to me.  She has not earned a pass into my life.  She does not deserve a minute-by-minute itinerary of my day, my week, my month, my year, my decade!
    She is just a librarian, taking inventory of other lives.  Most likely waiting for the perfect moment to pounce upon an unsuspecting victim.  She will discuss and dissect the mental snapshots she has collected.  Pouring salt over old wounds and smiling coyly as she renders her personal verdict of the victim's person.
    One day I will turn the tables on her.  I will note of her activities.  Activities that I stumbled upon, not by feverishly seeking them out, but by the hands of fate kick-dropping me into the right place at the perfectly and poetically right time.  I will emulate her smug, self-righteous tone.  I may hate myself in the end but the beast of a thousand noses will be vanquished and I shall live freely, minding my own business once more.  
John L. Harmon

Freaked for your pleasure


For the record, I was eventually kick-dropped into the right place and managed to startle this librarian by casually mentioning how she had been to a particular business.  She asked how I knew and I grinned inscrutably.  The look of utter shock on her face made the scene all worth while, with absolutely no regrets on my part.

Freak Out,

P.S.  Click CAD for another library-related tale. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

freakboy classics: THE DISC

This classic tale needs a brief prologue...

In the fateful year of 2006, I discovered my serious, without a hint of irony, appreciation for crooner Perry Como.  It's a complicated tale spanning decades that perhaps I'll write about one day.

A year later my sister forced me to watch an episode of Biography about Barry Manilow.  I must admit that I felt something akin to respect for the singer, especially after hearing how his career started in bathhouses.  During this hour long program, Barry Manilow discussed 2:00 AM PARADISE CAFÉ with great enthusiasm, and I knew I had to listen to that album.


I push play and close my eyes.  In that silent moment before the speakers spring to life, I am transported there.  Outside a light rain is coating the pavement with a damp sheen.  The neon sign hums the promise of shelter from wetness and the agitating world.
Entering the drowsy, hazy atmosphere, I am immediately drawn to the respectable piano in the corner.  As I sit at a small table within close proximity, the player announces in a soothing voice that it is 2:00 AM and he only has one hour left.  A reminder to put any requests in now.
But that's not how this late-hour crowd burns.  The spattering of patrons on any given night totals four to six, including myself.  We absorb what music is offered to us and nurse our drinks within that hour.  The waitress knows what I like: a cola with a shot of vanilla.
She brings it to my table as the man behind the ivories caresses them like a former lover returned.  Before the piano man’s voice begins its sweet aching, a sax man beside him sprinkles his baritone notes, completing the sway this music holds.
I gaze about the smoky surroundings.  Nameless faces flicker in the candlelight, all with a story of loss...regret.  That's why we are in the Paradise Café at this obscene hour.  Finding comfort within the mellow music.  Fighting the blues with blues.
Time passes and before I know it last-call is called.  As the piano man plays me back to reality, I wonder what it is that drew me here and where I will go after.
Perry may have been my gateway drug to a softer, easy-listening side...but this?  Is this disc the beginning of Barry or a crossover to slow jazzy blues?  I can't begin to guess, but I know for certain I will continue to visit 2:00 AM PARADISE CAFÉ and its refreshing melancholy.

(polished: 7/5/2016)

For the record, this disc did not start me down the road of Manilow.  I appreciate a few of his other songs, especially "Daybreak" because of its brilliant use in SERIAL MOM, but another entire Manilow album has never set my soul on fire like Paradise Café.  No, not even that apartment themed one.  (Sorry, G B-D.)  However, I have since found myself, depending on my mood, drawn to blues and jazz when I stream music.

Freak Out,

P.S. To read another post about another disc, please click...Garbage. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

freakboy classics: THE DAY

June is over, taking freakboy on film with it.  Now the film blog has mutated back into its former nondescript self.  Three things I learned from last month are...

1.)  It was a great pleasure to have been a part of the Nature's Fury Blogathon!  As if I needed an excuse to watch The Little Shop of Horrors for the Nth time.

2.)  I have a new appreciation for bloggers who review a film (or more) a week.  It's not always easy to decide what film to review, and sometimes the plan changes.  Party Girl was a last minute review after another film just didn't feel right with my overall theme of quirky, weird films I love.

3.)  It was kind of nice having a theme for the month, which leads me to the following...

For the month of July, tales from the freakboy zone will step back in time.  It will dig up a few of the original e-mail essay-things that inspired the name of this blog, and got my juices flowing after a long creative drought.  To kick off this month's theme, here is a tale from 10 years ago that is very much connected to last month's theme...


June 12, 2006: I called a multitude of stores to figure out where I could find the two.  After much button pushing, I found one store that would only have one of each.  I was happy with that sole store but I was worried about their stocking, especially since I would have to drive out-of-town for them.
June 13, 2006: The day I had known about for months arrived.  The day I had been waiting a few years for became a reality.  They would be there but I feared I would miss the chance.
I walked into the store 30-minutes after it opened.  I looked at the new items.  Nothing.  I kept my anxiety in check as I looked under "B".  I started to sweat when I didn't see it.  So, I looked under "V" and still found nothing!  Panic set in as I rushed through the aisles!  I barely resisted the urge to cry out, "I need a doll!"
An employee asked if I needed help (it's far too late for that!) and I told her what I was looking for.  She looked in a box and my eyes zoomed in on them.  I wondered if they were waiting for me.  "I think I see them!"  My voice sounded singsong to my ears.
She pulled out the only copy of each item.  I watched with impatient fascination as she fingered through a list of pricing labels.  She found the stickers and placed them on the corresponding items.  I smiled wildly because it was as if she was doing her job just for me!  I quickly cut short the desire to be a full-time egocentric.
I was handed the two items and my mind imploded!  I caressed the plastic wrap and absorbed the words and colors.  My eyes dared to roll back in ecstasy with the promise of a Panavision-istic, psychedelic, musically varied, merry-go-round land of ups and downs!
This is my happening and I will sparkle like Neely as I graze through the VALLEY OF THE DOLLS and travel far BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
(polished: Tuesday, June 28th, 2016)

For the record, I had seen both films prior to purchasing them, which is why I was so amped up about their DVD release! 

Freak Out,

P.S.  If you would like to read my thoughts/review of one of those films, please click...DOLLS

P.P.S.  Maybe, if the mood should strike, freakboy on film will sporadically resurface so I can go on and on about some of my other favorite films.