The Hills Are Full of Echoes
Surely, surely that's been used as a title; just as surely as I once wrote a song entitled, "Surely, Surely, Shirley She Loves Me," which, surely didn't sell. And I surely am ramblin' and rantin' but hell that's about all you have to do when you're free and able to just hitch your guitar up across your back, pack a few vittles in a headrag, make sure your harmonica's on your hip and your rack's around your neck and then you just head out. I should, I guess, say "you jist head on out," but I'm not one of these people, I'm just an echo in their hills.
Hey, Pals o'Mine, I'm Honest Hal Horse, OK, Start Neighing or Saying 'Hay, Hal?' and Stuff Like That 'Cause I Can't Help It That's My Name but I Can Help You Learn to Write in Respect of That Writer Struggling Within You to Get Out & Write
A Sample Hal Horse Instruction Lesson
Hi, I'm Claudio Persimmon. Every day as a small child in my native quaint US Elizabethan hometown high in the hills on some lost plateau on a Southern Cross reflection side of the highest hill in 40 miles I knew I wanted to write books. I wanted to write books like the books in my father's fat library. I was born lucky; I admit it; I've never been ashamed of being born rich, though in order to write books the way I wanted to write books, I tossed into the pig slop my birthright, an insult to my rather fake-Shakespearian father who conferred with his lawyers and then with a bold stroke of his expensive Mont Blanc pen scratched my name off the records of the vast Persimmon holdings, and at the tender age of 14 sent me packing.
My father's last words were, "I do not in the slightest give one hoot in hell what happens to ya, boy; to me...[dramatic pause] you...[another dramatic pause] ARE WORTHLESS [with stentorian might and gesturing], as worthless as that shiftless skunk Willie Hog who I make live out there in the barn though he is as much a Persimmon as you, boy. In fact, as soon as your butt's over the horizon, I'm bringing Willie Hog into the damn house in spite of the condemations that will befall me 'cause of it; in fact, I'm giving him your room. Ah, but I am a magnificent yet treacherous work of homo sapien art aren't I? So toodle-do. Adios. Whatever gets you out'a here."
So there I was, 14 years old, home tutored, so you know I wasn't very practically educated at all, out in the street on my own, a little confused, but not defeated.
I did have a talent that perhaps I could fall back on in some licentious way. I could quote passages of Shakespeare by heart, with the right gestures added in, too--hell, I not only could quote real Shakespeare but I could also improvise long passages of phony Shakespeare, make 'em up as I declaimed them--just like my old man could do. His theory was the masses are idiots; they wouldn't know real Shakespeare from fake Shakespeare as long as you declaimed it as though you were Shakespeare.
Like the first place I went after getting the patriarch's boot up my ass was a small cafe in downtown hometown. A place I knew knew who I was and perhaps could at least let me hang around there until I got my bearings and made some plans--plus, as I admitted, I had no money; come on, my Dad was true to his vindictiveness--"Better you be broke in the streets than with money. Someone would always be trying to steal your money. Nobody will try to steal from you if you are broke." I accepted that as logic and that's why I trotted on off without turning and acting like a sniveling cowardly idiot and getting on my knees and begging for a second chance. My Dad had trained me well; I, too, looked deeply and darkly down on cowering idiots--one reason I was home schooled; I never made it in any public school and after a month or so private schools all over the country started sending me home as incorrigible whether I was enrolled there or not.
Anyway, my ability to fake Shakespeare got me my first gig. Yes, Mel Parmijean, the Lonsome Cafe owner, refused to serve me at first as I charmingly strode into the joint, plopped down at the counter and smilingly piped out, "Hey, Mel, old buddy, how 'bout a hamburger on my tab?" "Whoaaa, chile, where's your daddy?" "My Dad's burnin' in Hell now, Mel, and I've just inherited the family fortune...er-ah, how much you want for this dump, Mel?" "Whoaaa, chile, beg pardon, hamburger like you like 'em comin' up...." "Don't hold those onions either, Mel."
I felt good as I ate that hamburger. Damn, I perhaps had found a source of power. As long as this fool Mel didn't know the truth about my "out-of-the-Persimmon-will" status, I could hang here the rest of the day, then hit on Mel for chump change enough to get me to the Hometown Steal-Your-Savings Bank and Loan Asshole-a-sociation and cash out my savings account and also try and cash out my trust fund. This kind of thinking made me so powerful confident, I just suddenly as a lark started declaiming some Shakespeare. The joint was packed, too. I just finished the hamburger, slid off the stool, and stood in the middle of the joint--and with a gesture of mighty thespian skill, I took control of that cafe as I trumpeted, "Fear thee not, oh patrons, fear not my so abrupt attempt at getting your attention...." Wow. The joint hushed down and everybody looked up from their food, eyes wide, giving me their full attention. I continued on with so much sauve exhorting it even amazed me.
I collected a twenty dollar bill at the conclusion of that performance. Then Mel, his eyes bright with his new culture, brought me out another hamburger. "Damn, kid, you were great. I never would'a taken a snooty little hilltopper like you to be a pretty damn fine little entertainer." "Except I want to write books." "Here, put this in your book." He handed me a fiver. "What's this for?" "Your little act. Folks ordered a lot of food after you pulled all that emotion out of 'em. Would you do another set? Another fiver and another hamburger, plus you'll probably pull another 20 when the blue-collar stiffs come in from the bowling alley later--hell, those birds are liable to give you 20 bucks from each of 'em; there's at least ten of 'em and extra if their wimmen come in with 'em...." "OK, Mel, you got me. One more show. Except, my family didn't get rich off fivers, Mel; how 'bout a ten spot this time?" "Jist like your old daddy. It's a deal."
My second declamation went over even hotter than the first...and I gave them at least a 15-minute soliloquy in the manner of Hamlet that had a couple a big bozos cryin' like babies 'fore it was over. I heard one blue-collar peone (whoops, I'm showing my class) say, "I bet that kid could go on like that for hours with that shit...." Wow, he was right; I could go on like that for hours. What had I come across here? My heart was beating madly. My jesting Shakespearian babblings were taken seriously enough that after a third, a "special encore," performance, I walked out of the Lonesome Cafe with over 200 bucks in my jeans.
I was confident and cocky as hell when later I walked into old Judge Ludicrous Lyons the bank president's office and calmly ask him to proceed to cash out my savings account and my trust fund. I didn't say "please" or act like a kid; I was tough, confronting and demanding, just like the bank was really my father's, so up and out of that easy chair, you old reprobate and bring me my money...NOW.
The Daily Growler Inquisitor
OK, we assume if you're this far, you've just read Claudio Persimmon's little tale--we thought he spun it out cleverly enough--but HERE'S the PROBLEM: Claudio doesn't know how to finish it so he's asking you, dear reader(s) to maybe either write it on out--your writing assignment from The Daily Growler Famous Writer and Bennett Cerf Memorial School of Unhinged Writing (in Sublimity, Oregon, of all places)--or analyze it and suggest the direction it is more than likely realistically going...like, what if Judge Ludicrous Lyons tells young Claudio, "Kiss our ass, your dad's already closed the books on you here, sonny boy, so it's out the door with you or I call the cops." Or, what if Judge Ludicrous Lyons in respect for Little Claudio's family influence--and the fact that they own the bank--gives Little C his savings in 20-dollar bills and even more intriguing, what if the Judge does release Little Claudio's trust fund--over a half-a-million bucks--"In small bills, please."
Give it a shot. Take some school kid notebook paper and weave an even more intriguing tale than Claudio managed.
So you want to be a writer. Here's your chance to learn writing the Hal Horse way.
for The Daily Growler