Doctor Malamud
The Archive's of:
Dr. Malamud©

The mostly unedited ramblings
of a broken-hearted man

"See! how she leans her cheek upon her hand: O!, that I were a glove upon that hand, That I might touch that cheek."

William Shakespeare
   Romeo & Juliet

Archived Page Number 5:
September/October 2003

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The Book of Psalms
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalms 34:18

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"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him." Proverbs 18:17

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Return to most recent Dr. Malamud entries Note: that the oldest entry is at the top of page
while the most recent entry is at the bottom       I'm at Starbucks again. Two Phoenix police officers at my side. You know that Starbucks has caused a quantum change in American society when cops hang out here, rather than the donut shop. I notice a really cute teen, sitting within four feet of me, frustrated, not really interested in studying, hugging her textbook to her chest. Phx.Police Corner 7th St. & Washington badguy Next thing I know, she's talking . . . on her cell phone. The cops are talking softball. Tonight is the last night I will sleep in the home the Missus and I built over twenty four years ago. I'm out of words. I'm bone weary. So tired of deciding what to take, what to toss. Took many of the boxes labeled "Medium 3.0 Cubic Foot" over to the new apartment. Still no furniture has been moved. Even so, our teen son is in his room, asleep on the carpeted floor, with his favorite comforter comforting him. I don't know how this pending divorce is affecting him. My wife and him have so discounted my authority that I'm powerless as a father. I'm a friend with a wallet. Mrs. Malamud phoned me today. She offered me the choice of winging it to the Lone Star State and signing some real property legal paperwork or instead, granting her a specific power of attorney. She sounded pretty darn excited at the possibility of me visiting her soon. (Or it may have been the natural high she experiences in the midst of a buying spree. The same high I experience.) I was not all that excited. I think I was more energized about having the opportunity to escape work and Scottsdale and moving and memories for a couple of days. I must still be in a depression if I can't get worked up over the chance to see my soul mate one more time. I step out of Starbucks to the Peugeot to fetch my yellowed paperback copy of "Roget's College Thesaurus". It is twice as old as the now, three, cute teen girls studying anatomy. Not mine, but the one detailed in their shiny-paged, heavy, hardbacked textbooks. Drat. I stare at the inside cover of the thesaurus and study the name printed in my own teen micro-font blue ink. My 1967 phone number, sans the nowadays ubiquitous area code, is precisely printed below my appellation. "Hammurabi Malamud  939-5870." I asked my California actress-friend what she thought of the Missus' invite. She said it sounded like a good thing. Later in the evening, MM called again to suggest that possibly the "power of attorney", without a visit from me, might be the way to proceed. Sigh. I really love plane travel. At work, being able to hear the distant roar of the jetliners and then to pick them out moving across the blue, blue desert, sky shotgunned with white, puffy and fluffy coliseum-sized clouds, never fails to raise my lagging spirits. When I was a pre-teen growing up here, some mornings you'd find me pedaling my Schwinn Paperboy Special as fast as I could, chasing a low-hanging bright white cloud sure that if I could just get close enough, I could reach up and and touch that same cloud. Back at Starbucks, I moved outside as the place will close soon. I sit in a pre-monsoon breeze that gusts to 15 mph. I watch fat mothers with their fat daughters leaving TCBY. Yuck. Sad. Well, once I'm moved and maybe somewhat emotionally stabilized - that'll be a while. I don't want to "get out". I just want to sleep. That's one very nice thing about the apartment. I can affordably get the place hotel-room cold even when it's 110F degrees outside. Affordably cold. The moon is as bright as the headlight of a motorcycle coming head on. So bright that I can clearly see the dark craters. Just like I can feel the dark craters gouged into my heart over my failed marriage.       Things to do today: continue unpacking, sometimes unpacking junk that was swiftly and expertly packed before I could get to it and throw it out. Putting stuff away in the kitchen. Kitchen stuff. Packer's loading up moving truck Washing kitchen stuff so I can put clean kitchen stuff into storage for the Missus to fetch when her house is completed in a few weeks. Throwing away junk. Bags and black thirty three gallon bag after bag of junk I carry to the huge twin apartment dumpsters. Greeting my fellow dwellers with an unignorably loud "Good morning!" or "Hello!", they are forced to respond, or appear deaf or daft. I ziplock a bag of door keys to drop off at the old house for the new owner. Next I'm off to the school uniform store to buy my son's last set of clothes for the school he's been attending for the last ten years. I spend over $200, even though several items were on sale. Digging through my fanny pack, I come across my son's failed car alarm remote fob. I decide to haul it over to Reid at Creative Car Stereo to get it fixed. For free. Reid tells me he had another customer come very close to death because of unhealed sores on his feet. I think of the three sets of unhealed sores I wear on my right foot. It seems as if every surface street and every highway in the Phoenix Metroplex is under repair this otherwise very pleasant Saturday afternoon. I head north on th 51. One lane of traffic has been funneled down from the normal three. "Double Fines" shouts the sign displaying a construction speed limit of 45 MPH. I still have to buy clothes hooks for my closet door, dividers for my kitchen drawers and pantries, another paper towel dispenser, curtains, rods, a new computer and an badly needed oil change for my boy's car. Since I'm driving by Border's, I decide to buy the Ray Bradbury book about writer's I had to leave behind on my last visit. I also pick up, at massive discounts, the "Sea Breeze" cards, "Quarterlife Crisis" and a recent Terry McMillan hardback for my twenty three year old daughter. I also snag, sadly, at no discount, my second copy of "Cerulean Sins" for my teen son, the first copy having gone to my daughter in Texas, one thousand thirteen miles to the east. Robert Young came out to our old house on Wednesday. He enticed Shadrach, my oily furred and smelly friend of the past ten years, into a huge beige colored pet carrier, which he and his assistant then quickly slid into the air conditioned back of his full sized Chevrolet van. Later, far from here, he would put my dearest dog friend to sleep. Robert Young commented that in seventeen years he'd never witnessed an English Bulldog as vicious as Shadrach. How odd that Dr. Welby is now in the business of killing dogs. Oh yeah, the house sale closed Friday, with the net proceeds filling up our joint checking account.       They enter wearing the artificial loudness that inebriation puts on. I snuck into the vacant Starbucks first, seconds later, I was joined by a dozen caffeine-starved Scottsdalian's. Fame does have a price. And Starbucks is famous. Through the glass darkly, I study the young adult male outside sitting with his girlfriend. His shirt sleeve rides up to reveal another distinctive and asinine 'tribe' tattoo encompassing his upper bicep. Of course, he doesn't realize how ridiculous his 'unique' branding will appear when he's in his fifties, like Dr. Malamud. A covey of five plain-looking women charge in. Every one of them is burdened with at least thirty pounds of ugly adipose tissue. The youngest one, in her early twenties, could be quite attractive, but the added poundage makes her appear thirty. A rail-thin, Meg Ryan-type stomps in, balancing on her sandals that sport three inch black rubber soles. She fetches her beverage, teeters outside, flops into a trademark green chair, lights a cigarette and begins yapping on her cell phone. I spent the seven hours of spare time I enjoy at work today, preparing change of address forms, balancing my two checking accounts, paying bills and lastly ridding my Eudora 'In' basket of dozens of 'returned' emails sent out by a virus that inhabits my Windows 95 girded and graying laptop. My life is flying by and I cannot recall what I did a mere seven hours ago. That is so sad. I remember July summer days, sitting in a high school classroom. A forty-two minute geometry period seeming to last forty-two hours. Followed by another and another and another, until the school day was done and I avoided the sadness of my own home by visiting the home of my girlfriend, Connie Boone. During the recent move to the Malamud apartment, I discovered a thirty four year old photo of Connie that had appeared in the 1969 Cortez Yearbook. A close friend of mine - probably the future porn movie actress Diana Hardy - knowing my passions for the fair Connie, had made me a two inch by two inch reproduction carefully glued to a piece of white stock paper. I now remember, that while watching Connie's mom barfing outside her front door after a night of drinking with her father, I was thinking that even though she must be at least forty-five years old, she was still quite handsome. (Unusual thoughts for a sixteen year old.) And I imagined Connie would still be very attractive into her own middle age. Connie's black and white cameo is clipped to the front of my rented refrigerator. A reminder of old times? Last I heard, Connie had married my ex-best friend, heir to the parcel on the southeast corner Scottsdale and Bell Roads. Sigh. I went from work this afternoon back the seventeen miles to the apartment to fetch the storage room key I had forgotten. I unlocked the door to the anti-SpeedFreak-cage that surrounds the apartment mailboxes and once inside my locked compartment, I noted the sky blue card that indicated I had a package at the office. A package too large to fit in my pygmy shoe-box-sized mail cubby. Imagine that. Stopping at the leasing office on my way out, I cause the usual ruckus as I pick up the parcel containing the tee shirt I had ordered four weeks ago. I step up to the Starbucks counter at ten minutes to closing asking for any free coffee that would be dumped out at 9:30PM anyway. Towering at least one half foot above me, the Brobdingnagian barista, apparently on the executive track, denies there is ever any free coffee. The bitch. Exiting the apartment complex, I pilot the mighty Peugeot the Baker's dozen miles to the West-side storage yard. With ground-shaking thuds, one by one, I drop the five leaden boxes of Missus Malamud's stuff inside the already stuffed room. I squeeze myself to the back, where I reach out with my red tailor's tape to measure the two bookcases I hope to someday cart back into my Lilliputian-sized apartment and happily feed with member's of my enormous book population. I stop at Artie's Ace Hardware to pick up more handyman supplies and then run across the street to the computer store to drop off my 1990s vintage, forty pound, HP LaserJet IIP+ for repair. Then, on the way back the apartment, I stop at the office supply store. At home again, I crank the air conditioning thermostat down to 76F degrees and quickly fall asleep on my British racer's-green couch surrounded by my OfficeMax purchases, their huge, white, plastic bags flapping in the artificial breeze generated by the churning ceiling fan. (Lilluptian defn. adj. extremely small; tiny; diminutive. Brobdingnagian defn. adj. of huge size, gigantic.)
October 2003       Just got back from Bed, Bath and Beyond. I had to swap a couple of curtain panels that, once home, turned out to be not the identical shade of eggshell. It was actually a fun experience. The girl behind the 'Service Counter' was more than accommodating. And, as I walked to the potent Peugeot paused in the parking lot, my face battling a non-stop yawning attack, a good looking lady walked towards me directing a smile so bright at me that I felt for sure she was going to ask me to sign a petition or participate in a survey. It's been raining tonight - I don't imagine it hit the predicted 95F degrees. I think summer may finally be over - well - officially Fall started yesterday, but the Sonoran Desert Scottsdale is situated in, often doesn't pay much heed to the 'Season Schedule'. Last night I went to my kid's school to hear about the latest play he was cast in. I was back to being myself. And get this - the 'Manimal' saved me the folding chair to his left. In the center of the front row. It was obvious to all that he loves theater almost as much as his dad does. Months ago, I was openly and unwillingly weeping in front of many of these same people. Back at Starbucks, I glance across at the two attractive ladies in the midst of animated conversation. The blonde wears no wedding ring. Odd how I'm automatically checking for that particular sign of commitment. However, as near as I can tell, I have zero desire for a romantic relationship. In tony Troon North, earlier this afternoon, I was chatting with Mr. Starbuck himself, matter-of-factly informing him that as I became more like the Hammurabi of old, I'd start ". . . drawing women to me. Effortlessly. And not just because I'm a dead ringer for Brad Pitt, either . . . " My homily went unfinished, drowned out by his hearty laughter. Earlier yesterday afternoon I found myself strolling the corridors at my son's academy. Seeing me peak into the room, through the barely cracked opened heavy, solid core, wood door, he quickly stepped out into the hallway to join me. I clasped him to my chest in an arm-lengthening hug. As I emailed to the Missus later, hugging our thoroughly muscled up baby boy was like hugging an upended couch. Life is sweet.       Just got done buying the store at Ross. And $212 left there is considered buying the store at Ross. The illegal aliens who regularly shop at Ross and myself are becoming good friends. "Amigo's" I believe is the word. I purchased three or four pairs of shoes for the teen boy to try on at home, a couple of jackets for the harsh Valley of the Sun winter and a few, elsewhere expensive, brand-named, long-sleeved, so soft, shirts. The jackets were tagged with department store prices well over one hundred dollars, and I snagged the one for $39.90. And the other un-Ross-tagged-one, I Jewed, ur, er, I mean, I "Caucasian-ed them down" to $29.99. Gilbert Ortega, the locally well-known Native American jeweler died today. He often worked with the greenish-blue turquoise rock, which is uniquely found in the trash tailings of the massive and centuries long hunt for Arizona's brown copper. Turquoise jewelry, click to view more from SWtrading Co. Hearing his name transports me back twenty years to the memory of an early morning sighting of Ortega's Rolls Royce Corniche (sporting a vanity license plate) proceeding slowly north on the divided boulevard. And minutes later, cruising in the opposite direction of then, far north Scottsdale Road. Being this was the era prior to the practice of illegally tinting automobile windows cobalt black, and with Rolls Royce's seats forcing the driver and passengers to sit abnormally high as if they were potted plants set out in the sun, I could easily see that he was alone. And lonely. And looking. 8:47PM and the cooling misters on the outside patio of Starbucks are squeezed off thirteen minutes before the closing time stenciled on the glass to the right of the door. Immediately the temperature leaps into the low 90s, sweat droplets begin to populate my vast forehead and I'm glad I used my Mitchum anti-persperant this morning. October 2nd is the title of tomorrow's date and the weatherman promises that it will be our final 100F degree day of the third year of the 21st century. It's been one of the longest, warmest summer's I can recall in my fifty plus years of living in this desert. However, for the next six or seven months my resident's will be singing the "This is why we moved here" chorus. Of course, I was born here on a hot August evening, and suffered through life before refrigeration in either cars or buildings, but my Dale Carnegie training forces me to usually keep that not-helpful fact under my hat. I'm struggling to write this tonight. That's because I'd rather be sitting with my boy watching one of his rented vampire DVDs. But I imagine he's still deep asleep in his post-school, late afternoon nap. This morning at 5AM I lifted the curved aluminum cover and slid my first rent check in twenty eight years through the slot in the apartment management office. Julie Andrews played a singer in a favorite movie of mine, with Jack Lemmon as her husband, titled "That's Life". In that particular movie her career was threatened by an undiagnosed growth on a vocal cord. And now I understand that in real life, her singing career has been ended by a growth on her vocal cords? Which brings me to the one inch diameter ball-bearing shaped growth protruding on the left side of my lower mandible. It may be an Art Bell talked about implant from Extra-Terrestrial's, but I doubt it. I've got an appointment with an ENT doctor to learn if he can determine what it is. If he recommends another $500 (after insurance) MRI, I'm going to bitch slap him about the ears, nose and throat. What the hell did doctor's do before MRI's? Did they use that little black eight ball novelty that gave the answer once it was shaken and turned upside down? The Jew's at the nearby table begin yapping so loudly, I can't concentrate. The women talk about "getting along" but, as a group, from personal experience in dealing with Jewish ladies on a daily basis, these Hebe's (pronounced "heebs") are the most pretentious, snooty, obnoxious, uncaring and incredibly selfish group of females on the planet.       Alone again. But not really, because I'm seated along with two dozen other patrons at the Starbucks inside a Barnes & Noble mega-bookstore. The Café floor is set upon an 18" high pedestal, which allows me to look down on the people-packed aisles of the single story, 30,000 square foot movie, music and book emporium. It warms my heart to know that literacy still exists in America. Odd how a significant portion of the wealth in these United States rests with those who can read <grin>. Read English. I've already noted a more affluent class of clientele than I abused and ignored at my own Borders on East Cactus Road. But what does it matter if The Café area is only cooled to what feels like 82F degrees? It's hot in here and the aluminum zirconium tricholorohydrex gly plastered arm pits of Dr. Malamud are beginning to drip, not unlike the pair of pots of brewing coffee less than seven feet away. This area is lighted more like a Mayo Hospital operating room than a dark shrouded sanctuary where an author might squat unnoticed to weave and fabricate stories. 10:15PM arrives far too soon and enough guests have vacated this huge bookstore to allow the air conditioning a chance to cool the place down to a comfortable temperature. My work-week has been shortened to a mere forty hours, consisting of five days per week with Saturday and Sunday returned to me. Two days off in a row is an luxury I savor more than most, but I'm not sure it is worth the $400 less income per month that it deprives me of. How perfect is God's timing? If I had had this lower level of income less than one month ago, I would not have financially qualified to inhabit my current apartment where I live side by side with check-forging, illegal aliens. The Missus phoned at work the other day to cheerfully advise me that she was watering her lawn in the Lone Star State. The green apron surrounding her new home that she moves into next month. After I rang off, my heart was beating as if I had just asked the new girl at school to go to the Prom with me. A five foot, ten inch tall, black-haired, twentyish-looking lass stands waiting at the register. If she lost thirty pounds, she'd be Hollywood beautiful. I figure if she was my 'woman' (yes, I'm still so very provincial) for every five pounds she shed, together we'd pull back the curtain of rapture once. Sadly, I have no doubt she would not be at all interested in my diet plan for her. Even if no special food was required and phone consultation was at no charge.       Had to relocate tonight. Relocate to another Starbucks. Not a hard task considering as how there are three franchises within a two mile drive. Four within a three mile drive. Five within a four mile drive. Need I go on? I wish literacy and common sense would spread so fast. I really enjoyed my old Starbucks, bordering the high-end cigar shop and the pick-up bar disguised as a Mexican food restaurant. A restaurant conceived by a fine gentleman who I formerly provided security for. As I age, my so called 'Six Degrees of Separation' is counting down to only 'One Degree' or sometimes 'Zero Degrees.' (The so named Six Degrees of Separation is the theory that everyone on planet Earth is separated by only six other individuals. That is, the theory goes that you know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows the sixth someone. There's even a game named 'The 6 Degree's of Kevin Bacon' in which virtually every actor in the known universe can be connected in this manner to Mr. Bacon.) What an unbelievable bounty for Dr. Malamud to be so close to so many so successful individuals. Many are successful financially, many have attained true happiness, a few have attained both. Being in an incredibly unique position to view the 'unplugged lives' of some of the wealthiest people living in these United States, I'd judge that the most fulfilled are those who continue to strive. Continue to set goals and move on. Continue to stretch. And those who are physically too fragile to maintain the fight - if these same few enjoy a happy marriage, that pairing, combined with economic freedom - well, these couples appear almost blissful even while approaching the end of their toils in this plane. Only America offers these rewards to anyone, anyone, willing to work hard enough. I recall just a very few months ago, after I had finished my yard work at the former Malamud manse, cloaked in my dirty shorts and a grass, perspiration and earth stained T-shirt, appearing for all the world as a professional Caucasian landscape worker -- impossible because they do not exist anymore. I was sitting, still steaming, outside this same Starbucks basking in a job well done paired with a glorious, if toasty, Scottsdale summer morning. And mourning over my dissolving marriage with my tears minglingly with my sweat. It's been an emotional journey I was destined to take. I've been handed desperately needed insights . . . at this point, I got up from my huge green table, in the too loud interior of the Java-hut, and stepped to the door and spied a wonderfully isolated, vacant and well lit table outside. Outside in the relative quiet of the Scottsdale evening, the breeze only lightly ladled with the words of individuals and couples trying to impress each other. I stepped back inside the cacophony of the artificially cooled coffee-bar, gathered together my Roget's, my dictionary, my Oxford Desk Reference, the blue-lined, spiral bound yellow notebook, three pens, my moth-eaten fanny pack and finally my Venti-sized blue insulated Starbucks' travel mug. Arms full and using my back, I pushed open the glass door, turned and expectantly strutted outside into the gorgeous Caribbean-like evening, rounded the corner ... only to witness a fat-assed mother, with her fat-assed pre-teen daughter park their, naturally, fat-asses at my table. I angrily turned on the heels of my Italian hand stitched blue & beige Shakesperian-looking shoes, carefully hugging the burden of my load and slumped back to my table inside. Minutes later, I noticed that the hog and her piglet had vacated the table, probably drawn away by the scent of farm fresh food wafting through the air from the Chili's restaurant over one mile away. Snort.       Once again, I'm seated at my new Barnes & Noble Café. Prior to planting my ample ass in the consecrated Dr. Malamud chair however, I had, moments before, plucked three thick paperbacks off of their shelves. A triplet of tomes I could no longer live without. One is, "The Oxford Essential Desk Reference" which contains, it's cover claims, "Facts, data, and trivia on virtually any subject." In addition to being a compendium of fingertip facts, this title would make a great book to keep next to the toilet for some serious plop, plop reading. (That's "plop, plop" without the "fizz, fizz".) However, fans of 'Friend's', 'Angel' and 'Seinfield' will be disappointed. Even though it is the traditional fit-in-your-back-pocket-sized paperback and three inches thick, the printing is clear and easily readable. The other book, a "Roget's Thesaurus", which at over 1,000 pages and only $5.99 retail is the bargain of the year. A third softcover, the latest by popular author Robert B. Parker, "click to read about Shrink RapShrink Rap", is destined for my daughter in Texas. She phoned me tonight with instructions to buy her younger brother the 'graphic novel' ie., comic book, "Johnny the Homicidal Maniac." Alas, B&N didn't have the book on the shelf. Remember how in high school we were given assignments that had a minimum word count? And how most of us had difficulty meeting it? Had to pad and pad and stretch? And nowadays you kids just keep clicking the 'word count' function: 407, 476, 503 - "Finally, 500 words with three to spare!" Dr. Malamud never had that problem. I've always had the too-many-words syndrome. For instance, as I pen and ink these words out on a Thursday night, under the television studio bright glare of the extreme lighting at the aforementioned Café, I have two prior days of wordmanship that have yet to be perfected, corrected, translated into HTML and finally posted to the web so that my thousands of reader's can, once again, thank God, that they are not me. An operation that, unbelievably consumes two or three hours for each prior day's efforts. An operation I love to perform. Unlike the excruciatingly painful process of memorizing the hundreds of lines for the stage or screen, so that I can, without thought, place my own emotions behind the words of another author and partake of my other love, acting. In contrast, I find every task of writing an enjoyable, learning, and usually unique moment. From picking out the pen I'll use, to the feel of the paper as I turn to a blank page, to loading up the always, awful store-brewed coffee with five (or six) packets of Sweet and Low, I enjoy every moment. Do I need to look up a word definition? Like biting into a fresh from the oven cookie and savoring the soft, warm, and fragrant morsel melting in my mouth. Need an antonym, a synonym or an active verb? That's like finding an intricately folded twenty dollar bill I had hidden away in my well worn and roomy wallet. Need to excavate a long forgotten incident that frees my spirits to soar to the heavens? That's like the infatuation stages of new love. Accidentally scrape the scab off a once healed hurt to inject emotion into my composition? Like pausing before my parent's mausoleum, being reminded that this life is not forever. Acting, writing and communicating is what I was made for. When will I let the world know so that I might actually earn a living doing what I love?       Spent a lot of today getting my new PC up and running. I discovered a peripheral was causing the boot process to halt and as soon as I unplugged it, and restarted it, the computer fired up like Robin Williams at a sit down interview. I am now always aware of the nodule on the left side of my face. It's grown to the size of a large grape, the purple variety, and in the process has stretched my skin tight and begun a chronic aching. Being I am a doctor, I attempt to dull the pain with carefully administered and deliberately timed shots of common, everyday, tequila. Being such a positive person, I've convinced myself that the swelling orb can only be cancer and will soon kill me. And I'm wondering exactly what my true reaction actually would be if the ENT doctor discovers it is a possibly life-ending tumor. "It's not a tumor, " promises the governor-elect of California. I'm at my original Starbucks tonight, having left the apartment because the boy had a friend coming over. As I drove out the rear gate, I clicked the button on my remote that would open the entry side, and she drove in as I was driving out. Earlier, I checked the weather forecast and found we're still going to be pelted with highs in the nineties for one more week. Judging by the amount I'm sweating, I'd guess the temperature tonight is in the low 80s. Not quite low enough to be considered comfortable. Quiet here tonight, with the refrigerated Starbucks employee's playing catch with a stuffed dog and a single outside table fitted with a pair of middle-aged couples quietly chatting. Leaning into her listener's, the older lady, with her drooping eyes resembles a sad old Bloodhound. At Ross today, I picked up a super-soft, richly purple, Polo-logoed t-shirt for $9.99. The still attached department store price tag demanded $33.95. Thirty four dollars for a t-shirt. That's a decent meal and tip for two at most sit-down eaterie's like Chili's or Applebee's. I watched the movie "Thursday" last night on my wonderful DISH Network system. Apparently the studio has sold out of the DVD and the title is in such demand that I've seen it priced as high as $239 on some web sites. I catch a flash out of the corner of my eye and realize the stuffed Icarus-like canine has flown too high, and bashing into a ceiling mounted track lighting fixture, has burst the fragile bulb, showering tables and the floor inside with the puzzle pieces of hot glass. As I turn to look inside, I see the WNBA-height, startled female barista (and part-time long ball specialist) with her hands up to her mouth. "Thursday" is the only movie I can recall that included the word "RAPE" as one of the words in the Parental Warning list. Morgan Fairchild . . . my next date? lover? wife? I just remembered that I left the apartment before the load of pants was done drying. Damn, now I'll have to iron each pair. Anymore, like the Alzheimer's stricken Patrick Stewart in the movie "Safehouse", my workplace, my car and my living quarters are carefully tiled with yellow sticky notes. Sticky notes to remind me to do things. There is one waiting for me right now. A green note stuck in the crack between the air bag cover and the steering wheel. Its scribbled message is to remind me to purchase Crystal Ice on the way home. Purchase those hard, clear, cold orbs before the employees of all Albertson's become belligerent actors parading with wooden stakes and posters meaning to keep me out of the store they welcomed me into for years. As I'm typing this, my e-mail program dings me that I have just-arrived mail. I eagerly read the question from an actress friend. I involuntarily ask myself, "Will this be my first date in thirty years? Will she be my next lover? My next wife?" Since she's not Morgan Fairchild, I doubt it. I purchased my first decent wristwatch in over twelve years today. I just got tired of wearing the gold-faced, flying Pegasus embossed watch my mother (God rest her soul) got for free for renewing her Reader's Digest subscription ten years earlier. My new timepiece, at only $1,500 (or was it $150) is the expensive-looking, rectangular type I've been wanting. Because it is solar powered, the body is thinner than the new dollar coin. Perfect for Arizona.       Tonight I sit gripping a green, strangely crooked ballpoint pen topped with a blinking, eyelashed, eyeball. Rather than driving off to the local bookstore this evening, I instead chose to remain in the apartment and write. I sit watching that great old movie, "The Keep." Great old movie with some fairly dated special effects. I had to run off to Safeway to pick up a pre-cooked chicken for $5.99 so I'd have something to eat tomorrow at work. I saw the college-football-huge stock boy punching the keys on the register tonight and remembered the last time I was in the store he was eagerly and without invitation telling me that after eighteen months, he had been promoted to 'checker.' How sweet it is to witness this young man so excited about moving up the workplace ladder. Back at the cozy digs, because my way to the front of the car is blocked by hedges, I walk back behind the Peugeot and look up to see a pet cat sitting on the inside of a third floor windowsill eyeing me, wishing he were down on the ground. Down on the ground and brushing up against my legs. Down on the ground looking for pussy. I stepped into my kitchen and set up my free Gevalia coffeemaker to begin brewing the bubbling, brown, caffeinated lava at its usual 4:10AM. I ground up a batch of coffee beans supposedly from Hawaii. I filled up my gallon pitcher with water run through the Culligan screw on filter on the end of my kitchen faucet and threw two postcard sized, Lipton 'Cold Brew' tea bags overboard. And, last, but not least, I poured my third shot of Jose Cuervo Especial into my so cute and squat six-legged glass. I was thinking on my drive that I could sit and write from dawn to dusk and still not run out of words. But when will reader's pay, actually pay to read what I carefully print out with my eyeball pen? I'm listening to 'Acoustic Crossroads' on my DISHnetwork system as the rivets and buttons in my clothes spinning in the electric dryer "tap . . . tap . . . tap . . ." out a contrary tune. What refreshing music this channel plays. Missus Malamud phoned me at work today to tell me about her new house. It got busy and I was forced to ring off before I'd like to. Of course, I most always have to hang up before I feel like it. Today, I felt especially sad after pushing the red button on my cell phone. (I halt my writing to wrap a gray and red bordered, Peanut's shirt with Lucy dragging Linus and his blanket, around a Robert B. Parker novel shoving the result into a padded envelope destined for my genius daughter in Texas.) RobotCommando, era 1961 I think what triggered my, nowadays, unusual sadness this morning, was when the Missus suggested that I spend Christmas 2003 with my, 55 year old, shoulder length hair wearing, 185 IQ'd, anarchist brother up North. She was telling me for sure that Christmas 2003 would be the second Holiday Season in well over a quarter of a century we will be celebrating separated. Not that I've ever enjoyed Christmas all that much. The only Christmas that comes easily to my mind is the one where I had caught chicken pox from my then seven year old boy. And while a much younger, much fitter, Phoenix Sun's player, also speckled with the pox spent his illness in an expensive Valley hospital, I endured my second bout with the monstrous virus at home. How do I describe the trauma of chicken pox at age forty? It's like the worst case of flu you can ever remember, but Nyquil doesn't do a thing for it. And you have a horrible urge to scratch your skin, your legs, your arms, your face and your internal organs. I'm not being my normal pansy-self here either, when I relate to you, that I honestly believed I was going to perish from 'the pox.' Another, albeit, happier December 25th morning, was sometime in the 1960s when I unwrapped the huge box containing a Robot Commando battery powered blue and black and red plastic creation from the Ideal toy company. RC was a truly awesome voice controlled two foot tall robot that threw cherry-sized red plastic balls, launched rockets and moved around on tracks. My own teen boy will be with my wife over X-Mas and I can't take off from work anyway. Last year I got over $880 in cash and gift certificates, which, being a sometimes law abiding Christian, I did dutifully detail to my long time CPA as additional non-taxed income. Hopefully, I'll be offered a part in the church holiday play and since it is the season, maybe I'll set aside time for a lengthy period of prayer every afternoon. A time to talk to God, to Jesus. A time to Listen, with an open heart, to what He would have me do with this static existence of mine. Not that I'll actually do what He says.

FRIDAY NIGHT . . . I eye the doctor garbed in his blue scrubs standing in the Starbucks line at the Barnes and Nobel Cafe. He is jauntily leaning against the counter while dispensing chat on his business card-sized cell phone while waiting for his totally healthy 550 calorie Starbucks beverage. I think, "If he were an auto mechanic, would he have worn his overalls into this upscale establishment?" Of course he would not have. Odd how even work uniforms determine your status here in Scottsdale. Your clothes determine what caste you belong to. Rumsfeld hotdog standThat's why I buy only department store brands. At Ross. On clearance. I certainly wouldn't wear my State of Arizona delineated uniform in here. Besides destroying my carefully coifed facsimile as an extremely handsome, eccentric, millionaire writer, it would draw unwanted contradictory attention. Not that I'm ashamed of what I do, because I'm probably the best there ever was. Considering that Dr. Malamud employed in the position I'm in, would be like having Donald Rumsfeld running a not too popular hot dog cart. Hoping to wander closer to the plain looking blonde I glimpsed earlier, so I might catalog her ample cleavage, I get up to wander the green carpeted court of the gymnasium-sized book store. Actually, I'm headed for the 'Help' desk in search of a newly published book, that earlier this afternoon, I just had to own, but now had forgotten its title, author, subject and why I wanted to ever purchase it. I see a young lady at the Starbucks register, Saran-wrapped into a sleeveless top. And as if it were a tattoo cast, her right arm is covered with huge red and blue art from her shoulder to her mid arm. I can't help but imagine how hideous and pitiful that same artistry will look fifty years from now with that area of her lower arm sagging as if it were the flesh wing of a flightless bird. I see that Stephen King, long after he swore off writing, has written yet another book. Before I understood that myself and all congenital writers had the same disease, I would have accused Mr. King of being greedy by continuing to write. But as Ray Bradbury explained in his book, Zen in the Art of Writing, all author's are inflicted with the chronic disease of having to write. All of us are like Willard Fluke in Edgar Lee Master's, Spoon River Anthology where he stands up from his grave and explains, " . . . and I began to write, write, write, reams and reams . . . " Traveling back to return "Spoon River" to the shelves, I notice that the dark oak railing surrounding the Cafe area and the three steps up to it, has been polished shiny and smooth by the thousands of human hands dragging on it. Back at my table, done for the night, I carefully stuff my three reference books into the clear, plastic-zippered package that once held 340-thread-count, midnight blue bed sheets. I'm so pleased that when the books are laid side by side they fit next to one another, perfectly as if they were made for it. Simple things. Simple things delight.
SUNDAY NIGHT . . . I'm at my old Border's this evening because the outstanding young lad who lives with me was begging for a French Silk pie from Coco's Restaurant. And there is a Coco's across Cactus Road from this Borders. Compared to the vast Barne's and Nobel edifice on Pima Road, this place, with Cafe employees always talking about their "next job", seems old, tiny and dirty. And that's mainly because it is old, tiny and dirty. Dirty being the most offensive and also the easiest adjective to erase. I notice that this Borders is laid out with much more space between the aisles, especially in the "Diet and Exercise" sections, and presents no interior bookshelf taller than Danny Devito. In contrast, the Barnes and Nobel has towering, richly grained, dark oak shelves and slender walkways mimicking the narrow skyscraper lined streets of New York City. The B&N store reminds me of the library of Boris Balkan in the movie "9th Gate." It just struck me that maybe the reason I love that movie so much - other than the amazing Johnny Depp, the cinematography, the strange, skillfully written screenplay, the old world European location shots, the out-of-place-in-Spain Dodge Viper, the very odd twin brother booksellers, etc. - is that it is about a book. And involves books. Books. That discovery of mine reveals why we need friends who, with no more than a casual glance in our direction, can point out things about our lives that are painfully obvious to all involved but ourselves. Well, other people, lesser people, need friends, not Dr. Hammurabi Malamud. Having friends, like being in love, would just leave me open to hurt. Leave me vulnerable. Wouldn't it? As I sit in Cafe Espresso I notice that the patrons are just more friendly among themselves. Of course, these are individuals who know each other already. And these people are loud and distracting, where, usually, at the B&N they are quiet like they are inside a library, which is what both buildings are: privately owned libraries. I'm startled by my cell phone vibrating like a hamster-sized bumblebee on my hip. Why doesn't everyone set their cellphones to vibrate when they are in public? Why - and there goes one now playing the tune from the movie, "The Sting." Why do people shun the vibrate setting as if it were the turn blinker on their auto? Why? Because virtually everyone wants to be noticed. Wants to feel important because they are noticed, even if it is for something as incredibly trivial and commonplace as their choice of mass-produced cell phone tintinnabulations. I get up from my writings to find a pocket dictionary that doesn't have blurred printing in it. I find one, "Webster's New World Dictionary". Its cover also proclaims it to have more Up-to-Date words inside. On a nearby bug high shelf, I'm also delighted to find "The Basic Book of Synonyms and Antonyms". As I thumb through the two inches of pages, delighting in the aroma of fresh ink, I think, "How did I ever get along without one of these?" At the register, I stand in amazement as I cannot believe this pair of reference gold mines together, including the 8.01% sales tax, put a mere $13.50 dent in my debit card. I trot back to my table and find Cafe Espresso a ghost town with everyone having hit the trail. No matter. I sit down and continue to pour out my thoughts and fill up the blue lines of my pad. However, my vision begins shifting as if I'm peering through the eyepiece of a turning, colorless kaleidoscope that produces rippling, but yet crystal faceted waves, making it very hard to discern exactly what words are spilling from my pen. I blink and blink and blink some more. Then I pack up my four reference books, my blue lined yellow notepad, my Border's travel mug and strap on my wounded fanny pack and head out for Coco's to pick up a healing French Silk pie. Click HERE to continue reading Dr. Malamud's
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