Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Year's Wishes from Rusty Pliers

Hello Everybody.
It’s me, Sam Ewing.
I’m the writer Rusty Pliers.
I’m writing this poem 
(Which does’t rhyme)
To simply say,
From Rusty and myself;
Thank You!

Thank you for reading Rusty Pliers this year!
We’ve come a long way together,
Or does it just feel like that?

Looking ahead to the coming year,
A cliche I found impossible to avoid
Even after three double martinis,
You might like to know that
Rusty has some good things cooking for 2016.

For instance, Rusty’s blog 
Will continue to post once a week. 
We think that’s enough Rusty for most folks. 
If you need more, let me know,
But I freely admit that 
At my age two or three times a week 
Is getting harder and harder to do.
[Pause for snickering?]

From time to time the blog will feature 
Rusty’s return to America in the 1980s 
And his subsequent career in big league animation.
I worked for Walt Disney, have I mentioned it?
Ha! Ha! Of course I have!
About a million times.
I like to brag about it. 
And in case that bores you,
Although I cannot imagine how,
There’ll also be the usual 
Shit you’ve come to expect
From the blog of Rusty Pliers!

“Oh yeah? I’ve slept in a garage, 
But that doesn’t make me an automobile!”
As my dad used to say.
I never knew quite what dad meant 
And he never explained it. 
But I threw that bit in
About him not being an automobile
To add depth and pathos to this poem,
Which sorely needs it right about here.
And to quash any rumors that I never knew who he was.
My father I mean.
I never knew him either.
Ha! Ha!
Funny, eh?
Touching too.

I’m touching myself right now.

If we get lucky 
And find a brilliant editor 
Dumb enough to work on spec 
(Like the rest of us do),
This coming year should see the launch of a few of Rusty’s books.
Order yours today!
Including a heartwarming masterpiece about a boy transplanted from California and growing up in New Zealand, currently entitled Hold the Beetroot.
There will also be collection of short stories.
And my first volume of Zen Poems.
I repeat, order yours today!
Maybe we can finally monetize this thing!
But I personally doubt it.
At the rate we’re going
I think the best we can hope for
Is that Rusty will finally get popular
Years after I’m dead.
Until then it’ll have to remain
What it’s always been;
Art for Art’s sake.

Rusty has plans to perform 
In person more often this year, too.
He wants to make new fans 
And connect with old ones.
He loves to wear the patch!
While consuming a few libations…
Before he falls off the stage.
Rusty has vowed that his performances
Will be 20% funnier this year.
Which shouldn't be too difficult,
Judging by last year
And a few of his odder readings.
But Rusty never promised,
While performing this act of his, 
To wear trousers, or refrain 
From so-called dangerous fire effects!
That’s a matter for the courts to decide.
Until then, why don’t you come out 
And see what happens
When Rusty reads?

There will also be a lot of creative nonsense posted to the internet
For a laugh and to build Rusty’s readership.
After all, frankly speaking,
That is our aim.
To have a laugh
And build Rusty’s readership.
We want to reach out 
And touch people
In a meaningful way.

But I’ve already mentioned the touching,
Haven’t I?

You might be surprised 
To have learned 
That we work pretty hard around here,
Me and the people who bring Rusty to life.
I know I was.
Yes! We’ve got stuff of all kinds in the works!
So please stay tuned 
To Rusty Pliers the Writer.
You won’t be disappointed.
I once had that whispered to me
By a beautiful Las Vegas hooker
In the bar of Caesar’s Palace,
And guess what?
She/he was right!
But that’s another story.
Sounds like a Rusty kind of story,
It being about Las Vegas.
It has a good moral too;
“Expect the unexpected.”

Aha! That Rusty!
He was born with a gift of laughter!
And a mighty thirst for the truth!
If it’s answers you seek,
He’s got the questions!
It doesn’t hurt that he’s a good kisser, either!
So I’ve been told.
You can find Rusty 
On Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Please have a look
During your coffee break.
Or while you’re on the john.
But not while you drive, okay?
Because we love you.
It’s for you that we do 
All the crap I just mentioned.
That, and because we love nonsense
Of almost any kind around here.

So let me remind you please 
To enjoy your Rusty responsibly!
In order that I might sleep soundly at night,
And not be worried by what Rusty’s fans
Get up to on the roads
Or in the john 
Or elsewhere in this wicked world.
I beg of you be careful.
Rusty would not even exist without you.
Or he’d exist in my mind only,
Which would be a sad state of affairs,
And a sorry prison for Rusty Pliers.

Anyway, to end this non-rhyming poem
Where I began it, 
At the cliche-ridden bottom of 
The heart of Rusty Pliers,
I’ll say again;
Thanks for reading Rusty Pliers!
We love you!
Have a freakin 
New Year! 
And Good Luck 
For 2016!

Well, that about does it for my poem.
Time to put my work away.
I’m buying this round bartender,
Make mine a Harvey Wallbanger.
And please ask the boys in the backroom
What they’re having.
The drinks are on me!
(If you’ll accept my credit card.)
Bottoms up!
Er, excuse me miss.
You look familiar. 
Didn’t we once meet in Las Vegas?

Thanks for reading Rusty.
I love you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Letter to Santa Pt 4

So I went to New York, Santa, to became an artist.
My world enlarged and opened up.
For an artist must first of all be an observer of life!
Christmas in the city was fun with all the lights and music and shoppers.
But I still didn’t believe in you.
Besides, which one would I believe in? 
You were on every corner!
I suppose most boys and girls outgrow Santa Claus for a portion of their lives… but most of us come back, don’t we, Santa?
Many Christmases came and went.
I worked hard in the city and did well, as they say.
For years I was a carefree bachelor.
Because I didn’t want to fall in love.
I was afraid to.
Then one Christmas I met a girl at the office party.
She was kind and had a great sense of humor. 
She also had nice legs.
I couldn’t help myself. I fell in love and guess what? 
She fell in love too.
We fell in love with each other.
That was my lucky year because guess what again?
She was the boss’s daughter.
We got married and travelled the world on our honeymoon. 
At Daddy’s expense.
Her father said take your time my son and enjoy, then come back and be a better artist than ever.
He loved his daughter very much.
It was easy to see why.
We saw in our travels that the world was a beautiful place, but not always a fair one.
And I filled my artist’s eye with the wonders of the world.
Boy! I must have drawn Barbara at least a million times while we were on our honeymoon! Posing on a rumpled hotel bed, her shapely limbs silhouetted against the sheets, her smile natural yet alluring…
That’s the name of my wife. Barbara. She’s on your Nice list for sure.
She was way more fun to draw than a salamander or a horse!
Back in New York, I worked hard at my art and my marriage and my friendships, and life flowed along nicely.
The love Barbara and I shared for each other deepened and matured.
I put out a successful book of Barbara drawings.
You might remember delivering a bunch of them because it sold like hotcakes that Christmas.
Barbara was a bit embarrassed, most of them being nude studies.
But I thought they were pretty good drawings, and nothing to be embarrassed about.
So Barbara talked to my aunt Sissy on the phone about it. Aunt Sissy said the right thing again and we all felt better about publishing nude drawings of Barbara in coffee-table art books.
Art for art’s sake, I always say.
Then came a second volume of Barbara studies, called The Honeymoon Series. 
After that Barbara told me to find another subject.
So today I draw rare axolotls for museums and zoos around the world.
I still draw Barbara too, but I don’t publish those drawings.
Barbara and I had children and taught them to face life with bravery, honesty, and humor.
To treat it all as a bit of a joke and enjoy a good laugh.
As parents we taught our children all kinds of things.
And sometimes they taught us.
When he was sixteen I taught our eldest boy to make the occasional gin and tonic for my wife and I. 
We figured he could start to learn about alcohol that way.
Like I learned from my stepmother, only different.
Because children, as you know Santa, learn all the time from everything they see and hear.
He was very proud of his status as our personal bartender and Danny loved to please.
That’s our eldest son’s name. Danny.
Look for him towards the top of your Nice list.
“Lime or lemon in your G&Ts?” he used to ask.
“Doesn’t matter, son,” I answered. “Either one will be fine.”
“Dad,” he said one day as he handed me a drink, “I think I’m gay.”
“Really?” I said. We talked about it awhile. I never told my children about Boris or the art teacher, not because I was ashamed because I wasn’t, but because I didn’t want to make a big deal about it or change the natural course of my children’s own sexuality with the knowledge of it. Sometimes too much knowledge can be a bad thing to a young heart, like when I overheard aunt Tootsie and the milkman call my father a drunkard that day in the kitchen, so I didn’t tell my son about Boris or the art teacher then either. 
Instead I said, “Doesn’t matter son. Either way is fine. Just remember to respect yourself and when in love… always follow your heart.”
“Thanks, Dad,” said my son Danny and we hugged and something beautiful fell into place.

Well! I really got it off my chest, didn’t I Santa?
Rusty’s life story.
(You’d be surprised how much I left out!)
But I wanted to get in touch again.
And wasn’t sure if that was the real you on Facebook or not.
It looked like you, but I couldn’t be sure.
So I decided to write you a letter.
Didn’t know it would be such a long letter. 
Sorry, but you being Santa, I figure you’ll forgive me.
You wonder why I write, after all these years?
I’ll tell you. 
Because I have grandchildren now.
And they want to believe in Santa Claus.
And funny, but what they want, I want.
Because their laughter means the world to me!
We have an axolotl too, named Shakespeare.
But I don’t think he believes in anything.
I hope Santa you continue to share your gift of generosity and good cheer among people the world over. All the world’s people, please, whoever they are, because if one of us is hurting, all of us are hurting. 
That’s what you teach us, isn’t it?
That it’s better to give than to receive?
That we’re all human beings together, sharing our journey through the natural world towards eternity. That we should try to love and understand each other.
Yes even Boris and my cruel stepmother.
Whose spiritual pain must have been immense.
They’re gone now. Crossed off your Naughty list years and years ago. Dead in a car crash on La Brea down by the In-N-Out Burger. My father was behind the wheel. The car they were in was struck and exploded in flames.
Ironically hit by a drunk driver.
On Christmas Eve.
Life’s funny, isn’t it Santa?
Well, that about brings us full circle.
Say hi to Mrs Claus and the elves for me.
And please remember; 
I’ve been a good boy again this year.


PS. If you’d care to prove your existence by slipping a new iPad under the tree… I’ll leave out some milk and cookies.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Letter to Santa Pt 3

Well Santa, I went off to boarding school.
Which was pretty horrible. 
Being only twelve I was one of the younger boys and with my uselessness at sports and such I didn’t make friends easily. Plus I wasn’t the boarding school type, I guess, so my teachers were generally pretty disappointed in me too.
I felt lonely and dumb.
The one bright spot was art class, where I could draw.
One day after class the art teacher looked at my drawings of Bradbury the axolotl and said he saw promise in me.
I was so happy!
Then he touched me between my legs.
He told me how handsome I was and how he could see that I was a sensitive, loving kind of boy.  
That we could be special friends.
No one had ever spoken to me that way before, Santa.
So I let him kiss me and put my penis in his mouth and I have to say that it felt good.
Although I felt guilty about it later.
He used to make me stay after class so we could be alone. We did many things together which pleased him and I loved him with all my heart. 
He told me I was his special boy, but we have to keep it secret.
Of course it ended badly.
Another boy he was doing things with told his parents and it all came out. 
I had to leave school.
“Ugh! How could you?!” said my stepmother when I arrived home. “Doing it with a man. Little pervert!”
“I didn’t know it was wrong,” I said. “Really he was a nice person.”
“Little sissy,” said my dad and this time I knew he meant it.
We didn’t speak much after that.
But Boris, my stepmom’s brother who took over my room, he looked at me funny and that night he came to me where I was sleeping on the couch and said he wanted me to do the same things with him that I did with the teacher.
I said please no it got me into trouble but he just put all his weight on my chest pinning me down and told me to start doing it.
Then he called me some nasty names while I did what he wanted.
I was so scared my dad would catch us I used all my skill so that Boris would finish quickly.
He moaned and quivered and clutched me tightly.
I kept going till he was done.
Then he pushed me away and told me never to tell or I’d be sorry.
I was sorry already.
Boris visited me every night and even caught me in the bathroom a few times.
I remember the rug on the bathroom floor and Boris looking at himself in the mirror. He wasn’t like the art teacher, who was kind and said nice things. Boris was rough and called me names.
Like he hated me for what I let him do to me.
At least he stopped beating me up.
Luckily, I was soon sent to live with my aunt in Texas.
My father couldn’t stand the sight of me anymore, said my stepmother.
“So long, kid,” she added. “Good luck.”
She handed me $30 and put me on the bus to Amarillo, Texas.
My father didn’t even see me off.
My aunt picked me up at the station in Amarillo.
Her name, believe it or not, was Sissy.
Which made me laugh!
She laughed too. She had kind eyes like I remember my mother had so I gathered my courage and told her my story and how I came to be on her doorstep.
“I know,” she said softly. “Your daddy told me.”
“He thinks I’m a sissy,” I said.
“What do you think you are?” asked my aunt.
So we talked about it and I told her everything that I’d kept locked in my heart until then.
“It’s okay,” she said when I finished and it was the best thing she could have said.
Christmas that first year with aunt Sissy was fun. She had a daughter older than me away at university who came home for the holidays and with aunt Sissy’s husband Roger we all decorated the tree and had a grand time! 
It was the best Christmas I ever remember!
You brought me books that year, Santa, including one that became a favorite, James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.
I suppose I identified a bit with James.
But then, don’t we all?
After awhile living with my aunt and her family I sort of forgot about Boris and the art teacher and the things I’d done with them.
I became a boy again. 
Aunt Sissy encouraged me in my drawing. She took me to the rodeo where for the first time ever I drew a live horse! She looked at my drawing and said my mother would have been proud of me.
Boy! That was a great day! 
Over the years aunt Sissy and uncle Roger became like my mother and father.
They loved me and treated me with kindness.
And I was a good son to them, making them proud mostly. 
I left Texas when I was nineteen, and went to New York where I hoped to become an artist.
“Don’t go, Rusty,” said aunt Sissy. “Stay with us and go to school here. You can go to New York later if you still want to.”
But I had wandering feet.
“I have to try,” I answered. “The bright lights of the big city beckon. I love you and uncle Roger and I’ll be forever thankful, but something calls me and I have to go.”

To be continued…