Rehab Chronicles (excerpt) Jasper Kerkau

 

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The Rehab Diaries (excerpt) Jasper Kerkau

When I got off three vomitus days of detox, we had a game of Big Book Jeopardy. My team won. My prize was that I was given the honor of having a “little brother.” My understanding was sparse, but I was going to look after him for a week. I assume it is an easy errand, pointing out house rules, which I didn’t know yet, meeting schedule, telling him which members of staff to steer clear of, and where to put his cigarette butts. My “little brother” who looks like a broken down drunk, an elderly biker, with a long grey beard and a surly demeanor was actually a retired NASA engineer who had fancied himself a biker. He is shaking uncontrollably from the alcoholic DTs. Jacob, a young staff member, with an affable personality comes to me with a frantic look. He implores me to stay with Mike, my “little brother,” while they try and get the doctor on the phone.

He sits in the chair moaning. I lite his cigarettes and pat him on the back awkwardly. “You know all of my friends are dead. I have no children. I have a bad heart; I am going to die tonight and those cocksuckers are taking their time getting me my detox meds.” He stamps at the ground dramatically. I try not to laugh. I squeeze my eyes trying to figure out if he is going to die on my watch and wondering how I got into this situation. I ask him obligatory questions. He nods off and then wakes up to moan, curse and then regain a remorseful composure. He jumps up and grabs his heart, stumbling toward the office. “I am having a fucking heart attack, call 911!” I bolt after him and help him walk toward the office. David, a sixty year old who fluctuates between baffling ignorance and brilliance, is sitting at his desk. He seems to be in charge, though he actually job title is allusive. He looks at Mike and I over the top of his readers with a steely expression.

“What is it Mike?” he sounds perturbed. His voice is tense and raspy.

“I am having a fucking heart attack,” Jacob, the young tech has a deer in the headlights look. He seems to wants to usurp Dave’s aloof authority.

“Okay Mike, we will get you an ambulance.” He turns to Dave with urgency, “he said he is having chest pains; we don’t have a choice. That is the key phrase.” Jacob and I share a common peril. Neither of us want to deal with the Mike’s death.

“Bullshit Mike,” Dave barks, jumps out of his chair, regaining control. “You know good and God-damn well you are not having a fucking heart attack.” Mike stands with his eyes closed, clutching his heart. I get a panicked feeling. I want to go home.

“Fuck you David,” Mike opens his eyes and blurts out with a sudden alertness. David counters by kicking the chair. I automatically grab Mike by the arm and lead him out. He pulls arm away and turns to Dave.

“His name is Jimmy Boy, not fucking Roscoe!” Mike screams at David. I turn to Jacob shaking my head in bewilderment. He shrugs in agreement. “You can do a lot of sorry, rotten fucking things, like leaving your shit in another man’s garage for a year, but you don’t change a dog’s name.”

“Get the fuck out Mike, get your sorry ass out of the office,” Mike snaps back into his dying routine. I take him again by the elbow and to the door. David sits back down and tends to a bonsai.

“And the dog is Roscoe, not Jimmy Boy, you stupid fuck.” Mike gets in the parting shot as I close the door behind us.

“I guess you guys know each other?” I put Mike back in his chair.

“We were friends for twenty years, road Harley’s together. I tried to join the Banditos and David and I got into a fist fight at an AA meeting. It is a long story. He is supposed to be watching my dog, but he can’t perform one simple fucking task.” He never opens his eyes. “I am going to die. I need you to come and pray over me as I do.”

Happy Birthday – Jasper Kerkau

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Happy Birthday

The reason I get up in the morning is having a birthday. I remember standing in front of the hospital smoking, sending the pictures, beaming. Everyone wanted to know how much he weighed. I never wanted children until he came into the world. They told me my cholesterol was high when he was one. I drank apple cider vinegar and jogged a thousand miles. Before he was able to speak, he would clap his hands and bounced up and down when I came in. Life had meaning every time I heard his laughter. He was old enough to understand the night we had our last fight; he got down on his knees and cupped his hands and prayed. It broke my heart because I knew he sensed nothing would ever be the same again. He loves me more than anyone, even now as his bones pain from growing. I think about his birthdays, the Elmo cake he smeared all over his baby cheeks, the little boy birthdays with Nerf gun fights. Now there is the worst birthday. The one I would never see. The year that didn’t happen, the one that was stolen. I will light candles and think of the best thing I ever created. I will unwrap a present and patiently wait.

[Jasper Kerkau is a writer/editor/co-creator of Sudden Denouement. His personal blog is Jasperkerkauwriting.com]

Live Interview: Jasper Kerkau, Matt Eayre, with Justin from JustInspireTV at SD Event

Interview with Jasper Kerkau, Matt Eayre, with JustInspireTv at Sudden Denouement Event.

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Jasper Kerkau Writing

A Note from Jasper Kerkau

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I want to take a minute and wish everyone a very happy holiday. This has been a wonderful year for Sudden Denouement and Sudden Denouement Publishing. The holidays can be blissful and arduous. I want to apologize for lack of communication over the last couple of weeks while I dealt with work and personal matters. Over the next couple of days, I will be finally have time to make corrections to the site, assign new editors and begin moving SD to the next level. I want to thank everyone who has given their time, passion, and vision to our humble collective. We have put together the premier collection of writers on the planet. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I will be working with others and make the process more cohesive and share the responsibility. I want to give a special thank you to David Lohrey, Nicole Lyons (thank you for your friendship and counsel), Olde Punk, Sam Lucero (there is a special place in the next world for Sam for the work she does without asking for recognition). I will be adding two new editors who I feel will bring new energy to SD.

There was a time I would bombard our writers with my emails—especially OldePunk.  As writers, we often fall into strange places. We live in the darkness and the light. I look forward to getting caught up with a lot of you, getting input about the direction of SD. I will get caught up on emails, but I promise not to overshare.

I appreciate every one of you. SD has been the beacon for me to find my way out of the darkness. The future is very bright. Each one of you is touched by the light of the universe. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We are doing something special.

Jasper Kerkau

Jasper Kerkau talks with Dustin Pickering about Rana Kelly, David Lohrey, and Sudden Denouement

Dustin Pickering, of Transcendent Zero Press, and I were interviewed by Z.M. Wise. We discussed Dustin’s new book Frenetic/No Contest,  Rana Kelly’s Superstition, and David Lohrey’s forthcoming book of poetry Machiavelli’s Backyard.

Please check out Z. M. Wise’s YouTube Page, as well as Transcendent Zero Press.