Tom Waits for No Man
by Steve Finbow
Taxi rank outside London Heathrow airport:
|Taxi Driver:|| Where to, guv?
|Tom Waits: || Wanna go town, town, town, and don’t call me that name,|
I said town, town, town, or I’ll take the train.
|Taxi Driver:|| All right, ’Old your ’air on. Whereabouts?|
|Tom Waits:|| Take me to the old town bar|
and make sure there’s a rebel star.
|Taxi Driver:|| So, that’s the Charlotte Street Hotel, Fitzrovia, me old china.|
An hour later:
|Doorman:|| May I take your bags, sir?
|Tom Waits: || Well I was packing myself|
God, it took me all day
Crushing all my shirts
For a lousy two-day stay.
|Receptionist:|| Yes, sir, how may I help?|
|Tom Waits: || I stay tonight at your hotel|
I’m as crazy as a honeyed hog
I’ve knifed a man in the moon’s motel
Took off on a butchered dog
Danced with all the Tsars guitars
Stalked the whores of Venice.
|Receptionist:|| So, that’s a double, en-suite, smoking. Would you like a newspaper and a wake-up call?
|Tom Waits: || I ain’t got used to sleeping|
Under a tawdry sky
Go ask old Beelzebub the time.
|Receptionist:|| And do you have a credit or debit card I can swipe for any extras?
|Tom Waits: || The gold swoops down a glockenspiel|
There’ll be no credit here.
Hands over a platinum AmEx card.
|Receptionist:|| The lifts, sorry—elevators, are across the lobby to your right. Enjoy your stay with us, Mr Waits.
|Tom Waits: || Its heart is made of candy-floss|
Doors open in a mad bouquet.
| Lift Attendant:|| Which floor, sir?|
|Tom Waits: || You can take me to the ceiling|
You can take me to the ball
You can make it on a feeling
It’ll cost you nothing at all.
|Lift Attendant:|| Fourth floor, it is. Mind the doors.|
An hour later:
|Telephone:||Room service. How may I help?
|Tom Waits: || Well butter up some daybreak, slice me a deal|
Undo what the plums done when the dandelion was killed
Thick dough on the dark side, jam for ever more
Egg down the sausage and bring it to my door.
|Room Service:|| That’s orange juice, preserves, toast, and a full English breakfast. Any tea or coffee with that, sir?
|Tom Waits: || And the ghost of a hillside|
In the whistle of a cloud.
|Room Service:||A caff-macchiato. No problem, sir.|
An hour later:
|Reception:|| Yes, sir, how may I help?
|Tom Waits: || Outside a drunken stoop, yanking around in all the porn shops|
Get laid, I’d rather talk, sleep in the doorway of the porn shops.
|Reception:|| If you press the Pay-Per-View button on your handset and then input your room number, you can access Teens in G-Strings and Get Behind the Donkey for £8.99. These will appear on your bill as “Movies”. If I can be of any further assistance, please don’t hesitate to call.|
Hotel room. Tom is sitting at an oak writing bureau, it has a green-leather tooled top, he is facing the window and sucking a pencil, his head cocked to the left. He takes the pencil from his mouth and writes on the Suggestions postcard:
|Tom Waits: ||My mouth tells me a story
Of a scratching and an itch
I only came to London town
To end up in a ditch.
Oh, and some instructions
For the mini-bar would be of help
I moved that bourbon bottle
More times than I realized.
lives in London. His fiction, essays, short plays, poetry, and stuff is in, or will soon be in, 3am Magazine
, The Beat
, Big Bridge
, Dicey Brown
, The Edward Society
, The Guardian
, Locus Novus, McSweeney’s
, nth Position, Pindeldyboz
, Taj Mahal Review, Tattoo Highway
, Thieves Jargon
, Tin Lustre Mobile
, Wandering Army, Word For/Word Word Riot
, Xtant, and Zacatecas. He writes the bi-weekly cultural column Pond Scum
for Me Three
, where he is also a contributing editor, he is associate fiction editor for Absinthe Literary Review, reviews the odd book for Stop Smiling, and is a writer with Quarantine Theatre Company. A longer bio and links to his work exists here: http://www.methree.net/Masthead/finbow.html