Commercial Record

Blue Star

By Scott Sullivan
Gimme Dat
“I’m banging on doors of the universe,” I told Flannery.
“It has doors?” my daughter asked.
Should I run with or from this metaphor? “God isn’t in,” I told her. “The doorman told me.”
“Kafka or the Emerald City? …”
“Look!” I pointed skyward. “The Witch just sky-writ ‘Surrender Flannery.”
“Your eyesight’s going.”
“See my feet?”
“Orange Sneakers aren’t Ruby Slippers.”
“That’s a Hearse of a different color,” I said. “One rolled up, parted doors, Ozcupants sang, put me under a roller and transformed me into One Worthy to Occupy Orange Shoes and plea to He/She/It.”
“What shite is that?”
“Wait, there’s more. I split into four parts: Matthew sought a brain, Mark a heart, Luke courage, John home. Toto followed into the Corridor. ‘I don’t want to appear. I want to make things appear,’ I told the Great Overseer.
“‘Coward!’ GO thundered.
My courage fled down the hall and dove through a window. Time for a commercial. Mom had lemonade and popcorn ready.”
“You’ve told me,” she sighed, “about growing up in a black-and-white split level built backwards on Dogwood Court so a picture window overlooked woods dropping to the Wabash River, with the TV room on the other side.”
“Great place to babysit three brothers when I was 12 and stayed up after midnight watching Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window.’ Night woods make sounds. Where was I?”
“All who remained cowered in The Presence till Toto bolted, pulled back the curtain and revealed my Ego. ‘You should be ashamed!’ Home scolded. Ever heard ‘Gimme Dat Ding’?”
“Other than you sleepwalking singing it, running into walls, at last noting it’s a nightmare and returning to unconsciousness?”
“Here we go,“ I said: ‘

That’s right, That’s right/I’m sad and blue/’Cause I can’t do/the Boogaloo/I’m lost, I’m lost/Can’t do my thing/That’s why I sing/Gimme, Gimme Dat Ding …’

”At least you’re obsessed with something that makes sense,” she said.
Parenting gets harder. “One-hit wonder,” I told her, “The Pipkins recorded the Big Jim Sullivan-arranged Albert Hammond/Mike Hazlewood-written song from their musical sequence for ‘Oliver in the Overworld,’ which formed part of the British children’s show ‘Little Big Time’ hosted by Freddie and the Dreamers. ‘Ding’’s call-and-response, 1920s dancehall piano recalls slapstick. A metronome sings the part of a little boy seeking parts to mend his grandfather clock but he’s been expelled by the Clockwork King. The Undercog stole his ‘ding’ and he wants it back:

“What good’s a metronome/Without a bell to ring?/Not once, can’t anybody ever tell he’s swings/How can you tell the rhythm written on the bar?/How can you ever hope to know where you are? …”

“You never know where you are,” she said.
“Sure: I’m dead, GO is my Ego and a ‘dog’ s[e;;ed backwards pulled the curtain.”
“You still have the orange sneakers …”
I clicked my heels. “There’s no place like Rome, there’s no place like Nome, there’s no place …” Awake it was black and white again.
“Dad?” my daughter had changed to grayscale. “What do you do all day?”
“Verbal. Visual …”
“It’s harder vanishing.” I said, “now I’m white-haired, wild-eyed, limping, lugging gear around.”
“Like Aqualung? (cue singing) ‘Sitting on a park bench …’”
“Close,” I said. “’On a corn flake …’’
“John Lennon was no Jethro Tull.”
“How do you know this?”
“I listen to music you play writing ‘Blue Star’ segues.”
“Sound associations? Try this sequence: metaphor, minotaur, madcap.”
“We’re all Cretans. Dad, alas, locked me in a labyrinth. It’s been ‘Guernica’ ever since.”
“Beats the maze Jack Nicholson froze in in ‘The Shining.’ We need dance music.”
“With the Orange Sneakers.,” she said, “How can’t you? You’re morbid.”
“Bid more,” I said.

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