by Kevin Coyne
This is me up here talking to all of you down there. I want to know I’m pretty happy. I want you to know I’m well fed. I want you to know my mama, daddy, twin brother, Colonel Sanders and Poochie the pooch who used to do his poo poo down by the squash court are all doing o.k. Heaven´s mostly a fine, fine place to be. The hot dogs really melt in the mouth.
Yesterday I met fat Al Capone for the first time. He wasn’t violent like all those movies about him. He held his umbrella over my head when it started to rain, lit my cigar with a match from his own personal box of matches. I was honoured. He said HE was honoured, called `me the man with the golden tonsils`. I guess I must have blushed. He held my right hand tightly for several seconds, looked deep into my eyes, told me he´d never told a lie in his life. I felt I had to believe him. Past reputations can´t be ignored completely can they?
I`ve had my ups and downs since I first arrived here. It hasn´t always been as great as it is now. The sheer goodness of the Lord was a bit of a shock in the beginning. I couldn´t believe it when he sent fresh roses to my bungalow my first day here. I thought it was old Walt Whitman sent them and smacked him in the mouth for it. I was awful sorry afterwards. Mama had always warned me about weird looking old man wearing silk bows and bearing pink roses. I suppose I took it to heart. I suppose I jumped to conclusions.
Weekends are a treat here. Famous people like Beethoven, Handel and Fats Waller give concerts on the bandstand by the river. I`ve been asked to perform a couple of times but have had to decline. My singing voice hasn´t been itself since I arrived. Mama blames it on flying through the fog and clouds to get here. ´A boy can catch one hell of a cold on the way to God´s Garden`, she said after I sang her a few bars of ´Loving you` over breakfast the other day. ´That voice need rest- lots and lots of it`.
I lose track of time. Where are the clocks round here? Mama promised to tell me but she forgot. I`ve looked in every cupboard in every room in this bungalow without success. I love to hear the tick tock of a clock. Has God taken them all away, thrown them over the tinkling waterfall at the silver river`s end? Do the fish chew at their moving fingers now, erase their numerals with flashing, swishing tails? I must make Mama tell me where they all are next time she calls through my letterbox. I`m living in the strangest of strange places. Sometimes I think the nights are far too short. What the hell happened to the moon? Where are those dancing evening stars?
Colonel Sanders was crying in my back garden the other day, sobbing pitifully about his lost fried chicken business. I tried to calm him but daddy said it was a waste of time. ´He´s going crazy son`, he muttered, blowing hard on his hot coffee. ´Last night he thought he was a full grown chicken about to lay an egg, kept running to the bathroom every ten minutes`. I`m glad I`m not wrinkled and stupid. The girls still like the way I look. Natalie Wood called last week. I`m due to take her out for dinner at the weekend.
I wish God came round to see me more often. I`m sick of short, sharp phone calls wishing me well, impersonal little notes stuffed under the doormat. More roses would be nice. A personal visit every second week perhaps? It´s a pity I can´t receive my fan mail up here. I used to love those sexy letters from lonely girls in faraway places. Poochie the silly old pooch is good company though. Daddy sends him round to poo in my garden most mornings. It´s just like life on earth sometimes. Do I sound ungrateful? I hope not. I moam and groan a little but I think God understands.
He put the poetry in my soul to make me the singer I am. I`m as grateful as hell. My twin brother Jessie is hung up on his lack of musical ability. ´Oh I wish I could sing and play the guitar like you`, is just about all he ever says. He gets me down. Thank God he lives with our parents and can´t bother me all day.
Hero worship mixed up with jealousy is a very strong potion. I think Mama should take him to see one of them psychiatrists. He needs his head looking at. Why can´t Jessie be content with what he was born to be? I`ve heard he has a real talent for flower cultivation. Mama says he can nourish a tulip till it´s bigget than football, make it grow till it´s able to throw a big shadow over a small sized bramble bush. Now isn´t that something? The Lord must have put magic in his fingers to do such a thing. If I had this kind of talent I´d open up a flower shop by the gates of heaven immediately. Newcomers are always asking for bunches to give to their loved ones. It´s the obvious thing do when faced with a relation you haven´t seen for years. It sweetens that momentous moment, makes re-unification that little bit extra special.
I tried to write a song for mama and daddy last week. It came out all wrong. Guess I was never too good at that kind of thing. I`m more the interpreter than the writer. The Colonel always says I can make a hit out of anything. It´s a pity I had to leave all my gold records back in Memphis. I dream about them a hell of a lot. Don´t really know why. I reckon we heavenly souls are sentimental at heart. Daddy talks about pork and beans pretty well all day long. My guess is he misses the taste. We´re all vegetarians now.
Well, not much more to say, not much more to report. I was always the strong, silent type. ´A dollar a word man`, Mama always says. Mama must know. She´s spent a stack of hours with me over the years. Time slips by nicely here. Everything´s clean, tidy, and a treat for the eye. I haven´t seen a rat or an overflowing garbage can since I arrived. ´The Lord demands cleanliness`, is something mama´s pushed into my brain from day one. Daddy´s undershorts are still as white as driven snow. She knows what she´s talking about. Tomorrow she´s taking her first examination in a process that could lead to her becoming an angel on a higher plain. I think she´ll make it. Her knowledge of spiritual things is a constant wonder to us all. Daddy won´t make it though. He uses bad language. The Lord would never allow a foul mouthed angel to fly around people´s bedrooms.