The Cover

 


image/graphic by jack hastings

1. Absalom Road (the song)

 
Jack Hastings and Spencer Kimball

MP3 Audio File

Strip-club girly show, ladies in their spangled hose
Wheel of fortune spins around, take a card and double down
Dime-a-dance, game of chance, you can even find romance
Once you’re in, you can’t get out, the odds are always with the house

Seven deadly sins ain’t enough for this Gomorrah
On Absalom Road there ain’t no tomorrow
You can win every hand and still have to borrow
If you play the Shivaree it will end in sorrow

Absalom Road can’t stand the light of day
The sun never rises to wash the night away
Don’t be a fool and make my mistake
Or you’ll spend every minute with the monkey and the snake
Out on Absalom Road

Well, it happened in the middle of a black midnight
A bullet fell out of a Colt 45
A man fell down and there he died
Now I’m on the run just to stay alive
On the run from Absalom Road

Cadillac sugar-shack, lookin’ for the backtrack
Thought it was forever but it was just a quick rack
Out the door and gone and I ain’t never comin’ back
She may wait forever but there ain’t no use in doing that

I’m gone like the glaze up a rich man’s nose
I’m gone like a glimmmer, faded like a rose
I’m gone from the only place I ever called home
I’m gone from Absalom Road
On the run from Absalom Road

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2. The Ass Is Gone

 
William Fuller and Gary Sears

MP3 Audio File

Got up one mornin’, the sun still black
Couldn’t smell no coffee nor bacon fat
Walked into the kitchen but no one was there
I noticed a glow from the top of the stairs

Went up, saw my wife starin’ at the screen
She was playin’ some game and I began to scream,
“If this damn computer’s takin’ up your time
Perhaps a good whuppin' will change your mind

Chorus:
The barn is empty
The goat is gone
My money’s missing
My face is long
Can’t find the chickens
There’s something wrong
The cows need milkin’
The ass is gone
The ass is gone
The ass is gone

The next morning come, the sky still black
And I smelled my coffee and sausage fat
Dresser drawers looked empty, my wife weren’t there
Ran thru the house but the house was bare
I found her note on the kitchen sink:
“Here’s your eggs and here’s your drink

I seen ‘em come and I seen ‘em go
Up and down this godforsaken road
So take a look in the mirror and tell me what you see
And tomorrow when you wake up make your own damn coffee”

Chorus:
The barn is empty
The goat needs…
My money’s missing
My face is long
Can’t find the chickens
There’s something wrong

The cows need milkin’
The ass is gone
The ass is gone
The ass is gone

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3. Hold Off (For Now)

 
Spencer Kimball and William Fuller

MP3 Audio File

Hold off the fire that burns through the trees
Hold off the pain in Grandpa’s knees
Hold off the sale of Mama’s wedding ring
Of this I sing, of this I sing

Chorus:
Hold off hold off hold off for now
The pawn shop is closed and the trolls are all out
Hold off hold off hold off the fear
When will I know when the right time is here?

Hold off the arrow from the quiver’s bow
Don’t let him find out the things I know
Give me the freedom that flight would bring
Of this I sing, of this I sing

Chorus

And so afterhours you shuffle on by
With jewelry and chocolates and perfume and lies
And a new kind of barter begins once again
As you bring out the dreams with the box and the gin

Chorus

(maybe I'll learn it's the time of the year...)

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4. Fire In The Bounce House

 
Jack Hastings

MP3 Audio File

Poppa Pajama and Ms. Melodrama
Met Mr. Quiver at the Peep Show Panorama
They was cutting up Glaze on an old window pane
They was drinkin’ rye whiskey in the middle of the day

In come Big Red and Sweet Tourmaline
They was gaspin’ for breath
Smelled like kerosene
They said it’s the worst thing
That they’d ever seen
The Bounce House is burnin’ down

Now maybe Mad Lily went all willy nilly
And cooked off some sterno to heat up her chili
She didn’t keep her squeezin’s away from the flames
And the fire got her then the fire ran away

The smell of burnt rubber in the stinking haze
The screams of the children that never will fade
And there weren’t anybody to help them escape
When the Bounce House was burnin’ down

It ain’t no surprise there was blood in the eyes
Of the mob that came lookin’ for someone to chastise
But the Carnies all knew it was only their due
So they stood there and took it when the brickbats flew

Now they’re all gone to wherever they go
It surely ain’t heaven, that much I know
Maybe they’re all out on Absalom Road
`Cause the Bounce House burned to the ground

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5. My Chevrolet

 
Jack Hastings and Gary Sears

MP3 Audio File

I’m 100 miles outside Mount Megiddo
I’m 300 miles from Botany Bay
It’s 500 miles to Old Paradiso
And 900 miles before I reach L.A.

I got 200 pounds of sweet brown sugar
I got 200 pounds of premium Glaze
I got 200 dollars stuffed in the glove box
And I’m too far from sweet Molly Methane

And I don’t think my Chevy can make it
I don’t think it will even get me half way
I don’t think my Chevrolet can take it
If I do not make it, there’ll be hell to pay

Now this road’s as long as God’s middle finger
The only detour is the exit to Hell
This road ain’t paved with good intentions
It’s never-ending and that’s probably just as well

When I left Molly I told her don’t worry
I told sweet Molly it would be alright
When I left Molly the Chevy was purring
And the road stretched out ahead and out of sight

And I don’t think my Chevy can make it
I don’t think it will even get me half way
I don’t think my Chevrolet can take it
If I do not make it, there’ll be hell to pay

There are dangerous people that want me to pay
There’ll be nowhere to run if I can’t make this play
Goddamn the day I bought this Cheverolet

When I left Molly I told her don’t worry
I told sweet Molly it would be alright
When I left my Molly the Chevy was purring
And the road stretched out ahead and out of sight

And I don’t think my Chevy can make it
I don’t think it will even get me half way
I don’t think my Chevrolet can take it
If I do not make it, there’ll be hell to pay

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6. Poppa's Leg

 
Spencer Kimball

MP3 Audio File

A long time ago to pay off a bet
A Lincoln item went to someone's set
And a hunk of lumber from the Civil War
Was seen in the hand of a man leaving a bar.

Very much later a card game played
Gave that museum piece to someone to be paid
And now Abe's bedpost you see
Is attached forever to Poppa's knee

"They say when that syncopated walk was heard on the Vieux Carre,
all the women turned to watch his approach.
And when sounds fell from that honeyed tongue,
they hung on every every word like a saint's dying breath."

Likely Poppa never made it to New Orleans
But I'm sure he ate his share of rice and beans
But if a bully showed up along his route
He had his own unique way of takin him out

One day there was a man beatin on his girl
Poppa came behind him and did a twirl
Whapped the lumber back-o-th'-knee and down he dropped
And that's what they call the Southern Stop

Here comes Poppa...

(apologies to E. Hoffman Price 1898-1988)

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7. Graveyard Rat

 
Gary Sears

MP3 Audio File

Chicken livers fryin’ on a rusty hot plate
In the solitude of his back room
Day old bread and stale hot cakes
He attacks with a knife and spoon

Hours hunched over and old calculator
His granddaddy used to own
He don’t talk now and he won’t talk later
He got a hardwire telephone

Now Big Red and sweet Miss T.
They handles his dirty pawn store
You can hock whatever you want for a fee
But you won’t see it no more

He himself runs the shady peep shows
On the other side of the tracks
The locals know when the tourist go
Sometimes they don’t come back

Rumor says he did some time
For touching some little boys
He served his days watching TV crime
And eating Almond Joys

He got himself a room at the Hotel Swell
By the Chapel and the Dance Arcade
What happens there I cannot tell
But the memory will never fade

With the loan sharking and the shake down deals
He is twisted with an awful hate
He lines up his favorite bully boys
They say he likes to watch ‘em masturbate

If your God is a vengeful one
And if your devil is a tortured soul
I’d like you to meet a friend of mine
With a heart as black as coal

I don’t know if all this is true
And I don’t care what you think of that
But he may have big plans for you
He’s meaner than a graveyard rat

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8. The Razor Burn's Edge

 
William Fuller and Jack Hastings

MP3 Audio File

It seemed to me that the viewing was over
Though no one escorted me out
And the glitter and the music as I left seemed to linger
In the air with the whiskey and the shouts

I spent the night sleeping as never before
My mind was spinning but clear
I washed up and shaved; something had changed
I was happy but I bit back the tears

Chorus
And these days I can tell when I look in the sky
If I'm seeing the sun or the moon
And some day I'll find that place that I've heard
Is halfway from a gasp to a swoon

So dance me all night ‘til I'm too tired to talk
Then we'll balance outside on the ledge
Find redemption and joy on the open plateau
Beyond the razor burn's edge

I watched the peep show from behind the glass
I watched as she moved through the light
But one night it came; the revulsion, the shame
And I watched for the very last time

The next time I saw her in the hard light of day
Gone were her glamour and grace
The hard life she’s living, the hard times I’ve given
Were etched in the lines of her face

Bridge
It's a bloody hard jolt that seizes your heart
When you lose your doubt and your fear
When the blade scrapes the foam of despair from your face
And your path down the road becomes clear

A bloody hard jolt strikes the fog from your eyes
When your friends were the drugs and the goons
When they clutched at your playpen from morning ‘til night
And you've left not a second too soon

Chorus
And these days I can tell when I look in the sky
If I'm seeing the sun or the moon
And some day I'll find that place that I've heard
Is halfway from a gasp to a swoon

So dance me all night till I'm too tired to talk
Then we'll balance outside on the ledge
Find redemption and joy on the open plateau
Beyond the razor burn's edge

So dance me all night ‘til I’m too tired to walk
Along the razor burn’s edge

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9. Mr. Stick's Taxi

 
Spencer Kimball and Gary Sears

MP3 Audio File

Barkeep what’s the number for Mr. Sticks
I’m headed to the Big A to get my kicks
Barkeep what’s the number again
Please jot it down, do you need a pen
Barkeep what’s the number for Mr. Sticks

Mr. Sticks is the cabbie who drives the taxi deranged
I knew his number last night, but it musta changed
So bartender can you get it for me
Seems like I’ve been waiting an eternity
Barkeep what’s the number for Mr. Sticks

He says it’s; 727-3992
I’m wondering already if that rings true
He handed me a match book with a wink and a smirk
Take it easy buddy I think this number should work

The tender he’s a guy who really likes to play his jokes
Gotta find a long straight stick to poke in his spokes
The tender is a guy who’s been known to lie
I guess it wouldn’t hurt to give this number a try

The tender he’s a guy who really likes to play his jokes
So I squeeze through the crowd to punch the numbers on the pay phone
But I didn’t get an answer all got was some crazy tone
I didn’t get nothin’ why ain't I surprised

Id’ like to pop that bartender bastard between the eyes
So I’m starin’ a the corresponding letters on the buttons
I’m leery and suspicious but they don’t really tell me nothin’
I saw these numbers carved on a stall with a file
Maybe I’d have better luck with a rotary dial
I’m starin’ a the corresponding letters on the buttons

I flag him over; you think I’m stupid do ya
That number that you gave me just spells out S-C-R-E-W-Y-A

I guess you think it’s funny I guess you think it’s alright
At this rate I won’t make it to the A Road tonight
Barkeep what’s the number for Mr. Sticks
I’m headed to the Big A to get my kicks

Barkeep what’s the number for Mr. Sticks
I’m headed to the Big A to get my kicks
Barkeep what’s the number again
Please jot it down, do you need a pen
Barkeep what’s the number for Mr. Sticks

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10. The Eyes of Cthulu

 
William Fuller and Spencer Kimball

MP3 Audio File

The most beautiful thing in the world
Is the grandeur of the cosmic cycle
And I thought I had seen it all
As I strode down the nick'lodeon aisle

Then something grabbed me from behind
As my head began to ring
I was dragged to an unknown alcove
And forced to look into that garish thing

Chorus:
What I saw when I stared into The Eyes of Cthulu
Was the unmaking of a part of my soul
The miasma was swimming with tentacled bodies
And I felt like I was falling into its blurry gray hole
I've done bad things as I've gone thru this life
Some I enjoyed and some I regret
But does anyone deserve that wet clay box
Dear lord please make me forget

Gelatinous bodies split into two
As the parts became maggots and spiders
A face from my past was filled with disease
And a minotaur attacked from beside her

--------------------------------
Oh crepuscular vision!
Oh infernal sight
Oh foul grotesq'ries
Go back into the night!
My mind is a fever
Please feed me my glaze
Point your eyes somewhere else
With your blasphemous gaze
May the red eyes of Cthulu
Find Tubby and Little Lulu
I don't care! Just take them from me!
Take those sick bloodshot eyes
Away from me!
-------------------------------------------

Chorus

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11. Silver Snuff Box

 
Jack Hastings and Spencer Kimball

MP3 Audio File

What can a silver snuff box hold?
The reflection of a face that isn’t your own?
A face that has grown so suddenly old?
Eyes of blue forever closed?
The bones of your Poppa’s broken soul?
What can it hold?
I don’t know.

Where has the silver snuff box been?
Over the river and down to the glen?
Lost in the swamp and the bog and the fen?
To Absalom Road and back again?
Smudged and scratched and tarnished with sin?
Where has it been?
I don’t know.

Who gives the silver snuff box away?
A gift or a torment, who can say?
Beware of the giver and the games he might play
The one who smells slightly of death and decay
As sad sickly sweet as a graveyard bouquet
Who gives it away?
I don’t know

Why is the silver snuff box sealed?
Ne’er to be opened nor its contents revealed?
Perhaps its because of the way that it feels
Like something alive that slithers and steals
Across your palm like a Carpathian eel
Why is it sealed?
I don’t know

(... where can it go...? I don't know...)

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12. The Weeping Slickers

 
William Fuller and Gary Sears

MP3 Audio File

You bought me a slicker for my birthday last year
You bought me a slicker for my birthday last year
You bought me a slicker for my birthday last year
And I’ll add it to the others that I own

I'm sorry for the times I made you cry
I'm sorry for the times I made you cry
I'm sorry for the times I made you cry
If I could change those times I would

They stand in a row, my weeping slickers
Are they wet from the tears or the rain
They stand in a row, our years together
The joy side by side with the pain

Your kiss in the morning makes me feel
Your kiss in the morning makes me feel
Your kiss in the morning makes me feel
Like I'm alive as I walk thru my day

They stand in a row, my weeping slickers
Are they wet from the tears or the rain
They stand in a row, our years together
The joy side by side with the pain

For every loss there should be some wins
But there’s times when the wait seems too long
Can we survive yet one more tailspin?
Was the bond ever that strong?

The darkness comes before the day
To know hope it seems you need despair
Couldn’t there be another way
You have to feel; you have to care

Your kiss in the morning makes me feel
Your kiss in the morning makes me feel
Your kiss in the morning makes me feel
Like I'm alive as I walk thru my day

They stand in a row, my weeping slickers
Are they wet from the tears or the rain
They stand in a row, our years together
The joy side by side with the pain

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13. Tri-Tip Spa

 
Spencer Kimball and Gary Sears

MP3 Audio File

Now Tourmaline tell me if you know
What it takes to be a tourist round here
When the closest I can come to pleasure
Is finishing my fifteenth beer

When all I really want in this stinkhole
Is to leave it high and dry
When it's time to fry at the Tri-tip Spa

See that preacher at The Redeemer
He's got markers down in the corners of Hell
In case the loges he really wants
Have been paid for from some rich man's well

But he won't talk to the faithful 'bout that
'Specially when they're so ready to fly
When it's time to fry at the Tri-tip Spa

And look at that idiot Quiver
He thinks he's got something to guard
Each time he threatens some lackey
They just find another dealer's card

And they'll just run down the street
For a look at some old crone's thigh
When it's time to fry at the Tri-tip Spa

At the bar they line up the Glaze-hounds
Who use as their main stock in trade
All of the stories they have heard
About people who once made the grade

And all of them actually believe
Every bit of all their lies
When it's time to fry at the Tri-tip Spa

Now your Poppa, he has a story
And a daughter as the one who'll tell
And a pawnshop that covers all the tales
Of those in Cthulu's spell

And if you're really lucky
You can kiss all this history goodbye
When it's time to fry at the Tri-tip Spa

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14. Big Red's Lullabye

 
Jack Hastings and Gary Sears

MP3 Audio File

What does the little junk-shop girl
See in her dreams when she’s blind to the world?
The green of the fields, the blue of the sky?
As the clouds go rolling by

Sometimes I hear her singing
When she thinks she’s all alone
With a voice as sweet as the Nightingale Queen
Perched on her silver throne

I wish I could tell the junk-shop girl
How I burn for her always, my heart in a whirl
But I have no voice, no words to speak
Just a yearning so fierce and so deep

Sometimes I see her dancing
And I feel something dark in me stir
As she moves with such grace through this dusty old place
I want nothing more than her

Chorus
Good night, good night
Sweet Tourmaline
May your dreams be warm and bright
If I could, I would hold you close to me
Keep you safe through the long, cold night

Sometimes the eyes of the junk-shop girl
Burn like silver and shine like pearls
There’s a light in those eyes, that might pierce my disguise
And see through to my heart’s dark desire

There’s a chill when I see her looking
At something so far far away
Beyond the stars and the heavens
So far from the light of day

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15. The Ass Is Back

 
William Fuller and Jack Hastings

MP3 Audio File

She’s been gone for several years
Hi-yoh duh yip, hi-yohhhhhhhh-
Ohhhhhhhhh
I like to think I’d treat her better
But I guess I’ll never know

They say a dog don’t learn new tricks
Hi-yoh duh yip, hi-yohhhhhhhh-
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh
This old fool’s at least learned one
All I want is to see her home
All I want is to see her home

Chorus
This endless field
I work alone
Mumble and moan
Cuts to the bone
Of all God’s sins
The worst is pride
I made my bed
The fault is mine
The fault is mine

I hope she’s happy wherever she goes
Hi-yoh duh yip, hi-yohhhhhhhh-
Ohhhhhhhhhh
But I’d be lyin’ if I didn’t say
All I want is to see her home
All I want is to see her home

Bridge
The ass is back; I found the goat
I’m better now but I missed the boat
I’m better now; I changed my way
But sometimes change just comes too late
The rooster cries the break of day
I wish like hell she would have stayed
I wish like hell she would have stayed

Chorus
This endless field
I work alone
Mumble and moan
Cuts to the bone
Of all God’s sins
The worst is pride
I made my bed
The fault is mine
The fault is mine
The fault is mine
The fault is mine
The fault is mine

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16. Where The Neon Lights Still Flicker

 
William Fuller and GarySears

MP3 Audio File

I had a fire in my belly
I had a hunger in my soul
I heard of Absalom Road since I was seven
Maybe in church, I don't know

I drove for days
Who knew it would be so long?
And when I finally found that road
What could ever go wrong?

Where the neon lights still flicker
Where I wanted to be
Where hope meets desire in a raging fire
How could I know what would happen to me?

David, oh David, what became of your son?
Did he head out on the road?
When he comes back, will he be different?
Or still the man you think you know

I've been here for years
Who knew it would be so long?
I think I saw your son last night
What could ever go wrong?

Where the neon lights still flicker
Where I wanted to be
Where hope meets desire in a raging fire
How could I know what would happen to me?
Where the neon lights still flicker
Where the neon lights still flicker

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The Story

 

There’s a place in Cleveland or Topeka or Greenville called Absalom Road that you can’t get to unless you have the number for Mr. Sticks Taxi Service and nobody has ever gotten Mr. Sticks' number. On Absalom Road it’s always midnight and the neon is always flickering and bright. There you will find Poppa Pajama’s Pawn Shop and Peep Show, Madama Melodrama’s Bounce House and Jook Joint, The Elegant Swell Hotel, and The Chapel of the Reluctant Redeemer, along with various and sundry sugar shacks, diners, dives, greasy spoons, flop houses, burly-q palaces and dime-a-dance arcades.

Poppa Pajama, he’s got a peg leg carved from a post that came from Abraham Lincoln’s deathbed and his granddaughter, Sweet Tourmaline, has got two glass eyes made from polished rock crystal said to be the marbles David used in his sling to bring down Goliath and though she can’t see a damn thing, she surely has The Sight and sometimes her eyes shine like little blue suns. Finally, helping out in the shop, is mute and wordless Big Red Rogers, the red-headed albino giant. Now Poppa, Sweet Tourmaline and Big Red run the pawn shop but it’s Mr. Quiver, mean as a graveyard rat, a hunchbacked dwarf, as twisted on the inside as he is on the out, who handles the peep shows as well as the bully boys, the loan sharking, the shakedowns and deals The Glaze on Absalom Road.

You may think that a peep show is just a chance to look at a nekkid lady or some such but at Poppa Pajama’s it ain’t like that at all. When you take a look at one of Quiver’s peeps like "The Eyes of Cthulu" for instance you need The Glaze just to keep your mind from spinning apart like a Fourth of July pinwheel.

Meanwhile, over at Madama Melodrama’s Bounce House and Jook Joint, along with the finest Blues in all of the known world and the sweetest ladies and prettiest boys ever sold for a C note and a song, there’s always a game of Shivaree simmering dealt under the deft hands of Molly Methane; a game where fortunes are won and souls are shaved, shorn, dissected and sometimes utterly lost.

This place it ain't nothing if not interesting and we surely invite you to join us in taking the tour 'cause nobody wants to go it alone down Absalom Road...

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Willie de Sacra

 

In alphabetical order:

  • William Fuller
  • Jack Hastings
  • Spencer Kimball
  • Gary Sears