With a song featured on the “Henry Poole Is Here” soundtrack starring Luke Wilson and George Lopez, and short-stories published in a variety of literary journals (see sample below), Michael Dickes is "One who has skirted the industry fringes, one who continues to be prolific, one to watch." - TuneCore. His stories have been featured in Southpaw Journal, Connotation Press, Apocrypha & Abstractions, Kerouac’s Dog Magazine, Thunderclap Press, Istanbul Literary Review, THIS Literary Magazine, Blue Fifth Review, Metazen, Negative Suck and more. His numerous CDs include Dig, Loose Ends, Moveable Child, Thirty-Five and Trouble. His new self-titled release marks a coming of age for Michael Dickes with a collection of songs that are heartfelt, tender, and at times raw, sung with the passionate smoke of experience in life and its living. Michael has traveled the world as a musician and continues to write and perform from his home base of New York City. More information about Michael’s fiction and music can be found on his website at michaeldickes.weebly.com
All Songs written and performed by Michael Dickes © 2012 All Rights Reserved
*Knew Truth, 1967 written by Michael Dickes and Larry Murante
*Lovers at War: Eric Frank (Bass), Mike Williams (Drums), Todd Kenaston (Stratocastor), Pat Oscarson (Mandolin), Brad Petit (Piano), Darik Peet (recording engineer)
© 2012 michael dickes
Published in Connotation Press
The elevator doors drew open just in time for Beeko to come crashing in to hide behind me. Hit the button, hit the button, he said latching his tiny fingers on my back pockets, poking his head around my legs from the side.
Good morning, Beeko.
Hi, Jon, he said in a whisper. I got Carlos with my squirt gun and now I’m turning invisible.
Another mission accomplished, I presume? I asked.
Almost, the boy said in a hush, hurry, hit the button, Jon!
Beeko’s covert activity was swiftly tailed by the unimpressive bellow of Carlos the door man, whose low pouch and waddle came headfirst and rattled, glasses askew, and water dripping from his over-grown mustache.
Shaking his finger, Carlos fumed in Spanish, Ay por Dios, Beeko, te voy a estrangular, to the curt close of the elevator doors. Beeko giggled as the elevator began its rise to the 23rd floor where he lived with his mother.
Arms raised in victory, Beeko soldiered the perimeter of the small space, coming about to face me, his slim frame just shy of three feet, the most beautiful little boy I had ever known said, Agent Beeko Wesley Powell, reporting for duty, sir.
Carlos was often the object of Beeko’s mischievous attention, endeavors at which the boy had been very successful, finding bliss in the turmoil he caused in the lobby. Beeko did not ever play outside. Beeko was not allowed to go outside. Doing so would put him at risk.
His mother maintained a safe environment in their apartment that was as clean as any hospital, if not even too sterile for the imagination of a six year old boy. “I let him ride the elevator for fear of him climbing up the walls and out of a window,” she once told me.
Beeko was born with a rare blood disorder that weakened his immune system. His mother was obsessed with protecting him from any potential source of infection that could easily be fatal.
At ease, Agent Powell, I said. One of these days, old Carlos is going to catch up to you and then what will you do?
Stomp on his toes and punch his balls, Beeko said laughing, proceeding to act out the scenario.
The smile soon faded and the little boy’s face fell quiet, all too aware of his burden, bringing his hands together and clasping them at the back of his neck, adjusting his stance to one with a purpose, forming thoughts in his eyes, he looked up and said, The catbirds have all flown away. Surprised by the sedate manor in which he spoke, I smiled and asked, What do you mean?
The birds, Jon. Every morning I come down to play with Carlos and I always go to the front windows first to see the birds, but today they weren’t there.
Maybe they were sleeping, I said.
Maybe, but I don’t think so. Carlos says that catbirds are always up early.
Oh, so you have actually had a calm conversation with the enemy?
Jon, it’s only pretend, he said with a grin and slight tilt to his head. The birds are real, Jon. The birds are real.
I knelt down on one knee and put my hand to his cheek, I know, Beeko, I know. The birds will come back, I promise. They love you, like we all love you.
The elevator doors opened and Beeko ran down the hall yelling, Bye Jon…Look out for Carlos!
I did not see Beeko the following day or the day after. In the lobby, I asked about the boy at which Carlos simply shrugged and grumbled something in Spanish. I was leaving on business and told the porter to pass on to Beeko that I was going to Boston and that if I see the catbirds, I will bring them back home.
Upon my return a week later, I paid the cab fare and followed the sidewalk. I saw how the buildings stood shoulder to shoulder, like orphans made to stand along a parade route long after its passing, the cold, lifeless faces, anxious to go kicking down the side streets of Manhattan, eager to break free from each other’s side.
Inside, the lobby was quiet. I collected my mail from the desk clerk and asked about Beeko. There are peculiar environs where a mere question can change the substance of time. As if just by asking, our cells divide, all matter blurs, reality swivels and we are pulled out of our bodies to hover above as the world continues to spin in strange and slow motion. I watched as the desk clerk looked down at the log books and proceeded to tell me that Beeko had passed in his sleep.
The man in my body did not move. The desk clerk went to scatters, the room started turning, and there by the front doors Carlos sat crying, speaking in Spanish, and looking for birds.
© 2012 All Rights Reserved