True Story: The Columnist

Categories: True Story

Jack Grisham
[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. His weekly column,True Story, may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real. This week is the last edition of Grisham's column. We wish him luck as he goes on to pursue new ventures and cause trouble elsewhere. His writings will be missed.]

He had a column in a local paper; 500 words a week. He used the space to tell short stories, lies mostly, but sometimes he told the truth. And as he always said, "the perfect concealment for the truth is to surround it with lies; one doesn't deny it or hide it, say it boldly and with conviction; treat the lies and the truth the same. If your depression is leading you into thoughts of suicide, then align your characters with that truth; give them depression and a gun; create them as hopeless, trapped, and desperate, and then let them sort it out.

If you're struggling with sexual dysfunction, or a general malaise in bed, create satyrs and nymphs; let them roam the streets without conscience or condoms. And if you're angry and the trail of those you'd like to kill wraps satellite style around the world, then by all means kill, maim, torture, and decimate your characters; set new standards in barbarism and genocide, create a world of victims and one by one, or thousand by thousand, pluck them from the perceived safety of their existence and rub them out."

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True Story: A Walk In the Park

Categories: True Story

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Jack Grisham
[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column, True Story, may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]

The great park was as beautiful as he'd ever seen it, and for the past 20 years, he'd lived within view of its majesty. He put on his coat and walked across the street. Above his head, a canopy of browns and yellows and reds danced in the light; the leaves had turned but not yet fallen. He walked without purpose toward the lake.
"May I have your autograph, Mr. Johns?"

A child stood next to him, her face golden, lit by the fall's diffused sunlight. She reminded him of an angel--a post-card-perfect vision of what eager youth should resemble. He smiled as he took the pen and notebook that she offered. Her mother stood as her protective encouragement from behind.

"Yes, my dear," he said as he scribbled his name. "And for your mother, what would she like?"

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True Story: The Police Truck

Categories: True Story

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Jack Grisham
[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column, True Story, may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]

Some people might call it entrapment--his idea of offering free rides--but to Robert A. Jones, he'd be doing a service, helping out those boys in blue, ridding the city of unwanted trash.

"Did you know, darling, that the vagrancy rate is going up?"

His wife ignored him; or rather, she chose to live together in silent contemplation.

"I think I might need to step up my game," he said. "Liven up the odds, so to speak."


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True Story: She Lives

Categories: True Story

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Jack Grisham
[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column, True Story, may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]

"So, you see, Jim, that while your wife is dead in this world, she exists in a universe parallel to our own. She still lives."

Jim sat still on the sofa, his right hand nervously stroking his temple, then his cheek--his attempt to hold in the tears.

"But I can't touch her," he said. "I can't hold her, smell the cigarettes in her hair. You know, she'd tell me she hadn't smoked, tried to hide it from me, but then I'd pull her close, tackle her onto the bed, and I could smell the scent in her hair. She constantly lied to me."
He managed a weak smile with trembling lip and dropped his effort to be strong.

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True Story: Ralph

Categories: True Story

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Jack Grisham
[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column, True Story, may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]

His name was Ralph, and he was locked 
out again.

"Are you fucking kidding me?" he thought. He could see them inside; a warm glow from the fireplace lit their faces as they sat on the couch. "Bunch of spoiled brats: 'Give me a doggie, Mommy. Please, get me a dog.'"

That's why he'd never let his own offspring have pets--he wasn't about to spend his off-hours picking up dog shit. He jumped on the backyard table, and sent it crashing to the ground. "That'll do it."

The porch light came on, and the father poked his head through the door. "Goddamn it, Linda. The fucking dog just destroyed your succulents."

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True Story: Desire

Categories: True Story

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Jack Grisham
[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]

She was all he ever wanted. And we express that not as trite literary cliché or for bold dramatic flair; it was true. He'd lived his life with a desire for nothing. That's not to say he needed neither air nor food, or that he was beyond the want of basic human necessities, but if he was deprived of those things, if he was somehow placed without, we think he might have calmly done so until his death. And, as one who watches from the shadows of his existence, we were surprised when we felt his heart change, when he developed drive and desire, when he came to the conclusion that without her, his existence was meaningless.

She was a coffee girl, a punkish, dirt-under-her-fingernails trollop who struggled while making lattes. If you ordered a muffin to go with your drink, or maybe a breakfast sandwich, you could count on either being improperly heated or somehow exchanged for an item so unlike what you ordered that you'd find the mix-up itself some sort of calculated plan to say, "Fuck you." But it wasn't; she was an idiot, and be it muffin or sandwich or cookie or cake, she was bound to fuck up your order. He adored it.

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True Story: The Savage

Categories: True Story

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Jack Grisham
[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]

The suit fit, so he wore it. It was a garment picked out for him by his handlers. It was the suit of a gentleman. He turned this way and that; the mirror revealed the sharp pleats to the pants, the razor blade lines of his lapels. The suit hid the scars on his back; the tattoo of his first wife on his chest, and at present, it held in his desire to drink. He was ready to go.

There was a line of converts waiting to enter the church, and he took his place at the end of a long tail of down-and-out humanity. He stood as proud as he could.


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True Story: Mother's Day

Categories: True Story

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Jack Grisham
[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]

He could hear her breathing in the bedroom--low, alcohol-sodden inhales and exhales sending sour air staggering across the bed sheets. Occasionally, a wet Dewar's burp belted from her mouth and rudely traversed its way into the living room. She was his mother, and he was hoping she'd be passed-out until morning.

He rose from the sofa and went to find the broom. There was broken glass in the kitchen. The beautiful crystal vase of roses he had given her on Mother's Day had been swept from the counter and onto the floor. He had cowered when her great arm rose high into the smoke-filled air, then tumbled violently toward the flowers--her bicep, larger than his thigh, rippling in the air, the mounds of soft, discolored flesh acting as a cheap-gift assassin for her displeasure.

"Richard!" she yelled. "Are you out there?"

"Yes, Mother."

"Mommy wants her baby."

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True Story: Public Number

Categories: True Story

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Jack Grisham
[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column, True Story, may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]

I keep a public number; 714-969-9835. I was told long ago--by a man who was desired by no one, that I should make it easy for people to contact me. I have, and they have. I get death threats; drunk dials; propositions for free drugs or sex; long rambling messages about someone doing something to someone who shouldn't be accepting it, and, I get people that feel the need to correct or enlighten me. The other day I got a call from a therapist. This is not her real name.

"Jack, this is Dorothy Ann, could you please call me back?"

She left her number--I won't print it here. I blocked my digits and used my cellphone to return the call--I usually call back, not in a timely manner, I force people to accept the reality of having to wait for something, but I do reply--unless the caller is a bore, in that case I refuse to support their right to be boring. Dorothy answered the phone.


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True Story: The Blanket

Categories: True Story

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Jack Grisham
[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column, True Story, may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]

Her soft staccato steps proclaimed the intrusion of her arrival, and laying in my bed and silent in this room, my heart echoed her approach. I was not alone. There were others here. I could hear their cries, their bed sheets moving like infant sails unfurled in sterile hospital air.
But she wasn't here for them; it was me she sought. I lay vulnerable on my bed, my hands clenched, my eyes swollen shut, unaccustomed to the light. The door opened, and the noise agitated those who lay around me. They screamed and would not be still, and I had not the words to reprimand or comfort them--I was as much a visitor as they were, but I fought to remain as I was.

Struggling, I became caught in their need, and then I, too, wailed as they did. Despite her absence of perfume, I could smell her as she walked toward me; the scent of another man swam upon her clothes--he smoked, and the acrid smell of his sweat carried the scent of dead flesh. She reached for me. I did nothing to accommodate her touch. She wasn't mine--never was, never will be. The door opened again. A heavy male presence filled the room.


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