"Tom Waits" by David Tidquist drawn from album photo in 1990

A Cautionary Tale

by David Tidquist

(C) The Gobbler 1998 Winter Crystal
This piece was written as a "cautionary" tale. It accompanied a compilation tape I made to introduce two young friends to Waits' music.

Scratchy records. There's something about that sound. Makes you wonder if they were ever new. I don't remember them without that hiss... and it feels comfortable. That static feels like the past--I'd like to have a whole album of just that. You pull the disc off the turntable and examine it--and wonder: where did that spot come from? Odds are it's alcohol, and it probably got there sometime between 3 a.m. and dawn on some long forgotten night.

Somewhere back there was a "gin-soaked boy." He wore one collar up because it made him feel like Holden Caulfield, and he walked hunched and determined--as if into the wind.

Some time after all the days of rage and confusion---after the protesting and experimentation, he falls in with a crew of leftovers self-deluded anarchists and counter-culture diehards. And they decide to make their last stand at a crumbling roadside tavern called Burnsie's.