Hello everyone, everywhere,

I’d like to start out this week by saying that last week was dark; this week is better.  I wrote this piece because it made me happy. I was sitting out on my balcony in the rain, and I looked down at this tennis court and thought to myself what an incredible moment it would be to see someone dancing in the rain. I don’t mean singing in the rain, I mean dancing in the rain.

Michelle says that I’ve talked enough about that subject so it’s time to move on. She’s really giving me dirty looks so I’m moving on quickly. Okay, everybody in the band is back together again. Everybody has returned home and we had a good session today.

Dean’s in good spirits for a Monday. And that’s all I got today.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest. This story needs no introduction. It is what it is.


Old couple dancing

I believe it was a Thursday night. There was rain. Lots of rain. But falling steady, not hard, you see.

The birds were nestled in the trees. Even the cars knew to be quiet. You have to respect a good rain.

It was getting on eleven p.m. and I was in my chair reading–just passing time is all. All of a sudden, I heard singing. Not loud–just so you could hear it.

I peered out on my balcony which overlooked the city tennis courts. Yes, the lights were on. All was safe in the tennis world.

Though I could not make out their faces, I could certainly make out their smiles. All alone on the tennis court, under the lights, an old couple was having a dance and humming loudly to an old Glenn Miller tune. I knew it from my youth: Moonlight Serenade.

That’s what love looks like. Sometimes, magic happens in the rain.

That’s all.


By jamesghutcheson


Hello everyone, everywhere,

Hey, everybody, I hope things are going well. The band’s been working, and that’s been going great. Everybody seems to be doing their thing. Okay, that’s enough of the band.

Actually, tonight I wanted to talk about my friend. She owned a condo two floors down from mine, and she was the first person I met when I moved there. Because of medical issues, she was alone, and she was very lonely. Though she had a family she was dealing with her own demons, and that’s really hard to do. But I would always go outside, and there she would be, watering her flowers. It’s so funny, when I first moved there I thought she was the caretaker because she was doing all the work. She laughed and said, “No, that’s just what I do.” That was the first time I met her, and I knew right away I liked her.

I only knew her a year, but we had some great chats together. It helped the endless ticking of the clock go by a lot easier. I’d sit with her and she’d rant and rave about something, and I’d just laugh and try to calm her down. She was a very gentle soul; she used to walk with her little dog, Taffy. (I always called the dog Chico). I used to think that I should go walk with her so she wasn’t walking alone, but I never did. I just watched, and we waved.

The last time I saw her a couple of weeks ago, I was coming down the front steps, and there she was, watering the flowers. So I stopped and we had one of our fifteen-minute chats.  The last thing I remember about her was that we were smiling and laughing with each other. That’s a really good thing to have. So tonight, I’ve done my best in just a few words to try to explain that night. That’s it for that.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest. This is for Shy.



Monday night dark. As I looked down from my safe world, the world below had become broken. Lights from RCMP cars on. No noise.

And then the answer came. I watched an officer take the kit. He had the face of a man who knew and had faced  this before. The old me, usually compelled to see what’s up, thought it might be an accident. Too quiet.

I never left my chair. Could not move. Death, oh I know death. I have felt a heart stop forever. It should have happened to me. I died. I lived. Go figure.

I lost another angel. Her name was Shyla. She was only 48. Those of us left behind will shed the tears to glitter her pathway home. She is my friend.

That’s all.


By jamesghutcheson


Hello everyone, everywhere,

Well, the wind blew in the conclusion to our story. We thought it might take longer, but we were able to complete it tonight, which is great, because I’ve already started writing again, and I’m very happy about that. (And so is Michelle).

Dean hurt his back, so I brought him a McFlurry. Then I thought that I’d better get one for Michelle too. Good on them.

Anyway, the Soulful Noize concert on Friday was a real hoot. It was packed, and now we’re getting ready for the next one on the 9th. We’re rocking the seniors once again. I don’t get it, but somehow they love us. I mean, we’re talking the elderly in wheelchairs, and people you’d think would never like this stuff. We’re playing the Eagles, and blues, and kicking, and the harder we drive, the more they like it. Go figure.

Well, that’s more than a mouthful. That’s it.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest. And now, here’s the conclusion of…




Getting back on topic (I hope) I said, “Merv’s missing, Sal, and I really need to find him. I’ve been looking for him all night and this cold October wind is not helping.”

“Oh, Mr. Spitz, he’s been staying at MY place,” he said with great joy.

“Why?” I said. “Why the hell is he at your place?”

“He had to finish his recipe and he knew that his assistant manager was trying to steal it, to get money, I betcha. I’d bet ya $500,000—if I had it. So I hid him. Merv said not to phone anyone—so I wrote myself a note and that’s that. Big Merv is my friend; what else would you do?”

(This guy made me kinda crazy, but I’d say a good crazy). “Okay, where is he right now Sal?”

“He’s down by the river,” Sal said. “Big Merv told me all the time that he can think down there.”

“I think we should go get him, Sal. Let’s bring Big Merv Belkap home”, I said.

“Yes,” said Sal. “His wife must be very worried.”

“She is Sal”, I said. “She is.”

I phoned Mrs. Belkap and told her I had found her husband. She sounded like she was in shock. (I knew how she felt).  Then Sal and I took the bus to River Park. Yeah, that’s right, the bus. (Next time I need to remember to get a bloody advance). As Sal and I made our way off the bus, we discovered that two people couldn’t exit at the same time. Good one, Sal.

We looked over to the park, and there was Big Merv, sitting by the water. I walked up to him and said, “Big Merv Belkap, I’m Danny Spitz and I’ve been looking for you.”

Just then Fiona Belkap came running from her cab and grabbed Big Merv so hard it hurt me. “I’m so sorry Fiona and everyone else. I just had to finish my dream pastry and I knew that Higgins, my assistant manager, was trying to steal it. I spent half my life developing this recipe and I was not going to let my dream be taken away; for you see my dear, a dreamer I am and a dreamer I’ll stay.”

And with that Fiona handed me a cheque, a little heavier than we had agreed upon. (But I think that’s because I found him alive). As I stood to leave I heard Big Merv yell, “Mr. Spitz, would you like a ride home in our cab?”

“No thanks.” (I cannot believe I said this). “I think I’ll take the bus.”

I got Sal and off we went. I needed to call the office first but as usual, I didn’t have a bloody dime, so I borrowed the money from Sal. (I hoped he wouldn’t miss it). I stopped at a pay phone and called Doreen. “Hey baby—YAHOO—we got PAID.”

Doreen whistled in the phone and said, “Danny if that cheque isn’t in our office safe in one hour, I will KICK YOUR BUTT. And—don’t ever all me baby you jerk.” (I was starting to take a real shine to her). Sal sat on the bus and talked as friends that night. We talked just

Sal sat on the bus and talked as friends that night. We talked just truth: our women, our secrets. The fire inside spit tired memories out of us both. (Least-ways Sal’s memories may not have been his but they WERE entertaining).

“I guess this case was sort of easy,” I told Sal. “You know what?  Life can be a drag, but who the hell cares?”


By jamesghutcheson


Hello everyone, everywhere,

I’ve been busy in the studio getting ready for a show coming up on Friday. The show we did last Wednesday went over so well that they asked us back before we even left. Yahoo! Terrence will be back Wednesday; he’s been gone for awhile so that will be good to see him again.

I covered Mother’s Day with a phone call to my old girl. I love her. She’s small, but she’s feisty. My dad’s going to be ninety. He won’t go, so it’ll be another bloody card this year on Father’s Day. But he is slowing down a touch so I might use the one from last year. I forgot to send it so I read it to him on the phone. He liked it a lot.

Enough about those two. Michelle is ready to kill me if I don’t quit talking. She’s done a lot of typing today. A lot. So while we’re both  smiling, that’s it.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest.

You know, when I started this story I thought that Michelle and I could knock this off in two parts, but I didn’t realize that I wrote so much. Michelle refuses to do it all in two shots, so we had a meeting, her and I, and we decided that she was right, and we’re going to do this in four parts. Each installment will be a good one. That’s all I’m going to say about the story but just keep reading. You’ll love it.




I go to Sonny’s Grill on Main and Firth. Sonny says he used to be in the army, and they taught  him to cook. I think he came out of the pen. You know–the big house. I mean he is a big guy, he’s missing a lot of teeth, and he has a couple of bad tattoos on his arm. Anyway, it doesn’t matter–he’s a lousy cook to begin with. I know, though, it’s a seedy dump, so if there is something going on downtown you’d probably hear about it here.

I leaned over the counter and whispered to Sonny, “Hey you know anyone from that Roundtree Cookie & Pastry Emporium just around the corner?”

Sonny batted his rag around, straightened a couple of sugar shakers and swatted a fly on the small TV screen behind the counter. “Well, the boss  used to come here twice a week for a grilled cheese sandwich. Big Merv, yeah that’s him.”

I looked at Sonny and said, “You make grilled cheese sandwiches?”

Sonny rubbed his nose and laughed like a donkey and said, “What do you think you’re having?”

I looked at Sonny, then at my food. Bending my head, I said to  myself, I’ve got to find a better place to eat.

“What was that you said, Danny? You were talking so low, you sound like a low-talker,”  Sonny blurted out as he tried to burp the alphabet.

“Never mind”, I said to Sonny. “Tell me what you can about Big Merv Belkap.”

Sonny sat down on his stool behind the counter. Watching him think, I was reminded of one of  those big balloon floats with the air deflating out of its ears.

Sonny spoke up and said, “He told me last week that he’s developing a new recipe for a  pastry and he was convinced that someone’s eyes were watching him.”  (Shit, I’m already seeing this situation as a bad movie).

“Sonny, be straight for one second.  Did he say or mention anyone or anything else?”

Sonny stared into my eyes with his most determined demeanor. “There is a Chinese barber shop on Hensley, ten blocks down. Big Merv said he had a  close friend named Sal who hung around there.” Sonny smiled and walked away.

I finished my coffee and threw five bucks on the counter. “Thanks, Sonny,” I called as I was leaving, vowing to myself to eat somewhere else.  I went back into the night, the wind slapping my face. All I wanted was my flippin’ car. But there was no car, only the bus. No cab fare. (Should have got an advance).

I sat on the bus thinking, It’s okay, Danny. You’re a professional. You can do this. Just  my luck I was sitting right across from the bus driver and he wouldn’t stop yakking. (Who the hell  cares?) Then he turned directly to me and said, “Hey man. Did you lose some weight? That suit  looks kinda roomy on you.”

I quickly turned my head. “I’m a musician.”

“Oh sorry man”, the bus driver quipped.

(My stop—ding ding). The bus stopped and I got out. Boy, I  hated the bus.

So here I was downtown. It was night. It was cold. (This sucked). I  stared at myself in some store  window like I had so many times before. Well, Danny, your life has been on constant fuck-up.  Aren’t you tired of this shit? I was tired, real tired, but I was going to find this Belkap fellow one way or another.

Okay, enough thinking for now—about nothing. Off to the Chinese barber shop.  As I approached Hensley Street I saw lots of people milling about storefronts, you know, like people do. I walked past some record shop and a bunch of teenagers saw me and started laughing their  heads off. (Little pricks). Anyways, one said, “Nice suit—should a got one that fits.”

I chuckled back. (Funny little dude wasn’t he?)  I’m a musician”, I said.

The kid seemed almost apologetic. “Oh, sorry man.”

Back to Hensley Street. A couple of doors down from the movie theatre I saw a  sign: Harry’s Haircuts – We Never Close. I took a chance and went in. For sure it must have been a Chinese barbershop because there was nobody in there but Asians.  This old guy walked up to me and said, “Haircut—you want haircut?”

I stood back a little from his scissors. “No thanks, no haircut. I’m looking for a guy named  Sal.”

The old man glared at me and shouted, “I Harry not Sal.” He then stomped around yelling  in Chinese at his co-workers and anyone else. (Obviously, I offended him. What the hell?)

I started  looking around the room and saw one guy that wasn’t Chinese, so I figured to myself, oh he’s got to  be the Wop—I mean the Italian guy. (Dammit!)  Peering up I said, “Are you Sal?”

His eyes looked my way but it was like he was somewhere else.  “I’m Sal Rominetti.”

Half under my breath, I asked, “Do you know Big Merv Belkap?”

“Oh sure,” he said. “He’s my friend. I worked with my dad in the wrecking yard just out on  Plimpton Road. I got hurt in the head; got severe brain damage. Now I forget lots and I screw up.  I’m in the grey. But Big Merv, he was nice. He taught me to slow down and see this injury not so  much as a disaster, but as a gift to carry on my journey.”


By jamesghutcheson


Hello everyone, everywhere,

Hey, the weather’s cooperating, so is my health, and if you can believe it, so is Michelle.

I’m still not a hundred percent but I’m getting there. I’ve been walking around, waiting for this bloody concussion to go away, but it just won’t let go. It’s a waiting game, and the doctors tell me it will go, but I’ve got to wait it out. It’s been over a month, and my frustration level has peaked numerous times until I’m back at a peaceful place again because I’m exhausted from being frustrated. I haven’t been much for conversation or being around people, except the band. It’s getting better, and it will continue to get better.

On that note, Soulful Noize has a live show on Wednesday, which I’m excited about. I’ll be ready.

This is a story that I wrote when I started this journey, and in 2013, I put some of it out on this blog. I only put out one paragraph, but now I want to present the story in its entirety: some today and the rest next week. (That is entirety in my world).

That’s it.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest.




The day starts like any other.  Not much going on.  I’m on my second beer and three episodes of some cartoon show, which I was enjoying almost too much. As usual. I’m Danny Spitz, almost a private eye. Almost—‘cause I don’t work at it very hard.

The phone rings and it’s Doreen from the office. “Yes, my dear,” I say into the receiver.

“Spitz, get your butt down to the office by 3 o’clock. We have a client coming in.”

“Doreen baby, you can count on me,” I say.

“Oh yeah Danny, don’t forget your suit and DON’T call me baby.” Another click.

Well first off, I don’t even own a suit. I hate moths! But I needed a suit to meet with this client, so where am I going to get one? (Think…think). I got it! My neighbour, Ernie! Ernie is the only guy I regularly  see in my apartment block who wears a suit. And I kind of know him.

So I knock on Ernie’s door down the hall from me and say, “Ernie, it’s me, Danny Spitz.”

“What can I do for you, Danny?”, he says, with an inflection a bit higher-ranged than was my liking, if you know what I mean.

“Look, Ernie,” I say. “I’m in a bind and need to borrow a suit for,..I don’t know…a few days.”

He says, “I’ve got a blue one, a light green one, and one done in pastels. It’s to die for.”

“I think I’ll stick with the blue one,” I say.

“Great,” he says. “I’m a size 45.”

“Yeah perfect,” I say. I grab the suit and I’m gone. I don’t have time to say I’m a size 42.  (To die for—what does THAT mean?) I decide to take a cab to the office, which in hindsight was a great idea as I remembered: I don’t own a car. (Damn card games).

Three o’clock in the afternoon on a day when the wind is blowing cold—the cold that grabs you like a bully. It just won’t go away. So where was I? Oh yeah, did I say three o’clock? It could be 3:15. Who the hell cares? In walks this beauty of a dame.  “I’m Mrs. Fiona Belkap and I am in need of your services,” she says.

I look at her and say, “You’re talking to me, right?”

She looks at me with a gaze that seems to cut me in two. I mean any good man would have fallen for that—even me. She says, “You are Danny Spitz, Private Eye. It says so on the door.”

I look at her like I just looked down her top and say, “Oh yeah, that’s me.” (Even though I haven’t made a dime in three months, almost). It finally dawns on me. I’m sick of sitting around and watching cartoons—well….almost. And then, like a spark, it hits me. Danny Spitz, THIS is your day! Your special cereal came in. Wait a minute I’m not talking about bloody cereal—even if it does pop around and hiss. Damn, now I’m thinking about my ex-wife, Betty. (HOLD ON! Where was I? Oh yeah, I remember—Mrs. Fiona Belkap).

“So what’s up, doll?” I say with my best boyish grin.

She sneers and says, “Danny Spitz—if that’s your real name–don’t ever call me doll.”

“Okay lady, what’s up?”

She turns her head ever so slightly; a tear falls, caught in time. “Oh, Danny!”

Now I am a very—how do you say—compassionate man. (Yeah, that works). “Oh Doreen,” I call. “Would you bring this lady a tissue? I think she’s upset, but what’s more, her nose is running and that is hard to look at. No offense ma’am.”

Doreen looks up and says, “Oh sure, why don’t I do that? I do everything else around here. And by the way, I’ve been cleaning the file cabinets; it was easy because they’re empty.” And she hands Mrs. Belkap the tissue.

“My husband is missing,” Mrs. Belkap cries. “For three days!! Can you find him?”

I look at her with my most professional face and reply, “I doubt it, but let’s take a look anyways. What can you tell me about him?”

“My husband is about—well he’d say 5’9—but everyone else knows he’s 5’8. He has grey hair, a small moustache, and ears so big you feel like hanging your coat on them. It’s a good thing he has big feet, to hold himself up.”

I look at her and say, “You sure you want to find this guy? He doesn’t sound like someone you’d want to go looking for.”

She looks at me and says, “But I love him and want him back.”

I look out the window and say to myself, “What the hell?”

Mrs. Belker asks, “Did you say something? You’re a bit of a low-talker.”

“A low-talker”, I growl. (That’s damn near a mumbler). “So what does he do?”

Mrs. Belker explains, “He works at the Roundtree Cookie & Pastry Emporium. He is the manager. He has been there seven years and has gained 20 pounds.”

“Does he have any hobbies?” I ask.

“I’m afraid he does. He races his pet gerbil Louie around the living room with a bell.”

I think to myself, this is a good place to start. Maybe I gotta go see Louie myself. (Whoa boy).

“Hey lady,” I call as she preoccupies herself with her makeup. “What’s his name anyway?”

“Oh of course– he goes by Big Merv; and also, what’s your fee?”

Looking forlornly at my shoes, thinking, man I need new shoes—I say hopefully, “Two hundred dollars a day plus expenses. No, you say? I can’t go below $100 a day plus expenses.”

“Fifty dollars, that’s it,” she says.

I lean back in my chair and tell her, “Mrs. Belkap I will have to mull it over.”

Doreen clears her throat and as I glance her way she is shaking her fist and mouthing something. It looks like “Take the bloody case.” I roll my eyes back to Mrs. Belkap, and almost gushing (yeah right) I say, “Mrs. Belkap, Danny Spitz is on the case.” (Now what?)

Five o’clock that night I am still sitting at my desk getting my plan together. Plan? What a joke. (Okay smart guy, where to start?)

“Doreen,” I call. “I need cab fare.”

“We don’t have any. I’ll give you some bus tickets.”

“The bus!” I almost explode. “I hate the bus!”

“Then walk,” Doreen says.

“Screw it”, I say and head for the bus.

To be continued….


By jamesghutcheson