By Nicole Nesca


Sitting in the little corner of my basement apartment kitchen, I sit

on my 1980’s era wheelie chair facing my laptop. All the

motivation and intention to write the next FOR WHOM THE

BELL TOLLS, only to meet my old friend….nothing. Nothing is

an old man with long gnarly fingernails, sour alcoholic breath

and a bad heart. He has long white hair with single strands of

black intertwined in his very long loose braids. He wears a beat

up rust colored robe (thread bare). He has the same sense of

humor as Hawkeye from MASH. Smart-assed old man with a

hoarse voice and a nicotine laced laugh. He mocks me and he

loves me. He sits at my left side and pokes me in my ribs when I

start to drift or if I start to focus and begin to write. He asks me to

call him Johnny. Okay. “Okay, Johnny, leave me alone. I’m a

writer god damn it. I’m a fucking artist. I’m a creator. I’m a god

damn intellectual. You are interrupting fucking brilliance.”

Johnny sits next to me on the bus when I am running errands,

going to work or at home watching television. He makes me feel

so masochistic. Johnny likes to watch daytime television. Cops,

robbers, child rapists, drug addicts, Kardashians and self-help

fucking television psychologists. My father and mother tell

people that “I was such a normal child”. “She was always a bit

rambunctious, but such a creative spirit.” “She started reading

and writing and drawing at such an early age. She passed her

older sister up in school, even though she spent so much time off

school from pneumonias and ear infections. A very sickly child.

A very smart child. A very normal acting child. She had so much

energy. It was palpable. Even from her sick bed. But, “normal”.”

I would give voice to inanimate objects. Like cotton balls and

stuffed animals to entertain myself and my sisters. To bring a

smile to worried faces. Johnny was never around. He didn’t exist

until recently. He was birthed through adolescence. It was a

breach birth. Bloody and painful. I shook Johnny off many a time

throughout my life. I would discover people, places and things.

He would disappear. When I first got married and became a

mother. When I got a regular 9-5. When I became responsible

and became the regular folk. Johnny put on his rust colored robe

and walked into my life like he owned it. He handed me my

remote control. He handed me my rye bottle. He handed me my

union card. He handed me my mortgage. He handed me my

credit card bills. He handed me my tax file. He handed me my

passport. He handed me my social insurance number. He handed

me my daughter’s school principal. He handed me my younger

sister’s death. He handed me my family members’ illnesses. He

handed me my self-doubt. He handed me the brick wall that

separates me from myself. “Merry fucking Christmas, Johnny!

And, I didn’t get you anything.”

I tell Johnny to “do one” and promptly put “ROCK N’ ROLL

AND ROLL OVER” by Lou Reed on my record player.


Nicole Nesca was born in Ohio, U.S.A. She developed a love of music, painting and writing early on and continued that love throughout her adult life. While living in Canada, she completed her first three works of poetry and prose collected in the anthology piece, KAMIKAZE WHITE NOISE, and three more books of prose and poetry. She has been published in several E-Zines and has been a part of three anthologies.

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