Break on Through

I was a framing carpenter for about three years in the late 70s. There were three of us on the crew, me, my cousin Mac, and Greg, whom we called Dred, in honor of Vlad the Impaler (don’t ask me to explain).  Mac and I were also aspiring Rock ‘N Roll musicians, while Dred was an accomplished belcher. He came from a town in Colorado where belching was considered an art form. In fact, they held an annual contest to crown the King and Queen of Belch. Dred was rather modest about his talent, but would often belch the entire alphabet, and sometimes the Star Spangled Banner, as part of his regular training ritual for the contest.

The houses we build were small, wood frame structures in rural locations (i.e. “out in the boonies”). This was probably a good thing because Dred and I were known to make up ridiculous lyrics to popular songs and howl them at maximum volume in out-of-key fashion. Mac threatened to wear ear plugs, but I think secretly he was humming along.

All of these houses featured at least one porch. The last task in completing a house was to build a set of steps leading up to the porch. This hallowed event was like completing the final brush stroke on a masterpiece or adding an exclamation point to the phrase, “Oh, Shit!”

I lobbied to build steps the first day on the job, but Mac was the lead carpenter and would have none of it. I think he was worried that Dred and I would scale the perch and assault with mountains with off-key song and belching. Upon seeing this week’s photo prompt I’ve reconsidered and now believe we should have hung the doors first and built the house around them.

If you are new to Friday Flash Fiction, the Dean of our Architectural School of Scribes is the esteemed Francine Lloyd Write. To learn how to participate in this exercise of madness, head over to her blog for step-by-step instructions. To view the FFF  Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.

copyright - Rich Voza
copyright – Rich Voza

Everyone thought Jim was a little “out there.” Often categorized as rebellious, egotistical, eccentric, or even creative genius, he wrote poetry to the music playing inside his head.

His unpredictable behavior made it difficult for his co-workers, Ray, Robbie, and John, to get their work done on schedule.  They were inclined to start every project at the beginning while Jim was infatuated with The End.

“People Are Strange,” he remarked, responding to criticism from those who ridiculed the Hyacinth House for having no walls. “If they open the Doors of Perception, they can hear the Cars Hiss by My Window.”

23 Comments on “Break on Through

  1. Dear Russell,

    This is the best Doors tribute I’ve seen this week. I can’t help but wonder how the history of music would have changed had you been a founding member of that group. As for your houses in the boonies, I’ll bet money that all the porches are still standing. Well done.




    • Thank you, Doug. Many of the houses I helped build are still in good condition, providing they received proper care and maintenance. It breaks my heart when I drive by one and see that the homeowner took no pride in ownership.

      I was a big Doors fan. Too bad Morrison couldn’t handle fame.


  2. Dear Vlad,

    What a fun tribute to the Doors. While I wasn’t a huge fan, there are certain songs that I love. And now I hear the sidewalk crouching at my feet….I don’t know which was better, the story or the intro. Thanks for a good read on both counts.


    Francine L. Write


  3. I like the idea of hanging the doors first, then building the walls around them. Perfect.
    The Doors–Love ’em madly!


  4. I wish I’d known, Russell. There’s a guy currently taking apart my porch for an obscene amount of money and very loudly. If he starts singing, I’m going to check it’s not you!
    Loved the intro as ever, and the story too. One of my favourites of yours for a while!


  5. “They were inclined to start every project at the beginning while Jim was infatuated with The End.” Great line. And great tribute, Russell. Very well done.


  6. Thanks for including the background with your story… I like your idea of hanging the doors and building the houses around them. Singing and belching sound like fun ways to make the work day go a bit faster. Jim sounds like a neat character by looking at things in ways that most people don’t. Why not indeed start with the End? Hey, Yoda talks in an unusual way, but lots of people think he’s wise.


  7. Where did you get the idea to write about the Doors? No matter, it works beautifully and manages to convey the spirit of the group truly effectively along with references to the “doors” in the picture and your own personal experience in building. Great job! I can’t even touch it, babe! But watch the use of expletives … you know Jim Morrison would not have approved!


    • Well, I stole the idea from another blog. Imitation IS the cheapest form of flattery.

      You’re right about the cussing, we wouldn’t want Jim to fly into a drunken tirade.


  8. Wow, another THE DOORS, reference. Charmingly and respectfully rendered. In fact, showing our age, but it makes me reconsider Jim Morrison, who I never really grocked. did see them live in a festival on Mount Tam though.


  9. I love both the background.. and the thought of building the houses around the doors… it is actually a great thought to write some lyrics around…

    Maybe Jim would have done that eventually if had made it past 27… great tribute.


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