Monday, March 21, 2011


The Rose

John Rhys

Carol's stern look of, "I'm gonna teach you a lesson," peered back at me from across the room. She had too much power over my life, and I knew it to the bone at that moment.

I was subject, at any given time, to the decisions of others, because of my living circumstances. I had next to nothing of my own, so those who I fed off of were in charge, one way or another. It seemed to always be their house and their stuff.

I thought about getting mad and fighting with her for position, and I probably would have prevailed had I done so, but inside I was tired. Inside I was losing the will to keep pushing back.

As I studied Carol's face, I remained silent, wordless, which was odd for me because I always had something to say, but not this time. There were no words at all. I looked down at the floor like a hurt child, and then walked away.

She called after me, "You don't have to leave today, you can have some time to make plans." I didn't respond to her words, I just left it where it was, like a dead piece of meat hanging on a hook.

My emotions raced. "Fight back, Bobby," I said to myself, "you know you can get her to change her mind."

I walked back to the room where Carol was and said, "There's something I gotta tell you, Carol. Don't worry, I'm not gonna try and convince you to change your mind, but there's something I gotta say."

She looked up at me from the couch and said, "OK, I'll listen."

"This is your place," I said, "and you can do whatever you want, but for you to listen to some broad in Alanon who never met me, and doesn't know shit about my life, or what I been through, and then follow her advice to throw me out, is about as fucked a thing as I have ever heard from you."

"Well she's my sponsor," said Carol, "and I have to follow her advice or what good is it to have a sponsor?"

"Yeah," I said, "well she may be your sponsor, but you picked a real asshole to take direction from. Did you bother to tell her why I threw the phone at the wall? Or did you just leave that part out so you could be the poor little innocent victim?"

"I told her I was afraid, because you scared me when you got so angry and broke the phone." she replied.

"Yeah," I said again, "but did you tell her how many times I asked you not to do it, because I was recording, and when the phone rings it ruins what I'm doing?"

"No, not exactly," she said, "I didn't put it that way."

"Well thanks a lot, Carol," I said, "Thanks for giving her a clear picture of what really happened."

"I was afraid," she said.

"Afraid of what?" I asked.

"I don't know, just afraid, you got so angry and I was scared."

"OK," I said, "I got it, you were afraid. You set it up by putting the phone there, and I finally got pissed off and threw it against the wall and it scared you."

"Yes!" she replied, "I was afraid."

"Well maybe if you didn't keep putting the phone there it wouldn't have happened, Carol?"

"Maybe not," she said, "but I still got scared, because you got so angry at me."

I left it at that and exited the room. I didn't want to keep going until I got her to change her mind. I didn't even know why. I just didn't want to do it anymore.

For the next few days I wandered around trying to figure out what to do with myself. I was in Hollywood and ran into John Rhys outside Hollywood Recorders. John had produced Rastus for GRT Records, and had invited me to Ohio in 1970.

"Hey, brother," he said, "How ya been, Bobby?"

"Not that good, John," I said, "just got thrown outta where I was living."

"Where was that?" he asked.

"Carol's place," I said, "I threw a telephone against the wall cause it rang when I was recording something. It happened too many times. Anyway, she got all tripped out and said I had to go."

"Man! I can't believe she'd ever throw you out. I thought she was madly in love with you," he said.

"Yeah, well I guess she didn't love me enough, John, because now I am pretty much homeless, and I'm out here trying to figure out what to do and where to go. How's it going with you?" I asked.

"Great man, I won my case."

"What case?" I asked.

"Well, you know I published the song The Rose, and it was in the movie, right?" he asked.

"No, John, I didn't know that." I said.

"Well I did, years ago, he said, "for a chick named Amanda, who wrote it, Amanda McBroom"

"Yeah, OK," I said.

"Well, when the movie was a hit, and money started coming in, I didn't get paid," he said, "somebody else was claiming to be the publisher. So my lawyer, Martin Cohen,"

"Mutt Cohen?" I interrupted, "Herbie's brother?"

"Yes!" said John, "Herbie Cohen's brother Martin sued Fox six years ago, and we finally won.

"Wow!, I said, "that's great, John, I'm really happy for you."

John, smiling like a Cheshire cat, pulled out the evidence of his victory, saying, "Check this out, brother."

It was a check to John for just shy of a quarter of a million dollars. I stared at it in fascination because of the amount. "Wow! I've never seen a check for that much money, John. Man, that is a real trip!"

I looked at John's smiling face and I remember my feelings as I realized the depth of his good fortune, which stood in stark contrast to the bleak realities of my own existence.

"That's great, John," I said again, "I know Martin. He used to administer a publishing company of mine with Herbie: Arizonz Music. I'll call him and see if he can get my money from ASCAP for me, they're in the same building."

"Yeah!" said John, "you should give em a call, definitely."