The heavy decrepit bodies of the great and not so, mingled with their offsprings, children too young to realise that this too would be their fate. Pathetic men way past their glory days paraded pretending that they still had it, while bored defeated women looked on knowing they didn’t.

It was another day at the enclosed perfectly temperatured salt baths. The warmth was comforting to the skin and the soul and made old bones and muscles feel rejuvenated. The inhabitants floated safe in this maternal womb away from the business deals that no longer mattered in a world that no longer cared and was on its last legs. Some old guys studied the racing form while younger middle-aged men preferred the stock market. Some gambled with their own money while others ventured with what they had married into, or had inherited. All in all there’d be few winners that day. There were no more lucky numbers to be had, or surprise gold and mineral funds in a world that had been looted, raped and gang banged so many times there was nothing left. Certainly not energy for outrage. Only resentment from natives who had been trampled under foot and squashed by the invaders who destroyed paradise without ever having taken the time to truly look around and realise the greatest wealth was above the ground. But like rats they burrowed lower and lower into darkness desperate for any shiny morsel of opportunity. Never thinking any further ahead than that.

We had destroyed the world without realising that such an abomination also destroyed ourselves. What we project outwards also implodes us. Given time.

I stood in the warm salt water as the floating bodies of the dead and the dying circled me.

(C) Frank Howson 2019

Sketch by Frank Howson.


(Inspired by watching the news telecast of James Stewart’s funeral)


A great man died today

A rock of dignity

And tributes flowed from here to eternity

The limousines are booked

And every rose is sold

The homeless gawk at how the stars got old

Well I was sittin’ here glued to the six o’clock

I nearly died

I couldn’t believe my eyes

Charlton Heston cried

Charlton Heston cried

They’re replaying all his films

The ones in black and white

I’ll watch ’em all again

I’d nothin’ planned tonight

I’d try to get some sleep

But dreams just tell me lies

Here in Sherman Oaks

Where time don’t fly, it just dies

Sittin’ here stewed by the ten o’clock

My nerves were fried

But there it was again

Charlton Heston cried

Charlton Heston cried…

I craved to be like him

To stand where he once stood

Freeze that frame of me

Young in Hollywood

It’s not so good right now

Some rat has squealed on me

I’m facin’ jail

And smokin’ Chinese tea

Well I ain’t been right since Vietnam

That’s where I lost my mind

But I kept my memorabilia

That all the stars have signed

I wish I could break through

And dine with Presidents

But my welfare’s  been stopped

And I’m down to thirteen cents

I can’t put out the trash

The FBI are watchin’ me

And all I’ve got are unpaid bills

But Iraq will soon be free

Well he always played the noble hero

The man who never lied

And that must’ve meant somethin’

‘Cause  Charlton Heston cried

Well I been sittin’ here playin’ those Dylan songs

LIke “God is On Our Side”

But what’s this world comin’ to

If Charlton Heston cried?

And if you’re lookin’ up here

At this window ledge

I’m about to fly

And if he reads about my life

Will Charlton Heston cry?

Will Charlton Heston cry?

Will Charlton Heston cry?…


Recorded by Stephen Housden.

(c) Frank Howson 2013