The Idiot

The Idiot Front

The Idiot open

The Idiot back

The packaging of The Idiot

Front (left), Open (middle), Back (right)

Available for purchase on Bandcamp

Full video of the Album Release show.  Filmed by Derek Devlin.

In General

There was Lev, Anya, Gwen and a pair of eyes watching the whole thing. The four players skipped through the fares of the City’s streets and late night bus stops. They traveled alone, but the world is a large place, so alone can be difficult to quantify. They were separate, the distinction must be made.
The four should never have entangled, it would have been better that way.

Wrong Questions

I always ask the wrong questions
If I think too hard I see a light
I don’t want to know the answer
I just want you to be alive
We walked the same streets, side by side
staring up at the clouds in a blue, blue sky
I’m wondering what it is you saw
Cause all I see,
is nothing at all.

I always ask the wrong questions
If I think too hard I see a light
I don’t want to know the answer
I just want you to be alive

Lev and Gwen meet

It was a beautiful Monday morning when Lev first met Gwen. It happened entirely on accident and for the first time in her life, Gwen was to blame.
Gwen waited at the counter of The Glazed Goodness coffee shop, having just paid for her regular drink. A freshly-made agave sweetened latte was handed to her by the barista with the beautiful eyes. Gwen politely said, “thank you,” turned to her left, and spilled the 130 degree beverage down the front of a very surprised man.
Gwen was stunned silent and grew red in the face, as person after person turned to look in her direction. This was due to the fact that Lev, the surprised man covered in 130 degree agave sweetened latte, was jumping up and down grabbing at his crotch.
Before a minute had passed, the entire shop was looking in their direction. A soft laugh started amongst a table near the front window. The laugh began to spread, table to table, until even the barista with the beautiful eyes gave a chuckle.
Gwen was mortified. She had never once been the butt of a joke she didn’t tell. Embarrassment did not suit her, and she currently wore it like an overcoat.
Lev on the other hand was quite accustomed to being the butt of many jokes. However in his present circumstance, this did not console him. From his belly button down to his knees, he was soaked in scalding milk. Lev was determined to keep his steaming pants off his body -his delicate parts being of particular concern.
“Stop it,” Gwen suddenly said to Lev. “Stop grabbing yourself.” Her face was a geranium shade of red.
Lev nearly did stop, in disbelief. His mouth dropped open, but his hands diligently kept up the good fight.
“It’s hot!” Lev exclaimed.
Gwen gave a stamp of her foot as the laughter in The Glazed Goodness blossomed into a garden. She noticed the beautiful-eyed barista place a cup of cold water on the counter. She grabbed the cup, and before Lev could react, drenched him for a second time.
“What is wrong with you?” Lev gasped in astonishment. He looked even more pitiful than before. Gwen’s aim was not perfect, and though she did get some cool water on his crotch, the majority of it had splashed him from the belly button up. Lev looked like a wet puppy in a store selling $6 lattes. Gwen was to blame. The patrons of The Glazed Goodness were loving every second of it.
It was at this point, Gwen turned whiter than a wedding dress and promptly fainted. Her legs buckled and if it hadn’t been for Lev catching her falling frame, she would have bashed her left temple on the corner of the counter on the way down.
I cannot say what dreams or thoughts Gwen had while unconscious. Whether of terror or elation, only she knows.
Thirty seconds later, she awoke. Her eyes batted open, disoriented by the fact she was staring up at the ceiling with Lev’s face in the way. His concerned expression turned to a smile, and Gwen was fixated upon it. For the smile was genuine, a bit meek, but held nothing but relief that she was awake.
“I’m sorry,” said Gwen, “for being so foolish.”
“It’s ok,” Lev responded. “The water did help a bit. It was just…unexpected.”
“Can you help me get home?” Gwen asked.
“Yes,” Lev said. “I don’t think it’s wise to walk alone.”

Lev’s Smile Lingers

After their unexpected meeting at The Glazed Goodness, Gwen found it difficult to remove Lev from her thoughts. It was not due to his looks for he was not a model, least of all his fashion. The clothes, a dated brown sport coat and dress pants were nicely sown and fit to Lev’s lithe frame. They were not ratty but worn, frayed around the edges. The cuffs and collar were frizzy, nearly unraveling at the seams. This was in stark contrast to Gwen’s impeccable outfit, which had only been worn once before, and only in private to ensure it met Gwen’s standards.
It was Lev’s smile that was stuck in Gwen’s mind. The smile she had woken up to at The Glazed Goodness. A smile she wanted to see every time she woke up.
It was like none she had seen before. She wondered why.
By the time, the two of them had walked the four blocks from the coffee shop to the front door of Gwen’s on Newbury St, Gwen asked if they could see each other again. She wanted to take him out for dinner to apologize for her behavior. She stared at her toes as she asked and only looked up after the last word had faded away.
Lev was smiling that radiant smile.
“I’d be delighted,” he said. “I just ask we don’t go to a coffee shop.”
Gwen didn’t know what to say and tried to stammer out a response. She found herself stuck between “Ditto” and “I’ll do that” before mumbling out a mix of the two which sounded surprisingly like “dildo.”
Lev made a curious face, trying to understand why Gwen would say such a word. She turned beet red in embarrassment and Lev feared she would faint again. He gave a good-natured laugh and took Gwen’s left hand.
“Words elude me too,” he said and smiled that smile.
When they said goodbye, Gwen waited to go inside until Lev had walked three blocks down and taken a corner. When he turned and saw her there, he waved, then disappeared around a building into the city.

Lev & the City

It was either the concrete or the glass or the people or the cars and the bikes or the clothes or the bums and expensive storefronts or the lonely trees spaced every thirty-five to thirty feet or the young businessmen running about their day with their phones in perpetual use in a multitude of ways until swarms of them seemed to thicken the air around your head like a cream being turned to frosting or a dead rat he saw on a curb once lying on a plate with a knife and fork on either side and a candle standing near the head or the urban children who probably didn’t consider themselves children shouting slang he couldn’t decipher and wondered if they knew his and the feel of concrete underneath his feet with every step he took or maybe it was all of it and the fact that for the most part he made up none of it.
Whatever it was, Lev was happy to be a part of it.


I don’t mean to be so weird, I’m just trying to make you, smile ear to ear

I was stuck on a statue, waiting for you
By chance, or by fate, I’ll buy a flower if it’s free
Cause tomorrow the birds will sing
And I would like you to see them.

I don’t mean to be so weird, I’m just trying to make you, smile ear to ear

Put a finger to my lips, before we kissed.
By thought or by talk, I’ll buy you anything you want
Just as long as you call me a fool
For thinking such immaterial things, matter to you

I don’t mean to be so weird, I’m just trying to make you, smile ear to ear

I will try my darnedest, just to the be the strongest ray of light in your eyes
I will try my darnedest, just to the be the strongest ray of light in your eyes
I will try my darnedest, just to the be the strongest ray of light in your eyes
I will try my darnedest, just to the be the strongest ray of light in your liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife

I don’t mean to be so weird, I’m just trying to make you, smile ear to ear

The Introduction of Anya

It was on the fifth meeting of Gwen and Lev that the city decided to insert a twist to their courtship.
It was no fault of Gwen, though every foolish moment thus far had been. Lev had grown accustomed to her stutter and starts and near fainting spells as plan after plan was thrown to absurdity by her quest to prove she was quite the opposite.
In an earnest attempt to show she was cultured, she brought Lev to an open mic at a dive bar, Rogue Sin, three blocks away from Newbury. It was a small bar, but not cramped as there were only eleven people when they arrived. The floor was slightly sticky and smelled faintly of sweat, beer, and piss and none of the patrons seemed to care. Lev looked at Gwen and believed (quite rightly) that she had never once stepped foot in this bar before. Gwen pretended it was intentional, and smiled in a brave attempt to keep from blushing. Lev chuckled to himself and went along with Gwen’s attempt to show she was cultured.
“I’ll get us drinks,” she said.
Lev took Gwen’s coat and looked for the cleanest place to hang it. Rogue Sin was barely a rectangle in shape, more like a square that just got lazy. Hooks hung in the middle of each wall with a drink shelf running the length of the room at chest height with mirrors lining the room above that. Two of the shelves had accumulated small puddles of cheap beer and Lev didn’t dare hang it behind the stage where a girl was playing a sad song on piano. He walked to the wall facing the stage and hung Gwen’s coat first. Then he took off his own and placed it over hers. He turned back to the stage once he was done.
The girl playing on the stage looked like she belonged to the bar, as much as the sweat, beer, and piss. It wasn’t her clothes, as she was stylishly dressed in a sleek, black dress that left her arms bare. It was her eyes, the way she stared at the world in front of her aggressively defensive, daring anyone to say anything the wrong way at anytime.
Her face was intent as she played, although the song was slow and not particularly difficult. She made sure every note was correct, and kept her chin up the entire time. Every word sung was hesitant, as if she was afraid to sing it. But once the word left her mouth, her eyes lit up as if she hoped the whole world would hear it.
Lev was unsure if it was the sad song, or the way she sang it, but pity took hold of him in a way he had never known. He had never seen anyone so lonely.
The song ended and Gwen walked up to Lev with a beer in a plastic cup. She was beginning to find the absurdity of their date fun. The girl playing piano got off stage and walked to the bar, without acknowledging a single “good job” from the bar’s patrons.
“This is fun,” Gwen said to Lev.
The host of the open mic stepped up and grabbed the microphone.
“Always great to have you play here,” the host said motioning to the girl at the bar. “Let’s give a big hand for Anya.”
Lev found himself clapping the loudest.
Much to Gwen’s chagrin, she found her date crashed, when Lev asked Anya to join them.
Not even Anya could resist Lev’s smile.

Anya’s History

She is not a hero. Nor is she a tragedy. The best way to describe Anya is “what could have been?”
She was thirteen the first time she opened her legs for a man. It was so she could eat for the first time in three days, and, consequently, kept her from having children for the rest of them. By fifteen, she had learned the skill of picking wealthier patrons. The type who pre-arranged meetings and never used last names. By seventeen, she had found a sole proprietor of her body. He was older, kind, wealthy, and spry enough for the sessions to last well past 1 in the morning. In return, he bought a condo in her name and sent obscene amounts of trinkets to keep her eyes from roaming. He needn’t have bothered. Anya’s eyes were never fixed on him. They were always fixed just to the left of whoever was in front of her, staring at a void always advancing, but never here.
By twenty-one, she met Lev.
Before she died, she wished she never had met him, but she also knew it was a lie.

The Open Mic

After the first meeting, Lev became a regular at the Rogue Sin open mic. He invited Gwen to join him every week, because he always loved being with her, but he went week after week to see Anya.
Gwen accompanied Lev to the open mic at first, but became increasingly angry at Lev for the attention he gave Anya. Lev tried to explain to Gwen that he wanted Anya as nothing but a friend. He only went week after week because no one else would.
After two months, Gwen didn’t care for his reason.
“She’s nasty,” Gwen said. “A miserably pessimistic person to be around, always playing the same three songs.”
Lev nodded.
“Every week, the same three depressing songs. She barely talks to us and gives those sarcastic ‘hmms’ and ‘ahs’ when I ask her a question.”
“Just watch her play,” Lev said. “You see it when she plays.”
“She plays it slooow and angrily,” Gwen said with a hint of venom. “Lev, honey, no offense, but she’s a bitch.”
“You shouldn’t say that,” said Lev.
The next week when Lev asked her to come, Gwen declined.
She stayed home, alone, and cried that night.
Lev spent the evening at Rogue Sin. He had difficulty focusing on the performers, distracted by his decision to come by himself. The trouble showed on his face and Anya read it with ease.
When she played that night, she played a song she hadn’t played in years. A simple song she had known since she was eight. When she sang, she sang directly to Lev.
When she got off stage, she sat down at his table with her gin and tonic, and they began to talk, really talk, for the first time.
Anya opened up to Lev for a reason she would never be able to articulate, and she regretted it to her dying day. She trusted him and Lev never broke trust. It was this she hated most.
After five months, Anya believed Lev loved her. They never kissed, nor cuddled, nor fucked. They would just sit and talk at the Rogue Sin.
When the bar closed, Anya’s walk home always seemed to be shorter than the time before. She nearly skipped home to her brownstone on two occasions.
After eight months, she went home in tears once. The dark night above felt closer than a coat, the stars wrapping their arms around her with the moon whispering her name in Lev’s voice.
She hated him for coming every week, but Anya hated herself more for going.
At nine months, Gwen came to the open mic again. By the end of the night, both women realized they couldn’t stand each other.
Lev knew it too. He went to order a round of drinks and take a deep breath.
When he came back to the table ten minutes later, Gwen and Anya were both smiling a curious smile.
“It’s a plan then,” Gwen said to Anya. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Hmm,” Anya responded. “It’s a plan.”


Anya, I knew your eyes before I ever saw your face.
They were like a black cloud lightning, thundering from a mile away. I knew I could weather the storm whether or not it would break, cause I knew on the other side it could be such a beautiful, blue day.

Cause I believe in the good in all of us and knowing we can make it all right.
I concede that I’m an idiot doing my best for all of those alive.

So why do you want to die?
Why do you throw it all behind?

Cause late at night when the moon is full, you look so beautiful, Anya

I believe that I have seen the best in you. It was quick, just a glimpse, but I caught it and I know you saw me too. The warmest of springs surrounded by the tallest, sharpest, steepest mountains. I want to take my fists and break and beat everyone down, that is

I believe in the good in all of us and knowing we can make it all right.
I concede, that I’m an idiot doing my best for all of those alive.

So why do you want to die?
Why do you throw it all behind?

Cause even now the moon’s at half, I swear I just heard you laugh, Anya.

Even with a blade so sharp, I don’t think you’ve got the heart
Even with a blade so strong, baby, I believe you’re wrong.

I believe in the good in all of us and knowing we can make it all right.
I concede, that I’m an Idiot believing in the best of all of those alive.

So, why did you have to die?
Why did you throw it all behind?

Cause even now the moon is gone, I just had a thought of you, Anya.

Gwen and Anya

They met on Newbury St as Gwen had requested. Anya had agreed to it for no other reason than curiosity. But that wasn’t entirely true. She knew what to expect. Gwen.
It was a particularly cold day and Anya dressed inappropriately, as if Lev would be there. He wasn’t.
Gwen dressed accordingly, down to the brown leather gloves on her hands.
They met at The Glazed Goodness, around 11 a.m. Gwen was sipping a freshly-made agave sweetened latte when Anya promptly arrived, walked past her, and ordered a coffee, black. She turned to greet Gwen only after she had received her drink and paid the barrista with the beautiful eyes.
Anya’s greeting wasn’t much of one, she sipped the steaming coffee and asked, “where are we going?”
Gwen stared at her for a second and realized she didn’t have an answer. Her eyes stared at the purple dress Anya wore, leaving her arms bear except for a small shawl. Despite Anya’s best efforts, she shivered slightly. Gwen noticed her skin was prickled and red from the walk to the café.
“A coat,” Gwen said. “We need to buy you a coat.”
Anya bit back the words she wanted to say before nodding her head.
“I’ve always wanted a mink coat,” she said.
Gwen nodded. For a reason she could never explain, she decided to give Anya anything she wanted that day.
When the two parted ways three hours later, Anya stormed home with tears burning in her eyes. She only made it five blocks before tearing the mink coat off her body and throwing it to the ground. She had never felt so degraded.
She did not notice Lev, two blocks away, carrying a decorative paper shopping bag. He walked over to the coat and picked it up, placing it into the bag on top of a velvet dress he had just bought on Newbury St.
When Lev looked up, Anya was gone.

Lev and Anya’s last open mic

Lev did not see Anya for nearly a week after watching her toss the mink coat to the ground.
When he arrived, at the Rogue Sin at 8, Anya wasn’t there. He sat at the bar and ordered a beer for himself and a gin and tonic for Anya.
The bartender with dark eyes made a joke about the mink coat Lev was carrying. Lev laughed with him.
Then he waited.
By ten o’clock, he was three beers deep and staring at the coat on his lap as if it had answers.
At ten-seventeen, Anya walked into Rogue Sin. She was drunk, but functional, running on the courage that liquor unlocks. She knew Lev would be here. She knew Lev would be waiting for her.
Anya did not expect him to be holding the mink coat. A fire burned in here then. She wished it would spread to the world around her, leaving nothing but ash.
Lev was caught off guard when Anya steadily strode up to him, locking his eyes with her stare. She stopped two inches from his face, their eyes never breaking contact.
Anya laid her left hand on the mink coat Lev held on his lap. Her fingers glided across the fur until they met Lev’s. She put her hand in his and with every bit of strength she had left she whispered a question to Lev.
“May I kiss you?” she asked. “Just this once?”
Her eyes pleaded with Lev, but already knew the answer they would get.
“no,” he whispered. He dropped his chin to his chest. “no,” he repeated.
“It would make me happy,” Anya said quietly to her reflection as she stared at the mirror behind Lev’s drooping head. The character she saw in the mirror suddenly revolted her. Before Lev said another word, her expression turned to a scowl. Anya slapped him hard across the face, leaving his nose bloody.
Lev was dumbfounded and sat stupid and silent.
“Leave,” Anya said loud enough to turn a few heads in Rogue Sin. She snatched the mink coat from his lap and clutched it to her breast like a baby. “Leave,” she repeated
Lev did.

Rogue Sin

Your eyes, your eyes were demons
Brandishing the knife to slice apart my being
My mind, my mind was reeling
Charmed by the steady hand and blade proceeding.

Your eyes, your eyes were demons
Brandishing the knife to slice apart my being
My mind, my mind was reeling
My mind, my mind could not take it

Your eyes, your eyes were demons
Brandishing the knife to slice apart my being
My mind, my mind could not take it
My mind, my mind could not take it

My mind, my mind could not take it
My mind, my mind could not take it.

Anya’s Death

It was two-eleven in the morning when Anya left Rogue Sin. She paid her tab in cash. Then accidentally knocked a half drunk gin and tonic off the bar onto the floor. She apologized to the bartender and bent down to pick up the pieces, but he shooed her away with his dark eyes. He reached for a broom and didn’t notice Anya sneaking her right hand into the mink coat pocket. She smiled to herself, then to the bartender, and said “Goodbye.”
The night was cold, but it was January and certain things can be expected. Anya wore the mink coat like a queen, her gift from Gwen. She rustled her shoulders, slightly disturbed by how well it fit.
A knife-like gust of cold wind cut down the street, but Anya did not so much as shudder at the chill. Her lips curled into a smile she hadn’t smiled in a while and Anya twirled once on the street. She giggled at a thought that danced into her mind. A simple melody accompanied the thought and Anya found herself whistling as she walked down the City’s sleeping streets.
She made only one stop on the way home to drop off a note at a closed door. Then ran away before it could be opened.
By the time she reached the front door of her brownstone, she was no longer whistling. The soft notes of the melody replaced with small tears and a trail of salt dripping down her cheek. The smile gone, Anya reached her right hand into the mink’s right pocket.
If anyone was watching, they would have seen the soft gleam of streetlight on a broken piece of glass as Anya pulled a jagged shard from her pocket. She had taken it from Rogue Sin. The glint disappeared as the front door shut behind her.
If anyone was listening, and no one was, they would have heard the muted bleating of Anya’s sobs, quietly whimpering through the hard wood of her closed, front door. Then silence.


It was a handwritten note, although “note” is misleading. It was a torn up napkin with an address and “stop me” scrawled upon it. Lev held it in his hand as he stood on the front stoop of a brownstone building of the same address. He was angry for having taken so long to get here. Lev had no idea how old the note even was.
He had been woken by a knock at his door hours before, but no one had been there when he answered. He had gone back to bed. It was sometime later, unable to sleep, Lev checked the door again. It was then he noticed the “note” laying on the floor.
Lev nervously flickered between the front door of the brownstone and the note in his hand. He knew he was in the right place. A coughing fit overcame him as he stood in the January air in nothing but a sweater and a worn pair of jeans.
When the fit ended Lev carefully folded the two inch piece of paper in half, before placing it in his left pants pocket.
He rang the doorbell.
Lev waited.
He rang it again.
Nothing happened.

The Vigil

Lev stared,
nothing but a pair of eyes could appreciate the scene for in the moment of time it will take you to read this, the scene will be gone (dust and imagination) with nothing but sheets of white to fill in the blanks of pages and meaningless thoughts of ‘ I am scattered I am not whole I am without a sense of structure trapped in her bedroom with her lifeless body smiling defiantly at the ceiling wrapped in a bloody mink coat.’
Lev had trouble remembering anything past this point in the evening, but he did not believe he moved for a while.

To Gwen From Lev

I will wear my best vest
Sharp as a knife to impress
I will bite my tongue
Never to be the foolish one

But what came over me?
Why did I try to speak?

Oh Gwen, I do sincerely apologize
I never wanted you to cry.
Now, I’m the only one who’s on my side
But I only did what you knew I was going to do
I only did it cause you wanted me too.

Your gown the softest down
slipping through my fingers without a sound
Skin as pretty as porcelain
scattered across the velvet floor.

Oh what could have been?
If you had stayed silent.

Oh Gwen, I do sincerely apologize
I never wanted you to cry.
Now, I’m the only one who’s on my side
But I only did what you knew I was going to do
I only did it cause you wanted me too.

Is it so wrong?
Is it so wrong?
Is it so wrong?
Is it so wrong?

Gwen’s dress

She stood in front of a mirror regarding her reflection as innocent as a spring day in February. She wore a velvet dress, gaudy to say the least, but Lev was not a man with an eye for fashion. He bought it for her on a Tuesday, while walking down Newbury Street. It was over-priced, but the plum-colored fabric caught his eye from the sidewalk. This simple fact was enough to buy something so pretty for Gwen.
When he gave it to her on a Thursday, Gwen said, “thank you.”
She had meant it, she thought to herself the next Saturday, then turned her back to the mirror, and slid out of her regal gift. She placed it back in the box she had received it in and slid the box underneath her bed. She sat naked on the comforter and stared at the mirror in front of her.
Lev was not there.
He had left for Anya’s funeral hours ago. Gwen had begged him not too. He looked at her like a stranger, before softly explaining Anya’s history to Gwen. When he left it was with an awkward smile. The smile soured Gwen’s stomach.
She knew he’d be back after the service. He had promised he would. But for the first time, Gwen didn’t want him too. She didn’t want to see his smile anymore.
All it did was embarrass her and Gwen hated looking like an idiot.

The Lion and the Mouse

The lion was a noble beast
Proudly ruled over all
Took a stroll through his kingdom
As night began to fall.

Walked mountains, and valleys, and shadows
Just to end up at a tree.
Amongst its roots was a tiny fellow
And the Lion grew hungry.

But the Mouse was a scared soul.
Had too much to lose.
Thought of his children, his missus, and his life
And ran as fast as he could.

The Lion watched with a smile on his face
Pretended to let him get away
Just to pounce within an inch of his prey
Blocking all chance of escape.

But the Mouse was a shrewd soul
Took appraisal of his situation
Cleared his throat before he spoke
Perhaps we can have a conversation.

The Lion laughed and said, you truly are a fool
See I am going to eat you.
There ain’t nothing in this world you can do
To change that situation.

But the Mouse was a spirited soul
Threw his fists in the air.
He trembled with fury, fire, and fear
Said, “Come on Lion, if you dare.”
and the Lion did dare.


The Lion won with blood on his tongue
And a tiny rib in the throat.
Shook his mane in frustration
As he began to choke.

In Conclusion

As stated in the beginning, it would have been best if the four never met. But meet they did, all three, and you, the pair of eyes, watching.
For would it truly have existed if you weren’t there to see it?
And now that it is done, does it even matter that you did?
or will it just
and go away

Adam Sherman -electric guitar, 12 string guitar, backing vocals, percussion, noise, and spoken word
Erik Spooner – noise guitar, glockenspiel, backing vocals, percussion, melodica and spoken word
Jenée Morgan Force – violin, percussion, spoken word, and mouse impersonator
James Force – lead vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards, banjo, harmonica, glockenspiel, percussion, noise, spoken word

—music written, performed, recorded, and engineered by James Force, Erik Spooner, and Adam Sherman —mixed by James Force —mastered by Chuck Pukmel —art developed and brought to life by Adam Sherman, James Force, and Erik Spooner —-short stories and lyrics by James Force — reinterpreted from characters created by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Copyright 2014


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