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Blue Country #5
It's like that song by that guy.
There is a bottle of whiskey, unopened, on the coffee table. Theres three lines of coke, one of them being sucked up by this insanely good looking 15 year old with a blue mini skirt. A boy, sitting on this thirty-year-old man’s lap over by the television, is spaced out on something that the Black guy with the Afro brought to the party. I was surprised to see that he was here, and that he brought the other guy with him too, but I didn’t say anything and in fact haven’t talked to either of them at all. They keep showing a picture of Joey Moore smoking a cigarette to the half drunken freshman kids playing cards, or the completely drunk juniors sitting around just chatting near the stairs.
“We need to find this guy.” They say. “It’s incredibly important that we make contact.”
Does anyone here know who he is or possibly where he might be staying?” They keep asking everyone over and over again, and everyone keeps saying no, that they don’t know who the kid in the picture is even though more than half the people here know exactly who Joe is, and exactly where he lives. It’s weird that they don’t ask me, because even though I saw their gun holsters before in a parking lot or something a few days ago, I might have told them what they wanted to know, for no real reason.
The black man who really is the biggest man I’ve ever seen in my life is taking a break, sitting with a group of kids that are smoking pot, smoking a cigarette himself, and wiping the sweat from his face with a black silk handkerchief.
“Man.” He’s saying. “Man oh man oh man.” He keeps saying it under his breath lazily blowing smoke rings, not noticing the awed looks of the kids sitting with him.
“Where the fuck is this kid?” The white guy asks, taking a seat near them.
“It’s not fair you know?” The black guy is asking this blue haired kid, after grabbing the joint from him and taking a long heavy toke. “We worked really hard on that shit.” He says, the last part sounding strained.
“Yeah…” The white guy says, smiling lazily staring into space.
“So what the fuck is this shit anyway?” The black guy asks a stoned looking girl. “What the fuck are you all celebrating?”
The girl looks at him, grimacing, eyes slanting away from him. “Um…like celebrating what?” She says.
“All this coke and rum and shit.” He says, looking at her like she’s stupid, talking as if she were a child. “You all just decide to fucking do this shit for no reason?” He asks.
“Like…umm…” She’s saying looking confused, hazy and unsure. “I think…Lindy didn’t your dad die or something?” She asks, yelling at a girl across the room who’s talking to one of the half drunken freshman.
“Yeah,” She says, looking mildly annoyed. “Like last year.”
“Oh.” The black guy says, taking another hit from the joint that just came back around to him.
“Like…how are you holding up?” The girl asks Lindy.
“Last year Brenda, it was last year.” Lindy yells. “I’m basically fine.”
“Yeah.” Brenda says, as if confirming something she already knew. “Is your dad okay though?”
Lindy, not paying attention shouts back. “Yeah, I guess.”
“Yeah so like, Lindy’s dad died.” Brenda says turning back towards the black guy.
“Yeah, I heard.” The black guy says, studying Joe’s picture.
“So like…you know we’re just here to support her.”
“She said she was fine…” The blue haired kid says under his breath.
“So, like what do you guys do anyway?” Brenda asks the white guy.
The white guy looks over at the black guy, who shrugs.
“We make the universe fit in your fucking head kid.” The white guy says, rubbing his graying mustache.
The black guy laughs and nods. “That’s…man that’s a fucking interesting way of putting it.” He says.
Brenda nods smiling, “So what are you guys like…teachers?”
“My dad’s a teacher…” The blue haired kid says, and this gorgeous girl sitting next to him rolls her eyes and says “Jesus, shut up Kelsey.”
“Yeah sure.” The white guy answers.
“See this shit right here?” The black guy says, holding a vial of something up to Brenda’s face. “This is what we do.”
All Brenda says is oh.
“Here.” The white guy is saying, taking the vial and unscrewing the top. “Put some of this on your tongue.” He tips the vial over and this flaky, peanut brittle like stuff rolls out onto his palm and he gives it to Brenda, who takes it with her right hand and puts it under her tongue immediately.
Ten minutes later, Brenda is standing up, naked, saying, “wow, oh wow.” To herself. “I can’t find my ass.” She says, calmly. “I…guess I don’t need it.” She just starts smiling and flops down on this nerdy looking kid with a cut off wrestling shirt’s lap, kissing his neck and moaning. “Oh man…wow,” She says, her eyes deep and cloudy looking.
I head over to where Lindy is standing, alone now having abandoned the freshman.
“So how did your dad die?” I ask and she looks over my shoulder, blank, cool.
“Plane crash.” She says.
“Are you sad about it?” I ask.
“What?” She says.
“You’re dad,” I say. “Does it still… make you sad?”
She looks at me the hint of a smile on her lips. “No.” She says.
I look at her, trying to give off a vibe of deepness and…sympathy.
“I think it does.” I say.
“Maybe.” She sighs. “I don’t know. Maybe it does.”
“When?” I ask.
“What?” she says again.
“When does it make you sad?” I repeat.
“I dunno.” She says quietly. “I guess…when people talk about it.” She struggles to finish.
“Oh,” I say. I look at her, staring straight into her big green eyes. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s ok…”She says, noticeably gentler. “He was…he probably got stoned on the plane. He probably took like a million Xanax.” She says, going on as if in a trance. “He probably didn’t even feel it.”
“Yeah.” I say.
Later, she’s *Edited for Content* my **** and I’m looking down at her, silently thinking that it was funny that somebody being killed in a plane crash, directly caused me to have my *********deep in this ***** mouth right now. “Don’t stop.” I say. “Keep going.”
(Had to be done)
The last four days have been undeniably difficult for me, I’ve been sleeping in rapid shifts, waking up with the covers twisted around my ankles like vines and my throat feels tight, I can’t breathe normally for hours at a time and my mind is disorganized, flashing to moments from years in the past like a spring-loaded slide projector. Everyone I see is more interchangeable than they’ve ever been, I’m losing track of who says what, selectively hearing something hours after it’s been said like it’s been hanging in the air, floating in front of me waiting for a voice box to possess.
My cell phone rings, the display says “Hannah Tepes” my ring tone is “White Lines” some eighties song about cocaine, and I answer, “Hello Hannah.” In almost a whisper unable to direct my own words, they slide out slowly and rusty.
She wants to talk, just talk. “I have something important that I need to say.”
… I could probably make it to her house in an hour, and with the coke I have, probably distract her from wanting to go anywhere else, to an all night diner or to get cigarettes or anything. The promise of a place to go, besides my own house at this hour excites me, fills me with a sense of promise and for a moment the tension in my back goes away and I take 4 Xanax from an orange pill bottle and swallow them without anything to wash them down, and even though the TV is flashing pictures of a masked man in a Members Only jacket gutting a dog with a ski pole, I’m not distracted by the studio audiences laughter or drawn in by the late night programming, my mind solely on relocating my body away from this house.
“…not that theres anything… wrong with an open ended… promise, I just want to know what you think…”
“I don’t…” I say, “I think…my mothers going blind.” I choke out, possibly one-upping her, possibly going completely off the conversational rail.
“What? Joe, is something… wrong with your mother?”
“There’s… nothing you can…do… but your concern is… sweet. I think she’ll be happier without the complications… of seeing things?”
Theres a sound like she’s sniffing wildly and I wonder if she’s even paying attention to me.
“I’m coming over.” And I hang up quickly.
…the road is charging at me, the yellow lines sprawling forward endlessly, keeping pace with me no matter how fast I go, 60, 70, 80. I see mailboxes pass me by with their flags at different angles, the lights of the houses making unknowable successive patterns, on, off, off, off, on, off, on, on. The radio is playing a commercial for a certain beach towel that can pick up short wave radio signals, and if you order now it will come with an adapter for harnessing the power of the sun to use as a bug zapper. I try to memorize the number but after five successive repetitions of it out loud I confuse the order and give up, opting to instead focus on the road and think of ways to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, lose weight (even though I don’t need to) cure cancer, cure AIDS, promote peace in the middle east, stop the abuses of power, collect all 150, write to Hormel and congratulate them on their delicious microwaveable bacon …
…I look up from the hole in my car that I’ve blasted with my laser vision and see that the road has begun to occupy the sky, the signs dripping with purple blood and covering the houses like syrup. A man with no mouth has drawn a huge smiley grin with a felt pen in the place where his chin and nose meet, and his eyes are the source of the purple blood spraying all over the landscape because he won’t stop spinning his head around like a top. I hear the Beginning of a techno remix of “The General” by Dispatch blaring from somewhere, and as I enter the glowing tunnel and everything begins to warp into sections of dark and light, I can feel my mind becoming more limber, everything’s so clear to me, I can finally see that nothing is as important as being close to the companies that manufacture excellent breakfast food and being grateful for the goods and services that are so readily available to me. I need to tell someone, thinking of who would appreciate the good news desperately weeping with the waves of light and gratitude for excellent breakfast. I’m sobbing and between the thick un-intelligible meaningless chokes and mewling, my voice thick with emotion, I’m saying, “It just tastes so good!” and “It’s just nice to be understood!”
I let the landscape warp into a street in a neighborhood near Hannah’s house and I park my car behind Hannah’s blue Sedan, tired from the Xanax, fingering the baggy in my coat pocket, wondering if Hannah’s parents are back from Costa Rica yet.
“It’s like I get it ya know.” This girl is saying to me, as I’m waiting in line at the ATM.
“It’s like, I understand it.” She’s saying. “I can just about make it out, but I can’t make it happen. Not really.”
I have no idea what she is talking about. I was just minding my own business at the cash machine and this platinum blonde girl with a green tee-shirt and cut off denim jeans, walked up to me and asked me in a very sober voice if I knew what god smelled like.
I said that I didn’t know, and she nodded and told me that she didn’t know either but that she thought about it sometimes.
“Sometimes I like wonder about the stars or whatever.” She says, looking up very calmly.
“Like, how many of them are there anyway?”
“I don’t know.” Is what I said. “I know it’s a lot.”
“It must be so many.” She added.
“Wow,” she says reverently.
“Hey.” She perks up after a minute. “You know Patrick Fakenamington? Your one of his friends.”
Well yeah I do know a “Patrick Fakenamington” but it’s just a name that Peter Rhodes uses when he’s trying to fuck slutty girls.
“Um, yeah.” I say. “I know him.”
“Man.” She says, excitedly. “That’s great, me and him and a few other people had the greatest time a few nights ago.”
“Oh right. Yeah,” I say smiling fakely. “Yeah, he told me.”
“Oh man,” She continues still smiling. “There were those two guys passing a picture of Joey Moore around. They had this incredible stuff…”
“Wow.” I say, lips pursed. “I wonder what they want, huh?”
“With Joe?” She asks rhetorically. “It’s probably pretty weird. Joe’s weird.”
“Yeah, he is.” I agree, and I actually do agree that theres something a little off about Joe Moore. I just don’t know what it is.
“Well, I don’t know.” She says going back on topic. “I ate this flakey stuff and…I’ve just felt really good since then you know?”
“What like pie?” I ask, innocently.
“No, nothing like pie. It’s something else. It’s new and improved. It’s like really amazing pie crust that makes you dance and sing like a saint.”
“Wow.” I say, impressed. She’s so sincere.
“So you had some really good pie.” I say, looking mock-amazed.
“I think maybe the pie has something to do with Joe.” She says, thoughtfully. “It’s just a feeling.”
“Gee.” I say. “You think?”
“I don’t know. Whatever.” She answers rolling her eyes, smiling openly. “Tell Patrick I had fun, you know? Like I didn’t even see him that night, but I really wanted to. Just tell him I said hi?”
“Yeah, no problem.”
“My name’s Brenda by the way.” She says laughing sticking out her hand for a shake, laughing again nervously pulling it away. Then she looks me in the eye and says, “Hey, have a really good day.”
I feel better for some reason.
It’s ringing and when she picks up I immediately recognize the voice of the girl from the party with the clean smelling dreadlocked hair, the hippy girl that kissed me in the corner of the crowded room after I saw her playing quarters. She says hello, and I say, “Hi, is this Amy?” and she says “Umm no.” and I clench my teeth and remember that her name wasn’t Amy; that I never got her name and I only put it down on my cell phone that way.
“Uh…” I’m not sure how to proceed exactly but the thought of her lying next to me in a sunny room naked maybe smiling and singing something softly in my ear is enticing to me and I push on, somewhat confused but determined to do… something.
“I think you have the wrong number.”
“Is this…” I say quickly, “Who is this?”
“Sorry, wrong number.” She says and hangs up.
Later, around three A.M, I get the idea to try and get her machine, hoping she’ll say her name on it, figuring she won’t answer the phone at this hour.
“Hi, this is Alison leave a message.”
Alison. Her name is Alison.
Jackson T. Jackson
My gun is directly in this fools mouth, theres blood running down the front of the barrel, staining the smooth metal handle.
“I’m sorry man.” I Say. “I have to kill you if you don’t tell me what I need to know. You gonna talk or am I gonna kill you?”
“Just kill him.” Jacob says. “Kill the fucker.”
“Oh but no Jacob see, I don’t want to kill him, Allright. I want him to talk. It’s just if he doesn’t talk I need to kill him.”
“Well I don’t hear him saying shit. So kill this son of a bitch. Blow his mother fucking brains out.”
“Waihe.” This guy says, the gun in his mouth garbling his words.
“I don’t want to wait, man. I need you tell me now.” I say, spit flying from my mouth to his face.
“Blow his FUCKING townie knee caps away.” Jacob yells, sitting back in the easy chair by the window, lighting a cigarette.
“Is that what needs to happen now, man? Do I need to blow your legs off? Will you tell me if I cripple you? Is that what it’s going to take today for me to be satisfied? I have needs mother fucker.” I pull the gun out of his mouth and stick it up against his bare kneecap.
“Wait, no. Jesus Christ I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you… what you want to know.”
I look him straight in the eye and I say in a loud deep voice, “Then start talking.”
I’ve for some reason agreed to go to dinner with Hannah and her parents; finding myself sitting at a table in Charmin’s, which is a nice restaurant, staring across at Mr. and Mrs. Tepes, who insist on me calling them Rob and Jen. Hannah’s dad works as a publisher or something, I’m not sure but I know from his house and the quality of his suits that he makes a lot of money. I’m sitting here defending, it feels like, my right to exist, my abilities as a man and so on, etc, etc, etc. I’m dressed nice wearing a tie and a white shirt and not my everyday Teva sandals, but instead some expensive leather shoes I bought at Red Wings a few years ago (for a wedding I think) and though I am full, I’m scarfing down my Veal chop so Rob doesn’t feel like his money’s being wasted.
The waiter comes over to our table to ask if everything is fine and for a moment I’m tempted to shout “No!” and spit my chop on his shoes, but I don’t for obvious reasons, instead I smile and nod and ask for another Sprite. My stomache is aching because of the amount of meat I’m cramming in, putting away so to speak, and I’m sweating profusely and grinding my teeth into an enamel sand, trying to breathe deeply and evenly but my windpipe feels like it’s been sealed shut with wax. I’m trying to think of a way to calm down, to relieve the tension, but every thing that’s supposed to help in this department does not help and I realize that there is simply no way. This feeling that I’m wrong in every way, that no matter how much I may want to be calm and cool headed, good under pressure, is moot. The sentiment of being an entertaining presence for these people is impossible, and that there is just no way out, no graceful way out, of any situation.
“This steak is delicious.” Jen says meekly. “Very tender.”
“It’s not steak, it’s …” Rob pauses. “Its… well it’s not steak.”
A pause in which Jen stops chewing and gives her husband a sideways glance, I think the hidden meaning being “hey fuck you too” before replying, “I… think it is.”
I’m almost enjoying the obvious distaste that these two people have for each other. I want to shout at her “that’s because you’re a fucking moron.” To take Rob’s side, for no reason other than that’s how the mood strikes me. I want to laugh at them both to spit in their faces, to rub their unhappiness, their complete bullshit right in their tight, surgical, expressionless faces, to chew up all their food and spit it up in a cascading ark like a fountain. Maybe get naked and run around.
There’s more light conversation, essentially civil, in which Rob ask Hannah what she wants for her birthday and for a second I panic thinking I’ve forgotten about it, that it was in July. I’m about to throw up until Hannah says, “It’s …only March dad.” And relief sweeps over me like an electric blanket from heaven.
“Yes… your point? Do you have a point here?” Rob asks.
“Yes. My point is that it’s March.”
“Your father and I are fully aware of what month it is. Do you have some other point? We know the month dear, we have a calendar.” Jen says, surprisingly coming to Rob’s aid.
I’m looking away from the scene here avoiding eye contact.
“My…birthday isn’t until July.” Hannah sighs.
“No reason not to get a head start.” Rob replies without missing a beat, refusing to be cornered, not willing to be made a fool in front of… planet earth.
“Just take me shopping. Take me somewhere nice.”
The waiter comes over and Rob orders another “Corona.”, Spacing out the syllables like a foreign word.
“What do you think Joe?” He says.
The question catches me off guard, I’d forgotten that I was party to this affair, I’m outside the circle of bitching, an observer, and the main problem being that my mind is essentially a slick surface. Nothing can stick, everything slides off onto the ground, and that I’m just not thinking about anything.
“I think… that we should have good jobs… at good wages.” I say.
“What are your politics?”
“…What…are yours?” I’m swallowing hard, trying not to crack against his cold vibes.
“I’m for the common man.” He says.
“I’m for… the common man.” I repeat, parroting it back to him mechanically, trying to make it my own.
He asks me if I vote, and though I’ve never even read a ballot let alone filled one out, I say that I do, that I’m very conscientious about it, how I never miss a opportunity to serve my country. I think about asking him if he knows where I could sign up for the young Republicans club, but I’m not sure if he even is a republican, so instead I ask if he knows of any good city ordinances.
“I…” He actually pauses looking confused and pained at my question that apparently doesn’t make sense, (I thought it might not) genuinely upset that his daughter had brought such a complete dufus to dine with them, and I smile inwardly at the thought that I’ve fucked her about a thousand times. I think about the coke I’ve actually snorted off her tits and I’m filled with a sense of general well being.
“I don’t know any off the top of my head…”
“You can’t…smoke in …hospitals.” Jen adds in.
“Wow mother…” Hannah says under her breath and I actually have to suppress a smile.
Later I’m standing outside Charmin’s with Hannah leaning against me in a sloppy kind of half hug, and she say’s “I’m sorry,” and I say that it’s all right. We don’t say anything for a minute but I’m acutely aware of her chin against my chest, of her being there. To me this is not a sweet quiet moment where we blend together, I am me and “we” are not “we”, and no matter how long we stand there I’ll never forget that she’s holding on to me, never fade into the moment, it’s just not a possibility.
I wonder if she loves me? If she does…I don’t feel any responsibility for it, I don’t love her back, not really, and even though the occasion has not presented itself yet, I do think that I could love somebody, it’s just not her; not tonight, not in ten years, not ever. While I can accept her affection and even to a degree simulate it back, while I can say the right things when I have to and I’m willing to walk next to her and lie beside her in a bed and share my time with her, I can’t appreciate any of it. I wonder if that’s enough. Sometimes I think its fine. I’m counting the seconds until we can go back to her house and drop acid in her room. Her parents take Ambien and wouldn’t wake up if you let a freshly castrated bull loose in their bedroom.
That would make a good movie. The Heavy Sleepers. With Michael Keaton and Bea Arthur.
“You know what I would really like to do?” Joe asks me, lying down in front of my legs, head resting on my lap.
“If I had a lot of money, I would hire a five star chef.”
“Yeah.” I answer, smiling, stroking his head, and running my fingers through his brown hair.
“I would tell him to cook me a meal that was fit for a king.” He continues. “Then I would have him come before me and serve it to me on a silver platter.”
He’s scratching his nose, scrunching it like a rabbit. He takes off his aviators and looks at me.
“Then. I would take a bite and chew for a minute. I’d time it. I wouldn’t show a speck of emotion the whole time, I would just swish it around in my mouth. When the minute was over, I would motion for my chef to come over to me, and I would spit the food out in his face.”
“Why?” I ask, not caring. “Why would you do this?”
“Then I would tell him that it was the finest meal I’d ever tasted. I’d order him to make me something else. I’d say, “I’m not paying you nearly enough for food this good.” I don’t know what I would…do after that.” He says.
“Why?” I ask again. “Why would you want to?”
A minute passes. A bird flies by the window; Joe shifts his head to my stomache.
“I just want to.” He answers finally. “It’s just something that I would like to do, I guess.”
I laugh. I hold him as tight as he’ll let me. “I guess that’s as good a reason as any.” I say.
“It’s the only reason.” He answers blankly. He fishes around in his pocket, pulls out a cigarette. “It’s all…that I know.”
I Love it. It’s tangy, refreshing… It’s easily the best color of the fruit juices, not orange as the title would imply, but a light, yellowish, creamy…beautiful.
I like to drink it with ice cubes in a small glass, the kind that’s wider than it is tall, almost a mug but not quite because of it’s translucence. It leaves a nice after taste that mixes well with other drinks, and the combination of orange juice and seltzer is perfect beyond description or reasonable belief. It’s almost the only thing I drink other than alcohol, and if I had to choose between the two I would pick orange juice in a heartbeat, in a fucking heartbeat.
I love it. I love it’s elegance, the casual dignity it exudes as it arcs from the Tropicana container down into the spherical top of glass, the way it shines even under fluorescent lights, I love how it’s a confident drink but not snobby or elitist, not urging you to take it to the edge or taste the difference, not espousing any attitude, or point of view. It merely is, it is the drink of the Zen state of mind.
I respect orange juice. As much as you drink it, it doesn’t dull its taste to the palate, it keeps on working, never stops refreshing. It doesn’t hide its origins; cover up what it is with a formula or a secret ingredient. Orange juice is a child of nature; it is of the tree.
However it is not a juice to be trifled with.
I fear orange juice.
If used properly and in conjunction with the correct orifice it will make your wildest beverage dreams come true, but if used incorrectly, if you try to play orange juice for a fool or simply forget it’s holiness it will get in your eye. It will get in your eye and burn you with its acid, and it will hurt.
Orange juice proves it over and over again, not with blind taste tests, but with tastiness, refreshing properties, and aesthetic beauty, that it deserves it’s place as king of the fruit juices, unchallenged and benevolent.
I see the Big Black Guy. He’s dragging something heavy in a bag, but I’m so stoned that I lose interest quickly. My car smells sweet, a mixture of strawberry air freshener and Headies.
I pull up to the Dunkin Donuts drive through. It’s 9 pm.
“Hi.” The speaker blares. The sound hurts my ears and I flinch.
“Hey.” I answer.
“What’s up?” The speaker blares again. I see the White Guy with the Mustache for a split second, sitting in a parked car. I look away and when I turn my head towards the car for a second time the windows are up and their tinted.
“I’ll have…” I start. I’m a little confused.
“Yeah?” The speaker blares.
“Umm…I’ll just have a medium coffee.”
“Pull up to the window.”
I drive around, glancing back at the yellow, parked VW. It’s engine roars to life and the car peels away, leaving big black skid marks in its aftermath.
I get to the window and a chubby kid with curly orange hair hands me my coffee, and wishes me a good night. “Whatever.” I answer, cigarette dangling from my lips, unlit.
Kelly Clarkson, or Pink, or Avril Lavigne plays over the radio, and I turn it up. I decide I don’t want the coffee, dump it out the window, keep driving. My phone rings and I recognize the number as being this girl I talked to last night at The Spring Jacket. I think she was Asian, but I was coked up and it’s hard to remember. I let it ring five times before I decide to answer it.
“Hello?” I say, uncertainly.
“Hey, Patrick what’s up?”
“Not much.” I answer, apathetically. “What are you doing?”
“Just some way out there, blow your mind fucking drugs man.” She says.
I’m surprised by the answer, having expected her to just say that she wasn’t doing anything either, but I still don’t care very much. I’m a little interested in the way out there blow your mind fucking drugs, so I don’t make an excuse or hang up.
“Wow.” I answer. “What are they?”
“I don’t even know man.” She says, spacing out. “I don’t even have a clue.”
She keeps talking, keeps calling me Patrick, asks me about some things I remember saying last night, some things I don’t remember. “The sun’s coming up soon.” She says, after ten seconds of silence.
“Not really.” I say. “Not for seven or eight hours.”
“Still.” She counters.
There’s another moment where neither of us say anything, and I can hear someone in the background, a boy, saying, “Whom are you talking to?” enunciating the word “Whom” with a pronounced H sound.
“Just still.” She says breaking the silence. “Still is all there is…I think.”
“Listen.” She says, her voice rising. “Do you want to like…meet us somewhere?”
“Us?” I ask, bored, checking my eyes out in the rear view mirror. They look red.
“Yeah, I’m hanging out with some other folks…kids from all around.”
“Yeah.” I say. “Yeah sure, where are you?”
“Weeeeendys.” She answers, giggling.
I drive to the Wendy’s on Reagan Street, and I see the Asian girl sitting on a red ford, between this girl with dread locks and a blond mini skirt-wearing chick. There’s a kid with a punk costume sitting cross-legged under them. I look at the girl with the mini skirt, and theirs something about her eyes that looks different from the other two girls, a vindictive, aloof quality that I can’t quite figure out. She looks familiar.
“Do I know you?” I ask her after three cigarettes and a conversation about where the best place to eat chili is. “I think we must have met before.”
“No man.” The Asian girl says. “Lisa’s on TV.”
“Oh.” I say, still not sure who Lisa actually is.
“Yeah, she’s on the Larry Wilson show.”
I turn back to Lisa, smiling and ask, “Well, what are you doing out here?”
“Partying dude.” She says, smiling this thin-lipped soulless smile that creeps me the fuck out.
The punk kid takes a long drag off his cigarette and meekly spits on the ground. “Where did that Jackson guy go?” He asks quietly.
“I dunno, man.” The Asian girl answers, beaming down at him kindly. “Him and Jacob both said they had things they had to do.”
“Well, they’re like forty years old anyway.” The mini skirt girl says to nobody.
The girl with the dreadlocks, who hasn’t said anything yet, gets off the car and goes to sit next to the punk. “Hey, Ali.” He says. She smiles and says something under her breath that I can’t understand but she looks markedly untroubled, humming Uptown Races or something, quietly.
I hear the first gunshot, and then the second and there he is again, this gigantic black man with a hardcore Afro jumping from the roof of the Wendy’s, chasing this scummy looking guy with an apron and he’s shouting “Hey fuck you man.” at the top of his lungs, inching closer and closer to taking the scummy guy down. Nobody moves, or seems to be troubled by this in any way.
The black guy catches up with the scummy fucker; pistol-whips him in the back of the head, knocking him down. He takes his other gun out of its holster hidden beneath his suit jacket and pushes it against the guy’s foot, pulling the trigger, blood erupting out in a controlled splash.
“I don’t even know what the fuck you want dude.” The guy’s saying, but he sounds thick and drugged, delirious from the blow to his head. “Oh my god.” He’s saying, seeing his own blood in a pool seeping out of his shoe.
“You know what? I don’t even give a fuck.” The black guy says, and he hits the guy with the bridge of his hand, striking him in the throat. “I really don’t give a fuck at all right now.”
He’s choking, staggering and trying to get up off the ground, but the black guy just keeps pushing him down, shooting him again this time in the shoulder and another blood splash erupts getting on the black guys coat. “God Damnit.” He says, looking at the mess. The yellow VW I saw earlier roars up next to them and the White Guy with the Mustache gets out quickly carrying a spool of wire. They tie him up and shove the scummy guy in the trunk, holding him down as he tries to kick and squirm away.
The Asian girl picks this as a good time to pipe up yelling, “Hi Jackson.” And the black guy turns around, surprised. He looks angry but when he see’s who it is he smiles, looking a little embarrassed and waves back. “Hey, Ashley how you doin?” He asks, grinning in a friendly manner.
“Pretty good.” She says, shifting her weight from foot to foot bashfully. “What are you guys doing?”
“Well…” Jackson says, looking back at the guy with the mustache, who leans his head out the window and says, “Man, what are you doing?”
“It’s Ashley, man.” Jackson replies.
“Hi Jacob.” Ashley calls out, waving.
“Oh hey Ashley.” Jacob says, smiling sweetly. “Sorry kiddo but we have to go.”
Jackson gets into the car and they speed away, running a red light.
The punk kid is telling a joke to a sleepy looking Ali, something about Jews in the desert, and she smiles lighting another cigarette.
“You know them?” I ask Ashley.
“They have some really crazy crust, dude.” She answers smiling happily, leaning into me.
“God, I think they like broke that guy’s windpipe.” Lisa says, annoyed.
“Probably.” Ashley answers, swooning. “I’d totally be worried if I were him.”
“Yeah,” I say, already thinking about what I’m supposed to do tomorrow: nothing.
Lisa’s phone starts playing a song I don’t recognize and she answers it, nodding during the entire conversation never saying a word, until she finally sighs and hangs up.
It’s glorious in its depravity. The words come to my mind immediately as I walk into Jill’s living room and see the sprawl of ashtrays, orange pill bottles, and baggies. The couch is a yellow-patched rag, a scar of threads interwoven and tattered, barely keeping the insides from falling out on to the floor which would be unremarkable, in fact the whole state of the room would be unremarkable, except that from the outside this house looks like the summer house of a steel baron. Large white pillars, two golden wolf statues framing the end of the path up to the door, one of many such residences in what is easily the nicest neighborhood in the county. The walls are rimmed with nicotine, the line easily visible going round like in an old bathtub, the photographs on the walls uneven in their frames and yellowing from age and smoke, and I wonder where Jill’s parents are, but I realize that… this is the pool house, and I guess… they don’t come out here.
Jill is sitting on the couch next to Bob, who is apparently taking a nap with one glassy red eye open, Indian style. The TV is on to the Jerry Springer show, the topic: I’m Going to Fuck Yo’ Mama Whether You Like It Or Not…Dad. She turns her head as I enter the room and glances at me sideways.
“Hey Joe.” She says in a pretty cheerful voice. I don’t think she means it but I appreciate the effort.
“Hey Jill. What’s up?”
As she turn back towards the screen she says to me, “I’m…good. I feel good.” And then adding, “I’ve been keeping busy…school.”
I almost say “But you don’t go to school.” But instead just nod like I know what she means, like I understand.
“…Bob’s been…showing me a few of his stories.” She says for some reason, probably just to fill the air.
I try to smile, but I’m sure it comes off about as genuine as it is, not very, and I ask if Bob’s stories are any good.
“No…they suck.” She says softly, not looking at anything, not me, not the ground just staring into thin air. “Bob…is into heroin now.” She says.
I’m not surprised really.
“Wow…heavy. That’s pretty…wild.” I say. “He… should stop, I think. I think he should stop.”
She looks at him, turning away from the thin air, just staring over him not smiling, not looking sad, but looking just so bored with it. “I don’t think he wants to …stop.”
“Yeah. I guess it’s pretty addicting.” I say.
“He can’t seem to get enough of it.”
…so the cigarette lights itself with Jill’s fingers channeling the will to smoke through the Bic into the end of the Marlboro Light, and she inhales simultaneously, then blows out through her mouth before inhaling again and blowing it out her nose, a perfect execution of the French Inhale…
“Maybe he should get a hobby.”
“Heroin is his hobby.”
“Maybe he should get a new hobby.”
“…I think he likes building models. I know he used to sniff a lot of airplane glue... but I think he got it from model kits.”
“Well, that’s a start.”
She points over to the table where there’s a tightly rolled dime bag and a ziplock of white powder, which is what I came for. I hand her the 150 dollars. I don’t want to leave, for some reason I want to stay here, but the feeling passes and a sense of relief is what I feel when I’m in my car and driving back home.
It’s really dark for a long time, and then I see Jilly looking down at me, frowning, mouthing something but I can’t hear her over the water rushing through my brain and then it’s dark again until I open my eyes and It’s Jill again asking me if I care at all.
“About what?” I ask her.
I sit and think, trying to call up something that I can say to her, come up with nothing. “What is there to care about?” I ask.
“I don’t know.” She answers, sighing. “Your life? Your health?”
“Do you really think…” I start to say… Purple flowers growing outside, then it’s dark again for a long time.
Then the world is shaking and the lights hit my eyes and Jilly is asking me if I care about my health or my life, and I wince from the brightness, “Do you really think any of that matters?” I ask.
She doesn’t say anything, just sighs, “Me?” She asks.
“What… about you?”
“Do I matter? Do you care about me?” She asks, whispering.
I think of a time when I was younger and the playground woman yelled at me for cutting in line. I remember being told that I wasn’t allowed to tell the first graders that I was planning to blow up their houses. I remember getting my first shot, screaming and being afraid and then secretly liking it when the needle plunged into my arm.
“I don’t think so.” I answer and night falls in a rapid crescendo.
I’m dreaming and in the dream it’s the girl I loved when I was in the fourth grade and she’s smiling, waiting for me outside my bedroom window. “Hi.” She says, and she’s so beautiful standing there in her Jeans with the magic marker writing in them and my eyes are wet and my throat feels like it’s going to sink into the earth. The sun stays lit while we talk and talk and talk for hours.
She tells me that she loves me, and I ask her where she went and she doesn’t answer she just smiles and starts to run away, laughing and calling for me to follow her but my lungs aren’t strong enough and my legs get so tired and I fall down after the first hill wheezing, green stains on my pants, thinking that she’s gone. When I see her walking back towards me, smiling patiently her eyes filled with delirious joy, I’m content. But she fades away and the world starts to shake again and there’s Jilly asking if I want to go with her to the Mall and my eyes feel like their on fire and I feel a sob forming, but I just shake my head no and watch her as she shakes her ass back and forth while she walks out the door.
I close my eyes and try to find the one thing I think I might be able to care about, but it’s gone over a hill two million miles away. I can still make out the writing on her jeans.
…just look down at my shirt and I feel her legs rap around mine. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve even talked to each other, so this was a surprise. On my shirt is a picture of Che Guevara and some slogan, some Spanish slogan splashed underneath him. She lifts my chin up tries to look into my eyes. Tries. I wouldn’t call these eyes so much as blanks. Her face is as blank as mine and she kisses me with something behind it. I’m talking about emotion I guess. Passion or anger, probably I dunno.
I wonder how she feels about this. This purely physical act, aren’t girls supposed to not be down with this type of thing? Why does the willingness turn me off, to this?… I barely know this girl. I mean I know her in the repressed Victorian definition, but Her last name escapes me. Her first name bores me. SHE bores me. I bore me, and I probably bore her. What are we even doing here?
And my car is really not made for this. Correction: I have a lot of shit in my car so its uncomfortable to be doing this here. Feeling the prick of a chopstick from an old fried rice container kills any romance that might emerge. I won’t (and I hate to overuse the word but…) bore you with the details.
I guess were done here. Ummm… Get out of the car I guess? No, no… Just you. Peace honey.
Lights come and go through the window. Fluttering into my eyes pissing me off, making it harder than it already is to see the road. Probably should have worn my glasses, damn rain. I think about crashing this goddamn car. It would mean nothing right? In a hundred years who would care? The only thing that stops me is I might not die. And the hassle would be just a little too much.
I’m just going to drive until I run out of gas, then I’ll run on fumes, then I will push this car as far away as I can possibly get. I will push this car into a desert and I will fling myself at a cactus hopefully puncturing my vital organs and I will lie there and laugh while the buzzards peck at my lips. When I meet the devil I’ll just keep laughing, “do your worst Pacino!”
That… that’s a little depressing and really more work than just crashing the car.
I wish I could freeze myself until the time of the robots and self-aware computers, then I’d wake up and we’d all chill and nobody would ever ask me anything. I’d be dumber than dumb to them, not even worth holding in contempt. I think we would enjoy each other.
But First I’m going to crash this car. Will they find me? Yep. Will I make it out alive? I still don’t know. Am I a psychotic with no business behind a steering wheel? Depends on your point of view. I’ve never killed anyone, certainly not myself. Never even an animal, Except this one bird… Why am I so tired? Maybe I’ll just sleep for now.
Woops. Fell asleep at the…
…because I’ve never done this much ecstasy before and I cant make out what this girl is saying to me, her screeching voice making a z shaped dent in my soul, the scratch, scratch noise that her eye lashes make as they bat against each other, her scent: whiskey and Chanel no.5. “Don’t you think so?” She asks and I don’t answer because I’m completely uninformed. The door opens and closes and five guys in bikini style leopard print Speedos come trouncing in, flexing their muscles and calling each other faggots and telling jokes with punch lines like “Because all the niggers were already gone” and the girls are sitting around me, some of them topless all of them drinking whiskey and smoking cigarettes. “You shouldn’t smoke.” The girl with the scratching lashes says to one of them and she gets told to go fuck herself, and she scowls looking pretty appalled.
“Woah.” Is what the kid who told me his name was Scott told me and he has a stud through his nose, and he keeps asking me if I want to see his truck, persisting even though I keep shaking my head no, and never even look at him. I can hear In The Club blasting over the speakers that somebody has brought outside, and I see the lights of the city, all those miles away, and the planes flying over are making me worry about a sonic boom.
“Woah.” He says. I can see his lizard eyes shaking back and forth trying to focus, sinking deeper and deeper into his sockets, the paranoia coming off him in vomit scented waves, making me feel like I’m going to throw up but it passes and somebody tells me that I look cold. A muscular arm offering me a jacket and draping it around my shoulders when I say that I’m not cold. Four police officers showing up and breaking heads open with their truncheons, grey colored brains erupting out of blue tinted skulls, falling into a bottle of Jack Daniels, that a boy with no right leg takes a sip of, gargling it and spitting it out onto the face of a girl from Australia who introduced herself to me earlier as Sheila, who screams and then starts howling with delight, licking the chunks of blood and tissue from her chin and lips, sticking her red, mucus covered hands down her pants and laying down rubbing furiously thumping her head along to the music. Somebody asks me for a cigarette and I have to admit that I don’t have one and they say “That’s cool.” And somebody gives me a hug, slipping a baggie of something flakey into my hand that I give away to somebody with a black tee shirt.
Somebody picks a penis fruit from the penis tree and offers me part of it, and I’m wishing that I hadn’t combined all those drugs, that I hadn’t drank so much, that I could just get a hold of my shadow for some support and make the world spin again. Hearing the squish as a bite of Penis fruit is spit onto the grass, someone saying “Woah, a little rotten I think,” and laughing, red juicy blood seeping through her teeth. A man I’ve seen before asking me about Joe, reeking of pot, offering me more of that flakey stuff.
“I don’t know. I’m saying to nobody I can’t stop narrating and even though I know that nobody is listening I think that we should all just get along and I just believe so much in so many things that it hurts to see everything get shit on so indifferently. I just want people to care and I know that nobody wants to listen to me and that I need to get back to the world and what’s going on and find a plot to latch onto, go somewhere with all of this, find some meaning to my life, but I can’t find the end, and I just don’t think I care about any of those things anymore. I just can’t will myself to feel anything anymore, and I can see it all shutting down from lack of attention and nourishment and lack of love going both ways, in and out, and I can see everyone I know or ever knew drifting away to their own islands and I just want to know what’s going on.”
“What?” Somebody says, leaning back offering me a joint.
To do list:
Buy new jeans. Old pairs have holes in the ass.
Stock up on Tropicana.
Break up with Hannah.
Goad Kevin into a fight with Asian gang. (Yakuza? Triad?)
Look for snakeskin wallet.
Set out trap for mouse in room.
Renew prescription for Xanax, ask Dr.Polcheck about possibly going back to Klonopin, or switching to Atvian.
Chili peppers concert with Marc, get Tickets.
Call Alison and make a date. Try and sleep with her on first or second date.
Return *Edited for content* to videostore.
Return ******* ***** Sluts 9 to videostore.
Return Anal ******** 15 to videostore.
Return The English Patient to the videostore.
*Authors note, this above sequence kind of loses impact with the censoring but hey what can you do? Rules is rules.*
Renew subscription to Vibe, GQ, Spin, RollingStone, and MAD.
Order Playgirl Magazine for Kevin.
Try new Chinese restaurant on Jeffrey Street.
Buy new ties.
Find new job.
Ask Hannah if she’ll do anal (?)
Talk to brothers about being less gay. (Gay meaning lame in this case.)
Work out more.
Read The Idiot by Dostoyevsky.
Get in touch with friends from Junior High.
Go to zoo more often.
Hide under Kevin’s bed; scare shit out of him.
Gasoline doesn’t freeze? See if this is true.
Bone up on Chinese history. (Ming dynasty)
Mail pornographic pictures to Laura Bush under different name.
Think of better Alias than John Everyman.
See if Fraggle Rock is out on DVD. (But don’t buy it.)
Rent Death Wish 3 to watch with Hannah.
Write threatening notes to whoever produces the Telletubbies.
Stop watching Telletubbies.
Write more lists.
Buy Orange Juice.
Write Script. Adaptation of Arthur the Aardvark with a nihilistic bent. Johnny Lee Miller in huge costume in Title role. Jessica Biel as DW.
Orange soda. Does it measure up? Look into it.
Write fan letter to Jeff Goldblum.
Buy bigger air horn.
Get a fancier haircut.
Microwave tin foil.
Smoke near gas station.