Blue Country 7
#5 and #6 had to be resubmitted, but they'll be back.
“So how are things?” My dad asks me through the phone.
“Things are pretty good.” I say. “Things are basically decent.”
“Anything interesting happen…any cool stuff?” He asks, then coughs clearing his throat.
“Nothing I can really think of.” I answer.
Kevin is drinking from the keg directly, parading around trying to impress some girl from a school I’ve never heard of, smiling between gulps and I’m thinking wow he used to be so nice. It’s summer and senior year is about to start, Hector and Joe and Peter and Jonnie and Sarah and Axel and Freddie and Gretchen and Tia, and Ashley and Ricky and Derek are all here. Gash and Mona and Lindy and Faith and Kelly and Keely and Mike and Tyler and Fortune and Boom are all here. Eddie and Fiona and Nadia, and Jesse and Jonah and Josiah and Lucas and Rob and Bob and Frodo are all here. Luke Vashon is playing naked tag, which is a game he made up, with Kate and Gretta. Everyone is here. Everyone I know is inside this little room.
Eddie says, “Let’s get some more beers,” and Bret and Tyler laugh and pass a bowl between them, blowing smoke over to Boom and Gash, who cough and wave it away. Kelly is coughing, taking a swig from her bottle of Gin, flirting with Joe and Peter is watching them looking mildly interested. Hector sneezes on Kevin who keeps drinking, spilling Heineken on the floor, frothy beer spilling out of the side of his mouth.
Joe is talking about something he’s been working on, something that he thinks will change the face of something or other, smiling and looking intuitive, handling the group of girls that surround him gracefully. “It’s not a big deal though.” He says, laughing, and Peter rolls his eyes, latching on to Tia and steering her towards the beer table.
“Are you like freebasing? Are you mental?” Bret is yelling over the music (System of a Down) to Kristin. “That would… never work.”
“Oh, I don’t know.” She answers coyly. “I think it might.”
The TV is on and it’s the president and he’s talking to a group of concerned citizens. “I dunno,” he’s saying, lighting a cigarette. “What do you guys want anyway? I mean…like just tell me what you want and I’ll…you know we’ll see what we can do.” Somebody’s booing, “turn that shit off,” The jeerer says. “Uggh…who the hell smokes Newports?”
“That guy really needs to see like…a personal groomer.” Lindy is saying, removing Tyler’s sunglasses.
“A personal groomer?” Tyler asks, stealing back his sunglasses.
“Ughh let it go Tyler. Spare me.” Lindy answers, rolling her eyes.
“Nobody is spared.” Conan is saying. “We will rape the woman and enslave the children. We will ride roughshod over your warriors and break the backs of your leaders, pillaging your towns and sacking your places of worship. We will dance on your shallow graves and sing songs of your weakness well into the night as we feast on the survivors bones and sip of your blood, telling tales of the everlasting glory of our mighty horde.”
“Whatever.” Lindy says. “Just like, somebody tell me that Cindy’s brother has a gram I can bump off of. Just somebody tell me that. Give me that one pleasure at least.”
“Um, I think Eric’s in… like Vancouver.” Tyler answers. “Or maybe Guam.”
“Christ.” Lindy says. “Stephanie said that he would be here.”
“Well why don’t you call him?” Tyler asks, breathing out sharply, a jet of smoke curling over his nostrils.
“You just said he was in Venezuela?” Stephanie answers, shrugging condescendingly.
“Maybe he’s back.” Tyler says, nodding once. “Maybe he hasn’t… left yet.”
“Hmmm.” Lindy sighs.
Kristin is dancing and Stephanie walks in through the slider with Luke Vashon following her, buttoning his pants up, laughing dumbly. Somebody says, “Earth shattering,” and I can hear a black dog barking somewhere.
“I really don’t care that much.” The president is saying, slipping on a pair of dark sunglasses. “Just like, lay out some choices or something, I’ll sign it.”
“Always hash.” Keely says, sloppily, falling all over herself drunk. “Hash everyday, smoke hash every friggin day.”
A Cottonmouth Kings CD comes on; people mill about someone says, “Hey, Kevin has Kajagoogoo. Kevin why do you have a Kajagoogoo CD?”
“I dunno.” Kevin answers, smiling. He’s leaning against a wall, between two girls I don’t recognize. “It’s killer music.” He says which makes him burst into uncontrollable laughter, sliding down the wall, convulsing. He turns to one of the girls, and stops laughing for a moment, “I could show you sometime.” And she smiles, unsure, which makes Kevin laugh even harder.
“Please…”someone is saying, but I don’t know who it is and I don’t see anyone that looks like they need my help here so I just lean back and drink, drink, drink.
Sean and Dirk McDunna are sitting at my table in The Brass Monkey, both looking vacant eyed and bloodthirsty. A drink, half finished rests between Sean’s fingers, the liquid inside swishing this way and that, back and forth. Dirk lights cigarette after cigarette, putting them out faster than he can smoke them, and neither of them says a word. It’s the first thing that strikes you about them; they’re just so hostile. Hostile to people, places, things, anything. A girl asks Dirk what his name is and he watches her through these really speculative, uncaring eyes that make him look like he’d just as soon fit you with a Glasgow smile as say hello. Sean stands there, and this is a different kind of Hostility, more openly hating then cruelly observant like his younger brother. With Sean you think that he might tear you apart just for talking to him, but Dirk, the way he sits there, looking at people so indifferently, he seems like he might talk to you all night, share jokes with you, hang out at your house, and then just one day throw you off a bridge.
“You wanna leave?” Dirk asks his brother, sipping absentmindedly from a bottle of gin that he snuck in.
“I’ll tell you when it’s time to leave, Dirk.” Sean answers in a monotone.
“Whatever.” Dirk says. “I’m leaving.”
Sean stands up violently, knocking his chair back. “Sit down.” He says, but Dirk just keeps walking, looking very slightly annoyed, pushing dancers aside casually.
“Dirk get back here.” Sean says, slowly evenly and tonelessly. “It isn’t time to leave yet.”
Dirk turns around for a second scowling at Sean, raising one bushy eyebrow, “Are you out of your mind Sean? Fuck off.”
“Shut up bitch.” Sean responds, angrily but still even and flat. “I said, I’ll tell you when it’s time to leave.”
“Whatever.” Dirk says, still standing in the same spot, which happens to be between a gay couple. He’s holding them apart from eachother one in each hand and their asking him what his problem is but he ignores them completely.
“Sit down, Dirk.”
“I’m leaving Sean.”
“It isn’t time to leave yet.”
“We aren’t… waiting for anything.” And after saying that Dirk heads straight for the exit, letting go of the gay couple, who keep asking what his deal is. Dirk gives them the finger, the first time he acknowledges them that night, but still he never looks at either of them.
Sean glares at the door, with this cold anger that comes off of him in waves. He blinks twice, and turns towards me saying flatly, “Eric Allen owes us thirty thousand dollars.”
I nod, unsure of what to say, but not wanting to make an issue of this problem that has nothing to do with me.
“Do you know where he is? Where he lives?” He asks. His brown eyes are intense. He’s so cold that it’s almost impossible to believe this is really happening.
“We’re going to kill him.” He says. “And if you know something and you don’t tell me, we’ll come back and kill you too.”
I nod again, perhaps too quickly. “I don’t know where he lives.” I lie. “I think…maybe he’s out of town again.”
“Mmm hmm.” He says, still staring at me, not showing any emotion except contempt. “You’re mother’s a whore. I have stories.”
“O…k.” I say, unable to look him in the eye any longer.
“My brother, he knows where people live. He knows a lot of people.” Sean turns his head downwards trying to catch my eye. “But he doesn’t know where Eric Allen lives. Why do you think he doesn’t know that?”
“I… don’t know.”
Sean looks at me, keeps looking, stares and glares and stoned faced, thinking I’m a liar. Whether I was telling the truth or not he would think that I was a liar, I know it.
“I’ll see you later man.” He says, finally. “Don’t tell any cops or anything. If you tell a cop, we’ll just kill the cop too. Ok? We’ll kill them.”
I nod ok and when he’s finally through the doors and gone, probably chasing down his brother for a fight, only then can I exhale.
I’m waiting for Alison outside Cinemania. This morning was admittedly difficult. I had to take three Xanax before my hands stopped shaking enough to brush my teeth, and my eyes are fogged crystal, my movements slow; but I’m calm and tranquilized. Actually I’m high as fuck from the joint I smoked on the way over here too, and combined with the coke in my glove box and the acid tabs in my wallet, I’m a walking party.
I see her getting out of a car, a dull red ford something or other, and I’m struck by how light she seems, how unconcerned, the way she moves like she could take flight at a moments notice. She spots me and breaks into a big smile, and I grin back at her with every shit eating happy sentiment I can muster from my black heart, except maybe that last part was a joke.
“Hey, what’s up?” she says looking at me with eyes between the hair hanging over her tan face.
“I’m… just happy to see you.” I say. My smile from the initial sight of her has yet to fade, and I’m pretty obviously high.
She playfully narrows her eyes at me, affectionate. “Are… you ok?”
“I’m fantastic.” I say, “I’m world class.”
She licks her lips a little, wetting her lip-gloss, her eyes closed slightly affected by the glare of the sun.
“I said I’m world fucking class, babe.” I say, laughing stupidly.
“You seem a little inebriated.”
“Que sera, sera…”
“I don’t think that’s how that’s… used.” She says biting her lip to keep from laughing, loving me pretty obviously.
“I only …took two years of Italian.” I say, confused but relaxed.
“C’est lavie. I think your looking for C’est lavie.”
“Hey, bonjour monsieur. It’s cool, you’re happening, don’t worry about it.”
She shakes her head looking down at the ground, still smiling, and considerably taken in. I laugh again, and put my arm around her waist above the long skirt she’s wearing and I pull in close to her and I smell apple and strawberry.
“How long were you waiting?” She says, scrunching up her nose slightly at the stale smell of the fake butter they use on the popcorn as we enter the lobby of the theatre.
“Hey, it’s cool.” I say. “What’s time anyway?” I’m high enough that it sounds intellectual, that it in fact is intellectual.
“The abstract units we use to measure life with?” She says, talking some crazy female gibberish, causing me to look at her for a minute, confused but aroused by her bare shoulder brushing against my shirt. “You’re a funny girl.” I say.
I’d really rather skip the movie and make love to her on a white linen sheet on the edge of a wheat field while the suns still at it’s highest point, but we’ve already bought our tickets, so we go in and take some seats near the back.
The movie is about a boy who rides around on a bike passing love notes from resident to resident in a small town in Rhode Island, spreading joy and love, but inadvertently causing a misunderstanding between the leading woman played by Jenna Jameson and the man who admires her from afar played by Tom Hanks’s son, who is also a traffic policeman. It builds steadily to the climax about an hour and a half in, where Jenna Jameson tells the Hanks boy “you make me feel like a cactus.” And they fall into a deep embrace, kissing in the rain. I think I may have fallen asleep a few times but the fact that the two people got together, made love, whispered sweet promises to each other and that everybody died in the end, I know these things, so I think I pretty much get the movie, so when Alison asks me what I thought about it, I say, “Very modern. Cool… but not too cool.”
“It was pretty romantic…” She says, I wonder if she was asking me what I thought just so she could say those words and when she kisses me I wonder if I need to pick up condoms, not sure if I have any in the car.
“Baby, my place or yours?” I whisper in her ear.
“How about I see you tomorrow, Joe.”
“What?” I say. “Don’t leave me…hanging.”
Without even giving me time to say anything, to pull out the cocaine, or show her my arm muscles (totally ripped) she walks towards her car, and she just moves so sexy that I don’t even yell goodbye I just watch her and sigh while she drives away. I catch her smile, and I know that we will fuck eventually and thinking about just how good it’s going to be, I drive home singing along to “Me and Julio Down by the School Yard” by Paul Simon playing over the radio.
I get home and after I’ve done all the coke, I drop acid and lime colored roses spring up around my front yard, so I watch them until the sun goes down.
Kristin and Stephanie and me are sitting in Strohms German Deli. Stephanie is strung out, sipping a diet Snapple, leaning her face on her hand, with her legs slung up on the bench.
I’m watching the sun through the window, it’s purple haze suspended above the tree line looking like it’s going to burn the clouds and dry up the forest, red and yellow and orange, like a finger-painting.
“The McDunnas are, like, in town.” Stephanie says, her eyes suddenly brightening slightly.
“Oh fuck, really?” Kristin asks. “Jesus.”
“Dirk’s cute.” Stephanie says half-heartedly. “I kind of… like him.”
“Dirk’s nuts.” Kristin replies condescendingly. She’s biting her straw.
“Sean’s nuts.” Stephanie corrects. “Sean is totally high strung.”
“Sean is nuts,” Kristin concedes. “But like in some ways, Dirk is like way worse.”
“Um he’s always been chill. He’s funny.”
“Didn’t he like… put Bret Dearbon in the hospital?”
“Umm, I don’t think so. I think you must like…have him confused with someone else.”
I remember what Kristin is talking about, how last year Dirk and his brother crashed a party in Dreferville, and ended up breaking Bret’s arm, but the details are fuzzy. Sean and Dirk are these insane kids that sort of went to the same school as us or at least Sean showed up sometimes, Dirk not so much.
“No, that was Dirk and Sean.” I say. “Remember Dirk like stole Bret’s girlfriend’s pot?”
“Oh, yeah. Heather something.” Stephanie replies, looking interested.
“Yeah, and then Bret said something and Dirk ignored him, and Bret like wouldn’t let up.”
“Right, yeah.” Kristin says remembering too now, “And then Dirk started like smoking the pot right in front of him, and Bret tried to like rip the pipe away from him, and Dirk like… knee dropped him.”
“Yeah,” I say continuing. “And then Sean see’s what’s going on and starts waling on him too, and Dirk just like totally loses interest.”
“Holy shit yeah.” Stephanie says, wiping a dollop of dried blood from her nostril. “They fucked him up.”
“Anyway…so like they’re in town now?” Kristin asks, losing interest, scanning the back wall.
“Yeah.” Stephanie answers.
I’m watching TV and it’s a show about this bounty hunter who knows the secrets of life. He catches an upper crust white kid who skipped bail. “You know umm… life… is all about being accountable. This kid uhh had everything you could shoot at us, uh… lawyers, money. Doesn’t matter… we go in there and we, uh, uh we get in their. And you know…we whoop him. Who wins?”
They capture a magician who smokes crack all the time. Because he’s a pretty fair man the bounty hunter understands about how people have to smoke crack sometimes. “But you have to be accountable…you have to be accountable…for the choices that, uhh, well that you make. And just because you know that…he uh, that he’s a magician …that he can create magic…that doesn’t mean he can you know…Magic his way out? We’ll whoop his ass. Who wins?”
They capture a wife beater.” You know, I can understand how sometimes you get in fights maybe… or that you have… disagreements but you know… you can’t beat your wife. That’s just off limits…you cannot do it. Not in this country. We’ll whoop you so hard. Now you may have beaten up your wife but you know that’s all the enjoyment you could get out of this situation. I understand…you know… how it might be satisfying to beat your wife. But no, I’m sorry, you have to go down. As unfair as that maybe and probably is… still you know… the law for the moment says… you go to jail, and I’ll take you there. Who wins? You have to be accountable for what you do…you know in the United States constitution, you know on the document that our…uh that our, um you know…our country was founded on, it says you have to be accountable. Who wins?”
I get up and I attempt to apply his philosophy to my life as I live it. Later in the day my sister drops a glass on the floor and I try to share the wisdom of Chuckman: the bounty hunting sage with her: “You know Brenda you…uh…you have to be accountable. You dropped the glass…you know you broke it…you know, in this house… that means you pay for it. Uh…you know I may get shit for saying you know…what I think is true, but in the end Brenda, in the end who pays for it? You do. Who wins?”
She looks at me sideways for a second and then gets this whole mildly annoyed “What the fuck are you doing?” look on her face and walks away muttering about how I am such a douche bag.
The McDunna brothers. Of all the fucking people to walk in to a party; Sean and Dirk out of nowhere.
You can see Eric’s eyes pop out; it’s like a real thing. You can almost hear the whites expanding. Man, Sean and fucking Dirk McDunna. Now that sucks. I mean I don’t know what the deal here is exactly, but the arrival of people like that plus the visceral reaction that Eric has at their appearance means something. Dirk smiles when I first spot him, inhales the smoke wafting through the air and turns to his brother, who just stares at him angrily, and laughs. It’s a vague laugh, not really at anything just laughing because something about this situation appeals to him. It’s a laugh that has no trace of cruelty in it and that’s what makes it so horrible. Sean walks ahead of him pushing him out of the way, sneering at anyone that looks at him, and the distinction hit’s me: Wrath and indifference. Anger and apathy. Someone who hates you and someone who just couldn’t care less.
Eric is shaking, a pale sheet of ice spreading through his face. “Oh.” Is all he says and I can just barely hear that. “Oh.”
Dirk is standing with the Korean girl that Kristin brought with her, barely nodding and keeping one eye on her and one eye on Eric. Occasionally he’ll turn and smile and it’s this genuine smile that makes you feel good, like this clear-eyed blue smile, but then if you can’t follow up whatever you did to make him smile like that, he just stops noticing.
“Eric.” Sean says, when he’s standing in front of us.
“You need to come outside.”
“I don’t think…you’ll need anything. Just bring yourself.”
Dirk seems to come out of nowhere. He’s standing behind Eric, and you can see that he’s fiddling with something in his pocket. His eyes look casually thoughtful and he seems distant. He smiles suddenly and turns to the Korean girl who’s holding his hand and following him around. “Hey Seanny,” he says. “Seanny c’mon. Let it go.”
“I’m not letting anything go.” Sean answers flatly.
“Eric.” Dirk says. “Eric, you have the money right?” Dirk is surveying Eric looking through him like a glass test tube. “Seanny,” He says again, dispassionately. “Give him another week.”
Sean gets this exasperated look on his face and turns to his brother; “We drove all the way out here specifically for this. This is why we came here Dirk.”
“Give him another week.”
“No, Dirk. No. God Damnit Dirk this is why we’re here.”
Dirk kind of shrugs, looks iffy. “Yeah…not really why I’m here…”
“It’s happening Dirk. It’s happening now.”
“Whatever. Fine, yeah, you go ahead and do it, I’ll see you later.” Dirk turns to the Korean girl, smiling and leaning in closely to her cheek. He leads her away by the hand.
“Oh.” Eric says again, looking confused and slightly hopeful. “Umm…Oh…”
Sean runs his hand through his wavy blonde hair, considering his options. Finally he leans down and whispers something in Eric’s ear, then he laughs in the most hateful way I’ve ever heard and leaves us alone.
“What’d…he say?” I ask. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing.” Eric answers. He looks out at the crowd half smiling, dumbfucked and confused. “He said… It’s not like important or anything dude. He didn’t say anything…”
The McDunna Brothers. Yes, people actually call them that,
I’m lounging outside on the new lawn chair, that I picked up for thirteen dollars at Wal-Mart, with my aviator sunglasses pulled over my eyes, sipping a can of ice cold orange soda. The sun is shining perfectly and the sky is as blue as crown jewel diamond, but my father kind of ruins the atmosphere when he’s suddenly looming over me, dressed in his painting clothes.
“Hey, Joe I’m going up to paint the roof. Did you chip the paint off like I asked you to?”
I try not to show my surprise. I haven’t done shit all week, I’m thinking. I don’t want to get into a whole thing with him though so I lie. “Uh, yeah I did it yesterday.”
“All right… well I’ll be done in about an hour. Answer the phone would you?”
“Uh, sure. Yeah no problem dad, have fun.”
I go back to sunning my self and I close my eyes for a second and daydream about Hannah’s friend Stephanie. Would she fuck me? Would she do that to Hannah? I’m thinking about what she must look like naked and I have a rock hard erection when my dad predictably comes back and is looming over me again, blocking the sun.
“Joe, you didn’t do anything I asked you to.”
“Yeah, I did.” I say. “I chipped all the paint off.”
“Joe, I was just up there.”
I thought that might happen. “Well…I mean some of it wouldn’t come off.”
My dad looking at me now like he can’t believe he ejaculated this retards DNA, says “Joe, It’s all still there. The paint has not been chipped, literally none of it is gone.”
“Some of it is…”
“No. Joe you didn’t do it.”
A silence follows in which I try to look innocent, which actually isn’t too hard because I don’t feel very bad about any of this except for how annoying it is.
“Joe when I ask you to do something, I expect you to do it!”
Why would he expect that? Why does he get his hopes up like that, and ignore all past indicators?
“Well, I haven’t gotten around to it yet…”
“Joe you’ve been sitting there all day! You haven’t even moved.” Which isn’t even true by the way, I’ve gotten up to piss at least three times, and I went to get my orange soda 15 minutes ago.
He’s still staring me down and he adds, “I asked you on Saturday. You had three days to do it.”
“Yeah…” I say. “But two of those days were on the weekend.”
My dad abruptly walks away now still pissed and he says “Jesus Christ.” But I think he’s probably mad enough that he’s just going to go do it himself instead of talk to me, so I go back to my reverie. I’m going to probably get shit for this later.
Umm, like this kid who I know, Kevin, is like babbling like a homeless veteran over the phone, which I’ve put on speaker for like convenience, and I can’t understand him or like what his point is. “I don’t think there is any empathy in this whole region,” he says, and like I don’t know what he means and I’m thinking god spare me the details kid but he keeps going on about how he’s this cold blooded monster or something and how he’s like so sorry. When he asks me if like god will forgive him or not I just answer, “Yes, like I’m sure he will, all right?” and when he starts sobbing I’m like “Jesus, Kevin is something like wrong or something?” but he just starts crying even harder and making these like animal noises and pig grunts. “You don’t understand.” He says.
“Like what is it that I don’t apparently understand here Kevin?” I ask, but oh my god it’s like who even cares right?
“You don’t understand,” he repeats. “I’m cold. I’m so cold.”
“Well Jesus Kevin why don’t you like put on a sweater or something?” I ask.
“No,” He says. “No you don’t understand.” And he keeps talking about how like he doesn’t empathize with people and how he’s not sure if he in fact can empathize with other people. “I want to, Jesus Christ Stephanie believe me I want to.” He says, but I can barely understand him because he’s crying like a bitch.
“I don’t feel like I can love people.” He says.
“You’re not missing anything.” I answer soothingly.
“What’s the point?” He asks. “Why should I keep…going?”
I cover the phone for a second, sighing and rolling my eyes checking my watch because theres an episode of Flavor of Love coming on soon that I want to record and I’m wondering how long Kevin’s little meltdown is going to take.
“You just have to.” I answer. “Listen Kevin I really have to go…”
“Stephanie I don’t think I want to keep this…up anymore.”
“Then don’t Kevin.”
“I think I might…slip.”
“Kevin I have to go.”
I hang up and I think for a second about the scream I heard in the background right before we were disconnected, but I forget about it pretty quickly and look for my cigarettes.
…have been all the acid I took this morning, but fairyland seems pretty fucked up right now. I’m at Wal-Mart walking around just saying hi to some of the worker elves, when this complete asshole asks me if I’m on drugs. “No, I’m not on any drugs.” He asks me if I’m sure. “Um …can I see your badge number? Are you undercover? Are you a vice cop or something?” I retort.
He calls me a smartass and I leave the store. I’m walking around the lot but I can’t find my horse. Theres a fat ogre pushing a cart by me, and she looks at me like I only have one head or something.
I finally do find my horse but it’s out of gas. Theres a station near by but the horse is too drunk to drive anyway so I decide to come back for it later and just walk around fairyland for a little in the sun.
The sky is excellent today, the sun perfect, the clouds are painted on in wide strokes framing the whole landscape in their peaceful embrace, but the scene is ruined by the genie that’s taking a dump right in public about ten yards to my right. The sight of him crouched over and pinching a loaf on the sidewalk sort of makes me think that I’ve seen enough of fairyland for one day, so I call Hannah.
“Hey, Babe whatcha doing?” I ask when she picks up before she even says “hello?”
“I’m at work. What’s up?”
“All right, Hannah I need you to come and pick me up at Wal-Mart.”
“No, Joe I can’t. I’m working.”
“Hannah, my horse is out of gas.”
“Joe, what? I’m at work I can’t come and get you.”
“Well, I don’t know how I’m supposed to get out of here with no gas. The horse is drunk Hannah.”
“Who’s drunk? Joe I can’t get you, I’m at work.”
“…Nobody can replace you?”
“No, Joe. Listen I love you I have to go.”
“Wait Hannah. One second.”
“What is it?”
I pause for a second and light a cigarette. “Listen…babe you need to come and get me.”
“Uggh.” She says. “I have to go. Bye.”
I realize at this moment that Hannah and me are done. This relationship has run it’s course and it has come to its natural end. I’d like to say it was good while it lasted, but really I can’t lie, not in fairyland, and the truth is it was just… It was certainly going on while it lasted. “Well, we… definitely did go out for a year or so.” That’s what I’m going to say to her when I see her. I want to be honest about this.
So I’m looking at these two punks that Jackson hired in town. Two brothers, Irish sounding names McDonald or McLaughlin or something. I don’t give two shits what there names are two be honest with you as long as they do as we say, and they look immoral enough to me, so I don’t cringe or even flinch when Jackson tells the blonde one what were up to. I don’t really know if it’s the way these two kids stand or if it’s the way they look at you but you can tell that these are two rotten sons of bitches, and that’s what we need but I don’t like them. Not my kind of rotten sons of bitches but really bad mother fuckers, the kind that would stab you in the front, the side, the back, which ever spot happened to be convenient and they’d do it for no reason at all. Some people think that’s what you want in a thug, just somebody with no morals or ethics or anything, and it is to be honest, but theres a difference between being a low down dirty bastard who would gut his mother for a few dollars more and being a lowdown dirty psycho bastard who would gut their own mother because the moment seemed right and then goes across the street because their still up from the moment and kills the family next door.
Someday Jackson will figure out how to tell the difference or he’s going to end up with a bullet in that big black head of his. He’s the boss, and god knows he’s smarter than I’ll ever be but I’ve been doing this for a long time. I know a psycho when I see one. Can’t deal with psychos, they do their own thing. A thug I may not like, but I can deal with a thug. A thug just wants money. Who knows what a psycho wants? The psycho doesn’t even know.
Frankly I don’t like this town anyway. Too many teenagers, not enough for them to be doing. Breeds trouble, a thing like that. Parents leave them to their own devices, give them money, and buy them cars. All the tools they need to get into trouble. Money to buy them drugs, cars to go and get the drugs and enough unsupervised time to do the drugs and get wild and do what ever it is they do in these places. No direction, no nothing. Ought to be a law, all kids either live in the city or work on a fucking farm. Ought to be a damn law.
This job is my last one I’ve decided. I’m old, too old to be doing shit like this. Running around after hooligans and scumbags, associating with sociopaths, getting into scrapes and fights. It’s not me anymore; it’s not me. I remember I took this job thinking … well it doesn’t matter I suppose. Now all that matters is that we’ve hired these two antisocial rotten low down evil fucking little psychopathic punks to do something that I don’t think I could look myself in the eye ever again if I had to do it myself. The fact is we need a psycho right now. I may not like it but I’ll finally face up to it. Psychopaths can find some very unique employment opportunities under the right circumstances. Very few people are qualified to do a psychopaths work. God help me we’ve found some candidates that will do just fine.
The darkness in Kevin’s basement is absolute, and though I can hear people talking softly, sounds of ruffling clothes and shoes shuffling over the rug, I can’t see anything so I don’t actually know who I’m down here with. I was sitting on one of the old bean bag chairs, spacing out for a little when people started filing down, having grown tired I guess with the living room upstairs. I’m a little wired, having bummed a bump off some red haired girl with a Golden rod yellow shirt that said Gluten Free Princess on the front in neon blue cursive lettering, but I’m also bored simultaneously. Somebody decided to turn the lights off, maybe some feeble attempt at turning this little gathering into a make out party or something, and while I think people are finding this fun, exotic, maybe a little daring, I personally think it’s annoying as fuck. I can’t see shit.
The void around me is full of chattering monkey sounds, laughter, delighted squeals and hushed voices discussing intimate details, but I can also hear faint music so I rise from my beanbag chair and head towards it. I walk, feebly dragging my feet, incredibly lethargic and I’m stepping on various hands and bumping into people with almost every other step, apologizing into the darkness as I do so. I just… feel so down, deflated, completely longing for something… to happen. Eventually I make my way through the impromptu obstacle course and I’m in the light of Kevin’s kitchen. The brightness blinds me for a second but I quickly adjust to it, and I see my dealer Eric Allen drinking a keystone light and chatting up a pale but gorgeous girl in a red tank top and a high riding miniskirt. She looks drunk and she’s leaning in close to him, smiling, close mouthed and open eyed, giving extreme “fuck me” eyes, probably high as shit from pot that Eric, most likely, gave to her.
“Hey, Moore how’s it hanging?” Eric says when he see’s me, still keeping one eye on the girl, but with an open and friendly smile.
“…I don’t know…good. Not terrible… you know it’s all right.” I say and it comes out even more undecided then I feel right now, I can’t seem to hide behind any façade; my sudden onset of depression dulling my senses completely.
“Not great?” He says. “Not fantastic?”
“No, Just…ok.” I say, trying to smile, but it’s too dejected, almost a pathetic Tiny Tim, “Don’t worry about me” smile. Life can always be better, a voice from somewhere deep within my mind says, and though I don’t know what it means it resonates in some vague way.
“Well, hang in their guy.” Eric says this sincerely, but still with one eye on the pale girl, who looks like she’s just about ready to jump his bones on the kitchen counter. He smiles at me sympathetically, and I say, “Yeah. No problem…you too.” And confused, not able to put into words what my exact sentiments are I add, “You also hang…in there.” I sigh inwardly and leave the two of them alone, but before I leave the room I hear Eric say, “Anne, you look just like Gwyneth Paltrow. Has any one ever told you that?” and the girl giggles happily, drunk as a southern widow, but still immensely fuckable.
I don’t know what to do; I’m bored but still up for some kind of action. The options though, go back downstairs, go home and look at porn on the internet, call Hannah and possibly fuck her, all fail to arouse enough interest for me to pursue any of them.
I wonder if Hannah thinks of me when she touches herself, or if she thinks of someone else possibly one of the Abercrombie models that adorn the posters in her room, and while the thought of her naked and rubbing furiously between her thighs does excite me a little, I’m not sure if I have the energy to coax her into whacking off in front of me tonight. I know that I’m in no mood to attempt it, but just thinking about her, naked, tan and going at herself like that, has made me incredibly horny. I think about going into the bathroom to jerk off, maybe blowing my load in Kevin’s mouthwash bottle, but the thought of actually doing this, while extremely funny, seems worthless because if, later on, I told him I did it, if I confess, the joke would be ruined. If I didn’t tell him and he never finds out, the whole exercise somehow becomes empty. The philosophical questions I have about coming in something Kevin puts in his mouth, something that he rinses with, baffle me and leave me confused. I’m sweating slightly and my eyes feel wide, wider than they should ever rightly be, growing wider as the panic of my uncertainty sets in.
I’m crying now, subtly but with real salt tears flowing out steadily from eyes that are set firmly in their gaze towards the front door, and my mind is buzzing with the wonders that lie in store outside but cringing at the realness of it. Shut down commences; my legs fold underneath me and from my vantage point on the floor my pupils can see the dust my impact has kicked up off the ground, each particle magnified ten fold and filling my line of vision with the canyons and deep valleys that adorn the surface of each individual atom. My mouth is saying something but it’s quiet and incoherent at first, rising steadily until my ears can make out the words, which are: “This is the life of…” But I don’t hear the ending because somebody is poking at my temple with a socked foot, and says, “If you’re going to sleep, go to the living room.” So I do, eyes fluttering, mind shutting down, I feel the stirrings of something foreign and vague. A thought that won’t present itself, an idea hiding behind a secret concealed by a lie, waiting for the correct moment to spring and reveal everything I need to know, but the moment never comes and I fall harshly into a dream that I begin to forget as soon as it starts.
Got up today around three in the afternoon. Watched TV for a while before I went downstairs to eat breakfast. I had grape nuts. Not sure whose house this is. Found a note that said “Make yourself at home, lock up when you leave.” It was signed with a little cursive A. I steal some money and Vicoden, and I leave.
I take all twelve of the Vicoden. Barely feel it. I go into the city and throw a crumpled dollar bill at a homeless guy. He says thank you so I give him the finger and make like I’m going to hit him. He whimpers but is too lazy to even start to defend himself so I go on my way.
I smoke a joint as I walk. Sean calls and asks me if I’m going to be around today. I tell him that I will even though I probably won’t just to avoid an annoying conversation.
See a pigeon flying and wish I had my gun with me.
Go into bar. Get carded and think about how much I would love to shoot the bartender in the knee, but again I don’t have my gun and then I wouldn’t be able to get a drink anyway, so I show him a fake I.D and order rum. Drink a lot of rum. Get very drunk.
Around five PM. Get into a shouting match with an old bum. I wait for nobody to be around and I come back and beat the hell out of him. My fist starts to hurt so I kick him in the ribs. It doesn’t make me laugh. I haven’t laughed in too long, so I leave the city and take the bus home.
Smoking Heroin with some 7th graders. I show them my butterfly knife; pick one of their pockets while their looking at it. Kid had forty dollars. Throw the wallet in a dumpster, wonder for a moment why I don’t feel bad about it, decide I don’t care almost immediately. Get back to the motel. Clean my gun. Watch porn on the TV for an hour and jerk off twice.
Fall asleep and dream about the house I burned down when I was a kid. Pretty sure nobody lived there. Sean shows up in my dream and he’s wearing glasses and a derby hat. It flashes to a chimpanzee wearing glasses and red lipstick. He’s smart. Speaks with a German accent. “The root of the insanity.” He says that. I wake up.
Kill some time by calling girl I met in town a few days ago and telling her that if she ever comes near me again I’ll slap her around a little. She laughs and asks if I want to meet her for a late dinner. I say o.k. and we make arrangements to meet somewhere. I don’t plan on showing up. Kill more time listening to Ipod. Holy Diver first and than Stop by Erasure. Two Princes by the Spin Doctors last.
Think about the job that the black guy and the white guy hired my brother and I for. I don’t know why they need us to do it. Need to remember to wear gloves.
Eleven PM. Eat some shrooms. Barely feel it after an hour so I eat Sean’s half of the bag too. Start to kind of freak out so I go next door and since nobodies apparently there right now I break in and steal some clothes from a leather bag. Feel better.
Try to write down what I’m going to do tomorrow. Can’t think of anything. Really have nothing to do until the job. Sean comes in around two. I call him a faggot. It sets him off and we fight for a few minutes until were both tired and he goes and eats some frozen pizza. Apparently forgets about his half of the Shrooms. We smoke some hash and I must fall asleep again around 7:30. Until then we just smoke lots and lots of hash.
Riding in a cab with my brother, the Eagles are playing quietly in the front, the melody of Hotel California muffling against the Plexiglas barrier. I see that somebody’s left a note on the floor of the cab and I unfold the piece of white lined paper and theres a short poem staring at me written in something that looks like blood but is probably just messy red ink.
I am the Killer Keffrey
A cold and hilarious grinner
I skin them alive and stitch up their eyes
Eat their lips for dinner
Someday they’ll let me out
Only Killer Keffrey can live forever
I laugh while I wait and I wait for a laugh
Dreaming of Limbs I can sever
Wish you could be here O’ victim
I would show you a bleeding good time
My arm down your throat/ a cold root beer float
Committing a wonderful crime.
I refold the paper and throw the poem back on the floor, a little freaked out but mostly just amused by the fact that you can find these types of things if you just care enough to look, and then I’m amazed that I’m putting myself in the category of people that care enough to look.
“It’s the god damn republicans.” My brother is saying. “Fucking everything up, asking us to fight in this war, killing innocent people for oil, praying on the hopes of young men and sending them off to die.”
“I umm didn’t know that we were talking about that…” I say, but it’s a wasted comment because with him it’s just an open-ended conversation that starts and stops at will.
“Fucking Bush, fucking Cheney,” He continues. “Thinking money and influence makes them gods, thinking they know what’s best for me, deciding the fates for hundreds of millions of people, fueled by greed and controlling people with this evangelical bullshit. Its god damn Reagan the sequel, I swear. People hold that fucking demented old cowboy up to be some kind of hero, but he was just a handsome fool, fucking selling guns to South American rebels, taking credit for the fall of an evil empire who’s infrastructure was hopelessly fucked anyway. Don’t people know about the people that died because of that whole Contra deal? Don’t people remember how he threw Oliver North under a train on that and ratted his way out of the scandal? Don’t people remember how he ignored the AIDS crisis? He practically denied that people were dying and hey, who cares anyway right? It’s just a bunch of faggots dropping in the streets. Don’t people remember anything except his stupid fucking swagger? His smile?”
“Umm…no?” I answer.
“Just say no, he says. What about Just Saying No to mandatory minimum sentences that put thousands of people in jail for a quarter of their life for minor drug offenses? What about Just saying no to denying woman their basic reproductive rights?” My brother says.
I check the time, but my watch is broken, the digital face stuck at 3:16 AM. I check my cell phone. It’s 2:12 AM.
“And now these new guys don’t even get me started.” He continues.
“Ok.” I answer, looking out the window watching the lights go past me whir, whir, and whir.
“Denying people their basic rights, secret military tribunals, wire tapping, just trampling over the constitution. All of this hiding behind some C student grinning idiot cowboy whose biggest accomplishment is being born into the right family. The man used cocaine, he was an alcoholic, and he dodged military service in Vietnam by going into the National Guard and then he doesn’t even show up for it. He runs an oil company into the ground, racks up a drunk driving charge and steals an election. This is our President? This is the leader of the free world? An intellectual equivalent to a pet rock.”
“I guess so.” I answer. Still 2:12 AM.
“Jill I look out and I see a world where the only thing that matters is how much money you have. I see a world where people steal things and claim it as right based on moral superiority playing this reverse Robin Hood scheme. These people are stealing from poor families and giving to rich people. Why do these people need more money? They don’t have enough? We have golf courses taking up acres and acres of land that could be used to house poor people, luxury hotels that could be used for the same thing, but nobody cares. It’s always: make it newer; make it bigger and shinier and faster and more expensive. Fuck the less fortunate lets party. And these ten percenters just keep getting richer and richer racking up more and more money through interest. There are people starving to death in the same country where you have billionaires constructing Yachts made of solid gold and people celebrate this excess. You have TV shows that consist solely of shallow whores dishing about rich peoples toys. Oooh Donald Trump’s asshole is lined with the finest Persian rugs, which he purchased for an astonishing 30-bazillion hojillion dollars. Meanwhile it’s practically illegal to be poor. Gated communities, neighborhoods where you need to have a certain amount of income just to be allowed to walk through them. Beggars are told get a job, instead of being shown mercy by these same people who try and shove Jesus Christ, the king of mercy, down our throats. America’s number one export is weapons. America is a falsehood Jill. It’s a pipe dream that never existed in the first place.”
It seems like he’s done for now but just to be careful I pretend to fall asleep. To be honest I’m not sure it really makes a difference.
The day has been filled with difficulties, waking up thinking that I was Hitler, no orange juice, and a breakfast of dry cereal and an almost inedible blueberry bagel, so I’m in an understandably sour mood as I step into the SaveMarket. The lack of any orange juice in the refrigerator has spurned me to action, knocking me loose from the melancholy that follows a bowl of dry cereal, and in an admittedly rare act of confidence and self reliance, I’ve come to relieve the orange juice drought that’s plagued my house for far too long. (I think we’ve been out of it, since yesterday at least.)
I’m hanging around in the produce aisle attempting to make eye contact with this unbelievably good looking black girl who is wearing a yellow sleeveless shirt that says “High Maintenance” spelled out in lines of rust colored glitter, but simultaneously, I’m searching for a decent sized watermelon, which I guess must not be in season because the melons they do have are pathetic. The loudspeaker is asking for somebody named Janet to come to the front office. “Janet, you’re needed at the front office, Janet to the front office please.” I see a fattish woman in, I’m guessing, her mid fifties who’s wearing a SaveMarket employee uniform. Her head snaps to attention at the second repeating of the name Janet, which is followed by an immediate acceleration from “Not doing shit” to “running like a coked up cheetah” as she makes her way presumably towards the front office. The cheetah analogy is almost perfect, her tongue is swaying back and forth hanging a good three inches out of her thin lipped mouth and her eyes are animalistic and as black as a killer’s heart. She almost runs into an incredibly large man on a motorized scooter, riding along like an invalid even though from the way he’s tapping his feet in impatience while he waits for his ten pound cut of elephant meat, it seems like he has full use of his legs. She narrowly misses him by shifting her wild run into a bat-shit crazy super speed shuffle, just missing him and knocking down a three year old into a display case stacked to the ceiling with cans of Campbell’s chicken soup, the majority of which fall off upon impact, pelting the unfortunate toddler in an awesome wave of tin and broth.
Janet let’s loose with a quick “Woopssorrykiddo” before she disappears behind the chip aisle. “Where’s the manager? I demand to see the manager!” someone says. “Is that kid... ok?” someone else says in a concerned but heavily intoxicated voice. I look up and I realize that the drunken voice belongs to the butcher running the meat counter and that he has strung a chain of Bratwurst around his neck like a necklace, and that though he alone voices any concern for the kid who most likely just sustained some sort of head injury, he’s also sporting a dyed mauve mullet. He also appears to have a glass eye, and it freaks me the hell out so I decide to leave the scene of excitement and head toward the check out.
Standing in the express lane behind a twenty something man with long curly hair, sporting a gray pin striped business suit and a green silk tie. I see that he’s buying a thirty pack of Heineken, a bag of Funions, a bottle of wine, three microwaveable hungry man dinners, an issue of Rolling Stone magazine, two individual boxed pastries, a purple hoola hoop and two Milky Way bars, which brings his total to just under the thirteen item limit. I’m nodding approvingly at his choice of items and high quality clothes, when he looks up at me noticing me eyeing his shit, so I smile and give him an enthusiastic thumbs up, but instead of reciprocating the gesture he has to be all cool, so he rolls his eyes, pays for groceries and leaves, barely acknowledging my existence.
I’m still slightly pissed off, as I’m carrying the stuff I bought out to my car, when I see Jill wearing a plain white t-shirt and old, but snappy looking blue jeans. Bob is walking beside her, or more accurately, staggering around in her general vicinity, occasionally snatching at invisible bugs, or screeching incoherently in a loud jungle bird squawk of delight, or possibly unyielding terror. They spot me, and Jill smiles and speeds up to meet me, leaving Bob behind staring at a Pug dog that’s sitting in a green mini-van waiting for it’s owner to return from shopping. Bob’s staring at the dog like maybe it… knows something.
“Hey, Joe. It’s good to see you.” She says, forcing a smile. “What are you up to?”
“Oh, you know…” I say. “Shopping. Strolling…I bought some…orange juice.” I say.
“Cool. That sounds fun. Sounds like you’ve been busy.”
Bob walks past us. He looks pale and his face is sunken, unshaved. His eyes seem to be stuck in a permanent state of being half open, underscored by heavy bluish bags. “Hey Joe…” he says without looking at me. “I’ll meet you inside.” He says to Jill and disappears through the doors of the SaveMarket.
“Uh... is he, like, ok?” I ask.
“Bob? I dunno, …I guess, I don’t know. He’ll be fine.” She sighs sadly but still smiling, looking at me in the eyes, but in a gentle way.
“He seems… a little, um, messed up.” I say.
“Well, yeah. But you know…” She says. “Hey, you can’t live their lives for em, right?” She forces a laugh, and her eyes betray something, some hint of a thought she won’t express but I don’t know what it could be.
“I think he’s… sick.” She says.
“He’s definitely…pale.” I say.
“He’s soul sick.” She replies, not looking at me, instead staring off towards the store.
“Um…what?” I ask confused, but trying my best to appear concerned and on top of
“Nothing.” She sighs. “Hey, Joe it was nice seeing you, we should hang out more often… you know?”
“Yeah.” I say. “Yeah definitely, we should do that.”
“I’ll see you around. Bye Joe.”
“Bye.” I say. “I’ll call you.”
I can’t help but watch her as she walks away. The sky is cloudy and the suns half blocked rays give her movements a sense of wistful grace that trails behind her, wilting the scenery. When she disappears through the automatic doors, I’m left slightly unnerved and filled with a sense of a kind of reversed déjà vu. Vuja de?