Published by Will Berkeley
Copyright 2015 Will Berkeley
Chapter 10: The End
-Fuck fuck fuck.
-Fucking hell you’re getting what you fucking want.
-You’re fucking saying it too. We’re trying to elevate it to the poetic.
-Who gives a blue hue fuck? We do it sex like. Just for us.
I flick a butt from a generic bell bottom nice price cigarette out the box window of my aged rusty bucket red Jeep into the crazy air streams of the Hollywould freeway. Real wind. Fake phony bonny Trucker Caveman car Sceni Cruiser bus created wind. I cough my lungs alveoli aching. Smoking is a foul retro old school forefather’s American habit. Through the rearview I see the butt dance spinning flying burning blue red bright gold fountain like but mostly baked potato brown. All in one blue barrel generic cigarette butt stump. Imagine that. I try putting the sandy thousands of year old Death Valley desert or even the inky blinky of Las Vegas in my mind but a variety of tired out dated thoughts about Hollywould creep up. My mind bottoms out. I’m twenty three. I never did anything other than what the Aging Parents at the Controls told forced coerced me to do with this life. Hissing hissing hissing I suck air through the gap cricking crack in between my two chipped front coffee tobacco Hollow purple Popsicle wine stained teeth. I’m trying to cultivate a nervous insidious ticking quiver. Make that a shoddy symbol. I stop. Concentrating on the free or high way. I fear crashing in a fiery red hot smoking like a cup of Joe jumping coffee java wreck as I’m fleeing Hollywould because of dumb stupidity. I have to do something worthwhile swim for myself my very own personal yes I own it naked swim race before I die. Maggie and I grafted together like a hybrid acid rained upon I taste heavy metal not that stupid kind. I mean the other iron in this Super Fund tomato since college. Both of us packed up the Caveman our Jeep to the scaly gills in front of our idyllic egalitarian brick bastard of. Sigh. Technicolor discouraging Education on the Eastern Seaboard. We kissed our College Loans good bye. Shook hands with our Aging at the Controls Parents. Tossed a worn out cassette into the worn out tape deck. Headed out West on the duvetyn worm to the less than idealistic pursuits of Hollywould. Holly would do anything to pay her rent. She’s a Robot Babe. Every year a Westward migration like ours occurs and typically ends in Venice. If you don’t know Mr. Big Deal Holly would do him. Like Maggie and I you usually turn it around and crawl crab swim back paddle sooner feels better than later to where ever you plus yours came from. About six months later it’s foul or big hair weather. Big time or crushed. Maggie and I fouled. Stood at a crotch roads in Venice. Not one demon at our particular crotch roads but three crocheting. Two Fast Food Bacteria Boxes and one Quickie Mart. Quickie Mart wasn’t hiring so we flipped a coin with fore fathers with funny hair on one side. I lost indeed found myself donning a paper hat. Dropping hairs in the food at the E. Crack Colic Bacteria Box. Maggie’s humble prize. A paper hat shape of a howdy cowboy hat. She looked quite fetching with all her hair in a fish net plumbing. Fetching fish fingers from the depths of an American fryer. It was kind of absurd rather ordinary self-sacrifice. Truly we had not an option between us. Both Maggie and I had been fired drop kicked don’t ever come back from a number of cafes restaurants studios films temp jobs you name it. Black list is what they call it in Holly town. The Bacteria Boxes were the only place we could still get hired in a greasy finger snap. Nobody knew us or our reputation. Walk to work. I love to walk. Only losers walk in Hollywould. Failing in Hollywould with defiance. It’s so easy just walk around style pursues you. Maggie and I fought a lot about who had to buy the mid-day meal. Lounge lunch. Seeing as one of us always got free food discounts and the other had to pay full tag meal deal. This only lasted two weeks. In the end we met at the Quickie Mart for mid-day snarf and smoked nice price blue barrel variety butts. We quit our jobs yesterday before we went insane got fired or died of some strange embarrassing colicking disease. Plus we have an apartment waiting for us in New York City. Spent Lee my only friend and one time next door neighbor in Venice is half Mr. Black Sheep and half Pa Silver Spoon. Any fool can eat sniff snarf anything off a spoon. The Preposterous Preppy. All the trapping from Boarding School to I seem to have sniffed my entire pay check. Again. Spent Lee and I went to college together yet we never knew each acknowledged said
-Who the fuck are you my brother?
Until fate maybe greed shit us unemployed over educated onto the streets of Venice after graduation. Greedy poverty the great equalizer. The Preposterous Preppy likes drugs roller blades snakes the film business. I just like the roller blading. We skated together. He brought his pet boa. Wrapped it around his neck. What a curious roller blading embarrassment. The Preposterous Preppy might have been my friend. He is definitely a Venice lifer. Belongs like a three legged dog. No offense tripod Dido the Fido. Spent Lee drove out from the East to be with a girl he slept with on occasion back at school. During their first air condition less Venice summer together she realized she could get better jobs plus air conditioning by poke poke poking the Agent. Holly would. Spent Lees other claim to fame. Acting. Critics wrote bundles of praise. At the cast parties he was always half naked with his snake. Both of them pissing on the floor. The Preposterous Preppy’s dimwitted drug alcohol stupor someday might end. His acting career everybody says is primed to spore fief feis pop. Gong banging on M. no love T.V. something like that. The last time I saw The Preposterous Preppy he tried to sell me some compact discs to buy drugs. That’s how I’ll remember the skinny spent freak even if he does become America’s next dimwit black hole. I mean star. And he will. Maggie and I lived in a two bedroom with another guy. Really a donut. We couldn’t afford to live alone. Justy our roommate couldn’t afford to throw us out. Lovely combination. It was the kind of place that you had to watch where you put your bare toes. Woof woof woof. A regular cat dog litter box. An ail a minute donut
-My this hurts. My that hurts. I changed my mind. It just hurts.
Looks like a hot dog vendor or a Michelin man in clothes. A stack of donuts. Aside from being a failed actor from the Midwest he secretaries one day a week. Don’t feel sorry for the donut. He commutes comfortably in a car he won on a game show. Incidentally he made a living as a perennial contestant on game shows. There are even professional game show donuts today. Justy and Spent Lee are the only friends Maggie and I have in Hollywould. A Michelin man from the Midwest and a Preposterous Preppy. Hollywould at best is a teary eyed port. Boo hoo good bye. Maggie and I planned our escape for the past month. We took the Bacteria Box Jobs saved money. Tonight we packed up the Caveman. Maggie kissed the donut. I said
-From both of us.
With enough pyramids and Presidents for first and last month plus some fun along the way I’m driving us to crabby New
-This red delicious is too expensive
York wondering why like so many a merry cans I thought that Holly would offer more than a Fill
-Her up handsome
Station back East. Pumping gas is a decidedly dying endangered art. There are too many Self
-Do it yourself pal
Serve Stations. I can’t see how the Aging Parents at the Controls expects us to scrap spill along. New Jersey hangs in there as the last state with mandatory Full Serve Stations. Go figure. Coffee gas generic cigarette futures on the American Stock Exchange rising. Hollywould diminishes in the rearview. Maggie says
-Good bye itchy rash. Say good bye Dirt.
-I’m going back.
Maggie sits in the passenger seat of the Caveman and furiously knits. I’ll need the red wool handmade sweater when we arrive in New York City. Knitting gives her something to do. It’s different. It’s special. And Maggie makes it herself. I just sit behind the wheel at my meager Controls and talk a lot interesting to common place shit to myself. The whole scene feels pretty domestic pat ass patriarchal. My woman with all these shiny metal pins twisting turning knotting creating a sweater for her man out of a ball that some lousy cat gets claws stuck in. I make a few of the more universal gestures for sex in the air. I say
-I like this picture me driving and you poke poke poke poking away over there passenger side with your needles to keep me warm it feels
Maggie interrupts my speech by poke poke poke poking me in the crotch with one of her matriarchal needles ending my pontificating on the orthodoxy of our sitting drive knitting situation. While I sit feeling glum faced mum slightly less than pinching ass pat patriarchal. Maggie says
-Start digging it dude.
Meaning I better start enjoying the drive. The reality of the driving matter is simple. Maggie never drives because her license is suspended. Cop ate it. Maggie owes a few thousand dollars in speeding parking and I don’t know whatever other fines the Cops created. The big belly bandit wanted in five states. Maggie says
-I do better on public transportation.
Contrary to popular belief though she has all our bones. More of our green dead fore father Press You Dent pyramids with eyes at the top belonged to her before they became homely couple in other words ours. Mostly Maggie finances The Caveman plus Contents Cross Cumfry Oddity Sight Sea into the heart up to sniff the contradictory crotch of it Part Two. I love sequels. Especially if I never saw the first one. In the past nine months we drove twenty thousand miles. Every spare dead Press You Dent and free moment in between jobs we packed up the Caveman and headed out to some mishap ad hoc venture. One hundred miles out of Lost Again and my Bone screams
-Stop or I’ll get you.
In spite of my adventurous bend. You didn’t tell me I’d feel this old at my age. I suffer from a repetitive motion commotion disturbing disorder. From all the driving. The Caveman is a good just say howdy with it and it’s a happy friend but among his many inadequacies cruise Control he holds in highest esteem. Not having cruise Control acts as a shoddy Caveman defense or presage mechanism. The Caveman is a static beast caring not for motion. His favorite gear equals park. He likes being up on blocks dripping a rainbow array of colored fluids even better though. One result of our relationship is a sharp pain at the top of my gas pedal axle. You axed so I’m going to tell all. There is a point where as the song should go your ass is connected to your leg bone. At that very connection my leg throbs hot pulsating porno graphic beats. I’d fear I have cancer. Except Americans always think they have cancer. To add inflammation to injustice the stint in Hollywould damaged my body weight. My bottom shrank from the size of a soup bowl to a British tea hold the crumpets cup which gets altogether too close to no butt. Maggie on the other hand put on a few L.B.Js. Pounds with jowls pinned to them in Hollywould. Poverty shrinks me and has the opposite effect on Maggie. The other day Maggie looked down at her belly and said
-I’m sad. I’m getting really fucking fat. My stomach sticks out further than my breasts.
-Eat some macaroons you’ll feel better Nora.
-Maybe I should run away. I need the exercise my pet.
The first stop out of Hollywould is Death Valley it’s not so dead it’s full of campers roasting weenies in the National Park. We often take lesser traveled roads like Frosty Bob which does one of a few irritating things. Gets us lost robbed we run out of gas or we have some kind of ad hoc venture. The nice thing about the desert outside of Death Valley I never feel lonely. I hate being alone. Cruising over those two lane dusty desert roads all by yourself you start feeling sorry for number one because you’re out there all alone. In other words you’re a loser nobody likes you. Then you get that soft squishy feeling of comfort. You realize you’re not alone. Someone likes you. Underground thousands maybe millions of G.I. bros the Hoe sow good fences make good neighbors variety hang out. Crunching the back out of a Government Issue easy boy office lounger tax dollars bought this chair. Little green dollar bill the color of money Bureaucrats. Those clever G men down in their holes talking about bombs making bombs eating out of shiny metal cans listening looking sniffing for extraterrestrial life in the universe. They covered the National potato. Disguised it. But it’s underground baking. Nobody will sneak up on A Merry Federal Bureau Crate eating out of a Government Issue Tin Can. I find it all too forth coming as I wiggle my Bone trying to find some yet undiscovered soft nook niche padded spot to put the noisy Bone bastard in. While driving down the empty road on top of one of these paranoid Government underground outposts of the American scream. I start to think of the good old days. Of earlier Americans the Forty Miners. Forty Thieves with a singular open sesame one liner must have beat a good ride out of asses on this very road in the pursuit of gold whiskey and whores. Nostalgia the wily pervert. As I’m pondering a few things I realize the everything is was will probably never be right in this world for me feeling laps over me. I have this feeling when my hangovers wake me up in the morning. At this moment it pounds me snoring like a fog air horn honking bellowing on a New England shore. My Bone throbs. Worse the feeling full body quiver vibrates. I run down the checking bouncing cheeks list. I need gas. I wish someone. No another society paid for gas not me. The gas gauge I dismiss immediately. I always need gas and I strapped a tin gas can to the spare flat bald tire. The Caveman isn’t overheating. I changed the thermostat after the last trip. All gauges appear to be proper hormonal boring normal. Maggie sits knitting with a head lamp. She wears a miners light in the Caveman at night so she can read knit or smoke Pot the pipe while I drive. She notices me looking at her. She smiles. Smiling as in all cultures is in ours regarded as a favorable sign. Even the homey homely domestic Cro Magnon couple in a Caveman fails to drive this full body hair standing at attention everything is not right in this world feeling away. I start fumbling with the Atlas maps. Lost again. Boom. A deafening sound. A door slamming in the sky claps animating the dark above our heads. I slow down the Caveman to a near halt. Hang my head out the box shaped window. Continuing to drive. Another one of my bad driving habits which contributes to my howling Bone disorder plus possibly bad posture too. The hot eye ball drying desert air rushes around my head dangling out the window box. Barbigerous the beard plus frayed rope hair swirl like seaweed on a stormy shore. Two big black jets race out of sight as I reel my head back through the window picking a few beard hairs out of my mouth. Terror. Danger danger danger. Knitting knots of stomach dread. I say
-Do you think they’re filming some picture about jet fighters and lovely Robot Babes? You know Maggie they fall in love and fly off?
I try to be funny but I need to pee badly. I always drink a water tower of Adam Ale in the Caveman because heat comes up through the floor boards hard boiling my eye pupil balls. Maggie looks up and splashes me in the face with a bucket of candle power from her miner lamp lighted head. She pops a cigarette into her yap smoking trap. Flash the flame rises. Returning to her knitting. Smoking knitting while I stand by driving waiting. If you road trip a lot with someone conversations take a few miles to play out. Tap tip shapely rap. Tapping my foot on the gas pedal. The lurching starts to even bother me. Maggie peers up again blinding me for the second time with her mining helmet lamp lighted head. She looks like a ghoul. Hair and head lamp. She says
-You fucked up.
I hate that. I have to pee twice as badly. Nothing worse than being angry plus having to pee at the same time. I slam on the brakes stopping the Caveman in the middle of the road and jump out. Leave him idling. I never turn the Caveman off if I plan on driving him again soon. He never restarts without all kinds of cajoling curse grinding. Mechanical I don’t thinks so. Purely personal. I work on him myself all the time he just refuses to go on. The Caveman’s old ancient elder grumpy. The bastard should be retired to a spare parts Zen pasture by now. Maybe the Caveman has a few mechanical problems to compliment the personal ones. It looks like a steaming burn your tongue off brothy frothing stew under the hood. Most of his parts are
-We the Dealer. Arm and Hammer of the Corporation. God as our Witness highly recommend you don’t put those parts in.
I went to the Corporation until Christ Sir bought Jeep cheap. The bastards. To the Corporation I went to buy a bolt. Dolt said
-That’ll be four-fifty son.
-Christ Sir four fucking and a half dead Press You Dents for a bolt?
-That is a recommended bolt in the palm of your hand. Today it costs four dollars and fifty cents. Tomorrow more. Customers with bigger orders and cleaner mouths stand behind you.
No art to maintaining the Caveman. The Caveman is a total bastard. The Corporation the Aging Parents the Bureaucrats at the Controls at Christ Sir and elsewhere made him that way. People that love fixing cars or gardener motorcycles perplex me. Every time I venture under the hood for major dinosaur surgery. I cut my fingers cover myself with grease plus get pissed off. Almost everything I ever learned. I learned from a book. Like being a Mechanic. I handed back the hard earned pyramids and green fore fathers to the Corporation. Spent time. Studied a Repair Manual. It taught me. Somethings in life you only learn by doing and excuse me being the greasy spoon on my twenty year old Jeep stew makes me want to boot. The Caveman idles badly while I pee tinkling drop a drink of water on the right front tire. This is my custom. Once while sitting in an anthro tad the pole turned into a frog climbed out of the swampy muck pond toilet bowl and became our common ancestor class in Technicolor discouraging College. My profess don’t stop profess some more and don’t poke the students told me about an intestinal parasite he got from peeing in a pond. Big drink of water in Africa. Some parasites swim the breast stroke or parasite stroke right up your personal drink of water. Crochet in your crotchety crotch. Imagine that. Worse than E. Colic bacteria from the Bacteria Boxes. I don’t take any chances I always pee on the Cavemans right front balding tire. Get it while smoking hot too. The Caveman belongs to me. I’ll piss on it if I want. Usually it doesn’t cause a pickle because I pass my water off the main highways. At worst people honk at me. Peering at my penis as they zoom busy busy by. Which I regard as an inherently good thing. The Aging Parents at the Controls in Hollywould show female pieces parts they break people into shards in the movies advertising M. only pieces of eight T.V. but rarely to never male parts. Maybe seeing my potato airing watering the side of the road plus smoking balding tire can be a broadening once in a life time experience. Really I do it just for me. I like it. Maggie is like a loran. She can unearth us so to speak on a map anywhere in America. And while I piss on the apple cart she finds some documented I witness your stupidity evidence to back up her accusation that I fucked up. It appears in my haste to escape from the freeway I drove on a restricted keep your silly civilian ass off my Harm Me Man road. I knew I was driving over the Bureaucrats. I didn’t think I was really on top of them. To make matters worse Maggie digs little Pot the pipe out from under the floor mat carpet of the Caveman. Removing a bit of lint fuzz hair ball from Pot the bowl she packs it. Sparks her friend. Taking a hit she offers one to me. Doing like the actors in the drug exploits movies holding her breath with little wafts of smoke drifting out of her nose. She says
-Want a hit?
She exhales a billow of smoke. I decline. As a passenger the thought of being on the Mans Land can be unnerving maybe some illegal sedative calms. As the wheel man a three plus twenty tall drink of water boy man who looks decidedly motley to unpleasant had a bad day ruffian. The prospect of being high and explaining oneself plus world view looks dismal plus none. The Man would have no tolerance for my fashionable digressions. Maggie stashes brushes Pot the bowl her friend under the carpet. The Caveman clicks away beneath our well-worn heeled heels. The road bumps out a series of little hill gullies for sometime. The radio blares our generation’s music revolution du jour. A fiery engine chili peppered red blaring broth. Maggie leans over. Gives me a big wet kiss with lots of tongue teeth clanking. A real snarfy kiss. All is forgiven concerning the
-You fucked up
episode. And that feeling starts licking my face again like a Hoss tongue slapping a salty lick. I feel wet dirty cannabis paranoid. Attempting to appropriate the tongue that represses me. I say
-The world is not right. Philosophy foolish tongue twister sloppy false.
I say over and over to myself but it fails to make me feel better. No show tongue lash psychology. The road twists up down left right over one gully into another. Outside the Caveman the desert blinks by. A Joshua Tree a few other scruffy plants chunks of earth dirt tumble into and out of sight. My eyes fix on a faraway red bright light. A little dot splotch blotch of hope.
-Look Maggie the red light must be a train track. We must be at the end of the base.
I think I can get us out of this fucking Caveman meets Army man mess. I’m mad to be free from problems. We speed faster plastering over the series of up down left right hilly bumps. Axle braking gullies. Approaching the light the height from the ground changes. Levitates. I start spinning conspiracy stories in my head. After the grassy troll in the knoll the second thing that comes to mind. Alien Abduction. The thought horrifies tickles embarrasses me. Headlines reading
-Hot off the presses the Caveman and Contents abducted by Alien Life read all about the strange sexual experiments.
Poke poke poke. Mattress springs creaking. Aliens of all shapes. Disturbing sizes poking touching prodding me with king size knitting needles. More headlines in my head
-My baby An Alien. Extra Extra Extra Terrestrial. See photos.
I spin dizzy. Jelly fish ooze. Tentacles turnstile in my head. At least I’m not the father. The Caveman shimmies all over the road. The vibration brings me back on the barbed hook hinge. I calm myself. Looking over at Maggie. She knits quiet in her seat. Maggie says
-Stop hyperventilating Dirt. Who gives a fuck about those G.I. Hoe.
-Maggie would you ever give an Extra Terrestrial a toss?
-I give you a toss all the time.
She returns to knitting. Approaching the light more appendages sprout. The light from the extreme distance appears merely a stop light. A harmless beacon on the end of a phallus post. The Caveman feeds the light. The nearer we go the more it Hoe miracle grows. The red light sprouts a green body the size of a tractor trailer. A red eye ball peering from a green Greyhound bus in the sky. My stomach churns. I hate buses. I smell Porto the John. See the blue water chemical waves curling. I stop myself before I see the serf Critics surfing on the waves. The Caveman hums closer to an altogether new vantage point. We drive over a hill. The Caveman head lights leap up making it all too plain. Any fool dimple simple child can see my predator. An enormous helicopter hangs low in the sky like a marionette. Worse looking right at me. The tires continue to hum a dull thud decomposing balding rubber melody under us. Maggie looks up from her knitting. She waves to the helicopter. Returns to her knitting. All this fear cures my Bone. I push the gas pedal under my foot it feels soft squishy cow slop flop oat meal ritual warm. We can stop. Chat with the Bureaucrats or drive right under the colossal helicopter. Newsreel of underdressed half naked villagers running for cover while merciless machine gunners high on crank Trucker Upper high speed hole punch them pound me. Maybe I’m extra normal paranoid. I look over at Maggie. She pries my right white knuckled fingers off the steering wheel and holds it between her two hands. Rubbing the perspiration away.
-Your hands are all gross and sweaty. I mean sexy.
-Don’t worry Dirt that G.I. Hoe is flying on our tax dollars he just wants to scare the piss out of you so we’ll get off his road.
Now I’m fuming at my own paranoia.
-What tax dollars? You know I don’t pay taxes and what do you know about that G.I. Hoe or the I.R.S. That Tool might practice his little bang dang you’re dead on the Caveman.
And I have a new blood curtailing decidedly unsettling thought.
-Maggie they’re probably listening to us. Even the Caveman isn’t sacred.
The helicopter hangs over us like a garlic shaped gargoyle on some drippy I can’t remember the proper name. Some foreign other society Europa dame of a cathedral. Beating invisible wings the Caveman does his best imitation moth. Eating our way towards the light. The hell cop touring fly torte continues its merciless sorcery spinning in the air chopping swishing like a blender searching for a sly piece of cube Arctic belly ice. The associations are nightmarish. I think of cooking programs on television plus slushy drinks. The rhythm annihilates my senses I want to pull over and toss rocks at the noisy insensitive beetle yelling
-Hoe Tool in the helicopter your fucking up my car date can’t you do this Harm Me Man shit to someone else?
Rolling our windows up the Caveman enters into the dust storm below the flying boy toy Sceni Cruiser Recreating Vehicle. Sand pings off the windshield. The visibility flattens for one brief second as a sand blast some very angry unhappy man made this tornado rages around us. The air whistles. With thoughts of Doty getting off Scott free and the Tin Man getting turned into a dusty shit can. The Caveman escapes the sand storm. To make matters worse the helicopter hangs still. Raising more questions. If it doesn’t want us than what does it want? The question troubles me less. Lessening me as a leash. We lose the lease on the helicopter appendages. Diminishing into a speck of red light in the rearview mirror.
-You handled that well Dirt.
-Thanks Maggie you’re too kind.
All sense of normal stormy sea returns to the inside of our moving rusty red metal bucket don’t dare call it a car. My box is a Caveman. My Bone regroups assaulting me with porno fortified graphic bobs plus weaving throbs. We roll down the windows. All my heavy orgasmic hyperventilating breathing depleted the oxygen. The desert air tastes warm dusty fresh dry. With little more ado we find the correct road. I say
-Fill him up bro with some of that high priced desert fossil.
Arriving in Death Valley National Monument is a sigh of gaseous relief. After hundreds of miles of desert beauty peppered with an occasional meet greet the fake meat ham in the airborne tin can Uncle Spam an outpost of middle American degenerative culture pops up like a desert erect it son. All the necessary ingredients electricity gas water hotels cigarettes beer saggy Recreating Vehicles filthy toilets that smell of ancient shits left by Teddy Roosevelt and The Rough Riders and the occasional almost endangered glimpse of wildlife prancing pristine natural beauty. We roll into the first available camping abomination. A long sand parking lot jumbled with Sceni Cruiser Vehicles and an insufficient number of tent sites for those travelers National Park revelers who left the house. Call it home. The search for the optimum highest octane camping experience takes place. Generally I like to camp next to the people with the largest fire. People who build enormous Texas toast camp fires tend to have a lot of cheer even enthusiasm for the parking lot camping experience. Their alcohol I’m after. The campsites are little square parcels of desert with a campfire grate plus picnic table. A cube of earth. The whole thing feels surgical doctored even predestined. Park the car eat at the red wood bolted down to the desert picnic table maybe make a fire and go to bed. They say hell is filled with lost souls smoke and fire. I think those dudes got hell confused with camping. We drive the lot once. Bouncing our poorly adjusted headlights into a bushel of unsuspecting Recreating Vehicles. I truly hate the Recreating Vehicle. Any vehicle that allows worse condones shitting inside is a disgrace.
-Yeah honey take the wheel I need to go lay some cable. You know what I mean baby?
Pickles that drive Recreating We Fickles are unfriendly plus use language that escapes me. They only like their long hair served up on Cumfry Music Mans. Pot pipe red hot smoking between white stereo pony tails. Seeing me in my hairy glory causes a monotone hysteria. They whisper a little too loud
-Look at the hippie.
I’ve seen hippies like I’ve seen dino
-Sorry pal we need to make fuel out of you for the Caveman. You’re a fossil.
Wasn’t there for it so getting all nostalgic soft and squishy isn’t really in me. Too busy peeing in my diapers when the two or three hippies who got all the press from the non-bias puckering press padded along. Anyway I’d prefer to doubt they ever existed. Anyone old enough to be a hippie is an Aging Parent eating fowl or hepper at the Controls. Stock pile stock yard stocking it to me and mine. Falling out of one fantasy trying to fashion dress another. They are at the Controls. They are Aging Parents. They work for the Corporation. This much I can’t deny. We find our campsite or rather delightful neighbors. Their little Federal Government fire place overflows with red hot smoking coals. The flames lash southern California seismic alley up down. Two women and two men circle a battery operated labor saving blender with frosty mugs in hand. Waiting standing in line mouthwatering saliva frothing for the ice in the blender to get chopped down to a fine slushy grain. The two men and women look like silly sailors in their Luau outfits and deck shoes. Who plucked them out of a Luau Hut tourist trap in the Pacific? I wish for a stuffed parrot to give them. Instead they get me and mine. Rolling down the window and pulling up the Caveman next to the battery blender churning chop thrashing away on the red picnic table as the four foot fire rages next to me so face frying red hot I smell a few of my dead ends singing the singe song. I say
-Howdy. Are any of these campsites taken around you?
A baker three quarter dozen of empty campsites surrounds them. Nobody but a bull goose top knot Airport variety loony would want to pitch a tent in a pair of hospital pants next to the four chubby displaced American sailors in Death Valley. Wearing Luau out fits in the desert. Standing around a labor saving battery operated dicer purée chopper slushy drink maker. A four foot fire rages. Music blares out of their El Camino station wagon wanna be pickup truck when it grows up. Margaritas and music that was feis feif popular on M. diseased T.B. ten years ago. All of it laying sprawling squatting lifting a rear leg for me. One of the revelers decked out in an unbuttoned tropical fiesta couple buttons open here there make that everywhere shirt complete with neon blue plastic lathe and big fleshy belly to boot. He says
-No come join us. There’s even a slushy drink in it for you. It’s tent city everywhere else. People pitched on top of each other to get away from us.
He turns back to his blender. The chopping stops. Pouring slushy drinks into four frosty mugs. Frosty drink futures rising. We do a little New Orleans dog berry in the Caveman kicking up a cloud donut of dusty sticks to your teeth desert grim in front of our future campsite to impress the Jones our new neighbors. Doing the unthinkable I turn the Caveman off. It seems senseless to leave it running all night. Whenever I start a long load the country is a big road trip paranoia about the Caveman creeps up like a scathing case of something grinning itchy scratchy crawly. Maggie and I snub the Jones briefly while we unpack our blue yellow tent and go about the busy mess of setting up our tent pole home. Feeding the rake in our green bile Billfed bellies. We have a small Mountain Man Camping Stove. We use it exclusively to boil Adam water. The only food we eat at the moment is add water instant food. Lately Billfed Rimley rides our backs. Eating lots of oatmeal. After eating a big cup of oatmeal you never want to eat again. An American quick fix. The squishiness cud like texture makes me feel like a Hoss even the more so if I eat it standing up. While the water boils I look at our little stove and tell Maggie stories of Mountain Men climbing Neverest. I say
-Snow beard ice and green rock lichen soup for days.
We always tell each other stories at meal times. After the slush muck of oatmeal an occasional Heimlich maneuver and the compulsory spooning of oatmeal into each other’s cups.
-No. You eat it.
-Billfed says it’s good. For just you.
-No. It’s yours. You eat it
We do our dishes in the desert sand. Feeling smelling rather oat contented meal domestic. Our attentions redirect towards our neighbors whose tents fire and assorted parking lot camping. National Park reveling gear lay five feet from our own. It’s very curious how the Park Service condones getting away from it all. They say
-Get out there. Go.
So you go. You walk slow. You go someplace you like. And then they say
-Don’t go there. No dangerous. Bad.
Often the Bureaucrats only permit you to camp in such proximity to your neighbor that you would be better off staying home. Camping in your backyard near your labor saving devices. But that aside we have no backyard at this very moment. Rather America is our backyard for this week of shallow pond scandals. We direct our attentions towards our neighbors. Their extensive sprawl plus two cars. The before mentioned El Camino blaring orange cheese singles. Screeching songs of imperialist attitudes about southern latitudes. Summer slushy drinks that sort of nostalgic fare. And another smarter sedan auto sporty bastard off a Detroit drawing table with a substandard paramilitary name. The discrepancy in vehicles leads me to believe one couple is sorely poorer than the other. We may be a welcome addition to the gathering. Maggie and I are the low West gone class. All classes will be represented at this most illustrious beach side gathering in the desert. The lower middle lower upper lower. Maggie and I peer over obviously looking like two thirsty tongue gathering dust touching the desert floor doggies. We emanate a serial attitude of
-Hi we’re here. Pet us.
Every imaginable fifth of alcohol lines like carnival prizes the red wood bolted to the desert floor picnic table. Next to the picnic table reclines the kind of cooler commercial fishermen fill with the catch from the ice cube cold bottom of the sea. Filthy clams oysters periwinkles that sort of sea bottom fare. It’s doubling as a third picnic bench. The Bearded One the most obviously trashed sailors opens the cooler and it creaks Hollywould wood box coffin like. Shiny metal cans of American mass produced tinned put in cans by Bureaucrats beer pine in that cooler waiting for me to scream
-Be free be free be free.
The Jones have every imaginable camping device mercury battery kerosene white butane gas operated. Utterly decadent camping. Bent sorry mismatched lawn furniture scatters the sight. Lounge chairs deck chairs out of sorts chairs. All of them manufactured out of plastic. Webbed together in some half hazard manic way. The kind of beach chairs of my childhood that half of my pre pubigerous bum inevitable fell drooped dropping through. These people embrace choice free dumb like other parts of the world know digression. You can sit or lounge vodka beer or gin dripping down your chin. God have a hot dog. I can’t pledge the Jolly Roger allegiance. Too busy looking life is hard. Down way down. Lower bottom of the sea. Septic peptic sewer. Arctic hump sperm any old pocked petrificate pickle of a Moby the white whale droppings. Way the fuck down their downtrodden. Can’t blow my cover. Trying to get an honest old fashioned the way things used to be. Ought to be like in the old merry fashioned days invite. Two big monster tents that could swallow the Caveman alive in one throaty gulp preside over the bacchanal gone bogus. I envision monster truck racing professional wresting as camping off season fair. The spread of food like everything else smells looks greedy hearty coarse enough for a Hoss. A gallon of each type of condiment. A gallon jug of ketchup. A gallon of mustard. Nothing in metric measurements. And dozens of weenies. The Jones are the new breed of Americans. The Lost Co. Generation. The Americans who get lost in those price clubs trying to buy choke choking it down in bulk. Blue fifty gallon barrel quantities. Americans Specious Price Clubhouse. The Jones assembled the most spectacular foray into the desert since Scottys Castle. And I tell you I sit smoking a generic nice price cigarette. Fighting for an invite. Ear nose eye witness. One of the women from the group who is Mr. Bellys fashion twin except she has pulled the center of her shirt through her bra making her whole ensemble look something like a shoddy bathing suit says gruffly
-Hey kids come tie one on with us and tell us about yourselves. I’ve heard all the lies I care to hear this weekend.
The begging looking good god dogged faced. I really need a hot dog to cheer me up downtrodden ends. Maggie and I sashay over to the Oasis Americana of Death Valley. Mr. Belly and Mr. Beard immediately stiffen up the General Shaman Sequoia tree trunks. Maggie is attractive in a very curious way. Her green brown eyes. Brown hair are the kind you see a thousand times a day in a city in America. If you’re not looking down like everybody else. Hoping you won’t get mugged. Maggie could be the daughter of countless people. Her long unkempt hair draws attention due to the sheer number of hairs that stand up in a broken frizz. Yet one extraordinary thing about Maggie turns those two Sequoia woodworkers on. Maggie and I do uniforms. Meaning we wear the same raunchy clothes day after day. Maggie wears Jungle Booties. She cut down some General Issued them. Those boots or no shoes at all. We’ve never been to war. But both of us have been wearing some soldiers old been to war done that didn’t like it came back they’re for sale now Army clothes our whole life. Imagine that. Maggie always wears cutoff jeans with no belt. These pant relics drop off her hips doing a fair some days no job covering her. When it gets cold she wears a pair of worn out overalls. She owns one peasant hippie grunge all poor persons united dress for high days holidays hot days. Maggie loves the water and it dictates the important part of her fashion. She grew up by the sea. Spent most of her childhood playing frog woman by the sea. Gutting fish peeing in the shallows like grinning Humbert. As a result Maggie wears swim suits when the weather permits. She likes one piece or nude. Generally she wears a swim suit jeans plus been to the jungle didn’t like it came back booties. Tonight she wears a navy blue one piece suit and cutoff jeans. Hold the Jungle Booties. The swimmy is very conservative swim fast team but fits a younger thinner less shapely Maggie. Maggie’s size makes the suit very Rubenesque seductive. A shaping wire fish bone entire skeleton missing lacking mutinied from the navy blue swimmy. Fortinbras no supporting bras. Some women with pot the belly are attractive and others are fat. Ask a philosopher Hollywould casting director why. I think there’s no logic. When Maggie sits her belly hangs over her jeans as she does tonight in one of those droopy plastic weave deck out of sorts chairs. She sobers those two desert deck chair sailors up for an instance or two. The two men and the two women gawk at the sexiest belly roll that ever hung over a pair of jeans. Maggie looks at the desert sailors and looks at me and looks at the two women and looks at her belly. Everybody looks around at somebody. It’s not at all like an American city with everyone looking down. Maggie says
-Haven’t any of you ever seen a fat girl before?
My number one fashion principle is a dirty interpretation of entropy. Let your hair and Barbigerous the beard learn to do for themselves. When they learn they can teach the rest of my life. Do chores around the house too. As a result my hair is very long but when held out at arm’s length it looks like a fraying splaying rope. Dead end ringlets. Nothing organic hanging from my head. Think of straw hay dipped in indigo blue hue ink. No fluffy producer puckering music revolution du jour rock star could deal. As for my beard it is totally unimpressive. Barbigerous the beard looks like a medley of monkey fuzz. In some areas Barbigerous the beard is thoroughly promising half a foot long thick black heavy. Hairiest mans back on the beach. In other areas poor holy man Barbigerous looks splotchy multicolored crater cavity pit full. My mother and father named me Dirk a name that would later metamorphose. From a young age kids at school called me names. Barbigerous the beard my straw hair my body I’m a tall drink of water tower sprouted out of the Controls as a teen Aging. In one fateful Latin class I became Dirkus Hair Bogus. The incarnation became Dirk Bag. Worse Hair Bag. Then later Dirt Bag. At last my peers stripped the name down. Dirt is the current end of the pipe train track thin blue or white dotted line gone wrong. It suits me fine though. Having been called Hair Bag on the playground I appreciate the name Dirt. A crime and punishment neigh very Russian having so many confusing names. As far as clothes are concerned. When I bother with them I wear jeans a brown leather belt chunky oil Rigger oil resistant leather boots and a black jean button down shirt. When it’s cold I wear a duck hunting jacket. To my knowledge no ducks ever passed away or procreated in the game bag pouch. Just a few beers cooled their heels before I drank those same heels off. In review my clothes are the kind that if the Caveman kicked the shit can I could get out and push looking quite stylish. Jeep push fashionable. As an addition I never wear underwear anymore. Mine holy relics white cotton friends have been land filled. Some people are proud of it but I’m not. It’s really quite disheartening to put your pants on day after day with no buffer down there. The locomotion wears on you. I decided to wear only the best underwear or none at all. All cotton filthy rich waspy boxers with all the excessive cotton that forms an inner tube around your waist. Keeps you afloat gives you proper ballast. The ongoing fiscal crisis that pursues me precludes me from owning any rich guy scrundy undies. Imagine that. Really Maggie said
-I’m not paying for less access.
So with our individual statements of fashion purpose. Our individual odors we are old school baths on Sunday Americans we find ourselves flopping in saggy dropping deck chairs at the Jones. Tying on enormous bulk blue barrel Lost Co. complimentary buzzes. The Jones circle of inviting deck chairs around the fire keeps us comfortable in the cool desert air. Logs cackle cracking flame broiling snap crackle hot coals popping bouncing like red lima beans. Maggie and I slop the drinks down. At every party of this size there is always one person who embraces the role of drink fixer Mr. Freshener Upper. At this party Mr. Belly performs the community service. He looks qualified. Mrs. Belly invited us over for a few pops so
-What the hell. Why the. Where was I? What not the.
he must think. I probably remind Mrs. Belly of the kid who mows her lawn. Pull starts the motor. Weed whacks. Changes the chamber pots. Something like that. The Bellys try to be cool. Bond with the younger Spent Nation. I like Mr. Beard best. He has nothing to say. Plus he has a nice Barbigerous the beard. My Barbigerous must be jealous. Tending the fire and tossing slopping drip drooling the drinks down.
I say as I park it in a droopy deck chair.
-Nobody in this camp site knows square one about tending logs.
He replies drip drooling just a beady speck. Well that silences me. Mr. Beard is a real
-I just want to get fucked up. Leave me alone
Unmerry can. I didn’t come over for that stimulant anyway. Mr. Beard’s wife looks decidedly drunk plus unfriendly. Lovely combination. The kind of person who drinks gets angry then develops a few equal I think I need Librium to stop problem drinking. She stands up every couple moments to be polite to her mangy guests losing the Controls when it comes time to park it back down. Doing a bit of slipping and sliding on the desert sand in her tropical ensemble with pearls. Mrs. Slips And Slides begins slugging at Maggie all kinds of questions. Golf course Caddy cadencing ear flappers. Questions that lead to more questions.
-What’s your name again?
-Where are you from?
-What do you do?
Point point point.
-Where did you go to school?
-What did you study?
-Where did you go to High School?
-What do your Parents do?
-Do you get along with your Parents?
Maggie starts lying right away. I try tuning to Maggie’s air wave hi fi lie. Tune the rabbit ears to her frequency. A tidy fiction she spins. Mr. Beard metamorphoses into Mr. Log and just plays with his logs. But Mr. and Mrs. Belly dig ten chubby fingers into me making up for Mr. Log’s antisocial behavior. Mr. Belly fetches a television dinner card table a bottle of Lost Co. booze the labor saving battery operated blender and a bucket of ice from the belly of the price club. He sits on the right side of me and Mrs. Belly on the left. Stuck in a Belly clan sandwich. We grind down boulder after crystal boulder of ice in the battery operated blender. Dead batteries litter the desert sand a thousand years old. Tossing back the drinks chatting I look at my feet and for silence holding a frosty mug of slushy slurry slurp stomach turning enough distilled liquor to drive a Hoss to drink in the desert. They tell me a tale. Mr. Belly worked for the Aerospace Industry for a stone age make it a half-life until he got shit the can. The Corporation wondered how Mr. Belly made it to work for a half-life on time. They said
-Here have a watch.
Pa and Ma. Belly settled. Stayed. Synthetic feathered a nest in some nearby desert community after the layoff
-No more health insurance piss off.
-It was like home.
They have no kids but Mrs. Belly played house is a home for years until they opened a little cold cuts poop deck deli after the Aerospace Industry flop. The deli does okay. He says
-I make a sandwich and I eat one.
His belly jiggles up down while he laughs. I believe him. Mrs. Slips and Slides gets tired horny finally figures out Maggie is lying like a hi fief pop music star. She tells Mr. Logs.
-Bed time honey.
King Logs says
-Let the fire burn down. Don’t touch nothing.
Aesop conjugates and looks sloppy. Mr. Barbigerous turns off the El Camino. Nobody seems to miss the orange cheese singles. And Mrs. Slips and Slides plus Barbigerous the husband struggle off to a trailer pull truck rally sex slide in one of the Sky Domes. Finally the quiet I’m looking around for. Maggie and I and the Belly duo bail out of the lawn deck any flat surface chairs. Sitting on the ground drinking beers in front of the fire leaving the blender behind. Shiny metal beer cans feel better in my hand. I’m hot drunk. Place two ice cold cans on my forehead. The four foot funeral pyre Dionysus down. Watching it die is the best part. Little cities civilizations flourish in the logs. Warm cozy nooks form disappear die begin again. I don’t touch a thing. Drinking hard liquor makes me lazy plus sweaty. Lovely combination. The desert lightens in the evening hours. The stars shriek down on us. Big bold bright the stars unfold owning the night. Only faint squiggle trickling wiggles of industrial light exist persisting for hundreds of miles. Clear crisp graham cracker dry the sand feels comforting under me. The alcohol numbs my whole manic person. My pornographic Bone fleets bleating like a memory dropped off to hitch hike on the road side. The hellcoptour noise terror idiocy thoughts in some other beetle head. Alcohol fills every pore. Difficult breaths. My lungs my breath stinks with alcohol artificial sugar drink mix. My eyes feel sorely dry. The whole feeling fascinates suits me and mine. Hangover futures rising. We all start smoking nice price generic bell bottom blue barrel cigarettes.
-I didn’t think anyone really bought these generic cigarettes.
Mr. and Mrs. Belly look blow the foolish fish puffing like teeny beepers. My cigarette makes me drunker. I snuff it out. If I get any drunker lights out. We’re sitting on a huge ash tray. Don’t thank God. I don’t think he exists. I’ll get to that later. Even if J.C. or some other god does. He she it didn’t put the ash tray under me. The Government the Tobacco Industry did. Maggie smokes and her words move like musical notes. Internal smoke signals from her big belly depths. Maggie chats superficially about our sordid life in Hollywould with the Belly clan. Listening. They say
-You’re young don’t worry about it. You have your lives ahead of you.
-Don’t mind him. He gets odd when he kicks a fifth of bourbon.
The Belly clan nods the knowing nod. Every party needs a drunk. The other one went to bed. Maggie leans over and whispers in my ear
-Does free bourbon make you grumpy?
Mrs. Belly leans against Mr. Belly. She derails Mr. Bellys jokes. Mrs. Belly heard his stories on a thousand nights before this one. Maggie decides she isn’t wasted enough gets Pot the lint filled pipe out of the Caveman. The three of them get high. Talk some more. Watching their yap traps flap yappity yap. I feel foolish. They look it. I see six of them. Cynical or skinny. More skinny than anything else. Mr. Belly looks the Buddha all fat jolly high tropical sitting Indian style on the desert sand spinning deli sandwich cold cut tales. Mr. Belly is just altogether too many things for one man to be in a half-life. Corporate counter culture jolly one moment brooding over the Aerospace flat tire the next. I think of the deli with the cold cuts on the poop deck. His swollen fingers. The submarine sandwiches poor boys heroes whatever they called them in his air conditioned desert community. The Aerospace Industry the blue pin striped business half-life suits. The blue barrels. His silly tropical sways. The bomb your dead pops have a poor boy submarine hero sandwitch? I’m getting tired of looking at two of him. If one of them stops spinning or gets in a tent. I might drink one of the beers on my forehead with the survivor. Maggie says
-Goodnight thanks for having us over.
-Thanks for getting me shit housed.
Maggie gets pissed at me for that. Eye brows criss crossing. I’ve got no manners but I want to share. Maggie says
-Dirt go put those two beers you’re holding to your forehead back in the cooler.
Reluctantly I toss them back in. I shake hands with two of the four Belly clan. We go into our blue yellow tent liar. They into theirs. Drunk frothing cup of Joe hot we strip off all our clothes and lay on the blue yellow tent floor. Nothing in between us and the ground but a petroleum product paper thin layer of stretched out blue yellow nylon sack. The sand crunches thousand year old soft. The tent stops spinning. We make. You know the word everybody throws around like a hot spud. In Hollywould of course we had sex. Mostly I thought about other things like jobs or the Credit it will be hard paying the phone bill too later Cards.
Chapter 2: Circe
I awake at the first biting pre-dawn light to a horrible snoring sound. Sniff snuffing toilet plunging it up. All sludgy filthy inorganic. It must be Pa Belly or King Barbigerous. I read once the desert is a dry place and alcohol dehydrates. I can hardly open my mouth. Some spent varmint climbed in getting out of the chilly desert night. Thought himself Teddy Roosevelt. Horrible flavor. Smacking sound effects with every sticky breath. My hangover needs some attention. I crawl out of the tent like I imagine our common ancestor Tad the pole did vaulting itself with a May pole out of the slime onto terra firmer. Morning drunk. It’s not as fun. Avoiding the stray batteries I beat a quick plumb line to the Jones picnic table still set up in all its gallon jug glory. I figure last night’s hospitality with stands. Searching my memory I can’t recollect drip dropping my water on them. Drip pouring equal amounts just a tad the pole turned south orange juice down my throat and front. I realize one thing. I have that goddamn feeling again. Everything is was and will not right in this world. Big deal it’s muted today by my hangover. About the moment the orange juice tinkles into my pubic hairs. I realize it’s more small picture than big today. I note that in all my haste to revive my saliva dispel of Teddy Roosevelt. Get out into the world I’m lacking the recommended parts. To make matters worse the campground is flat and a few crotch of dawn early risers look up from plates of scrambled eggs grits fried okra ketchup noticing my breakfast outfit. I’m naked and I’m trespassing one some other National Park revelers picnic table. It feels good. A regular hangover helper. I wave at one group of eggs and bacon Recreating Vehicle breakfasters. Looking down at my penis. All things considered it isn’t a bad size. No one ever mentioned it to me before. Call it public service. I go back to put on shorts. Campgrounds are like most places in America today pay establishments. Our economic bracket and Maggie’s issues of access precludes me from owning underwear. Supporting the Park Services and Ranger Ricky never crosses my open fly or mind. Maggie and I need to split before the toll booth worker comes for his pedage. By the time I walk the couple feet desert sand thousands of years old between my toes back to our piece of National Park. Thrashing about in the tent Maggie lies awake. She has horrible insomnia. Waking her up never happens. Maggie sits in bed often with her eyes closed thinking any societies guess. Maybe
-I should find a new man.
A rare desert morning not too hot or too cold. Naked weather actually. The sun glimmers in the sky like a fat orange in a salmon fish shop eating a lemon meringue pie. Nearly indistinguishable from sunset. Tossing everything into the Caveman we fast forward into breakfast.
-Honey you didn’t have to make me oat meal again.
We drive to the toilet area. I feel all used up burnt out smelling like day old sex hung over and don’t ask me why but I start by washing my feet in the handicap sink. All sinks should be this kind. I like the big roomy handicap gear. Sitting on one sink I put my feet in the brother sink. A scared hunch back elderly bone rack of a cowboy comes out of one the stalls. Flush. His whole cowboy get up stinks of Walmart. I hate that place and the Aging Parents at the Controls running it. Tufty little side burns and a mustache spun waxed like the tail of a white rat. A frame of compulsory tufty bushes of steel wool hair jutting out of deficient ear orifices. Instantly I dislike him plus the Aging process that I will have go through. I say
In my most educated Eastern accent I can muster so early in the day while watering my left foot. Walmart Cowboy does a poor imitation of Deputy Dawg. Pursing puffing looking at my bottom in one sink and my feet in another. I prepare for an aneurysm. Putting his two hands on his hips as if to say
-There’s only room for one of us in here buster.
I’ve studied psychology so I start laughing. Give Barbigerous the beard a tug. Looks to me like I got the sinks. No sink for Quasimodo. The water runs over my feet and splashes everywhere. So this is the old West a pissing match in Teddy Roosevelt’s ancient splintered toilet. With a huff and a substandard sigh he spins on his plastic cowboys boots. Walmart Cowboy crabs out of the toilet in search of a Ranger I’m sure. The Western can lick my feet. I don’t care as long as it’s a fetish. My crusty feet in a kind sink one. Walmart and the can’t say howdy Cowboy they sick on me and mine none. Dirt futures rising. I expedite the ducky scrub part of my morning and hop into the roomy handicap stall for the proverbial part two and if my convictions are correct to safety. No Bureaucrat ever attacks me while I sit on John. Bureaucrats fear bodily functions and Critics. Sitting in there straining. I’d love to do my business and be down the road. My pornographic Bone bug like snug in the buggering Caveman holding Maggie’s hand. But stress constipates me. It’s why so many Corporate Aging Parents at the Controls need laxatives. I’m thinking the whole while of Maggie next door on the women’s side talking to all the frosty Aging ladies. The older woman are probably calling her honey cheeks. Telling stories about this or that daughter her age. And me I’m pissing off a hunch back elderly Cowboy who can’t say howdy but who wants to wash his hands in a sink instead of a toilet bowl without having to reach over my toes to get the soap. Getting constipated doing it too. Without any more trauma I feed John. Even Critics like John need somebody to feed them. We jump cut to unadulterated Americana. Sitting out on the bumper of the Caveman puffing away on a butt doing my best James coughing coffin auto Dean meets Jiggling Garcia waiting for Maggie. Flesh flaps of a big bellied button nosed frosty the hostile snow Bureaucrat in wing tips penguins up to my smoky auto coughing bumper. This particular Ranger must be a washed up Soldier. Pressed sharp starched his uniform would give a civilian a rash. His crow black shoe polish hair looks synthetic slick a la Richard Nixon. A Waterdate? All puffed up jowling from raw Crisco plus an occasional foot long chili dog and gallon malt. His big lard lumped forehead hangs over two coal eyeballs that slam down locking on me. The Bureaucrat stops right in front of me and says
It brought me him. I wonder what it’s bringing next. Crisco Ranger all rippling with flesh beats me with a waft of his cologne. The dime store cologne must drive the lady Bureaucrats to distraction back at the Government Issued office. Chuckle chuckle chuckle all pressed and perfect flirting in front of the paper shredder document cutter
-Don’t you smell nice today?
I stop thinking about all the meat stop cocking his intestines long enough to start picaresquing my nose. It’s quite necessary after a night of drinking National Park reveling in the desert. All my facial hairs gather desert particles. His fingers fritter bug about at the sides of his legs. Nails chopped down to the quick. He stares. I say
-Haven’t you ever seen a man pick his nose? It’s rather common in this country. I’d say it’s an American hobby.
Maggie comes out the Women’s Room looking mop and glow shiny. A poster child for soap or diets. She startles him. He looks at her not my nose. Maggie starts chatting with Crisco Ranger.
-Nice day lovely temperature etc.
He starts talking. A story with a curious thread thin tail about how we’ve got to get along. Share crop. Liberal communal sound bites fall out his yap. This land is divided into carports and Recreating Vehicle ports and he’s beating a tired beat Hoss. I’m looking at his ears and nose and wondering if they really grew all his life or if he’s just a mutant. The little Walmart Cowboy might still get a leg up. I’m too busy being hung over to be anything else.
-There are fines for people who don’t abide by the rules.
Maggie interrupts with an accent half Boston half Houston.
-Well sir it sure was nice meeting you but me and Dusty gotta go fix breakfast back at the Wanna bagel for Ma and her new boa. Why don’t you drop by for some cat fish okra and such?
Maggie slides into her seat. I slide my Bone into the unforgiving driver’s seat and start grinding the starter out in the Caveman. After about the third grind the bastard turns over. I have to remember to leave him running. I don’t feel paranoid at all today. Leaving Hollywould and picking up this hangover in Death Valley relieves my stress. The Caveman and Contents bumps out of the Campground with Crisco Ranger standing next to Teddy Roosevelts Rough Toilet holding his hat while a plump orange eats a lemon yellow sun behind him. Death Valley spoils in severe hangover season. Las Vegas futures rising. We need shelter air conditioning buffets gambling keno all the creature comfortings. Las Vegas is like a wall in the desert it’s difficult to go East or West on the southern route without banging your head plus wallet off it. The few hours between Death Valley and Vegas are quiet family ones
-My stomach hurts.
-My Bone hurts.
-Do you want me to rub it?
-I have a headache.
-Why did you drink so much?
-It was free. Why did you?
And of course we watched television that stupid box with the rabbit ears on top growing up.
-Are we almost there?
-I have to pee.
-How much longer?
-Are we almost there?
Maggie knits and I drive and my Bone throbs killing me softly killing me like a bad refrain and that is all. Las Vegas isn’t what it used to be or should be. Maybe the lies are written on the money. Lights traffic smog dust cars Sceni Cruiser buses Recreating Vehicles friar trucks. We arrive only to get lost in the gridlock and sit in traffic for hours. It’s worse than Hollywould. Imagine that. The Caveman gets bitchy and stalls out a lot. We go from hotel to motel. They cry.
-Need not apply.
-Convention in town.
Finally we find a place on the strip that is cheap and has a tam flat cap sombrero. Some other culture head ornament drooping spinning at the end of a stick. Our first room has no air condition. The long line back at the desk huff puff gruffly
-May we have another room.
Luggage and stairs room number two. My hands writhe in a sink wringing hopelessly.
-Maggie there’s no water in this absurd desert oasis.
Luggage stairs and another stint in the line. Nobody in line at our hotel has decent teeth in their see ya later yappity yap trap but Maggie mine are chipped. Room number three. Air condition plus heat comes out of two opposite wall but alas there is water. I kick the dial off the heater. It stops. The glamour. The motel is a piece of sun dried dog shit. I mean Las Vegas history everything circa 1940. It’s a bad sign when every motel is full up but one. Choosers and beggars. We look up say toss down the ladder latter. Brown brown brown. The room pins the brown meter to the mat. The only redeeming quality of the Strip Dinosaur is a bed that eats quarters and creaks for more. Feeling a bit tuckered automated intercourse seems appropriate. After a day of heat and frustration sex fits in some cosmos lurching way. We scrap up a few quarters tossing them into the bed. With a lurch and a few grinding sounds the bed vibrates into a steady tick. I feel as if I’ve developed a rather insidious nervous tick. The one I tried to cultivate comes to fruition. The bed squeaks grinding ticks. I try to make the best of it having driven for hours and worked so hard to find this Jimmying the bed. Jimmying the bed ticks like a bastard. I’m ticking right along with him. Maggie rides up top and she isn’t ticking as badly. Dirt the washer. It’s making my hangover hurt full body. My Bone doesn’t like the competition. Chip the microchip on my shoulder digs up girlfriends and bad sex of X mas Past. And I don’t know what to say or do because Maggie seems to be having fun. Considering faking an orgasm to end this mechanical absurdity. I’m getting paranoid again. I think the Aging Parents at the Control are getting even into my sex life. The ticking drives me almost mad. This is the worst sex ever had. I’m convinced that all nervous ticks originate in this Jimmying the bed. And finally I’m saved Maggie says
-I’m ticking it makes me nervous. Let’s try the floor.
We sleep for a few hours until the stale smoke smell of the hotel room wakes us up. Crank Singopera probably smoked in this room when he was a
-Sing sing attar boy you’ll be a big blue star.
I’ve got a lot of whisker dread locking into nose hairs to filter the historical air. I can’t understand how anyone less plane full of noise hairs could deal. I cry
-Light a match or smoke Pot the pipe.
Pot the pipe to the rescue. We dress in the strangest costumes we can muster. I put on Maggie’s only dress. The all poor persons united one. She puts her hair in a pig Hoss pony wild boar tail at the very top of her head. A brown fountain of dead end split sprouts. She cranks a Fortinbras under wire bra up. Sending her breasts under chin. I say
-My god Maggie.
-It’s like sculpy.
A little hooker fire engine red lip stick for each of us and we’re out prancing down The Strip. The first need is food. We head to the cheapest if you tip us we won’t tell anyone you eat here hotel. In Las Vegas it’s Circus Circus. Maggie and I stand bitching in line like all the other people acting out some little cattle wagon sheep parade charade until after no small amount of patience we find ourselves at the head of a buffet line. I expect to find Bunter S. Thompson cutting the cheese. Disappointed I pick up two large plates that look like Cadillac hub caps. We slosh down the line. I toss salad fruit pasta ham beef chicken cake ice cream on my hub cap. This whole Vegas sin business mentality climbed up my butt. It likes me. The bastard. I don’t eat half the sloppy shit I throw on my hub-cap.
-Dirt what are you doing?
-This is Vegas it’s all paid for. Fuck it Maggie.
About the time I put the soft swerve ice cream on top of my spam it looks grade end of the alphabet but edible burger I decide to try to eat my creation. Maggie glances around for a seat and her hub cap looks as bad as mine except she takes all the cherry tomatoes out of the salad bar. Cherry tomatoes the kind that roll off a plate. The salad guy glares at her in a hub bub over Maggie’s hub cap and the tomato trail behind her. Maggie looks right at him and says
-Haven’t you ever seen a fat girl eat tomatoes?
-A thousand times a day this is Circus Circus.
We find seats. I spoon with one hand and fork with the other. Any fool can eat with a spoon. Toss the goodies down the see ya yappity yap trap.
-I feel like a fucking barbarian Maggie.
-Check. As long as I’ve know you. You’ve always looked like one.
Everything tastes the same. No flavor. No special. No different. My stomach hurts like hell. All I ate in days was oatmeal. Billfed the bastard said it was good for me. He ruined my stomach after a week of it. I gnash down five kinds of meat with desert on top. I even forget I’m one of those fake
-I only eat chicken fish and hamburgers when I feel like it
Vegetarians. Really I’m sort of anemic. About half way through my hub cap Maggie turns an olive oil shade of bile green. Looking at her makes me want to boot. Looking at my hub cap makes me want to boot. Lovely combination. She says
-Let’s get out of here before I boot on one of these people.
Both of us struggle up fighting off our own private stomach archfiend demons. Vomiting seems almost enviable but we make it through the cash Casino machine hustle bustle out onto the street. Stuffed like a Thanksgiving bird. I feel stuffing in my throat. Sitting outside on a bench we gather ourselves mending preparing for our next step of this foray into the arm pit foxy sexy glamorous crotch hole of Vegas. Maggie and I start chain smoking. It’s a foul stupid forefather’s American habit but it gives you something to do. More important I don’t feel as full after eating like Caesar when I smoke. The orange sun sets spitting a splitting lemon open. Dripping yellow orange salmon reflexible rays down over Vegas. In its own sick twisting way the light refracts off those glass gambling mega perplexes and it looks beautiful in the desert sky. It pains me to see those ugly orphan sons of a Sears Tower refract and enhance. No create beauty. I want to punish those architects. A zenith flaps in like a helicopter beetle as the lights blink up on the entire strip. My world view is spared skewered served up hub cap buffet style with a delicious apple in the yap trap. More trivial light bulbs than stars in the sky blink to motion. A freeway of light winks out on the strip. Las Vegas sin busy busy sin business. Right hand turn signals and left hand turns signal independently and at the same time.
-Turn right turn left.
-Do both now in our casino.
And over the top.
-Hazard hazard hazard.
A city mile in America blinks hazard into the night. I say
-Maggie the end of the
I’m suddenly ashamed tickled by my own sudden ignorance I can’t finish. Glum faced like a chauvinist Chaucer creation bitching about the end of the world on the crotch of the crotchety Canterbury crocheted trail. I watch road flares street candles caution signs breakdowns real stop lights turn green. Emergency vehicles siren up down the strip. Big boxy Charon pickup trucks burn rubber up and down that bull yard. Automotive Minotaurs like the Caveman running on leaded fossil gas. Bumpers tied dangling barely hanging on with wire. Pawn Shops switch from the day gear to the night shift. More lights grind up to action. And I’m looking for a sign. One high roller looking guy. A sheik from a faraway land. Anything. A pair of dice in one jewel laden hand. Anyone that looks plus has the right Corporate approved recommended parts. Too many goddamn kids in this town. Americans pack their children off to Vegas in brown paper sacks about the time they learn to walk teaching them the slots plus craps. The strips toothless lifeless hopeless degenerative like any other city I’ve sat on the sidewalk getting dirty and sooty doing nothing but scratching down below like Grendel thinking. I should be drinking. After about one hour of just sitting being old Aging pain in the Hoss rump grumpy watching people go by. Gathering pamphlets on all the strip joints prostitution houses and not saying much we decide to try our hands at gambling. Clink clink clink win big. Waterfalls of money pee out of these Slot the machines. The Circus Circus clown is our friend. We need the real Vegas experience and losing money is probably the most real thing going on. All the mega perplexes and attraction weren’t built on the money that went home in chubby fingers on saggy Sceni Tour buses. Maggie cashes in ten bucks into nickels for each of us. We pick our Slot the machine and start pumping coins into the machines. Free drinks into ourselves. One nickel for Slot and
-Pardon me. I’m a high roller may I have another Rusty Nail. Take a nickel for your trouble. Hold the cock just give me the tail on the rocks.
I’m partial to waspy cocktail drinks. The clanging of coins goes on all around me. I can’t stand it. I hear money piss out of other peoples machines. My machine may never shine. Coin after coin I feed my machine more and more good money over bad. Impatience washes over. Goddamn I want to win and now. Got the greediest archfiend demon on my back. Standing playing two machines at once. Filling them to the maximum load. Five nickels with fore fathers with funny hair at a time. I’d play a third Slot the gamy machine with my Bone or Chip if I could. I fume mad shaking like Dido the Venice Beach Fido. I deserve to win. My Slot does me wrong. Maggie sits down nine stools from me and her Slot does her a little better. Her belly hangs over her jeans like a breakfast bun hot crossed ready to eat. Maggie gets a couple hits here there nothing special. She has I guess about ten bucks still. I’m down to about two. Slot turns me upside down. I could swallow all of Las Vegas in one bite with my greed. Run naked in the forests of Salem with witches and eat children like in those Hollywould movies. I’m spilling my Rusty Nail I’m so distraught. And this little old lady with a World News under her arm takes a seat near me. She says
That one word brings me back on the barbed hook hinge. The thought of eating a sniffling snotty prop child that smells Baby Fresh or like diapers in front of producers directors all those jerks no longer appeals to me. I want my ten bones back. Hold the black magic. Maybe I’ll eat the Hollywould jerks after I get my ten bones back. The lady wears a nice uncle polio aunt ester red two piece suit adorned with a neck lace made out of fake fool gold coins on top of a fluffy white blouse. She pulls out two cigarettes about six inches long each and offers me one. Hands me one with her Slot hand wrapped up in rosary beads. She proffers
-They last a long time.
I take one. Light mine then light hers. A regular gentleman. Start the jaw breaking activity of trying to get a singular drag. After about two drags I feel like I’ve been smiling for hours. Happy or funny cigarettes. Her white hair curls nice perm blue white. She plays the Slots with no emotion at all. A pro. She pulls Slot to have a nice drink plus chat. Orders a Tom Colons in a tall glass. She says
-You’re playing a good Slot it’s ready for a payoff.
And as an aside.
-I have a grandson who’s a little queer and looks like you if you know what I mean. He wears dresses and feeds pigeons on the Boston Commons.
I’m impressed. The old lady from Boston still calls them after years of bath tub gin Slots foot long cigarettes and trashy newspapers.
-Does your grandson smell as bad as me?
I respond. With a twinkle tinkle oh let me tell thee the ways I love thee look in my eyes. And off on the horizon I see her response hurtling at me like the wide body plane that brought her from bean town. She says.
She pulls Slot the one arm bandit. Says
-My name is Nell. What’s yours?
-My name is Dirt.
-Yours does to.
Nanna Nell and I share a polite chuckle. Hers more polite. The two of us sit there. Pump the Slot south. Spill bad bar liquor down our chins. Maggie abandons the promise of the win big. Standing behind me she rubs Chip the microchip on my shoulder. Maggie switches to beers. Crossing the line becoming a paying for alcohol non playing customer. I dig a handful or coins out of her plastic cup as that sinking feeling takes me over again. Salem witches the lousiest Slot in a tourist town. More nickels. Another Rusty Nail no tip this time. I’m pissed. Drunk plus angry. All nickels belong to Slot. Tinkle twinkle a hundred nickels clatter down into the trough. Profit and loss. Phlebas the Phoenician gambling tonight. Greed tears my skin off. One bone rack bearded tall drink of water pumping Slot the sea sloth. And the unthinkable occurs. Bar bar bar. Sixteen hundred pewter nickels pour out of one of my mechanical sea urchins one at a time. As if some Las Vegas god deigned it time for an oil change. Molten metal pours out. Nanna Nell says
-I told you so.
The sound clatters sheer beauty. People gathering around us. Maggie and I hop together a veritable bunny hop. She reaches up my dress squeezing. I’m getting excited. I grab her back. She grabbed me first. We crotch dance to the sound of nickels falling. People look at us funny. They should. Stopping only to put our hands under the fountain of body temperature nickels. These nickels come from the guts of Vegas hot pewter sooty. My hands turn black from playing in the slot trough. We rub each other with the grim from the guts of this town. The cocktail waitress comes by with another Rusty Nail for me and a few cups for the nickels. I give her two handfuls of coins trying to make up for my curmudgeon behavior. Slot the lovely little pervert stops peeing nickels. The crowd dissipates. I won big. I’ve got to go to Did Me Land. Instead I call my Dad.
-Collect call from Dirt do you accept?
-Dad it’s me. I won big.
-Yes I accept. Dirt your dad’s not here he’s in Florida.
Some strange young female voice that says my name with hesitation is on the other end.
-Okay well tell him I’m in Vegas. And I won big.
-I will. He told me to tell you to take your vitamins if you called.
-Tell the Old Guy I’m snarfing my vitamins.
I hang up all mixed up too embarrassed to admit to some strange girl I don’t have my own fathers telephone number in Florida. He doesn’t give it out. I knew it once but my head isn’t for numbers. Mum with the sums. Florida is where my dad goes to get away from his family life part two the sequel. Don’t feel bad I missed the first one too. He stays in one of those fake we wish we were very stiff upper lip communities that everybody has a two car garage and a golf cart. He likes it because when members go walking the maintenance guys or the lawn mowing dudes hide behind the shrubs. It’s very exclusive that way. Nobody knows who mows the lawn. Everybody calls my dad Mr. Rhodes and the only time I went there everybody especially the security called me at least five times day
-May I help you.
Maggie looks at me with that I told you so may I help you look as I hang the phone up. Bitching about Parents is too competitive today. Kids with divorced Parents or broken it wasn’t broken until one family member stood up on a kitchen chair and shrieked like a mouse
are pissed off competitive people plain and simple. We are pissed off because we never had anyone to teach us or show us things. I’m lucky I was a bookie bastard. I learned most everything I know from books. Some poor bastards learned most everything they know from television a couple of those tubes have tuberculosis don’t touch. Kids of divorced Parents get pissed off because everything else we learned by doing. And when you do things for the first time by yourself with nobody to steer you away from the dragons with ray guns you get your ass kicked. In other words you look in the mirror and you see a fuck up staring right back at you. Like the Caveman I get pissed off all the time fixing him because nobody ever showed me anything. I learned it all in a book. There have been times when I wanted to call the Old Guy and say
-Daedalus get your Old Guy by the sea ass off the beach. Come help me. It’s your fault I can’t get the fucking Icarus water pump back into the Caveman. It’s even predestine that I drown in vile bile green coolant trying.
If I did that I’d definitely end up in front of a shrinky shrinky talking about Jeep parts. Free Freud fraud from. Not by the hair of Barbigerous the beard fuzz chin. Anyway my father is mechanically inept. Just a theory. Not water pump tight. I consider myself lucky. Some kids have only a Sally Blond Bomber Meat Heads wife for a Parent. Imagine that. I’d drive the Caveman into a Canyon if my mom was a blathering blond bomber married to a fictional character with a silly name like Meat. I’d eat them both. Toss them down. Blathering on the television and comparing me to a coffee in a Styrofoam cup. I’d rather live in a muddy ditch with my dignity plus Maggie and what the hell throw the Caveman on top of us too. Than be equal to a cup of weak coffee with fake cream fake sugar in a Styrofoam cup three hundred and sixty five days a year. My first choice if I even have a choice is still to eat them. Maggie grabs my hand and tugs me and my booty over to the Cashier Booth. Smiles from our tails to our ears like the Circus smirking Circe clown out front. All tallied we walk out onto the strip with seventy bucks that belongs to someone else. Somewhere in Nevada a man or woman or child returns home to the trailer park.
-Honey I lost seventy bones.
-At least the trailer’s paid for.
The wheel spins a fate and injustice yarn. A big fat red sweater to go over the globe. My head is stuck in the arm hole right about now. Some think of it as an armpit. Call it a nook. Maggie wants to check into a bar for the rest of the night. I’m blathering from Rusty Nails the idea sounds brilliant. Digging through a coupon book Maggie looks for some drink coupons. Coupons are reflexible. We refract them right back. I slip like a bad transmission down the boulevard to the very cusp of raunch. The distinct line on the strip there after the scene just gets sorry. We stop at the last outpost with a stitch fibril fibula of dignity. Anyway they serve fresh brewed beers and take coupons. Anything with a semblance of water would be appreciated. I tossed back a pail of Rusty Nails and can’t remember my last pee. That Walmart Quasimodo Cowboy must have put a curse on me. I haven’t had any pleasure in a bathroom since the pissing match in Teddy Roosevelt’s ancient Rough Hide toilet. Las Vegas is the greatest free associate that ever existed. Every hotel or casino has an associative gimmick. They make connections like clowns and gambling take Circus Circe for example or white tigers and gambling and Caesar and gambling and movies and gambling. You get the idea any shit plus gambling. The astonishing part is nobody complains. I’m pretty opened minded but opening the door to a Cows Casino Fresh Brewed Beer Bar I feel a little uneasy queasy. The association limerick gimmick of beer and cows is foul.
-I’ll have a teat wheat beer or maybe a second stomach stout or I’d rather just let the House decide you seem to have excellent taste.
Somewhere in between my first and my second stomach stout I fall asleep. A stout out. I’d like to think it is a self-defense mechanism. Maggie says
-You can’t hold your beers.
About the time when the tiny hours start Aging I open up the eye balls. Slobbering drool sleep sobering on Mary and Joes humble Cow Bar in Las Vegas. Maggie makes friends with the cowbar tender. I dream about Slot Salem dancing unhinged in the forest and over the top my dream sound track rings the clatter of coins. Pewter nickels with fore fathers with funny hair on both sides raining on a tin roof shack. Only in America. Las Vegas is one place you get respect for passing out and not taking sorry Sir Drunk A Lot out of the bar. When I wake up a free second stomach stout sits right in front of me. I say to it
Maggie makes lots of friends when I pass out in bars. I’m quite the conversation piece.
-Does he belong to you?
-What’s a nice girl doing with such a low life hairy drooling drunk punk?
Taking a drunk out with you can be good for the social or sex life. If you can tolerate the forty thieves with one liners. I open my eyes for the second time. This time I’m getting up. I say
-The nickels pissed out hot sooty by the thousands.
I tell my big fish story to all Maggie’s new men friends. They leave us alone. We drink our beers. Then bid the cow a reverse howdy. On the long walk back up the strip we look for a suitable place to have sex. Maggie ties her booties together in a make shift necklace putting them around her neck. She walks in wool hiking socks. I hike my dress up. My hairy black legs cool in the breeze. The latest free associate mega perplex on the strip is a country Western and gaming. What took so long? A few buggies stage coaches wagons are bolted down in front of the as of yet virgin birthed casino. I say
-Yahoo yip stoop low coop.
I fall into the stage coach. Maggie pulls my dress over my head. Taking advantage of the high roller in a dress. Stage coaches cows beers clowns slots Sceni Cruiser buses zooming by on the strip hub cap buffets the ghosts of singers writers criminals swirling in the balmy desert Santa Ana winds and the stage coach starts creaking. The creaking is very aged. Some dust comes up off the coach floor. It smells organic like the desert after a rain shower but smells like cement powder and steel wool too. Kit Carson probably got his rocks off in this cart with his Hoss. Then a flash light shines on the bare bottom of Maggie. Her pale flesh looks magnificent. Sitting on top belly in the breeze. The light stops on my face. It’s not Mr. Cop you late. I say
-I am fucking you.
-Maggie you know I’m talking to the rent a Cop.
-Ignore him he’ll go away. People like to watch sex on television. Not the real thing.
The light operator clicks the off button. This is altogether too juvenile like behavior to get caught at. We have the right to vote organize and this is how we spend our youth?
-That stage coach isn’t a toy.
-It’s a fuck toy.
Rent a Cop doesn’t hear her. He says
-It’s an antique. Get out of there you kids. I’m going to call the Cops.
He says in the driest most apathetic way. Rent a Cop has that Security Guard Professionalism. Every night this must happen. His footsteps flashlight lead the way heading off to some other duty. Maggie gets off me. She finds her cut offs. The apathetic voice and cop you late excites us. We hurry back to the hotel to finish. Our room overlooks the pool. It glistens looking other worldly even slightly clean. The pool needs a good thrashing. A late night naked swim meet. I love to swim race Maggie. Naked gives us better full body aerodynamic locomotion. In the darker corners lumps lounge on chairs. Homeless people sleeping on the lounges at our pool are ruining my sexual fantasies. Crumpled men and women in Hoover blankets under the desert sky. My first impulse is to make the management throw them out. Maggie and I could get naked maybe watch the fish sun snarf fruit while it rises. I’m loaded drunk and want to naked swim race. I don’t give a day old sun dried friar truck garden rainbow fuck for the homeless or dead Presidents. But I wouldn’t want to wake them up that would be mean. And my second and more stinging realization is we wasted dead Presidents on Old Blue Attar Eye Boyhood hotel room when we could have camped pool side with the homeless for free.
Chapter 3: Pa Canyon
The next day walks in the door unannounced. No knock. Nothing. She says
-Are you staying another day?
The maid stands over us swinging her key chain. The maid cart sits in the room too. Maybe she keeps it in here or thinks we work here. Somebody forgot to lock the door last night. I look up. Pull my beard thinking. It’s an uncomfry silence. I’m a little slow today. A cow sat on my head last night. I say
-We’re staying right here in this very brown baked potato bed until New Year’s didn’t you hear? Just wrap the brown skin foil up with us in it.
She backs off. Barbigerous the holy beard scares her off. I try to hide from her the new day another hangover in some undiscovered brown nook in Blue Eyes boyhood bed. The maid pushes her cart out the door. Maggie and I both play dead under the sheets. I say
-Are you in the living?
-No. Are you?
-Let’s not live. This is a democratic brown bed.
The door slams shut after the maid. Maggie gets up and starts combing her hair. It looks like Old Man Sand Bags combed it with a rock while she slept. Must have something to do with the way she styled it last night. Maggie gets a pout look like she thinks Old Man Sand Bags brushed her hair with a rock last night. She combs pulls tares hair out. Maggie pouts and gives up. Holding a big clump out at arm’s length she looks to me for sympathy. I say
-I’ll trade my straw for yours any day.
I roll over still searching for a brown nook in the rat’s nest of sheets. The damage we do to ourselves always hurts the most like hangovers. A big soupy steaming broth of self-pity real pain regret sloshes through the one third of the brain we use. Maggie makes some flop house breakfast. Large doses of instant coffee in flimsy transparent motel tooth brush plastic cups. Ironically served at the same temperature as the water running out of the tap with the red dot. She puts a plastic cup in my hand. I love this smoking Joe java even if it’s tepid. I slurp it down my throat and front. About the time the coffee that dripped down below gets cold. I decide to get up. Feed John the Critic. It’s a stormy day to be a toilet. The approximate shape size width of the Cape of Good
-we don’t hit them rocks.
Feeling eminent educated well-traveled lofty like flying a Dutchmen. I leave the maid the Critics tip. We bolt the last gritty chunk of our instant quick fix coffees. Stepping out into the world with bitter breath. The outside machine of Las Vegas owes us nothing. Worse wants to punish us for last night having run off with pewter and played in the antique fuck cart. The late morning desert light flat matte unforgiving like a fluorescent light bulb. We look like stick men built out of boiled blotches and lesions. Imagine that. Industrial banging clanging chatters through the neighborhood. Las Vegas is growing paunchier raunchier noisier from merry cans. The smell of diesel noxious toxic new pavement ferret farts in the air. Luggage and stairs breathing bad air we pack up the Caveman. I want to bite the bastard. He looks delicious like a red apple with a dusty coat of caramel on the balding tires. I could lick him from tail pipe to fender. Leaving the ring in the tub. Pulling the plug we run out of Vegas heading for water. Driving past one strip mall fast food Bacteria Box after another we arrive at the Las Vegas light bulb support system. The groovy Hoovey dam hot industrial clammy gridlocking with traffic. Millions of volts of alternating currency power buzz over our heads on power cables heading for Las Vegas and the inky blinky of Circe the Clown and his other bulb light arching fiends. We sit under these power lines perspiring golf balls hair balls utter out of focus perspiration in the eye balls getting hopelessly irradiated for hours. Maggie asks
-Why are you cupping your balls?
-I don’t want to father circuit the breaker.
-I don’t want you to father anything.
The Caveman navigates the dam like a good Old Spice up the nose of captain and photon. Breaking loose the gridlock releases the bumper to bonnet to tail pipe shameless perverse grip. Arizona welcomes us. The Caveman clicks away under our heels. Pistons pumping and propelling us into the hottest part of the day with no helter brown bed hotel skelter tent pole shelter for hundreds. Really less than that. But too many desert miles. Rusty nails cow stouts pour out of my bulbous pores. The Caveman is a mobile metal box sweat house.
-Maggie you smell bad.
-Dirt you’re mistaken. That would be you.
We rock to the music industry revolution du jour for hours. I think I’m getting hip. Maybe the micro Chip on my shoulder learned to dance. Chip is more of a recording star. My Bone throbs pulsating pornographic beats. Cars and Tonka Trucks from my childhood broom broom through a sand box long since land filled. As I pass a day in another truck a bigger sand box rushes past. Ticking clicking jimmying the Caveman gets us to the Ancient One. Arriving in the Grand Canyon is an enormous Death Valley gaseous sigh of relief. We run out of the Caveman to look over the edge. The Canyon pulls the breath out of us. Mountains of crumbles red rock rubble to expansive to comprehend. Cracks crags abound this enormous unfathomable red orange black ditch. Diesel Sceni Cruiser idle in parking lots belching smoke. Automobiles farting vile dinosaur gas. Hundreds of tourist all decked out in tourist regalia flock from buses cars Town House Sex Machines to the edge one button cameras video cameras dangling calling out to the age old
-Echo echo echo.
This gaping once great river howls back
-I’m old aged ancient elder.
Those words burn holes through the red white and blue. America is sprite and young. Pa Canyon howls
-Your life. Worse your countries entire history isn’t worth a squirt of piss next to my history.
Stupid crass crushed these tourist reel from the vertigo. It’s too shocking.
-Honey I can’t look over the edge it makes me dizzy.
This ancient ditch is un-American. Too old expansive manifest unfathomable. Fad diets the latest fashion the music revolution du jour being young your entire lifetime isn’t even a blink for Pa Canyon. Pa will laugh at your great grandchildren’s great grandchildren even if they are coach the nuclear roach. Pa Canyon doesn’t give a craggy red rock rubble. By the time he even notices people they’ll be gone. It’s an other worldly metropolis out there in that Canyon. An Alien Nation of Step watch your step you might fall to your death Castles. At the edge I scream
-Mendacity mendacity mendacity.
The Manifest red black Brick ditch calls back.
-Echo Spring echo spring echo spring.
-Are we going backpacking?
Maggie and I run back to the Caveman. I say
-Let’s go camp out there on a ventricle you know the heart of it.
-Just drive. Don’t gross me out.
-Maggie I’m not trying to be gross.
-Two can play that game. Mr. Testicle.
Mr. and Mrs. Testicle pull into the Visitor Center ventricle. Uncle Spam has got a tenuous hold on Pa Canyon. Uncle Spam gives us maps advice inaccurate weather reports and permission in the form of a back country permit to sleep out on Pa Canyons back.
-We want a back country permit.
A nice looking Ranger for a change says
-Sorry we’re all full up.
Blood pumps up from some deep vein with in me.
-Your telling me that whole fucking unfathomable Canyon is full of campers roasting weenies?
Now I’ve made a bad mistake. Bureaucrats hate the fuck word. But excuse me. I’ve been stuck to my seat in the Caveman all day. I got my balls radiated at the Hoover dam for more than three hours. Maggie doesn’t want to have my children. The ones I don’t want to have either. I’m sleeping under the stars with Pa Canyons craggy arms wrapped around me. The fuck I am. At the same time it pains me to admit it but registering with Uncle Spam is a good idea. However much I hate Bureaucrats I’m the first to call them in the night if something goes bumpety bump. If Pa Canyon gets ugly or Maggie or I stub a toe we’ll need those Bureaucrats to carry us out. Fly the hell cop tour can into the Canyon and medical evacuate us out. The fuck word has the opposite effect on this particular tentacle of the Federal Turnstile. He starts chuckling. He says
-No the Angel Trail is full. The one with the mules and water.
-No mules. No water. No weenies. We don’t want none of that. Do you hear me good?
He chuckles. The bastard chuckles a good laugh and somebody that pays taxes pays for it. He says
-You can go anyplace else. It just looks like you don’t have a clue. I’ll give you a back country permit for the Horse Shoe Mesa. There isn’t any water out there so bring a gallon a day per person and you better get started because it’s late as hell.
He hands us our passes and fields a question from a guy who starts off with a diatribe that goes like
-Now you listen to me Mr. Tough Guy Ranger. I pay my goddamn taxes every year. Every goddamn year. And when I come to the goddamn Grand Canyon I want
I’m anxious to hear what the Taxpayer has to say. But Maggie drags me out of the Visitor Center across the street into a Supermarket. The sun hangs low in the sky threatening to say good bye to us and eat a lemon red yellow salmon orange for a more Western people. We dash through the supermarket like mad chimney sweep moppets with our britches smoking on fire.
-You get the bread and cheese and I’ll get the wine.
Maggie buys wine with a cork. I hate that kind. I like the Hollow brand. Purple Popsicle flavor with the twist off top in the gallon jug. I buy orange cheddar cheese and Air Wonder why I’m still hungry after eating the whole loaf of Bread. The only thing lacking for our romantic foray onto Pa Canyons back are hold the fresh cut flowers. Buy a pack of generic butts. The Caveman hurries us to the trail head. We arrive at the overnight parking lot. Hang one of our back country permits from the windshield. Unpacking the Caveman we spill socks boots backpacking gear like an ash tray all over the parking lot. One night backpacking trips are the worst. Inevitably you march off with enough gear for an assault on Neverest. Packing our backpacks until they burst with Adam Ale and gear we begin the descent. Down down down of depth immeasurable. It feels like I’m carrying that cranky bastard Milton on my back. We head straight down for three miles. Boot eye full. My knees cry out in protest drowning the muted pornography of my Bone. Tasty views though. The pack could break my back in half. It’s so large it hangs over the top of my head. Despairing aching all last night’s excesses pursue me down that goat trail. And Pa Canyon snuffs out the last bit of refracted light from the blended fruit salmon sun. Digging through my pack I find my head lamp. Maggie and I hike with two head lights on our foreheads splashing candle power. Waxing all over the Canyon trail. We look like two motor bikes that learned to walk upright. In the dark we make better progress. Night brings a sense of immediacy to arrive. For most of the hike the only sounds breathing and the crushing of rocks beneath our boots. The hiking writes a new life for itself. I perspire the final alcoholic drops of Vegas. Walk all the monotony of the drive out of my bones and Bone. Mile two is a good one. Mile three has a chorus all its own. It goes something like
-Fuck fuck fuck.
My feet swell and friction makes hot spots and thoughts of blisters. The pack grows heavier. I’m despairing at how out of shape and what a sorry done that been there billy goat sad sack I’ve become. Worse I stop to smoke. Maggie says
-Dirt you’re not even fat like me. Share.
We reach the Horse Shoe Mesa and unpack our gear. Setting up the tent we look for signs of other people out on the mesa and find not a stick figure or stitch. Bright stars throw light onto the night. In a matter of minutes the tent is taut ready for Contents. The Mountain Man Stove spits out blue white gas spurting flame fire under a black soot stained tin pot. Moon shadows abound. Dance on the ground. Mysterious nooks from gray to black lurk. It’s quiet on Pa Canyons elder back. Craggy rocks and plummeting views but muffled by the night. Pa Canyon is fathomable at night. I can see as far as I can understand. The only ghouls of the night are ones Maggie and I create part moon shadows and part head lamp light. We eat an oatmeal each. A ritual. It’s not very green but I’d like to think of it as poor man pinch of roughage. We sit on the ground like prospectors spooning the goop and splashing red wine. A veritable advertising orgasm don’t forget the bottle of wine with your oatmeal. Maggie and I save the most sacred part for last. Chasing each other from seated positions an unwritten rule of the oatmeal ritual. Bouncing on our bottoms after each other wet oat meal on the ends of spoons. Wet oats dripping on the ancient crust of Pa Canyon.
-You eat it. It’s yours.
-No you eat it. Billfed says it’s good for just you.
Feeling elegant breakfasted we move to the final coarse course of rough age. Air Wonder and orange cheese sandwiches both from faraway lands. Trucked for days from the heartland of America to this extremely un-American trench. The cheese makers must be misanthropic. Some Corporation died this cheddar orange.
-Why is there orange cheese and no orange milk?
The sandwiches otherwise are quite unsporting. The fresh orange cheese from an orange cow near a Super Fund Sight touches off something very old in us. Old aged elder like Pa Canyon himself. We start glaring at each other like a clan questing for fire. Hot coals flame broiling a rocky stone age in the coming bothered. Pawing panting on an orange rock on a mesa named after a Hoss footwear in the midst of Pa Canyons Alien Nation of Step Castles. Orange cheese sandwiches in our bellies. I get an erection like the Bering Strait Land Bridge. Fantastic enchanting neigh theoretical. We tear shorts shirts off. Maggie and I sit naked except heavy leather hiking boots. Leave them for grip. Leaning back I look up in the sky like my Neanderthal cousins must have done. Maggie straddles me. The Chrome Magnum couple in action. Perfect coitus fresh air conditions. Pa Canyons sky is alive with a thousand planes flying overhead. Commercial air craft scurrying Corporate Americans in blue gray business half-life suits across the country envelope the night sky. A stewardess on at least one of those jumbo wide pig pot belly bodied planes pushes a cart of hot food wrapped in tin aluminum foil down the tight airplane aisle saying
-We have chicken grenades in a curry sauce tonight.
Business men toss back gin lemon tonics dry from the high sky altitude. Mothers sit with crying babies. Tiny baby ears puffed up from the elevation. All the pilots in their sharp parcel pilot uniforms mind the carefully chosen elevations from flight plans and say
-Ladies and gentle sperms we are flying at such and much an altitude if you look out your wind door you will catch a glimpse of the great American Grand Canyon.
Maggie and I slide through some antediluvian primordial primitive sex on Pa Canyons aged old elder ancient back as one plane after another passes in the sky. Maggie looks at me as I look at planes. We lay back on the rock post coitus watching planes go by overhead. Being naked in this great gutter this manifest ditch liberates but not so excites to keep us from going to bed in blue yellow tent lair. We climb into the tent leaving our clothes strewn about outside like crumpled rusty tin cans left by forty littering miners. I zip the door to the tent shut. I do door duty. First line of hairy defense. A warm cozy interior like Moby’s mouth. Inside the tent we recline on the Hoss shoe hard mesa floor listening. Our breath echoes with in the nylon walls of our shelter. Outside a light breeze pants. Pa Canyon sleeps his wind bristling the wall of the Canyon and our tent indifferently.
Chapter 4: Anubis
The sun howls disorienting down first shards of pre-dawn light. Our tent material paper thin gauze transparent. Maggie and I zip our sleeping bags shut. Sinking to the bottom. It’s hot damp stale down in the bottom of the bag. Sleep is a hopeless pursuit in this tent. Like sleeping on a filament inside a Las Vegas light bulb. We greet the new day in the same outfit we bid it good night leather hiking boots. Maggie and I scurry about collecting our clothes and belongings. Stuffing them into our packs we dismantle the tent. The oatmeal ritual of last night feels too close by. I’m flagging as an explorer. I make cold instant coffee in the canteen. John the Critic isn’t getting fed until I get hot coffee.
-I’ll take you out for breakfast Maggie if you hike fast.
-No. I’ll take you out for breakfast if you take me.
We pass the cold coffee around. Start packing our lives off the Hoss mesa naked like Adam and Eve on the expulsion hike. Maggie’s belly hangs over the stomach strap of her pack. Covers the buckle. My Bone feels glorious faint shards of sunlight warming the joint. We hike naked everything tanning with light hearts. Sowing no moss. Bearing no cross. Like two Hoss.
-Maggie this is just like Adam and Eve getting shit canned by God in the Garden of Eves applesauce pleasure den onto Pa Canyons craggy back.
-In case you forgot the weaker vessel carries all our heavy shit. And I wasn’t made from one of your scrawny ribs.
Maggie pokes at one of my ribs.
-Gods eyes. Maggie don’t holy bone poke.
About an hour into the hike I feel liberated for a half life time. My balls bouncing slapping crashing in more pornographic ways than the dirtiest of Hollywould minds imagine. The poor bastards. I’ll need stunt balls if I ever decide to be a porn star. Maggie hikes holding her breasts. The naked duo is pretty grumpy. I stop. Block the goat trail. I say real mean
-I never noticed your chest before. Stop holding your breasts when you hike so I can notice. It’s just like having a secretary.
Maggie looks at me angry eyebrows bowing crisscrossing. Maggie says
-That’s Administrative Assistant to you Mr. Testicle.
A mutual sigh of relief. Putting down our packs looking for some clothes that offer a crumb of support. The treatise against the tyranny of clothes is dashed naked on the ground. Freeing your chest ass down below doesn’t always free your thimble mind. If it did Hollywould be the freest place in the whole free world. We proceed back on the goat trail made for us by industrious Rangers in regulation hiking gear. Small comfort gaining. Hiking huffing puffing sweating. Yesterday’s descent becomes todays climb. Pa Canyon has the concept of backpacking ass backwards. The Canyon looks a giant stair steeple chase. A bevy of steps on an earthly excise excursus machine. One awful step after another after another. I cry out to the indifferent Pa Canyon.
-I want a goddamn people mover to get me off your unpleasant peasant eating craggily red black orange back.
The unfathomable crack is my nemesis. Minute after minute. Step after step we climb as if nightmare running. Kicking sheets and not finishing the meager three mile hike. About the time I’m contemplating faking an injury sending Maggie ahead to get Uncle Spam and the flying tin torte to evacuate me out. We get to the top of the trail the parking lot. Yesterday’s tourist were cloned in the night. An Alien Nation of tourists. Touring terrestrials with video cameras one button quick fix still cameras leaning over the edge reeling from the vertigo
-Honey the height of fashion. I can’t take it. It makes me dizzy.
Another group stands in front of a ledge. A man holds a camera
-Come on people now. Everybody move closer now. Smile with your brother. You look lovely now.
He moves his feet crouching his body even though he has a zoom lens. I hate people with labor saving devices that don’t know how to use them. The parking lot rumbles with out of tune engines. Belch burp gurgling spurts automotive gray cloud gaseous hideous dinosaur emissions. Incessant putrefaction. All the drivers look haggard in pilot parcel outfits peering at their watches.
-Back on the bus please ladies and gentle worms. Either you’re on the bus or off it. We’ve got a lot more tripping today.
A few dutiful tour company groupies march up to the bus. Some truly despicable touristas in sandalistas snap photos of Maggie and I as if we’re explorers.
-Would you two mind me taking a photo of you? I’m an amateur photographer since I retired from IBM.
A potbellied silver side burned khaki yellow golf shirt man asks us as we walk by. I say
-No not at all. We love hobbies.
Maggie gives me her worst fuck you look. I put my arm around Maggie like I own her. I push down on her pack too. Make her feel the weight of my affection. The kind of action most people regard as love. Camera man angles moving like his own personal zoom lens getting good and close on all the grit hair Barbigerous the beard belly of Maggie in his view finder. He tees up for the big shot. Maggie mumbles
-Five minutes of fame. Five fuck you Dirt. And fuck the fame. And stop pushing on my pack.
Camera man says
looking as if he’s being wedged. Holding the camera at his side like a golf club. Standing hunch backed confused like Quasimodo the Walmart Cowboy. I’m grumpy. Got my ray gun out. I say
-Maggie says everybody wants to be an artist.
He cracks a little smile. He says
-I’ve wanted to be a photographer my whole life.
I need some hot coffee and to feed John the Critic. I’m thinking in this uncomfortable silence. I say
-Like a fluffy rock star or easel Anubis Adams but instead they go work for IBM the Government you know the Corporation like you.
Camera man looks unhappy. I change my mind. I’d prefer to think of him as a bad photographer. I say
-I think I’ll go take a shit. And write my thoughts on the wall. What do you think?
Nothing but open yap trap. Better than a picture of us. I stroll off. This man probably knows more about everything. Microchips like Chip. Business half-life suits. Playing catch with grand blow your nose. But I didn’t ask to take a photo of him and instead take my zoom lens for a walk. Plus Maggie got mean. I’m ashamed and I need to take a shit. Lovely combination. Maggie walks quickly by me without looking at me. Maggie’s pissed. I’m pissed. Camera man’s pissed. Everybody has a bitch. We’re like a regular family. I look over my shoulder at Camera man. He turns walks away. At the Caveman Maggie and I unpack all the gear from our packs into the Jeep trying to avoid each other’s eyes. We toss everything in haphazardly with spite. I slide into the driver’s seat careful not to jar my Bone too unnecessarily. It throbs weaving bobs from the hike and the Camera man commotion. Wiggling I find a soft spot and slam my door. Maggie stands on the other side of the Caveman. I’m sure dragging ass thinking formulating detailing some Neverest size assault on me for that last out of sorts burst. She gets in the Jeep. I grind out the starter. Over the grinding Maggie says
-I hate you I hate you I hate you.
So many times that I’m repeating it to myself as in a trance. Not very well thought out but makes me feel bad.
-You’re such an asshole. I go to a movie with you and during the street scenes when some random people walk across the screen you scream background background background. Something those Hollywould jerks say when they want the extras to move. The people that make the movies? You scream the names of movies with the same plot. You finish the lines of the actors. You scream all kinds of nonsense until everybody in the theater is telling you to shut up. Only assholes yell in the theater. I hate going to movies with you. I’ll never go to another movie with you.
-Maggie I’m sorry I told him about my bowel movements. I was a dick to Anubis IBM easel Adams. I admit it. But the Hoe Tool put me in the same curious raging obscene humor that movies do. You’re not going to defend Hollywould.
-Holly would even do Art if he paid more.
Maggie says with a smile. Everything is improving a little. We both hate Hollywould films. All snobs door knobs brass pineapple knockers like us say they prefer the theater but can’t afford or never go. Actually I prefer the movies. I feel badly when I howl at live performers. I say
-Holly wouldn’t know Art if he pinched a log on her head. Wiped his smelly
-I hate you I hate you I hate you.
-Maggie do you hate me?
-Shut up and let me finish. When I first met you. You were funny mean and now your becoming crusty old Aging Parent just plain everyday mean. I don’t like the real mean.
-Call me Medusa Methuselah. Okay I’m sorry. You hurt my feelings. Barbarians have feelings too.
-Dirt don’t cry poor dog. I’m sorry too okay. Just don’t tell people your world view or that you need to shit.
That ends the conversation. Maggie smiles. We drive back into the heart of Uncle Spams hold on Pa Canyon. House Keeping. House Keeping is a euphemism. A place where you catch a crawling case of athlete’s foot. I roll the Caveman into House Keeping. Stab a spoon at the unkempt rusty bucket motoring apple cart. Unpacking the Caveman we spew his apples all over the parking lot. Dirty socks tooth brushes plastic bottles of motor oil beer cans books knitting needles wine bottles dirty pots cups caked with oat meal A trays over flowing with cigarette butts sweaty slabs of orange cheese rotten bananas all sorts of shapes and stuffs. Filing the good stuff back into the Caveman. Maggie and I then each go our separate ways into the male and female doors of House Keeping. A price for everything in America. House Keeping being no exception. One can buy a shower for some spare change. I drop three quarters ducky scrub the grime dirt of the desert away. Drying myself with a dirty tee shirts and putting on dirty clothes. Showering for me is more a psychological state of mind than an act of cleaning up. I always shower faster than Maggie because I do a very shoddy job with the soap. I feed the Critic. I flush too. I don’t think enough free toilets exist in this country. Whenever I find one I keep it free. I’m out front of the Piss House thinking about the scathing case of athlete’s foot I either left or just got. Tinkering under the hood of the Caveman. Turning a screw here there feeling like Henry James only I’m dinking with a carburetor. This guy says
Looking under the hood he pokes his face in to see what I’m up to.
-This aged rattle trap?
Anyone who refers to the Caveman as a Truck is a man’s man. I always get a little nervous when I hear the Truck word. I think he’ll immediately invite me to go fly fishing hunting. Start a conversation about his repressed sexuality while he’s gutting an animal. Or refer to his penis by a proper name like Senator or Lawyer.
I’d like to say
-Thank some gear in Detroit who’s probably been laid off
But the Caveman is a vain thing. Truck Man says
-I’ve been looking to buy one myself what year is it?
-1974 it runs good but you need to work on it a lot.
Men’s men love to say or hear a car runs good. Look in the want ads.
-How many miles.
-Getting up around two dead Presidents.
-What are you doing to the carburetor?
-Adjusting this idle screw.
That sort of amicable Jeep fare.
-Where you going?
Truck Man gets a lie.
-Out West to Hollywould.
-Bad place to live be careful.
-What do you do?
-I’m a border guard in Arizona.
Dink dink dink under the hood.
-It’s a tough job. Everybody wants to get into this country. We aren’t the melting pot any more. I keep America for Americans if you know what I mean. Well nice Truck and good luck.
-I hope you find one. Give the pot a stir for me. I love stirring the pot.
He doesn’t get the joke. Truck Man walks off. Then drives off in a Recreating Vehicle. And I’ve got the Caveman idling a little better from turning a screw. We drive away from Pa Canyon on Uncle Spams black top road. We stop at a diner or really Corporate Americas response to the family owned diner. A chain of waffle diners. Need some coffee in my bucket. I like family owned. I hate Corporate. I hate that some forms of prostitution are open and legal too. Some of those girls are only eight plus ten. Imagine that. Constitutionally protected prostitution. People say
-They’re better off on their backs.
Senators Lawyers Trucker men who are fathers brothers husbands lovers getting on top of sum other persons kid. When they should be home raising their own. Saying to the kid
-Don’t go prostitute yourself.
Let’s sit down have a beer and vote real civilized. Sorry too young no beer. Worse no vote. Poker face gets angry. Everybody stay put. Don’t anybody move Dirt’s naked. Whipped out a gun. One mean looking tall hanging over bearded long hairdo red eye balls popping drink of water tower bastard. Got a potato shaped ass halting fully auto mating imported manual labor saving rifle. Prostitutes on the bottom. Aging prostates heads of state at the Controls on the top. Don’t change anything while I think a spell. Buff the bluing on the gun. Just legalize drugs for me. Give me and mine my stuff. I’ll leave your stuff alone. Everybody just needs stuff. No give me a minute. No apologies. I’m changing my mind. Both of you guys give me a head ache. No that won’t make me feel any better. Don’t anybody poke while I think. Cast another grind my axe a spell. I not only. I will. I want to contradict myself so badly it’s going to hurt you. I really don’t want the drugs. Drugs are overrated. I want something else. Something different special better. I change my mind again. Don’t you just hate me for being naked fickle and having a gun shaped like a potato? I want enough jet fuel to space shuttle this whore house to some other foreign Nation. You wish. I want to take what you got Aging Parents in your hands. Not the girlies. Coming for the Controls. Can’t help myself. Born bred hand it over to me you know the drill it’s part of being an Aging American. Getting pay back kicked take your watch be gone piss off smacked in the ass by the door on the way out to the spare parts no Zen pasture. Hurry up step lightly I’m late. Working whore for the Corporation. Constitutionally protected Controls too. Everything is Corporate today even the Baconian bacon eggs extra crispy hash brown potatoes. Pounds of potatoes sizzle on a flat metal grills. Fried egg smells in the air. Enormous vats of jet black motor oil coffee piston percolating. Coating the air with roasting java beans. We slump down in a booth tired from hiking. We order two Trucker Specials. Eggs waffles toast double orders of home extra crispy fries each. Maggie says
-Where’s my orange juice that fucking bitch is taking too long.
As I look on with my friend astonishment.
-Maggie you’re getting too mean from being around me.
My words coming out of Maggie’s mouth sound ugly. Maybe my words are ugly period. The fucking bitch who makes less than normal minimum wage as Maggie calls her brings us our Trucker Delight. She droops flopping out of a uniform designed for a woman half her age half her size. A designer for the Breakfast Bacteria Box with a Sequoia woody in his pocket designed the uniform with the movie Greased or some other trashy fifties film in mind. Thinking he would have an Umpire of big chest small waist busing wrist candy stripped girls serving eggs Nationwide and all for waitress minimum wage gave him the enchanting erect it the breakfast boxes son. Instead of Robot Babes he got women with anatomy like the woman sitting next to you on a bus in any major American city or your next door neighbor. Maggie and I sit in the booth in the pre-fabricated diner eating our eggs with ketchup lodging bits of bacon in the corners of our mouths tossing back one jumping Joe I love this caffeine in my cup coffee after another.
-Here comes the guy who always leaves a ten dollar tip.
One of the waitresses calls out to the other candy stripped workers and to the diner at large. Ten dollars still buys a lot of hash or hearts in America. The guy opens the door to the diner and walks in. Wearing a bountiful array of seamy formal attire looking like a Great Dane in clothes. A wide tie with an asymmetrical Windsor knot. Corduroys that have long since lost their stiffness an IBM white shirt and blue blazer. A verifiable Willie Hoe Man maybe even an Electron hoax salesman.
One of the waitress calls out.
-Good morning ladies.
Willie Hoe Man calls back. Acting regal. An Edmund Spencer of this prefabricated track housing coffee box. Willie Ho Ho Ho. A ten dollar Santa Claus. Jerking the poetic. Hoe Man says
-Don’t you ladies look nice today?
-How fucking original.
As Hoe Man sits down at the counter top seating area with impotence. Ten dollars ten dollars ten dollars. Willies waitress scampers like a Fraerie Queen on Hoss back galloping to the coffee urn turning. Trotting back with a fresh pot. She whinnies
-Here’s some fresh coffee. I just made it special.
Wink wink wink. Maggie lights a cigarette puffing away looking like a queen fish herself big belly edible happy. About the time Willie Hoe Mans plate of grits hash okra other alabaster trash delicatessens touch down like a football on the counter we have paid. Walking out the door. I put the Caveman back on the highway. Driving down the duvetyn we pass Breakfast Bacteria Boxes at nearly every Gas Food Lodging Exit. I’m wondering if each Exit has its own Willie Hoe Man. Ten dollars ten dollars ten dollars. It still buys a lot. Pa Canyon is the only worthwhile bit of this whole state. Trailer parks strip malls Fat Donald’s one Corporate out post after another. Every hundred miles in this insanely inhospitable land all desert and scrub. A few acres of the heart of degenerative American culture camps crouching down out of the wind.
-Next exit Bacteria Box Calmart Fat Donald’s Burger Ring Home Pee Pot Lost Co. Chuckie Cheesed Himself come and get the Corporate Crap
Corporate folk don’t use the shit word. They have to be careful what language they use. Corporate America doesn’t like to feed John the Critic. Their motto is
-Never give the enemy fodder. If we stay quiet the enemy will just go away.
Those turtle clumps of shit closed the last frontier when they stretched chubby mitts across the country. No adventure. No local color left. Nothing but interstate commerce. Every body mother sister brother work for an Umpire. The Umpire came to town in his striped suit uniform. Scared all the kids. Then said to all the small business people with families
-You’re outta here.
-You’re outta here.
That went on for some time until the Umpire went back to the board room to conspire with the other Umpires. Nothing but Umpires chatting. Soft sweet so no Court or Lawyer eating chicken could hear Big Deal Umpire. He said
-Price them outta there.
The only identities the people have at these different Corporate Umpires is accents. Words. Television will destroy that. We’ll all speak Midwestern American like libel fibril the media isn’t liberal it’s a self-aggrandizing myth like Pucker
-Yes Sir Mister Pip we won’t press you because you dent. I say Hail President Pip. Good night from wash and wear. I’m Pucker Jaggers.
His Patronizing Propaganda Nightly Spew May Shine soon enough. Moonshine. People drink it up like the chains. All the same. Poor they make. Boo hoo. Poor they pay. If they start serving low salt Veggie burgers I’ll leave them alone. Maggie and I rock out in the Caveman to some corporate rock that is making crass crabby executive droppings off the pear tree in Hollywould bloat.
-Did you hear such and such alterna rocker can’t get out of bed like the great tragic Greek God hisself Helvis.
One execupear says to another pewfellow over shark him dim flambe in a fancy restaurant in a trendy part of Hollywould. Holly would do both of them plus the shark at the same time.
-Would you gentleman like anymore Evian.
A waiter asks thinking about jobs he’d rather have than this one. Pouring Adam Ale from the French Alps for tallow treadle pear shaped petti chaps who swim in a lush flush bowl. Super pears that swing on hanging rope ladders. Common anatomy of any male mammal bladder. Yet they profess
-I’m a swinging dick.
The Hollywould execupears with their peculiar pecunious designer rebel tatters. Cropped wanna be Spellblender barbigerous and their Hollywould loves it’s poodle hair. Pecary pecavi pubigerous. Legal constitutionally protected Las Vegas prostitution fantasies trebling through their Lilliputian
-Lilly stop playing with your
minds. Speaking car talk
-I didn’t have to hear. The president of his label. The lucky pear drives a Rolls convertible.
He stuffs a foul mouth full of escargots sun dried Tom toes pettitoes shark din suit flambe. The execupears slop yaps air hair ball gnashing as the pedage traffic of Hollywould eddies raw like sea Wagner waddle by the rest raunch. Lexus after Rolls Royce congest Sun Setting Boulevard. Insatiable over size S.A.G. gas tanks full of fossil fuel ideals. The Hollywould sign hangs over Holly whispering
-Give me your young your talented your best brightest. I’ll doink them steal their half wrot ideas. No make them Robot Babes.
Maggie knits smoking looking sort of content. She must have decided today is a smoking day. Smoking knitting like a factory for hours. An industrial revolution in the passenger seat solemn ten thousand Buddha like.
-Maggie are you okay.
I ask the Caveman shimming jimmying cricking ticking like a bed that eats quarters down the Arizona highway.
-I’m sad today.
This is bad. Mutiny lurks around the next bend I fear. Today is a driving day which means we drive all day until we think we’re going to commit hare care with a spoon. Then we drive more until we cry boo hoo life is hard I have no suitable spoon.
-Maggie it’s too early to be sad we haven’t gotten to Texas yet.
Maggie smiles a little dip of a smile. A polite response to my joke. Outside organ pipe cactus litter the landscape looking expressionless punctured with holes as if some ruddy necky cheeky nosy all body parts in a tizzy bastards drove up and down the highway with a shotgun firing holes in them.
-What we gonna do tonight?
-Same as last night.
-Okay but you gotta buys the shot gun shells.
-Nope. It’s your turn.
-We ain’t going less you buys.
The desert is punctuated with a few mountains craggy proud distant squat relatives of Pa Canyon. Trailer parks sit at the sides of the highway like Cro Magus ancestors. No thumb hitchhikers. Hoping to get picked up brought to some place more populated or hoping the city comes to them or happy to be where they are. I speculate that’s what the American West is for. Not just Arizona. Hundreds of miles of nearly unpopulated landscape yet little colonies of trailer homes cling to the side of the highway like a barnacle carbuncling a rock. Modern day Jamestowns. Natural impulse or madness to live out in the country next to a highway? Trucks fly by with loose loads clanking in the night destroying dreams in those skin thin walls of the trailers. Buses plus even the Caveman leaving gray cloud Jeep fart emissions. Disdainful comments in the air
-Look at all these fucking trailers Maggie. Maybe we should pull over rent one. Procreate out here.
-We can have a whole bushel of kids all named Dirt. Little ragamuffins half naked around the trailer. Our Parents can drop the Controls and come visit us.
-I want to have so many kids that when I come home at night from my job at the Nuclear Power Plant or the Prison System a whole gaggle of them will surround me clinging to my hairy knee caps. I’ll look down at one that looks ever so slightly like the plumber who fixed the toilet a few times a couple years back and say which one are you? What’s your name son? There’s so many of you I can’t remember which one is which. It’ll be great Maggie.
I’m ecstatic at the prospects.
-We’ll join the Moral we’re all better than the crass Majority. I’ll work hard to get ahead at the Prison System or Nuclear Power Plant. We’ll vote for all nuclear power issues and call people with long hair from places like Manhattan communisses. Except of course pot smoking stereo pony tail Comfry Musicians. We’ll campaign vote for the death penalty. Maybe if I work real hard in the prison system I’ll get to throw the switch when they over easy fry someone. You’ll be at home with the bushel of children of questionable squiring. Kids everywhere in the trailer with all the power appliances labor saving American devices blender can opener microwave toaster oven juicer all unplugged. Maggie you’ll be sitting by a votive candle like a Pilgrim. A modern day Abigail White fresh out of the fishy wish hold of the Mayflower so I get more power at the Prison System to do my job. I’ll toss the switch for God Country and all those bastard kid sons of a toilet at home. Get a little something extra in my pay check maybe a stock option in the license plate factory in the Big House for being a good switch man and doing so with a clear conscience. Maggie shall I take the next exit and find a Cent we hung Twenty One since breakfast Jury so we can begin to build our lives in this new Pilgrims Plantation place of progress in the desert?
Maggie looks at me frowning. Says
-You’re being an asshole.
And then she lights up with a little smile and returns to knitting my sweater. The next sign on the highway says
-State Prison Next Exit.
And below it reads
-Illegal To Stop For Hitchhikers.
I don’t have a radar detector for the same reason I don’t have a lot of material goods on this trip. I sold The Little One that is my radar detector to in part contribute to this trip back East. Selling him beat working. I loved The Little One like I love Maggie and the Caveman. He was an important part of the Caveman and Contents family. The Little One was omniscient he squawked cawed like a seagull at the slightest provocation from the Cop you late we waited hours for you.
-Beep beep beep.
He said lovingly sending a message into my braking foot. I slammed on the brakes and said
-Fuck fuck fuck.
Looked at The Little One like some ancient people must have looked at their idols. The Little One became the immediate center of attention shitting bashing smashing all conversation in the Caveman into tiny toothpicks like a small craft on Hope we don’t hit the Cape with the sharp jagged half submersed rocks. It was rather annoying how The Little One could declare himself and his inopportune discordant message so immanently more important in one tiny beep than any human. I loved him and he kept me safe. Saved me money and cost nothing after I paid for him once. You can say this about few friends in your life. But I was glad to sell him to a Venice Krook. Biding his inopportune beeping farewell. The Little One was probably irradiating us anyway. The bastard. Since The Little One made a new home I find myself following the judgment of total strangers. I tailgate a lot. A car truck or bus flies by me and I pull out and chase them down like a provincial cop only to climb onto their back like a pick an animal. I’m partial to the Hoss. I pull in real close drafting a bit sucking off them and theirs like a varmint rat parasite. At this moment we are drafting off a big truck. I’m following a big barn friar truck door with lights through the desert of Arizona. About two weeks ago Maggie and I took a trip up to San Francisco to visit some friends from school. Five guys from school who are in a band man. At the smaller universe of school they were the rage. The cats pink pajama ass something like that. The music they play is innovative
-A soulful hip hop acid bluezy kind of fusion.
Tuna the public relations guy in the band likes to say. They all have stage names. I tried naming them. They didn’t like my names for them. So Maggie and I packed up the Caveman to go to Oakland Berkeley San Francisco to visit five white guys with funny names who live in a blue house with all the curtains pulled like a crack house who happen to be in a band. A band I hope never to see on M. eat T.V. Maggie and I considered moving up there because we had no friends in Hollywould. But there is no real reason for us to be there. The thought of going to their gigs and getting stopped at the door. The doorman would look at Maggie and me and say something like
-It’s five bones to get in bro.
He’d be standing there in a flight jacket or some other fascist outfit doing his I’m a very big corn bar bell beer well fed man act. And I heard myself beeping squeaking like the Little One
-I’m with the band man.
We could never live lie bed down with ourselves. Living off our friends in San Francisco being I’m with the band man groupie is too depressing to even contemplate. Everyone has to figure their own shit out individual dragging it over the hot coals. We stop for gas at a Truck Stop. Truck Stops however degenerative and American they may be as far as culture goes and that sort of I am an artist one man fair have cheap gas. I fill the Caveman up and as is usually the case need to pee. It’s associative in my mind pumping gas and peeing. I can’t piss on the tire because of the obvious. I’m at a Truck Stop. Walking into the Truck Stop I sort my way through the motor oil clothing racks road kills boots pilled up in boxes. Some Trucks Stops pride themselves on being one stop eats it all. A truck driver or a mere civilian for that matter could come in and get an oil change a tank of gas a sandwich poor boy submarine hero take a pee drop a bomb then buy new boots. I go in and pee looking all shifty eyed beady minky as I do so. I’ve been in more Truck Stops than anybody who isn’t a Trucker. Sat in the toilets and read the graffito on the walls. American men have a crisis a minute. I get as close as I can to the urinal. It’s one thing if a Trucker sees my pee by the side of the road as he drives by. In a truck stop it’s like asking to get beat up or raped or one then the other if you advertise your dick. Some American men are violent repressed homosexual homophobic all in one breathe. I’ve seen all kinds of guys kick the snot out of each other. While I’m pissing a big bellied guy comes in. There are at least a dozen urinals in this bathroom at least. He and his big belly and his small penis I know it’s small because he flap slap plays hot cake with it before he’s even ten strides near the urinal. He stands right next to me. I say
Two weird guys saying howdy with dicks in their hands. He coughs spits in the urinal trying to send the message downstairs and looking over at me. How can a man who has his dick out of his pants five strides from the toilet have stage fright? Cause piss isn’t what he’s after. Waking tossing spanking beating buffing stroking. Why do these men like me? To pee. I freak. Not peeing. Sudden case of apanthropy. I pinch the flow off like kinking a green garden hose. If you ever asked the hose it would tell you
My water still drip dropping trickles a little in my jeans. I feel like I’m in the shower and I need to take a leak. I used to pee in the shower all the time. Except Maggie busted me. She said
-Dirt I can put up with everything but you have to stop pissing in our shower.
I stopped more or less. I have to piss and I feel like a hypocrite. Lovely combination. People look at my penis all the time. I’m a regular nudist. Personally I think limp dicks and stiff ones are different creatures. But I have to piss and if this is the way things are then so be it. Some men whack off into urinals. Big deal. I move down one urinal. To pee. Fortunately Jack stays put. I’m an adult I piss with no other person or societies help. Jack still jacks and doesn’t want to fight. I walk out of there. As I’m strolling back out to the Caveman these two Truckers walk in to pay for gas or stand five paces in front of a urinal with their dicks out not peeing I don’t know what. We practically bump into one and other. And one Trucker says to the other
-I see this bastard everywhere.
Point point point. I get that don’t look at me screwed up on my face as I walk by them. The other Trucker squints at me like I’m a dirty fuel air Trucker potato under the hood of his truck. The partner says
-He looks like a lot of people.
And I slide into the Caveman. My Bone throbbing porno graphically but with a full tank of gas while two Truckers argue about if they’ve seen me before. Maggie bangs around outside doing the windshield of the Caveman with a filthy window cleaner. Trying to scrape some of the more persistent bug corpses off the windshield. It’s kind of a source of tension for a lot of reasons. First she does it badly. So as soon as we pull out I have to use the windshield wipers. And if I gave a fuck what people thought I would have hurled myself into Pa Canyon head first. It’s true in some ways that I don’t care what people say and I like to do things to annoy the general public but at the same time I don’t like to draw unnecessary attention to ourselves every five minutes. Even barbarians have feelings. You’d think that with decades of equal rights talk and all the organizations in this country that it would be all right if a woman cleaned the windshield of the car with a scrungy sponge on the end of a stick. While a man pumped the gas getting his hands all smelly or went to pee next to another masturbating man. A division of labor. But you are wrong. There is one thing that I am absolutely certain of. In America if a woman cleans a windshield with a sponge on a stick while a man stands by never mind if he’s pumping gas or whacking off people will talk about you. They say from their Townhouse Pleasure Mobiles and big boxy pin stripped air brushed Econoline on the road in luxury Van Sex Machines
-Look at that thing cleaning that windshield.
Maggie scrubs cleaning furiously hitting the wipers. For all the times she does it not once has she lifted the wipers up. Squishing slopping blue toxic water bug guts all over herself occasionally getting her hair in between the sponge and windshield. And for some strange reason Maggie enjoys it.
-Five minutes of bug guts and fame.
I say every time she finishes. We’ve been in so many of these Truck Stops we’ve become celebrities. Maggie finishes her windshield ritual and hops into the passenger seat. Kissing me another part of the ritual. A kiss for a job done. Not well. Just done. The windshield looks streaked beaded impossible to see through. As I shift into higher gears driving faster all the blue water she splashes all over the hood bounces up onto the windshield. Maggie laughs as the wipers go on. I’m still recovering from the fact that Truckers are beginning to recognize me. I always felt anonymous until now. It’s very strange unsettling annoying. I pull out from behind another friar truck I’m drafting off. I’m back in Arizona and out of my mind. The more south we go the greener the desert gets. It’s odd to think it rains more in the South than the North as if the clouds have a preference. The driving the gas stops the miles go by without much recognition or difference. Under the hood the Caveman has all the proper vital hormonal boring normal signs. The sucking hoses sucking. The pumps pumping. A pump fucks a hose. I don’t know or care. When you take apart a Jeep like the Caveman it’s quite extra paranormal kind of weird ordinary. The Caveman rolled down the American Failed Motor Got Shit Canned Company assembly line. By the time he reached me the plant that made him had been bought by Christ Lore. The Caveman is very eighties in that respect and another. He was paid for in two different ways. I paid for half of him. My half came from a life time of bad jobs like being a paper boy a short order cook a life guard a Caddy a landscaper. The other half of his small bill was paid for by the a fore mentioned father of mine. The Old Guy made the money in the stock it to em Pa market. Over my next four years of college I paid my father half of what he paid for the Caveman. You can rarely claim things as your own. I still only own three quarters of the bastard. It’s shocking under the hood of the Caveman. Really a frothing steamy mechanical metal rubber stew. It would come as no surprise if he wouldn’t start tomorrow because I’m his only Mechanic. I don’t consider myself very good at fixing him. What really shocks me is that he runs at all. Americans pride themselves on knowing how to do the jobs work hard do things right. In essence the Puritan work some work more keep working until you die ethic. I don’t consider myself wise beyond my ears or years but for one reason well really another I’ve had a lot of jobs. I come from the kind of back ground that you have to have a job. Which is probably why I don’t work much now. I got started too early. Burnt out. All through college I worked and got fired a lot. When we lived out in Venice I got fired weekly. I like getting fired better than getting hired. Watching the jobs go where? I don’t care as long as they don’t take me with. What I’ve noticed is in spite of the fact that we are Americans the brightest best greatest Spent Nation and all that pat the Hoss on the ass he ran a good race shit. Few of us really know our jobs. Most people don’t or can’t do what they are supposed to or in other words paid to do. A lot of times when I got fired from jobs people called me on the phone and said
-Are you okay? Those bastards how dare they fire you? Someone as intelligent as you?
I sat there on the other end of the phone and listened to my friend or relative rail on about the ignorance of my previous employer until I couldn’t take it anymore. Then I said
-I don’t blame them. I’d fucking fire me. I don’t know shit about my job.
And they said
-Don’t use that language. Don’t say that you are our brightest and best. They never trained you.
It was hopeless I could never make anyone see it my way. Not only did I not do a good job but my employer sensed more. My lack for their values. Worse sometimes I said
-You’re a Tool. I’m calling your Boss Hoe.
-If I’m a Hoe. You’re fired.
-Another Hoe will hire me. You’ll still be a Hoe.
Then sometimes Hoe Tool would hit me. I’d say
-I’m suing. You’re paying for that.
Sometimes I got a little extra in the last paycheck. Sometimes I got nothing. Sometimes I punched back. I got my front teeth chipped doing it. It wasn’t an exact Science. If it was I wouldn’t have kept doing it. The only certainty was I could find a new Hoe. Take NASA for example. It costs so much money to run a place like that because they don’t tolerate errors. It’s American to make errors and you have to pay more for things not American in this country. NASA pays people to spy on the people who do the actual work. The snoopy bastards have people watching them I imagine. Everybody looks at everybody else hoping somebody will fuck up so they can look better. While everybody looks for fuck ups in other people those same people try not to have any themselves or cover their asses when they happen. Movies made in Hollywould are like this. Entire careers are made by looking better than somebody who fucks up. Some people make their entire career out of fuck ups. Every day they force some fool into fucking up so they can run in fix it and be the big Hollywould hero. Hollywould loves fuck ups better than success. Film making isn’t all that different than most things American when you get down to it. That’s one reason why the Caveman amazed me when I first bought him. He was a middle aged Caveman and he worked. The Caveman actually worked. I bought a repair manual and checked everything myself. His hip bone was connected to his axle bone as the song should go. My own Bone hadn’t even discovered it could porno graphically throb. I am forever grateful that the people who tightened all the bolts on the Caveman when they gave him life in Detroit had a good day. No one made a career by forcing some wrench headed lackey with a coffee break on his mind to fuck up. I prefer to think it was manifest crotchety crotch destiny. I got a good Caveman and some other Tool stool pigeon got a bad one. The New York Stock Exchange operates on the same principle. Tool futures rising. Outside the Caveman it’s still Arizona. I found another friar truck and the Caveman and Contents are tucked in behind it out of the drafty winds of the highway making nice gas mileage. It’s miserly of me but true. I drive behind those paunchy pugnacious debauched abominations trucking tampons and toys to equally profane destinations like Walmart. I follow those friar trucks because we save gas. However much I love my Caveman he’s a dinosaur on the freeway. The breeze blows against his boxy frame flat windshield and the speedometer drops below the speed limit. On some truly horrible days I’ve watched the gas gauge drop as I fought the breeze steering wheel tiller like shaking in my hand like Cap tainted meat Blob. The road tripping is soaking into my bones. My palms are sweaty on the wheel. I’ve been smoking along with Maggie today. I don’t know what to do with myself. Should I pull over and make a break? Try running away from the Jeep? Now I’m thinking like a mutinous mink. Maggie sees that I’m all beady eyed sick of driving smoke housed sweaty palmed. Which is good because if she sees that I’m mutinous she won’t mutiny herself. It’s odd the way that works. Probably why Corporate America likes team work. Maggie says
-How are you?
-Let’s pick up a hitchhiker so we can play in the back while he drives.
As Maggie says that we pass a guy holding a sign that says El Paso. Holding an orange cheese external frame pack that cost him about five bucks at an Army Navy Store. The hitchhiker looks indignant as we drive by. The orange pack he holds hurts like hell to wear. It was my first pack. We keep driving. I say
-He looked scrounge
-You look scrounge.
-That guy probably has a brand new copy of On the Load to go with his shit pack.
-I had one of those as a teenager it hurt like hell.
-Me too. I took it out too much. Over packed it. Broke the frame. Split the bogus thing in half.
Maggie gives me a knowing nod. The guy and his orange cheese pack diminish in the rear view until a car obscures the view. I never pick up hitchhikers on interstate commerces. Too sketchy. I always pick them up on more rural roads. Probably a miracle I haven’t picked up Charles Mansion. Or some other crazy inspired by Hollywould movies and tabloid magazines. Once I drove in the Fall to New Hampshire. I was going hiking by myself. It started raining. Driving past a guy and a girl thumbing with two dogs I said
-Nobody is going to pick up two dogs and two people in the rain.
I said it out loud and turned the Caveman around. Pulled over next to them and opened the passenger door. Two muddy pawed twin golden retrievers hopped in. Licking my face. Mud dirt two pink tongues licking my face as the rain blew in through the open door. Those two golden retrievers must never have been in a Jeep before because they couldn’t decide on the front seat the back seat or my lap. I wanted to pull away with the two dogs and say
-See ya. I got mine
to the people. The guy stuck his head in and told the dogs
-Sit. Be good.
That sort of Old Guy fatherly advice as he and the girl hopped into the front seat.
-Thanks for stopping.
-No problem it’s a Jeep. Did you wait long?
-Yes. You can imagine nobody wants to pick up two dogs.
Hitchhikers and the people that pick them up follow a code of ethics. The sort of questions they ask. You could probably tell right away if you got Charles Mason because he’d probably start with the weird shit. Jack and Jill or whatever their names were. Put on their apple picking clothes climbed into their van and went up to New Hampshire for a little fall foliage plus apple picking. The unfortunate occurred their van shit the bed. Jill said
-We came up from Western Massachusetts to pick apples. Once a year I bake a fresh apple pie.
I looked at Jack. Nodded to Jill. They had corduroy lime green for lunch trousers matching. Fighting my sarcasm I said
-Isn’t that nice.
Jill baked pies and Jack was good for jack. Jack didn’t know dick about cars so when the van shit the bed they had to use the part of their bodies that separated them from the lower order namely the thumb. It seems the thumb had failed them until I stopped for the lower dog order. I dropped them off at the nearest Service Station. The two dogs licked my face while Jack scolded them. I didn’t tell Jack or Jill the only reason I picked them up. I want to run naked in the forest eat babies drink urine blood that sort of everyday tabloid Hollywould fare. Well maybe not I’m just bored. I’d love to be sitting down writing in one of those fabled Dimmesdale gabled houses in Salem. I’ve driven too much this year. Maggie is the most silent person I have ever known. Most people aren’t satisfied or quiet like her. I start prodding her with questions it’s touchy traveling living with someone all the time you have to mind their needs. Especially when your needs like mine are dripping down my nose. Maggie told me she wanted to pee a little while ago. I was picking hitchhikers up like Eve apples off a delicious tree so it was easy to dismiss her request. The entire country is one exit of Wall Co. Cost Co. Tex Co. Taco Co. and all that sordid Company service. Yet the colonization is lacking. A number of states pocket resistance to the disgusting designs of Corporate America. New Mexico and Arizona are those kind of places. It’s difficult in a lot of the states to find a place to take a pee especially if you’re a women. It’s not that I think women shouldn’t pee on the ground. More of our history had women who peed on the ground than not. I’d actually prefer it. I always have to keep an eye out for Maggie. It’s merely an issue of wind. The breeze gets started up around Pa Canyon in Arizona and howls down to Mexico unabated. Maggie has a tough time peeing in the wind that’s all. Call me sexist. Maggie does. But we’re still the best friends either of us ever had. Maggie looks grumpy.
-Maggie can I take you out for dinner?
-No we’ll eat Mountain Man Stove food.
-Maggie is there something wrong?
Of course there is you fuck. When people ask you if you’re okay you want to say fuck you.
-Are you sure? Can I get something for you?
I’m trying to piss her off now. I’m bored and want some conversation.
-No I don’t need anything.
-You just don’t seem right.
And Maggie explodes grabbing my neck. Mock strangles me. The Caveman swerves madly. Maggie screams in my face.
-I want to pee that’s all I want.
I pull right over. Come to a slam the brakes lock up stop.
-I want to pee somewhere without the wind. Keep driving. I needed to pee for fifty miles and it will be at least that many until I get to pee.
-Rest Area One Mile
and in smaller letters
-Next Services Fifty Miles.
As we near the Rest Area my directional still isn’t on. Maggie looks at me in a silly mean way. It’s kind of a game we play. If the Jeep is about to run out of gas sometimes I don’t take the first choice. I say
-I don’t need gas.
Maggie goes nuts. We both get some sick twisting pleasure out of the games. They break up the monotony. I imagine people who are sadists or masochists say the same thing. A lot of Corporate people like that sort of stuff in their cup when they have free time. Poor Corporate bastards.
We pull into the Rest Area and Maggie sprints out of the Jeep up to the bathrooms. We don’t turn off the Caveman. One person goes to the toilet at a time. The other person has to mind the Caveman. Tell the old grump he’s not a shit and he can make it all the way Cross Cumfry. You can tell a lot about a State by the Rest Areas. Coming from the East I never thought about them. Plentiful with restaurants telephones and as people tend to comment more and more about as they age in America clean bathrooms. When we first came out West we noticed a coefficient the further West you get the worse the Rest Areas get. They go from being these big Bacteria Boxes with gas to something less auspicious. By the time you get to Arkansas the Rest Areas have metal toilets with no seats. You need to have to take a shit for miles to even consider putting your ass down on a cold metal toilet in Arkansas. About the time you screw up the courage you see something. No doors. I asked Maggie and she told me the Women’s Rooms always have doors in all the places we ever stopped. So men I guess get a little of what they deserve road side these days.
-Go West young man just hold your asshole tight.
No feeding the Critics. These places aren’t as I’m predestine to comment about as I age ever clean either. Out West they advertise on bill boards
-Stop here clean bathrooms
I’ve taken a few shits in latrine shit cans fed Porto the John on the way I might add. I’d like to write a cover song.
-Paid my dues getting through. Tangled up in pooh.
Otherwise I think the country is pretty much the same. It won’t be long before the West catches up. This particular Rest Area appears pretty average for the West it looks like it has Arkansas toilets. No other cars or people in the parking lot so I get out and pee on the Caveman. Maggie comes out of the bathroom. She says
-Dirt he won’t take us to New York if you keep pissing on him.
-Maggie he thinks it’s affection by now.
-I don’t want to go.
-I don’t want to either.
-Let’s stay here and piss on the Caveman.
The Caveman idles in the back ground. Stage directions. They get in the Caveman and drive the fuck away. It’s more geographical than existential. People drive so many miles a day when they go cross country because they have to.
-I drove eight hundred miles one day. Seven hundred the next.
They say all manly hairiest back on the beach when they get wherever they need to go. It’s the country that made them. Often there just isn’t anyplace to stop. My Bone throbs bobbing in a nook in the seat. Bump bump the throbs come in twos today like heartbeats. A very large artery connects my ass to my heart I imagine. Faulty plumbing. That artery belongs somewhere else but because I’m a mutant or my Mom took acid in the sixties it goes down to my ass instead of up to my brain. Everyone has a mother and some of us like me prefer to deny it. We should start an organization founded on the belief that storks bring us to our Parents. I could be the spokesperson
-We unequivocally deny that we came writhing wet slippery like a bar of soap from the woman that society has forced us to call Mother.
I never liked the woman the top of the modern list is the Caveman. Since as far back as I can remember I wanted a Jeep.
-Goo goo no car ga ga give me a goddamn Caveman.
I cried from the cradle. Jane Bark about the time I learned to speak I referred to her by first name fought me.
-Save your money for a down payment on a house or college loans or marriage. You’ll regret it
Jane Bark cried. Then later the truth came out.
-You’ll kill yourself in that Jeep. You’ll flip it be stuck under the roll bar. Your poor mother will have to go to her only sons closed casket funeral.
-Do you really care if the casket is opened or closed Jane?
-You don’t understand these things you’re too young.
All conversations with Jane Bark have this curious you can’t understand me logic. The top of the ancient list Jane named me Dirk. She never was very sharp meat cleaver clever. The second item on the list. Jane Bark dressed me funny as a child. How did Parents in the seventies ever expect much from children they dressed in red leather vests bell bottoms and such? Yet Jane Bark likes Maggie. They both have big bellies. My mother always asks for Maggie by way of the Caveman
-You haven’t killed that nice girl in fiery wreck yet in that horrible car of yours.
-No Jane. Maggie is alive. It’s called the Caveman. Not a car.
-Christ mom you know it’s the Caveman
-Don’t use that language with me I spanked that bottom when you were young and I’m not too old to spank it now. You gave me a lot of pain in labor. I suffered to have you. Think about that when you talk to me. Does your father know you speak to your only mother like that? God only gave you one mother you know.
In some deep abyss of my mother’s head she was still married and religious. Jane Bark went to church once a half-life. She divorced the Old Guy when I was two. Nostalgia the wily pervert.
-Christ Jane I talk to the Old Guy about as much as I talk to you.
I like to give the old girl a thrill get the blood flowing.
-You got that foul mouth from your father’s side of the family.
All my bad habits and attributes come from my father in my mother’s eyes. One minute the Old Guy is her friend and the next the enemy. It’s like the foreign policy in that town named after the dead fore father one time Press You Dent.
-Jane I learned all my foul language from reading curmudgeons like Norman Mailman in my college English classes.
Jane Bark never forgave me for studying English in college.
-Dirk Rhodes you did no such thing. You’ve had a foul mouth as long as I can remember. I don’t see what that nice girl. Mind you a really nice girl sees in you. And I’m your mother. How is she?
-She’s working in a topless you know Jane titty bar.
The old goat is easy to pick on.
-I should wash your mouth out. When I was a girl in the old days gentlemen didn’t use that language.
-America eats its lovelies. When you were a girl it just sent them off to war and another country gobbled them. Snap crackle see ya later pops. Don’t talk to me about the old days because I know my history better than you. And concerning the here and now Jane. I’m twenty three. I’m no gentleman. I live three thousand miles away in a flop house with a donut for a roommate.
-You live with a donut?
-Jane that’s irrelevant. To answer your riveting question I don’t know what Maggie sees in me either. And you caught me in a big fib she’s not working in a topless place. Jane it was nice talking to you but I’ve got to go change the oil in the as you call it car and as an aside I feel like Oedipus you never told me it would be this bad.
This got Jane Bark furious. Motor oil body parts incest legend regret in the same sentence. Outrage keeps the battle asks to many questions axe going. She lives on that and Al I need more money. A modern day King Havisham Lear. Like all inveterate complainers Jane did absolutely nothing but sit looking down saying
-Don’t I have a tidy ass
her whole life. I tend to believe because Jane is my mother there is no god. Sorry Moral we think better smarter than the Majority. Your god isn’t so cruel as give me to Jane and vice versa. Well that’s really only one of many better thought out reasons why I think there is no god. Jane bursted back into the telephone fray with
-I’ve got your number Dirk Rhodes. I read Generation
And Jane said one letter down around the tail dingle berried zythum of the alphabet that made me fucking frothing furious. You know where the pirates bury the treasure. I became polite. Time to flame broil Janes Ark plus her yapping bark. I whispered soft and sweet
-You don’t understand anything Jane. If you want to understand me read Beowulf.
-What’s that? It sounds Satanic. Why are you whispering?
-Jane Beowulf is the oldest as the lime green corduroy trouser for lunch people at Universities refer to as Literature in the English language.
-What’s it about? Speak up I’m old and your mother.
-It’s about a noble monster Grendel who lives incestuously with his mother.
-I don’t like that or this whispering.
-You will. I’m talking about the good old days. Merry old teary eyes England. The noble Grendel tyrannizes an entire kingdom. When Grendel feels like it he tears the villager’s limbs apart. Snarfs them like crullers. Grendel never eats the entire kingdoms donuts at once. He tosses the villagers down one at a time. One day Grendel contemplates the ultimate nihilistic act of eating the Queen donut.
-Why are you talking about donuts again?
-Jane just listen. Grendel contemplates destroying the kingdom. Grendel is the noble man eating nihilistic incestuous monster who contemplates destroying his world. A total bastard Beowulf comes along and kills Grendel like that other bastard Red Cross. I digress. Hence the title. But it’s really a Grendel story. Beowulf gets his later. A dragon with a ray gun flame broils Beowulf. I’m sure none of the symbolism is lost on you my fair lady.
Jane Bark said
-Dirt you’re losing me.
-Let me finish.
Jane Bark said
-Your just whispering for yourself.
If I don’t talk for me who will? I continue
-Grendel gives it the old college try. He never gives up. Eats his crullers villager’s donuts. Never compromises but the Corporate Beowulf bastards at the Controls still get him. But another Grendel comes down the express way. Grendel is the original Artist and my scaly role model. So what’s it gonna be can I move back home with you and keep fellers and crullers in the cellar? Are you looking good Jane?
-Dirt I’ve never
-Read the right books. Good bye.
-I’m not sure if it was nice of you to call. Give that nice girl Maggie my love. Have her call me next time. Good bye.
The worst part about Jane her face ran off. I can’t really remember what she looks like. People say
-I’m not good with names but I remember faces.
Imagine in your head a face. A person from your past. A loved one the plumber what every makes your soft oat meal squish. Do you really remember it? I don’t. Maybe just the side of their face. I haven’t seen the old Jane Bark in years. I have pictures but they don’t help. My memory is for words. I lose faces all the time. Every day. There goes one. Take your watch don’t let the door hit your ass. I never lose the words. The names. The images always change in the repeating. Words stay the same. Anyway now you know it wasn’t the stork. Jane and the Old Guy had stuff the stork sex. Missionary stork style only once. Mind your mind. And not before they got hopped over the broom stick married. And what did they get for being such good post World War II white middle class woody goodies. Grendel’s cousin and your grumbling I’m hungry I need a donut narrator. Imagine that. I like the way the early Americans the more northern ice keg faring ones the Eskimos put the elderly on a keg of ice and sent them out to sea. The polar bears could swim after the keg of ice plus elder unit if they felt like it. Polar Bears I imagine get lazy too. Do you blame the big fat bastards hauling all that blubber? The elder units froze to death which the authorities say I don’t know what makes them authorities if they’re still hanging out with us is the best way to go. Worse that cute fuzzy Yogi the Formidable Starving Snow Bear went swim swim swim.
-Hello elder unit on keg of ice. Don’t piss me off by trying to get away. I’ve been swimming after you for hours. If you be a good feller little elder cruller. Chomp chomp chomp.
No more elder unit. Every generation needs polar bears not names. If we must have names I think we should call the next generation. Generation Puke. I’m thinking about the promised land of California and a few phone conversations I had there. I sent out a lot of resumes when I first got to Hollywould. The bastard of high education on the breezy Eastern toy sail boat board that some people refer to proudly as their alma mater provided me with a list of cellulosed alumni who projected to the Film Industry. One day while at home sniffing the crotches of mine holy relics soon to be discarded tightly whitey American scrundy underwear looking for a clean pair with no serious holes the phone rang
-Hello is Mr. Rhodes there?
No Daedalus is the Old Guy in Florida with the Lawn Dudes living the American retirement dream. A cultured female British voice crisp clipped like a Cadbury Flake.
-This is Dirt.
-You have the person on the phone to whom you wish to speak.
-I thought you said dirt
-I did it’s a nick name I got it at Eton.
-Well that’s very interesting I don’t remember Eton from the resume. It was rather impressive without it.
And she dropped a very big name in Hollywould. Never heard it before.
-You contacted us.
Hasn’t this snobby secretary ever heard of a letter merge? And she told me all the asses her Boss licked later kicked given the opportunity in town. She continued
-Mr. Big Deal is very impressed with your resume.
This didn’t even excite me. I’d been in Hollywould for months now and had a lot of jobs. Mostly I did grunt work on the sets of tasteless film productions. She continued
-Mr. Big Deal is looking for an intern to run errands for him. Gas up his car take it to the car wash blah blah blah. Are you interested?
I’m insulted. Believe it or not I’m skilled labor. Never was I offered anything this bad. I had to meet this donut.
I always went on the interviews to waste Mr. Big Deals time. Time cost these cheese dogs money. Time means shit to me. We set the date. A couple days later I was still unemployed in the house. Holding holy relics up to my face. It’s addictive. I had to land fill them to kick the habit. Ring ring ring.
-May I speak to Mr. Rhodes.
-This is Dirt.
-It seems Mr. Big Deal found someone he likes.
The kind of boy that can put wax on the car and wax Mr. Big Deal. I never got to climb up Mr. Big Deals hot dog to the top. The Caveman cross frogs an invisible line and we enter into New Mexico. The change isn’t worth noting other than we pull into a Rest Area for some One Burner Mountain Man Stove gourmet. Abandoning the Caveman running Maggie sets up the kitchen stove on the side walk. We sit and peer into the coal sooty black pot like two Neanderthals grunting groaning from hunger until a few bubbles gurgle up. I tell Maggie about Mount Whitey. The highest mountain in the Continental United States.
-These billy goats had to eat rock and beard ice lichen soup.
Mixing a couple packets of quick fix instant mush each we slosh moot moshing. Neither of us initiates the oat meal ritual. Today the cow flop slop looks too precious. Billfed on our backs. Quiet and solemn we eat only our smacking lips muted by the Caveman and the sounds of the freeway nearby. Dinner done. The pumpkin sun spitting out a lemon orange setting in the rear view mirrors we continue to head East on interstate commerce ten. The Caveman and Contents get along swimmingly. Maggie knits and I drive and the hours slide past. We enter Texas.
-The stars are bright clap clap deep in the heart of Texas.
Maggie sings a few refrains over and over searching her brain for the rest of the song. She can’t figure out the rest of the song. I’m glad happy not one bit sad. Heard enough to form an oh pin a tail on the donkey opinion. El Paso is the Western door to Texas on the ten freeway. Suddenly out of the desert it erupts like Vegas. Industrial lights malls gas stations traffic. Boring city. And then El Paso distinguishes itself from Vegas with the exception of the Cow Bar. Millions of cows eating shitting lifting a leg in such proximity even Ronyon MacDonald must quake quiver pinch a nostril when he comes to El Paso. The odor is insane. It’s no wonder Texans slaughter these animals. Fencing them in is the only sensible thing to do with these disgusting creatures. Millions of white and black police cruiser cows mingle moo shit eat. It’s no wonder The Lone Star Republicans slaughter these animal they look smell behave like
-Senators stop grab assing.
The cowtropolis filthy fetid odor is enough to make a run of the military red blooded blood on your burger American dash to a nuclear free zone and snarf a veggie burger. Maggie and I pinch our noses. Hold them high like snobs going to the Cumfry Club. My Bone throbs porno graphically as we pedal to the metal out of the horror the hamburger the future meat on America’s open sesame bun. The cowtropolis animal farming is a piece of bad luck. Maggie and I planned on spending the night there. Being Lone Star virgins we didn’t know about the cows. Homunculus over sight. The road unfolds before us like black prop master duvetyn. El Paso diminishes behind us. We settle in for more driving.
-This kind of sucks
-Because if I live twice. I’ll never drive through Texas again.
-Maggie I don’t follow you.
-Dirt I want to at least see the place if I have to drive through it.
Maggie presses her face against the window. Maggie says
-Who would have thought there were mountains in Texas?
Maggie rummages under the carpet of the Jeep and procures her little friend Pot the lint filled pipe. Starts packing a bowl. When I first met Maggie her belly was smaller. And she smoked pot like other people scratch their butts. When she felt like it. Her butt seemed to itch incessantly so she smoked Pot the pipe to shut the itchy bastard up. It was like medication. Maggie smoked to get rid of headaches write papers wake up in the morning to celebrate and when she was boo hoo sad. Pot is Maggie’s One Bottle Snake Oil. Maggie was and to a certain extent still is what people call a Burn Out or more to the point Burnt. Some people say
-When I was in college I did too many drugs.
And then they tell you about how fucked up they. Then they use the past tense. I hate grammar and the people that teach it. They discouraged me my whole life. But I think those so called used to be drogue druggie people need to learn their tenses. Generally they seem pretty fucked up still to me. I’m no expert on fucked up people. So I could be wrong but I think the drugs didn’t do anything. They were fucked up at the starting line and stayed fucked when they crossed the finish line. I even realized this about myself. The drugs came then went and keep coming back to visit but the fucked up is something they or I have for life. Maggie will never say
-I used to smoke Pot the pipe.
She’ll be twisting big joints the size of her thumb in a Nursing Home with a name like Wild Acres. And she’ll always be fine. Maggie doesn’t think about it at all either. Maggie says
-Some people are like you Dirt Rhodes weird.
Her explanation end discussion. Put that in your pipe drug free drippy under cooked salmonella fried eggs with no Baconism bacon partisanship. I say
-Spark Francis Bacon. I’ll smoke him with any Senator.
People say drugs are ruining the country. I think they’re playing with the Controls. Drugs are a thing. An object like a piece of sun dried dog shit. Most Americans step over that sort of sun dried nonsense. Some people hide behind it. A minority pick it up put it in the see ya trap yappity yap. People at the Controls. The sun dried dog shit is being acted upon. The problem is the power. You axed so I’m pointing at the axles. Real unadulterated axle power. If it’s those evil sun dried drugs it’s the Aging Parents who are the king pin axles. Those people love power plus money. They have a lot in common with the Aging Parents in other high places like the White House Congress Wall Street Corporate America. Those goat have power. If anyone is ruining the country it’s them. Aging Parents. Old goats with money eats power with the Controls under the axles. Toothy bastards too. I’ll never understand how they can say some overrated sun dried object or other is ruining an entire Spent Nation. People are to blame. People ruin people. But no tape worm Aging corrupt on the take Parent politician business man woman king pin drug dealer goat has the balls to stop pointing fingers around. Stick a finger up the snifter snuff box. Picadilly Pinocchio picaresquing. Say
-It’s me and my buddies. At the Controls up here. We’re the ones fucking up the country. And you know what we like doing it.
Some people think I’m an un-American prick. That’s part of being an American stupid. If I didn’t love this country I wouldn’t piss my precious youth into the gas tank of my American Caveman. Make coffee cigarette gas beer wine oat meal futures rise. I like tramping camping living saying
with this country more than anything. Except Maggie and the Caveman. Sorry fake ham Uncle Spam you get third place. John D. Rockyfeller and his ilk are quite the fellers. Company man company store company whore. But for every one of him there have been thousands of Americans more like me than that trusty train tracks factory feller. Someday we’ll kick back. Get off the fence and shred comfy easy adjustable chair couch twenty four seven. But for now we got to go out to the Company store for supplies. Until the Company discover channels a way to feed intoxicate us through the box with the rabbit ears up top. So we’ll be complaining every now and again on the way back home from the liquor grocery company whore store. When you think about it that way I’m more American than most. Sometimes I feel like a politics dishing stumping reelect my jowls plus gout politician. I want to wrap the American Jolly Roger around my beat to a pulp from smashed grapes like Pa Joad’s radish eating face and scream through loose teeth
-I love this fuckin’ country. Adrian? Alley all come in free. I don’t want to have to beat you where you hiding? I love this fuckin’ country.
But I don’t. People at the Controls would turn my genuine emotion into something ugly or trite like a Pucker Jaggers
-Pip you the Hoss. I say Hail President
soundbite on the Evening News. Or worse make a Hollywould film out. The Caveman grooves to the beat of the music industry revolution du jour. Chip on my shoulder definitely dances. Chip fox trots. Chip the dancing chip. Barbigerous the beard must be jealous of the dancing fiend. Maggie puts a tape in she likes to fall asleep to. Pa Sand Bags approaches. He chases us like a wooden toy troy man of a Hoss late for the applesauce Apocalypse. We’re both dead. Drooping in our seats like earthly sacks of spuds. We haven’t got a back bone fib fibula to split between us just like modern media. Maggie yawns and yawns. And now I’m yawning yawning it’s so goddamn contagious. It’s like television. You see it and do it. Then feel stupid and satisfied at the same time. Lovely combination. Two big yawning hairy droops in a Caveman on a highway somewhere in Texas. How depressing.
-Maggie I’m depressed. I think we need to stop soon.
-Do you want to play in the tent?
-Yes I need you to rub my Bone.
Maggie reaches between my legs and starts rubbing.
-Maggie that’s not my Bone.
Maggie denies the existence of my Bone problem. She thinks it’s a euphemism for something else. I would too. Actually that’s how I feel about religion. We pass a sign
-Gas Food Lodging Korporate Kamping.
-When I was a little girl I used to think the Korporate Kamping was run by the Ku Klux Klan.
-Well I’ve never seen anything but alabaster trash at them.
We pull off at the next Exit and get some gas before we go to the Korporate Kamping abomination. Korporate Kamping is a National chain organization state of mind. Tens of thousands of them Nationwide. Incomprehensibly worse than anything the Park Service provides. The toilets at Death Valley camping smell like ancient shits left by Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Ride. Korporate Kamping toilets smell like shits so old ancient elder numerous that only Pa Canyon himself could be the author. To make matters worse these kamping areas tend to be on a tiny parcel of land. One postage stamp parcel is all Korporate Kamping kan afford to buy. Regardless they put hundreds of Sceni Cruiser Recreating Vehicles and the smell of raw sewage they generate on the postage stamp. The unequivocal toilet of the archfiend and some friends of his. But we like most modern travelers suck it up like a Hoover and pull into the Korporate Kamping parking lot. Or rather we’d never been to one before and want to check and see if our assumptions are correct. I feel a touch like Jane Bark indignant angry about something I know nothing about. The truth of the matter is you can’t just camp anywhere in America. Too many cops local gangs the klan just the run of the mill crazies who will beat maim rob rape or worse kill you. I’ve seen it all on television and in those Hollywould movies. We pull into the Korporate Kamping. We have no choice this is America. Maggie and I go up to the Korporate Kamping Kabin Registration.
-Sorry kid’s we’re all full up.
The Korporate Kamping Kaptain kries.
-Gee whiz we’re tired kampers kan’t you find a spot.
-Let me check with the Boss.
Even Korporate Kamping has Bureaucrats. The Boss says
-Take them out back show them the over flow kamping.
We leave the Korporate Kamping Kabin Registration. A Korporate Kamping Kaptain says
-Hop in kids.
As he starts up the Korporate Kamping Kampground Golf Kart. I feel rather important exclusive like at the Old Guys Place in Florida where the owners drive around in carts and the mowing lawn dudes hide in hedges. And the Security calls me may I help you? Only at Korporate Kamping nobody ducks in a shrub. I feel like a Caddy. Worse I remember I’m in Texas.
-We had the
And the Korporate Kamping Kaptain drops the name of a counter culture band from the sixties. He continues
-In town last night. And so many of those dead head bankers liked it here they stayed for another night.
He talks of them like some people describe lions giraffes or the other critters they see caged up in the zoo.
-Well we’re real tired. We don’t have anything to do with
And I say the name of the band or what kids say
-We drove all day. I’m dead not them. I want to go right to bed.
The Korporate Kamping Kounselor acts a little surprised. Maggie and I look just like the scruffiest dead head bankers the Kounselor has ever seen. He nods steers his kart to the furthest edge of the fenced in Kampground. He stops the kart at a hedge that runs parallel to the wall that circles the postage stamp place. He says
-Take a look in between them bushes and the wall. You can stay in there.
Maggie and I look. It’s a nice nook. A grassy knoll with no troll Kampers or Recreating sewage filled Vehicles for thirty feet. Away from all the other Kampers and the dead head bankers beating African drums. A piece of paradise in the reeking Kamping Kompound. I can tell that Maggie likes it. Like the National Public Radio says
-All things considered.
This is Texas. We have to save money for New York City. Camping for real seems like a dangerous dragons with ray guns ridden idea. Maggie and I look at each other. We know what the deal is. The Kamp Kaptain thinks we look sad.
-I’ll give it to you for five bucks cash price.
He takes us back to the Korporate Kamping Kabin. Maggie pays the five dead President bones. Each of us Kamp and Kamper feeling like we got a raw deal deep in the heart of Texas. I park the Jeep practically on the hedge so no one can enter our secret hedging garden without climbing over the Caveman. The tent pitching the sleeping bags unpacking and the air mattresses inflating. A home in a hedge. We go off to brush our teeth in our heads. I’m brushing rush scrubbing the raunch out of my mouth. And these scruffy High School kids that smell like patchouli keep saying
-Hey now hey now.
I look at one Korporate Kamping Kid in his Guatemala sweater and say
I gurgle and spit toothpaste.
I’m brushing my fucking yap the last thing I want to do is chat. Never mind respond to a lyric of a song I don’t even like with a mouth full of saccharine calcium shit made in a blue fifty gallon barrel in New Jersey. I walk back to our secret hedging garden and wait for Maggie.
-Maggie all these fucking patchouli kids keep talking to me.
-Dirt they’re just kids don’t be so mean. I talked to some and they were nice. You’re not in Hollywould anymore.
-Should I tell them I eat Cherry Garcia Ice Cream Maggie? I’m one of a couple people on the planet that digs his look but that’s where it ends. Why are they at a Korporate Kamping that’s all I want to know?
-You hate Corporations and you’re supporting one. Why are you hedging your head in a Corporate Hedge?
I hate that. Ask a question get a question. It makes me feel like I’m hanging out with Pedagogue Plato one of those Greek pain in the asses. Ask a question get a question bastards.
-Because we’re poor remember?
-Well that’s your answer just another question.
Maggie takes off all her clothes. My Bone throbs porno graphic pulses. My Bone doesn’t like conflict fighting blood pressure rising agitation. Maggie is the only person I ever met who fights argues pisses you off and takes all her clothes off at the same time. Her belly is magnificent in the moon beam and industrial light. Maggie slithers in the tent and into her bag. Zip zip zip she pulls her sleeping bag up to her ears as if it were cold. I follow her into the tent and try to cozy up to her. Make amends in our liar.
-Maggie I don’t understand these goddamn simple kids.
-You’re a lot like them.
-Pray tell Sage of the Kamping Hedge. You look like a hedgehog in this light.
I start oinking burrowing into her bag looking for truffles or whatever hedgehog fare there might be hiding in there. Maggie laughs but she says
-Don’t be mean to them. Look at yourself. You look just like these kids.
-You do too. Big deal.
-The difference is these kids have found something to do with their lives.
-Following some Aging Parents who sing nostalgic sentimental songs about an America that existed forty years ago if ever?
-Can I finish?
-Yes you are the shrewdest hedgehog I’ve ever met Camping. I might try and tame you a bit.
-Dirt Rhodes you are exactly like these kids except you haven’t found anything you love.
-Do you think I should turn my back like I don’t know Ken Kesey? Say fuck it and pursue his dream?
-You could do that.
-Do you think instead I could just fuck you?
-You could do that.
-I like you Maggie Sides.
-I like you Dirt Rhodes.
We have sex on the ground of the Korporate Kompound behind a hedge as the Africanesque drumming of High School dead head bankers ebbs flows into and out of our consciousness like the noises of the Hollywould freeway. My Bone sleeps. Bleeping porno graphic beats in a Korporate Kamping hedge.
Chapter 5: Big Belly Bandit
The best part about Korporate Kamping is you wake up early. Your body tolerates only so much Kamping. The involuntary or the better half of you insists on leaving. Maggie gets up first. Boiling water. The Mountain Man Stove spouts red white blue hot flames around our kettle black pot. I chow a surreal four oat meals. A world record. Oatmeal futures soar to a record high on the Stock Exchange. Maggie a mere mortal two. We begin driving to the Padre Island National Sea Shore.
-Water water water
Maggie and I hypnotically cry. Beach sun surf sand. We need salt water the kind of water that would make us mad if we drank it. An entire ocean of lunacy. Maggie and I roll out of the Korporate Kamping onto the interstate while the Kompound sleeps. Maggie says
-It wasn’t that bad.
I reply mechanically in my best robot voice
The day clear crisp sunny graham cracker dry. We drive. The hours slide by. Nothing worthwhile goes on in my brain or on that Texas ride. Then I pass a Cop. Big black boxy his Police Cracker Cruiser potters along ten miles below the speed limit.
-Why’s the Roller driving so slow?
-He gets paid to.
-He thinks Five O is the limit.
I pass the Cop doing the speed limit. Thirty seconds later the Caveman and Contents stop. Blue red yellow lights whirling dizzy blinding bright buzzing hornet mad. The Smokey motions for me to get. Standing there having a chat with the Blue part of the red white and blue. As car after car after friar truck pass us by. The Dimmesdale Fuzz doesn’t say good morning he asks
-Is your passenger your wife?
No that’s Hester Prynne see the big fat scarlet harlot rosy cheeks red A on her breast. You might have heard of her before. Is adultery still illegal in Texas? Instead I say
-It’s a wonderful institution Sir but not yet. That’s my girlfriend?
Gross. It comes out weird. I’d never referred to Maggie as my girlfriend before.
-Does she have a medical condition that precludes her from wearing a seat belt?
She doesn’t wear a bra. The seat belt irritates her. I watch his lip bounce up down as he talks. He has a fiery tomato of a cold sore on his bottom lip. I’ve been keeping it a secret all along but I’m growing one too. The great common denominator two weird dudes in Texas with tomato cold sores talking about their sex life on the side of the road. I’d love to say copulation to Mr. Cop you late. Blue red yellow lights whirling dizzy buzzing blinding bright hornet mad.
-No she doesn’t have anything wrong. Maggie just doesn’t like them I guess. To be perfectly honest with you I’ve never asked her.
Cops love it when you are perfectly honest with them. He’s our age. A good looking Cop too. Brown hair brown eyes he could be Maggie’s brother. The Cops Hollywould casts as extras always look like peccary the jowly hog. When they pull people over they start smashing heads tail lights too.
-Son do you know your tail lights are broken?
-Officer Sir Great One my tail light isn’t broken.
Pop pop pop.
-Don’t give me any lip. Where’d you get the cold sore?
My Cop who’s nice excluding the fact he pulls us over says
-Where you coming from?
This question stings me. I hate when the Cops ask the tough questions. I have no fucking idea.
-We were at a Korporate Kamping down the road. I’m not sure what town it was.
-Where you going?
-Corpus Crusty. We’re going to the beach.
-So you’re on vacation?
At least he knows what I’m doing in Texas.
-I was in Corpus Christi last week it was beautiful. Wait here.
The Cop goes and asks Maggie a few questions. I stand there on the side of the road. The Cop chats with the big belly bandit. He writes Maggie a warning for not wearing a seat belt. Mr. Cop doesn’t run her license.
-It’s a seventy five dollar fine in this county for not wearing your seat belt. Don’t come back through here with it off unless you want to leave some money in this county. Enjoy yourselves in Corpus Christi.
Good cop bad cop this Traffic Patrol Man is undecided. Phew. We leave piggly fuzzy five o smoky the blue peeler roller Babe. I’m back at the wheel of the Caveman. Maggie and I rehash for miles.
-What did you tell him Maggie?
-I told him he was a Babe.
-Exactly what you said. I listened to the questions he asked you.
-I’m just glad he didn’t search us or run your license. Put you in the pookie.
Maggie says accusingly.
-You’ve got the same cold sore.
-I’m not the big belly bandit. Too bad the seat belt doesn’t go around.
-You don’t like my belly?
-I love your belly but I think I’ll have to beat you at the next Rest Area.
-Next time I’m saying you’re my husband. It’s common law by now you’re getting the ticket Dirt.
Maggie snaps the seat belt around her belly. The Caveman pulls up behind a green Duster. The tail pipe hangs down. All the cars guts look as if they might drop onto the highway. In the back seat a scruffy kid with a grown out blond crew cut in a white tee shirt facing backwards looking at the world as it passes the Duster hits himself. He hits himself on the head like a hammer on an old fashioned clock. Ticked off. Clock talk. Bang bang bang. Maggie blurts out
-I have to beat myself until we get home then Mommy can do it.
-Deep in the heart of Texas.
The Caveman passes the Duster and the kid still hits himself. Maggie says
-Some people are weird.
Digging under the carpet she finds her little friend. The Cop was curious. A Bureaucrat with power never mind the gun the blue red yellow lights the badge. He could have called a tow truck put the Caveman on the end of a hook like Hamingway. Worse thrown us in pookie the Jail. It’s difficult to differentiate from justice and luck in America some days. The big belly bandit is high and bored. I’m driving and bored. We don’t say much just drive all day. I didn’t drink last night. When you drink like I do and you miss a night I don’t feel dandy handy more like down an agraphia well. I’d think it would be the opposite. I don’t feel like talking much. Yesterday I yapped yappity yap. I mark the day by the throbs of my porno graphic Bone. We arrive in Corpus Crusty the Garden State of Texas after dark. Oil refinery after oil refinery we pass. Corpus Christ is to oil what El Paso is to cows.
-Maggie they filmed that movie about the guys who work at the oil refineries here. The film with the lovely ladies. The Robot Babes and the rugged oil men.
-Dirt I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Enormous plumes of fire leap towards the sky in spurts. Pouf pouf pouf like a dragon. And all by the sea. We pull over for gas.
-Maggie it’s so cheap and fresh.
Maggie scrubs the bugs off the windshield in her own special way nearly breaking the wipers. Texans line up to gawk. Maggie says
-I love fresh petrol.
A guy looks over from another pump. The comment is a bit exotic for him. Maggie pays for the gas and buys twelve beers in metal cans. There is a bridge out to the Padre Island National Sea Shore. Crossing the bridge we leave Texas and the United States behind. A sign says
-No Gas Beyond This Point
The Padre Island National Sea Shore is a peninsula an island in the Atlantic. Pea soup festival tonight. The island looks like Cape Cod in a New England fog except no houses. Sandy marsh shallows with razor sharp tall green grass. Passing a closed Entrance toll booth Station we save five bucks. No pedage for Pa Spam. We follow a road that dead ends in the ocean. The camping area a right hand turn is about forty miles of National Sea Shore.
-Help yourself to some beach.
The Park Service motto squeaks more or less. There doesn’t seem to be any rules or bureaucrats just a few stray Recreating Vehicles and tents. Maggie and I drive down the beach. Find a private piece. The stars are bright for a change. We park the Jeep and pitch our tent in a dune. The wind howls whirling warm sand clouds. Everything gets clammy musty wet damp including us in short time. Maggie says
-This is yeast infection weather.
Maggie and I sit on the dune eating oat meal and drinking beer. The warm cozy salty steam room sandy night air droops dripping over us. I kiss Maggie and taste salt. Utter American film fantasy. We take of our clothes. Sex on the beach. Maggie and I find a nook in a sand dune to hide down out of the sandy wind and out of human view. Maggie reclines on her back Rubenesque. I dive on to her and the unfortunate occurs. Sand flees. Millions and millions of them. A Nation of microscopic winged invisible toothy bastards attack our soft bare bodies. They flourish in this windless nook. Sex simple satisfactory itchy scratchy fast.
-Dirt get off me. I have the biggest bite on my ass.
-Let me see.
Maggie’s bottom has the largest barn red towering bite. A Texas bite. Hundreds of sand flees must have been trapped under her. An entire colony organized a collective bite. We retreat out of nature into our tent. Zip zip zip. Shutting the door. The wind rattles the tent. Small craft and tent advisory high winds outside. It’s blowing Dido the Fido off the leash. Sand millions of years old crunches under us as we settle in. Falling asleep I hear the water wind waves.
Chapter 6: Potato
Morning always seems to come unwanted. Caw caw caw. Seagulls fighting flapping talking biting each other outside my tent. Poor Dido the Fido still getting blown off the chain link leash. Blue yellow bright through the flimsy filament canvas tent. How unfortunate. I can’t possibly sleep. Feeling dry hungover more from the driving than beers. I roll over. Maggie went out in the world already. I better get up too. See if she wants to leave. I crawl out feeling looking like our common ancestor only less victorious. Everything got dust covered with sand. The Caveman the Mountain Man Stove our clothes strewn about like crumpled cans. Maggie sits sandy bellied on a nearby dune. Wise sage like wearing cut off blue jeans hair blowing in the sandy small craft advisory breeze. Topless too.
-Maggie there’s too much fucking blowing sand on this beach.
I pick sand out of my nose. Crunch crunch crunch. No need to brush my teeth. Maggie says
-Don’t I get a Good Morning?
-I don’t feel good let’s just say Morning.
-Morning. It’s a beach Dirt. The real problem is there’s too much trash. Tampon applicators broken metal lobster traps beer cans plastic jugs. Look around you.
Last night we didn’t notice the garbage in the dark. The National Sea Shore is littered with trash. Some rejected by the sea. Some left by campers. We pitched our tent pole home in dunes filled with things people flush down toilets throw over board and away. I say
-I can’t stay here. I don’t care if it’s free or our National Sea Shore. The sand. The sand flees. The trash. Do you think it’s okay to go topless. I think it’s illegal in most of America.
-Well it’s a stupid law. What about this trash? I went down to go swimming it’s gross. Two little boys walked by. They didn’t seem to mind my breasts at all. But the two boys couldn’t go swimming either. The bigger little boy punched the little little boy. What a mess.
Maggie puts on a shirt and we pack up the Caveman. I drive off the beach down the road to the Welcome Center. Maggie says
-Don’t forget to scrub down below.
Maggie and I take showers at the House Keeping. The House Keeping on the Padre Islands is about as inviting as the trash on the National Sea Shore. Freezing cold ice cube water fresh from the belly of the Arctic makes it nearly impossible to get clean. Running the bar of soap over myself once and toweling off with a tee shirt. I don’t meet a singular person. I wait for Maggie smoking on the Caveman front bumper. James auto coffin Dean meets Jiggling Garcia on the Padre Islands in a huge football stadium parking lot and nobody sees it. The Jolly Roger American flag isn’t even up. The place is dead dying death. It must be the off season. We drive off the National Seashore heading for New Orleans. Corpus Christi like the beach looks far worse in the day.
-This is definitely where they shot the picture about the rugged oil men and their lovely ladies.
-Dirk you’re making that up.
Oil refinery after pumping station Walmart MacDonald’s Bacteria Boxes K Mart Cost Co Price Club. The same shit as anywhere America. I stop at a Filling Station.
-We don’t need gas Dirt.
-I want to force one more gallon in. It’s so cheap and fresh.
-Deep in the heart of Texas.
I buy some donuts coffee generic nice price bell bottom cigarettes at the gas station. All sorts of toxic petroleum product blue barrel breakfast shit. I’m starting to flag on the quick fix oat meal economy diet. I get on a little squiggle of a road heading North. All I can think about is cows and gas as I eat my donuts drinking my coffee which I fortify with instant coffee fake sugar and fake cream in a Styrofoam cup. I have a post breakfast generic butt smoke. When they do my autopsy it’ll be a bastard to choose a cause of death category. Blue barrel isn’t on the list yet.
-We should have had a hamburger in El Paso. I bet they are really cheap hot animal farm fresh like the gas in Corpus Christi.
-Dirt stop it.
Maggie gets out her knitting. Starts up the passenger seat Industrial Revolution. Stack huffing puffing knitting needles twisting turning.
-Next time we pull over I want to try this sweater on you Dirt.
Unemployed Roller Blading barrel hopping skinny freak on Venice beach. I’ve just about turned the bend. Purged my soul of Hollywould. I mid as well say something nice about the place. At one point I was unemployed for three weeks. People don’t understand what free-lance film production means. It means nobody holds your hand except Maggie. You find jobs. End jobs. Find again. It’s cyclical. At one point I couldn’t or wouldn’t or whatever find work. I’m an adult. I felt like Job. I guess I just said I don’t feel like going to work on stupid films anymore. Thought I’d retire early. I just roller bladed drank smelted Dolt 4.5 kick the consumer down below dish water from near a Super Fund site beer and sun dried it on Venice beach for a month. I got to know all the beach freaks drug addicts scam artists convicts alcoholics painters prostitutes capitalists music revolution du jour rock stars industrialists film poser makers exhibitionists models idiots chain saw jugglers glass eaters gang members litter bugs. You name it. It’s on that beach at some point during a normal business week. I realized a few things. I don’t consider myself wise beyond my ears either. But I’ve been to the asshole. Or eaten off the Mountain Man Stove. Or climbed up and in. Asked the hole a number of questions. Pet a hemorrhoid named Hollywould. Imagine that. I don’t know which. But here it is. The film industry sucks. It’s run by ignorant crass grumpy Aging Parent axle holders who think Americans are stupid and people my age make good slaves. If you want anything different in America you have to make it yourself like the sweater Maggie is knitting. And nothing worthwhile was ever written in Hollywould. Holly would do it if she could. That’s it. Knowledge equals pedant pedal to the Caveman metal. I had to leave. So I left.
-See ya pears the click I’m shifting gears later.
And as an aside
-I’ll be back to nip the Aging Parents ankles.
Texas jitters by tall green farm flat tropical lush. People are clothes pin minded. Who would have thought Texas could be so many things. I’m tired of seeing things through handed down eyes. The same paunchy raunchy formulas. Some or maybe just one individual person should piss on them with me. People hold people down. Even friends don’t say
-Stay home write everything down.
-Come out and drink beer with us. You’re funny.
I say out loud
-Stop the fucking planet. Pull the E brake Boss. The Hoss is getting off.
-Shut up and drive Hoss. You’re taking me out of Texas.
See what I mean? Agendas. Driving cross country liberates open bores the mind. I can’t take any more. Thinking Bone throbbing pulsating porno graphically. I need civilization. A New Orleans slushy alcoholic booze ridden frosty pint. Louisiana welcomes us. We stop at the Official Welcome Center. It’s hot clammy musty buggy gray Seattle sky over cast. We park it on the welcome lawn. Lying face down. Completely flagging out. A little pond with bracken murky coffee brown water. We watch two guys fish. Baiting hooks casting lines. I’d love to watch a fish catch a man. Swim off with him. Maggie and I go to the Welcome Center to get some campground information. Free coffee free maps free as I’m destine to comment as I age in America clean bathrooms. The South. People are polite. Fuck fucking hell polite like me. Maggie and I drive out of there loaded down with free stuff. Tires humming decomposing rhythm back on the interstate. I tuck the Caveman behind a friar truck and settle back. Crunching searching for a soft spot in the seat to silence my throbbing porno graphic gas pedal leg. The porno graphic throbbing crawls down my leg. Reaching my knee. Maggie puts the radio on an alternative revolution du jour station. Howl howl howl. White suburban youth boy men complain cry curse over the air waves. I’ll give them something to be angry about. I’ll eat them. I’m the new improved Alternative Angry Young Man. The Alpha Omega of Angry Young Suburban White Males. I eat poser Music Industry Producer Created Angry Young Men on my quick fix oat meal breakfast. Gobble them down. Crunch snapple see ya pops. Make up hair spray bank accounts air planes personal secretaries managers body guards mansions the entire Corporation. I stomach it all. Belching screaming for more. Life is tragic. Boo hoo. Life is so berry hard. Hold the howling help is on the way. Real veal elephant apples. Meat eat sensible enough. Extra rare raw. Dripping. I dare say do not bother cooking it. Pleasant is this flesh. I want an appetizer. Eat my way through down during Americas Phony Entertainment Industry icons. Tear them apart chronologically historically theologically tastefully like Grendel. I’ll eat the fat smelly sweaty jump suited Helvis tragic Greek greedy god guy first. The whole deal. Rhinestones chains Cadillacs. Maybe a pair of sausage shaped fans for good measure. Then I’ll eat a European bonbon. Boner from Two Screw You. One pompous greasy Christ complex Aging Parent rock star that has his own plane named after a place critters are incarcerated plus steals my favorite film and puts it on M. no love let’s make money T.V. I’m personally pissed at Boned for using Dim Vendered his Wings of. He Die serrated Us. Talk about forgetting how to see. That film was a gift. It was. King of the Road. Another Hoss. Something other than Maggie and the Caveman that I love. And an Aging Parent with a silly name and a plane with a worse name took it from me. Worse put it on M. no love only fools glitter T.B. with all the other diseased dancing rhino beetles. You pear shaped cruller. You stole. You little boner. You run out creative bone spavin. Down in one. I eat you. You M. eat T.V. angel. Snap crackling. Fief feis pop. No fork. No knife. No manners. Historically theologically tastefully peacefully like The Original Artist Himself. Fuck being polite like my pal Grendel. Recommodify thy commodious arse. Thief. I change my mind I’m your greatest fan. And I’m naked. Both of you Artists are the apple of my eye. I want to be your Hoe Tool gardener plus Robot Babe. Call me Michael. I’ll push your apple cart. Pull start your mower. No. I don’t give a stale friar truck rainbow garden colicking fuck. Call me Dirt. My cart is a Caveman. No guest rooms for fishy freaks either. I think angels come from applesauce bullshit nowhere. Not Berlin. Not any other place or person or Spent Nation. Mostly Chip wants a simple apology. The little recording fiend. He turned me against M. money T.V. and the music soup of the day. I feel like a know it all shrink. I figured out one reason why I’m angry. When you look across the pond being American doesn’t feel crass degenerative. It feels grand. Don’t anyone change a thing.
-Maggie do you mind changing the radio station? My Bone and my Chip pulsate to this particular beat.
-Dirt you just can’t have all this weirdness in your bony body.
-I’m sorry I brought it up. Let’s listen to National Public Radio.
Maggie goes for it. It’s her favorite station. We pull over for food and fuel. Fuel easy. Pump the cheapest dog shit gas I can find into the Caveman. He doesn’t know about premium silver super gold ultra-detergent high grade octane. Don’t tell the bastard. I check all the fluids. The Caveman is Spent. I add one quart of oil. I’ve neglected him. He’s down two. The day after tomorrow I change the oil. It’s totally broken down. A little power steering brake fluid and water for the battery. I pour the shit in. Food not so easy. This is America. We’re at an interstate commerce. Chuck Cheesed Himself in a Lost Co. after eating Calmart at Fat Donalds Burger Ring and had to spend the rest of the day face planted on the Home Pee Pot. Bacteria Box after Barataria Box. Corporate food for Corporate people. We go up down the road side Corporate strip.
-Maggie do want to go there?
Point point point.
-I’ll buy you a potato at bendys Wendy.
We drive into Wendy. I like Wendy because she bakes potatoes. The old girl digs them up. Wraps them in tin aluminum foil and tosses them in the oven. No freezer no flame broil no hot coals no special secret sauce. That’s all. No artificial grease. No weird stuff. Just a potato. It’s difficult to find anything simple anymore. Everybody wants it now. Wants it different. Wants it special. I just want it simple. I can wait too. We go inside standing in line. Order two spuds.
-Do you want the Big Boy Fries?
-No. I just ordered potato product.
-I have to ask you because if I don’t you get them for free.
-I don’t want them if they’re free.
We sit down with our two plain potatoes and two waters with lemon. I always order water with lemon because people that work at Bacteria Boxes don’t like to serve it. I know I worked at one. I say
-May I have an Adam Ale?
-May I have a water?
When I worked at the Bacteria Box. I said
-Here take this cup. You’ll have to go fill it up in the sink in the toilet. I could lose my job for even giving you the cup.
I’ve got my plain potato hot steaming simple. I don’t think I want it now. Considering skipping the middle man. Considering feeding John the Critic. Marching off to the toilet lifting the lid and dropping it right it. Splash. Potato plop. Wendy potato in Wendy toilet. Wendy can fish it out. It’s hers. Toilet plus potato. I’m no Wendy middle man. I change my middle mind. I don’t want my potato simple. I don’t want it in the toilet. I want it special. If you’ve never been to Wendy before the old girl has a Food Bar. A Las Vegas array of goodies. A Salad Bar A Taco Bar A Spaghetti Bar. Bum rushing the Wendy bar. Belly up potato in one hand. I’m in front of the Salad Bar customizing my potato. I want it special. Only special costs extra up front. I’m not paying. All of the old girls henchmen watch me customize. A couple uninformed Wendy Workers come over to scare me away. People in the South are polite. They don’t say
-Piss off potato boy.
They try peer pressure. Staring stares. Eye balls eye balling. Even Maggie stares at me.
-Are my hairs falling into the Food Bar?
I top off my potato. Broccoli cheese sesame says me tomato croutons chili spaghetti carrot crackers bacon bits pineapple. I’m not kidney bean. Special. I return to my seat to eat. Only in America. Maggie looks at my potato. She’s jealous.
-Do you want some artificial bacon bits?
-Do you want some canned pineapple?
-Do you want…
-I just want you to kiss me.
We have a big long smack over my potato. Special. Americans hate public displays of affection. Farewell Wendy. We roll back onto the interstate. The Caveman and Contents full. The sun peters in a gray scale sky. Boring sun set. I turn on the headlights. An light meant. Head enlightenment. Back on the black ribbon worm. The Caveman munches the shit down. Crunching in searching for the soft spot. I let my mind drift off to a different shore. Forget I’m driving. It’s probably the kind of thing people have done since they crawled out of the swamp pond soup stood upright. Traveled to a better place inside their minds while their ass sat in slime. Maggie and I arrive in New Orleans. Or rather head to the out skirts to camp. The big slushy booze ridden frozen mug pint will have to be postponed until tomorrow. Driving down a rural road to find a State Campground. Bayou swamp coffee dark street lamp less bug infested. The bugs are insane. Cowtropolis revisited only with bugs. Bugs crash into the almost vertical wind shield of the Caveman by the hundreds splatting bleeding dying unheroic gooey deaths. Raining bugs outside. Ping wing ding. I already fear the tenting prospects. It starts to drizzle real precipitation. We pull into a Supermarket to buy a bottle of wine. Some people wear foul weather gear. Others get loaded. I like the twist off or tin foil top jug variety. Maggie wouldn’t let me buy it at Pa Canyon because I get sloppy. Brand name Hollow. In small print it says
Grape purple Popsicle flavor. Maggie and I go carting in a shopping cart. Maggie the hood ornament. Aisle after aisle. Clean checkered linoleum tiles with arrows. We get bananas peanut butter jelly bread cheese quick fix instant soup minute rice orange juice. No more quick fix oat meal. Quaking Oats loses their most valuable customer. Poor Billfed will have to be the spokesperson for another product. Oat meal futures fall precipitously on the Stock Exchange. I get a half gallon of Hollow grape purple Popsicle flavor wine. To the checkout counter. A status queue.
-Paper or plastic.
We arrive at yet another pay establishment in America. A Louisiana State Campground. Many State and Federal Campgrounds have guard houses. Little adorable shacks that Government Employees work in like toll booths. The Government employees I imagine get paid by the hour. Not by the camp site they sell. In other words they have no initiative to sit in the toll booth and collect tolls. When it gets dark they go home like Communists. Maggie and I drive past the empty toll booth and head for the Camping Area. This Campground is posh. Well organized. Sceni Cruisers at one end. Tent sites at the other. Lots of space between camps. Drooping hanging moss trees. Black coffee dark. We are in something like the bayou. Really a swamp. Only we have a picnic table next to our tent next to the Caveman. We pitch the tent. Head lamps hoping scattering bugs. Two stroke engine bugs buzz saw buzz. Bite bite bite. The bugs descend on our lighted heads. Drizzle dripping musty clammy swamp dog wet. Rain sprinkles out of the sky. It helps beat some of the bugs buzzing biting away. Laying out our sleeping bags inside the tent we turn out our lights. A large piece of tent material a water proof tarp stretches across the tent. An added piece of protection called a rain fly. Maggie and I sit outside under the drooping dark hanging moss trees on the red wood picnic table. I crack the Hollow purple Popsicle jug of wine. The drizzling picks up. Driving the bugs away. Nature to the rescue. It’s warm. We sit on the red wood picnic table getting soaked. I like Hollow purple flavor wine because I can spill it all over me and the place without guilt. Guzzling drip drooling red blue purple in swamp light. Hollow. Maggie’s teeth already stained purple. She says
-Isn’t it funny how as children our Parents taught us to run from the rain?
The drops of rain get larger. Splat splat splat. Getting muddy. Globs of it bounce up onto the tent and on us. More organic tree leafy matter falls out of the drooping trees. I say
-It’s going to be a down up right left filthy dirt super chunk drunk tonight.
-Not for me.
I stick my foot into the mud and rub it on Maggie’s leg. The unthinkable occurs. Maggie pushes me off the red wood picnic table. Falling flat on my back. A real back flop. Swamp mud splat. I pounce up. Pulling her down into the mud spongy bog. We roll like trawling hooks kissing in the organic oily grubby gritty stick skunk cabbage rock ridden stuff. I rub mud into her hair. Maggie says
-I’ll get you.
She dumps a big clumpy turtle lump of Louisiana earth down my shorts. I sit up right away. One person always has to accept defeat in a battle of this scale. I feel like I have a shit in my pants. I admit accept embrace say howdy to defeat. Standing taking off my shorts and shirt I get the Hollow. I say
-I need a drink.
I’m naked covered in mud. It’s a warm rainy night. I’m three plus twenty. In a coffee bayou dark swamp holding my friend’s hand getting drunk. Life doesn’t get a whole lot better than this. Two swamp urchins kissing in the mud. Maggie laughs at my muddy figure. The campground silently sleeps. I kick the jug. I am the Hollow man. Blue red purple teeth. Naked plus decidedly slurring slum drunk. Not a decent thought in my head. I play in the mud. Swamp turf surfing. Dirt sods and odds. I almost pass out. Feeling nappy. Instead I take my slum drunk bum for a shower. This is civilized swamp Camping. Telephones Laundry House Keeping Showers. Only I think I saw a drunk long harrier bearded guy with blue red purple teeth strolling around naked covered in mud. Call it public service. I do bump into one guy in the Men’s Showers.
-What happened to you pal?
-I shipped on the mud pushing the Wanna Bagel.
Hot steaming white clean plastic shower stall. I howl it’s so good. I dash across the Campground paper white old fashioned ghost alabaster bed sheet like. Past Sceni Cruisers Recreating Vehicles. I feel naked now. With the mud I didn’t plus I saw double. The raining stops. Naked glowing body steaming I duck into the tent. Maggie is in the tent. I lost track of her for a while. We zip up the two sleeping bags together. Like wrapping two potatoes in one piece of tin foil. I pass out curled up. I awake to Maggie holy bone poking me. Poking me hard.
-Christ Maggie you’re going to put a hole in me.
-Dirt will you switch sides of the tent with me?
Drip drip drip. The tent droops dripping like a leaky spigot spent washer faucet. In a variety of places. Raining high pressure hose hard. The sound scares me. Up. I’m awake now. The first line of defense in the tent sits up. It’s funny how even in a tent a body gets used to one side. Disliking another. Switching sides with Maggie. She unzips her sleeping bag from mine. Maggie gets tent door. I park myself in a large tent floor puddle. Languishingly languid. I back pack camp all that sort of stuff all the time. Rain snow sleet I don’t give a fuck if the Mail dude plus truck falls out of the sky on my blue yellow tent. My number one tenting principle rule sometimes I don’t live by it never get out of bed. Nothing looks nearly as bad in the morning. Animals rain weather whatever. Block it from your mind. Splash down I’m in the puddle drifting off. Maggie says
-I’m going to read in the Caveman.
I slide back over to my puddle side tent door. I say
-I like my side better.
Maggie gets her head lamp and opens the blue yellow tent door. A typhoon washes in. Mud splatters up and in. Utter hair ball foul weather. Mutiny mink. Maggie mutinies. I pull a musty clammy damp wet synthetic sleeping bag over my ears and check out.
Chapter 7: Dagon
Yellow blue morning tent light. Another disorienting morning in a blue yellow bright liar. Maggie isn’t in the tent again. At least I’m in the tent. Naked cold wet. My body climbed out of the bag at some point last night. My head hates me. Hollow the blue red bastard baseball bated me. Hang over straight up. I’m dry swamp of blood red eyed. Brain on the rocks. Hung hanging Hollow hurting buckling over. I feel like ass. The last part of the chicken to hop over the fence. My girlfriend bailed on me. My name must be Dirt. I unzip the tent poking my head out. It’s gnarly swampy out. Big muddy foot holes body water welts. Some sloppy solipsist wrecked the swamp last night. Muddy clumps organic tree dripping droppings twigs leaves swamp excrement over the tent and the Caveman. And there she is at the picnic table boiling water for me. The mutinous mushy muse mink. I look into green eyes. She says
-Morning. Aren’t we fucking civilized. I want the lie for breakfast today and some aspirins.
And give her a big hug.
-Dirt you might want to put on some shorts before you eat the lie.
I kick back coffee Joe java one after the other. Shaking out packing up the muddy damp dripping in places soaking gear into the Caveman. He turns over in one miraculous jarring scratching the black chalkboard grind. Morning drunk it’s not as fun. We drive by the toll booth. A brown uniformed toll booth operator gentleman waves to us. Maggie waves back to him. I drive out of the State Park and into New Orleans.
-Where’s the French Quarter?
The city sucks and we’re lost. Looking for a cheap hotel. I’m out by the airport for some fucked up reason. No wonder the hotels are cheap out here. The planes fly in between my antenna and windshield. We get back in traffic. No glamour in this part of town. We head right for the bear trap. Park the Caveman. Maggie and I go to New Orleans most famous coffee spot. The waiter stands may I help you before us. As Maggie and I recline curb side at the French Chicory Roast a tourist coffee pot.
-Two coffees and what in smelly hell are big nets.
-They are French donuts.
Looking positively annoyed slicked back European perfidious.
-Maggie do you want some funky donuts?
We sit huff puffing smoke trying to look elegant French or European slick eating greasy powdery perfidious French fried bottom of an American fryer dough clumps. Slurping hot roasted chicory French nut Joe java of the South. I’m shaking like Dido the dog. Coffee jagging uneasy maybe a little drunk still hung over.
-Another round of duncan dogberry donuts my dear?
We’re eating nonstop now. The quick fix oat meal diet depletes us dastardly. Maggie and I walk around the French Quarter. We are so fucking out of place. Sick joke. Nothing but Pa Canyon variety tourists. Aging Parents decked out in tourist regalia. Golf shirts khaki shorts tube socks cranked up over knobby knees tennis shoes cameras dangling video cameras rolling.
-Maggie where did the vice go to get fed?
The city streets are pleasing to the eye otherwise. Small two story charming buildings. Hoss and mule drawn carriages. Poor droopy saggy mule ass Hoss buckling from dragging over weight tourists. Paradise weenie vendors abound. Typical American tourism but with tasteful architecture. Maggie and I check into a bar. Jagging from the jumping Joe. And we want to meet some young people our age. Maggie sniffs out the fresh brewed New Orleans beer. Got a nose for the good stuff and a belly to put it. Plopping down on two bar stools. The unfortunate occurs. They have liters of beer. Two big frosty brown ale mugs a foot tall for early lunch. Ice cold tasty thick black viscous motor oil like stuff. I order a bucket of craw fish. I want the real New Orleans experience. As far as I can tell I’m supposed to get loaded and eat craw fish. Off to a heady start. The bucket of craw fish touches down in front of me. I say
-Pardon me but how do you eat these guys?
An agreeable blue eyed blond hair nose ringed man. He doesn’t look overtly French to me. He says
-I break the heads off and eat the meat. Some people suck the legs too.
Simple enough. I start breaking the bodies. Eating the meat. Maggie looks at me horrified. The meat tasty salty good sweet. Only I look into the eyes of the dead red craw fish and feel badly for them.
-I wish they wouldn’t stare at me Maggie.
Maggie shrugs. I polish off the whole bucket of craw fish and the liter of beer for my sorrows. I order another liter of beer. No more beady eye ball meat in a red head for me. I’m ambitious about drinking. This bar has loud music. Music makes me drink. Bars are boring. Boredom makes me drink. Maybe I just drink a lot. Maggie starts chatting with the bartenders waiters. People are age. We still need a place to stay.
-There is a really charming cheap hotel. My friend owns it.
Maggie picks up a phone drops a quarter. Few phone call costs a dime. We have a place to sleep and a place to put the Caveman off the street. All for cheap because we tipped a bar keep. Everybody comes to New Orleans with a car full of stuff. Parks it on the street. An American city. There are people who would spray paint tag steal your eye ball if it wasn’t so firmly glued in your head. I finish my beer and half of Maggie’s. Walking out of the bar it’s like a bath tub sloshing around in my stomach. A clear crisp fresh air afternoon. A perfect day for buzzing. After a bit of city street tourism we find the Caveman. Maggie drives. We don’t pride ourselves on rebelliousness or anything like that. And Maggie the big belly bandit has a revoked license but there is no way I’m driving the Caveman. I get lazy on two and a half liters of high test beer. We find the hotel. Don’t get pulled over. A cop doesn’t eat Maggie. Maggie and I go rent a room. No one working at the hotel or staying at it is older than us. All the crabby crass adult Aging Parents are lacking. Gone to work the Controls. We get our room number. Number One. They charge us half price because of the fresh brewed beer contact. No key. The hotel has one door in and out. It doesn’t work like a normal place. And one gated garage door. Maggie pulls the Caveman into the brick box gated parking. I unpack our dripping soaking musty muddy swamp wet tent sleeping bags clothes. We leave everything else in the Caveman locked up.
-This place is cool but kind of weird.
-I know what you mean.
Not sure if we trust the place. Above the parking area is a cement patio. Hang all our stuff out to dry. Nobody seems to mind. Flapping muddy damp blue yellow tent material dripping synthetic sleeping bag material. Maggie and I go find our room. The hotel is more a two story house. A series of small rooms facing a pool hot tub and landscaped courtyard. Our room is on the first floor. Steps away from the pool. Another young couple sits in the hot tub. Water burbling brook gurgling around them. Drinking beers kissing they look up. The girl takes photographs of the boy. They say
Weird boys and girls saying hi. We open two curtained glass French doors going in our room. The coolest hotel room I’ve ever been in. Green velvet chairs. Orange carpet. Fish painted on the walls. Octopus crawfish gold fish sharks blue fish whales dolphins starfish even a green crocodile. The whole feeding swim chain. A big squeaky bed. A small tiny antique bathroom. Maggie and I jump on the bed.
-You’re the best Maggie.
We’re psyched. This hotel is special different better. Hotels like everything else in America today are Corporate. We stay in the tent because it’s free. But also because it’s not Corporate. Baked potato brown bed spread brown chair boring professional don’t want to offend any busy body decorator. Most cheap hotels are just that. We go sit by the pool. The couple in the hot tub are really fucked up. On Ecstasy or I don’t know what. We leave them alone at first. Maggie and I get two blackened voodoo beers from the front desk. Time for a swim meet.
-I challenge you Maggie Sides to a drunk swimming race.
-I accept the challenge. Make it naked Dirt Rhodes.
I strip down and Maggie does too. We have swimming races on occasion. Common knowledge leads us to believe that one goes faster in the water without swim trunks. No drag. Simple aerodynamics. We’re College graduates. For four years profess Technicolor profess some more discouraged us. Educated members of the community. I have seventeen years of being discouraged on Chip the fox trotting microchip shoulder. He holds a wealth of airy dynamic information. Maggie and I stand on the edge of the pool. Gearing up for the competition.
I get to scream the start because Maggie wins most of the time. She grew up playing frog woman by the sea. Peeing in the shallows. Plus I go down like a rocky boulder. No fat Moby blubber life jacket to keep me afloat. As a result I’ve developed my own racing technique. I race the entire way under water. We never race in a real racing pool so it’s not bad on the old pipes. Knowing a cigarette sits at the finish line helps. When I’m drunk getting excursive swimming I need to smoke some. I leap in ahead of the go. Maggie gives me that small pleasure. Cheat to compete. I kick like Dagon under water thrashing to the far wall. Bang. I slam a hand on it. The pools pretty bantam like a pond.
-I won. I’m the Hoss. I’m going to Daze Neigh Spam.
Maggie splashes me. She says
-Rematch. You cheated too much.
We hop out and walk around the pool to the deep end. Dripping wet floor prints. Races of this caliber always have to start in the deep end especially if they involve alcohol. At the end of the race if you finish tired you can stand up and pee. The pee drink beer hot tub skids. I mean kids. Want to be our friends. They say
-Hey. Don’t you guys have swim suits?
I tell them about the aerodynamics of swim racing.
-Do you have names?
We introduce ourselves around. Cuotie and Kyra want to join us. What cool Aging Parents to give them those names? Cuotie has big eager brown eyes a brown long braided pony tail and a pot belly. Kyra has small tired blue cloudy eyes thin blond braided pony tail and a wash board belly. They take off their silly swim suits. Both of them look pretty much better naked. Maggie decides boys verse girls. We do a relay. I send Cuotie down to the shallow end. He says
-I can do a swimmers dive.
Maggie looks still pissed off. She doesn’t want me to say go this time. She heads to the Front Desk dripping wet to get a non-bias observer. We all wait. The hotel is miniature like the pool. Maggie comes back real fast with the guy who checked us in for half price. Smiling he says
-You dudes really should wear bathing suits.
I give him the aerodynamics speech and the history behind Maggie and my rivalry. I add
-We need full body locomotion to reach optimum super premium ultra-high octane athletic performance.
-You still need swim suits.
So I say
-We are needy nudist anachronistic anarchist alcoholics anacharis help us.
Still smiling but shaking his head too. He says
-I’ll be the starter gun for one race. Then I’ve got to go back to work.
I watch his lip quiver. He says the letter g. And I’m off. Swimming kicking thrashing like a day gone bastard. Bang. I hit my head on the wall. Popping up. Cuotie dives over my head. Practically smacks me in the head with his member. A team player. Cuotie’s swimmers dive is what most people refer to as belly flops. Slap his belly crashes onto the water. Maggie splashes me in the face. She says
-I kicked your tea cup butt.
Cuotie doggy paddles down the pool. Nobody ever taught him the underwater racing technique. Kyra butterflies down the course tossing up a monster rooster tail. She can swim like Maggie. Kyra beats Cuotie. The women win the first round of the swim meet. The second part is diving or what kids call can opener bombs. Cuotie cries
-Cuotie let them have it. I can’t swim another lap. I’m too drunk and out of shape.
Cuotie empathizes. A little Moby gut joe tube blubber life jacket tire hangs around his belly. Maggie and Kyra give high fives. I explain the rules.
-The ideas is to get all the water out of the pond. Then we vote on who has the best splash. Style counts too.
Cuotie has played this game before. He gets a running hauling ass start down the slippery wet pool tiles jumps rolling himself into a bowling cannon fodder. The splash. Typhoon impressive. At least fifty gallons of water splashes out of the miniature pond pool all over the deck. Making the playing court particularly dangerous. Maggie and Kyra go running hauling ass one after the other. Combining forces they splash about as much water out of the dwarf pool as Cuotie did. One sopping soaking blue chlorine water wet tile courtyard. Tied game. The pressure’s on. I go running hauling ass but change my mind. I leap into the hot tub. A big splash of body temperature pond water leaps out of the tub. I surface. Everybody laughing. Cuotie says
-Let’s call it a tie.
Maggie Cuotie Kyra and I get our beers and kick it in the love tub.
-Where are you from?
-What are you doing?
Kindred spirits sort of. Cuotie and Kyra are pretty sketchy people like us. We just sit back relax and drink blackened voodoo lager beer. Keep it simple. Yawn yawn yawn. It’s fucking contagious this yawning. Sitting in a hot tub and drinking in the afternoon sun doesn’t help. I feel stupid and satisfied. Lovely combination. Maggie and I go back to our rooms to nap.
Maggie and I fall asleep. When I wake up it’s dark. I’m weird early evening hung over horny. I wake up Maggie to see if she shares my frisky sentiments. Maggie has some horny tea time demon on her back. She leaps on me. Dunking crumpets. A really scathing case of being horny. The bed creaks saggy soft. Maggie gets in the shower. Walking on the patio around the pool. Water squishes between my toes. The hot tub makes strange sucking sounds. Something fucked it up. No sign of Cuotie and Kyra. Going to collect all our tenting sleeping gear newly dry from the concrete patio above the Caveman. I pack and stuff everything into nylon sacks and into the Caveman. When I return Maggie sits brushing her hair. Smoking her little friend Pot.
-Ow ow ow.
She pouts. We head to Bourbon Street. With a name like that it’s got to be good. We head down one crooked street dripping with old hold the chamber pots world charm after another. Black steel grated two story balcony buildings. Old streets with seductive allure. Boom broom Bourbon Street. A Las Vegas light and liquor cacophony. Cackling phony. Neon signs flash
-Sin business sin business.
Sorry you’re busted. It’s phony. No bourbon. Nothing but Grub Street. Charlatan Humpty Dumpty Chumps. College fraternity tin beer can slushy Styrofoam fall off the wall drink scene. I say
-Total toe cheese.
-Let’s get loaded and see if it gets any better.
All these hole in the wall stores sell slushy drinks to go. One bizarre frosty booze ridden Styrofoam cup place after another. They actually sell slurp slurries with booze in a cup up down the block. I go to bars because I have nowhere else to go. Whatever I got my fly open. We buy Grub Street grain alcohol slush in a Styrofoam cup. Mandatory to go. It’s stomach turning electric blue gnarly gross. I say
-I want the other authentic New Orleans experience.
As I drink a burning throaty gulp. We walk up down Bourbon Street a few times. Considering finding a John the Critic and skipping the middle man. Big belly belligerent drunk men pursue us bump into us up down the block. One Humpty Chump
-Ids is beta dank Law Day Hail.
My feet and stomach hurt. Shoddy strip joints. I stripped all day today and last night. All set on stripping. Stripping’s overrated. Shitty expensive bars and slushy drinks in Styrofoam cups. I say
-Let’s go find some good music and good beer.
-This is the New Orleans the tourists created.
We walk around a lot. My feet hurt. My stomach recovers. We go back to the Fresh Beer Bar. Live jazz wails out of the bar. Maggie says
-Go with the phony you know.
As we head for two vacant bar stools. They remember us from today.
-Two liters of brown ale and a bucket of craw fish.
-Dirt you aren’t going to eat another bucket?
I nod. Maggie says
-One grilled cheese too.
-Crawsake. You aren’t going to eat a grilled cheese in New Orleans?
A grilled cheese the bucket of craw fish and two fat brown cow jar liter beers touch down in front of us. At least Maggie doesn’t drink bad beer. I break all the heads off the craw fish one after the other.
-Don’t look at me you little bastard.
I bang his simple swampy annoying red head on the bar. Maggie says
-Dirt stop grossing me out.
Get all the guilt up front. All the pleasure at once too. The music screeches about hip hop acid kind of bluezy fusion. I’m definitely in tourist nirvana. Getting it all. The authentic made for tourism experience. Maggie even holds my hand now that I finished off the last red dead craw fish head. We’re sitting at the wet bar. This guy in back sits on a stool shucking oysters. It’s drippy slimy sandy smelly finger cutting work. I ask
-Do you ever find pearls?
-I found one last night.
Now that’s a good service industry job. It may smells like oyster excrement. But you don’t stand on your feet all day. No oyster can talk back. And every now and then you get a pearl. A little slimy shinny jewel for your pocket. Imagine that. I’d eat an oyster but I have my limits. Cuotie and Kyra walk into the bar. They look funny in clothes. I say
-Maggie look at Kyra and Cuotie in clothes.
-They look stupid.
Joining us they sit down at the bar. He doesn’t say good evening. Cuotie says
-What you drinking?
I hold up my half full beer. Half empty liter. Who really gives a sink think? If you sink down in your bar stool to think about it. Bottom line either way fill it up handsome.
He likes the California part about myself and Maggie. Cuotie buys four liters of beer. A freshen up liter for Maggie and me. A regular old school gentleman. Mr. Freshener Upper. Too bad he looks funny in clothes. I say
-Did your Mom dress you funny in the seventies?
I’m not making polite conversation with two people I swam naked with this afternoon. Cuotie says
-Of course she did. She named me Cuotemoc.
-We grew up together. Our Parents are really bizarre.
Cuotie and Kyra are from an Artist Colony in upstate New York. Cuotie says
-We’re weird because our Parents made us that way.
Things just aren’t what they used to be at the Artists Only Colony in upstate New York. The seventies the heroin. The eighties the cocaine acquired immune deficiency syndrome inflation alcoholism the National Endowment for the Arts gout J. Helms conspires with Congress deaths taxes. The nineties the H returns. Only stronger. The merry old days are reinvented somehow. Cuotie says
-It’s more like a Preservation than anything else today.
I help out
-A crown of Joycean barbed grinning syphilis.
-You’ve been there?
-We’re moving to Hollywould.
-Hollywould sucks. She gives me a rash.
Maggie and I loved to go to Yosemite National Park. If you’ve never been it’s one of the most boot eye full places in California. Bold bald mountain tops. Gray slate weather worn John Muir enormous glacial plummeting watch your step don’t drop to your death cliffs. Men women with child scale those cliffs like spider crabs no stringy leash attached. Infinitely better than Pa Canyons craggy red brick rock rubble. Clear crisp New England fresh but butter. Slick untouched other worldly gray slate rubble rocky sheer cliffs crystal clear blue burbling gurgling brook evergreen tree ridden. Waterfalls ice cube cold twisting turning dance falling white blue green down. White foamy cappuccino Yuppies love the place frothing chilly spurting leap anacharis frog lively life giving stuff. Maggie and I went once a month like the cotton pony. A monthly reminder that we are human sort of. Hiking hot spots sweating blisters cold nights bugs hot nights snow rain hail. And at times utter uncut unadulterated boot eye full. We got it all. The whole authentic package at Yosemite once a month. When we returned to Hollywould from Yosemite where the ninety nine freeway greets the five freeway around Bakersfield where the Californians grow rice in the desert. Signs say
-Desert Plus Water Equals Jobs.
Maggie would start to itch. The Caveman hurtling on a crash course with Hollywould. Scratching itching at times drawing blood. Maggie savagely scratched herself like a junky. We had fleas in our bed in Hollywould. Really we had them everywhere in the apartment. Millions of flees populated our apartment in Hollywould. The real tenants. People come and go in that place like Grand everybody look down at your feet Central. The fleas are a fixed quantity. The apartment changes hands frequently. Hollywould is like that. Everybody moves a lot. U Haul Charon and Rent This Beat Dented Minotaur Wreck is a prosperous business in Hollywould. Never content. Everybody has a bitch. I want it now special better brighter rent control cleaner ocean view wrap around porch utilities heat air conditioning included setting sun quiet cheaper. Anyway it seems many roommates ago there was a cat. I did a bit of dick the detective work one day. Found a kitty dish in one of the kitchen cupboards. Painted on the dish in nail polish was the flea cat’s name. It said Slut. Slut the flea cat came then fled. The fleas stayed. Moved into the futon bed. The flees are a forever thing in that place. Maggie suffered a lot in that apartment. It seems the fleas conferenced voted unanimously decided to only bite her. One night lying on our futon bed together reading. And the fleas dined chomping on her and not me. Imagine that. They had a preference. Maggie said
-Are you getting mauled by fleas too?
-I don’t feel a thing.
-Look at my welts.
She showed them to me. Offered them up as a sign. Red bump symbols of injustice in our futon bed. Then said
-They bite me because I’m soft and squishy and sweet. You on the other hand are bony and skinny and bitter.
-I admire their discrimination.
I returned to my book. Maggie to her scratching at times drawing Captain Blood. We knew the scratching itching thing was a problem one night while driving by the sign
-Farming Plus Water Equals Jobs.
Maggie began itch scratching drawing the Captain. We had been in Yosemite all weekend. Not a single itch or flea bite in days. Suddenly or obviously because we headed towards Hollywould Maggie scratched herself. She said
-Dirt now I know this is psychological too.
I nodded. Maggie said
-But I can’t stop it.
Maggie and I tell Cuotie and Kyra about the fleas and Yosemite. We give them Justy our roommate’s number. Maggie says
-He’s a total donut.
-But he really needs two roommates.
-Maybe you could flea bomb. We never got around to it.
Cuotie and Kyra seem genuinely touched. I give them Spent Lee the Preposterous Preppy telephone number as well. Those guys have nightmare lifestyles but they know Hollywould. Maybe Cuotie and Kyra will make it out there. Kyra and Cuotie are starting out with a little more than we did. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Somebody to show you things. Tell you
-You’re not a shit. Corporate John the Critic is.
Teach you stuff. Steer you away from the dragons with ray guns pot holes with bear traps and opportunist Aging Parent assholes. Help you not fuck up or get fucked. I feel generous. I buy us all beers. Small guys. I see two of everything right now anyway. It feels like buying eight beers. Little twelve ounce jobs. Too full for anymore liters. The music screams jazzy blues acid fusion. It can’t stop me. I do it again. Putting my head down. I say
-Cod the wet bar makes me tired.
-Just checking the inside of the eye lids.
A Las Vegas pass out snarf bar. I suffer from low blood sugar a bad diet and bad habits. I wake up and Maggie kisses Cuotie while Kyra watches laughing smiling. A big kiss. They did a lot of shots while I slept. I’m not kissing Kyra. The bar has a bunch of upside down shot glasses on it. I’m slightly pissed off. I missed something. They didn’t save me a shot even. What can you do though? If you live on the fringe sleep drooling on the bar you come across a few dog eared pages every now and then. Nobody owns anybody. I hate apostrophes the s. Never use them. Some days if you’re at work you can’t claim to even own all of yourself. I shake it off and go on. Cuotie and Kyra leave
-Good night good luck god speed and all that superficial shit.
Maggie and I give them a little lead and head out onto Grub Street. In our absence all the khaki Bermuda shorts tourist types got loaded on slushy Styrofoam enough booze to kill you drinks. Still one button cameras dangling from black straps video cameras rolling recording it all. Extra paranormal kind of weird ordinary drunkards. Quite a large number of the tourists are behaving badly. Grab ass games pissing booting crying sucking face in the streets. Maggie says
-Some people get weird when they drink.
-Some people kiss the company.
-Some people sleep on the bar.
We go back to the hotel. Maggie sparks up Pot the pipe. I’ve got Whiskey Dick. Or rather a friend of his for about fifteen minutes. Never had him over before. Sort of interesting. What a curious embarrassment. Maybe I’m feigning it. Sometimes I don’t feel like having sex. Sometimes it’s not worth the hassle. For such humble Pip dick Dickensian beginnings the sex is surprisingly satisfactory. Except I have a dim recollection of falling asleep mid stroke.
Chapter 8: Twenty Three
Morning crashes in over on top of us. The Front Desk dude the starter gun stands over me. Making a gun out of his fingers. Clever bastard. Points it at me says
-Bang. Go. Swim. See ya.
-Got the message. Be gone Dagon.
He walks out. I feel like ass. Again again again. It was good enough for Jesus Christ. I drank like a Lord last night. Think this Lord will get on his ass and beat a good ride out of it. A regular hang over helper. Knowing I’d be burned if I lived in another century. Maggie limps up and out of bed into the antique bathroom. Wedges herself into the cube space of the shower floor. Parks it on the floor of the shower. She says
-Turn the shower on for me. I’m stuck down here.
I turn the shower on. Give her a big blast of ice cold from the belly of the Arctic. I’m a touch sore about the kissing the company last night. It was so suburbian. Maggie doesn’t even flinch from the cold. She drops her head between her legs. Hanging down like sea weed her hair goes down the drain. I turn the water to the red dot hot. Too miserable to be vindictive. I leave Maggie in the shower. The drain works at about half capacity. Her hair only blocks the free flow of water a little. She’s not going to drown. I love her but I’m no life guard. Sometimes a person needs to be toxic hair in the drain at the bottom of an antique shower in New Orleans. I go out to the pool. Dive in head first. Tackle this head ache from the front. I swim a couple laps. Coughing snorting spitting up all kinds of bizarre sinus stuffs. Pools are a good place for it. Something in the blue chlorine clears the head. The pistol is back. He looks as if he found some ammunition at the Front Desk Gun Rack. He says
-Check out time was two hours ago. If you don’t get some clothes on fast I’m calling the Cops. And go get your goddamn friend out of my shower. She used all the hot water in the hotel. Your check time is two minutes from now.
-Did Cuotie and Kyra leave?
-Yes they left hours ago.
-Okay don’t get huffy with me Quiggly. We’re leaving. I’m done watching over the transom handsome.
I take a quick piss in the pool. Figure I ought to put something back. All the water I knocked out of the pond. I climb out. Pistol goes away. Going back to the room. I’m trying to remember Cuotie and Kyra’s faces. Not just a facsimile the real thing. I remember what their bellies look like. No I just remember the names. Maggie doesn’t move. She at least took her hair out of the drain. The water feels belly of the Arctic cold. Quickly pistol knows his business.
-Maggie the Desk Dude evicted us. He threatened to call the Cops.
-What’s his problem?
-He got no hot water no swim suit.
-We got to go Maggie. It’s late. That’s all.
I turn the water off. Pull her out of the antique shower and towel her off. She looks olive oil stomach bile pea soup green. Maggie’s green eyes are black. Nothing but pupil. Swamp coffee black. The white is blood shot. I say
-Are you tripping?
-Something like that.
Looking at her makes me want to boot. We didn’t discover drinking. You’d think the generation that succeeded the generation that discovered it would have discovered a cure. Nope too ingrained in the generations. They say
-I had to go through it growing up. Let the next generation go through it too.
I dress her and dress me. Parents must feel the same way dressing a sick child. Proud plus repulsed. Lovely Combination. I leave pistol the Critics tip. Gather up our toothbrushes and steal a pillow. We paid cash. Maggie needs it. I only steal for her. I put Maggie into the passenger seat of the Caveman. Pillow propped up against the red door. She closes her eyes. I drive out of the gated parking brick box. Filling up on gas. Fill the tires with air. They went a little flat. I buy some generic butts and get a free lighter. Feeling satisfied lucky the Caveman heads North. I was convinced I’d be robbed in New Orleans instead I got a lighter plus a pillow. Imagine that. In America every category of criminal exists. Criminals that steal Hope Diamonds off millionaire’s fingers. Price less art from museum walls. Criminals that steal televisions and stereos from middle class entertainment centers. And criminals that steal things from people like me. Corroding batteries from twenty year old Jeeps. Small amounts of cash or even change. I visited Boston a few years back. Walked around like any knobby kneed touring terrestrial tourist. Looking up gawking marveling. Tea party revolution gas antique lamp lighted cobble stone streets around swan boated parks. Very impressive old ancient elder for America. I was in the Back Bay. Near the rusty spit of water called the Charles River that elegant fellows row on top off in cigar shaped boats. The Back Bay is an area that was once all marshy. A shallow harbor hence the name Back Bay. It seems Sam adagio Adams Lager. Scratch that. One of the other less illustrious founding fathers. I don’t remember who decided to fill the entire marsh in to make the city bigger. Imagine that. Try filling in a rats microscopic orifice today and you’ll have the Environmental Protection Agency plus Greenpeices up your orifice with snow shoes plus life rafts. Well it seems you can fill in the harbor. Change the landscape in the minds of the people. But you can’t fool the water rats. Wet bog damp swamp marshy clammy soil exists under all the top soil. Perfect water rat habitat. You can’t change the minds of the real tenants. They know the place is still a marsh. As a result the Back Bay which happens to be a very elegant kind of place is was and will always be a water rat habitat. A putrid plethora. A veritable varmints bogus bog bevy of big black fat tithing galvanized trash can toppling water rats live there. Real bastards too. They’ve been know to eat house pets. They say
-Hey kitty you want to play? Kitty cruller. Chomp chomp chomp.
Well so there I was looking up at the John Handcock Tower. Thinking what would John Handcock think if he could see this tower with his name scribbled on it? Standing countless stories tall gray blue cobalt chandelier plus charcoal black. Glimmering shimmering on top of what was once a marsh. And this ratty bastard walked up to me. Rat said
-Can you spare a dollar?
Never. I don’t give change to the homeless. Mooching for a whole dead Press You Dent? What a total presumptuous rat. I’m not bitter. I’d give money to good causes if I had it. A lot of homeless people have better clothes than me. I sniffed him out. He didn’t smell. He wore more expensive clothes than me. Designer tatters. Worse he was young. It’s really discouraging to see people my own age begging for money. I know it’s hard. And the Aging Parents think we make good slaves. And all that bullshit. But if you are in your twenties and you have your health and all your parts work and you aren’t bigger tougher looking than me I say
-Get out of my fucking face. Figure your shit out. Get a fucking job that will at least define what you don’t want to do.
This Rat unfortunately was a weight lifter. Big stupid jar head bastard Rat. Mass produced American beer drinker well fed variety. I didn’t want to confuse him. I said
Rat stepped closer. He needed mouth wash. His halitosis rat breath killed me. If he told me it was for mouth wash I would have handed over the buck.
-Listen to me you long hair pussy. Give me a dollar or I’ll take it off you.
I looked into two very mean black dot irus uris rat iris. Nobody likes being called a pussy or cunt. Not one bit happy or impressed.
-I haven’t got a dollar.
-Show me your wallet.
I had numerous dead Presidents. I didn’t want to lose my whole wallet in the process. I looked around. Nobody but John Handcock Dirt Rhodes and Bastard Rat.
-What do you want the dollar for?
Rat calmed a little.
-I need it to get home on the train.
-Is this how you get your subway fare every night?
He got pissed off bent out of shape again. Rat pushed me. Thud in the chest.
-Look. I’m just a white guy that needs a buck. What’s it gonna be? Are you giving it or am I taking it off you.
I felt filthy rabid violated. Considering fighting Rat for the dollar. No health insurance. It costs more than a dollar to get everything fixed after. Reaching into my pocket. I had a subway token in my right hand. I could still have ran. Or gotten a few good punches in. Rat would probably steal all my money either way.
-You say all you want is a subway token here it is.
His fingers touched the palm of my hand as he took my token. John Handcock as my witness. Rat stared at me with angry eyes and then he walked away. No thank you. No nothing. Just took it like he said he would and walked. There is every category of robbery hold up criminal thief rat bastard in America today. Maggie sleeps. The contraband pillow makes her passenger seat a comfortable nook. She sleeps fetal position. Olive oil green against the red passenger door as I fiddle around for a tape. I smell gas. Not that kind. The Caveman leaks fossil fuel from one of his many tired gas line connections. In a few locations the fuel line connects to rubber hose. The rubber hose needs to be replaced. Cracked leaking brittle old ancient elder. The engine sounds squirm squirrely. Pretty sure we’ll make New York. But I have to do all sorts of repairs to him today. I hoped to do it all in New York. Postpone what is not only my duty but my responsibility until later. Neglected children extract revenge. Pure and simple. The Caveman cries out
-Fix me you cheap lazy hairy bastard.
If I don’t listen now he’ll put it down in his book and bite my ass later. Even relationships with cars come down to money. Cavemen have soled souls when you think about it this way. The poor bastard. I pass a sign
-Americas Largest Auto Parts Store.
I pull off the highway into one of those New Curiosity Mega Auto Spare Parts Super Toy Stores. Make the common place look unusual pain in the ass places. I leave Maggie in the Caveman. I walk into the place. Utter science fiction Hollywould nightmare. King Midas mufflers dangle from the twenty foot ceiling. Gatsby engines sit on wooden boxes. Swamp monster tractor tires of various height width and tread. Thousands of cases of oil anti-freeze shocks radiators rugs windshields car doors tinted windows drive shafts in all shapes colors and sizes. Everything on the highways of America can be found in this warehouse down to the last bolt. Corporate and gross but at least they have everything I need. Loaner Tools and cheap. That’s precisely how the Bureaucrat bastards trap you. Lend Tools to make you think you’re at the Controls. I buy two grommets bulk vacuum hoses bulk fuel hoses in two different widths a fuel filter an air filter a breather filter an oil filter a PVC valve six quarts of heavy weight oil one bottle of gear oil six spark plugs spark plug wires a new cap rotor and windshield wipers it’s getting gray black over cast. A nice uniformed employee loans me a grease gun Tools and a bucket for the Spent oil. I pay the big price tag. This is a major tune up and it costs. And it’s worth it. I should have done all this work before I left Hollywould. I wanted more for my money. Wanted the old parts to go on forever and they did sort of. The Caveman got me here but at what cost? He burned oil and leaked gas plus drove like shit for more than 2500 miles. No telling what kind of damage I did trying to get my money’s worth. Most people hate their cars because they never fix or listen to them themselves. They farm it out to a person who doesn’t care about them the car or their work. The mechanic says
-That will be four hundred dollars.
The consumer says
-Four hundred dollars for what?
The mechanic says
-One hundred for parts and three hundred because you’re dumb Stupid. Plus I don’t like getting grease on my hands.
People suffer from a lack of education about so many dumb greasy things. I wake Maggie. I say
-Maggie do you want to do the grease gun?
Maggie likes to grease all the parts. She gets a laugh from it like the windshield. The Chrome Magnon pit crew together. If all else fails we could open a Rubber Lube Your Joint. Maggie says from the fetal position
-Maybe it will make me feel better.
I change the oil first. Just turn a bolt. Out the oil flows hot molten. In the case of the Caveman swamp Richard Nixon synthetic crow shoe polish hot spent black. I remove the oil filter then tighten the oil release bolt. Maggie greases all the U joints meanwhile. She does the oil air and breather filters while I pour the new oil in. Spills Zen grease. I change the PCV valve. Put in new grommets and replace the broken vacuum hoses. Next Maggie does the sparks rotor cap wires. The reason why I’ve been grinding out the starter. All I need are new parts. Imagine that. If life itself could only be so easy. I replace the fuel filter the brittle rubber fuel lines. Maggie takes all the spent oil and parts into the Super Store. I carry in the courtesy grease gun the screw drivers and ratchets we used. The Super Store Uniformed Employee says
-You all are quick.
All the spent parts reveal larger problems that plague the Caveman. For example the old air filter is damp with gas. This means something is wrong with the carburetor. I played with it at Pa Canyon. I don’t want to rebuild the carburetor. Done all I know and care to do. Some people would rebuild it. Some people shake their head then sell their cars. Others might drive it ignoring the problem until it flat out died. But me I’m happy to fix tweaking what I can. Live with it say howdy with it. Do the best I can do with no outside help. The Caveman turns over. Running a little raggedy. A long steady steam cloud blue gray automotive fart belches out the tail pipe. He runs like that when he gets new parts. Like bathing a child. He doesn’t like new or clean he likes old and same. The bastard thinks like Darwin. It will take a little while for him to assimilate the parts and show a marked improvement. Pulling up onto the on ramp I notice a difference. We move forward faster. Imagine that. Maybe I fixed the entire system at least more than I anticipated. I really don’t care. I know what I need. Guess the rest. Then spill the shit in. Maggie goes back to sleep. She settles back into the contraband pillow nook. All the excitement of the day exhausts her. I say
-You need to rest.
-I want to change.
-No you don’t.
-You’re right. I just tried it. I like the old Maggie better.
It starts to rain. Pour. Enormous biblical golf ball drops. Drip drip drip. Water comes in through all the Caveman seals. I wonder what the apple sauce Dread Emperor would think of my seals. I turn the wipers on. Squeak squeak squeak. The new wipers whisk the water away. What a horrible name seal. Seals like water. In the Caveman every single one of them leaks. Water comes through the corners of the windshield the doors the windows even the speakers. Neptuning the dial. It somehow improves the music revolution du jour though. Those Angry Young Men simmering soup. Howl howl howl. They say
-I’m a very angry drip drip drip.
Nature to the rescue. Water drips everywhere. On my gas pedal foot. But mostly on Maggie. One reason why I have yet to fix the water problem in the Caveman is it has yet to really soak me. The passenger side drips drools down right flows on Maggie. She wakes up
-Dirt when are you going to fix the leaks in the Caveman?
-When my backyard gets like yours.
She sits up lights a butt. Fires up the passenger seat industrial revolution. Maggie looks like herself finally. Big belly content smoke puffing knit twisting turning producing. Got the right conditions for it today.
-Maggie you should unionize. Join the Garment Workers of America. Maybe I’d fix the leaks if you and ten or more of your friends insulted picketed the Caveman embarrassed me about the leaks.
-Maybe you get no sweater until you fix it. Boss. I mean Hoss.
The rain keeps coming down. A storm cloud follows us. Getting altogether too damp cold squishy old school cave conditions in this Caveman. I don’t like the real cave apple cart Caveman. I’m fonder of the hypothetical cave. Not hungry at all today. A lot of drunks don’t eat much because if you’ve got a really gnarly hangover you just don’t or can’t eat. We drive by a bunch of Bacteria Boxes. No adventure or local color out there on the intestates or even roads of this country anymore. It’s just not how the Beats described it anymore. I think they romanticized the whole thing. Just to sell books to feed imaginations expectations or drug habits. The bastards. Because like myself plenty of people bought that or this lie about the Country. Every time I turn around a new lie crawls up my leg. Plain and simple. It’s Corporate bleak out there just like it is in your neighborhood. Drive out to your nearest freeway and you’ll get a good taste of what the entire country is like. Chuck Cheesed Himself in a Lost Co. after eating Calmart at Fat Donald’s Burger Ring and had to spend the rest of the day butt planted on the Home Pee Pot. Bleak. Bacteria Box after Barataria Box. I’m not pissing on it too much. My expectations got crushed cross country and back. I’m just pointing it out. Steer you away from the dragons with ray guns and the potholes with bear traps and the Aging Parents who created perpetuate and get rich from these places plus myths about the country. Give your expectations some Dirt perspective. What I like most about the driving experience other than the National Parks. What makes it worthwhile is the part they can’t legislate. Inside my rust bucket red motoring metal box. Things go on in the apple cart that nobody knows about but Maggie the Caveman and me. The Caveman and Maggie will never tell you. So I’ll open the door a couple more crickety cracks. When we first came out West we drove the entire way on the forty. It’s one boring stretch of duvetyn highway. One day we woke up in Oklahoma City and drove to the Grand Canyon. You see nothing worthwhile but you haul ass. Get there fast like a beer can. Nearly nine hundred miles. Maggie was going crazy. I’m already there. It was hot summer. The Caveman was overheating. I turned the heat on. Maggie got so uncomfortable she turned around and sat backwards. All these Friar Truckers kept waving to her because she was practically naked and scowling right at them. But we did arrive at the Ancient One. I threw the tent on the ground in the forest and mumbled something like
-I’m never getting in that bastard again as long as I live.
I drank half a bottle of wine. The kind with a cork and slept for twelve hours in the blue yellow tent liar. The profound part occurred during the drive. Maggie and I sat in the Caveman and fine-tuned a friendship. Like tripping. LSD. You know the shit Dr. Dreary thought would put the world on its ear. It’s still around only it’s what people call recreational. Stick your arm out too far and somebody like me or you comes a long and chops it off with a beer can. Sticks it in your face. People say
-Your arm got in my face. I chopped it off. Here it is. It’s yours. Take it back. I don’t like holding it. It offends me. Keep it and your other parts out of my face.
The conversations Maggie and I had on our first trip out West are gifts. We created them. Kept them to ourselves. The only reality worth living. No reporter taking it down. No cameras. No gimmicks. Just real. No sound bites. No punctuation. No love M. only glitter T.B. Nothing but two yaps flapping driving through a land and country that is ours but has become was before we were born and will probably always be when we are dead in a box underground weird to us. Not that any other country wants us. America is funny that way. Maggie and I talked about every category of thing person and place. I’m glad other people make their own reality. Like the dudes who go down to Wall Street and watch the oat meal futures go up and down. According to how much I eat. Stock yard stock pot stock pile. Stodgy stogy smoking stocky stock stoker. Personally I don’t want to hang out with those dudes or deal with their world. I’m happy in mine. I should be. I made it. I just hope some of them stomach Wall Street and stick with it. Don’t try to go where they don’t belong like get in the Caveman with Maggie and me. The Caveman seats two. I don’t mean anything personal but sometimes I have to pitch run toss hurl heave drop kick people out of my wagon. Everybody needs help. But each person has to figure their own individual shit out. Anyway the people we met when we pulled over for gas or a cold quart of caffeine stayed the same. Uniformed. Polite. Personality less. The change occurred in us. We got down to the essential. Even the essential can get to you. It got boring. I pulled over and Maggie bought magazines. Maggie read me Peopled Magazine while I drove. The shit they put in that and many other magazines. If I get depressed I read that stuff it makes me laugh. For real hard out loud. I really don’t believe people truly want that. The people that make that and other media like Hollywould films are misanthropic. They shit pissing peering down on all of us. Just like the industrialists that make orange cheese. The cheese from orange cows near the Super Fund Sight. The Cheese dudes have an attitude. They say
-Fuck ‘em if they don’t like it orange.
Someday a lot of people will say to the Corporation
-You’re stupid for thinking we’re stupid. We’re not paying anymore. Kick me. I kick you back you money no love crotch Conglomeration.
People have been conditioned to think what the Corporation provides like the Bacteria Boxes is what they want. You can’t let it get you down. Part of it is I think an attempt to break you. They want you to fight them or accept defeat. The Corporation likes that sort of universe. Black and white. The end result being you lose your shit. You shouldn’t waste your time fighting them. I’d rather shovel against the tide. Better exercise plus you tan looking at some clams mussels periwinkles that sort of sea faring fare. The Corporation wants you pushing a shopping cart down trodden with your bushel Action Figure clutching runny snot nose kids generic butt hanging out of your smelly yap down a Super Market aisle accepting defeat and reaching out for it. Paying with I worked hard for this green Presidents pyramids and dudes with big fore father hair flying kites on paper money. Buying the orange stuff. You hand money over. No free will. No choice. They try to cheer you up. They say
-Paper or plastic for your orange cheese.
I’d prefer to wait until some Welfare Bureaucrat comes to my door. I’ll be so old I’ll be able to crochet my hair and Barbigerous the beard in a knot definitely a bowline between my crotchety crotch. Barbigerous the beard came out of the hair hole around the hair tree. Hair pinned back down into a knot. Chip the microchip will be fox trotting recording it all. The Caveman will be in the front truck garden up on blocks. Dripping a rainbow of every sort of fluid imaginable. Welfare Bureaucrat parks his Town House next to the Caveman. Knocks on my shack. Stands there in black dress shoes on my unstable fixer up shack front porch. Says
-May I come in Mr. Rhodes?
-Call me Dirt. Come on in bro. Step over them chicken bones. Dirt Junior likes his chicken.
Wearing a half-life suit with a big Government Not For Sale or Trade Gift Of the United States of America five pound orange brick wrapped in wax paper block of Super Fund Cheese under his arm. I’ll park his ass down in a plastic covered over stuffed comfy easy adjustable chair. The guest chair. Turn the television on. Adjust the rabbit ears. Give the Man a good snow ball picture. Sports or whatever he likes. Fetch him a beer. Entertain the Welfare Bureaucrat. Put Maggie on top of him. She can chat him up if she feels likes. I don’t care as long as he’s my prisoner. Can’t get away. I’ll slide away to the other wing of the shack to telephone my friends. Whispering
-The bastard finally came.
I’ll have the deaf stubborn kind of Aging friends that won’t do hearing aids.
-I say the bastard’s here. Maggie’s sitting on him.
-Get over here. Bring the chips and beer.
-On our way.
-I’m making a cheese dip.
It’s still raining out there in the world. And inside the bog like Caveman. A rather steady drip trickle ooze in places flow. The floor mats are thick and absorb a lot of the water. Floor mats work quite well at mopping up the water if you give them a chance. So many things prove more versatile than Advertising wishes us to believe. One day back in Hollywould. I had a job interview but no soap in the shower. Fresh from barrel hoping skinny roller blading beach freaking. Absolutely sweat dripping drenched stenching the whole house. I hoped in the shower. Reached for the soap. No dice. Not even a little chip to scrub Chip on my shoulder. All the shampoo bottles had been filled with water a few times. Not a solitary drop of soap in the shower box stall. I said to no one in particular
-That fat donut roommate used it all.
I got out and walked down to the kitchen. Dripping soaking white ghost wet leaving footprints on the carpet. Looked under the sink in the kitchen. Madge looked right back at me or a friend of hers Joy or Pam. I don’t know which. One of those mall chicks that are always getting their nails stuck to the Teflon pan. We had one of those paper thin plastic Home Pee Pot box variety shower stalls. The room was a closet at one point in the early life of the apartment. Someone grew mushrooms for a time in there before it became a shower. The closet had a floor full of potting soil Hoss shit dirt. I never cleaned the stuff up. Apartment artifact. Psychedelic psilocybin mushrooms grew in Hoss shit in a closet that was my shower. Imagine that. The kind of person that names an unsuspecting cat Slut probably grew psychedelic mushrooms in Hoss shit in their bedroom closet. Ate the mushrooms got an idea. Said
-I’ll make my garden into a dirt floor shower and name my cat Slut.
I walked through the flea ridden apartment. Hopped in the closet one time psychedelic garden now dirt floor shower closet. I dumped Sunlight on my head down on Barbigerous the beard Chip down below everywhere. Closed my eyes tight. I scrubbed like a labor saving two cycle agitator laundry cleaning machine. Nose eye witness. I’d never been so clean before in my life. My skin squeaked. I got the job. They’d never smelled anyone so lemon fresh. One producer pear said
-You are the tallest hairiest sound man boom operator I’ve ever seen in my life.
I didn’t say
-You are the crassest pear Hoe Tool Boss I ever met.
Until later. It was an Advertising shoot. I did the sound for the commercial. Needed dead Press You Dent cash for rent. Chased the mall chicks around with a microphone in a zeppelin on the end of a telescoping stick. Listening to all their dribble. Piped in amplified. Reel to reel. Reeling my ears. I got red hot burn fry ears off sound. The kind Producers Advertisers Post Production Supervisors pay and kill for. Put the mike in the right place on every take. Pointed it at the talents hearts. Moved like a martial artist through a make believe color corrected prop filled fake phony Brotherhood of Union Electrics lighted kitchen. Making two hundred and fifty bones. On a sound stage in Hollywould in front of fifty bored hard working professionals the Robot Babes squeaked
-Buy this product. It’s different. It’s special.
Maggie continues to churn out the sweater. She says
-Thanks for stealing me the pillow.
I pull over for Gas Cigarettes and Trucker Upper. I put the gas pump on auto pilot filling the Caveman to the brim. Inside the Quickie Mart. I look around. Up down the aisles. Quickie stocked beer wine chips dip for Chip everything but what I’m looking for. To the cashier I say
-Do you sell that legal speed? You know antihistamine amphetamines Stay Alert Trucker Upper Don’t Crash Your Truck or something like that?
The cashier looks up from reading a Hauling Stone. He smiles
He leans over the counter. Points to the Candy Bars Breath Mints Chewing Gum runny nose kid section.
-Take the blue ones. They’re the best. I just crushed up two packs cut them with Tylenol. I snorted them.
-That’s cool. If you like blue boogers.
-So what. It gets me cranked up. Working these hours. My stomach can’t tolerate eating them. I’ll do two more with you. Free if you like.
Peering around. What State am I in? The Cashier of a Quickie Mart somewhere in the South wants to snort Trucker Upper with me. I came in here to buy two and a cup of jumping Joe java. Toss it back yappity yap. I say
-What about the surveillance cameras. This is weird.
-The Boss doesn’t care. These things are legal. Made in the good old U.S. of A. Sold Nationwide at Quickie Marts. It doesn’t say illegal to crush them up and snort them.
He holds the package in my face. It says
-Take one to stay alert.
-Hell man you could stick a couple up your butt. I know a guy that tried it. Gets into the blood stream quicker.
I look out the window. Maggie beats the windshield. Beating up my new windshield wipers with a scrungie blue toxic water dripping sponge on the end of a painted red stick. A windshield that has been struck with nothing but rain water for hundreds of miles. I leave her to her pleasure. This isn’t her sort of scene. Maybe it shouldn’t be my scene. Precious little comes for free. It’s not like it used to be. Free love free drugs free lunch after for free. I walked into this Quickie Mart to drop the fore father money on some blue barrel Uncle Spam recommended approved nice price amping amphetamines. Cashier doesn’t want my bones. I say
-Crush them up.
He tears five packages of Trucker Uppers and a package of tie lion awl. Twelve pills. Crushes them all with a roll of quarters from the cash register. Bang rolls the quarters over them. A fine grain dust indigo blue hue powder. A powder pile of blue cornflower indigo hue plus trace bits of white dust sit on the rift between customer and cashier usually reserved for transactions. He gets a dollar bill out of the register. I say
-You got that part wrong.
I walk over to the quart of caffeine fountain drink section of the Quickie Mart. Get two foot long transparent fountain drink straws. Cruise back over to the Cashier.
-Use one of these. This isn’t glamorous. It’s Trucker Upper.
The Cashier puts the straw between his teeth. Tears one of those scratch and win a million dollars or give one dollar to the local Government Lotto cards off a wheel. Chops out four fat blue indigo hue powder one inch lines of Trucker Upper plus awl tie lion with a Lotto card adorned with gold coins. He says
-You won’t get a bad head ache cause I put Tylenol in.
-House rules. Guest goes first.
-Reach over and hold my hair. Keep it off the counter.
He grabs my hair and holds it in a clump. Says
-Dude you need to shower.
-The Pied Piper make that pie eyed popper of snorting Trucker Upper best be humble.
I stick the foot long transparent fountain drink straw into my right nostril. I pinch one honker. Slam half the snuff snifter shut. And start snuff fountain straw sucking. Watch the indigo blue hue line come off the counter and go up my foot long straw. It tastes like Children Chewable Turd Flintstoned Vitamin C. Smegley himself. I switch nostrils. Jam the drinking straw up. Only further this time. Attempting to hurdle my throat with the blue hue. And start snuff sucking. Again I watch the blue hue indigo line fly up the straw. More bad bitter taste going down the back of my throat. Cashier Man drops my hair. I pick my head up. I’m buzzing. My nose itches. I have to pick picaresque it a bit. It’s definitely an edgy sort of thing. Lots of sharp blue corners. Cashier Man bends over the counter and then backs out. Reaches for the Lotto card. Tidies up his two lines of indigo blue hue Trucker Upper. Jams the transparent drinking straw into his right nostril first. Just like me. Pop. He snorts it. Switches nostrils. Sniff. The other line chases after its brother. He says
-Killer. You want to do a couple more?
Reaching for the box of the Trucker Uppers next to the Score Hershey Snicker Milky Way Bar. A couple veins begin to pop in his head. He looks pretty gnarly under the Quickie Mart fluorescent lights. I feel like he looks. Chasing a train on foot. Boiled. Probably worse. I say
-Chop up the whole fucking box.
-No. I’m just kidding. I gotta get going. How much for the gas?
I stuck the gas pump in the Caveman on auto shut pilot.
-It’s on the house man. I give free gas to all my buddies. And now you’re one of my buds. I just over charge all the other people that come in here for groceries. A dollar here and a scratch ticket there. Do you play scratch tickets cause I’ll give you one?
-Thanks you’ve given me enough.
-What’s your name anyway?
-Well Cassidy thanks for the free gas and teaching me how to snort Trucker Upper.
Cassidy gives me the thumbs up sign. Two thumbs swaying up. As I walk out the door I look over my shoulder. Cassidy reads Hurling Moan. My heart beats fast. Train track palpitation double time allegro speed amping fast. Cup of walk a mouse on the tea brisk. I just snorted five times the recommended dosage of an over the counter legal amphetamine drug on the counter of a Quickie Mart while a surveillance camera got it all. Imagine that. Only in America. Maggie says
-You look wired.
-Something less sophisticated than that.
-You didn’t go eat those Trucker Uppers and drink a coffee.
That’s my normal protocol after a few thousand miles of driving.
-Nope. I just snorted ten with Cassidy.
-I did the windshield. Where are my butts?
-I forgot them.
Maggie heads to the Quickie Mart. She says
-Do you want anything else from the Quickie Mart?
-Another five Trucker Uppers. Seriously I want a tin of dip. And a handful of tie la nuts.
Maggie shakes her head and goes into the Quickie Mart. I forgot to get her butts. Short term memory loss. The first sign of drug use. I forget what the Congress call themselves. Abuse. I’ll get some dip now because of the minor oversight. I start the Jeep. The Caveman still sounds squirrely. He needs new belts. I don’t change those things. Too much of a hassle. The Caveman gets new ones when the old ones leap off. When I look under the hood and see them fraying. I say
And slam the hood shut. I’m off to a steady quiver shake vibrate. It’s not that I like the feeling or even dislike it. Just trying to make friends. Get along with the Trucker Upper. Wish I’d checked the package. I’m sure it’s made by the same bastards that make aspirins for babies or those chewable cartoon character vitamins. It all comes from the same blue barrel in Corpus Crusty or Pew Jersey. Sweating losing my circulation a touch. The good part about the stuff is they don’t last long. The bastards that make Trucker Upper try to barb hook you like a fish on a hinge. For me Trucker Upper lasts about with all the peaks and valleys. Two blue seismic hours. Then I need to pull over stick my head into the blue barrel again. Buy more if I’m going to keep working my meager Caveman Controls. If I drink it with coffee maximum two and a half hours. Heavy smokers like Maggie smoke every half hour. The poor bastards. The Corporation the Bureaucrats the Aging Parents I’m not sure if it matters which. They all hang parking sun dry it out on the same pyramid with the eye ball on top peering down. All have a very tricky agenda concerning drugs. I eat mostly just the drugs the Corporation provides for me. Call me a team player Company Store man. Alcohol antihistamine inhalants sleeping pills tylenoids vitamins Robo the cough trip syrup aspirins cigarettes dip diet pills amphetamines Trucker Upper. I can get pretty fucked up mixing the legal stuff in my stomach like a chemist with a beaker. I’m no leper. Most of Robo the cough syrup trip business is people like me. My drugs are sold all over the country in every one Hoss ramshackle town and big mega perplex city. I don’t have to deal associate with those boring drug dealer types I go straight to the Man. If the Man legalized the sun dried dog shit and all the other stuff he’s in such a hysteria over I’d rarely touch it. Too set in my ways. I’ve grown accustom made friends said
with the ones he’s provided me my whole life. Maggie will never touch my array of Government recommended approved intoxicating goodies. Even if she has a legitimate sniffle ailment of the snuff box cold. She just smokes Pot the pipe and thinks I’m the one with the drug problems. I won’t have to think about it until the day I go to my neighborhood Company drug store and find no alcohol no cigarettes no Trucker Upper no sleeping pills and no Robo the cough syrup I like to drink half a bottle and sit down with a good book trip. When the Man does that he’ll be hearing hell to pissing on pay day from one tall hairy mean eye balls in an uproar detoxing hanging over naked addicted snarling bastard. Maggie hops back into the Caveman.
-Cassidy likes you. He offered to do Trucker Uppers with me. He really freaked out about your name. He gave us a scratch ticket Tylenols Basics and a tin of dip for you.
I kiss Maggie. I pack a big fat dip. She scratches the ticket says
-We didn’t win anything. How fucking original.
She won’t kiss me when I have a big chubby wad of tobacco in my yap plus tobacco brown bag juice running out the trap down my chin. Maggie holds my hand. Coaches me through it. I like the effect of dip. Once I used to be an advertisement. Make that addicted. I quit cold jerking the tobacco industry turkey. Kicked the can. Now dip is more of a treat than anything else. It’s strong enough to stop my Bone from pulsing porno graphic throbs weaving bobs. Feeling like a regular cancer face. Sometimes I have a cigarette too. Tobacco futures soar on the Stock Exchange. If you’ve never tried dip I don’t recommend it. At parties people come up to me and say
-Can I bum a chew?
Immediately I like them. I say
Hand them the tin. Watch them stick a large brown dirt dust leafy lump in their yaps. Nine out of ten dentists have noted that the kind of people that bum chews at parties are butt drunk. Don’t know what they want. Often I watch them pull sucking drink the muck. Get all that nicotine stuff in. Spit a little. Feel tough. They look happy fucked up wasted whatever. And then they look a little unhealthy squeamish peaked sea sick under the weather. They boot. Right then and there. In front of me the unfortunate occurs. Sometimes they run away first. The nicotine is that strong. Somebody ought to send the drunks to Quickie Mart. Get them some Trucker Upper. Snort the blue legal grit with Cassidy on the counter to counter act the effect. Maggie decides I’m a boring Trucker Upper cranked up cracker. Or something like that. She falls asleep. She still appears a touch destroyed from last night still. I turn on the music revolution du jour. Listen to the soup of the day. A tasty crock of steaming burn your tongue purée stockyard broth. The fullest embodiment of aesthetics is in music? Put me in a mosh pit with all those pain in the ass philosophers. I’ll slam dance with Schopenhauer first. Slam into him or any of his silly friends until they shit their pants. See how old and tired they are. Instead I bang the steering wheel to the beat of the bass. After about an hour of pounding on the poor Caveman. The Trucker Upper turns south. Changing the station. Cold cucumber soap soup. Adult easy don’t want to offend anybody flavorless no salt no sugar no artificial toothless elevator air aesthetic pathetic prosthetic waves. They say
-She does this. He does that. They do lunch. Isn’t that nice.
Surfing the serf stations. Nothing but static. Crunch crunch crunch.
-All things considered.
I tune in National Public Radio. Still raining outside. Where ever you go. Whatever you think. Whoever you’re with. Whatever you do. National Public Radio is always there for you. Like the little plastic serene wrap sleeve on a pack of butts. Always there for you. Your friend. God didn’t put it there. Your country did like National Public Radio. Way down the end of the radio dial. Right before the dragons with ray guns. The end of the world. That station prevents me from falling off the end of the dial. I settle in crunching out a home for my Bone in the seat. My Bone begins to bleat. I’m coming down off my blue Trucker Upper Hoss. Opening the window. Fresh cold raining air touches my face. Moist drops in Barbigerous the beard. Chip aches. I toss my brown larva shaped lump sucked on clump of tobacco out the box window. Return it to the ground it came from. I only litter things that will decompose. Like apple cores orange rinds orange cheese banana peels wads of dip. Sometimes I feel guilty. I chase that feeling out. Putting those things in a hundred gallon petroleum product trash bag headed for a land fill is dumb. And excuse me the Caveman is not a rusty bucket compost heap. The Caveman composts steel aluminum and balding rubber tires. Maybe it rarely bothers me. You drive yourself crazy second guessing everything today. In this society too many people will pick at you protest you picket you tell you what to do. Tell you you’re a convict if you tell them your convictions. Stake out your claim. Squat your rights. Shoot anyone who squats on you or yours like an old school frontier rugged side of grizzly for breakfast American. More hours with miles attached to them slide by. Going down a rainy dark flue. Feeling bad like a chimney sweep after a day of cleaning breathing in sooty flues. I experience a full scale Trucker Upper crash. Getting the second part of the buzz. The insidious part manufactured by the Aging Parents that create the stuff. Everything aches. Shaking perspired out. Cold with all the common cold symptoms. I feel like my ail a minute roommate in Lost And Who Did Who
-My this hurts. My that hurts. I take it all back. It just hurts.
I need to pull over and hide from this in a bed. Maggie and I stop. We’ve been driving for a lifetime. Maggie sleeps. I say
-Maggie wake up. I need help finding a hotel. I can hardly see a thing.
I’m not pitching a tent in my hospital pants at this hour. It’s dangerous pulling off the highway when you’ve been road tripping for so many hours. You’d think it would be the opposite. The highway is easy you just tuck yourself behind some friar truck taillights. Follow the tampons from a safe distance. As soon as you hop off a highway after driving for twelve to fourteen hours looking for a place to stay. You’re apt to go through a stop light or worse drive off the road up a tree or telephone cable. Maggie says
-Go to that dump.
We roll into the most pitiful looking hotel we can find. The worse they look on the outside. Generally the cheaper they are. Maggie looks bummed. She shuts her eyes. I say
-Maggie someday I’ll stop taking you to such shit holes.
-No you won’t.
She smiles. A nice sleeping child smile. Sometimes the truth comforts more than fantasy lie land. I get out and limp up to the Front Desk. My Bone is unbearable. Bone doesn’t like Trucker Upper. This is one of those Bates No Tell Roach Poke Motel sort of place. Top of a hill. White hotel crying
-Paint paint paint me.
Unadulterated sketchiness. An inky blinky Vacancy sign hangs in the window. Two cars are in the parking lot. A real winner of a place. I go inside. Ring the bell. Wait. The place smells like old kitty litter. Ring the bell. Wait. Breath in more kitty make that the whole litter. I pound the shit out of the bell. Someone makes a big commotion in the depths of an unseen room. Bang. I must’ve just woken some lackey up. I look over the Front Desk. Consider stealing a ball point pen. A paper clip. Trucker Upper turns me into a criminal. I’m peering over the desk looking for something to play with while I wait. Nothing. Outside the rain drips dampening drizzle. The Caveman has his eyeballs on idling. He makes the most unhealthy sounds. Hissing snake scratching black board sounds when he idles. Maggie sleeps in the contraband passenger seat nook. I consider driving the whole night through. Eating this time four more Trucker Upper. It’s about three in the morning I’d guess. I’m absolutely destroyed. I don’t have a clue as to what day it is or precisely where I am. I feel like a fluffy rock star. How depressing. A middle aged woman pads up to the Front Desk yawning revealing an unimpressive a tooth missing here there yap. She says
-May I help you?
I’m the fucking paper boy. I couldn’t sleep because you owe me two dead Press You Dents.
-How much are rooms?
-It’s late. I have triple A.
-It costs the same to make the bed.
-Is there any place cheaper?
-Not in this State.
-What state would this be?
-Fine. No tax okay?
-Fine with me.
I pay the twenty bones. We get room twenty one. I go back to the Caveman. Drive the five steps to the two story double decker white paint flecking helter hotel motel skelter shack. Maggie and I get out and bring whatever gear in we think Charley Bates might want to steal. Not that there really is any great risk here. Brown baked potato brown. Total Corporate bad taste. I stand in front of the mirror. Brushing my teeth. I am one Hoss ass ugly looking drink of water tonight. Eyes beady blood shot. My skin speckled really acne hackney bad. I look like a speed freak. Worse King Lear on crystal meth. Power pale. Where is thy lust? Er. Feather duster. A raised relief of veins popping. I consider taking a picture. Sending it to the Trucker Upper manufacturing facility. All their workers must look like me. Imagine that. It’s even legal. Maggie undoes the bed. In these sort of places you always want to remove the bed spread. Those things never get washed. The bed spreads in sketchy hotels are the true tenants. People come and go. The sheets get changed. But those bastards are lifelong occupants in these sorts of places. The stories they could tell would ruin a town like this. All the law abiding citizens that come up here to the No Tell Bates Roach Poke Motel and bang each other’s husbands wives daughter sons dogs cats whatever. Then they just trudge it on back to town to their day jobs and their other life. Maggie takes off her clothes. Gets in bed. Naked. Maggie says
-There’s lip stick on my pillow.
Maggie gets out of bed. Looks at the bed and me funny.
-Dirt there’s make up. Base. The brown stuff all over. In this bed.
I go over take a look. Tubes of make up in this bed. The partly white sheets crinkle crunched pulled stretched. Lots of activity in this bed. Maybe the Cock Ness monster nested here. Nobody changed the sheets in a long time. I say
-I don’t care Maggie. I’m so beat up I’ll sleep anywhere.
-Dirt I can’t. I’ve reached my limit.
I’m not arguing with her. Too busy arguing with Trucker Upper. Never had such a persistent argumentative drug crash in my life. I say
-Get dressed. I’m going back to the Front Desk.
I walk out into the rain. No shoes. The pavement is cold. My feet get wet. Passing the inky blinky Vacancy sing sign. I feel like Charley Bates again. Open the door. A little bell tinkles. I hadn’t noticed it on my first entrance. A lot of good it does. Ring. I tweak the little bell. Then start pounding on the counter like I’m at a bar. It’s really rude but sometimes when I’m drinking I do that sort of thing. Drunks have an odd sense of humor. Bang. What is this woman sleeping in a cupboard armoire dresser draw? Pad pad pad. Two tired feet come dragging out. Her gray hair looks more disheveled. I say
-The maid didn’t change the sheets in my room. I want another room.
The woman yawns reaches into a key trough. Hands me room number twenty three. I drop my old key onto the counter. She says nothing. Turns her back scratches her gray mop walks away. In some part of my mind I admire her professionalism. I return to the room. The cold wet pavement isn’t as bad on the return trip. I walk by the Caveman. He’s making post driving car sounds. Metal contracting. Eek and nek. I don’t know what. Some call it car talk. It reminds me of Hoss racing. The Caveman definitely has a soul. The door of the room hangs open. Sending light out into the damp dreary Kentucky three in the morning gray over cast raining night. Maggie sits there. More like drooping off the corner of the brown bed.
-I got us another room little missy.
Maggie gets up. Closes the door behind her. She follows me carrying all our stuff. She hands me one of the back packs. Room number twenty three. I open the door. Turn on the light. Another brown bed. We open the potato to see what’s inside. Maggie says
-There’s make up in this bed too.
-Maggie I’m sorry. I can’t drive another moment. I’m having the worst withdrawal of my life. We have to stay here. Do you want me to get our sleeping bags out of the Jeep?
If my head pounds any harder my brains will leap out.
-No Dirt. I’ll turn all the sheets inside out.
Maggie does just that. I eat four tie la nuts. I’m getting tired off the way my head feels every good mourning. And I hop in bed with Maggie. Cuddle up with her. I feel badly. It has to be the only time two people slept in that funky bed and didn’t have sex. All dark and comfortless. I say right before I drift off
-Maggie I’ll tear them a new axe hole tomorrow like Ulysses.
Chapter 9: Spoon
The maid stands over us. Got her little cart with her. It must be the once a year change the sheets if the people get out of bed or not. I look at her preparing to assault her. A little creature child walks in. He says
-Mommy they’re still sweeping.
-I know. I thought they died.
She walks out. Maggie looks at me. I say
-Did you pick this hotel?
-Dirt don’t even joke about it.
-Maggie it’s not her fault. She does what they tell her.
Maggie sticks her belly into me. She says
-Any woman that brings her kid to work with her while she makes beds. Is okay with me.
I get out of bed. Take a shower. Clean the whole gang up. A real one with lots of soap. At least the showers work. Imagine that. They must have to if the town fathers and mothers come up her to have extra normal mundane extra marital sex. Maggie is second human in the shower. Or in her case whoa man. I didn’t create the English language. I’m just trying to get along. No beat a good ride out of it. Feeling like the last part of the chicken to get kicked over the fence by the holy ass. I formulate my assault on an unsuspecting Front Desk of the Bates No Tell Who’s Poking Roach Hotel. I walk over to the Command Center bare footed bearded tall drink of water wet hair pissed off hung over from Trucker Uppers scary looking man. The four tie lie nuts made me feel awl full. Those bastards lie. They’re supposed to relieve pain not create more. I open the door. Tinkle twinkle. A bell rings. Walk up to the Front Desk. Two altogether different looking women running the place in the day time. It appears that they give a shit about their jobs. I say
-I have a problem.
No good morning. No nice. Nothing but me eating face. I lean over the desk. Get real close.
-You do? What’s that?
The younger looking women asks. Coffee. I haven’t had my first bucket of the day. I’m grumpy. Should have taken more or less Tylenols last night too. I whisper soft and slow
-Last night a woman checked me in. Put me in room number twenty one. The sheets have make up on them. I’m willing to overlook any missing steak once. She put me in room number twenty three next. Same you people stole from me deal. Slept in sexed in some body was fucked upside down side ways with lots of cheap dime store penny ante whore variety make up on in my bed. Nobody changed the sheets. You hear what I’m saying?
Confused. She says
-You need to speak to the manager.
-Get her now. I want to tear her face off. See what’s behind it.
The manager walks two feet over. Looks confident official. Pretends like she didn’t hear a word.
-May I help you.
-Yes I have something to show you.
Miraculously she comes from behind the Command Center desk. Ring of keys in her hands. She follows me outside. Across the Parking Lot. We walk to room number twenty one inspect the crime scene. She opens the door. I point out the bed. I’m talking mean but whispering so she has to listen closely. I whisper
-What the hell kind of out house latrine Port the John Critics shit hole are you running here? Dime store make up stretched out crinkled fucked in sheets on all the beds in this place.
She’s insulted. Pursing her lips. She says
-We don’t iron the sheets here.
I whisper back
-Iron the sheets? Do I speak funny? You’ve heard of Goody Crotch and The Thirty Dirty Slutty Brown Bears. All of them slept fucked engaged in the seven vices plus seven they invented. Had an orgy in my bed.
No response. A real Southern flop house bell. Speechless. Staring at me too. Considering asking if the hotel provides free coffee. I could be appeased with a pot of coffee and a cruller. Pulling on my pubigerous Barbigerous. I say with a normal voice
I take her to room number twenty three. Maggie sits on the bed combing her hair. She put on her peasant hippie grunge all poor persons united dress. She looks shinny clean beautiful. Combing the knots out of her hair. It smells like Pot the pipe came over and smoked breakfast with Maggie. Hippopotamus passed wind. Maggie says
-Ow ow ow.
I go back to the whisper
-Maggie excuse us. This is Maggie. She wears no makeup. Pardon us Maggie. I need to show her the bed.
Maggie gets up. I whisper
-These sheets are turned inside out because. You told somebody not to change them. We improvised.
I turn them sex side out. She starts to talk. I ignore her she’s ironing lies. Whispering
-Exhibit B. More make up fucked in. Fuck the consumer sheets. Can I speak to you back in the office?
We walk back to the office. I draw a deep breath in. She interrupts me
-I’ll speak to the maid.
-You’ll do no such thing. You can’t tell me for a minute a woman that brings her child to a flop house to make beds for a living does not do her job. That woman like everybody else here does precisely what you tell them to.
My Bone throbs. Every part of my body throbs in solidarity. She protests
-That’s not true. Just because we don’t iron the sheets.
She retreats behind her desk. I’m getting used to this whispering
Now I’m not only angry whispering I’m patronizing. What a horrible combination. Only in America. I’m getting great at whispering
-I travel and work all over this country. I work in film production. Granted I’m a total asshole. But when I don’t do my job I get shit can fired. Thrown out in the street. Street and walker. Do you hear what I’m whispering?
She nods and a tear wells up in her brown eyes. She must think I’m insane. I don’t blame her. I feel it. I whisper
-Never before have I been in a slept in fucked in filthy bed with lip stick base cold cream I don’t know what cheap dog shit make up smeared her there everywhere in this country before in my life. I paid money for this punishment. While you slept in your own bed at home. Clean and comfy. You are so cheap. You should be ashamed of yourself running a place like this. I’m going to call I don’t know who. A Kentucky Congressman the Bureaucratic Board of Health Triple A my mother Jane Bark. And anybody else that comes to mind. Have you no pride at all?
The tears grow bigger. I’m not satisfied. Sniff snuffle mucus drip drop snot loosening up. I don’t want tears. Just money or coffee. She says
-I’ll give you ten dollars back. I can’t give you the room for free.
I clear my throat. I’m just about all set on whispering.
-Don’t cry. I don’t want tears. It’s people like you that are ruining the country. Making it a bogus place. Charging people for punishment like this. I’m the consumer customer American and I’m not taking shit from some small time mop and slop Bates No Tell Roach Motel exploiter. Give me the ten bucks. And I want two fives. Hurry up.
She hands me two five spots. I say normal
-On my next road trip gone bogus through Kentucky I’m coming back. I might move in here and have breakfast with you every day. I’ll be checking on you.
Choking tears back. Always the professional. She says
-I’m sorry you didn’t like the sheets. We don’t iron them.
Maggie sits in the Caveman. Smoking knitting. I whisper
-I’ll be right with you.
-Stop fucking whispering.
I go into the room. I don’t feel avenged. I want blood. Burn the fucking Charley Bates disgrace down to the ground. Walking around the bed. Pacing the room out. Considering leaving the Critics tip on the center of the brown baked potato bed. I change my mind. Today I will not burn the fucking disgrace down to the ground nor shit on the bed. Today I will make a brown bed. It takes about five minutes. I do hospital corners. Harm Me Man style. I could bounce a dime on the sagging brown bastard. Worse the Critics tip. I leave a five dollar tip. Walk out to the Caveman dripping beads of perspiration. The white wood paint leaping off a slated door of a hotel room hangs open airing as I drive down the hill onto the highway. Crunching into my seat. Maggie whispers
-What else did you whisper?
-I whispered all sorts of shit. I was a total bastard. I made the Manager cry. I told her that when I didn’t do my job I always get the shit can. She gave me ten dollars back.
-Well I’m glad you whispered something. Because if you didn’t I would have whispered. Do they think people that can’t pay for Motel 6 don’t deserve clean sheets?
-Something like that I’m sure.
-I think it’s very rude to do things like that. But sometimes you have to.
Maggie returns to the whisper
-At least you didn’t raise your voice. Where’s my five bucks?
I hand over five dollars to Maggie. Maggie says
-Kiss me. And
-I know don’t ever take me back through Kenfucky to a brown funky bed motel.
Ohio welcomes us. Sin sin atta boy Cold dumb bus Cleavage hand. The big three all on highway 71. Maggie looks beady eyed minky restless. She gathered a bucket of winks yesterday plus last night. But no place to trot them out today. Knitting and a bit pissy. I’m taking us to Niagara Falls. She doesn’t want to go. I asked her
-What do you think of us going to Niagara Falls?
-I think it sucks Dirt. I want to get to the City.
I don’t care we’re going. Can’t stand highway 95. It runs from the Eastern most toe nail to hair cuticle of the United States. Maine to Key West. The most cop infested stretch of highway in the entire Spent Nation. Behind every hedge bill board piece of sun dried dog shit coptropolis lurks. Copious cops with technology. To keep the other gun company every single blue uniformed one has a radar gun. They love to give speeding tickets. Handing me a ticket. One said to me when he pulled me over in Georgia
-I’ll get you out of here quick as kicking a can.
I wanted to say
-Don’t kick it too hard it’ll speed.
But I was begging the pecary pecavi for pedage reduction. I used to be a groom. You know rhymes with broom. The dude who shovels up all the Hoss shit. Brushes the Hoss. Tail pipe to front fender. Rides hugs kisses them. Every winter I drove to central in land drive in movie theater parking lot the winged bugs are so super fly I could toss a saddle on them too Florida to take care of some Hoss. I’m that kind of person. Speed a thousand miles of Cop infested highway to chase after a leg lifting Hoss with a shovel. Getting paid for it helps too. No Corporate. Absentee Boss. No time clock. Nothing but Hoss. The most I managed well by myself was six. I never managed a single Hoe Tool Boss well. I woke up early dawn morning shards of light. Salmon sun moshing down a Florida ruby red grapefruit. Brought the Hoss in from a pasture where they spent the night. A definite order. When I pulled the Caveman into the yard. A few stood waiting. Peering over the fence. Some liked to come right in. Ahead of one biting the brown moving muscle axles of another. Others needed initiative like an orange organic carrot. I said
-Good Morning Hoss have a carrot.
Placed each into an individual jail cell size box scholar stall. Each box had a name above it. Every Hoss had a personal box. Putting a Hoss in the wrong box caused biting kicking nerve racking trouble for the broom. A spirited Hoss looked angry crazy pissed off bite your head off Mr. Groom in the wrong box. Even a dumb hokey poky Hoss knew its box. I thought all boxes were the same before I had the broom job. Making the rounds I fed each one. Pushed my wheel bucket barrow Wendy Super Bar array of Hoss goodies down. The entire bucket shop of Hoss kicked up a racket. Sniffing the grub made them hectic. Some got more bran grain oat goodies while others got none. It’s quite scientific what a Hoss gets in the rubber feed bucket to get optimum super high octane one Hoss power performance. All of them banged around head in the bucket after the food. Not one Hoss in a box refused to eat. While they ate digested had Hoss thoughts. I went back out to the evening Hoss paddock. Did the broom part of being a groom. Even a pasture needed to be maintained pitch forked shoveled clean if you left a Hoss in it. People can be heartless cruel hurtful just by teaching lazy thumbs how to stay warm under bums. Few people took as good care of their pasture as I did. I visited their unkempt lazy I’ll do it tomorrow pipe dream seven fish sorry story pastures. A different fishy excursive every day. They had shit filled pastures. Plain and simple. Any eye witness saw it. Smelled it. I said
-Unhappy Hoss in them pastorals.
No Hoss liked tail swatting fighting whipping ass to protect themselves from thousands of green toothy bastard flies. Leave anything in disrepair. Turn your back. Saying I don’t care. A parasite varmint rat bastard undesirable annoying disease carrying green guy moves in to the neighborhood. Invites all his green friends over for a beer cheese dip to play in the shit. A bottom bite to eat. After shoveling the pasture I dumped the manure in a blue barrel dumpsite. Once a week Mahon and his beat dented wreck pick up truck rattled into the barn yard. Scared all the Hoss. Belched out all kinds of automotive putrefaction. But I liked the guy. Mahon took Hoss shit out of my blue dumpster. Never once did I worry about the dumpster overflowing or the green fly population growing. Worse taking over. Every week Mahon said
-Smells like money to me.
Shoveled it into buckets. Put the buckets on his truck. Rattled down the dirt road out of the barn yard. Scaring the Hoss for the second time. The Hoss never accustomed themselves to Mahon. He went to his plant store green house. Sold it to boo hoo my roses won’t grow the Aging Parent for his White House Rose Garden. I’d have given the shit from the blue dumpster to anybody. Nobody expressed an interest but Mahon. Lots of people buy from Mahon. But nobody wanted to see the groom and Hoss it came from. Even if it was free. Imagine that. I went back to check look sometimes chat with my six Hoss. I brushed each one. Singly. One day while brushing I said
-What do you think of me handing your shit to a man who sells it? You know Hoss your shit is green Presidents and pyramids to others?
Some liked brushing while others didn’t. Most got brushed in the box. On or two had to get brushed out of the box. I allowed each Hoss have it his or her way. Special different like Wendy. Some grooms tried to run the barn like his Mans Harm me. Everybody the same. I liked each Hoss personality. The job like any other didn’t really mean that much to me. Just passing through the bucket shop. The Hoss were the real tenants of the tenement. While brushing I looked at them. Checked for ailments in the bonny hock light bulb filaments. Careful around the skinny egg shell legs. A Hoss looks like an enormous big hairy daunting statuesque smelly monster hulk bulk. But down low. What keeps them on the ground are thin sheer scrawny cruller legs. Fetlock pastern hoof. Hoss are very weak down there. I had to treat the cruller with care. In the morning I trotted the Hoss out. Watched the ruby red sun eat a salmon lemon meringue pie for breakfast from Hoss back. I rode one and ponied all the others. Quite a curious sight. A person riding one towing a quarter score of Hoss moving muscle axle. Again a definite order. Some Hoss preferred the inside and others the outside. Some liked to be ponied others didn’t care. Some hated it. They spent the entire ride harassing another Hoss. Nipping at the nearest neighbor for the duration of the ride. That kind of Hoss goes through life making another Hoss miserable. His sole Hoss shoe hard purpose. No nice price. The idea behind trotting is to excursive the Hoss without having to put a person on. Most Hoss will not move much without a person making them. They prefer to eat and sundry themselves all day. I don’t mean the ones in the wild. I’ve never seen one of those except on the television when Pucker Jaggers announces a wild Hoss alert. You know when the wild guys in the desert die from dehydration starvation that sort of Nightly Propaganda tragedy fair. Most of my Hoss were so pure bred they had been on farms for centuries. Easier to trace their ancestry than mine. Imagine that. As they say in Hollywould
And then they pause a moment to conjugate
-Is real peoples.
Ponnying them involved walking trotting them a lot. No tough stuff. Nothing but walking trotting building up muscle. Some grooms practically slept on the Hoss while they walk trot. Somnambulate along darling. Urn the daily hedging bread. The same every single day. Grooms didn’t care. They gave up the Control reigns. The Hoss knew the course. Where to walk. When to trot. It was obvious to Hoss and groom the whole thing was kind of a farce. Some Hoss and groom got so bored. Every day they ate posterior rump butt behind another Hoss. Gave up their free will. Followed another Hoss butt. Butt sniffers. No questions asked I’m just prolling Hoss. Spent day after spent day sniffing the butt of another Hoss. It’s a common ailment of the Hoss. The groom made the Hoss into machines like a Corporation. Well oiled. But nothing but machine like the groom. Every day the same. The groom sat back. The Hoss half assed it around the farm. A game for Hoss and rider. Nobody on the scene set had the reigns. Hoss are tricky. All sorts of things frighten and annoy them while they trot. After the trot I gave them a little brush. A little reassurance. Made sure they had water. Put them back into the comfort of the box. Most grooms then go back to bed. I liked the job because I read thought looked at books wrote looked around into the afternoon. No time clock. Just me putting it all down. Around mid-day I gave each Hoss a pallet chunk bolt of green straw hay in a white rope net. I put the hay in the fish net so it wouldn’t fall on the floor. Keep tail pipe and front fender separate. I went around and shoveled the boxes out once in the afternoon. Mr. Broom. The Hoss respect you. They know you’ve come into their box to shovel their shit. They get out of your face and let you work. Some days I cleaned the brown made in England saddle leather tack. Made hard old British leather tack soft to the touch. The leather we put on their backs to help us make them stop. All this leather required cleaning soapy scrubbing then oiling. You needed to know how to put it together to take it apart for cleaning. Otherwise your left with just clean worthless parts pieces shards of the equipment. I did a little every day. As the afternoon cooled I rode each Hoss singly. The Hoss sweating nostrils flaring while I sat up top. Some Hoss needed to practice things while others didn’t. Some Hoss didn’t like me on their brown saddle leather tack ridden back. Worse tried to toss me off. I didn’t blame them one bit. I’ve seen a lot but I’ve never seen a copper and steel bit in my mouth. Some people might like it. I could never put up with it. Some days I wanted to free all the Hoss. But the Hoss didn’t belong to me. I was an employee even if I was my own Hoss Boss. And where would I free them too. I never saw an open range in my life except in a Hollywould picture. I hear that most of the open spaces with the fences around them in the North West are owned by those Hollywould execupears. How fitting. The Hoss probably would get hit by a car truck Sceni Cruiser Recreating Vehicle loaded down with tourist cameras video cameras getting it all bus. I’d be fired and someone who cared less would replace me. Worse some Hoss would get hurt or killed running out into traffic. It’s sad but the animals are better off where they are. I don’t live in Utopia. I live in America. I don’t like soap or razors. I eat hamburgers from El Paso sometimes with soft swerve ice cream on top of them in Las Vegas. Love my leather belt my Jeep my hunting jacket sans ducks and my crow black leather oil resistant Oil Rigger boots. They all make me feel better. Drink too much smoke to much change the oil in my American Caveman every five millennium. I worked on every sort of starved abomination imaginable in Hollywould bent upside down backwards just to pay my spilling bills. If you live in Erewhon I’m coming over Utopia and not a merry can America maybe you should invite me over for a can of beer. I’d love to see the place. Heard about it all my life. I always thought it was bullshit nowhere. I’d stick my nose. No. Ride a Hoss up the ass of the place. See with the Hoss what it smells looks feels like. Close and personal or something stereotypical like that. I don’t think I’ll have much to talk about or in common with U
-Never told me it would be this bad Daedalus
Topian. I’ll bring my hand credit two cards mouth bills with me. Say
-This is howl. Boo hoo whoa Hoss no lifting your leg here. They didn’t let Mahon in. I live.
Everybody deals ideals but nobody can live up to them. A lot of poker faces look for pinch ear hitters. Some Society not just one person groom with a broom other than themselves to walk trot out excursus their ideals for them. It’s a lot of talk and not a drop. People with all the answers ideas about excise excursus nauseate mine. Those answers like the cloudy teary nostalgic eyes that were handed down for me to look through don’t focus for me. I look through adjusting them rabbit ears. I see hair balls snow balls no balls utter out of focus balls. Shit. Dante’s. Both of their dreams. I’m swimming my own naked swim race through the bloom broom part of this life with some bad gauge I inherited like a crawling case of something itchy scratchy grinning. I didn’t create it and I don’t want to name it or even know why it crawled up my leg. But it likes me. No question. The bastard likes me. Trying to make sense with it make friends just say
with it. Keep the Caveman from Darwining hold love don’t make Maggie unhappy cry boo hoo pay my leaky bills don’t use commas get a good laugh out of tantalizing because they need me and I need mine. Stay cane stick water melon sugar sane. It’s strange. The hardest deals to break because they are with yourself. No other Society no other body no other living thinking thing living Hossing up to them. Underwater air bubbles gravitate one way street. Call them I deals. Or grave at tea sea. I take mine without any lumps. Brisk. The people that put all that horrible clean soft oiled leather tack on the Hoss back loved the Hoss more than they loved themselves. Never mind anybody else. The people that took care of Hoss would have saved a Hoss life before they saved yours or mine. Imagine that. I wouldn’t. I could never live with myself. Hoss come up short next to my people. So don’t feel sorry for the Hoss. Nietzsche thought himself Nightingale and went out hugging a Hoss. I digress. I’m neither myth. You probably don’t know how to put the tack back together or clean his box. He’d just step on your foot. More important Hoss loves his box. And I never felt as compromised working with a Hoss in a scholar’s jail cell as I did in Hollywould. I never joined public opinion beat exploited filmed or lied to a Hoss. Beamed sent him to the living room of a Spent spending Nation. I never put a Hoss on a box television with the rabbit ears on top. Said
-This Hoss is different better special. Spend your hard earned green Presidents pyramids with eye balls and big fore father flying kites with funny hair. Buy him now. We take Credit it will be hard on you paying the bill later Cards.
It was very curious riding that many Hoss. After riding each one I green hosed washed it down with water and scraped it off. Like the Greeks with a strigil. The Hoss then rolled on the ground. Every time. Dirt Hoss. Hoss needed old and same. Not new or different. They rolled and scratched their backs on the ground. Hoss accepted no substitutes. It’s better to let the Hoss roll outside before you put it in the box. Hoss gets it his way no matter what. If you don’t let it roll outside on the grass it will roll in the box. Hurting itself but the groom is still responsible. After I rode all the Hoss I fed them. Again checking the water buckets in the box. Pushing the wheel barrow down the boxtropolis they sniff snuffled some kicking their wood box stall walls as they got their food. I liked the Hoss that kicked their box. One day nobody was looking and I opened the door. I said
-Go ahead Hoss have it your way. Be free. I’m not the Boss. I’d rather see you
The Hoss split the box. The whole bucket shop was fenced in. It was just an experiment. To the front fence he went and ate some green grass. The kind that is known to colic a Hoss. He didn’t colic and came back. Hoss missed his oats and clean box. The care I provided. If other grooms knew what I did they would have said
And be right. Risking colic for a dumb experiment like that. After the Hoss finished dinner I put them out in the shit free paddock. Cleaning out the boxes. Nothing. Without the box and a groom they just have the shit filled pasture. Pitch forked the box. Doing the broom part of being a groom. I put down some new wood shavings. The smell of shavings comforts even me. The Hoss had a nice bed for the next day. On my way out I said every night
-Good night see you tomorrow Hoss.
Except one night I got fired. Someone who cares more and less does it now. I drove for four winters four summers following them around the country the Spent Nation like a top knot loony in a cult on my school vacations. The big time Hoss spend the winter in Florida and the summer in the North East. It’s not a bad life. Excepting the occasional hot spur bastards who come along and get on their backs. Typically the owners. Any sports that require more pyramids than anything are the worst. The dudes with the most bones have the best in this case Hoss. Almost without fail those same dudes can’t ride what they own. Worse understand what they say
-Is my own?
So I won’t drive on route 95 on account of the Cops and the Hoss memories. The only other decent option is highway 81. I don’t like it. It bores me. So we’re going to Niagara Falls like it or not. It’s even predestine as a matter of fact. I really want to go. I’ll never get married leaped over the broom stick. Don’t believe in that or any other institution. But I’ve heard about the theme hotel rooms at Niagara Falls. You know they don’t have hot tubs they have Love Tubs. Heart shaped gurgling bubbling hot sex tons of love tubs. I say
-Maggie I need a lot of loving from a big woman in a small Love Tub.
-You’re not getting it from me at Niagara Falls.
-What about Love Canal. I could probably buy us our very own Love Tub?
-No Love Canal. No Niagara Falls.
Hotel rooms with names like the Jungle Room. It’s kinky chili cheese dog extra onions bad breath chocolate malt mall tacky middle class erotic. Where else could you find those g string things tied inextricably wrapped together in the same garish gaudy ball? Las Vegas. Anybody that’s dumb enough to go Niagarish Falling on their homely couple honey moon prolie gets what they deserve. Shafted. I say
The lovely knitting mink looks at me mutinously. And pleads. She says
-No Love Tub.
I look with Soap Opera loving lovey eyes. Demurely I say
-Yes Love Tubby.
-I’m going to scrub you like Ajax. If we go.
I feel like I’m on Trucker Upper. We’re going to Niagarish Falls. I’m going to get scrubbed into a wrinkled dish rag Dirt bag armor in a Love Tub. The excitement passes. I’m still in Ohio. Cleave old age in hand to be exact. Some countries have Grecoroman ruins. America has Industrial Revolution ruins. Ohio looks like an aged pig without a bow on it to me. I see all the big three today. Cincinnati Columbus Cleveland. I like Sin sin atta boy the best. It has the most profound telling historically correct possibilities of the three cities. I like industrial cities with the old sweat shops still standing. I’ve got ancestors that worked in them. My roots. In the blue jeany genes. Stout farm or factory any sort of back breaking manual labor. Potato picking bones. I’m digging this one different. The town fathers like to convert the factories into bars and pasta warehouses. The old Company store reinvented. I could go for some sketchy sketty and beer in ye’ old sweat shop. Truly I find them pleasing to the eye. Tall dark ancestrious illustrious brick small windows with silent smoke stacks presiding over the entire affair. At least it stopped raining. I pull over for us to eat and gas up. We’re fausting. I mean fasting right about now. After a while my hunger just goes away. Flees the green vile bile scene. Imagine that. I wonder where the bastard goes off to get fed. I wish he’d extend an invite. Take me with. Introduce me to his groom. I roll down the window. Getting refrigerator frosty cold out there in the world. Sliced ham turkey salami bologna pimiento cold cuts kind of weather. Just stick the old sausage log on the front stoop step poop deck to keep it deli fresh.
-Maggie I really need some meliorism. A mediocre meal would be fine though. I think I’m hallucinating from hunger.
-I’ll buy you a spud at Wendy.
I pull over for gas. Search for the lowest grade nice price bell bottom blue barrel one singular octane variety. The kind that makes the Caveman diesel. The professional name for the dish banging pot clanging sounds of marital dispute a car makes after you turn it off. I like the sound. An engine that complains that much after I shut if off definitely has some miles in it. Diesel means possible. I drive into Wendy. Go to the drive thru. Some poor bastard with a stoma garbles something. I assume
-May I help?
-I want three plain potatoes.
-Do you want?
I drive up to the window. Hand three bills over. Taking a heavy white paper sack with three tin foil spuds in it. I unsack the spuds. I say
-Hot potato better make than tepid poor folk tater.
-Don’t ask me. Wendy uses me as a middle man. I’m channeling for her now.
Maggie doesn’t like the Wendy middle man jokes. Maggie and I sit in the parking lot. I eat mine like a cruller. I say
-Maggie just snarf it. Just like a donut. Only no filling.
I’ve got bits of smoking steaming poor Tate in Barbigerous the beard. Maggie doesn’t look happy with me and mine. I get out of the Caveman and eat my spud standing up in a parking lot in Ohio just like a Hoss. Get a little privacy while I dine. She looks at me funny. One down. I unwrap the second brown football baked leather torpedo. Spud two isn’t as sporting good. I eat half of it. Scarf snort the brown bastard down.
-Maggie do you want half?
-No eat your bud ad ah. I got my own pud aid er problems.
I finish it. I really hate it. Maggie still works on her first one and only. Buttering salting spreading making mashed potato with the tines of her white plastic fork. I piss on the front tire of the Caveman. Whip it out wheel it’s hot. I haven’t done it in a while. It cheers me up. A couple Wendy customers come out stuffed fat bowling ball duck waddling crisscrossing the parking lot after shredding Super Bar. They get me for dessert. Long haired bearded tall drink of water. Potato whipped out airing blow flapping in the breeze pissing on the right front. One really wise ass Wendy hefty potato of a customer walks over to me. He parked his truck near mine. From a safe distance. He says
-What are you doing?
-I’m pissing on my Jeep.
He takes a second to think about. Gonna be a long piss he can take all the time he needs.
-Go piss inside like everybody else.
-Nope. Don’t like it in there. Got a bad Erato potato.
He gets in his truck. Drives off. I finish pissing. Get in the Caveman and watch Maggie eat. Maggie has good manners. Nobody ever taught me good manners. Jane Bark was so exasperated raising me. She didn’t worry about the details. Mostly she talked big picture. She said
-Dirk I don’t know where you came from.
When I got older and I understood more. I said back
-If you don’t know
And then I always got excited at the prospect.
-Maybe you’re not my mother.
It’s a little late in the day to change. Maggie tried a couple times. A little manners training camp before she introduced me to her Parents. Her Parents are cool Aging Parents. Maggie just wanted to take the sharp edge off the Cro Magnon couple. Shine buff polish the hairy barbarian before she brought him home. Slap a bow in his monkey fuzz Barbigerous the beard. But I got pissed off. Absolutely hated sitting at the television table trying to figure out which fork or how to hold it. I like spoons. Any fool can eat anything with a spoon. Fill it up with the goodies and stuff it in the old see ya trap yappity yap. Chew once. Repeat. If you haven’t got any manners it’s hard to bow down. Look in the mirror say
-You’re a mannerless shit. Try learning some.
Everybody stands in line like at the meat counter of any Super Market as Cassidy says U.S. of A. Drooling mouth water salivating looking over shoulders with a piece of paper with a number on it in his or her insignificant hand. They look up at the clock bide their time. Tick talk talking about you. Waiting for the personal personnel number to come up. Five seconds of fame a dash of shame. To tell you. Total strangers wish want stand in line froth at the mouth because their lives are such a bore to say
-I’m going to punch your number.
It’s hard to turn yourself upside down right. After years of defending fight stopping other boring people from turning you won that or this wrong way. Sometimes. It pains me to say it we all need it. Maggie polishes her potato. Folds the tin foil wrap. She has manners. No doubt about it. Maggie lights us some butts. She puts two in her mouth like bogie. Pulling out of Wendy pee po potato parking lot. The only interesting thing that happens in between Cleveland on the road to Niagarish Falls. I have to take another pee. I put the Caveman on the soft shoulder of the 90 in New York. The wind howls. Truck after Sceni Cruiser bus screeching by. Wearing a baseball cap to keep the hair back out of my eyes. I’m watching my water fly across the freeway in the wind and my blue base ball cap follows it. Spinning dancing twisting turning touching down until the breeze of another truck lifts it back up. Moving down the highway. Skidding hoping flying. Bang another car hits it. Runs over it squish squash. Flattens it blintz potato good old fashion maple syrup New Hampshire apple pancake flat. It’s up again in the air. Another moving vehicle air storm sends the apple pancake to flight. Danger danger danger. Is all I’m thinking. Knitting knots of dread. The hat on the front says
It’s the name of a Hoss barn I worked and later got fired from. Among other things. I scream after it
-Fuck fuck fuck.
Then I change my mind
-Be free be free be free.
Maggie thinks I’m going verifiably crazy. I’m still peeing. I haven’t made up my mind. What am I to do? Go get killed fetching a silly crushed covered in oil hat I wear when I get under the Caveman baseball cap. One blue common cap that happens to say Pony Express in the air streams of a freeway. I finish peeing. If you hold yourself too long it takes forever to get everything out. Maggie says
-Go get it. Get out there. Go.
-Fuck it Maggie. I don’t want it bad enough. I’m not going to get killed for it.
The trucks buses cars zip zoom some honk as they go by. She looks at me. Maggie is annoyed angry. For real pissed. Leaning out the Caveman window box. She says
-Do I have to stop knitting? Put down what I’m doing. Go out there and get it for you. Christ Dirt you can do it. It means enough to you.
She’s right. I slink off down the highway. I’ve worn that hat every day for four years. Even put it in a dishwasher a few times to clean it up. Walking towards the traffic. I don’t know if you’ve walked down a highway or freeway. It’s a good likely place to get killed in America. I feel miniature on display. Too many people Rent this Beat Dented Wreck trucks rushing off to some destine rumored less destitute destination. My hat flies like a total bastard. It keeps leaping up and off to flight. Twisting turning in the crazy air streams. Utterly powerless. The freeway wind. The real wind. The fake wind. Jane Eyre. We must be near Rochester. It’s all wind and it’s got my blue Pony Express hat. Won’t let go. I’m running down to keep alongside. To keep up with it. And it just happens. A break in the traffic. Walking out onto the highway. My hat hovers above the black top pavement saucer flat. I put my foot on it. Nothing but step on it. Bend over to pick it up. I’m in the middle of the freeway. No cars trucks Sceni Cruiser buses are coming. I feel good. Pop the top of my crushed Pony Express hat back out. Turn my just rescued Pony Express on my head backwards. So everyone can read the name when I get back on the highway freeway and pass them. Walking down the middle white lane. Toe to toe like I’m taking a drink drunk too much I’m a stupid fuck I went driving test I say
I change my mind. I scream at the top off my lungs
-Fuck fuck fuck.
Sometimes you’ve got to scream. It’s no use fighting the bastards. I only yell curse cry out loud for myself. Every now again it’s good to boo hoo just for you. Wave to Maggie. Maggie is out of the Caveman on her side. Standing up on the drive board pipe side board. I put it in a couple months back. Only she does the two hand wave. Back and forth. Left arm and hand turn signals. Right arm and hand turn signals. Independently and at the same time. And over the top it reads. Hazard hazard hazard. Get off the black top. I wave back. Only I wave with one hand. Nothing but wrist like the Fraerie Queen over in Cumfry Old English Merry Malt Liquor. Imagine that. Old English like Grendel. Head wrecker like Hallow wine. Crushing down the high road flue. I hear him blue barreling down on me. Air horn honking Light House bellowing. I even hear tires humming now. Tasting I ron. Wendy must grow the spuds with acid rain. Slipping like a bad transmission in Las Vegas. I close his offensive to the ears soul boo hoo honking out. It’s not his eye ear storm. In the way just this once but it does not change the brown bed. Head. Nothing but mind. I bang a sharp right off the white broken line. Ninety degrees. Let the fallow follow listen to boo hoo fell feel low for me up here working the Controls Aging Parent honking the horn truck garden variety cup of Joe go. I’m not bothering with any off them. I beat it off the high or freeway. Worse I stop to smoke. As he passes me and mine by. Honking air horning I’ve got a generic butt in my yap smoking trap. Probably flipping me off. After I light my butt I put my right hand up on my head. Look down smoking not up. See which way my feats take me. Holding my Pony Express on as the scaly tale end sand fake Friar Trucker created storm rages passing over us. Gone but still honking. I’m doing nothing but thinking getting dirty sandy doing it. They keep coming speeding after him. Charons Minotaurs Orions. Cars and trucks with funny names. Chasing his horn as I walk in the same direction on the shoulder of the road. I look to see what action exists at the Caveman. Maggie gets back in. Opening my door sliding in crunching away to find a place a tidy nook nesting my Bone. Maggie sits there knitting smoking. She says
-I shouldn’t have told you to get it.
-No you did the right thing.
Maggie puts the knitting on the floor of the Caveman and her cigarette in the A tray. I pull onto the express way. She says
-I wanted to see if lying felt any better.
-Only for a moment.
-You’d think it would feel better longer. Everybody does it.
-I know. Isn’t that strange. People are weird.
-I don’t want to scrub you in a Love Tub. Is that okay?
-Absolutely. The thought of it gives me a rash.
-Let’s not go.
-I’ll scrub you in the tub of our new apartment every night instead.
-Deal. No Ajax.
Maggie gets out her Atlas book of maps and head lamp. Navigates us a new course to New York City. We pull over for gas plus phone calls. I pump the gas my hands smell bad anyway. Maggie doesn’t clean the windshield. Maggie makes phone calls. Her department like the apartment. Maggie is from New York City. She went to Hollywould to humor me. One of those born bred bury me in the Bowery when I die downtown New Yorkers. We have a sublet on sixteenth and ninth. These guys that Maggie is friends with got jobs in a country in Africa I’ve never heard of. People in New York City manage to pull that sort of stuff out of their butts. The guys left all their worldly possessions however squalid they may be. Picked up and split. Said
-Hey why don’t you Maggie and that boyfriend of yours come back to New York and live in our place?
-Really? I’ll send you money today.
-We’re going to
I don’t remember. Aoudad maybe. Some foreign Nation. I’ll never go. I’m staying in this one.
-We probably won’t be back. Take over the lease. You can even sell our stuff if we settle there.
I’ve been to the apartment once before. One of those climb the mountain apartments. Flight after flight of well-worn out trudged on by poor bastards with heavy shoes stairs. A seven floor walk up. By the time I made the haul I wanted to boot. Most old buildings in New York have building smell. Part kitty litter and part rotting decaying dying building. Everyone is too busy rushing out of their hole in New York busy busy busy to spray some air freshener or even notice the smell of old building. The apartment if you can make it up the stairs is quite nice for flop house standards. One wall nothing but windows. Top floor setting sun rent control even Section 8. Government subsidized cock roaches run the place. The real tenants of the place. Not the Government. Not any person society or body. Coach roaches. Hybrid ones. They have immunity to Coach Roach Poison. Real hearty bastards. People come and go. Coach roaches are a forever thing in that place. Coach roaches climb around the house. But Maggie likes them. Never been bitten by one. In her eyes we’re going up in the world. The two bedrooms smell horrible. They face into an air shaft. The air in the air shaft is none other than unadulterated rotting building. It’s really curious too. Some fool hung chicken or fowl wire in the air shaft on every floor. When I was visiting the place. I hung my head out the bedroom window into the dank foul air shaft. Little did I know that one day I would call it my own or worse home. I asked Maggie’s friend about the fowl wire. He said
-It’s too keep the cat burglars out.
-I don’t think so.
And left it at that. I think when the poor bastards that trudged up the stairs for decades in the heavy cement block shoes decides to call it quits. Sniff out the black. Leap out the window into the air shaft. They don’t get what they think they want. Nothing but chicken wire. Spend the day in the Government air shaft. Writhing on the wire. Breathing in foul raunchy building air shaft rotting dank sniffs. Until someone calls the Cop you late to fish them out and pack them off to a different sort of place. The apartment is loaded down with furniture dishes clothes all sorts of worldly good stuffs. Even tons of pasta and canned goodies the last time I was there. Maggie’s friend took me in the kitchen. Pointed to this labor saving devices or that cupboard full of canned food. Said
-Can you believe someone left all this?
Full circle. He did it himself. A lot of people have come and gone through the place. People brought furniture up the seven floors but nobody brought any out the door with them when they left. People went off to some other city or foreign Nation like these dudes. Or made it big. Closed the door on the place walked out and bought all new stuff. Handed the apartment off. Said like traitors
-Take it. I don’t want it. It offends me.
Maggie gets back in the Caveman. Excited. Everything came together miraculously. She says
-My cousin has the key to the place. We didn’t get screwed. Imagine that. Only in America. Maggie’s cousin Will is the kind of dude you don’t want to cross frog. He came home one night after work. Spending his hard earned Presidents and pyramids out drinking at the Company Store. Walked through his door and found his neighbor in his apartment. Will said
-What the fuck are you doing in my house?
-Just looking around.
Will looked around. See what the neighbor found so fascinating about the apartment. Will didn’t have much. But what he owned all his possessions sat in a pile. The photographs of his mother and father had been smashed to shards on the ground. Will said
-I can understand why you came in here to rob me but you’re going to pay for smashing my Parents pictures.
He started punching the neighbor to a fruity pulp. I mean a real old fashioned the way things used to be beating. Everybody shoots everybody in this country today. Nobody wrecks head with their hands. Nostalgia the willy pervert. Will spent the first part of his life as a construction laborer. Picking up cement blocks. He has one arm on him that looks at least four inches bigger than the other. Will could tear the engine out of a lawn mower trying to pull start turn the green monster over. Neighbor crumpled down on the floor of Wills place bleeding broken into shards. And Neighbor does a stupid thing. He bites Wills ankle. You have to admire the beat to a pulp climbed through a window for this beating criminal. But Will didn’t. He said
And he said about every expletive he knew.
-I’ll show you what biting is.
And Will bent. Actually got down on his bended knees. Picked up neighbors silly beat to a pulp head. Bite the top of his ear. Clean lopped the relief map bastard off. Spit it in his face. Said
-Pick yourself up off my rug and take your ear with you.
Then he said
-I’m sorry. Let me speak into your good ear.
When I heard the story I said
-Will why didn’t you call the Cops? Prosecute put him away.
-I was drunk and tired. I worked hard drank too much that day. I couldn’t wait up all night for the Cops. I had to go bed. I’m not a young man.
-What are you going to do if the bastard comes back?
-I’ll have to call you. Hold the prick down. You can come over and bite his other ear off. I’m getting to old for this shit.
Some people say you’ve got to have a little of Will in you or at least know someone like him to keep an eye to the subway tracks look out for ears in New York City. But Will spent half his life picking up cement blocks with one arm. Lancelot got parking lot. Now Will parks cars for a living. And the Neighbor with half an ear still climbs up drain pipes pushes in air conditioners to get him plus ear in windows. He got the pinched back ear stitched back on. Bad Ear is doing fine. We arrive in New York on an average dog bites man evening. Man eats dog for dinner in an overpriced restaurant full of hepper lawyers swimming after fowl chicken. All the rats scurrying out of their holes going out for the night and we join them. Holy Barbigerous the beard likes New York because of the deuteronomy. Moses. Anonymoses. I mean anonymity. Maybe it’s the
-I really don’t give a fuck
that pervades the air. The traffic the congestion the smell of diesel the bonsai yellow cabs. I drive the Caveman to Maggie’s cousin’s parking lot. Will rents a parking lot now. It costs a fortune to park a car in New York City. Lancelot’s parking lot is near one of those gaping Moby mouth tunnels on the West side. Will went home. It’s really late. So late another work day lurks around the bend. I park the Caveman in the center of the parking lot. Nothing in Will’s lot but the Caveman. Maggie writes Will a note. I say
-Don’t forget to tell him I’m coming over to eat his neighbors other ear.
-We agreed to not talk about that embarrassing story anymore.
-I’m not talking about it with anyone anymore.
We fill our back packs. It’s pretty scary when your whole life can climb into one enormous back pack. I don’t feel sorry. The two of us have quite a lot of cash. Maggie has a big wad of Presidents and pyramids. Our entire life savings. We can pay rent for a while. Still it unnerves me a dusty touch to think we didn’t escape Hollywould with more. The trip cross comfy and back felt like a painful vacation. I sort of never believed I would really start over again so soon. I guess it was a nice generic price to pay to get out of a stereotypical bad life. Maggie puts her life on her back. I say
-If you can’t get your pack on yourself don’t bother carrying it.
-That’s easy for you to say I’ve got all our heavy shit again.
I toss mine on my back. I leave the keys of the Caveman on right front tire. The one I piss on. It feels weird not having those keys in my pocket. Kind of like being naked but not as fun breezy. Maggie walks over to the parking lot attendant toll booth. My and her future place of part time employment. Nobody gets out of my parking lot without paying their pedage. At least for the first week. Maggie picks up a piece of loose pavement. The appointed spot. Says
-Nice key ring. Let’s walk. I need the excursive.
We walk. It’s such a bizarre ordinary yet exotic pleasure to walk in New York with a big sack on your back. I’m disgusted with driving. After spending a year driving everywhere in Hollywould and cross country twice. I really feel for Methuselah the old bastard. It only takes about fifteen minutes for us to walk home. I think I could get used to my new place of employment. I say
-Maggie I think I could get used to that commute.
-Not if you’re living with me. You’re going to have to do better than that.
We get to the apartment. Start climbing the mountain. The seven flights of stairs. I can’t say anything until I get to the top floor. Maggie turns the key. I say
-I know what I want to do.
The door opens. She turns on a light the place looks just like it did last year. Smells the same too. Coach roaches start running scampering doing the coach roach crawly stroke all over the place. Slow coach. Roach coasters. The light must startle the bastards. The apartment appears exactly perfectly preserved. Maggie says
-I’m going to put it all down. Write it down.
Maggie looks at me. Drops her pack. Stripping down. Clothes in a pile. Standing naked before me. She smiles. She says
-It’s about fucking time. I’m going to bed.
She kisses me and walks in our new bedroom and gets in our new futon bed. Pulls the covers left for us over her head. New bed same as the old bed. Only no fleas. Just cock the mutant you’ll never kill this roach. I put my stuff down and do one quick look around the place. No worries. Exactly the same. Nothing has changed except the faces of the people who live here. I feel safe. Crawling in next to her. It hurts to put my head down I’m so exhausted. I fall asleep.
Chapter 1: Circle
Morning even comes unwanted in New York City on Sixteenth Street. The sun chows something down. Blue red gold bright shards of light reflect off my face. I feel like a coupon. Reflexible. Maggie and I lay naked in the new futon bed. New bed same as the old bed. Maybe a lump or two fluffier. Maggie gets up and makes some smoking steaming Joe java. Pulling the new covers over my head I go back to sleep. Maggie wakes me by sticking a mug of hot coffee in my hand. Says
-Get up get started.
It’s really hard for me to go back to sleep with hot jumping Joe java I love this swamp black molten metal motor oil with milk in my cup. I start slurping the stuff down. Equal parts down my chin and front. About the time it touches my pubic hairs. I say
-Maggie for real. I want to and will put it all down. Things will get better if I write.
Maggie looks at me and my pubic hairs with coffee in them. She says
-No they won’t.
I smile. Sometimes the truth comforts more than fantasy. I say
-I can’t believe I had my epiphany somewhere in Kentucky or Ohio or Upstate New York. I don’t want to know. It was bad.
-I want a puppy. I’m naming Fido Dido. Do you think that’s weird? Don’t most men my age when they sort themselves out. I’m so glad we us birth control. I’ve been trying to disperse put a couple angry parts of me on a hearse my whole life. I could never deal with another me.
-Me either. And who takes the birth control my prodigy?
I continue. She doesn’t feel like making conversation.
-You know find I don’t know the big dog. Want to procreate. Pump out the other puppies. Baby fresh. Teach the seed from the old sperm spring. Steer them away from the dragons with ray guns pot holes with bar traps and Aging Parent aplusholes?
-I don’t think it’s weird at all. Puppies are like children. Once you have Dido the Fido you’ll never want kids Dirt.
Slurping more steaming milky jumping java Joe. I say
-I’ll never get published. Most of the books published are total dog berry duncan donuts. People won’t like me and mine.
-Don’t say that Dirt you’re being just like them.
I nod she’s right. I hate when that guy comes out to get fed. But I’m his groom. Sit down and put my shit upside down right. Dig a big fat black red orange manifest Pa Canyon ditch and drive the Caveman right into the bastard. Bone throbbing porno graphically all the way down. Use the Aging Parents at the Controls as cannon fodder from down in my crotchety crotch sly foxhole meager crochet Control room. And anybody who has a problem bitch. I don’t feel comfortable with Dirt’s funky smells like day old sex ditch. Hollow purple Popsicle anacharis alcoholic lime green corduroy literary trouser anarchist generic butt smoking it tastes funny to me shit. Should sit down and feed John the Critic. Ticky tacky on the toilet until you cry
-It just hurts.
Ticky tacky some more until the boo hoo Critic buzzard gets fed. Don’t go out for beers with your silly friends. Don’t go work for I.B.M. if really you want to be easel Anubis Adams. Or the stock pot stock pile stock it to ‘em Pa stock yard. Don’t become Pip the Press You Dent. What you need. Put your shit down special different hot coals smoking flame broil it. Showcase it on M. no love only glitter fool T.V. I don’t care. Don’t give a day old stale friar truck garden rainbow fuck. Your shit belongs is for you. I’m busy baking hot coals smoking spaving flame broiling. Saying did I create you? Maybe later. Maybe just maybe. I’ll stick my nose in a crack. See what it smells like. I know what it feels like. Pond swim. I slurp filling the see ya yappity yap trap full of steamy smoking hot coals Joe java. Coffee futures soaring up. I wonder if the Stock Exchange is open today. I say
-I’ll tear myself a new axehole when I’m older moldier wise fat jolly Buddha tropical like Ulysses. But for now Maggie I want the old crusty croteched crotchety colicking Manifest Destiny crotch. I want to look downstairs and have fate or at the very least pee destiny staring right back at me. I want to see in the mirror the old school bath once a week frontier man.
-Check. You already see your last request.
-I want an open range instead then to set all the Hoss free in.
-How about a shovel for your shit Mr. Amoral Alcoholic Asshole Author?
-You forgot Agnostic Anacharis Anachronistic American Anarchist.
-Those angry man words are all euphemisms for something else like the four letter word dirt. For example.
I smile slurping jerking the coffee some more. This futon bed definitely has a couple more fluffy lumps than the old one. I’m thinking.
-I want to take us all full circle. I want you to kiss me.
Maggie kisses me. A real tooth clanker of a kiss. I say
-You kiss funny. I want to talk more. At least I can get a chunk piece shard some drooping dropping lopped off top of an ear part of that map of a dream. So many lies. Which to choose from? How about I’ve been told all my life my dreams will set me free. I want the good ship do it yourself to take me to dream trolley lorry octopus.
Maggie shakes her head
-Can’t I get on that boat? I’m good with a mop. Don’t eat a lot. Dream a lot. Sleep a lot. Can’t get out of bed a lot. Just me doing it for by shaking hands with myself on the bull ship like in that place U didn’t tell me it would be this bad Daedalus topia.
Maggie smiles the musey mink. Laughing in my face.
-Stop talking like a freak and when are you going to start?
Take another sip from the Pa. Canyon coffee mug before me. I say
-I want to see things through different eyes. I want to piss on the old paunchy raunchy formulas. I want a pair of rabbit ears to wear while I piss on the old formulas orange cheese the orange cows Holly would do the Aging Parents at the Controls at the Corporation while the music revolution du jour howls on. Tune people places in and out while I piss. I want free potatoes for life at Wendy. I promise to toss only a couple in the Wendy toilet. John the Critic needs to eat and serf too. I want some other Society to give me a gas card. To pay for my gas plus cigarettes beer Trucker Upper Hallow wine. I’ll split the food costs with just you Maggie. I want to return to Hollywould Yosemite Oakland San Francisco Berkeley Death Valley Las Vegas Pa Canyon New Orleans I don’t want to go to Texas Venice Beach or Kentucky. Maggie I’m such a nightmare I want too much. I don’t want to change anything. Not today. Not by myself. I just did. I didn’t like it. It feels like ass there. Let’s wait for now. Leave it alone and live with it. Just say howdy with it. The bastard likes us anyway. I figured my shit out. I have just one request.
-You can kiss me before you make it.
I kiss her. I kick the cup of smoking steaming Joe hot coffee java. Down the sea ya trap yappity yap. Some drips in my pubigerous hairs. I look down. Barbigerous and Chip are jealous. The little fiends. I don’t know how it gets all the way down way down there. I look around. Maggie says
-I know what you want.
-Say it for me. Let’s be re belly us.
The direction of the Earth. Whip swimming ink wheel well. Taking a sniff of these hands. Feeling like. Fins. Again. A wake. Two indigo blue hue. Maggie says
-All I want today is the full circle part.
Special thanks to David J. Gardiner and Bradford Kendall.
Dave designed the covers and Brad contributed the illustrations.
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A WORD ABOUT THE COVER FONT
Eduardo Recife designed Disgusting Behavior.
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