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My Robot Is Pregnant theme song!

tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

November 25, 2007


I’m not sure if I’m high or just really forgetful, but I can’t find the sandwich I just made. I’d retrace my steps, but it’s not like I had grease on the bottom of my shoes and I can see everywhere I walked. I could go back to the kitchen and make another one. Okay, wow, look at that, I put my sandwich back in the bag of bread. That’s really cool. What if you could by a loaf of bread and it was already full of sandwiches? You could buy a peanut butter and jelly loaf, a ham sandwich loaf, and a loaf with a bunch of different sandwiches. A pot luck loaf. I guess I am high, because that sounds like a great idea.

# 9

Let them build a nuclear reactor to power the roulette wheel, I say!
There is a lone palm out the window. Forty or so flies are trapped inside here
with me. Two are fucking right now. Soon there will be forty more. The palm
outside the window has smooth bark for about fifteen feet up, then the trunk
looks like someone wove a giant basket around it, and that cross-hatch weave
disappears underneath the dead grass skirt that hangs down all dried out from
below the fronds still living. They look like giant dandelions to me, these
palms planted out here in California. Dandelions that will never be yellow.
There is a brackish tidal river running slowly to the bay, and piedmonts, (that’s
French for green hills) are off in the distance. The Indians want a casino over
there across the water. The people who live here and have a beautiful view are
against it. "Keep it rural" they say. "Let us grow our vines
and jump our horses over poles out there in the fields. Keep it natural. Like
we did for you."

It’s twenty to twelve. These flies scare me. They look like meat eaters.
They are huge. The size of a nickel. It’s gross how much of their anatomy
is visible to me. I see this guy’s penis from a foot away. Flies aren’t
supposed to be intimidating. The ones in the window could get together and pick
me up. Forty flies, weight lifters, angry and hungry. It would take two hands
to kill one of them. By then the rest would have me.
C’est la vie.

A story dictated to me by two children:
Dear Mom, today I did not behave in school. I said a very bad word. I said
the s word. I have a beard. Mind your beeswax mom.

#7. A strange story
Doug had his wallet out and was licking his license. “This is not a glamourous
moment for me” he confided. We were in the car on the way to Peko’s,
for the first meeting of the San Francisco Karaoke Society. I was nervous about
trying to sing sober. Doug was nervous because he had run out of synthetics.

“Maybe you used your credit card” I offered.
“I’ll try that next,” he said.

“Go slow, you’ll cut your tongue,” I advised, as I found a
spot on 19th and Irving, the same block as the karaoke bar.
God spoke to my heart, but I ignored it. It happened all the time.

#6: In defense of words.
A picture is worth a thousand words. So now we know the rate of exchange. Let’s
do some math. A thousand words on a good day, when fast fingers fuck the keyboard
like it’s a hammered dulcimer, like the drum kit on a disco hit is a blur
of percussion, a thousand words is twenty minutes.

Let me see the picture that’s worth a thousand words. I can give you
a thousand words of clear brilliant prose that has your eyes itching to break
into a sprint, they want to get to the last sentence, but you hold them back
because you want it to last. When does that happen with a photo? You look at
it, then you look away. So what? What’s a picture? Try moving your thumb
out of the frame on the next shot. Then I might understand your “vision”.
Any picture that’s worth a thousand words got photoshopped. Or it has
a caption. It took too long to set up, too long to develop, too long to color
correct. Or did you paint it? It takes more than twenty minutes for gesso to
dry. You can’t fathom the impact of a thousand words. I’ll carve
a thousand words in the skin of whoever told that lie. A thousand words? I’m
at 224, and no one believes in pictures anymore.

#5. A true email:

Dear jon s. rolston

We regret to inform you that your eBay auction:
Selling my Soul to Highest Bidder
has been ended. All fees associated with this auction have been credited to
your account.
The item you have listed does not appear to be consistent with eBay guidelines.

eBay does not allow the auctioning of human souls for the following reasons:

If the soul does not exist, eBay could not allow the auctioning of the soul
because there would be nothing to sell. However if the soul does exist, then
in accordance with eBay’s policy on human parts and remains we would not allow
the auctioning of human souls. Therefore, we have ended this auction and all
fees have been credited to your account.
For more information about eBay’s policy on human parts and remains please
go to:


#4. I Shot Myself
I had been doing labor work for years while I finished up my degree in English.
Digging drainage ditches and spreading manure, reading Joyce and installing
water heaters. I did all sorts of odd stuff like that. Then I graduated and
wanted so bad to get a job in an office. I had friends who worked in offices
and they didn’t understand why I would want it so bad.
I dreamed about it while I zoned out painting, or digging fence posts. I wanted
to wear ties to work. I wanted to ride the bus early in the morning and listen
to Spanish lessons on my headphones while we stopped to pick up more dolled
up workers headed downtown. People who sat down all day and never had to work
on their knees. Guys in suits think it’s the good life to run a jack hammer.
Or lean against a pick up truck. But after eleven years, I was tired of it.
I didn’t want everything I wore to say Carhart. I wanted a schedule. I wanted
to go to the same place every morning. Monday through Friday, at the same time.
I wanted to sit down and type up reports and answer a phone when it rang on
my extension. Work with people with half a brain. I was ready to shoot myself
if I kept laboring. That kind of work made my whole body hurt, while my brain
sat around in my skull like fruit in a refrigerator, slowly aging.
There are lots of ways to goof off in an office as well. I could see myself
going to the photocopier a lot to get a look at some pretty girls’ legs. My
buddy Dave said he got mad if he didn’t get a chance to balance his checkbook
at work. Sounded good to me. I doubt if guys still launch biffers at each other
like we did in grade school. Is that what people call them? Folded up pieces
of paper launched from a rubber band?
We had biffers in grade school, and we spit on people. So to not get caught,
we would put spit on two fingertips then flick it. That way your target wouldn’t
hear a "spit" noise, and wouldn’t know it landed on his back. We did
it during class. It seemed like in construction, people still acted like this.
One time a guy threw up in another guys lunch Thermos. On purpose. I wanted
to be in a more responsible environment.

I guess also I wanted to work in an office because I felt smart in college,
but pretty dumb on the job. After a lifetime of being in school, I liked the
flourescent overhead lighting and sitting in rows. I liked the structure of
school and figured I could find it in the 9 to 5 world too. I liked to be around
people, bullshit with them, find out what they do on weekends. One guy I worked
with said he only like to be around women at night, but I was all for joining
a profession that had some ladies in it. I usually didn’t see a pretty face
till 3 o’clock, when I knocked off and headed for the bar. It was nice to sit
down for lunch with someone from class and talk about funny things the professer
said. I felt pretty smart in college. I didn’t feel too smart on the job. I
was ready to be a new man.
I was looking for work online. I felt for a moment like I was twenty two, young
and fresh out of college. I knew how to email and use MS Word. I had my degree.
I started looking for work in publishing. Editing or as a writer. I had the
world at my fingertips for about a week. Then I remembered my body felt horrible.
Totally worked out. I drank every night. That didn’t help. I was 30. Single.
No savings. An experienced equipment operator. Some landscaping know-how. Done
a lot of drainage work. Plus mudding takes some skill, a lot more than painting.
I can mud pretty good. I’m just slow. These tattoos on my arms are never thought
of as friendly. "Job killer’s" my friend called them.
I spent four months emailing resumes, drywalling and painting a three unit
rental. I was really down and really drunk one night. I hauled off and shot
myself. But the gun backfired and smashed out my front teeth. The 3 unit was
an under the table job, so I couldn’t scam worker’s comp. I don’t think I can
go to an interview without my front teeth, even though I spent sixty bucks on
a suit at Goodwill. It’s like brand new. Probably worth three hundred.
So I’ve got this English degree, I’ve read a lot, and I like to write stories
about stuff I make up. Sometimes even poetry. It’s not gonna get me a job. My
mother tells me to write for magazines, but what would I say? Working under
the table has dangers? Sometimes I’m high when I paint interior? Everyone knows
that stuff. I got ants in my apartment, so I’ll probably have to get under the
sink and caulk up the gaps. Other than that, it’s all dreams. Finnegan’s Wake
and if I’m lucky, Bobcat operating. That’s reality.

#3. He Either Jumped Or He Was Thrown
Tamika was facing the mirror. She had her shower cap on so the little kinky
curls wouldn’t twist back into big clumps. She was naked and brushing her teeth.
I was behind her, putting my penis between her thighs, so it would poke out
the front. It was fun to be naked with her.
She said, "Hurry up and put it in or I’m getting in the shower".
So I put it in and she kept trying to brush her teeth. It was about seven a.m.
We were both laughing.

“You’re nasty” she told me. “Now I’m late. Drive me to work.”
She’d woken me up about five thirty a.m. She does that a lot – sets the alarm
two hours before necessary. She then asks me questions I answer in my half sleep.

“You’re more honest when you talk to me then.” She said.
I was more awake than her once. Tamika was the one talking dreamlike. She told
me she was the fat girl who found out she was only a "summer" girlfriendk
in high school. Tony’s real girlfriend had called and was coming back from Minnesota
in September. My girl, laying in bed next to me, fifteen years later, was back
in San Diego sitting in a soggy swimsuit by a pool with a tray of cookies she
had baked Tony because she liked him so much. She began to cry.
I kissed her like I could change her life.
About a year ago I was cutting across Chinatown, getting some fresh vegetables.
Just minding my business, when out of nowhere, a man landed on the sidewalk
right in front of me. He hit hard, with an awful noise that is the contained
scream of falling. He would have killed me if I had been walking a little faster.
I wouldn’t even have had time to be surprised. He landed on his back, and he
was sort of alive, but not really moving. Then he moved his left hand. He spoke
in some language. I suppose it was Chinese. I gave him mouth to mouth resuscitation,
but in the end it didn’t help. I’d probably forgotten something. My mind was
racing. He died right in front of me.
I was wondering while I held on to Tamika in the bathroom, if that Asian man,
in his last moments before he died, thought I was kissing him. And if it was
insulting or comforting.



Joy To The World
I twisted an ankle getting off the bus, and was hobbling along to collect
my food stamps. Nothing feels worse than being poor. Every small thing
is life or death. If I had four bucks for a cab, I’d have made it. But
I had a bum ankle and I got to a locked door at three minutes past five.
So nothing to eat tonight. I found a pay phone and called my girl.
“I didn’t get my food stamps.” I told her.

“Where are you now?” she asked.
“I’m headed home. I’m going to boil a shoe and eat it.”
“Come over here, I made banana bread.” she offered.
“No, that’s fine.” She lived two buses away. I still had my transfer,
but it would take almost an hour. I was delirious from hunger.
“If I throw up my breakfast and eat it again, is there any extra nutrition
in that?” I asked. She didn’t know.
“What if I throw up on a slice of banana bread? Make a sandwich of it?”

That’s what’s nice about us poor people. We know how to laugh about it.
My ankle was swelling and I could see the bus, 7 blocks away.


#1.Love, Not In Love
Melissa sat up on pillows, watching Key Largo , an old black and white
movie. We were talking too, I was watching the ceiling mostly, and thinking
about the men’s clothes in the movie. They wore short ties and their pants
were high waisted. Melissa’s sheets were soft cotton and I laid there
naked under blankets, her body warm like kittens in a litter.
“You told me so many strange things last night…”
“I was drunk…almost two bottles of wine…what did I say?”
“You wanted to put a pillow case over my head and fuck me.”
I laughed, she didn’t seem mad, she seemed amazed and curious.

“Well, it’s just fantasy…”
“Why?” She asked.
“I feel so bad about myself sometimes, I don’t want to have to relate
to a person, to you, I don’t want to have to relate to you. I just want
to be alone, in a way. I don’t feel human sometimes, and I don’t want
to be reminded that you are.”
I knew that because I’d been thinking about it.
“I told you it would scare me, and you offered to cut eye holes out,”
she said.
“See, I’m not all bad.”

I laughed again, the way I do when I’m nervous. She went on.
“I told you I loved you. Not that I was in love, just that I loved you.”

“What did I say?”
“You said, ‘It’s those who love you that hold you back.’”
Her apartment was so different from mine. All white walls. A few paintings.
New lamps from Ikea.
“You told me I was boring.” She said to me.

“No I didn’t.”
"Yes you did, that’s what you said.”
"Sometimes that’s the best thing to be," I said.

I hated women today, all day, the bitches. Fuckin bitches, with their tits.
I can’t keep my eyes off them. Why can’t we wrap our women up too?
In black robes… I can’t handle seeing any curves. Three women in the
office had great asses. I pictured tying their wrists above their heads to a
post, and whipping the shit out of those asses. They were obscene. I couldn’t
even work. I should have gone home sick. Sick in the head. A pervert for sure.
I can’t stop staring at the tits in that office either. Why do they jut
out like that? And wiggle? I keep my dick pretty well concealed in these pants.
What if I wore mesh, or lycra, so every curve showed? It would be weird. Women
would look. Would they be mad at me for making them look? I’d be arrested.
I’m fucked up, I understand, but still I hated women all day today. And
my stupid boner. I hated that most of all.

Saturday July 2nd, 2005
Judas Priest played last night. By the 4th Song – Turbo Lover, for those
of you who know – there were four members of Judas Priest on stage moving
in unison, one leg forward, one back, knees bent, back curled, heads banging,
which does a beautiful thing to long sweaty hair. The drummer was stationed
behind his battery of drums and pounded out a military march, while two flying
V guitars sent out the battle cry, a bass flanked the dark night, and Rob Halford
led the charge of heavy metal thunder at Shoreline Amphitheatre.
They brought me back into the past, my very personal past of growing my bangs
out, dreaming in the upstairs bathroom mirror that one day I would have hair
enough to rock. I practiced headbanging in that mirror.
I only know the chorus’s, and only to a few songs, of Priest’s,
but Metal is my language. It’s like the blues, or hip hop, to those who
were raised on it. I can feel it when Rob of Halford, Lord of Metal, is going
to go into the caterwaul of British Steel.

My neck feels the change up, when the march of the drums breaks away into the
charge of the iron steeds, across a dusty plane, and I have my sword of Satan
raised above my head as the 100 note per second electric guitar solo screams
up the neck, the guitar neck, my neck, together we lay waste to those in our
Every good Metal song has a part where you can picture yourself riding a branded
horse. The reins are leather in your hands and steel is in the horse’s
mouth, steel that you control. Your enemy is on foot, unarmed, and you are out
to slaughter. White kids don’t have the blues. They have dreams of castles
and armor and killing. Halford propped one foot on a fog machine, and leaned
into the wind machine. His chin to floor jacket, which was made of cyborg material,
(it was apparently flexible chrome) from 200 people away I couldn’t look
directly at it, but had to watch the giant tv screen instead. White kids, and
those raised like them, have dreams of Metal. We dream of conquering, of a Satan
that isn’t going to give us wealth, but ungodly power. The power to kill
those who control what we want, the power to enslave, a Satan who convinces
us we are moral to do so. Metal is the link to our collective unconsciousness,
it is Barbarian, it any one of the Crusades, it is the swarming throng of warriors.
Metal is the pulse of battle.
By the second encore, a lot of us straight guys had already thrown our underwear
“I mean, Judas Priest brought up a lot of different emotions for me”
my best man said to me later as we leaned up against his Astro van in the parking

It did for all of us. Emotions buried since 10 years old, when I walked in the
woods at night with a boombox, blasting Shout at The Devil, (okay, different
band, but same evil feeling in the air) just a year or two away from my first
beer, stuck in New Hampshire, not aware people moved, everyone I knew lived
in my own town, and here on the radio were men with bleached and dyed long girl’s
hair and makeup, and leather, and they were everyone’s hero. I didn’t
know it at the time, but the world was reaching for me.

Live Nude Women
I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something seemed sinful about my going
to the Lusty Lady. Nude women. That isn’t a sin, is it, to be nude? And they
were behind a wall of glass, so there wouldn’t be any premarital sex. I was
masturbating. But no one ever gave me a straight answer on that one. Sin or
Then it came to me. Lust! That’s the sin I was committing! And it was in the
title all along. Lust, that magical moment when sexual desire becomes a degrading
passion. I didn’t want to have sex with that women who was making her butt cheeks
clap together with short quick bounces, I just wanted to pull my dick out in
public and holler through the glass, "Yeah girl, make some noise!"
Somehow that aroused me.

Horniness is a sin. What was God thinking?
I happen to enjoy going to a peep show once in a while. It is antique porn
in this internet age. How fun and old fashioned to go into a little dank room
lit up by the glowing quarter slot, and when I drop the coin in, wow! up comes
the metal screen and now I can look into the magical room of red light and mirrors.

Last time I was there my finger was in a splint, and the woman in high black
heels with straps that wound around her ankles said, "Hey Mr. Brokenfinger"
and smiled at me.
I had my penis in my other hand and I smiled back and said, "Hey beautiful
It would be four dollars later when the metal screen sadly descended on the
harem, and I zipped up my pants and set my boner into place so it wouldn’t be
obvious. I walked out onto the street and headed home, thinking about right
and wrong and how it made me feel when I did both.

Story #21

Bring on the drugs. I’m gonna be a poet.
Charles Simic is one. I went to the main library in San Francisco to check
a Charles Simic book out, and I found out they store poetry in the non fiction
section. Is that how every library does it? I don’t know. I would think San
Francisco would know how to handle poetry. Maybe someone had made a mistake.
Was Charles Simic telling me the truth?
"All around me the birds had fallen silent.
And then the clouds moved
Their tragic robes,
And so did the night."
How does Charles Simic do it? Is that fact or fiction? I guess it’s fact. I
want to write poetry. Here’s my first ever poem:

“Have you ever had
a boner?”
one night I asked
the moon.

It’s kinda like Charles Simic’s stuff. But he would have some dusty old man
shuffle through the poem. He would make it a bit scarier. The moon would have
a new aluminum crutch to lean on. Then the sky would be dark because the moon
was hiding in the shed. Meanwhile, the crickets hold syringes, tiny syringes
full of narcotics, and the grass grows tall through the night as they collapse.

Story #21

Touch Down!
I was dating a woman in cosmetology school. I don’t remember why. It
wasn’t for the sex. She hated it. Not just with me, it was in general
with her. She was very averse to semen, which I found disheartening.
She kept a towel by her on the bed, a white hand towel she laid out flat before
we had sex. It was my responsibility to pull out and come on the towel. We dated
for a few months, then I left town. I set out to hitchhike to Denver from Chicago,
where I had been living in a little place over a Gyro joint in the Greek part
of town.
The first guy to pick me up was very high on coke or speed and driving erratically.
He wouldn’t talk to me. Normally when you get picked up, the driver asks
you where you’re headed. This guy just pulled over and waited till I was
in. I said thanks, and he looked in his side view mirror and gunned it. The
tires smoked and squealed like an accident. I thought maybe he was deaf, but
he didn’t even look at my face to lip read.
I decided to put on my seat belt.

We drove for about ten minutes and then he began shaking. He pulled across
three lanes to hit the next exit, then stopped at a red light. I said fuck it
to myself and popped the seat belt off and got out of the car. I said thanks
again, and that felt really weird when it came out of my mouth.
A lot of times men don’t say much when they are having sex. This one
gal I dated, she was not just a screamer, she was a writher. She was like a
shimmy shaker. She arched her back like she was a circus act, and her whole
body shook. I never mentioned to her that I’d never seen anything quite
that dramatic. I felt that possibly she was doing it for me. As a way to let
me know I had treated her well. When I was younger, I would not put it past
myself to tell her she looked dumb like that. But I have grown older and learned
not to talk like that to people. Most likely I had been missing something good
for a long time.

I’m not sure why men don’t say much when they are having sex. I
have been in a few sports bars to know that when a man is excited about a touchdown,
he can let out quite a loud holler. But I have never done this myself, and from
the amount of pornography I have downloaded in the past, I am pretty confident
that men in general don’t react with the vigor a woman does to an orgasm.

I guess in the end we act different. Makes it hard to stay in love.

Story #19
Livin’ for the city. Been doin it almost three years now. Out till six
in the morning, work as little as possible, have friends who work the doors,
run the bars, at all the best places. I don’t have to pay for anything. Not
E, not coke, nothing. Just having fun for all those that can’t. Some people
can’t walk, so I walk for them. I walk for them, I dance for them, I put
on fabulous pants, a truly great shirt and I snort coke for all the cripples,
the bedridden, the shut ins, the mental cases.I was high life-in’ for
people who watch t.v. on a Friday night. I was the true story, the behind the
scenes, made for made for television.
Something happened a few months ago. I began to hear a calling. Not my cell
phone. I downloaded a ring tone I’ve never heard before. I know when it’s my
shit blowing up. This was like one of those internal callings, like needing
a burrito. Or a cocktail. Sometimes your liver just calls out to you to give
it some work. So maybe it wasn’t quite so physical like needing a rum
and coke, maybe it was more like, just knowing my shirt had all the right ingredients
to make it the perfect shirt for the evening. Because when you can pop a shirt
right at the edge of a style, you have done a beautiful thing. You’ve
beaten the odds. Because sometimes a style comes and you are just jumping on,
but sometimes, a few people get an idea, and you turn up actually doing it.
People understand you. You aren’t too far ahead. You had the zeitgeist, bro,
that’s what I’m saying. It’s happened to me.

I’m talking about just knowing it is time to do something. I’ve known
when to wear pastels, I’ve known when to take the white belt off. I needed to
go to the next level. Partying wasn’t all the world needed from me. I
could offer something else now. Phase 2 shit, my friend. Version 5.0, you know?

I saw Jimmy Carter putting shingles on a roof for poor people. People who couldn’t
afford the door fee at 1015 Folsom. People who probably had to make their own
meth. These were people I was partying for. Now I was going to build their house.
It was an intense time for me, spiritually.
I got to a house out in the Excelsior, and was given a safety talk and handed
a hammer and crowbar. They called it a pry bar. It was flat, like a giant coke
spoon, it hooked at one end. A sex toy. I don’t know. It was heavy. I went to
work tearing down walls. It didn’t make sense to tear down these poor
peoples house. I wondered if I joined up with the wrong organization. Was this
a right wing anti-ghetto group? So I asked.
“We’re making this bathroom wheelchair accessible” the old
guy in charge told me. Thank god! I got back to swinging the hammer, thankful
for the pep from the bump I took in the car. I can’t recommend more the
feeling you get for helping those way more unfortunate than you.

Story #18

The San Francisco dump is built on landfill at the very edge of town, and you
notice from the freeway the seagulls circling overhead. I’ve been coming
here, fighting the rats shacked up in the piles of garbage and stepping in the
muck for about two months. I’m here because the dump sponsors a program
where artists come in with gloves and steel toed boots to sift through the garbage
for source material. I’m getting credit for “Community Projects
in Creative Writing”.
I’ve always been into words. A teller, a tattle tale, a tall telephone
pole with words in my wires. I was looking for people’s love letters and
diaries, collecting used Christmas cards that come in albums from days when
people saved everything, and I should say that I collect old pens and interesting
thumbtacks and I like to soak stamps off old envelopes and put them on new letters
I write. So I like words and things that make words, and I like books and I
met Lindsay there, who called herself a graffiti writer.

Graff isn’t something that ever really interested me. Mostly it angered
me, because when I see an old brick building downtown that has an old painted
sign – chipped and peeling – that advertises a hotel that turned
into a flop house and finally died a shameful death, with only the old black
and white sign for a death notice gravestone, and then fluorescent spray paint
blasts over it I’m left feeling crossed out.* Who can beat a memory?
“Go write your name on an underpass,” I think to myself. “Leave
these old folks alone.”
I had another run in with graffiti. I had moved to the city and needed work,
so I bought a stake-bed Ford, diamond plate, new coat of paint on a twenty year
old truck, but well kept. It was my new business. It was my independence. And
some asshole came and scribbled his name across the door, the passenger side
door where he could hide in the darkness and deface my property, like he was
proud he knew how to spell. Well, I learned how to spell too, and I would like
to find him and tattoo “I eat shit” right across his top lip, and
then let’s see how he feels about “fucking shit up”. **

Graffiti wasn’t my thing.
But Lindsay was cute. She was a “writer”. Graffiti is words. It
does have my interest there.
We were both out in the garbage piles, waiting for the big score – a clean-out
truck from apartments or storage rooms. The stuff dead people and the evicted
leave behind.
She told me she was working on a project she said was, “Martha Stewart
gone bad.” “Housekeeping can be sexy”, she said. “French
maids know this.”

* To cross out by painting a line through a piece of graffiti shows your hate
for the original writer. There is also a rule to graffiti: Don’t cover
a work unless you can do better.
**Street bombing means to go paint, and a street bomber’s motto is to
“fuck shit up” by painting, or “putting up”, as much
as you can.

She was looking for baking pans to use as canvas, and beads to decorate with.
I told her I would grab any I saw for her. She promised to save cool paper for

We didn’t see each other every day, but we had three month residencies,
so we saw each other every week. I was sure to have a something for her, a few
cards from a nudie deck, a broken plastic pearl necklace.
One day she was trying to pull a used newspaper box out from under a pile of
construction debris, and she didn’t have much time before the front loader
was going to come along and smash the pile up. Those things are weighted so
they aren’t stolen from the sidewalks.
“Let me help you.” I said.
“I’m a bike messenger, I’m strong” she said, grabbing
the back of her thigh. She broke it free and we dragged it to safety together.

This is called the dump, and everything ends up here. But it is really a transfer
station, which means all that San Francisco leaves on a street or in the garbage
is brought down here and sorted, a little, and put onto trailers and trucked
to Altamont. You remember Altamont? A real rock and roll legacy in that town,
“Rock and Roll”, she said, was the name of an old bike messenger.
“One that never escaped.” He was in his fifties and still rode.

He told her, “The most I’ve ever seen a woman last was seven months.
You’ll fall down and scrape your pretty knees and that will be it for

“Fuck you old man”, she told him.
She is on year six now. They called him rock and roll, she said, because he
got crushed between two buses. Sandwiched, and it broke his back and bent his
legs all the wrong way. But he healed up and just like rock and roll, he will
never die.
I like the dump. I want to be an artist. I would go to museums in every city
I came to with the merchant marines. I would leave, push open the big glass
doors CHARGED UP, Ready and Hungry to Create so that the Energy would keep Flowing.
I would board my tanker and chip and scrape paint again from the steel decks,
but see Patterns in the rust bubbles, the play of Light and Dark across the
deck. It would last for three days before the visions were gone, and I was back
to pretending I was a dentist drilling cavities, or thinking about prostitutes,
or my grade school. Months of masturbation, nothing to show for all that protein
and creative juice…
Nothing but a journal. I was a writer. I was taking notes. There is always a
little time for storytelling.
I told Lindsay that day I was a swordsmith. Later she asked me what that meant,
and I told her, “I never said ‘swordsmith’, I said ‘wordsmith’.
Maybe you got confused with that old saying, ‘The pen is mightier than
the sword.’”

She laughed and realized I had the balls it took to lie.
I’ve never had a mystical experience. I remember one time picking a booger
out of my nose at night, and it just felt like the largest thing I’d ever
extracted from that cavity. But I couldn’t see it! This was when I was
still afraid to get out of bed in the dark to turn on the light, so I set it
on a tissue on my bedside table so that I could get a better understanding of
it in the morning. Now, it might be that something mystical happened to it,
because it wasn’t there in the morning, but I tend to believe my mother
came in to wake me up and seeing it, balled it up, horrified, and threw it away.

I never asked.
But I did have an interesting experience, like the stories tell of, where a
dream becomes a reality. Or you realize someone you have wanted to find has
finally come along. And it was Lindsay. And I realized it down by the tracks
alongside the dump.
This story begins with Lindsay very upset because she has had a financial shortfall.
And an argument with her ‘sometime’ boyfriend, who is leaving town
anyway, for Georgia probably, in his Toyota, and she’s glad he’s
going and pissed he never treated her right. And she wants a drink. I offer
to buy her one, at the Clubhouse, the little Samoan bar not three blocks away.
I buy us three rounds, and a chaser for me, and it’s hardly twenty bucks.
A good local pub, but I suggest for further reading we go to the Asian market
and buy a bottle of something and head down to the train trestle where she can
show me what she had told me sitting at the bar.

Let’s Review What I Learned at the Clubhouse:
• Tag. Done with permanent marker, or ideally, to get the long drips,
printers ink and a “mop” are used. All letters must touch. That
is street style. Some people do art tags. But those are two separate schools.

• Throw up. A quick piece done with spray paint. It is done in a very
public place where you could easily get caught, so it shouldn’t take more
than five minutes. Throw it up and run.
• Piecing. A piece is more ambitious. You are going to be painting for
a few hours. You might go out with a bombing partner so one of you can keep
a look out. You got to worry about property owners, cops, rapists, and if it’s
in an abandoned building, crazy angry homeless vets might shoot you for old
times’ sake and crazy angry meth lab owners might shoot you to protect
their bathtub.

• Burner. You probably have permission to do a burner. Someone else is
probably buying the paint, because you are going to be there a few days and
you can’t steal that much spray paint. (Ideally you steal the paint you
use) It might require ladders and paint rollers on extension poles. A burner
is more likely to be called art.
We had gone into the Asian market and bought two 22’s. Bud for her, Olde
English malt liquor for me. And a scratch ticket. It didn’t win. Lindsay
didn’t know how to play it. I thought that was cute.
“Scratch and match, baby,” I said. It’s easy to take a chance.
We were walking through a closed-for-the-weekend warehouse parking lot and saw
a bit of good garbage piled up. We moved towards it and little white-bearded
head poked up from behind some plywood. A man had made a pen for himself by
laying plywood the 8 foot side to the ground and balancing them against the

“Oh. Hi. How’s it going?” I asked.
He was friendly, said things were fine, said it was a nice day. It was too.
We walked over to his wall and he kept talking. He liked seeing a woman. I could
tell. Lindsay told him her dog collar wasn’t a sign of obedience but of
punk rock.
I told him if he had a cup I could pour some beer out for him. He held up a
Tupperware bowl with milk in it. “Pour it on, brother,” he said.
I hesitated, but he didn’t move, so I poured it. We watched it separate.
I mentioned that that was going to be a tough drink. “No, that’s
fine” he said. He told us his name was Mex. “That’s what they
call me. And I am. On my father’s side.”

We told him we were on our way to look at graffiti.
“She’s a writer” I told him, waving an imaginary spray can
in the air. He pulled out his journal and asked her to sign it. “I’m
Mex” he told me again, holding up a Playmate cooler with his name written
on it in red marker. “I’m a meth addict. I lost the second love
of my life when I was 32 years old and I turned to heroin for comfort. Now I
have a meth addiction too. I use it instead of love.” Lindsay was finishing
her tag by putting little hearts around the bubble letters. She “wrote
like a girl”, she said, and painted in pink, and was willing to fistfight
to have the chance.

Mex asked if we wanted to go with him to the round house. ”Where’s
that?” I asked. He pointed through trees growing along the fence line,
out to the fields beyond. I saw a water tower. “The water tower?”
I asked. He handed me a pair of binoculars that was no longer a pair, because
one half was missing, like a three legged dog they were, still working, but
not looking quite right.
I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but he was telling us that he
used to live there, and still had stuff there, but someone set up there now
and won’t let him get his stuff.
“He won’t say anything if you’re around.”

It didn’t seem like something we should get involved in, but Lindsay said,
“Yeah, let’s go!”
Boy was Mex happy. He put on one sock, then a pair of white canvas shoes with
zippers in the front for laces. He got the sock foot in the shoe with the help
of a screwdriver he used as a shoe horn.
“I just got these yesterday. They fit perfect.”
He led us through a hole in the fence into the fields. The working tracks were
to our left. There were loading docks here and there, all alone. Just loading
docks growing up among the weeds and the forgotten tracks in the grass. It was
the flattest property in San Francisco, and yellow flowers were blooming. “Watch
out for the rabbits”, Mex kept saying. “They’re everywhere.”

We saw none. But we were talking and as we got closer, Mex explained the roundhouse
was where the trains came in at the end of the line and were spun around to
set out on another line.

It was all abandoned now. We looked at the graffiti. Mex went to a tarp in the
corner and pulled out a small white portable t.v. with his name on it in the
same red marker. He smiled at us. Came over to us again.
He said, looking at the walls,
“When I lived here I would spend hours trying to figure out what they
say. I look at it one way and it says something to me, then another way it says
something else. They don’t ever spell anything like we do.”
I suppose he forgot for a moment Lindsay was Flozac, a graffiti girl, or maybe
he was talking about the men present, or maybe the heartbroken homeless. Maybe
they have their own spelling rules. He told us stories about the owls that lived
there, and other stories too, but I can’t remember them, the malt liquor
was gone now, and the alcohol was in my bloodstream. Part of the roundhouse
had been burnt down, and Lindsay thought that part was the most beautiful, with
the red bricks and black scorched timber roof now on the floor. There was so
much light inside this way.

We said goodbye to Mex. He was rolling up an extension cord. He said, “I’ll
be fine.”
I said, “There’re no prongs on that extension cord.”
“I’ll be fine, I was a carpenter.”
He coiled it in such a way to make me understand.

Lindsay and I walked towards the tracks. The dump was far in the distance now,
across the field, but getting closer. She recognized a piece from a crew from
L.A. on one of the docks we came to. We got to a pile of greasy splintered railroad
ties and rusty spikes, and mangled chain link heaped together. She pulled a
hazardous waste warning sign off the fencing. She collected signs.
I grabbed her and she held on as I fell to the ground. We kissed for a long
time and when I opened my eyes a plane was overhead, flying away from the airport
but it was doubled. I told Lindsay I felt drunk. I closed my eyes and we kissed
some more.
I began to get nervous. I wasn’t getting hard. I was half thinking of
another woman, Sarah. We’d recently broken up.
The difference in lips. Losing someone. Starting again.
I was embarrassed for myself, and hid my crotch from hers, but she found it,
and with her hips laid me flat against the field. The flattest emptiest field
in San Francisco. On a Saturday afternoon. With rabbits hiding everywhere in
the tall grass.

Story #17

I just got back from Brooklyn. A much better city than S.F. And it isn’t
even really a city. It’s a dingle on the shithole of Manhattan. So why
is it better than S.F.? Because it’s dirty as fuck. I watched people throwing
cups on the ground in broad daylight in front of a crowd of folks sitting on
a stoop, no shame whatsoever. People around S.F. try to be discreet about littering.
Out there, it’s a matter of pride. Their attitude of accepting piles of
garbage on the streets is strength building. Soon Brooklyn heads will have the
nuclear resistance of cockroaches, and they won’t even notice the bomb
has been dropped. Their borough already looks bombed. They won’t notice
till they take a trip to the Catskills and find the shadows where the older
model humans were vaporized behind the cabin rental counters.

Story #16
“I need to find a bathroom. It’s poopy time.” Steve said.

“They have to have one at that coffee shop.” I said.

“I’m gonna open a coffee shop and call it Enema City.” Steve
said. “I’ll let people smoke in the bathroom.”
Steve had lots of ideas. He wanted to find a way to make money. A stay-in-bed
type of job would be perfect. Stressless. We were always on edge because we
were always broke.
“I haven’t had shampoo for a week and I spent a buck on tea. Where
are my priorities?” I asked.

“But you got a bucks worth of pleasure from it.” He said.
“I would have if I had thrown it in your face.” I said. The worst
thing about poverty was the ability it gave you to find humor in violence. You
had to be able to laugh at everything and hurt your friends to stay entertained.
It’s all you can afford.
We walked by a spa. Women were having their toe-nails done. I love to look at
those women in chairs, so relaxed, another woman rubbing their toes. White terry
cotton towels. It’s the cheapest thrill on Geary.
“Everyone in Oakland is so banged up." Steve said, stopping to watch
the action. "I don’t have pity on them anymore. I want to hate everyone
who isn’t getting their toes done. I want that kind of personal responsibility.”
Steve didn’t turn to look at me as he spoke.

“But you are on your twelfth month of unemployment.” I said.
“Thank god for 9/11. But that’s exactly my point. If I can stay
clean on unemployment, why can’t these other people? I see this guy with
four shopping carts tied together filled with cans. A nickel each. He must have
a hundred bucks in there. He could afford a full pedicure if he wanted. I don’t
feel bad for someone like that.” Steve looked so content leaning against
the parking meter, watching the women have their feet towelled off.
We decided to borrow money from someone, take the rest of the day off, and drink
whiskey in an alley.

Story #15
80,000 leagues below poverty
I live with Anne. It’s been about a month, living with Anne. She is a
beautiful woman, and that’s tricky. She has the gout and I think that’s
the most beautiful thing. This young woman with pain in her toes brought on
by drinking every night. We walked to the neighborhood she used to live in,
across the park, and she knew the Asian market where they sold live frogs. “Let’s
buy one, and call him Bully.” That’s the stuff that makes you love
someone. By the end of our walk, she was trying not to put any weight on her
left foot. The gout foot. “Hey old gout foot, want to sit under that tree
and I’ll come back with a wheel chair?” But she wouldn’t quit,
she kept walking. It was September, and that means San Francisco starts to get
hot. We had just found out Johnny Cash died, as we stood there in an Asian hamburger
joint, where the t.v. was on at the register. The Asian woman behind the counter
told us John Ritter, from 3’s Company, had died that morning as well,
of heart failure, on stage. I’m always surprised when older people in
seriously ethnic neighborhoods know about white America. It’s like the
melting pot is heating up.

We made it home and decided to dress in black to mourn Johnny Cash.
"Get your outfit together and meet back here" Anne said, as we stood
in the hallway between our rooms. We brought a few instruments out to the car
and decided to head down to the Mission. That is our favorite part of town.
It’s a lot of peoples favorite part of town, so we can’t afford
to live our leisurely lifestyle down there. We’re lucky to have the little
red Mazda Rus gave me. We drove down and Anne said she wanted to wet her whistle.
“Do you need to go pee?” I asked. I had forgotten for a minute what
that phrase meant. “How dry I am” she sang to me.
“What a bad day for Johnny Cash to die”, Anne said. It was way too
hot to dress in black. “I wish we had some hay barrels to sit on when
we get there.”

“Hay barrels? Or bales? I’m gonna be the first person to go over
Niagra Falls in a barrel of hay." She laughed. “You’re out
to lunch, Anne.” I told her.
“No I’m not,” She told me.
“Okay, you’re having brunch then. A late breakfast."

A man was blowing leaves and trash off the sidewalk in front of his store. “Why
do they blow that stuff around? Why don’t they sweep it and get it off
the street instead of just moving it around? At least suck it up, if they want
to stand around with something in their hands. I think that’s what guys
like to do. Stand around with something in their hands.”
We spend whole days together sometimes, and we don’t notice it. At different
times we’ll get down about life. Anne will be overwhelmed by student loans
and lack of money. “We’re the leisure class, Anne. Don’t be
blue.” She sometimes felt it was all pointless, that she should have a
skill not a Lit Masters. “You are a rare and lucky person to be studying
art. You aren’t involved in destroying the world, you appreciate and create

I get carried away with it because I’ve had to tell myself things like
that before.

Story #14
Why I deserve an A this semester:
The best thing about Wonder Woman is her over the calf red leather boots. Is
that justice? No, but however a man can be drawn to the good is worth mentioning.
Because the good life is a difficult one, and what is the reward? It is eternal,
not found here on earth. Life is not a comic book. Those who are unjust can
attain much power and wealth, and protection. Monks have to shut themselves
away from the world in order to pursue a just life. An American child who watches
morning television is presented with heroes and villains. The heroes triumph.
The villains are punished. An American child who attends school learns that
presidents lie and protect their own interests. They are not just. The fact
that Native Americans hawk tax free cigarettes at road side stands in Arizona
because they aren’t white shows there is not equality. If there was equality,
those people would be paying taxes. To a government run by them. I want to fuck
a superhero.
I learned Justice from school books and t.v. I was born in New Hampshire in
1973. I am to write a paper on themes of Ancient Justice. This is that paper.
Wonder woman is a link to the past. When I was told about the acanthus leaf,
and realized that Greek influence is still with us, I thought a little about
it. If their architectural ornaments can be with us still, what of their thought?
I’ll fuck a Klingon. Is that Greek? Am I in Rome? Is it Justice to kill
a killer? Is it justice to kill a lover’s lover? Is it Justice to bestow
magical powers on someone you’ve raped? A Greek God is not perfect. It
is only a God. I hope to get an A in this class. I have worked hard to achieve
such a grade. I help the kids next to me and don’t steal their ideas.

Story #13

“Coil that fuckin hose up like I told you how or get the fuck off the
job. Listen when I tell you how to do shit! I been doing this for thirty years!"
If I could get away with knocking this bastard down and strangling him with
the stupid green garden hose I would. I would right now. I’d punch him
in the face till he fell down, then I’d jump up and down on his chest
till it broke in, then I’d wrap the hose around his neck three or four
times and beat his head against the hard horse paddock dirt. Then I’d
fly home and do it to my father, and along the way to all the fucking assholes
at the airport that pissed me off.
Just a bad day at work.

We all have ‘em.
I drive a little beat up car. I crash it and get another. This is life on the
Men are such cocksuckers.
My dad is a pussy, that’s why I end up out in California on a chicken
shit ranch learning how to dig ditches and drive a bobcat. Because I don’t
want to be a pussy desk jobber like him. I want to own and use tools. But I
also want to be a writer. But being a writer is a pussy occupation. It’s
a desk job. It involves pens and pencils and typewriters and computers and paper.
You sit, you can stand if you want to, but you can’t back a trailer up,
operate the bucket, run a forty pound electric jackhammer, none of that shit.
Not while writing. That’s the problem I have with it.

A women I go to for help writing told me a story is a machine made of words.
I can have a hot rod now, a paper hot rod. I can build it and make it run. I’d
rather be driving drunk. Faster and drunker. I’m drunk right now.

Story #12
Fuck those people, man.
I was almost asleep when I remembered I forgot to get a coffee refill for that
woman with the up-doo on 15. Or did I? I must have remembered. They tipped me
good. I always remember how much they tipped. I laid in bed a few minutes thinking
about the lay of the restaurant floor. It was about 9:30 p.m. when that couple
came in. It was playing in my memory, what tables were taken, what tables were
empty,which dueces had been pulled together to make a four top for a party of
three coming at 10. I could see in my mind where Eliza was standing, our hostess,
not running a credit card, not taking a reservation. Just staring out the six
foot window at traffic stopping and going. She gets like that sometimes, just
staring straight ahead. She doesn’t half consciously let her eyes follow
foot traffic – she’s checked out. A handsome man or a beautiful woman pass by
unmentioned by her eyes. I saw as if from above where everyone was: Matt passing
through the doors to the kitchen, how he ties his apron long to his feet. Eliza
totally out of it. Jim the manager was in the liquor cage downstairs. Just me
the bus boy, and three tables taken. The restaurant was half lit as the restaurant
always is, and I was stealing a tip from Jenny’s section.
I scratched under my balls and felt tired. I never forget a coffee refill.

Story #11

When I saw that horse’s vagina, there was no mistaking what it was. I
was standing right in the middle of the paddock with the wheel barrow and fork.
A few old timer’s were hanging around a hay truck talking about vet’s
bills and ferriers when she situated herself ass end towards me. A horse can
crook it’s tail to the side when it pees, for sanitary reasons, which
is what happened when I looked up. It was disorienting to be confronted with
something that looked so much like a woman’s vagina, not more than eight
feet in front of me while standing in the sunshine. Especially when she was
a coal black beauty and her vagina was like velvet. I think the old timers picked
up on the fact I had set my fork to rest and was watching now as the little
filly urinated. So I walked away, making a small joke to no one in particular
about needing galoshes, and I’ve been thinking about it all day today,
even as I drove up to the city meet my friend Steve at a bar.
I sat in my car outside O’Brien’s doing a little pre-drinking, listening
to an interesting talk on NPR. Steve said he was bringing Sherry, whom he wanted
me to meet. Once I felt ready I put the bottle under the seat and went in.
* * * *
“Can I get a Guiness?”

“Four bucks.”
It’s a real shame beer is so expensive. After tip, it’s nearly
an hours work at minimum wage. Well, there’s Steve waving at me, and that
must be Sherry.
“Hey dirty dog, how was traffic getting up here?”
“No problem. I left a little early so I could find this place. I’ve
been in the car listening to the radio. How long you been here?”
Steve raises his Red Stripe and says, “This is our first. Sherry, this
is Alden, the cowboy I’ve been telling you about.”
“Nice to meet you Alden. Do you get to ride the horses?”

This has been a common question lately. I notice girls like horses. My sister
used to have unicorn posters on her wall. I guess it could be some sexual thing.

“No I just clean up after them. Repair fences and stuff. Horses like
to dig and chew. Guess they get bored. Really, I’ve only been doing this
about two weeks. I’m not a cowboy. Was landscaping before. Do you ever ride,
Sherry shakes her head no, but says she wants to. She is cute. She has long
straight black hair. God, it is really black, and so are her eyes. She has an
interesting round face, with high cheek bones. I can’t tell if she is
Mexican or Asian. I find it hard to ask an ethnic question, unless I am asking
what part of Europe someone is from. But what the hell, I’ll find out
sooner or later.
“And what do you do, Sherry?”
I used to have to sip at a Guinness, it’s so thick. Now they don’t slow
me down at all.
“I work at UCSF, at the hospital. I screen patients who are looking for
liver transplants.”

Sherry spins her bottle of Anchor Steam by holding the neck in her fingers
and twisting back and forth. She doesn’t drink from it. That red nail
polish goes well with her black hair and her black sweater, I think to myself.
“So, are you a nurse?”
“No, it sounds kind of gross, but I set up potential recipients for urine
testing, to make sure we don’t give a liver to someone that hasn’t
stopped drinking or using drugs. That’s why a lot of them are there in
the first place, and there’s a real shortage of good livers to go around.
We want to make sure people will take care of them.”
“Don’t ask for his if he dies”
Steve is pointing at me and smiling and wagging his eyebrows like he’s
the cat’s meow. He is wearing a dark green t-shirt under a dark gray sweater
and keeps his curly Italian hair in a crew cut.

I need another one but this doesn’t seem like the time to get it. If
I can keep it together, I might get a kiss tonight.
“Oh Oh Oh. Tell her about the salt lick!” Steve is bouncing his
head up and down in time to his little encouraging pat pat pat on my arm. It
is a funny story, but one I wouldn’t normally tell to strangers. Then
again, it is important to make a woman laugh. Anyone for that matter. If they
can laugh at you right away, they’ll like you. Sherry keeps smiling at
me and we seem to have an attraction going on.
“Okay Stevie, I’ll tell it, but I’m gonna need another Guinness
for strength before I do.”
Steve jumps up to put in an order, he loves this story so much. Turns out Sherry
is from Tucson. She is a Pima Indian, and has lived in the city for six years.
She tells me this while Steve is buying.
The mug of Guinness is a little warmer in my hand than I like, but they say
that’s how it is supposed to be drunk. I thank Steve and I’m ready
to start.

“Have you ever seen a salt lick, like for a bunny or something? A round
disk like a hockey puck? But it’s white? You have? Okay. This will be good too,
since you work with livers. Or I guess its kidneys I’m thinking of. Anyway,
there was this rock sitting up on a can of BIN primer- sealer by the shed where
I work. I thought it was either a salt lick or a stone from a river because
it was totally smooth. It was big too, big around as a mini pizza. Four inches
across, say. So I picked it up. I like to try and figure things out. I smelled
it. It didn’t smell salty. So I licked it. It didn’t taste salty
either. I set it back down wondering why Rus, (he’s my boss) why he would be
saving this rock. I didn’t come out and ask him, because he makes me feel dumb
if I ask a question. He wants me to figure things out on my own. I wondered
if maybe it just happened to fit into something that had a hole, and he was
using it instead of a store bought plug. That’s the best I could do."
"A few days later I show up to work and Rus, my boss, tells me a horse
died in the night. Colic. Which means the horse couldn’t shit. Or poop. Sorry
’bout my language. The horse ( I think her name was Remy) got plugged up and
died. It happens fast to a horse. They drink too much and burst. Stones plug
them up. Rus says, ‘It’s the owner’s fault. You saw that kidney stone sitting
by the shed. They should have called the vet right then, ‘stead of waitin a
day or two.’
‘That big smooth stone on the paint can was a kidney stone?’ I asked Rus.
‘Didn’t I show you?’ he asked me."
"Did you tell him you licked it?" Sherry asked.
"No, I didn’t. I’m not sure why I told you." I said.

"Because it’s funny," Steve said.
I was hoping I was connecting with her, making her feel comfortable that she
worked with urine all day. She laughed a bit and groaned a bit. I put that fresh
Guinness right down the hatch for emphasis. Things went along smoothly as Steve
talked about losing his programming job and collecting unemployment and Sherry
talked about riding the bus to work, and I had one more in front of me again,
and it all sounded like a pretty good city life to me, even though they were
complaining. It might be nice to go to work in an office and hang out.
Then the conversation came back to me and I felt I had to top that first story.
“You ever wonder why a horses vagina looks so much like a womans? I mean,
I just noticed today, when I was in the paddock shoveling up shit. This horse
came and stood right in front of me to take a leak, and it looked like the real
thing. I had to stop and tell myself not to watch. Horses are just like people
in a way. They have eyes, brown eyes like you two, and they have noses, and
mouths, and teeth, and the boy horses have penis’s and the girl horses…”
I was thinking maybe this would impress her, because it was a funny story.
Steve was laughing. It was kind of philosophical too. Girls like that sometimes.
Steve was laughing, but he also told me to stop. I had been looking down at
my Guinness while I was saying this. It was hard for me to focus on people’s
“What? Should I not talk about that?” I asked him.

“No, no, it’s great. I just need a minute to catch my breath.”
Steve said.
I turned and looked at Sherry.
“I don’t mean to offend you. Maybe I drank a little too much tonight.”
It wasn’t too far back in my head that she might offer to let me stay
at her place, so I wanted to be polite.
“No. That’s fine. I just hope this isn’t going where I think
it is.”

“No, no, I’m just trying to figure this all out. I wouldn’t
have sex with a horse. But why is it possible in the first place?”
I didn’t really feel like I knew what I was saying. There was something
I wanted to ask them, either Steve or Sherry, but I was just talking now. Throwing
everything I could think of out into the air, trying to make sense. But the
truth was, I’d drank too much to figure anything out. I just wanted someone
to love, something pretty to touch, someone to talk to, someone to make laugh.
But Sherry was ready to go, off to meet a cousin who was just flying in, she
said. Steve offered to let me sleep on his couch, but I ended up back in my
car. I wanted to drive. I wanted to go home as fast as I could and sleep. Sleep
and sleep without dreams. Things had gotten bad, and no one could do anything
about it. I was on my own.

Story #10
I was a black guy. No. I was Irish. One of seven brothers I was. My sister
had her own bedroom, we boys all slept in one room together, lined up in bunks
like we were on an old battleship. We played a game called Murder. One of the
lads would put off the light and shout “Murder”. You’d punch
anyone that came near ye.

On Christmas we’d each of us get a selection box of fine chocolates.
The best was a curly whirly, just one to a box. One to a box. Right in the middle
like, it was. My little brother James had just gotten out of a cast for breakin’
his leg. Go gentle and all was the Doctor’s orders. Ahh, but I stole his
curly whirly. He’d seen me eating mine early in the day, then I was at
another after his came up absent. Well, he lost his mind. We were wrestling
for it like, and he kicked me so hard he broke his leg again. I felt terrible
about it. My parents wouldn’t take him to the hospital, for we had guests
coming to our Christmas dinner. Nay, they sent him to bed with asprin, and took
him off in the next morning.

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