Friday, March 31, 2006

a moment

I’ve been clean now for five days. No booze, no rock, no coke, nothing at all except bottled water and sleep… lots of sleep. I’m exhausted. Thursday I called in sick and spent the day sleeping. Friday I worked half a day and drank ten cups of coffee and I still snoozed like a preemie in an incubator.

This morning I find myself at my favorite coffee shop slowly savoring a vanilla latte. In between sips I surf and try to write as I unsteadily click on a friend’s laptop cause this joint’s equipped with blue-tooth wireless. My eyelids feel as though they have ten-pound weights attached to them. Most of my concentration is going toward keeping myself from nodding off. I feel like a narcoleptic and my body aches. I popped a couple of ibuprofin 800's to stave off this biting migraine.

My ipod holds 10,000 songs yet I have only one continuously on repeat. It’s one of those tunes you just can’t get out of your head once it finds a place there to stretch its legs, curl up, and kick back like a lazy cat.

Strangely, despite my overwhelming fatigue, my mind feels at ease and the desire to light or shoot up seems miles and miles away. I truly hope I can remain strong. Today is Monday and my agenda tonight is to go out with some old friends, have a couple of cocktails, some laughs, and nothing more than that.

Beautiful dawn - You're just blowing my mind again. Thought I was born to endless night, until you shine.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

soup kitchen blues

Saturday afternoon and I’m serving up bowls of hot soup at the homeless shelter with a buddy of mine… Heath. He asked me to help him out cause he’s got a deal going on with the guy who runs the kitchen that any hours his friend's wind up working will be added to his community service log. Heath got popped with two back-to-back dui’s and he’s damned lucky he didn’t have to serve jail time. Instead, he got strapped with hefty fines, ‘alcoholics anonymous’ classes, a revoked license, random drug testing, and a shit-load of community service hours. So Heath struck up a deal with me that for every hour I work with him he would pay me ten bucks cash so he can knock out the community service hours as quickly as possible. I’m pretty hard up for funds right now so I agreed. I figure: ten bucks per hour untaxed, three hot meals, and the chance to meet some interesting characters… hell, why not? Plus, I don’t have much else to do on Saturday besides get high and lay around my shit-hole apartment thinking about how hungry I am. So here I am resplendent in a hair net, gray dickies, and a mechanic's shirt I bought at the thrift store with a name patch that ironically reads: “ Jesus.”

Heath’s been working the soup kitchen now for several weeks and he’s in good with the transients, bums, and junkie regulars. I met a few of them while on break standing around the front entrance smoking Pall Malls. I’m pretty bad with names and the ones I actually can recall all have zany nicknames. For instance there’s the crazy tweaker named “Arkansas Dave.” He has a 3 ft long scraggly ZZ Top beard. He seems normal enough in conversation, as normal as a tweaked-out meth addict will be, but when he’s alone the guy will completely fly off the handle shouting at the top of his lungs at the imaginary demons of his past. There’s “Jim Crow,” a 300 lb former member of the Aryan Brotherhood. Very scary dude at first but once you get to know him he’s a really down to earth guy - a stand-up guy who’d give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. There’s “Betty Boop,” a former stripper heroin addict who has most of her upper front teeth rotted away and a lazy eye. There was a time she’d get by on looks alone, bouncing from man to man, from sugar-daddy to sugar-daddy. Time ran out for Betty Boop. Her looks faded. She became a junkie. Her kids were confiscated by the state. And the rest, as they say, is history. She still spreads her legs, bounces from man to man from cot to cot, but now it’s because she’s sickeningly lonely or needs to get a fix. In fact, she even tried to come on to me by the back storage room and I graciously declined her offer.

There were a few more but these were the ones that stuck out in my mind. I promised Heath I’d do a couple more Saturday’s with him so I hope to sit down with some of these guys and collect some stories to share.

Monday, March 27, 2006

paved with best intentions

Tonight I find myself at another dive outside city limits named the “Batters Up” club. Old school, hip-hop, and rap is spinning on the tables and beers are two dollars a draft. The place is crawling with cholo’s, jaina’s, and even whitey’s who think they’re down with la raza. There is an uneasy tension in the air. I see it. I can read the signs… huddled conversations held in dark corners, menacing backward glances, and brazen macho posturing. Every guy has a shaved head, sports a moustache or a goatee, and wears an oversized football or basketball jersey. Every girl in the place is dressed like a fucking hooker in too tight, too revealing, disposable clothing.

Everyone is overweight.

I’m an outsider here. A couple of guys I know at work invited me down for a couple of drinks. Tonight I am a guest in their world. But it’s obvious I’m out of my element. The choice of drink I ordered, the way I sit in my stool, the nervous glint in my eye… these are all dead giveaways. I wouldn’t dare venture in here alone. I’d surely get jumped, robbed, and left out in an alley to hopefully bleed to death and die. I’ve never understood the banger lifestyle. I was never truly a part of this scene. I had way too much book smarts and not enough street smarts. I always had too much to lose.

Up until a year ago I always told people I met, with confidence and flirtatious charm, that I was a student at the university. That I had a future. I always told people I had only 36 credits left to graduate.

Every year since the age of eighteen I’ve had only 36 credits left to graduate.

Every evening spent passed out on some strangers couch, or asleep in an alley, or catatonic on a park bench… I’ve had only 36 credits left to graduate.

Every failed relationship, every fuck up, every time I walk the line I have only 36 credits left to graduate.

Every wasted day I spend at my brainless, degrading job taking orders from inept, stupid-fuck managers I’m 36 credits away from graduating. Every second spent blankly staring at a computer monitor… working just hard enough to remain employed… a clock puncher… an order taker… a yes man… flying below the radar and slightly just above it… snorting coke in the company bathroom… a loser… a failure… a tweaker… a drunk… I am and always will be 36 credits away from graduating.

I could have graduated from college. I had half of my credits completed upon graduating high school. I could have finished college but I couldn’t get up in the morning or go to bed at night… I was too damned lazy. If I had I would have gone on to graduate school and you wouldn’t be reading these words right now because I’d be out driving around in my BMW changing the world one lawsuit, one surgery, one bestseller at a time. And my life would have had more worth… or not. I’m thinking I would have wound up doing the exact same thing I’m doing now but worse. Wealth would guarantee easier access to drugs and women.

I’d have fallen farther and harder.

So I find myself here at the “Batters Up” or “McPhie’s” or “Jim’s Tiki Lounge” or “Dee Jay’s” or “the Barbary Coast.” So I find myself hiding in these dive bars among the cast-off’s and riff raff and I don't have a clue from what. I’m another face among the drunks, the tweakers, the dreamers, the bikers, the winos, the bangers, the lost and the hopeless. And without doubt everywhere I go, to everyone I meet, I am forever considered an outsider...

... does this mean there might still be a place waiting for me in the “real” world?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ballad of Father William

It's three a.m. I should be sleeping.

Tonight I smoked some blubonic chronic. A perfect, purple bud lined with yellow hair that would probably shine like Kryptonite if I held it under a black light. I methodically picked it apart and spread it out, nice and neat, on a worn, torn, year-old issue of Rolling Stone. I packed the bowl tight. Ninety-nine cent gas station Bic click-click-clicked sputtering to life. Radioactive stupid-smoke filled my lungs as I tried hard not to cough. Held it in making sure thirsty capillary bags absorbed the sorcerers' THC magic. Closed my eyes as the high gently lapped over my brain like a rising tide.

Lost track of time. I can't decide whether it passed me by or I'm thinking too fast for it to keep up. A thousand thoughts, all of them profound, in the span of one commercial break. I zone out for a moment listening to the white noise, television snow as my dumb ears are now perfectly in tune to the nether-frequency where the dead speak...

Earlier Conan O’Brien made me laugh and I think he's gifted. Fucking brilliant and quick witted - and I know he's performing just for me. I watched him verbally fence with guests and I'm wearing paranoid liars' goggles.

I see fake people.

There are moments in this alien advanced state, this barren waste, I question my life - a life less than ordinary and hardly extraordinary. I'm alone drifting along in self-induced seclusion. I'm lazy and un-ambitious, exquisitely reckless and unabashedly unapologetic. God knows I've fucked myself up beyond recognition and I'll probably continue to do so again and again and again and again.

It begins to rain outside and I hear sirens.

I flip the channel to Springer and immerse myself in other people's drama and problems as mine shrink away to the size of Mike Teevee subatomic micro-particles. The numb sensation slowly returns and again I don't give a fuck what may come... as long as I have my remote control and a tasty bowl of “Honey Bunches of Oats."

Monday, March 20, 2006

Ridin' the Rails

St. Patrick’s day is a lot like Thanksgiving except instead of eating, you drink. Instead of making the rounds, traveling house to house seeing family and friends, you buy some rounds and hop from bar to bar. St. Patty’s day is a drinker’s holiday. Of course, a drinker doesn’t need an excuse, such as St. Patty’s day, to drink. But it sure is nice having everyone out with you getting belligerent fucked up.

Friday night was a blur.

Somehow found myself at a gay club meeting up with some friends and we wound up staying. A total dive, bottom-rung bar. An old warehouse half-assedly converted into a dance floor and a tiny stage for the occasional drag show. I’m fucked up beyond comprehension. Shot after shot, line after line, and three breathy hits of rock make my heart race and twitch with rapid-fire palpitations. Nervous twitching, and I don’t give a fuck where I am, just enjoying the taste of Red-Bull and licorice. Around me tanned shirtless fags in baggy pants gyrate to house and progressive beats with a Madonna track or two thrown in for good measure.

There’s only one bathroom in the joint. I’m waiting in line to take a piss. All the stalls are occupied with dude’s fucking and sucking or giggling fag-hags snorting coke, and I really do have to pee bad. I’m dancing, but not to the music. An old Navajo standing next to me who’s wearing too much base and a suit of faded denim, matching jacket and jeans, keeps smiling at me. He smells like soap and flowers and his face is riddled with pot marks. He asks me if I’m here with anyone. I tell him “yeah, with some friends.” He asks me if I have a boyfriend so I ask him if he’s got any go. He says no so I say yes and that’s that and I turn away. I finally get sick of waiting. I go outside to pee. I stand alone in a dark corner, a long trail of steaming piss trickling out of my dick. My eyes roll back in my head, it feels so damn good. A group of Mexican queens walk by and strain their necks to stare at my junk. I flash one of them a toothy grin and they all snicker. " Aye Papi!" I stay outside puffing a Primetime sitting on the curb alone with my thoughts enjoying my high, the steady bass line shaping and molding my frenetic emotions.

I show the door guy my stamp and stride back in on wobbly legs. The nice thing about this place is the bartenders don’t cut you off. I order another Jaegerbomb, light up another cigarillo, and lean back on the bar by myself to people watch. A super-hot, little blonde fag-hag asks me for a match. I oblige and open my Las Vegas playing-card zippo with a clink and light her up like a film-noir tough-guy. Her arm’s tatted so I ask her about her work with glazed, dilated eyes. We awkwardly converse for a while with raised voices until I lose interest and saunter off without a goodbye looking for my gay friend, Nathen. He’s on the dance floor with some trailer-park fag bumping and grinding to 50 cent's "Candyshop." He has the glass vial of blow in his pocket and I’m fiending so I work my way out to the center of the floor twisting and writhing around sweaty bodies. I feel a hand grab my crotch. I jump back with a start but no one steps forward and I’m not about to make a scene. I finally reach Nathen and he hands off the blow with a sly handshake just like a mob boss tipping a valet.

I wait in the restroom line for another twenty minutes or so quietly listening to soft groans and the occasional lip smack. Once a stall opens up I aggressively claim it as mine and deftly kick the door shut and lock it with a sneakered toe. It’s fucking disgusting. The toilet has overflowed and my feet suction to the sticky, shit-smeared floor with every step I take like a midget in a David Lynch film. I spread the powder on the toilet paper dispenser, cut up two rails with my Visa check card, and roll up my crisp fiver and enjoy. I stand back for a sec counting ceiling tiles. “I say GOD-DAMN!” Head rush giddiness followed by a wave of cocky calm as the drip works it’s way down my throat - acrid fairy-dust drip, my favorite part. I think about it all the time even when I sleep, or work, or fuck, or dream.

I walk out of the bathroom and again I see the same old Navajo waiting in line. I wink at him as I walk past as though I’ve known him my whole life.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Writers block. Forcing these words is like forcing a turd riddled with clumps of corn. I squat before my computer screen red in the face, eyes squinty, palms sweaty. Writing should be fun. It should be pleasurous and it should therapute and it should cathart. (Note the made up words because real words escape me and are ill fitted to my purpose) So I throw up a prayer and turn on a tune. I type out a paragraph of perfectly pure, tru-blue bullshit. And then predictably delete the whole horrendous heap with a couple of resonant clicks. Yes, words escape me. Other writers intimidate me, better writers, including myself. I reread old pieces of mine and shake my head in disbelief at how slick I might have once been. Sparing use of simile and metaphor. Subtle techniques meant to engage the reader, cause God knows the typical blog surfer has the attention span of a hyperactive field mouse on crack. Hell I even expertly used words I presently don’t know the meanings of.

My record is 75 comments. It happened sometime in July and I was at my flirtatious best pounding out pseudo- romantic, pseudo-edgy, pseudo-intellectual tripe. I still am, though with a lot less romance and a tad more morosity, monstrosity, and abject moronity. Pretentious as always, don't worry. Where have all the comments gone? I stepped out of the game. I left the mutual back scratching, dick sucking, and disingenuous complimenting by the roadside holding a sign reading: “will write for praise.” Thinned links and trimmed fat tossed behind my back for hungry dogs to fight over with yip-yelping teeth gnashing. It’s a Darwinistic struggle for survival, for the highest spot in the blogospheric ecological system, or ultimately, that fairy-tale book deal.

I heard someone describe it as the whispering of ghosts... these friendships... these crushes. These love affairs based on words written on a page that could or couldn’t be real. Am I real? No. Yes. Maybe. Or I might be a machine randomly stringing together phrases stolen from other people’s writings - a thief of the mind. A kleptomanic pocketing the abstract stealing away in the night with a duffel bag full of non-things. A satchel full of non-ideas I’ve come to peddle like a central park drug dealer with a mouth full of shrink-wrapped crack-rock.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Art of War or General Tso's Chicken

Saturday night. I'm sitting down to dinner with a buddy of mine, Jimmy. We're at this hole-in-the-wall Chinese joint I know. A great little place: nice ambiance, reasonable prices, and fantastic food. It's a family-owned Ma and Pop establishment. It's one of those places you really can't, nor shouldn't, tell anyone about because it's your little secret. Your own private Idaho.

Jimmy's filling me in on some shit that happened earlier.

“ So this guy is tailgating me the entire way. We're talking seven or eight blocks. I'm starting to get annoyed at this point...”

“ Uh-huh.” I casually poke at my kung-pao shrimp. As usual, it’s absolutely perfect - spicy as hell, plenty of peanuts, hardly any celery. I believe Chinese restaurants that overload their entrees with celery are cheap. Jimmy ordered the Almond Chicken. I notice that he keeps adding soy sauce to his dish.

“ So what did you do dude?"

“ This fat fuck keeps riding my ass right? I tap my brakes a couple times. His bumper is still literally inches behind mine. This fucking creep knows I'm pissed and he intentionally starts getting closer. I'm going ape-shit.”

“ No shiiiiit. What a fucker.” Outside our window we hear a junkie shouting at a Ferrari. I blow on a steaming spoonful of egg-drop soup.

“ Yeah. So check this out. At the next stoplight this piece of shit is sitting there shouting at me and flipping ME off... like I'M the one who fucked up you know?”

“ What did you do?” I take a long pull from my beer. I look up at Jimmy and again I notice he's dumping soy sauce onto his plate. I hear a woman two booths behind me giggling uncontrollably.

By this point Jimmy's pretty animated - he's waving his arms around as he tells his story, wildly striking and jabbing at the air. “ So I grab my gun out of the glove box and throw open my car door. As I approach him this dip-shit is halfway out of his ride so I kick his door in as hard as I can. He's squeezed in there like he's caught in a god damned vice!”

“ Whoa, nice.” Jimmy's grinning like a Cheshire cat. He pauses for a moment intently looking outside. I then see him reach for the soy sauce.

“Jimmy, hey would you mind?!”

“ What?”

“ You keep dumping soy sauce onto your food.”

“ So what?”

“ It's annoying. Why the hell did you even order the almond chicken? You could have just ordered a plate of steamed rice and ate that with soy sauce.”

“What's your problem? Calm dow...”

“ Do YOU think the chef intended for you to completely ruin his creation the way you have? Jesus Christ, you have no fucking class. No sense of culture at all! How about asking the waitress for a bottle of ranch next time?!”

“ Are you kidding me? This is a joke right?”

Two minute dead silence as we stare at each other across the table. The entire restaurant seems to freeze up... turning red as it holds it's breath. And I'm a race car in the red. I exhale a loud sigh and take another swallow of my beer. I turn back to Jimmy and hold up the bottle.

“ Yes... I am kidding. Just breaking your balls.... Salut....”

“ I hope so motherfucker. You insult me in a dream you'd better wake up and apologize... Salut.”

I grin and finish my Kirin.

I toss my napkin onto my empty plate. As I rise I slide the black plastic tray holding the bill over to Jimmy's side of the table. “O.K Charley Bronson, you're buying... let's go get us some of that Saturday night fever.”

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Good Times

Jukebox belts out tired, tried, and true tunes: Seger, ZZ Top, some Skynyrd. Low light dive bar I know outside of town where all of the bikers go. Classic joint just like the one in “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” right down to the long line of dusty Harley’s, a humming neon sign that irregularly blinks on and off, and the occasional tumbleweed slowly sauntering by.

White v-neck tight t-shirt and classic 501’s complete with a dangling chain. I look like a greaser. I even got the pompadour mutton chop sideburn and Errol Flynn Robin Hood style goattee combo going on. Full wanna-be poseur regalia but I’m still blending in. I’ve earned my wings. I’ve ridden, fucked, and fought alongside a lot of these guys.

I’m here with my buddy Dave.

Took the day off work today so I could have him help me fix up my bike at his shop. Burned daylight drinking Bud, snorting blow, and shooting the shit with Dave and his motley assortment of dirtball customers. I also managed to crack open the gunked-up carburetor case, de-rust the gas tank, and swap out the chain, sparkplugs, and battery. I’m determined to ride this year. No chance in Hell I’m going to waste another summer on the sidelines stroking my dick watching the world pass me by. Dave’s always cool to help me out when he’s got the time. The only repayment he asks for is that I buy the beer and clean up the shop. This includes sweeping up the joint, dumping out the oil into a huge drum in the back, and putting shit away – tools and parts. In return he helps me wrench but more importantly teaches me how to repair my ride. Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance and all that shit. It’s a nice arrangement.

The place is poppin.

There’s electricity in the air, the good and the bad kind. You see the beautiful thing about this spot is you never know what’s going to happen next. One second everyone’s slamming shots and toasting the good life and the next all hell breaks loose: guys talkin shit, fists flying, and chairs breaking. The funny part is after everything settles down, when the dust clears, the barkeep pours fresh steins and everyone is cool again hugging and back-slapping. That is… until the next drunken altercation.

We rode in Dave’s pick up. He’s not drinking because he’s got to be up early tomorrow to see his kids so I have carte blanche to get royally fucked up tonight. I’m up to my eyeballs in Red-Bull jaegers, Lucky Strikes, and hard-bodies. I’m yakking it up with a super-hot brunette named Cami. I know her from way back. We used to party quite extensively in the day and she’s got the night off from the pole. The only reason she’s even in this greasy joint is because I promised her I’d be here. So she made the drive out to the desert with a couple of her friends. She’s classy like that. And she’ll most likely be stumbling out with Dave and I after last call. The usual routine: we’ll fuck, she’ll puke, and then we’ll sleep off our buzzes on Dave’s pull out. And then tomorrow we'll say awkward good bye's and go our seperate ways and that'll be that.

But for now, as we hide behind grinning masks and like stage actors half-assedly run through our lines... but for now, between playful body shots, stolen kisses, and earnest glances... but for now, as we clumsily grope each other in the dark...

we are assuredly in love.