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George W. Kasper hasn't accomplished much since 1940. He's been rotting away in Chicago's St. Boniface Cemetery, in an elegant tomb looking out on a small forest of crosses and Stars of David. Whatever GWK's thoughts on the price of cigs or the chill wind off Lake Michigan, traffic and sirens drown them out circa today. His door is chained up to keep bums from dropping in uninvited. Dogs are forbidden in this humble graveyard – and I don't see any – but dog shit is hard to miss. But George's thoughts ceased with his heartbeat. Shit ain't a thang to him.
The wry, malnourished Irishman finally fell asleep. Louis tiptoed across the dorm room, removed the Irishman's wallet from his jeans, pocketed about 200 Euro and left the hostel like a raccoon fleeing an overturned trashcan. He had enough scratch to get himself on the morning train, and to hit a few bars before sunrise. For now, the marathon vacation continued uncontested. Louis could soak up more of this world. Of course, Louis couldn't keep this going forever. He only feared death because he ached for all the things he might never do. He sought the places he might never see.
My brother is also my roommate. Like me, he's a man who treasures his privacy. Perhaps even more than I do. But he's a kind man, and doesn't seem to mind splitting his rent with me. Today was his birthday, so to honor his friendship, confidence and generosity, I took the cash from today's bleed and bought him a bottle of Early Times. He's encouraged to keep it in his room. A can of mace for the dogs on his tail. Not exactly top shelf, but he seemed happy. I treasure my friends with simple tastes. Happy birthday, my man.
IT'S ALL GOOD. Existence is its own justification. Everything that exists has gotten the green light from nature. It need provide no further ID. Everything that exists must either be ignored or reckoned with. And I'm not going to wish this bullshit off the ontological table. No, I'm going to reckon with it. And here's how it's going to work. You're going to shut the fuck up. You've been passing up that opportunity for far too long. You've just needed a bit of persuasion. Next, you're going to tender your valuables. You should have what you can appreciate. Nothing more.
I'm not sure how long I can go without pissing my pants. My bladder must be the size of a basketball. I elect to empty it. There's an old, neglected desk in the back room. I open a drawer, aim my dick in and let it rain. I don't think the flow will ever cease. I notice I'm pissing on a lot of old books I once loved, not to mention a bundle of someone's papers from school. I don't particularly care. Suddenly, I realize the bathroom is vacant, and I could have easily used it instead of the drawer.
Whatever your residual affections, your creator was, first and last, a coward. That is, anything else your creator may have been was bookended by two massive slabs of cowardice. And you would gladly slaughter your creator with your bare hands if it would somehow relieve you of the cowardly genes your creator passed along. For you are haunted by an antsy fear you're afraid you may never purge. Your every emotion is tainted with cowardice. You mistrust your every word, as they all deposit the flavor of fear across your dry tongue. You'd do anything for relief. But you don't.
Col. Horrace felt something snap today. A lot of things he'd failed to address ganged up and demanded a reaction. Now, Col. Horrace walks his usual beat through the neighborhood, wondering if he'll involuntarily beat the shit and guts out of the next stranger who solicits eye contact. A bottle-blonde passes, tugging at her dog's tattered leash. Her dog is barking, growling, slobbering and lunging. Her dog locks gazes with Col. Horrace. Bingo. Meeting of the minds. The colonel wondered whether beating one stranger senseless would make him feel better for a few years. Now he's thinking about something else.
I'm going to produce a film. The cast will be comprised exclusively of professional athletes and Playboy Playmates. I'm going to manufacture and market a hard candy the color and flavor of tapwater. I'm going to slowly annihilate one person at a time until I no longer have it in me to hurt anyone. I'm going to drink the rest of you assholes under the table and carry myself with perfect dignity. I'm going to pick my own apples and draw my own maps. I'm not going to leave you with the time, breath or understanding to react. Be prepared.
A man acquires an abandoned parrot and brings it home to his wife and two daughters. A white sheet rests on the bird's cage. "This parrot's had a time of it," the man tells his family. "We're gonna give him a good home. While he gets a feel for his new surroundings, let's think of a new name for the boy." One daughter wants to name the parrot Cap'n, after the cereal. The younger suggests Hank, after William Henry Harrison. The man pulls the sheet away. The bird blinks and says, "New place. New whores. Same old customers. Hi, Wayne."
He lives at the end of the train line, which gives him his only opportunity for deep sleep: The evening commute. His days are tedium; his nights are chaos. By day, he makes his eyelids do pushups to stay in the game. At night, the screaming jerks him out of his slumber just as the opening credits are rolling in his dreams. He reads the first chapter of a book, only to forget the words as soon as his eyeballs shift paragraphs. He blasts himself stupid with the volume control on the television. He dances a jig on the platform.
You're sporting that look that betrays a complete lack of wisdom or curiosity about the world. You gawk vacantly through a dirty window. Some inane tune bangs around in your skull. You jingle the change in your pants, but you have no idea how much is there. You often make idle chit-chat with strangers, but today you remain in your own corner. You're not sure why. You pull yourself our of the seat and step off at your usual stop. You know where your stop is. You don't have to think about it. You shift the balance of this nation.
ARE YOU AWAKE OR ASLEEP? You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never no, dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away. You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away. You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away. NATURAL LAWS NEED NO ENFORCEMENT.
I'm not proud of all my past dealings. I had to discover through experience the value of living simply and respectfully, and the fallacy of living otherwise. If I have improved as a man, it's been through trial and error. But I don't owe you any apologies. Whatever I put you through, you did something, at some point, to deserve it. You gave as good as you got. Believe that. If you're left with more bitterness than regret, you weren't paying attention. I'll move on. I will live right and treat people well. You will continue lying and fucking up.
It's the first Saturday of spring. Thus, the lady postal carrier breaks out her shorts, which ride up her soft, supple ass. She carries her sack up to Julie's Southern Californian doorstep and rings the bell. Julie emerges, still wearing her nightie at half past noon. "Special delivery," the mailgirl breathes, whipping a 14 inch dildo out of her bag and snapping it on full blast. "Oh, I've been WAITING for this PACKAGE," Julie groans, dropping to the Astroturf-covered porch and spreading her thick legs. The mailgirl spits in Julia's gash and slides the dildo straight home, barking empty insults.
I'm no pacifist. We should all be prepared to defend ourselves, and the things we care about. If you fuck with anything dear to me, you can expect retaliation. If you threaten me, I'll risk injury and imprisonment. If you want to be safe, stay the fuck out of my sphere of influence. By the same token, if you think war is a good idea, YOU SHOULD GO. Shut the fuck up and enlist, why don't you? Because you're a spineless pussy that can rationalize violence from the sidelines, but won't get involved. You'd never risk a damn thing yourself.
The man dressed up as an anthropoid taco is registered sex offender James "Jim" Jesperson, 41, who still lives in Chicago because he couldn't get his parole transferred to Iowa, despite many attempts and arguments. He took the job at the taqueria because he's expected to maintain gainful employment, and this is one way to get outdoors without being recognized. If he gets in any more trouble, he's going back to the steel bar motel for a long, long time, particularly if the cops discover his rich and growing collection of kiddie porn. Don't ask how I know all this.
Standing on the Red Line platform, you can face it directly. You can stare it down. That housing project looks like Satan's middle finger protruding from the soil. If you look closely, you can see scars from flame. You can discern a certain level at which the tissue dies: The blood is cut off from there on up. You can't tell from here if this project is controlled by pushers and gangs. Plenty are. Worse than a full-tilt police state. Criminals pimp harder than cops. You can see everything from up there. From Chinatown to the skyscrapers in the Loop.
Your kids might just BLOW you for a taste of new Pizza Stix. Chhhh. Drink Snap Soda and harness the power of blackness. Chhhh. This is Ashley. She loves baseball, golf, and sucking dick. Meet women like Ashley right now at… Chhhh. Icicle gum. It's as appealing as a horny 20-something trollop who resembles a mischievous 12-year old boy. Chhhh. Here's something else for you to buy. You're powerless. You'll tender the cash. You always do. Chhhh. You can't stop bitching about TV, any more than you can stop watching. The most I can do: Cease bitching about the bitching.
God wants you to cut the bullshit. God wants you to defend yourself. God wants you to wipe the spit off your chin and wipe out whatever fuels your useless self-pity. Hate is nothing if it keeps you on the sidelines. God wants to see you COMPLETE. Your energy is worthless if expended in irrelevant daydreams. God wants you to think your way out of your unhappiness. God is not stingy with his glory. You were born to share the glory of God. God is not a cruel god. God is merciful. But God doesn't want you to prostrate yourself.
Aw, to hell with it. It's got nothing to do with you. If you hadn't showed up, it would've been someone else that pissed me off. I'm on the rag, all right? Tired. On edge. So just give me some room and everything'll be peachy in no time. It's amazing how poverty will spoil a man's attitude. Strolling ‘round town with no scratch in the pocket makes him bitter. And there's no excuse for that, considering all the actual suffering. So it'll pass, as all things do. Just shut up and turn down the charm and we'll be just fine.
Did you ever realize you'd spent the last fifteen minutes drifting from topic to topic and not really talking about anything? I've got a lot to say about some things, but it isn't necessarily organized in my mind before I get going. So I run my mouth, jumping around and failing to opt out of the conversation when I'm out of gas. I had a feeling my tolerance had gone up, but I had no idea I'd get drunk this quickly. I'm just talking beaucoup bullshit. It's all weightless. I'm failing to entertain. I should really go to bed now.
BABY HAD A BAD EXPERIENCE. It was the worst thing that ever happened to her. Nightmarish. Not the worst thing that ever happened to anyone, but worse than anything that's ever happened to anyone she knows. It was just terrible. The trauma ripples through baby's head all day every day. Sometimes she does things that make you think poorly of her, but you have to understand: It's because of the suffering. Listen to baby. You can all learn from her terrible experience, without ever suffering yourselves. It toughened baby up. Someday soon, all her pain will begin to pay off.
You do this to yourself. Allow her to assist you. She'll ride your downward spiral. It's the main attraction in the psycho playground of her mind. She'll contribute generously to your impending doom. She feasts on chaos. She's there when you're at your weakest. She's your foul weather friend. She's never had enough problems of her own, one imagines. She's a connoisseur of human suffering. She'll take you in her arms. She'll offer encouragement. She'll give you a shove when you're out on the ledge. As you go down for the last time, she'll step back and provide color commentary.
Public performers can only entertain in the subway stations, not on elevated platforms. They must stick to designated areas, and a number of CTA regulations. They must obtain a permit before opening shop. Then, they must put on a show that remains within the rules, gets distinctive enough to merit attention, and keeps it poppy enough to recoup the investment. Whatever the potential drawbacks, having an L stop in the neighborhood generally stimulates commerce. The city saw this with the Orange Line. But the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line rides an expressway median, so what can it do?
Three college pals – Ben, Ryan and Chris – decided to collectively adopt the last name Habersham. Seemed like something to do. Ben Habersham contributed lots of his time to assorted organizations while fucking up in his personal relationships. He's never introduced himself as Ben Habersham. Among those that don't know him well, he's generally held in high regard. The Habersham era was the best time of his life. Ben's hero is Ryan Habersham, the joker in the pack. Ryan took the Habersham gag so far, only his family remembered his true last name. Chris moved to Atlanta. He may be married.
It's a job. It's work, as opposed to leisure. I wouldn't do it pro bono. After months of unemployment, it's a small shock to be working again, to dedicate a third of my life to structured, protracted tedium. But after months of grinding poverty and swirling debt, it feels splendid to have a job. It's near the river, so I have some time to catch up on my reading in the mornings. I'm riding the train toward an office cubicle; no one would accuse me of loafing. It's temporary – until April's end – but it's good pay, so it'll cushion me.
When Claude got tired of popping prescription pills, he sold the leftovers to freshmen at the local college. Plenty of those s'burban pups would fork over top dollar for, say, lithium, even if its effects on non-psychotics weren't of any particular note. Or Xanax, which got them pleasantly relaxed and took the booze a tad further, so they'd have an even greater excuse to make asses of themselves. Claude didn't do many drugs himself anymore, simply because he'd done them all and none delivered quite what he needed. Some were still, how you say, interesting. But not worth the trouble.
THANKSGIVING. We ended up in a dive called the Cermak. Left to my instincts, I drift toward places like this. If you ate a slice of pizza off the floor and signed a waiver, the bartender let you drink free ‘til close. Eric and I both drank free from 9:30 on. We compared notes on women and cities we'd both seen. Then he started talking about whatever get-rich-quick scheme he had going, and I lost interest. I struck a match and lit up the label I'd pulled off a spent bottle. Back at my apartment, the toilet slowly froze over.
My grandfather died years ago. I still don't sense that I've properly mourned the man. I schooled me in folksy clichés from around the world. For instance: "If we had some ham, we could have some ham and eggs, if we had some eggs." He spent his days as a small-town lawyer, by all accounts the best at what he did. Representing a man who gave the finger to a cop, said, "Is it true that all this man did was THIS?" and flipped off the bench. Before he died, his mind was gone, his blue eyes flooded with fear.
The unaccented Voice Of The L reminds us repeatedly that we WILL be arrested for unauthorized soliciting. But that isn't always true: Several bums move furtively through the cars, asking for money. Their quest for chump change appears largely unsuccessful. One stooped man waddles through with a sign that claims he's deaf and needs cash. While he's about seven feet away with his back turned, two passengers loudly reach the conclusion that he can hear just fine. Further south, another guy walks through booming "M&Ms, two for a dollar, help the homeless, M&Ms…" Like his colleague, he gets no takers.
The alluring sedative of powerlessness whispers to you again. You imagine yourself nailed to a cross. You feel handcuffs biting into your tender wrists as you're dragged off to jail. You feel your body ripped in half as your car fucks a telephone pole. You imagine bashing a window open with your head. You visualize your own funeral. The thought of death relaxes you. It's a relief. Then you want to apologize to everyone you've ever known. And it hits you that you're just being a dick. So you rest and get back in the game, ready to play again.
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