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This isn't gonna be easy. This sort of thing never is. It's not easy for me. It's damn sure not easy for you. But it's got to happen. You know, you think about this shit for weeks, and then it really happens. And the faster it happens, the easier it is on all concerned. Remember, even as everything seems to be going to shit, there is cause for celebration. Legitimate cause for celebration, not simply prankish celebration in spite. And this, for me, will be that cause for celebration. So it is. Turn the light out. Turn on the water.
ENDEAR YOURSELF TO THE PRIVILEGED. The rich and the powerful fret that everyone they encounter wants something from them. Their hatred of the toady is eclipsed only by their love of the aloof, self-reliant asshole. Don a veneer of apathy, and you'll split this world wide open. Court their trust by treating them like garbage. Be a fountain of fanciful deception. Lie for no reason save decadence. Hurt their feelings. Decline invitations and watch them show up uninvited. Splatter wet shit on their toilet bowls and cum in their daughters' faces. Be the asshole they don't have the guts to.
Trazodone. Hydrocodone. The names of the anti-depressants pack a cutesy zing. Paxil. Despiramine. A gig in one of the medical professions isn't necessarily the same easy pickins it used to be. Controls are tighter now. Fewer things can happen without a witness present. And, as always, some addict always gets cocky and fucks it up for the rest of the hospital, like the nurse that pops some old lady's entire supply of painkillers and leaves her in hellish agony, screaming for a doctor. As in all things, self-discipline is key.
Caffeine for me is like tobacco for you. I'm an unpleasant man when the fates keep it away from me. A cup of joe sets me back to normal. But you know how to USE it. You sip down a double shot of espresso and you're a one-woman entertainment system, full of songs and side-splitting antics. It fires up your creativity. Same thing with sugar. I'll watch you munch sugarcubes like they're croutons, knowing I've got a show in store. Here's the bed we made. Hospital corners and everything. How'd you like to mess the sheets and test the mattress?
NEVER DO CARD TRICKS FOR YOUR POKER BUDDIES. Do you ever feel as though all the rest of them know each other better than you'll ever know any of them and better than any of them will ever know you? That's when you know it's happening. Listen. That's the sound of your shadow catching up to you. If you can figure out what key it's in, you can play along. You can make beautiful music together. It only matters if it sounds good to you. Fuck the rest of them but six, and use those for pallbearers. It's all you.
Joshua wrote the alphabet his own way. Straight caps. The hard angles, he rounded, as in "A." The smooth curves, as in "O" and "S," he bent into angles. He used as many different letters of the alphabet as possible when he wrote this way, to clean out the system. But he used block letters – as common and ordinary as his extra-creative li'l brain could cough up – when he wrote on the bathroom wall. This was the work he wanted to lend a more general, impersonal bent. This wasn't about his signature, his oppressive ego. This was for the people.
First full day in Chicago, the place where I live. I can see why people warned me about the cold, but honestly, it doesn't bother me very much. Only when the wind blows into my face. That's what I call BRACING. I'd like to purchase a ski mask, though I'm not even sure sporting a ski mask on the streets is legal here. It probably is. In North Carolina, where I spent my formative years, it's illegal to cover the face in public on any day save Halloween, but that was intended to curtail KKK activity, more than anything else.
Look at you. Look at how you've GROWN. Talkin' ‘n' laughin'. Drinkin' ‘n' singin'. Spittin' ‘n' cussin' like a full grown gentle man. I see where you're comin' from. Laughin' at your own jokes. Laughin' at your own fuckin' jokes. How deep in this shit are you? Can you riddle me THAT, joker? Do you even know? Or is this whole little circle just a two-dimensional screen to your shiny li'l rodent eyes? It all falls apart in time. You have it, if you're willing to take it. That last minute chance to shut up. But you won't. Take it.
YOU FUCK YOURSELF OVER. YOU KNOW YOU DO. Let go of your past. Really, let go of the fucking past. It ain't that difficult. But you cling so tightly to your self-mythology. To what end? We're all sick of the same bullshit big fish tales, and it isn't doing you any good to ruminate on the same old memories. It sucked then; it sucks now. You're dying so fast. It hurts me to my heart, babe. Another archivist of personal nostalgia. Look, I know I do it too, but it's been a long time since that made anything acceptable. Progress!
By the time your biggest problem resolves itself, you'll be under some new shadow that looks like the end of the world. You'll never get to properly celebrate the resolution; rather, your intestines will already be knotted up about some more current evidence that your undoing is nigh. Our problems ain't shit (at least not the bulk of them), and it's a shame we don't recognize their silliness. I bear this in mind as I look for work. I need money. What I want to do with my life and what I will do for a check are different worlds.
We're sealed in much more than skin. Many of our best thoughts and qualities – those things about us that could break through misery – can't get through the layer of bullshit that's so close it looks like the sky. But there are days when things flow easily. After we relax and before we get awkward. There are those of us who live with an elegant simplicity that confounds cynicism, and there are those of us who glow in the dark. Grace, courage and wisdom hang tough. There are days when there's nothing I'd rather do. It's good on the good days.
Julia didn't take on just any customer. She had more discretion over who's fantasies she fulfilled than most service industry pawns, and the money was much, much better. She never negotiated. No one got a break on the terms. No guys came in pairs or teams. (Those clowns mystified Julia.) Oh, it wasn't always the most glamorous gig. The post-emotional bleakness sometimes got her down, especially during winter, when the weather made her feel like she was living in someone's sinuses. But the good times came easy. Julia stayed calm. She never found it hard to float above all this.
In the heat of drunken sentimentality, another guy's girl once referred to me as "marriage potential." Smooth operator that I am, I slurred back, "I'll take that for what it's worth." But she really was outta line. I don't fancy myself "marriage potential." I'm jealous, and sometimes I plunge into a black syrup that obscures light and sound. 90% of people will be miserable whomever they marry. The other 10% will be happy whomever they marry. I belong in the 10%. It's just a matter of making myself at home. "Marriage potential," no, but I could adapt to marriage praxis.
As a lad, I often wondered if anyone else was real, or if the world was all in my head. I've since ingested enough drugs to know that both those concepts are true and that neither one explains much, but I still suspect certain individuals of lacking anything that could be called soul. I believe some of us don't run on emotion, just a certain dim pride and unexamined will to pleasure. As I don't believe in hell, I don't think these people ever suffer in a permanent way. The most I can do is not buy into their bullshit.
Laura was marked for death. I knew this when I met her. I s'pose this made it easier to kill her. I don't know. It's not as though I go around snuffing people as a pastime. She was pissing me off. I can't explain it now. It was her skeletal appearance, her unjustified arrogance and her confrontation. I got to me, slowly. So I pushed her off the ledge. Didn't think about it. Don't ask me about it now. It happened. I can't say I'm tortured by regret. It had to happen. As with all things: Better sooner than later.
Sometimes the obvious bears repetition: Fame has nix, naught, nothing to do with talent; it's merely a measure of ubiquity. So why do we allow all these weightless names and faces to cloud our brains? Why do we ride chips on these irrelevant abstractions? God knows we have enough troubles with the people and things around us. So fuck you, you celebrities. You don't know me. Do your little song and dance and move along. Your desperate ego is fouling my air. Secondhand smoke I can handle, but spare me the secondhand narcissism. Shut up. Go away. I beseech you.
All of HH's companions lived for entertainment, entertainment he couldn't provide. He could keep pace with his pals' sparkling repartee and delightful anecdotes. He couldn't get a laugh. Never brought the house down, only bummed everyone out. Managed a wry interjection here and there, but never earned his keep. He couldn't figure why they even wanted a vaguely angry sad sack like himself around. Thought of turning down the Super Bowl party invite, but didn't. HH took an improv comedy class instead. Now HH is a big hit, even without the booze. Friends quote him. He often steals the show.
Lean times. I donated plasma today. Couldn't think of a better way to get 20 bucks together. After a battery of questionnaires, I relaxed and alternated between a book on Zen and a wall-mounted TV as a machine slurped my blood through the eye of a needle. The entertainment was Goldmember, followed by Bringing Out The Dead. Whoever elected to show Bringing Out The Dead to a ward full of plasma donors gets a pat on the back from me. I've got an appointment to give some more on Friday. One of my job applications may bear fruit by then.
THE MARSHMALLOW DROP. Dwight made it to Miami Shores for this year's marshmallow drop. He had to skip bail to do it. He managed to keep the fear from his mind long enough to enjoy the big event. When all the kids had gone away and the chopper had gone silent, he hit a few bars. He ordered a one-two boilermaker at each joint, finished it and moved along. As his mind clouded, the paranoia caught his trail. He thought of going back to the hotel, but knew he couldn't sit still for long enough. That was his entire problem.
Ours is a nation of hypochondriacs. That much is perhaps not news to you. We view everything in pharmacological terms, as opposed to gravitating toward things we enjoy and avoiding things we don't (as per tradition). But what is the intended gain of our vigilant protection of our collective health? What is the ultimate prevention of illness – prevention that is truly a preemptive cure – and when illness descends, how is it ultimately cured? We can't postpone death forever. We can't funnel infinite resources into the protection of life. So we CAN put a value on life. On a sliding scale?
A session at the bank is called a "bleed." I went in for bleed #2 today. The bus rolled past a warehouse bearing a sign: "NO HELP WANTED." I saw a failed pick-up attempt in the blood bank dayroom. "What's your name?" "Kim." "How come it says right here," says the man, gesturing toward the register, "your name's Clarissa?" "You asked me for my NAME. You didn't ask me for my REAL name." My time arrives. I relax. I squeeze the little red pillow when I feel pressure. I move my boots to let the staff pass through the ward.
I got the feeling and the feeling is RAW. I say to all that BULLSHIT: No more no more no more. I APPEAR! Come alive! Come to glorious life, and may you never again feel the shortness of breath that comes from the feeling that comes from having a pillow pressed against your mouth, your nose, your eyes, your FACE. This is the sensation that comes from oppression. Now it's time to break through all this bullshit, make a new beginning on the gift I've been given. ‘Cause any individual who would hurt me, physically or psychologically, is my enemy.
Angie, were she completely honest with herself, would admit that she feels more closely connected with certain celebrities than she does with her hubby of four years. Her connection with her two year old child is fairly effortless, as he hardly has much of a presence with which to intimidate or disappoint her. Same thing with her growing roster of e-mail pals, with whom she can share her thoughts but not her life, or even her time if she's not into it. Technology has indeed brought Angie closer to the rest of the world, but sometimes she doesn't feel centered.
You could make the argument that boxing wasn't truly violent before Brooklyn Jolly Stomper vet Mike Tyson came on the scene. The champ made his forebears look like chessmasters. Long ago, in a Chicago nightspot then known as the Clique, Iron Mike complicated his image by assaulting a young lady. Last week, 21 party people died in a stampede in this same building, now known as E2. Media accounts made mention of the Tyson incident, though Mike himself was probably not responsible. Days later, Tyson won a new KO within about four seconds. The guitarist for Great White remains "missing."
I saw a disheveled black man get on the bus. About 6'0", late 30s to mid 40s, Sox hat. I saw him flash a badge at the driver as he walked back. I saw him take a seat by himself and peer out the window through empty eyes. Good thing for him I'm not a drug dealer, or otherwise affiliated with the Chicago underworld. I've have put the man out of business. The bus cruised through districts and neighborhoods and dropped me off a few blocks from HQ. The melted Toblerone I got for free quickly froze in my pocket.
Jeremy "Bone" Moore had been trying to fuck Amber "Vanilla" Carter since 12th grade. At age 23, he finally gave her a ride in his Jeep. He showed her around, reaching over and rubbing on her leg with no objection. He pulled into parking. They Frenched for a few. Bone made his move, grabbing the back of Vanilla's blonde head with one hand and undoing his belt with the other. "Not yet," Amber said. "I wanna fuuuck," Bone grunted. "Come to the beach Friday night," drawled Amber. "I want it to be special." Bone drove Vanilla home. Kiss. Goodbye. "Bitch."
GOD WON'T TAKE THE TIME TO SORT YOUR ASHES FROM MINE. You could measure Western states with my rap sheet. I've done unforgivable things. I'm an unforgivable man. I'm guilty, guilty, guilty. Ain't a lawyer under the sun that could set momma's brown-eyed boy free. I haven't even been caught for half the shit I did. But they're after me. They've been watching me since birth, or at least (this much I can prove) since before the first Gulf War. I'm guilty of something so massive in scope, I can't see it all at once. Can't give it a name.
America hadn't seen the sun in 33 days. President George W. Bush had been inside under fluorescents for as long as he could remember, and was getting a tad loopy. He leafed through his speech one more time, noting the cursive "Stern Resolve" inked in the margin. W weighed the somber words of the speech against a dirty joke one of his frat brothers told him years ago. He stifled a smirk as he took the podium. "My fellow Americans," Bush said comfortingly. "I come to you on a dark day in American history." Outside, the rain continued to pound.
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