Mama made me cute but the devil he made me smart

“What happened to you?”
“What, this old thing?” I point to my sling.
“Yes.” says Sean.
“Freak masturbation accident.”
“I knew it. Elaborate, por favor.”
“Let’s just say it involved barbecue tongs, two fur seals and a copy of the original, black and white version of 12 Angry Men. On VHS.”
“You freak. Aren’t you right handed, though?”
“Variety is the spice of life.”
“How’d it really happen?”
“Capoeira.”
“Did you learn your lesson?”
“If that lesson was ‘Don’t stand up in the middle of somebody else’s parafuso’, then yes.”
“Is it broken?”
“No, thankfully.”
“Is it disgusting?”
I gingerly peel off the sling and roll my sleeve up, showing him the yellow and purple monstrosity stretching from my shoulder to my elbow.
“Jesus christ, that’s grotesque. It looks like the inside of a huge rotten egg.”
“You suck at metaphors.”
“You suck at dodging kicks, but you don’t see me criticizing.”
“That’s low, friend.”
“God that’s fucking ugly. I think I see the Virgin Mary in the brown part there…”
“Jesus don’t touch it you shit, it hurts! It looks more like Abraham Lincoln than the Virgin Mary…”
“Hold still, let me take a picture.”

Ah, the road to recovery.

——–

As if there weren’t enough reasons to be obsessed with Green Apple Books in the Richmond, I found out on Friday they’re open till 11:30 at night on the weekends.

I went, of course. It wasn’t packed, just a handful of weirdos and nerds picking through the dusty and disorganized stacks. Up front, the pimply-faced clerk was playing Who Can Recommend The Most Obscure Band with a chubby Asian dude in an Inka Cola t-shirt.

“Have you heard of Goblin?”
“Oh yeah they’re great. I loved their second album. What about Stigmatic Fetus?”
“Loved that single they did for the European release of the Dawn of the Dead soundtrack, man. Great stuff.”

Fucking hipsters. I have no use for these vermin. I looked down at my mound of used Philip Dick and Charles Bukowski books. For a second, I considered throwing a fit, complaining about how long I had to wait in line while they discussed the heavy-hitters of post-modern Baltic punk, but I realized quickly how ridiculous it would seem. So what if I had to wait 10 minutes; obviously if I’m in a goddamn used book store at 10:30 on a Friday night, I don’t have anywhere important to be.

So I waited it out.

Also, for the record, both Philip K. Dick and Charles Bukowski are fucking geniuses. Dick wrote something like 47 billion wildly different stories and novellas, about half of which have been turned into movies or television shows of dubious quality. We’re talking about the mind behind everything from Blade Runner to Total Recall, and hardly anyone even knows his name. Hardly anyone who isn’t a card-carrying dork, at least.

Bukowski, on the other hand, wrote essentially the same story about being a drunk loser 47 billion times under different titles, and it’s still fabulous. I plan to read them all. People bitch about how similar all of his stuff is, how little variety there is in it, but hey, fuck those people. He stuck with the one topic he knew intimately, which was How To Be An Alcoholic Piece of Shit, and it works. Fucker was brilliant.

———–

I woke up around 4 AM last night. Somebody was screaming outside.

Not an obnoxious, I’m-So-Drunk-Haha-WOO kind of scream. It was an ugly, broken, terrified scream. A rare and terrible sound.

I went to the window and looked down onto the street. Nothing. No lights. Quiet.

There’s no noise at 4 AM in my neighborhood, not even the everpresent background hum of the trolley cable under the street. They turn that off around 2.

I listened and watched for a minute, then woke Ellie up.

“Did you hear that?”
“What?”
“That scream.”
“No.”

She fell back asleep.

I stood at the window for another ten minutes or so before going back to bed.

A half hour or so later, I heard moaning, weeping in the distance. Barely audible. I thought, for a while, I was imagining it, or dreaming. It stopped before too long.

-T.

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