[Trigger warning the third: Reader discretion is advised.]
1. It’s funny, you’d think realizing your one true dream in life would be a watershed… pivotal moment in/on/whatever the greatest hits compilation of your life, but I just realized my dream a minute ago and I’ve already forgotten what I was doing. At least I remember my dream, though, which is as follows: That someone will read this whole thing and understand and we’ll be friends and love each other. Then we’ll get married and move to some quaint, progressive town in Maine or New Hampshire or something and I’ll be an English teacher and you’ll be a waitress at a coffee shop and you’ll look “cute” in your uniform which will be one of those old-fashioned ones, naturally,
Crying. Crying. I heard crying!
and I’ll come in every now and again and drink coffee even though I don’t really like coffee that much and be friendly but shy with your coworkers and grade papers or something while you’re working and when you’re on your break we’ll sit and drink coffee together and talk about how our days have been going and how much we’re looking forward to something, because God I want something to look forward to. We’ll do this for a while and then we’ll gradually stop. We’ll see less of each other for one reason or another and basically become more like friends who sleep together and fuck when so inclined and we’ll carry on about our business. I don’t know that we’ve fallen out of love. I think it’s more like we know it was and is there so we can feel it whenever we want to.
2. Hey pal, you think New York’s cold? Try Miami, fuckstick! That shit’ll freeze your fucking nuts off, compadre!
Have you lost your mind? It’s always at least like seventy-five or eighty in Miami.
Look, I lived in Miami for ten years, you piece of fucking dogshit. I think I know goddamn well — a hell of a lot fucking better than you — what the temperature’s like in Miami. It’s cold as fuck, and I’ll kill anyone who says otherwise.
Oh yeah? Well I’m saying otherwise. Yeah, I’m saying otherwise, motherfucker, and I’m throwing down the gantlet or gauntlet or however you spell that. I want you in a fucking bare knuckles brawl on the docks just before high tide, motherfucker.
What time’s high tide, geek?
6:57 post meridiem. If you don’t show up I’ll come to your house and slaughter your fucking family, punk.
Oh, I’ll show up. I’ll show up and I’ll punch you into fucking hamburger meat, then I’ll kick your fucking head in and beat your dick into the dirt. You’ll be a dead man when I’m through with you.
3. I came to this country on a raft made of cardboard and beautiful pink insulation. I took up residence in the Bluebird District of Digsbyville, CA. It was a great time to be a young man. Unfortunately, I was an old man at the time, so it sucked. I watched all the young men having their fun and making their money and banging their broads and all I did was lie in bed from dusk ’til dawn. Sometimes I stay awake at night wishing for someone to break in and smother me with a pillow. No longer would I have to smell that stale old people smell.
4. “Who’s this?” the mama bear asked, bending over and getting in my face.
“This here’s the guy that makes everybody laugh,” my good buddy introduced me.
She offered her paw. I shook it. “That’s me. I’m the guy that makes everybody laugh. The Laugh Man, they call me. Wanted in three counties for assault with intent to elicit laughter!” I danced a jig and then mowed the lawn. She was most appreciative. So appreciative, in fact, that she insinuated herself between me and the lawnmower and started eating me right then and there even as the grass clippings and all that shit that spews out of lawnmowers was, well, spewing out onto us and shit, but it was a great meal, by all accounts.
On both accounts.
There were two of you, so you should’ve written “on both accounts.”
Two of us? Ha ha, that’s nothing more than the title of a Beatles tune to me, sweets. Nice try, though.
5. “4th Time Around” by Bob Dylan had grown impatient. It had been played, appropriately enough, four times now and that was enough. If he went to — oh, fuck, he did. “4th Time Around” got out of the car, slammed the door with as much strength as it could manage, ran up the stairs and began beating on the door. When the door swung open it grabbed the man by both sides of the neck, threw him to the floor and then produced a chain, which it used to whip the man into oblivion. When it tired of this, “4th Time Around” by Bob Dylan picked up a revolver that had conveniently been loaded with a single silver bullet and shot the man in the head just to make sure he was dead. “4th Time Around” wiped its prints off everything it remembered touching and then went back to its wife and children, who were taking an RV trip across the country.
6. I used to drive a milk truck. I was a milkman, I mean. I didn’t drive one of those big trucks you see on the highways and byways of this great cosmos. No, no, nothing like that. I was just a humble milkman. I like to think that I was well liked by the people on my milk route and by my peers, but what was always most important and what will always be most important was my family. Leslie, my lovely wife of forty years, my two sons, James and John — even that darned cat, Whiskers. Our life may not have been as great as some people’s, but it was ours, and that’s what mattered. Leslie and I raised two fine boys, took a few vacations, including that last one — that one to the Coast? Boy, was that a good time. We had a lot of good times back, then, though, and I guess that’s all you can ever hope for: Good times. You hope for more good than bad, but usually it’s the other way around. That’s what makes you appreciate the good times, though. How’s the saying go? “Take the good with the bad if the good’s good milk?” Well, that’s what my buddy Jerry used to say, anyway. Well, I don’t want to miss my bus, so I’d best get going. It’s been nice talking to you, kid.
7. I was going to write something about drugs, but I forget what it was. I don’t suppose it matters much, really. That topic’s been pretty much beaten to death by now, don’t you think? It’s always an issue with someone, you know? It’s like, there are very few people who don’t have an opinion on the subject, you know? But none of the opinions are at all original or new or interesting so the whole thing is just boring. My stupid opinion or hope or whatever is that I hope one day nobody will even think twice about it, you know? It’ll just be something that people do or don’t do and nobody cares. That’ll never happen, though, I guess. The earth’s exploding.
8. My best girl and I stopped by the ice cream parlor for a couple of banana splits, each of which we shared and ate by spoon-feeding one another with our arms crossing. She’s a great girl. I think you would really like her. She always says I’m damn lucky to have her and I agree wholeheartedly. I must be the luckiest man on the face of the earth. All the best.
9. “I’m a nice guy. The nicest guy around town, in fact. Ask anyone. They’ll tell you,” the nice guy implored the young woman.
“Oh, that’s okay. I believe you,” the young woman said, laughing for some reason.
“Go on,” the nice guy said, now sounding not quite so nice. “Ask someone.”
“Really, that’s — ”
“Ask someone!” the nice guy screamed, veins bulging out of his neck.
“Everything okay over here?” asked a second nice guy.
“This is none of your concern, sir. I was just telling her that I’m the nicest — ” the first nice guy said with a smile but it was clear that he was impatient…frustrated. Not to mention he was cut off.
“Oh, not this again,” the second nice guy said, rolling his eyes and turning to the young woman, who really just wanted to pump her gas in peace and get super high off the fumes, man, the glorious fucking fumes that should be circulating or whatever it is that fumes do throughout our homes. “This guy comes here every once in a while talking about how he’s the nicest guy in town. Is he bothering you, ma’am? I can have him removed from the premises.”
“Right now you’re bothering me,” the young woman said tersely. I understand why she said it but that doesn’t mean it’s right.
“Am I now?” the second nice guy hissed malevolently. “Well I may be the nicest guy in town but I didn’t get to where I am today by playing niceball with a bunch of fucking Marys. I’ll trim your fucking lifespan exponentially for that, you bitch! Where are you — come back here! Hey! Hey! Heeeeeeeeey!”
10. “Ahoy-oy, Lanny,” said Larry in his usual friendly tone.
“Ahoy there, Larry,” said Lanny in his equally friendly yet slightly more awkward tone.
“What’s new, Lanny?” asked Larry with his hands in the pockets of his Bermuda shorts.
“Oh, not much, Larry,” replied Lanny in a slightly more awkward tone. It was the moving and speaking simultaneously that did it, but he had to get into the proper position, which in this case was leaning on the wall.
Larry was growing impatient with this good-intentioned but clumsy idiot. “Oh, nothing ever is with you, Lanny.”
“Ha ha ha,” Lanny laughed uncomfortably.
Larry just fucking lost it. “I’ll chop up your soul, Lanny! I’ll chop up your fucking soul!” He grabbed Lanny by his lapels and shoved him to the ground.
“You’ve gone sideways, Larry!” cried Lanny as he retreated.
“That’s the first time I’ve heard you speak in a different intonation,” Larry observed before producing a pistol from his jacket and training it on Lanny, who was still squirming on the ground.
“Larry! Larry! Christ, Larry, I’ve got a whole slew of intonations and accents I can — ” Lanny pleaded but was interrupted by a bullet through his brain.
11. The most troubling memory I have is of misspelling the word “medley” in the spelling bee at the county fair when I was in seventh or eighth grade. The acoustics in the “venue” were bad. I asked her to repeat it, but I was too busy thinking about these “Faces of Death” videos the kid next to me had been talking about to listen to her pronunciation.