Monday, October 26, 2009

stain, Part IV

Six-Gun Hero

The six-gun hero
You’ve seen him on the silver screen
The six-gun hero
One look and you know
It’s a man that you’ve seen
Riding tall in the saddle
Never losing in battle
Eats his dust like a man
As it rises from below
The six-gun hero

The six-gun hero
Not many would dare make a stand
Against the six-gun hero
It takes a fool
’Cause there’s no quicker hand
Not even time to take aim
On the man with no name
Shot dead where you stand
The wife is now the widow
The six-gun hero

The six-gun hero
Not a man you want to look in the eye
The six-gun hero
One look from him
Sends a chill up your spine
Don’t think his draw ain’t as fast
As it was in the past
Been the man forever
But you can bet he ain’t lost zero
The six-gun hero

PBS has The Twilight Zone at eleven, except weekends.  Doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo.  Cool show, but Rod Serling can be a little much sometimes, with all those fuckin’ literary references and shit.  Like, “I’m smart,” or, “I read.”  Lighten the fuck up already.  You don’t need a bunch of ten-dollar words to make your point.  He’d say something like, “Consider this, if you will.  One finds it evident that sphincters such as yourself have a tendency to be quite ubiquitous.”  I’d be like, Rod, buddy, assholes like you are fuckin’ everywhere.

The Wings Of Icarus

The wings of Icarus
Have melted away
Into the sea he has fallen
The words of his father
Not heeded that day
He was not one of the callen
But let us learn from Icarus
Learn to listen
Learn to live
Learn to take in
Learn to give
Some store their knowledge
Like sand in a sieve
Not there when you need it
And you cannot relive
The time of the past
When the future comes at last
And we wind up like poor Icarus
Downcast when we wander
Question what we should not ponder
When we fly the wings of Icarus
Learn to suffer
Learn to cry
Learn to regret
Learn to die
Learn the pain of Icarus

I got teachers like you, Rod, and they’re a drag.  Ninth grade, public school, they were teaching shit in English that I learned in Catholic school in fuckin’ fourth grade.  “This is a noun, this is a verb.”  Easy as hell.  Straight As, without even trying.  In tenth, I find out they stuck me in some goddamn Gifted and Talented class.  Sucked.  Had to read shit and then talk about what we thought the author meant.  Analyze, not just memorize.  Miss Fairfield talked a little like ol’ Rod, and half the time I felt lost in the twilight zone.  First day of class, she hands out a “list of errata,” says we should “emend our texts accordingly.”  What the hell?  Just say there’s some fuck-ups in the book we have to fix.  Or some mistakes we need to correct, or whatever.  Got our grades for the last nine weeks.  Another C.  She recommended going back to a College Prep class this year.  Like I’m preparing for college.  But vocabulary tests are so simple I just look over the list right before the test and not miss a single spelling or definition.  The tests in G.T. were hard.  Always a fuckin’ essay or two.  Give me the regular class with the dumbasses.  I’m sure as hell not gifted or talented.
     Had to have a debate in G.T. too.  Pick a topic, find somebody to argue the other side, then debate in front of the class.  I got lucky there.  The guy from the tennis team that sat next to me had a match the day we were supposed to go at it, so we got to do it next day after school.  It sucked having to stay after, but it was better than standing up in front of everybody.  Legalization.  Randy went first, and all he had was the usual shit about how if pot was legal there’d be a lot more people smoking, and the whole country’d be falling down stoned.  What a load.  People who don’t smoke got reasons other than it’s illegal.  They wouldn’t start toking just because it’d been legalized.  And people that do get high don’t do it just because it’s illegal, like it’s some forbidden fruit or something.  They want to catch a buzz, and they’re going to, one way or another.  They’re not hurting anybody.  They don’t want to hurt anybody or anything.  Hell, you ought to get the politicians stoned and see what they come up with then.  Wouldn’t be no war.  They’d be wanting to make peace with everybody, quit killing.  Hell, the shit grows out of the ground, man.  It’s natural as hell.  Smoke it if you want to.  Let farmers grow it, Philip fuckin’ Morris roll it, the government tax it.  Put packs in vending machines, regular, light, Mexican, Columbian.  Give us some 100s even.  But quit locking people up just for using it or selling it.  Jesus.  Randy said it leads to harder drugs.  Another popular crock of shit.  Only way it could lead to something harder would be if you were looking for a buzz and couldn’t find any, so you bought whatever else you could find.  But if it was legal, you’d have more people using that instead of something harder.  Fire it up, man.  Toast one for me.  Better yet, toast one with me.
     It wasn’t so bad, going back to a regular class.  A lot of people in G.T. were geeks.  Even Miss Fairfield.  And ugly.  Not like Mrs. Whitman in Algebra II.  She looks kind of like Jane Seymour.  Yow!  Jane’s gorgeous, even if she is brunette.  Teri Garr.  Goldie Hawn.  I’d give my right nut for Goldie.  But Mrs. Whitman doesn’t like me.  Didn’t have my homework most days the first couple of nine weeks.  It got to where she’d skip my desk when she was checking it.  Flunked both nine weeks.  Had to get a piece of carbon out of the trash, change the Es to Bs so I could show the old man and old lady my report cards.  It’s a separate one for each class, not just one card with all your grades on it like at Blessed Sacrament.  And it’s just a carbon, not the original, so it’s easy as hell to change.  It’s hard to concentrate in her class though.  It’s bad enough it’s math, but then you got to sit there and stare at her and try to think about numbers.  The only figure I can think about is hers.  Why don’t you keep me after school?
     Art class is hard to concentrate in too.  I thought it’d be easy, so I took it.  I’m sure as hell not a goddamn artist.  But Miss Spence won’t leave me alone.  She’s always saying what a good job I’m doing on whatever the project is.  Stands behind me and breaths down my neck while I’m working.  She must need glasses, ’cause she’ll lean real far in to look.  So close her tit touches me on the shoulder or arm sometimes.  I wish Mrs. Whitman’d do that, but she doesn’t really look that close at your work, just wants to see that you did it.  Miss Spence is always real interested in whatever I’m doing, praising every little thing.  Asked to keep most all of my projects to use as examples for other classes.  Fuckin’ embarrassing.  I’m not any better than anybody else.  Leave me alone already.  Man, her calves are big as hell too.
     Mrs. Mann can embarrass me in English class too.  Good ol’ C.P. English.  That time after she handed back our creative writing assignments, she stood up in front of the whole class and said that one student had gotten an A+ on theirs.  I’d looked at my paper already, hid it under my notebook when I saw the grade.  But she had to go and tell everybody.  Really got ragged on for 
that.  “Oh, Jim, aren’t you just so smart.”
     Sometimes our TV will pull in a UHF station, but there’s usually nothing on there.  The old man’s gets a lot better picture, but it’s not much bigger.  It sits on top of a big color set that doesn’t work anymore.  A tube’s burnt out or something.  Just like the other one sitting in the hall.  The old lady uses it for the old man’s work clothes.  She irons ’em, folds ’em, stacks ’em on top after she does the laundry.  She hangs most of the clothes on the line out back, but she dries her girdles and bras on a fan in her room so the neighbors won’t see.
     After Don graduated, he got a job busing tables.  That keeps him gone a lot.  When he is home, we still argue some, but don’t get into fistfights anymore.  Not since that time he came in and caught me playing with something of his.  Whatever it was, he got real pissed and started in on me.  It was a weekend when the old man was actually home, and he came in and pretty much flung me across the room, then knocked Don down with a short right to the chin.  It was awesome.  Dropped that son of a bitch like a rock.  The old man yelled, “You wanna hit somebody?  Then hit me!”  I gotta say that for him.  He knew how to put a stop to that kind of shit.
     I go see Doc every Wednesday.  Have been for a few months now.  A one-way road on either side of the building either takes you to the parking lot in back, or gets you out of it, depending.  Puff always drops you off right here at the parking lot exit, takes off like a bat outta hell, picks you up in the same spot in an hour.  Barely even comes to a stop.  The door’s not even closed before she’s giving it the gas.  Should get her some shades or something, maybe a trench coat.  Your mission, Jim, should you decide to accept it . . . .  Great.  Mission Impossible again.  Fuck it.  Beats “Puff” anyway.  Shit, now that’s back.  Shut up in there!  She did come in to the front desk the first time, but she hasn’t been in since.  Fuck it.  I’m glad she doesn’t hang around.
     Metal handrail leads in from the parking lot.  Top bar’s about waist high, the second bar comes to about your knee.  If the sun was out, there’d be a couple shadows on the sidewalk.  With the shadows from the four uprights, and the sixteen lines that cut the sidewalk into squares, it kinda looks like a railroad track.  Not that straight or square or anything, but still kinda like some tracks.  Walking down the middle, one, two, three, four, one—no five—six, seven, eight, stepping on the cracks instead of over ’em, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, it’s like being on a train heading away from all this shit.  I think I usually get twenty-one steps—paces, ol’ Rod would say—when I remember not to just count off in fours.  Today it’s twenty-two.  Six steps—two at a time—kinda jag the shadows up like teeth on a hacksaw.  When there are shadows.  When it’s not cloudy.  Handrail stops at the top.  Seven more paces to the front door.
     I hear trains at night.  In bed.  The whistle in the distance, the rumbling a little bit.  Wonder where it’s coming from, where it’s going, where I’d end up if I hopped it.  Probably just fall under though, lose a leg or something.

I Can’t Slow This Engine Down

The train is rolling down the track
I’m heading out and wish I was heading back
Sun won’t shine ’cause the rain won’t stop
And I can’t slow this engine down
No, I can’t slow this engine down

Thinking ’bout my woman and thinking ’bout my home
Thinking just how many times I had to roam
To find what I was searching was what I’d left alone
And I can’t slow this engine down
No, I can’t slow this engine down
Don’t you know this load’s getting heavy on my feet
Don’t you know these deadlines are hard to meet
Don’t I know my life’s been so bittersweet
But I can’t slow this engine down
No, I can’t slow this engine down

So roll, roll, roll on into the night
Roll, roll until I get it right
I’ll wake up in the morning if I sleep tonight
But I can’t slow this engine down
Said I can’t slow this engine down

And sometimes it all just gets to me
Running in a race where all but one gets beat
Lord, won’t you let that one be me
’cause I can’t slow this engine down
No, I can’t slow this engine down

That secretary is always on the phone.  Keeps it pinched between her ear and shoulder, so her hands are free for typing or opening letters.  She’ll wave me on back with her right hand or wave me over to the waiting room with her left.  Right hand today.
     Door’s only half closed.  Don’t bother knocking.  Doc’s not even in here.  Maybe he’s in the can.  Pretty basic setup, I suppose.  My couch against the wall, his chair kinda next to it, coffee table in front where he keeps his little timer—fifty minutes—and some magazines, desk over in the corner.  He was kind of a surprise first time.  A lot younger than I’d pictured.  Kind of a relief.  Makes him a little easier to talk to.  His beard looks like Mr. French’s on Family Affair.  Buffy!  Jody!  Cissy!  Aren’t we all just so fuckin’ happy to be livin’ here with Uncle Bill!  Trimmed real close on the sides and neck, a little longer on the chin and mustache.  Not fat like French or anything, just got his beard.  Been expecting somebody old, that was really gonna preach down at me.  Like . . . Grandpa Walton maybe, but not nice.  Duhduhduh duh duh duhhh  dint dint, dint dint  duhduhduh duh duh duhhh  duh duh.  Welcome to Walton’s Mountain.  On tonight’s episode, John Boy finally loses it, fucks Mary Ellen up the ass, then cuts Grandma in half longways on the circular saw.  Doc doesn’t preach though.  Just listens.  I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to relate to the guy at all, that it’d be like talking to the old man, but it’s been pretty cool so far.  I guess.  I couldn’t hang out with him or anything.  He’s way too “get in touch with your emotions” and shit.  But it hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be.
     Close the door before somebody else decides to just walk on in.  Go ahead and hit the couch.  There’s Doc’s yellow pad, used pages flipped back, a fresh page up, sitting in his chair with that damn pencil.  His pencil.  One of those plastic things, what are they called?  Mechanical pencils?  Drives me crazy with that thing.  You stop talking when he wants you to keep going, so he taps the side of the pad with it.  Fuck it.  I’m taking it.  Shove it in your pocket.  That’ll get him.
     First time here, Doc said I didn’t have to lie down, but I did, and I’m gonna keep doing it.  Fuckin’ head still hurts anyway.  Man, did you tie one on last night.  I don’t remember getting in, but I must’ve crashed hard.  Don’t think I even dreamed once.  For a change.
     Wait, maybe I did.  Yeah.  It was snowing.  It was already knee-deep.  Ol’ Tony Griggs was walking in front of me, getting farther and farther ahead.  Cute little Carolyn and fat Peter were a ways behind, falling farther and farther back.  I was the only one grown up.  They were still kids from Blessed Sacrament.  Somebody kept shouting, “Bear!”  I looked ahead at Tony’s back, looked back at Carolyn screaming, but other than them all I saw was woods and snow.  It was tough as hell, pulling one leg out and taking a step, pulling the other leg out and taking a step.  Tony was crossing a little bridge, just wide enough for him.  Carolyn and Peter split up and left the trail.  A big fuckin’ polar bear jumped up out of the snow off his hind legs and landed on his front, jumped and landed again.  He was gaining quick.  I yelled, tried to get him to chase me, but he didn’t.  Maybe I didn’t yell loud enough.  Maybe I just tried to yell.  Tony was across the bridge.  Peter made it into the trees.  Carolyn was still out in the open, screaming.  I just stood there.  Just fuckin’ stood there.  It kept getting closer, one jump at a time.  She pulled one leg out of the snow, took a step, pulled the other leg out, took another step.  The bear took long jumps.  It was just a matter of time.  She was just a kid, goddamn it.  Just a fuckin’ kid.
     Puff the puffin’ dragon, puffs by the sea.  It’s easier to talk to Doc if you lie down.  You don’t have to look at him.  When I lie here, all I can see is his foot out of the corner of my eye when he starts swinging it.  He’ll cross his legs like a girl and set that yellow pad on his knee, then scribble things down with his pencil.  When he’s not writing, he gets to swinging that foot, and it’ll come in and out of view.  Black loafers, with those faggy tassels.  After he starts with the foot, if I’ve stopped talking, he’ll get to tapping that damn pencil to bring me back to the subject.  Not today.  Not with his special little pencil anyway.  I can’t help it.  I keep looking over my feet out the window, out at the sky, maybe a bird in the tree or a squirrel.
     It was probably the usual routine.  Looked at the inkblots.  Like you’re supposed to see something.  Most just look like a bunch of blobs.  No bats or butterflies.  If you looked at ’em long enough you might see something, but hell, if you look at anything long enough you can start to imagine all kinds of shit.  Leaves are coming out on the tree.  Looking real hard, maybe blurring the eyes a little, I can make out . . . maybe a face . . . maybe some kid—  Ah, fuck it.
     Doc must be taking a dump.   Had the Hershey squirts myself.  Draft beer, man.  That shit’ll kill ya.  There’s really only three kinds of grunt.  You got that soft shit, where the hole shapes it on the way out.  That can be logs, but it’s usually creamy peanut butter hushpuppy turds.  Then there’s the hard shit, that stretches the hole to whatever shape it is on the way out.  A bunch of different size Milk Duds stuck together.  That can splash a cold drop back up your ass if it hits just right.  Either one of them can be floaters or sinkers, but it’s still just soft or hard, whether they float or not.  Last, you got the squirts.  Definitely the worst.  Draft beer sucks, man.  If not when you’re drinking it, then definitely the day after.  Squirts are the worst when you wipe too, especially with those rolls of the cheap shit they sell in packs of twenty-four.  John Wayne toilet paper.  None of that Mr. Whipple’s Charmin.  Feel the burn, baby, burn.
     Doc asked if you believe in God.  I don’t know why.  Came right out of the blue.  Maybe the old lady did see you had her Bible out that day.  Then again, Doc’s never brought up the gun, so I don’t know if she talked to him about anything or not.  Do I believe in God?  Hell, I really don’t know anymore.  Not with all the shit that goes on.  If there is a God, why’s He let so many bad things happen?  We learned about those Holy Wars in History, the Crusades.  Seems like that’s all we ever talk about in there, wars and all.  And time lasted a lot longer back then.  Like, the Middle Ages went on for hundreds of years, but today you hear about the Fifties or the Sixties or the Roaring Twenties.  It took I don’t even know how many generations to build the pyramids, but the mall went up in a few months.  Things go fast as hell now.  Maybe not everything.  A year of school lasts for fuckin’ ever.  Even one class seems like it’ll never end.  But . . . .  The Holy Wars.  What the hell’s so damn holy about killing people?  I know, it’s like, “We only kill for God,” or, “We only kill God’s enemies.”  But the guys on the other side say the same damn thing.  Maybe they won’t call Him by the same name, but they’re still talking about God.  How many Gods are there?
     There you go again.  Raised Catholic, having to go to church every day before class, having to go to Catholic school so long, that shit can fuck you up.  You get religion shoved down your throat all the time.  It’s just another thing forced on you.  That project in Mrs. Gabriel’s class—glad it wasn’t all nuns there; hell, there were more regular women who were teachers, and only three or four nuns at a time.  You were just lucky enough to usually have a nun teacher.  That was fourth grade, and you had to finish the sentence “Happiness is . . .” and write it down on some banner or something.  Kind of like a paper pennant.  Everybody did one.  What did you put down?  “Happiness is to love Jesus.”  Man, didn’t even believe that then.  Just felt like it was what I was supposed to write, that that’s how I was supposed to feel.  Man, did the nuns smile when they saw mine on the wall.  They asked who made that one, and Mrs. Gabriel would light up, say it was me.  Little Jimmy Moore.  Ain’t he so fuckin’ sweet?  I hated that “Jimmy” shit, even then.  Just wanted to be called Jim.  Not James, damn it, and sure as hell not goddamn Jimmy.  “Happiness is . . . ”?  How the hell should I know?
     Puff used to make me and Don do rosaries on her bed with her when we were kids.  Five Hail Marys, then an Our Father on the big beads.  Over and over and over.  What’s the fuckin’ point?


     You must BELIEVE IN GOD and FEAR GOD and WORSHIP GOD and ADORE GOD and GOD, GOD, GOd, God, god, god, god.  Shit gets old.  Me and Don couldn’t even say “gah”—must’ve been short for “golly”—’cause it sounded too much like “God” to the old lady, and saying that would’ve been breaking a commandment.  Taking the Lord’s name in vain.  Right up near the top.  Above murder even.
     Had to go to mass every day before class, be an altar boy every other Saturday and every single Sunday.  Me and Don still have to serve the eight o’clock mass Sundays.  We’re the only fuckin’ family at the early mass.  Everybody else is just old and alone, or together but with no kids.  Who the fuck else is gonna serve?  You always got a hangover, fighting to keep your eyes open, knowing you’ve got to be jerking your head up every time you start to nod.  Can quote whole passages from the service.  We honor Linus, Cletus, Clements, Sixtus, Cornelius, Siprience, Lawrence, Cosoganus, John and Paul, Cosmos and Damien, and all the saints.  Probably couldn’t spell half the shit right, but that’s what Father Connolly says every fuckin’ mass.  Linus?  Hey, what about Charlie Brown, man?  Cosoganus?  What the hell were his folks thinking?  Damien?  Isn’t he the evil little shit in that movie?
     Had it crammed down your throat your whole life and Doc asks, “Do you believe in God?”  Couldn’t even give him an answer.  Said you’d have to think about it.  Do that a lot, have to think about something before you know what you think about it.  He asked what I thought was my best trait or feature, and I told him I’d have to get back to him on it.  He asked again the next week if I’d thought about it, and I had.  A lot.  Thought that I’m not too much of a dumbass, not too damn ugly, kinda got a sense of humor once in a while.  Finally settled on my legs.  A lot of hair on ’em.  Some guys got hair all over their backs.  That shit’s gross.  But I got some pretty hairy 
legs.  Hairy enough to look cool in shorts.
     Do I believe in God?  Really don’t know anymore.  Starting to wonder if I ever did.  Maybe just kind of scared not to.  But if there is a God, God isn’t a he or a she, or white or black or red or yellow, or Catholic or Jewish or Hindu or Muslim or anything else.  And if there is a God, God sure as hell doesn’t need money.  The usher brings the basket with the collections up the aisle holding it over his head like it’s holy, with everybody smiling and singing.  Hurray!  We’re havin’ Beef-a-Roni!  Ha!  More like, “Praise the Lord, we got you a few more bucks.”  Father Connolly smiles real big, sticks his arms way the hell out to take the basket, holds it as far away from him as he can with that fuckin’ smile and sticks it under the altar.  After mass, I gotta bring it back to the sacristy.  He just holds it normal then, looks in it, without smiling, then sticks it in the closet on his side of the room.  I’ll be taking off my cassock and surplice.  My surplice and cassock really.  You put on your cassock and surplice, but you take off your surplice and cassock.  You take off your shoes and socks, but you put on your socks and shoes.  I’ve never lifted anything out.  Not even a bill or two.  Nobody’d know.  Wouldn’t take anything in a collection envelope, but one or two of the loose bills.  Maybe a five or a ten.  Sometimes even a twenty in there.  Took a swig of wine out of the cruet once.  Rank as hell.  Father Connolly mixes some with a couple drops of water and drinks it right before handing out communion.  The old man never takes communion.  He doesn’t believe it really is flesh, that it really turns into the actual body of Christ.  Me neither, but I still eat it.  It’s just bread.  How could it be his real body?  You take all the hosts ever handed out, they add up to a lot more than just one skinny guy’s body.  And I don’t wanna hear it’s like those fish and loaves he used to feed all those people.  That shit can’t be true.  A bunch of fairy tales to hook kids into believing.  Oooh, magic.  Know any card tricks, Jesus?  Is that a rabbit in your . . . toga, or are you just glad to see me?  Toga!  Toga!  Toga!
     Do I believe in God?  If there is a God, He must’ve made everybody and He wouldn’t back one side or the other, in a Crusade or a World War or in Korea or Vietnam or anywhere else.  God isn’t telling anybody to kill anybody else for any reason.  Puff says there’s gonna be peace in the Middle East before Jesus comes back.  That ain’t gonna be any time soon.  Have they ever got along over there?  Has anybody really ever got along anywhere?  Shit, it’s back to History.  Who fought who.  Who won, who lost.  Who the hell cares?  Let it go already.  If there is a God, God’s gotta be pretty pissed off with us humans in general.
     Damn, I went through all of that shit with Doc.  He just sat through most of it, took a few notes until I finished babbling, then said it sounded like I might believe in God, but that I didn’t necessarily believe in religion.  I don’t know.  I don’t know if I believe in God either.  But if there is a God, then God’s got one lousy sense of humor.
     The Giant Slide.  Something like sixteen lanes down three big humps.  A zillion steps to get up to the top.  Shiny metal with smooth wood dividers between the lanes.  I never got to ride it.  It cost money.  They closed it down after somebody planted a razor blade in one of the dividers.  Took all year to build it, didn’t even last a whole summer.
     Me and Don were playing around in the house once.  The old lady’d taken her wooden crucifix off the living room wall.  Must’ve been to clean it.  Left it lying on the table the lamp sits on.  Palm Sunday, she sticks the palm branch from church up on the wall behind that crucifix.  You have to burn the branches if they touch the ground.  Or the floor.  The old man’s the same way about flags.  If you let it touch the ground, it’s desecrated and has to be burned.  The cross had been taken down, and taken apart.  It looks normal from the front, with Jesus nailed to it, all bloody around the head where the thorns are, bloody in the hands and feet where the nails are, bloody on the side where the spear’d gone in, but the cross part is real thick.  Hanging on the wall, he looks up at the ceiling like, “Damn, this hurts!”  But you take it down, you can take it apart.  The back pops out, a separate piece of wood from the hollow front.  There’s a couple little candles you can mount in the two holes drilled halfway through each end of the crossbeam.  Maybe they’re for praying around.  Maybe just for when the power goes out.  They’ve never even been unwrapped, much less lit.  Don was chasing me around the house.  From the living room, through the den, the kitchen, into the hall, past our room, the bathroom, the old man’s room.  He’s been sleeping in there long as I can remember, but his clothes are still in the closet in Puff’s room.  Past her bedroom, back into the living room.  On one lap, I picked up that back piece of the cross.  After running through the den and the kitchen again, I ducked behind the wall near the back door instead of running down the hall.  Don came through the kitchen, I jumped out, holding the crucifix by the top and pointing the bottom at him like a knife, kind of stuck him in the stomach.  Probably just realized what I was doing at the last minute and felt guilty and caused it all myself, but it was like when you get hit in the eye, so that you kind of see a flash of lightning.  You got your eye closed, something hits it and it hurts like hell and there’s this flash of bright white light, like a flashbulb.  Happened to both eyes right when I stuck that cross in Don’s gut.  Got real cold inside for a second.  Shit like that makes you think.
     Sister Frances.  Fifth grade.  She was pretty cool.  The big-ass cross around her neck, not a little one like the other nuns.  She was the first to not wear the whole habit.  Didn’t have anything covering her head.  The rest of her gear wasn’t even black either.  Light blue.  She walked the whole class—both classes—downtown to see a movie.  2001.  A bunch of monkeys fighting.  Some guy wearing tight pants.  A stewardess walking upside down delivering meals.  A big, black domino-looking thing with no dots.  Cool spaceships, weird music.  A computer named Hal.  She must’ve gone too far in class the next day when she talked to us about the monkey scene, said it had to do with evolution.  Puff pitched a bitch at me about it, said there’s no such thing, that God created everyone and everything just as it is.  She says the Grand Canyon has always looked just the way it does now, that any fossils found in the walls were put there by God for some reason that we’re not supposed to ask about.  To think for even a minute that we used to be apes is enough to send you straight to hell.  “Read the Bible,” she said.
     Puff doesn’t even believe in dinosaurs.  Says the skeletons are just a bunch of old bones scientists dug up and stuck together.  Yeah, no shit.  But they couldn’t find most of the bones, and anything missing they just made out of plaster, made the whole thing look like whatever they wanted it to look like.  She must not have been the only one pissed off.  Sister Frances left after just that one year.  Doing the Lord’s work somewhere else, I guess.
     Me and Doc have been over girls too.  I love ’em.  But they’re hard to get if you don’t have a car or money.  Five bucks allowance, on Friday, right before I go out, spent on smokes and beer, on Friday, right after I go out.  In seventh and eighth, when I had a crush on Tina Alstead and I knew she didn’t like me, I kept on pretending she did.  She wore this silver bracelet every day, with a POW’s name on it.  COL. JOHN P. McABEE.  It looked cool on her, and I guess I was even kind of . . . proud of her or something, but still kind of jealous about it too.  Wearing somebody else’s name on her arm all the time.  She was gonna wear it ’til he came home.  I’d call her up nights, never think of anything to talk about, just sit there for five minutes, ten minutes, hardly saying a damn thing until she finally said she had to go.  Me and Tony dared each other to tell Tina and Carolyn that we loved them.  It took ’til the end of the day, but I did it.  Tina just looked over at Carolyn and said, “Isn’t that sweet?”  Tony only told Carolyn that he liked her a lot.  She got real red and said, “Thank you.”  I used to think Carolyn did kind of like me, and she was cute, and real nice.  But Tina was prettier, and blond, so I liked her instead.  Why do I do that?  Get a thing for a girl who won’t have anything to do with me?  I called a girl in G.T.  Cindy.  Best-looking girl in school.  Smart, popular, but still sweet as hell.  Long, straight hair, hardly any eyebrows at all they’re so blond.  Not too tall, not too short, not too big, not too small.  Just right.  Took forever to get up the nerve, but I gave her a call.  Tried calling for an hour and a half first, and got a busy signal.  When it finally did ring, I wished it’d still been busy.  You could tell it was her just by the way she said “Hello.”  Told her it was Jim Moore, asked if she was going to the football game.  That fuckin’ game at Cummings.  Your voice was shaking too.  You pussy.  You had a crush on her ever since Sellars-Gunn.  I could see her meeting me at the game, us sitting together, maybe holding hands when we left.  When we went out again, I’d give her a little peck on the cheek good night.  She’d be nice as hell, not care that I didn’t have any wheels or money or anything.  I even saw us going to the prom, and I don’t even want to go to the goddamn prom.  Not ’cause I couldn’t rent a tux, but ’cause I don’t dance.  We’d have dated until we graduated, then got married.  Had some kids, been good parents.  You could tell it was her just by the way she said “Hello.”  She said she didn’t know if she was going to the game, and if she did, she’d probably go with somebody else.  You just said OK, hung up.  Maybe twenty seconds total.  At most.  Next day in class, Miss Fairfield asked her to hand back our homework.  Cindy had to ask what your name was before she gave you yours.

I Fell For You

I fell for you
You know it’s true
And it makes me blue
That I fell for you
Fell flat on my face
It’s not a disgrace
I just want a taste
’cause I fell for you
Love at first sight?
I heard love is blind
Doesn’t matter this time
Since I fell for you
Feel I should stay away
I should start it today
But what can I do
You know, I fell for you
I’ll do what I can
Write about you again
Hope it never wears thin
’cause I fell for you

Go Away She Cried

Just go away she cried
I don’t want you here by my side
So just go away she cried
To say I want you would be a lie
Now just go away she cried
Can’t keep these feelings bottled up inside
Just go away she cried

She used to laugh, she used to joke
Now she acts like her spirit’s broke
I thought we stood on solid ground
Now she don’t want me around
What I done, got no idea
But I can’t right the wrong, I fear
Just go away she cried

She just got tired of having me to love
What I got just ain’t enough
Didn’t let on she was letting me go
Just said one thing I had to know
That I’m dead weight, she’s dropping the anchor
Rolled her eyes when I thought to thank her
Said there’s just one thing I got to say
I just want you to go away

Laurie.  In Spanish.  Cute as hell, tiny.  Right after lunch, so I usually got a buzz, and I’ll sit there and look at her crotch and lick my lips.  I’d love to munch out on that sweet thing.  ¡Ay, carámba!  Box lunch at the Y.  Hair pie.  The vertical smile.  Not one of those Asian ones that’s on a slant.  Not that I’d throw one of those out of bed either.  Unless she wanted to fuck on the floor.  Little Laurie, I’d slobber that thing up for you, get it ready for a beef injection.  Yow!  Half of the desks on one side of the room face the other half of the desks on the other side, with an aisle in between.  The rows are angled, so you sort of face the front but more face the middle no matter where you sit.  Laurie and I both sit in the back row, but on opposite sides of the room.  She’ll sit in her desk, turned toward me, leaning against the armrest and the back of the seat with her legs spread a little, that thing aimed right at me.  She can’t know, or she’d never do it.  She’s real nice.  She doesn’t even wear jeans.  Pants, but not jeans.  Always dresses nice, talks real quiet.  One of the smartest in class too.  Never fucks up when she’s got to read a line out loud.  Sometimes I’d swear she looks me right in the eye when I check her out and stop licking long enough to look up at her face.  She even cracks a smile sometimes.  Never does bring those knees together either, so . . . .  Nah, she’d never have anything to do with a head like you.

Give It To Me

You can’t be sweet-talked
You say I can’t talk dirty to you
You say you’ve heard it all
And my approach is nothing new
Don’t like no fast hands
Say that things have to happen slow
Well, I’m just a young man
Who is always ready to go

Give it to me
Got to have it and I got to have it now
So just spread those knees
I’m going down and I’ll show you how

You say you know my game
And that you aren’t going to play
I just want to test my aim
When we’re through you don’t have to stay
So won’t you loosen up
You might even find that you like it
Don’t say you can’t force love
You’ll never know until you have tried it

Give it to me
Got to have it and I got to have it now
So just spread those knees
I’m going down and I’ll show you how

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About Me

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my pen name, tj jude, is spelled EXACTLY like that. All lower-case letters, no punctuation. I write. Here you will find my novel, stain, also spelled in lower case. I post poetry on myspace and facebook. I also do artwork occasionally, mainly oil paintings. I have done some cartoons, a number of which are supposed to appear in this novel, but I have yet to figure out how to post them so that they will remain posted any longer than I am on this blogsite. As soon as I log out and log back in, they are no longer embedded in the text.