Monday, October 26, 2009

stain, Part V

Don’s porno mags.  Stashed in the bottom drawer.  Good for . . .  “contemplatin’ your navel.”  Chokin’ the chicken.  Jackin’ off.  Must’ve been fifth grade when that started.  Sister Frances.  Got to be a hobby real quick.  First thing after school, you’d get home, take a piss, drop your pants around your ankles, sit on the john.  Had to wait for Don to get out first, but then you’d get in there and sit down, start telling yourself you shouldn’t do it.   That you wouldn’t do it.  Even pulled that “it’s a sin” shit, like you couldn’t do it.  Then decide you wouldn’t do it unless it got hard.  If it really needed to be relieved, it would rise to the occasion and then you’d deal with it.  If it didn’t need the attention, you’d leave it alone.  Thing’s always needy.  Stands up every time, yells, “Beat me!”  Start thinking about one of the girls in class, somebody other than Tina, pretend she was pulling up the skirt on her uniform, taking off her little white panties, that she had some peach fuzz going on and she’d park that thing on your leg and rub it around.  You’d cup your balls with your left hand, grab your dick with the right, start stroking, up and down, up and down, with the turtleneck rolling back and forth over the head.  Who’s it gonna be today?   Real slow, up and down, up and down, nice and easy, Carolyn, you sweet thing, taking off your blouse, showing me your pretty little tits, nipples all hard.  Working slow, up to harder and faster, Lindsey, you stuck-up bitch, thinking you’re too damn good for anybody, I know what you need, yeah, it hurts a little, but you like it, don’t you, getting up to hard as hell and real fast, Angie, Angie the pisser, come on, kiss it, put it in your mouth.  No, not you, Tina, you’re not a slut.  Mmm.  Sister?  I never knew . . . .
     A few minutes.  Nobody gets hurt.  Nobody’s disappointed.

Love On A Pedestal

Put my love up on a pedestal
Now it’s way above my head
Said my love is on a pedestal
And it’s got me seeing red

I met you
You were all I ever wanted
But something wasn’t right
I met you
Your were all I ever needed
Then I held to you too tight

Now my love is on a pedestal
And it’s way above my head
Said my love is on a pedestal
I regret the things I did
Been in love
But never like this baby
I just don’t know what to do
Been in love
With so many other ladies
But it’s always fallen through

Said my love is on a pedestal
And it’s way above my head
Now my love is on a pedestal
I regret the things I said

Couldn’t even come at first.  Just got to that point and the balls’d get tight as hell and the dick’d throb but nothing came out.  Hurt like hell really, but felt good too.  When something did come out, it was just a drop on the head.  Scared you, didn’t it?  Thought it was pus.  There’d be cum on the bellies of the sluts in Don’s harder porn, but always black and white pictures and looking like wax or something.  Now you can hit yourself under the chin with a good one.  Then reach back and get a washcloth off the stack on top of the toilet tank.  Be a big line of that nasty shit running down your chest.  On the first load anyway.  If you make a second trip, it’ll be a lot smaller.  Maybe enough to fill your bellybutton.  Can go four, five times, like Saturdays when you got nothing else to do.  That’s when Puff comes banging on the door to get you out.  You’d do it even more, but it gets to where it hurts and hardly anything comes out at all.  You wipe up whatever there is, wet the rag, ball it up, toss it in the hamper.  The weirdest shit in the world too.  Thick as hell when it’s hot, runny when it gets cold.  Magazine sluts always got their legs spread wide and their lips pulled back, showing that big gash.  Looks like a wishbone all spread out like that.  Like, come on and kiss it, Jim.  Flick your tongue over my clit.  Mmm.  Lick me ’til I come on your face.  Stick it up in me, yeah.
     Shit.  Just what I need to have a woody when Doc walks in.
     Plans?  Doc wanted to know my plans.  Don’t have any.  Why make plans?  A waste of time.  The old man’s got no money to send me to school, and I’m not making the grades for a scholarship, so it’s not like there’s a lot of options.  Didn’t even take the SAT.  Why stay sober on a Friday night just to go to school on fuckin’ Saturday without a hangover and take a test?  When I’m out of Williams, I’m done.  Hell, nothing I really want to do could ever work out anyway.  What were you gonna say, that you wanna be a rock star?  You’d actually have to know how to play an instrument, or sing, or at least be able to write some good lyrics.  Bernie Taupin.  That might be cool, make the bucks without having to deal with people looking at you and shit.  Don gave me his copy of Madman Across The Water after Elton said he was queer.  Still won’t let me use the turntable, or play his other albums, but I do anyway whenever he leaves.  He doesn’t even keep ’em in alphabetical order, much less ones he’s got from the same band in the order they came out in.  He’ll leave, I close the door, crank it a little, act like I’m singing.  Make faces I strain so hard, all bowed up pretending I’ve got a microphone.  Like I’m screaming into it, jumping around a little, just no sound coming out.  Even try to breathe at the right time, take breaths between lines or verses.
     Don’t listen to Madman much anymore.  Any Elton.  “Ticking” comes to mind a lot lately.  From Caribou.  Fat Peter’s got that album.  It’s pretty cool for a slow song.  But I usually need more guitars.  The louder the better.  Joe Fuckin’ Perry.  Ted Nugent.  Never could see what one guy sees in another guy, why he’d want to suck a dick or pack some big hairy ass.  My ass is exit only.  It’s still a good album though.  “Indian Sunset.”  I learned to hurl a tomahawk / And ride a painted pony wild.  Cool.  And now you ask that I should watch / The red man’s race be slowly crushed / What kind of words are these to hear / From Yellow Dog who white man fears?  Ol’ Whitey gets ragged on a lot these days.  Women, niggers.  Like he’s the reason for all the problems in the world, for all the problems ever.  You’d think being white and a guy means you got everything.  Bullshit.  It’s never been enough to just be white and a guy.  You got to have that third thing too.  Money.  Property.  Power.  Just as important.  That’s when you’re somebody.  That’s when you call the shots.  The old man never had shit.  Neither will I.
     Women should be able to do whatever the hell they want.  I got nothing against the Equal Rights Amendment.  You want to work, work.  Glad Puff does, or she’d be home giving me hell.  You want an abortion, fine.  There’d be less kids born that nobody wants.  Puff calls it murder, but that’s bullshit.  You’re not really a baby ’til you come out.  And then you got to start breathing.  The old man said how Puff had a stillborn after me.  Went all the way through being pregnant, then had a dead baby instead of a live one.  No birth certificate, no funeral, no grave.  It just never lived.  And if it never lived, then I didn’t kill it.  You can’t kill something that never was alive.  If it’s only a couple months old and still inside you, it’s not a real baby.  You can’t murder anybody who never was somebody.  Just those that are already living.  Goddamn it.


Puff couldn’t have kids after me.  She thinks that’s the only reason to have sex.  The old man’s got his own room.
     Hello, I’m Louise Brown.  I’m the test-tube baby.  Talk about just killing a baby before it’s really even a baby, what about just making one?  Is that right?  They’re even trying to get this one woman to have a baby for another woman.  Get a husband and wife to donate the egg and the jizz to make a baby in the lab, then put it in some other woman and make her pregnant.  A surrogate mother.  Since the one woman can’t have kids herself.

Surrogate Soul

In search of reason
By way of rhyme
No act of treason
Committed no crime
Born out of season
Wrong place, wrong time
Love like a lesion
Subliminally sublime

Of flesh and blood I am made
Constructed much the same as any man
The words I use
The moves I make
Things I love
Things I hate
All aspects of life
Become trivial and trite
When man is controlled
By a surrogate soul

Depression is easy
Live alone in a shell
Personalities change
At times of heaven
At others of hell
Aggression no answer
Violence no cure
War man’s prescription
Perish now on your sword

A man from Nazareth
Once walked on this earth
Offering life, receiving death
Born of a virgin?
Asked man to be born again
Put your faith in the word
Stop this living in sin
Man with ears
Still cannot hear
Man under control
Of a surrogate soul

Women want to go to college?  No reason why they shouldn’t.  Be glad when I’m done with school, but if somebody wants more of that shit, go for it.  Niggers should do whatever they want too.  As long as it’s legal.  But why do they got to burn shit down, fuck shit up in riots?  Martin Luther King didn’t.  Always their own fuckin’ neighborhood too.  Some even say they should all get guns and kill honkies.  Fuck you.  Go back to Africa if you don’t like it here.  Sound like the fuckin’ Klan.  You really want to kill somebody, you don’t deserve to live here, Klan, nigger, or anything else.  You really want to kill somebody, you don’t deserve to live period.  I don’t care how bad you got it, killing ain’t the answer.  Your Black Power bullshit ain’t gonna make you no friends.  Fuckin’ Malcolm X calling us white devils.  What if I called you a black devil?  Then I’m racist?  What the hell are you?  Other than a dead nigger.  By your own fuckin’ kind too.  Took a dumb redneck to blow King away.  Fuck you and your militant bullshit.  Whitey’s evil for judging you by the color of your skin?  Right.  Man, if somebody is oppressed or repressed or depressed or whatever, but they really just want to turn the tables, to be on top instead, they’re no better than the ones holding ’em down to begin with.  Worse even.  Like if you were a slave, and you got freed, then you wanted a slave of your own?  You should know better than to pull the same shit.  Do you want equality or do you want revenge?  To hell with you.  King might’ve had to put up with some shit, but he didn’t really take any shit, and he didn’t fuck any shit up either.  That’s cool, but you and your kind, X, can kiss my white ass.
     I didn’t fuck the whole world up.  What’ve I done that’s so bad?  I mean—  I mean shit like the Indians.  Or the slaves.  That was a hundred years ago.  More.  We never had slaves.  No black alive today ever was a slave, or a white who ever owned one.  Doubt Puff’s folks way back when ever could’ve afforded any.  And the old man’s family never had shit to speak of either, and they lived way the hell up in Michigan.  Never once even heard him say "nigger."  The old lady does, but not in a bad way.  She told some lady at church about this black woman from work, said, “She’s such a good nigger.”  Me and Don used to call each other nigger all the time when we’d get pissed off.  There was nothing worse than being called black.  But I’d never call a nigger that to their face or anything.  Even voted for Clarence for Student Body President.  He says he’s an Oreo, but he’s still black.  I could’ve voted for somebody white.  I’ve even been at parties where one of those Enochs from the football team was there.  If he was toasting a doob and handed it to me, I’d hit it.  I wouldn’t even wipe off the end first.  Not if he was looking.
     There’s all kinds of people at school.  That Checci guy from Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia or wherever.  Always smiling.  Always.  And Anwar from Egypt.  Smart as hell.  Surya from India.  He even eats hamburgers.  Lupé from wherever the hell she’s from.  A bunch of different people from a bunch of different places.  And every one of ’em glad to be here.  If they wanted to go back home, they could.  But they don’t.  They want to live here.  If you don’t, then fuckin’ leave.


That black funeral a couple years ago.  Dwight, a grade ahead at Blessed Sacrament, died while they were operating on him for a hernia.  Tony Griggs called and told me, asked if I wanted to go to the funeral.  His mom took us.  Man, that church was packed.  We were the only white people there.  Stood in this little room off to one side of the altar ’cause there wasn’t any room out where the pews were.  Never seen anything like it.  Not just crying, but wailing and shit, bawling out loud right there in front of everybody, shouting “Amen!” and “Hallelujah!”  They didn’t even care they were in church.  Me and Tony didn’t say shit the whole time.  Didn’t even get to see Dwight.  The coffin was open in front of the altar, but there was too many people for us to get out there.  Got some dirty looks too.  Fuck you.  We knew Dwight from kindergarten, when he was in first.  We played at recess every fuckin’ day.  We were all just kids who had to dress alike for eight or nine years.  He’d have wanted us to be there.
     Fuck it, man.  Judging from History classes, whatever color you are, wherever the hell you come from, if you look back, you’ll see you were fighting your own kind, or making slaves out of ’em, or fighting somebody else in a war, and maybe making slaves out of them.  Something.  Jews were white slaves, working for Egyptians, and they’re kind of black.  Germans and Jews are both white, but they don’t get along.  The Indians raped and killed each other before Whitey came over and discovered ’em.  Black tribes in Africa would even eat the guys they killed.  North and South Vietnam.  North Korea and South Korea.  The same kind of people in the same goddamn countries.  And tiny little countries too.  Not big like us, even back in the Civil War.  It’s harder to get along when you’ve got so many people.
     Puff was ragging on the old man to me once and said that “Moore” was really just a form of “Moor” which means black.  Like the old man’s part nigger.  Maybe I’ve never so much as seen a picture of any grandparents or anything, since they were all dead before I was born, but I bet they were all white as hell, and their parents and grandparents before ’em.  I guess you did see Puff’s mother that one time.  The day she died.  She was in a bed somewhere.  A nursing home, I guess, and we were all standing around looking at her.  Me and Don, the old man and Puff, Aunt Elsie and Uncle John.  She was all shriveled up and moaning, no teeth, stringy gray hair.  They made me and Don go out and play right after we got there.  I don’t think Don was even in kindergarten yet.  I barely remember it, but I remember it.  One of the first things I do remember.  Her dying.
     They showed on TV about how there were separate water fountains and bathrooms and stuff for blacks.  Seems weird, but it wasn’t that long ago.  I was living, even if I can’t remember it.  Blacks couldn’t eat at the lunch counter and had to ride in the back of a bus.  They can do whatever they want now though.  Can make hundreds of thousands of dollars just playing ball.  Get rich just for being a fuckin’ athlete.  What the hell would you be if you’d never left Africa?  Probably be starving to death or dying of some disease or getting eaten by some animal or some other tribe.  Whitey might not have meant to do you any favors bringing you over here, but he did in the long run.  Even though you couldn’t cut it as slaves, slavery worked out pretty well for you after all.
     Besides, if it’s bad to buy a slave, isn’t it even worse to sell one?  And even worse than that if you’re selling your own kind, and then for a few beads or something?  Sure, Whitey was in on it, but he wasn’t alone.  He didn’t invent it.  He might’ve been the best at it—or worst, depending how you look at it—but he didn’t invent the shit.  Africans had slaves for themselves before they ever started selling ’em to us.  Indians were killing Indians long before Columbus ever came over.  In ninth, Mrs. Hightower even taught us about how there’s still a lot of slave trade records around, and how they show that white people almost never had to round up slaves for themselves.  They just bought prisoners from different tribes.
     That shit at the Olympics with blacks not putting their hands over their hearts for the anthem.  Raising their fists instead.  Hell, if slave owners hadn’t bred your ancestors, you wouldn’t be such good athletes now.  And there’s got to be a little white blood in there too, somewhere along the way.  Bet that helped.  If not, why doesn’t Africa sweep the Olympics every time with all of its pure breeds?  Some white guy pairing off your parents and putting a little of himself into the mix made you what you are today.  You should be thankful.
     Fuck it.  I’m sick of the guilt.  The old man or the old lady or the nuns or the priests or somebody else always looking down their nose at me, telling me I’m to blame for something or everything.  I don’t need the rap for something that’s not my fault.  I didn’t do it, goddamn it.  I didn’t.  Hell, if I ever even got to eat out, I’d rather sit in a booth than at the counter anyway.  The one time I rode on a bus, when Puff sent me and Don up to Salisbury to stay with Aunt Elsie and Uncle John for a week one summer, I rode in the back ’cause I wanted to.
     That black kid outside of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Looked about my age.  We were sitting at a stoplight, I was in the back seat looking out at him.  I was jealous, ’cause he had a whole bucket of that shit, and I’d never even had a piece of the Colonel’s.  Turned out, it was really an empty bucket, and he was pulling bones from the trash to fill it with.  Didn’t look like he even cared if anybody was watching.  Maybe he’d have been better off staying in Africa.  Wouldn’t have been any worse off anyway.

One Goal

Is there not one goal
Towards which we all can strive
One goal
Must we take others’ lives
In a world splashed with colors
Religions and creeds
One goal
Must exist for all needs

How many children will starve overnight
How many die ’cause their color’s not right
How many lives governed by the hands of a few
How many realize what’s long overdue

One goal
Towards which we all can strive
One goal
Must we take others’ lives
In a world splashed with colors
Religions and creeds
One goal
Must exist for all needs

Aunt Elsie and Uncle John.  Those two stay mad at each other.  One Christmas, Aunt Elsie’d put out a bowl of pecans for everybody to munch on.  When Uncle John saw ’em on the counter, he asked if they were the same ones she’d bought at the store.  She said yeah, and he got all pissed, said he’d told her before that some of ’em tasted rotten.  She just rolled her eyes, said they weren’t all bad, and that we could just be careful eating ’em.  He said, “Woman, if some of ’em are bad, then throw them all away!”  She didn’t though.  I didn’t eat any.


     That time Aunt Elsie didn’t know I was around, she told Uncle John his memory was about as short as his pecker.  He was all out of joint ’cause the parakeet had got outside again and was loose in the backyard.  The cage was in the kitchen, with the door always open so it could fly around.  It would eat and shit and sleep in the cage, but perch damn near anywhere else.  It got out more than a few times, when somebody came in or went out and it would fly right at your head and on out the door before you could close it.  Uncle John would just about lose it every time, bitch about the bird flying around loose in the first place, act like he hated the damn thing, but at the same time be all worried that it would fly off and get killed.  Aunt Elsie’d just go out in the yard, grab the hose, douse that little son of a bitch with water.  It’d drop to the ground and flop around, not be able to fly it was so wet.  Then she’d lay a dishtowel over it, scoop it up and carry it back in.  All the time rolling her eyes, shaking her head at Uncle John.  Country fuckin’ bumpkins.  But good people.  Both worked at Cannon Mills, making towels, ’til they retired.  They just farm now.
     Hippies had the right idea.  Farming on a commune, everybody working for what they eat.  The old man hated ’em, but they were cool.  Getting high, getting laid.  Peace, man.  What’s wrong with that?  Have a sit-in, not a riot.  Or a bed-in.  Like Lennon.  He’s cool.  I don’t know what he sees in Yoko, but if that’s what trips his trigger, more power to him.  Power to the people right on.  I’d like to be like him, or maybe just . . . be a friend of his or something, somebody who could hang out with him.  Not for his fame or money.  Just be cool like him, talk with him.  Maybe he could help me with my lyrics, teach me to play guitar.

Gone Hollywood

Wings on the water
Chasing a rainbow
Touched by the stone hands of love
Wings on the water
I ain’t getting nowhere
I think I’ve had me enough
I’m gonna make a call
Round up the boys
Get up the band
And start making some noise

Then you can look for me under the sign
That reads Hollywood and Vine
’cause that is where I’m gonna be
I’m gonna rope you with my lariat
We’ll ride off inside my chariot
The main attraction, the only sight to see

I’m gone Hollywood
Don’t wanna be misunderstood
I got the devil right by the hooves
I’m gone Hollywood
Gone Hollywood
Listen to me and listen good
Best get to gettin’ while the gettin’s good
I’m gone Hollywood

Wings on the water
Chasing a rainbow
Touched by the stone hands of love
Wings on the water
I ain’t getting nowhere
I think I’ve had me enough
I’m gonna make a call
Round up the boys
Get up the band
And start making some noise

I spy a camera and strike up a pose
Shoveling cocaine into my nose
In the city of angels, the city of sin
Influenced by alcohol
Telling myself that I’m having a ball
Wings on the water, I’m getting nowhere again
I’m gone Hollywood
Don’t wanna be misunderstood
I got the devil right by the hooves
I’m gone Hollywood
Gone Hollywood
Listen to me and listen good
Best get to gettin’ while the gettin’s good
I’m gone Hollywood

Opie came running out on the front porch yelling, “It’s Mr. Frisbee, the egg man!”  I thought Lennon was the Egg Man.  And the Walrus.  Koo koo kichoo.
     I used to think maybe I’d like to be a writer.  Not one of those boring-ass English fucks we had to read in G.T., but somebody like that guy who wrote the book about Holden Caulfield.  Blew me away.  We never even had anything as dirty as Shakespeare in Catholic school, no black rams tupping any white ewes or anything.  Man, I was pulling for Iago.  Desdemona shouldn’t have been fucking a nigger anyway, but Iago just about had everything work out.  He was just so close.  In Catcher In The Rye, the guy’s cussing and talking about farts and getting drunk all the time.  I never even knew books like that existed.  The old lady would’ve killed me if she’d known I was reading it, if she’d known what all was in it.
     I got no plans.  Told Doc I just didn’t have any right now.  You can never really even know if you have a future, so why bother makin’ pla—  There’s the door.  Finally.
     “Sorry to keep you waiting, Jim.”  Doc picks up his pad, heads over to his desk, starts shuffling papers around, opens and shuts a couple drawers.  Wonder what he’s looking for?  Ha!  He walks back to the chair and checks down in the cushion.  Maybe can’t find your pencil, Doc?  “We’ll be ready in just a minute, Jim.  Please be patient.”
     “No problem.”  I be patient, you be doctor.  Me Tarzan, you Jane.  Where wishbone, Jane?  
“I’ve just been gettin’ comfortable.”  What else’ve I got to do?  Doc, you really do need to get some new shoes.  Them tassels scream homo.  Now he’s heading back to his desk.  Man, we’ve spent I don’t even know how many sessions going over all that kind of shit.  Don’t know how much more time we can waste on it.  Not ready to move on to . . . to anything . . . deeper.  He says whatever we discuss is strictly confidential, but I don’t know if I can buy that.  It’s not like what’s bugging me is anything simple.  Like, “Oooh, Mommy doesn’t love me,” or, “Daddy beats me.”  Get over it already.  Who doesn’t have little shit like that to deal with?
     Doc’s sitting down.  He brought a good ol’ number two with him.  Set the timer.  Only forty minutes?  Fine.  I’d just as soon get the hell out of here anyway.
     “How are you feeling today, Jim?”  He asks that every time.
     “Fine, I guess.”  So you lie.  Still kind of hung over.
     “Do you remember where we left off last time?”
     “Uh . . . nah . . . I don’t think so.”  Hell, how am I supposed to remember?  He’ll flip through his pad like he’s gonna find out.  Man, why’d you have to ask if I believe in God?  That’s been bouncing around my head ever since.  I go to mass, but I got no choice about that.  And, yeah, I’ve even read some of the old lady’s Bible, but not for any good reason.
     “Well, why don’t we just start fresh, Jim?”  Knew he wouldn’t find anything.  “What would you like to talk about today?”
     “Nothin’ in particular.”  That got him flipping pages.  He’ll try to find something old to hash up.  Oooh, hash.  Under glass.  Stick a straight pin through a pack of matches so that you can lay the pack flat on a table and the pin will be sticking straight up.  Mount a big ol’ chunk of hash on the end of the pin, light it, blow it out when it gets going like a piece of incense, cover it with an 
upside-down glass.  A clear one, so you can see it filling up with smoke.  When it gets full, nice and white, put your mouth down there, tilt the glass up a crack, suck the smoke out real quick, close it and let it fill again.  RUSH.
     In one of the readings at church, Father Connolly was talking about the flood.  Only he was saying that Noah had seven pairs of animals that were “clean” ones and then one pair that was “unclean.”  I always thought there was just the one pair of each.  Looked it up.  There’s two versions of the story.  One does just mention one pair of animals.  Think that’s the one we usually got at mass when one of the old priests read that story.  Monsignor O’Brien and his cigar took his mother off to start a church in Wilmington after they built ours.  Father Bowman was around just long enough to talk Coach Plummer’s wife into running off with him.  Father Carr had already taken Sister Beverly Ann off in his convertible with the new paint job.  All of them must’ve used to read the version with just two of every animal, but Father Connolly read the other one.  Guess it’s got all the extra animals for Noah to eat and sacrifice and shit.
     “Yes, here we are.  Your mother says you’ve been having nightmares.  Is that true?”
     Shit.  Caught me with my pants down there, Doc.  “Well . . . uh . . . yeah . . . I guess so.”  So she does talk to him.  What the hell’d she have to tell him that for?  How the hell’d she know anyway?
     “Would you like to tell me about them?”
     “Uh . . . sure.”  Last thing in the world I want to do.  “Not sure where to start though.”
     A couple quick knocks.  The door opens.  The secretary’s head.  “Call for you, Doctor.”
     Doc jumps up, drops his pad and the number two in his chair.  “Sorry, Jim.  I really need to take this.  I won’t be a minute.”
     “OK.”  You’re talking to his back.  “No problem.”  Now you’re talking to the door.  Don’t suppose I should stop the timer there for you, Doc, huh?  Fuckin’ old lady.  Talking behind my back.  Jesus Christ.  The creation story’s got two different versions in her Bible too.  And with David and Goliath, in one place it talks about how Goliath was bad-mouthing the Israel guys and they were all too pussy to do anything.  Then this kid David comes along and hears him talking shit and really fucks him up.  Cuts his head off after he hits him with the rock.  But later on there’s this list of David’s heroes.  One of ’em is called the guy who killed Goliath.  That’s the day Puff walked in on me.  I haven’t read anymore.  Seems the guys who wrote those stories couldn’t keep the facts straight.  Or they just made it up as they went along.  The nuns used to tell us that they were prophets or saints or something, and God told ’em what to write down, but it seems like God could’ve told ’em the same thing every time, and not changed it.  Why’d he even have to tell it twice?  If it’s just the same story, why have ’em both in there like they’re both holy or something?  Besides, if somebody was to tell me that God’d been talking to him and telling him to write stuff down . . . .  Let’s just say I’d have to keep my distance from that son of a bitch.  Maybe I really wanted to know more than just what the deal was with Noah and his how-many-ever pairs of animals, but all I got was more questions.  Hell, I don’t know what the fuck I was thinking anyway.  It’s just a damn book.
     There sure was a whole lot of killing going on back then, and God was doing most of it.  Or at least letting it happen, when people pissed Him off.  No wonder the old lady says He’s not some doting grandfather.  He didn’t put up with any shit, that’s for sure.  Fuckin’ vicious.  Almost makes me want to just keep on living, ’cause He sure as hell won’t be giving you any breaks when you die.  Whenever you die.  And if He’s for real.

The Raven And The Dove

The darkness can seduce you
And overtake your soul
It can override your senses
And overtake control
And I’ve been down that road
So many times before
And I know I will return
Because it leaves you wanting more

I’ve flown with the raven
And I’ve flown with the dove
Raised hell from down below
Prayed to heaven up above

Lay fallen in the tunnel
And I strain to see the light
I wander in a jungle
Travel only at night
Can’t see where it is I’m going
Feel I’ve been this way before
Yeah, the light it keeps me running
But the darkness keeps me poor

I’ve flown with the raven
And I’ve flown with the dove
Raised hell from down below
Prayed to heaven up above

How far must I run
How will I know when my journey’s done
How high must I fly
Where will it take me when I die

Maybe the old lady’s got Don in on it.  He spying on me?  Fuckin’ rat.
     A lot of killing in her Bible.  Things are great, we start pissing God off, He kills a bunch of people to put everybody back in line, things go back to being great until we piss Him off again.  Then more killing and dying.  Like all those wars in History.  Last year, Mr. Troxler showed us film of the concentration camps.  What the hell’s so bad about being a Jew?  Jesus.  I used to think about how six hundred thousand guys got killed in the Civil War, and that blew me away.  But then six million Jews get gassed or whatever.  Fuck.  War is hell.

Blood On The Flag

Shot from the saddle in the heat of the battle
The wounded cry as the cannons roar
Load up my musket, fire into the line
Men drop like flies but keep coming for more
I’ve seen the Union blues, the sky is Confederate gray
I’ll give my life for General Lee
Kill or be killed, they die or you’re dead
Man killing man because it’s wrong to enslave them

Now there’s blood on the flag
Brother against brother, it’s one thing or another
But now there’s blood on the flag
With no rhyme or reason, killing’s always in season
And now there’s blood on the flag

Hit by an arrow that flew straight and narrow
The howl of braves makes blood run cold
Load up my rifle, fire when one’s in sight
They’re well outnumbered but well more than bold
We depleted their herds, ran them off of their land
Now they dare to try and avenge this
Kill or be killed, they die or you’re dead
Fight for the land, it’s all ours if we take it

Now there’s blood on the flag
Brother against brother, it’s one thing or another
But now there’s blood on the flag
With no rhyme or reason, killing’s always in season
And now there’s blood on the flag

Jumped from the chopper as shells hit and dropped ’er
War is killing, killing is fun
Loaded with ammo, fire if something moves
Behind enemy lines it’s just me and my gun
I’m here to do battle, though I’m not sure quite why
Good soldiers don’t ask any questions
Kill or be killed, they die or you’re dead
War never ends, we just change the location

Now there’s blood on the flag
Brother against brother, it’s one thing or another
But now there’s blood on the flag
With no rhyme or reason, killing’s always in season
And now there’s blood on the flag

All those Jews weren’t even soldiers either, but just regular people.  We read some of Anne Frank’s diary too.  That was an innocent kid getting killed, and for what?  I mean—  That’s just an example.  Good, Doc’s back.
     “I’m sorry, Jim.  That shouldn’t happen again.  Really, I apologize.”  He sits back down and gets his foot going.
     “No big deal.”  You’re just getting paid so I can lie here on the couch.  Give me a TV and I might as well be at home.  I still can’t believe Barney used an inkblot on Otis.
     “Let’s see.  Your mother says you’ve been having nightmares?”
     “Yeah, I guess.”  The old lady says most people go straight to hell when they die.  A very few get to go straight to heaven, people who’re like saints and shit.  Some just have to go to purgatory before they get to go to heaven, because they weren’t too bad and God’s good enough to let ’em off easy in purgatory, even though we’re practically all sinners who deserve to go straight to hell.  Even babies, man.  They’re sinners when they’re born.  They have to be baptized so they can get their sin washed off of ’em.  Even if you’re some kind of native or something who never even heard of Jesus, you still couldn’t get past purgatory.  You just wouldn’t have to go to hell at all.  Used to have to sit on her bed and say rosaries.  A Hail Mary for every little bead, an Our Father for the big ones.  Me and Don’d take turns with the Hail Marys, we’d all say the Our Fathers.  Five Hail Marys, one Our Father.  Five more Hail Marys, another Our Father.  Five more, one more, five more, one more.  When we finally finished, she’d pray for a glass of water for everybody in purgatory.
     Fuckin’ Don spit on her Bible once.  I saw a few sheets of notebook paper on his bed.  He’d been writing, “I will not spit on the Bible” over and over, like if you got caught at school doing something and had to write on the board.
     Asked Puff about Gandhi once.  We learned about him and he seemed to be pretty good, and she was preaching and I wanted to shut her up or at least hear something worth listening to.  I thought he’d have got to go straight to heaven.  He said it took a lot more guts to stand in front of a cannon with a smile on your face than it took to stand behind a cannon and blow the smile off the fucker standing in front of you.  Puff just shook her head at me like I was stupid, said you have to be Christian to go to heaven.  It’s best if you’re Catholic, ’cause they’re the best Christians, but you’ve got to at least be some kind of Christian.  People who commit suicide go straight to hell forever, no questions ask—
     “Jim.  About your dreams.”
     “Oh, yeah, well, I’m not sure where to start.  I mean, the dreams are . . . they’re really all kinda . . . about the same . . . thing.”
     “And what is that?”
     None of your goddamn business is what.  Kids.  Dying.  Me just sitting there and watching it happen.  “Uh, they’re about . . . .”  Pull something out of your ass, man, and quick.  “They’re about . . . about the night . . . the night . . . it was one night last fall . . . the night . . . the night of the game.”  Hell, that’s the truth too.  It really was that night.  “The . . . the football game.  Williams Cummings.  You know, the big cross-town rivalry and all.”
     “Of course.  I’m well aware of those games, Jim.  I’m usually there.  I was there, as I imagine many of the people in town were.  I believe the Bulldogs beat the Cavaliers by a late field goal.  A great one, that was.  I take it you went as well.  You must have been happy with the outcome.”
     “Well, we were supposed to go.  I guess I wish we had gone now.”
     “Yeah.  Me ’n . . . me ’n . . . Swade.”
     “Suede?  Did you say Suede?”
     “Yeah.  It’s . . . it’s kind’ve a nickname.  Well, it was.  I called him that.  He didn’t like it.”  Which is exactly why I called him that.
     “I see.  And you two were supposed to go to the game?”
     “Well, he told his parents we were goin’, but . . . .”  Man, this couch sucks.  I never really noticed how uncomfortable it is.  Uh oh.  He’s tapping the number two.
     “But what, Jim?”
     But what?  But what?  Man, if you only knew.  There goes the pencil again.
     “Listen, Jim.  Why don’t you just start at the beginning?  Tell me how that night began.  Try to relax.  Close your eyes if that seems to be helpful for you.  Just take your time, ease into it, tell me everything that happened as you remember it.  What were you doing when that night began?”
     “Oh.  OK.  Let’s see.  I was sittin’ on the front porch at my house, over on Glenwood Avenue.  It’s the block between Rich & Thompson's Funeral Home and Pine Hill Cemetery.  A real jumpin’ neighborhood, you know?”
     “Go on.”
     “Yeah.  Well, anyway, I was sittin’ there in this old wicker chair, waitin’ for my ride.  Swade.  I remember the chair was kinda rockin’ under me while I was wrappin’ a rubber band around my ponytail.  See, the chair’s only got three good legs.  There’s an upside-down flowerpot where the fourth one used’ta be.  I don’t know why the folks don’t get rid of that thing.  I mean, it’s ugly as hell, and—
     “Jim, I don’t think the chair is that important.”
     “Oh.”  You’re the one who wanted details, Doc.  “Well, I was just sittin’ there, and . . . uh . . . I heard this noise, this . . . skritch.  A rake on a sidewalk.  Across the street, three houses up, Mr. Shanahan was rakin’ leaves from his front yard into a pile at the curb.”  It was a pretty big pile too.  He’d always wait ’til the trees were bare and then rake just the one time.  Those big orange trucks the city sends out vacuum up the piles.  They grind branches too if they aren’t too big to—  There goes the foot.  Uh huh, now the tapping.
     “Jim, Mr. Shanahan was raking his yard.”
     “Yeah.  Sorry.  Yeah, he was, uh, rakin’ the leaves into a pile.  Made me think about how me and Don . . . how we used’ta . . . .”  We’d use an old sheet to haul leaves out to the curb.  Lay it down, rake the leaves from a section of the yard onto it, grab up the corner—  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Tap, tap, tap.
     “You were reminded of Don.”
     “Yeah.  You remember Don?  My brother?  We talked about him before.”
     “I remember, Jim.”
     What the hell you so testy for?  You should be used to this by now.  “Well, we used’ta . . . we used’ta . . . build forts in leaf piles like that when . . . when we were kids.  We’d hollow out the center, duck down, wait for a car to drive by . . . .”  Shit!  This ain’t gonna be easy.
     “Go on, Jim.”
     Go on, JimGet in touch with your emotions, Jim.  Bite my ass, Doc.  “We’d . . . we’d hollow out the center, see, and then wait for a car . . . then . . . then we’d . . . we’d jump up and shoot at it like we had machine guns, you know?  We . . . .”  Damn it!  I don’t want to cry in front of this guy.  Fuck my emotions.  Be a man, goddamn it.  And don’t start tapping that damn pencil again either.  “We . . . we were just kids, you know, just a coupla dumb kids.  We didn’t know any better.  We just didn’t know . . . .”
     “It’s all right, Jim.  You’re doing fine.  Mr. Shanahan was raking his yard.”
     “Yeah.  OK.  Yeah, he was rakin’.  Well, he finished his pile, hacked that filterless Camel cough of his, spit in the leaves.”  Mr. Shanahan flicked a butt in the road one time.  I went and picked it up after he’d gone in.  The end was real wet.  I took a drag.  I didn’t know how to inhale—I couldn’t have been more than five or six—and I just sucked it straight down like air.  Talk about coughing.  Tap, tap, tap.  “Uh, Mr. Shanahan stood the rake up against the tree in fronta his house and went wheezin’ inside.”  He used to yell at me and Don for climbing that tree.  We’d try to sneak a peek in Teri’s room.  Sweet little Teri.  He’d threaten to—  Shit.  Stay focused.
     “Uh, that’s when the blue Cordoba turned the corner.  I got up, jumped the three steps from the porch to the sidewalk, headed out to the road.  I heard the engine kick in, looked up and saw Swade plow his mom’s car right through Mr. Shanahan’s leaves.  He crossed the street, pulled up to the curb in fronta the house, rolled his window down, stuck his skinny white arm out and plucked a leaf from the corner of the windshield.  I just stared at him, shook my head as I walked around to the other side of the car.”  Hell, can’t help shaking it now just thinking about it.
     “He was there to pick you up for the game?”
     “Well, that’s what his parents thought anyway.  We didn’t really plan on goin’.”
     “I see.  What did you two have planned?”
     “Nothin’ much.  We were just gonna mess around.”
     “I see.  Well, why don’t you tell me a little about . . . Suede, was it?”
     “Swade?  OK.  Yeah, well, let’s see.  He had this dumb grin.  Crooked teeth.  His hair was short, parted on the side.  He always wore those straight-leg Levi’s—and not even pre-washed either, but those stiff, dark blue things—with these stupid cuffs rolled on the legs.  Old leather Docksides and no socks, I don’t care how cold it was.  Had this T-shirt with a yellow smiley face with a bloody bullet hole in the forehead.  He’s a real . . . I mean, he was a real . . . .”  This sucks.  Maybe I’ll just let Doc catch up, wait ’til he quits taking no—
     “Why do you make it a point to refer to him in the past tense?”
     “Oh.  Well, because . . . ’cause . . . because he’s dead.”
     “I see.”
     Man, you wrote that down quick.
     “How did that happen, Jim?”
     “He . . . he wrecked the car.  They said he got thrown from it.  Through the windshield.”  I heard they had to pull some of his teeth out of a tree.
     “That’s tragic.  When did this happen?”
     Tragic?  Tragic my ass.  He deserved worse, Doc.  He deserved a lot worse.  “Uh . . . it was that night.  After . . . after we’d gone . . . out.”
     “So you were not in the car at the time of the accident?”
     “No.  Not at the time of—  No, I wasn’t in the car then.”
     “Well, it’s lucky for you that you weren’t.”
     Flipping the page already?  Lot of notes today, Doc?  “Yeah, I’m just lucky I guess.”
     “By your description, I gather that you didn’t care much for this boy, yet you went out with him anyway.  Why was that?”
     Boy, huh?  That what you think of me too?
     “Jim, why did you go out with him?”
     “Well, he had a car, and I needed to get outta the house.”
     “You needed to get out of the house?”
     “Well, let’s just say that I really wanted to.”
     “Fine.  We can come back to that.  Let’s continue with the events of that night.”
     “Well, Swade pulled up, I opened the door and got in.”

“Swade, man, what the hell’dya do that for?  Old man Shanahan just finished rakin’ those leaves.  Fucker looked like he was gonna drop dead in the pile.”
     “Hell, I dunno.  Somethin’ to do.  And don’t call me that . . . Jimmy.”
     “Lay off that ‘Jimmy’ shit, man.  It’s Jim.”
     “Yeah, and my name’s Wade, dickless.”
     “You better feel again.”
     “Fuck you.”
     “You better think again.  You ain’t man enough to pull that shit off.”
     “Kiss my ass.”
     “That’d take a while, ’cause you’re all ass.”
     “Fuck you.”

“Swade’d asked his parents for the car so we could go to the game.  Biggest game of the year, they wouldn’t let us miss it.  He could get the car pretty much whenever he wanted anyway, but it was always nice to have a good reason, especially with his folks.”
     “And why was that?”
     “You couldn’t trust ’em.”
     “How so?”
     “Well, he’d tell ’em he was gonna spend the night at somebody’s house, but then they’d call over there to check out his story.  Or . . . well, I’ve stayed at Swade’s, and . . . this one time we snuck out the window in his room, but they came in to check on us before going to bed.  Then they waited up for us, busted us sneakin’ back in.  Nosy f—  I mean . . . .  You couldn’t do anything with them around.”  At least I can count on Puff and the old man not to check up on me.
     “They just sound like concerned parents.”
     Overly concerned, more like it.  Fuckin’ nosy.  “Well, since it was Friday, not a school night, I didn’t need permission to go out.  I just had’ta be in by eleven.  So I didn’t tell my folks anything.  I just left.  I mean, I got my license, but they’d never let me use either one of the cars, so I don’t bother askin’.  I just get somebody to come pick me up, and then leave.”  The only guy I know who’s got a curfew.  At least one before midnight.  Fuckin’ sucks.  Embarrassing.  Fuckin’ kids shouldn’t be allowed out late.  You should get them in before dark, but . . . .  I’m not a kid.
     “I remember the street lights were just comin’ on when I got in.  That little flicker and buzz thing they do.  At the stop sign—where Glenwood runs into Main Street—Swade kinda slapped me on the arm with the back of his fingers.  You know, just tryin’ to get my attention.”
     “I understand.”
     “He wanted to know if I was . . .”
     “If you were what?”
     “To find out if I had . . .”
     “If you had what?”

“Hey, man.  You able to get any weed off your brother?”

“To find out . . . if I had . . . to find out if I had any . . . smoke.”  Can’t believe you just said that.  Shit, bet he’ll write it down.  “Uh, you sure this won’t be gettin’ back to my parents, right?”
     “As I’ve told you before, Jim, whatever we discuss here is strictly between us.  Don’t hold back for fear of me telling anyone anything.  Besides, I’m quite familiar with ‘smoke.’  I did live through the ’60s.”
     “Yeah?  Cool.  I just wondered if I should be . . . . censorin’.”

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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.