mostly blood and bones and pain

diary of a professional antagonist

Tag Archives: Women

My First Wife

I met her on Alcatraz. Her name was Nancy. To date, our marriage remains the most expensive hour of my life.

At the time, I was still what I now consider young and had just experienced the second major loss of my life, my old man, ‘Burt’. He owned a construction company that had seen its fair share of troubles over the decades. Our relationship was testy at times. I was considered soft because as a teenager I took a few acting classes and preferred a pen to a chisel, but in truth, mano y mano, Burt wasn’t up to much, and so I became useful whenever an angry client came by the house to settle up. I’d step in, turn on the water works in frantic despair, and wail pitifully until sympathy trumped vengeance.

In the year leading up to Burt’s death my mother passed away and an apartment complex he erected collapsed, killing one person. He received a suicide note from some poor bastard who lost everything as a result of the same incident. All these things add up, I guess.

Even though I hated construction, Burt left the company to me when he hammered his last nail. He was well known, and his picture was in all the papers when he passed, so, given that I knew nothing about the business – which projects were active, who worked there, how to get an outside line on the office phone – I hopped on the first flight out of town, drank most of the way and arrived in San Francisco out of my mind.

My limited knowledge of San Francisco told me that it was full of hills, hippies and homos. I could have shacked up anywhere given the inheritance, but ended up taking a room in some dive in the Tenderloin area. Even back then it was a shit-hole area. A lobotomized geriatric checked me in to my room and told me that breakfast was a noun before staring at me for a solid minute after I made the mistake of laughing.

A sourdough bowl of chowder later, my stomach begged me for something normal, so I knocked back a fifth of Night Train, grabbed a second bottle, then hopped on the boat to Alcatraz; figuring the water was the best place to be if I was going to hurl. Walking ‘The Rock’ is still a blur. All I really remember is hearing something about Capone getting syphilis before I was shaken back to consciousness on a cot in one of the cells. Nancy was standing over me.

The journey back to the mainland was excruciating. Nancy talked about her folks all the way. How her Mother always joked that she just needed a good man to complete her. How her Father said she was one in a million. How Maw and Paw told her that family occasions were never dull when she showed up. I listened for two reasons. One, I needed something to focus on so I could stay conscious until I reached the hotel. Two, she had a big pair of tits, and an ass as thick and round as a bus wheel that made up for her average at best looks.

Nancy was still there when I woke up. My clothes were clean and pressed, and there was a big, fat, bloody steak and a cold one on the bedside table. This woman had me down. I asked why she did it. She said she saw something in me, something she needed then leaned in and kissed my cheek. My shoulder brushed against her breast and I got a half lob on. Later she told me that she was leaving for Vegas. I’d slammed six beers by then and thought, “fuck it, I’ve got money, time and a semi with ambitions.”

Nancy listened to my sop story on the flight. She managed to bring booze onto the flight in a Coke bottle, so, as I got more and more wasted, I blabbed on and on. When I stopped talking she didn’t offer any advice, didn’t sympathize or ask how I felt, didn’t tell me everything would be okay – I may have been drunk, but the simple fact that she didn’t do any of these things made me think I loved her.

Nancy had to meet a business associate when we arrived, so we arranged to meet later at my hotel. I’d gotten rid of my emotional baggage and was feeling good, so I hit the strip hard. Somewhere in the middle of it all she returned. She laughed at how drunk I was, but not in a “you’re a disgrace” kind of way, more like a woman who liked to see her man enjoy himself, and could get into the spirit of it, and, man but she could put away the booze. I’d hit the jackpot. Four cocktails later, and after she told me she’d done a pole dancing class, I proposed to her.

In the middle of the night we got married in a fun little shit-hole where Elvis now worked. I took Nancy back to my hotel room and got down to business. Basic instincts operate in all men even when hammered drunk, so I figured I’d have emptied my nuts into her in about three minutes before crashing. However, despite my best efforts, something went wrong.

It started when her dress fell away from her body. I wasn’t confronted by heaving flesh, instead there was another layer of fabric tightly bound to her. I said, “what’s this?” Nancy said, “my spanks”. “Spanks?” “Yeah.” She turned away from me and started to remove it. The only way I can describe it is that it was a like fat suit, except a thin suit, so when she took it off everything that had been so shapely and tight suddenly sagged and fell loose. “Fuck”, I said.

There was a bra and panties embedded in rolls of fat, held together by skin that was anything but healthy looking. She removed the bra. Two things fell on to the floor from the bra. “What the fuck are they?” “My chicken fillets.” “Chicken fillets? What the fuck?” My dick sagged when she tugged at her hair and removed a whole mess of extensions. Thin, greasy hair that fell just beneath her earlobes remained. When she turned around, I did my best to smile but then I looked down and saw a bulge in her panties.

When she next spoke, she was a he. “You’ve got two options here, Chuck. One, you sign a few papers, we annul this and never see each other or speak about this again. Two, we consummate this relationship, and if you don’t think you can get hard, don’t worry, I can.” I thought about it and took option one. She, he, (s)he, she… fuck it, Nancy opened the door and in walked an amenable looking solicitor, her business associate, who had a bunch of legal documents ready. As he laid them out on the bed I muttered that I should have known better than to pick up a chick in San Francisco. Nancy uttered a knowing laugh.

We hadn’t met by chance. She tracked me to San Francisco after reading about my father’s death in the paper. This was a revenge mission. Her mother died in the apartment complex my father built that collapsed. Her father later committed suicide, lost without his wife, and too proud to go live with ‘Nancy’, his estranged, cross-dressing son.

I signed the papers without further question, but I’ll admit, even though I never wanted my Dad’s company, it fucking hurt when I put down the pen and realized that I’d given away everything my old man ever worked for, the place where I knew him best, where our relationship was least strained and where I felt close to him.

Nancy didn’t have that with her old man. Chemistry, hormones and whatever else separated them, and I guess in the end if this was the only way she would ever do right by her folks, then this was how it was going to be.

The next morning I woke up single again to the hangover from hell, with no prospects and no money. Nancy left me a one way ticket back home. I was already late for the flight. On the way to the airport my brain started to work again – it had been a while – and as the taxi pulled in at the set-down area I realized that the only reason I signed the papers is because I was afraid people I didn’t give a shit about would find out that I married a dude in Vegas. I hadn’t even stuck my dick in him, and who said he was really going to stick his in me? God damn it, I had no real reason to be ashamed.

In that moment I felt stupid. I took comfort in a cheap bottle. Nothing’s changed since then. The decline continues.

300 Miles South of Salt Lake City

Selina was standing outside my front door, pressing a shotgun against my chest. Barb, Barbrilla, was on her knees in front of me, undoing my flies. A camper van full of what looked like rednecks was parked by the curb and, inside it, some old bastard was filming the whole thing. Worst of all, my parole officer was coming to.

Selina’s tongue ran across her upper teeth as Barbrilla snapped what looked like a flying saucer-shaped department store security tag through my foreskin. I squealed until my voice gave out and the stars on the ragged flag over my door took flight then burst into a thousand more. Selina whispered in my ear – “miss me, baby?” Next thing I knew I was following the disappearing stars into darkness.

The day before I’d been released from county; broken record, I know. I got a year of hard time after some cop decided my driving wasn’t too hot when he found me completely hammered, mercilessly grinding the gears and revving the last living shit out of my Chevy, which was tipped upward and balancing precariously on the window ledge of a grocery store.

A new man, I’d returned to the world with a fresh perspective, a decision made to get a solid nine-to-five and I was gonna do all of this after I’d gotten myself a brew and blowjob. When you’re in the joint they do all they can to reform you, try to steer you in the right direction and some of that shit can stick, but what they don’t do, and should, is a frontal lobe lobotomy to stop creatures of impulse from taking the first dumb-ass step toward repeat offense.

Hot off the bus, I jogged down to the West Valley Motel and a couple of minutes later I was out back with a working girl trying to convince her I was good for the balance of the cash. Her bigger, burlier buddy – read pimp – wasn’t half the conversationalist she was, which is saying something. After taking the few dollars I had, he did the bulk of the talking with his fists. So, fresh from my first broken nose of the month, no biggie, the year in prison had more or less flattened it out anyway, I figured I should get some cash or things weren’t exactly going to go so smoothly.

I robbed the 7/11 just around the corner a few minutes later with a bag of dog shit. The CCTV wasn’t gonna have a hope of ID’ing me with the amount of lumps and blood on my face, and after taking one look at the little old lady cashier I knew she wasn’t gonna want a pile of dog shit in her mouth.

Admittedly it wasn’t my proudest moment, or my best robbery. My total haul amounted to $23.20 but I did grab a pack of Trojans on the way out and after jacking my load into one of them in an alley across the street, I figured I’d head home and see if anybody had been squatting in my shit-hole house.

Nobody. Even the rats and woodlice had abandoned it. The swelling had gotten worse on my face and my head was throbbing so I pulled a couple of floorboards and retrieved my hidden alcoholic stash, and so, ten minutes later, with a fifth and a fifth of vodka working its numbing fingers over my aching body, I passed out.

The door was pounding like a jack-hammer bouncing around in an echo chamber when I woke. I crawled to the door and wished I hadn’t opened it. My parole officer didn’t think the beat-down I’d managed to pick up or my barely intelligible state was quite as funny as I did and decided it was going in her report.

She started to ask me a whole bunch of questions I couldn’t answer, or understand, then started to quote the law as if that was gonna help, so when her head suddenly snapped forward and she toppled to the ground beside me I was initially relieved, that is until I looked up to see Selina standing in the doorway, a drop of my parole officer’s blood sliding off the butt of the shotgun in her hands.

It was a confusing moment in time for me… my balls were running for shelter and my dick was trying to get hard… then Barb said “heya there, Chuk, uh huh huh hee, I gotta gift for ya”. Selina leveled the shotgun with my chest. Barb dropped to her knees and clamped my cock. I blacked out.

I woke in absolute agony. I’d pissed myself, that is, into and onto myself and through my open wound, and experienced a pain so severe that the thought of passing large gall stones was a luxury I couldn’t afford myself. Selina, her mind drifting further out onto the reservation by the second, explained that my new junk jewelry was the only way she could protect me from the ‘frequency’ – which made a ton of sense.

She introduced the rednecks as her family. Most had the mental capacity of a peanut if they were lucky, and I’m pretty sure I’d seen some of them on America’s Most Wanted over the years. I still can’t piece together how Selina had emerged as a result of two or more of them bumping uglies… Barb kinda made sense, but Selina was a ten, even if she was a few sandwiches short of a picnic. This fact became more obvious the more she spoke about why they had picked me up and what they were planning.

Selina said that three hundred miles south of Salt Lake City some guy had proof of extra-terrestrial life. For only six hundred bucks he would give her the location of a UFO hiding beneath the Earth’s crust, which had been transmitting an undetectable frequency that was responsible for global warming, the sole purpose of which was an attempt to slow cook the human race and have them ready to consume when the alien overlords arrive.

Naturally when we met this prophesier of doom he greeted us by pissing on our legs and rolling around in his own feces. I was the only one who found this troubling and wasn’t surprised when I was the only one who recognized the location of the UFO. Five hundred miles further south by south-east lay our destination… the city of Roswell, New Mexico.

According to this deluded space cadet, the UFO was in a highly fortified base protected by aliens who dressed in US army uniforms. Selina naively asked him how they should proceed, to which his response was, “with extreme force”, as he handed each of them an ‘alien ray-gun’. These were rusty gun barrels wrapped in tin foil, sellotaped to plastic statuettes of Jesus Christ which were subbing in for the missing grips.

Back on the road, Selina revealed that she had been following me since I was released from jail and had witnessed my 7/11 gig, after which she decided I was a thief of some skill and would be the perfect candidate to join their gang and steal the weapons they required for the attack from a high security gun shop. Hence my abduction. She then handed me my ‘weapon’ and I realized just how much I had impressed her, because clearly I was about to try to take down a gun shop armed only with a bag of shit.

I don’t know which was worse, the five-mile journey to the gun shop thinking about the hail of lead that was likely about to fly toward me, or being stuck in the back of the camper van having to listen to the old bastard saying, “U-fo”, “now we go u-fo?”, “I see U-fo!”, “when is u-fo?”.

I prayed that we would find an angry alien race characterized by a complete lack of sympathy for stupidity as the camper pulled in outside the gun shop, the sight of which quickly returned me to my natural place among the semi-sane of the world. I settled for Gramps’s head being blown apart by .44 Magnum fire within the next few minutes as I walked through the doors. The odds were stacked in favor of that outcome and I found it difficult to hold onto my little plastic bag of shit as sweat began to pour out of me.

As I stepped inside the owner handed a jacked up looking overgrown teen lunatic a pump-action shotgun then said, “take him out back to the range there, Jeb, let him give her a whirl.” Jeb, a backward, dangerous looking man-beast led the way and they disappeared out back. Then the owner noticed my mashed in face and the doubt about whether he was just encouraging another nut vanished and was replaced by suspicion as I tried to look like a casual gun shopper.

I noticed that the security tags on the hunting jackets were the exact same as the one weighting down my masculine gland and, in my rattled state, I figured it would be a good way to start-up conversation. “Excuse me, sir”, I said as I put the bag of shit on the counter. He frowned then his face creased in disgust. “I was hoping you could help me.” The second I reached for my crotch he tasered me in the neck.

I fell into a crazed dizzy nightmare and tried to keep up with the room as it spun around my head. The owner tried to drag me toward the door when, suddenly, it slammed into him. He screamed, “JEB!” The rednecks rushed in, all carrying their alien ray guns. Selina and Barb weren’t far behind. Then, the door to the back room opened and overgrown teen with the pump-action shotgun raced out, racked his new toy and opened up.

The rednecks, all stunned by the noise, stood still and exploded one by one like retarded piñatas, much to the joy of the deluded solider of fortune. Selina dragged Barb to the ground just outside the door and one look told me that a crumb of sense had found its way into her head. Shotgun Psycho had turned his attention to me when the old guy fired the taser at him.

It wasn’t enough to put him down and with the barrel pointing directly at my face, and his finger about to squeeze the trigger, Jeb came to the rescue and wrapped a steel shovel around his head. Selina and Barb were gone in a trail of dust. The hunt for UFOs was officially over.

Once things calmed I cut a deal with the owner and Jeb. They would remove the security tag from my penis and I in exchange would not prosecute them for tasering me and placing my life in danger without just cause, seeing I didn’t even have a weapon, was clearly in need of medical care and was carrying a bag of shit which was obviously a cry for help. I’d even back up their story that a bunch of lunatic rednecks carrying guns burst in and they were left with no choice. They thought about it for a second then Jeb set about wiping the security cams.

After I’d done my duty I hit the road, thumb out praying for a lift that’d take me anywhere that resembled civilization. Two hours in my face had proven itself a major deterrent. Night closed in, masking my fucked up features and finally a pick-up tooted its horn and slowed to a stop. Wearily, I thanked the driver as I opened the passenger door. Of course Selina and Barb were the occupants.

Selina said she was sorry, that she’d made a mistake and that they were about to start off, start fresh on the straight and narrow. “Baby, your family are dead”, I said, “doesn’t that bother you?” She shook her head and smiled that beautiful bat-shit mad smile and said, “you and Barb are all the family I need, Chuk.”

I had one last act of stupidity left in me, so I got in, and as she drove us off into the darkness I somehow felt at home.

Guess I’m just a sucker for romance.

Murder Blues

Standing over his coffin wasn’t the hardest thing. Putting him there was. Despite my success, something felt wrong, didn’t add up and as my presence as a mourner began to cause a disturbance, the pieces began to click together.

A week prior I was on my way home from another failed script pitch I’d made to a barely C-list production company, to a bottle of cheap label whisky with the power to pile drive my consciousness into a dark abyss for at least three days, when a young lady approached me. There wasn’t anything remarkable about her, a bit dumpy, a bit needy looking and it seemed like she had tried to make an effort to spruce up, though the lipstick on her teeth and the mascara in her eyebrows said she didn’t know too much about how. She slapped me in the face then screamed that a man like me had fucked her life up completely as she attempted to claw my face. I was in no mood to take the blame for some other fucker’s mess and even if I could turn the situation around into a quick lay against an alley skip I figured that considering the day, there was only a case of something itchy at the bottom of it. I cut my loses and gave it to her straight and hard.

“Fuck off back to the Crayola box you fell out of.”

As I walked away, the reality of just how bad the studio rejection was had begun to fester. Feeling like a hooker who offered a free one to a convict on death row and got a “maybe next time” response, I continued on home, slammed the bottle back and fell into another, warmer world, though that was likely down to having periodically pissed myself while out for the count. I woke up smelling worse than a chemical attack and while this wasn’t unfamiliar, the slender, if slightly stubbly pair of crossed legs a few feet away, were.

As the deep set crust on my eyes dropped off and blur gave way to focus, I followed those unkempt pins upward and it soon became clear that they belonged to the young lady from before. She hadn’t figured out how to paint her face during my downtime but with half a skull-load of old brain cells continuing to slide out my nostrils onto the solidified remains of their already departed cousins, my sharpness was back and I figured I knew her face from somewhere. Then it hit me, she was a pretty damn close fit for my wife, Selina. This was not necessarily a good thing but, considering the neurological gene pool, it made the lack of make-up expertise and the incompetence with a razor make a lot more sense.

Last I’d heard Selina was trying to fight her imprisonment seeing as she’d been locked away on testimony taken from one of the motel employees who was under heavy sedation at the time of trial, and as her lawyer argued, was therefore susceptible to being coerced into telling the truth the jury needed to hear. It was bullshit but she had nothing to lose and a new date had been set for the plea three months down the line. Judging by the facial ticks and the inability to retain gas, or at least pass it silently, the unshaven ‘babe’ before me was her sister. Somewhere inside me I felt responsible for her, which says a lot about my own mental function. In an effort to bond, and at least have something to defend myself against Selina with, and buy time should we ever cross paths again, I struck up conversation.

“What’s your name, honey?”

“Barb”.

“Barbara?”.

“No, just Barb, y’know, like, Barbrilla.”

Fish in a barrel. She admitted the kinship with my ball and chain and told me that Selina had said that if she was ever in trouble to come find me. The heat of the moment had gotten to her three days earlier and just finding me had given her hope that her nightmare was about to end. Some guy she’d been banging had slapped her around and tossed her out on her ear, and he’d taken the last bit of cash she had – fifty bucks. I couldn’t understand why the idiot would put any amount of time into a tray of nuts like Barb and was about to throw her out myself but then she mentioned that ‘Ol Garth didn’t need her cash and it began to make sense.

He was relatively new in town, had moved from a more tropical climate, and was loaded. A payout from an accident at work had left him crippled and somewhat deformed. She didn’t get into details, I didn’t care enough to ask. All she said was that once his bosses cut the check he severed his ties and decided to move back to his old stomping ground. But ‘Ol Garth had been reduced to Barb after he was ripped off by a couple of hookers who got wise to his fortune and were tag team bleeding him dry until he shot one of them then claimed it was self-defense after having been broken in to by two prostitutes. Naturally the cops found enough at the second hooker’s pad to lock her away and ‘ol Garth went looking for a more long term, reliable female. Enter Barb, fifty bucks in her purse and kinda dumb – jackpot. Turns out she was the penance he had to pay for his previous wrongdoings and after a month he’d had enough and pitched her out of his house with two black eyes and an option to visit the dentist. It’s a shame his crippled ass didn’t think to look up the family tree online.

Brass tacks, the guy had close to a quarter mill at his fingertips and kept a lot of it in his attic. We cased the house over a couple of days, she showed me the ins and outs, his favored places to watch T.V., and most importantly the routine of the meals-on-wheels he had going. In all fairness, she had the vengeance thing down and even had a nine millimeter of ‘Ol Garth’s with a full clip, with which he was to be killed. It was damn near poetic. I was still debating whether to get involved but Barb’s instincts proved similar to those of her sister’s and she blew me stupid me for the guts of two hours before draining me dry through the night. Sperm nor scruple was left when she put the nine milli in my hand and told me that I had a five minute window to get in and hide while the meal man was on site. I hobbled across the road, a big stupid fucking smile on my face, as if the twenty four hour bout of coitus was somehow going to make everything run smooth.

Once inside I settled on upstairs as the best place to find a hiding place, seeing as the meal man wouldn’t be going there and ‘Ol Garth wasn’t about to jog up any time soon. It was, of course, a mistake. I settled in a wardrobe on some rolled up linen and before I knew it I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of my car horn blaring outside like a fucked alarm clock. All over the place, I staggered out into the bedroom where Garth was sitting, buck naked, using one of those elderly person can openers to twist the last bit of jizz out of the remains of his fucked up looking johnson.

“What the fuck?”

“Uh…”

“Who the fuck are you? What the fuck are you doing in my fucking house?”

“I, uh…”

He’d heard enough and smashed me in the face with the can opener. Garth was spry, there was no getting away from that, and he quickly sent the nine milli flying out of my grip before cracking two of my ribs and loosening a few teeth for me. I had mobility on my side though and in my panicked state, shoved him out the door to buy time. What followed was the sound of springs, something rolling then crashing down the stairs. Garth was lying at the foot of the steps, a wheelchair wrapped around him, the can opener in his hair and a pool of blood growing larger by the second. I found the attic, the shoebox with the cash, it was going to work out. I opened the box, there wasn’t a quarter mill, more like five grand. Why was I even surprised? Then the doorbell rang and instead of biding my time and making a clean escape, I jumped through the bedroom window into a hedge and compounded the damage to my ribs. Back at the car, no sign of Barb – then she came running, from the house.

“Where the fuck were you?”

“I rang the doorbell to create a distraction.”

“Fucking idiot, get in.”

“I don’t know how to drive.”

“Get out.”

“Is that the cops?”

“Gimmie the fucking keys, you clown-faced cretin!”

Somehow we made it out of there. Two hours later after I stopped shouting at her for exaggerating the truth about the amount of money in the house I felt very ill, remembering that I’d neglected to collect the nine milli before leaving. The cops would have it, I was a goner. Reluctantly, I turned on the news. There wasn’t too much coverage then the story of a local man found dead after an accident in own home started up. No foul play was suspected, the victim seemingly died during a sex act. Turns out the quarter mill wasn’t an exaggeration but ‘Ol Garth had blown the majority of it on hookers and porn. I figured I was off the hook and wanted to let it go but knew a gun with my fingerprints was still in the house of a deadman and it wouldn’t be long before his kin started to pack up his things.

The funeral was scheduled a couple of days later. An open house for mourners to pay their sympathies. I had Barb iron my suit. She made a complete fucking mess of it, but all I needed it for was a half hour so let it slide. Barb said she was going to stay home and count her share of the loot – fifty bucks, that’s all she wanted. Honest. I didn’t argue seeing as I was secretly hoping she’d be gone when I’d get back so I wouldn’t have to actually use the gun. That said, I wouldn’t get the chance if I didn’t find it. Into the lion’s den I walked.

I furled my lips together, nodded sympathetically, raised my eyebrows, all the cliché body language as I made my way through the mourners toward the coffin. I closed in, noticed a few odd looks, some whispers but paid no mind. Of course I was the stranger in the crowd and would draw some attention, but all I had to do was fit in then slip upstairs. I looked down at ‘Ol Garth and couldn’t help thinking that the mortician had done a pretty decent job to get all the cum out of his hair. The murmurs got louder then I thought I heard my name. I looked around, saw a picture of ‘Ol Garth from his heyday and something sank deep inside me.

I wish I had been on acid and that it was all a fucking insane flashback, but I was clean and this was a legit memory kicking in. ‘Ol Garth was a face from the past, a past I’d tried to distance myself from but one which Barb had clearly been trying to force back into my life. Selina was the accident that left ‘Ol Garth deformed and crippled, he was the motel employee whose testimony sent her down. This wasn’t about fifty bucks, or a quarter mill, this was about me in the house of a dead man whose violent past I and my wife were very much a memorable part of. I’d been set up. As if figuring it out wasn’t bad enough, or the fact that everyone in the room had simultaneously tuned into the same frequency, the cops had also just walked in and I knew then that Barb had made the call, and had done the same on the night when they showed up just as we were leaving, far too soon for anyone to have known.

They found the gun in the linen. Chance had landed it there. Barb was nowhere to be found, the money was gone with her and I knew that in three months Selina would likely be free or in a facility with much lower security and far more options when considering an escape. As for me, I stooped to a new low in a desperate attempt to maintain my freedom. When asked what I was doing there I said I was hired by ‘Ol Garth to strip for him. I mentioned my lack of success as a screenwriter and having been reduced to giving hand and blow-jobs out the back of a 7/11, which is where he picked me up, I agreed to go back to give him a private show.

The gun I had was his and ‘Ol Garth wanted to whack off while I threatened him with it. I also felt it necessary to tell them that he wanted me to pretend I was the hooker he shot when he caught her stealing from him. Naturally this didn’t go down too well with his surviving family members but the gun checked out and every studio in town wholeheartedly backed up my inability to get a writing job. They had no choice but to let me go on condition that ‘Ol Garth’s story die with him and the family be allowed to move on. Dignity, reputation and self-worth all flushed down the fucking toilet, I agreed.

I decided to ‘celebrate’ by buying a bottle of pile driver and driving home at speeds which would normally result in a fatal collision with a wall, or into an embankment, but no. Of course Barb was there, waiting for me when I walked in. A thin trickle of piss leaked down my leg as she kissed me, then whispered in my ear:

“Selina said to tell you that she’ll pay you back when she gets out.”

She left me with the bottle, my sorrows and a bad case of the blues. Penance, it would seem, was only just beginning.

Night Shift at the Morgue

There’s something comforting about a dead body. A few years back I took a job in a morgue out of necessity. They needed security and didn’t care much if I had any sort of ability when it came to handling myself. They also liked that I didn’t care that they were scrimping on the electric bill by shutting down the fridge overnight. Why would I? It was Christmas, and if the dead weren’t cold enough already they weren’t likely to complain.

The job paid enough to cover the bare essentials, and after arriving early one night only to catch the boss fingering a cadaver I was free to bring my own booze, was given a small black and white TV and enough coupons to keep me in vending machine snacks for the night. Ideal and all as that sounds, the morgue can also be a pretty lonely fucking place, and the first couple of months were only made bearable by an unhealthy nightly cocktail of bourbon, vodka and whatever lukewarm tab cola shit was in the machine. And so, morning after morning as I fell onto the mattress on the floor of the 12×15 ‘studio’ apartment I was renting, I wondered if when I woke up I’d finally have been checked into the funny farm. Luckily enough, after a major pile up on the freeway, I arrived for the night shift, semi-suicidal, at the end of my tether, only to find a familiar face lined up to work with me in that empty, damp, dead-zone.

Kristy, an old-flame, had fallen on hard times and was drafted in by the owner to push through some general admin that came with the freeway crowd. Boy it had been a while since we’d bumped uglies. My six pack had been replaced by a keg, some of my hair had committed suicide and a bite mark scar adorned my dick; a jack russell the perp, don’t ask. Kristy hadn’t faired so poorly and though her hair was stuck to her head and her tits were sagging a bit all I really missed was the glint in her eyes that drew me in all those years before, but I guess life will do that. She acknowledged me with a jaded look as I held up a Styrofoam cup then her head bobbed. Some people you just pick up where you left off and get on with it.

We didn’t talk much, we’d said it all before. Truth be told, back then we just got drunk, shouted at each other then fucked until we were sober and didn’t know what started it. Neither of us had any interest in working then or in our current positions, this was a strictly ‘collect the check, vomit once outside then fall asleep in a sticky mess with a bottle of malt liquor’ type deal. Thing was, having Kristy around that night probably kept me from unloading a bullet on my brain. The little I said to her was uncharacteristic, my God-damn memory was bringing up shit I’d long forgotten but her presence had now sparked back into life and I guess I wanted to say sorry. For once she listened and I felt a weight lift off of me. She didn’t refuse when I followed up by asking if we could do the bad thing to seal the make up deal like old times.

It was just what the doctor ordered and I knew I’d turned a corner, even though she was tired and didn’t really get into it that much. I figured she’d matured in the years in between and taking pole was no longer the glory ride it once was. Fuck it, at ninety, if my gland is willing and able, I’m betting I’ll still be grinning. This time, though, I was exhausted and the smile soon slid off my sweaty, panting face. I knocked over the last of my scotch trying to light up a cigarette while trying to keep my head on Kristy’s mammaries and before I knew it I was out for the count. Time passed, however much I hadn’t a clue, but I was brought back to consciousness by a piercing siren.

Horror invaded my senses in the moments following my waking. A red light was pulsing through a thick plume of smoke, water was falling all around me and a harsh white light was darting through it all, ultimately settling on my face. The morgue was on fire. The fucking scotch and cigarette was enough to set it off. A firefighter suddenly accompanied the white light and grabbed my arm, then he quickly let go, looked down, then looked back up at me. A couple of more firefighters joined him and stopped dead in their tracks. I looked down. Kristy was lying under me, butt-ass naked, she was unconscious. Scratch that, she was dead, and by the looks of it had been for a while. The firefighters roughly took a hold of me and dragged my naked bod out of there into the street and planked me down in front of the onlookers. I admit I was somewhat confused and may have made a move on a fifteen year old Puerto Rican girl before being battered around the temple by a crotchety old cop. I woke up in hell.

Hell is communal cell B in the fifteenth precinct when you’re brutally hungover, have no clothes and are desperately trying to convince yourself that you fell hard on your ass when that cop knocked you out as you John Wayne it toward the wall with a cacophony of whistles and laughter your only soundtrack. The arresting officer informed me that I was being charged with drunk and disorderly, arson, indecent exposure, necrophilia,  – the list went on a bit, and in short I was looking at a ten year stretch minimum. My instinct told me to plead ignorance, so I worked that angle hard enough until they put me through a few psych tests and determined that I was mentally unbalanced.

After consulting with the lawyer assigned to me, a total ball-busting prick looking to reclaim his professional name by embarrassing the cops – his practice crashed and burned after he was caught getting blown by a hooker and the arresting cop refused to play ball – I followed up by playing the good old reliable coward card and blamed it on the morgue owner, that I’d not been given any orientation and that I was driven to drink given the smell in the place when the fridge was turned off at night. Once I knew they thought I was nuts I went whole hog and claimed I was following the bosses lead by fucking a corpse, seeing as I’d witnessed him doing similar.

When they learned that I had a legitimate history with Kristy it tied a neat emotional bow on the whole package. Kristy had unfortunately perished in the freeway pile up and they assumed I’d been so traumatized on sight of her that I temporarily lost sense and reason. My lawyer made it look like they’d tried to pin the charges on an incompetent, semi-retarded innocent rather than pursue due process. He claimed that the press would need only one look at me and it’d be over. I was out in no time.

The great thing about happy endings is that the moment you acknowledge them karma usually steps in. In typical fashion I developed complications in a sensitive area as a direct result of my behavior at the morgue. I pissed puss and razors for weeks, and it nearly fell off a couple of times after turning colors I’d never seen before, either in the rainbow or the Dulux catalogue. Years later, though, I can laugh about it. Time is a great healer and I’ve adapted to the challenges posed, eventually finding my own natural motion once again. Let me tell you, these days, I don’t even think twice about it. Pissing sideways is a breeze.

And Now I’m Married to a Serial Killer

Two months ago I got some unexpected work out of town. The pay was good, the location warm, and the screenplay I was commissioned to write had a pretty decent premise. Admittedly when I got the email congratulating me on a successful pitch I hadn’t a clue what they were on about. A fifth of vodka later my brain pain began to lapse and it slowly started to come back to me.

Six months back I participated in an online screenwriting workshop. The pitch was just one part of the day. Nobody told me that what I was pitching was an actual project and a writer was being actively sought, so I sat back and churned out a fairly stock plot with a mediocre twist that seemed to please and excite the moderators. I was proud of my virtual success and made a mental note to adopt the ‘sit back’ method for future projects and wait for the green bills to break down my door. Flash forward to the moment the email was delivered – sitting in stained, three week old boxers, hungover from the dustiest discounted Czech six pack I could find, and flicking away belly button fluff. What money I’d had evaporated somehow and I couldn’t get sober enough to figure out how I spent it, but the odd stint at the racetrack preying on unsuspecting winners kept me in cash and booze, so I didn’t think of it too much. Before signing contracts the producer wanted to have a quick video chat, so I obliged and cleaned up a bit before facing the webcam. It turned out to be the smartest move I’d made in three months. She was stunning.

Selina. Strawberry blonde, perfect teeth, eyes that lingered a second too long and a smile that curled at the edges and put a giddy twitch in my dick. I remained silent for the best part of four minutes while she talked about me, how she admired my previous work and that she liked my ‘disappointingly’ irregular blog entries (not this one, I’m not that fucking stupid). The story idea was hers so there was an emotional investment on her part and the twist I’d come up with had made her toes tingle. Since then she’d been raising money and now that she had enough for further development I was the man she wanted, and she wanted me in Aruba, immediately. I knocked down two old ladies which may or may not have been mannequins and slammed through the walkway tables of a cafe where a bunch of school kids may or may not have been as I careened toward the airport… I convinced myself that the car wheels had clumsily rolled across tables and dummy body parts and so, for peace of mind, and seeing as I couldn’t afford another lawsuit, I accelerated hard.

On arrival it quickly became clear that we were compatible, well at least from my point of view. I was a man and she was a woman. Compatible. This was a humdinger of a match, though, because she was built like a porn star and seemed to have the brains of a Shih Tzu. I quickly negotiated my way to the bedroom after blowing her away with a new twist I’d stolen from some show I saw on TV on the flight in. Man was she good in the sack. I kept pinching myself. An average to ugly like me getting this kind of action at this stage in his life was unheard of and getting paid to write something I’d ripped off from somewhere else as well, and in Aruba. I didn’t really notice that she was on the phone a lot and organizing meetings with other guys. I figured it was something to do with the movie and asked no questions. Then one night she didn’t show and I was left with a blank page, a blinking cursor and a seriously confused penis.

At five in the morning she fell into my hotel suite in a major hurry. Her hands were covered in what looked like red paint and she was pale. I fixed us a drink and asked what all the ruckus was about. She jumped in the shower and I joined her, even though I got the feeling she was resistant to company. Regardless of the time, I’d had a dry day and now that she was here it was time to reset my balls. When she realized that’s all I wanted and didn’t care how she got so fucking messed up she responded with aplomb. Afterwards she asked me to say that she was with me all night if anyone came by asking.

With clarity of mind setting in I tried to figure out why but she just wrapped herself around me again and I was beginning to give less a shit all over again. She told me I was a big dick player and made her come harder than Niagara Falls. I hadn’t a clue what either meant but I felt like a ten story tall porn star. She said that all those times I’d experienced erectile dysfunction was a major turn on and that it’d make her work harder – I couldn’t have been happier. I was the man and I couldn’t give a shit what lies I had to tell to keep it that way. The next day I became slightly concerned when I turned on the TV and the cops were looking for information about a female suspect in a multiple homicide two blocks from my hotel. I looked out the window and could see the cordoned off mayhem flashing below. At that moment Selina wrapped her cold hands around me.

I wanted to go out for breakfast but she ordered room service. I had to tip the waiter. Then she insisted we work the script all day. I tried to worm out of it and investigate my suspicions but then she handed me an envelope with an advance of three thousand dollars in it so I was happy enough to stay put. Fuck it, I didn’t know those dead people, and it’s not like they were going to offer me a better deal anyway. We stayed holed up for a week and I only went downstairs to pay for additional nights in the hotel out of my advance, which pissed me off a bit but I suppose I was getting a pretty good deal considering the company. Despite being in her presence all the time I got to know nearly nothing about her. It was all work, all phone calls organizing some sort of gathering and then she vanished again. I found myself distracted and desperate to not think the worst, so I hit the casino to see if my luck was good or not. I blew two grand in twenty minutes. Back at the room, she was waiting, in aggressive form, full of questions, oh, and covered in blood.

I explained myself, the fact that I’d lost some money and was sorry. She was in slapping mode and started to assault me. Now, I’m a gentleman as far as opening doors and shit matters but I’m also a louse at heart and so, after being hit six or ten times I hit back. It was epic. We kicked the shit out of each other. I landed some sweet right and left cross combos, she battered the living piss out of my balls. Both spent and semi-conscious we gave fucking a shot but that wasn’t going to happen in such a black and blue state, never mind the erectile dysfunction. When I came to she had her face looking pretty decent again and told me she wanted to get married. Fuck it, I thought, she’s the best lay I’ve ever had, she’s built, loaded and can handle herself. We found a chapel in the casino and got hitched in the presence of a man dressed as Gumby who was about to marry a woman dressed as Spongebob. The deal was sealed in one of the private dealer rooms down the hall. Selina excused herself while I tried to cover up the mess left on the blackjack table. Looking at the ring I couldn’t believe I had gotten married for the third time. Then the screaming started.

I ran down the hall and stopped at a conference room where a pool of blood was flowing out beneath the door. I called her name. Suddenly she opened the door, stepped out and shut it behind her. Her hands were dripping blood, none of it her own. I asked what was going on. A siren rang out close by and she grabbed me by the balls and dragged me up the corridor. She kicked open a janitor’s closet and as the rushing stomp of cop feet approached she dropped her panties and tore open my slacks. “Fuck me, stupid, or I’ll fuck your face with this ice-pick” was all she said and raised said implement over her head. Man, that was motivation enough to kick me into gear.

A rookie cop swung open the door as I was mid-thrust then immediately left us alone again. Selina pulled free of me and dragged me down the service stairs, out the back and into a nice cadillac with a ‘just married’ on the back. We drove off as cop cars swarmed in and just missed us. I heard about it on the news. Heads lopped off, limbs thrown around the room, torsos disemboweled. All by my sweet, blushing bride’s hands. All the dead people were involved in some fraudulent internet scam where desperate morons signed up for online seminars, many of whom were defrauded of their life savings. She was one. Selina was to be considered dangerous and mentally unstable. The murders were linked to others in different states. Then my face was plastered onscreen in a related story for using counterfeit dollars to gamble, tip and pay hotel bills in Aruba.

Being a coward I did the only thing I knew would ensure that I wouldn’t end up on the chopping block next so I turned myself in. It wasn’t long before the cops were speeding down the highway toward Selina. Realizing I’d slipped out of the motel during the night she started chopping up the owners but luckily, with the law already en route, there weren’t so many dead this time. I pleaded guilty on the grounds of ignorance and general stupidity. When they found out that I was one of the morons who had been taken in by the same internet scam that defrauded Selina and set her off on her rampage they figured I was probably going to get hacked up sooner or later seeing as she was working off a list of names related to the scam. It was that or she was going to let me hang for the whole lot and use me as her patsy. They gave me a two month stint in the joint with a month suspended conditional on community service. Selina was sent to a nut house for the criminally insane.

Once home I checked with my bank and they mentioned that my account had been wiped about six months back. I’m told there’s a chance I’ll get some of it back. Last night I hit the racetrack again, swiped a sawbuck and won another. For a moment I thought my luck had turned. At that moment I noticed my likeness on a bulletin board. Seven seconds later I was cracked on the head and arrested. ‘Guess not.

Sunset of My Youth

So, at the moment, I’m going through what people keep telling me is a mid-life crisis. Apparently trying to have a good time when you’re a man of a certain age means you’re totally fucked in the head – I wasn’t aware of this. Admittedly my behavior has been a tad off. I’ve been hanging in bars I used to frequent during my college days, I found an ex-favorite pair of jeans and an old-school beanie I had forgotten and I’ve been grooming my stubble into a neat little design – add my Oxford cut coat to the mix and I think I look pretty damn good. So did the little honey I took out last week, well, that is until the generation gap made itself known.

I met her in a downtown cafe after the lunch bunch had rushed back to their nine-to-fives. The only two people in the place. Me, sporting the aforementioned, sipping on a type of coffee I never heard of before, reading Don Quixote. She, tank top, jeans so tight they must have been sold with a body laminator, and high heels, damn. I was desperately willing my gearstick to stay in neutral as I stole the occasional glance but my tongue was paralyzed, until she spoke…

“Hey, there. What’cha readin’?”

“Oh, hi. Don Quixote. ‘Read it?”

“No. ‘On my wishlist.”

“Here. Have mine. I’m re-reading – ‘my favorite book.”

“Oh, I couldn’t.”

“You can. You must. I insist.”

“Thanks! So, what kind of a guy gets to sit in coffee shops reading his favorite books mid-afternoon on a Monday?”

“A writer. ‘Name’s Chukkas.”

Carla, with a K. Chukkas? I like that. What do you write, Chukkas?”

“Screenplays, mostly.”

“Oh, cool. Anything I’d know?”

“Not unless you tune into the high numbers.”

“Still, that’s awesome. I’m a philosophy major.”

“Deep thinker, eh? A lady worth getting to know.”

“Pff, I don’t know about that.”

“I can tell, I sit here a lot, character profiling, and you’re the first person in a long while I didn’t feel the need to invent a life for. You look like you’ve got things to say, like making a wider contribution is a fundamental right, a purpose, and not just something you hope for in your life.”

“Jeez! Thanks, man.’Glad I talked to you today.”

“Anyway, my book has a new keeper, my Chi-whatever-the-fuck-it-is is cold and I’ve a deadline to meet.”

“Aw, really? Just like that you’re leaving?”

“Gotta, but we should catch a movie or something sometime.”

“Yeah, that’d be cool.”

“OK, then, here’s my card.”

“Uhm, one sec, let me just scribble down my number.”

“Cool. Thanks. I’ll call you.”

“Sure. See you, Chukkas.”

I couldn’t fucking believe how well it’d gone, corny line aside I didn’t want to bury myself in a hole in perpetual descent to the center of the earth. She was smoking hot and I bailed before I had to, but also before a stream of bullshit exposing me as a sperm loaded dirty-bomb counted down and unloaded in her ears. I figured that there were at least fifteen years between us, that was me being most generous to myself, the reality was probably closer to eighteen but fuck it, this warranted the first purchase of boxers since two years ago and my dick was more excited than a T-Rex on sighting a nice, big, fat, blind, three legged buffalo on an open range.

This night last week was one week later. I had to hold off long enough to pretend that I actually had a deadline to meet and that once that was done with, a date with her was top priority and the best reward I could ask for after all my hard work. In truth I’d spent the week trying to build up some stamina, practicing on porn, congratulating myself to the point of mania then icing my balls close to the point of frostbite. She looked so screamingly hot, wedges, skin groping skirt and top, body tighter than a sniper rifle – I was sweating so much I was afraid she’d look down and think I’d pissed myself. I chose some boring looking, art house, Eurotrash shit in hope that it’d impress her and score me a few intellectual points and basically allow her to see me as a good guy – a good guy whose penis was worth getting to know.

Aside from an old, scowling couple who HAD to sit in the same row a few seats away we had the cinema to ourselves. About half way through the movie I couldn’t take the sight of those crossed legs and the rhythmic movement of her upper body any longer and did something to a twenty-something I hadn’t done for a long time – I made a move. The fact that she responded favorably made me wonder if I was really so deeply embedded in fantasy that in reality I was a drooling, slobbering cretin thrown in the corner of some hospital for the deranged and daft-as-fuck. Well, I thought, until I come to I’m going to see where this goes – please don’t be a dream, please don’t let me wake up when I’m this close to second base.

I didn’t, and as my balls swelled and begged for release I suggested we move back a few rows and make good use of the bright of the projector light and allow our actions all but vanish in the darkness below. She gave it a thought then agreed, on one condition – I had to wear a rubber. Fuck. Back in my day people just went for it, but with all the god-damn shit you can catch just by looking at someone’s crotch these days she was insistent on it. Here’s where my sad, middle aged life began to reveal itself. I’d never used a rubber before and as I wandered out of the auditorium toward the restroom where she assured me I could find one, panic began to set in. The success or failure of this event would determine my confidence to engage with the youth of the nation for the rest of my life. All I could think was, if this doesn’t work out I’ll be stuck with loose-skinned clap traps, just like the one slouched next to that mean looking old fucker sitting two seats away from Karla for the rest of my life.

I have to admit, in the restroom I was actually embarrassed as my dollars disappeared into the vending machine. There was something humiliating about it, buying rubbers in a cinema toilet seemed like something a kid would do because they couldn’t muster the nerve to buy over the counter. It didn’t help when two fifteen year olds disturbed me and laughed at catching me in the act. In the dying light as I re-entered the auditorium I thought the expiry date looked past. I soon forgot when I noticed that the old couple were necking, now alone, and Karla was in the back row, barely visible beneath the glare of the projector light. I hopped in next to her and the party was officially kicking off.

It was getting hot. Crazy hot. I was dehydrating faster than any human ever had, steam was rising from me as I tried to put my stamina work into effect and savor the event, then came the time to embrace the modern world. The bastard rubber couldn’t have been drier and the forced removal of hair from my nether regions didn’t help my confidence. Karla was getting frustrated at the delay. In a flurry I finally managed it. Comfort wasn’t on the agenda and I felt that part of me was being strangled to the point of asphyxiation. Bad enough as I felt, disaster then presented itself.

I straightened up a little to make my approach and bridge that generation gap in the most spectacular way, then suddenly saw a flash of white light, stars, and heard a smack that echoed through the room followed by the sound of my own vocal chords emitting a scream that hadn’t been heard in my family since neanderthal times. The rubber had exploded and was now flayed and hanging from my cock, looking like a back fired acme gun that Wile E Coyote had attempted to shoot. As it split it gave my balls the ultimate lashing and long after Karla had abandoned the auditorium I hobbled down the aisle and knew that it was time to hang up the beanie and buy a pair of New Balance.

I’m happy to report that I’m slowly getting back to myself now. I tried calling Karla but the number has been disconnected. I wandered down to the coffee shop earlier, ordered a good old-fashioned, all American coffee and read the sports pages in hope that she might wander in – alas, no. Once the swelling goes down I figure I’ll hit up some of the bars that cater to men of my age and while I’m emptying the frustration of another humiliation into some aging body, which’ll probably be older and hopefully more desperate than me, I’ll think of Karla and imagine myself her Don Quixote, riding off into the sad sunset of my youth.

Drunken Leprechaun or: How I Failed My Irish Ancestors and Barfed Fucking Everywhere

I was once a proud person. My life had more or less been filled with the same experiences the average Joe Boxer-shorts checks off the life list by the time he’s reached the age of twenty three, so I had no reason not to be. Of course things could have gone better at times but you’ve got to take the rough with the tumble and chalk it down to the building of character and the formation of a well-rounded human being. However, at twenty-three I took my first trip abroad, and embarked on a life-changing holiday in Ireland, which gave my pride a solid kick in the sack and finished with me clambering aboard the plane home wishing “beam me up” wasn’t just a phrase from TV but a very real and private mode of transportation which would spare me the shame, and spare my fellow passengers those six hours of smelling the stale piss sloshing about in my loafers and the acidic stench of bile and puke wafting from my mouth and hair.

My Irish roots are supposedly on my mother’s side and I figured I’d spend a week in the old country, live where some of my people had lived, soak up all there was on offer culturally and hope to be charmed by a lady leprechaun before finding a job back home and beginning to build a career. O’Neill was her mother’s surname and they hailed from a place called Ballyjamesduff in County Cavan which I found close to the middle of nowhere, somewhere north of the midlands (the actual middle of nowhere). Having landed in Dublin Airport, with not one building worth calling a skyscraper in sight, I began to wonder that if this was the capital city then where in the Christ was I headed?

Despite being initially impressed by the scenery, my enthusiasm waned as the bus took roads the width of sidewalks and ventured into towns which wouldn’t pass as villages at home, where we were usually greeted by a man waiting at a red pole signaling desperately to be collected and taken back to civilization. The fact that every fifty yards saw a new curve in the road and our driver insisted on meeting or exceeding the speed limit at all times encouraged my stomach to repeat its efforts in ridding itself of the slops it was thrown on the plane ad nauseam. Then the bus stopped and I was there, but, where the fuck was there? The man who signaled desperately to the bus had remained on board. This clearly was not his stop…

After battling the hotelier’s accent for a solid fifteen minutes I eventually understood that I was the only occupant and that rain had been forecast for the next seven days. I ditched my bags in the room and decided the only way to go forth would be with a sense of adventure, camaraderie for my fellow Irish men and dive right in, so I changed into something more comfortable and made tracks for one of the local pubs. I spied an O’Neill’s and figured that’d be a good start. Order a glass of Guinness, fit in, feel comfortable and then dig for stories of my ancestors.

My first step inside was met with silence, then laughter. I shrugged it off, probably a coincidence and bad timing, so I hit the bar – “a glass of your finest Guinness, please”. More laughter. It was definitely me they were laughing at. Men were repeating what I’d said to the older gentlemen at the bar, the ones with hair growing out of their ears, who in turn also laughed. As I took my first sip I smiled, content that this would ingratiate me, however, as I looked around I soon realized my error. I was holding a glass, thin and slender, while the other men were holding thick, bulky glasses with twice as much Guinness in them. The fact that I blushed at the moment of realization only made me look like more of a woman. Then I noticed their clothes and how their choice of dark threads and fabric served almost as camouflage  against the walls of the drinking hole. I looked at myself – brand new white sneakers, khakis, blue sweater and polo-neck – all I was missing was a big fucking pink sign around my neck with ‘on vacation’ printed on it.

I’d lost the respect of the local men and could feel myself slipping deeper into infamy by the second, slowly becoming part of the ‘go to for quick laughs’ section of every local barfly’s tall tales encyclopedia. I tried to shrug it off and asked the barkeep if he knew of any O’Neill’s in the area – more laughter – I think someone said “you’re standing in his fucking pub, y’daft, yank, cunt”, but I can’t be certain. Hearing, or convincing myself that I’d heard that word uttered aloud, and to jovial acceptance and laughter, prompted my balls to seek shelter north of their normal resting spot. Not five minutes into the visit, I was standing on the most hostile ground I’d ever stood and contemplating walking away. Nobody took the next natural step to prompt a fight and so I persisted and asked again, making direct reference to my grandmother’s people. Then they really started laughing.

“God-damn it! What in the heck is so funny?” Silence. I’d said that. Shouted that. Even I couldn’t believe it. Something changed in the air, a few of the men looked to each other, nodded, then one got up and made his way over. I downed what was left in my glass and prepared to die but then this fellow reached out to shake my hand. I accepted. “How’a’ya? Name’s Thomas Comiskey.” I introduced myself, folded my arms and said – “well, care to explain the source of merriment?”. Someone scoffed in the corner. Thomas looked at me earnestly, like one would at a relative when doling out some heartbreaking information. “Sorry to tell ya, lad, but if y’say who y’said is yer granny then I’m sorry t’have ta tell ya that yer granny was a hewer. Didn’t mean t’laugh, just thought y’knew the local legend and was tryin’ to have a laugh with us. No offence meant. Welcome t’Ireland.” He gave me a pat on the back then made for the toilet.

It was the fastest unravelling of a man’s family tree since Cain and Abel hit their teens, looked over at Adam and Eve and said “huh?”. Of course all I had was this man’s word to go by but the fact that most of those present wouldn’t look me in the eye for the next ten minutes spoke volumes. Someone broke the ice and told me that I should have a pint, not a glass. I guess I laughed but honestly can’t remember. I was supposed to be the exotic foreigner, full of mystery, bringing awe and wonder to a small island full of old fashioned brogue and tradition. Instead I’d been transformed into the most common, ignorant, son-of-the-daughter-of-a-whore within an hour of hitting the family turf.

Whatever it is about returning to the places your roots sprouted, I noticed a change in myself that evening which evolved into a compulsion which then spawned a hunger. I started to drink pretty darn hard. After three days I had frequented every bar in the town at least twice and had been thrown out of half at least once. Turns out I had a “real taste for a drop” as the locals put it. I didn’t eat much, the Guinness usually lined the stomach well but the consequence of this inaction was a lack of very many memories. I get the occasional flashback – urinating into the gas tank of a tractor, chasing sheep, running downhill blind and getting tangled up in barbed wire, having my face punched in by some farmer and being berated by the local law, a stocky, short cop with a penchant for twisting my balls while making idle threats – he didn’t have a gun so his countless warning fell on deaf ears. By the fifth day I was unrecognizable, a black and blue, wild, roving mess, stinking of body odor and alcohol. Logic and reason were gone but I somehow ended up back at my hotel, starving.

I’d paid up-front for the week which included bed and breakfast. A moment of clarity reminded me that the hotel hadn’t fed me once to date and so I protested and demanded all of the breakfasts I’d missed in the last five days immediately. The owner’s wife brought me a monstrous plate heaped with what I estimate at ten sausages, five chunky bacon strips, five eggs, five fried tomatoes, ten pieces of pudding – five white, five black (good shit) – a can of beans, maybe fifteen chopped mushrooms, a toasted loaf of bread and two pots of tea. I dug in. Not only was it the tastiest meal I ever ate, but about an hour after finishing I dropped the greatest shit of my life and returned to the bar a new man, with a new hunger – the hunger for some Irish lovin’.

Somewhere in the region of my ninth pint of the night I struck up conversation with a young filly and after another three pints, and having lost the sense of sight, instinct suddenly kicked in and I came to with her pinned up against the wall of the bar and my tongue dripping translucent saliva from the corner of my mouth. She was embarrassed but led me out by the hand. My face made the acquaintances of the coat rack, the door jamb and then the outer wall of the pub as I tried to figure out how these rubber legs I’d inherited worked. As it turned out I’d chosen the easiest mark in town, probably a relative knowing my luck, and was soon lying next to her in a stack of hay. I couldn’t understand a word she said with that thick fuckin’ accent but started into the motions hoping that’d shut her up.

I imagined that at some point my own relatives had probably been laid in this very same barn. It was a suicidal thought which led to my mother’s face, then my grandmother’s face in the throes of pleasure. Blood rushed from my nether regions, up into my suddenly disturbed stomach then hit full speed and raced for my head and sent me into a dizzy spin. My filly playfully punched me in the gut to get my attention. Bad move. The vault was unlocked and I spewed left, right and center. I covered my date and myself in equal measure with the undigested remnants of that epic breakfast marinated in Guinness and whisky. Her screaming alerted what turned out to be her parents, both adept at inflicting pain with shovels and spades. As it turned out, Daddy was the local cop who I’d managed to incense countless times over the past few days.

Balls in a twist I was dragged and thrown into the back of his cop car, taken to the airport, handed my passport, my plane ticket and a bottle of holy water, which I was told was the only thing that’d prevent the plane I was on being struck from the sky by a bolt of lightning. I was covered in vomit and, trying to remember my name as I approached the check-in desk, soiled my slacks – it was only when they asked for my passport that it clicked that my effort had been a costly and unfortunate waste of brain function.

Six hours later, back on home soil, I was placed in a decontamination chamber as part of US quarantine protocol and berated by a guy I went to high school with who was now working with homeland security and had received notification of US deportation from Ireland. When he finally stopped reminding me how disgraceful my representation of citizens of the US of A had been he asked what had happened to me over there. All I had was, “Leprechauns. Fuckin’ leprechauns.” In the sorriest state of my life I failed to hail a cab and began the long, sobering walk home, revisiting the few memory entries that had returned of my week of debauchery and carefree insanity. By the time I reached home a smile had found it’s way back onto my face and I could think only one thing – Ireland fucking rules, man.

Tried to hose me for both desserts

I’m pretty good with women. I’m tolerant of any old babble, make good eye-contact and when it comes to manners I make old Jeeves look like a gawping yokel with a crust of shit in the corner of his mouth. It took a while to get this comfortable, to relax and just enjoy the evening. As a kid I got worked up every time, made a big deal out of it and if I was lucky got to go home with blue balls and a memory log on continuous replay of all the dumb-shit things I said that put her off the notion of me being a worthy adversary twixt the sheets… or on the back seat of the car, as it was.

My change in fortune didn’t come as a result of a conscious shift in my frame of mind. I was just shy of thirty, a string of shaven legs and lying asses had been and gone. The ‘for’ ratio wasn’t so great but y’know, for an unremarkable looking guy it wasn’t a travesty either. My buddy calls me, “got this stuck up chic givin’ me shit ’cause she brought a friend and now she’s alone and upset and it’s Friday night and” and – blah. Fuckin’ game was on. Last thing I wanted to do was play sidekick and see some sobbing mess home, accusing me of not liking her because she knows I’m only there because my friend asked for a favor so he could get close to her friend. Quarterback fumble, phone call, fifty bucks down the toilet on the fucked field goal and I figured if I was going to waste my money I might as well hang out with someone in more miserable a state than me. Needless to say I didn’t dress up. The night that was in it I was on a roll, I even pegged this girl all wrong in the mental build up to setting sight on her. Not only was she happy to see me but didn’t seem to care how shabby a state I was in. Good looking girl, good stats, a few funny things to say too. Long story short, we hooked up and had a good thing for six months. From then on I figured the less effort I put in the less needy and desperate I appeared. Overall it paid off on a fifty-fifty basis, and one hundred percent of the time I was at least comfortable in my clothes at the bar. Then I hit a snag.

Every time the waiter would drop a cushioned and minted paper tally on the table I found myself looking after it. The skirt always walked away clean, and some nights despite my wallet being rifled of all but the stitching I had to finish off the night by myself. Cradling a limp, somewhat sad looking little guy in one hand, wiping his tears off my hand. So this one night I go out, best intentions in mind, admittedly I’d hit a bit of a dry spell but this lady wasn’t the greatest looker in town and she practically burst my eardrum in response to the invitation to the two course early bird at Cafe del Mar. We agreed on starters and main course, dessert to follow back at mine. Fine. Conversation was bubbling, though, and when she suggested dessert I hinted that I hadn’t factored it in but could probably squeeze it – mine, that is. Besides, the food had left her sweaty, excited, a couple of buttons had come loose and I figured a chocolate sundae should lift that heaving warm flesh high enough to spill sight of her best lingerie, and once that was on show and the lady’s pleasure buttons pushed and primed it was game on. The check landed and before I’d had time adjust my gland and retrieve the wallet she had her cash on the table. This was good. Well, at least until I realized she put down enough for the early bird only. “Fuck this shit” flashed in my mind as my eyes narrowed and I released a short disappointed breath. “I’m getting stiffed again”. Eyelid bat. “Everything OK, honey.” She knew. It was all over her face. What was worse was that she wasn’t playing the seductress. It had turned into a business discussion between two adults without a word being spoken but fuck it, if this broad wasn’t puttin’ out then I wasn’t paying for her fucking extra calories.

I presented my early bird and own dessert. She countered with a look. I excused myself, retreating to the restroom and feeling like my manhood was about to abandon me out of sheer disgust at the stand I was taking. It was awkward when I returned, only because the waiter was standing there and she was telling him I’d shell out the rest. His face pushed me over the edge. That smug fucking twitch of the cheek and half raised eye-brow combo triggered a mental “fuck it, I’m getting nothing now anyway” so I went for broke and played my weakest card. “Excuse me, boss” I said to the penguin in the most lackluster tone I could summon. “Honey, I’m an equal rights guy, I didn’t want to offend you by assuming your half of the tab. You practically licked the bowl. I figured if anyone was gonna show their appreciation it’d be you.” Her face flushed. The waiter noted the gleaming bowl. “Pay the man and let’s hit the road.” I attempted to light a cigarette. He told me it was a non-smoking establishment. She fumbled some cash onto the tray as I tried to cooly accept being reprimanded by a man who in neanderthal times would have stood at the end of a field holding a dead boar head while the hunters practiced their spear throwing skills. Once outside I lit up. She looked humbled. I gave her a sideways glance. Next thing I knew she was all over me.

Daddy issues bolstered my social life, gave my wallet a welcome breather and I shaped myself into the perfect gentleman just so the routine ran a bit easier. But a man must keep up with his environment and the times that are in it have brought out a sensitive, struggling artist side. These days, it’s a bad night when I’ve to leave the tip.

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