So, bathroom etiquette is a huge thing for me. I get grossed out pretty easily when people to gross shit. I understand that’s the whole purpose of a room dedicated to bodily function, but still.
Had a strange run in last week that just won’t leave my mind. So, there’s this guy I work with who’s flamboyantly off kilter. Wears in pink zebra print chucks, Sponge Bob shirts, complete with salt and pepper beard. He’s middle aged and weird as fuck.
I write for a major company, let’s call it Nerd Paradise. Lots of geeks are guzzling down coffee or gross meals in between arguing about Dr. Who or which Hulk was better (consensus is green over grey) and these geeks LOVE to hit the bathroom. There is always someone in the can.
Last week, post lunch and nooner coffee time, the bathroom is jacked. All the stalls are occupied. Homeboy in the pink shoes, posts up and breaks out his TABLET and just waits it out. Mind you there are many other bathrooms in this building, but he’s waited to grab a seat, complete with his own commentary of sound. If I see a wall of closed stall doors, I’m hitting the bricks to find sanctuary.
As soon as I finish up I open the door and he’s there - I was a little taken aback because as soon as I came out - he rushed in.
Therein lies the problem: who the fuck wants to grab the warm seat? I can’t think of something as revolting as hurriedly getting on the throne fresh after someone. Butt heat is gross heat.
I’ve unknowingly came in after someone and my stomach turns as soon as my skin feels some else’s poop warmth.
I can’t be the only person who finds this weird. Waiting out a seat, knowing you’re getting the hotness, as well fresh stink. That’s strange business right there. AND you bring the tablet! The rest of us use our cell phones, this guy was in for the extended stay.
"The Ghost continued: “I watched towns burn because crooks wanted it all. In their wake, they left everyone face up, and full of bullets. I saw a world that was a putrid, dying mess. I ain’t god-fearing, but I do know that no one is righteous enough to kill without divine reason.” He paused and drifted off into a distant place.
“I call myself The Ghost because I realized I walk in the shadows. I live between good and evil. I do evil for good reasons. I can’t be a preacher for god, but trust I preach the name of punishment. My brother was a good man. Had an honest life. His death broke an already broken heart.”
One day I’ll walk on sunsets and glide across waves of fury. Dusty book jackets and tired eyes line the streets of the soul that rattles around in the cage of my heart, mind and body. I listen to stories painted by boasters and liars of pugnacious hearts. They drain me of belief that the world doesn’t affect them. They’re comfortable in their skin. I know better. The world is a dark place with many hidden rainbows, if you’re willing to seek them out.
The darkness that overhangs is massive, like the wing of a crow that spreads for eons. We live in a constant backalley where heads roll and secrets are sold to the highest bidder. No one goes to the grave without spilling the beans at least once. Those rainbows are locked away and the key exists in a place that your heart must be pure to find. I think they talk about it at length in some book about a boy trying to overcome some typical wizards and warriors bullshit all the young tricksters are salivating to pickup.
This is momentous to watch and behold as we wait for our gilded age to begin as the world we knew smolders in piss colored flames. Salvation is real, but no one we know is savable. Everyone does the gross, decadent stuff they make movies for sad old man to touch themselves in fur jackets to. Overwhelming universe with little to no reaction except when the rainbows come out to play; rarity is the driving force of the disturbed social economy we’re a part of.
Let the rains fall and the world’s clouds disappear, but keep scribbling the names of made up storms because we need to splash in puddles and feel like our fucked up world is small just once more.
People have this false sense of a genuine, mom and pop America that exists only in their minds. We are a country of swindlers and thieves. We have always been. Someone has been hiding in dark alleys since day one.
Mayberry doesn’t exist. And to boot, Gomer Pile is an outspoken homosexual and Ron Howard drives an electric car.
We killed the Indians for their land. We butcher Mexicans and ship them off to their crime ridden, corrupt country because we’re worried about jobs we’ll never do ourselves.
We have fat trolls in camo fishing hats parading around with assault rifles because it’s “their right” when the only thing they’re achieving is making their cause seem like apish cartoons.
We’re stalked and we’re watched by satellites in the sky. Pundits scream at one another over trivialities that will change nothing.
We were never a sleepy small town. We’ve bombed countries to get what we want since we formed and we’ll kill anyone who gets in our way still. We are a country of madmen and killers. We have always been and will always be. We are a nation who celebrates idiocy and bans books.
We have always killed. We have more serial killers per capita. Mayberry is a dead dream and we continue to pile dirt on the grave of the illusion of safety every time we tune in or click ourselves into the fantasy of ignorance.
The wind punches through the rust holes in the doors of the old Chevy. The ratty old ride percolates with the scent of Pabst while a cloud of discount menthol smoke hangs clotted, coating everything. Lunch sits in crumpled paper sacks. Two beer cans each sit crushed between their legs. Only two, because any more would lead to them getting caught drinking on the job. Getting caught would lead to the end of their lives as they knew it. Who’s gonna pay the mortgage on a trailer stinking like five year cat pee? Not some drunk fired from his job. Never get caught on the job. When you needed a fix, you smoked weed off by the bathrooms. But these beers were a ritual; the sound of the can opening, and the crush of the aluminum in the hands after a long pull was communion. To play it safe, it was always two beers. A little lunch would cover the smell.
For Sullivan, it was Pastrami a week past it’s prime. From Eddy’s wife came – peanut butter and jelly, as always, she was useless at making anything else. The two men say nothing to one another. After so many years talk is pointless. There’s no news worth bitching about, and men like these certainly don’t gossip. In the hollow lack of conversation, their eyes study the factory’s exhaust rise into the air despite the pouring rain. Like the spawn of hell, the greyish-black smoke fights its way against the elements and pushes it’s way toward the rarified air of God. Birds steer clear of the lurching poison.
Sullivan turns the knob on the radio up – it’s Nights in White Satin - his song. As the haunting melody strikes up, he sighs. He’s heard this song over a million times. Every nuance and emotion are old friends, he knows the evil melody too well; this song terrifies a long dead spirit inside. The song dredges up tattered memories of along gone life - a life he should have taken as he watched her red Silverado pull out of his driveway and into the wild.
He stayed behind, and his choice has cursed him ever since. Ghosts of missed opportunities are everywhere in this town, and while some folks had skeletons in their closet - Sullivan had graveyards. This song is a constant reminder, a love letter to his greatest failure. This was their song.
He closes his eyes while transfixed into a different time. His cigarette burned to the filter, dangling off the edge of his lip.
Off in the distance, a back loader roars over a muddy hill. Its bucket is full of something once beautiful to someone. The driver of the back loader hits the gas a little harder – he’s struggling to clear this next berm. His foot works hard against the pedals. The engine throttles and wheezes working to climb the final hill toward the factory.
This factory takes things and turns them into melted piles of things. It murders memories of the past and reinvents them as refuse.
Sullivan exhales. The song is over. He looks over to Eddy who’s lost in the pages of a tattered swimsuit edition from two years ago. The pages no longer have magazine thickness, but have been abused so much they’re more like toilet paper. Which each turn of the page, Eddy mentally fucks each one of the women gracing the pages. He clicks his tongue once he sees his girl, a Spanish number with green eyes.
Eddy spends an extra six seconds deconstructing her, obsessing. Says she’s from St. Tropez, wherever the fuck that is. He promises her, in her world-class beauty, should she ever stumble into this little corner of hell, she’d get the business end of him. He’d give it to her country style, making her forget all of those beautiful men, and the lush life she’s earned by gracing the pages of this mental fuck books sold over the counter in middle America. Eddy sucks the spit off his teeth and swallows.
Those green eyes do it to him.
The wind lands a sucker punch to the side of the Chevy; the air blasts through the burnt orange holes, knocking dime sized rust flecks onto the ground below. The fall around here is miserable.
As soon as the sun sets in August, it might as well say winter is open for business. And the Chevy didn’t make life any easier, but it worked, and most importantly was paid for.
No monthly bill? No problem. Sullivan would have bought a new truck a long time ago if it was up to him. The economy the way it is, and the expensive taste of his girlfriend, Tammy led him down roads a new car would never travel. While she’s behind the wheel of a sweet, tricked out Mustang with a slick neon green stripe down the ass end, he’s still stuck in this jalopy. Her car was perpetually spotless, while dirt and grime caked on the sides of the old beater like war medals.
The cassette in the deck spits out, letting the driver know it’s time to start over. Sullivan flips the tape. A worn grey color with an orange label, he scribbled “Sully’s Mega Jams” on it eons ago in magic marker.
He’s listened to this tape a million times. The songs never get old. This is a tape of memories and regrets, an audible museum to sorrow.
These songs remind Sullivan whom he is and why his ass sits in stained bucket seats next to a guy missing a front tooth who smells like burning house paint. As Sullivan’s finger slides across the worn plastic of the cassette, his heart drops infinitesimally because all of this is so automatic, this is his life – these songs are the prison to which he will never leave.
Sentiment never dies when the adage of the heart is pure for the vehicle to which it’s destined – Robin Trower’s Bridge of Sighs winds up and the slinky groove escalates the mood in the truck as well as the scene outside.
Bodies move and people holler while the rains punish them for being so brash to test its might. The gods of the storm are not pleased with man’s boldness. The sky is stained with the curse of a grey rain streaking across the earthly plain.
Eddy tosses the magazine in the backseat and digs in for his sandwich. Unwrapping his meal from the plastic covering, he crams it into his gaping maw. The peanut butter squishes against his tongue. His jaw moves, and the jelly slides down his throat. He takes long swig off the beer. They’ve been in the car for over twenty minutes and neither said a word. The music and the elements of the world is the soundtrack.
Sullivan is extra moody today. They were supposed to practice after work. Watching the workers fight their way through the downpour, he studies them, the struggle, the ballet of man against the god they’ll never know. Humanity leaves a sour feeling in his stomach.
“We have to win this game.” Sullivan finally utters, pulling a new Lucky up to his lips. The back loader’s engine struggles with the muddy hill, the bucket has twice the load this time. Signs of a collapsed life hang off the end objects like forgotten childhood bikes, broken lamps.
“I need this win.” Sullivan doesn’t even make eye contact with Eddy. He lets the words hang there.
Eddy swallows his hunk of sandwich. He turns his head to face Sullivan who’s off in some far away place.
“Hell, you know I want to win. I’m sick of this shit. I’m dog tired of always having sumthin’ go wrong. Bout’ time we caught a break. I been playing with this crew for six years, and in six years, we ain’t done shit. I don’t give a monkey fuck about your needs – I want to victory lap once.”
It had been some hellish, long years, but this would be the last crooked cross planted in the ground in the name of revenge. As the bullet ripped through Hidalgo’s neck, The Ghost held his breath.
The dust settled. The world was quieter. Birds sat in the tall trees took a break from their throaty, harmonious songs. The bugs buzzed less. The wind died off, holding its breath.
Somewhere off into the distance, a vulture sniffed death in the air. With great force it took off. It would find the scent of demise.
Hidalgo would pay his debt to the devils below. For each death tallied under the heels of his boots, justice was served. The Ghost’s pistol slipped out of his hands, and into the blood stained grass. Hidalgo’s breaths ceased. The sun soaked the skin of the dead man, refracting off the bloodshot whites of his eyes.
All of the men who soiled his family name lay in shallow graves. The Ghost could rest his bones knowing that his brother Daniel was avenged. His niece and nephew didn’t die in vain.
My American Suicide.
Horse hooves drifted across the muddy property. The soundtrack of the storm allowed cover onto the Masterson land. Seven men rode straight into infamy, with their fingers on their triggers.
The Masterson children helped mother set the table. Their father, Daniel carved the bird. A fire popped and crackled as smoke rose through the chimney and into the rainy night. Evening prayers were offered and thanks were given, this was a special night for the little family. Mattie had news: she was of the family kind. There’d be another Masterson running around soon enough. This was grounds for family celebrating.
The glass from the window exploded as buckshot blasted through the hole. Rain began to come in the house. The Mastersons fell to the floor. Daniel yelled to his family.
Mattie and the children cowered in fear under the kitchen table. The draping arms of the tablecloth hid them from plain sight. The tears of the children stained Mattie’s shirt. She hushed them as their cries reverberated into her bosom. The baby inside Mattie could only sense the strife through the distress of his mother.
As Daniel scrambled for his hunting rifle, a chill crept in the house.
With his rifle raised, Daniel Masterson walked out of his front door and into a confrontation.
Seven pairs of eyes met him; tunnels straight into hell. Seven men who even in the cover of darkness and rain, looked as sinister as evil described around the dancing flames of a campfire, Lucifer rode along with them.
Moonrunners was this past weekend and it was amazing. Jahsh delivered a knockout punch once again. He’s got a finger on the pulse of the music. Next year, given some of the conversations over this weekend will be of blackout, insane proportions.
I rolled up to my dude’s house to grab him for the show and I was instantly met with a few things: garbage everywhere, streets worse than New Orleans and a family out in front of their house freaking out because someone had stolen all of their rims and tires just like the movies.
I was very much back in Chicago.
The sheer amount of dead cow I consumed this weekend likely took a year off my life. So many beef sandwiches, roast beef subs from Sub City, I even had a monster burrito. SO many cheese fries, bottles of Tecate and Miller Lite. Shots of Jameson.
It was fantastic to see my family and even better they got to meet my little monster. It was a good weekend. Now, I’m ready to get back on the grind. I didn’t write a word. Batteries recharged, and hustle reignited. Must get Happy Hour released.
On another one of my adventures, I had some close friends in town from Chicago, and they wanted to see some local craziness. Now, when someone asks to take it to the next level, you have to warn them. New Orleans isn’t for beginners, even more so when you’re dealing with the seedier side.
We’d met up in The Dungeon, a fabled metal bar that used to serve strong drinks with pretty ladies behind the bar, and a solid jukebox that had everything from Slayer to Johnny Cash, or Social Distortion.
For years, it was my bar. I even have my name on a plaque. After a few sodas and some shots of Jameson, we’d had our fill of Johnny Cash’s American Recordings material, and decided it was time for copious nudity. One of my best friends wanted to see some top notch “pretty titties” as they’re locally called. The rest of us groaned. A girl in one of the good clubs doesn’t care about you. She wants to get paid, and move on to the next lap she’ll dry fuck for a few crumpled dollars. She’s not going to work for it, end of story.
I told them I had a trick up my sleeve.
We ended up flipping a coin. My friend won, and I took them to Rick’s, next door to my work.
Rick’s is no joke. The girls are rock hard, and of diamond quality. There ain’t no slobs working the poles in Rick’s. We’d spent about an hour or so watching the natives writhe for dollars, and solicit us for lap dances. I luckily was off the hook because they knew I worked next door.
So while everyone else was getting the hustle, I got to watch for free and check the White Sox score on my iPhone while Hoss next to me was all falling in love with the Latina from Miami who loved his tattoos.
After we’d rallied around GTFOing – I walked them over a few blocks to one of the most skeezy areas in the entire south.
In a dubious part of the Quarter known for shady behavior, it was perfect. We were within doors of a secret gay bathhouse, an Asian Rub & Tug, other low rent strip clubs, and the bars where you go to find the blow.
Nothing short of complete sin and utter disgust, I told them I’d give them something to bring home. Of all of the places I took them to, I chose the grimiest, low down nasty joint. The homeless, toothless, overweight, prison tatted distant cousin of Rick’s: DD.
The DD is as bare bones as it gets. It’s small, dirty and insanely sketchy. No one in their right mind willingly goes inside unless they’re looking to cop, or because they’re into low-grade material. Hitting the door, my boys were floored. They don’t have spots like this back up in Chicago. We were met with awkward stares, and arched eyebrows from the staff, wondering aloud what in god’s name were these seemingly normal boys doing in here?
The room smells like used cigarettes from the Bronze Age while a distinct odor of regret intermingles with the sadness of empty bottles of Jim Beam or no-name gin.
The men who frequent DD are the kinds of chaps who look like they’ve been smoking methamphetamines on the hour for the last seventeen years, while their cousin who “rode into town” is always alongside, sipping $3 beer out of a paper bag. With heads of unwashed hair, and toothless smiles, these men keep the strippers in such a tragic place alive with their patronage.
The soundtrack to seduction is played off a small laptop, plugged into a sound system from Radio Shack. The stage is the year’s worn bar. So as you take a seat, your lady friend is grinding her cha-cha right up in your business, even if you don’t want it. There is no big brass, sexy stripper pole. They have Loews grade quality metal piping that runs through the bar, and this whole set up is complete with Plexiglas on the ceiling to keep a grip if thrusting the cooch upon someone’s chin.
The talent at Dixie Diva’s is something of folklore considering it’s where any stripper with decency wouldn’t consider taking a piss. These are the last little bits of grease leftover in the pan from frying some cheap bacon.
The girls feature a broad selection of C-section scars, missing teeth, or are so over the hill, Satan wants his money back from the meter going up long ago. Some look like linebackers squeezed into rhinestone studded tube tops, and $16 heels. And then there are the trannies. Not even the cute ones either. These aren’t the ones that could fool you in the best light.
These “girls” are the men who look like men in terrible makeup with horrific boob jobs, and have grown out this stringy, straw-like witch hair. To say the least, the stock is not pick of the litter. My friends fell in love instantly.
The beers from Rick’s were weighing heavily on my bladder, so I made way back toward the bathrooms. Upon opening the door, I was met with the sudden shout of
“HEY! I’M TRYING TO DO COCAINE IN HERE!”
Ok, lesson learned, leave whoever was in the bathroom alone. While waiting on the bathroom, the tranny working came up to me and told me I had to keep waiting because “a little boy and a little girl were busy in the bathroom” nudge nudge wink wink as he pointed to the women’s bathroom. I didn’t make a peep, nodded and let him pass. Mind you, this tranny had a face like a prison guard; his dead eyes had seen a lot of miles while the sallow skin stretched across his skull was tight. The violet circles under his eyes protruded out from under the badly caked makeup and past the bent Kool off his pink sparkly lips. I’m not arguing semantics with someone’s who’s got their dick tucked between their legs, and likely blows guys for what I spend on a pizza night.
When I’d returned back toward the floor, I came upon a scene straight out of a movie. Two destitute men sat at the far end of the bar, talking to a stripper who clocked in around 5’4 230 lbs. Jabba in the corset didn’t even consider making a pass at my friends.
She was busy working these two, despite that they looked like they have about a buck seventeen to split between them, let alone pay her child support. Their dirty beards, and craggy smiles should have told her she wouldn’t get rich off their patronage. But, in a sense, I don’t think she cared. With hungry eyes, the two codgers eye fucked her, and I think it made her feel wanted. DD is disgusting, and despite it’s trappings, a human staff still works there. Jabba pulled long tokes from her menthol and let the smoke bleed as the bums gave her something better than cash: dignity in a place everyone looks down their nose at.
A few other girls hung off in the shadows. Some too scared to work the loud, boorish crew of tattooed miscreants, while others were nodding off from a fresh fix. It didn’t matter; they had the exact entertainment they craved, anyhow.
Who was knee deep in the action with my friends hooting and hollering, was a large boned black woman with a thick Mohawk of red hair. Let’s call her Rhianna, given her stage persona only and shtick that she was her doppelganger, except…. large.
The boys are tattooers and had came to town on a whim at the last minute with pockets full of money and every intention of blowing it all. What the other girls didn’t want to cope with was that these guys were fun and wanted to get weird.
As the money was flying, Rhianna wanted it. She was game for anything; her car note getting paid this month was becoming a reality with each thrust of her hips. Dollars began to get stuffed into orifices of the body where money should not go. She writhed and moaned and used her body to pick up every cent, never her hands. Rhianna was getting turned on.
She was asking for the boys to do things to her, in front of everyone.
The bartender, totally out of her league with a pack of head to toe tattooed, money-throwing drunks was on Code Orange Threat Level.
At first, she tried to keep the rules of decorum (what?!) but was quickly silenced by a few $20s being tossed at her to “shut the fuck up, bitch. You play what they want and git sum fuckin’ drinks!” by our red haired friend. The bartender put her head down and start popping open the beers and passed them as needed.
The lead girl, the house mom, or whatever it was labeled, sauntered over to us.
Draped in black, she looked like a mountain of a woman, or at least a cross breed of Jabba The Hutt and Darth Vader. Her hair was a black teased 80’s tangle of gross, and as vodka stained lips moved, I could see the mauve lipstick on her teeth. How anyone wanted to see her take off her clothes, is something only the most feverish fetishists can explain.
At first, she hovered. She watched, and studied our actions. She wanted to know if she could sell us the goods on the secret menu. Some of the boys continued to wrap dollar bills around their fingers and next thing, they’d disappear inside our new friend Rhianna. With her back on the stage and her hips in the air, inviting them to play, it was one of the most disgusting things I’ve seen.
The house mom leaned over to the few of us not involved in the scrum and whispered with an air of crazed, sexual frenzy:
“We could go upstairs and party. There are no cameras and no rules. We can cut you a deal on anything. No rules. It’s fun upstairs, anything goes. We can get wild.” She stressed the no rules part.
We thanked her for her offer, and politely declined. My friends are a lot of things, but banging low rent strippers in a crack den isn’t one of them.
While my friend Andrew’s face was firmly planted between the ass cheeks of Rhianna, someone had the bright idea to pull out the camera phone, and start snapping. What else says Kodak Moment than a large strippers pock scarred ass bouncing off your nose?
At first the bartender tried, in vain, to yell at us for that thing not being allowed. Generally speaking, cameras are a No No in strip clubs. Rhianna wasn’t having it.
“You need to shut the fuck up, bitch! I got kids to feed!” she screamed, rolling around in a pile of money she’d likely never have seen, especially not in this place. The bartender muttered under her breath about respect.
The pictures and video got dirtier. Fingers went into places, as did more dollars, and our girl played the part. After her songs were done, she slid off stage and began to scoop up the over $500 she’d made in a few short minutes.
None of the other girls wanted anything to do with us as the stage was vacant. We waited. Rhianna seemed annoyed.
“The fuck is y’all doing?? We got paying customers down here!!!” She screamed while sticking her wad of cash in the cup of her bra.
The tranny took a deep breath. Money was at the ready. The tranny put on a smile made one pass down to our end, and as the hooting and hollering began, she was back at the other end, shaken from the thought of someone asking to see her dick.
As Rhianna gathered herself and made conversation, she casually wanted us to know that we could all “get our dicks sucked off for $60 each” – we passed. Twice we’d been offered to have a private party.
Something about neck tattoos must have screamed
“WE FUCK HOOKERS”.
Rhianna hung all over one of my friends, loving that he was a bigger boy. She made it very clear that he’d get the discount should he want to partake in the services.
She even tried kissing him on the mouth. She must have had a fat boy fetish because the rest of us happily remained untouched.
We still had no dancers. Rhianna was too busy flirting with the big boy, the tranny wasn’t even looking at us, and the other big girl had disappeared, likely upstairs where morality went to die.
With no one else getting up on the pole, Andrew took it upon himself to become the entertainment. In a stupor, he one eyed his way through A Perfect Circle and spun around with the same level of grace as the girls in this fetid hellhole. Getting down to his underwear, he took to the pole (pipe) and put on the best show he could. The bartender had completely given up on trying to contain the party. We were her only real customers, and no one with our money was about to walk in the door. She accepted it for what it was while money was thrown at her. For all of her protests, the bartender likely walked with over $100 from us. The boys hooted and hollered.
Finally, one of the girls crept out of the shadows and began to strut. She was semi cute in a damaged sort of way. Without even a word passing between us, the far off look of cheap heroin and bad life choices spoke volumes as to why she was working a pipe in the worst bar in the city.
I moved outside and started talking to my cousin. He was a part of the group, but a minor player. Drunk, and only in town for the night, he jumped in with us and went full bore. While talking, he’d struck up conversation with an urchin who worked in some capacity for the bar. They talked on about New Orleans and whatever until someone slid out of the door and slapped something in his hand. The urchin, looking at his friend, asked aloud what he was being given. The friend’s reply?
“A dollar’s worth of coke stupid! Go do it!” The urchin moved to the bathroom post haste. My cousin was awestruck at the free usage of substance in the city.
As we stood talking about our family and life back home, one of my boys from Chicago drifted out. His face was serious. He looked me dead in the eyes while taking sips off his Old Fashioned.
“You know when it’s time to leave the party because shit got too weird?”
“Yeah,” I replied.
“We got asked to join an orgy $100 a guy. I’m not fucking a fat black stripper, a tranny or the blob. Time to go.”
This an except from my memoir: Happy Hour - The Bourbon Street Chronicles.
This book is done.
I need new agent. If you know an awesome one, I’d like to be pals. There are more stories like this one. One is about a squirting geriatric at a swingers party, how I met my wife in a totally shady, weird way, and how much drugs are sold out of each club.
Sullivan’s breath stunk like cheap hot dogs, and discount cigarettes. His guts hurt from the fight last night. With each turn of the wheel, the fibers in his muscles ached. That punk kid from over on 43rd kept running his mouth. It was time for someone to put a few punches on his timecard.
The kid always ran his mouth, and always promised he’d burn down the world for the life he’d led. Said his life wasn’t fair. No one around here had it diamond studded, who did this kid think he was?
What was worse is his old man was a good guy.
The old man died young. What the old man left around was a punk kid who ran with a crowd of thieves and caused nothing but grief. The kid assumed the world owed him something for not growing up with a father. Well, tough titties son, half of the men sitting on the barstools next you so much knew nothing about their fathers. Just because their fathers were breathing, didn’t make them any less of a corpse.
Out of respect for his family’s good name the neighborhood tolerated the kid, but no one wanted him around. He’d always flap his gums, daring the world to cross him. He spat on church floors and never tipped the bartender. When Sullivan cleaned his clock, it wasn’t out of spite - it was out of respect.
With a few stinging shots to the cement thick skull of the kid, Sullivan knew he wasn’t going to dominate, but at least he’d whip him a few times.
The kid had to know the neighborhood wasn’t his playground for abuse; it was the only place that would save his ass as the flames kissed the cheeks.
Rule Number One of growing up down here: respect your neighborhood. Sullivan taught him respect, one slug at a time. When Sullivan woke up this morning, the sun’s rays slashed through the curtains like tiny daggers straight into his eyelids.
He felt like Living Hell. When he rose to find the morning smoke, ghosts from beer swings at a kid half his age came flooding back. Sure, he had a goose egg and a mule blue eye, but that kid wasn’t likely to get too big for his britches any time soon. Sullivan struck a match and pulled it close to a sagging, sad cigarette and took a deep lungful. Whipping on the punk was good for neighborhood politics. Someone needed to do it, and lucky for the kid, it was Sullivan, who remembered his father.
Next time, he’d buy the kid a few sodas and all would be forgiven and forgotten.
So it goes on the hard side of town.
Sullivan cruised slowly down streets ravaged by social wars and city politics. Nothing ever got done down on this side of the city. Tired, old women swept their doorways while grim faced boys played shirtless in the streets. Beer bellied men hosed off the linoleum siding on their houses, hungover from their menial lives.
Sullivan gave the sign of the cross as he passed St. Gabriel’s. He hadn’t been inside since the last birth or burial, but through it all, it was their landmark of life, hope and redemption; none of the above happened around here. Even the salvation was secondhand. He backed the Mercury into the alley. Sullivan slid it into a spot just behind the old Thompson place. The gravel and broken glass slid beneath the cracked rubber of his balding tires. The alley smelled like piss. Things came back here to die; from trash to dog shit, and a few dead animals lying behind where the garage meets the fence, the stench was palpable.
The Thompson place was nothing but a burned out shell. No one bothered to reclaim what was once a Statement Home, a pinnacle of the south side. It was a castle built upon the back of by-your-bare-hands wealth and blue-collar work ethic. It caught fire a few years back, and once the insurance money was collected, and the Thompson’s moved to the north side, and no one cared about the castle anymore. Another sin tallied.
The house sat as a rotting reminder of the good ole’ days. Now, the south side is nothing but a shooting gallery on one block and a land grab for cheap housing on the others. Time moved on as the families of old moved out, and only the bottom feeders, and the stubborn remain.
Sullivan eased out of the car. Everything throbbed. As he straightened out, he tidied himself up. He wore a suit every day despite being continually unemployed. He always maintained that if the bus were to hit him, he’d at least save someone the trouble of finding him something nice to wear.
The sun remained vicious. The houses stood at the end of the alley like grim mirages, and as the sun caused the bleak, sodden world to shimmer, Sullivan needed a drink. His heart condition was acting up again. His pulse felt like his ticker would explode in his chest at any second. He took deep breaths, hoping it would do some good. He kept breathing, hoping his heart would get the oxygen it needed. Dabbing his forehead, he looked up at his mother’s house, which was now his house.
After his mother passed, Sullivan was left as the caretaker. His father split when he was three, and his sister Juliet was dead by twenty-two. Now, as a man of forty-six, Sullivan wondered what Juliet would be like today. She’d be fifty-three and likely have her shit together, something he’d never dreamed of.
He sighed, and walked toward the gangway. The gate hung sadly off the hinges while the cement was cracked in countless places, making it look like a drunken subway system map. Stray cats meowed, hidden away from sight, but always watching like shadowy creeps.
The bills sat in piles thick as phones books. The phone was off the hook. Nothing had a place, and nothing belonged anywhere. His mother’s house was a reminder of his constant failures; without her death he’d still be living in the roach motels or renting rooms alongside the other transients in town.
He could have sold the house and collected the money, but then he’d of ended up back in the same position. This way was better. No one would steal his shoes in the middle of the night here. When the disconnection notices came, he hocked a possession or two of hers to keep the lights on. Whatever was left kept the icebox stocked with beer and cheap wine and maybe some hamburger or a few slices of ham.
Some tattered nudie books lie at the foot of the couch. The windows were open and a slight breeze danced through, tickling the ladies on the stained pages. Sullivan popped a can of beer open as he sat down on the years-worn sofa and took a hit. The house was silent except for his heavy breathing. He wondered whom he could call to come over and spend time with him but remembered, everyone he knew was at work.
Once again, even in this time of triumph for beating the devil one more day, Sullivan sat alone.
Walking Bourbon Street at three am on a Monday is about as real of an experience as it gets. The action is slight, and everyone is wasted. Sloppy eyed drunks wearing out of season beads goad one another into one last brightly colored drink. The gutter punks and homeless freaks sift through the trashcans looking for anything with alcohol content. One big cup, and multiple 1/4’s of various kinds of booze later, and you’ve got some genuine hobo stew.
Tarot card readers hope for some late night business while everyone else who’s on the clock pray to the angel of death to come take the away from the boredom. The street is at a crawl and by this hour, everyone’s cursing their managers for not closing hours ago.
Hustlers hang back in the shadows waiting for their prey. Hookers parade up and down the street wearing barely there outfits, walking right past the cops sitting atop their horses taking photos or letting drunk people pet them. Mascara stained eyes scan the scene while stuffing disgusting slices of cardboard pizza into gaping maws. Couples always fight. A guy is always mad at his girl for flirting with someone else, or a woman is always screaming at her boyfriend who’s staring at her with crossed eyes, and vomit splashed across his button down dress shirt. The random street hook ups are in full swing as they eat one another’s faces, not giving a good goddamn.
Various bars close as the night progresses, it all depends on the hourly ring. If it’s painfully slow, we mock and berate one another as we walk past smiling and waving because we’re lucky enough to be leaving.
The common rule at this hour is to pick your route wisely. If you’re headed to Treme or the Lower Quarter take Bourbon down to at least The Fruit Loop (where the gay bars are) and then break off into what direction you’re going, that is, if you’re not a townie that parks close to work and hightails it back to the vanilla village suburbs.
For those of us who are locals who wear our Nola knowledge like badges of pride, it’s important to know where not to go late at night if at all avoidable. If you’re headed toward Canal Street, you’re on your own, cause that shit is sketchy as hell late at night, and forget seeing a cop. Once in a drunken stupor, Preston and I took a ride from a dude “looking to make extra money” giving people rides that had just gotten off work. I’m sure if we didn’t bond over being poor and him having a cousin from the south side of Chicago, where he’d spent a little time, I might not be telling this tale.
Common rule of thumb is to walk down either Royal or Bourbon when headed out for a drink, or back home. This is one of the times where going off the beaten path isn’t the smartest idea. You want to be seen, that way no one can steal you, and if they do some chasing after, there’s witnesses.
Drunks lie uncomfortably passed out in doorways, and transients looking to break into the game sleep in their cars because they don’t have a place to live yet; a lot of times these girls will blow into town and strip to make fast money, and once established try to find a varying degree of normalcy, which in New Orleans terms is quite the feat.
On the hour, the cathedral bells ring and echo through the Quarter giving it that eerie, Interview with The Vampire feeling.
When traversing through the backstreets after a long night and some fog is hanging around, the scene always feels strange, no matter the frequency. And around St. Louis Cathedral, the people who hang around all night, are a level of weird all to themselves.
From drunks, to tarot card readers, wannabe vampires, or just strange people up to even stranger shit, you can always expect to see something out of this world walking through Jackson Square late at night.
But it’s after the stress of a long double shift, or ending your workweek on a Monday night when the beer tastes the best. The best tasting drinks are the ones in the middle of the night, in an empty bar and a bartender who isn’t looking to make much conversation.
Silently tallying life’s mistakes and successes is cathartic like a long hot shower, but only with a lot of whiskey, and possibly a drunken sandwich run.
The quiet beer is the best beer. One of the simple pleasures in life of an entertainer is silence.
For many of us suiting up for a shift out in The Jungle, it’s a process. Many of us have rituals. As for entertainers, some of the biggest are: no talking before work, it’s better to enjoy not having to talk period. Or even care what’s going on with friends and loved ones.
Once in the car, the radio is always turned off. Just silence. I used to always get asked to go out with my co-workers for some after work libations, but they’ve long since stopped asking. The tendency for our people is to mingle in the same watering holes where horror stories and how much the bartenders walked with can be traded over shots. I avoid these places like the plague because we’ve already spent hours together, my free time after the dog and pony show is better spent with a good jukebox that serves as background music, or zero social interaction at all.
There’s something very freeing about a cold PBR and a shot of Jameson after a long shitty day of hearing Bruno Mars and Pitbull that makes the burn feel like you’ve earned it. Someone on the other side of the room puts on The Clash? I may even buy them a shot, so long as we don’t have to talk about it.
To be one of us in the Service Industry army, you have to be willing to let everything go and toss all of your beliefs in the fire. The fantasy of normal hours and a normal life are a joke. If you can’t see the sense of humor in the worst situations, you’d never make it down here.
For those who actually pay attention to this blog, and my goings on - we’ve moved. We now live in Texas, and it’s weird. It’s not weird in a bad way, but it’s a lot different than home. We left New Orleans because it was the smartest move for our family, and I can say that within the first month of doing so, I’m extremely homesick.
It’s a lot of small things that get me. Cops actually care about speeding, and traffic laws, you can’t drink a beer while you wait for your car to get washed, and the Saints aren’t always available on Sunday. I hope I find a way to grow into Austin. There’s plenty about New Orleans I don’t miss, but forever and always New Orleans is my home, and where my heart is.
Texas does have bad ass Mexican food, and Lone Star which is rad, but bars closing at two is the suck. Austin gets way better shows, but the rent is sky high. It’s a lot of give and take these days. All of this and I’m still yet to find a job.
To live here is to worship excellent, awe inspiring food; to find no greater joy than crawfish season in spring, and snowball season in winter, or simply just wanting nothing more than a greasy shrimp po boy at two am after a long bender on cheap beer. This culture wasn’t manufactured or created out of thin air.
The city of New Orleans draws the freaks that can’t fit in elsewhere. We’re too weird for Austin, and downright fucking paradoxical for New York, and we aren’t green enough for Portland. While those cities hold their own charms, they are not us. New Orleans is a place where the music is hot, and the weather will kill you with its bare hands. The music can transform a completely normal person into a dazed sycophant one minute, or lull them into a place of universal peace the next. The city has that kind of power. We stomp through the patchwork streets after brass bands in celebration of life, and death. With a cold drink in hand, the bodies saunter past the stopped cars who even if they’re late for work, realize the absolute importance of the ritual.
It’s fun to spend time with friends over a table full of steaming crawfish, ripping them a apart and sucking the brains out and eating the tails while drinking cold beer to fight off the heat and spice. It’s just as wonderful to teach newcomers how to do it, and how to do it right as they cringe at the sight of the locals devouring piles like cannibals.
I just read an article on Yahoo about how big of a deal it is that the new mayor of New York’s wife is black. That’s actually kind of shitty of them to bring up. It shouldn’t be made a point of, or some asshole’s talking point.
The dude is a white guy from Brooklyn, his wife is black.
These people love one another, and have a family together. This isn’t news, it’s a family unit. Why do people have to champion something like this? Why as a culture are we patting folks on the backs for progression of cultures and tolerances? While I understand there are a lot of close minded assholes that roam the earth, we don’t need to point out the obvious.
In 2013 there shouldn’t be equal rights, there shouldn’t be gay rights, or anything of the like. There should just “RIGHTS” as a people. Love who you love, fuck whomever you like, and get married if you want a tax break and some stress.
All people of all lifestyles, and colors, and creeds deserve love and respect for their abilities as people, not because fucking Yahoo deems it newsworthy, and negating what this guy’s actually caliber as a man, and now mayor is.
Disgusting and TRUE story about working on Bourbon Street
Excerpt from the memoir Happy Hour I’m currently writing:
The best stories though, aren’t from times when you’re expecting the business to be slammed; it’s the random times that earn the places in the halls of crazy. One of those times was when the swingers invaded.
Every summer, the swingers fuck their way across the French Quarter. Thousands of sex hungry folks partake in sensuous day parties, and downright devilish after hours parties that are the stuff out of Penthouse Letters. The Swingers rent out clubs all across Bourbon and have their own private functions throughout a certain week of the summer. We offer high security and minimal staff. No camera’s and total professionalism. If you can imagine it, it’s happening. I’ve seen a guy get his dong slathered in spit from four different women while he casually drank a beer, his arms up on the stage railing and totally cool. Unlike the rest of the male population, this was no big deal.
People interview one another for potential bang sessions while others cut to the chase and start screwing after a short conversation. Right out for all to see. Not all swingers enjoy voyeurism, but many have no issue with getting freaky right on the spot. I mean, hey you’re here to do the damned thing, so what’s the big deal about licking someone’s balloon knot in front of some strangers sipping on a vodka tonic?
If you can dream it up in your dirty little mind, know it’s happened in the sanctified walls of the clubs during Swingers Week.
A few summers ago, Greg and I were enlisted to entertain these colorful folks. Dressed in barely anything, or nothing at all, it’s a crap shoot what kind of people are coming out to party that day. Sometimes it’s like a PTA mixer with excessive boobies, and other events turn straight up Caligula within a few rap tunes. We play the usual mix of old and new, and some cheese. We feel out if they’re feeling particularly dirty or want to get loose first.
We’d been doing the usual routine of lap dances, the call and response stuff, and even had a woman proceed to finger bang herself and suck the juice off her fingers – right next to Greg. Someone got a blowjob right in front of the DJ booth. A couple of fat people fucked doggy style to Me So Horny and the crowd went wild. We got lucky, these people wanted to get strange. Game on.
It’s an odd thing to watch to grossly overweight people bang right in front of you. Hands explored rolls of lard while tufts of skin were grabbed onto and slammed with vigor. The guy was working hard at not dropping dead from a grabber, but he was putting on a show for the people and hey, they were into it. The word Morbid came to mind when I saw these two, and more so how the equipment managed to fit into place.
Members of the staff continually kept popping into the booth that day in awe of how riled up we’d gotten these people. In as many of these events as I’d worked, none were as rowdy as this group.
That day Greg was the MC and was in charge of the sideshow. Feeling good and Randy himself, he asked the crowd a question.
“I’ve seen a lot of shit today. But I’ve still never seen a woman squirt. I want to see a woman squirt cum!”
Everybody cheered. No one came up. He started again.
“You mean of all you people who love to fuck, none of you is a squirter? Porn has lied to me? Come on, first woman up here to squirt gets some drinks on me.”
Bam. Magic words. Free drinks.
An older woman, likely around her mid 60’s strode right up on stage in a tiny pink tank top and sequined jean skirt, tanned and toned. She worked out because for a woman of her experience, she was rock solid. There wasn’t an ounce of fat on her, and after the disgusting scene prior, it was totally welcome to see the MILF. She was tighter than most of the girls much younger that we’ve seen. She was a serious cougar.
Behind her was a skinnier look a like of Paul Sr. Mustache and everything. They rolled up on stage with an air of confidence, and without a word they began to furiously make out for about forty seconds. And by the time we’d gotten what city they were from, she was completely naked. The view was even better – not a loose hair on her body.
“So, you’re a squirter, huh? Prove it.” Greg instigates.
With her back to the crowd, Paul Sr. grabs her va-jay jay like a bowling ball and dives in, middle and ring finger deep. He worked his arm fast for about a minute. The lady looks like she’s possessed, eyes rolling around and a whole bunch of dirty girl lip biting. The cheers and the people must have turned her insides to goo. Paul Sr was dialed in. Shaking legs came first, then her whole body began to violently twitch while she stood, and braced against his powerful arm. WHOOSH. It was like a storm had just fallen on stage. You’d of swore she pissed, there was a liter of lady cum splashed all over the tired wood of the stage. A puddle was underfoot.
Our mouths were on the floor, amazed a dude could do it so quick, and so much came out of her. As the crowd cheered like their team had just won the big game, the dude holds his two glistening fingers up for all to see like The Babe about to mash another dinger, and proceeds to dive in yet again.
This time, the puddle was even bigger. A small lake was born on The Bayou’s stage, and all by some tan woman from Ohio. The crowd was in full frenzy mode and ready to eat other’s faces off. Excitement percolated, and now after seeing this display of bodily fluid, things were happening, pants and underwear fell in the result of the hotness that had just went down. People began doing things to one another. We had done our job. As the happy couple exited the stage with complementary shots in hand, we tossed a bar rag over the puddle. That spot is still stained. There is a literal jizz stain on the stage, over three years later. I wonder what her diet consisted of?
I don’t think that Bourbon Street could exist anywhere else in the world. For all of the lax laws and laid back attitudes, New Orleans itself is the reason Bourbon thrives. Without one another, they cannot survive. The parasite and the host that feed off another; everything this city does, top to bottom rely on the money from the street, and the street relies on an attitude that they are invincible.
The local laws are skewed for profit on all angles. From our prison system, which is For Profit, to not having recycling, despite the fact that everything in the Quarter is reusable, it’s all about how the palm is greased. Get a phantom parking ticket? Pffft, that’s normal around here. Lights shut off for non-payment even though it’s a clerical error on their end? Guess what? You’re paying twice.
Hurricane leave you without power for EIGHT days? Your next bill will be $60 higher. That’s just how life in this town goes.
Ask anyone, and we’ve all got stories about the politics and rep tape of the purported “Big Easy” aka the only city hall in America with a neon sign, and a bar inside.
New Orleans is a veritable fun house mixed with Disney Land for drunks to live in, if you can avoid any interaction with the police, and keep your wits about you. Learning how to not get rolled is a local art form. Thugs are hidden in plain sight, and you’ve gotta know the signs if you want to keep your shit on your person.
All grizzled New Orleans locals know a friend who’s had their car’s stolen, and left in a burned pile off in the East. We all know someone who’d been mugged, or sold counterfeit drugs. We’ve overpaid for services rendered, and had the supportive party not show up at all.
Editors note: please share with any lovers of New Orleans.
The men’s patio bathroom has seen some shit. The daily take on copious amounts of drug deals going down, amongst other shady trafficking, people know to go to the far off corner to buy cop their poison. More than once, I’ve witnessed various deals between the local hustlers breaking the door staff off a little something for allowing their trade in the building. The bathrooms in any French Quarter bar are always, frankly disgusting. If it’s not bolted to the floor, it’ll be broken or stolen. If you can piss or puke on it, it’s only a matter of time. The bathrooms aren’t really ever cleaned, so much as mopped with bleach daily. Say you get involved in a Tarrantino styled Mexican standoff, and you’re bleeding everywhere and slink into a Bourbon Street bathroom, you might have well just let the guy finish you off. Whatever grows in those four walls will kill you within minutes.
I sincerely doubt science has categorized whatever strands exist from the constant bodily fluids and spilled substances that splash onto the surface hourly. A Bourbon Street bathroom is a small portal into hell. Each time you step into the urinal to bleed one out, know it’s the one room in the building the atomic sized rats, and knife-wielding cockroaches won’t go. Cleanliness is not a virtue of godliness in the French Quarter; it’s an exercise in futility and only maintained out of the small observances to the law. We break just about every other rule, so who gives a fuck if the bathrooms on Bourbon Street fester with disease the black plague would call a kissing cousin? Drink up, that’s why we’re here.
New Orleans post Katrina is a wonderfully odd place. A chemically driven, sexual playground trying to find itself; the cross dressing cousin of straight America, a good ole’ boy run sideshow, complete with back alley handshakes, lubed up and lost in the fight for it’s soul. In today’s New Orleans, a lot more is for sale than just the cups of beer. Everyone is hustling for something.
Even the world famous traffic tranny that directs cars down by St. Ann Street wants a few bucks to keep his cup full as he waves cars into all directions on busy weekend nights. We’re confused as piles of new money are coming in as never before. New Orleans is no longer a dirty little secret. Everyone knows about us now. We’re worried about what the soul of this city is becoming and how much is for sale? Atlanta and Austin bloomed on either side of this little section of hell, all while New Orleans was under water.
Everything in this city is changing, for better or worse. The Wild West times are becoming farer and fewer, but there have been times in my illustrious career that I’ve looked around and realized What the FUCK am I doing here?
One of my real New Orleans-centric moments was when I was DJing blind drunk on a Halloween, and a shooting happened right in front of the club. Instantly, our door staff scrambled, shutting all of the exits and trapping the customers inside. When it was safe to exit, half of Bourbon Street was blocked off, and a body lie face down, in costume. Blood pooled around the corpse, and slack jawed tourists snapped photos for their friends back home. It was a depressing moment, that even on Halloween, someone can get killed in New Orleans. Sure, we have cops but most of the time, they’re too busy fucking off, or mugging for some tail from Iowa. I stood at our gate and looked out toward the crowd of onlookers aghast at our brutal reality. I walked back into the bar knowing our night was fucked. A body was feet from our door and cops were scribbling things down. That’s a death knell for anyone trying to make a few bucks, even on Halloween. I went immediately over to the bar and swallowed some whiskey.
Drunk out of my mind, I tried to rationalize this life, but as my head swam with grain alcohol, I gave up and went back out on a bender. It was one of my first instances where I asked myself plenty of ethereal questions about life and the beyond. Many moments in the business left indelible scars mentally, and that Halloween was one of them despite my alcoholic intake.
The fragility of the whole human geonome was something I’d never really taken into consideration up to that point. Bourbon Street was teaching more than college ever did. Instead of being surrounded by like minds who I’d be competing with for jobs, I was thrown into a sea of personalities driven not by passion, but by predatory need for money. Most of my comrades were uneducated, and raw but through that rawness and self efficient state of mind, the reality of personality shined brighter than anyone I’d ever met thus far.
The Quarter’s fabric of people taught me I’d be meeting some very interesting people, and after all of the time spent, I never stopped meeting the strange and unusual.
Every weekend, my days are filled with throngs of over served, and under nourished; the nubile coeds in for the weekend on daddy’s dime, and the old fuckers who watch them like hawks, waiting for the sign to swoop in and be gross.
From overweight bleached blonde, mouth breathing slags in their acid washed jeans and their FUCK OBAMA attitude that only someone in rural Alabama could love, to the frat boys from Arkahoma, on to the pack of bro’s trying to outdrink one another while chest bumping to feats of domestic beer dominance. I saw lives weaved into the fabric of the American orgy; coalescing into the hot finger bang of the soul that was taking place. This is my life.
This really happened. A true story from Robert Dean
We moved into The Irish Channel, a sometimes-sketchy neighborhood uptown, complete with a variety of drunks sitting on stoops, and freaks that only came out at night in fear the daylight sun would melt them. We moved into a weathered shotgun off Constance with broken air, and a saggy back yard fence. The grass was a little long, but the rent was a steal, even though my room was missing a door. We lived on the corner, so the front of our house was the pow wow spot for the neighborhood
Neither of us really had friends so no one bothered us, except the locals. Between the local wildlife that flourished outside of our windows, we learned very quick what life in real New Orleans was like; this was not the idyllic fantasies of the French Quarter.
From the ghetto blasters that rolled past our windows to the drunk old woman who got into a full blown brawl with a pack of little kids over her stealing one of their bikes, this was the an education far beyond any bullshit classroom study in social temperament. Hustlers stood on our corners dressed in all black, seventeen-year-old gun scarred thugs lived across the street, we even had a Breaking Bad styled drug house down a block that operated in the open. We were living in a triangle of bad news.
Every night, we’d kick some new transient off our porch for either trying to hustle cheap dope, or smoking blunts on the stairs. We’d set up some lawn chairs in our backyard, and in true New Orleans style, we’d hear people getting robbed pretty regularly. We had a landlord, but he was out in California, and was completely unaware of what was happening in his old neighborhood. For a while, we felt like prisoners that resulted to a variety of scare tactics to keep the locals away from our house. We had to. We tried to come off like hard white trash, walking around like we’d fight in a second if someone got out of line, or we’d tell what few friends we had to roll up blasting the most Satanic metal they had, as loud as possible. We figured it would let people know who sacrificed kittens inside, if the Halloween sign we put up on the door we moved in didn’t let them know off the bat we were weird. Too bad this is New Orleans, and everyone is weird.
And then Hurricane Gustav struck. With Ray Nasty up there in his D&G shades on television telling you to get the fuck out or die, New Orleans was a pretty edgy place in the wake of a city destroying hurricane just two years prior. Virginia and I split to Pensacola where her mom lived. We were told if he stayed we were on our own, and then later, if we didn’t leave, we’d be arrested. Katrina has done a number on people’s psyche. We figured, jail wasn’t cool, so we opted for beach life for a few days. Just let the storm do its thing. When we got to Pensacola, we did what any good New Orleans people do: we got fucking smashed every single day. We found ourselves in the mainstay of Pensacola beach bar territory, and they took getting us wasted as a personal mission from their lord and savior. Visit any town with a healthy bar scene, and mention you’re from New Orleans, and watch the bartenders fall over themselves to prove what their little town can do. It never, ever fails. One such Pensacola tourist spot is known around the world for their hokey surfer décor, and the amazing burgers. They have a drink called “The Irish Wake” which supposedly you’re only allowed to drink two.
The bartender threw the rule book out when a table of ten New Orleans refugees sat down. We weren’t even asked if we’d like a refill, we were just given them. Maybe they felt for us because from a Floridian to a New Orleanian – they could relate in some kind of sad, world destroying way. I had four of the supposed man killer Irish Wakes, and I lived to tell the tale. That night, as Hurricane Gustav passed, the outer bands soaked Florida. I’d be lying if I said photos of me dancing shitfaced in my boxer shorts didn’t exist. I later vomited in the kitchen sink. I’d only met Virginia’s mom two days prior.
From people preaching from the mountain on how you’re fucking up without even trying, to constant tricks and tips on what works. Just because someone’s had a papoose of their own, they’re an expert and want you share everything they know. That kind of sentiment goes both ways, good and bad.
What I’ve learned is this: for nine months, as a dude you’re pretty much like….whatever. The kid thing is what’s going on in your life, but you’re not really on top of how to feel emotionally or how your life will actually change.
As men we don’t see things in front of us, the picture isn’t there, it’s abstract. Sure, mom is feeling the kicks and the growing part, but as men we’re hanging about waiting for that off chance we can still sneak that last beer with our friends.
I really didn’t grasp this whole “instant love” concept, and frankly, I thought when people talked to me about it it was weird.
But, I met my son today. I watched my wife give birth to a pretty rad dude. It’s unexplainable to cuddle and feel your son; to feel the smallness, and know you’re the great swooping protector.
They tell you you’ll light up like a Christmas tree when you see your kid. Really, in my case it was a moment, of sentimental, emotional ownership. You grasp firm of the idea, that OK – I understand that this tiny little human is mine, and it’s my job to not fuck him up, or let anything break or destroy him.
New dad life is rough.
Being a new dad is rough; being a new dad anywhere, in any city, with any support system is rough. We’ve just endured baby momma’s ups and downs, and bouts of surreal crazy. We now have hulk out and smash anyone in the neck who even looks shady getting near the little alien you call yours.
I was in constant dread over the fact that I felt like my life was over, and we can’t do the cool stuff anymore. This posting was for the guys like me, the new dad’s who’s significant other’s haven’t popped, and you’re always wondering what’s going to happen, what’s the reality of it all.
Trust me that weird, missing puzzle piece slides in and mentally, it all clicks into place.
Being a new dad is a race to not fucking your kid up.
I can’t say I won’t do lame, stupid shit. I already want to flood my social media networks with a million photos of him, but I have to keep telling myself to not be like those annoying fuckfaces I want to drown that ruin my using experience daily. It’s cool to be psyched, cause I am, but I’m walking a line.
I still hate everyone else’s kids. That’s not going to change. But, this one, he’s mine and I can help correct the mistakes of my past by bringing my son up correctly and not letting him join the army of assholes who parade the streets. The kid is a snuggly little glow worm and loves his momma already. He’s not a crier, and loves to sleep. I like that.
Things will change, and things will go up and down, that’s how the world works, but at least I can go into this whole thing with a sincere desire to do right by him, not by my selfish self needs. I guess that old mumbo jumbo they pass off as parental wisdom is true, you’ll go psycho wolverine and slash a fucking neck over your kid, and you instantly do love them in a way that only our DNA could decode. That’s an absolute truth. Any parent who picks their child up for the first time and sees nothing in those wildly searching eyes is deficient in emotion. Feeling that little hand close around your fingers is surreal.
Much like Alice, down the rabbit hole with parenthood, and this time there’s no fear, only diving in head first with your shoulders out, ready to karate kick idiot advice, and neck snap those shitty books everyone will want you to read.
Do it yourself, and find your life in taking care of the little person that looks at your with a blank canvas and innocent eyes. We’re here to guide, and act, but always with the best concepts in mind.
This life is crooked and fractured. The glass of my existence is continually shattered like a depressed Sylvia Plath-like seventeen year old reeking of clove smoke and cheap liquor; even though the rings of my tree have aged, it doesn’t lessen the make up of the folly any less. Stringent with my abilities, and pugnacious aptitude toward the life I’ve chosen, this creek is full of shit, and I am on it alone with a sinking canoe and no paddle. Pages fall to the floor, lying there with my underwear and dreams.
Without the words, and without the driving desire for more, I am nothing. Without obsession, I have no purpose, I need to salivate for language. I froth at the mouth to hate life and want the world my way, and in my vision. That’s why I’m still hand to mouth. Everything is blurred, yet I follow along, as close to the curve as possible. Life is hungover and simplified, one glass of poison at a time. It’s just easier to swallow the stuff with the skulls and crossbones on it than anything with spirit, soul or solidarity.
I weep for the world that my son will live in. The colors will be muted, and the groans of weighted feet atop creaking stairs will lead his peer’s minds into a place with digital chips and false flag attacks on their minds with all of the ease of life mumbo jumbo bullshit hogwash.
The kids of tomorrow will look at books and vinyl like antiques from a dead generation. I feel sadness for them. They’ll drink shitty beer for the sake of irony, and never know what it’s like to starve on the inside for a universe of art and death on your front door.
This world was crafted by stubborn hands; I am still without and yet, I crave all the more. I watch as my peers get fat with property value and life choice. Their degrees look stout against the off white of their wallpaper. My son will live in an age of robotic eyes and soulless, dogmatic rules of the science fiction realm.
All the while, I’ll be a dead dreamer still broke, and chasing a fantasy long while my body rots.
Publishing is a notoriously slow business. Nothing EVER moves fast. I’ve grown to accept the hurray up and wait plight of the writer over the last few years. It’s just how the business works. From small publishers running their operation out of basements, to the Monsters in Manhattan - it’s going to take a long while.
So young writers - get used to it.
But, in happier news my novella project, We are The End is finally getting put together.
The anthology features badass writers as Gabriel Guillory, Lela Gwenn, Toby McCasker and myself. It’s the story of the four horsemen of sorts, and goes in four VERY different directions.
The intro was written by Jody Ray Whiskeybay, and is stunning and dark.
The book is coming out through May December Publications, and once I’ve got more, or some art - you’ll see it right here. But, it’s been a long time coming, and we think you’ll be blown away by all of the awesome.
This makes me very happy. I loved writing that story.
You’re not one of us till you’ve died on paper and let your guts splay out on the margins. Hollow kids sat at ill lit, all night joints arguing the finer points of suburban malaise while the keys sit cold, and untouched. Those fellows who’d said they were warriors, but when it was time to don the paint, they shit in their rawhides.
You’re not one of us until you let the world’s coldness rob you of your soul, and you’ve got nothing left. You must let it strip the humanity away from you like a varnish. Only the skeletal remains explain the story. The flesh is nothing but a roadmap to discount pussy and cheaper lies to the world.
The morgue is full of us, and we die daily knowing we’re selling what blood we’ve got left to be in the good standing of people we hate to begin with. Symptom of the job, and now we’re still trying to afford this life that we want, but no one is letting it rain pennies these days, even god is suffering from the budget cuts.
Write like a slugger staring square in the box, ready to beat the shit out of the ball. Write like the father he hates, for every punch he threw in anger over his failed life, you must bleed on the paper. Your sins are your salvation in the world of words.
Write like everything inside is a dying universe, the secrets in your heart must be let out to save a distant sun. Whisper at the pages, and let them guide you into oblivion, but never grow weary of the word, let them drain you, let them challenge you and let the kill you a thousand times over. You are nothing but keystrokes and challenges yet to be mounted. Write because you must, and tell the stories the world needs to hear. For better or worse, this is your curse.
Let’s burn the disco down and languish in the flames of pop culture. Let’s watch as the chains of yesteryear melt in the fires, while the plastic of cups degrades into a sad jackolantern.
Everything about the walls of this city make me feel less secure than I should. I can see the ghouls as they whisper in the shadows. Everything about me is murder, and everything about the air we breathe is stifled with broken lungs. The ships sail away daily, but we’re trying to get the anchor out of the murky water. We party like it’s 1999 – too bad we’re stuck in neutral.
We wish upon stars, and promise ourselves the new us is coming tomorrow, but we know the whole time we’re just lying to ourselves. The piñata of our world is broken and the candy is spilled everywhere. Sweet treats litter the ground while dirty faced children pick it up, but the whole time we blame them. We yell at them for their stupidity, but they don’t know any better.
Their granddaddy’s were animals, and further down the line, the chains only grow longer. We stand stoic at doors tomorrow, yet it’s nothing but today, all over again, but without respite, we lie and backstab only ourselves. Our money and promises are false, just are the smiles and efforts we present to the world.
The icons of stupidity smile with expensive teeth as we pray to them at their discount altars. We beg them for tips on the hotness and the icy cool touch of what to expect next. Yet, we expect nothing from ourselves as we beg painted pictures of the sly faced beggars of nowhere, but the last street where the bums don’t even go. The car are scared to breakdown, and our bikes will get stolen if we don’t lock them up with each one of the emotions we’re hiding from the scarred clown next to us looking out at the raging waters that keep the night sky balanced.
Everything is criminal and lightening erupts from the end of gun barrels while we dance to the sounds of socialized death, one youth at a time. We’re nothing, if not happy faces with sad clown eyes. Down here, at the ground floor, there’s nothing going on, but the bare minimum.
An anti-western documentary, allegedly leaked to a South Korean tourist by agents of the North posing as defectors has emerged and been translated to English. And god is it scary just how right they have all of it, down to the letter.
Every morning I lug my old, saggy ass off this mattress. When I wake up, I’m actually surprised. I never expected me to get this far. Everything hurts. My teeth hurt, my piss hurts. The jackhammer that’s going in my chest is an unfriendly fuck. When she left me, I thought I’d of been pimp of the world. Take a few of the neighborhood gals out, and show em’ a good time, you know south side Casanova. The big cheese, the millionaire man type shit, but nope. I’ve been sitting here, rotting away with my nudie books and cheap beer for over a decade.
Sure, a few times a slag or two has came calling with their wine breath and broken smiles, but for what? I’m just a used car salesman or a road hard jockey with no future.
She went and married that doctor. That high brow, no stain in his drawers jerk off with the nice hair. And me? I’m still surviving, but I’m not the hero of the play these days.
The neighborhood, the one she left, it’s not what it was. Too many punks roam the streets and no one stops by for a drink anymore. I’m still here as long as the radio plays my songs. I’m a fighter, the street lights come on and I remember a time with good songs on the radio and beer that was strong and mean, just like I used to be.
I’m left to wonder where I’ll be in a few more years, but till then, I’ll sit here and watch the world forget about me, one day at a time.
Burn like a tiny Sahara under your fingernails. Seethe like a woman scorned after a bar fight. Watch the world die every moment under the setting sun. Reinforce the walls of your soul with hard glass from spent bottles, and glue from the hooves of the dead horses than roamed by the firelight inside your mind. In the fields of rarified acumen our worlds are smashed into ashtrays with a millimeter of spilled drink.
Prowl like a pervert and observe the life of the muted hands of the butchers as their knuckles are covered in the blood of the animals we once were just hours ago. We peer over nudie books and blame the churches and the politicians for the shit that’s clogging our lungs. Truth is, we’ve always been the product of pork shaving knife blades, but we didn’t have the information as we do now.
Silently, I watch you like an X Ray machine and I wonder what your beautiful insides look like while considering the skeleton beneath the skin. My eyes are like daggers and this is my crime scene. Move with me, and thrust against me, but when you do so, please scream.
I’ll never be a Hemingway or a Burroughs. I’ll never know that salty-sweet scent of death laced at the end of a pen. The scribbles of a mad genius, high on the fumes of violent writing binge. The keys, and the stories inside haunted them, as they do me. But, I was too late, came out of the ass instead of the pussy.
The way those brutes bled on the paper and their souls took off with the words, that’s why we pray to them. The cowboys of yesterday are gone. All we’re left with is safety and quiet nights. We allow the children to push buttons on blinking screens while their humanity is compromised with the gods of technology while the gods of dire consequence survive in unread books in sections labeled for the bastards of the party. I’ll never be able to pay my rent on the backs of my words; I have to work in places I hate with faces I hate. While the stories I loathe climb the charts, and the songs of the fathers they never knew call out to anyone who’ll listen with a beat that’ll break the will of a sucker for a sniff of cheap perfume.
The newspaper men are paper tigers, and the writers of today aren’t willing to die for their words, they’re willing to cash in on the backs of children’s stories.
I see eyes at the end of life’s dark hallway and hear the screams of the alphabet as the writer becomes a thing of little use. If it’s not exploding with a big dick on fire, we’re paying top dollar to eat it with a label that says “green” – the world today – we’re run by idiots, and the books still sit unread and unloved while the body grows cold.
Where is the gospel of Bukowski and the empty bottles that litter the floor? Why do we swallow the status quo like a fat cock in cheap skate thrill porn?
Scholars line the walls in the unemployment offices of the world, while the counters to buy a dollar cheeseburger are well stocked with bodies for the mental fire. We ask the men we look up to why can’t they hit more homeruns or make our cars go faster? We can’t pay our cops or teachers but, we’re willing to let a shadowy man in a suit in from of a podium condemn us to a slow, stupid death.
When I was a kid I thought I’d have it figured out by now. I thought I’d be living a top the tallest trees, and sipping the world’s greatest. I thought life followed a plan. Kids sit on top of their street beaten skateboards and stare out into the passing world, one minivan at a time, and think the person inside has it all locked down.
As an adult you’re met with constant let downs, back stabbing, and courses off the map and somewhere out into the ocean.
We used to sit and drink cheap beer as teenagers and talk big about the houses we’d buy or the fictional women we’d marry. What we got was far different than we planned those summers ago.
We settle, and we compromise.
We cheat ourselves into false security. We stink like regret and confusion, by calling us adults we’re just passing the buck on one another.
Wino’s and addicts are adults just as are pee pee touchers and glue sniffers. Feebs and idiots pay taxes. I watched dreams die like bullet ridden soldiers. For the price of a house, you too can watch hope fade off into the sunset and into the arms of death.
A fireball from the heavens has nothing on the way the heart moves. The fireball screaming toward a blue, twinkling sky spins and catches a greater fire. Millions of alien eyes stare into the shadowy abyss searching for the answers, as the fireball rockets and shakes into the atmosphere.
This fireball grows hot as the miles drag it like a child’s plaything across the floor, god’s plaything. The heart watching the sonic boom longs for cold nights wrapped in a cheap blanket, letting the heat of the soul flicker like a flame between two bodies.
The coals in the fire at the hearth burn, but not with the intensity of the fireball, the gift from the other end of the universe, a letter signifying that we aren’t alone, we’re just too caught up in our own fantasies of self worth to see the language the interstellar use to communicate with.
We reason against our own will, and sacrifice our own heroes to lay on swords of guilt when the cross is just the same to saviors since the dawn of reason.
Men pound fists into one another, will mothers let their sons since their radiance and understand their glow. It’s in this we unlock the secret message hidden within the hear of the fireball, but will never comprehend the message locked in the human heart.