Baseball bat

Baseball bat.

There is a red moon coming. The dogs are hiding behind their fences, quiet in the dark. They know better. They hear it. And I hear it too. It’s the sound of the birds breathing in their sleep. The sound of people in their beds, in their restlessness. It’s the sound of the worry in their hearts. They are lost and it twists their minds. They don’t know what’s killing them. They expect they’ll see the new day. They hope that there’ll be some reward. There will be, but not what they imagined. It’ll come hard and from beneath. They are in it up to their chins. What they thought was theirs, never was. So the dogs and I, we lay quiet. The fleas in the cool and soft dirt, they bite and burrow into the flesh. But the dogs and I remain still, no matter, as the night gets darker. And the stars further and further out. I shut my eyes, and shut them tight. As it is always there. The red moon on its way.

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Thursday

Thursday.

The people that don’t know me, they are where I work. They say things to me as they pass me in the hall. Things like, “Good Morning.”, “Hang in there.”, or, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” We sit in meetings together. We discuss all the things that mean nothing at all to the hearts of any of us.

On the way home, I sit in the car. Traffic slugs along. All around me are the same people. Their bellies soft. Their minds worry and run like rats in a maze. The fumes from their exhausts and cigarettes from their open windows, drifts into my lungs and life.

When I get home, I feed the cat. He doesn’t give a damn about me. But he cries till I feed him. I wash the dishes. I walk to the corner store for a fresh bottle. I stop by the taco stand. I buy two tacos and fries. I flirt with the married and big bellied cashier to get her to add grated cheese to my fries, no charge.

I see my neighbor walking down the street as I am walking up, back home. I’ve heard her moans in the night, getting fucked good. And I see her and I want to fuck her too. Her young brown skin. Tasting the sweat on her chest between her tits. The salty kisses in the dark. The sheets ruined by more sweat and our cum.

She keeps walking on. And so do I. Later, I may hear her moans again. But not before I have a few drinks, a couple tacos and cheese covered fries. And if this happens to be my last night on Earth, so be it. I will have a full belly and be ready to face my next destination in the cosmos.

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Jackie – chapter 2

Jackie – chapter 2

We emptied the bottle. But it was still so damn early. Jackie talked me into walking around the corner for another bottle.

I picked up two bottles. One for the rest of the night. One just in case. I also grabbed up a 12 pack of Italian beer and it reminded of the whole in my heart that may never heal. In the liquor aisle, there was a beautiful young lady. She was looking for whiskey. “The selection here isn’t much to write home about.” I said. This caught her off-guard. She glanced over at me, quickly assessing any threat. Guess she figured she could handle it.

She said, “I know. But it’s too late for beggars to be choosy.” She looked freshly scrubbed. Her hair was down and parted through the middle of her scalp and was still wet from the shower. She wore khakis short-shorts that showed a lot of leg and a white basic tank top, no bra. Her breasts were small, but were eager to be handled. She wore black flip-flaps, her toenails were neatly trimmed and painted a powder blue. I wondered about what was beneath her shorts. Was there a dirty blonde nest, or soft, sweet smoothness? Would I find her moist and mustily fragrant? Or, would it take some work, some kisses to her neck and some hot and dirty words breathed into her ear? She had decided on a bottle of Irish whiskey.

“You can’t go wrong with that, I guess.” I told her.

“It’s good, but I’ve had better.”

“That’s what she said…” She laughed. Her smile was wide and genuine. Her eyes caught mine. She could see that I was already a little drunk and it made her feel comfortable. She headed for the check-out. I followed. There was a couple of people ahead of us.

She turned to me. “Going to a party?” and nodded toward my bottles and beer.

“Well, not exactly. It’s been one of those lives. Tonight it’s just me and the cat on the back porch, sharing drinks and stories.”

Her face softened and a brief look of seriousness waved through her eyes and she said, “That sounds nice.” If she and I happened to have been better friends at that moment, she’d have leaned in and kissed me on the mouth in front of the whole world and she would have told me that she loved me.

I smiled and said, “It is nice. And you should meet Jack. He’s my cat. He’s black, but he can’t help it.” She laughed and playfully slapped my arm. Of course she wouldn’t know what I’d be thinking, but I was thinking how sometimes the world is a perfect thing. It’s those tiny moments like the one that wonderful girl and I shared that give me the hope that someone up there just might give a shit.

She didn’t have her shopping card. I let her use mine. It saved her almost $7. She waited till I paid for my things. We walked out of the store together. She commented on the two bottles or tequila. We got to her truck. I offered her a swig. She said she would only accept a trade. Drink for drink. We were standing in the parking lot. Her truck was a clean and bright red Ford. She let out the tailgate for us to sit. I handed her a bottle of tequila. She gave me her bottle of Irish whiskey. We toasted, “Here’s to living our dreams.” she said and tilted the bottle back. I only took a light drag of the whiskey. She pulled on the tequila like it was Gatorade. I handed her bottle back. She passed me mine.

I took it from her and welcomed it back by kissing the bottle, “Did you miss me?” I said to my bottle of tequila. “Shhh.. So how was it? Is she a good kisser?” I asked my bottle.

She punched me hard in the arm. “You’re funny. I bet you get lots of girls.”

Fuck. The punch hurt. Kind of killed the moment. She read it on my face and laughed out loud and heartily. She kissed me on the cheek. Her mouth was cool and wet. It reminded me of when I was a young boy, being kissed by young girls.

I balled up my fist and gritted my teeth at her. She only laughed harder. Her tits jiggled. She mussed up my hair and told me that she was sorry, but she just liked me. She said that she was a Marine and she’s home from ‘over there’, but this isn’t really her home. She was from Oregon. She came here because of a guy. The guy ended up not being shit. I told her that so few of us are. The smile left her face as she admitted that she knew it too well.

I took her by the chin and kissed her. I told her to give me a ride home. She said that she better not. She said that I could find my way just fine without her. She said that I was too good at talking and kissing for a Marine like herself, so far from camp as she was. She said that she had to be up early the next morning anyway.

I told her that I was glad to have met her. I was happy to drink her whiskey. And that I would write about her some day and that I might never forget her.

She kissed me kissed again. It was different than the first. Stronger and deeper. We were in over our heads, for two strangers making out in a tired old parking lot. She broke the kiss to come up for air. She’d begun to cry. I opened my mouth to kiss the tears that rolled down her face. I tasted the salt and her sweet skin. I told her that she was beautiful. She told that I was too. And kissed me one last time on the mouth. “I gotta go.” She said, and hopped off the tailgate of her truck. She wiped her eyes.

I jumped off too and mussed her hair. I said, “Semper fi!”

She chuckled. A blob of snot flashed from her nostril. She was embarrassed. She said, “Hoo-Rah!”

I fake punched her in her jaw. She got in her truck and was gone. I was still standing there along on the parking lot. She will always be in my heart. If there is a heaven, I expect to be seeing her again, if they let me past the gates.

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Jack the Mystery Cat

Jack the Mystery Cat.

My cat has been upset lately. I could see it. His fur unkempt. Dusty cobwebs caught in his whiskers. I hadn’t found him napping in days. Only sitting in the driveway or on the back porch with his ears slightly tilted in opposite direction, staring squinty-eyed into the ground.

He usually darts away, under one of the neighbor’s cars, waiting for me to feed him dinner, but he didn’t flinch as I walked up the steps, coming home from work. I asked him, “Hey Jackie, what’s the matter, you soulless beast?” We have always had that type of relationship. Somewhat of a hate-hate thing. I’d feed him twice a day, every day, for over twelve years, and when he felt like it, he’d hop on my dresser and piss on my wallet. “Why so glum?”

He took a deep stuttered breath and sighed.

“Wow.” I said, and walked into my apartment. I left the door open behind me. “Listen Jackie, let me set my stuff down and maybe we can talk about it.” I tossed the keys in their dish and poured a drink. Normally, Jack would be howling for dinner, but not that night. He just sat there.

I left my shoes on the kitchen floor and went back out on the porch with a plate of cat food, my bottle and my glass. Jack ignored the food till I told him that if he didn’t eat, I wouldn’t give a shit if the asshole raccoons or the filthy opossums come and eat it for him, nor would I feed him again until morning.

The evening sky was clear and still blue and bright. The air was crisp, almost too cool to be out with only my slacks, t-shirt and socks, but I poured a drink, and then another. With no dinner for myself and after my day of mindless work, the drinks rested well in my belly and pickled my brain just right.

Jackie had eaten his meal after all and sat next to me afterward. It was back to staring blankly again. He didn’t give himself his normal post-meal tongue bath. Without taking his gaze from dead space he said, “Mind pouring me a shot?”

I hadn’t known Jack to be a tequila drinker, but then there was a lot about him that I didn’t know. And since I only drink alone because I am alone, sharing a drink sounded nice. “Sure.” I said. And I grabbed a glass for him and poured us both a round.

Jack knocked it back and asked for another. He said I had a head start and he wanted to meet me half way there.

I poured his drink and went to fix myself a plate of cheese and crackers. Balancing the plate on my lap was uncomfortable and I kept spilling crackers on the steps. The neighbor that lives upstairs came home from picking his wife up from work. He’s a friendly fellow. Always smiles when he says hello. I like him. He cheers me up.

Jack said, “Man, I’m all fucked up.”

“From the shots?”

“No. Not the booze. I mean I don’t know what to do with myself. It’s been over between me and my woman for some time, but we just kept hanging on and hanging on. Making ourselves and each other miserable. But then came the time when something finally broke. You know?”

“Yeah, that’s rough. Been there too.”

“It needed to happen. In the end, she called it. Not like before. She actually moved out of her apartment and didn’t tell me. I found out by accident when I ran into one of her old friends.” said Jack as he twitched his ear to shoo a fly.

“Shit man…”, was the most I felt I should say at the moment and I poured us a couple more. They started going down harder. But that’s tequila. “What happened?” I asked.

He stretched out his front paws far out before him and his ass and tail far up in the air. “Well fuck. I guess I ran around on her too much.”

“That’ll do it.”

“Yeah. I was a real asshole. But for fuck’s sake, I was a different cat back then. Nothing I can do to change that.”

“Hmmm.”

“It’s been a true kick in the dick. I know in the end I’ll be ok, and so will she. At least I hope so. But at the same time, I’m so fucking lost. Don’t care about eating. Sleeping. Or if it’s raining or if the sun is out. But don’t you know it, I sure could use a good piece of pussy right about now. One of those soak the sheets kind of pussies. Fuck.”

We both laughed. What else could we do? I kept pouring us drinks and we kept drinking ‘em down. The night began to get a little smeared. I tossed the cheese and crackers, knife and plate and all into the dumpster.

“Well Jackie, there isn’t anything I can tell you. It sounds like you are where you are. A little like being off on the side of the road with a flat and no spare because you didn’t get a new one that last flat you had. And for the time being, everyone else is going to keep on driving on by. How you’ll get yourself out of that fix, you’ll figure out eventually, but until then, it’s fucked.”

“Christ.”, Jack snickered. “I might could handle a couple more before I puke. What do you say, you dumb fuck?”

“I say the bottle’s not empty yet and we ought to keep pushing on.”

“Damn right.” Jack answered. “Damn right.”

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Trash.

Writing while drunk isn’t the problem. Publicly posting while drunk tends to be a bad idea.

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After 11

After 11.

I remember when we would drink and I’d smoke and we’d never watch T.V. Back then I didn’t own a T.V. I didn’t want one. We’d just drink in this living room. On a couch that has since gone curb side. You’d sit and listen and I’d ramble on. Tell Stories. Drink out in the back yard. The cat would come out to see what we were up to. Now she’s gone too. Buried in the yard. She’s out there now. And I’m alone on a different couch. Same room. Same apartment. Same booze. You are, God knows where. Funny. You exist. So too the cat’s bones, but no longer God. Never did. My poor little kitten. Her poor little heart. Poor little life. Her bones and her flesh will not be remembered, if not by me. One day I will be in the ground too. And who will remember any of us.

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363rd

363rd.

It’s God damned cold tonight. And the radio played a string of songs that I haven’t heard in a while. I’ve been doing good at easing off the booze too. But It’s God damned cold tonight. The drink came as a shock to my mouth. My jaws pinched and it hurt my ears. I wondered why, but thought it might be like pouring water onto dry soil. Who knows. Who gives a shit. I just kept drinking. I opened my bedroom window and listened for the nightbird. But there was nothing in my yard except for more cold night. So I closed the window again and said goodnight to the nightbird, where ever she might be. Then I remembered what I was doing before the old songs and the drink. And I picked up the broom and finished sweeping the kitchen floor.

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The day before Halloween

The day before Halloween.

I went to Venice Beach today. I was there all on my own and I took the bus to get there from way out in Pomona. I wore cargo shorts. Sports socks. And a white t-shirt that shrunk from a dryer that got too hot. In my backpack was a sweatshirt, baseball cap and a bottle of tequila. It’s my zombie apocalypse bug-out-bag.

The ride felt like it took many hours. These rides usually do. I stood as my stop was coming up. The driver let me off. I exited from the back of the bus so I didn’t have to face the driver again. I was drunk and had pissed my seat. I was on the sidewalk and the sun and the day were very bright. I wiped my hands on my shorts. Took a long drag from the bottle. I’m not sure why it came to mind when it did, but as I stood there, I thought about my empty refrigerator. And the empty seat of piss that I left on that bus. The bus pulled away.

I walked 2 blocks south, 4 west, till I was on the boardwalk and the Pacific welcomed me back.

There was a woman. She claimed to be a clairvoyant. She wanted $5 and a drink from my bottle. I told her I’d give her both if she’d let me hit her joint and tell me something that I didn’t already know about myself. She said she’d tell me about my past life, but made no promise about the weed. And she opened her legs and what I saw both repulsed me, but also drew me to sit with her.

I gave her the bottle. She pulled down from it 4 or 5 big chugs. I had to yank it from her mouth. I heard it hit her teeth. She just laughed. And I thought about that awful thing I saw between her legs. Like a bird’s nest that fell from a tree.

She watched my face and wiped her lips and her laughter came to an end as she told me that maybe I should go home. I gave her the $5 and told her to pass the smoke. She lit the thin hand rolled cigarette, took a hit and handed it to me.

I took a long, deep drag. She told me that I was a dog in my former life. She said that my name was Barkie. I felt drunk and the weed hit me fast. She held out her hand for me to return the cigarette. I twisted away and hit it again. She yelled loudly and lunged at me. Scratched my nose as she snatched the joint from my fingers. I wanted her bird’s nest. She told me to fuck off. Made a scene. People stared at us. I walked away.

I stomped out across the sand. My shoes and socks were under water as the Pacific lapped at my ankles. There were children laughing and screaming. There were plump and fleshy teen girls in bikinis. 50 year old couples jogging through the damp sand.

I slipped off the backpack to get to my bottle. I closed my eyes and drank. When I opened my eyes again, the water was still there. So were the kids. The young girls. The sun. And so was I, but I didn’t want to be. I put the bottle away and headed for the bus to take me home. I hoped that it wouldn’t be the same bus I’d pissed on, but even if not, I knew my refrigerator would still be empty.

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Ants in my leg hair

Ants in my leg hair.

My name is Canterbury. I can’t remember who it was that nicknamed me that. I guess they thought it was funny. I guess it kind of is.

Summer will be coming to an end soon. It’s 730 in the evening and it’s cooler outside than it is in my apartment. The sun is out of sight, but the sky is still bright with its glow.

I’ve gone for a walk. I needed to get out of the apartment. My kitchen smells of stale beer, but the dishes have been washed and are drying in the rack. My breath smells of stale beer as well, but I have chewing gum in my pocket.

I used to be beautiful. But when I was, I didn’t know it back then. I have trouble sleeping these days. My head and my heart race with in me. Back and forth, bumping into each other all day, and into the night. 2am. 3am. 4. Then the sun comes again.

At first, I blamed the pillows. Then, I thought it might be the sheets. Or the bed itself. So I bought a double-thick inflatable mattress and when I can’t sleep in my regular bed, I’ll go out to the living room and sleep on the inflated bed. The living room began to lose its magic too. Now I have an inflatable bed in almost every room and I am an insomniac nomad within my own apartment.

Later, when the rain comes, I’ll have forgotten how much I enjoy listening to it fall and splash as it gathers where it will. It will bring bittersweet emotion with its bittersweet fragrant of freshly wet streets and sidewalks.

As the rain carries on through the fall and winter, my mood will be melancholy. I won’t remember the spring. But I will always love and miss my summer.

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In for the night

In for the night.

Tonight I ate good pizza. I pulled down from the cupboard a biodegradable disposable plate made of potato for the pizza. I went into the living room and turned on the t.v. Back in the kitchen, I poured a drink and cracked a beer. The night before I drank more than I should have. It was two weeks since I had a drink and then I fell off of that wagon again. Wouldn’t be the worst of my bad decisions, but it did make for a lousy morning. The t.v. and the couch and the old t.v. tray waited for me. I poured another drink.

The t.v. tray used to have my signature scrawled into one corner with a cheap ball point pen. This was something I did on another drunken night. The signature has worn away. In it’s place there is a tiny sticker of a simple cartoon drawing of a yellow baby chick. A woman whom I loved placed it there one night much like this one. It was a sticker given to her by her 7 year old nephew. I loved her nephew too. I first met him when he was only 5 months old. I haven’t seen him in years. That too broke away a little part of my heart. We would babysit him often. I was there when he took his first steps and spoke his first word, when not even his own parents had been. Now the sticker is still with me, but not my love, nor the boy.

While I ate the pizza and drank, I watched a German movie. It co-stared an American actress, unknown by me. She was an older woman, maybe in her mid to late 50’s. An attractive woman that was in Vienna because her name and number was the only found on her cousin that had fallen into a coma. The woman would spend time in the Vienna art museum when she wasn’t at the hospital with her cousin. At the museum she became friends with a museum security guard. The couple in the movie made me feel lonely. But the pizza was very good and the tequila and beer helped to make up for it.

In the German movie, the museum guard told the woman the story of a Vienna legend, St. Augustine. He was a notorious drunkard. He lived during the time of the black plague. One night he was found so drunk, he’d passed out and had been mistaken for dead. They carried him off and tossed him into a mass grave. He woke and, apparently, began to play his bagpipes and the people pulled him out again. He made money and a living from the re-telling of his story and playing his bagpipes.

I’m going to drink as much as possible tonight. I don’t know how to play the bagpipes, but if you happen to stumble across me and I’m not heeding to you, be sure to give me a good nudge or two, just to make sure that the plague hadn’t taken me when I wasn’t looking.

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