Cheap Beer, Loud Music, Young Men
Cheap Beer, Loud Music, Young Men 2004
*LIFE IN THE VILLE
by Michele Dutcher
CHEAP BEER, LOUD MUSIC, YOUNG MEN
Worker Bees and Bottom Dwellers........... 3 to 7
The Money Man............................................. 7 to 15
Thanksgiving Clean-up................................ 16 to 17
Cry From the Abyss...................................... 18
Ronald McDonald…………………………… 19
Children of Pan.............................................. 20 to 25
***Bar Life in The Ville***
Flash or Cash at Woody's............................ 26 to 31
Hightailing It at the Granville.................... 32 to 36
Searching At the Mag Bar........................... 37 to 39
Tavern’s Breakfast Club.............................. 40
Blood Bank..................................................... 41 to 45
The Fuck-You Man....................................... 46 to 47
Bar-fly Barbie................................................ 48
Visibly Shaken……………………………….. 49 to 52
Big Boobs, Dana and Roo............................ 53 to 58
Application ..................................................... 59
Copyright August 2004Copies available at email@example.com for five bucks American (or 16,327 Mexican Pesos)
WORKER BEES AND BOTTOM DWELLERS
The man next door is the perfect example of a good American worker bee. The man next door is maybe 68, and he is: retired from a solid local company; he served for four years in the military during the Korean Conflict; he has a plump wife who is consistent with a stable American lifestyle; he is balding and chunky; and he is always casual-polite whenever I walk past.
By 8 A.M. on this fine Sunday morning, the man next door has been working in his garden for two hours tilling the soil again and banging little wooden signposts into the earth. These wooden stakes will show his visitors what kind of vegetables will be growing there.
I am not a good American worker bee. I am a bottom dweller. People like me suck up, fight over, and squander whatever is left over or left behind by good people like my neighbor. To give an example: me and the Lost Boys infest the mansions in Old Louisville left behind by the millionaires of the early 1800s. These stately homes were built for families when the higher-ups had ten kids apiece. Stone, brick, stained glass, fireplaces, hardwood floors, and oak staircases: all this was left behind by the rich before they swept further out of the city with their Caddies and their BMWs. Much as rats swarm into boxes left behind by people, bottom dwellers have turned these houses into apartments and
Me and my Peeps, We live there for Cheaps.
For a bottom dweller, the time between 8 A.M. and 1 P.M. on any Sunday morning is dead space. This is especially true in a Southern city like Louisville, KY. Being part of the Bible Belt means you can’t buy a drink, or go to a mall, or play with the computers at the library until after church lets out. Everything in Dixie is closed up tight until one fucking o’clock on Sunday.
At 8 A.M. I still can’t sleep because I didn’t have enough money to drink on last night. If I don’t drink, I don’t sleep. So I pry myself out of bed. I throw on an oversized tee shirt that’s only been worn once since washday (which was three weeks ago), a blue cotton skirt, and black combat boots, and I tromp down the stairs in a stumble. When the sunlight hurts my eyes, I slide my cheap sunglasses over my eyes. I wave politely to the worker bee next door and I make a silent vow to not do anything today that is profitable.
Around 8:30 I walk into the coffeehouse at Hill and 4th. See, that’s wrong. Nobody in the Ville would say, ‘Hill and 4th’ – it’s always ‘4th and Hill’ or ‘3rd and Ormsby’ or ‘1st and Broadway’. I don’t know why it’s like that, it just is. That’s like the other things we know around here. Things like:
1. No bottom dweller ever works on Derby, no matter how much you need the money.
2. When all else fails, selling plasma on Crum’s Lane is an acceptable way to finance a dime bag.
3. Nobody goes on a date after forty. We don’t go to the Prom either.
4. You don’t mix two different kinds of alcohol, unless it’s Tequila and beer. I don’t know why, it just is.
5. If you see blue flashing lights, just walk the other direction fast. It doesn’t matter if you’re clean or not, just walk away.
6. Don’t fuck men your rat pack doesn’t know. Every new guy says he’s single, but he’s just looking for some strange on the side. He might as well go to 4th and St. Cats and pay for it like everyone else. This will keep the girls on 4th Street in business so they can buy pampers for their rugrats. This is one way we barflies can support the local economy.
7. Always pay your rent first. Whatever you spend the remainder of your check on after that is your business.
8. Don’t fuck your friend’s man, even if they’re on the outs. They’ll be back together in month and you’ll be on everybody’s shit list.
9. Following #8 directly: don’t start no shit, won’t be no shit. (This is the whole of the Law and the Prophets.)
10. A lot of the time, living alone is a whole lot better than living with someone – no matter what ‘THEY’ say.
11. If you leave your bike chained to a tree overnight, it’s your own fault when someone steals it.
In spite of my pledge to myself not to work, I clean out my car by 9 A.M. I drive through the actual wash stall and park around back, pitching out old newspapers, a bag of Movietime popcorn, five empty Marlboro Red hard packs, three White Castle boxes, and half a roll of used paper towels.
9:30 I drive my son to the Galt House where he works as a server.
10:00 I eat what’s left of can of Armor chili and beans. I drink three cups of coffee with the hot water filtered through a white paper towel. Tuesday I’ll buy coffee filters. Tuesday I’ll dye my hair red again to cover my gray hair. Tuesday I’ll take my son to Hooters for supper. Tues is when all my dreams will come true after I cash my unemployment check. I write down the telephone number I’m suppose to call between 1 P.M. and 6 P.M. today to ensure I get my check on Tuesday, the day when all dreams come true. I write the word ‘CALL’ on my palm to remind me to look at the note in my Mead mini-tablet. The magic number is 1-866-291-2926. The magic number will provide me with enough income to allow me to eat and drive my Geo Storm for eleven days. The last three days of the two week period will be spent not eating, not drinking and not driving - which is what I’m doing (or not doing) today.
Really, the last part of that paragraph is pure drivel. One of my guys will call me and want me to cart them around in my car. I provide the means of transportation and they provide the party and the eats. As a true Southern lady, I have always depended upon the kindness of...my gentlemen callers. Which are many, even for a four time divorced, post-forty lady like myself. Which brings up the twelfth rule of bottom dwellers:
#12: No one gets married down here, not ever.
It’s not as if I’m opposed to the bonds of holy matrimony – as in,
“Holy Matrimony, Batman, What a fine mess this is!” –
It’s just that, when I enter a sanctuary, the first thing I look for are those bright friendly EXIT signs showing the way out.
In case you decide to come visit us, Old Louisville Proper runs from St. Cats to Cardinal – north to south and from 1st Street to 6th Street – east to west. I want you to be very certain of the parameters, because a block or two in any direction could put you at risk. You can tell God where we are too, in case he comes looking for the rest of us.
The Money Man
At first glance it would appear that a piece about Mardi Gras would be a piece about the party…but when you’re headed South out of Louisville, Kentucky with just five dollars and thirty six cents in your pocket, it’s all about The Money Man. The most important thing becomes keeping The Money Man happy and healthy and alive and out of jail.
It’s best to take two cars; so one person can sit in the money car with The Money Man, while the other two revelers trail behind in a small junker car while resting their nerves.
Two hours into the drive, my Geo Storm is still devouring the highway. It eats up only seven dollars in gas by the Tennessee border. We stop to refuel at a Shell and I suggest to Sarah that she ride with The Money Man so Max can take a break. I figure that Max, age 20, has been doing okay listening to the Money Man’s stories. Me and Max start riding along, following the money car, when Max pulls out a pad and paper and begins to scribble words furiously. After about fifteen miles I tell my son to read what he’s written so far.
“The Money Man is still talking, talking, talking,” Max starts reading. “The Money Man talks about his sisters and his cousins and his uncles and his father and how Louisville use to look and how cheap things use to be and tells jokes about niggers and Jews and young people who don’t know anything. The Money Man is still talking, talking, talking. Dear god! Please just let me die! Dear god! Please just let me pull my ears off!”
Max stops reading because my laughing is covering up his speech. Poor Max. Poor Sarah. I’m the only person in the convoy who can drive a stick shift, so I don’t ever get to be alone with the Money Man. Poor Max. Poor Sarah.
You can drive through Tennessee, pillar to post, north to south, in about two hours. I notice signs in Tennessee that say,
“Remove damaged vehicles from roadway onto shoulder”
Translated for Northerners: We don’t give a fuck, just drag the mangled bodies out of the way and deal with it.
As we cross the State border, a sign announces, “Welcome to Alabama” and the highway goes from gray concrete to a red clay instantaneously. It’s as if the Tennessee road worker figured that was good enough. He wasn’t setting one foot into Bama. A line is a line a border is a border.
We pull over at a Stuckey’s to refill, about 10 miles after the Alabama border. This Stuckey’s has it all. It’s got a Dairy Queen with a perky blonde teenaged girl. It’s got a $26.95 picture of the Last Supper with a clock in the middle of it. I guess time is running out for Jesus.
This Stuckey’s has a shot glass eight inches tall with “Born in Bama Raised in Bama” at the top of the glass. Then, in descending order going down the glass there’s: “Born in Bama Raised in Dixie”; then Born a Yankee Raised in Dixie”. The lowest level on the shot glass is “Born a Yankee Raised a Yankee”.
This Stuckey’s has a slab of Agate rock two-inch round for $1.95.
There’s a bumper sticker for sale that proclaims:
“Unlike the Hell spawned in your backseat, My children are SAVED”. I motion to the bumper sticker and ask her if she’s got the one that says: “I’ll meet you in Hell, bring a glass of water.” She’s uncomfortable with the question.
I ask Sarah if she wants to shift cars and she dives into my front seat and shouts at Max to bring her a book to read out of The Money Man’s car.
We drive south on 65 for an hour towards Birmingham, and I find out why they call it Bama: Bama is the sound your front axle makes when you hit a pothole big enough to throw a body into. I decide the only time they fix a concrete crater in BAMA is when a car actually falls through an overpass and blocks the southbound lane beneath
The Money Man says we should stop and spend the night on the west side of Birmingham, because it’s getting dark and he can’t see very well. We stop on the west side of Birmingham for the night. We eat at a Burger King and go back to the Villager Lodge. The Money Man sees bad people everywhere at the Villager Lodge. Oh! If only we had stopped at the Days Inn instead! The Money Man keeps running to the window and shouting, “Is my car still there? You know how THEY love Oldsmobiles! Oh my Lord! Is my car still there!” Me and Max and Sarah play Scrabble. Sarah wins. The Money Man is watching the Court T.V. channel. He’s watching shows about people who chop up other people and how they always get caught. I whisper quietly to my descendants, “We won’t get caught. It’s almost time.” We laugh. We sleep, all of us, even the Money Man, at least for a while. The Money Man begins to sleepwalk, looking wildly into the mirror by the bathroom and shouting to the sink faucets, “Is my car still there? You know how THEY love Oldsmobiles.” Four A.M. and we all sleep.
By 2 P.M. the next afternoon we’re ripping through Mississippi, falling towards the Gulf of Mexico. There’s nothing in Mississippi. They have blue information signs with nothing on them. I figure they should say something like: “nothing here”. The next blue sign at the next exit would say, “Still nothing”. The one after that would say, “Nothing here either”. Pulling out of Meridian, Mississippi, I ask a cashier teenager at an Amoco what’s coming up over the next hundred miles. He says, “Nothing. There’s just nothing between here and New Orleans.” But he’s wrong. There’s a Catholic grotto carved out of a hillside with Jerusalem in miniature built inside. At least I guess there is because that’s what the information sign says for Cullman, Alabama. There’s no food in Cullman, there’s no gas, but there’s a religious grotto. Thirty miles further south there’s a monument where the Holy Virgin was sighted. The Holy Virgin doesn’t mind visiting a town where there’s no gas or food. Max says he once saw the Virgin Mary, in fact, he de-flowered the Virgin Mary. Now she’s the ‘just can’t get enough’ Mary.
We pull into a Marathon station with a restaurant beside it about two hours drive north of the toe of Louisiana. The Money Man starts to fill his gas tank and I begin to fill mine. The kids are inside the Marathon kissing. Sarah pays for my gas. I still have four dollars and twenty-seven cents in my pocket. It’s all good.
The Money Man sees a black guy in an old Caddy getting into his car and begins to shout at him. “Am I in Mississippi yet?” the Money Man shouts. The black brother begins to get out of his car. He motions for his black friend in another car to park his car.
“Am I in Mississippi yet?” the Money Man shouts again. The black bro doesn’t answer. He just starts rounding the front bumper of his car. The Money Man says, “I was going to eat in that diner there, but they don’t take bank cards, and all I’ve got is two hundred dollars in cash.”
I stop pumping gas. I walk towards the Money Man and I ask him if he’s ready to go. I motion to the kids to come out towards the cars. The bros get inside their Caddys and drive away. You know how the bros love Oldsmobiles.
We make it to the toe of Louisiana in no time flat. We see lots of swamp and there are call boxes in case people’s cars break down. If this happens you are suppose to run to a call box and phone the authorities, then run back to your car before a gator eats you. Seems to me the gators would be hiding by the call boxes; it would be a trained response. As we’re passing call box 2496, Sarah tells me for the fifteenth time that she still hasn’t seen a gator. “I can drop you off at call box 2497 and come back in five minutes,” I tell her. She doesn’t think I’m very funny. I think I’m hilarious.
We get a room in Slidell, Louisiana at a Days Inn with a Denny's out front. The Money Man is happy. The room clerk hands us a coupon for a ten percent discount on breakfast at the Denny's out front. The Money Man is ecstatic. “That ten percent will pay for the tip”, he chirps. There are Mardi Gras tee shirts for sale in the lobby, and one of them shows an alligator picking his teeth. “Send more tourists,” the caption screams, “the last ones were delicious.” I buy it for Sarah. She still doesn’t think I’m very funny.
Me and Sarah and Max and The Money Man head over into the French Quarter. We find a parking space by a Winn Dixie. It's too tiny for anyone else to park there, but my Geo is snug as a bug. We tour an old above ground cemetery. The Money Man is too tired to walk any further, so he sits on a tombstone that looks like a bench. You never want to put the Money Man in danger, you just want to siphon off a large chunk of his disposable income. He's happy smoking Camels while sitting over some corpse's head.
There's a "vampire tour" going on, the one people pay eighteen dollars a person to take, and the tour guide shows his audience that one of the mausoleums has had a brick removed so you can see a skull if you look really hard. The eighteen dollars per head people look into the hole before he herds them elsewhere. Our small pack looks in the hole for free and Max takes a flash camera and holds it inside the tomb and snaps a picture of the skull. The tour guide is not impressed.
The tour guide displays his macabre knowledge for his disciples. "The walls surrounding this cemetery were originally made of brick. Early on, the Mississippi flooded and the water seeped through the enclosure. After the flood subsided it was found that the bodies inside the walls had come out of their individual holes and six dozen some odd corpses had just floated around inside the walls. They hired people to put the corpses back into the mausoleums, but there was no way of ascertaining which body went in which tomb. I don't think there's anyone who would have relished that task."
Max raises his hand. "I would have done it," he says. "I would have done it for free." The tour guide is not pleased.
"Sir, you aren't even on our tour."
"I still would have separated the corpses," Max says. "For free", Max adds.
Max and Sarah look at a couple more tombs while I crumple down between some of the tombs leading to the exit. I can hear them talking. They stop and kiss with the dead watching. Their steps come closer and closer, I leap! Sarah is shocked and screams. Max sneers, "Oh, mom, grow up." I'm laughing and laughing. "We've come to expect this sort of thing from mother," adds Max to Sarah. Sarah is not amused.
We go into the French Quarter proper and the streets are filled with partiers and music and the smell of piss and garbage. It's like life, it all blends together.
The Money Man goes into a street-front where a band is setting up. There's an accordion player and a guitar player and a drummer. He sits at the bar and orders a drink, paying for it with a fifty. The bartendress is blonde and young. She says she'll take care of him. The Money Man is happy and gives me two twenties to go away. I buy three mixed drinks in plastic cups before exiting into the sunshine. Max and Sarah are too young to drink legally. I hand Max and Sarah a rum and Coke apiece. Now we're all happy.
Outside, there are beautiful young men throwing strings of beads down from rot iron balconies. They call out to women who pass, "Show us your tits." They're taking pictures of the young girls who scramble like rats in front of the shops at street level. I take pictures of the beautiful, rich, young boys on the balconies. The street level men run to see boobies, while the men on the balconies point a finger and order women to lift their blouses. Power is sexy. I can smell money on a man like most women can smell a bad cologne. Power is sexy.
There are women on the balconies who are getting on in age. They have long strings of beads that reach from neck to knees. They shout to street level cuties to show their winkies. I want to be a rich older woman throwing beads to beautiful young men.
One of the balcony men shouts to me to show my tits, and I decline. The men on either side of him join in. I respectfully decline again. "I'm with my son," I shout up to the revelers, when suddenly Sarah is at my elbow. "Max is showing his winky again, Michele!" she shouts at me. I avoid my first impulse by throwing my hands over my eyes. I turn quickly and exit the scene, waiting on the fringe of the crowd surrounding the balcony. I see delighted middle-aged women shoveling beads over the rot-iron fences. Max emerges finally, weighted down with a dozen strands and a blue boa. My son has learned a trade. I'm delighted.
"I would have stayed longer, but the turtle refused to come out of his shell after a while," he informs me and Sarah, and another career in show business crashes quickly to an end.
The three of us visit some shops, one of them selling Bourbon Street tee shirts. "Mardi Fucking Gras", proclaims one of them. "Only Users Lose Drugs," shouts another. I want these tee shirts. My pack wants these tee shirts. I notice a sign hanging in the doorway: "tee-shirts 3.99, or three for ten dollar". There is an oriental woman minding the store and I ask her if these tee shirts are really so cheap. "It's selected tee-shirt only," she says quickly. "You bring tee-shirt you want to me, I tell you the price."
"Why don't you show me which ones are 3.99 and I'll make up my mind after that?" I fold my arms and wait for her to get up off her stool.
She goes around the store and looks at the tee shirts, passing up the ones we want before hovering over some generic yellow ones. "These three for ten dollar," says the oriental woman before reclaiming her seat.
Max has been watching us, so he goes up to the woman and asks, "Which of these shirts are three for ten dollars?"
The oriental woman explodes. "Forget it! None are three for ten dollar. They all twelve ninety five from now on!" She rushes over to the poster board sign on the front door and tears it down with her bare hands. My pack and I step outside. The weather is a perfect sixty-five degrees and sunny. "Always buy the tee-shirt," I tell Max and Sarah before diving into the crowd to find the Money Man. I go into the bar with the accordion music and The Money Man is happily telling the bartendress how cheap ice cream use to be in Hanover, Indiana. The blonde girl is happily listening while she restocks the coolers. It's a happy time for everyone. The Money Man sees me and asks if I need more money. "No," I tell him. "You need to come out into the street, into the sunshine."
"I'm happy right here," he says smiling at the young blonde.
"I thought we were going to spend some time together, me and you and Max and Sarah," I say smiling at the barmaid.
"Here's another fifty," he tells me. "I'm happy where I am."
I buy three mixed drinks in plastic cups before exiting into the sunshine.
My brood and I shop at Marie Laveene's Voodoo Museum. We buy plastic skulls at Le' Shoppe Nocturnal. We visit Jackson Square and walk into the Cathedral of Saint Louis. There are medallions and postcards for sale in the catholic gift shop. There are two dozen different crucifixes hanging on one wall. Jesus is in agony on each one of them, twisting this way and that while staring into the gift shop ceiling. Very nice.
We buy the tee shirts we wanted for $13.67 apiece on the way back to see the Money Man inside the bar. The Money Man is hungry now, and he slips the barmaid a ten. "But I have to finish my drink," he says.
"I'll help you," I say, pouring the liquor down my throat. We step into the sunshine. We walk for about two blocks and The Money Man sees his first set of bare boobies. He's glad he came out of the bar. He's holding up his hands trying to catch strands of beads being thrown at young girls, but he's not tall enough or quick enough. I whisper to Max, "Give him some of your beads". Max reluctantly does as I instructed and the Money Man is happy again. See rule #1 above.
We wander past a restaurant specializing in Creole cooking and decide to go inside. We get a table by a floor-to-ceiling window opening onto Bourbon Street. People are outside shouting for beads at the balcony across the street. This is the good stuff. We have the waitress take our picture while we smile over our red beans and rice, and our shrimp gumbo. I miss a man in Louisville, but I smile.
We wander through the swarming masses till dusk, returning to my Geo reluctantly. We crash hard at the Days Inn and eat breakfast at Denny's the next morning. We get our ten percent discount and leave a tip.
700 miles later, our small convoy is just outside of Louisville, with me and Max following The Money Man and Sarah. I have Max cell phone Sarah, instructing her to tell the driver to pull off at the next exit. I say I'm thirsty, but Max and I have something planned. While the Money Man pumps gas into his tank, me and Max signal Sarah to come around the side of the Marathon. "What's up?" she asks.
"Before we left, we made an agreement with the Money Man," says Max to Sarah, holding out three cigarettes that are partly covered by his thumb.
"I don't want to!" whispers Sarah. "Whatever it is - I don't want to!"
"One of us has to go home with him," continues Max. "Whatever happens after that is between you and God." Max and I quickly snatch the two cigs on the outside, obviously leaving Sarah with the short one in the middle. She takes it reluctantly.
"I don't want to," she keeps shuttering.
"It's convenient that you're already riding with him," I tell her, before breaking out into a belly laugh. Max starts laughing too, with tears running down his cheeks. Then Sarah is laughing also.
Both cars make it back to Louisville by five o'clock in the evening…and I still have two dollars and thirty-six cents in my pocket.
In spite of my directions to my cat to "clean up this mess and do the dishes," the Thanksgiving dishes were still just lying about my apartment gathering dust. I even threatened my cat - named California but referred to only as 'Cat' - with eviction into the Real World. "Cat" I would say to my feline companion as I headed to work each day…"Cat, these dishes from Thanksgiving had better be done by the time I get home or out you'll go into the snow and dark, never to return. There will be no free ride out in those ugly streets and alleys!" She would proceed to promise me to do her best. "Meow" she'd tell me earnestly, reassuring me into a quiet complacency as I went off into the cold, cruel work-a-day world. But each night when I returned, nothing had changed.
Perhaps she had done the best she could, since her little paws could barely hold the dishcloth. I even found her once licking a plate, which she may have ascertained was her only way of completing the task assigned. After this past Monday, however, she refused to even do that, partly because of the mold, I assume. I did learn from this experience that mold grows fastest and deepest on gravy left in a gravy boat, as opposed to vegetables left in a bowl or meat left on a platter. For the chemical reasons why this should be so, you'd have to ask someone with a scientific background. I have no such analytical background, preferring to think of myself as an artist and author. If someone wants a picture of mold, however, I can paint one or verbally describe mold in unerring detail.
So as the three-week anniversary of our nuclear family's Thanksgiving feast came and went, I picked up a Brillo pad, deciding to give the job a whack myself. After cleaning my son's aluminum pan, I called him up proudly. "I still have your pot at my house," I reminded him.
"Pot?" he echoed. "I'll be right over." I could hear him beginning to eagerly throw on his coat. I considered this joyous reaction to information about a metal container.
"No, no," I calmed him. "I have cleaned the pan that contained the mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving."
"Oh, okay mom," he responded much more appropriately.
I still haven't tackled the 1940s blue enamel turkey-roasting pan, of course. I figure I won't need that until next Thanksgiving anyways.
Cry From the Abyss
My dark Lord, My desire for the taste of your skin
Chains me to you,
Dragging me ever deeper into your nether realms.
I stand here watching against my will,
As your glance becomes the only sunlight my flesh can bear.
I sit here watching, waiting,
Trading slices of my spirit for the passing thought that
One night you will come to claim my body.
I lie on this slab, searching with eyes closed,
For clues on how to quench the fire that pumps inside my veins.
My Dark Lord,
I know better than to approach too closely.
There are many eyes aflame within this misty void.
Those who would keep me from you, line the watchtowers
As I scurry, frenzied, at the rim of the glow
Of their torches and bonfires.
I remain here, just surviving, On the border of your existence.
I remain here, just surviving, On the border of your existence.
How I long to feel your blood filled flesh
Pressed against my palms and fingertips.
My Dark Lord, come to my side, come to my bed.
Your night becoming my day,
Your emptiness becoming my completeness,
Your shadows becoming the only light I need.
Sunday June 27th, 2004
Open letter to Ronald McDonald
I have always believed you and I were more than merely acquaintances, having grown up together, in a way. I have watched attentively as your fine establishments grew from a small building on 10th Street in my hometown, to having eateries on every other corner. When I traveled throughout Dixie, which is – and will always be – my home, I was inclined to have myself photographed with the plastic replicas of yourself placed in the children’s play areas. I thought of us almost as friends.
You can understand my disbelief then, when – at one of your fine restaurants – my honor was called into question by some beastly teen-ager. I remain your faithful servant still, but I cringe even now at the vial memory. This sinister youngster at the cash register charged me 45 cents for my coffee instead of 80 cents, as an acknowledgement of my ‘senior status.’
My dear sir! I almost had to use my vapors!
A lady – especially a Southern lady like yours truly - does not tell her age, and certainly no gentleman would ever ask, but I am at least five years shy of any senior classification.
I asked my youngest child, my boy, what I should do to recoup my honor, as he was having breakfast with me at the time. He’s a good boy, a boy who loves his mama, as any son of the South is apt to do. He advised me to ask the snip of a girl exactly why she had given me such a slap in the face. But I thought to myself: What if she tells me “a person has to only be 55 to be classified as a senior.” Then I would be forced to:
take the bitch by the collar and drag her over the counter - and then the manager would feel obligated to tear her skinny little neck out of my stranglehold – whereupon my son (who loves his mama) would be forced to take hold of the manager – and I’d grab up a computer and throw it at the snotty nosed little Jezebel, instructing her to “check my age on this, bitch...!”
Lordy, Lordy, what a mess it all might become. A mountain out of a molehill, really, with people being hauled away to the slammer. No, no, no.
Which is why decided to bide my time, as is the responsibility of a lady like myself, educated in the finer social graces. This is why I wanted to bring it to your attention personally. Beware, my gentle companion, beware. There are those within your organization who are playing fast and loose with the Senior Discount keys.
Thank you for your generous time,
Your Gracious Admirer,
Post Script: Ronald, you can call me Mickie D too, if you would prefer - just call me in time for supper.
CHILDREN OF PAN
The Children of Pan are playing hide and seek in Cherokee Park. Pan watches them from atop his fountain, which was given to the City of Louisville in 1904. For one hundred years, Pan has been dancing through brass weeds with his right hoof lifted high into the air, while holding higher still a set of wooden flutes, laughing at all who would take themselves too seriously.
Lance Cpl. Aaron C. Austi (21), Pfc. Leroy Harris-Kell(20), Pvt. Noah L. Boye(21,) Pfc. Diego Fernando Rincon(19)
It’s only fitting that music should be the intoxicant held above all others on this statue, because the first thing I notice as I leave the fountain is someone strumming an acoustic guitar. As I get closer by another ten feet, I can also hear a violin being played. I’m heading over the small rise in the hill when I see a teenager swinging on a swing set overlooking the hillside. Up and down he pumps his way into the graying sky as the sun begins to lazily slide down towards a horizon hidden behind fifty-year-old oak trees. It’s been a long winter, but finally the best part of Spring is here: before the mosquitoes and flies drive most quiet people inside for the summer.
Sgt. Christopher Ramirez, Sgt. Brian M. Wood, Sgt. Felix M. Delgreco, Sgt. William C. Eckhart
I follow the gentle guitar strumming back past the shelter house, through the playground, past the swing set until I can see the source of the music. The Children of Pan are a dozen strong and are sitting upon picnic tables, not twenty feet from the edge of the forest. I find a vacant place on one of the tables and listen to the singers. They sing about trains and lack of sleep and adults who steal what little money young people have. They sing about the clickity-clack of train tracks they will probably never ride, through small towns they will probably never see. When the chorus comes, the two teenagers playing instruments are not sure of the words so they yodel and laugh. Half a dozen of their friends agree they like the yodeling better than the words. I like the yodel and the failing sunlight and the too-tall grass that hasn’t had it’s first of the season mowing.
Pfc. George D. Torres, Pfc. Eric A Ayon, Staff Sgt. William M. Harrell, Spc. Isaac Michael Nieves, 1st Lt. Joshua M. Palmer
Pan’s Children are dressed in camos with black army boots and short leather jackets. The men’s hair is tangled and wild, while the women’s hair is bobbed and cropped short at the base of the skull. They allow me to sit, me in my middle-aged body and worn out tan military shirt.
Their parent counterparts are using their afternoon profitably. They’re running in circles to lower their blood pressure, trying to make their abs hard as rock. Their parents are running in circles, hoping to jog elbow to elbow with one of the Captains of Industry.
Pfc. Christopher R. Cobb, Pfc. Deryk L. Hallal, P.O. 3rd Class Fernando A. Mendez Aceves, Spc. Robert R. Arsiaga,
“Let’s play hide and seek,” one girl offers loudly.
“Okay,” says the guitar guy. “One person it or two?”
“Just one,” she answers, and everyone agrees.
“Ben and Cindy,” someone shouts to the weeds under an oak, “are you guys in for a game of hide and seek?” Two faces pop out of the tall grass. There’s a guy with frenzied hair falling midway down his back and there’s a young, plump girl with ample breasts pulling herself up into a sit. She has bright copper hair, sleek and short. They confer and shout, “We’re in” before they stand and brush the hillside off their jeans.
Sgt. Michael W. Mitchell, Pfc. Geoffery S. Morris, A. Rosales, Lance Cpl. Brad S. Shuder, Lance Cpl. Robert P. Zurheide Jr., Cpl. Daniel R. Amaya, Pfc. Nathan P. Brown
The girl with ample breasts sees me and is surprised that I’m sitting at the table. I see the girl and I’m surprised she’s lying in the uncut grass with the best looking guy in the group. We know each other from Woody’s. We play drunken Scrabble there sometimes at 2 A.M., after the Industrial Metal bands have packed up and gone elsewhere for the night. Ain’t it a small world.
They decide one “It” is enough, and shout “Not It!” all at once. The last one to shout is a girl with dark hair, in tee-shirt and black jeans. She remains seated on the table while the others talk about boundaries and rules. I ask if I can play the guitar while I wait for everyone to return. The owner of the guitar is hesitant, but shrugs a yes. “Don’t break a string…and don’t take off with it.” These children don’t trust adults. I agree to the rules given me, and I play songs I wrote a decade ago or more. Then they’re gone, swept away into the woods, and the bathrooms, and the safety of the un-mowed grass. Slowly, one by one, they appear at the rim of forest to make a desperate run towards home when “It” is looking in the opposite direction. Josse, the girl I know with the short copper hair, is hiding in the play equipment at the covered end of a sliding board. That’s where I would have chosen, but she’s found almost immediately, and she strolls back to the table. She’ll be the one chasing everyone else next game.
Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray, 1st Lt. Oscar Jimenez, Cpl. Christopher A. Gibson, Staff Sgt. Edward W. Carmen
I sit on the picnic table and strum a guitar and comment on how long my fingernails are. They’re too long really to make the chords I’m attempting to produce. The wind is beginning to pick up during the second game. It sweeps across the tops of the grass, causing it to bow and roll and dance beneath the failing sunlight. Rain heavy clouds are stomping their way into the western corner of the sky. The dark gray clouds are intent on forcing the sunlight to flee from the hilltop.
The Children of Pan concentrate onto one table, as the wind grows pregnant with moisture. They begin to play a different game. One person begins to count from 1 to 100, while the others shout words and numbers at him, trying to distract him. They shout random quotes and song lyrics and statistics, attempting to make him conform. He’s past twenty now. He’s past thirty. At thirty eight he begins to weaken, stammering on into the forties and fifties. At fifty-three he hesitates and loses his place. The crowd surrounds him, laughing. He did well under such pressure, they reassure him. “Good game,” they tell him. “Good playing.”
Pfc. Clayton W. Henson, Sgt. Jonathan N. Hartman, Spc. Dennis B. Morgan, Capt. Richard Gannon II
The adults have quit running now. They’ve all gone to their cars and their homes and their jobs. I feel an occasional raindrop plop onto my skin, so I give my goodbyes and leave these children under Pan’s care, at the top of the hill, in Cherokee Park.
By the time I get to Woody’s in Old Louisville, the storm has passed through and a misty rain is all that remains. I sit down at the bar and pay for a Miller Lite, saying a silent prayer for protection for those too young to protect themselves.
Cpl. Michael R. Phelps, Cpl. Michael R. Speer, Lance Cpl. Elias Torrez III, Staff Sgt. Toby W. Mallet, Cpl. Matthew E. Matula, Spc. Allen J. Vandayburg, Capt. Brent L. Morel
Hannah barges through the door and shoots up to me. “Michele, you’re just who I wanted to see!” she shouts at me, pulling me off my barstool. “You gotta come see this.”
I follow her the six steps to the sidewalk, and there, covering two thirds of the eastern sky, is a multi-colored double rainbow. The bar empties out as we stand there in the street, gazing up at God’s promise to never again destroy the Earth with water.
I think back on the Children of Pan and I wonder if they can see the promise too.
· The list included in this piece is not comprehensive; it is a small portion of the list.
********* BAR LIFE IN THE VILLE ******
FLASH OR CASH: Laying it on the bar at Woody's
Woody’s Bar at Brook and Burnett no longer sells package liquors to go. So if you want to take a six-pack of Bud Lite home with you, you’ll have to carry it out in your veins. Which can seem like a really good idea at 12:01 A.M. on an Easter Sunday morning.
With this goal firmly set in my mind, I’m sitting on a bar stool surrounded by my partners in crime throwing back Buds twelve ounces at a time. The females in my group and I are half a dozen strong, and we are worshipping the dark angel Greg the Gun Show – who is this evening's bartender. Greg prowls in front of the bottles of liquors, flexing his arms and saying, “The women’s pet and the men’s threat. The Gun Show.” I learned a long time ago that if you want to pick out the alpha male in any bar, all you have to do is look for who is serving up the poison. Tonight our dark lord is wearing a tee shirt that screams:
“Big Black Power Tools: Power Where You Need It”.
The men aren’t as taken aback with Greg as we seven ladies, but the guys know it’s occasionally possible to catch the runoff when there are so many lusty ladies at hand. Injun Sal is wearing knee-high moccasins while drooling over each and every loverly. He starts at the south end of the row of barstools, working his way to the north end one kiss at a time. He lets out an Indian call once every five minutes or so. He brings enough twenties with him to keep the ladies and himself well lubricated. We call Sal the “Sal-a-vater”. Injun Sal loves women, and women love Injun Sal.
Tom and his lady have moved to the booth in the back in the dark, and are bringing drinks to an older gentleman who just got out of prison a month ago. He gives them a ten each time they get him a drink, and he tells them to pocket the change. It’s a win-win situation. Very nice.
Greg starts bringing out the makings for Cherry bombs: cherries that have been soaked for three days in Everclear; and a red bottle mixture of Everclear and something else. Greg told me what made it red, but your Auntie Michele doesn’t remember what he said because she had two shots of it immediately after he brought it out. Weed isn't the only drug of choice that can cause short-term memory loss. Greg starts laughing, saying the Cherrybombs are just the beginning of tonight’s “drunken de-bauch-cherry”.
Around 12:15 A.M. by the clock on the wall, someone notices that it's now officially Easter in real time, not just bar time. We decide to celebrate the holiday by lifting a toast. But what shall we drink? Once again, our dark angel has the answer as he brings out a pitcher half full of a Spring-green concoction code named ‘The Four Horsemen’. Greg told me the names of the four liquors that make up the Four Horsemen, but I forgot what they were after a shot. You can ask him yourself if you'd like. He'd be happy to pour you one, all special like.
As fond as your Auntie Michele is of alcoholic beverages, she’s even fonder of beautiful young men. This is especially true after three shots of Quervo and four cans of Bud Lite. Scientifically speaking, this is because alcohol raises a woman's testosterone level, making her more aggressive. Generally speaking, this is because your Auntie Michele is a lecherous old lady. Once again, the dark angel Greg provides our needs by doing one-armed push-ups against the bar. Up and down goes his firm, young body in front of me and Angel. Up and down. Up and down. Angel whispers to me, "I've got Sal rubbing my shoulders and Greg doing push-ups in front of me. I think I'm in love with life." I’m pretty happy with life in general also.
Angel reminds our bartender that it's her birthday and she hasn't yet received her birthday drink, as if she needs another drink. The Gun Show gives her a drink and he asks if there's anything else she'd like. He leans forward, stroking his chin with his hand. Oh, yes, there is. Oh, yes, please. But she'll settle for a chair dance instead...Just then, Daddy walks in (the bar owner) and Greg decides to be good, at least for a while. No chair dances, at least not from him.
"We need more drunken debauchery", says the Gun Show. "We need to have drunken women lifting their blouses. This is your captain speaking: it’s Cash or Flash time here at Woody’s – home of the Stiffy. Any woman willing to do the obvious by laying their personal assets on the bar, will receive one free shot of their choice of liquors."
A chant goes up by the males in the crowd. "Lay ‘em on the bar! Lay ‘em on the bar!" A dozen lost souls begin to encircle we poor little ladies. “Lay ‘em on the bar!”
"Guys, guys," says Greg to the men. "Back up a little and let the girls breathe for gosh sakes." Greg leans in a little closer, talking softly, looking each lovely lady in the eye. "Ladies, free shots, any takers?"
From out of nowhere, Angel quickly flashes a nice set.
"And we're off!" shouts the bartender to the merriment of the crowd.
I won't say exactly how it happens, but I receive a free a shot of Tequila. Marge earns a shot of Goldenslagger. And Pixie downs a shot of Jagger. It's all good.
Two gay men ask if they can earn some free shots by showing their breasts. They lift their shirts.
"We'd have to see something a little more suggestive than that!" negotiates DeSean, who is an off duty Woody’s bartender.
The gay men smile, and the crowd of four-dozen starts shouting, “Lay it on the bar! Lay it on the bar!” Dean sits on a barstool in front of the computer game and the crowd surrounds him. I can't see anything but I hear a zipper being unzipped. The crowd cheers and then there’s the sound of a zipper being zipped up. Dean gets his cherry bomb.
When I walk into the bar on Monday, the whole place smells like bleach. They even have the doors open, and it still smells like Clorox.
“What’s up with the smell?” I ask Roo, who’s filling out a balance sheet.
“I don’t know,” she says. “It was like this when I came in.”
A guy at the end of the bar chuckles to himself and says, “I know why it smells like this. I was here till closing, on Saturday night.” He starts laughing again.
You know your Auntie Michele is a hard-core busy body, so I beg him, “Do tell, do tell.”
“I really shouldn’t say anything…” he begins…”BUT - The guys were all trying to get Pixie to pass out at three in the morning, because she just keeps talking, and talking, and talking. But she wouldn’t go down…That is, she wouldn’t pass out…She might have gone down, but I don’t want to talk about that…I don’t even want to think about that.” The half dozen patrons in the bar start laughing. You see, the thing about Pixie is that she’s young and has a nice Double D body, but everybody has had a ride on her merry-go-round: Male, female, plush toys; everybody. So really, no one wants to think about her sexually anymore.
The guy from Saturday night continues on with his story. “So the guys really want her to pass out, and she keeps lifting her blouse until nobody cares anymore. So Greg tells her that the only way he’ll give her another free shot is for her to get completely naked on the bar. He figures that even Pixie won’t do that, and maybe she’ll go home and pass out now. But before he can say Das K-Mart, Pixie is throwing her clothes through the air. Dave gets her blouse in the face. Eric is slapped with her jeans. And Dixie’s panties bounce off gay Sean’s lap, thankfully sliding to the floor in a flourish. Within sixty seconds, Pixie is laying it all on the bar, to the mortification of the crowd.”
The six of us are laughing too hard for him to continue. “Hold up a minute. Give us the rest of the story a little bit at a time,” says Rhonda.
The guy telling the story takes a deep breath along with the rest of us, before he finishes his sad tale of drunken debauchery. “As soon as she gets off the bar, Greg douses the wood top with the orange bleach sanitizer, ergo the smell today. And the Gun Show vows to never again make such an insane offer.”
“What a nice little story,” says Roo as she eases away from the bar. “Now I understand about the bleach smell.” Roo quietly and quickly reaches under the wood counter, pulls out an orange spray bottle and a white rag, and lays them on the bar before sanitizing everything in sight.
HIGHTAILING IT AT THE GRANVILLE
She's been gone for two nights, so I figure the whore is out there hitting the streets again. She's probably running wild down the alleys and darkened streets. I can envision her taking up with every Tom(cat), Dick, and Hairy, high-tailing it through the night shadows, showing her ass in every corner of Old Louisville. My cat has run off again.
So I decide to go out into the night world to look for her. At least that’s what I’m telling myself as I walk south on 3rd Street, occasionally calling out her name. “Cat,” I shout out half-heartedly at some shrubs in the 1400 block. “Cat! Where are you, you old whore?” There’s no response from the flowerbeds, or the ornamental ferns, or the ground-covering ivy. “Life has sucked so badly recently,” I tell a rot iron fence. “I think I’ll have a beer or two, drown my sorrows, and forget that feline Jezebel.” As luck would have it, I’m standing on a corner in Old Louisville where there’s always a bar right across the street. This particular bar happens to be the Grandville at 3rd and Gaulbert.
As I enter, there’s about two-dozen patrons milling about inside, so I take a barstool beside Margo. She’s sitting pretty beside Mensa Mark who has his nose stuck in a Science Fiction novel written by the guy who wrote ‘Tarzan, Lord of Greystroke’. I throw three dollars on the bar (cost plus tip) and order a Bud in a bottle from English Edward. I notice the establishment is already heading towards a good buzz.
There’s a table of six twenty-something kids near the front who are Thespians – like people in the theater, not like a sexual orientation. My daughter told me once while she was in high school, “Mama, the boys won’t date me now that I’m in plays at school. I tell them I’m a Thespian and they just walk away.” If she had been in college and said she was a thespian, she would have had more dates than she could handle. Two of the thespians are dancing together, twirling each other around to the beat of the music blaring from the jukebox.
“This place is ready to explode into a party,” I tell Margo. Mensa Mark looks over at me and scowls a greeting. He’s gorgeous in that Oh-Danny-Boy Irish kind of way, with honey brown hair and sky blue eyes. He returns to glaring at his book. I poke him gently in the ribs and tell him to buy me a beer.
- “I only buy drinks for ladies, Michele. And you are certainly no lady.”
- “No one ever accused me of being a lady, Mark. I’m just an old river rat. Buy me a beer.” I pretend to be hurt.
- “Now Margo here is a lady, so I buy her drinks. When I’m reading a book she lets me read. When I feel like talking then she’s receptive to conversation. She follows my lead,” he finishes smugly.
- “Bartender give me a beer,” I holler towards English Edward while pulling another three bucks out of my Crown Royal bag. “I do what I want, when I want, thank you very little.”
Mensa Mark returns glumly to his book, so I go around Margo and poke him in the ribs.
- “What’s the best part of fucking twenty nine year olds?” I demand.
- He knows this one. “There’s twenty of them.” The corners of his fine lips begin to edge upwards.
- “Why can’t they find a cure for AIDs?” I ask Mark, stroking his shoulders. He doesn't know. “They can’t find two mice who will butt-fuck each other.”
- The Irishman chuckles and exhales, “That is so dumb Michele”.
- “How can you make your girlfriend sound like a dolphin in bed?” I ask him rapid fire.
- “There's no way I can stop you from telling me, is there,” he says cocking his head towards me.
“You say to her, ‘Let me put it in that hole’ and she says ‘Nah-ah, Nah-ah, Nah-ah”. Mensa Mark lets out this deep, full Irish laugh and decides to join the festivities.
It’s Katharine’s last day working as a bartender here at the Grandville, so different members of the barstool club are buying one round of chilled Jagermeister after another. It’s a full-bodied liquor that looks like prune juice or it’s result. I pass, but nine other patrons throw it back after raising a toast to Katharine. Sleepy Bobby at the far end of the bar, Too-tall Val, Mensa Mark, English Edward, Margo, and assorted extras are all getting revved up on Jager, one shot glass at a time. I slam back a shot of Goldenslauger. It’s smooth and has real specks of gold, or so they say, floating in it. It tastes like cinnamon with no after punch at all. Smooth.
Mensa Mark is still making terrible faces after shooting Jager with the others. His fine features twist this way and that. “I’ll be bouncing off the walls in six minutes,” he warns us, but in seven minutes he’s merrily chirping away about the Mars Rover and salt water seas and sub-ocean bubbles of methane gas. Here, arriving late but arriving at last, is the Mensa Mark we all know and love. Jagermeister is a good thing.
The only songs being played on the box are oldies by Johnny Cash and Phil Collins and Boy George. Any song post 1985 is being overlooked by the revelers. Sting breaks into a chorus of “Every little thing she does is magic,” and there’s half a dozen patrons dancing by the pool table in the dark in the back. Too Tall Val has turned away from the bar, and is sitting facing the crowd. Some girl is dancing between his knees while his upper body gyrates to the beat. Margo begins to move her shoulders to the rhythm of the night and I fall in right beside her, swaying this way and that. The crowd is getting in the mood.
I glance down four chairs to the young man I adore - just past Margo and Mensa Mark and David. Sting and me and eight other people belt out, “I decide to call her up one thousand times a day…” My beautiful boy is singing too, while looking at me. He's vibrant at 26 and I tell Margo he's "a little cutie."
"He's just a baby," she fusses. "You should grow up and behave yourself," she scolds me through a laugh.
“…And ask her if she’ll marry me, in some old fashioned way.” My spirit is consumed by the warmth of his smile.
One more round of nine shots and we’re all in the mood to sing, “Sitting on the dock of the bay.” Mensa Mark excuses himself by saying, “I don’t know the words to the verses,” but he puts down his defenses when the chorus slips in. He’s happily swaying to the chorus with a dozen other people by the time Roy Orbison begins to whistle.
Right around one a.m., the party starts winding down and friends new and old hug and leave. I decide to walk the three blocks home in the crisp night air. When I get to my doorstep I find my cat, the whore, waiting for me to let her in while rubbing against my legs.
SEARCHING FOR MY DARK LORD
The children of the night are at play in the Mag Bar this evening. They have entered their masquerade ball armed with black tees, black hair with neon pink shocks, tattoos up the yin yang, piercings, and army boots. The young male specimens of this dark pack wear camos raggedly cut just below the knees. You’ll find no white bobby socks in these hollow halls. Truth be told, I am here, searching these dark corridors for my own Dark Lord.
I walk past the doorman flashing a peace sign. He nods briefly before checking the I.D. of whichever child follows me. I walk heavily up to the bar, looking neither right nor left, and order a Bud as if I’m ready for trouble. But no trouble blocks my path through the night corridors. The children of the night recognize their Auntie Michele on sight by now, and they allow me to pass with a cock of the head or the turn of a shoulder.
As I step into the back room, I see that Pixie is at war on the pool tables. Pixie weighs in at 97 lbs, standing only five foot flat. Pixie is forty something, but that is just her body’s total of years acquired, not her true age. Those numbers don’t accurately reflect her spirit’s energy as she twirls a cue stick over her head, threatening the striped balls in front of her, daring them not to fall into this pocket or that pocket.
Pixie is at war tonight with men as she puts on her best shit eating grin and smiles at her male opponents. She brushes lightly against their barely legal bodies in a failed attempt to distract them from the battle at hand. I should try to dissuade her from this unlikely tactic, but the gay couple she’s shooting against is beginning to chuckle with her. She fires herself from one end of the table to the other, leaning against the green felt, trying to decide on the correct course of action.
I, on the other hand, remain here sitting sideways in the cornerstone booth by the hallway. I’m feeling fairly secure with my back firmly placed against an inner wall of the Mag Bar. I can see faded images of souls coming and going outside on 2nd Street, as they scurry beneath the dim glow of the streetlamps. I’m watching Pixie assassinate one male after another only because she’s in visual range when I look at my feet at the end of my bench. I look at the clock on my cell, and it says fifteen minutes after noon: no, it’s noon for me but midnight for the normal people. It’s probably fifty degrees outside by now, which means a cold walk home. Maybe having four bottles of beer circulating in my veins will help to warm me during my travels. I focus on the section of my body between my dress hem and the end of the bench. My toenails are painted a bright pink, about the color of Jennifer’s highlights. My feet are tightly strapped into brown leather sandals.
David Norton keeps the four pool tables in this room well maintained. David Norton keeps both of his bars neat as a pin. He keeps his bartender’s personalities crisp and on the edge, with an air of almost fanatic loyalty. He promotes only from within, choosing his ground level associates from the ranks of the undead who frequent this institution. He grooms his small cult as a godfather grooms his family: poking, prodding, leading, threatening, rewarding; until they are fiercely devoted to him. His cult of bartenders and servers refer to him only as “daddy”.
Windy and Quiet Eric walk through the room briefly before nesting by the front windows.
Einstein Louie shows up unexpectedly and gets talked into a game of pool by Pixie. He grew up as an army brat, shooting pool in the military dayrooms on bases in a dozen different countries. He gets the game down to the 8-ball before missing. Pixie hits the last ball in, and she is elated and sitting by Louie and laughing too loud. She bumps herself against his shoulder and he’s laughing, honestly laughing. And I think to myself: this is an unexpected match made in heaven. Pixie needs someone to treat her heart gently, and Louie is just the sweetheart of a guy to do exactly that.
I begin to take my leave.
Louie smiles at me half-heartedly and says concerned, “Take care of yourself.”
“I will. You too.”
I figure I’m drunk enough to sleep by 1 A.M. so I head out alone, knowing I won’t be seeing him tonight.
As I’m rushing through the alley between 2nd and 3rd on my way home, I’m thinking about one more night drowned in alcohol when I see a woman pulling a shopping cart over the cobblestones. Inside, there’s a large clear plastic sheet. On top of the cart, turned sideways, is a full-sized 1970’s couch with floral upholstery.
BREAKFAST AT THE TAVERN
The Tavern at 4th and Gaulbert has been helping ugly people have sex since 1937, at least that’s what the sign over the bar says. A sign on the bathroom door says, ‘One person at a time’. After midnight it’s the kind of place where if someone shouts “Duck!” you throw yourself under a table without asking any questions. But during the mornings around 9 A.M., it’s mellow enough, and old friends gather to start the day in familiar surroundings.
It was on just such a morning when Miss Wiggie showed up to annoy ‘The Breakfast Club, a group of half-a-dozen men who meet there regularly. Miss Wiggie is maybe 75, and has the distinction of having been Miss America 1946. Honestly. Her nephew told me this face to face. People call her Miss ‘Wiggie’ because she has half a dozen short wigs that she wears to suit her mood. Her poundage and her rouge are both a little heavy. She’s never harmful, just irritating in the early A.M. after people have been out drinking all night.
So Miss Wiggie begins to surround my friends in the ‘breakfast club’ pestering them with questions, and unseemly suggestions. Berta, the morning cook, has just set down on break to shove some scrambled eggs and sausage into her mouth, when Miss Wiggie floats past her booth. “I heard what you said”, Miss Wiggie throws over her shoulder towards the unsuspecting Berta.
“I didn’t say anything”, Berta grits through her teeth, attempting to let this infringement on her break just go on past.
“Well I heard what you were about to say!” says Miss Wiggie while sweeping away from the table.
The #63 TARC is spewing out the less fortunate in front of the blood bank. It vomits the unwashed onto the sidewalk quickly and efficiently, as if it doesn’t know where they are going. In these times of political correctness, it’s no longer called a blood bank, not even a plasma center, it is a bio-center. It is no longer even listed in the phone book. But all us bottom dwellers know where it is and what it’s for.
“I’m taking the TARC out to Crums Lane,” a Lost Boy will exhale, throwing his cigarette butt to the ground and crushing it into the pavement behind the bar. “So I’ll be able to put ten towards a bag when I get back.”
“Good,” says another Lost Boy, “I’ll tell (a friend of a friend) to set aside a dime bag for us.” The bio-center doesn’t care what you spend your twenty on, just as long as your blood is clean.
My youngest boy is donating today for the first time. He is selling a part of his body in exchange for three good meals and two packs of cigarettes. I have brought him here because he asked me to. I have brought him here, to this place, to physically educate him to the fact that no matter how bad things get, there is a way to put some money in your wallet.
The bio-center is clean with reassuring neutral colors: grey and beige with dark green stripes around the edges. It is air conditioned with a T.V. in a corner placed high on the wall, three quarters of the way up. All the donor’s eyes are glued to women’s basketball.
Relax. There’s nothing to see here. Move along.
Black people in white lab coats are in back of the faux wood counter. Some of them wear plastic face guards so no blood will squirt into their mouth or eye or nose when needles are inserted into the donor’s veins.
Relax. There’s nothing to see here. Move along.
I sit in the waiting room after my youngest child goes into the back. I am reading a book by Anne Rice that Max has left behind with me. It is called, ‘The Servant of the Bones’. When I was younger, far younger, I would place a Bible on my lap and allow it fall open to whatever scripture God wanted me to meditate on. I hap-hazardly open Anne Rice’s book towards the middle, knowing I won’t have time to read it cover to cover. It falls open to a section talking about Abram sacrificing Isaac. The Jewish devotee in the passage is being asked by a secret Jewish society to give his son a pill that will make him immortal, the ‘servant of the bones’. In exchange for protecting the bones of the patriarchs from harm, the bones will protect him. All his son needs to trade is his life. I am here, sitting in the third row back, all the way to the left, in the antiseptic reception room of a blood bank, allowing Anne Rice to lead my meditation.
I drift in and out of the building between the reception room and my 150,000 mile car.
Anne Rice is a superb storyteller. I have no stories left because I have no endings worth documenting.
My view falls from the letters in the novel, it shifts to the happy signs on the wall:
- Thank you for donating so I can get back to my job.
- Thank you for taking time out of your busy life so I can get back to my life.
- Donating Plasma is simple and rewarding
Shamrocks happily dance upon a bulletin board. The shamrocks are saying: “Donate 5 times during March and get a $5 bonus. Donate 8 times during March and get a $10 bonus.”
There are four black men and three white women and two white men waiting, eyes glued to the television three-quarters of the way up wall. The black men sit at the front of the chairs; the white people sink to the chairs in the back by the beige walls.
There are six stalls between the chairs out front and the cots in the back. The people with plastic face guards prick your finger there to be sure your blood is pure, to be certain it is free from contamination. If your blood turns bad, no one wants to see you.
A show on the T.V. reminds me of the beautiful young man I use to sit beside at the bar. There was a time when I thought about a future with this beautiful man, but he pointed out to everyone, especially me, that I was old and unworthy. I saw my beautiful young man last night while I was drinking. He was at one of the bar with his friends and was at the other end with mine. He watches me often, but I don’t know why. I have no stories left to tell, I have no jokes left to entertain him.
My beautiful young man has beautiful young friends. They travel together on the weekends to shoot their guns at tournaments around the tri-state area. They rent skis and they hit the slopes during the coldest part of the winter. They take trips to Las Vegas to escape the snow when they grow tired of skiing on it.
There is no story between me and the man I adore, so I drink many bottles of beer and smoke generic cigarettes and try to be sure he doesn’t catch me looking at him.
Sometimes this beautiful young man brings in trophy dates who are auditioning to become trophy wives. These women are tall and blonde, with little substance, but with good breeding. I am not tall and blonde. I am a grandmother who sacrifices her son at a blood bank, and writes about it in a red, Mead notebook in a last ditch effort to cleanse herself. My beautiful man’s mother never sacrificed her son at a bio-center. She was well provided for by her banker husband.
My son is finally coming out of the back. I hand him his leather coat and he throws it around his shoulders. He opens the door for me to go out.
"You okay?" I ask
"Yeah, mama. I'm just cold, that's all," he tells me.
"That's a result of the loss of blood, Max. I'll turn on the heat in the car when we get out there."
There’s a comedy on the T.V. in the corner as we leave. It’s an old movie set during the Middle Ages. The comic hero, who wants to be a knight, tells his merry men proudly: “A man can change his start. Money isn’t important."
THE FUCK – YOU MAN
It’s one of those ungodly hot days around the last of May when your hair is sticking to the back of your neck and the temperature is still rising. I drop my son off at 4th and Oak so he can walk around the corner and cash his payroll check before heading home. I don’t bother putting money in the meter. I don’t get out of my Geo Storm. I’m just sitting there in the heat, watching the bus-stop people at the circus corner of 4th and Oak.
So I hear this voice holler at me from across the street, on the side of the church. This man is shouting, “Hey baby, take me ome wit jue. Take me ome wit jue.” I look out my car window and there’s this old black man with his plaid shirt open down the front, sitting on the church lawn, with his feet on the sidewalk. He’s got on cut-off bluejean shorts and sandals. He sees me look over at him and he says, “I tak care of jue, lae – dee, lik a queen.”
I look back to the car parked in front of me. I’m just waiting for Max to come back. “Take me ome wit jue!” he hollers louder. I pick up a book that Max has left behind, and I begin to pretend to read it, holding it up in front of me.
“Fuck you, Bitch, you skanky ass whore. Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you, you stupid stinking, skanky ass bitch!”
I put the book down beside me and mumble to myself, “Fuck you, man. Come on, Max, hurry up.” The fuck-you man shuts up. Two minutes go past, and he’s still quiet. So I look over to see what happened, and he has laid back on the grass, and he’s pissed all over himself. His legs are open and his shorts are wet and there’s a little stream of piss running down the curb onto the sidewalk.
This white guy I know named Will walks past the fuck-you man. He shakes the fuck-you man. “Hey, man, you need to watch out or someone’s gonna steal your cigarettes, man. Someone’s gonna steal your lighter, man.”
The fuck-you man wakes up swinging. “Fuck-you, man. Wat jue doin, dude. Fuck-you, man!”
Will steps back. “I was just telling you, that you need to watch your shit man, or someone will take it.”
“Fuck-you man! Fuck-you! Fuck-you man!” says the black guy, sitting up.
Will shakes his fist and says, “Well, fuck-you, man! Fuck-you, man!” and he walks off.
Max comes around the corner, gets into my Geo and we drive away, heading south onto 4th Street.
Question 394: Just thinking - If God is so great, how did Lucifer talk one-third of the angels in heaven into rebelling against God, especially when they had seen God face to face?
Post script: My youngest son, Max, use to ask women -
"Do you believe in angels, my lovely? - for I was once the most beautiful of all angels. They called me 'The Morning Star'." You'd be surprised at the number of women who responded positively to this pick-up line.
In spite of Barbie’s attempts to strengthen her relationship with Ken, Mattel toys has decided to quit making her favorite boy toy. When Max and I heard about this cruel turn of events, we couldn't help but speculate on Barbie's future, and up-coming versions of the plastic icon.
First Mattel will introduce:
Rebound Barbie, who will try to get Ken to come back by flirting with G.I. JOE.
Then they’ll come up with: Back Yard BBQ Slut Barbie.
This will be quickly followed by: Barfly Barbie, complete with miniature barstool and beer mug.
The next model will be: Shitfaced Barbie, an elbow bending action figure, with scale sized bottle of Maker’s Mark (no mixer necessary, thank you).
With our blonde heroine becoming a total lush, she’ll get into a bar fight and accidentally kill “that goody-two-shoes Christy” which brings us to: Prison Barbie.
While doing time, she’ll “find religion” and enter a convent when she gets out. This will be the Nun Barbie edition (she won’t get ‘nun’, doesn’t want ‘nun’, ain’t gonna get ‘nun’.)
Unfortunately, she’ll fall into temptation and molest a very young man who reminds her of a very young Ken. She’ll end up accused of child molestation and be sent back to prison where she’ll need the protection of a cellblock dike. This last version will be sold as Prison Bitch Barbie, where the aging icon will be forced to wear black and white horizontal stripes.
And all this carnage started out just because the Ken doll wasn’t as profitable as he use to be.
FOR THE SAKE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY,
MATTEL TOYS, PLEASE RECONSIDER!
It's a bad thing when you find the Sunday newspaper at the bar, and it has a hole in the obits page. When this happens, it means one of your bar friends has lost someone they cared about. It means they need information about the dead, like their full name, or the time of the viewing, or the name of the funeral home.
It's even worse when you're the person who made the hole. Finding an obit in the Sunday paper is an especially disconcerting event because it's as if the dead person wanted, while still alive, to die on Friday so the obit would be in Sunday's Metro Section. This way, the news would reach as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. It's like the person was saying: "I really don't want to inconvience anyone, but all my friends should know I won't be coming round the coffeehouse at 10:30 anymore. I've decided to go elsewhere for a while. It's like I’m moving to North Carolina, only not."
Using that as my introduction, I want to tell you about the stupidest man I ever met. His name was Jay Kidd and he died when he was 33 for no good reason what-so-ever. I want to tell you about him while I'm still sitting here at Bernheim Forest, at the 'Big Prairie Overlook', while I'm just elevated enough to see above the tree line looking north. Behind me is the grave of Isaac Wolfe Bernheim and his first wife. The gravesite is decorated with a multicultural, academically acclaimed statue with the inscription: Let There Be Light. In front of me are shrubs, the tree line, and then four waves of hills falling north towards the Ohio River.
You see, that's what I was trying to tell Jay: Americans seem to view life as a flat prairie, where people march forward to win battle after battle. But it's not like that at all. Life is a series of hills where sometimes you're at the bottom looking up. And you don't just stay there in the gully and hang yourself by the creek. What you do is trudge up the side of the hill, step by step, until you get through the trees and shrubs and you get to the top where you can see things better. Life won't let you stay there, but maybe even that is for the best.
I like Bernheim Forest. Sitting up here on a bench, looking down over the distant tree line, it looks as if there's bouquets of green trees stuck in the hillsides. From up here, it looks like you could just reach out and pick an oak tree or a weeping willow, and put them in a wicker basket and carry them home with you. There’s only one small ribbon of concrete that curves around the prairie, strolling lazily towards the visitor center. It's not like the city where everything is hard and gray and baked in the Sun until all that's left is a three dimensional desert. In the city, people hide in concrete holes on the concrete cliffs. They hide to escape the heat of the day and the cold of the night. They hide to escape the cycles of nature: the rain and the sunshine; the snow and the heat; the day and the night. Cycles, Jay, it was all about cycles.
"I tried to kill myself about six months ago you know," said Jay on Thursday. Jay was the stupidest man I ever met, the man who died for no good reason at all.
"You told me that," I answered, taking a slurp out of my can of Pepsi. "But things have gotten better, Jay. Haven't they?"
I touched his arm, again. "Sometimes it just takes a little longer for things to work out. You'll be fine. You'll make the right choices."
He smiled and looked at my hand resting on his arm. "That's the fourth time you touched me since we've been sitting here." He said it as if it were a question, as if he were looking for information.
"That's because you're one of the few people I actually enjoy being around. You know what an asshole I am, Jay. You wouldn't ever kill yourself, because I wouldn't have anyone to talk with at 10:30 each morning."
His glance slid down and away behind his thick, black-rimmed glasses. The edge of his mouth turned up on one side as he ran into a question. "Are you working on a new book, Michele?"
"Yeah, as always. I've almost got my fourth one finished."
"You need an editor. Someone to check to be sure that everything is accurate."
"I'll let you take a look at it Sunday or Monday, Jay. I should have it finished by then." I withdrew my hand and looked over the manuscript in front of me.
"I went to North Carolina for awhile," he told me.
"And how was that?"
"I loved the ocean. I was right there on the outer banks. I even lined up a job in a bar, cooking with a Russian guy who had a heart of gold." He looked down into his lap. "But I couldn't find a place to stay. A friend thought she had room for me, at least for the summer, but it fell through."
I put my pen down and patted his arm reassuringly. "You could go back there, to North Carolina. Just get some money and go back. If that's what you want."
His gaze shifted again from my eyes to the floor, as if adding up the cost of the trip on the tiles. "I guess I could. I guess I could." His eyes shot up to mine and he said smiling,” That’s the fifth time you've touched me, Michele."
"That's because I like you Jay. Honestly. You're just pleasant to be around." I drew back in my wooden chair, cradling my Pepsi in my hands. "When I hear you talking about your ups and downs, it's like I'm seeing a reflection of myself at your age. That's how I know you'll be okay, Jay. You're like me: we're survivors, we're river rats." I drew up closer to the table and threw a sentence towards him. "We're like soul mates in a way."
"I've thought the same thing, Michele. Soul mates. But it won't work out in this lifetime..."
"Why not, Jay. Maybe we should give it a shot. Where there's life, there's hope."
He shook his head no. "Not in this lifetime, Michele. But we should be lovers, that's obvious."
"That is obvious," I repeated.
"All right then, let's do this: the next time we meet, we'll have sex."
"I'll pencil it in, Jay, for ASAP."
As I left the coffeehouse to go down to the library, I touched the small of his back while he was getting a refill at the counter. He looked up at me and smiled. Ten hours later he hanged himself in his home.
After leaving Bernheim Forest, I walk into my apartment and I can hear my cat crying. I follow the sound and find her on a ledge outside my bathroom window, two stories up. She has climbed through the two-inch opening between the bottom of the window and the windowsill, and now she's too scared to try and squeeze back through. It's night outside and she's there, shaking on the edge of an abyss, telling me she made a mistake and she wants to undo what she's done. I open the window a little wider, and she jumps happily onto the floor. I wish Jay could be like that - like no matter what stupid thing he had done, he would be just sitting out there on a ledge, saying he's sorry for making a really dumb choice. And I could just open the window a little wider and he'd come back inside.
P.S. If there are any outrageous blunders in the piece above, it's because Jay wasn't here to edit it for me.
Halloween Dana and Roo
Okay, okay. It’s obvious that I need to tell you or I’ll never be able to write anything again. I need to tell you about Halloween, big boobs, and love. It all happened like this:
On Halloween I dressed up as a naughty Catholic Schoolgirl (are there any other kind?) with my Double Ds absolutely falling out of my starched white shirt. Okay, okay, they weren’t falling out completely, I am exaggerating, but Melissa’s F-cupped rack really did fall out. She’s only 22 you know, and she started drinking fuzzy navels around 7 pm. By the time midnight rolled around, the Lost Boy’s request for her to jump up and down like a cheerleader seemed reasonable to her. I wasn’t sure about the whole thing because the top part of her fairy outfit consisted of nothing but a black corset from Frederick’s of Hollywood. But even when the unthinkable happened and her enormous assets were amply displayed, it doesn’t matter anyway. No one will ever remember anyway and certainly no one will tell any outsiders. It’s just our little secret, gentle reader, just yours and mine and the Lost Boys at Woody’s.
My Double Ds remained safely caged inside my Moulin Rouge corset all night, no matter how much The Pack begged for a look-see. Big boobs with quarter-sized nipples are a Mardi Gras kind of sighting, especially in the pool room of the Mag Bar after midnight. I’ve been known to lift a blouse for some sweet young boy if he’ll allow Auntie Michele to squeeze his firm young bottom first. I’ve even been known to allow a little squeeze if he wallows around in my arms for 45 seconds (I really do carry a stopwatch on such occasions).
But I’ve gotten completely off-track by now. I was going to tell you about Halloween, big boobs, and love. What I meant to tell you was Halloween night I was up at Woody’s and this Pack of men start to form around me and Melissa. the barmaids, Dana and Roo were not to be outdone, so they told the men at the bar to put up a dollar apiece. Dagonhart, Injun Sal, Pierre (the French Canadian), Sal the Cook, Mensa Mike, and Joe all put dollars on the bar with half a dozen other guys. Roo collected the dollars and put all but one of them in the tip jar. She rolled the remaining dollar into a cylinder and shoved it between Dana’s triple Ds.
The thing about Dana’s boobs are they’re almost legendary. They’ve been referred to as the Boobs That Took Over the Earth (coming soon to a local drive-in near you). They are so huge that you’d have a hard time squeezing one of them into a 1950’s “Paw! Your Coffee’s Ready!” coffee cup. Roo pushed the dollar bill a little deeper into Dana’s cleavage, hiding it completely beneath two mountains of tit, and then stuffed her face between Dana’s breasts, retrieving the dollar bill with her teeth. The guys and me and Melissa all applauded this death defying act of courage. A person could suffocate you know.
So I tell Melissa, “I’ll run with you to the Mag Bar so you can flirt with BLANK if you’ll run with me to the Granville so I can ogle MR. BLANK.” Melissa says, “Cool”. The Pack asks where we’re heading and we tell them, “To the Mag, but we’ll be back in an hour or less.” We jump into my Geo Storm and drive down.
Melissa and I have been sitting at the Mag long enough to get a drink on a busy night when in walks Mr. A from Woody’s.
“I thought you were up at Woody’s”, I tell Mr. A.
“I thought I would come down and talk with you instead,” says Mr. A. “I was running low on funds anyway.”
So I’m thinking, “So I guess that buying me a drink is out of the question.”
Mr. A says sadly, “My ex-wife gets most of my paycheck to support my children. I always support my children first.”
So I think to myself, “How nice for your ex-wife, but that still won’t pay for my drink.”
Mr. A says, “It’s a shame to be so busted on Halloween, especially when I’d really like to start a relationship with a great lady like yourself.”
I say, “Yeah,” but I’m thinking: “What do you have to bring to a relationship besides pubic lice?”
Mr. A finally hands his last dollar bill and four quarters over to the bartender, when Mr. B and Mr. C show up at my elbow.
“I thought you guys were up at Woody’s,” says Melissa, slurping her sixth fuzzy navel.
“We’re heading back up there after we finish our drinks,” I remind the group.
“We decided to ride our bikes down,” say Mr. B and
I’m thinking, “Why should I waste my time on two 30 something men who are riding bicycles because they lost their licenses?” Mr. C edges in closer to me and looks down into my cleavage. “I was wanting to talk with Michele for awhile,” he says.
Mr. A jumps into the conversation with, “Hey, I was talking to Michele first. You need to go back up to Woody’s. Me and the girls will be back up there later on.” Mr. B and Mr. C aren’t happy with Mr. A’s territory marking when Mr. D walks through the door. He’s quickly followed by Mr. E who announces to the wall of men surrounding me and Melissa, “I thought you guys were up at Woody’s. Why are you down here?”
“I came down to talk with Michele,” says Mr. B.
Mr. C has started talking to Melissa, along with a couple of guys from Mag Bar. Mr. B puffs out his chest and asks Mr. E, “So why are you here?”
Mr. E elbows his way up to me, puts his are around the back of my chair and answers, “I’m here to talk with Michele, one on one. Ain’t that right, sweet-thing?” Mr. E has a girlfriend, but for tonight he is totally single. I’m thinking, “Why should I give you a free ride on the merry-go-round when you’ll be back with your bitch on Monday morning?” I say, “Melissa, watch my drink for me while I go to the bathroom. I exit quickly.
When I come back, none of the guys in The Pack are talking to each other. There’s just a lot of posturing going on. I grab Melissa by the scruff of her corset and pull her outside, telling The Pack we’ll meet them back up at Woody’s. I drive Melissa up to Woodys, drop her off, and go home and crash.
Oops! I almost forgot to tell you about love. The next day I’m working at the Laundromat while missing Mr. Blank. I’m wondering why I can’t just choose one of The Pack to fuck, so at least I can have someone beside me. I’m at the cash register and when a customer steps away, I notice Mr. Blank driving past in his full-sized, late model, jet-black Chevy. He must be heading to work because he’s wearing a white button down shirt and tie while smoking a cigarette. He places his cigarette to his full lips and inhales deeply. He’s so young, he’s so smart, he’s so gorgeous, he’s so financially stable.
I step back and turn the cash register over to Charlotte and walk into the back room behind our one-way tinted windows. My body has gone from bored to ready to mate in 60 seconds. He turns left onto Fourth Street heading north towards the river and I try to focus on getting back to work. This alpha male has successfully marked his territory. Beautiful boy, I am completely subjugated by your personal assets.
Halloween, bare-breasted F-cups, packs of men, and as promised; love, oh, sweet yearning, sweet-sorrowed, love.
Thursday, August 11, 2004
Joe, Louie-Louii, me and Margo are sitting pretty at the far end of the bar at Woody's, just one barstool shy of the computer game. There's only one car parked out front, and it's mine. I park it in front, on the street, right by the doors, so the cops know straight up that the owner is sitting inside in the air conditioning having a fucking drink.
Margo orders a Maker's and ginger ($2.50) and I order up a generic rum and coke (well drink - $1.50). Margo hands the Gun Show a five, and shows him her I.D.
Greg leans forward, "This can't be right," he tells her, flashing a full-toothed smile. “You can’t possibly more than thirty-five,” he smiles. Margo hands the blonde haired cutie another two dollars for a tip. The Gun Show says, "Glad to meet you, Margo,” and walks away to pour someone else a beer.
"He is a doll," Margo whispers to me.
"I told you so," says I.
"Is he your little cutie?" asks Margo.
"Wish he was," answers I.
"He's too young for me or you," she laughs.
"Old enough to drink is old enough…" I remind her.
"He's younger than your kids, Michele."
"And your point is?... Really, he's older than my youngest boy."
"Well, he's too young for me!"
"Are you sure, Margo? Are you really sure? If he was lying on your bed, begging to take a tour of body, would you really be strong enough to reject his advances?"
"Well I never," laughs Margo.
"Well maybe you should have," I giggle.
APPLICATION TO BECOME MICHELE'S 5TH EX-HUSBAND
_______________ _______________ 0 Jr 0 Sr 0 The Third
Last name First name
Car: __________________ _______________ ____________
Model Make Year
Savings Account #______________ Balance $___________.00
Checking Account # ____________ Balance $___________.00
Still in THE WILL 0 Yes 0 No 0 No, but will try harder
Prenuptial agreement required 0 Yes 0 No 0 Here, baby, just take all my money.
Length of quivering member __ inches __ feet (If measured in feet, please see Michele for immediate personal interview)
Sexual orientation:0 Straight 0 Bi 0 Tri (...anything once) 0 Curious (yellow) 0 I forget 0 Sheep 0 Plush Toys
__ Rent house __ Own home __ Sponging off girlfriend
0 Wife's maiden name (careful now, trick question) _________
Job title: __________________ Hours per week: ______________
# of years with firm ____________ 0 Own the firm
Please mark any of the following statements that apply:
__ "I'll pay you $5,000 to shag me to death." Cash in advance, no checks.
__ "If you marry me, I won't be mad when you divorce me".
__ "I'm a SNAG - Sensitive New Age Guy
Afterthoughts: Educational degrees ______________ I.Q. ___
Booklets by Michele Dutcher:
Reports From the Underbelly: 60 pages 2001 - copies 5 bucks flat
Articles: Sugar Mams, Freaks, Full Moon Sunday, Extras Listed
Men - As If I Have a Clue: 60 pages, 2002 - copies $5.00 American
Articles: Cold Weather Love, Driving With Dougie, Friendship Inc
Trafficking in ABSOLUTes: 60 pages, 2003 - copies $5.00 US or $134 Canadian
Articles: (A; The; An) Laura's Karaoke Story, Swarming Lesbians
Cheap Beer, Loud Music, Young Men: 60 pages, 2004 - 5 bucks period, fuck the Canadians - everyone else does. (The Money Man, Flash or Cash, Barfly Barbie)
Over Herd: 60 pages, 2005 - copies $5.00 U.S. (Miss Margo's Summer Shorts, Bye Bye Blondie, Dan the Man's Big Balls, A Texan's Mystery Woman)
Saint James Sampler: 60 pages, 2001 to 2005 copies $4.93 (Collection of stories they're still talking about, from all of the above booklets)
A Little Strange, On the Side: 60 pages, 2005 copies $5.00 U.S. or 23 cents Martian Hiureltues
(Science Fiction Stories - Time Sphere, Spaceship Building for Dummies)
Michele's great American novel - A Fisherman's Guide to Bottom Dwellers - available for $113.78 OR six hours of REALLY great sex (only men thirty and under need apply except for Nicholas Cage and Keanu Reeves, side effects of reading these books may include nose pimples, heart palpitations, and anal leakage. If erection lasts longer than four hours, please seek immediate medical help - hello-o-o nurse!)
To order contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org