"And you...you could be mean / And I...I'll drink all the time." Boy, Bowie sure got that one right. Talk about aspiration. Goddamn.
The price of Crank is up to three bucks?!? Jeff sold out, man. Look at all those ads! That's fucking corporate money, man!!
Let me tell you armchair idealists something--I can't afford to produce another issue of Crank unless I get some cash back from this issue. I just can't afford it. You got that? I'm talking about not being able to pay rent, about not having $4 in change to do a goddamn load of laundry. Sometimes I can't go to the bar because a dollar draft is too fucking expensive--I'm stuck drinking $3.95 twelve-packs of Schmidt's cans in my goddamn living room.
You're still getting your money's worth--the page count has increased to accommodate the advertisements, ok?
Besides, at least eight people wrote to say that Crank was a steal at two dollars. "I'd gladly pay $5," one person wrote.
Blame them. I still ain't making a fucking dime.
"Punishment By Horse Cock" was common for women in Old China. Go look it up if you don't believe me. The woman was strapped down--legs spread--and forced to copulate with a horse. Ever seen a horse dick? Christ. Punishment indeed.
Sorry, gals, but I'm glad to be a man.
I'll happily take a finger up my ass once year after the age of 55 in exchange for no menstruation, no pregnancy, no yeast. My occasional awkward hard-on is a small price to pay for non-invasive reproductive system maintenance.
You better get drunk, toots. Your life must be intolerable otherwise.
It just wasn't a classy joint. We don't frequent classy joints.
The hostess swings by with the standard bowl of popcorn for everyone sitting at a table near the bar.
"Keep it," I say. We've just eaten a large meal, and I know that neither of us will be eating the popcorn.
"The popcorn. Keep it. Give it to someone else."
"We won't eat it. Give it someone else."
Confusion came across her face; then it turned to anger. She was angry that I had disrupted her routine--now, she had to return that bowl of popcorn to the kitchen.
In an ideal world, I would've punched her in the mouth. Instead, I was forced to stare her down until she begrudgingly returned to her station at the front door, bowl still in hand. Apparently, she didn't know what to do in the event that a customer turned down the free fucking popcorn.
I dim the lights, turn up the music, grab a jug of cheap wine and deal with my problems the way I should have in the first place--by myself; in the dark, naked except for my wineglass.
The trendy guy in head-to-toe leather sauntered up to the bar and asked, "How much are The Mermaids?"
"Huh?" asked the bartender, an older guy with a keen sense for no nonsense.
"A Mermaid?" Mr. Trendy asked.
Nothing but a blank look from behind the bar.
Inside, I smiled. Outside, I drank.
"How about a Dead Maxi?"
The bartender was incredulous.
Inside and outside, I smiled. I looked into my mug, admiring the simplicity of "gimme a beer."
"A Lemon Drop?"
"You want a Lemon Drop? Like with the packet of sugar?"
"That's it. How much?"
Leather boy got the Lemon Drop plus 4 ponies of Rolling Rock (at an outrageous $2.25 each), and strolled back to his friends, leaving no tip for a bartender who, in my opinion, had been more than helpful in a demanding situation.
I am the most generous type of drinker: the poor man who tips well.
An empty cup of Coke, its waxy cardboard soft from holding liquid too long, is on the desk next to a sandwich that I made last night but didn't eat because I was too drunk to concentrate on the eating part. Funny, I had no trouble making the sandwich.
The bedsheets--leopard-skin patterned with 2 bleach burns and one small tear in the side--are on the floor next to my clothes. Apparently, I had a restless night of sleep, though I don't really recall much. In fact, I don't really recall waking up; I found myself alive at my desk, absently pecking away at the keys.
Naked, soft and very pale, I sit in this small, dark room; the terminal's glow washes over me so that it looks like I must've spilled bleach on myself as well as my sheets. The door is open, but I'm out of sight around the corner from the living room. No one sees me, but I hear them walking down the hallway out to work or to Church or to eat or whatever.
I eat the stale sandwich and go back to bed. I'm still naked, and the door is still open. It's still quite dark in here, even at quarter past eleven.
Nobody will bother me; they never do.
For me, good-looking people are like shiny objects--distraction, not attraction.
"Are you ok?" she asked, reaching around three people, caddy-cornered across the bar.
"It can't be that bad. You look so...so morose," she claimed.
When my eyes met hers, she realized that she'd made a big mistake. If she was trying to be nice, it was in vain. If she was trying to flirt, it was offensive.
"I'm just a bad drunk," I muttered.
Without another word, she changed her seat, finished her drink, and left.
And I wasn't all that drunk--certainly not drunk enough to make any real difference in my demeanor. I really am just a bad drunk, sober or not.
This world is overpopulated by idiots and many of you should be embarrassed to be yourselves.
I was cramped against the bar, waiting for the bartender to head my way.
"If you get his attention, I need a Black and Tan," she said, taking me by surprise. When anyone talks to me, it takes me by surprise.
"Sure, sure," I mumbled. All I knew was that I wanted a drink. And quick.
When I did get the barkeep's attention, I asked for my draft and motioned to her. He arrived with 2 drinks, took my 5, and gave me change for 2 drinks. Fuck.
I pushed the beer toward her; she looked up with an "Oh?" She had meant to pay for the drink, I suppose, but was willing to take it off my hands free of charge.
"You owe me a buck," I stated. Now she was surprised.
"I'll get the next one," she offered, all full of girlish, coy sweetness.
"No. You owe me a buck. Tip the man," I said, taking my drink to a back corner where I could at least get waitress service without the hassle of conversation.
There are 3 things you will never see in Crank: a layout that is intentionally hard to read, an ad for a guitar shop, and anything good said about Tom Jones.
I caught a show called Sensaciolisimo on one of the local Spanish channels.
With four years of high school Spanish, I can barely ask a Mexican whore for a blow job (and, boy, haven't I tried!) But I didn't need to hablo no español to enjoy Luis Rodriguez. He's gotta be pushing sente-siento, but still manages to wriggle into shapes that put Jim Rose's freaks to shame.
No shock-value piercing. No rods through his genitals. No regurgitation. No fire-breathing. No midgets. No lesbians. Just good, clean Latin American freak-show fun. Like the old days when geeks ruled the carnival coop.
The rest of the show, unfortunately, was filler: circus-level acrobatics and death-defying stunts. Worth watching with a few drinks on a bored night, but don't cancel those Guest List passes for the next John Spencer show, eh, kids?
Children should be raised in group homes 'til they're old enough to keep their traps shut in public.
My god, I've got relatives, you know? I'm not too close with them--births, deaths, most holidays, etc. But I do know them well enough to see that the raising of children in the Koyen (and spin-off) Clan is still a sacred ritual of firm discipline and respect for quietude.
What the fuck is wrong with the rest of you? Every trip to the Early Bird Special at my favorite restaurant is disrupted by your screaming brats and bitchy grandmothers.
Aren't you happy enough that the Sirloin Platter with Salad and Potato combo is only $7.99? Christ, I am. I'm happy enough to shut the fuck up and let everyone else enjoy themselves, even if the meat comes a little overcooked and the lettuce is limp. With the six bucks I save, I have three drinks. $14 for a real meal and three drinks. Doesn't that sound like a great deal? It is.
Big fucking deal, Marge, so they only gave you one pat of butter with your rolls. Just sharpen those choppers and get chewin', eh? And while you're at it, take a minute to keep those goddamn grandkids quiet. I can't afford the number of drinks it'll take to drown them out.
The Ironies of Crank #3
In the "Teenage Revisionism" piece, I indulged in the same behavior for which I lambasted the rest of you: date-stamping your "underground" name-dropping in the interest of being cooler-than-thou.
My Wordless Reviews were anything but wordless. (And they're still not.)
The Bossa Nova was, in reality, a fairly legitimate--though mercifully short-lived--"craze."
For all my posturing against record company giveaways, free things garnered 42% of my review space. (And that ain't the HALF of it! Seen this issue's reviews yet??)
But, since none of you genius critics were wise enough to bring any of this to my attention, I was forced to examine myself with unbiased, critical skepticism. So before you give me shit for grammar, typos, sexism, racism, homophobia, or whatever, why not just stick to the above 4 points, before I'm forced to tear your literary assholes nine inches wider with your own precious Fine Arts degrees?
It's real fucking easy to complain when all your life is Paid For In Full, filled with cool wind in the summer and warm, dopey satisfaction the rest of the year 'round.
This one fight I was in--he was a goddamn monster.
Nearly broke my fucking hand when I punched him. He grabbed my arm, threw me down, and kicked at my skull. Eighteen stitches just above the nape of my neck.
Damn near broke my nose and gave me a concussion, the doctor said.
It was the coffee and wine, I figure. That's what kept me from giving in and passing out cold on the sidewalk.
It's real hard to give up when you taste the blood in your mouth and you realize that you're much too bitter to let some asshole knock you unconscious. Much too bitter to give up and die without having your say in this life. Much too bitter and angry with all the boredom that drives you to get drunk and act like an idiot, starting fights with men twice your size just because they look like they deserve a little derision.
I got up, sure, but I couldn't see straight. Some old guy in the bar--some good fucking Samaritan--put me on the train out of town.
It cost me three bucks to re-connect and get back into town, where I live.
I don't even remember why I started the fight. I'm not, by nature, a fighter. That might explain why I got the concussion and the 18 stitches and my adversary walked away laughing.
I've consummated a dozen or so marriages with women I didn't know. A few of them I loved, but that was because we had sex, not the other way around.
Most people don't see that it's tough to love in a life of lust and need and insecurity and loneliness and hunger. And it's even tougher to love in this world of need when you don't even know what you want.
But the last thing on my mind is what I need. Every day, I undermine every value and every bit of compassion that I've cultivated through these years of faux concern and faux dedication and faux love. I reached a turning point some time back, and now I'm retracing my steps in an unspoken effort to be indecisive and alone.
If you don't have any regrets, then you just have not tried hard enough.
Outside, the rain is the color of old nickels and my life is worth less than 2 drops. While everyone else is halfway to waking I haven't yet gone to sleep, and it's three a.m. and my pen is almost dried up. Meanwhile, my mind is parched from working extra hours at straight pay, but I'm glad to have a job. The girlfriend is still out with some guy I don't like, but I'm glad to be in love. Each morning, I wake up queasy, begging for someone to buy out my only asset, that's how broke I am. I'd love to sell the car, but I need a new catalytic converter, a new rear-view mirror, and I'd lose my job if I didn't have the goddamn car.
Without money, and with no drive, all I have is a pen and paper to write my own script and the falling rain is the perfect cheap soundtrack.
Drunk is fine, but I'm a little past that now.
It was years ago.
The two bartenders, attractive women in their mid-20's, recognized us and smiled when we walked in the door. My friend Jim, not a regular drinker by nature, was so pleased that he suggested we find more bars to frequent.
The rest of the night was fine, as usual: I got drunk and depressed looking at so many drab people. Sometimes I resent sharing the air with them; they sicken me with their media fashions and libido brains. Sure, I would've enjoyed fucking either one of the bartenders, but I didn't have the energy to pursue it.
So I dropped Jim off, went home and had 3 or 4 more drinks. I turned the TV to a soft porn movie and masturbated, rubbing myself damn-near raw because I was too drunk to stop in frustration.
I learned that night, and countless others like it, that the only person you can depend on for pleasure is yourself. And even then, you've got to accept your own limitations, or else you still get hurt. But overall, it takes a lot less energy than dealing with someone else, once you've overcome the loneliness.
The phone rings to remind me that my apartment is not the center of this world. It rings, again, again and again, incessant, like an infant screaming for my whole attention.
Jealousy is one thing I do not miss in my life. While I generally accept any and all emotions as legitimate experiences, jealousy is never missed. Well, almost.
I occasionally yearn for the anonymous screw, that nameless encounter with a stranger after a night of drunken flirting. But then I remember that I was never able to enjoy that nameless fuck, at least not the next day. The next time I'd see her, I'd become jealous because some other guy was getting ready to take her home for a nameless fuck of his own. Or once we'd been at it a few times, I'd be looking at other women while simultaneously keeping a possessive eye on her.
It's a roller coaster that I miss only occasionally. It's not a healthy emotion, I admit, but it is a legitimate experience.
But I don't really miss it, at least not when I look at it from this somewhat rational life that I'm nursing to maturity.
Please don't eat the fucking daisies, pal.
Why do people drink to excess when they damn well know it's self-defeating? Because other people like you are yammering away with your little egos about this and that and blah blah and my name should be bigger and my dick should be longer and blah blah and I was published in The New Yorker you'll never get anywhere with your little magazine.
Send me kiddie porn, asia porn, and pictures of relatives who sicken you.
If that wasn't worth your extra buck, then I'll never win at this game.