I thought I was going to miss my train again...that would be typical. Last time I got wasted and ended up spending the night in Oklahoma City because I got caught up in watching some kind of freestyle BMX ballet competition. Oklahoma fucking City! What a nightmare.
The train was already moving and picking up speed when I hopped on. I slumped into a seat in the front of the car next to an elderly Asian woman with a startling amount of facial hair. Maybe she was a sex change case, who knows.
"Keep your hands to yourself young man," she grumbled as she clutched her bag to her chest. Guess she didn't like the looks of me.
I closed my eyes and thought about how pissed off my asshole of a roommate, Penis, was going to be when he came around and realized I took all the smack with me when I left. Thats Penis, pronounced Peh-ness by the way. An interesting guy to say the least, his parents named his sister Vagina (rhymes with Regina). No wonder they're rotten individuals, you would be too if you went through life with names like that. I always wondered why they didn't just change their names, maybe because they're morons?
Ah fuck it, I had an addiction to deal with.
After a few minutes I stood up and made my way to the bathroom to do a quick bump. I'm not shooting up anymore, just snorting. Hey, baby steps...gotta start somewhere. Maybe I'll kick tomorrow.
The bathroom smelled like shit, big surprise, maybe because there was about a pound of it smeared on the wall next to the toilet. How does that happen? I shrugged and pulled the bag out of my pocket and dipped my key in. I couldn't help taking a long look at myself in the mirror before I breathed in the junk. I looked painfully thin, deep dark circles around my eyes. No wonder old Korean bitches didn't want to sit next to me on trains, I looked like a fucking monster. Oh well, in a couple of seconds I wouldn't care.
That feeling of warmth washed over me, all the bullshit melted away in an instant. I felt like Paris Hilton at a cock festival. I slid down the wall, sat on the floor and lit a cigarette. When I woke up I was in St. Louis.
I must have been out for at least 15 hours; the guy who carried me off the train had set me down on a bench outside the St. Louis station, he was slapping my face.
"Hey! Hey kid! You OK? What's your name?"
He had a round pudgy face with a wide mouth and a body like a toothpick, he looked like one of those scarecrows with a pumpkin for a head. He must of had a stomach banding or bypass surgery or something, where your body deflates and you're left with your same old fat head. Wonder what he did with all the excess skin?
"You can stop slapping me now dude," my eyes focused on his, then drifted to the crowd of assholes that was swiftly gathering in a circle around me. Someone yelled, "Give him some air!"
The self-appointed head numb-nut in charge told everyone to step back and ordered his wife or girlfriend or whatever to go fetch some water, I was pretty thirsty.
My savior was beaming. He stood up proudly and stumbled a little, I guess he was still getting used to balancing his enormous melon on his new, thin frame.
The woman ran over to me with a bottled water, barely able to contain her excitement. She seemed to be getting a kick out of being so helpful.
"Here ya go! Take a drink ," she insisted. She was breathless, and she felt of my forehead for some reason...the motherly type I guess.
I snatched the bottle from her quivering hand and took a long swallow and felt around in my pockets for the dope. I kept searching frantically long after I realized it was gone.
"I've got your wallet right here, son ," declared gravy head, "and your ticket is inside. Looks like you've got a two hour wait for your bus, going to Chicago huh? I got a cousin in Chicago."
"Thanks," I snapped as I grabbed my stylish nylon, velcro billfold out of his hand.
I picked myself up, made my way through the crowd and yanked open the glass door; as I stumbled into the station a massive head rush hit me and I fell flat on my face, luckily my chin struck the vinyl tiled floor of the train station lobby and broke my fall. I tasted blood. I jumped to my feet, ignoring the gawkers all around me and headed for the bathroom.
I turned on the faucet and splashed some water on my face, then made the mistake of looking in the mirror. I looked away real fucking fast. The monster was still there, a ghoulish reminder of what I used to be when I was alive. The beast's chin had already begun to swell, adding to it's already charming allure.
I pulled my cigarette pack out of my pocket and lit up the last one. It was broken in half so I had to pinch it together in the middle so I could smoke it. I sat down in an empty stall to gather my thoughts. Assessment: No dope, no money, no smokes, no self-respect, no dignity. Ah ha! A bus ticket to Chicago! And two hours to kill.
The bathroom reminded me of the institutional style washrooms in high school, minus the sweet smell of weed but the stench of excrement was still plentiful. No doors on the stalls, a sink halfway ripped off the wall...nice.
The door opened and I jumped, I was already twitching from withdrawals so it wasn't all that hard to give me a jolt. A guy in jeans and a jacket with elbow pads walked in, college professor maybe? I always hated those stupid looking jackets. He muttered something under his breath, something like, "Loser."
He at least had the balls to make eye contact. I glared at him as he strolled over to the urinal, unzipped his pants and struggled to get a stream going. He was nervous...stage fright. He laughed and said, "Lost little boy?"
I looked around and spotted a stainless steel trash can by the door, the kind with the foot pedal at the base so you can open it without getting your precious little hands dirty; then wrap those sparkling clean fingers around the feces laden door handle on your way out.
I picked the can up and bounced it off the back of his head, driving his face into the brick wall in front of him. I kicked him in the back of the knee and heard a snap and a pop, but no crackle. I thought of the little faggoty Rice Krispies mascots as I watched him fall to the floor, I kicked him in the soft spot beneath his rib cage first, screaming at the top of my lungs, "Where the FUCK is Crackle, mutherfucker? What have you done with Crackle???"
His nose had exploded when he hit the wall. He may have been a handsome devil when he walked into this train station bathroom, but now he was downright unpleasant looking. I crouched down and grabbed a handful of his hair in one hand and pummeled him in the face repeatedly with the other, laughing maniacally and demanding to know the whereabouts of my dear friend Crackle. The prick sniveled and wailed and begged for mercy and insisted he'd never heard of anyone called Crackle, he even accused me of being some kind of lunatic! Said I was "out of my mind"! Can you imagine?
I slammed his head into the floor and got back on my feet, I cracked his ribs with one more swift kick and I shouted out with glee, "There he is!"
My new friend on the floor appeared to have passed out and could not share in my relief, what a shame. What would Snap and Pop do without their beloved Crackle? A team is a team, and a team sticks together. I rummaged through his pockets and pulled out his wallet. "Fourteen dollars!!! Fourteen FUCKING dollars??? You fucking asshole!!!", I howled as I kicked him once more in the side of the head. I slammed the door hard as I left the bathroom and wished I had taken the time to wash my hands before leaving.
The sun was setting, and I stood there in the middle of the station wondering what people carry on about when they rave and gush romantically over the awe inspiring beauty of a sunset. Every night, since the beginning of time, what's the big, fucking deal?
Blood dripped from my knuckles as I trudged toward the exit, I could almost hear the drops hit the floor over the sound of little brats screaming and the dull roar of the crowd that echoed through the station...almost.
I was never really all that good at anything. I have talents, I guess, but I never excelled in any area. Mediocrity is even worse than all out sucking at something I think. You end up having half-assed dreams that never get fulfilled. It's not that I didn't try, it just didn't seem to matter if I tried or not.
It definitely doesn't matter now, life is simple - score a deuce in the morning, morning being whenever I happen to wake up, and hopefully make it last all day. I prefer to take care of business while the other sleepwalkers are dead to the world, that way I'm not expected to share. Just cook up and crash out in peace.
But before I could float off to never-never-land on that soft, fluffy cloud of titties, I felt a familiar poke in my kidney - the signal that Vagina had sensed my good fortune and wanted to share in my bounty of black tar.
Vagina was a helpless baby addict - mainlining was new for her and she relied on me or her brother to fix her. She didn't seem to appreciate the edifying concept of self-reliance. Penis and I, on the other hand, the monkeys on our backs were cold-blooded, ruthless and wise.
I sluggishly reached for the dope and dumped a tiny, sticky rock on the spoon, added plenty of water and cooked up a weak dose like a lethargic robot. I tied Vagina's arm with her belt and shot her up. Just before I nodded off I noticed a festering wound along the vein in the inside crook of her elbow, it was swollen with a sickly red streak running up to her shoulder, and I remember thinking she should probably have that looked at?and then I remembered thinking the same thing yesterday.
We had been enjoying the hospitality of Penis and Vagina's stepfather, Ron, for the last month after finally leaving the Econo-Travel-Lodge, the most luxurious hotel in Dallas in the $29 -a-night range. Ron was a big, greasy looking guy who liked to show off his back hair by wearing skimpy tank tops, he worked at the convenience store on the corner and had inherited his mother's house; there was no electricity or running water so his cost of living was minimal. I think he was glad to have the company. Either that or he felt guilty about molesting Vagina from the ages of eight to 15.
It was awkward at first, at least for me, thinking about sweaty old Ron, writhing around on top of Vagina like an oily walrus, groping and pawing at her with his slimy sausage fingers. At least that's the way I pictured the whole scene. If it bothered Vagina to be around him now you wouldn't know it, the girl never had much to say. Penis didn't seem to give a shit, sometimes I wonder if he had been the older sibling, maybe he would be more protective of her.
We were all friends since the sixth grade, Penis and Vagina moved in to the house across the street when I was about 10 or 11, my dad had just left and my sister was away at college so I was stuck at home with my mother most of the time. She didn't like me leaving the house, I could have friends over but she would never let me visit friends or spend the night with them. She felt comfortable letting me stay with the neighbors across the street though, she would've passed a brick shitshack if she had any idea what went on in that house.
Ron would sit in his recliner watching TV, drinking beer after beer, munching on potato chips. We would watch the salty debris build up on his dirty t-shirt, chuckle at every belch and wince when the farts would come. Eventually he would light up a joint, fill his lungs with smoke and blow it in our faces. Not a bad parenting style now that I look back, it did keep us quiet, but hell, we were afraid to make a move for fear that it would piss him off for some reason.
Once old Ron got a good buzz on, he'd take Vagina off into the other room and we wouldn't see them until the next morning when Penis and Vagina's mother, Cybil, got home from work. She was a night nurse at Parkland Hospital in Dallas and used to brag about seeing JFK's body back in '63, his head split open like a rotten pomegranate that fell from a tree, she insisted she had a piece of his brain in a jar under her bed. I think Ron sold it on e-bay a couple of years ago.
Cybil would sleep all day and Ron would get out of bed to take up his post in the recliner, usually in time for "Bewitched". That was about the time my mother would come to collect me and if it was a school day, drop me off at school on her way to work. Penis and Vagina didn't go to school.
The sandwich shop in the train station was doing a brisk business, I charged to the front of the line past all the hungry travelers waiting their turn. Luckily the cashier was just opening the register to give a customer his change, so I grabbed the tray with one hand and pulled it out to expose the big bills 'hidden' underneath. I snatched a fistful of bills and checks and ran for the front doors that opened out into the street in front of the station.
A big, fat security guard pawed at me as I flew out the door, tearing my shirt. I didn't stop running until I was three blocks away, the blob in uniform probably didn't even bother to chase me but I wanted to make sure I made a clean getaway before I stopped to count my loot.
I ducked into an alley and crouched behind a dumpster to catch my breath. I still had the change tray in my hand but most of the coins and small bills had spilled out. In my other hand I had two hundred dollar bills and a few checks. I tossed the checks and the tray in the dumpster and counted up the bills, two hundred forty three dollars and fifteen cents?not bad for a few minutes work.
I took a deep, cleansing breath and let it out, unfortunately releasing my bowels at the same time. I had no skag in my system to hold it back, I just relaxed and let the warmth fill the seat of my jeans.
After a few minutes of sitting in that alley stewing in my own shit, I got up and walked to the other end where I had a pretty good view of the busses lining up at the north end of the station. I checked my ticket, bus number 6122.
I stuffed the cash in my pockets, unzipped my jeans and pulled them off. Luckily, most of the diarrhea had pooled in my underwear so I took them off and tossed them aside, then put my pants back on and headed toward the busses. Number 6122 was second in line, ready to carry it's miserable passengers to the windy city.
I climbed aboard, moved to the back of the empty bus and curled up in the fetal position on the old, cracked vinyl seat. I was covered in sweat, I had the chills and my nose was running, every joint and muscle in my body ached. The ride would be about six hours, I should be deep in withdrawal hell by the time I arrived in Chicago. I puked all over the seat and I watched the vomit roll off the edge onto the sticky, urine soaked floor of the bus like a waterfall as I lost consciousness.
My dreams were hellish, I was buried up to my neck in sand in the desert, I watched an army of fire ants marching toward me, hunger in their beady little eyes, but before they could reach me, enormous buzzards swooped down and snatched my eyeballs out of my head, screeching?I swear to god they were laughing. I could hear my mother crying, her sobs of pain and disappointment echoing throughout the rolling dunes.
I woke up in a puddle of my own sweat, my hair caked with barf. Freeway street-lamps passed by one by one, filling the dark bus with a sickly yellow blinding light every other second, followed by momentary darkness. I sat up and looked out the window - crappy, ramshackle houses, rusted cars with crumpled fenders - could've been anywhere.
My body was riddled with the bad kind of goosebumps, nasty, dirty and sick? dry-heaving and spitting up little bits of stomach lining, and I was suffering from a severe case of rectal itch.
The bus was about half full. Oddly enough, all my fellow passengers were bunched up toward the front. The lingering smell of watery shit and vomit provides a nice buffer when traveling, just a tip.
The bus exited the highway and pulled into a truck stop, I think we were on I-57, there were signs for Memphis. The driver yelled, "Fifteen minutes!" and everybody piled out, tripping over each other to try to be first in line to take a piss.
I laid back down and stared at the ceiling, I didn't dare get off the bus or they'd surely find away to leave without me. Anyway, I had everything I needed right there in that seat. I looked up at the window, smeared with greasy, glossy Jheri Curl residue?did black people still use that shit? Made me think of the school bus when I was a kid.
Which reminded me, I was in an empty bus! Who knows what these freaks might have carelessly left un-guarded?
I jumped up and grabbed some guy's smartphone with the earbuds attached, I crashed back in my seat and strapped them on. It was tuned to some internet radio news station and evidently, in New York, some guy had his tongue ripped off by his wife during a heated make-out session, there was a frantic 911 call: the man mumbled incoherently, desperate and panicked while his wife sang Christmas carols in the background.
This harrowing tale of domestic terror served to take my mind off my stomach cramps, pounding headache, and relentless, burning rectal itch. Luckily, when the other passengers filed back on the bus and the driver fired up the engine, the guy hadn't missed his phone. We were building up speed, merging onto the freeway when he finally began shouting and howling about being ripped off. He was an older guy, fifties maybe, wearing a fishing hat, golf shirt, khaki shorts and sandals with black socks. His wife tried to calm him down, said he probably just misplaced it, she suggested he politely ask someone to call his cell number.
"It probably just fell down the crack of your seat or something," she said.
The guy sitting in front of them seemed more than happy to help out and the next thing I knew, the phone in my hand was ringing. I dropped it immediately and the earbuds slipped out of my ears as it hit the deck and began bouncing around the floor of the bus. The guy was scrambling around for it and slipped on my puke that had seeped into the aisle. I peeked over the back of the seat in front of me to catch a glimpse of the chaos and decided to roll over and play dead. A little girl started crying. I'm not gonna lie to ya, the whole scene was pretty upsetting.
I eluded persecution for the rest of the trip by remaining low-key. I just lay there in my disgusting seat, shivering and retching, moving in and out of a soupy, miserable consciousness.
The bus driver's face slowly came into focus, the front of my t-shirt was gathered in his meaty hands and he was screaming at me to get off the bus. He was chewing on an unlit cigar and spewing little pieces of spit soaked tobacco in my face as he made it clear to me exactly how fed up he was with all the "bullshit" and how he didn't have to put up with drug addicts puking all over "his" bus. He was pretty upset.
I spit up in his face, and couldn't help but chuckle as the brown, slimy bile dripped from his chin.
His mood seemed to take an even darker turn.
The old guy deposited me on the gravel pavement outside unsympathetically and without mercy, evidently I had arrived at my destination. I lay there for awhile, staring up at the grimy downtown Chicago sky. There was minimal activity at the station, a few people milled around in the dark and I listened to the usual cacophony of modern civilization - crying babies, howling sirens, the loud, angry ramblings of the homeless. Eventually I scraped myself up off the ground and headed down the street to try to find a hotel.
I passed a liquor store on the way to the beacon of light on Harrison Street that was the downtown Chicago Travelodge. It was closed, and if I had any strength left I would have punched through the window and grabbed a bottle of tequila to help kill the pain. All the stores had bars on the windows, which made me feel safe and secure in an odd sort of way.
It was bitterly cold, and the wind cut through me like a knife as I scampered across the street toward the hotel. Except for a few bums gathered around the front stoop, where a little bit of heat seeped out between the cracks in the double doors, the city seemed dead.
The hotel clerk sat behind one-way glass, so I had to stare at myself while I payed in cash for a room and waited for my key. How is it possible to look so much worse every single time I look in a mirror?
"How old are you?" the unseen desk clerk asked. He sounded Indian, Pakistani maybe.
I replied confidently and promptly, "I'm 74 years old, young man!"
I cleared my throat.
"I suffer from Krugrella's syndrome!"
Tony Krugrella was a kid I went to high school with, I always thought Krugrella would make a great name for a syndrome.
"What the fuck is this Kruter sickness?" the clerk asked in a skeptical tone.
"An insidious condition characterized by a narrow, shrunken face, short stature and a large head for size of face or 'macrocephaly'," I answered.
"Diminished range of motion, spontaneous crumbling of the teeth, reversal of the aging process and anal seepage."
I took a deep breath.
"I would appreciate it if you do not remind me of my affliction in the future, my good man! And please, notify your staff."
I grabbed the key and made my way up the stairs and down the hall to room 243. The hallway felt like one of those old wooden bridges across a canyon or something, the kind with thick rope for handrails, my feet desperately wanted to slide out from under me. It felt like the bones in my legs would just crumble and I would crash to the ground in a pile of rubble and a murky cloud like some demolished building.
I slipped the key in and opened the door to my room. The smell of stale cigarettes and mildew smacked me in the face, it was just like home. There were 2 full sized beds, a dresser with a old TV on it, a window ac unit held in by duct tape and a radiator in the corner for heat. There were no sheets on the beds and the mattresses were stained with blood and what I decided to pretend was clam chowder. The toilet flushed by itself and I turned to behold the splendor of the bathroom. Roaches scuttled across the grimy tile floor and the wall behind the toilet was covered in black mold, It was clear I wouldn't be leaving this place without a holy host of infections, bleeding lungs and flesh eating bacteria.
I stripped and stuffed my clothes into the sink, filled it with water, unwrapped a bar of soap and tossed it in. I turned on the shower and stepped in the tub, as I rinsed off in the frigid water the tub slowly filled with rusty sludge due to the clogged drain.
My stomach rumbled and I decided the thing to do would be to have a seat in the dark grey sewage bath and just give up. I closed my eyes and stopped clinching my ass cheeks together. The water got warm. I was being boiled alive in an enormous cast-iron pot suspended over a roaring fire in the African jungle by a big guy in a grass skirt with a bone in his nose and I didn't care.
The L train howled by right outside the bathroom window and the room clamored and shook, waking me from my miserable nightmare. I was shivering, covered in my own foulness and the tub was overflowing. I stood up and hosed down in the still running shower before I shut off the water and stepped out onto the flooded bathroom floor.
I stumbled into the room and over to the closet in search of sheets or a blanket and found a thin bedspread and wrapped it around my trembling body. The carpet was wet and sticky. I collapsed onto the grubby mattress in a cloud of dust and I guess I must of passed out again.
I saw my mother, but she wasn't my mother; she was a giant praying mantis wearing horn rimmed glasses and a flowery apron, hunched over the stove scrambling eggs. The ceiling was too low for her to stand up straight, a cigarette was dangling from her lips and the eggs were being seasoned with falling ash.
She looked over at me, sitting at the kitchen table in my underwear, lowered her head and peered over her glasses. I had to look away when her eyes met mine.
"You never call,"
Her voice quivered, hurt and heartbroken.
"You never write."
Someone screamed in the distance and the screeching roar of another train forced me to come to.
I clutched the blanket around me and switched on the TV. Ralph Kramden threatened Alice with physical violence. I switched the channel and the talking heads on the local news were babbling about a small, naked man found dead and rotting in a hotel downtown. I turned the dial again and watched a demonstration of a fantastic new vegetable chopping device even though I had no interest whatsoever in purchasing one. The chick peddling the thing was beyond hot and stirred up romantic feelings the likes of which I hadn't felt in months. I settled back in bed and tugged at my shriveled genitals.
I looked down at the withered shaft of flesh in my hand just as confetti spewed from the slit in the head, followed by a small corner of silken material. horrified, I plucked it out only to reveal a long scarf. I pulled and pulled, and the scarves kept coming. Suddenly I was surrounded by demonic clowns, Dia de Los Muertos revelers wearing skull and devil masks?an alter materialized in the corner adorned with an elaborately framed photograph from my childhood surrounded by candles, marigolds and skulls made of sugar and chocolate. Fiendish, maniacal laughter filled the room and my spirit seemed to leave my body and hover above as I gawked at the bizarre scene.
Mother mantis knelt at my alter and prayed, the door burst open and a marching band stormed in, the walls fell away and the room transformed into a dreary cemetery filled with fog and the sound of drums, tinkling chimes, wild wailing mariachi music and blaring horns.
In an instant my soul was sucked back into my body and the cold darkness of the room engulfed me once again. The celebration of death was only visible on the tiny TV screen and I scrambled to change the channel but the scene was the same no matter where the dial landed. I leapt to my feet, yanked the cord from the wall and collapsed on the vile, gummy carpet.
I lay there wheezing and panting, I was starving and severely dehydrated. I reached for my blanket and wrapped it around my numb, clammy body and started to cry, lamenting and grieving for my wasted life. I wanted to die, assuming I wasn't dead and in hell already. I struggled to my feet, stumbled into the bathroom and turned on the water in the sink. The water was murky and brown but I lowered my head to drink from the stream anyway. The taste of rusty sludge and bleach made me heave and I immediately vomited up an alarming amount of blood, all over my clothes that were still simmering in that sink.
I fished my wallet and change out of the pocket of my jeans, sloshed through the bathroom and laid the bills out on the dresser by the bed to dry. The morning sun was blasting through the broken blinds on the window so I pulled a mattress off one of the beds and propped it up against the window to restore the comforting darkness.
I heard sirens that sounded like they were coming closer. I thought I smelled smoke, but I figured it was just my demented mind playing tricks again.
I picked up a few quarters, slipped out the door and into the hall. A single bulb hung from the ceiling and flickered erratically, illuminating the peeling wallpaper and rotten wood trim in the hallway like a frail yellow strobe light. I hugged the wall as I stumbled along, clutching my blanket around me, looking for a vending machine, ice? anything.
A thick haze of smoke was hanging in the stairwell, it looked as if it was coming from the floor above. Just past the stairwell was a rusted out ice machine and a pay phone. I sat down in the corner next to the phone and shivered. I realized I left my key inside the room.
Two firefighters came rumbling up the stairs like stormtroopers. One continued down the hall, beating on doors and screaming for people to get out. The other knelt in front of me, peered into my eyes and shouted, "Can you walk?"
His voice was muffled through his foggy gas mask.
"You have to leave."
I just stared at him, dumbfounded.
"NOW!" he bellowed.
I struggled to stand and he took me by the arm, jerked me to my feet and gave me a friendly shove. I thought about the 200 bucks I left in the locked room.
"Wait!" I yelled.
"My baby brother!"
"What room?" he asked.
"243, he's all alone in there!"
I followed him back to my room and after he kicked the door in I slipped past him, grabbed the cash and took off down the hall.
The smoke was thickening, and by the time I reached the stairs my eyes were burning. I slipped and took a spill down half a flight, dropping the money in the process. I realized I lost my security blanket during my rather awkward and hasty escape from the infernal second floor but despite my distinct nakedness, I walked proudly through the hotel lobby and into the night.
The mood outdoors was rather apocalyptic, red and blue flashing lights from every direction pierced acrid smoke. Firefighters raised ladders and platforms to help people out of the blazing upper floors of the hotel. Axes and crowbars crashed through glass and wood inside the building and the sound of screams filled the hot and heavy air. It was nice to have some fucking heat. I noticed I had an erection but no one else seemed to. No one seemed to notice me at all, just the obligatory naked guy at the scene of a catastrophic Chicago fire.
My eyes slowly adjusted to the mayhem of my surroundings and a few hot, rippling, squiggly, miserable faces in the crowd came into focus. A cop pointed at me and suddenly it seemed as if I was surrounded. A gang of them was creeping toward me so I bolted.
I plowed through the throng of mouth breathers and took off up Harrison Street, the pavement battered my bare feet and I could hear the bone smacking the concrete as I ran.
I didn't feel a thing until I saw the blood, I caught a glimpse of red out of the corner of my eye and saw that it was coming from a sizable wound in my ass. I said, "I've been shot!" - which I've always wanted to do, by the way. Then my body just buckled and my head slammed into the street hard. I remember thinking, in fact, I think I said it out loud, "Damn, Chicago pigs don't fuck around."
Before I could take a breath they were on me like some nightmarish football pile up and I was blanketed in about a ton of fat sweaty, pissed off humanity. A couple of undoubtedly unintentional blows to the head must have knocked me out momentarily, I remember being handcuffed but at some point an EMT unlocked them and cuffed my left wrist to a stretcher, then loaded me into an ambulance.
I was in and out of consciousness during the ride, one guy pressed a towel hard against my ass while his partner took my blood pressure. I was still trying to catch my breath and figure out what the fuck was going on, and wrap my head around what was coming next.
I woke up fairly clear headed in a small, bare hospital room. The pain in my ass was sobering and my head felt heavy, like it was full of sand and it pulsated like an anguished, throbbing heart. The nurse walked in, male nurse, a big guy with a shaved head and goatee wearing light blue scrubs. While the door was open I could see a scrawny cop sitting outside with a cup of coffee and a Cosmopolitan magazine, he looked up at the same moment I saw him and yelled at someone down the hall, "He's awake!"
The nurse started messing around with my IV, changing the bag or something and a couple of detectives walked in. One was tall and thin with a lot of red hair and a somewhat civil expression on his face, he was the good cop. He wanted to be pals.
He was casual, with a brown plaid shirt and khaki dockers, and a badge on his belt. The other one, Sturges, I remember his name, was an unapologetic, full blown dick. He wore a cheap grey suit and had a big, bushy 70s cop mustache. And he didn't bother to remove his chrome aviators indoors. Fucking rude, arrogant prick.
He knew me by name so I knew I was fucked. He started rattling off charges - arson, indecent exposure, and car theft, which I'm pretty sure I didn't do. Anyway, I just stared at him, marveling at his authoritative detective routine and waited for him to finish but before he could, two more guys shoved their way into the tiny room. These two had it more together, dark suits, shades, american flag lapel pins; they flashed FBI badges and confidently proclaimed, "Alright, we'll take it from here."
I groaned and rolled over in bed, this was beginning to feel like one of those crappy cop shows on TV. Now the local cops would storm off in a huff, grumbling about the 'goddamn FBI assholes' or maybe there would be a brief argument regarding jurisdiction then there's a 'doink doink' sound and then cut to commercial.
But no, there would be no commercial break for me.
I would've used the time to cook up a massive dose of heroin. My intestines were being twisted in a vice, my legs were twitching and I hugged my own shoulders tight just to keep myself from falling apart. All the excitement had me flustered and my stomach was rumbling like a volcano ready to blow. I stumbled out of bed and collapsed into the arms of the nearest federal agent, regurgitating all over his freshly pressed slacks and his shoes recklessly with total lack of restraint or inhibition.
He loosened his grip on me and let me fall to the floor. I couldn't help but laugh.
The nurse picked me up and set me down on the edge of the bed. He started cleaning me up and the federal agent that wasn't covered in vomit saw an opportunity to initiate a dialog. He introduced himself and agent pukey, then asked me where I was on the morning of the 15th, the day I left Dallas. He informed me that they were investigating the murders of my roommates, an assault and robbery in St Louis, plus the trumped up charges here in Chicago.
I didn't feel much like talking after that.
"For the record, I did not kill Penis and Vagina," I calmly explained to Ms. Penelope J. Bordeaux Esq., the lawyer my mother hired to defend me. I could just picture mom pulling down the 'rainy day fund' jar that she kept hidden in the cabinet above the stove and scurrying down to the legal offices of Pierce, Valentine and Bordeaux, dumping the contents onto some poor secretary's desk and furiously counting up all the pennies and nickels all the while pleading, "Please help my poor, poor son!"
"And I didn't start that fucking fire!"
"MmmmHmmm," Ms. Bordeaux scribbled on her legal pad.
She peered at me over her stylish, designer eyeglasses, which rested halfway down her long, thin nose.
"You merely beat a man within an inch of his life in a train station bathroom in St. Louis, then robbed a sandwich shop of?"
She checked her notes.
"Two hundred forty three dollars and fifteen cents."
She looked down her nose at me again.
"That is correct," I said.
My mother sat quietly in a little plastic chair in the corner while I consulted with my attorney. I hadn't seen her in about two years now and it still seemed like she couldn't bear to look me in the eye. The only words she had spoken to me were "Hi" and maybe an "Oh, honey", and a few disapproving looks and heartbroken shakes of the head.
"I mean, I was provoked," I clarified.
"Listen, I'm the victim here! That man in the bathroom tried to touch me! Do you have a doll or a teddy bear or something? If you have a doll I can show you on the doll where he tried to touch me."
"So," she said.
"He tried to touch you?"
I swear I detected a slightly sarcastic tone in her voice.
"So you struck him in the head with a garbage can and kicked him repeatedly as he lay on the ground bleeding."
"I feel that I showed remarkable restraint," I said.
Ms. Penelope J. Bordeaux Esq. hurriedly put away her pad and pen and gathered her things together.
She rose, smoothed out her long skirt and headed for the door.
"Wait! I asked, "What's next?"
"We get you a nice suit, a haircut, and I find some witnesses that can corroborate the fact that you were unarmed when the Police shot you."
"I was naked!" I screamed.
My mother sighed and buried her face in her hands.
Ms. Penelope J. Bordeaux Esq., criminal defense attorney extraordinaire, politely excused herself and my mother was finally able to cry freely.
"My son is a serial killer," my mother squeezed out between hysterical sobs. "What did I do wrong, Lord?"
I rolled my eyes.
"I think, technically, you have to kill three or more people to qualify as a 'serial killer'."
I made the little quotes with my fingers.
My mother's bawling went into overdrive, evidently she failed to see the humor in the situation. I guess she was too close to it, someday I'm sure we'll laugh and laugh about all this.
I had missed my mother over the past couple of years. Sure she can be a bit melodramatic at times but you get used to certain people being around and then when they're not anymore, it's not the same.
The Buddhists believe that love is an illusion, and that you should just basically have compassion toward all living beings equally. They believe in reincarnation, so I guess they figure your father could have been Hitler in a past life, so why harbor any special love for your dad when he's probably just a reborn maniacal dictator or something. Same with husbands and wives. What if that person you sleep next to every night is really just the reincarnation of Atilla the Hun? You never know. So why take chances?
Just look at where love gets you, I'm sure my mother loves me. Look where it's gotten her, she's obviously heartbroken. And I don't like being the cause of that, but hell, I didn't ask to be born. I didn't ask to be loved either.
Ms. Penelope J. Bordeaux Esq. thought it would be a good idea to check me in to rehab in St. Louis since I was being extradited to stand trial for the assault and robbery charge, to show that I planned to conquer my addiction and get back on the right track. By the time I got settled in the withdrawals had pretty much subsided and we received word that Penis and Vagina's deaths were most likely the result of a drug deal gone bad, so all I really had to worry about was the current predicament here in St. Louis. After a few months of cafeteria food, group therapy and classes in which I learned to live a happy, carefree life free of heroin, it was time to face the music.
The District Attorney's office let me plead down in the assault/robbery case and a judge gave me a 180-day county jail sentence, they cuffed me right there in the courtroom and before I knew it I was being introduced into general population in the St. Louis County Jail. There was a television blaring and about 30 inmates were sitting around talking, playing cards, smoking and watching TV. The large concrete room was so full of smoke I could hardly breathe. I sat down on the cold floor in the corner of the room, leaned against the wall and closed my eyes.