Monday, August 2, 2010

The Wilderness Years - 8 Ball


1992-3 With the family in disarray i had spent the summer in my little Podunk western pa. town sleeping off the hangovers in dorm rooms i was supposed to be fixing, it was then that M. the first or M1 as i like to say decided that i was to much of a fuck-up to keep seeing, sending me into even more of a tailspin and in hindsight i understand that for a girl who'd been struggling for some normalcy in her life the last thing she needed was a some fuck-up who loved to smoke weed and drink for most of the waking hours thus sending me into a wicked and bitter state particularly where it concerned women. For the time i swore them off and it helped that summer in Podunk was not very conducive for getting laid. Then school started...

I lived above a clothing store that was right across the street from the six pack shop and at the time our beverage of choice was Olde English Malt Liquor in 40 oz. bottles, also known as 8-ball, we were all class, we being the quartet of misfits and art stars who lived in the apartment and seeing as we were upper classmen we took it upon ourselves to have many small parties consisting of all the new freaky kids coming to school as well as our old friends and if you were female you likely got to drink for free and if you were male you likely subsidized these girls cuz we was crafty like that, needless to say most of these fresh young co-eds were warned about the tall, hairy, well read madman and i can't help but thank my rivals for this was the best way to send the young maidens running to me, as we all know you women can be quite competitive and it helped bring me quite alot of female attention and the fact that i refused to fuck at that point only added to the mystery, of course that would all change and i'd run through a good number of them but that was because i was a selfish prick and when i decided to end my self imposed sexual exile it became apparent that i would work out all my sweet anger on the young ladies, see at the time i was 6'4 inches of wild, blue-eyed soul, angry and bitter, giving the world both middle fingers and smiling as i pissed away a future writing advertisements for products i would never want to own, see i was a poet dammit... and a shitty one at that...

Which brings us to 8-Ball, a homely girl with a round nose and stringy hair and big hips, a girl who had been an outsider her whole life, she hung around our place getting smashed on malt liquor and passing out on the bathroom floor or the couch or the kitchen floor, pretty much anywhere she hit the wall, she'd drink malt liquor with the best of the big boys and when she'd crash her skirt would ride up and we'd laugh at her grannie panties but in the end we'd cover her with a blanket and prop her head on a pillow and leave her be. Of course we'd also hand her week old bottles of booze with old cigarette butts floating in them when she was hammered and she'd guzzle it down and slur "fuck you guys" and smile with her crooked teeth before shuffling off to the bathroom to puke, usually down the side of the toilet. She was quiet and reserved even when drunk and she acquired the nickname for the level of wasted she got and the fact that she'd always show up at our place asking for us to buy her beer, she'd hand us a bunch of change and then just hang around even if nothing was going on, she'd just sit and drink and smoke our shit and in general was like one of us, i stood her many beers cuz being the literate type i often wondered what her story really was, this girl from a small town who seemed liberated to be away from home even if it was a third rate state university...

Let me state i was a top notch wanker back then and was most likely way up my own ass about literature and the like, i stole the only Bukowski book from the library after i realized it hadn't been checked out in years and proceeded to do the same with Celine and Genet and Robinson Jeffers all because i figured the suburban douche bags who went here didn't deserve them, we had no MFA program or even writing program, not that i'd have majored in that anyway, degrees in art being taboo to my proletariat sensibilities and preferring to do it the way my heroes did, on my own, self educated by spending hours in the library reading in quiet out of the way corners, daydreaming and thinking. Since there was no scene so to speak i decided to create one on my own and in my late night bullshit sessions debating the merits of which book of the Rosy Crucifixion was the best or reciting Bukowski poems from memory i decided i would hold the fucking readings in my apt. and anyone who wanted could show up and read.

I'll state now that i was easily one of the least talented there, a fucking Buk rip-off artist writing poesy about beer shits and heartbreak and my hatred of the "system", while my roommate, The Poet wrote some brilliant shit about love and his bad luck with women and some wild haired kid tossed off surreal collages in his manic staccato and the hippie queen read her drivel and the recovering addict rock star spouted his pompous, arrogant garbage and acted all superior... and then there was 8-Ball. She sat and listened the first night and later told me how much she liked my stuff and how she wanted to read but was a bit intimidated, of course it wasn't lost on me that 8-Ball had more than a slight crush on me and i told her between bong hits and swigs of beer that next time she better read or i'd quit buying her beer. I laughed and left her standing in the kitchen alone as i sauntered down the hall to hit on the hippie queen.

And then came the next reading and the usual crew all waiting to read there shiny new poesy and blow each other because you know at these things very few critical reviews are ever dispensed, of course after we'd talk about how Rock Star was a complete twat with no talent or that if hippie queen wrote one more poem about sunshine and butterflies we'd vomit but on this night 8 Ball read her stuff...

And it fucking floored everyone in the room. Here was this homely little 19 year old girl who wrote poems with more power and imagery and guts than the rest of us combined. Poems filled with unspoken demons lurking in the shadows, poems filled with angst and fear and hope that somehow the little girl in these poems would be able to kill that shadow one day, be able to run away, run into the light where there were no shadows and all the little pieces began to add up and i realized that alot of this had to do with her home life and a father who may have been a bit too loving and here she was pouring out her soul and when she finished the room was fucking silent, as if someone had sucked the air right out, had punched us all in the stomach, we knew that these words were born of pain and fear and fire and that none of us could match them, i remember breaking the silence and saying "jesus fucking christ 8 Ball, i think i'm gonna have to change your name to Little Sylvia", as in Little Sylvia Plath, because one had a sense that she might stick her head in the oven and her own self destructiveness in a sense was her running from those shadows and the eyes lurking over her shoulder or in the closet as she lay in bed as a little girl. When it was over she was glowing as one by one people walked up to her and told her how good her stuff was. Later in that same kitchen i handed her a bottle of whiskey and said take a drink, told her that she made me want to quit this game, that at 19 she was better than i'd ever be and better than most of the people i'd read in books, told her not to quit, told her someday she'd probably be famous. She took the bottle and drank, coughed and smiled her crooked teeth smile.

Of course nothing is ever easy and for every victory it seems we suffer a brutal defeat. It was a few weeks later when 8 Ball was her usual drunk self and walked into my neighbors apartment as i hung up the phone, see we didn't have a phone or television in our apt. and used our neighbors when we needed one, i heard the door lock and i as i walked up the hall she pushed me back towards the bedroom where she threw herself at me, kissing me and proclaiming her love and as she tried to pull me down towards the bed i stopped her. She stated she wanted to be my Xiola, a reference to Jane's Addition, who at the time i listened to non-stop while eating heroic amounts of mushrooms, and in what can only be described as a moment of clarity i froze, me, the biggest prick on the planet who normally would have no problem having sex with this girl and then getting up and walking out because that's just the kind of prick i was, i stopped, she told me she wanted me to be her first, told me that she had had a crush on me since the day she met me, please she said. It was the closest i ever saw this tough little girl come to crying, i saw the tears well as i tried to explain to her that i couldn't, that i wasn't the guy she wanted to do this with and she countered that i was and for a split second i thought what's the difference? some assholes gonna do it why not me? then i stopped again, told her to put her skirt back on, told her that someday she'd look back on this and understand why, i told her that i had to much respect, that i cared about her like a big brother cares about his little sister, that i'd always kind of looked out for her and that if that mislead her i was sorry but basically i couldn't do it, laughed and said i didn't want to be the one to ruin that gift she had and that someday she'd meet a much better man than me, someone who'd love her the way she wanted to be loved and that i was just a damaged, pissed off loser who really would only end up hurting her. I told her i knew i sounded like a walking fucking cliche, a lame-ass making excuses but that it wasn't and i really just wanted her to be okay and that fucking me was not going to be the way to make that happen. I helped her off the bed and kissed her on the forehead and said let's get out of here, told her she was a brilliant writer and that i was honored by her offer, told her i wanted to see more of her stuff and told her no one would ever know what happened in this room...

and no one has. Until now.

17 comments:

daisyfae said...

how do you know you're really ugly? when you're drunk and passed out and all the drunken party boyz tuck you in with a blanket and pillow and cover up your ass.

been. there.

DiaryofWhy said...

I wish I had stories like yours. And I wish I could tell them like you do.

twin said...

wake me up at the ass crack of dawn to make me cry...?

brilliant.

twin said...

thank you....btw

i lay in bed last night sobbing. silently screaming. cursing the chasm separating thoughts & expression.

no tongue
no hands

Ross Man said...

Cheers Kono!
Thanks for the mental prod.
That was buried deep down in my forgetful brain.

JMH said...

It's pure. The writing is pure. There's no tricks, no sleight-of-hand -- the story to the experience is like plasma to blood maybe.

Certainly you don't need me to be impressed, but I'm impressed. I'm going to think about how I can do this my own way.

Kono said...

Daisy - we may have been derelicts and madmen but we were not the football team or frat boys, any male fucking with a passed out female in our place would have gotten their ass kicked quick, and 8 Ball was like one of us, i think hanging out with us was the first time in her life she ever felt accepted and comfortable and in the end i was glad to be a part of it.

Diary of Why - Merci beau coup, is that right in frog? and not to be overtly sexual or anything but i threw in a few hard stops for you, hope you enjoyed them as much as i did.

Twin - thanks as always and you need to hit the water, i gotta feeling that will help you work out whatever funk you're in.

Ross Man- I'm suprised sometimes at what my drug addled noggin can recall... or at least think it can recall.

JMH- Thank you sir and i think you are much closer than you think in your own stuff.

FUZZARELLY said...

I love this story! Thank you for writing it and for posting it.

Gulfboot Johnson said...

Fanny. Bloke can't write for toffee.

nursemyra said...

Wonder what became of her.....

Anonymous said...

I would like to exchange links with your site asshatlounge.blogspot.com
Is this possible?

Kono said...

Well, who are you and what is your site? then we'll discuss possible. Or are you SPAM?

Blues said...

Jesus. Riveting to the end. You made me actually want to read her stories too.

Rassles said...

You fucking dick. That poor, poor girl. I promise you that to this day she doesn't understand your rejection, that she was terrified to put herself out there and remains terrified to do so to this day.

God, dudes piss me off. I blame my insecurities on all the guys I hung out with in college. Hearing them talk about all the girls they were fucking while passing the bong and watching fishing shows, rating bitches, degrading every woman except for me, making fun of me for being "such a dude." I loved them because they were the only ones who could handle my rapid-fire, referencial talking, probably because they were so fucked up all time. They loved me because they thought I was hilarious, that I talked like someone in a movie, not a real person. That was what started the "people like you exist?" phase in my life. They called me Real McCoy.

I can't believe I put up with their shit. They never tried anything out of "respect" for me, too. Bullshit. I call fucking bullshit. "Respect" doesn't get me laid, fuckers. They would talk about how fucking stupid girls were, emotional train wrecks that sleep with guys because they want to trap a boyfriend. And at the same time I was disgusted with their view of girls, proud that I wasn't one of those girls, and completely jealous of those girls.

Shit.

Rassles said...

Still, Kono, as always: honest, unapologetic, raw, and powerful.

Kono said...

Blues- Muchos Gracias.

Rassles- I think she got over it. She had a boyfriend by the end of the year. But damn that response, it's the best compliment i could get cuz if i can stir up that much emotion in someone i think sometimes i might be doing something right. Honestly i thank you. The thing with 8-Ball is that she rarely spoke, she was a wallflower, more prone to watching and when it came down to it, it wasn't because i was repulsed or she didn't fit my standard, fuck back then my standard was a heartbeat or maybe even still warm, it was that at that point i was starting to learn something about human nature and i wasn't going to do this girl any favors by being her first, in fact it could have been a detriment because i would have continued on my merry way fucking whoever while she thought something else, i was aware of that fact, i understand you calling bullshit, and maybe what i didn't want was the responsiblity of possibly fucking her up even more, maybe doing nothing i could live with but at that time i didn't want to be responsible for any more hurt, i had had enough of it myself.

Kono said...

Rassles- and though i'm not trying to make us sound like saints, the guys i lived with at that time never sat around rating women or calling them stupid, never thought any of them were trying to trap us, didn't watch fishing shows (we had no television)and someday Rassles i'm gonna get drunk with you cuz people used to laugh at how fast my drug addled mind worked and the connections it would make, we'll need to bring a tape recorder because it may be the greatest conversation in the history of humankind... if anything the crew in that apt. were guilty of it was reading to much Henry Miller and playing to many games of Bong Zonk.