Oh pubis, oh pubis
I long for thee
Won’t pay for no pubis
You give it for free.
Oh pubis, oh pubis
Oh pubis, oh pubis
I long for thee
Won’t pay for no pubis
You give it for free.
Vaginas. We either have them, or we don’t. They may not be the most suitable conversational topic – you don’t usually greet someone –
That is until back at the docs… I was told that my she-devil was on the verge of cervical cancer (she would fucking do that to me…) and I needed tests and biopsies and what-have-you. My vagina KNOWS I don’t do well at the gyno’s; that it takes every fiber of my being to just bear down until it’s over, and she does this to me? Fuck the cancer, I was more freaked out by the multitude of appointments and crotch bearing I’d have to do. My first biopsy, I fainted on the table. Yep. Passed right the fuck out. The doctors and nurses said they had never seen anything like that before. I was a first! Yay! I had never fainted in my life before or since, so why wouldn’t it be fitting for me to do it bottoms off and feet in goddamn stirrups? Yee haw.
When she can’t stir up that kind of trouble, she’ll send me excruciating period headaches (but I got it down to only four times a year, bitch! Who’s winning now?) She’s The Bad Seed in vagina form and sometimes I wonder if she’ll have to be struck by lightening as well to stop her from destroying the town.
The Silence of the Lambs is one of the most iconic, memorable, and shit in your pants every time someone says, “It puts the lotion on the skin” movies of my generation. Hell, I’m going to go out on a limb here and declare it’s a shit your pants movie for ALL generations. For those of you who live beneath a rock and have not seen this psycho-thriller: First, you disgust me. What the Hell is wrong with you? When one is born, they should be given love, shelter, food, and a copy of Silence of the Lambs. Yes, it is probably a little too mature for a baby (babies are really stupid), but just as Jews celebrate coming into “manhood” or “womanhood” by Bar/Bat Mitzvah, so should we celebrate the transition between being a stupid baby and becoming a stupid adult in a coming of age Silence of the Lambs Mitzvah, complete with fava beans and a nice Chianti. Just like sneaking your first beer from your parents’ fridge, getting your first handjob or fingerbang in the backseat of a car that’s way too small, or any other”firsts” that freak you out yet are totally exciting at the same time, Silence of the Lambs encompasses the feelings of all of those first horrors and excitements (your first period, or for a guy – your first stiff sock) wrapped up into one glorious serial killer/cannibal film. Plus, you get to see a dude tuck his penis between his legs so when he stands, proud and naked wearing the scalp and hair of one of his victims, it totally looks like he has a vag. Win-Win.
Now that I have properly educated you on the virtues of this fine piece of American cinema, I can easily say there have been two, yes TWO, Silence of the Lambs moments in my life. Even one Silence of the Lambs moment would be enough to sufficiently fuck you up, and I’ve experienced two. I’m totally fine, though. No, really, I am (somebody please hold me).
When I was nine, my family moved from the thriving metropolis that is Tucson, Arizona, to a large patch of desert 45 minutes east called Vail, Arizona. They said we were moving out into the “country” with acres of land, wide open skies, and none of the staples of a well conducted society – such as a grocery store, or people with all of their teeth. When I think of the country, I think of rolling hills with verdant shaggy trees and grass, cows grazing lazily while a young boy and girl have a picnic in a pastoral paradise. This was not the country. Exchange all of what I just said with poisonous snakes, poisonous lizards, poisonous spiders, poisonous cacti (seriously – there was jumping cactus…cactus that literally jumps and impales you if you even walk near it. Then, it’s like trying to get gum off of you. Really painful, spiked gum. When you pull it out of your arm, it attaches painfully to your hand. When you pull it from your hand, it grasps onto your other hand. It’s the “Stage 5 Clinger” of cacti.) Oh, and dirt. Lots of dirt. Basically, my family loved me enough to move me into a deathtrap. And you think you need to cover the electrical sockets… Ha! I see your electrical sockets and raise you rattlesnakes, gila monsters, and cacti that stalks and attacks you. The perfect place to raise a little girl…
There was one wonderful thing about living in this hazardous and barbaric land… we could have animals! Like REAL animals. Horses, goats, chickens… Hell, we even got some geese at one point (those fuckers are ferocious, so another thing to add to my list of things that will kill you in my childhood yard). But, before we were able to obtain these creatures for ourselves, the neighbor’s sheep would have to do.
Our house was on top of a large hill, then, the spiky, biting land dipped down into a sandy wash (oh, we had flash floods too), then, at the bottom of the hill, across the wash, and through some rusty barbed wire (of course), there was a patch of cleared flat land with pens of sheep. Then, the land swooped back up to the other hill where our neighbor’s blue house sat. Since I was displaced and in one of the seven layers of Hell, my mom asked the neighbors if I could play with their sheep because I was such an animal person. If it had fur, or wool – as it turned out, it was my friend. Plus, it would give me something to do besides complain to her that we lived in Vail. The neighbors said that I could go down and play with the sheep anytime I wanted, and I took them up on that offer. The hill leading down to the wash was steep and full of prickly everything (once again, great parenting at work) so I had to slide and scoot down the hill on my butt, maneuvering around the murderous desert landscape and the murderous desert creatures that lived within it. However, I found my way down the hill, through the wash, between the barbed wire, and lo and behold! Sheep! The only time I had ever seen sheep, they were half dead at morbid little petting zoos, so this was exciting – and well worth the treacherous trip. At first they were afraid of me and wouldn’t let me touch them, but after awhile, they got used to me popping out of the thorny bushes to come and see them. Not only could I pet them and play with them, but I finally got my damn pastoral when one curled up in my lap. Finally, something a nine year old girl could do to entertain herself, and finally, something soft in the middle of an environment full of sharpness.
After a few months, I had worn a perfect little dirt trail with my butt down the hill. Each time I came back with less cuts, scratches, or pieces of the desert stuck in me. I was getting the hang of this Vail living and I had the sheep to thank for that. They were my only soft happy place and I visited them every day.
Then, on a day like any other day, I scooted down my butt-made path, excited as all get out to see my woolly friends, crossed the wash, executed the perfect ninja moves through the barbed wire, popped out of the bushes and EVERY SINGLE SHEEP had been slaughtered. And by “slaughtered” I mean piles of guts, skinned bodies hanging from the trees still dripping with bright red blood, and their dismembered heads staring at me in a state of agony, the last look on their faces, spread across tables next to the very instruments of their destruction. Bloody knives, hooks, and other metal death devices were strewn about covered in thick, almost syrupy, red and brown liquid. I stood frozen. My nine year old mind buzzed and skipped trying to process what was before me. It was a massacre. I stared in shock at the bodies hanging from the trees, then the pile of guts and skin, the pools and splatters of blood that replaced the spot I used to sit, and then their heads, which were mimicking the same expression I wore on my face. If only I could have been lucky enough, like whiny Clarice, to hear the “lambs” screaming, at least I would have known NOT TO GO DOWN THERE. A little heads up, no pun intended, would have been nice and saved me the horror of seeing my once playful friends, torn apart and covered in flies, like a Chinese market. (No, I have never been to a Chinese market, but I have seen them on the “Amazing Race” so I’m an expert.)
Once I could move again, I screamed, enough for all of my fallen soldiers, and scrambled back up the hill, crying, catching my arms and legs on every brutal thorn. By the time I reached the top of our hill, I stood outside covered in my own blood from scrapes and scratches from the monstrous plant life I was used to carefully avoiding, bloody hands from tearing into the hillside to climb faster, and wet dirt that had stuck to my tears and streaked down my face. If anything, I looked like I had barely escaped the massacre and this tyrannical murderous beast had been hot on my heels. My mom heard me first, hysterical and gasping, and when she ran out and saw the state I was in, grabbed me up and kept asking me what happened… my mouth unable to form words, just fish-like gasps as they’re pulled from the water. She cleaned me up, and finally, I was able to tell her what happened. She gawked at me, and I could just tell she was thinking, This is going to fuck my kid up forever. We had such high hopes… except I was nine, so I just knew she was looking at me like I was the scary one mixed with questioning. Like she was trying to look inside my mind to answer the question: Is this going to make my child a serial killer?
It turned out that the neighbors had completely forgotten that I was a daily visitor because the sheep were down the hill from their house. They had no idea the bloody scene they created was to be seen by a little girl and possibly, put her in an institution. But, I wasn’t put into an institution. Shortly after, we got animals of our own that I could visit any time and know I wasn’t going to walk into puddles of their blood. Well, for the most part, at any rate… but that’s another story. At least I had the comfort of knowing that our animals weren’t food, and that was good enough for me.
Now, the question that Hannibal asked Clarice: “You still wake up sometimes, don’t you? You wake up in the dark and hear the screaming of the lambs.” Well, the answer is no. I’ve never had the luxury of hearing the lambs scream, Clarice. So stop bitching about that one lamb you tried to run away with, but they killed it anyway. At least you knew. And who tries to go running holding a freaking lamb? They’re big and they really don’t like being picked up. And the hooves are all kicky. If you knew and loved these lambs so much, Clarice, you would have known this and you would have just stayed in your room and covered your head with a pillow. As you can see, my story is way more upsetting than the one life changing moment Clarice experienced which showed her that the world was cruel and continued to haunt her… even more so than her father getting shot and killed by a burglar. By Silence of the Lambs rules, I experienced something more damaging than having the one person I loved most in the world be gunned down. And to think…there’s a second Silence of the Lambs moment to come! So, when I share this story and people look at me with that same look my mother gave me that day, that mixture of suspicion and “is everything okay in there?“, I can assure you, that it is. I do have some bloody dreams and crazy nightmares, but those could really be linked to a number of things in my life. On the whole, I’m fine, and it’s actually kind of funny looking back at it because it’s just so ridiculous and outrageous. To answer your question: No, Dr. Lecter, the lambs aren’t screaming. But don’t piss me off, just to be safe…
By: Jennifer Kinkade
My story starts about a month ago when I moved from Tucson, AZ to the thriving metropolis that is Chicago! Okay, well not really Chicago, Chicago… but a small suburb south of Chicago called Oak Lawn, which, let’s just be real here, is exactly like Tucson except the trees are green and instead of landscaping with dirt and well-placed rocks, there’s grass. It should really just be Tucson, IL as a matter of fact. Big Move there, Jennifer.
At least I’m near Chicago and I came here to start my big city life doing…something. I haven’t quite nailed that something down yet but let’s just say I have a lotta stokes in the fire. Yup. Things are gonna happen! Any minute now… seriously. Seriously! Come on, phone… ring dammit! I’m ready to be a cosmopolitan girl living fast in the city, not sitting in a Corner Bakery because they have free WiFi.
Alright, I’m going a bit stir crazy here in bizarro Tucson. Instead of living the big life, I have seen ALL of TV. Oh yeah… On Demand, baby! I have seen shows I didn’t even know existed. I have seen shows that shouldn’t exist. One minute, I’m thinking, Who on earth is going to watch a show about beards? This is insane! Oh wait… I’m watching a show about beards. Then I die a little more inside.
My big toenail fell off today and it makes perfect sense. Parts of my body are literally jumping ship, clearly in search for a more adventurous life. I wish it luck in it’s journey. Needless to say I’m going a bit nuts with all this energy devoted solely to changing the channel and watching parts of my body shrivel up and die.
I’m not the only thing going stir crazy in Oak Lawn, IL, however. There is an omnipresent population of giant, fluffy, adorable squirrels. I have yet to see a single pigeon… but the squirrels are EVERYWHERE. They have been a great source of entertainment for me since one of my other big and impressive activities is sitting on the porch. Yeah, I read out there, talk on the phone sometimes, or just kind of sit there staring into the abyss wondering what the Hell I’m doing. Jealous? Thought so. But at least there are dozens of giant, frolicking squirrels to watch. They run all over the lawns, up the trees, down the trees, and oh my god I’m like a sad old man feeding birds at the park. Well, I’ll admit that I enjoyed watching those creatures flit and flirt about since we only have creatures that would eat those creatures in Tucson. I’ve seen a squirrel or two there, but they were usually in the air being carried away by a giant hawk. Squirrel watching was, being the fluffy creature lover that I am, awesome.
Well, it was awesome. The one thing I enjoyed most while in the midst of a pre-midlife crisis, was ripped brutally from my remote control calloused hands. One squirrel, in particular, went from being an adorable, playful animal to nature’s most dangerous terrorist. He was the Ted Bundy of squirrels: way too cute to be dangerous until you end up strangled in the woods somewhere.
Let me just start by saying that I have witnesses. This is going to sound so far-fetched, especially with my declining mental stability, but I assure you that there is absolutely NO exaggeration in what is to follow. It is a harrowing story of peaceful, nature loving girl, sitting on the front porch talking to her mom who’s hundreds of miles away, innocently watching the resident squirrels do their squirrel things. Then, shit got real. One minute, this gorgeous Snow White-like girl (okay, it’s me), used to having animals trust and flock to her baring gifts of twigs and sweet songs, was in the process of saying to her mother, “Awww… there’s this squirrel right in front of me…” (most likely expecting it to present her with a shiny nut it had picked out specially for her) when it then turned to blood curdling screaming into the phone, and to the neighborhood, “It’s coming after me!!!! AHHHHHHH!” Yes, one of nature’s tiny minions bore it’s teeth, crouched like a guard dog, grunted, furrowed it’s brow, twitched it’s tail, and sprang towards me while I stood screaming in the driveway. My mom, on the other end of the phone, upon hearing her daughter screaming, started screaming herself, “What’s happening? What’s going on?!” most likely thinking I was being hunted down by an axe-wielding madman. My reply? “The squirrel is chasing me! The squirrel is chasing me!” My mom hung up.
Now, I had the attention of the neighbors as they watched some new girl run screaming down the street, through their front yards, and around their trees, being chased by a psychotic squirrel. And that thing would NOT give up! It was even crouching in the entrance way to the house, hell-bent on me not getting to safety. Thanks to my countless hours of television watching, I got an idea from some sports show about football or other ball-related sport. I faked left, then dodged to the right and ran like hell. And it worked! I was able to finally get to the front door and get inside with that demon squirrel still chasing me. When I slammed the door behind me, there was “thump” on the other side…
Ha! Stupid squirrel… who’s the one that looks dumb now? Certainly not the strange girl running and screaming to the neighborhood to stay in their houses, lock their doors! There’s a crazy squirrel out here! Yeah, I totally Atticus Finched that situation. I basically saved the neighbors’ lives from the number one al-Qaeda of squirrels. You’re welcome, Oak Lawn.
As it turns out the squirrel, like Robert Dinero in Cape Fear (he’s under the car!), kept trying to come after me even though I was in the house. I could still hear it’s tiny frightening grunts and one of my neighbors who came outside when I screamed “Stay inside!” saw the possessed creature climbing the walls to try to get in through the windows.The neighbor started laughing, and like The Terminator, the squirrel froze, turned it’s head, and with the fires of hell in his eyes dashed towards the neighbor, who was then chased all throughout his backyard until he could get to the door. I had said, “Stay inside! There’s a crazy squirrel out here!” but, like idiot people do when they hear gun shots (me included), he ran outside to see what was going on. He found out.
The call to Animal Control was an interesting one. I have never had to repeat myself so many times and the hysterical laughter coming from the other end was pissing me off. This is serious! There is a rabid squirrel out there with a taste for human blood and vengeance in it’s heart! This is NO laughing matter, sir! But, the laughter continued when he was finally able to catch enough breath to tell me that the squirrel didn’t have rabies, it was just horny. Apparently squirrels get aggressive when they have to bust a nut, so to speak. So, yeah… I was chased around the neighborhood (and consequently met most of my neighbors for the first time) by a sex-crazed squirrel who didn’t understand that no means no.
Later, the forever shirtless elderly man in the apartment next door with giant white orthopedic shoes, patchy skin (he has a skin disease and he can’t feel hot or cold – hence the anti-shirt policy), and a voice like Daffy Duck due to some throat affliction, stood underneath my window and was trying to say something that I couldn’t quite make out… it was as if his words were being filtered through a shirtless kazoo, but I could make out the word “squirrel” and I was glad to have another witness. Turns out, that the same psycho sex maniac squirrel tried to rape one of his giant orthopedic shoes, so he sprayed it with the hose until it drown. Yes, the squirrel raped his shoe, then proceeded to just sit there getting sprayed in the face by a garden hose until it drown….from a hose…held by the shirtless orthopedic helium-voiced wonder. He wanted me to come and “identify” it, so I went over and there it was: a dead, wet squirrel. Our saga had come to a sad and soggy end. Well, I suppose it was better than hanging sex-offender notifications throughout the neighborhood with a picture of a squirrel on them.
This is what I moved half-way across the country for… What I left everything behind for! Big city adventures, huh? You’re empathizing with that toenail I lost this morning, aren’t you? Well, it’s big exciting journey probably won’t include being stalked and chased by a rapist Taliban squirrel. And I would have NEVER gotten that experience if I was actually living the dream in the city of Chicago…where I wanted to move in the first place. Nope. I’d just have some thriving career in a big, thriving city, with diverse and opulent nightlife, culture, options of amazing things to do every single night of the week – so many, in fact, that I would have a hard time choosing which activity in which to partake. I would be all blase by now, used to the banquet of cool shit to do. I’d have an apartment close to the transit lines and be able hop on and off with careless abandon, always ending up in place where something super awesome was taking place. I’d start dressing like Katniss Everdeen so I could fit in with the big city hipsters instead of wearing my ten year old University of Arizona hoodie every single day. I’d actually have to put on pants.
So, you see… things are really going great here, in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Really. No, really… I’m doing awe-some! Super!I honestly don’t want to burst into tears just because I can tell you exactly how to judge a bearding competition. You know what? I am also really damn proud of myself for busting out my sweet moves to fake out a squirrel who had a giant hard-on for me. I couldn’t have done that in Chicago, no sir! I have learned some valuable life lessons in Oak Lawn that I could never have learned in Chicago: that I’m fast and have the athletic prowess to outrun a crazed squirrel, that there IS such a thing as infamy within a one block radius, that I can make a good first impression by saving the neighborhood and alerting them to a fuzzy sexual predator, that one can live with every known (and probably unknown) disease as long as you never wear a shirt and have magical orthopedic shoes that can take a raping, and that some squirrels will let you spray them in the face with a hose. However, the most important lesson that I’ve learned, is that throughout all of this, no matter how many TV shows I can pack into a single sitting, no matter how many consecutive days I can wear the same clothes and no one notices, or how many times I blow my new rape whistle when I see a squirrel… I can still keep my dignity.
RIP Nutty: May you rape and water ski freely in heaven.
By: Jennifer Kinkaid
She wept for those hardened from their failures, her wisdom written in the eroded walls of her stale flower.
She wore her dick years with pride, her cavernous nethers decorated with the salty stalactites of lovers lost.
She smelled of moldy blackberries, a whore’s sweet scent. Sound out a warning, I’ve fallen inside. Blown out and oblong, she sheathed me in her rotten essence. Who am I to laugh in the face of opportunity?
I am sorry that I sent you a picture of my poop. Will you still be my friend?
I thought you would enjoy a selfie of my sloppy stool, but unbeknownst to me, you have matured. Please do not rescind our friendship, a bourbon-soaked friendship forged in lechery, deceit, and riffing about butt stuff.
You’ve kept my holy secrets.
You cured me of my clitoral ignorance.
You held my pubic hair back when I barfed from too much drink.
You taught me how to boof.
Was our companionship not rooted in more than degenerate tendencies and frank referendums on our emergency excretions? You don’t want my poop, but tell me you still need my love.
We ate Pretzel Crisps from the same trashcan.
We went halfsies on Plan B.
We bought matching negligees for our unrequited loves.
I made you trolls out of construction paper when you were cuckolded.
Our safe word is “Adamantium”.
Are we not brothers?
You are a man now. You didn’t want my human waste to pop up at work on your Facebook messenger. I understand that now. But you are growing up so fast. I was petrified that you were leaving me in the dust, so I provided the impetus. An impulsive exercise in self-loathing. Look at my shit. I am shit.
I stand naked before you, desperate for redemption. What do I need to do to get back in your good graces?
I’ll shave the hair on your back with a Lady Bic, thankless work, to re-enter your Inner Circle.
I’ll grow my toenails out until they become weaponized.
I’ll eat out a shark.
I’ll do whatever it takes, Friend. So pretty please, forgive me.
Degenerate Nation’s mole in the Trump campaign blew a guy, who blew another guy, who had a copy of Donald Trump’s original draft for his notorious Republican nomination acceptance speech:
Cleveland. Great city. Wonderful people. Hard workers. Lebron James. Make America Great again.
I am standing at the precipice of tremendous power. Nobody bought my steaks. They were great steaks. Best steaks. But soon I will have the nuclear codes, my large hands poised to press the red button. We’re going to make America safe again.
I am a sexual being. I love women. Not as people, but as objects. As flesh. Best flesh. Women love me. They scratch and claw at each other for the opportunity to be groped by my large hands. I know women. I’ve owned beauty pageants. I enjoy judging women solely on their appearance. I penetrate my wife. Isn’t she beautiful? My daughters, too. Very sexy. Best daughters.
Immigrants are ruining this country. My country. I’m telling you, we have too many immigrants. They’re taking our jobs. Their children are dumb. They’re crowding our schools. They’re rapists and murderers, and some, I assume, are mariachi singers.
We’re going to build a wall, not to keep the Mexicans out, but to insulate white America from anything and anyone different. Different is dangerous. And by the transitive property, Mexicans are dangerous. We’re going to build a wall. And trust me, I know building. Hotels, towers, resorts, golf courses, a giant, gaudy wall with outdoor advertising. And Mexico is going to pay for it. Possibly in blood. If you see a Mexican today, kick them. Give them a good hard kick. There’s no room at the inn, Maria.
(pause for “Build That Wall” chant)
You guys are great. I draw the best crowds. Beautiful people. Passionate. Boiling over with hatred. Sweet, sweet hatred.
Let’s talk about my penis. I gotta tell you, I am well endowed, OK? There are no problems with my penis. Girthy, high performance. Best penis. I gotta tell you, it’s presidential. This is a penis you can trust.
We’re going to save the second amendment. They want to take your guns. Let me tell you, not gonna happen. I will save your guns. In fact, I’m starting a gun manufacturing company, right here in Cleveland.
(pause for Applause)
We’re gonna have the best guns.
China. China is killing us in trade. We’re going to make them pay a king’s ransom to export their goods here. You’re going to be buying products made in America, by Americans. Unless it’s my clothing line. Do not let my empty rhetoric deter you from purchasing my clothes. I own the best sweatshops. Children with tiny fingers, expertly stitching. I gotta tell you, I can’t sew like these kids can. My fingers are too big. Big fingers. See?
A lot of my critics, they say, what is your platform? Make America Great Again is not a platform, they say. They’re right. It’s an ethos. Making America Great Again is jobs. It’s banning Muslims, keeping us safe. It’s setting traps for Mexicans. It’s assigning merits to women solely based on their subjective outward appearance, and systematically demolishing their self esteem. It’s setting more elaborate traps for Mexicans in case the first traps malfunction. We’re going to Make America Great Again.
Fassbender, Fassbender, I love you so.
You make my heart go boompy-doomp-ohhhhh!
I want to be in you, or on you, or close.
You are the Michael that I love the most.
Got banned from your fan club for pushing things too far.
I ripped out all my pubes and put them in a metal jar.
Thought you could use your Magneto powers to bend the cup to your will.
And only if you chose would my pubes ever spill
Into your perfect mouth or onto your chin.
Or fly fly away, gone with the wind.
Time was, I could pass out anywhere I damn well pleased in Northeast. Times change. People change, but not me.
I hit the liquor store on New Jersey, every day, soon as it opens.
“Morning, Bert”, Akhmed would say.
“Mornin’? Time is relative,” I’d grumble, cause it is. Least it is if you spend your days drunk, blissful. And your nights defecating, wretching, grousin’ after hookers by the bridge on 3rd, you know the one, the one with all them hookers, stepping out of the shadows, sweet specters of rentable flesh. And yeah, I’d poke me a whore or two when my scratch-offs hit. Get the goblins out, my dad used to say. And sometimes night was day, wretch by the scrapyard, pass out in the alley behind the food bank on 1st, shit by the bridge, ain’t no daytime hookers out.
See, time is relative if you got nothin’ tying you down. And I ain’t need no tethering. I got Akhmed give my syrup. Pints is only $4.99, the plastic bottles. Whiskey, vodka, gin, don’t matter. Drink ‘em straight, I ain’t no pussy. And sometimes I get me a 40 ounce or three. Malt got them calories if I ain’t planning on eatin’ too much. Some days I don’t feel like scrounging, or standing in line at the food bank with those shit tossers. All think they deserve more slop in their bowls, like they got a story I ain’t heard before.
Me, I got no problems. I just like to get fucked up. Ain’t trying to work more, for the god damn government to reach in my pockets. Hell no. I was put here to drink, god damn it. Akhmed know it, he always glad to see me, and he’s alright for an Arab.
Anyway, life was good. Then they built that fucking stadium and god damn commerce took off like the Black Plague, Ring around the Rosey, blocks I roamed like almighty Christ, swallowed up by developers and yuppies.
Abandoned row houses I’d pass out in front of, or in when it get cold, that’s all a Wal-Mart now, you believe that? High rise condos shooting up like Yuppie Babylon over every sodden step I’d take. Big, clean monstrosities with plush furniture nobody ever pissed on, and off-the-boat African concierges, friendlier than shit. Bridge hookers still hookin’, but they nervous. And the scrapyard is a fucking Pei Wei now, with a Sodastream. Seven god damn flavors of Mello Yello. Seven. And they keep sayin’ their restroom is for paying customers only, but sometimes I sneak past and take a big old shit, cause fuck ‘em. I ate their slop before, don’t taste like real Asian food.
You want real shit, you go down to Chinatown. But they got a stadium there, too, and they’ll chase away all the Chinamen, you just wait. And they’ll build more bars for the youths, and their Tinders. And another fucking wax museum, with a Pei Wei in it. And they’ll have a Lincoln wax, without the head wound, cause nobody wants real shit, don’t know what to do with it if it sat on their face. They want seven fucking flavors of Mello Yello.
They call it gentrification. But that word don’t sound sinister enough, do it? Push all the blacks out. Turn our titty bars into Tapas, the fuck is Tapas? Rip the bars off our windows, shove them straight up our asses. We, the Dreamers. We, the Low People. Demolish the shelter and the food bank, build a satellite campus for a liberal arts college, so future yuppie wives can study social work. Nevermind the starving. Nevermind the sick.
I tell Akhmed, I say, watch your back brother, they’ll run you out, too. Raise your rent up so high you’ll work the bridge to keep your lights on, but you ain’t pretty enough. Neither is they, but they pros, and everybody need a warm place, get the goblins out. You ain’t no pro, Akhmed, and I sure do doubt you warm. You watch, brother. They’ll force you to fold, push you out with me, and the blacks. Pop your sweet immigrant dream inside out. All that service you provide to the community, hooch and rubbers and lottos and them Hot Cheetos, gone gone gone. They’ll tear your building down to the foundation, along with the rotting corpse of the adjacent Radio Shack, build a Total Wines or a World of Beer. These millennials want variety in their mouths, right quick, and they don’t think about nobody but themselves. But every piece of marble tile they walk on, you rip it up, you dig down deep enough, through the soil, and I’m there, man.
They can push me out as far as they please, but every bodily fluid I ever done expunged remains, somewhere way down in the guts of our neighborhood, and they can’t take that away from us.
Let ‘em bus us out to bumblefuck, stack Pei Weis on Paneras on Pei Weis on Paneras, straight up to God Herself, but they stackin’ up their gentrified fuck bubble on top of the fossilized piss shit puke and sperm of good ol’ Bert.
Have I twerked my last twerk?
The question haunted me as I entered my favorite happy hour spot, the rush I used to feel when the bouncer checked my ID immediately exterminated by my new reality. I’m sober now. Granted, I had only been a part-time drunk, an “event drinker” as I liked to call it. Mostly done with the sweaty dungeon bars and shitty faux clubs of my squandered youth, I saved my drinking for tailgates, game watching parties, the rare house party, podcasting, and of course, Thursday night happy hour. $1.50 beers until 9:00. $1.50 decisions until the cover band or DJ packed up their shit.
I went to a party school, albeit a party school with solid academics, where binge drinking was the norm. Naturally, I continued this process after graduating, the rush always sheathing the comedown. Mini-depression wrapping itself in the cozy blanket of a hangover. By the time I finally moved to Los Angeles, I was a seasoned party vet, ready to swing and slide and rage and fuck in the devil’s playground. Too many episodes of Entourage must have seeped into my brain and numbed me to my true self: an aspirer with grandiose thinking, zero discipline, and crippling anxiety. The anxiety would almost always vanish with a drink in my hand and a few in my belly. Every party, every alumni gathering was another opportunity to let my beast out. One particular evening at my friend’s apartment in Filipinotown, I discovered the raw, joyous power of dancing alone. Just a drink in my hand, dry humping the void in front of me. I became my own spirit animal.
When I ejected myself from Los Angeles and returned to my hometown, I neglected to leave the beast behind. How could I? I regarded it as one of the best parts of me, perhaps my greatest asset. Who would I be without it?
A few months after moving home, I got a temp job, which then became a “permanent” gig. More importantly, I reunited with my old drinking buddy slash enabler, an alpha male type who loved to buy me drinks and “take a lap” around the bar, any bar, to browse the women, most of them semi-recent college grads. Us, not so much.
Thursday nights were our Mecca. I would emerge from a semi-secret, free underground parking garage and merrily skip up the ramp, feeling like a superhero. Tonight, anything could happen. Tonight, I’ll have my magical meet-cute and sparks will fly, and I’ll live happily ever after. No.
I have five distinct Thursday night happy hour memories, all with the same point of origin: our bar.
#1: Taking a much-drunker-than-initially surmised woman to a diner with us at 2AM, convincing her that my friend/enabler and another friend had initially met each other at a Teen Speed Dating event in Cleveland in 1996, and were now working as various types of male models, then watching in bemused horror as she emerged from the diner bathroom with piss-stained jeans.
#2: Winning a few hundred dollars on the NBA Finals, getting hammered, and passing out in the back seats of our respective cars, in our underground parking garage Batcave.
#3: Drinking way too much, again, and passing out together in one car in the Batcave.
#4: Creating fake personas at a happy hour for a conservative political youth organization. After rejecting my suggested alias of Terrance Rimmer, my friend selected the preppier Blake Ashby. We gave up our e-mail addresses for a single drink ticket, even though a beer was already a mere $1.50. I still get e-mails from them, and I suck at gmail. I am an unintentional hoarder of newsletters. A serial semi-joiner. Make it stop!
#5: Fence Twerking. There is a short, black metal fence near the stage. A cover band jammed, the booze kicked in, and the Beast came out. I hopped onto the fence like Vega in Streetfighter 2, and twerked, and twerked, and twerked, to a decidedly mixed response. I channeled my inner cage dancer, and damn it, I liked it.
I no longer drink. Not exactly by choice, which would require a concerted amount of maturity, but because of medication. Thus, my response to “you want a beer/sea breeze/shot of Absinthe” is a resounding “YES.” But then I must explain to the generous soul offering me a tempting elixir that I can no longer run with my wants. That I have to find other ways to let the Beast out of his cage. That I have strangely become the melancholy man who reluctantly returned to my old happy hour haunt, with a couple of much younger friends, and ordered a St. Pauli Girl.
Non-alcoholic beer tastes like piss. Non-alcoholic beer is the halfway house of unpleasant beverages. Just hops, barley, the tears of the Fallen, and probably urine. But I was determined to push through my new barrier, to cage the Beast but leave the door unlocked, because maybe, just maybe, the psychosomatic effect will kick in and I will be way too much fun again.
Oh Brave New World, what have you done to me? My first sober foray into my ex happy place swiftly resulted in a few smirks at the sight of me nursing my St. Pauli Girl. Part of me wanted to slip on Frodo’s ring and become invisible, or sink down, down into my chair. Then came the real blow. A bus boy approached me and asked “do you know that’s actually a non-alcoholic beer? Because people come in here and order that and they don’t realize it doesn’t have alcohol in it.”
I stared at this schlub for a beat, with three possible responses dancing through my brain:
Although I really wanted to open door number three and make this guy extremely uncomfortable (or perhaps really turned on), I resigned to option number 2, pounded St. Pauli Girl straight to the bottom, and declared “let’s get the fuck out of here.”
I’m not sure if The Ride is over for me yet, but I do know this. You take the alcohol away and a bar is just a place with walls, people you have zero incentive to converse with, and exhilarating memories now made bittersweet.
But hey, maybe I’ll stick around for the band next time. They still have the fence, and spirit animals never forget how to bark. They just evolve.