EDITOR'S NOTE: 420 MIXTAPE

CLICK ON A GODDAMN DANCING BANANA TO HEAR A SONG

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CHICKEN FOREVER

click here to read an important dissertation about "chicken forever"

27 Knuckles

 

90s Facts

 

The Tumultuous Turtle, from the series The Living Dead

 

 

Yet another Unknown University

I
Cat doesn’t just pee
Cat doesn’t just respond when you just call her or him or it
Cat just isn’t just the cat just isn’t just a name
Cat just uses cat’s own urine to mark the places where cat may just come back

II
Repeat after me:
Just=solo=justo=reciente=intraducible=untranslatable

III
This isn’t written in English
Tampoco en español
Le chat room
«Ya no me gustan los gatos, sólo las perras» (Roberto Bolaño)
«Bolaño and Flaubert are dead» (Lydia Davis)

IV
No B
No O
No L
No A
What’s Ñ

V
«Querido L’abbé C:
Para ti, me temo, siempre habrá un lugar en la Universidad Desconocida. Sea como profesor, como estudiante, como jardinero o como cuidador de gatos.
  Un abrazo,
          Roberto Bolaño»

 

 


a tired song

 

 

Damián
Translated with the help of Dana Khromov

As he brushed his teeth, Damián thought he was quite a liberated person. He had grown up in the sixties and had traveled the world teaching mathematics to all sorts of audiences. Without a doubt, Mathematics was a universal language, he thought to himself with satisfaction.

He let his mind wander around each of those cities and universities as he passed the razor blade over the creases on his face. The sound of the door opening startled him, and a small spurt of blood dripped down his chin. In the mirror, he could see his wife watching him with her eyes full of tears. She was not wearing the dress he had bought her for the party they would be attending that night. Instead, she had on some worn-out jeans and was holding a suitcase. Without a word, she closed the door behind her. For a moment, Damián stared at the razor in his hand not knowing what to do.

 



PEEP SHOW

PHOTOGRAPHER: Elena Kulikova

 

Waiting to Exhale

 

“I Was A Teenage Pothead”


As a teenager, I was scrupulous about never drinking or doing drugs, almost to a fault. A more liberal attitude probably would have made me more social and less miserable in the long run. I wasn’t straight edge by name or creed, but I definitely got where the xcore kids were coming from. For a few years, I even refused to take Advil, because I stupidly thought that the pain from my headache would help me feel more deeply as a "poet." That resolution lasted about as long as my wisdom teeth did. After that, I was reaching for Advil along with whatever prescription painkiller was nearest.

Despite my teetotaling, I insisted on wearing tie-dye shirts most days to school. In fact, when I was 13, tie dye was the root cause of my first serious theological schism with my mom. Even though my main objections against going to church had to do with an inherent disagreement around the verbal plenary inspiration of the canonical Bible, a tie dye shirt was how I acted out. I contended that God didn’t care about what was on the outside, but what was in your heart, just like my parents had been telling me for years.

I obsessed over the Psychedelic Furs and listened to proggy Mike Oldfield records despite never even seeing a joint until I was 17. It was like I took an immersion course in the 60s counterculture: Kerouac, Ginsberg, Hunter S. Thompson, Kesey, Huxley, Lester Bangs. I lived vicariously through their insane exploits, apparently not understanding that it was possible to do these things myself.

I was even incorrectly accused of smoking pot the year before by my mom and wrote an angry poem about it, with encoded phrases referring to my different personas as geographic locations in Europe (Kiev, the Rhine, etc.). Actually, now that I think about it, no wonder my mom might have mistaken me for a pothead. But shouldn’t she have realized that I was so lame and uptight that there’s no way I could have ever been high?

Naturally, when I went to college the next fall at The University of Colorado at Boulder (voted #1 party school in the country that year), it was a foregone conclusion that I would be smoking pot pretty much as soon as I arrived on campus. I didn't realize that smoking was just sort of a casual activity for everyone else there, and I had worked it up in my mind to be this rite of passage overflowing with intense meaning and liminality.

That fateful night, my friend Noah mentioned that he bought pot, and he told me I could smoke with them. A bunch of us gathered in my room, and I deliberated for way too long about what record to play during this climactic moment. Trying to impress everyone in the room, I decided on The Final Cut by Pink Floyd, a bizarre album about the Falklands War that I thought was less of a stereotypical stoner album than Dark Side of the Moon.

When everyone in the room told me to turn it off, I decided on Blonde & Blonde instead. By the time we got to the “everybody must get stoned” chorus of “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” I realized how much of a stereotype I actually was.

While the other people in the room were just trying to enjoy being high, I decided it was time to take out my overly beautiful hardbound journal with poetaster-y weathered pages and write about the experience. I ended up coming up with incoherent bullshit about how the sensation of being high was at some point between samsara and nirvana, but they were amalgamated somehow, which is the single worst description of being high ever. The whole night was a lot of fun.

The next few years were filled with smoking, to the detriment of most of the rest of life. I ditched my classes to create my own curriculum: Goethe, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and Super Mario Brothers: The Lost Levels. My GPA plummeted.

I wasn’t alone in this. Pot culture on campus was rampant. A few students didn’t really make it a lifestyle, but campus community was focused on—if not dependent on—smoking pot. Instead of going out for beers, we would gather to smoke in a dorm room. Instead of brewing coffee in the morning, we would light up a joint. Everyone in town—from professor to student—had at least a contact high.

Every year on 4/20, Farrand Field was set ablaze. An entire football field full of students smoking in full view of the police. 4,000 students with 20 cops standing around watching the spectacle. I had never seen anything like it. It was controlled civil disobedience. From jam band jocks to Ras Trent Trustafarians to Chuck Taylor-wearing indie kids, everyone was smoking, and it was more trouble for the cops to intervene than it was for them to ignore it. An enormous cloud rose above the field at 4:20 PM to the sounds of people cheering, as the irony of so many people violating this absurd rule was celebrated by everyone. I saw The Strokes in downtown Denver that night and was high as I’ve ever been, carrying around a bag of weed that was purple, actually purple. It was insane, one of those ecstatic moments that epitomizes the freedom of college.

But for me, it was also something that took away that freedom. One night, a few RAs came to search my room. When they started looking through my drawers, I angrily told them they had to leave and forced the door shut on them. I told them that they didn’t have a right to be in my room if I didn’t want them there. They ended up calling the campus police, and I yelled through the door that they couldn’t come into the room unless they had a warrant. I wasn’t even sure that was true, but they didn’t call my bluff. Satisfied with my ridiculous exercise of Constitutional rights, I figured I had won the battle. I got a notice in my campus mailbox about meeting to discuss “the incident which occurred at your residence in January,” but I decided to ignore it completely. They didn’t find a pipe or pot or even a lighter, and so I figured there was nothing they could do about it. I was wrong. Apparently, the campus didn’t like it when you told the campus police they couldn’t do something without a warrant. I ended up getting a suspension notice for smoking pot.

Things weren’t really working at school anyway, mostly because of financial issues and serious problems with my parents. After acting like an insane person for about a month, I ended up withdrawing from the university that semester and working as a satellite TV tech support guy. Working there wasn’t quite as satisfying as reading Goethe and just kind of sitting around, so I decided that it was time to make a change. During that summer, I traveled to New York to meet my girlfriend Alisha for the first time. I fell in love with the love and squalor of New York, and I decided I would live there after I graduated.

I managed to convince my parents to help me file my re-enrollment papers after I got back to Colorado. It was an extremely difficult process getting back in, going through the endless red tape of being accepted back into the college. After many conversations with the terrifying Office of Judicial Affairs, my appeal was filed on the grounds that they had no evidence, and I was back in.

I started back with a realization that I should probably clean up my act a little. I started actually going to class and participating, and I made friends with some of my professors. I was on cloud nine, until about a month into the school year, when I got a letter that my appeal had been rejected. Even though my appeal stated that no one had found pot or a pipe in the room at all, they told me that they operated on a “preponderance of evidence.” Basically, if they accused you of smoking pot, you were guilty of smoking pot. (If this were really the case, the entire university should have been expelled.) In this case they were technically right, but I still thought it was ridiculous. Adding insult to injury, they decided that they would charge me for the rest of the semester, leaving me with a bunch of debt and no actual classes to show for it. I had a few of my professors write letters to the school, but to no avail. I ended up dropping out permanently and moving to New York with $10,000 of unnecessary student loans and rage in my heart.

But the story isn’t really that gloomy at all, because in the long run, I ended up totally fine. And after years of debate and lobbying by groups like the Marijuana Policy Project and NORML, recreational marijuana use became legal in Colorado as of January 1, 2014. That’s right, the same thing that I was kicked out of school for doing less than 10 years ago is now completely legal. Not just for medical users, which we were pushing for when I was in school. Anyone over 21 can go to a store and buy an eighth of Orange Crush or a box of pot brownies. In a nod to microbrew snobbery, you can even buy a gram of “craft weed.”

But it’s gone even farther than that. A sushi restaurant called Hapa in Boulder started offering a weed pairing menu featuring Pakalolo Shrimp with Pakistani Kush, Honey Miso Salmon with Sour OG, and Katsu Curry with Blue Dream. Not only is pot legal in Colorado now, but it’s become an integral part of fine dining. People aren’t put into prisons anymore for doing something fun and innocuous. And now you can blast Pink Floyd—and hell, even go to a laser light show if you want to—without any fear except the fear of feeling like a stereotype. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, because why not?

 


My whole life I've worked hard and played dress up harder than
anyone else. Ever. The birth of a lifetime of dramatic flair.

#StylesByBarrett #NoSigns

       

       

 

 

 





“two dogs”









AN UNQUALABLE TALE

 

One day there swayed a turtle named Jones
with big round bones.
That made him the toughest turtle
I ever done seen.
He saw the world with one eye
’cause as a young thing
a pelican plucked the other to dine.

He ranted
“I’ll never be anyone’s else’s treats,
I’ll stand on my own four feets
and mow down the toughest of defeats.
My skin is thick like leather
and my tongue could wrestle
the wittiest of beasts into shame.
Yes, this is my world and
no one will stop me from my claim.”

Well I thought ,
this was a feller I could learn from,
“Would you like to join me
for this journey down time?
I’ll promise to fight the birds with my fists
and give you lifts atop high places.”

Jones declined
“You wanna know about yourself?
You’re born by yourself,
you’re gonna die by yourself.
Whatever you want,
you’re gonna have to get it by yourself.”

His image drifted with the dawn,
but from a distance I saw his blind-rage, rage on
clashing against the great swells.
Defeating each crash by no avail,
always winning just to fight the next quarr’el.

 

   
   
   

   

 










COMPOSURE

He lost his composure that’s what happened.
It slipped off of him
Fell onto the ground
Slithered away before he noticed something wasn’t right.
Weeks passed before it returned.

Without his composure
He believed he could fly
Could circumvent the world
In a single step
Could charm ecstasy out of
Foul places.

For the umpteenth time he has been reminded that
He must guard his composure zealously
Clutch onto it until his
Knuckles are white and his
Fingers are curled rigid to
Affix it to his body with nails and cement
Do whatever it takes
To make certain nothing like this
Ever happens again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
     
     
     

ONE

This cockroach belongs to the order or factora, family blatidy and genes plamadatida. This insect is commonly called the American cockroach. We mostly know cockroaches as pests. Only a small number of all known cockroaches' species however becomes pest by invading houses and other buildings. Cockroaches are more common in warm Clements; they live in many different tourastioul habitats such as among dead and decane leaves and wood, under stones or part of trees and in tall trees. They are active and fast running insects. A cockroach has one pair of thick latherier wings that can fell over its body for protection. It has another pair of memberness flying wings underneath. Cockroaches are ancient and highly successful insects. They have been on earth for at least three hundred fifty millions years, their closest relative are believe to be the mantens. Like all insects cockroaches have three body parts: a head, a fort ax and an abdomen. Cockroaches have three pairs of legs. The legs which are adopted for walking and running are attached to the fort ax. In the adults the wings are also attached to the fort ax. The head is cover by a plate like structure called a pronto. The antennas are very long and are used for detecting food, predators and changing at temperatures. Watch the cockroach cleaning its antenna. Cockroaches are unevenness, which means that they eat just about everything. A cockroach mouth organs includes jaw that are used to chew food pieces. Cockroaches like others artrapas have compound eyes. Compound eyes are different from human eyes. Compound eyes have many lenses for each eye and human eye have a single lenses for each eye. The compound eye is excellent at detecting motion. Therefore insects respond better to moving objects then to stationary ones. Cockroaches are hemi metal insects, thus mean that they undergo incomplete metamorphous. Cockroaches have an egg stage, several nymstages and an adult stage. The insect hard exoskeleton makes it difficult for the insect to grow. This is because the exoskeleton can't get larger. Insects must malt in order to grow. Malting is the process when an insect shit its outer skeleton. The insect emerges from the old skin and a new larger exoskeleton develops.

 

TWO

There he is under the bath tub.
I'll show you, I'll show you.
I'll show you liked I showed all your sisters and
brothers in this bathroom.
Alright!
Oh asshole!
It's the less time that you fuck with me.
Alright here comes the foot.
Ah shit.
[Screaming]
[Noises]
Ok I'm going to kill this thing.
Where is it?
Shit it's not there.
Alright I'll kill you.
[Screaming]
No come back.
[Hard breathing]
Where is it?
Ah! Oh god there...there is two of them.
Jesus Chris.
Alright I’m going to do this.
I can do this. I can do this.
I'm alone in this place but I can kill anyone of them.
I hate them.
I'd just call the exterminator today.
Here it go baby.
It could be the end of my life.
This is so risky what I'm doing right now.
Here it go.
One... two..... and three.
[Screaming]
Shit!
Ah fuck!
No, no .you can't hide from me.
[Screaming]
Gross.
[Screaming]
Ah I got one!
Now where is the other one?
You can't hide from me.
Where are you?
This is not over.
I can see you.
Here it goes! Here it goes kids.
[Screaming very loud]
It's so nasty.
Oh gross oh god.
[Flush]

 

THREE

Sorry

 

body!

 

FOUR

Ha ha ha ha
caput!

 

FIVE

Don't forget this is our home.
Your kind is not welcome here.

Go
home
and
tell
the
others.

 

SIX

Hey guys were trying to catch it!
[Laughs]
Where is it?
[Whispering]
Shhhhh
[Noises]
No!
Hurry up, is he still under there?
Shit!
[Whispering]
What is it? Where is it?
Get a close look.
Where is it? You didn't saw it?
Damn it!
[Laughs]
We're recording all this!
Find it I'm getting scared.
Look under..... No!
I can't.
[Noises]
Will you shut up!
Ok!
Where is it?
[Laughs]
You look stupid!
I know but that's ok...

 

SEVEN

Those are the only tools you'll ever really need
to get rid of them.
You'll find out you need these tools!
How to use these tools?
Where to use these tools?
I'll tell you everything you need to know, to get
rid of them and show you how step by step.
Guaranteed!
The best part is you don't need much money,
you don't need to be an expert
This is so simple! Anyone can do it!
Don't put up with them any longer.
Your family will thank you.
Your friends will thank you.
Your children will thank you.
Don't hesitate, every moment you wait
they are multiplying.
Be
gone!

 

EIGHT

Oh my goodness!
[Strange voice]
What is it?
Oh there it is!
[Screaming]
[Kicking]
[Laughs]
It's dead.
[Crying]
[Strange voice]
You scared of it?
Yeah! It's big.
Well it's over; you don't have to look at it now.
[Laughs]
Is
that
a leg?

 

NINE

Look at that thing.
Mocking me out.
[Smashing]
Common man, kill it!
[Hard kicking]
Oh!
It jump!
He dead now, he dead.
Stop!
Look the final.
Uh
gross.
That
is
nasty.

 

TEN

[Loud screaming]
Hey you get out of here!
Let say you've got them at your home or
your office or god forbidding your favorite
restaurant and you decide you got rid of them,
here's what you up against.
They don't have a brain persay but it has
instinct and a desire to survive and reproduce.
They're small and can fit!
They have great vision....
All they want is food, water and warm,
and your house is full of all three.
They can go an entire month without food.
Damn! The nightmare gets worse.
Anyway you look at it, it's there world my friends,
you're
only
live
in
it.

 

 

 



Food As Love

“I know you have all heard this from me a bajillion kajillion times, but we aren’t food as love,” said T.J. Maxx, Director of Concepts at Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM). “We are food as fucking. And not just like: good fucking that you do listening to old disco on a Sunday morning to piss off the neighbors, all fake animal noises and trying to rattle the chandelier with your cock. We are food as nasty fucking, the kind of fucking where the leftovers smeared on the vinyl cause diseases, the kind that would snap your prostate like a rubber band if you did it for real, the kind of fucking that you can only do to yourself in your head, over and over again so you can forget it.”

It was Tuesday morning at 4 AM, the beginning of the power hour, when everyone’s testosterone levels were spiking due to their circadian rhythms and the cortisol levels in their plasma. It was the hour where everyone at Yum was required to be at work, when the bars closed up in North American cities and when Yum! Brands acquired its most valuable customers in its Taco Bells, Kentucky Fried Chickens, Pizza Huts, and Little Sheeps, the people who were only there because there was no place else to go. It was also when traffic at all of the porn sites that Yum! owned through its shell corporations spiked, meaning that the marketing data clusters were at their most raw and strong.

Tuesday was also corporate fetish day at Yum! Brands, which meant everybody was dressed more or less in traditional skirts, pantsuits, suits, ties, leather, latex, and purple dog collars that revealed that they all worked for Concepts. Employees at other departments wore different colored dog collars to show their allegiances; this was a fun tradition that everyone loved.

T.J. Maxx was the only person in the room not wearing a dog collar. His massive sclerotic neck strained out of his black leather business suit. He had purchased the rights to his Yum name, T.J. Maxx, after the clothing store had gone out of business, taking out a small business loan while he was just a junior project manager. His mother had once worked at a T.J. Maxx, his father had been arrested for destroying cars in the parking lot of the same T.J. Maxx with a set of golf clubs stolen from the parking lot.

Along with his preternatural grasp of food dynamics and international taste barometry, his invention of the Nacho Pocket had made him a legend. But it had been a full season since Concepts had done anything that penetrated the North American whofuckingcaresasphere.

T.J. Maxx was depressed. His job situation felt volatile, “in question.” He was simultaneously delivering a morning speech and playing Mortal Kombat on the building across the street, projecting the game onto the side of the building using the ten thousand lumens projector built into his belt buckle.

“I feel like I can’t breathe, people,” he said. “I feel like you are strangling me to death with your bad ideas. Call me traditional, but I think breath play should be between a man and a woman, or like a sexy uncle and his curious nephew, not a Concepts team and a cool-as-wintergreen Concepts director on deadline. Get your fingers outta my throat people.”

Liu Kang transformed into a dragon and immolated Sub-Zero. Everyone clapped.

“Alright, that’s your speech for the day,” he said. “Be freakishly motivated and come up with something as good as Candybacon Scotch Egg Grenados or Pop Tart Wafflefries or even Tortilla Soup Dumplings. Alright, now everybody file out quietly with your heads held at 90 degrees to the ground like I just pulled out a gun and killed your best friend without even blinking. Time to make the food of tomorrow.”

The room cleared. He sat down on the conference table, facing the window, making a personal decision not to make eye contact with anyone today.

“It’s Sheila Pitch Black Hollow Void’s birthday,” said Brian Ass, his assistant slash bodyguard slash lover slash personal trainer. “What should I get her?”

“She just did an in-house lateral, didn’t she?”

“Yeah, she moved from Carbs to Sauces,” he said. “Paycut, but she gets the Kowloon Lab, which means vat organs to play with and no FDA.”

“Fuck her,” said T.J. Maxx. “Get her a vintage Hustler Magazine from the month she was born. I want her to know what her diabetic coma dad was thinking about when her scumbag mom was milking him for conception sperm. Also, I want a picture of her mom. And some privacy.” Brian bowed and left.

T.J. Maxx didn’t turn around, but he could tell he still wasn’t alone.

“Who’s there?”

“Um, I don’t think you know me. I’m not actually supposed to be here.”

T.J. Maxx wanted to look and see who was talking, but he mastered himself and continued staring out the window, checking his email using his belt projector. He could see people working across the street at Google scowling at him.

“What’s your name?”

“Are you asking me my real name or my Yum! name sir?”

“Why the fuck would I want to know your real name? Were your parents creative people?”

“No sir,” she said. “Then my name is Henrietta Poe.”

“Poe? Like the French writer?”

“Sure,” said Henrietta uncertainly.

“You get your spirit power from some dead French writer, huh? Okay; that’s kinky. You aren’t wearing one of my collars, so I can’t fuck you if you are disappointing, so what good are you to me?”

She didn’t answer. He sniffed, noting the persistent smell of sun-warm skin and human dander.

“You are still here. How is that possible? You are fired.”

“Well, I’m HR, so you can’t fire me,” said Henrietta. “But I don’t want to stay in HR. I want to be in Concepts.”

“What did you study in school?”

“Well, I studied psychology.

“WRONG. I hire bartenders, MALE strippers, ex-kindergarten teachers, and deejays. That’s my fucking thing. I am already annoyed with you."

“Is this your office?” she asked him. “It seems like a conference room.”

“Wherever I am standing is my office.”

“HR is really dry,” said Henrietta. “I mean, we do scenes like everybody else, but it is all like weird tense spanking stuff and fussy meticulous European “rules porn,” and I thought I would like it, but I don’t. I want to be in a more primal division, with a chance to make a difference.”

“It doesn’t get more primal than Concepts,” he said, sighing, not looking away from the window. He caught himself squinting into the reflection of the glass, trying to make out her image, but then he relaxed his eyes and went dead inside.

“You are a psychologist?”

“I mean, I studied psychology.”

“I think I am depressed,” said T.J. Maxx. “I don’t really know why.”

“That is not really something I am qualified to talk about.”

“I don’t know how women relate to men anymore. I mean I used to know exactly how it was. Women related to men exactly like men related to jobs. There are shitty jobs and good jobs. There are careers. There is love, which is the job equivalent of getting paid to sit around and masturbate and drink cherry Coke from a glass slipper that Blondie used to wear. My job is love to me, and so I always tried to be love to women who could tolerate me. But now I don’t even know anymore.”

“You seem like a complicated man,” said Henrietta Poe. “It is good to have feelings.”

“At Concepts, we hire: strippers, deejays, bartenders, comic book artists, gas station clerks with good tattoos. We teach them to do the bullshit corporate jobs. Um, why? Because they are smart and full of life and know how to fucking kick ass at thinking. It is about ten hundred thousand times easier to teach a cool bartender who has life coming out of her damn eyeballs how to do Quickbooks than it is to teach some go-getter business major from Indiana how to manage a useful coke addiction.”

“I think the problem is that you are looking for a new idea,” said Henrietta. “A new kind of pizza, a new kind of gordita, a new kind of milkshake. The idea doesn’t matter as much anymore. We have a real strength here that we aren’t using. The strength is in our corporate culture itself. I tried to tell people in HR, but…”

“What do you mean 'our culture'? Wait, wait, wait…”

T.J. Maxx was silent.

“Maybe something like a gusher…but with nacho cheese…” he said.

He frowned.

“No, that’s terrible, never mind,” he said.

“What do we do here, you know?" asked Henrietta. "I mean, what is daily life here at Yum! Brands, as a corporate entity with broad, global goals?”

“We make porn and we make food that people are actually going to eat,” said T.J. Maxx. “We are also a music label, I think.”

“But isn’t it strange that we never combine these things?” asked Henrietta. “I mean, I am in HR, so I deal with the culture here as an organic, single entity. But I think all these discrete divisions are keeping us from growing how we should be growing.”

“We can’t put porn in advertising,” said T.J. Maxx. “That’s illegal. And also you can’t eat porn. And also it doesn't work; they've done tests. There is a barrier you can't cross.”

T.J. Maxx was silent.

“What are you suggesting? You have a new Concept package?”

“I do,” said Henrietta Poe.

“Well, what is it? You officially have my interest.”

“It is already happening.”

“What do you mean?”

“It started happening as soon as I walked in the room. Concept, marketing, advertising, suggestion, hypnotic post-suggestion, lingering buzzfry, synapse flare, chatterspray, presocial positioning, social rollout, post-social entrenchment, backlash redeploy. Everything. Maybe it started happening a little before I walked in the room, depending on what works for context. I’m not an editor.”

“You are very brave and full of shit.”

“This is the next, obvious iteration in what we do here. We make porn. We make food. Get ready to make both.”

She had a very elegant clasp purse. He could see it in the reflection of the glass. He tried to see what she was taking out of it. It was long and pink, like a flashlight. She came up behind him, close enough that he could feel the hem of her gingham dress on his leather pants.

“I’m gonna do you first and then you can do me when you are good and angry,” she said, reaching under her skirt. “I assume this room is wired to record? Video, hologram, Blueray, whatever?”

“Of course,” he said. “What if I miss something somebody says? We make ideas here.”

“Perfect,” she said. “Consider this my application to Concepts.”

She pantsed him. He didn’t flinch.

“Listen asshole,” she said to his asshole. “It doesn’t matter what dumb idea you come up with. It can be genius, it can be bullshit, it doesn’t matter. While I am fucking you, you are gonna let your mind wander and try to relax, okay? And one of your ideas is gonna come forward in your mind and then you are gonna turn around and start fucking me and you are gonna scream it to the world. And that’s gonna be the thing that everybody buys. Because of this video. Because they saw the concept getting born and they were right there at the beginning. And because every one of our pornos for the whole next cycle is gonna feature whatever you blurt out when you are getting reamed by my little pink strap-on. We are merging divisions. We’re never gonna be able to put porn in advertising; you are right about that. So we are gonna put advertising in porn.”

"Wait," he said. She paused.

“That…could work,” he said.

She pushed his face against the glass. He pressed a button on his belt buckle so he could see what was happening in the room on the building across the street. Something in his heart stirred. He wanted to know her real name. He wanted to know what that dead French writer meant to her.

“Say, listen,” he said.

“You aren’t gonna like this,” she said. “You are about to get Crunchwrapped Supremed.”

“I was wondering about your real name,” he said.

He tried to turn around and look at her, but her hand was on his neck and she had spread his legs too wide and he was unbalanced and there was no way to do it without snapping his own neck.

“Shut up and think about food,” she said.

 


     
     
 


 


C—


   Two friends sat at the bar in Hole in the Wall on Guadalupe Street in Austin Texas drinking Lone Stars when a pretty young thing stepped into the dusty shade and asked whose horse that was tied to the front of the building.
   “It nipped at me!” she said.
   Cole waved her over and bought her a real deal—a beer and a shot of whiskey—to make up for the misbehaved equine.
   “Probably he’s just hungry,” Cole said. “I promised to buy him a taco but I forgot.”
   “Horses don’t eat tacos.”
   “Sure they do.”
   “A horse is supposed to eat carrots.”
   “They don’t sell carrots here.”
   “Grains and oats then.”
   “Don’t sell that either. They sell tacos, and I assure the tacos are much more delicious than any carrot you’ve ever had.”
   “But it’s a horse!”
   “His name is Simon. What’s yours?”
   “Mindy.”
   “Well I’m Cole and this here is Pancho.”
   Pancho reached across in front of Cole to shake her hand. The three of them tottered on waning sobriety while a bluegrass band set up on stage. The band was called the Bloodroots Barter and the four overall-clad members went about hanging coyote furs and coon pelts from empty nails. A vintage suitcase adorned with Christmas lights advertised the band’s new EP. After digging a washboard out of a trunk the banjos started up and the lead singer, a young man whose bad luck emanated from his strangled beard, broke into the first verse: “Don’t let your deal go down little girl!” His mates stomped on the floor in succession. “Don’t let you deal go dow-own!”
    “They’re so young. I thought only old folks played music like that,” Mindy said.
    “Even old timers were young once,” Pancho suggested. “This bunch will look the part soon enough. Country bluegrass will do that to you. Makes your soul tired.”
    “Pancho is our resident music aficionado,” Cole said.
    “And what are you?” she asked.
    “Cowboy.”
    “Oh really?”
    “Born and raised on the C-bar just north of Eldorado. Finest charolais in the county, maybe the whole dern state. My old man, we call him the jefe, he lives out there just him and the cattle on account of my mama quitting the ranch. He brought me and my brother up himself. Yes ma’am, I fix fences just as simple and easy as you tie your shoes.”
    Mindy turned to doubt him, as if she tied shoelaces for a living.
    “Don’t romanticize it neither. Work cattle with a man on horseback and a hot brand in the camp fire. That’ll tire you out real quick, holding down one of them calves while jefe puts a red hot steel in its keister. No matter. Shoot a barbado for dinner on the way back to the ranch house. Fall asleep on the porch with a belly stocked with beer and barbecue. God damn, wish I was there right now.”
    The Hole was Cole’s regular drinking establishment and the bartender knew to bring him another Lone Star. Pancho put his hand up to ask for two.
    “One for the lady,” he intoned.
    She was interested enough to offer a fair peek at her cleavage and they both glanced when her attention was on the stage.
    Cole didn’t know when to stop.
    “Gonna have to shut down soon. Now all anybody cares about is organic and grass-fed and storytime coddled bullshit. Shoot, we been feeding them cows nothing but grass for 80 years. Wouldn’t know what else to give ‘em. Don’t need a scientist to put a sticker on a cheeseburger for me to know it taste good.”
    Mindy’s stool was empty. She slipped off, Cole wasn’t sure when. Pancho listened to the stories many times, even worked some cattle at the C-bar once or twice.
    “Looks like you let another one get away,” Pancho said.
    “She’ll be back.”
    “How can you be so sure?”
    “I’m a Texas cowboy.”
    “Thought the City of Austin wrote your paychecks. Did they have meter readers in the old west? I don’t remember cowboys needing a flashing yellow light on the top of their truck to alert traffic to the frequent stops.”
    The two friends sat there for some time. The Bloodroots Barter moved through the hits and got into their classic jams like ‘Ye Old Kentucky Wolfpack’ and ‘Wayfaring Stranger.’ Cole kept pace with the band, drinking a beer per song.
    “You should tell her you’re a writer. Give her that old speech of yours about howling your rotten poem into the wind on a beach somewhere.”
    Pancho left the barstool to take a piss. He wandered and stumbled towards the back bar and saw Mindy. She smiled at him in an inviting way and he stopped to talk to her.
    “Any of those stories true?” she asked.
    “Every last one of them,” Pancho said. He tried to keep moving, he really had to pee.
    “Come on,” Mindy didn’t believe him. “You’re just being a good friend. Tell the truth.”
    “Cole is a circus elephant. Toss him a couple peanuts and he’ll dance for you all night long. Too much Lone Star and he’ll start misbehaving.” Pancho let Cole tell his tales, knew it was good for him. “No better man to have on a horse though. Cole is a hundred feet tall and strong as 10 men soon as he steps foot on that ranch.”
    He again turned towards the bathroom but she reached up and placed her hand at the base of his neck stubble.
    “What about you? Do you dance for peanuts?”
    He could fight off the urge to urinate a bit longer.
    “Not usually,” he put his hand on hers and smiled. “But I make exceptions.”
    “Buy me a beer.”
    Pancho abided and asked the barkeep for two more Lone Stars, ended up giving one to Cole and had to go back for another. Adding liquid to a tank that was already full.
    “So you like music huh?” she asked.
    “Gives my ears something to do,” Pancho said.
    “Tell me about this band.”
    “Not too familiar with these guys. You see I’ve been doing a bit of traveling so I’m afraid I’ve fallen behind the local music scene. By the sound of it I’d say this is Kentucky-born banjo pluckin.”
    “Oh? You spent time in the Appalachians?”
    He was careful to smile and be sweet, lest his bladder make him impatient.
    “No no, I was on assignment in southeast Asia. I write for a travel company. Nothing major.” A calculated pause, but not so long that she’d have a chance to get a word in. “What about you? How about this music?”
    “The tatooed guy is good but I don’t care for her songs.”
    “That sweet lass has done nothing but love every man in this room with that standup bass tonight. Not a single soft cock in here when she picked up the washboard. For that girl, men are nothing but honey bees.”
    “What does that make her?”
    “A Wildflower.”
    She laughed. He grimaced. She took a sip of beer. He tried to focus on something other than the bathroom.
    “So you’re pretty good at reading people,” Mindy said.
    “That’s right.”
    “Well so am I.”
    “Is that so?” Pancho acted impressed.
    “And I can tell exactly what is on your mind.”
    “Oh really?”
    “You,” she stopped for effect and looked him up and down. “You really gotta pee.”
    “That obvious?”
    Another bought of laughter. Her hand casually on his waist.
    “Yes. Go. But come back here immediately.”
    Pancho pulled up to the urinal and about sprayed himself in the face. He pointed his arrow down as far as he could without hurting his fuck muscles then retreated to a stall to take care of himself.
    Cole had slipped back into the fold while he was away. Pancho left her without an escort and it was kind of his friend to keep his seat warm. When she turned towards Pancho, Cole humped the airspace behind her, faux smacking her ass, a soothing smugness in his countenance.
    “Another round?” Pancho asked.
    “Actually I was just about to leave with your friend here,” she said, catching Cole in the act. “But he couldn’t stop shitting on you. He said ‘meh’ a lot. I got bored. So you live in your married friends’ basement. I dunno. I guess it made me curious.” A drunken come hither look from her. “So what do you think, leave this circus animal with his horse and we catch a cab?”
    Cole stopped mid-thrust.
    “Sorry but no thanks,” Pancho said.
    The Bloodroots Barter had long finished by then, the band’s hand-painted, vegetable oil-powered school bus at present on the road headed for tomorrow night’s gig in Denton. Mindy gathered her things and left. The place was quiet. Pancho finished his beer and went outside. Cole followed.
    “Dude?”
    “You know that feeling when it’s been a day and you’re all full up of cheap beer and cheaper whisky and bullshitting with your friends has gotten to be a chore and you’ve not even the energy to eat a cold slice of pizza out of the fridge or brush your teeth and all that’s left is get into bed, rub one out and fall asleep? — Well I got started a little early.”
    Simon whinnied.

 

 

Why The Reckless “Lighthouse”

 


 

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