DEDICATION: To Julie–any one of you girls named Julie here?
“RING AROUND THE ROSY!”
Chapter 1: The End . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
Chapter 2: The Beginning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
Chapter 3: Dreamers’ Peak . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
Chapter 4: Blossoming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Chapter 5: Wilting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Chapter 6: A Bartender’s Lament . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
Chapter 8: Homeless . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
Chapter 9: Redemption Under a Bridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
Chapter 10: “Liar!” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .182
Chapter 11: Judgment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
be: This is just to say I love You
Epilogue: Life Goes On . . .
The FBI’s Most Wanted List called him simply “The Creep”–mostly because all the other cool names were already taken by criminals who actually gave a hoot.
And now they have The Creep in their sights.
He is running there yonder–over the hills. Can You see him?
You have a tip from the Village that he had just walked into town and he is hopping towards a hill known as Dreamers’ Peak.
The whole town has been chasing after him, torch and pitchfork, shotgun and 9 mm; and one by one, his accusers are shouting.
Listen to your ears, what they tell you.
“MONSTER.” says a woman. “THERE HE IS..”
“IT’S THE PERVERT.”
“FREAK.” says a mother. / “Creep.”
In the end, they go roaring after The Creep, down a twisted mountain ravine. As a legion they follow him through as the pink of sunrise collides with the first baby blue of sun and sky.
And the gong of the voices echo louder as his accusers approach him:
“GET AT HIS HEART!” / “HIS EYES. POKE OUT HIS EYES.”
These opposing forces are colliding together, at the epicenter of Dreamer’s Peak, its tippy tip-tip.
The families of those raped, murdered, and molested follow quickly in suit.
The Creep checks to count their faces, but there are no faces to be counted. They are a solitary crowd of a-non-nym-ity–shrouded in black–faceless–unknown.
The police have soon ignited the sirens. They’ve followed him up to the fuzzy, green lip of a high hill on a sunny day. The Accusers now begin their accusations:
“That man over there, he killed my mother.” / “HE MOLESTED MY HORSES! PILLAGED MY CHICKENS! AND RODE OFF ON OUR WOMEN!”
“My poor baby, give me back my baby. YOU HURT HIM. YOU GIVE HIM BACK, YOU — ” this is comical to the Creep. He laughs.
–She trails off, bitching, her arms clung tightly between her swollen breast, as her husband leads her off and away from–that man. It’s the Law’s turn now.
The cops run out a detailed police report on pretty much everything The Creep has ever did—incorrectly:
“Creep,” says The Warrant Officer, very unprofessional, “You have been charged with rape, murder, some very funny arsonry involving an exploding chipmunk, and the stalking and trapping of women, young and old, among other crimes and misdemeanors, as you have pretended to be a variation of many different people: Jeez, shouldn’t we do this in a trial room? Is this correct?”
The Creep nods his head, only slowly, as the stem of his neck is beaten, bruised, thin, about to crap out. Then again, it’s hard not to nod your head when your neck is half sawed off.
“Let’s do this in a trial room.”
“HE DOESN’T DESERVE IT.”
“Madame, everyone deserves a fair trial,” then turning: “Now, please. Let’s do this inside.”
“I’m not going,” said the Creep.
“Nothing has been low enough for you, huh, jackass?” says another cop, and chuckles like only a woodchuck chucks. “Fine, we’ll humor you.” “Oh no we won’t,” said the first officer. “Now, come with us.” / The Creep’s head nods yet again, then shows its face, beaming against the light of his accusers. Or maybe just reflecting theirs.
Nothing has indeed been low enough for The Creep.
He has raped a long list of women.
And many small girls. The last being a 4-year old.
Says The Creep, “I know: I stand accused of all this, and you are right to accuse me. It’s all true down to the last diddle. I wish it weren’t, but such is life. I didn’t think it wouldn’t ever end this way; but if you gotta go, go like a man, I say.”
“PERVERT.” says a voice from the crowd.
“That’s right–so you remembered. I have many first names now, and that is one of them,” says The Creep, cocking a puppy. “I also know many of your first names, it comes with the profession. I am sorry, Marjorie,” And he walks back further out, towards the cliff’s fuzzy, green lip, though he does not turn his back–the police, mesmerized, step backwards–watching the pebbles skip and hop off into the jade waters gossiping rumors of death in the deep down below, in ripples the size of waves. “My deepest apologies.”
The cops hold them back, but the crowd is too much, and begin a bull’s rush towards him–to kick, to bruise, to beat and tear at his eyes, his hair–to ruin him in every place but his perfect ears.
And why make the ears an exception?
(C’mon, they should’ve arrested him by now!)*
*I should mention that the cops weren’t cops. They were children.
So The Creep can hear every last insult, every baby’s scream, till the last of the women and child cry, “Oh-my-god. What-is-that thing?” whenever that horribly disfigured shell of a Creep emerges into the eye of his adoring public.
For him to be treated as they were.
As the old adage goes, and the new one begins: Eye for eye; tooth for a tooth.
This was an evil day for justice. Creeps that should’ve been locked away have gotten free.
He commands their attention.
“FEEL OUR PAIN.” they say, and kick him, disfiguring face, bloodying body, operating on everything but his ears.
Here he shouts from inside, screaming intently to be heard as he is beaten, kicked, mauled, and still he calls, “
Wait.” still, he says, “Listen.” still, he pleas, “please.”
“Allow me one chance. Listen up now, coz I’m only gonna say it once,” says The Creep. And he gathers the last of his balls to speak at the very highest tenor of voice,“You’ve got ears, don’t you? You’re a reasonable group of people. Hear my story first before you make your judgment on to whether a man should live or die. Wait.” This last word was so loud it almost made the seagulls stop squawking.
Here’s your turn. Do you silence the crowd–or do you continue this verdict without a trial? In the end, you still the crowd with one mighty ox-bellow from the trumpet of a thick-walled swan: “SILENCE, PEOPLE. ORDER NOW. ORDER. We will have order here or I will have to break you all up by mace and tazer. Give you all a one-night stand in prison with nothing but water and daybread. Break it up, already! Gawd!”
You stand. There you are, tall and straight before a Faceless Mob, dissecting the operating crowd from a toothless-yet-smiling Creep, seizing the man in your hands. The only cop here. Here you place him on his feet to stand the trial before his accusers.
“Fine, we’ll hear you out, eh?” you say. It’s your game. “But don’t go thinking that just by telling us your sob-story that it’s going to change anything.”
“Oh, thank you. Thank you, kind sir,” says The Creep as he curtsies, he bows. Then turning to the crowd, you notice that red rings circle the ovals of his pretty girl’s eyes, green as this hill where he stands or falls. You watch him look each eye of his accuser in the face. He seems to know them all by name. He’d taken a memory from them all. Now he pleads with them. “Oh, please hear me out first. I won’t bore you. I swear on my mother’s bones. This–” he looks at you and sniggers– “‘SOB.-story’ . . . may just change more than you think.”
Now, popping the creak out of his neck, he leans back into the Faceless Mob and begins to doodle some child’s uneven scrawl into the dust. “Now listen to my story before you decide the end, before you make your judgment. Then–do whatever you want with me, but please–listen first . . . ”
The judge stood in the crowd, watching.
1st dream: The Butcher in the Rye
What did you fear most as a child?
A) Growing old
B) The unknown
C) Are you afraid of the dark? (No, not that stupid TV show. The dark itself.)
Or D) All-of-the-
“I had a name once.
“Before The Most Wanted List nicknamed me ‘The Creep’.
“Yes, I remember now.
“In the beginning of my story, I had a name.
“But that was so long ago.
“What was that name? Do you remember? It was so long ago. It’s hard to think.
“Oh, I know now! You don’t have to tell me.
“It was Billy Jake—Henderson.
“But back then, people just called me Beef. Beef Jerky, they called me and, yes, you called me that too.
“It wasn’t a dark and stormy night when I was born. There was no lightning, no thunder, no mad scientist shocking bolts and screws into my neck and conducting 100,000 volts through my body.
“I wasn’t born a monster. I was bred one.
Let me remind you..
1: Beef Jerky was dropped on his head 3 times..
-1- he fell out of a window, pushing at the screen window from a 2-story window. 2- he was pinned to a fireplace by his older brother, Mikey. 3- he pulled a cold iron on his head. / * Not all in the same day.
I. After the first time, he stole the General’s twinkie. / II. After the second time, he purged the frogz with Pride by General’s order. / III. After the third time, he took the neighbor’s baby for a walk. He was 8 years. She was 8 months. They ended in a sandbox. She had a good time. “Why’d you take the baby?” / “She looked interesting.” / 25 years later, when he was drunk and had just made the worst decision of his life, he said, “I wanted to destroy something beautiful.” / This was to the question, “What did you do to my child?”
“Before I was a bum, I was a whore, and before I was a whore, I was an escaped convict, and before I was an escaped convict, I was a death row alumni, and before I was a death row alumni, I was a little kid, and before I was a little kid, I was a baby. And a baby’s something. It’s something alright. Somewhere in all that, I was a rapist.
“‘It’s a boy, Mrs. Henderson! It’s a boy!’ just like you all were babies once upon a time.
“It was actually a bright and sunny day when I was born, on the 5th of May, and there were no complications in my birth, so far as I know of. You’ll be wondering why you want to know this. You don’t. I’m rambling out of anxiousness.
“As for the doctor’s diag-noxious, she said it straight: “He’s a perfectly healthy, normal, human boy;” she said I would get along fine. She was wrong. !
“So my parents took me home to this town I’ve lived in for most of my young life, as all you know.
“And my mother nursed me and my father played with me and my three brothers bullied and braved me, and there was never an accident, never a complication, nothing early in my most crucial developing years to turn me into a creep–save for a few scrapes and scars. How do I convince you!
“For all I know and for all you know, I was ordinary. I was normal. I was average.
“I was you. You were me. Though I was born with a speech impediment, “mustards” for “muscles”, “stool” for “school”, I speak plainly now:
“There was nothing unusual about me.
“And so, I was weaned from my mother’s milk and I have since lived a happy, normal life up until the age of 16 in the town of Emerald Coast–half on the east side, half in some lost desert in Arizona; a quarter here, there, and everywhere. Home was like a second home to me.
“But those some odd thirty Thanksgivings ago. Something changed in me as I slowly dropped manhood–as one transsexual brother of mine would later say it, “Tennis without the balls.”
“For men, they call it puberty.
“Yet I was still that little B.illy J.ake that used to peek at you at the grocery store from beneath his mother’s arm when she took him riding in the cart, that played little league short-stop with your sons and daughters, the baby you sat on the weekends when his parents were off on errands of romance, always happy, smile on face, making fireman sounds Whoo! Whoo!
“Why do you want to kill me now?
“Some seemed to like that sharp, funny, snot-nosed little charm of an imp, me. Many commented on how he was going to go somewhere in life–they never said where.
“‘What an adorable, little thing,’ the ladies would say. You mean it still?
“Let me tell you.. Little Sister I killed wasn’t so innocent either.
“She squashed polliwogs just to see what their eyes look like when they meet the avenging angel: Death / She punched her doggy on the nose. /// No one is undeserving of death, no one, not even one.
One more thing: Before I start I think I should mention this and that. The this is This: “This is when I was younger, when I still believed the world could be saved.”
That: “Something changed, and I’ll not just tell you how it happened.
“I’ll show you what turned me into–T.h.e. C.r.e.e.p.
“And how, as maybe you are or are not aware, The Creep sleeps deep within the souls of us all.
“I tell you, we all carry that gene strand.
“Anybody can become how I am and be reduced to raping, murdering, and stalking young boys and younger girls.
“How–you say–my family, my friends, my fathers, mothers, brothers, my sisters?
“It’s time I showed you what happened.
“It’s time you saw what happened.
“Do you really want to know how I became The Creep?
“Okay, Mom, and okay, Dad, even as you hold up that stone to kill me, I will go beyond telling and will simply show you.
“Whether you are ready or not, you have been forewarned.
“This is the tale of how the child became the child molester.
“Thief, murderer, rapist, and friend — Beef has been all those to me.” / “Would you hang me too?” says the thief, murder, rapist, and friend. “I thought as much.”
“IT’S a comedy. This is where it ends. Yet this is where is all began.
“You see, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, my own family. Yes, you are my blood, and you can’t deny it. Still, you wish to kill me and I do not blame you. I should die.
“And still more: LISTEN.
“They called it ‘Dreamers’ Peak’ back then, remember? This is the same peak where we used to skip stones with all our best friends.
“Do I really have to paint the picture for you? We’re standing right in it.
“There was a beauty to childhood then that gave Dreamers’ Peak the brave look all enchanted bluffs had.
“Yes, euphoria. For, in the tender years of childhood–emotion, beauty, a landscape painted by the very finger of God Herself–these are intermingled, bred, mixed together in a blur of heaving dog-on-dog ecstasy.
“Thirty odd something Thanksgivings ago to the day before the day before the day before last, this was the first day we two dweebs planted that gnarly, little sapling here, my friend Simon and I.
“You can see now it isn’t a little sapling anymore, but is a genuinely enormous mangrove of groves.
“And still, I see this grand tree as it was, not as it is: the sapling of my small-hand days. It is those days I wish you to remember–now.
“Remember, Simon?–Oh, cmon! You have to remember! We used to run up this same peak and skip, not stones, but starfish to wish upon, as we set them off sailing to uncharted paths to the ocean. Y’remember that?
“Yeah–you pretty much made my life there, Simon. Anyways, we promised we’d meet up in this very spot each day and watch it grow the way we grew, or something corny like that. Which, of course, we only came up every three weeks, or whenever we felt like it, but it’s just as good.
“Then we procured a bucket of stones, smooth and cream-colored, and started to sail them off into Emerald Bay and watch them shine in the stars of night till they dimpled the waters and sent ripples the size of waves spitting forth from the–well, you get the point. Sorry to be so proverbial. It’s me.
“We promised each other we’d meet there everyday, and we almost did.
“We built forts there.
“Had our first kisses there–Not with each other, of course, but with other broads!
“Anyways, a dream: you told me you were setting off to sea someday, towards the west where the waters were warmer, beyond the horizon and off to chart the unchartable areas yet to be discovered somewhere in the a lost Pacific, in the ring of fire and all throughout the seven seadoms.
“But as you all know, Simon never did make it.
“As for me?–I wished to become a social worker–to journey to Africa, Indo-China, and wherever else help was needed–to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to quench the tongues of the sick.
“Of course, Simon always laughed at the absurd idea of me living so far removed from the 20th century, and not simply joining him in his journey across the Pacific, where we could join in the merriment of coastal cities, party like sailors, gamble, drink, and love many a woman. Listen!
“But for me, I fear I was made for the quiet life, where I could serve small villages in presenting food stuffs for the everyday living. Am I saying this to get your pity? I am!
“But whatever dreams I might have would be rendered utterly meaningless in the end. For how can a man wish upon a starfish when The Fates are set against him?
“Simond’d just look at me really smug and say, ‘You ain’t gonna be no Baptist Minster. Ain’t gonna baptize nobody neither.’
“‘And why not, semen mixer?’ said I.
“‘Because you’re joining me on my world-renowned adventures,’ he’d say. ‘We’ll go all kinds of places–You’ll love it. We’ll stop at the taverns, see, and we’ll lay around with all the women we can handle and drink molt beers and stay up late at night till the sleeplessness goes to our head like a driving hammer and we’ll party and we’ll drink and we’ll drink and we’ll siesta and have all kinds of sex–not with each other, of course, but with other broads.’
“Well, maybe. ‘Where would we go anyways?’
“Said Simon, “Besides lay with all the women across the Seven Seas?’
“‘Yeah, Simon. Besides all that.’
“‘Boy. I never thought about what we’d do besides sexual relations. Lemme see: Boy, that’s a tuffy. How bout, after our sex with a thousand maidens, we’ll go hunt a Moby Dick? One of those [white] whales–you know?’
“‘That’s a fairy tale, stupid,’ I’d tell him. ‘There’s nothing like that alive–plus, whaling is banned now. If you really have an urge to shove a whale back in the ocean, go to one of them nudie beaches in California. There are plenty of whales there.’
“‘Oh,’ said Simon. Simon says, “How bout we find some Mermaids and challenge them to mud wrestling?’
“‘Simply mythological,’ I’d say. ‘They just don’t exist. Come on now!’
“‘Sure,’ I’d say. ‘Let’s race.’
“So we’d race down the hill and, as always, Simon would triumph as the victor–he had those sea legs–though sometimes, Simon’d give me a head start or would slow down for me. And then, the next day, we’d race all the way back up to Dreamers’ Peak, and dream some more, and watch our sapling grow, as with each day, we grew with it. I’m rambling because I’m anxious. You all look like you’re going to kill me.
“Wish upon a starfish, and what you get is sand, anyway.
“Still, we clung to the edge of Dreamers’ Peak with both hands folded.”
“IT’S ALWAYS THE QUIET ones, but I wasn’t quiet, so am I a mistake?
“I do not want you to get any ideas that just because I told you that I am quote/unquote ‘normal’ that I am nothing more than that.
“Because, as you may or may not remember, my friends and my family, I was more than normal!
“I was your own All-American-Eagle-Scout, the pride of Emerald Coast, their love-joy, their champion of virtue and the cause of right. Love me!
“Valedictorian of my class with never anything but a high A in High School. Never anything as outrageous as a B+–such ghastly marks I despise to even mention.
“I saved your infants from drowning in your beaches and pools by use of a C.P.R. method I learned as I worked as lifeguard during all our summer vacations. This leaves imagination that I might have enjoyed it. Oh, don’t look that way! I’m teasing.
“I dated your daughters, and you cannot deny it, dear fathers and mothers, that you found me one of the most charming of juvenile men (many of you fighting over me to marry them off so I could be your own.)
“Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oxford. Do these names ring a bell? I never went to any of them, sure, but I memorized all their lesson plans. Because I had better things to do, like seeing how many marshmallows I could fit in my mouth before I couldn’t say, “Chubby bunny,” anymore.
“But the Creep: an All-American Eagle Scout. Captain of the debate team, the football team, the chess team, the any team. And a Valedictorian. The most respected citizen on the east coast! Most-Wanted I am now, and most wanted I was then. I suppose I did have certain odd tendencies.
“Yet I had saved more than just lives.
“I saved you money*. And that is all the more important why you should let me live. Isn’t that what your after when you say you’re after me? Restitution. Repayment. Revenge.
*(By baby sitting for free)
“I even had the government in hot pursuit of my abilities, my genius. They said, “Sir, your genius is showing,” and I said, “Ah!!! I thought I had that zipped up,” and zipped it up. Oh, but I’m kidding. Put down that rock, you! I’m telling a story.
“As one weird man who shares my fate once said, if you recall, a wise Mr. Ted Bundy the Child Molester: ‘We are your sons and your daughters.’
“We perverts and we creeps and we stalkers and we weirdo’s, and whatever other label the English diction wishes to conjure up about us–we’re not so gruesome or unfeeling as you think we’d be.
“We are your next door-neighbors, your friends, your family.
“So, we, in a sense, are almost You. But we’re not.
“Now I want to tell you my story–how this ordinary ‘you’ developed.
“Abominations such as I do not simply become what we are overnight.
“There is a pattern; there is a stage; there is a procession.
“And, ladies, forgive me, yet it must be said, it all began with a little thing called masturbation. Ha-ha.
“Then dirty magazines I found in the dumpster–no, not in a dumpster, but in a sewer scribbled with graffiti my friends had dared me to venture when a child. That thought grew into an obsession–written on a wall.
“Then online pornography.
“Then video tapes I would barter off relatives.
“I’d do anything for a breast, a nipple, a boob.
“I’d go so far as sell my own semen, and that was half the fun! J I’m talking fast now. Don’t sit down.
“So long as I could get it, in whatever form it took: my addiction this was. And yes–I say addiction for it is an addiction. This sound unbelievable to you?
“I would better wish that it was some other material of abuse–at least that is something I can boast about, something that’s not attached to my own body.
“Nicotine; crack; angel dust; ecstasy–I would sooner wish it was one of these, yet not porn. Porn is forever attached.
“Yet unlike them–(and it is hard for me to say this and I scarcely doubt you will believe)–porn can change you into the very rapists of the alleyways, the stalkers of online chat rooms, the serial murders of the FBI’s Most Wanted–that unlovely, demented cartoon-cut-up face on a cereal box.
“And Do Not Doubt It! For you are looking into the face of one so trans-morphed by pornography now, right now.
“I. The infamous Creep who you so favored when in youth–am. proof. of. that. And-I-am-not-alone.
“There are thousands of me, I know, and elsewhere. Some of them in jail, many more at home, pants down round the ankles, with a fist full of skin, hand on the mouse, eyes on you. Don’t laugh.
“We still prowl for game in the corners and avenues of your cities even as we so discuss it.
“Yes–thanks to American’s indulgence in the pursuit of happiness–We are allowed to continue in this way everywhere. Nudity is no illegal thing–so long as you have a camera and a roll of tape to record it. But who cares.
“And yet, in the midst of the wilting of my addictions, there came a fair blossoming flower that sprouted up for me a little hope from the rocks.
“And that flower was my first love.
“Sure! There was a day, as those days come in the beginning of youth, that I fell in love, even in the midst of my obsessions. The night was peppered with stars.
“And now, I tell you, even now, I recall her still: her touch was so close, near fear–so mine.
“For I am part of her story.
“I met a girl. Your own daughter, Misses Marjorie, who I behold in the audience, and I am violently disturbed for hurting her so.
“But I loved her.
“You cannot tell me that a creep such as I had never known his fair quality of love; had never felt the warm touch of a woman’s tickle on my face or the smell of her hair or the incense of her mouth so close to mine. “I took her here. ‘But The Children Were So Looking Forward To a Hanging!” Yes, we’ll see to that later.
“And we talked, of dreams and delusions, for that is what all things were clinging to the edge of the pier.
“But I never talked of this.
“My addictions to porn and poetry were dirty, yet beautiful to me.
“I was torn by the lusts of my first love and the reality of how my addictions would hurt her.
“For your beautiful daughter, Marjorie, I had this–kinky thing. My kink was we would whisper at near ear-biting distance those little secrets only explored by candlelight when all celestial illumination is caught on the edge of night, yellowing in sunlight, touched to gold by old memories. I’m mocking you because you put a stick in my leg. Will you take it out?
“And as I reached for my kink, she reached out for me, and I placed my tongue deep and quiet in her mouth, spiraling round*.
* Why am I telling you this? I think you should know I had love.
“Never wanting to let go–Ever in need to stay in this moment. A joining of souls.
“But I was trapped, even as I loved your daughter, Marjorie, I was trapped!
“Because, as The Creep, I can solemnly pledge to you simply this: Lust can own anyone of us. Lust takes up massive amounts of head space and will make you miserable with love.
“But even as I thought of how my addiction might affect or even ruin my liaison to your most worthy daughter, Marjorie, who I assure you, I loved even to her death bed–her death was less painless than her life*–this burning inside me fooled me so that I thought myself impregnable from such rumors as the Fall. For sooth! * more beautiful in death than in life
“How could I, the All-American Eagle Scout, who wished only to love and then to baptize, ever be enslaved to an addiction to lust everlasting?
“Love would prevail for me and Julie, the red-lipped daughter with the raven black hair–I mean, wouldn’t it?
“I’d be off to college soon and my ministry would be forever.
“We would be married soon and our marriage would be forever.
“It would be a new life soon and that would be forever.
“Because as I looked into that waxen face in that exact moment, even though it began to rain and our clothes were wet and our hair were ragged mops on our heads and we could hardly wink without a splash in the eyes, I saw raindrops smiling on her in water-color droplets.
“And I knew love would prevail over lust.
“Surely, it would.
“I knew it would. It-practically-had-to.
“So why didn’t it?
“Why am I this vile–thing?
“How could I ever become. . a creep?”
“WE MARRIED, I HAD soon become a respected citizen, and a respected leader in my church with a faith that seemed strong, and a stronger relationship with my wife and kids.
“Yet I still held stronger to my addiction.
“And now, I fear, I must become a tad less formal with you, my home. “Because wilting is not a thing that can be graced over so easily with quick use of linguistic skills, nor the sharp quill of the tongue.
“I must speak as I felt myself speak back then, in that age, in that dialect, in that time and season in my life–and why?
“So-you-may-know how I felt back then..
“Forgive me the obscenities, yet this-is-how it happened and this-is-how I felt–in the summer of my own wilting:
“I cheated on my wife. A girl.
“On a woman. Her breasts outweigh her head.
“Gravity worked harder that day. Construction workers were falling out of the scaffolds they worked on–steel beams and girders trippin like Newton apples on a tree.
“On top of that, or below it–whatever side of her you want to be on–Jackhammers worked overtime drilling on the roads just to work out Collective Man’s sexual frustrations.
“And those who dared sneak a second peek turned their heads a little too fast and got their necks corked that way for a while. Some double-checkers got whiplash.
“I’m telling ya: When you can stop traffic just by walking through it, you know you’re beautiful. Either that, or stunningly ugly . . . Or you’re the Chicago Police.
* those are supposed to look like vaginas. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never seen one.
hey, you, listen!:
Those six bubblies up there are supposed to look like vaginas somehow.
It’s supposed to be artsy. And subtle.
Somehow. I mean, in a way.
“The next day: ‘How was she?’
“Women are superheroes that way.
“ ‘Was she good?’
“Comparisons, comparisons. I got up and left the place.
“Her name was Julie, and I dedicate to her this book.”
A BARTENDER’S LAMENT
“I drank my money.”
Says Marjorie to The Creep, “So that’s what happened to my daughter.”
The Creep nods, head still wilting towards the ground as his fingers comb the dust as if they were the lovely body of a corpse, and her young hands.
“You broke her balls, you know,” says Marjorie, taking a tremendous step towards him; and it could be said that the veins of her head were going boom, boom, boom. She even said it, “I don’t know what to say, so I’ll just tell you what my heart says: ’Boom. Boom. Boom.’ Julie never loved again. Every time we’d come to meet her, The General and I, we’d tell her to find another man, but she wouldn’t have for one. She always did like you, Billy, and for what, I don’t know. I told her to catch another disease, we both did, but she just—-wouldn’t.”
A face in the crowd plucks up a stone and flings it at The Creep, barely scraping his face and leaving a cold trickle to river down his cheek. In cold blood. The Creep puts a fist to his face and rubs the color into his face till it makes him blush.
“Keep doing that, and I could get stoned. Then people might throw rocks at me. Ha-ha! YOU-GET-IT? I know, Marjorie: I deserve it. I know.”
“You killed her, you damned pervert,” this message brought to you by Marjorie. “She died as your widow fifteen years later, hunched over in that same chair, looking out to the sea and staring towards that stupid carnival.”
“Don’t be so dramatic.”
She stops suddenly, to allow her breast room to swell, while she turns her swollen eyes towards The Creep where he lays crouched in the dust.
“She stayed in that same position, in that same chair, we couldn’t move her!–not till they came with the box to take her the day she went sick in the head! That’s what happened to your dear, sweet Julie–if you’re still wanting to know.”
The Creep laughs, but only weakly, then he looks up to Marjorie and attempts a faint, wry smile, an any-smile, but no cattish grin comes; then shaking, wilting, fading, his eyes roll back into the dust and he begins to doodle again.
This is his tale of the day after
day after —
DAY WAS the worst day of my life. I only saw Candy twice after that; the first was a one night stand and the second was a two: She was in the arms of another man, and I don’t do that threesome thing.
“But after losing my love in Julie and those beautiful hands, and my lust was Candy and those knockout tits of hers, I got even more depressed. And I know: I killed her spirit, and I am sorry. But that is part of my tale and I cannot omit it from you.
“Anyways, after Love and Lust were gone, so fell my self-esteem, and I too turned to addiction, and more so than those L-words I left behind.
“Between the dimensions of a Playboy Magazine and the Maxim Hotties, The Creep was my addiction; my addiction was me.
“Then, one day, a bad person–but a good friend–called.
“It was Simon: the boy sailor and renowned traveler of the world who–in memory–with me had shared Dreamers’ Peak. This is ridiculous. To grow up in two places!
“Let’s skip this part, and move on to how I really changed. I can tell you all are pressuring me for time.”
I got so depressed I resolved on lust and lust only.
“I wanted to destroy something beautiful.” / This was to the question, “What did you do to my child?”
What happened in between is I’m lying. I got into rape because I found no other way to satisfy my addictions, my pornos, my lust. Maybe I’m just crazy!
“I take them, all lined in a row–there is so much to do!–making love with the graveyard shift. It’s a craft of necromancy.
“My whole social life became a pornography.
“It was then that virtual porn and paper couldn’t satisfy my lust. And I couldn’t get any sex. I was all out of money. I never got that job, and my family kicked me out for stealing.
“So I began to rape. And I could only muffle the first screams by kicking them, and the kicking eventually killed one, so I decided I might as well just kick the next. That killed that one, too. I threatened one at knifepoint, and she fell into the blade. It’s an old serial killer’s joke, I know. They just kept dying on me! But you don’t believe me. Why don’t you believe me? Because I was too nice?
“Am I now after a divorce, and an affair, and losing my children, my home? And my hair?
“All those crimes I was accused of by you and by them are more than true and even you can’t prevent forest fires–I haven’t accounted me for all of them. I suppose I did it because I didn’t feel I could ever do it with another woman again.. I couldn’t do it the regular way, not after I destroyed Julie’s heart. Yes, her heart.
“I stalk them on the internet, I trick them on the streets; me, my ten-gallon hat, and a yellow trench coat. Some call me Dick Tracy. My victims just call me ‘Ahhh!’ And scream. You still don’t believe me. It’s the addiction. And bad luck. They kept falling into my hands!
“I’m a scream. I was sick of loving relationships. I was distempered as a child, why not distemper a new generation. I was touched by my uncle. I’m rambling.. Or maybe I’m just crazy. Would you put those stones down if I were mad?
“World-renowned as prime molester of children and brutal murderer of many, many more, and WAIT!: There’s still more . . .
“I’ve even sucked the dicks off young boys; and the lesser gender of babes. It’s the porn.
“I have raped many in the mouth, I am not proud to mention, though some admire my manner of attack. There is nothing more deadly in a director-del-muerto’s arsenal than a strategically placed song. And I loved it, and I loved myself!
Cat Steven’s “Where Do the Children Play?”
I’m not playing this music.
“I was soon discovered–thank God.
“I lied that whole time by the way. I did it all because I wanted to. My first kiss was with my uncle when I was not even 10.
Oh, I know we’ve come a long way, /
We’re changing day to day, /
But tell me, / where do the children play?
“So the beast in me was put in shackles and caged–accused, convicted–publicly humiliated–sat on trial and sentenced to death row.
“And from that time forward in my waking life, I will refer to myself in this story by the name they, the public, knows me. For it is plain to all that I am no longer Billy Jake the innocent, the pure, the All-American Eagle Scout from Emerald Coast.
“I am a creep.
“And I was still The Creep, even in jail those thirteen Christmases I stayed there as a bride in waiting for her husband Death to finally be carried out and stoned, fit in a casket filled to the lip with necrophilia.
“And so, this is the last scene I will show you, as I sat slack-jawed, staring into the wall of my granite prison and thanking Jesus I wasn’t outside those padded walls, raping kittens.
“This chaplain–a Baptist, of course–came to me in my time of want, offering me a Bible one day.
“I covered my mouth to burp air politely, turning the page of a book with the glue of a wet finger as the chaplain smiled down upon me.
“The chaplain smiled sadly and he might have said something about Thou Shalt Not Burp as a joke or he might have said something else about grace, but to be honest, I wouldn’t have listened to either of them even if it was the key to unlocking my shackles.
“I insulted the book.
“‘How can you say such things?’ said the chaplain.
He said something about it being the book of our forefathers.
“‘And probably of our foremothers too,’ I said. ‘But you come here, not knowing a guy, my past, my memories, and you stand there ready to condemn an already condemned man.
“‘And maybe he is the god of your forefathers, but not mine. I am disowned. This whole world, the whole Faceless Entity, they hate personalities that have lived to kill. I was kicked out of my own congregation! Even now I feel the hellfire burning from your breath, chaplain, and it pains me. It rubs me the wrong way. You know there’s a right way to rub me–I know that way coz I’ve done it in the john every Sunday night; but not this. Now I must ask you politely to get the feck away and bring that book with you. I contemplate Steinbeck’s East of Eden and require nothing more than to finish and forget.’
“The chaplain threw the hood over his head in mourning of my future-death and left. He didn’t look mad. He looked disturbed.
“Lay, lady, lay. Lay across my big, brass bed.
“Staring into granite wall of white-wash and red brick, I shake my head, I quake it–I knew my place in the universe was to be the abomination stoned, and driven off a cliff. But first I’d get stoned on milk cartons–of the city of lost children gone missing at my hands–and then: people would throw rocks at me. I loved myself then, and I laughed! I’d almost fooled you all into believing I was a good person. But won’t you stick with me a bit longer. It gets better. I loved to lie.
“But I’ll be a good boy about it. I know it must be done. Stick for stick, bruise for bruise. Paper always beats rock. The scissors is smashed upon the capstone.
I know we’ve come a long way, /
We’re changing day to day, /
But tell me, / where do the children play?
“Thus knowing that if I walked into a bar no one would nurse my forty licks, and I fell asleep with a volcano in one eye and a subtle knowing of ‘The End’ in the other; awaiting the devil to greet me in the land of Mordor, in the fires of Mount Doom.
“Maybe he, at least–would show me some sympathy.”
We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.
That place is near Your home. Right in Your backyard, r’member?
Can You see it?
It’s right out the door.
THE CRAZY ONE
“AND THAT’S how I became The Creep,” says Billy Jake. “Maybe I’m a little crazy.”
The town of Emerald Coast drew back into the dust, still figuring–measuring the former hero of their town and of their nation with their hearts–still wondering if what he said was truth or fable, and even if it were the truth, why should that stop them from condemning him?
What can The Creep do but smile, the same crimson plop rivering down a cheek from where Marjorie had thrown first stone?
What is a Creep? Who was this Billy Jake?
Why should we trust him? Was he lying? I’m not asking you to like him.
Marjorie stands back, her face hid deep inside her armpit, and the corpulent shades in the Faceless Mob laugh, but only nervously, and you–The Warrant Officer–bulge a hole ten-miles wide from out the crowd, standing before The Creep who stood silent and alone at the tippety-tip-top of that gnarled old hill: Dreamers’.. Er, Peak.
“Tell me: How did you escape?” you say this, and you kick a pebble into the salty green puddle below as the noon-tide work with the moon to pull the cliffs of the East back into the ocean.
The Creep looks up into the glaze of an eye, and you wonder, perhaps wondering how it happened that night–how could it? How does a man escape at all from a maximum security craphole–why does he wear himself out to come so far as to return to his own hometown where he knew none would accept him?
“Tell us that, and maybe we’ll cut your noose some slack, ” says Marjorie.
“You–You–and you and you and you–You are concerned that much with my tale that you really would wish to know?”
and so, The Creep strikes again. “I thank you. Perhaps this story of mine, maybe it will become more than real to you as it is re-told and re-analyzed by the cunning of a mind collective. Would you still listen, even if you would not believe it to be any more than fairy tale deception by a perverted Mother Goose?”
A few in the Faceless Mob nod their heads–many more grit white teeth–as they pick free their stones thin enough to drive through his thick forehead and shatter the white glass below into a complexion of ripples.
But this doesn’t happen–yet. You raise high your gun, waving its free arm into the cloud. All you need do is motion but a hand towards The Creep and you say, “Continue,” you say, and they stop as fast as a neon, octagonal sign might stop a prude. It’s interesting. Hear it out first.
Nodding slow, The Creep curls back into Buddha-position and begins to doodle.
“This may be the tale of the pervert, twice removed,”states The Creep. “But I will show you the life of a martyr.” No, I won’t! We won’t let you!
“I WAS an echo of a person–once humanoid–now a bitter taste of a man, humanity removed. Vengeful. Drop a dollar down a cliff.
“Nothing but the clothes off my back. Only a shell of what a man once was, and the time before, and the time before that.
“And then the uniform strode in. The Warrant Officer, who stands before you today, was a uniform back then in the quaint hospice of that jail, but you knew that. It was The Warrant Officer what watched over me in an atmosphere–”
“None taken,” you say. “Now get on with it.”
The Creep continues to doodle. “I escaped,”he says. “Does it matter how I escaped? I escaped.”
“ARE YOU SERIOUS?” you say.
“Yes, I’m serious,”says The Creep. “I’m defending my life here, Why wouldn’t I be serious? Or is this all a joke to you?”
“How I escaped is besides the point. It’d be a long, boring process to explain in detail what I did to get out of death row and near just as ridiculous, believe you me.
“Let me rephrase that: That’s not how I escaped, how I escaped is besides the point. What I escaped to is right on. What happened after–well–that’s a truth I don’t quite know how to sell.”
imagine: This is where Your face gets purty (A Saint’s Confession)
Outside, there is a certain stillness in the air.
He says he feels like a —
0 0 0
0 0 0
zero . . . ” 0
0 0 0
0 0 0.
He asks you if you agree.
The Creep strikes again: “Working late, my friend?” He’s still in jail.
You blink rapidly, then shake the demon out your mind. You answer, “Yeah, but I get off soon.”
The Creep beams at you, all teeth. You count all the teeth. There are ten too many–the grin of a sweet-toothed croc. “You know,” says The Creep. “I used to work a lot too. I used to think the more I worked, the more I’d get accomplished. I’d work for days and days on end, Thanskgivings, Easters, Christmases, Quanzas, putting in maybe 20 hour days for two weeks straight a go, thinking the faster I ran, the soon I’d get somewhere.
“I’d burn out for a month or so. I’d get so tired.”
He takes the toothpick out of your sandwich and expertly plucks it between his teeth too many. “I used to wonder why I was so tired, even though the fact was blatantly obvious.” Normally, you would have done something about that sandwich dilemma. If it was any other serial murderer. With this one, it was just disarming. His smile was so relaxed, so perfect. His cell must get real good dental.
And you thought those FBI Most Wanted photos had to look criminal. This one looked like a talk show host.
“So I cut back on my work, spent more time with friends, at least the ones I liked. Tried working consistently–just a little bit a day–sometimes only one or two hours.”
Then the Creep watches you with that crocodile grin of his. “Something wrong, my friend?” he says.
But you look away. “I know–what-you-did.”
An uproarious laugh. “My friend! Ha! Oh-my-oh-my, oh gee!” blurts The Creep. Then shaking his head: “Child–Everyone knows what I did. It’s out there blaring incessantly on the 5 O’Clock news in every TV set in every home. Don’t believe everything they say. The furry brooms in my nose are near as famous as Hitler’s inkblot stache by now, or haven’t you been tuning in?”
You take a coffee mug and test the solidarity of the bars–tap, tap, clang. “No one’s escaped from this federal hell.”
“You learn a lesson at the end of each episode. It’s heartwarming. It really is.”
He crashed back onto his bunk and immediately began snoring, though you knew him for a cheap imitation; his eyes stayed wide open so to speak. They kept the walls watched, staring at you even as he slept.
You briefly look away and as you do you hear a noise:
There is a swift blast of sunshine-a door squeaking ajar-a mumble of wind; a blue rainstorm in a gathering dark; a hurrying of footsteps walking on the cloudlike imaginings of someone who perhaps never even existed.
That was when you realized:
The Creep had just escaped . . .
“THE PIGS, THEY OINKED as they tracked The Creep from his point of leave.
“The sirens, they rang loud and high and clear.
“I crossed rivers, I swam deserts; I jumped mountains, I braved swamps; I dove into the black heart of a forest cultivated by ever-pouring storm, and gardens grown through sweat, but still, The Warrant Officer and your suits chased me mile by mile stone, inch on inch. With dogs.
“Through the blue-beak embers of a scarlet twilight in burning, I spotted a broken house, an old, abandoned fun one; so I bolted inside as the pigs porked outside, The Warrant Officer reciting its accusations–mongrels barking.
“I saw, that fun as it was, it was a small, unpainted house, slumped over to one side; blown off its foundations. Slouched like a hunchback.
“The whole floor moved, I saw it crawling–really, the floor was one of rats. You could hear the mice connecting male and female cogs in the walls. ‘Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Oh boy!’ There’s Mickey getting his hot rocks off right now.
“Thunder flashed and enlightened to me, for the briefest of instants, that there were no floorboards, unless you count the cockroaches that were an ever-changing floor of brown motion, brooding beneath me.
“I wandered lonely as a cloud, till I came upon this musty sanctuary. I wasn’t about to throw myself back into the agony of lost souls just yet. In a word: state penitentiary.”
“So I broke out through the in-door, and I escaped some more.
“It was then I thought of maybe going back to my own town, my own bed, my own–the word makes me vomit–family, and maybe even see Julie and tell her I was stupid and I would never be stupid again. I’d got edge-juh-mih-cated.
“So I left the present and traveled to the past, across seven states and to my own home in Emerald Coast, and twas there I looked through the window of my old house and I looked up Julie, but Julie wasn’t there.
“So I body slammed through the door and peered inside the house, but it was abandoned and Julie still wasn’t there. It was just as well. I counted it her loss.
“So I checked a service back at the old church I used to pastor, but when I stepped inside, me fiercely bearded like a homeless drunk on binge and needle, few carrying hymnals in their hands avoided me, others carrying news brought me in and sat down beside me, swapping handshakes; still others ignored us for the stench of me–like I’d just come out of a boghair. Which I did. So I thought, ‘I won’t find grace here–not looking like this. Not yet.’
“I left Emerald Coast that yester’s-eve and traveled a rectangular state or two away until I came across a bridge, which, to this day, I have yet to cross.
“A dry river bed.
“I dove underneath that bridge, clothed in a coat of night, till I saw nothing but the rushing lights of a highway passing overhead.
“There is a fifth dimension–beyond suburbia. Homeless they are, and struggling under bridges and alleyways everyday–just for enough bread and oxygen to survive; and 2 parts hydrogen for a drink. Addicts, all of them, of some kind. This is a land of drunks and a world of druggies–a dimension where a bottle is a wet nurse and a maid, and here I join them, resolving to be drunk and bitter and vengeful for the rest of my Thanksgivings, sitting like a princess perched on her electric chair, complaining only about that can of peas buried six mattresses below.
“But such places are better than death. There were sunny days, beautiful! days in paradise. I’m rambling.
“Now and then it would rain.
“But as paradise it was, as the green grass grew greener in the corn-colored rain of all our happy suns–it was nothing to me.
“As bright as the light of day was, I saw only darkness.
“As beautiful as the world was to everyone but me; I knew only spite.”
oh nooh no
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Question: What does the flame of a candle look like after it goes out?
Sale Sale Sale
flowers for sale flowers for sale
flowers for sale!
flowers for sale flowers for sale
flowers for sale!
flowers for sale flowers for sale
flowers for flowers for
for sale flowers for sale flowers for!
For sale flowers
Flowers For sale
For sale flowers.
1) The Little Girl On The Bottom Of a Lake (ROTTING):
She is a flower that blooms for half an hour.
It’s a terrible thing he’s done.
REDEMPTION UNDER A BRIDGE / the longest mile
“I CAN ONLY DESCRIBE the next turn of events like an awakening from reality to a dream.
“Before, when I was a perverted, raging drunk of a man, killing and raping and brutally murdering. Yes, before it was like I had lived the life of a nightmare!
“Dark clouds, thunder, and lightning came with me everywhere I went. Surely, I’d walk into a restaurant and order maybe the house special, a little fish and chips, and the waiter friend would ask, “Hey, are these thunderclouds with you?”
“I started to cry.
“THOSE DON’T look like vaginas to me this time. They look like bellybuttons.
Consider me reborn.
Here’s an ink blot:
What’s it look like to you?
(.)(.)(I have a belly button.)(.;)(.)
hat’s she now?
What was she before then?
A hobo and a crook.”
And the time before, and the time before that?
Look, I’m only saying what I see, and what I see is–Oh, I get what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to make me tell you she used to be a lil baby chile, and just because the doctor cut her umbilical cord and slapped her bare behind–that makes her a human being, which thereby gives her worth? Is that it?”
I’m not the one who said it. You said it.
...(respect the button.).
THE NEXT day, The Creep, as I knew me, crept over that guy who had given me the Holy Book and I said,
“ ‘Rod?’ I said. “Do you think?–I mean, could God ever forgive a nutcase like me?”
“‘Creeper Friend. Don’t be silly. All men think.’
“He told me yes,’ says The Creep. “So I asked him how he knew.
“He said, ‘Kid, I’ve been in some bad places too.’
“‘That’s only because you want to be forgiven,’ I said. ‘What if God hasn’t forgiven you?’
“He smiled, a lipless skull, he was . ‘You’re afraid of this fire, aren’t you?’ said Rod. ‘Why?’
“‘Because–that is my fate,’ I said.
make this a musical.
(belly.) (button.) (belly.) (button.)(peanut-butter jelly time.)
“HALF a mile down the highway, and they helped me get dressed too–cleaned up, shaved up, and in a suit worthy enough to walk the street walks without being stared at. The hobos. I told them to stop shaving me, that I needed the beard.
“I stopped by the village square. Some woman got in front of a truck, and I tripped and fell over her.
“And there she was, and I was right on top of her. Just saved her life.
“To be honest, I got a boner again, and signed to verify that I received the package. Yet again aroused by her youthful beauty, she was the one who talked first, not me, ‘Thanks for everything, jerk,’ she said in that sweet, seductive way you’d imagine Candy to have made love to me the day I cheated on my wife.
“Instead of running the other way, like I should, I couldn’t move from that spot. I was too afraid and aroused all at once. Plus, I had my hand stuck on her zipper, and there was nothing doing.
“Still, she stood me up on my feet–wiping the cement blocks out of my newly torn new blue jeans, and putting one hand to her hips as she pressed a cigar to her lips, she said, ‘I think you saved my life.’
“She trusted me enough to escort her down a long, dark hallway. Home.
“She said she was a prostitute, and that she should thank me properly.
“I said I didn’t believe her, and she, you’re right. I’m kidding.
“I took her out for coffee instead.
“‘I’m Jezebel,’ said the prostitute.
“‘Well that gives away your personality, doesn’t it? Might as well call you Big Mama’s Place: Get-Laid.’ I almost gave in.
“Clothes flew off. Buttons were disassembled. Zippers were undone. But I didn’t say they were my clothes—-or my buttons. True, a zipper was unzipped, but that was only because I had to use the can; and she only took off her clothes because I had decided to treat her to a shopping spree–my treat; and she had to use the ladies’s changing room! I had some money, honestly, because I — stole it.
“After that, she took me to the nearest Motel 6.
“The bed was perfumed.
“And that small little girl of ten and nine years had me on my back. I almost gave in. But I stopped her. We went out for a second coffee.”
She said, “Won’t you come to bed with me?”
“I drew the line. ‘In the morning, you would be dead.’ I drew.
“She had cried herself to dehydration. She said I was sick. I said, ‘Look in the mirror. You need a hose.’ I gave her a glass of water.
“So I took her out for coffee one morn, but she said she didn’t like coffee either. Gave her migraines in the way that a headache makes the head feel larger. So we both bought mango slushies instead, which gave us both brain freezes, but that’s beside the point. It was then she started blabbing about life.
“‘I was the victim of familiar abuse,’ she said.
“ ‘That’s great! So are we!’ and I invited her down to Rod and the whole hobo family.
“Candy might have passed for Jezebel’s mother.
“Just believe me, kid, when I say—-it isn’t me. . .’”
She married Rod.
“THEIR wedding sucked.
“‘Weddings are gay.’
“Here the ring bearer piped up: ‘But it’s your wedding, Mac; so that means — ’
“‘Shut up!’ said Rod.
“ ‘The Government!’ It was a hobo wedding.
“Yes, as disgusting as wedding bells underneath interstate viaducts may sound, it was the most beautiful thing you ever saw; if you could be me, if I could be you.
And here—in this crap hole—under. neath. this. bridge———————I knew I was home.” Um.
You can see clearly now the blood is gone, You can see all obstacles in Our way
“WHEN’D YOU decide on coming home?” says Marjorie.
The Creep stares at her with eyes in storm and rains on her parade,
“When I felt it was time I face the lies and show the world that people such as I can change–change their hearts. What? Don’t you buy it?”
Marjorie laughs. “I don’t believe it. True, you’ve always been a tad–expressive; your web of lies is intricate, and your tongue drips the honey of persuasion, though your story is full of holes. But I’ve always known you to hide that Poker face behind a smile. You can’t hide those lying eyes.”
The Creep looks up to her and feels the wet shine on his cheek where she threw the first pebble and here he croaks,
“Ribbit.” Then he says,“Say I don’t love you, and then we’ll know who the real liar is, Marjorie, O mother-of-mine. Alas! I think now I will tell you the rest of the story, and we’ll see whose truth is true. How did I come here–and why have I come back if I knew you would reject me, as a body rejects the sting of a human splinter?
“Of course, I don’t know.
“I thought maybe, if I’d been accepted by the homeless, that the familiars I had grown up with, my town, my paternals, my brothers, my sisters, that maybe they’d accept me. Why didn’t you?
“I understand if not. You didn’t know I had changed my luck, but even if you did believe I could change a pair, I still wonder–would you hold me up on your shoulders, as in glory days?
“Anyhow, I decided to go home.
“My mind got so loaded with memory I must’ve sprung a leak, because my stomach cramped and I sorta hurled down on the side of the road, as my friends looked on to Emerald Coast dawning up on us, blue and cold, and sat me down on the side of the road, okaying me until I got the final go, that yes, I could walk again. I’ve run this far. Rod and Jezebel went with me. What a name!
“When my world had finally turned to salt, I leapt skyward and began to speak excitedly about my hometown in the high, beating voice you’d imagine a hummingbird to gossip with her girlfriends, and me, the caged song-lark. Maybe they’d accept me.
“We threw open the doors of my old church and made it straight for the center pews.
“I realized then, that in the course of a lifetime, I’d touched a lot of people. If I made it, I’ll touch many more. I could’ve touched America–I won’t say where. So we left.
“The Creep and his newfound friends voyaged to my own house, and I stared up into the eyes of my dear old Dad as he opened the door, then it slammed shut, but this time it wasn’t the wind. It was then I saw five tiny fingers intercept the resounding slam and then pry open the door. It was a gnarled old claw that stayed it. It was the face of my mother. The only one that could’ve forgiven me.
“‘I’ve been waiting, Billy,’ said her mouth, but not so her eyes. ‘Did anybody follow you? Have you brought back that porno tape you stole off your father?’
“I shook my head and the happy couple shook theirs.
“‘I’ve been praying for your safe return, but you can’t stay here,’ said Mother Dearest. ‘It’s not safe here, you must leave. Now. I’m afraid they will–I can’t say what they’ll do if they see you. It’s a season of terror on the Television, and the episodes aren’t over. People are unpredictable. Many hate you here, many are nice enough, but they won’t forgive you your reputation. It has shamed the denizens of Emerald Coast and all their family lines. Many in our home has been unjustly accused because of you.’
“‘But why do they blame you, Mom?’ I said.
“Father said to give him some milk!! / ‘What’s the magic word?’ / ‘NOW.’ Then he smiled and said he was only kidding. He strutted over to me, picked me up, twirled me around, kissed me roughly on the cheek, and sat down for excuse of bad back and stomach cancer. Said he’d have opened the door sooner, but he thought I was a Jehovah’s witness. He laid his head back down in his Chair and snored.
“Mama Dearest looked back towards the blur on the hill. An angry yellow cloud–perhaps not a cloud, but a smog–had risen in fumes of exhaust over on top of it. ‘You know I forgive you, son, but that’s my job–I give birth to you, and then I grow wise in all things but your mistakes. Christ forgive you, and I see a change in you still, but this place is a harsh world. They invite you in with open arms, but the moment you do anything tragic,
you become the eyelash in their eye,
the fly in their soup,
so busy blowing out smoke in every direction that we are all coughing on your second hand smoke, and such things are not tolerated. Not even if you saved a million lives for every life you took.
“‘Our family has been rejected in this town, we no longer set foot there. They spit on us, avoid us, send us hate mail, put cherry bombs in our mailboxes. Halloween pranks are the worst. We’ve tried moving, changing our names. But I could never part from this town. I was born here. I was raised here. I’ll die here. That’s what it makes it ours, doesn’t it? That’s why we belong.’
“‘Let’s go now, Daddy,’ said Jezebel, tugging on my sleeve.
“‘And who is this young lady, Bill? A friend; girlfriend.’
“I heightened my chin. ‘…A daughter.’
“Her tongue swelled up. ‘Goodness gracious me! You’ve had another daughter with another woman.’ She fanned herself, and started frantically to cook and clean things that simply weren’t there.
“Here I shook my head quite near as frantically, to reassure her. ‘Woman–I mean, she’s like a daughter to me. This! This is her husband,’ I pointed to Rod. ‘He’s a sorta son-in-law to me. They’re my new chain gang. It seems we’re attached at the hip.’
“She looked back to them both and the corners of her mouth raised their curtains and shone a light on us. ‘God bless your marriage,’ she said. ‘Come inside for now.’ Then stopped her frantic cleaning to frantically exchange this habit for another: Money-lending.
“‘I will provide you with every basic need you have to survive a 3-day journey in whatever direction takes you the heck out of here. But remember: as soon as you are prepared to leave, or even sooner, You-Must-Leave. Or-they-will-Find you. Our home is the first place they’ll look. They know I can’t blame you, even if your own dearest Dad has disowned you.’
“‘It’s a fad, fathers disowning their children,’ said Jezebel. ‘If the next generation only had someone to smack them up the side of the head every hour of their life, maybe they’ll realize how cool it is–to stay in school.’
“My mother took us inside and, briefly, I gave her my story, the same I told you, but only as slowly as her heart could digest it without going into a sudden coronary attack, and she said maybe I should sell the movie rights to some big-time record producer, or Hallmark, and have it turned into a card.
“She said I could make a pretty penny out of it, and live on in the hearts of the millions who’d been touched my it. I said I’d be happier living on in my apartment. Her favorite part was the hot and sweaty sex parts, to which I responded, ‘Ma!’ and she said, ‘I believe you, I get you, Billy ole boy’ she said, when I said I’d since cleaned up all the kinky stuff since The Creep incident. It is a mother’s right to be naïve.
“It was Rod who stood on guard, peering into the other room where my father was lounging in snores, not watching his favorite TV show, but claiming he did whenever you touched that dial.
“Rod said he wanted a word with him to straighten things totally out, but when he did look in the other room, he saw my father balancing a checkbook in one hand and a phone in the other. ‘
Sure do,’ he said into the receiver, just quiet enough for the clumsy of ear not to hear him, but just loud enough to tell us he was hard of hearing. Then he said: ‘He’s here alright. No, you don’t need a search warrant for this one. Just get him the hell outta here. Look: I don’t need him to endanger my old woman.’
“His eyes hung on Rod as he hung up the receiver and saw him standing there. Rod had told us right away.
“Father cocked his checkbook at us, mistaking it for a gun, and shouted, ‘Get out. OUT. Get out, ya bastard, leave–Take that abomination with you.’
“I heard that, but my mother refused to.
“He shot twice. The first shot missed. The other shot sunk my Battleship with its red Hit piece.
“So in the end, which is actually the beginning, I came, I went, I was already There! and I look to the boulevard where the gathering storm is building, and of the faceless mob, and still you are erupting from the schoolhouse doors of those who had heralded me in song, and so I turn to Rod and Jezebel and I tell them, ‘Quick: They won’t recognize you. Fall back into that mob and look just as outraged as the others. Call me pervert, call me creep, invent stories of me hay-rolling your sons and daughters to the death–I don’t care! There is safety in the body of the Mob so long as you’re one of them. Get over there!’
“They told me they had come with me this far and they couldn’t leave me, and if this was the way they met my friends and relations, my hometown, my school, my father, then they’d meet them head on.
“I told them next to the invention of inflatable pants, that was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard. I drew him a portrait of his tombstone, and gave him a clue. Tapping my teeth, I continued: ‘I was afraid of this–First thing out of jail, I’d go back home and get stoned. Then they’d throw rocks at me. They’ll nail you to the crucible if they know you’re my friends; just mosey on back into the crowd and act like you’re giving the wild goose the chase of the century. When I’m gone, leave. But do it now.’ And to think: this is how it all began. ‘Here they come.’
“And, as you know, You have committed no crime in giving me chase, for I am a man deserving of murder, as a child molester returning home; and it is now–no, it was then You gave chase–all through the sentimental twilight of that cobblestone town till I knew there was nowhere to run, nowhere to go.
“So my feet thought for me. Long days on the road can teach that to a foot. I didn’t know where they were thinking, feeling their way through the bitter dark, but they returned me to my childhood, to my memories, as together we climbed up this very hill, overlooking the phantom pier in a hometown called Emerald Coast, which is no home to strangers.
“It was Dreamers’ Peak where I threw starfish into the sea with Sailorboy Simon when we was young, wishing on starshine and waterbugs for dreams unfulfilled.
“It was Dreamers’ Peak where I met my first love Julie, and seized her in an eternal embrace which lasted half a second till the vow on our wedding hour.
“It was Dreamers’ Peak where I cheated with Candy.
“And it is Dreamers’ Peak that I now leave myself in your hands, in the jury of my peers, for your firm and final judgment.
“Something drew us all here, but I didn’t know what it was. Something nostalgic wreathed in a humor. Maybe for this reason I am here to tell you that I am changed, I am different, I am no longer just another creep. That not just for me, but for all mascara and monsters, that such a transformation is not too far from the World’s End.
“I tell you all of this, my father, my brothers, my sisters, my friends, my schoolyard, my hometown, my nation, my state of mind; my globular earth; and still, all I hear is a snowball-gathering echo and in that, a world in a raindrop, and further still, one single, solitary accusation, one condemnation, one lonely word, all by itself, which of all things–
“And I believe you.”
THE CREEP STANDS before a jury of his peers, awaiting a reply in dust as his fingers halt their doodling and he looks up, eyes glazed over like cherries.
Says one of two offspring, “You’re going to kill him, aren’t you?” See also: The End.
The Creep asks them to throw. They ignore it. He asks them to stop, and they pick their share of broken stones.
“You lack the courage of your conviction, sir,” says he. “Whatever it is that needs doing, Do it. Do it now.”
The mother is a silent g as in Lasagna. Not G as in Gregory, or G as in George.
Marjorie just shakes her wits.
So happy she could shake his hand, she points the finger. “Maybe he isn’t a liar, this Creep fellow,” she says. “But even if he is telling the truth, why in hell’s name should I pardon him for being the death of my daughter and god only knows how many HUNDREDS more?”
The tendency is to exaggerate. A 6-inch penis becomes a 12-inch sub. 200 hundred stitches become 3. How could half a hundred become tens of thousand?
“So what if he’s changed.”
If you could see the Creep, he looked innocent, and by that, many juries reach their verdict. If it’s looks, he’s got em. If it’s good genes, their blue.
Rod nods to them all. “It’s true.”
By some strange freak of chance, I was born–or say–created.
In the Faceless Mob, I look for my answer. There is one face undecided, with uncertain legs, and like a boat unsure whether the people should be on top or the boat–it kept wheeling round and round.
Maybe that face is you. Maybe you should make up your mind, and do it soon, or you’ll be regretting the day you saved my life. For the rest, they turn Sheeple–that is sheep and people mixed; or those what follow positively Baaing without question.
But he is not yet dead!
“Pervert. Weirdo. Predator. Freak,” says him, says I, says Billy Jake. “I know those are all negative labels we stamp on the foreheads of the people out there like me who struggle with sexuality–stalking, killing.
The Creep says, “If you have guilt on your conscience, sleep ain’t easy. But NOW I sleep the sleep of the righteous. I HAVE CHANGED.” It was a death-like sleep.
“Right here, now–This is a sexual congress. And I want to tell all you delegates — No, I want to tell the world out there that hates my guts, and that hate all these types of people. That would rather watch us burn on the side of a fence in the namesake of poetic justice.
“I want to tell you all this: We feel–cold and hot and sticks and needles.
“We love and hurt and hate just like anybody else. We know what it is like for two bodies to be traveling within one another, and for them each to be giving to the receiver’s end without due punishment of love.
“The water knows you — gets all over you — inside you. This sex craze is an emotion that makes you feel like you can float up to the tops off trees and walk among their branches — but that, in itself, is not Love. That is gold melting and running down into the gutters..
“But Love is more. Love does not bruise the sky nor punch the heavens in the gut. And it is not this pain I am feeling from you, this sizzling strawberry flesh oozing its sugared sweet blood!
He began to get poetic.
“When you’re feeling two feet small or just part of the scenery — when you have the feeling of being inside something when it’s raining just outside your window — just remember!
“We are your friends, your neighbors, and your college fraternity buddies.
“We are your brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers. We’re not all that different.
“For surely, When does some-body become some-one?
Then, He began to get truly poetic.
“I think of what my scab brother said–I forgot what he said. I think of the last thing that little girl I did did–picking her nose and her eyes. I think of Julie the first night I met her. Like starved hearts, our lips met.
“We come from the same mold–I too picked my nose and eyes when clothed in the garments of kidhood. We are closer to the dislocated heart of you and her and them and all these things than you can ever possibly imagine!”
“Hey, fuck you!”
“And you, and you, and you. All I must tell you before you either herald me as loser-freak and push me off that cliff over yonder is that I’ve changed. Um.”
And then he began to lose his breath.
“I say all this to you because you can’t explain a person back to life once regret for an innocent man has come and passed. It’s like hugging wind in your arms. I don’t crave flesh, I am physically neutered. I won’t go around harming You anymore.
“And I know all this doesn’t justify what I’ve done. In fact, you can lock me up. The pain I’ve caused you and you and you, and yes, You: The friends and family you’ve unpardonably lost,”
At this, he breaks out at the high crack of a whip and begins to rain, to croon, to gurgle, a child rearing out for his mother’s tit.
“I am at an apology for all I’ve done,”
says Billy Jake. “It pains me; and pain is red! I have the red footprints to prove it. The thing is: I have to live with all this. Guilt is the primal sense of justice weighing down on me everyday.
“Hey, fuck you!”
“I wish there was some way I could make everything right, I wish I could hate you too, but I can’t, I wish I could feel your throat. I wish there were more you’s.”
He seems to be talking to himself now. “Do the right thing here, baby. Treat me right. I think I took the wrong way home.
“Time has felt sorry for me, at least. At least, I aged well.”
All past expressions–smiles, frowns, everything, lingering in the wrinkles that played about his face, eyes narrowed with self-loathing, and the reason why humans love to hate. Listen!
“It wasn’t always this way. But now it’s time for me to leave. I hate myself more than you could guess, I’m so dry. Nothing I say or do will ever bring your little boys back. I’m sorry. I’m so — ” sorry for making it so flammable, says the fireman to the pyro.
There is a way of saying sorry that always leaves your ears full of sand: This was not one of them.
Don’t I deserve love and jewelry?
Whatever melts your butter.
His accusers shout and yell and screech at him to die.
“It’s unfair that he should die so soon,” says a faceless. Lashes made of fairy dust.
“He might of be tortured instead,” but this is merely a crumpled paper slam-dunked in the suggestion box.
“Mightn’t we do it sooner than later?” She tortures her lower lip with a nip of teeth. “There’s naught a thing he can do now to turn our minds.” Palms Will. Be. Greased. “Better do it now before he starts persuading with that oily tongue.”
How attached can you get to a hip?
The Creep is on his knees, but he is not begging.
“The crowds want a monster to gasp at, they want a villain they can label as evil, they want evil personified so they can kill it and snuff it out. Well, here I am. I am your monster, I am that villain. Kill me! I beg of you.”
Scratch that. He is begging.
His eyes are two big glugs at the Circle K so dilated they possess a lunar tide.
“Oily tongue, have I? Then my claws have broken the flowers of a thousand infants and seed the deaths of ten thousand more.
“I am destroyed by beauty.
“I am a dark lover who loves in a million directions.
“I am that oily seductress lying await in the weeds for the little ones to straddle by.
“I am a monster, yes. But henceforth! I cast off this mortal form, and toss forevermore the nickname, Creep.
“I am a monster, to be sure, but I am an innocent monster from this time on.”
No one knew how his twisted wreckage croaked it out. But what’s said is said and what’s done is did.
You might have rushed as they rushed, or you might have not, the entire earth of them, stampeding towards the Creep and his chair as one herd of Sheeple plowing over the ex-Roxanne and her hobo husband. You might have watched as the bride and groom were trampled on their honeymoon, till death did they part, and tough break: Only a few days after their night. But to be just as fair: You just as probably did not. They died in the stampede.
A grey world is rolling after me, to crush me as well!!
It’s horrible to be murdered, but to murder without stopping oneself, that is pain. You must be in agony to cause agony, watching with murderous intent. Murder is an art form in the states, a series of never-ending entertainments. Watch Cops Season 1, 4, and 7, to see!
But for now, a child molester returns home with greetings of: “You raped.”
“You destroyer of life.”
“You must die.” He is dying. That’s Die-ing.
He was scared he was gonna fall. Then he was scared he wasn’t gonna fall.
But The Creep should have been confident in his death. But in truth, the Creep was a wussy. A siss. His precipitation is enough to fill a tub. He cries and wails. He resorts to begging-
Loser. / Loser. /
Loser. It gets louder each time.
But the world calls him, “Liar,” and “Monster,” and here they pronounce his sentence in this declarative one, “We can’t stand your lies.” You and the rest of those sons-of-bitches. Says the Creep, “I never lied to you.”
Never believe a promise you hear in the dark. .
Here the Creep halts his begging to bow. He stares up to heaven listlessly, and peering through the cobweb mist and the celestial blur, he sees Jesus God in the sky on his throne as a sun filled with ice chips and there beside him sat his other two butt buddies that indeed, did stick together to the end, Jezebel and Rod, and they’re all there waiting for him fit enough to punch a hole in the sky as he experience a minor stormfront of hailing into submission, and here he smiles, saying, “Forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
Jesus blows for him a kiss; an air kiss.
But the last stone hits him, the stone his father threw. And the Sheeple rush on him, smothering his body with their stony hooves.
How to describe that breathless hour?
The cold air stings him.
A mob of hurt people issue out the war-song.
I am a horse, sitting, sobbing in the sideways rain.
Nameless. Faceless. Order of none.
The world is made of seasons such as this.
The sound of moving feet, the hunt, and the long, breathless silence that happens briefly afterwards is nearly over, but there are many more like Billy Jake that need be crucified. “Good hunting,” they say. / “Good hunting.”
“Finally, justice,” sings the mother. “Throw that body into that ocean now, willya? It’s gotta stink by now.” / “It does stink.”
Ashes peppered his body with cold feather-like sensations. The air stinks of flowers. It is a green stink.
The deed is done. They throw its twisted wreckage into the sea.
We bodies give up our ghost.
A man in the mob says, “Cleans out your liver to see a man scream like that,” and shivers. / “Let’s get the hell outta here. There’s blood on our hands.” / “We gotta clean that up too.” to sugar stain furniture with plastic sweat. / “I didn’t mean to run over the others–I didn’t see em, did you?” / “The mob sorta thought for itself. There wasn’t nothing we could do about it. I tried to stop em, I really did.” / “It’s a damn shame. They didn’t do anything to deserve it. It was only The Creep we was tryna get. They did nothing inherently wrong.” / “Let’s get the hell –” / “I heard you. Boys! We’re headin on out!” Then, to the first man: “Our job’s done here. This should never be speakin of ever again. It ain’t no real pleasure in life.”
There’s gotta be a lesson in all this; unfortunately, I can’t find it, so I’ll substitute my own: When treating hostages, treat them politely, however brutally..
So as the Creep in us dies, maybe he’ll be brave enough to whisper one word, one moniker. A name, a love, a life, a beauty who had waited for him in a chair overlooking the ocean-side: “Julie,” it whispers.
For Julie, the look comes easy.
“Good Riddance and goodbye,” says the world. Then, to the crowd: “I said let’s go, boys! What’s so goddamned interesting bout a man and his friends drowned in a puddle! I said, our job’s done here! Ain’t nothing to be proud of! Just remember to be careful on the way down the mountain.”
Here I’ve said so many words, and very little of them make any sense. All I can tell you is that I’m not alive to tell you this anymore, and there’s a friend out there jotting down the words he thinks I’d most likely think I might say without the words to think them.
My name is Ozzie Frankfertur, and–
I——I grieve. . . for the friend in you and the friend in me. And as that thoughtful ever-lovin bastard, The Creep, might have said, There’s a name for when the breathing stops.
When in doubt of the answer . . . refer all thought to me.
be: This is just to say I love You
This is just to say I love you.
Epilogue: Life Goes On . . .
3 . . .
6 Lions & 5 Bears talk
An EDITOR’S Note
Hi. This is
Ozzie Frankfertur speaking on the Future of this book. At first, Eddie and I thought we should change this part because of what happened to Jerky (Billy Jake Henderson), but then Eddie and I talked about it and we said maybe it’s best to leave it as is. It’s one of the few remaining things left of Jerky, originally intended in dreams of becoming a children’s story, but it never made it.
Let it alone and leave him speak, we said.
So we left it alone in the way of the Untouched, save just a few editorial liberties, what with grammar and all, among other English language evils.