Puerile. That would be the term to describe the letter below, the second installment from a string-tie folder of letters labeled "summer of 1988 to the spring of 1990." I pulled the folder out of storage, along with another string-tie folder that contained a spontaneous prose document called Shit Stinks that I wrote in 1991, during the second half of the Seahawks loss to the Falcons the weekend before last. Puerile and drunkenly sentimental, the letter is addressed to my friend Mark who was living and teaching English in Madrid. Mark was Bucky to my Captain America in the cruel story of post-university young men trying to actualize a Beat happening in a world based on wage labor. The gist of this epistle is that I am providing Mark comfort by criticizing a woman with whom he had a brief, aborted romance.
Mark those letters you wrote were great. Oh man, that condom that you ripped off your pecker after you gave Meredith a little of old what for, oh man, I was there. I was there in the room. Oh man, it was so good. That rubber was besmirched with your sea foam, and you yanked it off, and the floor greeted it -- it was like seeing a white glove tossed out of a car window. I was there. And I think that that's what writing is all about: namely, being put in a place where you're not and where you weren't and where probably won't ever be.
Your other letter, the one about traveling with your two dude friends, the one about getting drunk and stoned and then getting the ham crispy early in the morning while the others went back to the hotel room to sleep it off, well shit, that letter was like eating chocolate and forking into a bacon omelette and drinking a can of beer and sipping a cup of coffee and smoking a $3 cigar, all at the same time, all while standing on a Wall Street subway platform waiting for the 2 train to come and take me uptown. I really enjoyed them. You're my best friend.
I would've fired one off to you sooner except I thought you might be out here in New York in the first few weeks of August. So I didn't write, thinking that if I wrote you wouldn't get it by the time you left Spain. But I wanted to write you the whole time. Many times I checked myself. Oh well.
I look forward to your arrival. Jessica has moved out of her place in the East Village. She's up somewhere in the West 80s now. She came over the other day. It was a Saturday and I was getting back from work (I had gone in because we needed the overtime to pay August's rent). I got out of the elevator, walked to our door, opened it, strolled into the living room -- and there she was: sitting on the futon with two hands clasped around a water glass, knees pressed together. And right then it hit me -- something I had felt deep down all along but had never bothered to pump up to the ol' thinking machine -- SHE'S REALLY DAG NASTY. What I mean to say is that she's gross; she's banal and course and portly and cloddish and numb, like a mound of dirt in an orchard of walnut trees. -- It hit me right then and there, that flower that had taken so long to bloom bloomed right then and there and it shot colored petals straight through my brow. What a relief. I had always wondered why it was so difficult to talk to her, to get past all the bullshit and say what it is that had to be said (talking to her is like trying to claw through a plate glass window with your fingernails), and now I know -- she's infantile (if you had to choose one word to do the trick). I don't know where all this coming from. Jessica hasn't done anything to us, never has; in fact, we haven't really seen her in a while. Maybe that was it -- a new perspective after a bit of an absence. Anyway, the realization was spontaneous and benign. This doesn't make her an unworthy person mind you, it just puts things in perspective. Plus, I can now see clearly why she wasn't worth a second night's mounting. She's got very little in the way of sex appeal.
I've been alcohol free for four days now (that's a record, in my recent memory), but tonight it's four quarts and a loud stereo. The reason for this abstinence is that my sister and niece have been visiting for the last week. My sister is very anti-alcohol because of my Dad. But now she is gone.
The first few days they were here. I'd come back home from work with a couple of quarts of malt liquor. I'd slug 'em down pretty fast while she and Ashley were cooking dinner. I'd be talking with her, Shea's her name, swigging the Colt '45 and feeling it crawl and dance in my empty-stomach brain, and I'd have to make sure not to be too enthusiastic for fear that she'd classify me under the heading of demon breathing foolish Maloney drunk. I had to play it very straight, very sweet and understated. Children were about (my niece had brought her girlfriend along on her New York trip; they were playing with the computer in the other room) and my sister kept looking at me, searching my eyes for that telltale craziness, but I kept up the battle, kept pushing the juice down out of my head. -- There was no way I was going to show her what she wanted to see; I was fighting for team alcohol; I was fighting for all that is noble and true about every alcoholic that has ever lived. So I mastered myself -- no trip down to the deli for extra quarts. No way.
Dinner was made and we ate and I put on an album nice and low, and we talked ard I polished off the remnants of the second quart, and then, after about an hour, I walked into the bedrom and flopped down on top of the quilt and fell asleep. -- Drinking without showing that you're drunk, chalk one up for team alcohol.
A couple of weeks ago Ashley went out to Oregon for a vacation. She was gone for eight days. I was left alone in New York for the first time. The only person I had to care for was Snuz the cat. Every night I got fucked up. No hope, no future -- that's what it meant. Rambling around with fat flopping off my gut, sucking down pints of Harp and shots of Johnny Walker, I was a dog kicked in the side and told to get lost. I was looking for any comfort, any home. And the whole time I refused to eat. One night I drank from 5 o'clock to 2 o'clock, and all the time I refused food. I was Christ with a pint glass. What a buffoon.