Hey, look, I know she’s my sister. What do you think, I’m stupid? She’s my sister, I know that. But I mean, who are we kidding here? She’s a fox. I know, I know, of course, I know, that’s why I’m saying she’s a fox, cuz she is a fox. I mean you shoulda seen the way she came to the door Sunday morning. She had on this little see-through nighty thing, I mean fuck me, she was standin there and you could see everything. She’s like a goddess, man, I mean her tits are like peaches, you know, and you could see those nips, man, and they were hard. I couldn’t believe it, big spectacular nobby nipples, it doesn’t seem possible that the girl is sixteen years old. And legs, my God, the legs. She’s six feet tall, you know. Oh didn’t you know that? Yeah, man, she’s six feet tall. Well, of course, obviously, there’s the rub. Who wants to be standin there sportin major wood starin at your sixteen year old kid sister, I mean, come on, you know what I’m sayin? So I’m thinkin, what if we were stranded on a desert island, just her and me, could I fuck her then? What if there was a nuclear holocaust and we were the only people left on the earth – and we hadda like, repopulate the planet? What if I was obliged to do, like, would I? And then I’m thinkin, shit, it’s all so arbitrary, you know, I mean the only reason it’s, like forbidden, is that you don’t wanna procreate with you family members cuz you don’t wanna make mutant monster babies. Well hell, I don’t wanna make babies with my sister. I don’t want to impregnate my kid sister, for God’s sake, what kinda freak would do that? But please, I mean, who wouldn’t wanna fuck her? She’s gorgeous, man, and she’s just so… ripe, you know, yeah, that’s the word… juicy ripe. And the weird thing is, I do love her. I really do. More than one of those jerk-off dawg-boys from her school, I mean, the thought of one of those little morons poppin her cherry makes me wanna puke. The thing is, I could really show her about sex, you know, how to do it right, you know, I could make it good for her, I could make sure she enjoyed it, you know, really take her time, and treat her like a princess, which she is, man, instead of some jerk-off bonin her just to get his rocks off and then breakin her heart, I mean what the fuck is that all about? And damn, she is seriously so beautiful, I mean, it makes my balls hurt just lookin at the girl. I know, I know, I know. What do you think, I’m stupid. I know she’s my sister.
Author: David Sterry
She was the girl of his dreams: lovely as an 8 iron with a wee fade that lands soft as eider down on the green, nestling 6 inches from the pin; strong as a downhill drive that rides a stiff wind to the Promised Land; sweet as a curling 40 foot birdie putt that dies beautifully in the bottom of the hole; rugged as a 4 iron out of the deep rough that ploughs through the gorse, hops over the fringe and rolls courageously straight at the flag, steady as she goes; brazen as a knockdown 5 iron smacked through a gale that checks up just below the hole; rare and exquisite as a 1 iron that flies straight and true, finding the green of a par 5 in 2; spectacular as an eagle chip that donuts round and round the rim, before sliding in and plopping in the cup with a pop.
James Aluicious Thoroughgood was the most fevered devotee of the cruelest game. Despite this, he was not a bad fellow. In fact, to call him not a bad fellow is rather understating the case, for James was universally admired liked his industrious spirit, the dry sly sweet sense of humor, and the steadfastness of his unwavering friendship. If a person was in any sort of pickle or jam, James Thoroughgood could be counted upon to aid and abet in the resolving of said jammy pickle quickly, and always with the utmost discretion. No one was quite sure where he got his money, but he always seemed to have quite a bit of it, and never seemed to work for any of it, and never under any circumstances mentioned it. Some said it was an inheritance, although he never mentioned any family, and when pressed would only say that his family was indisposed and that he could not comment on it any further for legal reasons. Some said he made his money on the market and that he had invested in every one of the top 10 internet companies on their respective ground floors, gotten out at exactly the right moment, and was in fact the fourth wealthiest man in the country. Still others speculated that he was an international jewel thief, because from time to time James Aluicious Thoroughgood would just disappear for a week, and then pop back up as if nothing were amiss. Regardless, he was and continues to be one of the finest of fellows with whom to traipse around the countryside as one moans and curses the cruel gods of golf.
No one could accuse James Thoroughgood of being handsome. He was just too plain and ordinary looking to be handsome. But James didn’t seem to need to be handsome. In fact his very averageness was one of his greatest weapons. He was the sort of person who sneaks up on you. You don’t ever quite realize how fond you are of the fellow until you don’t see him for awhile. His gentle, stinging humor, the spring in his eye and the sparkle in his step, his jaunty yet sensitive demeanor, all were sorely missed at the Club when James Aluicious Thoroughgood was not around. And since he played every day, rain or shine over the years, he eventually played with every Member. You knew when James Aluicious Thoroughgood joined you for a round, it would be more fun than if he had not.
But by far the thing most impressive about James Thoroughgood was that with absolutely no discernible athletic ability, he had made himself into a breathtaking golfer. And he did this by playing every day for 5 years, from sunup to sundown, three, sometimes four rounds a day, with anyone who would trudge, grind, or hack it around with him.
When he first appeared he was hopeless. Beyond hopeless. The hopeless were brilliant next to him. His worst round took him 180 strokes to do the 18, a personal record he tied many times. But even this score is rather deceptive, because he only allowed himself 10 shots a hole, after which he would courteously pick his ball up, then tend pin for everyone else’s, giving kudos or condolences, as appropriate. He never tossed a club. Never flailed in dismay. Never uttered a curse. He would simply shake his head and smile, chuckle, then wistfully proclaim, “My goodness, what a bad golfer I am.” He was originally assessed a 45 handicap, and remained there for four and a half years.
He had the ugliest swing ever seen. I’ve witnessed grown men avert their eyes, and women reel back in horror when first subjected to the theater of the grotesque that was the Thoroughgood swing. He started from a severely crouched position which looked more suited to beginning a seizure than to striking a golf ball. He would twitch the club 13 times, always 13 times, like a man preparing to have a stroke. Then he would bring the club back slowly, slowly, painfully slowly, until it was all the way back behind his head. After pausing like a broken metronome at the top of his swing, he would twist his torso forward with a violent spasm which looked like it would dislodge his spinal column, and dislocate a vertebrae or two. His head would whiplash forward like a test track dummy without a seat belt hitting a brick wall at 30 miles an hour. The head of the club looked like it had a will of its own, and wanted desperately to fly away, James trying to hang on for dear life, as he struggled to stay on his feet, often not succeeding. His chip shots he attacked like a manic depressive woodchopper trying to fill a rush order, with a severe downward motion which somehow he eventually learned to convert into a high lofted pillow of a shot that touched down ever so gently in or near the hole. Watching him putt was an exercise in restraint, as one had to summon up all one’s powers of will to stop the riptide of laughter that was struggling to burst out. He scrunched all the way over the ball, as far down as he could get, like an aged hunchback with advanced osteoparosis. He would stare at the ball, then at the hole, then at the ball, then at the hole, back and forth like he was watching a tennis match between two fierce rivals going at it hammer and tong, before finally jabbing at the ball as if it were a bull and he was a matador piercing it with his picador putter. Early in his golfing career, he would often get on the green then putt his way right back off again. I personally witnessed him 8-putt many a hole.
People were always giving him swing tips. Keep the head still. Turn the hands over. Lead with the left. Keep the right side strong. Loosen the grip, tighten the stance, bend the knees and keep the left arm straight. Pretend you’re sitting on a stool. Be the ball, be the club, be the hole. He would always nod his head thoughtfully and gratefully, as if he had been given a key to understanding the great secret of the universe. Then he would go ahead and hit it exactly like he always hit it. And eventually he got so good, everyone stopped giving him advice, and more than a few of the adventurous and desperate Members actually started copying his unorthodox technique.
Early in his career James Aluicious Thoroughgood was most renowned for his unerring ability to hit trees. If there was a tree on a hole (and at the Club that was every hole but the short yet dastardly par 3 10th, with the pond on the left), he would hit it. Sometimes a branch, sometimes a leaf, but more often than not a huge clean hollow knock of a titanium covered spheroid hitting square into the woody meat of a tree. And you never knew which way they would carom or ricochet, so you had to be on your toes anywhere within a hundred yard radius of James Aluicious Thoroughgood hitting a golf ball. In fact he once hit a cracking drive that flew off at a 90 degree angle from the tee box, hit a large oak, and caromed straight back at him, striking him sharply between the eyes, and plopping him down at his feet next to the tee, leaving a dimpled welt of a Titleist imprinted on his forehead. From that point forward, he took to yelling “Fore” before striking the ball rather than waiting for the inevitable frantic shriek afterwards.
By the way, lest you think he made out any better on the short but horrid par 3 10th, it should be noted that James Aluicious Thoroughgood substituted water for wood on this hole, and for 4 1/2 years never made it past this hole without drowning at least 1 ball in the pond, and most times many more than that. His record was 10, which he had achieved more times than he cared to count, because of course he never allowed himself more than 10 strokes on a hole. It was really quite a spectacle, watching a man calmly pull out 10 balls in a row and smash them, one after another, into their watery grave. It was almost inhuman how calm the man was. And yet, he did it with such pleasure that you couldn’t help but love the lug.
James Aluicious Thoroughgood was, before he became an expert golfer, that most dangerous of duffers, for he hit the ball very hard, and hadn’t the vaguest clue where his ball was going. The fact that the big plate glass window of the clubhouse through which one can watch the poor souls slogging home on the vast and insidious par 5 18th is now unbreakable plexiglass is directly attributable to James Aluicious Thoroughood. Even though the clubhouse window is set a good 20 yards behind and 20 yards above the green, and had stood like an unpenetrated virgin for over 75 years, James Aluicious Thoroughgood breached her five times in 6 weeks, each time replete with a spectacular crash, glass shattering like an action movie, innocent bystanders scattering for cover. Of course he always apologized with a fervor beyond profuse, arranged and paid for a new window to be installed immediately. But after the fifth shattering, he begged the Committee to allow him to supervise and pay for the plexiglass window, which was apparently strong enough to withstand a shot from a high powered rifle. While no one has ever tested whether this is an accurate claim, I will attest to the fact that a very well struck golf ball will bounce off it, and sometimes drain back down towards the hole, often leaving a very makable putt indeed. In fact it was often joked that James Thoroughgood, when he became an expert, would intentionally bounce a ball off the window when he had a good stiff wind behind him.
So it was that James Aluicious Thoroughgood destiny found him. Or he found his destiny. One fateful day, with a brisk spring wind behind him on the 18th, he caromed his 2nd shot off the plexiglass window. It trickled slowly, slowly, ever slowly towards the hole, inching closer and closer, as the startled on-lookers in the Club watched with amazement, many Members smiling knowingly to themselves. Agonizingly, miraculously, the little white ball curved lazily down the green, and straight into the hole, for the only double eagle in Club history, and the course record of 65. Of course he had no idea the ball was in the hole. After looking quizzically for his ball on the green, he was surprised when he was accorded a standing ovation by the Members. Only then did it dawned on him where his ball must be. He smiled sweetly, walked slowly to the flag, savoring the moment. He bent down, picked his ball out the hole, turned to the Members, and tipped his head ever so slightly in acknowledgement.
He didn’t know it at the time, but for James Aluicious Thoroughgood, this was the beginning of the rest of his life. This, the greatest moment of his golfing life, would be the cause of the most fortuitous good fortune I have ever seen in all my odd years of studying the cruelest game.
For unbenkownst to James Aluicious Thoroughgood, among the diners who rose and applauded him that day was a visitor by the name of Virginia Merriweather Tucker. She was the guest of Bradley Peavey, a lugubrious loathsome toad full of bad intent, and a Member only because his father and father’s father and father’s father’s father had been. He was in fact the latest in a long line of lugubrious loathsome toady Peaveys, and Ms. Tucker was only there with him because he had intimated in no uncertain terms that he was interested in buying one of her paintings. She suspected the intimation was the hottest of air, and that the only thing theToady Peavy wanted to do with her paintings was perhaps have relations of a non-platonic nature with her on one of them.
She was, of course, right.
Virgnia Merriweather Tucker was a wonderful painter. I’m sure you have seen her most famous painting: “The Bogey of Pagliacci.” The tragic clown stands over a missed putt, hands raised to the heaven, sorrow pouring from his soul, tears streaming down his greasepaint stained face. At this point she had not yet created her heart wrenching masterpiece. If you can guess who was the inspiration for this haunting work, then pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself on being smarter than the average bear.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. At this moment, when James Aluicious Thoroughgood, having just executed the only double eagle in the history of the Club, just having broken the 75 year old club record, culminating his 5 years quest to slay the dragon, nodded his head ever so slightly to the adoring crowd with more charm and grace then she had ever seen exhibited by a man, Virginia Merriweather Tucker fell hopelssly, madly, passionately, wildly, head over heels in love with James Aluicious Throughgood.
A moment should be taken here to remind you, gentle reader, that Virginia Merriweather Tucker is everything a person could seek in a mate. Vivacious, tasteful, funny, big-brained, firm-bodied, and a face that has been known on more than 1 occasion to suck the breath right out of man and steal from him the power to speak in coherent sentences.
On this crazy, fateful, life-will-never-be-the-same-again day, her hair was curling softly past her shoulders. She was wearing not a trace of make-up. Never did. Her big round eyes were full of fire. Always were. She was wearing a soft, kelly green cashmere sweater. A string of tiny pearls delicately caressed her neck, which is just what Bradley Peavy was imagining doing. Such was her starstruck infatuation with the new love of her life, this dashingly ordinary golfing god, this James Aluicious Thoroughgood, that she didn’t even feel Peavy’s lascivious stare.
Peavy was just beginning to toadily tell her what a stunner she was and suggest they go back to her place and see at her etchings, if you know what I mean, when she turned abruptly and said, “Who is that man?” like she was Anne Margaret in “Viva Las Vegas”. Bradley Peavy knew in that instant that he was howling at the wrong moon here, and immediately lost all interest in Virginia Merriweather Tucker. “Thoroughgood”, he muttered, moments before making a series of fumbling half-hearted excuses, and leaving the scene like a man with no conscience and a lot to lose fleeing a hit and run. She did not notice, floated on gossimer wings which waved her towards the 18th green. She arrived there just as he was leaving, having tended the pin for his fellow sufferers, all the while being heaped with adoration as befits a mighty knight who has just slain the Jabberwock, and come back to town with its bloody head in tow to show everyone. Little did he know it, but his damsel was only moments away.
There was quite a little crowd gathered already, listening to Andrew Kennedy-Carnagie, (who likes nothing more than to display his astonishing memory, extraordinary vocabulary, and verbal dexterity) catalogue the string of massive faded drives bent around dog legs, perfectly driven 3 irons stopping inches short of pins, and a triple breaking snaking 60 footer trembling on lip before plunging into hole.
James Aluicious Thoroughgood, the man himself, the hero of the day, smiled nicely and shook his head, as if not able to believe his own luck. Just then the afternoon sun, all peaches and roses, shone through a hole in a cloud, bathing him in a golden holy halo. This was the moment her eyes first locked with his.
And that, as they say, was that.
She walked straight towards him, the crowd parting, Red Sea to her Moses. Those present (and the list of people grows every year, as with every significant historical event) swear they heard a chorus of birds singing like angels, or angels singing like birds, depending upon who’s doing the telling. Be that as it may, meet their eyes did, locking like the jaw of a bulldog on a leg of bull.
“Hello,” said James Aluicious Thoroughgood. “Hello” said Virginia Merriweather Tucker right back. “Would you like to join me?” he asked. “I would love to,” she answered. And join they did, as arm in arm they walked from the Club, smiling the same smile. He put his clubs into her trunk, got into her car, and together they drove away. Much was made of the fact that he left in his golf spikes.
As tongues wagged (as tongues will), James Aluicious Thoroughgood was unseen for a week. A week quickly became 10 days, and 10 days all too soon become 3 weeks. And still no sign of James Thoroughgood. In 5 years, he had never missed more than a week. Men often criticize women for being shameless vehicles of idle gossip, but in my years and years of talking and listening to men, I can state unequivocally that men put women to shame in the fine art of sticking their big noses in other people’s business. Theories flew off the walls of the Club: Art Vanderlay heard James had been arrested for insider trading, given a new identity by the FBI and relocated in the Federal Protection Program; Clifton Cornelius Chinois heard Virginia had lured him off to an island in the Caribbean, taken all his money, then drowned him and made it look like a scuba accident; Charlton Evergreen Gascoine heard she was actually a man and they had gone to Denmark so she could get an operation, he had joined the European Tour and had finished third in the Rotterdam Invitational.
Unfortunately, the facts were not nearly as interesting as the fiction. 3 weeks to the day after James Aluicious Thoroughgood and Virginia Merriweather Tucker walked off into the sunset, they re-appeared in the Clubhouse. No one saw them walk in. They just appeared, at 7:00 AM, sitting at a table, holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes as if they had both just realized what a wonderful, goofy, crazy, madcap, carefree, place the world is. And they weren’t like those horrid lovers who grind it right up your nose: how happy they are, how in love they are, how great the world could be for you too, if only you could find someone to love you, which of course you probably never will. No, when Eloise, our crusty but ill-tempered waitress, came to take their orders, they only wanted to know about Bootsy, Eloise’s massively obese tabby. The tabby was much better, she informed them, turns out it wasn’t monstrously fat, but in fact had a tumor the size of a softball inside her, which in a cat is, needless to say, quite large, but it had been surgically removed and Bootsy looked like he’s had canine liposuction.
As Members filtered in, and introductions made, the story came out. They had driven to Wackamannamahackima Falls, checked into the room 13 of the Wackamannamahackima Falls Inn, and stayed there for exactly 2 weeks and 6 days. Then they had gotten married. And now they were here. The exact nature of what occurred in Room 13 of the Wackamannamahackima Falls Inn remained undivulged, no matter how insistent or fervent Members interrogation became. When they had finished their breakfast, they excused themselves politely, and made their way to the first tee. She had a beautiful, brand new set of golf clubs. Never been used. In fact, she had never in her life picked up a golf club. Wasn’t even entirely sure what golf was when James Aluicious Thoroughgood drove his ball down the fairway of her heart. Turns out that during that 2 weeks and 6 days in the Wackamannamahackima Falls Inn, they mostly talked golf. He waxed burned and shined on his theories of breath, center, the earth, the grass, the wind, and the water, and how a state of euphoric ecstacy experienced by certain Zen Masters in the Tibetan mountains during intense meditation, and Carmelized Nuns in the Outer Upanishad Islands, could be replicated by the humble golfer whacking a tiny white ball with a stick. I suspect they had also done the things men and women do that make all the other things they do meaningless, although I was never able to substantiate this suspicion. But again I am getting ahead of myself.
On this fine spring morning, James Aluicious Tucker-Thoroughgood, and Virginia Merriweather Throughgood-Tucker (for this is how they changed their names when they wed) strode lovingly onto the 1st tee on the links of love. He offered her the honor of striking first. She gave the honor right back to him, and he took it. He teed up, gave his loving wife a sweet peck on the lips, stepped to the ball and with that horror of a swing, ripped a hellacious drive which screamed 297 yards straight down the fairway, drawing ever so slightly with topspin so it benifited from a maximum roll. Those Members watching nodded their head knowingly, and waited expectantly as the new Mrs. Thoroughgood-Tucker teed hers up, gave her loving husband a sweet peck on the lips, and with the exact same travesty of a swing, dribbled the ball 6 inches. She turned to him, said, “My goodness, what a bad golfer I am.” Then she burst out laughing. Then he burst out laughing. Then they stood there laughed with each other. And then she stepped up and using the grotesque Thoroughgood swing, hit the ball 12 inches. She did this 8 more times, and after the triumph of her 10th shot travelling 24 yards, she merrily picked up her ball, and walked with him up the 1st fairway to his ball, which he swatted with utter alacrity 4 feet from the hole.
The Members sat back to finish their breakfasts, marveling at the miracle of love, speculating on the chances of these 2 perfectly matched people finding each other in a world full of 100s of million people on this golf-infested planet. 3 hours and 56 minutes later a ball bounced on the edge of the green, sweetly caressed the fringe, then rolled to within 22 inches of the hole. Of course, because of the design of the almost inhumanly long 18th, the Members could not see who struck the shot, but they nodded their heads knowingly. This was clearly the work of the King of the Hackers, James Aluicious Thoroughgood, who once described his own swing as resembling a rusted lunch box being opened by a hyper-active twelve year old with St. Vitus dance. When one watched him play golf, one always felt hope, because if this man could master the game, anyone could.
A murmur rose when another ball appeared, rolling delicately yet firmly. Because of the infamously brutish character of the 18th green, and the cruel, almost absurdist pin placement at the very tip of the back corner, the ball had to crawl its way all the way up up up the hellish funnel of Bermuda grass, gravity working against it mightily. It looked like there was only 1 place it wanted to be, and that was snuggled in the bottom of that hole. As it approached, all eyes were drawn to it, curving gracefully with the contours of the green monster. It now dawned on the Members that there was a very good chance this ball was going to hit the first ball which was sitting 22 inches from the hole. It looked like the still ball was the sun and the second a meteor hurtling towards it. But as the inevitable collision was at hand, the shooting star slowed, slower, and finally stopped, kissing the sun, spooning with it 22 inches from the hole. The Members stopped for a moment, unsure what to make of all these celestial shenanagans. Then they collectively remembered whose balls they were watching, nodded and looked at each other knowingly.
Sure enough, James Aluicious Thoroughgood-Tucker and Virginia Merriweather Tucker-Thoroughgood appeared, gliding up the hill, striding into view, riding the green wave of the 18th fairway and surfing up onto the green. They paused a moment when they saw the balls snuggling. They smiled at each other. Removed their putters. Tapped in, he for the eagle, she for the bird. It would have seemed extraordinary, except for the fact that it seemed so normal. They just picked up their balls, put them in their bags, and walked off the 18th green into the rest of their life.
James Aluicious Tucker-Thoroughgood and Virginia Merriweather Thoroughgood-Tucker managed to find time to have twins. 1 boy and 1 girl. Of course they need no introduction. They are the Tucker Twins, Tammy and Tommy, the most famous golfers in the history of America.
James Tucker Thoroughgood also managed to found the Stop World Hunger Through Golf Foundation, which has provided warm nutritious food and quality golf instructions to millions of needy kids all over the world. Virginia Merriweather Thoroughgood-Tucker also became the world’s pre-eminent golf painter, her work displayed everywhere from the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art to Motel 6. He turned 107 this year, and to celebrate he shot a 67, 40 strokes less than his age. She just turned 100, I’m sure you remember all the hoopla. To celebrate she shot a 65, Club record for women, and tying the club record for men. Set, as you now know, on the day they met. Watching them walk up the 18th again, for approximately the billionth time, one sensed that there was after all, something terribly right about the world. As she snaked in her impossible 65 footer for her eagle, she walked straight up to him, and planted a bigger smacker on his lips. He was the man of her dreams, make no mistake about that.
This morning I’m going to have my blood tested for the human immunodeficiency virus. I’m taking the AIDS test, and I’m sure I’m gonna flunk. I walk into the Bob Hope Clinic in Hollywood, California. Bob himself is not there with a golf club wisecracking about his birdies and hookers. Oh God, Samantha – I did her without a rubber. “Hi Samantha, how’s it goin’…? Excellent… Me? I’m great. Oh by the way I have HIV, and so do you probably. Okay, have a nice life then.” Little vicious mutant warriors hellbent on pillaging my immune system, laying waste to my holy grounds, ravaging my virgins, savaging my knights, and beheading my King. Lori – sucked my unprotected dick. You can’t get it from fellatio, if you’re the fellatee, right? Or is that toilet seats? Wasting away in a hospital bed, a pariah with tubes stuck in every hole, no friends, no family, nobody wants to look at my concentration camp skinny, weeping sore-covered ass. When he died he weighed thirty-five pounds. Janet – condom broke. Snap. Oops. Me and Magic Johnson. Brad Davis. Keith Haring. The Wall of Shame gets a new 8 x 10 hung on it every day. Sophia – We did it about a thousand times without even a shred of protection. Maybe there is a God. Maybe there is a Heaven. And a Hell. And Satan. Maybe that’s where I’m going. Straight to Hell. And what about Arlene? Miss Prim and Proper, Miss I only did it with five people, only one of them just happened to be some lunatic love healer who boffed his way through Africa and Bangkok where everyone’s infected, I mean she had a ton of sex with this rampant loon, nary a condom in sight, shit-filled sperm flying willy nilly.
I jump out of my skin.
I’m sitting here and my skin is over there, crawling.
My name sounds like a death sentence.
The Nurse sits me down and starts taking my blood pressure while she does her spiel, like some tour guide escorting me through the Museum of Horrible Deaths. HIV is a virus, she explains. The tests are not legally conclusive. A negative can be a positive and a positive can be a negative. Then why the hell am I putting myself through all this shit? my brain screams to me. The virus can take a long time incubating. A person can be a carrier for years without even knowing it. The incubation period can last as long as ten years. O dear God, I’m an incubator. A warm vessel growing deadly viruses inside me, infecting everything I touch, every time I breathe it’s a deathbreath. I’m cold and hot at the same time now. I can barely sit here. Every infected fiber wants to run.
I sign a stack of papers. I flop sweat. She ties me off. I heave a huge sick-filled sigh. She puts on her latex gloves. Because of my deadly infectious blood. One of the fingers on her gloves rip. She laughs. It’s not funny, but she laughs. I’m not laughing. Nobody else is laughing except her and she stops too quick.
This is not a good sign.
“This may hurt,” she says.
You know whenever anybody tells you that, what they really mean is-
“This is really going to hurt a lot.”
Sure enough, a sharp pain pricks me as she plunges the needle rudely into my plump infected vein. The thick red oil oozes sickly into the syringe. Are they there? The little mutants. I wish they were colored. Black maybe. So you could see them. Pick them out like cyanide sprinkles. The vial is full. She labels is and starts it on its way to the lab. The sealing of my doom. She is very careful to throw away the needle dripping with my poison blood.
That’s it. I’m through with sex.
“Son”, said Father, as he stroked his voluminous gray mustache in a manner he hoped provoked an air of gravity, “there comes a time in a boy’s life when he must give up the toys of childhood, and take up the yoke of the… ship of manhood. Do you follow me, Son?”
“No, Father, I don’t,” said Young James, who was, in fact, lying, since he followed Father precisely, but loved more than anything to watch the old fellow squirm.
“Well Son, visa vie the matter at hand, and taking all things into consideration, uh…” Father now harrumphed, as he paused to re-group. A new tact was clearly called for. But which tact? Father tried to think. It was not easy for Father to think, because so few thoughts made their way to his olde brain. But he knew enough not to open his mouth again until he had a thought. Think, thought Father. A warm scone with melting clotted cream and strawberry jam would be lovely. No! Wrong thought. A cigar and a brandy would be nice. No! Wrong again. Ah ha! Father’s eyes lit up, a gleam filled his demeanor, and imposing authority beamed from his voluminous gray mustache.
“How old are you, Son?” Father rumbled.
“I’ll be twenty-one in two weeks Father, we’re having a party, and I believe there will be a cake involved. Didn’t you get the memo?” Young James had a snippy edge that made father feel like he was three quarters of an idiot, which was his fear to begin with.
“Ah yes,” said Father, trying to keep his momentum going through his son’s fusillade, “quite so, yes, well Son, it is incumbent upon a strapping young buck, when he comes of a certain age, to choose himself a doe. Now, Mother has informed me that she’s brought around several excellent specimens of heavily moneyed breeding stock and you’ve had nary a sniff of them. In fact, according to Mother, she says you spend all your time with this young Randall Twickendale-Finch, Lord Twickendale-Finch’s young welp, and Mother tells me he’s a rude rake, a raspscallion, a scalliwag and a ne’erdowell, a randy young dandy who has tongues wagging all over town at his nefarious carryings-on, kissing young willowy rouged fellows in public I’m told, and worse even. Shocking scandals I’m told. According to Mother, the young wag can’t be so much as invited into polite society, and you, apparently, are half a step behind.” Father thumped his desk, warming to his task, putting his cockles and muscles into it, “Mother believes it’s time for you to take stock of yourself, put your nose to your bootstraps, pull yourself up by the grindstone, and bloody well get on with it. Is that clear, son?” Father arched his huge eyebrow bushes, and furrowed deep his massive brow, which generally had the effect of crumbling the knees on the one he was arching them at. He felt for a moment that he had made his case so convincingly that his triumph was imminent, and allowed himself to swell and puff ever so slightly.
“No, actually, I’m not quite following you, Pater, what exactly are you getting at?” slithered snidely out of the side of Young James’ mouth, popping Father’s balloon just as it was fully inflating.
Father could feel his bile rising as his whippersnapper of a son sideswiped him. As it rose in his belly, he reached for his brandy and belted down a snort to combat the acid cloud headed straight at his heart.
“Son, let’s not beat about the bush. Let’s not thrash any dead horses, nor look any gift horses in the mouth, or, for that matter, change horses in mid-stream. Of course, when a boy is young, and away at boarding school, eating with boys, sleeping with boys, bathing with boys, one can’t help but lead the boy’s life, as it were, with boys, among boys, the deep muscle massage, the hot steam bath, the hard young strapping flesh, so soft and supple, the throbbing, pulsating excitement of being a boy, the boyish thrust of a young rutting buck, what could be more natural than the love boys have for each other, the raw naked erupting excitement of ripe young boy flesh? But when a boy becomes a man, he leaves behind the ways of boyhood and take the bit in his mouth and runs with it. Do you catch my drift, Son?” Father was hoping this would end the matter, but he knew deep down it was wishful thinking.
“No I don’t, Father, but I find your instruction extremely educational, please continue, as I find myself confused, and in need of paternal guidance. Please, bestow upon me the benefit of your wisdom,” Young James cocked his face with such insouciant arrogance that a gas ball burst up from Father’s now officially buggered guts, and squeezed his chest tight, shot like a foul meteor past his heart, then exploded from him in a thunderous belch, which had become, over the years, Father’s calling card.
“Pardon,” said Father, with grim delicacy, chucking down a slug of bromide, waiting for the afterburners to extinguish themselves. “Well, damn it, Son, let me speak plainly. We’d all love to live the carefree life of the bachelor, but let’s be realistic, enough is enough. I’m telling you now, drop young Twickendale-Finch, find yourself a young filly and sire her. And if you do not, I shall cut you off cold, Son, not another bean, and do you know what that means? It means, putting it bluntly, getting a job, supplying your own living accommodations, clothing allowance, etceterahhhh, etceterahhhh, etceterahhhh.”
Father leaned in as he said it. He himself wasn’t sure if it was a bluff. He thought it might well be, but he certainly didn’t want to find out.
Young James searched his Father’s face. He wasn’t sure if it was a bluff. He thought it might well be, but he certainly didn’t want to find out. He weighed, sifted, and sighed. Finally a wan smile crept across his young but world-weary face.
“As you wish, Father,” he said, “Find me a filthy rich breeder and I shall fill her with my seed repeatedly until we’ll have a brood of horrible little monsters. But I am not giving up Twickendale-Finch. Is that clear? But I shall see to it that he becomes little seen and less heard. Do you understand?”
Father thought for a moment. A warm scone with melting clotted cream and strawberry jam sprang to mind, followed by a cigar and a brandy.
“Yes, son, I believe we have an understanding,” said Father.
And his bile was quieted.
Las’ week I had me a analorskerpy. I’z purty sure that ain’t the teknickle term fer ‘er, but it give a much more cleaner picher than the fancy Dan name they give ‘er.
We’z all o’ us hez got over forty feets o’ ‘testines up inside of us. Forty feet o’ wet tubin’ sercretin’ gasterd acids whilest a’suckin’ nutriments outcher food, then whuppin’ what’s left on thoo to the garbage ‘sposal so’z ya can give ‘er the ol’ heave-ho. An’ when ya hez yersel’ a analorskerpy, ever’ one of them forty foot’z gotta git scruternized. So they gotza li’l ol’ cam’ra set up on the tip o’ what look like a big ol’ copperheed ready to crawl up inside ya.
Now, the bastards’z tole me to quit on eatin’ fer a couple days afore they goes a’trekkin’ thoo me. No food ‘atawll. I supped on nuthin’ but cool mountain air. An’ then I hadda go yonder an’ fetch me up a bottle from the potherkery, an’ when I opened ‘er up, a blast o’ stankcome a’whuppin’ up an’ smackt the breath plum outta me, with a li’l whiffa faked-up limons spleshed over ‘er like cheap terlet water on a ten cent hootchie coochie girl. Well sir, I dropt me a teaspoon in a glass of water, an’ stirt ‘er up real good, jest like she say on the bottle, where it also say, “You may find Empterbowel a might tad badtasteful, an’ a compermenterry baivridge is suggesterd.”
Well sir, that festers my boil. Hell’s balls, I ain’t no eddjit, I done walkt thoo the woods, I bin to Granny’z house, an’ I know she’z a big bad wolf jest a’waitin’ to eat me. Jest tell ‘er like she is: “Watch out ever’body, this here Empterbowel ’z some powerful narsty mess.”
Well sir, couplla minutes after swollerin’ that Emptobowel, my guts starts inter gurglin’ an’ garglin’ an’ gloopin’ an’ gooplin’, while my ‘testines start doin’ a spasticated dance, like I’m a seethapatin’ volcaner, an’ I’m a’ready to blow. So I done like one of them fast-walkers I seed in the ‘lympicks, tryin’ to keep my personal parts all clinched up tighter ’an a hungry flea on a skinny dawg. Lordee-do, before I’z even touchin’ the throne, the ‘vakkawation have begun. Yessirree Bob, they’z leavin’ the city in droves, jumpin’ offa the burnin’ ship like s’ many rats. Then they’ze a calm in the storm. Fer about a minute an’ a haff, then I’m right back on the job, workin’ overtime like the bossman’s gotta fill a quoter double time.
My saynts o’ smell gets better’n Snuffler, Daddy’s ol’ coon dog what could track a wood tick in a hurrercane, tornader, an’ munsoon all put tiggether. I can sneff out bacon fryin’ three counties away, an’ ev’rywheres I go they’z chicken a’fryin’ an’ fraish corn bread a’bakin’ an’ pork rines so salty you can tas’e ‘em from cross the room. An’ I wants to eat ever’ dingdang scrap, bowl lickins an’ awll.
Well sir, nest day time hev jest plum decided to take a see-ester, an’ awll the clocks’z hez go’d on strike, cuz this here day won’t never end. Plus ya got the fact that I bin crownt King of the Shitters an’ I’z rulin’ my kingdom with a ahrn fist an’ a over-ective duckatee-buckus.
Fridee morn six of the hay-em, I’z up an’ Adam, nine’y minnis ‘til the bastard’z is gonna storm my beaches. They tell ya ya gotsta hev some other body drive ya to the proceeder, cuz ya won’t be in no shape to drive no place when they gits done with ya. Good thing too, cuz I ain’t et in two days an’ I’z seein’ chicken po’ pies an’ corn o’ the carb an’ barbeecue pork as we crawl ‘long to the hospital down yonder in Dickeysville. My bes’ girly Dolly’z a’drivin’ me. She bin workin’ on me to aysk when I needs a heppin’ han’ whin I needz it, but if’n ya aysk me, thet there ain’t no way to be no man. Now my momma’s bin on me to hitch up with Dolly proper an’ legal-like, an’ awlla Dolly’s friend’s harperein’ on ‘bout the same thang, an’ truth be tole, so’s awll my friends, which I ain’t none too captervated ‘bout, believe you me, an’ dog my cats if you don’t. Well sir, Dolly, she’s a drivin’ me, an’ she’z sweet on sweet, jest a’lovin’ an’ a’dovin’ on me, an’ the more nicer she’s bein’, the more I feel like rippin’ the tongue right out her heed, Lordy do, I ain’t proud o’ it, but tha’s the way I’z a’feelin’.
“How are ya, honeybaby?” sez Dolly, like a cool sassafras on a summer’s day in hell.
“How in tarnation ya think I am?” sez I, “my rosebud feels like I bin wipin’ ‘er with san’paper, I’z hungry ‘nough to eat frekka-seed rat, an’ I’m ‘bout to hev fo’ty foot o’ snake rammed right up my sensertive area, thanks for askin’.”
Well sir, that purt much put the kibosher on the chitty chat.
Seven ‘clock bang on I walks inter that there hos-spittle, an’ I’m here to tellya I’z like a wile beast, jest a’growllin’ an’ a’gruntin’, an’ ya better not be puttin’ yer han’ too near my mouth, cuz I’z lible take a bite outta ‘er.
Some ol’ narsty battle-ax they got mannin’ the main battle station says, “Howdy, welcome to Memorull Gener’l, what’s yer name?”
“Ahh! Grrr! Nnnnhhh! Waaaaaaaa!” is about awllz I kin seem to git out.
So Dolly, my bes’ girl, she steps on in, an’ sorter soothes ever’thang right on out, whilst I goes over inter the corner to set with m’ misery. Well sir, a body kin actual’ watch folks gittn’ ol’ right a’fore there eyes. I picks me up some meggzzine, an’ I starts a’readin’ ‘bout some purty boy sanger who’s gittin’ crazy lovin’ from suppermodels an’ ektrisses, an’ even some ‘lympic swammer who’s jest ‘bout the most finest girly ever put on God’s green earth. I keep a’readin’ an’ a’readin’ that there meggazine, jest a’frettin’ an’ a’stewin ‘an’ a’steamin’ on why I ain’t got me none of them suppermodels an’ ektrisses, an’ ‘lympic swammers.
Jest as I’z ‘bout to lose what li’l mind I gots left, I hearz the bastards’z ready fer me. Well alright then, I sez to myself, buckle yer chinstraps fellers, we’z goin’ in.
First thing they done, they makes me strip down to my birthdee suit, an’ puts me in what they calls a gown. Hell’s balls, that ain’t no gown. Ya shore as shit-fahr don’t feel like puttin’ on a tie-ara an’ ‘ttendin’ a fayn-see party wearin’ that blue piece of silliness with yer hine-korters a’fleppin’ in the breeze.
But jest as I’z about to go plum loco, I had me what the call a ‘static vision, like one of them holy rollin’ Methoosaller fellers in the Bible. I seed a big ol’ table filled up with a flapjacks, smuthered in dingleburry pree-zervs; a big ol’ thick slabber bacon; an’ a coupler aiggs fried up in a messa drippinz. An’ there was sweet li’l ol’ angels a’sangin’, an’ some feller with a lawng white beard a’hengin’ down, an’ even that ‘lympic ethlete girly, looking more purtier than the firs’ day of sprang. An’ Dolly was there, o’ course, tellin’ me ‘twould be fine an’ dayndee an’ I should try to hev me some fun with ‘er, an’ when we’z done, we’d hev us a big ol’ feast an’ she’d gimme some of that good ol’ time lovin’. Frien’s, I’m here to tell ya, ever’thing jest relaxed on down real sweet an’ harmonerus-like. An’ as I laid me down upon that gurtey, I had me a purfoun’ revvamalation. I’z ‘goin’ on a gran’ an’ great ad-venture. I’z a’goin on a trip right to the middle of my own self.
Then t’other nurse come a’marchin’ in, an’ ups an’ tells me it’s time fer me to take ma drugs. But I don’t want me no drugs. I wants to be wide ‘wake with awll guns a’blazin’.
Well she starts a’huffin’ an’ a’puffin’, an’ she blows purty good, but I ain’t a’cavin’ fer her nor no one.
Next the Doctor an’ his Sideman comes a’breezin’ in.
“This here’s my first time, Doc, so be gen’le with me,” sez I, hevvin’ me some fun, jest like Dolly done said in my ‘static vision.
That Doctor, he laughs. He’z goin’ powerful bald, but he seems like a decent ‘nuff feller.
“Don’chew worry none,” sez he, “I’ll still respec’ ya in the mornin’.” Well, him an’ his Sideman laughs like a coupler hy-neaners. Truth tol’ ‘twas kinder funny, so I thowed a laugh in, too, an’ we’z awll laughin’ an’ carryin’ on like we’z asshole buddies. Meanwhiles I kin see Sideman lurkin’ in the corner, playin’ with them drugs. When you’z in a bekkless gown, ya gotta watch yer ass.
“Hey now,” sez I, wantin’ to ease on into her, “I don’t want none of them there drugs.”
“Ohhhhhh, you should hev them drugs,” says baldycoot Doctor.
“But I don’t want them drugs,” I sez, real firm-like.
“Ohhhhhh, you should take the drugs,” sez Sidekick, who seems like he wants to be the doctor when he’z growed up.
“I don’t hev to hev them drugs, that’s what they sez Doc, ain’t that right?” sez I.
“Well, uh, sher, but-“ he starts inter his hemmin’ an’ hawin’, but I cuts him awff cold.
“Then I don’t want no drugs,” sez I. “Enda story.
“Alrighty,” says Doc, whilst him an’ his Sideman goes inter noddin’ they heed at my foolish riddikerlessness, an’ rollin’ me inter another room, right smack dab in front of this big ol’ machine with a tellervision in front of ‘er.
“Now,” starts in Baldy Doc, “we’z gonna be blowin’ some err up inside of ya as we goes, an’ I wants ya to feel free to pass all the gas ya kin. Fact is, it akchul helps the proceeder.”
I’z powerful moved by that piece of information.
“Whoa there,” sez I, “wait jest a dad bern minute, Doc, lemme get this all straighted up an’ narrer-like, cuz this may be the only time I ever hear them wordz spoke in ma die-rection. You’z a’tellin’ me to blow hard an’ free, is that the size an’ shape of ‘er?”
“That’s about the size an’ shape of ‘er,” says Baldy Doc. “But I’d reckermmen’ them drugs.”
These here drug pusher’z drivin’ me plum cross-eyez.
“I don’t want none,” sez I, firm-like.
“Alrighty,” sez the Doctor, but he ain’t happy. Outta the fer corner of my eyez, I seez ‘im puttin’ ‘is glove on an’ slatherin’ ‘er up with a dollerp of pig fat.
Then I know’d fer shore, the invasion hev begun.
That ol’ Doc, he jest starts inter whippin’ that copperheed right on up my private pers’n’l parts.
“Yeouch! Ow! Whoa! Howdy doody dingle dangle dong! Hold on a damn second, wher’ez the fire, Doc?” Sez I, jumpin’ out ma skin.
“Ya want them drugs now?” esks the Doc hard an’ fast.
“Ohhhhh, you should hev them there drugs now,” chimes up Sideman.
“No, dingdangit, jest slow down a minute, whisper some sweet nothin’s in my ear fer jest one damn secon’ here, will ya Doc?” sez I, an’ I takes me a big ol’ deep breath, tellin’ m’sel’ to relax, like Dolly sez, an’ shore ‘nuff, ever’thing relaxes real nice-like.
“Well alright then,” sez I, when my inside’z awll passerfied, “Go on ahead an’ do yer worst.”
An’ that there air starts blowin’ a twister right up in me, an’ Lordy do, I start a’trumpittin’ like Josher fits the battle of Jerriker, an’ the walls come a’tumblin’ down.
Then I looks up at that there tellervision., an’ there I is. Damned if I ain’t all purty an’ pink on the inside, like a sweet baby’z butt. That Doc he’s really movin’ now, a’whuppin’ on thoo me, like that movie where some spess-ship flies inside a purty pink planet. Makes me right proud an’ happy. Tickled pink, ya might say.
“How’z I lookin’, Doc?” I esks ol’ Baldycoot.
“Lookin’ good,” sez he, an’ I know’d then an’ there that much as I pertended I did’t give me a hoot ‘bout this whole dingdang thang, I’z a mite herkimmer jerkimmer ‘bout ‘er deep down, thinkin’ I gots some monst’rus toomer growin’ like a fat wottymelon in my innerds.
I’z feelin’ so godd I ups an rips out five or six bigguns, mighty claps o’ thunder they was.
Then Baldycoot stops up short, all sudden-like,.
“What seems to be the pro’lem?” I asks, tryin’ to keep the shakes out ma voice.
“Why, nothin’,” he sez, an’ the way he sez it, I knowz shore as hellfire he’s a’lyin’ right to my face. Or to my pohstearer, in this here case. But I ain’t a’gonna lets him gets away with ‘er this here time.
“Then why in ternations did ya stop short there? I ain’t one of yer doped-up Johnny-come-latelies here, an’ I don’t want none of yer eddimacated riddickerlessness, Doc.” An’ he could tell by the spit in my eye I mean bidness.
“Well, see that there li’l ol’ brown lookin ‘spot?” he sez, like I’z his eedjit cousin,.
I looks real hard an’ I does seez ’er, plain as day. A li’l ol’ brown spot.
Jumpin jee-horse-a-fats, what the bejeezis is that there? This’z how I’z a‘gonna kick that ol’ bucket in the sky. Stomik kay-ncer. Tumer the size of a caynter-lope, with a useless johnson, a k’llostimmer bag so’z they kin empty me out oncet a day, til I whithers down to nothin’ but a li’l brown stain on the bed.
“What in ternations iz that there?” I esks him, sweat a’poppin’ up like mushrums in a field o’ cow doodles.
“That there’s a poh-lip,” says he.
Oh, Lordy do. A poh-lip. Wha’d he purrish of? they’ll esk. Poh-lips, they’ll say, “started his face, an’ ended up breakin’ out awll over his body, big narsty drippin’ sick-filled poh-lips.”
“It ain’t nothin’ really,” starts in Baldycoot, “Like a mole on yer back. An’ she’s brown, not black, so she ain’t nuthin. We’ll snip ‘er right out, easy as ya please.”
I’z berlin’ mad now. Why in hellsapoppin’s name do ya call ‘er a poh-lip if she’s jest a li’l ol’ mole?
Then these li’l ole snipper comes a’poppin’ out the end of that there snake, an’ snips off that mole like she’s bitin’ the heed awffa li’l brown church mouse.
Then Baldycoot start a’movi’n on thoo me aggin. But sudden-like he hits him a curve in my road an’ a twangin’ pain jangles right on up in me.
“Whoa thar, slow down, cowboy!” Pipes up I.
“Ya wants them drugs now?” Doc an’ his Sideman sez tiggither.
“Naw,” sez I, “Jest slow down for one dad bern second”.
But the bastard won’t slow down. No sir, he starts goin’ faster. Like he wants ‘er to hurt.
“Ya wants them drugs now?! Ya want them drugs now? Ya want them drugs now?” they start chay-ntin’ like the Devil’s Doctors, whilst he presses thoo harder still, that ache jest a’whuppin’ right up inter me.
“Alright, sweet Jeezis, gimme the dingdang drugs!” Finally sez I, not happy one ioter.
I swear on ma Pappy’s ass, they musta had that needle hov’rin’ over my boottock cheek, cuz the nest thing I ‘member I’z waking up on the gurtey back in t’other room, an’ I’z all ogly woggly oogliy moggily, which riles me up consider’ble, cuz that’s ‘xactly what I hudn’t wanted to be.
Plus which I di’nt get t’ see the finish line, an’ that makes me powerful sad.
Nurse come in an’ tells me to git back inter bed. I thanks her kin’ly, an’ tells her it ain’t necersserry, that I’z steady as a teetotlin’ parson at a temp’rense meetin’.
“Tell me flat-out now, an’ don’t snarfle with me,” sez I, “Is a poh-lip really jest a mole?” I’z tryin’ to sound cajjul, but I don’t believe I pullt ‘er awff.
“‘Twere brown, t’weren’t it, an’ not black?” sez I.
“Why course she were brown,” sez I.
“Well then, you’z fine,” sez she.
I don’t trus’ her. Ain’t one single body hev tol’ me the whole truth an’ nothin’ but the truth from the time they got their grubby hands on me But I ain’t in no condition to ar-gue, on accounnna my brain’s feelin’ like a pig-eyed trout bin lef’ out in the sun too long.
When I comes out, there’z my bes’ girl Dolly, an’ she’s powerful purty an’ a heapin’ heppin’ o’ fine lovin’ pulkertude. It’z plenty good to let her jest take care of me, an’ she’s real good at it. I’z glad I weren’t hevvin’ no relations with awll them suppermodels an’ ektrisses an’ ‘lympic swammers. I’z glad I’z hevin’ relations with my one an’ on’y bes’ girly, an’ I start inter thankin’ maybe getting’ hitched up legal an’ proper-like might not be such a bad idear after awll. Then she takes me to Elmer’s Home Cookin’, what is ma fav’ert establishment of eateration, an’ we hev us a feast fit fer a coupl’ o’ Kings.
An’ as I’z tuckin’ inter ma flapjacks smothered in dingleberry pre-severves, I thinks – Lordy do, I hev bin to the middle of me, an’ my insides looks fine.
Lost Sex, Huckleberries, and Heavily Caffeinated Beverages: The Putting Your Passion Into Print 2001 Northwest Odyssey
13 events in 15 days. Here we go. Berkeley Barnes & Noble, we kick off on a lovely sun-drenched Saturday afternoon, followed by a manic 14 hour, 850 mile road race up the 5 in our Rav 4 to Eagle Harbor Bookstore on Bainbridge Island, north of Seattle, where a the drenching turns from sun to rain, a fine mist hanging thick amidst the autumn ruby reds, canary yellows, orange oranges, and of course, the emerald green, green, everywhere green.
We were greeted with a glow of warmth by Mary Gleystein, who immediately made us a cup of tea. Never underestimate the power of a cup of tea after a 14 hour, 850 mile road race up the 5. By the time we started our event, the place was packed, every seat taken, and excitement buzzed in the damp Northwestern air. When we were done, the applause seemed enthusiastic. Either that or they were very nice and really good at faking it. Then there were, as there always are, lots and lots of questions. One guy said, “I have a stupid question.” David said, “There are no stupid questions.” He said, “You haven’t heard my question yet.” He got a big laugh. Turns out it wasn’t a stupid question at all. It was a smart question. In fact these people asked lots of smart questions. They brought up stuff we hadn’t thought of. Stuff we later included our event. Then we signed lots of Satchel Sez: The Wit Wisdom and World of Leroy Satchel Paige-s and Pride & Promiscuity: The Lost Sex Scenes of Jane Austin –s. People thanked us profusely, chatted nicely, and bought books. In short, it was a real gas.
Next Stop: Port Townsend, Washington, where we were wined and dined on garlic chicken and blackberry pie you could plotz dead away from, treated like royalty by the lovely and talented Gillards, parents of Jessica (more on her later). And O my, it was so spectacular there, big huge trees, glorious vistas of Pacific Ocean blue, Monet painting fall colors, surrounded by more green than you’ve ever seen. Arielle immediately wanted to move there. So David, a veteran of the Pacific Northwest who wants no part of living there ever again, craftily took her out golfing the next day and by the time they were done with nine, they were a couple of drowned rats pouring rain out of their shoes. So much for moving to the Pacific Northwest.
Next Stop: Vancouver, Washington, just over the river from Portland, 200 miles later. By the time we started our event, Rebecca at the Barnes & Noble was scouring the place frantically for more chairs, cuz there were already fifty of them filled, and people were still showing up. The highlight of this event was during the Q&A when a tall thin handsome fellow stood, and in a thick German accent, and said, “I am very nice to work vith, unt full of joy, unt I vant to know if Arielle vill be mine agent.” Brought the house down. Again we signed many books, again we were thanked profusely, and again we had a solid solid gas.
Next Stop: Bend, Oregon, 150 miles south of Portland. 6:30 AM, Kristy Miller, perky hostess of “Good Morning Central Oregon”, welcomes us on-air, and interviews us for 7 minutes. She was charming and sweet and we were thrilled and honored to be in all seven homes in Central Oregon who were watching the show that morning.
Next Stop: Bellevue, just outside Seattle, 350 miles later, and 12 hours later, Alison at Barnes & Noble gets David a heavily caffeinated beverage. At that night’s event, a woman told a story about an industrious young man who wanted to get hired by a captain of industry. This industrious young man found out that the captain of industry loved pizza with pineapple, Canadian bacon, and triple cheese. Well, the industrious young man had a pineapple, Canadian bacon and triple cheese pizza from the finest pizzeria in town delivered to the captain of industry. He taped his query letter and resume to the inside of the pizza box, so when the captain of industry opened it, he was staring right at it. The industrious young man was hired that very day. We will subsequently tell this story at every subsequent event.
Next Stop: Downtown Seattle, Northwest Book Fest. For an hour and a half we pressed flesh, made introductions, pitched our books, and met a big bunch of Northwest book buyers.
Next Stop: Paulina Springs, Sisters, Oregon, just west of Bend, 5 hours of hard driving and 350 miles later. By now we had memorized every inch of road between Seattle and Central Oregon. Luckily it’s beautiful country to memorize. Driving south from Portland to Bend, with Mt. Hood posing like a picture postcard through the windshield, and beauty growing thick all around us, we were intoxicated again and again by the gorgeousity of it all.
911 said the sign at the edge of town as we pulled into town. We weren’t sure if that was the population, or a cry for help. This was the only store where we were doing an event solely based around Satchel Sez. This was at the insistence of Kate Cerino, who greeted us as we walked into the store at 4:40 for our 5:00 event. Apart from Kate, none of the 911 Sisterites were there. Our expectations, extremely low to begin with, plummeted as we spied the 30 empty seats sadly facing one lone chair, which was staring off self-consciously.
As we strolled around Sisters, we noticed that all the shops were closed, and no one was around. It was like a Twilight Zone episode. We began to wonder if there really were 911 people in Sisters, or if we were going to be abducted by author-starved aliens who would make us write books day and night for the rest of eternity.
Well, imagine our surprise at 5:00 when we returned to find Paulina Springs Bookstore packed with 35 of its 911 occupants. 3% of the population. If this was LA there would’ve been 300,000 people there. Our jaws hit the floor. Those melancholy chairs were now full and happy, brimming with Sisters bottoms, all waiting for us to say something intelligent, insightful and witty about Satchel Paige.
I scanned the crowd, and it suddenly hit me: there were only two people under the age of sixty in the audience. Talk about your target audience. Afterwards, the crowd shared their own Satchel Paige stories. It was America at its best, oral history flying all around us, right there in Paulina Springs Bookstore, Sisters, Oregon, population 911. Turns out almost everyone there had seen Satchel pitch, which is not as strange as it might seem, since he barnstormed North America from Moosejaw to Miami.
Towards the end of the event the Oldest-Man-in-the-Room raised his hand. In a voice weathered with age but still going gangbusters, he said, “I was the batboy on Satchel Paige’s team. My uncle was his manager. I used to ride in his car with him. He was fast. He would have made a great race car driver, Ol’ Satch.” He stole the whole show in about twenty seconds.
After the event, the Oldest-Man-In-the-Room approached David. He had several hundred thousand miles on him, but his smile was wide, his mind was tack-sharp, and he had incredible posture. Made us stop slouching just looking at him. He thanked us for writing the book. Then he told David that he had one of Satchel’s old gloves. David said he would love to buy it from him. The man said, “No, sir, I want you to have it. Give me your address and I’ll mail it to you.” David insisted on paying for it, but the old man wouldn’t hear of it. He gave David his pen, and David wrote down the address. The Oldest-Main-in-the-Room carefully folded the paper and put it in his pocket. Then he stuck out his hand and David took it. It was old and thin, but the grip was strong, with a nice pump at the end. “I hope I’m shaking hands as well as that when I’m 80,” thought David. After he and the Oldest-Main-in-the-Room said their heartfelt farewells, David was distracted by someone asking him to sign a book, and this led to another signature, then another. As David signed the books, he was so happy that the buyers asked him to make the inscriptions out to their grand-sons and grand-daughters. Then it hit him: this is why he wanted to write the book in the first place, so the next generation would know about Satchel and his 6 Rules for Staying Young. As David signed, he felt a tug on my sleeve. It was the Oldest-Main-in-the-Room. David smiled to myself. He figured the old man probably forgot something. “Sonny, you got my pen.” David cracked up, handed him the pen, and smiled as he watched the Oldest-Main-in-the-Room walk away slow but steady, overjoyed at 44 to be called Sonny.
We thanked Kate, she thanked us, then we all patted each other on the back for quite some time. We promised her we’d be back when David’s memoir Chicken comes out in February, and she said she was looking forward to it.
We sold more books at this event than at any other. And had the most solid of gases. Again proving: You just never know.
Next Stop: Bend, Oregon. David had another highly caffeinated beverage. The highlight of this event was meeting a children’s author who lives off the grid with her husband and her animals, and sometimes gets snowed in for two months in the winter. She was so cool.
Next Stop: Kah Nee Tah Indian Reservation, 75 miles north, home of Warm Springs Tribe, in the High Desert country, eating huckleberry pancakes with huckleberry sause and huckleberries with huckleberry cream looking out over ancient red clay and wild horses that sniff at the laughing wind and the crying sky.
Next Stop: Portland, Oregon, 75 miles north, Reed College, David’s alma mater, where our lovely and talented intern Jessica (who is a current Reedy) sent up a smashing event. Again, by the time we started, the chairs were all full, and students had to sit on the floor. And they just kept coming. About twenty minutes in David felt someone behind him, and there were 3 students sitting there. David was shocked at the turn-out on a Tuesday night. “I woulda never gone to something like this when I was at Reed, I was way too busy hanging out.”
Next Stops: Seattle University Village Barnes & Noble on Friday, 200 miles later, Portland’s Annie Blooms on Saturday, 200 miles later, Seattle’s Elliot Bay on Sunday, 200 miles later, and finally Beaverton’s Border’s, 200 miles later.
As we motored home, we were tired, but it was that good kind of tired. We felt like we did something really hard, but we did it as best we could, and we learned so much about books, ourselves, and life. We loved seeing the country, meeting the people, hanging out with David’s mom and sister, watching their friend Margit dance, feeling the magic, and falling ever-deeper in love. And it was glorious pulling up our driveway, 4,000 miles later, so nice to be home sweet home.
Plus we wrote our next book. It’s called Putting Your Passion Into Print.
State of Satchel: 11/1/01
We’ve just returned from our Northwest 2001 Tour, so we thought we’d take this moment to review what we’ve achieved so far, and what we plan for the future.
Book store Events
Barnes & Noble Colma: South San Francisco
Next Chapter Books: Davis, California
B & N: Fremont, Ca
B & N: Walnut Creek, Ca
SF Public Library:
With a Clean Well Lighted Place for Books, and
The Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Foundation)
B & N: Berkeley
Eagle Harbor Books: Bainbridge Island, Washington
B & N: Vancouver, Washington
B & N: Bellevue, Washington
Paulina Springs: Sisters, Oregon
B & N: Bend, Oregon
Reed College: Portland, Oregon
B & N: University of Washington Village, Seattle, Washington
Annie Bloom’s: Portland, Oregon
Elliot Bay Books: Seattle, Washington
Borders: Beaverton, Oregon
Borders: San Rafael
Back home again home again, after six weeks on the road: Portland, Eugene, Olympia, Portland again, San Francisco, Palo Alto a half dozen times, Portland once more, New York City, then Belgium: Antwerp, Gent, Brussels, Sint Niklaas, Mechelen, Aalst, Roeselare, Hasselt, Turnhout, Knokke, and Leuven, more NY, then Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast of Australia. And the one thing everyone has in common overseas is that they are horrified by and scared shitless of Junior Bush, they urged me as an American to make sure he doesn’t get to be emperor for another four years. The Sex Worker Art Show was half a gas and half a horror. I did the first four shows with them, and I had a blast, met all manner of fascinating human, played to packed houses. Left the tour in SF, then taught at Stanford for the next month. The first night of class we asked who among the 33 students had an advanced degree, master, or Phd., EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM RAISED THEIR HAND. Me and Arielle were the least educated people in the class. The students were so smart and dedicated and they all had great book ideas, we all liked it so much we’re doing another five weeks in April. Then on to NYC, where I rejoined the Sex Worker Art Show, with the intention of continuing on to the conclusion, only to be blindsided brutally (story soon to follow). Then on to Belgium, Arielle met me at the Newark Airport and we flew over together. We had no idea what to expect. Imagine our delight when we were picked up and swept away to a five star hotel in the ancient sacred heart of olde Antwerpen, the diamond/fashion center of Europe, where waffles waft their magic aroma from street corners, and chocolates croon your name from sweet boutiques. Turns out I was on the Saint Amour tour, bringing together 10 of the greatest writers from Belgium and Holland. And me. I felt like one of those: What’s Wrong With This Picture things. What am I doing here? Well, the whole tour was about love, so I suppose I was somewhat qualified. Strapping Viking poet babes, and dark brooding novelists, a string quartet doing Bach so beautiful it made your balls weep, three glorious gorgeous female singers who do these ancient sounding songs in Polish Dutch and French, they are food for the ears and the eyes. And the grand old man of Belgian literature, Hugo Claus, this guy was once married to the softporn star Sylvia Kristel, of Emmanuel fame, he’s Arthur Miller, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald all rolled into one. And me. One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong. What am I doing here? With me is the other token American Jonathan Ames, a fine fellow performing a story entitled, Bald, Impotent and Depressed. He and I fell in together like peas in pods. Every day we got fed breakfast at the hotel, we talked about writing and art and sex and love and getting rid of Bush, who as I mentioned, they’re all utterly disgusted by and terrified of, then we would wander the city, and at about five we loaded into the van, drive an hour, unload into some gorgeous 500 year old multi-tiered cake of a theater that has acoustics so perfect you can whisper into the mike and it will travel to every ear in the place and back again. At seven we were fed a fabulous gourmet meal. People drank a lot of alcohol. Everyone except me and Jonathan the two sober American freaks. The shows started at eightish. The music is beautiful the singers like angels who tasted a touch of hell. The emcee is a delightfully droll old school intellectual with deep gravel and fine beer in his voice. The terrible thing is everyone reads in Dutch, so I can’t understand a word of it. Eleven nights in a row, hearing what I can only assume are these most beautiful words, and I can’t understand a word of it. In the show I’m last. Jonathan is second to last. Then me. They project the text to Jonathan’s reading, and to mine, on a 20 foot screen behind us in Dutch. The screen consists of 150 antique woman slips sewed together. So every night my Dutch words are projected onto old lady slips behind me while I act them out in English. I closed the whole show with 12 minutes of the Rainbow hippiechick chapter of Chicken, which climaxes with a cork-popping rip-roaring Tantric climax, and that’s how the Saint Amour show ends, with me orgasming my way across Belgium. A little known fact: writers are treated much more like god/rockstars in Europe than in America, and as a writer I have to say, I like that. I came this close to trashing my hotel room, that’s how much of a rockstar I felt like. One night out for drinks the great man motioned me over. Hugo Claus wants to talk to me. He’s all white mane and old lion skin, magic eyes dancing inside sagging skin, and ancient scarred voice. I ask him what his poems are about. He nods knowingly and says, “Oh you know, love and war and sex and women and money and ice cream and dogs, things like that.” He’s dry on dry, and got the big laugh outta me. Then he says that I remind him of vaudeville, of burlesque. He tells me in his rich voice thick with age that he once saw the exotic dancer Tempest Storm. She was one of the great burlesque entertainers of the 20th century. Hugo told me about the time he watched her stand perfectly still, and make her breasts swing back and forth, higher and higher, and it was like a beautiful poem, Hugo said, watching her beautiful breasts dance all on their own. He was a gorgeous man, Hugo Claus. We saw five hundred year old cathedrals where holy and unholy ghosts fly around the huge ceiling with all that stained light firing through the windows where angels and saints and devils and saviors act out cryptic religious scenarios. We learned the glorious aroma of waffle wiffling around a corner, grabbing you inside your nostril and towing you into the waffle winkle (Belgium for store), and the astonishing warming quality of a sweet hot waffle on a cold European day. I was so sad to leave Belgium, I could have gone on the St. Amour tour forever. Hanging with those mind-boggling writers, eating that damn-that’s-good food, performing in front of all those rapt and appreciative Belgians in those monumentally exquisite theaters, and actually getting paid for it. A slice of heaven. But Australia was calling. 12 hours back to SF. 30 hours later, it’s 16 hours to Brisbane, DownUnder. Luckily the movies “Love Actually”, and the great Dutch soccer documentary about the two worst teams in the world were playing. G’Day! I was whisked off to Surfer’s Paradise, where I was performing in the Gold Coast Art Festival. The ocean the surf the sand immense and exquisite, of course it’s summer Down Under, so it was balmy breezy, easy on the senses. The Aussies were everything they were advertised to be. Warm, sweet, bawdy, affectionate, open, inclusive, generous, curious, sexy, and fun. The first night of my show was a deluge of Biblical proportions, 50 mile an hour winds, lashings of hard rain like the goddesses were whipping the earth in an S&M frenzy. The phones in the theater rang off hooks, and I kept hearing people saying, “No, the shows are going. No, they ARE going on.” As I prepared backstage for my Australian debut, I was interrupted when I stepped into a large puddle where the torrential, relentless rain had pounded its way in. As I dried my feet, and I listened to the tsunami crash down on the Gold Coast, I tried not to take it personally. Was the universe trying to tell me something? Have I offended the gods and goddesses in some way. But somehow people did manage to show up. I did three nights, we had great crowds, and they were lovely. I met more performers, I met people from all over the Gold Coast, and again I was quite sad to go home. Back of course overjoyed to be back in the U S of A. My time on the road and overseas was mind expanding and soul growing. It made me realize how much I want Junior Bush out of office, and that I have to do something about it. At this point America is s a dirty word in some parts of the world. I now prefer when I’m overseas to say I’m from California. But even this is tainted, as now we are tarred with the legacy of the Terminator Governor. This has got to change. In the rest of the world, you really feel like you’re part of the rest of the world. There’s none of that love-it-or-leave-it shit in Europe. They have Euros in Europe. I was also most happy to see that on three different continents, people understood and responded to my very American though apparently universal story of a boy on his own trying to get by. From grrrrrrrrrls in clubs, bourgeois literarti in Europe, dating couples Down Under, queers in bars, UK grannies, SF trannies, tattooed students, mothers and brothers and sisters and husbands and sons and wives. And I met people who have become a part of me, amazing people who made me laugh and marvel and brought great joy into my world, which has become so much bigger. For this, and for all of it, I am so grateful. The HBO deal is being hammered out by lawyers, hammering being the operative word. Me and Arielle will now finish the book Putting Your Passion Into Print. We teach PYPIP again at Stanford. I’m finishing up my a novel, a memoir about my time at Chippendale’s, and I’m polishing up a young adult novel. Then in late April, Xaviera Hollander is bringing me to Amsterdam for about 10 shows. Then to the Brighton Theatre Fest, then three more dates in England. In Philadelphia in June. But here now, it’s great to be home with Milo and Arielle.
April 24, 25 the Gallery Donkersloot – Leidsegracht 76, Amsterdam 8 pm
April 26, 27 gallery Treehouse , Voetboogstraat 11,Amsterdam 8 pm
April 28 – Polanen theater, Polanenstraat 174, Amsterdam 8 pm
April 29 gallery treehouse Voetboogstraat 11,Amsterdam 8 pm
May 1 – Polanen theater, Polanenstraat 174, Amsterdam 8 pm
May 2 – Concordia theater, Hoge zand 42, Den Haag – 4 pm
May 3 – Concordia theater, Hoge zand 42, Den Haag , 8 pm
Wed 5th May – 21 South St Theatre, Reading
Thur, Fri, Sat 6th – Sat. 8th Komedia Theatre – Brighton Theatre Festival
Sun 9th – MAC – Birmingham Cannon Hill Park
Thur 13th – The Point – Eastleigh Town Hall Centre, Leigh Road, Hants
Blue Sky (215-627-1144) Philadelphia – www.blueskyarts.org
Thu-Sat June 10, 11 – Performance and Q&A; Sat, June 12 – Solo Performance Workshop, Performance and Q&A
Thanks. xxox d
3 weeks in England and it only rained three times which I take as sign from god that we are leading a blessed life. From london to bath to yeovil to chester to ilkley to howarth to yorkshire to newcastle to edinborough back to newcastle back to london.
Fireworks on Guy Fawkes day in Bath – this I really love by the way, Guy Fawkes tried to blow up parliament and they have a national holiday for him – it’d be like having Benedict Arnold Day, a very funny old lady told me, “Too bad he didn’t do a better job of it!” –
Cows herded right past our car on a tiny country road by an incredibly R. Crumb looking woman cowherder –
Scones and clotted cream and jam and tea and honey and crustless cucumber sandwiches at Castle Combe in a serious 17th century castle (fantastic golf course by the way, old and green and enormous hills looking out over the most beautiful bucolic countryside, ponies nuzzling me up the path on the way to the 18th tee box, and the highlight of my trip, a downhill 307 yard drive on a par four which rolled to within 10 feet of the cup, missed the eagle, tapped in the birdie)-
A ferret eating the guts out of a bunny on the 8th fairway at Islington (an omen apparently, I shot my worst round, I stopped keeping track at 100 on the 13th hole when I chipped back and forth over the green too many times to mention in polite company) – s
So many sausages and beans and eggs O my god and so much great indian food – the curries the lamb the chicken the cardomum –
Visiting newcastle, my roots, was truly inspiring, the thick geordie accents, all my relatives were so sweet and lovely to us, there is a feeling of family and community there which I do not find in america, many of the people having never been more then 10 miles from the house in which they were born. We asked one man how to get to london and he said, “Ya gan up t’ the roondaboot, tayke a left, then, no no ya cannit gan that way – ya gan throo the roondaboot, then when ya see wor Tetchie wi’ his auld dog Wonky, ya gan 3 more streets an’ tayke a left, right? No, no, that doesn’t gan through. Ehn, ya know, I divn’t think ya can get to London from here.” –
Giving our leftovers to a homeless guy wrapped in a blanket on a bridge in scotland, he looked kind of stunned and said, “For me?” and he gazed up so incredibly astonished and grateful which is frankly how you want a homeless person to look when you give them something, they have a much more civilized class of homeless in The UK I must say –
The most romantic walk over the river thames with a full moon shining down and the lights of london twinkling, it was just so beautiful –
“the ratcatcher”, a scottish filmm which I would highly recommend –
and by the way if you ever need directions in london, ask a hansom cab driver, they should throw out parliament and fill it with hansom cab drivers, that would put england back on the map –
by the way if you’re in london a great course to play is sandy lodge, 45 minutes from central london and exquisitely maintained –
at harrods a spice girl wannabe with long straight blond hair wearing aqua and black boots so loud they jammed radar, turned to us at a cash register and said, “I think you should go to another register, this is going to take a very long time.” The woman at the next register told us Rude Spice had asked her for “The most expensive biscuits in the store.” –
in coxlodge, where my father was born ad raised, we went to the Legion pup (one cousin was working there, the other refused to go, claiming he didn’t want to get Legionaire’s Diseace) on Saturday night. It was odd, the women outnumbered the men by at least 2 to 1, we thought, what’s all this then, and the emcee, in huge black and white trousers with a black and white fright wig (arielle sais, “david, that would you be you if your parents hadn’t moved to america) introduced 5 members of the Gateshead Fire Department, who did the most amazing strip tease I have ever witnessed, and as most of you know I have witnessed enough strip teases to last a hundred lifetimes. Turns out it was full monty night at the Legion. And they did the full monty. They were a bit clumsy, a little overweight, but had a commitment and passion which I found intoxicating. And one of them had the smallest willy I have ever seen on a man. Now that is courage under fire. – so a grand time was had by all, and we’re in nyc until december 1, then back to la – love and kisses, d
HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY, SATCHEL!
The Wit, Wisdom, and World of Leroy “Satchel” Paige
by David Sterry and Arielle Eckstut
Who was the highest paid athlete in America in 1945? Which baseball player is credited with 300 shutouts, 55 no-hitters, and 64 consecutive scoreless innings? Which pitcher won three games on the very same day? Hall of Famer Leroy “Satchel” Paige is known for these memorable milestones, but perhaps more important, he is remembered for being one of the great philosophers of the twentieth century. Satchel Sez (Three Rivers Press, May 2001) is a tribute to this classic American folk philosopher in the grand tradition of Will Rogers, Mark Twain and Yogi Berra. From his days as the biggest star of the Negro Leagues to his extraordinary performances in the majors, Satchel Sez chronicles the amazing life and times of this write-your-own-rules hero who had a panache all his own, both on and off the field.
“Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Home plate don’t move.”
After a quarter century of unparalleled brilliance in the Negro Leagues, Paige finally made it to the Cleveland Indians in 1948. At the age of 47 (or 40, or 42, or 44, depending on what day you asked), Satchel was the oldest rookie ever to grace the Major Leagues. When The Sporting News named him “Rookie of the Year,” the forty-something Paige declined the position because, as he put it, “I wasn’t sure what year the gentlemen had in mind.” Once with the Indians, Satchel played to thunderous standing ovations all across the nation, setting the attendance record for night games at 78,382 and inspiring Americans of every age, class and color.
“Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”
Unfortunately, fame did not protect Paige from the cruelty of racism. Though Satchel was a man of remarkable humor and deep intelligence, he was more often than not portrayed
as a simpleton, or worse yet, baseball’s Stepin Fetchit. Satchel earnestly voiced his frustration with the racism he encountered. As he so poignantly said, “Baseball has turned me from a second-class citizen to a second-class immortal.”
“I never had a job. I just played baseball.”
Satchel’s witty quips and savvy observations—on everything from health to wealth, from race relations to baseball—are an enduring part of American mythology. Satchel Sez is a fact-packed, fun-filled collection of quotes, stories (from Willie Mays, Buck O’Neil, and many others), statistics, vintage newspaper articles, photos, and memorabilia of Leroy “Satchel” Paige. What better to way to celebrate the first–of many–of Paige’s centennial birthdays than with this definitive collection?!
“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old were?”
This whole mad shitski started at NBA’s crib, which is seven shades of narsty, with, like, black banana peels and nacho Dorito fossils from 1984 buried under three layers of tall boys, with this skanko-funk-o-rama hangin so thick you can taste it. NBA, naturally, he’s toasted like a bagel. Me, I’m layin low cuz my main squeeze Squeegie had totally tweaked my shit, an I hadda meet Harry Three Balls at Muscle Beach at midnight, so I thought what the fuck, right? I’m workin on a most worthy stick of Slim Jim, the spicy beefy jerky salty meat treat. NBA, who can’t d-up for shit, has no j, an the weakest wackest tweakiest tude in Venice, the home of weak wack tweaky tudes. Interesting note: even though NBA wears size 15s, seriously, dude’s got canoes at the end of his pegs, Wannabe, she’s this freaky deaky baby I sometimes do a hang with, she tells me the brother-man is surprisingly light in the breadbasket department, which pissed Wannabe off no end, cuz she likes her man to be packin serious meat, which was the only reason she was doin a hang with NBA in the first place, cuz she hates the sad-sack ruckerty-ruck.
So then who busts in like three thermofuckinnuclear devises, but Dickhead, Kosher the Mouth, an Cornhole Charley, an individual who lives up to his name every day an in every way. Now Kosher the Mouth, who is actually some kinda Hindu dudenik, this fucker has the gift man, he can flap serious gum. I hear fuckazoid’s got 7 degrees an speaks 14 languages. Or 14 degrees an speaks 7 languages, I can never remember. An Dickhead, this piassanthrope, he’s like, 9 feet tall an 5 feet wide, weighs a metric ton, an he never says a word unless Cornhole Charley tells him to, an as far as anyfucker can remember, Cornhole Charley never told him to. All you need to know about Mount Dickhead is, he’s the one gave Boy Boy a involuntary sex-change operation, turned him into Girl Girl.
So yo, when these most excellent specimens bust their humps into a room, heads, like, turn. I offer them some of my spicy beefy Slim Jim but they ix-nay the erky-jay. Then all of a sudden I realize somefucker’s missin. Then I realize it’s not a who, it’s a what, an the what is Bone, Cornhole Charley’s weightlifter dog. Sweet Hairy Jesus, this dog, he’s, like, right outta Jurrasic Park, man, he’s a muscle with a mouth at the end. A mouth with a lockable jaw. An only Cornhole Charley’s got the key.
So check this out, accordin to the Mouth, Greaceball an Macho Raul put the snatch on Bone, an they said they’d off the dog if they don’t get 10 G’s large, an if Cornhole tries to muscle up, they’ll skull-fuck Bone and kill him until he’s most dead.
So I’m thinkin’, like, what the fuck are these boys smokin? I mean, come on, this is one of those scams you think up after a couple dozen bong hits an then laugh your ass off at how retarded it is. First of all, you gotta get Bone offa Corhole Charley. Then you gotta stash him in some place where he doesn’t tear your nads off an chew ‘em like jawbreakers. An then you gotta get Cornhole Charley to dole out the caish, which everyfucker knows Cornhole Charley hates worse than his old man, who he killed after cornholin the sorry punkinhead. Enough said. Then again Macho Raul is the brains of the outfit, an everyfucker knows Macho Raul’s got more hair than brains, but serious, he does have some mad hair, looks like you could surf on the boy’s head, straight up.
So, I’m wondering exactly what this shit has to do with me, an hopin nothin. Well, by an by, after I’ve got everyfucker toasty with my tasty shit, the Mouth informs me that Macho Raul wants a independent third party to facilitate the exchange of money for canine, I swear that’s how puzzboy talks, like he was born in a fuckin thesaurus, it’s a piss just to listen to the mofo blow.
So yo, like, you guessed it, it’s up to me myself and I to deliver the dead presidents, ten large, which as far as dead presidents go, is serious cheese, then bring back the Bone. What an honor, fuck me! right? Well, I’m startin to sketch, cuz, nacherly, all I can see is pre-historic Ginsu teeth chompin on my nads.
But the thing is, with these fuckfuckboys, they don’t ask, they tell. An them what says no to Cornhole Charley stands a excellent chance of getting themselves an future generations heinously cornholed. So I’m tryin to be cool as a dude whose bricks are shitting bricks can be, an I say, “Muchachos, I am honored by your total, like, faith in my shit, but I am quite tweaky at the moment, an I’m afraid I might fuck up your shit cuz my nuts are so numb.”
So the Mouth, he looks at Cornhole Charley, who gives him, like, I swear, one nano-nod, an the Mouth, he says, “We have complete confidence in your alacrity.”
Which I took to mean I was fucked.
So next thing I know we’re piling into Cornhole Charley’s tricked-out monster ride, an off we, like, go, mon frere. An this ride is sweeeeeeet. I mean the tunes are so huge it’s like Li’l Kim is giving you a lap dance while she’s rapping her shit, which I’m not even that into, I’m into more of a Zep, Crue, Ozzie sitcheation myself, but the point is, tunes were huge, made your scrotum hum, man. An the seats were all some kinda way plush shit, man, I swear, it was like being inside a chick you dig big time. Dickhead is drivin, an Cornhole Charley is looking like he’s just itchin to cornhole somethin, an the Mouth is talkin some shit about how the war against drugs is the same shit made Al Capone into a superstar, an he looks at me like it’s my turn to talk an I go: “True.”
So then we, like, stop, an the Mouth hands me a paper bag with 10 large in it. I’m serious, like a total old school brown paper bag, with 10 fuckin G, like we’re in some dumbass Cagney Tarantino movie, an all I can see is me getting my shit blown away in some sick slow mo blood bath, my bullet-riddled corpse spewing my red juice.
An for what? A dog on steroids. Life is one long tweak, neighbor.
So the Mouth tells me to give these bucket-heads the money, an fetch Bone back into the car, an I get to keep 5 hun if I don’t fuck it up. He doesn’t say what’s gonna happen if I do fuck it up, but it’s pretty obvious that me myself and I will be transformed into a cornhol-ee.
So I slide like KY out of the Dream Machine an ooze under the bridge up past the ferris wheel. An I’m standin there holding the bag, an my dick, only not necessarily in that order. Then all of a sudden I hear this bark, right, only it’s like some cartoon shit, like that huge pigdog thing in Ghostbusters. An I’m like, “Where have I heard that shit before?” An then it hits me like a ton of shit bricks: that’s the patented Bone bark.
So then Greaceball comes outta the woods an he’s got Bone on a leash. Or, I should say, Bone yanks Greaceball outta the woods, with Greaceball hangin on for dear life.
So then Bone stops dead still, an he stares me the fuck down, senoir, an his nose starts twitchin, an he’s RCA Victor doggin me, with that big huge Bone head all slanty, like he’s trying to figure some shit out, only his brain is 3 sizes too small.
So all of a sudden Bone bolts, an he almost rips the arm out the poor dipstick’s socket, straight up, it was mad crazy shit, an the Greaceball falls eyeballs over asshole straight on his head.
An Bone, he’s barkin like a fuckin mad dog, bustin his big huge balls straight at me myself an I, an about ten feet away the dog takes a leap, flying like Air Bone, baby, this big square head bustin straight at my face, an all I can think is: I’m a Dead Man Walkin. An it was totally tweaky how long Bone was flying like Rocket J. Squirrel straight at my ass, I swear, he took like a month an a half to get to me. An I start thinkin about all this crazy shit, like my buds Jujie Fruit, an Blunt, an Killer Bud, an One Fish, an Rodney the Human Cat, an then I was thinkin about what a snarky fucker I was to Squeegie, just cuz she said I wasn’t nice to her old lady, which if you wanna know truth, I wasn’t, an her old lady is actually cool, but I was really actually snarkin cuz Squeegy wouldn’t lend me a hun to get a half that I was gonna turn over for double, boom, it was like taking dope from a nodding horsehead, but she wants me to straighten up an fly right, which, okay I said I would do, so really it was me that was the fuck-up from the get-go, straight-up. So there I was, with this killin machine flying at my juggler, an I can’t get Squeegy out of my mind, seriously, mofo, all I can think about is what a cool-as-shit chick she is, you know, an how I never tell her how fuckin cool her shit is, an I, like, vow then an there, I’m gonna be her righteous buck from now on.
So finally old Bone, he comes crashing down on me like some canine Smart Bomb, an he starts growlin an pokin that gnarled-out snout in my scrotal area, bitin at it an nippin at it with those ferocious choppers, an I’m thinking, well, that’s it: goodbye johnson, adios Senior Pepe, so long shlong. But no, he’s snarfling around my pocket, an I’m just trying not to unload my shit, for real, an I mean totally straight-up.
So then boom! it hits me, why the Bone is out of his tiny pre-historic brain: spicy beefy Slim Jim herkimer jerkimer! So chop chop I wrangle the jerky out, an never have I been so happy to give up my meat. See, I always give Bone some salty meaty treaty whenever I’m holdin, an of course the Bone, he digs it the most, wagglin his ass around an lookin at me like he’s got a mad schoolboy crush on my ass.
So yo, check this out, I look up just in time to see Dickhead an Kosher the Mouth grabbin old Greaceball by the scruff of his shit, and playing ricky ticky fucking tavvy on his skull, while Cornhole Charley does the 50 yard dash to me an Bone. An when this intergallactic landmass shouts out, “Bone!”, the dog, he goes runnin over to Cornhole Charley, an it was like one of those sucky fuckin phone commercials, man, they’re runnin to each other like young lovers in love. Straight up, Cornhole Charley gets down on all fours, an him an Bone are lickin each other, an growlin an howlin an moanin, these two big lunkheads, you know, slappin an nuzzlin, it was kinda, like, beautiful an shit, only don’t tell Cornhole Charley I said that or I’m one cornholed bitch, straight-up.
So when they’re done with their, like love fest, Cornhole Charley gets up an he walks over to Greaceball, who’s cryin like a neutered poodle, dude, seriously, it was pathetic how fast that ass-munch lost his shit, which is always the way with these low-levels dudes, an I mean, come on, you don’t steal somefucker’s dog, yo, that makes you, like, King of the Scumbags, in my book. Not a man’s dog. An especially not Cornhole Charley’s dog. That shit is just, like, saying, “Please, hurt me, the sooner the better.”
So they drag weeny-meister Greaceball, moanin and snivellin like the weak bitch he is, behind the bridge in the shadows. Then many ungodly sounds follow, with some narsty Bone noises thrown in for good, like, measure an shit. An I hear Macho Raul was located pronto, an is by no means so macho anymore.
So yo, when they’re all done, I give em back the whole 10 G’s. Then ol’ Cornhole, he did some shit I will never forget, for real, and straight up. He comes over all serious-like, an for a second I thought I had fucked up somehow an he was gonna clean my clock, an unclog my pipes, and corn my whole.
But instead, guess what that nutty fucker did? This mad crazy hump, the baddest man in the whole damn town, he laid a massive crazy hug on me, picked me right off the fucking ground, man. It may sound all cheese-filled, but Cornhole Charly gave me much love, man, an I was feeling him.
So when he finally puts me down, he’s like, kinda choked up an shit, an to tell you the truth, so was I, not to be a freak about it, but I couldn’t help it,, straight up, I was all moistened.
So then the Mouth hands me a gran. a thousan dead fuckin presidents, pop my cherry, can you believe that shit, I mean, how cool is that, like fuck me to nth, right!
An as they were givin me the adioses, I laid a stick of Slim Jim spicy beefy meaty treat on Bone for the road.
Hey, karma’s karma, neighbor.
Then I headed down the beach for Squeegie’s, an when I got there, I told her I was a sorry sad sack, an I told her how righteous an mad cool her shit is, then she danced with my monkey long into the night, yo. Long into the night.
“Terrifically readable… Sterry’s an adventurer who happens to feel and think deeply. He’s written a thoroughly absorbing story sensitively and with great compassion… A page-turner… This is a strange story told easily and well.”
— Eileen Berdon, Erotica.com
To see more & buy book, click here.
Chicken: A 1-Ho Show
“The show was great to see! David is an awesome performer/actor/writer. Pure poetry in motion. Nice to finally get the hetero male perspective of sex work.”
– Annie Sprinkles.
“The show was absolute amazing and to let me know if he’s showing it again as I’d love to invite more friends!”
“I loved the show. What struck me most was the love you had for your life and how it came through in the show (healing is so wonderful ain’t it? I loved the simplicity in set and the choice to use only the bench as a prop/set piece … the choreography/direction was marvelous… your writing is wonderfully poetic, and your love for words comes shining through.”
“I wish I knew enough superlative adjectives to use in praise of Chicken. All I can say is that it was wonderful. He was mesmerizing and pulled me into the life of a naive Texas boy thrown out on the street and into the arms of the wolves in Hollywood. He is truly a gifted actor and the way he not just described in words but make real through his body language and movement the people in his world to life was awsome – man or woman they were equally real to me. I felt not only his truths but theirs. Thank you David for letting me (and the rest of the world) so truthfully into your experiences.
“The performance last night was nothing short of spectacular. Your writing is so wonderfully poetic, funny, and sad. I love works that can make me laugh and cry. Yours did the trick. And I loved the physicality of the show. You really brought the writing to life–so animated, very rich 3D imagery and characterizations. I’m certainly going to tell everyone I know to see the show.”
“L-O-V-E-D the show. Honest and truly. We talked about it the whole walk home.”
“You are not just a great actor. You are a shape shifter. I saw you look different for each character. I SAW Sunny, his ‘fro, his caftan, SAW Kristi, I SAW the teenie bopper runaway. I saw your face go silly-putty-sideways, and your Dad come out….You could wipe the floor with Robin Williams in a goofy character face-off. I LOVED Sunny. Some of my best friends have been 70s black hippie faggots. Vocally, just for the pure Barry White honey of the voice, I loved Sexy. You have transmitted your pain into art, and now the artistic rendering of your tormentor brings pleasure. That’s alchemy. Shamanism, magic, healing. Of course, laughter is the strongest medicine… You’re also a word candy daddy, West Coast writers’ school: Tom Robbins, Rob Brezhney, David Sterry dishing out chewy delicious mouthfuls of succulent syllables. Basically, you rock. Love the opening stroll down H’wood blvd, with those split second portraits. Dynamite, dude.”
“A funny, poignant story that examines issues both hard-hitting and universal.”
— Time Out San Francisco
“Sterry tells a sad and harrowing story with humor, energy, and a sharp eye for the sort of characters an ‘industrial sex technician’ might meet in the weird aftermath of the ‘60s.”
— Michael Scott Moore, The San Francisco Weekly (Theater section)
To buy Chicken, click here.
“Experiencing [Sterry’s] natural ear for rhythm and timing, we are reminded of what a rare pleasure it is to see a writer perform his own work. Much like beat poetry, Sterry’s carefully crafted, simple language infuses mundane situations with dream-like profundity…Sterry’s portrayal of his 17-year-old self is immediately honest and believable. In fact, the character’s insecure teenage naiveté juxtaposed with Sterry’s masterful control of poetic dialogue is what balances the show…Sterry remarkably creates and portrays his characters.”
— Emily Klein, The San Francisco Examiner
To buy Chicken click here.
“Poignant, humorous…a rare pleasure…funny, moving and original…an exceptional, comically idiosyncratic and revealingly honest look at life in difficult times…Much of the material in the 85-minute one-act is hilarious…Sterry is a sharp comic, using his limber body and versatile voice to create memorably funny portraits of the hungry, lonely, wealthy women who employ his services…Sterry needs no other prop than a wooden bench to get full comic mileage out of the ludicrousness of sex in some wonderfully varied and graphic guises. But what sets “Chicken” apart and gives it depth is the hard, sad reality beneath its Rabelaisian humor…[“Chicken”] is richly entertaining and thought-provoking… [It] speaks cleverly and provocatively to anyone who’s ever been or had a child.”
— Robert Hurwitt, Head Theater Critic to The San Francisco Chronicle
“Written so well… eloquent, amazing… I couldn’t put it down!”
— Josh Cohen, WZZR Radio
To buy, click here.
“Jawdropping… Even as confessional memoirs go, David Sterry’s Chicken stands out from the rest. Alternately farcical, grotesque, brutal and sad… A carefully crafted piece of work… Gives the famous encounter between Dennis Hopper and Isabella Rossellini in “Blue Velvet” a run for its money.”
“Dark wit and considerable compassion… wickedly funny, baroque… sadly, even touchingly human, thanks to Sterry’s matter-of-fact empathy for his disturbed customers… Chicken gets its soul from Sterry’s nuanced portrait of his growing anguish as the work takes him to increasingly scary places, physically and emotionally.”
— Wendy Smith, Amazon
To see more & buy Chicken click here.
“His memoir is a super-readable roller coaster — the story of a young man who sees more of the sexual world in one year than most people ever do.”
— Dr. Carol Queen, Spectator Magazine
To buy Chicken click here.
Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent – to buy click here.
I really can’t express how splendid, wonderful, excellent, clever…. (I’m running out of adjectives) your presentation was yesterday. You held a very tough audience absolutely RIVETED for 3 full hours! the beautiful prose coupled with your performance talent is a killer combination. (I kept wanting to stop your reading in order to point out specific narrative techniques you used–how *skillfully* the “technical” aspects of writing contributed to the power of the book. I guess I’ll have to wait until the book is out, and assign it as a classroom text in order to deconstruct it on that level. Alice La Plant – SF State University Professor
I tore through your book in a matter of hours: read it while walking to work, on the BART, in line at the store. Loved it. – SF
I am really looking forward to reading your next book – you are an incredibly gifted writer. The book broke my heart, turned me on, and gave me the vicarious thrill of walking in a man’s shoes (yours) for a day. Thank you for sharing your experiences, and yourself, with me and the world. As with all great books, the last page left me screaming No Wait- I Still Don’t Know What Happened – Juline Koken – NYC
I just finished the book. First, my gratitude for the testimony, for positing the story in the world. Then for the cockygiddyjoygift of your style, grace, clarity, humour and generosity. all this seeping and fuming between bouts of mouth-drying horror and lumpy-throat sexiness. Thanks – Dr. Leon Johnson, University of Oregon
Very powerful–sad, funny, accomplished… Susan Boloton, Workman Press
I was skeptical about reading this memoir because the sex industry is not a subject that I’m especially drawn to. My friend read and loved this book and strongly suggested that I read it. I took her advice and once I began to read I was completely unable to put Chicken down. The writing style of this book flowed so smoothly and was crafted so skillfully that I felt that I was watching the story happen rather than reading it off of a page. This book was fascinating and I commend David Sterry for his honesty and courage. – San Francisco
Just finished you book and enjoyed it very much. Thought I’d reach out and let you know that you touched at least this reader. You have an excellent and articulate voice – looking forward to your next work. Adios, Patrick
Your book has been such a sumptuous meal, a feast on this day where I starved for inspiration. Thanks! For being not only so brave to tell your story but also for being such a true artist. You are so lush, your poetry so rich, phrases pop out at me like valuable diamonds never before seen, never before measured. The juxtaposition of your childhood and the narrative story is brilliant. You taught me so much, you are a magic beacon of light. Grazie mille, Daisy – Hollywood
I hate to invade your email privacy, however, I must tell you that since I received “Chicken” by mail yesterday, I was able to put it down only twice before finishing it. I could all too well identify with your horrors and through your confessions am finding catharsis. (Even though I only finished it ten minutes ago) Congratulations, and thank you. Kyle Bastien – Vancouver
Ye flipping gods. The first passage I peeked at was howlingly funny, so I was expecting something lighter, more tongue-in cheek, maybe even flippant. What I have here is merciless writing, zero to wrenching in less than fifteen pages, at a pace that leaves no time for the reader to wallow. – Oregon
Wow, not only was your book incredibly interesting but your style of writing was THE MOST engaging and enjoyable book I have ever read. I read nonfiction and memoirs, about a book every week and yours was awesome. Good for you with your survival, courage and talent not to mention all of your hard work. I so much appreciate the opportunity to have read your book. I hope you are creating another book that I and others can enjoy. Your perspective, your style, your visions, descriptions and feelings, the way you ran words and sentences together for an amazing affect was a joy to participate in and I thank you again for sharing. Good Luck to you. Congradulations on a fabulous piece of art! Sincerly, Nancy Malone
I love your book. You are so poetic. You have the same wonderfully vivid style. Candye Kane, San Diego
i just wanted to tell you how incredible your book, “chicken” is. it reads “on the road”, like a chicken kerouac. i loved it so much, i HAD to read it in one sitting. i can’t wait for your next book. -a fan. – Alger Batts
I was so moved by your first chapter. I myself am a survivor of sexual abuse so hearing you talk about it definitely makes me feel strong and hopeful for my own situation. (I have been dealing for a year now… I was abused as a five year old by my stepfather… and haven’t been able to write–much less talk–about it yet.) I was one of those teary eyed people after hearing you both read and talk about it, and I wanted to come up to you after class…. but it still has a huge emotional impact on me and I’m one of those girls that hates to cry. Anyway, I didn’t e-mail you to write you my life story, I only wanted to thank you for the generosity to express yours. And to express it so beautifully. So thank you very much. I wish you much luck and lots of return on your book! I’ve already told three people they HAVE to read it… and buy it! UC Berkeley Student – Megan Allen
I nabbed his review copy of Chicken. It obviously took a rare amount of courage to write and publish it – such candour and humour about such a dangerous and soul-destroying situation. Your book describes perfectly the dark split between double lives – I am unfortunately well familiar with it. Aside from this being fan mail, would you like me to send you a check? I feel guilty about reading Chicken without buying it. – Dawna Rae from Toronto
I was blown away. Not just a reading of good material, a performance…It was very intimidating and awfully impressive. – Jan Nash
I love his writing style; it brings you into the story. You will not want to put it down. The fact that this is an autobiography makes the story even more horrifying. Yet since it is a catharsis of a true survivor, it seems that David brings somehow to an unexpected redemption. You must read this book
“It’s a breezy read, pleasingly free of self-pity. Sterry judges the tone carefully. He’s unflinching and perceptive without being mawkish, and often very funny. And the side of the sex-worker’s story he tells is a rarely heard one.
— The Observer
To buy Chicken click here.
“Humorous and charming… Outrageous and entertaining…”
— Michael Williams, BBC 1
A beautiful book… a real work of literature… wonderfully written.”
— Vanessa Feltz, BBC Radio
“Jawdropping… Even as confessional memoirs go, David Sterry’s Chicken stands out from the rest. Alternately farcical, grotesque, brutal and sad… A carefully crafted piece of work… Gives the famous encounter between Dennis Hoppe and Isabella Rossellini in ‘Blue Velvet’ a run for its money.” — Benedicte Page, Book News, UK
“David Henry Sterry has honed a vibrant outrageous style, and turned out this studiously wild souvenir of a checkered past.”
— The New York Times
[A] refreshingly affectionate portrayal of a naïve young man’s first taste of Los Angeles in mid 1970s…Sterry expertly and economically brings the parade of pimps, nuns, debutantes, rapists, and sexual deviants who populate his past to life…he attacks his evocative prose like a grizzled beatnik poet hitting a home run.
— The San Francisco Bay Guardian