by Frank Santo ’11
“Wake up, stud.”
His eyes creaked open. His first sight was of the cracks in the ceiling plastered over in a shade of white just barely off. It was getting light grey outside the window as Jack wondered both where he was and who was talking to him.
The walls were stained and the orange light of the lamp by the bed cast the room in a dim murky glow. The girl grazed her sweat-dried fingers over the stubble on Jack’s chin. He closed his eyes. Where was I last night? I vaguely remember… But this isn’t your apartment Jack. No one buys maroon curtains. She isn’t my Eve.
“I … uh…” He spoke slowly as lingering early-morning dreams faded into reality. I am here now.
“I got places to be, ya know,” the girl said, laughing lightly. Jack noticed a flash of silver in the back of her throat as she spoke. Tongue ring: classy lady – really picked a winner this time. I am the pig god. Pulse, pulsing pulses. Eve’s freckled face, crying in the light of the lamppost. She wore a white sun dress last time you saw her.
Jack’s bleary eyes moved across the room, his vision jumping with each successive pulse of his pounding head. Blue jeans on a blue chair. Wallet on the ground contents spilled must have spilled them. Window: open. View of the broken window of a neighboring burned out building. A neon sign’s buzz. City-limits. OK. Grey skies. Looks like rain again, Jack. It always rains the day after it rains.
He was struck by an image. from two weeks before. Eve speaking in her refined tone: I love you Jack, I do… I did. I really thought I did. It’s just… He hadn’t meant to hit her then. His arms had disconnected from his body. She’d crashed to the ground. He’d kept the ring he’d bought for her ever since. I should have seen the warning signs. She didn’t need me after all.
Jack tried to blink the image of Eve’s face from his eyes. But where am I now?
“I gotta…” he tried to speak. Shame and empty bottles. This is the motel room in your soul. Pray to God and Eve in a white sun-dress.
The girl rolled off the bed, and to Jack’s surprise was already fully clothed in a black miniskirt and a scant red halter-top. She stepped with cheap grace through the glowing room. She had a tattoo of a heart on her lower back, half-covered by the laces at the bottom of her shirt. Her blond hair dangled lank and stringy.
“Gotta what daddy?” Her voice was detached. She reached into her purse for a small pocket-mirror and smacked her lips at her reflection. Jack squinted. Daddy?
Another memory from the night before. The cab ride to this motel: The girl had sat on the opposite side; the middle seat between them as they drove through unfamiliar streets, Jack’s strange guilt spinning the city passing by the cab-window.
“Gotta ya know, gotta…you know… get…” He blinked. Christ.
Jack, She’s just a girl. Probably a nice girl. Talk like a person. You’re a person, aren’t you Jack? Barely.
“Listen, baby, daddy, whatever.” the girl said, the flirtation running away from her voice, “I have to go now.” She stood looking back at the bed with her hand on a jutted hip. Her red lipstick shone black in the weak lighting. She tapped the floor with the silver high heel of her shoe. Her white purse bumped against her elbow.
Looking the girl up and down as she stared at him with one eyebrow slightly cocked, Jack remembered for an instant the image of her naked, fake-tanned thighs squeezing his waist with it pushing through the hole of his plaid boxers and his blue button-down shirt still hanging off his neck. Sadie was her name, he remembered. She’d called out her own name in the moment. Goddamn. S-AIDS-ie. Tell me you wore a rubber Jack. Sexual health is an oxymoron. Why do I fuck things? Jack put his arm across his eyes. Leave me to rot alone. She doesn’t look at all like my Eve.
He followed the cracks in the ceiling with his eyes, willing them to split apart and crash the whole structure down upon him. AIDS and tongue rings in motel rooms. How could Eve have left him? It was so close, attainable – happiness. She didn’t love you, Jack. So you showed her. Shut-up. Death and violence. Sex explosions. Shut-up please. It’s such a nice ring too, Eve.
Sadie kept staring at him, her impatience growing. She swung her purse to her other shoulder and bent down to pick up his discarded wallet from the carpet. She fingered his driver’s license and inspected it like a diamond appraiser. Eve running past me, terrified and tearful, pushing through the door. I love you Evie I miss you I never would do… My arms were disconnected.
The girl stood up again, her face red and her hand twitching perceptibly. “Listen Jackson K. Densmore,” she said, “there isn’t any money in your wallet.” There was a crack in her tone.
Jack’s mind ground to a halt.
“What do you mean… Money?” His voice was barely audible. Of course Jack, of course.
“I said there better be a good fucking reason there isn’t any money in your wallet. Don’t tell me this is a stiff-job Jackson.K. Densmore who lives on… 321 Fensview Drive. Me and my man Big T downstairs know this ain’t a stiff-job.” Her voice was shrill and desperate. Room: flashing, lights spinning. Evie smile through the tears baby. Pulse, Pulse, Pulse. Memories of frantic kisses, as if her lips would disappear soon. Eve’s freckled face. The world is collapsed. I am the pig god. The motel room in my soul with the hooker of my heart. Dead-beat low-down Evie come back I’m dying. There isn’t any money in your wallet Jack. The cracks in the ceiling writhed like burning snakes.
“You’re a… ?” And then he felt the cold metal press against his throat. She held the edge of a six-inch jack-knife to his jugular and pressed her other hand on his forehead, preventing any possibility of a bloodless escape. Evie, my Adam’s apple. There isn’t any money in your wallet, Jack. Why do I fuck things? The girl’s hand trembled slightly, scraping the blade across his neck hairs. How do you like this Jackie-baby? Deathfiresexexplosion. Help me something. He looked up into the girl’s burning, tear-filled eyes. He could see his reflection in them.
“I’ll tell you whats gonna happen stud, either I… Either I slit your throat and your little rich boy ass bleeds out in a motel room, or you find a way to pay me fast. I do not need this weak-ass bullshit today.” Her voice was not the confident and hardened bark she’d intended. Instead she sounded rasping and frantic. Jack barely heard. His mind was flashing in and out. Eve and I dancing at a party, my hand around her waist as the light emits from her eyes. She laughed at my two left feet and pressed her head into my chest. The way she looked at me from across the quad, back in school, we hardly knew each other I guess. It’s over, Jack. It’s over Jackie-boy. No more sacred glances. Look at me now Evie. Where are you? How could you? It was such a nice ring, too.
The cracks in the ceiling faded as his vision blurred. His head still throbbed. A gentle rain began to tap against the window glass. He slowly exhaled the memories. Motel room world.
“There’s… there’s a ring in my pants.” He said it with grim resignation to the reality of his degradation. Why do I fuck things? Just let me die alone.
The girl looked over at the blue jeans on the chair. She looked back at Jack. Tears slowly traveled down his face in jagged lines toward the pillow. She pulled the knife from his reddened throat and stepped cautiously towards the chair.
“Don’t you move now. All I do is yell, and Big T will be all up in here. He don’t fuck around with your john-ass payment plan.”
She eyed him while she reached into the pocket of the jeans. She pulled out a velvet-covered jewelry case. She held the case in her hands, admiring the feel of the velvet on her skin, then gently opened it, revealing a small golden ring.
The girl paused for a moment, her mouth slightly agape. She took the ring out of the case and turned it over in her hands, as if feeling the sensation of metal on her skin for the first time in her life. She looked back at Jack. Then she slowly walked over to the lamp, stepping lightly in high silver heels, and held the ring under the light. Jack couldn’t bear to watch. Take it. Take it and leave me here alone for the love of God and Eve just go. Jack prayed that the bed would sprout teeth and swallow him whole.
The girl squeezed her finger into the ring and held her hand in front of her face, beholding the glint of the gold and the delicate inscription on the band: For E.F, Love J.D. A thousand dollars and two years gone forever. Life is lowly lover boy.
But then, as Jack stared blankly out at the room, taking in the misery of the moment, he noticed something shining on the chair. At first he didn’t believe it. She’d left the knife on the chair. The stupid girl had left the fucking knife right on the fucking chair. Jack looked back at her. She was clutching the ring to her chest with her eyes closed. Grab it Jack. Throw her into the wall. Grab the knife and get the ring and be out the door faster than she can say “chlamydia.”
Jack sat up in the bed and gripped the bed sheet tightly underneath him. Do it. Be a man. Man beats woman. Throw her into the fucking wall. That’s Eve’s ring. That’s your ring Jack. Memories of shoving Eve to the ground flashed through his mind. The power. Jack spat on the ground and he swung one foot off the bed. He braced himself for a sprint towards the knife. But then, the soft sound of the girl’s voice arose: a forced whisper barely rising over the sound of the rain against the window.
“No one has ever given me a ring before,” she said. “Funny this is how I get one, huh.”
She looked back at him. Right into his eyes. Tears were flowing freely down her cheeks, and she smiled weakly. Her blonde hair framed her face. She was a pretty girl, Jack couldn’t deny it at that moment, and younger looking than he’d originally figured. Innocence. Jack sat back: paralyzed. I’m sorry Evie. I would never have… I just… couldn’t… No one has ever given me a ring before. Look at her Jack, goddamn. She needs it, too.
“I’m twenty-four years old and no one has ever given me a ring before,” she said. “Imagine that. He’s going to make me sell it. T would never let me keep something this nice. But still… She must be something to deserve a ring like this. Some girls have all the luck I guess.”
The girl tried to smile sweetly at Jack, but she could not sustain the expression. She averted her face and wiped the tears from her eyes. She looked down at the first ring she’d ever owned in her life and wiggled her fingers. Laughing with bitter softness, she exhaled. Then she glanced over at the bed one final time, grabbed the knife from the chair, and walked out the door. It closed behind her with a dull thud.
Jack lay on the bed, alone and naked. Goodbye Evie.
by Matthew Ritger ’10
Wake up, past noon, a fistful of lilacs;
An e-mail (from him) subject: (no subject).
Body: also, last night was fun. Attach—
No attachments (to: nobody). Perfect.
Back in bed. Compose response: Pre “also” ?
Typo? Am I / is he — missing something?
Play dumb. Roll over. Sit up. Send him: (2
Get out of bed (around 2): Run, Gym, Noun,
1 Missed Call (From him?) (Already?) Beauty:
Shampoo, Condition (3 min). Go downtown:
Get latte (soy). Write list of what you did
today. Call it, “To Do List” — Check boxes.
Scuff lilacs under bed. Call it: Sonnet.
by Nate Bruschi ’10
This is just to say
I have eaten
that was thawing in
the staff room
and which you
probably brought for
as the frosting read
it looked inviting
and so cold
This is just to say
I have finished
that was in
you were probably
for your ling class
it was exhilarating
words so rare
and clues so hard
This is just to say
I have kidnapped
who was careless
and who you
these last few weeks
he looked happy
by Daisy Jones ’10
Your tongue slides hot wet across my collarbone
and I can’t help but think how it feels just like
sweat collecting during a workout.
On my right, buzzing jumping, your phone inches
across the bedside table, angry.
Another taker, an hour too late.
I watch your naked arm stretch fleshy and white:
fingers flick the sleek metal away, off it shudders
noiselessly among our discarded
costumes, so easily slipped off.
You smile over me, apologetic lips descending
and I swallow a laugh, thinking how easy
I am, how easy it is—
one, two vibrating hums
and I’m meeting you outside,
I’m letting your hands draw brazen lines under my skirt,
I’m following you to your filthy room.
Does it make a difference, that I am using you too?
My easy distraction and, I don’t think
you care, pulling the lace
down, lips curling against my breast,
asking no questions.
Still, as you find my secret
tattoo and draw a light finger over its tender new ink,
I squirm, ribs curving away and I can’t help but wish
my costume was back on
instead of thrown off with your slutty phone.
by Frank Santo ’11
Alright so yeah he’s dying laughing in the darkness and I here Danny coming and he dives into my car through the window and hes like we gotta go we gotta get outta here without even saying shit else to me. In his hand hes got this little bear or some shit like this tiny stuffed pink bear like something my little sister would have and im like whats up with that and hes like oh this its my buddy Wilbur I just grabbed it for its sentimental value. He says words he knows I dont understand when he doesn’t want to explain something so I’m just like whatever gets you going man its your gay little bear. And then hes in the car and he fixes his hat back to the angle he likes and hes still giggling to the pink bear like the world is some joke between people and stuffed bears and then he shakes his head and I’m like what the shit dude and he’s still smiling like a slut on Sunday you know like he’s done something bad but looks at me with that look he gets and he goes Walshie if you don’t make trouble with the gas pedal its curtains for Wilbur here that’s the bear here and me. I’m like what and then he laughs some more and bangs his head on the dashboard like a head drummer and starts singing a song but he changes the lyrics to say Walshie just drive or else Tommy Donough is coming out here with his baseball bat and meat head. But I can tell its just some song he made up so I tell him to stop singing like a Mary this aint American Idol huh tell me what the hell is going on. Than he gets real serious for a sec and says you like this car Walshie huh, and I say yeah and he says, well Tommy Donough don’t like my ass that much and my ass is right here sitting in the front seat of your car and I have locked the door so the only way he is getting to me is through this door, you catch me? Then I see through the window that Tommy Donough is in a rage approaching the hog and I’m like shit and than I floor the hog cuz old Tommy Toughnuts aint kidding around most of the time.
So we’re driving for a little and he just can’t stop laughing and its like it’s a regular fucking laugh riot in my car and I cant stand that shit so I stop the car and Im like you know what Danny you better tell me what the fucks going on you call me at 1 in the morning and you’re laughing like somethings funny and saying my cars getting fucked up on account of you and you know its just getting irritating you know. So he catches himself and tilts his hat again and he goes Walshie get this so I go to this party cuz I was gonna sell a gram to this guy I know and after I hang around for a little you know see whats up. And you know man I just get so fucking depressed cause its all those cocksuckers from high school and their all you know sucking each other cocks and talking about their fraternities and colleges or some bullshit whatever the fuck they’re trying to impress each other with.
And then he Danny looks out the window for a second like the street signs are gonna tell him something and hes got that look he gets sometimes.
And then he says I’m just like gag me you know, I didn’t put forty bucks up my nose just to listen to sico-pants sico-panting and people keep asking me hows school man hows school like they don’t know but I know they fucking know all about it everyone in this fucking town knows I’m sunk. So anyway I’m sitting there feeling bad for myself you know how I get but then Shayla Henderson sits down next to me and I start talking to her you know pass the time, shes pretty cute wearing a sweater you know I got shit else to do. You remember Shayla huh Walshie? I had a class with her back in high school, biology I think, frogs and eco-systems and shit. She lent me a pencil once and didn’t even ask for it back, that kinda kid you know. Tonight too, She didn’t want to talk about her college either, you know her grade point average or foreign study jerk-off like the rest of those cocksuckers and she was looking me in the eyes and she didn’t pretend not to know my situation so she asks me what I’m gonna do now since all that shit went down with me. And so I’m talking about it you know trying to be earnest and everything, how it feels to know I’m probably sunk. But she’s looking at me like I’m some sort of rebel you know, not just some fuck up.
Danny kisses the pink bears nose and than says Wilbur here concurs with that don’t you Wil? I’m just a rebel not a fuck up right? I’m a goddamn martyr eh Wilbur? He laughs to himself a lot and he does now like theres a comedy act in his head and I’m like Danny then what happened you fucked her right? And Danny calls me a philistone or something I don’t get but smiles and keeps talking. He says Anyway she’s all up on it and we’re flirting a little and I’m doing my thing and its going well and then I lean in and say I’m interested by you Shayla, and shit Walshie you know how girls get when they’re drunk, you know like flies on shit so she giggles and says me too. So I smile all smoothly and give her my look, you know that look I get, and I lean in and say what about Toughnuts over there don’t you go with him now? And she’s like what about him? So I know I’m in business right then, and I’m like allright lets go to your room upstairs this is your ma’s house right and she pretends to hesitate but then’s like yeah and her green eyes are positively reflecting. I can see green things my mind is making up you know so I give her my look and she can’t resist. So we go up there and I’m pretty sure right then that Tommy Donough doesn’t know shit cause he’s such a dumb fucking ape and than Shayla and I we’re getting into it you know, and I can’t really get it up cause I’m too fucked up, you know that happens Walshie don’t even say shit about that. I mean its not easy when you got so much poison in you and there are stuffed bears watching and the worlds such an ordeal you tell me how am I supposed to keep s veritable erection huh? I’d like to know. Anyway I’m doing other stuff to her cause I got such magic hands I don’t need nothing else, that’s what the ladies say, you know they call me Magic hands Magee to each other I’ll bet but anyway she moans my name Danny Danny Danny and then fucking the door bursts open and the light pours in like an explosion and there who the fuck do you think it is huh Walshie its fucking TOMMY DONOUGH fucking Tommy Toughnuts himself how ya doing nice to see ya how ya been see ya lata.
Dannys stops his story cause he’s laughing too hard too talk at this point and I have to admit its a pretty good story so far so I’m not that pissed he made me pick him up at 1 in the morning even though I was with Joanie and also I know Danny would do the same for me 10 times outta 10 cuz no matter how fucked up he gets hes always a friend when you need one and so am I. His eyes get all crinkled when he laughs even though their all red and huge and shit from god knows what else he’s on I tell you that shits for the birds but I can tell right now he’s actually happy cause Danny’s mostly happy whenever he really pisses someone he doesn’t like much off.
Anyways he keeps telling his story and I’m laughing with him and he drums on the dashboard with his hands this time. Then he says so Toughnuts sees I’m on his girl doing all types of magic tricks and he just loses it and comes after me cause you know meat heads like him the only things they understand are sports and violence so he chooses violence and he comes at me charges at me you know like Tedy Bruschi or something and I’m fucking scared at this point you know, what the fuck am I supposed to do I’m on the bed, fucking floral sheets, holding my wet noodle like its gonna help and this dumb monkey heres coming to lop my head off with his big retard paws, you know, but right as he almost reaches me I throw one of Shayla’s shoes at his head and it hits him in his face and I grab Wilbur hear that’s the bear here off her bed cause I’d grown to like him for his expression and I clothesline Toughnuts and his massive fucking glandular frame crashes into the wall and I sprint down the stairs out the front door. Picture it Walshie, this big fucking galoot just eats absolute shit because of my impact. I impacted him. He plays football down at Retard State or something probably. So than I’m hiding in the woods and I call you cause I knew you’d help me out. And Wilbur and I we just start celebrating, Wilburs a pretty good dancer you know and he and I are just fucking cutting the rug. But then since I can only dance for minutes at a time so I get bored and then I’m sitting there you know idly cause you Walshie took fucking twenty minutes to dismount or whatever. Anyway I’m bored and I don’t want to reflect too much, I never like to reflect too much, so I call Tommy Toughnuts cause I had his number cause I sold him a fake back in high school and I’m like hey Tommy come meet me I’m right outside the front door ya fucking jamoke. So I see him go out the front door and he’s pacing around like a retard in heat and swinging the bat at squirrels or whoever the fuck he thinks hes scaring and I can here him yelling my name, Danny Danny Danny and calls me a faggot or something hes a real wit you know. So I wait until I see you pulling down the street in the hog and then I call out TOUGHNUTS like a war cry and he comes storming into the woods cause he can tell where I’m yelling from but its too dark to see me so I book it right past him for your car and now here we are. Huh? Pretty good huh?
We both laugh for a while but then our voices trail off and it gets real quiet in the car. Danny starts playing with the faggoty little bear again, you know holding it by its arms and making it dance and he speaks in a low voice to just the bear and I have no clue what kinds of ideas hes getting. Danny really does get in weird moods sometimes, especially since things started going real bad for him a few months ago and he got arrested and kicked outta his school. Me I didn’t go to school that shits gay plus my Dads in the Union so I’ll be alright but Danny here he thinks he’s sunk so sometimes he pulls shit like he did this night. Its not that he doesn’t care though its almost like sometimes he just wants bad things to happen just to see how he can handle it even though half the time he cant really handle it. He’s a funny guy Danny hes my buddy though so Im used to it.
So yeah anyway we’re driving for a little and Dannys playing with the bear and I’m thinking about dropping him off at his house but then like he remembers something he goes lets go to fucking Providence tonight huh Walshie I want to see some breasts, you know I’d really like to just lose myself in nice set of breasts. How bout it huh? And I’m like yeah can’t say I’d mind to see some tits but dont you have work tommorow Danny, because I know he has work tommorow and also I only half want to see some tits because I know Joanie’d be pretty pissed if she found out I went back to Balloons again. Danny smiles and gives me that look he gets and goes fuck that its you me and strippers breasts tonight Walshie I aint going to sleep till I see breasts what do ya say kid. And I just hate seeing him let down when hes so excited so I’m like fuck it you know I only work nights and I got tonight off so fuck everything you and I are going to Providence my friend. So then we decide it and head for the highway and Dannys all pumped and he sticks his head out the window and yells fuck you Tommy Toughnuts and fuck you UMASS and fuck all the world who aint Dannywilburwalshie or strippers breasts in Providence. I know hes getting in a mood again but he’s my friend so like I said I’m used to it and I don’t mind much anyway so I yell yeah fuck you too to the air outside the window and Danny and I yell like madmen all the way down 128 to Providence and drink the vodka I keep in the glove compartment until its almost empty and Dannys thrown it at a truck that passed and yelled fuck you truck stop delivering products everywhere so much.
And than we go in and by this time I’m fucked up too and the bouncer says you got an I.D to Danny cause hes on the small side ands got a face like a little kid plus you know is holding the fucking pink stuffed animal which makes him seem a little younger. Danny smiles like he does and shows him his I.D even though I know he wants to make a scene because he hates when people don’t believe he’s his real agell. He says to the bouncer I like your goatee it looks nice and manly and you don’t look like a porn-star who couldn’t make it cause his dicks too small at all. The bouncer raises his eyebrow like he’s gonna do something but then just shakes his head like he really fucking hates his job and lets us go through and Danny feels bad because the bouncer hadn’t been much of a dick so he gives him a five dollar tip even when I’m pretty sure its not the bouncers your supposed to tip at strip clubs.
Anyways Balloons is this strip club in Providence and its really this fucking horrible place we come to you know its almost like a whore house half the time you get a lapdance the girl will tell you can fuck her for like twenty more dollars but its not the money that makes it weird its just the idea you know? And its always packed until like 5 in the morning and there are all these mirrors when you don’t really wanna look at yourself and the strippers aren’t usually even that hot and half the guys are old white guys with glasses and the other half are young black kids with gold teeth and stripes on there hats and theres not much place for normals like me and Danny but still we come here sometimes cause strippers are awesome if your in the mood even if there not that hot. So we walk in and techno is bumpin and all the angry black kids are staring at us and all the old white guys are hoping we wont look at them and Danny pushes through the crowd until were right in front of the stage where some girls are naked and dancing and other ones are naked and crouched right in front of guys staring up at them and pretending to flirt with them. Danny puts Wilbur fuck I mean the little pink bear up on the stage and starts making him dance too.
So yeah we’re standing there like assholes you know and Danny pulls a baggie out of his pocket and then does a line off the stage thing and says come on Walshie its gonna be a good night it better be a great night because I really need this to be a great night you know one of those nights so do a line with me Walshie-boy. I say no though cause that shits for the birds and if I make the Union than I’m gonna get drug tested and so Danny shrugs and offers some to Wilbur the pink stuffed bear who also declines by having Danny move his pink hands over his eyes. Theres like three girls on the stage and theres poles to and you know there doing there thing which is pretty good but I just feel kind of out of place so I tell Danny I’m going to sit down and he says yeah and we 3 sit down at a table away from the stage.
Then a girl with black hair and tan skin that is only a little overweight and is still wearing the bottom part of her silvery outfit slinks over and we ask her to get us some drinks. So fellas, she says when she comes back with three shots, how are you doing tonight did you come looking for some fun? Danny laughs and says not really I just wanted to see the night a little before I go, I’m sure you can empathize. The girl smiles like she can emphasize. She wants us to believe her name is Ivy and Danny laughs to himself for a moment but says that nothing is funny when Ivy asks him whats so funny. She looks at me and she gives me a pretty nice smile for a stripper in Providence and says so what are you guys back from college looking for a good time? I say I was about to ask you the same question Ivy trying to be charming and she smiles and it seems like shes got a decent sense of humor you know like she thinks its kind of weird too that she works in a strip-club now. Danny interrupts my game-spitting and says, I’m Chaz nice ta meet ya I’m back for the summer from Harvard and my buddy Chip here goes to Yale and Wilbur here that’s the bear here he’s getting married tomorrow and we’re just trying to show him a good time you know, his last night as a free man you know?
And then Ivy kisses Wilbur on his nose like its normal in this strip club in Providence to kiss a pink bear and says well Wilbur you better enjoy it while you can and then Danny says I’m trying to I mean Wilbur’s trying to but its kind of hard to enjoy things when you know they can’t last but would you mind terribly my dear Ivy if I gave you a kiss? And this chick Ivy seems like she wouldn’t mind anything too terribly but for a second she looks over at the bouncer with the goatee who hadn’t been much of a dick and then she looks back and says you know its thirty dollars for a lapdance Chaz you know we get our own private booth and everything you can even bring Wilbur. It seemed like a pretty good deal to me and I was gonna grab my wallet cause I’ve got some dough but then Danny gets one of those looks he gets and says nah I’ve got a girlfriend Shayla Henderson at home in her sweater and you know shes got her silly little rules but I would appreciate ever so much one little smooch because Ivy darling you are positively radiant.
And then Ivy smiles this time but looks a little more tired and says again extra sweet you know you can have a lot more than a kiss if you want it baby you just have to pay up I know you can afford it with that fancy watch you’ve got on. Dannys face then gets a little darker and he looks at me and shakes his head and then he looks at Wilbur and shakes his head and he says you know Wilbur this is what I was telling you about girls only want your money and your dignity I can’t say I envy you getting married getting locked up for all those years. Ivy looks over at the bouncer again and this time he looks back at her.
Danny squints his eyes a little and says with that edge in his voice you know you should be paying me I’m a real catch you can just ask Shayla or Tommy Toughnuts but either way I cant get it up given my current state and condition so I don’t think I’ll be getting that lapdance, but I will gladly pay you thirty dollars to take Wilbur here that’s the bear here into that booth and give him the most erotic experience you can think of. I start laughing now because Dannys turning into an asshole which even tho I think hes got a good heart he likes to do sometimes but then I look at Danny and he isn’t laughing he almost looks like he might start crying. Then the stripper says like she really fucking hates her job you know we have bouncers hear and I don’t have to tolerate getting made fun of by two creeps and a bear you know just because I work in a strip club it doesn’t make me a bad person so fuck you. This cheers Danny up a little and he laughs again like a madman even though I feel kinda bad because Ivy had a nice smile for a stripper in Providence and then Dannys like no it makes you fucking Mother Teresa now get us three more drinks please toots my friends Chip and Wilbur are positively parched. And then Ivy just sighs and walks over to the bouncer and starts talking to him and pointing to us and Im like Danny why’d the fuck you have to go do that now there gonna kick us out and I didn’t even get to get a lapdance yet. And Danny just growls thats not the fucking point you know sometimes you just don’t get it do you Walshie and then he says watch this and chucks his shot glass at the bouncer but he misses and it smashes against the wall and then everyone sort of stares at us even the strippers on the poles who we are supposed to be staring at. The crashing of the glass seems to make Danny even more wild and Im like oh shit oh shit but Danny’s still laughing and then he yells too everyone staring at us about how everyone who wants can get a piece of him if there man enough even the old white guys with glasses and loose ties who think its still ok to come to strip clubs and the black kids can shoot him or rob him or whatever they want and the bouncer who wasn’t really that much of a dick but still had a miserable goatee better do something about him because he isn’t going to calm down anytime soon and that Wilbur is a mean motherfucker and that his boy Walshie is a black belt who goes to Yale and is a formidable opponent to just about anyone.
And then I’m just like oh shit oh shit oh shit and then three bouncers including the one Danny tipped in black shirts and black goatees come towards us and Danny smiles at me and says what do ya say Walshie think we can take em and I’m like fuck no this is to much and then I put my hands up and say hey fellas we were just leavin guys my friend here is just a little upset you know, but then like they cant here me they grab us around our necks without caring how fucking much it hurts to have your neck grabbed like that and drag us out and Danny’s holding onto Wilbur but then he drops him and Wilbur falls on the floor and gets stepped on by people who don’t care much about the importance of stuffed pink bears being dropped in strip clubs.
The bouncers drag us towards the back of the club and Ivy is watching us and Danny says to her please my dearest save my friend Wilbur he’s getting married tomorrow but Ivy just rolls her eyes like this kind of thing happens to often and than Danny yells out something I don’t understand but he doesn’t sound so cocky anymore. Then we’re out back near a metal fence and theres trash cans everywhere and it smells like cigarettes and we can still hear the techno coming from inside Balloons and Dannys yelling about how the world killed Wilbur and there a bunch of murderers with goatees and that nothing they could do to him would be as bad as whats going to happen to him in a few weeks and then one bouncer holds him from behind and then the one who hadn’t been much of a dick just rocks him in the face and Danny falls a little but then smiles and spits out a tooth right onto the guys black shoes and says he hits about as hard as a stuffed bear. Im just standing there in a fucking half nelson trying to think of ways to not get rocked in the face that hard and I’m like guys why am I gonna get beat up to I didn’t do anything but then I get rocked in the face too and I see lights for a second and it hurts like a motherfucker and I go down like a sack of potatoes.
Then from the ground I’m kinda woozy and I hear Danny say in a slurred voice why’d you do that the poor motherfucker didn’t do shit I’m the troublemaker here, I’m the rebel, I’m the martyr why don’t you just end it man fucking kill me huh I got nothing better going on Wilburs in there I’m never gonna see him again he was supposed to get married tommorow I’m going to jail for distribution in three weeks why don’t you just do me a favor huh and kill me you fucking pussies but let Walshie go he didn’t do anything but try to get me to stop. And then he spits on the bouncer who punched him in the face and so they kick him in the chest and then they drag both of us through the fence and leave us on the sidewalk staring at the sky that’s starting to get light and coughing and spitting out blood back onto our own faces.
Danny says are you ok Walshie and I say I think I’ll be fine are you ok and he says no but I don’t think its anything serious. Then we just lie there for a moment like you know time isn’t going anymore and it feels like its going to be early morning outside a stripclub in Providence forever and then since the silence wont stop I say I didn’t know you were going to jail I thought you were just getting probation. He says I know Walshie me too but I just had a meeting with the ADA the morning brown suit motherfucker and I’m going to plead guilty and go to jail for only a year hopefully.
The sky is that hazy almost purple color and there aren’t any stars and it looks like its glowing and there is the sound of police sirens going off somewhere far away across Providence and we can still kind of hear the techno going on inside Balloons and some of the black kids are starting to leave I think and I can here them talking to each other about them titties and shiiiit motherfucka was a crazy motherfucka knowwhatimsayin.
Danny’s nose is bleeding and so is mine and we look like a couple of hobos stretched out on the grey sidewalk underneath the purple of the sky and we feel like that too. Danny rolls over and looks at me and says I was going to tell you about it earlier but I haven’t had anytime to think about it yet you know I don’t like to reflect that much you know. And then he gets real quiet and says I just cant win Walshie you know its either the ADA in his brownish suit or my roommate who ratted me out or Tommy Donough or a stripper named Ivy or a bouncer with a goatee and a tiny dick you know everywhere I turn I’m sinking and theres nothing I can do but make a scene about it and I’m just not cut out for anything and I guess I belong in jail with the other degenerates who never figured out how to float. You’ve got it figured out Walshie you know just play it straight and don’t bother anyone but you know I’m just not built that way. I’ve just got too many holes. I cant even keep a stuffed bear from getting fucked up.
And then we just lay there for another minute and Danny’s never been this quiet and its just not right that’s not how things work so I look at the moon because it’s the only bright thing in the sky and I say its allright buddy and I stand up and I help Danny up too and I feel kind of you know complimented but also man my best friend you know my oldest buddy is going to jail real life jail with actual criminals and hes one hurtin puppy. But then I’m like Danny would do the same thing for me 10 times outta 10 so I say you to him through the blood in my mouth you know what fuck it we’re going back in there. And Danny turns his head real fast to look at me and says what the fuck are you talking about and I’m like you know what fuck it you’re right fuck those guys, we can’t leave Wilbur in there inside that hole you know he’s better than that he just can’t defend himself that well. And then Danny looks at me for a second and he shakes his head and he’s like no way Im gonna let you do that they’ll kill you in there look what just happened last time I tried shit you know those guys are just look for an excuse to kick people in the chest.
But I’m not gonna listen to him this time I know Wilbur has become too important to him he’s just coming down like he does sometimes so I say Danny don’t be a little faggot I’m going in there right now and I am getting Wilbur and theres nothing you can do about it so you can either help me or you can watch bouncers with goatees kick the everliving shit out of me and do nothing about it and then think about it in jail you know how big a pussy you were right now at this moment for a whole year so whats its gonna be. And then Danny thinks for a moment then starts laughing a little gets his look back you know almost like I gave him his look back and he smiles and spit out another tooth and says Wilbur is getting married tommorow it wouldn’t be right to just leave the poor guy in there not with all that horrible techno and venereal disease and you know that motherfucker really didn’t have to kick me in the chest so hard that was pretty goddamn unneccesary so lets fucking do it, I’m with ya Walshie-boy.
So we try and think of a plan for a while but I’m not that smart about that kinda stuff so pretty much Danny’s the man with the plan and im just really pumped up about everything hes saying so he’s like fucking pretty much what we need to do is have one of us distract them and the other one of us will run in and get lost in the crowd it’s a plan that is beautiful in its simplicity and I’m just like fuck yeah simplicity awesome and I feel like I’m Danny in his high moods a little you know just this feeling like I’m a fucking man and what cocksuckers gonna tell me im not you know.
So yeah I walk around to the front of the building where the neon Balloons sign is buzzing above the door and theres only that one guy who at first hadn’t been much of a dick but than later rocked us both in the face working the door because the other two must be inside somewhere you know picking their dicks or whatever so I go up there so they can see me and I yell hey Dick come try me without your two boyfriends we’ll see whats what, even though I know he would beat me down without much of a problem cause I’m not even all that big. The cocksucker squints at me as if he doesn’t believe me or something and hes not really that mad more just annoyed like he really fucking hates his job and hes like you again huh kid wheres your little psycho friend cmon homeboy don’t make me kick your ass again its been a long fucking night tonight huh, don’t you want to live to see tomorrow? And even though I do want to live to see tomorrow cause I’m feeling like a superhero right now I take another step closer because I see Danny sneaking up the side of the building smiling like tiger with his two front teeth missing. I’m telling you don’t make me do it man says the bouncer its been a long fucking night with you assholes don’t test me. But I just keep stepping closer because I am untouchable now and so is Danny and then I’m only like 10 feet away from him and he just looks at me like he really fucking hates me like pure hate like I’m everything he’s ever hated and he just says I fucking warned you and starts coming at me and then I yell GO and Danny yells WILBUR like a war cry and sprints around from the side of the building and pushes through the door. The bouncer looks at me like a dumbass and then he just turns around and runs through the door so I whoop as loud as I can you know sprint to the hog on the side of the building you know pull it around to the back of the club where Danny’s gonna come out and wait there with the engine going.
So I sit there in the car and I just keep my eyes on the back door through the metal fence and I just pray to whatever cuz sometimes that’s all you can do you know that Danny’s gonna pull it off and that stuffed bears can live alone in strip clubs for twenty minutes and you know that the world is allright but then I start getting worried cuz what if you know shit gets fucked. You know three bouncers thats a lot to handle even for a smart guy jacked up on coke like Danny what if they catch him. What if when that door opens all three of them are carrying him out and he’s bleeding everywhere and this time he cant even spit out his teeth he’s so messed up and they just throw him out there and hes fucking dead you know finally sunk for good and itd be my fault you know I talked him into this. Suddenly I don’t feel so ballsy you know these what ifs just kinda cut away and leave my nerves kinda jumpy. I don’t like to think so much because after a while I’m just so nervous all I can do is look up through the moon-roof at the sky without any stars and think that maybe that’s a bad sign and fuck all my best friend is not only going to jail but hes dead too. God I say if youre real even though I don’t think youre real maybe you can help old Danny-boy out a little cause you know he needs some fucking help huh. Don’t be a dick God I say out loud, don’t you do it too him too.
Then I hear the techno get louder for a second and then door flies open and here comes Danny laughing like the fucking total fucking Danny Magee fucking steam-engine he can be sometimes and hes holding the pink stuffed bear over his head even though it looks pretty dirty and he’s yelling WILBUR like a war cry and he jumps the fence and dives in through the window like he did earlier and goes go go go and then two of the bouncers in their black shirts and goatees run out the door too but there not even close and there not even running that hard and I gun the hog and Danny yells WILBUR’S MINE YOU COCKSUCKERS and we pull away from the strip-club and leave the neon sign getting smaller behind us as we rip through the empty muddy streets of Providence. Both of us laugh like madmen back down the highway. I ask Danny how he did it I can’t believe it fucking worked you animal and he says cause I’m a fucking badass that’s how and youre my best friend in the world Walshie and strip club bouncers and Tommy Toughnuts and the ADA in the brownish suit aren’t much at all and you cant hold a good bear down and one year isn’t even that long. I fucking clotheslined him he says, I impacted him right at the door and blew a kiss to that Ivy bitch and techno music and then I was out PEACE Balloons you miserable fucks. You saved me Walshie he says and I Danny saved Wilbur here the bear here.
On the way home we don’t yell anything out the window because we’re both so pleased and theres no need anyway and I’m still pretty drunk but its ok because I drive better drunk anyway. So yeah after a while Danny falls asleep with Wilbur in his lap and I look at the air outside the window and laugh because I’ve never been this happy about a fucking gay little stuffed bear before and even though Danny might not end up allright at least for a moment hes not sunk and also cuz Tommy Toughnuts and some bouncer in a strip club in Providence both got their asses whooped real bad this purple night by Danny Magee and me his friend Walshie. So yeah that’s pretty much what happened.
by Laura Michet ’11
In the broth of wax in the candlestick-well,
the wick floats free. The light snaps out.
Evenings he goes bareheaded,
runs his damp palms across his hair,
flat and sweaty where the wig holds it,
as he thinks. He is balding.
The universal attraction of thoughts to God
took his hair too, left the prism of his brain
crisply bare in the white moonlight.
But he is done with optics for today.
Whirling bodies and plunging forces
slip apart and spiral away
until he could almost catch them
like feathers on his tongue.
He wonders what married men think
of their scalps. What wives think.
He wants someone to love him, as an experiment.
He feels the tide beneath him and knows it is the moon
that troubles his digested nerves—
at night his thoughts silence him
like ghosts or prophets, like acts of God,
and leave him bare.
He’s adrift now, shipless and numb,
sea-wood already, so long he’s been afloat.
He has built this world from the forces up
but is no less afraid, finds no more order
In the things humans do. The things they say.
Heaven is all that draws him now,
heaven and all its great men,
and despite their disagreements, he thinks
he could find a place among them,
that they would enjoy a certain brotherhood
the way stars, through mere human abstraction
and earth’s absurd perspective
have form and meaning forced upon them until
somehow, with great reluctance,
those distracted bodies
adrift in lightless space
submit, and become a constellation.