|Confessions of a Fuck Up Artist
||[Jul. 19th, 2017|01:09 am]
Twelve hours, not counting an hour lunch or the commute, is a rough day on anyone's clock and yet sitting at the end of it all I can do is laugh with exhausted gratitude. The money needed, the distraction welcome, the respect on both ends of the check mutual. That's the key to the best jobs, when the person handing you cash for the hours does so with a muted nod of fuck-yeah respect. The Big E gave it to me when I worked Spring or on freelance security gigs at art house happenings. Then there was Ollie, a Skunk (half skinhead, half punk according to him) from back when Vampire Country was the Wild Wild South who employed me as an inexperienced carpenter for rent and drug money when living with Violet Larue. Those were some of the best jobs I've ever had, but going much further back, I can recall those distant days of utter liberation that was being a dishwasher.
Fucking Bizzaro's Pizza in Jax was something else let me tell you. Worked at the Landing off Saint John's River scrubbing sauce pots, pie pans, and steam trays for eight hours solid. Worked in a space no bigger than a walk-in closet over a sink deep enough to drown a dozen baby changelings at once. Got paid minimum wage. Had to sneak illegal smoke breaks in the employees access hallway that allowed rear access into grease pit shacks from the food court. Even worked the dreaded Gator-Bulldog showdown during a hullaballoo the locals called - 'The World's Largest Cocktail Party'.
And the whole time I was the happiest asshole in all Nowhere-Nothing North Florida Jax.
For I just had all my dreams crushed when I failed a piss test and was discharged OTH after confessing to be a fuck-up artist first class as well as a fully fledged dope fiend at Captain's Mast. After that I packed up my duffel bag, got a boat ride through the canals of Venice, got an escort to a plane, got to Sigonella, did a few days and did busy work and drank beer and lifted weights in transit. Next stop Philly at a base just down the block from a major baseball stadium. While there got a tattoo, met the OTO at a book store on South Street, dropped X with some skinheads I met outside a comic shop, and went to raves blowing my savings in a mad rush of fear. Then I was kicked out legit with nothing but the duffel bag on my back. Took a plane down to Jax.
There my people were waiting.
Johnny Law, my brother beyond blood and partner in crime since back in Liqourdale along with Tommy Boatswain, a fellow pothead and bilge rat who had the balls to have my back down in A-Gang Hell before being busted for the midnight toking.
Johnny was the assistant manager at Bizarro's Pizza and scored Tommy and I jobs.
Tommy was a steam cook and I was a dish washer.
We lived along with a buddy of ours from the ship, Doug Gallant, in a two bedroom apartment. Tommy slept in a makeshift tent he erected in the kitchen out spare bed sheets and a mattress from Christ only knows where. Me? I had a water bed with a broken heater in a room with no other furniture. We spent our nights watching pirated cable, smoking weed, doing blow, going to clubs where we always spectacularly failed to get laid, slamdanced at bars whenever someone played Ministry, got chased by Nazis from Einstein's down in Mayport (well not Tommy, Tommy was a son of Them Thar Hills, West Virginia and would be running from no man thank you very much), and dropped as much acid as we could beg, borrow, bum, or in an absolute emergency actually pay for. Some of it was no better than Robitussin boiled in a frying pan over a picture of Timothy Leary wincing in disapproval. Some of it made 'things' especially when I mispronounced Hebrew in barked shouts trying to remember how to do a lesser banishing ritual while tripping my balls off. Then, when I hooked up with a shy baker girl with long curly hair and big Eyeore eyes, she turned Tommy and I onto speed and I am here to report that for all the damning side effects a man can in spite of them wash the fuck out of some dishes.
Which was fucking great.
I had a radio and I blasted Bauhaus and Greater Than One and Skinny Puppy off cassettes (all Wax Trax with the little factory label lined up adjacent for proper meth-head OCD aesthetic) that got blasted off a small boom box. I had on these old black Docs that I had worn holes into their orthopedically designed soles. I was soaking wet, singing along, getting stoned in the freezer with Tommy and Johnny, talking shit, eating free Italian food every day, looking forward to doing acid and having non-stop orgasm-less sex until dawn with the Little Baker Girl (cookies laid out along her thighs that I would eat blindfolded with hands tied behind back - correctly identifying each flavor as we wait for either the law or the Nazis to come kicking in our front door). At night I wrote bad poetry in my journal and shoplifted Little Debbies and used stolen phone cards to call the Parental Units for cash that I swore was for bills but which all went to our dealer Rashim - a 340 pound white guy in glasses with a Mohawk who made you sit in a human litter box of an apartment for two to three hours in order to throw off the cops.
There were friends invincible then and foes everywhere and I danced defiant between them after washing dishes or stay up all night watching each other's faces melt or go on a drug induced and inspired crime spree that saw us stealing several dozen plants, pots, and patio furniture from various blocks throughout the swanker parts of Jax. At one point our living room looked like a jungle hideaway and everyone came over to smoke with us - gutter punks and club kids and drug addicts and fuck ups and bar flies and we entertained them all. Talked shit, boasted the impossible under oaths sworn upon blood's grave, got into shouting arguments over Ministry or the Sisters, testified to scene drama unfolding outside the neutral zone of dance floors, vowed grudge's vengeance, and out of a dozen folks jammed in a single living room you'd be hard pressed to get five bucks between us all.
What you would get was a bit of shelter from both street austerity and numb comfort conformity, what you'd get is laughter warm, pot smoke pungent, and tales told taller with each telling. And there you'd find me inexplicably at the center of something larger than any of us together (even with the knowledge that my center was but one of twelve). Alive for the first time in my life and I mean that literally as before the Nav from which I was kicked out the years prior to that had been under the Parental Unit's roof and rule.
I was free, I was high, I was getting laid, I was hunted, I was an awful poet, I was amped up, I was free and I was a fuck dishwasher. Of course it all came crashing down in addiction and poverty and heartbreak.
Now sitting here with less than eight hours until I got back to the job I just got off three hours ago and I'm laughing. Seeing you there Johnny, Tommy, Little Baker Girl and her Wanna Be Model friend and Doug Gallant and even Jeremiah Sinn and it's alright.
It didn't have to last, it wasn't supposed to, it was there for us then and there for us now as a memory we maybe summon as we each sip a pipe at the end of a long responsible day. There, with obligations and duties temporarily set aside, we can see ourselves then. Odds invincible and temporarily immortal.
Alright, time for yours truly to fuck off to bed now.