This can’t go on. Something’s got to give.
I find myself uttering that, or similar, thoughts to myself, at random times. I’m sure there’s a connecting thread linking them, the moments that such thoughts appear, but most of the time I can’t see it or figure it out. I mean it’s pretty obvious in some cases: as I drive in an 8 or 10-lane road, distractedly surveying the endless shopping plazas, the all-you-can-eat buffets and tanning salons and Vegas-style slot machine joints, their parking lagoons full of Hummers and Avalanches, well, it’s pretty obvious to me this shit can’t go on forever, the wastefulness, the obese people just barely crawling from the pet-grooming salon to the SUV, poodle in tow. I mean what are the chances of survival of both, the fatso and the poodle, without constant injections of cheap oil, cheap food, entertainment, government dole? Nil, I’d say, from the few wars and famines and brutal situations I’ve seen. So, it can’t go on, it really can’t. Something will give at some point, like it gave for all the previous empires. Some declined gracefully, peacefully, others went into centuries of brutality. I’m afraid the US of A will slide into the latter scenario. Too many guns, too many clowns eager to look for scapegoats when the power finally gets rationed and they find themselves in a useless box, without a job, without AC in the sweltering heat, without a fucking clue of why this is happening to them. Blame it on someone else, never on my decades popping Bagel Bites in the microwave, shopping and driving to meaningless jobs, without ever learning anything of value or having the least interest in what’s happening beyond tonight’s ‘Survivor’.
Other times, it just happens. I’m buying a salami or talking to a friend, and the thought pops up. Oh well.
This is meaningless. It’s gotta end somehow.
I pump and pump, and don’t come, and she doesn’t come either. I stop to pour myself a drink of bourbon, but the bottle of Wild Turkey is empty. I discard the condom in the trash, and ask the Newscaster if there’s any more liquor in the flat; there ain’t. There’s pills, she’s taken a few, but I’m not interested, not now. ‘Lend me your fingers’, she says, and opens her legs wide. Damn. Hate it. An hour pumping for nothing, and now another hour fingering? I start, anyway. The flatscreen’s on, and some weird, weird, weird magician guy is on. He levitates, he has all this S&M gear and likes to chain people to it and do things with chainsaws and shit, he produces hundred dollar bills out of thin air and the fat fucks at the show in Vegas love every bit of it. Pretty convincing, too. He’s the rock star of magicians, wears silly hats and leather pants and whatnot, and for a second I think he has to have a deal with Satan or something, I mean he’s doing wild stuff he really shouldn’t be able to do. ‘En el culo tambien’, the Newscaster says, ‘up my arse, too’, I’m getting a cramp here, I’m bored and couldn’t get drunk when the bottle was new and now there’s only ginger ale to drink and not a chance that I’ll either get drunk or have a happy ending, as the Newscaster is famously selfish when it comes to sex, and I’m living proof, fingering and hoping she’ll finally come so I can get the fuck out, as I watch Emperor Nero’s favorite magician on the boob…
How will it end? This can’t go on…
The Russian comes to the Barn with a meatloaf and some kind of potato thing that’s she’s cooked for me while the husband is at work. Couple bottles of Riesling, too. While we eat, we have the usual conversation: she says she can’t stand the pig anymore and will see a lawyer about divorcing him, I give her the crude, brutal facts once again – that he’s the one making all the money, she doesn’t work and has the two kids, her family in Russia is counting on her for wires and visas and all that, she likes her manicures and Victoria’s Secret and well-appointed flat with the nice pool and exercise room downstairs. What are you gonna do? Waitress, she says. It’s what I used to do in Germany. Well, dear, but that was 10, 20 years ago, now you’re a 30-something with 2 young kids, you have the killer looks (I’m so lucky lately – Tuesdays it’s the Newscaster, dark and darkly beautiful, Wednesdays the Russian, blond and drop-dead gorgeous, but but but)… but your feet will kill you after the first hour, your English isn’t so good, the younger employees will resent and hate you, and make your life impossible, and besides, darling, there’s just no jobs out there. You gotta try and stick with the man, he’s all you got right now, he’s your fucking job. And this really should be the last Wednesday you come here, he’ll figure it out, there will be blood. Nah, he knows, he doesn’t care, she says, and doesn’t let me finish rolling the joint, takes me to the bed I made out of concrete blocks and plywood (with the inflatable mattress she brought) and fucks me nicely, she’s not selfish like the Newscaster, she’s a good fuck, and we both come, gasping for air, making wild noises that wake the ducks up and make them raise hell, thinking maybe coyotes are stalking the coop. The husband has been to the carnivale, the museum of oddities, the country fair I manage a couple of times, and cast some dark, dark glances in my direction. He knows. He suspects. How mad is he? Does he have a gun in the van? The Russian is lactating, the second child is just weeks old, and I find myself covered in her milk, post-coitus. Where’s that spliff, now?
The end is near. This can’t go on.
What to do?
I’m planting some banana trees tomorrow, I think, after she leaves. Then, I’m picking up the kids, my kids, to check out the doghouse I built, and have them paint it. We’re getting a puppy. I’m teaching the boy to shoot a .22 rifle. I’ll take them fishing. I’ll be in a good mood. We’ll laugh. I’ll buy them pizza if they don’t want the fish we catch (if we catch any) with rice and organic vegetables. That’s fine. Who knows how long I’ll be around. Who knows how long the whole gig will last. Both in general, and for myself. I’m 38, and some mornings I wake up and truly don’t know where the fuck I am. Then I remember. Planting the trees, laughing with the kids, drinking the drink, fucking the women. That’s me. That’s enough. C’est la vie, she said. Am I making sense? Good night.