by Patrick King
To be young and talented, yeah, that's what it's all about. Or what it would be about. Or, actually, what it would be about if I was talented. Other people are all about being young and talented, because, well, they are. But me: just young.
Saturday morning on a park bench and I swear that she's being raped by the devil. He's got his big red cock inside her from behind. He's grabbing her ass as she hangs onto the swing post for dear life.
But is the devil real or is it the girl? Or are either of them real? I realize that this is strange, but I really don't know. Been up all night eating acid. My friends drank beer instead. Passed out long ago. And here I am at the park. Saw a sunrise, though. Ain't often I see a sun rise. But the devil-Jesus Christ, he's really wigging me out.
I entered the Cathedral not quite sure where I was going or why I was there. I let the spirit of the place guide me along. At that moment the only thing I could think of was becoming a swinger-marrying some beautiful chick and settling down and having all the sex I wanted to on the side. There was something reassuring about a crazy scene like that as I walked along the corridors of God's palace. Enter here and forever fuck and be fucked. Kingdom come. Let no man forget carnal desire in the house of the lord. At the moment I looked through the stained-glass window and the light shining through and knew that the light was God himself looking at me. In the name of the father. In the name of the mother. Go onward from my castle and sin again.
Even still, I'm always Danny Sullivan. I'm always going to walk through these Southern streets and look on toward the silly people and their silly lives-the peace activists holding a rally near the fountain in Five Points. The counter-protesters holding up their signs. "We support the troops," they say. And the protesters with their signs that say "No blood for oil." Mob vs mob as I walk by and smoke a cigarette and dig on the entire scene. No, no buttons or signs or bumper stickers for me, thanks. The world can go to hell for all I care. But as long as I have cigarettes and chicks, I'll be just fine.
Sure, you're right. I used to be sober. Kicked the booze and the drugs and started going to school. But there's where the problem was. See, it's well known that one can not at the same time be a twenty-something college boy and sober. I share a dorm with Scott Hickle. From out in the sticks. Guntersville, I think. Decent guy, I suppose. Maybe not. Once he told me a story about his ex and how he caught her cheating on him. Or so he thought. The guy was leaving his girlfriend's apartment just as Scott was pulling up. Did it matter to Scott that the guy was leaving in a cable van? No. He smacked her around anyway. And now he lives in the dorm. With me.
Bastard loves to drink, though. And I like to drink, swallow or smoke just about anything. So we get along on a superficial level.
It's also true that I'm a rapist. Never convicted but a rapist just the same. I was married. Young and stupid and married. And on a binge. I came home and I took it out on her. I never saw or heard from her again except through lawyers.
An incident like that-something that turns you into a raging monster-you carry with you for the rest of your life. If you have a shred of decency in your body, then the guilt and the sadness will drive you nearly insane. Yeah, but what of it? Death is always following, his sweet, soft hands around your throat. And to live: Yes, that's the thing to do. Just live.
So I quit drinking and borrowed some money from my folks and went to Europe for a while.
Among other things God told me in the Cathedral: Go to school and smoke cigarettes and remember the Sabbath. Fuck often and with gusto. Never mind the voices in your head.
I sat through mass. Be with me now, I chanted under my breath. Be with me now and now and don't forsake me. A church. A bell in the distance. A bell overhead as I sat outside the Cathedral long after mass had ended. Just to feel the sweet palm of death on my neck and sit on a spot in a place an ocean away from the land I call home. This world is madness. And only the mad are in love.