& Other People’s Money
& Other People’s Money
“Vulgar contrast grossly perceived.”That was to be the vision to ride into the future, according to the famous auteur plugging his latest spine chilling, heartwarming boxoffice saga of gaga on the tube. This here excursion of three stray dogs lookin’ to hide out of the holy night is something else: Silent, clandestine, completely indulgent, yet valid, unlike flogging your hype. When it’s over we rock, not roll into some new born fantasy of what the future’s going to be like. The Kid, Surf and me, the past is hot on our heels.
In the now it’s a ghost town. Filled mostly with viruses.
Last night, blessed be His name, I thought I might find a miracle out there among the trees and one hundred percent Vermont maple syrup bein’ peddled in the streets. But no, I’ve seen too many movies. Brought Capra into my Achilles heels and cried out, “Lookahere boys, this year we’re not gonna do no blue Christmas!”
In short, the three of us bravely agreed to banish loneliness from the face of our topography. We made this pseudo Samurai pledge to go our separate ways all through the day preceding, the night, then come together as the chimes crossed in celebration, and in the process, stamp out insipidity and drown sentimentality in the gulf of memories of rotten holidays past. That may not be much but I had nothing better and no expectations, and a bad idea whose time has come is a bad idea whose time has come. Nevertheless. . .
Irresistible urges pulsate through the vacuum. Dreams of compulsion fill the stocking. On the wall, above the fireplace, dead words are mounted in lieu of action. We are all waiting for something better to come along. Commitment is to something better coming along.
It’s new blood. Brothers for the ride. But then sometimes a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do all by himself. So listen.
My job is listening. I don’t make sense of it anymore. That’s a compulsion I can’t afford. Think I’m Hickey in The Iceman Cometh. Over and over, all in different rhythms, I have to stop when I catch myself listening to riders who only read their lines.
On the eve before, for instance, there was a new woman. Crazy, vulnerable, brilliant, sexy, writing on the wall, you know, the type that thrives on living out The Laws of Manifestation. And no doubt I had been summoned. The old woman got me that way too. Conjured me up in a New York minute, out of the fog.
The new one’s psychic, of course. A Wine Editor to boot. You don’t even have to ask questions. Or hold up the glass for a refill. Depending on her point of view, it’s always half-full or it’s always half-empty, and each bottle has its own story, its own history.
Her LOVE LIFE-101, for instance. I haven’t heard it before, but I’ve been in the movie. She’s got two lovers. One 10 years older, another 10 years younger. Lover number Older can give her stability, security and sesquipedalian pleasures far be it from me to deny her. Lover number Younger boffs like a dog with itching powder on his pecker, plus, he can still be trained. Animasgodzillahead no doubt. What should she do? How can she choose? Curtain number Older or Curtain number Younger?
I feel my Hickey coming on. Historically, men have been known to go crazy over good strange. Sometimes even bad. Only amateurs take the reverberations lightly. Pros get $100 an hour and up just for listening, then segue free of involvement.
But this is not complaint. Just amazed experiential observation. Which brings me to the second point before I get to the first. What happens when the objects of spells change without telling the spells? Are we talking new genres here? Symbolic mutation or mutated symbolism? (We’ll skip the nature of thought, but use it later in the Media Kit.) It may be buggering, but there’s no other way to explore the territory. And after all, are we not Space Rangers?
I’m not preachin’ (though God knows I dig the energy), but just between you and me we’re destined to invent a new brain! Probably before I even learn to use the old one. But that’s progress. Or aggravated obsolescence, if yours is working at the moment.
Tonight the streets are quiet, almost brutal in their early morning promise. As the temperature drops the raving moves inside for the duration. No more lower east side slum Goddesses. Just slumming goddesses hungry for an appetizing fix, then quickly back to the cave-palace from which they’ve slithered. If honor were recognized on a Chinese calendar, this would be The Year of the Flea.
Still looking for miracles I spot Surf and The Kid waiting for me under a poster of MR. POTATO HEAD on 14th Street and Third Avenue, just as fluffy white globs start falling from the heavens. Potato Head’s wearing a condom. Or a body-bag. But whatever you want to call it, celibacy’s the new hot cult. Sperm only a rumor outside the dream state. The last time I tried to take the problem in hand it refused to cooperate unless I came up with a fantasy it could dance to.
In the old days, there was nothing truer than the love of a dog, unless it was the love of an 18-year-old heiress, but we, all of us still with half a brain, are contaminated by the possibilities. There’s nothing sadder than the idea you have to be happy when you’re not. I tried it once. Even believed it for awhile. But it was the moment. It was accumulation. I just happened to be there at the time.
Which brings us back to now.
There are no miracles in the street.
Yet I believe!
How can that be?
Perhaps statistics. I’m not sure, but just like a ventriloquist’s dummy you can make them say anything you want. For instance:
“Did you know that 4 out of 10 people are going to get it, and when they get it they’re going to give it to at least 4.5 other people, who are going to give it to at least 5.5 other people?” That’s what Surf says.
I don’t understand the .5, which makes me one out of the two out of the original six who haven’t got it yet but are doomed to have serious psycho ethno-eco-geo-socio-political problems. I have too much anxiety and too much desire at the same time.
“In reality,” Surf says, “you can’t cope!” Which is true, so I turn my back on the obvious and like a zombie cakewalk backwards into the void. Which is when I catch me a vision.
No, not KONG climbing up onto the red, blue and green x of the Empire’s newest, highest, most spectacularly expensive edifice ever designed to take away mortal breath, but back down here on lonely earth, The Three Sisters of Apocalypse, Faith, Hope & Charity wave as they dart out of a the gale, into a sleazy low rent Blarney Shock.
The boys gather up all hopes, dreams and wishes from the night when I point back in the direction we came, but naturally, once through the doors there is no Faith, Hope & Charity in the bar. Just Sex, Death & Other People’s Money.
Beautiful beyond imagination, but not what I was looking for this time around. Yet there’s no denying this is a fantasy my problem can dance to.
“Hello delicious one,” Sex calls to The Kid.
“Me?” He blushes as she tickles his chin with four inch nails glistening with purple lacquer.
“Vagina Dentata,” Surf whispers to me, and Death shoots a wad of neon bile across the mainstream to the jukebox, then smiles, thinking maybe blood, maybe sacrifice in the name of something more holy than the goof up on the x, overlooking her emptiness.
Music comes out of the jukebox, and Other People’s Money sings to me, “I am the Queen, Queen of the Universe, Queen who encompasses the Universe. . .Enter my King, and spend your days in my fucking lap.”
Bark now, Kid, and talk of Love, that fourth sister, fifth Marx brother, last opening in the wall of self. So he does.
Cuts right through. Starts hopping up and down like he found the vein. “She likes me! Did ya hear that? She likes me!” Then turns and starts kissing her fingers. “You do like me? You’re not just saying what you’re saying just to say it, are you?” Then slurping, like a suckling on a good tit, drops to his knees waiting for a pet.
Almost pompously, Surf regurgitates a line I know he copped from the editorial of last month’s Psychotic Today: “Remember,” he plagiarizes, “nothing is worthy except your perception!” Before he can go on. Death reaches over and grabs him, unzips his brain and begins fondling his ticket. The eye bulges out of his head, as he gasps, “Remember. . .nothing. . .
Then Death sucks.
Looking back, I wondered if looking back was an indulgence the market would bear. With time as an enemy, Other People’s Money had a hard-on for a baby. Earlier, years younger, before we grew blood, there was sweetness, but now I am a stranger. Intensity without intimacy is only tension.
Surf’s jaw locks then, frozen in pleasure from his holy scream.
The Kid knows nothing of terror, of course. Just wants to wag his tail and savor the sweet scent of cunt.
“Love,” Surf groans, “is a conceit, not a curiosity, above and beyond the call of contingency.”
In the land of the celibate, philosophy flourishes, while on the other side of the fence wild things run free. In the background, the sound of soul climbs out of the jukebox as Other People’s Money starts shaking her boogie and singing, “Does Papa want a brand new muse?” Have I seen this one before?
In the original, Colbert did it to Gable with just one bat of the eyes, but these days not even a Louisville Slugger will work. They say, even flowers kill. It’s still the same dream that made a fool out of Swinburne and a liar out of poor Ibsen, but now even that is too much to comprehend.
“There is never enough,” Other People’s Money sings. “Too much is not enough.”
It takes all my strength to turn away from her and face the bar. Stare blankly at the bartender’s jowls chewing his cud.
A snake disguised as a witness, he draws me a long cool one and winks. But before I can even reach for it, Surf whirls out of the jaws of Death and blows the head off.
“Oh gimme ti-yi-yuppie, gimme ti-yi-more,” he sings, then kneels next to The Kid in the sawdust and begins praying.
I won’t hurt you,” Death whispers.
In distant ports heroes take their cues and march, howling up at full moons for a new mythology. “Oh give us back our balls!” they chant. “Give us back the rumba.
And then we dance
Oh, how we dance.
Each and every one of us. The moment we aim at something we have already missed it.
© 1988-2012 Mike Golden
|originally published in Between C&D
under the title Rubber Bone