D. Austin Nash - Stories like Bukowski

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54 Stories by D. Austin Nash

v1. 12/11/99

No one likes a Christmas tree in summertime.

Below are 53 short stories written by D. Austin Nash between 1993 and 1995. D. Austin Nash wrote the forward for "Thing & Nothing", wrote fiction and editorials for "Lollipop" and "Paramour", and then stopped writing. These stories are sometimes about Dave's early twenties spent as a new Bostonian, others are just funny or interesting. As opposed to being in a proper, dramatic order, they are arranged in alphabetical order by title. Enjoy.

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A few blocks with love

I remember walking in downtown in Boston on a sunny afternoon. No job, few worries, and no lunch. I passed this old boy on the bum with a sign that said 'God Bless'. I told him it was probably best to leave God out of it and gave him a dollar and made him say to me that he was going to get a bottle. My favorites are the ones that already have a bottle and are still asking for more. It took a special kind of tough to drag it through the grueling times with only a glass crutch.. I figured he has probably seen a few favorite chairs, and some cold nights in and away from home; and several wars; not to mention the one he lived being close to 70 years gone.

I saw another guy who had apparently completely had it with the bull. He stomped between the pale bewildered faces that commonly populate the public, kicking a leg violently at some imaginary monster and yelling motherfucker. "I'LL GET YOU, MOTHERFUCKER. YOU DON'T KNOW WHO YOU'RE MESSIN' WITH! SHIT!" If I threw a leg like that, I'd hurt myself and fall down.

Another block down, another crazy down. This one was big and black, and pissed. He yelled something similar to the first, only without the leg. When they become oblivious to the meandering crowds bobbing around them is when you know that they have really lost it. Social conventions are very strong, one does not merely decide to be stronger and leap them, but is driven by delusions, and is usually dangerous at the same time. Don't fuck with a wounded rat, they forget they are rats at all.

I headed for the Commons to watch the pretty girls with jobs slide it past in the noon day sun. More legs, dresses, and glowing orange trees swaying in the vibrating daylight than ever. Pigeons, crumbs, trash barrels, shit all over everything else. I sat and thought, or tried to think of what Stonewall Jackson would have done on a day like today? I wondered how long it took maggots and father time to reclaim the blood of Christ. I wondered where I might find what those crazies back there had lost. True creation climaxes with revelation, and I found neither.

No answers; and really no more questions; certainly no conclusions. Save that somebody named "Motherfucker" really had it coming to him today. It's about time. He didn't get that name for nothing.

182 from hell

Practicing the fine art of arranging
flowers, and drinking coffee that tastes of
soap and lavender and the fearing heat of the
sun in the morning in April
April you whore
you came and tore me down
you left me to myself, which may be the
worst that can happen to a tired dog in a
rainy courtyard
yipping and choking on miraculously dry
crusts of bone
April you whore I cannot repeat this
without more from your tender reservoirs
of thick green water and small pieces of new
life, hiding behind blue flowers
and steam trains
and in the underwear of bums lying for peace
on the steel beams under the bridge
over Red Cedar creek
April you are the stingiest and most sneaky
to have gotten past me for the price of less than
two hundred words and no work
of the mind or (more importantly) the body
what a poor whore you are
These words are for May, and may May
be warmer and softer and much less of a lie
and less

The Adventures of Billy Bonedance (Sweet Sister Madelin)

Billy strode onto the field behind the abandoned school alone at 6:00pm on a rainy Tuesday in October. It was almost dark, maybe another half hour before it would be too dark to see the ball and weeds had grown up around the backstop and any other permanent fixture. Billy Bonedance brushed the hair back from his wet face, rolled back the sleeves on his denim jacket, and picked up a good round one from his pile of stones he brought from the quarry on Alcott street. Two outs, 0 and 3 on the count, men at the corners, Yaz on deck swinging three bats, and a big tittied blond over the dugout showing it to everyone. How the hell was he going to pull this one off.

The catcher signaled, two fingers down, one right, adjust the mask, blow your wife a kiss. This meant a screwball. Strike. One for blondie big tits. She shuddered and screamed. The catcher signaled, two right, finger to the nose, slap the balls hard. Ahh, Billy realized, a fast ball. Show em' the heat kid, you know you got it. Down the pipe for strike two- caught the sucker looking. It looked like Billy might get some from the blond tonight. His pants got tight and he gave her a wave. The catcher signaled, and somebody blew one of those stupid plastic horns that only make one sound. The catcher undid his zipper and casually zipped back up and put a fist in the glove.

What? A slow ball! He must be crazy! Billy was not about to blow it now. The blond needed another one and so did he. He shook his head at the catcher, wiggled his ears,

and gave the finger. The catcher made a fist, kicked some dirt with his right foot still squatting down, and pointed to his ass. He fingered Billy back. Billy looked to the coach and the coach spit some chew on the ground, pointed at Billy, and open hand slapped Yaz standing next to him. Yaz was pissed. The crowed cheered and Yaz fingered Fenway Park. Billy fingered the coach. The coach threw his hat and fingered the mound with both hands. There they were, everybody fingering each other except the blond, and she had hers coming. Billy Bonedance, the greatest pitcher alive, would not be fooled by these morons. All through the centuries, it was left up to a hero to take the chance and be right, and win. Billy wound up for the steamer.

WILD PITCH! LOOK OUT!! The ball made a screw for the stands and donked the blond with the tits right in the forehead and she top-pled (literally) over the short wall and onto the field by the dugout. Billy stood and watched while the other players ran to her aid.

"God damnit," he said.

It had begun to rain harder and Billy came to and he was standing there in the deserted field, watching his last stone roll under the dilapidated silhouette of the bleachers. It came to rest against a dark lump that Billy didn't remember it being there before. He frequented this yard because almost nobody else would. It was almost dark now and Billy headed for the bleachers.

When he got around back, he made out the form of a young woman. She looked black, and then Billy noticed all of the blood and mud covering her naked body. Billy touched her arm and it was cold and stiff. He lit his cigarette lighter and saw how soft her blond hair must have been. Patches of it were missing and her skin was leathery like a mannequin. One of her eyes and her mouth were still open and she looked the farthest thing from peace Billy had ever seen. She was well endowed and lay there beautiful in the mud, yet so angry and sad at the same time. Her face had an odd shape to it, like something changed it and she forgot to tell anybody. She was missing a few teeth in the front and had many cuts and purple bruises around her eyes. She lay there beaten and wondering why, dead next to an endpost from the old chain link fence in front. Billy stood straight and stepped back. He was mesmerized for several moments and wasn't sure if he was really there. He spent much of his time somewhere else.

Billy examined the marks on the half dry ground under the bleachers. It looked like she had been dragged around a bit. What had she been doing there? She should have known better! This was a horrible place made so by the wicked for the insane. Billy sat down next to her on the ground, disbelieving and penitent, gently stroking the hair back from her rain stormed face, and after a while, the hallucinations and shadows began to arouse each other of their own volition, and Billy thought he saw the girl move a few times. He wanted her to move so damned badly. He made up a name for her. Madelin. Later, when he was singing a lullaby, he thought he saw her move again. He

was always wrong, but he didn't feel that it was too much for him to be of a little company, and a friend. Billy lit two cigarettes and sang quietly:

Take me out to the ball park,
Take me out to the game
Buy me a hot dog and cracker jacks
I don't care if.... . .. . . . . . . . .

On going crazy Monday afternoon

Somedays I go up to the roof, to the Allston beaches to give a good scream out over the dirty building tops, and then down one flight to Rebecca's door to knock to tell her I'd like to fuck her, but she's rarely at home a shame at last and I am once again maimed over tea with a blue and green peacock. Then down another floor, feet sliding over new taupe carpet to Sarah's door to knock and tell her I'd like to fuck her.

"Sarah, It's been a long time, and if you'd be so kind and open the door, I'd really like to fuck you!"

Nobody home. Yet another crime against love to be carried in a basket full of beautiful plastic flowers through a dead cemetary garden. Then down another floor to my own door to knock and ask me if I'd like to fuck. "Sure," I say "Come on in and bend over."

And today, for the first time, I poured a beer in a brand new mug (sticker still on, $2.95) and I read John Fante aloud to the power and grace of Wagners 'Flight of Valkaris' while balancing on a spalding basketball and finally I was smiling.

Sad Berlin

It's hot hot hot and steamy and
the sun has just broken through in time
for dusk to ride over the Atlantic behind us
and I sit sticking to this chair
sticking and bellowing like some angry
bee if a bee would bellow
sleeping with my eyes open for fear
of attack and
watching a very young girl pushing a baby carriage
down the side street
staring into it in wonder and horror at what
she has made and trapped herself into
If it were only fear to conquer, things would
be easy--but there's also laziness, and loneliness
along with the fear
Rarely does one of us break free enough to
do something great
Just ask the man who has not been laid
in a year what the meaning of victory really is
He'll tell you in fewer words than you may want
to hear

Lord have mercy on us in this sad Berlin

Blind Curve

I never found anything real
in journeys to the
between two lovers
hanging over on sex
and the blood of life
maybe that's why I don't
dream of her
when she
is not

The city where I sing

Here where I am
in the city of Boston
in the rain
I have a boner
and the grass is browner
how the end comes
to carry the dead away

carrot hat

It was the first cold night of winter in Boston, we had been lucky. It was the first Christmas party I had ever been invited to.

I sang and drank and showed everybody my ass in front of the tv they were watching, and she still came on.

This sexy thing in a tight black cable knit shirt, and a scottish red plaid wool skirt. The black heels were dangerously pointed, and the stockings almost melted on the thigh.

She set it down over me in a chair, I was on the floor, and turned on the fuck me eyes and started saying crazy sex things to me that I was afraid somebody would hear.

Five minutes later we were on the back porch in the cold with nobody else around. She was rubbing it all over me and I hadn't had a rod that strong since I was eighteen.

She was sexy and calm and in control and I could feel it. She sat back on the wet concrete step, leaned back on her elbows, crossed her legs high, and just smiled at me gently swinging one foot in the night. Classical lines, I thought. I was thanking the pussy gods by then, silently.

The power of a woman's body is greater than a lion tamer who can tread ocean for four days and live.Women are always on a stage and they will die dripping dime store jewelry at the nape of their neck, pulling stars from the sky and swirling gently with Cassiopeia and Fay Dunnaway in a sequined evening gown. Christmas tree lights on a Japanese maple in Boston Common in July.

I can't remember a word I said to her, and I can't remember a word she said to me, but I do remember her wanting to play the word game and she began talking dirty to me.

She came on and rubbed it on me again and I could feel her from shoulder to knee. She said, "You don't seem to have much confidence in yourself."

"No, very little in fact," I said. "But I'm long on courage. I'd really like to take you home and do things to you till daylight if you could see it that way."

"Maybe," she said, "Maybe."

Right then I decided that somewhere in this country there's still a secretary being banged on an oak desk in a plush office still thinking it's PC- pretty cool.

A head poked out the door to the porch and a blond dike looking girl said, "Come on! We have to go!" I never even saw her leave. She never said 'see you later'. She was gone from the house inside of a minute and a half.

I don't know if I was set up for the tease, if she really was a dike, or if her and the other girl had a conflict of interest, but catching me blithering drunk and using me for fun wasn't kind at all. Not kind to a sucker who doesn't get much.

My cock was so hard it stretched out an extra half inch. There I was laughing in the rain in an alley, on my knees splashing cold water from a puddle on my dick. I could have rode it home.

I fingered the pussy gods for putting the carrot hat on the ass again. What a sucker I am. I haven't had a good nights sleep since because I keep rolling over on a hard.

I don't hold it against her, it was fun for what it was worth. I would like to belt whip her sometime, feel some of that quivering supple flesh. I blame the pussy gods, for stringing me out a little longer to be subject to only more torture.

A whore and a waitress, no nobler a woman strides the earth. No sugar tonight in my coffee baby, I like it like my women- hot and bitter.

Damn, there's a beer cap in my spaghetti.

Cat on the corner

Her hands were tied behind her back
with my favorite black tie
and she cried out so loudly
that I thought I was hurting her
or scaring her

And I lost that tie to a knot
and a pair of scissors
and received ten of the most
painful fingernail marks down my
back--drawing blood

and she whispered:

Now you'll know to never let me go
so soon

The Pope's Got a Half Pint

"What will they do next daddy?" Grace asked.
"Well, next they go to the gas station, because they're running out of gas. They will never make it to the movies and home if they don't," answered Charley.

"Can they get licorice and soda pop too?" said Grace.
"Of course they can. Everybody can. We live in America."
"What movie will they see?"
"Why...I think they will go see 101 Dalmatians tonight. Would you like that Gracie?"
"Oh yes! That's what I wanted to go see. You are so funny daddy."

Charley sat crossed legged on the floor in front of the Fisher Price garage with the people with plastic hair and bodies that looked like a thumb. They were real sometimes. The carpet was a rust orange and stained with beer, and wine, and unidentifiable other substances. The four walls closed in and made him feel a little bit further away from the world.

"Daddy? When will mommy be home?" Grace asked.
"I don't know honey. Can you go get me another grape juice?"
"A grape juice!" she ran off to the kitchen with the glass.

Charley stared at the highway connecting the desert with the life. He drove the car up the ramp and parked it at the gas station. At the station, the people came alive. The woman went into the station and came out with two bottles of soda and a Twix candy bar.

The man said, "Do you think you need one of those? You're always complaining about your weight."
"I'm always complaining about your drinking, but you don't toss that bottle between your legs! Do you think we will even make it to the movies tonight?" She answered.
"Oh give it a rest! You know damn well I need this after a week of work! It's bad enough I work at a job I hate all week, and then I have to listen to all your bitching! Besides...you hit the bottle all week when your home with the kid. I know you do." Charley came back.

"Fuck you. I sit in the god damn house all week while you go out into the world and you think I have it good!?"
"The world is and ugly place. You could use to take up a hobby besides fucking and make a better one for yourself. But you just sit there and drink, and water the dumb flowers, and take baths. You could at least feed the kid once in a while."

She slapped him and he grabbed the steering wheel. Good thing he wasn't driving. She never took that into account.

"Here's the grape juice Daddy! How come it doesn't taste as good as mine?"
"Because you have the special grape juice sweetie. You deserve the better one."

Grace smiled and giggled and returned her attention to the game.

"What are the people doing now Daddy?" she asked.
"They're leaving the gas station now. The woman is mad at the man because he is usually doing something bad. Or so the woman says."
"What does he do?"
"Well...there's a lot of things. He smokes, and she gets mad at him for that. He drinks the bad grape juice and she thinks he should drink the good one. She doesn't understand that the good grape juice is for special people like you." Charley poked her in the belly and she laughed. He laughed with her, and then he farted.

"Hey! You farted! Ha ha ha ha."
"Yup. I farted. Your turn next!"
"I don't fart Daddy!"
"Of course you don't small one. I just forgot for a minute. Only big people do that...right?"

"Right. Are the people going to be late for the movie?"
"I hope not. The woman will be even more mad."

Charley drove down Commonwealth avenue at a leisurely pace, taking hits off of his pint of scotch. He looked at the clock on the dash. 8:26 it said. Plenty of time to catch the 8:45 show. The wind blew his hair and the woman and child were silent. He reveled in this moment of peace for as long as he could. A coal blew off of his cigar into the back seat. He knew this meant trouble, for another minute.

"Watch what your doing with that thing!" she yelled. "You're not the only one in this car. We'll be lucky if you don't burn it down tonight! Why the hell do you have to smoke that thing while you're driving!"

"Because they won't let me smoke them at work, and you won't let me smoke them at home. This is the only time I have. Don't you remember that that's why I bought a convertible? So you wouldn't have to smell it in the car? You and work are a lot the same, I've been noticing. Always telling me what to do and I'm always behind on the payments and smoking cigars behind the garage. Besides, you always try to slap me while I'm driving! Why the hell don't you just get the hell off me!" hollered Charley.

"I don't get on you very often!"

"I noticed that! I hear you've been getting on somebody else though!"

She tried at slapping him again. He swerved the car right and then left and she rocked against the passenger door and grabbed at the dash for stability. An excellent move. The power of machinery never went untold since the cotton gin. The horns went off around him and Charley gave the finger several times. They probably knew the same shit he did, and just didn't know the circumstance. There are too many who are not ignorant in the long run, but don't know shit about the short, or the immediate, as it may apply.

"O.k., O.k.! You've got to stop this trying to slap me when I'm driving. Not that it's a man thing or anything like that, but here you are trying to save our lives every day, and then you go doing shit like this. Good thing you're not married to an airplane pilot! You bitch." The woman stared straight ahead and was silent.

They pulled into the drive in and parked. Charley puffed a few times on his cigar, and the girl whimpered from the back seat. Oh god, Charley thought. He felt the need to put himself in his own place with his life, with the city, with the world and his wife. He never wanted to hurt his child. This was the only thing that they, he and Bambi, still had in common. But then who ever did have anything in common. Many people tried to, and said they did, but all things in common eventually become battle grounds. Two people will take classical music, common to nobody, and find a way to disagree on it. It was written while nobody who is alive now was alive, and they will find a way to turn their

interest into an interesting struggle. There are things that suffer in the interim. There are those near that become so far, realizing that they have their own problems to deal with, and would rather not include the problems of others in their own, and everybody ends up leaving each other thinking it better for themselves, when what they really need is companionship. Is it for the better? Charley had a puff on his cigar and thought about it while the popcorn man made his way. The speaker outside said:

"Another grape juice, dove?"
"Yes, yes! Another grape juice!" and Grace ran into the kitchen.

Charley sat and scratched his balls, in the leaning-to-one-side manor. Pinch and roll, pinch and roll was the only way that counted. He got a good one and stretched his leg out over the Fisher Price game. He watched the other people at the drive-in to see what they were doing. There was one young couple that got out of the car and laid on the grass on a blanket next to it. They ate popcorn and paid no attention to the movie. What was the movie? Oh yes, 101 Dalmatians. Sure. 101 assholes was more like it. Charlie remembered the time when he and Bambi had decided not to go to the movies, and no matter how much he hated the movies, he wished he had been there that night. The worst song ever came on the radio at the coastline where they were parked, and he had tried to turn the station. Bambi had insisted that he didn't, and got hot over it. Grace was breathing nine months later. Not that he didn't love her...he loved her more than anything, he just hated the consequences involved.

Grace came back with the grape juice and vibrated in her footied pajamas. She did a little dance, spilled some of the grape juice on herself, and sat down so as not to fall down laughing. She squirmed and held her elbows close together as she surveyed the terrain of the game. The game had not changed for Charley.

"Daddy! Daddy! There was a huge bug in the kitchen...no there was three! I thought they were mice! They ran so fast!" Grace exclaimed excitedly.

"Those were just geese! Haven't you ever seen a goose young one? One was named Christmas, one Thanks Giving, and one Easter. There just waiting in the kitchen to make you happy!"
"They sacred me so! I'm not sure they could ever make me happy."
"You've got worse to come teet tot. Much worse. The people are driving home after the movie now and are going to get ready to go to bed soon. What do you think of that?"

"Hey! You aren't going to make me go to bed are you?"
"Of course not. I said you could stay up until mommy got home, didn't I?"
"Yeah but...O.k. I believe you."

"How about a dance Gracie. May I have a dance? I would be honored to dance with a young lady so beautiful." Charley asked gently.

"Yes, a dance! Put on the favorite music. You know which one that is?" she said excitedly. Grace began to prance around in uncoordinated ballet, choreographed by her own dreamy goddesses. She led with one hand in the air and her eyes closed. Charley put the greatest hits album by Liszt on the turntable and moved the needle forward to Liebestraum (And Dream of Love).

Charley and Grace began to dance around the room like two injured swans. This dance was serious, and so it was taken. Every so often when they passed close enough they joined hands and swirled nervously for a moment on the tips of their toes, only to part again and control their own sides of the room. Times like this were worth more than a wedding ring lost down a bathroom drain, more than an old box of love letters destined to be left behind in a dirty motel room in Las Vegas. Gracie twirled into and pushed off of the record player and the tv stand, and Charley leapt over the Fisher Price world and both drifted into a lost and forgotten realm where they were completely free from everyone and everything, except the beauty inherent in their own madness. Gracies silvery hair swung over her small shoulders and Charley felt the sadness he always felt when he knew that she didn't know, and that she could never understand at her young age. It's always comes down to getting caught up in an impossible habit of pride and love.

The song came to an end and Charley and Gracie, breathing hard, sat on the couch and began to laugh, her silvery chime dominating over his own gray happiness. He tickled her and she laughed harder.
"Daddy...don't...don't! Haahahahahah. I have to go pee from drinking the grape juice!" she yelled.
"I have to go pee from the grape juice too! Who will get to go first?"
"Why me of course! I'm smaller and can't hold it as long!" she said matter-of-factly.
"O.k. little one, you go first. I'm going to go get another grape juice. Meet you back here in a few minutes."
"O.k." And she ran off to the bathroom.

Charley wandered into the kitchen and poured himself a port and had a hit off of the bottle. He placed his faith in the rights of humans, and he could hear Gracie through the newspaper thin walls, innocent and pristine, and so alive. There was a jingling of keys and the door pivoted into the living room where Liszt still played and the Fisher Price world lay in its ignorance. The little plastic people were home from the movies.

Bambi stepped into the room wearing a full length fox fur coat, and a man who Charley knew as Randy stepped nervously in behind her. Randy nodded a polite hello and headed

for the kitchen leaving Charley and Bambi alone in the living room with Franz Liszt. They stared at one another like usual, and Charley went to the closet for his coat. He had stopped blaming himself and others a long time ago. It made no sense. There was really nobody left to blame. Just victims riding the schicain of the wave of personal suffering.

"Why can't you leave him outside till I'm gone?" Charley asked her.
"He's as much a part of this as any, and it's time you stopped denying and acting like a child." `
"Well Jesus fucking Christ! Did rubbing the dog's nose in his own shit really ever help?"
"Charley! Why can't you just get over it? Gracie is the only thing that ever really tied us together and she's getting to be old enough to decide where and with whom she wants to be. You never loved me and I never loved you. We told each other that a long time ago." Bambi shrieked.
"Yeah, I know...we have this same conversation every fucking time. It was better when I still thought she came out of my dick. You could have saved dragging me through this and didn't have the guts! You whore." Charley hollered.

"Don't talk to her like that, please." said Randy from the doorway to the kitchen. He had a glass of grape juice, the good kind, and he stood with it at chest level, staring through his wire rim glasses.

"Just stay out of it four-eyes! I kicked your ass once already and I'll be glad to do it again if you push me!" Charley pointed out.
"Remember the promise you made to everybody and yourself after you got out of jail Charley." said Randy.
"Get fucked blow job."

Randy put the grape juice down by the turntable and bent in the middle of the room as if to pick up and put away the Fisher Price garage. He did and carried it to the closet near where Charley stood. He dropped it at the last minute and came at Charley hoping to gain the element of surprise. Charley took one step forward and punched Randy square between the eyes. It was a good one. The glasses broke and Randy went down hard. He lay there with his hands to his face, limp and moaning. Charlie's hand hurt. He heard screaming and applause and became dizzy with the adrenaline and the wine mixing and feuding in his blood. He came to with the image of his almost ex-wife beating at his chest and scratching at his face with her false red nails. Charley grabbed her arms and pushed her back onto the couch and she sat there in frustration and sobbed into her hands. Randy still lay on the floor. Charley stood alone in the middle of the room.

Charley heard more sobbing and looked into the darkened hallway. Gracie stood in her light green footied pajamas, wide eyed and lost for understanding. Charley smiled at her, and wiped some of the blood from his face.

"Daddy?" she said hesitantly.
"He's right there," Charley said pointing to Randy writhing on the floor. "But don't you worry teet tot. I'll be back for you. I'll be back for you."
"I want you to come back," she whimpered.

Charley put on his coat, opened the front door, and dove into a steady hand stand. He got his bearings, and walked out the door, upside down as usual, toward home with a cigarette in his mouth. From behind him, he heard an innocent silver laugh.

Almost a circle

We sat in a circle, a circle of laughter
forced into it by the same sadness that makes
a drunken clown dance for children
and wear a mask
no wonder clowns painted on a smile
She wanted me to love her
he wanted to love us both
and I wanted to love no one
needless to say, none of us ever got
or anywhere where the black sun gods
and the winds of warm smooth fire finally
where does the fire go when it rests?
Some would say it never does
Kill me, then crawl inside
you whore

A Sad Few In Neon, We

"This is probably the easiest job I've ever had. My Grandfather used to say 'Best to be a sewer man or a garbage man. Three dollars an hour and all you can eat. Ha ha" Said George.
"That's pretty gross," Ralph replied.
"Well you're new on the job. You'll get used to it. It helps to have a sick sense of humor around here. You'll see."
"What are all these bodies anyway?" asked George. "Where did they come from?"
"These are the latest development in the medical science of longevity my son. People who can afford to can have their bodies cloned. The bodies are incubated at an accelerated rate till adolescence passes, then kept in a state of suspension indefinitely. They're lobotomized of course. Any conscious thought or capability of movement is removed from their brains. We keep them alive here in this infirmary till the real person needs...say a liver transplant, or even a whole leg. They have an extra body just sitting here waiting! They can replace almost any part nowadays." George answered.
"What about the--"
"The cock? You bet. That one's popular among the fellows, and even with a few of the ladies. They can buy one you know. They can make them bigger through slight genetic mutations and conditioning during the incubation process. Pretty cool huh?" Said George.
"Amazing," replied Ralph. "So what do we do. It all seems kind of eerie to me," Ralph said with a shiver.
"We just keep an eye on things. Chase rats. Change the shit bags, provide them a little muscular therapy so they don't get too stiff." George answered.

The two of them pushed the cart to the first body. The ceiling of the Acme Innovations building was high and vaulted. The floor was cool cement and lined with space saving racks on hydraulic lifts for easy access. Ralph trotted along behind George a little stunned. He was thinking that maybe leaving home for the city

might not have been such a good idea after all. But this was only for a while, thought Ralph. Just to get his feet underneath him till he could find a job in a real morgue. The job that he had actually been trained for. It had really pissed Ralph off not to be able to jump right into his passion as a makeup artist.

"O.k." Said George rolling the first body over onto its stomach. "This is what you do. The first thing is to change the bag. Careful not to get any kek on ya'." George said lunging at Ralph with the dripping tube extended. "Ha, ha ha. Just kiddin. Change the bag, replace the tube...and that's that!" George said completing the job. "Once a week we give 'em a wipe. My least favorite night, but hey! It pays too well for me to complain. No sir, not me. The fringe benefits are mighty all right too! But don't let me catch you lickin' any! Ha ha ha." George bellowed slapping his ass and pulling at his suspender straps.

Ralph watched in slight disgust. It was, however, nothing he hadn't seen before in the hospital where he worked outside of Seattle. This wasn't going to be so bad. Nobody keeping an eye on you or giving out any shit, except for the tenants. A real people oriented job. Ralph watched as George began pumping the arms and legs of the body.

"This is what we call 'muscular therapy'. It helps keep limbs from loosing too much tissue to be of use when the time comes. Quick and easy like this." George pumped the arms and legs furiously. The body looked almost comical under his attention. Like a wooden doll with all the strings attached. They eyes were taped shut and the whole scene gave the illusion of a bad B movie with blow up dolls as the unfortunate actors. This, however, was far from any fifteen minutes of glory.

"The boss, Mr. Dumbody, usually stops in Wednesday nights around three am. He's a sick fuck. In this just for the money he says. But I see him standing over the bodies, some of them. He just looks and looks. He's particularly fond of the Norman Mailer one." George said. "I think he just has a sick affliction of envy for famous people. I can't really figure it out."

"Norman Mailer's in here?" Ralph asked impressed.
"Yup...you bet. Why not? Remember it's the rich who can afford this. There's quite a few famous people in here--so to speak I mean."
"Who else?"
"Well lets see...the former Governor of Maine, I forget his name; Larry Bird; Keith Richards--"
"Christ! Does he look any different?"
"No. Kurt Cobain's in here too...although I can't figure out why since he's dead. Oh--and I almost forgot, our glorious 'President of the United States' himself." George exclaimed proudly.
"You're not giving me any shit are you?!"
"I shit you not lad. In that room behind the steel door. It's locked but I have the key. It's not really that much of a security matter as it's not really him and all ya know."
"Yeah. It's weird being in the same room as the 'almost' president of the US of A. Fuck me runnin."
"I'll say. You get used to it after a while though." George said with a bit of head.

They pushed the cart along some more down the gray aisles amid the bubbling life support lines and whirring noises of respirators and anti-bacterial sterilizer machines Ralph had seen in his days at the hospitals where he had before, as now, wiped the asses of the helpless. That's what helped him land this job. His unchallangable experience.

"My ex-wife's in here too." George said breaking the silence as he replaced a tube with great skill seasoned over years of practice.
"No shit?"
"No shit again son. I was able to get her the opportunity to be here as part of my employment package. You'll get that option too after six months. Since I know you're goin' to ask, no I didn't do it. Not for me...no. I don't want to live any longer than I'm meant to." George exclaimed thoughtfully.

"When I was 26, I took a look at the 18-20 year old girls that I was soon going to be too old to peel the panties off of. It was then that I realized that I may spend the rest of my life chasing things that were running away. Of course at that time it didn't dawn on me that I wasn't getting to peel their panties off then either. I was already living that hell."
"I hear you on that. How do you feel about her being here George, if I may call you by your first name."
"Go right ahead. I don't really feel too much about it. I haven't seen her for some years now. Every so often I go and have a look to remember the way she was. It's kind of romantic in a way. To stroke her soft hair. To remember the good times. It's kind of sad sometimes. We were going to plant a garden last summer." George said laying out the scene.
"Jesus George. I'm sorry it didn't work out. Why did you and her split up if you don't mind."
"I don't mind. I worked nights, her days. A simple thing. We just grew apart as some folks do. And I stopped fucking her at some point. I didn't have too, I had her here. She bitched at me too much. I was really hoping you would start taking care of her soon so I didn't have to. Fella before you did...rest his soul. Died of loneliness here one night...right over there on the floor"
"I understand George. I'd be happy to." Ralph said with honor and conviction. "It would seem hard to be lonely here, what with all these folks around depending on you." Commented Ralph.
"Try getting a pickup basketball game going in here." George responded.
"I see your point," Ralph said observing the stillness. "Wait a fucking minute!" Ralph said jerking the cart to a halt. "What did you mean when you said you had her here?!" Ralph demanded with a look of fear in his eyes.
"That's what I said. I told you I get lonely."
"What do you do!? Do you--"
"Fuck her? Now and again I do," Ralph said nonchalantly, shrugging the question off and starting the cart rolling again.
"Now THAT's kinda sick if you ask me!"

"Not really. It's the same person without the conscience. It's not any different. She always was a dead fuck. Just laying there and shit. Women don't have to be good in bed, they just have to be there." Ralph stated with authority.
"You think so?" Plied Ralph.
"Sure I do. Listen, I have a simple theory on it. If man can have a good time with a blow up sex doll, then there's no such thing as a bad piece of ass." Said George.
"I can't argue with that, but it's still a little creepy and all."

George stopped the cart, walked around in a small circle a few times in a thoughtful daze. "Ralph...when was the last time you had a piece of ass?"
"Oh...I dunno--a year or two ago I guess." Well listen--being the generous and kind hearted individual that I am, I would be more than happy to let you have a go at my ex if you want."
"Jesus George! I don't know about that. I mean...it's my first night and all...and I--" Ralph stuttered nervously looking around as if he expected to see newspaper reporters and city officials, searching desperately for a way out.
"Come on! It'll do you a world of good, and she's right here in front of us too. Pretty isn't she? Got a good tight box on her ." George said beaming a huge smile.

Ralph stared down at the case in a state of mild shock. His brain was working furiously. It had been a long time since he had had some ass, and he was a little lonely. That was the main reason he had moved out of the desolate hills of Washington state. He began to shake his head in disbelief over the conclusion he was coming to. There seemed no way to avoid it. His brain was trying to kill him.

"You really think it'd be O.k.?" Ralph asked sheepishly.
"Sure! Go on...I done it hundreds of times, thousands! Good for the soul."

"Won't she get pregnant?" Ralph inquired seriously.
"Nope, stripped of their reproductive capabilities...all of em. Not a thing to worry about. Come on you candy ass! Give it a ride!"
"Well...O.k. If you're sure we wont get caught."
"Not we!"

Ralph stepped up to the case. She was awful pretty, and stacked too. She looked peaceful there in her state. Ralph swallowed a breath and undid his pants and climbed into the case. He tried to imagine she was just sleeping or drunk and he got it in quickly before he could loose his guts, literally. He began to work it up and down in an inexperienced manner. He jostled for better position into a good solid performance stance and raised one leg up into the crook of his elbow. It was a little stiff.

"She's a little stiff George." Ralph said concerned.
"Well you know--since that other fellow died and all."
"A little more cold than I was expecting too." Remarked Ralph.
"They're not all like that. Just my wife."

She kicked once and Ralph almost shit. "Jesus George?! He said in terror.

"Just nerves that refuse to give up. Makes it better I think."

Ralph finished in a panic with a good jolt and climbed quickly out of the case buttoning up his pants. He wasn't sure if he felt sickened or foolish. "You're right about the tight box." Ralph agreed straightening his shirt. He was shaking and trying to be cool.

"Would I steer you wrong?"

"I guess not. I feel a little weird though." Ralph said looking around and buckling his belt. The buckle said 'Born To Fuck' on it.
"Ahh--it's your first time. You'll learn to love it."
"I hope I don't."
"Wait'll you see number 69. She's a beaut I tell ya." George said in natural fondness and remembrance licking his lips. "She's right here," George said stepping up to a beautiful piece of woman lying like Snow White in her own ray of moonlight.

"But George? The case says number 78?"

George just gave a haunting smile and a wink and moved on.

They pushed the cart around the warehouse mostly in silence and continued changing the tubes and exercising the limbs and Ralph slowly fell into an inner peace with himself. His mind ceased the tug-of-war between morality and the punk youth inherent in his persona. George let him try the muscular therapy on a few and Ralph found himself enjoying it in a way. They worked the remaining cases with rhythm and grace till the last one, number 113 at the end of the bar.

"You know," said Ralph, "That really wasn't half bad at all."
"Right on my boy." George answered.
"And...I mean...I doesn't hurt anybody or anything." Ralph reasoned bobbing his head.
"Nobody at all. Fun for the whole family."

They finished the last body and stopped for a smoke outside the steel door in the hallway at the back of the warehouse. Ralph lit up two and passed one to George. George lit up a joint and passed it to Ralph who took it with a smile.

"You'll do good here Ralph." George stated with approval. "You'll go far, a natural."
"Why thanks George. What about Mr. President down the hall there?"
"I suppose we'll have to do that bastard too. I hate to do anything for old Uncle Sam. All that guy does is take our fuckin money and screw us in the ass." George said starting the cart rolling down the hallway.
"I'll say," Ralph agreed, "He's screwed me a good many times. Uncle Sam can fuck up a lot of stuff, but watch the cornholer collect the taxes."

George keyed into the steel door and pushed it open and there was the president laying in the middle of the room under bright lights with a red white and blue top hat on his head.

Ralph said "I'd sure like to take a few of those nickels and shove them up his ass. Watch him get screwed for a change."
George said stopping the cart with an evil gleam in his eye, staring into Ralph with the malice of a vengeful man. "Now's your chance son."
"WAIT! You're not serious!"
"Never been more. Been thinking about it for a long time, just been waiting for the right moment."
"I don't know if I could even do THAT George! You might have to count me out on this one." Ralph said solidly.
"Come on...wouldn't this be the ultimate revenge. Served up cold on a red white and blue platter?"
"Yeah...it would. But what would it all be for? I mean...nobody would ever know about it."
"Exactly! Give yourself a little present every day I always say. Today is Christmas!"

Ralph paced the floor counting to himself: There was 88' when it wasn't even my fault and they held out for eight months before telling me that I owed eight hundred dollars, one third of which was accumulated

interest. The form said 'See Note 9'. Note 9 said 'You didn't pay your taxes on time'; there was 92 when he forgot three weeks of income that overlapped into January when he worked weekends at a U-Haul in the snow. They checked his records back to 1985 when he was sixteen and washing dishes. The mother fuckers.

"RIGHT. Ralph stammered nervously gathering his guts."

George nodded with approval and strode defiantly to the case loosening his overalls and dropping them to the floor. He stood before the case, turned toward D.C. and bowed three times, took a deep breath and climbed on. George started working it like a madman, puffing and sweating, and said, "Goes in easy, I always knew he was a big asshole!"

"Bravo! Bravo!" Ralph applauded. George finished and climbed off, almost fell off, laughing. The President's hat had fallen off to the floor and Ralph readied himself for battle. "Here it comes Sam! You got this one comin from a long ways and a great height you cock sucker!" Ralph cried as he dove into the case and began thrashing about. He worked it. He worked it good. He threw himself clear of the aftermath with a proud and satisfied grin and bobbed his head up and down and felt the adrenaline course through his body.

George and Ralph slapped each other on the back and laughed till tears streamed down their crazed faces and they had to take a seat against the stainless steel wall of the chamber.

"Can't remember when I've had such a time!" hollered Ralph.
"Me too fuckin either!" George bellowed breathing heavily. "Lets get the jackass every night. I'll spend my whole damned paycheck in nickels!"
"Lets get the fuck out of here George!"

"Kay O fuck nut, were gone!"

They saddled the gear and headed for the door awash in the glory of triumph.

"WAIT." Yelled George digging into his pocket.
"What! What!"

George dug in his pocket and came up with two nickels. He handed one to Ralph, a worn 1976 Bicentennial, and held one back for himself. He walked up to the President and with a thumb, jammed the nickel in his holy ass. Ralph laughed and followed suite, and replaced the red white and blue top hat as an after thought.

"By the way George. What's the hat for?" Ralph asked.
"Oh...just a little joke. Doesn't he look silly?"

Three thousand miles away the President shuddered awake from a restless sleep and told his dirty hooking wife that he had a dream where he had a colon transplant and shit himself every time he got up at the podium.

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