December 2002 - Nine Lives At The Dolphin House

Christmas Time In Radio Free Fortress North America

Sean Penn is going to Baghdad. He's getting on a plane and flying to Iraq to spend a few days sussing the situation in an attempt to gain a better perspective as to why his country might want to attack it. Of course when he gets home they'll come up with some kind of McCarthyist headline befitting his expedition. Something along the lines of: Traitor Penn Returns From Kingdom Of Evil Concealing Killer Bees Contaminated With Smallpox. The wizards at CNN are far better at it than I, though they have yet to use: Destination Iraq! (which I'll expect points on if they do). None the less, Godspeed Sean Penn.

It's The Holiday Season here on the home front. You can't say Christmas anymore as it might be offensive to those that don't celebrate Christmas. Despite the fact that those concerned usually celebrate holidays of equal significance that last weeks longer than Christmas and actually think it's ridiculous that we would even bother phasing out the word, we still can't call it that. Not in shopping malls or in schools. And I can totally understand why. Best not to dirty their lovely traditions with our most cherished and anticipated gluttonous frenzy of the year.

Not Christmas. Happy Holidays and thanks for shopping at The Gap.

Today Kyle and I were talking about a new reality television show we're going to pitch Fox. It's called Kidnap! Basically we take applications from would be contestants, choose someone, home invade their house, abduct them, transport them thousands of miles from home, and leave them stranded - all the while secretly filming their every move. For the pilot we've chosen a girl named Andrea from Baltimore who lists her interests as horses, jazzercise, and organizing prayer group picnics. We're going to snatch her and drop her on Hedonism Island wearing a PVC one piece that zippers apart. Oh God! is right Andrea...

Viva reality TV, viva!

People often ask if I'm writing another book. The answer to that would be - no, not really. I started one but didn't like it all that much so I abandoned it. Everything but a name, which I've been enamored with for too long not to use. So don't bust my balls thanks.

It's all fun and games kids. Fun and games.

Eggnog latte?

Nine Lives At The Dolphin House

Call Ahead For Reservations.

Phil Mack and the Whack Attack were on the super bill that last visit to The Dolphin House, that I remember. Thinking about it I can't rightly say that I've ever heard a name for a band that's so utterly asinine. There have been many that have come close sure, but the Whack Attack is simply the worst. Then again, we're talking about a band that were bizarre enough to precipitate the rumor that the six of them had entered into a pact whereby they would blow themselves up in the middle of Earth Wind and Fire's Jungle Boogie at the stroke of midnight at the millennium, so. Unfortunately that night marked the demise of the sextet. Not because they were any better or worse than any other band that spent seven days of the week slogging it out in a lounge, but because that night I shot Phil Mack in the back of the head while he was taking a piss.

After awhile it can get difficult to remember why it is you're there to do what you're there to do. Phil, if I recall correctly, owed The German money. Who didn't? Who doesn't? So 'ha ha' is all that you can say to that. Because after a point it's allowed to be funny. It comes to mind that I may have killed another person at The Dolphin House but really can't remember who or why. They must have owed The German money or done something or other. It's all quite a vicious circle really.

This is where you ask who I am, which poses some difficulties. Nothing simple, not a capitalist or lunatic tax dollars hard at work. Not even just a bad guy, or a swell guy that just fell in with the wrong crowd as a kid and ended up rough and tumbled and barking up a series of wrong trees with bad dogs. What does it matter? What would it matter if I said I was? What would it matter if I said I wasn't? It's crap, all of it, really.

So who am I? That's the problem with everyone. If it were that simple then the seas would be calm and flat and full of fishes. If it were that simple then there'd be no need to be anything but nothing at all. Because that would be fine. So who I am is the guy who could waste your time connecting dots and details but won't. Because there are two kinds of time, wise time and a waste of time. So let's make it simple. I'm the guy who shoots people in toilets. And like most guys who shoot people in toilets (or restaurants or parking garages) I work for a man that needs people shot every so often. It's a growth industry. Chances are men like that are going to be upset about something sooner or later. And that's where guys like me come in.

If you look up Peewit in the dictionary you won't find anything most of the time. Sometimes it'll say it's the same as a Lapwing and if you look up Lapwing it'll say - plover with a tuft of feathers on the head. So you look up plover and it says - shore bird with a straight bill and pointed wings. And then the confusion will set in. Because you're not sure what it's supposed to mean. It's not my real name though, not the one my mother gave me, so it's really no big deal. On the other hand, if you were to look up terrible you'd find it says - very serious; very bad.

The German has an enormous aviary where he houses hundreds of birds, some rare, some not so. He also has smaller rooms just off the main aviary where he keeps vultures and crows. Sometimes he puts people in those rooms when they're half dead and leaves them there. Sometimes I bring them to him half dead. One night we were walking through the aviary and he started going on about Peewits. And from there he indulged himself in a confused and quite extraordinary moment of snakes and ladders wherein he thought them to be uniquely boring and a bit of a waste. And somehow all of it found it's way to me, walking beside him dragging some body, and he said that I was very much like a Peewit. So by some osmosis I became one. After we dumped the body in one of the rooms we went back into the house and he said "that's what Terrible Peewit's are for Gerald", to Gerald who was sitting in the living room watching television. And that's how I got the name.

When I was a boy my grand-dad used to sit out on our front porch and chain smoke and talk to himself. He wasn't crazy, mind you, just old. Things got quick somewhere along the line and grand-dad got left. A lot of people did. You have to get on the boat if you want to see the new world. You have to leave grand-dad sitting out on the porch chain smoking his way to the grave, pulling a ratty green sweater around his shoulders, watching the cars drive up and down the street. I used to shiver when I looked at him. It made me uncomfortable with the world. When he used to talk about his life I would sit there and listen and feel robbed. I would sit there and wonder if, like Cortez, someone would burn our boat when we got to our new world. It's a dangerous game, change. Cloaked by a foolish and irrational electricity, it's always risky. Leaving you entranced and wholly removed from the self imposed question of whether it's worth it or not.

But I would sit out there and watch him smoke and listen to him tell me about all the things he missed. He'd talk about all of it and then snap at me like I was responsible for everything to the contrary. Like somewhere someone had flipped sides and dragged an entire generation down with them into an abysmal pit. Maybe there was truth to it, I was too young to know. He would yell at me and shake his fists and cough violently and then fall into long silences while he tried to catch his breath. But I would never help him or touch him. No one did. Not even on Christmas. Not that he hated it or scorned people for trying. Just that no one did. It was like he was a disease, sitting there. A time capsule that held within him a perfect picture of a last grasp at decency but with the kind of exterior that turned you away before you could figure it out.

Even I can think up something to say, I would tell myself. Maybe even something worth hearing. The fodder of the world rarely comes up with anything beyond grunts of yes and no and excitability. But once in a while one of them might think up something to say. The world, drowned in the courageous inner monologues of those that march to their own drummers and all that, is strangely quiet. Mistakes are made all around, leaving the majority bitter and safe within the bosoms of their discontent. For most it's best to see the world as the mistake of those who took what looked like a good idea and made it bad. The fact that we don't realize the idea was bad to begin isn't our fault. It's nobody's fault when it comes right down to it. It's just one of those things that you find yourself unable to remember with any clarity. Which came first? The bad idea? Or you befallen by it?

So there I stood waiting for the hostess, eyeing my watch and hoping that I would have enough time to eat before I had to get to it. Because if you're going to confront someone that you later intend to kill you're best to do it in a restaurant around dinner. That way you can eat first. Especially if the person that you're going to kill has no idea that they're going to die. Then everything's relaxed, everything's with blinders until the gun comes out and the smiles go south. I've never given that part of it much consideration to be honest. If you don't want to find yourself in a situation like that then don't borrow money from a ruthless fuck that pays people like me do their dirty work for them. It really is that simple.

Grand-dad would have disagreed. But Grand-dad's dead now.

The Neptune Tower, The Salad, The Lights Come On

Have a good time, that's all that matters. It's all right, you can admit it, everyone's doing it. Nights filled with uncertainties, breasts, penises, drinks, drugs, money, and pointless conversations. Life's too short to fuck about with anything that looks like it's concerned with something other than having a good time. It's pointless to care. It expends far too much energy that you don't have or you can't spare. Maybe there was a time when people actually gave a shit about things other than proverbially jacking themselves off, but whatever. The bottom line is simple. Either you're getting yours or you're not. And if you're not then you'd better find a way to.

Spiraling out of control has become second nature. The deeper you dig the less you notice the depth. Until one day you find yourself at a seafood restaurant ordering The Neptune Tower, waiting patiently for a waitress slash escort to show up and offer you various sexual favors in hopes of buying another week. The first couple of times it works. Right up until The German begins to mention it every other time you talk to him. It doesn't matter that her now dead pimp slash boyfriend borrowed the money, used it to buy drugs, sold them, and then blew the money. When I went to kill him I found the two of them in bed and after I shot him she told me that she was good for the whole way. So instead of killing her I thought getting the money and killing him would be a win-win. A month later she was still empty and I'd had just about enough teeth punctuated blow jobs to last me a lifetime. So if she didn't have the money then I was left with little choice. The upside was that I could use the sexual favors thing to my advantage. It made my life far less complicated in that she would willingly leave the restaurant with me so I didn't have to grab her by the arm, walk her outside, and shove her in a trash bin. That way I could get her into the car, unzip my pants, let her rake her teeth across my cock a few times, zip up, and then shoot her and shove her in a trash bin.

We've become desensitized to violence you know. Television, movies, the news, whatever else. Killing is entertainment if fantasy and repulsive if realistic. Which is odd if you think about it. I've always been quite in love with the tern justifiable homicide. There's something about the hypocrisy of it that makes me easy about killing people. Justifiable circumstances that are defined in law by a society that is desensitized to violence. Interesting.

When she showed up looking like a million dollars short of 1.5, I could see it play out. Some clams, some prawns, a beer, and it would be teeth time. But there was something about watching her walk across the room like that that made me lose myself for a second. They all look the same, those type of people, when they walk. Their shoulders are tense and hunched towards their heads and they're always bent over like they're going to be sick . It made me think about how many people I'd seen walk towards me like that over the years. It wasn't that I pitied her, but rather that I saw the situation in a way I never had. That people would always be walking towards me like that. In all my years I had never thought of myself as an awful conclusion of a person, I considered myself an intelligent, reasonable person that just happened to do something for a living that required a certain moral flexibility. But as she walked across the restaurant towards me it made me feel less of the more I considered myself to be. It made my skin crawl, and that's always the first sign of the beginning of the end. I always wondered how it would be when I finally went soft. And as it is with most things in life, it was nothing like I suspected.

That night my cock stayed in my pants, she and I stayed in the restaurant, and she walked out of it fourty minutes later. Sitting beside me shaking like a leaf, I was relieved when she pulled out the envelope filled with the balance of her debt. I have no idea what became of her after that night, nor do I care in truth. It had nothing to do with her, it could have been anyone.

Stay in school, don't do drugs, and so on. You hear that a lot as a kid and you think nothing of it because you're smarter than everyone else in the world at that age. I used to love biology, botany especially. I always thought I would end up a botanist, despite the fact that my parents never went to college or even knew where one was, let alone being able to afford one. Years after he died I went home for some holiday, I can't remember which, and my sister told me that grand-dad went to college. He took architecture supposedly but left school and joined the infantry when the second world war broke out. When he got home he never went back, he just got a job working construction and then became a pipe fitter.

I became a killer and not a botanist in a world where the former is glorified and the latter is seen as boring. One ends life and the other studies the science of its most fundamental roots. When my war ended I decided that I would at least try to grasp at what I had once thought myself passionate about, not merely capable of. So I moved to France, where they're tired of killing, and started to grow things.