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Humber, TWO


Morning Nate Shortt woke up The seat of his pants was wet. He rolled over. There was blood in his hair. In his eyes. Nate looked around. He was on the cold, tic-rae, tile floor ofa public restroom. He wiped at the thickening smear ofred clotting his left eye. There was no memory of how be had gotten wherever he was. He needed a beer. Nate stood up painfully. The mirror showed half a man. With blood in his hair and on his face. Cracked. Nate's hands plunged the pockets of the wrinkled, black pants he was wearing. The moisture from his ass had seeped into those pockets and Nate's knuckles came out wet He peeled his fists and took inventory. A five dollar bill, Lincoln with ink pen fangs. Twenty-one cents; two dimes and a penny. A baby-blue, movie ticket stub; Trainspotting That had been three months ago. With a woman. There was haifa cigar. Nate wondered ifit was a White Owl or a Swisher Sweet. He plugged the wood tip into his face then pushed his fists back into his damp pockets. The fifth knuckle on Nate's left hand was enlarged, a broken metacarpal that had healed poorly some years earlier. It was this deformed bone that now brushed against an item Nate had missed IJ'l his initial search; a single, wooden match. Nate was on the sidewalk. He had emerged from the blue-green wash of the toilet to find a less than elegant barroom, streaked in red like a lipstick smudge on a wineglass. The bar was called Finnegan's. It was on Logan avenue, not far from Nate's apartment, but he had never been there before and couldn't honestly say be remembered being there now. There were porno theatres, sex shops, and strip clubs lining both sides of the narrow street Nate thought he might as well One dollar for a peep show at The Gash, four dollars left over for beer. The girl was blond. Cheap. Full bps. Strawberry pussy. Aloof Nate's dick got hard. He still needed a beer.

Fame Four-story fully-clothed pool dive. One broken leg wasn't enough to stop me from jumping

I was sitting in a wheelchair, drinking malt liq uor. My woman was making mixed drinks in the Christmas blender, slow death creeping. My best friend was at the piano, hammering out post modern Beethoven. 1 was reminded of Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Just a Gigolo. Pseudo-intellectuals with phony, literary names transfered energy to the ring of martini olives. Too loud, talking eyeglasses attempted to expand on Einstein's theories and the hidden meanings in Melville. I am Hollywood, U.S.A. Coffee shop poet eating Jus own shit with a knife and a fork.

llit another cigarette and took another hit.
The beer was I;;> zettinz<::> warm

Motel 9 There were all kinds of chairs and Boyd Williams was sitting in one of them thinking about Barton Fink and Jerry Lewis in The Bellboy. Hotel movies for a hotel lobby, this one draped in emerald green and elegently carved, oak, wood panels. Boyd was smoking, whistling lightly, and waiting to make a connection. The desk clerk looked up from a phonecall and nodded his head in Boyd's direction Boyd felt a quick streak of paranoia. He began searching around for a restroom, trying to look casual. There was a red door in a far comer adorned with the silhouette of a stick man. Boyd looked back at deskboy, still leering through half lids. It was definitely time to do some coke, he thought.

Evolking The alley downtown between the kung-fu dojo and the beatnik: graveyard for rats and crackheads The damp and yellowed newsprints floor hailed back to a December two years ago. Ralph Valentine took and felt high for a second, felt as though he could fly. He remembered trampoline, off the barn roof and into the wheatfield below. Ralph had jumped into the great unknown, bounced once, then broken head. The vacation in Arkansas did not go as planned. cafe was a that papered the a bit from his pipe the route of the paid the price of

Summer of Love Nate Shortt could taste dispair like a drop of vinegar on his tongue, like a whiskey shot taken without chaser, He and Ralph Valentine were passed out in an alley in Hollyweird, CA, coming off a week long booze and coke bender. They were out of money and out of drugs. Nate Shortt was on assignment for the Logo City Gazette,

Jones Christmas lit, ghetto, apartment with roaches in the silverware drawer. I was sober with my best friend's ex -girlfriend and we were trying to score for pot. Crazy Isaac stopped by, drunk on the sauce and angry KORD was showing Terror in the Haunted House on their Mondo Midnight Movie Matinee. dump

Crazy Isaac Came Crazy Isaac came and sat on our couch. He was tearing at a paper rabbit he had drawn. I was sitting barefoot, waiting on a frozen pizza. My girl was listening to something in a magazine, reading a CD, and giggling. KERD was showing The Killer Shrews on their Mad Movies at Midnight. Crazy Isaac used the phone.

In Dog Years, I'm Dead Nate Shortt set forty ounces of eo It 45 all the flat, plastic, Smokes cigarettes mat and held out his three dollars. "It's a little early to be getting started, ain't it?" the clerk asked, giving Nate the eyeball. The Budweiser clock above the hot dog steamer was frosted, 9:45 A.M. "Buddy," Nate said, "I usually puke for the first time by ten. The clerk put the beer into a brown, paper sack. Nate Shortt thought the day was looking up


on the Runway

The first thing I remember is the dark, cool embrace of the movie house. My mother was weeping silently beside me. My sister was comforting her We went 'to the movies every Saturday. My mother loved the movies. Sometimes, my brother would punch me in the arm. "It's all your fault, he would whisper. I could feel his warm, wet breath on my cheek, but I never knew what he was talking about.

Redux I feel like

Kurtz in
Heart of Darkness. sequestered by the jungle, and savage. This thought at work, Wi.ndex counter top, April 19, 1997. 4:35 P.M.

The Movie Producer Who could be tried guilty for corning down from snowcaps and enjoying the greenhouse? Me? I'm just a man. 1 am made weak by microwaves. My greatest asset was my sense of direction. The other day, it failed me. Where am I now?

and the Corpse of Julie Newmar

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Bragging Rights Walking jazz cool to the sound of the clavichord, a look of stoic indifference like a shadow on your face. I guess you're too cool to show us how happy you really are now.

Who Killed Marilyn? I saw the most beautiful thing today. On a sun drenched piece of park bench, nestled in a four cornered quad, on the West side of the Memorial Union, a man read poems from a thick, white book to a woman with love in her sighs. 1 walked upstairs to the coffee shop. A thin guy

in a T-shirt
was frantically tearing pages from a spiral notebook. There were two small flowers on the table before him. I think they were dandelions.

The Flrst Picture Show On the night that it ended, I watched a moth, confused by ligbt, looking for escape from my life. After, I wished we could have talked, calm like,

she on the chair, me on the couch.
I think I would have asked her just how good my act really was. I'm my own worst critic.

At Work in the Fields of the Lord haky,

blue-line tattoo. I had to hold my breath. On the way home my favorite bridge was closed. On Monday they tore it down.



in a factory in Munich
1 build bombs, not caring who they'll kill, for $8.00 an hour and a dental plan.

The Book of Steve Nate Shortt, Ralph Valentine, and Mike May bad a :friend named Steve Dwyer. One night Steve went for a drive on the freeway. He drove the wrong way down an off ramp near a truck stop in Hennon and then drove along the wrong side of the freeway itselffor about thirty miles. He did not use his headlights. Steve drove very fast. The parents of the girl he killed were upset that he died. The parents of the girl Steve killed asked a lawyer if they could sue Steve even though he was dead. The lawyer didn't think so but he promised to look into the matter

Interlude TIllS morning I asked my roommate if he ever mourned for the friendships he's lost or if the memories of those friendships had just faded enough to dulJ the pain. He said: "Yes."

Notes From Above Ground One day Nate Shortt received a package along with the usual fan mail, bills, and . mazazines. Inside he discovered a cassette tape and a note. Nate read the note. It was from Ius brother Colin. The note read: To be played in the event of my untimely death. Nate hadn't seen his brother in eight years. He put the tape and the note into a drawer o~his desk. A year later, Nate got a letter from his brother. In the letter Colin asked for the cassette tape. Nate sent it back.

Nursemates Ralph Valentine and his girl took seven hits of acid apiece and locked themselves in their one room efficiency. Now, something you need to know is that Valentine had colon cancer when he was fourteen The doc's were able to remove the tumor and neutraJize the carcinogens using chemo, but Ralph was left with a whole foot less of intestine and an ulcer the size of a dime. Every once in a while, Valentine's ulcer would act up and he'd get really sick. Sometimes he would even have to go to an emergency room. uch a thing happened on the night that Ralph Valentine and his girl took seven hits of acid apiece and locked themselves in their one room efficiency.




How She Died BLAMI BLAM! You never saw the shooters face. "Hey mister, got any spare change?" BLAM! BLAM! You remember how her breath quickened as you neared the edge of the park. Sometimes this can be a dangerous neighborhood.

A Brief Philosophy

I consider commercia] radio to be a Jot like murder. I would never buy any of the music played on the radio, but 1 listen to and tolerate it wben I'm in my car.
By the same token I'd probably never kill anybody, but if! ever found a dead body I'd enjoy it for whatever it was worth






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