Insert Chassis Albuquerque: November 2016

The Inconvenience.

Well, it happened.
I just knew it would.
The end of the world, bright nuclear pinpricks of cloudy heat and light rising upwards on the New Mexico horizon as the radio fizzled and crackled from all the electromagnetic interference. Talk about an inconvenience, I was supposed to be signing a publishing deal tomorrow - how had this happened? A software error, a fucking software problem! We’d mistakenly misread a RADAR signal and opened fire on a jet ski and blown up a tourist believing it was the entire Russian sea-force invading! Of course, this act had escalated tensions internationally,

Actors & Assholes

There two kinds of assholes in this world, the kind you tolerate and the kind you don’t but I suspect between two assholes a woman would always most times choose the asshole with the most cash in the bank. Let me explain: She'd just returned from auditioning for a new movie by Holland Tiburg (you know, the guy who'd directed Arum Lily & the Kite? Tiburg, world-renowned for his craft and attention to detail).
"I met him!" she said; very curiously she seemed furious.
“You met Tiburg?” I said, incredulous.
 "I sure did - he wanted me to

"You With The Cops?"

"Yes, I sure am," I lied. "I'd like to buy that car. How much?" I asked the salesman circling it, a Russian-built 1983 red 7-seater Lada Nova tagged $16,000.
"For you – uh, $9,000?" the salesman said, sizing me up.
"What's the mileage?"
"It's Russian, you know, Communist? They don’t use mileage."
“What they use then?”
“You sure you not with the cops?” the salesman asked suspiciously.
"What year is it?"
The salesman looked confused.
"Whaddya mean? It’s 2016," he said. I guess the Russians hadn't

Lies, Love & All The Facts.

I'd noticed my girlfriend – who’s turned out to be genius at proving me wrong - often said things I’d regret. It was her idea, this writing business, which is not as simple as it seems. Her idea was:

I wasn't to look for employment with a regular, dependable paycheque every month, no, I was to be a goddamn writer

Because being a writer means you really want to limit all opportunities available and try capitalise on every opportunity not to provide any income for yourelf.
"Writing? What are you – crazy? You're no help at all!" I'd yelled at her hysterically.

Chapter 10 - "Sensible Things"
Taking the lifts (it was a very large lift, for people and wheelchairs and gurneys and down-and-outs, four or five young nurses climb in. They talk distractedly amongst themselves, clutching clipboards to their fine, young chests and all in starched white uniforms - like crisp, medical virgins awaiting their first slice with the knife, the first fatal injection, the first eager feel of a pulse beneath their benevolent fingers. How fresh, how fragrant they all seem in stark contrast to the staring creatures in the back of the lift that's: My alcoholic, lying father and his security guard partner, I and Ronald Ford, who’s heavily evolved in his role as a repeat, drug taking failure. Ford stands undaunted in his blue, makeshift hospital-issued gown, fastened only at the top behind his neck and that only ascends to just halfway between his thighs and his knees and who has the word “CATFUCK” badly stenciled and visible for all and sundry to see scratched into his arm – all that's visible behind all that hair are his staring, disordered eyes.
The young women momentarily oblivious, we observe them in admiring silence.
How they start when they spot us!
Immediately anxious, clipboards and notes are defensively clutched tightly and higher to their chests, as if they think we're about to attack and this effectual gesture will further protect. Collectively they all edged forward to the safety of the door of the lift, necks craning round to regard us, their pretty eyes flickering alertly and keeping us at steady, weary bay. There is uneasy, but gentle angst in those eyes.
"Ladies," my father says.
One of them, some young fun at the front of the group near the door, giggles and the tension’s broken.
And I quietly wrestle my father's arm at his side as he tries to salute them with a small, Nazi "Sieg Heil!" Thankfully no one notices this sudden, inexplicable impulse his entire life abounds with. One by one they turned their heads, turned away their swaying ponytails and bobbed hair, switching little asses twitching self-consciously as they conspiratorially lean into each other's bodies and shoulders. We hear their close, low, murmurings and nervous, muffled laughter - with such fine, haughty looks over their shoulders at us! other security guard held the door open for a moment longer when they exit. Leaning against the door faintly, he takes in their mingling, drifting scents. Likewise, we’re held in some kind of programmed, genetic awe as they walk off up the deep, echoing corridor, this fragrant insouciance; once or twice the placated women looked back over their fine shoulders to check and demonstrate light coy smiles that played across their fine faces as brief and sudden as lightning. Women, the subtle fragrance of light airy perfume and freshly washed hair, comforting virtues of beautiful familiarity lingering when all else was already gone, they slid into life and then slipped away again. His head pounding, awash with recollections and making him dizzy, the security guard, sniffing at the air in the lift, his voice quavering – he may have been crying a little - said: “Holy Jesus men, holy Jesus! You smell that…?”
And my father says the first sensible thing he’s ever said since I’ve known him: “Smell? Man, the only thing I smell is cunt…!” because my father maintained from an early age he’d developed the ability to smell when a woman’s menstruating. Still, we’d watched the young women in silence until we could no longer see them and the lift doors closed on us and wouldn’t open again.
We were trapped and at least 45 minutes pass before we’re rescued and released by a maintenance crew.
When I'm driving away, as I head off down the road, I spy Ford in the rear-view mirror, one hand held high, waving: “So long, so long dear friend…!” As if from the final scene in a movie, silhouetted and looming ominously behind his tall figure is the outline of the building Ronald Ford’s making a joke out of having decided he’d check into a drug rehab centerer called TOMORROW - for tomorrow, tomorrow we will learn the implications of going to hell.

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Chapter 9 - "Ronald Ford"

It was time to go collect Ronald Ford, not of the Ford car dynasty, but of the Chaka Zulu war machine dynasty.
Ronald Ford believed he was a direct descendant of the illegitimate black King of the Zulu tribe, removed from his South African homeland by slave traders. Deeply entrenched in the guise of a fictive drug addict, for some weeks already Ford had grown his hair long and grubby-looking; he’d a beard and even lost weight to fit the part of long time abuse as part of the facade of being an “addict” prior to his admittance to the clinic.
“Why?” I’d asked when he’d told me his bizarre plan.
“For dramatic effect!” he’d explained.
“That makes sense,” I’d concurred.
So while Ronald Ford was the son of royalty and I was King of the Dreamers, we were both impecunious.
But, as you can tell, pretty well-read.
All of which still counted for shit when you’d no money.
Downtown, in a parking lot in the middle of the day whilst people shopped around with their kids amidst their arguments and new purchases, Ronald Ford had purchased a range of narcotics.
It had been that quick to get high.
Ford’s eyes were bleary, his speech badly slurred.
Apparently things leap out the walls at him, too, for he screams and lurches about insanely, brandishing his hands in front of his face swiping at whatever crazy vision's haunting him. He swipes again and his fist crashes brutally into the passage wall - swipe! swipe! again and again.
Swiping at what, memories from his childhood?
His father’s distance?
His mother’s at arms-length emotion?
As I approach to help him, maybe bandage and tape up his bruised, bleeding hand (my own, trying to appease him, raised in peace above my head, “No threat here, Ronald!” they say) Ford takes off; pursuit is useless, Ronald Ford is beyond help and would be for some time.
At some other point (maybe three hours or so later) he’d wondered into the kitchen shouting and waving his arms, claiming it was raining in the apartment; inexplicably, on one hand he has a sock. I gave him an umbrella. Five and a half more hours elapse when something resembling Ronald finally appeared in human form; or something remotely approaching it.
It’s late into the evening and dark by then, but Ronald’s noticeably calmer. His hands, the knuckles, are scabby with dried blood (on one arm is a newly completed tattoo with the word “CATFUCK” - the English language abused and, apparently, still bleeding in places from Ronald’s unprovoked attack), his arms and face badly bruised, his hair matted.
Ford’s having a great deal of trouble focusing.
His pupils appear to roll in their sockets.
One rotates mechanically like the eye of a robot cyborg
Alarmingly, Ford appears to list dangerously to one side, like a flooded, sinking ship of humanity. He buries his face in his hands, pulls and tugs at his hair violently as if trying to yank himself back into reality; he tried run a hand through his matted, fucked up hair but they were shaking so much he was unable to and gives up.
A creeping realization: In his deranged state, has Ronald Ford cut one of his feet off altogether? I need visual confirmation and stare at where both should be.
Gripped by a fleeting moment of coherency, swiping madly, his voice strained, hoarse and dry: “I’m okay, I’m okay! Fuck… I’m okay! Is that real? Is that real…?” Ford says, swiping and swiping. Heartened, I was pretty sure he’d been speaking English.
“Alright, let's go. And bring your gun," Ronald said.
But I didn’t own a gun.
During the ride over he appears to suffer a setback. An arm lashed out uncontrollably, a reflex motor action, and he swipes! swipes! swipes! again. Some time before his brain can regain control, he throws up outside the car as we're driving. He's the good sense to do it out the window, but it blows back into the car, over Ronald’s face and the car seats.
Soon there's not much left to throw up.
Ford gags and retches air, foam ringing around his mouth.
When we pull up at the gates to the drug rehab center, the guards took one look at Ronald Ford in the passenger seat with his head lolling out the window, the foam from his mouth, the vomit windblown over his face, and ask us to step out the car.
“Get out of the car! Outta the car!” they yelled.
One made as if to reach for the pepper-spray at his side.
“My buddy,” I said, hands clasped behind my head as I’m rigorously frisked.
I nodded at Ronald, who’d fallen out of the car through the car window and onto the ground, luckily landing on the back of his head and not absorbing the fall with his face.
"Do I know you…?" the guard says, peering round over my shoulder and looking at my face.
"It’s me, Dad," I said to my father, but he continued to deny my existence.
"What’s with your friend?” he says, instead.
The other guard’s wrestling Ronald Ford. It’s not much of a fight, but, at one point Ronald gets a hold of the can of pepper-spray. My father and I rush to help restrain Ford.
“You’re a good friend, bringing this one in! “He’s fighting for all his worth!” my father yelled, in between wrestling Ronald and fighting for his breath.
“Take it easy, take it easy!” the other guard's crying.
He grabs Ford by one arm.
I hear him reading Ford’s mutilated arm: “Catfuck…?”
Whereas I, holding Ronald’s arm with the can of mace still clenched in it, his hand pinned down on the ground, noticed Ronald’s face – wild and gleeful, Ford’s winks out one lolling, wondering eye: “Hey there, buddy, thanks…!”

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Chapter 8 - "Honest Al's"

Honest Al's Your Pal Auto Lot.
"Al around?" I asked.
"Who…?" the salesman said.
I walked around the lot, the salesman followed.
"How much?" I said, circling a car tagged$16,000.
"For you – uh, $9,000," the salesman said, sizing me up.
“Lada Nova, huh? What can you tell me about it?”
“I can tell you if you’re interested in obsolete, heavily mechanized machinery for a car, this is your lucky day,” the salesman said.
"What's the mileage?"
"It's Russian, you know, Communist? Them commies don’t use mileage."
“What they use then?”
“Corporal punishment, gas, death penalty – you ask a lotta questions, pal, you with the cops?” he asked.
"What year’s it?"
The salesman looked confused.
"What you mean?" he asked.
I guess the Russians hadn't used years either - my father always claimed he thought Communists were lazy. I’d never actually seen one, not in real life, talking and walking, in command of all their senses and communist faculties. Most of what I’d known about communists I’d gleaned from literature. And what my mother and father had told me, largely anecdotal. And seen as both of them are out and out liars a communist might as well have been a million dollars to me.
I kicked the tyres.
The car had an electronic window, just the one, on the driver's passenger side.
None of the others worked.
But both side-view mirrors were electronic, too, and worked.
"Where's the exhaust…?" I asked, looking under the car.
"Whoa! Isn't it there?" the salesman said, surprised. He turned round and yelled: "Hey, Dumbass! You seen the exhaust for that red, rust-treated, junk yard Russian Lada Nova?"
Dumbass shouted back: "What…?"
"Lada Nova! That Russian built 7 seater!"
"Never heard of it," Dumbass said.
"I'll give you $1,500. And the exhaust," I said.
"That's extra, pal," the salesman said.
"Top up the gas and replace all the tyres, too - $1,500."
"That is a very tall order to fulfill, maybe the tallest I've ever seen!" the salesman said, scratching his neck thoughtfully.
I stick to my guns, brandishing them in the air for all to see.
“$1,500,” I said.
“$1,500? Okay, okay. All in, let’s call it $1,900 – deal…?” he said and extended his hand.
“All in, $1,500.”
He shook his head.
“Look, I’ve already come down from $16,000 - you gotta have a little flexibility…!”
“$1,500,” I repeated.
“$1,500? Jesus! You’re killing me! You’re killing me! What’s Al gonna say!” Still, he thought about it some and then said: “$1,800 and we there – exhaust, tyres and gas, what you say? Come on, be a pal - you’re stealing from my children!”
At exactly that moment Dumbass wandered over brandishing the missing exhaust.
“Hey Al! I think I found the exhaust for that shit-heap?” Dumbass said.
Al said : “$1,500 - sold! Okay, fella, you got yourself a deal! Talk about driving a hard bargain…" and handed me the exhaust.
So now I'm driving around town in the rain in a Russian-made family car for 7 from 1983 like I'm some kind of Mafioso big deal. Shimansky had a $750,000 Ferrari sports car sprayed bright yellow with a black, off-center racing stripe down the length of it and one of those stupid bumper stickers on the back that said: MY OTHER CAR'S A PORSCHE. I’d see him in his various cars zipping about town, super models hanging out the windows, often without any clothing on and big breasts on display. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, my grievance is purely from a socio-economic disparity point of view.

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Chapter 7 - "Catfuck"

I KNOW WHAT you thinking, I had to get to work and - unless my fortunes planned to change considerably in the next few minutes - probably repay that money to the bank, too?
Of course, Sun Corp. security immediately pulled me aside after the big scene I’d caused with that asshole Shimansky, a performance everyone would be talking about for a while.
But I’d a feeling I’d be forgiven for it, particularly by Shimansky.
"Well, well, well - surprised to see you back here, Broadway, isn't it…?" Shimansky said.
I hadn't yet bought my new car but it reminded me of my father, how he'd always say these big, "Well, well, wells…" the way he always did when something happened that had surprised him, which - according to him - wasn't often.
“I'd figured you for a smart guy. Smart, but also a psychopath with latent disability - my assessment's largely based on your recent comments and attempted assault on my life..."
"Your wife? Funny you should mention her," I said.
Shimansky had thought about that for quite a while.
He dismissed his security.
I'd heard on the news there'd been an unusual amount of solar flare activity out in space. The reason I mention this is, possibly because of this and the involvement of earth’s gravitational waves, it took some time for Shimansky to understand.
Who can say for sure, but, usually, I liked to crowd my blackmail - prime motivation for launching myself across the desk the way I had at him - with an advanced combination of insults, facts and anecdotal evidence. While he was thinking, I demanded to know about my new advancement opportunities, demanding a position on the Board of Directors.
And an espresso machine.
And not some Chinese shit, real Italian quality.
And all in my new office he was going to acquire for me.
"Are you fucking high…?" Shimansky said.
"I think you're confusing me with your son. By the way, how’s he doing? Ironed out all the problems?”
Shimansky buzzed August Burgman on the phone. He was quite calm.
"August, get security back in here. I like you, Broadway, you got real character," he said, putting the phone down. “Character don’t count for shit when you got no job. We’ll see all about your character when you in the gutter." He buzzed August again. “August? Inform Human Resources Broadway's definitely no longer job suitable. And August, get those security guys up here to show him out to his proper place in the world."
"I think I'll hold, Mr Shimansky," August - who'd been listening in the entire time - replied. Shimansky and I both knew - she was playing with those goddamn dolls of hers.
"I see," he said, looking at me carefully.
"All this solar flare activity at the moment must make people behave irrationally. But you must’ve been in a cave someplace not to know that, Shimansky, maybe in a cave down by… Pearl River beach!” I said.
Shimansky baulked.
"I know nothing at all about that…!" he yelled.
"Yes you do," August Burgman said over the intercom.
"Goddammit August…!" Shimansky yelled at her.
And as was typical of most power-hungry, egomaniac, rat-businessman, he immediately attempted deny any knowledge of the affair with her to limit his liability.
"I'd never cheat on my wife! Never…!" Shimansky cried.
"I would if she were my wife," I said.
This was untrue.
I'd never met Shimansky's wife.
I knew nothing about her or any reason I'd have to cheat on her.
But perhaps – as I suspected - his wife was no longer 17?
And could she type?
"Guess you figure you should be compensated. No chance, shithead. You've got ambition - that's admirable. But it's one thing to have ambition, another to be a deluded fantasist. I love my wife, but not that much."
Which suggested Shimansky's interest in August Burgman was at most a provisional interest, likely to be withdrawn any time soon. Misfortune's always a wonderful thing if not yours. But August was just a sexually provocative, emotionally unstable teenager in love with Shimansky. She nothing more than a young, stupid girl who still played with dolls. And had also done remarkably well at typing. And whilst they were engaging in having great cave-sex, only I was aware of the waning ground beneath her.
Less than enthused about the situation Shimansky may have been an illegal teenage cave-fucker but he was smart. Even here Shimansky tried wheeling and dealing.
"I understand you want to be a writer," he said.
I didn't know what the fuck he was talking about; he must've had me confused with another employee. I'd no worldly ambition, mostly steadfast reluctance taking offense at the slightest sign of work. I didn't want to be a writer, I just didn't want to work.
“I read your memo, Nominal Proportionate Salary Compensation,” he said, waving a copy in the air.
“Yeah, writing is what I’m all about,” I lied.
I let Shimansky’s fantasy live vicariously.
I didn’t mind him having some ambition on my behalf.
 You write as fast August can type?” Shimansky asked.
“Depends what it is I'm writing. But I don’t give blowjobs,” I said.
“So what do you want?" he asked.
I didn't want change, I'd never coped well with change.
With me it was all about consistency.
I wanted what was fair. I wanted to work four days a week, have an office and more money. Meaning I adjusted my principals to accommodate Shimansky’s lack of any and we agreed a compromise. A compromise, by the way, is when both parties agree that they have won and that the other party has lost.
Shimansky said: "Just remember, everything in life always has a price - eventually. Get back to work, asshole, I'm not paying you to stand around and hold your dick in my face."
"What with my new pay remuneration and improved work ratio I'm off to buy a new car - 2nd hand, of course. Today's Friday and I only work 4 days a week, asshole."
When I was leaving August Burgman looked at me, mystified.
"You could've asked for the world…!" she said, which just proved: She'd no idea how the goddamn world worked or how much it would’ve cost.
"You should find someone nice, someone your own age, August. At the very least someone who doesn't fuck you in a cave. Jesus! At least a motel…!"
"Mr Shimansky loves me, he does!" August said fiercely, hugging her dolls but Shimansky didn't love anything that wasn't money. Shimansky was like my mother and father. They were like those doctors who'd told me to quit dreaming.
Shimansky was right, though, being free is a dangerous myth and the true costs of how we’ll pay are hidden.

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Chapter 6 - "My Financial Situation"

I should explain my financial situation further.
I was declared legally “bankrupt” and barred from ever managing or directing a company after taking a bank loan and never paying any of it back.
“Fat chance of that ever happening again!” I'd said and laughed in the magistrates face.
But knowing the exact details of my circumstance even he'd laughed.
The only difference between being 18 and having nothing is being 41 and knowing I’ve nothing and trying to do something about it.
All my life I’d had a lot of nothing.
And having all this nothing had taught me a lot.
Thus my negotiating powers in the field of poverty are outstanding.
At my bankruptcy trial the judge had asked why I hadn't just paid the bank their monthly installments.
"I was going to, your honor, but then I ran out of - what's that stuff called…?" I’d asked my court appointed attorney and snapped! my fingers like I’d seen people on the TV doing this – Snap! Snap! Snap!
"You mean money," the lawyer had said uninterestedly.
"That’s it, I ran out of money, your honor."
"Well, where is it all?"
"Most of it’s currently tied up in projects in the French Rivera, your honor," I'd lied.
“The French Rivera! Jesus! What a dreamer!” he’d said shaking his head and my lawyer, leaping to my defense at this obvious judicial prejudice, yawned.
Whilst the magistrate had expressed some sympathy he'd also instructed I pay the bank back their money.
And now the goddamn bank had sent a letter explaining how - given my current and foreseeable objectionable, financial circumstances and very low credit status - they were switching my "credit position" further downward so they could really finish me off fucking me in the ass with all the interest.
I have them on the phone now.
"Fuck You Bank - how can I be of most excellent service to you today? Hello…? Fuck You, caller…?" a voice says.
I felt close to making a radical remark.
Possibly racial.
"This is Ealing Broadway. Why’s there no goddamn money in my account you lousy bank-fucker!"
"Let me have a quick look for you, Mr Broadway - ah, yes, I can see it's because you’ve no money in your account, sir."
"I’ve no money in my account because you fuckers increased the interest on the debt 980% and withdrew the payment without informing me!"
"Our records do indicate a letter was sent informing you of this increase several weeks ago. As per our terms and conditions, Fuck You Bank are likely to change terms and conditions without prior notice.”
"You can change terms and conditions…?"
"Sure. Why not…? Did you receive our correspondence?"
"Your letter’s postmarked two goddamn weeks ago!"
"Perhaps you should contact the Post Office."
"The Post Office?"
"Yes, it's the big building where all the mail goes - do you know it? Complain to them, let them know you are dissatisfied with their service."
"980% interest is a goddamn crime - rape! Rapist!" I yelled down the phone.
"Did you say rape? To say we’re raping you when you owe that money?"
"That's what it feels like - rape!" I insisted.
"That is an inexcusable, abhorrent accusation and an extremely inappropriate analogy! Fuck You Bank takes the safety of all staff members and our customers very seriously, Mr Broadway,” and he went on to explain as they were actually "assisting" me for my own benefit, this "rape" I'd complained of was "consensual" and with my "full agreement".
I was unmoved, frankly, what was "inexcusable" was such a considerable amount of my time had already being wasted.
"That would be highly unprofessional, even more so than your suggestion of rape. Besides, if you truly feel you’re the victim of a crime, it's best you contact the relevant authority as we can offer you no advice on that…”
The stink of opportunity in the air, I said: "Well, what can you offer me…?"
"Well, as a matter of fact, Fuck You Bank does have an offer available for you, today only: $148,750 repayable over two years and this will also consolidate all previous monies outstanding – you know, that you invested in the French Rivera…?"
I thought about it.
"I see. What's the interest?"
"Ah, humans, always so consumed with the numbers and figures - has the baby got two arms, two legs, two eyes, two ears, one head? Is it mine, is it yours? Is it leaking, can it speak, when he will it speak? Best to forget about the numbers, sir, in fact, that’s our motto: FUCK YOU BANK - FORGET THE NUMBERS! As you are already a loyal customer of Fuck You Bank, the money could be available in your account within 24 hours - what do you think, would you like me to action that decision for you?"
$148,750 repayable over two years?
Sweet masturbating Moses…!
"Goddamn! Yes! I'll take it…! Please action that decision immediately…!" I agreed, because some degree of financial independence was probably a good idea.
"An excellent decision, your money will be with you in 24 hours. Fuck You Bank wishes you a fantastic evening, sir! Goodbye!"
And just like that – whilst up to my asshole deep in debt - I was back out of debt.
I could always not pay any of it back again, although it had been implied if this were to ever happen I‘d be in for some jail time.
Money, it matters.
It's very important.
In fact there’s large discrepancy between having money and not having any money to help justify definitely having a lot of it. Money influences how people may respond to you. Look at a homeless person who hasn't taken a shower in weeks and stinks like piss.
And shit.
People do one of a few things - either sympathize or beat the hobo up and take a piss on him.
The Rich, people like Shimansky, they’d ideals and principles and drugs and money and the boredom that permeated their lives to do whatever they wanted. Being almost criminally wealthy and being able to get away with it, having any money automatically gives you this kind of outlandishness only money can buy.
No one took a piss on them.
So of course money matters.
If it didn't they wouldn't keep spending endless amounts of it on wild parties and women to prove they had some.
The poor, we may be more resistant to bacterial infection and at educational disadvantage, but people also think we are poor and will remain so because we can’t read, write or do maths without stealing something. We find money so fascinating because we've so little of it.
Holy Jesus! $148,750!
To celebrate I was going to buy myself a car - what decent man wouldn’t…!

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Chapter 5 - "Paris"
 We sat in the car.
“I don’t know what gets into her sometimes," my father had told me, shaking his head.
But I did – that one time, it was money.
No doubt about it.
I’d seen my mother vacantly paging through travel magazines, dreaming.
I was only 8 at the time. Frankly, I knew my father was as erratic as a rabid bat. Bats have had to stomach bad reputation but he'd deserved this one. My advice, don't eat bats, bats cause more confusion than anything else.
"You're mother, she's bat-shit crazy," he’d said.
"I don't think you should be saying mom's bat-shit crazy or telling me any of this stuff."
My father scoffed.
"Jesus! Just like your mother! What are you, bat-shit crazy? This is the greatest nation on the face of the goddamn earth! I can say whatever the fuck I want!"
Even then there was no denying it: I was the splitting image of my mother, minus the lies.
"Being honest will give you vaginal warts," my mother used to lie to me.
I guess she knew more than most.
My mother wasn't cut out for such precision work as the truth. She was a real professional, to. She knew nothing but grandiose dishonesty and mammoth, contemptuous arrogance. As her outcast powers grew, almost from nothing her belligerent vanity twisted and distorted any dishonesty into an entire castles of lies.
I try be creatively accurate.
That means I trim the truth just to get through the day.
It means: Whilst I research the facts, I will often lie about them.
Funnily enough, despite appearances and what you’ve read, I’m actually closer to my mother. Anyhow, actual scientific studies had concluded I was a nostalgic dreamer and always would be.
“You are in a deeply disturbed ideological state. You forget all this nonsense about dreams,” our family doctor had strongly advised.
“I’m only eight – what the fuck, a man can dream can’t he!” I’d yelled.
I don't know why I’d thought my dreams were real or what had ever given me that impression in the first place. I’d refused to quit dreaming on the grounds I was a King of the Dreamers!
My mother believed I'd been struck by a meteorite. Our neighbor, Gilbert Klingel, had thrown a stone at my head (and his mother had told my mother - who was a fool - it had been a meteorite that had struck me).
"Just quit it, okay? Nothing good will come of dreaming!" my mother had insisted, paging absently through her travel magazines.
“A man who dreams can’t function in reality,” my father had said.
Then he’d made the Nazi salute.
As I said, it was a dark time.
I wouldn't say it had ruined my life and forced me to begin taking a variety of anti-anxiety medications with multiple contraindications, but it helped. Nine months, a course of experimental anti-psychotic drugs, a medical team, a secure psychiatric hospital and campaigning for decreased amounts of radiation and radio waves in the home I'd suffered from: Irregularly Developed Eyeballs.
I couldn’t believe it - all those years of my parents using the microwave to cook chicken and boil water, they'd stored the microwave in my bedroom because they'd worried it emitted radiation!
Can you believe it? developed eyeballs!
Speaking of radiation and dreaming, I see Paris from my rented Downtown Tokyo window, the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Well, actually, it's a painting of Paris seen from out of a window in Paris, but the thought's the same.
But it reminded me of the time I'd visited Paris. Parts of it were so beautiful I couldn’t stand it and had had to fight an impulse to want to start fires and burn the place to the ground. In reality, back in Downtown Tokyo, there’s the unpleasant distraction of a large gorilla down below smoking a cigarette whilst taking laundry from off the washing line out in the back of her small courtyard. My view of "Paris" is really the small, square graveyard of her washed shirts, socks, t-shirts, underwear, jeans and even two pairs of shoes; everything is (L)arge.
The woman shows little emotion, unaware she’s been observed.
It’s only when she tilts her head skyward and reveals a sour heaviness about her face, an unpleasant, ugly scowl that can’t only be because of the inclement weather.
I looked out at the world and suddenly I was sick of this scene - Paris? There's nothing special about Paris. The truth is anyone in Paris can sing a song! Besides, deep in my own thoughts, high on pharmaceuticals and killing time I died in the splendor of stepping away and receding.
The dulled sun droned across the gray sky…

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Chapter 4 - " King Of The Dreamers"

A LIGHT RAIN fell across Tokyo.
I looked out the window over the dull, gray landscape of TV aerials poking into the sky and out over the smoking, smoldering remains of the city in the distance looking much like an old, ugly industrial painting with its thick dirty, smudged colors.
The City: A peculiar entity of cement, steel and people. High-rise lifestyles bound eternally skyward, glass buildings fingered the tired skyline like perverts.
Things to do in wasteland New York, Downtown Tokyo: Get stabbed, see young mothers aged 14 and younger pushing prams, overhear loud arguments on mobile phones about who unfaithfully fucked who the night before all the whilst wearing all the evidence of their one-night stands, illegitimate babies sat on high hips waving paternity tests at their ex’s denying them visitation and yelling whose mother was a whore - how could life not be expected to flourish in such vulgar, primordial condition?
Scientific fact: Rats live longest when there's plague or disease.
If Life’s a balance between one’s expectations and the budget available, one’s perception is inextricably handicapped by one’s expectations. My view? A view overlooking the railway tracks and the homeless who holed up and hid in the empty, discarded railway carriages and the under railway bridges to the abandoned industrial wastelands beyond.
“Chic industrial charm, look at all this space…!” the realtor had marveled.
“Are those bullet holes…?” I’d asked.
There appeared to have been a shoot-out at some point, the walls lightly riddled with what the realtor clarified as historically insignificant "small-arms" fire from “light caliber” weapons; why was never discussed, but the signs are all there: Old bullet holes in the walls from old, forgotten wars.
I’d peered into a bullet hole.
I could see clear through the goddamn wall.
Suddenly another eye had appeared and stared suspiciously back at me.
That's just the kind of building it was, people staring.
The realtor had insisted: “Those are features – why, you’d be lucky to find another like this with such rich heritage, with so much character and charm. We’ve already had tremendous interest…!”
Tremendous interest in the damp, in the cold and how mold grew on the walls and practically engaged in conversation he'd no doubt meant. Sometimes, if I was really lucky, what was I’d just assumed at first the cheap stink of rented accommodation, the stench of sewage and dirty dish-and-bathroom water came up through the kitchen sink and really warmed the little place up. There was something familiarly burnt and sour about the air I’d recognized, though, that melancholic taste stale dreams forgotten for some time have.
Dreams, we all have them.
But when I was young I’d taken a dark turn.
“When you were young we all took a dark turn,” my father and mother were always blaming me. I don't blame them, but it would be a help if I explained they were generally poorly educated, something they'd being taught to be. Largely responsible for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, scientific studies would no doubt have demonstrated they were incapable of physically being parents without resorting to some kind of bullshit. Growing up in Downtown Tokyo, I was on the receiving end of constant negative comments and situations, such as this one: One day, my father collecting me from school, driving home he spotted a sign on the side of the road:


Immediately he'd pulled over to investigate the nature of this offer only to discover - there's a time and a place for everything but, talk about coincidence, very enterprising, there was my mother. She’d been missing for several days already. There’d been no need for this type of disgusting display by her but, as usual, she'd insisted on it because, according to my father, my mother hadn't seemed embarrassed or even uncomfortable when he'd confronted her. In fact, she'd offered him the works for $50, "… a family discount rate," she'd told him. father must've been about 45 minutes. Clearly satisfied when he'd re-emerged, “Usually it’s about $120 for the works. You're mother's a whore," he’d told me bluntly.
"She is," I’d agreed.
But my father, he'd mistook my conforming opinion as a question because he'd said: "She is, son. I'm sorry.”
I knew by the time I was 3 my mother was getting around. The only difference between a prostitute and my mother was my mother didn't usually charge.
The difference between Shimansky and my mother? Shimansky somehow profited when fucking you. Shimansky always seemed to make a margin.

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Chapter 3 - "Nominal Proportionate Salary Compensation"
I found some letterheaded paper emblazoned with the SUN CORP INTERNATIONAL company logo and set to work writing a treatise titled: Nominal Proportionate Salary Compensation, a deep exploration of working conditions espousing the principle that Employee/Employer relationships always tilt invariably naturally towards the employer. It was a completely natural prejudice the employee suffered. Much like Ivan Pavlov had conditioned his dogs to salivate by association, employees had been conditioned to overlook this reflex reaction to remuneration, when the balance should morally favor the employee.
It was pretty subversive literature and meant, owing to poor salary remuneration, effectively an employyes daily work load should decrease until the pay discrepancy resolved itself and was  more adequately aligned to the actual amount of work performed. I’m not saying I’m a socialist or a communist. I mean I enjoy sex and fucking – that’s why people worked, because of sex and fucking. Shimansky himself lambasted the subject in a memo to all staff: “We can’t have customers just wandering around spending large amounts money on low-margin items! It’s our job to ensure the customer, if they’re going to spend, we correct them and adjust their attitude so that they spend their hard-earned money on items they most times can’t afford but most suit us…!”
I buzzed August Burgman on Shimansky’s office intercom again.
“I'm busy out here, too, you know…!” she complained; it was like listening to a child whining.
Burgman was alright.
But just last week she’d got her damn head caught in the fax machine and Shimansky had had to call the fire brigade to extract her using hydraulic Jaws of Life.
“Jesus! I’m expecting an important fax, how much longer you people gonna be…?” Shimansky had yelled at Burgman (who was crying) and the firemen. Stupidity was a default with her and I'd have been surprised if she ever superseded that setting. Shimansky set a certain minimum requirement for how much tolerable stupidity he could withstand and I’m pretty sure Burgman surpassed that requirement umpteen times every minute of every day, but Shimansky just kept setting the bar lower and lower. I could see why. She’d a beautifully shaped head and a body to match.
And she could actually type, accurate and fast.
Sometimes in life that's all you needed to be: Pretty and an exceptional typist.
Let me tell you, for a guy like Shimansky - who was all about detail- a fast, accurate typist was probably like a blowjob.
I gave the memo to Burgman.
“I need this typed up and printed out. And make sure that asshole reads it,” I told her.
“Which asshole…?” she asked and I looked at her. “I’m not a moron, you know, you’re all assholes to me…!”
I sneaked a look at Burgman's little 17 year old ass as she stormed from Shimansky’s office. Even if she was only just 17, sometimes a woman can be so busy they forget to have a sense of humor and can't remember even how beautiful they used to feel and all that remains is the marching band smile of several serious but invisible injuries.
Yeah, times were changing.
Women - evolving in the time frame of a 100 years what man had failed to achieve in millions - weren't as stupid as they’d used to be anymore. But women were willing to do anything to survive, if it means they’ll survive. Of course, Shimansky didn’t have to find a new home because of his financial situation. Money, more was essential, and my life was already in massive debt.
Shimansky had allowed me to get into even a lot more debt because he’d refused me a goddamn increase.
Well, let me tell you, debt, debt keeps a man sane and reminds him he's fallible. Any goal-orientated, ambitious person knows the importance of debt, it keeps a balance nothing else can achieve and helps prevent a man sliding into a complete apathy for the world. A very dangerous position for a man to be in. A man who doesn’t care believes he’s nothing to fear, to lose, to gain.
I guess my “economic” outlook must not seem too good. 
I’d spent all my money on booze, drugs and some immigrant Eastern European prostitutes called Olga and Yana.
Why? Well, for one thing, Eastern European prostitutes were a lot better educated than the local prostitutes. Let me give you an example. You say to a girl, one of them, either Olga or Yana: "Hey, hey does this smell like chloroform…?"
The local girls, they’re not even sure what chloroform is.
European girls, well, they know chloroform. They’ll even tell you it’s molecular structure. They'll tell you things, they'll say: "Well, you don’t really wanna use the chloroform. It’s kinda lame – what are you, in 1950? What you wanna do is use drug like Flunitrazepam, that’s what you really wanna use. Flunitrazepam will knock you the fuck out for two days recreationally!”
And these European girls, they’d been places and seen things.
They didn’t have that smell of being from the same city.
There was something cosmopolitan about them (and I don’t mean in the same way the local pimps defended their girls by claiming them to be “cosmopolitan” - they thought they were cosmopolitan, but so does a rodeo clown occasionally, when it crosses the state line from Texas into New York and into Manhattan). Plus, with those svelte, Eastern European Slavic features, Olga and Yana had claimed to be sisters.
"You got enough money to pay us, you can believe anything!" Olga and Yana were always saying.
Don’t get me wrong. I had ambition, even the prostitutes Olga and Yana had commented on this. It was just proving a long process. Besides, generally people often proved to be wildly inaccurate about “ambitions”.
Whereas it's been my sole experience: Life's a balance between one's expectations and the budget available.
And I’m on a tight budget both financially and emotionally.
It had to do with “appearances”, I appeared to go one way in life when, in fact, I went another way: Dirt poor and working the street like an unemployed dustbin man looking through the refuse of someone else’s discards trying to survive another night on the street.
Under a bridge.
Okay, this wasn’t strictly the situation.
I’m not suggesting the entire world’s against me, don’t be foolish. While I despise Shimansky, I wouldn't say I hate my job and my life. But if I had to choose, we'll, it would be a pretty fine line and so indiscernible I easily wander over the border between the two and back again without ever being fully aware of the transgression. If you ever met my parents you'd realize with little effort this was very probably the result of some genetic shortfall on their part. But I’m too acutely aware I could never meet even Olga and Yana’s very base expectations.

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Chapter 2 - "Economic Forces"
My life's much like yours, the work load steadily increasing while inflation and living costs spiral out of all control and wage and salary recompense remained disproportionately similar to what it was 5 years previously. All the while companies like Shimansky's continued to announce outrageous profits in bold headlines year in, year out and managers and bosses and directors paraded about their offices beaming at their employees what fantastic jobs they were all doing in these “… trying, difficult times we’re all in together” and they and their cronies drove to work in another newly purchased $750,000 sports car and everyone else was having to take the trains and busses and walk to work in our goddamn knock-off $5 shoes.
This is what life in a fit of rage had handed me - nothing.
Life had just sort of inverted.
Life had done me few favors and, for warmth, so-called "austerity" had long ago decided to permanently drape its rough, ugly blanket over me. I was sick and tired of my living-expenses being decreased proportionately while the cost of living kept escalating disproportionately. Any work was full of sideways, lateral promotions. I was always doing more for the same money or even less. With no salary increase in over 4 years, in lieu of this reprehensible oversight and as a way of redressing the imbalance, I'd suggested I instead work four days a week without any salary deduction.
Immediately and without any hesitation, Shimansky had said: “Listen asshole, working only four days a week without a proportionate salary decrease means you would’ve immediately received a 20% increase…! Hell, give yourself a 40% increase, work three days a week for all I care! You need to take this up with Human Resources - now get the fuck outta here!"
"Human Resources? Where's that?" I'd asked.
Shimansky had looked around his office, incredulous.
"What are you, stupid? I'm Human Resources - make a fucking appointment, dipshit!"
Shimansky was forever claiming in interviews to be a great supporter of “equality” - meaning just as long as no one from the lower classes was more equal to him or anyone else from the upper classes. He was what employees often refer to as: "Employee Negative".
This was another very technical term, meaning he could be a real cock.
But then there were days when, well, he was a cunt.
Terrible language, I know, but he was the worst kind of colossal, stinky, selfish cunt possible - Shimansky was a conglomerate cunt. Normally I don't mind cunt - hairy cunt, smooth cunt, black cunt, pistachio cunt - you know what pistachio cunt is…? The pistachio's a type of cashew, but the pistachio had nothing on Shimansky.
Still, one of us had overstepped the mark.
It was quite offensive by how far.
I felt it was up to me to let him know by how much.
"I know where you live, motherfucker - I'll have you beheaded…!" I'd yelled and dived across the desk at him (this was untrue, I'd no idea where Shimansky lived).
Shimansky screamed and backed hurriedly into a wall.
I had him cornered, like a rat.
He was a rat, a very particular kind of rat.
And the thing about rats is they have no morals.
I'd felt justified, though. My actions were the result of an economic force beyond my control because, just recently, Shimansky had fired 773 staff in Belgium for the exact same reason: Economic forces beyond his control.
Suddenly August Burgman had burst into the office, cradling her dolls in her arms. She said was going to call the cops if we didn't break it up. Then the phone on Shimansky’s desk had begun to ring.
"It's your son, I think you need to speak to him, I think he's intoxicated," Burgman had told him.
"Intoxicated? What the hell you mean, intoxicated…?" Shimansky had yelled and grabbed the phone up off the table.
That whole business with attacking Shimansky obviously raised some serious questions about my job "suitability". Shimansky hadn’t seemed surprised I'd attacked him, though. Maybe he'd seen that kind of reaction before when dealing with employees. I wasn’t too worried. Shimansky had said so himself: Economic forces, who knows when they could strike, right?
But, erring on the side of caution, just in case, I’d had to employ a new strategy, just in case: Blackmail. I’d the goods on Shimansky. Shimansky was having an affair.
Of course, you never know what people do behind closed doors but it hadn’t come as surprise. What was a surprise was it turns out Shimansky's a cave-fucker. Yep, you heard me, a cave-fucker. He'd fucked this woman (who wasn’t his wife) in a cave up near Pearl River beach. Initial unconfirmed reports said she couldn’t get enough of him and was absolutely crazy for him.
The thought of any person absolutely "crazy" for him made me sick - no one could be that crazy.
Anyhow, money has left a fantastic impression on me, but I’d only realized quite how much of an impression when I noticed I’d practically none available. I’m Ealing Broadway. My net worth when I checked my defunct bank account this morning, before it was closed until I could pay the service fees? -$2.16.
I could hear August punching out the memo on the typewriter in the front office - Life, it was all coming apart nicely…!

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Chapter 1 - "Shimansky" OVERHEARD A conversation between my boss Shimansky and his son. They were talking on the phone. That asshole Shimansky said: "What are you doing…?" and the son must've replied he was drunk because Shimansky suddenly went berserk and shouted: "Drunk! Son of a bitch! Jesus Christ! It’s 11 in the morning - you’re only 12 years old…!" as if the time the boy was drunk mattered more than his age.
I'd remained emotionally detached listening to him berate and threaten his drunk 12 year old son. Most men do. There was nothing gained becoming hysterical and acting irrationally. August Burgman stood nervously nearby. She didn't say anything.
The boy must have asked Shimansky what he was going to do about it, because Shimansky suddenly shouted into the phone like a homicidal maniac: "Do about it…! Why, I'm gonna come home right now and bash your face with the iron to teach you a lesson, bastard!" and with that Shimansky had slammed the phone down and was gone.
So my day was clear.
"August! Hold all calls, I don't want to be disturbed!" I shouted down the phone at her.
She couldn’t have been more than seventeen going on stupid and the stinking danger of the permanently young showed on her face. I knew she was playing with her dolls, which was strange because she was practically a grown woman.
I lay back and slouched in the expensive leather chair, sat my feet up on Shimansky’s desk and stared out over the city. I wondered if it had occurred to Shimansky his boy had at least being honest, if nothing else. An honest drunk's a good drunk. Jesus! It could have been worse, at least the boy hadn't said he was drunk and on crack cocaine fucking a 70 year old prostitute! I also thought about the iron Shimansky had threatened the boy with - was it just a regular iron or a steam iron? Maybe it was even one of those old fashioned ones you had to heat on a fire first? That struck me as the type Shimansky would enjoy. I could picture Shimansky making the boy watch as, first, Shimansky would have to make the fire. Then he’d make the little guy wait while he heated the iron up. That would be just like Shimansky. It was from Shimansky I'd learnt a curious Polish tradition: Putting your child in the washing machine to improve and correct their attitude - depending on the severity of the misbehavior this determined the number of spins and type of cycle: Delicate, Regular, Half-load, Express, Wool - RINSE.
"Technology…!" Shimansky had beamed maniacally when he'd told me this.
So if it wasn't the hot iron treatment then it was the washing machine for the boy.
I figured they’d probably done about four rotations by now. Either that or the boy was on the way to the nearest ACCIDENT & EMERGENCY unit. Jesus! It could have been worse, at least the boy hadn't said he was drunk and on crack cocaine fucking a 70 year old prostitute!
That Shimansky, he sure was a messed up individual.

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