Thanks for the call from the Chicago Peevefest. It reminded me thatI haven't posted anything crude here lately.
So what do the Republicans do to combat the stranglehold that Hillaryand Bill have held for the last 7 years? In 1996, they gave us a gimp fuckinAARP member with no charisma. He failed, so he sends his wife to do a man'sjob.
Now, instead of a geriatric wanker with a bad prostate, who couldn'teven jack off for fear of getting ink all over the bedsheets from the penhe carried everywhere, we get his wife.
I've a campaign slogan for Elizabeth; "Vote for the Dole with the hole!"
I been away for awhile. Now, I am back. That will please some of you,agitate most of you, and the segment of the new population are kindlyinvited to curl up in a ball and perform lewd acts upon themselves.
I've a coupla stories to tell, and if ya don't like my style, save yerdubiously important time, and let me into your killfile.
I don't give a fuck.
One of the 4 Stooges was Nick. Nicky was a hanger-on; He always wantedto be the center of attention. I saw him fight. Twice, and he lost themboth, because he forgot the principle rule that you gotta get off the firstpunch. Both times, Nicky's mouth was runnin' too quick, and he got hiscocksucker punched in.
When we held services for Ronnie, Nicky wanted to ride with Bruce andI over to the services we'd arranged for Ronnie. Carol, cool, calm broadthat she was, was able to snaek some of Ronnie's ashes, which Bruce andI spread sparingly: a little bit in the Asti, some in the Avenue,some at the Jury Room and the rest by the ocean.
Nick had the audacity to insist that he had as much right to take partin this affair as much as I did.
"Where the fuck were you, when Ronnie was gettin' real sick?"
"I was working, man."
Nicky works about 20 hours a week, and hustles the rest of his cash.To his credit, he's a pretty good hustler. But he's not worth a fuck whenthe chips are down.
"I can't stop you from coming to the service, but I CAN stop you fromgoing with me."
"I can go wherever I want."
"Keep telling yerself that, Nicky, and you might begin to believe it."
"I was THERE for Ronnie."
"Keep telling yerself that, too, Nicky. We both know better, and sodoes every swingin' dick in this bar."
"I ain't scared of you, Vinnie."
I nodded toward the door, and said to Bruce, "We better split, beforeI lose my cool." "Too late for that."
We head toward the door, and Nick repeats, "I ain't scared of you."
That's because he's never had my hands around his throat before. But,this was Ronnie's day, and everything else will take care of itself.
And, Nicky's gonna be sorry.
I knew a cat once. He was one of my closest runnin' partners, but thecocksucker had the nerve to fuckin' die on me.
I been wanting to write this story for a long time, but my access hasbeen funny lately, and this is the first chance to put these thoughts intawerds.
Ronnie was a big, mean Polack by way of Chicago, and drifted into theCruz 10-12 years ago. He was 6foot4, 250pounds of slabbed on muscle, andif he had any fear, he never voiced it until the end of his life. He workedconstruction part time, but always had a roll to choke a goddamned camelin his pocket. You don't make that kinda money working part time,and nobody questioned his right to be equipped wit' a whole lottamoney. He did strongarm and collections for people who'd rawther not beknown.
Our initial relationship was tense, as he was a newcomer in me ol' neighborhoodbar. We'd nod to one another, out of respesct, but never pursued seriousconversation.
Dat all changed one night, when Ronnie was hustlin' some dude at thepool table. He was there with a friend, but the buddy was sitting out inthe front part of the bar with me. The guy was yelling that Ronnie wasout to cheat him, and his buddy was walking toward the pool area, holdinghis bottle the wrong way; in an overhand position, as if to strike, ratherthan the underhand position one uses to swig 'is swill. I cvaaught himhalfway across the bar, shoulderblocked him into one of the boothsthat line the side of the wall. I said, simply, "Don't even think aboutit." Cooler heads prevailed, and those two don't know how close they cameto annihilation.
Coupla days later, Ronnie and I were the only two in the bar.I asked for my usual, and Tiff brought me a double, saying it was fromRonnie. I tipped my glass to him in thanks, but he came over and said,"I heard what you did the other night. 'Preciate it."
"I didn't like the odds, that's all."
"Whatever, I won't forget it."
And he never did.
Ronnie came from the smelly part of Chicago, as opposed to the semi-smellypart of Chicago. He worked, at various times, as a cannery worker, a tanneryworker, and a stunner on the line of a cattle slaughterhouse. Tastelessas I may be, I had to ask, "How can you spend 1/3 of your day bustin'in the heads of cows?" He replied, "Ya gotta eat. You get hungry enough,you'd be surprised at what you'll do."
He did two terms in the infamous Cook County Jail. Figgering that allthe cops knew him, it was time to move on to a new area.
SannaCrooz. Small enough to not live in the high-strung city vibe, butbig enough to find anything you needed, it was Ronnie's paradise.
We became tight friends, along with Big Black Bruce and Nick the Spic.The Four Stooges. In `89, Ronnie was sitting on the end of the bar,and I could tell sumpin' was bothering him.
"I got the asshole cancer. Just found out today."
"What ya gonna do?"
"They're talking about chemotherapy. I don't like it. Seems unnatural."
"They know more than you do."
"Do they? I watched my father die of cancer, and the pain and the falsehopes made it unbearable. They gave him hope, when there wasn't any."
I spent about seven months, as Ronnie declined. I'd come over and playcards with him. Some days, he could play for hours, and others, he wouldget real tired and play a few hands, and want to spend the rest of thetime talking about philosophy.
Ronnie was not a philosophical person, but when yer fuckin' back's against the wall, you gotta get into some self-examination. Selfish asit mat sound, I was fascinated by the whole thing. I'd ask him, "Are yascared?" "Sure, I am. But I'm gonna die soon, and I can't changethat,"
I'd always get there at least three times a week. His sister, Carol,came out from Illinois to take care of him. She and I had a common goal;she was gonna make his last days as comfortable as she could, and so wasI. We had, of course, different methods; her feeding him Ensure diet formula,and me sneaking him in 1/2 pints of Ancient Age bourbon. (Peeve: Why would anyone drink that shit unless they had a gun pointed at their head.) Weargued about this often, but it weren't no stretch to figger that Ronniewas on his last legs. She thought that keeping him alive was more important
than his enjoying his last days.
October 16, 1999:
"Can I talk to Ronnie?"
"I'm sorry, he's not having any visitors today."
"Carol! It's me, Vinnie!"
"I'm sorry, I didn't recognize your voice."
"I'm at a phone booth"
"You'd better get over here. He's fading."
I copped a ride with my next door neighbor, explaining the situationas we went. By the time I got there, Ronnie'd moved on to the next level,making me feel like I'd let him down.
I miss you, brother.
Ronnie's real name was Leopold, but he took the Ronnie from his lastname, Kieronski. He hated Leopold, cuz, as he said, "It's a dumb name."A man I figured to have no real spiritual thoughts became awfully philosophicaltoward the end, and reminded me of something my father once said, lyin'on his death bed:
"Do you think it's too late to become a believer?"
That made me laugh. Then, hours later, I cried.
But, this is about Ronnie. 1955-1999. If there's an afterlife, I'll know where to find you. And, you won't even hafta keep me a warm seat,cuz we'll be in eternal high temperatures.
Growing up, I had two heroes; my pop, and Georgie.
I met Georgie at the Pine Lawn Boxing Club in St. Louis. His dad, whilenot shooting any blanks in the process of fathering eight spawn, lackedthe organization to leave his estate in order, so when his heart popped,there was no insurance money to keep the family's house in order.
Georgie grew up in Ladue, formerly the highest rent district in thecity with the stupid arch, but the death of his dad forced them into thelow rent area that was my stomping grounds.
He was two years older than me, which made him an adult in my eyes.My favorite memory of him was when he first started coming to the clubto work out. There was this one dude, fittingly named Murch, classic bully,marginally talented and layered in baby fat. He had to start in on the'rich kid from Ladue. I get you in there, I'll beat your ass.
Georgie isn't real emotional, so he simply accepted, taped up, and gotin the ring. Murch was pumping his fists together, trying to appear intimidating.Georgie had his arms hanging loosely at his sides, conserving energy andemotion.
Things got on their way, and Murch was throwing his characteristicallysloppy haymakers, Georgie stepping neatly underneath almost all of them.When Murch threw a blow that left him off balance, Georgie hit him witha solid left hook, and followed with a crushing right uppercut that hadMurch leaning in the corner. Georgie jjust turned his back on him, andwalkedd to his corner.
Later, I asked him, "Man,, you had him in the corner! You coulda justwent in and bombed his ass."
He said, "That would make me just like him."
Anyway, I get a phone call from a voice in the past. I hadn't seen himsince I went home to watch my dad die seven years ago. Georgie said hewas gonna be in my area, and wanted to see me while he was here to takecare of some business.
I cop a ride to San Jose to meet his plane. It arrived, and I watchedthe people getting off; a fat bitch who looked like she'd left a puddleof sweat and grease for the next passenger to suffer through; a skinnyman in a long, brown car coat with a bad haircut; a family of three, oneteen kid, already bickering about their vacation expectations, a sweaty,hefty businessman with sweat stains under his arms, carrying a suit jacket.It musta been hotter than a two-peckered goat on that flight.
The gaunt man in the long coat came and stood next to me, leaning onthe rail. I put my game face on, and, figuring he was gonna try to buma cigarette or some spare change, I was surprised when he said, "This isthe greeting I get?" I looked at him, and said, "Aw fuck, Georgie." Hisbad haircut was the result of radation treatments, and his formerly athleticbody had dwindled down to about 150 pounds on a 5'11" body. The businesshe had to take care of had nothing to do with his company that he runsin St. Looie, but was about treatments at Stanford.
"Aw fuck, Georgie."
"You say that agian, and I'm going to backhand you."
We rented a car, and we were trading old war stories, reliving the pastand catching up with the present. We got to talking about his condition.It came up as a pain in his back. They treated him for back pain, laterlearning there was a tumor on his right kidney. Radiation was having noappreciable effect, and he was going to Stanford to have the kidney removed, and do some experimental procedures, which he tried to explainto me, but I couldn't digest because of my obsession with his problem.
Georgie always lived a moderate lifestyle. He passed up on the opportunityto go to college, and went to work, as the oldest living male, after the daeths of his two older brothers, and took a job in a factory that madecorrugated boxes. A dozen years later, as the owner readied for retirement,Georgie was Top Doggie, and he's financially set for life, including theability to be treated in a place of Stanford's caliber. He spent thosefirst few years supporting the younger kids, but now that they've all grownand flew the coop, he can pile up his winnings, including his high schoolsweetheart and their two kids, and live a comfortable life. Then, the cancerdiagnosis, and things have a way from going real good to real bad at thewhim of whatever forces may be.
I shook my head, and said, "Aw fuck, Georgie."
He made a joking effort to slap me, and I playfully ducked underneath.
"It's just that I always looked up to you."
"We had this conversation before, remember?"
Yeah. I remember. I made the mistake of telling him that I wished Icould be more like him. Unexpectedly, he exploded. He said something Inever forgot. He said, "Be your own hero. I have enough being myself, withouthaving to try and be a role model for you. I never told you, but thereare things about you that I wish I could do. I think bfore I do, but youjust do. You just be you, and be your own role model." Those wordsstuck with me my entire adult life; a pearl of wisdom from a mostly uneducatedbut naturally talented human being, who knew what he wanted, and got it.
It's been a year since his visit, but I got a call from him last month,and he's in complete remission. He sez it's my turn to visit, but I have no intention of returning to my birthplace, even turning down hisoffer to pop for the plane tickets. He likes it here, so I'll be able tocon him into coming out to see me soon.
!Peeve: Sometimes, you get one back.
"She sits so quietly at the window by the door,
wondering if she'll smile again.
Her eyes filled with memories and her life in sad array,
Unaware of the colors of the day..."*
A couple of months ago, I was on my way downtown to cop some Valiumsfrom the connect. On lower Pacific Avenue, there are two bars separatedonly by a cigar shop. I was headed to the second one, cuz they don't enforcethe smoking ban in bars, but I caught a glimpse of someone I hadn't seenin a while, or awhile, whatever the prevailing attitude of the day is,in the first bar.
Mary and I came into a rehab program back in '82 or '83. I've done somany that the dates no longer stand out in my mind. I *do* recall thatMary was a hot little fox, in her early thirties, and we spent a lot, oralot, of time plotting and planning how we were gonna fuck each other'sears off after our program ended.
She was making respectable money as a working girl, with no pimp tosnatch her money away. Twenty years later, she ain't quite the same, asif any of us are. She's lost most of her teeth in an abusive relationship;not from some punk knocking them out, but from her on-again, offagain relationship with methamphetamines. Mostly on...
Now, she's copping knobs for 10-15 bucks, suckering dweebs outta drinks,and eating all her meals at Taco Bell-like locations.
I bought a vodka tonic fer meself, and a hot brandy for Mary. She looksdistracted, and I ask if she's OK.
"Sure. I'm fine. Today is my 51st birthday, and I'm in the same spotI was in thirty years ago."
"Ya shoulda run away with me when we left detox."
"I've thought about that before. I'd have only dragged you down withme."
"How much lower can I go?"
That got a laugh out of her, and she started to loosen up.
I said, "51 ain't that bad, honey. Beats the alternative."
She laughed again, but suddenly got morose again.
"I wanna do something with my life." "Whatcha wanna do?"
"Just work, have a normal life, come home from work, and get into somesort of routine."
"You cut out for that?"
"I've never tried it before."
It's true. She been hookin' since her late teens, and her pension benefitsain't looking very promising.
I sucked down my drink, and 'splained I had to go meet somebody to copsome Blues.
"You think you're so much better than me, because you swallow pillsand I slam dope."
Peeve: Where the fuck did that come from? I never said, or implied,anything of the sort. Fuck, I did my time as a hypo, and didn't much give a tin shit what people thought of my lifestyle. It's hard enough to live that life, without complicating it by feeling guilty about it.
I kissed her on the forehead, and asked Tiff to put a drink for Maryon my tab. Tiffany sez, "You don't have anymore money than she does. Herresolve cracked, and she said, "I'll get her one. You owe Tony 32 bucks.Bring it next time you show up."
I winked, and said, "Sure, Sugar."
"Goddamn, you are so full of shit."
"She dare not cry for fear her hope might disappear, But if she daredto try, I know it all would be so clear."*
I left her with a full glass, and her face in her hands, not reallyknowing what to say to make her feel better.
"Cuz she's living in the past
She didn't know it wouldn't last
And it's a long, long lonely road
Oh whoa, to go down...*
Lyrics by Ken Hensley*
Story by pigface
A friend of mine suggested I write this, as a way of letting go.
It's the seventh anniversary of my father's death. Fathers are manythings to many people. Some, they inspire security, others insecurity.Some inspire love, others hatred. Some inspire respect, others disdain.
For the most part, my pop was a huge influence in my life. He was adecorated Korean War veteran, and came home to pop rocks, fittingly, atthe military prison in Leavenworth, despite the fact that his crimes werecommitted after his separation from the military. He also had the dubiousability to inspire all of the above inspirations at the same time.
Like most little kids, I wanted to be like my daddy. I didn't know whata cross that was to bear, until it turned out I did inherit mostly hisbad traits.
He and mom separated when I was about 6-7 years old. He lived acrosstown, but if I wanted to see him, it was up to me to make the effort. Hecouldn't be bothered to drive across town to visit the result of his badejaculation. So, I'd just thumb a ride across town and drop in on him unannounced.He once asked me if I knew about the dangers of hitchhiking, not knowingthat I'd been carrying a knife with me everywhere I went since I was aboutten.
I suspect that he was trying to discourage me from just poppin' up atinconvenient times, but if the mountain don't come to you...
When I was about twelve, he laid out a rare, for him, piece of philosophy."Get off the first punch, stay on top, and you'll never lose a fight."
When I was fifteen, he interfered in my relationships with some gangaffiliations I was attached to. We got into a heated argument, and he demonstratedthe above mentioned theory in a most aggressive way.
After he had remarried, he had a couple of more kids. The son was andstill is uncommunicative. He was walking through the living room area, crying, but unable (or unwilling) to state what was bothering him.Dad reached out and backhanded him hard enough to where his feet left theground. Hopefully, I made him proud by showing that I had absorbed thewisdom he had imparted in me by punching him square on the forehead, knockinghim out of the chair and flat on his back. I hit him either threeor four more times, the exact number escapes me as it was nearly 30 yearsago, but I stayed on top, and when I stopped hitting him, he was unconscious.I stuck around long enough for him to come to, and told him, "If I eversee you do that again to my brother, I'm not gonna stop as soon as I didthis time.
I walked out of the house, and didn't see him for nine years, when hecame to California to see me and my second wife. I knocked on the hoteldoor. He tentatively held out a hand for me to shake, and I said, "Fuck that!" and grabbed him in a bear hug, something that gave me the satisfactionof putting him in an uncomfortable position and hugging the man I lovedmore than any other at the same time.
Fences were mended over the period of the week he had to spend in Cruz.We took drinks out of the clubs, slipped them into the inside pockets ofour jackets, and walked the mall for hours, talking about all the things we couldn't, cuz he assumed I was too young or too dumb to unnerstandbefore. Now, we were man to man, and we learned a lot about one anotherthat neither one of us knew before.
It was another nine years before we saw one another again. This time,he was wasting away on a hospital bed, cancer-stricken and emaciated. Hekept asking Laura, his lady, if I had gotten there yet. When I finallygot there, he was near death. I ran everybody out of the room with my usualdiplomacy, and sat at his bed and held his hand. I told him not to be afraid,cuz he wasn't going to face anything harder than he had during the courseof his life.
Fortunately, he died a mere three weeks after being diagnosed. It wasa voracious cancer, and ate him up like a flock of locusts. I spent a weekout there. The night I left, I gave a double squeeze on the instrumentthat distributes the morphine that makes the pain not matter anymore. Ikissed him on the lips, told him I loved him, and split for the airport.
About two hours after arriving home from the airport, I got a call fromthe hospital, and as I was the next of kin, I was asked for permissionto take him off of life support. Without skipping a beat, I thanked themfor their effort and told them that I thought it was a no-win situation,and they had my permission.
Seven years later, I still wonder how I feel about the man. If, by somestrange chance that there is a Hell, we'll work it out when I get my boardingpass.
Happy Death Day, Pop.