To Love and To Fall

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TWENTY

A month has gone by since the accident, and I am surviving, doing well, at least for someone whose sister said she never wanted to speak to him again, whose girlfriend’s brother told him to fuck off and die, and whose best friend in prison refused to see him when he went out of my way to visit him. I am doing great financially for someone who was promised a thirty-five grand a year job and had it yanked away. I work at K-Mart as a cashier for five-fifteen an hour, four-ten after taxes. My boss is a skinny eighteen year old kid who cracks gum and looks like she needs a nose job. She wants me, but she can’t have me.

I have heard from the venerable A.T. Buckingham, Artie for short. He called me to inform me that he is having a book signing in Binghamton in December. What an asshole, rubbing his success in my face when he read in the paper about me. Went out of his way to find me, in the phone book. I make a call to the phone company to take my name out of it. I don’t know why Artie thought I would ever want to be bothered with him.

I stop going to McKays on account of all the dirty looks. Like any of them are model citizens, driving home drunk and all. I go to Dunley’s in Endicott now. They do shots for two dollars. Someone gave me a line of coke there. It wasn’t that bad; it helped me drink longer. I’m not hooked on it, it’s too expensive anyway. I was put in touch with a person who could give me weed for seventy-five dollars a half-ounce. She showed it to me, it looked like a lot. I like it better than coke. The last time I smoked pot was in high school. It was still as good as I remembered it.

I met a girl at K-Mart that I hang out with. Going out isn’t a good word because all we do is hang around and get laid and high together. Her name is Mandy and she says she’s twenty but I wouldn’t be surprised if she was sixteen. She doesn’t go to school so that’s majority enough for me. Her parents kicked her out a year ago because she broke into a house with her ex-boyfriend to steal drugs, so she isn’t bothered about my history. She’s a nice person. I don’t have to deal with a demanding sister or the arrogance of academia or a girl that saps all my energy and runs around on me. For all that I lived through this past month, life is pretty good.

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