Year of the Dog

16 Jan

Down there, that’s Burt Street. It’s where I used to go with Lee so he could get his junk. K, E, speed, bennies, glass, uppers, downers, pep pills, dilaudid, hydrocodone, darvocet, demerol, oxycontin, ritalin, ultram, vicodin, narconon. I didn’t do any of that, though. I did rush. Out of little vials. It’s not bad. It gives you a head rush and everything gets numb for a few seconds. Mostly gay men use it in clubs. I’m not gay, though. It’s amyl nitrite, is what it is. Rush. It’s really used as an antidote for cyanide poisoning and to treat some kind of heart problem, so it’s not really bad for you. I imagine it does kill a few brain cells every time you use it, but so does life. I’ve heard of skydivers cracking a vial of rush as they throw themselves from the plane. Now that’s some pretty hard core stuff.
Poppers. That’s what they call all these nitrites.
Anyway, that’s Burt Street.
Funny stuff here. It’s January and yellow dandelions still grow on the side of the barren red clay.
I lost my train of thought. I was telling you about how The Royal Tenenbaums are based on J.D. Salinger’s Glass family, wasn’t I? A perfect day for bananafish and all that. Franny and Zooey and Uncle Wiggly. Wasn’t I?
Oh and one more thing about Burt Street. I was walking up that hill there, see up there? Right about halfway up, some unmarked god-awful puke green van stops next to me. Out comes a Master Sergeant, black guy looking like combination Dorian Harewood and Peabo Bryson almost. I know he was a big shot. By the insignia.
Scuse me, son.
Scuse me, son.
Scuse me, son.
Three times and I turned.
You ever think about joining the Air Force?
I said you wouldn’t want me.
Why not?
4-C. Alien or Dual National. Of course I lied, but still. I’m not going to feel lousy over lying to the Air Force.
Or 4-F.
Son, this inn’t a draft.
Fine then. Section 8. Discharge based on military assessment of psychological unfitness or character traits deemed undesirable. And he laughed and he said it was the Air Force. Section 8s are given to Army personnel. I’m thirty-six years of age.
I told him.
Then he got back into his van and left. Thirty-six. Old enough to know better than to join anyone’s army or air force. Anyway, that’s Burt Street. There used to be a dog there, at a house just down in the dip before the big hill. He’d be out on the patio every day. Stood on his hind legs propped up and looked out at the street. Looked at me always as I passed him. He smelled the air and stood out there in the coldest wind, the shittiest weather. Every day. This dog, I don’t know what kind he was. Sort of looked like a slicker, younger, German Shepherd. But this dog, he was so regal and elegant. I loved this dog. The wind would blow and he’d squint a little, and his eyelashes fluttered. He never barked. Just stood propped up like that and surveyed everything that went on. Taking in the scent of everything. Day after day.
That dog.
That’s me looking at myself pass by. Year after year, every day. With coats, with no coats, bad shoes, nice shoes, sweating, freezing.
That’s me looking at myself. Old.
And out of season.

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10 Responses to “Year of the Dog”

  1. chapman 16/01/2008 at 8:07 PM #

    this piece pops. crackles and pops.

  2. (S)wine 16/01/2008 at 9:32 PM #

    it doesn’t snap, though?

  3. sweet lulu 17/01/2008 at 7:19 AM #

    i love knowing that you will continue to amaze me forever.
    nitrites = bad

  4. Kunstemaecker 17/01/2008 at 5:34 PM #

    Very nice. A glimpse into the life of a fictional character who could be real. It’s like a story a friend tells you. Very very nice.

  5. (S)wine 17/01/2008 at 5:49 PM #

    Thank you all.

  6. (S)wine 17/01/2008 at 9:56 PM #

    sweet lulu…no pressure.
    none whatsoever.
    got the good word on the nitrites…but what about sulfites?

  7. Parisian Cowboy 18/01/2008 at 12:08 AM #

    “I imagine it does kill a few brain cells every time you use it, but so does life” I loved that particular sentence.

  8. (S)wine 18/01/2008 at 12:10 AM #

    Thanks cowboy. Thanks for stopping by and reading.

  9. Slyboots 18/01/2008 at 10:20 AM #

    I sat next to a very bad girl in study hall who did poppers. In study hall. She dropped out. Never heard from again.

  10. (S)wine 18/01/2008 at 7:51 PM #

    It’s the perfect place, Study Hall.

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