26 Fruits


Andy Hayes: style of Charles Bukowski

I was invited to some place up in The Valley by Sherman Hole, an ex-bum I once knew on Skid Row.

We drank together. Fought together. Fucked together. Then he got religion. Went all wholesome on me. Left the Row, while I continued to wallow in self-pity and disgust, but somehow still felt good – my soul intact.

Sarah drove me up there. We got in the puke-brown convertible which never cared much for second gear – or traffic signals for that matter.

We rolled up. Got out. Took a sniff of pure Valley air. I threw up. The freshness and sharpness of it disgusted me. Sarah fussed and wiped me off and I rang the door bell.

The door was huge. Mahogany. Expensive. Classy. I felt poor. Poorer than I had ever felt before. The lower orders had arrived from Slumville… To clean dishes, or till the fields. It was basically the same as it’d always been. Hadn’t changed much over the last five thousand years. There were always¬† those that lived in pampered luxury served by those less fortunate than themselves. People like me. Like Sarah. Like Sherman used to be.

A servant opened the door. Looked down his huge pointed nose at me. At Sarah. Felt the whiff of the street taint the perfect varnished wooden floor. Was about to close the door on us right there and then when I heard Sherman’s weasel voice mincing up the corridor.

‘Why… Well, I never. If it isn’t the great Chinaski and the fragrant Sarah – dooo come in. Come along now. Bryn can’t wait to meet you. I’ve told him all about you – you naughty boy!’

‘Cut the crap, Hole – where’s the wine cellar?’

‘Same old Chinaski, eh Sarah? Just how do you tolerate the beast?’

Hole had always had a thing for me. I had that affect on fags for some reason.
Maybe they thought I was an easy lay due to my downright ugliness? Maybe just felt sorry for me? Who knows.

I wasn’t interested. All I wanted was pussy and wine – but not necessarily in that order. Sarah provided both, even got me off the hard stuff, gave me ten more years of writing, at least. I thanked her by being obnoxious. She liked me that way.

The servant bought in a bottle and four glasses. I grabbed it from him, took a swig. It was good stuff. The best.

So, eventually Bryn breezed in. He was a young kid. Clean cut. No more than 25. I felt old. Haggard. Battered. A living corpse.

Bryn had never fallen in love with whores, lost all his money at the track or eaten from trash cans. He was a good kid. Bright and shiny – like a toothpaste commercial.

He wanted me to try a new kind of typewriter. It was tiny – you could hold it in your hand. But what would I drink with, I asked. Seriously.

He laughed. All he wanted me to do was try it then write about it. On the machine. The tiny typewriter.

I told him I’d rather suck Satan’s cock. He laughed some more. Said he loved my work and that was OK. Sarah scowled. We needed the money. Hadn’t eaten properly all week. But she still loved me all the same.

I felt rich. Surrounded by love. Engulfed by it. We drank some more. We talked. Life was good.

When we drove back it was dark. Bryn would go on to do great things. His company was going to be a huge success. All people wanted was tiny typewriters you could hold in your hand. Everyone was becoming a writer. I thought about setting up a union of real writers to keep out the tiny writers.

I never did of course.

We got back. I opened a big one. Took a good slug. Flipped the switch and Beethoven flooded the room. My best friend, apart from the full-glass. My only two true friends.

I thought about Hole. Spat. Smiled. Began writing…

One Response

  1. Jane says:

    Brilliant. Read it with a big smile on my face. Love the rhythms. Don’t make me pick a favourite bit!

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