Darrell Vickers – Farting Through Nylon Chapter Three: You Don’t Know What Lonesome Is Till You Get to Herdin’ Cows

On the way home from my business-world triumph, I purchased a bottle of a reasonably potable vintage and climbed up to the roof of my apartment to celebrate.  Kind of a “Top of the World, Ma” moment.  Or was it “King of the World”?  I think “Top of the World” might have been what Edward G. Robinson yelled right before he got shot to death.  That is totally not the mood I was in.  Or so I thought.

Yeah, I was feeling pretty darned pleased with myself as I raised a plastic flute of Mumm’s finest to the New York skyline.

“I am the chosen one!” exclaimed I.

At about that moment, some very rough hands grabbed the back of my shirt and pushed me ever closer to the edge of the roof.  Now, I will admit that I never wanted to see my shit-dump of an apartment again, but not this way.  The next thing I knew, I was hanging over the rent controlled precipice at a 45 degree angle.  At least I think it’s 45 degrees.  Otherwise, it would be 45 degrees minus 360, wouldn’t it?  Geometry didn’t come up much in Asian studies.  I felt this might be the perfect occasion to exhibit super-human amounts of fear.  And I did so with deafening alacrity.  It was then I heard a familiar voice over my own panicked screams and self-pooping.

“Your time is up you motherfucking dead motherfucker!”

Ah, my loans agent.

“Don’t do it Polo! I’VE GOT YOUR MONEY!!!” I reasoned at the top of my lungs.

There was a small pause.  This enabled me to fully appreciate the breathtaking view below me.  Nice, but I wouldn’t want to plunge face first into it.  I quickly scanned the alley for the softest piece of concrete to land on.

Polo was still exhibiting a soupcon of doubt despite my very sincere proclamation.

“Is it in the motherfucking mail?  Is it being wired from your fucking aunt in motherfucking Iowa?  Did you tie it to a motherfuckin’ pigeon’s leg and point it in the direction of my house?  Cause if that money ain’t in your motherfucking pocket, you about to become a fucking puddle.”

“It’s in my pocket!!!  Don’t let go!”

Lamentably, I still sensed some residue skepticism.  Obviously, Polo had had to deal with some fairly unreliable customers in the past and it had regrettably scarred him.  I understood in a way.  Having to interact with the public can be very frustrating at times.

“The pocket in the pants you got at the motherfucking dry cleaners?  The pants you lent to a motherfucking friend?”

Polo gave me a little shake and loosened his grip a tad.  This may have added some urgency not to mention brevity to my reply.

“The ones I’m wearing!”

There was a moment of silence.  At last…

“You better be telling me the Goddamn truth, or I’m going to kill you even worse.”

“I’m not. What reason would I have to lie?”

He pulled me back onto the roof.  He sighed.  I felt there was a certain amount of reluctance and possibly even disappointment in his life-saving tug.  I quite sensibly attempted to put a little distance between myself and the lip of the building but a big, pointy finger blocked my way.

“Don’t you dare step away from that 70-foot drop till I get my fucking money, fuckwad!” he suggested.

I was still in a state of dizzying shock and lumpy underwear but I felt this was not the time to play coy.  This was a time to render unto profane murdering Caesar’s what was profane murdering Caesar’s.

I reached into my pocket and presented him with my newly acquired wad.  Polo looked suspicious and a little saddened.

“Where’d you get all this?”

“Cutting coupons.  It can really add up over time.”

“Fuck off. You fucking fucker!”

Polo started flipping through the bundle, just to make sure I hadn’t stacked all the big bills on the outside. (A famous ne’er-do-well trick for temporarily delaying being flung off a roof.)

“Is it all right if I go back to my apartment and live, now?”

Polo reached into his pocket and produced his own prodigious roll of greenbacks.  He was not in a good mood.  There just doesn’t seem to be any pleasing some people.

“You’re gonna wait right fucking here until I give you your change.  I ain’t no motherfucking thief.”

Much to my surprise, Polo starts handing me back money.  To tell you the truth, I was shocked he didn’t take all the money and throw me off the building anyway.  Not that I’m complaining.  Polo’s lesson in loan shark ethics continued.

“Now pay attention, shit teeth, ‘cause I will not have my motherfucking name impugned, you understand me?  I’m taking this thousand.  Cause I am owed.  This shit is yours.  And you get another three hundred back from me.  Now, we’re even.”

I took the money.  Yahoo!  There were still good times to be had with the remainder of my roll.  This had certainly been a most eventful day for Zack Bramble and there were still a few hours left.

“It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.”

“Don’t you fucking mock me, you fucktooth son of a bitch!  I needed to kill someone tonight to send a message to all my other clients.  I was soooo looking forward to hearing you go splat.  Shit!  Now I gotta go kill a guy I really like.”

You should never try to be funny with homicidal maniacs when you’re standing so close to a 70-foot drop, but I’ll be darned if I didn’t try.

“If you think it would help, I’d be glad to show any of your laggardly clients this thing that used to be my nose.”

Polo took a good hard look at my shattered, kaleidoscope colored proboscis.

“Man, you got to fix that before it sets.”

“You know, I’ve kind of become used to having a blinding pain in the middle of my face.  I think I’d miss it.”

I was hoping this might be the end of our conversation but apparently there isn’t an end to any conversation with Polo, if there is more unspeakable suffering to be meted out.

“I’m fucking serious, dipwipe.  You don’t fix that, they’re just gonna have to break it again at a later date and then put that motherfucker back where it belongs.  You know how much something like that is gonna cost?  You think I’m mean when I am owed?  Try stiffin’ one of them motherfuckin’ HMO cocksuckers and you’ll see some mean motherfucking shit coming down on your ass.”

“I gotta say, I’m touched by your medical concern, Polo, but…”

“Stand still, you little shit stain.”

“I appreciate the thought, but…AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!”

Before I could finish my sentence, Polo had grabbed my nose in his motherfucking hand and yanked it till there was this sickening crack and pop.  Then, all I could really hear was me screaming in unsaintly agony.  I also saw some stars and possibly and angel or two.

“You gonna thank me for that.”

On this one point, Polo was profoundly mistaken.

Well, that was quite the unexpected adventure, but the night was still young and I still had money.  That was always a recipe for something.  In my case and on this evening, it was a recipe for something very specific.  Something I desperately needed…besides an unsoiled pair of underwear.

Her name was Izzy.  I had dated her briefly in college.  I seem to date everyone briefly…or not at all.  I don’t know what it is about me that causes women not to want to hang around.  Perhaps, like a rich tasty dessert, you can only gorge yourself upon my sweet and creamy goodness for so long before you start to feel ill.  I was mere fluff that the fairer sex just used, abused and blew away.  Not that I’ve got anything against being used and abused by women.  With Izzy, I think it’s safe to say that I got far more abuse than use.

We met somewhere and I took her to some restaurant and a few weeks later, with more effort than I’d put into anything else in my entire life, I eventually got her into bed.  Even as I was applying my amorous wiles during our first sexual encounter, I could tell that she wasn’t really into it.  At the time, it didn’t matter that much to me cause, I was super-duper into it.  I quickly realized that my temps d’amour would be a short one, so I became determined to mine as much sex, in all its glorious forms, out of our relationship as I possibly could.  It was like being buried alive in a coffin and trying to enjoy as many last, deep vigorous breaths as were granted me before the oxygen ran out and I slowly and horribly suffocated.  Only, it was slightly more romantic than that.  I feasted, anticipating the oncoming famine.

Izzy was majoring in something that didn’t leave her much time for a social life.  That was a good thing because it limited her opportunities to compare me to other guys.

We definitely had different agendas.  Williams, for me, was a place to get away from my parents.  Perhaps, even forget they ever existed.  It was a time to explore all the endless possibilities (I guess technically, if the possibilities are endless, you can’t by definition, explore them all.  But I did explore at least five or six of the endless possibilities, so I feel somewhat vindicated.) and figure out what I wanted to do with this precious gift of life I had been handed.  I didn’t find it, but at least I looked.  Sort of.  Well, let’s face it, I went to college to try and get laid.  I’d watched all the movies.  I knew that even pencil-headed geeks, after suffering painful and humiliating setbacks, eventually got a roll in the sack with the prettiest girl at the school.  It was only a matter of time before the sweetest apple in the Williams orchard fell from the tree and into my arms and I couldn’t wait until Zack Bramble finally got his Seth Green moment.

But strangely, once I got to college, I seemed to be having almost as much trouble doing the deed as I did back in high school.  Except for the fact that I didn’t get to drown the trout even once back in high school.  Sadly, I didn’t even get so much as a handjob.  (From anyone other than myself, that is.)  At least in college, I could drink and drink and drink when I didn’t have a date.  Being so drunk that I was unable to locate the dick in my own pants did offer some comfort on those long, lonely companionless evenings.  In high school, all I could do was lie on the living room couch, tragically sad, and listen to my father’s old Rod McKuen records.  Man, there was a bucket of tears in every chorus of that guy’s shit.

Izzy, on the other hand, had come to Williams to receive a degree that would eventually make her a shitload of money.  She liked money. Izzy even liked my money, such as it was.  In fact, it was around the time my artesian cash-well was running dry, that Izzy realized that it just wasn’t working out between us (To the second). I sold all of my roommate’s text books for enough green to get one last squirt into her but I knew in my heart and my lap candle that it was over.

I remember our last night together; laying there with a girl in my arms who I knew didn’t care for me.  God, it was paradise.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not idyllic, but what in this life is?  Sadly, I’ve never been one of those hunky guys who could unhook a woman’s bra strap with his smile.  Oh, if it were ever thus!  At one point in my young life, I thought that girls just weren’t that interested in sex.  It came as a very swift kick in the ego to find out that no, they are interested in sex.  They just weren’t interested in having sex with me.  So, I have had to take my comforts where I can find them.  I think that was a song lyric.  I looked it up on Google, but I couldn’t find it.  But I’m pretty sure.

The book theft investigation in my dorm building helped to keep my mind off our breakup at first, but I was heading into a long vaginal dry spell.  Not my first and certainly not my last.

But, today was a new day and my pocket was bulging with coin.  Cyndi Lauper certainly knew what she was singing about.  Money does change everything.

Lickity-split, I got my hair cut, bought a new set of threads and some “Let’s get drunk and screw” flowers.  All while holding a big bag of ice on my nose.  Then I headed over to Izzy’s place with a two-and-a-half-year-old condom in my wallet.

I knocked.  I waited.  I leaned in to try and hear footsteps.  Was my former, sort of beloved at home?  There were a couple of clicks and then the door squeaked opened the tiniest of cracks.  I didn’t call ahead because, well, then she would have known I was coming.  The element of surprise was an absolute necessity.  I could see a sliver of Izzy’s pretty but deeply suspicious face on the other side of the heavily chained door.  She did not look that happy to be surprised.

“What do you want?” she inquired, after all this time.

I remained cheery and engaging.  Where there was a will and a pocket full of money, there was a way.

“I just landed a really good job with really good pay.  I thought maybe you’d like to go celebrate with me.”

I could see her attitude soften ever so slightly.  I proffered the posies.

“Look.  Here are some flowers!  How about some dinner?”

Yep, I was as smooth as shit through a buzzard.

Izzy took the flowers but didn’t open the door any wider than the initial few inches.  It was a very large bouquet but eventually we managed to get the roses et al into her apartment without losing too many petals and leaves.

Strangely, even after receiving a spray of posies from her ex-man, she still seemed a mite leery.

“What happened to your nose?”

“This?  I thought it was time to get a new one.  It’s all part of a multi-phased plan to improve my appearance.  Next month, I’m getting Ashton Kutcher’s chin installed.”

“Then you’d just be a better-looking asshole.”

Oh yeah.  I probably forgot to mention that when we broke up…well, actually she broke up with me…I, ah, glued all of her underwear to the Soldiers Monument…that was probably why she was calling me an asshole.

This was going to need a little more grease to get her through that door.  Luckily, I had brought a whole heap of lady lubricant.

“Come on baby, I’ve got a limo outside.”

“I’m still mad at you.”

“Did I say limo?  It’s a stretch limo.”

I noticed a small movement in her left eye.

“A super stretch limo.  Practically as long as the block.”

It was now time to throw all the bait from the bucket into the water.

“And a reservation at Masa.”

There was a small movement in her right eye.  I had made both eyes move.  A very good sign.  Masa is considered the most expensive restaurant in the world.  Only assholes of the highest jerk-off order or guys desperate to get laid by Izzy would even consider going there.

“You just want to get laid.”

Damn!

I hate that.  The inexplicable way women can see right though you?  Perhaps I’d thrown too much bait in too soon.  Nothing to do now but soldier on.

“No.  That is not it at all.  Don’t be like that.  Like I said, the sole reason I am here is to celebrate my good fortune, at Masa, with one of the nicest people I know.”

I added the puppiest dog eyes I could come up with and tried not to make that loud elephant seal flappety sound with my nose as I was breathing.  Izzy reached up and unchained her door.  Yes!  The walls of Jericho where beginning to tumble.  My trumpet was getting very excited.

“Give me five minutes to get ready.”

I adjusted in my pants.

“Great.  That is so wonderful. It’ll be just like old times.  A couple of chums having a few innocent laughs.”

A thought.

“Ah, you’re not on your period or anything, are you?”

It was the wrong thought.  Before I could blink, the door slammed shut, the chain went back on and the bolt-lock re-bolted.

I was crestfallen.  I was pant-fallen.  I had so hoped that this evening of ludicrously priced raw fish would rekindle the love and respect we’d once shared.  That perhaps now, now that I was a man of the world and not a mere college student, with immature ways and too much underwear glue, she’d see me in a different light.  I stood there in the hallway, waiting for her to return and possibly apologize.  Would my prayers be answered?  Would she come back and open the door?  I was prepared to stay there all night, if need be.

The next thing I remember was feeling a hand on my shoulder.  A young woman’s hand with a young woman’s nail polish.  It shook me ever so gently.  “Zack sweetie, aren’t you starting that new job today?” Rebecca inquired softly.  It was almost a whisper, really.  In my head though, it sounded like the noise that Ring Wraith made just before it stabbed Frodo.  Summoning the will of ten thousand leather-clad Trojans, or three hundred Spartans, I forced my right eye open.  It was 9:15.  SHIT!  I suppose one of the first tips about being a really good employee is, don’t spend fifteen hundred bucks on rich food and a lot of champagne the night before you’re due to start being that really good employee.

I was about to rocket out of bed when I felt Rebecca’s soft, warm, supple, oh-so-inviting naked body rub up against my back.  Oh, yes pleaseey!

But no.

This job, if I managed to keep it past the first morning, could buy me any number of Rebeccas.  In fact, it had bought me this Rebecca.  Literally.  I had to remain strong and keep thinking of the long term and not the irresistibly soft, warm naked short term that seemed so very, very yummy-nummy at that moment.

Within two minutes, I was dressed, brushed, combed, thrown up, and staggering into the living room/breakfast room/everything but the toilet room of my apartment.

That’s where Artie was.  At my shabby breakfast table, eating food I must have purchased the night before, because I didn’t recognize it.  I also didn’t remember owning the knife he was using to spread his toast with…or the plate.

Artie was an ordinary looking guy in his forties.  A tad overweight.  His hair was getting a little thin.  As I recall, he had a warm jovial smile.  I remember that smile vividly because it had big chunks of marmalade stuck to it.  I excused myself, vomited in the hallway and returned.

“So, was my sister all right?” he asked.

“She’s a very nice girl.  Here’s the five hundred.”

I grabbed the money out of my wallet and plopped it on the table.

“The thing is, I’m running a little late this morning.  I have a new job.  At least I hope I do.  Please, eat all the marmalade and whatever else I didn’t know I had and let yourselves out whenever it’s convenient.”

Additionally, don’t fork out for an expensive hooker when you’re so polluted your weenie can only rise to the consistency of a Gummy Worm.  You’re really not going to get your money’s worth.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t regret spending the dough.  I enjoyed her company and it was so nice getting to feel a woman’s touch again.  Even if there was a lot less of me to touch than I would have preferred.

“Don’t you want a ride in the limo?” Artie kindly offered as he counted the cash.

“Thanks, but no time.”

Things are still a bit of a blur, but I do remember people staring at me on the subway.

Did I say that I got dressed back in the apartment?  Actually, I combed, threw up, and staggered but I didn’t have the time or the brain function needed to put my clothes on.  I was doing so now.  On the subway.  That’s perhaps why my fellow passengers were staring at me with such interest.  Man, those trains can sure bang about.  I was having a devil of a time trying to get my pajamas off and my new suit on.  Now, it has been my experience that the New York Transit System has a pretty liberal dress code.  Even so, the general consensus seemed to be that, threadbare underpants and a hangover were insufficient attire for the morning commute.  Surely, if I explained the situation to my train-mates, all frayed nerves would be soothed and they could return to their own, super-fascinating lives.

“It’s my first day at a new job and I didn’t want to be late…”

I looked at my watch.

“Later than I am.”

A middle-aged black woman, wearing a dress that’s always in fashion, offered, “Honey, you look like shit.”

“I wish I felt that good,” was my crushing retort.

Then, a typical New York moment transpired.

A very dangerous, wild-eyed looking individual of no fixed address took several menacing steps towards me.  His ever-so-fragrant pantaloons were ripped in numerous places and looked like they hadn’t been washed since Colgate/Palmolive stopped putting lemon-freshened Borax in Fab.

Did you know that Fab has its own Facebook page?  I mean, is that what this society has come to?  Is this what our grandfathers fought and died for?  Is this what Captain America threw his mighty shield to defend?  So that laundry soaps could have their own fucking Facebook pages?!

But I digress.

The crazy, ripped and smelly New York resident finally spoke.

“I want your pants!” he screamed about half an inch from my face.

My first thought was to pretend I hadn’t heard him while my ears were still ringing.  My eyes were also stinging from his breath.  It smelled like whatever he had recently eaten was still alive and farting in his stomach.

“Excuse me?” I politely enquired.

“GIMME those PANTS, NOWWWWWWWWWWW!”

I didn’t think it was possible for the human voice to scream louder that the first time Mr. Crazy Gent brought the subject up, but I had erred.  The black woman came to my aid.  You know, in that uniquely helpful New York way.

“Honey, this man is crazy.”

Surprisingly, this news did not turn my universe upside down. Perhaps the fact that he had glued a number of severed rat tails to his eyebrows had led me down a similar avenue of speculation.  While these bouncy rodent appendages may have been very effective for keeping flies away from his shit-smeared cheeks, they did betray a sparge of mental instability.  She continued to help.

“Unless you got a Glock tucked away in those cute little Fruit of the Looms of yours, I’d give ‘em to him.”

Now, I know that attempting to reason with a tongue-eating loon bucket is the last thing you should ever do, but I was desperate.  And when you’re desperate, that is precisely and exclusively the time you’re allowed to do the last thing you should ever do.  Because, quite possibly, it will be the last thing you ever do.  So, I gave it the old college try.  The old Williams College try, to be precise.

“See, ordinarily I’d love to bequeath you my trousers but unfortunately, I’m starting this new job today and…”

Mr. Screamy Man started jumping up and down and making this primordial growly noise.  His vermin-tailed eyebrows waved at me like Chicago World’s Fair fan dancers.  Some really green stuff fell out of his mouth in a big glob and landed at my feet.  More screaming.  Large men started to back further and further away from our sartorial debate.

“You gimme those PANTS fuckwad or I’m gonna fucking, fucking EEEEEEAT you up and SHIIIT you out onto the subway tracks.  EAT! EAT! EAT!”

I held up my pajama bottoms.  Perhaps these would bridge the rift between us?

“Would you settle for these?  They’re very soft.”

Again, I had erred.  His eyes turned the color of cricket balls and his face followed.  A tooth fell out.

“They’re PAJAMAS!  You don’t think I ain’t got no fucking dignity?  You think I’m a fucking JOOOKE!  Is that what you think?  EAAAAAAATTTTTT!”

The black woman couldn’t resist being even more helpful.

“He’s gonna kill you now.”

She then stepped back to avoid getting any blood splatter on her dress.  I’m assuming mine.  I had to think fast.  I could possibly appeal to my fellow traveler’s sense of human decency and beg them to come to my aid.  However, I knew if I took this tack, I’d be dead before I reached the word, “Succor”.  These were New Yorkers.  I had to appeal to their sense of New York.  A better idea came across my think transom.  I reached into my wallet and took out a crisp Benji and held it up for all to see.

“I’ll give a hundred dollars to anyone that can stop this man from stealing my pants!”

Immediately a baseball bat came out of nowhere and conked my vestiarily covetous assailant on the noggin and he went down like a crazy sack of shit.  I must admit, for a nanosecond I was very pleased with myself.  I say “a nano-second” because, almost immediately, I was swallowed up in a cloud of fists and violence as the entire subway car attempted to claim my proffered C-note.  And much more besides.

The next thing I remember…(yes I know, there were a lot of “the next thing I remembers” happening to me at around this time, but occasionally life just unfolds that way.  And small fissures in time are a pretty standard occurrence after you’ve been swallowed up in a cloud of fists and violence.  But…I’m probably digressing again.  Sorry.)

The next thing I remember is spotting this woman who was looking into a dumpster and screaming.

Alas, I was in that dumpster and the primary reason that poor woman was putting voice to fear.  Her dismay was perfectly understandable.  I wasn’t wearing much in the way of clothing and my face was a veritable Whitman Sampler of bruises, cuts and dumpster leeches.  Ray Milland has looked better.  (Ray Milland is an old horror movie actor that my father used to make me watch with him so I wouldn’t sleep for weeks at a time.)

“Excuse me ma’am.  This is my first day at a new job and I’ve just been savagely beaten and had my pants stolen.  Is there any Christian way you could apply enough makeup to my face so that my visage won’t terrify small children?”

=DV=

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DBAWIS_ButtonDarrell Vickers started out as one half of Toronto area band, Nobby Clegg.  CFNY fans may remember the cheery song “Me Dad” which still gets airplay.  From there, he valiantly ventured to L.A. and eventually became head writer for The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Since then, he’s created numerous sitcoms and animation shows in Canada and the U.S.  He still writes music and has an internet band called Death of the Author Brigade (members in Croatia, Canada and the U.S.)   Mr. Vickers also had a private music mailing-list where he features new and pre-loved music.  Anyone who would like to be added to his daily mailing list, just write him at Radiovickers1@gmail.com

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