Monday, June 12, 2006

Afterward, at the diner

"Thought had a thought," said my former boss Butthole. "Thought thought he could swim. Thought drowned." Butthole liked to hold meetings.


"Now," Butthole continued, rather incoherently, "my father-in-law, I hate the man. I don't mean to be pejorative here, but I'm the fucking king. And I know the whole thing with getting girls is part of the gig, but I want you guys to be swivel-heads. Talk to all the women you want, but your head is on a fucking swivel. Am I clear?"

Not really.

But yeah, Butthole, I see your point. It's part of the gig. It's always been part of the gig. The parade of prime poontang that happens past me on any given worknight. And plucking the willing straight out of the line can be the easiest thing in the world for a bouncer to do, once he's got a little bit of knowledge and a whole lot less scruples than he had before he came into this business.

Scruples are for the stupid. Those without foresight. Those who can't see into a future without a barrel filled with docile fish. Bouncers who don't know what life will be like in ten years, when they've got two little fucknut kids and a fat wife who's obsessed with window treatments. Men who can't see themselves a decade down the road, awake in bed in the middle of the night, pining away for the days when a different piece of ass was available any night of the week, and securing a new landing strip entailed nothing but the sharing of drink tickets and the asking of a name.

"You know what I don't get?" asked Johnny between bites of his cheeseburger deluxe.


"I don't get that dumb fuck Jimmy," he said. "The guy's bangin' thirty, forty different broads a year outta this place, but when he found out his wife was cheatin' on him, he was devastated. Devastated. Guy wanted to fuckin' kill himself."

Guy refused to do his job after that. Came in late. Slept in closets. Didn't answer the radio. Did the wrong thing. Lost a tits job. Won't ever get it back. Already been replaced.

"I don't fuckin' blame him," I said. "Not the way he went off the fuckin' deep end, but I don't blame him for gettin' sick over it."

"Why not?"

I poured salt in my cup of brown gravy, then stirred it with a handful of fries. "Because there's a double standard about this kind of shit, that's why not."

"Why, because it's okay if a man does it, but if a woman does it, she's a fuckin' whore?"

"No," I replied. "It's more of a self-interest type of thing. If I do it to you, it's okay, 'cause it's what I wanted to do. But don't you even think about fucking doing it to me."

"So, in other words, if you were a woman, you'd think it'd be okay to slut around all over the place, but if your husband slept with some other broad, you'd wanna kill him? Wouldn't you think you had somethin' like that comin' to you at that point?"

"First of all, I was female, I'd be the biggest fuckin' slut you ever saw in your life. I'd be banging every guy who could prove he had a job. People would look at me walkin' down the street, and they'd be sayin', 'Look at that broad. She's gotta have about eight different inputs, that dirty fuckin' whore.'"

"This comin' from a guy who turns down phone numbers," said Johnny. "I don't think I ever met somebody who talks outta more sides of his mouth."

"Then why the fuck you gotta play devil's advocate all the time, you old fuck? You never cheated on your wife? And don't even tell me you never thought about it, you fuckin' liar. And if you caught your wife fuckin' around with some other guy, don't tell me you wouldn't want to put a bullet in the both of 'em."

"Why would I wanna put a bullet in him for? Ain't his fault."

"So what the fuck's your point?" I asked.

"All I'm sayin' is that maybe this fuckin' guy should settle down a little and relax. You do what he's doin' for as long as he's been doin' it, that's shit's bound to come home on you eventually." He signaled to the old Greek for a refill on our coffee.

"I still think it's disgusting. I think the whole fucking thing's disgusting. This whole atmosphere. How a married man can't think of this as a job, and he gets all caught up with every piece of twat that comes and sits on his lap and goes and ruins his marriage and his fucking family. The guy's got kids, John. He ever think about his kids when he's doing this shit? How they're gonna turn out all fucked up? I think it's fucking depressing, is what I think."

"That's one word for it."

I scraped the last of the cheese from my fries off the plate with my fork. "You know what? Don't get married in the first place if you think you gotta do that shit."

"Easy for you to say, but most married guys like him can't afford a fuckin' divorce."

"Then sign a fucking prenup if you think you're too much of a scumbag to stay married."

"You got a girlfriend yet?" he asked, stacking his empty plates.

"I dunno. I'm workin' on something."

Johnny started in on his coleslaw. His pickle had a stem. I don't eat diner coleslaw because I know others don't eat it either, and I know they recycle. "Okay, so you're workin' on somethin'. That's good. You like her?"

"Yeah," I replied. "I do."

"You got anything else on the side?"


"Then lemme ask you somethin'," he said. "What would you do if you found out she was bangin' some other guy while you were out here workin' all night?"

"That'd be it, man. Fuck that shit. I'd cut that shit off right then and there."

"What if it was another woman, though? What if you found out your girl, or your wife or whatever, was gettin' it from another woman? What would you do then?"

"I guess I could go two ways on that," I replied. "I think I'd rather have a girlfriend decide she wanted to be with another woman than have to go around thinkin' she liked some other guy's cock better, you know? That would kinda suck. But the other way I look at it is that if I was in a relationship, whether I'm married or whatever, I wouldn't want her to be with anyone else. A man or a woman."

"You're all banged up, you know that? You listenin' to yourself?"

I balled my napkin and tossed it on my plate. "How'm I fuckin' banged up?"

"Kiddo," he said, "I been tryin' t'get my wife to bring another broad home for twenny years."