“All over America high school and college kids thinking “Jack Kerouac is 26 years old and on the road all the time hitch hiking” while there I am almost 40 years old, bored and jaded in a roomette bunk crashin across that Salt Flat”
“…oh I’m sooo sorry!” she says in a kind voice as she stumbles in front of me brunette with loose streaks of blonde flowing over America’s Top Model frame, bending to collect her ticket while instantaneously unleashing the magnificent bulge of her magnificent ass in one magnificent motion which strikes my drooping eyelids at just the right angle, uplifting them, and here I am, trying to have a sincere spiritual revelation of some sort during this trip but have not even been out of bed for over an hour yet and already these damn temptations are busy tempting away as always slowly damning me to Hell. Me standing helpless with little big me starting the uncontrollable protrusion process and now one big head and one little big head full of unspeakable impulses and erotic visions of what the collective tag-team would do to this innocent woman if ever given the chimes of invitation to enter the ring, and me using my shirt-tail to conceal the stiff evidence of my perversion like a fool, and the old man behind me smiling, of course in his mind boasting, “Ahhh back in my day I wudda torn that up boy! Given her all thirteen inches” and we all scurry up the steps into the BART palace which huffs loudly before us. Upon ascent a sudden duo of light deftly barges through the procession of fogged windows lining the corridors on either side, including the rays dripping off the sun in brilliant golden slabs which prove their brilliance by shimmering resplendent despite the sullied gray windows attempting to dwindle their full magnificence, and the gleaming silver coins that Nick loaned me just ten minutes ago finally unearthed from the brief yet barbaric oppression of my sweaty palm coming together for the first time in silver dispensary tray, copper strangers brought together magically in this magic city from separate histories and separate lives and separate coat pockets (always the restless but wonderful travel of the coin) nevertheless creating a wondrous shape but then disappearing from my consciousness forever into the dark, distant confines below. All this marvelous morning luminosity, and of course combined with the ecstatic exertion of good ole’ woody still pulling me down there, still alert with his one magical slit-eye open that at any time is able to see all the women of the world through sweltering cotton confinement, and I can say with confidence and cemented cock that now I am awake.
Just beyond me, the constant shuffle! shuffle! shuffle! of young San Franciscans (for everyone is young in San Francisco) moving from front to back, top to bottom, seat to seat, and eventually bar to bar, bus to bus, determined to discover their own holy paradise, always looking for new life, new loves, new kicks, new sex, new happiness, and most of all new experience in this vast land of grandiosity, an all age encompassing generation impregnating the humidity of the morning air with its soulful and manifest presence. I look up and breathe in the elaborate perfume of a whole history of humanity in one immaculate bus somehow able to sustain the lofty travels of an entire world on rubber wheels, a snapshot of American society with all respective actors taking joyful part in the visual projection shining bright in my eye sockets, here the raggedy bum withered by time, over there, the Ivy League prep school graduate with his primped hairdo, the soccer mom in the back corner huddled next to her soccer son traveling to soccer practice, her right hand curled around Starbucks coffee cup emitting fresh steam clouds of tasty Moca bullshit into the invisible haze above her, and of course those craaazy hipsters just bouncing along as always to the internal hip-hop-techno beat of life, arresting every eye in their eccentric dress, head phones wavy like elongated tentacles shoved far inside ear drums drowning out the hushed whispers of flustered outsiders borne of the Outer World who, pale faced and cheeks red, turn to their neighbors and say, “What is wrong with these damn kids I tell ya…” and other such square criticisms by none other than the professional squares themselves, who went to college and majored in squareology, who criticized other shapes for not conforming to the 90 degree angle that they were constantly taught to aspire to, who closed their eyes and were tortured by images of incessant squares day after day until they became accustomed to it, scared or should I say squared to death of the trendy hip-kid invasion. Hipsters, who in such gritty bus atmosphere avenues were only second in command to the Whitman-esque bums until they the bum sons and bum daughters inevitably became bum fathers and bum mothers themselves in the distant but all too close bummy years up ahead! And here it was in all its splendor, despite the mindless morning rustle and eroticisms, illuminating our very souls, we with beating heart and lung unable to realize the full scope of its radiance.
San Francisco at last.
☼ ☼ ☼
We were innocents abroad in the streets of San Francisco, and it was not until we spotted the coveted HAIGHT-ASHBURY street signs did we make any progress. Soon we found a shaded spot beneath the trees. Nick did not waste any times in negotiations of business.
“Lookee here you little runts, I got this piece, this beauty right here, have you ever seen anything so mar-ve-lous in all your lives? I named her Lola, my one and only Lola, because after all ‘I’m not the world’s most PASSIONATE guy, but when I looked in her eyes, well I almost fell for my loooooola.” At this he started singing in a near perfect Ray Davies voice. “Any who, I’m going to pass this bad bitch around, everyone is going to take a few hits, everyone! I also got these here papers– pina colada, blackberry brandy, tequila, strawberry, cotton candy, even this long banana one already rolled, just for you Dave, and we are going to roll up the rest of this weed, so even when someone has the bong, we’ll all have plenty of blunts to go around. I want all you cocksuckers to be properly high, always, because that’s only way to really experience the Haight to its full potential.”
“Why did you name it after a transvestite? Why didn’t you just name it ‘Kenny,’ it looks like Kenny from Southpark.” I asked.
“Because I don’t want it to die at the end of the episode,” Nick started. “I also got this Obama Acid. Everyone takes two and a half to start.”
“I’m not fucking with that stuff,” I said.
“Oh, stop being gay,” Dave said. “What’s the worst that could happen?”
“Exactly. When a gay guy tells you to stop being gay, it’s time to stop being gay! Haha, I love you Dave, the audacity of homos.”
“I’ll take one to start with. And if I feel ok, I’ll take the other one,” I said.
“Fine Tim, I can get down with that. Here, I got some Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked in my knapsack. Everyone take it with a few spoonfuls, it makes the whole experience that much better.”
All three of us downed the tablets with two spoonfuls of ice cream. Nick sat there reading the ingredients to himself.
“I mean, ok, it’s like…you had me at chocolate and vanilla ice cream mixed with fudge brownies, you had me there, but then you add gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough? My God!” He then inserted a large spoonful into his mouth. “Jesus! The only thing I can compare this to is having sex with Megan Fox, and then after you’ve finish fucking, she stands naked in the kitchen while making you a big plate of pancakes… with maple syrup!”
“You got a thing for Megan Fox, aye?” I asked.
“A little thing? What are you crazy Tim?! More like a big thing, and who doesn’t? She definitely makes the top five dead or alive on any man’s list, no question.”
“Top five dead or alive? I don’t even know if she would make it on my top 50 dead or alive list. Yes she’s very hot but not that hot,” I said.
“Oh that’s nutty Tim! You’re nutty if you actually believe that!”
This exchange sparked a heated discussion, every man in question picking their top five desirable women dead or alive. It was truly a sight to see, all men grimacing and sweating while struggling to perfect their lists as if we were NBA coaches sketching out team strategies to win the game.
“I got it. In no particular order, I’d go with Scarlett Johansonn, Eva Mendes…” I started.
“Eva Mendes? You lost me on that one. Here’s the greatest list of all time, no doubt. Or course Megan, Danica Patrick, Taylor Swift…”
“Taylor Swift? Fuck outta here with that bullshit,” I said.
“Ah you don’t think she’s hot just because she’s young. Tim, be honest, remember that last girl you dated, what her name? Amber?”
“Yeah, Angie…and what was she like, 30?”
“Listen Dave, Tim won’t even look at a girl unless she’s at least 26. His whole dream is to have an old woman who will fix his coffee in the mornings and sit by the fireplace so they can talk all about Proust.”
“Nonsense, nonsense…,” I said.
“What about you Dave? I know you don’t swing that way but what are your top 5 women?”
“Well off the top of my head, I’d go with Beyonce, Scarlett, Sofia Vergara, Christina Hendricks, and Zoey Deschanel”
And we sat there amazed because David had the best list of any of us.
“Yes, yes!” Nick started as he choked out a huge gush of smoke. “That’s a damn good list, a flawless list I might say. That list should be published it’s so perfect. You’d win all the games with that lineup, especially Christina Hendricks, I could die happily with my face buried between those massive tits of hers, and Zooey D! Got damn.”
“Have you ever seen that movie (500) Days of Summer with Zooey?” David asked.
“Of course, it’s a fucking good film, and hilarious too.” Nick said.
“Plus it’s cool because like…aren’t there 500 days of summer anyway?” I asked.
“No, there are only 365 days in an entire year, remember?” Nick said.
“Oh yeah! What the hell was I talking about? Man…”
“It’s no biggie Tim, that’s the weed talking, which reminds me, let’s get another round going,” Nick said.
“Hey, you know who Zooey looks like? That girl that plays Bones on that show,” David said.
“Yeah, they are sisters, you didn’t know that?” Nick asked. “I’d still fuck Zoey over Bones though.”
“I’d rather bone Bones,” I said.
“Hey all this talk about pussy has made me kinda hungry. Let’s hit up North Beach, we’ll catch the BART, I think I got some money left, but first let me eat the first of my ice cream.” Nick said.
“I’d probably turn fag for either Ben or Jerry. No offense Dave.”
David laughed. “None taken. It’s surprising to hear you say that though.”
“Why? They say the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so if I came home from a long day’s work and they wanted to have a go at my cock, I’d let them, just as long as they gave me a bucketful of tasty ice cream in return.” Nick said.
“Ah man, I’ll give you a second to think about what you just said.”
“What? Oh I just got it. You know what I meant Davey! Get your mind out of the gutter man, you ole bastar…”
A great blast of wind amid the humid North Beach afternoon bustle and there I stood, underneath a white street-sign with the emblazoned name of Jack Kerouac, where in days long ago the former Adler alleyway was a common dumping ground for garbage truck drivers, Beatniks in their own right, but now the historic back street, engraved with the immortal inscriptions of John Steinbeck, Maya Angelou, and Jack Kerouac quotes, is frequented by hipsters, college students, and beat queens with huge volumes of Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsberg poetry in their knapsacks, all of them donning plaid shirts while emitting rancid breaths of pepperoni pizza and orange chicken, cramming en masse into the flavescent abyss of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s famed City Lights Bookstore where the ghost of Neal Cassady still permeates the air and illuminates the stained glass windows that top the building. Preparing for their own mock Beat adventures on the road, their minds teeming with tourist fascination, they travel across the street to the historic Vesuvio’s Bar and point to various memorabilia and graffiti walls, exclaiming to their friends “this is where Ginsberg blew chunks that one time” and “that’s where Kerouac drank his Tokay!”
All this hit me at once, and I was suddenly stricken with a sudden realization, and I cried out…
“Jack Kerouac is dead!”
“Yup, been dead for over forty years now. Lincoln also got shot, did you hear about that? Plus, I was reading somewhere that they have pre-sliced loafs of bread now. You don’t even have to cut the damn thing! I didn’t believe it at first either. And have you heard about this new band, The Beatles? I don’t care what anyone says; they have the potential to be hug…” Nick said.
“Don’t be an ass,” I interrupted. “I don’t really know what I mean…it’s just really crazy.”
“It’s ok, after I finish this slice we’ll head back to the Haight and have a good time. How are you holding up?”
“It’s fine. It will hit you and will be like nothing you’ve ever felt before. But in the meantime, pour some of your Heineken on the street right there, pay your respects to your hero, and be happy that we aren’t in Reno anymore.”
I then remembered how we passed through Reno, Nevada, during our road trip. We arrived there at 3 o clock in the morning, that miserable excuse for a city. Reno, where the sky is a constant crimson and royal blue color at all hours of the day because hundreds of police and ambulance vehicles’ impregnate the atmosphere with their sirens. Reno, where the benevolent efforts of the paramedics and officers of the city go largely unnoticed in times of humanitarian award ceremonies in other parts of the country, even though they dedicate themselves to a life of dealings with senseless crimes and their consequences. Reno, the presiding mayor of the city must wake up every morning with severe migraines. Reno, where visitors from less lamentable lands, who by some unfortunate twist of fate find themselves amidst the shithole, stand dumbfounded on the chipped cobblestone streets when they see the residents walking around in drunken jovial spirits, content with their deplorable surroundings. It was here that Nick, David, and me arrived in the wee hours of the morning our their journey to Burning Man, Our Lady of Excrement, the vastly inferior imitation of Sin City, the crème de la crème of all the shithole cities in America — Reno, Nevada.
☼ ☼ ☼
Once we returned to the park and after exhausting trivial topics like politics and the eventual fate of the country, we turned our conversation to more pressing matters, such as discussions about the last episode of Jersey Shore.
“…yes you’re right, Sammy is indeed a stupid bitch. I agree,” Nick said.
“Me too,” I said.
☼ ☼ ☼
“C’mon Tim, you love cougars, let’s not forget the fact that if Mary Louise Parker walked in right now, you would ask her for her hand in marriage right on the spot.”
“Ahhh yes, you’re right, most definitely. But you would do the same thing with Dakota Fanning or Miley, and what are they like, seven?”
“Haha, in my arms she was always Lolita,” David said.
“Listen Tim, it’s all economics. You take a company like Starbucks, or Google for example, and you invest in them right at the beginning, based off potential., so in future years your stock only rises! It’s the same with women, take a young girl, maybe 18 or19 that has potential, do some research, like look at how their mom looks, etc. You invest in her, and then in a few years she’s going to look like a million dollars. Sure, most of that early time is spent teaching her the ABCS, how to dress herself, how not to stick her finger in electric sockets, and all that kinda stuff, but after that she’ll hit her peak years, and you’ll have a real enterprise on your hands. Especially Miley, she’s already a rich and famous pop star.”
“I used to love her until I saw that interview she did about Jay-Z. Did you see it?” asked David.
“Yeah I saw it, it’s like…seriously Miley? You’ve never heard “99 problems?” Or “Big Pimpin” even? Those were both huge songs, let’s not even mention all the other chart toppers he’s had. Yeah she must have been really young when Big Pimpin came out, but still, that song was so big you could walk into a Subway and that song would be on. It was all over the radio, everywhere. Unless she’s a monk or Amish or something, she would have to go through great lengths to have never heard a Jay-Z song. And you don’t listen to pop music? You’re one of the biggest pop stars in the countr…no, in the world right now. That’s like The Rolling Stones saying they don’t like rock music, or Pablo Picasso saying he doesn’t like art, or an English professor saying they don’t like to read. Ridiculous. I’d still fuck her sideways though.”
☼ ☼ ☼
“I still don’t feel the acid,” David said.
“Give it some time, it takes awhile to really hit you,” Nick said.
…and then it all came crashing down in one fantastic BOOM! The doors, one by one crumbled to minute fragments of dust and then floated away leaving no discernable trace of having ever existed, and now that the doors had been temporarily demolished my cranium was able to accommodate all my ideas at once, and they stood there resplendent and relishing in the glorious festivities taking place, finally able to don themselves in the beautiful silk garments and rich fragrances that they had bought long ago in preparation for a magnificent moment like this, enjoying themselves to the fullest extent, laughing with merriment as they tap-danced on the graves of the bodyguards who for an entire lifetime had prevented them access and interaction with each other, as if, munching on chocolate chip cookies, potato chips, and one standing next to the fruit punch table, saying, “I am Tim’s thought at 11:10:23 when he was four years old. Oh and you must be his day dream at 2:23:30, oh and look over at the dance floor, that has to be Tim’s thought at 4:40:40…boy…he can really move!…Yes, yes, nice to finally meet you all!”
“FUCK,” I cried.
“There it is! Tis an exquisite feeling, is it not? Let me play some music to really set the mood. There’s new band called ‘Cults’ that I think you guys will like.” Nick said.
Oh my god, I’m stuck inside the same position
I’m so tired of sitting around here with my boring life
Wishing I could find another name to go by
Late at night I’m dreaming about a time where I could change my side
“This is amazing. Where do you find out about bands like this,” David asked.
“Welp, they have this new invention called the internet, hardly anyone knows about it though. It also have this sub feature called Google, it’s awesome. I suggest you check it out.”
☼ ☼ ☼
“Exactly. When I read the first Harry Potter book, I remember thinking, ‘wow this is really bad,’ but now when I think back that book is a masterpiece compared to the Twilight series. I don’t know what’s worse, Stephanie Meyer or her fans, because no matter what you do, don’t ever make the mistake of speaking badly of the book in front of her fans. If you allow the slightest criticism to escape from your mouth, you will be crucified by them,” said Nick.
“You know Honore De Balzac, the French writer? Apparently he had sex with hundreds of women in his life, and he would stop before ejaculating because he said it stifled it his creativity, so one time he accidently did and screamed out, ‘I just lost a novel!’ said David.
“Haha, that’s random, but awesome. I’m all about losing novels in bitches, in fact, I’m trying to lose a novel or two in a bitch tonight. Maybe a whole bibliography.” Nick said.
☼ ☼ ☼
“I can’t watch shows like that, you know, like Lost, or True Blood, where you almost have to study beforehand like you would before an exam. Shit, I might be getting my dick sucked or something, I can’t be responsible for keeping up all these different metaphors and subtle allusions. I want to be able to turn on the TV in the middle of a show and be able to make sense out of it. That’s why I usually only watch shows like Family Guy or The Simpsons,” Nick said.
“But listen, I’m going to play some MGMT, because some day, 400 years from now, hopefully some anthropologist or research analyst will have the…the uh…what’s the word I’m looking for? The gusto, the determination to dig through all the muck and bullshit, all the Snookis and Justin Beevers and other morons and vultures and parasites of the world, dig through all that, and maybe they’ll discover that our generation wasn’t a waste of space, that there were some people that contributed to the betterment of society in some way, and maybe they didn’t succeed, but at least they tried. Hopefully they will discover that there were artists like MGMT who were really worthwhile. This song is like our generation’s “Strawberry Fields” or “Stairway to Heaven” or “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” It’s like…ah fuck just listen. Really listen to this shit. Everything begins and ends with this shit right here man.”
And he played the song seventeen times in a row, never once losing his engrossment in it, the lyrics themselves were a maze to us, every time a problem was presented, the next few lines would douse it, and then more problems presented themselves that proved to be more detrimental, and the cycle continued until it was all tragically resolved for them in the end. And despite our increasing knowledge of the song, memorizing every word and chord, even breathing patterns, every time the song began again we allowed ourselves to be enraptured by the happy overture, always convincing themselves that it would be different, that life was not all inevitable sadness and disappointment, that somehow we would conquer dilemmas and derailments that had plagued men and women for centuries, even great philosophers and mathematicians and engineers who had invented mental and physical blueprints to some of life’s most pressing questions, but had failed to ever escape the inevitability of life’s woes, in those few beginnings seconds of the song they thought they had all the answers, but then we contemplated the vast juxtaposition between the first and second Dicksonian verses, how it was not a tale of two cities but of two worlds, because as young men, the crossroads we had all found ourselves in was the best of times, the rosy outlooks and expectations and aspirations and dreams and hopes and loves that all men and women carried in their hearts, the childlike belief that all life is beach chairs and lollipops, but then we were presented with harsh reality in the second verse, that we would be nothing more than rotting corpses in the ground someday, and we were shaken by the fact that the future was a bleak household of terrors, that the pen of reality hardly ever produced happy endings, that people went through life with great expectations and most often came out with hard times.
☼ ☼ ☼
“How did you like that one?” Nick asked.
“So fucking good,” I said.
“I CAME,” said David.
“Good, I’m going to play a little White Stripes now.”
“Ah! Those drums are insanely good!” I cried. “Those drums are literally killing me! Damn you Meg White! You little cun…”
“Shhhhh!” David said.
I had opinions
That didnt matter
I had a brain
That felt like pancake batter
I got a backyard
With nothing in it
Except a stick
A dog and a box with something in it
☼ ☼ ☼
“Tim, what’s the matter with you over there? Your eyeballs are so white. Here, let me smoke you out again,” Nick said.
“Ah damnit man, we’re probably going to be the first motherfuckers in the history of the world to overdose and die from smoking too much weed,” I said.
“Good! Then we’ll be famous forever. People will wear T-shirts with our names on them, SNL will do skits about it, we’ll be a constant fixture on all the late-night-talk-show monologues, they’ll auction off parts of our body on EBay for thousands of dollars, but most importantly, someone will write a huge Wikipedia article about us, because nowadays a person’s worth in society is judged solely on how long your Wikipedia page is, and if you don’t have one by the time you die, nobody will ever give a flying 747 fuck about you.”
☼ ☼ ☼
At this point I was high beyond words, and Nick, sitting there with his Ipod only exacerbated matters. The great puppeteer, playing with our minds as he rifled off great songs like a professional DJ, all the while our minds were teeming. I sat there brooding on the lyrics in the songs, perking my ears ever so often to hear random excerpts of David and Nick’s conversations.
“The whole idea of porn is so weird to me. You’re watching people have sex on camera, isn’t sex supposed to be a private thing?” David asked.
“What would people do without it though? Now you know me, I get my fair share of pussy, but every now and then a guy needs to fire a few out. Without porn the world would be an even scarier place to live in. A lot of people would either kill themselves, spontaneously combust, or become rapists/serial killers. Even ancient civilizations had porn, I mean, have you ever taken a look at the Kama Sutra?” Nick said.
“Ahhhh, what the hell are you guys even talking about?” I asked.
But it was no use trying to make sense of it all. As the night darkened, my eyelids were beginning to close. I had no idea I was even asleep until I was awakened by Nick shaking me wildly.
“Don’t die on me now you bastard! Do not go gentle into that good night! Rage, rage against the dying of the light, you asshole!”
“Ah, I’m awake, I’m awake…” I said.
“Good,” David said.