Charlie Can’t Feel His Face

Debora Fanning runs the old folks home with the discriminating hand of a curator. Her face is often serenely blank with sparse robotic emotion pulling back the corners of her lips only sporadically, and while she is not at all an unpleasant woman—at times even attractive—it is this seeming lack of interest in the affairs of humans that leads me to fuck with her at every opportunity.

The old folks home is a place that could use the human touch. The air is thick with the shame of neediness, and even upon my first arrival to this stone castle—a gloomy fortress holding back the final army—I could feel the weight of their demands on my shoulders. With skin paper thin, they advance upon you at first entrance, some begging to be taken back to the outside world where sun and energy feed the soul against the onslaught of the self, others begging you to please ignore the pleas of the beggars; their spines creak as they lift their heads high, demanding acknowledgement for their rejection of your pity.

People who have never had the pleasure of visiting a dump like this have no idea what I’m talking about. They’ll say I’m waxing dramatic. But dig this: on my first day of court-ordered compassion, I walked into the lobby and was immediately assaulted by a dusty old fart with pleading eyes and a brain as soft as the dawn outside. She began calmly enough, but something bubbling inside her set my teeth on edge, and I waited miserably for the bait and switch. She did not disappoint. “Hello,” she began simply enough.  I said hey. “Why are you here?” Strange for someone to ask such a simple question, but by now I have grown used to the bluntness of seniors. For them who have nearly run out of time, there is little need for social finesse. It just gets in the way of finding out information; suddenly the economics of time takes on real weight. And hey, I get it. I appreciate the lack of ceremony. So, instead of becoming hostile, I say to this woman that I’m looking for the front desk, and with hardly a pause she says to me, “You know, they keep me here.” Ahhhh, yes, of course. I repeated that I was purely looking for someone in charge, and her face stretched into a parody of melancholy. “I need help. I don’t want to stay here. They are terrible to me here. They treat me like a child. They treat me like I’m already dead. Like a dead baby. I can’t stay. Please call my daughter and tell her I need to come home. I need her help but they won’t let me talk to her they keep her from me please help me…”

“Don’t listen to her bullshit! None of it’s true!”

Startled, I swung around to find another old woman with stubborn steps and a surly face advancing upon me. She was wagging her finger in a very old-person way, and scowled at me as if it was my fault that the first old bat was spouting paranoid nonsense. The corners of her mouth curled down so far that they almost disappeared under her chin, and I wondered what came first: her bad attitude or a long, shitty life? Probably the latter, but me being who I am I tend to believe in both.

The first senior turned to face her: “Don’t you come near me!”

“She’s a liar. Her daughter doesn’t come here because she’s sick of listening to crazy bullshit!”

“No! Not at all! She doesn’t come here because they all told her I’m dead!”

“You ARE dead.”

“Young man, PLEASE. If you see my daughter, tell her she has to come and get me, tell her I don’t want to be here anymore. They take my money.”

The second old woman, the gruff truth teller, turned to address me: “She doesn’t have any money.” After she spoke, she looked away from us both, and dismissed the first woman with a wave of her hand. Finished with us, she crept back down the hall from whence she came. From somewhere, a disembodied voice confirmed, “It’s true. She doesn’t have any money at all.”

The first old woman with the gloomy outlook took my hand. It was like being grasped by a ghost bird, and reminded me of a great aunt that used to live somewhere in my past. “They all hate me because I have a daughter who loves me,” she whispered. “That woman who was yelling at us? She hits me when no one looks.”

Eventually I found the front desk, and with it Debora Fanning. Her dark hair was bobbed around her head—sensible with minimal flair. With arresting blackberry eyes pressed flat into a plate of white dough, she looked as though she could do some damage if she could only manage to drop a few (but people in this neck of the woods NEVER drop a few). Of course, now I know better. Without a complete emotional overhaul, the only thing Deborah Fanning will be doing any damage to is a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. As I approached the desk, I immediately sensed her authority and handed her my paperwork from the judge. She glanced at me coolly and said, “What’s this and who are you?” I told her the paperwork had all the answers she might be looking for—I mean, you know, FUCK her. I’m not getting paid to be here, and I don’t plan on finding a new perspective on life during this time with my elders, so pull teeth, bitch.

Debora looked at me unenthusiastically, and browsed the forms she had been handed. Without looking up, she says to me, “Are we going to have a problem?” I explained to her how I plan on setting an example for all of the young people here at the nursing home, and if possible, her look became even drier. Ten minutes later I had a mop in my hand.

And now I am ensconced in setting up board games, slinging soup, wiping chins, and pushing oldsters from point A to point B with stolid efficiency as they curse my ever being born and spit insults from denture-filled mouths. They ask for my help constantly, all the while hating themselves for asking, and hating me for giving. The whole place smells like death if death could be picked up with thick rubber gloves and scrubbed with pink industrial cleanser. Isn’t life wonderful? Isn’t GOD great in the gifts he bestows upon all of his blessed children? Is it any WONDER I am asked at every goddamned turn to fall upon my knees and thank him for all of his glorious mysteries? Well, just you try and stop me, all you little darlings of the starlight! Maybe if I try my best and always tie my laces tight and smile at every face I see then one day I can piss through a catheter of my very own and beg every passerby to set me free and wonder why my children forgot.

****

Charlie Murphy sits in his wheelchair with sunken lips resting against exhausted gums.

Charlie Murphy wears flannel shirts everyday; bolo ties with pewter buffalo skulls adorn his neck.

Charlie Murphy calls to me from across the common room and asks me to push him into the sunlit garden nearly every afternoon. My bushy hair and denim vest don’t seem to alarm him in the slightest; he gives none of the glaring disapproval that his peers have reserved for me. Charlie and I sit in the sun and he tells me about his trips to the city when he was a young man and how his parents hated his fascination with jazz and the smoke-filled clubs and coming home at dawn. I tell him he ought to give the hella-fucking awesome rock of Mayhem a try, and he says to me, “I’d never listen to that crap. I’d die of an aneurysm.” I push the others into the sun and they tell me I’m wasting my life. I think of my afternoon and its promise of bloody toilets and a grimy sponge, and I must agree that they may have a point.

Charlie Murphy looks at Debora Fanning and shakes his head sadly. “You could have been a beautiful woman,” he tells her. She looks through him and if she feels slighted by his comments, it doesn’t show. She simply hands him a small paper cup filled with variety. “Please take your pills, Charlie.” Charlie tips the cup into his hollow mouth, and only then does Debora hand him his water, as if the old man before her could not process all the objects at one time.

Charlie Murphy never met a bottle of suds he didn’t like, and he’s taken to sharing his secret supply with me every Thursday at 4PM in the room he shares with a comatose named Wendell. We toast the decline of Western Civilization and hope for the collapse of American Express. Well, I couldn’t give two shits about American Express myself, but it seems important to Charlie, and since he’s got the beer…

Charlie Murphy is a man of memory but not ceremony. He lived life like an actual human being, and from what I can tell, never relied on the false pretense of societal mass self-deception or rationalizations to form a picture of himself. He knows what he is, and he knows what he’s been, and if Debra Fanning, or my mom, or Dr. Duchenheimer, or any other fucking asshole for that matter doesn’t like it, they can kiss Charlie Murphy’s skinny ass.

Charlie Murphy is an old box full of new toys found just days before the house burns down.

****

I was searching the halls of the old folks home seeking out Big Bill the orderly When Charlie waved me over. “Wheel me to my room, Pendel. We have business to discuss.” I replied that Bill needed me to distract Arnold T. while Bill wiped his ass out, and Charlie said, “Arnie can go to hell or wipe his own ass. We’ve got bigger issues.” I told him I was more worried about Big Bill than Arnie, and was told, “Bill can blow air on his balls. That’ll distract Arnie, I guess.” So against my better judgment I ducked my head low and pushed Charlie to his quarters.

The rooms at the home fall somewhere in between a hospital and a hotel, with muted colors, wall-to-wall carpeting, full-length curtains, TVs bolted to mounts high upon the walls, and plenty of oxygen tanks. Staff members scuttle to and fro with tempers barely contained. Dim conversations regarding various aches and pains flood the open hallways like a college dorm jacked-up on Geritol. Most of these rooms have little-to-no personality, as the residents have largely turned their backs on individuality in favor of keeping watch. The occasional moan makes the hairs on my neck stand up.

Wendell stared at the ceiling without blinking and Charlie handed me a beer even though it’s Tuesday. I said, what’s up? It’s not like you to hand out beers midweek. He said, “What would you know about what I’m like? If you don’t want it, give it back.” I kept it. He cracked his beer and blew on the top, which is something he always does. It’s a mystery to me, but I suppose I must not care that much because I never ask him why he does it. Then he says, “Let’s get right down to it. You know my great nephew.” I said I’d have to take his word on that. “His name is Martin. He went to your high school. He wrestled. He was good. Not ringing a bell?” I did remember the guy, and I said as much. Thin and short, he did very well in the light-weight classes (so they say), and was one of the only male anorexics I had ever heard of (so they say). I told Charlie that I saw the guy standing around spitting into a can in the lobby of the school all the time. “Well, yeah, it’s a way these guys drop weight.” I asked if the dehydration made them weak for matches, and Charlie became impatient. “What am I, a doctor? The point is he told me about you.”

Oh really.

He must have read my face because he scowled and shook his head. “No. Come on. It’s nothing bad. If you’re a killer or screw little kittens, I don’t know and I don’t care. Well, I guess I would. Look, Marty says you’re the guy.” The guy for what? “You have something people want. Or at least, you can lay your hands on it.” I sat mutely. “Look, I have GLAUCOMA, okay?” By now I of course knew what he was getting at, but chose to continue staring blankly. Charlie became very agitated and exclaimed, “Goddamnit! Haven’t I spelled it out?!”

I said okay, okay. Maybe I knew how to help him (which made me feel a tad nervous because Sugarbear often says he’d rather we not make deals out in the world) but what the fuck did he want with that kind of trouble?  He sighed deeply. “All you guys,” he said, nodding unhappily, “you think I’ve always been old.”

****

The next time I came to the home, I had Charlie’s cube. Amazingly, he produced a small one-hitter that looked exactly like a cigarette from the inside of his shirtsleeve. I told him he was full of more surprises than anyone I had ever met, and he says to me, “We’ve only just begun. Wheel me outside, Pendel.”

The sky was a cloudy mess and the sun nowhere to be found, but it was for the best. Most of the seniors were deathly afraid of the rain, and stayed inside at the slightest inclination towards precipitation. Charlie and I had the courtyard to ourselves.

“Over there. Behind the tree.”

I sat down beside him on the ground, and made some kind of nonsensical chatter about the seasons. Charlie told me to shut up and handed me the CIGARETTE. After a little while he laughed and wiped something from his nose. “This shit…it’s crazy, but since I had my first stroke back in 92, this shit always makes my face go numb. But it’s not bad. It’s just different.” I said I never knew he had a stroke, and he said, “I’ve had three. Small. Very small. Miniscule. This big.” And he held his fingers out in front of his face just an inch apart to indicate just how small the strokes were. Then he grinned his toothless grin and laughed. I said, so okay, I didn’t know he had three small strokes. And he patted me on the shoulder and smiled. “Everyone in here has had a stroke. Don’t worry. You’ll have one too someday.” He laughed again, even more than before, and clapped his hands. He seemed happier than I had ever seen him, which was also happier than any of the other old people trapped inside this final stop before the great end.

“You know, you’re a nice kid for a punk.” I said thanks. “I’m…uhhh…smoking this with you now because it’s a courtesy.” What was he talking about? “I’m not so old that I’ve forgotten my manners, is what I mean. But after that I think I’m gonna have to keep this to myself, son.” He had never called me that before, and it was curious. I told him no worries, I understand the old folks are on a budget, and he shook his head and interrupted. “No, it’s just that I’m too old for trouble of my own, or to deal with yours.”

?????

“There were some guys the other day who came around here asking questions about you. I said I had no real contact with you. I said you were a punk and look like trouble and I’m too old for trouble. All of which is true, by the way.” Needless to say, this information knocked me off my precarious center. GUYS coming around and asking QUESTIONS? Well, that couldn’t be GOOD, could it? When GUYS come poking around asking QUESTIONS, it usually leads to people running manically and breathing heavy and flushing shit down toilets and climbing down fire escapes and all sorts of other crazy bullshit that I simply had no desire to find myself doing. What did these men LOOK LIKE?? “Jesus, Pendel, they looked like the kind of people that come around and ask questions about other people. They didn’t smile when they talked. They were serious men.”

I stood up and said I had to GO, but standing made me dizzy and I had to pause. “Look, you need to be careful. It’s probably nothing. I just wanted to warn you about this, and I wanted you to know why I can’t be sharing more of this with you. I shouldn’t have gotten it anyway, but I’m glad I did. I feel great. Even if I can’t feel my face.”

I said I couldn’t feel mine anymore, either, and old Charlie laughed and said something else, but I was already on my way out of the garden and didn’t hear him clearly. I had to go and talk to Sugarbear. If this was about what I was AFRAID it was about, well, you know, I didn’t sign up for that kind of shit.

How fucking stupid am I though? Of course I did.

Mmmm Bop Saturday

I had my Saturday with Mr. Hanson, dream date extraordinaire. He is such an asshole. He walks in the door dressed like it’s Wednesday, as if his entire life is spent in those cheap “nice clothes” that teachers so often wear, like they’ve had them for decades but can’t afford or be bothered to shop for anything new. He says to me all sunny like, “I think it would be good for us to just take today and get familiar with each other.” I said if he wants to get familiar with someone he should go home and do it with his wife. I’m sure she’d be happy for the change. He immediately changed gears on me and threw some pamphlets down in front of my face with a nasty snarl. They were for SAT tests, and I just had to laugh. I told him, hey, what are you, deaf? I’m not going to college, and I’m not going to put myself through any of these de-humanizing, categorizing, and petty ranking exercises.

I should know better than to say such things. He of course went off the handle, talking endlessly about how I’m killing my own future, resigning myself to a limited existence, and how his college years were the best years of his life (again with this…what’s he been doing with the rest of it, I ask you?). I told him that the more he opens his fucking mouth about it, the more I want to dig post holes for the rest of my life. I’d rather stuff cheap toys into cereal boxes for the next 50 goddamn years than to listen to even ONE MORE middle-aged loser with his best years behind him tell me how I’m letting life pass me by. Hanson’s sitting here, at my parent’s stupid kitchen table, on a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning, talking to a person less than half his age who doesn’t even like him, and he’s accusing ME of letting life pass by? I guarantee you that on his death bed, Hanson is going to look back on the time he spent with me and he will regret it. He will mention my name with tears in his eyes as some unfortunate soul turns him over to wipe his ass and clean his puss-filled sores; Hanson will feel the coldness of the wipe on his withered rump cheeks and he will say, “Pendel…why did I do it?,” confusing his orderly for life. And at that very moment, fifteen-hundred miles away, I will suddenly stop in the middle of my nightly chat-room masturbation session, drop the hunk of shoelace I was using as a tourniquet from around my neck, bringing to a screeching halt the autoerotic asphyxiation session that would have otherwise taken my life. I will then suffer a grand mal seizure, the world around me will dissolve away into a silver-grey mist, and I will abruptly come to my senses fifteen months later in a Russian slave-labor camp on a bright, sunny, Saturday morning while embroiled in a heated conversation with a young Russian man named Pavel, who is seated across from me at a table in the middle of a well-kept Russian slave-labor camp kitchen. I will be angrily shouting that he is wasting his life, and he will be asking me how I got the scars around my neck. I will never be heard from again.

But all of that has yet to happen. For the time being, there is Mr. Hanson, and he is asking me what I will do after graduation. I shrug. I don’t really care to answer him. He presses me. “Don’t give me your disaffected youth bullshit, Pendel,” he says. “You are going to have to do SOMETHING. Even if it’s only living on the street or pushing drugs. I just want to know what it is.” Pushing drugs. Ha. Who came up with that saying? Is it truly possible to push drugs onto people who don’t want them? I said to him, hey, you know, that’s a decent idea. I hadn’t considered it. Thanks.

It was odd to watch his scowl deepen into his face. It happened slowly, as if he aged in front of my eyes. It was kind of cool, really, like a special effect in a movie. I said wow. He said “Wow what?” I said, look man, I don’t know what to tell you. I haven’t thought about it that much. I’ll probably move out and get a job somewhere.

He gazed at me and after a second he kind of snorted and he said, “From what I hear you’ll have to get out of jail first.” I said, fuck what you hear, and even so, what difference does it make to you? And he says, “Nothing, but you should know that it can be hard for an ex-con to find a job, Pendel.” I had to laugh at that. Touché. We touched on how he has spoken to other teachers about me, and how they all think I am smart, but VERY disinterested, and my attitude makes it hard for anyone to want to reach out. My only comment to this was I am happy to know at least ONE thing I had planned turned out the way I wanted. He shook his head, but I think he could see that I am completely full of shit. The truth of the matter is that I simply have no idea where to go or what to do. I don’t fit in to this world and I am at a loss to know what to do next. He left, but said, “Same time, next week.” I am just all a-shiver with anticipation.

A couple of days later, I was going over all this crap with Dr. Douchenheimer the Wonder Shrink, and he asked me why I am so resistant to Hanson’s—or anybody’s—help or advice. I’ll tell all of you what I told him: I don’t know why. I just am. Then that bastard Douchenheimer had the balls to smile. I said, what’s up, douche-doc? And he smugly leans back in his richly-leathered chair and says, “Well, at least you admit that you’re resistant.” I said, hey that’s fucking great. You’re a genius. You gonna publish a paper on me now, Dr. Leather Chair? And he said not yet, and I said, yeah, I think you should hold off on that for the time being.

After leaving his office, I got winded for no reason whatsoever and had to sit down on a bench. It scared me, and I got all anxious and weirded out, and thought about going to the hospital, but it passed fairly quickly and I decided to ignore that it even happened at all. I just sat there for a while and thought about things. I thought about me. It ended up being too depressing of a pastime and I made myself stop.

I watched a man cross the street with a red hat and headphones. He was smiling about nothing, which is always an odd sight to see. A cop car was crossing against his path—and against the fucking stop light, of course—and had to stop suddenly to avoid hitting the man in the red hat, who stepped up his pace 0%, which I of course admired. The cop in the passenger seat yells out his window at the guy to get out of the fucking way. The guy in the red hat just smiled even bigger and kept walking. The very millisecond the man cleared the path of the cop car, it lurched forward inexpertly with its sirens on and lights flashing. It was such a bullshit move on the cops’ part, done only to justify their asshole behavior, and it was so obvious to me a few moments later when the cops turned their lights and sirens off again a few blocks away that they needed to make noise in order to cover up the man in the red hat’s defiance. Their power was nothing against a person who had done nothing wrong but yet chose not to bend to their will. They had guns, but still they had to wait.

I felt, and still feel, grateful to the man in the red hat who smiled at nothing. He gave me a very small shred of hope, whether I want it or not. And BTW, didn’t I see a man smiling at nothing the last time I left Dr. Duchenheimer’s office? What’s that about? The world is too ominous for its own good.

I Am Screwed and I Don’t Really Care

I’ve got a shrink that I go to. I’ve gone through several of them, and mostly I just hate their stinking guts and don’t bother going back, but eventually dear old dad will have a conniption and find me a new one, and off I go for more baffling rationalizations. I think they all want me to break down in tears for them; they all want the revelation to surface from the black muck of my spiraling spirit so they can look in the mirror at night while brushing their whiter than white teeth and say to themselves, “Hey, I really DID something today.” It’s a great time. But this last guy, let’s call him Dr. Douchenheimer, he seems to have duped me into sticking around longer than I wanted to. Oh well. It does me no good, as my life just seems to spin out of control faster and faster. I mean, not even a week ago I had never tried drugs really, now I’m dropping acid at the dinner table. Before too long, I will have my very own rap sheet! How cute. How ADORABLE.

But Dr. Douchenheimer seems to have all the patience in the world for my bullshit hatred—which really just gets me even more pissed at him. With the others, it seemed like they would get as impatient with me as I would with them, and our mutual annoyance-fest made it easy for me to hit the tiles and move on to the next sensitive genius. I wasn’t giving them the results they wanted, and I WILL NOT take a handful of fucking pills everyday because who the fuck knows what that nasty shit does to a young man’s dick and his desire to use it, and I certainly do NOT want to let my guard down for even a second for fear of the creeping zombitis—the rotten and debilitating disease that has taken over the minds of so, so many in my illustrious peer group, causing them to decorate lockers and cheer for no good goddamned reason for sports teams that mean absolutely NOTHING to them OR in the large scheme of “things,” and the raping and pillaging of the village virgins goes on unnoticed under the clogged noses of the fucking swing choir, and the drama club is too busy practicing veneers to see what a joke we’ve all become in the eyes of the elders we’ve sworn to follow. And the marching band. Ha. That music sucks donkey dick when placed next to the celestial thrashing of Mayhem. Would the pills take even that sparse happiness from me? The world will never know.

So from the very beginning, Dr. Douchenheimer was very cool about my no psych-drug policy, which made me immediately mistrustful. He said he was good with me trying to fix myself without outside interference, and I was like…fix myself? Am I broken? And he said, “No, but you’re not completely well, either.” That made me blink, but I guess I’m a sucker for someone who seems to be telling me the truth, so I’ve stuck around. Doc Douche got me started on this stupid journal—although I am positive he never meant an e-journal, ha ha ha—and so the other evening when I was at his office I wanted to tell him that I started it, but first I had to get my very eventful week out of the way.

He was not pleased in the slightest when he heard about Camile’s dad’s windshield—he’s a guarded mother-fucker, though, so it’s hard to say what he really feels about the shit I pull—but he didn’t seem terribly torn up about the acid dinner; he just looked at me like the sly bastard he is and said, “I thought you weren’t into medications?” Touché, dick. After I went through the sordid details of my recent life, we talked about cries for help, and I was like yes professor obvious, I am crying for help. Help! Help! Get me out of my dork-infested school! Get me different parents! Stop the fools who run the show from rubbing my nose in their precious GOD all the time. That, of course, made him bring up the way I “degraded” Camile in church, and I was like, doc, I’m fading, you’re losing your patient…we’re losing this guy! Give him 500 cc’s of ANYTHING, stat! CLEAR. THUMP-THUMP. He backed off. I also like how he backs off. He holds up both hands as if to say, “whatever.” But that’s totally ok. “Whatever’s” cool. Everyone thinks answers are supposed to be so specific, but how can they be? Have you ever heard of dark matter? My friends (can I call you friend?), you can’t GET any LESS specific than THAT, but it seems to be all the rage among the answer-makers these days.

When he brought up Camile is when I told him that I took his advice about the journal. At first he lit up like a gasoline-soaked hobo. I suppressed the urge to feel proud that I made him happy, instead I went ahead and followed a more sensible course: I put my freaking guard UP, bubba. You see, everybody is looking out for numero-fucking uno, make book on it. It’s the third law. (1) Death, (2) taxes, and (3) get what you can. I know that Dr. Douchenheimer is constantly looking for ways to feel good about himself, and like anybody, he’s gonna take the path of least resistance, right? But the path of least resistance isn’t necessarily what’s best for patient #52728 (Pendel). No hard feelings world, but I’m onto you, and I’m not about to start turning my back.

Then I tell him that my little gut spilling is being done on the internet, and his face kinda sags, and he’s like, “What, a BLOG?” And I’m like, sure, that’s what the cool kids call it, I guess, and then he sits way UP in his chair and looks at me VERY seriously and he asks me, “What exactly have you been telling the world, Pendel?” And even before I can say the word “everything” I have that old, familiar sinking feeling. You know the one. It’s the feeling you get after EVERY FUCKING TIME you try to do ANYTHING worth a SQUIRT OF SHIT.

I guess what else is there to say? I’m sure all of you fucking cock sucking sons-of-bitches out there laughing at how I fall on my fucking face every goddamned day of my pitiful useless life knew it all along; laughing at the dumb kid in class with no fucking friends, watching him dig his own grave by moonlight as the hungry wolves sit baying on the next hill, licking their tireless lips, knowing that tonight they will feast on idiot-flesh. To hell with it. Let it happen. Bring all comers. I guess in the back of my mind I MUST have realized that Google applies to me, too. I guess I knew that the cops and Camile and Camile’s two-bit biker parents have all used a freaking search engine. I guess I knew. And I said as much to Doc Douche, I said you know, as stupid as I can be, I think I must have known, and he said, yes of COURSE you did, dumbshit (or maybe he didn’t say dumbshit), and he actually says to me, “I’m happy, really, Pendel, because it keeps me from having to feel torn about keeping a dirty secret about you breaking the law.”

Is this why I like Dr. Douchenheimer? Cause he’s got the balls to NOT treat me with kid gloves? Did I just say I LIKE him? I think I didn’t mean that. I think I mean this is why ACCEPT him in my life. Anyway, he said he can’t fully support OR disapprove of a “web log.” That’s what he calls it. Ha. It wasn’t his intention, but he’s willing to see how it plays out. I said what if it plays out with me rotting away in jail, and he just laughed and said I might be picking up trash on the curb for a summer and working to pay a hefty fine, but not jail.

He thinks golf is a great idea, but of course I didn’t tell him my full plan, and maybe I never will, cause in the end I don’t trust his dumb ass any more than the rest. He also said he thinks I ought to see what Hanson has to say to me on weekends. Fucking Christ, NOOOOOO. I do NOT like Dr. Douchenheimer.

When I got home later, Clare immediately got up and left the room, giving me the smartass little smirk she has been working to perfect over the last year. So this is how it happens, I thought. It felt much like a mob hit. In come my parents from the kitchen. “Sit your butt down, Pendel,” says my dad. I said, okay tough guy, your wish is my command. He glares, but says nothing. My mom actually kicked the leg of the chair I was sitting in, which I will admit, caught me off guard and shut me up for a second. “The goddamn POLICE called again, Pendel.” I had nothing to say. I knew it would happen regardless of what they found, the call from the cops, but my mom NEVER curses, and sure as fucking shit she NEVER BUT NEVER takes the Lord’s Name In Vain, so I know what they’ve got to say, and I know just how red-hot pissed it has made these two pious landlords of mine, and I know that maybe now I should let things play out, let them have their say. And hey, I kinda feel fucking stupid still after my “session” with my “doctor.”

So tomorrow I go in the morning to the station to answer more questions, except this time they suggest I bring both my parents AND A LAWYER. Wow. Who’d a thunk it? Little ole’ ME? With an ATTORNEY? AT LAW?? I guess I really have hit the big time. And can you believe my busy schedule?! Makes a guy feel important to have places to go.

My mom said I’m lucky to have a lawyer for an uncle, otherwise they don’t know how they could ever afford it, and then, besides just EMBARRASSING the family half to death, I would have RUINED them financially as well. I’m not so sure, you know? Seems to me it might be worth the money to not have my mother’s SCUMBAG brother bleat to the rest of the dejected extended family about my every failure. Oh well. I could win the fucking Nobel fucking Peace Prize in Penis Enlargement and they would all still find me as useless as a ragdoll.

BTW, on my way home from the shrink’s, I heard this incessant bell ringing. I looked around to see who the hell was having such a time of it to make that kind of racket, and saw that it was just this old guy riding a bike down the street. He had one of those old-fashioned girly bells on his handlebars, and he just kept flicking away at the fucking thing like it was nothing. I wondered who he was trying to warn out of his way, but there was no one. And then I saw the empty smile on his face, just utterly and completely stress-free, thought-free, memory-free, and I was like, ohhhhhhhhh…he’s a retard. How nice, to think of nothing and love your bell so much.