value of time

his eyes looked fresh out of
a hardcore crying
session

I walked up to him
and asked what
was wrong

He showed me his phone and
what I saw were pictures of some
dismembered kitten,
head and legs and tail cut off

"The fuck?" I said

He shook his head. "My girlfriend. She
thought I gave my cat
almost as much attention as I
gave her. She couldn't
have that."

"Shit, man. I'm so sorry."

"My mother gave me that kitten
before she
left for Italy…"

"Gods… you… You reported your girlfriend,
right?"

Just then his phone rang
and he was quick to pick up. It was
an alarm. He looked at
the screen and took a few big steps away
from me. "Sorry bro, you took too
much of my time. I gotta get home now."

"Wait," I said, "Aren't we going for
some drinks?"

He ran away from me
as fast as he could. "Sorry, I can't give
you that much of my time. My
girlfriend's waiting for me. Bye."

Well, I went drinking
by myself. Unfortunately it did not
get the images out
of my head

lovely hands

there's been a collection of
rather
dark thoughts lately

and he was
studying it from the comfort
of his bed

The other day he found a good pillow
in the dumpster
and used it to cover the spot
on the mattress where the
rusty springs emerged
Now the bed was fine again

good enough for
daydreaming

After you've tried out all herbs
and powders
all that's left are the dreams

the daydreams
and the nightdreams
and the nightmares
and the daymares

On another day spent dumpster diving
he'd found a plastic bag
with about six severed hands
They were still cold

some mafia shit was going on
in the city

He took them home
and tried to cook them
hoping to obtain at least some bits of meat

He had no pan and of course no oil
so he impaled them with iron
rods at the writs
and placed them upright in a barrel
he lit up

He sat back watching them
smelling them

Higher on hunger than on the herbs
he'd smoked

And then he'd realized
that they were women's hands
and fantasized about
them springing to life and crawling over
him and doing things to him

It gave him a hard on
or perhaps the illusion of one

but regardless
that was a fun night

The closest he came to having females
over. Some who cooked and
fed him after the fun time

He'll remember that night
for the rest of
his life

a self-published book on how to quit smoking

That did it
He was tired of coming home from work
and finding
a fucking book on the table
instead of food

but the book was also on his
pillow when he went to bed

on the toilet tank

in the garage

in the shed behind the house

and on the dashboard of his goddamn car

He had enough of it

And one day he told her
he had enough of it and enough of her
It was time to break up
this wasn't going to work

He was not going to quit smoking
and she was not going to quit nagging him
to read her book on quitting smoking

"I won't marry you until you're 101 days clean,"
she'd said

He smoked a pack and a half a day

It was time to break up
and, gods, she didn't take it lightly

In that morning he left her alone to collect
all her stuff from his house and be gone
by the time he returned

She was indeed gone by the time he returned
and took nothing more than what belonged to
her and even left something behind
Her self-published book on how to quit smoking,
what else?

He sighed
picked it up from the coffee table
looked it over
sat on the couch
put a cigarette between his lips and
when he lit it the house blew up

Perhaps a big moral in the book was to
always check the gas after a
breakup

but it was too late now

nothing good on TV for 18 years

there's nothing good on TV
when you're in
a crap mood

"Shit," he thought. "Nothing's gonna be
good on TV for
the next 18 years. At least."

he sighed
and shifted his position on
the couch

four days till New Year's Eve
and he already
got the greatest
gift one could wish for. A positive
pregnancy test from
his girlfriend

Oh, he was over the
moon
and everybody knew

"Meh, I don't need TV. I'm
the best actor
I've seen..."

keeping that spark

he deliberately chose
the nastiest
sound for the alarm clock

Zeeeehhweeeehhchhh

and there it went
again
Every four hours. Announcing that he
had to start the
engine again lest he
froze to death

The phone had 17% battery left. He
would need to visit
the library again
for a recharge but it was becoming
increasingly
harder as the smell of homeless
was growing more
potent on him

He checked the time again
turned off the phone
turned on the engine
wiped the windshield with his gloved hand
watched his breath leave his mouth
fumbled around for a cigarette

no luck

He took out the lighter and
struck it
and all it produced were sparks

It's been quite a lot of
no luck
lately

At the library he took small
chapbooks
with him to a desk and pretended
to be studying them
while the phone charged besides
him
but not having anything
better to do he
read some of the poems in
those chapbooks. He didn't understand
poetry, didn't know
how to read it to
make sense. He was simply not
a man of writing and reading,
didn't understand why
the lines were so choppy
and didn't go all the way
to the right margin of the page. Why did it
have to look so
intentionally wrong? Also
why didn't it rhyme if
it was called poetry? He resigned himself
eventually. He'll never understand
this part of literature

but still, there was
something
he read in one of those deranged
verses with words all
over the page. One poem that
ended something like this:

"then something else in me said, no, save the tiniest
bit.
it needn’t be much, just a spark.
a spark can set a whole forest on
fire.
just a spark.
save it."

His English wasn't the
best but he
understood the message well enough

the spark was
there
still

employee of the month

You don't need the
employee of the month
badge to know
that you're it

He knew he was it

The other day he asked the girl
who called whether she
had any family

She said no
"And I don't want any. I don't want
to hurt them with
my going away. So it's better that
they don't exist." She
sounded so tired, so drowsy,

so helpless

He started tearing up
and told her. "If you do it... If you
do it then I'm gonna cry. I will
remember you. I will never
forget you. I will be the
family you're leaving behind if you
go. You will leave me in
great pain, I tell you that. In great pain! I
will cry every day and... and please don't
do it. Please let's talk about it. I'm
here for you. Let's talk. Please." He was
crying into
the receiver

And the response was
a loud bang
from the other side. It was over.
The caller was gone

He hung up
wiped his tears and
awaited the next caller

There was no win
or fail in this job
but still
he did a fine work

He smiled to himself

strongest drug of all

Here we go
open the beer can
bring it to the lips
have a sip
and...
There it is
that PSA starts running on TV
about a great part of the population
caring for nothing but how to get high
The numbers are alarming
Getting high has become
as much a science as it is an art
and a banal thing
Everyone seeks to escape reality

with desperation

therefore
the strongest drug of all
is suicide

so potent it can get you high
even if you just think about it

I had my share
but managed to change my mind early
I no longer think of suicide
but make others do it
and that still counts as getting high
since they're all characters in my writings

bald cat market

He started writing at the
age of thirty-eight
and most of his early poems were
about starting late,
being a late bloomer

He said he'd spent those thirty-eight
years figuring out what not to be
and in the process of figuring
that out he did a lot of
living
changed countless jobs
and locations
and lovers
enemies
customs
religions
political views
philosophies
opinions

and now it was time to
document all that
with as little fiction added
as possible

he began
and went on
fueled by the saying
"Since I started so late
I owe it to myself
to keep going."

He kept going

And the young
fresh writers
the budding talents
the prodigies
shit-talked him for being a delirious
old fool who mistook
fiction for reality
And they rated and reviewed
his works and referred to them
as being dull garbage that
belonged into the trash can

"Oh, poor fool," they said. "He's just
trying to sell the world bald cats.
That's what he's trying to do. He strips
them of fur, of the beauty that makes
cats desirable, lovable. Behold,
his works are so raw, the
writing so simple, so
lazy and devoid of any description.
He tells the reader that there are
curtains before the window but fails to
show what color, shape, smell,
effectiveness of keeping the sunlight away
from a housewife's eyes while she
examines the cucumbers brought in
with the last trip to the grocery store.
Raw and dry
that's how he is
raw and dry
and that deems his works not
worthy of our attention.
Though we are a bit sorry for the old fool.
No matter what the voices in his head
told him
there is such a thing as being too
late to begin
and this is it. See? He's like an eighty
year old playing hockey with the pros,
athletes in their prime."

What those who haven't done
enough living fail to realize is that
in this world there is a market for
literally anything and everything.
And a market you can't find
is just a market that has but to be
started
and the customers will come.
There are lots of people who love
bald cats and even prefer them
over the furry ones.
No market has ever died because
of the customer
only because of the merchant.
As long as you're that merchant who
doesn't give up you'll sell your
stuff eventually

poverty in abundance

four jobs in two months

and it wasn't even his
fault. He just
left because they didn't pay him

"Nobody works for
free," he said as he closed the
fridge, the
last can of beer in his hand,
not too cold

"Hey, leave some for me," his
girlfriend said

He threw himself on the couch,
careful to avoid
the spot where
springs poked their rusty
silver heads out

He opened the beer. "I keep
tellin' you I should
just open
my own business."

"Um-hm."

"No really, you know what this
town has in abundance?" He
took a sip

"Poverty?" she said, already stretching
her hand for the can

He handed her the can. "Yeah, poverty.
And poverty means homeless men.
Men nobody gives a damn about. Hell,
everyone wants them to
vanish. I was thinking,
maybe I can cash in on that. I could hunt
them down at night and
use their meat in a fast-food restaurant. It can
pass as pork. Everything passes in
this town.
What do you think?"

She took another sip. Handed
the can back to him. "Yeah. I know
where you can
begin, by the way. Tonight I'll show
you the alley my dad
and uncle sleep in."

He raised the can. "Cheers."

horny and creative and desperate

He went nine years without doing
it. Five of those
were spent in prison so it
was just normal
but the other four he spent
desperately trying and failing

He did look fine before
he got into hardcore drugs
and crime

Well, there was this
cute drug dealer
down the block
from whom he kept buying
only to get to see
her and try to strike up a
conversation

He didn't care that
she was pregnant
He called up almost daily to
meet up and
buy but he wasn't too
good at
conversation. Had no game,
as others would put it

And on the other side
she wasn't so
good at putting the products
together
She constantly laced the weed with
some other shit
and one such shit was so
bad that
when he smoked it
he got all horny and creative
and desperate

He grabbed a black
permanent marker and
drew a cunt across his
left forearm

It wasn't good enough so he
cut it open with
a razor and began to
lick at it and finger it
around the bone
and eventually fuck it until
he came

He came about four, five
times until
he passed out

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