Dirty Henry and the Grim Reaper

 LIFE IS GRIMM

I am in hell, Henry cried

when his brothers and son died.

Oh, really, says Grim, just wait —

and cuts down his last soul mate!

Who’s next, you sick piece of shit?

My own damn death, is that it?

You sorely tempt me, says Grim

raising his skeletal limb.

Smiling, Henry has to say:

Go ahead, punk, make my day!

◾️

Of cats and the dead

I don’t get out much anymore. I stay inside with the cat. I myself am turning into a cat. I eat like the cat — cold salmon on a small plate; I sleep like the cat — frequently, and in various chairs. There is one major difference between us — she can’t type, therefore wastes no time at it.

The cat looks out the Miami Beach window at the blinding white sky. Pelicans fly in formation — nature’s own squadron, one bird taking the lead, ten others fanned out behind him. Here’s another difference between the cat and I — I know that far-away objects are bigger than they appear; the cat thinks the pelicans are about the size of budgerigars.

I’m running out of time if I intend to write my magnum opus, that one book that will justify my lousy life. The age-old question is: Where to begin? Don’t give me that “at the beginning” routine. I hate stories that start: My earliest memory is when I was four, standing on the running board of my father’s old Ford, blah blah blah.

One should start at the end, if one only knew the end. Well, the end is death, of course, but we need to know the circumstances, the morbid details, the cause, the how and the why and the where — and most chillingly, the when.

If we all knew when, we’d live our lives a lot differently. Either that or we’d blow our brains out now and be done with it. A lot of people hate waiting. They’re impatient. And they especially hate waiting for a corned beef on rye with too much pain on it; or waiting for a lousy bowl of oblivion. The hell with it.

I know a lot of dead people. I don’t call them anymore. I used to dial A for Afterlife. Never an answer. Talking into a dead phone. I dialed O for Oblivion. Busy signal. Lines all tied up.

I shared this fact with the cat. She listened intently but I knew she wasn’t interested. She was thinking of a crunchy pelican the size of a budgerigar.


 

Black python

Guido Michelini showered in the basement of Grand Central Station. Two quarters in the turnstile for a torn towel and a piece of soap with hair on it.

He wasn’t a bona fide bum. The night before he had $400 in crisp new $100 bills in his wallet that he had just withdrawn from an ATM. Alas, his last. He lost them to a  black whore in the Cavalier Hotel on East 36th Street. A black python of pure sex. She charged him $100 for a blowjob, and while he was still recovering, she lifted the crisp new $100 bills from his wallet and skedaddled out of there. He heard her yelling “Taxi!” on the street below. That’s when he looked in his wallet. She hadn’t taken any of his ID and had left him with a few $5 and $10 dollar bills, which he thought was very thoughtful.

It turned out to be a damn expensive blowjob, but almost worth it, in fact he’d say it was worth it, as he showered in the basement of Grand Central Station while men crapping in toilets without doors looked on. He had to laugh.

He had no credit cards with anything left, but he had girlfriends, and when he was cleaned up and was back in his Giorgio Amani suit, he phoned one of them collect in Los Angeles. He told her tearfully and with appropriate desperation that he had been robbed by a couple of thugs who held a knife to his throat and took his $400 in crisp new $100 bills.

She said, “Oh, baby, come on home,” and said she would put an airline ticket to L.A. on her American Express card. He used part of the cash the python had left him to take a cab to LaGuardia. Then he was on a plane heading for the City of Angels. Oh, baby, come on home!

Guido had several such “homes.” He was a loser, but in many ways he was a winner.