Cricket Online Review Table of Contents

 
..:: CONTENTS ::..
   Volume VI, Issue I

..:: POETRY ::..


..:: PROSE ::..
..:: OTHER ::..

..:: ETC ::..
   Contributor's Notes

..:: ARCHIVES ::..
   Volume I, Issue I
   Volume I, Issue II
   Volume II, Issue I
   Volume II, Issue II
   Volume III, Issue I
   Volume III, Issue II
   Volume IV, Issue I
  
Volume IV, Issue II
   Volume V, Issue I


 


from "The Vicious Circulation of Dr. Catastrope"
Kane X. Faucher

     

Ok, so I didn't go too far…a few hundred miles south and west…It called itself a city, but that's all als ob…more like a rural hub, an agglomerate of farms that traded in its pastures for insurance towers and dilapidated housing…at least on the east side where I held office…The downtown was deserted, all the businesses folding up like umbrellas, either permanently defunct or making tracks for those uber-malls and box-stores out in the burgeoning suburbs…Nothing left downtown but strip clubs and pawn shops…Undesirable elements that make the bourgeois stew taste awful…And in the north all the mansions, the university a bit south of that…The streets were all broken cookie crumbs, and the buses were rickety jalopies one would find in Ethiopia with a thousand people with pigs hanging from the sides…The mayor a bible zealot, a corrupt city council that sponsored neo-nazi gay bashing "family values" festivals in the park next to City Hall. In my end of town, everyone looking like a Dickensian character, a Tom Waits song…so many abnormalities, deformities, displaced aboriginals, dipsos and schizos, crack junkies and battered women…I worked twice a week at the methadone clinic, and once a month at the recovery house…real down-and-outers…I worked at the emergency emotional disturbance ward, too…On top of my already fat list of patients, most of them needing the same care I was providing at those shelters, wards, houses…Circumstances had beaten them all to a pulp…Middle-aged people looking 85…No longer the joking drink binges of college kids, but real serial alcoholics, a career in crack and everything else…It begins to weigh down on you after a while.
          Since I lived on the east side, I'd run into my patients all over…Always trying to bum a cigarette, forgetting that I don't smoke…or a few dollars to buy booze…Maybe stopping me at the corner store to roll up a shirt and show me a lump…Not here, in my office, I'd say…I'm not working right now…They didn't listen, and so I was always working, in or out of the office. If Jesus got tired with the mob of the sick and infirm, think what a overdrawn and tired little mortal like me must have felt…Absolutely exhausting! Wretchedly hot summers, so I had to keep the windows open…the stench of failure, vomit, the sounds of the lumpens from the decrepit pubs where it was "cash-only"…Missions and cheque-cashing joints and Salvation Armies dotting the landscape, the whole of it a gurgling sewer of devastation and hopeless despair…Like a Romanian ghetto!…The pharmacies shuttered and locked tight every night…gangland graffiti tags here and there, a passed out cluster of bodies sleeping in a bank vestibule…The vortex of human misery. I cannot understand how so many people do not realize that places like this exist in their own cities, or it must be complete indifference…Forget the have-nots, don't exist…I have my car and my job and I can't save the world…How many complicit with it all, disgusting! And no money in treating them…always voluntary…I barely made enough to keep my broken apartment where the toilet and sinks rarely worked the way they ought to…a landlady expropriating rent monies…fixing nothing, doing nothing, but sitting on her fat ass, smoking cigarettes and counting her crowns! Some of the junkies had more cash on hand than I ever did! How does that work?…
          Well, junkies have the best work ethic on earth…they can pull in thousands of dollars a week if need be to support their habits…If they were to channel that energy into the stock market, they'd be barons in no time! I met quite a few in treatment…Wearing stitched-together rags, yet finagling from every conceivable corner enough money to purchase a fleet of BMWs…scams more effective than Amway and the Roman Catholic Church 
          …It wasn't encouraging, but it demonstrated the zeal of human endeavour, the will to survive at all costs…Things were hard at the clinics, we had to put up signs asking the patients to not bring weapons on the premises…Imagine a sign like that! Here, in a city less than 300 000! In Los Angeles or New York, for sure…wouldn't blink an eye to see that…Expected! But here?
          I have to say, this city was a crumbling southern ruin…a rotten cavity lodged sorely along the dentition of the highway map. Who would even bother to extract it when it was just so much easier to ignore it…like how my patients constantly ignore my advice that they quit smoking, drink and eat less…Kind of like that! But even though this place was a world unto itself of dilapidation, failure, and ruin, like some spin-off Baudelaire poem, I still managed to find love here…How, you may ask…Philosophers of the French persuasion call it a fortuitous encounter, a kind of scene straight from Nighthawks, or perhaps just all the rotten luck in the world compressed so tightly as to implode and convert to its opposite…You have to understand that this place did have some winsome traits…A university, for one, even if it was mostly populated by robe-Barbie sluts and frat-boys in the belfries! An opulent university, founded by dementedly rich protestants…Buildings raised on cheap labour and the finest masonry, sky pinchers! Bell towers everywhere, and ornate doorjambs…porticoes, marble lintels, roughly hewn sandstone facing with no facades--the genuine article through and through! Like Cambridge or Oxford!…Very well-funded, replete with corporate sponsorship…Buildings named after every conceivable business pontiff…a building named after the local-global brewery…In fact, if you were not in university, chances were that you either worked for one of the insurance conglomerates in what was left of downtown or at the brewery…All other industries died long ago, but still the rails criss-crossed through the whole city…the neighbourhoods growing all around them…Murder during rush hour when a five kilometer train is slowly inching across all the major traffic arteries…Never occurred to the city planners to build overpasses, bridges, underpasses…Perhaps no one meant for this place to grow. Anyway, the woman…
          By this time, I had had my fill of crummy relationships that always ended up in sour regret, lack of sex, or psychoanalysis…All one and the same! Younger women by the barrelful…so tiresome! One has to wait patiently for them to come around, to figure and find themselves out…I was already pretty much finished forming by this point…I had dibs on a future and was moving toward it. The flaky years were well behind me…Medical school really cleared that up, and the practice, and responsibility and the terrifyingly necessary realization that no one really gives a shit about anyone else…Nothing and no one to fall back on…You fuck up, too bad! Next in line, please! You don't get a second shot! Poverty? Bankruptcy? Unexpected pregnancy from too long a stay at the bar? Again, too bad! Drinking and driving make you lose a leg, a life? Shucks! Flunked out of school, evicted, and developed a dependency on narcotics? Sucks to be you, but the crowd moves on! It's like the Exodus…You don't find the manna, you lag behind, you're left to rot in the sun and sand!…Here comes the pharaoh to put you back to work after a long and solid beating! Moses waits for no one! Hup-two! Get in step with the others or be vulture-kibble! Many of those other women hadn't figured out that hard iron lesson of life…Because they were younger, and their experiences never seemed to wander past the cattle gate! So I fell for someone ten years my senior, which was fine!…Experienced in matters of existence and sex…No fooling, no coquetry or whimsical little emotional dances…no games! Right to the point! Time is short!…You get to know someone pretty quick when you know how to inspect the other…And when you know what you want…or, better yet, what you don't want!
          She was a tall, thin Danish woman…timeless features. You couldn't place her age so well because people from the north have their own biorhythms…their own way of aging so unlike the white mutts that landed here centuries ago from England-France…The northerners, like the East Indians, never seem to age as fast…or they age differently, always much more interesting…Never looking dowdy! More ravishing over time! A grace! And they know the meaning of keeping fit, eating well, not letting go of the body like so many of the clumsy oafs here: "Whoops! There go my thighs! Plop goes my ass! My implant-tits are swinging like dandy sacks of potatoes! My neck is fusing its fat with my collarbones! What a klutz I am! Hand me that crate of candies!" So many of the women here get ugly and fat so quickly…By the time they hit late twenties, the flub is showing…by their thirties, the hands and face start getting that melted candle look…and by the forties it's all downhill…It's because they look so "pretty" so soon…By fourteen or eighteen they hit their beauty peak, like recently manufactured dolls with their tits like a solid shelf sticking out so proudly…Whereas the northerners of Europe, they ease into their beauty, take their time…No rush! And they keep it up…The Danish woman's name was Gretel, as Aryan as all that, I suppose…long blonde hair, grey eyes accentuated with a blue ring…high cheekbones, long athletic legs…not too muscular nor frail. You could tell that she was strong in her way…She looked like she could hold her own against an aggressor, that wiry scrapper look…Doesn't take shit from anyone. Stark features like hers, any half-intelligent attacker would just walk away…If need be, she could make her countenance look cold and murderous…This was important to me because I hated worrying about those times when my girlfriend was alone…I wanted to know that she could take care of herself when I wasn't around…Perhaps even better! Weak little girls exasperated and disgusted me…frail little dolls that want to be pampered and carried, who whine a hair is out of place, a broken nail…who take to shopping for shoes like therapy…who do girly things like do each other's hair or have girl's nights out where they gossip about boys…Who expect chocolates and flowers and all the pointless things…Who want to be treated like princesses and have everything bought for them, who use pouting as a way of getting what they want…I truly detest that sort of woman, if one could call that a woman! I despise equally across genders: those who spend an inordinate amount of time negotiating the right colour of blush and those who glue their minds to televised sports…fuck it all! Mundane rubbish! Mind-pap! Turns one's brain to sour pulp…I like a woman who doesn't fret over the pointless details…I like someone who looks fit and healthy, not one who tries to combat aging with an alchemist's pharmacopoeia of ointments, powders and paints! I can see right through that lacquer job! It's body-hatred and insecurity, and I despise above all those anxiety-ridden insecurity cases who always need constant confirmation that they are beautiful…Insecurity is what makes ugly, and self-hatred just crowns the whole thing! I don't mind jealousy…within limits. When it becomes borderline psychotic, then it needs to be rectified with therapy or pills…A small, cute kind of jealousy is okay, nothing too serious…We are, after all, wild beasts in civil clothing, and it is healthy to be wary of the other…Self-preservation, the way I see it. When someone is jealous with me, I take it as a form of flattery…as long as it is partially rooted in jest.
          So Gretel and I had met at the university. I was giving a guest lecture on my specialty, epidemiological techniques in the hospital…I had written a thesis on the subject and a few articles. We bumped into each other when the department took me out for something to eat at the graduate bar…She knew one of the profs, some kind of romantic history years ago. Everyone was introduced…As the drinks flowed, people got chummier, as is the case. She and I were sitting side by side on the patio, a real crowded situation. I was getting visibly cold and she let me rub up a little on her arm, a fine big-knit sweater that seemed to be as long as a dress. Seeing her in profile, I couldn't pin her age. As the night wore on and people slowly faded away, it was just her and I having found some conversational common ground…Actually, it was much more than just a ground, but was like an entire planet. We were completely at ease in conversation, enjoying ourselves. That she and I went somewhere else after that, and somewhere else even after that, is none the matter…details like that I leave to the satyrs and pornographers and romance novelists…She and I were a great match in many ways, in mind and body…That suited me fine…It suited her fine, too. We weren't much for the games, and so we just spoke openly on that impromptu first date what we expected, what we were willing to do and not do…We found that our demands were in accord, and so began those first two weeks where lovers are extremely selfish in wanting to be just with one another, fuck everyone else…And entire days were spent lounging around in bed, talking, etc…Things were like a dream…and every once in a while, I let down my guard and believe the whole shebang!…Like an idiot! I cannot help it…Hopeless romantic, hoping for the best…If it's too good to be true, chances are it wants your wallet or has plans to decapitate you. Big, damn heavy heart! I'm not like that anymore for good reason!…Had my heart tinkered with by the pros!…the real parasites fo the age!…master manipulators that would make Stalin smile beneath that communist cookie duster! Every "lover"--just a scummy real estate agent in disguise! A crook with a smile! Ratbags! Deyes! Finks! Dolts of the Liliput Order! Claqueurs and jongleurs at all the new guignols! Idolaters of the pyrite calf and the presidential chimpanzee! Brutish louts on a stroll through sludge!…Romance? Romance is for the doped and numbed!…Romance is synonymous with suffering…with suckerism! Fraught with dissembling and dementia start to finish!…I no longer have time to chase the targets of the heart…You just end up growing old and bitter, getting angry at your heart and your dick for wasting your time!
          Things took a turn for the worse…She was moody, which is okay since I'm a moody guy, too…At first, the mood switches were not so rapid, and were rarely directed at me…but as that comfort level sets in and you start getting used to that bicycle built for two, the careful observance of one's own actions starts to fall away, the niceties fade…The deeper the claws have sunk, the more one can feel one can thrash about like a lunatic…I guess…She became openly hostile to me, wanting her space but not leaving my apartment…She began to resent even the most basic courtesies I extended…And then she would switch back and become amorous again…A basket-case! Her mood rhythms threw mine off, and I'm always trying to keep some firm grip on the harness…lest I bark at the wrong person at the wrong time…She would alternate between treating me like shit and being pleasant, in rapid cycles, but it seemed that the bitch-factor was starting to expand while the good times were being truncated…And I was beginning to become concerned with her drinking…For sure, she could gulp down a sea without much worry, but it was the long-term and cumulative effects that concerned me…I have to worry about these things, as a doctor…She even called that into question, making all sorts of illogical claims, not capable of arguing a point, but meandering about until she could find a table upon which winning was conceivable…And she had the nasty habit of telling me what I was thinking, but always getting it wrong and never admitting to it…pure arrogance! Without genius, arrogance is a hard sell…Sometimes she would use her age as a means of winning arguments "by experience"…bullshit! She was more a princess than I thought…despite her fallen-on-hard-times experiences, which she had many…but always landed back on her feet…The drinking made her nasty, too. Always telling me how this relationship can't work, only to reverse her verdict the next day, pulling me along like an ox! That lousy femme fatale!…Why didn't I see it before? I have had only one experience with someone like that, a decade prior…Had I forgotten everything? Back to boot camp! Rub my nose in that shit once again!
          I had had about enough of the rollercoaster…Drunk on wine, and after a long bout of hostility, she fell asleep on my carpet…I told her that I was setting the alarm for 8 am, that she would have fifteen minutes to shower, pack her things, and get the fuck out…I suppose the effect of the wine had thrown her into a different world…beer and spirits just made her nasty, but wine completely rearranged the connections in her brain…She didn't register my command, and so when the next morning came she was completely confused as I started barking my orders…She didn't remember a thing! Looking at me like I was a madman!…I was pacing about like an SS officer, "aus! Los! Schnell! Up! Up! Up! Fifteen minutes! Nun! Pack up, let's go!" She was groggy and disoriented…Who was this crazy man yelling at her?…She was lucky I didn't throw her through a wall…And I'm not the violent type! Suffice to say, we talked it over and she warmed me back up…sucking me back in…These blowups would happen once a week, and then we would get back together stronger than ever…I tried to fool myself, that it was the true spirit of romance whose ticket price is bought with intense strife…One can feel these things like nerve endings through a telephone call, or somesuch!…Well, goodbye to it all, for even good sex is no reason to hold fast, though for some this is a convincing reason, which explains why her past lovers could ride this bull for much longer than I could…Years of her…I can just imagine it, the torment, the madness. She had a permanent throat problem…difficulty swallowing, most likely due to a former lover who had been driven to the point of madness, straddled over her and stabbed her with a blade…I could sympathize, if not act…It seemed as though madness was what she left in her wake.
          It was only when she was booted that mysterious emails started to make their way to me…past lovers warning me about her, all too late!…Where were they when the shitstorm was raging? No doubt still licking wounds…Well! And another ex-lover being much more charitable, calling her "an eternal woman"…Eternal? Torment! Just confirms my view that eternity seems to house all the cretins and shit-ass properties of the universe, that the truth of this world is precisely the misery it conditions!…But I am not one to have big ideas…Those I leave for the philosophers who are all idolaters at the collected altars of Reasonable Concepts Completely Divorced From the Real…The rational is the real? Go soak your head! I've seen the so-called Real jabbering at the bus stop and beaten half to death by a roving band of drunks! I've seen the real as a fourteen-year-old girl selling her mother's paralyzed body for crack! I've seen the Real take half my possessions and nail an AUDIT to my forehead…for laughs! If this Real is the Rational, then I'll take my chances in the abyss, thank you kindly!…Gretel was a philosophy major of a kind, which seems to explain everything…A failed pragmatist or an idealist who soils herself at the very mention of experience…Fuckers and tarts the whole brigade of them!…Philosophers can indeed form a long conga line and fly off a bridge!…I'll lead them there like a carnival barker!…Philosophers on this side of the bridge and publishers on the other!…Maybe we could drug them up and have them go at each other's throats…That would be entertainment and ontology wrapped together!…The Truth is always at the circus because all we have left of the gods of old are the cheap supplements, copies, shreds, and torn prayer guides no one knows how to read anymore…Now, it's ingredient labels, cinders, chaff, and trans-fat warnings! Let it all go up in smoke!…I've got myself a box of matches and a large portion of bitter outrage! Let the witticists and playwrights be biting about the modern age…I'll take bitter and forget the whole blood-dripping mess…The empirical is a messy thing, and I'd just as soon deport it along with all our "big ideas" and "cultural products" and "literary classics"…all flummery! Produced and cared for by the shit-for-brains trust, potty-machine Inc. Think I'm way off base on this one? I've got your first class deportation ticket right here in my hand…Off to Darfur with you, non-stop non-connector flight on Lufthansa!…Would you rather stand here and give me your earful? Your opinions are worth as much as mine, and that isn't saying much…But if you think this is a democracy, then you have your thumb up your ass!…Your touchy-feely utopias are just part and parcel of those Big-Idea pontiffs, so keep on buying! Your call is important to us, and so stay on the line…a surly representative will be with you shortly to settle your hash good and proper! You sofa-bed loafer! You addlepated city pimp! You urine-swilling degenerate of yesterday's hippie falsity! No time for you! I have to move on…
          I thought I was devastated by this dissolution with Gretel the Golem, but it turned out to be just indigestion…of that mental kind that rises up like gas and just sticks there…Obsession, perhaps? Lust? Who cares! Moving right along to more important things!…The shabby props and sets of a life started being torn down, almost all at once! A meaningless inferno made quick work of my apartment, and still I had to honour the lease…I ended up paying every month for a luxurious spot in the sky!…A loophole, should have read the small print!…The building was just ash and rubble, and I could point a few levels up to that abstract box in space that was once my apartment, still real since I was paying for it for another six months!…Oh, I fought it in the courts, but lost…Seemed like everything went up in the fire except the landlord's contract…printed on Kevlar fire-resistant fibres and with a thick gloss of derived asbestos!…Wouldn't be surprised if the landlord didn't set the fire herself, to collect the insurance…maybe to purchase another little slum villa and start the process over again…meanwhile collecting all our rents on phantom residences! Shrewd, but sloppy!…I had to start over again, all my things, my clothes…'Oh, but you are a doctor and so wealthy! No hardship could befall you and your fat coffers of gold!' How wrong you are!…I was working mostly gratuit…And I was living on the credit the banks were floating me…back in those days when the banks liked me because of those two little letters in front of my name, the D and r and the punkt. It was just a matter of course to extend all the credit I desired…A medical doctor is good for it! Well…
          I found a new apartment which was shabbier than the last…Best I could do on short notice. It was a tiny walk-up squeezed on both sides by noisy student bars and tattoo parlours…Always with the booming bass, the thumping and bumping below, the ambulances taking the kids away who had succumbed to alcohol poisoning…Or always the fights…Every night! Always the same monotonous dialogue, the long stream of "fuck you"s that really stretched their capacities in vocabulary…I may have taken an oath, but I knew not to enter that little war zone of protracted adolescent idiocy…Let them drink and pummel themselves to death, into a gooey paste the street cleaners can spatulate in the morning…But this meant I hardly got any sleep…All red-eyed and dark-ringed, laggardly and nodding off on the bus…The bus was the only place I could catch a few winks. My lunch hour, too…I had to adapt to the situation, so I planned naps before the ruckus at the bars began in earnest, but I couldn't on the nights I was volunteering at this and that place…which was often!…It was worse than Parsifal…All those tarts swooning and whoring and drinking themselves to oblivion and back to shriek about it! And the brutes and bulls competing over these deplorable prizes of the flesh…All for a night's quick fuck or the opportunity to puke in a stranger's sink…And it was replayed ad nauseum every weekend, every day…Always new participants, but imbued with the same dialogue…I was at wit's end, and no fooling! Tuesday night was the only slow night, but as though to compensate for the omnipresent noise, I had an asinine neighbour with a loud electric guitar…a crack addict, too, which meant I could hear people clopping up and down the stairs at all hours of the night, talking loud…I was sick of it all…But I settled his hash. I decided to get a small firewood axe at the local hardware store, and when the next Tuesday rolled by and he was busy filling the immense abysmal void in his life with noise, I knocked on his door with the axe in my hand…Not so meek this doctor!…I asked politely if he would turn down his music while I was sharpening my axe…in full view, and no amount of crack could offset the blind fear a man at the door with an axe produces…It was like a Kantian ethical problem…'Should I tell the axeman where my friend is or will lying as a categorical everything?'…No, not like that…But he was never a problem again…The tribal law was in effect here, and so I had no choice but to rewrite the laws tribally…You would do something similar in my situation! Especially after weeks of insufficiently short excursions to Nod! It drives you batty…can't think or see straight…Sleeplessness makes barbarians of us all!
          Still, it was perhaps worse to be sitting on top of Babylon than to be out in the middle of the cold night in stocking-feet while the firemen were spurting impotently at a blaze that was consuming all your things…Better than the ambulances shrieking off to put another kid in the emerg for me to tend to…I should have been more preventive, to go down below to that third ring riding Geryon…to snatch the drinks away, or have the fucking place shut down…Underage drinkers, blowjobs and cocaine and rape in the bathrooms, the dance floor slicked with their greasy and grimy lust…Having the time of their lives, unwittingly at my expense! I decided to go to war with this dance club…
          The place was called, simply and monosyllabically enough, Bob's. It was quite popular among those who would end up as the gurgling dishwater of the social drainage system in five ten years…Jiggling and thrusting their STD groins at one another with an alcohol level well beyond the possibility of rational judgement…And the servers continued serving these wild beasts, making them wilder, more savage…What did the bar care? It was busy in the back counting stacks of doubloons! Hordes and herds of young fools paying for the privilege of being stupid and doing harm to themselves…Disgusting. I decided one night to investigate the source of all my sleepless pains, to glean if there was any purpose that may have been beneficial to the world at large…I watched as the bouncers let in a woman so drunk she couldn't stand, buttressed by two horny men that had no doubt found their quarry…It was ladies' night, a more wretched and misogynist idea than anti-abortion laws…For what does it entail? What does it mean? It means simply this: you men are just far too ugly for any woman to faun over when sober, so liquor them up…eviscerate them from their capacity to think…All of which, I think, is tantamount to a kind of rape, given sanction by the club owners who know nights like this are a cheap draw…Some people are just plain stupid, and they will drink themselves in a state even worse than stupid. Although these little tarts bring it upon themselves, they don't deserve the outcome…Ladies' nights need to be categorically banned! The purpose is so obvious and transparent that it sickens me…Where are the legislators? No doubt lurking in the dark crevices of places like this and hunting for "fair game"…Assholes and lechers, the lot of them! Who was feeding alcohol to these beasts?…It was a frenzied riot of flesh gone sour and silly…all tarted up and down…in skimpy clothing, getting less graceful as the night wears on…The trolley of doom that leads to last call when there is that rushing mob of desperate alcoholics plunking down their tuition money on another stale beer or a fruity cocktail filled with rufies!…Make it a concentration camp, and still they wouldn't be able to tell the difference!…Spoiled denizens of a despicable republic of failure listing treacherously on the seas toward doom!…I like dancers, but what I was seeing on the dance floor was not what one could call dancing…more the disco gyrations of an enormous squid of scantily clad nobodies stuffed into tube tops and spilling flab everywhere, while the beer-bellied boys with their chin-strap beards sidled up to them making obscene movements with their hips, rubbing up to the tarts…trying to seduce them with ungraceful alcohol-logged bodies…Complete and utter failure! I looked around and tried to find an ounce of sense to it all…finding nothing, I was about to go, but then a kafuffle on the floor…a fight was breaking out! I couldn't tell over the seething swarm of heads and bodies how many were involved…The bouncers pounced like panthers upon the scene, trying to suppress it, locate the cancer and remove it…but the violence was spreading…Proof of life that mob rule exists…All those within viewing distance of the altercation suddenly succumbed to a radical polarity shift, something switching on in their brains…all that misspent lust turning to a desire for violence…Fists and feet randomly pummeling anything in sight…A carnival of fun! A complete lapse into frenzied savagery…I had to negotiate a quick exit, but the exits were choked with bodies straining to either see the fight or to start another one…Like little vortices and whorls, the fights were beginning to pop up everywhere…I heard the sound of a bottle having been hurtled at the bar, smashing more bottles…The music had stopped, and I was waiting for the bouncers to turn the lights on and off…There must have been over two hundred patrons…well over capacity! How would the police round them all up? Would they take me in as well…But, of course! I just had to play Pliny as the volcano of rotten and condemnable doom was erupting…I felt a bottle whiz past my ear and clock someone right in the forehead…I felt hands pushing and pounding me from all sides…I toppled! A pile-on of bodies biting, hitting and kicking in the throes of hysteria had fallen on top of me…I was trapped! I tried crawling out, but there were far too many oafs stepping on my hands…The heel of a woman's boot had connected with my eye…giving me quite a shiner!…I felt the mass on top of me begin to wane or shift its weight…I took the small window and squeezed myself out…Oh, yes, I felt like toothpaste!…Everyone was smashing one another…We were all lucky that the stools were bolted to the floor, but there was a pool table…Out came the sticks and balls! This was a Neanderthal rage!…The windows were being smashed…Shrieks and screams and yelling…Someone drove their fist but missed his mark, deafening me in one ear…I could hardly breathe…It was so hot and fetid, this stale air, the sweat…I had no idea whose blood was running down my cheek…I was wet and sticky…I was pinballed between several bodies, and then finally pinned to a wall while not two inches from my nose two brutes were trading drunken punches…Alcohol and pugilism seem to be a toxic mix…My shins were being stepped on…Thwok! Another punch to the side of my head! Foomf! A kick in the gut…I was down! No, I was not down yet…I was being propped up by the clog of bodies playing tug of war…One solid mass of bodies heedless to everything but striking whatever was closest…Even friends were beating each other…All bets were off! I was in a bad way…I do remember hearing the police sirens, and this was the cold hose on all these rabid dogs…Just as quickly as they had fallen into this rampage, another instinct kicked in: the need to flee!…The crowd dispersed and scattered, the rats! Those of us too weary or unconscious or injured to move remained…Easy pickings for the police…A mere thirty people to transport to the station…I remember asking a gruff officer what took him so long…He just gazed at me with disdain, as though I was a willing participant in this vile circus!
          My wounds were tended and I was processed at the station. I gave my full account of what I could remember…I told them how I had been suffering the racket for weeks…that I was a tenant above the club…I implored the officers to shut the place down. Once they realized that I was legitimate in my claims, they drove me home…On that next horrible day of pain, I filed a formal complaint with the city, and the club was fined and shut down…but only for a few days. I complained to the landlord, but I had no idea that he owned the club…Once he found out that I was responsible for his precious club being shut down temporarily, things were very strained until the final release: an eviction notice scrawled in pencil and taped to my door. I didn't even have a chance to pack!…When I came back from the office, the fucker had changed the locks and dumped all my shit in the street, no doubt pawning what was valuable and discarding all the rest amidst the usual stacks of garbage on the curb. Not even twelve hours notice to vacate…the goon jumped the gun! Leaving me homeless again!…But I got my revenge…I contacted the health department and tipped them off…rats and cockroaches…a building far below code…a firetrap! I brought out all the big guns!…The place was subsequently condemned and the club, too…The last I heard of that landlord, he had tried opening up another club a few streets over but was denied a liquor license…Good!

  

//   Advance   //