I Wouldn’t Rule Out A Wooden Box – By Michael Tyler

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Pic by Detlef Bukowski

 

 

And I meet Davison in a burger joint balls-to-the-wall ‘retro’ in a way that is less than impressive. Davison is sitting in a booth of orange vinyl drinking a coke and smearing ketchup with French fries. It’s 11 in the morning and he’s wearing sunglasses and something about the staccato of his delivery makes me more than a little suspicious as to whether or not he’s given up drugs before noon with the bravado he claimed after he was last released from rehab. I feel for the vial in my jacket pocket and panic until I find it in the left pocket of my jeans accompanied by relief which is disconcerting in a way that is difficult to place my finger on.

“Hey,” I say as I sit.

“Oh… hey man,” he says after a pause that seems studied affectation.

“So…. what’s going on man?”

“Huh?”

“What’s going on? Why did you call me?”

“Uh… I don’t remember man, it’ll come to me. For the meanwhile do you want something man? My monthly instalment from my Father arrived this morning…”

Bud said he’d arrive around now and I’m keen to just hand him the cash and go back to my dorm, put on some Sam Cooke and smoke the day away. I’m hungry but it seems a long stretch between the booth and the counter so I just shake my head and gaze at James Dean plastered to the wall.

“I fucken hate James Dean man,” from Davison.

“Who the fuck hates James Dean?”

“His whole thing was playing the rebel, in films, interviews… and he slept his way to the top, I don’t how many studio heads he fucked in the ass to get ahead. The thing is… he worshiped Brando – who was a real rebel, which you can only afford to be when you’re that fucken talented. Dean based his whole persona on Brando, which is the fucken opposite of being a rebel.”

I remember a photo I’d seen somewhere with Dean on one end of a line and Brando on the other, separating them were five girls, and while Brando is looking directly into the camera, Dean is staring right at Brando and it spoke to me in a way no anecdote ever could.

Looking at Dean now I sense the virginal beginnings of a shared hatred. I look to the left and a pouty Marilyn Monroe leans from the waist toward me with a come hither stare. “Fuck man… Monroe was the last fuckable movie star,” I almost whisper.

“What about Audrey Hepburn?” From Davison. “Now that’s a girl who truly didn’t give a fuck. The thing about Hepburn is she seemed innocent, she gives the appearance of someone who was all fairy tales and fancy, but deep down you know she fucked like a witch with a temper.” Davison continues with a wave of his hand. “Sandy Dee on the other hand was all curls and big eyes and the presumption of innocence, you just know she fucked like a school girl… and not in a good way.”

“Sweet Jesus” I say. “That’s not the kind of thing you want to go around saying in public man…”

“You can say anything in public now man, mores the pity. And I bet Dee would make a more than willing bare backed beauty.”

“Yeah, I don’t know man, you never really know anybody until you’re both sharing a pillow.”

“Girl or Guy?”

“Both, I guess.”

The conversation moves to an ex of Davison’s who recently had her third abortion in as many years and as Davison can see the despair in my eyes he counters, “She’s so tired of her own life I just don’t think she imagine another inside her.”

I recall that the last three times I saw her she wore long sleeves and I’m not sure if that was to hide what was rumoured to be a growing heroin habit or the cutting she said she gave up in high school.

“You wanna hear something fucked up?”

I finger the vial in my left pocket, get up and leave the booth, go into a stall in the men’s room and do a quick couple of lines. The face in the mirror look’s tired, tan, tan and tired. I splash my face and exit the men’s room.

Davison doesn’t even comment on my exit and return and simply repeats, “So you wanna hear something fucked up?”

“Yeah, maybe, I dunno, whatever.”

“Leo’s been going to the same brothel for like a month now, always the same girl, always the same deal. He makes her take her a shower and then puts her over his knee and spanks her for an hour while “Tutti Frutii” plays over and over. She’s not allowed to talk, she’s not allowed to make a sound.” A beat. “The whore’s a brunette, and I think his mother’s a brunette so fuck …. anyway you look at it that’s some weird shit… “

“Fuck it… we’re all a little twisted, and it’s probably cheaper than therapy, probably better pills available too if you hunt around. Fact is, when the shit hit’s the fan the first place I’m gonna go is a fucken brothel… you got booze, whore’s and pills… and I bet they also got one of those strong double-backed doors, so you know no fucker is gonna break in anytime soon.”

And as I conclude my diatribe Davison removes his sunglasses and I look into his eyes and see even less than usual and I’m unsure as to whether this deserves reflection on my part, or his.


 

About the Author

Michael Tyler has been published by Takahe, Bravado, Adelaide Literary, PIF, Daily Love, Danse Macabre, Apocrypha and Abstractions, Dash, The Fictional Café, Potato Soup Journal, Fleas On The Dog, Cardinal Sins, Mystery Tribune, Other Terrain, Suddenly And Without Warning, Mad Swirl and Synch Chaos.

Michael writes from a shack overlooking the ocean just south of the edge of the world. He has been published in several literary magazines and plans a short story collection sometime before the Andromeda Galaxy collides with ours and …