excepts from GO NOW (Scribners)
© 1996 Richard HellIn the little world of dingy nightclubs where I make my living the girls, as a rule, are there to be abused. They judge the musicians' importance and desirability by how freely the guys'll use them. At the same time they're grateful for the smallest kindness, as long as it's the exception. Rock 'n' roll is a lot like pimping. The object is to make insecure young girls willing to pay money to be near you. Merry first called me three or four years ago, when she was 14. She tried to sound suave on the phone, asking to interview me for her school paper, but she laughed too suddenly and made the most crudely suggestive promises. In fact we recognized each other immediately, like Joan Crawford and George Sanders. She brought a girlfriend on her first visit but she's come alone ever since. She's a plump, precocious, black schoolgirl, pretty and provocative in her short dark kilt, kneesocks, and crisp white blouse. She unbuttons the blouse to the bottom of her bra the minute school lets out.
She'll do anything for me. She's even developed an ingenious little charade to replace the travesty of my "borrowing"s of ten dollars to go cop whenever she arrives. She's asked to be allowed to give me $10 a minute for criticizing her technique as she tries to mouth and squeeze my penis to orgasm. I sit on the couch and she gets down on her knees between my legs. She calls me Teacher. Unfortunately she's never improved. The sessions remind me of how when I was a kid I tried pushing live mice into my pubic hair. So I call her. She comes over. She chirps and drawls at me in this flirtatious, conspiratorial style I know is as thin and fragile as old film stock. Everything is coy sex, or else gossip and name-dropping. It makes me impatient because it's so offensively pitiful, but I just channel my irritation into coldness and mockery and she laps it up, reaching new depths of precious self-abasement for my benefit. Somehow I don't really like the way I intimidate her, but I keep seeing her because she is everything I've asked for. We perform our moment in my ruined livingroom and bedroom. The windows dusty and marbled like carriers of some skin disease. The eternally intrusive light penetrating them nevertheless in grimy shafts to capture our movements in sequential friezes, frozen there in dead ritual, as if we're tarnished bronze, mottled with a powdery pale green dinge that smears ourselves as we touch. Like crude half-humans only partly emerged from the walls and furniture. A dream come true. Her vagina looks so pink and mushy, so liquid and glossy though, and my cock so drained and massive piercing it there in the container of her chocolate skin. A real valentine of human space. Her capacity for deflecting my verbal assaults with lame but indomitably persistent simulations of worldly repartee and for embracing and even embellishing upon the casual sexual abuse to which I subject her always amazes me. But her pretense to some sad and sick third-hand conception of sophistication drives me to such extravagant lengths of frustrated viciousness that the honest life in her rises up unexpectedly from unknown human depths, rendering the clumsy writer a self-satisfied moron, his tale grotesque and artificial. Unless you're really smart and point it out like me. Time to pray. One of the gifts of my condition is a detachment that makes my timing impeccable: I tell her it's time to go, and she leaves.
Rehearsal is at 7:00. It's now almost 6:00. I don't really feel much like going. I decide to call Jim. He's the only guy remaining in the band I still feel any responsibility towards. "Oh, Copley," I moan, "I'm very, very tired." "You don't wanna rehearse?" "Did I say that?" "Let me put it this way: I feel certain I detect beneath your tedious whine the intention to cancel rehearsal tonight." "Gee, that's perceptive. Maybe you're right. It's probably important that I pay attention to my submerged feelings. Any objections?" "Would I miss an opportunity to stay home and vilify your corpse?" "You're not really pissed off are you?" "I think I'll leave you guessing about that." "I doubt it." "Listen, I've got plenty of other things to do. Or maybe I'll call up Stiv Bators and have him come over to the studio as long as you can't make it." I laugh. "Copley, you're the funniest guy I ever met. ...You know, Merry was just over here. You know who I'm talking about right?" "Your little student?" "Yeah--" "No wonder you're tired." "You know what she asked me this time? She asked me if it was true that you'd 'accidentally' killed a ten-year-old girl once." "What?" "I swear. It must come from something you said backstage some time. I just laughed and laughed, and Merry sat there looking at me with these big, slightly confused eyes. Sometimes I worry about her." "Yeah, when you're not too busy injecting semen into her rectum." "Hey--that's not true. She's a very good person." "Mmm hmm, and not only that, but when you're done you can just press the air out of her and put her in your closet." "I told her that dead girl wasn't entirely an 'accident.'" "What? You did? Did you really? You could have. But I know you didn't. Did you?--" "Nah." "Well, are we rehearsing or not?" "Um... Let's leave it up to fate. You call Tom and Larry and I'll call Mark and if they haven't already left we'll cancel it. Next rehearsal's on Thursday." "Alright." We reach the guys and I get my wish.
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