Born Out of This

“Oh come on,” she says.
“No.”
“I bet you’ve never had your dick sucked by a midget before.”
“You win.”
“How old are you baby?”
“Twenty-two.”
“You’re so tan,” she says.“Such good skin.”
“I’m Greek. And Italian. And something else I don’t remember, mixed with some other something from the Mediterranean.”
“Ooo la la. Come on baby, let me do it.”
She pulls at the zipper.
“I just want to drink. Please, let me drink.”
“Alone?”

There are worse things than being alone. It takes decades to figure that out. And most times it’s too late. And there’s nothing more tragic than being too late.

In Memphis I paid for a girl from the yellow pages to come to my room. Only I never wanted the hand job. I just wanted her to sit with me and talk. I had been on the road for eight days, twelve hours at a time. I wanted to tell her how nice the girls were in Knoxville. And how good the food was in Fort Smith, Arkansas. I lived, then, on a candy bar a day. I ate it at night, before going to bed. In Tucumcari, New Mexico I found a can of white beans at a rest stop washroom and so I had it for supper sitting in the car, parked. I ate in the middle of the worst storm I’d ever seen. The crosswinds were rocking the car and I thought I was going to be flipped over in the parking lot. I was going to Hollywood to try to be something. I was too late.

“Everything I know is wrong.”
“What does that mean? It’s too much of an absolute.”
“Tell me life is beautiful.”
“What? Tell you…”
“Do you have anything?”
“No, really, what does it mean everything you know is wrong. I want to know.”
“I need a hit first.”
“Dope?”
“No. Anything to drink. Do you have anything to drink for me?”
“You shouldn’t drink anymore. You should stop.”

I took the 405 on foot in the middle of the night. In El Segundo three girls from the Valley stopped and asked me if I needed a ride and I went with them. They smoked cloves and did lines of coke off their compact mirrors. I didn’t want drugs. They smeared the powder on my lips and my entire mouth became numb. They took Polaroid pictures. I told them where I was from and they laughed. No one lives in El Toro, one of them said. What’s in El Toro?

Nothing.

Me.

My first and last freelance job in Hollywood was holding a boom mic for a porno shoot in someone’s fancy house in the San Fernando Valley. The actor was getting fluffed by a young girl with pigtails while we were setting up for the shot. I had holes in my stomach. After the first scene, I went into the bathroom and vomited. I finished out my day and the director wrote out a check for three hundred and fifty dollars.

“There’s a party tonight in Woodland Hills. Wanna come?”

I said no.

After the shift, I went to get my car from the empty lot behind the slaughterhouse. Nights were the worst. I could hear the machines inside, eviscerating the flesh, and I could smell the putrid stench of death in the Southern California night. Everyone suffers for someone else. Always.

About Alex M. Pruteanu

Alex M. Pruteanu is the author of the novella Short Lean Cuts. He has published fiction in NY Arts Magazine, Guernica Magazine, [PANK], and Specter Literary Magazine. His forthcoming novel is titled The Sun Eaters.

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