Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine: Stories
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Twelve stories that teeter between wicked humor and stinging pathos encompassdilapidated right arenas, state mental hospitals, and chaotic emergency roomswhere the inhabitants are brilliantly etched characters.
get through to him. Mastication of the South American chicle plant is against the law in Singapore, Harold, did you know that? I tell this guy that selling gum is against the law in Singapore! They got their shit squared away over there. I tell this to Vend-o-face, an’ he ain’t hearin’ it. He’s one of them passive-aggressive sons of bitches who likes to drive fifty in the passing lane or who will hang up an express line at the supermarket jacking around with a checkbook, buying lottery tickets,
ruin, decay, and dispersion. It was time to resort back to the police state. Life Duffy had said—Singapore! Somewhere in the back of his brain he realized it was the codeine talking—a medicinal “misadventure”—yet Hammermeister could not stop himself. He told the audience that America was going down the sewer as it coddled weaklings and slackers. He began to talk of racial polarization and the subway shooters, until finally the superintendent, aghast at Hammermeister’s presentation from the
the stubble on his neck. “Geez. I never figured that Eustace got laid. Just that he fell ninety-five feet off the water tower. Somehow I never imagined anything sexual happened with him.” “Once a week,” Mrs. Gordon said, “something sexual happened.” Freddy turned off the stereo. “I have to fight to hear you. What did this woman look like?” “She must have been a bird,” Mrs. Gordon said. “To be able to put up with that. But, then, it was probably over quick—” “And it calmed him? It did the
away from her but she took his hand, the hand-of-a-thousand-jerkjobs-that-would-never-jerk-again. Numb with ecstasy, Frankie recited the capper: “Whenas in silks my ‘Susan’ goes Then, then (methinks) how sweetly flows That liquefaction of her clothes. Next, when I cast mine eyes and see That brave vibration each way free; O how that glittering taketh me!” She kissed him on the side of the mouth as they rounded the corner and neared school. “Christ, you know Shakespeare by heart,” she
of the rainbows were white both in terms of shade and texture, from flat white to glossy enamel, from sandpaper to shiny white leather—they hurt my eyes and yet I felt compelled to study them until I felt nearly blinded. Their significance was promised to be revealed to me and then I found I could look no longer. It was like seeing the reputed face of God—lethal. I headed back to the Shit Shack. As I passed the sailors’ apartment, I was cognizant of some serious cocaine vibes. I could see Amos