Wednesday, September 05, 2001

Crumpled, Dollar Bills - Episodes From My Youth


(Oh Shit!)

In a bookstore (of the non-Borders, Barnes & Noble and B.Dalton respectable variety) a crumpled dollar bill is a terribly inopportune and frustrating thing indeed. For those envisioning neatly ordered rows of bestsellers, self-help books and coffee table free-weights ("Why - YES - I do find Ecudorian Animal Mating Habits fascinating, but a 75lb Copenhagen oak table isn't meant to hold up a 200lb coffee-table book") organized helpfully (yet not thoughtfully) for Stepford-esque Housewives who rampage through suburbia aided by Prozac and a disbelief of 25MPH restrictions on their shiny, leased SUV's, the piped in Muzak meant to resemble Enya (or more likely, modern day Enya meant to resemble piped in Muzak) and icy cappuchino's - slick with condensation prepared by disgruntled, disinterested, verbally disembowled teenage boys with multi-colored hair ("shaved here, yet oh, not there, thank you") waiting to be discovered and praised for their artistic genius; "Is that merely froth accenting my Latte or a mindnumbing work of Degas ?"

If you are envisioning this, don't, I'm not speaking of those places.

Instead, close your eyes, loosen your belts and picture something dirtier, seedier and honestly - undeniably, more arousing to most. Parking lots full at the witching hour (130AM bar closing time in most states - "I don't care where you go, but your not staying here" still ringing in my ears), hallways darkened enough to hide but with subtle, unflattering splashes of light - invariably red, sometimes blue -disclosing faces, bodies, the scurrying of the shamed or the bravado of those too drunk to care. Men linger, more shadow then real and less real then the air they breathe: stuffy, used, stale and spent. Here they are not searching for Grisham, Updike, Irving or Sedaris, but "Stealth-mode" cruisers seeking companionship and solace in the hands of a ten-minute friend with the aide of a few, crisp dollar bills. In the place of the music of Enya, is a symphony of sounds of the red light district, an orchestra of moans with an accompaniment of zippers (down, then up - for some: REPEAT) and of course the whirring of dollars finding their new home). Nightly the twenty-year-old stained, trampled-on and matted-down carpet surrenders and becomes an ashtray, a repository for things unsaid, undone, under foot - condom wrappers mingle with cigarette butt's, forsaken phone numbers linger - crumpled up used to dispense of chewed gum, and splatters of jizz, cum, spunk - dropped, shot and freed, plays havoc - impersonating tell-tale land mines carried away on the perpertrators shoe. The hallways appear to bow under the weight of it's visitors. Each carrying the burden of fear, apprehension, lust, want, need, hope and desire as if they were each a stick - tied neatly in bundles and slung over each man's shoulder.

The adult bookstore is a perverse playground of funhouse mirrors - devilishly entertaining, offering distorted glimpses of who we could be at certain moments.

"Whadd'Ya into Slugger??", hoarsley whispers one-passerby, a garage mechanic maybe - grit still beneath his nails, perhaps a high school football coach - still wearing recent victory on his brow, but more likely an accountant at Boring, Bored and Tiresome, Inc. - trying to forget the wife and kids at home.

I wish the younger one leaning against the wall, curious, embarassed (making him all the cuter) and strong (making him all the more desirable prey) would follow, yet it's the others - out from the red-laced shadows who wish to play "Tag" to your "It". Oh to be a young, Drew Barrymore in "Firestarter" and just implode these trolls in flames. Stare-Glare-Zap-Poof! Hah! Your a burnt marshmellow in the shape of a troll.

I select a booth, head swimming, crotch throbbing and fall prey to the wait...anxiously ironing out crumpled dollar bills with the heat of my hand.

To Be Continued