living with the living dead

getting out of the hospital, my guts just hanging
I found her drunk on the bed.
I asked, “where the hell is the car?”
it had taken the last of my money to take a
cab back in
and   I still owed the L.A. County Hospital.
she told me she had crashed the car,
they were putting a new grill in down at the
gas station
and when I went down to the station
the grill was in and he was painting it
I asked him how much?
then I told him, “I paid less than half that
much for the whole god damned car.”
he shrugged, “Mrs. Chinaski said to fix it
“look,” I said, “that woman wasn’t my wife,
she’s a whore.”
“what?” he asked.
“a whore… and I got to have the car and
I’m broke… so you can either keep the car
or let me have it so I can look for a job
and pay you what I owe

I got the car.
it has a nice Cadillac grill on a
Ford V-8.
saw him next time 3 or 4 weeks
I pulled up drunk, smoking a
told him to fill it
she was sitting there right next to
cursing on and on about some
minor matter.
I paid him for the gas
and he never asked about what I
owed him,
I liked to feel good and tough and
it was a form of artistry
but looking down at her silken crossed
I realized she had put me in that
hospital in the first

I drove off and along…then
I hit the throttle and zoomed through a red
light at
Westlake Park as she screamed,
“what the hell you trying to do, you
son of a bitch?”

“shut up,” I said, “and pass the

I was making my come-back:
I had a job as a stockboy at
the May Co.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript