my friend, Howie

had worse luck with women than most, finally married, they had
a baby and it went all right for 2 or 3 years then
all at once
his wife started staying out until 3 or 4
“where have you been?” he asked her and she said, “he shows me his
soul, he talks to me, you never talk to me, you’re dull…”
Howie found out about the guy, a young fellow, lived with his
mother, was into the arts.
Howie worked 13 hours a day trying to get money for the
house while his wife kept going out nights and
one night
when she didn’t, the fellow phoned at 3:30 a.m. and Howie
“I want to talk to Jane,” was the message and Howie handed
the phone to his wife.
they talked for an hour and twenty five minutes.
soon after that she told Howie, “when I make love with you I
think of him.”
“that’s it,” Howie said.

the divorce went through.

Howie was over the other night with his new lady, a nice looking
girl but she was crippled, had to use a cane.
we sat about and drank and talked, only she didn’t
drink and

Howie just sat in this chair I keep for him, he’s
a very big guy, and he drank and drank and smoked his
cigars and he looked about the same and talked about the
same but then after some hours of drinking he said, “I don’t
care.   nothing bothers me.   it just doesn’t

when they left I watched Howie backing down the drive in his
big truck
his new girl very straight and still to his right.   I saw
the flow of his cigar through the windshield and I don’t know
about him but I hurt almost like it all had happened to

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript