the end of an era

parties at my place were
always marred by
violence:
mine.

it was what
attracted
them:   the
would-be
writers
and the
would-be
women

these writers?
these
women?   I could always hear
them
buzzing from the far
corner:

“when’s he going to
flip out, he always
does…”

at most parties I
enjoyed
the beginnings the
middles

but as each night
unfolded toward
morning

something
somebody
would truly disgust
me

and I’d find myself
picking up some
guy
and
hurling him off the
front porch:

that was
my favorite way of
getting rid of
them…

well, so…
this one   particular
night
I made up my
mind
to see it all
through
without
untoward
incident

and was
walking into the
kitchen
for another
drink
when

I was
pounced upon
from behind
by
Peter the
bookstore
owner

this   bookstore
owner had more
mental problems than
most of
them

and
as he had me
in this excellent
choke-hold from the
rear
his madness gave
him superb
strength…

and as those milk-brains
in the other room
babbled on about how to
save the
world

I was being
murdered…

I thought I was
finished
I saw bright flashes of
light

I could no longer
breathe
I felt my heart
beating at my
temples

and like a trapped
animal
I gave it one last
surge:

grabbed him
behind the
neck
bent my back
and carried him
along
like that

rushed toward the
kitchen
wall
ducked my head
low
at the last
moment
and

smashed his skull
against that
wall.

I steadied myself
a moment
then picked him
up   and carried him
into the other
room

and dumped him into
the lap
of his
girlfriend

where from the
safety of her
skirts
this Peter the bookstore
owner
came around and began
crying (yes, he actually
showed tears):

“Hank hurt me! he
HURT me!   I was only
PLAYING!”

I heard voices from around the
room:

“you’re a real bastard,
Chinaski!”

“Peter sells your books, he
puts them in the
window!”

“Peter LOVES you!”

“O.K.,” I said, “everybody
out!    FAST!”

sure enough, they filed
out
whispering their
comments to each
other.

and
I locked the
door
put out the
lights
got myself a
drink
and
sat there
in the dark
drinking
alone.

and
I liked that
so
much
that
that’s the way
I continued to
drink
from then
on

and
there were no more
parties

say
except with a
woman

and
after that
the writing got
better

everything got
better:

you’ve got to
get rid of
the
bloodsuckers
before they
get rid of
you.