the little girls hissed

my name being Fuchs, he said to Raymond, you got to
know the schoolyards were tough:   they put itching
powder down my neck, threw gravel at me, stung me
with rubber bands in class, and outside they shouted
names at me, well, one name mainly, again and again,
and on top of all that my parents were poor, I wore
cardboard in my shoes to cover the holes in the
bottoms; my pants were patched, my shirts threat-
thin; and even my teachers as if sensing some
gathering against me, they herd-like slammed my
palms with rulers and pointing sticks as if I were
guilty of something;
and, of course, from my mates the abuse kept coming:
I was stoned, beaten, pissed upon;
the little girls hissed and stuck their tongues out
at me…

Fuchs wife smiled at Raymond:   my poor darling really
caught it…
she was so beautiful it almost stunned one to look at

Fuchs looked at Raymond:   hey, your drink is empty.

yeah, said Raymond.

Fuchs touched a button and the robot rolled in
blinking and clinking, it stopped before Raymond
said, same thing, Raymond?

yes, please, Raymond answered.

the robot whirled off to prepare the drink.

what hurt most, of course, said Fuchs, was the name-

Raymond asked: have you ever forgotten it?

I did for a while, came the answer, then I began to
miss it…

the robot rolled and clanked in with Raymond’s

here ya go, Raymond, said the robot.

thank you, said Raymond.

o.k., Paul, Fuchs said to the robot, now is the

now? asked the robot.

now, came the answer.

the robot rolled over in front of Fuchs and began:
fucky, fucky, fucky!

they all started laughing
and the robot kept talking
in variations of the same,
speeding it up, adding more

they couldn’t stop laughing, they fell out of their
chairs and got down on the rug, pounding it and
laughing, Fuchs, his beautiful wife and Raymond
in that huge mansion overlooking the desert.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript