Nasty Ass Bum – DeJaneiro

You’re like a different person. You went to college and got a job and now you’re all about that shit. Just like that. You’re a welder and you’re keen to tell me so. I’m glad you didn’t fry your brain and gently fade into graveyard shifts at George Webbs, but we used to have way more fun.

We decide to go to the bar across the street from the dealership. You don’t smoke weed anymore. We order heavy beers in tall glasses and slowly chew them through. You suggest we rank our top five presidents, but we already did that. You’re boring the fuck out of me.

A second shot emboldens you. You smile like a genius and vote Heartbreakers. Good thinking. We won’t have to talk, much less look each other in the face. C’mon, finish your beer, he says. Yeah, yeah, have some fucking patience, asshole. I need some new friends.

It’s not long until I get my degree. Maybe I’ll take a job somewhere way the fuck out and never come back. I’ll change, too. I’ll change my number, my name, my favorite color, everything. You won’t recognize me naked in the street. I’ll join the mob. I’ll join the CIA. I can’t keep doing this shit.

We pay the doorman his toll and wait for the bartender as a stripper steps up. She looks heavily pregnant and blind drunk. We watch her ring twice around the pole and take a knee before a couple bouncers hustle her away. Wordlessly toast an overpriced shot and sit near the stage.

A fresh stripper in pink leather bondage wipes down the pole with a filthy rag. Her tits look plastic and her ass looks fake, even her face seems a little uncanny, but who cares, she looks good. I try not to stare. I pretend to watch the little televisions on the wall. But she meets my eye with a smile each time I steal a glance.

You seem unimpressed, but you don’t like black women. I watched so many rap music videos as a kid I’m an insatiable ass man now. I used to buy XXL for their centerfolds, usually some video ho with a freak show shelf ass to rival Sara Baartman. She bobbles her ass cheeks and my cock stiffens like a cracked rib, painfully bending against my fly.

As soon as she’s done, she sweeps a killing off the stage and approaches our table.

“Would you like to tip me for my dance?”

She stretches her panty line and snaps up a dollar each. The blood in my temple boils as I gaze up into her purple teeth and croak. She didn’t hear me, so she leans closer, palm plump on my nape. I ask a litter louder for a lap dance. She takes my hand and draws back the shadows.

“Take anything out of your pockets that might poke me!”

I stow my keys and fold my glasses and fall backwards into a booth of red vinyl. She unbuckles her platforms and bra and straddles my lap. I remember to breathe. She shakes her hair out of her mouth.

“We’ll just wait until the next song starts. What’s your name?”

Her name’s Naomi, but what’s that matter. Sean Paul fades into Three Days Grace and she shifts shape like a plasma round. I close my eyes as her soft skin swims through my face and breaks back in a twinkle of stretchmarks. Her tongue soaks my ear and swells.

“Let’s have some fun.”

“I don’t know—I don’t have the money.”

“You have a card, don’t you?”

“It’s debit.”

“Fuck all that. Try your card, see if it works!”

I groan. My balls are going numb. She moans without pleasure and whimpers like a virgin.

“C’mon. Don’t you want to have some fun?”

“No, I’m good—”

Naomi didn’t hold my hand on the way to the register. I hemorrhaged several twenties and squeezed back through a riot of husky bros and dusty geriatrics.

Jon grinned.

“How was it?”

I nodded.

“It was good.”

He nodded.


I followed him outside for a cigarette. Christ, I can’t stomach drink. No alcoholics in my family. I feel like a shriveled breakfast sausage with the hot bloody heartbeat of a beached whale. We used to walk to McDonald’s and slurp stolen soda out of those paper ketchup cups. But drinking is the adult thing to do, so we drink.

Jon cleared his throat.

“Hey, so I wanted to tell you, I’m going to be a father.”

What the fuck, no! It’s only been like what, two years? Okay, I guess that’s a while. So that’s where you’ve been, huh. I should’ve known. I bet you don’t even have a job, you’ve just been busy blowing reckless loads in your girl this whole time, making up for the sex you didn’t have in high school.

“Congratulations. I can’t imagine.”

“It’s a boy.”

It’s always something. It’s too bad we’re growing up, that’s what. I have so many memories only I’ll remember.

“Well, shit man, that’s wild. I don’t know what I would do. But I know I’m not ready to have a kid. I don’t even know what I’m going to do once I graduate. I don’t have a job lined up or anything. I don’t even know where to look.”

“C’mon, you’re a smart guy. Where have you applied? I could maybe get you a job at the foundry. You should work in a foundry for a while—it’ll change you.”

“Fuck that, man. I refuse to work in a foundry.”

“You’re so sanctimonious, you know that?” Jon shook his head. “Look, I can’t keep doing this. I’m having a kid. I might not be around for a while. Let’s have one more beer and get out of here.”

I shorted my cigarette on the brick and caught the closing door. But a stripper had already whisked Jon away. I sat there knock-kneed and swallowed another shitty beer. I read somewhere that the secret to old age is a High Life a day. I suppose I’m doomed to live forever.

A hand touched mine. Thinking of the twenties in my pocket, I immediately swatted the hand. But it was only Naomi. I was happy to see her again. She smirked and said something I didn’t catch. I cranked my neck.

“You don’t attract money,” she continued. “Your jacket is cheap, your glasses, too. I’m from New Orleans. We run through shit. There ain’t nothing in your jacket, no money. I have fourteen hundred dollars in my boot. You ain’t got nothing. You’re a nasty ass bum.”

I shrank in my seat as she walked away. I couldn’t help but watch her ass switch. Goddamn fucking evil cunt. Money says you’re—you’re a nasty ass stupid ass dum dum bitch who would suck my cock for every penny on my person. Yeah. You should be happy I’m here, asshole. I would’ve just spent that money on weed, but instead I paid you to drool in my ear for ten minutes, and goddamn it—

I don’t even know what the hell happened, it’s like a minute ago I was thirteen, daydreaming about my crush, I don’t even think she had tits, I was all in love and shit, didn’t even know her, I just thought she was pretty and assumed she was an angel, and now all of sudden I’m going to strip clubs and fucking getting yelled at by stupid cunts over who has more money, always about the money, and the tits, pussy and money and this and that and blah blah fucking blah, fucking Christ!

I went and sat in my car and looked up my own porn. All these goddamn strippers are always too fucking skinny anyway. It took a while, but Jon eventually stumbled into my rearview mirror. He tore open the door with a snarl.

“What the hell? You were just going to leave me here?”

“No—I’ve been waiting. Where were you?”

“I deserve respect. What did I ever do to you, huh? Tell me!”

“You’ve done a lot of things. I don’t know—I can’t think right now.”

“There’s a point where you have to stop complaining. This is my Friday night, you know. Why can’t we just talk about the weather?”

“What’s there to say about the weather? It’s been the same all night. It’s always the same!”

Jon rolled his eyes and shook his head. I realized I said something stupid. The weather isn’t always the same, not around here. It’s different all the time. Maybe I’m not that smart. I started the car and intently adjusted the vents on my side.

We rode through the Martian streets in silence. It was twenty to bar close and everyone else was drinking yet. I would’ve played some music, but Jon only ever listens to Creedence Clearwater Revival and a few Johnny Cash songs anymore. I’m really not in the mood for Susie Q right this second.

I’m not mad. We were best friends once. I think I love him and I think he loves me, too. But he’s a big man, so he won’t say shit. Suppose I pull over and lay a big fat kiss on his face like a looney-tune. I laughed a little and felt eyes on the back of my head as I slowly rolled a stop sign.

Heckled by reds and blues, I braked alongside Grange. We sat there forever without a prayer or a bullet. The vents blared like a fireball. The heat of my hand dampened my license and registration and proof of insurance. Under my breath, I recited the alphabet backwards.

I rolled down my window as a cop loomed out of the lights. He grew larger and larger until he stood beside me. He seemed gigantic because I couldn’t look him in the face. I unhanded my papers. The cop solemnly shuffled them and sighed.

“Have you been drinking tonight?”

Three fat glasses of Hacker-Pschorr, two bottles of St. Pauli Girl, one bottle of High Life, several shots of Goldschläger, and a Long Island iced tea, officer. What’s the trouble? It’s nothing unusual. It’s the weekend. How about them Packers, man?

Unspun and spinning, I stepped out of my car and into the spotlight. The cop explained the walk and turn test. It seemed easy enough. I outstretched my arms and bumbled toward the cop like a handicapped elephant upon a rubber ball. He wasn’t impressed.

The breathalyzer reminded me of graphing calculators. I wrapped my lips around its plastic micropenis and blew twice the legal limit. Cold cuffs pinched my wrists.

“Watch your head.”

I wilted and whimpered into my lap. Jon placed a hand on my hunchback and tried to tell me everything’s okay, but I didn’t believe him. The cop asked his address again.

“You know, I’m good to drive,” Jon slurred. “I could drive my friend home, officer. I’m good.”

The cop didn’t seem to think so. He dumped Jon in his mom’s driveway and turned around. I watched Honeydip and Open Flame and Amore melt away as the cop gunned toward the downtown on-ramp.

Yeah, everything’s real okay, totally fine. You probably fumbled through the door and woke the mother of your child with a mouthful of hot cum. But I’m detained and restrained, I’m fucking freezing and I have to piss really bad. This is my Friday night.

The cop undid my cuffs inside the jailhouse.

“Call someone to come get you.”

I thumbed through my phone. Can’t call my parents, don’t want to hear it right now. I tried Jon. He didn’t answer. He’s drunk anyway. Steven moved to Kentucky. My dealer probably won’t show. I decided to try my ex.


“Hey—can you come pick me up? I’m downtown. I got arrested for drunk driving.”

“I can’t . . . I didn’t get my license back yet.”


“I’m sorry.”

The cop walked me further away from home. I emptied my pockets into a garbage bag and joined the others in the tank. We weren’t allowed to leave for twelve hours. Our captors chattered and chuckled behind a raised counter.

“What the fuck,” barked a jaundiced drunk missing most of his teeth. “You motherfuckers be jaw-jacking and shit. We been waiting for our phone call.”

“Quiet down.”

“Fuck you. This is some bullshit.”

The drunk continued to bitch as they dragged him inside a cell, but his voice vanished as soon as the heavy door plumped shut. I picked up a payphone and tried to remember my dad’s number, but I couldn’t get a dial tone. I sat back down and crossed my legs.

Rubber bands and coil springs and lightning bolts flashed through my skull. My clothes tightened and my skin prickled. I was coming down and all the booze seemed to puddle at the top of my cock. I resolved to sleep away my time. I stretched out and closed my eyes.

“Sit up. Hey, I said sit up. Hey!”

I crashed to the floor and squirmed like a squished bug. My captors swarmed me. Someone said my name and squeezed my shoulder, but I held my breath and let them think the worst.

They lifted me onto a gurney and wheeled me across the street. I cracked my eyes. Several nurses busily stuck nodes and needles all over my body. They seemed bored. A Denis Leary looking doctor folded his arms and frowned.

“You better cut it out. We know you didn’t have a seizure.”

You don’t know shit, motherfucker. It’s not like I took up the last bed in the Home of the Pure Heart, you absolute piece of shit. Go ahead, get all pissed, yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve been a real bad boy. No Christmas this year. The whole fucking city is burning because of me.

Where the hell did you grow up? Because that’s what you do around here. Swill beer and drive fast. There’s nothing to see or do during the little ice age, so see double and derring-do, you know. I’m sure you’ve mourned many socialites drowned too soon at the hands of a drunken senator, but I’m not that guilty.

I suppose I could have killed someone. Suppose some fortunate son unwittingly stepped off the curb in search of his parents at bar close. I could’ve mowed him down and drove all the way the home with the poor baby dragging behind me like wedding cans.

But I’m sick of saying sorry. I know what I did. I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway. I’ll probably drive drunk again no matter who prays for me. And next time they might not catch me before I kill someone.

My life fucking sucks, man. I can’t imagine anyone else has ever had such a shitty, awful go of things. I know people have it bad. I know there are children starving, elephant men and hirsute women, disfigured and diseased and destitute and down and out ghouls living like worms underground in the gutters. I know there are goofy fucks in wheelchairs, innocents in electric chairs, limbless soldiers. I know people are eaten alive by bacteria and crushed to death by bills. I know they got it bad, but I think I’ve got it worse. All poverty is forced, but men like me help themselves to misfortune.

I’ll have to live with my parents, running up a bill getting high in my underwear. Empty the dishwasher for walking-around money and window-shop at the strip mall on the weekends. Write do-you-like-me letters to dead actresses I see in old Lifetime Original Movies. Assassinate a president.

Meanwhile, Jon will father two strong boys and a beautiful girl. He’ll flip houses on the side and make wise investments, maybe hurt his foot at work and get a hell of a payout. His wife will take care of the house and refurbish furniture in her spare time. She’ll become more beautiful and their love with deepen with age.

If only I had a girlfriend, everything would be okay. But I don’t know where the fuck I’m supposed to get another girlfriend. I don’t know how that shit works. Maybe I missed my chance. Maybe the love of my life died in Borneo five hundred years ago. Maybe she was never born.

I told Dr. Leary I was feeling suicidal. He disappeared and another doctor entered. He asked whether or not I actually wanted to kill myself. If yes, they’d have to do this and that, whatever. I didn’t need the aggravation, so I changed my mind and settled into the pillow.

Think dangerous traffic criminal. You’re a would-be school shooter with a history of violence, a slippery mastermind with a key to every door. Maybe there’s a way out. Yank all this shit and come out swinging a fistful of needles, gangsterize the nurses and skip town before my court date.

Canada seems cool, but I don’t want to go further north. Fuck the Midwest and the South. The East seems overcrowded and cold. I’ve dreamed of California since high school, but California isn’t real. Whatever, I’ll figure it out on the way there.

I didn’t realize I was cuffed to the bed. I balled my fist and gave a futile tug as a couple jolly cops chuckled into my room like hospital clowns. A needle wiggled inside my vein. I bared my teeth and growled through the phlegm in my throat.

“Get out.”

They just smiled wider and asserted their authority. They seemed gigantic. They seemed right and just and good. The nasty ass bum broke into tears. They tried their best to comfort me. They said it’s not the end of the world. But the world isn’t mine. It’s theirs.