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Back You are here: Home Stories Words for the People Short Stories Sex, Drugs, and Rock-and-Roll, Inc.
Monday, 20 August 2012 05:14

Sex, Drugs, and Rock-and-Roll, Inc.

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You should have known better than to bring your girl around Bob. Of course he’d take her home with him.

She’s not really my girl. I don’t hardly know her. 

But then if you were to say she was your girl, even to yourself, then you’d have to admit that she left you to go home with Bob. Bob is a player. He goes from pussy to pussy. Another notch in his belt.

I don’t think Rachel is that type.

The girls that aren’t ‘that type’ are Bob’s favorite. Librarians, grade school teachers, he’d fuck a nun if he could. A bush is just another mountain to climb. When she says will you call me, he’ll say yeah I’ll call you a bitch or a whore after I ball you. Ice Cube. I seen it all here on my barstool, a deity looking down on his planet, little guys trying to screw little gals, worker ants swarming over the earth, tiny dots involved in an esoteric drama. They peer over the precipice at death, singing their songs, asking questions, cursing curses, and fucking and spilling their seed, throwing it at empty nests. It’s actually quite amusing if you look closely.

I told you two to hurry up and finish. We’re closing.

All right. Two minutes. Bob fucked her too.


She says she won’t have sex with customers, at least said that to me, but Bob fucked her. She’s flawless under that black silk, white as china with just a small patch of pubic hair, tiny pink nipples, smooth handful of hip. Without her clothes, she’s as demure as a little girl. Bob says she didn’t come and I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t either.

How do you know all this?

Bob came down to the East Village about ‘67 or 8. Daddy wanted him to enroll in Columbia, but, like Bartleby, he preferred not to, rather, to live in the street with the hippies, cadging dimes and quarters from the derelicts who littered this neighborhood then: drug addicts, whores, the pornographers and dealers. Daddy Clarence, a major in W.W.-Two and an editor for a certain newspaper of record, cut sonny off. Sleeping in Tompkins Square Park, drinking tepid coffee and eating day-old cinnamon roll, chomping acid until his eyes glittered with inner knowledge he didn’t understand. Couldn’t quite wipe away that bourgeois glow though. Even if you alienate your parents, you can’t erase this sentence from your head: All I have to do is make peace and I can go home and sleep in a bed tonight. Under such circumstances, it’s impossible to perform without a net. You eat so much acid—probably a sheet a week—you’re bound to have a bad trip or two. Once, Therese and I had to coax a broken bottle out of his hand. Nasty stuff. You ever see him with his shirt off you’ll see what I mean.

It sounds like you have a thing for him.

Maybe. But he’s like Holly Golightly, a wild thing that can’t be tamed. If I were to take a guy like that home, I’d have to break his kneecaps to keep him. I don’t think he swings that way anyway. Only ever seen him with women and I prefer to watch.

I don’t understand. If he came down here in the sixties, he must be at least sixty years old.

Fifty-nine. The man is ageless, like Dick Clark, but with a better hair stylist and no Mormon gleam to the eye. Perhaps it’s the drugs. By the seventies, when the music was getting funky in downtown and spreading across the US and the world, he switched to coke and bought a house on Cypress Hills off the Jackie Robinson Parkway, got himself a poodle and let it shit all over the yard. Bought a Maserati and took it over a hundred down the LIE whenever traffic permitted. In high gear, the thing squealed like a girl.

He’d made peace with his father?

Nope. Clarence died of a stroke in the seventies. Plus, he’d never had that much anyway—old money gone stale. Bob made his scratch in the lab. Though it was the decade of coke, there was still a market for acid. Sometime, between the sixties and seventies, Bob not only got a bachelor’s, but his master’s of science and what a master he was. Cooked up some amazing LSD in his home laboratory, for a while was one of the top three producers in the world, stamped his product with a pink pussycat. Now and then, you still see some copycats—no pun intended. Invested in Apple stock, made millions, retired from the world of commerce. Lay in bed all day with whatever floozy he was currently poking, reading Hölderlin, snorting lines with a two dollar bill, every day getting a little more deranged.

Again: How do you know all this?

I just shut my eyes and see. He hung out here in NYC, fucking and snorting, drinking and eating, spending money until he couldn’t think straight. In the eighties, he moved to Moscow to experience Glastnost. Self-consciously, ironically, left the land of the free with its uncensored media and free market for socialized climes and a state-sponsored paper. Said he wanted to experience maximum transparency and openness under the least open and transparent of systems. There, he discovered the best thing he’d had, fashioned hundreds of feet beneath the ground in a Cold War bunker, a cross-pollination between the psychedelic and stimulant families, a hard-wire connection between brain and cock: Ecstasy.

How did he manage to use and sell drugs for so long without ending up in prison?

Who’s saying he didn’t? He’d always maintained that the government should keep its laws off his libido. Sex is another type of trip for him. Drugs connect him to the sexual experience. Shut down inhibition, annihilate shame.

Guys, I told you to clear out. I want to go home.

Ah, but Therese, if I relent, our friend here will never know the true story of Bob.

That again?

He insisted.

Five minutes.

You can’t get a moment’s peace in this hole. Bob is a Libra, the scales, the only inanimate of the zodiac. Like all Librans, Bob loves harmony, harmony between people, between urges. He’s stubborn and sometimes reckless. As a result, he spent a couple years during the nineties in a work camp in Siberia. Returned to the US thin and broke besides for a few thousands secured in various offshore accounts. Luckily, he still had his little home in Queens—though in somewhat of disrepair now and also full of feces since the next door lady had been feeding his poodle, Eliot Ness, but sometimes neglecting to let it outside to do its business. Took several professionals cleaning overtime—three, four days—to get the shit and piss smell out. The carpet had to be burned, of course, and most of the furniture, in a big bonfire in the back yard. A massive party. I was there, sat on a bar stool much like this one. A seven-foot transvestite O.D.’d on smack. D.O.A. Cops poked around and discovered a mummified body in the cellar. Had been there since 1980, maybe the real reason Bob took off for the USSR, don’t ask me. That was a bad Christmas. Bob in jail, Y2K just a week away, planes colliding in air, Earth starting to give out hints: quakes, floods and tidal waves, tornados, hurricane, and lots and lots of rain. As you know, all that hoopla was anti-climatic. Y2K did not signal the end of the world. And Bob didn’t get a life sentence or very much of anything at all. The mummy had mobster connections, unlike Bob, and Bob wasn’t dealing anymore, was strictly a for-personal-use-only kind of cat. Before the summer of 2000, he was out and elevating all friends and acquaintances with the current drug of choice for those in the know, heroin. Horse, junk, skag, the big H. Bob’s got nice arms and wanted to keep it that way so snorted or ate it mixed with butter on toast. No needles. Bob didn’t really take to heroin, though. It’s the anti-sex narcotic. You ingest H, needle or no, and you don’t feel like doing much of anything, let alone putting your dick in a girl and, as I believe I’ve made clear, Bob lived to insert his member into various orifi. Around this time, you’d see him walking into Manhattan and Brooklyn dives with a guitar slung over a shoulder. No one knew he could play, but he could, barely. Some sort of freaky folk shit. He’d jam with Devendra Banhart, Panda Bear, Akron/Family and other neo- or proto- or pseudo-hippies, put out a few self-produced albums on his home studio’s label Sex, Drugs, and Rock-and-Roll, Inc. It’s been a business venture, in a way, but less lucrative than drugs. Still, as you see, it’s kept him in pussy.

I knew I had seen him, but forgot where. I read about him in The Times.

I’m sure you didn’t read what I been telling you. When Bob tells his story, he scrapes away the dirt. Forty years later, Daddy’s old employer sends around a sweet young Arts reporter to get the ‘real’ story. He fucked her. She had kissable lips, curly hair (above and below), hips you got to squeeze. A perfect fit, one of the few women in his fifty-year career he’s fucked more than three times (lost his virginity to a playmate in pink curls at age nine, she ten). But, as you’ve just seen with that girl you ‘hardly know,’ our Bob can’t mono-anything, let alone monogamy. The boy’s a lucky sumbitch.

All right, get out of here, both of you.

We’re going, Therese. Sure you don’t want to come along home with me?

I’m warning you.

I’ve got the hands of a god, girl. Don’t even need to zip down. I guarantee you’ll come with me, baby.

Ronny, will you throw these guys out?

All right, all right. No need to get all angry and shit, call your trained monkey with the angry tattoos and the cue ball head. See you later, my man. Come on back next week. Buy me a drink and I’ll tell you another story. About some cats I know been around.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 29 August 2012 22:11
John Duncan Talbird

John Duncan Talbird’s fiction is forthcoming or has appeared in Ploughshares, South Carolina Review, Grain, and descant among others. An English professor at Queensborough Community College, he has held writing residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. He is on the editorial board of Green Hills Literary Lantern and a frequent contributor to Quarterly Review of Film and Video. He lives in Brooklyn. 

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