The Benny Poda Years
4 - Kansas City
Unless you're lucky or just plain stupid, if you're a male sooner or later you're gonna end up in a sitch where another nigger's fucking who you're fucking, to put it in street parlance, and then just watcha gone do?
Chances are this is not a problem for the bitch, but it sure 'nuff fucks with the nigger's mind. Like it did me, back then—in those years. I was fucking her and Ray was fucking her. He was fucking her first, but before me a dude named Eric Brierson had been fucking her, and he came before Ray, so what the fuck was he gonna do?
Well, at the time, I just wanted her pussy so bad I didn't give a shit if she was fucking Terry Bradshaw. But then I started wondering, when I went down on her and shit, just when was the last time Jay was getting off in here, with her moaning and coming and all? Man, that sure got to me after a point. You're one dumb nigger if it don't get to you, too. Even if the bitch just broke up with, say, James Earl Jones, and then starts fucking you, it's still like she's still fucking James Earl Jones, see? It's just that most people in relationships prefer not to see it this way, and most people writing their memoirs simply neglect to mention they started pounding the pud at the same time Cary or Spenser was pounding it. Fuck me if I'm wrong.
Son, so blessed little of this is about any kind of relationship. We're fucking animals, the lot of us, and we're still animals when we're not fucking because people take to not fucking because they've become disgusted with what fucking entails, which is, ten to one, somebody else's nigger! And that goes for women, too. No, they aren't lesbians, they're just sick of having Omar Sharif's rugrats.
I met Bev Andress at a time in my life when I was big-time into the snow. Bev was into it too, and we'd lie on her big brass bed naked and do lines, and we'd fuck around, but despite what you've read or seen in the movies, people who are loaded on coke don't fuck much. At least the men don't—just look where it got Burt Reynolds. Or Bob Dole. But Erik Fultengraf, this Dutch soccer player, was fucking her—and she was into this honesty shit. I hate that shit. Maybe it was the coke. But she told me she took it in the ass from Erik, and then one time I walked in her bedroom and found Sylvia Quince going down on her while she lay there sniffing a bottle of rush. And then she got all pissed off when I whipped it out and started fucking ol' Sylvia! Well Sylvia was all for it, pal. It's not like she hadn't fucked every quarterback on the Kansas City Chiefs back to Len Dawson. I think she had a thing for oboe players, too.
That honesty thing is always an urgently pushed half-truth, which is worse than utter bullshit. We live in a world where everybody's twice removed from your daddy's Victor, but don't tell your sister you heard it from me, son, or I'll have to Teach you a Lesson. But what I was getting to, was that I was living in Missouri and getting my medicine down by the river, and a condom makes an awfully nice tie-off for the arm if yours is as scrawny as mine was getting to be, and Man! The goddamndest thing about coming off a coke run is learning to shoot the right arm or the ankle. Because you don't get the jolt that way the way you do in the ol' southpaw Bulgers, but you can save yourself an OD, too. Heroin, yes, use the fucking ankle, who cares. Heroin's a smoother drug than coke, too, and besides, when you're on H, you don't drink. Oh, do they in the movies? Well, try it, motherfucker.
So this is the long way around saying that all addictions are sexual by nature, while it also proves true that the nigger who sold you the shit is bumping the woman who is your goddamn Beatrice on Earth, and the whole time you thought you were getting one over on her. Christ. You think I'm lying? Well, who the fuck's lie would we prefer this morning, Goethe's or Petrarch's, asswipe? And Gettysburg was lost over a goddamn peach orchard.
So Bev's little dalliances precipitated my fucking Maude Pendergrass, the waitress over at O'Millie's, just as soon as I sobered enough to do so. We were lying in her bed drinking Daiquiris and smoking Pall Malls after the second time we did it, and I was dying for a line of toot, and just like that I realized I needed to get the fuck out of Kansas City. I'll tell you one thing though, son: the jazz was terrific.
Reading Questions for Chapter 4
1. The narrator has been said to have been influenced by Peter Singer's re-evaluation of the "sanctity" of human life—in fact, the work is dedicated to Singer. What correlation can you draw between this work and that of Singer? Be specific.
2. The episodes in the memoir often seem to take place at varied times of the American 20th century. Why do you think this is? Could the narrator's recollection of drinking mouthwash with Nassir be an indication?
3. The narrator addresses the reader in pejorative terms throughout the memoir. Is this because he genuinely does not LIKE the reader, or because he frequents pool halls and brothels and entertains the company of Iranians and African-Americans?
4. What similarities can be drawn between this work and Augustine's Confessions? What would it mean for Augustine to live in a pool hall without God?
5. The narrator makes repeated reference to movie stars and historic American personages. Why the fuck do you think he does so? Be specific.
—All papers should be 1,000 words, double-spaced. No Courier fonts, please. Due Feb. 3. Late papers will be graded down one letter per class session.