The Benny Poda Years
19 - Baltimore, Again
More than any town in America—yes, even Chicago, Michelle—Baltimore is the Greatest City in America in which to Smoke Crack. It is BEAUTIFUL to hit a stem in that city. That director dude with the moustache who does movies ragging on the white-trash peckerwoods and freaks of Baltimore? He's got it DOWN, too. And you don't want to smoke it on the waterfront and you don't want to smoke it down where that other American Writer used to smoke HIS crack. You want to smoke it in the suburbs, the run-down ones with naked children playing in inflated pools in their yards.
I knew this from . . . well, from the guy I'm sittin' here smokin' with NOW, actually! Funny how little things ever actually change. He's the guy I dedicated the book to! NO, not Peter Singer, the OTHER guy! Hey, I said I wasn't gonna mention his name, but that implies that he's a character in The Benny Poda Years, which implies to certain stupid motherfuckers, like Thomas Cohen, who's never written, and Josh Cochran, who's never recorded, that my friend hates women and fucked Nassir up the ass! No, man. He's not a character here. He's a fine musician, a fine alcoholic, he's respectful of women, and he's a SUPER crack smoker. And it's through him I found the Man on the Title. Don't belly up to the bar if you ain't gonna drink, and Michelle, don't suck my cock unless you plan to get me off, and never point a gun at anybody unless you mean to kill 'em. Ladies and gentlemen, Rik Smits of Indianapolis, Indiana. Now hurry up and hit that stem and give it back.
Did you know that when you toke rock you morph into another person? Like in Vertigo. That's what happened to Didi! I got to her shitty little suburban house and those were her kids, all right, blond curly hair and shit, but she'd turned into Michelle! NO, fool, NOT the one in paragraphs one and two, Michele Eire! You don't know her, but I do. But hey! She too had fucked that bastard Luke Primo, so I just WENT with it. I went down to the hardware store and got me a small length of pipe tube so I wouldn't have to use a Tab can or a TV antenna, which is what you use if you're in a fix or a Cabot Lodge, and I also got me . . . but OH, OHHHHHHHHHH, I can't write this shit! Whatever will people think of me? My mommy? Tom Seaver? My dear auntie? People will write my publisher and tell him I teach children how to make crack pipes!
Well actually, I do. I've done it for a living for ten years now. Not CHILRDEN, but eighteen and nineteen-year-olds. See, fuckwads, ALL literature is CODE for how to make a Crack Pipe! ESPECIALLY the book about the whale. Goddamn ESPECIALLY that one, Simpleton. It's so obvious I don't even read it to children.
And then I up and bought some crack from a nigger. Yessir—a nigger. Crack. From a nigger. A. From. Nigger. Crack. Up. And. I. And then I used the money I got from selling my gold-handled pool cue, and I up and bought some crack from a nigger. And WHO the FUCK are you. 'Cause I REALLY wanna know. Roger.
Bitch, a crack rock does not look like a white Tic-Tac. Crack rocks, like the one I'm smoking now, generally resemble little chopped up pieces of fettuccini. Or something. And you think you've snorted some coke? Based it with your daddy? So you think you know what it's like to be Behind Blue Eyes that need some Visine in them? Ha. HA. HA! FUCK you, man.
I, the author, J.D. Vonnegut, am the greatest Geek Monster who has ever lived. I am to Crack what Mario is to Hockey. What Benny is to Jesus. You want to smoke some crack? Well, the sky is the limit, Brother. But I'm up higher than the Rings of Saturn. Greater than John. Greater than the woman John disses me for using my memoir to obviate from my mind. Or the other woman. Or the other one. Or the other one. Or Beatrix Potter, you Jemima-Puddle-Duck Daytripper. YEAH! I am the GREATEST! Even better than that guy on the cover of last week's Newsweek. I don't look at a woman and say, well, I'd like to have SEX with that woman, I look at a woman and say, HEY! I would like to get that woman addicted to crack. That is what I say. And if you know what I'm talking about, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I AM RAPPING ON, well, deep down, you know that's what the fuck you think, too. Motherfucker.
In St. Louis, you buy your crack on the corner of Plum Street and Delia Lane. In San Francisco, you buy your crack on Fremont and head up to SoMa. In New Orleans, you buy your crack at McDonald's. In Baltimore, you can get some on Poppleton. Hear me? WHEN IN BALTIMORE, YOU BUY YOUR CRACK ON POPPLETON. Well, you're welcome. And I'm Big in Japan.
A crack-smoking relationship is a beautiful thing to have with a woman, my son. Just ask your mother. Me and Michelle sat on the rug all night and all morning smoking it and then, to get some more, we got the guy next door to drive down to Poppleton, come back, fuck Michelle, and smoke it with us. Men fuck BEFORE they smoke crack. They're HORNY on crack, but their dicks don't seem to know it. And then, because you don't want to be Nassiristic, you get Michelle, who, like you, is sweating like she's roasting in Hell, to shotgun you, and shotgun him. THAT is the way to do it. Otherwise, you're wasting good Crack! Double your money, Frampton.
I can't remember who fed the babies or the cat or even if anyone did at all. "Go to your room," she'd say, waving her arm and looking the other way while holding in a toke. We were SO scared the cops were gonna come get us. The world looked slightly faded, like the color in those pictures you got developed in those little booths in parking lots in 1970. It's beautiful. You'll want to do it again and again, like Pinball Wizard. I love to do it. I love it when, in Baltimore, a car goes by and I get a whiff of exhaust and it smells and tastes JUST like the taste in your mouth while sucking SLOW on a stem, JUST the fuck like it, and that taste in your mouth when that car passes by will send your motherfucking Mr./Ms. Professional ass right down to Get Poppletonned. I was sitting there geeking out with Michelle, who used to be a great fuck when we saw one of Jim Plunkett's plays in Tampa and then went to a hotel room and fucked, GOD was she good, well, she wasn't anymore but we were geeking out and I was telling myself back then in those years I'd never ever ever do it again and I believed it at the time and now I know better and when your heart is breaking YOU WILL NOT BULLSHIT YOURSELF AGAIN ASSHOLE and you cannot shit ME and that's a beautiful thing a beautiful motherfucking cocksucking thing when you finally finally are on Poppleton in Baltimore and realize that you will not YOU CANNOT you will not EVER bullshit yourself EVER again, and I love you. And I am sorry. And I have never pumped like this in my LIFE.
You know who you are. So this one's for You. I forgive you Already. And I forgive myself for all the Evil in the World, because it lives in my heart. I forgive myself for living in those Years. The way the concrete smelled when it rained. The way the cars drove by. The way I used to cry. The way I still do.