serial pulp fiction: THE ROCKFORD FILES YEARS

Drunk typist note: I’m going to attempt a pulp fiction story that mixes my Irish Catholic Drunkard’s Guilt with a horror and crime story you might purchase at The Pulp Fiction Bookstore. None of these chapters will have more than two drafts so I hope you don’t mind it not being too polished. This story is called The Rockford Files Years. I’m a big fan of the show and its All-American, handsome and likable star, James Garner. A dude I wish I could be more like.

Chapter One

Soggy Bottom Reckonings

I rose from the dead, barely, with a headdful of cement and a soggy crotch. Just turned forty six years old and I was still pissing my pants like a hyperactive toddler who downed too many sodas. An eruption occurred in my guts and I burped out something that stunk like a dead cat in a dumpster, frying in a mocking August sun.

I rubbed my stinging eyes, trying to focus on the breadth and glory of the basement apartment I rented from some old hag of a retired school teacher. She reminded me of one of those Lovecraftian creatures that were conjured from some other dimension to haunt New England towns on October nights. She was blessed with the sense of humor of an IRS agent and she tolerated drunks being late with the rent the way spiders tolerated flies chained up in their webs.

The line about the opulence of my apartment was sarcasm, for all of those out there that don’t have self-loathing drunks in their social circles. Breadth is also something that is much easier to type than it is to actually say in everyday conversation. It’s even harder to get out when you’re on your fourth morning whiskey.

You never want to waste the day when booze is to be had.

For the past two decades, punctuated by pink elephants parading across every street I stumble down, I’ve been the opposite of a reliable friend, employee, tenant and dental patient in the long term. On the other hand, get me lubed up with cheap whiskey and I can be the life of the party for a few hours at your barbecue or happy hour at the local franchise tavern. I have even saved two friends from having to pay for a clown at birthday parties for their children.

Just add bourbon and wait. Instant court jester. Slightly creepy.

I believe I might be quite charming and likable when I’m drunk and I loathe myself when hungover. Not sure how my peers see me? I’m too much of a coward to find out. My courage goes up and down with my blood alcohol content. That would be a direct relationship, for all you barstool scholars out there on skid row.

I’m an amateur interior designer and I decorate all my apartments in a fashionable style I call Academic Wino Chic. This means all the dumps I’ve dwelled in have been festooned with empty booze bottles and crumpled beer cans piled on top of sticky porno mags and pulp fiction publications. Larry Flynt and Robert Leslie Bellem are two literary heroes of mine. I like my breakfast of black coffee and bullets served with a side of perfect breasts. I know I’m a pig, but you’re going to get the truth from me.

Drunks and children are blessed with uncomfortable honesty.

I was happy to see I didn’t do anything crazy during last night’s blackout like straighten the place up. I got out of bed, joints popping and cracking like the sound of small arms fire on the streets of some burnt out Middle East city, and dragged my sagging ass into my tiny bathroom.

The smell of mildew and athlete’s foot cream caressed my nostrils like the perfume of a long ago love, now gone from the world like an extinct bird whose beauty couldn’t be contemplated by the modern world. I pulled my pants down as I pondered my place in the hierarchy of the universe. I had to reboot my brain to compute that the cosmos held me in the same regard as they did rats that prowled steamy subway platforms and con artists who ripped off the elderly.

I managed to squeeze out three drops of urine into the murky water of my toilet bowl. I didn’t have much left in the tank after I emptied my bladder while I was passed out. The morning piss was basically just ceremony, anyway. As important a ritual as a baptism. Or a funeral.

end of chapter 1

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