Hanging at the Hacienda with Shitbag

Just me and Shitbag.  We’re going through it at his mom’s house.  She’s almost dead and he stands to inherit the farm and this place.  It isn’t really a farm anymore.  It’s a few broke down buildings and people.  His mom isn’t even his mom anymore- just a pulsing, shrieking scarecrow in a closed bedroom upstairs.  You can hear her machines running downstairs.  The hum.  Even though her door’s shut, you can smell the room halfway up the steps- on warm days as soon as you walk in the front door.

Like his mom, Shitbag’s a cripple… he gives out. Lots.  But, not in the any of the ways that would benefit a living soul.  Somebody tried to teach him a lesson once upon a time.  That broken back didn’t teach him a dang thing.  I never learned my lessons either, so I don’t judge.

Shitbag smells, too.  That’s part of the reason for his name.

It’s time to re-up at the Hacienda, that’s what he calls his parent’s house.  I hold Shitbag back and drill down between his toes because his arms are worse than mine.  Full of scabbed potholes.  His eyes roll and mouth works like a landed fish. He’s so ugly.  We’re two of a kind. I stare into him like some lame tourist at the Grand Canyon.  He’s almost as breathtaking but in a totally grotesque way.  Like looking into a hellmouth.

I swing my arm and tie off so elegant.  Gentleman junkie.  I’m still civilized, I just get turned around.  In the meantime, I find the line… the right entry: my arms = collapsed freeways.  There’s a new route to the kingdom, aross the dead capillaries through the wastewater and over the calcified walls.  My footprints are indelible and anyone who wants to find me can fuck me in my footprints.

Shitbag’s rolling now and I’m right behind him- rolling right into the hellmouth.  I’m instantly fucking faded, my cells sucking that shit up like it’s some essential vitamin my body’s deficient of.  I guess it is.  I’m all stone-cold exteriors and frozen tundra for miles inside.  I study Shitbag as he pixelates then everything swirls, the red bubbles popping in front of me.

After a while, to even things out, we take a few of the pills he ripped off his dying mother.  He’s not so crippled that he can’t work a situation for all it’s worth.  They have a dull-eyed nurse that comes in every day and I swear she’s a doper, too.  She smells like one and her skin tells the rest of the story.

Right as were hitting a chill plateau, Shitbag’s mom starts screaming and he starts crying. This is normally his cue to go and fiddle with her drip, but he ignores her and turns up the stereo.  It’s Freebird and he bawls his face purple and swollen.  I feel guilty but I can’t get out of the recliner.  I also have this thought: Shitbag doesn’t realize it… or maybe he does… but he’s killing his mother faster than the cancer that’s eating through her chest.  Lord help us… we can’t change.  At this point- thankfully- I can’t hear his mom at all.   I close my eyes…

I put my hand to my face and realize that I’m crying too.


Friends and Neighbors, charcoal on paper, 1994 copyright GPD

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