The Dogs That Lost Their Noses
It was a glorious mid summer. The streets were aglow with a humid August love, the sunsets were bountiful and beauteously new. The women wore sundresses on the sides of the yards and all things seemed to scream 'life' with wet, youthful lungs, a moonbeam on pink, supple lips now forgotten as age takes my good health.
I sat with Vincent, a lover of moons, the sun standing there like an unwanted beacon of hope scorching the petunias that laid behind the impossibly black aluminum gate and binding the faded yellow trafficways to arrow-true roads in the noon.
He was a Catholic. We spoke of God and glory, the fallen saints and martyrs of the world before us, in between drunken lies and youthful mistruths.
I believed in the Christ, but my faith had wavered thin like a flag too afraid of the treacherous nighttime to hold its holy rags and tatters from a life spent on pride. I had gone to the Catholic Church for grammar school, Our Lady of Herkimer. It was tall and white and it's steeple poked teethmarks in the alabaster clouds of morning that would drift like nightmares above my head as the children played robbers in the schoolyard pen. I had never been confirmed but the power of Christ led me closer to the hearts of my fathers, who had passed away in accidents of circumstance well before I was born.
Vincent was a Hannity, a teller of tall tales, Irish-Italian fabrications that were never lies but unabsolved truth. Upon his chest was a dark-stained t-shirt that hid his well-muscled frame and a golden cross which hung around his the way daydreams linger at the tops of craniums: they are never quite forgotten like the gleam that hung in between his masoleum arched collar bones. The relic swung like a ripe apple with every sway of his monstrous shoulders.
I, on the other hand was youthful and frail, stunted by 3$ menthols and a disdainful lack of care. Though I sought an appearance of all American normalcy, I was wasted and wearied by a demon called life. At 18 years of age we were still saplings, almost newborns but from the beaten path we had strayed: we had met in a group home situated lightyears from our steady pumping hearts, away in the suburbs of Rockland where our lives fit well in a grainy box behind a graffiti painted desk.
My grandfather was a barman, he owned his own saloon past 125 that had glittering letters that read “the mercy of ale”. In yellowing polaroids I could see a man that looked like me, one of the few people in the world that shared my face. It made me weep tears of joy and tears of shame. He was the strongest man on earth who carried his women on his shoulders and who men bended below. I, sickly and without love of life would cringe between the comparison of our faces, my skin greying with the cerulean smoke that whistled from my white painted loosies.
Hannity stood firm and fortunate, his back straight and true. It seemed he was seven feet tall and bred of Gods; the way the wind rippled his midnight hair was like a virtue in a den of theives. The wind was rising and God had promised a storm.
“Pass that,” he said, aiming for a grease stained brown paper bag which held a barely concealed bottle, it's contents so foul that they sent a towering inferno to the unsuspecting nostrils of a novice. We, the seasoned professionals treated it's acrid musk as a delicacy taken well with malicious laughter and a well dressed lie.
“I got you, bro.”
“What's good with Jackie,” he asked. “She was supposed to be here. It's been about a minute.”
“She'll come or she won't. She's a fiend. We can cop now or later. First we gotta catch a good drunk, not like that last one.”
“Aye,” he grunted, his brow a knot of drunken confusion and wonder. His agreement was no less than a wonder, I thought. All of his words were a marvel of life to me, a boundless miracle that whispered long after he walked away with a powerful strut and an upright spine.
The world was in bloom and all were in love but the clouds were greying and the wind began to ripple stronger through the leaves.. It seemed that even the pigeons could sing: the men-birds pranced strong, their chests puffed and unafraid, tricolored and beautiful, as the songbirds became pipers of the beautiful game, where no matter what, all players were victorious.
The girls were out, too; they wore their hair in curls, gleefully waltzing the asphalt to catch an eye. I refused to lend mine as my world was dredged in black, a nighttime curtain falling from the Giraux.
Giraux was the love of my life, the love of all, my truest love of Christ. She bought me closer to the heaven of the all mighty, the seat of the righteous, the stronghold of the pure. Annie, the great Giraux was all and she was none. Those days had begun to feel like less than that.
We had met in the seventh grade, when I still loved Christ. We passed notes with curling hearts that gated our new handed scribbles of names on ruffled line paper, hiding from the suspicious glare of a white mouthed instructor.
She had red cheeks and dark brown hair, small for her age. She was thin and pure and perfect as a early morning sunrise above a crystal frozen bay; her smile illuminated the darkness that rested in my eyes and filled them with a damning light that exposed my shortcomings as a man.
I couldn't have sex. The taste of lips was a sour want and the touch of a woman was excruciating. I would fall to my knees and weep for my mother at the slightest brush and a caress was like broken glass to a naked back. I didn't know what could be done to remedy this dysfunction, so I shunned the glare of the opposite sex and kept my circle closed but to the affection of my brethren.
“What're we doing here, man,” Vincent laughed. “It's been 15 minutes and we're standing here like a mob without a rope.”
“She'll be here.”
“No she won't. We're getting played. Let's get out of here, man.'
We walked down the gap mouthed street along 5th and 9th and I wanted to cry. It had rained the night before and silver droplets marked the leaves of the shubbery that lined the avenue. The roadway looked almost luminescent as the rain met the shine and the twilight tinted twinkles bore precious diamonds in the steeples that resided in my slowly shrinking soul.
'Love is impossible,' I thought as Hannity's shoulders led the way. 'I'm doomed to be alone.'
We walked along the crooked pavement that jutted epileptically like the spine of an old liar, a lawyer or a fthief. The avenue was painted with smiling faces, the young children with their cocker spaniels and blue eyed irish setters. They were beautiful with long blood hued locks that fell to their knees upon the hottest day of the year. Hannity walked like an automated daydream, his arms following his hips that were tightly bound by a brown leather belt, high-waisted and jeans, a deep black, slim-fitted and svelte.
“Let's walk to Prospect?” I suggested. “There's always some trouble to be found there.”
They called me the Villain. Any nefarious scheme that could be dreamed seemed to ooze from my pores; I thrived of chaos, but also of love. For every broken bottle smashed in the filling station lot, for every swastika on the courthouse wall there was another far away dream that sustained me. I wanted for a better life, one far away from the eyes of my kinfolk where I could live as I pleased without the shadows of my mother's glare and the haunting spectre of my grandfather's soul boring down on me on nights when all eyes seem to be closed. Not every sleeping dog dreams and not every shut eye is asleep.
In my hand was our bottle of the filthiest of whiskeys, which we traded for tall tales. I began:
'So I was at Mary's the other night, right? You know Mary, the Damned Mary? The little white one with the tits that never wears a bra. I was over there the other night, her moms was in Poughkeepsie for tuesday to sunday.'
'What of it?'
'So I trying, you know me, handling my business. We get to fooling around drinking a little bit, I'd been drinking a little bit, I'm nice, you know? I'm having a grand old time, doing swell, dressed to the nines looking like a nickle on your worst day and I get her into bed now, right? The Pogues are playing on Pandora, switched it to Bieber for the bitches, you know. Get to taking her shirt off and like I said, she never wears a bra so it came right off, her hair looking like a russian porno. Her nips are real pink-like, real tiny, like oddly so.'
'I bet you like that, right? Her titties look like eclipse glasses.'
'Shut up. Anyway we get halfway to heaven, her hand's where I want it to be and there's a knock on the door. She's mortified. She's already white but she looked like the little faggot from Home Alone, swear down. So I'm like 'what's up' and she's like its Domingo. I'm like 'who the fuck is Domingo?' She says all stupid, 'he's my boyfriend, I gave him the key. You have to get out. Now.' I'm like, fuck me, where the fuck am I going to go. The second I thought it, she said 'in the closet. Now.' She was kicking and punching and putting her shirt on and I was trying to grab my shoes and shirt, mind you I'm hard enough to blind a dwarf, all the while the doors knocking harder. Pass that, you're getting greedy.' Snatched it, took a swig of the bottle.
'What happened next, did you lose your virginity?'
'Yo, watch your mouth. Domingo comes in the house like a hellhound on fire, he's sniffing around like a German sheperd with shrapnel in it's nose from the goddamn arabs in the war, he's breathing so loud I can hear him. She's talking to him like nothing even happened, like my black ass isn't stuck in a closet the size of Minnie Mouse's clitoris. She's like 'Let me make you a sandwich, my love' and I'm going to be sick. I'm really feeling for a beer evil. Then I hear them coming down the hall and into the bedroom. He starts taking off her pants and I'm sweating like hell in the hot ass cupboard next to the boiler. I wish I had my phone, I could have sent you the pictures. But then I'm realizing I've been in there about 15 minutes and I'm like fuck that. I'm a grown man and I don't have time for this. So I bust up out the closet on some old G.I. Joe shit like 'what's good'. He's just standing there butt ass naked looking at me like I was his father. He tries to flex with his dick all out like 'who the fuck are you?'. I look him back dead in the eye like 'who the fuck are you?' He's struck like a prophet of the Bible. Couldn't say shit, not a damned thing. I walked right out as he looked her in a face full of evil, you wouldn't believe.
'What'd you do next?'
'I went down to the Blarney, had a beer, jacked off in the bathroom.'