4 Micro-aggressions By Stephen J. Golds

Poetry, Punk Noir Magazine, Stephen J. Golds

image0

4 Micro-aggressions

 

7/11

My love something

like the fly

against the storefront

glass until death.

You are gone.

 

Sadie

You didn’t count to 10,

I thought that was unfair.

When you gunned me down,

I lay there shocked and awed.

I didn’t know

We were playing for keeps, Sadie.

 

Fate

The dead fish

staring forlornly at

the bottom of the aquarium in my

newly divorced,

roach motel room

with the meaningless

hate killing love

on the television.

I stare back at

the dead fish

unsure of why my life is

trying to fucking murder me.

 

Forecast For Tomorrow

 

Those painful cockroach

thoughts that crawl their

way through musty cracks.

 

The apartment stinks of

yesterday’s laundry &

yesterday’s love.

 

I walk these streetlamp streets,

try to will the winter back to me

but it’s the rainy season and

everywhere is

wet shit & just

no good

at all.

 

Like Those Old Western Movies by Stephen J. Golds

Flash Fiction, Punk Noir Magazine, Stephen J. Golds

PhotoFunia-1590663152

Like Those Old Western Movies

 

Darkness…

*

Pain…

*

Raptures…

*

He wrenched the cleaning woman to her feet and shoved her out in front of him. A shield. He screamed at her to get the fucking door. Get the door! GET THE FUCKING DOOR!

The pulsing lights were blinding.

Cops barked and shouted.

Tremors shook his body and he didn’t know if it was the woman or him that was trembling. Voltage passing through them both like a train. Her long brown hair had come lose and was trickling over his hand and the pistol. She crossed herself erratic as he ripped her head back and stabbed the muzzle into the soft flesh of her jaw.

Him and the maid together, like those old western movies. Butch Cassidy and The Sun Dance Kid.

*

Shards of glass, splinters of wood and plaster dust exploded around the room. Red and blue colors flashed and danced on the early morning walls.

He gripped the maid around the throat, held her down with one sweat-drenched hand and clasped at the pistol with the other.

The gunfire tapered off.

He peeked out of the shattered window at the bodies on the ground. He was a cop killer now. More black and whites sped into the motel’s parking lot.

A voice mumbled over a megaphone.

Dust clouds whirled and twisted.

The maid whimpered and fumbled at a black beaded rosary. He tried to remember how many rounds he had left. Not enough.

*

The bitch wouldn’t shut up.

He’d had to shut her up.

He waited until he hit a quiet stretch, swerved, pulled her piece of shit Honda over to the side of the highway and shoved her out into a ditch.

He found a cloth in the glove box and used it to soak up some of the puddles of blood and then tossed that out too.

Pushed the pistol back under the driver’s seat.

He reached over into the back, grabbed the holdall and pulled it upfront. Dropped it in the passenger’s seat. Its weight made him grin.

Almost nightfall.

Almost at the border and not a cop car in sight.

He needed to stop. He drove past a motel. Dumped the Honda and walked back an hour to the motel and checked himself into a room on the end.

*

Three black and whites swung into the jewellery store parking lot, sirens screaming as they burst out the front doors.

Vincent and Tony started blasting. Stupid fucks thought they were in a spaghetti western. The cops weren’t fucking around either. He’d watched Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. He knew how that old western had ended.

He saw Vincent jump around, collapse in his peripheral, kick out. He didn’t wait around for Tony. To hell with him. Let Tony play at Cops and Robbers. He snatched a bag and got the fuck out of there.

Around the motel, down a back alley, over a chain link fence, through some kind of a forecourt, over another chain link fence, up an embankment and out onto the freeway.

Panting like a rabid mutt.

Running.

The handles of the holdall ripping into the flesh of his palm.

Horns blared.

A baby blue Honda braked, screeching hard when he put a couple of rounds through the windshield.

The women in the driver’s seat screeched hard too as he stabbed the muzzle of the pistol into the flesh of her neck and forced her into the passenger’s seat.  The bitch screamed.

*

Jerk-off Joe behind the counter pushed the button.

Tony pushed the button on Jerk-off Joe.

Customers screamed.

He swung the sledgehammer, smashed at display cases and stuffed the holdall with everything that glittered and glistened.

Vincent pistol whipped a kid making a move for the door. The kid screamed like a little girl.

He looked at his wristwatch and pulled at the sweat soaked stocking covering his features. He could hear sirens wailing in the distance and shouted to Vincent and Tony to move, fucking move! MOVE!

On Being Fourteen Years Old and Loving Miss Perkins by Stephen J. Golds

Brit Grit, Flash Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, Punk Noir Magazine, Stephen J. Golds

On Being Fourteen Years Old and Loving Miss Perkins

 

Miss Perkins had been teaching at my high school for nearly a year and I was in love with her. It was a fourteen-year-old boy’s love for a personification of a wet dream twice his age, and I carried that love around in my chest like a loaded revolver.

 

Miss Perkins was a teacher at my school, but she wasn’t my teacher. If I had her as an educator, I might’ve learnt something (and not crashed out so spectacularly). I only snatched glimpses of her strolling to and from the faculty lounge, the sounds of her high-heels on the cracked concrete tearing into my adolescent hormonal heart like a power drill. Miss Perkins waltzing across the title screen of my ‘The Wonder Years’ to the soundtrack of ‘The La’s – There She Goes.’

There was a rumor floating around the school like a bad fart that she was fucking the geography teacher. I liked to think that the rumor wasn’t true. Kids made up a little song about it; “Perkins sucks Berkins.

Berkins licks Perkins.

Perkins fucks Berkins.

Oh yeah, baby, baby!.

Sometimes, spurned by the madness of the crowd, I would join in unenthusiastically with the chant, mouthing and mumbling the words like an atheist singing hymns at a distant relative’s funeral that they’d been obligated to attend.

I didn’t really like the geography teacher whose name was, as the song creatively suggested, Mr. Berkins. I think it would be more honest to say I hated him. He was skinny with brown moles all over his pink skin, his grey eyes bulged out of his head like two half-buried golf balls and he spat when he shouted at you for forgetting your homework or for being late. Long thick black hairs tangled out from his nostrils and when he breathed the hairs slithered and twisted like snakes in dry, black holes. Sweat was always seeping out of the large pores on his forehead.

Whenever I saw him with Miss Perkins, he would always be trying to make her laugh or trying to touch her arm or shoulder subtlety, the sly little prick. Always pretending that he was something special and not just some ghost of a robot. I knew his game. I was on to him. He wasn’t fooling me.

 

Miss Perkins looked like one of the women from the Victoria’s Secret catalogue that I kept stuffed underneath my mattress. Blonde, busty, beautiful, young, and probably intelligent too. Nothing seemed to touch her because she was above it all. Berkins on the other hand seemed old and crustified like a piece of dinosaur shit in the sun, even though I’m sure he was pretty young himself.

I remember one afternoon he sent me out of his class for swearing at this fat girl called Shelly. She said I pretended to drop my pencil on the floor, so I could snatch a peek up her skirt, when she had in fact swung open her fat white thighs like the jaws of a shark to show me her whirlpool-like snatch.

After the lesson had ended Mr Berkins called me back into the classroom as everyone was leaving and cross examined me with the eyes that looked as though they were trying to leap out of his face. He kept looking at me as the sweat slid down his shiny forehead and cheeks. Finally, he took out a white handkerchief from his V-neck sweater’s sleeve and mopped at his brow. I couldn’t believe he kept a handkerchief stuffed up his sleeve, to me it was surreal and ludicrous and justified all the hate I felt for him. He finished drying his face off, smiled a slick grin and asked me whether I would like it if he looked up my mother’s skirt. I couldn’t believe it. What kind of a question was that to ask a kid? I knew he was trying to beat me, defeat me. I didn’t know what he was trying to defeat me at, but I was sure I wouldn’t let him win. I licked my lips coolly and said in as manly a voice as I could force out of my shallow chest, without it breaking, that if my dad caught him looking at my mom’s pussy, he would kick the shit out of him.

As soon as the words snaked their way from my mouth and birthed themselves into the awkward silence, his eyes jumped from his head, all white and like lemmings at a cliff edge. He scratched at the bald patch in the center of his head and kept saying the word “quite, quite, quite, quite”, as he scratched, nodded, and stared.

Finally, he pointed a thumb towards the classroom door, telling me to get out and we both knew I had won something ridiculously small and worthless. I attempted some kind of a strut out of the classroom, almost feeling like the character McMurphy from ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and refusing to acknowledge the possibility that a woman like Miss Perkins could be interested in such a man as Mr Berkins. A loser pretending to be some sort of a hot-shot. A man outwitted by an always outnumbered and outgunned fourteen-year-old boy with dirty socks and holes in the soles of his shoes.

 

In her second year of teaching Miss Perkins handed in her resignation and disappeared from the high school and my life.

A very short while after Mr Berkins quit as well and for the first time I could almost empathize with him. Understand where he was coming from.

A little piece of the sunshine had been stolen from the school and it was now a lot darker and less fluid and more mechanical within the hallways and the classrooms. I supposed even though we were completely different human beings we’d both discovered a red rose growing out of a pile of horse shit and we both knew that with the flower gone, there was only the pile of shit left behind.

 

Much, much later, I found out that they had gotten married.

 

Mr. Berkins had won after all.

 

 

 

London Bridge Railway Station, Please Mate by Stephen J. Golds

Flash Fiction, Punk Noir Magazine, Stephen J. Golds

London Bridge Railway Station, Please Mate.

 

I’ll tell ya summin the wevas fuckin shit today, innit mate? Still good ole English weva though.

Ya wotchat show with wos ees face on the tube las night? Whata proppa pila shit that wos. The morra watch that flickerin pissa shit called telavision, the morra feel like climbin a clock towa or summin an snipin people.

Na kiddin, mate.

I’m not fucked in the ed or anythin like that, I’m jus sick an tired of bein forced fed all this crap that is on nowahdays. Yanno wottamin? I don even pay fer ma telavision license. Issnot worth it. Issa fuckin ripoff, that’s wotit is. In the past, telavision ust’a be good, ya were actually entatained, ya actually learnt summin. Y’ad that Attenborough geezer crawlin through undagrowth, watchin lions an shit. Y’ad that Krypton Factor, Master Mind, even that Crystal Maze was arf good. The shows that were menta be funny, actually were funny, ya didn’t get nunna this canned laughta bollox that ya do taday. I fuckin ate canned laughta. Tell ya summin, I would prefer ta piss fuckin razar blades then sit throuwa show with canned laughta. Yanno Wottamin?

Seriously.

An reality telavision, that can jus fuck orf. Fuck right orf. Few yearsago when the first coupla reality shows came out, it was arf good, it was new, entatainin. Lookatit na. I’ma as bin celebrity put me outta my shittin misary. Big Brotha? More like Big puddla piss. Yanno wottamin?

I can piccha the produsas of these telavision shows satin their big meetins na,

They rather liked the first ten series, they’re going to like the next ten. Who cares if it’s getting old, the public are too stupid to notice.

an

One has a rather brilliant new idea for a show, ten contestants in a house with cameras watching their every move, it sounds like all the other programs on television but it’s not. The difference is, they are all going to be ex-child stars and we shall give them loads of contraceptives and alcohol so they have loads of sex and then our ratings shall go up”.

 

Torkin jus like that. All toff like.

The only telavision they make nowah days is aimed attha perverts, the bloody nonces, the joeys, an the tossers . Innit mate. yanno wottamin?

An don’t get me started on nonces, the bloody lotta em should av their balls cut orf an fed ta em. There wossis one nonce livin near ma gaff got an axe in the ed, there was claret everywhere. An axe right inntha kissa. Geezer ooh done that deserves’a Victoria Cross, medal of honour or summin, yanno wottamin?

The thin that pisses me orf the most about watchin the old lizer, is the poxy daytime shows an the other thin is ma girlfriend gets brainwashed by all that shit. She actually sits there an bloody watches it. Y’ave Trisha, This Mornin, Loose Woman an that fuckin Jessica  wosser face, the big nosed cow. It does ma bloody ed in. She can’t keep er chevy shut either when she does watchit, the missis, she keeps onanon bout it.

“Doncha talk ta me lika pissa shit, I won’t stand farit, I deserve betta, I seenit on Trisha.”

All uppidy, like that.

She seenit on the Trisha Show, that’s what she says, innit. Every time. I tell er ta get offa er arse an clean the ouse or summin. Yanno wottamin?

Woman does ma bloody ed in, all she cares about is er air an bloody diets an that. Diet. Diet. Ya can’t even turn on the tube without earin the damn word. Everybody’s too ealth conscious nowwa days, I tell ya. Wotever appened ta drink, eat an be merry. I don’t wanna turn on the tube ta ear sum old geezer yappin onnat me that smokin’s bad fer ya, drinkin’s bad fer ya, even eatin a fry ups bad fer ya. Jus fuck orf, fuck right orf. Stop tryin ta brain wash me, ya cunts.

Ya see the thin is, the people tryin to force us ta live like em, don’t work in a job like mine, six daysa bloody week, do they? When I finish my shift, the first thin on ma mind is ta go down the local, av a few jars an get rat’ed, wind down. Yanno wottamin?

I see these sorta people, uppa class ponces, like I see on the tube, waltz inta the pub like they own the bloody place. Wearin their suits an their fancy watches, playin golf on the weekends, cushty nine ta five jobs an all that malarki. We’ll sit an watch em, then when they’ve finished orf their gin an tonic or

woteva, we’ll follow em outta the pub an kick fuck outta the cunts in the car park. Trust me, they

aint so big an smart when they getta fist in their gob. Scream an whimpa like little gels, the

majority of the time.

 

Anyway, looks like the rains gonna stop inna bit, good old English weva, eh?

Do ya want me to pull over ere on the left, matey?

Righteo.

That’ll be fourteen quid fifty, please boss.

Nice talkin ta ya.

Take it easy, mate.

Ave a gud un.

On Being Fourteen Years Old and Needing New Shoes by Stephen J. Golds

Poetry, Punk Noir Magazine, Stephen J. Golds

On Being Fourteen Years Old and Needing New Shoes

 

If I was having a shit time at home,

it never really felt as bad

if the sun was out,

burning everything.

 

When it rained,

the rain always seemed to try

its best to ruin me.

Destroy me.

 

The dirty water would seep

through the holes

in the soles

of my shoes and

my socks would absorb

the water like sponges.

 

I remember once

I put my foot on

a piece of cardboard and

drew a line around it

with a black marker pen,

cut it out and taped it

 

into my shoe,

it didn’t do anything.

The water still seeped in,

made the cardboard

a soggy mess and

it was useless

 

like

everything

else.

 

I asked my dad for a new pair shoes but

he just stared at my old shoes hanging

from my hands limply like two dead black baby pigs and

asked what the hell was wrong with those shoes.

I showed him the holes

in the worn smooth soles

 

and

 

he nodded and took them into the kitchen and closed the door.

When he came out and gave them back to me

I saw he had put black electrical tape over the holes.

I said thank you and

went up to my room,

threw the shoes against the wall and

laid on the floor listening to

the

television

blaring up

through

the floorboards.

Leaving Home For Work with OCD by Stephen J. Golds

Non-fiction, Punk Noir Magazine, Stephen J. Golds

Leaving Home For Work with OCD

 

Okay, I’ve got my bag. I’ve got my wallet. Check. Subway pass? Check.

Wallet.

Subway pass.

Touched them?

Yes.

Yes.

In my pockets. They’re there.

Okay, keys. Yes. Keys. Got them.

What about the windows? They’re closed. Checked? No, but I know they’re closed. Okay. Go and check them again. Touch the glass. Touch the handles. Yes, closed. Securely closed. Touch them. Make sure.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

Seven touches means they’re shut securely. Lucky seven. Lucky seven. Lucky seven. Windows are securely closed.

Okay, gas cooker. It’s off. Touch it, make sure. It’s cold to the touch. Touch it seven times.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Lucky seven.

Is it leaking gas? I can’t smell any gas. Ignite your cigarette lighter over the grill. Make sure. Fuck, I almost forgot my cigarettes and lighter. Okay. Got them. They’re in my jacket pocket. Touch them. Check. They’re there.

Try the gas cooker. Yes, okay. No explosion. I’m still here. No leaky gas. Touch the valve. Make sure it’s off. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Lucky seven. Gas stove is safe.

Go and touch the windows again. No, they’re securely closed. I did the lucky seven count. Go and check them again. Touch the glass again. Touch the handles again. Yes, closed. Securely closed. Touch them. Make sure.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

 

Okay. Fuck. Going to be late to work.

Front door.

Bag in right hand. No, change it. Left hand. Bag in left hand. That’s better. Okay.

Wallet? Yes. Touch it. It’s in my pocket.

Subway pass? Yes. Touch it. It’s in my pocket.

Cigarettes and lighter? Yes. I’ve got them. Touch. Yes, In my jacket pocket.

What about the refrigerator? It might be open. Fuck. Quickly go back and touch it.

Okay, refrigerator, it’s closed. Touch it. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Lucky seven. Lucky seven. It’s closed securely.

Front door again.

Keys.

Are the lights off? Yes!

Keys. In my hand.

Open the door and leave. Okay.

Lock the door. Check the handle. Yes, it’s locked. Check it. It’s locked. Check. It’s locked. Locked. Locked. Locked.

Fuck, going to miss the train again.

Check the door again.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

Lucky seven. Door is locked. Let’s go.

Go back, check again.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Lucky seven. Lucky seven. Lucky. Seven. Lucky fucking seven. It’s fucking locked. Let’s fucking go already.

It might still be open. Check it again, just in case.

Fuck!

Touch it.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Okay! Lucky seven. It’s locked. Calm down. Let’s go. I did the lucky seven count. Lucky fucking seven. It’s good. It’s locked.

 

 

Almost at the subway station. I can make it with five minutes to spare.

What about the front door?

It was fucking locked. I fucking checked it.

Go back make sure. Do the lucky seven count three more times. Just to be sure. Need to be sure.

Fuck!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Mr Golds

Three Poems from Stephen J. Golds

Poetry, Punk Noir Magazine, Stephen J. Golds

Mr Golds

Walls

 

Then,

 

the  walls, the floors, the ceilings

within the house were

the whitest,

the hollowest, the

most shame inducing

naked,

I’d ever seen them.

 

Our daughters were comfortable

at their Grandmother’s house and

the rooms within the place were

the quietest, the

most gut puncturing

silent,

I’d ever heard them.

 

Sitting on a dining chair, that was

without a dining table then, I was five kilos lighter.

Staring at so many brown cardboard boxes and

I smoked, twisting the band of platinum

that remained

upon my flesh but had departed from yours

so many bitter raptures ago.

 

You told me to go outside,

the tobacco stunk, you moaned but

I just waved my hand at

the vapid emptiness

of what had been our family home

like what did anything like that

really matter now.

 

And then,

 

hours later, after everything. I had unpacked, and

I sat alone within the wailing walls of single occupancy,

missing my children with such

a terminal and utter and complete

feeling of drowning vacancy that

I wondered how long I could survive until final stage suicide

took a choking embrace of my vital organs and squeezed me breathless.

 

And now,

 

now I sit on a balcony with plants and colors of flowers,

our daughters plant seeds in small pots of soil and giggle together.

Dirt kissing their fingertips and

sunshine caressing their long hair.

I wipe away a tear quickly as I watch them

and swallow a bittersweet happiness

before they can catch it with their glittering eyes.

 

Now I’m just living

for the time I can be with them

like this and they’re free from

our constant, stagnant, gangrenous warring as though

we were the children in the family all along

and we’ve finally grown up now and

left home.

 

For a Woman I Wish I Never Met

 

My grandfather,

he warned me,

never to trust

a woman who

drank alone

in a bar.

 

It was a woman

drinking alone

in a bar who

drank my drinks and

a little later told me

all about Mistletoe.

 

She taught me a lot of things.

How to really drink and how to really fuck, how to really go crazy

and she taught me that

Mistletoe is a beautiful plant

with flowers

as white as virgin snow.

 

And, Mistletoe

is a parasitic plant,

it attaches itself

to a host tree

sucks it dry

of water and nutrients,

 

until the host tree is

just a dead husk,

engulfed by

a hollow kind of death

and

a hollow kind of beauty.

 

I should have

listened to

my grandfather

and I should have

listened

to her.

 

Thoughts Before and After a Divorce

 

Someone said

it’s the small

moments that change your life.

 

For better, for worse.

 

I don’t know

who said that

but I think

it’s probably the truth.

 

In sickness and in health.

 

The small moments.

 

An unset alarm clock.

A missed train.

A broken shoelace.

A bar in

an old part of town.

 

A new woman,

with a new laugh,

a new body

and an

old soul.

 

Till death us do part.

 

Stephen J. Golds was born in the U.K, but has lived in Japan for most of his adult life. He enjoys spending time with his daughters, reading books, traveling, boxing and listening to old Soul LPs. Glamour Girl Gone, his debut novel, will be released by Close to The Bone Press  on January 29th, 2021.

 

 

An Ode to The Japanese Marilyn Monroe by Stephen J. Golds

International Noir, Poetry, Punk Noir Magazine, Stephen J. Golds, Travel

japanese maralyn

Art is by Julie Nicolle.

An Ode to The Japanese Marilyn Monroe

 

When I first met you in that darkened bar, 

I thought you were 

a Japanese Marilyn Monroe.

Your lips mouthed sex, 

your eyes whispered laugher and 

your hair spoke dyed 

ash blonde electricity. 

Sex and beauty were always

your currencies and 

you almost bankrupted me.

 

Towards the end 

we were just two people 

slow dancing in the dark and 

stabbing each other 

to death

in a damp attic.

You killed me 

many times

but you always 

knew how to do that best.

 

A friend got to showing me 

your wedding photo the other night. 

And perhaps I caught your eyes 

for the final time in that darkened bar. 

But this time 

you were wearing the long ivory dress 

of a proud bride, 

not the short skirt and 

easy smile 

of an easy party girl. 

 

I saw the guy stood crookedly 

next to you in a cheap suit, 

who seemed a poor imitation of me. 

I wondered 

if that was deliberate 

on your part 

but I doubted it.

I looked at the woman 

in the photograph and

I still saw the Japanese Marilyn Monroe. 

 

I saw the woman 

who tossed the diamond necklace 

I’d bought her off 

a downtown Hanoi hotel balcony 

into the deep blue 

of a swimming pool below. 

Who kissed me softly 

on the face in a back alley clap clinic 

after a Friday lunch and 

after six shades of roses. 

 

I saw the woman 

who had sent me images of her

shallow self harms, and

who made all those suicide late night calls. 

I saw the woman 

who had made me breathless 

with any number of injuries that I’ve come to

avoid acknowledging like a war torn vet. 

You were my Okinawa,

my Viet Nam, my Iraq and my Somme.

 

I saw the woman 

who had laughed at the most 

unsociable of times, and 

the girl who’d gone to her knees 

in the most unlikely of locales. 

Who loved to fuck 

everywhere but between sheets. 

Who’d worn my shirts around the apartment 

and my sunglasses swaying in the park and 

who had lied about being on birth control. 

 

I always imagined 

seeing your wedding photograph 

would bring back 

a lot of the undead and unhealed,

but I just gulped at my warm beer and 

wondered if the guy stood haphazardly 

next to you knew exactly 

what he was getting himself into. 

Marilyn Monroe had been 

a very sad and a very sick woman after all.

Stephen J. Golds was born in the U.K, but has lived in Japan for most of his adult life. He enjoys spending time with his daughters, reading books, traveling, boxing and listening to old Soul LPs. Glamour Girl Gone, his debut novel, will be released by Close to The Bone Press  on January 29th, 2021.

Two Goldfish by Stephen J. Golds

Flash Fiction, Punk Noir Magazine, Stephen J. Golds

Mr Golds

Two Goldfish

My wife brought me some goldfish. Two goldfish. Apparently they might help me relax. I don’t know. I sit by the window in my chair, drinking, smoking and watching those little gold cunts floating around oblivious in their shitty little tank. I watch them. Bulging eyes. Stupid faces. Little fins flapping around like drowning birds. Tails flicking back and forth. Bubbles popping out from their little mouths. But mostly I stare at their stupid, bulging, gold faces. I think if I saw a man with a stupid looking face like theirs, I would attack him. Maybe even kill him.

 

I don’t feel relaxed at all.

 

I finish my cigarette and stub it out in the ashtray with the others, swallow the rest of my drink and then I stand up, pick up that shitty little tank, go into the bathroom and pour the contents of the tank down the toilet. The goldfish plop into the water like two little golden turds.

PLOP! PLOP!

They swim around frantically for a small part of time. We look at each other; say our good byes and I pull the chain.

BYE. BYE.

It takes me two more flushes to get rid of them. The two golden shits fighting for life. I almost respect them for not just following the flow of water like everything else in my life. Sometimes I feel like I’d like to flush my whole life down the toilet but there isn’t a toilet large enough. Besides, I’m not sure if I already flushed it away years ago.

 

I start to feel a little guilty about the fish so I go downtown. I go downtown everyday to fake looking for a job. Faking it makes me feel a little better for a little while and it stops my wife worrying so much. She worries a lot. Too much, maybe.

 

I sit on the same bench outside a Baptist church that has seen better days and has worse to come; I drink from a couple of cans, smoke my cigarettes and just sit. I try to relax, but I can’t. I feel itchy.

 

I watch an artist painting a seaside scene on a canvas propped up on a plastic easel. He paints blue water with a boat frozen in the middle of a sea stupidly. I don’t know why he is painting that. There’s not an ocean in miles and we’re out in the middle of buttfuck nowhere.

 

A beautiful looking young woman wanders over to watch the artist at work. When he see’s her he starts to get all excited, making squealing noises that sound like a pig being butchered into bacon and slashing the canvas with his brush like a madman. It makes me feel uneasy and uncomfortable. The woman looks over at me embarrassed and laughs a little. I raise my eyebrows and shrug, hey, what do you want me to do about it? She walks off shaking her tight plum ass from side to side. I think about going on after her, but I don’t. I just finish my drink and step on my cigarette and stroll casually over to the artist. He gazes up at me and smiles with teeth that look expensive.

“Your boat looks like shit”, I critique and stroll off. I don’t look back. I know he will have his big, fat, black hole of a mouth gaping open like an ugly flesh wound, eyes squinting like little broken marbles and eyebrows united as one. Fucking inbred hick. Fuck you.

 

I stand waiting for the bus. I am cold and hungry, with only the bus fare in my pocket and a dream inside my head. The dream, my only dream is not to have a nightmare. A van swerves onto the sidewalk to park and

smashes into a bald man on a bike, the cyclist crashes and burns over the bonnet like a scarecrow and lays to rest on the wet, cold concrete, I look away and continue to wait for the bus, thinking that the bald guy probably should have been wearing a helmet. Is this what it all came down to? The choice between wearing a piece of reinforced plastic on your head or not?

 

Every night I have a dream which normally goes along like this, I am a passenger in a car. Maybe it’s a wine red 1940’s Cadillac. I am in the back seat. I do not know the driver because they have no face to know. A face of nothingness. Like new paper. The car smells wet like a winter morning. And I am being driving along an infinite street.

 

Every so often I see someone walking on the horizon. As we get closer, I see them clearly and I recognize them. I know them. I used to know them. As we pass the Caddie slows down and I look out the window at them and they look at me. It’s a mournful kind of recollection. We don’t smile. We don’t wave. We look at

each other like goldfish. The car speeds up again and I lose sight of them over the horizon. This sequence continues and repeats. Everyone I have ever known. It’s a pretty fucking crazy dream. Is life just a long staring contest?

 

When I awake it’s always at the same time. 4:55. I sit up and look down at Karen sleeping. Sometimes her pale face looks like those old Victorian photographs of dead people posed to look like they’re just sleeping. It’s at those times that I think I might love her most. I don’t know why.

 

Karen says she loves me and that we will be together always. All that kind of bullshit. But I know she will leave me soon. She hides all the drink in our home. I hide it, too. It’s another game we play.

 

I finally arrive home. I open the door and enter the warmth, escaping the bitter laughter of an early Winter outside.

“Baby, I’m home!” I shout into the kitchen.

I shake off my boots and jacket, Karen is in the kitchen making my dinner, it smells simple and it smells good. She comes into the hall and smiles at me, wiping her hands on a dish towel. I walk up to her and put my arms around her waist and kiss the side of her soft neck.

“Did you find anything today?” she asks.

“Yeah, I got a great introduction to a small construction company that specializes in refurbishing old warehouses into apartments,” I lie.

“That’s amazing, Darling. I’m so proud of you. By the way, where did the lovely little goldfish go to?”

“Oh, I gave them to the kids across the street…”

BIO: Stephen J. Golds was born in London, U.K, but has lived in Japan for most of his adult life. He enjoys spending time with his daughters, reading books, traveling, boxing and listening to old Soul LPs. Glamour Girl Gone his debut novel will be released by Close to The Bone Press January 29th, 2021.

PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A CONSUMER: STEPHEN J. GOLDS

Close To The Bone, Portait Of The Artist As A Consumer, Punk Noir Magazine, Stephen J. Golds, Writing

Mr Golds

TELEVISION: The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, Narcos, Fargo, True Detective Season 1, Ozark, Breaking Bad, Deadwood…

BOOKS: Everything by Charles Bukowski, John Fante, Arthur Nersesian, Jim Thompson, Charles Willeford, Tobias Wolff, Raymond Carver, Thom Jones, Fredric Brown, Graham Greene, Tim O’Brien, Richard Matheson, Richard Brautighan, Billy Childish, The CTTB Authors…

FILMS: Goodfellas, Casino, Donnie Brasco, Reservoir Dogs, Godfather Trilogy, The Departed, The Shining, Edward Scissorhands, Groundhog Day, Beetlejuice, Raging Bull, Legends of The Fall, The Drop, Leon, The English Patient…

MUSIC: Sam Cooke, The Ink Spots, Sam and Dave, The Chi-Lites, Roberta Flack, Billie Holiday, Al Green, The Smashing Pumpkins, Cypress Hill, Notorious BIG, Van Morrison, Nirvana, All 1950s/1960’s Soul…

PLACES: Okinawa, London, Hanoi, Kefalonia, Saipan, Hong Kong, Myanmar, New York City, Los Angeles…

FOOD: All Okinawan food, Pancakes, Full English Breakfast, Pie…

DRINK: Coffee. Beer. Whisky. Pepsi…

ART: Everything by Billy Childish and Edward Hopper. 

QUOTES

“Find what you love and let it kill you.” Charles Bukowski. 

BIO: Stephen J. Golds was born in London, U.K, but has lived in Japan for most of his adult life. He enjoys spending time with his daughters, reading books, traveling, boxing and listening to old Soul LPs. Glamour Girl Gone his debut novel will be released by Close to The Bone Press January 29th, 2021.