First Quarter: THE EASYMAKERS
I stumble into the BKK night, another anonymous, randy, inebriated fool - a “butterfly boy” to the only ones that might consider partnering with me, their aim being to parlay my state into a week’s good eats and a bit of kudos from coworkers, and maybe even a new get-up to wear to score subsequent tricky-dickies at the agogo. I point-order a T-bone steak for a buck and some spicy noodley shit for even less and spill it all over my favorite pick-up shirt, peering through hazy, porthole vision, making the whole victual affair look like some kind of sloppy yet concentrated ritual. I zigzag back to the hotel after that and I hope that’s all I do or did. But why are my forearms all bruised and how did my wallet get so thin, and can anyone explain the shuffle shift of my bank cards and credit cards and name cards throughout my immature, multi-colored, Velcro wallet, though all cards seem still accounted for? Just another stupid night followed by another dull, dead, lonely, head-pounding morning in the endless swelter of my life in soggy SE Asia. Can it get any better than this?! I doubt it.
Dedicated to Scrupulous Reader: I, too, have never read a book that didn’t start off like a piece of shit - the best and the worst books always do - and I trust that this one will be no different. Only mediocre books start with a bang and burn out. Hence, I do hope from this pointless pre-ramble henceforth the next say 40 pages or 4000 words, you, Valued Reader, deem these passages to be either the best or the worst. Both are correct and, in this book’s case, shall result, mark my 190,000 words, in the opposite evaluation by book’s end, should you make it that far. So, forward ho, Hereward Wordsmith; pick-up where I leave off and go ahead and pick apart what’s there and point out what’s not, and love this latest instalment for all that it’s worth, if that be only the paper it’s written on and the paper that paid for it!
This is how my best friend has prefaced every novel he’s written. It’s achieved substantial booklore. The first sentence is always the same. After that, he’ll change words and phrases here and there, depending on how he measures the particular book starts against its follow-through, and on how complex the book is about to be, but the message is always in the same vein. Basically, fuck you, reader! Just read on and like it or leave it, but if you leave it you’re missing out and the parts you do like aren’t any better than you are, or something like that. But, yeah, it’s the long finger bookmark, and that, as his confidant, only I know for certain. However, among his readers, as his unconditional followers, it is always interpreted in positive, or at least humorous ways. I gotta get me one of those formers! Well, either of those – a reader or an unconditional follower! Anyway, the strabismus, the myopic point of all this fuss over him and this opener is that it’s not even his line-age. In fact, he borrowed the meat of it from a couple chatting “lit” at a sandwich shop. He told me (and only me, but has given me the pass to pass it on only if I ever get to writing that book I ween endlessly about), that the female of the couple was explaining to her male companion how some book she had been reading had started off rough, dull in both senses of the word, and ‘all around shitty’, to the point of her not even wanting to continue finishing it, but that it had ended up, by end, being one of the best books she’d ever read. A book she couldn’t put down and had made her reread list. Not really much of an unusual or uncommon claim, hardly worthy of theft, but stolen nonetheless and with pretty legendary results!
See, my friend, he’s a writer and his research consists almost exclusively in taping people's everyday conversations - whether he is a part of them or not. Because he's a writer and regardless of how successful he is, he is neither busy, nor recognizable, and so flimsy enough to slouch wherever others typically break (you know - coffee houses, beer heavens, cocktail airs, anybenches, food huts) and Dictaphone PWR play-while-record others’ talk. He’s not up with the e-times, and one of those dudes who’s proud of that, yet, at the same time, likes to yap on about future e-ventures. Anyway, back to the point, by transcribing his Dictaphone almost exclusively, his books are virtually entirely ripped-off conversation and often even verbatim dialogue with the resultant ‘lectures and lessons’ being incisively relatable. His characterization is dead-on, so say the critics and the followers, and that's enough to make him a huge seller. He's big all right. So big that he can and does claim earnestly, without apparent (and with sort-of-parental) envy that I'm far more talented than He! He has begun to make these calls to his publishers and also to those neatly dressed folks that attend his readings. Obviously (isn't it-ly?), in taking on my project ME, he is showing himself to be lonely and egotistically worn-out and don't and aren't we all (the big "but" being that he's got money equals fame equals money to repress himself of these emotions!).
Needful to write, I too, but conversely, admire him and think his talent is all there. Of course, when I talk of his talent everybody is right there to agree with me. It's really not for a man with my supposition to say that he's greater than I. He IS great and I'm no greater, but I AM poorer and maybe handsomer and drunk at least as often but not as drunk when I am and not as getlucky in any state. He has been with many, many women. I have been with quite a few, but not as a result of my status or his fame, more just as a result of a tendency that occurs on the pint. The women will always be there, at least in youth, I imagine. I can’t speak for the older me, but right now, in my early 30s, women come and go as I please, sort of. Really, no matter one’s age, sex and love seems to always be a part of everyone's story with other crazy events swirling around or being interrupted or enhanced or diminished by “sexlove”. And this is particularly the case for those of us who refuse to grow up, or whose circumstances and luck refuse the kind of maturation that would shift the focus away from the carnal.
On one night, I said to him that I want to write a book about one woman and make her the characters, the plot, the setting - everything. She would be everything and everything else would be the things that will always be there. He said, not asked, "What is the difference". That was my point, I think.
Everyothernight, more often than not and seldomly seldomer than always, we will talk about women and he'll tell me even more often that, since his fame, he has never spent a first night with a woman sober and he has never made a drunk woman. See, we're talking about women, not the woman - no, no, let's call her the womEn because she is what every women should, could, would be. And the other thing that he repeats that just sounds so right, albeit immaturely so, is that it really doesn't matter to him how many women he's had because all the sex adds up to less lays than is shared by the average monogamous couple waist-high in sexlove.... Not That He Wants A Relationship!! It could be said that when he’s not borrowing the observations of others, his own are quite pedestrian. Still, he has a way of saying them that comes off as a pedestrian adroitly dodging traffic.
Back to this one night, I tell him how this book of mine would work: Everybody seems to want a woman and the ensuing relationship. But we do not, so let's not have either... let's have the womEn, capital E. You, my friend, I say, are famous in your books for your putting men's words out of the mouths of women (he is frequently verbatim, but his characters are deemed as so bloody great because he'll, for example, swapquote my penis-driven vulgarity with the eureka of a deep-thinking, sexually-liberated female character), yes, you are famous for that interchanged conversational exchange, but nevermind that... let's have the womEn. Like everyauthor, at least of the booming years of Yank Lit, who couldn’t resist the mention of the word/act “fuck” or ”Jesus” at least once in their book (especially JUST once, for penultimate effect), we’ll do the same buuut... let's replace it with the womEn! Big E. The woman that represents all women, that best exemplifies just how spectacular a woman can be, but who (or is it whom?) is an individual all her own and certainly a one and only. Yet she’ll opt to be with me. And so on, I went. You know, like she is singular person, but meant to best represent the plural, yet she’d be singularly mine. Shit babble like that. He's got it on tape and when I hear myself talking like that I'm pretty charged, if not effulgent! I'm, well, happy. Or maybe proud. Yeah proud. And drunk. At least as proud as I can be without the embarrassment of being so and/or the usually subsequent feeling that I should re-evaluate my obvious miring in a pagan, aesthetic way of life. Proud, but not loud, on the lowdown.
I had not seen him since I moved further East than he, until we agreed to meet in notorious Sexlove City just now. This is where it all begins. Everything can and will happen in this never tapped-out megatropapocolyptis. Add to the mix me and my friend and women and all will be the utmost. To make a long story short, and a short sentence long, hereforth, this is about women mostly and about the women we're about to meet before it gets too late, the tape runs out and we stumble out of a bar and score reality with related slurred truths about his fame and my future such and we then return to our separate rooms and hide our moneyed pants under our sides of the beds and wake up on the other sides of the bed with pants' pockets disturbed, but unverifiably so by memories that aren't, and ourselves in love with reality because hangovers make us love what we've always had and still have and just despise this throbbing and sinking pain that marks how good life is on the healed side of this endless, momentary tragedy. Significantly, however, this is about the womEn (maybe I’ll find her tonight, despite my usual drunk pisspoor attempts!):