Fiction

The Art of Conversation

By: Alan Berger

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My internet bill somehow didn’t get paid on time, after time, and they finally shut it down. I  guess I put it aside to cover the rent, which hasn’t been paid either.

I probably tucked that away to pay my pets vet bill, and still owe that medicine man three hundred dollars. I even owe the patient, five dollars.

I would have zeroed the Vet out, but I had to give my mechanic three fifty, and the car still needs another twelve hundred for it to be able to run more than three minutes without blowing up.

Good thing the surgery I got coming up for my neck, back, and leg, is being paid for by the Union. I have not had a union writing job in years.

Soon I can says decades.

The time in the hospital is going to cost me about a grand for not selling dick pills for a week. That is what I do for a living, to not pay the bills. Sell dick pills.

The cell phone is cool. I sent them a bit, then after being on hold for five minutes so they could stick four commercials up my ass through my ears, I told them I decided to send in less for making me wait and listen to their crap and if they didn’t like it, it would be goodbye Sprint, hello Verizon, with my same number. They took what I offered, and I saved thirty dollars all on my own. Please pardon me for the Verizon commercial. Before I hung up, I asked if this call was being recorded, when they said it was I said, “Fuck you very much”. They said “You’re welcome sir”.

Truly, the only thing I had of value was my lap top, left opened on my bed whenever I was planning to have someone over so they would be impressed that at least I was writing. I was working on a story for a year, and it was all in there, and in my opinion,
great. So not only did I have something to do that I could say was and is my passion, writing, I could also show off. It was paid for and not broken, like everything else in the dump I lived in including me. But I loved the dump. And the writing, and I actually liked me a bit, now and then.

No gas money, but I got nowhere to go. The good news is, the dump came with free utilities. Too bad it didn’t come with good looks and free talent. I’ll have to keep on punting and tap dancing till the other shoe drops. Oh, I forgot that that shoe already is gone and I’m barefoot and bare assed.

I figured getting fucked might take my mind off things, and since the dating sites were down due to non- renewal costs I decided to hunt for that fuck in person.

I went down to the up-scale coffee shop around the corner, and sat at a corner table, and waited. It did not take long for my type to come in, the type that had a pulse would be right at home at any ole bus stop bench.

I should have got something to eat first. The prices for a cupcake here are, I had the world on a string once, but the sting de -twined, and it’s affected the places I dine. But
why whine?

100 percent, I started thinking. 100 percent of us come into the world, and that same 100 percent, leave. Numbers don’t lie until you want them to. What has that got to do with going out broke to get laid? Nothing I hope.

As I waited for my fourth wife, who ever that would be, to show up, I thought of the many ways I could get of out of, or delay my rent payment even further than it was, at the past and present time.

There was the time I woke n the middle of the night not knowing that it was the fire alarm that did the waking. As I merrily, still half asleep walked to the kitchen I noticed one of the walls was not white anymore but pumpkin brunt orange. I thought it looked so pretty. That was because when I turned to the other wall where the stove was, it was on fire. On fire up to the fucking ceiling. People outside from the sidewalk were yelling into my third floor window if they should call the fire department. No I thought, call The Ghostbusters. After doing the deer in the headlights thing, I grabbed my thick bedspread and smothered it. It went out in a few seconds. Then, the landlord who lived in the building was at the door, along with the wolf who, was always at the door.

No matter how much I explained the fucking stove just went on fire by itself, he thought I was either, cooking, or left candles on it. I could not convince him that I was not cooking, did not burn candles on them, or pour gasoline on it and light it up, or keep fireworks in the oven and Then, there was the time, my two gay amateur wrestler neighbors were going at it. The walls are paper thin and you can hear when one of them blows their nose, or each other, and during one of their bouts, one of them went thru the wall, hanging over shoulders and head in my living room, only room for that matter, like a moose head, except, a moose would, have been sexier.

Then there was the time I was in the Jacuzzi and the whole fucking night headlight in there came floating up with the wires sparking, and even at my advanced age I shot out of there like I was turbo charged. When I told the landlord about it he said “Good, you could use the exercise.

I had to have surgery, and stay in the hospital for a few days the landlord said he would look in on my cat. He barged in drunk one night to look in on the cat, however he was two weeks too early and I almost crapped in my bed out of fear. Like my nightmares were not enough, they had to be interrupted by the real thing. I had a 7 foot, Romanian, Mr. clean double, spilling beer over me, like a summer shower. That should be good for a bit of a rent delay, but he said he was sorry and brought me some bagels the next day.

Then the mold, the insects, the leaky roof, boy, I do really love living there though.

So in she walks, and could tell right off she had all the makings of a play partner and I was hoping she didn’t smoke, or have herpes, but you can’t have everything.

I would never approach anyone without them eyeballing me in a certain, nice inviting way, and she was doing just that, the idiot.

I waited for one more look and I got it, got up, and started towards her. When I got to her, I said, “Hey, I got an idea”. I waited, she said, “What”? I said, “How would you like to make a date without a computer”? She laughed. All I had to after that was fuck it up. And, I shall.

She asked when this date would take place, and I told her as soon as I got out of the bathroom. I went into the Starbucks bathroom and made sure I took plenty of toilet paper with me since I sure didn’t have any at home.

During some witty banter she mentioned she wanted to be a writer. That’s when I jumped on my stuff, telling her this and that, and all the writing I have been doing, and the trials and tribulations of it all, and the funny thing is I meant it, but the presentation sounded like such bullshit, I was even aware of it, but I hoped she was going for it. I was. Every time she had something to say about her, I stopped her with more of my speeches, and more, more interesting things to say about me, which I was sure, more interesting than anything she had in her head.

We made it to my place. The thing I said, which I said many times to many, was, “I forgot to put my “Work” away”, as I pushed the laptop containing my everything, my real world, to the side of the bed, but of course, still on display.

I went to the bathroom to put the toilet paper I stole from Starbucks in the roller, and since I didn’t at Starbucks, took a nice long piss in the comfort of my own shithole.

After looking in the mirror for a while at the smooth-writer-hustler I was, it is a hyphen town after all, I popped out of the can and noticed, she was gone, and so was my laptop.
There was a note on the bed that said, “You should learn to listen, “Creep”. Creep in capitols. Maybe she did have some talent. I ran out, down the hall, down the stairs, I heard the front gate of the building clang. Then, I tripped, like I like always do, on my own bullshit, and could not get up. The only thing I could do was to yell out, “I’ve fallen and can’t get up”. They moved the surgery up. Oh well, tomorrow is another whatever

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Categories: Fiction

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