Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cash, fool

        “Yo, man, you ever keep in touch with your friends from home?” he asked. The oil smell from the fresh blacktop blew up into his face and his hands pressed sweaty against the wheel. As he spoke he was lost in the roar of that open window, that new car smell, the white stripes of the highway shooting by and all those shining muscled cars clinging to the blacktop, pressing interminably forward, where the road boiled against the horizon.
        His friend sat next to him, focused instead on the great blur of the trees and all those greens mixing together and streaking across his window.
        “Na…No not really,” replied the friend. ”There was one guy. I talked to him maybe a year ago but nobody else really, and that guy doesn’t even count.”
        “Sup with that?”
        “I dunno….I never talk to anyone. Didn’t really have a lot of friends in high school.”
        There was a pause and both returned to their scenery, the driver to the glory of industry and production racing around beneath and through him and his friend to the subtle majesty of all that speed across the retina, in so many blurring trees.
        “Hey, you remember those candies?” Asked the friend, reminded by one of the greens rushing past. “……They were sour as hell. What were they…..?”
        “Aw man, Warheads?” asked the driver, thinking instantly to childhood, then back to his steering wheel and the car.

        Four hundred fifteen sixty seven. Damn. Her fingers clacked over the keys and she shot a glance down at the printout to her left. The next one under February read 84.83 and she said eight four eighty three over in her head. Her fingers found the keys and pressed 84.83. into the key board, and then she cursed to her self, several times.
        Damn this is dry and damn these numbers. Four-nineteen and eighty-eight cents. Eighty-eight dollars flat, five-o-seven and zero cents. They just fly off to Central Database and who the hell ever checks them anyway? Four-hundred-nineteen-eighty-eight…..eighty….eighty and zero cents….five-hundred-seven and zero cents. Alright. “Cash rules everything around me.” Oh God that song. God these songs are like parasites…like worms.
        She corrected her posture and checked the plastic hands of the clock on her cubicle wall. Finishing that column she slid to next with the mouse in her palm and clicked:
        April. Three-hundred-ninety-five and zero cents. Eighty-three and zero cents. Four-seventy-two and zero cents. Wonder what I’ll do for dinner tonight. Maybe chicken, some white wine. The onions, four of them, peel the skin, slice them in wedges…That pan. Do I have a deep pan? That’s the thing about cooking with white wine. you need a deep pan, and then what do you drink with it? Guess just more wine. As long as there’s more… I’ll get a liter bottle this time. ”---Cream!----Get the money---“ Why do I listen to that stuff anyway? Yeah…some chicken…do I still have those onions? But that’s not ‘til later…..oh but I got that Warhead to look forward to now where did I put that? Remember them from middle school… Oh yeah those things…Where is it? I’m gonna eat that thing now, I’ve earned it.…. I just remember……they were so sour, and I would chew them on the back of the bus, and that kid who used to sell them what was his name? Those things were good why don’t I ever buy candy anymore? “Cash rules everything around----“ Damn I’ve got to get this song out of my head.

        “Hell yeah, I use to sell them things. “ Those were the days, the driver thought, eyes still fixed on the boiling horizon. These days are pretty good but those were the days.
        “No shit. You were that kid in high school?” When he thought about it his friend was actually not surprised.
        “You bet…shit…those things. Man, I made so much money. Yea man, that was me. I’d order ‘em right from the company. Oh and my mom, she was all about it. She supported it completely. Yeah, I remember she’d pick me up from school and I’d count what I made right there with her, she loved it.”
        Glorious sun and cornfields now flew off to their right and that high filled back up in him, though somehow different.
         “Sometimes I’d do good…..make like 20 bucks a day,” he continued. “I bought some cool stuff with it. I’d order ‘em right from the company, that was the way to go. Man…that was the way to go. Yea I bought some great stuff with that money. Bought a pair of Reeboks, a few turtles…..I think that’s how I bought my first bike. Aw yeah….I remember that. I picked it out one day with my mom and then we brought it home and I rode it around my block, all shiny and new. Man….yeah it was flossin’. Those Warheads….yea those were the days. Man….”
        “That’s pretty cool. You should do that now.”
        “Yeah, man I really should. People still love that stuff.”
        “But then I got busted. Man it sucked when I got busted.”

        She eyed the clock again. The shape of the hand had changed from something like the open mouth of a fish, to something more vertical, more like bunny’s ears. The typing and numbers moved through her now, physically, without reflection.
        Where did I put that thing? ... Oh God, now I have to pee... where the hell. I want to find that Warhead I want to eat that War-Head. Aw, and when Jeff handed me that Warhead it made my day. He's cute, He's a cute guy….. really funny with his candy. Jellybeans last week, then Nerds, now Warheads. Cute how he walks around work and hands them out to everyone. He must be a momma's boy.
        He must be. Ugh, where did I leave the warhead, where did I see it last, by the cup, drawer, floor? I'd hate to bother him for another,
        But maybe I could flirt a little with him when I ask for another.

        . “---Pullin out gat’s for fun!” Damn that song.
        No….. not here…..No, I shouldn’t. I shouldn’t think of him that way. Not at the workplace….Nobody at the workplace. Oh but why not?
        Maybe it’s in my purse……No……Need to deposit this check today. Crap where is it? No….not here….Maybe it fell into the trashcan.

        The high of so many cars and the speed had passed but the speed and the wind kept coming and he loved them still.
        “Oh, you mean it wasn’t allowed?”
        “No man, they got me. I mean....whatever the reason was…I dunno, guess it distracts the kids, takes money from the cafeteria or something, whatever, it was lame.”
        “Yea man, they stuck me…one day I was making a deal, all on the sly in the hall, with my backpack open, then someone bumped me and they all just fell…..Aw man the stuff just flew everywhere, it was so much candy….Warheads, Airheads, Blow-Pops, Pop-rocks, all over the hallway. Then some security guard came and busted me….they confiscated it all and wouldn’t give it back… I was so pissed.”

        I don’t know No I don’t buy that about not dating at the workplace. No……not there…….”Cash rules everything around me—“No I don’t see why I shouldn’t all that one-size-fits-all bullshit advice the guy’s cute I can go for him right? It’s stupid I don’t care. “Dolla dolla bill y’aaall.” He’s really pretty cute. But yea…that whole thing….yeah, it would be shitting where I sleep. Who cares, I could use a little shit. Too boring too clean around here. It’d be good if I don’t find it, give me an excuse to go shoot the shit with him. That’d be nice. Shooting the shit. I don’t care about sex really but a nice guy to shoot the shit with……..or shoot the shit after sex, better yet….yea……even better......Maybe…..oh wait, did I put it in my pockets? Oh God, that never used so be so hard to do. Am I gaining weight why are my pockets so tight? “Cash rules everything---“I should go to the gym tonight.

        “That’s hilarious you were that kid. In my school it was this Russian dude. Sold us airheads. Used to walk around with boxes and boxes.” The friend now thought to that Russian kid and to all those kids from high school, the Puerto Ricans, the Blacks, the Jews, the Chinese, the Italians, the Greeks. I remember learning Spanish from those dudes, man that was golden. What did they try to teach me? Ponde .....ponde en tu rodiyas…..Ponde in tu rodiyas….e chupa mi uevos! Oh yeah, chupa mi peecho! That was with the ‘rican accent though. Man, that was something. What was that monster called? La Chupacabra. That thing was hilarious. They’d walk around with shirts of him, this bug-eyed thing with sharp teeth and spikes on its back. Watch out or he’ll come at night and eat all your sheep.
        “Oh yea?”
        “Yeah. You remember that Chernobyl accident in Russia, around the time we were born?”
        “Yeah, at my school there were a bunch of these Ukranian kids…they came from there, to get away from that. Yea this kid, I think he was Ukranian but I mean we just called him the Russian. Yeah, he was always pushing those things. You know like, he’d give you a deal if you bought a box. Yea made a lot of money off that stuff. He’d have these huge rolls of ones.“
        “Haha! Yea, man, when they caught me I was loaded like that too. Yeah, all these ones and quarters. It was so obvious.”
        Just then a billboard rose up and fell away and it was of a little lizard guy, selling car insurance. They both noticed.

        Damn how the hell’d I lose that thing already dammit I was really looking forward to that all day. Damn. Maybe I ate it already?
        No. No, I set it right there by the phone and said I’d leave it and I wouldn’t eat it ‘til later
”Cash rules everything----“ No, not there… Maybe I bumped it and fell back behind the desk?……No….it’s not back there. What am I doing. I need to finish these figures. …I haven’t even started on the expenses column.
        Damn. Shit. All I wanted was that Warhead.
”Cream!---Get the money---Dolla Dolla---“ I really wanted that thing, all goddamn day it say there, and now that I want it its gone….. I’ll go bother Jeff after work. Don’t want to though. What if he thinks I’m annoying?
        Not it’d be a good thing I can do it. Yes Jeff, I am confident, desirable woman, would you happen to have another Warhead? Oh no? Maybe you’d like to grab some dinner after work, then we can enjoy one afterwards, for dessert? Or…no….we’ll skip dinner. Skip the dinner, we’ll go to that Costco over in Hamilton, and, I know just the aisle, and buy a big bag of them.
        Oh but I really wanted that thing now I waited all damn day Of course now that I want it it’s not there. Damn. Where the hell did it go? Where did that goddamn War Head go.


mat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
L said...

such a great song.

i feel like this could be titled "C.R.E.A.M." too, but i guess that would be a little too obvious. on the other hand, i'm wondering how differently this device (of using a song to string the theme throughout the narrative) would work on someone who was less familiar with the Wu-Tang song.

it's an interesting arrangement. and i especially enjoy how "cash rules.." not just "everything around" in space, but also in time - from grade school hall memories to accounting, expenses, taxes, etc. as an adult. the children's candy is saying like nothing is sacred to the reaches of money motivation. even how the female character begins thinking about hooking up with the Warhead kid. not that that's evil or anything, but that money's connected to it all in some way.

i enjoy the stream of consciousness style and inner monologues. i'm ambivalent about the nameless characters - but only because it becomes a little awkward being referred "friend" or "drive." and the ending's sort of funny/strange.

i get the sense that the characters are kind of these kids from inner city public schools. how significant do you think that is? do you feel that makes the song more pertinent/applicable or do you think it could work with any other demographic?

mat said...

yo LA, thanks for the comments, the timing is good as i'm just about to send this one off to my teacher for my ISP.

the C.R.E.A.M dillemma is real, and I'm still wondering if I should/could include that somehow. i had originally titled the post just that, but thought it too obvious and felt that it would completely govern how people saw the story from the outset. I left "Cream" in the lyrics for similar reasons, not only that it might confuse anyone unfamiliar with the song......but "Cream" denotes the rich, milky stuff that floats to the top, which also could mean profit....which maybe resonates with the driver's milk-and-honey-esque (cars and corn) scenery of prosperity and abundance. which i htought was cool, but maybe its only me that notices that, and i'm tooting my own horn. toot toot!

but that C.R.E.A.M. acronym is so like to put it in ....i dont know.

interesting that you see the kids as being from inner city public schools. i like that. but its funny, as most of these scenarios i wrote from my high school experience in rural southern new jersey. it was public school, but not terribly urban. i'm not sure what that means. i suppose it appeals to only the public schooled nostalgia.

word...thanks for the comments....

shara said...

Good job on making the feminine voice more feminine. I'm still a little skeptical about the sex part with the shit. She can reamin an aggressive woman who wants to have some casual sex if you change the words around. For me, the language in that bit doesn't flow with the rest of her monologue.