A Criplin Blo

by Mark Stain

"A CRIPPLEING BLOW"

Shamefully, I shall- no wait, not "shall", never "shall", sounds too angry. Shamefully I "will" tell you of thick white washed walls and how they did fuckin extend higher than a godam roof of awful tar and gravel. A flat "build up" type roof over much that maybe fuckin should have been ashamed of by someone somewhere an shit, because sometimes shame is the best that we can do. The wind did gently sand blast regrettable pits & flakes into the awful thick white paint. The walls, regretably painted over and over again many times over the years. The roof likewise retarded errratherre-tarred, and always sticky in the summer time from too much sunlight, not that anyone was ever up there to know it, I love that sticky roof, not that it matters at all, love will never make that building young again. Fore "Ike's Ice House" was a old little building and it showed. Formed of awful concrete, which does expand and contract temperately but will not fuckin budge. It was not built quickly and the regrettable years were a testament to its awful durability. Outside, bleached, bleak and desolate, regardless of life all around and inside too. Gravel, the keleche kind of course, paved \\\"Ike's" tiny parking lot an shit. Tiny patches of godam green that was grass grew here there and at its corners. There was a broken fuckin neon sign over the front door of "Ike's" and a working "open" neon sign in one of the large plate glass windows and everything. An old wooden fence with faded red paint marked a much older property line down one side. Sometimes, gathered on the other side of that regrettable fence were homeless or drunks, leaving "Ike's" and squatting, leaning, evan laying right out on the ground, in bewilderment, despondent dejected, confused. Puzzles that did miss a few pieces.

Now, if harsh language could ever do more than hurt a persons feelings, that little old building would have been reduced to godam rubble years ago, 'Ike's Ice House" had been a godam beer joint for a very long time. But, regrettably, foul language and harsh godam words couldn't even put a scratch in the awful wood paneling that someone had glued to the interior of those concrete walls. It only echoed back for all to hear and instead of destruction brought awful immortality by way of bad reputation. As stated, it stood resolute, and for a very long time an shit, at the corner of E4 and the freeway. Inside that stubbornly indestructible and eternally morose little building, was always dark. A couple of awful pool tables and some cheesy little round cocktail tables surrounded by cheap ass little bar stools that were also lined up at the brass foot rail along the bar an shit. And of course there was a godam pinball machine and a jukebox.

May 14'Th 1996

And were there no one around. No one, that is, except a couple regrettable migrant workers on the other awful side of that old red fence andthree persons inside.

Gazathered at the godam bar was Martha, Ray and Pete. And had Martha been uh-keepin bar there for seven long "I don't give a rats ass" years. Her tall and thin in her godam mid fifties an shit. Toilin away behind the bar pouring beer for many a friend and casual aquantance, having gratefully reached that godam philosophical godam stage of life and freedom of thought and awful interaction, she liked her job, not so much the pouring of beer and cleaning up, but as I did say freedom to enjoy the company of others an shit. And old Martha was good. Not so much at mixing drinks and filling fuckin mugs, but gossip. She had become an expert, godam un-canny ability to know everyone else's business in a ten-mile radius. Truly amazing considering old Martha's phone never did ring. Evan so Martha knew everything. She was behind the bar an shit. Now, Ray and Pete, both of similar godam generation except Ray was thirty seven, were uh-sittin on a couple uh-those cheap ass bar stools, opposite the old bar from old Martha. And does it fucken matter what clothes they wore! In case it does, I will tell you they were poor! They wore rags! Well not really rags, I mean no one wears rags anymore, do they? They all three did wear sneakers and jeans and hand-me-down T-shirts. And did I fuckin mention all three were pathological liars? Regrettable but true, there being no shortage of such activity and worse in and around "Ike's". These were three of the trickier ones and did trade in gratuitous lies in warped compensation for lack of social grace and everything.

Martha- And what do you suppose is the first thing he does when he gets out?

Pete- What?

After briefly reviewing my notes again, regrettably, I am experiencing serious doubts about the length, width and breadth of this document, regardless I will continue.

Martha- Tells em they gotta get Kirby out too.

Ray-Why would they do that?

Pete- Yeah, why would they even do that, that's what what I don't understand?

Martha- Ben told em he needed Kirby to fix it.

Yes, uh-toilin away back there behind the bar as I did say, and uh-shootin the shit, only occasionally reminded of all the awful fragments of more godam bullshit that she had forgotten than most of us would ever recall in our entire fuckin lives. Old Martha did then pour herself a draft from a regrettable tap over a godam sink, behind, which she stood, and every thing.

Ray- So'd they get Kirby out?

Martha- Next day.

Pete- No shit!

Martha- I aint lyin!

Ray- Godam, Ben lifts a finger and Kirby is free to go, just like that.

Martha- I know.

Pete- So how did Ben and Kirby fix it.

Ray- Yeah, that I sure would like to know.

And did Martha then look past and beyond her little godam audience an shit, out through the regrettable tinted plate glass windows at the front of "Ike's", out into the after noon, while holding her glass of beer in one hand and wiping it with the other. Should she "tell" what she had been told or lie? It hardly fuckin mattered as they would only be able to guess if it were true or not, just as she had only been able to guess when she had heard. True or not, not one of them could know, not then, not until it was generally accepted fuckin knowledge, accepted as part of the legend an shit. So it goes, and so she goes

Martha- They broke into the police impound lot and stole that wire back.

Pete- That's incredible!

Martha- I aint lyin!

And Ray didn't say anything while they all three did take another sip. Then eh goes

Ray- That was all Ben's doing you know, Kirby never would have.

Pete- That's right, your godam right about that.

Martha- I know.

Ray looked at Pete and Pete back at Ray, and were both very much like pet rattle snakes to the other and every thing. Very fond of one another in some ways, but never quite able to forget that they could get very awful bit at any time. Treatment with a healthy dose of respect and everything but a lot like fear, which is arguably the same thing and maybe a topic I will cover some day. They did then both look at Old Martha who wore a countenance of un-equaled trepidation, though completely concealed it an shit.

Ray- Damn, I never would have even thought of that , much less tried it.

Pete- Ya gotta hand it to em.

Martha- I know

Ray- Ben's tha man.

Pete- Ben IS tha man.

And Martha didn't say anything.

Ray- So where's the wire now?

Martha- He gave it back.

Pete-He gave it back!?!

Old Martha almost fuckin groaned, her head nodding in reply.

Martha- He gave it back to the construction company he stole it from, well for a small fee of course.

Ray- Of course.

Pete- Ya gotta hand it to em.

Martha- I know.

Ray- Slicker'n snot on a door knob.

And here a odd thing did briefly fuckin occur. And it was with strange daydreams of all the better awful things that might heave been for her but never were. She did not know of these wonderous dreams, which ghost like she dreamt at some subliminal level. They only wistfully floated up to the regrettable surface and were ignored or disregarded in her denial an shit. So it was again this time as she absentmindedly did pluck a dirty beer mug from the sink and wipe, wipe it clean. Then she looked majestic for just a split second before saying

Martha- That takes some nerve boy!

Pete- You aint lyin!

Ray- Yup!

Martha then firkin cleared her throat, dislodging a godam disproportionate abundance of mucus and saliva and everything. Which she then bent over and spit as much as drooled into the sink in front of her, then put down the mug she was uh-polishing and took another sip of beer. Having closed one eye during this short but awful ritual then opening it again and looking past her two regrettable friends she caught upon old little bit, whom was standing at the bus stop but waiting for no bus, and Martha says

Martha- eeh even got em to drop the charges.

And were Old Ray and Old Pete now fuckin prepared to believe anything as they did look and listen with glee!

Martha- Told em they couldn't win in court without any evidence.

Ray- well for pity's sake.

Ray stated flatly in wonder, allowing his lower jaw to hang open, while considering for a brief interval of awful inward thought before adding.

Ray-That's incredible!

Pete- I believe it, I know Ben, I believe it.

Martha- I aint lyin.

So it was on the 14th day of May 1996, that six godam eyeballs were cast downward in awful contemplation as though marveling at some ingenious new invention as though unwilling to trust even themselves where upon Old Ben himself delivered a crippling blow to there collective perceptions and shit, by uh-blundering through the door and give rise to their regrettable sayin

Three owners of six doubtful eyeballs- Hey Ben!

And

Three owners of six doubtful eyeballs- How are you how? Hows it been.

Before one of whom, and it being now impossible to discern from the rest "speak of the Devil"

Now as old Ben makes his way round chair and table towards them at the bar he does look impassively over three pictures of awful curious innocents an goes

Ben- There's a new kid in town.

Martha-Ya don't say

Where upon Pete and Ray did give a awful quizzical fuckin look at Ben and everything.

Ben- I do too say, next door to me, just moved in.

Martha , Pete, and Ray being mildly curious about this new development but regrettably more wanting to know if the local gossip were true, did hesitate, It was old Martha who had the courage to speak first.

Martha- So, Ben we heard you were out; howed ya do it? Get out that quick that is?

And did Pete and Ray then narrow their eyes, uh-studying Old Ben for some glimmer of truth, while Martha's eyes were comparatively inactive.

Ben- It's complicated, Im not really at liberty to say.

Bens thoughts- Its uncanny. Can't fart in a hurricane without word getting out.

Ben- Watched em through the blinds, doesn't have much stuff, not the usual sort you see around around here, looks like he's got a job, but you never can tell.

Then a beer was offered by Martha and with a nod from Ben, brought to lips and after a long swallow, replaced on the bar.

Ben Gunna have to have a chat with em, have to hear his story before I can stand in

his shoes.

Low need I add all three nodded the affirmative to this wisdom, he being the closest thing to a hero they had, regrettably they would have agreed had he told them aliens from some distant planet had moved in next door intent upon breeding with earth women " hide your women and daughters" he could have told them, "spacemen with orgasm inducing ray guns have come to steal our women." All save Martha would have agreed, her being a woman herself though in her fifties, and likely curious about just what their ray guns could do for her. I doubt she would have hid. But, she thought a lot of Old Ben they all did, and wanted very much to think he was right. The feeling was regrettably mutual as Old Ben did in his way much like these three. They were his old friends an shit. They were like a bunch of teenagers that never really did straighten out, though sometimes fragments of awful truth did shine from "Ike's". Shine like a beacon on the horizon for anyone who cared to find their way. But of truth on that day little be known, as old Martha inquired

Martha- We have heard all sorts of rumors about you Ben.

She trailing off with awful introversion in hopes of Ray and Pete chiming in.

Pete- Yeah, I mean, Iv never seen anything like the way you tore into the law that day.

Ray- Didn't think we would see you for a while.

And did these three vipers now smile at Old Ben he now uh- calculatin and everything. They seemed to say " you showed em Ben, you showed em all" with their eyes and movements an shit. Here did the godam conversation then lull and drag, awkward silence following and everything.

Ben- Iv talked with a attorney who advises me that if I "lawyer up" I can beat the rap.

Martha- ahhh

Ray- shrewd very shrewd

Pete- That's true very true.

Ben- Oh why am I telling them anything! Im sure to hear from my attorney now.

And were Martha, Ray and Pete now even more curious as the awful plot did thicken,

got himself a lawyer, it was unheard of, good money wasted on layers when those appointed by the court are all but ignored? As always Old Ben was full of surprises.

Be that as it fuckin may, they would press him no further. And just then, Old Kirby comes strolling through the regrettable door and everything, walks over to apparent good-natured godam greetings by all. Uh- joining them in a awful beer. Then Old Pete became absorbed in the regrettable monotony of peeling the label off a wet bottle while Ray did succumb to pyromania held over from a anguished filled adolescents, uh-idly building a match stick fire in a small ashtray on the bar there. Now Old Ben and Martha cast their awful unseeing eyes upon the tiny TV at ceiling level and Old Ben wondered not for the first time where his image was displayed when recorded by the small godam security camera mounted next to the TV. Conversely did old Kirby wonder for the first awful time in his regrettable life what to talk about.

Kirby- Aint the walls perpendicular

And they then all beheld him with brief fuckin indifference, before returning to their prior conditions, where upon Old Kirby launches, and with no enthusiasm, into lengthy godam summarization the events of his mourning thus far.

Kirby- Skinned my knuckles all to hell on the fan blade of my S10 taking the belts off, then got all but the last bolt out of the water pump, the corners breaking off and boogering up so bad it was a peg. So I chiseled off the head and tapped the screw out out of the block. Then I got a ride from Old Herb down to the auto parts. Carried the pump inside where, after everyone there looked it over we all decided there was nothing wrong with it. So I put it back on and spent the rest of the morning by-passing the emissions control crap.

And here did Old Kirby fuckin pause to judge their awful indiscernible reactions an shit.

Kirby-wouldn't have been so bad but I couldn't get a nut off the alternator. But, Im sure that was why it was running hot, what do you think Ben?

Ben- um-mum-know

Martha-I think you have a sexual problem Kirby.

And Old Kirby then draws a deep breadth uh-slowly exhaling, considering Martha for a brief moment before mild curiosity won out and he did ask.

Kirby- Ok, what makes you think I have a sex problem?

Martha- it's all you ever talk about.

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