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Archive for the tag “gonzo journalism”

Vanilla Monitor

ukrainian hooker

So, this Ukrainian hooker walks into my Starbucks… well, not my Starbucks… I’m not Magic Johnson.  The Starbucks I started calling my office because, anymore, I have no willingness or ability to write at home.  Saturday night was pretty quiet.  I’m sitting in one of the fart and latte colored leather wingback chairs in the corner, drinking my coffee, and deciding between writing something deep and brooding… or just saying “fuck you” to the night and wasting an hour on Facebook till the barista who always tries to charge me full pop for refills kicks me out at 10.

And then, it happened.

She walks into my Starbucks.

Five-five in six-inch heels… black fishnets with a miniskirt, and some kind of faux fur jacket of indeterminate species… white-blond hair, and even whiter skin.  Looking just like that Ukrainian girl on the late-night TV commercial for that pay-for-play, video chat service.

Don’t judge me.

Only this one wasn’t looking all “come fuck me, Ah-mey-ree-can Man” like the blond in the commercial.  This one was looking like she had a dirty little secret, and no one to share it with.  Sitting on the back of the wooden chair closest to the milk and napkins and powdered condiments, she spent a good two minutes pretending to read the newsstand apartment guide that she held upside-down in one hand.  Another minute went by with the Ukrainian hooker looking in every direction but mine.  I swore she had to be casing the joint.

And it happens.

Like a pro… well, a professional at something… she strikes.  In a single motion, she’s reaching out her free hand, while her unread newsstand apartment guide opens wide in the other.  Just like the “breaching sharks” they show every year on Shark Week.  She strikes, and just like that, it’s gone.  The lone, unguarded shaker of vanilla, ripped from the condiment stand full of other, more popular options.  Gone!

And in four, maybe five strides, the Ukrainian hooker is lost in the night.

“Did you see what the fuck just happened?!!”

Denise, the other barista, was shouting at me and at no one, all at the same time.  Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who noticed.

“That fucking hooker just stole my vanilla!”

© 2013 Bill Friday

White Paint


“I’m a stop singing this song because I’m high…

                                                (Raise the ceiling baby)

I’m singing this whole thing wrong because I’m high…

                                                (Bring it back)

And if I don’t sell one copy I’ll know why…

                                                (Why man?  Yeah!)

‘Cause I’m high…

‘Cause I’m high…

‘Cause I’m high.”


“Because I Got High”

                Music and Lyrics by Joseph A. Foreman

                (aka “Afroman”)


“Because a writer writes.”

I wrote that in the liner of a leather-bound journal, that I gave as a gift once.  A birthday gift… to a guy I worked with, who called himself a writer.  He used to make me read his stuff.  Written long-hand, in a two inch, three-ring notebook on wide-ruled, 8 ½ by 11 paper.

His stuff sucked.

At the time, I didn’t know if what I wrote in that journal was for his encouragement, or just a thinly veiled attempt at harsh sarcasm.  It’s been years now, and I still don’t know which it was… and that isn’t even the point.  The point I’m making is that this fuzzy, gray-white cloud of a memory most likely only popped into my head right now because of what I, a writer, just did for a fucking paycheck.

Yeah, it’s funny what a few well-mixed, federally regulated, industrial chemicals can do to rip a dead memory from the hard ground of a guy’s head like a cosmic backhoe, under a paint-stained bandanna, just the other side of the blood-brain barrier.

I started working semi-permanent, part-time jobs so I could spend the bulk of my thoughts (at least that’s what I told myself at the time) on what I told anyone who would listen was my next career…


Now, when I’m honest (or drunk), I tell the world (or those in it who still listen) that I’m, “a guy who works two part-time jobs… and blogs”.

Sort of.

And like the song clue at the top tells you (if this was a movie, it would have been playing in the background on a car radio), last week’s Libertarian drug flashback went and turned itself into its own bullshit crisis of conscience-slash-artistic epiphany… all in the hour it took to paint a mildew stained, six-by-thirty, cinder block and drywall storage unit, deep inside an unventilated apartment garage.

God, how toxic primer can make you think, while it kills the handful of brain cells you have left.

In the week since what I now refer to as “The Afroman Epiphany” forced me to re-evaluate the choices I’ve made for becoming a handsomely-paid writer, it wasn’t till Day 6 that it came to me.  Nobody who wants to get paid for thinking up cool new ways to use the same old words already used (but better) by other (dead) writers, should ever have to work in a Huffer’s Paradise of well-mixed, federally regulated, industrial chemicals… no matter how pretty they make a cinder block and drywall storage unit… not even if your name is Charles Fucking Bukowski.

And no amount of white paint on a dirty old bandanna should ever be enough to cover up the memories that remain for why a writer writes.

Copyright © 2013 Bill Friday*

Previous Copyrights © 2011, 2012 Bill Friday

*Originally published as “White Paint Chronicles #0001 on the blog It’s Always Friday (2011), and the website Expats Post (2012)

All rights reserved by the author.

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