Albuquerque French Fries

The mountains in Albuquerque are to the east. In most places I’ve lived, they were to the west. I always found that to be a bit strange, but maybe it’s not. But I was on the east side of Albuquerque, close to the mountains, when I was suddenly struck with an insatiable desire for French fries.

I stopped at some chain diner place and ordered not one, but two baskets of French fries and something to drink, a Coke maybe, I can’t remember, it being such an odd and weird time in this life.

I was in Albuquerque for no particular reason. I had been in some cheap corporate place of lodging the night before. I just remember staring out over the lights of the city; there had been a lot of blue, not amber so much, as I had expected — blue, desert lights — and I was hungry for action as I smoked cigarettes and drank bottled beer.

It was a mighty funny feeling not really knowing why I was in Albuquerque at that particular time. I just wanted to get away from the doldrums of it all, back in some place suspiciously called HOME, but not really being home at all, but even so, there had been no action to be found after all. It was just a bunch of lazy driving through another American charade parade. Honking and Howitzers, springboard diving into hard cement, cold dreams, loneliness… the constant… loneliness… strumming the walls of white-walled malls, walking among the living dolls swinging handled bags of Chinese crap as they smiled those fake plastic smiles to the point the heavy makeup nearly cracked and fell to the ground — and me, up and down escalators, elevators, in and out of parking spaces from another dimension, and there was the smell and the sun and all the Native American motif fizzing like digging it science-fiction sabers… And then a bookstore, where I could breathe, meld into words and covers, fondling spines as I walked the rows among the ink bleeders and readers, wives with glasses, wives with hair pulled back into a tight tail, with the kind of head that you could palm like a tender melon as she let loose in your very own lap — the luxury of Saturn’s dew and doom—  loving it, living it, bent to it, stardust whispers scraping across the firmament like the cloud-studded smile of a stranger now wiping at her mouth with a scratchy, white motel towel, high-heeled remnants of lipstick-stained cigarette butts in some cheap amber ashtray on the bedside table, the one right next to the three-quarter drained bottle of voodoo juice purchased at some Nob Hill poison joint.

And I ate those French fries slow and alone, looking out the bug greasy window at the traffic all piled up and trying desperately to move. All them peoples frantically working away their lives just to live for a couple days a week, a couple weeks a year — “you’re all fucking slaves to the system” I said to the fries and then I knew the batty waitress was going to call the cops on me, so I left her a nice big, fat tip and told her “I was never here, you didn’t see nothing,” and then I ran out the door and I started to drive again.

I rattled around Q-Town, aimlessly, again, searching for meaning, searching for enlightenment so often talked about — where was it? I ended up near the Sunport. I just parked somewhere under the sun and just watched planes come and go, people come and go, everyone in such a damn hurry to get to nowhere, in such a hurry to just wait, to be strip searched, to be violated in a windowless room. It was hot, I rolled down the windows, I sucked on oil cans of Australian limeade, that’s Australian for lemonade, good drink, and I wondered, what’s Australian for Albuquerque? There were no super fresh and hip boomerangs or two-step your dead snakes lumbering along Indian School Road… And that’s where I almost bought a condominium, townhouse maybe, but it made me think too much of childhood and milk and that made me sad. I suppose, childhood’s end right out there tip-toeing on the double yellow line as mad dashers come whizzing by that do not mention your soul in those radio prayers bleeping forth from plush dash… Awe, money man and your senseless soul, look at the trees once in a while, get out of this neon cave and get lost for once in your fucking digitized life, smoke a little sky, eat a little dirt, breathe in the sun and let the sunflowers puke forth. Man, you are becoming machine. You are being eaten alive by throngs of numbers, nonsense, nocturnal Novocain in the batty cave.

774 Central Refreshment House — more juice required. Cocoa Puffs and milk and Milky Way wayward hanging out by the sea of Sandia. Drunk on 233 Insomnia Street with some invisible chick named Glory, Glory Hollywood Boom Boom in a blue dress and tattooed bed sheets all covered in shiny pistols and white daisies. She wonders why I sit there, on the edge of the bed, shirtless, my back curved like a bell jar, staring out the window, the widow ghost traces my scars with cold fingertips, like a map of downtown Boston, they run down and all around, some mad parade of direction all haywire, I have some seizure via Heaven’s reach, she tries to calm me with something on fire, it’s getting yellow outside, there is maybe crying inside, but not out here, not where shit is real and man be cold, and the record needle digs into the vinyl and Native American mystic music comes pouring out like I was liquid in some wigwam in the parking lot of the neon green Gallup pharmacy where the witch doctors freeze you up before you take that freedom walk, that vision quest that leaves your eyes white and wide as you kick at dead America with the toe of your most trusted boot and simply look away.


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Love and Thunder in the Jailhouse (Part 7)

Author’s Note: You can read the previous episodes of this story by going to the Serials on Cereal tab in the menu bar at cerealaftersex.com.


I would have never believed it myself had I not witnessed it in the realm of real life, but there he was.

“Karl! What the fuck are you doing here!?” Roy blurted out loud enough for the whole world of the underground dead to hear.

Creepy Karl from Indiana held up a dirty, empty plastic milk carton. “I tried to stop you, but you just tore off. You all forgot your milk jug back in California. I thought I’d bring it to you.”

“I swear Karl, you’re cuckooier than a bowl of Cocoa Puffs,” Roy said, exhausted in spirit.

“No, no. I’m just trying to be a decent citizen of the world.”

“What kind of shit is this, Karl?!” Roy demanded to know. “You’ve been following us, and not because of some god damn empty milk jug. You’ve got some serious explaining to do or you’re liable to lose even more teeth. You’ll be swallowing them right down with a warm blood chaser after I punch you in the face.”

“No, now, Roy. There’s no need for physical violence here,” Karl said, and he craned his wrinkled neck to get a peek at me in the bed over Roy’s shoulder. “Oh. Looks like I might have interrupted a hot love session.”

“Roy! Get him the hell out of here. Right now!” I screamed out.

“You heard the lady, get the hell out of here before…”

“Before what?” Karl sneered. “Before you call the cops?” He moved up and down on the balls of his feet, snickering. “Now, that might not be in your best interest, Roy. You know, considering everything that’s transpired among you two and the outside world.”

I got up out of the bed, a sheet wrapped tightly around my body, and I went to stand by Roy and looked that son of a bitch Karl right in the face and pointed my pissed off finger at him. “You don’t know shit about us, so quit playing like you do,” I said to him.

“Well, on the contrary young lady, I do know a few things. Things like how you’ve been fornicating with an outlaw.”

“That’s none of your god damn business,” I seethed.

“But it is my business. And it most certainly is the business of those that I represent. It’s a sin. They know it. I know it. Seems like you’re the only one who doesn’t know it, or maybe you just don’t care.”

“I have no god damn idea what you are talking about, mister, and I don’t really care to,” I said to him. “Now, I’m going to go take a shower and when I get out, you better be on the other side of the Rio Grande, Karl.”

As I walked off to the bathroom, Karl called out something that stopped me dead in my tracks. He said: “Royal is wondering why you ran off with this here killer.”

I turned to look back at him. He was smiling some victorious smile like he had beaten me, beaten Roy, too. We were caught in some sort of web I didn’t fully understand yet. “What do you have to do with my husband?”

And just as he was about to speak, a beat-up car came pulling up to the motel with a bad-news rattle. There was a little lighted sign strapped to the roof and it read: Jim’s Clean Pizza. Roy glanced at me and said, “Finally. I’m so damn hungry.”

Roy went out and paid the kid and then came back inside with a plastic 2-liter of lemon-lime soda pop and a big cardboard box, and the room started to smell so good. It was that smell that told you that you were about to indulge in some delicious goodness sliding down your throat and into your hollow belly. Kind of like when Roy lets loose when he’s in my mouth.

I’ll tell you what, though. That damn Karl watched Roy all the way as he carried that box over to a little table and set it down, and I could tell he was going to ask for some damn pizza. Aw, holly hell. I’ve seen this fool drink milk and I sure as shit wasn’t looking forward to seeing him eat pizza. But Roy invited him to stay so we could talk about things. But the weird thing is, he didn’t ask me what I thought about it at all. I think it was a strategy to keep our enemy close as we worked stuff out. But I was already fast-forwarding in my mind to killing this lump of trouble and dumping him deep in the desert so the buzzards could carry him off to the afterlife in pieces.

Roy sat down, rubbed his hands together in anticipation, and opened the lid of the pizza box. “Hell yeah!” he said. “Meatballs, pepperoni, and black olives. Damn that looks good. Well come on you two, pull up your asses and grab a slice before I eat it all myself.”

“Those sure are small meatballs,” Karl said as he curiously peered into the box.

Roy chuckled through a mouthful. “I’m sure you know plenty about small balls, don’t you Karl?”

Karl gave him a stern look of disapproval, reached a spindly hand into the box, and retrieved a piece of pizza. “My balls are big enough, Roy.” Then he slurped the pointy end of his slice into his mouth.

“Well, I sure as hell hope I never find out, Karl,” Roy said to him with another laugh.

“Would you all mind not talking about your balls while I’m trying to eat,” I said to them, and then I filled some motel cups with that lemon-lime soda pop and passed them around.

“Sorry, Sally,” Roy said. Then he cleared his throat and looked around at our humble gathering. “This sure is weird as hell,” he pointed out.

“So, Karl,” I began. “What was this talk about my husband?”

He was tipping his cup back as I said this, and when he got it all down, he smacked his rutted lips and looked at me with a strange grin. Then he turned to Roy and said in an uncharacteristic tone and even with a different voice, “I think it’s time we tell her.”


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