Jorge’s Bakery

I took a week’s vacation from work and holed myself up in the apartment. On Friday as I was leaving work I planned it all out: Saturday I was gonna go to the beach and relax all day – get high. Maybe write a short. No pressure. Then Sunday I’d start out easy and write 1. No weed. Then come Monday I’d kick it into gear and write 2 a day till Friday. Definitely no weed. Then Saturday I’d kick it up a notch and write 3 – no weed. Then Sunday I’d go to the beach (lots of weed) and back to work on Monday. I wouldn’t leave the house except to get food at the Mediterranean place by the Post Office down the street.

Saturday went off according to plan. Sunday wasn’t too bad and I didn’t get high. But I barely finished the 1 and I didn’t like it. It was about a little boy who keeps throwing up and his parents and the doctors can’t figure out why. But he knows why.

Monday’s when it all went south. That night I could feel that pain above my ass and it pissed me off. I woke up 9AM and ate the rest of the fridge. It was 98 degrees. I don’t have AC. I don’t have a fan. I kept sweating my balls off sitting in that plastic chair in front of that plastic screen. Nothing. I remembered Bukowski’s advice – don’t try. Just sit there. So I turned on some Mozart and drank a strong cup of coffee but nothing happened. Nothing I liked anyway. Nothing interesting. Everything I tried was about some asshole named Alex who had this or that job and didn’t like it and eventually quit it to become homeless. He was always whining some bull about not being truly free and feeling like he should be more than just some employee somewhere but how the fuck am I supposed to know what that is. That stereotypical writer bullshit. It was trite and pretentious. I began to hate myself. 1PM came and the pain above the ass started getting louder from all that sitting.

I was angry and hungry so I took a walk down to the Mediterranean place. The weather was the same old gorgeous LA weather. I walked in and the girl at the counter took my order. I ordered the same thing I always do – Lamb gyro plate, baba ganoush and the fried kibbeh. She knew me from before. One time she asked me “Hey. How often do you go to the dentist?” “Uhh… like every… what 6 months is the recommended amount? Yeah that’s what I do. Every 6 months or so.” She nodded. “I’m just asking because you have really nice teeth.” Pause. “And I’m in dental school right now so…” I feigned interest. “Oh cool!” “Yeah” she smiled. Her teeth weren’t so nice. Neither was her skin. It was pale ghostly see through. Her face was plain. But she was tall. This time she didn’t say anything. Just ran my card and got my shit ready.

I got the order and went back to my place. It was already 2 and I was beginning to get nervous. It was so hot out I had sweat pouring down off my nose continuously.

On my way back, a little Indian boy drove over my foot with his plastic toy tricycle. His mother was 50 feet behind him and didn’t apologize. I stared her down but she didn’t even glance in my direction. As I passed her wincing in pain staring at her face for any sign of life I noticed that she smelled like earwax. Earwax smells a lot like homeless people. Powerful and pungent and full of sweat and piss and assholes and despair.

I opened the gate and climbed the stairs and got back and sat in front of that screen for a few more hours with all that pain. I had nothing interesting to say but I was burning alive inside. Everything that came out was purely autobiographical. Probably because I lack imagination, as my father always says. Or perhaps it was because everything that happens to me seems more important and profound than shit that happens to you. Because I’m a narcissistic solipsist who doesn’t believe in lucid dreaming and much of anything positive, especially if it’s “spiritual.” And that Monday, even when I tried to write about something that actually happened to me, something I knew well, I still couldn’t write it well. I didn’t know how to write. I was a hack. Everything sounded trite. I was Arturo Bandini on his off day. A little bitch wasting away his life pretending to be an artist. God I hate that word. Artist. Just like I hate God. Or any other words attempting to describe the ineffable or rhetorical truths of life. I beat my fists into my skull and grunted until I saw stars. I sat for another 30 minutes and then I broke down like a frustrated child. Like a fat girl whose mom wouldn’t let her have another piece of cheesecake at the Factory. I wanted to call my own mom and pour all this self-deprecating shit all over her. Make her feel bad for producing this useless idiot of a child in the first place just so we could all have a hand in this mess and share in the self-pity and guilt.

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