chapter 29


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[ van  door slidin open ]

we were parkd  infronta 195. i musta dozed off.

bootydharma stood outside the van.

behind him, the sky burnd ornge.

sunrise, yall.



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we watchd it thru the open door of the van. a buncha clouds in the way but the sun winkd at us from between em, kinda reminded me of frank.

max figured out we were home and got tired of waitin for us to come inside. i dont know how he got out, but he was runnin towrd the van, you could hear his coller jinglin.

andy said—

prepare to be mauld with love.

i prepared [ as much as one can prepare ]



flasha fur--

tung flappin--

then, imagine
one a those comics where the beast is frozen midjump— teeth bared,
comin right for you—

for me, i mean. thats who he mauld first.

it was awsom. dogbreath-sloppy tung-littl-hairs-on-
your-lips-youd-hafta-pickemoff-later awsom.

then me and max had a convee, ill translate from the dog but i hafta warn you it doesnt translate too good.

im sory we leftya, boy.

welcome home !

i wish wed brought you with us, youda had fun, you woulda liked todds records, i betchyou woulda lickd em.


i ll get you a treat soonas we get inside, o-k boy?

i love you!

you will note that all my statements were about the past or the future, while all maxs were about the present.

im workin on that.

max is helpin me.

one by one, max visited evrybody,
givin each one of em the same level of atention hed given me,
it woulda made ticknot proud, infact i wonder if ticknot doesnt
have a little dog in im.

when max was finishd, D cleard her throat.

all in, yall. its hi-time.

fuckyahh all in! andy

they all tumbled outa the van and assembled under the oak tree, formd a little huddle like in football— D, andy, johnson, booty-d, max stuck his head in there too. they left a place open for me, and what can i say? i took it.

between D and andy.

imediatly went flyin back.

thats how i figured out you were spose to push.

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i dug in and started pushin like a scrum in rugby, but the scrum was movin the opposit direction of D and her low center a gravity, we realigned, the pile equalized, evrybody still pushin but we canceld eachother out. they lowerd their heads, we did, sqeezd em in together like wedges in a trivial pursuit pie. that sent us staggerin back away from D—she has some strong legs, i heard she can squat four hundred tho ive never seen it done—re-equalized, i became aware of a smell, a fecundity, my skull prest into Ds and andys, theirs into mine, i got a headache tho i hear you eventialy stop gettinem, hair skin nerves blood vessels pusht outa the way almost like your minds are touchin, my temples throbd  my legs were tremblin  my eyes i dont know if they were open or closed it was like lookin into a strobe lite

i musta stopt pushin cause the pile lurchd back, i staggerd then recoverd, nobody said anything but i knew i had to keep pushin or this thing wouldnt work. we restabalized, inhaled fecundity, nerves shuvd outa the way   temples throbd   skuls threatend to fuse  and the flashing like before but this time i wasnt afraid, if anything i pushd harder, evrybody did  til the flashing wentaway and the throbbing, and all that was left was stillness. emptiness. plenitude.  geist.

all in

it seemd to come from inside my head our heads
our head— andy D johnson booty-d, i think i even heard max say it.

all in

all in

all in

all in

all in

guess they were waitin on me.

you know how the judge said to the kid
at the end of blood  meridian    it was required of no man to give more than
he possesd nor was any mans share compared to anothers, only each was
calld on to empty his heart into the common and one did  not, can you
tell me who that one was?

it was me.

but it didnt hafta be.

all in.

some say you dont have a choice.
i say you do. even if theres only one choice  you still hafta make   it.


Afterwards we stood around in a daze,
like somebody on mortal kombat waitin for you to finish im.

excepfor johnson. he was off by himself, sittin on
the ground with his head in his hands.

andy said

evrything allright, j-man?

johnson lookd up.

thats my first all in since i moovd.

people in portland dont all  in?

i gues they do, i dont know, me and wendy dont, whats the

point when theres just the two a you, you mightaswell fuck.

talk about alienation D who needs the capitalist mode of

production when you got the nuke famly. altho i gues they

do go hand in hand


quite the opposit, actialy andy.

theres this couple wendy knows from

work.  were gettin to be good friends.

gettin to be? youv been there like a year.

two, almost.

a-ls been here less n twenny four hours and

he s all in.

portland aint like athens, D. no where is.

why d you moov again? D

aww, dont be sad andy D, chill.

no, Ds right johnson it was my choice. our choice.

its good to remember that sometimes.

its aright j-man.

andy wrapt him in an ape arm, D nesseld him to her bosom,

and it was allright, atleast for the moment.

which i guess is all weve got.

you could moovback y know D you and wendy.

and do what for jobs?

bel jean’d take ya back in a heartbeat.

yeah johnson makin tendollers an hour.

you always had enuf to eat and a few bucks in

yer pocket.

its difrent now.

whats difernt? yall aint havin a kid, are ya?

[ silence ]

i rememberd then, somethin which id
noticed earlier but temporarily forgot— where were all the kids in athens?
didnt these people breed? did they keep em loct in the basement, was this
gona be like the ones who walkaway from omelas?

johnson broke into a smile.

maybe now yall’ll come visit me.

h o l s h i t ! andy

C O N G R A D U L A T I O N S ! c o n g r a d u l a t i o n s ! C O N g r a d u l a t i o n s ! c o n G R A D u l a t i o n s ! c o n g r a d U l a t i o n s ! c o n g r a d u L A t i o n s ! c o n g r a d u l a T I O N S ! c o n g r a d u l a t i o n s ! D

mad scramble to hug johnson, max lict
his face til he fell over, evrybody piled on top.

dont tell wendy i told ya. were not oficialy

tellin peeple yet.

whens it due? andy

not for a wile.

dont play ignrant D you know the date.

december fifteenth johnson spoke from the bottom of

the pile, while atempting to evade maxs tung its just an

estimate, it couldbe longer were gona do it natral,

wendy found this great midwife— max, CHILL!

max elected not to chill.

i hereby proclamate andy that evrybody do a shot,

outa the first thing that somebody produces.

andy went for his pocket, but it was booty-d who was qwikest on the draw, he uncapt a flask and stuck it under Ds nose.

D snift it. made a face.

oldcrow are you seerius?

dooo-it andy


she did, evrybody did. i even put a litle on my tung, like comunion wine
i mean the blood of christ.

johnson was gettin prety verklempt.

next fathersday, ill get a card. do yall know how awsom that is?

i had a guess.

i askd to borrow a phone.

two fones came flyin at me, i caut one and had
to swat the other one away or i woulda lost another tooth.

threeinarow, D. your slipin.

mine left my hand first. you were jus closer.

the way they make a game of evrything— maybe terry-e

was right, the point is pointlessness.

8 1 7

then how did we let it get away?

6 6 4

did something take it? or is it our nature to let it go?

5 0 9 1

to trade it, for security. anything to keep the wolf from the door

or was it 1-9?. . . no, its 9-1, i can still see where
she wrote it the night we met, on the back of a goldenrod flyer.

she used oldstyle figures, dont think that shit was lost on me yall,

i use ta  be a typesetter

8 1 7. 6 6 4. 5 0 9 1.


you know she s not gona anser.


do you even want her to anser? i think so, parta me does,

should i feel guilty for not bein sure?


who cares, its not like i can control what happens

just by thinkin about it... but what if i can?


dont think, just let it happen as its meant to happen.


how many times should you let it ring?


afraid for her to anser, afraid to hangup too soon,

always afraid thats why i needed constant reasurance

poor claire.


thats definatly enough rings, now you dont hafta feel guilty

for hangin up. exept maybe for hopin she wouldnt anser. but you

kinda hoped she would too. you always hedge your bets dont you?


but you can change at any time. you do change. your a new person,

evry second


no anser? andy

no anser.

then D said the most suprizing thing id heard in a wile.

oh dude i almost forgot— you gota be at work soon.

[ power move— act confused ]


markos gotcha on graveyard, which around here means

7 to 2. and this time its not optional, if you dont show  up

its somebody elses job, so do you want it or not?

i dont know.

decision time, chop chop.

whatime is it now?

six forty three.

fifty three, oh-three, minus three—

i cant be ready in  i mean i cant work now.

caint never could, evrybody works their firsday D and tho it

might sound like i m bein hyperbolic, i asure you i am not.

even peeple, who arent stayin?

is that whatcha are al? andy

i hafta get back to fort worth.

[ sounded absurd, i admit ]

tell ya what D were walkin to bluesky. you can come

with us, ornot. but i should warn ya its a six minnit walk.

which gives you exacly  lookin at her fone ten minnits

to make up your mind.

i didnt need ten  minnits.

i went to bluesky.

and what hapend there—

remember how i said my life started to change

when i found that punchcard?

well bluesky is where it finishd.