Monday, July 16, 2012

Zoloft the Fucking Russian

Every single word written here is an extraordinary exaggeration of events that have played out in my head... based on the stories I have heard from people I have met in jail or while I was dealing with my own stupidity and carelessness, resulting from my own addiction to alcohol and drugs. This is in no way a glamorization of drug use, but a tool to lend some humanity to a subculture that has been demonized and written off as a hopeless and worthless part of our human family. I do not condone or promote any of the behavior or activities herein.

Chapter Seven

              As I have mentioned, Bull’s property was an overwhelmingly baffling, multi-generational collection of junked vehicles from the height of Detroit’s golden age to more modern cars and pickup trucks, farm equipment, school buses, mobile homes, campers, at least a dozen buildings in various states of disrepair, and even an old fire truck.  Once while I was exploring this wonderland of relics I actually found a disassembled, antique covered wagon under a tarp.  When I lifted the tarp and discovered the nearly intact, albeit disassembled and neatly stacked treasure, I threw the tarp corner back so half of the pile of preserved wood, wheels, yolks, and chains was exposed and took three staggering steps in reverse and slapped my hand to my head.  Bull, who was close
enough to witness my shocked reaction to this discovery only laughed and left the disintegrating ruins of a storm damaged tool shed to stand by my side.

            “What do you think of that?” he asked, while pulling the rest of the tarp off of the organized pile.

            “Man, I don’t know what to think of that… Where the hell did you come up with this?” I was now rubbing the stinging spot on my forehead that I had just smacked.

            “It’s always been here.  After I unsuccessfully tried to pass the seventh grade for the third time, my dad pulled me out of school for good, and organizing this pile was the first job he gave me.  I’m pretty sure it was his attempt at homeschooling me.  He kind of used it like a history lesson.”  Bull knelt down by the stacks of antique wagon pieces and found a small wooden box of hardware.  “He told me that it was the wagon that his great-grandfather had brought my great-grandma here with.”

            “No shit…” I stated with astonishment.  This wasn’t a question, as I had no reason to believe that my friend would lie about it.

            “No shit man… He told me that he wanted me to put it back together, so we could start a little museum of our family history here on the property.  You’ll never believe all of the stuff hidden around here like this.”  He placed the box of antique bolts and cotter pins back where he had taken it from and started to pull the tarp back over the wagon.  His demeanor changed when he started talking about his father, and I was beginning to think that it might be a sensitive subject.

            “I’m sorry man, I shouldn’t have been so curious.” I offered quietly.

            “Aw… it ain’t like that.  I’m glad you uncovered it.  I haven’t thought about this thing in a long time, and I should be thinking about it.  I guess I just kind of stopped working on the projects that he and I had started when he up and died years ago... and then I went to prison a couple of times.”

            I knew that Bull’s dad had died a long while before I came into the picture, but it was never a subject of conversation before this moment.  I wasn’t sure how to engage this conversation, so I just remained silent and helped him tuck the tarp under the pile securely.

            “I’ve been too busy trying to keep my greedy sister and my dad’s asshole brothers from looting this place.  All they see when they walk onto this land is dollar signs.  They don’t know the stories about who owned what cars, or how dad came to owning half of this stuff.  If my sister saw what was under this tarp, or failed to see what was under this tarp… chances are it would end up in a burn pile.”  He was talking quietly, but his tone let me know that there was a conflict brewing somewhere within him.

            Fatefully, at the moment I thought I was beginning to see Bull’s eyes get a glossy film… This gruesome, knuckleheaded Russian kid that had been looming around the farm for a couple of weeks dropped down out of a tree near us.  I nearly jumped out of my skin, and had the knife that Bull had made for me unsheathed before I knew I was being drawn into a prone position.  Bull just laughed and raised his arm to my wrist and lowered my knife to my hip.

            “Take it easy, brother…”  He turned to our formerly tree-bound companion and said, “Jesus, Benny… you looking to get your throat slit?  It’s a good thing that I at least knew you were there…”  Bull flashed a wink in my direction, to which I smiled.

            “Yeah, what the fuck douche-bag…?” I added.  “How the fuck you wanna jump out of a tree at a motherfucker who hasn’t slept in a week and think I’m not gonna cut you?”  I sheathed the blade, and covered the wagon pieces with the tarp, cussing the whole time.  My heart was bursting through my ribcage.

            “Maybe it is you who should pay a little attention to your surroundings, asshole.  I’ve been listening to you guys talk about that wagon since you found it… uh… douche bag.”  Benny never sounded quite right when he tried to swear in English.  I always preferred to hear him curse at me in Russian when he mumbled in it.  It sounded a little more intimidating.

            “Whatever Zoloft…”  Now Benny moved in on me quickly, but not quick enough for Bull.  Bull blocked the mangy Russian’s  approach and I also felt his hand force the blade of my knife back into the sheath and button it down with little effort.  Lucky for Benny…

He hated when I called him Zoloft.  I don’t know what his last name really was, but every time I asked, all I could think about when he said the ridiculous name was ‘Zoloft.’  This made a lot of people laugh at his expense which I guess Russian kids don’t take kindly too.  Anyways, he was one of the biggest dope fiends and thieves I had ever met, and I didn’t trust him from the first day I met him.  He was really good with a chainsaw in a tree though, and that made him a valuable asset for awhile the farm.  I hardly tolerated him, and often thought about cutting or disfiguring him on purpose.  I had no idea that my ridiculous, violent, meth-fueled fantasies would play out right in front of me today.

            Zoloft wasn’t fat, but his clothes would never tell you that.  It always appeared to me that he was wearing clothes from grade school.  He had a thick, filthy-sounding accent that always made me think of dark, bearded men driving around school yards in white vans with no windows.  He was always carrying a pint of Jim Beam bourbon, or Captain Morgan’s rum and smelled drunk from the minute you saw him (even if you were 100 yards away).  He rarely showered, so the alcohol not only accumulated on his rancid breath, but floated around him in a toxic cloud that often smelled like body odor bathed in ooze from the bottoms of the garbage cans you might find in an alley outside of a tavern.  It was nothing to say that I didn’t like him.  I’m exaggerating when I say I tolerated him.

            Bull had unbeknownst to me sliced the belt loop that my knife was locked into when he had buttoned the sheath down in his previous maneuver.  He was holding an arm across Benny’s chest to block his approach.  He raised my sheathed knife to show both of us that he had it… as that wicked grin lashed 
across his face as he looked from Benny to me and back to Benny.  Bull’s eyes were glowing an electric blue…

            “Fight fair now, ladies…”

            I was stunned for a moment to realize that my friend was going to finally let me assault this drunk, jacked-up Russian.  I failed to realize that he was coordinating it.  In my moments of reflection, I failed to act and felt the consequence almost immediately as Zoloft lunged forward and grabbed my midsection in a bear-hug and brought me to the ground.  Like I said, he wasn’t fat, but he was bloated.  I feared that my equilibrium had been brought off center enough to give him time and opportunity to land punches that would break some of my bones or bruise my precious face.  It was lucky for me that Zoloft stunk like he had already been through two or three pints today.  He was throwing punches as fast as he could and landing them nowhere important, and running out of energy by about the fourth ribcage shot.  I was more concerned about my face, so I had my arms blocking my head.  I quickly realized that he wasn’t hurting me, and decided to let him wear himself out. 

            I began laughing inside of my arms and hollering at him, “C’mon Zoloft, you Russian pussy… you’re hitting me like a drunk!”  I could hear him wheezing and winding down, and the punches were still coming, but felt more like the playful paws of my dog.  At the last moment he grabbed the hair at the back of my head and brought his knee through my arms and mashed my lips against my teeth.  I was shocked and angry that I didn’t expect this, and spat part of a chipped tooth out of my mouth and into his face as he fell to his overstuffed Russian rump in front of me, trying to catch his breath.  He was heaving hard now, trying to catch his breath.
            “Motherfucker… I hope you fucking got this… he’s all yours now.” Bull was pacing like caged tiger. 

           I was getting to my feet and brushing myself off, “Oh man… I fucking got this… believe the fuck out of me… I fucking got this.  I’m gonna kill this motherfucker.”  I took advantage of Zoloft's pause and connected with the right side of his face with my fist.  I felt a satisfying softening of that side of his face and jaw when my fist connected.
            With that I took my steel-toed Wolverine Boot and punted straight through Zoloft’s wheezing mouth and chin. There was the sound of an awful crunch of teeth, bone and tongue as Bull got sprayed with a mist of blood, snot and spit.

            “Fuck man, let me clear out a minute… FUCK… I hope he ain’t got Hep C.”

            Zoloft was screeching and squirming, but I had straddled his chest and pinned his shoulders and arms with my knees and legs.  I was pissed and far from worn out.  I began alternating punches at his cheeks and eyes, drawing blood after the third punch.  By the time I felt a burning in my arms, Bull was pulling me off of him as I had began screaming obscenities and screeching like a psychotic maniac.

            “Okay, okay, man.  Fuck, don’t kill him… I still got a lesson to teach him.”  Bull was embracing me like a proud boxing coach.  It was the most masculine embrace I have ever felt.  It was all at once meant to show approval and keep me from delivering any more damage to Zoloft’s shattered head.  I was crying and sweating and pissed-off about my tooth.  My knuckles were covered in blood, but I hadn’t broken any of my own skin.  It was a weird sensation to feel somebody else’s blood drying up on my flesh.  I couldn’t wait to wash my hands.

            “Lesson?”  I spit another piece of tooth from my mouth onto Zoloft’s body.  I cleared my throat and spit adrenaline-snot onto his face and he rolled over and moaned.
            “Yeah, man… go get the battery cables from my Jeep and the gas can from the bumper.  It should be full.  I’m gonna get this chatty motherfucker comfortable in the garage.  We need to teach him about running his mouth when he’s drunk.”
           "For real, Boss?"
          "Oh yeah... this is gonna be neat..."  His eyes were glowing almost neon now.

This work is the intellectual property of Jerome J. Panozzo

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