THE BIG COOL LONG HARD HAND
by Jerzy Plates
Episode the Last: THE UNDRIVEN
Now I'll write down the facts. I'll write down what I think now.
About things that happened then. I write it down because I like the way it sounds. The Beach Boys were right, one
way or another each has to suffer for his stand. I don't know under which particular delusion I was operating.
Spooks in your mind or spooks in your mouth. Both of them sounded like Mingo to me.
Here I was. Back from the Breakthrough Clinic, an excursion through
a level of Hell that Dante never scratched on, trying to find a vaguely humane someplace to cool my heels for a
while. Someplace to take a chill pill, Phil.
An HMO I had a deal with sold the rights to my story to some magazine.
This one. I flat out told them to leave me the hell alone. This caballo don't plow anymore, okay? I just wanted
out of town. I'd been listening to my Pez dispenser too much again. And it was sounding more and more like Mingo.
I'd been had. Plain and simple. Dragged upways and down over the
ancient cobblestone path to personhood. I'd been drafted as wide receiver in a drive-by trial of my peers. Chewed
up and spit out whole. The "Smoking Bimbo" defense wasn't holding water and I was back on my own, left
to my own devices. Trading in Nova Scotian raspberry futures started looking good. It's a living. Sounds a lot
like Mingo, doesn't it?
If there was anyone brave from the beginning it was Mingo. Every
night same sauce, sweet and sour. He'd fallen for her like a blind roofer. They danced con junto. But he was worried
about being seen. One of his downfalls was an interpenetrated network of wild systems.
Mingo's big mistake was sticking around with pikers, bums and
deadbeats who're the small fry of the nowhere world. Stick around them long enough, and you become a permanent
member of the family.
But Mingo was gone and I wasn't. Not yet. Sure, I was out here
at the ass end of far nowhere. But I'd lived in sewers before, and usually crawled out the first open manhole I
could find. I figured that if you want to be in the big time, you have to be where the big timers are. Mingo said
things like that.
Then it all got to me. All at once. So, indiscriminately and without
apologetic preliminary, I started screaming my brains out. Lucky for me. The guy lurking behind me with evil intent
reconsidered and ran rampant, as far away from me as he could. You might think this is complicating my story, but
as I've said, "Keep Up or Keep Out"; I was back in my zone. I had a clue.
I figured, when they run you out of town, act like you're leading