Dear Dirty America


I Live Under Your Wallpaper

February 20
13:00 2012
Los Angeles
(excerpt from O’Donovan’s novel Night Train —
 see also DDA’s first blogged novel — Orgasmo)
I got my big inning with a quality woman in Brentwood, but in typical fashion, I fucked it up. It happened like this. I sold my wedding ring for 30 bucks, and then I went to Cole’s, where Jimmy D and I used to hang out. That’s where I met Papageorgopoulou.
Credit: Barnes&Noble
“Call me George,” he said. We were having a beer at the bar. I was watching my money because I wanted to be able to order a decent meal and not worry when it came to paying the bill. I wanted to feel like a human being, if only for an hour or so. At the same time I could have kicked myself because I should have known when I watched that scrunched-up little monkey behind the counter squinting at my goods through his loupe that he’d rip me off. Wedding rings don’t bring much these days on South Broadway.
Papageorgopoulou, George, was a gigolo, the real thing. He told me how he’d trawl the Internet personals for rich skirts. He was handsome as hell, and there was something about his quirky mustache and the way he flashed his teeth at you. He had that ‘bad boy’ look. The cuties were nuts about him.
“Say, what does a guy like you do for poon?” he asked me.
“Quiff, quail, bush, ginch, coochie.”
“You mean girls?”
We ordered lunch. Papageorgopoulou got the Swiss steak and I got the beef stuffed cabbage with mashed potatoes and coleslaw. Papageorgopoulou paid. He said he had a prospect for me. He wanted to hand me down one of his Brentwood ladies.
“She’s not exactly young,” he cautioned over dessert. “I want you to understand that from the start.”
“George, I don’t know…”
“Bullshit,” he said. He ordered two more beers. “It’s all about confidence. I’m handing you a goldmine, man. I like you. I want to see you turn your life around. I wouldn’t be telling you this if I didn’t think you could do it. Put on your game face, bro. You’ll be on the green in three.”
I went to the can. I was feeling pretty nervous, but I knew I had to give it a go. Any port in a storm! I took a peek at myself in the mirror. Confidence? My pants were held up with safety pins. And where did I get that hat? Can’t remember. What a disaster. Give the world half a chance and it’ll wipe the floor with your ass.
I went back to the bar. Papageorgopoulou was writing down the doll’s address and phone number on a piece of paper.
“Come on,” he said. “What have you got to lose?”
He had me there.
We took a taxi to his pad and he kicked down some duds for me, designer labels. He was one of the nicest guys I ever met, Papageorgopoulou. Of course I was doing him a favor, in a way, taking that Brentwood cutie off his hands.
We said goodbye and I caught the #21 up to Rampart with my new finery in a shopping bag. My plan was to drop in on my old pal Uncle Barney so I could take a shower and get changed and spruced up for my meeting with the quality woman.
Uncle Barney lived with his moms, She was 98 and he was 67. Their pad was claustrophobic. Narrow corridors between five-foot stacks of bundled newspapers and National Geographicsled to the kitchen and bathroom. Rabbit runs is what they were, those corridors. And the stacks were alive with silverfish and brown recluse spiders.
“You should see the love dance of the silverfish,” Uncle Barney told me one time. “It’s really poignant. First, the male and female stand face to face, with their antennae touching. Then the male beats a retreat and the female chases him. In the third phase, the two of them stand side by side, in the 69 position, with the male vibrating his tail. He’s giving her the business, you see.”
Uncle Barney had collapsed veins, as well as a variety of other ailments. He couldn’t slam the stuff anymore so he’d chase the dragon while I sat at the kitchen table with Moms drinking hot Ovaltine and leafing through the National Geographics.
Uncle Barney lived almost entirely in the past.
“Ah, the changes I’ve seen! When I was young the Kennedy Administration answered to the Gambino Family and that was it. Simple. Today what’s left of the Gambino Family answers to the Texas oil families and the Texas oil families answer to the Elders of Zion and the Elders of Zion answer to the Saudi princes and we’re all just threads in Osama’s prayer rug. We’re nothing but hairs in Bin Laden’s beard! But I look back to the old days. I mean, you knew where you stood with Carlo Gambino. He was ruthless, but he was fair. You know what I’m saying? Those were the days, my friend.”
One day, or one night, rather, a homeless man was pinched for jerking off in front of the Victoria’s Secret window, corner of Hollywood and Highland. The incident made the papers.
“You can well understand how it might have happened,” Uncle Barney told me. “I mean, those lifelike mannequins with their sassy expressions and their faux diamond teddies! Holy fucking Christ! You’ve seen them! It could happen to anybody, you know? Say you were standing there at two in the morning in front of the Victoria’s Secret window, homeless and drunk and half crazy with loneliness and despair, and without your hardly being aware of it your hand strays down to your fly, and before you know it you’re jerking yourself silly and you splooge all over the window. That window! The Victoria’s Secret window! It’s the emblem of the world, man, that window. You can look but you can’t touch. Take me, for example. I mean, shit, let’s face it, I’m 67 years old! The only way I’m ever going to get laid again is to pay a lot of money or commit some dreadful crime.”
Anyway, a meal, a shower and a sleepover. We had fucking Chef Boyardee Spaghetti for dinner that night but it was wonderful sleeping in a bed, and the next morning I got duded up in my fancy threads—Papageorgopoulou’s designer label shit—and borrowed a pair of wingtips from Uncle Barney. Those shoes were in great shape because he rarely left the house. I still had most of the 30 bucks I’d gotten for my wedding ring, so I bought a pint of whiskey and got on a bus for Brentwood. I had cold feet, but I knew I had to go through with it.
Confidence! It’s all about confidence,” I told myself between sips of Ancient Age.
My quality woman, Corliss…that was her name, Corliss. Papageorgopoulou was right. She wasn’t young. Her hands were fish-belly white and they were speckled with brown spots. She had peach fuzz on her cheeks and an eye that wandered. Nevertheless, it all went swimmingly at first. She moved me into the pool shed and set me up with a computer and all. She started me out writing her autobiography. She’d record her shticks and I’d transcribe it from a disk. It was great fun being on the Internet, although I freely admit that I spent too much time at porn sites like Barely Legal Cheerleaders.
I did all the cooking. Her favorite dish was braised radicchio with raisins and pine nuts. She bought me a green silk Hokusai print kimono, an Italian sauté pan and a Masamoto sushi knife.
The sun even shines on a dog’s ass once in a while.
At night you could see the moon and the stars. I’d sit under the grape arbor with a bottle of Château Haut-Beauséjour white Bordeaux, looking out over Pacific Palisades and Topanga Canyon, and I’d be thinking, here I am in Brentwood, a weevil in the flour, a rat in the cheese, and it’s glorious. Beautiful Shiny People of Brentwood, I’ve managed to tunnel under your wallpaper! Toddle downstairs for a midnight snack, switch on the light, and you’ll see me, fat and sassy, running up your kitchen wall. You’d squash me if you could, wouldn’t you? Of course you would. Come on, admit it! Because I don’t live anywhere in particular, I live everywhere. You’ll find me in your soup, on your toothbrush, under your fingernails. I’m the lint in your navel, the fungus between your toes. I’m Demodex Folliculorum, the mite that eats your eyebrows, I’m that forty-foot tapeworm coiled up in your intestines, laughing like an evil genie.
There was one girl at the Barely Legal Cheerleaders site who had the cutest little pink and white pompoms, bunny puffs, on her sneakers. I just couldn’t get enough of her. I thought of Uncle Barney’s derelict splooging on the Victoria’s Secret window. You can look but you can’t touch! And here I am up in Brentwood splooging all over my 42-inch plasma screen. It took complete possession of me, the masturbatory madness. I turned myself inside out, like a starfish. I thought I’d never stop squirting. My God, what a rush! I jerked myself silly. It was one of the happiest weeks of my life. Corliss would come out and look in on me, bring me a new disk, and her quivering nostrils would pick up the raw protein odor of fresh-pumped sperm. I thought she was going to tackle me right then and there.

Then she started lurking around the grape arbor at night in a pink chemise. I didn’t know if I was supposed to shtup her off or what. To shtup or not to shtup? It’s hard to get a handle on these things sometimes. I suppose you’ll think I’m naïve, but I’d never been anybody’s boy-toy before. Then too, I’m not like those handsome guys, the real gigolos in their silk kimonos, always ready to rip off a little biz between the braised radicchio and the filet mignon au poivre. Sorry, Papageorgopoulou, old pal! I’m afraid I wasn’t much of a gigolo. To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t so much the peach fuzz on her cheeks or the funny eye as it was those speckled trout hands of hers, her toad-spotted hands. I just didn’t fancy her touching me with them. Besides, I wasn’t at all sure she wasn’t a man. In LA you never know what you’re going to find inside a pair of designer panties.

Donald O’Donovan wrote the first draft of Night Train (Open Books, 2010) on 23 yellow legal pads while homeless in the streets of LA. His other novels include Tarantula Woman, The Sugarhouse and Highway. An optioned screenwriter and voice actor with film and audio book credits, Donald O’Donovan lives mostly in Los Angeles. He can be reached


Find a list of O’Donovan’s books here, and order Night Train from Amazon here.

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