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is it obvious i was drunk when i wrote this?


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this is the start of my paper for a creative non-fiction class. this is what i wrote last night when i asked if anyone writes drunk.

The Three Cross Monte

Usually when an inspirational speaker tells you their sob stories of how they destroyed their lives, families, and careers spiking their check for the rent, car payments, and pawned electronics into their veins, you promise to put the pipe down. When you hear personal accounts of grown men dressing up in a wig and their dead mother..s clothing only to later perform fellatio on countless mentally-impaired, toothless truck drivers in one of the many seedy, adult bookstores that litter the highways of our own Midwest , you swear, ..Condoms from now on.. and later schedule a complete battery of blood tests. Upon hearing tales of otherwise decent people, just like yourself, falling off the tracks of the Night Train Express, after many long nights of nudity and violence, with only a puddle of piss and piles of vomit to soften their fall, you swear to God, Himself, that today will be the last day you ever drink Popov from your Starbucks travel mug when it..s your day to carpool the neighborhood kids. Other people's misery will always be the best teaching tool and philanthropic motivator; it will make you want to read books to the blind, candy-stripe a hospice, go support the cause of the week; WWJD-sort-of-stuff. You know, do the exact opposite with your life.

Well, in my case, pretty much all of that fell upon deaf ears. Not only did I not want to run from that lifestyle, I wanted to know how long this semester..s textbooks, some copper piping, and my mom's VCR could get me off for. I wanted to know where to get a pair of pumps in size 11.5, and which laundry detergent gets out blood and stubborn, white protein stains out of pink tube-tops and polyester floral-prints. I needed to make everywhere I go smell like the distillery that brewed my cheap hooch within minutes of walking in the room. I realized just how necessary a cameo appearance on COPS was to completing me as a person. I wanted to go past that supposed point of no return and never even hope or try to come back.

Reading books to the blind, singing songs and putting on puppet-shows for dead people, hugging something that is more likely to kill you than hug you back? Uh, thanks, but no thanks. I'm sure there are plenty of other over-privileged, guilty-conscience-plagued college students to fill that void.

I'm not certain, but I don't think this is the result my church had intended.

Originally, I wasn't even going to go and listen to yet another traveling religious pimp, try and hustle another dollar from well-meaning, good intentioned Christian people, simply by invoking the name of God and mixing and matching, chopping and screwing bits and pieces of the Bible to support and profit off of his traveling, religious side-show. I have witnessed the Timmy-Lee..s and Bobby-Joe..s of the southern-Baptist circuit turn church into a snake-handling talent-show and clever sales pitch for the vast majority of my time on this planet, and, at that point in my life, I simply couldn..t stomach the thought or idea of sitting through that once more.

However, like most things in life, I didn..t really have much of a choice; one tends to lose those options once they sign over their choices and free-will in exchange for something. And, in my case, even though no golden fiddles or souls were involved, I had already made a verbal, although, potentially non-binding, agreement with the Devil; my attendance at his prayer breakfast in exchange for his smooth and charismatic demeanor used along with his political clout and elocutionary skills to rescue myself from some serious trouble I had found myself in at the time. So, since I no longer wanted to persecuted and punished worst than Job, I thought it would probably be in my best interest to make an appearance.

Needless to say, the anticipation of seeing a bunch of gray-haired, quasi-reformed hippies play their rainbow-strapped acoustic guitars and bang away incessantly on tambourines all while attempting to sing the same old, played-out, rehashed and recycled ..praise songs.. they wrote in their shitty loft apartment, when they mistook a 60..s flashback for some sort of a divine encounter, did not make getting up early on a Sunday morning any easier. Nor did the thought of sitting through yet another long, fictitious, rambling, snake-oil sales pitch from yet another smooth talking charlatan in a Sears Surplus suit make me want to complete the 9 minute drive. Even when I was reaching for the door, I was ready to be anywhere but there, but when I saw the save-your-soul, pre-game merchandise the speaker and staff were already hawking, I was inches away from to beating feet out the door .. that was until I saw him; The Cult Co. cookie-cutter, traveling religious huckster complete with designer suit, aviator glasses, and a never-before read Bible. It was so clichéd and predictable, it lubed and stroked my contempt, like an aggressive, drunken fling.

The lights began to dim in the church foyer, triggering that pavlovian, herd-like urge, in the entire congregation, to enter the auditorium all at once and walk up to complete strangers, smile awkwardly and ask if the seat next to them was taken. Just as I too had finished being a willing victim of that same psychological conditioning as everyone else, the main attraction got up from his chair, brushed off his suit, checked the time on his watch that undoubtedly cost more than some of the vehicles us peasants drove in to come see him, smiled, and began to tell the same story he told all of his paying customers; how God saved a card shark.

Was it divine destiny, or did he just give up one hustle for another? It is without a doubt that he had been baptized in the cleansing waters of a Swedish shower, irradiated by the light of a tanning bed, and born again with porcelain veneers, rhinoplasty, and a $1200 toupee, but it didn't matter. He looked as natural and saint-like in his Leonard Logsdail suit as a pig with a set of fake tits would look in a cocktail dress and high-heels. And regardless of his time spent at the Jim Bakker School of Theology, he still looked like kind of guy who would be more at home rigging cock-fights, or yelling obscenities while beating his dog for kicks, or threatening his wife with a broken bottle of Jack Daniels than he would be in a church. You know, the kind of guy whose breakfast consists of screwdrivers, scrambled eggs, and watching strippers pick up dollar bills with their ass. But despite all of his obvious, yet covered-up, flaws, he still managed to steal the show, not to mention the money of the people who came to see him tell his own personal story of death and resurrection.

This was not the typical sin to salvation story of a man and his crippling addiction to taking care of his too-many-teeth problem with methamphetamines by day, followed by Big-Gulp chasers of $4 per liter, banana-flavored wine at night. The same walking, talking Petri dish that should have donated his blood and lymph tissue to the CDC to further modern medicine. You know, the same guy who was somehow pulled from the depths of depravity and suddenly wants to tell everyone else about it. No, this was something else. This was something special.

I sat there wide eyed, like a child, hearing how he was hustling people and making money with cards from the time the local degenerate drunk in his tumble-weed, depression era town decided to take him as his kid-protégé and teach him the in and outs of being a gambling cheat. I was incredulous as to why his wife and family left him for the third time because he couldn't keep his dick in his pants or keep money in the bank to save his life. Did they not see or understand the same, special thing I did? I sat there, hanging on every last word of his story, listening to how he did more damage to people by shooting dice with them than shooting guns at them. I was at the edge of my seat when he began to take us into the wonderful world of using shiners, false cuts, in-jogs, out-jogs, bottom dealing, center dealing, cellar keeps, location playing, table passes, mucking and various others tricks and techniques he used to earn his ill-gotten gains, and all of the coke, and all of the promiscuous and unprotected sex, and all of the booze, and all of the hedonistic decadence that came along with it. I too wanted to hold up my hands and shout, "I Believe!" and "Amen", like the rest of the crowd had, but at only at different parts of the story.

And even though he went on some nonsensical tangent of giving something up, changing something, bottoming out somewhere over something at some point at some time, I didn't lose site of the big picture. Even when he turned the end of our spiritual get-together into some cheap, adulterated wannabe, salvation peep-show, where he took the opportunity to plug his books, tapes, CD..s, and Christian-based theme park, I still held tightly onto the inspiration I had received. I couldn't let cheap consumerism and badly exaggerated tales of woe ruin what I had just experienced.

I knew, even at that time, that I just witnessed something special. Something that spoke to me. Was it divine intervention? I don't know, but it was the closest I had come to any sort of inspiration in that setting in quite some time. It inspired me to do things differently, to change my life, and start anew. I saw the error of my ways and realized that all good things actually do come those who lie, cheat, hustle and steal. I too wanted to learn how to cheat and hustle cards.

I mean, who in their right mind wouldn't? When played correctly, the odds would always be in my favor, and the money would always be there for the taking. Even if things were to somehow go horribly wrong, I could just change hands and pick up another hustle, like Reverend Silky Smooth already had done. First things first, file a 1023 with the IRS to become tax-exempt, and open 3 dozen off shore savings accounts. Followed by the purchase of a nice suit, some 1980's aviator shades, and the use a few nuggets of biblical history and philosophy I picked up during my many years in private school to tantalize and play on the hopes and dreams of others only to defraud them and sell them poison, all while being paid exorbitant fees to do so. You know, WWJND.

Wouldn't that involve selling out every last ounce of morality and common decency? Sure, but why not? Everyone else seems more than willing to sell themselves at some point for something; offering to club a figure skating opponent in the knee for a chance at love, letting strange people put strange things in strange places, film it, and charge other people on the internet to see it, just so they can later cry themselves into a drug induced sleep in their dirty, rat..s nest apartment. How about those who put up what is left of their pride on auction, so they can get on the next low-budget, reality TV show, so their hopes of a promising and lucrative career of acting in crappy independent films, or modeling in Dutch, underground fetish magazines, or being the assistant manager at a Glamour Shots in a run-down strip mall in Chetopa, Kansas, could actually be realized? Why shouldn't I? Shouldn..t I be able to sell your baby, and then go to bed at night and sleep like one if I can get something out of it? Whatever feels good must be intrinsically good?
You're pretty talented bro. You could travel the country writing short stories of your observations and selling them.
hanselthecaretaker said:
You're pretty talented bro. You could travel the country writing short stories of your observations and selling them.

thanks. it wasn't too much was it?
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