Archive for the 'Diary of Franklin Furst' Category


Book 2 ~ Entry 23

I’m sitting at the park across from Reggie’s housing complex. He’s supposed to meet me here with a quarter ounce of pot. I busted up my piggy bank (I’m a little old for a piggy bank anyway) and even snatched five bucks from Grannie’s purse so I would have enough. She just got paid, so I don’t think she’ll miss it, unless Garret goes for some too. Of course she’s senile so we can just remind her that she gave money to those religious freaks that are always coming to our door – even though she didn’t of course.

Granny’s getting battier every day. Usually she only talks to Jesus when she’s in her room, looking at the painting on her closet door. But lately she has been talking to him all the time, no matter where she is. It’s usually about how bad her grandchildren are and why he stuck her with such hoodlums. She’ll pause for an answer while looking up in the sky, then nod her head. Then she’ll turn and glare at us, as if Jesus just gave her a great and terrible idea for punishment. Just the other day she snuck into Garret’s room while he was asleep and busted a wooden spoon over his head. He had it coming of course. After shooting her in the leg with the staple gun he’s lucky she didn’t staple his mouth closed. Good thing she doesn’t know how to use a staple gun.

Reggie was over the other day and he farted right in front of her. He’s always farting of course. It’s all those refried beans he eats, so he can’t help it. But he was standing right next to her in the kitchen when he let out a long, juicy ripper. She looked at him aghast, wagged her finger at him and said, “There’s a time and place for that young man!” Poor Reggie had no idea what she was talking about. He hadn’t learned yet that in our house, if you have to fart, you go to the bathroom. At least that’s how Granny wants it. Garret and I usually pass silent ones if we’re near her. That way she can’t know who did it. We can even say it was her, which really gets her riled up.

Reggie wanted to get revenge, so two days ago he brought a whoopie cushion to the house. He blew it up and put it under the sofa cushion, right where Granny always sits. We were sitting in the living room while Granny was boiling apples, then she came and sat down on the sofa and the whoopie cushion went, “bluuuuuup!” We all turned and looked at her in unison, with fake surprise on our faces. Poor Granny had this confused look on her face like she just shat her pants, but it couldn’t be possible since she didn’t recall shitting. Garret then wagged his finger at her and said, “Granny! There’s a time and place for that.” She waddled off to the toilet to check her panties, I guess. We laughed our heads off, and we weren’t even high.

I did get high with Reggie again yesterday. It was totally cool. We went to the beach and watched the sunlight reflect off the water, and watched the spray of the waves shoot into the sky. The sandpipers play chicken with the waves. Garret wasn’t around, which meant that we didn’t have to listen to his know-it-all talking all the time. We just sat in silence, or walked along the beach pointing and ooohing and laughing. Man, the world is so much more interesting on pot.

Dad’s coming home tomorrow from his business trip. I’m going to have to find a safe place to hide my weed. That is if Reggie ever shows up. I already gave him my money. Now I am wondering if he just made off with it. He’s pretty cool for a Mexican, but some of his friends don’t like me. Maybe they just took my money and told Reggie to quit hanging out with Gringos. They don’t like Gringos in general, I think. The other day down by the Thrifty, that big scary dude with the permanently bloodshot eyes, Pedro, beat the shit out of Chris LeCour just because. Man, I could beat the shit out of Chris LeCour, not that I ever would. But it goes to show you how mean some of these dudes can be.

I’ve been waiting here for half an hour now. I’m starting to get paranoid. Maybe the pigs have caught Reggie. They’re always going after the Mexicans. Reggie’s brother, Raul, is in jail. I don’t know what for because Reggie won’t say. He just says he’s innocent and the cops have it in for the wet backs, even thought they aren’t wet backs. I always thought Raul was a cool guy. Kinda weird thinking about him in jail.

Oh, here comes Reggie. I hope he scored.


Book 2 ~ Entry 16

Reggie came over today to hang out with me and Garret. We were sitting in the living room just hanging out when he said he had some pot and asked if we wanted to get high with him. I didn’t even get a chance to say no because Garret got all excited that Reggie had pot, or “herb” as he called it. I didn’t even know that my brother smoked dope, so I was kind of surprised. They went to the garage but I didn’t follow. Garret asked me why I wasn’t coming and I told him that I wasn’t a pothead. He called me a pussy, trying to goad me into going, which just made me feel less like doing it. But Reggie said that pot was really fun, and besides, the first time it rarely works anyway. I don’t know why I said yes. Maybe it’s because I think my brother is such a dick and I wanted to do it just to spite him, or maybe I thought that nothing would happen, as Reggie made it seem. Anyway, I went with them into the garage and we shared a joint. I only had two drags because I was coughing so much. Garret called me a wimp, but then he started coughing too, only as usual he had an excuse: he took too big a hit, whereas (he said) I barely inhaled. Reggie sucked the smoke down into his shoes and held it for about thirty seconds. Total pro.

Nothing happened for about ten minutes, but I noticed that Reggie and Garret were acting really weird, so I went to my room to read a book. After one page I couldn’t focus anymore. It was like the world was shrinking in on me or something. And then expanding back out. I was reading Jaws and looking at the picture of the shark with its black eyes looking like two holes into nowhere. There was something funny about those eyes, like they were black holes and everything in the universe was going to fall into them and never return. I looked at the teeth next maybe because I was worried about falling into the black holes. The teeth were silly instead of scary, so I started laughing. Then I looked at my Farrah Fawcett poster on the wall. She looked so ridiculous in that shiny swimsuit and all that carefully messed up hair. I started bursting out laughing. Reggie and my brother came in the room and asked me what was so funny. I just pointed at Farrah and doubled over laughing. They started laughing really hard too.

I don’t know how long we laughed about that and many other things too. For a while I guess. Then we went into Grannie’s room to see if we could steal some money from her purse. She keeps it in the corner behind some shoe boxes. I never steal money from Granny. That’s Garret’s thing. I told him it was stupid to steal from an old lady on social security, but he doesn’t care. Being high I didn’t really care either. Besides, Reggie said he had the munchies (that’s what pot heads say when they are hungry, which is always when they are high). He said he wanted some Ding Dongs and pretty soon the only thing I could think of was Ding Dongs, though every time any of us said the word, I just burst out laughing.

Granny keeps that velvet painting of Jesus on her closet door. I never really looked at it before. It just seemed to stupid to look at, and besides she talks to the damned thing which makes me feel that Jesus has got to be pretty stupid to talk to Granny. Anyway, as soon as I saw the Jesus painting I just stopped and stared. Garret tried to open the door but I stopped him. “Look,” I said. “Check this dude out!” I looked at him really close and I think Garret was kind of freaked out, like because I was high I might get Jesus like Granny got him, but instead I just started laughing again, this time so hard that tears were coming out of my eyes and my gut was so tight it felt like someone stuffed a bowling ball in there. He seemed like some kind of cartoon figure to me. I imagined him talking to me, moving his mouth the way Fred Flintstone does. It still makes me laugh even though I am not high anymore.

Anyway, Garret pushed me out of the way so he could get into the closet, but right then we heard the front door open. Thinking it was Granny coming back from wherever it is she goes on Tuesdays, we bolted out of the room. Turned out there was no one at the door. We were just hearing things. Reggie said we were being paranoid, but then pot is supposed to do that to you. He wanted to go back into Grannie’s room to get the money. He still had Ding Dong’s on the brain. But Garret was real paranoid and I didn’t care anymore about Ding Dongs so I went to the kitchen and got an orange and some Triscuts. It was weird sitting on the couch looking at the orange like I had never seen one before. When I peeled it I saw all the moisture from the peel shoot out into space as if it was exploding energy and each little speck of moisture was like a universe all to itself. The Triscut was even weirder. The texture of the cracker was like some alien desert world. The closer I looked into it the more mathematical the thing seemed. I tried to explain to Garret what I was seeing but he just said I was being loopy, as usual. I showed him the cracker by putting it close to his eyes saying, “See, check it out. It’s like a . . .” But then the universal cracker crumbled into a million pieces when Garret took it in his hand, crushed it and threw it in my face. Even high, my brother is a total asshole.


Book 24 ~ Entry 9

Instead of movie night at Luke and Irene’s, we went to Sam and Kahlil’s. I was kind of relieved at first. I’m tired of movie night, but dinner night at the Poser’s wasn’t much better, at least not at first. Katie got all in a froth about dressing up. Apparently Irene filled her head with stories about how cool and sophisticated this couple is. I figured it was a dinner party – what’s wrong with chinos and a button down? But Katie donned her burgundy dress, the strapless one she wore to her sister’s wedding, and she insisted I wear something that didn’t make her feel overdressed. It was a dinner party, not a night at the opera, so she was going to be overdressed no matter what.

We fought for fifteen minutes before I finally acquiesced to wearing those French jeans she bought me in Paris on our honeymoon. I always felt like a dick in those things. Stylish as they might be, they’re as tight as hell. I feel like some sort of gigolo in them. Katie used to flatter me about how good my ass looked in them. Wearing them just made me think of how it must be when a woman stuffs her loins in a pair of jeans that cuts off her circulation and makes her walk like she’s got a stick up her butt. But I put them on anyway, thinking they might make me feel, and perhaps even act, a little defiant for a change. We fought over my choice of shirt as well, but I wouldn’t bend, choosing the simple black tee shirt I paid eighty bucks for in Milan.

Driving over there I couldn’t help but think that everyone else would be dressed in their Banana Republic finest at best, maybe Nordstrom’s. But I was wrong. Irene got Luke all goosed up too, though I am sure he didn’t put up any fight. I suspect she dresses him every day. Irene wore her floral goddess dress and her finest artisan jewelry. Sam was dressed in a skimpy silk blouse designed to show off her bra as much as anything else. It was a nice bra, black and racy with straps like delicate, shiny tendrils; but I still couldn’t help wishing she wasn’t wearing one at all. And the skirt she wore: Jesus! The slit went nearly up to the waist line, and she spent the better part of the evening with her legs crossed, her elbow propped on her knee, her chin resting on her elegant, curved fingers, her torso bent toward the conversation, bending me toward her in return. Damn she has nice legs. Nice everything. She looked like a model in Vogue posing at a sidewalk Parisian bistro, looking off in the distance as if life was nothing if not beauty frozen in ever-moving time.

Continue reading ‘Book 24 ~ Entry 9’


Book 24 ~ Entry 3

Katie and I had another fight tonight. They are growing with alarming frequency, these pointless spats. Tonight it was another toothbrush episode. As usual she was running the water while brushing her teeth. I came into the bathroom to take a leak and seeing the water running, sidled by her to turn it off, which only served to set her off. I can tell her all I want about how precious a resource water is, but she’ll just go off about the length of my showers. I could tell her at least there is a point to the length of my showers, that washing off my sordid day by tarrying under the warm wet does me a lot of good. But it’s a waste of breath as much as a waste of water. Of course, it’s my fault in the first place. I shouldn’t go into the bathroom when she’s in there, or vice-versa. Relieving yourself in front of your spouse is nothing if not evidence of a creepy co-dependency. The other morning she came in while I was taking a shit. Jesus, not even defecation is sacred.

It was movie night at Luke and Irene’s tonight. Despite my repeated protestations, another saccharine romantic comedy. Yawn. Barf. I think it’s the third time in a row that Luke and Irene were wearing the same colors. All they do is gush and cuddle, like life is a romantic comedy. Then when Irene hugs me goodnight she squeezes me with a sensuality that borders on propositional. Either she’s the most effusive and sensual woman on earth, or – despite her obvious love for Luke –  she wants to have a romp with me. I’ll probably fantasize about swapping partners again tonight. Seems like I always do that after movie night. Funny thing, I don’t seem to mind the thought of Luke fucking my wife. I’m either longing to become a swinger, or I’m really ready to be done with this marriage – maybe both.

Then again, I don’t think Katie even likes Luke, though she’s always going on about how wonderful they are together: “Aren’t they the coolest? Aren’t they the coolest! (More emphatic) They’re just made for each other, like God put them together to show the rest of us how it’s done.” Since when did Katie start equating happiness with god . . . anything with god. Hell, Luke and Irene probably go at each others’ throats just like any couple. Only I bet they do it when no one’s looking. They’ve got their  illusions to mind, too.

Damn. How did I become so cynical?

But I am aren’t I? Cynical, detached. Maybe that’s why we are having all these stupid fights. Neither of us wants to admit that our marriage had become a caricature of marriage itself. We’re just going through the motions like each day is scripted for us by the rising sun. So we fight about nothing to give the illusion that there’s some passion still here – there’s something to fight for.

I keep thinking about having an affair with the blonde in accounting that keeps flirting with me. What’s her name; Bessy or Betty? I can’t ever remember, so I just say hey to her rather than suffer the embarrassment of getting it wrong. If I could actually muster the gumption to do it, that would give Katie and I something to fight about. Then again maybe it wouldn’t. Maybe it’s what she expects of me. She certainly doesn’t seem to mind that our sex life has fallen off the cliff of oblivion.  I’ve even given up fighting with her about it, and she certainly never instigates anymore – never even flirts with me. I think she just wants someone to cuddle with when she’s blue, someone to do things with. She could never abide being alone. Then again, maybe she’s having an affair. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t care anymore. She doesn’t seem like the type though, but how can you know these things. She’s a total mystery. My wife’s a mystery. A totally predictable mystery.

Like my life I guess.


Book 26 – entry 12

I was walking downtown today, having one of those days in which all seems black, preposterous, and stupid. I was in a  rancorous mood, looking at all the milling humans with their sulky faces, going where they were supposed to be going as if going there had as much point as going to prison for a meal and a night’s sleep. I wasn’t minding the fact that my own face must have looked equally as dour, that there was a certain pointlessness to whatever it was I was doing downtown, to wherever it was I was going. It was one of those cases, I suppose, in which I separated myself from my human brethren because I couldn’t bear carrying the knowledge that I was one of them – couldn’t stand looking in the mirror. I was floating around on some black, haughty cloud primed to dump buckets of acid rain on the world around me.

I tried to break that miserable spell by smiling at a passing gentleman with a briefcase and a Macy’s bag. He returned my smile with a sneer. If that countenance bore words they surely said nothing less than, “Fuck you and your smile too.” So my contrived little smile fell to the pavement like a turd from a crow’s ass. Only I wish it fell on his head instead of the pavement.

It was that kind of day.

I was about to hop on a bus, but the buses were crowded and I didn’t feel like being crammed in a tight space with a bunch of saturnine office workers, so I decided to just keep walking. I kept my eyes to the ground, or at shop windows, any place but at the sad eyes of other humans. I waited at a crosswalk, impatient for nothing.

Then I saw him in his baggy Carharts and orange safety vest, his corduroy baseball hat askew, smiling while picking weeds out of a planter box. It was hard to miss him. He stood out like a beacon on a prison rock, not just because his vest called attention to him, but because something in him called attention to him, something unusual, something organic.

I crossed the street and took a seat at a empty sidewalk café and watched him carefully work the weeds out of the box, attentively placing them into a burlap sack he had carabineered to his jeans. Sweat was pooling at his beard-line in the late afternoon sun. He had a blithe, suntanned face, artfully engraved with the milage of time. He whistled a vaguely familiar tune as he moved on to the next planter box.

He stood for moment regarding a young, heathy-looking maple that was growing in its round, concrete container. He had calm, effervescent eyes. Very focused. They seemed not to notice the world around him – only the world in front of him. Judging by his peaceful glint I’d say he found that world to be a beautiful one. Watching him made me feel envious and small, if not a bit petty.

The maple tree was girded by two rings of flowers: around the perimeter a band of pretty blue things shaped like bells that spilled out over the edge of the planter, and behind those a stand of Narcissus, all leaning toward the sidewalk as if repelled by the stream of car exhaust. He caressed the Narcissus stalks with gentle hands, as if encouraging them to stand erect. He stroked the little blue flowers as one might pet a cat. His hands were strong and earth-toned, coated with a residue of soil. He had spindly, deft fingers. I couldn’t help imagining that magic came out of the tips when he worked. He had a weeding fork in his pocket but he didn’t seem to need it. The weeds just gave themselves up to him without resistence.

The crosswalk signal set free a new batch of pedestrians. They marched by with jerky gaits – a kind a static clattering. Their passing was like the shutter of a old movie camera, clicking slowly and irregularly, breaking up my view of the gardener into little bits of graceful movement. It was an odd juxtaposition, all those suits and polished heels, hand bags and briefcases swishing by with anxious intent. None of them even saw the gardener.

But I keep seeing him, looking for him, fixating on him.

After the pedestrians passed and I once again had a unobstructed view, I let out an unconscious sigh and smiled. He looked over at me as if responding to my sigh, and he returned my smile with one that only made mine grow bigger. He stood up and gave the thin trunk of the maple a final caress before moving on to the next planter. He turned his face to me.

“Lovely day,” he said.

I just smiled and nodded. And as I watched him gracefully walk toward the next planter, I added softly, resolutely: “Thanks to you.”


Book 2 – entry 4

I was walking down the hall today and I saw Stephanie Kotchman. I’m totally in love with her but I put my head down and pretended I didn’t see her. I shouldn’t be so intimidated by her just because she’s in the eighth grade and she’s so pretty. But I am. I heard her say, “Psst! Hey Frankie.” I ignored her. I hate it when people call me Frankie. Especially older kids. Especially girls. Even her. I kept walking and she said it again: “Hey Fraaaaaank–ieee.” I looked up at her like I was surprised. She said come here so I went to her locker and she said, “Wanna see what I got?”

She showed me a pack of Marlboros. It made me nervous. I told her to put them away because a someone might see. She peered over her shoulder and moved closer to me. The whole side of my body was actually touching hers. She put the box in front of my face and said, “Do you know what’s in here?” I nodded. She said, “Nope. Look.” There were three cigarettes in there, a Bic and two other things that looked like skinny cigarettes, but they were kinda crumpled and they didn’t have filters. She pulled one of the funny cigarettes out and asked me if I knew what it was. I thought I did but I didn’t say anything. I was really scared that we were gonna get busted. It’s so amazing how brave she is.

She whispered in my ear: “It’s pot. Wanna come to my house and get high.”

I couldn’t believe she was actually whispering in my ear, let alone inviting me to her house. It gave me goosebumps. But I have heard about pot. It’s supposed to make you really stupid. Sometimes you see things that aren’t there. Timmy says it makes you laugh like a loon at everything, and that it makes you really paranoid. I don’t know what paranoid means (I should look it up) but I don’t like how it sounds. I really wanted to go with her but I was terrified of smoking pot so I told her I couldn’t, told I had to weed the backyard before my dad got home.

She called me a chicken, but I said really, if I don’t do the weeds my dad will killl me. So she said I should meet her at her house on Saturday, that we could get high together and go to the beach. I told her I couldn’t because I had a baseball game, but she knew that baseball season was over because her brother plays baseball. She told me not to be so straight because straight people were boring. I wanted to tell her that I wasn’t straight and I’m not boring but I was so nervous standing next to her with her breast pressing against my arm.

All the way home I couldn’t stop being mad at her for being one of those pot heads. She’s probably getting high right now with her pretty boy surfer friend, Todd. Stupid bitch.


Book 28 – entry 6

Shakespeare said all the world’s a stage. I remember being very puzzled and intrigued by that idea when I was in the seventh grade. I was in Miss Metz’ English class and she had a banner on the side wall with that saying printed in big black shiny letters. Miss Metz was Frenchwoman who didn’t shave her underarms. She often wore dresses or sleeveless shirts, so everytime she wrote on the blackboard we would see her armpit hair. Many of the boys and a few of the girls always snickered when this happened, looking across the aisles at one another as if they were sharing some great, scandelous secret. Outside of class the kids called her Miss Monkey. In class they drew cartoons of her. They put mustaches on her face and gave her legs hairy as an ape. I felt sorry for her and I wondered why she just didn’t shave like everyone else, so the kids would stop laughing at her.

That was an awkward time for me. I guess I was still in the second age, perhaps the latter part, that time of adolescence when your voice cracks and your hormones bounce off the inner walls of your skin. I was prone to getting instant erections. They would just show up out of the blue, without any apparent provocation. I would have to sit there with my legs crossed, focusing my mind on making them go away, which only made them worse.

I used to sit near the front in that class because there was something intriquing about Miss Metz that made me feel close to her, something in her foreign-ness and her accent that made her seem exotic, far away and protected – like she walked around in a secret bubble that you couldn’t get into unless you knew the secret code. Up close I felt like I could maybe discover the code, perhaps hidden in the subjuntive mood or an absolute nominative clause. But once the erections started happening I moved to the back. I was terrified that she might see.

One day I was having one of my mysterious erections. Class was almost over and I was desperate for it to go away, so I stared at the banner, contemplating its meaning in hopes that in redirecting my attention the problem between my legs would disperse. The bell rang. All the other kids left and I was still stuck in my chair. I coundn’t walk around with that thing pressing against those courderouys I had outgrown two months earlier.

Mrs Metz came up to me, and seeing that I was staring at the banner said, “It’s Shakespeare.”

I stared at her blankly.

“You do know who Shakespeare is, don’t you?” she inquired hopefully.

“I think I’ve heard of him.”

She shook her head and sat down on my desk. She was wearing a skirt that hiked halfway up her thigh when she sat. Her tan, freckled leg skin made me swallow my breath. It was smooth, and what hair was on it was golden and delicate. “American education,” she said, her accent suddenly thicker, “It’s an abomination.”

She smelled faintly of musky perfume. Her prominent clavicle jumped out like a speed bump above the cut of her blouse. She put her hand on my desk and leaned in toward me a little. She had a thin, sharp nose, a little hooked and crooked; high, thin, arching eyebrows, soft cheeks and piecing blue eyes. She had frizzy, auburn hair. The students joked that she put her finger in a light socket every morning before coming to school. She wasn’t at all pretty, but she was frightfully attractive.

I couldn’t look at her any longer. Something was happening between my legs that had never happened before – something kaleiescopic and earnest. Whatever it was that wanted to happen, I didn’t want it to happen right there. I turned away and looked at the banner.

She follows my gaze, smiles and begins to recite:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:

(She glances at me, gauging my degree of attention)
They have their exits and their entrances;
(She stands, turns sidelong toward the banner)
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

(She returns to meet my slack-jawed stare)
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy,
(Her palms now on my desk, leaning, smiling at me)
with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.
(She stands, looking past me, as if at a scrim painted a bucolic scene)
And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad ——

(Three students from her next class enter, jolting her from her reverie.)

“The play is called As You Like It,”she says, assuming a pedantic tone. “Go to the library and look it up.”

I watched her saunter back to her desk. It was the first time I recall staring transfixed at a woman’s ass. That night I had my first wet dream. The library didn’t have the play. Miss Metz disappered six weeks later. Barry Smith said she married Roddy McDowall and laughed. . .

I felt lonely.