Wednesday, December 24, 2003

life of buddy don, chaptur 83:
three kings

durin the time me n emily wuz a’livin over on 1300 clinch we wuz real busy with skool wurk n dint have much time fer friends. virgil cum over a lot n we wood see randy fox over at smokeys now n then, but othern that, we dint make minny friends. but thay wuz three fellas that gut to be purty reglar vistors n i always thank of em together due to this party one of em give.

furstn wuz dale jamison, witch i had furst met him way back in fourth grade when we furst moved to oak ridge. he n his lil bruther, witch everbidy always called him junyer on a counta he wuznt adopted lack dale, the two of em used to be reglars on the playground same as me n eli. we wood play baseball n football with a pack of kids frum the same nayborhood.

i los track of him sum time durin hi skool n dint see im agin till late 1978. i wuz sellin sum blood down at the knoxville plasma place, witch i wuz hopin to sell sum plasma but they woodnt let me on a counta me havin asthma n they wuz wurried i mite have a asthma tack while i wuz hooked up to the machine. but they sed they needed hole blood n splained how it dint take as long to give it n did i wonta give sum to hep them in need n i dint know how to say no, so i dun it.

nex thang ye know i wuz stretched out on the lawn chair n a gurl who looked to be sixteen wuz trine her bes to stick her needle in my vane. purty soon i noticed thay wuz sumbidys eyes on me n when i turnt i saw dale jamison strapped up to give plasma. he sed, 'buddy don duncan, rite?' witch i add mitted as much n sed wuznt he dale jamison n he wuz so we talked till my bag wuz full n then i waited fer him n we lef together.

i dint really have nuthin to say to im but that dint matter nun to him. he wuz fine jes to have cumpny of sum kind n could go fer longs stretches without a wurd bein spoke by nobidy. i aint met minny folk that could do that. seem lack mos of em lack to hear talk, speshly thar own.

corse i also had thangs to do n kindly wunderd how could i git out of hangin out with him? but befor i could say nuthin, he sed he had to git im a bottle of boones farm peach n did i wont inny n whenever i sed i dint, he wuz fine n sed he wood see me.

n he did maybe a week or two later. i wuz walkin along clinch frum the market back home n thar he wuz, sittin on a wall watchin folks pass by. we spoke n i ast him did he git hi, witch i knew he did on a counta how ye could tell he wuz livin on the street, n he sed shore so i ast him to cum home with me. when we gut thar, he wuz sprized to see i wuz livin in a rented apartment. he sed he figgerd i wuz livin on the street my ownself or why else wood i be trine to sell plasma n givin blood in sted?

i splained that i wuz a student n dint have no money n wonted to git emily sumthin to sprize her fer chrismus, witch emily wuz a penny pincher the lack of witch i hadnt never seen. ifn that penny dint scream, she woodnt let it go, so she knew whar ever penny wuz n that made it near impossibull to sprize her. so we gut to talkin till she gut home n i innerduced em.

purty soon we wuz sittin in the livin room. bof me n emily wuz reedin n she wuz smokin n drankin ice tea n i wuz drankin coffee. dale dint wont nuthin but water n he seemed jes fine to sit doin nuthin. after a while emily ast him whar did he live n he sed here n thar n she ast did he live on the street n he sed he did so she ast did he wonta take a bath. ye never saw nobidy look no happier. he sed he dint have no clean cloze, but he wood lack a bath. she sed she had a old pair of overhauls she could give im n wuz i ever sprized to see im cum out wearin the carbide overhauls susannah had give me but i dint say nuthin.

after that thay wood cum a tiny lil knock on our door ever now n then n twood be dale. he lacked to here me play peeano, so we wood walk over to the student center n i wood give a concert of instermental thangs. i wood git im hi ever time n i figgerd that wuz whut he cum fer but if he met me on the way to skool, witch that happend bout half the time, he woodnt wonta git hi furst but jes go here the music.

he wuz a puzzle fer me. at times he seemed jes fine livin with nuthin. other times he wood be so drunk or messed up on sumthin that he dint even know who i wuz. then he wood be fine agin, jes smilin n sittin on the wall. sumtimes he wood say hi n let me pass n sumtimes he wood ast did i mind cumpny. sumtimes he wood show up at our door, bruzed n bloody n twood be obveeus sumbidy had dun beat im up, but he wood be smilin n purty soon he wood ast wuz i plannin on playin inny peeano. n ifn i sed i wuz, he wood git up all eggcited lack a lil child. ye could wunder wuz he jes simple.

i knew sum of his story n gut to know more whenever he started cumin round, even if twuz hard to git im to talk much. he wuz adopted whenever he wuz near two years old. he dont remember nuthin frum befor then n he kin jes barly member a time when his lil bruther junyer wuznt in the worl, witch as quick as they gut dun adoptin dale, miz jamison finely cum up pregnunt, n that turnt out to be junyer.

ye could see how dale wuznt cunsidderd real fambly the same way junyer wuz n dale musta knowd it. turnt out he had dropped out of hi skool n runaway to californy same as me only he wuz jes fourteen whenever he dun it. he sed he wuznt lucky lack me n he had it ruff. he sed he had to do thangs n the way he sed it ye dint wonta ast whut thangs they wuz. but he gut by sum kinda way n hes been a'doin it ever since. he even lived up in new york city fer a cuple years, still on the street, spare changin n sellin plasma, collectin cans, whutever. he dint never seem to have no cumplaint n i dont know ifn he ever had a place of his own.

twuz a differnt matter fer junyer. he wuz sent to collidge rite frum hi skool n he wuz always bes in his class. he gut a degree in accountin n then a job with sum big firm up in new york city n marrd a woman frum up thar n gut im a big spred up in westchester. corse twuz all dale a'tellin it n almos seemed lack he wuz proud of whut his bruther had dun. i sed how his bruther mus be a happy man but dale sed he dint thank he wuz. i ast how cum n he sed, 'junyer never larnt to be happy. ifn ye cant be happy with nuthin, ye cant be happy no matter whut ye gut. he never larnt it.'

i ast him wuz he happy n he kindly chuckled n sed, 'i aint gut nuthin but aint nuthin i wont. so yeah, i reckon i am.'

i met the nex fella on the elevator cumin down frum mcclung tower. we wuz thonly two on thar n twuz in the early fall of the year. twuz a season of torment ifn ye wuz a lergick, witch turnt out weird walter hamblin wuz a lergick n i gut to know it purt near the instunt i met im on a counta how he sneezed n had the indignity of having a thick glop of snot cum out. i give him a tissue, witch daddy taught us to carry handkerchiffs but i always thought they wuz a horrbull idee so i carryed tissues.

innywho, i wuz on my way home n he wuz walkin rite along side of me, astin my pinions on thangs lack whuther thangs wood be differnt ifn thay wuz a tax on gasoline n how thang wooda been ifn germuny had won the furst worl war. the futher i walked tords home, the more i gut to wunderin whuther he planned on cumin home with me till we gut past the graduwait liberry n into the parkin lot behin n i had to ast him whuther that wuz his plan. he sed he wuz wunderin the same thang n turnt out he wuz livin in the verr house nex door.

so i invited him in n give im sum a r m, witch that stands for allergy relief medicine n twuz a antihistimean i used to take befor i larnt not to take inny of em. so we wuz talkin n emily cum home n whenever he herd she wuz a germun history majur he gut into his thang bout worl war one n the treety of versigh n shore a nuff, she wuz reddy to go. they talked fer a cuple hours while i made dinner n we fed him n then he lef.

after that, he wuz aroun a lot n twuz hard to take him on a counta how he wuz always wontin to do nuthin but analyze histry. he had long blond hair that he kep curled n nice n twuz part of his flossofy that white folks should let thar hair grow long on a counta only white folks had hair that cum in various colors. he had a grate man theery that i reckon ill get to by n by.

thang is, in his own way, he wuz more pitiful than dale jamison. he had im a car n he wuz good to take us to the kroger out on chapman hiway to git groceries or mos innywhar else we mite wonta go. at the time, ye could git the time n temperchur frum the park bank buildin, n ye could purty much see it frum all over fort sanders, so he had im this habit of copyin down the time n temp n locayshun he wuz in when he wrote it as he drove round town. ye wood be stopped at a light n he wood be ritin away n ifn he couldnt git dun when the lite turnt green, he wood jes sit ritin till he wuz dun even tho folks wuz blowin thar horns at im.

he couldnt cook nuthin n couldnt eat much of innything that wuznt beef or taters. he made ever histry perfesser he ever had so mad that he wood be kicked out of the class. his egypshun histry teechur tole him he dint need to take the class n that he knew more bout the subjeck than he did, witch weird walter splained that wuz the furst time the perfesser had been rite bout innythang. but he wood still git strate a marks in his classes on a counta how he wood do his wurk n take the tests n git ever thang purrfeck.

twuz a nuther mistry on a counta he dint seem able to live day to day life, but he wuz one of the smartest folks i had ever met, a encyclopedia of memorized facks n the ability to make solid argumints frum em, but he dint even know that oral sex wuz more than a man kissin a woman on the mouth. thays a lot more could be sed bout weird walter n mayhap ill git toot befor i git dun with this here life n pinions.

thurd fella ye dun met, witch thats my iranian friend name of shahram. ye mite member how durin this time the ayatollah ruhollah khomeini wuz challengin the res of the folk in iran to stand up to the shah of iran, witch he wuz the one we put in back in place back in the fifties. lack i dun splaint, shahram n me lacked to talk bout mistysism n all, speshly dervishes n mistycull poets frum persia. thang wuz, i wuz studin it n trine to figger out witch of the ways i wuz studyin i should folluh, but i wuznt goin in no particlar way. so i could study whutever without it makin me thank i had to do strange thangs.

twernt so fer shahram. he had to test god or his way of gittin close to god ever time he could. once we hiked up into the smokeys with ronnie peck in december. twuz bitter cold n thay wuz snow on the ground. we gut up to rainbow falls n sat long a nuff to smoke a joint n git real cold agin.

me n ronnie wuz reddy to go, but we seen how shahram wuz takin offn his cloze so he could go stand under the waterfalls, witch thay wuz ice all around n we tole him twuz crazy, but all he could do wuz tell me ifn i wonted to see god i needed to stand under that waterfall my ownself on a counta he could here god tellin im to give me this chants. i shrugged n kindly laffed n ast wuz he crazy. he give me that look n ast wuz i crazy a nuff to see god? did i wonta have god baptize me in that thar falls? corse i never dun it on a counta i wonted to survive. but he kindly tippy toed over that ice till he wuz standin under the water frum the falls n sangin sum song in that persian lingo. he had to be froze but he dint show no effecks frum it.

twuz the kinda thang he wood do, so twernt no sprize that whenever khomeini gut backin power, he wuz affeckted. furst thang he dun wuz shave his hed. he had dun quit goin to classes n spent all his time jes studyin the koran n them persian poets. he wood read em aloud to me in persian n splain em his own way, witch he wuz a poet but dint git nuthin writ down. or he wood read frum the koran in arabic n splain porshuns of it, n he knew i luved to here them langwages we dint git to here much, n he knew i luved to here how his relijun wuz just n bleeved in peace n all.

then in january of 1979 the shah lef n khomeini cum in bout two weeks after that. n shahram gut crazed. he tole everbidy how khomeini wuz talkin to him n astin him to cum hep n he wonted to worl to know bout it. then one day he tuck off all his cloze n walked across the henly street bridge on a day filled with snow till they tuck him to peninsula mental hospitull n kep him thar fer three weeks.

whenever he cum out, ronnie peck n me n sum of his other friens planned a party, only he insisted on doin the cookin. corse, he woodnt have no females thar. but i brung sum wine fer dale n sum jack daniels fer me even tho i knew shahram woodnt drank nun. dale drank mos the wine tho weird walter had im a taste n sed he couldnt take moren that on a counta how he wuz a lergick n everbidy laffed bout that on a counta they had dun herd me tell bout bein a lergick my ownself.

the dinner wuz grate, with rice n taters n lamb fer them that eats meat n fish fer them that eats fish n egg plant fer them that eats egg plant. n we all ate n purty soon thay wuznt nobidy lef but me n dale n weird walter. i wuz trine to git weird walter to go but twuz the furst time shahram had ever met innybidy frum amurka who knew much at all bout persian histry, n wuznt much of it weird walter hadnt dun memorized.

me n dale sat drankin, n when we wuz feelin a lil too good, my allergicull symptoms kicked in n i sed i wonted to make a toast. so shahram gut his coffee n weird walter his water n dale his wine n i put up my lil glass of jack n i sed i wonted to drank a toast to my three royal friends.

we drank a sip n they all laffed fer a mint till shahram give me that look of his. i told him not to say nuthin, that thay wuz more, n twuz one of them thangs i here my mouth do ever now n agin.

furst i herd myself sayin how fer the longes time i had thunk of the three of them as folk who wuz losers, as pitiful creachurs who couldnt even live thar own lives, as pathetic fools. i wuz trine to make it funny, but warnt nobidy laffin. so i sed i wonted to pall gize on a counta i realized i wuz the fool.

twuz a verr uncumfterbull moment. so i razed my glass n sed, 'a toast!' they razed thars n touched mine.

'i raise my glass to you, my three kings. i begin with you, dale jamison n i dub thee king of the hart, the only person i ever met who larnt how to be happy with nuthin. n yew, weird walter hamblin, yew i dub king of the mind on a counta thay dont seem to be nuthin the mind kin memorize that ye aint dun larnt. n i dub thee, shahram of persia, king of the soul, fer ye have traveled closer to god than innybidy i know.'

we drank n twuz quite till shahram sed he wonted to perpose a toast his ownself. we razed our glasses, n he sed, i wonta drank to yew, buddy don duncan, the only one of us who really is a fool. he waited a beat n sed how i wuznt no wizard of oz neethur no matter how i mite pertend.

weird walter laffed loud n dale kindly chuckled, but shahram dint, he only give me that look agin. i wonted to know wuz he a'givin me a honor or a insult but weird walter wuz reddy to go by then, so we lef.

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