life of buddy don, chaptur 46:
shoot the devil
bibl warns ye how ye gut to be keerful bout who ye a soshiate with on a counta bad'ns kin tempt ye into doin rong. n fack is, one of the wurst flaws in the human bean is how ye cant larn nobidy nuthin frum a'tellin em bout it. ifn ye could, surely one of them great relijuns wooda gut us to do rite n quit a robbin n rapin n shootin each uther n carryin on in ways that aint good fer nobidy.
but humans aint made thataway. we lack to find it all out on our own n when ye add that'n up with that fack that ye aint born all growd up, then ye gone have a worl full of folks that has to larn whuts rong by a'doin it. n aint no way to larn bettern by a good egzample.
thats whar randy cum in, witch his hole name wuz randolph pascal fox n he wuz a frien i made up at roane state communty collidge on a counta he hung out in the lobby n often as not wood ast me did i wonta go git hi before class n often as not i wood give in to the temptayshun. randy wuz whut ye call big boned n he wuz huge nex to me on a counta i wuz whut ye call skinny n had even been called by the nickname of 'rail' befor i lef home. he had red hair n green eyes n ladies thought they wuz purty n fack is he gut hisself in plenty of scrapes with em.
rite away he wuz a source of fun n truble on a counta seem lack he had cunexshuns on whar to get thangs lack lsd, witch back then everbidy wuz jes as eager to trip as could be. lookin back, im almost shamed to tell ye the truth bout them daze, but i figger ifn i sugarcoat them cinders, ye a'gone wunder whut it is ye ate. no, fack is, i dun sum thangs that wuz downrite foolish.
but i wuz also hungry to know bout god n all, n fer sum reason, seem lack everbidy wuz a thankin lack eli wuz on a counta they wood ack lack the nex trip wuz a'gone make ye see god. n thay wuz folks playin with everthang frum astrolgy to witchcraft to black magick n everthang in between. n i wuz bout as curyas as a cat bout all of it.
fer one thang, thar wuz a perfesser thar at roane state communty collidge name of mr leopold, witch he wuz a phd but dint lack ye to call him doctor, n mr leopold held classes n logick n filosophy n i tuck em. n he wuz differnt frum mos perfessers on a counta he dint seem to be fallin fer the stuff he wuz a teechin. mos of em acted lack twuz verr importunt to know bout the quadratick equayshun or whut twuz lack in anshunt greece, but he acted lack them wuz jes more thangs of intrest in the worl n not all that importunt to how ye live yer life. he also bleeved ye could git a better educayshun by followin yer curiosity to larn on a counta thats whut yer programmed by god to know.
n on the topick of god, one day we had us a short talk out in the hall half by acksident n whut he tole me changed my life fer minny a year. corse, i had been thankin a lot on the topick n had cum up with this here proof whar ye cant know nuthin bout whuther thars a god or not but ye could only go on blind faith, n heres how twent:
- furst, ye gut to bleev thar is a god
- then ye gut to thank he dun reveeled hisself sum kinda way
- then ye gut to nail down the specifick way he dun reveeled hisself, lack in a book or a prophet or burnin bush or set of tablets or big light up in the sky or whutever
- n fack is, ifn ye put yer faith in #3, then ye git #1 n #2 into the bargin
sum kinda way i cum to spout thatn at him, n he cum rite back with a goodn of his own. he sed thay wuz sevrul ways folks cum to thank thay wuz a god. lack i had dun pointed out with my lil egzample, ye could cum by faith, only that true faith is made outta sumthin. n thays three thangs ye kin make faith outta, witch this wuz the furst time i had ever herd that:
he sed mos folks gets thar faith frum #1, emoshun, on a counta they git reel scared frum sermuns on hell far n brimstone n then they know thay aint no way they kin do rite, n so they kindly need em a out to keep em frum eternull tormint, n so they put thar faith in jesus a'payin thar sinful bill fer em. or they jes lack the soshul thangs bout church, the sermuns n the fellaship n fride chicken. or theys in luv with sumbidy that goes to church. or mayhap theys hopin to meet sumbidy fer luv or jes contack with other human beans.
but then thars anuther passel of folks that gits thar faith frum thar intelleck. thay have em lease four or five ways of doin't:
- they figger thars this here mazin worl n had to cum frum sumwhars, so they say tiz frum god a'makin it
- or they say that god is the gratest of all possibull thangs ye could magin n corse yer grater ifn ye be than ifn ye dont, so thar mus be a god, witch he tole me thatn n i let it ride by n dint git to whar i could unnerstand it fer anuther two or three years
- or they mite could say how everthang is a movin all the time n everthang that moves gut a push n ifn ye keep a goin back on the chain of thangs a'pushin on each other, ye gone cum to the furst pusher of em all, n that wood be god
- n i added one i had cum up with, witch twuz how they mite could proov it by takin tuther view, that thar aint no god, n fer that ye wood figgert thisaway: ifn ye a'gone proov thar aint no god, then ye furst gut to know whut god wood look lack ifn ye found him, n then ye wood have to look everwhar all at once to make shore he wuznt hidin sumwhars n then ye wood have to do it at all times in the histry of the universe on a counta ye dont know fer sartin whuther this here god is live or mayhap mighta died after givin everthang that furst big push, n ifn ye could do all that, then ye mite could say ye wuz god yer ownself
n he lafft lack i had dun tole a joke n sed i wuz rite bout whut i had sed n thar wuz a psalm in the bibl that dun sed so n then he sed we had eenumerayted a nuff argumints.
n then he sed sumthin that stuck to this day: the only way ye kin know bout god without usin blind faith is to have the egsperients of god. then ye know. but ye gut to beware of (n i tuck over on thisn on a counta i dun knew it) 'whut ye wont on a counta yer fixin to git it.' ralph waldo emerson. n he smiled lack i wuz a chile showin off, witch thats whut i wuz n whut the grade game wuz all about.
so i ast him had he had the egsperients n he sed he had. so i sed then he knew ifn thar wuz a god n he sed he knew. so corse, i ast him how had he dun it n he sed twuznt sumthin he had dun, but once it had happent, he knew whut the key wuz to makin it happen. n he pawzed till i ast whut wuz it that made it happen, n he sed i woodnt be able to git it frum bein tole n bein tole mite could make it harder to make it happen on a counta twont be whut ye wonta here.
corse, ifn ye been a'reedin up to now, ye know i woodnt let that stop me, so i ast him whut did ye half to do to make it happen.
n he sed agin that ye cant make it happen, but that twoodnt happen till ye had dun sumthin n even ifn ye dun it, then it still mite not happen n he dint thank thar wuz nobidy nowhar that could control it. n i spouted out sumthin lack no man knows the time nor the place lack i wuz a talkin doll n he had dun pullt my strang.
he lafft n ast me did i reely wonta know n i sed i did, n he wiggled his fanger whar i should cum closer n then he whispered in my ear: 'ye gut to have faith.'
i backed away n looked at him, n it seemed lack all he could do to keep frum laffin out loud n i sed twernt fair of god to set it up thataway n he sed he could see my point on a counta i wuz a wontin to find the way by #2 intelleck. then he turnt without so much as a yankee doodle n went into the teechurs lounge n i thought i could hear him laffin.
so after that, i wuz trine to have faith n lookin fer god everwhar. i wood climb up to the top of the bildin i wuz a wurkin in ever mornin n watch the sun cum up n seemed lack i could almos git the feelin god wuz thar, but it never spillt over into me bein sartin bout it. n i hated how ye had to have faith to git to the egsperients of god witch ye need to have faith.
i tole randy bout this argumint n he sed twuz clear as innythang that thar wernt no god n even ifn thar whar, he wuz a cruel god at best n he dint bleev nuthin happent after ye died.
then he ast me wood i hep him with a essay he wuz trine to rite n i sed shore thang n ast whut twuz about n he sed second amendmint n i knew rite away he dint mean the hole thang but only the part bout guns n i ast witch side of the argumint he wuz on.
we wuz drivin thru midtown twords the new roane state communty collidge bildin complex when i sed that so he drove out to a privit spot by the lake thar n ast me to cum around to the trunk. i did, n he opened it up to show me sum of his colleckshun, witch the main thang i member wuz he had him a uzi n i thought they wuz illegull n he lafft n sed thats whut he wonted me to rite about.
i rite away tole him i dint wonta rite bout nuthin lack that on a counta i bleeved folks shouldnt be carryun guns. n i tole him bout my daddy a'carryin guns fer his job as fbi agent n how he dint wont us a touchin em on a counta they wuz so danjerus, speshly to the person that owned em. n i had lots of stutisticks to back up my side lack how moren half the gunshot deths are frum suicide.
corse, i knew how to switch sides in a argumint n when he wuz too lame to defend his side, i give him a cuple pointers on how i wooda argued it n he borried my pen n tuck out a lil notebook bout the size of a hand whar he kep numbers n he rote down sum of my points n then he turnt em into a essay that made his teechur give him a 'a' even tho he sed, 'shoot the devil! twuz agin everthang i bleev.' witch he luved to say 'shoot the devil.'
n that gut us to be friens as much as innythang. he used to joke bout me bein in uniform, witch n them daze i always carrd a pen, mechanicull pencil, knife, watch, liter, notepad, asthma medicine, and in my glove compartmint i kep a furst aid kit with alcohol n bandaids n s;ints n such. n he wood ast me wuz i in uniform whenever he needed sumthin.
main thang wuz how he had a cunnexshun fer acid n that led to sum intrestin times. furst time we gut sum, he tuck me over to meet a ole lady, she musta been lease forty or maybe even fifty, n he wuz havin a thang with her n she wuz a'gittin him drugs, witch she rolled a joint n we smoked it out on thar patio while her husbin wuz in watchin tv, witch she sed he wuz a alkyhollic n couldnt keep awake past seven thurty n he hadnt satisfide her in years, n that led to her a'gittin a lil kiss frum randy.
n he gut the acid too n we tuck sum n then went over to a nuther friend of his, witch he wuz named rob n he wonted to trip. n we found a livin room full of folks over in a prefab house on north purdue avenue in oak ridge n they all tuck em sum n rob put frank zappa on n we all set round smokin n gettin off.
n thar wuz a gurl thar name of candy n she wuz a'wearin sum thin pants that wuz too tite n sittin with us fer a targit n ye could see she hadnt bothered with panties n twuz all i could do to try not to look. but then i wood ketch her lookin at me n lickin her lips n i had to wunder wuz i really sein this or wuz't jes part of the trip.
purty soon rob cum over n i thought he wuz a'gone git on me fer starin but in sted he sed he wuz grateful fer all the power i wuz a puttin out into the room. n that made randy laff n he sed he wuz hongry fer sumthin sweet n then he ast me did i wonta git a lil candy n i sed i shore wished i could n candy wuz a'smilin lack she wuz about to git on a pony fer the furst time, but randy jes stood up n sed good, let's go, n we did. n even tho i dreamed bout candy overn over agin, i never saw her a nuther time.
that bizness bout power wuz sumthin that happent a lot to me in them daze on a counta i wore my beerd long n twuz as black as could be n my eyes is dark brown n ye kin magine i look lack charly manson or george harrison or jesus or sum other scary person, so i gut that a lot, speshly whenever we wuz trippin, n i tripped sevrul times with randy. n i kep thankin that one of them times i wuz a'gone have that egsperients, but i dint, not once.
then randy tuck me for a drive one day n ast me fer hep with sumthin else he wonted to rite. i ast him whut wuz the subjeck, n he sed he wonted me to hep him rite his suicide note n he wonted to splain how life wuznt wurth livin n soons i started in on how i couldnt do that, he sed he knew i could argue five or six differnt ways on ever topick thar wuz n he had dun herd a nuff to know i wuz the one could splain it.
so i tole him bout my car acksident n splained that thar wuz no way i could argue his side of the argumint. n he gut real quite n smoked most of a cigarette n i gut to thankin twood innerstin a lease n mayhap twood ackshly hep him.
so i sed he could rite it n i wood edit n he sed that wood wurk n that led to a lot of drivin round while he smoked cigarettes n we egzamined this or that way of arguin n mostly i wuz trine to proov he needed to keep a'livin n he knew it n i bleev he appreschiated it too.
corse, life goes on, even when yer plannin suicide.
fer the first three or four munths of our friendship, twuz all a secret preparation fer when he wuz a gone shoot his self. n i couldnt splain this to virgil or mj or brew or gretchen or eli, but it had to be a secret tween randy n me.
n it gut to whar dint nun of em understand why i kep bein friends with him on a counta they thought he wuz a blowhard who claimed to have dun most everthang thay wuz to do n he wuznt old a nuff to of dun it all. n i had to defend bein his frien, witch i dun mainly by splainin that i hadnt met the perfeck person yet n he mite tell sum whoppers but everybidy lacked trippin frum his cunnexshun n did they wonta go without? n corse, nobidy had a anser fer thatn.
we kep drivin n randy tuck ever chants to push his side of the argumint, witch wuz that thay wuznt no reason to live.
to git randys side of the argumint, ye gut to unnerstand how he had this cungentull bone disease that made his biggest bones keep on a'growin after they wuz dun spozed to quit. n his lef femur wuz the main place twuz happenin, n on a counta that, he had im a hunnert per cent disbilty frum the veteruns administrayshun n fack is, he hepped eli git his hunert per cent by splainin how ye had to go into the va hospitull to git a increese n the trick wuz to git em to put ye in, raze yer level, n then put ye back out. risk wuz ye could git stuck inside.
in randys case, he dint have to wurry bout gittin stuck in, but he had sevrul operayshun on the laig to whar he had the biggest scars i ever seen on a human bean. he used to joke bout how he should have em install a zipper. they had dun replaced his femur with a plastick one n they wuz cunsiderin whuther they wonted to do the hip nex.
corse, ye cant have all that surgry without needin sumthin fer pain, n that mint randy wuz always astin did i wonta take a percodan. n i wood tell him i dint, n then he wood change the subjeck.
n he thought i had a way with women n i told him he wuz the one had the way on a counta he had him sevrul relayshunships with ladies round oak ridge that give him thangs n he sed they wuz all old n marrd, but he sed i could git me innybidy.
twernt so, n i had plenty of proof, but he dint pay that no mind. he kep pointin out a blond hedded gurl name of betty lou maples, witch the more he did, the more i noticed her till i saw her in one of my classes, witch twuz arkeeolgy n prehistry. n purty soon i wuz talkin to her now n then n i gut him innerduced to her, but he wuznt innersted in her. n i gut to whar i wuz innersted n then i ast her out n she wuz eager to go.
n soon as i knew she wuz a'gonna go, i wonted out of it, n that seemed to git her a'goin. she wonted to go to bars n drank n dance, n i wonted to git hi n listen to musick or park by the lake, so we went to sum bars n then i tuck her home, witch she wuz still livin with her parnts in oak ridge off of georgia avenue. n i walked her to her door n then we kissed, n purty soon our hands wuz everwhar n i knew i coulda tuck her back to my place, but fer sum reason, i jes wudnt innersted.
whenever randy herd how thangs had gone and how sorry i wuz i had tuck her out, he wuz astounded n wonted to know why i hadnt dun the deed with her n i splained that twuz more truble than twuz wurth on a counta thar wuznt nuthin she wonted to do that i wonted to do besides mayhap she mite wonta do the deed. so he ast wuznt that a nuff, n i sed ifn twuz, why wuz he bout to kill his self?
but he kep on, n one day he gut me to take one of his percodans rite before i wuz bout to go into arch n prehist n corse that gut me talkin nicer to betty lou, who couldnt unnerstand why i had turnt so cold after she had dun let me touch her everwhar thru her cloze n nex thang ye know, i had dun agreed to have her out to the farm to study, witch we had barely moved in n dint hardly have no furnitchur.
but she cum over n we studied n then she sed she wonted to seduce me n i let her do her best till we wuz nekkid as jaybirds lyin in my bed n i could see whar she had her the most beeyootifull bidy i had ever lain with but i ast her wuz she on the pill n she woodnt anser so i ast her how wuz we preventin babies n agin she woodnt anser ceptn to reech fer me n try to git me to finish roundin the bases, so to speak, but i woodnt n i tole her as much. i wishd rite then i had listned to my daddy who sed ye should always keep a cundum on hand fer jes such a momint, n he even lafft n sed ifn i did, i woodnt have no such momints on a counta the umbrella affeck, witch lack everbidy knows, it wont rain ifn ye carry yer umbrella.
but i had no umbrella, n the storm wuz rite thar spread out on my bed a'beggin me to git wet, but i woodnt doot. i sed lets go take a bath n we did n i washed her back n treated her rite nice but not sexy lack n then tuck her home.
n frum then on, she wuz lack s shadder a chasin me round n i give in n tuck her places n purt soon i had me a sply of cundums n we wuz a'doin the deed.
n seem lack i looked aroun n wuz stuck n wunderin why i wuz so unhappy:
- i had everthang i had ever wonted n more, on a counta i never thought much bout havin land, but havin it seemed a grate blessin
- n i wuz still makin strate 'a' marks at skool on a counta how darlene dun taught me how to play the grade game
- n i had friends
- n musick
- n drugs
- n now a beeyootifull gurl with who wonted to make me happy
fack iz, betty lou maples wuz so sexy till virgil gut to astin me could i take her sumplace besides the farm on a counta mj dint lack the way he wuz droolin, n even tho he sed it fer a joke, i could see whar he wuz a lustin in his hart after her. n twood a dun him sum good to git her, but that's a long tale that dont blong here. n even brew sed she made him wunder bout thangs he wuz missin even tho he wuz the one gut gretchen.
so twuz a mistry why i wuz so unhappy.
the subjeck cum up next time randy n me tuck a drive to wurk on his suicide note n twuz a funny thang how now he wuz the one sayin he could see my side n i wuz the one sayin thangs dint hadly seem to be wurth it, that i had ever blessin ye could wont n still dint feel happy n even havin the sexiest gurl i had ever seen or dun herd tell of, i only wonted to figger a way how i could git out of it, n even on thatn she had dun outsmarted me n gut me to buy a cristmus present fer jill frum the two of us.
he lafft n ast did i really wonta git out n i sed i did, so he tuck out a gun n pointed it rite at my hed, n the main thang i thought whenever he dun it wuz, wunder how he gut that gun without me a noticin it? n i wuz sprized at how calm i tuck havin the barrel of a gun jabbed into my lef ear while he wuz drivin. even when he cocked it, i wuz jes as cool as mornin dew.
i sed sumthin long the lines of ifn he ever wuz to thank bout it he wood see that he mite could cum up with a argumint bout how life wuz not wurth livin but that i doubted if innybidy could cum up with one on how twood be better ifn ye shot sumbidy who wuznt cawzing ye no harm. n he tuck his hand offn the wheel n tuck a drag offn his cigarette n we went over a bump so that he kindly poked my ear with the gun n i thought i could feel blood tricklin, but i dint feel the lease cuncern.
n then i sed that shootin me also woodnt git no suicide note rit, n sides i wood be gittin the better end of the bargin on a counta no matter whut if innythang cums after deth, ye gone die sooner or later n if nuthins cumin, then it dont matter tall when ye die. n ifn thar is sumthin, then dyin lack i wuz a'doin dint hole no shame on a counta lease i could prepare, n then i calmly tuck to recitin the lord's prayer, only i wuz doon it lack i wuz still a'carryin on the argumint, not lack i wuz ackshly prayin. n whenever i gut near the end, after the part bout the power n glory ferever but befor the amen, i sed n fergive this youngn name of randolph pascal fox fer whut he wuz bout to do on a counta dint nun of us properly unnerstand the point to whar we knew fer sartin jes whut we wuz spozed to do.
n rite then, i felt it, to the point whar fer a mint i wundered had randy pullt the trigger. i felt whut i cant no way splain n whut give me sumthin that showed me thar wuz faith beneath the bleef that thars no faith, that thars sumthin so deep in ye that ye dont know ye gut it but sum kinda way tiz attached to everthang else.
then i saw that randy wuz lookin at me n i sed ye oughta watch the rode, aint no reason fer us both to die, n he lafft n put away the gun. n i ast did he wonta let me drive while he rolled us a joint n he lafft n sed twood be bettern trine to git one of mine to burn, witch i never larnt how to roll a joint n everbidy called mine pregnunt n genrly jes tuck em apart to roll new'ns.
it dont do to splain it, n ever wurd thrown at it jes covers it up all the more. but i had a momint that i knew whut mr. leopold mint.
randy made me jump when he sed 'damn, bud! ye aint a fraid of nuthin, are ye?'
when i dint anser, he licked up the joint n sed, 'shoot the devil!'