Wednesday, July 14, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 122: how the group wuz born

ye mite could thank that whenever we started the group, the idee had sumthin to do with wontin to rite grate literatchur, witch that wuz shorely part of it. but whut gut it a'goin wuz cumpletely differnt.

fer one thang, twuz near the end of the sprang quarter of 1981 when the idee sorta more or less happend. thay wuz a feller thar name of henry mouffette, witch everbidy calld im hank. he wuz in our class even tho i hadnt never noticed him much. fack is, i wuz so busy with my own lil worl of wurk n cuncerns that i dint hardly know innybidy in our class.

twuznt as if i dint have plenty to wurry bout. fer one thang, eli wuz goin thru a verr ruff patch to whar he gut put into the v.a. hospitull in johnson city on a counta how he wuz a threat to his ownself n mayhap a danger tuthers too. he had gut in a habit of abusin his medicayshun by takin too much of it whenever he furst gut his munths supply n then washin it down with beer. that wood git him to black out n durin a blackout, he mite do innythang, includin jumpin off of buildins, witch he wuz lucky thay wuznt no hi buildins in oak ridge that he could git up on. wurse he ever gut was a spraind ankle, but twuz pure luck.

whut wuz more wurry sum wuz how he wood splain to daddy bout wontin to stab him to death. he woodnt say he wuz a'gone doot, but he wood splain how he sumtimes lay in bed n couldnt git the thought of goin upstairs to git a knife sos he could attack daddy in his sleep. daddy ackted lack it dint wurry him nun, but twernt so. ye caint say it dont matter whenever one of yer own children is splainin how they wonta kill ye. ye could tell daddy wuznt sleepin too well on a counta he wuz even grumpier than usual n he had big black circles under his eyes.

thang wuz, eli hadnt never been no more productive as far as ritin wuz concernd. he dint study it much, ceptin to read rimbaud n baudelaire in translation. then he wood sit down at a typeriter n git to typin out poems. he woodnt edit nuthin n however they cum out the furst time, that wuz jes how they wuz a'gone stay. i wood visit ever now n agin, witch ifn he wuz in the rite mood, he mite read me a few of em. it tuck years befor he wood let me make inny copies of em, witch i wuz afraid he mite destroy em all durin one of his fits or blackouts. far as i could tell, they wuz bettern inny ritin by innybidy i knew, even my own (hurts to rite it, but tiz the truth).

not only that, but he had writ im a short wurk name of 'the killing' that he sed wuz a novel even tho twuz only bout 40 pages long, he let me read it, witch furst thang i dun wuz make a copy, even tho i had to lie bout it. he tole me i couldnt make no copy of it, but i figgerd he wood be happy ifn he lost thonly copy n i cum up with a nuther fer im. twuz short but packed with idees n verr poeticull. i red it over n over agin n whut gut me bout it wuz how even ifn twuz so short, seem lack it left ye with the feelin ye had red a long novel coverin mos everthang bout life n death, speshly death. i mentchuned his novel to one of my professers, witch he wonted to read it, but that made eli so mad he sed he dint wont nuthin else to do with me. he gut over it purty quick. he dint know i had a copy n i ast im how could i show sumthin to innybidy without him knowin bout it since he had thonly copy.

whenever it cum time to drive im up to the v.a. hospitull, mama ast me wood i go long, witch ye caint leeve mama n eli together too much on a counta thar kindly lack vinegar n bakin soda. once i agreed, she wunderd ifn i could take im without her a'goin. corse i wood, even ifn i felt kindly lack a traiter to my own bruther. i knew he had to go n knew twood be bes for im, but whenever it cums time to lead the victim to the slaughter, or the payshunt to his hospitull whar he is a'gone be locked up till who knows when, well, tiz hard not to thank of yerself as the traiter.

twernt thonly wurry i had. thay wuz the stress n wurry of livin with emily. i used to joke that she could wurry in the abstrack, witch i sed ifn she gut to the point to whar she couldnt thank of nuthin to wurry bout, she wood wurry bout how thay mus be sumthin big she wuz a'missin. it dint seem possibull to her thay wuznt no wurry ye needed to wrinkle yer brow bout, n ifn she couldnt cum up with one, that wood wurry her.

sides that, twuz hard to perdick whut she mite do frum one time to the nex. i dun mentchuned bout how she lacked to wear nuthin but blue jeans n flannel shirts with earth shoes n knee socks. at best whenever we wuz havin sex, she wood wear jes the flannel shirt n knee socks. i ast her ever so often ifn she dint wonta wear sumthin else, jes fer variety, but that made her mad, as ifn i wuz astin her to pertend to be sumbidy else. but she made sum friends in the histry department n a frien in the buildin. n she gut to be purty good friens with liza.

i caint swear toot, but it seems lack one or tuther of them new friens talked her into thangs i couldnt git her to do, witch one saturdy she ast me could she tie me up to the bed. i ast her to splain whut she meant, but she jes ast could i take my cloze off n jes doot? so i dun it n wuz i ever sprized when she cum out of the bathroom a'wearin her one pink dress n nuthin else. twuz one of them verr intense eggsperientses to whar ye couldnt hardly bleev twuz happenin. we bof enjoyed it a lot, but whenever i ast her whar she gut the idee fer such a stunt, she sed i should know. twuz the kinda thang that mite wurry a bidy, witch i dint learn fer a long while who give her the idee. but i found myself wurryin over it moren i orta dun, witch i wood ast myself ifn i wuznt gittin to be as much of a wurry wart as she wuz.

a nuther thang the botherd me a lot wuz how i wuz so busy with skool wurk that i couldnt hardly git no ritin dun, speshly since i dint count papers fer innythang. twuz with dismay i red the comments on one of my papers whar the perfesser rote how the paper wuz reddy fer publicayshun with a bit of editin. he stopped me after the class wuz over n sed i could make a career as a literary skolar n he wonted to hep me git into a good skool fer my docterut. twuznt whut i wonted to here n fer sum reason it brung me way down. i hated to thank i dint have no talent fer fickshun n mite end up jes a nuther skolar who filld up the world with secundary sources.

i wood try to rite mos everday n that led to a nuther annoyance, witch that wood be bud rankin. he wuz in one of my classes on amurkin literchur n he seemd to have a sixth sense bout whar i wuz a'gone go to rite. twood be mos annoyin how he wood innerupt me n git to talkin his pompus bullshit, witch twuz all he seemed to have to say far as i could tell. tiz a shame to say how he wood git me to quit ritin by astin did i wonta 'burn one,' witch meant smoke a joint. since i dint have no conneckshun n purty much never had much of theevil weed, i wood lack as not go along with im. he splained to me one time how he had furst gut hi whenever he wuz fifteen years ole n he luved it so much he vowed he wood try to be hi ever wakin moment of his life. i dint respeck that, but i wuznt standin on solid groun to criticize him. i did figger him bein hi all the time splaind how he wuz such a bullshitter.

mane thang i wonted to do wuz find a place i could rite whar he woodnt show up, but twuznt as easy as ye mite thank. i lacked ritin up in mcclung tower, but he spotted that purty quick. so i moved to smokeys, but thatn wuz easy fer im to figger. so i tride the undergraduwait liberry, witch i lacked sittin at the long tables near the unabridged dickshunairies. but once he spotted me thar, seemed lack i couldnt barely git my notebook open till he wuz sittin nearby. same wuz true of the graduwait liberry, witch i probably coulda hid in a carrel, but i lacked bein out whar i could see folks cummin n goin. so he wood find me n direckly a nuff, he wood make the sign of gittin hi by pertendin to take a toke with no joint. i hate to add mitt the truth, but i wuz so dishonest with my ownself that i wood blame him whenever i agreed to take a walk roun campus n burn the joint. i dint never rite much after smokin, so twuz the waste of a chants to rite.

innywho, twuz the end of the quarter n i had jes gone by the english department to check my box fer mail n to see how my grades cum out, witch they wuz all a marks. twuz nice to be dun with the quarter n ye mite thank i wooda been happy bout my grades, but twuz mosly relief i felt on a counta i wuz spoiled by gittin good grades to whar thonly thang i felt wuz relief that i hadnt muffed the quarter lack i dun in the fall when i gut a b+ in a shakespeare class.

whenever i gut on the elevator, henry mouffette gut on after me n we gut to talkin bout how the year had gone n whut he wuz a'plannin on doon fer the summer, witch me n emily wuz a'gone take sum classes. he figgerd he wood hang round knoxvull n try to git im a job. i kindly hinted roun bout how i wished i knew whar i could git hi n he sed he wuz bout to buy a bag offn his conneckshun. i ast him wood he innerduce me, witch he laffd bout that n sed why not. as we wuz walkin, i kep specktin him to turn off to hed fer his place, but he never dun it till we cum to the door of the laurel marrd students apartments, witch turnt out he lived thar too even tho he wernt marrd.

ye mite could thank twuz jes a lil coincidents we shoulda dun noticed, but to hank twuz a sign of sum kind. i ast him whut could the sign mean, n he sed twuz fated by god n we wuz spozed to start a literary movement. i laffed n sed i dint thank we had us a flossofy bout ritin nor nuthin that wood lead to a movement. he ast me to cum up to his place n i wuz bout to say i had thangs to do whenever he sed his conneckshun wuz cummin by. so i sed i dint know ifn we could start a movement or not, but mayhap we should talk it over. so i went up to his place, hopin to git hi n mayhap meet his conneckshun n score a lil weed.

we gut to talkin bout all kinda thangs n then cum back round to the literary movement he wuz a'wontin to start. i tole him i dint know bout startin no literary movement, but whut ifn we wuz to git a group of riters goin whar we wood jes read our wurk fer each other. it could give us a audience to listen n maybe we wood rite more. he figgerd twuz brillyunt n sed so, but befor we could make a plan, his doorbell rung n in cum hi conneckshun.

twuz bud rankin. i felt almos lack i had dun been betrayd, but i dint say nuthin. long story short, bud gut in on the plannin n even tho he couldnt cum to the furst meetin, he wuz one of the folks that started the group. thay wuznt no way i could say i dint wont him to cum, so we had one meetin without im, n frum then on, he cum to ever meetin.

furst meetin wuznt hardly nuthin. only four folks cum, witch thay wuz me n hank n a woman who sed she wuz a poet but she dint have nuthin to read and a fella who sed he woodnt be able to cum to no more meetins but wishd he lived in knoxvull. twuznt much of a meetin n the nextn wuz even wurse. hank only had the one poem to read, so he read it agin. bud cum n red sumthin i couldnt make no sense out of. twuz embarrassin to sit thru. not only that, but emily dint wonta cum to no meetins lack that so she wood spend the evenin with one of her friends frum the histry department or with liza or whoever. by the thurd meetin, i wuz bout reddy to give it up, but thay wuz three new members that made thangs gel, so to speak.

the furst two wuz a marrd cuple. the husbin, a feller by the name of billy stewart, tole us all how he wuz proud to be a new york jew, witch twernt a claim ye eggspeckted to hear frum nobidy in knoxvull. his wife rolld her eyes whenever he sed that. her name wuz lauren n she wuz a poet. turnt out she wuz verr good, but at furst, she woodnt read much of nuthin. tuther feller wuz also in our class even ifn i hadnt never noticed im. his name wuz joseph cooper n he red us one of the funniest stories we ever herd. fack is, the furst two meetins i wuz the mane reader n dint seem to me lack thay wuz a nuther riter in the group. we wuz all trine to be verr seryas. but joe changed all that by readin one funny story after a nuthern.

but befor we gut thar, i wuz bout to quit on a counta it dint seem lack nobidy wuz willin to criticize nuthin. hank wuz all enthusiastick bout innythang sumbidy had writ. he even acted lack he could make sense of bud's ritin, witch bud wuz frum mississippi n hadnt quit trine to be faulkner. i member the moment when i knew we mite have a purty good group. bud wuz readin furst, witch he lacked to do that. twuz a story so awful i couldnt tell much of nuthin bout whut wuz a'goin on. twuz deadly quite whenever he finishd. finely billy spoke up n splaind how he wuznt able to git up on our hi literary level on a counta he wuz a salesman n hadnt studied literchur. but even so, he sed he lacked stories whar ye could tell who wuz the hero, what happend, n whar the hole thang tuck place. he sed this in the silents after bud had dun red. then he turnt to bud n pall gized fer not bein able to unnerstand his ritin.

everbidy laffed, even bud. we had us a verr good critick, witch we really needed sumbidy who could say thangs lack he dun without makin folks mad. so with that one comment, the group wuz born.

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