Monday, March 28, 2005

life of buddy don, chaptur 131: rise n fall of the group

[Note from the author: My apologies for repeating the first part of this chapter, which was originally posted on March 15, 2005. It seemed to make more sense to keep it all together. You might also notice that I change the title.

I would also like to warn readers one last time that this chapter has some adult situations, so to speak, so if reading that kind of thing bothers you, please do not read it!

Thanks, The Author]
lookin back on the sprang n summer of 1982, tiz easy to see now whut i couldnt see then, witch thats how twuz the verr end of life as i had cum to know it since quittin carbide. up till then, even ifn i wuz a'goin to collidge, i wuz still a'wurkin in the real worl, witch the way sum of them graduwait students sed the wurds 'real worl' ye mite could thank they wuz talkin bout one of the lower rungs of hell. but after i quit carbide, i wuz in ackadeem n twuz a hole nuther way of livin.

thang is, i wuz jes a'gittin the swang of it n dint know i wuz in the best part of it n twuz about to end much quicker i coulda thought. even ifn i wuz a'studyin grate literchur lack nobidys bizness, i wuznt thankin much bout nuthin that really matterd, thangs lack whut wuz i a'gone do to git money after i graduwaited? that shouda been the mane topick of everbidys conversayshun durin them munths on a counta we wuz mosly all fixin to git our degrees n after that, ifn we dint wonta git to wurk on a docterut, we wood half to git jobs.

twuz easy to magine that ye coulda published a few stories or mayhap gut a novel writ while ye wuz a'goin to grad school n on that plan, ye mite could thank whenever ye cum out, ye wood be gittin royalties of sum kind or mayhap ye could say ye had dun showed promiss n orta be hepped out to git a'goin. twuz speshly so fer the mane two writers in the group, witch by mane two i mean the two that ye could count on to brang sumthin to read ever week, witch that wuz me n bud rankin.

i speck we bofus figgerd we wood half to be published befor we finished our masters n whenever we dun graduwaited we wood kindly live a life at home, purty much lack we wuz a'doon only without all them classes. twuz easy to magine how we wood write novels n git paid royalties n live well n mayhap after a while our wives could quit wurkin or goin to school or whutever.

lease i half to add mitt i wuz a'feelin thataway. i had dun writ a novel n durin the furst nine munths of 1982 i writ a slew of stories, a'writin new sumthin new ever week. i had jes finishd readin crap notes n red 'the witness,' witch whenver i writ thatn i thought twuz the bes i had ever dun but when i red it to the group, twuz embarrassin. so i started wurkin on short stories n twixt the meetin of januwairy 22 n the meetin of august 20, i had me a stretch whar mos everthang i writ wuz cheered on by the group:
1/22/82: 'A Difficult Departure'
1/29/82: 'The Works'
2/5/82: read poetry
2/12/82: 'Big Wheels Roll'
2/19/82: 'Slave of Desire'
2/26/82: 'Burned'
3/5/82: 'The Inspector' (dun lost thatn)
3/12/82: read poetry
3/19/82: 'The Bobbing Nose'
3/26/82: 'Stick It!' (lost, but i writ a chaptur on the same topick in life n pinions of buddy don, hillbilly)
4/2/82: 'Blind Sales'
4/9/82: 'The Mulberry Tree' (nuthern i dun lost)
4/16/82: 'Cleaning Up'
4/23/82: 'Savage Romance'
4/30/82: 'Hooks'
5/7/82: 'Entertainment for Men' (lost)
5/14/82: 'Revenge on a Hot Afternoon'
5/21/82: (dint attend on a counta gittin reddy fer my oral eggzams)
5/28/82: 'The Goat' (found but not good a nuff to leave up on the site)
6/4/82 -- 7/2/82: Meetings wuz sketchy fer a lil while on a counta summer vacayshun
7/9/82: 'Scattered Afternoon Showers'
7/16/82: 'Beyond Tijuana,' a poem writ bout the group, witch it splains a lot bout the group.
7/23/82: no meetin
7/30/82: essay on art n autobiogruffy
8/6/82: 'The Final Solution' (lost)
8/13/82: "Maybe We're All Jews' (lost)
8/20/82: 'Egger'
meanwhile, bud rankin wuz ritin new stories ever week n ye could see whar he wuz a'gittin purty good, a nuff to whar he n i wood take walks n talk bout whut we wuz a'gone do nex, witch twuz generly a trade-off twixt sum kinda job that wood leave ye a nuff time to rite n a job that wood make a nuff money to pay yer bills. lotsa them talks wuz moanin n groanin over how hard life wuz.

we jes dint know how good we dun had it, speshyl on a counta the group. fer that matter, deespite our badmouthin our busy life, we had plenty of free time. n we wuz loded with idees bout ritin. n then thay wuz them folks who cum to group.

as ye know by now, we wood git together of a fridy evenin n read stories n poems n novels out loud to each other. twuz the soshul center of the lives of at lease twelve folk, witch everone of em is menchuned in that poem name of 'beyond tijuana' that i writ n read to the group on july 16. heres a lil rundown of em:

ye mite member how in life of buddy don, chaptur 121: how the group wuz born i writ bout how the group cummenced to meetin, sos ye member billy n lauren stewart, witch he wuz the jew frum secawkus new jersey n she wuz the poet frum appalachia. n corse i wuz jes recollecktin bout bud rankin, the feller frum mississippi. them three wuz the mane ones that cum ever week whenever we furst gut started.

tiz pure chants that lauren stewart ever gut to be part of the group, on a counta how mos everbidy thar wuz in graduwait skool n she hadnt never even been to collidge. but she wuz friens with sean smith n he invited her to a party n thats whar i met billy stewart, witch he wuz her husbin n soons he heard my idee bout the group, he innerduced me to lauren, witch furst thang i thought wuz how she wuz a lack a raven, a dark beauty. she looked to me almost lack a indian on tv n cum to find out much later how she wuz frum up in the hills near gatlinburg n had a fair share of native blood in her.

she wuz shy as a as a butterfly bout readin her poems to whar we had to beg her n lack as not she wood have her notebook of poems but jes refuse to read. even ifn we did cunvints her, bout ever third time she wood start in to a'pallgizing fer whut she wuz bout to read but she wood git innerupted by folks jokin round n remindin her bout the no pall gizin rules. sumtimes that wood make her mad to whar she woodnt read till next meetin. if then.

twernt lack she dint have the talent, but she dint have no bleef in herself. twuz odd on a counta how she wuz a natcherull poet. she dint hardly read no other poets n dint read no books bout how ye go bout ritin poems. she hadnt never studied poetry at school nor read the classicks. everthang wuz a new discuvry fer her, even the simple thangs lack differnt meeters n rime skeems, but she had a way of seein thangs frum a odd angle, almos the way a bee or a bird or a dog wood n she could put them images in wurds so sprizin till seem lack ye wuz that bee or bird or dog n thats a poetick skill ye caint teach. so we always begged her to read.

her husbin billy wuz a bigger part of the group than she wuz in lots of ways. he wuz frum a place name of secawkus new jersey but he wurked in man hattan n dint seem lack nobidy unnerstood whut he meant when he tride to splain bout secawkus, so he gut to whar he wood joke bout how he wuz that new york jew ye wuz always a'hearin bout in jokes n on the radio. he wuz a sharp copier salesman n twood make him mad ifn ye used xerox as a verb or even as a noun meanin a copy lack when folks mite say they had dun xeroxed thar stories or how they could give out xeroxes ifn folks wonted to have em. n he wood splain how ye 'copy' thangs on 'copiers' n whut ye git whenever ye do that is called 'copies'. n he wood splain bout how sharp 'copiers' wuz bettern all tutherns n everbidy wood kindly chuckle or laff till he wood tell a horrbull pun joke n they wood groan. he had im a passel of bad pun jokes n spoke with a thick new yawk ackcent, witch that wuz part of whut made ye laff n corse he knew it n wood put on moren he had to.

billy luved tennessee almos moren folks that wuz born thar. he wood talk bout how ye couldnt dream of findin no place lack his up in new jersey or new york or that ifn ye did twood cost ye a million dollars, witch we thought that wuz a lil stretch of the truth but later on cum to find out he wuz rite. he lacked to have parties out thar n twuz a verr nice place, two stories with a front porch kindly lack grandie had, so i alway lacked goin out thar. he rented a studio in fort sanders fer lauren on a counta how she needed a place to wurk on her art but dint much wurk git dun frum it. still we wood have meetins thar n after a while folks found out bout it n the crowds gut to growin to whar by october of 1981 after a total of fifteen meetins n eight in a row at her studio, we had to start movin the group frum place to place. twuz one of the furst group deecishuns n wuz made that nite at laurens studio. sum of the reglars cum early n billy had the idee of movin the group sos only them that cum ever week wood keep up. lauren wuz riled up over the deecishun but she had to agree bout how thay wuz too minny folks a'cummin when twuz always in the same place. twuz a nice problem to have, havin to hide whar we wuz a'gonna meet nex, but whenever we started a'movin, it hepped build up the core group.

i dint mentchun joe cooper in the poem beyond tijuana on a counta by the time that poem wuz writ, joe wuz long gone. i reckun i woodnt git much argument frum nobidy in the group ifn i wuz to say he had the mos talent. he read all them terp jackson stories, witch terp wuz the redneck hero of most of his stories. because his stories wuz so funny, it gut everbidy to trine to be funny, so even tho joe cum n went purty early in the groups histry, he wuz a verr importunt inflooents on how it deeveloped n the kinda ritin we dun.

part of that had to do with the fack that we wuznt a workshop. our group wuz more of a soshul club with innertainment in the form of folks readin sum of thar ritin out loud to one a nuther. we dint ever critique nuthin but ye could tell a lot bout yer stuff by how folks reackted. after all, twuz mosly a bunch of grad students that lacked to make fun of 'ole tuff shit eliot, himself,' as bud rankin wood say. ifn ye aint gut respeck fer the man that writ The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, ye aint a'gone resurve too much respeck for a poem or story that jes bored ye till yer ass wuz a'tinglin or ye needed to pee. so ifn ye read sumthin funny, ye could tell how folks lacked it on a counta whuther they wood laff.

a nuthern that cum rite reglar fer a lil while n then disappeard wuz sam johns. sam wuz a'wurkin on his phd so dint minny of us know him the furst year we wuz thar n ifn we wuz in a seminar with him, dint nobidy thank to invite im rite away, but sumbidy finely did n he cum to the meetin on october 16 at laurens, witch we went back to her place after havin one meetin at ourn. sams furst time wuz durin the time i wuz a'readin crap notes to the group. i bleeve twuz the chaptur bout whenever gregory gurley is deevorced n a whinin roun his house n gits a visit frum his mama. innywho, i red it n whenever twuz dun thay wuz a moment of silents on a counta twuznt funny in the end even ifn folks had been a'laffin befor. sam looked round at the circle of folks, stuck his hands up in the air n cummenced to clappin. corse everbidy else had to join in. ever after that one time, jes after ever story wuz red, twuz time to see whuther folks wood clap.

over time, that turnt into a problem, but i bleeve clappin wuz mosly good fer the group. ye could tell ifn yer jokes wurked while ye wuz a'readin n ye could tell whuther folks lacked whut ye had read at the end by whuther they clapped. n twuznt lack they clapped ever time. ifn ye bored em much, ye dint have no chants. we had a cuple of members over the years that wuz verr borin n it made folks to whar they woodnt clap nor even pay a tenchun, witch that wuz rong.

the nextn that becum a reglar wuz johnny mayhew. johnny wurked at tva n we made friens whenever we wuz takin the same shakespeare class. i never had no frien lack johnny befor nor since. seem lack he held me in too high regard n i wuz always a skeert i woodnt be able to live up to his pinons of me. sides that, he lacked to give me thangs on a counta how he had im that good job n i wuz jes scrapin by, too poor to play ms pacman without a fuss n fite with emily, witch ye wood be amazed how quick yer friens mite witness sumthin lack that. so he give us a typewriter that wuz bein scrapped frum whar he wurked n he give me the bes softball glove i ever had. he wuz always rite genrus no matter how i tride to ast im not to give me nuthin. we gut to be such good friens to whar we wood do sumthin near everday. we wurked out ever other day fer moren a year n he had a huge influents on my life, as ye will see by n by.

one of the ways he had a influents wuz how he wuz a'datin this beeyootifull woman name of martha townsend whenever we met n he tuck her to group the furst time he cum n quick as they met, martha n emily made friends. martha wuz eager to tell ye she wuznt no real riter but ever now n then she wood brang sumthin to read. as ye mite speck, she hit paydirt as often as innybidy did. she n johnny dint stay together long, but since she lived in the same buildin as us, emily gut to whar she wood hang out with martha to the point i wood cum home n know to call martha to find out whar emily wuz. lack as not, emily wood anser the phone.

fer the most part, martha wuz a grate influents on emily. she had two children, one by her furst n tuthern by her secunt husbin, so she dint have no fear of havin kids, witch that wuz the issue twixt emily n me by the time the group wuz really a'goin good. martha poopood all emilys talk bout how awful twood be to be a mother n nobidy couldnt say nuthin bout martha not bein beeyootifull. she had that odd combinayshun of verr dark blue eyes n black hair that kindly put ye in mind of liz taylor. n she had one crooked tooth in front lack ali mcgraw, witch that seemed to make her smile seem almos lack a blush.

corse twuz whut happens to a womans bidy that wurried emily, n fack is, ye couldnt tell martha'd ever had no babies on a counta how thin her waste wuz n how her hips warnt all that broad. she lacked to wear hi heels n had a pidgen toed way of walkin, witch the combinayshun made her behind stand up n move in such a compellin way to whar i ast emily to cunsidder gittin sum hi heels her ownself (emily sed she wood stick with earth shoes). martha lacked to joke bout how small her chest wuz but ye could see whenver she wuz a doon it how she wuz a'showin off her flat belly. as johnny lacked to joke, she wuz 'one sexy mother'. even emily could see that, so i figgerd thay wuz lots of hope fer emily n me to start a fambly.

seemed lack our sex life wuz better too. martha gut emily to unnerstan fer a lil while how it mite please a man fer her to cum to bed dressd in sumthin sides knee socks n a flannel shirt, often with her underwired bra on underneath it. n not long after emily met martha she ast me wood i tie her up n tease her, witch ye mite could magine how that wood be my pleasure n twuz a grate pleasure fer bofus. but the way emily lacked to carry on bout the penis bein a weppon n all, i dint lack to suggest nuthin all that confinin. so twuz not only a pleasure but a sprize to find out she wonted sumthin lack that. she also started usin lots of nasty wurds in bed n beggin me to do thangs n gittin me to make her beg more befor i wood do em even tho she knew i wuz a'wontin to. i ast her one time when i had her beggin almos fer mercy, wuz this a nuther thang martha had suggested? n she blushed but sed yes n when i kep on, astin her bout when she cum to bed with nuthin but her pink dress, wuz it marthas idee? n i kep on astin her thangs bout martha till she wood melt in pleasure. after that, martha n i wood kindly flirt at group bout whut a sexy babe a sartin lady wuz a'gittin to be. emily wood blush n ast us to hush, witch that made it more fun n martha wood laff till emily slapped at her hand.

but whut martha lackly dint know wuz how emily had a crush on her to whar she wood beg me to tell her a story that had martha in in it. emily lacked fer me to whisper sexy stories in her ear as we wuz a'lyin together. so when she ast fer a story with martha in it, i tuck the chants to eggsplore all kindsa fantasies mos inny man has bout havin sex with two women at the same time. i aint claimin tiz a sensibull or moral or even possibull thang but fantasies aint ackshuns n them stories wood show me kindly whut emily lacked.

her favert story wuz fer martha to visit fer coffee n a chat n fer them to sit on the couch till they touched a lil till martha finely kissd her ever so gently n fer thangs to progress to whar thays passin thurd base a'headin fer home at the eggzack moment when i wood cum in n catch em. n i mite be mad or upset but dint matter on a counta how i wood be be too eggcited to git upset bout it n next thang ye know, ever fantasy ye kin magine wood cum true, lease as a fantasy. i even tole her one whar martha wood cum over to our place to wait fer emily to git home n then cum on to me (witch to be honest that wuz a fantasy fer ever man in the group) n then fer emily to open the door n see us in the ack on the couch only have us not notice till she joins us.

durin the years of the group, such a thang nearly happent twice n bof times virgil wuz the shadow that fell betwixt the idee n the reality. furst time thay wuz a halloween party over at billy n laurens stewarts. everbidy wuz speckted to dress up in a costume n martha deecided i wood go as a witch n she n emily wood go as warlocks. she had found a witches mask that ye put over yer entire head n cum sos nobidy could tell who ye wuz. she cum up to hep us git reddy n deecided she wood git reddy thar too. she had a mexicun peasunt dress fer me to wear with a pair of pantyhose underneath on a counta how ye could see right through the dress. i tole her i dint know ifn that wood be a nuff, but thay laffed. then she putt a see thru blouse on n that gut em bof to laffin at how ye could see my nipples but woodnt nobidy keer ceptn ifn folks thought i wuz a woman, witch they wonderd wood i git arrested ifn a cop saw me? so they give me a shawl to whar with it. then they put on suits, emily a'wearin thonly one i had at the time n martha had a cuple capes. thang wuz, they wuz sexiern ever the way they filled out them suits, witch mayhap that wuz on a counta how martha made em bof wear hi heeled shoes. emily cumplaind she could barly walk in em n martha sed thats whut makes em so sexy: looks lack ye caint git away. i dint have no womens shoes that fit, so i wore sum tennis shoes with socks.

whut a nite that wuz. i wuz a sinsayshun fer the longest on a counta how nobidy couldnt figger out who i wuz till johnny mayhew noticed my shoes n tole everbidy twuz i unnerneath the mask. how thay laffed n made fun. seem lack ever woman at that party tuck the chants to pinch me or lif up my skirt or make comments to give me a lil taste of how men has treated them over the years n i couldnt say much bout it no how. n nobidy give me more of it than emily n martha, witch they spent much of the party on either side of me a trine to git me all eggcited by whisperin thangs in my ears to whar i shore we wuz destined to wurk a lil magick, two warlocks on one witch or vice versa.

i wont bore ye with everthang bout that party but by the time twuz over, virgil had dun gut hisself fallin down drunk to whar he couldnt even thank of drivin so thay wuznt nuthin else to do but lode im into the back seat of marthas car fer the drive back to the laurel marrd students apartments. martha ast me wood i drive n she n emily sat up frunt with me. i wuz a lil sprized whenever martha sat nex to me. she n emily wuz teasin me n playin lack they wuz luvers, eethur playin lack they wuz kissin or mayhap ackshly kissin. they wood play lack that fer a bit while i tried to watch outta the corner of my eye n then martha wood turn back my way n putt her arm roun my waste or a lil lower n give me a lil kiss on the ear n squeeze my thigh till i cried out in pain n then they wood laff n ast me whut wood a lil witch lack me have neath that skirt? twuz one of the sexiest drives i ever had n twuz magick wurthy of a real witch that we made it, but we did.

virgil wuz fast asleep on the back seat, so i suggested we leave im thar. we closed the doors as quitely as we could n tuck a cuple of steps. emily pinched me till i hollerd n then martha cum up to kiss my ear only i turnt by chants but jes in time fer her mouth to find mine n quick as ye could blank yer eye we wuz kissin n emilies hands wuz eggsplorin neath that mexicun skirt n martha wuz lettin her hand slip down till i felt her touch me whar she shouldnt n i wuz a skeerd emily mite not lack it till i felt her hand take marthas n push it even harder. i turned tords emily n she kissed me n then spun me tords martha n she kissed me even harder as she squeezed n lifted my hand to her breast.

n then virgil sed, 'wha?!?' i couldnta sed it no better lessn i wuz sayin sumthin wurser. i wuz cursin him neath my breath, but that wuznt nuthin could be dun on a counta how virgil started to vomit n frum that moment on twuz a matter of gittin im under cuntrol, witch we dun whenever we made im wash his face n brush his teeth n led him to the couch whar he fell flat on his back into a snore. by then, martha had gone home n even tho thay wuz a fone calls wurth of hope, dint nuthin cum of it ceptn fer a verr hot time with emily as i whisperd the story bout whut mite a'been.

tuther time happened down at the lake whar mark kendall had a a frame house n a pool. he wuz a poet who wuz also a rich lawyer n he gut to cummin to the group on a counta how martha had wurked fer im sum years ago n they run into each out at the west town mall n she mentchuned this grate group n nex thang ye know ever man is intimidated by this feller that makes all the women swoon, emily included. he had im a grate voice n had larnt how to use it in a cort room n he also writ sum fine poetry far as we could tell cept how the joke wuz folks wunderd ifn the fone book wood sound lack a good poem ifn he wuz a'readin it.

innnywho, mark wuz a huge fan of the forth of july n had im a party ever year n once he gut to be a reglar reader at the group he invited all his friends, witch turnt out we wuz all folks that had been to the group one time or a nuther. i wuz verr proud how emily wore a bikini n all the fellers wuz sprized on a counta how they hadnt never seen her in nuthin but blue jeans and flannel shirts n earth shoes. johnny mayhew started makin jokes bout how she woodnt never have to suffer ifn innythang ever happend to buddy don, witch did she wont sumthin to happen? everbidy wuz laffin n she wuz flushed but that all changed after she n martha gut to drankin.

happend thisaway. virgil had cum to that party as ye mite magine n he made a bet with martha n emily bout drankin. twuznt a sprize fer virgil to suggest a game whar ye had to drank to win but twuz a sprize how martha cunvintsed emily to take the bet. virgil wonted me to play also, but i never much lacked drankin beer n i wuz drivin, so i dint. but he did n so did martha n emily. i acted as timer.

twuz a simple bet: he bet em they couldnt drank one shot of beer a minute fer thirty mints n he could. twuz lots of fun watchin emily git so loose. the sprize wuz how after johnny mayhew had tuck over the timin he kep rite on a'goin even after they had dun made thar thirty mints n virgil gut distrackted whenever billy stewart ast him dint he have a inventchun to increase gas mileage? so they beat virgil witch that made everbidy laff, but lease they quit drankin. he dint n by the time the party wuz over, the situation wuz near the same: we wuz feelin loosey goosey n virgil wuz passd out drunk. if innythang, we gut closer to makin the fantasy real this time on a counta how we knew whut we wonted even ifn we aint never sed nuthin bout it. corse, we wuz engagin in sum scandlus flirtin n even touchin, speshly durin slow dances whar they wuz bof a'dancin with me. we drove keerful with a lil kissin n touchin but no talkin. we wuz verr quite gittin outta the car. we left virgil snorin in the back n dint stop to do nuthin in the parkin garage. gut upstairs n emily n martha deecided they wood take a shower. together. n martha sed she had brought sumthin more cumfterbull fer em to whar whenever they cum out. they teased me by sayin i could look at a gurly magazine while i wuz a'waitin my turn fer the shower.

they wuz back in our bedroom a'gittin undressd whenever a loud knock cum on the door. that meant virgil. i wuz tempted to let im knock but he kep gittin louder, witch i went back n hollerd to emily how i wuz a'gone drive virgil home. i dint even let im cum in to pee n made im doot behind a bush on the lawn. ye kin magine how i felt. it tuck near two hours to drive im to clinton in finely git im outta the car, witch i left im in a rockin chair on the porch of the lil house.

whenever i gut home, emily wuz asleep. i wuz eggcited but she sed she wuz plum tuckerd out n wonderd wood i turn the evenin into a story nex time we lay together? twuz clear she wuznt in no mood fer nothin so i outlined the plot of that story in my mind till i wuz reddy to sleep my ownself. later the nex day, i tole her that story, makin the problem of the story how i dint git home till twuz too late n how martha n emily tuck thar showers n putt on thar sexy nightgowns n how they deecided to have a nuther lil drank n then a lil music n then mayhap a lil dancin n the feel of the soft gowns n all led em back to the couch n deescribin in deetail how they figgerd twood be eggcitin ifn they wuz in the ack whenever i walked in. only in the story, i dint make it till they wuz dun n martha had gone home. that story had emily squirmin frum the moment i deescribed the feel of that lingerie durin the dance. mayhap she wuz waitin fer the part whar i cum in an sprize em, but i never gut to that part befor we wuz bof half dozin afterds. as i wuz bout to drift off, i thought to ast wuz that story i made true, but she kissed me n tuck my hand n rolled over, pullin me with her so i dint say nuthin.

innywho, that wuz martha townsend n lack i sed she brought in mark kendall. mark wuz friens with a woman name of martha davis. at furst we figgerd they wuz together but later on cum to find out they wuz ole luvers n did sum legal wurk together. she dun lots of wurk with prisners up at brushy mountain. she gut to whar she wuz at mos meetins n we wood even meet at her place. she almos never read but wuz one of the mos intents folks at the meetins n ye knew ye had writ sumthin fine ifn she clapped. twuz easy to make her laff.

the new skool year brought in a nuther class of english graduwait students n amung em wuz jake dawes. he wuz a verry slight pasty faced feller with a awkward laff but grate skills whenever it cum to ritin. seem lack he dint take to my bein the leader n lacked to attack me fer it witch i could deefend myself speshly by sayin i never said i wuz the leader n that it had to be only in his mind. that wood make im mad n we wood joust at meetins, witch all them years with daddy give me jes the skills i needed to make that situwayshun wursern it orta been. but i wuz too yung to know much better n reckun i made a enemy outta jake. lack i say he wuz one of the best riters in the group fer bof poetry n stories. he wuz a verr importunt part of how the group grew n all. taint lack we dint try to git along n we wuz civil. i even rode to meetins with im, but he couldnt hep but hate me fer bein underservin of whut folks thought of me. he wuz rite bout that n he knew i knew it, so no matter whut, we gut along even ifn other folks dint unnerstand it. bud rankin gut to be good buddies with jake so fer years i wood keep in touch with him through bud.

jake wuz the sorce of a cuple of the groups biggest fuss n fites. furst time wuz whenever he writ a story bout a feller that wuz forced to eggspoze hisself in publick. bud rankins wife ginny tuck offents toot n tole im twuznt one of his bes, witch he reackted lack she had poked im in the chest with her elbow n knocked his breath out. he couldnt say nuthin n then with his comick timin billy sed sumthin bout how twuz the furst time innybidy had ever gut jake to shut up n the hole room busted up a'laffin.

jake tuck it hard, witch he gut his revenge the nex week. when it cum time to read, he volunteerd to go furst n sed he had a new story name of 'Blown Away by Passion,' witch he dedicated it to bud rankins wife ginny after sayin she had deserved it by bein the bes critick in the group, jokin that everbidy else wuz riters n not too critickull on other riters sos them otherns woodnt git thar revenge. folks wuz hopin thangs wuz patched up twixt ginny n jake, so they laffed a lil at that. but then he red us the story. it featchurd a woman who wuz bein forced to have oral sex by a strange man she had met n seduced in a bar. as they wuz leavin the bar, he wuz nice, even openin the door for her n stoppin to kiss her back when she pulled him close before gittin in. but when they gut to his place, he turnt ruff n then forced her to her knees. n tho the woman fought back at furst, by the time the man had unzipped and eggspozed his self, she couldnt hep bein aroused n cummenced to doin whut the man had ast. jake emphasized how even tho she wuz ashamed n humiliated n mad, bein forced made her eggcitement better, sumthin to that effeck. whenever the man wuz jes bout to climax, the woman stabbed im in the heart with one of them ginsu stake knives.

jake wuz more poeticull than graffickull n twuz a well-writ bit of trash. but twuz cruel in purpus n verr well-aimed. it hit the mark n the damage wuz eggstreme. nobidy sed nuthin. we jes sat lookin at our hands. whut coulda bin sed?

then ginny went outside for a smoke n everbidy gut to talkin till twuz time to read agin. ginny never cum back in. after a cuple stories wuz red, bud went to look for her n found out she had lef with thar car. jake offerd bud a ride home n wuznt nuthin more sed.

at lease, nuthin wuznt sed at the meetin that nite, but durin the week folks gut to whisperin n sayin how they wuz so mad at jake they felt lack they orta quit cummin to group over it. that wood show im. i herd the same, even frum johnny n martha n kristina. of corse, edna polk had plenty to say, witch ima gone tell ye bout kristina n edna direckly.

thang wuz, that talk bout not cummin back to group fer a protest wuz all jes piss n vinegar. thonly one that quit a'cummin to group wuz ginny. everbidy else couldnt hardly wait to see whut wood happen next. bud dint seem to be upset with jake nun on a counta how he n jake gut em sum acid not long after n tripped together, witch the mane thang i gut frum that wuz bud a'tellin me how twuz a mystry to him why george harrison wood have eric clapton play the lead guitar tracks on While My Guitar Gently Weeps. whut wuz the artistickull morivayshun fer that? twuz eggzackly the kinda lead slide-guitar george harrison wuz known fer playin. bud ponderd that questchun fer years after that, but dint seem lack he wuz the lease curious bout why jake wood rite such a spiteful story bout ginny. he figgerd jake wuz a artist n art is cruel but true.

the verr nex week, jake red sumthin that nearly gut the group to quit fer real. we met over at arthur james aunts house way out on alcoa hiway. arthur wuz friends with mark kendull n twuz a big a nuff place fer everbidy to be cumfterbull. we chatted fer a while till we had mos everbidy thar n then we gut off to a good start. mark kendall red sum fine poetry n kristina follerd em with sum jes bout as good. johnny mayhew sed how he wonted to read while everbidy wuz on a role n 'before the doctor gits to operatin,' witch that wuz the kinda lil compliments he lacked to give me. he red us a story name of 'The Last Disciple' n that wuz so good bud rankin ackted lack he wuz a'skeerd to foller it, but he dun it innywho.

i had brung a new story name of Egger n deecided i woodnt wait till last to read, lack i dun reglar. way i figgerd it, twuz untellin whuther innybidy wood wonta hear no story after jake red his. folks wuz sprized whenever i sed i wonted to read nex, but bud lit a joint n sed, 'Do it, Doctor,' n befor jake coud objeck, i cummenced. the story gut a good a nuff reackshun n folks talked bout it fer a bit till i turnt to jake n sed twuz his turn.

jake lacked to have water whenever he red, so he gut it all reddy n tuck a sip. ye could see whar he wuz nervus n wonted to pall gize but finely he red the title, Batter Up. then he gut into the story n as folks figgerd out whut twuz bout, they started to git riled to whar thay wuz a edge to the room. the story wuz good, verr well-writ, almos poetry, but the subjeck wuz too awfull to cunsidder n it made folks uncomfterbull to here. martha n emily went outside befor twuz over. kristina huff n puffd n kep a mean smirk on her face the hole time. mark kendall looked lack he wuz bein bored by a testy child.

but seemed to me lack twuz a fine bit of ritin n thays sumthin to be sed fer a story that hits so hard. the group dint see it thataway. sevrul spoke up -- kristina, edna, johnny, billy, even mark -- n sed they gut to feelin lack jake wuznt trine to rite the bes stories he could but jes trine to git a reackshun frum folks. he fought back a'sayin how everbidy is trine to git a reackshun. that riled kristina olsen. she tride to deefine fer jake the differnts twixt trine to git sumbidy to laff at terp jackson or gregory gurley n trine to git folks to vomit. jake tuck offents whenever kristina mentchund gregory gurley, witch hes the mane care ackter in Crap Notes. he lit into me by sayin how everthang i ever writ wuz jes autobiograffy ment to make me look good. i pled mosly guilty but ast how he could say the story i red that night, bout a talkin cat, could be autobiografficull. he claimed twuz on a counta he could tell i ment fer the cat, Egger, to be a parody of him n that ment twuz autobiograffy n a personull attack on him. i tole him that such logick wuz so illogickull twuz impossibull to refute, witch that made everbidy laff n he jes got madder at me, only by then folks wuz fixin to leave n had all dun quit payin im inny tenchun.

tuther two ima gone mentchun fer now wuz kristina olsen n edna polk. edna cum furst, joinin us durin the winter of 1982. i caint member how she found out bout the group nor who invited her, but she cum reglar once she larnt bout us. edna had two mane thangs that botherd mos ever other riter in the group. fer one, she wuz ritin pure fantasy or fantasy with a lil science fickshun. everbidy else wuz trine to rite grate literchur, sumthin mainstream, witch we figgerd twuz that much harder to git literchur publishd, witch that wuz the secunt thang that botherd folks bout edna: she had dun been publishd n to here her tell it, she had a number of differnt thangs in print. we all wonted to see em n ast whar could we buy the publicayshuns, but they wuz lil thangs that dint git wide distribushun n she wuz paid in authors copies. she kep meanin to brang in sum of em, but she never memberd, witch that made lots of folks thank she wuz a'lyin bout bein publishd. but lie or not, she wuz thonly one makin such a claim n it hurt almos as bad ifn twuz false as twood ifn twuz true.

ackshly, thay wuz a thurd reason folks dint much lack edna, witch her ritin wuz borin. ye kin git away with a lot at a group lack ourn wuz, but borin folks is sumthin that wont never win no clappin at the end. twuz always a lil uncomfterbull whenever edna wuz readin on a counta seem lack everbidy in the room but her knew thay wuznt nobidy enjoyin whut she wuz readin. eyes wood role, jokes wood be writ on lil scraps of paper n passd round, temptin folks to laff out loud n innerupt, witch mos folks could hold it in, but ever now n agin, sumbidy wood let out a guffaw n she wood finely look up to see everbidy wurkin to git thar face strate. finely she wood finish n woodnt nobidy clap n ye could tell twuz eatin her up. lookin back, i reckun twuz our way of gittin back at her fer bein publishd.

as ye mite member, a bunch of us wuz gittin near graduwayshun n that meant gittin jobs lessn we could git publishd n start makin money thataway. twernt lack edna wuz hordin nuthin. she offerd minny a time to git us in contack with the folks that wuz a'publishin her, but we wuz too snobbish to cunsidder ritin innythant we couldnt pertend wuz real literchur. shore, we sed, innbidy could git publishd by ritin fer a genre of sum kind, witch ye mite wunder why we never dun it n thays a simple anser to that, witch its jes as tuff to git publishd in one place as a nuther.

everbidy sorta lanked kristina olsen with edna polk in thar minds. fer one thang, edna invited kristina. fer a nuther, edna had been brangin a feller name of j ashton crane, witch he wuz a fan of george bernard shaw n wonted to rite big plays whar folks talk bout the big issues of the day. problem wuz how he wuznt no shaw n red in a monotone till folks wood openly innerupt n try to git im to quit, but he wuznt nuthin if not blind to inny negative reackshun to his wurk.

he wuz a verr tall skinny feller, probly six feet four inches n weighin in at no moren maybe 150, ifn that. so twuz a odd thang when he gut to hittin on kristina olsen bout as quick as she cum to a meetin. kristina wuz a large woman, not fat but big-boned or jes big. she wuz a fine poet who red her lil poems in a tiny voice, makin everbidy sit ford n listen as hard as they could. n twuz always wurth it. fer a persun that wuz so quite, twuz a oddity bout how kristina wonted to git into ever fuss n fite that cum along. i wuznt at the meetin whar thangs nearly cum to blows twixt kristina n mark kendall over the topick of whuter a black deefendent could git a fair trial frum a all-white jury. mark figgerd twood be fair, kristina that twernt possibull. i herd lots bout that fite, but caint give ye no deetails of the sides that wuz tuck.

folks wood wunder how could it be that sumbidy lack kristina could rite such good poetry n yet put up with j ashton cranes stuff. did she bleeve in it? did she jes look tuther way? wuz she that despert fer companyunship? thay wuz minnymore questchuns than ansers with kristina but everbidy luved to here her poetry. she also brought her daughter to minny a meetin n folks wuz amazed when she dint thank we had to hide thevil weed frum her daughter. kristina laffd when ast bout it, splainin that she found it better not to hide thangs frum marketa, as her daughter wuz named, on a counta then her daughter dint seem so cumpelled to hide thangs frum her.

tiz a wunder the group lasted as long as it did. i dint keep notes to the verr end. ackshly, i quit keepin em in my diary n gut a new notebook to keep em, but not long after that, we dint meet no more n i lost that notebook. but we lasted thru the transishun to sum eggstent, meanin we kep meetin even when i wuz teachin at a nuther collidge n bud rankin wuz trine to git a job besides deeliverin pizzas n everbidy seemed to be pulled in differnt die-reckshuns.

but we kep meetin even tho folks cumplaind bout one thang in particlar. that wuz how bof me n bud rankin wuz wurkin on novels, witch tiz hard to read a novel thats in progress to a group of that kind. twuz a miss take, only we dint know it then. we knew we wuznt gittin nowhar with short stories n we wonted to git published. we figgerd our bes chants at gittin sumthin publishd wuz to rite a novel that wuz amazin. turnt out to be a tuff trick to pull off, speshly ifn ye wuz spozed to be a'wurkin full time n ritin part time n then cummin to a group to keep folks innerested in yer novel even tho ye wuznt shore whar twuz a'goin. sides that, we wuz bof ritin novels that wuz serious n not the lease bit funny. johnny mayhew claimd novels wuz a'killin the group. jake anserd twernt that but jes borin stuff. that hurt, but twuz as true as innythang.

but whut gut the group so riled that we couldnt meet no more wuz a essay edna red us all on the fourth of febuwairy 1983. the topick wuz the cyculls all riters groups go thru. fer the furst time since she had started, she had her audients innerested n sittin in the palm of her hand.

in the piece, she claimed our group had dun been diverted frum its originull purpus n had turnt into a soshul group whar we dint lissen with intrest to whut tutherns read n only had inny reespeck fer our own ritins, nun fer the writins of tutherns. she claimed we dint critisize openly n cunstructivly but spent our time muttern viciously behind everbidys back. lack i say, this readin gut everbidy all stirrd up to whar we couldnt hardly continue on a counta all the reglar members wuz reddy fer a group fuss n fite. everbidy started splainin how this warnt no wurkshop n had started as a soshul group of folks that lacked to entertain each other by readin whut they rite. but edna had her vershun n she stuck with it. as i recolleck, i writ a anser back to her splainin that the group hadnt never been no wurkshop n had always been a soshul group, but i caint find it nor proov whuther i writ it n i caint even be shore ifn i cum to a nuther group meetin. or fer that matter, whuther innybidy did.

the group had been the soshul center of mos everthang we did. thay wuznt hardly no party putt on by inny of the reglars that dint have ever group member invited. me n billy stewart n johnny mayhew played on the same softball team. emily n lauren n martha lacked to git together n run two or three times a week ifn they could. me n bud rankin gut to be friends when folks started lankin us together on a counta how we wuz the two members that generly had sumthin new n innerestin to read n then he wood tell me bout thangs folks wuz sayin bout me bein the leader n changes i should make, witch the wunder wuz that folks wood thank i wuz the leader since thay wuznt no vote n i had ast folks lack jake to take over ifn twood make im happy. thang is, the group wuz such big a part of everbidys life that ye couldnt magine it cummin to a end. but life changes n ye caint go to skool ferever n purty soon, ye dont keer so much bout the same thangs that ye lived fer at a earlier time of life. so we quit a'cummin.

mayhap edna had it rite bout groups a'goin thru cyculls. she had missd our mane reason fer ever meetin in the furst place but her argument wuz proovd by the fack of her ritin it: a group kin only las so long befor folks fergits why they had started attendin in the furst place. lease frum ednas perspecktiv, we had dun that, but seems more lackly that twuz time fer mos of us to move on. corse fer all i know, edna coulda kep that group a'goin after we had dun left.

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