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Herbert White

 "When I hit her on the head, it was good,

and then I did it to her a couple of times,--
but it was funny,--afterwards,
it was as if somebody else did it .
.
.
Everything flat, without sharpness, richness or line.
Still, I liked to drive past the woods where she lay, tell the old lady and the kids I had to take a piss, hop out and do it to her .
.
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The whole buggy of them waiting for me made me feel good; but still, just like I knew all along, she didn't move.
When the body got too discomposed, I'd just jack off, letting it fall on her .
.
.
--It sounds crazy, but I tell you sometimes it was beautiful--; I don't know how to say it, but for a miute, everything was possible--; and then, then,-- well, like I said, she didn't move: and I saw, under me, a little girl was just lying there in the mud: and I knew I couldn't have done that,-- somebody else had to have done that,-- standing above her there, in those ordinary, shitty leaves .
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--One time, I went to see Dad in a motel where he was staying with a woman; but she was gone; you could smell the wine in the air; and he started, real embarrassing, to cry .
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He was still a little drunk, and asked me to forgive him for all he hasn't done--; but, What the shit? Who would have wanted to stay with Mom? with bastards not even his own kids? I got in the truck, and started to drive and saw a little girl-- who I picked up, hit on the head, and screwed, and screwed, and screwed, and screwed, then buried, in the garden of the motel .
.
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--You see, ever since I was a kid I wanted to feel things make sense: I remember looking out the window of my room back home,-- and being almost suffocated by the asphalt; and grass; and trees; and glass; just there, just there, doing nothing! not saying anything! filling me up-- but also being a wall; dead, and stopping me; --how I wanted to see beneath it, cut beneath it, and make it somehow, come alive .
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The salt of the earth; Mom once said, 'Man's spunk is the salt of the earth .
.
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' --That night, at that Twenty-nine Palms Motel I had passed a million times on the road, everything fit together; was alright; it seemed like everything had to be there, like I had spent years trying, and at last finally finished drawing this huge circle .
.
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--But then, suddenly I knew somebody else did it, some bastard had hurt a little girl--; the motel I could see again, it had been itself all the time, a lousy pile of bricks, plaster, that didn't seem to have to be there,--but was, just by chance .
.
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--Once, on the farm, when I was a kid, I was screwing a goat; and the rope around his neck when he tried to get away pulled tight;--and just when I came, he died .
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I came back the next day; jacked off over his body; but it didn't do any good .
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Mom once said: 'Man's spunk is the salt of the earth, and grows kids.
' I tried so hard to come; more pain than anything else; but didn't do any good .
.
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--About six months ago, I heard Dad remarried, so I drove over to Connecticut to see him and see if he was happy.
She was twenty-five years younger than him: she had lots of little kids, and I don't know why, I felt shaky .
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I stopped in front of the address; and snuck up to the window to look in .
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--There he was, a kid six months old on his lap, laughing and bouncing the kid, happy in his old age to play the papa after years of sleeping around,-- it twisted me up .
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To think that what he wouldn't give me, he wanted to give them .
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I could have killed the bastard .
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--Naturally, I just got right back in the car, and believe me, was determined, determined, to head straight for home .
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but the more I drove, I kept thinking about getting a girl, and the more I thought I shouldn't do it, the more I had to-- I saw her coming out of the movies, saw she was alone, and kept circling the blocks as she walked along them, saying, 'You're going to leave her alone.
' 'You're going to leave her alone.
' --The woods were scary! As the seasons changed, and you saw more and more of the skull show through, the nights became clearer, and the buds,--erect, like nipples .
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--But then, one night, nothing worked .
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Nothing in the sky would blur like I wanted it to; and I couldn't, couldn't, get it to seem to me that somebody else did it .
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I tried, and tried, but there was just me there, and her, and the sharp trees saying, "That's you standing there.
You're .
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just you.
' I hope I fry.
--Hell came when I saw MYSELF .
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and couldn't stand what I see .
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"

by Frank Bidart
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