Camping with the Brothers Grayson


Greg and Drew were their names. They were my neighbors.
Well, that’s not quite right, is it? Between their house

and my home were two one-story ranch houses.
A Korea vet with half an arm named Bill

and an old crank named Jack Nicholson lived there.
Not the L.A. actor who loves the Lakers.

This was in Ohio, on Fairway Drive. No,
there were no golf courses anywhere nearby.

Later on the Grayson’s parental units
moved out to a golf course. They were good people.

Anyway, back to camping out by the dam
on the way to Wilmington, where the Bengals

used to train. The road out there was so hilly
I used to close my eyes and pretend it was a

rollercoaster ride. It’s seven-forty-one.
It leads you to Caesar’s Creek and a huge bridge.

My father? He helped build it. I think. Who knows?
I bet my step-father sold them the concrete.

That man is a hell of a salesman. It’s true.
Anything from widgets to wicker rocking

chairs that go back and forth on stained wooden decks
at Cracker Barrels all across the Midwest.

They cost an arm and a leg, but based on what
I saw in The Patriot, they’re difficult

to build properly. Something always goes wrong.
It’s called human frustration, I suppose. Rage.

So many people are full of it these days.
They stone you when you’re riding in your car? Yep.

They stone you when you’re walking on the street? Yep.
They stone you with big fucking rocks and not weed.

It’s all in the book of Acts, everyone. Read
it sometime, then flip to Job and learn about

Orion … the Pleiades. Seriously, try for me.
Back to my Old Man and how he built the bridge…

he may not have. It may be an old wives’ tale
spun round and round the Sunday morning sewing

circles … black holes. Quicksand, sucking you all in.
What’s that they say about a million bridges?

One more time, and with feeling: that ain’t me, babe.
Spin your fingers all you want. You know what’s up

when you see a man walking tall in a storm.
Back to Pop, he was a cop – Army M.P.

After Vietnam he worked at a steel mill
Called Aarmco, way back when. Now it’s A.K. Steel.

They built a park for ALL of the employees
complete with a place to whack speckled white balls.

My step-father used to make me play golf with
him, Tim and Brian every Sunday morning.

It was never a good time. It was torture.
He never once asked what I wanted to do.

Still, I respect the man for trying, even
if I hated his guts for being petty

about things like me wearing hats backwards. Hey,
asshole … that’s no reason to push a kid through

a fucking thermostat, is it? Bully. Am I
your son? Nope. I choose who I allow in my

life. Remember Aimee? She was tatted up.
Piercings everywhere. I met her out West.

You said she wouldn’t be welcome in your home.
Ok, cool. I’m not either then, I guess. Dick.

Balls? I have them too, man who’s not Vader. Bells?
Silver and gold? They chime in graveyards for me

and old Shawnee homesteads. “The Titans will win.”
Remember when I told you that in your bar?

It was close, wasn’t it? Inches away. Dyson,
Kevin. That was the name of the receiver

who couldn’t quite slip into the end zone. Right?
The pass was thrown by Steve McNair. Number 9.

He’s no longer with us. R.I.P. He was
from Mississippi. He went to Alcorn State.

So? We’re all from somewhere, right? All of us. Me?
I was born in Middletown, Ohio at

6:45 AM, Central Standard Time,
I think that was the last time I was early

for anything. I procrastinate. I put
things off until the last moment. The Final

Countdown. Breakdown. Don’t frown. It’s all right now, Ma.
To you, step father? I’m trying. I swear,

it’s like Steven Tyler rasped in the ‘90s:
“What can I do? I feel like the color blue.”

Hey … seriously …. Alicia Silver-
stone, right? Yes. Hell yes. That bird was a Betty.

A boop. A dish. Old school. That girl had mettle.
My mom does too. I know you lost your dog, man.

I’m sorry. I know Murphy meant a lot to
you. Me too. I hope Mom means more to you than

a four-legged Corgi dog. Be nice or else.
Or else what? What could I even do? Have you

heard this one? “One, two … Freddy’s coming for you.
Three, four … better lock your door.” Best bar it shut.

Do I have a key? Hell no. I Am the key.
Not. Drink Mellow Yellow. There’s no B.V.O.

I’m just the American Donovan. Who
the shit is Donovan? Is he an M.D.?

“Don’t want to be a bum? You’d better chew gum.”
B. Dylan wrote that … but you just like The Band.

That’s fine, man. We can agree to disagree.
My name’s Silent Bob ‘til you come talk to me.


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