The Jabba The Hutt To My Bib Fortuna
Months breezed past without a publication. Though the writing continued unabated by the unliterary turn of my private life, I'd lost the drive to submit my work to small press venues. The cheap pop of seeing my name in the internet lights had diminished years ago and like an annoying girlfriend who fucks on demand, it just took a while to sever the relationship.
At the six month mark when I thought for sure I'd never have to read another shitty Facebook poem again, Engel phoned me. He was a smug ex-patriot writer and publisher of Grievous Mental Harm Press. He offered to publish a collection of my poetry a year ago. I accepted and emailed a manuscript. Since then he had emailed seven incarnations of his own manuscript of politically driven poetry asking for my own in depth critique. I tried but each time I dipped into his collection, I stopped at the same place, around the fifth line of the first poem. This didn't stop me from responding “it's good” after every analysis. I sensed my own poetry collection slipping further away from publication with every missive until we quit corresponding all together.
And now he was on the phone saying:
“I'd appreciate if you wouldn't go telling everyone that I only publish women writers who I'm trying to fuck.”
I'd been small press incommunicado for six months...
“You must be referring to Kara Catasrophsky, the woman you published who you were trying to fuck.”
“I wasn't trying to fuck her. I was trying to nurture her inner poetess. Besides it's a well known fact Kara only goes for men of color.”
“It became a well known fact after she met you and saw what you really look like. And how you breathe through your mouth like a retarded child.”
“Whatever the case may be, Hammer, I'd appreciate it if you didn't go around telling this to everybody in the small press.”
“Engel, you know who thinks you published Kara Catasrophsky cause you were trying to fuck her? Everybody who has ever bothered to read any of her poetry. I didn't have to say anything.”
“Well, then, have you read the latest rewrite of my collection: Amerika, Land of the Slave, Home of the Knave?”
“Yeah, it was good.”
Jesus, if only I could quit the small press a second time without having to get involved with it once more.
* * *
On the heels of this call, my cell phone chirped again. This time it was Francis the Sissy demanding to know “why are you trying to sabotage my career?”“Sabotage what career? You're unemployed. You can't hold down a job longer than a week. You beg for money from people on the internet.”
“Sabotage my poetry career!”
“What poetry career?”
“Dude, I've been hearing you been saying shit about me behind my back to artists I respect in the small press. Making me look like a jackass and hurting my book sales.”
Francis the Sissy was a Poet. So much so that he actually took poetry seriously.
Never did I think to hear these words pass from the lips of a Poet.
“I would expect this sort of backward dealings from Jacob Harding with his silly porkpie hat, bad teeth and rampaging ego. He's jealous of me.”
“Don't you wear a funny hat? And listen to Tom Waits?” I asked.
“I know where you're going with this. Enjoying the relaxing tunes of Tom Waits doesn't make me pretensious.”
“I don't know what to tell you.”
“Well, you can stop knocking me down to build yourself up.”
“Where do you even hear this shit, Francis.”
“Someone who doesn't even write in the small press. That's how I know it's true.”
I mulled this over. Someone outside the small press who knew both The Sissy and The Hammer and likely Engel, the ex-patriot...
“No, that's not who,” he said quickly. “I don't even know who she is.”
“The weird woman with the massive meat beard who's been bombarding your Facebook with asinine comments and retorts.”
“Oh, her...” His voice quavered as it sometimes did when he attempted to beg money from virtual strangers.
“Yeah, her.” Every time his comment section crested thirty entries, he'd burst into a spontaneous round of masturbation. He loved her for her obsessive commenting.
The fact that she poached about two hundred of my closest internet acquaintances from the social network du jour led me to believe that if I chose to give a shit, I'd be spinning damage control well until the Mayans ended the world with one of their annoying self-fulfilling prophecies. She had the ability, and I just happened to give her the motivation about a week ago.
Tara was a train wreck forty freights long. I'd known her the length of two of those freights, though not in conjunction. The first took place seventeen years ago while we dabbled in college, and then, last year when we reconnected online.
* * *
The first time I only knew her in passing. Our circles of friends intersected here and there. I knew enough about her and her STDs by reputation. And like the herpes virus that kept her at arms length back in the day, she flared back up in my life suddenly, painfully. Messages like sores cropped up all over my Facebook page. She constantly harangued me with instant messages.I still don't know why I showed her my cock on webcam. I do know why I showed it to all her friends. They were clean as far as I could tell and much better looking.
Something about my wanton immorality triggered a synapse in the reptilian recesses of her infected brain and her friendliness shifted into obsession. That was three days after initial Facebook contact. She began emailing pictures of all the places I had referenced in my short stories. I was ecstatic. Here was somebody who had actually taken the time to read what I had written. Perhaps, I reasoned, I could use this influence to get her to help me fuck her friends.
She came off highly resistant when I broached the subject again for the thousandth time on the phone.
“They don't want to fuck you,” she huffed.
“How do you mean? All of them?” I asked. “I'm the Polish Hammer. Of course, they want to fuck me. I'm the first Caucasian ever to master the Screaming Monkey kama sutra technique.”
“That's nice, but I've yet to include the Reclining Rhinoceros in my repetoire of sexual tricks.”
“That's not what you claim in your story 'Cellulite Delight'.”
“Fiction, baby! I never seduced an 800 lb Samoan woman. I'm not saying I can't. But it just didn't happen. I made it up.”
“Well, you can fuck me twice and call me Irish. That'd make a good story.”
“No, I can't. Hell no, I can't. I'll only ever be the Bib Fortuna to your Jabba the Hutt.”
“What the fuck does that mean?”
“Yeah, I know Star Wars. You saying I'm Jabba the Hutt? That I'm a fat ass?”
“Not at all. I”m merely saying our relationship is similar in a nonsexual mutually beneficial sort of way.”
“We're not gonna have sex?”
“Bib Fortuna and Jabba the Hutt never had sex.”
“I bet Bib Fortuna never showed Jabba his dick.”
“C'mon, Tara! You know I only go after married women. I've got six girlfriends right now. All married to fools.”
“You call me Jabba the Hutt, try to hook up with my friends none of whom are married, you'll probably write about me in your fan fiction to yourself... Does this sound right to you, Mr. Bib fucking Fortuna?”
“I guess so. Yeah.”
“I”m going to ruin you, asshole.”
I hadn't heard an asshole addressed in such a fashion since prison. And like that time, I kept quiet and pretended it wasn't happening.
I sat there, brooding over the Jabba the Hutt phone call of a week ago. So this is the game she was playing. Well, I could take it. My ruination in the small press began fifteen years ago the first time I submitted. The only way I could possibly redeem myself was to quit writing all together and take up chess. Yet every time I attempt to master the Sicilian Defense, a story idea falls in my lap.
Completely fictional, of course.