"There was this guy that
hung out in school who always
dressed up like Bela Lugosi.
You know: complete vampire deluxe
attire including white face and
cape. Rumor had it, he slept
in a coffin and went to class
always dressed in black.
Someone told me, they saw him
drink a glass of blood but I
thought that was a bit extreme
even for Ithaca. He was weird
though, no doubting that.
No matter how late you staggered
back toward the dorm you might
sort of see him tinkering with
the hearse, of course, he had
a hearse with wall to wall carpeting
and quadraphonic sound.
God only knows where he got it all
because it was like new.
I guess his people had money,
old money, if you know what I mean.
Let me tell you that was one campus
that didn't look forward to Halloween."
Talking Them Off the Ledge
"You don't know what it's like
to be an RA. Last year, I talked
three people off the ledge.
That's a hell of a way to wake up
at three in the morning watching
this chick strung out on God knows what
walking the line outside a fifth floor
window. I got her in but it wasn't easy.
Her side of the room was empty inside of
twelve hours. No one, I mean absolutely
no one knows what happened to her.
The most surprising one was these
three roommates who were like tight
getting gassed together and two of them
turn real ugly and start to beat the shit
out of the other one. What a bloody mess!
Much screaming and yelling.
I wondered what she did, like blow
both girl's boyfriends or something.
Whatever it was, they were like heavily
into serious shit like tossing her out
the window. That turned out to be
another disappearing act.
The third one was into pills and
liquor but mostly pills. Her roommate
got me up with one of those:"Sheila's,
been locked in the bathroom for hours
with a six pack of razor blades."
Luckily they were mostly superficial.
I hear she's in stir some place heavy.
My mother's a real riot, says you got it
nice and easy not having to pay room
and board for two years and you get
a stipend on top of that just to
babysit a bunch of college kids."
A Discontinued Line
They discontinued her model in a fit
of rationality somewhere in the early seventies.
The reasoning had something to do with
bad genes warped on acid and too much
contaminated free love. I was tempted
to check her out for antique plates but
it wasn't necessary; the outfit she was
wearing was so out of date and willfully
deliberate. She was into giving the old man
she was with a history lesson, the object
of which was an unsecured loan of two bills
she owed this guy,
"Vince, you remember him, the mental patient."
But it would be awhile before she got to that.
"I'm going to have it removed." She began.
"It's going to hurt, tattoos are permanent."
"I don't care, it's not me anymore."
"What is it of?"
"A butterfly but it's on my right tit.
When I got it, I thought it was cute.
I should have known. It was my ex's idea."
"You could be disfigured."
"I already am, give me a break."
I thought Burger King was getting to be
a greater bargain every day: an in flight
ten buck mall movie, plus a meal all for
just a couple of bucks.
It was my kind of movie too.
I get off looking at washed out, ditzy
red heads and hearing an inspired,
crazed story of a lifetime abusing
everything she touched.
"I'm living with William now but I'm still
"Why is that?"
"Vince is kind of different, he gets under
your skin and stays there. We were having sex
once and this stuff, God it was awful, came off
his ass in my hands. I almost puked."
"What was it."
"I guess it was skin, I don't know but
it sure was disgusting."
"Why do you do these things to yourself?"
"It's for William," she says, almost meaning it,
"Vince is going to kill him if we don't come
up with the money." We both believe her.