Sell Out Man, Chapter Twenty Two

Chapter Twenty Two


Zev didn’t care about anything anymore. He was wearing socks that didn’t match. He put on the same pants every day. He stopped paying bills and avoided all phone calls, even more than he had before. He didn’t talk to anyone other than Amy and Marissa. He dragged his weighted and anxious body around. He neglected his life. Maybe some would say he had fallen apart. Others might say he was ruined. Galleries and art dealers were calling. Marissa was pressuring him. He didn’t care. He was losing a lot of weight and was in a state of continual distress. He had been looking on-line about various ways to kill himself. He didn’t realize there were so many different ways to do it. But he wasn’t ready to kill himself. He would take his time. Wait for the slight feeling of hope in his gut to disappear. Then he would shoot or asphyxiate himself. For now, fear kept him stuck in the situation he was in. He was too afraid to change anything.

Zev needed some sort of consolation. He retreated into making his minimalistic cartoons. He put his thoughts and feelings in there. He was drawing his comics in cheap, black and white composition books. He used a black felt pen and bought ten composition books at a time at the dollar store. He would fill his composition books quickly. There are few things that inspire brutally honest creativity like emotional pain. Zev started to journal more. He would write about everything he was feeling and he was never convinced that journaling was a good idea. Too much self-indulgence isn’t always a good thing. He wrote a lot about Amy and what she had done. He expressed his hatred and despair through the written word. He would coach himself. He would tell himself to just be cool. Don’t be a fool. Stay strong. Emotional pain could care less about clichés. He would tell himself to accept things as they were and have his fun with Amy. He didn’t know how long his marriage would last but he wanted to find a way to stay with Amy and not be so angry all the time. They were fighting a lot and the stress was taking a toll. His chest was continually tight and his stomach in a continual state of nauseous agitation.

Zev had been in a similar position many times before. Unresolved feelings were surfacing. Every woman he had been in a serious relationship with had betrayed him. There had been three. Cari, his long-term girlfriend in his twenties, who loved it when he fucked her in the ass. She was the first girl he had penetrated from behind. She had cheated on him several times during their fifth and sixth year together. Zev spent many hours in the bushes outside of their apartment waiting to discover what was going on. Cari wasn’t dumb. She never fucked her lovers in their apartment. Liz, who he was with for four years, had fallen in love with another man and ended up marrying him shortly after leaving Zev. Kathleen, who he had been helplessly in love with, had been sleeping with both men and women even during their first week together. Zev hadn’t been lucky in love. But he never doubted that with Amy it would be different. Finally, he had found someone who would never do that to him.

Now that Amy had cheated, he was in despair. It’s what happens when the unexpected happens. He had never thought beyond this point. He had never assumed he and Amy would not be together. He didn’t have to imagine Amy with someone else. Amy understood how traumatized he had been by women in the past but she also understood how it could happen. Amy imagined that Zev was just as neglectful, mad and unpleasant to all of them as he was with her and finally they got tired of it. But of course she refrained from telling him this. She couldn’t help but wonder if what she was doing with Arthur was a kind of revenge. She didn’t like to think of herself as a vengeful woman but maybe she was. Maybe betraying Zev was how she asserted her power and got him back. Women know how to destroy men who they have had enough of.

Zev contemplated leaving Amy. He could just leave. He had enough cash in the bank. He could start over. Be free of Amy and her mess. This was his way out. He could be liberated from all the frustration she caused him. If he stayed with her things would only get worse. He would be suspicions and disdainful all the time. He would go to bed angry every night. Zev asked Amy if she was going to end things with Arthur but she could never give him a solid answer. Amy didn’t want Zev telling her what to do. Zev continually probed Amy about Arthur. Was she in love with him? Was she in love with him? Was she in love with him? Was she in love with him? Zev asked her this again and again. It didn’t stop coming because deep down Zev believed it was true. But Amy never gave him the answer he was looking for. She would tell Zev that she felt no feelings of love for Arthur. She liked fucking him. She had a good time with him. Zev kept digging. It was almost as if he wanted Amy to tell him that she was in love with Arthur and was going to be with him. This would give Zev no choice. He would have to split. But he was too afraid to do it on his own. As long as he had a choice, he sold himself out. Zev had proven this to himself by now.

If being filled with despair and hurt wasn’t enough, Zev also felt the pain of gashes in his chest created by jealousy. He was filled with jealousy. Every time Amy was out, he assumed she was with Arthur. When Amy was on her phone, he was convinced she was texting with Arthur. She was in love with another man. Another man was fucking her. He had been betrayed. Zev was in a continual low-level sweat from the high levels of cortisol being released into his body. But for some reason the jealousy turned him on. It made him want to rip Amy apart with his dick. It freed him up to treat Amy like the slut and horrible person that he thought she was. This turned him on. Zev was continually coming on to Amy. It was a new dynamic in their relationship. He was actually asking her if she wanted to fuck. He made her lick his asshole. He urinated and orgasmed in her face. He called her terrible names, pulled her hair and made her do all the work. Occasionally he would slap her in the face. Zev couldn’t help it. He liked slapping her when she was nude. Amy never liked it. It would make her angry. But Zev would tell her to shut up and to keep doing what she was doing. Amy obliged only because she knew she had to try and make up for her transgressions. Maybe Zev wouldn’t hate her as much.

Amy was now having sex with two guys. Sometimes three. There were also girls. Zev couldn’t know everything. But Amy didn’t mind things this way. She liked having sex. It was her stress relief and she could do it every day. It was the best way she had found to get away from the drudgery of her work. It made sense to her. If Zev wanted to have sex with her she wasn’t going to tell him it was a bad idea. That he should take some space. He was an adult. Zev would tell Amy that she had to stop seeing Arthur. She needed to put an end to things. But a few days would go by and Zev would change his mind. He would realize how much it turned him on that she was in love with another guy. It made him feel pathetic and for some reason this pathetic feeling stimulated his libido. He would tell Amy that he didn’t care if she kept seeing Arthur and he would try and be alright with things. Amy didn’t care either way. She was going to keep seeing Arthur whether Zev agreed or not. No man was going to tell her what she could do with her pussy.

The conflict between Zev and Amy got in the way of everything. There was continual fighting punctuated by fucking. Furniture was thrown. Yelling filled the hallways. Bills went unpaid. Zev would accuse Amy of being a psychopath and Amy would accuse Zev of having Borderline Personality Disorder. Zev was certain she had cheated with other men. Amy wasn’t going to reveal all her secrets. She told him some things. She told him about the guy’s dick that she sucked at their party. She told him about a girl she had made out with but really fucked. Amy was exhausted by Zev. She was falling behind on her work and drinking more at night. She even started smoking cigarettes. Zev wasn’t showing up much to work. Several galleries shows had to be cancelled. No one cared that they were falling apart.

Months passed in an unraveled state. Amy would tell Arthur all about it. Arthur hoped he never crossed paths with Zev even though he would fight him if he had to. He was younger and would probably win but Zev had rage on his side. If Amy spent too much time in the bathroom, Zev would become angry. If she wasn’t home at an early hour, Zev would become angry. If she didn’t spend as much time on the house, Zev would become angry. It was a continual uprising of the worst parts of Zev. He was being made crazed by all of this. Amy did what she could to control the anger outbreaks but she wasn’t going to stop seeing Arthur. Now she had to go over to Arthur’s apartment. Sometimes she wanted to spend longer periods of time with Arthur and would not come home till late. This would make Zev rage and Amy would get very stressed out. Her hair was falling out. But it wasn’t enough stress to make her stop doing what she wanted to be doing. Arthur’s hard working dick and adoration drew her back every time.

The stress of the relationship was gradually making Zev and Amy sick. Zev lost weight and Amy put some weight on. They were both neglecting their financial situation. And their work. Their thoughts were dark. They contracted a bacterial rash which saw an opportunity to take hold because of their lowered immunity. The rash was all over Zev’s back and it was on Amy’s face and chest. Sometimes they looked diseased. Zev’s hair had turned grayer. They were both depressed and tired most of the time. Amy was drinking more and Zev was smoking a lot of marijuana to alleviate his pain. He coughed a lot but didn’t care. His cigarette expense doubled. Amy never knew when Zev would get angry and this unpredictability gave her anxiety. But most tension between people is sexual tension. Zev and Amy needed a release. They kept fucking even though they should have stopped. Something had to change or else someone was going to eventually get killed. Fate had to take over sooner or later.

Sunset At The Beach (A Brief Confession)

I just cracked open a beer. Saint Archer IPA. I wonder if the people around me think I am derelict for drinking beer from a can at the beach? I am casually dressed, wearing a flannel and hair is a mess so maybe. Or maybe the MacBook Air that I am typing on makes me look like an eccentric, bohemian, intellectual. Who knows what other people think. I have given up on trying to guess. It’s how I think that concerns me most. And most of the time I tend to be an obsessive thinker and this is what concerns me most.

Anyways, the sun is setting over the ocean horizon. It is a blinding ball of orange dropping from endless sky. I can hear the laughter of kids. The crashing of the waves. Some kid screams “no” in defiance against his mother. I can relate. I take sips from my beer even though a large part of me just wants to down it. I love beer induced release. It’s better than all forms of meditation. I think it has something to do with the hops.

Did I mention that I am sitting on a bench? Hunched over on my MacBook. But occasionally I look up at the sun. It’s receding more and more, not unlike my hairline. I notice that as the sun falls behind the earth, it feels chilly and the sea is growing louder. This sea could devour us all in a second. I find it sobering to be sitting at the foot of this force. Makes me feel like a homunculus.

There are a few islands off the coast but I doubt anyone lives on them. At least anyone who cares to be known. I seem to be obsessed with being known. Being known on my own terms, for who I really am. I presume this comes from having a narcissistic father who needed it all to be about him. Or maybe it comes from living in a society where we are not allowed to be known for who we are. I envy those who could care less about being known. Who are comfortable with living and dying without being known. Who are comfortable with anonymity. My sister is this way- she could spend day after day sitting in front of a television without any aspirations to be known.

Two attractive girls are walking towards me. I smile at them and they pretend not to see me. The sun is turning orange. Its fading fire seems to be deflating like a tire. Where does the sun go anyways? It’s literally falling into the sea and we are all acting as if this is perfectly normal. Two guys play basketball. Kids play on the swings. A couple sits on a bench watching the sun go down. There are people scattered all over the beach. It’s a big beach. A beautiful beach in Oxnard, California. A place someone referred to as “nothing but fields and beaches.”

I’ve recently moved here. On a boat after my wife divorced me because she found another guy. I always knew my wife would do this because it’s a habitual pattern that can be seen in people. They skip from one relationship to the next never able to hold interest in one person for long stretches of time. Their relationship ideal is not yet real. But this is good. I’m writing more. I’m less stressed out. The hurt is starting to fade. After years of emotional pain, the blood is drying.

There are boats far out in the sea. An oil rig. I am going to sit here until I see their lights turn on. Nothing as beautiful as a boat lit up in the night, far off in the sea. Should I make dinner at home or eat out tonight? I bought a lot of produce at the farmer’s market yesterday so I should go back to my boat and eat there. It is not easy to cook and do dishes on an old boat but it works for now. The boat I am living on is like an old wood cabin on the water.

The sun is dropping. The light is fading. Everything is growing dimmer. There is the presence of serenity. This is why it is good for humans to be around water. Water is serenity. It is where our brains find peace.

I spent the day working on my boat with a handyman. He was trying to fix the toilet, which overflowed. We did other work as well. He is an old seaman. Muscular and still getting down on hand and knees and stretching himself inside of tight spaces. I hope I can do that when old. He told me I was a sneak aboard. Since I was living on my boat without the proper licensing, I was not an official live aboard. I was a sneak aboard. When he told me this for a moment I was frightened that he would report me. But then I told myself, “Who cares.”. If he does I will deal with it then. I am just grateful for this time on the boat and am not going to spend it worrying. Most of what I have worried about in my life hasn’t happened. Getting testicular cancer and having my wife tell me that she does not want to be with me anymore are two things I never worried about.

There goes the sun. Behind the edge of one of the vacant islands. Now just reflection of orange. The tides pick up. The sky grows beautiful. A natural Rothko painting. As the sun falls into the sea, the orange hue gradually bleeds its way into the blue sky. This is what could be called an ethereal moment. I am glad there are a few people sitting on benches appreciating it. After going through a painful divorce, I haven’t appreciated anything in a long time. This feels good. I can smell the sea. Seaweed mixed with salt and sewage. An airplane moves across the sky. I wonder where my wife is now. Probably with her man since I know she is unable to spend much time alone.

The islands out in the sea look like a purple wax sculpture. The more I drink my 19.2 FL OZ beer the drunker I begin to feel. I guess I am a lightweight. Doesn’t take much. There are few things that I love. I love dogs. I love women. I love the sea. I love books. I love God Speed You Black Emperor. But I really love beer. This is why I try not to drink it much.

The sun is almost completely gone but it’s still light out. Today I wrote the first draft of a pitch that I want to make to several publishing companies. I want to write a biography of David Berman, the countercultural singer, songwriter, poet and artist (he liked to draw things). Maybe I am completely delusional to do such a thing. I mean who am I? Just an unknown and unpublished 48 year old writer. But the FBI showed up at my home concerned about some things I was writing on my blog. I couldn’t believe it. For me, having the FBI show up at my front door for something that I wrote is my highest accomplishment as a writer. I feel like there is no one better to be given money to write a biography of David Berman than I. Maybe it is arrogant to say, but I would like to think that David Berman would want me to write his biography.

Things are growing gradually dark. The sea smells good. The waves are loud. No one is sitting on benches now that the sun has set. But why not stay for the best part of the show? Watching day turn into night. People have such short attention spans. They bore so easily. Not I. I am here until it turns dark.

I want to text my wife but she is not my wife anymore. I want to take pictures of what I am seeing and share it with her. But I can’t do that anymore. Not much at least. I need to draw a line between her and I. A thick black line. I need to realize she is not the person I married anymore. Her tattoos prove it. She is a friend now but not someone I need to text all the time. Not someone I need to trust. It is too bad. I liked it while it lasted. But now I should get used to being on my own. I need to discover other women whom I can love. The things I do and see and think have to be enough for just me now. I can’t share them with her. This is the hardest part of getting divorced. Makes me want to cry just thinking about it. But her loss. She will never find someone who loved her as much as I did. And I am afraid still do, all though I am trying to get rid of that. Sometimes in life I guess we just have to accept letting go of the ones we love. I have tried to hate her guts. Hate hasn’t worked much. I have too much guilt for that approach.

I’ve been alone on the boat for several weeks now. It’s been hard. But I am gradually getting the hang of it. Beer helps. I moved onto an old boat in Oxnard and know no one here. Not a soul. I am completely alone but trust I will gradually meet people. That is if my boat doesn’t sink. The handyman told me I should get an alarm to notify me if the bilge is filling with water. The boat is that old. I don’t care. We all must die. I am just grateful to be having this experience. I love the boat. If it sinks and I have to go down with it, I can think of worse ways to die.

The lights on the street have turned on. There is sand everywhere. I am getting cold. There are a few more sips left in my beer. I feel buzzed. What is the difference between buzzed and drunk? Is drunk when you lose all control and rationality? If so, I am always buzzed when I drink. I never lose control anymore.

Did you know that darkness descends from the top down? It starts in space and gradually descends upon us. Darkness covers us like a plastic bag. As gradually as the sun sets, darkness gradually covers us. I can see the first ship lit up far out at sea. Or is that an oil rig? There are cars driving by with headlights on. Two guys are putting on wetsuits and preparing to go surfing. Now that is commitment, surfing at night.

There are less people on the beach now. The two guys are still playing basketball. The darkness is gradually blending in with the orange. Soon the darkness (which is now a shade of purplish black) will win out and all will grow dark. I guess that is the fate of all human life. No matter how hard we try we can’t out run the darkness. The darkness becomes us. And all we can do is trust that the light will return. That is what I am doing now. Trusting that gradually the light will return. That I will stop shedding tears and move on from the woman whom I once called wife.

Two young surfers run out into the sea. They are excited to be jumping into the furious power of the sea. The joys of youth. Youth is gone from me now but I appreciate theirs. I try to hang onto mine in spirit. I am going to finish my beer and stop writing now. I want to watch the darkness descend. I’m no different than the gradually diminishing orange hue. It fights against the darkness, just like I do.