» The Benny Poda Years «
Kevin McGowin
Chapter 9 - Denver

Denver is the most evil city in the world. Nowhere else even comes close.
        New York, San Francisco, New Orleans. Amsterdam, Rio, that place in Taiwan. Vancouver. East St. Louis. Provincetown. Look, those places, like all other places, are hotbeds of vice and SIN, but they are not, per se, EVIL. But Denver is on some strange faultline of the spirit world, man, Somehow, sometime, maybe in the days of the Anasazi or even earlier, some very, very bad shit went down in that place. And the ghosts are still floating around from Glenwood all the way downtown and into the suburbs. I was in Denver because I didn't want to DIE, because everybody who dies in Denver goes straight to hell, seeing as how it's just a shot away.
        The train ride there was the roughest. Rides across the country, there's only one way to get through them: take as many over-the-counter sleeping pills as you can, pass out, wake up and do it again 'till you're there. But this time, the medicine just wouldn't take and I was sitting there looking out the window groggily, and in fact was feeling more than a bit like Joseph Conrad. Have you ever read any shit by that dude? See, I told you I have no formal education to stroke your dick over or anything, but sure, I READ. Well, Joseph Conrad really hates to let his characters have any pussy, have you ever noticed that? And his female character is always the same bitch and she's a DUMB bitch, son. Don't you just know he was feeling groggy as all shit?
        There was this other dude who was a writer too, and he and his buds were always really INTO driving to Denver for some reason. To buy their pot and drink and get that nasty Denver pussy, which I too have had and it's some wigged-out shit, brother. Well, this writer fellow was a real ALCOHOLIC'S alcoholic and died on his mother's bathroom floor after he'd stayed up all night being an alcoholic, and he thought he was writing the Great American Novel. He wasn't really all that good, really, but I'm parodying the hell out of him in this memoir. I'll REALLY start doing it when we get to Nola, but I'm not there yet. Oh, and Harriet, and Sally, and what happens between chapters 3 and 4, we'll get back to ya. But anyway, I AM the Great American Novel, Jack.
        When was the last time you thought about Sebastian Cabot?
        So the first thing I did when I got to Denver was shoot up heroin. People who are fucked up on heroin, they don't do much drinking. Oh, that's not what you saw in the movies, is it? Well, try it. Motherfucker. Detail your experience. Be specific.
        Well, first of course I had to go and GET the heroin but I had a buddy in Denver who lent me a few bucks and his old, rusted-out truck. I got down there by the railroad tracks and that Bad Moon Rising motherfucker was out there trying to get his, but he didn't have any money 'cause his record company had swived him out of the rights to Bad Moon Rising, which just goes to show where writing a song like that will get you, so the nigger with the dope (he was white, but same difference) was making the fucker sit there and sing about how he wasn't no Fortunate Son in return for his dope. But I sure got MINE easy enough, and started thinking of things to do. They have hockey in Denver, but even if you-know-who was in town (and whether or not this was before or after he joined the league at the age of nineteen in 1984 is really none of your goddamn business right now) I just didn't want to go out to that place, man: there's this bathroom where those two pompous Leo British dudes hang out, the one who plays Lawrence of Arabia in every film he's done, and the one who used to be the lead singer of that band that did the song about how the bitch was buying a stairway to heaven, and they're always in there drinking Gin Rickeys waiting for you to come in and go into one of the stalls so they can slide up behind you and slide their dick up your ass, and I wanted no part of it.
        I did want to go to Eldora. It's an old mining town a few miles down the road, and it's a great place to go Graverobbing. You didn't know that about me, did ya? I'm a Graverobber. Well anyway, I think this once-popular gay alcoholic has-been talk show personality has a cabin out there. He throws wild parties. Words like "cocaine" and "boys" are whispered frequently. I won't tell you his name, I was thinking about those British dude's dick and then I thought about Sebastian Cabot just then. But I didn't want to get cornholed by Dick, either. So I just kept shooting heroin 'till it all ran out.
        The thing about heroin is that you have to have been off it a little while to really get off on it, but it's like you're outside and it's 40 below and then you walk into a warm room with a fireplace and a bar. You don't give a FLYING fuck about anyone, or anything. You just sit there and zone. You don't mind that you're broke and you lost your pussy. You're fixing a hole to stop your mind from wondering where your mind's gonna go. The dude who wrote that song, and I was sorry to hear about his wife and his struggle with the bottle, now THAT dude sure got it down. HE has shot some fucking H. Fuckin'-A. But then you get so toxic that if you get ahold of some especially potent shit, it's like a coral snake bite. That's what happened to Sonny Liston. Dead, with the spike still in his goddamn arm.
        So you see how I was feeling, and Denver was just the place for it at that time in those years. And I'm not done being there, either—I'm still there in the next chapter. But Christ, man, I hope YOU have your shit together . . . hope YOU aren't quite prepared to die. One eye is taken for an eye.
        Well, don't go 'round tonight.

    Essay Questions for Chapter 9

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