Remembering J.f.
Author: Jeremy Smyers


      Everyday is just about the same, I thought. I wake up and take care of my morning business and then straight into life. No time for what I want to do.

      "Yeah, but what do you want to do, Smyers?"

      "That's not the point. The point is why would I waste the time to find out if I wouldn't even have the time to do it anyway?"

      "Well, either way you're going to have to start doing something."

      "I'll go get something to eat. How's that?"

      "Fine, if you'll do it."

      So I get up walk around awhile. Look out the window.

      Smyers musing:"Damn, I drank too much last night. It's the no sleep that's going to kill me. I know it is."

      I get dressed, brush my teeth, wash my face, drink some stomach aid. It's almost all I can do just to keep from puking right there on my toothbrush. I walk outside and it's all about the same: everyone with somewhere to go and things to do when they get there. The go, go, go, so that they can get,get, get...but they don't ever see that it's a vicious circle they're living in: the more they get the more they have to have...and they're selling, No, giving, the one thing away that they'll need most: Time. They don't know it right now but they'll know it later on.

      Smyers musing: "time...mmmmm...sweet time...nothing to do. No where to go." I walk down to Frank's (the gas station) and get some coffee. Nothing like a cup of boiling hot coffee to get the day rolling.

      "But you hate boiling hot coffee, remember?"

      "Yeah, but when it cools I'll drink it."

      "No, you won't. You never do. It always gets too cold and then you raise hell and swear Frank's off for always selling you cold coffee."

      Smyers walking and thinking: Damn this street is damned hot it's about to burn right through my shoes. That reminds me. I need new shoes. The leather is starting to separate on the left one and when it rains my sock always gets wet.

      Well, there's the old dude from the nursing home. They've let him out again. Poor bastard has to walk around the block. He's like a dog only with less personality. And to think, to just think that that was a man with a family and a house and a dog and a mortgage. He use to get excited about football games and what inflation was up to. He went to movies and sped in his car. Now he can barely fill out his shirt. Head stooped over. He looks like a starving dog. Poor Poor guy...he probably played by all the rules too. He probably never drank to excess. Probably didn't smoke. What did it get him? Now he has to sit around waiting to die. He knows what time is. He knows of it's significance. You can't tell an old guy walking around a nursing home about paying the price for time. He could tell me stories that would make me run out and kill myself, I'll bet. Hell, he can't even go and get his own coffee...yeah, but he worked so he could pay his taxes like a good boy.

      He worked so he could drive a new car and eat fine meals and replace shoes that had split leather on the sole. He never worried about that. But where are all of his friends now? His family, where are they? They have big jobs and double mortgages and wives that don't like him because he drools and talks about the old days. Na, you can have all of that alleged good living if that's what it gives you. I think I'll just go on down and get my coffee and take the other road home.

      Smyers being a nice boy:"Hello Ma'am...Frank not in today?"

      "No, Jeremy he's not feeling well and he decided to let me rule the roost today."

      "Ah, that old Frank, he's probably just home watching The Price is Right or maybe trying to get away to fish."

      "He probably is that old devil...Jeremy, you don't look good...maybe you're coming down with the same thing Frank has."

      "Maybe Mrs. Bowden, maybe. "

      "Do you want your regular coffee. "

      "Sure why not...a day like this deserves some hot coffee. Well, tell Frank I said not to catch too many of 'em and save some for me."

      "I will Jeremy hurry back now."

      Beep beep.. and the door closes. That poor Frank...he looked bad the last time I saw him...poor guy, they'll probably throw him in one of those nursing homes and soon as he can't get down to the store to work; make a living for all of them. That reminds me: take the other road home. So, taking the other road home I pass by a catholic school. All the kids are out running around screaming and hollering. The tough guys are standing there looking mean and the girls are all giggling like morons. The teachers all look hung over. I should have picked another road to walk home on. Days like now you don't walk past schools by yourself. Everyone thinks you're some kind of a weirdo checking all the kids out. So, I strolled along; taking in all the sights and sounds that make up Terrell, Texas...that make up Anywhere, USA, Hometown, America. The pavement was still hot and burning right through my worn out shoes; run down at the heel. I walked over closer to the police station.

      They were eyeing me up pretty well. What did they expect a guy like me was going to do? All I was doing was walking down the street with a cup of boiling hot coffee. Sure, I wasn't drinking it but that was because it was too hot. Maybe they thought it was a disguise. That I was really some type of operative. Maybe casing the bank across the street out for some future heist that my gang and I were putting together. I was casing the bank out, no question about that. It was the tellers in the windows that were getting cased, though.

      Smyers being suave as hell. Sauntering down the street looking distinguished, so cool and collective that he doesn't even have to drink the coffee he carries, a guy like that Smyers, with all of his money from writing, can buy a million cups of coffee and never drink them. That's what all the high rollers do too. They just walk around looking important and hold cups of coffee they never drink:

      "Hell, maybe I was born for this. Maybe I was destined to be a high roller."

      Headlines: Smyers made another million in the writing game and quoted as saying:

      "it's all talent...on loan from God himself."

      That Smyers, that big player. You can't fool him. He knows the score. He knows the score better than anyone. He's seen the other side. Knows what the tiger looks like when he smiles.

      Smyers feeling dejected: "These women! To think of them. Sneering at me from their bank teller windows. Laughing at my run down shoes and my three day beard. Wondering what kind of jackass woul d walk around town and carry a cup of boiling hot coffee and never drink it. Little did they know! Little did they know! That they were looking at a great writer. A writer so great that he was the legend of his time. But a misunderstood legend. The critics didn't understand what he was saying so they thought his writing could use a little of this here and a little of that there. Fools! I'll show them! You women staring out at me, you'll know too! I'll show you too. Working at my bank will be the next think you know. Every afternoon I'll make you have a drink with me and then I'll leave. Leave you there. Tell you to go in back and count the money. A dollar for every time you sneered at me. A five for every time you thought I was crazy. A hundred for all of the proposals you turned down.! You'll know what the score is. I swear to God you will."

      So, I walked on down to the corner and turned back up towards my building. I peeked around the corner to see if the land lord was around. I owed him a little back rent and I thought it would be a very uncomfortable meeting for the both of us.

      Smyers stammering: "Uh, well, Mr. Lane, Nice to see you. And your wife, how is she? It's a fine day today. I was so tied up at work that I felt I was going to explode so I decided to run for a quick cup of coffee. Then back to the old grind stone. Yeah, no rest for the wicked. The rent? Ah, the rent, yes, yes, yes. Well, you see, Mr. Lane, I'm waiting, waiting on a payment from one of my confederates. Yes, he's supposed to be sending it but I think he's got a little behind but he assured me it would be tomorrow or the next day. Sick? No, not really, not sick per say, Just tired. It's difficult for me to sleep nights when I have to worry about all of the trouble that I making for you and your wife, speaking of Mrs. Lane, how is she? Well, I hope. Well, I hope you have a good day, sir, and not to worry I'll have everything on the square in no time at all. See you later!"

      Smyers thinking: "That bastard! That dirty rotten bastard. Waltzing around here like he owns the fucking place, "

      "he does own the place."

      "I meant it figuratively, smartass."

      "Waltzing around here like he owns everything including me. He probably goes home every night and counts his millions. A guy like that asking money from me! To think of it. That bastard. I bet he ate steak for dinner last night. A steak with onions and mushrooms. A big baked potato with sour cream and every thing. That bastard. I bet the whole time that he was cramming it into his greedy mouth his wife, the bitch, was telling him what a God damned wonderful guy he was.

      Lane's kiss ass wife: "It's very nice of you to help that boy at the building out like you are, not making him pay for his rent on time and then not even charging him any late charges. "

      The greedy bastard: " Yes, he does seem like a good boy, Very well behaved, clean cut. I think he drinks, though."

"Really? That poor boy. It must have been his child hood. I saw him down at the washing machine and he told me the most horrendous story you've ever heard about his child hood."

      "Well, dear, I think he may have the ability to embellish a little too."

      "Well, he is an artist. You know how they have to keep their emotions right on top."

      "Yeah, I guess. Will you pass the mash potatoes, please?"

      Smyers: That bastard. That bastard. I can't believe it. The greatest undiscovered writer of our time and he's trying to push me around of a few measly bucks. Money, that when I'm rich, will be a mere pittance. Money that I gi ve to the bums. And he's hounding me like a damn mob boss to get it back, the bastard. He'll get his money. He'll get every cent of his money plus some. A little extra just for his trouble. Don't think that Smyers doesn't pay his just and fair debt. Yes, sirre, he'll get every penny of his money."

      So up to my room I go. Walk in take a look around. It's all the same. It's always the same here. But I can't figure out what that smell is. A strange smell. A smell almost like death. The smell of death right here in my room. I sit my coffee down. With all of this trouble around I couldn't even drink it. Everyone kept getting in my way. It's cold now; too cold to drink. I can't stand cold coffee. I never could stand it. I'll hate someone for life and beyond if they try and give me a hot cup of coffee. Some misogynist bastards think it's funny to watch a guy burn himself on a cup of boiling hot coffee but I'm too smart for them. They can't get me with that old trick anymore. I walk over to the window. The guy across the street that always sits in his window is busy I guess. There's a family at the restaurant under him having lunch. A man and a woman with two little kids; two little boys. Eating and having a good time.

      Smyers regretting life: "Oh, they don't know! They don't know what it is to be alone in this world. Alone but not lonely. Not me, boys. No, I'm fine all by myself. It frees me up for everything that I need to take care of."

      The bar around the corner doesn't seem to have too many cars in the lot. Maybe I'll stroll over there and have a quick drink and sort of think everything out for a while. I can't stand being alone in this room right now. With the smell of death in it. You could cut it with a knife. The walls are watching me.

      Walls talking: "You owe rent, fucker. You better pay or you'll be out on the street. You and your stupid typewriter and all of your dusty old books. You don't even have nice books. You got every one of them at the second hand store or you stole them from the library. We know your dirty little tricks. We watch you all the time. When you get thrown out take your dirty smell of death with you."

      Smyers:" There's one thing I've always hated about this room: Those dirty yellow-grey walls with cracks all over them from the passing trains. When I finally am recognized for the great writer that I am and the money is rolling in. The first thing I'll do is buy this shack from Lane and have it bulldozed. Fucking walls taunting me. You'll learn like the rest of them. Filthy walls. Not even a bug would crawl up a wall like that. I would hang pictures on you, wall, but the contrast would too great and it would take away from my pictures."

      Smyers putting the wall in it's place: "The one thing that I would want if I was a wall is for someone to think enough of me to at least hang a picture on me once in a while, I mean what else are you there for?"

      I think I'll just go on over to the bar and see what's going on. There a bartender there; I don't just mean any bartender either. A great bartender. Beautiful bartender. A young girl of twenty-two but will be twenty-three in a couple of months. A great girl. A little slow sometimes, maybe. Shy, she's very shy. A good country girl brought up on the farm. Innocent as the day is long. Her heart belongs to another, though. I couldn't sway her with my repeated vows of her everlasting happiness. She turned all of that down to be with her true soul mate: A pizza parlor manager...what AGONY...what failure...She turned one of the greatest up and coming writers of prose and poetry down to be with a pizza guy. A poet that might someday equal e.e. cummings. The great e.e. cummings and she blew it all so she could get free pizza. Why does no one think ahead? Think about tomorrow? j.d. smyers they'll all say. Now there's a poet that had a plan.

      The reading public: "Smyers, what a great poet. He gave his all to give the world his words and thoughts.Sure, he was chastised along the way. Giving up life for the sake of his art. "

      Smyers the crusader: "Yeah, it's not that big of a deal. A little tough at the beginning but I held true. Thanks go to God. Thanks to my parents for without their help I certainly wouldn't be here today in front of all of you fine people. Thanks to my former land lord and now business partner in a newly formed demolition venture, Mr. Lane and his lovely wife."

      The reading public: "(CHEER) (APPLAUSE) (HIP HIP HOORAY FOR SMYERS)."

      Smyers walking across the street thinking: Maybe she will break up with that pizza dick and everything will be in line for me to try for my flanking assault. After all, I mean, hell, what does he have that I don't? When I make it there'll be more pizza to eat than she or that two bit pizza boy has ever seen.

      Pizza for everyone! Compliments of Smyers


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