Sunday


Stalled in traffic.  This girl knows I’m watching.  She’s fourteen years old and wants to give me a hard-on.  She turns her head away to show me she doesn’t care even though she cares very much.  I’m twenty-nine years old and trying to decide whether to take out my dick or pick up my camera.  I wonder about the guy up front, driving.  Her father?  Has he ever looked at her the way I’m looking at her? Is he the why of her promiscuity?  Would he come out of the car swinging a tire-iron if he knew what she is doing to me and what I’m doing to her?  I’m in no hurry for traffic to start up again.

This kid pretends he is drunker than he really is so the girls will think he’s cool.  His thumbs are up in tribute to Arthur Fonzarelli.  He tells me he’s even cooler than the Fonze because Fonzy doesn’t get fucked-up drunk like he does.

Somewhere in Texas this kid takes a pose.  He knows I’m from somewhere else just as I know he belongs right here.  I make an exposure and tell him that’s great Pardnah, thanks.  I figure he figures I’m just another asshole, but when I think about it more I figure he probably doesn’t really give me a thought.

Elwin likes to drink.  He likes to laugh and get shit-faced and have a good time.  Guys at the bar call him the wild-man even though he hardly ever leaves his bar stool.  Ask him if he’s married and he says if I wasn’t married I wouldn’t be sitting here, I’d be out gettin some poontang.  Ask him if he has kids and he says two that I know about and about a hundred I don’t.
Ask Elwin what his kids are named and he says number-one-son and number-two-son.  He laughs and yowls like a cartoon wolf.  He takes a slug of whisky and bangs the glass on the bar.

Phyllis works in an all night dinner on a two-lane road somewhere south of Dixie.  I’m on that road, a family portrait photographer with a portable studio, you know, painted background pix of Mom and Dad, babies, children of all ages.  My favorites are girls between fourteen and thirty but that has nothing to do with Phyllis.  The thing about Phyllis is she is funny and friendly and she knows right off that I’m full of myself.  I eat two fried eggs with sausage, biscuits and gravy; a couple cups of coffee.   I ask Phyllis if I can take her picture and the thing is, I’ve never asked anybody that before.  I’m twenty-two and I hustle cheesy portraits for a living but this is the first time I’ve photographed anyone for myself, I just became an artist.  I’ve got a funky little umbrella reflector rigged to a stand and a battery powered strobe out in the car so I go out and get it along with my 35mm Nikkormat camera loaded with a six-month-old roll of Kodachrome.  Phyllis smiles and I make a single exposure.  I’m going to save this slide for the rest of my life.

Jerry says he’s gonna tongue the roller-skating chick’s ass and then he nearly topples them both when he tries.   A couple of minutes ago the chick asked me if I was a photographer and I said, yeah, you wanna be a model?  She told me she already has a full-time job, working in a sperm bank and would I like to make a deposit.  I’m ready to propose dirty pictures when this guy named Jerry comes from out of nowhere, calls me dude and says take my picture cause I’m more prettier n this skank.  Turns out Jerry and the roller chick know each other and they mug it up for the camera.  I take a couple shots, nudge Jerry out of the picture and tell the chick I’m think I’m in love and we should go someplace private.  She laughs at me, takes a drink of Michelob, waves bye bye and skates away.  Jerry says hey I gotta piss, take a picture of me takin a piss.

Jack and Jane have fun on skates while Sally sits alone -Sally thinks she is ugly.

          This girl drank a half-pint of Southern Comfort and her date is thinking he might get lucky.

This guy looks like a guy who picked me up hitchhiking in 1968, but he doesn’t look at me the way that guy did and I don’t try to hustle him the way I did that guy.

The band is doing a cover of Babe by Styx, and Bob and Bobbie are falling through space, tongues thrust forward and squished together.  I love you, Babe.  Bobbie is preggers, seven weeks.   It’s 1975 and Bob and Bobbie are getting married next week.  Bob told Bobbie he loves her enough that he would have married her anyway.  He doesn’t tell her he still kind of wishes she’d get an abortion.  Things are spinning around too quickly for Bob.

I ask this guy if he likes the Rolling Stones and he says, not so much, never really paid no attention.

I ask this guy if I can take his picture and he says no, leave me alone.

LouElla is Cinderella, Dad is just some guy, Junior is a little kid.

The other kids think Roy is a weirdo but Roy only cares about Jesus.   Jesus is coming for Roy, any day now.  Jesus is gonna take Roy to CandyLand where all the ladies show their boobies and Roy can chew Juicy Fruit Gum anytime he wants.  Sometimes Roy starts yelling and then can’t stop until he throws up or passes out.  Roy is a strange kid but he hasn’t noticed so it doesn’t bother him.

This guy is ringing a bell out in front of the Northridge Mall.  He tells me a couple of hours ago the Salvation Army building burned to the ground.  I tell him that’s a bummer and then I take his picture.  I ask him what happened to his eye and he tells me it got poked with a sharp stick.

          This guy told me he would chug his Budweiser then eat the can for five dollars but I didn't pay him because he didn't swallow it.

I pull into a tourist trap somewhere in Texas.  A guy comes out to pump my gas and wash the windows.  I hang my camera over my shoulder and go in to take a leak.  Afterward I walk around looking at all the crap for sale and then buy a Hostess cherry pie and a Coke.  I tell the woman behind the counter I like her blouse and can I take a picture of her outside with the store in the background.  She says I don’t know, I guess I don’t care, and I say that’s great, thanks so much.  I escort her out through the door and into the bright sun.  I pose her in the light and she squints at me and I take her picture.
In People’s Park the insane and the fucked-up are nostalgic for the years they don’t remember.  I take pictures and pass out dollar bills as though I can afford it.

          Martha loves a man in a uniform.

Rick looks at his watch and tells me he and Sadie have been married three years four months, twenty-three days, twenty-one hours and about nineteen minutes.  He tells every minute has been bliss.
These kids have nothing better to do than stand here while I take their picture.  She tells me she’s not a virgin and he tells me just because he is small doesn’t mean he’s not tough and if I don’t believe him just go ahead and try something.  I ask his sister does the same go for you, should I try something?  She looks me up and down like she’s calculating my dick size and asks me how old am I?  I say ninety-three and tell them thanks for the picture and see you around.

This guy tells me he hopes he doesn’t break the camera.