The Sickboy Chronicles – Hypomania

Sickboy has been running with a butterfly net in an attempt to capture his thoughts and put them on display. He’s been scribbling down semi-fictitious diddies and posting them online. He even got himself a MySpace page. Lately he has fallen victim to some inexplicable artistic impulse, some gut wrenching need to express himself. Or maybe it’s just a need for validation. The quiet boy thinks he has something to say and he wants people to hear it. And, yes, he is in love with the impossible girl.

It has been six weeks since Sickboy started his underground anonymous online artistic venture. Unfortunately, it has not been nearly anonymous enough. Sickboy’s manic mind has put him up to something strange. He went online and ordered business cards with his web address printed below an evil smiley face. “The OB Revolution!” is stamped across the top in a fat comic font. He started pinning the cards to palm trees and telephone poles on Wednesday mornings for the Farmers’ Market crowd to find. Something different to pass the time, to make the work day just a little less intolerable, to dampen the sting of loneliness and poverty and male pattern baldness. Anonymity would be the key. Anonymity would give Sickboy courage. Anonymity is what Sickboy lost when he started telling his friends about his scribbling and handing out those goddamn calling cards to anyone within reach every time he caught a buzz.

Did you find one of these?

Chloe was the first to receive a stack of Sickboy’s cards. Sickboy was smashed and sprawling one Thursday night at Tony’s when he fanned a dozen cards out on top of the bar. Chloe put on her best attempt at an encouraging smile. Then she quickly deposited the cards in the trash, as Sickboy’s modest charm began to devolve into an uncomfortable weirdness. Of course, Sickboy was too drunk to notice.

Initially Sevrin got a kick out of Sickboy’s scribbles, but soon his buddy’s antics only made him cringe. Same can be said for Bobby D. Sickboy’s friends are not sure what to make of him these days. Truth is Sickboy’s not sure what to make of himself. He’s beginning to second guess his artistic impulse. Art or a mild case of insanity, he wonders.

Now Sickboy is rolling toward the ‘Shine to meet the boys for a pop. “Yo Sickboy!” someone screams from half a block away. It’s Kate walking down Bacon Street with either some kind of hairless rodent or perhaps her pet chihuahua on the end of a leash. “I read your scribbles!” she shouts.

Sickboy is stunned and his face must be radiating shame.

“Awww. Did I embarrass you?” Kelly asks as she approaches.

In a town full of cool people, Kate is one of the coolest. She fills in some weekends at Tony’s when Gina is out of town. Despite her intermittent presence behind the bar, Sickboy and Bobby D seem to always catch her shifts. “That’s because you two NEVER leave,” she tells them every time. Kate’s’s got a great sense of humor and a generous spirit to go along with a sparkling pair of doe eyes.

Sickboy is a little jolted but not quite embarrassed. He vaguely recalls handing Kelly his calling card when she was slamming Summer Hummers with the boys at the end of her shift last Sunday. Only for Kelly would Sickboy ever give up his beloved Beam for a shot with a name like Summer Hummer.

“Nah, Kelly. I’m not embarrassed. That’s why I put my scribbles out there…so that people can read them.”

An awkward silence follows. Then it’s a warm hug goodbye as Kate heads off with her rat and Sickboy continues on toward the ‘Shine.

Inside the bar Sickboy meets up with Sevrin and Bobby D who are shooting a game of eight ball. The fellas’ are six shots deep and Sickboy has some catching up to do. Bobby D is the first to welcome his friend.

“Yo, Aristotle! What the fuck? You gonna’ stand there and scratch your head and give a lecture? Fuck that! School is no longer in session. Order a round, you pussy. Car bombs!”

Sickboy takes it in stride. “Nice to see you too, fuckhead.” Then he wanders over to the bar to pick up some TNT.

While Simone is drawing the Guinness and adding Bailey’s toppers to the Jameson shots, Sickboy glances around the bar. It’s always bright on the open air side of the ‘Shine but suddenly it gets a whole lot brighter as Jenny glides down the stairs, a gift for Sickboy from the roof deck above. Jenny is OB regal in a cascading crown braid and that sleeveless top with the blue and white tie dye pattern.

Sickboy’s palms are swampy as Jenny makes a beeline straight for him. He’s more nervous than usual because he’s sure Jenny has seen his scribbles online recently. His mind races as he tries to build up his confidence.

I’m a rockstar. Any girl would be flattered to have a song written about her. Why should my scribbles be any different? Musicians are cool but scribblers are creepy? That’s not right. Be cool. You wanted her to know what’s on your mind and now she knows. No big deal. You’re a grown ass man, for God’s sake. Start acting like it.

“Sickboy, are you being good today?” Jenny asks with a smile.

“So far I am, but I’m about to get down. With friends like these it’s really hard to be good for long. How have you been? How’s everything?”

What Sickboy means to say is Are you over that boy yet? Are you dating? Can I see you sometime? Do you know how you make me feel?

What is it that keeps us from saying what we really want to say? Fear? Stupidity?

Jenny keeps it short. “I’m good.”

But her eyes keep talking.

All Sickboy has to do is hold her gaze, but he can’t do it. He nervously turns back toward the bar to check on the status of the car bombs. Inside his skull his thoughts berate him. Fuckin’ scribbles! Why do you have to be such a goddamn nutjob? You’ve made a complete ass of yourself and all of OB is a witness. Loser!

Jenny reaches out to put a hand on Sickboy’s shoulder, but a palpable pathos now fills the air. Jenny pulls back and her eyes sink to the ground. “See you around, Sickboy.”

“Later Jenny.”

Sickboy is dying inside, once again paralyzed by his thoughts.

Simone lines up three half-pints behind the whiskey-and-creams. Sickboy picks up a shot and drops it into a Guinness. In two seconds the explosives are down the hatch and on their way to Sickboy’s manic mind – a car bomb to blow that troublesome motherfucker to pieces.

bukowski

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