Underground Novel – Excerpt – Some Crazy Buddhist Sh**

Generally Good Advice #5: Beat Donkey Kong first, then take on the Real World.

#5a. Male bikinis are for Europeans, Brazilians, and men who have muscles in their ass cheeks, otherwise leave the bikini alone.

#5b. If you’re going to be kicked out of your house, swipe the good china first, that way you can never go home.

#5c. Be like the monkey, just go with it.

Incipit. There is this great scene in the first book of the Iliad: Achilles is sitting by the beach watching the ocean, and he’s generally having a crappy day. He’s lost his love slave Briseis to Agamemnon, and his honor as a nobleman has been questioned in front of all his noble friends by this same man. Later, in book Nine, to the same ocean, he debates his two fates: one, to live a long, quiet life, but be doomed to ignominy, or two, to live a short life boldly as a warrior and die young. He laments all of this as he stares out into the ocean.

My classics professor told me in class what a sensitive guy he was and how he was dealing with very complex emotions, that sort of thing. At the time I thought: Man, he should have just cut off Agamemnon’s fucking head, led the Greeks himself, and been done with it—but it’s never that simple, I tell the monkey.

“Is it, J.P.?”

J.P. has a beer in his hand and we’re staring out into the ocean. We’re having one of those Achilles moments I think, because me and J.P. have just been kicked out of the house.

I list all the sea goddesses I can think of from memory. Not in order (that would just be freaky), but I list them all because each is supposed to represent a little quality of the ocean—all who were daughters of Nereus: there was Kymodoke, Glauke, and Thaleia, Nesaie, and Speio, Aktaia, Kim Alexis, Limnoreia, ox-eyed Halia, Melite, and Iaria, Kathy Ireland was there, so was Amphithoe, and Agaue, Galateia, Rachel Hunter, Panope, Doris, Nemertes, Apseudes, Kallianassa, Klymene, Ianeira, and Ianassa…Proto and Doto, of course; Tyra Banks, she was also a sea nymph, but not more beautiful than Achilles’ mother Thetis.

Thetis; there wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for Achilles.

The funny thing is I actually feel shame, because even though my dad was the executioner, my mother didn’t stand up for me the way she usually does. So now I feel disconnected and betrayed. Ignominy of the worst kind.

When she heard everything that went down at work, she didn’t make any protest. She agreed tacitly, and thus she joined with my dad in condemning me as a beast, a protean caliban. One who stocks the business world assuming whatever gnarly shape I have to in order to get the job done—betrayal, pure and simple.

Since I’ve been fired, business is good. I got a new cell phone complete with cool video games, and wireless Internet for my laptop. I’m busy getting in touch with old contacts, getting in touch with new contacts, adjusting my assets.

I have all my stuff packed in my car, which isn’t a lot. I’ve made a makeshift office out my trunk. The last two nights I’ve slept on the beach. It’s a funny thing: I could’ve easily sprung for a hotel like I did on the first night, but I didn’t. Strangely, J.P. doesn’t complain. I guess monkeys who’ve worked in the gold mines of South Africa don’t complain about much, they just go with it. I have to give him that; J.P. never complains, he just goes with it. He has that over me, he really does.

My sleeping on the beach has something to do with guilt, I decide on the third day. I sleep on the beach because that’s what calibans do. (As I’m writing this I have to call Pierce up, he’s my English-major friend, to ask what a caliban is—something to do with a beast-man in a Shakespeare play, but he tells me to go with it; very monkey-like of him).

I’m roaming around in my back seat, when I find my parents’ good china stashed away in a duffle bag. J.P. tells me later that he stole it right before he left. I want to strangle the monkey, at first. But there is something distinctly sentimental in what he has done, because I know he did it for me, because as he tells me later, we’re in this together. Fucking-aye.

I think he feels a sense of loss now that Cronon’s gone, but he doesn’t stop to think about it, he just goes with it.

The fourth night, me and J.P. are being prodded by this police officer, who tells us we have to move on if we don’t want to get arrested. So me and J.P. wander, and I ask him if he wants me to spring for a motel, but he tells me that paying for lodging is for chumps with no imagination. So we find this spot underneath the Pompano Pier where other homeless people are hanging out and me and J.P. get some Zs.

The next morning we wake up and introduce ourselves to all the homeless people — Roger, Al, Bear, and Tito.

“Hi, I’m Dustin and this is J.P. See you guys later tonight, I’m off to work.”

“Okay, Dustin, see you later tonight,” Bear says. They all seem pretty friendly.

Me and J.P. shower before getting breakfast. We shower using one of those public showers people use to rinse off sand. I’m scrubbing J.P. down really good because I think he’s getting fleas and I don’t want him to get ticks or anything. I make a note later in the day that I need to get a book to help me better maintain my monkey. Then we go to Denny’s because the owner and the waitress are still convinced I’m Macaulay Culkin. We get free food because we’re celebrities, and celebrities are good for business.

We sit in Denny’s and have our daily meeting. The agenda for the day goes something like this:

  • Put parents’ good china on Ebay.
  • Mail payment for wireless Internet and cell phone.
  • Make arrangements for Plexicorps next Freak Fest. Invite Porn Star Legend Ron Jeremy.
  • Produce 5 fake Ids for High School students I met at beach yesterday.
  • Arrange for Film Student at old college to work as Intern on Porn Production—have him introduced to Ron Jeremy.

“I don’t think we’re going to have much time for anything else. And I’m not sure if we’ll even have time to go to the Laundromat to do our laundry.”

It’s been like this lately: busy. Surprisingly, we get done early, so J.P. and I hit this old two-dollar movie theatre in the middle of town that has an old arcade version of Donkey Kong. We eat popcorn and talk about how good life is. I’m over my family drama and feeling like a caliban, because this kid Chris tells me how happy he is that he’s going to meet Ron Jeremy, and maybe his dream of being a boom-mike operator on a porn set will come true—man, that’s what it’s all about.

“I don’t get it,” I tell J.P. “I can arrange an orgy between a bunch of office squares, but I can’t beat Donkey Kong.”

J.P. tells me I worry about things too much. The joy is in playing Donkey Kong, not beating it, and as long as I can find happiness in being and not accomplishing, I’ll be happy, and thus have beaten the “game,” which I took to be some crazy metaphor on life.

That’s J.P.

And so J.P. taught me to beat Donkey Kong without beating Donkey Kong; it’s some crazy Buddhist shit, I tell you.

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