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One sentence more than I want

Pike's girlfriend Terry is at her parents' place in San Jose, and I wish I didn't know that, didn't know who she was. This morning, for the first time in weeks, it's only Pike and me in the apartment.

He just knocked on my door and said, "I hear you typing in here all the time, and I've noticed the stack of zines — Pathetic Life. That's you?"

Well, hell. I don't want to talk about the zine with anyone who knows me. It's private stuff. I only share it with people who don't know me at all.

Can't lie about it, though, because he's right, I'm in here typing all the time, and the zines are in a box just inside my door. 

"Yeah," I said, "I do a zine. Everybody should."

"Then this is you?" he asked, pointing to a tabloid in his other hand. Like Han Solo, I got a bad feeling about this. I reached for it and looked where Pike pointed, inside this week's San Francisco Weekly. It's an article about Factsheet Five. They interviewed its publisher, Seth Friedman, and he mentions my zine. I get one sentence, which is one sentence more than I want.

"Most zines are about music, pop culture. Or just people's mundane lives." He cites Pathetic Life by the Tenderloin's Pathetic Doug as a personal favorite.

"Yeah, that's me," I said to Pike.

"I guess you're a fuckin' celebrity," he said, smiling.

"I am nobody at all," I said, handing the SF Weekly back to him, "and I aspire to be even less." After my confession, though, Pike wouldn't let me weasel out of giving him a copy of November, from the top of the stack.

He won't be in the November issue, and that's good. I'm hoping he'll hate it and never want to see it again, because it'll be easier living with the guy — and his girlfriend — if they never read the March or April issues. 

A very few minutes later, he plopped the zine back in the box in my room, without comment. I'm not sure he'd even turned a page. Damned lucky for me my zine sucks.

♦ ♦ ♦

Today was my first day working for Bill at the sex magazine, and it wasn't at all sexy. Spent the morning sorting through checks, filing receipts, and packaging and mailing books and magazines. Four times, the phone rang and I answered it.

Never once got to sit in the hot tub, in the back yard. There were no naked women, or men. No drugs, no condoms, nobody walking around in a bathrobe smoking a pipe. Nope. Just another day in just another office, and I never got aroused even a little.

♦ ♦ ♦

I called Kallie again, and we talked for longer than yesterday (when she'd been in a hurry, setting up her party). It was great talking with her again, so I said something like, "It's been too damned long," and almost instantly we were planning when we could get together.

Squid on Thursday night, we agreed, and after dinner she's going to introduce me to whoever I was, before I was me.

This is something Kallie does as a sideline business: For a fee, she regresses people back to their previous incarnations — past-life therapy, she calls it. For me she says there'll be no fee.

I am, let's say, skeptical about past lives, but being curious and open-minded, I'm going to give it a fair chance. In my past life or lives, maybe I was a better writer and I can give myself some helpful tips.

♦ ♦ ♦

Now it's nearly bedtime, and Terry has returned, loudly.

Ten minutes later a friend of theirs dropped by, knocking loudly and then talking loudly.

They're all chattering now, loudly, about which clubs and which drugs are hot, guys with nice butts, who's going on tour with which band, who's going to drive them to Portland...

I'm not even eavesdropping. I'm trying to edit some pages from last weekend's diary, but they're talking so loud their thoughts are drowning out mine.

From Pathetic Life #11
Monday, April 10, 1995

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

Pathetic Life
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