The Unexamined Life of the Typewriter Repairman

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Fleeter now and busted to a cropped stunt double’s take on the grass calling the cucumber green. I’m basically just someone’s idea of factory-farmed idiocy. Like some weightlifter from San Leandro. Campy and wistfully sincere. I was dancing my shoes right through. It’s all a greasier plant in the audience of showing off my personality to become inured to. Baseless and stared right through. “Don’t become the worst of yourself over it,” I keep saying to the ill-intentioned spacebars inside of me. My daughter’s delivering mail. The kid’s got a head so unlike mine on her neck. Keep to it, I guess. Better than I’d have it. Shoulders hunched and sore with tabs of time’s relentlessness. Hands stained with inky ribbons of wear. A chipped and peeling army-green machine. I get so eulogy laden this time of year. My name’s out of the papers, at least. Pour me some au jus in a cocktail glass and put a few of my love letters under it. I’m filled with the carriage’s finest appeals to the typebars yet. To my sanity’s crutch, I go once again. Back’s a breaking. Ribs poking out. Head a dead letter to the misses I keep mostly to myself. A mysterious niche in the escapement’s loss. A captured feeling rolled through the platen. Drink my fill? Sure. In the mornings, mostly. A sentence’s death. A paragraph’s rum-fueled idiocy. Songs that write anything but themselves. Sympathy’s just an excuse to bide less time by these grimy crippled fingers. Another unstuck shift lock, and I’m post-dated at best. Retracting all arms, letting my adjustable guide down. Skin’s gone to crumpled paper now. Younger than I’ll ever be again, but my bald spot begs to differ all the time, more and more. I ain’t in the mood for thinking anything over. But don’t believe the stuff I get to spouting off when I’m on the wrong side of being sober. Wiser in years to know worse typos of the spirit. I’m mismanaged affairs. I’m crabby at the uppers wearing off. Given names of girls that I’ll never remember them by. Old country ballads and dented beer cans. A rose and a road for all of my dalliances to trouble on down. Get and give. I know. It’s a damn crooked world we keep finding here for ourselves. But I’m no used-mermaid salesman. I get going baseless enough for any claims on my wishing’s state. For whatever’s left of a damn’s shame. For what’s creeping around the corner of this here wrecked paper bail’s next smeared catastrophe. We all perform tasks to prepare ourselves for others to come, on and on, until there are no more left to look forward to. Today, well, I went on ahead and spent all my money on bar shots and drafty indulgences. Nobody rolls their own around here anymore. Nobody’s saying grace while I spiffy-up the smudged keytops of my sulking. The descent’s decent at best. My pivoting arm forever hanging down to ring a long-gone bell. And I’m hanging on by a toe to what’s grabbing back. My father was a nervous composer of traipsing dance numbers for The Telegraph Hill Players. He put on shows for the uncommon good. People admired his reserve. But me, I’m robust enough to be cranky as it is. Hell, I’m old enough, and odd enough, to remember back to when schoolrooms were filled with Smith-Coronas and Royals, and they always needed some fixing. I carried a toothbrush with blackened bristles and a bottle of WD-40 in my tool belt’s holster, coaxing their tiny springs into place with my tweezer-like instruments. A real conductor of mismatched parts and pieces. Somebody around here was in love once. I’m fairly certain about it. Junked Remington Portables and a moving van that’ll never leave its spot. Lately it’s been tough to keep off the hard stuff. The verdigris is fading from this case’s coating, the creases going all floral and gnarled. I’m pondering indifference here, rife with the plunked clacks and distant patter of damaged keystrokes. I’m slack in misunderstandings. I’ve got no reasons left to be nice. Get in here, Saddle Shoes. We’re making up over soup again. I swear. Suppose I quit this being cruel and jettison these here circumvented situations? Rattled. I know. Best thing about it is that I’m posing answers before I even get around to swinging up the bars to slug down the question marks. Be crooked with me, will you? After all, I just want to be liked, just like anyone else. Nothing pertains. Nothing cares back. Won’t you just be in love with me, just a little, just for a while? Because me, I’m tired of making up my life one drink at a time, smoking and smoking my formerly redressed grievances all away. A wine cooler for your thoughts. So much cooler than I’d ever hope to make myself, you. And the trellises are all hung with barbwire. The moon’s getting an insufficient-funds warning. And my labels, they all make themselves. I’m dancing like Dylan Thomas would. I’m spending too much time in the rooms I’ve been attached to for too long, and making up likes where they never were with ladies whom I hardly know, but know well enough for a night. I keep lists of ways to get lost and alone. Discarded feed rollers and ribbon spools fill the boxes in the garage. There was always someone dying around here. I mull the mechanisms of it all, just as I would a rusty Underwood, still, in the type levers of my nostalgia, scrutinizing the lowercase provisions of my demise. I propose horrible ways that my terrible habits will never catch up with what’s left of me. The butterflies are back in season, and so is cocaine. My heart’s muggy and corrupt. All I do is drink warm beer out of teacups and get older. Don’t believe me. I never do. For all the margin releases from the bleakest black ribbons of my nights to the un-carried desiccated ribbons of my days. Please return this busted-up old contraption to the beginning of the line. Ding.

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