Benjamin Hersey

Excerpts from

The Autograph of Steve Industry

Have you ever seen a dead body, other than at a funeral home?

The better question: Have you ever been high at a funeral? If so, on what drug? Or have you ever been a homeless person pretending to be Robert Parish at Wellington Station at two in the morning by hook-shoting an empty forty bottle against the wall? Have you ever gone for a dip in a swamp drunk? Have you ever felt so much confusion over who you are versus who you was that you don’t know how to talk to people in a nice way all the time? Have you ever felt condemned by your own vocabulary? Have you ever stolen a neighbor’s bra trying to be custodial of something sacred in yourself?

I’m getting fancy faced. Looking at a computer. I just got home with Nancy – haven’t written in weeks. I said “Hey, hunny, how was your day’s life story?” She said “Good. I had a lotta shits and giggles.” I said “Nance, we don’t say shits and giggles. We don’t use words like that.” She said “But, Daddy, I’m a grown woman.” I looked at her and it was fucked up because I realized in that moment that I was looking to see if she was correct. Yesterday was twenty minutes ago or twenty years ago, what do I know? I said “Oh, really?” She said “Dad, I’m five.”

Robust cussing flows from Saundra’s grill before her first pad enters the kitchen. Room goes dark and all I can see are the sparkling letters flowing forth. The house is looking pretty clean, I picked up Nancy, I had some pasta on the stove and she is on a tangent about this ancient story and that ancient story and imagery is trying to drive me down and I’ve already been in a clusterfuck state all day and so finally I’m like: “Woman, look around and then look at me.” She stops and glares at me. The room comes back. She’s just glaring at me, the sounds of the world come rushing back in around us, and she’s just glaring like I just pulled out the crystal thousand year old tampon from her sweet treat. “See? See?” I ask. “Saundra, I’m right here, right in front of you. Start again.” Shit I thought that was smoother than I’ve ever been, but smooth don’t soothe when the soothee’s got her kill levels up. Bam, out the door. Silence but for her angry passage over the gravel I put down six weeks ago now. Got no love for that either. My ex-probation officer’s always like “Stevie, you’re the size of what you see, you know. You’re part of it.” I can’t remember if I think I believe that.

What’s your job position called?

1.) Batting cages manager in Saugus. (Summer nights and weekends)
2.) Driving Bus for the city of Canton. (Weekdays)
3.) Lead singer of the band the Steamrollers.
4.) Forging spectacular memory policies
5.) Donuts.
6.) Keeper of the untellable sanctuary
7.) Smile in the parking-lot sun
8.) hither come Kowloon regular.
9.) Noon one hitter smoker if need be.
10.) Seeing trails while looking at the Keno screen
10 a.) puking in the Golden Buddha dumpster
11.) Corpse regurgitator.
12.) Corpse clutcher.