sex, alcohol and the post office
(final installment)
charles bukowski
painting by james burkhart
Chinaskis apt.

Linda on the couch reading.

Chinaski enters. He greets her, goes to
the kitchen, makes a drink, joins her on
the couch. Lites up a stogie.

LINDA: You have a good day?.

CHINASKI: No. Stone called me into his
office. They want to suspend me for
writing that column for balls. He said that
writing pornography while working as a
mailman for the postal service is a no-no.

LINDA: Why dont you quit that stupid job?

CHINASKI: Quit the post office?

LINDA: Thats right.

CHINASKI: Its a tempting thought. What
about money. Im too old to be poor.

LINDA: I/ll get a job. I/ll get a job and
you can stay home and write.

CHINASKI:Ive been thru that. Its a nice
concept that generally fails to work out in
practice. The woman works and the guy
writes and she comes home after ten
hours on the job with her ass in shreds
and the pad looks like shit and there he is
on the couch sucking a beer while chewing
away on a stogie while watching cartoons
on the tube and he sees her and says: Hi
babe--whats for dinner?

They sit.

CHINASK: Any mail?

LINDA: You got a letter.

CHINASKI: Who from?

LINDA: Looks like a fan letter.

He perks up.

CHINASK: How can you tell.

LINDA: its the handwriting. You only get
fan letters from lunatics and there is
something about a lunatics penmanship
that is easily identified. They write like
they are trying to stab the paper to death.

Chinaski takes the letter, rips it open.

He starts to read.

LINDA: Aloud please.

CHINASKI:    Dear Henry Chinaski: You
dont know me but Im a cute bitch. Ive
been going with sailors and this guy who
is a truck driver but they dont satisfy me.
We fuck but its nothing. Im 22 and have a
5 year old daughter, Aster. I live with a
guy but theres no sex, we just live
together. Almost every man these days is
a fag. Its really difficult for a woman. I
had a girlfriend who married a guy and
she came home one day and found him in
bed with another man. No wonder all the
girls have to buy vibrators. Its rough shit.
Id like to come see you. My mother could
watch Aster. Enclosed is a foto of me. Ive
read some of your books. I think they are
great. Theyre easy to read and funny too.
I gave one to my boss—
It Runs Around
the Room and Me.
He didnt like it. He said
it was cheap shit. He said you didnt know
how to write.
Yours, Tanya.

Chinaski looks at the foto. Tanya is sitting
on a couch with her legs up revealing the
absence of panties.

CHINASKI: She is a cute bitch.

LINDA: Let me see that.

He hands the picture over.

CHINASKI: If I ever meet her boss I am
going to take my typewriter and stick it
up his ass--sideways.

He roars.

LIndea tears up the letter and foto.

LINDA: This you dont need.

CHINASKI: What the fuck! Why'd ya do
that for?

LINDA: Because I know you. You would
call her. You love it when these dizzy
twats write these scabby letters. And the
dizzier the twat and the scabbier the
tletter the more you love it.

He sits without speaking, chewing on his

Picks up the form and starts to work.

Linda still steaming.

LINDA: Theres a party tonite.


LINDA: At that guys place--whats his
name--the surfer. The one you dont like.

CHINASK: That covers a lot of territory.

LINDA: I wanna go.

Rolls his eyes.

LINDA: And I am going. You can come
with or you can stay here. Its up to you.

CHINASKI: This has been one son of a
bitch day for ultimatums.

At the party.

Small apt, filled with many people,
drinking and dope and plenty of noise in
the form of rock and roll from the stereo
with the volume up high.

There is dancing, including Linda and a
young guy--the surfer, who is also a good
dancer. And she too. She shakes that ass.
They pump and grind away.

Chinaski in a corner by himself, sucking
on a beer.

Linda joins him. She is pooped.

LINDA: That was great.

Chinaski sucks on his beer.

LINDA: Why wont you dance with me?

He groans.

LINDA: Youre  a stiff. Why?

CHINASKI: Can we go?

LINDA: No. Im having fun.

She bumps and grinds to the music.

The blonde kid comes up. They move to
the center of the room and dance.

Chinask goes to the kitchen, grabs a beer,
out the back door and sits on the steps.

He sucks on the beer while nipping from
time to time from a half pint in his jacket.

He gets up and goes to a bush and throws

Sits back down on the steps.

Continues drinking.

He is joined by a young guy.

YOUNG GUY: Youre Chinaski.

CHINASKI: Thats right.


CHINASK: Hello Bill.

BILL: That your girl in there dancing--the


BILL: Shes a fox.

CHINASKI: She is definitely a fox.

BILL: I was in Germany last year. Your
books were all over the place. Youre very
big there.

CHINASKI: I wish they would send me
some royalties.

He offers Bill a nip from the half pint.

CHINASKI: You a writer, Bill?

BILL: No. Im not talented.

CHINASKI: Dont let that stop you.

Linda appears.

LINDA: What are you doing? I thought
you left.

CHINASKI: Id like to. This is Bill. Hes not
a writer. He thinks youre a fox.

LINDA: Are you going to sit out here and
drink all nite?

CHINASKI: I prefer that to watching you
rub your pussy up against some blonde

LINDA: We were dancing--ya know. Its a
custom--goes back a long way.

CHINASKI: Pay attention Bill. This is
important. You are observing woman in a
favored role--the ballbuster. That is a
woman who regularly and unfailingly
obliges you to do numerous things she
knows you do not want to do. Why you
say?  Because its their sincere belief that
a relationship, in order to grow and
flourish, depends on regular amounts of
stimulation in the form of argument. They
like to see flames shooting out of your
ass. There is screaming and the mutual
exchange of abuse. Then you go into the
bedroom and fuck while muttering vows
of love. Is this clear? Its the main point of
my writing.

LInda leaves.

Chinaski stands. He takes a nip from the
pint which he chases with a long drain
from the beer.

Turns to Bill.

CHINASKI: the greatest men are the most

An office.

Large desk with girl at typer.

Chinaski walks up. He carries a
manuscript which he deposits on

CHINASKI: Im chinaski. This is for Joe.

She looks up.

GIRL: Youre Chinaski?

CHINASKI: Thats right.

GIRL: I read your column every week. I
think its great.

CHINASKI: I think youre great. Got
anything to drink?

A woman enters. 40/42, built, good
clothes, dark hair and eyes.


DEE DEE: Hank!

CHINASKI: You work here?

DEE DEE: Im dropping off some ads.

CHINASKI: Wanna grab a drink?

A house. Nice place. Big rooms with hi
ceilings, tile floors, fireplace, etc.
Furniture and other articles of interior
design in the bolero or non-gringo style.

Chinaski and Dee Dee on the couch

DEE DEE: Youre becoming a famous dude.

CHINASKI: Yeah. Who wouldve thought it?

DEE DEE: I would. There was something
about you. I always felt it. When I used to
see you, first with Bernie and then with
Jack. But you never noticed me. You were
always sucking on a can of beer looking
obsessed with something.

CHINASKI: I was nuts. It was the post

DEE DEE: You got a girlfriend?

CHINASKI: Good question. We had a
beef. The latest in a series. She accused
me of numerous character defects such as
alcoholism, sloth and poor grooming. I
called her a bitch, a schizophrenic and an
ignorant slut. Then things got ugly. The
climax occured when she grabbed a pint
of Vodka I was drinking and poured it into
the sink. It was my last bottle. It was
2:30 AM and the liquor stores were
closed. I became insane. There was a
brief scuffle. I had my hands around her
throat. She drove a knee into my balls
and went for my eyes with her nails. She
ran out the door. I followed. She got in
her car. I stood in front. She placed the
car in gear. I moved aside. She peeled
off. Got the picture?

DEE DEE: She sounds crazy.

CHINASKI: She has her non-lucid
moments. They had to lock her up once.
She picked up a washing machine and
threw it down a flight of stairs.

DEE DEE: Now what?

CHINASKI: She went to Utah. She has a
sister threre. They have a big dance
every year at this time. She never misses

They sit and drink.

DEE DEE: Im doing OK. The only thing
missing is a good man. I look but I dont
find. Where are they?

She moves closer and smothers him with
her tits.

The pad. Chinaski on the couch with a
drink and cigar, doping out the form.

The phone rings.


LINDA: Its me.


LINDA: How are you doing?

CHINASKI: OK. Hows Utah?

LINDA: Its OK. I miss you.

CHINASKI: I miss you.

LINDA: I have an idea. Why dont you
come here for a visit.



CHINASKI: What would I do there,

LINDA: You would be with me.

CHINASKI: Baby--Im a city boy. Nature
confuses and frightens me. I have to be
near a liquor store and a racetrack at all

LINDA: Dont you miss me?


LINDA: Are you horny?


LINDA: You want me to squeeze your


LINDA: Then come to Utah.



A campsite in the woods.

A small tent with Chinaski inside.

They are in sleeping bags nose to nose.

LINDA: Isnt this great?

CHINASKI: You said it. I love going to bed
at 8 o'clock. If I was in LA Id be at the
track having a miserable fucking time.

LINDA: tomorrow we/ll go horseback
riding. I cant wait. The thought of you on
a horse paralyzes the mind. I will pee my

CHINASKI: Yeah. I can see the headlines
now. Henry Chinaski, Minor LA Poet, Dies
in Utah Falling Off Non-moving Horse.

They go to sleep.

That is--Linda goes to sleep. Chinaski
thrashing inside the sleeping bag. Begins
to doze off.

Loud buzzing noise from mosquito.

He sits up.

CHINASKI: Son of a bitch!

He clicks on a flashlight. Aiming it around
inside the tent. He spots the bug on the
sleeping bag. Smashes at it with his fist—

Linda sits up.

LINDA: Hank--for Christs sake. Its a

CHINASKI: I hate those sons of bitches!

He tracks mosquito. It lands. He nails it.

He beams.

CHINASKI: I got that son of a bitch!

Clicks off the flashlight.

Thrashing around in the sleeping bag.
Begins to doze.

Another mosquito starts to buzz.


Around the fire.

There is Chinaski and Linda and
Glendoline. Glendoline is 43/45. She is tall
and fat. She is ugly as Chinaski. She
wears levis, boots and a hat and a
buckskin jacket in revolting shape.

Chinaski sits on a rock. He is in a poor
way. His eyes droop; his face is covered
with vicious bites. His clothes are  a mess.
He has made one concession to nature in
the form of a cheap windbreaker. He
sucks on a beer.

Glendoline stands. She holds a manuscript.

GLENDOLINE: Im going to read a chapter
from my novel. The novel is called
Wild Woman of the Mountains.

She reads.

(quote from novel; very bad)

Later. Glendoline reading.


Chinaski with a miserable look.

GLENDOLINE: What do you think?

CHINASKI: Its not bad, Gwendoline. But it
needs some work. For one thing its
infested with cliches. Theyre all over the
place. You have to avoid those things like
the plague. The readers sees a couple of
those in a row and hes gone. The reader
is a busy guy--he has many things he
could be doing besides reading your book.
You have to  bear that in mind--always.
Its  a question of style. It always comes
back to that. And that takes time. About
ten years.

GLENDOLINE: It takes ten years to write
something like:"I drank a six pack and
went down to the liquor store where I had
run out of credit in spite of which I
managed to beard Tony for some chips
and sardines and a can of those tiny
sausages and some cigars and a half pint
of vodka", etc,etc. That takes ten years?

CHINASKI: I see your point. Can we
change the subject?

She starts to scream.


CHINASKI: Im going for a hike.

In the woods.

Its a fine day. The sun shines, filtering
down thru the trees to produce an ecstatic

Chinaski hikes along.

The trail borders a stream. There are
plants and flowers, nicely tended and
tagged with elaborate descriptions to
inform the botanically deprived.

He hikes along.

Enters a picnic area.

He sits at a table and takes out a
notebook and begins to scribble a poem.

Hiking along.

The stream leads to a small lake.

The lake is fed from a splendid waterfall
on the other side. The trail follows the
edge of the lake.

He hikes along.

Now the trail begins to wander away from
the lake. The lake disappears from view.
He stops, cocks an ear to listen for the
waterfall. He can hear it nearby.

He leaves the trail and strikes out in that

Hiking along.

The trees and bush thicken, the ground a
nasty terrain of rock, branch and vine.Its
dark. A few narrow rays of light poke thru.

He picks his way along, none too surely.
He trips and bops his head against a rock.
He walks into a tree. He is stabbed by a
bush. A swarm of flies and mosquitos
appear for lunch.

He swats at them viciously.

He stops to cock an ear for the waterfall.

No waterfall.

NO waterfall, no lake, no trail.

Hes lost.

He starts to scream.


He continues on.

Now the ground begins to soften. He is in
a sort of swamp.

He sinks in to his knees.

CHINASKI: Jesus mother of fucking christ!

He retreats to dry ground.

Hikes along.

The woods thin out. There is sky.

He comes to a fence. Beyond the fence a
sort of pasture.

He studies the fence and beyond. No lions
or water buffalos in sight.

Over the fence. He walks along and
comes to a road. Visibly relieved at this
sight. He kneels and inspects the road for
tire tracks which are present.

Hikes along the road.

Hiking along.

A car in the distance.

Car comes into view.

Its Linda.

He is ecstatic.

CHINASKI: Baby I am so glad to see you!
I got lost! I love you sweetheart!

LINDA: I knew you would get lost. You
got lost deliberately because you were

CHINASKI: No sweetheart--my darling. I
got lost out of fear and ignorance. I got
lost because I am not a complete person.
I am a stunted city person. I am a failed
drizzling shit with nothing to offer.

LINDA: Dont get me started on that one.

The post office.

Chinaski casing mail.

Next to him is Felson. Felson is 65/67 and
looks it and then some.

He stands there in front of his case in a
severe stoop. His shoulders are higher
than his head. His face is lifeless.--the
color of cement. The eyes are a couple of
holes punchesd into the skull. The mouth
is small and hard--without lips. He stands
there with Chinaski casing the mail like a

Chinaski having his problems. He is pale
and  standing there none too steadily.

FELSON: Hank--you OK?

CHINASKI: I feel dizzy. I been getting
these fuckingd dizzy spells.

FELSON: take a break. Get a drink of


In the cafeteria.

Chinaski draws a coke, goes to a table
and sits.

Black guy comes over, sits down with.

BLACK GUY: Brother Hank!

CHINASKI: Hello Handley

HANDLEY: you OK? You look a little pale.

CHINASKI; I been getting these dizzy

HANDLEY; You seen a medic?

CHINASKI; Yeah-- He said im in great
shape. Said I had the blood pressure of a
25 year old.

HANDLEY; They always say that. They
always say: you got the blood pressure of
a 25 year old. Two weeks later you drop
dead. Let me ask you a question: do you
get these dizzy spells other places than
the post office--like when you are at the
track. Or do you just get them at work.

CHINASKI; I only get them at work.

HANDLEY; Theres your answer. Hank--I
ever tell ya the story about this cook  on
this ship when I was in the merchant
marine. It was a black guy. Me and him
were the only black guys aboard. He used
to tell me: dont eat the tapioca pudding.
Why? Because he used to jerk off into it.
Those white boys loved it! They used to
ask him how he made it and he said he
had his own secret recipe!

CHINASKI: Thats a good one Handley.

Back upstairs.

Chinaski in front of his case

FELSON: You feel better?.


FELSON: I covered for ya while you were

CHINASKI: Thanks Felson.

They stand there casing mail like zombies.

Now its Felson s turn.  He falls to the floor.

CHINASKI: Jesus Christ!

Chinski bends down. Felson doesnt look
good. He is lying there, face up with a
frozen look in the eyes, blood draining
from the face and a little drool beginning
to leak from the mouth.

CHINASKI: FELSON!  Hey Felson! Hey
someone give me a hand over here!

An office.

Small room with many filing cabinets.  
There is a desk  with files. Two chairs
also. Files on the floor. its files, files,
Behind the desk a woman.

Beside the desk Chinaski.

WOMAN: What can I do for you Mr

CHINASKI: I want to resign.

WOMAN: Pardon me?

CHINASKI: I want to resign from my job

She gives him a look.Then some papers.
Fills these out please.

CHINASKI: All these?


The office. Later.

Chinaski hands the papers over.

WOMAN: Youre done? That was fast.

She looks thru papers. Looks at Chinaski

WOMAN: May I ask a question.

CHINASKI: Go ahead.

WOMAN: Why are you resigning from the
post office?

CHINASKI: Its like this--madam.

WOMAN: Betty.

CHINAKSI: Its like this Betty. I dont know
why I am resigning from the Post office.
The fact  I was standing there when
George Felson nearly dropped dead the
other day may be a factor. Also these
dizzy spells. I dont know. I got my little
expenses like everyone else--child
support, the rent, shoes and socks, all
that. A pint of vodka from time to time or
a day at the track. There are sexual
needs. Yet here I am. I walked over here
like a piece of iron being drawn to a
magnet. I didnt even think about it.

Chinaskis apt.

Linda on the couch reading.

Chinaski enters. He greets her, goes to
the kitchen, makes a drink, joins her on
the couch. Lites up a stogie.

LINDA: You have a good day?

CHINASKI: I had a great day. I quit.

LINDA: No shit.

CHINASKI: Thats right. I am a free man.

LINDA: Jesus.

CHINASKI: I got some social security
coming. $64 a month.

They sit.

LINDA: I think its great. Now you can just
stay home and write.

CHINASKI: What about money?

LINDA: I/ll get a job.

CHINASKI: Ive been thru that. Its a nice
concept that generally fails to work out in
practice. The woman works and the guy  
writes and she comes home after ten
hours on the job with her ass in shreds
and the pad looks like shit and there he is
sitting on the couch watching cartoons on
TV and he greets her and says: Hi babe--
whats for dinner?

They sit.

CHINASKI: Maybe I can get some sort of
part time thing. Shipping clerk or some
shit. I did that once. That  wasnt bad.
They give you this little gummed taped
gadjet for applying labels and youre in
business. There is about two hours actual
work a day. I had a little office with my
radio and the phone and I could sit there
more or less anonomysly and work on my
form. There was a coffee shop next door
and when I got bored I/d walk down the
alley and sit there and have a coffeee and
come on with the waitresses. The truck
drivers would come by and we would
bullshit for a while and then walk back to
the warehouse and throw a few boxes on
or off the truck. I had this thing called a
bill of lading they had to sign. That was it.

LINDA: Dont worry about it. Something
will come up.

The pad.

In the bedroom.

Chinaski and Linda asleep. The room is
dark but with some light  from the
windows beginning to creep in.

The alarm goes off.

Chinaski washes, reaches out and snaps
off the clock.

Linda wakes.

LINDA: What the fuck...what time is it?

CHINASKI: Go to sleep.

LINDA: What?  What are you doing?  
What time is it?

CHINASKI: Its 5:30. Im getting up.


CHINASKI: Im going for a job.

LINDA: A job?

CHINASKI: Go to sleep. Ill see you later.

She rolls back over.

LINDA: youre nuts...

An office.

Behind the desk a man.

In front of the desk Chinaski.

MAN: Thsis is a tough job. Its a young
mans job.

CHINASKI: I can handle it. I used to be in
the ring.

MAN: Oh yes?

CHINASKI: Thats right.

MAN: I follow boxing. I dont remember a
fighter named Henry Chinaski.

CHINASKI: I fought under a different
name--Kid Stardust.

MAN: I dont remember a fighter named
Kid Stardust.

CHINASKI: I fought in South America.

MAN: How old are you?

CHINASKI: 42. Im not young. I/ll go
along with you there. But Im tough.

Man studies Chinaski briefly.

MAN: OK. I/ll give you a shot. Just
remember something: if you dont make
it, Im the one that looks like an asshole.

A warehouse.

On the loading dock.

There is Chinaski wearing boots and a
hardhat and a white smock splashed with
blood. He stands in line with other men,
who are dressed the same, in boots and
hardhats and white smocks splashed
with blood. The difference is that the
other men are all spades, all in there 20's
or early 30's, all huge. Chinaski, who is
not small, is dwarfed by them.

Work begins.

The line melts away, some of the men
dissapearing into the warehouse, the rest
stringing themselves up and down the

Chinaski with another man is led to one
end of the dock where a long semi awaits

Now other men come back out of the
warehouse steering wheelbarrows filled
with meat. Quarters of ham piled high in
the wheelbarrows swimming in shallow
pools of blood.

Loading begins.

Chinaski stands there at the edge of the
dock while his partner goes into the truck
while the guy behind the wheelbarrow
snatches one of the quarters of ham and
heaves it thru the air  at Chinaski who
catches it with his chest. It drives him
back, then he pivots to relay it to the guy
in the truck. He spins back just  in time to
catch another ham in the chest which
drives him back and he pivots to relay it
to the guy in the truck. Then he spins
madly to catch the next ham already on
the way.

It goes on. The men are working
smoothly, rythymically, blankly along
playing catch with the hams. They
concede nothing to Chinaski in spite of his
age, feeble nerves and condition. They
dont care if he makes it or drops dead on
the spot. In fact they prefer the latter.

They flick a casual glance from time to
time to see how he is doing which is not
good. He is splashed with blood from the
meat, the sweat pouring off, watery eyes
and a runny nose and a little green
starting to creep in around the gills.

It goes on. Ham after ham after ham.
There are no breaks.

The wheelbarrows are loaded up,
unloaded and steered right back up relay

Chinaski may or may not make it. The
odds favor the meat.

It goes on. Then it stops. There are no
more wheelbarrows.

Chinaski is wasted. He stands there
covered with blood, grease and sweat.

Now the foreman re-appears and grabs
Chinaski and some of the other men and
trots them off into the warehouse.

Into a large room. Up near the ceiling at
the far end of the room is a large
openeing with a conveyer apparatus
feeding into and out of it. There is a noise,
the conveyor apparatus begins to roll and
out of the opening pops the carcass of a
steer. Knifing nastily thru the air right for

The foreman points to Chinaski.


CHINASKI: Swing it?


Chinaski looks blank.

The foreman rolls his eyes.

FOREMAN: Oh for shits sake! George!

A large spade comes forward, grabs the
steer and performs a short routine. He
runs forward, then backward, then
forward again, bearing the steer down to
spring it from the hook and runs it on
out the door.

Another steer pops out of the opening,
knifing towards Chinaski.

FOREMAN: You got it?

CHINASKI: I got it.

Chinaski grabs the steer. He runs
forward, then backward, then forward
again bearing the carcass down to spring
it from the hook and runs it out the door.

Out the door and back onto the loading
dock and into another semi that awaits

Chinaski watches the man in front flick the
carcass up and rip it down over a hook in
the ceiling.

Chinaski does the same. He hoists the
carcass up and brings it down over the
hook. The hook is quite dull and does not
penetrate and the carcass slips off.

He tries again. Heaves the carcass up and
down over the hook. Same thing. The
carcass slips off the hook.

CHINASKI: Cocksucker!

Behind him a large spade is waiting to
hang his steer.

Chinaski tries again. He hoists the carcass
up and brings it down violently on the
hook. The hook pokes thru. Chinaski
hangs the steer and then hangs on to the
steer sucking air.

MAN (behind him): ID LIKE TA HANG THIS

Chinaski trots off.

Back into the large room for another
steer, etc.

It goes on. Chinaski is sinking. He is not
going to make it. He knows it and
everyone else knows it.

The only question is when.

Now there is a break.

A catering truck pulls over with a few
blasts on the horn and the men wander

Chinaski is first in line.


The foreman walks over.

FOREMAN: Chinaski.


FOREMAN:  Get that truck and move it
over to stall 17.

CHINASKI: What about my break?

FOREMAN: What about it?

CHINASKI: Id like it.

FOREMAN: Id like that truck moved first.

Chinaski goes to the truck--a large semi.
The cab is 7 feet off the ground. He has a
little trouble getting a leg up and a foot
onto the step and himself pulled up and
the door opened and the cab entered.
Then he looks down at the floor into a
nest of gear shifts and clutch pedals. He
turns the key and hits one of the
pedals and tries a gear shit that produces
a ferocious grinding but no movement and
then tries another combination with the
same result and then tries another
combination and the truck bucks
forward and stalls. He restarts it and
drives it over to stall 17.

He parks, kills the motor and gets out of
the truck. He misses the step and
screams and falls to the ground. He gets
up and walks back to the dock. The break
is over. The lunch truck is gone. The men
are back at work loading meat.

A small warehouse.

There are many cartons and boxes piled
up and stenciled to tabulate contents
within, mostly relating to art or drafting
supplies, and many large canvas
stretchers, easels, taborets, etc.

Chinaski is standing talking to another

MAN: When things are slow you can get
yourself a cup of coffee at the cafe around
the corner. But I want you here when the
UPS comes. He usually gets here around
11. Dont miss that UPS guy.


MAN: Keep your squeegie rack filled. Keep
a good supply of squeegies.


MAN: Keep an eye peeled for winos. They
hang out in the alley. They steal anything
it comes out of your salary.


MAN: You got plenty of fragile labels?


MAN: Dont be afraid to use them. I want
this stuff packed good--especially the
paints in glass.


MAN: Today we have to fill an order for
UCLA. They want three gallons of
Cadmium Red light. I am giving them
Vermillion instead. Why you dont need to
know. The Vermillion is right there.

He indicates a wagon stacked with gallon
cans of paint.

MAN: See these cadmium red light labels?.


MAN: I want you to get a razor blade and
soak the rag in water and apply it to the
vermillion labels on the cans of paint and
scrape them off and replace them with the
cadmium red light labels. Can you do that?


MAN: Good.

He leaves.


Chinaski is sitting there scraping the
vermillion labels off the cans of paint.

A man comes over.

He is 26/28, very fat and jumpy.

MAN: You the new guy?


MAN:  Im Paul.

CHINASKI; Hello Paul. Im Hank.

Paul reaches into a coat pocket and brings
out a handful of pills of different colors
and sizes.

PAUL: Want one?


PAUL: Go ahead.

CHINASKI: No thanks.

Paul drops 3 or 4.

PAUL: Damn things. Some want to take
me up, some want to take me down. I let
em fight over me.

CHINASKI: They say its not good.

PAUL: You wanna come over my place
after work toniite?

CHINASKI: Ive got a woman.

PAUL: I got something better.

CHINASKI: Like what?

PAUL: A reducing machine. My girlfriend
bought it for me. We take pills and fuck
on it. The machine does all the work. Its
great. But you have to do it before ten
o'clock because of the noise. It sounds
like a washing machine. The people in the
building think I am a real clean guy.

Chinaski laughs.

CHINASKI: You want me to come over
and watch you and your girlfriend fuck on
the machine?

PAUL: No. You and I will fuck on the

CHINASKI: Who gets on top?

PAUL: I can get on top or you can get on
top. Either way is OK with me.

CHINASKI:  Thanks Paul--Im straight.

PAUL: Its a great machine. Take a few
pills, get on the machine and you forget

CHINASKI: I/ll pass Paul.

PAUL: Suit yourself.

He leaves.

Bud returns.

He is pushing another wagon with more

BUD: How ya doing?


BUD: When you finish those you can do
these. These are cobalt clue. Scrape off
the cobalt blue and replace them with
these ultramarine labels here.


The apartment. Linda and chinaski sitting

LINDA: you got a letter--from Marionetti.

Chinaski opens the letter, begins to read


I got the stories and they are great. Its
almost a novel. You have these characters
of similar type—the drinking, screwing,
horse playing type—to appear and reappear
and they all share a common interest--
never to find a job. All thats needed is the
insertion of a narrative line that ties
everything together—the post office
maybe.  You know what I mean. I like that
format and think it works for these stories.  
Give me your thoughts

The poetry book is selling. I wouldnt say its
flying off the shelves but its moving along
steadily and for poetry that is something. I
think eventually there will be a second
printing.  You are starting to establish a
reputation of a particular kind—the small
but demented following kind. In view of that
I want to do a reading—maybe at the Palace
of Fine Arts—a great venue. I can give you

I was in Europe—Paris and Germany and
then down to Morocco to pay a call on Bill
Lee. Bill is the same. Still writing and
dicking young boys. He says hello.

I could tell you about my new girlfriend but I
will save it for later. She is 22, very sweet,
very horny. I am 48, also horny but not so
sweet. She doesnt care. She just wants to
fuck. Her name is—get this—joy.

Later, Larry

LINDA: thats great! 400 bucks!

CHINASKI: I would rather win at the track.
They sit.

LINDA: You wanna go out and eat?

CHINASKI: I dont eat. You know that.

He picks up paper, turns to the classified,
begins to study the ads.

LINDA: What are you doing?

CHINASKI: Looking for a job. Heres one--
packer in a dog biscuit factory.
Heres one--telephone sales for a condum
co. Heres a good one--scraping wallpaper
in condemned buildings.

LINDA: Hank--forget it.

A plane flight.

Chinaski and Linda in their seats.

LINDA: This is great. I cant wait to meet

CHINASKI: I cant wait to get paid.

LINDA: I wanna eat at this restaurant--
the New Pisa. Its great. They have these
little rooms with a curtain. I was there
once before. I was with a guy and we
were standing at the bar and started
talking to this guy and his wife. They were
like 55 or 60, very nice. The guy was
cute. We were talking about this and that
and I asked him what he does. He says:
Im a photographer. So I said: like what
kind of photography? And he says mostly
journalism--newspapers and magazines,
etc. So I asked if I had ever seen any of
his pictures. And he looked at me in a sort
of humorous way and he says: have you
ever heard of World War ll?  I said yes.
He said: there was a famous battle on an
island in the Pacific called Iwo Jima. This
battle led to a famous picture taken of
some marines on a hill raising the
rican flag. I took that picture.

She jabs Chinaski.

LINDA: Isnt that great! He was that guy--
Rosenberg or Rosenstein.

CHINASKI: Rosenthal.

He signals to the Stewardess for a fresh

LINDA: You nervous?

CHINASKI: A little.

LINDA: Just dont get loaded. I want a
brilliant performance.

CHINASKI: They dont give a shit. They
just want me on the cross.

LINDA: You call $500 for an hours work a
cross? Youre some Christ!

CHINASKI: I said I would never do this. I
would never read in front of those
bloodsuckers. Thats what killed Dylan

LINDA: No sweetheart. What killed Dylan
Thomas was cirrhosis of the liver. You
dont get it reading poetry for $500 a shot.

San Francisco.

In a coffee house. Of the type known as
North Beach jive artiste.

Many small tables featuring longhairs,
tourists, white collar types, the odd
neighborhood regular. On one wall a
poster of Chinaski announcing the reading.

Linda and Chinaski at a table.

Linda eating a tart-- heavily crusted
object filled with fruit and custard. She
breaks off a piece, forks it, lifts to the
mouth, opens wide, the jaws grind, she
swallows, rolls her eyes.

LINDA: This is fabulous! You want some?

CHINASKI: No thanks.

She forks another piece and sticks it in his

LINDA: Take it.

CHINASKI: I said no.

LINDA: Take it!

He eats.

LINDA: Hank--these posters are great.

CHINASKI: Yeah--the suck is on.

They are joined by Marionetti. He is tall,
early fifties, bald, a kindly face with
plenty of con beaming from the eyes.


Chinaski greets him, stands, performs the

Marionetti sits.

CHINASKI: Linda wants to hear about the
good old days.

MARIONETTI: We wrote and drank and
sucked each others dicks. They got a
story on you in todays Chronicle. I got it

He produces paper, starts to read.

(quote from blurb here)


MARIONETTI: Not that we need it. We
already got a sellout. Hows LA?

CHINASKI: LA is LA. I quit my job at the
Post Office. I am terrified.

MARIONETTI: Dont worry about it. You
can make it. Its like Jackie Mason says: "I
got enough money to last the rest of my
life--as long as I dont buy anything".

A toilet.

Chinaski puking into the bowl.

He finishes puking and washes up.and
joins Marionetti who waits outside.


CHINASKI: Im OK. Its a nervous reaction.

MARIONETTI: Youre gonna be great.

Out on stage. There is the chair, the
coffee table, the refrigerator.

Marionetti walks out.

Roaring applause.

MARIONETTI: Good evening. My name is
Marionetti. Aldous Huxley once said:
Anyone can be a genius at 25; at 50 it
takes some doing. I dont know if Henry
Chinaski is a genius. The only thing I
know is that when I read his poems and
stories they make me laugh out loud. its
the people. He writes about them in a
certain way. Like he is interested in them.
In the way they look and talk and eat and
drink and screw. Its the real thing. There
is no bullshit. Ladies and Gentleman:
Henry Chinaski!

Chinaski enters.

The audience goes wild.

He waits for the noise to subside.

He goes to the fridge, opens it, draws a

CHINASKI: My girlfriend told me to keep
the drinking to a minimum. I said the
audience prefers me in a vulnerable state.
True or no?

Audience goes wild.

He sits, opens his portfolio, withdraws a

CHINASKI:This one is called: some
people. I remember writing this poem. It
took me about 9 minutes. I said: that was
easy. The next time I looked at it I still
liked it. There was a meaningless quality
about it that was reassuring.

some people never go crazy.
me, sometimes I/ll lie down behind the
for 3 or 4 days,
they/ll find me there.
its hank they/ll say, and
they pour wine down my throat
rub my chest
sprinkle me with oils.

then, I/ll rise with a roar,
rant, rage--
curse them and the universe
as I send them scattering over the
I/ll feel much better,
sit down to toast and eggs,
hum a little tune,
suddenly become as lovable as a
overfed whale.

some peole never go crazy.
what truly horrible lives
they must lead.

There is silence and then the room goes
wild. Fierce, howling, whistling, barking,

The noise subsides.

CHINASKI: This one is about a woman I
used to know. We had some good times.
Then we had some bad times. She turned
against me. Why I know not. The point of
this poem--I will help you out here--is
that once a woman turns against you you
can forget it. They are different then men
in this way.  They can watch you lying on
the street under the wheels of a truck and
spit on you.


He finishes and the room goes wild.

CHINASKI: Thank you. This is OK.
Tomorrow I have to go back to LA and
return to my normal way of living which
you would in no way want to experience
for yourself. This is a poem about writing.
I get a lot of mail from people asking me
how to become a writer. It works like
this. You buy a typewriter and go into a
room and you sit down at the typewriter
and start writing. You stay in this room
writing for ten years. When you come out
of the room you are a writer. Guaranteed.
You may be a good writer, a mediocre
writer or a writer of no talent, not a
shred. But you will be a writer.


Chinaski finishing poem to roaring
applause, howling, barking, etc

CHINASKI: Thank you. This is a poem
about drinking. After a hard night of which
you apply the Henry Chinaski hangover
cure: two soft boiled eggs with a pinch of
chili powder which you eat while drinking
a warm beer. Then you pop a bennie.


Finishes poem, crowd goes wild, he waits
for noise to subside.

CHINASKI: Thank you. I am going to read
one more poem and drink two more
beers. Then the reading is over. No
encores. I want all you people to start
passing the word about my books. I quit
my job at the Post Office and writing is
my major source of income. Plus
whatever I can supplement via the track,
ho ho.

Reads poem.

Audience goes wild.

CHINASKI: That wraps it. Thank you very

An apt.

Room in an uproar with lacerating rock
and roll erupting from the stereo and
many people drinking and gibbering
incoherently  and more outside
hammering at the door to be let in. They
hammer and invoke Chinaskis name.

Linda, Chinaski and Marionetti chatting

LINDA: My first husband had a big cock.
But that was all he had. There was no
personality--no vibes. He liked to watch
TV and that was it. We had to arrange our
lovemaking around the TV schedule. He
was dull, dull, dull. Then I met a guy who
was a track star. This one had no sex
drive at all. He was into the high hurdles
and coke. Then I met this guy and then I
met that guy and then I met some other
guy and if it wasnt one thing it was
another. They have a drug problem or
they have a drinking problem or they
have no money or they chase other
women or they dont change their
underwear or they want free
housekeeping or they cant leave their
mnother or they spend 3 hours a day in
front of the mirror in the bathroom
performing their toilet. Its endless. Then I
met Chinaski. I said to myself: maybe
this is what I need--a bum. An old bum no
one else wants. There was no problem in
the vibes dept: the vibes were there in
abundance. I had read his books so I
knew all about the drinking and the
horses and the whores and the cheap
cigars and so on. I figured these were
mere sypmptoms of loneliness growing
out of a desperate need for love that I
would surely overcome in time. And I
think I was right. But I failed to anticipate
something more serious. I refer to his
typewriter. This is the only thing he truly
cares about. The world and everything in
it can be sucked right down into the sewer
as long as Chinaski is left alone in a room
with his typewriter.

MARIONETTI:  had the same problem with
my second wife. We were walking along
one day having a more or less routine
beef and she said something quite
profound by way of describing our
relationship--or non-relationship. I was
starting to lose my memory at the time
and had developed the habit of writing
little notes to myself when struck by a
brilliiant thought. So I stopped and took
out my notebook and made a brief entry.
I knwew this was a fatal act but I did it
anyway. She went thru the roof. She said:
what the fuck are you doing? I said:

She said: you are pathetic. You are
fucking pathetic. The only thing that
interests you about what I am saying is
the use of it you will make in some future
pathetic work.

A woman who is drunk joins them and
presses herself against Chinaski.

Its Dee Dee.

DEE DEE: Hi Hank.

CHINASKI: Dee Dee. This is great.

DEE DEE: Hank--I miss you. Why dont
you call me?

LINDA: Whos the bitch?

DEE DEE: Is this Linda?

CHINASKI: This is Linda.

DEE DEE: Im lonely Hank. After you left I
had an affair with a fag. It was horrible.
Then I met a bullfighter. He beat me up. I
could be good for you Hank--I know a lot
of people. I had 3 records in the top 40
last week.

Now Linda goes for Dee Dee.

Chinaski steps between them and breaks
it up.

CHINASKI: Girls--please!

Later. The party moving along. People
come and go. The drinking is even. A
small scuffle breaks out between two

Chinaski breaks it up.

CHINASKI: Leave the guy alone.

DRUNK: Hes a fag.

CHINASKI: Hes a fag who prints my

DRUNK: I dont believe any of that shit
Chinaski. All that shit about living on skid
row and doing time and being tight with
all the pimps and junkies, etc.

CHINASKI: Just lucky, I guess.

DRUNK: Bullshit.

Now there is a sudden punching sound and
the noise of exploding glass. Someone
from the street has heaved a bottle thru
the window.

CHINASKI: All right--thats it. The party
has terminated. Everyone out!


Chinaski in a chair nipping from a pint
surveying the damage.

Linda sits opposite. She looks at him
without pleasure.

LINDA: I think its over Hank.

CHINASKI: Whats over?

LINDA: This--me and you.


LINDA: Im beginning to see a pattern.
You have limited interests. There is no
stimuli. You dont own a TV, you dont read
the newspaper, you dont go to parties,
movies, baseball games, parades, the
beach. You dont take trips to scenic areas.
You dont like restaurants. When we eat at
a restaurant you keep your head down
staring at your plate. You dont like
shopping. When we shop I have to go
inside and buy all the shit while you circle
the parking lot in your car. It all points to
a pathologic or socio-pathologic need to
shun human contact. Yet you claim to be
a writer. I thought a writer was a person
with this insatiable curiosity about the
people and the world around him. Your
curiosity level is zero. A lizard living under
a rock in the desert has more curiosity
than you. Youre doing it backwards.

CHINASKI: Thats why Im making it.

LINDA: Making it! You think youre making

CHINASKI: Im paying the fucking rent. To
me thats making it.

LINDA: Making it is becoming rich and
famous. Youre not rich. Are you famous?
If you walked down the street in New
York would anybody recognize you?

CHINASKI: No--and I wouldnt recognize
them. And that is the way I hope to keep
it. What you say is true: I have no
curiosity. I dont like people. Will Rogers
said he never met a person he didnt like.
I never met a person I liked. I only want
one thing--to be left alone. It seems a
modest request. Now can we go to bed?

LINDA: You go to bed. Im going back to
LA. You want to be left alone--Im leaving
you alone. You can wake up tomorrow
morning magnificently alone with a big
hard-on and flog it ecstatically all by


In the bedroom. Its dark. Chinaski in bed
on his back snoring.

Linda enters. She goes to the bed. Rips
the covers off. She jumps up on top
pinning him with her knees in his chest.

He wakes.

CHINASKI: What the fuck...

LINDA: I/ll leave you alone--cocksucker.

She screams and claws his face and sinks
her teeth into his arm.

They thrash on the bed. He gets a knee
up and manages to dump her on the floor.

Out of the bed skipping into the kitchen.
There is a bottle of whisky on the table
which he swipes and takes a drink and
pours some into the hole in his arm. He
goes to the bathroom and over to the
mirror where he  examines himself
cautiously in the mirror.


The pad.

Chinaski on the couch doping out the form.

Its hot. He is stripped to the waist with
the fan going.

His face still bears signs of the fight with
Linda, also the arm which sports a

Someone at the door--the mailman.

He rises and goes to the door.

CHINASKI: Wheres the regular guy?

Mailman gives him an abused look.


CHINASKI: You wanna beer?

MAILMAN: Thanks--I gotta deliver this

CHINASKI: Fuck the mail. I usta be a

MAILMAN: That right?

CHINASKI: Thats right. So when I say
fuck the mail I say it with a certain
amount of insight. You want that beer or

Mailman enters.

MAILMAN: Its a hot son of a bitch out

He sets the bag down.

Chinaski draws the beer, they sit.

MAILMAN: What happened to your face?

CHINASKI: I had a beef with my ex-

MAILMAN: You look familiar now that you
mention it.

CHINASKI: I worked out of West Jefferson
for 8 years, then Harvard central.

MAILMAN: I worked West Jefferson.

CHINASKI: There was Tom Moto, Bill
Fleming, Big Daddy Horton, Connors.

MAILMAN: Connors resigned. They caught
him stealing.

CHINASKI: No shit? Connors? The guy
was like a fucking marine. He was Mr.
Post  Office.

MAILMAN: Thats right. He was stealing
from this Jap temple. Little old ladies
were sending cash to this temple. But
they werent getting any letters back
thanking them for their contribution.
Thats because Connors was stealing the
money. So when the little old ladies called
the temple to find out why they werent
getting their thank you letters the temple
called the Post Office to find out why they
werent getting their money and the Post
Office started keeping an eye on Connors
and thats how the mystery of the
dissapearing funds was solved.

CHINASKI: I have alwasy said it is the
perfectly groomed and impeccably
dressed individual who performs his job in
exemplary fashion who goes home at nite
and there is human pus all over the floor.

MAILMAN: So what are you--on disability?

CHINASKI: No. I quit. The Post Office was
beginning to interfere with my true
vocation--playing the horses.

MAILMAN: You make a living playing the

CHINASKI: I didnt say I made a living at

Mailman stands:

MAILMAN: I gotta go. Thanks for the beer.

Chinaski shows him out.

CHINASKI: Watch out for the woman at
345. She invited the regular guy in for
coffee one day and the next thing he
knows she is tearing her clothes off and
screaming rape.

Mailman rolls his eyes.

Chinaski goes back to the couch, sits
down to read his mail.

He has one piece--a fan letter.

Dear Henry Chinaski:

Ive read some of your books. I work as a
typist at a place on  Cherokee Ave. I have a
picture of you on the wall. Its a poster from
one of your readings. People ask me--whos
that? I say: thats my boyfriend. They say:
my god! I was married once and got
divorced. He was a stiff. All  he did was
work on his motorcycle. The sex was
boring. He didnt like  oral sex. Anyway I like
the way you write and would like to meet
you. I think we have a lot in common.
Maybe we could have a drink. My phone
number is 347-6754. They say I am stacked.

Love, Tammy

Chinaski sits for a minute, chewing on his
stogie. He sucks from his beer. He gets up
and goes to the kitchen. There is the table
and the typer upon it. He sits and inserts
a piece of paper intothe machine. Begins
to type:

I met Linda Vance at a party. She was a
redhead. She was in the middle of the room
dancing with a young blonde guy. Normally
I didnt go to parties but there I was...

installment one