Preview of a book Krist *was* writing

Story: A guy who is trying to overcome his cynicism.

They were all sitting around the T.V. watching a Gomer Pile re-run. Chuckles and laughs permeated the room a glow with the boob tube flashing blue. There were three guys. Jake and Ben U-spine sunk into the couch, necks at 90', and James sitting up cross-legged clutching his ankle. The laughs weren't from the show script writers though, the laughs came from the comments Jake and Ben were making about Jim Neighbors sexual orientation. "Look at how he walks" exclaimed Jake, "Oldrock must have been corn-holing him for sure." More laughs. James, lost in thought for a moment, felt kind of an empathy for old Jim Neighbors. Back in the 60's everyone was in the closet. Jim was such a straight guy, or at least they all thought he was. He must of had some freaky feelings hiding his true self: a homosexual. What pressure. I remember seeing an add on T.V. about a Jim Neighbors album, and if I can recall, a lot of the music was gospel tunes sung in a syrupy baritone. Was he thinking about a rock hard rock when he was belting out those soulful numbers? Was his homosexuality a yolk or stockade that bound his head and hands? If discovered, the source would ridicule the shame consuming him. At least if he got lucky some queer could sneak up from behind and goose him. "Gomer laid a pile!" screamed Ben. More laughs. James commented, "Why didn't Pile fight in Nahm? Wasn't that show from the middle to late 60's? Could you see him throwing down death cards at dead Vietcong saying something like, 'This is like bridge night a Goobers back in Maybury' Then Sergeant Carter would walk up and scream 'Pile go over there and burn those huts." James stands up and salutes saying, "Yes sergeant Carter." Then moves about the room mimicking Gomer's moves as if he were worldly setting blazes in some doomed Vietnamese village. Yet more laughs. After some more channel surfing laced with wry observations and deconstructive cynical comments, James decided to take off. In his old Toyota cruising down the boulevard he pondered the Gomer question again. Sure, he laughed along with those guys. Funny and queer do go hand in hand. I mean the old meaning for queer. I heard some Christians complaining about how homosexuals messed up the word gay, too. Jim Neighbors is the new queer though and what's so funny about that? What's so funny about sex? What about Jim's shameful secret and his repressed feelings? What about Gomer, oh brother Gomer! How could I feel for Jim Neighbors who the fuck is he anyway? An old queer sitcom actor. What a dumbshow. Getting out of that stuffy girbel den and into the brisk night air, helped James resolve his spout with melancholia. Again, self assured and with Gomers cock eyed grin in perspective, he glanced around his world. Even at 12:30 at night, the lights were on everywhere. As he drove fate beams from street lamps followed and tagged his car each in perfect succession as if they were passing him from one to another. Black top parking lots shone from an earlier rain. Lit-up adds and business signs glowed soft now, the moisture in the air cutting their sharpness. The freshair wasn't the only stimulation. Driving this late was cool because there weren't very many cars out and the world was kind of your own. James felt less tension from the collective human conciseness also. This was a time of inversion for the average person. Eyeballs that weren't watching late night T.V. were darting in R.E.M. patterns both mediums preoccupying individual brains with images pleasantor terrible, common or surreal. Still with all of the psychic elbow room the apparatus of the collective, the manifestation of the collectives reality, lay everywhere. It was in the incessant lights it was in the strip mall parking lots and wide boulevards. It was the world. This is America of the 1990's and James was pulling up to his little piece of it.

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