Monthly Archives: September 2007

Denis Johnson, "Out on Bail"

Jack Hotel’s back in town.

(from Jesus’ Son)

Which is a good excuse to go out and get drunk and high, as is a fight with the girlfriend. Everybody, everybody in the bar at least, is only staving off death. Lucky but not really lucky.

Denis Johnson, "Two Men"

They just wanna go home, or maybe find a fight, but a deaf-mute seems to really want a ride.

(from Jesus’ Son)

Plotwise, I didn’t quite follow this one. Was the guy really deaf? What were those places he led our narrator too? Is this how Denis Johnson works?: He has these dazzling ideas, easily summed up concepts about drunk druggy uglies hitting a bunny but trying to save the babies, or finding a drive-in theater in a snowstorm and mistaking it for a cemetery, or getting into a car destined for an accident, or coming out of the bar only to find a stranger in the backseat. But. But, but, the narrator doesn’t change, not perceptably, the plot doesn’t resolve most of the things one might assume are the central conflicts. And the point really is that there’s no point, not in these lives, not in any lives. All we are is blind baby bunnies who wriggle the wrong way and get smushed.

Denis Johnson, "Car Crash While Hitchhiking"

Another pill popper. This one hitches and survives a horrific accident. Might be the same pill popper.

(from Jesus’ Son)

Under Midwestern clouds like great grey brains we left the superhighway with a drifting sensation and entered Kansas City’s rush hour with a sensation of running aground.

Because you know from the title, and from a lot of lines soon after it, you might think the accident wouldn’t shock, but i does. It’s a bloody and sudden thing. I wish I could find you
a place to read this story online, but all I found was another site summarizing the story. Very strange. Anyway I’m not going to link it because whoever wrote it said the narrator of “Car Crash While Hitchhiking” is clairvoyant, but I don’t think so. Never trust a junkie, people.

Small Factory, “Junky on a Good Day”