From Twenty Drunken Nights by david moscovich [Mummaliga Press: 2008] Now available at the New York Public Library and in very limited quantities at St. Mark`s Bookstore (NYC), Left Bank Books (Seattle), Reading Frenzy, the PNCA library and Powell's City of Books (Portland, OR):

With Bernie and I there was a genuine sense of comradeship, of chumming, and despite all his pining over superstar models he pretended to know intimately then lose in some heated barfight, he needed a friend more than anything, a partner in time. My best days with Bernie were when he managed to laugh, and when he was in a good mood, usually sunny and the rum was rolling, and we were playing Dick Dale up on volume twenty-six, and we turned the chair so we could talk to each other and not the hypnobox, we had a party for two that matched any existentialist nihilist drunkards’ super DJ house party in momentum, in density of emotion and raw animal magnitude, we were an 8.6 on the richter scale. At our best, Bernie and I were a lifestyle, a free-wheeling, fuck-the-world brotherhood that gave it to the man when and how we felt it best; because of Bernie’s status in the community we were able to pull off superhuman stunts in the realm of social experiments. There was no end to the piss we could take out of greenish grocery store clerks, gas attendants, car wash girls, whoever. Bernie and I always had to do the shopping together, that was part of the deal.

--What should we get at the store Bernie, I would ask, and he would cock his head to the side, and move his mouth to the corner of his mouth and slur

--Shockka shipps

--Chocolate did you say chocolate Bern

--Schokka shipps hookies

--Brilliant boss we’ll get some but you can’t just eat cookies – I don’t wanna tell you what to do but how bout some strawberries with that

--Nyeah nyeah nyeah wereel goo

--And hey you gotta remember to coordinate food with drink it’s just as important as getting the right shirt to match the pair of pants you want to wear

--Nrigght nnrii

--So if we’re drinking Cuba Libres tonight – you said you wanna drink Cuba Libres right

--Nyeah nuuba reebrayy

--Right so what kind of fruits might sit well for example cut and wedged into the side of the glass as a


--We need some umbrellas Bernie is that it

--Nfrr the nrokkrails

--Right super brill the little umbrellas you are always thinking progressively my friend – umbrellas and what kind of fruit did we say


--Pineapple good one boss now can you tell a good pineapple from a not so ripe one


--Well you gotta squeeze it like this then turn it upside down and throw it at the pile of apples like this, I say, and let it rock the Pink Ladys down the floor in a fruictilicious avalanche

The produce boy would come scraping the floor and I’d tell him,

--Sorry part of the job description buddy, and he would look at the corn exuding from my ears and keep scraping

--Nya, Bernie guffawed at the bumbling produce boy

--You know Bernie just asked you your name, I told him

--He asked me my name I’m so sorry I didn’t well it’s not that I didn’t understand but

--So just exactly what are you saying

--Look I’ll get right on it

--You’ll get right on what I think you’re taking advantage of the situation here just who do you think you are

--Nyeah haa haa han, said Bernie, pushing the wheelchair into the apple pile again and knocking back all of his work onto the floor again

--Look I’m going to have to call the manager is he on duty right now

--Oh please don’t do that

--You know and I know this is a clear case of discrimination against

--The handicapped I know I’m very sorry

--Handicapped who said anything about handicapped are you trying to say Bernie is handicapped

--No that’s not what I meant

--Sure it’s what you meant you people are all the same he’s not handicapped he’s a public nuisance

--That’s what I meant to say

--So you’re saying he’s a public nuisance are you, I said, raining the produce and cash registers with a booming Orson Wells voice

--Nyeah nyeah numbic nussann haa haa han, Bernie echoed, swaying his head in complete joy over the whole scene

There was nothing better than this moment, watching the pale awkwardness of a person who doesn’t know how to react, the vibrating smiles, the hands out of rhythm like some new teenager who sees a bit too much leg on his mother’s girlfriend, notices she enjoyed his nervousness – the joy of being with Bernie in the public sphere had much to do with that secret agenda, making people squirm.