BILLY HUBRIS

  by Laurence Wilhelm Lillvik
1.
Billy Hubris woke with a taste of his own making in his mouth. Lysol skies kept him indoors. His shit was far from firm, the Pacific Princess logo had begun to peel off his muscle "T". Today would be erudite with a possible chance of malaise. His jar of fluff was dangerously low. The palm fronds outside the kitchen window sway slightly, creating Balinese Shadow Puppet/Rorschach tests on his cabinets. The Seagram's Seven beckoned. Billy getting bent on some 7 and Squirts started scrawling (fancy toe work) his dreams with a Sharpie across the Asbury Park Press. The Living Arts section was fluff smeared and smelly and the phone had been ringing for at least 20 minutes. Dreams of bleachers and chocodiles, he felt Mizundastood.

Everyone on his block was in their yard brandishing garden weasels. Finally the answering machine picked up, he'd jerry rigged it for maximum ringage, and it was Salome Baptiste Schnell requesting accompaniment to the Wawa. Perhaps her skies were gentle.


2.
See the way she walks, with butter in her hair, codified speeches broadcast from her fillings. See the way she skirts the edge of the reservoir sketching in her notebook the lies of the seasons. See the way she smiles at the scents of the juniper and the musk of the rodents who feast near the drainpipe. See the Wawa up ahead and Billy Hubris balanced near a concrete ashtray, twirling the pebbles with a discarded straw.

In this criminal Township she struts unobstructed to the front of the Wawa. Miscreants crowd the entrance but it's smoke and mirrors. "Let's not have a dialog" she thinks and the dragonflies swarm the dumpster.

- Salome?...

- ...Hubris... (a smirk so sexy he birthed a nebula)

- Lead the fucking way!

And she did, they walked across a muffler and an oil-stain rainbow, toward the North side of the WAWA. Garbage thickets choking the edges of The parking lot... see the way she strolls. Released like a yawn the two followed a dirt trail to the Navy Yard. I can smell the octopi he mumbled, sucking on the freshly doctored 64oz WASlammer... Canadian Whiskey is his sibling she stammered in reply.


3.
Though the journey's distance minimal, it was akin to sipping an embittered and agnostic chardonnay. Kicked up dust teasing the threshold of nasal-clog density, Billy it seemed was a goner. Salome stopped and, her mouth agape so slightly, let forth a squeak so catlike Billy checked his footing for feline trample. So catlike Billy checked his footing. See the Navy Yard now That it has gained an eerie loom? Subtle like the Lysol sky mused Billy, Grays like this are seldom forgiving to the optimist. Drop the WaSlammer Billy, it's no longer important. Salome, is this a dirty trick?


4.
"A dirty trick indeed as a wave of sailor insects emerge from the hull of the battleship."

Billy sucks hard on his Seven and Squirt. A strange Pakistani take on "Girl From Ipanema" seems to originate in her mouth, and her eyes ...

-Billy?

"A dirty trick indeed as a wave of sailor insects emerge from the hull of the battleship."

-Billeeeeeeeeeee?

He knew a kiss would create a cranial amplifier and well, the percussive nature of the shipyard labor below, let's just say it got him going ....

-Salome, I went along with your Shanghai shenanigans up to this point and I'll gladly swab the deck of any seaworthy vessel under the strict supervision of oily bare-chested enforcers, but you gotta tell me one thing ...

-Yeah? Hit me ...

- Is that "The Girl From Ipanema?"


5.
Salome, today she wore a flowered dress and butter in her hair. Salome, today she'd come all this way for Billy but hadn't banked on his ease of use. She'd networked for this and she'd given up vacations and liquidated her My Little Pony collection, many a mint prancer indeed. She'd put off a trip to the dentist. Back at the barnyard in Baker, in the hayless loft she'd forgotten Billy's papers, w/out them he couldn't be hers.

-Yes Billy that is the "Girl From Ipanema" some crazy Pakistani version I downloaded last week and before that was an amateur adaptation of War Of The Worlds where aliens are replaced by radioactive bugs that my cousin Timmy leant me. I'm afraid our Shanghai mission will have to wait because I fucked something up; I'll be in touch if you ...(he nods rapidly) want me to ... OK then ... I'll see you later.

In the direction of the ships she walked and he knew that if he tried to follow her it'd be pretty awkward and up to now things had been pretty smooth and he was starting to not really regret coming out here but feel a bit bummed he had to walk all the way home past the WaWa and he wasn't even planning on leaving the fucking house today and the skies were reverting right before his eyes and wasn't ChiPs on?


6.
Now I'll go to the junkyard. Billy Hubris was high. The dusk was a blanket over his hammock womb. The sway, the porch, the home, the Asbury Park Press. The junkyard beckoned. I'll ride my bike. A mynah bird neighbor issued a warning. The television wore a mustache and bowled in Cleveland, Pro/Ams. Spiders dangled, spiders mumbled, spiders never let Billy get a good look. Phil and Paul were at the junkyard, had been for weeks ... one had mentioned a Schnell while detaching handlebars one by one from the chopper grave. Billy's shit was not too firm. The Pacific Princess logo was 2/3rds of the way peeled from his Muscle T. Down in Muscle Shoals we got real soul Billy, Phil had once said but for some reason pretending to be Ronnie Van Zandt. Soul? The street cleaner was 8 hours too early and all the cats new it.


7.
The junkyard was a junkyard, the ride there, a ride. They had the bitch lit up like a H.S. football field. The clouds resembled a relief map of someplace else. Fuck the moon, it waned. Paul was gutting a Charger, Phil a Challenger. Side by side they gutted, neither aware that Phil Collins was singing "In The Air Tonight." Billy was painfully aware as he watched. "Well I remember, I remember" ... drums ... flamingos, pastel suits worn with pastel t-shirts. Those gnarly loafers with the ribbing, maybe a tassel, pastel socks. Fuck that, where's the poker game?

-Hey Phil, Schnell?

-Schnell? Paul? Schnell?

-Schnell? Billy? Billy laughed; Paul was on the roof of the Charger, right where the Confeddy flag would be. Phil was halfway in the trunk of his carcass. Inside his pocket Billy hit record. It was a nice spare Phil rolled out of there, white walled. The wrecker was fired up in the near distance, laying down hard into some El Caminos.

-Where's the poker? It's Tuesday.

Both of 'em stopped their gutting.

-Billy you best get on your way.

-Schnell?

-Now.


8.
For Billy Hubris it was time for re-thinking instead, instead he slept. Right behind the blue and pink Econoline. Dreamt he had a wife who liked to infuse herbs and liquors; brandy/thyme, mint/bourbon, vodka/cardamom. Dreamt of muzzleloaders and Peking. Dreamt of festering and blistering. Dreamt of Salome Baptiste Schnell.

He blinked on occasion receiving... he blinked and above the rooftop, Chevy top, metallic horizon saw sparks... and whispered "mike break broke." Acetylene sparks splayed. Negotiating his metaphysical credit... meta-cred. I will allow them to pass through the air around me, I will not be absurd.


9.
We watch the rolls, his rolls, primordial in the dirt, a toss/turn/toss combo that nauseous most observers left. Them being the crows. Wednesday? For the pokering wasn't about, yet should've been. Tracing routes on mental maps left interstates uncompleted. A crawl appeal was forming but upright stood Billy, despite. Gathering goods to his person, roundabout and twister-esque was a site to said observers, crow. Planking boards near the steel, never noticed. Billy felt like he now had short-wave access to fillings broadcast of Salome, just now he felt it and blast to upright from prone. Yeah he did, Billy Hubris.


10.
And homeward lands, homeward must. Billy those skies aren't forgiving and Bob Ross paints today, liberally he slices the Titanium White with the palette knife and with stroke creates life.

-Happy little River.

Blind man's cane taps fat frozen squirrel. Billy thumbs through some photos in a shoebox, 1983 he stands by the pond holding his Huffy... Def Leppard _ "T" sportin', red checkered pads, red checkered Vans, chromies on the tires.

Blind man's cane taps fat frozen squirrel, in this picture he stands on a picnic table in a park near the school, where S--- P--- offered and offered... he took some, like feeding a horse, and mumbled in kisses and struggled with bras. She smoked Marlboro Lights and he looked down in the photo.

Blind man's cane taps fat frozen squirrel.

-Happy little River.

Bob Ross died and Billy rolls over, it's no longer yesterday, but he knows about backwards compatibility. Salome's been calling and the ringer is off.


11.
Nocturne the second? Envision encampments of soldiers in the shadows he'd need to sit up to see.

Revise:

Salome, a must have...

Phil and Paul: enemies...

Myself: In bed and weary from a day's plus travels.

His last piss? His last piss, the fanning of urine, a pubic hair probably spread 'cross the dickhole and caused a division. His last piss complacent? We hope so.

The rakes they gather in nearby counties now, the fillings seem to broadcast... yet the "News" is tempered with some Western Swing and the wireless-ness of his cranial receiver nearly causes a priapism.

Billy does some locking and popping in front of the mirror, top-rocks into the den. Sips a dream concoction of brandy/thyme and re-files his recipes. The business is out on the sidewalk and approaches the bungalow. A Shanghai shan't be unpleasant he muses, does Billy, and knows.


12.
Fucking ... ring!

-Yeah I'm yr Shanghai Surprise...

- Billy, Billy, Billy...

- Salome, Salome, ya know yr name isn't that fun to repeat...

- ...

- Wawa?

- Uh huh.

See the way she walks, she's rather feisty, he's not so sure, she's got no choice. It's a day-span, that's for sure - weather shifted, motives shifted, notions shifted. She broadcasts beats, he cranial -- receives.

Radon banshee, undiscovered? Salome so- so slyly takes command and Billy's whispers go unnoticed. Let's filter this through the pine, later. Pines.


13.
Billy Hubris and Mrs. Paul's breaded frozen halibut slabs, intensely minimal frozen food isle at the Wawa. Salome small-talks the pinball contingent and eye-bats the clerk in a multitasking/diversionary splendor. Hubris pants the minced sea-meat and visualizes cartwheels uncanny, palms mashing ridged mat of rubber parting doors of glass.

From her mouth to skull amp.

-Kansas City ice water, Kansas City ice water.

From her mouth to skull amp.

-Will of the wisp. Will of the wisp.

He meandered a dusted meander past the counter, the clerk, the miscreants and Miss Schnell. By side by side it's a hot New Jersey night. I think the Ranger's had a homecoming, Salome and a two-handed pass of the spiked WaSlammer 64 oz. to the frozen pouch-from-pants pulling merchant of dirt named Billy.


14.
Billy gladly swabs the deck of a seaworthy vessel under the strict supervision of oily bare-chested enforcers. Destination Malta. Salome she twirls her hair on the poop deck and sketches a glass of ice water next to an Interstate sign glowing “Kansas City 234” with the aid of truck lights. Candid gulls menace the periphery. 34 day ETA. Bolanized airwaves. Exhaust pipe love. Gotta cultivate the cross breeze when lolling in Sargasso. Knots of speed decreasing, Schnell thinks she feels her ovaries, jots down the feeling on a postcard addressed to the Beastmaster General then summons trusting dolphins.

One of the crew was having a Sleestack flash back, hands in Vulcan grip randomly pushing non-existent crystal shards of glowing into slots of varied and questionable ability to host said shards. He was named Rodger and ironically enjoyed a good buggering. He'd been a Sleestack for days. He used to breakdance in Islip. Him and Billy would later form a "crew."


15.
At night the vessel is visited by specters though visual witnesses are reluctant confessors. Salome began roasting three kinds of game in appeasement ritual but always stole a nibble or two from the clutches of gods. She'd lounge on her bed with some venison jerky poring over the Hubris file. The men in Malta maintain a massive and mime like communication with their operatives. She'd begun as a fence. A source of boogie with a Mayfield minefield of soul. Sisters, brothers and crackers getting by with 8-track and Betamax scams. Axe murdering politicians making mad swap for some Craftsman socket sets. They approached her when she was ragging. Busted a slideshow on the South wall that appealed to her inner Tyler-Moore. They smelled of irradiated bongwater.

The fucking Atlantic was large. Planets are loud.


16.
The gods seemed to be involved in a nap of placation. Long shot of a vessel most seaworthy and the insect crew atop. Dismembered symphony soundtrack. The gods seemed to be involved in a nap of placation and Billy Hubris was re-learning the "windmill" 'neath the tutelage of the oily-chested and optionally chaste Roger.

Love hadn't reigned o'er anybody in the expanse of a fortnight. Talk among the crew re: a salutation moratorium. Masturbation recently referred to as "Entwhistling", was on steady decline as the chef experimented with discouraging herbs. Chafing subsided. Hubris was in the throes of seasonal Satori. Tears and binges. Instant cringes. Taking it to Malta with mad style.


To Be Continued...
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