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Cy Jarvis
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The Man Whose Breath Stood Still
by Cy Jarvis

Tags: stink, stench, honey bucket, reak, foul odor, effluvium, factotum, jarvis, huskanoy, spraints, fodder, spuddle, pilgarlic, mab, monkeybreath, Arco, Arcology, Arconians

Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others. ---Robert Louis Stevenson

A man walked into the Arco the other day. He was dressed all in black like a wild west circuit judge or country preacher. Nice, grand fatherly-looking man. Silver-haired. Almost stately-looking.

This old man walked up to the counter and purchased some gas. I was standing over by the Arco ATM, hefting eight-paks of 2-liter cokes onto a too high stack of other 2 liter sodas. He barely spoke two sentences at the counter. He handed the clerk a twenty and got his change for $10 worth of gas. Then he walked out of the store.

I needed to ask the clerk behind the counter something, I've forgotten what, and walked over to where the man had been standing. The foulest, boiling sewage stench I have ever smelled (and I have smelled death) hit me square in the nose.

"JESUS, MARY, MOTHER OF GOD!!!" I screamed and jumped back a foot or two, "WHAT INA UNHOLY HELL IS THAT?!"

I waved both my hands in front of my face, fanning the air as if I was trying to put out a fire on my face. Tears rolled down my eyes as if I had just eaten a jalapeno. I spun 360 degrees clockwise and 360 degrees counterclockwise, trying to spin the stink off me like a man trying to stave off a swarm of killer bees.

The clerk was busy doing her shift change report and didn't notice me. You could drive a truck through the Arco while they're doing their shift change report and they wouldn't notice it.

Much to my relief, the stink was off me. I stood there, frozen for a moment, wondering if the stink was just playing possum. In fact, I took one more step backward, just in case. I sniffed tentatively at the air. Tentatively first, then taking a bolder sniff. Nope. It was gone.

Now, I don't want you to think that I am exaggerating here. This was no garden-variety stench. This was no common household pew. I have slept comfortably in abandoned warehouses full of toxic fumes. I have walked among the open-topped 'honey buckets' full of fresh human excrement overseas without so much as a twitch of my nose. I have eaten Kimchee and kissed women had just eaten Kimchee. My nose is no pristine virgin. Generally speaking, my nose is fearless, but this . . .THIS was a whole new ballgame, a paradigm shift in what is possible in the field of stink!

I walked back to the spot in front of the counter where I'd had the encounter, where every neuron of my olfactory system had been so grossly offended.

"JESUS!" I said at the stink attacked again like a slap in the face. Again I made a hasty retreat. This was no pansy pungency that wilted away with the air currents with which I was now dealing. No. This was a potent smell that wasn't going to fade easily!

I stood over by the stacks of 2-liter sodas contemplating my next move. I would have never suspected this kindly old customer in black of having such a foul thing in him. Just goes to show you, you can't judge a reek by its cover.

I decided to go in low. That would be my tac. I determined to investigate the source of cabbagy smell. Don't ask me why. That's just the kind of a guy I am. I investigate ALL paranormal phenomenon.

The malevolent stink had hit me square at the five and a half foot level. If it had been flatulence, I reasoned, then traces of it should still remain around the three-foot level. Cautiously, I crouched and approached the area where I calculated the old man's ass to have been and sniffed at the air. Nothing.

Thinking the danger had passed, I stood up and was immediately overpowered by the stench. It had been his breath! His breath! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this poor bastard's breath was SOOOOO bad that it stayed at the Arco counter long after he had walked out. It stayed there in a little frozen puff, right there at the five and a half foot area for at least ten minutes!

I went into the sanctuary of the Arco cooler, deciding to leave the problem to someone else. Yes, sometimes flight is the better part of valor.

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Disabled Veteran Needs Non-Homicidal Transportation To Work
My truck tried to kill me yesterday. It was mad that I put it to work hauling some stranger's furniture and life junk from a scary place downtown just a few feet from railroad tracks and broken crack pipes across town to pastoral ducks and libraries. So I a...
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Gray Man
by Cy Jarvis


Gray man,
got no place to stay man:
sleeping in a piss-yellow Fairlane
parked in front of a motel
on Crenshaw Blvd
at 4 in the morning.

Gray man,
got no place to stay man:
you gotta move that piece of crap
in a few hours.
Nobody wants you around
in the day, man.

Gray man,
got no place to stay man:
you know they'll run you off
because you're smelly
and unkempt
and because you scare them.

Gray man,
got no place to stay man:
you know their chief objection,
besides the fact of your
existence,
is that they can see you.
They don't want to see you.

Gray man,
got no place to stay man:
I know a bridge you can park under
after 6, just down the way;
shady and unobservable.
You can take my old spot.
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Holding Back A Big-Assed, Angry Tigress
by Cy Jarvis

I heard screaming outside my crack motel room door
and poked my head out
and saw that seven or eight other motel inmates
had poked their heads out their doors,
not that screaming is so unusual here,
but being 4 in the afternoon,
it's a little early for the crack motel screaming.

Down the hallway
past the locked swimming pool
that is used as nothing more than a giant, wet ashtray
past the courtyard
that is used quite often as a staging area for sheriff's deputies
(and then later on as a gathering place for crackheads to share a glass pipe),
almost out in the parking lot
were two women screaming at each other,
their men holding them back from mutual combat.

The young, thin one was hopping around like a mongoose
as she screamed her insults at the older, fatter one with dayglo orange hair
trying, it looked to me, to find an open space between the barricading men
to land an overhead blow on the orange-haired lady.

The older lady's big bubblebutt ass jiggled like jello
every time she stomped her foot down
and from forty feet away
I could see the mad dog saliva spraying from the older woman's mouth
as she called the younger woman a ho.

You a ho.
No you a ho.
No you a ho, bitch.

The discourse was not particularly illuminating
as to why the women were fighting.

Then the younger woman's man got into the argument
as the younger woman jumped back
and displayed several sweeping, mongoose, gung foo moves
she had apparently seen on TV,
one of them I recognized as 'The Crane' from "The Karate Kid."

She don't have to be no ho, Mongoose's man yelled,
I takes good care of my woman
she don't have to work a lick if I don't want her to,
we doing good, real good!

Then why you live in this dump you doing so good?
the older woman asked
and I thought the logic was impeccable,
unassailable,
but Mongoose's man,
a sturdy-looking rag-topped brother
surprised me
when he shot right back
We jus passing through ch'ere,
but you'll be hoing outta this motel come the next millennium.

Lord, gawd amighty!
I heard the older woman's man exclaim
because I knew that he didn't want to have to tangle with the ragtopped kid,
probably a gangbanger,
and I knew that he knew that if he didn't
after THAT insult
that his orange haired woman
would make life hell for him for weeks to come.

The older man was puffy
and pot-bellied from too many years on the couch.
He was in no shape
to tangle with any hotheaded gangbangers today
or tomorrow,
or the next day,
but his salvation came at the whim of the mongoose woman
who twirled away on some half-remembered appointment
drawing her ragtopped man away with her,
leaving the old man metaphorically holding
the still-smoldering tail
of his dayglo orange-haired tigress.
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Hunting The Yankee Waddler
by Cy Jarvis

Hysterics and fearmongering!
Hysterics and fearmongering!
The TV people
don't want you to own a gun,
because if you look too closely
at the fall lineup,
you might be tempted to drive over to the station
and shoot them.

I saw this on the news tonight:
According to some wizard of statistics,
the number one cause of infant death
(in Maine or Massachusettes
or some other yankee state)
is the murder of their mothers.

Someone is running around
shooting pregnant women
on a grand scale.
Funny that I'm just now hearing this shit.

Deer season,
duck season,
first, second and third trimester
mother season:
doesn't seem much sport
in shooting a slow-moving, big-breasted
yankee waddler.

This hysterical tidbit
on the tv news
was delivered with wide eyes and a solemn tone,
a 'something must be done about this' tone.

It seemed a thinly veiled
anti-gun propaganda thing to me,
but I could be wrong.

The overall feeling of the piece
was that if you owned a gun,
you were probably a baby killer.
Details at 11.
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