Van Morrison Told me There’d be Days Like These

Previously, on A Young American…

To start at the beginning, go here.

I had a problem that few sex addicts had. The receiving end of my sexual encounters had to enjoy it. I guess I could mark “rapist” off my checklist of things I was afraid of becoming. But it also amounted to a dilemma, seeing as I was done with relationships. It was hard enough dealing with those, and eventually they would end.

No matter what, they always end, and it’s rare for one to end without bloodshed, heartbreak, or both. Charlie was right, though. I needed a woman to keep me from falling deep into a darkness. I tried to stop. I really did, but at least once a week I found myself inside a random broken woman I met at the bar. Normal people went out with friends once, maybe twice a week. I flew solo as many as five. Might as well have called it a job. My standards got lower the more women I got, which was something nobody ever told me in the pickup artist handbook.

I had sex with an ugly, fat, annoyingly “mature” 19 year old whose thighs made cottage cheese look like smooth butter just so she would give me a ride home.

I banged a short Mexican with disproportionate female features who called herself a singer simply because I walked into the wrong bathroom on accident.

I fucked a greasy, pimple-ridden pasty white Goth in an alley while on a bar hop and all she had to do was curl her finger as she ducked behind the dumpster.

This burning desire inside me grew the more I got laid. It didn’t make sense. What I thought was putting out the fire turned out to be fueling it, and the weeks that went by where I didn’t stumble across someone with low self esteem disguised as sexually open were unbearable.

I jerked my dick raw at least three times a day. I joined fetish websites in the hopes that I could meet up at a group sex session, but they were all cockalorums looking for a woman to put a leash on. I was lost, and there was nothing but a past full of regret to show for it.

In a drunken stupor one afternoon I found myself pounding on Martha’s door and dangerously close to a blackout.

That was a bad move.

Her daughter answered. “Mom home?” I kept my sentences as short as possible so I could focus on standing straight.

“No. My parents are both at work.” She looked me up and down. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.”

“Do you want some water?”

“Define want.” She swung the door opened and walked back inside. I peeked my head in, bracing myself on the frame.

“Sit down.” She said, grabbing a water bottle from the refrigerator.

“Givin’ me orders, now?” She didn’t have a retort. She simply placed the bottle on the table. I squinted at it. Eventually I stumbled my way through the door and cracked the seal on the bottle. The dog looked up at me from the couch. His tail thumped the chair over and over, but he didn’t get up. “What’s up, pup?” I slurred. I heard the door shut behind me. “What was your name again?”

“Shannon. And don’t think I don’t know what you did with my mom.”

“Funny you didn’t say ‘to’.”

“People do what they want. Most of the time.” Her head hung at that last sentence. She took a seat across from me.

“What would pop do if he walked through that door?”

“Probably kill you.” She shrugged. “Might think you were going to try something with me.” I took another gulp from the bottle. It was half empty now. A strange silence hit us. It wasn’t awkward. It felt more like both of us knew what to say to the other, but didn’t know exactly how to say it.

“I never would.”

“I know. I let you in, didn’t I?” Condensation reared its beady head on the bottle. I thumbed it, and a fog grew around my eyes. She stared at me. It was blurry, but I saw pity in that stare. It was some kind of empathic attitude she had. I drank another quarter of the bottle. When I blinked my vision was clear again, but my cheeks were damp. “You want a tissue?”

“No.” I chuckled. “Thanks.” I finished off the water, placed it back on the table and pulled myself up. I looked at the young lady who had yet to face the cruelties of real life politics and all I could say was, “Don’t date guys like me.” I showed myself out. I went down to the train station, jumped on the next one that came my way and tripped through the streets of the city, rehashing the past. I thought about all the shit I had done, and how it needed to stop. Through that romp I vowed that I was going to change. I was going to take steps to be a better man. It was easy to be destructive. I was tired of burning bridges, I wanted to start building them. I just didn’t know how, or where. I promised myself then that I was going to stop going on random sex benders. Just the mere thought of turning a new leaf made me feel better.

As I walked downtown, I noticed a shoelace was untied. There was a narrow alley up ahead, so I sidestepped in to avoid the traffic of people in the streets. I put my foot up on a small ledge and bent down to tie my shoe. That’s when I felt the 8-inch knife enter my side. Just as quickly as it went in, it went back out. I was a fucking rag doll. The pain was unbearable, but I couldn’t find myself able to muster a scream, or even a groan. I couldn’t even grab my fucking side. I was paralyzed.

I had no choice but to go down. As my legs gave way and I started to fall, the asshole that stabbed me snatched my wallet and ran. Goddamn son of a bitch. All I saw was his white ass fucking tennis shoes as they barely missed my head, managing to kick whatever grime was on the streets into my eyes. After those milliseconds, I felt control of my body slowly come back to me. One hand went to my eyes to rub the shit out, while the other clutched my already soaked side. More blood oozed out onto the street. Some asshole bent down. “What happened?”

“What the fuck does it matter?! Call an Ambulance!” I screamed. The idiot pulled out his phone and dialed 911. I faded in and out of consciousness as the ambulance arrived. I chuckled at the morbid thought that no one would visit, but had to stop when it made the pain worse. The paramedics loaded me up and told me to lie still. I rolled my eyes. When I looked down I saw the way my blood mixed with the filth of the sidewalk and it had turned into what looked like runny red clay. This is it, I thought, I’m going to die at 26, and I could see the headline in my head.


Doctor Truman: We could’ve saved him, but I was on a smoke break. I mean, what was he doing in an alley anyway?  Tying his shoes?  Gimme a break.

The paramedic looked at me. “You’re gonna be okay. You lost a lot of blood, but you’re gonna be okay.”

“Is that what you tell the ladies?” I said through my oxygen mask. I don’t think he understood me, because he just smiled and said, “I’m sure she’ll get there as quick as she can.”

Deaf bastard.

I was afraid to shut my eyes because they might not open again, but eventually I just couldn’t hold it any longer, and it all went black, then the sound went, followed by the feeling of the paramedic’s hand on mine. So that’s the order, huh? Wait, what about the sme- Then I lost consciousness. I faded back in and out as I was carried into the ER. They went to put me under. All I could think was please, just a few more minutes. I was afraid that those would be my last thoughts, begging for more time. When I regained consciousness, I was alone in a room. I looked around as the haze cleared. A nurse walked in. “How are you feeling?” he asked.

“Like I’m awake.”  I said.

He laughed, “Do you need more morphine?”  

“Sure.” I said, groggily.

His face turned serious, “I’m not gonna give you more because you like it.”  I tried to give him an angry look, but all I could do was squint.

“I said sure because I’m in pain, and I heard through the grapevine that morphine helps with that.”  

“Well, all right.” He said, and upped my dosage. I felt slightly better as he left the room, but once again I was beginning to feel alone. Unless my mugging made the front-page paper, I doubt Charlie had any idea it happened. He was the only one I could expect to walk through that door, and he wasn’t going to. The doctor did, though.

“Mr. Richardson?”

“That’s me.” I replied, a little hoarse.

“It looks like you lost a lot of blood, but we were able to repair the damages.”

“What’s the good news?” I asked.

He chuckled, “Well, you’re going to have to stay here for a few days, maybe even a week, and it appears you don’t have insurance, which you will be fined for on top of the bill.”  

I rolled my head to stare out the window. It was raining. “It’s this damn country, doc. It’s all turned upside down.”  I smiled to myself.

“Be that as it may, Mr. Richardson. I’m obligated to ask how you plan on paying.”  

“Relax. I’ve got money.”  

“Well,” he said, “All right.”  He closed his book and started to walk away.

“Hey doc.” I said, still looking out the window, “Can I see the bill?”  He came back and handed me a sheet of paper.

“It’s not complete yet, but any questions you have I can answer.”  

“You mean you can offer up excuses as to why I needed any of this?” I looked at the sheet, and it was exactly what I was afraid of. I nodded and handed it back, “Just wanted to make sure I paid for every drop of blood that needed to be replaced.”  I was living off of my parents’ blood money, and that’s exactly what it turned out to be. The doctor stood there, as if I was going to say something else. He left when he couldn’t figure out what it was.

I watched the rain splat against the window and my vision became blurry once again, this time with my own tears. I didn’t bother to wipe them as they filled my eyes and dripped down the side of my face. I felt like ripping all the wires out of me and opening that window, plunging back into the ambulance that brought me here, but I was too scared.

Despite the fact that after leaving this hospital I’d have to slip into the life of a hard worker, I wasn’t ready to go out yet. But that still didn’t stop the ever-flowing rivers on my face. I grabbed the remote and turned on the radio. The Weight played. I laughed until it hurt, which didn’t take long. I turned it down and dried myself off. I put the bed down and was going to go to sleep, hoping to wake up to find this all some kind of dream. I was right on the edge of unconsciousness when I heard the door creak open. Jesus, this is a hospital. You’d think they’d take better care of the doors. I lifted my head. “Look, I’m fine with the morphi-”

It was Britney.


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