VIII

110 There's something weird going on here, as if Zampano can't quite make up his mind whether this is all an exploration (i.e. 'Base Camp') or a way (i.e. Command Post)?

117 Though this chapter was originally typed, there were also a number of handwritten corrections. "make love" wasn't crossed out but

"FUCK" was still scratched in above it. As I've been doing my best to incorporate most of these amendments, I didn't think it fair to suddenly exclude this one even if it did mean a pretty radical shift in tone.

By now you've probably noticed that except when safely contained by quotes, Zampano always steers clear of such questionable four-letter language. This instance in particular proves that beneath all that cool

Pseudo-academic hogwash lurked a very passionate man who knew how important it was to say "fuck" now and then, and say it loud too, relish

Its syllabic sweetness, its immigrant pride, a great American epic word really, starting at the lower lip, often the very front of the lower

Lip, before racing all the way to the back of the throat, where it finishes with a great blast, the concussive force of the K catching up

Then with the hush of the F already on its way, thus loading it with plenty of offense and edge and certainly ambiguity. FUCK. A great by-

The-bootstrap prayer or curse if you prefer, depending on how you look at it, or use it, suited perfectly for hurling at the skies or at the world, or sometimes, if said just right, for uttering with enough love and fire, the woman beside you melts inside herself, immersed in all that word-heat.

Holy fuck, what was that all about? "Love and fire"? "word-heat"? Who the hell is thinking up this shit?

Maybe Zampano just wrote "fuck" because he wasn’t saying fuck before when he could fuck and now as he waited in that hole on Whitley he wished he would of lived a little differently. Or then again maybe he just needed a word strong enough to push back his doubts, a word

Strong enough to obliterate, at least temporarily, the certain vision of his own death, definitely necessary for those times when he was working

His way around the courtyard, trying to stretch his limbs, keep his heart pumping, a few remaining cats still rubbing up against his withered legs, reminding him of the years he missed, the old color, the old light. The perfect occasion, if you ask me, to say "fuck." Though if he did say it no one there ever heard him.

Of course, fuck you, you may have a better idea. I went ahead and paged thumper again. Again she didn't call me back. The this morning

I discovered a message on my machine. It startled me. I couldn't remember hearing the phone ring. Turned out some girl named Ashley wanted to see me, but I had no idea who she was. When I finally rolled in the Shop, I was a good three hours late. My boss flew off the handle. Put me on probation. Said I was an ass hair away from getting

fired, and no he didn't care anymore how well I made needles. Unfortunately, I'm not too hopefully about improving my punctuality.

You wouldn't believe how much harder it's getting for me to just leave my studio. It's really sad In fact these days the only that gets me outside is when I say: Fuck. Fuck. Fuck you. Fuck me. Fuck this. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. -