Me and Get in the Car, Helen were at the Del Taco drivethru. We’d just killed it at another F-Bomb (monthly flash fiction reading series, next one 630 tonight at Mercury Café, 2199 California St, Denver, hosted by Kona Morris) and we got wasted afterward (and a little before and during) with Nancy and Kona and the other great flash fictioneers of Denver and it was time to go back home to Boulder. Then I saw a bright red and yellow Del Taco sign and turned to GITCH.
“We have to stop here before we do anything else!” I said.
“What the hell is Del Taco?” GITCH said.
“It’s a fast food taco joint.”
“Why don’t we just go to Taco Bell?”
“Cuz Taco Bell doesn’t serve french fries with their tacos.”
“Yes. Del Taco has french fries and they’re crinkle cut. They look like long golden accordions. They remind me of my highschool cafeteria. They remind me of The Greatness of Life.”
I pulled into the drivethru and we looked at the menu.
“Um,” GITCH said, “just get me a #9 combo.”
“Alright,” I said, “I’m going to get a chicken burrito and three large fries.”
“Three fries?! For yourself?”
Then I ordered and the nice Del Taco employee gave us our food.
“Oh my god, the french fry smell!” I said.
“Oh man!” GITCH said. “Why didn’t I order any fries?… wait… some fries came with my combo!”
“Ye-es! GITCH, see Del Taco knows The Truth. Every taco must come with french fries.”
We ate the food as we drove back to Boulder and I didn’t even care that my burrito was full of gluten and would make me start violently shitting in a matter of hours.
“GITCH?” I said.
“French fries,” he said.
“How do we get back again?”
“I don’t know.”
“We have to find I-25. If we find I-25 we’ll be awesome. But I can’t find it.”
“Is there a sign?”
“There is. I just passed like three of them.”
“French fries,” GITCH said.
Guys, look, you all know I’m The Best Driver… when I’m in Boulder. But in Denver things are strange and a Denver highway sign doesn’t necessarily mean you can follow it and get on a highway. We were driving in circles or large squares and the buildings looked like they might be considered part of a slum.
“GITCH” i said again but now he wasn’t responding.
I looked back in the back seat and GITCH was laying down on his belly. This was not uncommon. GITCH is a master of the Irish Goodbye, mysteriously vanishing from bars and parties without notice but always turning up the next day in tact. He had disappeared once again into pass-out and I had to figure things out myself.
Just then I saw another I-25 sign and I made a confident and firm turn towards it.
“Highway yes!” I said.
But then there was a noise that went “WOO-OOO-OOP” and there were red white and blue lights beside me and a policeman stuck his head out the window and said, “What the hell are you doing?!”
I then realized that all the cars ahead were pointed straight toward me and there was a sign right there that said WRONG WAY.
“Oh God!” I said, “I’m getting on the offramp. I’ve finally discovered my drunk driving threshold.”
“What?” GITCH got up and said. “What was that noise?”
“The Law,” I said. “My life might be ruined forever now.”
I made a quick and daring move to circle back in the right direction and pretend like nothing illegal had just happened.
“Oh no,” I said. “I just realized I have makeup all over my face and my hair is weird. He could pull me over just for that.”
Earlier I’d needed to look almost exactly like Robert Smith of The Cure to kill it at the F-Bomb. My Stylist Lola had done too good of a job. It couldn’t be hidden.
“Maybe we can convince the cop that this is just my everyday look,” I said. “I’m just Goth. I’m just a freak and you’re a regular cab customer and you’re freaked out by me.”
“Yeah,” GITCH said. “Except I’m wearing freaky makeup too!”
I looked back and remembered GITCH had on eye-liner that twisted out of the corners of his eyes like some kind of thorny rose vines. Our friend Hannah had put it on him so he could kill it at the F-Bomb too.
“No!” I said. “The cop will know we’re in cahoots now.”
Then I lost track of the cop. I couldn’t see his lights anywhere. I was waiting for him to re-appear right behind me like a ninja-cop. But I kept acting natural and when the light turned green I just followed the rest of the non-drunk traffic. We somehow didn’t see the cop again.
“It’s an F-Bomb miracle!” I said. “The cop is gone.”
“It’s a Del Taco miracle,” GITCH said.
My heart was pumping and my stress-adrenaline was still going strong and I was able to stay alert and find the proper way to get on I-25. As we drove down to GITCH’s place in Lafayette I had a moment of severe clarity.
“GITCH,” I said “I firmly believe that you are the Greatest Living American Poet.”
“Wha?” he said.
“Yeah,” I said. “Who’s better? That one slam guy. That one chick of The Ivy League?”
“I know. The best poets are in the Boulder underground and what people don’t understand is the best poetry is the poetry you like the best.”
“The poetry you like the best.”
“GITCH, you’re the one who came up with lines like “the earth isn’t round, it’s pile-of-shit-shaped” and “I want to put my dick in something that belongs to you.” You’re the one who wrote a poem about your ex-wife’s nipples. You’re the one who gave me permission to mention Phil Collins in my poetry.”
“Almost every Phil Collins song is about a woman who’s done him wrong.”
“For the rest of my life until I die I’m going to defend that you’re the greatest living American poet.”
“What about having almost no fans?”
“Don’t worry, in the Boulder Poetry Scene we don’t have fans, we have friends. And that’s better.”
Then I thought about the first time I hung out with GITCH at his apartment. I’d only known him up to that point at the best poet at the Burnt Toast open mic. He was the host and as he read he’d have music from some horror movie playing behind him, maybe Friday the 13th, and maybe he’d be reading something about how Sarah Palin was underqualified to be vice president of the United States. I admired him and was thrilled when I finally got invited over to his place. When I got there I saw that he had teenage daughters who loved him and Helen was there and they were still married and she was beautiful and I thought, oh my god GITCH is living in Poet Paradise.
He also seemed to like my work.
“The MeToo Poems are a masterpiece,” he said.
“What?!” I said.
“Yeah and they’re so good I’m going to induct you into the order of Great Boulder Poets. Tom Peters (host of Laughing Goat open mic, Mondays 8pm) did this to me and Allen Ginsberg did this to him.”
Then GITCH took his pants off and told me to kneel down. He took his dick out and tapped it on both of my shoulders.
“You are now knighted,” he said.
It was not a sex thing. GITCH just liked ceremonially doing things with his dick. Then even tho I was Sir Jonathan of the Boulder Poets, GITCH was still a way greater living American poet than me, and i knew it would still take years to catch up to him or maybe never.
Get in the Car, Helen.
Author of Paper Thin and Beautiful Graveyards and The Aftermath, Etc.. and uncountable unpublished poems on Britney Spears notebooks while watching DVD’s of The Six Million Dollar Man.
Who wrote about how he’s not as cool as Han Solo. Who wrote about how Sammy Hagar is bullshit and there really is more than one way to rock.
And his 1000 poems about losing the love of his life.
Who really might actually be Rob Geisen. And Rob Geisen might actually be GITCH. But I might also be GITCH and so might you.
Who said, “GITCH is anything in the world that breaks your heart.”
“Then I’m so GITCH,” I said.
Who is the feature at not just F-Bomb this week (Wednesday 630, Mercury Café) but also Bouldering Poets (Thursday 800, Shine, 2027 13th St). How the fuck do you do a feature on back-to-back days?! I don’t know, but if anyone can do it it’s GITCH. If anyone deserves it it’s GITCH. He’s the Greatest Living American Poet and I dare you to argue that with me on that.
This week you have two chances to see The Best in action, don’t fucking blow it.
– Jonathan Montgomery