Sal Gosse's short story collection To Whom It May Concern is a parachute jump into a wild country whose characters are locked in a hard-drinking, sex-bombed, post-adolescent groove that carries them from the heights of ecstasy to hellish despair and back in a few pages. Each of these stories, whether upbeat or downbeat, hard reality or straight-out fantasy, meditation or adventure, is the work of a man whose narrator simply says "Well, I do know I’m crazy but it’s a good thing. When I picture myself happy I’m sitting at the bar with a beer in hand talking shit with whoever will listen. And that’s what I call getting it on." To Whom It May Concern is a compelling page-turner that really does get it on.
Excerpts from To Whom It May Concern
All excerpts copyright©2003 by Sal Gosse
To Whom It May Concern
I believe I’m going crazy. I may already be crazy. I guess I need a professional to judge that.
My friends tell me I’m crazy. My girlfriends and ex-girlfriends tell me or have told me I’m crazy. It must be a combination of things such as my actions and words and thoughts.
I know no one can read my thoughts but people understand my way of thinking. I think strongly and with feeling. I enjoy life and believe in doing what it takes to be happy. I don’t complain and I’m never bothered, I just laugh at people all the time.
I don’t understand why people say "Thank God It’s Friday". Can it be explained? Can’t we enjoy every day that we’re allowed to walk on this great earth? We shouldn’t have to thank God. We should give ourselves high-fives. And if there is a God – He knows. We’ll thank him in heaven.
Can you also explain why people complain all the time? Everything we do and see and we’re a part of is fun. Traffic is fun. Death is fun. Accidents are fun. The Unabomber was hysterical! Complaining makes people uncomfortable and situations sticky. If we were more positive, life would be more enjoyable.
And why do people always want more? Always asking for things they don’t have. I love how the Rolling Stones put it – you can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need. It’s perfect.
All right, enough preaching. I just feel everyone should be happier. What’s the point of living if you’re bitter all the time? Why walk around hating all the time. At the end of each day my cheeks hurt from smiling and when I go to bed, I’m bored but still enjoy the moment.
I’m crazy because I do things and say things and think things other people don’t allow themselves to do, say or think. Too many internal rules.
Well, I do know I’m crazy but it’s a good thing. When I picture myself happy I’m sitting at the bar with a beer in hand talking shit with whoever will listen. And that’s what I call getting it on.
I’m Still Standing
The phone rang and I answered it. "Hello?"
"Sonny, what’s going on?" It was Lucy, my friend from Boston. She wanted me to come into town to see her. I was living in the suburbs at the time. Every time I thought of Lucy I thought of that line in a Beastie Boys song, "I think her name was Lucy but they all called her loose…" Indeed she was and I was going to see her.
We met a few years ago after my band played a couple of shows in town at Axis, a club on Lansdowne Street. She was a punk rock girl. I was looking forward to partying in Boston although sometimes the city sucked with dress codes and trendy L.A. wannabes.
Before I went out I had to call my psychic fortune line. I call every day. I’m an Aquarius. I pressed eleven for my reading. "Existence is suffering," the recorded voice stated, quoting a Buddhist philosophical law, "and the cause of suffering is desire." Great words.
I felt really optimistic. I’ve had the most spastic desires to get laid. I’ve really been suffering.
I went to the train station, got on the commuter rail to South Station, and then hopped on the T. I love the subway, filled with rats and musicians and college girls. I sat across from two cuties. They must’ve been so high. All they did was giggle. They couldn’t even talk to each other. I mean, every time one of the girls opened her mouth the other would howl uncontrollably. Normally this annoys me but sitting there on the subway I was very amused by the two carefree starlets sitting across from me. One of the girls got off at the Green Line. The other sat there, still smiling. I got up and sat next to her.
She wasn’t even baked. She was high on life or something. I introduced myself and she told me her name was Gina. She wasn’t the type of girl I’d want to fuck, like my Lucy fantasy that was going on inside my head and my boxers. Gina was really cool to talk to.
We got off the train and went out for a beer in Harvard Square. All those Hare Krishna assholes came up to me, asking us to buy books and flowers. "Now what is it that you guys really do?" I asked out of curiosity.
"We use yoga and Swami chanting to open our minds, attain the supreme, and harvest for rebirth," one of the knotheads answered.
"That’s what I take acid for," Gina replied, and as we walked off I pretty much pissed myself laughing.
As I was saying before, though, Gina was really cool and easy to get along with. She didn’t bitch and moan about useless things or try to get deep with me. We just chatted about ourselves, which seems to be everyone’s favorite topic of conversation. I told her I was in town to see Lucy but I decided to hang out with Gina for a while. She was stimulating.
We went to a bar called the Ringo. It had some pool tables and a dance floor and two bars. One side of the bar had a jukebox and booths. That’s where we went. It was pretty packed, a Friday evening in town.
I pulled out my wallet and showed the bartender my ID. He stared at it for a couple of minutes and then turned and walked away from me with my license in his hand. He brought it over to what looked like the owner and then strolled back to me. "Can I ask you a question?"
"How come the signature on your license is blue?"
"That’s the color the pen was." What the fuck was he talking about?
"I’ve never seen that before."
"Listen, do you want backup?" I gave him my FID card. It had my birth date on it and some other information. I knew I looked young but I was twenty-two and was never refused from a bar. I’ve been kicked out of a few. "Hey, buddy, either give me and my friend a couple of beers here or we’ll go drop a couple of hundred bucks at another bar." He finally served us after barely glancing at Gina’s fake "Renee" ID.
"Sonny, is that you?" I turned and saw a friend from school.
"Hey, Dips, what’s going on?"
"Nothing, just partying with the boys, starting early." He had that hardcore Boston accent. Nuttin, just pahtyin with the boys, stahtin early. And the boys were out. Half the football team from my Alma Mater.
"Let’s go smoke," he offered. We went into the bathroom where he pulled out his pipe and packed it up. It was the good kind of bud. Dips and I were just sitting in the bathroom with the doors locked, getting power-baked and talking about old fights. Then we heard a rumble, then a roar, then the floor sounded like a herd of bison. "I bet that’s Crowin," he said jokingly. Crowin was his roommate in school.
When we walked out of the can there was full-scale barroom brawl happening, and all the heroes were there. People and bottles were being thrown and broken all around. I hoped Gina was OK. I saw Crowin lay out three bouncers with three punches and Dips was so baked he didn’t know who to hit. He was a big boy and didn’t want to miss out on the action. I saw him pick up a pool table and smash it against the bar. A bunch of townies were on his back and he shrugged them off like the Incredible Hulk used to. All the football boys were involved. I didn’t know what the fight was about and didn’t have anyone’s back so I ducked around, found Gina, and headed for the back door. On the way out we stole a six pack from the storage cooler.
We got back on the T. "I didn’t know what was going on in there."
"No shit," said Gina, who was brushing glass out of her hair. The T stopped at Park Street and I got off. I wanted to see Lucy. I had the desire.
It was one of those parties where I stay up all night with my partner in crime and we drink and do all sorts of nasty things until the morning sunlight burns our eyes. We didn’t sleep. We didn’t want sleep. We were fucked up when we left for our road trip at 11:00 a.m. the next day.
We were southbound on 495 headed for Cape Cod. I was driving, of course. T-Bone can’t be trusted behind the wheel. He was quiet and let me do all the talking because I am a talker. So we’re headed south on this crazy highway. I guess any road is crazy, flying like we were. The traffic was disastrous, and I was out of my mind on booze and whatnot, and this pickup truck started fucking with us. It would drive by us, then slow down and in all actuality this Ford F150 was teasing us. I was going crazy.
The truck had a white trash townie lifer driving, a honky country boy riding shotgun, and some slut sitting between them. The country boy would hang out the window every time we traded lead positions on this insane highway. He was pointing at the girl in the truck.
"She wants you!" he was screaming. "She thinks you’re cute!" I found this flattering but I needed to see what the bitch had to offer. I pulled up next to them to find out her story. Instead of letting me respond they pulled ahead of me. It was beginning to get stupid until the girl turned around and faced me through the back window of the pickup’s cab. I was driving in the middle lane. They were in the left. The girl lifted up her shirt, to our amazement, and stuck her uncovered tits against the glass, her nipples hard and pursed from the cold pressure.
"I want you," she mouthed from the truck. I looked at T-Bone and he gave me the nod to go for it.
I looked back at the girl and the country boy riding shotgun was fondling her breasts for my enjoyment. We had beers and pot in the car so we decided to pull over and party with these folks. At the next rest area we stopped. I broke out the beers and smoked a couple of bowls with these swinging fellows, and then informed them that I was going to fuck the shit out of the girl they were with. "Hey, she was showing me her tits. I know she wants it."
The fucking asshole who was driving the truck responded by saying, "We’re going to kick your motherfucking asses." That’s when T-Bone pulled out his semi-automatic .25 caliber pistol to hold these unruly kids at bay.
Hey, I was wasted and wanted to get laid. It was as simple as that. T-Bone hog tied the two local yokels, who apparently were from Middleboro, and I took the girl into the bushes behind the rest area. She really did want me but I think that was her boyfriend riding shotgun.
As soon as we were alone she ripped my penis out of my pants and left all my clothes on. She had on a skirt and a Daisy Duke halter top shirt. It was during that one summer they were in. She pulled her thong across her sweet white ass and I was immediately inside her. I lasted forever because I had so much abuse of substances in me. She rode me for a while and then I took her from behind; my favorite position. I maneuvered into the crossbow which is grabbing her right leg and pulling it across my hip, and pulling her hair with my left hand until her ear is next to mine. She came for at least ten minutes from my dominant position. I still couldn’t blow a load. I made her 69 me right there in the bushes until she took my two minutes of chewy spew right down her throat into her skinny-ass stomach. I wonder if that stuff really gets stuck in girls’ teeth.
We left them on the side of the road. The girl told me she would untie them and deal with the consequences. "Every girl wants to fuck a famous musician," she told me. I wasn’t famous. I wasn’t even a musician. I was only a drunk with a sore dick.
A few minutes later, while going over the Bourne Bridge I said, "Hey T-Bone, was that girl even pretty?" He gave me his familiar nod in return. He was always quiet.