From the Archives: Vengeance of the Damned (1984)

in Culture

By Charles Bukowski

The snoring in the flophouse was very loud, as usual, and Tom couldn’t sleep. There must have been 60 cots in there and each was filled. The drunks snored the loudest, and most of them were drunks. Tom sat up and watched the moonlight come in through the windows and fall across the sleeping men. He rolled a smoke, lit it. He looked at the men again. What a bunch of ugly useless fuckers. Fuckers? They didn’t fuck. The ladies didn’t want them. Nobody wanted them. Not worth a fuck, ha-ha. And he was one of them. He pulled the bottle out from under the pillow and had a last hit. That last drink was always the sad one. He rolled the empty under his cot and viewed the snoring men once again. How about these? They weren’t even worth nuking.

Tom looked over at his buddy, Max, on the next cot. Max was just stretched there with his eyes open. Was he dead?

“Hey, Max!”


“You’re not sleeping.”

“Can’t. You notice? A lot of them are snoring in rhythm. What causes that?”

“I don’t know, Max. There are a lot of things I don’t know.”

“Me too, Tom. I guess I’m dumb.”

“You gotta guess. If you knew you were dumb, you wouldn’t be.”

Max sat up on the edge of his cot.

“Tom, do you think we’ll ever get off the Row?”

“Just one way—”


“Yeah… stiff.”

Max rolled a cigarette, lit it.

Max felt bad, he always felt bad when he thought about things. The thing to do was not to think, shut it off.

“Listen, Max,” he heard Tom.


“I been thinking—”

“Thinking’s no good.”

“But I keep thinking …

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Author: High Times / High Times

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