I briefly mentioned the novel Salad Days by Charles Romalotti (a “quasi-memoir” centered around the formative years of a young punk as he makes his debut and finds his place in the music scene) in my essay chronicling my harrowing journey through Sarah Palin’s memoir because, much like Going Rogue, it sucked. It stink, stank, stunk. Every page was teeming with shinfo [shitty information that is not needed], including-but-not-limited-to the most arbitrary, nonsensical conversations that hadn’t an ounce of relevance to the scene the author set (one character making a rather visceral inquiry regarding another’s plans for their future somehow resulted in a three-page-long conversation about Star Wars… Was it supposed to be funny? Character building? Did I miss something?) and lengthy, unnecessary descriptions of the fuckin’ opening band at a rock show.
As I said in the previous essay, no one gives a shit about the color of the bassist’s eyes because no one ever cares about the local openers, especially the bassist (I mean, duh). I had mentally resigned upon noting that he took extra care to vividly detail every aspect of the drummer’s appearance: a young girl, “no older than 13,” with a “cute button nose” sporting “little yellow terry cloth shorts”. That was not only a brutal assault against my eyeballs of bullshit that I did not give a fuck about, but a male in his late teens paying scrupulous attention to a young girl is creepy behavior, teetering on the edge of “vile.”
(Under the circumstances that one may accuse me of judging this author too harshly because I was jealous that his novel, reminiscent of a fanfiction written by a 12-year-old as their fantasy of what life would be like had they been blessed with parents who actually let them shop at Hot Topic, has gotten more attention than my own, I will lessen my critique of his attention-to-detail regarding children to “a little fuckin’ suspect.”)
Now, I’ve recently read quite a few wonderful books from an array of authors that I had been meaning to welcome into my little library, so I decided it was time to break away from revered content penned by virtuosos of the past and dip back into something terrible. I thought it would be funny, because I’m a goddamn fool; the spiritual attack this abomination waged against me was no laughing matter. I will break my reading experience down by offenses committed by this Charles “INCEL” Romalotti until we reach where I, Rose, The Girl With A Glassjaw Tattoo And Shamefully Extensive Collection Of Bukowski Books Who May Or May Not Have Wasted Many Of Her Formative Years On 4Chan, was finally offended enough to throw this waste of paper into the trash.
(Had I recently taken my Adderall, I may have even cleaned out my fireplace, took an axe to some wood, and burnt the stupid bitch, and I never put any effort into anything, especially physical labor. That’s how much I hate this book. I don’t want anyone to read this book.)
Picking up where I left off after my failed first attempt, our narrator was getting an in-car rub-down reach-around from his girl Pehgan. (Yes, her name is pronounced “Pagan.” Have you had enough already? Lucky you; you are smart. I am a big, stupid, masochistic doodoohead.) I must have garnered the strength from somewhere to make it a few more pages after the yellow-terry-cloth-shorts incident before launching my copy into oblivion, but it only took about three sentences for me to recall the exact point where I boomaranged the bitch: “Her hand stopped at a speed bump inside my pants as the car idled forward.”
A speed bump in his pants… I thought about killing myself, maybe giving up on my plan to viciously annihilate the margins of this book with petulant commentary and then mail it back to the ex who bestowed this curse on me by letting me borrow it, but if I was too lazy to pick out our sharpest knife, I was certainly too lazy to venture upstairs to grab something better to read. I pressed on, though I shouldn’t have.
Pagan, of course, got to sell merch at his band’s concert: That’s what every hoe in every fanfiction to ever exist does (in their off-time from apprenticing at a tattoo shop, of course). Considering that this was their first show, what possessed them to believe that they would not only sell enough shirts to require the employment of a merch hoe, but any fuckin’ shirts at all is beyond me, but I envy anyone who has sunk to that level of delusion. Now that lobotomies are illegal, is there a masterclass to take to get to that point? Where do I sign up? Also, if the gods had been kind enough to the narrator that he had not yet been despoiled of all hope for his future, then why was he a white man with dreadlocks? I bled all over the page with questions. I had no fucking clue what was going on.
The show rolls around; the narrator describes the kind promotor who took pity on their horrible fucking high-school punk rock band to book them as an “obese woman”; a skateboarder outside the venue says, “Wow, you guys look like the real thing,” and he was dead serious, he was paying them a genuine compliment; we find out that the bassist is sporting a “brand new” Black Flag shirt (I bet his mommy bought it for him, the fucking POSER); the headliner doesn’t show up; our heroes (I just threw up) are forced to FUCKIN’ ROCK OUT, and oh, they do! Everyone loves them! Pagan, the sad whore, was put to work! They sold out of shirts! Too bad, though — success came too late — this was not only their first show, but their last show. The band’s done, dead, though it is never revealed to us why; I think they just thought that was the cool, punk, anarchist thing to do after playing one whole show. (That’s their aesthetic, right? Doing things that you think will upset people when no one actually cares? Society wants them to play another concert, though I cannot for the life of me imagine why, so fuck society: The band is through.)
Now, in case you are thinking, “Rose! What did we just tell you about describing (even fictional women named fucking PAGAN) as ‘sad whores’? Stop that!” Hear me out: We quickly find out that Pagan has been trying to fuck the whole band… the whole local band. While that’s certainly a little pitiful, it’s mostly funny, really funny, so that was a joke: I was joking. I made out with a man named Bobby Roulette to a dubstep remix of “Miss Murder” by AFI in front of a miserable dad chaperoning a group of teenage girls at a show once… Like, I get it, I get her; I was madly in love with Bobby Roulette for at least forty-five minutes.
You know who actually drowns our boo Pagan in some blatant disrespect? Our humble narrator! Not only does he expose her earlier on for not having any titties (“She peeled off her shirt in the empty parking lot, revealing to us why she needn’t wear a bra”), but when she tries to fuck him, he describes her/the experience with “I looked into her eyes, into nothing — no past, no life, no love… I imagined briefly the intimate experience I’d share with someone someday. Someday, but not this day… and not this someone.” Harsh, man: Did he just say she has nothing but tapioca pudding behind her eyes? I’m pretty damn sure he just said she has nothing but tapioca pudding behind her eyes, and that’s a bold claim from someone who wasted three paragraphs bombarding us with the backstory behind his teddy-bear-shaped lamp in his bedroom before he left to get his dick wet. (I wish I was exaggerating: “I left my small quarters, allowing the teddy bear lamp to illuminate like the silence like a proud sentry. Its lampshade bore the Crayola design I had constructed during my third or fourth year of life. It was a drawing of my brother and me, seemingly with him knocking me on the head as I cried.” Do all punks have teddy bear lamps? Is this a trend that I narrowly avoided? I was holding on to this plot with a single pube… I have no fucking clue what this man was talking about. He wrote that paragraph and thought it was good.)
The paragraph about his experience in her bed was so poorly written (in sentence structure, grammar, choice of metaphors, overlooked typos, everything), that I am fairly certain if he had concluded their makeout session by eviscerating her with a chainsaw, it could easily be mistaken for lyrics to any misogynistic deathcore song written in 2008. ERADICATION OF THEM ALL! WHORE TO A CHAINSAW! SHE BLED FROM EVERY FUCKING HOLE!
I declared this book worthy of global banishment immediately after we found out that Pagan was getting railed out by the whole squad, but that’s not why: As I said, that shit was funny. Backtracking a moment, during a practice session before their first show, Kimberly, a “young girl” (oh no, here we go again) with “little legs” (in opposed to the obese woman) paused her bikeride to watch the band play. She was “innocent and cute”, and our narrator “concentrated on the numbing of [his] hands. It helped [him] avoid the chill of other, more internal senses.” What those senses were, exactly, were never revealed to us because this writer is a fucking moron, but all signs were pointing to the urge to fuck that child, and I refuse to believe that I was the only one who thought that upon reading this segment, but in case something is wrong with me, I don’t know why [I] have to say such disgusting things like that, I dismissed this suspicion… Again.
(That is a lie. I just lied.)
Much like when he scrambled to meet his word-count-quota by annoying us with frivilous crap about the young, female drummer, I thought, “Hey, maybe he’s including her to show us that not all girls have stupid fucking names, spout out irrelevant existential quotes resembling Matthew McConaughey’s in True Detective had that script been written by a fucking dolt, and get Eiffel-Towered by local bands. Some like punk for the right reasons, they fuck with the music. Some are totally kool. Not poser sluts.” Perhaps his editor (who I hoped either offered his dilettantish services for gratis or was never able to find work in that field again because the motherfucker let approximately 27 incorrect forms of “its” and “it’s” sneak through and I only made it to page 65 out of 300) said, “Hey, Charles, pal… Since you clearly hate your only female character, why not throw in a few that are likeable? Y’know… maybe pretend like you believe that there is a place for women in hardcore? Or anywhere besides a kitchen?” Maybe Charles took his advice, interspersing a few amiable female characters here and there (thathewantedtofuckbecausetheywerechildren). Ahem. I bet that was the case! A mere misunderstanding!
Anyway, I forgot about Kimberly because the whole thing about them getting the full rockstar experience at their very first show and Pagan being the human equivalent of a bag of potato-chip crumbs was really funny — I was almost having a good time. I chalked Kimberly up as a waste of my time and somebody’s printer ink just like every other character in this stupid book until we arrived at the scene where it is revealed to the narrator that Pagan was letting the crew smash, too.
Our narrator replied,“Oh, yeah. I thought something strange — you know, she spends a lot of time with Oscar, too, and Kimberly. Do you think maybe…?”
I gasped; my hand flung over my heart. Not only does Pagan have no titties and an empty head, but she’s a pedophile, too?! I was at the edge of my fucking futon!
The dread began to creep up when his friend said, “Kimberly’s pretty young — and impressionable! [Who let him put a —? Who told him that was okay?] Pehgan’s pretty cool, huh?”
…WHO TOLD HIM THAT WAS OKAY? “No…” I thought. “No… I misread something. They must have mentioned that Kimberly is actually 18 and just looked hella young. I’m hallucinating. I haven’t had anything to drink tonight; I am simply experiencing alcohol withdrawals. That’s the problem! This can’t be!”
Panicking, I read on: As we passed [passed what? This is where I would let everyone know what they passed to add context to the quote, but the author never let us know. Did they die? Were they passing on? Did he forget to type “gas”?], we smiled — oblivious to anything other than the thought of the two young girls getting it on together. We’d save the thought for later.
“Oh, absolutely not!” I screamed. “Abso-mothafuckin-lutely not. Nope. I’m done. Absolutely not,” and clunk went the shitty book for the second time.
“Rose?” My sister called from the other room. “Do you need attention? Clearly, you need attention. What’s wrong?”
Some fucking imbecile that I let have sex with me for four months gave me a MOTIONLESS IN WHITE FANFICTION VERSION OF LOLITA THAT SOMEHOW GOT THROUGH TO A REAL FUCKING PUBLISHER because he knew I liked to read and thought it was a good goddamn idea, that’s what! He thought I would like this! I was spiritually attacked. Targeted! Exploited! TERRORIZED! This made me never want to let a man know that I can read ever again, and I just met a really fucking hot guy who can read, so none of this was fair. Not a single part of it!
(In my ex’s defense, I assumed he never actually read it, which he insisted to be the case after I yelled at him via text message at 3am for passing this wretched curse on to me. He kept a small stack of novels on his night table, likely to have been borrowed from his roommate to appear literate because he was fucking a bitch who writes books. I am sure of this, because the stack included two copies of popular Bukowski works: Any man in his right mind would hide those when a hot girl of average-to-high intelligence comes over, but I’m disgusting. He knew what he was doing, and I guess it worked for a while. Kill me.)
After I had calmed down a bit, I browsed the reviews on Goodreads to see if anyone else was as disturbed by this book as I was. The first started with “One of my all time favorite books…” so I, of course, scrolled on. The second read, “‘His head looked like a skull covered in sour cream.’ This quote is the only reason why this book got one star,” acknowledging that this man cannot write, but glossing completely over his questionable sexual preferences! The third review was short, simple, and fucking stupid: “Book was great. Got it tattooed on my shin!” and I, once again, had to give up.