The Return of Johnny D. Lurg

            “I—I just don’t know why I’m feeling so—well!” he squeals, turning to a moderately confused mother.  “It’s like that horrid post-grunge band always sez, ‘somethin’s gotta go wrong ‘cuz I’m feelin’ way too damned good!”

            “You’re just used to life blowing garbage in yer face,” his mother reminds him.  “I mean, you did flunk a class or too, but at least you learned from it and succeeded later.  Now, may I suggest…

He mutters, “No time for suggestions” under his breath.  “Also, I’m a bit paranoid that what seems like a breakthrough is really an end.  Dr. Hardy (or was it Dr. Coleman?) pointed out in a class of mine that the suicidal get better the day before they, um, kill themselves.  I think it happened to Plath or Sexton or someone.”


“And we mustn’t forget Bukowski!  Charles Bukowski, ambiguously Polish poet, sometimes associated with the Beat Generation and sometimes without them… he went a grand total of ten years without penning a single poem!  Why can’t I do the same?”

“You’re not the drunk that Bukowski was.”

She was right.  Sober as Lurg is, with virtually no infamy outside of one Internet comedy website, he is hot shit.  He just hadn’t known it until now.  He recalls some negative reception at a poetry reading back in high school, but it wasn’t as if any of the other poets got a standing ovation, and after all, all the poets who mattered in the whole town were requesting that Lurg take their course on Rimbaud at the local university.  Plus, that was high school, a time when Lurg was young and barely aware of his own reflection in Laguna Lake.  All legends had their clunkers!  Zappa had The Man from Utopia and perhaps Thing-Fish, Beefheart had Bluejeans & Moonbeams, and Johnny D. Lurg had one particularly dreadful reading of “Crash Test Dummy,” a dirge he disowned by age seventeen.  And, hey, it was better than having Metal Machine Music in your discography!

“Well, that settles it!  Those cyberbullies and anybody else who is even slightly anti-Lurg at this point have lost the war!  I’m gonna write myself another book,” he cries, and sprints out of his mother’s bedroom, down three separate hallways, and out the door to his parents’ house.

And this was only one day after a man had caught Lurg in sync with his iPod—the music was upbeat but Lurg himself was downbeat, creating an unusual sort of dissonance—singing, “Roll away the dew!”

“Escuse me, are you a Deadhead?” asks the man.

“No, but I’m dead inside,” was Lurg’s reply.


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