Wonderwall/ Laser Gun City.

by Serge Bielanko

My mind plays tricks on me constantly. It makes me believe things that are basically the opposite of truth. What is that?! My own mind telling me lies. Isn't there a name for that? Isn't that name....uhhh...CRAZY?

I tell myself that I am handsome.

I converse with myself at a little outdoor bistro by the fountain where pigeons frolic and shit pretty purple patterns on the cobblestones. It's a Euro-place tucked back deep down the alleys, in the Square of Serge's Imagination. I look across the table at Violet's Pop and I see a dashing fellow. He sips a thin glass of dark blood wine. His face shows some wear, some years. But still. He smokes a long cigarette with a gentleman's grace: deliberately/savoring the flavors...the chocolate tones and the nutty hints and the spices of islands no one has ever visited. He exhales and the smoke isn't an annoyance or a bother to the other patrons, but rather it has become a healthy mist born down in the damp darkness of his lungs. Formerly a toxin, and still a toxin laced through any other lips, it is somehow released from his pensive face with good health all swirled within its cloud.

If you breathed in every cigarette this man ever smoked, you would live forever. Simple as that.

So, I sit and I admire him. Our conversations are dalliances in and out of forums. Politics, sport, art, and love. We listen intently to the other, we ask questions for we are genuinely interested. Waiters come and go. Shifts change. We have small plates of octopus and lemon. We talk of Heaven. We pick at olives. We speak of God. We down liquers: we talk about literature, the purity of music, how childred are born knowing the secrets to the universe but forget them by the time they can finally speak. I greatly admire this man.

Mind Serge.

He is like a George Clooney dipped in JFK. But even cooler. And he. Is. Me.

Well, that's what my mind tells me. Fucking liar.


In the mirror after a full beard shave I see Don Knotts dipped in chicken fat. Dear Christ. I see chinless Eric Clapton without the legendary life's work. I wipe a bit of condensation off of the mirror/my mind and I am staring at what? A younger Tom Bosley maybe? Fifties face. A face from the Fifties when American people main-lined Peanut Butter Malteds into their necks with a turkey baster. Here I stand. I've had a few beers over the last couple nights, a few ice cream sandwiches. And now this. The lie is unfolded overtop the sink and I pop out. The real me.

I don't smoke classy. I smoke like a meth head. I lick the cig and try and get my grubby tongue up into the filter so that I can actually eat the flakes of nicotine in there. They are the Reeses Pieces down in the folds of Satan's car seats and I want them so fucking bad that I crawl up into the butt and curl up in there like a baby bear cub in his winter cave. It's pathetic for certain and it damn sure isn't classy or cosmopolitan.

So, my mind lied all over this thing.

I don't sip my wine. I try to. I swish it around in my gob once or twice. But then that's that and ninety-seven seconds later I'm almost done with my second glass. I'm feeling loose, ya'll. Loose as a goose.

But, there is no elegance involved. No sippy-sippy sommelier refined enjoyment. I guzzle the shit like The Pimple Party Kid suckling up to a bottle of orange Mad Dog in a night field. I suck the juice from the juice. I turn wine to dust I hit it so fast, so hard. Eight dollar empty bottles line the dusty road to where they find my bloated body. The maggots get so drunk they die under the sizzling sun and dry up in minutes; Pringles crumbs laid out in the shadows of holding pattern buzzards

I can converse about stuff, but the older I get I think I'm becoming less and less intelligent. More stupid. Sometimes I hit a groove and roll with it and maybe a person or two thinks I'm a thinker/NPR donor/intelligentsia. But I'm not. Even when I'm talking to you I'm probably thinking about something completely different that has nothing to do with whatever it is I'm saying to you at that moment. The real conversations are going on backstage at the festival in my face. Witty bantering and comments galore on rich velvety topics like American Idol and trout fishing and hot dog mustards. I converse with some weird Norman Rockwell-ish echo.

And lastly, I haven't been to any European squares in awhile. Or any bistros for that matter. I haven't been out to eat in over three months, and even then it was to the buffet, so there really wasn't much conversation going down if you know what I mean. Time is money and all that. I haven't even been to a coffee shop in over a year. I pop into the 7-11, put the shit in the styrofoam, and jet. No conversation. No goddamn little plates of squid or whatever. Good Morning/$1.68/Credit or Debit/Enter Your Pin/Get Out Of Here.

I just lie and lie and lie to myself. It's a survival mechanism.


The thing is: who cares? I'm happy without most of what I lie to me about. I'm no intellectual cafe Clooney. I'm Tom Bosley. And that's cool. You know why? I have my ladies. One of which is stuck with me forever: Violet. The other one: Monica, she is in my cement pretty good too, but not like a kid. The kid cannot escape. No matter what...she and I are one blood/one vein. I like that a lot. A whole lot.

In my mind: I die someday. It's a sunny day. Sun streaming through the hospital blinds. The ladies see me off and yes there's tears and crap but it's all good. We said our goodbyes and we'll see each other in Heaven and I will watch over you both in the form of a small Oriole or a lightning bug or something.

The credits begin to roll. The bio-pic wraps up. The first notes of an acoustic guitar are heard and it is a familiar chill to anyone watching. "Wonderwall" begins. People sit for a minute or two, their laps flaked with popcorn dust. Tears come to some eyes. Dudes on dates bite into their tongues and pray to Jesus Christ the Savior not to cry.

"Today is gonna be the day they're gonna throw it back to you"...Liam starts singing.

"By now you shoulda somehow realized what you gotta do"....people stand up slowly as the dim lights come on.

No one looks anyone in the eye. They think of me. My passing. The ending they just watched. They pick up their things, their pocketbooks.

"I don't believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now."

They file out of the theater, through the lobby, out into the hot night lot. They go to their cars and start them and roll away.

They remember me even hours later when they lay down to sleep.


I know that this is bullshit, but that's ok. In fact, that's kinda the point. It's all dumb-ass lies we tell ourselves and bother ourselves with. We spend so much time at fake cafes instead of real ones. That's just the way it goes. But Violet cuts through all that for me like Laser Gun City. Without her, I'd be lost before long. Dudes like me need absolute bonds. We need a kid to call us Daddy someday and never stop loving us no matter how ridiculous we get.

And she always will love me, I just know it. She'll love me with everything she's got, right up until the end when "Wonderwall" does not play because freakin' old-ass Monica forgot to bring the boombox to the hospital on the damn day I die.