Down In The Ground Where The Dead Men Go.

by Serge Bielanko

Sometimes I try and care about things I need to care about but nothing really happens. I get to focusing on stuff, adult stuff, like life insurance and job benefits and Violet's college money; I'm on the couch looking at job listings on Craigslist, trying to find something I could qualify for that might include some medical/dental/mental. I concentrate. Scroll through the last week of ads. Sales. Flower delivery. Sales. Female personal assistant (perv boss). Phone sales. Laborer (already climbed that ladder). Get paid to lick envelopes. Pay to lick envelopes. Pre-school helper at someone's homemade pre-school ($8 an hour, 25 hours a week.)

Six pages in, even fry cook possibilities seem way more interesting than most of what's out there.

Then. I fuck up, I guess. I wander.

Over into Sporting Goods, to look at fishing shit. Down the backstreets of Farm/Garden. I like to look at what lawn mowers people are selling. I keyword Honda mower because that's what I dream of owning someday though I know I won't. Time goes by and I grow a little older. A few minutes older. Still, no job benefits.

Inside of me I suppose I just shove the whole critically important thing away. Squish it with my fists down behind my stomach and my intestines, to sleep with my shit. It drives me so crazy. Maybe I'm just a pussy. Maybe I just want to work the job I have and sweat my days away and be happy with that. But, then Monica tells me that I have a kid. And another one on the way. And that I need to stop being half a man and find an occupation that will provide all that her occupation provides. And I get it that she's right. But I'm pushing 40 and I'm pretty much only qualified to rock small bars deep in the night. Or am I? I dunno. I get scared. Flattened by the weight of a mile and a half of coal cars full of responsibility clacking over my half-a-man ass. I've already taken so many chances in this life; chased my little dreams up a fucking redwood tree. I love Violet. It all makes me skitzo.

So, you come looking for me in the ads and I ain't where I'm supposed to be. I ain't popping off another resume to another great company like I should be. Ugh.

I walk slow, like an old man full of oatmeal, down through Furniture. I gander at the ads for coffee tables and entertainment centers when I should be taking care of my family. Or, at least, that's what my wife says.

But, when I'm dead and gone, here is what ya'll can put upon my cheap fifty-year stone:


Here Lies Serge Christopher Bielanko.

He was an average man, a bird-brain husband, a loving dad, a decent son and brother. He was husky, then skinny, then just plain huge.

He liked baseball at 7, fishing at 37, and video poker at 57.

He ate what he ate.

He played some guitar and wasn't very good but then again neither are most people.

He read books.

He liked to take a drink, but took it easy in his later years until the night when, dining alone on one of his famous "Date Nights", he drank eleven glasses of cheap chianti and exploded all over the Buca Di Beppo and ended up with The Sweet Lord.

He was a prodigious under-used lover with nary a fear in the bedroom. He grew man-tits. His dogs were fond of him, as were most other people's dogs. He enjoyed the hell out of Christmas Eve. He could shovel a snow with the best of 'em.

He loved his daughter, Violet and his son, Maximus, with all of his heart and soul and even quit the ciggys at age 40 so as to maybe stick around long enough to attend their weddings and shit.

He knew Bruce Springsteen. He knew Nick Hornby. He dated Courtney Love. (Just put that up on there, to fuck with people) He had a semi-short fuse with other drivers. He was a hard worker who wasn't afraid of sweat and blisters and actually took pride in cuts and bruises he received on the job.

He changed a lot of diapers and smiled every time. He understood the love of his kids.

He saw The Ramones and Bill Monroe live, separately. He could talk a blue streak but never said much of anything. He visited other nations, tried their foods, and liked them.

He never made any fortunes.

He sucked at figuring the important stuff out.

He never had a job with benefits. Or good life insurance.

He was dumber on the day he died than he was on the day he was born.

Fuck 'im.


That's a tall stone after all. A stone which I forgot to pay for in advance, of course.