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I Want to Make Money in Amerika by R.G. Vasicek


Amerika. Cold, brilliant skies. The iron trees of New York.

     Hi, there.

     There are things I forget. Things I remember. Things I make up. I can no longer say the difference. So I must tell you everything.

     The phone rings and rings. I am alone again. Let the machine get it. I no longer know what to say to people. Is that why you read? In each sentence there is always the possibility of enlightenment.

     The Chinese and Japanese poets understand this.

     I am not a poet.

     I teach spoken English to the daughters of communism in Prague. It is not a bad gig. Czech girls are the prettiest on the planet. I don’t know why. There is no why.

     My name is Zig.

     I am in New York to recharge my batteries. This is where I am from. This is who I am.

     I sublet a flat in Astoria, Queens. I can see the Triboro bridge from my window. I type these words on paper scrolled into an Olivetti typewriter.

     Amerika is funny. Ha ha ha.

     I am here to experiment. The language is so plastic. The people of New York are such talkers. What if I write a two-act play called The Coffee Drinker?
     

Act One

     
Zig sips coffee from a paper cup under the railroad trestle in Astoria, Queens.
     
Stranger: One cup of coffee. One fucking coffee.

 

Zig: Yep. That’s all it takes.

 

Act Two

 

Zig walks into a supermarket. He places a half-gallon of organic whole milk into a red plastic basket. He also gets a package of sliced turkey and a loaf of whole wheat bread. He pays for it at a self-checkout machine. He gets $25 cash back.

 

Zig enters his apartment. He makes a sandwich. He drinks a coffee.

 

Zig stares at the Triboro bridge.

 

Zig: I am lonely.

 

Curtain.

///

 

     Nope. Bad idea. Forget it. I can’t think of any American or Czech actors who could really play Zig. I’d have to play myself. And that is no fun.

     Now what?

     The Slovak girl at the bodega should be in a digital movie.

     I am afraid to ask.

 

     Amerika rings and rings. Am I right, friend?

     Electric wires strung from pole to pole.

     I am of two minds.

     No. I take it back. I am of ten thousand minds. Eighty-four thousand delusions.

     We are plastic and electric. We are synapses and wires. We are vertical smiles and upsidedown frowns. Text messages make us sad.

     The secret policewoman can’t keep a secret: “Remember Prague?”

     “Of course.”

     “Remember the color of my underpants?”

     “Sure. FD&C Blue #1.”

     “And my eyes?”

     “Green.”

     A strange thought spiders through Zig’s brain: Hey, listen, girlpal, are you liking the Amerika? Prepare for the unpredictable. Anything can happen.

 

     Are you waiting for the big asteroid?

     I am.

     Look up at the stars. The odds are pretty good.

     You better go fuck your ex-girlfriend.

     You are

     …a machinist of the mind. If you are anything. Thoughts are precise. Cut and milled. Spun on the lathe. Ten thousand rotations per second.

 

     I am a defector.

     I left. I fled. I disappeared. It was the most interesting thing I could do.

     I erase the past. I forget the future.

     Americans call me Zig.

     Defectors are people who get deflected from their natural trajectory.

     I hide my defect.

     Well, friend, I lost my plot. You too? You don’t say. Must be happening to everybody in Amerika. Or at least people like us.

 

     Stir the goulash of the moment.

     Her name is Sarka.

     We make love according to the laws of thermodynamics. Our bodies shift to get a little more purchase, a fraction more pleasure.

     She looks at me looking at her look at me.

     We turn each other, inside out.

 

     The human brain is a particle accelerator. Thoughts collide. I think I better leave the apartment. I think I better go to the bodega.

     If I go back to Prague I will probably die.

 

     Look at the gray block skyline of Manhattan, which in Lenape means “the land of many hills.” The English language is not plastic enough for the American mind.

     But what do I know.

     I am a friggin’ lunatic.

 

     Let’s try a simpler format.

     Less work, more eye.

     Sarka and I take off our jeans and become one flesh.

 

     The East Village is gray. Everyday thoughts are blue cigarette smoke. I can’t beat these guys at chess in Tompkins Square Park. My ex-girlfriend says I wear my jeans too tight. She says people say I got a great ass.

 

     My ex-girlfriend says a super nova is a giant orgasm in the cosmos.

     You asked me to come up your room.

     I said I have a girlfriend.

     You said I guess so.

 

     We made love in the Anglo-Saxon style.

     We made love in plain language. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Oh. Fuckkkkkkkkkkkk.

 

     What is a Republic?

     Before the President sends you to Pankrac prison. Before the priest takes away your pencil and paper.

     Well, here it is…my heart is a sprocket in the kingdom of machines.

 

     There are no jobs in Amerika.

     I looked.

     It’s a good thing I teach spoken English in Prague.

     The Americans are working towards a new Prague language (i.e. “idiolekt”).

     Amerika is imperfekt.

     Amerika is awesome!

     I want to make an independent film called The Vampires of Prague. Rated PG-13 or NC-17.

     I don’t know.

     What do you think?

 

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R.G. Vasicek lives in Amerika.