the bee

I suppose like any other boy
I had one best friend in the neighborhood.
his name was Eugene and he was bigger
than I was and one year older.
Eugene used to whip me pretty good.
we fought all the time.
I kept trying him but without much
once we leaped off a garage roof together
to prove our guts.
I twisted my ankle and he came up clean
as freshly-wrapped butter.
I guess the only good thing he ever did for me
was when the bee stung me while I was barefoot
and while I sat down and pulled the stinger out
he said,
“I’ll get the son of a bitch!”
and he did
with a tennis racket
plus a rubber hammer.
it was all right
they say they
die anyway.
my foot swelled up double-size
and I stayed in bed
praying for death
and Eugene went on to become an
Admiral or a Commander
or something large in the United States Navy
and he passed through one or two wars
without injury.
I imagine him an old man now
in a rocking chair
with his false teeth
and glass of buttermilk...
while drunk
I fingerfuck this 19 year old groupie
in bed with me.
but the worst part is
(like jumping off the garage roof)
Eugene wins again
because he’s not even thinking
about me.
Other works by Charles Bukowski...