Choke

Free Choke by Chuck Palahniuk

Book: Choke by Chuck Palahniuk Read Free Book Online
Authors: Chuck Palahniuk
as a parrot since I admitted to peeing in her bed every night.
    Yeah, I tell them all, I did it. I burned down your house. I bombed your village. I deported your sister. I sold you a shitty blue Nash Rambler in 1968. Then, yeah, I killed your dog.
    So get over it!
    I tell them, heap it on me. Make me play the big passive bottom in your guilt gang bang. I’ll take everybody’s load.
    And after everybody’s humped out their load in my face, they’re all smiling and humming. They’re laughing at the ceiling, still all crowded around me, patting my hand and saying it’s all right, they forgive me. They’re gaining fucking weight. The whole hen party’s chatting at me, and this real tall nurse walks by, and she says, “Well, aren’t you Mister Popular.”
    Denny sniffs.
    “You need a snot rag, dude?” I say.
    The weird part is my mom’s not getting any better. No matter how much I play Pied Piper and take the blame away from these people. No matter how much fault I sponge up, my mom doesn’t believe I’m me anymore, that I’m Victor Mancini. So she won’t unload her own big secret. So she’s going to need some stomach tube thing.
    “Sobriety is okay enough,” Denny says, “but someday, I’d like to live a life based on doing good stuff instead of just not doing bad stuff. You know?”
    What’s even weirder, I tell him, is I’m figuring how I can turn my new popularity into a fast broom closet ram session with this tall nurse, maybe get her to throat my dog. A nurse thinks you’re a caring nurturing guy who’s patient with hopeless old people, and you’re halfway to boning her.
    See also: Caren, RN.
    See also: Nanette, LPN.
    See also: Jolene, LPN.
    But no matter who I’m with, my head’s inside this other girl. This Dr. Paige Something. Marshall.
    So no matter who I’m boning, I have to think about big infected animals, big roadkill raccoons all swollen up with gas and getting hit by fast trucks on the highway on a blistering day in the sun. Either that or I trigger right away, that’s how hot this Dr. Marshall is in my head.
    It’s funny how you never think about the women you’ve had. It’s always the ones who get away that you can’t forget.
    “It’s just that my internal addict is so strong,” Denny says, “that I’m afraid to not be locked up. My life needs to be about more than just
not
jerking off.”
    Other women, I say, no matter who, you can imagine themgetting rammed. You know, straddling the driver’s seat in some car, her G-spot, the back of her urethral sponge, getting hammered on by your fat hot slider. Or you can see her bent over the edge of a hot tub getting plugged. You know, her, in her private life.
    But with this Dr. Paige Marshall, she seems to be above getting boned.
    Some kind of vultury birds are circling overhead. According to bird time, that makes it around two o’clock. A gust of wind throws the tails of Denny’s waistcoat up over his shoulders, and I pull them back down.
    “Sometimes,” Denny says and sniffs, “it’s like I want to be beaten and punished. It’s okay if there isn’t a God anymore, but I still want to respect something. I don’t want to be the center of my own universe.”
    With Denny in the stocks all afternoon, I have to split all the firewood. By myself, I have to grind the corn. Salt the pork. Candle the eggs. The cream needs to be dipped. The hogs, slopped. You wouldn’t think the eighteenth century would be so hectic. With me picking up all the slack for him, I tell Denny’s hunched back, the least he could do is come visit my mom and pretend to be me. To hear her confession.
    Denny sighs at the ground. From two hundred feet up, one of the vulture birds drops a nasty white dump on his back.
    Denny says, “Dude, what I need is a mission.”
    I say, “So do this one good thing. Help out an old lady.”
    And Denny says, “How’s your number four step coming along?” He says, “Dude, I have an itch on my side, can you help me

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