The Ghost of Charles Bukowski Returns to His Old Haunts in New Hollywood

The Ghost of Charles Bukowski Returns to His Old Haunts in New Hollywood

(thanks Terrence Edwards)

He is the same pockmarked, beer-bellied Bukowski, in an unbuttoned shirt and wearing Bermuda shorts, black socks and old sneakers. Only now he’s a ghost, so you can see through him a little bit.

The ghost looks around, confused. Things have changed somewhat. Above him is a Panera Bread sign. The logo is an illustration of a woman with flowing hair caressing a loaf of bread. “Mother Bread.” He goes in. 

“I’ll have a boilermaker,” he grunts to the cheery cashier.

Cheery cashier – “We have a Cream of Celery soup in a bread bowl today!”

“Fuck that, just give me a Canadian Club and soda.”

Cheery cashier – “We don’t serve alcohol, sir. How about a nice hot latte?!”

“Just give me a cup of half and half – to go.”

“Do you have a My Panera loyalty card, or would you like to sign up for our rewards program?!”

The ghost snatches his to-go cup and shuffles out the door, past nervous millennials. 

Out on the street, spectral Bukowski looks up at a humming neon sign.  It crackles and pops, randomly flashes on and off.  Martinis Gallery. He walks into an art gallery with some bad acrylics of nude females, in purple and red. 

“Give me a martini, without the vermouth. Vodka. Or gin, I don’t care which.”

“We don’t have beverages, sir, this is an art gallery.”

Bukowski notices the nude female on the wall, goes over and starts humping it.

“Um, sir, excuse me,” says the Gallery owner. “What are you doing!”

“What do you think I’m doing,” says the ghost. “Where’s my martini?”

“You can’t touch the art, sir!”

Bukowski steps back and looks at the purple and red woman he was just humping.

“You call that art?”

He marches out. 

Staggering more now, he blindly stumbles into the new PowerYoga Studio on the corner of Vista Del Mar. He knows he’s getting close to his old haunt, he can almost taste it. 

“Okay Yogis, we are going to start class today in Mountain Pose, arms at sides, eyes closed- let’s start our Pranayama breathing- deep inhale, deeeep exhale-”

The sound of a deeeeeeeep churning pickled belch. The attractive twenty-somethings in their yoga pants look around, horrified.

“…and now let’s fold forward into Uttanasana, bend your knees a bit if you need to. Namaste!”

A sulfurous whisky moistened fart. The millennials begin to gag and fall out of their poses.

“Step or jump back to plank, and lower halfway, bent elbows, Chaturanga…”

A woman screams out.

“Hey! Get off me!”

Nice guys, white knights, and pretty fellows (it takes five of them) remove the ghost from the young yogi’s mat. They give him a stern listening to. He looks at them, confused. This is not the place he thought it was. 

The police are called on seven iPhones. But the ghost has disappeared. The millennials are traumatized and hurt. One sips a Ginger Kamboucha. They were just trying to do yoga. Then this homeless guy walked in, and…

A few doors down, the ghost arrives. 

The Frolic Room.

An old wooden door squawks open, shuts out the street noise. The ghost breathes it all in. The low lighting. The smell of stale beer. The ambient tavern clatters, stumbling footfalls, a heavy steel stool scrapes well-trodden wood floor, a whore on crutches crushes out a cigarette butt under the rubber tip of her right crutch. A half-empty bottle of rotgut kisses a tumbler’s lip with a clink.  The ghost of Bukowski sits with a sigh.  The Barkeep comes over.

“What can I get you, bud?” 

“Nama-fucking-stay!” says Bukowski. “A boilermaker. And keep ’em coming.” 

A flicker of recognition.

“Good to see you again,” says the Barkeep. “Been a while, huh?”

“Yeah, sure has,” says the ghost. “Hey, you ever tried cream of celery soup in a bread bowl?”







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