Combover

Dirty Laundry

By Brett Gelman


Featuring Seth Morris

Another diversion. Tired of these. Got a call from Seth Morris asking for my service. This one’s difficult. Used to be my best friend. My mentor, really. Taught me everything I know about the business. Helped me get my first assistant’s job with Billy Wilder. Then the white dragon set him on fire. And before I knew it, I was his own personal ATM. I like to help him out. I feel too guilty if I don’t. But I’m growing tired of it. 

The white dragon’s still lighting him ablaze. Along with several other dragons. It’s like a dragon Seder in his body and mind. I have no illusions of where my money goes. I meet him at the laundromat by his apartment. He looks like my nightmares of what I could become. And he sounds even worse. Maybe I shouldn’t give him the money this time. Maybe I’m helping to make a bad situation worse. 

I get to the laundromat. Kind of place that looks like it’ll make your clothes dirtier. Seth smiles. We hug. He smells like sissy. He dances into his con like he’s Gene Kelly. 

“I was doing real good, Combover. Honest I was. I wasn’t even takin’ Nyquil when I got a cold. I was doing that good. But you know how my brother died two years ago, right? Hit by a train and all that… Well, I got to thinking about it and my nose started to tickle something awful, and my lungs started aching, and my arms started screaming for something.

“You know how it is, Combover. This business is rough. I know I haven’t really been on the front lines lately, but I feel it. I feel it hard. I’ve been having a tough time. The other day some old weirdo paid me 20 bucks to let his dog lick Cheez Whiz out of my ass while he jerked off on the dog. Then I had to shampoo the dog, brush its teeth, and everything. Even worse, the dog’s a biter. Don’t like hands near its mouth and bit me on the thigh somethin’ awful. 

“That turned into a huge infection and I got real sick. Went to this back-alley doctor and he told me he had to operate. He put me under, and when I wake up I don’t know for sure but I think he fisted me. Either that or he was some kind of alien looking to probe junkies. Not that I believe in aliens, nor do I consider myself a junky. I’m not a junky. Unless of course you take the j and replace it with an f

“I been sleeping in the dryers here. Legal, of course. Owner lets me do it if I fuck his wife so he can go out and do God knows what without her noticing. I showed up pretending to be a Bible salesman, ’cause apparently she’s all crazy religious. Every time we fuck… the whole time she’s screaming, ‘We’re going to hell! We’re going straight to burning hell!’ I can’t tell you what I gotta think about to keep my wang hard inside her. 

“I think I got problems with my spine. You know, from sleeping in the dryer. One night I overslept and some kids came in the morning and turned it on. You don’t need to be in there long to get thoroughly knocked around. Plus, my back is already bad on account of what happened last November when those frat boys told me that part of their hazing was that they had to fuck a homeless guy. Told me they’d give me 50 bucks to let ’em take rounds on my ass. We went under the bridge, and then they remembered that they got the hazing wrong. It wasn’t ‘fucking’ a homeless guy; it was actually ‘breaking’ a homeless guy. I got chained and whipped within an inch of my life. And after they left, one of them came back and fucked me anyway. I figure, hey, at least some pleasure was involved. But not for me… 

“But listen, Combover, I’m clean now. I’m fine. I just need a couple Frankies to pay my rent and eat a little something. Plus I got a big project brewing that’s gonna put me back on top. It’s called Crocodile Monkey, all about a croc who gets injected with some monkey genes and gets a lot smaller and more humanlike… well, really more monkeylike, but whatever. So you got a croc looking at the world the way an ape would look at it.”

“JUST TAKE THE MONEY, SETH! JUST TAKE THE MONEY AND SHUT UP!”

I’m tired of these diversions.

This is the seventh chapter of Combover, Brett Gelman’s new novel about Hollywood, the beauty of the Jewish tradition, baldness, and murder. We will be serializing it throughout the rest of the year. Read the previous installment: White Lie/Black Fly

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