Among the myriad delights that Santa Claus put in the Rainy Day Christmas stocking was Women by Charles Bukowski. In his introduction, Barry Miles says, “Women is Buwkoski’s punk novel. Written in 1977, it is fast, conversational, uses few long words, and just zips along.” In the book, we meet Henry Chinaski, a low-life writer and alcoholic. “Now at the age of fifty, he is living the life of a rock star, running three hundred hangovers a year and a sex life that would cripple Casanova.” Snippet:
Lydia drove back on the shoulder of the freeway and pushed the door open again. “Get out!”
I got out. I walked along the shoulder. Then I came to an offramp that led to a deserted street. I walked down the offramp and along the street. I was very dark. I looked into the windows of some of the houses. Apparently I was in a black district. I saw some lights ahead at an intersection. There was a hot dog stand. I walked up to it. A black man was behind the counter. There was nobody else around. I ordered coffee. “Goddamned women,” I said to him. “They are beyond all reason. My girl let off on the freeway. Want a drink?”
“Sure, he said.
He took a good hit and handed it back.
“You got a phone?” I asked. “I’ll pay you.”
“Is it a local call?”
He pulled a phone from underneath the counter. And handed it to me. I took a drink handed him the bottle. He took one. I called the Yellow Cab Co., gave them the location. My friend had a kind and intelligent face. Goodness could be found sometimes the middle of hell. We passed the bottle back and forth as I waited for the cab. When the cab arrived I got into the back and gave the cabby Nicole’s address.
“Goodness could be found sometimes the middle of hell” is the kind of gem that Bukowski plants in the middle of his endless accounts of fighting, drinking, fighting, hangovers, bad sex, writing and the hard life.