“I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again”

I Get Knocked Down

Mr. Jones and me look into the future.

“I guess the fortune teller’s right,” he says. “It’s all about the benjamins, baby.”

“Hundred dollar bills, y’all.”

“I didn’t ask; you shouldn’t have told me. I don’t wanna take advice from fools.”

“Well, I ain’t got no crystal ball.”

We drink some wine until we get drunk.

“I’m an educated fool with money on my mind,” Mr. Jones says. “You’re a slave to the money, then you die.”

“If I had a million dollars, I’d buy you a house,” I offer.

“If I had a million dollars, well, I’d spend it all.”

“You’re a trifling, good-for-nothing-type-of-brother.”

“Ghetto supastar.”

It’s 11:30 and the club is jumping. It smells of cheap wine and cigarettes. He drinks a whisky drink. I breathe in and get a bit higher. Thoughts arrive like butterflies, but what I really want to say I can’t define.

“I am feeling a little peculiar.”

“Say it ain’t so! Is there something wrong and you can’t put your finger on it?”

“I’ve never been this bored before.”

“I recommend walking around naked in your living room,” Mr. Jones says.

“I’m trying to tell you something about my life.”

“Who’s got the claws in you, my friend?”

“You’re unbelievable.” I’m wondering why I got out of bed at all.

He drinks a vodka drink. “I’m acquainted with your suffering. Heaven knows when I was a young boy, I didn’t know what I wanted to be. Finally I figured it out, but it took a long, long time.”

“There must be more to living than 9 to 5,” I say.

He buzzes like a fridge, high on intellectualism.

“Today the way I play the game is not the same, no way. So your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A.? No one can change your life except for you.”

“But when you get old and start losing hair, can you tell me who will still care?” Too much television got me chasing dreams. I’m a million different people from one day to the next, but I wish I was special. So fucking special.

“Hello? Can you hear me? Am I getting through to you? You’ve got to get yourself together. Don’t let your life pass you by. There may not even be a tomorrow, so be cool.”

“I’m only hearing negative.”

“Oh no, I’ve said too much,” he says. “For a minute there, I lost myself.”

He’s looking out the window at somebody coming in. Her lips are devil red and her skin’s the color of mocha. Mr. Jones strikes up a conversation.

“Baby, you’re a perfect ten.”

“Take that look from off your face,” she says. Her confidence is tragic. He throws his hands up in the air.

“Girl, your wish is my command.”

“Don’t you know I can see what you’re doing? Running around with your cheap talk?”

“Hike up your skirt a little more,” he says. “I got plans to put my hands in places I’ve never seen, girl. You know what I mean.”

“I bet you think that’s pretty clever, don’t you, boy?”

She leaves, shaking that healthy butt.

“If you want me girl, let me know!” Mr. Jones shouts.

“I hate when things are over, when so much is left undone,” I say.

“Oh baby, it ain’t over til it’s over.”

Waiting, watching the clock. It’s 3 A.M. Closing time; one last call for alcohol.

I’ve got one hand in my pocket. “Pass me a bottle, Mr. Jones.”

He drinks a lager drink. I step outside under a blue sky of pure, white stars. I take a deep breath and I get real high.

“I want to thank you,” I say.

“Is it getting better, or do you feel the same?” he asks.

The air outside’s so soft, and I wrap my fear around me like a blanket. “I bet everybody feels this way sometimes.”

“You live, you learn,” says Mr. Jones. “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

It’s Friday night, and I feel alright. I won’t give up until I’m satisfied.

“I’ll be better when I’m older. I really think it’s just a matter of time,” I say.

Mr. Jones and me are gonna be big stars.

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