The movie Goodfellas ends with its hero, Henry Hill, entering the Witness Protection Program and moving from New York to Arizona. The sequel opens as Henry meets an elementary-school-aged DC Pierson and immediately becomes his mentor, guardian, and friend. Without further ado, I present to you selected narration from Goodfellas 2: My Gangster.
Henry and I liked each other immediately. I think Henry identified with me, because he had skipped rising through a normal society of suckers and opted for the fast track with a life of crime, and I’d had the chance to skip second grade because of my advanced reading level, though my parents decided not to do it because they thought socialization was important.
My father was always pissed off. He hated Henry, ‘cause my father was a software engineer. Henry was also a software engineer, but he was shitty at it, because it was a Witness Protection cover job and he had no training and no experience. Like a bum, my father sweated anonymously all day and all night over subroutines and decision trees, while Henry would walk in the door and all the cubicle monkeys would go wild. He’d slip a hundred to the HR lady, two hundred to the guy who refilled the snack machines just for keeping the Mountain Dew cold. The most work he’d do all day was sitting down at his computer terminal and slipping a hundred dollar bill right into the floppy disk drive. Who knew you could bribe a computer?
In third grade they built a new school near us, Kyrene De La Esperanza. The kids got to vote on what the mascot would be. Our choices were something to do with cacti, the Estrellas (which means “the stars” in Spanish) and the Sharks. The proposed Sharks logo even featured a cool 90’s shark wearing awesome shades. In our hearts and minds, it wasn’t even a contest.
But the fix was in. The teachers were going to ram through Estrellas, and there was nothing we kids could do about it. We just had to sit there and take it. They thought the Estrellas name would prepare us for a multi-cultural, multi-lingual education that would be essential in the 21st century. Nothing against our brothers and sisters to the south, but there’s one thing a rapid transition to a globalized economy would never change: kids love sharks, especially ones with sunglasses.
Henry found out about it, and he gave those teachers a lesson they’d never forget. He walked right into the teacher’s lounge and pistol-whipped the ringleader. As this was Arizona, he was able to charge through the school with a firearm, and people just assumed he was a good guy with a gun on his way to neutralize a bad guy with a gun.
“The kids can have whatever mascot they want!” he screamed, then he kicked the guy out onto the street and right into an open fire hydrant that was gushing water. That was one thing Henry taught me that I’ll never forget: after brutally beating their enemies, real wiseguys always kick them right into the spray of an open fire hydrant. The double wetness, blood and water, really does a number on their self-esteem. It was so important to Henry that he’d unwrenched the thing himself seconds before walking into my school with a gun.
The fire hydrant treatment was extra humiliating in Arizona, since we were a dry desert climate and water conservation measures meant that not only was this beatdown painful, it was ecologically unsound.
Another teacher, he beat with his own mug. It had raised lettering reading “World’s Greatest Teacher” on it, which the guy imprinted on his forehead for a week. Because of what it said, we all called him rehcaet s’dlrow tsetaerg, something my brief flirtation with learning Klingon had left me uniquely prepared to pronounce.
It might sound insane, but here’s what the FBI could never understand: Henry was for people who couldn’t go to the teachers, because the teachers hated sharks.
Then there was the time me and my friends got harassed by the teachers for playing Magic: The Gathering at lunch time. Some kids had complained. They didn’t have Magic: The Gathering cards, so they couldn’t play, so by playing the game ourselves, we were being exclusionary.
Henry blew his stack when I told him. The next day, he put a spell on these kids they wouldn’t soon forget. I mean, he really tapped their mana. I mean, he played a Black Lotus on these kids, a card that hasn’t been legal since First Edition.
What I mean is, he beat up children.
After that, the kids who complained carried my red/green combo deck to the lunch table FOR me. You know why? It was out of respect.
Everything Henry had ever taught me really came to fruition when Pizza Hut started offering their “Book It!” program. It was the perfect scam. What made it even more perfect was that most kids wouldn’t even read the books, they would just say they had and get their allotted one personal pan pizza per week anyway. My angle was to actually read the books. This way I scored not only the pizza, but a smug feeling of mental superiority.
Now any time Pizza Hut needs a book read, they can call DC. Sounder? They can call DC. The Westing Game? They can call DC. But now Pizza Hut has to come up with DC’s pizza every week. Ran out of ranch dressing for crust-dipping? Fuck you, feed me. Teenage dish-washer accidentally put the drying cycle on extra-hot and melted all your red pebbled drinking glasses? Fuck you, feed me.
And then, when there’s nothin’ left, when you’ve fed him absolutely every personal pizza in the joint, and he’s still got a whole Ironwood Public Library full of Michael Crichton novels to slowly read and BARELY understand, you light a match.
This will distract DC, as he is fascinated by fire and will soon go through a brief phase of burning newspapers in a flowerpot in the backyard after school. Then sneak out and buy more pizza stuff.
The house music mix for my show tonight is too real for ‘em. It’s called DC PIERSON WILL STEAL YOUR GIRLFRIEND and it’s at 7 PM at the UCB Theater in Los Angeles. Dominic Dierkes is opening and you can still get tickets here: http://losangeles.ucbtheatre.com/performances/view/30539
One of the things that makes Settlers Of Catan a great board game is, you’re never “out.” You never get fully eliminated before the game itself is over, so even if you have zero chance of winning you can still hang out in the game and be a headache for the person who has a ninety percent chance of winning.
I wish life was like that. That no one ever died, that instead of dying you just became not-really-a-factor, but you could still hang out and crack jokes and, more importantly, mess with some asshole who’s still kicking.
I was checking out at Trader Joe’s. I was wearing my Google t-shirt.
The older check-out lady said, “Wasn’t Google on the Internet yesterday?”
"… It’s always on the Internet," I said, maybe too affronted for someone that has no personal or financial stake in Google.
"No, not Google,” she said. “What was it? They had a billion dollars or something?”
"Twitter," I said. "Twitter had their IPO yesterday."
"That’s it," she said. "They went on the Internet yesterday."
I didn’t correct her again. We all knew what we meant. And at some point during this exchange, two people clarifying for each other who exactly has billions of dollars and why, I had the following thought:
I am going to be broke forever.
A predetermined total amount of sex is going to be had in the world tonight.
Some of it will either be had by you or it won’t.
Now stop agonizing over that text message.
Most of those well-styled smiley sexually attractive financially stable people who seem like they’re never gonna actually do anything are never gonna actually do anything.
At the end of my Freshman year of high school our theatre teacher announced the plays we’d be doing the upcoming year. It was so exciting. I read all the shows and narrowed down which roles would permit me maximum triumph.
Over the summer, the principal fired our teacher for letting us play laser tag in the auditorium. His replacement then scheduled a different, shorter slate of plays.
The principal’s name was Dr. Mosher.
That fucker still owes me a Brighton Beach Memoirs and I intend to collect.
Come kick it with us for the next four Wednesday nights, starting tonight. You will write things you’re proud of.
"This is where it gets complicated," I said, pointing at everything.
There’s a tap on my bedroom window.
I yelp, and look up. It’s Nina, who disappeared seven days ago.
She’s sitting perched at the edge of the window-mounted flower box, facing out into the night. You couldn’t get up there without a ladder, but I don’t see one.
I push the window open.
“Hey,” she says.
“Hi,” I say. “Are you okay?”
“Totally,” she says.
“Do you want food or, like, a blanket—”
“Liz,” she says, “it’s cool. This isn’t a distress thing, and I’m not coming back, I just thought I would come say ‘hi.’”
“Hi!” I say again, like clip-art of a happy person.
Then I start crying.
“No, don’t, I’m fine,” she says. “I’m so fine, I’m better than fine!”
“Okay,” I say. Then I stop crying. I make myself.
“I have seen such creepy shit in the last little while,” she says, “but nothing as creepy as the fact that you can just stop crying on a dime like that.”
“Can I put that on a college application? Like under special skills,” I say. “That’s got to be some kind of achievement, right? ‘One time I creeped out a witch.’”
“Sounds like you could get an essay out of that,” she says, “but if there’s one thing I’ve never worried about, it’s your ability to get an essay out of something.”
There are many, many things Nina always seemed not to be worried about. She projected an emotional wall of not-worried-about-it ten feet high, and behind the wall were the kind of worries that apparently can drive you to exchange your life in human society for one I cannot even begin to understand.
“Aren’t you cold out there?” I say, thinking that by “out there” I mean “sitting outside my window in the middle of the night in early November,” but realizing I actually mean “the world.”
“No,” she says, “but thanks for asking.”
There’s a golf course across the street from our school, and next to it there’s a walled-in bunch of above-ground pipes and meters that probably do something like regulate the golf course’s sprinkler system or the water level of its man-made lake. There’s this alley between one of the walls and some fenced-in power lines where kids from our school go to smoke. I went out there with her a few times between finishing our food and the lunch bell ringing.
At first it was cool, and I didn’t smoke, just got a buzz from the totally acceptable amount of risk involved in leaving school grounds during the day despite not being Seniors. The kids were mostly older and pretty nice, and they liked the same music as Nina. I stopped going with her once I realized it wasn’t just for the companionship of cool kids who agreed with her about what was bullshit, she had a chemical need to go out there and smoke. Once she started having her own cigarettes. I thought not going would be a good way to get her to stop, but it wasn’t. And not long after I stopped, this guy who didn’t go to our school started hanging out back there.
“People are gonna say, oh, she got seduced by that guy and wanted to become a monster, like Twilight or something, but I’m not even attracted to him. There’s nothing less sexy than a guy who’s actually a thousand spiders.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean he’s literally a thousand spiders inside of a human skin.”
“Oh. Wow. Umm… Cool?”