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Sometimes I Don't Feel So Bad When an Ex-Friend Dies
The above picture is of ex-friend Lou Perfidio. He's not dead in this picturehe's merely passed out because he drank too much. The photo was taken outside my Portland house in the summer of 1995. Lou had moved up from Tucson, intending to film a cable-access program with me called The Nigger Show.
Lou had been my best friend in journalism school. He was a fat, bearded, farting, filthy-mouthed, passionate punk rocker, and I was a violent, withdrawn rockabilly guyprobably the only rockabilly guy in Philadelphia in 1982. We also both drove cabs, an avocation he would pursue on and off for the rest of his life.
We had a falling-out in 1985 right after graduation. I was staying over at his house, and he woke me up by being all drunk and loud. I hate drunks, and I'm psychotic when my sleep is disturbed. We wouldn't speak for another seven years.
In the late 1980s, an ex-girlfriend from college cattily informed me that while I'd been visiting my brother in Florida during my junior yearwhile me and the ex had still been living togetherLou came over and fucked her.
Sometime around 1990, I was watching the LA TV news and was intrigued by a story about a cable-access host in Tucson called "The Great Satan At-Large." The host was facing 40 years for obscenity due to his show, and a news clip showed a fat guy in red face paint with a plastic pitchfork and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
Two years later, I received an answering-machine message from Lou. He had seen my magazine ANSWER Me! and wanted to get back in touch. During my follow-up phone call, Lou revealed that he'd recently been in trouble for his cable-access show in Tucson.
Lou was the Great Satan I'd seen on TV. And I was doing ANSWER Me! Without even looking, we'd both caused so much trouble that we found each other again.
We shared hours upon hours of intense, hilarious long-distance calls over the next couple years. When I was charged with obscenity after moving to Portland, it only cemented the bond between me and Lou. We agreed that he would move to Portland and both of us would REALLY give the town a high colonic with our planned Nigger Show, which I once described thusly:
Roughly, it was a tragicomic narrative about two skinheads who lose their girlfriends to black guys. In their spurned rage, they do a cable access show-within-a-show called "The Nigger Show," which is filled with inept sloganeering and the crudest stereotypes. Behind the scenes, still smarting from the romantic rejection, the boys convince themselves that their ex-girlfriends couldn't possibly prefer black guys and thus must have been sold into white slavery. So they boldly forge into the ghetto to rescue the kidnapped white maidens. Though a series of subversive activities such as dropping water balloons on Negroes and taking extra newspapers from newsboxes when they have only paid for one, they spark a global race war which they're powerless to stop. To everyone's surprise, the Puerto Ricans win the race war. The protagonists retire to the Oregon woods to eke out a survivalist existence. After a heated campfire argument as to the racial origins of Bigfoot, one of the boys is brutally raped by a Sasquatch.
Lou abandoned his Tucson taxi-dispatcher job and moved to Portland. I invited him to stay at our house while we worked on The Nigger Show and he looked for a job.
After ten days, it became apparent that Lou neither intended to bathe nor look for a job. All he did was drink, chain-smoke, and look at the sports section of the paper. He was also the worst kind of drunkthe weepy kind. When we came home from work to find him passed out in the summer sun outside our house, we demanded that he leave.
He tried muscling his way past my wife back into the house. I pulled out our Mossberg shotgun and pointed it at him. He hailed a taxi and flew back to Tucson.
I only spoke to him once after that, calling him in 1998 to tell him my wife was dying of cancer. He was not quite friendly, but we spoke long enough for him to tell me he'd sired a sonCaesar Satan Ludovico Perfidio.
Caesar is now 12. His father dropped dead of a heart attack in 2006 at age 43.
It gives me the heebie-jeebies to think that of the three players in that little shotgun scene, two of them are now dead, and I didn't even shoot either of them. I recall another night from Lou's Portland visit where it was me, him, my first wife, and a girl known in the scene as Scary Anne sitting around in Pig Champion's filthy little room. Except for me, everyone who was in that room is now dead.
I feel sad remembering the time me and Lou trudged through rusty snow in blown-to-shit Philly neighborhoods, high on mushrooms and exaggerating our own Philly accents. I feel sad remembering how we'd riff on the word "nigger" for two hours straight. I feel sad that we never became friends again.
But I don't feel THAT sad. He fucked my girlfriend and he was such a bad houseguest, I had to threaten to shoot him to force him to leave. And the cocksucker never took care of his health. In his twenties, he had the body of a sixty-year-old. Better he goes than me.
Let me know if I should feel guilty, because I ain't feelin' it.