my best old ex-friend kez

(I took that subject line, with one slight alteration, from the Jim Croce song Operator. For some reason, and I shouldnt admit to this, I cry when I hear the Jim Croce songs while Im driving. Its the damnedest thing. It doesnt happen so much on land, but when I hear it in the car I always sob. I think it has something to do with my dad. Jim Croces Greatest Hits was like the only album he ever listened to. He never was very much into music, but he had that record, and the eight-track, I think. My dads still alive and all, but I just get sad when I hear Jim Croce. It makes me think about the fact that the day will eventually come when hes gone Its probably just an OCD thing, but I find myself grieving in advance a lot.)

Anyway, as for Kez, it looks like his auction of Mark Maynard memorabilia netted some thirty-six bucks. My retaliatory auction of his letters, mail art envelopes, photos and such just broke the $5-mark. Ive come to accept that this is a good and healthy thing, our both thinning our obsessive collections of each others things. The Kez Panel file was among the five thickest files in my filing cabinet. When its gone, Ill have more room for new stuff. This, I think, is like when they burn forests in order to save them. I will feel clean and fresh when these old pen pal materials are gone. My filing cabinet with sparkle like a freshly irrigated colon.

This has also been a good thing for our friendship. This has, taken us to a new level. Weve stopped taking each other for granted. Yes, we are falling in love all over again. Actually, I just read all of his old letters over again and theyre quite nice. I doubt, if not for this friendship liquidation sale, that I would have taken them out again. From what Ive read some 85% of documents put into filing cabinets never get looked at again. If only because this made me re-read the letters, it is a good thing.

Lastly, this whole thing has also made Kez feel guilty, and thats working to my advantage. As hes the one who started this whole mess by putting my stuff up for auction, hes desperate to win back my trust and friendship. It is for that reason that hes been sending me bootleg videotapes and other things of interest. Its also for that reason that he has promised to work on a column for the next issue of Crimewave. The column will be called, Shitting all over a quarter million dollar Clear Channel toilet for Crimewave.

You see, it seems as though Clear Channel (one of my favorite media empires) has moved into Pittsburgh in a big way, putting up bus shelters, expensive computerized public toilets and other things, in exchange for the exclusive rights to advertise on and in said public facilities. The pay toilet that theyve built is like something from the mind of Phillip K Dick. Heres a highlight:

The floor of the APT (Automatic Public Toilet), made of aluminum and coated with nonslip vinyl, is hinged in sections like a large conveyor belt. After each use, the floor moves on rollers and is sprayed with disinfectant. At the same time, the toilet bowl turns 180 degrees and also is disinfected. The whole interior is dried and 40 seconds later, it’s ready for use again.

It only costs a quarter, and, for that amount, you get 20 minutes. After that, the door swings open, exposing you to everyone outside.

As OCD (a hobby that Kez and I share) and public toilets dont exactly go to well together, Im sure itll be one hell of a story. As for the title of the article that I mentioned, were actually still negotiating. As of a few days ago, Kez was only agreeing to pee. I, however, am pushing for him to actually poop into this mechanism… It is my job as an editor to always push things to their artistic limit. As I see it, going in and just peeing into the contraption would be like making love to just one Olsen twin. Anyway, Kez and I are debating what hes willing to do to salvage our friendship. Youll have to buy the next issue of Crimewave to see what he decides.

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