Tag Archives: LA

Where’s that accent from?

Based on the same conversation I have every single day about my f**king accent.

*

What can I get for you?

Can I get a…wait. Hold up. Where’s that accent from?

Same place I’m from.

Funny. Where’s that?

Guess.

Oooh. Okay.

 

Australia? No. Do I sound Australian?

I guess, a little. I don’t know. Just foreign.

Again.

New Zealand?

What?! That’s almost the same accent as Australia. No. Way off. Culturally, physically, and aurally.

South Africa maybe?

 

I’m Northern European. Look at me. I’m really, really white. I’m from the source.

God, I don’t know. Ireland maybe?

Scotland. I’m from Scotland. It’s a Scottish accent.

Scotland! That was my next guess. Wow. Scotland eh?

Yeah.

My friend’s been to Ireland.

 

It is the same.

Shut up, no it isn’t. They’re different countries. I’m just being a stupid American.

Honestly. Alcoholism, depression, recession, Anti-English sentiment. It’s the same place.

I think the UK sounds awesome. Old buildings and like the history and stuff. Culture, you know?

I think you’re mostly thinking of London.

Maybe. But Scotland is probably dope too right? Like castles and nature and stuff right?

 

I mean, you should always have a return ticket though.

I think I’m like one eighth…Scotch? Scottish?

Scottish.

Scottish. And then like there’s some Dutch, a little German, and maybe like a sixteenth Native American.

Really? That’s an interesting mix. I’m just Scottish.

Well, I think that’s better. You get the accent and stuff. I just get this.

 

You do have one. This is what you sound like. You sound like this.

Oh my god! Shut the f**k up. That’s freaky. You actually sound American.

I am. I have an audition tomorrow. I’m actually from Fresno.

Oh my God! Shut the f**k up right now! I actually believed you were from f**king Scotland!

I’m joking. I am actually from Scotland.

Okay, now I’m confused. Anyway listen, what’s a good Scottish cocktail?

 

 

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Mental Breakdown #4 – Actress

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Date: 3/14/2013

To whom it may concern,

I took money from a guy I slept with a few days ago. I still have it all. It’s sitting in a drawer next to me. I thought about throwing it away. But I couldn’t.

I don’t know if this is a confession, or just some way that I can push everything I have away from me and breathe, but I need this. I need you to listen to me and I need to pretend that you understand, and that the same problem befell you, or someone you know. I need to think that this landed in the hands of someone that at one time felt like they needed something as badly as I need you. When I got home I opened this bottle of wine, sobbed in bed and looked through my entire phone book for someone to talk to. I hadn’t a single a name that would be able to hear me without judging me. Scores of acquaintances, taking and giving, but no friends that I can share with. That made me feel like I’d completely wasted the last ten years of my life.

I met the guy about a month ago. He came in one night when I was cocktailing. We got to chatting and he said he was a producer for some reality show. I said I was out here doing my thing. He asked how it was going. I looked at him before I answered. I could see he wasn’t judging me. He understood. He saw me, and my dreams, and not the tray with his drink on it. I said it was going well. He smiled, and said ‘Good, I’m pleased’. But we all knew it could have been better. In the eight years I’ve been here I’ve realized that LA loves nothing more than reminding most of us of that very fact.

We exchanged numbers. He said he would introduce me to a few people that could help me. He tipped me really well, like 40%, and that was that. I texted him that night and thanked him. The texts kept going back and forth casually for a few weeks before we found time to go out.

The night out itself was really nice. We had a great meal in West Hollywood then went to a bar nearby, before going back to his place downtown. All night he’d been talking about his job, telling stories, name dropping. He talked about how he would make some calls and get me some parts. I just listened, taking it all in. At his place we talked over Jazz and stayed up drinking and taking blow, and eventually started making out on his couch.

When I came out of his bedroom the next morning there was this little pile of hundred dollar bills sitting on the kitchen work surface. There was a note on top of it.

“I had fun! Text me.”

I heard him in the shower, whistling. I looked behind, out of the huge windows at the tops of the bank buildings, and the hills behind them in the distance. I’d never seen the city from that height before. I looked back at the money. I put my hand down slowly on the bills, and took it off again as soon as I felt them. I counted them. Ten fresh hundred dollar bills.

It was like the air rushed from the elevator as it started to drop. I felt disorientated. My organs thumped inside my body, and I felt them working like they were dying. As soon as the doors opened I wanted to press the 35th floor button and go straight back up and leave the money where I’d left it. But I couldn’t. I walked quickly through the lobby and felt the cunt hostess at the front door eyeing me up and down, like I was someone else’s stain. I was dragged along, trailing, pulled by every negative emotion I could feel.

Truth is, I’ve been partying really hard over the last year. It’s gotten to be something that I no longer do because I’m happy. I wouldn’t have been in the situation I was in were it not for the fact that I’m deep in debt, deeply depressed and almost certainly an addict. In the last few months I’ve been dating a lot of guys, not because I want a relationship, but because I need to have someone to pay for me to drink, and then fall in love with me, for that night at least. And reading back over that I really feel like the sad, pathetic little Hollywood casualty I never wanted to become. But I’m scared now, because I don’t know who to call, and aside from the ten fresh hundred dollar bills in my drawer, I’m completely broke, lost and miserable.

Please, I need help. I need you to understand that I’m not a bad person. I’m just going through some stuff.

Kindest regards,

 

 

 

Anonymous

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Mental Breakdown #2 – Writer

Two

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Date: 03/14/2013

To the ceaselessly trending you,

This morning I posted a single paragraph blurb about some pop-up gluten-free cupcake store in the Arts District, and two hours later posted a 1500 word satirical essay I wrote last year about technological developments being directly proportional to the gory death of masculine identity. The cupcake scoop presently has 34 ‘likes’ and 16 comments on the magazine’s Facebook page. The essay received two ‘likes’, one of which was from our tech guy in Bangalore, and no comments. At what point can one legitimately begin to blame the audience for one’s shortcomings?

I am presently being smothered in the clutches of a hateful relationship with myself. I work in an industry I thought that I loved for people that I loathe, for an almost-negligible sum of money. I worry that my boyfriend is fucking all his skinny actress friends, but I’m possibly just being all #overlyattachedgirlfriend about everything and that he’ll realize he’s better off without me. And despite the fact that this is going to sound like such an LA-thing to say, but I’m worried that I’m just a big ball of negative energy that people want nothing to do with.

A few days ago I could barely afford to make the repayment on my enormous school debt. It’s really beginning to sink in now that I voluntarily put myself into thousands of dollars of debt to attain a qualification that does nothing but feed itself back to itself. I have an MA in Creative Writing. So in order to find work that actually pays actual money I will almost certainly have to join the education system, and start teaching more kids to be teachers in order to pay off the debt that their silly little passion lumped on them. Perhaps as a result of my extensive online fieldwork with GRIT/SHINE magazine I will one day be considered the preeminent authority on Twitter Literature (#twitlit), and will be able to explore the bowels of minimalism, teaching undiscovered Hemingways and Salingers to consider vowels implied and punctuation frivolous.

There are lots of reasons I despise my job, but the biggest one at present seems to be that our priority has shifted from print towards the internet. This means gouging the bottom of the dried-up superlative well for more innocuous praise for ‘cool’ things we found whilst trawling Gawker, or Fader, or Hypebeast, or Pitchfork. But once we’ve declared something to be ‘super-sick’, it immediately becomes, oops, ‘super-[sic]’, and we’re, pfffft, over it. God forbid you should miss out on a ticket to today’s Super Rad Flying Lotus Circle Jerk because you were busy standing in line for yesterday’s Gnar Gnar Kendrick Lamar Pants Festival. We, the Damp Hype Journalists, armed with an ‘@vice.com’ email address and right-click button for synonyms, build careers to tear them down, and have smugly reinvented ourselves as ‘Trendspotters’. And I’m dreading the well-earned irony it would be if my work was one day fed through the ruthless system of fragile hype that I helped to facilitate for almost no reward, other than the initial weightless euphoria of my career freefalling the second after said epitaph was declared ‘of note’.

I guess it was last night’s party that really brought me to you. It was at some kitschy street art gallery in Hollywood. The art was by another purposeless stoner that found his calling in life wallowing somewhere on the surface level of ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’. It was a ‘VIP’ event, despite their being a large number of people in attendance that I knew to be anything but important. The all stood around, schmoozing and fawning all over one another, then moving on to the next. I watched conversations dip into awkward troughs as people blanked on names before being saved by the exchange of deceptively marked, Bateman-esque business cards. From my vantage point of the deepest corner, every single smile in the room seemed fake. I could see it in their eyes. I imagined every time someone looked at their phone they were wishing the hours away until they could be alone and curse themselves for falling for the gag again.

I slipped out of the party early. Darryl asked if I minded if he stayed. I didn’t want to say ‘yes’, but I did mind. I wanted him to come home with me. I said, ‘No. Stay, if you want to.’ He smiled, gave me a kiss, and walked off into the crowd. I left, and let the tears fall out onto the street. I took the subway most of the way home. I got off at Westlake/MacArthur Park and walked the rest. I just walked, dabbing tears, laughing and swearing at myself, looking like another crazy that came here and lost. But I didn’t care. At that moment I was far too worried about what I thought of me to worry about what anyone else thought of me. At least that’s a start.

Help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anonymous

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Mental Breakdown #1 – Comedian

One

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Date: 03/14/2013

To the cleaner that finds this,

I’m just about ready to pop a bag of Xanax like Skittles and dive to the bottom of this bottle of Popov. Leave the world like a silent fart made from Guinness and Mexican street meat. Perhaps my legacy will burn brighter than my life ever did. Perhaps people will realize that I was too far ahead of my time to ever achieve the recognition I deserved. ‘He was like Hicks, Kauffman and Stanhope rolled into one!’’ They’ll read my Wikipedia page and lament about how young I was, how expansive my career could have been, and how it just didn’t need to be that way. But it did need to be that way. And at this point I think it probably will be.

I’ve been sitting in this dank, cavernous little motel room in Fresno for two days now. There are little blood shots on the ceiling that are either from squished mosquitoes or stabbed veins. Everything white has turned the color of smoker’s fingernails, and the pipes heave and splutter before spewing their bile into the sink. The smog that hangs over the city probably comes from the crematorium for anonymous souls that slashed their wrists in their ‘luxury motel rooms’ as they fled from abject failure in Los Angeles. It’s exactly the sort of place that a degenerate fuck up crawls to die.

I decided I would try to write my own Wikipedia page. I didn’t have time to write a book, so it would be Wikipedia, a quick Tweet and a big fat ‘Fuck yourself’ post to everyone on Facebook, and I’d be gone. Yet despite the fact that it’s widely known that anyone can make a Wikipedia page, it still manages to instill a sense of legitimacy. Like, ‘Oh shit, he’s got a Wikipedia page? He must be worth something.’ They don’t need to know that he made it in a motel room in Fresno, drunk, in yesterday’s yesterday’s underwear.

I fantasized about what I’d write. I made some notes and categorized everything. ‘Early Life’, ‘Mid-Career: Seattle to Los Angeles’, ‘Final Years: 2010 – 2013’ ‘Death’, ‘Legacy’ and everyone’s favorite, ‘Personal Life’. Once I was planned and ready to start I opened it up and realized that you need to have some knowledge of internet coding. So I gave up and here I am, writing this letter that may or may not be a suicide note. It’s certainly a cry a for attention, but I don’t know whether I want you to come and save me, or to just bring your poncho and a spoon and watch me explode like Gallagher’s watermelon.

*

I feel like I owe it to you to briefly explain the “Schindler’s List on Ice” that my life has become in what could amount to its final few days.

After getting on more than 400 mics a year for six years straight, my “agent” lands me a headlining spot at the Laugh Factory. There were big promoters, producers; all the spokes on Hollywood’s greasy wheel were rolling in to see me. And I bombed. I fell apart, like a cat shit sandcastle. They just didn’t get it. They just stared at me, watching the school bus crash in super slow motion. So I did what anyone would do in that situation: I go home, get fucked up, and smash stuff. Kitty comes home from work and explodes, hits me with an ashtray and bursts my head open. Tells me to get out. I leave with all my stuff flying out after me, and pass out in the car.

Woke up covered in blood still piss drunk, still angry. I grabbed all of my stuff that lay outside, threw it into the car and started driving to Seattle. I was done with Los Angeles: The place where creativity washes up dead and bloated on the shore.

But here I am. In a motel in Fresno, out of gas, out of money, and out of everything I need to feel like things can possibly get better. I look at myself and see a worthless nobody that duped himself into thinking he was somebody for his entire life. But the game’s up. I’ve been circling the drain for years and now I’m just about ready to disappear.

But here’s the punchline of my entire life: I’m out of vodka and I have no money to buy Xanax. How much is six feet of rope?

Fuck my life. And fuck yours too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anonymous

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Brantley Gutierrez: Rock Photographer

Originally published by LA CANVAS.

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Knoxville

One can plunge far into the carefully hidden depths of a person’s character by simply turning a camera on them. Some are completely unfazed by it, flirting, purring, allowing the lens to applaud their image. But others become edgy, awkward, shuffling around in the heat under the magnifying glass. And then there’s the rest, desperate to appear unfazed, shrouding their insecurities with outstretched tongues and garish expressions. The photographer and his camera interrogate everyone they see.

*

David Byrne
Brantley Gutierrez’s portfolio is a hugely personal collection of photographs. The warm C-41 bathed faces of familiar rock stars and actors just keeps relentlessly coming gathering this peculiar swaggering momentum, so much so that once-Beatle, now-Knight Sir Paul McCartney’s face is about ten photographs into the reel, just casually tucked in there as an “oh yeah, and…”. We see Eric Clapton, the snow leopard of rock ‘n’ roll, belly laughing in his home. Paul Rudd sits backstage sipping from a pink phallus-shaped water bottle. A quim of Arcade Fire members (‘quim’ is the collective noun for a collection of Arcade Fire members) just having a deft canter on a heath somewhere.

paul rudd penis
You see light streams of diversity across his body of work, from sharpened editorial photography that utilize substantial budgets, settings, rigs and crews, to soft, casual, almost homely photographs that do more to counteract the the notion of ‘celebrity’ than almost any other outlet. From the palms of a generation strangled by its obsession with the lives of the lauded, it’s as fresh as frost to see someone that instills a silent humanity back into people we pushed onto pedestals high above us.
‘But it’s all about collaborating’ he said, teasing his steampunk inventor’s soul patch, ‘I really get my buzz on when I’m creating with other people. In portrait photography you’re constantly collaborating. On a movie set you have hundreds of people collaborating. Even right now. Trying to get something useful out of me!’

Brantley

Brantley

Brantley Gutierrez has taken photographs since he was a child. Raised somewhere between the rolling Virginia countryside and the static D.C. concrete, he grew up fascinated by the camera’s ability to extract hidden emotions from people. After a frustrating stint mainly photographing snow in Aspen, he made his way to Seattle, and eventually onto Los Angeles.
His transition into rock photography was impeccably timed. His first couple of high-profile gigs with the Foo Fighters came moments before the digital explosion and the music industry’s implosion. He was there, establishing himself as a fantastic photographer before detachable lenses became fashion accessories and every business felt that the privilege of experience was plenty payment enough.

Neeson

But while he is still an ardent film user and a spontaneous shot fetishist, it’s not difficult to see that despite his wealth of talent his most vital asset could well be his personality.
‘People have to feel comfortable around me, because if they don’t then they’re not going to be themselves,’ he says, smiling as I note his smiles, ‘I liken it to a doctor’s bedside manner.’

Paul MAnd where war photographers are defined by their bravery, it seems that rock photographers are defined by their ability to ‘be cool’ and chill in the background, and if Brantley’s photographs are anything to go by, that is when you can catch and bottle that moment of passive humanity in those we treat as gods.

For a good look through his complete portfolio click here.

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My Letter of Resignation

My Letter of Resignation

Rule number one: Never dismiss an opportunity to write creatively.

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I’m Too Old to Write What You Want to Read

"Ahh yes Mr. Gardiner, there seems to be a tiny CCR cover band lodged in there."

“Ahh yes Mr. Gardiner, there seems to be a tiny CCR cover band lodged in there.”

*

They laughed at me when I called him “the Flow Rider”.

I pitied them a little.

I sat down earlier today to write a couple of sample articles for an LA-based fashion and culture (Ha!) magazine. I was instructed to, “write an article under three paragraphs about a subject relevant to current trends”. I sat down at the computer and stared at Google for a minute. I tried to think of something ‘current’ that wasn’t a football scoreline or an emotion I’d felt. I’d been in this position before, staring at my own reflection in the white pool of Google’s infinite relevance, inspecting the wrinkles forming around my eyes. I typed in ‘Vice’, because it was the only thing I could think of that was ‘current’ and ‘relevant’. I sighed at myself. I felt the same feeling of dejected frustration a middle-aged man must get when he tries to buy a drink for a girl half his age.

Since coming to Los Angeles I have been known amongst my circle of friends to be someone that wallows in the dust swept from things forgotten. Every band I listen to has at least one dead member. Tarantino has made two movies since I was last in a theatre. I still think Malcolm Gladwell needs to ‘prove himself’ before I’ll read him. They make fun of me because I haven’t heard of things they’ve heard of. I don’t know who punched Rhiannah, and I don’t know if I spelled Rhiannah properly. I’m just not up-to-date and I seem to be suffering because of it. Every single magazine aimed at young people makes reporting and sharing ‘new stuff’ their priority, and in doing that they often relinquish control on the quality of their output. And completely alienate old souls like me.

Like someone going through their midlife crisis I worry about my dwindling relevance to a youth obsessed with their own youth. When I left Asia it was like a divorce. I had learned a lot about myself and a few things about the world, but I realized in coming to Los Angeles that I had missed out on so many aspects of modern youth culture, and the things that I’d learned were completely irrelevant in the West. People didn’t care about the things that I’d seen because their relevance hadn’t been verified by Fader magazine.

“I was in this house in Pushkar, Rajasthan a while back with an Indian tribal drummer jamming with a young Danish sitar player, it was really cool man,” I said.

“meh. LOLLOLOLO. BRB. jst gonna chck out dis rad new band wot is playin in a convrtd sewer systm calld PenisFacePenisFaceCuntFace!?!?!?!@!>!&*!>!??!?! ROFLOL me thinks” he replied.

I’m not sure exactly what the problem is. I don’t know whether I can’t find work writing for magazines, or whether I’m unwilling to write about the things that they want me to write about. On one hand I want more people to read my writing, to know who I am and to follow my work. But on the other hand I don’t want to write shit. Be it here-today-gone-tomorrow fluff, or that sludge that’s constantly being added to the bulging canon of dreadful music journalism by writers that confuse convoluted writing for complex writing:

“PenisFacePenisFaceCuntFace whack and smack and jack out their newnique melanthropic (heart)beat that click clacks along a yellowished brick-a-brack road of scuzzed out, moon bleached dumbfudgery, all the way to a wilted crispy parish of orgasmic melodiousness.”

“Haha, ask him which Kardashian this is! It’ll be funny.”

It won’t be funny. And if it is funny then I’m glad that I listened to my parents when they told me that this generation was fucked.

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Shit’s Still Hard

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S’cuse me mam?

S’cuse me. Mam?

Yes?

I, eh, I couldn’t trouble you for a dollar, for the bus, could I?

I’m sorry. I don’t really have anything.

 

You live around here?

I’m sorry?

Do you live around here?

Yes. I do.

Me too. Up at the US Bank.

Okay.

 

Do you think I look like Mike Tyson?

Eh, I don’t know what he looks like.

People say I look like him.

What do you say?

I say he looks like me.

That’s a good answer.

 

But I eh, I’m on that three strikes thing. You know that?

No.

Well, it’s like this: I been to jail two times, one more and they throw away the fuckin’ key. Pardon my Spanish.

I’m really sorry to hear that.

That’s okay. I’m fightin’ it. And don’t nobody want to fight with someone who looks like Mike Tyson.

Or someone that Mike Tyson looks like…

 

But it was the drugs, you know?

Yeah?

Terrible things. You don’t take the drugs. They take you.

That’s what people have told me.

Been clean for over two years now. But shit’s still hard. Pardon my German.

I’m sure. But you’re doing really well.

 

I see that you’re married.

Uh huh.

Well, don’t you tell your husband this, but you make my heart beat so hard.

That’s so sweet. Thank you.

Don’t you tell him now. And I’ll be on my way. You have a wonderful day now.

You too. You too.

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Los Angeles (a la Woody Allen)

Inspired by this:

* Note: This is not how I actually feel about Los Angeles. I’m just having fun.

*

Chapter One. He loathed Los Angeles. Its languidly inefficient layout was a metaphor for every desperate, directionless souls that found themselves being tempted to the rocks of failure by the bright white siren on the hill known, as ‘Hollywood’.

Nah, ‘Siren’, I don’t know. It sounds too, eh, too, Hans Christian Anderson or something. Try again.

Chapter One. He loathed Los Angeles. The blue sky hung like a dust clad drape, and the lines of the city wheezed out in every direction, bringing with them an airborne virus of arrogance and vanity that infected every pore it touched. From the lavish sands of Hermosa Beach to most cavernous bowels of Skid Row, it writhed and spluttered on a deathbed fashioned by the hand it used to relentlessly pleasure itself.

That’s so grim. It’s not that bad. I mean, the weather’s incredible. Try again.

He loathed Los Angeles. He’d watch them all drown, one by one, in the oil-swirled gutter that once reflected their talentless-yet-realtively-good-looking faces among the few bright stars that hung in the dense charcoal sky.

No, no. It’s not their fault. I mean, everyone has the right to chase a dream. I mean, why not?

Chapter One. He loathed Los Angeles. It was where the American dream washed up onto the shore. Sure there were good bits, the odd message in a bottle, or a license plate from another country, but for the most part the sand was awash with condoms and syringes, spat out by the never ending tide that barely keeps the place from a foamy stagnation.

Jeez, where did that come from? Too gross. No, no, you’re not representing your true feelings. You’re saying what they want you to say. No, no, focus more. Okay-

Chapter One. He loathed Los Angeles. It was the junkyard where every dream that had ever been in a head on collision with reality was towed, stripped and used for bit parts, before being scrapped, and then dumped in the landfill known as the service industry.

I mean, you work in the service industry. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s not over yet.

Chapter One. He loathed Los Angeles. So often prefaced by the word “Fuckin’”, it’s frequently ranked among the most unpopular cities in an increasingly unpopular America. The badly designed packaging for the worst product you’ve ever bought, every single aspect of Los Angeles and the people that dwell in it are geared towards inducing a state of revulsion normally reserved for rapists, pedophiles and rapist pedophiles.

*

Again, I’m just having fun. Don’t lose your mind. I actually rather like this city, but I can certainly see why many don’t.

*

The video below is Los Angeles without its make-up on. It’s a very different city from the one in the movies.

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Touch me & See – Based on a True Story

* This just happened next to me in Starbucks.


Try it.

Please sit down sir.

Touch me.

Sir. Sit down please.

Touch me.

Sir. Please. Will you please sit down please?

 

Touch me.

What’s gonna happen if I touch you?

Touch me and see.

I’m not gonna-

Touch me. Touch me and see.

Sir?

 

Touch me.

Sir, you’re going to have to leave.

Touch me and see.

Sir-

Touch me. Touch me and see. Touch me.

I’m not-

 

Touch me and see.

What’s going to happen?

Touch me and see.

What’ll happen if I touch you?

Touch me and see.

Touch you and see?

 

Touch me mother fucker.

I don’t want-

Touch me and see.

No-

Touch me. Touch me. Touch me and see.

No. I’m not touching anything.

 

Can anyone see I’m shakin’?

We’re going to have to call the police sir.

So who gonna touch me?

Nobody sir. Nobody’s gonna touch you.

Someone gonna fuckin’ touch me, and someone gonna fuckin’ see.

Okay sir, I’m just gonna-

 

 

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