Bukowski - Factotum

08 Mar 2014

I've been on a Bukowski binge and I think I just found my favorite work of his so far, although I have to say the ending of his books never sent me far away and this one is not gonna be the exception. Here's some quotes...


“Look,” I said, “these books aren’t worth reading let alone arguing about.”
“All right,” one of the women said, “we know you think you’re too good for this job.”
“Too good?”
“Yes, your attitude. You think we didn’t notice it?”
That’s when I first learned that it wasn’t enough to just do your job, you had to have an interest in it, even a passion for it.


“You knew we were going to let you go?”
“Bosses are never hard to fathom.”
“Chinaski, you haven’t been pulling your weight for a month and you know it.”
“A guy busts his damned ass and you don’t appreciate it.”
“You haven’t been busting your ass, Chinaski.”
I stared down at my shoes for some time. I didn’t know what to say. Then I looked at him. “I’ve given you my time. It’s all I’ve got to give—it’s all any man has. And for a pitiful buck and a quarter an hour.”
“Remember you begged for this job. You said your job was your second home.”
“…my time so that you can live in your big house on the hill and have all the things that go with it. If anybody has lost anything on this deal, on this arrangement…I’ve been the loser. Do you understand?”
“All right, Chinaski.”
“All right?”
“Yes. Just go.”


It was true that I didn’t have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?


I always started a job with the feeling that I’d soon quit or be fired, and this gave me a relaxed manner that was mistaken for intelligence or some secret power.


Afterwards Jan got up and opened a bottle of wine. I opened my last pack of cigarettes and we sat in bed drinking and smoking. “You’re all there,” she said.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, I never met a man like you.”
“Oh yeah?”
“The others are only ten per cent there or twenty per cent, you’re all there, allof you is very there, it’s so different.”
“I don’t know anything about it.”


As I walked down the street I took the rubbers out and looked at them. Then I threw them into the gutter.


Japanese women instinctively understood yesterday and today and tomorrow. Call it wisdom. And they had staying power. American women only knew today and tended to come to pieces when just one day went wrong. So I was very taken with the new girl. Also I was still drinking heavily with Jan which befuddled the brain, gave it a strange airy feeling, made it take strange twists and turns, gave it courage. So the first day she came back with the orders I said, “Hey, let’s touch. I want to kiss you.”