Bob Shar is a former newspaperman, burned out little magazine editor (The
Crescent Review, 1983-1988) and recently retired librarian living in
Winston-Salem, NC. His fiction has appeared in various print journals (e.g.,
Greensboro Review, South Carolina Review, Cold Mountain Review), and online at
They say I was born bad, but I don’t buy that (who the fuck are they, anyway), but, someone said, when I was two I’d fidget like a 12-year-old who'd blown off his Ritalin, meaning I was advanced for my age, but, when you’re grown up and out in the world, who cares except your mom, which, if she’s old and crazy like mine, she can’t remember to take a shit let alone speak your name or recall some sweetness in you, and maybe that’s a good thing as not many moms like to think about their babies growing up to offend the almighty by being too friendly in manly ways with girls too young to know much of anything; girls too young to say yes, or no; too young to squat on a potty, which they say young girls like that can’t be loved but one way (that being the boring, bullshitty Jesus way that doesn’t mean shit in a sugar jar) which, to me, that’s wrong , since the song says, “girls just want to have fun” and nothing in that song says how young or old a girl is, fun is fun, and what’s good for the goose is good for the gander if you know what I mean, and if you don’t, fuck you (meaning just the expression fuck you, not the act, so relax), let’s have another muffin, and let me say what I’m supposed to say, which is, I’m sorry for what I did to those little girls (if it’s true what they say, that the little ones didn’t enjoy themselves, which, how could they know unless they were there reading minds?); that I didn’t treat those sweet things like a grown man ought to treat an infant (as they say infants aren’t born with a natural craving -- which I think that’s wrong); that I was too big and too clumsy and too stupid; that I hurt them with my love (which, I never meant to do, but which, maybe, with the knife, though, Lord knows, I heard no complaints); that if I wasn’t born bad, I chose bad (which, that’s their opinion; could be right, could be wrong, who knows?) so, fuck it: wring my neck if you want, put me down and shut me up, cause my mouth’s running like it knows tomorrow’s not happening, like it’s begging you to rip out my tongue, tear off my head and so on, wishing you’d make like that Nike ad and just do it already, cause to me, right now, nothing says lovin’ like motherfucking silence.