Rockwell, by Michael Rothenberg
Press. P.O.B. 161174, Miami, Fl. 33116,
A spy? For a man whose job is meant to depend on secrecy and discretion,
Punk Rockwell leads a surprisingly flashy and high-profile life.
Rake, clown, mimic, egghead, shaken,
not stirred? Punk advises: "Don't talk about it, just do it"; narrator
Jeffrey Dagovich says to us: "I was ashamed enough not to notice
Punk taking a deep handful of [my wife's] rear." That is quite enough.
Spook-for-hire Punk's mission is to
recover a crate of mysterious caviar en route to the U.S. from Russia.
The "caviar" is a synthetic ecological cum-all that could in all
likelihood grow hair on a billiard ball, if you think that's a good
By the nature of his work, Punk is
in no danger of gathering moss. He touches down in Mexico, Russia,
Latin America, California and Florida, and beds the narrator's wife,
Emily, repeatedly. That is pretty good, you will say; which is fine
Physically, Punk is tall, barrel-chested,
black curly hair: an upright beer keg. He is drunk in the mornings
most of the time and has traded in his Camels for Trues. It is his
way of effecting a compromise.
Maybe he lives for pleasure; or perhaps
he dreams of happiness, do you think? I do not think so.
His Italian tennis shoes reveal more
about him than his therapist could find out in months on the couch,
being clearly both expensive and black. Punk Rockwell never dies.