Apr 2012 12

By Blogbot

Co-founded by two former LA Weekly editors, Joe Donnelly and Laurie Ochoa, Slake is a highly collectable quarterly compendium “devoted to the endangered art of deeply reported narrative journalism and the kind of polished essay, memoir, fiction, poetry, and profile writing that is disappearing in a world of instant takes and unfiltered opinion.” Slake takes form as a hybrid of book and magazine, combining the non-disposability of the former with the kind of editorial prowess of the latter that harks back to an era when Bukowski wrote for the likes of Hustler and the LA Free Press.

Earlier this year we caught one of Slake’s live events, for which they are increasingly becoming renowned. Held at the Last Bookstore in DTLA, the reading featured many of the writers that have contributed to the lastest edition of Slake, which explores the concept of “Dirt” in all its forms. The night’s highlights included a hilarious turn from actress and comedian Lauren Weedman (a.k.a. Horny Patty from Hung), an essay from sex industry worker-cum-writer Antonia Crane, and a short story from Larry Fondation, which is excerpted below.

Dirty Girl by Larry Fondation

Wanda owns a dog but she never takes it for a walk. It shits inside. Sometimes she cleans it up, sometimes she doesn’t. Pieces of dried-up dog shit dot the floor of her apartment. But it’s not just the dog shit. Her whole place is a mess: piles of dirty dishes, empty beer cans and wine bottles, unwashed clothes strewn about.

She doesn’t shower very often, either. Every couple of weeks. She smells, but not much given how infrequently she bathes. She’s popular at all the clubs. Men love her. She always has a boyfriend.

Her romances all seem to last about a year. They end with the boy screaming, “You’re gross!”

I can never figure that out. She’s the same the whole time. It’s like, after a year they realize just how unclean she really is. Wanda doesn’t seem to care. A week or two later, she’s got another guy.

Her circle of friends is once removed from mine, but we hang out at the same places. I first meet her at the Short Stop on Sunset. The bartenders there are good, but there are too few of them, so you have to wait forever for a beer. Wanda is standing next to me. I can smell her a little, but I like it. She smells like sex and sweat.

We order the same drink—Irish and soda—and we laugh about it.

“You buying?” she asks. She is teasing but I can’t tell at first.

Her hair is greasy but she has a sly smile, sexy for sure. She tells me she already has a boyfriend, but we exchange numbers at the end of the night anyway.


The first time I go to her place, I can’t believe it. It looks like the set of a movie about degradation and squalor. I come in anyway. She hands me a cold beer.

Evidence of her boyfriend abounds — large-size Chucks and men’s underwear on the floor.

“My boyfriend’s out of town,” she says.

We flirt but do nothing. We talk a lot about music and bands and drink a lot of beer. At about 3, I head home.


I lose my job at Sea Level Records because they close the store. I start hanging around with Wanda most afternoons, but she has to be home every day by 3 because she gives her neighbor a blow job when he comes home from school.

The kid is a little Latino guy in the eighth grade.

“You want to watch?” she asks me.

“No,” I say, but I do not leave.

“My boyfriend won’t watch either,” she says.

She takes the kid in the bedroom. Ten minutes later, they are done and the kid goes home. She looks at me.

“What?” she says.

I don’t say anything.

It’s usually easy for us to talk, but now I am kind of quiet.

“It helps with his confidence,” she says. “He used to flunk every subject. Now he’s getting straight A’s.”

Sure enough she pulls out a couple of copies of his report cards — a steady rise in his performance, I admit.

“Don’t be judgmental,” she says. “He’s a boy, not a girl.”


Two days later I watch.

Sergio is glad to have me play the voyeur. He is proud and happy and puffing up his tiny chest. He smiles widely when Wanda swallows.

I want to tell him that Wanda and I have never touched each other, but it is not appropriate.

When they are done, Sergio asks for a beer.

“You’re too young to drink,” Wanda says and sends him on his way.

“When he hits the ninth grade, goes to high school, I gotta cut him off,” she says. “He needs a girlfriend.”

“You’re right about that,” I say.

“You hungry?” she asks.

She microwaves some taquitos. While we are eating, her dog takes a dump on the floor. I offer to take the dog for a walk.

“A little late,” she laughs, pointing at the pile of shit.

She goes to the fridge and grabs two cans of Pabst.

“Besides, you’ll spoil him,” she says.


I begin to drop by unannounced. Today she is reading. She reads a lot, in fact.

“You like Kant?” she asks me.

“The categorical imperative?”

“I prefer ‘a.’ ”

“ ‘A’?”

“Yeah, the indefinite article …”


“I love the German Idealists.”

She is reading a Penguin paperback anthology with that title. She puts her book down and smiles at me.

“Especially Hegel.”

Her phone rings. She has a steel-blue iPhone. She keeps the volume up. I can always hear both sides of her conversations. Now a man shouts from the other end. Clearly it is her boyfriend. He is still out of town. I am not sure where he is. She has not told me. But he is very angry and loud. He yells for about ten minutes straight. She says nothing.

I pick up her book and, without losing her page, begin to read the introduction. It sounds interesting. When her boyfriend finishes his tirade, she turns off her phone. She looks at me. I can’t tell if she is sad.

“I guess I’m single again,” she says.

We kiss for the first time.


Wanda is usually fully clothed when she services Sergio. But today, is wearing her bathrobe with nothing on underneath. Her breasts poke through the folds of the robe. I have only watched their escapades twice. Today she pleads with me to be with them. She does him right by the front door of her apartment. She works extra quickly. He is staring down at her tits. He comes extra quickly. He waits for her to swallow but this time she does not. She hurries him out the door while he is still zipping up his pants.

“Tomorrow?” he asks.

This is different, and young Sergio is confused.

“Yes,” she mumbles with her mouth full.

She shuts and locks the door behind him. As soon as he is gone she flings her robe to the floor. She is naked and sweaty.

“Kiss me,” she says.

I do. We tongue and kiss with all the extra wetness and I am hard as mahogany. We finish kissing.

“Lick me clean and fuck me!”

I unbutton my shirt and drop to my knees. I fumble with my pants as I work my tongue up her thighs. She spreads her legs as she stands, shuffling her feet farther apart on the unwashed hardwood floor. Her pubic hair clumps and sticks together. My tongue parts her labia.

I am Wanda’s boyfriend now.


Larry Fondation is the author of two novels and two collections of short stories, all set in Los Angeles. His two most-recent books are collaborations with London-based artist Kate Ruth. Fondation has won a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship in Fiction Writing. Martyrs and Holymen is due to be published in 2012. For more info visit

Original story art crafted by Alex Bacon and Anne McCaddon.

Dirty Girl, as excerpted from Slake Issue No. 4: Dirt, is reprinted with the kind permission of Larry Fondation and Slake Media LLC. Slake can be purchased at many independent LA bookstores including Skylight, Vroman’s, Stories, Last Bookstore, and Chevalier’s, and at Barnes & Nobles nationwide. It is also available via Amazon on a single purchase or subscriber basis. For more on Slake visit their website, Facebook, and Twitter.