Mud People, No. 12

Mud People, No. 12 (2019). House paint on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

He was a half-millionaire once, or damn near that, though he didn’t know it, because he was asleep when it came and went. After the seventh race at Aqueduct, a Friday triumph, a big score on the biggest bet he’d ever made, he partied out. Really out. He didn’t know that he was padding his bankroll considerably with the late games on the west coast that he’d bet earlier. He would’ve liked to see that number – the amount he was up, that fat number bisected by a comma, scribbled, as was his habit, on the gray pad next to the phone. But he was out, unmoving and oblivious to the pendulum of his fortunes.  He didn’t see the sun come up or the afternoon linger the next day. Passed out cold until the sun sank low, he didn’t know that he lost a succession of Saturday football games, on bets he’d made the night before when he was flush with cash and courage, in epic fashion. But, for a time after San Diego State won in a blow out, and before Syracuse lost the next day on a late interception, he was rich.

A couple of days later, when his head cleared and he did the awful math, he stared at the figures for time through a veil of cigarette smoke.  The collector came by on Wednesday, and he must have seen the confused look on his quarry’s puss. “Money comes, and it goes, ” he said as he poured shots into dusty rock glasses “as do all of us lost souls.”


-Danny Grosso 

Mud People, No. 11

Mud People, No. 11 (2019). House paint on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

It took her half the morning to look this miserable, and even with the arabesque of her updo and her aquiline neck, she felt low. “Chin up,” her mother would say, and she found herself doing so reflexively, even when she wasn’t looking in the mirror, or remembering her mother’s foreboding voice. Life was like walking head on into a sleet storm, and sometimes you have to look up to look ahead. The ice pellets sting the eye, and makeup runs down the face, but one must persevere.

Last night was the lonely last act of an awful day, and the morning only grudgingly broke under dark and laden skies. She had gotten used to the lack of sleep, but the aimlessness that often followed just made her feel worse, like the sick and the tired begetting something greater, perpetuating stagnation like a Soviet economy; an ennui so possessed of Catholic values that it cannot stop reproducing.

Still, it was chin up, and as she lifted her head she saw the sign that passed her by on a flatbed. Go Back to Bed,  it said. Some ad for a mattress maker. It had started to drizzle, and inspiration does not always ask the grandest things of us. She turned around and headed back home.

Danny Grosso