This drama centers on Hank Chinaski, the fictional alter-ego of "Factotum" author Charles Bukowski, who wanders around Los Angeles, CA trying to live off jobs which don't interfere with his primary interest, which is writing. Along the way, he fends off the distractions offered by women, drinking and gambling.

[last lines]
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs, and maybe your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery, isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance. Of how much you really want to do it. And you'll do it, despite rejection in the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods. And the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] Jan was an excellent fuck. She had a tight pussy. And she took it like it was a knife that was killing her.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] I decided to clean up the apartment. I thought I must be turning into a fag.
Pickle Factory boss: Writer huh? Are you sure?
Henry Chinaski: No, I'm not. I'm halfway through a novel.
Pickle Factory boss: What's it about?
Henry Chinaski: Everything.
Pickle Factory boss: It's about... cancer?
Henry Chinaski: Yes.
Pickle Factory boss: How about my wife?
Henry Chinaski: She's in there too.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] Amazing how grimly we hold on to our misery, the energy we burn fueling our anger. Amazing how one moment, we can be snarling like a beast, then a few moments later, forgetting what or why. Not hours of this, or days, or months, or years of this... But decades. Lifetimes completely used up, given over to the pettiest rancor and hatred. Finally, there is nothing here for death to take away.
Henry Chinaski: I lost a woman.
Old Black Man: Yeah, well, you'll have others. You'll lose them, too.
Bar Patron: Kid, I've probably slept longer than you've lived.
Henry Chinaski: All I want to do is get my check and get drunk.
[first lines]
Ice Plant Supervisor: Chinaski! Hey! Chinaski, come on out here! You got a drivers license, don't you?
Henry Chinaski: Yeah.
Ice Plant Supervisor: I got a driver out sick today. We got some rush orders we need to get out right away. I need you to make these deliveries.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] Even at my lowest times, I can feel the words bubbling inside of me. And I had to get the words down or be overcome by something worse than death. Words not as precious things but as necessary things. Yet when I begin to doubt my ability to work the word I simply read another writer and then I know that I have nothing to worry about. My contest is only with myself: to do it right, with power and force and delight and gamble.
Payroll Lady: I'm sorry, sir.
Henry Chinaski: You're not sorry. You don't know what sorrow is. I do.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] That scene in the office stayed with me. Those cigars, the fine clothes. I thought of good steaks, long rides up winding driveways that led to beautiful homes. Ease. Trips to Europe. Fine women.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] I didn't see Manny again and I missed the trips to the track with him. But I had my winnings and the bookie money. I just sat around and Jan liked that. After two weeks I was on unemployment and we relaxed and fucked and toured the bars. And every week I'd go down to the unemployment, stand in line and get my nice little check.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] A week later Jan moved out of my place and shacked up with some rich guy. After that I couldn't pay the rent.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] I bought some expensive clothes and a good pair of shoes. The owner of the bike supply house didn't look so powerful anymore. Manny and I took a little longer with our lunches and came back smoking good cigars. The new life didn't sit well with Jan. She was used to her four fucks a day and also used to see me poor and humble.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] And then I met Jan. I bought her a drink and she gave me her phone number. Three days later I moved into her apartment.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] We set the clock by the TV at midnight last night. We know that it gains 35 minutes every hour. It says 7:30 pm right now, but we know that's not right because it's not dark enough yet. O.K. That's 7 and a half hours 7 times 35 minutes. That's 245 minutes. One half of 35 is 17 and one half. It gives us 252 and one half minutes. O.K., that's 4 hours and 42 and one half minutes we owe them. So we set the clock back to 5:47. That's it.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] I finally got hired at a bicycle supply warehouse. I had to demean myself to get that one. I told them that I liked to think of my job as a second home.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] Why was I chosen to do this? Why couldn't I be inside writing editorials about municipal corruption ? Give the readers my vision of peace? Questions like these demand a deeper consideration.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] I wrote 3 or 4 short stories a week. I kept things in the mail. I imagined how the editors of the New Yorker must be reacting... :"Hey, here's another one from that nut!" I sent most of them to John Martin, whose magazine 'Black Sparrow' I admired.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] The next day at work some of the other employees asked us if we would place bets for them.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] The racetrack crowd is the world brought down to size, life grinding against death and losing. Nobody wins finally, we are just seeking a reprieve, a moment out of the glare.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] Pierre died shortly after that. Laura and I split up. And I never saw any of them again.
Henry Chinaski: [first voiceover] As we live we all get caught and torn by various traps. Writing can trap you. Some writers tend to write what has pleased their readers in the past. They hear accolades and believe them. There is only one final judge of writing and that is the writer. When he is swayed by the critics, the editors, the publishers, the readers, then he's finished. And, of course, when he's swayed with his fame and his fortune you can float him down the river with the turds.
Laura: Hey, you're not some kind of maniac, are you? The guy's been picking up girls, cuts crossword puzzles in their bodies with a pen knife...
Henry Chinaski: How? I write. I'm not him.
Laura: Then there are guys who fuck you and chop you into little pieces. You find your ass in a drain pipe in the ocean or a trash can downtown.
Henry Chinaski: I stopped doing that years ago.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] I understood too well that great lovers where always men of leisure. I fucked better as a bum than as a puncher of timeclocks.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] Jan had a 500 dollar car. The big trick with that car was how to turn on the headlights. Of course we had the advantage of broken springs.
Henry Chinaski: [voiceover] A poem is a city filled with streets and sewers. Filled with saints, heros, beggars, madmen. Filled with banality and booze. Filled with rain and thunder and periods of drought. A poem is a city of war. It's a barbershop filled with cynical drunks. A poem is a city. A poem is a nation. A poem is the world.

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