Sunday, October 23, 2011
"Yes," she said, trying to make herself comfortable, pushing herself up by using the chairs oddly large arms for leverage. She grunted. "I know how it is."
The water I was heating for the tea began to boil. I took a step toward her. She was staring at me now. The burning feeling had moved lower, only the actual burning subsided. It was a low warmth now, spreading, too, along my thighs, trickling into my feet which felt lighter, suddenly, lighter than ever. I felt like dancing. I had never danced before. Or played the trumpet. But I knew I could then, if I wanted to. I heard it somewhere far off. Trumpets. A sea of them. A cacophony. But there was beauty in its discourse. I was going to dance with her to it.
"Oh!" I yelled. "Anne! Your feet! Your feet are freezing!"
"Maybe we should go to the bed!" I said, pushing away from her so I wouldn't be suffocated. "I think that would be more comfortable!" I looked around the trailer but couldn't seem to find any bed. It looked like there was only the kitchen to my left and the room we were in. There also didn't appear to be any doors in or out.
"No!" I said, struggling to free myself. "No!" I crumpled and heard a crunching sound and was falling, landed on a newspaper, was crumpled into a giant ball before I woke up with the sheets tangled around me, screaming into my pillow.
"Because this time when I woke up my sheets were dry."
My professor nodded, scribbled something into his notebook. I smiled and left the room. Though I wouldn't have smiled if I knew he was giving me an F. What a bastard.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Her mother placed both parts equal blame. She blamed her daughter for marrying a fulminologist and she blamed her son-in-law for moving her daughter to Florida.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
It was on a Friday in November when she learned about the meetings, her co-worker, two cubicles over, a fellow collector, saw her picking a hangnail off the carpet with a pair of tweezers and decided to invite her. "I want to show you something," he said, gesturing for her to follow him to his workspace. He opened a desk drawer, and inside were dozens of eyelashes, pressed between thin sheets of glass, as if he were preparing to view them under a microscope. "They're only ones people have blown away and made wishes on," he said, beaming with pride. "How can you tell?" she asked. He made a face at her that suggested confusion. "It's a very delicate process," he said. "You know that." She didn't, but she nodded regardless and said, "Oh, yes, of course."
At the collector's meetings that met once a month, people pulled out delicate containers and viewing cases, each with only single things inside of them. Her co-worker passed around an eyelash labeled "despair," and explained to everyone that the person who blew on it had wished that their loved one would wake up from a coma. People murmured in approval of his exposition. One man passed around a jar that was empty, but, when she held it it felt like it was full of angry bees. It was labeled "faggot," and he explained to everyone that he collected hateful slurs, and that this one was caught at a baseball game with his gay son.
Several other jars and containers were passed around, and, when it came for her, she pulled out her largest jar of fingernails which was simply labeled "fingernails" and attempted to hand it to the woman sitting next to her. But she didn't move. No one said anything. When she asked if she should pass it around the other way, again no one spoke until the silence became unbearable and someone piped up and said, "No, I think we get the idea." The woman to her right pulled out an empty jar and unscrewed the lid, held it near her face for several seconds, scooping it through the air like she was trying to catch a firefly, before placing the jar in her lap and sealing the lid shut. She taped a label onto it, scribbled the word "embarassment" down and began passing it around the room.
She, the woman with the fingernails, moved to leave. As she made her way out, someone bobbed the jar up and down in their hand. Before the door closed behind her she heard them say to the person sitting next to them: "This is just awful. I'd hate to be whoever this came from."
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
It is subjective. To a colorblind person the sky is actually a sea-foam green, or a sad, dull gray.
The sky is no more blue than it is black at night, a sheet punctured by the stars, a thin sheen that reminds us that in the grand scheme of things, nothing will remember who we are.
The sky is not blue because colors are not inherently dangerous, and the sky is not a color but a womb, a place where tornadoes and lighting are born, there, in that cold apple skin of atmosphere.
The sky has been a god, in the past, an ambiguous deity, and so, according to the Christian doctrine, the sky is not a color so much as it is an abomination.
The sky is not blue but instead the sky is chromatics, physics, electromagnetic radiation; more than anything the sky is really just light, which is not color but energy.
The color blue is really just a measurement of wavelengths and therefore not the sky but a series of numbers. 470, 638, 2.13, 2.64, 254. I could associate these numbers with the number of times I've thought about you since I began to de-rationalize the existence of the sky as a set function of everyone's everyday everything. Why should they get the sky if I get nothing?
The sky is only a unit of infinitesimal particles, not a color but a collection of layers, an atmosphere.
The sky, as far as I'm concerned, is not blue, but an opinion.
The sky is upside down. Cognitive perception flips the images we see right side up, and so if the sky is really inverted than we are underwater, at the bottom of the ocean, and so who can say what color the sky really is, if none of us have been there? And, if this is the case, and we are really underneath the surface, then, just I suspected, I can't breathe, and I am drowning. I am drowning. We all are.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
I missed first period and made in time for the last half of second. In the desk I found the regular teachers instructions. My students are to take a test today. No talking. If they do, don’t hesitate to take the test away. I have preemptively written John Henderson of my fifth period class a referral for disrespect. He will earn it without fail. Just a forewarning. When the third period class filed in I handed them the tests and wrote the answers to the test on the chalkboard. I said, No talking, and watched. The class suspiciously copied down what I had written, even though most of my answers were wrong, and some of the smarter kids knew that, but it didn’t stop me from collecting their sheets and filing them into the teacher’s manila folder.
When the last test was handed in I opened my briefcase and pulled out a VHS of the 1930′s “King Kong” and then told everyone to take notes. One of the kids in the back said, smartly, Shouldn’t you be teaching us something? I wrote him a referral and laid it on his desk. I didn’t get this job to teach, I said. I’m just here to watch movies. I took a seat behind the teacher’s desk and did just that. I watched.
Friday, June 3, 2011
There they go, she said, my little Argonauts, as they ran out the door to go play. She watched them digging at the end of the front yard from the kitchen window of their trailer, in that low dancing heat that made her boys shimmer in the background like mirages, while she washed plastic dishes clean of the boy’s macaroni and cheese lunch; one red, one green. Mulling the term over in her head, she decided that it meant to be some kind of explorer, perhaps one who travels explicitly on foot, one who purposely avoids the sea or the air, a fitting term for her two sons who were grounded by the poverty that they were, for now, blissfully unaware of. They had only an idea of the absence of things, like possessions, or a father.
She pictured her boys as two such travelers, explorers of the world all around them, and she allowed for herself, briefly, the romantic notion that their home, that grounded and thinned out metal tube, was really a vessel missing one small part, one key component. She imagined that their tenancy in the trailer park was only temporary, that at any moment a large bearded man with black fingers would come in through the front door wiping his hands off on an old spotted rag and say, It’s all fixed up, ma’am, and she would call in her two sons, and they would soon be halfway across the world, the view outside their windows, blurs of colors and sounds, everything once keeping them fastened to the earth disappearing behind them.
However, Jess, now twenty-four years old, was coming to an understanding that fantasies such as these did more harm than they did good. She was better off keeping her head level with the window, her feet planted firmly to the ground, recognizing the horizon for what it was, a dangerous drop off at the edge of the world.
It was at this moment of consideration that Brian, her youngest, began to squeal, a screech that first sounded like one of pain, but, as Jess snapped out of her languidness and back into a state of motherly awareness, she saw her two boys running toward her with an eagerness that suggested having never experienced disappointment, the sincerity of children, both of them shouting, Treasure, mom! Treasure!
Thomas, his feet pounding furiously against the pavement with his fist held out in front of him had a look of seriousness on his face that his mother would eventually come to hate. First when he would tell her that he wanted to meet his father; again when he would inform her that he had gone and joined the army; and again, the worst time, when he would wake her up at four in the morning and ask her to have a seat in the kitchen, where he would explain to her very slowly that Brian had been killed in a car accident by a drunk driver, where he would say that he was gone forever, that he was never coming back, that it was just the two of them now, that she was that much closer to being entirely alone, that nothing would fill the hole he had just created.
But before these moments would unfurl there was now, this moment of optimism, this bizarre feeling of hope fluttering alive inside of her like a white dove, as Thomas burst in through the front door of the trailer and ran to where she stood, dirt trailing in behind him, while Brian, coming in after his older brother out of breath, began dancing and spinning, his arms flailing up and down while he yelled, Treasure, mom! Treasure! In his high pitched warble, while Thomas stood still in front of her panting, red faced and sweating, staring wide-eyed and hopeful at his closed fist with such an intensity that one would think he was able to see through his fingers to the treasure he enclosed there.
Jess, her heart still racing, the hair on her arms and neck raised like it was listening, knelt down to the same height as her son and placed her hands around his own and prayed, Let it be something. Let it be one of hundreds of gold coins, or the tooth of some prehistoric creature, or the tip of the mast of some long forgotten ship, the beginning of an ark; an answer to their prayers, anything at all.
Show mommy what you found, she whispered. Show mommy what’s in your hands.
Thomas finally broke his gaze and looked up at his mother with his girlish brown eyes -- his lashes so long for a boys -- and he nodded in understanding about this secret that they were about to share, the two of them, while in the background Brian giggled with sparrowish delight and sang, Show her, Tommy! Show her! And Thomas released what he held and in that instant his hands opened in his mother’s she understood that whatever it was that he found held little to no value at all, she felt what little weight there was between the dirt he dropped in her palms, something small and insignificant, and with the disappointment already showing on her face she opened her hands and saw the dull, brown coin there, a farthing, old British copper worth only a fraction of a penny, one of the few things she remembered from her history class sophomore year, pictures of old British currency in the margins of her textbook, and with this knowledge floating around hopelessly inside of her, Jess began to cry, and then the only noise in the kitchen was the sound of three people breathing and a small distinct ‘pink’ on the plastic tile floor of the kitchen, and Brian quieted, and Thomas finally spoke, and he said, What is it, mom? And with the back of her hand Jess wiped her cheeks and gave the coin back to her son and said, It’s nothing, Thomas. It’s nothing at all. And she rose, to walk past them, to her bedroom, full of vagueness, full of nothing, toward what felt like, for her, inevitability.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
"He died in 2007," I say. "And he wasn't the only one who did it. I gave you that Kundera book." My friend inhales and looks at me. "Fuck that guy," he says, and spits near my shoe.
"How am I supposed to write about the word mint without making it self-referential?" I ask. "If I talk about people in a bar it's cliche. If some guy roofies some girl it's cliche. If some girl roofies some guy it doesn't make sense. The only things left are mojitos and mint chocolate chip ice cream."
My friend scratches his face and then runs his hand through his hair --the one not holding the cigarette-- to create a kind of static lift. He does this whenever he is thinking.
"Ok," he says. "How about this: the story could be about a guy. This guy's name is - is - is fucking Dave, or whatever, right?"
"Ok," he continues. "Dave is gay, right? But he's married and has a kid, so, he decides that, one day, he can't take it anymore. He gets really drunk. On mojitos. He makes himself like seven mojitos in his nice backyard in his nice house on a nice street in a nice neighborhood in a nice part of town and then leaves to pick his daughter up from school. He makes a mojito for the road.
I nod again.
"So --swerving through traffic and shit-- he picks up his daughter and drives her to an ice cream shop where he buys her two scoops of mint chocolate chip and tells her that he has to go away for a long time, that he might never come back. And the whole time he's telling her this he's chewing up mints like fucking crazy. Yea, mints, because his breath smells so bad, like alcohol, just handfuls and handfuls of mints into his mouth, crumbs of them dripping down his chin.
"He leaves. He gets into his car, this mint colored Cadillac from the fifties, and then he leaves her in the ice cream shop. Just fucking leaves her there. This girl is in fucking kindergarten, right? And then he drives to Mexico. They live in San Diego or some shit and have a house made out of coral.
"He drives and doesn't stop. He can't stop. If he stops, something will catch up with him. He can't explain it, he just knows he has to keep driving, eighty, ninety, a hundred miles an hour, to escape this feeling. He makes it through border patrol, and keeps driving.
"He gets lost. He has no idea where he is. He pulls over at a bar. He ends up getting wasted because he feels so guilty, he just wants whatever it was that he was running from to catch up with him, and so he's waiting. Just waiting. There's all of these locals at the bar. Some of them speak English and they invite him over to come sit with them. They drink. They order mojitos and mint chocolate chip ice cream and tequila and they're laughing and drinking and eating ice cream and clinking glasses and spilling alcohol all over their dry, dirty fingers while the ice cream crusts against the corners of their mouths, and then someone drugs Dave. He passes out. They strip him naked. They drive him to the middle of the desert and leave him there to die.
"In the dim light of the moon, Dave wakes up and wanders through the desert past the tall rows of cactus that line the earth. They glow a soft mint color in the night. Pretty soon the cactus start looking like people. Reminders of the abandoned. He runs his hand over them, carefully. The spines of the cactus brush against his fingers. He thinks about how fitting this is. Like, how, even when he touched his wife, his daughter, his family, his lover, this affair he had with this other man, it's like they were never really his -- like he was never really touching them at all, like he had never touched anyone in his entire life. He hears a coyote in the distance. This is what he's been waiting for, you know? This is what's been trying to catch up with him. Not the actual coyote, but, the sound, an omen. Like he's arrived at himself. And so he walks, naked, through the desert, towards oblivion. And like, that could be the end. That could be it, you know? Why don't you write about that? Why don't you make that your story?"
I look at my friend and don't say anything. I wear my disapproval on my face. I shake my head "no."
He spits on the ground again and stamps out his cigarette, which he has finished smoking in the time it took to tell the story. "Fine," he says. "Fuck it. Don't write about it. Write about some other fucking people putting drugs into their drinks so they can fuck each other like awful, dying animals. Here's a story for you. I tried quitting smoking once. Chewed on mint toothpicks until my gums bled. Why don't you write about that? Why don't you write about that dumb shit instead?"
I shake my head. I do.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I pictured us together, dressed, a cocktail party anticipating, her already towering above me and asking would it be all right if she wore high-heels. My response would be to stand on a phone book so that I could kiss her on the lips, and I would say, The taller the better, my dear, and I would brush her hair out of her eyes and call her My Little Skyscraper, which is an oxymoron, which she loves. She was so tall. She was so tall I wanted to climb to the top of a thick tree and shake its branches; shake its branches and yell crude, obscene things at her so she would look around and see me and say, What a curious boy. Or, What a strange boy, or, What an interesting boy. Any of those things, so long as she was looking.
I tried to picture us; a well-adjusted couple. A couple who held hands, conversations. Who had a dog. A short-haired dog who shed too much. My great, big, redwood of a woman would brush the hair off of her jeans and say, Where does it all come from? and then she would throw her head back and laugh. A laugh so big and tall it would break up the clouds. We would take the dog out to eat with us, the three of us, outside, and people would try to pet the dog, some would try to scratch it behind the ears. And they would always looks at you and ask about the dog. Always you. Always.
But I cannot picture us as this kind of couple. Something tragic needs to happen. The dog has cancer. No, she has cancer. No, we all have cancer, the three of us, all of us, shedding and shrinking and sickly. We met at a cancer support group and fell in love. We adopted a sick dog because we knew that we could nurture it back to health with all of the extra love we had to give, which was so much. We had all kinds of cancer: brain and skin and lung and finger, but we fought on, the three of us, eating scrambled eggs and Denver omelets and extra bacon that we fed to the dog under the table. It was the three of us, eating while our diseases ate away at us from the inside out, and it was ironic, and dichotomic, and contradictory, and an oxymoron, which she laughs at; which she loves.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Halfway through the resume I realized I didn't know what I was doing. I drove out to my mom's house, though, technically, a trailer, where she was sitting out back rolling a joint. I sat next to her on plastic lawn furniture and we passed it back and forth while I asked her questions. "What exactly do I need to put down?" I said. "What exactly are they looking for?"
"You're asking the wrong person," she said. "Ask your father."
I thought about my father, living in Dallas, driving his Corvette with his new wife, her hitting the ignore button on his I-phone when she saw that I was the one calling. I decided to ask someone else.
But there was no one else, and so I found myself driving through town high as fuck in my small, beat up car that shook like it was laughing whenever I tried to stop too fast. $1,200 to fix it, the mechanic had said. I'll get it fixed when I get the new job, I thought, if I get the new job, but only if they don't drug test. I'll quit smoking pot if I get the new job. Where was I?
I was at my ex-girlfriend's house. Her dad would help me with the resume. He still liked me. I got out of my car and rang the doorbell, saw him trotting in from the living through the front window. "Nate?" He said, when he opened the door. "Mr. O'Hara," I said. "I need help. With a resume." He looked behind him to the living room, where, against the wall, two sliding glass doors opened up to the back deck. Valerie, my ex, was sunning on the patio with her new boyfriend. I could almost hear Mr. O’Hara’s brain turning. "I just need look at one,” I said. “Only for a second." This was the same man who taught me how to set a table; taught me how to tie a tie; taught me how to drive a stick shift. This was all before his daughter. This was before I through a brick through her widow. "All right," he said. "Come in quick, to my office. But don't let my wife see you."
I barely remember the office. I remember being overly aware of my hair growing out. I remember feeling hot and crowded, that Goddamned itchy feeling spreading from my face to all over my body. I remembered that my mom sometimes laced her pot. I remember Valerie's dad asking me if I was OK while he pulled up the Word doc., and I remember sweating and saying, No, no I'm not OK, and then pulling off my shirt and running down the stairs. I remember him chasing after me. I remember Mrs. O'Hara in the kitchen screaming, the sound of something breaking. Glass, I think. I remember taking off my pants, my underwear, being naked in their dining room and feeling that fire all over my body. I remember seeing the pool and running for it, hearing Valerie scream "Jesus Christ!" while her boyfriend pushed himself up from the deck chair and shouted "What the fuck?" at me, right before I dove into the pool. I remember opening my eyes from the deep end and then looking up, looking up at that turbulent blue reflection of the world outside, at everything all around me. And then, underwater, when I decided that I couldn't stand it any longer, I opened my mouth and screamed all of the air out that I could, like an undomesticated, wild animal.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Once, after a particular beating had landed me in the hospital (Poor kid's so clumsy he fell down the stairs, he told the nurses, true only to the extent that he had pushed me), on the drive home, as an act of unspeakable kindness, my father asked if there was something he could do to make amends.
“I want a pet dog,” I said, and my father said nothing, only nodded.
That night he got drunk again, but, instead of hitting me, he went into the yard with a shovel and a bucket. He came stumbling in some forty minutes later, dropped the bucket onto the floor of my bedroom and said, “Here. Your pet.” I peered inside and saw, not staring, because it had no eyes, but tilting its head up at me, a small, gray mole.
“Thanks, dad,” I said, not wanting to be slapped, or kicked, or punched. “What should we name it?”
“His name is Dostoevsky,” he said. “And he’s blind, just like justice. He’s going to teach you about the futility of utilitarianism.” And with that, he hobbled drunkenly back into the hall. I looked back down into the bucket and stared at my new friend, who was wiggling his nose at me. I leaned in close to it and whispered: “It’s a good thing that you’re blind, Dostoevsky, because things have gotten kind of bad around here since mom left.”
Monday, May 16, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
On the cold wooden floor of her living room next to her cat she listened to the 2001: A Space Odyssey soundtrack on her mother's old record player and envisioned each scene from the movie using only the orchestra’s cues. She was in the middle of emptying out her apartment when she found the acid (preparing herself to move in with her half-sister one city over, a city very close, essentially, while at the same time being worlds away from the house where she now stayed, here, in a college town, where to exist in a state of perpetual adolescence was absolutely acceptable) in a Ziploc bag and decided to take it. Two strips. They had to be at least a year old, she remembered, having purchased them at a music festival where she camped out for five days, but it was one of those places where being uninhibited allowed for you to do other people's drugs for free, and so she was able to save them. Her mouth filled with the taste of pine. She had used the bag for not just acid, but nuggets of pot as well.
Sarah closed her eyes and began to count backwards from random numbers. Forty-seven. Sixty-two. She closed her eyes and listened. Music. An Orchestra. This was the scene where the monkey's first discovered how to use tools. An epiphany, she thought. A revelation.
Sarah opened her eyes. Tall heaps of trash were piled all around her. Coffee pots without machines to steam the grounds, lamp shades without lamps, broken ironing boards and boxes full of books she'd read only once and hated. Clothes without hangers, hangers with no clothes, notebooks and papers and essays and notes, all of it having defined her in someway at some point in time. Wait a minute, she thinks. This was the scene where the monkeys first saw the slab. It loomed high above them, much like her garbage did now. It sounded like locusts were coming. It frightened her. Her breath became shallow and spastic. She tried taking deep breaths through her nose to calm down, but it only reminded her that the house smelled like a forest fire.
Two weeks ago, Sarah almost burnt down her house. A kitchen fire. After throwing a handful of pasta into a pot of boiling water, she went to to smoke a joint while she waited. Feeling lightheaded, she decided to lie down, and when she woke up, she woke up to the mouth of a fireman's wrapped around her own, pushing hot air into her, inflating her, like a balloon animal or a blow-up sex doll.
The firemen and the police asked her questions. She told them she inhaled too much smoke trying to put out the fire. She wandered into her bedroom and fainted. No one seemed to believe her. But No one could prove otherwise. Was this where they first launched into space?
Coming in to rescue her, the firemen had punched a hole through the front window to get in through the front door. She imagines they must have looked like astronauts in their suits, wading slowly through what for them must have felt like a dangerous new planet. On the window there was now a murky, plastic sheet. Sarah hated it. What scene was this? What am I even listening to? Sarah wondered. Was the music speeding up or slowing down? Was the acid kicking in? Taking it was a good idea, she decided. She started to feel sick.
She hadn't replaced her stove because she was leaving, and so subsequently couldn't cook anything. She had sustained herself by eating through everything in the fridge – including a jar of minced garlic – but the only thing left now was a bag of Krab Delight and a shriveled red pepper. The Krab Delight was making her nauseous and the pepper was no longer safe to eat. There was no money to buy food because there wasn’t a job. There was no job because there was no desire to work. There was no desire to work because there was no desire to do anything with the degree that was just earned. Sarah didn't want to be a sociologist; she wanted to be a sculptor. But she couldn’t afford any clay, and she couldn’t afford any food, and she was running out of things to sell, with one week left to go before she moved in with her sister. Maybe she could sell the cat, she thought. She didn’t like him all that much anyway.
Three months ago Sarah rescued the cat from being stuck up a tree. It had remained ungrateful. Initially she kept the cat because it hobbled, its rear left leg much larger than the others, a trait she found endearing, but now she had no idea why she kept the cat. The cat did not like her. He scratched her when she tried to pet it and hissed at her when she walked by. The only time the cat was non-threatening was when it was eating, and there was nothing left to feed the cat but Krab Delight, which was making him sick. She’d fed him Krab Delight all week and now his hair was falling out. The cat might have fared better in the tree, she thought. It tried to run away when she first brought it home -- still did, even -- but Sarah felt that because she’d invested so much time in the cat she should keep it, and so she trapped it inside by screening in the bottom half of the front door. She was determined to have the cat show her gratitude.
The cat lifted his large leg to lick himself, tufts of fur coming loose on his tongue, his mouth smacking open and closed. Sarah became concerned when the cat's leg shrunk back to a normal size. Seeming to notice Sarah's watching him, the cat squinted his eyes and hissed at her, an echo that vibrated somewhere within her. The cat made to his feet and galloped on his uneven legs towards the front door, but was thrown backwards when he bounced headfirst into the screen. He hobbled through the living room, shedding as he went, a testament to his slowly dying. He disappeared behind a pile of garbage. The record spun but made no sound. Silence. The scene where HAL wouldn’t open the bay doors. Maybe taking the acid wasn't such a good idea after all, Sarah thought.
Monday, May 2, 2011
It was true that the small beach town was home to hundreds of adolescent males who wandered around barefoot contemplating all the ways they could make themselves more appealing. They cut their jeans up past their knee, wore shirts without sleeves, and didn’t shower. To the girls attending Flagler College, they were irresistible. To me they looked and smelt like stray dogs.
Driving to Leah’s house, I passed my old community college and thought about my last semester there before moving to Gainesville. For whatever reason, Dustin, a fellow student from my writing class came to mind. In a conversation we had had, he explained to me that he moved from Pennsylvania because he nearly beat a man to death with a dildo. “We called it the fissure,” he said. “It was so massive. Any woman who used it would have split herself in half.”
Before moving to Saint Augustine, Dustin had a job in a sex shop selling X-rated videos, costumes and sex-toys; dildos among them. The story goes that, one day, coming out of the back room after eating the sack lunch his fiancé made for him (everyday, before he went to peddle erotica), he saw his manager backed against the wall behind the front counter with his hands up. A man wearing a hoodie was pointing a gun at him with one hand, stuffing bills from the cash register into his pocket with the other. According to Dustin, to this day he still has no idea what happened. He doesn’t even remember doing it. One minute he watching the holdup, the next minute his manager was pulling him off of the man whom he had been beating senselessly with a giant, rubber dick.
“I think they had to life flight the guy,” he said.
The point I think Dustin was trying to make is this: People find themselves in new places all the time because sometimes things just happen.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
"Dad?" I asked, cautiously making my way into the kitchen. Setting his hands on his hips he turned to stare at the counter next to the stove. He wore a white tank top smeared with oil and grass stains, small khaki shorts sitting high above the knee. His skin glistened between flecks of dirt and grass, and the thick dark hair on his arms and legs lay matted from the humidity outside. He continued to perspire, even as he stood in front of the freezer.
"Who did the lawn last?" he asked, taking off his glasses and pulling his shirt up to wipe the sweat off his forehead.
"Mom took over," I said. "After you died. And then when I turned eleven I started doing it."
"Oh," he said, sliding his glasses back onto his face and looking up, out past the window, beyond any sort of specificity. "Because whoever did it last did a terrible job. I just did it. The right way."
"Well I moved out. So I think Mom does it now."
"Your mother," he said, smiling, shaking his head as he tilted down to look at his feet. He had yet to look at me.
"I think I'm still asleep," I said.
"Oh?" My father asked, leaning against the counter.
"Yes," I said, nodding. "I remember this kitchen. This awful crawling wallpaper. Blue vines. I live somewhere else now."
"I see. Well, I made you a baked potato," he said, making a gesture to an empty table.
"I'm not hungry," I said, moving to leave the kitchen. "I have to go anyway. I'm going to be late for work."
"But you have to make time to eat. You're a growing boy."
"I'm an adult, dad. I finished growing."
"I missed that, didn't I?"
"Yea. But you couldn't help it. It was an accident."
My father nodded, his eyes glistening but fixed. Without another word he turned back to the freezer, and I remembered how easy it was to find yourself alone; how difficult it was to live that way.
Monday, March 14, 2011
|"So, that's it then? I'm adopted?"|
"Yes, Mark. But that's doesn't change
how your mother and I feel about
|"I eat crepes and play with tape.|
I can't be that hard to get along with."
|Rule #1: If you're going to get stuck on an elevator,|
keep good company.
Rule #2: Be sure and press all the buttons.
|"What are you wearing right now Janice?"|
"A powder blue power suit."
"Oh, Janice. I think I'm going to have
to end this phone call."
|I don't know who Sarah is, but she's a lucky girl.|
|I'm still not entirely sure how I haven't|
been fired yet.
I'll write about what this all means later. I'm just too tired right now.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
The bartender and I tried to find the most nonsexual ways to reference pool, but, no matter how you look at it, pool has only disgusting terminology.
Eventually we went to dinner at a restaurant where we met a rude vet. She started complaining about a bad date she had. As chance would have it, the guy who took her out was sitting at the table right behind us. My friend asked her what his name was and then loudly called him over.
I asked her if she would ever want to work on elephants and she said, "Ew. No. Dogs are the only animals I like."
The girls didn't know anybody at the party. It was 1920's themed. In my work clothes, I blended seamlessly in with the other guests. I met a girl who was eating a banana and when I asked her about it (bananas are an odd party food) she said it was the best cure for hiccups. I asked her if she brought the banana as an anticipatory act. "Do you always keep fruit on you for worst case scenarios?" She laughed and asked how I knew Sarah. "Who's Sarah?" I said. The girl gave me a look and said "It's her birthday?" I then met a girl with bright red hair and we traded French for Sign Language. She also asked me how I knew Sarah. "Who's Sarah?" I said, and she laughed because she thought I was kidding.
I got drunk. On the way home I remember the girls asking me questions I shouldn't have given them answers to. I don't think I ever met Sarah, but she throws a great party.
This morning I went out for my usual Sunday breakfast at The Flying Biscuit. My waitress was a woman named Taroola. When she brought out my omelette she set down a bottle of Mexican hot sauce and said: "Would you like some Cholurah from Taroola?" and then she laughed. I loved it.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Ringing. Every sound I have ever heard, ever. Shuffle, slam, open, alarm, ding-, Hello? Backing out, a high mechanical squealing. Front door lock, sticks, click, crunch. The sliding glass door is stuck but you get the idea. I don’t like the bathroom, I don’t like the space, why is it so old, why is everything so wrong, why aren’t you listening, why is this like this? Sorry, please consider us. Ring, Hello? Can you help me? I need an apartment. Hello do you have any apartments? Hi. Ya’ll have a place to live? Hello? Yes, in the vents, there’s mold. There’s mold in the vent. Hi I need you to fix this, hello, I have a request, yes, yes, yes, can you fix this? I need you to fix this, you have to fix this. And then this morning at 6:30 you wanted and then again at nine and now, stop, don’t wake me up, stop, I need to sleep, I need you to stop. Why did you come here at all? Why did you come here? Why, and then to me, elsewhere: Where were you last night, hey you never showed up, Oh, yea, sorry something happened, and then, and, and, and hey, where did you go, hey come over we’re all going to smoke and, hey, do you play music, hey do you know that song, hey come here, hey, come lay in bed with me, hey thank you for the drink, hey
Will you drive me to my car?
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
Regardless of the vote, this is not an effective method of execution, unless the quarry forgets to duck the bullets, which is often, as the game itself is very boring.
If it's decided the mark didn't duck in time, then they are killed, and have to move to the center of the circle to assume the role of executioner: a vengeful ghost with an imaginary gun and very slow (but not too slow) imaginary bullets.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Because thumbs are not planets
And Pluto is not a finger.
When you were the sun,
Everything was always
When you left,
What it's like
To have cold weather.
That was before they went extinct.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Ah yes, the holy trinity.
I wrote this instead.