Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The visitor...

Well, you came all the way up here, so have a seat. Or stand. Doesn't make no difference to me. I'd offer you a drink, but I don't have much. You want to know about the creature? That's it, right? Never had a visitor in twenty goddamn years on this mountain, and now it's like Disneyland. Wish I'd never even told anyone about it if you want to know the truth.

Alright, fine. It was about this time, early evening. The sun was kind of falling through the leaves like it is right now. I got an eye for animals, see? You gotta understand that part of it. I don't see animals, I don't get to eat. You learn to look for little things. Movement. Shape. It gets to where you can pick em out real easy. I don't guess a city boy like you would know anything about that. They're all around us right now, and I bet you couldn't find one little bird.

So, it was just figuring to get dark, but the sun didn't want to let go. It was one of them long days. Folks say that's bullshit, but I don't cotton to what most folks think anyway. Reason I moved up here...to be alone. So, I see this...animal. A twitch in the tall grass. Dark fur. I figured on a bear and grabbed my gun...they don't mess with me, but it pays to be careful.

I'm squinting, see. Trying to get a handle on it. Big. It was big. And then the neck spiders. All up and down my backbone. I felt cold. Damn cold. I started backing up, and that's when it took an interest in me. Stood up, and no it wasn't no goddamn bigfoot. Don't even say it. I don't know what it was, but it wasn't that. And I ain't gonna lie and make it something it wasn't. It was like something from a nightmare. Dirty, with its teeth bared and it's hissing at me. It had claws, too. Eyes like a cat. When it came at me, it came on all fours. Fast. Ran like a wolf. I ain't gonna lie. It scared the living hell out of me. I closed my eyes and fired my gun and, when I opened them, it was gone. Then I went down the hill and told Elroy. Then the city folks started coming with cameras.

I'll tell you what I told everyone else. It's out there. It could be watching us right now. I like to think that we have an understanding, the thing and me, but it don't got no understanding with you. And neither do I.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Just like that...

And if it wasn't enough that Bobby had in fact ruined her life by dumping her in the cafeteria, Stephanie still would have done what she did. The breakup was bad, though. No one is trying to say that it wasn't. It was...fucking epic...like those old western movies, muskets at dawn or whatever. She would have done it because Bobby fucked Jenny Woodson at the Sadie Hawkins and never even apologized. Everyone knew. So, she fucking killed him. It was brutal, hatchet to the face shit. Crazy. Happened one night after a party out at Guster's. Fucking killer party and everyone is having a good time and then it's fucking blood and everybody's pushing everybody else. I never seen anything like it, you want to know the truth. Hope to God I never see anything like it again. Partying and there's good molly, and I'm high and rolling and then...fuckin' A, dude. Just like that. That's how it happened. Just like that.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Spit on the sidewalk...

Tight knit like pigeon shit, jump back, now spit. Crowded on the sidewalk, pass the blunt, hit. All these fucking hustlers and you don't know one. I'll do the introductions, clue you how it gets done. This here's Andre; he's a gangster. Hoodie-hooded eyes, the Boston strangler. Sen, he's from Detroit in that faraway place. Space, he's running molly, and that shit is ace. Gun?, yo, he's a pastor, a flat track master. Track, wherever he plays that shit's a disaster. D-Zaster, that's a kid that I used to know. Didn't have much face and never had much flow. Flow, that's the shit that you got to get after. Put all of them bullet holes up in the rafters. Truth, I never met him, but I hear he's a bastard. For what it's worth, I hope you got what you came here after.

Monday, January 21, 2013


She said she didn't know anything about it, and you kind of had to believe her. Even if it was bullshit. You couldn't prove it, and it would give her a little boost to the supposed moral high ground if you did. You smiled a plastic smile and grunted. She kept on talking about the dog and the fence and the walls ached for a fist. Instead, you pushed it into a little ball and squashed it down, smiling. You wondered if that was how people get cancer. Would that little ball turn into a tumor? Just keep nodding and smiling.

There was no way you could ever know. She denied it and, maybe in her mind, it had never happened. Shit, she was getting older. It could have been innocent. But her 'faculties' always seemed...inconsistent. They served her purposes. You can't call someone on faking dementia. She would know that of course.

There was a boy you knew growing up. He never smiled and rarely spoke. He sat beside himself at lunch. He was a tiny drop of sadness in an ocean of fad-clothes and posturing. When he killed himself, everyone acted surprised. It was a misdirect. It was self-protection. It was when you realized the world was an ocean of lies supporting ships that sail aimlessly, pretending on a destination, sinkable.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Remember as much as you can; soon it will be lost. Inertia is a short con. Drag the tinsel from the ceiling fan, the holidays are over. Look at the sky and pretend you can fly. Fall into the couch, spiraling down until nothing means anything anymore. Or everything means everything. Soft-tongued sycophants guide the way. Deeper.

It is a golden sphere, and it hangs on the regret you feel. You want to hold it, but it is cold...too cold for your smooth hands. He said that everything would turn out great. He lied to you, and you are trying to figure out how you could have ever been so foolish. But the foolishness was innocence and, really, you just want it back.

Maybe you can manage it. Control it. Some people can't. Some people wake up with cigarette burns on their pale chests, caved in. They are chasing something different.

You lie to yourself and you hate yourself and, fuck, I think that's the way our forefathers wanted it. All this nonsense. 98% of the shit you are surrounded by is worthless. But that 98% is loud, brother. It's persistent. And the 2% of life that is beautiful just can't compete.

Run until you can't run for the gasping. Reach until your arms are numb from grasping. Clutch your hands around its throat and wait for the sparkle lights to illuminate the night. Run, motherfucker, run.

I don't know all that much about it. It's a sham. It's a greased pig. It's fucking huge. You can't understand it. You can't wrap your arms around it. You nod your head and run your smooth hands over your face, press your eyes until the fun starts...explosions.

It was a long time ago, but the aftertaste lingers. It is bitter, but you roll it on your tongue, waiting for some kind of payback. Some kind of payoff. You feel sorry for yourself when you shouldn't. In your mind, there is a cage full of budgerigars singing, paint splashes and primping.

Close your eyes and kill your brain if that's what you need. I understand, man. I really do. I'm waiting for the call. I have my black suit cleaned and pressed and ready to go. I am prepared to see her there, pointed eyes casting blame that we know is unwarranted. But let it be. She needs it. She needs to think it was our fault, not hers. So, let it be.

Your life has been a hair shirt. I get it. I can't say I'll forgive because I won't. But I'll understand, and that's more than you probably deserve. More than any of us do. Step into the darkness, tepid, dipping a toe into oblivion. Smile as you go...don't let it hurt. You're smart enough to make it painless, and there will be plenty of pain, regardless. Some sharks die if they stop moving. Maybe you've been dead for years. I'll tell your story; I have the ink in my skin. And it will fade like the memories, but it will always be there, like a kid in the back of the class scribbling for all he's worth.

Friday, January 11, 2013


I keep it in a box. An old cigar box with little going for it. Someone told me once that I smoked good cigars. I didn't tell him that I bought the box empty.

People like to look at the box. It is beautiful in its own right, stained wood behind brass clasp pizazz. They want to look inside, but I don't ever show anyone what's inside. That's for me. The box is mine. I don't want you to know its secret.

You could try for years and you would never guess the contents of my beautiful box. It catches your eye. They roam around the room, but they settle on the shine. "Stash box?" No, the box holds something far more important than illicit substances.

Would you believe me if I told you the box is the future? That the entire universe can be compressed and stored inside a cigar box. You would think me mad. That's why I won't tell you what the box holds.

I don't look inside very often. I know it's there. I know exactly what it looks like. I can feel it in my hands, heavy and cold. There are papers in the box, too, but papers can be put almost anywhere.

The box is my legacy. Should anyone care, it's there. When I am dead and can no longer keep the beauty confined, by all means, let it out. That's what it's there for. I hope I never have to use it. I love it, but it is my enemy. It washes over truth.

Yes, the box is many things. It is the smell of honeysuckle on a backyard, hardpack fence. It is the taste of chilled chocolate milk. It is cold and hard and soft and sweet, and I WILL NOT SHOW IT TO YOU.

You can keep asking; I will keep saying no. I have shared much, and I deserve this secret. Many times, in dark rooms, ears ringing, trying to still my mind, I have conjured the box in front of me. I have felt its heft and I have held it to my face, tears falling onto the fading Spanish. I have died a million times, and I have so little to show for it.

Light comes through the window, softly, like a spun bottle kiss. It follows me. It rests on the box and my eyes rest on the box and maybe everything rides on the goddamn box. And that is why you can never know. Not while I am still here.

I poker face the world, trying for bravery, falling short...hoping to at least reach dignity. You can take these words and pull them apart like taffy. You can scramble them all up. Cut them from the page and glue them blindfolded...the story will not change. Because it is not about what is in the box. It is about what it means to me. And that is a crucial difference.

I will splay myself wide, open wounds to the world. I will tell you everything. But the box is mine.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ain't it pretty?

Well? Ain't it? You got yourself all gussied up, and that smirk looks good on you. Give em what they want. It's a cheap pop tune, but the beat is catchy. I'm not talking about music. I'm talking about that corner of the room you like to stare at, eyes blurring into focus. I'm talking about that way you cock your hip to the side like you got a six gun there. It's no skin off my ass, and I probably should leave it alone, but I can't help but feel scorn for a clone.

Let's all pretend we're what we want to be. I want to be the one who makes the world whirl, eyes open to the fire. You? It's all about the yes-men, the yes-women. They are programmable, automatonic disasters. I have no use for them. I've always been more intrigued by the ones who say 'no'.

It's just so doggone simple, but you don't get it. I won't be your huckleberry. You can ride this train alone 'cause I don't like where it's going. I don't like the scenery and I don't enjoy the company. I'll settle my limbs across the tracks and wait for the first glimpse of pure white bone.

Your supposition and superstition glow like magma. You stare at the customers who come by, wondering which ones will buy the lie. Not me. I like honesty.

But it was lovely wasn't it? It's almost over now, so make sure you're taking notes. You think I'm arrogant? Not much. Sometimes, I reckon. Sometimes I just tell it like I see it, and I see a sack of insecure bullshit. So, I'm calling it. Heads or tails?

Wouldn't it be great to just get on the horses and joust. To get in the arena with the lions. To actually live something worthwhile and true instead of hiding behind these good folks you bow down to...the ones you mock once they're out of earshot. They came for a show. Sell it to them. I'll be behind the wagon whittling this stick.

I see you when I close my eyes, adjustments made for accuracy's sake. The pretty face is gone, replaced by yellowed, sallow mailbox coupons. It doesn't matter as long as you can keep telling yourself that you're important. And as long as they believe it. It don't matter a warm shit what I think.

It is pretty, though. The long, drawn out wail that escapes your falling lips. The realization that the world's all bumpy and you tried to make it flat. The train's slowing down, but you won't jump off. I know you well enough to know that. You'll prop it all up with false bravado and popsicle sticks and, somehow, you'll still hook a few.

I wonder what they'll say at your funeral. Probably a bunch of nice stuff. Vacant platitudes and fluff. Don't worry, I'll be there to set the record straight. I ain't proud of it, but I can't wait.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The last story.


Teeth on barrel. He laughed, spine cringing at the soft metal noise. No need to bite the damn thing, but his teeth didn't matter anymore and the steel chill faded quickly. He was tired. Tired of biting the bullet. Bullet, barrel...fuck it. He knew he wouldn't flinch and, even if he did...

He grabbed another piece of printer paper, took a swig from the bottle, and tried again. A few sentences and then it was just the same old bullshit. It was going to hurt, regardless. There would be questions, no matter what he wrote.

He pictured her in his mind and his muscles went rigid with hate. Part of him wanted to kill her, but he knew this would hurt her more. And she fucking deserved it. So what? So much talk. Fuck her. She had the nerve to pervert something he loved, churning out the words like styrofoam peanuts. There was no spice to the writing and people shoveled it in like fast food. And she bragged her little mottled smile...made fun of his friends who weren't "producing". Blind to the fact that when they did, it mattered...not like the shit she pawned off...soiled paper.

His parents would be destroyed. Fuck it. Fuck them. There had been so many paths diverging in all manner of colored woods, but they had picked the wrong one consistently. They built the foundation and he didn't feel much about it. Finishing it, that is.

Michael would be fucking destroyed, but Jesus Christ...how much had he fed that man? How many times had he been the life preserver. He knew he should return the favor...give him a chance to pay it back. Fuck it. He could pay him back with forgiveness.

He couldn't think what to say. Sorry? When you think of me, think good things? Know that I will be happier in whatever void awaits than I am here, on earth, you simple endoskeletal...

His right. It was his. The whole fucking thing. He owned it. He'd put down the tent pegs. He'd closed his eyes when quivering, damp lips led to hands, cold, in places he couldn't speak of. He'd fucking sucked that shit up, so they could take this. Team effort.

The layoffs and the fucking debt and all the goddamn bullshit financial crap that he didn't understand. Judged arbitrarily for things he could not control...ratty hair, old clothes, stench of poverty. Let them feast on it. Let it rise in their throats, acid burning the pink skin, sizzling burnt meat smell. It was all burnt meat. Feast, motherfuckers, feast.

He wasn't happy. That's what it came down to. The past, the girls who had left, the money that had evaporated seemingly overnight. The anger and the sadness. The memories that tried to surface no matter how hard he squashed them down. It was like a summertime child pushing a rubber ball under the limp surface of a blue, backyard pool. You can't keep that shit down. It rises up. Sometimes it explodes. Fuck it.

'I'm not happy'. He stared at the block printing on the sheet and knew it wasn't enough. But it would never be enough. His last act of generosity would be the gift of hatred. He would hate himself until the very last second. Until his finger closed on the cold metal. He would not try to make it OK. And that penance would have to serve. And their hatred would outweigh the loss.

He took another drink from the bottle. Upended it. Held it above his slack tongue while the last few drips fell. He looked at the paper and the gun on the table. Under the three words in the center of the page he wrote, 'It's not your fault'. He moaned a quiet plea and picked the gun back up. It was time to bite the barrel.

Friday, January 4, 2013


It wasn't what he expected, just soft and juicy. An odd taste, mostly dirt. He was used to it by now. Every day at recess Jack ate a worm, and every day his friends would laugh.

The worm was gross, but it was well worth the laughter. It was worth having friends. This was a new town and a fresh start, and he was going to do it right this time. Jack was seven, and he had never been to a birthday party. He had never had one of his own. His parents ignored him for the most part. He had never had friends before.

It was a bright day. Blue sky. The kids were gathered round, cheering, when they heard a whistle and the mob parted, Jack dangling the long nightcrawler above his mouth. The teacher shouted and knocked the worm to the ground. The principal explained that it was against the rules. He tried to tell him that the kids weren't his friends. But Jack knew the truth, and he hated the man for lying. If worms were out, he would find something else. He needed the laughter. And he knew they couldn't stop him.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


I am just a guy who likes to think about terrible things. The fact that the things make beautiful stories sometimes is an added bonus. Like a free paring knife when you buy a filet knife.

I am not overly in awe of any of my capabilities. I can play a mean game of one-bounce, though.

I don't find people I know as interesting as people I know nothing about.

I am a snoop. I took a picture of a note on my neighbor's door the other day. I still have the picture saved.

I am actively engaged in my destruction and bemused at its progress. I do not think I will live to be an old man. But I probably will. Good genes.

Most people have little cubicles in their mind where they store good things and bad things and scary things. I don't have any filing system. It's all just in there together, and man, it's madness sometimes. Still, I taste the IV, a splash of blood in a yellow needle.

I have never owned a microwave. You'd be surprised at the reaction that gets. Kind of an angry judgmental thing. Other people make a much bigger deal out of my lack of microwave than I do. It was never intended to be a statement. Or if you must make it one, it is something simple like: I prefer toasty to chewy...

I know it's weird and you don't get it. I can't explain it to you. I'll try.

You are standing in a thicket of trees beside a small white colonial with green accents. You are smoking a cigarette that you stole. There are a thousand thoughts flitting by your head like swallows. Bats. Always breaking at just the right second. There are stories and pretend people tugging at your clothes and you find them fascinating. You hear lines of dialogue in strange accents. You stare at the gore a bit too long. You find that you can lose yourself in it, totally. It purges. So, you decide to grab at the better stories and accept that they fly a little bit faster. You make a net of recognition big enough to hold the entire world. Then, you introduce yourself to the people and start typing.