Friday, January 31, 2014

2 minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. Every Friday we do a fun free write. No reason. Just ending the week in style.

Basically, you can write whatever you want in the comments section. You have two minutes. Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. Play as many times as you like (doesn't have to be today, even). So, tell a friend. If you have one. If not, tell your enemies. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play. 

I wasn't ready for this. I didn't have time to flex my brain. It died like Houdini. A braggart's punch on an unprepared cerebellum. That's the way it is sometimes. Sometimes you keister the key and the restraints come off and you emerge from the cage to 'oooooh', 'ahhhhh'. Sometimes you get sucker punched and die in the middle of nowhere.

That's where my brain is. The middle of nowhere. It got lost during sleep...I lost my compass. I think I will have to go fishing. That's the only solution. That's not quite true. But it's a good solution, and I'll take it. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Saving Drake - Sneak Preview

This is the first chapter from the novella "Saving Drake: a Romance" which is available here. Thanks for stopping by.


Her breathing was regular and shallow, but her mind was electric. She felt the warm body snoring contentedly beside her. She had always wondered what it would be like, this intimacy—they were essentially strangers; she didn’t even know his last name. She was surprised she didn’t feel shame. He rolled over, and she looked into his face. Like her, he was in his mid-thirties. His skin was pale, and his black hair flopped over his forehead like a tired sheepdog. Sleeping, he looked younger than he was. Almost childlike if you looked past the stubble and worry lines, anxious even in sleep—like he badly wanted to join a schoolyard soccer game, but was afraid to ask.
            Rachel was gathering the scraps of the night before. She hadn’t wanted to go to the party. Another work obligation that was supposed to be fun but was, in actuality, a way to get her to work overtime for cheap Chardonnay instead of money. She had decided to make the best of it. She wore her long black dress, a vintage piece she’d picked up years ago. She was thrilled it still fit. It was simple and elegant, with a plunging neckline that offered a glimpse of cleavage. She added her red clutch and plain red pumps. A simple gold necklace. She spent extra time on her hair and makeup. She was proud. She looked into her mirror with that smirk worn by all practical, beautiful women when eyeballing mirrors. But she still hadn’t wanted to go to the party. Two glasses of wine and some soft jazz had made the idea tolerable, if not exactly thrilling.
            She had the slightest of hangovers, but it was nice—the warm body beside her; the sun beginning to stream through the gossamer drapes. She felt panic as well, but it was an adrenalized panic, like she was teetering on the end of a high dive platform. It was a time of day she loved, a time that promised hot tea and opportunity. The night before? The party had started out like every party. She’d sipped wine and kissed cheeks and tried to avoid looking bored. She couldn’t remember how it had happened … him. It was as if they had suddenly become partners. They sat in the corner and laughed while the party spun on around them.
            He was handsome, dressed in a simple black suit. His black hair was neatly combed, and his green eyes shone. He was funny. Her cheeks were still sore from smiling, laughing. Years since she’d laughed like that. As the party began to thin out, they found themselves outside, standing awkwardly. She, dressed like she was having cocktails with royalty … he, in his black suit, looked like a CIA agent. They talked, leaning against her car, until it got cold. And then they were back at her flat. They had another glass of wine, she turned on the stereo … his kisses were tentative and gentle. His hands through her auburn hair were silk. She dove into the reverie of perfume and aftershave and stubble against her smooth cheek. They made love. It wasn’t “spectacular” or “amazing” or any of the superlatives people use. It was perfect.
            Rachel remembered it all, now. Every touch. His shy advances. His warm, rough hands on her. He’d whispered in her ear while they made love. Not words, per se. Something. A steady murmuring that held her still, that smoothed the edges of everything. He was fit, but not gym fit. His chest was nearly hairless. He was tall, but she was not afraid … had not been afraid like she had in the past. His size was comfort. His size was protection. His caress was soft fire … a heat that belied the goosebumps on her arms. The tingling in her legs …
            She was lost in thought, watching his fluttering eyelids, when they opened without warning. There was a moment of confusion, and then his eyes widened in horror. He rolled out of the bed, realized he was naked, and grabbed a blanket to wrap around himself.
“I’m sorry, I don’t do this.”
            Rachel felt like she had been doused in ice water. She felt foolish, could sense her cheeks growing warm.
            “Um … neither do I. Don’t worry about it. You can leave.”
            His eyes were frantic. God, he looked scared.
            “No, I’m sorry, I’m not making sense. It’s just … I haven’t been with anyone for a long time. Last night was wonderful …”
            “It was. You’re going to freeze, get back in bed.”
            Rachel smiled and her smile was returned hesitantly. Drake slid back into the bed like he was afraid it would swallow him. For a few minutes, they both lay on their backs and stared at the ceiling. Then they spoke simultaneously and laughed.
            “Alright, Drake. So what happens now?”
            “What do you mean?”
            “I mean, is this just a good night and an awkward morning?”
            “Well, I don’t know … honestly. This is new territory for me. How about we start with breakfast? If you let me raid your fridge, I’ll whip something up.”

Drake was at home in the kitchen, no doubt about that. Rachel cradled her coffee in cold hands. He even made good coffee: the right amount of sugar. And steamed milk. It was like his embrace—soft and sweet, but strong. They did not speak. Drake was wholly immersed in the eggs he was poaching, the bacon he was frying, and the oranges he was squeezing. He was squeezing oranges for fresh juice. Rachel’s mouth watered … she rarely kept food in the fridge, so the fact that there were the makings of a hot breakfast was a miracle.
            She was dressed in a floral silk robe. It was wrapped tight, revealing her figure, but not much actual flesh. He was wearing the suit pants he’d worn the night before and a white T-shirt. Bare feet. The shirt was tight enough to show off his upper body. Slim, but firm. He did not have a six-pack. Thank God. Rachel had never trusted men who loved their own bodies too much. They were supposed to love hers.
            She flinched when he looked at her, afraid that her thoughts were carved into her features. They both laughed.
            “Lost in thought?”
            “Just thinking about someone I met.”
            He smiled and crossed the room, setting two plates down and returning with two glasses of juice. She stood and stretched, and then they were in each other’s arms. Rachel looked at him as if he were a map, as if she could find all the answers if she looked in the right places. There was kindness there. And a deep sadness. Fear. And a hint of joy. She closed her eyes and felt his hand, warm on her face. His thumb brushed her eyelashes. Then her lips. He pulled her body into his, and she wrapped her long arms around him. He kissed her gently, lips barely touching. Warmth spread through her. She opened her eyes and smiled. The smell of the bacon was agonizing. Drake squeezed her hand softly as he crossed to his side of the table.
            “Let’s eat.”


Rachel was late for work. She ignored the smirks and jokes. The walk of shame! She was used to being around people she hated—she tolerated them because they made her sad; the pity trumped her loathing. They were merely people trying to be something they weren’t; working in PR will do that to you. She was content to remember the embrace that had come after breakfast, after their shower, both dressed sharply and ready to meet the day. It was like they had known each other for years. Silly? Maybe.
            She opened her office door and turned on the light. She looked at the pile of press releases overflowing the fancy keyboard she hated and sighed. She turned at the sound of a throat clearing behind her. Jenny—her sanctuary amid the banal bullshit she was forced to grin through between the hours of eight and five. They had been friends for so long that both refused to count the years.
            “Hey, Jen.”
            “Is there something you’d like to tell me?”
            Rachel pulled her into the office and closed the door.
            “You think I’m going to tell you?
            “Well, yeah … you tell me everything.”
            “Well, we went back to my place. Things of an adult nature happened. We woke up, and he saw a ghost. Then he made me a fabulous breakfast and we went to work.”
            “Really? Good for you, girl! So, how was it? Any broken furniture? Is he in the FBI? Why was he at the party? Does he have—um, how can I put this delicately?—a giant cock and a million dollars?”
            Rachel laughed. Jenny was her closest friend. After decades, she had grown accustomed to the locker-room banter. She depended on it. She depended on Jenny, period. Tall and blonde, Jenny was the kind of woman who could say anything she wanted and get away with it, be praised for it, even. She was the perfect friend for Rachel, who sometimes thought herself too stuffy.
            “It was … lovely. Comfortable?”
            “Jesus fucking Christ, Rachel. We’re talking about a man, not an ottoman.”
            “Fine! OK, it was great. It really was. He was gentle and slow and … talented.
            “Oh my God, I don’t know why I put up with your Pollyanna ass—”
            “OK, fine, he had a twelve-inch cock.”
            “Now we’re talking.”
            “Really, he was just a nice guy. It seemed like I already knew him. But I don’t know him at all. I forgot to even ask his last name.”
            “This is really why you should let me sleep with all the cute guys.”
            “So, what’s the plan? You are going to see him again, right?”
            “God, I hope so. He said he’d call tonight.”
            “You’re still being evasive. Did he get the job done or not?”
            “I’m hoping he’ll call, aren’t I?”
A knock at the door interrupted them. It was Helen’s knock. They both rolled their eyes. Jenny winked and then opened the door, sliding past Helen’s shoulder pads. She was a nice enough boss, but her wardrobe had stopped evolving about the same time Duran Duran ruled the airwaves.
            For the next hour, Rachel pretended to take notes while she thought about Drake. A strange name. She hadn’t thought about it before. And why was he at the party? Most importantly, would he call?

She put her computer to sleep and rubbed her eyes. Another day of spreading meaningless information around to make rich people richer. As she stepped outside, she saw her Toyota. The irony was not lost on her. She spent her days hustling for people who wouldn’t be caught dead in a 2005 Toyota. But it didn’t matter today. Today, she would go home. And tonight, he would call. He had to call. She refused to think about what it would mean if he didn’t.
            The drive home was an autopilot block of lost time. She didn’t even notice there was music playing, and music was usually her salvation. She was wrapped up in anxiety and anticipation; everything else was filler. She knew she would barely be able to function until the phone rang. And if it didn’t, it didn’t. Either way, the wait would be torture—a bittersweet torture, but torture nonetheless.
            The front door slammed, and she kicked off her heels. She started undressing as she headed for the bedroom and was down to panties and a bra by the time she got there. She took a moment to fold her clothes—one of the little chores she hated—before slipping into pajama pants and an old sweatshirt, casting her bra away like some silken demon.
            She turned on her stereo and dialed in the local college radio station. They were playing underground hip-hop, and she lost herself for a moment in the strong beat. She turned the music low and poured a glass of wine. She sagged into the old, white leather couch and looked out her window. She could never leave this place; she’d known that since she’d first seen the view. Her window looked out onto the water, and the lights danced on the slight chop of the bay. She sighed, made sure her cell was not on silent and closed her eyes.
            The phone woke her. It was dark outside. A glance at the phone showed it was almost midnight.
            “Hey … I was hoping you’d call.”
            “Sorry if it’s too late … I’ve been sitting with the phone in my hand for the last four hours.”
            “Really? Why?”
            “I’m not very good at this. I’m sorry. I should have called earlier … I wanted to. Then I started thinking … then all of a sudden it was late, and I figured I’d better call or miss my chance.”
            “Your chance?”
            “Yes. I don’t want to screw this up. I really enjoyed our time together.”
            Rachel twisted a finger in her hair and smiled.
            “Really … and what was your favorite part?”
            “I know I’m supposed to say ‘the sex’, but it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, that was great. But I really enjoyed eating breakfast together. Talking. I spend a lot of time alone.”
            “OK, Mr. Mysterious. Now you have some questions to answer. One, what is your last name? Two, why were you at that awful party?”
            “Ha! My last name is Hutchins. The party was awful wasn’t it? Would you believe me if I told you I don’t know why I was there?”
            Rachel’s breath caught in her throat.           
            “Sure … I’d believe you.”
            “Good, because I don’t. I was driving home, and I saw the lights. I’m a writer … I like to sit and watch people. I never imagined I would end up even talking to anyone, let alone … find you.”
            “You’re a writer? I figured Secret Service.”
            “The suit? I find a black suit can do amazing things. Like let you crash strangers’ office parties without being questioned.”
            “So, what do you write?”
            “I write fiction … novels.”
            “Oh! I can’t wait to read one.”
            “That’s going to be tough. I don’t use my real name … it makes things messy.”
            “And you won’t tell me your pen name?”
            “Not … yet.”
            “I can wait. Would you like to have dinner with me?”
            “Absolutely. How about Friday?”
            “It’s a date.”
They talked for several hours, until bleary eyes and poorly disguised yawns made communication difficult. Rachel woke at seven, rubbed the sand from her eyes and looked at the calendar. Friday was three days away.

Drake did not wake because he never went to sleep. His mind was fevered and fraught with terror. He was torn between the idea that happiness could exist and the gut-shot pain of his memory. A car filled with blood. Cradling her beautiful face. A decade past, and still he could see it. Smell it. He had written the entire idea off. Love wasn’t worth the pain. And now this.
            He hadn’t been with a woman since she’d died, hadn’t wanted to think about it. Now, he’d slipped up. But there was something about Rachel. All he’d wanted was to have a few free drinks, watch the people do their human things, and return home where his laptop was waiting. Instead, he had woken up next to a beautiful woman. And now, he was going on a date.
            He poured himself a few fingers of scotch and drank it. Most people don’t drink before lunch, but it didn’t matter: he could write anytime, sleep anytime. After she was killed, he had removed himself from the “rules” of society. With the drinking, he did have to be careful, though; it had gotten out of hand and taken years to get under control. Bad years. He drank carefully now, but the synapses were firing—his brain was on overdrive. He could picture Rachel’s smile, her dark red hair. He could still feel her soft skin, still see the faint freckles on her breasts. He was full of her. He was terrified.

I hope you enjoyed the preview. If you'd like to purchase the book, I will not object. :) - JD

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hummingbird Eyes

Her hummingbird eyes never landed for long, never rested, and she was always ready to make the next move. I never knew what that move would be, and perhaps that is meaningful - there was fear, certainly, and fear has always been my boon companion ... my huckle-bearer in waiting.

There are so many things I could tell you about her, but you would not know her. Words fail me. She was tall and strong and self-assured. She smelled like cigarettes and sunshine. She laughed in the face of everything. Her bravery lent her beauty. Her power was in her resolve. Things should be the way they should be. She believed it. I did not.

I tell you these things so that you will understand, if possible, why it was necessary...

She was not my enemy, but she was not my friend. She was a summer storm. One of those mid-western explosions of meteorology. When the winds came, I hid. I covered my head with the blanket and tried to sleep, storm-sheltered in old fleece.

I will always remember the first night. Leaving the bar ... they had one of those double swinging doors, but there was no one swinging and nary a cowboy in sight. Bourbon had made my defenses weak. I tried to outmatch her long stride and ended up with my finger between the doors. It was broken, but I didn't want to ruin the night, and the bourbon did a good job of distracting me. Her eyes did the rest. I could barely keep up.

We walked to the beach holding hands. I stopped to talk to a homeless man, gave him a few dollars, shook his hand. She couldn't believe the handshake. It changed something. Suddenly, I was more than I had been ... silly, really. I have never been Jesus. I have no interest in lepers.

We lay together in the wet sand and laughed and talked and kissed. It had been a long time. We were wet with fog and gritted by the dark brown sand. I woke up alone, back in my apartment. My finger was broken, and I didn't care. There were nine more fingers and only one of her.

After that, the months passed in a blur. But I destroyed it. My weakness. My longing. My irrational fear. I want you to understand, really, but I have a feeling you can't. Unless you've been there. Unless you've seen eyes like that turn dark before a deluge.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Screams

You were the one, but it wasn't your choosing and, in that injustice, there was truth, hatred, anger, lust, sadness - living. Sun-streaked walls don't give a shit about you. The woman who covers her face will only slink by, avoiding you for the same reason you avoid yourself. Can you blame her?

You belong in the night. Your counsel, the rats and vermin who take over our sanguine streets when the sun gives up. They crawl and feed, blood on teeth, gnashing. They are honest and you are not. You flinch when you see them. Imagine how they must feel about you.

You are not the sum of your mistakes. You are your mistakes - they are brands that match the scars, lacing forearms.

You close your eyes and feel clammy hands. Soft fingers ply the gentle delusion that placates the rage - the rage makes you want to be one of those with bloody teeth. Flex your arms. Test your fist against the face of someone weaker than you. This is the way the game is played.

Count to ten and then start looking; you won't find them. They slip between cracks and you aren't even sure what we're talking about anyway. Vague, I know. It is our intention. Specificity is a lie. Your answers don't even begin to address the problem. You are the sharp crease in a lawyer's tongue. You are younger than you used to be.

Regression is a form of near-inert inertia. You remember some things so vividly, your brain is selective. Whether it pleases you or not may have something to do with the way you have treated your brain. It may have something to do with the Mayans or global warming or the Rothchilds. It may have nothing to do with anything. What did you expect?

It's coming back now. You turned your head and bit the inside of your cheek until you were choking on the tart, red blood. You told yourself it would pass. Don't think about it. That was a mistake. That one will follow you. Trailing that blood, the taste still rich and vibrant.

Your hands are claws. Sink them into the dirt and pull out life. Pound your fists and tear the hair from your swollen head. There are no saints here. There is no redemption.

You wanted her to hit you. You wanted scars and blood and destruction. Too many facades, you decided you were above it. Who the fuck do you think you are?

You are an earth destroyer. You are the most wicked of all the beasts, you who will not accept the terrible dignity engendered by your selfish soul - the one you don't believe in. 

He will come for you in the darkest hour. He will smile and you will sink back into a revery that you never imagined. He will forgive you, though you don't deserve forgiveness. But you'll take it. If you respected yourself more, you would riot. The walls would crumble and you would kill, eat the hearts of your enemies. But you are civilized. You do not attack with tooth and nail, do you? You lurk in the dark with whispered lashings. You play the angles and try not to get your hands dirty. And you feel superior, though your hands should be covered in filth, excrement, blood ... you should try to sleep through the screaming, but you will hide because that is what you were taught.

My heart aches. My soul burns. You say these things and hope that they will be your bivouac. Trafficking in words is a coward's bet. Still speak. And listen. Feel the spittle on your face and blink, slowly, fighting the rotation of a world you never understood.

Isn't it precious? Do you like the new furniture? What will you do when the time for working is done, will you then seek the piss and loam that is your birthright? What will you hide behind when the curtain falls?

You try to think of noble things. The times you stood up for "justice" and other saccharine myths, but it is all ignoble. You are so turned around that your fall is only fair. No one can spin so much and not feel the helicopter's stare. Your streetlights are cameras. Your Bible, a decoration that you never touch. It is there for show.

The day is wrung out. You are a failure. Why can't you be like the others? Why can't you play nice? They weren't nice to you? Turn the other cheek so they can hit you again. That is your salvation, mixed nicely with sin.

You have traded authenticity for convenience. You have distinguished yourself, but not in the way you intended. You tried to rise above the mass of whirling madness when your proper place was right in the middle. Where the screams are loudest.

Friday, January 24, 2014

2 Minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. Every Friday we do a fun free write.

Basically, you can write whatever you want in the comments section. You have two minutes. Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. Play as many times as you like (doesn't have to be today, even). So, tell a friend. If you have one. If not, tell your enemies. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play. 

Everyone stop talking for a minute. I mean everyone. I want silence. I want to dive deep into the dark blue depths where the fish aren't always yapping at me. Think how much we could get done. Imagine the intimate looks, the flashes of love and acceptance. Maybe these words are the problem.

Maybe it is the bombardment. I feel like I am being assaulted by a fully automatic BB gun that shoots doubt and insecurity. That shit stings.

Look into the diminishing sky and smile at the absurdity of it. Be glad you have found your place? Have you? The place where the voices stop for a moment so your own can shine through?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The New Kid

The boy was small, and his attempts at invisibility made him stand out like a sore thumb. He was stuck: if I don't move they won't see me, if I don't make a noise ... or wait, is that for a Rhino attack? The sun was too bright. He was used to New England, where the sun was gentle and rarely aggressive. This 'in your face' sun was a whole new ball game. It burned his Irish skin and made him squint his eyes. He hoped the eye squint had some kind of lone cowboy effect, but he didn't think cowboys had eyes that leaked in the sun.

He watched the children playing and tried to decide which one would start the cruelty. There was a cluster of large boys by the picnic table. They snuck glances when they didn't think he was looking. There was a girl with red hair who looked like she wanted the world to explode. Then, there were the teachers - teachers are anybody's guess.

The biggest of the boys nodded his head in Jimmy's direction, and he sighed. Whatever. Get it over with. As the boys crossed the playground, it really did seem like he was a lone cowboy. The other kids stopped to stare. He could imagine painted women sneaking small pistols from their garters, ranchers diving into water barrels, silence. Drunks diving into the water trough. He looked at his watch - his most prized possession - and realized it was noon. High noon. Seriously?

The big one approached with his cohorts a step behind. He had incredibly shiny hair. Jimmy wanted to tell him how pretty his hair was. Then he thought: Holy SHIT, I hope I didn't say that out loud! 

"You the new kid?"


"You got a name?"

His heart was pounding. What was it going to be this time? Jim? Jimmy? Jimbo? Definitely not Jimbo.

"Um ... some people call me Jimmy and some people call me Jim."

His eyes went from squint to shut, boarded up. The sheriff was telling the shopkeepers to move away from the windows. Grab your rifles, boys! Circle the wagons. Don't you cry, Jimmy, I swear to God, if you let yourself cry, there will be ...

"What do you like? Jim or Jimmy?"

He opened his eyes and there was a bit of smile in the corner of the boys' eyes. Wolf gleam. Kill smile. Wasn't it? No one had ever asked him what he wanted to be called.

"I don't like it when people call me Jimmy!"

He placed one foot back, creating a solid base. He could take the impact. No problem. And he was fast. He could always run. If he couldn't stay on his feet, though...

He wrapped his hand around the knife in his pocket. Not because he would use it - it barely cut twigs - but because his Pops was dead and the knife had been his. And that's about all the explanation you need if you've ever owned a pocket knife or had a father.

"Cool. I like Jim better, too."

He looked up, the boy's head was closer and it blocked the sun, allowing him to open his eyes wide. They were all smiling now. What the hell?

"Um ..."

"Anyway, we're going to play football at the park after school. Not much to do here, but we can show you the 'hot spots' on the way. You play football?"

Jim nodded his head very slowly. He did play football.


"Cool. I'm Tom. I don't like Tommy either ... my Mom calls me Tommy. This is Ty, Dre, and the twins are Jeff and John. None of us can tell them apart so don't sweat it."

The boy was holding his hand out. Jim shook it, and then shook hands with the rest of the boys."

"Nice to meet you."

"You too, Jim. Meet us here when the last bell rings, OK?"

Now, there was no denying the smile. Jim felt a warmth that sprouted in his abdomen and spread to his fingertips ... fingertips that could already feel old pigskin. Jim was pretty damn good at football.

"OK, I'll be here."

The boys went back to their post and Jim stood smiling, eyes open wide and bright. Somehow, the sun didn't bother him as much anymore. He holstered his six guns.

Friday, January 17, 2014

2 minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. Every Friday Laurie E. Boris and I do a fun free write (You want public recognition? Laurie's here EVERY FRIDAY!:)

Basically, you can write whatever you want in the comments section. You have two minutes. Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. Play as many times as you like. So, tell a friend. If you have one. If not, tell your enemies. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play. 

I don't know when the fall started or how long it will last. It seems like it's been an awful long time. It's dark for one thing, like the inside of a combat boot. I also don't remember when I stopped fearing the fall. Because, I'll admit, it was terrifying for years. I can't grasp it. It's like a piece of wet ice, flouncing it's way out of my hand. 

The fall is boring, but peaceful in a way I can barely explain. The smell of ozone. The sheer noise of the wind and the singing pebbles, scattering somewhere far away. 

I suppose at some point I'll stop falling. Until then, I'm going to enjoy the ride.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Don't look at me like that.

Don't look at me like that. Look at me like I just gave you a Chanel purse full of truffles and orgasms. OK, now I'm getting the sexy eyes, but I need to see that truffle melting, baby. Yes, of course I mean the chocolate kind. You think I want you to root around like pig? Wait a minute, let me get the latex pig costume, this is gonna be so fucking hot. Yes, I hosed it off. Jesus!

What do you mean? Right, Deliverance. OK, fuck the pig costume ... I mean forget about the pig costume. I'm not even feeling that turned on anymore.

Look at me like I just told you that your best friend died and then I got all fucking stigmatafied and glowing and said I could bring her back to life. Needs to be more attentive, rapt, it's a fucking miracle for Christ's sake. 

Now you're just looking at me like I'm nuts. You're nuts! I'm not the one who thought we should visit my parents for two weeks. Do you know how long two weeks is in 'visiting my parents' time? IT'S LIKE A THOUSAND LIFETIMES AS AN IMMORTAL!

So what, that doesn't make sense? Why are you so pissed off? I don't even want to talk anymore. Is there anything on TV?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ain't that rich?

She buried her face in the pillow and closed her eyes so hard that her eyelashes quivered. You put your hand on the small of her back and she flinched. You didn't want to get pissed because you knew, but six months is a long time to try and not get pissed.

You took a few deep breaths and then went into your tiny kitchen with its miniature fridge and toy oven. The bourbon splashed the glass wet and you slammed it and the glass down hard. What the fuck? What the fuck? You knew about depression, but this was something else. Something beyond. This was thick, backwater swamp depression. This was muck and filth. You took another drink and then went back to the bedroom.

She was sitting up in bed, now, staring into the quagmire of depression's dressing. Piles of clothes. Plates of food. Ashtrays and butts everywhere. She took slow, even drags and exhaled into that small spot in front of her.

"Baby, are you OK? I mean, I know you're not OK. Can I help you? Will you talk to me?"

"I'm fine."

"Sarah, you're obviously not fine..."

"I'm fine."

You had two choices. You could trash the fucking apartment. Slash the mattress and thrift store couch. Punch holes in the walls. Bust out the windows. Or you could trash yourself. You stood up as calmly as you could.

"I'll be back in a few minutes."

She didn't respond, but you weren't surprised. What was there to say?

The bar down the street was busy, two games blaring. You sat in the dark corner and spent her money on liquor you didn't need. You tried not to look at yourself in the mirror behind the liquor. You didn't want to see whatever it was that she saw...or didn't see. You didn't want to see why she would stay out all those nights and stay in bed when she was home. You didn't want to see yourself as she saw you.

It ended soon after. In theory. In reality, it never ended, and you will always want to know whether she was fucking some other guy on the nights she didn't come home. Not that it mattered. Not that it didn't matter, either.

You did a lot of drinking after that. She continued her family's tradition of accumulating money by birthright. Pills fixed the angst. She was much nicer to her next boyfriend.

Ain't that rich?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Failure was supposed to be easy.

What we need here is a time machine and a lethal dose of morphine ... I think I can save us all a lot of trouble. It was me, see? I banged the drum. I shot the Sheriff. I colored all around the lines. I smoked the competition, but that shit didn't get me high - it got me sinusitis and the knowledge that things don't have to be like this. You just gotta pay the fare. Play fair? What are you, simple? Another dollar, another day. I learned little, and I learned too much. Going in circles is for suckers, Gentle Touch. If anything, it took me sideways and most people don't fuck with sideways.

I'm surrounded by loose suit, loose morality, vodka-soaked mouth-breathers. Can't you fucking see 'em, man? They're all around us. Circle the wagons. Get your gun, this is America! Shoot 'em in the guts and see what color shit comes out. Flagons of blood, bile, piss. All the colors of the rainbow. Circle the goddamn wagons. Annie, get your gun! I'll hold real still, I promise.

Failure. We need a working definition. If you are a capitalist, I am a failure. If you are a nihilist, what the fuck does it matter? If you are still as young, as stupid as I used to be, you can shuck and jive for a few more years. If you're my 6th grade teacher, I'm fucking sorry, alright? I know you saw it and it's not the kind of thing you forget, but I fucking loved you and you married a man whose last name sounded like a late night talk show prank. What did you really expect?

You even walk crooked, you bastards. You think I don't see those little glances. You think I have better things to do than sit here and wonder what you whispered in his ear, but you're wrong. Bang the gong. I have an announcement to make. And I have all the time in the world. Apocalypse now.

I want to write lovely sentences - baroque and beautiful, but they make me sick. They're like wedding gowns - overhyped, pricey, uncomfortable - just wear a fucking dress. No one cares if you're a pretty princess. Which isn't true. Lots of folks care. Just not me. I'm a bad person, see? And I'm also tough to categorize. I want my funeral cheap and I don't want it supersized. Fancy coffins are just as bad as wedding dresses, cuz.

When someone you love dies, do you really have to spend six months rent putting 'em in the fucking ground? Shit, when I go, feed me to the Lion's Club. Take me to the casinos and let the housewives at me, tell them the one who eats the heart wins a BRAND. NEW. CAR. Feed me to starving orphans. Drop me with your broken washing machine, down by the river where the deer don't care. I've been there. Just let it be, man, don't spend a goddamn dime. Save it and buy a bum some Thunderbird. Whine? I've been known to do it. I don't eschew it. It's real and that's all that matters. No one listens anyway. Fuck it.

Look at all the pretty men in fancy suits. Pretty women, too. They don't get paid as much, but in a world where kids get shot for living in the wrong neighborhood, it's kind of splitting hairs. Still, women should get paid as much as men, I get that. Fair. Maybe they should get paid more? Millionaires!

I don't want to squeeze myself into your tube of convenience. I don't think that it's odd that I have friends who are cops, friends who are drug dealers, and friends who hate me. I do think it's odd that I have any friends at all. I figure they're waiting for the payoff. No one knows how the show's gonna end. But it's gonna be epic. That's a guarantee. I've been selling it for years. Place your bets.

It'll be the kind of thing folks talk about. Fat-faced fucking Friar Tuck motherfuckers. They'll be outraged, filled with sorrow, gleefully aware that no one sees their exultation. Teeth deep in the fibrous sinew of our collective sorrow, blood dripping from their jowls. Don't you see them? Am I fucking crazy? Am I supposed to pretend I'm happy? That's it, right? You got a new summer home? Oh, huzzah, HUZZAH. I just bought a forty and felt guilty about it. I don't play the game right, clearly.

I didn't feel like I was going to be a failure. Not back then. But that was a while ago. Things change. And I got people telling me all the time that I'm not a failure - the fucking idiots. They must not live in the same hypocritical morass that I do. Then, I got people telling me that, not only am I a failure, but a degenerate as well. And then there's me. I tell myself I can make it through one more day. And I keep telling myself over and over, metronomic nonsense from the git-go. I'm too lazy to make a real decision about it. The kind I could respect. So, I'll hedge myself in with rows of self-loathing. Build that shit up so high that you'll never see inside. Hide. Run. Or decide. Johnny get your gun.

I'm just fucking tired. Tired of the folks who want to love me for nothing. Tired of the folks that want to crucify me for the same reasons. Tired of people whose hatred and lust for crucifixion is justified. Tired of confusion. Delusion? Let me present this tired solution. Pretty words. Pretty words! They'll cover up the ugly. They'll make you feel good while you sit on your couch and read these things and think whatever it is you think. Which probably changes a lot - but comes to rest on a song from some cartoon you saw when you were seven. So, where's the fucking baby bumble bee? Cut off your nose to spite the world. That's the lesson, boys and girls.

Care to barter? I've already gone all in. All that's left now is the oh shit and the he was right after all. Or you'll carve your excuses out and hold your metaphorical nose (which I just told you about) and just absolutely wither with superiority and vanity, feigning humanity. When you say things to intentionally cause pain, you gotta live with that. You tell me I'm worthless, and I remember. It doesn't matter if you said it twenty years ago or if you're gonna say it in five, I've got a good memory. I can see the future and it's much like the present 'cept we all hate a little more. Whatever. You said it. And every time I look at your face I'm gonna hear it. But naysayers are a dime a dozen. Ain't that right. Ain't that about the size of it. I'm just some 'Nancy' chickenshit.

I want to be stereotyped. I want to be classified. I want to steal lyrics from bands on the sly. Am I not one of your Descendents? All y'all pond scum bastards in the blue suits and red ties, you listening? I'd like to tighten the knot. Dress you up proper. Keep you in the crawl space. Use that American flag pin for something other than a shield of wink, wink - give 'em a soundbite and let's play golf. Group me in with all the other folks who don't fit into your plans. I'll be over there with the kikes and faggots. Just don't get me near that podium. I might tell the truth. I don't know if the mic could handle it.

I wish I lived on an island by myself. Sure, I'd be lonely, but there would be no one there to hear the screams.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


You’re a stupid cunt if you’re reading this. And you’re still reading this if you’re British. Or not a pussy. I’m tired of playing insipid games. Things will be handled graphically. Language will be used the way people use language. Not like your bitch ass Methodist pals. Not like the women selling dogs at the little league game. Like people talk when they are sweating and angry and working hard for very little reward. This is not an attempt to placate your ego. Or mine. This is not a stab at my mother, though lord help us if she reads this. At least I didn’t capitalize ‘lord’; she’d never forgive me.

Friday, January 10, 2014

4 Minutes. GO!

Hey, writer-type folks. Every Friday we* do a fun free write. Basically, you can write whatever you want in the comments section. You have FOUR minutes. Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. So tell a friend. If you have one. If not, tell your enemies. 

The old man sat on a log abutting the stream. His hand cradled a lightweight spinning rod that had seen many years, it was weathered just like the man. Down the bank a ways, there were some teenagers fishing with a cooler of beer. He ignored them and they reciprocated.

The day progressed like days do. Sun shone in soft rivulets that seemed to pour down the man's face, collecting at the bottom of his spine where the warmth soothed an old injury that had never healed quite right. 

The man was not catching any fish. The youngsters caught plenty of beer. The man never made a cast, just sat watching his line in the water, absorbing the sun. Pine smell. Somehow the laughter of the kids was right, too. Usually, he liked quiet, but he hadn't heard that much laughing in a while. 

He was reeling in when the tall, thin one approached.

"Catch anything?"

"Not a damn thing, son."

The man finished reeling in and the boy laughed.

"Maybe if you put a lure on it would help."

The old man winked a smile that spoke of things the boy did not yet understand.

"Maybe, but I'm not here to catch fish."

*Laurie Boris and I lately you slackers!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


“You were saying about the windows…”

“Right, the fucking windows. So, this place is nice, right? I had some time to fuck around and I’m playing with all the toys. Fridge is NASA certified and shit, feel me? I’m looking around. Not like I’m gonna boost anything. I’m not that dumb. Just waiting. But, you know, I didn’t know shit that nice existed. Then I saw the remote for the windows. Well, I didn’t know what it was at first, but I hit this button and all these walls start sliding and there’re windows behind ‘em. And the windows you could see, they’re all sliding open and shut. Red button covers them all in a sheet of steel. Fucking James Bond shit, you know?”

“For reals? So, what did you do?”

“Nothing to do. He showed up. I’m sitting there with the fool and I even said, ‘you got this nice fucking house and my dishwasher’s broken, bitch.’ He looks at me like I’m crazy. He didn’t get it you know?”

“They rarely do, brother.”

“Yeah, true. This guy, though. I don’t know, man. I like it when they’re too scared to talk. This guy was used-car salesman through and through, dig? Like trying to sell his life to me. I got a wife and kids, man. Yeah, that’s nice, me too. You don’t have to do this! Of course I have to fucking do it, it’s my job, I got a family to feed.”

“Fuckin’ A.”

“Right, so he’s blubbering and shit. Offers me money. I tell him if he’d paid The Boss in the first place, none of this is happening, right? So, I know he’s buying time. For what, who the fuck knows? Me, I’d just want it done, you know?”

“I feel ya. There’s some that just can’t accept that it’s already done if you’re there, dig? Like, the time for negotiation is long past.”

“Exactly, he’s trying to tell me all this shit. And I’m like ‘I have a life too, you fucking dick. I’m trying to finish this bit and get home. So, shut the fuck up.’ He didn’t, so I busted him good. Fucker’s out cold. Real cold. Then I get distracted by all the Star Trek shit again. Finally, I look at the clock and I’m like, ‘Shit! Jenny’s dance recital! I gotta get this shit done so I can clue the boss and get cleaned up.”


“Well, I told you. I killed the fool and left. Made it in plenty of time. You should have seen it, man.”

“I bet, how old’s that little girl now?”

“Seven. She’s been doing the dancing thing for like a year and a half now. She’s good. I don’t know shit about dancing, but all the other kids looked like fucking retards, feel me? At least she looked like she’d paid some attention.”

“That’s beautiful, brother.”

“What about you? How’s your shoulder?”

“Healing. Wish I could stop thinking about it. Feel like a chump, you know?”

“Hell, you didn’t know she had anything - ”

“Yeah, but why did I even get close enough? That’s what bugs me. I’m just gonna stop letting ‘em talk, period. ‘Cause this chick was all sweetness and light and wait til my husband gets home, we'll sort this, would you like a drink? So, I figure, what the fuck? She goes and makes a drink, on the rocks, and after she hands it to me, she stabs me with the fucking ice pick. Real nice one. Old timey. Probably from Restoration Hardware or something. Bitch is too good for an ice cube tray, right?”


“Yeah, so she sinks that shit into my shoulder and then dangles. Like, what the fuck I’m gonna do now? You could have at least stabbed me in the throat. This is gonna be a bitch of a broken wing. I’m sitting there with an ice pick in my shoulder and she’s got her mouth covered like one of those pervy Japanese chicks in those Chinatown rags. Oh no! What did I do? Hee hee hee. You know? She doesn’t even try and hit me or anything. Just stands there staring at the ice pick. Oh, and you’re not gonna believe what she says next…”


“She looks right at me like she’s buying drapes or some shit and she’s goes, ‘you can rape me, but please don’t kill me!’”


“No shit, man. Said it just like that. Like she’s giving me the consolation prize.”

“Ha! What’d you say?”

“I said, ‘Ma’am, you flatter yourself. Plus, I’m not a rapist.’ Then I shot her.”

“What about the husband?”

“He comes in and I’m sitting waiting for him next to his dead wife. He starts to go mental, and I stand up and slap the everloving shit out of him. Sounded like a fucking hand grenade. So, he mums up. You can tell he’s looking for an out. Some kind of excuse. Something. So, I make it real clear. You owe The Boss money. Your wife is…excuse me…was a fucking retard. You got the money? He does that wide mouth thing like somehow something is gonna come out that will turn me back into the fucking boy scout I am, right? So, I capped him. Bailed. Felt a little bad about the bitch. She wasn’t a necessary hit until she volunteered, you feel me?”

“Fuck yeah, collateral damage. I always want to explain it, but they get so emotional. Your husband is a lying prick and he owes everything you own to my boss because he’s a sick fuck who doesn’t like to pay for his sick fuck hobbies. Got nothing to do with you. Go sit in the bedroom. Wait five minutes after you hear the shot, and then call the police. But they never do the smart thing. Never. How long we been doing this, twenty years? Anyone ever listen to fucking reason?”

“Naw, they don’t get it, man. They’re convinced they’re above that shit. They’re like little kids. Hit off the tee. Just fucking hit off the tee until you get the feel for it. But they want to jump right in. Gonna hit that long ball, first try. They got all the answers. They’re gonna save themselves and me in the process, you know?”

“For reals. We need resumes. No joke. No name. Just a list of people we’ve hit and why. References, you know. Like, shut the fuck up, ‘cause this is what I do. End of story. The proof is in the goddamned pudding. I’m not some meth-head out to steal your DVD player. The Boss said you die, so you die. Shit, I got a mortgage to think about.”

“Ha! Right. But they’re convinced they’re gonna be the ones you let off. Like it wouldn’t end your fucking career, even if you wanted to. I won’t lie, sometimes I feel like The Boss takes it too far. I get it. No loose ends. Erase the drama. But some of those idiots deserve less...they don't need to die. That’s my personal feeling. But whatever. They made the bed. We just tuck ‘em in, yeah?”

“Yep, you got that right. You fuck a dog, you wake up with fleas. People gotta understand that.”

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that they’ll never understand. And they’ll always feel like the victim whether it was on them or not. It’s all fucking rosey until the piper comes collecting.”

“Yeah, fucking truth. They got nice stereos and shit though, most of ‘em. You gotta give ‘em that. Should of sold some of that shit and handed over the cash, yeah?”

“That’s true. Sometimes I wonder who’s going to end up with that bomb stereo. What’s gonna happen when I’m gone? Who gets the Benz and the watch collection?”

“You ever go back and check things out?”

“Naw. Thought about it. But there’s never any going back, is there? For anybody.”

“Nope. You just keep rolling.”

The men drank from the pint bottle, blowing smoke out of the window crack. Down by the docks it was quiet. They were big men, but they looked like anyone else. Two guys sitting in a car, talking about work.

“I gotta get home, man. Today’s my day for bringing snacks to pre-school. I gotta figure out what the fuck I’m bringing.”

“Yogurt, man. Mine love yogurt.”

“That’s a good idea. I’ll get a gang of fruit, too. Some of those fucking roll-up things. You want me to drive you back?”

“Naw, thanks. Car’s right over there.”

“Ok, brother. Talk soon.”

The sound of two big Hemi engines startled the herons on the waterfront. They flapped gloomily in the thin light. They swept their wings and moved twenty or so feet down the bank. Hunting. Surviving. They knew the score. Keep moving. Don’t stay in once place for too long. Be more cautious than you think you need to be. That’s how you stay alive.

Friday, January 3, 2014

2 minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. Every Friday we do a fun free write. Basically, you can write whatever you want in the comments section. You have TWO minutes. Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. So tell a friend. If you have one. If not, tell your enemies. 

It's either the brain or the eyes. Could be both. There is a film over everything you let your eyes land on. It is like looking through cheap drugstore glasses smeared in vaseline. Close eyes. Open. Goddamn, it's still fucking there. What the hell? What the hell. Why fight it? You'll only lose. Maybe you'll die. Maybe the medical insurance company that sucks all the money out of your bank account will inscribe your member number on your headstone.

Then, they'll bill your family. Condolences and shit. Give us the goddamn money and God bless the USA.

Gotta go another round.

So the hands spin and you try to take the longview, but you usually fail. You think back on the dinosaur tail of frustration that has really only been a few decades. You look forward to the years that fan out in front of you like an obscene Geisha dream. You don't 'look forward' to it really. It's just an expression. Don't get yourself all worked up.

I'm changing it up. I'm a huckster. I'm a ten cent bet that guarantees nothing, but fits your budget. Here's a chisel, write it on my forehead. Warn the others. It's the only civil thing to do and you believe in civility don't you? Or maybe he does. I sure don't. That's a lie, but isn't everything?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Thing You Have Become

You didn't know you had it in you, this biting self-loathing. It snuck up on you like a dark-park lurker, teasing, leaving you standing gape-jawed and feeling dirty. The last time you went outside, the sun actually hurt. Your eyes spun, pupils shrinking to block out the fucking light. So, now you stay inside. You find patterns in your thinking and let them spin you right round, baby. It's like a round, actually, the thoughts. Three blind mice ...

The room is abject horror disguised as authenticity. You have record albums on the walls, but you sold your record player long ago. Stacks of paperback books everywhere. Most of them, you have never read. The ones you have, you read over and over until the words corral the roundabout nonsense in your mind.

Cold hands. Your hands are always cold. They are always brittle, dry - when you do have to go outside, interact, you keep your hands in your pockets. Hand shakes are like being stripped naked. Wow, your hands are so cold! Like ice cubes! You want to scream, 'they're my fucking hands, this is none of your concern,' but it is their concern in all likelihood. You worry about the cold hands, too.

Your leather throat constricts. It is leather because it has been cured in grain alcohol and smoked to a fine brown. The constriction had nothing to do with you. It has to do with an old man who couldn't keep his hands to himself. It has to do with the choices you made which, once noble, now seem silly - the playthings of a child. The constriction is your judgement. You do not judge yourself too harshly.

You wonder sometimes if anything is real. You fear that you are a construction of cliche and latte. You probably are - everyone else is - but it doesn't seem to bother them. You wish it didn't bother you, but it's like a hot wind. It's like cold chicken skin.

Every so often, you get so fucking mad. And you punch something. The wall. The table. You always hit it just hard enough to scuff a few knuckles and wish you were the kind of person who could punch an inanimate object hard enough to shatter bones. You wonder why you think this way. Some days you blame your parents. Some days you blame her. There are too few days where your shoulders chafe from bearing some of the burden. Too damn few.

Some days it feels like a blessing and some days it feels like sharp, blood-wet talons down your spine. You twist and stretch and scream at it. You wake up shaking, greet the half-asleep you in the mirror. You shudder and you should. Jesus, you feel for the folks you encounter in your sleep. They must cross to another synapse when they see you coming.

It's the buzzing. It never stops and it is like a million mosquitos in your ear. And sometimes you chuckle, shrug it off, think about the alternatives. Sometimes you worry that the noise is leading you to some buffed calamity - some glittering disaster that will make sense of everything or will finally force you to accept that nothing makes sense.

You'll drive on this route forever. You missed your stop long ago, in a haze of procrastination and bourbon. You'll surround yourself with beauty to compound the ugliness you feel when you are forced to face the thing you have become.