Friday, December 21, 2018

2 Minutes. Go!

Write whatever you want in the 'comments' section on this blog post. Play as many times as you like. #breaktheblog! You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play.

I’m a special kind of dirtbag. Like an overly sentient dirtbag. Like, maybe if I was really honest with myself I’d admit that I’m not a dirtbag, but fuck you anyway because I feel like one. And I’ve done some shady shit. Smoked weed in your mom’s closet and then said, “I don’t smell anything. Are you sure?” Swigged off a whiskey teat while driving down the highway. Goddamn lucky I didn’t turn myself or anyone else to meat.

Throw myself down the stairs on purpose? Neat. Did that. But it was for your film. Said it didn’t record, so I did it again. I wonder if that was true? I was a fifth and a half in. Plus beers, but we don’t really count the beers, do we? Beer is like having sex in a canoe. It’s fucking close to water. And I ripped that off from a Sedaris story, but I don’t think he made it up. So, blah. Saw him read. He recommended everyone buy a lesser known author’s book. It was punk rock. Fucking great book, too.

What I’m saying is that we’re basically best friends, me and Sedaris. Old bastard. I love him. He loves me. He wants you to buy all my books and then go fuck yourself. He told me. 

I snorted a FUCKTON of minithins. It don’t get much more dirtbag that that. Crush 'em up and and get wired with a weird feeling scalp!

I snorted ALEVE once. Cause you do weird shit when you’re on drugs. That hurt like the fires of hell in my face. That was the worst pain I have ever experienced. Lasted for about 45 minutes. I should not have done it. My friends enjoyed it though.

Kids in juvie snort sugar when they’re jonesin’ – which ain’t such a bad look. Not as fun as coke, but it tastes a whole lot better. Coke tastes like crushed up aspirin. You get to where you “like” it because you associate it with the feeling, but it doesn’t taste good. Not like sugar, sugar.

I’m an OG dirtbag, too. My friend Sean and I used to cut up hollow reeds that grew by our house and smoke them when we didn’t have cigarettes. Guaranteed that was a bad call. That one may come back to bite me. Might not.

Smoked crack. Smoked dust. Heroin scared me. Acid opened up a lot of shit – good and bad. Same with mushrooms, peyote, ketamine, DXM, MDMA, crystal, opium, caffeine, nicotine, chocolate and sex. Dirtbag shit. Packing your gums with chewing tobacco – a whole can – and laying back looking at the stars. Tripping. Dirtbag shit.

So don’t come around here with your holier than thou bullshit. Your dogged doggerel nonsense. Your slander and recriminations. I did a lot of shit that you probably think I should be ashamed of. I’m not. I’m ashamed of two things. Killing a bird. And cutting a short line for a friend when we were supposed to be sharing. That’s what made me stop doing coke.

And killing birds.

#2minutesgo Tweet it! Share it! Shout it from the top of the shack you live in! I will be out most of the day, but I'll be back...#2minutesgo Tweet it! Share it! Shout it from the top of the shack you live in! I will be out most of the day, but I'll be back...


  1. wow... an impressive litany... hot coals walked over and through... and yet, and yet... the narrator is with us still, and has learned things, has taught things... and the world is better for that dirtbag being in it.

  2. Saturday morning. He opens his eyes in the gray of dawn, and turns his head to look at his wife. Still sleeping, her face is relaxed into the young woman he fell in love with. He gently kisses her on the cheek, and gets out of bed as quietly as he can.

    He foregoes the shower. Too much noise. He looks in the other bedroom and sees his girls, warrior princesses, he calls them. They remain asleep, each clutching a stuffed bear.

    He slips into his leathers and grabs his helmet. He rolls his bike to the street before starting it. Its roar is a sort of music for his soul.

    He is more cautious now than he was when he was single. There is reason, no, three reasons, to come home in one piece. He rides the residential streets cautiously. People are careless, even at slow speeds. He will not be careless.

    He gets to the highway, and increases his speed. He is swimming through the wind, and it caresses him. It is a touch rougher than love, but gentler than the voices he hears on TV.

    How different his life is than he once imagined. His bike is not as fast or big as he thought he’d have, but it is well-loved, well taken care of. It is his bike.

    A red tail hawk catches his eye, and he salutes it.

    He spends more time fishing now than he does on his bike. Fish are not careless, even at high speeds. Fish invite you to ponder, to plan, to hope. And fishing brings back memories.

    He smells, even through his helmet, the ocean. He does not yet see it, but he knows it is there, waiting for him. Its roar and the roar of his bike will blend into some sort of wild symphony, singing of freedom, of doing the right thing, of just being.

    A half hour later, he sees it, and he pulls off in the same place he always pulls off. In one quick movement the helmet is off his head, and he’s unzipped his jacket. The breeze feels clean and cool.

    He pulls out a small notebook, and finds his pen. There, in this pullout, he writes wild words, rhymes and rhythms of the sea and of his heart.

    The seabirds sing counterpoint to the words he writes. The character he writes about is no longer just a character. He is kin, a brother, yet a part of himself. They’ve ridden together all these years.

    Long before he wants to leave, the sun has begun its great arc downwards, and he knows he should be getting back. He puts the pen away, closes the notebook, and closes his eyes.

    It is his birthday. He is all grown up now, with responsibilities, but also he has joy. Maybe not all grown up. There is still enough boy in him to laugh at himself from time to time. Enough boy to smile at the fact that he is a teacher, not a student. That he is unconventional. That he makes his peers wonder how a man in cowboy shirts can be so loved by his students.

    But there is enough man in him to look out for those who need to be looked after, whether they are his wife, his daughters, his students, or his friends. Man enough, too, to recognize that sometimes they don’t need him to look out after them, but damn it’s hard to tell sometimes.

    He zips his jacket back up, dons the helmet, and climbs back on the bike. Home, and love, and the rest of his next novel await him there.

    The bike purrs under his touch, singing again with the air and the ocean. Just out of sight, just out of hearing, behind him, in the eddies of words and wind that trail him, a chorus of friends, both human and not, wish him the happiest of birthdays, and celebrate the solstice that brought this boy, this man, into the world.

    Happy birthday, he sings to himself, all the way home. Happy birthday to me.

    1. This means the world to me. Thank you. Also, I really like the piece. This line kicks some serious ass: "It is a touch rougher than love, but gentler than the voices he hears on TV." And my birthday is that much happier because I have awesome friends like you. <3

  3. Over the boom of the juke box playing Dean Martin’s version “Ave Maria,” Don the bartender yelled, “Hey, Chet, don’t you think you should be seeing to your reindeer instead of coming into some bar?” as Chester Bonaparte swayed and limped into The Palais on Broadway that Christmas Eve afternoon.

    The whole joint erupted in laughter, even Chet, his chubby cheeks red as the gin blossom nose that provided the pivot point for a face lit by his jolly, if runny, blue eyes, and anchored by his white scruffy beard.

    Four hours later, Don tossed Chet for getting humbuggingly belligerent, though still chuckling, with three wise guys from the uptown Brockley Gang, saying, “It’s for your own good, Chester, so you can go home in one piece and make merry, go to Mass, maybe sleep it off and see what Santy brings.”

    When Chester stumbled off the bus and then down the stairs to the dark doorway of his basement apartment on Sherman Street, he fell against a jingling package left by his sister Katie, who was an American Airlines flight attendant on the Albany to Washington run.

    At midnight, the bells of St. Patrick's pealing up on Central Avenue, Chester lifted his head from the pillow and gave a jolly little laugh at how the empty mini-bottles of Canadian Club, Johnny Walker Red and Smirnoff vodka that he'd hung from a bush he stole from Washington Park sparkled in the flames from his burning kitchen.

    (I love a good nasty Christmas story. Don't you?)

    1. I do! And this is a great one. That second paragraph is BRILLIANT. I like the whole thing, but wow, the second paragraph is so good!

    2. Refreshing to read a Christmas tale that is not all jolly and bright. Well told, as always.

  4. I am not a robot. I am not a glittering box of jewels your Grandmother left you. I am not a degenerate. I am not noble. I am not as smart as you think I am. I just have my shtick down.

    You are not as helpless as I think you are. Or you are. But I can't be your safety net. That shit doesn't work for anybody. That's like trying to paint a wall by throwing paint at it. Just ends up a sloppy mess.

    We? We might be fucked. Collectively or individually. At any moment. That's both sobering and freeing. I'm done talking. Let's move on to seeing.

    See the boy. He is thin and tall and he wants everyone to like him more than anything else in the world. He draws and writes and makes bows and arrows and climbs trees. He reads. Fishes. Dreams the dreams lonely boys dream.

    Would that that dumbass kid had had some better guidance. He'd be a park ranger, watching the stillness of the forest for a living. Cleaning up. Helping Mother Nature out. Oh well, he didn't become something worthless. Could have turned out rich and prosperous and miserable. Poor but happy is a better look.

    Time is a spiraling, circular fun ride that the carnies didn't put together right. They left out a cotter pin. The whole thing could fly apart at any moment. You have no control, no matter how much you want it.

    Damn. You're still not seeing it. Here it is. He wakes up every morning with a sense of terror and relief. His face is cracked and stubbled. He has hair growing out of his ears. He has two beautiful daughters and a lovely wife and wonderful friends. Real friends.

    Sure, there were some bad times, but there were also some good times. And he's smart enough now to realize that you can prevent some of the bad times and stoke the fires of joy with a little empathy and forethought.

    He spends his days trying to make people love words as much as he does. He writes and some people care, and that's kind of enough. Grand ambitions drift away with siren screams. Fridays are good days. He gets to see inside his friends' minds without chemical assistance.

    He's doing alright. Doing damn good, actually. And usually, he can pull his head out of his ass enough to realize it. He does not need to save everybody. He will try, but he saved himself. With some help.

    Fuck a number. He's happier at 41 than I was at 14.

    1. Brilliant. And that kid of 41 does an awesome job at making and loving words, and friends, and family. Hairy ears are the mark of a fertile mind. Don’t ask me how I know.

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  6. The ceiling is lit by strings of old Christmas lights, not because it’s Christmas, but because they were on sale at the dollar store eight years ago when this bar opened.

    Don’t look too close at Ethel down there at the end of the bar. You’ll see her five o’clock shadow; closer still and you’ll see her Adam’s apple. Don’t stare. It ain’t polite, unless you’re lookin’ to make conversation with her.

    Over there is Bobby. Now, Bobby don’t look like he’s old enough to be in this establishment, and he’s not, but he ain’t drinking either. That’s club soda. He’s just tryin’ to earn twenty bucks so he can ease the pain after the bar closes. But you’re not interested in that. Or maybe you are.

    Over at the table in the corner, no, don’t look, that’s Rex. In the cowboy hat and jeans. Rex used to be in the rodeo, till somebody outed him and a buncha guys roughed him up. Has a hard time walkin’ now, maybe it’s those cowboy boots, or maybe it’s his legs. They broke his legs and called him a faggot.

    You’re here for a story. I can tell. You’ve got writer or newspaper reporter written all over your face.

    If you’re gonna write, don’t write about them, they’re here to stay out of the spotlight, show em a little respect.

    The guy you wanna write about don’t come in here no more. Pretty boy, perfect teeth, blond streaks in his hair, just enough muscle to look good, not so much he looks like a freak. That was Mikey. He made us all laugh and feel good about ourselves. Always a good word for everyone, always five bucks for anyone down on their luck.

    Some guy from Hollywood discovered him, one Christmas Eve, just like tonight. Told him he ought to be in the movies. They took off for California the day after Christmas. Said it was too hard to get a flight around the holidays so they drove out there.

    We didn’t get even a postcard from Mikey. Kept watching the news, hell, we subscribed to the Hollywood Reporter, hoping for something about him.

    I got a call instead. Police. They found Mikey dead. In a dumpster, somewhere in Nevada. Wanted to know if I knew his next of kin.

    That’s the story you want to tell. How something beautiful can be destroyed so easy. How we don’t appreciate what we have while we have it.

    I lied to you Mister. I told you he doesn’t come in here any more, but that fancy urn up there, on the top shelf? That’s him.

    Now get out of here, and have yourself a merry little Christmas, somewhere else. We’re rejects here, and we ain’t got much, but we got each other, and the memory of something good. Don’t spoil that for us.

  7. I waited to date. I made the decision to move back to my home state with my family. I lived with my brother. I was 40 years old and was living without my kids. It was hard but I got on my feet. I moved into a two-bedroom apartment and lived my life. I bought a car. I was content. Then my daughter came home from college and things changed. I was no longer content. I wanted more. So starts my dating adventure. (Now, I should mention here that my best friend, not the one from my youth, was also going through a divorce so we were having this adventure together.)
    It was the summer and I was off from work (I’m a teacher). I decided that internet dating was for me. I went on line and took a look. It was so weird having so many options. I just looked at first. Nothing big but I thought I would take my time. I “liked” a few people and then accepted my first date. The thing about dating after being in a relationship for so long is you really don’t know what to do. I was not nervous but I was anxious. I had never really done the dating thing before. I kind of just fell into relationships. So trying it out was difficult. I had no idea what to expect.
    My first date was NICE!!!! We met at a restaurant and I was nearly an hour late. I completely forgot that I had a date. He graciously waited for me. He was super nice about it too. We talked about everything. We talked about our divorces (mine on going), his final. We talked about our kids, religion and everything under the sun. It was so nice to have an adult conversation with someone that didn’t involve what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I must say he was nice but I wanted someone who was a little more forward.
    Being that I was online I of course was messaging people. I was not in any way, shape or form ready to settle down. I was ready to play the field. And boy did I play it! Here begins the roller coaster.
    After my nice evening, I went to visit my girlfriend. I was messaging this one guy and he invited me to coffee. I was hesitant but than I accepted. It was late but I thought “what the heck,” it can’t hurt. We met at IHOP and I got there first so I order coffee and pie. Thought that would be a nice end to the evening. He arrived and we chatted a bit. Then I told him that I had an early morning (that was a lie, I wasn’t into him). He thought things went well and this is where the crazy began.
    As soon as I left he started texting and not just the “had a great time” no I mean like a crazy about of texts. Really??? Who does that? I was completely turned off by this guy. He really had no chance. He was very awkward and didn’t have much to say IN PERSON!!! So he texted me and wanted to know what I thought of him. OMG!!! He was already weird. I told him I thought he was nice. I told him goodnight and went to bed. He kept texting. I woke up the next morning to the texts that he sent the night before. He was a twelve-year-old boy!!
    The next morning I went about business as usual, breakfast, coffee and tv. I started getting text after text. “Why aren’t you texting me?” “What did I do wrong?” “Don’t you like me?” Talk about needy!! The texting went on for hours. I finally responded that I was busy and that I would text him later but this was not ok with him. He continued to text. He wanted me to cook for him and he wanted to meet my daughter. I was like no way. (I had a rule that I would not be bringing a bunch of random guys home to meet my daughter, she was still upset about the divorce.)
    This guy was certifiable. It went on for days. He would text and I would ignore. I mean really what did this guy think was going to happen? That by texting me I was going to fall in love with him? I finally told him that I was not ready for this (and by this I mean crazy). He still texted me. I thought about changing my number but finally he got the hint. He started messaging me on the dating website. He thought I would respond there. He was wrong. You can’t hide crazy and boy was he psycho. Eventually he stopped and I was happy to move on from that disaster.

    1. I completely identify with the narrator... gut-wrenchingly told.

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