Sunday, December 26, 2010

Beginning of??????

Two people died in my living room. The first was my grandmother.

She was carried into my house on a hospital gurney by two men dressed in white. One of the men had a tattoo on his forearm that said “forgiveness.” The other had a mustache so thick I could see individual hairs from it vibrate in the wind. I was eleven years old. I knew nothing of the world except for one thing – these men worked for death.

“I love you,” my grandmother said. She wore baggy green clothes and had something on her scalp I could only compare to a shower cap.

“I love you,” she said again, and the two men adjusted their grip, bouncing the gurney.

My grandmother had lost weight since I last saw her, causing her cheeks to tighten and her face to cave in, forming features I had never seen on a person before. She knew I was afraid.

“What room?” one of the men asked.

My mother stood to my side, silent, as if waiting for me to give the instructions. My grandmother smiled. She reached her arm off the gurney and touched my mother’s hand. Their flesh was same color, tanned, and for a moment I remembered thinking they were one person.

“Inside to the left,” my mother said. “To the living room.”


I had spent the earlier part of the day cleaning.

“We want the house to look good for Grandma. Don’t we?” My mother was scrubbing the kitchen floor on her hands and knees, pressing down so hard I could see veins surface on her biceps. I wondered why she wasn’t using a mop.

My father, keeping just as busy, redecorated the living room. He removed vases, a lamp, and replaced them with toys from my childhood, as if baby proofing a room meant for a seventy eight year old woman.

“Why are you putting those in here?” I asked. “Grandma won’t play with them.”

“Because you and Emma used to play with these,” he said. He removed a stuffed animal from a cardboard box, dropping behind its button nose and pieces of thread. “She’ll want these around. Trust me.” He heisted to hand me the stuffed animal, and then placed it on my grandmother’s hospital bed.

I wondered why she couldn’t use a normal bed, though I never asked.


The two men lowered my grandmother off of the gurney.

“We’ll need a signature,” one of them said.

“Well, she not a fucking couch!” my mother turned, giving a room full of people a clear view of her shaking shoulders. It was the first time I had ever heard my mother say the word fuck. It felt wrong. Like certain words should never be spoken by certain voices, and that certain ears should never hear them.

“I’ll take care of it,” my father said. He nodded, and the men left without saying a word.

The room was silent. It’s moments like this that adults needed children, I remembered thinking. To have something pure in the room that’s worth protecting; to have a reason to stay strong.

My mother turned back to me, quick enough so I couldn’t see her eyes.

“I’m going to reach around you twice you’re so skinny.” She hugged my small body and forced my face into her neck. I was in darkness; ears muffled and hidden from the room. “I’m sorry,” I thought I heard her say, though I couldn’t be for sure.

I pulled away, nodding, just like my father would do it.

“Why don’t you go upstairs and check on, Emma,” she said.

“But aren’t you forgetting something?” my grandmother said. She reached her arms out, wrinkly and covered with multi colored bruises. It looked like she had just finished painting. I was motionless. This whole day, week, and year had revolved around her - her sickness, as my parents liked to call it when they were in front of me. But now that she was in our house it felt wrong, almost fake, as if we had packed for months, moved, and ended up in the same place with nowhere else to go.

“Come give grandma a kiss.”


I liked to eavesdrop on my parent’s when I was a kid. I sat on the stairs, listening to voices from the living room, kitchen, and even bathroom without being noticed. It’s where I spent most of my childhood.

“This will change our lives,” my mother had said to my father a week earlier. “It’ll change John David’s life. Emma Gene’s life.”

She used our first and middle names when she was upset, as if to reiterate that her words were meant for no other person in the world.

“It won’t change our life,” my father said. I closed my eyes, imagining my mother pacing and my father sitting in a chair, his chair; their argument positions. “This is life.”

I leaned forward, to the fourth step, which I knew was the closest I could get without being seen. There were no more voices, only muffled cries.


I walked to my grandmother’s bed.

“I’m so happy I get to see you,” she said.

“You are?”

“Of course!”

My father exhaled and rubbed his forehead, as if trying to tell me it was okay to be nervous. I looked up and nodded.

“Do you like the bear?” I asked. I reached for the stuffed animal, still missing its button nose and tangling with pieces of thread.

“I love it,” my grandmother said.

“You can have it,” I said. “You can keep it as long as you’re here.”

She pulled me close to her body. I remembered being surprised how strong she was, as if she was saving her last bits of strength for this moment, to hug a little boy. Everyone kept doing this, forcing me to hug them, like I had something they all needed that could only be taken off of my scent.

“I love you, I love you, I love you,” she said. She used to smell like butter milk, now she smelled like medicine.

“Why don’t you check on, Emma,” my mother said. My grandmother laughed. She opened her hands, slowly, letting me slip from of her grasp like my body was sand and she needed to say goodbye to each grain.

“Love you, too, Meg,” my Grandmother said. She blew my mother a kiss and shook her fist in the air; a simple gesture to embody their entire mother daughter relationship, theirs and every other one in the world - love and anger.

I left and sat on the stairs, the eighth step up; the perfect spot to hear every conversation in the house.

There was silence, however, which scared me more than in the world. It meant my family wasn’t keeping secrets from me anymore, but from each other.

Above me I hear footsteps, a creak. It was Emma, four steps up, looking down at me like she always did.

“You’re lucky,” she said. “You’re lucking you’re too young to get this.”

Since turning seventeen, Emma changed her appearance by the day, whether it was with clothes, make up, or the emotions on her face. A new person each time I saw her, someone I was continuously meeting for the first time.

Right now she wore black.

“I get it,” I said. “Grandma’s here to die.” I said this with confidence, not thinking of the words, only that I was able to understand them; it didn’t matter what they were.

Emma adjusted her brown hair. She had once again changed her emotions quicker than I could keep track of, and I wondered if she was going to try to hug me.

There was another creak in the floor, however, this time behind me. I sighed. It was my Grandfather. I knew it before I even turned.

He was stout. A short man, five feet even, though he liked to say five feet two, as if the extra inches meant something at that height. Round, but not fat, the only person I ever believed was truly big bonded. And for a man of eighty five he had young face and a healthy amount white hair on his scalp, always combed back; never gelled.


“Have kids late!” he’d say. “Wait ‘til 50. Keeps you young.”

True for him; not his wife.


Emma ran to her room and shut the door behind her. My grandfather smiled. He had been sitting in the kitchen for most of the day, checking his mail, his one constant, letting my parents run in circles, eavesdropping on everyone just like I was. I remembered being embarrassed when he saw me sitting on those steps, that I wasn’t more upset or crying. But I knew it didn’t matter. He wasn’t upset either. It was as if his wife was already dead, he was dead, and everything else was just God playing a joke on him.

“Little, Johnny,” my grandfather said. He winked at me and walked back to the kitchen.

I sat. There was still no talking coming from the living room, only cries, and in the kitchen I heard a sink turn on. I knew my grandfather was washing the dishes.

One day we’ll all need to be taken care of, I remembered thinking. Whether we want it or not.

My grandmother died two days later.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Grocery Line

A horrible thing happened.

I was waiting in line at C-Town, my local grocery store, and in front of me was a man with two shopping carts full of food. It was late, the store was closing, so I didn't have the option of switching lines, and therefore had to wait well over 20 minutes to buy one can of tomato sauce and a pepper. No, that's not the horrible thing.

The horrible thing wasn't the man in front of me, but the people behind me. Everyone was so agitated at this guy for buying his food that you could feel their eyes roll. You could hear their sighs. It was palpable, and they were all thinking the same thing.

"Poor Mexican."

Made my stomach hurt, seeing this middle aged man buying food, obviously for his family, and watching him get silently scolded by white kids. That's what we were - white kids. Then he took out his Benefit Card, hand shaking, face blushing, and someone chuckled.

Now my throat hurt.

But honestly, the real horrible thing wasn't the people behind me - it was me. It's the fact that under different circumstances, if I wasn't in a chipper mood, I could imagine myself being just as agitated. I could imagine my eyes rolling. I mean, no one likes waiting 20 minutes to buy tomato sauce and a pepper.

And I guess that's what's tough about life - when you're being horrible you don't always know it, but when you see someone else do it, you have clear eyes, a clear mind, and you can taste the dire details of a person you know are hidden deep inside of yourself.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bongo

I've decided that anyone who wants to write comedy should go to the gym at least three times a week. Not to workout necessarily, but because the gym is fucking ridiculous.

At my new job I have access to a free gym, so I've been going quite a bit. It's an amazing place. It makes me want to write an exercise book, one that has absolutely nothing to do with exercise. But for now, I'll just share with you a story about how I met my first ever "gym friend."

He calls himself Bongo. That's right, fucking Bongo. You want to know why? Because he hits it hard! (his words, not mine). Like you would hit a...yup, you got it. So I met Bongo a few days ago. We were doing sit-ups next to each other, just another one of the amazing occurrences you only find at a gym, when all of a sudden he introduced himself to me - while at the same time giving me advice on how to improve my sit-up technique...Yeah...I can barely take writing this.

Anyway, ever since we met, Bongo has been greeting me with high-fives. It's silly. They're real high-fives, too, not fake ones, which I've been known to give out from time to time - usually because I'm making fun of them. But Bongo gives really sincere ones. It's all spirit! It's great! And it makes me feel like I'm part of a new ridiculous club. But it's a good ridiculous. Seriously. Because you know what? All gym talk aside; it's a beautiful thing to make friends with a person you never thought you could be friends with.

Nerd.

It never ceases to amaze me how much time I spend researching upcoming superhero movies.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dancing Liquid

It's been a while. I'm feeling much better now.

So the other day I saw something beautiful. I was sitting on the subway, it was late, and standing nearby was a man holding a beer bottle. The train jolted, the man dropped the bottle, and BANG, it broke against the subway floor. A few people jumped, but the man just laughed - exiting the train at the next stop, leaving behind broken glass and liquid.

And here's when it gets beautiful. As the train continued, the left over liquid began traveling along the floor, like a rattlesnake swerving directions based on the motions of the earth beneath it. People lifted their feet, making sure they went untouched, but everyone watched, staring down, as if the liquid was another passenger - a performer drawing pictures at their feet.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stogie

I like the smoker code. I'm not a smoker, never have been, so I probably sound like a dip shit talking about whether or not they have a code, but from what I can see I'm pretty sure they do.

I just love how it's accepted, even welcomed with arms wide open, for fellow smokers to walk up to each other, having never met, and ask for a cigarette.

It's like they all this communal relationship, or their in some kind of gang. "Hey, I smoke, you smoke, let's share!" I give to you, then you give to someone else. They all get it. It's a wonderful pay it forward.

But it's funny, because we all need food, but there's no food gang. I wish I could go up to someone and say, "Hey, I eat food, you eat food! Can I have a bite of your sandwich?"

That just wouldn't fly, but you smokers have made it work. Ya share, and I like that.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Wrote a Kid's Story

The Garden Song

The sun rose, the baby opened her eyes.

Mommy was there, stopping her cries.

She held her baby, touched her soft skin.

“Come child, outside we begin.”

And in the garden they would sing…

We water the flowers…
We pick the weeds…
We dig the dirt…
We plant the seeds…
We lay in the sun…
We feel the grass…
Mother and daughter…
We play and we laugh…

Years past, the baby grew to a girl.

She went off to school, and out to the world.

But she always returned, where mommy would wait.

“Come child, outside till it’s late.”

And in the garden they would sing…

We water the flowers …
We pick the weeds…
We dig the dirt…
We plant the seeds…
We lay in the sun…
We feel the grass…
Mother and daughter…
We play and we laugh…

Years past, the girl grew to a teen.

Wild and crazy like no one had seen!

But ever so often, away from her friends.

“Come child, let’s play once again.”

And in the garden they would sing…

We water the flowers…
We pick the weeds…
We dig the dirt…
We plant the seeds…
We lay in the sun…
We feel the grass…
Mother and daughter…
We play and we laugh…

Years past, mommy’s girl was all grown.

She went off to college, and left her small home.

She met a man, they started a life.

They traveled the world, she soon was a wife.

But she always returned, whenever she could.

To visit her mother, like a good girl should.

“I miss our playing, I miss your face,”

“Come, mommy, to our special place.”

And in the garden they would sing…

We water the flowers…
We pick the weeds…
We dig the dirt…
We plant the seeds…
We lay in the sun…
We feel the grass…
The family together…
We play and we laugh…

The End

Friday, October 29, 2010

Walking

A man and a woman were walking down the street, hand in hand. Another woman, much younger, walked in the opposite direction, and the man turned to stare at her young hips and thin legs vibrating down the street. When the man turned back around a pillar from a construction site hit him in the bridge of the nose.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Scary Story For Halloween

My best friend was kidnapped. We were eleven years old, passing a football in my backyard, when a middle aged man walked to my side. My mother, the chaperone for the day, saw the man from our kitchen window and ran to me, leaving my friend on the other side of the yard, alone.

“Can I help you with something?” my mother asked. She put her hand on my shoulder and walked us backwards. The man breathed heavy. He wore a maroon suit, had a dark red beard, and stood well over six and half feet tall, one of tallest men I had ever seen. I don’t remember his face, I only remember closing my eyes and hearing the man’s low voice, but no words. When I opened my eyes my mother began to cry. She wrapped her arms around me, so tight I couldn’t move or see anything behind me. We just cried, and when I finally broke free the man was gone, and in the distance, where my best friend had been standing, was a football.

D words

I love watching young dads play with their daughters. Even more so, I love watching adult women who are watching young dads play with their daughters. Was that a bit wordy?

I was in a park yesterday and I saw a young man, say early 30's, playing with his daughter, around 4. Nearby was a handful of women, all ages, and each one was completely captivated by the dad and daughter. It's like they were all imagining a time when they too were little girls, and their fathers could pick them up, chase after them, and tickle them into an uncontrollable laughter.

There's something special about a father/ daughter relationship. Frankly, I don't get it - at least not yet, but those women sure did, and they loved it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Spare Change

It makes me really sad when I repeatedly see the same homeless man on the subway, and each time he has a different story of why he's homeless.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Guzuntight!

I have a bad case of the sniffles right now.

So I was just outside, and I sneezed so hard I almost fell off a bench. Then an old woman walked up to me and said:

"Don't breathe New York City air, you'll do much better that way."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Husky


I think the Siberian Husky is the only dog I would have sex with. I mean, just look at this dog! Beautiful! So there's a woman near my work who has two of these little guys, and she's always walking them around town, struttin' their stuff. Now I've always considered myself a dog person (I mean, dogs are great), but when I see a Siberian Husky I actually get excited (no, not sexually - that was a joke, by the way), I just feel like I'm seeing an exotic animal on the brink of extinction.

As a New Yorker, I unfortunately don't get the chance to see that much wildlife, so I like to pretend these dogs are my escape to the safari...or the arctic...or anywhere else that's more bad ass, in a nature sense, than NYC.

Basically, my sense of the outdoors is becoming very deluded, and I'm in desperate need of a camping trip.

The Bat Mobile

I know this guy who has speakers attached to his bike, so he can ride around my neighborhood blaring his tunes for the world to hear. Actually, I don't know this guy...I just wish I did.

Man, you should see this bike! It's really something. Speakers on the handlebar and back tire, like he was going for a surround sound effect, and he's got his "control panel" right by the seat, so he can change the radio station or put tape cassettes in with ease. Yup, that's right, I said tape cassettes.

Now as awesome as this bike is, what really makes me giddy is imagining someone construct this technological phenomenon. He must have been REALLY excited to share this with the world, and it shows every time I see him pedaling away, nodding his head to the beat of his boombox on wheels.

Good for, Sir! Now that's innovation!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Giving Tree

There was a tornado in Brooklyn a few weeks back that killed many trees in my favorite park. I've tried writing about this a few times with little success, because honestly it makes my heart hurt.

When I moved to my area I felt very nature deprived, as I imagine many city dwellers feel. I took solace in this park, walking in it, sitting on the grass, and eventually jogging, a "hobby" of mine that is very on and off. But regardless of how often I went to the park, life was better because I knew it was there. I knew that only a few blocks away was a place I could feel grass on my bare feet, a place I could stare up at towering trees and let their branches draw shadows on my face, and a place I could watch leaves sail through the air and get lost on a breeze.

And then the tornado came. Trees, huge trees, were pulled up from the ground, leaving their roots exposed like the intestines of a wounded soldier. Branches were broken, and trees that had once reached across the earth were now naked and nothing but a wooden pole. I don't mean to be overly dramatic, and I would never equate the death of a tree to that of a person, but the fact still remains, whenever I now walk past the park I smell the scent of death. So they shut it down.

They've been fixing the park for the past few weeks, slowly but surely, and they recently reopened it. I was hesitant to go back, but I decided to walk there yesterday, and I saw what I was expecting - Tree stumps. All around me were tree stumps, looking more like tombstones than anything else, and it made me want to cry. But instead I remained still, and then walked to where my favorite tree had once been, and I slowly sat on its stump, feeling very much like the old man from The Giving Tree. I stared all around me. There were no more branches to draw shadows on my face, and much of the grass was now covered in mulch. But in the distance I saw something that made me want to cry even more. People were planting trees. They were very tiny, not even big enough to sit under yet, but one day they would be.

I most likely will never see this park covered in towering trees again, but someone will, and that's enough to make me feel better. It's enough to turn the smell of death into life.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Yum

It's amazing how much of my happiness is based on the proximity of good food.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Beginning Of Something

I fell in love with a woman who couldn’t speak. I slowly walked to her through a crowded room, forming a path between dozens of dancing bodies, until her pale skin and blond hair came into complete focus, and her eyes, blue, as if connecting the sky to the sea, were now wide and never blinking.

“I’m Cole,” I said. “Are you a friend of the bride or the groom?”

She seemed to fully exhale and then raised her left hand, pale with freckles, holding index cards organized by bright colors.

“I’m mute,” the top index card read. “I can hear, so please don’t shout.” The words were handwritten in beautiful cursive, the kind people often comment is vanishing with the growth of our technology. She then turned the card over and I read the name “Clare.”

I smiled, she smiled, and a tear filled my eye. Now I was unable to speak.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Eggs

This weekend I went on a tour of a water purifying plant, which was actually much more interesting than it sounds. Anywho, before the tour started I sat on a bench and watched two older women, say mid 60's, talk to a male staff member, similar age, who worked at the plant. They were too far away for me to hear their conversation, but between the giggles and the smiles it was clear they were having a grand old time - and that they were flirting. So then the tour starts, but before I stand I watch the older women say goodbye to the staff member. The first one gives him a kiss on the cheek. She blushes. The second older woman does the same, but stays a little longer than needed with her lips pressed against his flesh. She then whispered something into his ear and softly licked his ear lobe. I was the only one who saw it. She then pulled away, smiled, and the two older women began the tour, leaving the staff member completely still and silent. But eventually he smiled, and it was a big one.

Then I stood and learned how water in New York City gets purified.

Friday, October 8, 2010

France

I always feel a little funny when I run into people I know.

On the subway this morning I spotted a young man that I had gone to college with. He didn't notice me, however, so instead of tapping him on the shoulder and saying hello, I put my head down and hid. Nothing bad happened with this man, mind you, in fact, he's actually very special to me. Four years ago we studied abroad together, and although we weren't particularly close on the trip, we did spent a night wandering the streets, drunk off our asses. That might not sound very special, but it's enough to always hold a place in my heart. In other words, definitely the type of person worth saying hello to on the subway. But I kept still, and I just watched his face get lost with dozens of other faces, belonging to people I would never know. I wondered how many of them I could be friends with, or maybe even wander the streets drunk with.

The subway stopped, he left. I really should have said hello.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Navel Time

I think it's wild how when women are pregnant their bellybuttons stick out. Earlier this week I walked past two pregnant women; they must have been pals, cause they were side by side, power walkin', feelin' the burn, wearing tight white t-shirts outlining their perfectly round belly's.

They were pretty cute, too, and their bellybuttons were pointing due north.

I couldn't imagine being pregnant, bellybuttons aside. Honestly, I couldn't imagine growing anything other than a beard.

A little life was in those women, taking up so much space they couldn't even leave room for a little old bellybutton. It's just wild.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

No Woman Ever Shot A Man While He Was Doing The Dishes

Yesterday I was alone in my apartment doing dishes. I grabbed the soap bottle, squeezed, and an unusual amount of bubbles came out. It looked like there were hundreds of them, now floating all around me like fireflies.

"Pretty," I thought.

So I finished the dishes, puttered, tidied, and when I finally went back to the kitchen about fifteen minutes later, I was amazed to find a dozen bubbles had landed in the sink, still unpopped.

"Super bubbles," I thought.

So I went to my room, read, surfed the web, made a call or two, and then went back to the kitchen for some chocolate. By now it had been well over an hour since my dish washing, and the beautiful, everlasting bubbles had vanished from my mind. But guess what?! YUP, there they were - bubbles, happy and as lively as ever.

There was no logical explanation they could still be in the sink. I mean, these bubbles came from C-Town soap, not Willy Wonka. So I slowly put my finger on top of one and then quickly retreated. It stung me, almost cut the tip of my finger. And then I leaned down at the bubbles, real real close, and finally realized what they were. Little circles of glass. The previous night I had broken a cup doing the dishes, and although I had thought I'd cleaned them all up, I must have missed a few (or a lot), because dozens of pieces remained, glazing the top of the sink.

I guess that's life for you. What you think is beautiful and delicate can actually slice your throat. So look close.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Circles

I was in my girlfriend’s art studio this weekend. She was making a sculpture, but by the way I was positioned, I couldn’t see it, I could only see a wooden pillar, which was hiding the sculpture behind it. She kept circling the sculpture, looking up at it, and it was amazing - seeing a person focus all of their creative energy on what appeared to be nothing but air.

If 6 was 9

Near my apartment there's an abandoned building, or at least it appears to be. On the front door of the building someone spray painted a black figure with a bright, white face. It horrifies me. I hate walking by it, and as silly as it sounds, I constantly imagine the spray painted figure coming to life, chasing me, and swallowing me whole.

Yesterday I walked by the abandoned building. On the front door was the black figure, as always, but someone had changed its face. Instead of something bright, white, and horrifying, there was now the face of Jimi Hendrix. Someone, somewhere, took the time to transform this ghoul into a rock and roll legend, and now I would do anything in my power to have it come to life.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Two for One!

I wrote these both in the same sitting. SOOOO, I thought I'd put them together!


Must be tough being a woman sometimes. Must be tough having people stare at you, and knowing the only thing they want is your flesh.

I knew a girl once, and she said she hated when people, mostly men, complemented her eyes.

"I don't have anything to do with my eyes," she said. "It's genetics, they were passed down to me. I want to be complemented on things I've created."

As a man, unable to fully understand how it actually feels to be a woman, the above idea is the closest I can get to figuring it out.

It makes me realize that sometimes women must feel like they live in a world where no one wants to know who they actually are, but instead, everyone just wants from them the things they had no choice in creating.

Maybe that doesn't make sense. Maybe it shouldn't. Maybe anytime a man tries to describe this sort of thing it should be indecipherable - like caveman writings on a stone wall.



I'm sitting on the steps of a church right now. It's dusk. People are continually walking by, occasionally looking up, and making strange faces pointed in my direction. But I'm completely still. It took me a bit, but eventually I noticed the half of a dozen homeless people sprawled out behind me. The kind where it's obvious they're homeless.

People keep walking by, they keep making faces, and I'm surprised how comfortable I feel.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hello

At the risk of sounding ridiculous, I'm still going to say this: Growing up is hard. You spend four years, if you were fortunate like me, in a rather carefree environment, one that was stressful, but still welcomed with arms wide open. Then you leave, on your own terms (if you're lucky) and you have the next four years. These, needless to say, are quiet different than the last. No course schedule, no meal cards, no health insurance, and not even a place to live without returning to your nest.

So you get a job. You have to, unless you have a source of outside funding (pretty fortunate if you do) and you take the first job that comes your way, regardless if it has anything to do with your education/ training, and most importantly (and sadly), anything to do with what you want. And then you work. And you work some more. And you realize that all the moments in your life when you thought you were tired, you weren't. You realize "time" is an actual thing, and she, my friend, is a slippery mother fucker. You realize any plan you had, any road you wanted to follow, and dare I say dream, were thoughts, not tangible items, and thoughts, unfortunately, can be forgotten.

It's easy to forget things when you're tired. It's easy to feel like you've become a person based on choices you weren't ready to make.

But there are two things I continually remind myself to push through it all, and, once again, at the risk of sounding ridiculous, I'm still going to say it: Be kind, and keep your chin up. I really think that's all you can do.

My favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut. He has a quote that goes something like this:

"We are on earth to fart around and don’t let anybody tell you different.”

And here's a quote from Kurt Vonnegut's son - Mark (there's been a lot of Marks in my life, and they've all played an interesting role).

"We’re here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is."

I love quotes. I love words. I love thoughts. I'm feeling very sentimental right now, but I just want to tell you all that there's more out there than this; I promise, and it's beautiful.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Brett, you've got it going on...



Today on the subway I saw this man, and let me tell you, this is a good man. He is a musician/ actor whose work I've been a fan of for quite sometime.

Anyway, I was sitting when he entered the train, and in order for me to get a clear view of him, I began leaning to my side, much farther than I should have been leaning. Much too far, and I didn't even notice when my head was right in front of a woman's crotch, positioned in a way that was deserving of any sound sexual harassment case. So I pulled away, fast, losing sight of my celebrity spotting. I was motionless, and the woman stared down at me. She could have said a lot of things, but she only said THIS.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Double Knot

Have you ever gotten really close to a stranger's feet? It can be quiet an experience.

Today on the subway I bent down to tie my shoes. It was very crowded, so in the midst of my double knot I noticed three sets of feet, all wearing sandals or flip flops. Now, I don't look at feet too often; I just don't find them very interesting. But let me tell you, these strangers' feet were pretty wild! I could go on, but my desire to articulate the curves of bunions and shades of hangnails most likely does not appeal to you. But I still think it's funny! Not feet, but that there's so many features we don't ever notice/ get to see about each other. I mean, you could work with someone for thirty years but never see their feet! I think that's kind of crazy. But I guess maybe were not meant to see them. I guess there's a lot of things about each other we're not meant to see.

Ipanema

Sometimes when I have my photograph taken, I like to be thinking of a specific thought, so later on when the picture is developed (or digitized, I guess), I can stare at it and know exactly what I was thinking in that moment of time.

I had a wonderful weekend. Wish I had taken a few pictures.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Stop Making Sense

Today I had a five minute conversation without understanding a single word the other person was saying.

I was in a Food Emporium for lunch when a middle aged woman sat by my side. She smiled, and since she seemed harmless enough, I naturally smiled back.

Then she spoke in gibberish. I slowly leaned forward.

"Excuse me?" I said, and she continued her slurred words, now using hand gestures to emphasize her sounds.

"Oh," I said. "I'm sorry."

She spoke with confidence, pausing between the occasional sentence, allowing me to respond just like any other normal conversation would work.

"Hm," I said, and I wondered if she was using a foreign language, and if so why she would continue speaking when I clearly could not understand her.

"Okay," I said, and I wondered if she was crazy, a reasonable enough assumption. But if she was, she was still very calm and well mannered, like a friendly old lady talking about her cats. So I looked from side to side, put my elbows on the table, and let her continue, nodding my head and occasionally adding an encouraging sigh.

Now I wasn't making fun of this woman. Really, I wasn't. I just believed she had something important to say, and I wanted to give her the chance to express it, whatever it was. So I did, well worth it, and five minutes later she smiled and walked away.

I had a salad for lunch. It was very bland. In fact, the whole day would have been very bland if it wasn't for this woman.

So thanks.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Old Man

I was just riding in an elevator with an old man. He was staring down at his visitor's pass, which had a black and white photo of his face, adding wrinkles to his already wrinkly skin.

He sighed, as if he couldn't believe what he was seeing.

Then I sighed.

It must be a funny fleeing; not being able to believe your own face.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tree Hugger

I have a tough time with greetings and goodbyes. This has nothing to do with emotions, mind you, but more of what I should be doing physically.

As I see it, there's three standard go-to's when you're meeting someone: handshake, hug, or kiss on the cheek. Idenifying which one is appropriate to use is the part I'm a bit faulty at, considering you really only have a few seconds to commit to your "welcome choice" before it's all said and done. This leads to a lot of nose crashes and me changing from handshake motion, to hug motion, then back to handshake motion in the two second time span before I embrace someone.

It's just no good.

I myself am a hugger; or at least that's what I'm striving to be.

That being said, here's the two people in my life who give the best hugs:

- My old drummer.
- My girlfriend's Uncle.

I think it's really good to have a list like this. In fact, I'd be honored to be on someone's best hugger list. For me, I'm just a bit worried I'm on the "most awkward greeter" list.

Maybe I'll stick to high fives!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hack

Two things I would do if I was a super genius and could hack any type of computer:

1 – I would take a handful of books, change their endings, and then send them out to every Kindle-esk devise in the world.

2 – I would make every television, for one hour, play only one station – the one where it’s a close up of a fireplace burning.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Background


I think my favorite part about working in an office is seeing other people's desktop backgrounds.

So the other day I attended a large meeting where a lot of mamajama was discussed. I'm still figuring out what I'm doing at my job, so as different people talked/ asked questions/ gave presentations, I simply sat there doing my best to take the occasional note. This was pretty hard, however, not because the meeting was particularly boring, but because I kept looking at other people's laptops and iPads.

One man, dressed in a suit, who seemed "very important," had a picture of a little girl wearing a tutu on his desktop, smiling wide.

Another woman, dressed in a business dress, gave a presentation on finance (it was pretty serious stuff). When she sat back down, I noticed on her desktop was a picture from the movie Pretty Woman.

I mean, how serious can these people really be? I like that.

I myself have the above on my desktop. It's my nephew traveling through outer space.

What do you have?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Happy New Year

In all honestly, Rosh Hashanah only makes me think of two things:

Getting very inebriated in college, and my late Jewish Grandparents.

Funny how the brain works.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Memory

I know a man, who is very special to me, and this is his first memory.

I remember being in my crib when I was one or two years old. Now I know they say you can't remember back that far, but I can. My crib was in my parent's room, right by their bed, and I remember looking up and seeing two people, must have been my mom and my dad, and seeing these two red dots in front of their faces. One red dot for each of them just floating right by their face. I've always had this image in my mind over the years, but never understood it, so eventually I just assumed it was something I made up, until I asked my mother about it.

"Of course you saw red dots in front of us," she said. "We smoked after sex."

"Oh," I said. And that's my first memory.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Two Runners

Today I was sitting in a park and I got an idea for a story. I took out my notebook, opened her up, and tried to write with my pen. It was out of ink, completely, and no matter how hard I shook it nothing would come out.

"Fuck you," I said, and then I looked up and saw two men, dressed as if preparing for a run, standing in front of me. They must have been walking by, and of course had to be placed in hearing distance of my mini tantrum.

"Sorry," I said. "I was talking to my pen."

And they stared at me. They stared at me in a way I've never been stared at before. I really can't describe it, but it made me feel very off, and they left.

Run, boys, run.

Funny. I'll never be able to forget those stares, but for the life of me I can't remember the story I wanted to write down.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Miyagi

There's a staff bathroom at my work, and it has a motion sensor light. Usually when I go in there it's dark, because it's been vacant and sans motion for however long they have the light timer set.

Anyway, what I like to do is enter the bathroom and do a quick karate move, either a front jab, uppercut, or perhaps a high kick, and then pretend "my moves" are what triggers the light to turn on, not just me entering.

So I did this just now: I opened the bathroom door, walked in, saw it was dark, and then did a kind of roundhouse move as the light flickered on. Now I've never taken karate, but I'm going to go ahead and toot my own horn and say it was a pretty good roundhouse. I was even a little out of breath afterwards. And that's when I turned and saw a faculty member standing at the entrance, holding the bathroom door open, and just staring at me. He must have been a few steps behind, now waiting to enter the bathroom, but obviously stopping due to a new staff member, me, doing a karate kick in front of him. So I just smiled, did another stretch, as if this was nothing out of the ordinary, and I headed to a urinal.

Darn it.

I couldn't see the faculty member anymore, but I heard him go into a stall and shut the door behind him. I'm not sure of it, but I'm pretty confident I heard him giggle.

Darn it.

So here's my lesson: If you're going to do a karate move in an unconventional place, either do it alone or be prepared for people to laugh, with or with out you.

After Dark Stretching

If you come to my apartment past 9pm unexpectedly, there is an 85% chance you will see me completely naked (and yes, those are tested numbers).

So over the past few weeks I've been standing in front of my kitchen window and noticing new lights pop up in new rooms filled with new neighbors.

I know nothing about these people, but regardless, when I get my mindnight snack or do some puttering, I always stop to see what they're all doing. They stay up pretty late, at least later than me, so by the time I'm watching them the lights to my apartment are off so no one is able to see me. None of them are ever doing anything particularly interesting, mind you, and I'm well aware I'm being a bit creepy by doing this, so I try not to stand there too long.

Anyway. A few nights ago I woke up around 1am and really wanted some chocolate. You know that feeling? So I got out of bed, walked down my hallway of an apartment, and opened the fridge. For some reason I also felt the need to switch on my kitchen light, turning my windows into mirrors so I was unable to see past them.

Hm.

SO I ate my chocolate, had some milk, did a few stretches, and switched the light back off. And that's when I looked out of my window. In the distance I saw the shadows of my neighbors - all staring at me me. Yup. They saw me naked. They even saw me doing stretches while being naked, which is a whole different type of naked. And I didn't mind this, like I said I don't know these people, and even if I did, who really cares.

But what I do care about, or what I at least think is funny, is that people love watching. Whatever it is, we love it.

And now I'm tempted to walk around at night with the lights switched on.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Benjamin

This isn't a bad thought, it's just a thought that's kind of bad.

I remember being younger and wondering if any of my friends parent's would ever seduce a teenager.

Now, I wonder which one of my friends will be the type of parent who might seduce a teenager.

The Beginning Of Something New

My Grandmother never had a will, instead she used a black permanent marker and wrote the name of one her 16 grandchildren under every piece of furniture and nick nack she owned.

As an 8 year old boy, I remember running around her house looking under tables, chairs, and other figurines to see what I would one day be left when she died. There was a wooden fish, about a foot long, and it rested above her fire place. I was happily surprised to see my name written under this, but even more taken aback that one of my cousin's names was previously written and then crossed off, as if he had done something to loose the right of getting the wooden fish, and I had simultaneously done something to earn it.

I was on my best behavior that day.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Brunch

I had brunch of Sunday and my waitress looked oddly familiar. She was around 20, tan, short black hair, petite. I couldn't stop staring at her. She gave me the oddest feeling, and it took half of my fried chicken meal to finally understand it. She reminded me of my mother, a younger version that is.

My mother is tan, short black hair, petite, and she used to be a waitress.

So I stared at this young woman and wondered where she would be in 25 years. I wondered if she would have a son and what he would be doing.

I had no money on me that day, and therefore couldn't contribute to the bill. I was a baby, letting other people take care of me.

Fitting.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ocean's Three

Yesterday on the subway platform I saw three men standing together, huddled around something small. I was a bit taller than each of them, and I got curious, so I walked close enough to the men without being too obvious, while still being able to see over their shoulders.

They were looking at an iPhone. One man, in the middle, was using the calculator feature. I can't recall the exact numbers he was using, but it was something close to this:

4,500,500/ 3 =

He then paused, looked at the other two men, and pressed enter.

1,500,000 came on the screen.

They were still, until one of them slowly walked away and then jumped high into the air, celebrating. They then all high-fived, sweating, and the train came.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Yellow Cover

SOOOOO I heard that everyone in the universe is reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Is this true?!

Well, since, you know, I want to write books and all, I thought I should also read it, so I can see what everyone in the universe likes. I'm about 250 pages in; very easy read. It's good and all, but as I'm reading I can't help but imagine bad SNL skits you could parody from it.

Anyway, I'm not here to give a review, I'm here because three days ago I was on the subway and the guy next to me and guy across from me was also reading the same book. If you haven't seen it, it has a bright yellow cover, so it's very easy to spot. And then I looked around and I saw a women reading the third book in the series, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

What the fuck!? I felt like I had been infected with a virus (if that's even something you can feel), so I quickly closed the book, now feeling very embarrassed.

"I wasn't actually reading this!" I wanted to say. "How did this book get in my bag?!"

So THEN I just felt like a dick! Because, you know, I think it's kind of annoying when people lash against something just because it's popular.

That being said, I think this is a very interesting book; though not interesting because of the text, but because it gives me a funny feeling just by looking at it.

That's pretty neat.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A New Law

OKAY, so today I’m going to institute a new law that should be enforced globally:

When you see someone accidentally drop something, and they don’t realize they’ve dropped something, you need to fucking say something, or at least offer some kind of body gesture to clue the person in.

Today I got off the subway and had to wait on the platform for another train to come. I opened my book bag, fiddled, and then stared out to the universe. Next to me was a man, a woman, and a teenager. Oddly enough, all three of them were staring at me, like something was off but they were unsure how to say it. So after a moment, naturally, they returned to their musings: iPod, kindle, cell phone.

“Hm,” I thought. “Why did those people just stare at me?”

I wiped my nose. Clean. I wiped the edges of my lips – some toothpaste, but nothing worth staring. So then I finally turned in a circle, thinking something around me must be off, and that’s when I saw it... My notebook. My poor, innocent composition notebook, lying helplessly on the ground, flipped open, naked and leaking papers. They were about to blow away with the oncoming train, so I had to quickly kneel down and start gathering things up frantically…It was kind of pathetic. And from the ground I looked up like a beaten dog. The man, woman, and teenager, who had managed to take another five second break from their electronic distractions, we’re all staring down at me. For a second I thought they might laugh.

Now why the fuck didn’t they tell me I dropped my notebook? Seriously. Were they worried I would turn that into some drawn out conversation? Were they worried I’d say, “Fuck you, I dropped that notebook on purpose!”

I think I’m being a little too sensitive about this whole thing (actually, I know I am), but honestly, it made me really sad that these people didn’t tell me I dropped something. And even sadder to think of the reasons why.

This has not been that best start of a day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Up North

I was in Montreal this past weekend. For anyone who actually reads this, sorry for my lack of posts...

As for Montreal, it's a city that makes me want to write poetry. That's all I can really say about it. So...I wrote a poem.

There's a freckle of a speckle below your left eye.

Why?

Because I need it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

BFF?

On the subway this morning I actually found a seat. Happy day! But of course, next to me is this guy - rapping, beatboxing, and hitting a railing with a pair of drumsticks. Geez! Just my luck! So naturally, everyone's annoyed at this guy, most of all me, and with the increasing volume of his beats and rhymes, it's safe to say he's not making any new best friends this morning.

Or is he?

So the guy is drumming away, dropping his beats, when all of a sudden he accidentally hits his wrist against the railing and bangs his watch.

"Shit!" the man says.

Everyone turns. They're silent.

The man then takes a tissue out of his pocket, polishes his watch back up, and smiles; relieved there is no permanent damage.

And here's the funny part....We're wearing the same watch! I know, I know, it's just a coincident, and it's not like I have enough money to buy a "one of a kind" watch or anything, but it still made me laugh. I mean, I love watches. I'm a watch nut! And seeing this guy get so concerned over his own watch made me realize we share the same love for these little ticking wrist bands.

So then I started thinking...Maybe we have more in common than I realize! Maybe we could hang out! Maybe we could even drop beats together! Maybe I could teach him the guitar and he could teach me the drums! And you know what else?! Maybe we could perform on the subways together across the great land of New York City!

Yeah! Frog and Toad, Dude!

So that's what happened this morning - in a matter of seconds a person transformed form being a disturbance to my future BFF.

I find this fitting for my 100th post. Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Three Feet Below

This morning's subway ride was more crowded than usual. One of those days where you literally have to put your arms above your head to prevent your shoulders from being bruised. There's a lady in my armpit, a guy breathing on my neck, and another large dude pressing his round belly against the indent of my lower back. It's a pedestrian orgy.

So I'm standing there, "hangin'", when all of a sudden I look down and see the face of a little girl poking up between a dozen sweaty arms. Unlike the rest of us, however, she seems content, safe and comfortable under a world of commuter chaos. And guess what she's doing? Making faces! She's sticking her tongue out, pulling her cheeks, and even pointing, all directed to the dozens of working stiffs standing three feet above her. Ha!

I really wished I could have joined her.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Love

I'm with my sister's family this weekend in Syracuse. Here's the best part - I don't think I've ever seen another person in my life so in love; my sister to her son, that is. Don't get me wrong, I know she loves her husband, and all the other nerds in our family, but when she stares at James, my nephew, it's something else entirely. It's like watching someone's life flash before their eyes before they've even lived it. She stares at him and sees hundreds of memories - his first day of school, trips, their first dance, all of it. But at the same time, I know she never wants these memories to come, because that would mean this moment would end - a sixteen month year old boy with blond, curly hair laughing at her feet.

Can you blame her?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ham Sandwich

Sometimes I worry I stare at people too much. It’s not even staring really, it’s more like picking a random person, keeping your eyes on them, and then falling into a daydream, or what I like to call zoning out.

Senior year of college.

Today I’m in Union Square – waiting for one thing or the other. Across from me is an older man, mid 50’s, dirty, and eating a sandwich that looks like it was recently picked out of a trash can. It’s 90 degrees out.

Yum.

So I’m staring at this guy, probably being a little more obvious than I should, when all of a sudden he looks back at me, lets a drop of thick mayonnaise fall from his lower lip, and says:

“Fucking faggot.”

Now obviously, I want to look away. I should look away - but I don’t. I just blink a few times while making a conscious effort to keep my eyes steady and firm. Because you know what? Fuck this guy. Really. Why can’t people stare at each other every once in a while? What’s the big deal? Now I understand you may not want someone ogling/ eye fucking you, but what’s wrong with zoning out towards someone? Harmless stuff.

So I blink a few more times, tapping into something deep inside of me, and I stare forth at the presumed homeless man. And this is when things get a bit silly...For whatever reason I now find it appropriate to pucker my lips. Not sexy like, but in a way an old lady would right before she kisses a toddler and grabs hold of their cheeks. I’m laying it on pretty thick too, and let me tell you, this guy does NOT know what to make of this...I'm not really sure either.

But what’s done is done, and now I have to commit to the fact that I’ve been staring at this guy for over five minutes and then proceeded to make gestures that can easily be construed as sexual.

I should have just read a book.

So the guy slowly stands, letting more sandwich bits fall to the ground, a feast for the pigeons, and he walks off, not even hinting that he wants to leave a response behind – and I was looking.

It’s 90 degrees out; maybe even hotter by now. I’m covered in sweat, thirsty, and now realizing there’s more gray area between ogling and zoning out than meets the eye.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hm.

Yesterday I was walking back to my apartment and I past an auto shop. I saw a man on his knees changing the back tire of a car. Behind him was another man giving him a sensual massage.

I never thought I would see that.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Boss

There's a guy I work with, and for the purposes of this story we'll call him Bruce. Bruce is a pretty funny guy, a little sarcastic at times, but in a jokey way, never insulting.

Since I've only been at my job for a week, I know nothing about Bruce, or anyone there for that matter, besides what they've told me and what I can decipher from body language/ speech mannerisms, which is not a lot.

Now here's the story:

For the past few days Bruce has been coming in and out of my "office," diddle daddling with papers, and he's always talking about how hard his boss is working him, which in all honesty sounds pretty hard. He says stuff like...

"Boss has been tough this week, Sean!"

And...

"My boss is never ending!"

Now I'm not exactly sure what Bruce does at my work; I don't really know anything at this point, but I have figured out that Bruce's boss sounds like a tough person to work with, so naturally I started worrying that I'll soon have to deal with him or her - Dang.

Today at 3pm I heard a baby's cry. I stood, wiped my eyes, and left to go investigate. Bruce was in the next room over holding a baby boy, nine months old. He was adorable. I'd say the second most adorable baby boy I've ever seen in my life. Bruce was rocking him, lightly kissing his cheeks, and whispering into his tiny ears, which is pretty much all you can do to a baby as delicate as this one.

I was speechless.

"Meet my boss," Bruce said.

And I smiled and exhaled.

That Little Something Special

I don't have a unibrow - I have a uninose.

What is a uninose, you ask? Well, it's something I made up, or at least I think I made it up since none of the appropriate images surface after a google search.

Here's the scoop...

Uninose - A patch of hair that grows on your nose an inch or two lower than the gap between your eyebrows.

Get it?

Honestly, I'm not really sure where I stand on the hairiness scale for the average man. But let me tell you, the tip of my nose is out of this world. Really, really. Every few days I have to give it a clean swipe with my Mach3 razor otherwise I'm left with little hairsies curling up to the heavensies - my little friendsies.

So why am I reporting this? Because I'm convinced that everyone in the world has a little something special on their bodies they're unsure of/ embarrassed of.

And I'm not talking about weight or height or any of that other obvious stuff. I'm more talking about the weird things people find that make them wonder if anyone else in the world has it as well. Maybe they even have a name for the weird thing, something charming like, and you can't even find it on the Internet with a google search. EVEN with the safety features off!

Mine is the uninose.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Batteries Not Included

Someone once told me that whenever you look down at the subway tracks in New York City, you will always see an old battery. It's true. No matter where you are you'll see a rusty, cutup battery. Weird.

Which means once upon a time, many moons again, people would wait for their trains and open up their CD players, toys, remote controls, who the hell knows...

I wonder if one day we'll see old iPods on the subway tracks.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Doobie Sisters

Today I tried a new restaurant at my new work!

I sat down, was given a menu, and then quickly realized my surroundings were much fancier than I first noticed, for everyone there was either dressed in a suit or business attire. BUT, the menu was reasonably priced, and since I love elaborate meals I decided to stay.

I was halfway through my lunch, a very yummy one at that, when all of a sudden something peculiar happened. I looked up, winced my eyes, and deeply inhaled. I smelled it, and everyone else smelled it to. Pot. Thick, sweet pot, and it settling on top of us like a rain cloud.

Now I'm not here to give my insights on marihuana, though if you'd like to discuss them we can meet. Right now all I know is that someone, somehow was smoking a major doobie in the upper east side this afternoon right outside of my restaurant.

And here's the funny part. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE in the restaurant snickered at this. Business men, business woman, people being interviewed, people on meetings - the whole kit and caboodle of the upper tax bracket giggled at the idea of someone nearby smoking weed. It's like they were all silently saying, "Remember when we smoked weed?" Or "Remember when we were kids?"

It was great. I loved it. It made me want to stand up and shout, "Hey, Everybody! I used to smoke weed, too!" But I decided it was best not to, since this was only my first time there.

Anyway, I would rate this restaurant on the far end of the stuffy meter, but I shall return.

Growing Pains

Now that I've been living in my area for over a year, I'm noticing the different kids growing up. This one boy always wears pajama bottoms (cute ones; white and blue) and as the months pass they're beginning to end higher and higher on his legs - like a ruler showing his growth spurts.

Part of me wishes someone would just buy this kid some new pants, but on the other hand, it's funny seeing more of his ankles each week.

He's really growing like a bean stalk...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Good

I found out today I was accepted into a writing residency in Vermont. It's a month long, so I'm doubtful I'll be able to go, but it still felt good to read the letter.

I think more people should share what they feel good about. Wouldn't that be nice? But I don't know...Do you think sorrow is more interesting?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Let's Get Up Close And Personal.

Now that I'm running, I've been getting very bad chafing on my inner thighs.

I know, I know, this may be more information than you're prepared to hear, but if you actually read this blog then I'd say you and I are pretty tight by now, and I'm ready to do this.

Back to my chafe.

It is awful. SO awful! It's like hundreds of little bee stings all around my nethers. So I did a little research and realized that this is a very common problem plaguing the public from coast to coast, but with the innovation and technological developments of modern man, we've actually come up with a remedy to this terrible affliction:

Gold Bond.

Gold Bond is fucking great, and if anyone disagrees with you on this you can personally tell them I said to fuck off. That's how much I believe in this product.

Just close your eyes and imagine replacing hundreds of bee stings with hundreds of butterfly kisses. That's Gold Bond.

I tried it recently and it was like relearning how to walk. I was instantly transformed into a delicate fawn taking it's first frolick in an open field of daisy's and sunshine...

It'll be hard, but I'll try not to rub it on my face...Okay, I've shared enough.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cheese

Today I had to get a picture ID made for my new job! I waltzed down to the ID Center, waited in line, and then finally was told to stand behind a yellow divider thingy while a woman focused a camera on my face.

"Ready," the woman said. "Three...two..."

And then I smiled big, REAL big, because for whatever reason I wanted to have a HUGE smile on my ID - not to be silly, but because big smiles are great. And then the woman behind the camera laughed at me. And then this other woman standing nearby laughed at me, too! GEEZE!...I guess I had a freakishly big smile on my face. I don't know...

"Wow!" the woman said. "Someone's happy!"

And we all laughed for a minute. It was very silly/ very awkward (mostly for me). So I took a deep breath, put a more normal sized smile on my face, and the picture was taken.

Click.

And here's the lesson: Be careful whom you share your big smiles with. Not everyone can take them.

Favorite Sentence Of The Week: # 1

"T.C.B., Brotha - takin' care of business."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

This Is Going To Sound Ridiculous

So I just finished reading a book on Lucid Dreaming.

In case you're curious:

Lucid Dreaming allows the sleeper to be aware that he or she is dreaming. A lucid dreamer can therefore actively participate in and manipulate imaginary experiences in their dream environment.


Kinda sounds like hippie stuff, but I dig. So now here's my goal:

I want to write a short story completely while I'm dreaming. Not following? Basically, if I can be aware that I'm dreaming, and therefore control my dreamworld, then I want to sit at my dream table, pick up my dream pencil, and start writing a story (while in reality I'm just sleeping in my bed). Then when I wake up, I'll sit at my real table, pick up my real pencil, and do my best to rewrite my story word for word of how I wrote it during my dream state.

Why do this? Simply - I want to write a dream story.

My Perfect Sky

Friends, it's been an interesting few days. I'll start with the moon.

I was driving back from Cleveland to NYC two days ago, which was surprisingly a very beautiful drive, when I noticed the moon. It was jut above the mountains, tinted pink, one of the biggest and most beautiful ones I had ever seen.

We all have that perfect sky we've seen in our lives - This one is mine.

But the funny thing is, as I drove and made turn after turn, the moon seemed to change sizes. Unlikely, I know, but it really looked like it was. Sometimes it was the size of a penny, and other times it was a large, powerful face smiling down from the heavens. A very pretty heaven at that.

Hey Friends, remember that book Good Night, Moon. What a beautiful book.

I guess beautiful things get smaller and bigger depending on where you are. That's life - Funny life. But it's reassuring to know that something will always be there. Even if it is just the moon.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Keepin' On!

Today is my last day at work.


On the subway this morning I saw a man selling DVD's for one dollar a piece. He was an independent filmmaker, an animator, attempting to raise funds to support his first full length movie by selling a few clips at a time.

I've seen this man about a dozen times over the past two years on my morning commute, and I've probably bought the same DVD from him about 6 times. Now I'm not here to talk about his movie, though if you ever see a guy on the subway selling a DVD about a girl named Puddin', I'd recommend it. I'm here because I'm amazed, even proud of this man, whom I've never actually met, for not giving up on his dreams.

I think that's worth one of my dollars...And maybe that's why I've been working all this time.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Put Your Food Away

This morning I saw a car completely covered in bird shit. It was amazing.

Now I'm sure you've seen cars covered in bird shit before, but let me tell you - they don't hold a flame to the car I just saw.

Hundreds of little bullet shots of whiteness covering the hood, top, windows, and every other section I'm too unsure of myself to name. But here's the best part - it was a very nice car! Once again, I know nothing about car talk, so please don't ask me the brand of the vehicle, but anybody could tell you that it was definitely on the newer side with few cosmetic flaws besides the overabundance of poo. And what's even BETTER is that the guy inside, who I could barely make out for obvious reasons, was a nicely dressed, attractive man. WHAT THE SHIT, MAN?!?! What's a guy like this doing in a car like that? Geez, get a loufa!

But it just goes to show you, you really can't judge a book by it's cover...(I think that applies here).

Monday, July 19, 2010

Jane-o

Last week on a bus I ran into a girl I went to college with. Without giving too many details, this girl, who we'll call Jane, had a significant impact on my life that I hardly ever speak of.

My sophomore year of college I went to a surprise birthday party for Jane. It was a packed apartment, food, booze, the standard college party. We were waiting for Jane to arrive when all of a sudden one of her roommates received a phone call saying Jane had gotten into a horrible accident - could be fatal. There were many tears, and as you can imagine, the party quickly ended. I then walked back to my apartment, alone, replaying an image in my mind that I will never forget - Jane's roommates, her best friends, crying and holding each others shivering bodies.

Jane recovered from her accident, proving she embodied a strength few had. But after the night of her failed surprise party my contact with Jane dwindled, not because of her accident, but because life went on.

Fast forward six years later.

I'm on a bus and I see Jane sitting across from me. She looks great. If her name was actually Jane I would have sung Sweet Jane.

"Hi, Jane," I say.

She looks at me, squinting her eyes. It takes her a few seconds, but she finally remembers who I am (or at least is very good at pretending she does).

Sweet, Sweet, Jane.

We then talk for a few minutes before enough passengers block our view of each other and we can no longer talk. She's out of my life again. So Jane then smiles and waves goodbye.

"Bye, Jane!"

And I'm very grateful I got the chance to say that.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Jam

You know what I love? When you're driving in a car, and outside you see people walking to the beat of the song you happen to be listening to. Each of their steps is precisely timed with the bass or the snare, it's perfect, and it feels like the whole world is rocking out to your jam.

This Might Not Make Any Sense

This might not make any sense, but I think most of my emotions, stories, and thoughts can be equated to watching two dogs meet for the first time.

I've taken up jogging. When I'm doing my laps, my favorite thing in the world is to watch dogs, whom I'm assuming have never met, run up to each other and introduce themselves.

Dogs, and animals in general, are very funny to me. Obviously, humans have a higher capacity for complex thinking, but I'm still not convinced we're smarter. Animals have an instinct to them, a strange look in their eyes that always makes me think they know something that I can't begin to understand. And besides, is there really anything smarter than taking naps and rolling on your back in a grassy field?

Yup, I thought the same thing.

Meeting people is hysterical; the social etiquette we abide by, the awkwardness. And Dude, dogs are even more hysterical; the most lovable, simple, loyal, creatures this planet has to offer.

So when you watch dogs meet, at least for me, it's an F'n thought explosion! I know this might sound ridiculous, since dogs meeting is basically them sniffing each others butt's and dry humping, but I tell you, there's more to it than meets the eye.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

BYE BYE, CAFE'

Since I'll be switching jobs soon, I've decided to spend my remaining lunch breaks at my current job going to my favorite restaurants (because who the hell knows when I'll be back in this area for lunch).

So today I went to one of my regular spots, had a delicious meal, and wrote this on the check:

"Changing jobs! Really enjoyed coming here for the past 2 years. Thanks!"

And I left a very generous tip.

I then wandered for 20 minutes. On my way back to work, I had to walk past the same restaurant again, and oddly enough saw the waiter who had just served me standing outside taking a cigarette break. He gave me a devilish smile...

"So you're not coming back?" the waiter said.

"Just changing areas of the city," I said. I was hoping to quietly walk by him, but I suppose I was asking for this by leaving the note in the first place.

"That's cool," the waiter said. "Where will you be?"

And I gave him the approximate location.

"Great spot," the waiter said. "Try this restaurant down there..." (And he gave me the name).

"Just as tasty as here," he said. He then nodded, put his cigarette out, and went back inside.

I quietly walked away, knowing I would never see this person again.

But you know what? Oddly enough I had a new pepper in my step, and I stared imagining all the new waiters I would soon meet - the perks of a new job.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Who's The Boss?

There's something funny about meeting a person for the first time, when you already know that person will be a major part of your life.

I'm starting a new job in two weeks, and today I met with the woman who will be my future boss. Although I know nothing about her, she gave me the funniest feeling. She's seems nice enough, and I'm sure she is, but when I stare at her I can't help but imagine all the stories/ thoughts/ emotions I'll soon have due to our relationships - most of which I'll write here.

You see, right now she's just a friendly face asking me to sign papers. But who knows what she'll end up being. Maybe she'll be the biggest pain in the ass I've ever met! Or Maybe she'll be the sweetest person in the world! But either way, she'll be something, and I think that's a wild idea.

To be continued...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Short Story

Little Boy

Daniel walked up the steps of the porch calmly. He stood by the front door, contemplating on whether to knock like a seventh grade boy calling a girl for the first time on the telephone. Without thinking, he finally hit the door three times and waited. Daniel was motionless; feet covered in snow, exhaling steam into the December air. The cold did not to bother Daniel, however. He would have waited for hours.

Finally, after a minute of attempting to blow smoke rings from his mouth, a young woman answered.

"Daniel," she said, surprised to see this person standing on her porch. "What are you doing here?" She then closed the door so only her head could be seen, for she had already changed from her school clothes into comfortable pajama bottoms.

"Oh, hey Emily," Daniel said, very casually, as if they were passing in a hallway of school and this situation was not at all out of the ordinary.

"Hi, Daniel," Emily said.

“Hi, Emily,” Daniel said.

Any plan that Daniel had was now forgotten. He stared at her, frozen, not from the cold, but because he was so taken back.

"I...I just wanted to come and see you," Daniel said.

Emily smiled, only slightly, and opened the door to reveal most of her clothes.

"You don't have to be embarrassed of your pajamas,” Daniel said. “I like reindeer.” Emily laughed and completely opened the door.

"Yeah, my cute Christmas pajamas," Emily said. "I got them a while ago. It's kind of a tradition for me to wear them around this time of year."

"Oh, yeah, that's funny," Daniel said. "Not the pajamas, I mean...You know, that you wear them every year." Daniel’s calm, casual image he tried so hard to maintain was falling into pieces. But Emily continued to laugh. She always laughed with him.

"So, how you doing?" Emily said.

"Pretty good, I guess,” Daniel said.

There was silence.

"Happy photography is over?" Emily said. This is how they met. Daniel and Emily sat next to each other in a photography class for the first half of the year. Here, they would talk about music, film, and their plans for the future. Although Emily was a year younger than Daniel, she had a much better idea of what she wanted in life, something Daniel admired very much. Emily was an artist, eventually planning to study art in college. Often she would sketch in her notebook during their photography class. When she was done, she would show Daniel her drawings, mesmerizing him every time as he got lost in the beauty of her pictures. It was one of the many things he thought was so special about her. Daniel was very shy in school, and everywhere for that matter, and his relationship with Emily was like nothing he ever had.

"Photography? Yeah, I'll miss it," Daniel said. "That was a pretty fun class...Well, actually, no it wasn't, but I had fun talking to you at least."

Emily looked down and smiled. They always did this, giving each other random looks and hitting one another like little kids in the hallway. But now it was different, for this was the first time they had ever seen each other outside of school; horrible timing, due to the fact Emily was moving away in less than a week, leaving their small town forever.

They both knew this could be one of the last times they would ever see each other.

Daniel looked to his side and noticed some boxes that were stacked next to the door, all with different labels.

"So you all set to go?” Daniel said.

"Pretty much," Emily said. "Great Christmas present, huh? Moving away to a new school your junior year of high school."

"I'm sure you'll be fine," Daniel said. "You'll get to be the new kid. Everyone loves the new kid. Have all the guys chase after you."

"Sure, Daniel. Just like they did at this school," Emily said, a little sarcastically.

There was a pause. They continued to stand in the cold, staring into each others eyes. Daniel then finally put his bag down and scratched the side of his head, preparing to say something he had never said to anyone.

"I have a gift for you," Daniel said.

"Really?" Emily said. "You didn't have to do that."

"Just think of it as a Christmas slash going away present," Daniel said.

"Well, thank you," Emily said, in her soft, sweet voice. Daniel then pulled a large sketchbook out of his bag and handed it to her.

"Sorry it's not wrapped," Daniel said. "It kind of takes the surprise away."

"Oh, Daniel," Emily said, holding the sketchbook like it was made out of gold; the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. "Thank you, Daniel. Thank you so much."

"Open the first page," Daniel said. "There's something in there for you.”

Emily turned the cover of the sketchbook. The first page had a picture of them together taken in their photography class. Above the picture was a drawing Daniel made, attempting to copy the picture. Emily saw it and immediately laughed. They always joked about what an awful artist Daniel was. Emily would draw pictures of beautiful skies, portraits, and Daniel would then draw his own pictures, consisting of nothing more than stick figures and birds with smiley faces. They always made Emily smile. Daniel loved making her smile.

“You didn’t have to do this,” Emily said.

"Well, I wanted to,” Daniel said. “The picture is so you never forget me. I mean, I couldn’t let you leave without a picture of us. And the drawing I did was so you never forget how good you are. Because if you ever do, just flip to that page and look at that drawing. I mean, it can't get any worse that." Daniel laughed, and Emily continued to as well.

"I don't know how talented I really am, but I know I’ll never forget you,” Emily said. "I don’t need a picture to remember how special you are."

Once again, silence grew. Not uncomfortable silence, however. Daniel and Emily never felt uncomfortable with each other.

"I have to tell you something,” Daniel said.

"What?" Emily said, staring into his eyes, holding her new sketchbook tightly against her cold body.

"I...I ah,” Daniel said.

“What?” Emily said, now taking a step forward. “What do you have to tell me?”

Daniel smiled and scratched the side of his head. He was still such a little boy.

“You know, I really hated photography,” Daniel said. “I mean, I know some people like it, but I just thought it was really dumb. I would have been out of there in like two days if I didn't have you to talk with."

Emily then burst out laughing; loud enough for her neighbors to hear.

"Really?” Emily said. “Well, thanks. I'm not gonna lie, I kind of liked photography, but you definitely made it more fun for me, too." She continued to laugh. Emily expected something profound, which Daniel wished he could have said; but although a senior, a young man who was about to go to college and face the world, he still was not ready for the many things this world had to offer.

"Yeah, seriously," Daniel said. "I thought photography was awful. Kind of like your reindeer pajamas."

He then playfully hit Emily on the arm.

"Hey, watch it!” Emily said. “My pajamas are a lot better then your picture at least.” She laughed, looking at Daniel still standing in the snow.

"You want to come inside for a while, maybe watch a movie or something?" Emily said.

"Yeah, that'd be great," Daniel said, trying not to sound too excited. Daniel then lifted his bag and began walking closer to the door. Emily was still. She stood in the doorway and continued to stare into his eyes. Silence grew. Emily was not a child, and unlike Daniel was ready for the many things this world had to offer.

"You didn't come her just to say hi, did you?” Emily said.

Daniel began to stutter, as he often did when he was nervous.

“Stop it, Daniel,” Emily said. “Look at me and stop thinking. What do you feel?”

Daniel stared into her eyes.

“You have no idea how much I love you,” Daniel said. He paused, then slowly raised his hand to touch Emily’s now cold and red cheek.

“Trust me, Daniel. I do.”

The young woman leaned in and kissed the little boy softly. Daniel was motionless, with his hand still resting on her cheek, stroking her skin and moving his fingers from the top of her face to the bottom. He was mesmerized by Emily. Just like one of her pictures.

The two teenagers remained on the porch, holding each other in the cold December air. Two people that for one moment put the rest of the world on pause and existed only with each other.

“Are you cold?” Emily said. “Do you want to go inside?”

Daniel smiled. “I forgot we were outside.”

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Great Dog

The other day I was cruising the internet looking at pictures of an old high school friend. In one of the pictures, a very current one, he was sitting on a porch with his dog.

Now I wasn't surprised to see that my friend had aged, it happens, but for whatever reason I was very taken aback to see that his dog, whom I had known since she was a puppy, was now looking very old and worn.

It's obvious people age, we have to, but sometimes I forget that animals do the same thing. It's like I expect them to forever stay in that cute, innocent phase while the rest of the world continues to grow and die.

I remember being 16. I would play with that puppy, squeal, and rub her belly so fast that she would eventually pee herself due to the excitement.

What a great dog.

A Letter

Dear Friends,

I have a story to tell you. Two weeks ago I threatened to kill someone on the side of the street. Allow me to explain.

I was building shelves in my apartment. Actually, I was stacking shelves. Cinder blocks, then wood, then more cinder blocks, then more wood. Not the most complicated carpentry. So it's the middle of the day, a scorcher, and I'm carrying a cinder block down my street (naturally there were no places to double park by my apartment, leaving me to drag block after block like a little worker ant).

So I'm carrying my last block. I'm dripping, sore, and overall very agitated due to the heavy amount of lifting I'm doing on a hot summer day. Basically, now's not the time to test me. And that's when I see them...

A group of white kids in their early 20's. Now I hate to have race play a prominent part of this story, but unfortunately it must. My neighborhood is mostly Dominican, you see. And my street is practically all Dominican. Although this has never caused a problem, for my neighbors have always been very sweet and kind, I still sometimes wonder if they resent my presence.

Back to the story...

So I'm caring the cinder block and I see the group of white kids. They're dressed very silly. No, not like hipsters, just very silly. And I'm not here to judge people's fashion, mind you, but I will say that after living in my area for over a year, I'm guilty of resenting these particular people for moving to the neighborhood.

And with my hefty cinder block I now waddle in between them. That's when one of the girls, the silliest one of all, scoffs at me. It's a scoff that says, "Excuse me, don't come near me with that thingy you're carrying!" And then she proceeds to look at her other silly friends and laugh.

Did I mention this wasn't a good time to test me?

So instead of continuing on my way, I put the cinder block down, shake some sweat of my body, and say this:

"Well, how about you get out of my fucking way or throw this at your head."

I don't know where this came from. I'm not a violent person; never even been in a real fight, but something about these kids really set me off, and after my harsh words their scoffs and laughs quickly turned into them scurrying down the street with their silly clothes dangling in the sun behind them.

And that's when I noticed my neighbors. This whole scene had taken place in front of a dozen people just sitting on their porch, and above them about a dozen more people sticking their heads out of their windows. They're just staring at me - at my tired body and my heavy cinder block. And then, amazingly enough, everyone starts to clap. They're all speaking in a language I unfortunately don't understand, but by their cheering and body language it's obvious I'm getting a standing ovation. So after a moment of catching my breath, I just smile back, share a giggle, and continue to my apartment.

Now I'm not proud of yelling at that group of white kids. Honestly, I'm a little embarrassed to have snapped so easily. But you know what? If threatening a cinder block to the head is what wins my neighborhood over, then I'm happy to line my apartment with fresh, new shelves.

Love,
Sean

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Boom.

I heard two things this weekend - Separate, they're just nice thoughts. Together, they blow my mind.

Thing #1

"Fireworks are the most beautiful creation in the world."

Thing #2

"When you close your eyes, you can still see the fireworks."

Now I don't know what it is, but I love these. Something about being able to see the most beautiful creation in the world with your eyes closed really gets to me.

There should be more of that.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"You're only Irish from the feet down!"

The other night I got inebriated and spent sometime staring at my feet. Man, feet are funny! More importantly, I started noticing that my own feet are beginning to resemble my father's feet. It's like I'm transforming into my old man from the ground up. And that's okay, I guess. But now I'm wondering when my calves will start looking like my dads. You think that will happen?

We all turn into our parents; I think it's impossible not to. But as I'm getting older I'm starting to realize it can happen in ways you may have never thought possible. So get ready, Buddy.

And you know what else? My father has hobbit feet. Yup. And I thought they were hysterical when I was a kid.

Monday, July 5, 2010

JRT

I heard many memorable things this weekend, this being one of the best:

"It's as tender as the night is long."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

New Short Story

Red Sweater

It was Christmas time, which meant one of many things at the Harding house; red and blue lights neatly decorated the shutters hiding the dead leaves of fall.

Scot Harding, twenty seven, dressed warmly and with a multicolored scarf wrapped around his neck, stood on the front porch holding two large bags of presents. He was motionless, letting the snow puddle on his recently cleaned jacket as he simply stared to the front door.

“It’s your house,” Ruth said. “You going to knock, or go in?” Scott turned. Ruth stood two feet behind him. Her face was wrapped up in a scarf, a solid black, and her jacket was so thick it made it difficult to see what she actually looked like. Scott then smiled and kissed the top of Ruth’s left cheek, the only exposed skin he could find. He knocked on the door.

Inside, three small children ran to Scott and grabbed hold of his legs.

“Uncle Scott!” they all said, and they jumped up and down, trying to reach the bags of presents now held high above their heads.

“Not until tomorrow, little munchkins,” Scott said. And they laughed and yelled and continued to run in circles. One of the children, a little girl who was clearly the oldest, slowly walked to Ruth, one tiny step after the other.

“Hi, Ruth,” the little girl said. And there was silence. Ruth unwrapped her scarf, exposing her tanned skin and sharp features. She then bent down and lifted the little girl up into her arms.

“Well, the prince is home!” Scott's father said, now walking to the front door. He was bald, with a similar figure to Scott, once you added thirty pounds. He hugged Scott, and then kissed Ruth on her left cheek.

“You’re the last ones,” the father said. He then patted his round belly, covered with a red sweater, the same sweater he wore every Christmas.

In the living room, more people spread out on fluffy couches and chairs, forming a neat circle around a large Christmas tree and fire place. When Scott and Ruth entered, however, everyone stood. They clapped, smiled, and gave either a handshake or kiss.

“The artist is home!” Scott’s older brother said, and he patted Scott’s back. He too wore a red sweater.

With that, babies cried, children laughed, and adults talked, forming a cloud of sound that settled on top of the room. Scott simply smiled and looked all around. A fire blazed, giving warmth to the house, the Christmas tree flickered, and over a dozen handmade stockings covered with intricate designs of stars and snowflakes hung from a nearby shelf. On top of the shelf were pictures, all of which were of the family in this room. Some of the pictures were from Christmas’s before this, with the same people smiling and kissing and shaking hands like they were doing today.

A camera flash went off in the background.

“Is that my baby?” a voice said. Scott turned and saw his mother standing in the doorway of the kitchen. He had seen her in this exact position so many times in his life; only her age kept changing.

Scott walked to her. The room became quiet, and even the babies knew to stop crying. Ruth stood next to Scott’s father, watching every move.

“Hi, Mom,” Scott said, and they slowly hugged. The mother’s face now rested against Scott’s chest, for she was more than a foot shorter than him. She then looked up, smiled, and wiped a tear from her right cheek.

“I knew you’d be wearing the scarf I made,” she said.


Dinner was served in the dining room, which was reserved for occasion only such as this. Christmas plates and Christmas cups were at each place setting, filled with beautiful food and drinks enjoyed by the entire family, tightly packed into the large room.

Scott sat next to Ruth in the middle of the table, surrounded by children. Scott’s mother sat directly across from Scott, smiling, silently listening to the conversations. And Scott’s father was at the head, continually chewing his food and nodding his bald head.

“They just don’t understand the process,” Scott’s brother said, sitting just to the right of his father. “Brokers and agents do the same type of work, but brokers are licensed, they manage their own estates. Agents have to work with brokers. They provide their services on a contract.”

Scott’s father chewed his food and nodded his bald head.

“So the broker pays the agent a portion of the commission earned from the sale,” Scott’s sister in-law said. She had a baby on her lap, which she fed with a bottle as she occasionally ate and added sporadic bits of a dialogue.

“Just move back from across town,” Scott’s sister said. “That’s all we care about real estate.” She too had a baby on her lap.

“We’re only 50 minutes away,” Scott’s brother said.

“Yeah, but that baby is going to need cousins to play with soon,” Scott’s sister said. “You want to drive 50 minutes back and forth for play dates?” The children then laughed and made messes of their food, while Scott’s mother smiled and stared all around the table, at each of her children and grandchildren.

“I want more monster paintings!” one of Scott’s nephews said, covered with red spaghetti sauce. Turkey was served for dinner, but the children each had special meals based on their very specific taste restrictions.

“A monster painting?” Scott’s sister said.

“Like the one Uncle Scott made!” Scott’s nephew said. “I want a new one with new monsters!”

And the children laughed louder. They raised their arms, yelled, and a baby started to cry.

“Well, Uncle,” Scott’s sister said. “Could we get another masterpiece?”

“Of course,” Scott’s mother said. “Scott can paint anything! It’s always perfect.” She smiled, blushed, and Ruth took hold of Scott’s hand.

“How’s all that stuff going, anyway,” Scott’s brother said. “The…painting?”

“Wonderful, I’m sure,” Scott’s mother said. “Every time people come over they say how amazing your work is.”

Scott’s brother smiled. He looked at his wife and nodded his head, which was beginning to bald just like his fathers. Everyone was now quiet, waiting for Scott to speak, who took a large sip of water from his Christmas cup and awkwardly smiled.

“Everything is the best it’s ever been,” Scott said. The mother sighed, and Scott moved Ruth’s hand up to the table, showing everyone that he was holding it.

“Well, I was going to wait for tomorrow,” Scott said. “But…” And there was a long pause. He stared at Ruth. Scott’s mother closed her eyes.

“I’m pregnant,” Ruth said, and after the shortest pause imaginable, everyone cheered. More handshakes and more kisses. The women, still holding their babies, quickly moved to Ruth and began asking dozens of questions and staring at her belly, one of the few appropriate times to ever do this. And the men all moved to Scott and firmly shook his hand, which is what men always did in situations like this.

“When did you find out?” Scott’s father said to the room.

“Just three weeks ago,” Ruth said. “We wanted to tell everyone together.” And there was more celebrating. The long table was now empty, covered with half eaten food.

“Good for you, little brother,” Scott’s brother said. “This is what you needed.” He patted Scott’s back and then walked over to Ruth. Everyone now surrounded her, allowing Scott to stare at his entire family, at all the familiar faces he had watched age over the years. And it was then he noticed his mother was gone, the only person not celebrating. Scott slowly backed away from the room, letting the cheers echo behind him, until he reached the living room and saw his mother sitting alone on a fluffy couch. She wasn’t staring at the Christmas tree or fire place, however, but at a large painting Scott had given her six years earlier, which hung on a side wall.

“Mom?” Scott said.

And she was silent, completely still, continuing to look up at the painting.

“Are you okay, Mom?” More silence. Scott moved to her side and saw her face, expressionless like the dead.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Scott said. He paused. He stared back and forth between his mother and the hallway leading back to the dining room. “But I’m going to start taking classes again,” Scott said. “I’ll find something better to take care of us.”

Scott moved closer, though he never sat down. “And I’ve already been saving for a ring.”

Scott’s mother suddenly sighed. She smiled, but kept facing the painting, listening to the familiar cheers still playing in the background.

“You were supposed to be different,” the mother said.

And there was a pause. Scott opened his mouth, but only exhaled. He then stared out of a side window, at another house in the distance with blue and red lights neatly decorating its shutters.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Month/ New Book

So I've started writing a new book! (Well, I stared seven months ago...Exciting, I know). Anyway, I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of the month, so I thought now would be a good time to share the first few pages. Because...why the hell not!?!? Enjoy the weekend!


Mordecai, Jim

I kissed my palm and placed it against the metal of the plane.

“Thank you for flying with us,” a stewardess said. She watched me lower my hand and then scratch the back of my freshly shaved head. She smiled, and I noticed her lipstick was pink, not a typical red.

“It’s superstition,” I said. “Always kiss the plane when you get off.”

The stewardess laughed, and her large breasts shook.

“Lucky plane.”

I walked down the runway. People passed me on both sides and brushed against my body and my large duffle bag. Anywhere else it would feel uncomfortable to make this much physical contact with complete strangers, but here it felt oddly safe to do so, and I slowed my pace.

“You kill people,” a voice said. I looked down and saw a boy no older than five years old, or at least I thought. He looked up, but I only saw part of his face due to an oversized baseball cap that hung loose around his scalp.

“Thomas,” a woman said. She lifted the boy and forced his face into her neck.

“I’m sorry. It’s just the news.” She waited for my response, and I exhaled and stopped walking, causing a small clutter of traffic to form behind me as the woman walked into the distance holding her boy.

When I reached the airport I expected to watch dozens of travelers reunite with loved ones. A husband away on business kisses his wife, a daughter away in the Peace Corps hugs her father, but there was nothing. Airport security no longer allows passengers to greet the outside world when they first exit their plane, leaving the light at the end of the runway tunnel to be more human traffic.

I took a step forward. My duffle bag felt heavy.

Two hours later I stood fifteen yards away from x-ray machines and metal detectors. On the other side of them was a place I knew nothing about, and more importantly had no security constantly patrolling on makeshift golf carts to assure my safety. I watched people exit the airport and people enter. For the people entering, they took off their shoes, their belts, and anything else that could possibly cause a threat. For the people exiting, they left with no inspection.

I scratched the back of my freshly shaved head.

“Hey,” a voice said. “You in the army?”

I turned and saw a man sitting at a table outside of a bar. His placement made him seem disconnected to the other drinkers lined up on their stools, but he clearly belonged.

“Not officially,” I said. And I looked down at my camouflage pants and grey t-shirt. The word ARMY was written across it in large, capital letters.

The man smiled.

“Want to join me?”

“I’m waiting for someone.”

“You’ve been waiting for an hour.”

“You’ve been watching me?”

“I’ve been watching you.”

And the man sipped his drink, light brown liquid with three ice cubes bobbing up and down, fighting with one another to stay afloat.

“What are you worried about?” the man said. “No one has weapons here.”

He stood and I fully saw his maroon suit and large red bow tie. The outfit was clean, but worn, making it difficult to tell whether he was old fashioned, rich, or off. I walked closer to his table, and then turned back to security.

Dozens of beltless people, men with guns.

“This isn’t a small town, no one’s going to peak over the crowd and greet you…unless maybe it’s a girl.”

I remained still, and I watched an old woman have the outside of her upper left thigh rubbed after three failed attempts of passing through the metal detector.

“No girl,” I said. And behind me I felt a smile. I felt sweat bubble up on my arms, and I heard a chair slide away from the man’s table.


I sat and held my hands together. I had nowhere else to put them.

“A drink?”

“I’m fine.”

“If you don’t want a drink, then why did you sit down?”

The man raised his arm and winked. I was unsure what these gestures meant, but regardless a waiter soon came with a glass of light brown liquid. He slid it towards me, leaving a wet line that clearly divided the table.

“Would you rather a beer?”

“This is fine.”

“Knew you were a classy kid.”

And the man smiled and swallowed his drink whole, taking him less than two seconds. He emptied the ice cubes into his mouth and sucked his cheeks in, squeezing his lips to a bright red, not a typical pink.

“So, how old are you? Twenty five or twenty six?”

“Twenty four.”

He laughed and tilted his face up, revealing his large Adam’s apple, dancing with each breath.

“And how old are you?”

“How old do you think?”

“I’m bad with ages, don’t want to insult you.”

“If you’re bad, then guess.”

The man smiled and rested his chin on the bridge of his two connecting hands. He leaned in and I tightly gripped my glass; light brown liquid with no ice cubes.

I turned. At the bar was a woman with a large plate of nachos in front of her. She wasn’t eating her food, just staring down at it. By the men’s bathroom was a janitor. He bent down, picked up a dollar bill, and cautiously put it into his pocket. And on a nearby chair, right next to the man’s chair, was a bag with a red belt resting on it.

I paused.

“Why didn’t you put your belt back on?”

“My belt?”

I gestured at the chair.

“After you went through security, why didn’t you put it back on?”

“I did.”

“Then why is it on your bag?”

“Because I took it off again.”

The man bit down his teeth, and I heard an ice cube crush inside of his mouth.

“I’m forty seven years old, you know. Four dash seven, and I’ve been flying my whole life. Been on six continents, thirty five countries, and have flown around the earth probably a dozen times if you add the miles.”

A small bead of sweat formed on the man’s cheek. He quickly wiped it away.

“But you still don’t like flying?”

“Classy kid.”

And the man squirmed in his chair, noticing security and random people aimlessly moving by. Still no travelers reuniting with their loved ones, just traffic and traffic.

“I love flying,” I said. “People like saying how screwed up everything is, but when you’re in a plane it shows we can do something right.”

The man opened his mouth, yawning, a silent scream, and I separated my hands.

“Sitting in a chair thousands of feet in the sky.”

“So you’re an optimist?”

“I just like flying.”

And I took my first sip, closed my eyes, and felt light brown liquid burn my throat and kill any words trying to escape past my clenched teeth. I reopened them and the man leaned into the table, much closer than before. He reached for my glass and swallowed the liquid whole, taking him less than one second.

“Always need to drink before I get on the plane.”

“Superstition,” I said. And the man was silent. He raised his arm and flicked his wrist, more gestures I didn’t understand, and a waiter came over holding another drink. The man aggressively took it, causing it to spill on his hands and suit, which he licked off, absorbing every lost drop back into his body. He then stared at me.

“You know that feeling you get when you lean back in your chair,” the man said. “And you almost fall over but you catch yourself right before you tip.” He leaned back. “That’s what flying makes me feel like.”

The man raised his glass, saluting nothing, and he admired a drop of liquid sliding down to his fingers.

“But this makes it better. Instead of making me feel like I’m about to fall, I just feel like I’m already falling, and falling isn’t scary. Standing on the edge of a cliff is scary. Flying in a plane is scary. But if you can find something that makes everything seem like it’s already falling, then nothing is falling. Get it?”

I scratched the back of my freshly shaved head. The man wobbled.

“Like if I jump off a building, but everything around me jumps off too and is falling at the same speed, than nothing is going down. If everything is together, then everything is still. No place to crash.” Sweat layered on the man’s forehead, and he leaned back farther, allowing me to see the inside of his suit jacket.

There were brown stains on the inside.

“Alcohol makes you feel like that?”

“Alcohol!” The man leaned forward, causing the chair to hit the ground with a bang. People at the bar stared in our direction, and fifteen feet away a security guard drove by on a makeshift golf cart.

“You think alcohol can do that? Make you feel that good?” The man wiped his forehead, laughed, and panted. He hit his hands on the table, hard enough so my glass danced with each blow. He then raised his arm, much higher than the previous times, and leaned in so our faces were only inches apart. He smiled, and then slowly brought his hand down, whistling, making it seem like a falling bomb; a falling plane. When his hand touched the table he shook and made explosion noises, which quickly turned into uncontrollable laughter. Thicker beads of sweat now layered his forehead and cheeks, growing larger and dripping to his red bow tie.

“Security isn’t that good here,” the man said. “Trust me!”

I quickly stood and knocked over my chair. I picked up my duffle bag and walked to the exit, to the x-ray machines, to the metal detectors, and to an unknown world. Though with each step I still heard the man’s laughter and screams that echoed off my back.

“Usually I would have put my hand on your thigh. But you’re too cute. With a head like a fresh, green grape!”