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


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.


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


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


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


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.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010


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


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!”