Souji didn't have his phone, so he had no idea how long he'd been sitting under the tree. He drew his knees to his still-aching chest and rested his chin on them, staring out into the darkness in the direction Yosuke had run.
(more) He wasn't sure what he was waiting for. Maybe Yosuke was just standing out there in the parking lot, expecting Souji to chase after him. Maybe the phone thing had been a bluff -- a bluff for what, Souji couldn't decide. At the same time, he couldn't picture Yosuke coming back, because there wasn't anything left for him to say. Dimly, he replayed the entire series of events in his head; it was something he'd gotten good at, an important skill for making friends, solving mysteries, and dealing with murderers. He realized Yosuke had never answered the question of whether he wanted to turn Souji in.
He passed the time by extrapolating all of the possible conclusions to this evening. None of them involved Yosuke coming back. All of them were bad.
Souji stood up, brushed the dirt off his pants, and walked home alone.
Coming back to the Dojimas' empty house reminded him of last year's November, of Nanako in a hospital bed just like the one she currently occupied, of Dojima with bandages circling his head and waist, of Souji and his friends huddled together in the waiting room. Of Adachi, standing with Souji in Dojima's room, whispering reassurances, brushing fingertips over Souji's hand, his touch like the feet of a dragonfly.
Going upstairs felt like too much. He warmed a mug of tea in the microwave and sat at the kitchen table, staring into the water and wishing he could read the leaves.
The next morning, he found his phone in the mailbox.(less)
"Well, if I want to launch a modeling career, I will. Who's going to stop me?" Holly says.
"What about the media?" Miggs replies over the phone.
"When has the media ever been of any concern to us? And they don't give a shit. Someone making their(more) way up through networking or by sleeping with a powerful executive is the oldest success story in the book. I'll look bad if I don't help him. They'll think that I'm not powerful enough to make someone's career all by myself."
"Okay. So this guy is going to be the showstopper tomorrow?"
"Do you still have a problem with it?"
"No. I can only advise you. All of your decisions are yours to make."
"Good. Call the director of the Fashion Week and tell him what I said. Also give something to the media. Off the record. Something on the lines of "Upcoming model being aggressively promoted by Industry bigwig.""
"Got it. Anything else?"
"Call the guy and set up a meeting for day after tomorrow. And tell my husband that I'm going to be late today. Tell him I'm banging the dude from the Levi's commercial."
"Is that it?"
"Yes. Wake me up at 6, tomorrow morning."
"Good night, boss."
Holly puts his phone down and settles in front of the TV, remote controller in hand. She starts switching channels to see if anything catches his interest. Sitting alone in the room, with nobody coming despite what she said to his secretary, Holly desperately seeks a nice distraction. But even this boring, empty night alone is better than going back home, she thinks. Especially because the man she has just decided to help is her illegitimate son and her "real" family will never forgive her if they find out about him.
"No", she said.
"No?" he asked.
"No. I won't do it"
"I don't want to"
(more) "I can't" she said, something indistinguishable inside her bubbling its way out of her in a volley of excuses.
"You can", he cupped her scapula with his warm, firm hand, "You know you can."
She slunk into herself. It had been so long since she believed she could. So long since she had decided to believe, to do, to win against herself. To not fear.
So long, but not too long. She knew it better than she would admit; you can't really stumble onto happiness -- unless you decide to live everyday like you already are.(less)
the thing about the white american is that (s)he doesnt have any connection to the old world where old spirits and the old voices of the trees and stones hold more sway over your daily routine than the fleeting desires that keep boiling over inside of the individual human(more) body. and thats a damn shame. more often than not, its a damn offense, but the tea is still steeping and we dont want to get too upset this early in the morning, now do we?
whats it like to not have a grid for magical realism as an actual aspect of reality - as so much more than just a literary genre? i wonder about it sometimes. true names and real names, do they understand what those are? are they really so vain as to think that the lines in the stars and the lines in the sand and the weight of the tides are simply results of gravitational pulls in every which way and the wholly understandable interaction of elements? and here i mean elements in the civilian sense: little building blocks of things we are capable of understanding. it really bothers me; what is life like on that side?
two school shootings in the same small town. no change to the menu at our local diner, though. america the beautiful.
i am an ant crawling along the cracks in the sidewalk and i will always be aware that there are gargantuan shoes thundering above and about me, but they will never reach me here in the cracks; a highway for the invisible and the silent. we can get anywhere.
three black birds skitter along the neighbors driveway; they move in the most robotic, twitchy fashion. one day they will snap; the rapid twists and turns cost a lot.(less)
"What the fuck is happening?" I scream as I frantically try to maneuver the car away from the hale of bullets coming from behind us. A man in a beat up Mini Cooper just opened fire on us with a machine gun.
(more) "Keep driving. If we stop, we're dead." says Keith, who's sitting next to me.
A bullet shatters the rear view mirror on my side.
"Don't worry. We'll probably be dead long before they catch us." Why am I being snarky? This is no way to handle a car chase.
At this point, my rear windshield is gone, and the car has taken heavy damage. I try to swerve around a motorcycle and accidentally hit its front tire. The rider falls down and I see the Mini Cooper trample him over.
"Do you have a gun?" Keith yells at me.
"No, idiot. I don't have a gun. Who do I look like? Jason Bourne?"
Keith looks behind at the Mini Cooper and then he looks at me. Then he opens the door and jumps out of the car. I would call him names but he's already gone. Thankfully, the driver in the Mini Cooper is not very good, nor the shooter very sharp, or else I would have been dead 5 minutes ago.
What's weird is, that gun probably spews a 100 rounds per minute, and I've never been more than a shitty driver. So why am I still driving?
"Stop, right now." a voice echoes in my head. "They don't want to kill you. If you stop, they'll stop."
"Because they feed on your adrenaline, and if you deny them, they'll go away."
"Trust me, I'll explain everything."
I hit the brakes. Let's hope that the voice in my head is not my schizophrenia talking.(less)
Lay down something fluffy and green, a nest to prop up a humble portion of grain-fed protein chunks (medium, rare, welldone - YOU have the say. You certainly did not come here with an appetite....did you?)
Piled on top of that, another cap of greens. Hand-pulled herbs, maybe. Some nod to the chef who takes a paternalistic interest in your own particular meal.
Bite, swallow, churn. Turn into shit. "Feces." A word like a stained lace tablecloth. Straining over the toilet, alone, no date left to impress, your good clothes put away, a cold bed. Only the white reverberant walls of your bathroom left as you uh uh uh.
Dinner accompanied by a bottle of wine. 300% markup. Pretend not to be offended. This is luxury This is "the life."
Hand-churned "seasonal" ice cream dessert, afterward. When did ice cream come to this.
Life is so empty except for what you spend to fill it. Ask her, what will she do to make it up to you. You hardly even mean it. Mind already racing on ahead.
You watched her re-apply lipstick all night long. What for?
Drinks, dinner, slothful fats. Chewing on ice cubes, on underdone meat. This sense of waiting. It never ends until it is over. (less)
Vanity makes you think of beauty and the preoccupation with it: namely, when it's your own.
People never think of the opposite: ugliness. How ugly people are the most vain. Instead we associate vanity with bright eyes, white teeth, the ease of belonging, and long legs. But beautiful(more) people already pass the test.
Vanity means: producing no result. Pointless. Yet we don't pin vanity to ugly people. Those who spend time looking in the mirror for something that will never be there.
I recall the first time I learned the meaning of the word. Our teacher explained it on the day we learned homonyms.
Hair, hare. Do, dew. Vein, vain.
The teacher was Mrs. Rada and her style of teaching was to read from a book while seated, casting occasional sidelong looks at the classroom like she did not expect us to follow.
Mrs. Rada was a Quebecois woman who dressed like a Parisienne. Gold-toned high-heels and soft fabrics, bright make-up that made her jowly soft face into something luxurious. To me, at age 8, with ugly clothes and a ragged home life, beauty was synonymous with luxury. Break her down piece-by-piece and Mrs. Rada was not beautiful at all but she had an air of distinction and an expensive fragrance rustled within her clothes. She was unassailable, thus beautiful. Someone who couldn't be reached by tentacles of fear, of dirt. The type of woman who if I stood beside her, I smelled myself. Little-girl-no-account-dirt. Woodsmoke and the dusty leatherette of schoolbus seats.
It was vanity to expect a different life, to envy luxury and to notice the inexplicable gleam of a teacher's gold shoes that surely cost more than groceries.
I would never get to where I wanted to go. Vanity was in noticing this fact.(less)
--or so my mother would have me believe, given all the times she deigned my attire "inappropriate", a "distraction" to everyone else.
This coming from an actress who thrives on being the center of attention.
I started to wonder if she was afraid I wanted to "steal(more) the show". As if me being comfortable in my own chosen ensemble would take away from her socializing. As if I dressed to impress other people.
Whatever the reason, I don't care. I do care about being forced to change. Don't encourage me to be creative, then tell me not to exercise it.(less)
sinkholes appear in the city that is inside of me and they swallow the empty streets and dusty grey buildings with admirable efficiency. the sky stretches for an eternity but the weather is always the same: a perpetual chance of thunderstorms, though they never happen. one by one the(more) patches of city disappear into the sand beneath them, slipping out of existence without a sound. eventually the city becomes a perfect crater, and the old goats and skinny deer that come to rest inside of it unknowingly tread upon the remains of a godless civilization.
ive come to know the house well enough to be able to discern what exact location produces what exact noise and it is with this skill that i stalk, like a small jungle cat (not quite a leopard or jaguar), the silent places where i know i will not have to run into my father. i step lightly and stare at blank walls while i strain my ears to get a better read on his exact location and his trajectory that i might steer clear of his path and avoid that terrible moment where we meet eyes and have no words for the gnawing distance between us that grows with a menacing silence and threatening speed.
aliens came to earth to tell my brother that ghosts are real and he needed that so badly since no one on the planet was willing to admit it.
sometimes my dog lies on the ground for hours, wholly immobile, not tempted by treats or words or loud noises. she lies there and knows that she must serve as a kind of lid for the invisible holes in the ground through which bad vibes leak into this world and she does her duty diligently, without words or a care. (less)
vaneity of vanities
all is vaneity
cock spinning flirtatiously
in the rooftop's wind
i spelled something wrong
(more) forgive me
i referenced the bible
and you censored my high school student film
the dinger dings
and your toast is burnt
you can't fold the paper right
it's a match
you verses the LA Times
distracted you burn your toast
the kettle kettles
it's not there until
the mountain of its crescendo
the paper goes unfolded
and you pour the water on your hand
contemplating the ruined toast
missing the cup
vanity of vanities
all is vane
spinning in the wind
as you cool your soft red hand
in the faucet
and your shirt is wet
from leaning on the sink
you look out the window
watch that spinning weather vane
"it's windy today"(less)
The darkness soothed him in ways he could not put into words, only feel deep within his consciousness and spreading throughout his body. It was both cool and warm, rejuvenating and grounding, heightening his senses even as he lulled into slumber.
The cit(more)y was loud, even at the witching hour. He passed quietly in shadows of buildings, just as tired as the mortals coming and going from graveyard shifts. A fog lingered in the dawn, and he felt himself slowing down even further. He must've come short at some point; the paper boy at the corner called out to him.
"Aye, sir?" A spry youth, one who could out-maneuver any pursuers. He shook his head. The boy approached. "What for, sir?" His voice--though still high--was quiet, secretive, but his barely-contained grin betrayed his excitement.
"...It's almost dawn..."
"Aye, sir. St. Lilio's church is just there." The boy pointed out to the left. "When day breaks and you can't be found, all are welcome there." His eyes followed the direction--beyond that he knew was his true destination, judging by the sound of the sea--then returned to the boy.
"Many thanks, my child." He clammed up, but didn't bolt when the pale hand cupped the back of his head. His lips pressed softly to his brow not covered by the signature cap, and he released him just as quickly. "Neither night nor day show you harm."
"A-aye, sir." He was rubbing the spot reflexively, as if there would be a mark.
His shadows quivered, shuddering beneath his steps until they delved out of reach of the light. Dawn washed over him as he continued on, and felt his true strength returning. The light soothed him in ways he could not describe...
Gotou's mouth was on his hand – he kissed slowly from Masayoshi's wrist to his palm. Masayoshi blushed scarlet as Gotou traced across the inside of his hand to his knuckles, kissing each slowly in turn. They were bruised and healing still, the skin rough but Gotou's lips were(more) not. Masayoshi watched him, eyes wide and silent, the breath thudding out of his lungs as Gotou hesitated, and then very tenderly kissed the ring Masayoshi wore.
“Never in a million years,” Gotou breathed, staring at Masayoshi's hand. “Would I have imagined marrying you.”
Masayoshi inhaled those words and almost choked on them. Gotou's eyes flickered up to his face and saw the damage done before Masayoshi could fully digest them. “I'm so glad I did, 'yoshi,” Gotou said. He rested his other hand on Masayoshi's knee and squeezed it. “You saved me. Do you understand that?”
“Gotou-san,” Masayoshi whispered. Gotou tugged Masayoshi forward, off the edge of the bed and into his arms. Masayoshi buried his face in Gotou's shoulder, digging his fingers into his back. He smelled of warmth and just a hint of stale smoke, like Gotou was supposed to smell. Gotou rubbed his back encouragingly, and Masayoshi sighed into his neck. “I love you, Gotou-san.”
“I love you too,” Gotou murmured, his hand tracing up Masayoshi's back until it firmly cradled his head. Masayoshi blinked a little when Gotou tilted him back - but then he was kissing Masayoshi, his mouth over Masayoshi's own, hot and familiar and it was all he could do not to groan in satisfaction.
He did grind down into Gotou's lap, though - and Gotou laughed, breaking away from Masayoshi to grin. "Mine," he rumbled, hands dragging down Masayoshi's back to grip his ass and shift him forward.
there are stupid things to say
but in your
heart soul lifeblood true self holy guardian angel
i'm looking for laughter
my eyes aren't very good
so i wouldn't deny myself a peep
i'm looking for religion
i'm a twenty year old seeker
i hate religion
because i can't laugh at christ
i sense with my ascension
i should give the proper attention to
the raging drunk monkey
at the foot of this poem
he angers us all
he'll fuck up the sensational
of worship and light
and careful prayer
saying stupid things
the drunk monkey screams at me
we scream at each other stupid things
when i laugh
and it is hearty
it is hard to speak(less)
"so, working here, you're not like, a coffee snob, are you?"
aiden glanced back at the barista who just took over verbena's shift, who meticulously measured beans before putting them into the grinder.
"no, that's just quinn," she said, a tinge of annoyance coming through with her(more) laugh. "he's anal retentive, to put it lightly. but, yeah, to a degree i suppose. i boycott starbucks' brown-dyed piss and have a preference, but its not as if i have a holier-than-thou barista complex."
aiden eyed the boy behind the counter as he re-measured the coffee after scooping it out of the grinder, his hands shaking. "and you guys get free coffee? he clearly needs to lay off it"
"shifts are long enough to merit it. though he's been cut off before." she jerked her chin at quinn who was sipping away.
"so, what's the worst cup you've ever had?"
"hm." verbena paused, looked at the ceiling. she closed her eyes. "probably when my grandmother made it. when her mind went, so did her ability to count. i swear she made me coffee once with a six to one ratio. it poured like tar and didn't even change color when i put cream in it."
aiden blinked. "wait, weren't you eight when she was alive at the oldest?"
"a mature eight." verbena laughed again, clearer. "well, coffee is part of a plant. and anything that was minimally processed after being derived from the earth was okay in her book. pretty sure she smoked back in the day; there were cannabis books on her shelf."
she lapsed into silence, then. the murmur of conversation droned on as verbena kept her head tilted towards the florescent lights, forming shadows that made her look exhausted. aiden placed his hand over hers, and squeezed. (less)