It's not so much her inflection when she says it as much as her obvious outright desire to wound, which could be found not so much in the face as much as in the awkward shape of her body, all extended and ensnarled. Still, there is an inflection, and(more) while weak in comparison to the shape of the shadow she's making in the hard lamp light behind her, if I had to explain what I'd heard to a culture that never developed a spoken language I would say, "ta-kkkh" and they would understand what I mean. (less)
Did you know that if you search "candle wax" in Google Images, then go to the 666th page, you'll see yourself? Always, no matter what. It's like those math problems where you choose a number and then divide and multiply by all this stuff and always end up at(more) 44. I'll wait while you try it. Go ahead. Freaky, right? It shows up even if you don't have a Facebook, or twitter, or anything. It shows up even if you've eschewed photos of yourself, if you believe photos taken of you steal pieces of your soul, if you've lived in a cave your entire life until the moment you make the search. Somehow, there you are with a slight smile, or a slight frown, depending on your general temperament. Now go to the next page. There's exactly what you are thinking of. But not on the surface, that'd just be a picture of Google Images. It's what you're thinking of without you even knowing it's something you're thinking about, like the outside mechanics of an elevator while you're inside. You know idea you're moving, and you know there's machinery at work, but it's all kinda vague and unknowable exactly what's happening. Go try. There's your dinner, or your boyfriend. Your upcoming test. A picture of you, just skinnier. I used to like Google's little easter eggs. I googled "do a barrel roll" a bunch. Now I'm starting to think they'recreepy. Because here's the thing, and I don't know how it works, but I know that I was getting different responses on the 667th page. But now it's just filled with the Google logo. That keeps happening to my friends, too. I don't know what it means, but I'm sure it's not good. I better Google it. (less)
i was in a part of town that i wasn't especially familiar with but i knew i had a pretty extreme craving for a pulled pork sandwich, and even though it would appear most everything on the block was a gay bar or a gay sex shop i'm very(more) secure in my cis (a term my ex-girlfriend, who bought me a reusable tote bag, always asked me to use) masculinity, and that means i'm definitely not a homophobe except in the case of a penis actually touching my face or its vicinity, which i'd rather not happen, but i've been to a few gay bars with my ex-girlfrynd (i hope i'm using the "y" gender neutral pronoun right she always said i did it wrong), and i'm pretty sure that most gay guys at a gay bar don't just jump on the bar and try to put their penises on anyone's faces unless it's obviously welcomed (sometimes i worry a little bit that i have an inherently welcoming face).
i ended up at a place called university bbq, and i figured, hey, if anything the sausage will be good, and that'll do in a pinch, and was surprised to find no booths or tables, but instead a whole group of fat glittery transvestites lip syncing "my sharona" and practicing a choreographed dance, costume jewelry a-jingling. apparently i had accidentally walked into a college for big beautiful queens.
Jake had me meet him down at Barnum Rec, on the grass, where the two of us played soccer in middle school. I floated around on defense, he was always in the net. It worked because people always misjudged his reflexes, which were much faster than you'd expect for(more) someone his size. People misjudged his speed, and they misjudged my stamina. Put us together and you got a man with some secret strengths.
Things had gotten bad. Jake'd always struggled with the idea of being liked, pretending that he'd given up on the idea of relationships without me there as a mediator, while he secretly shut down, slowly starting to hate everything about himself. Sometimes he'd get drunk and rail at me, demanding to know why he couldn't be normal. I despised him sometimes. But as we got older I knew I started letting him have a lot more control over the two of us, becoming less inclined to speak up.
But Jake had a plan.
We'd gone through my futile attempts to change him. I'd pushed nutritionists and gym memberships at him his whole life, even got him to start getting in shape once in high school when I convinced him to join the weight-lifting team. It made both of us feel a lot better. But then college hit and he was back to his old ways, eating when he was bored, sitting in front of his computer for hours.
It's a cycle, you know. He'd get so out of shape that he'd gasp for breath after a flight of stairs, exhausted. So he stopped taking the stairs, embarassed that someone would see him, sweaty and breathing hard, and think, well, of course. I told him no one actually thinks that. Jake had a plan. (less)
Jake and I have been friends since we were too young to know what friends are. He started out a chubby baby. I don't remember, but I've seen pictures. By the time we hit kindergarden he was inching out of chubby toward being the resident fat kid, last picked(more) for kickball. I started pretending I didn't care about being picked at all, started playing lazy, so they'd save me for last too, and we could be together. On Field Day I'd make sure we were together and halfway up the race track I'd have a seizing cramp or trip over my untied shoes so that he could have one or two 4th place ribbons instead of a million little white flags pinned to his jacket. By the time we were teenagers he'd found how easy it was to sit in his room at his computer for hours playing DOOM and eating Taco Bell while I sat downstairs and tried to learn to be funny so that people would want me at their parties and they wouldn't care that I brought Jake with me, all heavy breathing and cold sweats. I introduced him to girls and did my best coaching him on what to say and do on dates until he was 19 and met one he really liked, some art student that bartended at a psuedo-dive downtown with painted grime and an upscale clientele all wanting so badly to be whatever they're not. I hated the place, but he was fine with it 'cause it was cheap and some part of him thought maybe he could be one of them, not realising that they had no room for people that really wanted to be different than they are. She tore him apart but she liked me a lot. (less)
I'm eating carrot cake for breakfast again and I'm smoking a very small rock from a broken lightbulb and I start to worry because I heard f once that lightbulbs have a powder in them that causes cancer and the last thing I need is to be sucking that(more) kind of poison into my body.
Joey made eggs but I'm a vegan and the carrot cake is okay except for the frosting that some jagoff threw real cream cheese into but I'm pretending I don't know that and enjoying the taste. He says I'm a vegan because I'm a sagittarius and he also says that my sign makes me more prone to addiction but this is only my second time smoking and I don't even know how to get any more when I'm done- this is a nice neighborhood and I pay way too much for rent here to keep buying rocks.
I think I could marry Joey. I don't know why my brain keeps equating "rock" to an engagement ring when it means so many things. Maybe I'm a shitty feminist. I feel completely normal. I think this might be mostly baking soda.
I always thought that I could look up the recipe for crack on the internet the way I look up tofu tacos like the kind I made for mom when she came to visit and then run out and grab some blow, my sister always has some, I think, because she likes that singer with the dollar sign in her name, and then maybe I could make crack and deal it out around the neighborhood to the PTA moms that meet next door and finally have enough to afford a refrigerator with an ice dispenser built into the door. (less)
last time i saw you
you were at the bar
you were buying up drinks on special
last time i saw you
circuits went wild
(more) you can try to turn me off
but you can't shut down my style
write about me
you can write it all down in a place that
no one will read
pretend you don't care you can fake that
but talk to me
you can see me every night in your dreams
when you're asleep
just try not to wake 'em when you do that
i ain't looking for nothing
but a drink
and you ain't looking for nothing
but to turn me down
so you'll walk away
and i'll walk away
and i won't look back
but you'll turn around
and you won't see my eyes
don't you be surprised
just an empty glass of ice
and you know why
yeah, you know why (less)
I am not the kind of man women write poems for, unless they start off "Hey asshole," or "I tossed you aside." I've written poems for them, but shown no one - I'm no poet.
You have to wonder what it takes to be that kinda man.
Sometimes th(more)e way I get by is I pretend I'm in a museum, one of those caveman mannequins inside a big glass case, arm raised, club in hand, about to strike down a creature of significant fortitude, and the plaque says, "You will love this/ while you ponder it." Because they know that eventually you'll realize he's wax, and what he's slaying is wax, and while he stands and poses, that club will never come down.
That boy is always on the verge.
And they'll make that plaque so you don't feel guilty and you don't feel it's necessary to stay there just so he won't feel bad. And you can move on to the volcano exhibit, where your kids will jump and play with the interactive displays, and somewhere in the corner a small girl will sit, sketching the whole scene.
She'll never have even thought of bothering to sketch me. (less)
Had a weird dream last night. Don't remember all of it.
I was outside in the middle of the night. It was snowing.
I was with a girl I don't know at all, though I'm pretty sure in the dream I knew her well.
We were laughing. A lot(more). Maybe we'd been drinking. And she was trying to get me to lay in the grass and make a snow angel. I didn't have a jacket on, so I didn't want to. But she kept on, and we were having a lot of fun, so I dropped my back into the snow alongside her on the count of three and we waved our arms and legs wildly and she laughed and said "c'mon, this is fun," and it was and when we stood up and looked at them they didn't look very much like angels as much as two people waving their arms around in the snow and laughing.
So not very accurate, in terms of angels.
I wish I knew where that whole thing came from. (less)
Jesse got gutshot. They had to pull part of his intestine and now there's a lot of foods he can't eat. Kid was skinny before, now he's like a skeleton. He went straight back to dealing, got skinnier offa his own product. Last time any of us saw Josh(more) he was running up the street with a couple hotheads on his tail, taking sideways shots in the daylight in the middle of the street. He stole product from the wrong people. My friend Roman got stabbed to death four blocks from my parents' house a few months ago, by an angry drunk teenager. Junior got juvie life after he shot two people in a nightclub parking lot when we were 16. I stayed outta trouble, cops left me alone, I went to school, I went to college, I got a shitty office job, I make movies and write jokes. But this is where we started.
After I started getting bussed to magnet programs in the suburbs, my new friends would come to my house and mix with my old friends, and we'd teach 'em things, like why those cars hop up and down or what calabacitas are. We all stood on my porch on my twelfth birthday and watched SWAT raid the house across the street.
I'd like to say that my apple was giving a fuck. That it brought knowledge. And that's obviously a big part of it.
But when Adam & Eve bit into the apple they realized they were naked. They saw themselves for the first time and decided they looked ridiculous. I just noticed that I look white. (less)
Eight months ago, none of us were gonna die. But then came Frank. He was a drummer. Hung himself in the Hi-Dive next to our tour flier. We took a week off to go to his funeral. He hit me kinda hard, even though I didn't know him beyond(more) a couple of late night beers and carrying some amps. Next was our guitarist, Tosh, two months later. I was never close with Tosh. He was always just Mick's little brother. Mick joked he drank because of his stupid name. I knew he drank because his girlfriend did. Mick got rid of her, put him on a plane home, got him to admit he wanted to change. He died a couple weeks later. We wrote "Just Short of Redemption," and played it at shows for him. I thought it was a stupid song. Mick was the last, got himself hit by a drunk driver two weeks ago. Our tour van was in greiving. Now it's a mausoleum, with Tosh's obit pasted to the windows, just starting to yellow, next to his brother's picture. When people came to divvy up their stuff, I took Tosh's acoustic guitar. I'm learning to play it, starting to book shows for the summer. There's the song for Tosh, I wrote a song for Mick, a song for Frank. I'll never play them for any of you fucking people. (less)
My name is Billy, and I carry the dead.
It started as a way to make some quick money. There was a flier up on a bulletin board in the commons area at the food court on the Metro Community College Campus, where I go to siphon wi-fi and(more) read the news.
The bulletin board was cheap cork. The paper was yellow. It promised easy cash to reliable people.
That Saturday I showed up to Johnson Family Funeral home in a wrinkled shirt and the tie my mom got me the Christmas before she died and the caretaker looked at me and said, "He'll have to do," and then he gave me 60 dollars to carry the coffin alongside him and two other guys in matching suits with golden nametags. They gave me soft white gloves. The handles were cold through the fabric. The coffin was pine.
That was two years ago. There are rules now. You learn as you go.
You learn to be solemn but not sad. This is not your tragedy. You hint at feeling, but you do not feel. This is important. This is family.
Keep straight posture. Keep your chest up. Look down in front of you, but don't tilt your head. This is a matter of pride.
When I die, the last thing I want is to be carried away on my back.
Shine your golden nametag. Shine your shoes. You should glimmer. This is a matter of pride.
I look back at my mom's funeral now, where I carried her alongside my two younger brothers and my cousin Steve who she baptized and I realize I did it wrong. Her coffin was oak and I think she would've liked that. (less)
I haven't been home in ages, but here I am, getting out of the frosty cab with fogged up windows that I brought from the airport and hauling my checked bag, tags intact, all over trying to find those familiar places. Turns out cold leaves your bones when you(more) move to a warmer climate, 'cause I remember when I used to consider this nippy instead of three-layer weather. I remember when we used to lay on blankets in the backyard over freshly planted (followed by freshly dead) sod and try to identify constellations through the city's light pollution and the fog of our breath hovering over our faces. Orion was the only one was could ever make out (like everybody). Now I'm sure I'd shiver and shake, even if she held me, the three stars becoming little blurs of light, tiny lines in the black. I could make this into a tour. Get a bus and a megaphone. Here's where we spent Groundhog's Day, pretending we had the day off (we didn't). Here's where I fell on the ice and tore my meniscus, spent New Years Eve in the ER (they still count down). Here's where I asked her to marry me (she said no), here's where I hit a lightpost 'til my knuckles bled and here's where I made fun of her squeaky voice until she chipped my tooth (how we met). The westernmost star of Orion? If you look at it close, you'll realize it's a whole bunch of stars bundled together, small points of light forming a whole, through three layers of space and time and fog.
The truth is, you think you remember every little detail, but then it's so cold, and you're so shaky, and your vision is just so goddamn blurry. (less)
"It's heavy," he said, "so it works."
"It's sensitive," I say. "It ain't meant for whackin' people in the head. Plus, now I gotta gun-shaped bruise, and that's mostly gonna look tough, so it don't really work as an intimidation tactic."
He hit me again. I should pry be(more) hurtin' more, but it's mostly wakin' me up.
"Here's the thing about small revolvers," I said. "Like that one."
"Old revolvers, like in the old West movies, the firing pin was on the end of the hammer. So if you pulled back the hammer, let it fall, gun'd go off. Newer ones, they got a complicated mechanism- honestly, I don't even understand it, but basically when you pull the trigger, the firing pin rotates into place, which the hammer then falls on. So even though with a revolver you got no problems with jammin', or misfirin', if you're rough at all with it, it's real damn easy to muss up the firing pin."
He aimed next to my head and pulled the trigger. The gun went off. After I gave that whole goddamn speech, too. (less)
The hand holdin' the 38 was attached to the biggest lug I ever seen. Guy musta been Samoan or somethin'. Wasn't sure. So I asked him. "You Samoan?"
"You're gonna wanna shut up," he said.
People are never up for a good conversation this early in the morning.
"You'r(more)e crushin' my legs," I said.
"You're about to be dead," he replied, "so you just need to live with it for a bit."
"That ain't your .38."
I know Sally pretty well so I'm pretty sure this guy don't have her gun without being damn persuasive and I sure doubt she gave it to him for this.
Last New Years Day before she left with Johnny for good, Sally showed up drunk at the office. Collapsed at the doorway, crawled her way inside to my desk and before she passed out told me she I was all she thought about, that she was in love with me, that Johnny knew and couldn't handle it, but she was so in love with me that it scared her and she had to leave with Johnny to get away from it, to escape. A few months ago she came by to apologize, said she was mad I took her name down offa the office's masthead, said she wanted revenge and what she told me that day was the best she improvise with short notice.
Sally wants me dead the last thing she needs is to send a Samoan with her .38.
So color me worried 'bout 'er.
The Samoan could see my wheels turnin', I guess, so he wacked me once in the head.
"Easy," I said. "That's an expensive piece of hardware." (less)