“A 24 Hour Camping Trip With Any Person You Want”
A mile away live the rich folk, sucking their spoons over pretentious plates, sucking and fucking out of boredom. Two miles away live their parents, polishing the silver they shall present as gifts, sucking and fucking in their memories. Suburbanites in motion without a poetic thought in their brains or on their hillsides. Ticky tacky little bastard boxes, useless boxes. Boxes for juice, boxes for donations and children’s garments, boxes for everything but wine, not the wine. On the other side of the proverbial tracks he sees me. He devours me. He found the nineteen year old me that I would slap should my Delorean have enough plutonium. Fuck it, get me out of here, lets go somewhere we can talk. Come on, you know you want to. This is me pitching an idea on your field. It’s a high fly ball, over the left field wall. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, it’s that reach for the stars, over the fence, world series shit again. Son of a bitch, I do believe it’s a foul ball, on account of the rules of the restrictive suburbanite dictatorship. Wouldn’t you rather sit by a fire and tell me a story?
Behind the moon and beyond the rain I would be out of his reach. My bruised ego and cracked cheek would turn to the trees to avoid his distress signals. Zoom in on the SOS in my back pocket. My remorse code has gone haywire and you don’t speak the language of a peasant such as I. Mercy not the dimwitted inexperience, I suck at life, but I make a mean s’more. Do you set the entire marshmallow aflame or do you toast properly? Maybe we would take a nap right? A nap on a pillow of blue bonnets, you know, in a blanket made of stars. Sounds pretty goddamn good to me, just you and your simple smile. Coming up next on the XM Cheese Whiz network. I’m not catching dinner for you. I’ll cook whatever your heart desires when we are back with the civilians. He used to make me cook his dinner among other things, my wifely duties serviced his ass for far too long. Next on the XM Revenge channel, angry music for the drive home. How about that story now?
Tell me what you wanted to be when you grew up. A teacher, a lawyer or maybe I peg you as a counselor of some sort. I don’t know maybe you can tell me what being a mother is like. Maternally speaking I have the instinct but lack the spawn. Tell me a story of what your back in the day was like. I wanna see the you that hides behind the facade of suburban functionality. Want another s’more?
I’ll throw another log on the fire, maybe that log will be the story of my back in the day, which was a Wednesday. Picture it. I’ll fan the flames until the dawn approaches and the dream turns to dust. I’ll throw knives at trees, you know the ones, deep in that darkness, as we ponder the symbolic chemistry brewing. Unzip the tent, I’m scared and I’m cold. I smell like shit and feet. It will be worth it, because you are. Put that in your metaphorical pipe and smoke it down. Mischief managed.
“A useless love–a connection or affinity that doesn’t fit into the plans of anyone concerned”
It’s that can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, world series kind of stuff. You can read about it between the thin lines that separate the years of the skin and the wisdom of the mind. Refractive tendencies on sour dough with a side of judgement. Plastered on the wall that was built in conformity is a collage of all the red flags, signs of things that mustn’t be on the showroom floor. If one a bird the other a flightless and caged Passerine with a muted song. All of me that can be seen is not the me inside. All of me that I show on the floor is a reminder of who I ought not to be again, the raw fleshy exterior of the simplicity people accept as truth. In secrecy a quitter who gives no notice and gets none equally. A man in Portugal can still feel when it’s fucking over, whether it ended in 1966 or avalanched is inconsolably irrelevant.
Tattooed gypsy in a world of her own, who can’t eat. The cupboards left bare, the lazy Susan stagnant and the transient hangry. Chocolate waffles could not satiate the growling creature by the name of Covet. Unconventional rebel just for kicks in an oppressive world, she never sleeps. The bed sheets soaked from the sweat dripped from the barrage of dirty laundry and the vagabond drenched in irritability. Hot Coco could not revive the living dead who goes by the name of Muse. Reaching for the stars in a world forgetting by the world forgot, can she see the Eternal Sunshine of my Spotless Mind as seen by the derelict jury. Each wish is resigned and I say to the good Pope Alexander, I quit.
The metamorphosis between reality and the imagined is clear as tape. The residue of transgressions sticks to the shared mortality that necessitates sustenance. Shit. Muse and Covet are battling in anger out past right and wrong, in a field of mandrakes. Why must they be angry? The music dies on the days sorrow is instigated by separation. No dances and no wine. The tigers eat at night and the lion sleeps. Bare and drunk I still feel it, roots pull to my trunk above. My dimwitted inexperience is merely a subtle form of manipulation that serves to lower peoples expectations and enhances my maneuverability. To be loved is good. To be understood is profound. She might could understand the cryptic humor that lurks behind a Wonderwall. And maybe, she’s gonna be the one that saves me.
“You are going to appear on a talk show. The producer comes backstage to elicit a funny story that the host should focus on. Write the story like a monologue you’re giving on national TV.”
The way shit is made makes no sense in the world to me. I mean, look at things that are now waterproof and washable. Keyboards, you can buy a washable plastic keyboard. That makes sense, for women, a cup of coffee may find it’s way onto your keys as you’re checking your Facebook angrily. Men…same scenario but it’s not Facebook and it’s not angrily that you are combing through photos and videos. Keystrokes are why you need a waterproof keyboard. Just comes right off. Cell phones, more and more are being made waterproof. The ads show a very happy person underwater, like hugging an electric eel, or dropping their phone in quicksand, cut to an even happier almost orgasmic version of that person quickly running their phone under some water and it’s like brand new. Women, it’s not uncommon to drop your phone in the sink while doing dishes, or in the toilet because your bra couldn’t hold onto your phone, or your back pocket isn’t deep enough. You stand up off the damn toilet and you hear that, that agonizing splash. And if you’re in a shitty gas station bathroom, there’s not rice readily accessible to you. Men…hashtag baby batter. Come on! No literally you can cum on…
Seriously though, someone needs to inform fast food restaurants of this marvelous concept. I went through a drive thru, because I couldn’t go around, it’d be a drive around. Like a reach around without the prize. I ordered the largest Dr. Pepper possible. My best friend is in the passenger seat, and he also gets a large Dr. Pepper. As we pull out, I go to set my drink in the cup holder, and wouldn’t you know, that bastard isn’t big enough. That’s what she said. No it fit just fine, I just needed an excuse to complain about the bullshit generic size of cup holders in the car, because not all drinks fit in there. Anyways, so we turn out of the fast food place, I reach over, pick up my drink and as the straw gets to my lips, the whole bottom of the paper cup falls out, and I have ice cold Dr. Pepper literally covering my entire crotch and it’s just sitting there in a perfect puddle in my bucket seat. I pick my ass up, so I’m driving like this (make pose) screaming at my friend who has no napkins so grabs my jacket and starts slapping my twat with it, mean while I am swerving across the road. Literally, my friend had to cork me with my own jacket. There’s no graceful way to drive in ice cold soda with a jacket half hanging out of your vagina while said vagina is being slapped around by your friend. She was angry, confused, cold, and a little excited at the prospect of a Dr. filling her void. (point to crotch) All I’m saying is, perhaps we have the technology and resources to build a better cup. I don’t feel like a liquid proof cup is an outrageous request. Not anymore outrageous than, oh say, a dirt proof shovel.
“What is your shrink really thinking when you tell him about your day, your life, your hopes, your fears”
Patient displays signs of, well I believe the clinical term is “bullshit.” Increasingly severe this bullshit has become. I am always waiting for two magic words to exit her swollen lips, mustard, and chicken. Sure her day sucked and was not up to present expectations, but her creative gander is overwhelming and to be quite frank, suffocating to listeners. Even now as her lips are moving only two things cross my mind, Meghan Trainor, and regret, shit I should not have slept with this lunatic.
Life oh her life. You really can’t make this up, I have schizophrenic patients suffering from severe delusions, and even they could not fabricate the shit that has happened in this girls life. It will make a good screenplay, or perhaps a book, my book, yes I should write a book and of course give no credit to the patient for which it is to be modeled after, because lets face it, she’s used to not getting paid for her creative talents and contributions. I can continue her cycle, this way she becomes more neurotic thereby enhancing her need to continue to pay me to treat her. Business model success.
Which leads me to the patients inconceivable expectations of the world. The grandiose ideas that life isn’t shit stained and stagnant as time goes by. Delusions, absolute delusions. Cut away patient x, the reality is, it’s only going to get worse. You have no future, you have no real talent, you are but an illusionist of exceptional caliber.
Things patient fears leave her subordinate to the possible outcomes. Fear that she will never love another like the one, true. Fear that planes fall out of the sky, true. Fear of rejection, also true. Fear of the other shoe dropping, on repeat and thus true. Fear of loss, truer still. Fear that i slept with her and nothing will come of it because I too am a user, partially true. Fear of the dark, ridiculously true. Fear of letting her guard down, she’s got a point, she shouldn’t do that anymore, so true.
Borderline between what and what? Bullshit and batshit.
“Write down the interior monologue you experience when you sit down to write.”
When I sit down to write, my mind literally goes into hyper drive and my thoughts become sporadic and hard to contain. They are very random and have nothing to do with anything really, but I go off on tangents. I don’t know if it’s me looking for inspiration, or if it’s me procrastinating because I fear sucking so bad that I can’t live up to the things swirling around in my brain. It might look something like this:
When I stepped out into the bright sunlight, from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind, Paul Newman and a ride home.
These things are good, ice cream and cake, a ride on a Harley, seeing monkeys in the trees, the rain on my tongue, and the sun shining on my face. These things are a drag, dust in my hair, holes in my shoes, no money in my pocket, and the sun shining on my face.
I’m not the one who stabbed the captain with a
Pope Alexander. Alexander Pope.
An eye for an eye makes the world blind.
Better late than pregnant.
For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
My cigarette burns like a flame, my lungs will never be the same. I puff, and I puff, I can’t get enough. Oh well, I’ll get cancer just the same.
Now you feel how nothing clings to you, your vast shell reaches into endless space, and there the rich thick fluids rise and flow, illuminated in your infinite peace.
Song of myself. Jenny from the L word was a cunt. Grendel’s mom was also a cunt, until Angelina Jolie played her.I liked Tombraider.
All seeing eye. The illuminati.
This ain’t the fucking Help bitch, but you will eat my shit.
Bora bora bora. I wouldn’t throw my pie for very many people. Dandelion. I want pie. You have the right to remain silent. Perhaps I should exercise that right.
Some other me is homeless, some other me is queen, some other me has seen things that no other me has seen.
Always starting over. What the fuck. 525600 minutes. How we gonna pay this year’s rent. Santa fe. Anna Gunn. I am the danger. Bitch. What would Kalinda do?
In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous. In NYC the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit, these are their stores. Bong Gong.
#SaveBenson. #ForgivingRollins.#NoMore. #Endthebacklog. #TheJHF.I’m still not the one who stabbed the captain with a pickle.
Poor Jodi Picoult. JK Rowling. I need just one good book. Tax man!!! I heart Emma Thompson. I liked Stranger than Fiction. I need a new watch. What the hell am I supposed to be writing about? Where was I?
“Go to the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day Web site (www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day), and write a story based on that word.”
March 13, 2014
1 a: a state of irritability and tension
2 an emotional outburst: fit
Beer cans whistled in the corner as the breeze caught their tops just right, and a boring dust caught the glimmer of light that fought its way through a cracked door. Superfluous details caught the attention of a puffy eye, above a damaged cheek. An all seeing eye as it were, or as one perceives through rapid eye movement. Caught between a reverie and my own verisimilitude, I purged the innocuous sounds, smells and visions of the nightmare that came before. The bed spread was perfectly tucked and cornered, and yet I was uncomfortable looking at it. The television flickered and voices blared out, one in particular, “You’re a wanker number nine!” The sound was that which makes one jump out of a window, not because it wasn’t brilliant, but rather because I never understood what number nine had done that warranted his essence to be that of a wanker. I also don’t follow or understand soccer, oh I’m sorry, futbol. I turned off the telly and opened a window, it was too early to argue with the universe.
Tapping a steady beat on the ledge of my window, I found solace in the sound of my nails hitting the wood. But of course all good things are short lived and I’ll be damned if I didn’t break a flipping nail. I made my way to the living room, I couldn’t even bring myself to make the long journey to the shower, seriously fuck it. The television was still on in the living room, probably from the night before. Take out boxes, funny smells, and boy did my ash trays runneth over, the sight of the kitchen turned my empty stomach. Was that a mint julep on the counter? “Mystery of flight 370 continues next with Wolf Blitzer.” Where was the bloody remote control? I had surely had enough of the seemingly never-ending loop of non information that CNN insisted on shoving down my dry, scratchy throat. Netflix it would be. “Previously on LOST” justified the volume change. What was this? Could it be Kate tagged along on some daring and dangerous mission and is now officially kidnapped? Vomit island, and Netflix surfing would resume. Start, stop, start, stop, I couldn’t get a grip on anything. My skin crawled with mythical bugs that too had been drunk on whiskey and love, itching their way around my body, which was stained with contrition. Perhaps that road much travelled to the shower was in order after all.
“The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside, couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried!” You better believe I sing Adele Dazeem in the shower. “Don’t let them in, don’t let them see, be the good girl you always have to be, conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know!” I cry Adele Dazeem too. Through the steam and hair, only a glimpse of the bottle that would be used as shampoo was visible. Wet hair weighs a ton and can be quite difficult to get shaving gel out of. Time is not friend to the pipes, as anyone who has spent more than fifteen minutes in a shower will tell you. The goosebumps rose from my arms and legs as the now frozen water was beating on the top of my head. Taking the razor and using the shaving gel as recommended might have been the easier route. There were not enough towels in that bathroom to warm me up, poetic when I realized there was not enough water in the world to wash the stank of life off either. I had no choice but to scream at the world, well in my head anyways. Hung over, hypothermic, nauseous, accessorized by only a broken nail, and unmotivated to clean the mess that was my house, I swore I’d never have the in-laws over again.
“Describe two visits to the circus from the point of view of someone who’s bipolar. On one visit, he’s manic, and on the other, he’s in a pit of despair.”
Shells beneath her feet, crunching to the melody inside of her head, the smell of urine and popcorn reminded her of a home long forgotten. What was she doing there, why had she chosen to go on that day, of all the days in her mundane life, why that day? Regardless the reasons, she trudged on beyond a grassy patch and onto some dirt with old food and trash mixed in. When she made it to the ticket counter, she reached into her pocket for exact change, which couldn’t be more fitting in her mind and she chuckled at the metaphor jingling in her grasp. The infantile dude who handled the transaction was completely oblivious to the tears in her eyes, and it was another dagger to her spirit that he didn’t so much as look up at her. She passed him, head hung low and mouth quivering. There it was, the big top, there she was, making tit jokes in her head to keep from collapsing to the filth under her feet. Filth, she knew herself well enough to know that word encompassed her looks, mind body and soul in that exact moment.
As she took her seat, she couldn’t help but notice that throngs of children ran amuck and she thought to herself, “When I was a child I would have been slapped in the mouth for behaving in such a manner. Boy times have changed.” There was that metaphor, no longer jingling in her palm, it made it’s way to her childhood. And then the lights dimmed and voices calmed, a spotlight sporadically waved over the crowd and a deep male voice beckoned for circus goers to take a seat and enjoy the show. Out would walk a small pompous looking feller who was apparently the ringleader, if she had to guess by his attire. Then he insisted on speaking, and his tiny voice matched his stature as well as his joke of a handlebar mustache. He babbled on and on about the animals in the show and the performers and what not. She couldn’t help but to burst into tears. She was a fraud, an evil excuse of a woman. The sinking feeling surrounding all the rumors about the hell that circus animals endure was too much for her to take. How could she, the biggest animal activist she’d ever known, allow herself to be caught dead at an event that is known to murder and abuse animals. Drop dead, she wanted nothing more. If there was a God they would take her then and there and spare those animals. Why didn’t she ever get a response for her prayers?
It wasn’t until a stranger sitting beside her leaned in and asked “are you ok miss?” that she realized she was in hysterics. “Do you wanna fuck me?” She responded through tears. “Uh…I mean, whats the matter?” The gentleman was completely caught off guard and didn’t quite know how to respond to her. The fact that he didn’t immediately say “no,” or “can we grab a bite to eat first” or anything that validated her as a woman and would have sufficed, made her stomach turn. In reality, she knew that this unsuspecting patron of the circus had no iota of a clue relating to her past or the abuse and hell she too had endured, like the tiger that was being whipped about the ring. So how could she have expected him to respond to her liking or dig any deeper than he already was. It was quite considerate of him to even ask her if she was ok, he took the time to do that and while she appreciated it, she now felt even more guilty for passing judgement on the nice man who reached out to her. She did not respond further to him, nor did he engage anymore. She fought an internal battle, she wanted someone to talk to, someone to connect with, someone to have sex with, but she was afraid of men. Orgasming was the only thing she thought about staring blankly into the circus ring. Only in that climatic moment did the world not matter, only then did she escape from her own mind. She debated on whether or not to make it her mission to go home with the nice guy in the audience. She hated him though, why was he at the circus, and why was he there by himself?
The show must go on. And it did indeed. There was a lion, chimpanzees, and the circus staple, elephants. Her anxiety level reached a peak when the elephants made their appearance, as though she was anticipating a stampede as seen on one of those ridiculous when animals attack shows. This did not happen however, but she still was not at ease, the guilt washed over her once more and she cried during the acrobats, the clowns, the tight rope walkers, and the contortionist. Why was that bitch so flexible and here she was unable to flex towards stability in the slightest. She caught a glance of the gentleman whom she propositioned for sex earlier, he didn’t notice. Of course not why would he notice her now after making a fool of herself. Perhaps he gazed over when she wasn’t looking, had she missed another opportunity? She had a habit of doing that, and often pondered that age old question, if I had a quarter….
The gaggle of people leaving was too much for her to handle, and she stayed in her seat breathing heavily. The vomit feeling crept up as she witnessed animal feces and trash being pushed by brooms. Knowing she could do nothing for the animals she insisted on looking around for their cages anyways. Were the conditions really as bad as she had heard through the proverbial grapevine? She resisted. As she began to stand, she crossed her arms, and there he was, her knight in common armor. The heat from her cheeks was enough to pop more popcorn. “Ma’am are you okay?” He was still sweet which made the situation worse in all reality. “I’m fine, or I’ll be fine, whatever.” She proceeded to try and push by him with little resistance. “Do you need a ride or something?” Boy was he persistent. “Listen dude, I don’t know why I said what I did, but it’s not going to happen just so you know.” She walked past him and began making her way down the steps and back toward the grassy knoll that surrounded the circus grounds. “What’s your name?” He shouted as he walked toward her in a paced fashion. She turned in disgust and shouted, “Let me guess, you’re referring to your dick and not your car, right asshole?” She turned back and began walking faster. She heard nothing more from the figure in the distance. It was then that she collapsed onto the moist grass. The blades danced on her face, sweeping the tear drops back and forth. She couldn’t feel them, for in their presence, was the existence of life.
Peanut shells and circus melodies played with rapid disregard, had her skipping along toward a giant red and white tent. Humming nonsensical notes she paid no attention to the garbage and waste that was trampled with her ever step. Quickly to the ticket counter, she played with the money that was in her pocket. When the ticket taker resounded her total, she pulled a mixed wad of bills and coins out and set it on the counter, fidgeting through the currency. “How are you doing today?” She asked the man behind the counter. “I’m doing alright miss.” He smiled as he sorted through her payment. “Do you get to watch the show when you’re done taking tickets? How tragic if you don’t!” She put the remainder of her money in her pocket and shook it around once more in her pocket. The gentleman laughed and said, “sometimes I take a peek or two.” “Well in that case, I hope to see you inside!” She skipped away anxious to see what seat she would find. Maybe she would sit up high so she could see everything, perhaps down in the front so she could feel like she was a part of the show. And there it was, the entrance to the big top, she squealed like a child on christmas morning. She felt like a child once more, watching cotton candy bounce through the crowd in unison with balloons of all colors. She was, in her mind, one of those balloons, colorful and free flowing. Let the show begin, she was ready.
She took a seat somewhere in the middle, the middle, where she could be surrounded by and see all the action. Children ran about without regard, oh to be a child again, carefree to run around not knowing that one day that would end. Her heart skipped a beat as the lights went down and the spotlight chased the audience to their seats. A voice bellowed out to the crowd, one last push to their seats. There he was, the ringleader, adorable as one could imagine. He was adorned in purple velvet, and a precocious top hat that he was born to wear. He had apparently taken much time in grooming his mustache, shaped to handlebar perfection. The ringleader announced all the acts that would be appearing that evening. The excitement grew as he talked about acrobats, tightrope walker, clowns and animals that would be on display. She cheered louder and louder even after the crowd simmered. Once she regrouped and stopped shouting, she thought about the animals, the tigers, the lions, the monkeys, or was it chimpanzees, maybe it was orangutangs, no that wasn’t right, it’s pronounced orangutan right? Elephants, her favorite animal, would they stampede? Were they really abused? No, no, those were vicious rumors. What if they weren’t? What if right then and there, behind the tent there was a helpless elephant being whipped into performance condition? She wouldn’t stand for any sort of mistreatment of animals, she could totally take on the ringleader and any other person that got in her way. She was determined to stand up for the animals. Her nostrils caught the smell of a hotdog, that was it, that was the answer. Food was a perfect way to approach an animal right? Do elephants really like peanuts? Did they sell bananas to give the primates? That hotdog could easily bribe a tiger. And the cotton candy, well that was for her.
Seemingly out of a nowhere, a man leaned over to her and said, “are you ok miss?” “What the fuck, who the hell are you?” She crossed her arms in disdain. “I took your advice,” he smiled, “and decided to watch the show tonight.” She wasn’t all that amused once realizing it was the ticket taker, and her body language and tone of voice became very guarded, “listen asshole, I’m not gonna fuck you.” She figured that would be the end of that, but he was a persistent little shit, “uh, I didn’t, I mean I uh, look lady, you can’t start shouting like a crazy animal activist in the middle of the circus. I was just asking if you were okay, but seriously, just stop screaming about saving the animal.” Had she been screaming? She must have been, her throat was dry and rough. She turned her shoulder up at the circus narc. Even if she was interested, his job was at the circus. What the hell kind of life is that? Granted she was in the mood for some one night loving, but would he suffice? She couldn’t sleep with someone who smelled like the circus, it would turn her stomach which was full of junk. He was cute in a boyish train wreck sort of way. But how dare he scold her, a grown ass woman being scolded at a circus is simply unacceptable. Wait, now she was doubting her decision to attend that night, people might think it odd that she was there alone. She fought herself in her own mind over several issues. Should she leave, or stay, or maybe just move seats, maybe somewhere up in the risers where she wouldn’t be so noticeable. Should she apologize to ticket boy or leave things well enough alone? She wanted to have some fun, seize the moment and swing from a chandelier in a night of frivolous antics. Sex was fulfilling, it made her feel important, and only in her climax did she feel innately powerful. Strings, she didn’t want strings attached, speaking of strings, where the hell were the tightrope walkers she was promised?
The show would go on as it often does. She became anxious waiting for her favorite act, the elephants. She paid little attention to said tightrope walkers, as she was busy juggling her twitter account as well as a frustrating game of flappy bird. Facebook took over during the clown routine, she loathed clowns and viewed them as pedophiles. Grown men dressing up for the pleasure of children, that was creepy to her and she didn’t so much as glance away from her timeline while they were performing. The lions did whatever it is that lions do, she grew increasingly bored. The tigers were beautiful, but hadn’t one attacked a famous trainer? He deserved it as far as she was concerned, I mean especially if the tiger was treated poorly. The chimpanzees came out, and her boredom had reverted to anxiousness. It was in fact chimpanzees, not orangutans. She was impressed by their intelligence, but forgot quickly about them as a giant beauty of an elephant stepped out, it’s ivory glistening in the spotlight. She caught herself shouting obscenities again, and quickly glanced over at the prospective lay she saw in the circus employee. He did not notice her, and why would he considering what a foul rude impression she had left. That was it, another opportunity missed. There must be someone else she could go home with, she scoped the audience. He has a wife, he was three kids, he has a baby, he has a girlfriend but she couldn’t possibly be as fun as she was, no there wasn’t a lot of fish in that sea of immature minded common circus folk. She was at her limit and ready to leave.
The immense heat and pushing that emanated from hundreds of people that were making their way back to their cars was aggravating and she sat back in her seat. Let them clear out, that was her plan, once they were all gone she could walk out without nuisance. She became infuriated with herself, she had forgotten to save any food to coax the animals into trusting her. Without it, she would be unable to save them that night. She planned on returning. She was going to save as many of those animals as possible, even if it meant following that circus across the country. She stood up to stretch her legs as the last of the crowd dissipated. With her gaze at the floor, it was a pair of red chucks she saw next. “Are you okay?” He asked her that same goddamned question. “I’m fine, dude.” She brushed another of his comments aside. She walked past him and made her way out of the depleted tent. He slowly followed, unsure of which direction he would be walking she zig zagged. Yup, it was obvious he was following her. “What’s your name?” He shouted from ten paces. She reached in her pocket, “shit,” she thought, her pepper spray wasn’t with her. He shouted again, this time picking up his pace, “wanna grab a bite to eat?” She ignored him for a moment, and then without thinking shouted back, “you’re the animal who needs saving!” She began to run, past the ticket counter, past the gravel and dirt, making her way onto a grassy area where she became so out of breath and frightened, she crumpled to the floor. She felt the blades of grass teasing her forehead, had it rained? The grass was wet, her clothes were following suit. She rubbed her face against the green fingers of the ground, letting them touch her lips, her cheeks, and her nose. She ran her own fingers across the terrain, she couldn’t get enough of the smell nor the sensation that the green bedding gave her, for in it’s simple state, she felt alive.
“Write an anonymous letter to a stranger detailing the things you’ve learned about life.” Picked by Jacki Lynn
Should this letter find you, I ask that you take the time to absorb my words, whether they be spoken in fallacies or veracities. I bring no infinite wisdom, I can not lead you into your unknown, instead I strive to pass the knowledge I have picked up and believe to be true. We can all be teachers if we are first willing to lend our ears as students. Why am I telling you this you may wonder? We listen as neighbors and friends, but only in silent anonymity do we truly wonder and question. I don’t know when my time will come, not soon I hope, but should my clock wind down in the near future, I want to have left something behind, with no expectation of reciprocation. I am not a philosopher, I am not a guru, I am just someone who sees things a certain way.
Life is short, and that is no cliche. It’s way too short, especially if you have dreams, because dreamers never stop and there’s just not enough time. If you have love in your heart, true, pure love, there’s really not enough time. There’s just never going to be enough days to spend with the ones you love. So how do you follow the cookie cutter expression and live each day to it’s fullest? I don’t know. The reason I haven’t a clue is because there is always something you can improve. Hindsight is your ally. You must make mistakes, fix them, make more, fix those, and keep collecting those building blocks. You will never be perfect. Others in your life will never be perfect, or predictable. You have to live in truth and you have to have fun.
Grudges, you will have them and you will hold onto them because it’s in our nature to feel entitled to respect and we long to feel our worth through others. Let them go. Perhaps don’t forgive or forget, but let it go. Be hurt, be sad, but then let it go. If people need to be distanced from your life, that’s okay, because you are never alone, even when it feels like you are. You will be right, you will be wrong, so will they, so let it go. Put it in a bubble and blow it away, and get right back to building the life you want. Surround yourself with people you are comfortable with. The truth is, life sucks sometimes, okay a lot of times. You will be lied to, cheated, betrayed, and taken for granted. There’s no sugar coating sometimes, no silver lining, there’s nothing. Work hard, even when it’s not worth it because nobody can take that away from you. Stand up for yourself, do not let people treat you in any way that makes you want to kill yourself. When you can’t do this, associate yourself with people who will and always always return the favor. Pay it forward, always, in every aspect of your life. That something else nobody can take away from you, what you give as a person. Balance is key, be the giver, but don’t get leeched upon by people who will bleed you dry because they will, trust me, they will use and abuse you if you let them. Don’t you let them.
Laugh, for fuck sake, laugh your ass off as often and as long as possible. Cry just as often, seriously, let it out. Don’t bottle that shit up, if you feel like crying, cry. If there is no shoulder around to do it on, use a pillow, don’t feel sorry for yourself, you are not a victim. Cry it out, feel hurt, feel sad, for as long as you need, not as long as you want to wallow in self pity. And then pick your ass up and do something. Read a good book, watch a good movie, yes, always watch good movies, and read good books. Music, another key factor, let music into your life. Doesn’t have to be the most popular book, movie, or song, if it speaks to you, fucking listen.
Listen, small moments in life are what define us, those are the turning points. Self educate yourself on many many subjects that interest you. I know you have to work and shit for a living and I know that roughly ninety nine percent of the time, you will be miserable at work and dream about winning the lottery so that you can do all the things I suggest you do. But when you aren’t stuck in the cycle of the day to day grind, get out, take risks. However, don’t be stupid. Travel, but not obsessively. For one, the wonder and excitement will fade with each trip, and also, danger is everywhere. Drive like you are aware you can be killed at any second, because you can be. Be cautious and smart, but take the risks that are worth it. Make memories. Make love, and do it often because, well, it feels awesome and it’s fun. Connect with people, they really are the gateways to living a life you are proud of. Make an impression on people. Make money. It’s not shallow, bills don’t care what you do or how you live, they are just due when they’re due. Do whatever it takes to make some money, save some money, and appreciate some money.
I guess my advice is to live life. I don’t know how else to say it, because we have all heard the theories and the suggestions on OWN but it comes down to you. I don’t know your problems, I don’t know your issues and I don’t know where you come from. All I know is that life is a hard hitter for some and a generous lover to others. Nothing is fair about it and nothing ever will be. You may never achieve your goals, some of us never will, that’s just the way it is. You may never make enough money, and you might struggle day to day to make ends meet, and it makes me very very sad because there’s nothing anybody can do about it. Others will get breaks in life when there are more deserving individuals left in the dust. That is what life is. That is what I’ve learned thus far. Life can really suck balls, so what would be the point in trying to figure it all out. We all know what we should do and what is expected of us. There’s a box. We don’t all fit in there. Move on and move forward in your truth. When the lightbulb comes on, don’t turn it off. Listen to the world around you, that’s where your answers are. As for me, I have no answers, and that’s why I’m writing this to you, stop looking for the answer because the only real question is, what is life to you?
P.S. Animals make life better.
“Write a short story that is set in Argentina in 1932, in which a teacup plays a crucial role.”
Gray and black clothing, white walls, gray floors, black counter tops, from outside her window, one could see where television got its color palette from. She had seen a television demonstration in Berlin in 1931, and had once been to the cinema to see a film. Now all she saw was poverty, war, and dishes. Taza de té was her home, restaurant, and a home. The owner was a man named Francisco, a revolting little man he was, on the outside. He was actually a very decent boss, he never hit on Sundays. As far as husband was concerned, rumors were that he killed his first wife with the Syphilis. Whenever Lágrima was washing dishes alone, she could feel him staring at her. Not in a lecherous manner did he he gaze, but almost appreciatively.
That was her life, working in the kitchen and dreaming of the future. She could easily wallow in the bath of her own benevolence, but that was not how she was programmed. Every fiber, every moment, every strand that made up her life made a quilt of sorrow. Even her name, Lágrima, meant “teardrop.” Her mother was melodramatic, before she died. Her father was from Portugal, an army man who survived World War I. It was during that war that he met her mother, who was a nurse. After the war, they moved to Argentina, where the politics were changing. Something was wrong with him after that war, and after he had an experimental procedure called a lobotomy, he was a ghost. So, Lágrima was incarnated, but she did not live in the spirit of her name, not at all. Perhaps it was her innocence, or lack of experience, but she did alright. Hope lives in the young, and only when reality ages them do they lack the optimism to remember not only the happiest parts of their past, but what could potentially turn their life around.
It was in that kitchen that she encountered a young man who appeared lost. He was shivering, Christmas was around the corner and she couldn’t help but to feel sorry for him. He shuffled through the kitchen and rummaged through drawers and cabinets before asking where his uncle Francisco kept the good china. Lágrima pointed to a cabinet in the back of the kitchen, nestled between two windows, ojos de la calle, Francisco called them. He nodded acceptingly at her and made his way to the main dining area. Lágrima was overcome with curiosity, as the restaurant was closed and she had no idea Francisco had any sibling, let alone a nephew, an attractive, nephew. The tingles of her body impeded her morality, and rapidly her body went from wanting to be ravished, to ashamed, and she prayed, over the sink. It was the shouting from dining area that interrupted the second Hail Mary, Francisco wanted her to join them. Her impure thoughts would have to be prayed for at a later time.
Dulce de leche and yerba maté sat on the table, Francisco sipped and his nephew nibbled. Lágrima was not offered either, nor did she ask. The men talked about politics, very boring to a young girl who had a biased opinion, for which she blamed both the reason for her existence, as well as the reason her father died without his brain intact. The nephew, who Francisco endearingly called “soldadito,” must have been able to read the boredom on Lágrima’s face, and struck up a conversation, Francisco grinned before excusing himself from the table. By the end of their conversation, Soldadito was calling her Grima, and had plans on taking her to the cinema. She floated to bed that night, unable to sleep, anxious for her date with the handsome nephew. They were set to see a film called “En el infierno de del Chaco.” The fire had been set, even if he was taking her to a political film.
The darkness of the theater, the flickering of the screen, it all mirrored the inner monologue of the would be couple. Soldadito was a gentleman, and Grima a lady, and as a result, minimal physical contact happened between them. She scratched at her skirt throughout the film, and he fidgeted with the hat that rested on his lap. Virtually no conversation took place, but young folk tend to ruin moments in their lives with unsteady words spoken from innocent places, instead, they basked each others presence. Dishes were not her responsibility today, the restaurant never crossed her mind. Children with dark hair, blue eyes, and their father’s smile danced through her thoughts. Had she known that she would never see him again, after that night, she would have made the mistake of conversing and sticking her foot in her mouth, but as is often in our youth, she did not foresee the side of the coin that landed on the option other than happily ever after.
The walk from the cinema to Taza de Té was euphoric. Snow fell in rhythmic fashion, and it was then, that Soldadito stopped being a gentleman and put his arm around Grima. She told him about her childhood and how Francisco took her in when her father died, gave her a job and a home. He told her about his travels with the military and he promised he would be president of Argentina one day. They both chuckled at his presumptuous claims. And that’s when it happened, he told her he would be gone by morning, on an assignment he could not divulge. She grew into her name, she could not keep the tears at bay, and they dropped to his shoulder. Soldadito, little soldier, she felt foolish in not realizing he was an actual soldier, she thought it was just a nickname. He promised he would come back for her, and her young mind believed him, and the coin fell. They stood outside the restaurant and talked into the night. The cold did not bother them as much as Francisco most certainly would have. Laughter filled the empty street, tears mimicked the falling snow, and as dawn approached, it was time to say their goodbyes. Grima wondered if Soldadito would be going up the stairs in the restaurant to say goodbye to his uncle, but he never did. He embraced her, and told her that his heart was in her teacup, for without which, they never would have met. As he walked away from Taza de Té, she shouted through the lágrimas, “Adios! El presidente Juan Perón , yo y mi taza de té se esperará!” Goodbye President Juan Peron, me and my teacup shall wait for you.
“Write a story from the point of view of a homeless man or woman who falls asleep on the bus and accidentally end up “on the other side of the tracks,” in a quiet neighborhood late at night. ”
Cars make me nervous. Buses make me nervous. Walking makes me nervous. So why then, am I not nervous to ask strangers for assistance? Why am I not nervous when I see the good side of humanity? There is no good side of humanity, just individuals. For instance, the bus driver I encountered two nights ago. I don’t even know his name, why can’t I remember his name? He didn’t bother me when I dozed off on his bus. He let me sleep, he must have seen the tired in my eyes. Bless his heart. The young man who nudged me awake was nice and all, but he surely must have been making fun of me by suggesting I get off the bus when we reached his stop, which happened to be near the projects. Silence makes me nervous, and that’s all that greeted me as I stepped off that bus.
I waited at the bus stop with a 7-11 cup in my hand, a cigarette in my mouth, and six dollars and forty-one cents in my pocket next to my lighter and pack of smokes. After bus fare I would have less than five dollars to my name. That was just enough to get breakfast in the morning, which I hoped never came. I was so pleased when that bus arrived, it meant I could sleep somewhat comfortably for about an hour, until I reached my stop. I was heading to a friends house, she said I could crash on her couch, well technically it wasn’t her couch, it was her friends couch. Apparently she met some guy at a CODA meeting and was staying with him. Oh Jordyn, she cycles through her support group hook ups faster than Oprah through dress sizes. She reminds me of my mother, maybe that’s why I cling to her so hard. She always helps me out with places to stay and odd jobs. That was my destination, anywhere my safety net was staying, regardless of who she was fucking. The driver smiled at me as I stepped on. I dismiss smiles, usually people only smile at someone like me because they feel obligated to be politically correct. I made my way toward the back of the bus, where there were two empty seats, that always makes me excited because I can’t put my legs up and relax. It must have been closing time at a nearby business, the bus was almost full, as is usual during the last bus of the night. Lucky me, I had two seats to myself.
I pulled my hoodie over my head, slightly over my eyes, I have never understood why the lights on buses must be so bright. I glanced at my watch, forgetting the batteries were dead. I took the last sip of my soda and casually lay the empty styrofoam cup under my seat. I had every intention of taking it with me and disposing of it when I got off. I leaned my head back, listening to the sounds on the bus. Music from someone’s headphones, quiet conversation between co-workers, and coughing from a young child, those were the sounds that lulled me to sleep. I dreamt of the streets. I was being chased by a parrot who squawked curse words at me. I ran and ran and ran, finally making my way into a taxi. I ordered the driver to take me to the zoo so that we could find that obviously abused parrot a home. The driver of that taxi was a mean old man, who I realize now was my father. He reached to the back of the cab and swatted at my arm. I jolted awake. A guy was patting at my arm, anxiously spouting, “Yo, lets go man, you been sleeping for a while. Last stop of the night, come on man, get up.” I was still coming to as I stood up and made my way to the front of the bus. “Have a good night sir.” I nodded to the driver as he closed the doors. Damn it, I forgot my trash on the bus.
I stretched my arms high above my head, which caused my hoodie to fall back onto my shoulders. I reached for my pack of smokes, and sadly I had one left. I knew it would be my last one until who knew when. I also knew Jordyn smoked. “Fuck it.” I thought and I lit up. By the time I took my first drag, the guy who had woken me up had disappeared into the shadows hastily. I looked around, and no wonder, I was on Holden Road, land of prostitutes. The name had become symbiotic with the hookers, they were always “Holden” someone or something. I became extremely nervous. I turned around but that bus was long gone. I was miles from my intended stop, and I didn’t know the phone number where Jordyn was staying. I panicked for a moment. I smoked a tad faster than normal. My thoughts began to race. I felt bad I had ignored that bus drivers smile, he was nice enough to leave me alone while I slept. I was tired, so very tired. I thought about how rudely that punk woke me up and basically forced me off the bus. I felt like a victim of my own life. I paced on that street, not sure which direction I should go. I contemplated the fastest way to get to Jordyn. The silence was nerve-wracking. As I looked around, I saw run down cars that matched run down apartments. Broken glass was everywhere, glistening in the street lights. A pair of shoes hung above me. A gas station across the street called my name. I stepped on my cigarette and made my way toward it. What the hell was I gonna do?
“Coffee, I could get coffee.” I thought. I needed any excuse to make myself a paying customer, as to not draw negative attention to myself. I bet that gas station attendant had a gun behind that counter. I walked around slowly and filled a small cup of coffee, it would only cost me sixty-nine cents. I giggled as the attendant told me my total. As I walked out of that gas station, the nervousness was wearing off. I was just plain scared now. I have slept on many a street, I have endured freezing cold nights with no blanket, and I have gone days with no food, but never in this part of town. I was near tears when a busted old brown car pulled up right behind me. “Yo!” A voice yelled at me. I ignored it and began walking faster, nearing a job the voice shouted again, “Yo, get in man, I’ll give you a ride!” I knew I shouldn’t turn, but my head couldn’t help it. I turned around and wouldn’t ya know it, it was that young man from the bus. He pulled his car closer to me and I entered the passenger side. “Where ya headed bro?” Maybe I had everything all wrong.
I learned his name was Dorian. He drove me to Jordyn’s booty palace and the whole while we had decent conversation. He told me about the hard times him and his parents fell on which was why they stayed in the more, how would you say, economic part of town. He was in high school getting ready for college. Dorian, what an interesting name. Turns out his dad had a hard on for Doris Day, and he swore I’m the only person he ever revealed the roots of his name to. It also turns out he borrowed his neighbors car to come see if I needed a ride. He said he could tell I was a bit discombobulated. The radio was on the whole time, but it crackled and I barely heard it over the talking. When we arrived at the apartment complex I was to be crashing out in, Dorian shook my hand and I felt like such an asshole. I thanked him profusely for coming back to give me a lift. He wrote down his phone number on the back of a Jack In The Box receipt that was tossed on the floor of the car. Told me to hit him up some time and I fully intend to. As I got out of the car, Dorian chuckled and said, “Man, how old are you?” I hesitated, but finally said, “Fourteen.” Maybe it was the shock in his eyes when I told him my age, or maybe it was finally telling someone how hard it was being on the streets, but in that moment, I realized, I had become a man somewhere on the rough road I travelled. “Listen little man, you take care of yourself. And don’t fall asleep on buses! That jack ass driver probably would have called the cops on you had I not gotten you off the bus.” Dorian sounded like a parent. “Maybe, maybe not.” I waved and Dorian drove away.
I made my way to apartment 287 and knocked on the door. Jordyn let me in, and I told her about my night and then promptly crashed out on the couch. My dreams were different that night. I dreamt of friends and Doris Day. When I woke up, I had a whole new perspective on life in general. I had my morning smoke compliments of Jordyn, and with a smile on my face, I walked to the bus stop, anxious to see who I would meet on my next ride, and since I had slept through the night and had coffee that morning, there was no way in hell I’d be falling asleep.