Thursday, February 15, 2007


I've reached the end. Potential is gone. No more photos for a while. I've dwindled myself down to just an L all on my own now. I'm not mopey, I'm not emo, I'm realistic.

Sorry if I stop commenting/looking for a while, I'm crawling into a hole for a bit.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Navel-examining on Valentine's Day? I think not.

Yeah. Call me if you want to talk to me, otherwise, it's probably best to not even bother.

This is the end of my story I think. The end of all of it. It's too hard to write, my inspiration is gone.

Sorry if you actually read (or used to read) this (when I was still updating...). It's just gotten too hard.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

SCENE F (or...Another Story That Has Something To Do With My Longer Piece, or A Short Story That Has Absolutely Nothing To Do With My Longer Piece)

I'm only compulsive when I have other things to do. I'm not really compulsive about cleaning or organizing. I'm compulsive about rearranging clutter that I don't really want or need. I'm obsessed with going through my wallet and throwing away the receipts that I insist upon receiving from cashiers at restaurants and gas stations. I never do anything with my receipts but throw them away and wonder how I collected so many before disposing of them.

My favorite pastime is going through iTunes on my computer and skipping songs that I don't really like listening to but don't have the heart to delete or take off of play lists. I used to really like making play lists of specific bands and genres. Now I listen to everything on random. I skip most of the songs. The only thing that I've never skipped is Mozart (only because my father made it a point to tell me that Mozart makes people smarter). Another pastime that I enjoy is going on drives trying to read all of the bumper stickers on the other cars; most of the stickers are normal, "Support the Troops," "I Brake for Kids," and other boring things. Every once in a while there will be a great bumper sticker. In my opinion, a great bumper sticker is the type that make you wonder what the hell it's talking about, or will make you laugh really loud even if someone else is in the car and doesn't think the slogan is funny at all.

I've been suffering writer's block for the past two months. I'm not a writer. I just write. But lately I've not come up with anything to write down. I mean in my journals and in blogs. I have trouble returning e-mails. I've found nothing to say in the last two months. I'm sure that there is something wrong with an average person who has writer's block. I'm not even a writer. How can I get writer's block if I'm not a writer?

I guess it started when I went out with my girlfriend three months ago. She starts fights with me all the time. She doesn't mean to, but she just gets so damn mopey when I don't pay attention to her all of the time. I tried to listen to her, but there were other people with us, and I hadn't seen them in a long time.

"Honey, do I look okay?” Elle asks.

"Yeah, you look great. Are you ready?" I ask.

Elle is the type of girl that thinks she's really low-maintenance. She's not low-maintenance at all. She's pretty. Not conventional pretty. Maybe a little bit large, but not large. She's average, I suppose. She's about a foot shorter than me, kind of curvy, but doesn't have much of a chest. I'm not complaining. Don't get me wrong. I think she's pretty. She has brown hair; sometimes it looks red, I like it best when it looks red. Her hair is out of control, it used to be really long, but we got in a huge fight about a year ago and she cut it all off to make me mad. It didn't work out like she thought, now it's just more fun to pull when we make out.

"I'm almost done. You can go smoke if you want, and I'll meet you outside when I'm done. I don't know what my problem is tonight; somehow, I'm just incapable of getting my hair to do anything. And, don't worry; I'm not going to wear makeup or anything. Seriously, if you want, I'll finish up and meet you outside," she glances at me, squinting a little bit. She's not wearing her glasses, and refuses to wear them out to the bars; she'll be squinting all night.

"Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I'm going to go then, I'll be smoking. You'll take forever. You're such a girl."

"Fuck you. No, I'm not. Most girls wouldn't even have picked out an outfit by now. Go smoke, honey."

"Jesus Christ. I'll just wait, if I leave, you'll take longer," I give her a smile, she winks.

"Hey, do you see my bobby pins? I can't find them anywhere. If I could just find three more bobby pins, my hair would be fine. God this place is a mess. I swear! I'm cleaning tomorrow."

"Here you go, babe." I hand her the cardboard holder of hairpins. She grabs a few off, eagerly, and sticks them in her mouth. I hate watching girls get ready; they're so weird about everything they do. They always stick the hairpins in their mouths. When they finally get around to using them, they have to keep one hand on top of their head to make the hair stay until they can stick the metal in. Girls always use their mouth to spread open the prongs of the hairpins; you'd think it would be sexy, them using their mouths like that, it's not; it's rather forceful.

"Elle, you know, I love you."

"Oh, you're sweet. I love you too," she says as she sticks the last pin into her hair. She turns around to face me, "Tell me the truth, do I look like shit?"

It's times like these when I'm not sure what to say. Elle's hung-over and hasn't slept more than twelve hours in the last week. She looks good (really, really good) under those conditions; otherwise, she looks fairly average; understated even. She doesn't dress up like other girls really, usually just jeans and a t-shirt.

"Alright. Finally. I know. I know. I'm done. We can go. Where are we supposed to go anyway?"

"Where do we always go?" I roll my eyes at her, I don't think she notices.

Elle passes me and walks into the hallway. I follow behind her. I blow on a piece of hair that hangs down by her neck. She swivels around and punches me lightly in the arm. She giggles, almost silently, and then turns around after making a "kissy face."

The bars are going well. Tequila, vodka, bourbon. Elle is well on her way to drunk. I'm drunk. I know that I'm sulking somewhere, but I'm honestly not sure where, or why. Elle disappears to smoke a cigarette or five. By the time she comes back, I've successfully downed four more beers. She seems kind of mad at me.

“Elle, what’s wrong?”

“Don’t pull that shit with me. You know what’s wrong. When you say you’re going to do something, just fucking do it!”

I reach out to touch her arm; she shrugs away a little bit. I ignore it, and try to pull her to me.

“Seriously, honey, how long were you going to let me stay out there by myself?”

“Oh lord. Was I supposed to go smoke with you?” I ask.

“You said you’d be out in a minute.”

“Oh. Sorry,” I know that saying sorry isn’t enough just yet. I know that apologizing for it will probably just make it worse, but dormant. I’ll hear about it in either five drinks or on the walk home.

“It’s okay. Just don’t do that.”

“Okay, well, what do you want to drink? Anything you want, it’s on me tonight.”

“Stoli Around the World.”

“Jesus. Planning on getting lit, are we?” She can handle them though. Six shots or more or vodka in one drink with just a splash of juice, it goes down like Kool-Aid, and she drinks it like it’s nothing more.

Elle wanders over to one of our friends. They both look at me and lean in towards each other. I know they’re talking about me, but it doesn’t matter much, I suppose. I go to get her a drink.

“Who’s this?” I ask Elle while pointing towards someone she’s talking to.

“Oh, you know, it’s this kid I used to go to highschool with. I’ve told you about Ryan.” She turns to Ryan and continues her conversation.

“Oh fuck you then.” I hand Elle her drink and walk away to talk to someone else.

“FUCK FUCK FUCK!” She comes after me, looking slightly sad, and mostly pathetic. “What?” She asks.

“What do you mean ‘what’?” I say, staring at her matter-of-factly.

“What’s wrong with me continuing a conversation that you interrupted?”

“Oh. Sorry. I guess I should have waited politely by your side until I was allowed to talk to you. Perhaps I should have sucked his dick for you too. You would have liked that right?”

“Fuck you.”

Elle walks away. I know I’ve messed up terribly. I’ll be lucky if I get to go home tonight. I’ll be lucky if she talks to me again. I’ll be really lucky if she doesn’t dump me and kick me in the nuts. I put my drink down and head outside to smoke. I can see her through the window from where I stand outside. She laughs and leans in to hear what this Ryan guy has to say. I start wondering if he’s got something I haven’t got. I’m sure that he doesn’t. But, I’m also sure that right now it doesn’t really matter because Ryan’s not being a total dick to my girlfriend.

I flick the cigarette into the street, and run back inside. Elle’s not talking to Ryan anymore, she’s ordering another Stoli Around the World.

“You sure about that?” I ask her. I smile, hoping that she’ll smile back.

“What do you care?” I’m not surprised that she doesn’t smile back. I wish she would though. It’s always better when I’m not an ass to her.

“I care because I’m a jerk. I’ll stop. I’m sorry.”

The bartender comes up to her. “Can I get a Stoli Around the World please, and a,” Elle looks at me expectantly.

“A PBR?”

“Sorry, fresh out of Pabst. How about a Heineken?” I nod agreement to the bartender.

Elle turns to me, grinning from ear to ear, and yells over the rock ballad starting on the jukebox, “Heineken? Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!”

I grab her, and kiss her. What other girl would quote David Lynch movies to you?

The bartender comes over with our drinks and a smile that I barely notice, until I notice that I didn’t notice yet.

“Here you guys, that’ll be seven dollars.”

“Seriously?” I ask her.

“Seriously.” As she picks up the money on the counter she looks at me and winks. Elle doesn’t see it, or doesn’t care. I like to think that she would care, so I’m assuming she didn’t see it.

I walk behind Elle to where our friends are waiting for us. She separates the crowd, I keep the palm of my hand in the small of her back, so that I can stay in the wake of the waves of drunks.

“So, did you notice the bartender winking at you back there?” Elle asks.

“Yeah, I guess. No big deal though.” I wonder if she cares. She doesn’t seem to care. Maybe she does and won’t let on.

“I dunno. I say go for it…”

I just look at her. I’m slightly dumbfounded by this. I can’t tell if Elle is serious or joking or what. I take a big swig of Heineken. “I might just do it, you know.”

“I know baby. I know.” She smirks into her drink and sways while she looks at me. I look into her face, and meet her eyes.

“Don’t you fucking look at me!” she yells loud enough for the few people near us to turn around to.

“Jesus Christ! Have you no shame?” I ask.

“Nope. None. It went away a long time ago when I learned that my bladder wasn’t big enough to hold a whole drink. Will you hold this for me while I go piss?” She hands me the drink before I can respond and walks away to the bathroom.

I carry our drinks to the table our friends are sitting around. I put Elle’s vodka down, and hold on to my beer. Dave and I chat about the bartender. Her name is Dana, apparently. Dave has a crush on her, but won’t ask her out; instead he leaves her huge tips and pretends to be drunk so he can stare at her. Elle’s friend comes up to us. Dave intercepts.

“Yo. Ryan. What’s up? You doing okay lately? I heard about your buddy going off to Chicago or something. You doing okay?”

“Yeah, I guess. I mean, I miss him a lot. This long distance thing is really wearing on me.”

“Hey, Ryan, I’m Louis. Sorry I didn’t introduce myself earlier. I was just in a bad mood.”

Ryan reaches his arm out to shake my hand. I’m always sort of thrown off by this gesture. I look at the palm of my hand and wipe it off on my pants, and extend my hand. Ryan just glances at me through this. He’s got a good handshake as far as I can figure. Firm, but not harsh.

Elle comes back, picks up her drink, gets about an inch down before she realizes Ryan is there with all of us.

“Hey darlin’. You met Louis, I assume?” She glares at me a little bit, nothing too angry, just agitated. I wonder briefly what it is that I was supposed to have done now. I decide on nothing.

“Yeah,” turning to me, Ryan continues. “So, Dana tells me that you read a lot?”

“Oh, definitely. But nothing compared to Dave here. He’s crazy with his reading.”

Ryan and I laugh at Dave’s expense and he ignores us, looking at the bartender. Elle leans over Dave’s shoulder and whispers something to him. He nods. She drinks another inch or so from her drink and puts the glass down. She makes a motion to me that she’s going to go smoke.

Ryan and I chug our beers and follow Dave and Elle outside. She’s shivering, and exhaling smoke. I can tell she’s trying to look suave about it. She’s shaking so much that the smoke shakes too.

“Honey, I’m kind of bored of this bar. Can we go somewhere else?” she asks.

“Yeah, I guess.”

“If you don’t want to leave, I can just meet you at home. If you want. I just don’t like it much here tonight.” She scratches her head, then her shoulder. “That didn’t really make sense, did it?”

“I don’t know, honey,” I tell her. Right away I know that that was the wrong thing to have said. I should have said that I knew what she meant.

“Well, I’m going to smoke another cigarette and then head off to wherever. You should come though. It’s no fun without you.”

“Yeah, I guess. Whatever you want.”

“Hey guys, well, I’m gonna head back in, I’m getting cold and sober, and I think Lizzy’s just sitting in there by herself. Poor thing.”

“Take it easy sugar,” Elle says as she waves. Dave flicks his smoke and walks back in.

“I think I’m gonna head home for the night. It was great seeing you again Ellie. Nice to meet you Louis.”

“Have a good one Ryan,” we both say at the same time.
Ryan smiles and adjusts his sweater before he walks down the road.

“So, Louie, where to?” Elle asks.

“Wherever you want,” I say. I don’t really want to leave, but it’s probably better this way.

“What about buying some bourbon on the way home and drinking when we get back?”


Elle starts walking towards our apartment complex. She’s walking fast because she’s cold. Her hands are making fists and then shaking them out, I watch her for a moment before it occurs to me to walk away with her.

When we get to the gasstation, Elle goes inside first, I follow her, stumbling on the steps. She graps a fifth of bourbon from the shelf, and puts it on the counter. I get some chips and a can of chili. We wait for the cashier to come out of the stock room. It isn’t happening. Another ten minutes and we decide it’s best to just leave cash on the counter and take our stuff with us.

As is usual for us, on the latter end of our walk home, we pick out somewhere to sit down and have a heart to heart. It’s ridiculous. I can’t remember the last time we walked home from the bars and didn’t sit down somewhere to talk. Elle starts crying. I know it’s just because she’s drunk and bored, but I feel bad. I melt to her. We sit on the curb of the sidewalk. I grab a cigarette before I ask.

“Elle, honey, what’s wrong?” I ask just before I light my cigarette.

“Nothing. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I don’t know what my problem is tonight.”

“Oh, it’s okay, I’m really sorry about earlier. I was jealous of that guy. I didn’t know he was gay. I didn’t know that you weren’t flirting with him.”

“It’s not that. I love you, you know?”

“I love you too.”

“No you don’t, you’d leave me for that bartender if she asked you to.”

“Oh, Jesus! No I wouldn’t. Not in a million years.”

“Yes you would. If I were you, I would. You seem to like her. Well, I don’t know about that. But she seems to like you an awful lot. You should just go for it.” She wipes her nose on her sleeve then reaches into her purse for a cigarette. I hand her one. When she stops sobbing, I light it for her.

She exhales. “Oh. I’m so sorry. I’m never drinking again. Why am I like this? Why don’t you ever want to know about my day or my past, Louie?”

“Doesn’t matter, Elle.”

“It matters to me. I want to know why. What do you want from me? What do you want in life? What do you expect? I’m so lost.” She’s sobbing again, but she’s struck a nerve.

“Mainly, I am sick of it. Want to know what I want? I want some form of existence for myself, where I can interact with people in a meaningful way, where the confirmation of existence is not necessary, freeing up actual existence, closeness.” I glance at her. I don’t think she gets it. She’s digging further into her purse now. She looks at me with swollen eyes. The tears are being forced to stay in her head, I can tell. She’s biting her lip. She just nods.

“I really don't care what you say, what image you want, all I am interested is in you, yourself.” She looks at me. Her hand comes out of the bag, holding the Jim Beam. She looks at me while she diligently unscrews the cap. “Your opinions do not matter in the fact that they are expressed, only to understand you, as you are.” She makes a smile form, then takes a slow swig out of the bottle. She doesn’t even gasp when she’s done. I take her silence as an invitation to continue. “The only time friendly self-reference is important is when it is meaningful, only when it is needed to understand. A play by play of your life is not needed, you are not your past events. I don't care what you did today, I care about who you are now. I need people who can at least try to be themselves, simply just be. When you constantly refer to yourself you try to push yourself onto me, into me. Knowing is a form of flow, not rape. It’s natural, not forced.”

Elle stands up, and walks slowly away. I follow her.

She slows down for me, and when I reach her, says, “I can’t believe you feel that way. I’m so sorry that I make you feel that way.”

“It’s not really you, Elle. Well, the bit about what I care about, that is you. The rest is rhetorical. It’s everyone. Don’t take it so personally.”

“It’s hard not to take it personally when I’m the only one here.” She wipes her nose on her sleeve again and walks a little faster.


“Can’t. If I stop, I’ll cry.”

“Stop. Just stop. Look at me.”

Elle stops, her body sways and chatters in the cold. I reach out to her, she moves away a little bit.

“Why do I like you more than you like me, Louis?”

“You don’t. You just think you do.” I can never understand how this sort of thing comes up. I am so frustrated, I could throttle someone. If it were anyone else here infront of me but her, they’d have my hands around their neck. How does she have this hold on me? I don’t get it.
Elle turns to the chain link fence she’s stopped by and hits it as hard as she can. Her fist nearly goes through the hole. I grab her arm. She stares fiercely at me.

“If you don’t quit this Nietzschean stuff, I’m going to have to leave. I can’t handle it.” Or, at least, that’s what I think she said, I can barely hear her. I pull her in to me. I hold her head against my chest. She sobs and I can feel my shirt starting to get wet.

“Elle, stop it. Please don’t cry. Please?”

She looks up at me, her eyes are squinting as though I’m standing a million miles away from her. Her face shines under the street lights from tears and frustration. She shakes her head.

“Please don’t cry. I love you. I love you.” She looks up again, but brings her hands up between her breasts, separating her body from mine.

I take her face and lean in to kiss her. She won’t kiss me. She says she can’t breathe. I kiss her anyway.

SCENE E (somewhere in the middle, perhaps)

God, I hope I'm at the right place. Maybe I'm here early and that's why I don't hear anyone, Dana thinks to herself. She looks around; all of the apartments are exactly the same. Some of the patios have their lights on, and moths flit around their glow. Most of the patios are empty, with maybe a garbage can, or a chair. There are a few porches with PlaySkool houses set up for toddlers. The apartment she is at has a potted ficus and a coffee can filled with cigarette butts. She puts on her best party smile and knocks.

A man in his late twenties answers the door; he is wearing khaki slacks and a button up checkered shirt. He is not tall, but certainly not short, perhaps six feet, he has got brown hair that has been cut recently, he is in the process of growing a beard and has crow's feet around his eyes. Dana smiles and glances past him, trying to see into the front room of the apartment. The man peeks behind his shoulder.

"I'm sorry, I must have the wrong apartment. I didn't mean to bother you, it's just that I’ve only been here a couple times, you know, to this complex, and everything looks the same."

"Hey, no worries," the man says. "Who are you looking for anyway? I might know where they live."

"Oh, I'm looking for this older guy’s place; his name is Mr. Myers... I guess he's having a party or something tonight."

"Yeah... no, I don't know. I have no idea. But, hey, it's my birthday, if you want a piece of cake --well, it's Boston cream pie-- or a cupcake or something, I've got plenty."

Dana just smiles and her eyes dart around, seeking another person, or another sign of life.

"Seriously, it's my birthday. My mom brought the cake and cupcakes this afternoon."

"Well, happy birthday..." she pauses, waiting for the man to introduce himself.

"Joe. Joe Pierce."

"Happy birthday, Joe Pierce. I'm Dana. It's nice to meet you."

"So, you want to come in for a piece of cake?"

"Yeah, sure, why not?"

Joe turns around and walks into his apartment, he holds the door open for her with a smile. Dana pauses just before her first foot crosses the threshold, she takes a look around before she continues, Joe laughs and steps out of her way. He sucks in his stomach when he does this.

The walls are not decorated; they are a dull shade of white. The kitchen is small. The appliances do not match; the refrigerator is a moldy green, the microwave is white, dishwasher: beige, coffee pot: black. The kitchen table is an old card table with four white plastic chairs around it. There is barely enough room to get around the table to sit down. The linoleum is white and clean, probably the newest thing in the apartment.

The rest of the visible area is devoted to a living room. There's an old sofa, the upholstery is reminiscent of a grandmother's sitting room -- aged, slightly discolored, with green and yellow flowers forming a garden pattern. The TV is bulky, with wires flowing out of it. The coffee table is oak, it looks as though it's been polished, but water rings cover the surface still.

"Hey, have a seat; what do you wan, a cupcake, cream pie? Some coffee?"

"Oh, I'll have a cupcake, I just ate, otherwise I would go for the Boston cream pie, I don't
know the last time I had one of those..."

"You should have some then, I'll cut you a thin slice."

"Aw, thanks, that'd be great."

Dana sits down carefully on the nearest plastic chair around the table. When she decides that it will support her, she relaxes a bit.

Joe comes up behind her, a slice of pie in hand. He leans over the back of her chair, over her shoulder, to put the pie in front of her. He examines the cleavage just barely peeking out of the scoop of her shirt. He smells her hair, then sits down next to her.

"Jesus Christ! What is this guy's deal?” Dana asks herself.

"Thanks Joe, it looks great, " she says, instead of what she was thinking.

"Yeah, it's pretty good -- there are bananas between the layers instead of just cream. I hope you're not allergic or anything; or I hope you like bananas -- you know, they're a great source of potassium, folic acid, and blocks diarrhea...” he trails off. He waits for her to take a bite. She does.

Dana chews slowly. "Wow. I've never had bananas in one of these before. It's interesting."

"Yeah. I liked it."

"So, did you get anything cool for your birthday?"

"Yeah. My parents got me some cloths."

"That's good... what kind of clothes?"

"Well, hey, I'll show you." Joe jumps up from his chair and makes his way quickly through the living room. Joe comes back with a Macy's box and a blue polka-dotted gift bag.

He puts his gifts down on the table and sits. He opens his big white Macy's box, as though he is revealing the secret of how to turn lead into gold, or a map of Atlantis. Dana watches patiently, with a small smile of amusement blooming on her face. Joe pulls out a checkered button up shirt, then a striped one.

"Those are really nice, the colors will really go well with your eyes."

"You think?"

Dana nods her head (a little too quickly), "Definitely."

Joe takes a pair of plaid flannel pajamas out of the box; they are blue and red but not seemingly patriotic. Dana smiles with her whole face for the first time since meeting Joe. His pajamas look exactly like a pair that her grandmother wore when she was little.


"Oh. Nothing. I just didn't know that anyone still wore pajamas." Dana gives Joe a look of apology.

Joe laughs, "Well, they're from my mom; it's not like I picked them out." Joe then grabs the blue gift bag. He pulls out three pairs of boxers.

"Um...” Dana tenses up and stares.

"I was pretty excited about the boxers, I never buy the nice ones for myself. The only ones worth buying are the Polo ones; they last. Other brands just wear out. They're more comfortable too."

Every sign of a smile that Dana had been showing disappears.

"Oh my god I have to get out of here. Oh my god I have to get out of here," Dana thinks over and over, almost a Koan.

"So, I was pretty excited to get these; the only time I get nice boxers is for Christmas, so all of my nice boxers are covered with Christmas lights and reindeer. I think some of them might even have some snowflakes."

"Hey, um, well, that's nice. I should go."

"No, no, no. Don't go. I bet your party isn't going on yet."

"Seriously, I have to go." Dana stands up, almost jumps. Joe stands up too.

"Is it something I said?"

"Uh, yeah."

Joe moves in front of Dana, blocking the way out.

"Excuse me," she says as she tries to push her way past Joe.

"No. Hey, sorry. At least stay for some coffee. I'll start a pot if you sit down."

"Uh, yeah. Okay. Can I use the bathroom please?"

Joe looks behind him and points to a door on the left side of the living room. Dana pushes past him to the door Joe pointed to.

Dana opens the bathroom door; it's a small, narrow room, the shower curtain is pulled shut, making the room even smaller. Panicking, Dana locks the door behind her and turns on the fan. She puts down the toilet seat and sits; she heaves her large purse onto her lap and begins digging through it. There is nothing helpful in it. No mace, no guns, no knives, no cell phone; there's not even a spray bottle of perfume to spray in Joe's face.

Dana looks through the medicine cabinet. There’s nothing useful in there either; not even a disposable Bic. Dana turns on the sink and runs over to the shower curtain, and pulls them back slowly to keep the noise down. The bathtub is dirty, as though it hasn’t been cleaned in months; this surprises Dana based on the rest of the apartment, which, even though everything was old, was immaculate; not a crumb on the floor.

She sees a window in the top of the shower. Fuck. Please don’t let it be a sliding-pane window. Please don’t let it be a sliding-pane window, she thinks to herself. She steps over the ledge of the bathtub into it. She reaches up to the window and finds the latch. The window opens out. Dana pushes her purse out of the window, it goes through easily, and she drops it down. The hard part would be getting herself up high enough to get out through the window. Wedging her shoes between the rim of the bathtub and the tile wall, Dana pulls herself up to a standing position on the little ledge. She knows she only has one chance to get out through the window; if she slips and falls, she’ll make too much noise. All of the power in her body goes to helping her raise her upper body to the level of the window. When she is up high enough, she pushes her arms through the window, and pulls herself through by grappling with the outside wall of the building. Her legs are in the air, and finally she’s able to pull herself through. She falls on her hip on the ground when she lands. Dana stands up slowly, picks up her purse, and walks as quickly as she can away from Joe’s apartment.

When she reaches her car, she unlocks the door, climbs inside, and locks the door behind her. She reaches into her purse and pulls out a pack of Marlboros and a pink lighter. She doesn’t even bother cracking the window, she just sits in her car and smokes. She shivers, and wishes that David were there.

Friday, September 15, 2006


The windowpane is grimy in the back room. He looks out, and sees nothing but a dusty greasy reflection of himself. He pulls his sleeve over his hand and wipes a circle away. The rain spits against the glass, and dribbles down.
He sees a woman with a red umbrella but the sideways spitting still gets her. He’s tempted to sing show tunes to her, but refrains himself. Instead, he hums them slowly to himself like a dirge.
He cracks open the window with great effort, and fog collects at the opening. He makes a smiley face (with no nose) with his left pinky. He admires it, and then smudges it out. He is sure that nothing good can come of smiley faces.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


David is pacing slowly, deliberately around his apartment. Every once in a while he stoops down to examine a book. So far, today he has found three books stacked in the wrong piles. He moves them back to where they belong every time, and wonders each time how he could have made that mistake.

When David was younger, he used to go to libraries and bookstores and put the books just slightly out of order. He would switch Camus with Cather, Kant with King. David made mental notes of which authors and books they carried. He would submit anonymous requests for certain books each week in different handwritings. David checked up on the libraries and bookstores as often as he could, to see how long it would take them to fix their shelves or get new books. He went to four different bookstores and two libraries.
The libraries were both the same, the only people that seemed to work at them were older ladies whose children had finally gone off to college (or Los Angeles) and high school students. The selection of reading material was fine until David started looking for obscure novels, essays and authors. When he became frustrated at the lack of what he was looking for, he began his game.
Three of the stores were huge, corporate book-pounds. David always thought of really great books going there to die, be looked at, but ultimately, only the younger, trendier books would get homes at the end of the day. The store that he loved was a tiny store run by a peculiar old man that had messy grey hair. David would go there once a week and rearrange some of the books. Eventually the old man caught on to David. The man would follow him around the shop and put the books back immediately. After about a month or so of following David around, the old man offered him a job at his store. David accepted, and that was the end of his game.

David stops his pacing and decides that it’s time to go to bed. He thinks about how icy the sheets can get this time of year without someone else to help warm them. He moves his folded laundry off of his bed and puts it on top of his dresser. He takes off his shirt and belt and crawls under the covers. He shivers out of loneliness, fatigue, and cold. He closes his eyes and hopes to dream of nothing.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


The bar is gloomy, there are a handful of people sitting at tables. Most of them are alone with their beers or double shots of bourbon. The bartender is disinterested, she wears a black sweater that has nervous holes in the sleeves, from her fingers picking at lint. Her eyeliner and mascara are smudged haphazardly, and her red lipstick bleeds into the skin around her mouth. She lights a cigarette and looks around the room.
There's a couple staring at each other, the bartender is sure that they're about to break-up. The girlfriend coughs. The girlfriend is looking away from the man across from her. He reaches for her hand, between their two drinks. He barely touches her, and she pulls her whole arm away and puts it safely into her lap, out of his reach. The man looks away at a neon sign advertising Budweiser, finishes the rest of his drink and the bartender puts out her cigarette.
It's a Monday night, and this is as full as the bar is going to get. The bartender expects everyone to get thoroughly drunk and play rock ballads and old Patsy Cline on the Jukebox. She expects no tips tonight, all of the crumpled dollar bills she would usually get will go towards more alcohol and sad music to make it easier for her patrons to cry into their beer.
There's a man that's about her father's age sitting with a pint of Guinness in a corner, reading in the dimness. He hasn't shaved for days- his grey stubble spreads over his chin and jaws up into his cheeks. He glances up from his book; before she can look away, he's made eye-contact with her. She busies herself. Cleaning glasses, the counter, anything so she won't have to hear his story. The old man closes his book and carries his beer to the bar. He sits on the stool nearest the window, reaches for a napkin and cleans off his glasses.
When the old man is sure of their cleanliness, he hooks the glasses behind both ears. He takes a slow sip from his beer. He watches the head slide slowly down the glass, creating elephant and monster shapes. When he is content with what he sees in the foam, he looks up and waits patiently for the bartender. She comes over to him.
"What can I get you pops?" she asks, as curtly as she can.
"What's your story, lady?" the old man replies.
"My story? You want to know my story?" The bartender stops and laughs. A full, deep belly laugh.
"Yeah, lady, I wanna know your story," says the old man.
"I don't have a story yet, pops. I'm here working on my story. This here, is my story. Ya know? I don't get a story yet pops." She lights a cigarette, and starts to walk away.
"Hey, lady... Everyone's got a story..." The old man says as he watches her walk away.
"You really want to know? Fine. Here's my story: I grew up in this shithole city; I went to school, high school anyway; I didn't get the grades for college. I work at this shithole bar that only alcoholics come to. I live in a shitty apartment, with shitty neighbors. And I don't care. I'm just biding my time until I can get the fuck out of here. And my name's not 'lady,' it's Dana."
"Well, nice to meet you Dana. I hope your story gets better," the old man says before he finishes his beer.