Tag Archives: love

Shake me, Skyscraper

before I start. I don’t usually have dreams. In fact I haven’t had a dream in a long time. Years. I suppose it’s safe to state I don’t have dreams. Sounds a bit grim, but it is what it is. Lately, I’ve been able to have these lucid dreams.  The interesting thing about that is… I’ve never had lucid dreams before. They’re the dreams where you can control your own body instead of watching it unfold like a movie. I was surprised when I’d learnt there was even an option like lucid dreams. All of my previous dreams felt like a rip-off only I knew I couldn’t get a refund. But alas, dreams are just dreams. I knew of a guy who had a dream once. He was killed because of it. So I guess that inducts dreams into having a hand in reality. Go figure.

So in my dream, I’m a homeless man. A bum. The sort that traveled from place to place. A real bum is a traveler, but a bum is a homeless person that still hangs onto the hope of a home so he sets up a cardboard makeshift shack of some sort with most of the features of a home, and is strangely territorial about it. A tourist in his own life. A traveler is not a tourist. I digress.

I found myself in a metropolis of sorts. It’s night. It looked and felt like LA. It probably was. Light to mild traffic, so I’d say about 10-ish. There’s very little foot-traffic so it must be a feared area. You know those areas a seemingly normal person is afraid of walking trough? Homeless persons and bums congregate these areas. You can identify them if there’s a bus stop or a bench you feel you shouldn’t touch with your bare skin or nice clothes. I was about to go to sleep on one of these said benches. I know, I know -who dreams that they’re about to go to sleep? This guy. It was a nice cool night, I’d been walking a long distance and there was an empty bench. I figured I could catch a wink or two before a cop car rolled up, shine a flashlight on me to see who I was, then tell me I couldn’t sleep there and to go home. People do exist who are terrible judges. Most are. So I closed my eyes.

Not more than a moment later, the sound of clicking boot-heels come tick-tockin’ up the sidewalk. ‘Here we go,’ I thought. I sit up. I had the bum uniform fully on; the dirty white sneakers and cologne of hard knocks, if the copper was mildly perceptive it should be a quick shooing. I direct my eyes straight ahead refusing to acknowledge the officer with them. It’s not that I’m a disrespectful person by nature, but let’s face it; he was gonna kick me off a street because I already looked guilty. I smelled guilty. The heels stopped. He said nothing. A power play. A tough guy. It never matters.

To cut the shit I decided to turn towards this tough guy. This tough guy turned out to be a girl. That was a strange development. She looked to be about my age. Minus her dark, thick eyebrows she had an attractive face. She was almost as tall as I was, and almost as gangly. She looked healthier. Probably was, compared to my state. She was probably teased when she was grade school. She looked nervous. But that could also have been due to the fact I was a smelly hobo which made me wonder what she wanted from me. So I asked her,

‘What do you want?’

‘Sorry to bother you, but can you tell me how to get to Union Station?’

‘I’m not bothered, I wasn’t doing much anyway. You have two options. One, you walk straight down this street for 9 or 10 blocks then cut a right about 2 or 3 more blocks.’

‘Wow, that’s a long walk.’ She said un-enthused.

‘Which brings us to option two. Take the Civic Station Metro on 1st and Hill to Union Station.’

‘Okay, where’s 1st and Hill?’

You see this corner we’re both on here?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Well, it’s on the opposite corner of this block, but two blocks that way.’

‘I’m sorry. What?’

‘Umm… let me think. Okay, got it. Go two blocks that way, and go one block to the left. There should be a bunch of Mexicans gathered around the entrance. They’re nice, don’t worry. They’re all getting off of work and just waiting for the buses.’

‘Okay…’

‘Hope that helps.’

‘It does. You almost lost me with the whole opposite corner of the block, two blocks over thing.’

‘Yeah… I don’t know why I said it like that. I may have been out trying to impress you. Subconsciously, I mean.’ I admitted. She gave a courtesy laugh.

‘Well, thank you.’

‘Anytime you can find me.’

She started a few steps toward 1st and Hill and then stopped. I’m a sucker for legs and will say I could watch her walk forever. Then she started towards me again and almost caught me looking, but my quick thinking shot my eyes forward again before she noticed.

‘Excuse me, sorry to bother you again.’

‘Still un-bothered and still not doing much.’

‘Well, I was wondering if you could use a few bucks.’ she said nervously. It’s a sight people don’t see often on the streets. Someone nervously offering a few bucks to a bum. In bills.

‘Sure I could. I could use some soap.’ I said. She laughed again but stopped herself and started digging into her pockets. They never can tell when I was cracking a joke. I don’t believe elephants belong in a room.

‘I meant, for like, food or other stuff.’

‘I was joking. Well, I was serious, but it’s a joke too, see?’

‘A serious joke, really?’ she mused.

‘Oh I take nothing more serious than joking. And what do you mean, other stuff?’

She ummed in search of the least narrow-minded answer.

‘What? Like booze and drugs?’

‘Well… if that’s the kind of stuff you’re into…’ she conceded forgetting my oath to oracular humor.

‘I’m joking again,’ I relieved, ‘I was actually serious about the soap. I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m incredibly filthy.’

‘And pungent.’

‘And pungent.’ we both laughed.

What sort of dream consists of a bum talking to a tall girl? This one. Don’t make that face, this was only the beginning. Sometimes a good conversation is an adventure in and of itself. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you haven’t had a good conversation. Think on the times you spoke with your loved ones. Now subtract the arguments and the trivial trifles and you’ve got a good conversation. Full of laughter and chuckles because of an absence of ego. An ego lacking of both sides with nothing to gain but the connection to another person. Another mind. Honest. Honest because I knew I was a bum, and she wasn’t. It’s sad what the segregation of classes can do. Can still do. This is the world we’re forced to live in. Well, in the USA, at least.

It turned out she was on her way to North Hollywood to stay with some friends. She found herself closer to friends than she did parents. Her parents made her uneasy. She disagreed with them on different aspects of life. We all do. It’s like there’s a shield that divides better ways of thinking from the old presumably proven ways which time still has yet to prove i.e. separation of class. Old money vs. all else, that kind of thing. Then again, what do I know? I was just a bum who couldn’t even dream. She and her friends just wanted to have fun and enjoy themselves. They were mostly jobless, but jobless because the job market is a tough place to enjoy yourself in. Those with the jobs were actually the ones who were more miserable. They were mindless jobs that paid like a warm hungover turd. Satisfying, yet still shit. But they bought the drinks anyway because there was nothing else they could do. She had dropped out of school because she couldn’t afford it. Instead of asking for gas and food money like she did when she was 15, she asked for bus fare and beer money at 25. Omitting the beer part because hardworking voters feel directionless youth don’t deserve to drown worries they have no right to have. Of course, I’m not an expert. I never read any government studies or anything. Again, I’m just a bum in the dream. Before I knew it, I was walking with her to the train station. I made up something about making sure she got there in one piece. Which isn’t fully a lie because it isn’t safe in any city for a woman to be walking the street alone. Not all homeless people are as easygoing as me. Some still have wants and desires.

I stopped her from purchasing a train ticket to get on the train because I knew the patrols change at night. The coppers won’t be at the stops checking tickets at night because there are more crazy people at night. The crazy people seem to target cops or other uniformed authorities over ordinary people. If the option was there. We walked straight through toward the platform. There weren’t any cops as I’d predicted. And there weren’t crazy people either. Now this is the part of my dream that became a weird dream. In my lucid dreams I could control my entire body, but I don’t realize it’s a dream. I hear you’re supposed to know it was a dream, but everything seemed normal to me. That’s why I said it was probably LA. It was a bit more scifi-y.

Union Station wasn’t like Union Station where the platforms were off to either side down this long wide hall. This Union Station towered towards the heavens. There were about 3 or 4 platforms on each level up the cylindrical tower. I wasn’t sure because I didn’t count. I didn’t count because it seemed normal to me. She and I were going to the 11th floor, platform 3. Orange line, I think… Or was it platform 4’s blue line? It doesn’t matter.

We decided to take the stairs because the elevators had lines. But we’d gotten into one of them, they’d seem to elevate over the city from the outside of the building because the lifts have only a pane of glass separating you from being in the view. It was gorgeous at night as I’m sure it would have been on a sunny day as well. We still got to see the view going up the stairs. But we got to feel the wind too, which I thought was better. I also think we both secretly enjoyed each other’s company and the best way to optimize the short amount of we had was to hike a flight of stairs.

It seemed hard to believe at the time that this woman would hike 11 flights of stairs with me, a bum. I’m not going to use the excuse of this being just a dream, because of my aforementioned friend who was martyred for his. But I believe that there are some people out there that are genuinely appreciative of another person with a good heart because a good heart is only the mask to an even greater soul. What moron doesn’t want to be in the company of someone of that caliber even just for a moment. Knowing both our situations I can safely say we believed we would never see each other again. The only thing that seemed unrealistic were the floating trains full of potentially great people I hadn’t met yet that flew to and fro in all directions of this tower that was Union Station. Unrealistic, so far, at least.

‘What made you homeless?’ she asked.

‘You say it like I was forced into it by something else.’

‘It was by choice?’

‘I was forced into it.’ I mused.

‘What was it? If you don’t mind me asking.’

‘I don’t mind. It’s because of people like you.’

‘What do you mean?’ she sounded shocked.

‘Not in the way that context sounded. A better way to say it would be, “for people like you.” I gave up everything I had because they drove me to push on in life.’

‘You don’t mean you’re just waiting around to die, are you?’

‘Nope, not at all.’

‘Then, what do you mean?’

‘You’ll think I’m crazy if I told you.’

‘I told you about the crazy shit in my life.’

‘True, but some of my closest friends even thought I was insane, and I don’t even know you.’

‘You care what they think?’

‘At first I did, they were my friends. But now, not so much.’

‘Then what makes you think you’ll care what I think?’

‘Hmm… touche, young lady. I won’t and don’t.’

‘So… tell me.’

After some thought, I conceded, ‘Alright. I didn’t want to push on in a life that I didn’t agree to living. I don’t mean to say that I wish I was never born. Quite the opposite, actually. I’m glad I was born. I didn’t see why some people seem to have authority over other people. We’re all so dependent on these people to govern our lives.’

‘Everybody has to work.’

‘Everybody does have to work. But nobody has the right to work everybody over.’

‘So your homelessness is a form of anarchy?’

‘Nothing so idealistic as that. I don’t think at least, I mean I never liked punk bands. Or anything.’

‘Punk music isn’t the same as punk sounds.’

‘Touche again. Jonathan Richman was the Godfather of punk. I love that guy.’

‘I love Jonathan Richman!’

‘No way.’ I stated skeptically.

‘Roadrunner.’

‘Everyone’s heard Roadrunner.’

‘The soundtrack to There’s Something About Mary. The Berserkley Years. And I love Jonathan Goes Country, which was pretty dark despite sounding to uppity. Filled with heroin references like most of his songs.’

‘Holy shit, you’re really a Richman fan.’

‘Of course. I can tell what good music is on my own, thank you. Half the Modern Lovers that started with Jonathan split and joined The Cars. The other half joined… what was it…’

‘…Talking Heads!’

‘Yeah!’

I’d always hated talking to people about music because whenever I’d tried to I would find myself stuck listening to someone tell me about what the members of the band did instead of the music itself. Those conversations just made it apparent that they wasted time finding out what the lyrics meant to the person that wrote it instead of finding out what a song means to the listener personally. A real artists creates for others rather than themselves. Good songs are fundamentally the same, because it’s the same message throughout history. What that message is, is for each person to discover on their own because no one’d believe it if you told them. Once you get it, you get the poetry, which we’ve all lost somewhere down the line. There are people who listen to music, there are people that write and or play music, and then there are people who believe in music. Now I had no idea whether or not this woman felt that way I did about music, but there she was proclaiming her enjoyment of one of my favorite creators no one has heard of. Get back to the dream! Alright, alright, sheesh.

‘See? You’re a little punk. An unorthodox punk.’ she established

‘Shit does happens that way, I guess.’

‘haha, it really does.’

‘Alright, so now that we’ve established I don’t want to firebomb society, I just saw a more simpler way of dealing with it.’

‘Becoming a bum.’

‘No. Well, yes. Passivity. Instead of arguing with the people in charge about our rights, I figured it was easier to just ignore them.’

‘You think the government would go away if you ignored them?’

‘Me? Not really. But if we all just stopped working for one day, they’d be hit very hard. They need the people in order to have authority. If we all just turned our heads and said fuck this instead of fuck you, they’d crawl right back to us.’

‘People shouldn’t fear the government, the government should fear the people.’

‘Yeah, that thing. Philosophy was the people’s plan B since the beginning. But some of us are too hotheaded to see it.’

‘I see your point. You’re saying if we all just stopped giving a fuck, we’d stop getting fucked.’

‘Not immediately, but that’ll at least force them to finally listen to the hotheaded ones. They’ll naturally take charge because they’re too pissed to not do anything.’

‘Saving the Economy, by anonymous bum of America.’ she joked.

‘Pretty much, but i’m not assertive. I don’t handle resistance very well.’

‘Haha, that’s so like you intellectuals. Always thinking but never having the balls to do anything.’

‘If you see it that way. But I had the balls to give everything up to become a bum and to cease condoning the grip they’d had on us since birth. You yourself can’t afford school, yet I can tell you’re not an idiot. I’m not too foolish but I can’t exactly land a job, along with your other friends. Your friends who hate their jobs, want to kill themselves until they get off of work. And your friends that are happy with a job, well they’re emotional states go up and down just as quickly as these elevators, ready to snap at any moment like a paperclip. I’m not doing anything about it? I shit the system out of my life which is the best thing any of us can do. The best part is, I step over no one to do it.’

That struck her silent.

‘You can say so if you think I’m a crazy homeless man. You were warned.’

‘Well… I’ve never spoken to another homeless man before. So… I don’t know where they stand.’

‘Me neither… some smell worse than I do.’

‘Yeah, you do smell pretty bad.’

‘Yeah, pungent, was the word I believe.’

‘But, there’s a lot of sense in your what your saying, but I don’t know if it’s because I’m tired of these fucking stairs.’

‘I was hoping you’d say something about that, I’m completely beat.’

‘My thighs are on fire. How many floors did we make it up?’

‘Um… 5, I think.’

‘Really? That’s it? Fuck.’

‘You want to take a break?’

‘If you don’t mind.’

‘Mind? Of course I don’t mind. I’d have been sleeping by now. I didn’t even have to come here.’ I joked while over-exaggerating my hyperventilation. We both sat on the steps.

‘I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude but could you sit a little farther away?’

‘Oh yeah, of course. That was inconsiderate of me.’ I moved two steps up.

We sat there breathing and rubbing our own thighs. She offered me a cigarette but apparently, I wasn’t a smoker in my dream. And I also wasn’t any tougher of a person in my dreams because she and I heard footsteps coming up the stairs from one of the platforms below us, and I got scared. We looked at each other as the footsteps neared, and I gave her a look that reminded her that I wasn’t a crazy PCP-smoking hobo. Then the shoes came around the corner and planted in those shoes were the feet of another homeless man. He was black and older, and… mangy was the best way to describe him.

‘Hi!’ I said surprisingly afraid.

‘Well, hello there,’ said the black homeless man, ‘and to you, young lady.’

‘Hello.’

‘Lemme axe you a question.’

‘Uh, okay.’ she said.

‘Would you like to buy some tape? Each roll you buy comes with a tape gun.’

‘Oh, no thank you.’

‘Now hold on a minute, you ain’t seen my tape yet. It’s good tape.’

‘That’s alright, I’m not really um, in need of any tape right now.’

‘You’ll change your mind when you see the tape, just give it a chance.’

‘Alright. Let me see your tape, I guess.’

‘There we go!’ the black homeless man pulled out a ratty used cardboard box full of tape guns from behind his back. ‘There’s two rows, twelve tape guns total, you can even have the box.’

‘Those are nice tape guns but I don’t really need them.’

‘What? Which one you don’t need?’

‘Well, sir, I don’t need all or any of them.’

‘Come on, I’ll tell you what, I will give you all twelve for the price of one.’

‘I really don’t need tape right now.’

‘How do you know you won’t need tape later? Now this is a really good deal, young lady.’ he look to me, ‘tell her how good a deal twelve for one is.’

‘Uh… well statistically, that is a good deal.’ I stated. She then shot a look at me. The one with the eye.

‘Alright, how much for one?’

‘Ten dollars.’

‘Are you kid… I’m not paying you ten dollars for twelve tape guns I don’t need now! Or later! Probably.’

‘Now hold on, that’s just for the one tape. but if you buy that one, I’ll give you the gun that it comes with, along with the other 11 tapes, with the guns for those. For free. That’s a good deal right there, see, I’m the one that’s lost money,’ he looked at me again, ‘tell her I lose profit.’

‘Uhhh… well technically…’

”Shut up! Alright, I’ll take it, but I’m only giving you 2 dollars.’ she yelled.

‘Are you playing me?’

she glared at him. ‘2 dollars.’

‘Make it 5 at least.’

‘If i give you 5, will you stop talking and just leave us alone?’

‘Sure!’

They made the transaction. Then the black homeless man insisted he wrap it for her. She was too haggled for more debate so she gestured for him to do so speedily. He took a tape gun, with the roll of tape attached, and began taping the entire box shut. She gave it one look and shrugged her shoulder as though this couldn’t be happening. But I was watching. The guy looked like he was enjoying it too. Then he gave her the box and purported the resistance the box now had of the rain and other doings o’ nature. Then he left. She then glared at me, the other homeless man. I tried to look in any other direction than in the direction of her eyes.

‘Look at me.’

‘No.’

‘Why?’

‘Because you’re armed with twelve fully loaded tape guns.’

We found ourselves bursting with laughter a moment later. We started upward again leaving behind a pair of tape trails spiraling up the stairs.

‘Do you believe in God?’ I asked.

‘In a way. I believe in our intellect to decide whether or not we want to believe in things.’

‘Well, I mean like Jesus Christ and his old man and things like that.’

‘You mean whether I’m a Christian or whatever?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Then no.’ she stated

‘But you believe in him in another way?’

‘I don’t believe in their idea of hell and Satan or anything like that.’

‘You don’t believe in the eternal abyss of despair of Dante’s Inferno?’

‘Ha, no. Dante wrote that because he was imprisoned for not believing it. So he wrote the book personifying the 9 circles of hell that was the church. That was his revenge, and his skill comes from mocking his captors right under their noses. But I don’t think he ever intended for the church to begin using the 9 circles to scare people into converting. So he sort of screwed it up for the world too. But I like Jesus, he seems like a really nice guy.’

‘Hold on, is that stuff true?’

‘Of course it is. I like history, and I always do my own research now that I can’t afford schooling. I think it’s always why he named it the Divine Comedy. He never did anything wrong but have his own beliefs.

‘Wow, I never thought of it that way before. You know, I’ve always thought that. But with the bible. I think they took it seriously like the bible was a non-fiction book.’

‘That’s exactly what they did with it.’ she confirmed. ‘I hope I didn’t convert you into the dark lord’s army.’

‘Oh no. I don’t believe in the dark lord. If anything, I feel for the guy. It seemed like he was punished for having his own beliefs too. He never had horns or red skin and goat legs or anything. He was a regular dude with wings who thought for himself. Everyone called him crazy.’

‘Everyone calls you crazy! You’re the devil!’

‘Yeah, right. I’m the homeless devil that supports non-violent anarchy and reads Thoreau.’

‘Haha. Well it’s hard to believe when we find out the Romans just rewrote the Greek pantheon.’

‘Find out?’

‘My own research again.’

‘Touche, I do my own research too. Call me crazy, but does Prometheus sound a bit like Satan to you?’

‘I’ve always thought that too! Call me crazy!’ she exclaimed with genuine excitement.

‘Hey crazy, I need a need another gun, this one’s out.’ she tossed me a new gun.

‘Do you believe in God?’

‘I guess you could say that, but plural.’

‘Ooooh, a polytheist?’

‘Stop that. Nothing like that.’

‘You believe in many gods, right? Like the eastern religions.’

‘Well, sort of. I don’t think the stories are meant to be taken literally is all.’

‘So what do your Gods do?’

‘Umm… some of them sleep I guess. Until they wake up.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Well people like Ghandi for example.’

‘You think Ghandi is a God?’

‘Stop using the word God! It’s really a silly word to use.’

‘What would you rather?’

‘I don’t know, a Lover. not in a sexual way, but a lover and believer in mankind. Like Ghandi and whoever else that was really for the people.’

‘Alright, alright, you call your Gods, Lovers, is what you’re saying.’

‘Okay, now you’re twisting my words and making me sound like a weirdo.’

‘You already are a weirdo! and those were your words.’

‘Okay, fine. FINE. People like Ghandi and Jesus and Martin Luther King Jr and Nikola Tesla, loved mankind people. I think every century, people like these come along and get snuffed out by some jackass. But it’s not that they loved mankind and said a few words, but they believed in mankind to the point where their deaths were seen as martyrdom. In the olden days, they would saint their asses or deify them almost immediately. We’ve sort of done that to them to, but we cut out the sainting shit a while ago. But they were still great human beings. I can’t rally people like they can cause I like a good rum and coke now and then, but I live their words everyday. Before the saints became saints themselves, they were the Greek gods. They didn’t have superpowers or anything, they were just regular dudes and ladies like you and me but they weren’t afraid of doing great things that another person would be afraid of. I don’t know, but it just seems infinitely more logical than what the cloth has done in the last 500 years.’

‘Oh that’s those New Age weirdo things isn’t it?’

‘In a way, yes. But I’ve never met one that didn’t sound pompous or didn’t channel some dude from the bible. Maybe they can, I don’t know. I’ve done some weird shit too I guess.’

‘Like what?’

‘Oh, come on.’

‘Tell me!’

‘No way, I’m already sounding like I’ll drink the kool-aid.’

‘So you guys DO drink the kool-aid!’

‘What? No! we don’t even meet. I’ve just read some of the shit they post on forums. What am I saying, They’re not assholes or anything, they’re actually very kind people. It’s just to an awakened person, that’s what they call it when you’ve seen the light or whatever, it’s easy to spot out which are still sleeping and which aren’t. And people have been waking up in droves these last few decades.’

‘Are you awake?’ she asked

‘I’d rather not say.’

‘Oh why not?’

‘Because I know there’s nothing to be sure about with things like religion. I just want to be the most neutral guy ever.’

‘Haha, can you channel Jesus or Noah or Apollo?’

‘This isn’t funny.’

‘Liar!’ she shouted. Some of her saliva hit my eyeball, ‘oh my god, gods! I didn’t mean to spit in your eye!’

‘Haha, it’s alright. You’re right though. It is kinda funny. I don’t know if I’ve channeled those guys.’

‘Whoa, hold on. What do you mean, those guys.?

‘…Nothing.’

‘Oh no you don’t! Tell me! Are you awake?!’

‘Calm down! Sheesh! I am, I am. Why else would I go full throttle and bum it on the streets talking about love? I’m not crazy you know.’

‘Um… I plead the fifth right now about what you just said.’ she joked.

‘Okay, okay.’

‘…So?’

‘So, what?’

‘Who can you summon up with your little seances?’

‘You’re really enjoying this aren’t you?’

‘Would it really matter?’

‘If you’re happy, I’m happy.’

‘Then tell me, you filthy lovebum.’

‘Haha! Lovebum! That’s funny. Alright. He or she goes by the name G.’

‘What? G? Just G?’

”Just G’

‘Okay… and what does G say to you?’

‘Um… what I need to hear I guess. G’s sort of like my personal… er… whatever G is.’

‘Is it a voice inside your head? Like Joan of Arc?’

‘Not really, it’s strange. I sort of have to piece the messages together from artistic things people create and random things. Like, they trigger an old memory I had of something else that the symbol  reminded me of. From then on it’s like word jumble. When I figure out the correct message, I get this little vibrating feeling inside me.’

‘I’m sorry, G puts a vibrator inside you when you get it right?’

‘Fuck you! You know what! I’m done talking about it!’

‘I’m kidding! So touchy! Why you mad?’

‘I huffed a moment, but laughed anyway. ‘You’re right on that burn though, I so set that one up for you!’

‘Haha, yeah you did!’

‘Okay so this vibration feeling, don’t laugh…’

‘…promise’

‘…feeling let’s me know the answer is right.’

‘What if the vibrator…VIBRATION… is like a wrong buzzer going off inside you.’

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath before I answered, ‘because I know in my heart it’s right. I’m not sure what it is exactly, they say our spirit guides are a higher form of our consciousness or another you from another dimension or some shit like that, but I do know for certain that G and I are tied together very strongly here and now. I never feel lonely anymore. G’s my best friend, is funny, and is much, much smarter than I am. G’s always with me, even though I have no idea who G is. G even watches me poop.’

By now we had been standing at the 11th floor platform waiting for the no. 3 shuttle, the one she needed to take after all. The tower was 33 stories high and didn’t feel like regular stories at all. Over the ledge we could see that we were far higher up than we would in a normal 11th floor.

She looked at me without a word, only smiling. She was probably dumbstruck by the insanity I’d just spewed out of my mouth. She spewed back,

‘Have you ever seen Vanilla Sky?’

‘Are you kidding? That’s my favorite movie.’

‘Me too,’ she said not surprised, ‘it’s not like, the greatest movie in the world, but something catches me about it.’

‘Like it resonates with you.’

‘Yeah. I mean, I’ve always wondered if we’re not all David Aames in the movie. Just waiting to wake up. And you come along and tell me you’re awake and have a sidekick named G.’

‘Well I never said I was awake awake because I’m still not sure. It sounds crazy but it makes sense to me. There’s this thing called the Dark Night of the Soul. It’s like a test your guide gives you. G gave me this test. And it’s every bit if not more grim than it sounds.’

‘And what happens with this, Dark Night of the Soul?

‘I’m not sure if it was the same for everyone because we don’t talk about it to each other, but you’re basically tested to see whether you’re willing to live your life for the good of the world, the universe rather than continue living your life for yourself.’

‘How did G test you?’

‘Let’s just say I passed.’

‘No, no you can’t drop a bomb like that on me and expect not to get some of the radiation! You have to tell me.’

‘Argh…. how about I say, G tested me on whether or not I would die for the world, the universe. I think people who fail this test go nuts.’

‘Whoooa, Some real Gethsemene stuff, huh?’

‘Yeah, I guess so.’

‘How do you know you passed?’

‘I… uh… was reassured?’

‘HOW?’

‘Stars were doing weird stuff that night, and believe me, I know. I felt a strange surge through my body, a sense of relief like a load was lifted, and I felt the spirits cheering, like I’d graduated college or something, I dunno. I was by myself of course.’

‘And this is why your friends think you’re crazy.’ she stated as a matter of fact-ly.

‘…Maybe.’

‘What if G’s an evil spirit that came here to fuck with you, and you’re just cursed? I mean, you do smell like a dumpster and sleep on benches. AND I caught you looking at my ass when I came back to offer you money.’

‘Whoa! I was looking at your legs!’

‘Liar!’

‘I haven’t lied to you all night!’

‘I’m wearing jeans!’

‘They’re shapely!’

We both started laughing.

‘As for G,’ I continued, ‘G doesn’t ask me to do anything that hurts or induces fear upon anyone else. G’s always been there to keep me calm and confident. G back’s me up when real people turn their backs. I trust G. I trust G with my life and I can honestly say, I’ve never been happier. Can you imagine a world where no one scared you with bullshit or hurt you for some irrational reason? Everyone’d work because we all have to work. But we work together. We’d have no need for money. We already had all the power we needed in the world. There’d be no ego because we’d stop giving a shit about transitory things like cars, shoes, and apple products. G helped me murder my ego that night. It was the greatest feeling I’ve ever had.’

She’d walked around the platform because the shuttle hadn’t arrived yet. I followed her and noticed she was walking toward a candlelight vigil. They set those up when someone unjustly dies, and usually for a stupid reason. She stood over a 4×6 framed photo of a young girl. As I walked closer a few tears had fallen onto the frame obscuring the face. of the young girl in the photo. I didn’t know the girl in the photo, but my attention was more drawn to the fact the tears that had fallen on the photo were as black as ink. Maybe she was pouring ink on the photo. She then picked up the photo and did a weird skip dance.

‘What are you doing?’

‘I’m living my life with love.’

‘Put that picture back, it belongs to someone.’

‘Yeah, it belongs to me now.’

‘I’m serious, don’t disrespect the dead.’

‘You know full well we can’t disrespect the dead by loving them.’

‘Now you sound crazy.’

‘Really? Let’s ask G if I’m crazy.’

‘…’

‘What’s the matter? I was just kidding’

‘I don’t know. I can’t breathe.”

Then there was a rumble and upon the platform was the number 3 shuttle coming in.

‘You’ll be fine.’ she said, and just like that, I was fine.

‘Whoa, that was weird.’

‘You never asked G whether or not I was crazy.’ she reminded me. Suddenly a horde of people came pouring out of train, all faceless, and wearing black suits or dresses. She asked again, ‘ask G quick!’

‘I can’t right now…’ and suddenly I was caught in the waves of the exiting passengers and separated from her like the tide pulls away from the shore.

‘Ask!’

‘What?!”

‘ASK G IF I’M NUTSO!’

‘I TOLD YOU I CAN’T! WHAT’S YOUR NAME?!” the wave of black separated, some for the lifts and the others down the stairs. It was more like a wave because it barely seemed like anyone was walking, I could’ve choked on someone’s tie or bonnet. Bonnet?? ‘YOUR NAME!!’

‘YOU REALLY DON’T REMEMBER ME?! ASK G!’

And I suddenly woke up to the song Turn, Smile, Shift, by Phantom Planet. I usually listen to music all night when I sleep, because it feels more soothing than meditating. I never meditated more than two minutes, on the toilet. It was such a nice dream, let alone any at all. But the employed Phantom Planet song has this heavy note of despair in it, which was appropriate in it welcoming me back into this world. Was that woman in my dream who I think it was? I’ve no idea.

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Away from the Numbers

I locked up my bicycle on Colorado Boulevard. Off to the side of a parking garage on Fair Oaks Avenue. Lining the boulevard are buildings pregnant with restaurant and retail establishments. The city of Pasadena parades these buildings as being historic which meant either they probably meant something once or that they were simply a century old and historic by default.

People ate and shopped on the street all through the day, but with a strange sort of skillful seriousness. They were culinary connoisseurs and professional purchasers of an inspiring vacuous conviction. Then they’d retire as a new boulevard would be birthed beneath the blanket of nightfall; inseminating the luxurious little lane with nightlife. Then the city’s beauties binged on bottomless bottles of beer, booze or bubbly in babe-abundant bars where bitches bounced their booties to the bass being bumped. There was a bar for anyone, any scene and were at your fingertips. If you could find a parking spot.

Parking garages were plentiful. They had to be in order to accommodate the plethora of tourists. You could find one around every corner and would probably regard them with honks, fist shakes, screams, and smacked steering columns. Then you’d find yourself still honking, fist shaking, screaming and abusing your steering column as you’d tread through the parking garage til you found a parking spot. Getting past traffic signal-handicapped tourists to the parking garage was only the first part.

It was easy for me to dismiss the luster of Colorado Boulevard. It’s convenience may have been a part of it. It wasn’t a trip away, a plan away nor even a drive away for me. It was a train-stop away, a bike-ride away, a walk away, or even a song away. I couldn’t discern the street’s splendor from the adjustable basketball hoop in my neighbor’s driveway. (The hoop had a potential to raise my self-confidence by granting me one slam-dunk in life, however this remains hypothesized until I cure a misunderstanding my neighbor had of me, of which had ironically impeded any attempts of my doing so. Access to the hoop was denied indefinitely.)

My apartment was only a few blocks away. Of that I was grateful. I was unable to see the brilliance of the boulevard others saw because I saw this: at least 90% of people walking the boulevard that day will be bitch-slapped by a fee for a parking pass. Most visitors and virtually every tourist had no idea where the real parking spots were hidden. They either purchased the pass or paid a parking violation because they just weren’t clever enough to outsmart the street signs. There was more parking enforcement than law enforcement. It was both saddening and amusing to see that it wasn’t the historical buildings in Pasadena, but the huge, hollow buildings that really made the most money in ratio to the amount of effort they required. I never did know much about business. People were sent to institutions by their loved ones and some went as far as to send themselves; with a common endeavor to become educated with whatever the actual ideology of business was -It ain’t me babe.

I just hoped business wasn’t just about numbers and the accumulation of it. I saw the numbers. I never appointed an importance to them. I never had the desire to become wealthy. I was okay with being poor like I’d always been. I was pretty good at not having any money. I didn’t give enough of a shit for business to try being good at it.

I was always bad with numbers. Never had I felt comfortable around them. The multiplication table mocked me. Enduring the abuse of business felt unnecessary. It would’ve threatened me only with poverty which I’d already been well-acquainted with. I just wanted to live simply and simply love, not flashily but whatever was enough for Goldilockshold it! she’s gets eaten! …right? As simple as these aspirations appeared, they weren’t. I was too busy being bitch-slapped by life and love, smacked like it was none of my business. I wasn’t sure why this was. It never seemed to be very fair. I’d already learned these life and love lessons, several times over. It was almost as though I was being beaten for entertainment. There were times I’d been reduced to having an Elliott Smith album on repeat as my body was locked in fetal position on the tile of the bathroom floor. Though sometimes, the abuse was funny. Sometimes.

Perhaps, when you boiled down life and love, they’d also be revealed to persist through the accumulation of numbers. Ergo, I wasn’t good at life and love because I was terrible with numbers..? This sounded rough, but sounded about right. I haven’t even mentioned how terrible my luck was. Let alone mentioned the menacing bully that was my mind. hey, chubcheeks, listen… i’m right fuckin’ here! don’t be sayin’ shit ’bout me!At least, not yet. Looking at the parking structures on Colorado Boulevard always gave me an image of people everywhere being backhanded, which incidentally reminded me to set the lock on my bicycle. -a cheap combination lock I picked up which would lock or unlock with the right numbers. 

[This is the introduction to the novel I’ve been working on.

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Filed under allegory, fiction metaphor, non-fiction metaphor, poetry

if only Diderot

I walk down a busy metropolitan street
it’s night and the lights from the shops
are burning on
the night
showing the people the
bars
clubs
restaurants
clothing stores
closed stores
the lights show everyone’s faces
not their real faces but
the faces they want us
to see
to believe

the light lights the night but not as bright
as the sun would
You can’t tell if that man’s suit
is black
or
dark blue
You can’t tell if the woman walking
toward you from 15 feet is
22 or
32 or
42 etc.
the faded women hide their
years
under the part-time bulbs
because they feel
rushed
in
life
and the men realize they are not
ten years younger
twenty years too
late

I see it all the time and say to myself
I
will
soon
be
joining their ranks

why do they do this?
for friends?
for fun?
for love?

if love can be everlasting
hypothetically
can you find it in those
already in
disguise?

the women I’ve gone with
were terrible lovers
terrible companions
terrible fucks
but I don’t go with women
as often as
you
but
I’ve gone with all the women you’ve gone with
I did that as soon as
you
started
bitching
about her
women, this concerns you and your
men too

I
hear it all
see it all
feel it all
all the time

I don’t have to complain about all the
bad dates I’ve gone
on
simply because
you’ve gone
on
all the bad dates
for me

those who believe they’ve found
their soulmate
just haven’t lived long enough to
find a better one

Diderot says,

“oh snap!”

and gives me a
high-five

Of course I believe true love is
possible
but that is a belief that is always
under
fire
but if history has taught us one thing
which
has
never
not applied
it was this,

“if only…”

I continue walking down the half-heartedly lit
street
past all the
bars
clubs
restaurants
clothing stores
closed stores
the lights on everyone’s faces
the faces they want us
to see
to believe

and sullenly wish upon a lightbulb

that all of it could
fool me.

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Ghouls of Christmas Past

We age and gain wisdom by the second; it’s a simple truth of life. Though, the cynical side of me finds that annoying, but only because it makes this inevitably slow crawl to our own individual demise, seem pointless. Yes, that’s the classic, cliché existentialist mantra too, but can you refute that? Don’t feel bad, my best response was, “for love… but that comes with suffering too, doesn’t it?”.

I didn’t suffer too much but there were I need a shot moments, and the said, shot, will alleviate the moment.  The worst moments were when I had to deal with people from my past that, somehow, seemed never to have aged. They got older physically, but their level of wisdom had not left where it began about a decade ago. A peeve of mine, I suppose, but it was always exacerbated because I couldn’t understand why it annoyed me, leaving to me to feel I had blossomed, over time, into a fucking asshole (no, I won’t sugar-coat it). I had down everything down to the letter in the textbook; hypocritically gone to school, worked spontaneous jobs, gotten into, both, terrible and unbelievable situations, and then some. I wanted to fly, and I flew. Sometimes into brick walls but sometimes into the crisp, hopeful blue skies, every brush of wind that hit my face was like a high-five of encouragement. …Well, like a slap in the face of encouragement. Of course, however, I’ve wanted to cut my own wings off and bleed to death huddled next to the dumpster behind a Wendy’s or a 7-Eleven. Just sometimes. I’m sure we all know which emotion is the culprit for nudging a person into such a state. L-o-v-e.

I had always blamed it on her youth. We both did, and agreed only because it seemed correct. She wasn’t capable of dealing with such an important matter as love. File the reports, cover sheets, dotted i’s and crossed t’s. She wanted to egg houses, float to the parties like a butterfly, skateboard through the House of Senate for laughs, she had the youth in her heart. I felt more like an arrogant asshole, blaming a kid for being a kid, than I did getting annoyed by my Benjamin Button friends.

The reality is, it wasn’t her fault. It wasn’t mine either. Look outside that coffee shop window, or your apartment window, take a walk outside; look for the next two people you see in love. Any age, they’re there, and will always be, and have but one thing in common. They are young at heart, despite your age. If that bloodpump inside your chest is beating, you can get into that club. The real grown-ups in the world, the workers, busy reaching that deadline, in order to sustain their lives; they’re grown ups. They don’t make farting noises in the subway. They work, then try to play at night, gripping onto whatever youth they have left, in an civil, orderly fashion. Dinner parties, over-age nightclubs, Vodka Redbulls, first and fucking last name, please. Laugh at the mere idea of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, unicorns, and ultimately, love. Not the proverbial love, but the love you had when you were a child; innocent, honest, unconditional. You have never been more honest with your heart than when you were a child.

We weren’t afraid of death because we didn’t know what it was. We didn’t know what love was either, but we saw it translated everyday in smiles, hugs, kisses, hellos and goodbyes. You and I may be through with the past, but no one said the past was through with us.

Love and Death are very real things, and we will meet them both by the end of the party, but it’s a matter of which asshole you’d like to meet first.

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Skip Everyday

When I passed away the first time, I cashed in my chips of chaos for structure. No room for messes I couldn’t manage, straight lines only. However, one can never shed the roots from which they’ve come to fruition, so the chaos lingers. So I kept my chaos at bay with perpendicular angles and tectonic shifts, mentally and actually.

They say you can read a person by how they keep their room, and it’s true. From a room of acute and oblique, and laundry as carpet, I went to a Swiffered linoleum, and cubic IKEA shelves. Within those shelves, were where my micromanaged chaos lived. Juxtaposed eccentricity and ethereality, I thought it would maintain the structure in my life. But one can never anticipate the unpredictability of others.

The man who took me in and gave me a chance with a job I’ve only dreamed of, allowing me to pursue and collect the wonders of life that waited in single file, took his own life. He did so with taste, a Smith and Wesson Model 29, .44 Magnum. Dirty Harry’s gun. His head, cleanly taken off, and off with him, the stability he gave me. I haven’t had too much experience, with death, or maybe I have and repressed it’s memory. Wait, yeah I did, a close friend had died of hypothermia and blood-loss in New York City two years earlier, but I don’t think that counts. Okay, I’m bad with death.

This man helped mentor me into writing, and gave me a job under him, as his head editor. Now that he selfishly took his own life because of a divorce that robbed him of his children, I’m selfishly wondering about what job I can find next. Only a week has passed since the incident, yet, it is only a matter of time before the skyscraper of stability I’ve gained in my life, comes toppling over, leaving a rubble’d gravesite I can call my own.

It still wasn’t as bad as the first time I died, when my heart was wrung dry and kept in an oblivious girl’s dresser, but now I’ve no body, no heart, and what’s left of my soul isn’t strong enough to power to the flashlight I need to light my way.

I can’t talk to anyone about it either, because I’m too stubborn to listen to their words. I’ve always found my therapy to be writing, especially in the state of despair. Though, lately, I’ve been finding myself writing things that sound like suicide notes. Not because I’ll soon run out of funds, some of the richest people are often the saddest people, but because nothing in this earth feels like it grips me to it anymore. We sometimes forget to show love to the things we love, and thus, are never prepared to show them to the exit.

The things in life we love, help us live; being without those things, help us leave.

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Filed under non-fiction rambling, stories

Look Both Ways

How heavenly it is to allow love to take over reason. To entrust instinct over logic. Favoring free flying frilly feelings from fastened floundered phrenicism. Believing what had once tenanted our hearts to be truth all along. Love is truth, and reason could never contend in that ring.

…But I was raised to believe reason ran the world. Since this is true, then love would destroy the world. In minute increments. The tragic irony of it truly makes it beautiful, and I can’t help but commend His sense of humor.

You want love? Want to make love? Want to imitate it instead? Everyone needs a fuck buddy. Everyone is a fucked buddy.

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Last Note from a Wine-Stained Diary

Morale at the Meyer’s house became almost non-existent. Emmaline had received a settlement from the divorce and the kids stayed with Edward. Emmaline had shown no signs of unhappiness, gave no clues to her eventual departure leaving the kids blindsided, and shocked. Topped off with Edward’s new penchant for brandy.

The day I got my license, I drove straight over to the Meyer’s. I ran into the house excitedly only to find no one there. It was as if no one wanted to be in that house anymore, gas lines of hypocrisy seeping through the vents and floorboards, and memories of a dream overrun by a nightmare. I heard voices coming from the other room, lo-fi voices, from a television set.

I opened a door to find Craig sitting on the floor watching a tiny television. I had no idea the Meyer’s even owned a television set, but there it was, on the floor in front of my screen-fixated boyfriend. He was watching his parents’ wedding tape. ‘Poor baby,’ I thought, ‘he misses his family as a unit.’ I held off on telling him about my drivers license and sat beside him with my head on his shoulder. When I looked at his face, I realized it wasn’t a face of lore, sadness, or nostalgia. It was a face of anger. Without facing me he said, “I’m trying to find the black guy who ruined my family. My dad said he was at their wedding.”

Emmaline had always had an obsession for black men. African American, to be specific, because she had no interest in the black men back in her home country of England. She’d often follow them for a distance while driving her car, unbeknownst even to those, also, in the car with her. She even walked down grocery aisles, any aisle, that had a black man in it. After the divorce, she relocated to Alta Dena, a city highly populated by African Americans. She was infatuated with them and had been caught with black men on two occasions by Craig’s father himself, only to be kept quiet due to the embarrassment that would ensue. The main culprit, the Dracula of black men, was said to be in the Meyer’s wedding tape.

A few months after the divorce, Edward gathered the remaining family members for another announcement. This time, with a small Mexican woman next to him.

“This is Gabriella. She’s going to be your new mom. Gabriella, these are going to be your mihos. Except that one.” Edward pointed at me. I waved. I wasn’t offended by his outbursts anymore, nor was I shocked. Craig put his arm around me.

“Dad! What’re you talking about?! She is NOT moving in here!” Yelled Vincent.

“Yes she is. She’s my wife and your new mother.”

“She isn’t going to be my mother! Besides, mom is just the next town over, have you even talked about it with her?” Vincent said as Gabriella stood there with her hands clasped in front like a child being introduced to a new playmate by their parents.

“I don’t have to talk to your mother about squat. Look at this one,” he pointed at Gabriella with his glass, “she’s not pretty, and her English isn’t very good. She’s going to make a wonderful wife and mother. She cleans too! I’m not sure if she cooks, but hey, I don’t have anything against burritos.” the former-Furor said, then took a sip from his two thirds full glass of brandy. Vincent rolled his eyes.

“Hi Gabriella, I’m Diane.” said Diane.

“No! Stop right now Di.” Vincent yelled.

“Both of you guys, stop,” said Craig, “dad, are you really going through with this?”

“Show them the ring sweetheart,” Edward said to Gabriella as he gestured toward us. She stood there. “Ringo, El Ringo. Show.” She nodded and stuck out her left hand. She had it easy with a language barrier, it protected her.

“FUCK! I’m out of here if she’s moving in.” Shouted Vincent as he stormed off to his room.

“Vinnie, come back! Jeeze dad, when are you doing this.” asked Craig.

Ola, Diane.” Interrupted Gabriella. Diane smiled.

“I got an appointment scheduled for tomorrow at City Hall.” said Edward, taking another swig.

“FUCK!” echoed Vincent through the hall. Followed by the slam of his door.

“Wait, what’s going on?” Donnie said suddenly. He tuned out often.

“New mom, Donnie.” Edward said as he motioned his head toward Gabriella.

“Oh, okay. Ola, mi amo Donnie. Estas divirtiendote?” said Donnie. Everyone looked at him. Surprised.

“Ha ha. Eso es divertido. Yo quiero vino.” replied Gabriella.

Ah, esta bien. No te preocupes.” said Donnie. Then he walked off to the kitchen without a word. We looked at each other, then at Edward who shrugged his shoulders and mouthing the words, ‘I don’t know.’ Edward took another sip, as we all stood around until Donnie came back with a glass of wine in his hand. He handed it to Gabriella.

Muchos gracias, Donnie.” said Gabriella who took a gulp out of the glass.

De nada.” Donnie then walked back to stand where he was next to Diane.

“Since when did you learn how to speak Spanish?” asked Diane. Donnie thought about it for a moment.

“I don’t know.” he said sincerely. Then he walked to his room.

The next morning, Donnie went to City Hall with Edward and Gabriella as a witness. That was also the morning Craig discovered his younger brother Vincent had run away in the middle of the night. The note he left on his bed read, ‘LIVING WITH MOM.’ Emmaline called the house and spoke to Craig. She wanted to let us know Vincent was safe with her, and that he refused to go back for the time being. I didn’t see Vincent for a couple of years.

Things weren’t actually as strange as we thought it would be with Gabriella in the house. She was just like a maid, and we had doubts Edward had even slept with her, seeing as how he considered half a fifth of brandy as his nightcap, every night. Any familial advantages Edward thought would be achieved by marrying Gabriella passed under the radar, and nothing was ever said about it. It was the equivalent of getting a tattoo of the Los Angeles Angels symbol on your foot after a night of ferocious drinking. Craig disliked the way his father now threw the act of marriage around whimsically, and was determined to do it correctly. So he signed himself up for the U.S. Army.

“Do you love me?” asked Craig one night sitting on the couch with me on the front porch.

“What the fuck are you talking about? You know I do.” I said.

“Katie, seriously, even if I had to leave for a long time, and you wouldn’t see me?” Craig said in a sterner tone.

“Why would you be gone? You’re tripping me out now. What the fuck is going on?” I turned towards him. Craig got up off the couch and reached into his pocket for a little white box and proceeded to his knee. ‘Holy shit,’ was my first thought. Then my eyes started to water.

“You had to know this was coming, but you might not have known that I had signed up for the army today. I know I should’ve said something, but you couldn’t have stopped me,” I covered my mouth my with hands, “Katie, I love you, and I don’t want us to end up like my parents, or your parents for that matter, and ever since you came into my life, with that mouth of yours, your eccentricities, your shortcomings, all of which makes you seem imperfect to the world, but to me, and my shortcomings, and my eccentricities, you make up for it all just by being… well, Katherine, the right shape of the puzzle piece that fits snugly next to me in my life. You’re the squeak in my bedroom door, the corner of the desk my big toe likes to hit, the line at the grocery store, the car keys I can never find, the pineapple on my pizza. These things are so normal in my life, and if any one of these things were to disappear, I’d be lost, but if you were to disappear, I’d crumble completely. I not only love you, but I know, for a fact, that I need you, Katherine. Will you marry …” I tackled him.

“Yes! Cheeseball! Fuck! Yes!” I shouted and cried, kissing him between every one of my words.

“And the army thing?” Craig said after he stopped me for a second.

“We’ll figure it out, I’m sure.” We kissed again, slow this time, for reassurance, and he placed the ring on my finger.

His father didn’t like the idea as expected, but everyone else was happy. I called to tell daddy.

“Are you sure sweetie?” said daddy over the phone. Craig was standing at the door as we exchanged smiles.

“Of course, it’s Craig!” I said in a reminding tone.

“Well, I know my little girl, and if Craig thinks he can handle you, and you do too, I’m one hundred percent behind you.”

“Dad! You’re making me sound like a basket case!”

“Ha-Ha, I’m not saying that, I’m saying I’ve always been proud of you, princess, that also means no matter what decision you make, I’ll always believe in you, I’ve been and always will be proud of you.”

“I love you, daddy.” I smiled warmly.

“I love you too. Tell Craig I said congratulations for me okay?”

“I will. Tell Jenifer I said Hi.” Jenifer was daddy’s new girlfriend. “Bye daddy.” I hung up the phone and smiled at Craig.

“So that looks like a go? We’ve got McClane’s blessing! May I?” Craig gestured for the phone. The kids had pointed out daddy’s resemblance to Bruce Willis’ character John McClane from the movie, Die Hard, more than once.

“Yup! Who’re you gonna call?”

Craig took a breath, “Mom.” and he started dialing. I walked around the door where he stood, almost hiding behind it, waiting for an answer.

“Hello?” asked Craig. “Who am I speaking with? …Well is Emmaline in? …She’s my mother. …Sure.” He looked at me briefly then back at the desk. “Mom, it’s Craig. …I’m fine, who was that? …Jef… with one f? …your fiance!?” Craig raised his voice. “Why didn’t you tell us anything?! …I don’t know, maybe because it is important! …I’m fine, look, I guess I called to tell you Katherine and I are engaged too. …He  hasn’t said anything but we can tell he’s not big on it. …Before I ship out to the military. …Yeah, that was the other thing I was going to tell you. …I’d say that makes us even. Love you, bye.” Craig hung up, then looked at me. I walked over without a word and put my arms around his neck.

A few weeks later, I went over to the Meyer’s to pick up Craig for a night out at the movies. Inside the house, I heard Craig talking in the kitchen with a man in a suit. Edward sat on the other side of the man, glass in hand. I walked in.

“Hello.”

“Hey babe. Give me one second.” said Craig.

“And all she has to do is sign these pages, and everything will be set.” said the man.

“Okay then.” Craig picked up the papers.

“Is this the young woman now?” asked the man, looking at me.

“Yes this is Katherine Harvey. Katie, this is my dad’s attorney, Kenneth Silverstein.”

“Hello.” I said.

“Hello, and congratulations to you, young lady. Well, I better be on my way. Edward, always a pleasure. Craig, again, congratulations, and should you have any questions, you have my card.” With that, Mr. Silverstein shook our hands and left. Edward got up and did a mildly tipsy walk into the living room.

“Craig, what’s going on?”

“Um, my dad… well, he just gave you one of his stores.”

“What?!”

“Yeah, you gotta fill these out, and you get it as soon as the next day after our wedding.”

“Is this a joke?” I asked suspiciously.

“No, babe, it’s legit!” Craig said. I stood there, dumbfounded, by the fact Edward would even do such a thing. Especially for me.

“I don’t know what to say. I should thank him.” I started walking to the living room, but Craig stopped me.

“No no no no no, not yet, he was fighting his conscience when he decided, I think he needs some alone time right now. We can thank him later.”

“But…”

“Stop babe, we’re gonna be late for the movie.”

The smoothness of the entire situation was a change from the usual hectic instability. It not only felt relaxing, but at the same time, made me feel even more suspicious. The way my life had been going in the last 4 years surrounding this family, didn’t exactly allow me to let terms like easy and simple waltz into my life, not without an X-Ray scan and cavity search. It felt like I was borrowing someone’s four-leaf clover, and it had to be returned sooner or later.

Craig called me one day to cancel on a date we had planned. I was fucking pissed whenever he cancelled on me, but he explained saying his mother had invited him over to meet Jef with one f. He and Emmaline were to get married before Craig and I were, and Emmaline thought it best if Jef with one f and Craig met.

Later that night, a rapid and terrified knock rapped at my window. I jumped out of bed, scared, and saw it was Craig. I opened the window and his 6’4 frame tumbled in. He laid flat on the ground breathing fast and heavy. I handed him a glass of water I kept on my nightstand, and he gulped it down.

“What the fuck happened?” I asked rubbing his chest. He waited for his breath to calm before told me what happened.

Craig had driven to his mother’s new place in Alta Dena earlier that night. Emmaline opened the door.

“Hello, Craig!” she opened her arms for a hug.

“Hi, mom.” they hugged awkwardly. But Emmaline pulled him closer anyway, not letting go until he hugged her back. He did after a moment.

“Nice place. It’s smaller than I thought.” Craig said as he looked around, taking a few steps in.

“It’s all the space I need, dear. Jef is in the loo, he’ll be out in a moment.”

“Okay. Is Vinnie here?”

“Oh no, he stays with his girlfriends these days.”

“Girl-friends? How many does he have?”

“I’m not sure, he’s quite the heartbreaker.” Emmaline said it as if it were normal. Craig didn’t respond. “Tea, dear?”

“No, thank you. I don’t think I’ll be here long, Katie and I are going to have a late dinner later.”

“You should have brought her along!”

“I don’t think that would have been appropriate.”

“Why’s that?” just then toilet flushed. The sink wasn’t used, but the door opened. Out walked a six foot black man with a husky build. The famous Jef with one f. He was wearing a red t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, gray sweatpants, and brand new sneakers. Jef with one f breathed through his mouth, never through his nostrils, and Craig could hear it getting louder as Jef walked closer. This was the bloke that was shagging his mum, this was the man his mother was going to marry.

“Sweetheart, this is my son, Craig. Craig, Jef.”

“S’up?” Jef said as he reached his hand out. Craig remembered he didn’t wash, but didn’t want to seem rude. He reluctantly reached out and shook Jef with one f‘s hand.

“Hi, nice to finally meet you.” said Craig, in full composure. Jef shook his hand hard.

“Baby, did you offer him some tea yet?” Jef said to Emmaline.

“I did, he didn’t want any.” replied Emmaline.

“You don’t want no tea? Whatchu want then? We got everythang, you know wha’m sayin’?”

“Oh, it’s alright, I’m good.” Craig assured him.

“Nah y’ain’t. You want a beer? Whatchu drink?”

“I’m only 18…” Craig said informatively.

“Oh-Whaaaat?! You 18? You’s a big fella fo an 18 year old, shit,” he looked at Emmaline, “girl, whatchu been feedin’ him?” Emmaline smiled. “Okay, first order of bi’ness, you gonna have yo first beer wit me, you know wha’m sayin’? No buts. Baby, two beers.” Jef put his arm around Craig and walked to the couch with him. Emmaline went to refrigerator.

“I really don’t think I should drink. I have to drive later.” Craig reiterated.

“Boy, listen, just one beer is all I’m askin’, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to have anymore. But you gots to have that one beer, know wha’m sayin’?” Emmaline came back with two beers and handed them to Jef with one f and one to Craig. Craig looked at the can, then his mother, wondering why she allowed it. “Now, the thing is, if you gon’ drink just that one, you have to drink it fast, I mean chug that mu’fucka down, know wha’m sayin’? Like a race, you know what a shotgun is?”

“Uh… Besides the gun, I don’t think so.” Craig said almost nervously now.

“There it is. We gon’ do some shotguns. Gimme that.” He grabbed Craig’s beer and made a small incision to the side corner of the can with a key on the coffee table, then widened the hole to the size of a quarter. He handed it back to Craig and did the same to his can. “Okay, now, this is how you do a shotgun, son. You put yo’ mouf over the hole, then you turn the can upright while turnin’ yo’ head at he same time while poppin’ the top open, you know wha’m sayin’? The beer will shotgun in yo mouf and you swallow that sucka down. Got it?”

“Umm… I think so, but…” Craig said nervously.

“It’s quite simple, once you do it Craig.” said Emmaline from the kitchen.

“You’ve done this? But you don’t drink, mom.” Craig said with the can by his face, Jef with one f, doing the same.

“You kiddin’ boy, yo’ mom is the best at doin’ shotguns.” said Jef. Craig was flabbergasted but distracted by the cans to question. “A’ight, 1,2, and 3, go!” Jef with one f and Craig popped the top and tilted their heads. Craig didn’t like the taste of beer. What was worse was the coldness of the beer masking the taste and gliding icily and sharp down his throat. Craig finished first with three and a half gulps.

Craig belched. “Oh my god.” Craig belched again. Jef with one f did one long belch.

“Damn boy, you almost as fast as yo’ mama. It’s gotta be in the family, know wha’m sayin’? You play sports, Craig?”

“Yeah, Baseball and Football.” Craig said after a moment. He belched once more, his stomach finally settling.

“Damn, you prob’ly on the varsity team, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Whas the matter? You okay? You a big guy, one beer ain’t gon’ kill ya.” Just then, Craig felt the effects of a shotgun, he got a head-change, and grinned. A slight sense of euphoria came over him.

“…Can I have another one?” asked Craig.

“Ha-HA! Yo’ Baby, get me and your boy two mo’ cold ones!”

Craig and Jef with one f drank and talked with each other the rest of the night. Craig drank 3 beers and Jef was on his 6th, however, Jef with one f wasn’t tipsy at all while Craig’s eyes started to blink separately. They kept talking.

“Wait, hold up. If you lookin’ for speakers, I got ’em! Yeah, my son is tryin’ to sell his, and come to think of it, he’s gon’ yo’ brother too! Let’s go get you some speakers and meet yo’ brotha!”

“Really? Now?”

“Yeah, it’s only what, 10 o’clock? He’ll be home. You got a car right?”

“Uh, sure I do. I just don’t think I should drive right now.”

“It’s a’ight, I’ll drive, I’m a great driver. Baby! Ain’t I a great driver?” Jef yelled towards the kitchen.

“He’s a great driver, Craig.”

“See?” said Jef.

“Well… if my mama says so, I guess it’s true.” Craig gave Jef his keys and they both got up and walked out the door.

“Baby, we’ll be right back.” Jef said to Emmaline.

“Alright, you two be safe.” My mother said while going back to the newspaper.

Jef with one f was now driving his car north, further into Alta Dena. Craig was starting to sober up, becoming more aware of the situation. He was going to buy speakers from his brother-in-law-to-be, in Alta Dena, and was being driven there by a husky black man, who was his father-in-law-to-be.

When they arrived, they both got out of the car and started walking toward an apartment complex. Just before they entered the gate, Jef with one f stopped and turned to Craig.

“A’ight, we gon’ have to be quiet. Kids be sleeping, know wha’m sayin’? So just follow me.” Craig nodded his head in compliance, but was slightly confused because they were just standing at the front gate, the complex itself was 30 feet beyond that. Jef then wiggled the handle a certain way and propped the door open. He walked in and Craig followed. They turned a corner and went up a flight of stairs. Then Jef with one f stopped at a window and wiggled the screen off. Then started on the glass window itself.

“Whoa, what are you doing, Jef?”

“Oh, I always forget my key, so I have to get in this way. It’s a’ight, I do it all the time.” Craig didn’t understand why he couldn’t just remember the spare instead, because Jef wasn’t exactly a small guy. Jef was still breathing heavily with his mouth.

Jef finally wiggled the locking mechanism on the window loose, and slid it open. He climbed in and waved Craig to follow. Against all better judgement, he followed. The room they climbed into was tiny and had scraps of paper and candy wrappers everywhere. There was a mattress without covers in the corner on the floor. A moment later, the door opened and in walked a young black boy in his teens.

“What the fuck are you doing here dad!? You’re not supposed to be here!” Yelled the boy.

“It’s coo, look, aye, I got someone to buy those speakers from you. And he’s gon’ be yo’ new brotha!”

“Hi…” said Craig nervously.

“S’up.” said the boy.

“You still got the speakers, Junior? I told him you was sellin’ ’em for a hundred.”

“I’m not, they’re 250, and they’re my speakers.”

“Nah, I told Craig a hundred.”

“They’re my speakers.”

“Well, where they at? Can we, at least, see ’em?”

“They in Shawna’s room.”

“Oh shit, Craig, you gon’ meet yo’ new lil’ sista too!” He then walked over to another door while Craig followed. Jef pounded on the door. “Shawna, open the door, you gon’ meet yo’ new brotha!” a tiny voice came from the other side.

“I don’t have any clothes on yet.” It sounded like an 8 year old girl. Jef with one f suddenly kicked the door open. “Daddy, stop! I don’t have any clothes on!” Shawna screamed.

“You do what I tell you! Now come out and meet yo’ brotha!” Jef had Shawna lifted in mid-air, dangling by one arm. Craig froze in place, terrified and thinking, ‘Holy shit! What is happening!?’ Just then Junior ran into the room.

“Let my sister go!” He shouted then started flailing his fists at Jef with one f. “Let her GO!” Jef, then, dropped Shawna, grabbed Junior by the side of his head, and slammed it into the wall, making a crater twice its size. Shawna started crying, and Junior fell to the ground, unconscious. Craig’s mouth dropped, his eyes widened, now thinking, ‘Holy FUUUCK!’

“Aye, we gotta bounce, Craig. NOW!” Jef started running out the front door. Craig wasn’t sure what to do, he looked at Shawna crying, the hole in the wall, Junior’s lifeless body. He couldn’t say a word, and ran outside following Jef. They jumped into the car and sped off into the night.

“What the FUCK was that!?” Craig shouted.

“It’s a’ight, I’m gon’ call the cops later.”

“What?! On yourself?! Is Junior even alive?! Are you listening!?” Jef didn’t answer.

“Listen to me,” said Jef in a calm tone, “something’s wrong. Fuck. FUCK! Somethings wrong.” Craig just looked at him, infuriated, and at a loss for words. Jef sped around the corner Emmaline’s street was on and came to a screeching halt. “I’m sorry about yo’ speakers, we’ll get ’em next time, a’ight?” He then popped out of the car, ran into the apartment and shut off the lights, leaving Craig’s car door open and running.

“I can’t fucking believe this is happening. This is the guy my mom is going to marry.” Craig said under his breath as he switched into the driver seat. He started driving, when suddenly, he heard police sirens in the distance. He then sped off to my grandparents house in Pasadena, where I was staying. He left his car in a store parking lot, and ran the rest of the way, and eventually through my window. Craig did not attend his mother’s wedding to Jef with one f.

Graduation finally came along, which meant Craig and I were about to be married soon. He was finalizing his paperwork with the U.S. Army and had just finished the paperwork for my ownership of the grocery store. I was working out a deal with Edward to by a Mustang GT from him. It was a fucking amazing car, and I’d worked on it with Craig a few times. Growing up with two boys, I held my own in terms of mechanics. Edward kept raising the price, then lowering it slightly, so it was sure to be a long negotiation.

By that time, daddy had also remarried to a sweet woman named Jenifer. She was quiet, but not in a shy way, she understood daddy’s sense of humor, and basically dotted his i’s and crossed his t’s. She was simple. As long as daddy was happy with her, I would be too.

Craig stressed often over the wedding. He tried to get his mother, Emmaline to go to our wedding, but she kept saying how she’d have to ask Jef with one f. Then remind Craig of his absence to her wedding. In which, Craig’s retort would be because he did not condone her marriage to Jef with one f and declined to further state what had happened that one evening he went over. After a conversation with her, he often started drinking alcohol. I started drinking with him soon after. There was plenty in the house, and when Edward was out and about, Gabriella would join us, teaching us a bit of Spanish. Donnie never noticed, Diane, was never home, and Vinnie had moved back in. Vinnie couldn’t stand Jef with one f just as much as Craig couldn’t, but he didn’t drink. Vincent took to marijuana instead, and was stoned much of the time.

At our wedding, Emmaline surprised us all by attending. Then surprised us all again when she left after only half an hour. During the father and bride, mother and groom dance, daddy and I were the only ones on the floor, while Craig sat and watched. The guests didn’t say anything, but everyone knew. Then Jenifer grabbed Craig and forced him to dance with her. My brother Jack came up to me later in the day and said to me, ‘good job, Katie,’ and walked back to the table where daddy was. Daddy gave him a pat on the back, and Jenifer smiled. My husband, Craig, shipped out two days later for basic training.

The Meyer’s kids switched off manning a camcorder that day. Watching the tape, I discovered my father-in-law, Edward had already sold the Mustang, for much cheaper than what I had offered. I can hear Vincent arguing with Edward about it. Then towards the end of the tape, Craig and I were holding each other on the front porch while the kids filmed from the inside, through the window blinds. We were both crying because he and I knew we were going to miss the fuck out of each other.

“Craig and Katie are shiny, a majestic translucence.” said Donnie.

“Yeah, they deserve each other.” agreed Vincent.

“Oh my god, look how in love they are.” said Diane.

“Oh yeah? Just wait twenty-five years when she divorces your brother and runs off with a black guy, we’ll see how in love they are.” slurred Edward.

“Dad, shut up.” said Diane and Vincent.

A few years later, I was living on the base with Craig. We threw parties, I got myself a military I.D., and the drinking continued. Most nights filled with belligerence accompanied by hoots and hollers. I often made out with other girls, at the encouragement of Craig. He in turn, slept with some of them, without my encouragement, or knowledge for that matter. We had become alcoholics by then. Hangovers 5 days out of the week. I’d often hide whiskey inside coffee cups and watch movies at the local theater alone, and when I’d wake up, I wouldn’t be able to remember what movie I had seen the night before, let alone, how I even got home. Our lives adopted a one-day-at-a-time basis with a complete bleakness and nonchalance towards the future. It went on like this until one day Craig disappeared.

He had gone to his father Edward. Craig had noticed the downward spiral and sought advice from his father, who in turn, convinced Craig to divorce me. I then went into a state of bottomless depression, broken and nurtured only through the teet of a bottle. Tons o’ fucking fun, when I moved back home with daddy as a complete mess. I stayed that way for months until one day, I got a call from Vincent. He told me my ex-husband, Craig, remarried. She was legally a midget and former stripper, who later became a typical bible mother. After that, I decided I had two choices. One was to either, remain in the grave, drinking a haze around me to keep me from seeing the reality of the world I inhabited, never to confront it. I chose the second. I checked myself into a rehabilitation center.

I don’t regret that period of my life, neither Craig nor I were the same people we once were. Those two had died long ago, and we became something like ghosts, floating through a fog we called life without our bodies. I was fortunate enough to find mine, and I don’t regret having to go through the grueling and tedious process to earn it, not one bit. The way I see it, Craig and I had good seats to the show. The solace was in knowing it wasn’t going to be the last show.

The Wine-Stained Diary series (A Note from a Wine-Stained Diary, Another Note from a Wine-Stained Diary, The Last Note from a Wine-Stained Diary) is based on a true story. Character names have been changed to protect the individuals identities and any similarities amongst the names are purely coincidental. Any reproduction of the work must provide full acknowledgements to the author, as well as a trackback to the site.

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