Tag Archives: prose

One Hot Day & Two Hot Blondes

We went to an outdoor concert. Big venue.
It was me, my buddy, our girlfriends
years into relationships that were turning bitter.
We both had just gotten over some big fights
but there was tension still lingering and lurking
all over the place
behind words, gestures, looks,
swipes at character made here and there.
As their faces were permanently scowled,
fixed like stone gargoyles,
it was clear that they were adamant on not having a good time.

It was going to be a long day.
Luckily, I brought drugs.

So there I finally was
after parking, waiting in line at the gates
at the washroom and at the beer tent
in one of the many dark green port-o-potties
snuggled up against one another
fixing up a rail on top of the plastic toilet dispenser.

“This one’s for my son.” I said.
I did not have a son.

This was right after I left the group with,
“I’m going to grab a beer, on my own. Shake off the ride.”
“Sure. You do whatever you need to do.” My girl replied in the flattest tone that she could possibly manage. I looked back at her as I walked away and thought:
She’s probably still pissed at something I said in the car. Well, you know what? Good! I don’t take it back!
We’ve had our problems, I’ll admit to that, but you could’ve been a lot cooler about this and tried to make an effort. Maybe smile at me once in a while, hold my hand here and there, you know? Just fucking try and I’ll do the same and we could work on this shambles of a relationship together. But no, it was all quick, curt replies and uneasy distance –cold steel and ice. But that’s fine. You get out what you put in. So if this was the way you wanted it then here you go, here we are, here it fucking is.

It was going to be a long day.

So I got blasted in the can.

The bag of blow which I had purchased from one of my socially outstanding associates was supposed to have been evenly distributed between the four of us but I was doing it at my leisure because:
a) I really didn’t give a fuck.
b) If you were dumb enough to designate the resident addict as bag holder because you didn’t want it on you passing through the front gate and then completely forgot about it then this is what you got.
c) They probably wouldn’t even notice it anyways.
d) Fuck them.

I had to get to a certain level before I could leave the stall. I got there fast. As soon as I came out with the plastic door snapping shut behind me wiping my nose like a blatant asshole I realized that the last line had put me sailing right over into sketch-bag territory. The sun was out without cloud so everything became so vividly bright, hot and real that I had wanted to immediately retreat back into the neutral and enclosed space of the port-o-potty which would have made me look even more like a screaming drug addict.

So I walked out into the din instead.
Suddenly it bothered me that there were insects zipping around and it bothered me quite a bit. Who the fuck did they think they were? The people that milled about the bar tent looked conniving and dangerous. I had to focus on walking as my body felt like a strange vessel that I had recently taken possession of. Most noticeably my heart began thumping like a rabbit’s foot and I starting sweating like a mad junkyard dog.

A brief acquaintance from high school came out of nowhere and motioned me over to introduce me to his friends. I made my introductions and left. I knew him well enough to join them at the picnic table but I didn’t. I got a beer and settled myself into the only empty picnic table left.

It was right beside them.

The thing is…I didn’t like the guy. Never have. He was a nervous little twitcher that just had enough soul to pass as human. His friends were really nice although I could see them folding up like lawn chairs under the slightest pressure and pillow-fighting while washing each other’s hair. But the main problem was that I always became socially inept when I was this high and the thought of talking to anybody made me cringe.

So of course that’s when two blondes approached my table.
I spun around and there they were all fun and bright and hot and tight with everything in the right place.
“Do you mind if we sit?”
Jesus! “Absolutely not, please make yourself at home.”
To anybody else in any other condition this would have been a very good thing.
Me? I panicked.
Not this time. Not now. Get your shit together and put your game face on because we’re live on air and on stage and you’re not going to let everyone down every again. So don’t turtle up and make this silent and awkward because you’re high. Make good with the ladies. Now…NOW!

Not wanting to piss myself off any further I introduced myself and kept the conversation going.

They asked me if I was a peeler. What a strange but intriguing question!
“That depends on how much you’re willing to throw down for some skin.” Okay, I didn’t say that. I mean, I do have a tendency to embellish somewhat in my writing here and there but never to the point where you would suspect that I was doing so. Or so…I…thought.

I actually said, “No, are you?”

They giggled. I love the sound of girl’s giggling so much that I should look into procuring a soundtrack like they have for whale noises and the Indy 500 if somewhere someone were to actually be so fucked as to create a compilation and throw it down on the web.

I just giggled. It’s not the same.

We talked for a spell and because I was such an avid listener I had found out that they were from whatever town going to whatever school and were best friends or whatever.
They also had tents setup in the camping area. That, I heard.
‘How is it?” I asked.
The one smiled. “You’ll see.” She said. They both giggled again. It was magical. I should have brought my audio recorder.

Dear Lord God! I thought. What black magic is this that presents to me two such outstanding females in this dark hour? Oh, what am I to do with these young maidens so desperately in need of this honorable knight’s most noble intentions of saving them from not having mind-bending intimate contact with such knight on a double-header basis?

That’s when my buddy finally found me and came over with a beer. Oh yeah…that guy. I had forgotten about him. For a moment I tried to recollect who else I came with but nothing was surfacing. Upon seeing me with the girls he suddenly became much more animated and interested in everything.

He gave me a look that said: Dude, one minute you’re alone and now I find you with two hot chics? Damn!

I returned the look with one that said: Dude, I know, right? We should make the best of this. In other words, don’t talk or I’ll make you part of this picnic table. That’s right, you better behave or I’ll put a steel-toe up your ass like it’s nobody’s business.
It was a long look.

This was part of our usual banter, except that I was being much nicer. Typically our conversations went like this:
Him: “Yeah Dog, I be all over that ass like white on rice!”
Me: “Shut up. Nobody cares what you think.”
Him:“ Yeah Dawwwg! You the man!”
Me: “Whatever. Fuck off.”

He had been one of my closest friends since college and by this time I had completely resented him. I hated myself for being so mean to him but I couldn’t stop because he was also limited to a vocabulary of ten phrases, some of which included:
a) “It’s all good on the hardwood!”
b) “Why you gotta do me like that, Dawg!” (Daaawwwwwg!)
c) “Cash, money and bitches!”
d) “Gender equality still remains elusive in society for reasons I cannot fathom.” (Just Kidding)

Suffice it to say he is no longer my friend. Goddamn philistines. And I’m a much better person now. You’re welcome.

It wasn’t long after he came to poison everything with his mind that the taller one said:
“OK Boys, we’re off to see the show.”
The other turned and asked, “Are you coming?”

In that moment I thought of every possible excuse that would result in us taking off with them and not having to endure the diabolical wrath of our girlfriends upon return and for the rest of our miserable lives. This is what I quickly came up with:
a) “We got lost. Where were you?” –We might as well have brought the girls back with us….naked.
b) “I overdosed on the toilet and had to be resuscitated back to life!” –They actually might believe that one but do I really want to use it now or save it as a wildcard?
c) “We were abducted by aliens and anally penetrated by Darth Vader.” –Okay, so now I was just reaching.
d) “We ditched you for these girls and now that I realize how wrong that was I am brimming with remorse to the point where I feel that you should put away your petty selfish emotions and console me.” –Yeah, I played Zelda once. It had less fantasy than that scenario working out.

Instead I said: “No. It was nice meeting you.”
They both looked back and frowned and then they were off. I thought I heard a giggle. I was glad that they were going to be okay.

No, I wasn’t.

My buddy (not really) from high-school and his friends, still sitting right beside us, had caught the tail-end of that interaction and as soon as the girls looked away they all sprang out from the picnic table like they were about to burst into a Grease musical piece:
“Dude…Dude! What are you doing? Go! Go now!”

“I have morals!” I cried. “And right now it really sucks!”

I suppose that in the end, despite where we were in our relationship and how miserable the rest of the day and night was going to be with her and how badly I had wanted to run away with these little girls all the way back to their fantastic little tents with them giggling all the way…

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it to her.

And I’m sure there are guys out there that would think:
What kind of man are you to even consider it? You licentious rogue!
Yeah, but those guys live perfectly constructed lives where nothing bad ever happens as everything goes seamlessly as planned. They’ve never chased sleep in a bottle so fuck them. And I’m also really not sure how that is relevant to my argument if I indeed had one but me…yeah, I thought about it. Of course I did. But in life you make your choices and they define who you are. You draw your own lines. I just drew mine.

I received a few affirmative pats on the back
as I watched their fine, young asses walk away.

I looked at my friend.
He was smiling and nodding and giving me the thumbs up.
Why? I’m not fucking sure.
I don’t think I ever was.

I felt the bag in my pocket.
The sun was staring at me in the face.
I forgot what I was doing
and I needed a drink.

It was going to be a long day.



A Letter and a Gun

I fell in love with my first cousin.
Yeah, I know.
But I’m not ashamed of it.
You should have met her
then you might understand.

My last night in Buenos Aires
we got drunk and I
put my hand on her knee.

That was it. I realized what I was
doing and removed it and
she never seemed to notice.
But I was mortified
for so long afterwards
not for what I felt but that I had almost
acted on it.

A year later she had gotten
accepted into medical school
and was leaving her boyfriend
to attend
a few cities away.

That did not sit well with him so
he went to her apartment
and shot her in the head
before turning the gun on himself.

My aunt had discovered the grisly scene
the next morning.

One of the last things my cousin had written
was a letter to me.

I have a safe beneath my bedroom desk.
It contains my birth certificate, passport
and other vital documents
along with copies of each book
I have written
and that letter
right here
at my feet.

I still have not read it.

Some things never truly die.


A Wednesday That Ended With Scotch

I sit at a workstation all day
moving things around on the screen
between people coming over to talk to me about absolutely nothing
because I obviously had nothing better to do (Yes, that’s right. I’m actually talking about you).
Still, I suppose it was good for the occasional chuckle.
There was always a free giggle at the laughing factory.

One of the sales team came to my desk
sat on it, leaned over and asked me how I was doing
but more so like,
“How have things been for you? Any changes? You still with the same girl?”
“Good. Yes. No.” I replied but he still sat there unwavering and determined on having a conversation.
“What happened to the girl? She was really something.” He pursued. He seemed genuinely concerned.
Realizing that this was going to be more engaging than I had initially anticipated I dropped what I was doing, swivelled my chair around to face him
and starting talking
as he sat there
on my desk
in his salesman suit with his salesman tie
and that salesman smile.

It actually wasn’t a bad conversation.
Maybe sometime I will invite him over and we could discuss life on commission and the rise of commercial exports from China.

I ended the day trying to chop all of my pens into pieces with a box-cutter before my co-worker dropped me off at the mechanics.

“Who told you to come now?” Mechanic Mike said, exaggerated and comical as per usual. Mechanics, they had a sense of humour. Fuck, they had to. I mean, have you ever been to one of those places where they fixed cars?

I was also developing a tendency to stamp whatever their occupation was to the front of people’s names. They love it: Mechanic Mike, Bartender Billy, Pederast Paul, Sexy Suzy (yes, as far as I’m concerned, it was her job).

“I said I would be by at three.” I replied, but I was used to this. I had cars fuck off on me all the time since I’ve had my first and I knew that the labour portion of the bill was completely dependent on how things went and judging by Mike’s face I knew that things weren’t going so well.

Last time I was here was a month ago when I had a flat tire and had to get towed so I came back and bought a donut and jack so I wouldn’t be as helpless next time. The next day I found out one of my good friends had a bad accident and I hated myself for not going to see him. I’m so sorry. The next day a friend passed away. My mother was battling radiation treatment and my father had to go in to something removed from his eye. Oh, and a house had exploded down the street. It just exploded. Mostly I had my head lodged in a book that I was editing for so much of my time that it was driving me crazy crazy crazy…

“What is it, a tie-rod?” I asked.
“No, a bushing. Mike’s been battling with the damn thing trying to get it off for the past hour!” The other Mike said. The third Mike was in the back of the shop changing tires and listening to Ozzy.
“We’re waiting for a bolt to come in.”
“A bolt.”
“Car won’t be done for a while. You need to be somewhere?”
“Just home. Can you run me an estimate?”
“Sure. hold on.”
As he ran up the total I really wished I had some pens and box-cutters or some dolls to rip apart while listening to Marilyn Manson.
“Three-hundred and ninety eight. Tax included.” I love how they said that.
“Four bills for a bushing?”
“Three-ninety eight.”
“Okay, that’s much better.”
“You want to take my car for the night?”
“Yes. Yes I do.”

That was definitely a fist in the gut but at that point my worst ailment was winter. Yeah, I know that I live in Canada. Go fuck a polar bear. If I had to go through one more colourless, overcast, bitingly bitter cold day I would end up dead inside forever and back at the Homewood Health Centre reduced to a vegetative state with a permanent grin stamped on my face and drool collecting on my chin as two bored orderlies carted me off down the hall:
“Oi, what’s this one’s problem then?”
“Seasonal disorder. Drinking problem. Delusions of Grandeur.”
“Full set then. What set him off finally?”
“A bushing.”
“A bushing? Oi, we’ve had a lot of those come in this year. Well, let’s take him to the common room and set him beside the ping-pong table and let him reminisce back to a time when he had balls. Then we’ll go have a smoke and talk about Rhonda.”
“Oi, sounds go.”
“Oi! Oi! Oi!” They said in unison and clicked their heels.

The mechanic’s car had the radio set to a country station. I cranked it up as I drove home. It made me feel at ease with all things in general. Fuck, this shit actually worked! Look for me at the Stampede Corral hitting up a cowgirl from here on in. I’m fucking converted.

Four-hundred for a bushing…whatever, I’ll absorb it, but fuck man…fuck.

I pulled into the driveway.
My neighbour was standing in his open garage.
As I got out he looked at the car and said,
“What? Did you get demoted or something?”
“Yes,” I replied, “by my mechanic and in life lately it seems.”
I complained about my car. He complained about his jeep.
Very neighbourly, I’ll tell you.

“They just get old and things start to fall apart inside.” He left me with.
For some reason I thought that he was now talking about me.

I went inside and looked at my face.
It was haggard and angry in the harsh light.
I didn’t like it.

I went to the fridge to get something to eat
listing off in my head everything that I needed to do before the day’s end
but then I saw the bottle of Scotch
sitting there all lonely on the shelf with a label that read:

“Drink all of me right now. Give in.”

Good thing I wasn’t staring at the bleach.

It had such a compelling argument
that really spoke to me
so I grabbed the bottle instead and
took a hardy swig on my way to the garage
where I sat down
packed a pipe
lit a cigarette
and wrote this.

The Cupboard of the Keeper of the Dead

1) In the Cupboard

        Johnny stood in his kitchen. There was a problem with that one little cupboard that would never open that had extremely unsettled Johnny to the point that there was no returning to his day. The problem: it had opened and there were things inside that had completely changed his perception of reality. Actually they more like obliterated it and then beat on it some more until there was nothing left but a mushy pulp. And then they ate it.
        He decided to call his neighbour.

        “Hi Spencer, it’s me, Johnny from number six. Listen, I just discovered this small cupboard beside the stove and was wondering if you would happen to have a similar cupboard. Or if you could come take a look.”
        “What the fuck?”
        “I know this sounds really odd. The reason I called you is because I always figured you were kind of into some strange shit.”
        “What? Sexually?”
        “No, I didn’t mean…”
        “You coming on to me, Motherfucker?”
        “Wait, now hold on…”
        “You want me to come over and look into your small little cupboard beside the stove and I’m the one that’s into some weird shit?”
        “You know what? Just forget it.”
        Nah, I’m just fucking with you. I’ll be right over.”

        Ten minutes later Spencer was banging impatiently at the door. Johnny let him in. Spencer looked like he’d spent the last few days on a bender and living in a trashcan. Johnny led him to the kitchen as Spencer mumbled on about some bitch stealing his wallet and all of his Canadian Tire money.

        Johnny bent down and opened the cupboard.

        On the upper shelf stood a dozen little men with heads shaped like crap and big, black eyes that were too large for their flat faces. They were all dressed in similar rags. They looked like claymation figures, which made the whole scenario just that much absurd. But they stunk; sweat glistened off their leathery faces and arms and darkened the fronts of their grimy half-torn shirts. They moved, gestured and wandered about like normal albeit horribly disfigured little people. Overall they seemed real enough to scare the shit out of Spencer when he first opened it and the leader at the front started talking, saying exactly what he said now:

        “Greetings! I am Gareth, keeper of the dead, and these are the legion of the dead. We have traveled far to spread the message of death to all living things all across the universe.”
        Behind him the collection of unspeakably morbid creatures began thrusting their fists up in unison while shouting,
        “Death to life! Death to life!”

        Spencer stumbled back. “Shit, I am way too hung-over for this. I’m not sure what to make of it right now…or ever. What are they, rats?”
        “They look pretty organized for rats…and rats don’t talk.”
        “Sure they do. Rats talk to me all the fucking time.”
        Johnny looked at Spencer wondering, ‘Jesus! What the Hell did I let into my apartment…again? Fuck it, why do I bother asking myself that anymore?’

        The leader, Gareth, held up a tiny chest over his warped head and proclaimed:
        “I have in this box every dead soul of everything that has ever lived throughout all of time and when I find the right place I will open it and all the dead will inherit the earth for the rest of eternity as it should be. Once this world has been cleansed of all foul life then will come the great nothing and only in nothingness can there be peace forever after.”
        The group standing behind him agreed by shouting:
        “We want nothing! Death to life!”
        Further fist-pumping ensued.

        “Christ! That doesn’t sound good!” Said Johnny.
        “It’s a scam! Dead things don’t come back to life or talk. Fuck, I learned that in grade seven!”
        “I don’t know, Man, what if he’s legit?”
        “He’s too small to do anything that matters. Look at the size of that tiny box! Whatever.”
        “What should I do then?”
        “Well, do you have to feed them?”
        “No. Um…I don’t think so. I mean, I’m pretty sure they’re dead.”
        “Okay, don’t worry about it then!” Spencer slammed the cupboard door and shrugged. “Just forget about it.”

        They were still chanting inside.

        Johnny sighed and scratched his head. “That’s pretty much how you deal with everything, isn’t it?”
        “Hey! It’s gotten me this far.” Spencer replied. The little that Johnny actually did know about Spencer was that he was thirty-seven and had no job, no car and no bank account. What he did have was a massive drinking problem and a recent string of unplanned pregnancies from the girls who all worked at the McDonald’s down the street.
        “What? You don’t owe them anything. They’re lucky you don’t make them pay rent. Come on, let’s go grab a drink.”
        “It’s noon, Man.”
        “We better hurry then! You’re buying!”

2) Out of the Cupboard

        Johnny had met Carmella while out for drinks with Spencer trying to forget about what, he just wasn’t sure anymore. That was two days ago. Fucking Mescal. Now she was lying across him half-naked talking about who-the-fuck-cared as Johnny was just starting to sober up.
        “I’ve had a lot of guys fuck me around before so I’m really self-conscious about the whole relationship thing. I know we have this thing going on so before we go any further I want to clear the air between us and get a full understanding of what our expectations are.”
        “We need to be completely honest with each other, no holds barred. I don’t want anything hidden or any lies or any false pretenses lingering over us. I want us to be able to read each other’s mind and finish each other’s sentences. That’s the kind of relationship I’m looking for and once we can get past that then you will find me a very giving and accepting person.”
        “Sounds good. Let’s fuck.”

        Hours into early morning Carmella was awoken by a stirring on the night table beside her. She opened her eyes and could see enough of the shapes moving about to alarm her into turning on the night table to find a strange gray hamster dressed in rags blinking up at her.
        “Greetings!” It said, “I am Gareth, keeper of the dead, and these are the legion of the dead. We have traveled far to spread the message of death to all living things all across the universe.”
        There was around a dozen other hamsters all pumping their fists in the air and shouting: “Death to life! Death to life!”
         Carmella was startled enough from her slumber to start screaming Spencer’s name while tugging at the blankets.
        “What the fuck?”
        “The hamsters are hungry!”
        “Fuck! I forgot about them.”
        “You neglected your pets?”
        “No! They were already dead.”
        “You killed your hamsters?!”
        “No…Wow! This is going nowhere really fast.”
        “I’m getting out of here. You know, I really thought you were a stand-up guy but now I can plainly see that you can’t even handle taking care of animals much less another person. Don’t call me…ever!”
        “They’re not…I mean…sure, whatever. Try not to fuck a fence post on your way out.”

        Johnny sat up on the bed and rubbed his eyes. Gareth stood there, still with the tiny box in his tiny hands, gazing up at Spencer with a puzzled expression.
        “What?!” Gareth barked defiantly.
        “That’s it.” Johnny shook his finger at the whole lot as he tried to figure out what to do. “I know. I’m going to flush you fuckers down the toilet.”
        Johnny arose from the bed and began looking around the room for something he could pick them up with while thinking about the last crazy couple of days, Carmella and the apartment.
        No wonder rent was so low.
        Gareth interrupted him by saying, “Well then, I suppose this is as good a place as any.”
        “For what?” Johnny looked back and realized what was about to happen. “No, no , NO!” Johnny shouted. “Don’t do that!”

        Gareth was kneeling with the box before him. He simply shrugged in response, leaned over…

        and opened it.

Come on then, let’s have it
you’re here for a reason
aren’t you?
or did you just show up
expecting something
hoping for the best
going through the minimal motions
to meet the minimal requirements
and I have met you
everywhere I’ve been
In fact
you are most that I’ve met
and unfortunately
this fire
that makes me crazy
I cannot give to you
I would not give to you
you’re just going to have to come
and fucking take it
and even then
you wouldn’t know what to do with it

-this constant burn
this bottomless surge of
every waking moment

this blatant inability to grasp
that I cannot fly.