Friday, March 30, 2012

Smile for it

Jane sat on the EL train waiting patiently for her stop to arrive. She’d set her iPhone to her favorite Pandora station and was just there, in the moment of herself. She happened to look over to her left and across the train aisle was a young man, giving her the eye. Normally Jane didn’t like getting ogled but this young man was pretty attractive. She caught herself wishing that he would come over and talk to her.

She imagined them together on a beach in Mexico. Maybe three years into their relationship. They were basking the glow of the sex they just had in the hotel room and the hot Mexican sun. She thought that would be pretty romantic. She had a feeling this young man was probably all about the romantic getaway. She looked up from the next song playing on her iPhone and the young man had moved closer to her. He was squarely checking her out. Jane flipped her blonde hair off her shoulder in a flirty way. A way that normally gets a guys attention but women deny doing because that would make them seem weak somehow.

She looked at the man again and was impressed by his rather chiseled features and yet boyish charm. He stood up and walked toward her and sat next to her. Jane felt a wave of mild panic and exuberance come over her as this hot piece of man meat sat next to her. She turned to face him and smiled.

“Hi, I’m Cecil”, he said.

Jane was about to introduce herself in a confident and firm sort of, “I’m not going to screw you on the first date, but maybe I will”, sort of way when she got the full Cecil picture. His mouth was full of blood. His teeth were rotting and bleeding quite badly.

“Oh, your teeth? Are you okay? They’re bleeding”, said Jane instead of introducing herself.
“I know”, said Cecil, “We can’t all be perfect now can we”.

Jane shifted in her seat and looked away. There was a smell now, a rotting, festering odor rising from Cecil.

“I saw you checking me out and I was checking you out”, continued Cecil.
“That’s nice”, said Jane.
“I was hoping you and I could maybe get to know each other”, said Cecil as he put his arm around the metal handle of the train seat behind Jane. She could feel the coldness of his arm near her neck.

Jane pushed herself against the train car side wall and the window to get away from Cecil’s reach. She wondered why she ever even left the house sometimes. She always winded up meeting some weirdo somewhere, why should this train ride be any different.

“Have you ever seen blood in the moonlight”, asked Cecil.

Jane looked down and then reminded herself to be a confident, strong woman of the 2000’s.

“Please don’t talk to me anymore. I’m not interested. I’m sorry if you got the wrong idea”, said Jane.
“It’s too late baby. Where we’re going, it’s too late”, said Cecil.

Jane tried to get up but the train car floor came to life. It looked like chocolate milk with curdled cottage cheese and its tendrils wrapped around Jane’s ankles. It pulled her backwards into her seat as Cecil leaned in for a kiss.

Jane struggled and her iPhone dropped into the murky brownness of the EL car floor and it vanished. She tried to scream but Cecil clamped his smelly rotten hand over her mouth. No one else on the train car seemed to notice what was happening. She felt her breath leaving her and she tried to remain calm. She was a strong, confident woman of the 2000’s after all.

“Please Jane. Stop. It’s time for us to be together”, whispered Cecil in Jane’s ear.

She turned her head toward him and he smiled, blood drenched teeth now wiggling with what looked like maggots. Jane shut her eyes and moaned like a child denied a balloon. The sobs were panicked and heavy, as if crying through a wet blanket.

“Next stop is Belmont”, said Cecil, “that’s where we get off”.

Jane popped awake as if lightening has struck her. Don’t Fear the Reaper was playing on her iPhone in her ears. The train car was still except for the ruffle of newspapers. There was no Cecil or chocolate tendrils. It was just a dream. Just a dream. She nodded off on the train, that's all. Jane sighed with relief.

The PA system announced the next stop. Jane looked up curiously. Usually it’s Logan Square but Jane was pretty sure the announcement said Hell. Next stop Hell. Doors open to the right at Hell. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

7 minutes

I'm playing hooky from work today. I have seven minutes until my microwave lunch is ready. Now you're all caught up.

I did need, as the industry calls it, a "Mental Health Day". I was feeling extremely  stressed out and somewhat defeated by my daily grind. Even though I've had a few other days off in the last few weeks, I felt like those days were spent recovering from a long night of drinking. Today I am fully sober and taking a moment to recharge my batteries.

I think it's terribly important to do that every once in a while. Working too hard for too long can really sap one's strength and their willingness to be involved in their own lives. I hate being so passive in my own life. I don't like coming home from work and sitting on my couch watching TV till 10:30 and then going to bed because I don't have the strength or willpower to do anything else. It really makes me sad.

So it's important to take a random Thursday off the shelf and pour yourself a huge glass of relax-o juice. Mind you I'll be spending today trying to get caught up on the domestic chores I've left to wallow in my self pity. I've already taken my garbage out, did a little laundry and will soon attack the dust and dishes that constantly mock me with their foulness.

I know it's not the super Thursday adventure it could be but it's better than my constant complaining. As an added bonus I'll listen to a lot of kick ass music today. I've not had a lot of good music in my head lately so this will certainly give my brain jukebox a chance to update.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I wonder at times if my imagination is on life support. (I’m also getting very frustrated with typing “no” when I mean to type “on”. I’m not sure when my fingers began their revolution against my thoughts but it’s getting extremely annoying.) I’ve been toying with some sort of story about a King walking a battlefield after a brutal and bloody battle with a long storied enemy. But every sentence I start seems to be weak and without much enthusiasm. I can’t seem to see this King’s sad and lonely face as he scans the field of dead and dying like so many battlefield commanders of the actual past did before. I suppose it’s because he’s me.

I’m not saying I’m a King or by any means royal. My Irish Catholic modesty often casts myself as supporting player or narrator in my stories, but never the actual main character. I tend to follow the tried and true method of a character alloy of Dr. Sam Beckett, Indiana Jones, Jason Bourne, Jesus, Gary Cooper, Cary Grant and Sean Connery. Who wouldn’t want to be sum of those guys? They represent the best of the hero ideal and a main character should reflect that. I don’t really see myself that way so this fictional King I was trying to write about is really, kind of a bore. Just like me.  

And now it’s taken me too long to write these few paragraphs. My real life is constantly getting in the way of the fictional one I’d prefer to spend our time together in. (I’m also annoyed with constantly typing “out” instead of “our”. That’s just one straw short of total camel back destruction.)

Clearly I’m exaggerating that my imagination being at death’s door. I’m quite capable of writing story after story about nothing at all. It’s my gift. Mind you it seems to have rolled under the couch where I’m trying to get at it with a yard stick, which just ends up batting it around up further towards the back wall, but it’s there and I… can… almost… reach….

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I wonder what it will take for us, the human race, to stop being such whiney babies and get our collective crap together. I think it might actually take an Alien invasion. Even then we’d probably try to convert the alien’s to Christianity or Islam or Scientologists and then make them choose sides. Or get their thoughts on gun control. I have a hard time imagining intergalactic gun toting Christians. (Although I’m sure Arthur C. Clarke would be overjoyed at the concept.)

I just don’t know what the galvanizing event will be that will help lead humans out of this current Dark Age and into a new Renaissance. I say it is a Dark Age because of the wild amount of ignorance rampant all over this planet. It’s not an intellectual ignorance so much as it is deafness to possibilities. Perhaps even an emotional ignorance in play. There are a lot of very smart people out there, but they don’t seem capable of reaching the right ears or hearts. It seems that in some parts of the world intelligence is frowned upon and ignorance is rewarded. Religious beliefs or strict adherence to dogmatic principals are used as excuses to oppress people instead light their minds with curiosity and compassion. The question askers are silenced or sullied.

I’m not sure what to blame for this Dark Age. Is it poverty, a failure of the education system; is it a lack of clean water, Hollywood? At what point did we lose our grip on the realities of life and decide it would be easier to shoot first and ask questions later. I just don’t believe as a civil and intelligent society we can make any advancement while teenagers shoot each other in the street over temporary things like money or territory. It really makes me miss Gandhi.

I suppose I watched way too much Star Trek. I really believe that we have great potential as a people to advance as far and as wide as we want, as long as we stow our petty bickering and ridiculous justifications for violence against each other.  I don’t have all the answers though. I barely know where to start. I keep thinking that an exterior source will force the human race to get along and work toward a common goal. That may be a bit of wishful thinking. It’s likely up to us to make this a world we can be proud of, so when the aliens do come we can show them a thing or two about what it means to be human.

This piece has been forged out of the strangeness of humanity. We are a race capable of the most compassionate treatment and the greatest cruelties to each other. We can justifiably shoot a teenager in Florida (allegedly) while simultaneously wag our finger at an African warlord for recruiting children to fight in a war.

I hope we soon find that one thing that everyone can get behind. Something that lets us leave our superstitions and fears behind and embrace a new era of compassion and open mindedness we know we are capable of. Only then will we truly advance and enter the new Renaissance. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Aesop didn’t get, “The Mondays”

It’s pretty sad to come back to work after a three day weekend to find your cubicle filled with metaphorical manure. I can’t stand the penalty for taking some time off of work. It makes it very difficult to try and enjoy life. If I loved what I did for a living with all my heart I’d probably never leave. Unfortunately I only do this because I don’t know how to do anything else. Other than write these self-indulgent essays on why my little work life is so unsatisfying or crank out a story involving aliens or murder obsessed bedroom furniture.

It makes my insides hurt to be so overwhelmed with stupid nonsense work. It’s probably killing me. I honestly think that sitting in this cube all day and staring at the back stage of life is making me ill. I often am reminded of Joe Vs. The Volcano. Damn fluorescents.

With that being said I have to get to work. The mule I’m hitched up to wants to plow these fields and I’m helpless to resist. I’ve got to prepare like the ants instead of play all day like the grasshopper. Clearly it’s more fun to be the grasshopper. Who wouldn’t want to play in the sun all day? 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bus Ride

With a morning full of
promise and sunshine
it was so odd to find
myself under a bus.

I hadn’t planned on
being dragged through
town or laughed at
by cruel children.

It happened so fast
and I wasn’t wearing
a helmet so now not
only is my ass sore
but I’m also a bit dazed.

The bus driver didn’t
know how badly I was
run over. He was too busy
trying to look up a pretty
girl’s skirt to see me out
for a lovely morning stroll.

I tumbled and rolled
all over the asphalt,
dodging potholes and
landmines and steamy
piles of dog poop.

When the ride finally
ended and I could stand
up, I saw the faces of the
other riders all in the same
place as me.  

We nodded and cried.
Licked our wounds and
waited for the next
bus ride.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


The blue paint splashed across the broad white canvas in a sweeping, yet finely crafted arc. Rebecca took a step back to look at the color and shape she had brought into existence. She had taken art classes, painting workshops and even taught some coloring techniques but until the accident she never really considered herself an Artist.  She stepped back toward the newly alive canvas and stretched up high to the near top edge and painted a long thinner blue line. She took another step back. She closed her eyes for a moment and took a breath, to clear her mind and to objectively look at the work she had just done.

She opened her eyes on the exhale and scanned her work. She hated it. It didn’t really express the burning pain she had experienced. She looked at her color pallet and thought about switching colors to something more vibrant, something bluer to really capture the flickering police lights the night everything changed. She brushed her hair off her face and absentmindedly started rubbing the large scar on the right side of her face.

She had a seven inch scar starting just above her right ear that cut behind a reconstructed ear, through her hair and down toward the nape of her neck. Her ear and side of her face had been nearly sheared off when the car flipped and slid on its passenger side. Her window was open as the car started to flip and her head made the quick and brutal acquaintance of the asphalt. She was lucky it wasn’t worse. She didn’t break any bones or suffer any other internal injuries.

Rebecca stopped massaging her scar and changed paint brushes. She dipped the brush into the red paint and began aggressively smearing the canvas with it. She felt the red was working, people could understand red, as a warning, as a sign of danger, as something painful. The red started taking the shape of the ambulance lights flashing through the darkness setting the surrounding trees alight. She could remember the bright red of the road flares and she started to gently mix a little orange in with the red as she continued to paint. She was sweating now.

Her mind drifted away from the blossoming canvas and back to Andrew’s face as he smiled at her while singing along with the car radio. She couldn’t hear the song anymore, she thought she used to know it but it was somehow erased from her memory. Andrew loved that song. She remembered the deer as it shot out into the road and Andrew swerving on the wet surface to avoid it. She remembered still framed flashes of hitting the guardrail and being in the air. She remembered Andrew saying, “Hang on”, right before the car smashed onto her side and then flipped down the embankment. Then the lights and the sirens and then the loneliness.

She took a step back from the canvas and took a breath and closed her eyes. She opened them as she exhaled. It was there; the lights, the drizzle, Andrew’s pained face, her blood all put on the canvas just like her broken mind remembered. The painting blazed with color and emotion. Rebecca dropped the paintbrush to the floor and crumpled down next to it in a heap of tears.

Her wails of loneliness and heartbreak filled her studio and embedded themselves into her painting. A vibrancy and luminosity seemed to emanate from the work she later titled, “Release”.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Boing, boing, boing…

It is indeed the first day of spring and all should rejoice that this terrible winter has finally passed. If you live in Chicago like me you might be wondering, “What winter?”
This was one of the mildest winters I can remember. There were very few extremely cold days and I don’t think we got much more than a few inches of snow in the city. I don’t know about how the suburbs faired, I don’t live there.  I wore my scarf once this winter. Once. I can’t recall that last time I could go a whole winter wearing my scarf one single time. It’s amazing.

So now winter has limped through its paces and faded into memory we can now start to enjoy this wonderful spring weather placed at our feet. The race is just starting but I have a feeling it’s going to be a pretty nice one. I’m a fan of spring. I’m the guy up in the stands holding the giant, “SPRING RULES!!!” sign.  Spring is just right for me. I’d like to live in a perpetual spring if I could.

At this point you’d expect me to start writing about how in the spring, a young man’s fancy turns to love. Well, I’m not a young man so much anymore so you can just forget it. Spring allows me the luxury of now being a grump outside instead of trapped indoors. Although I’m not all that grumpy lately in the relationship arena since I started seeing a lovely young lady who thinks I’m cool, or at least less of a dork than other guys she’s dated.

I somehow worry that my credibility as a morbidly sad, continually single writer is somewhat diminished once I start dating. It’s as if I have nothing to complain about and I have a feeling of satisfaction. Then there’s the pressure of all the other single mopes out there thinking, “Aw man, my hero got a lady friend. I don’t believe in nothing no more”.  Which would lead me to respond, “hero?”

I must say though she’s a very nice girl and I’m happy to be seeing her. Now you might wonder why I’m using the term “seeing her”. Well, it’s because I’m cautious. I’ve dated and I’ve been with women, all of them extremely lovely in their own way, but that one thing; a spark, if you will, wasn’t there. In this current instance I’m very interested, but wary of the fragility of hearts and I don’t want to do anything to ruffle any feathers. So I’m taking it slow to see where it may lead.

Maybe when summer arrives and I’m complaining about the heat I’ll have something different to say about my relationship status, maybe I won’t. I don’t pretend to know the future or how I’ll feel 30 minutes from now. I just try to enjoy the journey from one season to the next.  

Go Spring!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Say it isn’t an actuality

There was a lot of drinking over the last few days. Starting Wednesday until Saturday the alcohol flowed fast and free and by St. Patrick’s Day night I was over it all. The idea of getting plowed or to such a state of inebriation as to be unable to speak has become vilely unattractive.  It’s not like I have ever really been a stumbling fool of a drunk or get into random fights with strangers. It’s just boring after a while.  I was struck with how boring it was on St. Patrick’s Day night.

There were laughs to be had but they started to seem hollow and disingenuous. It started to make me feel like an idiot and like I was somehow duped into the jet set life style of the social drinker. It wasn’t all martinis or mint juleps as I was lead to believe. It’s just beer and whiskey and people yelling or talking too loud. It’s the annoying music and the constant droning nag of the same old stories told over and over again. And if you tell someone that you know their story, that they told you the exact same thing the day before, or even a few minutes before, they don’t care and just keep right on telling the same boring story while you’re forced to just nod and agree out of politeness even though you’d rather be blessed with deafness.

I don’t really blame anyone specifically. There’s no one person that has started to sour me on the whole idea of wasting countless hours and dollars on the fleeting joy of a few cocktails. There’s no malice in it. I just think I’ve started to outgrow it. Plus I’m getting pretty damn fat.  

I think I’m entering that stage where I’d just like to relax at a bar and talk quietly over a few drinks. I don’t want to yell to be heard. I don’t want to have to yell to the bartender to please get me another drink. I don’t want to hear other customers talk about how much they love breasts or vagina or how long it’s been since they’ve had any sex. I don’t care about that. I don’t like to hear men objectify women as they work or as they just enter the bar.

I’ll fully admit that I am not above ogling a woman. I think women are beautiful and I’ll usually give a girl the once over. But I would never in a million years turn to the guy next to me at the bar and describe how I think she’d look while we had sex. It’s just rude and severely uncouth.  I just want to enjoy my drink without somebody nudging me to watch them make a rude facial gesture behind a woman’s back.

I digress, my point is…. I’m not actually sure. I’d written a couple of bullshit things after that line but nothing seemed true. I know I’m not just going to stop drinking or going to my bars. I know that I’ll keep laughing too loud and try to be cool. (I’m shockingly not cool). I think I just have to remind myself that I’m the only one in control of my life; that I’m not the victim of anyone else’s whims or cruelties. I am the one that has to take responsibility for my choices.

Now get me another beer and turn up the jukebox. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

You’re not crazy

This morning seemed to be teeming with those poor humans afflicted with rather severe psychological disorders. I suppose it’s the nice weather that brought them out of their crazy caves in the forest preserves.

There was a man, wearing all white mind you, on the Metra train this morning holding a very large clear plastic bag against the top of his head. He was holding this large bag, sitting next to a pretty woman too, as if he was protecting himself against the powerful thought ray satellites clearly operating in the skies above. I guess he was out of tinfoil hats. He also seemed to be holding his breath for most of the train ride as he kept gasping every few minutes. Now all of this was strange but it had yet to get weird.

As the train pulled into the downtown station, this bearded, gray haired, white wearing, plastic bag clutching against his head guy stood up and abandoned the large plastic bag on an empty train seat next to him. He continued to cover his head with his hand however as the regular commuters and I shuffled toward the exit. As we neared the doors this man looked into the train garbage can and pulled out a small section of discarded newspaper, which he then used to cover the top of his head.

He rushed off the train clearly agitated with the large crowds. He started running toward the train station exit, still holding the newspaper firmly against the top of his head. The other commuters and I sort of looked at each other and acknowledged that whatever crap we had going on in our lives, we weren’t that guy.

Things seemed to continue on this strange path as I walked toward the building I work in. I passed a couple, holding hands as they walked, that seemed all wrong. The man was wearing a Crown Royal purple velvet bag from his belt. He was on his cell phone too, which he proceeded to place in his regular pocket, not the Crown Royal bag as I half expected him to. I walked by them too fast to really catch any conversation or get further involved in what was going on there.

I got to work and was sitting in my cube, trying to do the things I have to do. The normal day to day nonsense that provides me with a paycheck when my cubicle neighbor started clipping his fingernails at his desk.

“Can’t you do that at home”, I said.
“Are you talking to me”, he responded.
“Yes. Can you please not do that here; It’s gross”, I said.

My colleague got very upset with my request and felt that I was somehow being rude for requesting that he not clip his fingernails at his desk. I don’t remember what he said after that as I was on the phone, but he kept talking and talking. I said, verbatim, “I’d appreciate if you would do that somewhere else, in the bathroom perhaps”.

He’s mad at me now and I don’t care. My other co-workers cheered me on under their breath and gave me the thumbs up for saying something. Clearly it’s bothered other people before. So who’s crazy, me for saying something or him for clipping his fucking fingernails at his desk?

There must be something in the air today. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It’s nice

I like being a nice guy.
For no other reason

It’s not self-serving
except to my vanity
or sense of worth
or a fear of

I like to be nice.
But now I’m
too hungry
to be nice.

What were you

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Hal couldn’t wait to get his apartment windows open. The weatherman had predicted record highs, the highest temperatures in months in fact. So Hal was giddy. He loved the warm weather. He liked the short sleeves and cool breezes that danced playfully, meandering between deliciously warm and mildly cool that makes bare skin goose-pimple. It was hot weather Hal didn’t like. Hot weather could be just as miserable as the coldest day of the year.

Hot weather; really sticky stupid hot humid weather was torture to Hal. He liked a day where the sun was shining but the temperature never really got above seventy eight degrees.  Those days were his favorite. Hal just sweat too much in the hot, brutal summer weather. He’d ruined more tee-shirts than he could count with his drippings. It was very hard to meet a hot summer girl that way. He thought for a moment about all the prettiest girls he’d known and how then never really seemed to sweat. They always seemed soft and glowing while he was melting.

Hal slipped the window screen in place and stood back to see if he could feel the burgeoning spring wind blow through the opening. There was no breeze to speak of yet, but it was early still and the day would only get nicer. It was a shame that Hal had to go to work. He’d like nothing better than to play hooky and head over to the park with a good book and just soak in the sunshine and swirling spring air.

It wasn’t fair Hall thought. He was suddenly overwhelmed with the cruelty of it all. It was such a lovely day, a gift granted to us for the short time that we have on this lump of rock floating in the Goldilocks zone gravitationally held in place by a star; maybe by God. It was just mean he couldn’t enjoy this beautiful, sexy, day by being stuck at a desk in a cube in an airless block of stone surrounded by the Spartan temperature controlled environs of “The Man”. It was an injustice and it really shouldn’t be tolerated.

Hal sighed and leaned out toward the window to smell the morning. He could smell the generosity of this day. He looked back toward his wall clock and noted the time. He was already running late for work. His daydreaming had once again left him in a Walter Mitty debacle. He rushed toward the table to grab his apartment keys and shot out through the door. If he hurried he could make the train.

When he stepped out onto the sidewalk and the warm morning touched him on his cheek, he knew he’d never make that train. A stroll was more important than a sprint and if there were any roses along the way, he’d certainly stop to smell them. Damn the cube. Damn the desk, the e-mails, the voicemails, the greed, the hell. He’d taste this bit of heaven while the tasting was good. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I MacArthured it

Thanks for your patience while I took a little personal time to recharge the old batteries. I needed a few days off from the monstrosities of this bone grinding insurance work. So like Douglas MacArthur, I have returned. Of course he wanted to reclaim the Philippines. I just need to continue to receive a paycheck, it’s a little different. I didn’t meet any old lady billionaires willing to sponsor me as an artist or win the drunken lottery so I had no choice but to return to work.  

While I was off I did have some time to think of or hear some interesting new ideas for future articles. My favorite so far has to be, “Robots don’t eat cookies”. I’m not sure who said it or why, but I did write it down on a cocktail napkin fully anticipating it will eventually find its way into an article or title of an article. Of course I heard that phrase at a bar and I’m sure the context is lost to the rivers of liquor I managed to consume while allegedly relaxing.

I also caught up on a little light magazine reading all about the history of The Holy Land and the inherent similarities between Judaism, Islam and Christianity. LIFE magazine can still manage to put out some pretty interesting stuff every once in a while. So I did spend a little time this long weekend expanding my mind while simultaneously destroying my brain with booze. At least I managed to stay dry Sunday and Monday.

So now that I’m back at work, back in the regular nonsense I call a job, trying not to get overly frustrated with the insane and constant demands of the greedy or unsubstantiated needs of the generally annoying public. I’d love this job if I didn’t have to deal with any people.

So, that being said, I must get to it. I received 60 e-mails in two days that I will have to respond to along with voicemail messages and the usual crap I have to go through. So if there are any old lady billionaires that I missed out on that happen to enjoy reading this and are looking to establish themselves as a benefactor or patron of the arts (I’m looking at you Guggenheim’s) I’m totally down for it. Although I might have to become an artist first. 

Always something.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Coffee Sabotage

This morning as I was walking toward work I thought to myself that I should stop and grab a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. I considered it as a treat since the coffee provided at work is less than desirable. I talked myself out of it of course as I just wanted to get to work and not have to wait in the long line of other coffee vampires.

I got to work and settled into my cubicle. I made a few jokes with my co-workers and then headed toward the, “coffee room”, for that all important kick start. Then tragedy struck with its usual ironic evil twist. There was no coffee. There were other co-works laying on the floor in great heaps, coffee mugs in withered hands, moaning and groaning toward the defunct coffee makers.

It seemed the water line that leads from the sink to the industrial style coffee maker had burst and no water for coffee was available. The agony! The pain! What sort of God would allow this type of evil to exist in the world? Why would a decree be sent forth to deny all my fellow cubicle jockeys their small morning happiness? Could anything be worse?

Well, of course. There’s always something worse. Don’t be silly. It’s just coffee. I’ll go buy a coke at the vending machine and suck it down like it was mother’s milk. No big deal. I can handle it. I said I can handle it!

It did make me wonder though why I was suddenly possessed with the extra-sensory feeling to stop and get a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee as I walked to work. I should have heeded that divine intervention and fueled up. So now, this day, this very long day might not seem so vast and endless.

Okay Coca-Cola, do your thing. Let’s make magic. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Where have they gone?

I’m starting to wonder if the novelty of my writing has worn off on people. I’ve watched my readership numbers steadily decline over the last few weeks. The story I wrote yesterday, which I thought was a pretty darn good simple story, had seven readers. 
Seven? Really?
Seven? I mean, c’mon.

This comes as quite a shock to me considering I thought I had a pretty decent following. It’s weird. It’s not an ego thing. I’m just happy people read anything I write. But it is a little strange to see readership drop by nearly 24 people on average a day. I guess people are just too busy; or too selfish to spend a little time with their literary buddy.

I shouldn’t complain though. I’m lucky to live in such a modern age where the ramblings of an idiot like me can be sent through the internet tubes and wires all over the world with just a few clicks of a mouse and the tapping of some keys. It makes me wonder if there were telegraph bloggers way back when. I wonder if there were people that climbed the telegraph poles and tapped out long series of dots and dashes to tell the story of a little girl and her pony on a grand adventure to grandmother’s house only to find the house has been burnt to the ground by venomous zombie ninjas on which she swears a blood oath revenge.

I can imagine the folks at the telegraph office biting their fingernails in anticipation of the next chapter. I’m sure it would have been marvelously received at first but then, after a year, maybe two, the telegraph office might be empty except for a clerk, ignoring the dots and dashes beeping out from the receiver. They lost interest and are all excited about this new telephone thing that’s supposed to be coming from back East.

So fads change, people’s interests change, there’s nothing I can do about that except adapt to the next format and soldier on. Or go on a mad spree of some kind. You know the kind of spree I’m talking about; the kind where you get to use the words, “slather”, and, “body”, and, “Jodie Foster” without worrying about the consequences. Yeah, that’s the kind of spree I’m talking about.

I’m sure no one wants to see that though. Michael on a mad tear through town wearing boxer shorts, a raccoon-skin cap, slathered in Jell-O and heroine, screaming about the juice man and his evil plot to take over Canada with Brazilian car wash employees.  You know, last Saturday.

Ultimately this was about my loyal readers and I appreciate the fact they’ve stuck around and eagerly anticipate the next stirring adventure. So thanks loyal readers, you rule.  To the casual, can’t find the time to read it types, thanks as well, but I’m watching you with deep seated suspicion. That car in front of the house that hasn’t moved in a few days, yeah, you know it. We’re watching.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dry Gulch

Bloody Fingernail Jim rode his pale palomino toward the hitching post in front of Green’s General Store. He brought the ragged and worn out horse to a stop and dismounted. Bloody Fingernail Jim’s boots hit the ground with a thud and it caught the attention of the finely dressed townsfolk passing on the wooden sidewalks. A woman gasped and quickly shuttled her children away from the dirt covered Bloody Fingernail Jim.

The palomino wavered for a second as Bloody Fingernail tied the reins to the hitching post. She brayed a bit before collapsing to the street. Bloody Fingernail stood holding the reins in his hand, staring at the horse that had carried him some 300 miles through the desert and toward Mary. Bloody Fingernail dropped the reins and turned away from the deceased horse and headed toward the saloon. He felt a toast was in order for old Scotty. She was a good horse and deserving of some whiskey.

As his boots clomped loudly on the wooden sidewalk a bespectacled shop keep rushed toward Bloody Fingernail.

“You can’t leave that animal in the street like that”, said the little shopkeeper.

Bloody Fingernail Jim stopped and looked back over his shoulder at old Scotty and then to the little, balding, typical shopkeeper. The sun poked through the clouds and bathed the little town of Dry Gulch with thick shafts of sunlight. The light glinted off the hate in Bloody Fingernail Jim’s eyes as he stared at the shopkeeper.

“I’ll… I’ll see about getting that, ah, helping to see that your horse is taken care of Mister”, stammered the shopkeeper.

A church bell starting clanging in the distance and some of the townsfolk started moving back down the street toward the white clapboard house of God. The shopkeeper excused himself around Bloody Fingernail Jim’s frame and hurried toward the sheriff’s office. Bloody Fingernail Jim spit politely into the nearby spittoon and continued his walk toward the saloon.  

The saloon was like every other saloon in every other town Bloody Fingernail Jim had passed through on his way to Dry Gulch. In fact, it was the fourth town called Dry Gulch he’d been to. All those leads were dead ends, emphasis on the dead.

Mary wouldn’t get away this time. He’d get her and his most valuable possession back or set the world on fire. There was nothing else for him.

An Irish looking and sounding bartender asked Bloody Fingernail Jim what he’d have to drink. The saloon was nearly empty for so early in the day. A cowboy sat in the back, shuffling some playing cards, smoking a cigar. A lady of the night was primping in the $1000 mirror over the player piano. Bloody Fingernail Jim stepped toward the bar and took his leather gloves off and looped them through his gun belt.  He put his hands on the bar and looked at the bartender in the face. The bartender looked down and saw the red and raw fingernails on Bloody Fingernail Jim’s hands. They were blood red and seemed to be swirling as if a stiff breeze was blowing across their surface. There were smoky streaks of blackness billowing through the redness of his fingernails.

“You be Bloody Fingernail Jim ain’t ya”, asked the cowboy in the back.

“Two whiskeys”, said Bloody Fingernail Jim to the bartender. He didn’t take his eye off him.

“I asked you a question mister…”, said the cowboy as he stood from his chair, “I’m not akin to being ignored”.

The bartender poured the two whiskeys and placed them in front of Bloody Fingernail Jim. He started backing away toward the opposite end of the bar without asking for payment. The cowboy in the back had started walking toward the bar. The prostitute had moved toward the stairs slightly cowering behind the railing post.  Blood Fingernail Jim felt the floor boards under his feet shift and heard them creak as the cowboy drew closer.

Bloody Fingernail Jim turned from the bar to face the approaching cowboy. He hooked his thumbs on the buckle of his gun belt. The red fingernails seemed to sparkle like rubies and flickered across the cowboys face. The cowboy stopped about three feet from Bloody Fingernail Jim, his own hand hovering over the pistol grip of his revolver.

“Don’t”, said Bloody Fingernail Jim.

The cowboy licked his lips and let the flies in the air settle.

“Don’t do it”, said Bloody Fingernail Jim again.

The cowboy twitched toward his revolver and then felt a searing pain in his hand. Bloody Fingernail Jim had drawn and had shot the cowboy in the hand and had re-holstered before the cowboy could even register it. He looked down at his hand and screamed. His thumb was gone, blown off so fast the pain hadn’t even reached his brain yet.

Bloody Fingernail Jim turned back to the bar and took hold of the first whiskey. The cowboy rushed passed him toward the saloon doors and spilled out in to the street. Bloody Fingernail Jim sipped the whiskey. Mary would have to wait a little longer. Mary and Bloody Fingernail Jim’s daughter would have to wait. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Don’t push

I agree with Megan, so today I will use her Saturday adventure to make my point. We’ll call this A Minute with Megan as she so colorfully suggested.

Megan is a responsible woman.  A mother, a wife, a teacher and has a good head on her shoulders. She’s made some mistakes, like we all have, but learned from them to become a reasonable person able to operate successfully in the world. She understands that she has responsibilities and isn’t one to shirk them. Unless the situation calls for some serious shirking, but as a rational individual she’s able to know when that situations arises.

Saturday night she was pulled over by the police for driving while talking on her cell phone. Saturday night after Megan dropped off some friends at a downtown hotel.  She’d pulled her minivan away and turned the corner onto Michigan Avenue. She called her husband to check in on their young daughter who has a touch of a stomach ailment. Apparently Megan’s daughter had decided to projectile vomit all over the dining room right before Megan was to leave home for her night with her friends. So like a responsible parent she was calling to make sure her daughter was okay.

The two officers approached her vehicle with what Megan described in some unflattering terms so I’ll re-describe as, “unwarranted suspicion”. They made some strange requests of a sober woman in a minivan and despite her protests or attempts to explain that she was calling to check on her sick daughter she was still issued a ticket. Megan took serious offense to this citation from the CPD while other, more serious crime, was likely occurring. She felt she had been bullied and treated unfairly.

I diverge from Megan’s story for a moment (see what I did there) and note that I am in favor of the law that makes it illegal to talk on your cell phone while driving. It is a distraction for drivers and should not be allowed. I have seen too many instances where use of a cell phone while driving has caused some serious accidents. So I get it. But I am against the weak enforcement of this law. It’s piecemeal at best and it’s extremely rare the police pull people over for it.  It’s just unenforceable for the most part. So to be singled out, while in a minivan that has no other violations, seems strange and unjust.

It made Megan very, “hot”, as she put it and she came to meet my sister at our local watering hole. The more we talked of it the more annoyed she got about it. I understand completely, I’ve had my run-ins with some of the finer finers in Chicago and it can be very upsetting.

It got me thinking about our rules for governing people. The rules we have civically and professionally. The rules so I can keep a job I hate. Monday morning met me with several notices from micro-managing types who value quantity over quality; numbers over the real connections and efforts that should be taken to provide a quality product. A product to take pride in.

I felt a lot like Megan this morning. I’m doing the best I can with the tools at my disposal and my intelligence and self-image are taunted by the rules and desires or manipulations of others. The cops that pulled Megan over are a lot like the bosses I have to work with. Where any protest or excuse is met with a, “Well, that’s too bad for you. Do what you’re told if you still want a paycheck”.

While I know the situations are different in a lot of ways, the similarities still exist. There’s oppression of our inherit free will, of our individuality. It’s always upsetting to be stifled when we’re doing what we think is best, for ourselves or our children.

I’ll agree there are times you have to give up your individuality for the greater good or a larger purpose. Sacrifice is one of the things that make us human. I’ve no problem with a rational and reasonable surrender of individual rights here and there. But I do not like being bullied or treated like a moron. Or that my abandonment of who I am is an expectation of how I am to perform. Don’t push me. I will resist. I will not be bullied by the rule of law or the corporate machine. 

Friday, March 2, 2012


I woke up on it.
Thinking it was
Saturday for a
brief moment.

I started thinking
about my Saturday
chores before
it sank in that
it was still

I wish I was
still on my couch.
I wish it was
my lazy ass

It's beat up.
It's seen
the best
and the worst
of me.

It's seen crying
of all kinds,
embraces and

Sleeping and napping,
dozing and snoring,
lounging and laying,
sitting and sexing.

I wish I was on
it, my best girl too,
sitting in the splendid
comfort of
confident tuberosity.

In the imaginary
Saturday my
Friday morning mind

Thursday, March 1, 2012

You wouldn’t believe me

March 1st doesn’t seem like all that important of a day. I looked at my desk calendar and there was nothing highlighted as an important event so I had to use the inter-web to see if anything ever really cool happened on March 1st throughout history. Was there anything that should be remembered? I was surprised by what I found.  

The first event that our friend and overlord Wikipedia noted for March 1st was in 752 BC when Romulus, the founder and first king of Rome celebrated the first Roman triumph after his victory over the Caeninenses following The Rape of the Sabine Woman. This is not the sexually graphic term we use today, back then it really referred to the abduction of women. Which Romulus did as only a true Roman pimp could do. He faked a celebration, inviting all his neighbors and when the party was going, the Romans sprung into action and grabbed the Sabine women. Romulus actually gave the women a pretty fair deal in exchange. He said you take a Roman man as your husband and I’ll give titles and rights. The Sabine men were not too pleased so they attacked Roman territories. Romulus, again, being the pretty bad ass guy that he was, wiped the Caeninenses and Sabine’s out. Really, he routed their army and killed their king. To celebrate his awesomeness, he had a party, today in 752 BC.

Now that Carnival is over in Rio we can reveal that Rio de Janeiro was founded on this day in 1565. So they’ve been partying like it’s 1999 for a very long time. 1781 the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation. It was America’s first, “constitution”. It was sort of a dry run at self-government. The current U.S. Constitution replaced it in 1789.

An American hero and icon, Charles Lindbergh’s son, Charles Augustus Lindbergh III, was kidnapped in 1932. March 1st, 1936 The Hoover Dam was completed. In 1941 the first FM radio station started. In 1961 President Kennedy started the Peace Corps.

Of course the most monumental of all the events to occur on March 1st was the birth of Ke$ha in 1987. I’m actually shocked that made the list of important birthdays and events for March 1st. I’ve never looked so forward to the Ides of March before.

For my Welsh friends, today is also Saint David of Wales Day. He’s the patron saint of Wales. He is known for levitating in the village of Llanddewi Brefi (take that Spell-check) when the crowd he was preaching to complained they couldn’t see him or hear him very well. So he rose off the ground so all could see and hear him. Just like St. David Blane.

So a lot appears to have happened on March 1st. It seems every day is bleeding with history and I think that’s pretty kickass.  So no matter how bad of a day you might be having remember that you’re not a Sabine or Ke$ha. (Sorry Ke$ha, someone always has to lose).