Thursday, January 31, 2013

Real Life has a Way

Real life walks funny,
smells funny,
giggles inappropriately,
gets gas,
looses teeth,
gets stung by bees,
and generally is in
the way.

Real life is annoying,
a smart-ass,
a know-it-all,
a dummy,
insulting and
often rude.

Real life surprises,
laughs heartily,
smiles at children,
tickles the elderly,
makes smores,
has great sex,
and loves intensely.

Real life is full of callouses,
of sore spots,
stubbed toes,
skinned knees,
and scars.

Real life prays
and preys,
hugs and dies.

Real life is full.
Real life is short.
Real life is what's
happening right now
and there's no changing it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Carspective or Bus Appeal

I saw her get out of the passenger side of the car and lean back in toward the driver. I don’t know if she kissed him or just said something. I found myself feeling jealous though. I don’t know who the girl was or what her relationship was with this person behind the wheel. She closed the car door behind her and headed toward the train station as the car took off. All I knew was I wanted someone I loved to always lean back in to say good-bye to me whenever I dropped her off anywhere.

            I then started looking at all the vehicles passing me as I waited for the bus; the couples inside the cars starting their days together. I wondered what kind of conversations they were having, what arguments they might be finishing or what silences might be brewing. I wondered how many of them had a little morning sex or got upset with each other about how they acted at dinner with their parents on Sunday. I wondered who was exhausted because they were the person that stayed up with little Sally after she vomited pasta and hot dogs in her bed at three o’clock.

            The cars kept going by and I started wondering about the single people in the cars. I thought about each crazy individual life taking place in each car. Every single person has their own life and perspective and I found it suddenly chilling. Those individual people, millions of people, just going about their everyday as part of the animal content of the spinning Earth. It made me feel a little queasy to know that so many people were out there just doing their thing. So many cars just moving along the road propelled by some person’s need to get to work or take little Johnny to school or just grab a cup of coffee before heading back home to walk the dog. I felt insignificant.

            I had to sort of pull myself back into a more singular perspective before allowing my mind to go crazy with all the innumerable possibilities of all the people swirling and jogging and rushing around me. There are just so many people. A part of me loves them and another part of me hates them. I love them because I’m so proud to be part of the human race and share in the collective marvels of our evolution. I hate them because a lot of them are dicks. I know quite a few dicks, girls and guys. (Well, one girl in particular).

            As the bus arrived and I fell in with the cattle call of the other people waiting for that ride I took a look out the window and at the rest of the morning people. I felt alone in the crowd, but somehow, happy not to be a part of it. It’s like some queer plausible deniability thing, like, “Yeah, I was there as part of the history of humanity, but I didn’t see anything”.

            The bus moved along until it was forced to make a very hard stop because of a car cutting its way in front from off the expressway. A horn or two blared in the streets as people took foolish risks with their lives and the lives of others. I thought about these lives and I judged them. I judged them because I felt they needed judging, they need to be categorized and labeled so future generations will know what assholes people can be. I suddenly didn’t care about the complexities of some other person’s life. I only cared about mine and the various indignities and hurts I’ve suffered at the hands of others.

            All in all, I made it to work and now I sit, listening to the voices of the lives going on around me. It’s hard enough to manage one’s own life without worrying about the lives of others. It’s worry that gets me. It’s ultimately some form of personal fear. It keeps me closed and I stay protected behind my judgments. I can understand that madness. I can understand life’s loneliness amid the car driving, bus riding, and train taking hordes.

            I can only hope she leans into the passenger side of the car as I drop her off and tells me with her eyes that she understands how crazy I can be and she loves every second of it. I’ll always wink back. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day Dream Kingdom

Elliot looked at his to-do list and cringed. There were just too many tasks for which he felt very little enthusiasm. Call so and so, write that report about so and so, talk to so and so about that so and so who needed a report from so and so. It was so mindless, yet, time consuming. Elliot stood up from his cubicle and scanned the rest of the office.

The other meerkats were working steadily with their heads down, dutifully performing the tasks required to earn a paycheck. Elliot saw his opportunity to sneak off to his dream closet. He was pretty sure no one else knew about the closet on the third floor that whisked you away to a magical world obviously reserved for children. It was a silly place but it beat having to work in a rotten beige walled cubicle for 8 hours.

The dream closet, as Elliot took to calling it, was part of a day-care center that used to be on the third floor of the building Elliot now worked. He’d heard rumors that the day care closed because so many children went missing. He could understand it. What child could resist the magic of Glodknoor Castle and the shimmering diamond waterfall near Breadbasketville? These places were sure marvels of a powerful magic that the human world seemed to have misplaced or callously forgotten.

Elliot wondered as he silently crept down the back stairwell why he seemed to be the only one able to enter and leave the dream closet as he pleased. It wasn’t difficult to leave, all one had to do was remember something special about this world and the closet door would appear. Elliot would just think about his loving, doting girlfriend Claire and the next moment he’d be right back at the door, no matter what quest he was on. It was pretty easy. Plus, he was practically a giant in this pretend world and very little actual harm could come to him. Perhaps the children weren’t as big when they went through.

The door to the old daycare opened with a creak and Elliot stepped into the old classroom, still painted with Disney characters and Tom & Jerry. He did his usual double check to make sure no one had seen him and he closed the daycare door behind him. He felt himself getting excited. Even though he was now 27 years old he still could feel that excitement of going on a great vacation with the family or Christmas morning. He walked to the dream closet and steadied himself. The last time he was there the King of Glodknoor Castle had just entered into a land deal with the Baron of Chocolate Mountain by promising the hand of his daughter Princess Marigold to the Baron’s son, Lord Chesterpop. There was a lot of celebrating going on over the whole kingdom. Elliot did not want to leave that last time he was there; it was like candy Mardis-Gras and New Years all mixed together.

He opened the closet door and stepped through into a green field lush with long stemmed flowers and a gentle wind blowing through the thick trees across the valley. It was such a change from the gloomy winter reality he’d just come from. It was peaceful and calm and no one expected anything from him. In fact, he wasn’t sure how the whole Glodknoor Castle economy worked. He assumed it was like Medieval England, but no one seemed to be an unhappy serf.

Elliot started his trek toward Glodknoor Castle when he saw the thick black billowing clouds casting a long shadow over Crater Valley. It was something he’d never seen before in this day dream kingdom. He started walking a bit faster toward the Castle and he realized the smoke was billowing out from the village and buildings surrounding Glodknoor. There were fires burning all around the village and he could hear the screams of the tiny people that inhabited them.  

A small cohort of heavy armored archers appeared on the top wall of Glodknoor Castle with their bows drawn back, arrows ready to fire at Elliot.

“Whoa”, shouted Elliot, “It’s me, Elliot! What happened here?”

The archers did not respond and continued to hold their weapons on Elliot.

“Where is the king”, asked Elliot.

A small, but deep voice near Elliot’s feet called up to him. A small green man in tattered clothes stared up at Elliot.

“The king is dead”, yelled the small voice, “murdered by his own daughter in her grab for power”.
“Princess Marigold did this”, asked Elliot.

He looked down towards his feet and saw that the little man had run off. Elliot looked back up at the archers along the wall, still ready to fire at him.

“I demand to speak with Princess Marigold”, said Elliot.
“You may address me as Queen Marigold”, said a sweet voice through the now parting sea of archers, “I am now the ruler of Glodknoor Castle and all it surveys”.

The archers lowered their bows and Queen Marigold stepped toward the edge of the parapet. She was wearing the poor’s King’s Crown on her head. She was accompanied by Lord Chesterpop and Elliot started to put it all together.

“So, a coup has occurred I take it”, said Elliot.
“A revolution. And with your help, one that will take us into the next world”, said Queen Marigold.
“The next world? You mean my world?”
“Precisely”, said Queen Marigold.

Elliot started to laugh. This was far better than having to sit through another long boring day at his cubicle, wondering about his bills and paycheck and other silly nonsense.

“You laugh at us”, scolded the new Queen.
“I do. You guys are just so adorable and there’s just no way I’d ever let you into my world”, said Elliot.
“I thought you might say that”, said the Queen.

The Queen motioned toward her new royal guards and they began hoisting a giant chain and the ground near the main castle grounds began to open. Small blue oxen began pulling another pulley as something started to rise from under the ground.

“Elliot”, mumbled Claire, “What’s going on here?”

It was Elliot’s girlfriend Claire bound in a giant wooden chair. These little monsters had somehow captured her and were holding her hostage. The Queen started to laugh. Elliot’s cubicle suddenly didn’t seem so bad. 

Monday, January 28, 2013


I turned and tossed my way through the night. My bed was uncomfortable, or at least, I was uncomfortable in my bed. I was very tired. I’m still very tired. I was fitful and floundering. My restlessness eventually gave into short sleeping jags and the dreams were nightmares and disjointed. I’d wake up more startled and unhappy.

My alarm clock was a ticking bomb bringing me ever closer to the time I really have to get out of bed and start getting ready for work. Each minute was less time to get some good sleep and nearer Monday morning. It was a pendulum of time swinging back and forth over my bed like the Sword of Damocles.

The frustrated noises of an unsettled night echoed in my head as I tried to rest it on my pillow. It seemed I’d forgotten how to sleep. As if my body just plum forgot how to do it. I felt the madness of sleeplessness start to take hold as I rose from my bed. I shuffled to the living room hoping a little bit different perspective might lull my forgetful body into a sleeping mode.

I sat quietly in the dark. I didn’t smoke. I just sat on my couch considering the wildness of the week I had just gone through. There was so much that happened it was no wonder sleeping seemed like a forgotten skill. The building was quiet. Cars splashed in puddles on the streets below. I felt myself drifting in and out of dozy sleep and upright awareness. It didn’t take too long for my mind to calm down and I finally went back to bed.

I woke up an hour later convinced I had slept through Monday. I had to reassure myself that it was still Sunday night and I hadn’t missed Monday. I returned to an uneasy slumber plagued with thoughts of work and women and love and food and booze.  I re-listed my embarrassments and tried not to dwell on my failures. I tried to shake the stock of my silliness from my mind and closed my eyes tight.

If I only forced them shut I might fool my eyes into sleep. I hoped it would be a meaningful sleep and I could finally wake up well rested and ready for the challenges a new Monday might present to me. I continued to lumber through strange dreams and wakefulness and exhausted sleep.

Eventually my alarm clocks started going off pulling me from the edge of sleep I had just seemed to make it to. I had to rise from my uncomfortable bed and start the day. And now being awake and at work, I still feel like this is the dream and I’ll wake up yet again to the drone of my alarm clocks. I am not well rested. I am not well inclined to tackle the problems of the day. I just hope the day speeds along just as quickly as my night did and I’ll be able to return to my bed and get the real sleep I could so sorely use.

Sleepless Sunday nights are a strange cruelty to heave onto a Monday morning. 

Friday, January 25, 2013


A blister on your heel from a new pair of shoes can be pretty annoying. A blister on your hands from using a shovel or tool is terribly irritating. A memory blister is the most painful of all. Every time you think it’s gone  something antagonizes it and there it is all throbbing and stinging again. It’s a pain you want to forget but can’t help but want to remember.

I’ve had various kinds of memory blisters through my life. Actually I’m surprised that I’m not a giant bipedal blister tromping through the city streets, tearing through train over passes and power lines, tossing buses through buildings until the Air Force is called to take me down. I am lucky that hasn’t happened.

It doesn’t take much to get a memory blister to re-appear. It could be a song on the radio, the way someone smells, the sound of a person’s voice, or a late night phone call. The funny thing about these memory blisters is not the outright pain, but how much you miss that pain when it’s gone. It’s almost like a piece of who you are is actually missing and you wouldn’t mind finding it again. You would almost sigh with relief at the familiar old pain.

I’ve no malice toward the cause of the memory blister(s). They are the result of caring and wanting and needing and thinking and praying and they cannot be helped. Every single person you know, unless they are a complete sociopath, is riddled with memory blisters and it’s impossible to know what will cause it to flare up. All it takes is something rubbing that sore spot a little too much until it becomes painful to the touch, to think about, to actualize.

Just like physical blisters, the memory blister does calm down and eventually can become calloused and hard and no amount of irritation will make it flare up again. That’s when we really start to marvel at it. We think about how that act, smell, thought, voice, really used to get to us, but now, it’s power had faded and for some of us it’s like attending a funeral of an estranged friend.

The body heals, the mind sort of heals. I say sort of because it doesn’t really, it just chooses to make a different neurological connection instead of the old familiar pathways near the memory blister. These new pathways are all set to create new memory blisters to cloud reason, good judgment and emotional steadiness.

That blister though seems to hold a slightly masochistic thrill for some of us though. We need that irritation in the memory to remind us that it wasn’t always a blister. It was once a very soft spot and a place we enjoyed going to and it’s missed. It’s missed more than anyone can every really know or be able to explain in a few short sentences on a snowy Friday morning. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Salt King

When the fall of the world as we know it occurs, not due to the Mayan apocalypse obviously, money will be worthless. The only currency that will carry any real weight is salt. It’s something I was thinking about on my way into work this morning as my train passed the Morton Salt mill/refinery/whathaveyou. After the eventual fall of mankind due to war, terror, plagues, disease or whatever hell could occur, the person that controls the salt will control the destiny of the living.

I decided that if there is an eventual fall of humanity in my lifetime I will do what I can to get to that Morton Salt factory and take control of it so I can be the Salt King over the empire of dirt. I’m not exactly sure how that would be accomplished, mostly I’m betting on the fact that the world will not de-evolve into war-torn madness. But if it does come, I want to be on the top of the pecking order.

Salt, as you likely know being the well educated person that you are; is one of the world’s most precious commodities. In fact, there was a time in history that salt was worth more than gold or other rare jewels.  It was the maker of kingdoms and was central to early trading. Not too shabby for a mineral.

People need salt. It is essential for animal life. Not only as a mineral for daily living but as a preservative and I want to be the God King of as much of it as possible. So when the end comes I will make a play for the stores of salt at the Morton factory. I know it sort of sounds like the plot from Dune, but I assure you, there are no spice worms to ride.
(Major nerd alert right there)

In my quest for power I will need a loyal and competent army as I will likely not be the only person making a power play for the salt reserves. I’m sure there will be other vicious elements that will want the privilege of power the salt will provide. So I suppose that’s why I am writing about this now, to let my loyal readers know who to turn to when brimstone starts falling from the sky. Do right by me and defend my divine right to the salt and I shall see that you are lavishly rewarded.

We will be in a better position to broker deals with the Water War Lords if we take the salt reserves. With that established ally no other force will be able to wrestle us from the luxuries the salt could provide. Imagine it all, a kingdom built on the backs of the saltless for me, I mean us, to control. We could do whatever we wanted and then, just to be total dicks, we could veil our dominance in a sort of Democracy. We could give people choices that don’t actually effect the true operation of my new, I mean our New World Order.

I suppose it would be a fleeting power and kingdom though. I’m not sure how much salt is actually there or how high the demand might be. I mean, just because it’s a necessity doesn’t mean people will battle in the Arena of A Thousand Deaths for it. We’ll just have to see how it goes. As a note I will not be changing my name to The Humongous of the Wastelands. For now. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


You and I look at
the same sky.

A balloon that got

With stars in the way
you and I stared the

A balloon that got
away, filled with
the precious moments
of the past.

A love that never
passed away.

No eulogy, no prose
or poetry for.

The balloon that got

It'll wait for another

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Message

Conrad banged his head on the long oak library desk. He’d been in the large Vatican library since seven o’clock in the morning trying to decipher ancient Greek/Latin letters written on a clay tablet allegedly from St. Aristides of Athens. One of the many sancti obscuri that the Church seemed to have forgotten about. It was believed he was of the earliest Theologians that tried to compare the belief structures of the early Christians with the other religions around 134 A.D.

There was very little known about St. Aristides of Athens and that’s why Conrad was so frustrated. This tablet he was studying was a mishmash of languages and forgotten gods of antiquity and each god seemed to have the powers of heaven and hell at their fingertips, or tentacles, or whatever body part they had. It was very frustrating to see the traits of Jesus and the Catholic God represented by so many of the ancient world’s gods.

It came as a hard stop shock to Conrad that so much of what he believed about Christianity and his chosen faith seemed to be borrowed so heavily from the religions that existed far before Jesus ever placed a worn out sandal on the soils of the Holy Land. He always knew that some of the stories of Jesus and the New Testament were slightly altered version of Egyptian Osiris lore and other more recent cultures, but the stuff collected by St. Aristides was a marvel.

The message of all these ancient gods did seem the same though. Conrad was relieved at that. All these gods, for the most part, preached love and tolerance and fairness. It seemed this was a message that all cultures everywhere were trying to achieve. That gave Conrad hope and the faith that perhaps all these gods were actually the one true God trying to get an early message out but wasn’t able to convey it property to the savage and underdeveloped early people of the world.

Which then created a seed of slight doubt in Conrad; how could an all powerful God not be able to reach the beings he had created? Or make them understand the true nature of Earth and the Kingdom of Heaven? Conrad rubbed his eyes again and looked up at the large clock facing him. It was nearing six o’clock in the evening. Conrad felt his stomach growl and he realized that he hadn’t eaten his lunch. He stood from the long table and stretched and cracked his back. The seats in the library weren’t all that comfortable and he felt as if his leg was asleep. He rubbed his thigh and shook his right foot about trying to get the feeling back. He hated that pins and needles feeling.

“Ahem”, sounded a gravelly voice.

Conrad looked up from his leg to see Father Batista looking sternly at him.

“Oh, Father, excuse me. It’s just that I’ve been sitting so long that… I’m just a little stiff”, said Conrad.
“What is it you’re working on”, asked Father Batista.
“Just a little translating from St. Aristides of Athens Father”, said Conrad.

Father Batista looked over the books spread on the library table and the notes Conrad had been scribbling for the last few hours.

“Rather heavy stuff wouldn’t you say”, said Father Batista.
“Very interesting, certainly”, said Conrad.

Conrad watched Father Batista hover over the table. He couldn’t tell if he was genuinely curious or was spying.

“Is there something I can do for you Father”, asked Conrad.
“No. No. I just happened to see you dancing around the table like St. Vitus and I wanted to make sure you hadn’t become possessed by the Devil”, said Father Batista.

Conrad chuckled a little as Father Batista smiled at him wryly.

“Yes, Father, I’m fine. No Devil in my blood”, said Conrad.

Father Batista closed the large tome Conrad had been scanning for the last several hours. It made a loud thud that echoed through the empty library.

“Would you like to join me for dinner Brother Conrad? We have much to discuss”, said Father Batista.

Conrad felt a chill run through his spine. The light seemed to drain from overhead as the sun began to set outside, long shadows started to appear on the walls of the library and Conrad could swear he could hear cement cracking.

“I appreciate the offer, but I really must get back to my work”, said Conrad.
“How unfortunate. There really is so much I wish to talk to you about”, hissed Father Batista.
“Really Father, I appreciate the offer…”, said Conrad.

Conrad froze with fear. Father Batista’s eyes started to bleed and a fire blazed forward.

“I insist”, growled Father Batista.

The light in the library was doused, swallowed by the sounds of hell.

Monday, January 21, 2013

MLK Jr. & Inauguration Day

Today marks the Ceremonial beginning of President Obama’s second term as the U.S. President. It also commemorates the life of civil rights leader The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I find it incredibly fitting that the U.S.’s first African American President is ceremonially sworn into a second term on such a day. It makes me feel proud that we’ve come so far as a nation.

There’s still an immense amount of work that will need to be done, there will always be work for a nation so diverse and independently driven as The United States. The work that needs to be done will take a little belt tightening from everyone, but we’re American’s and can do anything we put our collective minds to. The price of our freedom is vigilance and sometimes a little sacrifice and as always, a lot of hard work.

It isn’t easy being a nation of immigrants and individuals with such wide and varied backgrounds. It takes a lot of hard work to remember that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but you can always try and do what is right for the people. Right is doing those things that common sense dictates will be the most helpful to these varied citizens and immigrants without infringing on all our basic rights as constructed by the framers of our liberties.

It is a testimony to our national thoughtfulness and ever evolving society that an African American man can be re-elected to a second term as the most powerful man in the world. It shows that as Americans, we can do something that is hard, but do it for the right reasons.

Dr. King had a dream just as all Americans have a dream. There was a time in this country where those two dreams seemed as far apart as the Earth and the Sun but through time and a desire to strengthen the fabric of our nation we worked at making those two dreams a collective dream, the fully realized American Dream. Our nation, while wounded with war abroad, violence at home and economic troubles, still dreams the same.

I still believe in that American Dream. I believe in it because we have a Martin Luther King Jr. Day and we have an African American President. I know that American’s can sometimes seem cemented with piety and Victorian sensibilities, we can seem arrogant and stubborn, but we are always looking forward. We all want the same dream and I know we are all capable of achieving it because of what we have done so far.

I have faith in the people, I have faith that with some perseverance and fortitude American’s will come out on top and be the shining beacon of liberty, justice and the symbol of hope we know it can be. We must do the hard work; the hard work that Dr. King did to bring the plight of the African American people to the forefront of our consciousness. The hard work that will go into the gun control issue, same sex marriage, affordable education for all Americans, affordable healthcare and equal justice for all.

There is work that must be done. No one ever said, “You’re an American now, so take it easy. You don’t have to continue to be the best you can be”. Some people may have thought it, but it just isn’t true. It takes a strong will, a sympathetic heart, an educated mind and the willingness to do what is hard. It’s what made America the powerhouse it is. It’s what put men on the moon, it’s what opened the West to settlement; it’s what created the technologies the rest of the world now uses. It was our dogged determination that made us what we are today and what will propel us into the future.

In honor of that Dream, that spirit American’s carry and want to carry always in their hearts I must let someone far wiser and far greater than me wrap this patriotic piece up.

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew”. - Abraham Lincoln

Friday, January 18, 2013


The worn out road before
us as carved by those
that came before.

It’s cut though ice, snow
and fields of tall grass, over
sand and dirt and salt.

It’s cut through experience
and metal, through ages and
stone. It’s a memory of
what was and a line to
the future.

It’s awake and aware and
ready for your footfalls
to add to it’s uniqueness,
to see the roses bloom along
the way and feel the
wind in your hair.

Each path is a departure
point from the last step of
the first step of the rest of
your steps until your last

Mine is a dusty trail with
wagon wheel ruts and the
footprints of hundreds marked
into its surface, all headed
toward mediocrity and
mere survival.

My path is tired of my
lonely shoes trodden upon its
dirty face. It tells me to find
accompaniment to stroll its
dusty way.

A hand held tightly as feet
move forward makes the
going all the greater.   

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Long Ride

The sun was shining right in my face as the blue line train sped toward Downtown.  I squinted against the glare off the train car window and tried to look past it, out toward the houses and buildings blurring by. I was comfortable in my seat. There were very few riders on the train car and I didn’t feel like the whole body of humanity was shoving their back-pack into my spleen. It was very quiet on the train.

This was the only odd part about it really; the impressive silence of the people on the train. Usually there’s at least one joker with their earphones in but playing their music so loud that every other person on the train can hear how much they enjoy STYX or whatever the kids are listening to these days. There weren’t even any loud talkers on their cell phones or people having very personal conversations about how much they enjoy their partner’s bloody menses.

The train chugged along, slowing down occasionally for some of the CTA crews performing their various and meaningless painting or standing around activities. I let my eyes scan each platform as the train slowly pulled into the stations. I was, of course, looking for the prettiest girl and hoped in my foolish heart that maybe she’d get on the train and sit next to me and we’d bumble our way into introductions and fall in love.

I think I’ve been that way for my entire life. I remember in grammar school, wishing so badly that the prettiest girl would sit next to me in church or on the school bus for a field trip or we’d be partnered for some thing. I remember idling hours spent daydreaming about the what if’s of the pretty girl and I. So even now in my late thirties I’m still hoping the prettiest girl on the train will sit next to me.

I did really look at their faces and their shapes. I did see some very impressive young women, but none of them got on my train car, or ever sat near me. I was left with the feeling of being alone in a crowd. I was just part of the giant machinery of the daily grind with no ultimate purpose or real destination. Sure I was going to work, to add to the collective worth of the world as a contributor of… whatever it is that I do.

The train ride is long now as I work much further than I used to. It’s almost a 40 minute ride and there’s just too much time to think about things. I couldn't find a newspaper to read as all the newspaper boxes near my home and the train station were empty. I won’t take my cell phone out on public transportation as a safety concern. So I have to sit, hands folded in my lap with an aloof or vacant countenance. I don’t want to look too interested or too disconnected. It’s a fine line of emotional masquerading while riding public transportation.

The wheels and gears of my mind start turning and I am overwhelmed with too many thoughts, “What do I write about? I wonder how that girl I’m so still sweet on is doing today? I wonder if I’ll ever pay those bills? Will I ever get off my ass? That’s some very interesting graffiti. I wonder how they can get away with that? Ooh, she’s pretty. I bet she has like four cats though. How much money do I have? Did Einstein ever ride the train and consider the possibilities of the train moving faster than the speed of light? I wonder what I’ll have for lunch today. I’m hungry. I can’t believe how fast my shoes wore out. I hope work is easy today. It’s always easy”.

Eventually my train stop is announced and I have to prepare myself to return to the cold outside world. I continue to wonder about the world around me and my place in it as I adjust my scarf and put on my gloves. This was a very long train ride.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I’m Not Joking

It’s serious.
She’s still on my mind
and I wonder about her

I shouldn’t though,
she wouldn’t want me to.
In fact, she’d hate that I
wonder as much as I do.

It’s my lot in life though.
I hate her beauty only because
I want it for myself. I don’t
want to share.

I want her laughter for me
and no one else. I want her
tears and frustration and
the little fists of aggravation
pounding against my chest.

I greedily wander through
the ruins of my memories
clutching so hard to the photos
of the moments and the smiles
and the jokes.

It’s a phantom limb of a
relationship and sometimes
I can still feel it tingling but I’m
the only one who senses it.

So I cower away in the dark
spots of the night, imbibing like
the world is going to end and I’ll
never know love again.

I moan, again and again
only to find myself in front of this
blinking screen trying to explain to
myself why I’m telling you this.

You hardly care. If this was in a store,
you wouldn’t buy it. 
I’m serious. 
I’m not

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stop Kicking My Chair

I can’t seem to come up with anything I like today. This article has gone through at least 8 different revisions, from complete erasure to a poem, to a story, erased again, to poem, to story, to embarrassing memory about a girl, to deletion, to closure, to work getting in the way of writing something, to deletion. Nothing really seems to be sticking to the page today.  Like a Wacky Wall Crawler from a box of cereal.

I could go on about my usual stuff. The lonely guy blah, blah, blahs, but I’m just as bored with it as you are. I could write about some monster living in the cubicle next to yours, “The Monster in the Cubicle Next Door”, would be the title and the monster at the end of the story would be you. OoooOOooooHhh, a twist. Take that M. Knight Shamalalamamlama.

I’m sincerely just looking forward to getting some lunch at this point. Although I don’t much relish the thought of going outside in the cold. I hate the damn cold. I just don’t like anything about it. Well, except cuddling with a beautiful woman that cares about me by a nice warm fire place. That’s something I can get into, that and I do like to play with fire. (In a safe way of course, I’m no pyromaniac or anything.) The fires of beautiful women I suppose. In that regard I’m a full on masochist who always seems to get burned.

The title of this piece has put the They Might Be Giants song; Someone keeps moving my Chair, in my head. I always liked that song. It always made me think that sometimes the biggest problems in life aren’t all that important when compared to the smallest problems. “World hunger is a terrible issue but if I get one more paper cut there will be a freaking war”. I’m not sure that was the motive of the song, but it’s what it made me think of.

So I just erased a whole part of this rambling post. It wasn’t going anywhere. Even this far into it I still can’t decide what I’m writing about. The title was born out of a poem I started and erased about the annoyances we have to endure daily. I’ll give you an excerpt:

Quit it.
I mean it.
It’s very annoying.
Is there lead in your shoes?
Stop it.
This time I’m serious.
One more time and…
That’s it.
I’m telling you if you don’t…

Then I thought, “damn, that’s terrible”. I had no idea where it was going or why I was writing it. So I stopped it. I think that might be something to consider for this wandering mumbling meandering piece for a Tuesday. Some good advice from the old brain box.
Besides, it’s time to get some lunch.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Distance Yet Found

Jed climbed further up the steep hillside and looked skyward. The sheer and crumbling face of the mountain ahead seemed to stretch upwards to heaven and perhaps beyond. He couldn’t comprehend the distance he had yet to go. No man alive had ever attempted this climb and even though Jed was an experienced mountaineer and explorer, he was feeling nervous. He’d been climbing mountains and hills since he was a young man, now he was feeling his age in his knees and hands and the climb seemed harder than it ever had in the past. He stretched his back and continued his solitary assault on the mountain.

“It’ll be fine once I get off this rocky and unstable ledge of rubble”, Jed said to the wind.

He paused to adjust his pack and getter a better handle on his walking poles. He took a deep breath through his nose. He had a strange feeling in his chest and for the first time in his long climbing life he turned and looked back at the small Tibetan village in the valley down below. There were flowers that bloomed in this early spring and their sweet odor filled the winds of the valley. He never used to look behind himself as he climbed, but today, these blooming flowers reminded him of how his wife once smelled.

“Concentrate Jed”, he said, “this is no time to get sentimental”.

The scented wind rushed about his face and those blooming flowers seemed to beg for his attention. He shook his head as if he was avoiding a gnat or other small bug. He pressed forward, trying to focus on just putting one foot in front of the other and imagining his actual vertical climb. He’d planned the route so carefully over the last few weeks, but since no one had climbed this mountain before or at least lived to tell the tale. He was slightly unsure his route would be successful. He knew he had to try though. Genevieve would want him to continue.

Jed stopped walking. Genevieve had perished on her own mountain trek while guiding some very inexperienced hikers down what should have been an easy trail. Her heart just gave out and she fell into a chasm. She wasn’t found. The wind whistled in the otherwise silent landscape still fresh with moonflower odor. Jed looked at his path and gauged how close to the actual mountain face he was. He only had a few more miles to go before starting his climb. He wished his beloved was with him.

Jed and Genevieve had a ritual before his climbs. She’d tell him it was too dangerous but then egg him on to do it anyway. She was his greatest motivator. He missed her so.

The mountain face came into view and Jed scanned its enormity. It seemed bigger in front of his face than any other mountain he’d ever seen. He decided he’d make camp and continue his climb in the morning when the sun would be on his shoulders.

As he set up his tent and packed his gear away his thoughts lingered on Genevieve and the blossoming flowers in the valley below. He knew there was no going back. All that was left was the climb up. His last climb up into the unknown. He felt excitement in his gut and a giddy smile seemed etched on his weathered face.  

"See you at the top my love", he said to the scented wind. 

The wind bushed gently across his face as day slowly fell into night. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

I Want You to Know

“So I really like you and I think that when you’re next to me the world is just a better place. No I don’t much care for your strange sense of humor or your over sexualized interpretation of the most modest of things but there is certainly something about you I can’t get out of my head”, said Sam.
“Um, that’s nice”, said Candy.

The music kept playing and the lights flashed hot neon sex over the velvety room.

“I mean, the way you act is questionable, but it’s not something I should judge. Hell, I’m half sober right now”, said Sam.
“Half sober”, questioned Candy.
“Yeah. I’m an optimist. So I wouldn’t say that I’m half drunk”, said Sam.

The song slowly came to an end and the announcer at the strip club noted that Rebecca was coming to the stage and the patrons should really give it up for Rebecca.

“You want another dance honey”, asked Candy.
“Yes”, said Sam.

He reached into his back pocket and grabbed his wallet. He pulled out a hundred dollar bill and held it out to Candy.

“I really like you and I don’t want you to go”, said Sam.

Candy took the hundred dollar bill and pressed her breasts against Sam’s chest.

“You keep this up and I won’t go anywhere sweetie”, purred Candy.

Sam smiled and leaned back in his chair as Candy straddled his legs and started rolling her pelvis back and forth in time to the music.

“It’s just that I’ve been alone along time and you’ve really shown me that I’m an attractive man. I’m not terribly great or anything. I just have a lot of love to give. I’d like to give it to you if I could. But I know that’s just silly. You’re a young woman with your whole life ahead of you and I’m just an old man who’s set in his silly ways. I’m not one to change at this point and from what I can tell, you aren’t much for changing either”, said Sam.
“You got it honey. I’m my own woman”, said Candy.

She turned over on Sam’s lap and started rubbing her butt against his groin. Sam smiled but wasn’t actually aroused.

“I’m trying to tell you that I’ve made some serious mistakes in my life and I’ve learned from them and every day I feel bad about the things I said to you and how I behaved. I wish I had been a smarter man.  A stronger man”, said Sam.
“What”, asked Candy.

Sam adjusted himself as Candy flipped her hair back and spread her legs in front of him.

“I said I’m a foolish old man with too much love to give. You hurt me so. Every time I see you it’s painful. But I want to see you all the more. I want to see you smile and hear you laugh. I want to see you on Sunday mornings for breakfast and coffee. It’s completely crazy and I have no business being interested in you, but I am. I care so deeply”, said Sam.
“This song is over sweetie. Do you want me to dance more”, asked Candy.

Sam sighed and looked at his drink. He shook the ice in the glass as Candy waved at a group of businessmen still wearing their ties and suit coats.

“No honey. You can go. I’ll miss you terribly though. But you can go. Do what you need to do and I’ll be here when you get back”, said Sam.

Candy fixed her hot pants and adjusted her sheer bra. She leaned in toward Sam’s ear and whispered.

“I know about you”, she kissed him on the head, “You know, that I know, that you know, that I’m not looking for you”, said Candy.

Sam nodded and looked at his thumbs. Candy drifted toward the table of businessmen and flipped her short hair back.

“So, who wants to do me?”, she flirted.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013


The party spun out of
control. The music thummed
and rattled wildly overhead
as drinks spilled and girls
squealed with flirtatious laughter.

The twinkling white Christmas tree
lights strewn around the crown molding
were off center and dangling perilously
close to the gyrating bodies of the

A light hazy smoke filled the
party air as couples and friends
embraced each other in their
shared hedonism.

The music and the partier’s voices
mingled like jambalaya, bodies pressed
in on bodies, hands held waists,
arms locked together as lips met.

 The windows were wet with
condensation, the neighbors were
furious with condescension. It was
a single dancing and drinking
moment never to be repeated by anyone. 

A bra flew across the room. A great cheer
arose. Empty bottles fell off a table to the
floor, the music kept going, the crowd
had lost all perception of responsibility.

They had become the music. They had
become the essence of life, of bone
marrow, of blood and raw humanity, of
the ancient tribal tradition reeling around
a fire.

They would emerge forever changed,
every future moment to be judged
against this moment.  Maybe it’s time
for a slow song. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


So writing is like the sea. Each phrase, word or sentence rolls up from this deep and wide ocean and crashes against the rocky coast line of the page. Before the wave of words rolls back out to sea again a few structures manage to cling to the beach, and over time a masterwork is completed. Never mind those monkey's and their typewriters. They haven't a clue the effort that goes into these articles each day (except weekends and holidays).

I'm essentially a pirate, stealing what word booty I can and hoping that the next coast line is as hospitable as the last. I pray that the winds favor me and that I don't run afoul of the reefs or vampire mermaids. It's not easy to write these everyday you know. I spend a great deal of time fretting over what my loyal readers will digest in their brains. Do I give them a story about love lost, a guy riding the train, a woman and her missing sock, a time capsule filled with disease? I really have to think about it.

I wonder if Rod Serling felt this way as he cranked out Twilight Zone after Twilight Zone episode. I wonder if he looked out at the morning sun and thought, "Jeeze, what am I going to come up with next to feed these entertainment brain slugs? Ah, brain Slugs! Rod, you're a genius". Actually I bet it did go something like that.

I'm just venting my frustration at my own inadequacies regarding these daily pieces I produce. I like them. I think most of the stories are pretty decent. I get a little feedback from friends and that's nice and sincerely appreciated, but I don't get much critical review. I'm not sure how to get better. I'm still floundering on the beach, gasping for water in the deathly air.

I know I'm no Hemingway or Bukowski. I'm not even a Kerouac. (But I think every literate guy wishes he was). I know I'd love to be. I don't know, perhaps my stories are missing some gritty reality, some real spark of honesty. Although I think, as my own worst editor, that my stories are pretty realistic. Well, except for the the really crazy ones like that Nonsense Island story. I try to write pretty true to real life. I try to capture what people might be thinking at any given moment. I do this with the understanding that most people on the street are incredibly insane. Event the normals are completely nuts.

So I wade through the water as it splashes up on the beach and I use my word detector to mash something together that I hope someone will think is shiny and attractive. Maybe it'll help me get laid, maybe it'll just take up shelf space in the garage of my ramshackle beach hut, who knows. Arrrgggh.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Complex Plan

The lights flickered in the warehouse. A heavy rainstorm dumped buckets on the city. Lightening flashed and thunder rattled the thin windows over the table where Johnny Snakes and his gang of criminals now planned their next caper.

“Okay, here’s how this is gonna go down”, said Johnny Snakes.
“You got it boss”, said Smacksy.

Johnny Snakes scanned the faces of his criminal crew; there was Smacksy of course, his loyal and long time crime partner. He was as bright as a post but would do anything for Johnny. Then there was Fingernail Frankie, a real tough guy and sort of a psycho but was really great with taking care of his mother, Mustache Ripper Mike, who never swore but would tear a guys face off for breathing wrong, Eviscerating Eddy got his name after medical school turned out to be harder than he thought, Charlie Chomps and his gold teeth, Stevie B. Goode who once killed a guy with a guitar, and Terry No Nickname.

The gang moved in closer around the blueprint rolled out on the table in front of Johnny Snakes. He pointed to the front entrance of the bank.

“This is where we are going in”, said Johnny.
“The front doors? Are you nuts”, asked Fingernail Frankie.

Johnny looked at him with his deadly viper eyes and Frankie quieted down.

“Yes, the front doors”, continued Johnny. “There’s no guard at the front entrance so we’ll practically be able to wander in without fuss. After we get in, Frankie, you get in line at the far left hand teller while Mike and Eddie get in the other two lines. I’ll make my way toward the bank manager’s office and post myself there. At exactly One O’clock the manager will come back from his lunch and that’s when I’ll grab him and move him into his office. By that time Frankie, Eddie and Mike should be at the teller windows. All three of you will pass a note to the tellers telling them that the bank manager is in life threatening danger… no, mortal danger, and if they don’t empty the drawers and put the money in a bag in the next 5 seconds, we’ll kill him”.
“So good so far”, said Charlie, “What are me, Stevie, Terry and Smacksy doing?”

The lights flickered above this crew casting ominous shadows across their malicious faces.

“That’s the beauty part. Once we’ve got the back manager and the tellers in our control, I’m going to open this laptop and it’ll be set up with a web cam so the manager can see that Charlie, Stevie, Terry and Smacksy are holding his family hostage”, said Johnny.

Smacksy smiled his big dumb smile, “That’s brilliant boss”.
“Of course it is”, said Johnny.

“So you know where his family will be”, asked Eddie.
“Hell no. How am I supposed to know that”, said Johnny. “What Smacksy and the others will do is grab some poor broad off the street, through a hood over her head and pretend that it’s the bank manager’s wife on camera. See, so there’s no actual kidnapping.”
“Unless you count the broad off the street. She’s getting kidnapped right”, said Mike.
“Well, yeah, but she’s just a pawn. We can dump her right back out once we get the manager to open the vault”, said Johnny.

The criminal group nodded in unison, except for Smacksy, who was still trying to understand.

“So, after the manager sees his poor wife all bound up he’ll have no choice to give us everything we want. The tellers will have no choice because they don’t want the manager to get hurt, so it’s a perfect circle”, said Johnny.
“How are we getting out”, asked Eddie.

Johnny cleared his throat, which sounded more like a growl than an actual tickle in his throat.

“I was getting to that. After we get the vault money and the teller drawer money Terry will strap an explosive to the manager’s fake wife and tell him that if he calls the cops or hits any kind of alarm, we’ll blow his wife up and then we walk out the way we came in”, said Johnny.

“Do you know for sure the manager is married”, asked Terry No Nickname.
“What”, asked Johnny.
“I mean, do you know for a fact that the manager is a married guy? Or even if he loves his wife? What if his wife is a total bitch and he hates her and he would be like, ‘hey go ahead and blow my wife up, she’s a bitch’”, asked Terry.

Johnny took his gun out of his shoulder holster and put in on the table in front of Terry No Nickname. The rest of the violent crew scooted back like characters in a saloon scene from an old Western movie.

“Are you really questioning me”, asked Johnny.
“I mean, I gotta ask man. I can’t get pinched again. It’s my third strike. It’s life for me if I get pinched”, said Terry.
“Don’t you think I would have researched this a little bit”, said Johnny.
“Well, of course boss, but I mean…”, said Terry.
“You mean what”, yelled Johnny.
“… I mean, after that thing with the toaster ovens last month in Paris, I’m a little shaky on your planning”, said Terry.

Johnny picked his gun up off the table and pointed it at Terry. Terry stumbled back with his hands up.

“How dare you bring that up”, said Johnny.
“I’m just saying boss. I…I… just think we need to be careful”, stammered Terry.

Johnny cocked the hammer on his gun and Terry started to sweat.

“C’mon boss, don’t do this. It’s a great plan. A great plan”, said Smacksy.

Johnny looked at Smacksy’s big dumb face.

“You’re right. It is a great plan. But I’m afraid Terry is right. We need to do a little more recon before jumping into this. We wouldn’t want a repeat of Paris. Right Terry”, said Johnny as he un-cocked his gun and smiled at Terry.

Terry sighed and started to put his hands down. The crew started back toward the table. Eddie lit a cigarette. Mike checked his watch. Thunder rattled over the warehouse. Smacksy pulled a chair closer in and sat down. Johnny shouldered his weapon and leaned in over the blueprints.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Just Need a Mustache

Caleb wanted to go to Hawaii. There was a strange Magnum P. I., lifestyle desire building up in him. He felt that he could totally be an island detective. All he needed was to make friends with a guy that had a helicopter and another friend with a bar who may or may not have shady connections with the Hawaiian underworld. Also he needed an older British man to take care of all his financial needs. Then he could be comfortable in Hawaii. Caleb touched his upper lip. He would clearly need to grow a mustache as well.

“Are you paying attention”, asked Caleb’s teacher.
“Huh”, said Caleb.
“I asked you who the 35th President of the United States was”, said the teacher, Mr. Roark.

Caleb looked away from the window and at the 7th grade class. Everyone was staring at him. He’d done it again. He’d completely drifted off into a crime fighting daydream and blocked out the real world. 

“Um”, stammered Caleb.
“Come on Caleb, we just talked about this”, said Mr. Roark.
“Kennedy”, cautiously replied Caleb.
“Yes. Thank you”, said Mr. Roark.

The class looked away from Caleb and back toward the front of the room. Caleb exhaled with relief. It was a wild guess. Kennedy was just his favorite president so he just blurted it out. It could have been Mickey Mouse for all he knew. Mr. Roark continued with his history lecture and was talking about where he was the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Caleb remembered that it was in 1963 when that happened and he didn’t think Mr. Roark would have been old enough to have experienced the trauma. Caleb thought that he would indeed make a great detective.

Caleb looked over to his right and at Mary Shaw. He was completely in love with her. She was always involved in his day dreams. He imagined the two of them together in Hawaii, living on the beach, solving mysteries together, maybe kissing a little like they do on TV. She was so pretty. There was something about her that made Caleb feel very funny inside. But funny in a good Hide & Seek sort of way, like when you found the perfect hiding spot and no one found you. There was something exhilarating about it.

Mr. Roark directed everyone to take out their textbooks and take the in book quiz on page 27. Caleb hadn’t been paying attention at all so he knew this pop quiz wouldn’t go well. He’d try but was pretty sure his day dreaming would get him into trouble again. It would be the fourth quiz he’d failed in a row, which meant a letter home to mom and dad from Mr. Roark.

He took out his paper and pen and read the first quiz question, still thinking about what it would be like to hold Mary Shaw’s hand. His eyes drifted down to the first quiz question:

  1. This President was responsible for the creation of the Peace Corps.

“Rats”, muttered Caleb. He wished he had paid attention to Mr. Roark. 

Friday, January 4, 2013


"I don't like the cold. I don't like the shivering and the chattering teeth. I can't stand cold legs as I walk. I don't like the freezing wind blowing through my coat. I don't like the nipping at my ears or the ice on my nose. It's cold. I hate the cold", said Jerry.

Carl looked up from his microscope and stared at Jerry.

"Shut up man. You say the same thing every day. It's cold. It's always cold", said Carl.

Jerry looked at the walls of the flimsy shed and wiped the lingering snot from his cold nose.

"I don't want to be an Arctic research scientist anymore", said Jerry.
"Well, too bad. Here we are and you have to deal with it. I'm not Mr. Wizard you know", said Carl.
"I think the toilet froze over again", said Jerry.

Silence settled in between the two men standing over a deep core snow sample. A computer hummed in the corner, a little frost had formed over the edges of the screen.

"It's been two years and we haven't found anything", said Jerry,
"Science takes time", said Carl.
"I think I hate science", said Jerry.

Carl put his head back down and peered into the microscope and he inspected the crystalline structure of the ancient snowflakes that fell to Earth thousands of years prior and felt a sense of awe. He felt invigorated by the complexity of this natural phenomenon and felt that humans were very small. Then Jerry farted.

"Can we stop eating so many beans", asked Jerry.

Carl tried to ignore this flatulent interruption but an odor that reeked of methane wafted toward him.

"Good God, man. I think you definitely should stop eating beans you sicko", said Carl.
"I'm sorry but there isn't anything but beans to eat", said Jerry.

Carl waved his hand in the cold air trying to move the monster that Jerry's digestive tract had created.

"I think that fart had a face", said Jerry.
"You make me sick", said Carl.

Jerry chuckled and farted again. It was at that moment Carl decided that he would kill Jerry and lose his body in the deep arctic snow.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Welcome Home

The train rocked back and forth slightly as it roared toward Chicago. Samantha was happy be returning home after such a long trip abroad. She’d done so much in her travels that she couldn’t possibly expect this city to comprehend it all. How could Chicago compare to the great cities of the world and all the things she’d done? She did sky diving in Mexico and zip lining in Costa Rica. She skied in Switzerland and saw the Pyramids in Egypt. She’d ridden a camel and then an elephant in India. She even got a small tattoo in Amsterdam. She drank wine under the Eiffel Tower in Paris and sun bathed along the Rivera.

Samantha felt very proud of herself for doing more in two years than her mother had done in her entire life. Her mother got married to the man she dated since she was 19 years old and seemed incapable of being without him. Samantha had raised the bar and expanded her mind to heights she never thought possible and was practically wallowing in self love. Her blog site was filled with pictures of her adventures and of all the new friends she made all over the world. She couldn’t wait to start downloading the remaining 1200 pictures she took to her laptop so she could share those with her family and friends. She smiled to herself as the train moved closer to the city of her birth.

She was looking vaguely at the other passengers on the train when she heard a familiar sound. It was a cough; a very familiar cough. She turned to look behind her and gasped. She quickly turned forward in her seat. It was Brian. God Damn Brian Kapple. It was her ex-boyfriend of three years ago on the same damn train after so much time. What the hell were the odds?

“Sam”, questioned a nearby voice.

Samantha looked up. She’d long ago given up the childish moniker ‘Sam’ and preferred Samantha now.

“Yes”, she asked as she looked up into Brian’s face.
“It’s me. It’s Brian. How the heck are you”, he asked enthusiastically as he swayed back and forth over Samantha’s seat.
“Brian! Oh, wow! What are you doing here”, asked Samantha.
“I’m just headed into work. My wife and I live in the suburbs now so this is the best way for me to take. But what are you doing? What’s with the luggage?”

Samantha cringed inside. She was suddenly right back at that night, three years ago when she asked Brian what his plans were about their relationship. They’d been dating for six years and she didn’t know where it was going. He told her he just wasn’t ready to get married, but loved her. She broke it off that night and started planning a life better than the one her mother had as a simple woman married to an emotionless robot of a man. She’d show them all.

“I’m just getting back from traveling. I got back from South America yesterday and I’ve been making my way back here to Chicago. I’ve been all over the world”, said Samantha.
“That’s great. That’s really great. I’m happy for you. I always thought you should travel’, said Brian.
“Yeah. It was pretty great”, said Samantha.

Brian looked at her. His eyes were a beautiful smoky blue and Samantha suddenly found herself wishing he would scoop her up from her seat and kiss her like he did that New Years Eve after Carrie’s party. They kissed in the cab, in the hallway to Samantha’s apartment, in the kitchen, the living room, had sex on the dining room table and then fell asleep on the floor holding each other. She remembered gazing into his eyes that night and feeling complete.

“I have a son now too”, said Brian.
“A son”, said Samantha.
“Yeah, he’ll be a year old in just a few weeks. His name is Brandon”, said Brian.
“Wow, a son that’ll be a year old. That’s…amazing”, said Samantha.

Brian smiled his classic, charming smile and took his phone out and showed Samantha a picture of his beautiful wife holding their beautiful blonde son.

“Wow. That’s just… Wow. He’s just adorable”, said Samantha.
“Yeah. I’m pretty lucky I guess”, said Brian as he put his phone away.

Brian looked back over to his train seat and cocked his head toward it.
“I have to get back to my seat. I have a little work to finish before we pull into the station. But it was so great to see you Sam. I’ll look you up on Facebook or something. See you.”

Brian reached down and gave Samantha an awkward hug and moved back to his seat. Samantha sat back and felt tears welling up in her eyes. She started to wonder if all her adventures really meant anything. She was now behind in the relationship/family starting category and realized that all she really wanted wasn’t to travel alone, but to travel with someone.

The conductor announced they were 5 minutes from the station and Samantha wiped her eyes. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Connor stood in awe of the masses of people dancing and partying all through the streets. It was as if a tidal wave of joy had crashed over the heads of humanity and washed everyone out to the seas of elation. It was odd to think the simple experience of one year ending and another beginning could be responsible for so much rampant joyfulness. Connor smiled to himself. He couldn’t help it. It was really pretty contagious.

He lifted his glass of champagne and toasted the revelers in the street. He sipped from his glass and turned back to the party he was attending at this stranger’s condo. Connor had actually lucked into this party when he just happened to bump into Carrie at the neighborhood bar. She had asked how Connor was going to spend the New Year and he had told her that he didn’t have any plans. She invited him to this fancy party on the 25th floor at her friend Jason’s condo. He was happy to join her and he’d hope to get some time alone with her, but much like he’d expected. Carrie was now making out with some other guy Connor didn’t know.

Connor had wandered out to the balcony for a cigarette and to get away from the crowded isolation New Year’s Eve can often burden people with. He also just couldn’t stand to see so many people now making out. It wasn’t obscene or anything, but it did seem to be slowly turning into an orgy. The whole party was all couples. Connor seemed to be the only single person in the whole group of partygoers. He looked back through the sliding glass doors and heard some laughter and decided it was now safe to go back in.

He slid open the glass door and re-entered the New Year festivities. The kissing couples had ceased and were now sloppily pouring shots into each other’s mouths. Connor looked for Carrie but he didn’t see her. He had a vague idea where she probably was, considering he didn’t see the guy she had been exchanging tongue messages with. He put down his champagne and decided right then and there that there was no purpose for his presence any longer.

Connor excused himself from the group and found his coat and hat. He made a general good-bye, but since he really didn’t know anyone no one made a fuss with his departure. He took the elevator down and walked out into the cold New Year. He passed bars and clubs still shaking with the sounds of some kind of New Year survival heroism. He thought about all the people inside, some of them probably feeling a lot like he did. Others probably feeling like Carrie. It was the same everywhere and Connor’s problems didn’t seem original. In fact, they were rather lackluster.

He decided that this year, was his year and he’d have to start making the best of it. He’d been putting all of his problems and issues out there for everyone to see but hadn’t done much of anything to take them off the clothesline and get them folded and put away. It was time to start being positive and really happy. Not the exterior happiness that he was so good at portraying, but some real internal happiness. It was time to start really living and an odd numbered year was as good of a time as any.

Connor returned to his neighborhood bar where his evening had started and the crowds of other partiers had diminished slightly. He found a space the bar and ordered a beer. He thought to himself that he’d get started on that new positive life perspective right away, or at least after this beer, or maybe after this beer and shot, or shots. Then, he’d start.