Monday, June 23, 2014


            The room was filled with memories and it made Jillian’s skin crawl.  The odd thing was the room. It was a seemingly regular bathroom. It was not distinct or impressive in any way. It had the classic octagon tile floor of white and blue, a white sink, white tub, white walls with only a hint of a blue accent. The memories for this room were incredibly powerful. They flashed and spun like fireworks in front of Jillian’s eyelids. It was like looking up at the sun with your eyes closed and seeing the light penetrate the thin skin of your eyelids. But for Jillian, they were hot colored miniature explosions.

             “Are you getting something Jillian,” asked Mrs. Plainer.

             Jillian had her eyes closed and held still as she stood in the bathroom doorway. Her psychic powers were just revving up and she needed to focus on the waves of psychic energy flowing through Mr. & Mrs. Plainer’s new apartment.  Jillian did not answer Mrs. Plainer’s question.

            “Please Mrs. Plainer, Jillian will speak to us when she has something to report,” said Jillian’s intern, Carson. He took Mrs. Plainer by the arm and gently walked her back toward the front of the apartment.

             Jillian placed her hands on the doorframe of the bathroom and immediately felt a powerful sadness wash over her. She felt the years of painful memories in this room. She felt for the young woman crying in the mirror because she just wasn’t as pretty as the other girls, or the old drunk man wishing he was looking at the face of his beloved deceased wife instead of his own ragged reflection. Jillian felt the daily morning rituals of every previous tenant that wished for a better life. The emotions were heavy and Jillian slumped her shoulders under the weight.

             She normally didn’t give psychic readings in apartment buildings, there were usually too many spirits to sort through, but Mrs. Plainer and her husband were friends of friends so Jillian felt obliged to try and help them. Jillian was told Mr. & Mrs. Plainer were being tormented by something evil, something that seemed to want to hurt them. Jillian had to help. Yet, so far, all she’d felt in this nicely refurbished uptown apartment was sadness. There wasn’t anything evil that she could feel. There was just an overwhelming sense of sadness.

             The bathroom seemed to hold a lot of the pain in the apartment. Jillian looked at the tub and expected to see the energy shadow of a bathtub suicide. In her 12 years performing psychic readings she’d found suicides to be a common cause of a home’s issues. In this case she was surprised she didn’t any reading from the tub. It was clean of any real sad energy, or as Jillian called it, purple energy. Jillian wrinkled her forehead and began to concentrate harder on the room as a whole. She knew that the apartment building had been built in 1928 and she knew there would be all kinds of activity so it would be imperative for her to really focus on just the rooms she was in.

             The toilet flashed in her mind. The toilet was where this sadness and pain was coming from. In her mind the toilet looked rotten and moldy; it was festering with heartache and loss, a deep almost blackish purple swirled around it. She opened her eyes and looked at the clean white toilet. She was confused. She knew people died on the toilet all the time, it was a fairly common place to die actually, so when she normally did readings, the bathrooms were not really the usual place of strong psychic activity. She was puzzled.

             “Carson,” called Jillian.
            “Yes,” he responded from the front.
            “Can you please bring Mrs. Plainer to the bathroom,” asked Jillian.

             Carson approached the bathroom still leading Mrs. Plainer by the arm.

             “Mrs. Plainer, are all the fixtures in the bathroom new,” asked Jillian.
            “Oh, no. We loved the charm of the old fixtures, they just fit that retro esthetic we wanted for the whole place. So no, the fixtures, the sink, tub and toilet were all original to the building,” said Mrs. Plainer proudly.
            “Thank you Mrs. Plainer. I’m getting a lot from this toilet oddly enough. It’s really projecting a lot of resonate energy throughout this bathroom and likely the whole apartment,” said Jillian.
            Mrs. Plainer looked at Jillian with a furrowed brow.

             “The toilet,” said Mrs. Plainer.
            “Yes,” said Jillian.
            “You think the toilet is haunted,” smirked Mrs. Plainer.
            “No, I just get some very powerful images from it,” said Jillian.
            “From the toilet,” said Mrs. Plainer.
            “Really, a toilet,” said Mrs. Plainer, “I knew this would be bull. I knew you weren’t a psychic. I thought Michelle had taken us seriously when we told her we thought something was wrong with this apartment and she’d recommend her psychic friend to us. I didn’t think she’d send us some toilet loving hack.”

            “Hey, hey,” said Carson as he pulled back on Mrs. Plainer’s arm.
            “Let me go. You’re all frauds. A haunted toilet indeed. What a sham,” said Mrs. Plainer.

             Jillian looked at Carson and he let Mrs. Plainer go. Jillian sighed and looked back at the toilet. The image in her mind began to froth and bubbled up over the rim and the tank. A purple acid crawled all over the porcelain surface and Jillian figured it out.

             “Mrs. Plainer, I’m sorry you don’t like what readings I’m getting. Of course there will be no charge for my visit tonight. I just want you to know that I’m sorry for you. I really am and I hope you get the help you need. C’mon Carson, let’s get our things,” said Jillian.

             Jillian and Carson grabbed their coats and bags and headed for the door as Mrs. Plainer stood, arms folded over her chest. Jillian took one last look back at her as she closed the apartment door and gave her a hopeful, knowing smile.

             Mrs. Plainer huffed and turned back toward the bathroom. She stepped in and looked at the toilet. She turned and looked at her reflection in the mirror.

             “I’m so fat,” she said to her reflection.   

Friday, June 20, 2014

How to be an Exceptionally Bad Neighbor

             Life in this world can be tough. The struggles of daily living can be very trying and a true test of our sanity. As human beings we should strive to make the world a less aggravating place for each other. Unless you live in an apartment building; then, all the rules are off. Common courtesies are a thing of the past and the Golden Rule is something of a myth.

             Laundry is a painfully dull chore. It’s time consuming and labor intensive, especially if you live in an apartment complex with three washing machines and three dryers. The apartment building probably has well over a hundred people living in it and it’s a struggle to make sure you can find the time slot in which to perform the drudgery of clothes washing. I have it timed fairly well and do what I can to be efficient about it. I hate laundry. I hate lugging it downstairs. I hate the cost. I hate the switch from the washer to the dryer; it seems there’s always that one sock or underwear that drops to the dirty laundry room floor basically eliminating any cleanliness it had. I hate it.

             Since I hate it so much, I have a deep understanding for other people that likely hate it as well, so I really try to be good about it. I get in and I get out. Unless, that is, I’m confronted by those individuals who have no regard for anyone but themselves. I like to refer to them as mega-bitches, or in you’ll forgive the term, God Damn Whores.

             I know we all think our time is very important. We all have things we have to do throughout our day and that can sometimes lead to a failure to think about others. Normal, well rounded people, often think, “If I do this, will it disrupt the lives of others?” If the answer is yes, then we do what we can not to be an inconvenience and attempt a level of civility in our activities. Mega-bitches and God Damn Whores choose not to think this way.  They choose to ignore the common courtesies and pursue a life blind to the needs and/or wants of others. Please allow me to give you an example.

             I had one load of laundry to do today. Shirts, boxer shorts, very basic items to wash. I lugged my little laundry bag down the three flights of stairs, walked through the long driveway that only the building maintenance guy can park in for some reason, turned to the back side of the building, unlocked the laundry room door and stepped in. It’s always 900 degrees in the laundry room and the faster you can get in and out of there the better. It’s like the shittiest sauna in the world. I approach the set of three washers and see that two of the washers are in use, and that’s fine. I’m a little surprised since it was sort of early in the day, but still, there’s one washer available and really, that’s all I need.

            I load the washer as directed and get the old girl going. I even leave my laundry bag on top of the washer as notification that, “Hey, this washer is in use, sorry.” I trudge back up to my apartment and look at the clock. I know that it takes the washer about 28 minutes to cycle through. So I sit down on the couch and wait. Tick, tock, tick, tock, twiddle my thumbs, watch a little World Cup action on TV, eat a small something, start planning for what I’ll do with the rest of my unemployed day.

            Ding! The timer in my head goes off and I look at the clock. Ah! The washer should be done by now. I collect my keys from the dining room table and head out my back door. On my way down the stairs I come across another tenant of the building carrying some wet clothes. I can clearly assume that she’s the person that was using the two other washing machines. I give her a neighborly nod as we pass on the stairs. She goes up, I head toward the laundry room. I unlock the laundry room door and step once more into the dryer sheet smelling sauna. I have a little hint of a smile on my face because I’m happy to finally be doing some laundry.

            For those that know about depression, sometimes even the simplest task can seem like an insurmountable goal and laundry can often fall into that category. So I’m feeling pretty good that I finally found the motivation to do it. I step to the washer and as I knew it would be, it has stopped. I step over to the dryers and that’s when it hits me.
            The woman, that was on the stairs, with the wet clothes, she was only using two washers and yet…she’s using all three dryers! “What the fudge,” I shouted. I also may have cursed God, the woman’s family history, her body shape, her face, and things her mother may have done. I am filled with the rage of a civil individual confronted with an uncivilized world. It’s a mystery to me why a person only using two washers would feel the need to use all three dryers, especially since I had marked the washer I was using by politely leaving my laundry bag on top of it as a flag of sorts, to let anyone else know that, “Hey, I’m using a washer, don’t be a mega-bitch and use all the dryers”.

            This one inconsiderate act, by a “neighbor” set me off. I yelled and screamed and found this to be the most impossible thing ever done. The rudeness of it, the clear and unmitigated inconsideration this person has shown. She’s selfish, cruel and quite possibly worse than a Hitler/Stalin robot. I wanted to find her apartment and yell at her and point out her incredible rudeness but then I’m not sure she actually speaks the same language as I. So I would have looked like a crazy person frantically waving my arms at her and possibly spitting a little.  

             It’s no use. I slam the laundry room door shut behind me as I leave and trudge back up to my apartment, cursing this communal living situation. Now my schedule, the things I wanted to do by a particular time, is completely out of whack. It’s important for the unemployed to have some sort of structure in their lives; otherwise we’d just turn into anamorphic blobs congealed to a couch. I slam my apartment door and go on a pretty marvelous cursing tirade. It’s colorful and completely unrepeatable.

             So now, I wait, for her laundry to be done, so I can finish mine, because I’m polite and an excellent neighbor.

Monday, June 9, 2014

I Can't Remember

I can’t remember a time
that didn’t involve

I was always driving
on a staircase.

To my mother,
to my house,
to the place,
where I belonged.

But when I got there,
to the top of the stairs,
I didn’t want to turn
the nob.
it was me, the petrified
kid. The scared me.

I still feel that at the
top of my third floor
the fear of a child.

Never knowing what’s
on the other side of the

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Gnab, Gnab

            I think we’re a little backwards on gun control. I just read yet another story about seven people shot at a Laundromat here in Chicago. Frankly, I’m sick of it. I’m tired of reading or seeing news stories about gun violence in Chicago and the nation in general. I’ve just had it.

            I saw one of those delightful memes on-line posing a very simple question: One failed shoe bomber and now every single American has to take their shoes off at the airport before boarding a plane, whereas 37 people can die from gun violence in a single day yet there’s absolutely nothing that can be done about it? That’s completely backwards.

            I’m not a fan of guns, that’s just my personal position. I don’t want to take your guns away. I don’t really care about your lawful use of your own firearms. That’s not my concern. I’m sure that if you read my blog, you’re also a very responsible gun owner and keep them under lock and key and only use them for either hunting or home defense. Running down the street, guns blazing isn’t your style. In fact, you might be just as upset as I am at the senseless use of firearms.

            I am just tired. Tired of all the children cut down on their front porch because some confused and angry, socially inept jackass doesn’t know how to aim. Maybe we should provide free firearm training to gang members so they can at least be better shots. The phrase “Innocent Bystander Killed” is wearing thin.

            There’s just no reasonable excuse for the excessive casual murdering that is going on in my city, my country. I don’t know when the sanctity of human life became so meaningless to so many. Murder is like breathing for some people. I’m not sure I can actually call them people without vomiting a little in my mouth.

When I see stories about violence in Europe, Asia, Africa I no longer think, “Oh my, how terrible for them,” I think, “Oh well, just like here”. We stand still, we do nothing. Politicians seem careless about the rampant murder in their American streets, leaving broken families to try and put back together the pieces of their shattered lives. I don’t have the strength of ignorance to blindly imagine our society will just shape up and put guns back in the closet where they belong.

It’s all backwards. I don’t care about a prisoner of war, captured five years ago CNN. I just don’t care about any pundit’s opinion about it. The focus needs to be on the violence at home. I’ve written about this before. I was tired of it then. I’m tired of it now.