Monday, December 12, 2011


I feel like there should be a disclaimer here. Fuck it.

It should be noted that Emmy was only fourteen years of age when she won the attentions of a thirty five year old man named Gram. This, however, did not stop him from pining over the girl, staying up with dreams ever-flowing from the challis of his mind, spilling over onto the tile of his sanity, eroding it until, like so many other men, it cracked and buckled and burst, drowning his heart with nothing but visions of her. Gram thought of former students, one in particular, Darla, who had once wrote in an essay on child brides that “age is just a number,” pushing her agenda that young women have inalienable rights, including who they choose to love and when. But Darla was a blonde memory now, and instead, as he sat behind his desk, staring out over the rows of metal desks and chairs, over the blossoming minds of his students, he stared and fantasized about Emmy.

One could say that this relationship between a child and their mentor, their teacher, is at best awkward, and at worst shameful and wrong. But I leave those judgments to be passed by the Almighty and not by mere mortals on this planet. For who among us is perfect enough to judge another? Moreover, who among us can tell a tale of love and strife of any kind without striking a chord somewhere in the throngs of people clamoring for such a tale? Some will be effected by the use of language, whilst others opt to struggle with the follies of those whose lives are being dissected for art, for make no mistake, the lives that we are dealing with are very much real, or at least, as real as you or I in the eyes of the universe.

Emmy and the rest of her class sat with their heads bowed, focused on the seemingly endless stream of empty bubbles to be filled in, number two pencils clenched between teeth, and sweat starting to form on their young brows. Although Emmy didn’t sweat. She was far too perfect for that, and even in her confusion over question number thirty two, she simply bit the end of her pencil, leaving a trace of lip gloss around the eraser, and pulled on her brown curls, which were lopsided and the product of half an hour in the mirror, trying to figure the process out on her own. Her chest heaved as she sighed, finally picking an answer, and Gram shifted in his seat, trying to see past the pimply faces that blocked his view of the budding B-cups that haunted the far reaches of his brain.

Here, Gram stopped in time. While outside of him, the world spun as usual, breaths were taken, heads were scratched, answers were read by other students, but inside, the Earth stood still, unchanged and unmoving. Frozen, Emmy leaned back, stretching, staring at the nerdy Asian kid’s test, memorizing the answers with a fake yawn that would have fooled the most cynical of teachers. But not Gram, as he watched her every move and begged any Gods that would listen to give him an excuse to force Emmy’s company. This was it, and as the world slowly started turning again, Gram half yelled, half squeaked “Emmy!” Though instead of authoritative, it sounded excited.

“Yes?” Emmy said, in a voice that would be used by a chesty blonde pulled over for speeding. She smiled, pouted, trying to use her looks that had come far too early to get out of the trouble she knew she faced.

“Bring your test up here. You’re going to have to retake this after class, when you can’t read anyone else’s answers.” It was brilliant, Gram thought, in the explicit punishment and handling of a student, as well as the implicit move to bring her closer to him.

The rest of the class finished, the bell rang, and the school day was over. Save for little Emmy, who now had a test to make up, in part to her cheating, in part to her teacher’s hidden agenda. Gram had never acted upon thoughts he knew were “wrong,” especially in his own eyes. Getting too close to a child less than half his age was certainly wrong. But something, some growing pressure deep inside had caused him to not only think of these deviant thoughts, but to also fantasize about them, to will them into reality in his darkened bedroom at home, sweating by thinking of the girl that he wanted, needed, to be with. He felt himself change inside, felt as though his blood ran black, that his heart was caked with a layer of obsession and perversion that he himself could do nothing about. Emmy wandered up to the desk.

“So now I have to take the test all over, just because I might have glanced at an answer?” Emmy said, leaning over the way her mother used to do when Emmy would get in trouble in middle school, leaning over the principals desk, asking for mercy, since she was young and still learning what was right and wrong. Emmy’s elbows were pointed in, towards one another, her T-shirt bulging the way no fourteen-year-old’s t-shirt should bulge. Gram, suddenly blacked out.

Now while Gram is unable to tell the police what happened in the ensuing moments, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the universe was not witness to it. And as the humble stenographer for the universe, it is our duty to relay those events.

First, Gram stood up, walking over and sitting on the front of his desk, next to where Emmy stood. Then, he glanced at the door, ensuring that it was closed. After seeing that they were alone, and that no one should be coming into his classroom anytime soon, he grabbed Emmy by the face, bending low, very low, to plant his lips on hers and hold her tight. While Emmy may have been suggestive, she had no idea what she was really suggesting, and it certainly did not include making out with her teacher, oh no. But that is what happens when men can no longer maintain their sanity. The insane among us lash out at the world, kissing fourteen-year-olds and grabbing at their young breasts. Gram pushed his mouth into hers, swallowing the screams, convincing himself that they were from pleasure, not fear, moving his groping hands lower, tugging at the button of her jeans, his hands much stronger than hers as they flailed, trying to scratch, to push, to pinch, hit, gouge, all to no avail as Gram pushed farther, feeling her warm skin beneath her clothes. She tried to kick at his groin, but the adrenaline flowing through his veins overpowered her own, and visions of them, both naked in front of a fire, feeding each other fruits and giggling into the night clouded his eyes, letting him see only fantasy, never understanding the horror that was fixed in her gaze or the poison in her tongue as his pushed it around, prying her teeth open, losing blood as she bit down.

Another moment passed, now with time frozen for young Emmy, her world being dismantled around her, but for Gram everything was happening too fast, his memories forming and losing detail too soon, not allowing him to revel in the moment, to take joy in the goings-on, to relish his victory. He had loosened her jeans, every kick from her allowing them to be slid down further and further, until they were at her ankles, tripping her as she tried to get away, sliding lower into his grip. He worked at his own pants now, his olive green khakis moving quickly to mid-thigh, Him moving his way inside of her. Her eyes widened as she felt the pain, and in a last ditch effort put her whole body into one swift movement, leaning her head back, breaking away from his forced kiss, and slamming it forward, stunning him as he pushed on, but only for a moment. She managed to take a breath before bellowing one quick scream before he was ahold of his bearings and able to force himself upon her mouth once more.

A fire had broken out across town, and as Emmy’s head made contact, a shrill, piercing sound came roaring down the street, just outside Gram’s window. The sirens wailed, the trucks headed towards a burning building. Emmy’s scream forced its way through the glass, and out into the world, being dragged along by the fire trucks’ cries, following them out into the city, off to rescue someone else from danger.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


or as i plan to hashtag it: #thxgvn.

There are a lot of things to be thankful for this year: The Chicago Police Department, Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Mercantile Exchange...

No more politics, just for the weekend. I'm going to eat more than I should feel comfortable eating, try to avoid people while in my hometown, and generally revel in the fact that I have family and friends who care about me and my life/career/school, live in a decent apartment in one of the best cities in the world, and don't worry about where I will get my next meal. Occupy the holiday! We are the 99% fat free cool whip! Banks got bailed out, we got turkey! The whole country's eating!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Occupy Wall Street raid live blog (from Chicago)

This is/was real time updates from Occupy Wall Street's eviction last night, done through watching several live streams both inside and outside of the park, as well as following twitter hash tag #ows, @occupywallst, @occupychicago, @occupywallstny, and more.

11:55am (CST): [op] The use of the courts, which are supposed to be the balance between the government and the people, and instead being used by the government to control the people. This concerns me more than anything else.

11:49am (CST): Judge in charge of protesters injunction removed from case. City decided new judge.

11:43am (CST): Wall St. Journal reports 200 arrests.

11:30am (CST): 20 arrests reported, including journalists at Canal and 6th. Trinity church makes statement clarifying that the protesters were not allowed.

11:28am (CST): Video of police hitting woman in the face posted to twitter:

11:22am (CST): Statement from a member of NYPD: Injunction was appealed by NYPD, until it is finalized the police will continue to deny access to Zuccotti.

11:18am (CST): " karen mcveigh
lawyer says a high court judge signed emergency order at 6.30am within an hour they had served all lawyers involved but police refused"


Brookfield appreciates the peaceful and professional response of the NYPD, the FDNY, and the Department of Sanitation, and thanks Mayor Bloomberg for his leadership. As had been widely reported, conditions in Zuccotti Park had become dangerous, unhealthy and unsafe. In our view, these risks were unacceptable and it would have been irresponsible to not request that the City take action. Further, we have a legal obligation to the City and to this neighborhood to keep the Park accessible to all who wish to enjoy it, which had become impossible.

As previously stated, Brookfield supports all citizens’ rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech.

Brookfield had hoped to reopen the Park this morning after it had been cleaned. The City and Brookfield, however, were notified of a court-ordered injunction regarding the use of the Park. As a matter of public safety, the Park will remain closed pending the resolution of this matter.

Our hope is to reopen the Park as soon as possible for the enjoyment of all members of the community in accord with the rules of the Park." -Statement from Brookfield (owners of the park)

11:10am (CST): Unconfirmed reports saying that Trinity Church supports the Occupy movement and did not request the removal of protesters.

Four police helicopters overhead

11:04am (CST): Man arrested in Zuccotti Park for hopping barricade, NYCLU reports.

At Trinity, a woman in a wheelchair is being arrested.

10:55am (CST): Violent arrests start at Trinity Church. Police kicking man on ground.

More arrests.

10:54am (CST): Clergy arriving at Trinity church to straighten out disputes on whether or not the occupiers are welcome.

Police start to enter Trinity property.

10:49am (CST): Police buses are preparing for arrests, blockades are up, helicopters are over head @ trinity church.

Riot cops are lining up, and protesters are planning for arrests.

Trinity Church told the police that the OWS protesters are not welcome on their property, request they move.

10:33am (CST): The police are refusing to allow the protesters to reenter Zuccotti Park, regardless of a court order requiring the police to allow them into the park with camping equipment.

The court ordered temporary restraining order requiring the NYPD to show just cause in arresting the protesters. A court date was set for today at 11:30am EST holding NYPD officers who refused to allow the protesters into the park in contempt of court. This was signed by a judge this morning at 6:30am EST.

3:00am (CST): Zuccotti is mostly dismantled, most protesters are arrested. Reporters who were inside left to avoid arrest. The occupy movement isn't silent. Hundreds of people still in the street, 4am in NY. Protesters are still worried about LRAD being deployed, however, there are no confirmed reports of it being activated. Tomorrow will show what this means for the Occupy Movement and the city of New York.

2:55am (CST): Video goes down on most streams. Twitter is silent.

2:48am (CST): Arrestees yelling that they are being hurt.

The white vapor was a fire extinguisher.

Video of kitchen being dismantled is released.

2:45am (CST): Scanner says police are bringing in bolt cutters.

2:44am (CST): "Ain't no power like the power of the people!" -Chant as last 40 occupiers remain in park.

2:42am (CST): Video of tear gas may have been of something else. Inside reports say contrary. Videos of violent arrests posted to twitter from earlier. Video of clouds of white smoke hitting Zuccotti unconfirmed as tear gas.

2:37am (CST): Reports of tear gas being used against occupiers. Confirmed.

2:37am (CST): 4 block perimeter set up around the park, protesters kept away.

2:32am(CST): Reports of LRAD being used against protesters.

50 arrests in or around the kitchen being estimated by protesters.

2:28am (CST): Arrests are being made inside the park. Violence is being reported by both police and protesters. Video inside the park is down.

Protesters are being dragged and taken west from the park, where people can not see.

2:23am (CST): [op] What does this "temporary closing of the park for cleaning" mean for the movement? Based on NY's Mayors feelings on the protests, this cleaning could go on indefinitely. Mayors around the country have felt poorly about the protesters, trying to arrest them out of existence and only proving that there is something important happening in these movements. Something that scares politicians that are funded by lobbyists and companies that can afford to have their interests met. That, the interests being met only when you have enough money, is wrong.

2:20am (CST): Reports that NY City Council is headed to Zuccotti park now. More police seen marching in.

2:19am (CST): Reports of police violence at Broadway and Cedar.

2:09am (CST): Arrest teams dispatched to Zuccotti Park

1:56am (CST): City council member Ydanis Rodriguez "beaten by #nypd and bleeding from the head" reported by @occupywalls

1:50am (CST): Foley Square is being called the fall back, unconfirmed reports that the square is blocked off.

Police Scanners reporting that there are not enough police to maintain situation.

Confirmed reports that people have chained themselves inside the OWS Kitchen

Brooklyn Bridge is closed until 6am.

1:46am (CST): Protesters continue to block street, one arrested.

1:42am (CST): Dump truck attempting to leave the park, stopped by hundreds of protesters.

1:40am (CST): Large crowds converging together with displaced occupiers, protesting and chanting near the park.

Confirmed reports of Long Range Acoustic Device being prepared by police.

1:37am (CST): The people's library has been dismantled and thrown out.

1:34am (CST): Confirmed reports of airspace being closed off to media.

1:30am (CST): Video of protesters being arrested

1:27am (CST): Unconfirmed reports that a NY Times Reporter was arrested from @OccupyWallSt

Also, reports that NYPD Counter Terrorism officers are on scene.

1:22am (CST): Police, Dept. Sanitation shown throwing all OWS items into a pile and dumpsters. Personal objects being covered in trash.

approx. 1:16am (CST): Police shown dismantling tents, evicting protesters. Twitter buzzing with reports of pepper spray used against peaceful protesters, removal of press from site. Police commissioner on scene. NY observer reporting photographers from NYT, WSJ, and Reuters being kept from the scene.

Approximate midnight (CST): First reports of the raid on OWS come from Occupy Chicago over Facebook. Livestream:

Monday, November 7, 2011

I am now on

Check out my politics articles over on Examiner by clicking this link here.

Friday, October 28, 2011


This is a first hand account of what happened after 130 protesters were arrested in Chicago on October 22, 2011.

“It is now past 11 o’clock. The park is now closed. You can vacate the premises, or you will be arrested in violation of city ordinance 10-36-185: being in a park after closing. This is your final warning.”

The police bullhorn echoed across what had been re-named “Liberty Square” or simply “The Horse.” Protesters were caught in the stark white explosion of light as transportable towers popped on, all of their expressions illuminated for the world to see. And see it the world would. Camera men from all of the major news networks lined the press section of the barricade; reporters from The Wall Street Journal to Al-Jazeera circled the camp trying to find one last interview from the loudest, most sound-bite ridden member of the crowd. They sat on the ground, arms linked, voices hoarse from chanting “1. We are the people! 2. We are united! 3. The occupation is not leaving!” and in-between slogans, musing over what it would be like in prison. The police moved into position, forming segmented lines around the camp, the group having encircles the medic tent, the bright red crosses fluttering in the fall air. The white shirts headed each section, their collars the same color as the zip-tie loops at their hips, leading their subordinates to their section. As the crowd watching from the sidewalk grew, the drums growing louder, the chanting more passionate, the first protester was lifted from the ground, his hands tied behind his back, and was lead to the awaiting paddy wagon amidst applause and chants of “Hero! Hero!” I looked at the man sitting across from me, his high-school-varsity-linebacker-turned-fratboy body sinking lower against the planter, and whispered “Wow, it’s really happening.”

The Occupy Chicago movement and I had some different views on a lot of issues, but regardless, I felt as though they had the right to express those view at any point, and if they wanted to peaceably assemble around the clock, then that was their constitutional right. That is what brought me to the occupation on Saturday. I went, hoping that after the week before where 175 people were arrested, that this time they would see the support and just let them stay. I was wrong. Soon, we were all linking arms, chanting slogans, and being picked up off of the ground one-by-one, put in plastic zip-ties and being led to our respective style of vehicle which would cart us off to Central Holding, where a 99% majority would experience prison for the first time, myself included.

I was asked by a white shirt police officer if I would like to be arrested because “if not, [I was] free to leave and come back next week or whatever.” I then stood up, my legs screaming from the past 2 hours of sitting, placed my hands behind my back and was walked over to the Sherriff’s bus, laughing that it looked just like the movies. As we all were taken into custody, the crowd cheered, snapping photos and chanting “Heroes! Heroes!” Inside the bus, the atmosphere was similar. We were reunited with the people we sat next to earlier, loudly greeted one another, and chatted about how we were upset that we missed the Hawks game, trying to ask the riot-gear-clad cops if they knew the score. They didn’t answer. The ride to the station was jovial, except for some complaints about the zip-ties being too tight, with the bus launching into “If you’re happy and you know it, smack your seat!” (the clapping of hands was impossible.) Some managed to pull out cell phones, and tweeted, texted, and Facebooked, a fitting moment for a movement that is based so heavily on the internet.

The bus arrived to a carnival style roped off walkway snaking through the garage. “I call the front seat of the roller coaster!” someone yelled from the back. We shuffled along, to the calls of “quickly now!” from the detention officers. The zip-ties were cut. We were given bags, told to remove any string or string-like objects, empty our pockets, and remove our jackets, which we could have back after a friendly pat down. There was a full cell of women from the protest near the entrance, and as we walked in, we got another round of applause, some of them making heart shapes form their hands, others holding up fists. Being placed in the holding cell was still another round of applause, and then the waiting started.

If you put a bunch of people who are willing to be arrested for their political beliefs in one cell, there is bound to be a political discussion. This was true on Saturday night. Discussions on what the next week would hold, on failed ideas of petitions, on what the exact message of the movement should be, on labor unions’ help, all were discussed in an organized form, the typical Occupy “stack” (line) and “peace guns” (flashing two childlike “guns’ made from the hands to signal joining the stack) were strictly enforced and followed by the impromptu general assembly in the prison cell. This discussion lasted until the moderator was called out for processing, then slowly turned to factions discussing the merits of socialism, why they were democrats, protests in the past, the world trade center attack conspiracy theories, reticence about the use of extreme leftists in the protest, and the need for a cigarette. People were slowly called out for processing, and when I left at 6:30am, there were still about fifteen people in my cell, with more in the two cells I passed.
Processing is a rather quick process, and incredibly misleading. Walking up for the mug shot, you think you’ve started to reach the end of your time there. A quick picture, a turn to the left, another picture, boom. You’re on to the fingerprinting. They digitalized fingerprinting, so each finger is placed on a glass plate with a red light behind it, some clicking, and there you go! Done! The whole process takes two minutes, tops. They then hand you a receipt for the belongings they took from you, and as the smile starts stretching across your face with thoughts of what you plan on eating when you get home, or the couch you plan to sit on that isn’t made from concrete, they call you down a hall, finally leading you into a new, smaller, colder, jail cell.

My cellmate was a vegetarian, but when the detention officer asked if we wanted a bologna sandwich, he (and I) enthusiastically said yes. After we finished, exhausted, we tried sleeping. The concrete benches did little to keep body heat, and as I shivered under the halogen lights that stopped my internal clock, I started to think that I made a mistake. Some amount of time passed (an hour? A minute?) and I stopped pretending that I could sleep. Walking up to the door, I looked around, trying to catch the eye of people in other cells. I could hear two men discussing the difference between communism and socialism in the cell to my right, finally ending their discussion with “but that really doesn’t matter. I’m a capitalist at heart, but I’ll be damned if the media cares about that.” My cellmate woke up, and we started doing calisthenics for warmth. Back at the window, I finally caught the attention of the detention officer, and when he came over, I asked for my phone call.

“Nope.” He said, chewing on the inside of his lip, looking past me at the white walls.

“What do you mean, ‘Nope?’” I asked, perplexed as to how prison movies had led me astray. Wasn’t it always when they were in their solitary cell that they were called up, told they had a phone call, and given a quarter for the payphone?

“I mean nope. You done missed your chance. You’re supposed to do it while being processed.”

“But no one ever told me that.” By this time the conversation had caught the ears of not just my cell block, but the cell blocks over, as we all were yelling. Others cells started demanding phone calls, doors were banged on, and chants that centered around expletives rang through the halls. Even though the cells were spread apart, only ten in each wing, the lot of the protesters had found out about the phone call issue.

“Don’t matter who told you what.” He said, getting annoyed at the noise. “No phone calls.” He turned, and lumbered off down the grey hallway, past the beige metal doors filled with men smacking the glass, screaming that their rights were being violated. Defeated, I went back to sleep, this time on the floor since it was slightly warmer.

I woke up to what I thought was a prison riot. There was pounding on any and every metal surface, throaty shouts and high pitched screams, “PIGS!” echoed through the hallways, and the officers yelled back for everyone to stop. I asked my cellmate what was happening as he kicked the bottom of our door. “There is a woman in one of the cells that needs her medicine, but the officers won’t come to her cell.”

Time dragged, but the network of communication established with Occupy Chicago’s human microphone (where when someone speaks, all who can hear echo) got information throughout the cells. Announcements of time were finally made. A lucky man who was finally able to make a phone call announced the information from the National Lawyers Guild. Demands for toilet paper were made. Demands for toilet paper were made again. Demands for toilet paper were continued to be made, until a few hours later they were met by a slew of expletives and yelling from an officer. The toilet paper then made its way under cell doors, through a complicated, angular system to anyone who needed it. That’s when I found the records in our cell.

Sixty to seventy vinyl records were in a plastic bag hidden behind out toilet. Rick James, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Bob Marley, they were signs of home, signs of freedom, signs of hope. We decorated out cell with pull out posters, lined the benches with record sleeves for warmth, and then tried to share our bounty. Slid under doors, the records made their way down the block, crossing the hall for the other side to have. Some throws were missed, and for the next two hours I worried that when someone walked past, we would get charged with some other crime, littering the hall with a bunch of stray records. Instead, when we finally had our cell door opened, we were just called “assholes” and told to pick them up. The best case scenario.

As we left, finally out into the warmth of Sunday’s afternoon, we were greeted by fifty or so people from Occupy Chicago, a handful of news cameras, more applause, and yet another chant of “Heroes! Heroes!” I never realized that going to prison would be such a celebrated event, but having spent the night cold and feeling alone, even while surrounded by people, it was a welcome sight. The poured us cups of coffee, handed over donuts and bagels, patted our backs, and thanked us for all we did. Five of us had left by 12:30pm, with a couple more trickling out after us. Our bags of items were returned, everything accounted for, and as I signed up for a NLG lawyer, talked with people about future strategies, and enjoyed the ability to take more than three steps at once, I felt a surge of pride. Not for myself, but for those around me who were willing to stand up for what they believed in, for those outside who had spent the night trying to keep each other warm and awake so that when we were released we would be greeted with friendly faces, and most of all, for the people that were willing to talk about or attend Occupy Chicago for knowing that there are problems in this country, but also knowing that the country is strong enough to be able to fix them.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Overnight Activist

My name is Wyl Villacres, as you should be able to tell by the banner above. On Sunday morning, I woke up to see that 175 protesters were arrested from the Occupy Chicago movement from Grant Park where they had tried to stay the night. To me, this represented a breaking down of First Amendment rights that were due to the protesters. Constitutional Rights shouldn't end at 11pm.

I am not affiliated with Occupy Chicago, or any organization or political party. I do associate with the 99% of Americans that the movement represents. For me, the petition was not about a movement or a cause, but was about American principles and values. This movement forces us to have a conversation on a vast amount of issues, and for that, I thank them.

I do not agree with everything that Occupy Chicago, Occupy Wall Street, or other organizations say or do. But that doesn't mean they don't have the right to say it by peaceful means that they see fit. At the same time, the Occupy movement needs to set a platform (in my eyes) but they need a place to stay in order to do that.

I spoke with a woman who worked for what she called the "Nitty-Gritty Committee" where she does "the work that no one else wants to do." She works to ensure their Jackson and Lasalle HQ stays clean, and moves the semi-permanent structures every morning as per the CPD's request. She spends her nights in the golden glow of the financial district, keeping the movement alive 24/7 because she believes in the movement's potential and sense of community. Her biggest concerns were keeping the camp dry, and figuring out some place for them to keep their belongings and food storage, as well as figuring out a way to start preparing hot meals, especially with winter coming up. She is the backbone of this movement, and one of my biggest inspirations, not just with activism, but with life.

I am not an activist. I am a full time student of writing, a part time employee, and a concerned citizen who saw injustice and wanted to call them to the attention of other people. I started a petition on Sunday, and by the time of this post, there are over 9,400 signatures and growing. I had no idea what I was doing would grow so large so quickly. A woman named Nancy Wade emailed me when the petition was hovering around 4,000, and gave me pointers and helped me organize so that I could deliver the petition. She is affiliated with activist groups, but that did not in any way effect this petition or me.

I am happy to be able to assist the people who work hard to get everyone's voices heard, and proud to live in a country where that can happen.

I have just one request from whoever reads this; Listen to one another. We need unification, not division.

Thank you,

Wyl Villacres

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: Gina Frangello - Slut Lullabies

Slut Lullabies- Gina Frangello

Star Rating: 4/5

Readability: 3/5

Sex Appeal: 2/5

Ability to anger the elderly: 5/5

Slut Lullabies. That is the first mistake I make on the train ride home. Reading a book called Slut Lullabies. The word “Slut” placed prominently on the cover, on the throat of the cover photo of a woman under a scarf. The scarf is sheer, and the top of a pink nipple can be seen at the edge of the book, just popping out to say hello to the elderly woman across from me. She is not happy about seeing a nipple, because (and this is an assumption) she hasn’t seen her own nipples since they fell below her belly button many moons ago. Or perhaps she’s offended by the word “Slut.” She glares at me, and that’s when I make my second mistake. I don’t like old people, so I ask her, quite snipingly, what she is looking at.

“Your filthy pornography!” she hisses, grey hair leaving it’s carefully permed post to go rouge and prove her anger. “It’s filth! You should be ashamed!”

Old women have a habit of telling me that the things I’m reading are “filth.” Usually it’s because I am reading actual pornography on the train, ogling centerfolds and saving numbers for phone sex hotlines. And in those situations, I understand that cover stories like “Jenni Swift and Amber Foxx: Aussies Go Down Under” could make some people feel uncomfortable. Or maybe it’s the naked woman on the front. At some point I realize that the old woman is still talking at me.

“God’s wrath is boundless, and his vengeance will be known! Repent you pervert sinner! Repent!” Her face starts to turn red, the blue veins that snake across it are bulging and her eyes are trying desperately to escape from her head. She’s spitting with every word, and soon the rest of the train is staring at me like I have done something wrong. Let’s not forget that I was just reading a book with less than a half of a nipple under a scarf on the cover. The story that I am currently reading is pretty kosher too! It’s about… alright; it’s about women giving blow jobs. But that isn’t the point.

“Pervert” starts to echo around the train. Older women are the first and most brazen perpetrators, glaring while they say it. Then younger women, driven by their older counter parts, join in. The men start to look too. They seem to come from a different angle, though. The look they share is one of fleeting compassion, and then opportunistic joy. This then fades to faux anger and disgust, as they turn in their plastic seats to face their female counterparts. “That man is disgusting. Shame on him.” They seem to say. Inside, inside all of those men, they feel bad for selling me out. For not standing up for me. They could see the book, and even if they couldn’t, they understood that old women get too uppity about everything, and that if they judged anyone for looking at a porn rag, even if there was one, they would have to judge themselves harder, and first.

There is a difference between pornography and art. This debate has been had too many times, but still it’s a problem. Should nipples be part of cover art? Are sex scenes in movies gratuitous? Even down to the use of words with sexual connotations, we seem to have a problem talking about, looking at, or thinking about sex whilst in public. Gina Frangello doesn’t seem to have that problem, and it shows in Slut Lullabies. The collection of short stories covers sexual themes ranging from rape to passionless marriages to blow jobs in advertising. And all of it done in way that lets the reader know “it’s ok to talk about these things. You do it. Your friends do it. Your parents do/did it.” (not rape. But, you know, sex and stuff.) In ten stories, Gina Frangello takes you on a ride, leaving your breathless and feeling something inside you that you didn’t feel before.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pill Whore

You used to cut the coke with baby aspirin and baking soda. You could flip an 8ball like a quad. That means just about nothing to most people, but the kids you ran with would marvel at that statement and treat you like a goddamn god.

Megan never noticed that the gram you would sell her every other day was weak. She might have, if she hadn’t been so fucked up on pills, the pills you used to sell her, and using the baby aspirin coke to bring herself back up from it. She might have noticed if she wasn’t trying to coat her brain with powders; white to speed her up, pink to slow her down, light blue to completely incapacitate her. You sold her ketamine once. She liked that all too much, muttering on about how she could watch herself like a TV show, from above, flying. Her eyes sat in her doughy face, thick black eyeliner getting slathered wider around her eyes, trying desperately to cover up the purple bags sagging under them. She hadn’t lost much weight, unlike most of the other junkies that started calling you all too often. You used to go meet them somewhere, the Meijer parking lot, the Steak n’ Shake, the park, all of the lonely places in your town that would never catch a glimpse of the handshake that took just a little too long and was a little too sloppy, as tiny plastic bags slid across a hand full of bills, the exchange done in as secret a way as possible. But they would never come to your house. You lived with your parents still, you did. You had moved back home after failing out, doing too many drugs yourself and fucking up. Now you’re a dealer, trying to make money until you can find a job, trying to find an apartment so that you can move out of your parents ranch house with the big yard, the big black room you call your own, and the refrigerator that is always stocked.

Megan is the only customer you let inside your house. You’ve known each other forever, since you were kids. She always was bigger, especially in the middle, the thighs, the arms, the tits. Oh, the tits. You still think about that night the year before when you had your chance; she was jealous of the girl, her pretty blonde friend that you were hitting on and to assert her dominance, she started kissing you. You got a hand up her shirt, for a while. Then you moved and she fucked your best friend, then started doing coke, stopped fucking your best friend, and started visiting you, brown eyes glossy and shining in your dull basement light, asking you for a favor.

“I don’t have any cash right now.” She said, running her hand along the top of her tank top. It was winter, don’t forget, so why was she wearing a tank top?

“Then you don’t get any of this.” You said, shaking the bag in the air. You smiled.

“Well, I mean, is there something else I can do? A favor maybe? Something more interesting?” She was being coy, batting her eyelashes, looking silly, really, a girl trying too hard. You remember when she was eleven, falling down in gym class, scrapping her knee and crying, even though she didn’t break the skin all that much.

“I don’t think I know what you’re getting at.” You lie. You remember that time you had just started high school, and she asked you what it was like, as if it were some special privilege that you received, something great, terrifying, wonderful.

“I think you do.” She says, slipping her left strap off of her shoulder, the black bra strap falling as well, meeting the red fabric of her shirt, and you remember the night that you kissed, fighting hard to race the sun when you would have to leave, go back to your house; you wanted to go further, to start exploring, to start working your way inside her jeans, but you got stopped in her shirt, her friend asleep in the bed next to you, dawn rapidly approaching. Megan takes a step towards you, from the black frame couch you have pressed up against your wall, to the bed in the corner that you sit on, wooden stash box filled with baggies in your lap. She drops the other straps, her shirt barely clutching onto her now heaving breasts as she inhales and exhales in what you guess is a sexy way, in through pursed lips, out through her nose, the ring in it vibrating with each breath.

You think and you think and you think. What will you do in this situation? Chances are, you’ll probably laugh it off, tell her to fuck off, and spend the rest of the night masturbating while thinking of her.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

death (non-fiction)

My first run in with death­­, I was probably eight years old. I had a grandfather, the reason my family is where they are today, die from lung cancer a few years earlier, but I didn’t understand what that meant. In the years that followed, mortality was explained better, whether through school or simply understanding life itself better, and one day, in a Burger King, I was witness to the end of it.

I only vaguely remember the set-up. My family lived behind the BK and would go in lieu of cooking for most meals. It was day time, probably summer, and as I sat, eating the double cheeseburger I never finished, I heard a boy whimpering. He must have been older, sitting in the booth adjacent near the window, his little brother next to him with his mother and youngest sister across. They were all blonde. The kind of blonde that you expect to see in JC Penny catalogues, wearing the clothes you would expect such people to be wearing. Khakis, casual vests, the mom in Chino’s, that sort of thing. The kids were all eating kids meals, the bags or boxes that they came in crammed into the corners of their trays, the toys still wrapped but placed on the table, yet un opened. The eldest, the one whimpering, had something extra as well. Something white and furry, a small ball that he had placed on his tray on top of the burger wrapper, half of the sandwich still sitting there. He stroked it with his fingers, the tears welling up in his eyes, his face going red, and his muttering becoming more and more audible, “Please don’t die. Please don’t. Please. Please?” until his mother (and the rest of the restaurant) could hear. His mother started yelling, chastising him for bringing the pet with him. Her bob slashed around her face as she reminded him how she told him to leave it at home, and how the dear pet’s death was his own fault. He didn’t raise a water eye, instead his face slid like old glass, the tears running, dropping on the tiny corpse. My family finished their meals at this point, my mother walking to the counter to tell the manager of the health risk at the boy’s table, and I didn’t take my eyes off of my peer as he cried and mourned the death of his ward, friend, and plaything.

Of course, I can only assume many of the details. His family may have forgotten all of the details. My family hasn’t ever brought it up. We’ve dealt with deaths since then, real deaths of loved ones, some well before their time. My own mortality has become something I understand and think about, yet in the face of all of this, I still wonder what that boy thought at the moment that death was in his hands. To be the one who caused it. I once cut down one of my grandmother’s roses. I cried, not wanting the flower to die. Not knowing that, with flowers, death is a continual occurrence, with rebirth always following. It’s nature’s way of showing us how fleeting we human’s really are.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Italy #2

I'm not sure what i was hoping to get out of this trip. I was hoping for some sort of adventure, maybe? A world understanding? A vacation from America? Did i get any of it?

Sure, to a point. But more than that, I feel like i lost touch with any solid idea of where I belong. This isn't some existential crisis of "oh I don't know who I am!" no, this is an amplified feeling of not having a place in the world. This is masturbatory bitching about feeling lonely, while surrounded by people, half way across the world, and i can't seem to stop.

I prefer to alienate myself from others. I prefer to sit in my kitchen, complaining about how I feel lost, and confused, instead of actually talking to anyone. They are strangers. We've known each other for two weeks, and i'm supposed to turn to them for help? Certainly not. That requires opening up, going into details of the past, of the present, and hoping for someone to understand enough to be able to look at me as if i wasn't crazy and say "I get it."

I assume, based on preconceived notions of class, that I am alone in my mind numbingly boring anguish. I assume that i shit out bullshit and that's all it will ever be. Bullshit. My whole life revolves around me saying shit that isn't real, and the lines are starting to blur. I just want to be where I know where I am, and that, of course, means two things.

I don't know. What I'm trying to say is that I feel sad. So very, very sad.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

words. (back to fiction!)

“And then she just fucking cut his dick off!”

“Oh, fuck off.”

“No man, seriously! Then he became this, like, awesome fucking salesman; the best!”

“No. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. What is it with you and these fucking stories anyway?”

“What do you mean?”

“Man, every day you walk in here, put on an apron, and launch into some crazy story that you ‘heard on the news’ or ‘heard from a friend’ or ‘read on the internet’ or wherever you make this shit up from. Then you act like their true and if I question any details, you go into a different story that supposed to prove your point, but it’s just more bullshit.”

“Whoa. Well, I don’t know what I’m supposed to tell you about…”

“Dude, just tell me about your life. I tell you about mine, like that girl who used to call me Silver, like the horse from The Lone Ranger, for all the right reasons!”

Tori had told me lots of stories about his late night trysts, his escapades around foreign countries looking for tail, his prowess that was only matched by his alcohol tolerance. And good for him for being able to share all of that. He stood there, leaning against the black screen of the cash register, the pale yellow morning light crawling through the window, casting everything in a sick shine, and waited for me to tell him something about myself. We had been working together for three months at the smoothie joint, and I doubt he knew my last name.

It’s not that I was a compulsive liar. I told him fiction because for the last ten years I had gone from shitty job to shitty job, working my ass off, dropped out of school twice, and only recently could go more than a week without getting drunk or stoned. While all of it was happening, sure, I had some good times. You have to, otherwise you find yourself at the end of a rope or on the bathroom floor, foaming from the mouth, empty pill bottles around you. But reminiscing about that time you got so drunk and had to run from the cops, well, it gets old, quick. It makes you feel old. Like the good times are all over, and, hey, maybe they are.

I woke up on a sheet-less mattress at five in the morning, trying to stretch out of the night before. Every movement felt like it was done while wearing chains. Standing up was hell on earth.

I left for work on a third generation bike, the rusted chain rubbing against the flaking green frame, begging a rock, a bottle, anything, to jump up and break it clean off. On the way, passing the early morning jogger and the tranny prostitutes walking down Belmont, I tried to think of something good to tell Tori, something that would take up time so that he couldn’t ask me any personal questions.

“Come on, man. Tell me something real.”

“You want something real?” I was tired. Or maybe I wanted someone to talk to. An open ear that I could spill my soul to, clearing out all of the bullshit that I hadn’t told anyone because there was no one to tell. Maybe I just wanted him to realize why I didn’t like talking about true things. Either way, I looked at him and said “I’m turning twenty seven this year. I have never accomplished any of my goals. I stopped talking to my mom almost three years ago because all she said was how I was wasting my potential and how big of a disappointment I was.” I started pacing the floor, grabbing a straw in my left hand to mash into an unrecognizable mass of plastic, the other flailing wildly as my words tried to leave my body through any possible means. “I spent three months in a hospital for coke addiction when I was seventeen. I have to take so many pills to keep me sane, that I count them as my breakfast. I will never find a woman to marry, because I have commitment issues. Not to mention my dick is the size of a Gordon’s fish stick.”

“Shit.” Tori looked down, and started playing with a penny, rolling back and forth on the counter with his fore finger.

“So fuck off with this truth bullshit, ok?”

“Do you need a hug or something?”

“I need a cigarette.” I rubbed my hands on the apron, feeling every waterproof fiber with my callouses. Aprons. Everything I do, I do in aprons. The cycle never ends.

Tori was tall, a few inches taller than me, but at the moment I seemed like a giant next to him.

I never gathered an enthusiasm for living. I never found myself taking a walk and admiring flowers or a child’s laugh. I learned, quite quickly, to see the ugliness of the world. Love stories were works of saps, and language? Language was a tool for concise communication. Long winded explanations, poetic prose, are all just trying to cover up a lack of insight or actual experience. Manufacturing a life based around the good times, the happy memories, the sting of defeat only to be followed with a lesson or a “que sera sera”, it’s all (to be concise) bullshit.

It’s a bitter self-loathing that comes through the truths that I could tell. You grow up poor, you stay poor, you start to lose your sense of wonder and beauty. The rich have it easy, big houses, silver spoons, opportunities presented to them in the form of a “I don’t know why, but you’ve earned it!” The fortunate see the world as a wondrous place filled with whimsy and wind thrown cautions, forever knowing that below them, should they fall, lays a safety net. Landing on your feet is a given when you fall wearing a harness. I couldn’t tell Tori stories about me. It wouldn’t interest him, because when I look out at what is happening in the world around me, I see the misery, and I quickly spell it out. I do not dwell. I can’t think of my dreams as a mysterious, multi-faceted playground of emotions, the good bringing joy and the bad haunting, giving insight, or whatever. They are a collection of what has happened during your shitty day, and sometimes you wake up screaming. Or at least I do.

The rains came in while Tori and I sat in silence. They sky was black at ten in the morning, and droplets no longer described what was falling. It was the kind of rain that makes Christians build an arc or start preparing for the second coming. The giant glass windows shook with each clap of thunder, and the wind howled like a dying child calling for its mother. I thought about apologizing to Tori for the outburst, but as I watched him study the toe of his shoe I though, eh… fuck it.

Eight hours passed and the rain had let up significantly. My shift was over and I headed home. I was tired, and as I left, Tori asked if I wanted to go out for a drink or something. He looked worried. I told him I wanted to go home and drink a bottle of Drain-o, before hopping on my bike and pedaling home. As I cruised over the slick streets, passed taxis and disappointed Cubs fans leaving the rained out game, I sighed. At home, chaining my bike to a rod iron fence, I looked up into the once dark sky, and staring back at me, brightly in the sky, was a rainbow. I just walked inside.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Oh shit! Italy!

I got lazy in Hawaii and haven't written shit. This is me, writing, about Italy.

I have spent the last 3 days drunk. Or recovering from being drunk. Which usually involves me waking up, drinking as much water as i can stomach, moaning about a headache, and drinking more alcohol. This morning was rough; my head was pounding, my mouth was bitter and covered in a thick, white film, and despite our recent venture to the grocery store, we had nothing easily accessible other than crumbling bread and beer. Instead we drank a bottle of chianti.
The thing about drinking red wine in order to drown a headache is that it works all too well. Wine, then a walk to buy more wine, then prosecco (the mix of red and white sparkling was too much and the bottle was re-corked and put in the refrigerator for later.), finally followed with a bottle that was more of a jug with a screw on cap (another red). This was all before it was one in the afternoon, and we had drank until four in the morning the night/day before. The apartment is constantly littered with empty bottles, or half empty bottles that are begging to be finished, and by god, we will finish them. I found cups from the bar under a chair, still filled with a fruity drink and a lemon wedge. Those, I do not aim to finish.
The jug of wine took us to a bridge on the other end of town. Under the bridge to be exact. We walked past Michelangelo's David, past statues of Da Vinci, over a canal, until we came to a graffiti covered landing staring out over the river. Anarchist slogans and symbols dotted the trash covered concrete, and the congregation of middle-aged, middle-eastern men made our adventure surprisingly more enjoyable. After the wine was gone, and so was I, the walk home was all I had to keep from vomiting. I passed out on the couch.

It's not that Firenze is all a drunken blur. I have walked cobblestone streets that are older than my home country. I have sat in a window in a piazza sketching a world renowned church. I wandered city streets alone while reminding myself over and over again that this, even if it is only for a short period of time, is my home. I have come to conclusions about myself, my life, and my future while simultaneously enjoyed the blissful ignorance of living not day by day, but hour by hour. We followed paper footsteps up a hill to discover the greatest view of one of the greatest cities on earth. Still, the inebriation that has followed me, the days and nights filled with glasses of wine and shots of whiskey seem to force themselves to the forefront. Even so, I find myself saying "Wow. I am doing this." several times a day.

And I couldn't be happier doing it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Accident.

This is an excerpt from a bigger story. Enjoy!

My parents backyard pressed up against the access road, mere feet away from the Snyder welcome sign, and a literal stones throw from Pentook, the next town over. Pentook was famous (in the city of Snyder, anyway) as the worlds biggest population of douche bags and whores. This approximation was based on high school rivalries that were never let go after graduation. The populations of both cities tended to stay exactly where they were, leading to fourth, fifth, and six generation Snyderites and Pentookians. I can only imagine that the residents of Pentook felt the same towards us, but the figures stacked in our favor. Pentook had one of the highest drunk driving rates in the state at that time, with fourteen deaths a year, which is impressive for a town with a population that wouldn’t fill half of the Twin Cities Baseball Stadium (which possesses a modest 34,237 seats.) Every couple of weeks, I get to watch the funeral procession go passed the welcome sign and down the road towards Great Hill cemetery, the orange flags waving on raised, big wheeled trucks, low rider sedans, or the occasional motorcycle gang.
In June, I spent a lot of time smoking behind my parents house, hiding behind the shed that sat in an overly planned and organize mess of Midwestern wildflowers. My mom was a school teacher, and as soon as May hit, she began looking for projects, and the garden was this year’s. She bought black tubs filled with pre-grown blues and purples, yellows and greens, and spent three days arranging them on top of the soil, trying to get that perfectly executed mess. First they were too random, then not nearly enough, then she had to walk away, her short hair teased and frayed from her worried hands running through it. I thought it looked the same every time she rearranged it, but I kept my mouth shut, only offering a “looks good, ma” when she looked at me, her eyes silently asking me to say it.
My parents weren’t the loose, carefree type that turned a blind eye to childhood shenanigans. My father was raised Catholic in New York, moving to the North Star State with my mom soon after they got married. His parents were immigrants, living in Spanish Harlem, and raised him to be disciplined and to make it out of the neighborhood. He worked for the electric company as a plant manager, sitting behind a desk that he had earned after climbing poles and fixing transformers to put himself through college. A Cuban, and looking like it, he stuck out against the snow white town, but unlike Dave and the “Spic Racer,” my dad had fought hard to assimilate. It was fitting in that allowed him to move up, he believed. No one likes an immigrant, or anything they can mistake for one.
My mom was the product of a broken home and teen years of being a hippy. She left home at sixteen to finish high school from friends couches and her car. She worked her way into and through college as a waitress, a dry cleaner, a maid, and a drug dealer. My mom kept secrets, and lots of them, usually about her past. She was a teacher now. She had a degree now. She had a family and a life now. Why talk about then? This secret life, paired with the work ethic and demand on the other side, lead to my parents watching my every move. Parties were coded “band practice with Dave,” which was a long formulated idea, but would never get off the ground. I could never come home smelling like beer or weed, otherwise I would have to come up with elaborate stories about girls caught in bad situations, and having to go rescue them and drive them home. It wasn’t that my parents were overly protective. They just didn’t like the idea that their son would get into trouble or end up like all of the other drop outs or wastes of space that many of the kids of Snyder would turn into.
I smoked outside for the obvious reasons. I wasn’t sure if I was addicted (like my health teachers told me I would be after my first puff,) if it had just become a habit (it takes twenty one days to form. I had smoked for about that long,) or if it was just an excuse to be outside. It didn’t really matter to me as I watched the cars pass by, headlights turned towards the casino, the dual white lights going valiantly towards battle with the house that always wins, so sure of their luck, that they would be the one who would turn the tables and come out ahead. Or the red lights, moving under the speed limit, sheepishly, their lamps dulled by defeat, the energy required to shine taxing their spirit just a bit too much. The smoke would get caught in the summer wind, mix with the sweet tastes of the flowers, and the warm scent of night before blowing steadily east. It was what fireflies tried to look like, that smell. It was what a seventeen year old dreams about for months, counting the days until it is nice enough outside that they can sit, wrapped only in darkness, and breathe, be it clean air or acrid smoke. The hum of the cicadas was interrupted by the Doppler rush of cars, but other than that, it was quiet. Until the metallic screams of a dirt bike’s over revved engine pierced the night. The bike climbed the hill heading west, weaving though both lanes, wobbling heavily before straightening out again. The bike’s motor grew louder as it approached me, and as it was set to pass by my house, one of the tires slid hard to the drivers left. As he over corrected, leaning his whole body to the right, but not letting go of the gas, he headed straight towards the sign.
I don’t know if he was drunk. But as I sat there, entranced by the scene, he seemed like he was in total control. Time slowed. His face was clear, in perfect focus as though I were within arms reach. He smiled, winked even, and turned his attention back towards his direction. He threw his head back in a laugh, cursed the world, and raised his arms as if to be pulled by the heart upwards. The bike continued to work its way towards the sign, rearing like a horse in battle, stampeding towards its enemy, sentient and without direction.
Everything happened so fast. It was a blur of white and green as the plastic covered bike and him went face first into the wooden sign. The post splintered, but held enough that the driver went over the handlebars, flailing and screaming, before crashing into the ground twenty feet away with an explosion of snapping. It was like someone dropped a wine barrel from a four story roof. Neighbors’ porch lights popped on, the bugs all hushed in fear, and my mother came out the back door, asking “What was that?”
“Call an ambulance!” I yelled back, the dirt bike resting on the spotlight that light up the sign, still running.
“Oh my god. Is anyone hurt?” she called back, but I didn’t hear. I was running towards the man. I don’t know why, there was nothing I would be able to do for him. I had no idea how to do the Heimlich, nevertheless secure a broken bone. I guess I just wanted him to not be alone or scared. I wanted to help him, even if it was just to listen to him as he cried. I could call someone for him. I kept running towards him down the road. I could hold his hand and tell him the ambulance was on it’s way. I could tell him it was all going to be ok. I ran across the street. I could turn off his bike for him. I could put it in our garage until he could come back and get it. I could wait with him. I reached him.
There was so much blood on the street, but I couldn’t see it until I was close because it was so dark. I always thought the color was closer to a stop sign, but in the pool that was growing around the man, it was almost black. He laid on the ground, looking like he was trying to push himself up, one arm farther forward that the other, one leg bent and raised so it rested on the knee. His skin was tan. He only wore a white t-shirt that now had lighter red veins working their way up towards the back, the cotton absorbing the mess around him. His blue jeans were turning purple. Then I saw it. His forehead had slammed into the pavement, and smeared under his face were tan streaks and grey globs. Like raw ground turkey. I skidded to a stop from my full run, stumbled into the bushes, and vomited, cried, puked again, and cried a lot more. My dad was the next one to the scene. He came over to me, put one hand around my shoulders, the other on my eyes, and led me back home, the ambulance would be able to take care of it without me being there.

The police came to the house to ask what had happened. I told them what little there was so say. That he had been going so fast, that the tire slipped, that he leaned hard, that the bike hit the sign, that he went flying, that blood is so dark, that brains should never be out of the head, that I puked, that I cried, that I was still crying, that I was so sorry that I couldn’t have helped him, that I needed a cigarette, that it was summer vacation and nothing bad is supposed to happen, that the bike slipped on the street, that he was going so fast, that brains…, that his forehead hit the pavement, that I wanted to help…
I stayed inside for three days after that. The cops called the house and talked to my mom, telling her that he was from Pentook, that his blood tests showed that he was high on methamphetamines and had a .14 BAC, that the town was lucky that he didn’t hurt anyone, and that I should know that I did the exact right thing by having someone call 9-1-1 before checking on him. She should be proud to have such a level headed son. The community is happy to have me in it. She told me this. She told me that it was ok. That there was nothing I could do, and that I shouldn’t dwell. But as I laid on my bed, the stucco ceiling made pictures of the blood, the bits of bone, the whole scene. I had shaved my brown hair, no longer a curly mess, but buzzed almost to the scalp. My jaw looked harder, more pronounced, stronger that way. I had worry lines developing in my forehead. My eyes had always been some shade of hazel, greener some days, but now they were all brown. They never changed back.
I tried to get back into the swing of summer after that. They fixed the sign using a metal bracket on either side of where the post had cracked. Darla would call, we would walk. I would smoke. She would harass me about it. I would tell her “at least it wasn’t meth.” She would cry. I would apologize and we would walk some more. Night would come and we would head to the beach to drink with Dave. Until August, at least.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


this is an excerpt from an instance collection that is being written by... me. obviously.

We found out what our mother did for her second job when we woke up and wanted to hear a bedtime story. We had climbed out of our beds, grabbed out respective teddy bears and walked down the hall to her door, before turning the knob and pushing open the door. There, wearing his dress shirt, tie, glasses, socks, and nothing else was our kindergarten teacher, Mr. Hansen, sweat pouring down from his high and tight hair cut, our mother on her back with her legs pulled into the air, wearing only a string of pearls and high heals. She looked at us wide-eyed, then looked back up at Mr. Hansen who did not seem to have any intention of stopping, before freezing with her eyes closed. Mr. Hansen continued to bounce up and down, up and down, the sweat dripping on our mothers face, on our parents blue sheets that covered their four post bed. Our father, who art in heaven, would look down and notice the hundred dollar bill that sat on their bedside table, near a clear glass candy dish shaped like an egg that appeared green from the cash stuffed inside of it. We didn’t know what to do, confronted by our teacher, not knowing what was going on, so we just walked away, leaving the door open. As we climbed back into our twin beds on opposite sides of our blue room, climbing under our own blue sheets, we heard Mr. Hansen make strange, alien sounds, before everything got silent. Then the subtle hint of a sob. Then a hiccup and more sobs. Then there was crying. Low and muffled, but deep and painful tears. Then out mother’s voice “It’s ok. It will all be ok.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Touch. (part 4 of pizza slut. more to come)

They took their clothes off (they had been dying Megan’s hair blue this time, and as Alex had set the bottle of dye on the white bathroom sink (leaving a ring the same size as all the other, that would never wash out, but instead sell with the house all those years later) after checking to see if enough time had passed so they could watch it out (this is a ritual that took place every time. No matter how much of an expert they had both become- just a step away from being professionals- he still checked the instructions again. Twenty minutes would pass, he would check the instructions, quote them before he actually read them, double check, and put the bottle down to hold Megan’s head under the sink, watching the colors swirl around his bony fingers and down the drain, before rubbing her head vigorously with a now tie-dyed towel.)) As they sat in Megan’s room. She had mentioned something about not wanting to be “sucky” for her real first time, and asked Alex to practice with her. He didn’t really want to, worried that she would… He didn’t want her to see him naked anyway; it was about to be the first time that a girl had seen it, and he wasn’t all that sure on how he would stack up against anyone else.

The boys at school would talk with bravado and faux baritone voices about their sizes; about future conquests that were sure to take place that weekend. They would throw around a porno, whatever one of the asshole jock kids could steal from their parents or the 7/11. Typically it was Hustler that would garner the most interest. Women masturbating, women spreading, women with other women, occasionally a man and a woman (Alex would find these sets, towards the back, when the magazine got tossed to him with a “Here, faggot! You’re supposed to look at pussy, not be a pussy.”.) He knew he wouldn’t match quite the magazine’s men’s size. But still, she almost begged (she barely asked. She normally laid out their plans, and why would today be any different? It’s just going to be once, and then I can say I’ve fucked a girl. Better than any of them can do!) so he folded. Both his argument (there was none) and his clothes, before sliding a dirty plate off of a speaker and placing them gingerly on top.

Megan was tearing off her clothes, throwing them haphazardly across the room into one of the piles of dirty laundry that dotted the landscape. She wanted to get it over with: the first time. It had occurred to her that fucking Alex might put a strain on their relationship, make it complicated, but she didn’t know why. Something her older sister had told her once. That friends can’t hook up without ruining things. But Megan didn’t think that would happen to them. She also thought it would be good for Alex to get with a woman. He was always the butt of the gay jokes at school, and I mean, if he is gay, well… I don’t know. But, I mean, he’s gonna fuck me right now, so he can’t be gay. Megan was down to her underwear, a pink pair of panties and the only non-sports bra she owned. It was a coincidence, but something felt serendipitous about it, although she would never be able to figure out what serendipitous meant, or how to pronounce it. She spent more time on her hair than her homework, and her mother did little in the way of active parenting. She mostly sat in front of the computer, images of lonely, ageing men (the endless stream made them faceless; she didn’t investigate into any further) on a free dating website passing before her eyes, as she polished off another glass of off-brand white wine. That being said, Megan had started smoking pot a year or two back (she didn’t really keep track, just spent more money, smoked more weed, and dyed her hair again) and her grades showed it. She wasn’t worried, though, as one day they would look up and see her name in light. They would buy her CDs, her posters, her t-shirts; they would pay to see her play the Metro or The Congress. She just needed to learn the guitar first.

Alex turned, glancing over his shoulder from the foot of the bed, and turned up the stereo, setting it to shuffle through the five discs. While Megan was within arm’s reach, she felt miles away, and what they were about to do seemed light years into the future. She was smiling at him, softly, with no teeth, reaching a hand behind her, fumbling, and letting her bra hang loose on her shoulders. He felt nervous to see her, knowing that it meant she would have to see him next, knowing that this was the first step, knowing that as soon as her bra was off he would have to do something instead of sit with his hands folded in his lap, trying to hide his dick.

She let it slide down her arms, shaking her shoulders slightly to help it along. She felt her nipples harden from the cold of the room. She looked down. She didn’t want to look at him yet and she didn’t want to look at him naked yet either. She just breathed. Fuck it. She leaned back, pushing herself up against the headboard, legs crossed under her, arms straight pushing her hands deep into the mattress. Alex looked. She was proud. She was stoic. Suddenly her eyes burst to life, she leaned forward and pulled Alex by the arm on top of her and started kissing him. It was hard and uncoordinated; he was trying to figure out what to do with her tongue as well as his own. She pushed his boxers to his knees, then used her toes to pull them the rest of the way off. He wondered if he was supposed to reciprocate. She seemed to hear his thoughts, and responded by biting his ear and nodding. She wasn’t sure why she bit him; she watched it in one of her dad’s videos. He used to keep them in an otherwise empty suitcase in his closet, and she would take them to her room when he wasn’t home (almost every night, until his suitcase was gone for good) and watch.

Alex pulled back from Megan and slid his hands down her white and soft with fat stomach. He came over to smoke weed and dye hair, but now here they were. He didn’t look as he pulled off the panties, instead catching the corner of something poking out from between the mattress and box spring. As she bent her legs at the knee and brought them up, he recognized the angular font of the “-ER” that poked out. It was the same font he saw in the locker room when he would be hit with the same magazine. He studied the corner of the magazine, trying to remember just how male focused any of the pictures were (there were a few. Not nearly enough to warrant owning a copy…)forgetting what he was supposed to be doing.

Megan pulled him down, back on top of her, and flinched at the touch of his penis on her skin. She tried rubbing back and forth against him, but it didn’t feel right; it didn’t feel like what she expected sex to be. It wasn’t bad, it didn’t hurt, but the last thing it did was feel good. He tried not to grimace as he felt her pubic hair tickle his crotch. He shivered. She felt it, and laughed, putting her face in the crook of his neck and snorting, trying to keep whatever moment they had. She didn’t try anything else from the videos or magazines, just kept rocking, and the music kept playing. She didn’t make any noise other than the every-so-often suppressed giggle. She wondered why he wasn’t hard. She thought about how he never said anything about that fucking name they call him. She thought about the Abercrombie catalogue he kept “to make fun of the douchey clothes.”

He thought about the magazine. He thought about how tough Megan was. He thought about how she didn’t chastise him for not trying to date anyone, or go to a dance, or play spin the bottle, or anything. He thought about their walks down the halls of the school; how she would slow down when passing a girl in a short skirt, and spend the next few minutes talking trash about the girl, how she was a slut, how she just wanted to show off, and how if the topic strayed she would bring it back, always looking off in the distance like she was staring at a photograph of a distant friend.

“I’ve been denied/ all the best/ ultra sex!” rang through the room. Alex stopped moving. Megan did too. They looked into each other’s eyes, said nothing, then got up and started the slow process of putting their clothes back on. “Do you want to smoke still?” Alex asked, buttoning his pants, and staring at the floor.

“Yeah, but can we take a walk first?” she replied.

“Uh- ok?”

“And, maybe, let’s not talk. Let’s just walk.” Megan was already walking out of the room, and Alex got up to follow as the last words of the song floated after them down the hallway-

“Faggot faggot faggot faggot!”