Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sheldor the Cruel: A Tale of Subterfuge and Cognitive Disregard

He tried and failed to reach me. But somehow he did persuade me into an elevator, a really small, tight elevator fit for only one person, claustrophobically, intimidatingly small, and stuck on a one-way path to the roof, a place I did not desire to visit. I don’t have a clear recollection of how he got me into that elevator but he achieved the feat nonetheless.

We were engaged in a race, a scavenger hunt to be more accurate, but I don’t know why he had to stoop to subterfuge to get a head start over me. After all, he is a genius and I am only aggressively mediocre; he could beat me at games of intellect so easily and practically without trying. So why did he stick me in that broken elevator that only went up to floor six, never down to the ground? He did it to be catty, unsophisticated and deceptive. I didn’t enjoy the suffocating ride to the penthouse floor, that’s for sure. There was a time I thought I might die trapped in that box.

But thankfully it didn’t last long. I burst out as soon as the doors opened and located the exit stairs quickly. Then I took the stairs down, down, down to the bottom, sprinting fast and maniacally. By the time I finally got outside and skirted across the lawn to the first set of clues, he was long gone as I expected him to be. That bastard probably figured out the first puzzle before he even finished reading it. And that is why I have been convinced now to cheat in order to defeat him. I have been persuaded to overcome him because he stooped to subterfuge. He never needed to deign to such measures to corral me. But he did. And now he is on my list, the list that ends all other lists.

I don’t have the constitution to sit cross-legged on the grass like a Bunny Buddha and try to figure out the involved puzzle that has large mathematical equations to solve, the one that has been laid out in front of all participants in this outwardly purposeless scavenger hunt that we are now engaged. Even before Sheldon led me astray, I was tempted to cheat because I knew I couldn’t win fair and square. I only got a B in high school calculus and only because the teacher smoked pot and gave everyone passing grades to compensate for his disregard. He also put a midget in a trashcan one time but that wasn’t why he was eventually asked to retire. Either way, I need to cheat now because my math skills are subpar and I have absolutely no inherent competitive nature.

I look around at all the other people engaged in the game, the scavenger hunt I barely cared about earlier this morning, reading the clues and looking up toward the sky in critical thought, hoping to solve the enigma on the paper laid out before them. I have decided that I am going to parasite off these people in order to advance to the next stage, follow blindly from one spot to the other, until the last clue awaits me.

That is where I might find him, looking around scrupulously, biting his nails and thinking hard about the critical common knowledge that he should have, the knowledge that will be his eventual undoing. Unfortunately for him, he’s never lived a day in his life, not really. I can beat him on that prospect alone. I’m almost certain of it.

I hope the last clue is derived from common sense or popular culture, something he knows nothing about. If I can get to that point, I can swoop in and win the prize, whatever useless trinket it might be. He thinks by one-upping me early on, he has earned some kind of distinctive honor; all he accomplished was to make me more determined to beat him in a game that I never even cared about winning in the first place. Prior to this, I would have treated this little game as a fun obstacle that might yield me some writing material. But now I see it as a way to bring down a genius, force him into a restrictive box, and make him see that his particular brand of knowledge is of no lasting use to this world. I want to devastate him now. He has made it so.

Using my keen observation skills and a bit of charm, I’m able to follow closely to the other groups of people who are smart enough to solve the calculus equation on the first clue card to advance. They make their covert way to the next clue and I act as though I have figured out the same thing. Nerds are easy to read. I will not be led astray again because the entire group is heading in the same direction. I’ll get there soon enough.

I know, as I follow the leaders, that Sheldon is up there somewhere, somewhere in front of me, scanning clues and trying to decipher hidden meanings. He is trying to be triumphant. But it won’t matter in the long run. His brainiac mind can’t beat my calm, dispassionate reason, especially when it comes to common sense and popular culture. I have lived a more public-inspired life; I’ll find the useless treasure long before he can even figure out what Radiohead means.

I come up on the puzzle of the next clue just as others are pulling the envelopes from the dispenser. I pull my own envelope and take out the contents to see if this is something I can solve on my own. It appears to be a puzzle of sorts. I hate performing busy work. I look over the shoulders of other people and see that their half-finished puzzles resemble a high-rise building, a building located downtown that looks familiar. I know exactly where it is. Fuck this puzzle; I’m moving on.

I get up and head in the direction of the building represented in puzzle form, intent on finding him there, or other frontrunners that might aid my further advancement. If no one is lurking nearby, I will wait and watch. I will take down Sheldon in this pointless, futile exercise, even if it is the last thing I do. 

-- keep close the vein of empty thoughts --

At the next challenge, the puzzle that actually ends up being the final piece of the scavenger hunt, I find him sitting there cross-legged in the grass, peering around suspiciously, looking for someone that means him harm. As I approach, I pick up one of the clues and set out to deciphering it before him. He regards me with narrowed eyes, scared, narrowed eyes, pupils shaking back and forth, his mind captured and strangled with millions of different catastrophic scenarios. I smile sinisterly as I take my seat and turn my attention to the clue. This will be my most prominent victory.

I will make him cry, a feat without a challenge, and make him beg for the time where his battles were less intrusive and intelligently physical. He has never matched someone like me before; he doesn't have any idea what I'm capable of. I will defeat him and in his darkest future hours, I will be there to remind him of this defeat.

Without more, I solve the puzzle and throw the clue aside. As I suspected, the last clue was one that bore on common sense, one that could only be solved through intimate knowledge of a rock band, a popular band from the eighties that most people who live normal lives have at least heard of. But Sheldon has not. He remains on the grass with his eyes focused and a scowl on his face. He has no idea what is being asked of him. His confusion is the most entertaining thing I have seen in weeks, months, years! He will be defeated by his own arrogance! No better man could fail the way he has.

As we catch eyes, me on my way toward winning, him on his way toward losing, I extend my three first fingers at him and mouth the words, "read between the lines". With nothing more, I am off, off to win, or come in before him, the smartest man in the world losing to someone who is self-proclaimed left-brain challenged. It is all the more evidence that races take more than intelligence; they take common sense and a loose moral code that can reconcile cheating and rationalize it into an acceptable distortion of pride. I'll beat him squarely on intellect. And then it will be his burden to carry.


Thursday, November 28, 2013


I like going the wrong way down one way streets. It makes me feel against the grain, like a tired anarchist suffering from a serious case of denial, a case I think I can win with perseverance and a positive attitude. Of course I admit the truth to myself, and whoever else may be listening at three in the morning when I wake up with a start from another nightmare featuring lizards and junctions and white noise in terrifying visual form. I guess in some kind of way I like being the delusional loser asphyxiating under generational devastation, the inherited indifference of the privilege and wasted pride of parents who dream the best for their kids, kids like me, sending them off to college and maybe even graduate school and feeling as though they are really going to make something of themselves, all the while me knowing personally I am doomed to repeat the mistakes of their parents, my grandparents or great grandparents even, the ones who pitifully drank and drugged themselves to death because the disillusion of a perfect world where they actually belonged was way too much to live with. The ex-patriot writers of the past, my situational and aspirational ancestors, had it right from the beginning because they accepted that they would never be accepted in traditional society but they made something of themselves anyway, a feat that deserves its own kind of praise because I’m fairly certain that I never will.

Friday, October 25, 2013


"They are hip without being slick, they are intelligent without being corny, they are intellectual as hell and know all about Pound without being pretentious or talking too much about it, they are very quiet..." - Kerouac
Steve the bartender hands me my drink and I nod gratefully at him. Then I take a grand sip, the biggest one I can muster with only a straw holding me back, and I set it down carefully to open my laptop, intent to focus on the words in front of me. But immediately they blur and unblur, like a pulsating mess of tangled squiggly lines, letter combinations without meaning, my eyes playing dirty tricks that I cannot endorse. I have to turn away and take another sip of my drink. The group of people at the table directly behind the bar -- the ones in the corner by the window that looks out into the alleyway and sort of back toward Broadway Street -- catch my attention and I turn around because they are engaged in some kind of shouting match that could only be inspired by second and third rounds and cheap shots that only happy hour hell could elicit. I should have come out later.

I’m about to turn back toward my computer and give writing another shot when one guy among the group catches my attention. He is making eyes at me in between deep and meaningful conversations with the people sitting across from him in the booth. I watch him as he stares over at me, every five seconds or so, deep black eyes that intrigue me on a visceral level. He can’t help but continue looking as I glance over my shoulder. It makes me smile a little with amusement. This guy is definitely my type but it is not my personality to be the approacher in a potential romantic entanglement. I like being the one who gets approached. As a woman, the only way to know for sure that a guy digs you, at least momentarily, is to see him walk up and engage in conversation. Without that, there’s nothing to go on. We might as well be left completely in the dark.

I get the feeling that this group sitting at the window table are all co-workers, mostly because it is happy hour for another hour and they are all wearing suits, ties and nice, work-style clothing. They have probably come out for an end of the week celebration, a good buzz to head into the weekend. I don’t want to crash their camaraderie but I might like to get to know the guy in the blue polo shirt, the one with the jet-black hair and the great smile who has been surreptitiously looking my way for the past few minutes. He looks like he hales partially from the far east, mysterious and silent with his dark eyes and curling lips. I really dig his look. I think he wants to approach me but he is still wondering if it is proper; he’s still working on his first margarita. The courage has not been completely built up yet. While I’m not sure how I feel about a guy who drinks margaritas, I let it slide because I am bored, very bored here.

I smile at him and catch his eye. He smiles back. Now that the foundation has been laid, I turn back toward my screen and focus once again on the clumsy words in front of me. How can I make the sentences and paragraphs and pages better? How can I make them more compelling, more creatively composed? I take another sip of my drink, killing it pridefully and then slurping the straw loudly in order to draw the attention of Steve. I point to my empty glass just as the bartender walks over. He nods his head and gets started on fixing another one. I’m barely feeling the buzz right now.

While I wait for my second round, I turn back toward the group and find the eyes of my mystery man once more. I smile and bite my lip seductively. He has this deep, dark, and sexy look, Mediterranean or maybe far east, reminiscent of someone from the movies, without guile, guileless, but cool or at least cool enough to make me wonder how is voice might sound and what his seductive tactics might be. He’s really pretty cute, intriguing and sexy. I think he wants me too because he keeps turning this way, ignoring his need to converse with coworkers in favor of admiring my own inherent mysteriousness. I like a guy with priorities.

Then without warning I note him rising from his seat, the solidarity of his booth, the shrouded mysteriousness that he was bathing upon for minutes past, asking coworkers to excuse him. I watch him with interest as he makes his way over to the bar, over to where Steve is wiping down the counter, over to where I am sitting with my computer forcing genius, perched in clouded mystery of my own, just like him and yet completely different, wanting to see where this will all lead while knowing already sort of how it is likely to end. But I remain intrigued nevertheless. Without wonder, this world is just too boring.

Hey, so I saw you looking over at me, he says as he approaches my stool. I shrug my shoulders and play my best rendition of coy. I don’t know what you’re talking about, I retort ambiguously, ambivalently, thoughtlessly. I think you were looking at me, I respond with a light smile and an emphasis on him. He smiles back, knowingly, confidently and with a touch of arrogance that I just find really fucking sexy in a man. He nods his head smoothly. I will not admit my own curiosity. I’m Kameron, he states, a statement through and through, one that I presume I am supposed to be impressed by. Nice to meet you, I offer. Kameron chuckles to himself and looks away for a second, back to his group, wondering how to proceed. Then he looks back at me again, catching my eyes once more. He rubs his chin. And you are, he questions, giving me the appearance of bated breath, hanging on his last vowel.

I grin and decide to indulge him, yet not truthfully because that is not even close to my circumstance in life. My mystery is actually quite real, and for good reason. I like to remain shrouded in mystery and wrapped in enigma because that is the only place that people like me can exist. I’m, I start and then I pause, fumbling for the perfect fake name to use on him, the one that is quintessential mystery in every aspect of its composition. I’m Lux, I finally reveal, as confidently and nonchalantly as I can manage. For some reason, I hardly care if he believes me or not. He approached me here tonight so the way I see it, it is my show. I’m the one doling out information.

But he calls me out, asking whether that is my real name or not. He thinks it sounds made-up and isn’t afraid to tell me. I think all names are made up somewhere, I reply aptly. He purses his lips and considers my response. Okay fine, he says quietly, still giving the impression of disbelief but a willingness to move past it. He asks if he may sit down. I agree with a nod as I take a sip of my fresh drink. You are pretty intriguing, he says to me. I chuckle a little. Right off the bat, he seems like a nice guy with clear interest. It makes me feel this slight pang of guilt knowing that my only interest in him is one night. I might indulge in a casual friendship, a friends with benefits type relationship, but nothing more than that because it is inconsistent with everything that I stand for. Still, with the latent heroin running weakly through my veins, stirring up some feelings of apathy and invulnerability, and with my other genetically bestowed misgivings, I allow him to seduce me knowing exactly how this will end up and caring not at the moment for feelings or other such useless emotions. Steve is right; I am a dick.

Kameron and I get to talking back and forth. Steve interrupts to see if I would like another drink. I pause and consider. Kameron claims that it is on him so I eventually am persuaded to order another 7upVodka and he orders another margarita. I look away from him and laugh a little. What, he questions me coolly, leaning in and hoping to decipher my surreptitious codes. Nothing, I respond evasively. Oh, you think I should be ordering a more manly drink huh, Kameron questions me. Like maybe a bourbon or a whiskey or something, he presses. I laugh and then shrug. Margaritas are kind of girly, I finally reply. I’ll have you know this place puts in a manly amount of tequila in their margaritas, he remarks with a grin. I laugh out loud and then nod sarcastically. Tequila is awesome, he defends. Have you ever been to a tasting, Kameron goes on to question me, unwilling to let it go. Nope, I respond honestly. Well then, I can’t trust your opinion about anything, he says playfully.

I shake my head and laugh just as Steve comes back and places our drinks in front of us. He spills Kameron’s margarita a little, probably on purpose. I can tell that Steve is somewhat perturbed by the situation here but I don’t care at all. Steve never had a shot with me anyway; Kameron definitely has a shot. He’s like a real man and I like that he’s super-confident and good looking. Insecure men with mediocre looks need not apply. I laugh at my internal pun because this is an Irish bar and I am reminded of the whole “No Irish Need Apply” slogan from way back in the day of Irish discrimination. Seems like so long ago now.

Kameron tells me that he works in insurance and I find him very attractive, mostly because he is unassuming and has a cute face, not because of the insurance thing. But he does seem to be the type of guy that might be wife-hunting, surreptitiously, but wife-hunting nonetheless, and that is kind of a metaphorical boner-killer for me personally because I have never wanted or dreamed or desired to be someone’s wife. He has the wrong idea looking at me but I indulge him anyway because maybe we could have fun, like the type of fun that Ashton and I have, the no-strings-attached type fun. I like that kind of fun. My morality doesn’t often get in the way of my desires.

He starts telling me about his job and the politics that are inherently attached to such things as jobs. I can hardly relate, having never really had a place of work in my life. Then he starts talking about politics, like his love for Obama and I find myself rolling my eyes. I don’t necessarily dislike politics or liberals in general, but I do find discussion of such things utterly mind-numbing. When I don’t react to his political toutings, he jumps on to literature and I’m sort of lost with all the references even though I pretend to be a writer at times. This guy might be too intellectual for me; he seems to be interested in cultural things that have no importance in my life. That might be a deal-breaker for him and I sort of hope it might be; it will save me from being the asshole that wastes his valuable time in his humble and dignified search for a wife. I’ve never had any intention of wasting someone’s time. Quite the contrary, I’ve always been dangerously honest with my motives just to ensure that people know what they are getting when they date me. They should know from the start that I’m not a serious prospect.

As Kameron continues to relay ideas and concepts to me, perhaps in a chivalrous attempt to win me over and impress me personality, I get the feeling that he is passionate and comprehensive in his facets. I can like those things in a guy as long as there is some kind of reserve. Kameron strikes me as something of a subterranean at heart, emphasis on the good characteristics of such underground folk. Subterraneans are unpretentious intellectuals who can discuss most topics intelligently and at length. They are cool and quiet, soft-spoken, and hip in all the redeemable definitions of the word. But they can also be junkies and jerks and they hate for no reason and love themselves to an almost narcissist degree. Kameron seems to possess only the good traits of a subterranean, being cool, soft-spoken and unpretentiously intellectual. He is intriguing to an extent that has been lacking in my life lately. He doesn’t seem narcissistic, thankfully, because there is only room for one of those and I have called life dibs on that label. Because of his subterranean assets, I think I will humor him a little while longer. He’s got that quality that I dig in the opposite sex.

Unlike a classic subterranean, Kameron seems like the kind of guy that could and would sit there for hours staring out the window, hitting the bong maybe occasionally and really reminiscing about days past that are not far enough gone to be legitimately reminiscing over. But he’s idealistic in that sense and it’s actually quite romantic; I can tell by his love for the liberal mindset that he cares a lot about the way things should be. And I like that about him, I really do because it makes him whimsical and the type of guy that would make a terribly sweet lover, one who cares more about my needs than his own or at least equal to them, one that would not cum on principle, until I did, someone who knows exactly how to make his way around a woman’s body. I get that feeling about him though I barely know him at this point. I like to speculate about the characters I meet. Nevertheless and despite the fact that these are all surmisals of my semi-deranged mind right now, it makes me want to remain here at this hostile bar with the unwell-wishing, irrationally jealous bartender, to chat a little longer with Kameron. He could be someone that changes my life; only time will tell for sure.

So where are you at, he asks me after a break from a story that he was relaying. I furrow my eyebrows with momentary confusion. I like it better when questions aren’t asked of me because I never have the right answers. And I assume that Kameron means to ask what part of New York I am living in. So I respond by relaying to him that I live in the East Village, which is an unmitigated truth at the moment. Oh, so you’re one of those people, he nods knowingly, taking a large sip of his margarita in the process. I follow suit with my own drink and then beg his pardon, but not in so many words.

What do you mean ‘one of those people’, I ask interestedly. You’re one of those pretentious, hipster kids from the East Village, he clarifies. I roll my eyes and then shrug wordlessly. I kind of resent people making assumptions about me based on where I live on a crowded little island in Manhattan where real estate is very hard to come by.  I chuckle softly, almost incredulously. If you mean that I am the type of person who takes the best place that I can find in a real-estate deficient city on the shortest of notice, then yeah I’m one of those, I bite back with hostility, my irritation at his remark only thinly veiled by my comment. Oh c’mon, I was just teasing, he remarks, probably sensing my irritation and rightly so. I didn’t mean anything by it, it’s just those East Village kids are known for being pretentious artist types, he defends. So what do you do, he questions next, hoping to skip past his insult and continue with the flirtation stage of our encounter.

I smile a little with amusement. It’s probably not the right time to tell him that I’m a writer. He might pre-judge me, thinking I’m a pretentious artist type and all, and I’m not sure I want that to lose him just yet. I do like this guy because he’s cute and slightly subterranean in both speaking and action, intellectual and smart, intelligent and cool, but he’s kind of condescending in other ways that I’m not sure I appreciate. Ultimately though, because he doesn’t have that typical nowhereness of subterraneans, the nowhereness that I have by virtue of what I am, he is kind of attractive to me. I like men with plans. Of course his snobbiness about New York real estate is kind of a bummer.

I’m not sure I like his classification of the East Village, especially because I have found that the kids in lower Manhattan are generally far better, more well-rounded and less pompous than the people who live up near the Park. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t been here that long, but I don’t typically like people who make snap judgments based on the district that I live in. I like the East Village a ton and I’m proud to live there because the people seem more real than most other places on the island and that’s what is important. In my opinion, it’s actually a plus to meet someone from the Village because I can be more persuaded that they are going to be fun, unassuming, and generous. So for this dude to call me out on my place of residence, well it’s kind of a check mark against him in the little internal chart that I am calculating.

But I won’t dismiss him for one fault when his other assets seem to be quite conducive to my own needs, at least initially. Everything else about him is aligned with me, and my way of thinking, so I will probably take him home tonight, or rather, allow him to take me to his home. After all, he seems to have an inherent prejudice toward lower Manhattan and I wouldn’t want to exacerbate that unnecessarily. I think I would like a fun night with a new guy who is darkly mysterious and undoubtedly experienced in the art of sex. I don’t want to be overly or unnecessarily crude here, but this guy gives me the distinct impression that he knows his way around a woman’s body. I like that in men.

I’m an attorney, I finally answer his question, hoping that it will be more acceptable and maybe more respectable in his opinion than the truth of my current situation. He raises his eyebrows, obviously intrigued. You are, he questions, almost incredulous in his reaction to my divulgement. I nod slowly. I’m not interested in impressing him for a lifetime, but maybe just tonight. This guy is interesting in some way and I don’t want him getting turned off because I’m actually a struggling writer. Besides, he seems to have some answers, maybe not all of the answers and maybe not even the right ones, but answers enough to have figured out how to be content with his life. It’s the unattainable things that truly intrigue me. The elusion of such things has haunted me in the past.

Now as Kameron questions me about my area of practice in law, I start to think that maybe if I get close to this guy, this modern day subterranean, maybe I’ll find the secret of contentedness that I have always lacked, the one he seems to have. At the very least, I might get closer to that secret than I have ever been before. I would like to be content, as long as it doesn’t come at the cost of my liberty. I’ve never really experienced contentedness before -- I am a product of my generation after all -- but I feel like that sort of thing would be utterly sublime. Of course, it is also possible that the remaining heroin left shooting through my veins is just making me feel hopeful, thoughtful, whimsical and giddy. It is possible that contentedness is not nearly what it is cracked up to be.

We exchange a little more small talk at the bar, him drinking his yellow margarita and me drinking my 7upVodka, and then he finally asks for my number. So can I see you again, he asks hopefully, blanketing his request with a corresponding question of etiquette and properness. I smile coyly. Are you done seeing me now, I wonder out loud, challenging him to respond in a similarly clever way. I wasn’t planning on ending this night at ten.

He smiles and looks down at his feet shyly. Well I have to get back to my coworkers, I’ve left them to their own devices for over an hour, he says as he glances behind us to the table near the window, a spot that has gotten a lot less rowdy now that he’s left. I nod my understanding. But I would like to see you again, in a similar forum or maybe for dinner, Kameron asks me, exhibiting hopefulness in his request. I reply with nothing and wait for him to continue. So can I get your number, he asks again. I smile and nod ambiguously. He offers a confused look. I am thoroughly entertained but I decide to cut him a break; I take out my phone and oblige his request. I like to make guys sweat it just a little.

I’m not sure that anything will come of the two of us but I’m open to the prospect. We may never see each other again or he might be the best, non-committal, passionate and uninhibited sex I ever had. Only time really knows the answer to that hanging question. But as he types my dictated number into his phone, I casually wonder what might happen if we ever do meet again.

Monday, August 26, 2013

got a machinehead better than the rest

deaths come in 3s.  i never knew about this urban legend until a couple weeks ago when my dad muttered it to me while he sat on the edge of the wall near the pool, kicking his boot lazily against the tile, adding to the dirt and piles of leaves floating in there, looking off toward the tractor, toward the bamboo, toward the sunset with whimsical indifference.  his mother had died in may, then his younger sister in june and just a few days ago his brother's wife died.  that's three; one, two, three.

should i feel somewhat safe now that the cycle is supposedly complete?  or should i just look toward and worry over the next cycle, the one that is sure to come in time, the one that could commence in four years, in 2017?  i make a point of calling out that number because like 2013 it is odd and miserable.  i feel like i am doomed for sorrow in that year, assuming of course i make it that far.  i am after all reckless, cavalier and an avid seat-belt opposer (in this nanny state).

jack kerouac says that pretty girls make graves.  although i wouldn't say it quite like that, i think his general point has merit.  but it is not necessarily pretty girls but sex that makes graves because if we are so unlucky to indulge in sex and by some accidental condom malfunction be burdened with a child (this in a world of choicelessness championed for by the "gods and guns batshitcrazy republicans"), that child will grow up in a world of chaotic strife and then some day die without ever being content or knowing the secrets of the universe.  we are selfish for bringing children into the world, this world or any other, just to die miserable, horrible despondent deaths.  all deaths are miserable whether you die in your sleep when you're ninety or because you got flung off your motorcycle in the middle of 15 freeway hectic happy hour traffic and run over by thousands of wayward drivers, ending up on a morgue slab looking like ground meat in pieces.  i digress.

the miscreants that rail against abortion i will never understand and not just because they are god-fearing and irrational but also because they are batshitcrazy and unappealingly ignorant.  abortion is the saving grace of our society, NAY our world; abortion saves people from having to grow up, having to live pathetically unfulfilled lives and then ultimately die horrible deaths.  we should get to have sex without fears of making graves; i wouldn't wish life on my worst detractor, my absolute highest nemesis.

the doctor said my mom should have had an abortion is a line in a song, a song that i happen to really dig right now because it speaks some veritable truths that harken back to middle school days when it first blasted the socal radios and i had no idea at all what it meant (but i liked it nevertheless).  and where was i anyway?

sex makes graves, people make graves by making more people to fill more graves.  i wish i had no part in the ruthless, pitiless, remorseless cycle but sadly i have already become convinced (because i am selfish) that i will have a child or children perhaps, at least a son and at least a daughter because i have a real, quantifiable interest in seeing what they will look like and what their talents will be.  i'm a hypocrite (fully admitted), and not just because i will have children for the hell of it, for the experience, but also because, as my mother puts it, i sleep around and tempt biology and fate, which is true but not something i would ever exclaim, mostly because of social protocol, but in due time i will convince one of these men who seem to adore me to procreate and bring some more graves into this world, little graves that look like me and smile like me and think like me.

graves are exactly what we don't need but we all make them.  now i'm going to circle back to my point, to the thesis statement that i have been as yet ignoring, like a bad English student, like a rotten learner, mr. turner would be unproud.  has it become avant-garde and trendy to cremate a body?  two of the three deaths that i have aforementioned in this year thirteen, two of three have been cremated.  is this a new thing? i know that i wouldn't want such things for my own remains; i want to have at least one remnant left on this earth that has some sort of definitive presence long after i'm gone.  how else will they know i ever lived?  i have to get credit for something.  i don't see myself shattering any kind of glass ceilings, assuming there are any left to shatter, and i don't see myself becoming legendary in any other kind of sense so my bones will be all that remains.  I'm pretty sure i don't want to have them snuffed out as well.

but i guess i shouldn't care a ton about bones and remains and legacies because according to science this whole world will be snuffed out in due time, when the sun rises for the very last day, blinding red hot and full of frenzied energy, atoms and molecules shooting off at hundred thousand degrees fahrenheit ready to burn, churn, and scorn, to obliterate and decimate the life out of any and all that remain on the planet.  at least i will be in the ground by then, long gone, long dead.  at that point i suppose nobody will care much about bones or legacies or really anything at all.

darkness will envelope and people will see beyond religion, beyond wars, beyond strife and beyond the differences that they mock, beyond to the truth that all of this has been one great big experiment in futility. this has all been exceedingly worthless.

without worth.

* [capital letters were foregone intentionally]

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Sewing Machine, Thunderstorm Jungle Adventure: A Thrilling Child’s Tale from the Mind and Cognitive Convolutions of a Semi-Deranged, Wholly Unimaginative Psychonaut Hailing Far and Wide From The Croatian Outback

Set in the jungles of Brazil or a strip of land off the 5 freeway near Stockton or someplace else entirely. I take creative liberations or ridiculous misconstructions depending on the date and time. I like to make up words and the meanings those words will ultimately connote. All in all, these words are fictional; my life is completely make-believe. I do not exist, not circumstantially and certainly not realistically. This is ghostwriting in the truest sense. Boo!


Night makes it sound so ordinary. It wasn’t night but it certainly wasn’t day. Day is not scary; things that make the gooseflesh appear on the skin of your arm do not traditionally happen in the day. There is too much light for daytime to be scary. No, this was blackness, a blackout, the absence of a sun, the way it might look to sunbathe on the surface of Neptune. The sun was only as bright as a distant star then, warming us not at all, and providing nothing but shimmery aesthetic beauty for us to look on at and indulge in kind.

I was having one of my usual sleepless, horror-filled nights where I imagine myself a corpse rotting in a heart-shaped coffin and all the people around me are also corpses and I get this sick sort of rapid heart beat that makes me viscerally hate the idea that I was ever born because I could die, I might die, I will die at some point and that moment right before death scares me more than the possibility of a hundred overdoses, a thousand rejections from guys that are too hot for me, a million daggers to my metaphorical, under-emotional, drug-calloused heart muscle. I fear death more than lizards, more than the number 117, more than my exoskeleton shattering to pieces on an unforgiving asphalt after being catapulted off the Empire State Building, which is only coincidentally like 14 stories shorter than that fateful number. I’ve been on top once.

Of course I realize most of those things listed neatly above would result in a type of death, here or there, through heart attacks or the sheer will not to live, to unlive in fact, after something so horrific has assaulted my carefully constructed, wholly not invulnerable, pinpricked and poisoned mind. But I cannot unlive, not at this point and not anymore. My parents ripped that privilege away from me with selfish indifference to my own wants and whims when they conceived me and made the decision to birth me. Narcissists!

I can wish easily now that I was never born, but suicide is so repugnant, so utterly despicable that I will never entertain the thought of it. Now that I have life flowing through my veins in the manifestation of blood and cells, I cannot and will not snuff it out. I am stuck here to live it out (even though I wish for the never was and the never will be), because the idea of death is just so viscerally gruesome that I cannot bear the idea of it. Now that I am alive, the only thing that I can rationally wish for is the impossibility of immortality. And that is a huge caldron of disappointment in and of itself because unlike Tuck, I have no magic elixir that will make me, and the people I care for, eternally eternal.

That was a tangent that I indulged initially because I thought it would be less reprehensible than one stuck in the middle or toward the end of this hasty and un-thought-out story. In actuality, I am here in this forum now to tell that story, an accounting of something that might have been a dream, or a reality laced in dream material, or maybe the ill effects of narcotics, or maybe a slathering of both those things laying waste to my mind as those things are wont to do, telling me what I should think or what I should feel as if I am nothing more than an animal, nothing more than a mess of tissues like an organism that is ruled by a science that I don’t understand.

But I listen because I must. Now, where was I? Yeah the story, of course.

There we were surveying the property, a property that I did not recognize but one that I got the distinct feeling that the others with me recognized quite well. I should have probably recognized it, but I didn’t. By then the night was over and it was day, early day, past twilight and into the gripping, rising temperature of the summer sun probably around ten o-clock in a place that resembled my California. I’m pretty sure it was Los Angeles; it could have been San Diego.

The sun was out and the sky was blue, almost brilliantly so. It didn’t make sense, at least insofar as I was there, following directly behind them, watching them take account of the storm, the storm that would end up being legendary, the storm of the night before that was gone now without a trace from the sky. I categorize it as legendary only because tales of it would be told many times in the future within the confines of my extended family. And the story over the years would always morph into an acceptable distortion of what actually happened. Which is basically as follows.

My father was there, following cats as they ran around sniffing and investigating things on the ground. I think for the most part my father likes to watch them explore as he does, even knowing that they are hunting different things. They hunt lizards, which is both good and bad in my opinion. I like the fact that they are cutting down on the lizard population because lizards are utterly reprehensible and deserve to die brutal deaths, but it’s bad because they typically bring back the carcasses of said lizards, which on some occasions aren’t so much carcasses as full on, still alive organisms in the shape of lizards and they hide under the treadmill, my treadmill, and attack me at the most inopportune of times. So mostly I hate cats, and lizards, and anything else that I find aesthetically displeasing and that outwardly wishes to cause me physical harm.

My mother was there too, surveying the property with us, and it was odd because she is not known for being outdoorsy and certainly not known for surveying property. But she was there too, investigating alongside me, intrigued almost unnaturally by the cats that she typically tends to abhor, making me feel like I have been the ghost in this story all along, and not some other indefinable character. Like me, my mother tends to be partial to bunny rabbits because they are cute and altogether better than dogs and cats combined. So it was weird for her to be out there watching cats. But I suppose it was also weird for me to be there. The whole scene was weird and gave me a distinct feeling of unrest.

The ground was uneven, filled with sunken and overflowed gopher holes, long since abandoned, and I was finding it harder and harder to keep up without turning my ankle and causing some lifelong troubles to assail me. Everything was dirty, grassy, and muddy, and I don’t like the idea of dealing with a mess. My mother diligently followed my father around, who was diligently following cats around, inside and out of turns, holes, and fences. I didn’t like the setting, not one bit. And I had no idea how I found myself there.

It was a jungle, a swampy forest with fallen trees, some vines and fence boxes to climb upon and ponder about. How did those fence boxes come to fall in this place? Where did they come from? Did the storm carry them distances? Did it plant them there after a long journey? Their presence confused me. I seemed to be the only one who found them distinctly out of place. I’ve never known fence boxes to be constructed and carried by storms.

My father began to yell at the cats for going too fast and getting lost from his view. He hates when cats get lost because it makes him nervous that they will become coyote fodder. It’s not an unrealistic fear; we have provided the coyotes with a good amount of cat fodder over the years. Unintentionally of course.

I started listening to my mother who, by the nature of the conversation, seemed to have been talking, talking, talking, about something that I was only beginning to take note of. She was bragging about how she was sewing during the thunderstorm the night before, the unyielding thunderstorm that poured all this rain onto the property and turned it into a jungle, a playground of ropes, vines, and fallen trees. And fence boxes.

Apparently Karen and some of her friends were asking my mother questions about her sewing feats. They likened her to batman. How did you sew in the midst of a thunderstorm, they asked her interestedly. Weren’t you scared of electrocution? Did your project turn out despite the horrendous conditions? Those types of questions. I wasn’t there during the interview but my mother was bragging about her conquests at the time we were surveying the property. She thought herself to be a minor celebrity. I found the whole thing silly and confusing but I refrained from saying so. I wasn’t even sure that I existed in the same way that everyone else did.

She continued to brag heavily about her amazing feat and my father continued to follow cats around. It was rather ordinary in its extraordinariness. My mother really dug the idea that these kids were looking up to her and her accomplishments with sewing and doing it during a thunderstorm and all that. I can understand the feeling but I’m not sure I understand anything about those few minutes of time. I said nothing and kept following the madness.

“Hey, be careful!” my dad shouted at my mom, sounding like an authoritarian. He was yelling at her because it is “rough terrain” and he thought that she was going to fall and twist her ankle or something. He constantly worries about her overdoing things. She is an over doer. She was climbing all over those fence boxes, getting up on top of them and looking around, trying to locate cats on the property. I don’t even know why she cared to locate felines, they are so ridiculously unimportant in the big scheme of things. I would be on her side completely if she was trying to locate bunnies.

Regardless, my mother continued to climb from one fence box to another, weird little obstructions that appeared to have been dumped by the storm or maybe something else entirely. But these obstructions in the shape of beautiful fenced in cubes had no effect upon her whatsoever. She seemed to have no problem scaling, mounting, and extinguishing them as if they were nothing at all, as if she were Mario or Luigi, wild and capable plumbers, sewer-dwellers of the most unique kind. I was awestruck as I remained on the ground with my father, hands in my pockets, looking on at the scene developing before us. Those boxes were never there before but they were there now. At least, I never observed them or noted them accordingly.

The cats had a much easier time navigating the storm-tangled mess than my mother. My father begged for her to stand down and stop “screwing around” as he likes to put it. He doesn’t follow the cats as closely because he thinks they will return to the property at nightfall; he has different thoughts about my mother entirely. I believe my mother follows the cats out of a selfless concern for their wellbeing and to ensure their continued prosperity for my father’s sake, as I would do for circumstantially the same reasons. She followed them that day and climbed upon the fences to search for them probably because she wanted to prove she could keep up with the hyperactive cats, explore the crevices and negotiate the twists and turns as well as an agile feline could. I’m not sure why such a feat holds such importance to her. But it clearly did that day.

This is where the story turns, mostly because it is at this point that I must make up the rest in my deluded mind, for my dream was rudely interrupted by Tegan, herself waking up or faking it, lamenting her unhappiness and relaying her night of utter displeasure, for the state of that hotel room we as a family stayed in that night -- Tegan, our mother, our father, and me -- somewhere in the Brazilian rain forest or off the 5 freeway. It was truly a nightmare of sorts, the grim circumstances of the trip, the loud and un-precise snoring that assailed her right away and assailed me much later on, later when I could almost think to acknowledge the sun creeping over the hill, the hour as five in the morning. I have recovered, but barely because I took the first shift. But I will not bore this recounting with such details.

I still wonder and wonder I should, had Tegan made it through the night unscathed as I cannot now claim? Or had she suffered the same fate as myself, diligently and without societal regard, trekked on through the burroughs (unrelated) of self–reflection that others ignore, to this place of unrestrained and unasked for notoriety, to answer (or at least something that resembles answer) all the questions we seek by virtue of being human and unintelligent when it comes to such things. How did the death we had come there to mourn actually happen? How could it all make sense?

There I was, in a shitty hotel room, in an unknown land, somewhere in and between Brazil and California, a place I cannot now describe. But I was there, wondering how boxed in fences have anything to do with my mind, except in the clear-cut and literal sense. Why was I there? Could this ultimately become my fate? Or something else entirely? These are answers I’ll never be able to have.

I do know that I was in and around the area for a funeral, a memorial, for a person that I knew but not well, a person I should have spent more time with but didn’t, a person that was by all accounts a really awesome and fantastic person in all senses and definitions of the word. I was simply awestruck by the people, the stories, and the sheer number of lives that she touched in a positive way. Is it a trade-off in the end? Can we only be great in life to die tragically in the end? Is it only those who suffer in life who can make it to peaceful deaths? I loathe the idea of belonging to either category.

I’d like to end this pointless story on a positive note but I have never known positivity in twenty-six years. That may seem outrageous but it is in fact the truth. Positivity in its purest sense has always eluded me. But in closing I will say this and I will fool myself into thinking it is revelatory because that is what all egoists with narcissistic personality disorder might do. The present is and will always be the time of our lives, the time where legends are born and the time for revelry, because right now we are young, we are in our twenties and capable of such unrelenting, unredeeming, self-indulgent things that no one else could possibly imagine, accepting poisonous playthings into our veins with eager disregard, drinking ridiculous intoxicants into our stomachs and accepting tangled stimulants into our nasal cavities, like we are invincible, invulnerable, and incapable of the mortality that the rest of the world falls prey to everyday, because we are different, because we are young, and time treks by and flies by at the same time, unrepentant and all-consuming, but we enjoy it for the time being because this is our time of being.

And there is no “The End.”

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

126 > 626: How 126 defeated 626 in the Eternal Dark Abyss of the Convoluted and Boundaryless, Burdenless Realm of Universes and Multi-Verses, Here and Now, all Alive and Thriving in Spite of My Unwell wishing, to Callously Spit in My Face and Show Me How Not To Live with all the Restlessnesses and Indifferences that I Generally and Circumstantially Have By Virtue of My Genetics and My Experiences And My Predispositions To Welcome Horrendously Nightmarish Material Into My Mind And Body On Almost Every Occasion Where There Is Such Occasion To Do So In The Wet Wailing of My Eternal Doom

Serena is telling lies again. 
Lies I cannot authorize or memorize. 
Lies about numbers and birthdays and numbers and sigh, 
Tell the truth, Please no Lies! 
Be it birthdays or numbers or some kind of tangled disguise, 
In the world of all worlds, 126 outwardly thrives! 

How could it be? 
In what reverse backward universe are we, 
Where 626 could possibly be greater than 126 by any try? 
It’s madness, sadness, groundless, a categorical lark! 
It’s unsanctionable tomfoolery, 
Like a madman searching for a circuit breaker with a flashlight in the dark! 

It’s wholly arguable, completely unreliable, and what else can I possibly say? 
A veritable smorgasbord of ideas right now to relay, 
After all, and so to speak, it cannot likely be forgotten, 
That only 126 has reached the closed minds of the begotten. 

And it has to be sure, more in fact to be accurate, 
126 has stolen the hearts and minds of the discriminate, 
To reach above and beyond what is circumstantially eternal, 
To become the greatest of great numbers, both internal and external. 

Additionally and because I feel I must share, 
126 claims a route, a freeway, a thoroughfare, 
That cannot be denied, and the virtue is inarguable, 
Can 626 claim a resume quite as valuable? 
Or does it fall short, as I suspect that it does, 
I cannot help but thinking 626 has virtually no buzz. 

Route 126 goes to Ventura California, 
Where does 626 go, Patagonia? 
While that is sort of cool, it doesn’t quite hit the mark, 
California is sunny and warmer and therefore leaves Patagonia in the dark! 

Tell me! I beg of you, no more lies! 
Can 626 as a number maintain the same kind of acclaim? Or fame? 
If so let’s hear it, right now, I’m dying to know! 
If there exists a Route 626, then where does it go? 
Does it take you to a peaceful, circumstantially placid place? 
Or does it take you to a dreadful, unforgiving space? 

I would surmise, and you can call me cavalier, 
That if Route 626 exists, it doesn’t take you right here! 
Not to California! Not to this warm, welcoming state. 
It probably takes you to some godforsaken place, 
Like Arkansas or Oklahoma or maybe, Oh wait! 
Don’t tell me it takes you to West Virginia, because that place is certainly not okay. 

In fact that would be terribly, terribly unfitting, 
For a 26 of any kind to be hopelessly sitting, 
I’ll risk being called an arrogant maverick, 
If it means I can save a 26 from those terribly unworthy hysterics. 

And oh here I go being that unappealing California snob, 
But I suppose it’s much better than being that ugly Texas slob, 
Or that pretentiously unaccustomed New York snoot, 
Or that Chicagoan loot, Oh shoot! 

I’m off and away, 
As if I have nothing else honorable or important I could say, 
I’m indulging in tangents in the vein of Kerouac or Barton, 
Completely long-winded ways of recounting absolutely nothing, 
Yet I still persist because I have failed to make my argument, 
That 626 pales in comparison to 126 in almost every possible assessment. 

I have no more words, no stories, and no anecdotes to tell, 
Nothing at all for June, nothing trite or trendy to sell, 
Except I suppose petty whines and ineffectual complaints, 
About birthdays and numbers and ugly collapsed little veins. 

I would like my future sticks to be honest and circumstantially free, 
But these words are affectations of my sick mortality, 
So thanks to Kerouac and maybe Burroughs too, 
For showing me the way to devastation, degradation, and something equally lewd. 

For now I have no thoughts, no opinions, and no irredeemable dreams to recount, 
Nothing but ridiculous indifferences to tout, 
These affectations I speak of so eloquently won't do, 
I have to know at least that to be true, 
But I am sick and tired of nothing, nothing, nothing else fascinating to do, 
So I try and try for my words to have meaning, 
Even though I have long captured the insignificant reasoning. 

These days I've been smoking and writing and smoking, 
And writing and drinking and drinking and writing --- 
And swimming and tanning, and swimming and discerning, 
Swimming and writing, and smirking and learning. 

But this is the end, there isn’t much more to write, 
I’ll give you Serena, just one concession of right, 
The number twenty-six can certainly thrive, 
In a world like this where fours and elevens ultimately fail to survive. 

And impress! I’ll say nothing more and with a veritable sigh, 
Because I’m not very good at rhyming and ordering, all affectations aside, 
I read about an inspired poem and got the sensation, 
That I could switch it up just a little and spring some kind of important revelation. 

But it helped not at all so I’ll state one more time, 
How cool 126 is and how terrible I am at the rhyme, 
I’m very illiterate when it comes to this literacy, 
Forgive me for this and I’ll make it up with proficiency, 
Next month when I have more time and an inspired way, 
I’m pretty sure that I’ll be able to say much more than “Happy Birthday”.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Je Li To Još Gotovo?

Fuck, fuck, fuck. The shit is really hitting the metaphorical fan right now. I’m sitting here in the back corner of an over-lighted courtroom in some county I would rather not name, right near the door, the exit door, the place I always stake claim to, the cowardly place that allows me to bail if need be. Just listening to the judge belittle all of these older, more experienced attorneys ahead of me is making my mind fill with anxiety and dread. If I had a pipe and some bud (and if it were socially acceptable), I would smoke a bowl right here in order to gather my thoughts and secure my resolve to go through with this ‘suicide’ mission. Alas, I have nothing but the chicken scratch on my yellow legal pad to get me through this hearing. And it’s only moderately brilliant.

The whole thing turns my stomach and I’m thinking of bailing now. But I can do no such thing if I want any hope of getting paid. And I really need to get paid. My writing career is about as dead as that possum on the highway between lane two and lane three. Law is all I have right now, sad as it may seem. It’s my only source of cabbage at the moment.

This judge is a real hard-ass, a real stickler for the rules of civil procedure. I haven’t heard much about her reputation or otherwise, but I’ve been in front of her on one other occasion and she was unimpressed with me to say the least. I think she saw me as a punk with no real business as an attorney being in court. She looked at my punkish haircut, bangs in front of my eyes, and my lazy smile, my nihilistic charm and razor sharp sarcasm and decided immediately on the spot that I am nothing more than a cocky maverick, an immature, little smiling shithead with nothing but nonsense to spew in her courtroom. Now I’m just hoping she forgot about that incident and will receive me and my argument under the terms of a clean slate. It’s my only real hope of not crashing and burning in this place.

Dang, she’s really laying into this guy hard. This pathetic little balding forty-year-old attorney is trying to argue with her on every little point and she’s shooting him down mercilessly and making him wait for it. She’s having none of it. Respect. She looks like a younger, thinner version of Roseanne Arnold, and she wants to show how much smarter she is than everyone else. She wants to tell this guy what’s what; she wants to teach him the arbitrary rules of law that he has forgotten since he graduated from civil procedure back in law school. She even reminds me of a law professor with her general demeanor and relative impatience. I’m immediately regretting the choice to come here today. This won’t end well. It can’t.

I’m really not sure what to make of this entire situation. I nearly failed my first semester of civil procedure so I’m really not all that interested in trying to display enviable knowledge in front of her now. And I also recognize how soft my case is. This hearing will not be won by making her feel sorry for the client. She’s only interested in the law and the law on my side is shaky at best.

I tap my foot repeatedly and listen to the hearing going on in front of me. There’s an unopposed motion being heard; the responding attorney has submitted no response. The rules of civil procedure are clear; they require a response. I’ve submitted no response to my own motion, or rather the motion that has been brought against my client. It’s a demurrer, an unopposed one that I am most likely going to lose. And my unresponsiveness is actually and technically not my fault but this judge is unlikely to see it as such. They never do. Sometimes they will acknowledge special appearance attorneys for what they are but that provides little solace in my situation. Typically speaking, judges require you to fall on your sword no matter what the circumstances, even if it is not your sword. And I’m really a little too cavalier and irreverent for such unfanciful falls. They have never suited me well in the past.

I can only imagine the things that she’ll say to me when I stand up there and try to argue my case without a formal written response to present. It’s unheard of in this courtroom, NC-27. NC-29 is pretty hostile too. I’ve had some luck in NC-31 but I attribute that mostly to the beginners luck paradigm. Now I’m far from a beginner in this courtroom and I’m sure this Roseanne look-a-like is not going to forgive it.

I think about bailing once again. The door is right there, it is beckoning me to exit through it and successfully extricate myself from this hairy situation. But I shouldn’t be so rash. I should be brave in the face of certain failure, like all those who have come before me. So I start formulating my response, the only thing that I can say when she tells me that I cannot speak; when she claims that the court will not hear my argument. My response will be somewhat witty and clever. And don’t forget elegant. It will be something to the extent of, “What is the point of keeping the hearing on the calendar if we are not allowed to speak?” I will challenge her rules by asking, “Why not take it off calendar and make the tentative ruling the official one if I’m not allowed to speak?” I’ll say it in a way that connotes only minor antagonism. At the end I’ll shrug and offer up a charmingly curious smile.

Surely taking the whole thing off calendar would be in the interest of judicial economy but it would be flying in the face of substantial justice. I start to wonder which concept is more important to this particular judge. I feel like she wouldn’t care a ton about getting a writ of mandamus lodged against her. I feel like it happens more than she would ever care to admit.

Suddenly she tells this attorney dude to go fuck himself, only not in so many words. But it makes me sit up a little straighter in my chair and take note. He asks if he may say something more on the issue. The judge expressly disallows him the latitude. But he begins speaking anyway. I can tell she’s a little more than put off by his disrespect. I shake my head. He’s getting her in a really bad mood right before my case. I hate this guy for his unthoughtfulness.

It doesn’t matter what he says because she rules against him anyway. Each side mutters ‘thank you’ and gathers themselves to leave, like defeated little kamikazes looking for an opening to sail on through to their ultimate demise. They’ll head down the stairs and back up Melrose to search for the nearest bar to drink the sorrows and pressures of their lives to circumstantial oblivion. I share their spirit but not their poison.

Then the judge calls my case. It takes me a second or two to recognize the name but when I do, I realize it is game on and I have no idea how to play the game. I’ve never considered myself to be very good at this art of advocating. The politics and the deceitful stealth involved, while sexy, has never really been my forte. In fact, despite vilifications from my most outspoken critics, I am actually quite likeable, dare I even say charming at most times. As such, I’m rarely given to outbursts or streaks of meanness. That’s why this unsavory type of business doesn’t really suit me. I take most affronts with a cavalier smile born of self-confidence and an endless streak of seductive successes. But I digress here in my chair, waiting for the courtroom to unfill so I have the actual physical space to approach the bench and get on with this suicide mission.

I reluctantly stand and walk through the swinging doors to the podium and the side marked ‘plaintiff’. It’s the right side in this courtroom because the jury seats are off to the right. Luckily this is just a motion hearing so no jury sits in spectacle of me. I’m not sure how well I would be received by the overly conservative venire that makes up this county anyway.

Now that the judge has been sufficiently pissed off by the thoughtless lawyers that came before me, I have to go up here and present my stupid little argument that she will have absolutely no interest in hearing and absolutely no difficulty in dismissing. This might have had a shot of working if we had submitted an opposition to the demurrer like we were supposed to. But we didn’t and it won’t escape the attention of the judge, not this one with her impeccable memory of the rules of civil procedure. I’m not sure how I could possibly get a better outcome here than the ones that came before, the ones who just left with their metaphorical tails in between their legs. I’m fairly certain that I would have been better off staying home writing that dissertation than coming in here and stating my appearance. But I shouldn’t be so negative. People are always telling me that. So here goes nothing.

I have to wait for all of the telephonic appearances before I can state my own. It annoys me because I’m representing the plaintiff and should get to go first. I guess this judge cherry-picks the rules she wants to follow. Only when it suits her I suppose. Finally it’s my turn and I speak up. She pauses and looks at me so I don’t give her a chance to talk shit. I immediately proceed with my argument, the one that I am technically not even allowed to give, hoping against all hope that she will see it fit to listen and maybe grant my request accordingly.

It’s a sob story that I don’t quite believe in but I keep going because she doesn’t stop me. And I don’t care that it’s largely bullshit I’m spewing because I’ve never been all that concerned with being legally inspired. This is just a pastime until I can make it to New York under the guise of ambiguous storytelling. So I refrain from telling the judge that we didn’t know this and we didn’t know that because ignorance of the law is no excuse and she would clearly know that. They teach you that at orientation. I really hate doing this because I never know how it will be received but I always assume it will be received quite poorly. Still, I continue on with my pathetic argument because she appears to be listening and hasn’t tried to stop me yet.

Then I finish and wait for her to respond. She just stares back at me. She looks violently unimpressed. I don’t blame her; I’m not very impressive. I was a B student in law school and probably more like a C-style attorney. But I have a devil may care attitude and a smile that is hard to refute. She may think I’m a total moron but she still wants to be me because I’m twenty-six and she’s fifty-two. That’s mainly what gives me the confidence to stand tall and stare her down. She doesn’t intimidate me at all. Unlike her, I can walk into a bar and make guys turn their heads and that’s pretty much all any woman wants in life anyway. At least that’s what I’ve been taught by the American media and my peers. And I’m down to believe in it because it has more evidence supporting it than any other stupid theory that has been propounded over the years.

You know you came in here without a written response and I really shouldn’t have even let you speak at all, she tells me simply. I smile and nod. I explain the error, that we responded on a separate motion, but she shrugs indifferently. The plaintiffs are confident that they can cure any and all of the deficiencies in the complaint, I assure her even though that claim is tenuous at best. She snorts derisively and I feel a slight smirk creep onto my face. I can’t help it. I know I’m spewing nonsense and she knows it too. But I won’t admit it.

I’m going to assess sanctions in accordance with the tentative ruling, she announces plainly. I sigh and ask her if that is really necessary. She nods. I point out that if we had submitted an opposition to the demurrer she might have given us leave to amend the complaint, and that is the whole reason I have come here today. She responds that we’ll never know because we neglected to submit anything. I nod to concede her point and offer a small, sheepish smile. But we can cure the deficiencies and fairness dictates that all pleaders get any and all opportunity to litigate their grievances in a court of law, I whine ineffectually. It wasn’t really a whine because I’m not overly invested in this case but I wanted to make this judge aware of the protocol in case it might help. It doesn’t. She’s not at all impressed with me and I suddenly feel like I was set up specifically to fail. For some reason, I always feel that way.

I’m not giving the plaintiffs another bite at the apple, she responds firmly. Why not, I inquire boldly. It always takes me at least twenty bites to finish an apple, I tell her. She blinks at me and shakes her head. I smirk and offer another shrug. I realize that she is not given to appreciating my particular brand of humor but her clerk chuckles slightly so I consider it a small victory. But if you were going to give the plaintiffs another bite of the apple had they submitted an opposition to this demurrer, then how does that warrant the assessment of sanctions now, I counter back, becoming somewhat interested in her rationalization. After all, sanctions are punitive in nature and this is hardly deserving of punishment, I go on.

She nods and immediately instructs the attorney on the telephone to address the issue. I’m surprised that she didn’t outwardly dismiss my argument. I wonder if she is just patronizing me or if I actually made a good point. I always tend to think when judges are being nice and nodding their heads it is done as an attempt to patronize me. I can’t imagine that I have ever said anything terribly intelligent in court.

But I remain silent and listen to the reply broadcasted over the loudspeaker from some attorney sitting in the comfort of his Century City law office. Meanwhile I am standing here in court, the only one of this mess of attorneys who took the time to show up, and I’ll probably still lose. His argument is tired and unimpressive to say the least but it’s not my decision to call. The judge seems to have been sufficiently convinced because at the end she states once more that she will assess sanctions. I sigh loudly and shake my head. She states that it is her final decision and she motions for the hearing to come to an end. I shake my head but offer the obligatory ‘thank you, your honor’ as I gather my things and begin to leave. She cuts off the telephone and announces that the court is in recess.

As I’m walking through the double doors, I hear her shout at me. You gave it a valiant effort, she offers as I am retreating from the courtroom. I turn halfway around and give her a disbelieving ‘thank you’ because I disbelieve her sincerity. I feel like she is definitely patronizing me now but I don’t let on. It is not my position to call her out. I would rather just leave and get back to my life, the busy mess of shit that draws my attention away from the things that I should be accomplishing, the things that I need to accomplish in order to make one tiny one hundredth of my silly dreams come true.

Out in the hall I smile, not because I won -- I certainly lost -- but because it is over and it is the weekend and I can focus on other shit now. Of course I would feel much better if I had won but I knew going in that I was being set up for a losing battle. I just wish others could see it as rationally and realistically as I do. But that’s almost never the case.

I nod to the bailiff on the way out of the courthouse. He advises me to have a good weekend and I reciprocate the same sentiment to him as I cross the threshold next to the medal detectors. I hardly feel like my weekend could be qualified as good because I will have countless ridiculous stories to write for kids that will take credit for them in exchange for cash. But I will attempt to slip in a little time for myself nonetheless. It feels so few and far between these days and any progress being made seems minimal at very best. I’m still not in any sort of position to claim any modicum of success in this painfully cutthroat world. Really all I’m doing is suspending myself in an unendurable state of intoxication through the use of pleasant narcotics if and until something good happens. And I cannot qualify or quantify the word ‘good’ but it appears defined in my mind as something of a dream, something of a gigantic reach. I would like to say that the idea that something good might happen to me is possible but at this point it seems closer to improbable. The further I descend into disillusionment the further the concept of good feels from touching me, the further it seems from gracing me with its benign presence.

Not for nothing, as I walk back to my car to brave the congestion of highway 78, I think about the vast difference between how I pictured my life and what my life has become. It’s a grand canyon of difference and I am convinced that if I had literally fallen from such a height I would be dead by now, by all accounts content in my nonexistence. But I am not a wishful thinker and never have been. So I will get in my car and ignore the persistent daydreams of my fiery car crash and ultimate demise to head home and maybe write something immersed under the influence of narcotics and the blissful arrogance of my favorite Showtime show.

Under the spell of said narcotics, I might think that anything is possible (I usually do) and it will all be perfectly serene. I’ll think about how it might have been, how it could still be if I were actually recognized, not for my smile or my body but for my words and potential talent for arranging them into beautifully scripted sentences. That grip on reality that I will assert is mine in my darkest hours is actually quite tenuous and I’ve never been a well-wisher, not even for myself. I’ve always been painfully realistic, to a fault of sorts, wondering why I’ve never made it to any critical acclaim while knowing deep down it’s because of my laziness and total lack of ambition.

As I cross the street, I fantasize coolly of being struck by a car and meeting my nonnegotiable end. Oh how freeing it would be to not have to think about all of the ways that I could have been better, all of the ways that I could have made it to that point of actual critical acclaim. When you die at twenty-six, people mourn over all of your wasted potential and all of the stuff you could have accomplished if your life hadn’t been so devastatingly cut short. But when you die at forty-six, people just talk about how you were such a disappointment and how much of a loser you turned out to be and how much better your legacy would have been if you had died at twenty-six. They might not say it out loud but they think about how your death was probably a blessing in disguise.

I worry now about toeing that very fragile line between dying young and potentially wasted and dying old and being that never was. It makes me wonder every day if I’m not making a huge mistake by not banging a nice opiatic shot to my main vein. I’ve been told it might not be the most terrible idea in the world (by my father when President Obama was re-elected for a second term), and despite the double negative it might turn out to be my best shot for a contented future.

But then again, maybe futures are overrated in their entirety and maybe this discussion is one better had at thirty-six.


[If I butchered the title of this painfully melodramatic tale of an ordinary Friday afternoon, don’t blame me, blame google itranslate, a perfectly wonderful scapegoat.]

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Did You Know That The Death Clock Told Me Today Was My DeathDay, Only 50 Years In The Future? That's Some Unnerving Shit.

"You’re one to talk the heart is a clock
Just like a bomb that keeps on ticking away
Counting down to detonate
You will need an army
Disarming me"

Apparently there's a death clock.  It's available at

I'm not really sure how much I buy into the mathematical algorithm that was undoubtedly calculated and utilized to produce these harrowing numbers, but here it is nonetheless, counting down the seconds of my life.

On the one hand I'm really quite skeptical of all supernatural hokum -- that includes the existence of mythical superbeings, etc. -- but on the other hand, I'm actually quite flattered that the deathclock thinks I'm going to make it to 2063 with all the abusing that I do.

Here's to the Night.

Friday, April 5, 2013

This Was Salvador Dali's Most Famed Creation. Persistence of Memory? C'mon, Give Me A Lollipop!

The Helix Center spotlights reach into the cosmos and beckon for us to come closer. This must have been what the arrow in the sky had in mind when it first began to beckon me, when it first began to lead us to this place. Whatever game or concert is going on within its loins should be ending pretty soon. That means possible victims of mockery will be flooding the streets anytime now, begging for us to deride them. While we wait impatiently, we decide to walk through the area just outside the stadium and peruse the cart vendors’ merchandise, usually on sale for half price once the show has begun. If you remind the vendors about how they will have to lug all of their unsold junk back to their respective homes or overpass bridges, they usually knock off another twenty percent to incentivize the buy. This is where I typically find gifts and other trinkets to give people on their special occasions, like birthdays, largely antiquated traditions that are unfortunately still necessary in most social situations of today. I don't typically poke at social contracts because anarchy -- despite any and all words to the contrary -- is really not in my best interest.

Irrespective of the topic under current discussion, Justin all of a sudden becomes obsessed with buying chupa-chups, a type of lollipop that is inexplicably rare in these parts. He voices his utmost desire to purchase the candy, somehow becoming convinced that they are all laced with ecstasy and thereby spurring a long and intricate recounting of his candy flipping days. I always considered chupa-chups quite elegant and tasteful, and that was even before I found out that they were the brainchild of Salvador Dali, who admittedly designed them later on in his life when paranoia and artistic frenzy had the best of him. Since learning that little tidbit of information, I have become extra fond of the candy. But this is the first I am hearing about them being laced with ecstasy or any drug other than sugar for that matter. Previous to this crazy assertion by Justin, I believed that chupa-chups were nothing more than a delicious candy treat. The looks on the faces of my companions as they listen to Justin’s insistence on the matter leads me to make the obvious deduction that this topic of conversation has been ongoing for quite some time now. I must have missed out on hearing about it due to my pursuance of other avenues of thought and interest. But now I’m transfixed.

Let’s find some chupa-chups and add some candy to this flipping, Justin suggests with a smirk, probably considering himself an ingenious wordsmith at the moment. I roll my eyes but make no comment on his suggestion. I have to admit that I was very fond of chupa-chups back in the day. Incidentally they were my lifeblood for a while when I was younger and a bit of a sugar fiend, but they have faded from the forefront of my mind in recent years. Of course that does not mean I would be at all adverse to acquiring and consuming some tonight. In fact now that Justin has brought them up, they are pretty much the only thing I can think about with any kind of clarity. I feel now that I must acquire some.

Soon the need to consume chupa-chups consumes my mind. Everything about them that I can recall was perfect: the creamy smooth taste, the perfect manageable size, and the plastic stick. If I’m honest, the stick was one of the best parts about the chupa-chup experience and the main thing that made them what they are. Because the stick was not paper, it did not come apart in your mouth or get stuck to the candy itself. One was free to enjoy the candy lollipop without the risk of swallowing a bunch of errant paper. They truly made for a better lollipop experience and I always felt fortunate when I was able to find some.

Chupa-chups are exactly what this trip needs right now. Of course they can be exceedingly hard to come by. This I recall from my own past obsession. Sean interjects by claiming that they are being made in the sky right now and that they will drop down to us mere mortals when we need them. But while this statement brings a slight and somewhat amused smile to my face, reminding me again of the swirling candy in the sky, I do not believe for one second that he is correct in that assertion. Dali’s chupa-chups are not made in the sky. That is absolutely silly. But the similarity in thoughts between Sean and I does make me think that maybe we are on the same wavelength. It’s possible that by taking two hits I somehow launched myself ahead of Sean and the rest of them, causing me to be able to perceive the future in some respect. If true, it would be a pretty awesome ability. Sometime I may attempt to take five hits just so that I can inform my companions of what their trips will be like before they even take them. The idea makes me laugh out loud; they would be so angry.

Remy suddenly walks up to a passerby on the street and asks him if he has any chupa-chups to spare. He declines to respond but the confused and somewhat frightened look on his face causes the rest of us to laugh hysterically. There was just something about his hesitancy to respond and his scrunched up eyebrows that has set us into a fit of laughter. I have yet to witness confusion as simple and pure as that man’s was. Remy returns to our group shrugging her shoulders, forcing us to erupt in laughter all over again. Once we recover, we decide to put all of our cognitive efforts into finding ways to obtain chupa-chups at this late hour.

The air quickly becomes thick with tension. I think we are all beginning to feel the dire need for the chupa-chups and the ubiquitous fear that we will never be able to find any. We can all agree at this point that chupa-chups will guarantee that the rest of our trip is both pleasant and safe, something that nothing else can ensure. I begin to realize that consuming chupa-chups is the only way to protect us from the green universe and the nauseous feeling that has thus far gone hand in hand. I share that idea with my companions who all seemed to have come to the same conclusion minutes earlier.

As soon as that notion is out there, proposed by me and verified by the others, I begin to notice the neon green color everywhere I look. At first it starts with subtle infiltration, a little green here a little green there. Before long though, it becomes prevalent in my sight line, ten times worse than it was earlier in the evening. Back then it was merely irritating; now it is fully agonizing. I cannot look anywhere, including the inside of my own eyelids, without seeing some aspect of that neon green. I convince myself, and eventually the others that the only way to cure us of the neon green that is infiltrating our universe and vanquish it from the forefronts of our minds permanently is to locate some chupa-chups and consume them decisively. The sweet, sugary vanilla is the only thing that will save us from the certain death of living in a horrendously neon green universe.

There has to be a convenience store around here somewhere. Figueroa is one of the main drags of downtown Los Angeles and therefore it should be rife with public amenity stores. I’ve never really noticed them before, but they must exist around here somewhere. If chupa-chups aren’t a staple of life then I don’t know what is. Of course there is the possibility that society in general does not share our current fondness for the item in question but that seems oddly improbable. In a green universe like this one is fast becoming, the necessity for chupa-chups is not optional; it is a basic means of survival.

After about the fourth person ignores our desperate request for chupa-chups, we decide to search the area around the Helix Center for possible chupa-chup venues, like drug stores, pharmacies, grocery stores and liquor marts. I try to dodge the persistent green to the best of my ability but it is getting tough without the aid and comfort of a chupa-chup. This situation has become a vicious circularity that we cannot seem to escape. If we had the chupa-chups, the neon green would not haunt us because the candy would successfully suppress it. But if the neon green was not haunting us, we would have no reason to hunt for the chupa-chups in the first place. It’s a vicious circularity indeed.

There is a shadow ahead of us from a light that I cannot account for. Somehow I become aware of the fact that turning around to search for the source will be a dangerous endeavor so I refuse to engage the shadow in any meaningful way. But that doesn’t stop it from mocking me. Off to our right, down a small alleyway is a neon green, even-legged cross sign that indicates that a pharmacy is nearby. The neon green cross has developed into the universal sign for a pharmacy, something I find somewhat odd considering logic would dictate the cross be red. I start to wonder if maybe the universal sign has switched colors recently due to the universe becoming green and violet. That would make the most amount of sense.

We are tempted to check the pharmacy for chupa-chups because of our desperate need to survive, but we ultimately decide against venturing down the dark alleyway because of the brilliant omnipresence of the neon green sign out front. The entire place is alight in a green glow that chills our very bones. None of us feel strong enough to face the green head-on, much less journey inside its loins and throw ourselves on its mercy. Besides, I don’t believe neon green universes are merciful by any definition of the word and while the universe may want us to find and consume chupa-chups, I am quite certain it would not want us to be swallowed up in that humble pursuit. Vomit-induced asphyxiation due to prolonged neon green exposure is also a significant concern that should not be overlooked. In fact, it is the ultimate deciding factor in our unanimous resolution to turn away from the neon green cross and look elsewhere for our much-needed chupa-chups.

Jack suddenly alerts us to a convenience store sitting a block in a half up the street on the right hand side. This better not be a tease because I’m pretty sure our time is running out in this dangerously green universe. As we near closer to the establishment, I can see the open sign displayed prominently in the window and I realize that it is not the mirage that I had once feared it could be. For the first time in a long time I feel a sense of hope, hope that things could potentially get better. It feels nice to look into the future and see some amount of brightness.

The door of the convenience store is propped open and I pass through it easily and unobstructed. I look around the store briefly before I hear benign and welcoming music coming from the front. Simultaneously or as much so as I can register in my current state, my eyes connect with a stand perched to the left of the cash register, beckoning for my complete and undivided attention. It is almost like the clouds parting for the sun, everything seems brighter and much more in focus than it did earlier. There are even golden rays of light directed toward the stand, bathing the product in light and signaling the very thing we have been searching for this whole entire time.

It’s a stand of lollipops, chupa-chups to be exact. The music is loud and glorious. With their Dalian color-patterned wrappers, I would recognize chupa-chups anywhere. What’s more, they are surrounded in a violet glow, a clear sign of their awesomeness and purity. They are truly our saving grace. My companions come up behind me, awe-inspired and silent in their own revelry. Their gasps of amazement are felt but not heard. They have followed my line of inquiry and found the chupa-chups as well. I can tell by their hushed whispers of excitement and unadulterated glee. Instantly, we all gravitate toward the chupa-chups at the front of the store near the cash register, again without exertion or the spending of excess energy. The chupa-chups are like magnets compelling us to come hither and investigate. Even without the undeniable pull, we would never dream of resisting their tempting allure. We know that these chupa-chups are the only vehicle of human salvation. It is the chupa-chup alone that will get us through this nasty transition of color. We have finally found exactly what we have been searching for the majority of the night. Now it is us alone who hold the key to surviving the new universe and I must say that these keys look quite magnificent. I am definitively star-struck.

At the counter near the register I waste no time in plucking up chupa-chups by the handful out of their stationary tin stand. I grab hold of a choco-vanilla flavored chupa-chup and immediately tear it open and place it in my mouth. Yum, it tastes just as I remember. The clerk eyes me as I take the rest of the chupa-chups off the stand and place them in the pockets of my jacket. He immediately confronts me about taking all of the chupa-chups and demands that I don’t start any trouble here. I dismiss his warnings as I turn away and begin to browse the rest of the store. I am vaguely aware of Jack approaching the cashier and paying him for all of the chupa-chups that I took. Jack issues some kind of half-assed apology for my irreverent behavior. I appreciate how non-flyers are always very attentive to community standards, keeping us flyers safe from the hassle and ridicule of the public.

Sean, Justin and Remy come up behind me and start hounding me for the chupa-chups that I just pocketed. They have become quite jealous of my sole possession and complete dominion over the delectable candy. They care not about the old axioms of ‘finders keepers’ or ‘to the winner go the spoils’. I sigh and consider their arguments in favor of sharing with them. They will bother me incessantly for chupa-chups if I don’t give in. I don’t really want to deal with that kind of harassment, not now. Though I do hesitate to oblige them, I eventually give in to their demands. After all, I can still sort of remember how frightening it was for me to look on at the neon green before this magic chupa-chup elixir took merciful effect and began protecting me from the horrible and disorienting visions that plagued my recent life. I would not wish that kind of torture on my worst enemy or chief nemesis. So after taking all of that into account, I reach into my pockets and apportion out the chupa-chups in fair numbers to my loyal companions. They deserve respite from the neon green just as much as I do.

Once Sean, Remy and Justin all get a chupa-chup into their respective mouths and a few more into their reserves, they become much better company for me. It is an almost unfathomable transition that only the incredibly observant could detect. My companions literally go from spewing apocalyptic ramblings to marveling over how calm and beautiful the violet auras that encircle the various light sources of this meager convenience store are. It is amazing how one lick of a chupa-chup can change your entire outlook on life. I am in awe of the kind of power and prestige something like that must garner. I should stock up on these chupa-chups and then sell them for insanely high prices at the upcoming summer desert concerts in Southern California. I could make a serious killing.

Jack starts ushering us out of the store after he notes that we each received what we came in here for. He is attempting to keep us on track with our plans of going to the Helix Center and mocking the people who leave the stadium. He may be just trying to ensure a good trip for all of us but I have my reservations. No non-flyer is that unselfish. He must have some kind of ulterior motive for going to Helix tonight because he is overly interested in getting us there in a timely manner. In his mind, there is no time to spare. I’ve observed him on more than one occasion tonight checking his wristwatch for the time. Though I cannot imagine what his motives are, I can say with some degree of certainty that they are not as pure as he would have us believe. He is not rushing us along here for our own good and wellbeing; he is doing this for himself, for undeniably selfish reasons. I’m just unsure yet what he gains by getting to the Helix Center by a specific time. But it will all become clear later on. I’m not concerned about it now.

Once back outside, the cold air greets me like a slap in the face. The store was nice and warm but the temperature out here is frigidly cold. The warmness of the electrifying wind is now gone, and in its place is this unceasing chill that cares not about our individual needs. Things seem to be moving fast again and I note with a combination of pleasure and disdain that the winds have come back with full force. Of course they are much colder now than they were earlier on. The wind always seems to pick up pretty strong in these parts. The skyscrapers of downtown cause wind vortices to gush toward us and through us, providing ample resistance and discouraging our humble goal of getting back on our path. The wind is pushing us hard backward, the way we came, but we determine not to let the monster face of Aeolus deter us for too long. There is mocking to be done and secrets to be found out. Jay has a particular goal in mind at Helix and we may need to hamper it. And now with our bountiful supply of chupa-chups, it is as if we can accomplish any and all feats. Nothing is out of our bounds and range. So we forge onward, confident in our newfound abilities to withstand the forces of this changed universe. Mankind might be doomed but with our chupa-chups, we will persevere.

As we near closer to the Helix Center once again, the wind begins to play a cruel joke. Unbelievably it seems to be picking on me in particular. Without warning and much to my chagrin, strands of my hair begin whipping around my face, suddenly and surreptitiously turning into vicious snakes, much like medieval Medusa. But unlike her rumored snake hair, these snakes are malignant, disloyal and heavily volatile, wrapping tightly around my chupa-chup on its voyage to and from my mouth. The snakes threaten to carry the lollipop off and leave me alone in the dismal neon green abyss, to live out the rest of my pitiful life nauseous and gripped in madness. I can’t let that happen. But unfortunately it seems that I am not strong enough to stop them from clutching my favorite candy and yanking it free of my grasp. The snakes around me hiss and wrap their bodies tight around the plastic stem of my chupa-chup, forcing it unceremoniously out of my hand. I call out as the chupa-chup sits suspended in the air just out of my reach. I try to snatch and grab at it but I fail miserably. The snakes have succeeded in ripping it away from me for good. I scream violently as the chupa-chup falls to the ground, shattering loudly into a myriad of hard candy pieces. No!

That’s it. That’s all it takes. It’s like a spell has been broken. The neon green all around me is back and it’s stronger than ever. I have failed to prevent it from infiltrating my mind, the only place that I, at least at one time, could feel some modicum of safety within. But that’s all over now. It’s done. I let the evil hands of an ancient god ultimately prevail and I only have myself to blame. I feel defeated. I feel low, really low, below rock bottom low. Losing the chupa-chup has stunned me into silence and pathetic submission. There’s nothing I can say, there’s nothing I can do to fix it now. Suddenly I feel intense despair and self-loathing. I chastise myself for my overt recklessness and complete inability to fend off the snakes and save the lollipop from its brutal destruction. This is all my fault. I deserve what’s coming. The neon green should have me. I should not fight its brutal takeover.

As I stop in my tracks and kneel down next to the shattered pieces of my fallen lollipop, Justin comes up beside me and bends down to my level. He places his hand on my shoulder and sighs, undoubtedly mourning the chupa-chup in the same way that I am. Justin understands my despair but he quickly advises me to forget about the fallen chupa-chup and retrieve another one from my pocket. He claims that mourning does no good at all; it changes nothing. Though I believe him to be essentially correct in his proclamation, I can’t bring myself to let it go, not yet. Again, Justin reminds me that I have other chupa-chups at my disposal, and that I need not allow the evil neon green universe to champion over me. This time his words get through to my consciousness. I had forgotten about the other chupa-chups! I smile as I reach my hand inside my pocket and grasp a brand new chupa-chup. I bring it out in front of me and admire its beauty. Justin is right. I don’t have to let the green universe win. I still have weapons to fight it. This is not over yet.

Jack walks back over to us and then immediately starts complaining about wasting time. Justin nods and then signals for me to stand up. I begrudgingly comply and rise to my feet slowly. It seems that my companions want to get moving again, largely unconcerned with the tragedy that I just suffered. Though I do have other chupa-chups, I really liked that particular chupa-chup that I lost. I feel bad that it has met its demise so young and so unfulfilled. I feel heavily responsible and ashamed for allowing it to die. If it hadn’t have been for my carelessness, that chupa-chup may have been able to lead a nice life. It may have even been able to find a worthy person that could have enjoyed it fully and completely. It does not deserve to lie in the street, broken and forced to exist here amongst the trash of downtown Los Angeles.

Let’s get going, Justin urges as he taps my arm and insists that we move on. I nod solemnly, still staring down at the shattered chupa-chup at my feet. Our time together was so brief, so hopelessly and devastatingly brief. I wish our special relationship could have lasted longer. But the neon green of other universes is starting to infiltrate this one again. There’s no time to waste mourning what is no more. I need to suppress the green now to survive on my own so I instantly unwrap the new chupa-chup, and with hurriedness I force it into my mouth. I breathe an instant sigh of relief as I take my first taste of the candy and watch as the neon green disappears once again from the forefront of my mind.

The nasty color that I have come to regard as harsh and cruel, the very same neon green color that has been plaguing my life for a majority of the night, recedes swiftly into darkness like a frightened turtle. The first taste of this new chupa-chup is like magic all over again; a new spell has been cast and it may be more powerful than the last one. Just as soon as the neon green descended upon my world to engulf every fiber of my being, it is gone once again into the background. Blackness alone is here with me now, but it is a blackness that I can respect and adore wholeheartedly. I thank Justin for his suggestion and vow not to let the wind or the snakes prevail against me ever again. He nods and we get moving on our way.

In order to combat this viciously persistent wind, the sole force that turned my hair into snakes and led to the demise of my first chupa-chup, I make an executive decision. I choose to discount the wind’s presence and self-proclaimed power over my life, hoping that once ignored it will give up its harassment of me, and perhaps move on to someone more fitting and worthy of its attention and efforts. I have to make the wind as unimportant as a mother’s college education. And I can do that. I’ve had plenty of practice designating things as unimportant in my life. The wind is not here; the wind is dead to me. I’m not worried about the wind at all. It cannot affect me. These are nice mantras. They have nice rings to them. But will they save me from the wind’s vengeance? Only time will tell.

Either way I’m going to strive really hard to take these lessons to heart. I think it will work out pretty well for me in the end. I really do. I have to believe that things are going to get better. I feel like they should. The opposite possibility is a little too much to bear right now. Besides, the climb has just begun for us. We are still on the pleasurable incline. Before this night is over, I’m going to be on top of the metaphorical world, looking out and feeling triumphant for no reason at all. I admit that before in the past when I would hold myself up to such outward acclaim it was nothing more than insane delusions of grandeur that I could not truly substantiate. In fact, I am famous for proclaiming things that rarely come to fruition. But this time is different. This feeling is making me confident, to a degree that I have rarely been able to covet. I won’t stop issuing proclamations just because it is socially irresponsible to continue doing so. I am mine after all.

The dead calm of pure silence creeps into my head as my thoughts end naturally and we continue to walk north on Figueroa Street. It almost feels like I was somehow able to cause the world’s sound to disappear, instead of merely the wind. But now neither sound nor wind is bothering me much, and I like it. It seems the power of my mind is way beyond reproach tonight. Considering the strong silence all around us, I casually begin to wonder if anyone can hear anything at all anymore. I certainly do not hear anything. But could that just be me, could that just be my affliction alone? Or did I effectuate some kind of maneuver that effected the world as a whole. Again, only time can be the judge of that. And I am nothing if not open to hearing its undignified ruling in this respect.

The Middle.

**Author's Note: The European Neon Green Pharmacy Crosses were the inspiration for this particular segment.