Wednesday, August 24, 2016

2007.5:: the first unedited pages of the novel i wrote this summer

“In the red lights and cathedrals there’s a sign,

Don’t we always wish we had more time.” – 3EB

My impetus for writing this: I don’t want to add to the slow and deliberate manipulation of my generation and the ones who follow -- to collect the blood and the money -- by writing something romantic or mythical, fictional or unsubstantial.  I’d like to say ‘fuck you’ to all the ones who wanted me to change this, make it different, not so irreverent, saying things like ‘glorifying drugs is not the attitude we want to sell right now, try writing a book about vampires, or zombies, a twist on those old time horror movies.  But in the vein of honesty I will admit that there are, maybe one or two things in the pages that follow that aren’t true, or embellishments of some sort, and that’s largely because looking back seven years ago is hard and also my highly imaginative brain has actually caused fantasy and reality to blur to a certain point.


My dad spills the raspberry Smirnoff drink I placed precariously by the side of the pool and I quickly right it up to preserve the rest.  “Why do you have it right there,” he asks me.  I shrug and ask where his is.  He tells me it’s on the table, where it belongs.  I explain that then I would have to get out of the pool to take a sip, like it would be the biggest inconvenience of my life.

“When your sister gets here, we are going to Valley View so be ready,” he instructs me.  I’m not even sure I want to go because I don’t really eat seafood but my dad has been excited to try this free buffet for signing up as a member for a awhile now.  He thinks there is going to be lobster there.  “Have you heard from Mom recently?” he asks me.  My mother took off like two weeks ago for Europe and took two of my sisters with her.  It is supposed to be an educational trip; like usual, she neglected to tell my dad about it until two days before the plane departed.

“Couple days ago. They are in Vienna, I think.”  He nods.  Even though he is annoyed by the deception and spending, he accepts it in stride.  I think that it helps that I came down from Los Angeles.  I just quit my job in Westwood because I’m starting law school this fall.  My bosses gave me two weeks’ pay extra because they are so nice.  It will help pay for my trip to Boston and New York later this month. 

I’m in the passenger seat and my sister, her boyfriend and our mutual friend are in the back seat.  My dad is driving.  We all registered for these Valley View membership cards and they come with a free buffet dinner.  Our family tried to do this a few years earlier, but we didn’t realize the eighteen years old restriction.  Now, we are all over eighteen.

Gavin giggles suddenly from the backseat.  I turn my head a little and catch my dad’s eye.  He rolls his eyes and gives me the impression that he is irritated.  My sister brought Gavin and her boyfriend Ryan along.  Gavin and Ryan are whispering and giggling and shrieking back there.  My dad absolutely hates silliness.  He generally likes Ryan, my sister’s boyfriend since high school, but this is the first time he’s meeting Gavin. 

We park at Valley View and begin to walk in.  Gavin, my sister and Ryan are walking ahead of us.  My dad leans in and tells me he doesn’t like how Gavin is making Ryan act all silly.  I nod but make no comment.

The food is better than I expected.  It’s a buffet and I’m not really sure what to grab so I just grab things that I recognize.  I’m not very adventurous when it comes to food and I’m not much of a carnivore.  I try some of the shrimp.  “Do you want to try this lobster, Blair?” my dad asks me.  I’m tempted to say no out of fear but I say yes.  He has these metal scissor looking things and he breaks it apart.  I hear the cracking and tearing and it makes me grimace.  He breaks off a claw and hands it to me. 

“What am I supposed to do with this?”
“Pull out the meat and eat it.”
“I’ve seen these washed up dead on the ocean.”
“These are fresh. Just try it.”

I try it and it’s actually pretty good.  But it is way too much work to walk up there and get one of my own.  Gavin opens some of the lobster scissors and starts snapping them at Ryan.  They are being silly again and my dad notices.  My sister doesn’t seem to think much of it.  I don’t know if my dad realizes that he has met Gavin before, that he used to date one of my best friends, but I don’t say anything.  My dad is a disapproving type and nothing really can change his mind.

The next day, my mom leaves a message on the answering machine.  They are in Lyon and she had food poisoning.  The older of my two younger sisters had to share a room with her that night.  She is fine now.  I kind of feel like they should have invited my dad to go with them.  My mom always just assumes he doesn’t want to do anything, which is kind of annoying.  Whenever I ask him to go somewhere with me, he always wants to.  My mom is kind of short-sighted that way.

I go downstairs to the garage to tell my dad about the call.  He nods and informs me that he is heading out to check out a job.  He owns his own plumbing contractor business and he has to scout jobs before he can bid for them.  This job is in Encinitas.  “What are you going to do today?” he wants to know. 

“I don’t know.  Probably tan, swim, maybe write a little later on.”
“You should read some of the cases the US Supreme Court will be deciding this summer,” he advises me.
“Dad, I haven’t even started law school yet, I need to have fun this summer.”
“That’s the problem with your generation, all you want to do is have fun.  But then the fun ends and you don’t have a job.”
“Okay dad.”
“You should also register to vote.  You are the only person not registered to vote.”
“That’s not true and also I don’t care about politics.”
“Then why are you going to law school?”
“Nothing else to do.”
“You need to care about politics.  Your future depends on which presidents are chosen to lead the country.  You don’t want a bunch of liberals taking over, making all your choices for you.”
“I’m not worried about it.”
“Blair, you’re twenty-two years old, you need to start participating in the democracy, or you will find yourself in a communist world where you won’t have the choice to do anything.”
“Okay dad.”

Up in my room, I find the little novelty skull that opens at the top that I got in Chinatown in Los Angeles, or maybe it was a Dios De Los Muertos celebration in or around Union Station, I’m not sure exactly.  I went with my sister Michelle who dates Ryan and went to USC with me.  I think we had to go for some project I had at USC.  Anyway, I bought the skull because I thought it was cool and now I keep my bud in there, in a tiny baggie in an old film canister, black with a silver top.  This bud came from my friend Evan, who gave me about a gram because, I’m not sure why.

I load my pipe to the brim and blast off.  I like to get high and then swim and it’s easy since I’m the only one home.  Michelle went back up to Los Angeles to the apartment with Ryan and Gavin.  I hope they are not going into my room.  They are probably using my bathroom.  I consider it for a second but then I realize I don’t really care and I light up.

I play with my computer until I find a good song on the playlist and I put up the WinAmp visualizations that it comes with because I am too lazy to look for other ones and also the ones that come along with the download are pretty cool.  I always have this great idea about how things are better, clearer, with more meanings when I’m stoned.  Everything has a secret meaning, or secret meanings, and I feel like I would not be able to see them unless I am high.

I put on my bathing suit and head out to the pool.  It’s still early in the summer and I’ve barely a base tan so I choose the 30 SPF tanning sunscreen lotion to protect me but also give me some color.  I’m in a perpetual tanning contest against my mother and my friend Samantha.  I always have won in the past.

The next day, my friend Keri stops by to hang out and swim.  She’s on vacation from university in New York.  She goes to Syracuse.  My mom always likes to talk to her about it because she went there too.  But my mom is now in Venice or some place with my sisters and she’s enjoying it because it was the one place in Europe she never visited.  My sister Michelle and I were there two years ago but we didn’t think a ton of it. We liked it OK I guess.

Keri wants me to bring down my pipe so I go upstairs to fetch it.  My dad is just getting home from work and he sees my pipe.  He doesn’t really care that I smoke but he doesn’t like it waved in his face.  He smoked until he was thirty-three and starting his business and I remind him of this every time he tries to get on my case about it.  “Just don’t get in trouble over it,” he tells me. 

“Who puts weed in the illegal drug category?” I ask him. 
“Plenty of people.  The feds.”
“Fuck the feds.”
“Alright, that’s nice.”

I walk out to the pool and Keri is already swimming.  “What took you so long, fucker?”
“My dad was talking to me.”
“He’s cool, right?”

I load the pipe and set it at the side of the pool.  Keri asks for the lighter and I give it over.  She takes it and then blasts off a pretty generous hit.  She blows out this perfectly beautiful smoke line, like a slithering snake into the air.  I watch it, amazed.  I have never been good at making smoke poetry.

I slip into the pool and grab the lighter and the pipe, blasting off.  My smoke refuse is messy and inelegant.  It comes out in a pile, like a big smoke cloud that I can’t feel proud of.

“How do you do that fancy stuff?” I ask her.
“It’s innate.”
“Uh huh.”

She punches me in the arm, hard, and takes another hit.  Stoned Keri and drunk Keri are both violent Keris.  “I got a game.  We gotta swim from one side of the pool to the other, underwater, and when we get there we take a hit.”

“Why not?”

My dad wants to go to Red Robin for dinner.  My sister is back from Los Angeles again but she is over at Ryan’s house.  We invite them to meet us and they do.  “Did you know that I am featured on Google Maps?”  Michelle tells us after we order.

“You are?”
“What does that mean, Google Maps?” my dad asks. “Is that an Internet?”
“Yes dad.  If you Google Ryan’s address, you will see me outside washing my car.”
“Oh did you see the Google car drive by? I want to know.  I always look for it.
“That is pretty cool.  You are famous.” I point out.
“What is this Google Maps, Google Car, what are these things?” my dad wants to know.
“It’s on the Internet,” I tell him, knowing that he won’t ask further questions about it.  He does not understand or want to understand the Internet.
“You would like it.  You can see anywhere in the world,” Ryan chimes in.

The waitress brings some fries to the table and my dad asks my sister what classes she is going to take this semester.  She says she has not registered yet but will soon.  “Are you going to move to Orange County or stay in LA?” Ryan asks me. 

“I’m going to stay,” I tell him.
“It’s not too long of a commute,” my sister justifies.
“We’ll see.  I’m not worried about it yet.”

I have been having several reoccurring dreams for awhile now but the most prominent one recently has been this one where I turn on the television that is no longer really in my room anymore and when I turn it on it is on a buzzy channel, unstable static making weird, scary signs and the snow is all jumping around in a frenzy and then zigzags and it’s black and white and different color greys and my heart pounds and I feel the blood rushing through my veins and I turn it off really quick.  I feel relieved for a second and then the television turns back on, of its own accord, and my eyes widen and I quickly turn it off again.  Then I wait.  Then it turns back on and I know that I’m haunted.

I hide my eyes as the static in the television hops and zigs and zags malevolently, and I turn it off again, and it turns back on again and I try changing the channel, but they are all buzzing; they are all dead static channels and I’m so afraid.  But I never leave the room.

Finally, I creep on my hands and knees, underneath the television, trying not to listen, trying not to look at it, the loud oppressive sound and the broken up picture and I hate whoever the person was that invented what static should look like.  I reach underneath the television stand and yank the cord from the wall.  The television turns off and there’s peace once again.  This time, it doesn’t turn back on and I wake up.  That television hasn’t been in my room for a long while.

I wake up sweating even though my window is open and I realize it is going to be a hot one.  I check my phone for the weather and it claims to only be 73° right now but I figure it is a lie.  By noon, it says it will be 97° which I consider to be more truthful.  The day after tomorrow, I leave for Boston with my friend Andrea.  We are going to visit Keri, who just flew back, and then we are going to go down to New York.  I should think about packing soon, but it’s too hot.

Instead I go downstairs and make some eggs, bacon and throw it into a taco and eat it.  Then I run on the treadmill until I get bored.  I like to keep in shape but the treadmill we have at our building is haunted by this mean old Asian woman who likes to talk shit to us.  Michelle and I have had confrontations with her before.  She has hate in her heart.

My mom is still in Europe with my sisters and my dad is at work so I decide that I can invite this guy Troy over to swim and whatever.  We have been sort of hanging out since I had this agreement with this guy, Cason, but he just told me he found a girl that might lead to girlfriend that might lead to wife and mother of his children, and all that nonsense that guys who are twenty-eight start to want.  He wants an intellectual equal but also someone who is financially solvent and has a career and knows what she wants to do and has a five year plan and a ten year plan and whatever, so that was never me.  We only fucked here and there, but now that he’s off the market, I can have Troy over and fuck him without guilt. 

Troy is really hot but he’s only twenty and so not a serious prospect for me. He says immature things all the time, like to whatever comment you say, like that sunset is cloudy, he will say “your face is cloudy.”  It’s always “your face” to whatever you say.  It gets annoying fast.  Otherwise he’s pretty intelligent and anyway I don’t have to like our conversations to enjoy hanging out with him.

He knocks on the door and I answer.  I am so glad my mom isn’t here because the last time Troy came over, she saw him and later she remarked that I should “give him to my sister” because she was younger.  That was annoying because I had already technically slept with him and I don’t like the idea of sharing men in that way.  It creeps me out big time.

“Let’s smoke some bud,” I suggest and he is amiable to the idea.  I grab the pipe, the skull and the lighter and we head out to the pool.  He has blue swim trunks and as soon as he takes off his shirt, I playfully push him into the pool.  He immediately gets out to seek revenge.

After some play, we blast off in the pool.  The bud I have isn’t great, kind of stale, since I’ve been trying to lay off.  I’ve gotten, I feel, somewhat addicted this year.  It’s not in the way that I feel like I need it, but in the way that I feel like when I don’t have it, I get these negative side effects.  Sometimes when I am driving and I haven’t smoked in a few hours, I feel my throat tightening up, the sensation where I might not be able to breathe.  I start to flex my throat and the feeling doesn’t really subside.  It freaks me out.  I am kind of worried about having a scene on the plane to Boston.  Bud has been such a constant in my life, to lay off, almost makes me more paranoid than when I’ve smoked too much.

Troy takes a large hit and passes the little water pipe over to me.  There’s still some smoke in the chamber so I take that first, before lighting up.  It’s a nice little refuse high.  Then I blast off and feel that head high feeling indicative of sativa.  I always try to make people aware that I don’t want to buy indica, like ever.  This is sativa, I’m pretty sure.

Troy doesn’t seem at all affected by the bud.  I guess that’s what twenty means.  I remember not being affected my first time but faking it because the two kids I was in the car with were, at the time I was thinking, really experienced in smoking and I didn’t want to disappoint them.  Maybe Troy is like that.  Maybe not.

We start to make out in the pool and I feel him getting hard.  I make a joke like, “What’s that?” and he is very serious with his answer.  We make out some more until I suggest we go upstairs.  I’m really down to bang Troy but it is more for the experience than anything else. I’ve never been with a younger guy before and he is also probably the hottest guy I’ve hung out with.  I feel like there is no reason for him to like me, since San Diego has no shortage of bleached blond, orange faced girls, slightly chubby girls giving it up.  So why would he want a brown haired, brown eyed, skinny and only mildly tan older girl?  Maybe because I’m different and also the fact that I’m leaving soon.  I don’t mind it at all.  Actually, my perfect guy in a lot of ways.

We take a shower and move it to my bedroom.  Troy is tan everywhere, like he’s been out nude, and not like the fake spray on tan or UV shit, the real outdoors stuff.  I do sort of want that freedom.  We fuck for about twenty minutes which is probably ten minutes too long for me.  I like it when I get off after seven or eight minutes; after that, it’s just chafing.  But I don’t want to be an asshole and say something and also I know guys like to take their time because it’s all pretty much guaranteed in the end.  Lucky bastards.

I’m getting a ride to LAX from my sister who was down in San Diego.  She came down to see my dad and Ryan’s parents and use the pool and the laundry machines.  She hurries me as I try to think about whether I packed everything for the trip.  I’m a classic procrastinator, waiting to the last minute to make my lists and see if I have everything I need.  Finally I am ready and I put everything in the truck and we get on the road.

Ryan is driving and Michelle is in the passenger seat and she doesn’t mention anything about Gavin.  I look out the windows and wonder if I smoked enough weed to help me get through the drive without being too anxious.  I don’t like to be cooped up in small spaces.  “So is Gavin gonna get anymore X,” I ask, to be obnoxious and also because I am genuinely interested.

“I don’t know, I barely talk to the guy,” she says, which I know is definitely a lie.
“What do you care, you will be on the east coast,” she adds.
“Just wondering,” I respond.

My bedroom is pretty much the way I left it except someone used my bigger water pipe, the one I don’t travel with.  They didn’t clean it out either, like they wanted to get caught or were too indifferent to care.  I’m not going to make a big deal out of it because early tomorrow morning I need a ride to the airport. 

I walk across the room to the bathroom, dump out the water, and begin to clean the pipe.   It is harder to clean the longer you let it sit with that bad water and that brown residue that builds up along the edges.  Michelle comes in and tells me a bunch of people are going to meet over at the Golden Gopher.  “Alright, give me five minutes,” I tell her.  She is annoyed but I figure she will wait for me. If not, I really don’t care.

I clean the pipe, fill it to the brim and take a hit.  The smoke comes clean in and I think about nothing.  There is nothing to think about.  I set the pipe down on my desk and change my shirt.  Then I take another massive hit, perhaps too massive, and blow the smoke out the window.  I catch the lit up Orpheum sign in yellow neon across the way to Broadway Street and I wink.  Then I look a little to the right and see the red neon Jesus Saves sign and I sneer. 

We take Hope Street to Eight and head East for a few blocks until we hit the Golden Gopher.  The Golden Gopher is a dive bar but I like it. Downtown LA is lacking in places to hang out; there is only Casey’s, Golden Gopher, and some place on Grand and 7th that is either called Grand on 7th or 7th on Grand or something like that.  We like the Golden Gopher because it’s low key.

Golden Gopher has old arcade games from 1980s, a glass case of shirts that you can’t buy because no one is ever there to fetch them out, a bunch of rocks instead of usable windows behind the bar, and a smoking area that is penned in by high rises on three sides.  What is not to love?  I’m with my sister and Ryan and Gavin and this guy Frank and some girl named Emily who has a twin sister who she doesn’t hang out with very much.  She went to USC and graduated the same year as me, last year.  Her twin did as well but I never knew her.  She is going to Santa Clara law school and she’s in her second year.  She gives me some advice about being a 1L.  I don’t really listen because I feel like I know everything that is good for me.  Nobody likes to hear other people’s advice anyway.

We get our drinks at the bar and make our way out to the smoking patio.  There are some open seats because it is such a bad area to hang out.  I hate cigarettes and the smell of cigarettes but my drink is helping.  The pot I smoked earlier is also helping.  Emily talks with Gavin about some pretentious douchy thing.  I sit there, not talking to anyone, and look up at the brick buildings all around me.  The space is so small and the buildings are all around; all I see is a very small patch of twinkling stars.  Ryan and my sister are somewhere else.  I think about leaving.  I want to leave.

Emily says something about a Supreme Court decision that is important and Gavin chimes in.  I know what they are talking about but I don’t let on because I don’t want them to engage me.  I don’t like it when people talk to me about that kind of stuff.  I chug the rest of my drink and tell them I’m heading home. 

Skid Row is really east of here but we get some bleed over.  As I make it to the light at Eighth and Grand, a black lady with a long coat approaches me, her hair is disheveled and she has wild eyes.  I nod politely and keep on walking but she continues along with me.  “Did you know today is my birthday?” she asks me.  I shake my head curtly.

“Well today is my birthday!” she exclaims.
“Happy Birthday,” I relay unenthusiastically.  I know where this is going and I suspect it is not really her birthday.
“Do you think you could spare some change for a lady on her birthday?”
“I only carry credit cards,” I reply dismissively and hurry off.  I wish people wouldn’t accost me in the street.

Ryan takes me to the airport in my Jeep.  We don’t really talk on the drive there, mostly because there is nothing to talk about.  Or maybe we do talk about things, I don’t really know.  Maybe he asks me about what we will do in Boston or New York, or maybe I ask him if he is going to be in LA or in San Diego.  Maybe we talk about what classes he will take this year at USC.  I think he’s a business major, like Davy.

We get to LAX and I have plenty of time.  I thank him for the ride and he assures me he will get my Jeep back to the apartment safely.  I do not worry about it; he is one of the only people I know that still knows how to drive a stick shift transmission.  It’s a lost art really.

I hoist my backpack and grab my old man suitcase and head inside to print my ticket.  After it spits it out of the machine, I look around for my friend Andrea.  I don’t see her so I text her to find out where she is.  She doesn’t respond in five minutes so I decide to just go through the security checkpoint and wait for her by the boarding area.  Andrea is pretty punctual so maybe she is already in there.

As I am waiting in the security line, Andrea finally texts back.  She just got here.  I tell her I am in the security line so she comes up and finds me.  Andrea sneaks under the black rope and this older, fat lady makes a harrumph sound and rolls her eyes.  The line is not very long.

“Ready for Boston, Blair?”
“Uh-huh.” I’ve never been to Boston before and New York, I’ve only been to the airport two years ago when we returned from Paris.  We had to stay overnight but we never left the airport.

“More excited for New York though.” Andrea had been to Boston with her parents when she was a kid and they did the Freedom Trail.  This is all she remembers.
“Do you think Keri will remember to pick us up?” Andrea wonders aloud as the line advances.
“Yeah.  But it will be on Keri time.”  Andrea snickers and then nods.

We have to show our IDs and our tickets at the first station before we are allowed to advance to the checkpoint and metal detectors.  I am ready but Andrea fumbles for her ID.  She swears she has it and I hear her mumble an apology to the fat lady behind her.  I also hear another harrumph.

I place my sandals, my cell phone, my beanie and my belt in the basket and I lay my backpack and my suitcase on the rolling track.  A security guard asks me if I have any electronics in my bag.  “A laptop.”
“Please remove it, as the sign indicates.”  I look up at the sign and then back at my bag.  “Alright.”

Andrea finally comes up and begins to lay her things on the track.  I take out my laptop and think about asking the security guard if he’s happy.  But I refrain.  There is nothing to be gained from that. 

I wait until the security guard waves me to come through the metal detector.  When he does, it dings and he tells me to remove my belt.  Everybody is annoyed with me.  I take off the belt and put it into a separate container and then I walk through and it doesn’t ding again but they pull my luggage aside and explain they have to look through it anyway.  Now I’m annoyed.

They don’t find anything and there is nothing to find anyway.  As we walk down the corridor to our gate number, Andrea asks me what that was all about.  I shrug. “You didn’t pack weed, did you?”

“No, I told you I quit smoking.”
“Yeah, but nobody believes that.”
“Really.  I did.  I felt like was addicted.  I felt like it was causing me to have panic attacks.”
“I thought weed was a non-addictive drug.”
“Maybe. But my throat felt like it was closing up.”

“Whatever.  I’m starting law school soon.  I’m quitting.”

Civil Procedure is my first class of the day.  The professor is forty something and horribly ugly, disfigured really, with blotchy red cheeks indicative of alcoholism and long curly brown hair, unkempt, and she was never pretty. She also seems kind of mean and I am early enough to get the spot in the corner right by the back door and Brennan comes in, spots me and sits next to me.  We nod our recognition and I talk about the bad drive from LA and she says something about “that’s what weed is for” and I laugh.

The professor talks about what she calls “Housekeeping” for the first five minutes of class, basically saying about how she doesn’t have tolerance for people coming in late or not being prepared because “judges won’t tolerate it.”  She acts like she is doing us a service by being an asshole.  I feel glad I got the corner spot since in her class, there’s definitely a seating chart.

After “housekeeping” she starts a lecture on what Civil Procedure means and the difference between federal courts, which have limited jurisdiction and state courts, which have general jurisdiction.  She hints that the bulk of the class will be deciding what cases rightfully belong in state court and what ones rightfully belong in federal court.  Federal court only takes federal question and diversity cases.  Federal question have to do with challenging the Constitution and diversity is when the two litigants are from different states.  She also talks about venue.  I play solitaire and win two games.

I go to the library to get some of the cases read for torts and contracts and civil procedure, but all I really do is play solitaire for fifteen minutes, read one case about torts that I slink into my Barbri outline and look around the other cubicles to see who is here.

This place is too quiet and I get the feeling this is exactly what it would have been like if I had gone to libraries in college and then I decide to get up and leave.  After I drop my things at my locker, I walk down to the circle and get some coffee and water, wait around to see if this girl Lindsay who wanted to buy weed from me will show up, she does, right by the hair salon we make our trade. 

As I’m walking back to campus, I’m kind of sad because I sold the rest of my stash so it won’t tempt me, but I’m also sort of glad because at least I won’t have that feeling like I could have it whenever I wanted it.  I really have to focus.

Legal writing starts at 1:15 and I’m wary of being taught to write legally since I’ve always had an interest in writing legendarily, scary sort of grasp on the English language, and as I’m walking toward the classroom, I’m thinking, she can’t teach me anything about writing that I don’t already know.  I’m twenty-two.

The whole row in the far back is empty so I’m super glad and I take the one near the aisle, unfortunately no outward escape.  This class is also a breakdown of our track of 100 or so students, to 30 or so students, so really I have no hope of going unnoticed. 

The classroom fills up, mostly in the first, second and third rows, and the last row, the fifth row, is where I sit and play Solitaire and try to be unremarkable and only one other kid tries to sit in this row, a kid named Tommy and I don’t look over or up at anyone as I look at the nine of spades, wondering how to move it even though I know obviously it is covering both red tens, hearts and diamonds, and it’s also covering the six of spades, and I realize it’s an impossible game and that this in fact a clear metaphor for my life.

“Why don’t you two move up a row?” The teacher calls out.  I’m still in denial about the nine of spades, hoping that there will be a possible way to move it and win the game.

“You too!”
I look up.  The legal writing professor is staring right at me and the kid named Tommy has already started to gather his stuff to move up to the next row.  I close my laptop and start to move my stuff as well. 

I think about asking, “What if I don’t want to?” but it doesn’t seem like the mature law student thing to do, so I quietly obey.  Tommy took the place by the side near the aisle, which is where I wanted to sit, so I hate him now. 

This professor is young, probably thirty-five or thirty-six and she seems pretty nice.  I still don’t think I’m going to like this class because she talks about how legal writing is so different than all other writing, especially creative writing and she says you have to be brief and get to the point.  I think about how I will probably ramble on and on just to waste her time.  If I ever get through law school and become an attorney, I think I’ll do the same.

My property class is in the same classroom as Civil Procedure and I want to take the same seat near the door but there’s already some kid sitting in it.  So I sit next to him and scowl.  He says he knows me from Contracts and I nod.  The classroom is filling up, and this kid, Seemer, is logged onto Ebay and reading descriptions on cell phones.  He explains that he sells them.

The professor walks in and he’s one of those nerdy east coast snob types, thirty-something pushing forty-something and someone tells me that he’s mean and used to be fat.  The first thing he does is pass around these index cards for us all to write our names on.  After he collects them, he shuffles them menacingly at his podium spot and calls on a name.  I’m glad it’s not mine.

He asks the kid some bullshit question that was meant as a trap and as the kid stutters and fumbles for an intelligent answer, I open up a solitaire game and smile when I see the nine of spades.

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