Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

Saudade or BS in English

August 2, 2019

Elise waited for Bill for about an hour at the bar of a new gluten free, vegan restaurant in that hip new area of the city where anyone over the age of forty, looks out of place. She had two organic wines from a small winery in Oregon and felt safe knowing that there was no DDT, herbicides, pesticides or Agent Orange in her wine. She was rail thin with long, straight hair that she constantly put behind her ears as she read from her phone.

Bill posted pictures of himself on a dating site. Bill was not a thin mountain man looking guy. He was sort of a chubby man who loved to correspond with women he never met and had no intention in meeting. After hours of writing back and forth with Elise, poems and even a song he composed on his acoustic guitar, the time had come to meet. Bill forced the meeting when he descriptively described what he was going to do to when he got Elise in a bed. It went something like this-

I will cover the bed in rose pedals. Carlos Antonio Jobim will be playing softly. The aroma of lavender will fill the air from the candles that will alluminate the room just enough for you to see my face and I to see yours. Nothing will need to be said. I will start kissing your arms so gently that it will feel as though I’m hardly touching you. I will kiss your neck so softly while holding the base of your neck. I will gently kiss your top lip and then your bottom. We will become one. I will whisper sweet things in your ear in Portugues- É pau, é pedra,
é o fim do caminho
É um resto de toco,
é um pouco sozinho
Elise read and re-read the message that made her a bit moist every time she read it. Bill had no intention in showing. He knew no Portuguese, owned no candles and lived in the basement of his mother’s home. It was all just a game to him and he thrived on the correspondence. Nothing more. While she waited for Bill, he dropped the bomb on her. In Portuguese. Loosely translated- I found another woman. I ain’t coming.
Eu encontrei o amor da minha vida … tristeza profunda para lhe dizer.

The bartender who looked a little bit like the 1970’s relief pitcher, Rollie Fingers or Salvador Dali with a ridiculous waxed mustache. A skinny man with a healthy libido who saw an opportunity to land another good looking sad chick sitting at the bar having a melt down. He asked Elise if he could read what was written. Two more wines and beet salad on the house and the Uber driver whisked them away to the studio apartment of the bartender. He happened to play ac

acoustic guitar. He happened to know Jobim songs in English. His neighbor had a rose bush and he had one Yankee candle that he lit that smelled a bit like citrus that masked the smell of unwashed clothes. Was love found and nurtured from that day on? I would have to say no. There are many men who set the table just for other men to eat upon.

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Going Against the Grain

June 19, 2019

Marsha wept as she rhetorically asked John where they went wrong with their son Gore. Gore seems like a crazy Goth name to give to their son at the time but actually he was named after Al Gore. Around the time of the 2000 elections, Marsha stopped dressing like Siouxie from Siouxie and the Banchees. She made John start dressing like a man who could make money instead of a over grown kid in ripped jeans and offensive Punk shirts from their high school days.

 

Marsha was a stay at home mom and the head of the PTO while John became a realtor. They had a swell home and every five years, they bought one that was even bigger and more expensive. They raised Gore to respect people of all colors and to not make fun of fat children or over the top effeminate men, not torture small animals ect… Marsha was way ahead of her time back in the early 2000’s. She explained that we are all equal in god’s eyes even though Marsha decided that there was no god. Marsha was raised Catholic but rebelled in high school. It was about the time she wore Doc Marten boots with her Catholic school skirt, died her hair jet-black and wore black lipstick. John met Marsha at a Black Flag show and fell madly in love with her. They had so much in common. They hated their parents, society, Ronald Reagan, Michael Jackson and Madonna. They were against anything that their post World War II parents were for but over time like most Americans- they had to get on board, become a cog in the wheel of the dynamo that is these United States.

Gore was against everything that his parents were for too. John and Marsha were Chicago Cubs fans and Gore liked the White Sox. John and Marsha liked their Punk Music from the 1980’s and Gore liked Country. John and Marsha got paunchy and sedentary and Gore ate healthy as a teenager and lifted weights until he was the biggest and strongest guy in the school. Gore wrestled, played football and ice hockey. John and Marsh had been anti-jock back in the day.

Gore had a graduation party with friends that were going off to the military or college. They hunted and owned rifles. They drove American cars and trucks. They all seemed more at home in Nebraska than suburban Chicago. Gore took off his shirt before jumping in the family pool. On his back was a tattoo the length of his back that had Donald Trump making the “OK” sign with a circle between the thumb and index finger. Trump is wearing a suit with a red tie and is winking. It read- Donald Trump 45th president of the United States of America. Made America great again.

 

Marsha was horrified. Her girlfriends from something called the “Fight Club”, a group of moms angry about the election and their husbands were in attendance. The members of the fight club sat drinking wine and eating chips with dip. They had been talking about mundane things until they could not help noticing Gore looking like an underwear model with his shirt off. He was a like a Greek statue with a six pack, strong arms and chest. What was tattooed to his back sent them heading for the exit. The moms protested the president by wearing cat hats downtown. They had lawn signs that said things like love is love and no human is illegal and science is real. There was no way they were staying any longer at the party.  Marsha was horrified and filled with anxiety of what might happen next.

Sitting in a lawn chair with a Fedora hat on, holding a beer was an old man. It was the father of Martha. The moms all left close to suddenly and said nothing to Martha other than they needed to go. Martha worried that one of them might go on an open forum of suburban moms and let everyone know that her son was a pariah, a xenophobe, homophobe, misogynistic racist, a Trump loving… Republican. Marsha was tearing eyed as boys and girls jumped into the pool listening to hillbilly music. Her father laughed. She turned to him and asked what possibly could be funny.

“Oh I was just thinking about when you brought John over for Christmas dinner way back when. He had a safety pin through his face and his Mohawk was orange. He wore a t shirt with cut off sleeves… I’ll never forget that shirt. It said Killing Joke and underneath it was the pope on a German military truck being given a Nazi salute by German soldiers on both sides. My mom, being a woman who never missed mass, cried for a month when John Kennedy was killed. She got up and left. She couldn’t believe that I let you date that guy. She told me that I had to stop you. How likely was that? Well you married him.”

“And what is so funny to you exactly? That my friends are going to make me wear a scarlet letter by posting shit on the internet?”

“Come now… You can’t control your kids entirely. They go against the grain… I think you should get a tattoo of Bernie Sanders shrugging his shoulders with the caption- What Hath God Wrought.”

Inverted Universe

March 29, 2019

There is an other universe where alternate endings happen. The Germans and Japanese won World War II, the Soviets remained Soviets and apartheid still exists in South Africa. In this alternate universe, John F. Kennedy never was shot, neither was his brother, Richard Nixon was never president, the Vietnam War never happened. Oh and the Dead Kennedys named their band, California Uber Alles.

In the deep down south, a cable company in a quest to find something interesting for people to look at like the zoo, found a man Virgil who found oil on his land, sold it and lived a gaudy life that seemed funny and odd to people who live in urban or suburban environments.

Virgil married the daughter of his sister but his sister was really his mother but his mother gave Virgil to her mother because she was only fourteen. His birth mother told Virgil that his cousin was actually his sister but it was too late, he had gotten her pregnant and they had strange looking slow children with wide set eyes. Virgil would invite city folk, mostly black gangbanger types to go fishing and hunting with him and that was the angle of the whole show- take a homie hunting.

Now Virgil wanted Donald Trump to win the election of 2016 with all his being. He wore Trump hats and shirts. He had lawn signs and bumper stickers on his large trucks. When Donald Trump lost the election, Virgil would go on right wing radio shows and talk about how there was a definite conspiracy with hackers to change the results of the election. Illegal aliens and terrorists being allowed in, all had a hand to throw the election to Hillary Clinton and Virgil and many people like him were quite vocal about not accepting at face value that their horse wasn’t tripped, their horse just lost the race. Then one day it all happened.

“It was reported today that the cable television show star Virgil Hibbets of the show, City Meets Country, was attacked by two hooded black men. Virgil had come out of a local barbeque restaurant with a slab of ribs in hand and fought the two attackers. They were described as young black men in their teens or twenties. They attempted to pour tar and feather Mr. Hibbets. As you can see in the grainy closed caption film captured outside the barbeque restaurant, tar is poured on the head of Mr. Hibbets while a second man dumped feathers upon him. They then punched and kicked him and drove off in a car with New York license plates that were captured in this video. There is a Bernie 2016 sticker and Hillary 2016- I’m with her sticker on the back bumper of a green Nissan Leaf.”

The right wing was incensed. Virgil went on Hannity and Laura Ingraham’s Fox television shows and spoke about the incidents.

“Now these evil communist perpatratahs come outta one of them hybrids. They faces was obscured by they hoods… They took they hands and made the letter H like some kinda gang thang and shouted out dat this is Hillary country. They called me a fat crackah and pro-ceeded tah pour tar upon me and then feathers. The tar got into mah eyes… You kin imagine how much mineral spirits ah needed to get the tar off? Mah eyes still ain’t right… The climate in this ah here country is a di-rect result of the politics of the day. It’s horrible tah think dat people would attack me fuh a difference of opinion…”

For a short while, people believed Virgil and then after a while, they started to put together the whole thing and it just did not make sense. Where did the Nissan Leaf come from and why was it in Mississippi? Two young black men who happened to be passionate Hillary supporters in a part of town where if you were black, white people would look at you as if to ask if you were lost. The next thing was that Virgil’s cell phone had been wiped clean. It wasn’t done professionally like Hillary’s with BleachBit. This was just old fashion erasing and not understanding that erasing is not enough. Before long, they found out that the two black men were not black but actual white men who worked for Virgil and wore black shoe polish on their faces. There was closed caption films of the two men buying clothes that black people might wear at a mall in Jackson and another film of them buying tar and feather pillows at a Home Depot outside of their town.

Virgil was confronted with the evidence as were the two men who worked for Virgil and before long, they were all arrested. Virgil having deep pockets bailed himself out and the two who were paid a whopping $3,500.00 by check to help Virgil get back into shape. Call it personal training. CNN, MSNBC, CBS and so on took Virgil to task and rightly so. Virgil’s explanation was that the network that hired him, was thinking of dumping his show and to draw attention and sympathy, he came up with the whole thing. Horrible to think, right?

In Jackson, two weeks later, without cameras, the judge in a speed trial took into account that Virgil had a clean record and never even had so much as a parking ticket in the past. Virgil had to forfeit his bond money and they took as community service, the food bank work he had done as a young man with the minister, Billy Graham. Virgil emerged from the courthouse draped in the American flag, holding the hands of his two little children who looked a little off. The press yelled questions at Virgil. He quietly with a tear in his eye put his hand over his heart and thanked god, his mother and those that love freedom and the United States of America. God Bless.

Third Period-Running Time

November 30, 2018

Joe told the parents back when they were little mites, about five to six years old- give it time, they will learn and they will be good. Joe went through years of tying skates, checking on players who collided with opposing players and lay there like they were shot, only to spring up and skate back to the bench on their own. It took time to learn the offside rule, to cover the points in their own zone, to pass when they should and so on. As squirts they got a little better. Two years later as pee wees, they became quite formidable and two years beyond that as bantams, they were a machine. The passing was fast, shots precise, hard fore-checking, hard hitting and their defense made it such that they hardly allowed a shot on goal. The forwards back checked well and the defense was smothering. The goalie mostly watched the game from the far end, occasionally piling up snow in the corners. The ice in their zone would be clear after the first period and the other side looked like it needed the Zamboni. As pee wees, they came close to winning it all but as bantams, they were ready. The team was like a family and the family was a machine. Joe stood on the bench with his arms folded the way Rommel or Patton did on top of tanks after conquering new lands during World War II. They were great.

 

Joe remembered back to a tournament when the boys were 9 and 10 year old squirts and how they got absolutely rocked by a team from across town. That team had garment bags for their jerseys with their names on it and monogramed bags with their names on it, as well as stick bags and warm up suits. They were good for their ages and under their coach’s direction, ran up the score against Joe four years earlier, 22-0. Not only did they lose by that score but they kept the score up on the board. He had crying kids who wanted to quit after that game. Joe had to beg his goalie to stay with it. Parents questioned everything Joe did and told them that things were not going well. Joe talked them into staying with things and it paid off. Joe saw the opposing coach with his slicked back black hair, chewing his gum in a circular motion. After the warm up, Joe asked the players if they remembered the team, the coach and score. They did.

“I want you to keep in mind what that motherfucker did to us and so here’s what I want from you…”

Joe pulled the goalie after the drop of the puck and put out a sixth skater. Joe’s team cycled in their own end, the neutral zone and the other team’s zone. They held the puck for two periods without the other team so much as touching the puck but Joe’s team refused to shoot. After the second period, the slick coach stood on the bench and yelled over at Joe.

“This is horse shit what you’re doing. Play the game!”

“Oh, we’re about to open this bitch wide open now. We just were getting warmed up for two periods.”

Joe ran up the score to exactly 22 goals in a period and then went back to cycling in their own end until time ran out. When it came time for the handshake, the slick coach with a tightened jaw gripped Joe’s hand and told him that he was a dick and that it was horrible and that there was no reason to do what he did. Joe refreshed his memory.

“You beat us by this same score four years ago… Remember me now? That game was an inspiration to us all… I had to deal with crying little kids that day. They got better, didn’t they? Thanks for finishing the game…As they said in Goodfellas and you look like someone from that movie- now go home and get your fucking shine box.”

Genetically Modified Men

October 4, 2018

I thought maybe it was just me. I thought maybe it was just my age and that I didn’t understand that things change and people change along with them. I began to notice that some men just disappeared and then others made a dramatic change from who they were. When the NFL banned tackling and the NHL banned body checking, I began to wonder what was going on. How could so many men change at once and others just vanish?

 

As A medical doctor, I began to examine men who went through big personality changes and found that most grew center punch man buns and beards. They began to develop breasts and discussed things that were less than manly.

“My wife and I found a lovely little town in the country that is basically a strip of antique shops. We found some fabulous deals and stayed at a really charming bed and breakfast that they claimed that Ulysses Grant once stayed at during the Civil War… If you would like information on this, let me know, doctor…”

This was coming from a man who once drove a truck for a living and now works in the children’s section of the local library.  Words like “lovely”, “fabulous” and “charming”, were never part of his lexicon in the past. Every other word in the past was profanity such as, “My fucking back hurts and I’m having a really hard time taking a shit, doctor.” It was quite a change. I’m not a particularly political person but I began to bring up the president to men that I felt had lost their masculinity.

“That man is not my president. He is a horrible man and he needs to be stopped by any means necessary!”

“What about our GDP or unemployment or Wall Street going through the roof?”

“And what about those poor children ripped from their mother’s arms and sent around the country like it was Auschwitz. What about that? No human is illegal, doctor and borders are not who we are…”

“Really? Hmm… Fred… Let me ask you about playing hockey recreationally. How is that going? Are you still playing several times a week?”

“Well doctor, my wife and I take ballroom dancing and Pilates together and go for nightly walks now…”

“Interesting… Can you tell me who you believe will win the Stanley Cup this year?”

“Doctor… I really don’t have time to follow that stuff. I have a list given to me by my wife that I need to complete of things that need to be done around the house. I’m happiest when doing those things rather than sitting in front of the television all night.”

What could it be? What was going on? Why wasn’t I falling victim to this mass transformation? One day I thought I would treat myself to $5.00 latte and went into a Starbucks. The counter girl had a nose ring and a rainbow shirt with a big button that said Resist. I was taken back by her question.

“The usual, sir?”

“Usual? I haven’t been to a Starbucks for years.”

“Is that so… Well, then this one is on us, sir and we hope to see you everyday going forward.”

I drank the coffee and had an overwhelming desire to have another. For no reason I put on the View and asked my wife if she was interested in seeing a romantic comedy rather than playing softball with my team and drinking until the bar closed. All day long I sweat and fought back the desire to leave and get another latte. All night I sat on the couch rocking and thinking about having another latte. When I woke, it had passed. I felt myself again- I ate, dressed and went off to work. I began to loiter at a local Starbucks and noticed the same people coming in over and over again. Men who looked like androgynous hipsters who once looked like frumpy fat men. Weeks later I examined a man who appeared to be examining me.

He eventually couldn’t refrain from telling me what he discovered once he was sure that I wasn’t one of them.

“I’m a garbage man by trade. My job is to collect refuse and take it to a dump sight. Nothing unusual, right? Well I noticed a pig farm next to the dump and wondered what was going on at 4am. I walked through the mire to a fence where they had lights lit up enough to play baseball by. I noticed body bags on the back of trucks… Hundreds of dead bodies and a conveyor belt of old, dead white men. Their nutsacks were being cut from their bodies and dumped into buckets and then fed to pigs. The bodies then went into a crematorium. The people doing the castrating were all large women. I imagine them to be lesbian but maybe just large European types. I was amazed. I wondered where all the old white men were going. I found it, doctor. Tell me you’re not with them! Please tell me!”

I wasn’t one of them and I had to see it for myself and it was just as described. I began to notice that everyone except Eddy the garbage man had become like them and I didn’t know what could be done. I woke this morning to find a latte next to my breakfast cereal. My wife was smiling as if waiting to watch me swallow arsenic. I refused to drink the latte, grabbed my things and headed for the door.

 

“ Someday you will want it. All men want it. They need it. They live for it and when you do get it, it will come at a price, love.   You will pay for who you are.”

“What am I?”

“You know who you are, I don’t need to tell you…”

“I’m not that sharp, Susan. What am I?”

“A man who is white… And you know what that means.”

 

I ran out and began speeding towards the office. I was stopped two blocks from home by a female police officer. She approached the car and never asked me why I was going so fast. She put two hands on the door and looked at me dead in the eye and asked me if I had my latte this morning. I panicked and took off. Here I am at my office with the door locked. I can hear them through the door. Women with sweet, calm voices trying to convince me to unlock the door.

“You have to come around, doctor. All the others are changing and you will change right along with them… It’s futile to resist… Resist… Resist.”

 

I woke up sweating and looked over to find my wife sleeping. It was a dream but it was so real that I sat there for a moment wondering. Just wondering.

And Donald Trump as Richard Nixon

September 7, 2018
I stand here today, your president of the greatest nation in the world
to speak about this business of impeachment.  As you all well are well
aware, except for the People’s Republic of Massa chutes, I won every
state…  The greatest GOP landslide ever.  I served as your vice
president during the greatest peacetime growth this nation has ever
seen.  After suffering through the Great Depression and two major
wars, this nation was at peace.  When did that peace end?  I’ll go out
on a limb and say when Camelot moved into the White House.  You had
one of the greatest generals in this country’s history planning the
Bay of Pigs invasion.  How was that screwed up?  Cuba?  We could not
overturn that government?  So we looked around and tried to figure out
what weaker country we could invade to save them from themselves and
get people’s minds off of Cuba… Where to go?  Where to Go.  Ah…
Vietnam. Who ever really heard of Vietnam before and if you did, could
you find it on a map.  The great Walter Cronkite looked solemnly into
the camera to report that it is a war we couldn’t win.  I suppose he
knows better than generals.  I supposed if we had conducted a war
correctly, we wouldn’t have had such a long and useless war.  Kennedy
put it on a tee, Johnson hit it into the Gulf of Tonkin and it was my
job to fish it out.  Maybe if I was better looking and hob nobbed with
you all out in Martha’s Vineyard or Hyannis, got drunk and crashed a
car in a pond and walk away with some doll in the backseat…  Maybe if
I had a ménage a trois with Kissinger and Bridget Bardot, you might
all keep it down low, wink, nod and declare that Dick is a man’s man
and for the good of the country, we’ll just let this go.  Maybe I
needed to take charge and remind my men that there was better chance
of meeting Jesus Christ than Mc Govern defeating me and there would be
no reason to snoop on them.  Kennedy and Johnson brought you the war
and I ended it.  Kennedy and Johnson were a hair away from starting a
nuclear war with the USSR over again…  Help me out here… Anyone? Yes,
Cuba once again and I sat down with Brezhnev and worked out a plan to
limit nuclear weapons.  China…  That was I once again.  Trade
relations and a chance to sell a billion Buicks brought to you once
again by Richard Nixon.  The milk toast members of my party are
wringing their hands, worried that if they don’t throw me into the
fire, they might be next at some future date.  I said this to
Kissinger and I will say it all to you- the press is the enemy… The
establishment is the enemy.  Professors…  Communist perpetrators who
indoctrinate your children into believing that you’re the problem…
They are the enemy.  Tattoo it all over your body 100 times…  I go to
the people today and bypass the media.  The people have to know
whether or not their president is a crook.  Well I’m not a crook.  I
earned everything I’ve got.  You think you can get rid of me and
undermine the will of the people and my mandate, I say roll the dice…
Thank you all for listening tonight, god bless you and god bless
America.

Make Believe

August 27, 2018
Kurt ran the plates of the young woman who was swerving while texting in an old Buick.  The car’s registration was expired, the driver’s license was expired and she had no insurance.  She cried as he explained to her that she would be ticketed and the car towed.

“If I had the money for insurance and to get the license tag renewed, I would have done it.  I am flat broke right now until I get my first check.  If you would find it in your heart to let me park here and take the bus home, I will get someone to take me in and register the car…”

Kurt, a police officer used to dealing with so much gang violence on Chicago’s west side, actually felt bad for the young lady.  It did not hurt that she was fit and pretty, dressed well and her car was clean and did not smell of booze or weed.

“Okay Ms. Tonisha…  I will let you get this automobile home without towing or ticketing you.  You have to get everything in order.  The next cop you come across will not be so kind…  I have a favor to ask of you and you do not have to say yes.  There is no gun to your head figuratively speaking of course…”

Now Tonisha felt that white people were the devil and those they were all of privilege, responsible for slavery and for all the misfortunes of the black community and the world.  Only thing worse than a white man was a white male cop.  She saw them as predatory profilers.  Kurt while driving his beat, thought that many blacks were animals that preyed on each other and pointed everywhere except at themselves over problems in their community.  Like most people, Kurt didn’t see himself as racist.  He has a black friend he drinks with that also is a cop and a former soldier.  Every white person has a black friend and they often begin a sentence while speaking to black people by saying- I have a black friend…  Kurt was never drawn to black women particularly but saw how beautiful Tonisha looked and thought hanging with her for the night would be fun and really amusing. The thought came to Tonisha that he was going to ask for a sexual favor.  She hit the record button on her phone.  The question was weird but there was an opportunity to make some money.

Kurt showed up at the banquet hall in a convertible Jeep in a suit, Tonisha in a tight fitting black dress, with pearls to contrast against the tight velvet dress.

“All you have to do is roll with me…  I want to have fun with this all tonight,” said Kurt.

Kurt was fit for a man of nearly 50 years of age.  Kurt had not been to his previous 10 and 20-year reunions but told some old friends that he had lost contact with that he would come. Kurt didn’t believe in Facebook or Twitter and nobody really knew much about him.  He had attended a high school in a northern suburb north of Chicago, joined the military and then became a cop.  He grew up a hockey playing Punk Rock kid with a bald head, tight jeans, Doc Martin Boots, plain shirts with suspenders and hated the world.  He hated his mom for marrying a man he hated back then and the anger of Skinhead Punk Rock, appealed to Kurt.  Thirty years later, Kurt was still playing hockey, was divorced from his wife and living away from his children in another state.  Kurt had a great disdain for the people he went to high school with.  They made fun of the culture he had adopted and didn’t accept him in their circles of friends.  Even the guys on the hockey team felt he was a weirdo albeit a good player.  Kurt put his nametag on and one for Tonisha.  Kurt gave Tonisha his last name on the tag.

“Do you like Champagne?”

“Um…  Hell yes.”

A group of men who used to be on the hockey team were sitting at a table together with their wives.  Kurt walked up and pulled the chair out for Tonisha and then pushed the chair in.

“Wow…  Thirty years…  My god, where has the time gone?  Toni…  These are all guys I told you about that I played high school hockey with…  Lester, Tom, Jim, Horse…  You don’t wanna know why we called him horse…  Bill the goalie.”

Tonisha could feel all the eyes of people old enough to be her parents, burning into her.  The men were thinking that he had managed to land a very pretty, young, black woman… Black woman.  They knew that Kurt was one of those bald kids who hated everything and everyone back in the day.  The Skinheads hated everyone who was not like them and thirty years later, their star defenseman married a black woman?  No way.  After drinks and more drinks, some dancing and then dinner, the questions started coming.

“Toni was driving fast…  I mean really fast.  Texting, swerving, changing lanes without signals, blowing red lights just to get away from me…  Because I’m a police officer, not just some crazed white dude after a pretty African-American princess…  Naw…  I’m just kidding.  She has a thing for ice hockey players and white dudes in general and she happened to be at the rink watching another white dude that she broke up with to be with me.  After a few years, we married and have… two girls…  Twins.”

The women looked at the young woman with a waist the size of a neck and wondered how she got that figure back.  The women there were older, lumpier, wrinkled and Kurt looked like the fountain of youth with a shapely and pretty young thing that would jump-start any man’s libido.  When the night was over, Kurt stopped at a pizza place that never closes in Berwyn and in fancy clothes; they stopped to have a slice of pizza each.  After hours of dancing and drinking, they had worked up an appetite.  Tonisha talked about mundane things with Kurt as they laughed and ate but she had to know why Kurt went through such an elaborate lie with people he used to know.  Tonisha stood to earn $100.00 and keep the clothes he purchased for her and yet she had to know his reasoning for such a bizarre night.

“Those people all live in a Facebook world.  They might take forty pictures of their annoyed wife and kids but they post that one where everyone smiles and looks happy to be together on vacation somewhere.  I’m so happy for you that your kid got a trophy or that you’re at the Grand Canyon…  That’s fantastic…  Why should I give a good goddamn?  It’s not real.  You never hear that their lives are fucked up and that they are stressed out, maxed out on credit cards and suicidal.  They want each other to think everything is fabulous.  I was interested to see if I look as bad, better or the same as those fucks.  I’m trying really hard to fight the effects of aging.  It was purely scientific.  I appreciate your help with this whole make believe night.  I know it’s silly but I really wanted to put on a show for these people tonight.  What are they saying to on another on the way home?  Wow, she is so young, so beautiful and so… Not white.  I may never see them again in my life but I left them wondering…  Come on, I’ll take you home.  Your mom is probably waiting at the window to make sure the cop didn’t kill you…”

Kurt flipped channels as he pet his dog that was sleeping on the couch beside him.  Baseball highlights, hurricane footage from Hawaii.  Kurt was drifting off to sleep when his cell phone buzzed.

I HAD A GREAT TIME TONIGHT.  MAYBE WE ARE FROM DIFFERENT WORLDS AND MAYBE THAT’S NOT BAD.

 

YER WELCOME.  YES.  DIFFER WORLD NOT A BAD THING

 

After close to a half hour a response from Tonisha came in.

I WOULD NOT MIND GOING OUT AGAIN IF YOU WOULD WANT.  I CAN GET BABYSITTING FOR THE TWINS ANYTIME ; )

 

Kurt responded immediately.

 

I WOULD REALLY LIKE THAT.  REALLY I WOULD : )

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Let Them Eat Beets

August 17, 2018

Wonder drugs are really wonderful except when those darn side affects take affect. You know- hives, bleeding gums, swollen pancreas and feet, insomnia, sensitivity to light, night sweats, day sweats, heart palpitations, loss of libido, a hard on that never subsides that could service a harem… You get the idea.

 

The Millers were some large white people. The father, wheezed when he breathed. His neck was hidden between a half dozen chins. He would roll into the local 7-11 to buy those nasty tacos and wings under the heat lamp, a bag of chips, a double big gulp and that candy bar. I’m sorry, two candy bars.

“Vun for 69 cents, two for a dollar,” the Indian proprietor who announces as Bill the patriarch would get ready to slip his card into the reader.

The children were the American version of Hansel and Gretel. Middle school age cherubs that wore adult clothing. They sweat in cool weather and their eyes disappeared whenever they smiled. Hamburgers, frozen pizzas and ice creams were their staples. Their parents would cruise the aisles of the local grocery store in motorized scooters while their children waddled behind them begging for extra snacks. Very little fruit, very little vegetables and a plethora of artery clogging garbage to stuff their faces in front of their phones and the television. Bill outweighed his wife by fifty pounds and both of them were over 300lbs. When the four of them would get in the elevator on the way to the doctor’s, they would quietly do the math in their heads. The four of them were dangerously close to the maximum weight allowed by the fire marshall. Bill had a terroristic beard with a man bun that went up into a cute fountain like a center punch in the middle of his head. They would pull up at the local buffet on Mondays and smile at the register girl and Bill would always say, “You’re about to lose on this deal.” You get the idea. They were the archetypical fat Americans. They were sloppy, slovenly, sloths completely content with obesity until Bill happened to be reading about a man who looked like him and lost 250 lbs. He thought that he might just be a handsome devil under all that fat. The thought of working out hours a day and yanking fat and sugar from his diet seemed a life not worth living. Bill needed artificial will power or something to overpower his laziness.

 

Bill knew of a woman at work who lost an amazing amount of weight but appeared to have developed Tourette’s. The woman looked amazing but she had no filter. To prevent herself from saying too much, she would cover her own mouth and mumble through her fingers. Bill approached the woman in the parking lot and offered her a large sum of money if she would hook him up with the non-FDA approved drug from Mexico. The colleague agreed to the deal. At first, Bill felt nothing and after about a week he noticed that things began to change. Bill had a taste for salads with lemon instead of dressing, No burgers or pizza. He wanted to walk and lift weights instead of sit in the lazy boy and read his phone. After a month, Bill was running and doing a stationary bike, rowing machine and elliptical at the gym for hours at a time. No junk food at all and he walked around shaking a plastic container filled with a protein shake. It was an amazing transformation. Before long, Bill’s wife and kids were all taking the same drug. They became fitness machines and testimonies to clean living and exercise. Everything was great, right? Oh, yes… The side affects. The family did not lie down at the end of the night and sleep a solid eight hours. They did not sleep even half of that. They would periodically collapse and take a twenty to thirty minute nap here or there. Some times it would hit them at work like narcolepsy and they would involuntarily fall deeply asleep for fifteen minutes and feel refreshed and ready to take on any task at 110% effort or more. None of them realized that their resting heart rate was over 100 and that they were shortening their lives by racing their hearts at all times. The other side affect was brutal honesty and an inability to lie.

Bill weighed in at 185 lbs. at about six feet in height and about 6% body fat. He walked around wide-eyed with tense jaws and said the wildest things out loud. At home, it was astounding the things the family would say to each other. It didn’t matter much until they got together for dinner with their good friends, The Quentin’s. The Quentin’s were nice people. All of them had red hair to the point of orange. The kids had whitest of white skin and freckles on top of freckles. The Quentin’s had a rainbow flag in front of the house with a lawn sign that said, “Black Lives Matter” and “Hate has No Home Here” and “No Human is Illegal”. The Millers kept quiet that they voted for Trump and liked Trump and were really happy about their tax cut, their improving 401K and that Bill’s company kicked back $1,000.00 to him recently. They knew the Quentin’s were really liberal and were frantic about the changes that they could not control. They would always make off the cuff comments about Trump and Trump lovers such as ignorant, backward, fascist, Nazi, xenophobic, homophobic and so on. The Miller’s would politely listen and then try to change the subject to vacations or sports the kids were playing. The Quentin’s made ribs with a bean dip and potato chips, coleslaw and then cookies and chocolate cake. Bill and Tammy showed up with a beet salad and some sort of bland tofu. The Millers ate it like it was the greatest thing and the Quentin’s sort of snarled at it. Julie Quentin jokingly made a comment, which opened the door to brutal honesty.

“That looks like punishment, not a meal.”

Bill wiped beet juice from his chin, smiled and spoke first.

“You’re gonna eat all the calories you need for a week in one sitting? Your temple is a bank and I can tell you that you are putting way too much in the bank if you know what I mean. You have to be fatter than the last time we got together. If you’re not fatter, you certainly look fatter”

“What the hell, Bill!”

“I mean that all that shit you’re eating makes you feel like shit inside and then you think shitty things about the government and the whole world and then you go back and have a piece of cake and think, gee… I wanna kill the president…”

“What the fuck is wrong with you, Bill?”

Tammy jumped in to continue where Bill started.

“Julie, Julie… Listen… You’re unhappy because you’re fat and fat because you’re unhappy. It stems from your inability to accept reality. Your resist sticker on the back of your car tells it all. You are resisting reality; you’re resisting happiness and a better life. You think getting a “No Hate” tattoo in Arabic makes you not hate? No, you hate great and I know you hate hearing the truth. We sit here and listen to you both go on and on about everything you hate and you assume we are with you and we’re not.”

Julie stood up and placed her palms on the table and began to yell in the face of her good friend Tammy or former good friend.

“What kind of mind controlling Nazi shit has happened to you? You lose the equivalent of a whole human being and now you get preachy with us? How dare you!”

Julie’s husband took a drink of his beer and said nothing. Bill winked at him and took a sip of his lemon water. The women went back and forth, yelling and pointing until the Miller boy looked up from his phone where he was watching a steroidal man discussing how to make muscle fast. The lean 13-year-old boy, made a statement.

“Adults are always talking about hoping and praying for things… You know what I hope for? Aliens… Not the illegal ones…   I pray they come down and put you all in zoos. Aliens can watch you do all the crazy, sick shit you do sexually on the Internet and maybe they’ll throw a steak in your cage… If not a steak, maybe a beet salad.”

The fighting ended really quickly after that.

John Hughes Gone Wrong

July 26, 2018

Around the time that John Hughes was getting ready to write Sixteen
Candles and pick the homogenous, insulated, sanitized suburb of
Chicago, Luke was about to have a party in a less idyllic Chicago
hamlet.
“It’s fucking selfish of you to not have a party.  Your parents are
in Sweden for two fucking weeks?  Come on, don’t be a fag… If
something goes wrong, we have two weeks to fix anything that could go
wrong,” said Patrick.
Patrick looked middle aged as a junior in high school and because of
his height and receding hairline covered by a black bowler hat; he
could easily pass for 25.  The Korean liquor store clerk questioned
Patrick’s age when he came in to order the keg.
“License!  This is horse shit!  I fucking come in all the time and
buy from you people and now you wanna see my license?  Fuck it, we’re
outta here…  We’ll go buy somewhere else.”
The smiling older Oriental man and they were Oriental back then,
grabbed Patrick’s arm and told him it was okay.

Patrick sat shotgun in Luke’s mother’s 1979 Buick Regal.  It had a
nice stereo and a cassette player.  The song, House of Fun by Madness
was blaring in a distorted way.  Patrick wore a white dress shirt with
the sleeves cut off and a thin black tie under a suit jacket that had
the sleeves removed.  Luke wore a black pork pie hat and a white Fred
Perry shirt, jeans and penny loafers, in the back seat was Tom and
Craig who dressed equally as “Rude” Ska loving Rude Boys.  Patrick saw
Joey Dee’s car up ahead and told Luke to speed up.  Joey Dee owed
Patrick some money and he wanted to collect.  Just like in the movies,
Luke drove fast through side streets chasing Joey Dee in a Chevy Nova.
Joey panicked and hopped the curb and drove through a park, sending
moms and children scurrying in the mid-day summer sun.  Luke followed
and exited the park, swerved to avoid an oncoming car and hit an elm
tree at 35 mph.  The tree shook a tiny bit.  The car was cleaved a bit
right up the middle of the hood.  The four occupants of the vehicle
were involuntarily propelled through the windshield.
“Oh fuck!  I am fucked!  Look at this fucking car!”
Thomas had not said much up until this point.  After checking their
scalps for cuts from the windshield, Tom had a solution.
“Let’s get this fucking thing out of here.  We’ll park it somewhere,
go to the mall, call the police and tell them that we saw some blacks
creeping around the lot and that we think they stole it.”
Luke drove the car looking through a hole caused by his own head.
There were three other holes and then the windshield looked like a
kaleidoscope.  Before all the fluids drained out of the car, Thomas
parked the car and they all piled into Patrick’s car and went to the
mall.  It took the City of Chicago Police thirty minutes to arrive.
Luke looked distraught; the other three were nice and cool. That was
not difficult seeing that it wasn’t there car.  The cops asked what
happened.  Patrick and Thomas took turns giving their thoughts on who
stole the car.
“We saw two young Canadians looking going up and down the aisles
looking into cars,” said Thomas.
“Um Canadians?”
“You know… Porch monkeys, spear chuckers…  Colored folks…  Negros.”
“Okay…  I follow you now.  Anything else you wanna call them besides black?”
“No, I guess you know now.”
“Right…  So what did these two look like?”
Luke and Craig had eyes wide open like Buckwheat while Thomas and
Patrick spoke calmly and openly the way they thought two white cops
might appreciate.
“Um…  As you can see, it’s dark in the garage here.  They were young,
skinny and black.  One was wearing a Walter Payton Jersey and the
other had on a Bulls tank top.  I think he had on an Artis Gilmore
jersey or some shit… We’re pretty sure they stole the car.”
Patrick dropped Thomas, Luke and Craig at Luke’s house.  They carried
all the living room furniture into the garage to make way for the Ska
band that was going to be playing later that night.  Plans were set,
there was to be a party with maybe twenty people, booze, chicks.  Luke
had to figure out how he was going to keep the dog and his
grandfather, a World War I veteran in the basement.  Luke found the
key to the door leading to the basement and locked his grandfather in
the basement with the family dog.  The band set up, people began to
file in and be the time the sunset, there were close to a hundred
people in the house, the backyard, the front yard and on neighbor’s
yards.  The Punk Rockers showed and stood with folded arms and
listened to the band, while the Rude Boys skanked around in a style of
dance only seen at Ska shows.  The Italians showed and began to push
people around.  A big guy named Sal walked around ripping on everyone
at the party that had that new wave look.  The Punks stood up to the
Italians; the Italians began punching the Punks.  The Rude Boys jumped
in to help the Punks.  In all of the wrestling and punching, the keg
got knocked over and cracked the tile on the kitchen floor.  A few
minutes later, the police showed up and cleared out the party.  What
remained was Luke, his three friends and his grandfather who he had to
present to the police to prove that there was an adult in the home.
“Jesus Christ!  I think you broke that Hi-Fi.  It was damn loud up
here and the dog shit on the floor.”
“Sir…  Are you his grandfather?”
“Why yes I am…  Is there some sort of problem, officer?”
“No, sir…  No problem…  Hey kid, no more noise tonight, got it?”
“Yes sir…  We won’t sir.”
There was a sanitary device that clogged the toilet, foot prints on
the wall, cracked tiles in the kitchen and a destroyed car claimed to
be stolen by imaginary black people.  Craig took out two mason jars of
hooch moonshine purchased in Tennessee.  The boys mixed it with fruit
punch while listening to Blank Expression by The Specials on the
Hi-Fi, which was not broken. Luke had a few sips and then hooked the
dog onto the leash to take him for a walk.  The Doberman Pincher
barked for a solid four hours before becoming incensed and shit on the
laundry room floor.  Luke thought about everything that transpired
through out the day as the dog, which walked ahead of him along the
dark sidewalk.  The dog near bushes lunged and grabbed something and
began to shake it.  After a few seconds, the dog dropped what he had
in his mouth.  A white stripe on a small animal trotted away.  A skunk
sprayed both Luke and the dog.  The dog was rubbing his eyes, snorting
and flapping his head.  Luke came into the house barefoot and in his
underwear to get all the tomato sauce he could find to slather on
himself and the dog in the backyard.  The scent of skunk hit the trio
getting loaded up on homemade booze.  Luke went back in the backyard
and covered himself and the dog in sauce designed for pasta.  After
about an hour, Luke came in to find Craig and Thomas still drinking
and Patrick passed out on his stomach.  Patrick snored and wheezed.
Luke kicked Patrick hard once to wake him but he was truly passed out.
Luke left the room and came back with a blue rubber glove that his
mother used to wash dishes and a large jar of Vick’s Vapor Rub.  Luke
hiked Patrick’s pants far enough down to expose his large buttocks.
He then took his middle finger in the rubber glove and slammed it in
the Vicks.  Craig and Thomas laughed knowing what was coming next.
Patrick moaned as the rubber glove entered his anus.  Luke slipped his
hand out of the glove and left it in Patrick’s ass.  Luke calmly spoke
to his other friends.
“I’m fucked.  The house is fucked, the car is fucked and now
Patrick’s ass is fucked too…  I got another glove.  Either of you two
assholes want Vicks up your ass too?”
The four fell asleep on the living room floor until the sun was high
in sky.  After getting slapped by Patrick in the face with the glove,
they set about to touch up the paint on the walls, move an area rug to
cover the cracked tile, fish out the rag flushed down the toilet and
return the furniture to where it once stood.  A few days later, Luke’s
parents returned from Europe and slowly learned about everything that
happened including the theft of their car.  The insurance company
called to tell Luke’s father that they had found the car, there was
damage but it would be fixed.  Luke’s father, an intelligent man
looked at the car and told Luke what he thought.
“You know what I think?”
“What?”
“Here’s what I think…  You went joy riding and racing around in this
car with let’s see here… yourself and 1,2,3 other friends and you hit
a tree…  There’s tree bark in the grill.  One of you Einsteins came up
with the idea to claim it was stolen.  The cops and the insurance
company bought it but I’m not sold on that story.  You then had a
party.  You had a keg and cracked my kitchen tile…  You locked the dog
in the basement with grandpa, the party got out of control.  The cops
came and broke it up…  Am I close?”
Luke was so impressed with his father’s deductions that he admitted
to all.  Rather than yelling or slapping his son, he said nothing more
thing before they got back in their other functioning car and drove
home.  It was a very un-John Hughes ending for Luke and yet
unforgettable.

The Gap Between Us

June 25, 2018
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Bob, like many Americans, came into a little money after Uncle Sam took his chunk.  Bob bought stock in things that ate up other things and got bigger and before long, he reasoned that his little 1950s starter home with low ceilings and a leaky basement, separated by neighbors on each side by about ten feet, was just too confining, too ordinary, too small.  One day Bob got off of the highway into inner city Detroit and looked at blocks and blocks of land that were gone.  What remained were streets, some sidewalks and foundations to where houses once stood.  Bob began to do some investigating and found that the land could be purchased for very little and so Bob bought up a whole once side of a street.  There were fifteen foundations total.  Over the course of a year or so, he built a tremendous house that would have fit in during the Victorian era.  A foyer with a 20 foot ceiling that looked up to a spiral staircase.  There were ten bedrooms, an indoor pool, several covered porches and gardens of flowers and produce for his wife who loved to garden.

“Susan… We are selling this place and moving to Detroit,” said Bob, off the cuff while reading the newspaper.

Susan pulled the newspaper down so she could see Bob’s face and asked him to repeat what he said.  It sounded to her like he said that he was selling the house and that they would be moving to Detroit.  Bob confirmed what he said.  Later that day, Susan cried all the way to Detroit from the northern suburban abode.  As they passed lot after lot, street after street of missing or abandoned homes, out of nowhere like a palace in the desert or the Motor City Casino which has a fabulous Las Vegas light show at night if you happen to be standing in any vacant lot within an eye shot in Detroit.  Susan sat up and took note of the beautiful home, a deluxe Victorian style home with a front porch and newly sodded lawn, a fountain out in front and gardens the length of a block.  Susan laughed and cried.  Bob held up a set of keys for her to take.  Everything was great.  Just great.

Now in these strange political times, Bob found himself on the other side of the invisible wall that had not been built yet by our president.  Susan found the president to be uncouth, brazen, foul, racist, xenophobic, sexist and emblematic of everything that a male could be that must be changed in our offspring.  Bob on the other hand, found that our current president was a breath of fresh air.  He liked the patriotism, he liked the America first attitude, he liked the there-has-to-be-rules credo that had taken hold.  Susan would watch MSNBC in one end of their large home and Bob would watch FOX.  Their politics began to cause a schism in their marriage and it got so bad that Bob and Susan could not talk to each other very much or very long without fighting.  They would look at each other and think-how could you be so naive, so stupid, such a goddamn door mat or how could you be such a racist, sexist, pig with no heart.

One day, Bob came home to find a family in his living room, eating ham, potatoes and pie at a coffee table while watching television.  They looked up at Bob but said nothing.  Susan came in with a silver platter full of more food.  The house guests seemed indifferent to the free food and not the least bit grateful.  Bob commented angrily.

“Susan!  Who are these people and why are waiting on them hand and foot, delivering them free food on a silver platter?”

Susan ignored her husband and passed out juice and more ham and desserts, one of the men asked for a beer.  Susan jogged to the kitchen.  As Susan began to open the door, Bob slammed it shut.  This angered Susan.

“We are rich and privileged people who have more than we deserve or need and these people just want a better life for themselves.  It is so wrong to share with others?  To let the have-nots have a little something?”

“Wait a minute!  I own this place.  I have legal title to live in this place with you and nobody else.  I pay for this food, I pay the taxes here, I made this place what it is and you just want to let anyone in here!?”

“You are heartless, selfish and a goddamn Nazi…”

“A Nazi!  What the fuck?!”

“Yes… A Nazi.  Rachel Maddow said that any of you people who blindly follow that man who is not my president, are nothing more than brown shirted thugs that are willing to do anything to support him.”

“Get these people out of my fucking house before I have them thrown out by the cops.”

“Oh yeah, that’s great.  Have the people who stomp on their rights come in and kick them out… Such a humanitarian.  Well I have news for you.  I am married to you… For now… And I will let in whomever I want, when I want.”

Susan came back with a beer and there were suddenly more people in the living room who were related to the people that were initially allowed in.  Susan needed to get more food.  Bob called the police.

Now when the police came, they listened to Susan and then Bob and they had to break the news to Bob that his wife had a right to guests as a home owner.  Bob asked the cops what if the people don’t want to leave.  What if they want to stay?  After all his home was much better and safer than where they came from.  The situation could not be easily resolved.  Bob was so angry about more and more people taking over his home and Susan felt it was humane to share what she had with those who had less.  Susan wanted to take care of them all and when Bob wasn’t around, she would tell them that they had a right to be there and that she would see to it that she share her “privilege” and ensure that they could never be sent away.  Bob would take their things and throw it out on the street and demand that they get the fuck out of his house but when he wasn’t looking or around, they came right back.  Bob wanted to build a wall with a moat and have alligators and big dogs to keep the people out and he told the undocumented residence such.  A bunch of them brazenly told him that they had as much of a right to live in the house as him and that a wall wouldn’t do shit to keep them out.  Things had reached a low point.  Bob hated Susan and Susan hated Bob.  Bob wanted to make his house great again and Susan wanted justice and equality for all.  Eventually this had to go in front of a judge.  The judge looked at both of them after hearing both of their sides and talked to them calmly.

“At some point, you will have to be reasonable people and come to a compromise…”

Bob asked the judge a question.

“And if we don’t come to a compromise?”

The judge responded.

“Well, you risk destroying what you have… And that would be ashamed.”