Monday, July 13, 2009

Strange Boy

“She’s not here today.”

“Where is she?”

“I don’t know. She not come in today. You want other girl?”

“When will she be back?”

“She not come in, she not call. I don’t know. Maybe tomorrow.”

He turned to leave.

“Wait boy let me ask you question. Why you come only see one girl?”

“None of your goddamn business.”

“Easy boy, I try to be friendly. Give you advice. You still young boy listen to older man advice. Understand?”

“I don’t need advice from a dirty old man.”

“Hey you! You here just like everyone else. You think you better because you talk? Yes, she tell me and she laugh, you only want to talk. You still pay like everyone else.”

“I’m not like everyone else.”

“Some like talk, some like fuck. Usually young boy like fuck, but you strange boy. You start fuck, maybe it will fix your head.”

“Maybe I’ll fix your head.” He immediately thought about how stupid that sounded.

“Boy, you not right up here, so I let you go this one time.”

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Choices (Retard continued)

He stepped on one of the balls, rolling it around under his foot and the dog jumped for it. He immediately stepped on the next ball and the dog dropped the one she had, leaping for that one. He quickly changed from ball to ball squeaking it just long enough for the dog to take the bait, then switched. “Which ball do you want Retard? The one that squeaks the loudest?” He began doing a bad rendition of a common musical tune on the balls, as the dog continued to jump erratically. “You just want the one that you can’t have.”

He grabbed two balls of the same color, one that had lost its squeak, and threw them simultaneously. The dog chased them down and swooped up the squeaky one. Unsatisfied, he did the same thing again, this time the dog grabbed the one that had lost its squeakiness but quickly realized her mistake and continued after the other one.

He gathered all the balls into a box, spun around and flung them across the yard. The dog gave chase picking up one after another until they all rolled to a dead stop. She looked around confused, then laid down panting.

Years ago, when he was still with his wife, he came home drunk and plopped himself down on the couch. The dog approached him and barked. “What do you want?” She began trying to get behind the couch. He reached back and grabbed one of the many balls stuck behind it. “Is this what you want?” He threw the ball. The dog retrieved it then came back and barked again, and he repeated the process to the last ball. “I hope you’re happy because that’s all there is.” The dog barked again. “Shut up Retard, there’s no more.” He rolled on his side and dozed off.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Ones We Love (Retard continued)

“I was packaging those books up today."

He knew the hanging sentence meant she was mad at him. "And..."

"And the sound of the packing tape made Madison run into the other room.”

“She was probably looking for me cause she wanted to play the game.”

“You know, when I had to pull that tape off her she yelped.”

“You should have just let it fall off naturally.”

“It doesn’t fall off naturally.”

“Maybe she thinks it was worth all the fun we had. Huh Retard.” The dog’s tail started wagging.

“I don’t know why she loves you so much.”

“Because even pain is better than boredom.”

After his wife left the room he walked over to the dog and started petting her and doing his stupid doggie voice. “Does that tape really hurt you retard. I’m sorry.”

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Spin (Retard continued)

She was walking down the hallway when a ball suddenly rolled across the room in front of her, followed closely by the dog who scrambled after it but fell over sideways. The dog immediately popped back up, feet flailing around the wood floor, and nearly toppled over again before finally reaching the ball. She turned the corner and found her husband in the other room laughing.

“What did you do to our dog?”

“She’s just dizzy.”

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


There are no mysteries left. The sun is not God. The stars are not magic. There is no edge of the world. There are no more oceans to cross or lands to chart. There is nowhere left to explore.

The only mystery that remains is the mystery of other people.

Let me explore you. Let me in. Can we put aside the silly games? Can we be completely honest? Can we lay out naked in the harsh sunlight and allow ourselves to be judged, and yet still not judge?

I’m tired of the world. It is cold and dark and lonely. Let me escape into you. Let me know every inch of your mind. Let me touch every inch of your body. Let me feel every inch of your soul.

There is no perfect merging. There is no permanent melding. Only moments. Illusions, perhaps. I’ll pretend if I have to.

Just be.

Just be here.

Just be here with me.

Let me melt into you before we melt away.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Reflection (Retard continued)

His wife walked in. “What is she barking about?”

“This is so funny, you have to see this.” His wife waited impatiently, wondering what he could possibly be doing. He held out a hand mirror in front of the dog and she turned away from it. “She’s afraid of her own reflection.”

“Oh my God. She thinks it’s another dog.”

“Or she has some serious insecurities.” He kept the mirror in front of her so she couldn’t pass through the hallway and she suddenly began jumping around and barking at it.

“Ok she’s had enough.”

“Wait I want to see if she eventually figures out it’s her reflection.”

“You’re scaring her.”

“I’m helping her to overcome her fear.” He moved in closer and started petting her. “Come here retard. Look it’s you. It’s ok puppy.”

“Ok, she’s still scared. You can stop now.”

“She’ll figure it out eventually.”

“Maybe she can’t figure it out and you’re just traumatizing her for no reason.”

“Then I'm saving her from your spankings, because from now on when she gets into the trash you can just pull out the mirror.” He suddenly ran in the other room and came back with tape and the big plastic jar.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

“Taping the mirror to the inside of her helmet.”

Saturday, May 30, 2009


There is an emotion that I don’t have a word for. Sometimes I describe it as emptiness or meaninglessness but that’s not what it really is. It's the feeling that you are not in control of your life, that your surroundings are sucking you in, making you a part of something that is not you, dictating the way you must behave, and destroying your soul in the process. You aren’t free. You are a slave, a cog, constantly being hammered and reshaped from the outside, constantly being destroyed and rebuilt one piece at a time. And you fight to hold on to what you were, despite the fact that all those things that comprise you were once hammered into you too, by your genes, by your parents, by some form of input that is beyond our control. So some of us go with the flow, like water taking on whatever form the earth demands of us, and some of us will take on the world to preserve ourselves, all the while never realizing that there is no self. We do not exist except as a part of something bigger, which neither cares about us nor is even aware of our existence. We can try to step outside ourselves, we can try to escape our genes, our upbringing, our needs, our wants, but even the desire to escape was put into us by the same force which drives everything. We can’t step outside the world because there is nowhere else to go. There is only what is. And we are a part of that whether we like it or not.

I feel this emotion several times every day. I feel it when someone talks to me and I’m obligated to respond within a narrow range of options. I feel it when I’m forced to figure out a way to continue to eat. I feel it when I’m surrounded by people and know that I must compromise a part of myself if I’m to connect with them. I feel it when I want the impossible. I feel it in my stomach and my throat. I feel it in my body telling me not to feed it, and trying to reject whatever I force into my mouth. I feel it in my heavy head and my heavy eyes. It is all heavy. Always.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Beach

He had thought her too beautiful and cheery to have anything to do with an awkward character like himself, but he was working up the courage to ask anyway when suddenly a middle aged man, squat, with a thick neck, and a dumb voice, rushed in to talk to her. He couldn’t hear any of their conversation except the end.

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

This world makes no sense, he thought to himself, grabbing his backpack, paying for the meal, and saying nothing more than “thank you.”

He was always drawn to the ocean. As a child people thought he was strange because he would just sit there in an apparent trance while everyone else sought cover from the storms. But the more violent the ocean became the stronger it pulled him in. His parents thought it was the beauty of it that called to him, and he did find it beautiful, but for the same reason he found it terrifying. It was vast, unending, deep and dark and random, without purpose, without care, without love.

The wind blew in hard and cold as he sat silently watching the sun set, his blank gaze only interrupted for a moment when an old couple approached him and told him how peaceful he looked.

“The beauty is almost overwhelming isn’t it?”

He told them yes and smiled, because he didn’t want to spoil the moment for them. But what he really saw was that the only thing that made the beauty was the ugliness from which it emerged. He saw the beach, beaten smooth over billions of years, the rocks crashing and breaking each other over and over again. He saw the beautiful women jogging by and he knew their beauty arose out of millions of years of beings struggling and dying and slaughtering each other. He saw the kids play fighting. It will become real soon enough, he thought.

The sun went down, the sky went dark, and the pitch black fog came rolling in from across the ocean. He rolled up his pant legs and carried his shoes as he waded through the tide pools on the long trek across the beach. Ahead sirens cut through the night, and men in wet suits with lights attached to their head rode around on jet skis, occasionally diving under water in search of something. Probably a body, he thought, as he looked down and saw the flashing illumination of bugs dispersing at his feet.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Toilet Mouth (Retard continued)

“She’s drinking from the toilet again.”

“It’s a free country babe.”

“Not when she drips it all over the carpet and licks me with her toilet mouth. Don’t you see a contradiction in giving her people food, treating her like a person, then making her drink from the toilet?”

“Don’t you see a contradiction in keeping dogs in the house when there's people sleeping in the street?”

“Why do you always do that?”


“You know what.”

Monday, May 4, 2009

In the Dark

We stumble blindly through the darkness of life, occasionally reaching out for something to grasp onto, mostly catching nothing but air. Every now and then our hands bump into something, and we grab it and hold on tight, hoping it's something solid, but later discovering it is just another person, reaching out in the same darkness, hoping for the same solid foundation to guide them home. And once the initial disappointment fades, and we come to grips with the fact that we are still in the dark without a guide, we realize that what we found was better than a solid foundation. We are lost, but we are not alone.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Letters I've written, never meaning to send.

Hey sis,

I’m sure it seems weird getting a letter from me since I’m not the letter writing type. Is it just me, or is it a strange paradox that the longer you know someone the harder it becomes to say things to them? There's so much baggage and expectations that it just seems impossible to come right out and say what needs to be said.

When I used to watch movies I never understood why relationships went wrong. The right thing to say seemed so obvious and I would always get angry thinking, why don’t they just say what they’re feeling. And, of course, I always thought that if I were in that situation I would say exactly what I felt and everything would turn out just fine. It wasn’t long before I found myself in some of these exact situations, knowing exactly what to say, knowing exactly how to fix things, knowing exactly what someone needed to hear, and not saying it for reasons I still struggle to understand. It reminds me of how mom and dad used to fight about the stupidest things and we’d always realize that neither of them made any sense, and if they just calmed down and looked at things reasonably it could all be figured out. I remember how I promised that I would never end up like that, and as a result ended up avoiding things altogether rather than dealing with them as I knew I should have. I would always find myself thinking, I can’t believe this person thinks I’m going to play that game, and ignoring it, when what I should have done was exposed the game, and changed the rules to something better, something closer to the truth. But in trying to avoid others’ mistakes, I also avoided a lot of what life is supposed to be. I suppose that’s the way the world is designed. We can see right through other people but are blind when it comes to ourselves.

Well, now I’m rambling and there was a specific reason I wanted to write you. I was thinking about things unsaid, and I think I’ve neglected many people in my life. The other day me, ------, and mom had breakfast with --- for her birthday. As I’m sure you heard, she recently got a DUI and joked about how now all of us except you have been arrested. But I’m sure you’ll keep us from getting a reputation as a family of jail birds. Then mom was doing her usual “so how does it feel to be --?” And she mentioned how at your last birthday you were already complaining about feeling old, and I thought about how much we have in common despite how different we seemed when we were younger. I’ve also felt old for a long time now and people think I’m crazy when I say so. I know we used to fight a lot, and I used to tease you and call you some pretty mean names. I remember when you were in your late teens and I heard you talking to mom about all your insecurities. That’s one of the times I knew exactly what to say but didn’t. I’m afraid that some of my childish behavior might have contributed to your insecurities. So I want to apologize for that and let you know that all those things that I said were nothing more than me pointing out my own perceived shortcomings. You are a smart, kind, beautiful young woman, and I know things will work out for you in the end. Anyway, that’s what I wanted to say, and I should have said it a long time ago. I’m sorry I haven’t always been the greatest brother. But if you ever need anything, just let me know. I promise you I’ll take care of it.

Your bro,

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tape (Retard continued)

He put the ball on the table and she leapt onto it, then he quickly slapped the tape on her back. She jumped off and began biting at the tape but soon gave up and went after the ball again. He pulled off another piece of tape and she tried to run off but he slapped that one on her too. She rolled onto her back, biting at the tape that was just out of reach as he went into a fit of laughter. “You're such a retard.” He squeaked the ball and ran across the house making indecipherable doggie noises at her as she chased him around snapping at the ball. His wife walked in.

“Take that tape off her.”

“We’re playing a game.”

She left the room and returned a few minutes later to find the dog covered in tape.

“Oh my God. Come here, mommies gonna get that tape off you.”

“She’s gotta do it herself. That’s the game.”

“One day she’s gonna turn on you for treating her that way.”

“It’s called self reliance. She appreciates the challenge.”

“It’s easy for you to claim she likes it when she can’t respond.”

“Let’s do an experiment. We’ll both call her and see who she comes to.”

“I guess I’ll be making all the parenting decisions around here.”

“The only thing you proved is that stupid bitches like guys who treat them bad.”

“We didn’t need her to prove that.” He kissed her.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Silly Diary

I think it's love. They would say I don't know what love is but I don’t think they really know either. They think that love is when you're together for so long that you don't have anything to say to each other. You just ignore the other person because they have nothing to offer you besides the routine. Or you yell at each other constantly, but work through your problems, “because that’s what true love is,” just to start yelling at each other again the next day. That's how my parents are and I don't think they're really in love at all. I think they hate each other’s guts, and are just afraid of being alone.

I've been saving up for this for the past two years and no one's going to stop me. I've seen everything she's made. I remember every move she makes, every movement of every part of her body. She's perfect all over. I can just stare at her elbow through the whole thing and I'd melt.

I admit that my thoughts weren't the most wholesome at first. Whose are? But as soon as I saw her I knew she was special. She was the kind of girl that doesn't look like any girl you’ve ever seen before, and you think to yourself, I didn't know that such a beauty could exist. A million artists in a million years would never come up with such a perfect combination. Never before had I seen such a perfect blend of the firm and the soft, the light and the dark, a mixture of imperfections that somehow surpass true perfection. I could stare at her for days trying to unravel the mystery.

I told them I'm going to Russia, but I didn't tell them why because it's none of their business. They wouldn’t understand me, just like I don’t understand them. My dad started talking about communists when I told them, if you can believe that. Anyway, even if I’m wrong I couldn’t stand to stick around here.

They told me that there’s no such thing as fate, that there is not one person out there that’s perfect for you. But I think they're wrong. Any sane man would think she was pretty, but I knew that most people wouldn't see what I see. Something deep in my DNA was telling me she was the one. The single most perfect specimen for me in all the world. And it has to exist. It’s just a matter of probability.

They told me that there’s no such thing as love at first sight, but I think they’re wrong about that too. Sometimes you can spend years with someone and not really know them, and sometimes you can know so much about them without ever sharing a word. I can tell you a lot about her by the way she looks and moves. A girl’s smile can reveal reveal her soul. There is so much information that people don't pick up on. Like when I saw her dance, I could tell she had a superficial joy that she used around people. And she used it so much that at times it almost became real. But underneath that is a deep sadness that she hates to think about. But I’ll bet you she thinks about it every night before she falls asleep. And even deeper than that she has a true happiness that she’s hardly even aware of, and sometimes she wonders if it really exists. It does, it's just been buried so deep under all the shit of the world. And she draws on that true happiness to feed the fake one and she kills it a little each time. But it survives waiting for someone to uncover it, nurture it, and give it new life.

Everyone always talks about old people love being the only love that's real, but I don’t believe love has anything to do with how long you’ve been together. Because people change over time. And if they change in different directions they'll just make each other miserable by staying together. And not only themselves but those around them too. Trust me, I've seen if first hand.

They tell me that I believe in a fairytale kind of love that doesn’t really exist. Like the knight that saves the princess from the dragon. People say that those stories are fake, and I think they're wrong about that too. There are princesses everywhere if you look hard enough. And there are dragons, and somebody has to slay them.

I’d always wondered how could she be doing this. How is it possible? Does she even know how beautiful she is? Then one day I noticed the cut on her leg, and I knew exactly why she was doing it. She’s doing it because there are dragons in the world. And I’m going because somebody has to slay them

I wouldn't care if I died over there trying to save her, and that's the God's honest truth. You can tell me a couple of old fogey's sitting in a rest home together, eating pudding and arguing about whose memory is correct is more beautiful than that, but I sure as hell wouldn’t agree with you.

I’m not like my parents. I admit that I may be wrong. But nothing I’ve ever been told up until now makes any sense to me, and I think it’s about time I started making decisions for myself. In two months we’ll see who was right.

Nowhere Man

Holy hell, if this isn’t the loneliest place in the world. In the big cities there is a sense of alienation, but you get the feeling that no matter how strange you are, there are at least other strange people out there, so you have something in common with someone. And if you were to die there, somebody would sort of understand what you were about. You were different, but not bad. Perhaps even special.

Here, the same cardboard houses on every street. The same people everywhere. Of course, there are always the poor, middle, and rich classes. But beyond their money I see no other differences. They all go to work, go home, drink on the weekends, and despise anything that threatens their routine. They are always friendly and give each other enthusiastic greetings but go silent when you’re around. They look at you weird, like they can sense you are not one of them. It’s as if they somehow know that you think differently than them. You see a different world from what they see. And if you were to die here, good riddance.

So you do what you always do. You drive. Somewhere else. Somewhere new. Away from here for a little while, is all I ask for. Out past the morning mist of the orchards. Out past the farms and the spray of sprinklers glowing in the afternoon sun. Out past the dilapidated industry towns. Out until all you see is dust and sky.

An abandoned building. A place to stop and think. Refuge. And you walk around it’s creaky floors. And you imagine who used to live here. And you stare out the window thinking. Thinking for hours. You can’t stop thinking. It’s much less lonely out here. This house understands me better than those people. The sound of the wind, more comforting than their chatter. Can’t stay too long. It’s only a matter of time before the sheriff stops and asks what you’re doing. And when you tell him you’re thinking he won’t believe you because he’s never done it himself. So back to blacktop, smog machines, and robots. Back to being a visitor on a strange planet. Back to loneliness.

On the way back you wonder what this day meant, and how all the days bleed together into a surreal mess. But at least you did something today. You thought. You thought for hours. But what did you think about? Don’t you know? You were just doing it. How could you have forgotten already? Then you realize you were thinking in circles. You didn’t make any progress. Nothing changed. You thought the same thing you always do.

What the hell am I doing?


He thought about grabbing his single item and hurrying back into the isles where he'd be safe, but he feared he’d already been spotted. He hoped that the clerk would get him out of there fast, but he soon found himself in the situation he dreaded.

“Hey Dan, how’ve you been?”


“You still have your old stuff at the house.”

“You can throw it out.”

“Do you have time to talk to me?”

“About what?”

“About anything.”

“Not now, I’m in a hurry.”

He knew that by talking all the bad feelings she had instilled in him that he had spent his life trying to disprove would return, and everything that he wanted out of life would become impossibilities once again. But he also knew that most of the things that she did, she did because she thought they were right, and that made him feel bad as he walked away from her.

Years ago she had asked him if he blamed her for something. She couldn’t realize he didn’t tell her for her own sake. He blamed her for everything. Everything that was wrong with his life. But he didn’t see how telling her that would help anything.

He didn’t want to tell her about how when she was around, the world shriveled to the hopeless meaningless mess he remembered from childhood. He didn’t want to tell her that she was everything he didn’t want to be, and stood for everything he thought was wrong with the world. She thought that him not talking to her proved he didn’t care. The opposite was actually true.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Offer

He offered her as much as was realistically possible. Not pure, but honest. Not forever, but truly and deeply now. He offered her everything he could, and more than she had ever had. But with this offer he had demystified everything. He had left her with nothing more to hope for. So she had no choice but to turn him down. She wanted the impossible, and in pursuit of it, she would end up settling for much less. She passed on the real promises and bought into the false ones, because deceit is cloaked in mystery, and in that mystery she found the hope that her dreams might be possible, that she may have finally found what she was looking for; that elusive feeling of completeness she had sought her entire life, that island in the sun where she could bask in ecstasy everlasting. Heaven itself.

That was the closest they would ever come to finding what they were looking for. But his honesty cost them their chance. That was the price they paid. He for not believing in the impossible. She for believing in her dreams.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Vacation (Retard continued)

“My sister said she can take care of the dog." She laid down on the bed next to him, resting her head on her hand, trying to peek his expression over his shoulder. "You just need rest. A week of sand and sun and you’ll be yourself again.”

He remained facing away from her, moving nothing but his lips. “Where are we going?”

“Some place warm. Tropical.”

“Why does everyone go to the same places?”

“Because they’re nice.”

“Doesn’t sound it.”

She put her hand on his shoulder and began stroking his arm. “Where do you want to go?”

“Somewhere with less people.”

“We’ll go to the mountains.”

He was silent.

“Remember that time when we were driving through the desert and we stopped at one of those run down abandoned houses.”


“Let’s go there.”

“What for?”

“We could be alone there.”

“I don’t want to be alone.”

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Loner (Retard continued)

She ran up to the woman with the ball in her mouth, squeaking it at her.

“Can you play with her?”

“She doesn’t want to play.”

“Then why is she attacking me with the ball?”

They walked into the living room and he threw the ball across the room. She started after it, then suddenly stopped at her bowl and began wolfing down her food.

“Go get the ball.” She continued to eat, occasionally looking up at them. “See.”

“Our dog is completely insane.”

“She just doesn’t like eating alone.”

Kids (Retard continued)

“I don’t know what I would tell them.”

She looked at him, confused.

“They’re kids. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”

“Well, what will we raise them to be?”

She started getting upset.

“You were the one who said you wanted kids.”

“I do. But it’s completely selfish. I’d be a terrible father.”

“You are the most caring man I’ve ever known. Look how good you are with the dog. She loves you.”

“I call her retard.”

“But you don’t mean it. I’m sure we can come up with better names for our kids.”

Major Tom (Retard continued)

She set down her bags on the counter and then went into the living room to see what the singing was all about.

“Take your protein pills and put your helmet on.”

“What are you doing?”

The dog ran over to her to say hello, a large plastic jar on her head.

“You are out of your mind.” She reached to take it off.

“No, she needs to learn to take it off herself. You can't baby her just cause she's a retard.”

“She could suffocate.”

“Duh, I drilled holes in the end. This way if she ever gets stuck in one in the wild she knows how to free herself.” He gave himself a congratulatory tap on the head with his finger.

“In the wild, you won’t be there to put it on her.”

“What exactly are you accusing me of?”

“Dogs don’t put plastic jars on their heads.”

He immediately called the dog over and took it off her. “Put your money where your mouth is.”

“Name the price.”

“You’re going to feel so dumb when this is over.”

He ran over and started petting her and doing his stupid excited doggy voice “that's a good girl”. Her tail started wagging and her breath fogging up the front of the jar.

“That doesn’t count.” “No backing out now.” “She didn’t put it on you tricked her.” “Irrelevant.” “No you might as well have put it on her yourself it’s entrapment.” “Irrelevant irrelevant irrelevant.” “and you say you don’t want her to get stuck in one of those and you’re teaching her to stick her head into them that’s real smart.” “Quit changing the subject.” “Aren’t you ashamed that you get joy at the expense of others?” “Expense, you don’t think she enjoys this.” “No.” “Do you want to see who her favorite is again?” “I have work to do.” “Wait watch this.”

He grabbed the ball and began squeaking it. The dog chased after him, the jar bobbling clumsily around her neck. He threw it across the room and she chased it down and continually smashed the jar into it as she tried to pick it up “I could do this forever.”