Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wild Year

Christmas had a high of 63 degrees. It was overcast; raining. New Year’s Eve. It’s 60 degrees; sunny with clear skies. It’s interesting when the weather doesn’t reflect our moods, attitude or life circumstance. I think we typically align ourselves with the weather.

I must say I’m feeling out of wack, with tornado watches issued shortly before noon Sunday, for the areas including, the western region of my mental health and the northern portions of my ability to deal rationally with my disconcerted precarious emotional situation.

What do they say though, tomorrow is a new day? Sleep on it? The glass is half full? I’ll get another shot at this tomorrow.

It’s supposed be a high of 61 degrees with only a 20% chance of rain.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Indian Summer

It was after we had gone swimming at the YMCA enough times to have our jack knives down to perfection, eaten enough Hawaiian Ice to make us never want to go to Kona and annoyed each other’s brothers, sisters, parents and extended family to the point of them banning sleep overs that we started contemplating the season change. If we had it our way, we would have just skipped fall and gone straight in to winter.

Halloween should’ve been in July. I dressed up like Han Solo. Michelle was Leia. I might have seen her picking out her costume at Halloween express.

The snow the previous winter had been as sparse as my interactions with Michelle and school hadn’t been cancelled once. We hoped that this would be our year, though. Northern Kentucky hadn’t seen a Blizzard since I was in 4th grade and I was going into 8th this year. We were due.

The weather finally broke and the region had its first cold snap in October. We were hopeful for a long winter of sled riding, snow ball fights and plenty of school closings. I also wanted to see Michelle. She was in AP classes and was basically MIA during the school year. She lived across the street, but it might as well have been Indiana.

Fall was a let down. The temperature never dropped below freezing most nights. It would just hover around 32 degrees taunting and torturing us, like a girl on prom night who would only let you play “just the tip.”

Friends and family from warmer climates found it odd that my brother and I had such an interest in meteorology. They didn’t understand our motives. Not to mention every kid in my school could read a barometer and understood Doppler Radar. It’s just how it was when you were passionate about being a slacker.

Like most years we didn’t have a White Christmas. The sky resembled how we felt, grey and overcast. It was like that 8 months out of the year in the Ohio River Valley. Christmas break wasn’t long enough and there was still no snow in sight. January was upon us and for some reason, I had written off the idea of snow. I’m not sure why considering winter always lasted until April.

It was a Wednesday. My parents called from an Olive Garden. My mom was laughing. She said that we couldn’t leave the house. I thought she might have turned the gas on and hid a lit candle under the sink. She told me to look out the window. The trees were bending. I had been back in school for three days.

Ice covered everything. It started snowing and it didn’t stop for 48 hours. It felt like Stephen King’s Storm of the Century, minus a demon trying to steal children. We mounted up.

We chose sides for the first snowball fight of the season with little care for each other’s feelings. My brother and I were captains because we played baseball. Craig got picked last because he was an asshole.

The battle started off slow because we were all trying to acclimate ourselves to the two feet of snow that consumed us. Naturally, Craig started calling everyone “fags” and the contest escalated.

I’m really not sure when she appeared or why I decided to put a rock in a snowball, but Michelle looked like a piece of art lying in the snow. Blood poured out of her eye. She was beautiful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

88*

He had already said goodbye to his dog ten times, but he couldn’t help to hug him four more. The hot tears went cold as he shut the back door of the house and for the first time in a week he remembered that it was late December, the day before Christmas Eve, nine days until January. New year, new start.

Forty-five days had passed since the event horizon. Seven days ago everything went black. Six days since keeping the 24-hour rule alive. Five days earlier came the flu and hopefully not something related to the previous “unprotected” evening. Three days from when his clothes stopped fitting and less than 48 hours ago he watched the moon eclipse with the next in line*. Yesterday belongings were packed. Today— it was fucking over.

The text message came within the hour. A request to occupy that which he had vacated. A decade of friendship that hinged on his ability to create opportunities while the lessor waited patiently to take credit, capitalize and conquer that which he did not.

Sloppy seconds

Dogs under the dinner table

Vultures circling above

—-

Knives. alcohol and disguises. Hack, kill and destroy. She didn’t have to worry, no one was paying attention, not even him. Shiva the god of destruction. Party City was out of that costume, but she went as the Devil— Beelzebub, Meryl Streep, Roseanne Barr.

Karaoke was scary and he stood by as she sang her theme song, “Material Girl”. “25 Minutes To Go” was his choice and in hindsight it was fitting. The two words he woke up to felt like a rope around his neck, “No future”. He tried to break it down. “No future with her or not future at all?”

Books, junk mail, used napkins, anything that he could put a pen to had those words on them. He scratched them in to the picnic table in the backyard with a dinner knife and they felt like they were seared into his heart with a hot iron. The words left his lips so many times that they began to lose meaning.

—-

1992, the Kentucky Wildcats NCAA Basketball team lost in the Final Four to the the Duke Blue Devils. Kentucky was up by one point with 2.1 seconds left on the clock. Christian Laetner of Duke caught a cross court pass and hit a turn around jumper at the buzzer to win the game. Ten years old, he watched his Dad, who was a Kentucky Alumni, die a little that day, the same way his Dad heard him dying over the phone that night while throwing up in the driveway. Sick. Not drunk. Annihilated. Hank Williams playing on a broken turn table*.

—-

His new apartment was small, like a prison, an island, exile. You can’t jump off the balcony when you live on the first floor. His friend lived in a high rise and it was tempting, but he didn’t want to die and twins* weren’t worth the pain. The story went that a couple the building over had a lover’s quarrel and one jumped off the balcony to prove a point. Point made.

—-

271 days later he got sick of missing his dog. E-mails, texts, phone calls, coffee, boredom. It reminded him of running in to someone from High School who won the superlative for “Most Likely To Not Be So God Damn Boring Over Coffee” and should be forced to forfeit the award Reggie Bush Style.

He got in to his car to leave and wished it was an ‘82 DeLorean.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Beyond The Pleasure 2.0

I originally wrote this story for a flash fiction site I contribute to every month. One of the rules of contributing is that your story has to be under 600 words. I decided I wanted to read this piece at a gathering of nerds who like to listen to writers read their stories out loud, so I decided to add some back story to the character of Mother.


If you didn't read the 1.0 version, feel free to do so. It's about half as long as this version.


---

Beyond The Pleasure (2.0)


The last time I fucked my Mother I was 25 years old. My father had warned me years earlier that this would happen, but he was a drunk or an addict or jealous or something. I never saw his addictions in action, just the result. Needless to say, I never thought I would reach climax inside my Mother, but I now know, that she did.


That was 5 years ago.

After spending too many nights hiding under my bed listening to my father shout obscenities at my mother regarding her promiscuity, they finally divorced when I was 8 years old. For years, Mother uttered the same phrases over and over about my father, “substance abuse”, “manic depressive disorder” and even “paranoia”. My father only said one word about Mother and repeated it often: Infiltration.

My parents had joint custody the first year, but after Mother realized that my father never took me back to his apartment on the weekends, opting instead for interstate hotels, she decided to take action. When I was questioned about the weekend living arrangements I just told everyone what my father had always told me “We we’re on vacation.”

When Social Services asked to inspect my father’s apartment he refused. It was only when they threatened to give Mother full custody that he finally complied. His apartment looked like Special Agent Fox Mulder had moved in. Books on alien invasion we’re scattered on the floor, black and white pictures of UFOs lined the living rooms walls and an over-sized push-pin dotted map of the northern region of Kentucky hung over his desk. The only thing missing was a poster that read “The Truth Is Out There”. I’m sure it was illuminated on the bathroom wall with a black light.

I didn’t see my father much after the inspection. He would come by the house from time to time and Mother would let us have an hour together. We attempted to throw a football around in the backyard once, but he just kept explaining to me how a football was actually based on an early alien spaceship design that us humans called angular dynamics (and my friends wonder why I don’t play Fantasy Football).

When I was 15 my father convinced Mother to let me go to the movies with him. I thought my father might have actually come back to reality when he produced two tickets to the matinee showing of Independence Day. Unfortunately, he ruined the summer blockbuster by inserting in his own commentary throughout the film. His ultimate buzz-kill came when the mother-ship destroyed the White House. He sternly grabbed my arm and whispered in my ear an H.G. Wells misquote:

“The joke of today is the crisis of tomorrow”.

When the credits rolled he asked if I had learned anything. To his disappointment, my response was “Yeah dude, the Fresh Prince is a fucking bad ass”.

Mother was waiting at the front door when my father dropped me off. Without saying goodbye he just rolled down his window and backed out of the driveway yelling at the top of his lungs “We are not alone, my boy! We are not alone...”.

A random phone call days after my birthday and around the holidays were the only communication my father and I had from then on. Mother became more protective and seemingly more caring. We had never had the best relationship as I was growing up. She was cold and calculated, but she took care of me and that was more than I could say for my father.

As I approached adulthood, My relationship with Mother transitioned, we had become close, she was now a friend that I confided in about the typical High School bullshit, mainly sex and alcohol. Mother encouraged me to embrace my carnal nature and to experiment. She was more like a rebellious big sister who was DTF.

We started having parties at the house my senior year of high School and she provided the alcohol. Friends stayed over every weekend and our residence was dubbed the “Animal House”.

After months of weekend partying one of my friends drunkenly brought up the subject of how hot Mother was.

“Dude, your mom is so fucking hot.”

Fighting the urge to break his face, I too had noticed that Mother was aging quite well. Upon closer examination of family photo albums, it appeared as though she hadn’t aged since her wedding day. She was actually hotter than any of the girls in our class. All of my friends wanted to fuck her.

The last week of summer before we we’re all forced to grow up and go to college we had an “End of the World” party. It was fitting because we were the class of ‘99. Cans of PBR, bottles of Jager and enough blow to make Tony Montana want to say “hello” to all of my friends, decorated every surface of the “Animal House”. Mother had orchestrated this debauchery.

The night was filled with hours of beer pong, underage sex and more bumps than an R. Kelly concert. As the party was coming to a close, people were passing out left and right just after puking their guts out like the infected from 28 Days Later, everyone except Mother and I, that is. We had held our own, but seemed un-infected by the consumption of the evening.

While cleaning up beer cans and broken glass I walked into the kitchen and Mother was standing behind the Island. She gave me a look that I had only seen from girls at school that wanted my premature ejaculation on their bed sheets. Mother was “eye-fucking” me.

“You know I love you son?” She said.

“Of course I do.”

“Give Mother a kiss.”

When I leaned in to kiss her on the cheek she turned her head and slid her tongue in to my mouth. I wanted it. I needed it. My dick got hard. She pulled on my belt and unzipped my pants.

I went to college the next day.

That was 12 years ago.

It had been 10 years since I had seen my father, he looked good in a suit. The viewing was on a Sunday and we buried him the next morning. They said mental illness was the cause of death, which is the nice way of saying he stabbed himself repeatedly in the stomach with a letter opener.

I hadn’t seen Mother since the previous holidays and we had never spoken about what happened at the “End of the World” party. Everything had been normal, but she consoled me that night with a bottle of wine and motherly love that I hadn’t experienced in more than a decade.

My father surprised me the next morning with a letter in my mailbox. The correspondence had been dated in his own hand writing the date he had decided to take a closer look at his intestines. The letter read:

Son,

You were adopted. She can’t reproduce. You’ll be dead by 60. They’ll say it’s gastric cancer, but you’ve been infiltrated.

Dad

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Beyond The Pleasure

The last time I fucked my Mother I was 25 years old. My father had warned me years earlier that this would happen, but he was a drunk or an addict or jealous or something. I never saw his addictions in action, just the result. Needless to say, I never thought I would reach climax inside my Mother, but I now know, that she did.

That was 5 years ago.

With little debate, my parents divorced when I was 8 years old. Mother said words about my father like substance abuse, manic depressive disorder and paranoia. My father only said one word about Mother and repeated it often: Infiltration.

My parents had joint custody the first year, but after Mother realized that my father never took me back to his apartment on the weekends, interstate hotels instead, she decided to take action. When I was questioned about the weekend living arrangements I just told everyone what my father had told me “We we’re on vacation.”

When Social Services asked to inspect my father’s apartment he refused. They threatened with giving Mother full custody and he complied. His apartment looked like Special Agent Fox Mulder had moved in. Books on alien invasion we’re scattered on the floor, black and white pictures of UFOs lined the living rooms walls and an over-sized push-pin dotted map of the northern region of Kentucky hung over his desk. The only thing missing was a poster that read “The Truth Is Out There”. I’m sure it was being illuminated on the bathroom wall with a black light.

I didn’t see my father much after that. He would come by the house from time to time and Mother would let us have an hour together. We attempted to throw a football around in the backyard once, but he just kept explaining to me how a football was actually based on an early alien science that us humans named angular dynamics (and my friends wonder why I don’t want to play Fantasy Football).

When I was 15 my father convinced Mother to let me go to the movies with him. I was pretty stoked when he produced two tickets to the matinee showing of Independence Day. Unfortunately, he ruined the summer block buster by inserting his own commentary through out the film. His ultimate buzz-kill came when the mother-ship destroyed the White House. He sternly grabbed my arm and whispered in my ear an H.G. Wells misquote:

“The joke of today is the crisis of tomorrow”.

When the credits rolled he asked if I had learned anything. To his disappointment, my response was “Yeah dude, the Fresh Prince is a bad ass”.

Mother was waiting in the driveway when my father dropped me off. Without saying goodbye he just rolled down his window and backed out of the driveway yelling at the top of his lungs “We are not alone, my boy! We are not alone…”.

It had been 10 years since I had seen my father, he looked good in a suit. The viewing was on a Sunday and we buried him the next morning. They said mental illness was the cause of death, which is the nice way of saying he stabbed himself repeatedly in the stomach with a letter opener.

Mother consoled me that night with a bottle of wine and seduction. My father surprised me the next morning with a letter in my mailbox:

Son,

You were adopted. She can’t reproduce. You’ll be dead by 60. They’ll say it’s gastric cancer, but you’ve been infiltrated.

Dad

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm Still Here Leaning Towards This Machine

“This is a fucking kid’s game.” Jack said.

Pete focused on the metallic ball ricocheting off the round pegs that were adorned by rings of flashing red lights. He shouted as the sphere exploded towards the rubber-lined walls that made the sound of a hen cackling on impact.

“If it’s so easy then why aren’t you any good at it?” Pete remarked, “Not to mention, this one has a military theme.”

“Are you fucking kidding me? It’s called “Chicken Run” and there’s an old man in a white suit chasing hens.” Jack replied.

Pete took his hands off the two red buttons that were symmetrically placed on the sides of the game. “Dude, that’s the fucking Colonel. He’s dead. Don’t disrespect him.”

“Is that why he’s wearing all white or why he’s been immortalized as a cartoon, Pete, because he’s dead? A zombie cartoon Colonel that sells chicken— sounds deserving of respect.”

Pete clenched his jaw as he went back to his game. He pulled the spring-loaded plunger and shot another ball in to the Colonel’s hen house. His eyes lit up like the first time he saw his father bring home that red and white striped bucket of steaming chicken laced with 11 herbs and spices. The secret before “The Secret”.

Jack had a problem and Pete knew exactly what it was. He had no comfort in his life. There was no understanding. His entire childhood was spent on fast food that lacked backbone.

That wasn’t his fault though. It was his parents’. Bouncing around from drive-thru to drive-thru looking for something that would complete them. They weren’t going to find it with a McDonald’s Big Mac, an Arby’s Roast Beef sandwich with horsey sauce or even a Taco Bell $.99 meal deal.

Their lives lacked truth. Ignorance was no longer bliss. It was fucking heart break.

But how do you shine a light in to the darkness of a man’s soul? Trying to explain that all that someone knows is wrong would be a slap in the face. What can be done?

Pete knew though. He remembered something that he once learned in Sunday School about speaking the truth. Pete was taught that Jesus once gave a great sermon, a sermon on a mount that freed the masses from their backwards thinking. He knew that he must be Jack’s savior and show him the way, the truth and the life that would only run him about $5.99 a meal with free refills.

“Jack, do you believe in salvation?”

“Like Jesus forgiving me of my sins.”

“No, nothing like that. Experiencing truth in its purest form.”

“Well, that depends on what your version of truth is.”

“In this situation Jack, there’s only one truth and if you knew it you wouldn’t speak so harshly about the Colonel.”

“Pete, I know you’re from Kentucky dude, but please don’t tell me that the Colonel is going to save me from my sins.”

“What’s your favorite fast food restaurant?”

“I don’t know man. Probably Checker’s. They’ve got awesome fries and the shakes are cheap. KFC just doesn’t really do it for me man. I’m sorry.”

The final ball of Pete’s pinball game slid through the red and white striped flippers uncontested, for he now knew that his friend would never lead a life of fulfillment, only a facade of contentment while being consumed by appetite depravity.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hell Hole

Hate is a strong word, but when you’re alarm clock is set to 6:30 a.m. and your upstairs neighbor starts hammering the floor boards in his apartment right above your bed two hours before the alarm is supposed to go off, not many other words come to mind, except maybe murder.

This is the fifth day of the second time I’ve lived in Erlanger, Kentucky. It’s a hell hole, but when my stepfather, Robert, died Final Destination-style from a freak propane gas stove explosion I decided to move to back to the Bluegrass state to help my mom out.

The explosion occurred in the kitchen of their 1950’s ranch-style house, blowing out all of the windows and burning the majority of the kitchen, master bedroom and not to mention, Robert.

The investigation by the insurance company concluded that the fire was caused by a leak in the gas line connected to the stove, but the main explosion actually occurred in the bed room. That’s not uncommon for gas leaks except the explosion of the magnitude that killed my stepfather would only happen at the source of the leak. Also, Robert’s scorched body was found with him clutching a machete. He probably looked like Skeletor.

I’ve rented this studio apartment off of Dixie Highway. There are four restaurants with the word “chili” in their name, a gas station that serves ice cream and six churches of different denominations within walking distance of my front door.

I’ve been listening to my neighbor hammer different areas of the floor of his apartment for the last five minutes. Our rented spaces have the exact same layout. Based on the size of the room there’s only one place you can put your bed. My assumption is that he’s pounding nails in to the four corners of where his bed is located. Maybe he’s constructing homemade bed risers. That would make sense for storage purposes in a 500 square foot apartment, but what doesn’t make sense is why this fucking Bob Vila wannabe is remodeling his apartment at 4:35 a.m.

The hammering has become more furious, so I have to time my knocking. The deadbolt unlocks quickly. He’s much younger than I figured, about 21. I would expect to be complaining about loud music for someone his age, not late night home improvement projects. His small frame blocks the view into his studio. Perspiration has accumulated on his forehead and he’s sweat through his t-shirt.

“You can’t be hammering in the middle of the night, man.” Stepping in to the hallway he closes the door behind him. “Here.” he says not listening to a word I just said. I look down and he’s pulled a machete from behind his back and put it in my hand pushing my fingers around the handle. “You can help.”

Stepping back I drop the machete almost taking off a couple of my toes. “Help with what?!” Turning back in to his apartment, he motions me to follow. “I’m Kevin and I hate to inform you, but this place is a hell hole.” I step inside the door and stare at the floor where he’s pointing. He’s not building bed risers. There is no bed, only a steel sheet nailed to the floor that looks like the Incredible Hulk has tried punch through it. “They’ll be coming back soon.”

Loveless Losers

Liquor Livens Lustful Libido Liasons


Lest Lessons Learned Lose Lingering Likeability

Lo, Left Leaning Lopsided Lives

Lead Loitering Lays Leisurely

Like Lazy Lambs Lacking Lament

Friday, July 08, 2011

Bench Warmer

On my 21st birthday my friends took me out to Applebee’s and treated me to chicken fingers and raspberry sweet tea. This was all washed down with the stereotypical song and dance of the restaurant employees wishing me a “happy, happy birthday”.


“Welcome to adulthood.” I thought.

After blowing out the candle on my Cool Whip cake I excused myself to the bathroom. Instead of taking my talents to South Beach I decided to stalk the giggly blond whose tits were bouncing in my face to the rhythm of the hand claps during my personal praise and worship song. Her name tag said “Kacee”.

Tall and limber, tan and glowing, empty blues eyes complimented her layered-platinum bob. She looked like she was fresh out of high school. Everything about her was typical to Lexington. Maybe she was a University of Kentucky cheerleader. I didn’t even make the JV basketball team at my high school, but all the girls thought I was cute sitting at the end of the bench trying to keep up with points, assists and rebounds(on paper) and the measurements of all the girls on the dance team(in my head).

Sometimes, I would accidentally transpose the stats and not realize it until the next day when I read the school paper. The sports section headline would inform us that “Brian Long lit up the score board in last nights win with 36 points along with 24 monstrous rebounds in only 36 minutes of explosive play!” No one ever seemed to notice, at least not in the way that I noticed Kacee.

When I approached her at the server station I had all of these back handed compliments in my head from reading The Game. I was thinking how I would say that I don’t usually date blonds, but I would make an exception for her or tell her that I like her name, but that she spelled it wrong. It all sounded so juvenile, but Mystery made it look easy. By the time she turned around the only thing that came to mind was “I need something to dip my fingers in.”

She smiled and ran down the list. “Well, we have ketchup, honey mustard, barbecue, ranch and we can even mix the barbecue with the ranch, which is my personal favorite.” And then she grinned and tilted her head to the side. I felt like an asshole. Not because she was nice though, but because she didn’t get my pick-up line. Maybe if I was wearing a ridiculous looking top hat I would’ve gotten my point across.

Shaking my head I started to walk away. I mumbled to myself “That’s not what I meant.” In a “mother saying your full name” kind of tone she replied. “Well, maybe you should say what you mean then.” All I could think about was the fact that I was 21,still a virgin and wouldn’t mind becoming a man in the parking lot of a family-friendly chain restaurant. Maybe my friends had even hired Kacee to make my fantasy come true. I wanted to watch Return of the Street Fighter with her.

Kacee was leaning up against the server station staring at me. She was twirling her hair with two fingers behind her ear and the only thing that came to mind was “I’ll take the barbecue ranch sauce.”

Thursday, June 09, 2011

A Complicated Life

Jim woke up this morning and went to work like he always did. His arrival time was 15 minutes before the expected time of 8:30am, but this was not early for him, just everyone else. The hours of the day flew by as he stared at his computer screen, typing on the keyboard, clicking and scrolling with the wireless mouse he had won the previous January for perfect attendance. Jim won a new office gadget every year for this behavior.

The year before his supervisor had given him a framed motivational poster that featured a grizzly bear eating a fish. The caption read “Excellence is not a skill, it’s an attitude.“ The supervisor insisted that it was hung above Jim’s computer. He got a matching mouse pad as well.

The apartment where Jim lived was on 5th street in Covington. He preferred the Kentucky side of the river opposed to Cincinnati where his job was located because he was afraid of black people. No one ever knew this about Jim, because he didn’t know this about himself.

Every room in Jim’s apartment was spotless and decorated appropriately with pictures hanging on each wall of every room. Steam locomotives hung in the living room, birds of prey were poised in the dining room, cottages with smokey chimneys adorned the kitchen and 1965 Playboy Playmate Centerfolds were calling out in the bedroom. Jim didn’t like sleeping alone.

The dinner table had already been set from the night before. Jim would set the table every night after doing the dishes, always setting two places. In the 6 years he had lived there only two guests had ever joined him. The first was a man devoted to the cause of cleaning, carpets to be exact. Hoover is what he said in every sentence. Jim bought two.

The second guest, a blind date that a co-worker had set him up on three years ago. Jim thought she was pretty, but didn’t understand why she kept talking about her ex-husband. Jim didn’t like her because of her disapproval of his choice of dinning room decorations. He didn’t offer her dessert. This was the extent of Jim being an asshole.

As usual, Jim was eating alone this evening. Typically, he didn’t mind eating by himself, but today was the exception. The first Matrix movie had been on television last night and it got him thinking about his life and the choices he had made. According to his parents, guidance counselors in school and his supervisor at work, he had made all of the right decisions. Jim felt like he never had a choice. There was never a red pill/blue pill moment for him. He decided that tomorrow was going to be different.

Jim hurried up and finished his dinner only putting the dishes in the sink, passing on washing them and setting the table. Before he went to bed he neglected to straighten up the house. This was to be the start of his personal rebellion.

When the alarm clock went off the next morning Jim started his day as he always did. The clothes he was going to wear were laid out on his freshly made bed. He shaved, showered and got dressed for work. The commute was long and boring, but he still arrived 15 minutes early. The supervisor appeared in Jim’s office shortly after and said the same thing he always did.

“Good morning Jim. Ready for another great day at work?”

“Yes sir.” Jim replied staring at the fish being consumed by a grizzly bear.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Puck Was An Asshole!

The summer of ‘95 was hot and sticky and not just for the obvious reasons. This was the year that Josh had finally discovered his body in its entirety. No longer were there only a few stray hairs sprouting on his crotch, underarms and upper lip, his body hair had become a force to be reckoned with. He even had the beginnings of a very promising happy trail.

While on summer vacation he spent the majority of his time downloading as much porn as his AOL dial-up service could handle. As far as Josh knew, his collection was unrivaled amongst his friends. Unfortunately, he would not find this out until years later when it was considered humorous to tell stories about wacking off in front of your 486 to hot Asian twins eating each other out while being butt-fucked by what appeared to be a room full of NFL linebackers.

Josh got bored masturbating until his family jewels appeared to be more like rubies than diamonds. He decided that he needed to take his skills to the next level. Sex Ed. and all of the porno movies he had been watching even showed him how to do it. “You put it in the first hole, right?” was what he said to himself right before he started practicing the pumping motion in the mirror while flexing his biceps and mimicking orgasmic facial expressions.

After watching the entire season of MTV’s The Real World in San Francisco. Josh felt educated and mature about his decision to have sexual intercourse or as his friends called it “gettin’ some pussy!”.

With all of the practice and education out of the way all Josh needed now was to find the right girl (or any girl) and at least a 3-pack of Her Pleasure Trojan condoms with spermicidal lubricant. Without giving it much prior thought, this soon became Josh’s biggest predicament. Living in the suburbs of Kentucky there weren’t any girls in his small neighborhood. Also, he was only 14 and not even close to getting his learner’s permit. His only hope was his older brother, Craig.

Everyone thought Craig was cool, but in his own way. He even treated his little brother Josh with a sense of respect that little brother’s before him had never known. So when Craig agreed to let Josh tag along to a High School party that he was going to on Friday night, Josh almost reached one of the higher ranking skills on his list of sexual exploits: Blowing his load with his mind!

Friday arrived. Josh spent an hour shaving his balls in the shower making sure that his boys were smooth. After he was dressed Craig told him to come in his room for a “quick talk”. Josh was excited. He thought his brother was going to give him a “man to man” talk about getting laid. Maybe he would even give him some condoms!

Craig was combing his hair in the mirror when Josh walked in and that’s how he continued to make eye contact.

“You excited about going to the party tonight?” Craig said.

“Hell yeah! I want to get laid!” Josh hastily blurted out as he sat down on the bed.

“Oh.” Craig said with a confused look.

“What, what is it?” Josh was looking confused now.

Craig turned around and looked at him.

“You’ve been watching a lot of Real World lately.”

Josh raised his eyebrows. “Huh?”

Craig smiled. “You’re gay, right?”

Josh cringed. “Are you gay?”

Craig kept smiling.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

That's More Than A Dress...

ToToday is Record Store Day 2011. I got up early and had a hearty breakfast of grits (in a monkey bowl), a biscuit and coffee at my favorite breakfast joint in Atlanta with my fellow vinyl collecting friend, Lance. He ordered a pecan waffle.

After breakfast we went to Little 5 Points where two of the best record stores in Atlanta are located, Criminal Records and Wax n’ Facts. After standing in line for half an hour to try and see what Criminal had to offer, I got antsy. My plans for the morning were to attend a garage sale, where I only made $2 in sales. With my patience wearing thin and over hearing an overweight girl tell her friends that Wax n’ Facts didn't have a line-- I made the executive decision to check out what they had in stock before I left. She was right! And by "she" I mean the overweight girl.

Wax n’ Facts was busy, but I had my hands on some records after only a few minutes of waiting. While waiting to check out a crate of RSD exclusive vinyl I heard some guy yell to a clerk "Do you have any piebald left?". The clerk reached into the bin and handed him a record. I said something to the affect of "me too!". He then handed me the last piebald album. I didn't know what album it even was, but the name Piebald is nostalgic for me, bringing back some great memories with old friends. Not to mention I've always wanted If It Weren't For Venetian Blinds It Would Be Curtains For Us All on vinyl-- Piebald’s best album in my opinion.

Lo and behold the album handed to me was a 3 LP box set that included Venetian Blinds. It was only $25 for the set, but as I walked closer to the counter doing my budget for the pay period in my head, I contemplated putting it back for someone else to buy. Before making a hasty decision though I asked the clerk how many more they had left in stock.

"That's the last one." he told me.

My decision had been made for me. I had to buy it now. You have to love the scarcity effect.

Now here I am in my 500 sq. foot apartment off Ponce De Leon sitting in the most comfortable and ugliest chair I've ever owned listening to one of my favorite records of all-time contemplating the last 10 years of my life.

The first time I heard Venetian Blinds it was in CD format and I was 19 years old. My ungirlfriend at the time, Allison, bought the album at a local skate shop/indie music store called Ambush. It was located in Gwinnett County (outside of Atlanta) on Pleasant Hill Rd. Hearing the album for the first time was not memorable. All I can recall is Allison telling me how amazing they were while all I could think about was how guilty my Christian conscious was making me feel for getting a blow job from her the night before while listening to Johnny Cash.

Our unrelationship was over within a few months, but not without her accidentally leaving her Piebald CD in my car. I didn't feel bad for keeping it for myself for many reasons, but I’ll only give two:

1. She treated me like crap.

2. At the conclusion of our relationship she didn’t return my Dashboard Confessional Swiss Army Romance CD I had let her borrow.

I definitely got the better end of the deal.

Probably getting bored listening to Operation Ivy’s Energy and my Johnny Cash Love, God, Murder box set I randomly played Venetian Blinds after leaving work one day.

I'm not sure what made me fall in love with them. The vocals were shitty and the recording wasn't much better, but the lyrics made me laugh and the songs seemed like they got louder as I got further into the album.

As I was breaking the speed limit on I-85 heading towards Atlanta to hang out with my friends, I rolled the windows down and let the wind blow the hair that I no longer have around like I was in a wind tunnel. “Grace Kelly With Wings” rattled my crappy factory speakers while I sang along at the top of my lungs to my favorite album that I hadn't learned the lyrics to yet.


"That's more than a dress, it's a Grace Kelly movie."

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Five Hundred: Dreams Do Come True

I've recently joined a group of other writers to contribute to a monthly writing project called The Five Hundred. The idea is that we receive a prompt every month for a flash-fiction piece and within one week we have to deliver a story that is between 400 words to 600 words long. It's a fun idea to keep the creative juices flowing. My girlfriend and I both posted pieces for this months prompt.

My story is below. Enjoy!


“Dreams Do Come True”

by Johnny Carroll

The first time I heard of William “Tiny” Baylor I was ten years old and had just discovered my love for basketball. After sitting way to close to the TV at my friend’s house watching the last game of a best of seven series where “Tiny” scored 39 points, dished out 17 assists and had a mind-blowing 10 steals to lead the Bowling Green Roosters to their first (and currently only) NBA championship— I ran straight home and begged my dad to buy me my very own basketball goal.

I followed Baylor for the rest of his professional career as I dreamed of one day starting my own. Middle school is a painful time for most children, but especially when you’re trying to be an NBA superstar. Working hard every summer and constantly day dreaming of playing for the Roosters, I honed my basketball skills.

Success was mine. I eventually became the point guard for my high school’s varsity basketball team, even leading the region in assists (my senior year). Every time I passed the ball that lead to another point for our team I remembered the first game that I ever watched where “Tiny” dealt 17 assists. My team, the Carpetbaggers, never won a state championship, but we always had a winning record.

Unfortunately, Being only six feet tall and carrying on the family tradition of short arms and a long torso, not only could I not dunk, but I didn’t even have a decent three-point shot. And we won’t even talk about how I couldn’t go left. I was too focused on passing the ball to ever work on an all-around game, knowing deep down inside that I would never really get drafted to the NBA or even start for a Division I college team.

After high school I did make it to college on a scholarship, but not for basketball. All of those summers where I was working on my jump shot and dreaming of super-stardom I also became obsessed with Marv Alberts, the most famous sports announcer during my youth. I wanted to go in to broadcasting or journalism and interview the super stars. Oddly enough that’s just what I did.

I hadn’t followed “Tiny” since his retirement from the NBA. Every once in a while I see his name on a list of attendees for a charity golf tournament or one of those events where the NBA honors the veterans of the game. Personally, I haven’t picked up a basketball in over 10 years, but this whole nostalgic walk down memory lane has been triggered by the fact that I am currently interviewing my childhood hero, William “Tiny” Baylor.

When given this opportunity I jumped at it thinking we could swap war stories about who our biggest rivals were, his being “Magic” Johnson and Isaiah Thomas, mine being that short red-haired kid with bad acne who played for Hamilton. Maybe I could even tell him how he inspired me to play basketball and it’s because of him that I’m even sitting here interviewing him.

Instead, he’s not even looking at me, but sobbing in to my voice recorder about how he’s now bankrupt (pyramid schemes) , divorced (twice), been in and out of rehab (crack) and how he will never recover from the mishap that occurred during his Penile Silicon Injection.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tears of an Asshole

This is a new piece that I wrote for the Purge ATL reading "It's Not Me, It's You" at the Wren's Nest in Atlanta, Ga. It's laced with love & profanity. Enjoy!


Tears of an Asshole


The problem with relationships-- is getting comfortable. And by “relationship”,I mean anyone that you’re willing to go out to breakfast with after you Sport Fucked them the night before or something like that.

In the first couple of months of a relationship, you not only watch what you say around the other person, but every-single-little-word--your opinions, jokes, world views, catch phrases, sweet talk, pillow talk, even safe words.

You find yourself sounding out each word in your head and checking their meanings in the proverbial dictionary of your mind. You catch yourself silently thinking:

“Is it supposively or supposedly?”

“I hope they don't make fun of my slang.”

“Did I really fucking tell them that I voted for Bush in the ‘04 election?”

You analyze each situation--patting everything down like it's going through a TSA checkpoint. You eliminate every uncomfortable situation, constantly having your conscious check to see if you have any “dick and fart” jokes stashed in your waist band.

No situation is too small, anything from passing the salt to pulling her hair while you nail her doggy-style.

"Did I seem bothered when I handed her the salt? I hope she doesn't think I'm mad. She probably wanted the pepper too!”

Or maybe you’re thinking--

"Shit! Was I was pulling her hair too tight? It sounded like she liked it, but maybe I was hurting her. I do have a fist full of hair now--I shouldn’t have spit on her back!”

Eventually, you let your guard down. At first, there's no real threat. You've never said anything questionable before, why would you now? You're a perfect gentleman.

Then you let something slip. There's always an excuse as to why -- you were tired, maybe a little drunk and definitely had a bad day at work. It's always subconsciously.

Maybe you hate Band of Horses and have lied about it up until this point.

Or maybe you hint-- that her ass doesn’t really look that good in skinny jeans anymore.

Or you finally tell her what you really think about her loser brother that she's elevated to hero status in her mind.

It doesn’t really matter what it is exactly.

But somehow you’ve smuggled through security some insensitive words in your shoe, that is on the foot, that you will be placing in your mouth, after you inadvertently vocalize them.

All of a sudden-- you’re not perfect anymore.

And I don’t mean the idea of a messed up guy that you’ve created for her to show her how much you’ve changed. You’re no longer the guy who should have payed more attention to his last girlfriend’s needs, but has changed now-- and tries to understand his female counterparts every whim. You’re not the one who had anger issues because he was unhappy in his job and relationship, but has realized what makes him happy now... and it’s her.

No, now you’re the asshole boyfriend who fucking made her cry, who is now apologizing and trying to remove the foot from your mouth-- and the tears from hers eyes with the same hand.

It’s impossible.

And that’s where it gets painful. The snowball effect is too nice a term for what happens here because it’s more like a tornado in a blizzard-- during an earthquake. Instead of the situation picking up speed, gaining traction and rapidly getting worse. It’s more of a destructive force than something rolling down a hill. It’s fucking chaos, complete annihilation-- the god damn mother fucking Apocalypse...and it’s too late to repent. No death bed confessions allowed.

Nothing you say can make it better, even an apology will come off as insincere-- and it ultimately makes it worse. You can’t run away from it, because then you’re walking out.

Eventually, you just end up slowly dying from the inside-out. What’s most unbearable about this situation, is that you have to take it...in silence.