Wednesday, December 05, 2012

ATL > Chicago

You should finish packing before embarking upon a one night stand. You can't really time those sorts of things though.

My dog does not have a homosexual prejudice.

Women always forget something.

Not all homosexuals hate Chik-Fila.

Why is there a Christmas tree in the trunk?

Cigarettes are a better companion than most people.

There should a USB iPhone charger for every seat in a car.

It's ok to be crazy in front of your best friends.

Hugs are patience in physical form.

Walmart. Boxed wine. Knitting needles.

I use the bathroom too much. It would be terrible if I'm already getting diabetes, but not unexpected.

I wish I didn't want to punch him in the face every time I hear his name.

Don't say the f word in texts to your mother if you want a response.

Teresa who works at the CVS outside of Chattanooga at the age of 50 is an expert in budget cosmetics and Iron Maiden tour dates.

Bluegrass sounds better when you're driving through the mountains.

Chattanooga is depressing.

I always forget how much I like Elton John for 20 minutes.

Saturday's alright for fighting.

Spotify sucks in the mountains.

5 hour energy sucks on road trips when you're not driving.

What did people do on road trips before iPhones?

"I'm thinking of something orange."

Marilyn Monroe had a chronic flatulence problem.

Punk rock sing alongs kill about 30 minutes of each trip.

Nashville radio is terrible.

If I didn't have Chris Johnson on my fantasy football team I'd forget that Nashville had a football team.

It sounds like Bruce Springsteen wrote the latest Killers album.

Everyone in Nashville looks like a country musician including the girl working the counter at the gas station who speaks broken english.

I don't want to watch that TV show "Nashville" because I don't want to fall out of love with Connie Britton.

Clear eyes. Full hearts.

Racist souvenirs at a gas station. Welcome to Nashville.

Hardee's.

Kentucky.

I always hated this place until I started writing about it. Now I have it tattooed on my body.

Old Barns.

I asked this girl a few days ago if she liked Elvis Costello. She said "I guess."

I'm in the same state as my mom, but she never responded to my earlier text with the F word in it. I should've just said "happy thanksgiving" or something about the weather.

Jon doesn't say much in general.

Erica is eating in apple in the backseat.

Kentucky has suggestive names for their state parks. Big bone lick. Beaver lick.

It's weird when girls won't let you go down on them. I went down on this girl last night. When she climaxed I climbed back up from the basement and she looked like she wanted to marry me or she just normally has crazy eyes.

Crazy eyes are acceptable when fucking.

Who needs a cigarette.

Jon is listening to Eminem.

You know when you get stuck behind tractor trailers carting a pre-fabricated house down the interstate and you wish you could see the house fall off because you're pissed that you got stuck behind the car following it with a "wide load" sign?

We just passed one of those in a ditch.

I miss Nate Dogg.

The darkness brings out my anxiety.

The birthplace of Abraham Lincoln.

Elizabeth Town. Never saw the movie.

Louisville is bigger than I thought

Lexington > Louisville > Florence

Kentucky was over quickly. Felt like the amount of time I lived there.

I still like the Breeders, the band.

Hoosiers.

My best friend dumped me for the girl who dumped me.

They still sell a bow and arrow set at Cracker Barrel.

I've eaten dumplings twice this week

You get three sides at Cracker Barrel.

I know the lyrics to more Christian rap songs than I'd like to admit.

Damnesia.

My body won't stop trembling.

11.5 hours

Chicago.

Friday, November 30, 2012

"Yeah, well, I was fouled..."

Jon sped through Kentucky quickly approaching the border of Indiana. Erica was asleep in the back seat as we passed through her hometown.

Erica didn't know her, but Jon did. I mentioned that she had a baby now. He mentioned the size of her breasts.

We stopped for dinner outside of Indianapolis. The dining room was large. I sat near the window watching the door.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Great Disturbance

Dear Lucas,

I’m sure this letter is too little too late, but I wanted to at least say something, If not just to apologize. The manner in which you were raised as a child has just now been brought to my attention. Unfortunately, I didn’t see you or your brother and sister very often due to living in California while you and the rest of the family were in Kentucky. I spoke with your father on the phone at least once a month and he always said you guys were doing fine, but were in bed for the night or doing homework. I should’ve caught on, but when you trust someone things like that typically go unnoticed.

As an adult you must think that the family around you was in on it and rightfully so. We were completely fooled by your father into believing your childhood was a normal and healthy one. He sent Christmas cards and school pictures with annual updates about your lives. You all seemed like happy children and I have always been a proud uncle. In hindsight, I can see all of the lies and different pieces of the story and have been trying to put it all together ever since I first heard about it on the news.

The F.B.I. has contacted me regarding the case that you’ve brought against your father. I assure you that I’ve been giving them my complete cooperation. With that being said, if there is anything that I can do, any information I can pass on or any questions that I can answer, please know that you have my support.

I know these memories are painful, but I am wondering to the extent of how warped your father was. I believe by knowing some more information that I might better help the investigation. The news reports claim he led you to believe that fictitious stories were in fact true, that you spoke unknown languages and committed crimes against your will. There hasn’t been much factual elaboration outside of Sci-Fi references and a few internet memes(I promise that I didn’t laugh).

With that being said, what I am about to tell you is not to justify your father’s action, but to potentially shed some light regarding his delusional state. Before your mother passed away, she too was not in her right mind. The doctors had her on all sorts of medication for the pain that she was dealing with after the accident. Her passing was a shock to all of us, but in her last few hours alive your mother had your father make deathbed promises that I believe were not based in reality.

She wanted you and your siblings to know the ways of the Force. I was in the room when your mother died and I heard her say these words before her passing. Whereas I and the rest of the family took her dying words as a sweet reference from your parents’ favorite movies to raise you the right way, he took her final words literally.

Since childhood most of the males in my generation have commonly communicated through Star Wars quotes and references. I apologize that those were applied directly to your life in a literal sense and that no one really noticed.

Again, please contact me for any information regarding the case. In closing, the family is here for you and your siblings and we hope to rebuild trust after this ordeal has been settled.

My apologies,

Uncle John

Monday, November 12, 2012

What We Remember Defines Us

People usually remember where they were when something life altering happens. If you were alive, you probably remember where you were when Kennedy was assassinated, Nixon declaring the end of the Vietnam War or even when Princess Diana married Charles.

As a kid I remember sitting on the floor in the TV room when the Berlin wall came down... I believe that the memory mainly stems from me not understanding why Michael from Knight Rider was singing songs of freedom to the German masses.

Some might tell you that they remember the first time they heard the Beatles... and similar to hearing the Beatles, where they were when they found out that American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

Lovers never forget their wedding day, parents never forget the birth of their children and an alcoholic never forgets their first drink... I know I haven’t.

Whether it’s a tragedy or celebration or just a surreal moment-- we all have occurrences, circumstances and milestones in our lives where there’s nothing we can do to strike them from our memory. Good or bad.

Personally, one moment among many sticks out in my mind.

It 1990, in Eagles Landing, a small subdivision in Northern Kentucky, Craig Alderson called me a faggot. I was 9 years old.

Unfortunately, at this point in my life I have heard that word too many times to count, but on that beautiful spring afternoon in Craig’s backyard where we were playing trampoline dodgeball he took it upon himself to introduce me to a slur that supersedes race, gender or belief and goes right for the jugular... or the genitals.

The hair stood up on the back of my neck like little antennas trying to pick up the frequency that was broadcasting what the hell had just happened. I felt different. It was like walking in on your parents sixty nining or what it feels like after you do meth for the first time. With all of that being said. I had no idea what the word meant. I just knew that it was wrong.

By summer time all of the guys in the neighborhood were calling each other fags. Making repetitious humping motions toward each other every time someone bent down to tie their shoe or turned their back for a second. It doesn’t take long to become desensitized, but like they say, boys will be boys.

I almost felt as though Craig was self-projecting because everyone in the neighborhood knew that he was the biggest cock sucker alive, figuratively speaking of course, but then again, I haven’t seen him in almost 10 years. Preferences do change or at least reveal themselves over time.

I eventually realized that it was probably not a good idea to go around calling people fags. Shortly after the start of high school and my conversion to Christianity I decided to stop using derogatory terms for homosexuals and started praying for them instead.

This sudden concern for their souls was due to a man named Brother Chuck Mericle. He was the basketball coach, principal and preacher at the Baptist Church School I attended in Elsmere, Kentucky.

One Wednesday afternoon in chapel Brother Chuck revealed to us that “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”.

Brother Chuck had another saying that I’ll never forget. A Bible verse out of Exodus. It was along the lines of “Your sin will find you out.”

But when you’re 14 and sitting in chapel, you’re more interested in breaking the 6 inch rule with Kathy Turner, the hottest girl in 8th grade, rather than actually paying attention to scripture verses that are constantly being thrown in your face to discourage you from acting out... or just acting normal.

Brother Chuck would be proud though because that verse never left me, especially when I found out that he had been self-projecting as well. He was caught having an affair with the school secretary by her daughter a few years after I graduated.

Not to be judgmental, but who cheats with their family in the next room?

Christians are terrible at “sinning”.

For a few years after high school I let my Christian guilt lead me to Central America to tell non-English speaking people that Jesus loved them... and that they would burn in an everlasting hell fire if they rejected his free gift of salvation.

I had a very successful close rate when it came to saving souls.

The worst part about telling people that they’re going to hell is trying to act like you sincerely believe that you have the answers. In all reality, I too, was struggling with the idea that God loved me and feared that he was going to send me to a deeper level of hell for lacking faith and being a
hypocrite.

I was hospitalized when I was 17 because I felt so guilty about looking at internet porn and masturbating into socks that I started having panic attacks. Mom thought I was having heart palpitations.

Eventually my subconscious saved my life by going into survival mode and doing what I couldn’t on my own-- finally rejecting the idea of faith. I never told them, but I’m sure my parents would’ve been happy to know that I could finally enjoy masturbating into articles of clothing again without feeling bad about it.

Unfortunately, this was a major milestone in my life.

After 27 years of marriage my mom called it quits and left my dad for another woman. Memories of Craig Alderson calling me a fag entered my brain and I tried to hold back the cheap shots as I watched my family crumble around me.

At that point the meaning of the word had changed for me.

It no longer meant boys thrusting their pelvises at each other with hopes of making everyone laugh. It meant that at the age of 21 everything was broken. My foundation, my family, my father, my beliefs and ultimately my heart. No one was laughing anymore.

My parents divorce caught me off guard as I was well on my way to becoming a white middle class right wing god-fearing republican like my father had raised me to be. But when everything is broken and being forced to change, you might as well throw everything in the pot.

The reality was that everything was already broken and had been since I was a child. All of the changes that were occurring was just the setting of the bone. The righting of the ship. All of the BS they say about hindsight.

My cell phone lit up at 3am on a Tuesday night about a year later. The Ludacris’ “Roll Out” ringtone on my phone woke me up in my Gwinnett County apartment.

The bar was loud and I could barely hear his voice, but he was laughing. He sounded like he was having a good time and he was definitely drunk. For a split second I was happy for him.

After he ordered another double of Jameson he told me that he didn’t want to live anymore.
And before he had left for the bar that night he had scratched his name into the side of a bullet and loaded it into the pistol that sat on his night stand.

He planned on taking care of business when he got home from the bar if he didn’t kill himself in a car accident or get a DUI.

I told him that I hoped he got pulled over. He agreed. You know things are bad when the best thing that can happen to you is a DUI.

I laid in my bed while I talked to my dad that night knowing that I would never forget that moment, that conversation or that overwhelming feeling.

And before we hung up that night I told him that I loved him and that if he pulled the trigger... I’d be right behind him.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Exit 178



Everybody has always known our family in Union. My brother and I grew up in the same house here that my mom grew up in. She was born in the same room her parents conceived her in. She fucked the man that we never met when they were sixteen in the same room. In my mind, I still see him as a sixteen year old boy.

Mom would never tell us who he was. When I was about ten I started paying attention to people in town that I thought he might have been based on how  mom would talk to them or how they would treat my brother and I. Personally, I stopped giving a shit when I started getting pussy when I was sixteen.

Like father like son.

Our Grandpa Jack left her the house when he died. Sitting at the dinner table reading the paper and chain smoking while complaining about the government are the only memories I have of him. His hair was white and no one care about his wrinkled face and outdated opinions anymore except mom. He was pretty forgettable. I guess most of us probably are.

It seemed like she loved him, but it makes you wonder if she just kept buying him those cartons of Pall Malls just to speed up the process. It took. He died when I was twelve.

My brother got married right out of highschool. He knocked his girlfriend up senior year. They live the next town over. He got set up with the police department when he got back from Iraq. His days are spent passing out speeding tickets out on U.S. 42 and his nights consist of making sure no one’s beating on their wife when they get home from the bar.

Most nights I typically go out and get drunk and he’s usually waiting on me in the driveway to keep me from beating on my wife when I get home from the bar. You can only fall down the stairs so many times before people start getting suspicious.

She knows I love her though, ever since high school. But that’s what you do in Union. You fall in love in high school and get married. I’ve realized as I get older that it’s not the best decision, but it’s Kentucky. When you’re a kid you don’t listen for shit and there’s nothing better to do except maybe drink more. Seems like the best option.

We’ve never really had much money. Jack didn’t leave us anything when he died, just the house to mom and she barely has a pot to piss in. I work construction in these new developments up by the river when there’s money to be made. There’s not much lately. My wife works at a beauty parlor. She makes more money than me. People always need their hair cut.

I clean my guns every sunday morning. Haven’t really shot them in the last couple of years, but it gives me something to do. A routine. My brother doesn’t like hunting anymore. Says he doesn’t feel like killing something if he doesn’t have to.

I’ve got this Smith & Wesson that I was cleaning a few weeks back. Started day dreaming while I was field stripping it. Thought about all the different things I could do with it, but it just sits in a cabinet locked away. There’s a lot of different options when you start exploring them. Funny where the mind will take you sometimes.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

For Tomorrow We Die


Like most people, I’ve spent many sleepless nights laying in my bed staring into the darkness contemplating matters of the heart and soul... while also playing with myself. Thoughts weighed down with unanswered questions racing through my mind, the two most prominent being:

"Who did this shitty plaster job on my bedroom ceiling and why didn't I have a threesome before I turned 30??

The routine of days, turns into mundane weeks littered with obligations and events each month that pose a type of social instant gratification along with a constant misery.

Facebook notifications alert me to birthdays and going away parties. I spend nights in watching netflix wondering if I’ll ever find out if Bob Saget will ever tell me how he met his children’s mother and drunken nights out wondering how the hell I ended up at Southern Comfort watching a puppet sing Hank Jr’s “Family Tradition”.

Shitty weekend vacations are spent with rednecks in Florida’s panhandle and stressful work weeks dealing with clients whose faces I want to photoshop into beastiality porn. I’m given a pointless promotion at a job that I hate only months before the threat of potentially being fired for not being able to read the bosses mind. It’s like having a bitchy girlfriend that you don’t get to fuck. My attendance was required at a shotgun wedding followed up with being the shoulder to cry on 6 months later during the expected divorce.

These are all the typical milestones that we tend to forget by the end of each year.

Throughout our god forsaken fleeting lives it seems that only one thing tends to be recurring and seemingly more pressing than the typical annual bullshit-- the big fucking question.

What the fuck are we doing here?

And when I say here, I don’t mean the United States, Atlanta, Georgia, Little Five Points or even the Star Bar, where someone is probably throwing up while getting a rim job in the bathroom as I speak.

 I’m talking about life.

Why the fuck are we alive?

It might appear that only the religious zealots that are terrified of not only homosexuals, but their own shadows or the philosophy major that you sweated on last night actually give a shit about this question. But that’s not true, they only care about the idea of our existence for superficial reasons.

The Christians don’t want to go to hell or catch homosexuality and the philosophy major just wants to pass their class and get anal occasionally because they can quote Plato after six shots of Jameson.

If we take a closer look though, humanity asks the question on a daily basis. We don’t ask it verbally, but we ask it collectively, with our actions.

World governments spend billions of dollars digging up ancient civilizations, sending people to space with the hopes of finding new frontiers and research new cures for diseases to prolong our own civilization. With all of the progress that surrounds us, I realized that money, science, technology and even religion have yet to answer the big question.

For the rest of us who aren’t scientists, archeologists, astronauts, religious or boring... our lives revolve around the aforementioned routine schedule. Some might even say that we are lesser because of it, but we just have a different approach.

And when I say we, I mean Americans or anyone in the world who wants to be an American or has an iphone or wants an iphone or likes porn and even more so, likes watching porn on their iphone in America or while thinking about America while getting themselves off while watching porn on their iphone. Because porn and iphones are obviously America’s greatest achievements.

Outside of trying to make ourselves feel better from time to time by purchasing Tom’s Shoes, shopping at a Farmer’s Market or even giving a bum a cigarette, Americans honestly don’t give a fuck. Because at the end of your life, what does it really fucking matter?

Kurt Vonnegut once said “We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different.”

With that being said, I realized that we as Americans have actually discovered the meaning of life. Of course we did, but it was an accident.

The meaning of life... are you ready... is distraction.

Distraction from what you might ask? Distraction from the inevitable. Death and taxes... and the lack of ability to procreate or at least the act of. We are all going to die and before we do, we’re going be pinched for every possible penny and probably lose control of our genitalia as well.

Our nation, was built on rebellion, rejecting oppression (unless we are doing the oppressing) and freedom, but now our only conflict is with the boredom of our day to day lives and the fact that we’ve settled. As Americans, what are we to do?

In my opinion we must take distraction to heights it has never seen before or ever dreamed of going. We must fill the void, no longer shall we seek truth in science, technology and religion, but with instant gratification through our favorite distractions.

We must focus! We must not relent! We must not avert our eyes from the constant streams of useless information and entertainment that we take in each and every moment that we ignore each other with our mobile devices.

We must not stop eating rich, decadent, greasy and fatty foods that will cause high blood pressure, obesity and ultimately, death.

We must drink! $12 cocktails shall always be dancing on our lips, causing us to lose all inhibition. Cheap beer will always flow, drying out our throats and giving us headaches from hell. But not until we have committed heinous public acts of intoxication and been blessed with the gift of blacking out. Unlike 9/11...We must forget!

Fornicate!

Cheap, dirty and disgusting sex acts must not stop regardless of our taste in personal hygiene, body weight, facial features or the idea that we might not actually care about one another. We must distract!

Now this may sound shallow, but let’s not lie to ourselves. We all do it and we call it the American Dream and we fucking love it.

Yes, we as Americans lack the ability to sit still, to contemplate the matters of the heart and soul, but that’s a good thing. Because I think if we actually did, it might scare us to realize that life is pointless.

So as we wait out our days for the inevitable nothingness. Just remember that all we can do is eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we will die.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Family Affairs

“I know we haven’t really spoken in a long time but we need to go over a few things.”

“I agree.”

“Based on the will we get everything split down the middle.”

“Do you remember when we both got bikes for Christmas when we lived in Florida?”

“Yeah… but we need to figure out if we’re going to sell the house or if one of us wants to take over the mortgage.”

“Most kids don’t get to really enjoy riding a new bike that they got for Christmas because it’s so cold. I was wearing shorts and rode it down the driveway barefoot. Man, I loved that bike.”

“Alright. Well, his motorcycle is in the garage. Do you want that? It’s been paid off for years.”

“It’s actually a Harley. I remember everyone being terrified that he was going to kill himself when he bought it. He took me for my first ride when I was 12. Oh shit. Lindsey’s Dad was pissed when I pulled up in the driveway to pick her up for prom. All those years of riding and he never laid it down once.”

“OK. Well, you get the Harley and I’ll take the BMW.”

“I remember you driving the Beamer to prom senior year. How is Sarah?”

“She’s fine. Based on the statements from the financial advisor there’s about 650k between savings, 401k and his Roth IRA.”

“Is she still in Real Estate? I imagine it would be tough with the way the market has been the last few years.”

“No. She stays home with the boys now. We’re going to have to transfer funds into different accounts as we separate it all. There’s going to be penalties if we don’t do this right. So we can sit down with my financial planner and figure out the best way to set it all up.”

“I’ll make sure to swing by and see them. I miss those little guys.”

“Well, they’re not so little anymore. They’re both in middle school now. We need to focus on the house. I have an appraiser coming out next week to look at it. I’m thinking we sit on it for a while and wait for the market to come back up. We’re going to have to keep paying the mortgage on it, but we can rent it out in the meantime.”

“I haven’t seen my old room in years.”

“Well, you’re going to get a chance. You need to clean it out before you leave. They never touched it after you went in to the service.”

“Do you want to pick up the family and grab dinner tonight? I haven’t been to Ruby’s in years.”

“The boys have soccer tonight. Well, we’re good here. I’m going to need you to sign various documents moving forward. You don’t have to stick around as we go through this process. I can e-mail you receipts and have the money transferred into your account. I’ll be in touch.”

“Alright. It was good to see you again.”

“Likewise.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Practice Makes Perfect


He hadn't swung the baseball bat since he was a child. A signed Pete Rose Louisville Slugger with the numbers 4256 written below his autograph. The bat had never actually connected with a ball before even though he had contemplated it many times as kid.Fortunately, as soon as his father had brought the piece of baseball history home with him from the station where Pete came by to pay his respects to the CPD they put the bat in the den. Even refusing to take it down after Charlie Hustle was banned from baseball. They always figured he would've been reinstated. Here's to hoping.

The piece of wood was dusty and he could see the blood collecting on the handle where it should've been dripping off. He continued to clench not only the slugger but his jaw as he remembered the first time his dad had ever taken him to a Red's game. Pete was managing then, but just to see the all-time hit leader standing in the dugout running the show was enough for him.

The Reds took the game in the 9th when Eric Davis hit a walk-off home run. Explosions were going off in his head the way he remembered the fireworks lighting up the Cincinnati skyline that cool October night in Riverfront Stadium. He didn't think that he was crying but he could feel something dripping down his face.

He released his grip on the bat and wiped his cheek. Blood. It was streaming from his forehead where there was a small hole. He felt his knees give out as he crumpled to the floor. His mind went back to the 1990 World Series. His Dad had brought home brooms for the family for game against the A's, just in case a sweep was in order.

His mom commented that "they should incorporate doing the dishes and taking out the trash in sporting events. Then the house might get cleaned from time to time". They celebrated the Red's first world Series victory since 1976 drinking Little Kings Beer and eating Skyline Chili dogs, the kids had Barq's Root Beer and 4-ways.

As his vision darkened and closed in, his dad stumbled from the other room and stood over him with a gash to the side of his head, blood gushing. "God damn it son. Why were you swinging that bat in the dark? I thought you were a burglar". He shared his father's thoughts.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Phantom


She placed her empty Rimini wine glass down on the table. The 2004 Royal Cuvée that had once filled it to the brim was now just a few drops at the bottom of the handmade blown glass. The stem looked like a clear stake that might puncture the heart of Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, Gary Oldman.

When she slid her Italian curved-back round chrome dining chair away from the vintage mid-century modern two seater mother of pearl dinette it made an obnoxious scraping noise against the wood floors that needed to be refinished since they had moved into their dream home fixer-upper the previous fall.

The opaque starburst ashtray sat on the newly installed Amarello Boreal granite counter tops. It was purchased from a posh antique store by her sister as a wedding present for them. The wedding seemed like it was a lifetime ago for her; same day for him.

Her bare feet on the soon to be distressed wood floor was soothing to him; like being in the womb or sleeping in on a saturday morning when she was up early making coffee; bacon; eggs; toast. Breakfast in bed seemed like a ritual. The sheets were stained with coffee. It never crossed his mind to buy new ones. She had a 1200 thread count spare set in the closet.

The cigarette was already stubbed out in the ashtray. The lighting of the Benson & Hedges Menthol was forgotten; missed by his eye. He could smell the smoke in the air, but didn’t recall her smoking it. “When did she start smoking in the house?” He almost thought out loud.

The living room was dark, but comfortable. That’s where she sat on the Kissel leather sofa. Any attempt he made to turn on one of the vintage danish bulbous organic wood and ceramic eames era lamps was aborted by her waving her hands in disapproval. It was easier to speak the truth in the darkness. 

He sat across from her in a 19th century English wing chair that was upholstered with pistachio suede. The craving for a Robustos Cuban cigar overtook him, but he had run out of them last week. She crossed her legs and stared right through him.

“It’s not a difficult questioned.” He pressed.

“Maybe for you it’s not.” She said. He right leg was now bouncing on her left knee with perfect 4/4 timing. They could make music. He wanted to sit second chair.

“I just feel like Jar Jar Binks was George Lucas’ way of metaphorically shining a light on the failures of not only a democratic government, but any attempts of a one world government.”

He heard the front door slam. Her keys were no longer on the Mahogany kidney accent table that stood inside the living room. Pulling out of his iphone from his stanton style shorts, he unlocked the screen and opened the Star Wars Unleashed App. The screen lit up the room with green glow of a light saber. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

You Will Not Surely Die


An abandoned building.
A forgotten pastime.
It called out in the wilderness.
---
Wallets, livers and good decisions were checked at the door.
Over and over.
Again and again.
They licked, swallowed and sucked.
Salt… Tequila… Lime… Glory!
They watched as their glasses were filled to overflowing.
My cup runneth over.
---
The stage was filled musicians.
Mariachi.
Praise. Worship. Exaltation.
Guitars were provocatively strummed.
Passion was heard in the violin.
Trumpets serenaded.
Accordions squeezed in and out.
Drums echoed in the hills.
The voice of Satanás rang through the night air.
Fingers and mouths rapidly moved bringing pleasure.
---
Dancing ensued.
Front to back. Side to side. Body to body.
Arms raised. Eyes closed. Hands trembling.
Pores perspired.
Anointing oil. The new balm of Gilead.
After 6 rounds they spoke in tongues.
Everyone else spoke Spanish.
---
God sent his son.
His son sent his spirit.
His spirit brought the fire.
That fire was bottled. Distilled. Unleashed.
It was served chilled with salt and lime.
---
God’s footstool. The temple in Jerusalem.
It has been rebuilt in Mexico, but not for God.
The new Day of Pentecost, Día de los Muertos.
The Day of the Dead.
El Diablo’s Cantina.
Jesús Malverde poured the Spirit.
Santa Muerte Blanca checked ID’s at the door.
---
Forgiveness cannot be asked.
Redemption is not required.
Original sin is expected.
It should never be vanquished, but the foundation.
The cornerstone of disbelief.
Revelation.
---
They craved more of the spirit.
The new sustenance.
The spirit flowed freely.
The Promised Land had been entered.
Don’t drink the water.
There is no need.
---
They offered up their bodies as a sacrifice.
Their souls followed suit.
Uninhibited admiration for their provider.
---
Hours passed. Minutes were seconds. Seconds were null and void.
The moon was full for three days.
The sun did not rise with the dawn.
Vanished.
No one noticed.
Glory was in the night.
---
Última llamada.
Last Call.
Another round was ordered.
Salt and Lime had been abandoned.
They consumed.
The Spirit filled them.
Silence. They were speechless.
The moon descended out of sight.
Sunrise.
---
The music stopped.
Dancing ceased.
Eyes opened. Arms lowered. Hands at their sides.
Bottles were dry.
Empty seats lined the bar.
Wallets and stomachs turned inside out.
---
They made their exit.
And left with nothing.
Empty, soulless and craving more.
Truth was an illusion.
A mirage in the desert.
Fulfillment is fleeting.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Write Club: Rich vs. Poor


I was given the opportunity to do a reading last night that was actually a competition. Unfortunately, I lost, but in hindsight I still like my story. Rich vs. Poor were our prompts. Here's what I had to say about being poor.

---

A Product of the 80's or Why I'm Really Good At Monopoly


Who didn't love the 80's. Fast talk, fast cars and fast women. I took full advantage of all of the perks that were at my disposal. Unfortunately, when I realized what was going on around me in 1987. I was only 6 years old. The end of the decade was fast approaching and I needed to let my presence be known. Leave my mark so to speak.

My father being the conservative Right-wing Republican that he was,would read the newspaper out loud each morning from the kitchen table in our 3 story mansion that sat on a corner lot overlooking the ocean in Ft. Myers, Florida. From what I gathered from my father’s narration of the paper, Ronald Reagan was the manifestation of the second coming of Christ. Rich, successful, a movie star and not just the President of the United States, but the leader of the free-world. Our fucking saviour. The Great White Hope.

Our young family hadn’t alway seen such prosperous times though. My brother was born in a trailer in Kentucky and my parents were renting a house when I was concieved a few years later. With a little hard work and some elbow grease, as my Dad would always say, he managed to purchase a small 2 bedroom bungalo, fix it up, rent it out and eventually upgraded to the mansion we were now living in.

When summer vacation arrived that year my brother and I sat around watching movies on HBO that our parents had instructed us not to watch. I’m not sure why though, my dad’s language made the r-rated movies look like Disney films, the man could cuss for 20 minutes without repeating himself.

Like my father, the rest of the nation and Hollywood was obsessed with making money during the 80’s. Obviously, Wall Street was my favorite movie and seemed like it was on repeat every time I snuck in to the TV room to try and catch a glimpse of what my mom referred to as “soft core porn”. Little did she know that I was getting a valuable business education from my hero, Gordon Gekko.

My obsession with money not only came from my love of my father loving Ronald Reagan, but also my new found love of women. Yes. I was only 6 years old, but at this very young and impressionable age I was given some very sound advice by my next door neighbor, Sean. He was only a grade above me, but his father had actually passed on to him the secret of life: Have sex with as many women as possible.

My only experience with women thus far was when Sean and I had found his father’s secret porn stash. Well, it wasn’t really secret - because he left the magazines on the coffee table in their living room, but what Sean and I did while flipping through the pages of Playboy and Hustler was a secret.

Being only in grade school we realized that it was going to be quite some time before we ever made contact with any of these busty women with horrendous tan lines committing disgusting acts. So we did what any suitable children who had come into contact with pornography would do.

We licked all of the pages.

In the fall of ‘89 my parents’ marriage was falling apart so they did what any sensible upper-middle class couple with two young children would do. They started attending church. So at age 8 I was forced to go to Sunday School for the first time in my life. Like most kids. I fucking hated it.

About the time I had lost all hope they started teaching us about heaven. I zoned out during the “You’re a sinner and going to hell” part, but zeroed in on the reward. Eternal life, streets of gold and a mansion in heaven?

I could get into that.

As I look back, It wasn’t so much that I accepted Jesus as my Lord and saviour - but more as a business partner. I thought of myself as being a venture capitalist for the kingdom of God. It seemed like a good investment and all I had to do was fork over was my soul.

I was growing up fast and didn’t want to waste a second of my childhood doing the typical crap that kids do. The thought of playing with action figures, joining the schools’ sports team and building treehouses out in the woods for fun seemed ridiculous, but to keep my parents at ease and myself out of therapy I played along.

If my parents ever bought me an action figure I made sure to never open up the packaging to ensure that the item was in mint condition. I sold all of my Star Wars toys on e-bay years later to purchase my first BMW.

I was never athletic, but by joining the basketball team I got a great insider look at how well our team was going to do that season I met my first bookie when I was 13.

And the treehouse? I lost my virginity to Melinda Van Zant 20 feet in the air on a cool summer night. Unfortunately, I was forced to divorce my parents when I was in highschool due to their lack of fiscal responsibility after my father's early retirement.

I blazed through college Doogie Howser style. I didn’t graduate from Princeton in a year, but then again, who would want to?

I voted for George W. Bush my freshman year and I was tricked into thinking the glory days of the Republican party were back, when Bush gave me three hundred dollars for just filing my taxes. Not the I needed the money, but I managed to purchase two eight balls of cocaine to help me stay focused on my day trading during finals week.

Mission Accomplished, I’d say.

As my senior year of college was coming to an end I knew that I needed a master plan, one big rake that would put me ahead for life. Luckily, I went to visit my childhood friend Sean out in San Francisco for Spring Break that year. As fate would have it I ended up banging Steve Jobs personal assistant in a lawn chair at a beach keg party. Naturally, I blackmailed her into giving me company secrets in exchange for a self-imposed “gag order” that I wouldn’t tell her fiance that she had gagged on my cock. Gordon Gekko would be proud!

I look back on the formative years of my professional life and it brings a smile to my face as I envision a Rocky-style montage of striking deals, closing sales, signing under the table contracts and cashing large commission checks, but from time to time I do find myself contemplating my regrets.

Why didn’t I have a three-some with Melinda Van Zant and her twin sister, how did I not convince Ryan Wooten to throw the State High School basketball championship and when did I think it was a good idea to start shaving my head opposed to keeping my awesome Pat Riley style haircut.

When those moments hit I go back to the good book, the Holy Bible, but it brings me no comfort and leaves me feeling confused to read that it’s harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to walk through an eye of a needle.

Thankfully, I have leverage. I signed that contract with Jesus years ago.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Mary O'Hare

This is a piece I did for a reading at a local art gallery called Beep Beep. The reading was titled "CHRONOLOGIES: Ten Readings That May or May Not Relate To Time Travel".


Mary O'Hare

In the grand scheme of it all, nothing is linear so it seems. There is no beginning. No end. You can convince yourself otherwise, but time does tell, but typically not the truth... or at least how you remember it.

At one point I was able to keep all of the events that happened in order, a timeline, a feasible account, but now they’re just jumbled together, a hodgepodge of occurrences, encounters and ultimately a discombobulated arrangement of bittersweet memories that I cling to when nothing feels familiar... or when jerking off won’t put me to sleep at night.

A reassembled history book, numbered pages frayed and out of order, some missing, torn out. Lines of text blacked out, along with images faded. All of it lacking any pertinent information.

Clicking through photographs saved on hard drives and websites with timelines and photo albums, most of them deleted, not just from technology, but also my mind. What I do recover seems foreign; distorted.

Unfamiliar faces mixed with friends and family. Vacations and holidays spent with a stranger.

It’s funny how you can talk, kiss, laugh and make love with someone for years and still forget what they look like. Eyes averted to distractions leave us with forgotten faces. I guess it’s really not that funny.

I’ve revisited music, albums and songs cherished, but not by me. I’ve purchased discographies of bands that I loathe to try and reconnect with a feeling that has long past. My record collection is now riddled with embarrassing recording artists that I would prefer to never imagine strumming a stratocaster or their fingers ever pressing down the keys of a Casio. Or for that matter even playing air guitar in highschool when they were alone in their room dreaming of being the next Jimmi Hendrix, Slash, or whoever the kids wanted to be that year.

Turning pages in books that I never wanted to read yields the same results. The appeal of cleverly numbered mystery novels by Janet Evanovich eludes me. I pass on watching the movie. I’d rather fuck a bong than get a rimjob from Kathryn Heigl.

Perusing the children’s section of Barnes and Noble makes me feel like a pedophile. Parents shoot me disapproving looks as I sit down at an under-sized table with their children and attempt to read
Green Eggs & Ham to a toddler who’s too busy ripping out the pages of a Richard Scarry book to give a shit.

I cross the store and find The Time Traveller’s Wife. I think I might be onto something, but I quickly realize that something is off. What adult would want to meet their future significant other out in the woods when they’re a six year old? It’s pretty fucking creepy.

My efforts bring me no comfort by trying to relive something that was probably forgotten for a reason. I’m left nostalgic, but not for what evidence of the past I’ve unearthed.

I close my eyes and focus inward. It’s where all time and space exists.

I am the vessel.

I explore and by doing so I discover something else. An alternative. That which I long for has always been, a parallel timeline, an alternate reality to the only one that I was conscious and aware of. I open my eyes and retrace.

In hastily inspecting photographs I missed the important faces, the blurry ones fade into the background as bystanders, unpaid extras in a scene that they will eventually be cut from.

My eyes carefully study the bookshelf in my office. It’s lined with novels and biographies filled with stories that have led me to where I am. One novel stands out as I realize that my story was already written before I was even born.

Mine does not include a war with soldiers armed with Springfield rifles or the destruction of a beautiful city by bombs falling from the sky, but an inward battle of the mind where the enemy is my own expectations. Hopefully, it won’t end with an abduction by aliens from Tralfamadore.

My legs relax Indian style as I thumb through my record collection skipping the one hit wonders that annoyingly drone on about pouring sweetener on another human being or taking a slow ride... taking it easy.

I lay the needle on an album my father passed down to me. A song plays that I remember him picking on the guitar, to put me to sleep as a child. The recording snaps and pops through the speakers and the lyrics resonate. There’s truth in them and I take the words to heart because now it’s obvious. What I’ve been looking for has always been.

The chorus comes around again and the media proclaimed prophet tells his ex-lover “don’t think twice, it’s alright.”

It occurs to me that my father is nearing the end of his journey, not his life, but the travelling. I’ve realized through conversations, e-mails and even the record he gave to me that he’s been preparing me for this as he’s seen me quickly approaching the need to do so. The need for it to make sense, to be linear, even though it seems impossible.

Along with this revelation there has been a change. The past has been modified; recalibrated, the alternate has become the reality and the timeline. Though it may never be clear, concise or direct I am certain that now and forever it will exceed my own expectations.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Slow Burn

My jacket lays in the backseat of my car. It’s black and leather, but it’s much too hot to wear it tonight. The cracks in the concrete of the parking lot I’m standing in are chaotic, but reminiscent. They branch in every which direction. Their path unknown to even itself.

American Spirits burn longer than most cigarettes. A good smoke break smoke if you’re trying to avoid something, but they’re a little harder to light. Good luck if it’s windy. There’s a breeze tonight though. The smoke clings to the thin layer of humidity that hangs in the Kentucky air as I exhale. It’s still Spring so the smoke quickly moves along.

My neighbor crosses the parking lot to her car and waves. She’s no older than 25 and has a small child. They always wave, never speaking. Talking is a lost language, but I don’t ever break the silence. Rarely do I make eye contact. Children frighten me.

My childhood consisted of being told to go outside because I asked too many questions. I found the answers in dick and fart jokes that my friends told. I never understood the punchlines and had to ask my friend’s sister what it meant to pop a cherry. It was embarrassing and enlightening. I didn’t really understand until I was 19. She sucked my dick to Johnny Cash’s “Man In Black”. I fucked her a year later. I felt guilty. On my way home the next morning I saw one of those billboards that said:

“We need to talk.”

-God

We did, a month later.

The ember on the end of my cigarette starts burning close to my fingers and it reminded me of Florida. “The Sunshine State”. “The Snowbird State”. “The Most Abducted Children in the 80’s State”. The head of Adam Walsh, the son of John Walsh who started “America’s Most Wanted”, was found in a sewage canal 120 miles away from where he was abducted in Florida. Adam was abducted 13 days after I was born. The Walsh family lived less than 3 hours away from my hometown. My parents were concerned, but I never watched TV and roamed the blacktop streets of my neighborhood without a care in the world.

My dad’s large belt concerned me more when they spanked me for not telling them where I was going.How could I tell them when I didn’t even know where I was going. I was just going.

My cigarette burns out and I stand alone in the parking lot contemplating another. The wind tells me otherwise. There’s a weed growing out of one of the cracks in the parking lot. It’s in bloom. It reminds me of that Collective Soul video where the guy wants to kill himself by jumping off of the roof of the building where he works, but he reconsiders when he sees ants crawling on the ledge and a flower growing in the crack of a sidewalk.

His life must have been really bad if that’s all it took to change his mind.

Single White Male

My front door was standing wide open when I got home from work today. I live alone so I was concerned that someone had broken in to my house. I’m not a very large man and I never learned how to fight. The only weapon that I could possibly use was my briefcase, but it’s made out of Italian leather and I didn’t want to scuff it.

I gripped the handle tight of the brief case tightly and stepped inside the door and did what any sane human being what do. I shouted at the top of my lungs.

“If someone is in here you better get the hell out of my house right now or I’m going to kill you and dissolve your body in my bath tub with acid.”

I heard some moving around in the kitchen. A grumpy sounding “God damn it” came from the kitchen.

I tip-toed in to my living room and said “hello?”.

A large man in overalls came shuffling out of the kitchen with a big wrench. “Hey pyscho.I’m the plumber. You told the property manager there was a clog”.

“Oh” I said.

He shook his head and walked back in to the kitchen muttering something under his breath. I slowly followed him and tried to act normal as he squatted down to start working on the pipes under the sink.

“Looks like you’ve got some bones stuck in the pipe for the disposal. Have you been putting chicken bones through the disposal? Because you really shouldn’t do that.” I could hear his disapproval.

Once he fully removed the pipe he got back out from under the sink and put the rusted blunt object on the counter. I watched as started digging out what might be clogging it. The typical assortment of rotting food crumbled out. And then a ring rolled appeared on the counter. A diamond ring. A wedding ring. My ex-wife’s to be exact. Unfortunately, the ring was still on her finger.

The plumber had a curious look and tried not to make eye contact with me.

“Should I start the bath?” I said with a smile.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Up All Night

The pile of loose earth had grown from a small mound to a small mountain around my house. I was below the foundation of my basement at this point. Some jack-ass had written his initials on the outside wall.

“Who names their kid Flint?” I muttered to myself.

The checkout girl at Home Depot now knew me by name and in turn, I knew all of the illegal aliens in the work pool in the parking lot. Needless to say, I was broke, but I had found the source of the noise that had been keeping me up for years.

Unfortunately, It was the ice maker.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

EFIL LANRETE

Matters of the soul seem to elude most mankind. Those who dare consider the possibility typically latch on to inherited beliefs, old wives tales and superstitions-- “I’m Catholic because my parents are Catholic”, “masturbation leads to blindness” and “never start a journey on a Friday”. I’ve realized that these things have little to do with the soul and more to do with ignorance, convenience and/or laziness.

Books on beliefs were piled on my desk for years as I poured over them highlighting everything that seemed pertinent and then going back and rereading that which I didn't highlight to see if something slipped between the cracks as I felt my soul doing just that. Slipping.

Jesus was cool, but it seemed strange that every depiction in western civilization of the man-god had him wearing a dirty blonde mop and gazing at me with deep blue eyes. He looked more like a surfer than a saviour. An angelic Johnny Utah. Maybe Neo was the chosen one.

I went the other route and became an Atheist, but the worst kind, the fake kind. Real atheists don’t hate god. God doesn’t even cross their minds. It’s like talking shit about the Easter Bunny or S1m0ne or Cadbury Eggs or Al Pacino.

After a while you just stop asking questions and get on with it, life that is. You focus on work, family, friends and alcohol. Being busy keeps the questions from coming up and alcohol helps wash them down when they get a little too close to the surface. It’s where indigestion comes from.

And then, you get lonely, not alone. People are still around. The same people that helped you forget about the question(s) that you were asking before you got too busy to ask them. There you are having a conversation with someone and an intense wave of despair washes over you. There’s a .22 in the night stand. It’s loaded. It waits patiently. Their mouth keeps moving.

You start talking to yourself because you think you’re going crazy, but then you actually start going a little crazy when “yourself” answers and it’s not you. You’re not doing this. It’s not Jesus and this isn’t church camp. Something fucking said something. Fucking Jiminy Cricket.

We talk. I have no choice. He comments on conversations I’m having with other people. It's like a running commentary. We have conversations, but I like them. I’m yet to bend my finger up and down when we speak though.

He's an old soul with a classic sense of humor. I think he’s Jewish, but not in the Keanu Reeves Surfer Jesus kind of way. It's more like a combination of Mel Brooks on one shoulder and the Dalai Lama on the other.

I wonder what the hell he does all day. Today at work I could hear him rooting around in there. It's like he was going through the attic planning a yard sale "Do you need this anymore?" he asked as he pulled out a box of bitterness that I've been harboring. "I've been saving that for a rainy day, jack ass. Put it back." I can see him shrug, but he doens't say anything.

I went looking for it later to fuel a fire because some asshole cut me off in traffic, but I can't seem to find it. He didn't even put a price tag on it. It just ended up in the trash.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hangman

The letter that she had written me was sitting on the dining room table in a standard white envelope. It was mixed in with today’s mail that I hadn’t opened yet. Her letter wasn’t in the mail box; she had slid it under the door while I had been at work.

Part of me wanted to read it over and over again. Hang on to every word that she scribbled on to the paper. Something deep inside wanted to understand her and think that every word communicated was truth, the answer, a gospel of sorts.

The envelope was under a coupon magazine that promised 25% off my next dry cleaning bill and buy one, get one free biscuits from a fast food restaurant that was on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. Even though it was only 15 minutes away, I hadn’t been to Kentucky since I dropped her off at her house for the last time. There wasn’t really a point.

I cleared the table so I could eat my dinner and pretended not to think about the envelope that was now sitting on the kitchen counter. My fork moved from my plate to my mouth slower than usual. The pain was enjoyable. I didn’t want to climax.

Wheel of Fortune was on TV and though I hadn’t watched it since I had lived with my parents over a decade earlier, I sat through the entire competition. Steve from Salt Lake City was who I rooted for. He didn’t seem like he would vote for Mitt Romney and he treated all of the other contestants like they were family. Only hands claps were emitted when he spun the wheel. No cliche phrases were uttered.

Steve lost because he couldn’t solve the “Before & After” puzzle without needing to buy a vowel. Unfortunately, he went bankrupt on his last spin and Margot from Des Moines easily solved the puzzle. “Bare Foot Ball” she screamed at the top of her lungs. She lost in the bonus round.

I’m not sure why I bought a California King, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. It took up the entire room. I didn’t even sleep in the middle of the bed. It took too much effort trying to go to the bathroom at 5am. I slept on the right hand side where she use to sleep. It didn’t smell like her anymore.

At some point during the night I had brought the envelope in to my bedroom and while I was getting ready for work I propped it up against the bathroom mirror. Since she had hand delivered the envelope it wasn’t addressed any which way nor was there a stamp in the top right hand corner. It just said my name in the middle. Her hand writing was sloppy. It could have said any one's name.

When I went to leave for work I found another envelope under my door with my name scribbled on it. I looked through the peep hole. No one was there. For some reason I decided to open this envelope immediately. There wasn’t even a letter inside, just a yellow post-it note that said “Disregard the first letter”.

At that point I decided that it was time to read the first letter. The cursive was scribbled but I could make out most of the words. I found it to be a bit confusing though as the name that was written in the salutation was not mine and she had never told me that she had cheated on her previous boyfriend.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

You'll Wish It Was Only Make Believe

The year Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Six was an eventful one. The Cold War, which seems to me to be the best kind of war, was still going strong. We even had a real life quote/unquote James Bond looking bad guy in Mikhail Gorbachev with that birthmark on his forehead. He just looked evil, even though he moved to California after the collapse of the Soviet Union and won the Nobel Peace Prize. He was still scary looking to a 5 year old. Which I was.

The Boston Celtics won the NBA Championship, but not before dismantling our Atlanta Hawks in 5 games. Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer came out in 19886 as well and hit number one on the charts. Sledgehammer also had that crazy stop motion/claymation music video that would always duel with Michael Jackson’s Thriller for the number 1 spot on VH1’s top 500 videos of all time.

Some other top headlines read:

“Challenger Explodes 30 Seconds After Lift Off, Seven Crew Die”

This tragic event lead to tasteless jokes for years to come from my friends tossing lit matches at each other and yelling “Challenger!” I wish this joke would’ve stuck instead of them trying to hit each other in the balls after asking what the capital of Thailand was or the incessant quoting of “That’s what she said”.

“Nuclear Accident At Chernobyl Endangers USSR And Europe”

I didn’t understand this headline when I was a kid and I’m honestly surprised at how little I knew about this tragedy up until a few years ago. Not until I was playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and had to battle a slew of snipers while running across radioactive farmland that I decided to get educated on the subject

I discovered that Chernobyl not only displaced almost half a million people, but also released 400 times more radioactive material than Hiroshima. There was also a picture of a dog that I came across that looked like it was from John Carpenter’s “The Thing”. It was pretty fucking awesome.

1,000% Increase In Aids Cases Is Predicted By 1991

My parents, like everyone else in 1986 didn’t seem to talk about aids for probably one of two reasons:

1. They didn’t understand Aids and didn’t care.

2. They didn’t understand Aids and it scared the shit out of them.

Aids became real in my families life a few years later when the music pastor of the church we attended announced that he had Aids and was dying. Naturally, the church did not agree with how he had contracted the Aids virus. So they fired and disowned him.

It’s probably what Jesus would’ve done.

I don’t feel like my dad mentioned Aids or HIV again until Magic Johnson made his announcement back in ‘91, which makes sense because that’s when the headline predicted that AIDS would have increased by 1000%. Why wasn’t this headline replayed on VH1’s I love the 80’s?

1986 was also a great year for something else, something more up my alley, considering I was 5 years old an all. 1986 might hold the record for some of the best toys available on the market during the Christmas Season.

To start off the list:

You had the new and improved, yet smaller version of G.I. Joe. Yes, they shrunk 7 inches, but you no longer had to feel like you were playing with your sister’s fucking Barbie doll. Regardless my grandmother continued to refer to my action figures as dolls. I forgive her.

She was old then and she’s dead now.

Then there was M.A.S.K., which stood for “Mobile, Armored Strike Kommand”. Yes, they spelled command with a K. But now we know where Korn got it from. Anyway, Mask was like if G.I. Joe, Transformers and Darth Vader fucked and a line of generic Hasbro toys was birthed. All of the action figures had vehicles, but the soldier looked like a regular guy driving a Honda Civic, but then he would put on a storm trooper looking mask, hit a button and his vehicle would turn in to a fucking jet! Where the fuck where these dudes on 9/11?

And finally,

Lazer Tag: The futuristic high-tech gun whose purpose is to shoot your best friend in the heart... their words not mine. If you ever played Lazer Tag, you know that it was a great concept, but it didn’t really work very well. You could also buy helmets and all kinds of other “Blade Runner” looking accessories that looked cool, but also didn’t work. They even released G.I. Joe and Star Wars themes sets. We use to play in my friend’s unfinished basement. Cap guns would’ve been more fun... and effective.

Some honorable mentions for the top toys in 1986: the very creepy Teddy Ruxpin, as always the classic Transformers and last but not least, WWF Action Figures. You couldn’t really play with them though because the rubber was to hard to bend, but my older brother found another use for them, Blunt Force Trauma... in which I was on the receiving end.

With all of these amazing choices at hand you would think that I received a glorious Christmas present in 1986. Something that every kid was dreaming of, something violent, something futuristic, something that I could fight over with my brother.

There use to be a video tape of my reaction on Christmas morning when I opened the main present from my parents... and by parents, I mean my mother. It was a defining moment in my childhood that I don’t believe any other boy my age had to deal with in 1986. I still replay it in my mind often.

25 years has passed since this moment in my life and 10 years has passed since my Mom left my Dad for another woman. Somehow in a very Slaughterhouse Five/Billy Pilgrim Time Travel kind of way... I feel like all of these events are connected... pointing back to a singular moment that foreshadowed the future of my family and potentially the rest of my life...

or maybe I just over think everything.

It was in a tall box, almost eye level for a 5 year old who was under 4 feet tall. For some reason as I approached it, I was intimidated... It was as though I already knew that it was going to change my life forever and that I was also probably going to fucking hate it.

When I pulled the wrapping paper off it was like looking at my twin sister, except I didn’t have a twin sister and certainly didn’t want one for Christmas.

The box read “Baby Talk”.

Really Mom? A fucking baby doll. I’m 30 years old and I’m still kind of pissed off at this. I’m not even mad that my mom’s a lesbian, which potentially could have endangered my existence if she had made that decision 21 years earlier, but a fucking baby doll. Jesus Christ.

I have to be honest though. This is slightly my fault. I might have... kind of... maybe... in a very round about way mentioned to my mother that a little girl in my kindergarten class brought in a really cool doll for show-n-tell a few weeks before Christmas.

But seriously. It was 1986, the fucking doll could talk. I was impressed.

And maybe I forgot to tell her that I wanted any.. and or/all of the toys I mentioned earlier. At the same time, I got the Castle of fucking Grey Skull the previous Christmas and still played with it religiously.

With my brother laughing hysterically I kicked “Baby Talk” across the room. Believe it or not, the embarrassment still washes over me when I think of that moment. I felt like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story” being forced to wear those god damn bunny pajamas, except this was a sneak attack. The room was spinning, everyone was laughing and my mother just looked at me and said with an evil grin. “But Johnny, you told me you wanted this for Christmas.”