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.”


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.