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Friday, January 29, 2016

Waiting for Pills

Sunday, 7:30 am.

Abandoned.  Wife left for her wine tasting and brunch with friends outing.  Crippled, discarded and wracked with pain, I have been left to the mercy of animals.  They are savage creatures and more intelligent than we realize.  We call them our children.  Our beautiful children.  I struggle to sit up.  FUCK.  Spine is no longer correctly hooked into the meat.  A muscle or a nerve, perhaps both, twist in the knife.  The spine collapses, dragging my soul down.  So weak.  So old.  When did this happen?

You know if I fought off criminals or dead lifted 100 pounds over my head, I would be ok with my situation.  But all I did was walk down the stairs, spot a kid backpack and stoop over to grab it.  As I rightened myself, the Universe viciously wrenched my spine for past crimes.  

The sun burns through curtains announcing another turn of the planet.  Fuck that shit.  I try and to fall back asleep in an awkward, hunchback curl.  This is the only way to relieve pressure from the nerve network.  Through closed eyes, I feel just enough leftover opiate pain relief to hopefully pass out again...but my mind hates me.  Math, bills, mortgage and unnecessary expenditures, it whispers.  A moist, necrotic tongue in my ear.  

I wish I was math intolerant but give me two numbers and my brain races with the endless, grim possibilities.  My sick pay is calculated by corporate robots and the doom timer is always On.  I have exponential expenses that keep expanding due to the nature of time.  As I lay here useless and broken, the debts earn interest.  Sleep is no longer an option.  So I think about SPAM.  The acronym about my skeleton.  Support, Protection, Anchorage and Movement.  Today it means: Shit, Pain, Abandoned and Morose.  On my nightstand is a glass of water, a phone and a clock.  But no damn pills.    

8:00 am.

The sun glares brighter through the curtains.  The world is on fire.  I can hear the Universe functioning beyond the bedroom.  I need relief.

"Khina!  Iskandra!" I bellow.  

Nothing.  The little one is her own animal but the oldest child is dependable in crisis.  "KHHHEEENNNNA!"  

After an eternity, I hear tiny feet thumping furiously across the floor.

"What?!" demands Khina, the eldest daughter.

"Yeah!  What?!" rudely echoes Iskandra the youngest daughter.

"What?!  What do you mean 'What?'" I demand from the window, for they stand behind me.  Probably on purpose.  Probably grinning at each other.  

The doctor blessed me with my old friend oxycodone four days ago.  My world should be covered with a narcotic fog.  Yet here I lay sober and twisted in agony.  Though my past drug crimes were way more severe than a little pill popping madness, the oxycodone bewitches my soul.  While no holes weep from my arms, history repeats itself.  Heroin is the Darkness, but oxycodone has a vining, flowery grip around my throat.  

"Where is Daddy's medicine?" I ask the window calmly.

"Mommy says Khina's in charge" pipes Iskandra in her chirpy, little kid voice.

"Yup" confirms big sister.  "I'll make you waffles Daddy!  Then you get yogurt, fruit, your vitamin and THEN medicine.  I can show you Mommy's note."

"Mmm" I grumble.  Helpless amongst beasts.  

I have some cards to play, but now is not the time.  Painfully, I roll over and struggle to an upright position.  A slight groan emits from my mouth which makes them rush over and hug me.  Ahhh, there is Light in my world.  I stroke their tiny backs, kiss their tiny faces and surrender to their charms.

"Ok" I sigh.  "Start the waffles Khina.  Mind the toaster metal part-"

"Yeah, yeah" huffs Khina.  "I know how to make waffles.  You want butter or peanut butter?"

"One of each love.  Izzy, be a dear and hand me my phone."

"Here you go!"

"Thanks" I smile as they sprint off.  Then I think of how filthy children are.  "And wash your damn hands!"

I listen to them argue.  Khina has toaster privileges at 8.  She orders her sister to get the butter.  I hear muted squeaks as they get into a fist fight.  Khina has her parent's physical genes and towers over Iskandra.  She should be able to pound her tiny sister.  But Iskandra is straight up a dirty fighter.  

"Owie!" howls Khina after a solid THWAP! from something heavy.  Maybe a rice paddle.  

This is followed by a furious, whispered debate and Iskandra screeching, "Nooo Khina!  Ok sorry!"

I listen for more violence.  Shattering glass or bodies getting tossed to the floor means I have to act.  But they solve their issues without anymore blows.  I call the wife.

"What?!" she answers.

Jesus.  Doesn't anyone say, 'Hello' anymore?

"Where are my pills?" I demand.

"Didn't Khina explain?"

I slap my head.  Really?

"Yes!  Yes they both explained!  I guess what I'm asking my dear is, WHAT THE FUCK?!"  The scent of toaster waffles fills the air.  "I need those pills to move and-"

"Look" begins my wife calmly.  This means she is among her friends and will not swear, "I put Khina in charge so you would get a good breakfast.  I told them to make sure you eat first."

"Wait.  You put a 8 and 6 year old in charge of my painkillers?" I ask incredulously.  "Are you insane woman?  I don't want them fucking with-"

"Relax.  They know not to touch our medicine.  And I offered Baskin Robbins if they could open the bottle.  They couldn't.  And Khina is more responsible than you...hell, you're the fourth most responsible person in the family.  Barely above Handsome Bob."

"Handsome Bob?"

"Nnrooow" acknowledges Handsome Bob rubbing his ugly, notched ear against my leg.  

The face Handsome Bob uses to beg or appear cute is appalling.  A snaggle-toothed sneer with slitted, crusty eyes.  The cat is not allowed in our bedroom yet here is Bob.  Probably a door left open by children.  But what can I do?  Hell, I'm only #4 on the totem pole.  Not my job.

"Yes Handsome Bob" acknowledges my wife in her polite-with-friend's tone.  "He does stuff around the house.  Like he kill pests."

 I pick up the ugly, old cat and set his puckered butthole on the wife's pillow.  Handsome Bob does a few spins and settles down to drool and dream.    

"Well fuck you too!" I say into the phone.

"Maybe later" the wife says sweetly, "if you shower."  She hangs up without saying Goodbye.

Nice manners babe, I think while scratching Ugly Bob's gremlin chin.

8:30 am.

The hobble down the stairs is brutal.  But pills are somewhere down there.  I have to shit, but I'm waiting for pain relief before trying to sit on a toilet.  Whatever I did to my spine makes me stoop over like Atlas with the sky crushing him.  I just look more withered and unsexy than the Titan.  I watch my feet as I shuffle forward.  

"I'm going to eat on the couch" I announce gasping as I navigate the last step.

"But Daddy" says Khina, our little rule follower, "no eating on the couch remember?"

"It's ok Kheen" chirps Iskandra who learned long ago to just do whatever you want and ask permission later.  "We can make Daddy a tray!"

"Yeah ok!" agrees Khina.

I collapse on the couch and curse this world.  A world engineered for elves.  Every toilet I piss in, every sink I brush my teeth over and every damn desk I have ever been chained to was crafted for lesser men.  Well, shorter men.  Elves.

"Daddy.  Do you want coffee?" asks Khina.

"Who made it?" I demand suspiciously.  Khina makes good coffee because she adheres to instructions.  Simple instructions.  Add one extra cup of water for however many scoops of coffee.

"Mommy made it" pipes in Iskandra.  "So it sucks."

"Shut up Izzy!" barks Khina.  "I'm in charge here!  We made you ice water-"

"I made it!" shrieks Iskandra popping up in my view with a notebook and crayon.  "Can I take your order, sir?  We have breakfast!  I suggest the Special."

"Yeah sure.  The Special sounds good" I sigh trying to shift away the pain.  "Does whiskey come with the Special?"

"Let me check!" smiles Iskandra pretending to consult a menu.  "Nope!  Just coffee and water.  So just the Special?"


"Ok!" says Khina.  "One waffle with butter, one with peanut butter, pineapple yogurt and fresh strawberries coming up!"

"Mahalo.  Wait what?  Pineapple?  I want strawberry yogurt."

"We ate it Daddy.  You slept too long.  Soooory!  But pineapple yogurt has all the good gut bugs your intestine needs to be healthy!" recites Khina echoing my words.

I sip the coffee.  It's watery and disgusting.  I eat breakfast while they carefully watch me.  I know they have their orders, so I shovel it down.  

"Mmm.  Thanks guys."

They congratulate each other and clear my dishes.  Then my daily vitamin and pain meds appear.  But something is wrong.  This is not my pill canister.  It's one of my wife's old ones.  I open the it and find one pill.  The motherfucking doctor directed dosage.  Goddamnit to fucking hell-

"How was it Daddy?" inquires Khina smiling.

"Were you satisfied sir?" beams Iskandra.  "Because if not, we have a money back guarantee!"

"Amazing" I smile.  I hug them as I chew my lonely pill.

9:00 am.

Well this isn't so bad.  Let the wife have her time off.  She deserves a break.  I go take a shit and shower.  I brush my teeth and feel their electric toothbrushes to see if they brushed.  They did.  Good ol' Khina.  Putting her in charge was wise.  Afterwards, I load up some stolen TV shows to watch as the opiate rights my wrongs.  The pill allows me to be mobile with far less bitching.  I feel good.  Well, kinda good.

The wife is adhering to prescription dosages.  So in four hours I will get another pill.  She probably made Khina hold off that pill until after lunch.  They are not allowed to use the stove, so I'm guessing sandwiches.  Hmm.  Lunch is a long ways away.  

"Can we go skate?" asks Iskandra.  She has pads on and holds her skateboard with way too many Roxy stickers.

Opiates are a funny bird.  On one hand, they make you lazy and content.  Like to the point of death for many of us flower slaves.  A portal straight to Hell opens beneath the feet of all who abuse The Power.  But if you are new to the drug or not using insane amounts, sparks of inspiration can appear.  Just like my morning oxycodone POP!  It fuels my sense of duty to my children.  Sure getting them outside so I can watch TV is grand, but so is numerical literacy and reading comprehension.  

"But what about your homework?  Tomorrow's school and I haven't signed your planners."

They both groan but ditch their pads and skateboards.  They know my love of order.  If they operate within these parameters, they get away with so much more.  I am much easier to manipulate than their mom.  So they dutifully get their backpacks and spread out their assignments.

While they exercise their brains, I drag myself upstairs.  My wife took my pills with her.  Clever girl.  Searching our bedroom is useless.  But I can easily guess where my kids would hide stuff.  They are not practiced at deceit yet.  

It is Spring.  The myna birds in the mango trees shriek.  A female Jackson chameleon drops her babies from the tree branches.  The fall splits open the slimy, soft eggs.  Dozens of fully formed reptiles that resemble tiny, green triceratops emerge.  Slowly and awkwardly, they struggle for cover.  If a myna bird sees one, it knows more are nearby.  The bird will call the mob.  The feast begins.

Much like baby sea turtles dodging birds and crabs, there is a taint of cosmic injustice here.  While their sheer numbers insure the DNA will pass on, one cannot help but to pity the quarter-sized chameleons.  Unlike the narrators on animal documentaries, my children directly interfere with Nature.  

One day, my wife found a Jackson chameleon feebly making it's way across the hallway.  Not a reptile fan, I was called in to investigate.  A hatchling.  We looked in the room and saw two more crawling up the curtains.  In the spider plant above the art desk, I counted eight carefully camouflage critters staring back at me with their swiveling eyes.  That was when I discovered the Secret Drawer.  
It holds things like perfect cowry shells, Japanese coins and tiny toys from gumball machines.  It is where they hoard their treasure.  That day it contained a nest of papaya leaves, a Naruto handkerchief bed, a sushi plate used as a water bowl and dozens of Jackson chameleon hatchlings.  

I open the drawer.  No chameleons.  Just stickers, shells, half a Mars bar, a tiny Gumby doll and another pill canister.  I remover my pill, replace it with an ibuprofen.  In the bathroom, I crush the pill and rail it.  The world grows soft as pain relief travels from prescribed dosage straight to euphoria.  


We finish homework.  But because I rule with an iron-fist, I give them some aquarium journals and another assignment.  Discuss why planted and reef tanks solve filtration problems.  This allows me to sneak a cigarette before doing the dishes.  After I wash the huge breakfast mess, I sit through their presentations and answer questions.  Then I move the truck, drag out the skate ramp and let them burn off some energy.  


They listen to Linkin Park while they skate.  The music makes me realize how quickly the planet spins.  Years are stretching over us.  Gone are the days of Baby Beluga or the Hokey Pokey.  The wife and I grow long in the tooth while our planet maintains a steady course through the cosmic dust.  Linkin Park is the new world order.  But don't blame me.  The wife totally blew it when the kids discovered them one night while watching a music awards show.

"Hah!" the wife gloated.  "White rappers!  Like a STD!"

"What's a STD Mommy?" asked Iskandra.

"Never mind" corrected the wife as I glared at her. "But this song sucks Izzy.  It's LAME!"

And ever since then, the wife and I suffer.  The music seems to inspire them to be more reckless when they skate but I suppose that is what the pads are for.  I position myself on the couch where I can keep on eye on them or yell if needed.  

Soon it will be lunch and I will have to pretend to take the fake pill.  Real pills are at least a couple hours away as the wife takes her sweet time on her day's off.  What should I do?  I have a stack of tax documents I am supposed to be going through.  There are emails from the wife about insurance questions.  I should really look for a better job as my current one will probably fire my indolent ass soon.  You can't show up for work three days a week, late, leave early and collect full time pay and benefits.  I know, I've tried.  I should be proactive this time and start a job search.  I look at the clock.  11:30am.  Well, lunch is soon.  Maybe after lunch I'll do some work.  I stretch out and smile.  I am a liar.  I'm just gonna sit here.  Waiting for pills.       

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Great Writing

I know I am lagging on stories but my life is crazy busy right now.  I have one foot in the sand and one foot in the city and no idea what's gonna happen next.  But I am writing so please be patient.

In the mean time check out this very talented friend of mine.  Yet another Reddit writer and a damn good one.  A lot of people send me stories or links but this guy is good AND prolific.  Not a one story pony and he's definitely feeling the Muse right now.

Check him out on his blog:

Terry's Friend Harry  

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Tent That Smells Like Piss

Shards of light burst through the darkness.  Aurora, the mistress of dawn walks through the Night and into the clouds.  As her radiance blossoms across the park, not all the creatures below are happy.  To Alan, a new dawn means another cruel and pitiless day.  Glumly, he watches the sky fill with a demonic, burning red essence.  Like flames from a terrible goddess hurling bolts of fire through the heavens.  An hellish annihilation rather than a new beginning.  

But when Alan's parents were alive, a new day was wonderful.  They would watch Aurora's arrival from their breakfast table facing the back porch.  Back then, the world had meaning.  A place where happiness was normal.  Back then, mornings smelled like pancakes and fresh laundry.  Everyday he woke up thinking, Something good is going to happen to me today.  But this was before his mother was diagnosed with cancer.  This was before they left her in the hospital to linger and die slowly in the cancer ward.

A terrible cacophony of alien birds screeches overhead.  Enormous, evil looking black birds circling the fiery sky.  An ill omen.  Alan shivers and buttons his thin, denim jacket over his worn flannel.  Today finds him with one glove, no money, no breakfast and a tent that smells like piss.  Yet here they are.  California.  The dream.  But in the late night talks with Trish, the dream was always warmer.  

The park.  Alan and Trish have lived in the park for two nights.  Once, they had about $180 between them.  Then they got ripped off in a meth deal.  Alan chased the dealer but another kid with a skateboard stepped in the path.  Alan never felt a thing.  Just woke up to Trish's screams.  When he could focus his eyes again, Alan watched fog wraiths dance across the sky.  

With a $130 left, Trish bought the piss tent while Alan was feverish and shitting his guts out.  The dumpster feast behind the 24 hour Chinese restaurant was a terrible idea.  The tent is held together with duct tape and mismatched poles.  The endless fog that rolls through the park points out all the leaks.  Drip, drip, drip all night long.  And no matter how many cigarettes they smoke, the piss smell is like a spirit that never leaves.  Alan looked, but never found the fucking train kids that ripped Trish off.  

With $55 left, they finally found a reliable drug dealer.  Alan's not sure where San Jose is, but San Jose meth peels your eyelids back into your skull.  Life becomes a movie and the story is amazing.  The last $5 went to cigarettes and donuts.  After two days of smoking meth, they came down with no food and no money.  As the meth dwindled to specks of crystal dust, life became tedious and grim.  California is not a kind land.  

Maybe they should have stayed in Oregon.  Alan is from the coast and found Portland the big city with all the excitement he always dreamed of.  He had friends there, a place to crash and did ok selling weed at the mall.  That was where he met Trish.  Trish came from Idaho and been in Portland almost as long as Alan.  A few months.  Usually a single female can get on welfare programs without much hassle.  It's a good racket.  You can spend your food credit on soda and sell it for half price to the Asian guys by the port who supply the gas stations and minimarts.  $400 food credit becomes $200 cash.  

But Trish is too young to use her real ID.  No one cared what happened to her.  Trish did what she had to do.  When Alan found Trish, everything happened at once.  He lost his virginity, he fell in love, he got into a brutal fistfight with his roommate and almost killed him.  For that one he spent three days in jail and got kicked out of the apartment.  But when he got out, Trish was there.  Alan told everyone Trish was his girl.  This felt right.  A new, pure feeling filled Alan's heart and he swore himself to her as they coupled like frenzied animals over and over again.  Life was finally happening.  

But everyone else laughed.  The guys Alan split ounces of weed with knew Trish too.  They had their rude opinions.    

"Dude she works the port!  A trucker fucker!"  

"She's a crank whore.  C'mon Alan!  Stay away from that skeez."

"Trish?  The crazy fat bitch that cuts herself?  Fuck that shit!"

That was when Portland became too small.  

All his life, Alan was the piece that never fit in.  He intimately understood what it felt like to have jagged edges never matched the crowd.  What he saw in Trish was a chance.  A new life.  And Trish accepted him.  She trusted him.  She loved him and love is all.  Trish listened to his dreams of California when they crashed at the abandoned warehouse.  She bandaged his knuckles after he beat the shit out of the old man who showed up to the warehouse with a camera, condoms and Zima.  Trish even knew where to sell the camera and credit cards for cash.  And now they're in California.  Together.  

Maybe this isn't so bad, muses Alan.  The strange birds wing away and Alan digs around his denim for a cigarette.  Then the tent flap peel opens as Trish rips apart the duct tape latch.  Her sleepy face peers out in the dawn light.

"Alan?" she yawns.  "Baby, where are my boots?"

Alan looks around.  All he sees is an empty bottle of Boone's Wild Cherry and a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket filled with gnawed bones.  

"God damn it!" yells Alan to the pitiless goddess overhead.


"I'm sorry Alan!" whines Trish for the millionth time.  "I shouldn't have left them outside when I pee'd!  I shouldn't have bought the tent without asking!  I'm sorry!"

Alan is enraged.  He knows one of those skate punk motherfuckers he argued with earlier over where to pitch their tent stole Trish's boots.  And probably just for fun.  Real winter boots from Idaho!  Now his girlfriend trails him in wet, muddy socks as they walk aimlessly through city streets.  Alan feels like punching someone.  The business man, the smug hippie, the student waiting for the bus.  Who fucking cares?  He hears Trish sniveling behind him so he slows his pace and looks up helplessly at an endless gray smear of clouds that piss down freezing rain.  Even the fiery goddess has abandoned the sky.  Fuck it, Alan sighs for the thousandth time today.

"Look Trish.  I'm not mad at you ok?" he says turning around.  

Her luminous, dark eyes search his face.  Searching for what?  Back and forth they scan.  All Alan has to offer Trish is failure.  All of the talk about the Californian dream was bullshit.  They are alone in a hostile city, freezing and starving.  The wind shakes his bones.  Alan grinds his teeth when he remembers how he laughed off Trish's concerns over his thin jacket.

"I'm from Oregon Trish!  You think California is gonna be cold to me?  Shit...It'll be like a paradise.  You'll see!" he promised.

Alan holds Trish in their paradise.  Her cheeks are cold from wind, rain, fog and tears.  Snot seeps from her nose while she shivers in her wet socks.  It's November.  The trees weep dead leaves and the weather grows colder as the days grow darker.  In his arms, Trish melts into a hysterical ball of tears.  Her sobbing turns to manic hyperventilation.  She gasps and starts making pathetic, grunting sounds.  Alan pets her hair knowing if this continues, Trish will either run blindly in one direction or pass out.  And when she comes to, Trish will start cutting herself.  Pedestrians eye the pair wearily as Alan tries to sooth her.

"Hey, hey Trish...C'mon now" he breathes in her ear.  "All we gotta do is beg for some change and call your grandma.  With a little cash, we'll be fine.  Get you some boots and food."

"I don't want boots!" Trish screams.  

"Ok.  What you want?"

"I have to tell you something" sniffs Trish.  "You can't get mad!  Promise me Alan!"

"Sure" he agrees.  Anything to calm her down.  "I promise."

"I have some money.  I have sixty bucks.  I want some meth.  Not boots."

"Wait.  What?!" demands Alan.

"Remember a week ago?  Like when we were supposed to leave on the bus but you got sick?"

"Yes" says Alan while his empty stomach twists and bubbles acid.  His muscles unconsciously tense for another one of life's cruel blows.  

"I saw this guy" blurts Trish.  "I knew him from like before.  He's safe.  Easy and quick and-"

"YOU!" explodes Alan as his control vanishes, "ARE A FUCKING WHORE!"  

He can hear her sobbing as he walks off.  He gets about two blocks in a sea of unfamiliar buildings and blank faces and stops.  The shame of his words stain his heart.  He looks back and Trish is still miserably following him.  From Portland to San Francisco.  One broken thing dragged behind another.  But the thought of her...all the old men she called 'friends'...Alan whirls and rushes her.  For one second Trish looks surprised.  But her face quickly hardens to stone.  It is the look of someone used to getting hit and is no longer afraid.

"Give me the money!" snarls Alan.

"Why?" screeches this unknown Trish.  "It's my fucking money!  I got it!"

"Give it to me!  You need those fucking boots!"

"I don't want boots!" screams Trish as pedestrians scatter around them.  "I want DRUGS!"

Angry, black and horrible words fill Alan's mind.  He snarls like a whipped dog and looms up in front of Trish, his fist raised.  Alan trembles with impotent rage as he fights the urge to puke.  Trish stares back defiantly.  Alan can see the creature in her eyes that pushes the world away.  The crazy part that will never ever fit in.  He looks at Trish who stands there with her eyes closed as she waits for the blow.

"Fine" says Alan rubbing his face.  "But then we find a phone and call your grandma.  You need those damn boots Trish.  And food."


"Did you find him?" asks Trish from her sleeping bag.

"Yup" says Alan sliding himself into the piss tent and duct taping the flap closed.  Trish stares at him expectantly as he rubs warmth back into his frozen, ungloved hand.  Alan shrugs.  "He doesn't have any crank.  Just coke and weed.  Oh and heroin."

"Get the heroin" says Trish too quickly.

"Wait.  What?" Alan asks.  The Universe has revealed too much Trish today.  A revolving door of her faces.  Where did the real one go?  Did he ever know the real Trish?

"Just get it!  Don't worry Alan!  It's totally like the pills I gave you.  You liked those right?  Don't worry about money.  Nana will come through.  She's the only one besides you that loves me.  And I think I have some foil in here somewhere..." mutters Trish as she starts dumping the contents of her bag around the tent.    


The guy is easy to find.  He hangs out by the fountains pretty much all day.  Sadly, the drug dealer is the only part of the California dream that is working out.  Trish hums to herself as they walk along hand in hand.  As Alan and Trish approach the fountains, they find him in the same area.  Today he's got his arm around a tiny girl who spoon feeds him yogurt.  Also on the bench are three strangers.  

They look too clean to be street people.  Maybe students or suburb kids.  After living homeless, Alan and Trish can easily spot their kind.  Their clothes are always nicer and only ripped on purpose.  But the dead give away is their eyes.  People that live in houses, eat meals and sleep in beds have different eyes.  They lack that animal, haunted stare from always looking over your shoulder.  

Alan walks forward and lets his face go grim knowing they are already sizing him up.  The tall guy in a black leather jacket is wearing a pair of red framed, wrap around sunglasses.  He stares like a curious insect.  Perched on the bench backrest next to him is a thin girl with pink hair.  She also wears a black leather jacket with spikes like the other park kids that aren't hippies.  But the squat, bald guy next to them wears only a Black Flag t-shirt.  He openly glares at Alan.  

"What the fuck are you looking at dingleberry?" asks the bald guy.

Alan keeps moving forward.  It is all there is to do.  The drug dealer is talking to his girlfriend but looks up.  He smiles in recognition.

"It's ok man, relax" he says slapping the bald guy's thick forearm.

As the drug dealer stands, the tiny girl slides over to the girl with pink hair and takes her cigarette.  She says something and laughs.  Obviously relaxed.  But the bald guy and the tall kid just stare.  They project hostility.  The bald kid is the first one to hit, thinks Alan.

"Don't mind them" smiles the drug dealer.  "Let's go over here.  What's your name again man?"

"Alan.  This is Trish."

"Hey Trish!  I'm Melo" he says warmly shaking her hand.

"Nice to meet you Melo" smiles Trish shyly.

"Yeah sorry guys no meth.  That's kinda the other side of the park if you know what I mean."

Alan nods but has no idea what he means.

"We'll take the H" says Trish stepping forward.  "You got powder or tar?"

Alan watches in mute anger as Trish takes over.  The transformation from shy, helpless girlfriend to assertive procurer of street drugs makes him feel vaguely cheated.  Who is Trish?  What are they talking about?  Points, balloons and fresh spikes are an unfamiliar language.  Jesus, Alan wonders, are spikes needles?  

"We got sixty" says Trish.  "Can you swing it?"

"Yeah no problem" shrugs Melo.  "Gimme the money and hangout."

Trish hands over her mystery cash.  They watch Melo casually stroll off and are now alone with the kids on the bench staring at them.  Fuck them, thinks Alan lighting a cigarette and stalking over.  

"Baby, let's wait here" urges Trish.

"Don't worry" growls Alan as he takes a drag on his cigarette.  

Instinctively his hand brushes against his leg to feel his buck knife.  Though Alan has never used the knife in a fight, waving it around has helped.  He breathes through his nostrils and walks casually forward.  Trish meekly trails behind.
"You guys live here?" nods Alan showing them he is not afraid of some soft suburban punks on their trip to the big city.

"Where the fuck do you think you are?" demands the bald kid standing up.

"Oh hush Thief" pouts Melo's girlfriend to the angry bald guy.  

Then she turns to her pixie face to look at them.  Alan and Trish see the wildness in her eyes and doubt this kid lives with indoor plumbing, cable TV and down comforters.  The girl smiles slyly at Alan and Trish like she shares their secret joke.  In her purple dress pants, piano key-themed scarf and ridiculously large, blue Mexican poncho, she looks like an insane elf.  Pinned to the poncho is a random assortment of band pins.  Anything from Slayer to Wham! or Subhumans to the The Cure.  Her name tag says: HELLO!  MY NAME IS DREAMY MIMI.  Tangles of braids and dreadlocked, brown hair cascade from a cowboy hat with a sticker that says TRUE STORIES.  For some reason, the tiny girl's smile makes Alan and Trish feel safe.

Though her feet are bare in the 50 degree weather, Trish pictures vanilla white ice skates on her feet.  Alan's eyes soften in the myriad of colors and the tiny flowers she wears in her dreadlocks remind him of his mother for some reason.  Alan looks into her eyes and reality slides away.  His heart beat matches the rhythms of the Universe.  The park vanishes.  Before him are two burning stars.  The mad elf wears a white robe and massages the bristling fur of a snarling coyote...Alan staggers under the weight of this vision while dimensions shift randomly like a deck of cards.  When Trish squeezes his hand, Alan suddenly sees none of this is real.  Far away, people are talking.

"What?" asks Alan closing his eyes to mask his confusion.

"I said he's just mad cause he got jumped a couple nights ago" says the tiny girl in a monotone, robotic doll voice.

"Yeah" snarls the bald guy, "by some flannel wearing tweaker hick motherfuckers like you.  Why don't you stand over there so I don't have to smell you?"

The bald guy steps forward and Alan hears Trish suck in her breath.  The knife slides into his grip the same moment the girl with the cowboy hats speaks.

"Melo doesn't have any yucky crank" she says shaking her head.

"Shit" says the tall guy who still hasn't moved an inch, "Melo can get you a white baby if you give him an hour.  They look like fucking tweakers to me too."

"We're not" says Trish softly.  "I mean we've tried it but I just wanted some H you know.  We've had some tough times..."

"It's ok" soothes Dev.  "They just don't trust you because you are lying to them.  Right?  You see, we are all better liars than you two and-"

Dev pauses and cranes her head to look at something on the path behind the fountains.  Then her eyes get big and round.

"Kym!" she whispers.  "Your mom's here!"

"Fuck Dev don't start with me when I'm high" says the tall girl turning around.  "If you're fucking with me...Oh fuck!  Shit!  It's mom and Iona!  Babe hold my purse!"

"No" says the tall guy sitting up straight and taking off the sunglasses.  "No way am I holding your purse."

"Dev!  Take it!" says the tall girl thrusting a bag into the mad elf's hands.  

Like practiced thieves, the elf accepts the bag from the pink haired girl and drops it at her feet.  She kicks it nonchalantly into a bush behind the bench and sits up straight.  Then she takes off the cowboy hat and drops it on the bald guy as two tall, slender women stroll up the path.  As they get closer, the bald guy takes off the hat and places it on the tall guy who freezes right when the women walk up to them.

"Thanks asshole" he mutters the tall guy under his breath.

"Dude Iona's here" whispers the bald guy.  "The less sluttier, yet way hotter sister."

The tall guy silently cracks the bald guy in the ribs with an elbow.  They both sit up straighter and start fidgeting with their clothing.

Foreigners, Alan decides not understanding how these two women could be related the girl with pink hair.  They both have scarves wrapped over their heads and wear plain dresses with long pants.  The old one is all in black.  A bright green scarf is wrapped around her stern face that stares hard at the girl with pink hair.  The younger one with horn rimmed glasses is dressed in deep purple with a fiery, orange scarf.  The girl with the pink hair is in a tight miniskirt with leggings and combat boots.  Beneath her leather jacket, the Rancid t-shirt is ripped stylishly with scissors and reveals as much as it hides.  She looks worlds apart.  But when they all start arguing, Alan can plainly see the family ties.

"Mommm!"  cries out the girl with pink hair.  "What are you guys doing here?"      

"Hey Khadj" says the one with glasses smirking.  "It's Sunday bonehead!"

"Oh..." says the girl with pink hair.  "Grandma day?"

"Yes Grandma day.  Lucky for us, Neela was home and told us where you went Khadja!" admonishes the older lady who goes off in a burst of foreign language.

"It's just hair mom!  Jeez!  I'll just wear one of your khimars!" says the girl with pink hair.  Then she starts arguing in the other language as the one with glasses rolls her eyes and walks over to the bench.

"S'up cowboy?" she says punching the tall guy's arm.  "Nice hat douchebag.  You have fun in Maui with my little sis?"

"It was amazing" confirms the tall guy removing the cowboy hat.  "You were right about the surf.  Crazy fun."

"You guys hit up KP past the lagoon?  That was my spot.  I was so dialed in on that winter right."

"Past Lahaina?  Where you have to hike down the cliff?  That was sweet but the sandbar breaks by the condo were epic."

"Hi Iona!" grins the bald guy.  "You're looking lovely as usual."

"Oh hey Jeffrey" says the girl in glasses.


"Sure, whatever" smirks the girl.

Alan and Trish stand there.  All the hostility is gone.  Though they have never been around women in head scarves or surfed, the vibe is familiar.  That loving yet embarrassing feeling of family.  The older lady is obviously a mom.  Her mom presence touches something deep and forgotten inside Alan and Trish.

"Hi nice to see you again" says the mom smiling at the tall guy.  He gets up and hugs her.  

"Hi Mrs. Amiri" smiles the tall guy.  "Thank you so much for letting us stay at your Maui condo.  That was so awesome."

"Anytime sweety.  Khadja says your starting school again next semester.  That is the wise choice."

"Uhm, yeah" he shrugs.

Then she hugs the mad elf.  "Devika!  Lovely to see you!  Where is Michelangelo?"

"Oh he had to do something.  Mrs. Amiri, this is uh..." says the mad elf looking at Alan and Trish.

"Alan.  And this is my girlfriend Trish."

"Trish" frowns the lady.  "Trish...Patricia?"

"Yes ma'am" nods Trish.

"Patricia, where are your shoes?"

"Oh I left them over by our, uh stuff.  Over there" says Trish pointing vaguely.

"Well Patricia, I can see you are new to San Francisco.  You should always wear shoes.  And dry socks.  The ground is dirty and the weather cold.  Have you eaten today?"

"Uhm, yeah..." shrugs Trish.

"Mom!" cries the girl with pink hair.

"Khadja!  Manners!  Do not interrupt when people are talking!"

"Sorry.  It's just that-" says the girl with pink hair frowning at her boots.

"We are visiting Khadja's grandmother this afternoon" continues the lady.  "But after our visit, you are all invited over for dinner.  We live in Danville."

"But mom!" complains the pink haired girl.

"Only an idiot passes up a home cooked meal" says the bald guy winking at the pink haired girl.  "What are you cookin' up Mrs. Amiri?"

"Dizi.  Its a lamb stew with chickpeas.  Also grilled eggplant, humus and bread for our vegetarian friends.  You are all invited so please come over to my house."

"Yummy!" says the mad elf.

"Wow.  I'm so there Mrs. Amiri" says the bald guy.  "When you say bread, do you mean that flat bread you fry on that metal square thingy?"

"The barbari bread?  Of course!"

"You guys!" whines the girl with pink hair.

"C'mon we gotta go mom" says the girl with glasses.  "The reservation is at 11:30 and you know mamani won't be late.  Khadj, you change in the car.  See you guys at the house!  Nice meeting you Alan and Patricia."

The pink haired girl is dragged away while she complains loudly in a foreign tongue.  The mad elf starts to cackle and the tall guy retrieves the purse from the bushes.  He digs around until he finds a cigarette.

"Whew" he exhales.  "There goes my buzz.  Kym's mom is a sweet lady but she makes me feel like a little kid.  I guess I never had a mom-mom before.  My mom is totally not like that."

"Not like what?" asks the bald guy.

"I don't know.  Like cooking food or giving a shit I guess."

"Yeah.  It is weird but I kinda like it" shrugs the bald guy.

"Me too" says Trish in a small voice.    

Alan looks at Trish.  She's actually smiling at these idiots.  Her face is back.  Gone are the lunatic moon eyes that blink two seconds before exploding into tears.  No fear or rage in her look.  Just a silly grin.  Just Trish.  Alan lets the knife slip back down in his jeans and takes his hand out of his pocket.  Hell, maybe it's not so bad here.  If they get Trish's grandma's money and eat some real food, life will become brighter.  He has no idea what babari bread is but a stack of pancakes with butter and warm maple syrup would be amazing.

Then, like wind over water, Trish's face ripples into a new creation.  Alan follows her eyes and see's Melo.  Trish is tracking his progress with the concentration of a starving predator.  Without a word, Trish walks past Alan like he's a ghost.  She eagerly trots down the path and Alan feels the familiar rage returning.  

Trish joins Melo's pace casually.  Like two old friends meeting in the park by chance.  Their hands touch for an instant and then they break apart.  Without a pause, Trish strolls past Alan towards their tent that smells like piss.  "Let's go baby" she urges as she walks away without looking back.  

Alan stands alone .  The bench kids are already drifting away with Melo.  They are laughing and happy.  Alan realizes he is standing exactly where the path splits in opposite directions.  One way travels towards the city.  The other path leads to Trish.  Or he could leave the path and walk across the grass towards the trees that sway in the breeze.  Alan watches Trish stomp away in her soggy socks.  Her chubby little fist is tightly is clenched around the drugs.
Fuck California.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Hi again

Thanks for the nice emails.  It's fun to have stuff to read while traveling.  Well I'm kinda back so I'll try and write more.  Had all these stories in my head and no way to get them out.  I'm over writing on my iPhone so they just stew in my head.  Sorry if I don't respond to your email- I'm really busy these days.  But since a lot of the emails are the same, I'll answer some here:

  • I don't know about Tracks 2.  My schedule is all over the place.  Also the editor chick is busy growing life in her womb so she has a lot going on too.
  • I will write something.  Soon. 
  • I am still on Reddit and I still love the opiate & drug communities.  Good people.
  • I am currently not on drugs.  Well not hard ones.
  • No I won't put a Kym/Jason/Dev/etc etc. pic up.

 So take care and Thanks!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Hi there-

Thanks for all the nice messages they totally make my day.  I will write more soon as this stuff churns in my skull and enjoys the outlet.  But I am moving.  I will be in a state of transit for at least a week and probably silent for a couple weeks.  I'll be iMac-less which is my current favorite thing to write on.  So after I catch up with yet another life, I will begin anew.  And if I write anything on my iPad I'll post that too.

Be safe and be sane,


Friday, January 1, 2016

The Lap Dance Memory


As you box up and purge your earthly possessions, you 
slowly remove the house's soul.  But this house in the rainforest has known many souls.  The spirit we cradled here is just another ghost breezing through.  Built in 1953, this wood paneled, Japanese farmhouse stood here before the US had 50 stars on her flag.  Generations of sun-kissed kids tracked beach sand into every room under the watchful eyes of the house geckos.  Tradewinds from the sea carry floral scents of the jungle.  The Pacific ocean greets you at every window.  Parrots squawk across wild, blue skies.  The ghosts are gentle here.

"Change is perpetual" shrugs my wife tossing another bag of memories into the dump pile.  

Hmm.  I have heard that one before.  My wife is smarter than me but I am taller.  I pull down a box from our old life and go through it.  Inside are forgotten scraps from yet another life.  Yearbooks, academic transcripts and tax statements from the 20th century.  I purge.  Then my fist closes upon a matchbox.  Inside is a small seashell.  I remove it from the box and hold the shell in my hand.  As my fingers clasp it, my ghosts embrace me.  I smile and let them in my mind.


The Priestess

Bare feet slapping over mud.  Moving across winding, coastal paths to the stained streets of civilization.  The throaty, belch of poison announces the beast.  She skips lightly up rubber steps of Muni.  A recycled pass fools the bored driver and Dev plops into a seat.  The steely hum of the caterpillar crawling over wet asphalt is so city soothing.  She rides.  From the belly of the beast, familiar neighborhoods roll by.  She exits the the bus in the Mission District.  

A red plastic bag, inflated like a cartoon octopus slaps down the street.  Silly cephlapod.  A hair-whipping burst of energy explodes between two buildings.  The octopus whirls upwards into the vortex.  The red speck tumbles across the blue face of the sky.  Her old guardian, always watching out for her.  Up the street, she sees the Hernandez family.  They live in the Victorian next to her friends.  She waves and calls out politely, "Buenos días!"

They nod politely and the males tip cowboy hats.  A child in her elegant, Sunday church dress shrieks, "Devika!"

"Que hermosa!" responds Dev solemnly as the child's mother smiles.

"Buenos días, Devika" nods the mother.

What a lovely place, she thinks as the stately procession passes.

All the signs here are Spanish.  Yummy food scents embrace her like lost family.  She can feel the glow of souls in the century old houses that line the street.  If she closes her eyes, she can feel her friend's auras.  And t
he metal gate is open!  The drunks forgot to lock it last night so no screaming from the street.  Up the stairs like an octopus climbing the sky...

"Knock knock my lovelies!" sings Dev bursting into the house through the unlocked door.

And there they are.  Fused auras, woven from starlight.  Arm in arm, the Lovers melt into a couch while their TV glows like cancer.  A spoon hangs motionless in Khadja's hand.  Her mouth is slightly open as milk drips back into the bowl on her lap.  Two cops on TV scream like frenzied baboons as they tackle a tiny woman.  Khadj's boyfriend breaks free from the hypnotic violence and points his cigarette at her.

"There she is!" he smiles broadly with shiny, pin-point pupil eyes.  "What up Dev?"  

Dev twirls and bows theatrically.  "Nada mucho."

His voice awakens Khadja from her TV trance.  But like a startled cat, Khadj doesn't acknowledge the interruption.  Casually, she enjoys her spoonful of cereal.  Still chewing, she plucks the cigarette from her boyfriend and takes a long drag.  The ember twinkles in the gloom like tomorrow's star.  Now Khadja turns her head to greet Dev with a lazy, feline smile.

"Salam, Devika."

"Shalom, Khadja" nods Dev.

"Want some Grapenuts?"

Mizar and Alcor

It's Sunday before noon.  We're up early and I'm not thinking about tomorrow.  Tomorrow is a day of school and washing dishes in the University cafeteria to defer student loan payments...Ok.  So I lied.  I did just think of it.  My mind always races over the damn details.  People like Jason and Kym take life as it comes.  They shrug off shit like going to jail or totaling cars while I worry myself to explosive, diarrhea over chemistry lab quizzes or being $50 shy of rent.  But fuck it.  It's a beautiful morning.

Some sleepy sex, cigarettes and silly Spanish conversations in bed.  Then bong hits for motivation.  Kym brews Sumatra coffee for energy and I prep the foil.  Dragons be here.  Then some soul soothing cuddling with the most beautiful woman in San Francisco.  The TV makes familiar sounds.  But when I limp down the hall to take a piss, I wonder, 'What the fuck happened last night?'

"Kym!" I demand while digging a chunk of amber glass from my palm and flicking it into a corner, "Why am I limping?  What's up with my hands?" 

Kym is still half asleep in her Iggy Pop t-shirt
.  She sleeps on her side so her pink hair points west.  She shrugs as TV cops kick down a door screaming.  

"Mmm" she licks her lips, rubs her eyes and yawns loudly like a bear.  She looks up at me, "I know what happened to your leg, but not your hands."

"Ok.  What happened to my leg?" I ask.

"We fell down" says Kym snatching the cigarette I had behind my ear.

My black leather jacket is draped over the the couch arm.  I dig around the pockets until I find a lighter and ignite the cigarette.  "We?  WE fell down?"  

"Yeah.  You were giving me a piggyback ride.  I think you jumped out the door at the Lexington.  You fell when I covered your eyes."

I watch her exhale smoke.  It drifts lazily across beams of sunlight that spear through the smiley face some bastard burned into the curtains with a cigarette.  Oh yeah.  Kym thinks it's funny to blind me when I carry her on my back.  Usually down stairs or when I'm running. 

The Lexington makes sense.  I remember that part.  Every blue moon, Kym and I get paychecks on the same day.  Rather than save for tomorrow or honor past debts, we go bar hopping.  The Lex is nearby and we usually end up there for last call.  I vaguely remember we were doing shots without using our hands...oh and
dumping cocktails into a pitcher of beer for the chugging contest.  Blondie's 'Heart of Glass' is still stuck in my skull with fuzzy memories of Kym dancing wildly in a crowd of women.  There was laughter, sloppy kisses and a lot of screaming.  The usual.  

Wait...lap dance.  

"Kym!"  She is spellbound in the light of TV.  "KHADJA!  Did you give me a lap dance?"

Kym looks over at me, tilts her head side to side and shrugs.  "Maybe.  Probably.  I was pretty wasted."

Kym's "lap dances" are not traditional lap dances.  She simply shrieks, launches herself into the air and tries to land in my lap.  If I see it coming, I can usually catch her.  If not, she knocks us out of the chair and onto the floor.  Last night, I think we hit a table on the way down.  

"Yeah.  Fucking lap dance.  Sorry
" yawns Kym stretching her arms into the air.  She smacks her dry lips a couple times and arches an eyebrow at me, "I think Kira-Mae threw us out."

Kira-Mae is the harshly, beautiful bartender from Ireland.  The saddest, darkest eyes ever.  She has a crush on Kym and hits on her shamelessly.  She openly loathes me.  But to be fair, The Lex is a lesbian bar.  Not much lipstick lesbian action either.  Mostly butch biker women and gothic, Chicano ladies in flannel.  

I stretch my knee.  Same fucked up one as usual.  I'm pretty sure it hurts but we are loved by the god.  This tar is heavy and all consuming.  Did I just nod out?  Kym was snuggled against me.  I held her as she chased the dragon and stopped her from doing a header into the coffee table.  I took away her smoke so she didn't light herself on fire.  Yet now, Kym is slurping a bowl of Grapenuts cereal...hmmm.  Slices of the morning are missing.  I am smoking a cigarette.  Who lit it?  

A teeny-tiny fist pounds the door.  Not a heavy cop fist.  

"Knock knock my lovelies!"

A burst of light as the smell of rain invades our cigarette smoke atmosphere.  I look over at the open door.  


The Priestess

"Want some Grapenuts?"

"No thanks.  Where's Jase?" asks Dev peering down the hall as she plops down on the couch next to Khadja.

"Still asleep.  With Autumn" says Kym rolling her last night, party smeared mascara eyes dramatically.  "They were screwing earlier because we could hear Oasis.  How he keeps it hard with that shit playing is beyond me.  Girlfriend has no taste."

Dev giggles.  

"Now Iggy", exclaims Kym holding up her t-shirt and exposing her strange panties that feature a cartoon hippopotamus opening it's mouth on her crotch, "is good fucking music."

"Or the Red Hot Chili Peppers" adds Dev.  

"Hell, even The Smiths is sexier if you're all Brit-pop, whiny sad" claims Kym holding the back of her hand to her forehead and striking a tragically, depressed pose.

"Morrissey?  The weirdest music I ever did it to was John Denver" says Dev.  "I kept thinking about Kermit the Frog." 

"Oh and get this!" giggles Kym. "She was making those doggy noises again!  Like that little fucking yappy dog you just wanna kick!  Yip!  Yip!  Yip!"

"Arf!  Arf!  Arf!" barks Dev.

Khadj's boyfriend silently regards them with thin-lipped, lemon contempt before returning to TV violence.  The cops bellow unintelligible commands before pepper-spraying a cowering, old man in a trailer park.  

"Yeah, Jase could totally do better but what-eh-ver" says Khadja going back to her cereal.  With her mouth full of cereal, she points the spoon at Dev and garbles "Mebe cose she's weird in bed."

"Like finger in the butt weird?" snickers Dev covering her mouth.

"Alright, alright!" gripes the boyfriend standing up.  "It's too early for this shit.  I need some toast."

"Too early for what?  Sex?  You sure seemed to be having fun earlier" says Khadja as milk dribbles down her chin.  She opens her mouth suggestively, winks and makes obscene gestures with her hips.

"Wow Kym.  Thank you for that.  Whatever that was" he says burying his head in the refrigerator.

"Aww...are you shy Lover?" asks Dev.  "We're just joking about fucking.  Everyone with luck fucks.  It's good for you!"

"It's just weird to talk about my roommate.  You know.  Like that."

"What?" snorts Kym.  "Jase was the one that told us about the sneaky finger up the butt.  Scared the hell out of him."

"He was very surprised" agrees Dev.  "Until then, he thought it was just a 3-piece set."

Mizar and Alcor

As usual, things are becoming odd since Dev's arrival.  But she loads us green bud and hash bong hits.  The living room bong is a 
glass monstrosity dubbed Das Bismarck.  This is not a personal bong.  Das Bismarck is a tribal bong.  The bowl holds more than a gram easily.  Dev packs balls of hash between layers of fragrant bud coated with purple crystals.  When the herb ignites the hash, there is massive smoke.

"Holy shit!" I croak while wheeze-coughing so hard it feels like someone just twisted my testicles.  I feel like a lung collapsing while I spew unholy amounts of smoke across the room.

"Babe!  Hit me while it's smokin" demands Kym reaching for the bong as I choke.    

"Here Lover" says Dev handing me her Snapple.

I take a long pull and gulp down liquid to coat my throat.  Then I taste it.  I look over at Dev who is silently regarding me with one of her twisted, secret smiles.

"Yuck!  What kind of Snapple is this?" I demand while cringing at the taste.

"Electric" smirks Dev.

Great.  Now the day will get weird.  Or weirder.  What's next?, I wonder.

"Did you tell him?" asks Dev looking at Kym.

"Totally" winces Kym in a throaty growl as smoke pours out her nostrils and mouth.  "Right babe?  Your set to go to the movies with Devika yeah?"

"Do what now?" I ask confused.

"That thing I told you last night.  Remember?"

"No.  No I don't Kym.  And frankly, I doubt you remember it either."

"Are you calling me a liar?" challenges Kym narrowing her eyes at me.  "We were both hammered babe.  You don't remember and maybe I don't either.  But I told you!"

Jumping Jesus fucking Christ on a pogo stick.  I shake my head and look up at the geometrically divided ceiling of our house.  Math.  Beautiful math.  Pure logic that is accountable...then I get an idea to make Kym mad.  I gaze into her malevolent stare and innocently ask, "Ok yeah.  Sure.  The movie.  What movie did you say?" 

The silence is rude but so is Kym.  We're fucked up but she instantly processes what I just did.  Cold, blue eyes focus into comets portending doom while I smile broadly like the village idiot.  But Dev is used to us and interrupts our fun.

"Heavy Metal" pipes in Dev handing me the bong.  "At your school.  I want to see the matinee at 2:00."

"Yeah Heavy Metal" huffs Kym.  "I'd go but have work.  You can get Dev a cheap ticket with your student ID."

Kym smiles at me with her eyes and I lift an eyebrow my back.  Most of our conversations do not actually contain words.  

"Sure" I say.  "I think I saw that in high school.  Kinda boring right?"

Kym fakes a yawn and winks at me.

"It's not boring!  And I saw that you bitch!" yells Dev.

"Ok.  Ok.  I'll go" I shrug.  "Better than doing word problems in physics that are due like tomorrow morning..."

The Priestess

Khadja should be off soon.  We're waiting for her outside the Ferry building while the wind dances gleefully across the sea.  Lover stares.  He chain smokes and paces.  Always in a hurry to go nowhere.  Though it's cold, he gave me his leather jacket which smells like Khadj's perfume and cigarettes.  The jacket is so big, it's like sitting in a leather teepee with my head poking out.

"You're right man" he says ignoring the wind's cosmic display.  "Watching that movie stoned is lame!  Boring.  You gotta drink mushroom tea and do coke.  Lots of coke!  That was fucking crazy Dev!  Fucking Loc-Nar is here on Earth.  I can feel it!"

"We must always guard ourselves against Loc-Nar" agrees Dev.  She tilts her head sideways to let the helpful wind caress the dreadlocks out of her face.

"Man, where's Kym?" questions Lover again.  "She should be off by now.  I bet Lorenzo is late.  Lazy fucker.  I need to get home, get a burrito and start the damn word problems.  Freakin' shifted intervals and-"

"Rush, rush rush little ant" admonishes Dev.  "The city has gotten to you!  Already you're moving on to your next task without enjoying this beautiful view!"

"Dev" he says spreading his hands out, " I get it.  But I'm not like you.  I can't relax until I finish what I have to do."

"But are you ever finished Lover?  Isn't there always another to do?"

Lover looks up at her sky guardian and shrugs.  "Yeah...I guess so."

"It's ok.  We're all wired differently.  The meat puppets we make dance are strange creatures, but let me ask you something.  Did you have a good day?"

She watches Lover think about his day.  The whole day from waking next to love to this glorious moment. 

"Yeah" he finally admits.  "It's been a good day.  A damn good day."

"I'm gonna give it to you.  Forever.  Give me your finger" demands Dev as she unfolds the blade of a wicked looking, drop-point knife. 

"Jesus" he says looking around nervously while tourists wander by.  "How come you and Kym always carry around knives?"

"Don't know Lover.  Why don't you?" shrugs Dev slicing the tip of his finger open.  


"Oh boohoo, that didn't hurt.  Much.  Now where'd I put that thing?" mumbles Dev digging around in her bag.  "There you are!"  She pulls out an acorn-sized seashell that called out to her during an ocean quest.  

With practiced ease, Dev slices her finger open and drips blood into the shell.  Then she squeezes Lover's finger and lets one, two, three drops fall into the gift from the goddess.  All things good, sad and beautiful come in threes.  She holds the shell to her lips and speaks softly to it.  When it grows warm, she hands it to him.

"There.  Keep this.  Whenever you need a reminder on how to enjoy one day of your brief and glorious time, just hold it.  Got it?"

"Yup" he shrugs as he tilts the shell upside down expecting blood to drip out.  Nothing.  He looks inside.  Empty.


The ghosts whisper excitedly inside my head while a fishing boat glides across the sea.  Ok, I get it.  I inhale the essence of the house into the eternal chambers of my soul.  The kindness of a home that always welcomes our return.  The magic of children leaving you notes for work telling you how many whales they saw.  Our lazy house cats becoming nocturnal predators beneath a full moon that illuminates the sea.  The simple joys of sunset dinners at home with your family.  The sound of crickets and tree frogs.  The peaceful feeling of being inside during torrential rain storms pounding the tin roof loud enough to drown the TV...I get it.    

I carefully place the shell in back in the matchbox and toss it on my surfboard.  The save pile.