Tuesday, December 16, 2014

For Streak C. Lawson

I hear the uncoordinated patter of his long neglected nails on the kitchen tile from the basement.
“He’s not doing good.” Dad says in a tone so resigned it seems terminal.
It’s a rainy December in Chicago, like God’s trying to wash the city. But the city isn’t a car with bird shit on the hood and it’ll take more than a moderate drizzle to clean Chicago.(The zoological term for bird (and bat) poop is called Guano. Guano.) I don’t mind the rain though, it means the weather will hold its relative warmth and after the Polar Vortex last year I deserve a holiday season without the distinct displeasure of shoveling snow while mucus pour out of my nose and freezes in my mustache.
Over Dad’s voice and the murmur of the TV from the living room I  hear rain drops landing on the awning over the kitchen window. An impartial melody, like the strokes of keys from a pianist who doesn’t give a shit about what he’s playing. The world turns, the sun burns and rain falls. The ether doesn’t (and shouldn’t have to) alter itself because my Dog can’t walk anymore.
Dad and I are standing in our kitchen looking down at the dog, making grim plans to drive to the vet, holding together a frail artifice that this isn’t a tremendously horrible Monday and that we aren’t on the verge of bawling.
The Bears are losing and the Dogs hind legs are weak as _____  and for all intents useless.
Earlier that day we had taken a trip to the mall to do some Christmas shopping. I was to receive a sweater and watch. My mother was getting a sky blue robe and new socks (A pair of which she already wearing.) I got my Dad a book and an atrocious burgundy shirt-thing with a zipper that disappeared into fabric half way down. This had become our tradition; An afternoon at the mall in which we all indiscriminately buy each other whatever is chosen. Christmas made practical, albeit considerably less festive. 
When we got back, bags in hand and guts rounded from food court vittles, Mom noticed a batch of shit in the dining room. We share a collective forgiving sigh, noting that we were gone for a few extra hours and the dog, at 14 years old, hadn’t the bowel fortitude nor the shame of indoor dumping he used to have. Dad picks up the dropings with a plastic bag.
“Poor thing. He just couldn’t hold it.” Mom says.
“He just old.” Dad commiserates.
I give a whistle but the sound does little to summon the Dog these days. Long gone are the days of a whistle and an eager gallop, now he conserves his energy. So I go looking for him. Dad gives a glance downstairs at the basement from the staircase in the Kitchen and reports that he doesn’t see him. I run to the second floor and find nothing but a wet spot on the carpet.
Mom says that ever since I moved to New York the Dog doesn’t make the trip to the second floor. Too many stairs for too weak of hind legs. So that fact that he, the Dog, exerted the energy to make the pilgrimage was so impressive that I didn’t mind the piss soaked carpet, same way Tibetan monks probably don’t mind letting people use their toilet after they make the journey up Mt Kailash. (Tibet is called ‘The Roof of the World’ because its nearly 5,000 meters above sea level.)
No Dog up there. So, admittedly a little nervous, a hastily head to the basement. I flip the light switch and see The Dog laying on the couch. Mouth open, tongue flopping around like some alien appendage. A breath of relief then I take a seat next to him and stoke his black, dusty coat. Feeling the familiar heat pulsating from his vibrating, solid body. A few seconds Dad comes down the stairs and he too has an exaltation of relief in the form of smile. We probably look like a painting, on the leather couch with moss green pillows, looking at him, Dad. A boy and his dog and the inherent unspoken, vast, unsurmountable love.
Dad calls him over to him, to take him out in the backyard for his last bathroom break of the evening. The Dog and Dad had developed something in my absence. Something not unlike a symbiosis, something like parent hood or friendship or love. I’ve been in and out of this house since I moved away to college in 2008. Plus it was a busy few years, exiting the chaos of teenage years for a new sort of chaos of my 20s, I was busy and wasn’t the boy the Dog remembered. So in my absence Dad stepped in and they formed a bond that kept them both happy and fulfilled.
Adorable I’m sure.
The Dog goes to Dad and together they head up the stairs. Half way up the Dog slides down and comes to crash landing on at the bottom on the unforgiving tile.
“Fuck. Shit.” I say.
Sometimes in moments of extreme trauma or grief or anxiety I’m able to watch myself react as if my life is a movie filmed in second person. Watch the Dog slide down the stair was one of these moments and the cruses were a feeble natural reaction to the moment, like hitting the knee with a mallet and watching it kick out.
After about 15 mintues of observing the Dog and his clear in ablity to climb the stairs and our suspicions on wether or not he could even stand up. Dad goes to get an old pair of throw away pants. He’s good with this sort of thing. A savy man who’d probably make a decent run at life on a deserted island. Or at least think of an effective way to off himself once the solitude transformed into delirium and psychosis.
He explains to me once the pants are for; We are the position them under the dog, like a hammock going horizontal. Then once once the dog is firmly placed in the concavity of the pants were are to pick him up using the sections of the pants that are exposed.
This is way lego instructions come with diagrams. Because sometimes genius is inarticulable.
We rig the Dog up and hoist him up. He does some mild freaking out, kicks his legs and panics because he can’t feel the ground underneath him.
We get him up the stairs and take him outside but he doesn’t do anything. He only lays on the cold, wet ground, so we use the pants to get him back in the house and that where the end begins.
Hours pass and at some point Dad says through a shaky voice that we have to put him down in the morning. The Dog hears the words but is deaf to the meaning and I find that strange and insulting to discuss his demise right in front of him. My dad gets a phone call from a neighbor who is good with animals but about 15 seconds into conversation he implodes into tears and sniffles and hands me the phone but I have no desire to talk in times of misery. I prefer to write and cruse and drink and hope there is a decent movie playing on TV to watch. So I keep the conversation short and regrettably curt.
The fall took out what little remnants of strength his legs had left. Walking became more of a balancing trick, how could he support his heavy frame on two hind legs that had the durability and rigidness of uncooked noodles. But still he managed through out the night. He breathing was so heavy it that it sounded like the panting of an adult man with thyroid issues. And his walking was shaky like dying leaves in the wind. But I fear that’s too graceful to describe the stumbling of the Dog. It was more akin the sound of a CD skipping while playing your favorite track. Frantic and painful. An error in upkeep that destroys something beautiful.
My parents retire around 12. Leaving me and the Dog and the night and the silence that comes with knowing the end isn’t a far off finish line over mountains, but that the end of this thing is only a modest collection of hours away, less than 100,000 seconds.
He won’t eat which worries me because this is an animal whose main allegiance lied with his own gluttony. And looking at his the apathy chiseled into his sullen face while a wave a biscuit soaked in steak sauce (Our favorite.) under his face is a starling realization that behind his will to stand is a resignation. I wonder what that resignation feels like, does it wash you like wave, entering your nostrils and feeling your lungs. Or does acceptance of the end come like a bullet. Do you die before your heart stops?
Eventually I hear the desperate clamoring of nails and the panting kicks up again as if it were a fire being stoked. I gather my own strength, it’s getting late and all this worry is riding me like a cowboy in some morose rodeo. By the time I’m off the couch and he’s stumbling around and breathing fire and his heads down but he’s walking with so much fucking intent you can almost, and maybe for the first time, feel his presence. In this walk that scared by age and bad bones I can feel the flames of his will. He turns to the kitchen and pauses at the back stairs. I rush into to stop him, fearing a face first plummet. My hearts races and I realize this type of worry is the shit that kills people. I manage to put the child-safety gate we took from my aunt after her kids were too big for it to be an obstacle, in the doorway to block his path. He seems annoyed but turns around and makes his trudge to the front door. It’s apparent to me now that he wants to go outside. That he has already soiled the inside of the house and that he is still capable of making the trip outside to handle his business like any other respectable, housebroken dog. He has dignity. So I oblige and open the front door and he looks out and the wet pavement and the night sky that seems to have a deep purple hue.
There was something so amazing about this moment; Watching the Dog survey the stairs, watching him confront his limitations, and thoroughly ignore them for the sake of pride, for the sake of taking a shit in the designated shit taking area like a functioning member of society. Like there was nothing wrong, like he was fine.
His front legs make the first stair down with no issue, but it’s the back legs that give out on him. He plops down, on the second stair, sunk like an anvil. He looks around, his mouth open, confused, where had his strength gone. Why was this so fucking hard now? There he was, stuck on the second of six steps, the rain, still falling without regard, the sky wrapped in a dark lavender so brooding it would have been sexy with a cognac and oj and a ciggerete.
I go back in the house and get a the pants we’d used to lift him out of the basement. I position them under him again, wrap the pant legs around my fore arms and lift. He seems grateful, as if he understands this is the only way he’ll be able to move. Resignation like a wave, resignation like a bullet. While he gets why we need the pants, he doesn’t get how to fully use them, and since neither can communicate we fumble about in the rain for 3 minutes trying to understand what the other wants. Eventually I realize we are going to need to leash to. Which means I’ll have to wake up Dad. And I was so hoping not to. I don’t want to leave him on the steps, in the rain with pants tied around him so I hit the doorbell a few times. After about a minute I see Mom come down the stairs from the open front door.
“Whats the matter you got locked out?” She calls.
“No. I need some help with the dog.”
Mom puts on her coat and shoes and I hand her the leash. We hoist him down the stairs and he pees and does some sniffing around in the lawn and Mom says that this won’t work for him. And then I realize Dad hasn’t told her about tomorrows plan.
That night my Dad slept on the kitchen floor with the Dog. Mom sat in the dining looking at them. The next day we use the pants system to put the Dog into the car. I’d been drinking and crying and my parents had been making small talk in voices too genial to be real.
In the car in the back seat he gives me a few last kisses. And I’ll never miss a womans tongue like I’ll miss that collie’s. He seemed to be crying with they gave him the shots. He eyes were watering and I don’t know if dogs cry and I won’t google it because sometimes facts get in the way of reality. I wanted to bury him in the back yard but Dad didn’t want to handle the body and none of liked the idea of not having a coffin for Streak, the Dog.

So I’ll remember him not as a headstone in the garden, but as the dog hair on my sweater. As the biscuits in the kitchen and as the warmth in the basement. I’ll remember Streak as friend. And every other dog I see will seem familiar, because I’ll know that somewhere in me on the borders of my mind, always orbiting inside, is the part of me that’s still just two eyes, two ears and the desire to run.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Too long to text you (Hicky shaped like the crab nebula)

I’m stuck to Carl’s couch like a fly in flypaper.  I don’t know if it’s the drink or the guilt from the thought of leaving after I drink or maybe its because I just took a 9 minute long tequila shit and my legs feel like slinkies and the idea of walking back home with knees so wobbly and ass so swampy is unfavorable.  Whatever my reasoning for staying, I feel myself sinking into Carl’s couch as if by anchor, as if by unearthly gravitational restrictions. (We’d weigh the most on Jupiter.)

“I’m not wholly Christian or wholly Buddhist or even wholly a Theist. I’m an individual, a collection of insular and outward perceptions. I’m a Carl-ologist.” Carl says with a look that is surprising less glib and self-satisfied than one would assume someone who qualifies his religious affiliations with nomenclature derived from his own (fucking) name. Carl is thin chinned and full faced, dark handsome eyes but the haircut of someone definitively uncreative. Standard white guy coif.

He goes on about his ideology, moving his hands like a chef or a politician who can’t quite read the cue cards and its interesting but behind all of my nods and ‘Oh really’ are thoughts of you.  My face is the set and this conversation in the play and everything is going well on stage but behind the scenes, hundreds of tiny you’s are dressed in black, manipulating switching working my eyebrows and pursing my lips like and making me expel assuring grunts. Carl has no idea that I’m run by you, that I’m only a shell that houses thoughts of you and your nasally voice and your lips a baby when you sleep.

“We all try too hard to portray ourselves as greater than perception allows.” Carl’s eyes are a razor whip and for a second I think he’s on to me but then his glance warms and he swans his head up and strokes his neck hair and with a puckish laugh says; ‘Myself included.’ And I’m safe, back to feigning attention back to being drowned in thoughts of your hair and your tiny hands and your nasally voice and I’m choked up because I like Carl, he’s a friend from work and he told me how his best friend made advances on his girlfriend and how his he and his Father’s relationship is strained and I want to be his friend and listen to Carl-ology (even though the hubris it takes to name a spiritual denomination after yourself is nauseating.) but it’s been 7 days since I had me some of you, one week since we shared spit and sweat and secrets, half a fortnight since I heard that shitty little nasally voice.

“This world is a place of fugazi accountability. So many of us chalk this life up to happenstance. No regard for the meaning of existence.” He begins to slow his speaking, as if he believe his thoughts are evading me, as if his speed is blinding. I let him, looking at Carl you’d never think he had this in him. This sort of heady naval gazing is usually reserved for more disheveled looking folk.

He brings up Descartes and its deep but all I want is to be buried deep inside of you.

Buried in you.

6 feet inside you being eaten by earthworms and having my body become a maggot nest. I can’t shake you, not like a dog shakes off water or the way your hips shake into the psyche of your costumers. (Can we not all them costumers, costumers are people who shop at Walgreens for Fritos and chap stick.)

“Our existence is dependent on our perceptions alone Adam.”  He takes a pull for the bottle and he’s speaking fire and I’d moved if I wasn’t so sunk into the couch and drowning in you.

I want to get up and leave but you can’t leave a man with his head so far in the clouds. Maybe clouds work like Rorschach blots. Maybe one day I’ll drive you to the dentist  and your hands will be on my knee and I’ll get sappy and cry looking at your hand, pie crust brown.

Carl brings up his dead mother in a quote to utterly heart blisteringly sad that I won’t paraphrase. Tears well up and I feel bad because I kill my mom off in every story I write.

He says that for 3 months after she died he would her voice, in those nebulous moments after waking up. When the brain is between our conceptualized reality and the infinitude of sleep, he’d hear his mom, call from some sprit province.

I image you doing that hand stand against your wall, I image you holding a baby and looking at me and I’ve never felt further away from anything and it’s gross that sometimes I’m so empty.  It’s gross that I let this black soot fill my lungs.

I watched you cry and dance blind folded one night. Sometimes the weight of all this gets to me.

“There is nothing that can change the past. There is nothing that can change the moment we just had.”  Carl exhaled with clarity and genius and (again) no glibness.

And I knew nothing more important would be said that night. So I left.

(I coulda done better.)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Leprechauns on the back of lions.

Under the patriarchal sun, we grow like...

"Try to forget those memories that make you sick."
Today is (will be) the first day I start to write (to really write, not the half-mad scribbling’s I’ve been doing in that journal I received as a gift with the corny salutation inscribed on the front.) Today my fingers will hover over the key board and scour the letters like an eagle scours the fields for prey.
But first I’ll need some drunken abandon. This lime-a-rita will have to do. With this Lime-a-rita and at least one miller high life (The champagne of beers) and maybe a taste or two of the absinthe I bought my father for Father’s Day, I will write something deeply affecting and legendary but not without a healthy amount of the dark that graces (curses, taints, fucks with.) all my actions. Today, on this most pleasant of Saturday afternoons I will listen to songs sang in muddled falsetto and I will get drunk so that I redden in the face and I will bloviate on this page so righteously that God will ride his Segway down from heaven and give me the keys to his condo.

The lord’s condo, the lord’s yacht, the lord’s timeshare in  Wilmington.

I have just come back from New York from a business trip that took place in the forest.

I still have dirt from New York under my nails and deep in my pores. It was a baptism by mud, and I came back feelingly unjustifiably venerated, and I smell of earth suffused with sweat and star dust.

New York was a spiritually cathartic that put a great deal of money in my wallet.

On my first day back in the city I rode the trains and felt no marvel or fondness toward Chicago, I only felt pulled toward the night and for drink and fast company. I got off the blue line a Damen and Millwalkee and surveyed the mass of the well-dressed yet tragically blue collared denizens of Wicker Park and I remember feeling let down by them, as if I was expecting them to dazzle me, as if I expected them to know I was gone, they didn’t know me yet I knew all of them. (Half broad generalization and half hypothesis based on textured experience.)

That first day I spent 100 dollars at a tavern, both on my own drinks and the drinks of a few friends. We talked about the civil war that festered in Chicago, we talked about how C.P.D is 22,000 applicants in the red, we spoke of dirty dealings and moving west. Then we parted and I got a tattoo for a man who suffered a spine injury from a motorcycle accident. After two hours and 200 dollars I was marked for life.

I spent a lot of money that first day.

Later that week I found myself preparing to head back to New York but this time to the City for a festival that would have been a culmination and liberation of all the years spent behind the glow of my family’s Hewlett-Packard in MySpace groups and forums desperately outstretching a hand for companionship and comradely and maybe a little nookie.  It was going to be a road trip but unforeseen problems arose (We couldn’t rent a car due to bad credit.) and I found myself stuck in Chicago, a town I was rapidly falling out of love with, with a fully packed bag and a pair of eyes set for adventure.

So I immediately trivialized the quest for wholeness by drinking Captain Morgan and taking a nap on my friend’s sofa.
Eventually the house filled with people and I woke up to a room full of energy varying from pensive to sloppy to rotten to errant.(Can you guess which one I was?) I caught sight of the girl who had played muse to my many nights of selfish pontificating and idolization. This girl was short and fair skinned. She wore a mane of curly blonde hair and green eyes that shined like trophy’s, and even now writing about her I am compelled to pour myself another beer and fantasize about her with a sort of mournful exaltation. I’m not sure if it’s the music (Right now I’m listening to The Cure’s Lollapalooza performance and ‘love song’ is playing and I’m slow dancing with my dog.)or the beer or the memory of all the years I have known this girl and wanted this girl that are filling me with the radically burning fire of desire and longing but the truth of the matter is that no matter how good I get at monogamy and chivalry and empathy and all the other qualities relationships with girls deserve I know that this girl will always be able to melt my resolve, atomize my integrity and leave me shaking and confused just like I was 16.

We hug and she tells me I am ‘stupid’ and I analyze her words the way a teenage girl would analyze the ‘xoxo’ in a text message. I kiss her cheek and this is the first time in my 4 years of knowing her my lips press against her flesh. I melt a little bit, and she hops over the puddle that was once Adam Lawson to embrace the night that is still young, and I want to follow but I don’t want to over saturate my presence so I stay in my friends bedroom (He is off on a trip to the casino with a girl I used to know who once asked, with disarming sincerity; ‘Were Vampires real?’)
Eventually a Sudanese girl with a demure squeak of a voice sits on the bed with me and we watched Anime and youtube videos of our favorite live performances. She’s from Iowa and she is the type of girl I describe when I speak of the hidden majesty of the Midwest. She had dark skin and dark hair and a thirst for rum that not even I could match.(That particular night.)

We shared a few beautiful sentiments and we slept (platonically) on a pull out bed in the basement that night.

The party died down and the cats walked across our bodies. We woke up and got beer and talked about things that would have been important if our hearts were present.

As a writer I am very cognizant of my hearts involvement in my words and actions. And looking back on that new morning I realize I was playing the day on the fence, not a hunter, not the hunted, simply existing.
Under eye baggage.

I am beginning to feel guilty and incompetent for not making a point to this writing. So I’ll fast forward…
The Sundanese girl met her Chicago boyfriend at the Bucktown 
festival and I felt abandoned and unloved and began to walk home when I saw the masterpiece that was the blond with the green trophy eyes.

Let me clear things up about her….

All my friends have been following her like loyal fans follow their favorite band for years. We all pine over her beauty. She is a classic like a little black dress, but she hasn’t so much as given any of us the time of day. Although I know she dated Judge Mathis’s son.

This next statement I say with drunken hubris so forgive me if it is inaccurate…

Her actions, this girl, seem to carry a tinge of conscious banality  as if she knows that she is capable of more…
What I mean to say is….I’m not sure she follows her heart.
Anyway, the Sundanese girl leaves and I meet up with green eyes and we drive to one of her friend’s houses,  which turns out to be a mini-mansion in Logan Square and we drink Pinot Grigio and listen to bands with member no younger than 45 and I convince her to sing and I fall in love with her and I ask to run away with her and she tells asks me what can I give her and the first thing I think about saying is ‘my dick’ then I realize I can devote myself to her then I realize I’d get nauseous the way I did with my last lover then it’s too late because she ditches me for the guy who directs Chance the Rappers videos, a skinny twig, hipster scum bag who can’t dance like I can, but I guess they have been ‘intimate’ for longer than I feel comfortable divulging.
So I sit in a stranger’s back yard, with my pallet hot from wine and smoke and the fire from the pit laps at me like my dog does when he licks the dew from our tree.And again I am lonely.

As a writer I spend long stretches of periods alone. Writers are creatures of beauty and buried heartache.

That was the closest I’d ever gotten to green eyes, and when we danced there was a part of her I could feel in my bones. She was exuding soul but I guess my nice polo, pressed jeans, and spirit weren't enough to coerce her into my life.

Her body seemed attainable, as most of body’s are. But her heart seemed to hold this distant seeming majesty, like a mountain too steep to climb.

Now on this Saturday that as crawled past pure white clouds to darker hues, I watch my dad climb a ladder to fiddle with the flower pots he has planted on the deck.
My father is in his 60s, and the ladder wobbles like it has Parkinson’s, if the ladder where to fall I’m not sure my dad would be okay.

My dad is a Vietnam veteran who survived not only a grisly war but a life time of other ordeals, if he died while plating flowers…

I’d have to lie to people. Death by gardening is so gay.
And not ‘gay’ in the ignorant, negative sense, but gay as in same sex sodomy.

I don’t want my Dad to have a gay death.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Red like a tomato.

                                           N.S.F.W (Mature readers only.)
So this is an excerpt from my short story collection titled 'Alligators.' (It's pretty close to being finished, and I'm incredibly happy and it's gonna be awesome and you should buy it.) This is about 4 pages in so I'll fill you in on the stuff you missed;
Lindsay Griffin has a reputation for being a man eater. She broke one of the narrator's best friend's hearts ( and wallets) so now the narrator as somehow ended up in bed with her. He concocts and plan to punish the evil Lindsay Griffin; He plans to rub her underwear on a stray cat so she has an allergic reaction. This excerpt picks up right after the narrator leaves the bed. So with out further ado, I give you 
                                                 'A mistake involving a cat.'

The panties were white with a pink trim. I've been told that a girl will spare no expense when it comes to underwear, and that in the event that they believe they are going to have sex, they will wear certain pairs of underwear, as one last layer of seduction, one last nail in the coffin, one last reason to cum to early. If this was true, the panties that Lindsay wore last night had no indication she had intended to spend the night with me. These were private panties, these aren't panties one wears for seduction, these are the panties you wear under your sweatpants while you eat your 3rd bowl of cereal on an idle Sunday. I grab them off the floor, stealthy, like a perverted ninja. She groans and meets the waking world, I panic for a split second and drop the panties and pretend to be checking my jeans.
“Heh, well good mornin’. You always get up this early?” The witch spoke.
“Not all the time.” I say apprehensively, like a child meeting a weird Aunt for the first time.
“So then what are you doing up, come back to bed, you were keeping me warm.” She says in with kind and vulnerable cadence and a more naive man would have fallen for the act, but I had x-ray vision when it came to mushy bedroom talk. It’s all savory lies. You see, bedroom talk is just the remnants of the dream world. Before the dream world dissipates like a fog,  your subconscious is left with a few technicolor clumps of dream mist. That what bedroom talk is. That’s why no one says anything romantic at 2:30 pm, because you’re wide awake and the dream world is completely incinerated away.
 Doesn't your pact with the devil keep you warm?” I say to her.
“What, Oh my God you’re so weird.” She groans out, almost singing it. She stretches her body out and her breast peek out from the cover. They are stupendous; the perfect circumference, like a crop circles. Alien sculpted. If her spirit wasn't so repulsive, I might have contracted a boner. (I realize I used the term ‘contracted’ in reference to an erection, as if were a disease, and yes, at times that is how I feel about boners.)
“But seriously, what are you doing up?” She asks me, now laying on her side facing the wall, grabbing at the covers for warmth.
“I’m gonna have a cigarette.” I lie.
“Oh, well have one of my, you let me bum so many of yours last night. They are in my purse.”
“Where’s your purse?”
“It’s in the living room I think.”
“I’m surprised you remember that.”
“Yeah. I’m surprised you’re even alive after last night. You were so drunk.” Her voice is muffled by the pillow. She was right, it is no small feat that I’m alive right now. I have this technique, this drinking technique that I hope one day to teach my kids. It’s called ‘cyborg mode’ it’s a practice in which you drink fast and without capitulation. You do this in hopes of obliterating the conscious, entering a sort of auto-pilot mode, you become a human who is driven by pure instinct, scarcely human and scarcely animal. You become, basically a cyborg. It’s a nifty little trick I learned, and can really make a night exciting, or it can wind you up in jail, or missing your kidney or even worse, in bed with Lindsay Griffin.
“Yeah, I've had a lot of practice at drinking.”
“That’s code for you’re a raging alcoholic who should seek help immediately.”
“Yeah, maybe.”
“I’m just kidding. Go smoke that cig.”
Before I leave the room I discretely grab the panties. In the living room I notice a box of pizza on the table. Cold pizza is my life blood, so I make a detour for a slice. Upon opening the box I find a cigarette sticking out of the final slice like a flag on the face of the moon. A heinous act, undoubtedly perpetrated by Lindsay. I pick a pepperoni from the slice, eat it and  start to look for her purse. Going through a woman’s purse is like going through your mothers closet, you may find your Christmas present early, or you may find her turbo speed, bifurcated dildo. Lucky I find the cigarettes before I stumble across anything too gross, besides her coconut flavored gum. What sick person would want the thick, encumbering taste of a coconut in their mouth for that long? The cats are in the alley, behind the coach house so I’d need shoes to avoid glass shards and bird poop and all the other unpleasant things that lay like landmines in alleys. I  slide my size ten and a half foot into my roommates size 12 loafers. It feels like being a 7 year old again, sliding my feet into my dad’s massive shoes.
As I clop to my back patio, her underwear in hand and cigarette in mouth, I begin to have second thoughts, was Lindsay Griffin, was she deserving of such an action. I mean, she had never necessarily harmed me, and it was only her reputation that I deemed worthy of punishment. I thought about that word, punishment. I thought of judges in courts, and of strict parents, and then I my thoughts were of myself, and how flawed I was. How many transgression  was deserving of punishment for, and I had this moment were I felt like I held a gavel in my hands. The judicial system is supremely flawed, human nature is flawed, hell the only things that aren't fallible is 'God' and Science. That’s why Newton and Jesus can’t be in the same room.
I light my cigarette off the stove and head outside.  The air greets my naked chest and it carries with it a chill, but I use my drunken grit to bear the cold and I walk past the coach house were the 3 female med students live. I walk through the black, cast iron gate and into the alley. The cats feasts, it’s a melee with these strays. All of them purring and hissing and clawing at each other, it must have been how ancient Egypt was, orgies of stray felines in the streets. You’d think that 3 big brained med students would understand the health risks of feeding 10 stray cats, all the fleas and feces. I hate cat people, cat people talk about like a drunks talks about wine, obsessively. I made my way to the feeding ground, the cats slow their feast and observe me, they aren't skittish and they let me get close. I began to stoke ones fur, a fat gold-ish colored one. His fur is stiff and  mated down with dirt, he’s a hobo pussy. I waste no time and begin the the dirty deed. I sort of do a floss maneuver with the panties, back and forth across the cats fur. Like I’m shining the chrome spokes on a Harley, I rub the clothe all over the stupid cat. I pick the cat up and he sort of squirms but who knows how longs its been since someone petted him, so he allows me to pick up and I start rubbing the panties on his underbelly, praying he doesn't take this malice action for a come on, the last thing I need is to be at the center of a kitty cat gang bang.
Down the alley, unbeknownst to me at the time was Manuel. Manuel lived in the neighborhood, he was a scavenger of sorts, he made daily runs through the alley carrying a wheel barrel. He scoured  trash cans for valuables;  microwaves  and lamps, all forms of discarded household items. Sometimes he would clean them and sell them to consignment shops, other times, in cases of TVs and computer towers, he would dissect them and sell them piece by piece. He told me once that the mafia used to kidnap people and cut one finger off everyday the ransom wasn't paid, and coincidentally the ransom price would go higher with every finger missing, he told me that he liked to apply that principle to selling computer parts. It was a starling analogy and after he told me I bid him good day and briskly walked back to my apartment.
Manuel must have been watching me for quite some time because when I noticed him he was already looking at me with an upturned and confused face. There wasn't anything to but to act cordial, so I waved with my hand still holding the cat. Manuel nodded at me and went back to searching for discarded treasure  After I thought the panties were sufficiently coated in cat dander, I toss the feline down and he looks at me with a hiss and I blow cigarette smoke in his face and begin to stand up and turn around, the at gold cat hops on my back, claws bared and tears my skin.
“Ahhhh…Christ.” I scream as I stumble away. Manuel looks at me with dismay, he eye contact seems to me like his peace of mind could be benefitted with words.
“Find any copper?” Apparently copper it was now more valuable than gold.
“Si guey, I found a radiator two days ago.” 'Guey' is Spanish slang for dude.
“Bueno.” I say before heading back to apartment.
“Those yours guey?” Manuel asks nodded to toward the panties.
“Uhhh…no. They’re…uhhhh.”
Manuel screws his face up and says; “It’s okay like they are yours guey, You know I used to have an uncle who wore the ladies underwear too.”
“Thank you for understanding guey.” I say, feigning shame.
“But why were you just rubbing them on cats guey?”
“I’m a strange man.”
“Listen guey, we all strange do things, no one is in any position to judge anyone else.” Mauel says to me and its serendipitous and valuable and dignified.
“That’s why I haven’t gone to my court date yet.” Manuel says, and the proverbial glass of his genius shatters.
 Back in the apartment, I see Brian, my roommate looking in the fridge. His face is pale, even for an Irish person in the morning, and his eyes as red as tomatoes. He looks like he survived a war. He grumbles at me in acknowledgement, his cognitive skills have been dulled from last night so it’s not until I've nearly made it out of the kitchen that he asks me why I had just come from outside in my underwear. I turn around and walk back toward the fridge. I stop and inch away from him and swat at him with the panties, I sing a few seconds of the chorus of Bobby Brown’s ‘My Prerogative.’ and then make my exit.
I walk in to my bedroom and Lindsay is laying on her back typing on her phone. I make sure to drop the panties discreetly on the floor before she notices. I take a seat at the foot of the futon like a dog, I stretch my legs out a lean against the railing. 
“So, tell me what happened last night, like, how’d we find our selves in this position.”
“Hmmm,’ She smiles and sits up, using the my blanket to cover her chest “ I came here around 10:30 with Brooke and Bridget and you were already beyond drunk. It was a little scary actually, you've got an intense look in your eye when you’re drunk. Its Scary dude.”
“Yeah well not scary enough to chase you outta my bed.” I say. Feeling self satisfied. 
“Well, you’re only sort of right. That look you were making, was far from attractive, and the worst part is’ She pauses to explode with laughter. She has a heavy laugh that rolls her shoulders up and down. She must of felt bad for laughing so hard because she paused to peek at me to study my face. “I think that was actually your 'get it' face.” She covers her eyes and laughs away.
“My ‘get it’ face?”
“Yeah, like your, ‘come and get it’ face.” She shakes her neck seductively.
“Oh God.” I shake my head.

“You were trying to seduce me looking like a complete lunatic.” She proceeds mimic my face, she pouts her lips out and swaggers her neck and head a bit. It is awful to watch.
“Jesus, ok alright. I get it, you can stop.”
“Hahaha, yeah it was terrible. And the worst part is you tried to pick me up in front of this big group of people. You males are so pitiful, always trying to measure each other dicks. Always trying to be Mr. Big Shot. Treating women like trophies and shit. News flash you asshole, women aren't UFC belts. Oh and how gay is the UFC?”
She must have seen the box for the new UFC video game I’d bought. I came across the realization that the UFC was semi-homoerotic when I spent 15 minutes trying to find the right hair/beard combo for my shirtless, oiled avatar. 
“Ok, so I’m a chauvinistic asshole who may or may not be gay. I’ll buy all of that.” I crawl over next to her and tuck myself under the covers. “But that doesn't explain why we did the nasty.”
“Heh, it wasn't that nasty. It was almost sweet.” She says nestling herself under my arm. ‘Almost sweet’? I play the words over in my head. Had I been ‘almost sweet’ with this concubine of the sea?
“Well yeah, but if my ‘Get it’ face didn't….get ya, what did?” I ask her.
“Heh, do you really wanna know?”
“I’m askin’ ain’t I?”
“Well I went to the bathroom for a piss…”
“Classy.” I interject.
“Yeah, I’ll tell you how classy it got, I’m in the bathroom taking a piss and I hear some sniffling coming from behind the shower curtain. I’m thinking it about to be like a cat, or some drunk bitch on the phone with her boyfriend. Turns out it was a drunk bitch, you.”
“Oh God.” I feel myself imploding from embarrassment. Mortified by the fact I was seen drunk crying in a bathtub. The egg on my face was thick enough to scramble. 
“Ha, yeah. You big bitch. And when I asked you what the hell you were crying for you crawl out of the tub, and start hugging me. While my vag is out, while I’m peeing. And you know how hot vodka pee is, you were down there, breathing it in. Crying. It was pitiful.” 
“I’m going to fucking hang myself.” I balk.
“Awww, poor baby.” Lindsay kisses me on the cheek.
“And that’s what got you in my bed.”
“Hell no boy. That shit was pitiful. But after a few minutes of crying on my lap as I tweeted about it you looked up at me and said ‘I’m just misunderstood, like you are.’ And in the last 3 years I've known you, I've heard you say a lot of bullshit. But that sentence, it was the most sincere thing I think you've said since you were a little kid.”
I look at her for a minute, her purple painted nails plucking away at her phone. Her skin is dry but still smooth. Her hair, dyed blonde, straightened, and primarily synthetic, is messy but in its catastrophe there is an authentic wonderfulness. Which is what Lindsay is in as a whole, un-apologetically authentic. She is a human for the first time in my eyes. And I begin to pity myself for how shallow I am. I feel very small and shamed and despicable. Se shows me on her phone her tweets from the previous night. They read, in sequence; 
Omfg, is this nigga crying in the tub. What the ever loving fuck is going on.
And I’m taking a piss ya’ll #whyme
Wiped his snot on his sleeve. Remind me never to touch him.
He just got up out the tub and is now curled up around my legs like a dog. Should I be alarmed.
My life right now. (Attached to this post was a picture of me buried between her bare thighs.)
You know what? At least I’m getting something honest from someone for once. He may be a drunk with a dimly lit future, but this is a real moment we are having. 
Would it be slutty to kiss him? #toolate.

“It was crazy.” Lindsay sighs.
“I see.”

I felt a sinking guilt for all my assumptions and indiscretions. Like a sock turned inside out, all the broken toe nails fell out and I was absolved of all the hate I had for this girl. Women carry with them and in them a silent and magnanimous weight. They combat society expectations, and us men, in our fraternity of idiocy, ever hating and raging against and defiling their divinity. I heavy hatred filled my heart of everything that was the common 'man' The male brain seemed subversive and sordid.
“ What ever happened to you and Elliot?” I said, trying to shake my own miserableness.
“You don’t have to answer.” I say.
“He was too much, entirely too soon. Ya know?”
“Yeah.” And I did know the sentiment. It had happened to me many times, girls passionate and rapacious with their hugs and kisses that seemed like a straggle hold or a rigid decade long cell phone contract. Clinginess is to romance, has lions are to blind gazelles.
“And after awhile I started to hate his face. His beard, the way he ironed his pants. I hated all the shit I started to date him for. It was just, ickkk. I don’t know. I sound like a bitch don't I?”
“That isn't necessarily and bad thing. It sucks that women can't air grievances without being looked at negatively.”
“'Air grievances.' What a dorky thing to say.”
“Pitfalls of being a writer.” I say, feeling a little foolish. In my dealings with woman I am often cautious of my vocabulary.
“ I'm not going to catch anything am I?” Lindsay says looking at me with squinted eyes and her mouth open. Her lips are full and pink, her skin is still made up from last night. I look at my pillowcase and see that it has brown smudges on it. Make up stains on pillow cases are like Sasquatch footprints in the forest. Evidence of something mystical.
“I could ask you the same thing.”
“Yeah but I asked you first?” She says after she punches my arm and gives a faint smile.
“Well, no.” I say, as is customary in with generation. A kindly denial if ignorant, a text message after if lying.
“Good. You won’t either.”
We sit in bed for a while longer, talking. The morning drifts into afternoon and when our hangovers crescendo and fade we decide to get lunch. We put on clothes, dawn our sun glasses and walk to Vietnamese restaurant and the intersection of Claremont and North, a half block away from apartment. When we get there she stops at the door, waiting for me to open it. It makes us both feel good.
We get to the restaurant and we ask the cashier at the counter for a large order of the Vietnamese chicken I had recommend while back in my house. We sit and wait for our food.  Lauren began to cough, and in these coughs you could hear the saliva collecting in her throat, the body’s natural defenses against bacteria. This cough persists for a few minutes and I believe it to be the chilly October air but then her face, that copper face begins to redden and puff. By the time our food gets to the table Lauren is tomato crimson and is sweating.
“Are you okay?” Our waitress asks, looking worried.
“I don’t know.” Lauren gurgles.
“Shit.” I say, remembering that three hours earlier I had marinated her undergarments in cat cooties. We are given the choice to own up to the many actions we do in this life that can with an easier stroke, fade into anonymity. As we poke our heads through the birth canal of adulthood, we see the light and its blinding and we desire to retreat back into the gooey womb of childhood. But in this age, with this beard on my chin and these loans and debts that menaces and follows me like an 18-wheeler on a desolate rode at night, I knew I had to be a man. I grab Lindsay's hand.
“Lindsay, I’m sorry.”
“Sorry?” She says, it seems that with each passing millisecond she puffs more, and becomes redder, as if she is ripening.
“I rubbed a cat on your underwear.”
“You did what?!?!” She began to hack, ironically, like a cat with a hairball.
“Yeah, I thought you were a witch. I don’t know. It was a shitty prank. I was drunk.”
“You fucking idiot. I’m going to kill you.” Lauren gurgles while lunging for my neck with her hands out . Out of fear, I swat her away, with maybe to much force as she falls to the floor of the restaurant. The waitress along with a couple by the window look on in reserved horror.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's alright

A friend of mine, who is as beautiful as she is intelligent (Not to mention she has a fantastic set of breasts, I mean those things are immaculate.) Told me that she didn’t like a lot of the stuff I’ve been writing recently, and while at first I must admit that I was hurt,  I can’t really blame her.
She’s known me for a long. She’s been my friend through out these formative years, the grim months and divine days that shaped me into the person I am today. For better or absolute worse, she’s been around. And in the days when we didn’t share a bed, she was never far away from my thoughts. (I originally wrote heart, but that is far too mushy. And hearts are actually pretty gross. All purple and pulsating and pear shaped. Yucky-Ducky-Fucky.)

And to let her down, to fail to entertain her with my writing, was a cut. But I don’t really blame her (Not that you can actually blame someone for not finding you entertaining. That’s like getting mad at a shoe for not fitting right when it’s your own foot that’s grown.) My writing recently has been bullshit, especially on this (or That, I’m not sure where I wanna post this yet.) shit-hole blog of mine. It bullshit because it’s me trying to do a literary impression of someone who is much smarter (or whinier) than me.

And while writers do experiment, especially young writers, (Cut me a break sweetheart, I’m only 22.) It’s still little reason to pump out pages soulless, un-funny, boo-boo trash.

So to redeem myself. I’m going to HONESTLY, and with SOUL write about something that I sort of don’t feel comfortable talking about. The following well be UN-EDITED stream of consciousness essay. You’re probably saying; ‘Adam, your spelling, grammar and syntax are terrible. You never edit anything.’ You’d be half right. I edit word choice and sentence flow, but never mechanics of things, if I linger on my own words to much they kinda get stale. So the next passage will have no, back spaces or rewrites. I’ll just keep on going. No covering my tracks, no ego stroking. 100% real starting now;

As a child, I grew up in an all black neighborhood. Playing with black children having the, well not ‘the’ there is no ‘the’. I had ‘a’ black experience. And with having that South-side Chicago experience you get introduced to things. Like, hmmm, I guess ‘ebonics’ is the term.
Although that’s an extremely, Anglo, accusatory, derogatory word.
On the south side of Chicago, people talk like niggas. Slow down Adam, aim your words.
In the 2 grade, I told my mom I was ‘finna’ go outside. She looked at me, stone faced, and said;
“You’re going to do what?”
I looked at her, as if she was some sort of deaf fool and full of conviction I repeated;
“I’m finna go outside.” Pleased with myself, I begin to walk toward the door to go outside and play with my friends, who were all talking in forms of English, so mutilated and wrong the very utter of them sound like some sort of underground poetry.
My mother stopped me again and said;
“You’re fixing to outside?” She gave me a little le-way. ‘Fixing to’ people a southern term, meaning ‘preparing to’.
“No. I’m Finna go outside and play.” Fed up, I twisted the knob to the door but my mother stopped me once more.
“Finna?” She asked.
“Yeah. Finna.” What didn’t this woman understand, I thought. It’s a simple concept. I’m finna eat breakfest. I’m finna ride my bike. I’m finna go outside and smash some bugs. It was a simple concept to me.

“I don’t think ‘Finna’ is a word, Adam.” My mother said. She got out of her chair and walked over to the dining room where she kept a davenport cabinet full of books.
“Yes it is.” I said to her, but I think I was already folding. It sounded forced in my mouth. Like a bad mimic. My father has a stretched out croaky voice, militaristic in nature. and my mother, while she doesn’t speak the queen’s English (She grew up in Cabrini Green) isn’t slack jawed and slang spewing. So speaking in the way my friends spoke wasn’t genetically adhering to me.

She mad me find ‘Finna’ in the dictionary. And, of course I couldn’t. She then, in her

Gotta learn how to type without looking down
Italics is still on

She made me try and find ‘Finna’ in dictionary, and of course I couldn’t. She then sat me down, and in that way that only mothers can, she told me to never use a word unless I could look it up in the dictionary. She told me that when she moved out of Cabrini Green, she was so sick of that way of talking she never wanted to hear it again.

She eventlully let me go outside, and when my friends greeted me with their ‘Yo’s and I replied’

‘Good Morrow peers. I bid you hello. Say, who is up for a rousing game of stick balls. I do so enjoy the feel of the bark on my palms. Or, mayhaps, you should fancy a good smashing of bugs with rocks. What fun, to crush insects with mineral deposits.’

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My best behavior

Note: I posted this on my tumblr a few months back. I wrote it one morning while drinking a Bloody Mary and looking out my window. I thought this shit was cold blooded but no one seemed to like it to much. What do you think?

“Hey Aryn!” I scream from the side walk. She was half way through the street walking that little rat dog. I hated that dog, It was barely bigger than a squirrel and it was always yelping and it walked funny, all bow legged like a horse. I just knew that when I finally collected the nerve to tell Aryn how I felt about her that we’d fall in love and then in our third month together, I’d say as she wore her paint stained overalls, with blotches of red and green paint smearing her light fingers and tanned cheeks, I’d tell her that the little rat dog had to go. That it’s yelping was waking me up and I tell her I couldn’t write without right amount of sleep. I’d lie and say that the dog bites on my ankles.

She swung her head around and her red hair had a glow in the sun. I’d been in love with a red hair earlier in the year. An internet superstar, she was tumblr famous. But our love never quite lifted off, she stayed a fantasy while I stayed a stranger. But I just knew Aryn was going to be different. Angel blood pumps through Ayrns veins. She turns around and the sun washes over her face and she looks great and I know in my head that I should savor that moment and way the sun rides your forehead and the way her smile grows slow on her face like that raindrop on a windshield that eats the other raindrops.

She gives me a wave and starts to turn around to meet me at the corner, dragging the rat dog behind her. It’s a fantastic day in Chicago, a Sunday in its infancy.

“Hey.” She says. I open my mouth but my eyes dart to the yellow blurring taxi. There is a clunk and a grinding noise, how you would imagine throwing a rock at a fan must sound. My jaw drops so low I’m surprised gravel doesn’t get stuck in my beard.

“Shit.” I say shaking my head.

“What?” I read her face. When she feels the tugging on the leash I watch her smile crack like an egg dropped from the sears tower.

The rat dog, Sid, is stuck up the taxi wheel. It’s yelping its final yelps. The engine revs and the car goes forward. You can hear grinding and tearing of skin.

“Shit.” I’m petrified, a profanity spewing statue. “Fuckkkk.”

She screams the dogs name; “Sid!” over and over again. It would be erotic if it was my name in that tone, but it is not me. It is the name of her mangled box terrier. “Sid.” She’s screaming and people are looking.

“Fuck.” I’m frozen on the sidewalk. I see what I now know is blood dripping from under the car. She is in a panic, on her knee’s reaching under the car. I remember her first day I’d ever seen her, eyes fixed at the ground, those baggy blue jeans, stained with paint. I was too slow to catch a sight of her full face but when I turn around the elevator doors are already closing, I see for the first time her face her bright brown eyes and her perfect skin. I see her mouth open and my heart bursts. It slices right through my heart, right through my ribs and my heart and guts poured out on the floor and as I struggled to pick them up and stuff them back into the fissure like cavern that was my chest I gasp.

when I turn around to get a full look at her face before the elevator doors close, but I can’t help but think she was looking at me. And those doors slide shut I see her face and a nature felt a flutter slice my heart, Right through my ribs and my heart and guts poured out on the floor and as I struggled to pick them up and stuff them back into the fissure like cavern that was my chest I gasped. I wanted her to like me, I wanted her to talk about me with her roommates, and her friends from back home over skpye. She’d talk about the boy that open his chest and painted the floor with his love.

But now as I watch her dog yelp, that little rat dog, Sid.

“Damn.” My face contorted as if Larry David smelled a Indian food fart. I want to help her. I want to grab the dog and pet its blood matted fur. I want her to thank me and kiss me. She is still screaming. The cab driver pulls off fast, I watch him as he speeds down the block, I see a bundle drop from underneath the cars body. The bundle doesn’t move. She turns to look at me. Tears rolling down, just like the raindrops on the on the windshield. She looks at me and I take off running.

I run for 3 minutes. Our love is that bloodied bundle.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Stutter, Stammer, Stagger,

*This is my rejected thoughtcatalog submission. Guess I'll try something different. Anyway, hope you dig it.

Growing up I had a really terrible stutter. My words were diced and chopped up so badly that, what in my head seemed like amazing sentences, came out as these mangled glitches of sounds. My Friends could all talk normally, firing off words all fast and sharp, thoughts would form in their brains and travel right down and out the mouth with no issue. My brain would cultivate words and send them out too, but at some point during the trip to my mouth, my words would take a wrong turn and get the shit kicked out of them in an alley. Then they would hobble, all bloodied and beaten, under my pallet and across my tongue and everyone listening would have these pained and pitied looks on their faces. They could tell by the look in my eyes that what I was trying to say was either funny or poignant, but what they heard were just off-putting and static gasps for air and syllable repetition. It was embarrassing to say the (very) least.

The spring time for my speech impediment was during grammar school (Elementary school, as some call it. I never like the term ’elementary’, maybe because of the condescending denotation that Scottish detective says it with.) Children, though unassuming and generally not malevolent, are cruel at this age and I was the subject of much cruelty. Although not as much cruelty as one would think for my stuttering. I was short, near sighted, Pokemon obsessed and had a gnarly case eczema that centralized on my forehead, so the hounds had much to chew on. I was called a midget, four eyes, nerd/lame and Dr. Spots (due to my glasses and the pattern the eczema left on my face.) Although my stutter wasn’t the hot button issue in my social executions, it was the one thing I felt the most ashamed by.

Scientifically speaking, the disorder isn’t tied to any neurological status. Not to say that I’m neurologically sound. I’m on my third bloody Mary and I’m in my boxers wearing the top hat from my Abraham Lincoln Halloween costume. I’m only saying that whatever abnormality exist in my brain doesn’t cause the porky pig routine. But it can cause immense shame, fear, frustration and in my case anxiety. 3 million Americans suffer from stuttering, less than 0.01% of the entire population. Not to mention the fact that four times as many males are suffering from it than females. So my chances of laconically reciting love poems to a girl who knows my plight is massively lowered.

In spite of general ridicule and mild social ostracizing. I was a pretty happy dude. Had my group of friends (nerds and outcasts), got decent grades and had enough gamecube discs at home waiting for me to put that extra fire in my step on the days I’d have to run home with the bullies chased me. I was content in stuttering, and although it shook me up sometimes and caused my hands to pour sweat on the tortuous occasions I was chosen for in class reading it didn’t really stop me from getting a reputation as the funny kid. (Not the class clown, the class clown is never all that funny, he is just the jackass that throws paper at people and pulls your pants down.)

During the latter years of grade school the stuttering halted, I think boobs helped. (The growing of classmates boobs, not my own. I’m a male and if I were to sprout chest protuberances it would open up a whole new galaxy of ridicule and confusion.) Girls began to take their first steps into the grassy field of womanhood and when the boobs started to bloom, the stutter faded out like some evolutionary trait kicked in. And while I still had a multitude of other socially crippling conditions (I was beginning to get dandruff and Digimon had just begin to air on American television.) I found a way to somewhat bury the impediment in order to tell Lindsey Griffin and her gaggle of 12 year old harlots crude jokes and over heard secrets.

Which brings me to the now, I’m 22 and while 8th grade seems like light years away I still bear the scars from my years I spent stuttering. I’m a writer now, and a comedian, I take pride in my words and how they affect people. I still stutter to this day, and it still triggers within me vivid, often horrific flashbacks that send me into chaotic anxiety likened to that off a Vietnam vet. But instead of Ho Chi Min cutting off the ear of a fellow GI, its me reading behind a podium in my social studies class trying, to no avail, to inform the class about Sojourner Truth.