A Journey through the Sandwiches—Manwich

For nine years I did toil over nights on phosphorescent beaches trawling in through sand so lonely never seeing that what comes to greet the world after the moonlight. Was I alone? No, not alone. But no sunshine on a smiling face I ever saw.

On phosphorescent beaches the light below the clear water shines a blue within the blackness, eerie and alien. It’s the algae, it’s the weeds. They call it bioluminescence. It’s alive. Electric blue cords wind around my rubber boots, for nine years, a-glowing. We were here to preserve the ocean at night. We come to keep the lights alive. With our hooks we remove the detritus, the trash and plastic, wilted paper, sharkbitten synthetics, sneakers far from any home.

The job was necessary. The job, mechanically, was easy. The sights were at times beautiful, the sorts of nights that made you realize up til then you’d never truly seen the sky. But everyone I met was angry. Everyone was tired, up and down the beach at our own outposts, a mile or more in between. We worked from dusk to dawn, separated, and for years I grew more quiet til there were days I never spoke at all.

And there were days I found no beauty in the luminescence, glowing blue, and green, and sometimes red. Then I would catch the colors occasionally mingling into breathtaking shades of rare violet, giving me pause amidst the softly lapping waves. There were days I looked out over this limitless expanse, the ocean around my feet with its living ribbons of light, the space above a piercing mist of far off radiant forms, and felt nothing. Other times I knew my privilege. Sometimes I felt I saw it all. I felt everything, at peace.

But sometimes…

Sometimes I cast down my hooks, and set myself adrift at sea, without an oar, drifting until looking back the shore was all but gone. And I would spin in the directions that the wind and waves would take me, toward ports and places I could not possibly know. I accepted fate as random chance. I turned away from everyone. For so long up and down that cobalt beach, I did not love or hold an other, I found contentment only down a bottle or in pills, for pain, in my neck and back from working, pain behind my eyes from sitting still and dreaming, eyes half-lidded thinking of another life I’d like to have so like this but just… better. In the sun, the light, with songs I’ve long forgotten in my heart filling my ears again, letting my mind wander into sleep at night for once, quiet as the sun makes its way around the world and wakes us up again. The sight of it is so beautiful, if I could still understand.

After all these years I no longer see its light as greeting; I see it as goodbye. And though I set myself adrift at sea without an oar intending on nowhere, anywhere but where I left, always I arrived back on the beach beneath the creeping dawn, not so far from home as I had hoped. And I would drag the boat back to my outpost, drawing off my boots and shirt, following my tired feet back to my soothing corner and the mattress where I sleep, on the ground in this small living space, this lean-to of a hostel, built of tin and stone and shared at times by as many as four other men, all austere and spartan, so used to the way of things, each of them stronger than me. And alone or at each other’s sides we’d stoke the fire, heating cans, warming up our bellies and our homes, up and down the cobalt beach, sleeping til the next night, when the sea begins to glow.

Photo Credit: Nicole Schultz (Pro-click to vibe with me)

turn and face our truths

No more secrets. No more lies.

This is part three of my confessions.

I listen to podcasts exclusively to feel like I have good friends in the room with me, and that I in turn am laughing with them, and we’re all having a good time, about myriad subjects. The comedy gets dark and goofy, with many inside jokes. I listen to diverse hangout shows for this reason, eschewing other formats. It’s like ASMR for making you feel like you have friends, and the tingles only activate upon a smile.

Sometimes I like to interject myself into the conversation, talking back into my speaker, and imagine myself in other lives. I like to think about how these people were sitting in a room, different from the one I am in now, producing this moment of fellowship before beaming it to me. I think the oddest things about the entire edifice of it.

I do this, perhaps, most often while in bed, readying to sleep. And then I can imagine that my podcasts are set up in the dark with me like a slumber party. And I giggle. To be clear, I am alone the entire time. I never listen to them with friends. They’re for me, and me alone. Sometimes for the entire day I am silent save for laughter sparked up by my podcast friends. My favorite podcast is called CUM TOWN, which I thoroughly enjoy for all the reasons I just listed. You would like it, or perhaps not. I sure like those cum boys, though, and hell, I’d like to be one if I could. I’m not, I couldn’t, but I can dream.

Other good podcasts: Uhh Yeah Dude, Chapo Trap House, Kill Tony, end of list.

This is my confession. Hence I face judgement from the masses? Or dost thou recognize my sin? Do they do this too? Do you? Who do? I’ll hex you with some witches’ brew if you doo-doo...

YouTube Rabbit Hole: My favorite film of 2016, Spider-Man eats a booger and fucking dies

A Journey Through The Sandwiches—Grilled Chicken

On stage in a darkened theater, the audience a fair bit shy of halfway full, a dark-skinned dancer bathed in blue light gyrates silently inside a silver ring suspended in midair, her eyes obscured by a mask made of golden leaf. The play, in which she appears so far to be the only cast member, is called What if Nothing We Can Say Will Save Us. The program is a sheet of paper, cobalt black, with no text. Meant to be enigmatic, to me it mostly inspires curiosity over how much it cost to buy the ink to print all of the copies, considering that by its weight, printer ink is worth more than oil, gold, and human viscera. The show so far is not inspiring, but I maintain an open mind. Something compelled me here tonight, after all.

When the dancer crashes sickeningly to the floor, there are gasps throughout the audience, muted screams, and some even take hurried steps toward the stage with an aim on rendering some sort of assistance—but the eerie absence of a back of house response is suspicious enough to stay our urgency. Moments pass by agonizingly before the dancer is inevitably raised up, suspended in the air by a previously unseen cord, her body hanging limply but apparently unharmed. The tension dissipates, to the relief of many. Everyone reclines back in their seats. There is some grumbling, at least from me, at the amount of aggression toward the audience the play has demonstrated so far. A half-hour so far without dialogue, the movements of the actress barely motivated, no meaning to be divined in them at all, at least not without deploying the most tormented logic. I unfold the program again, reassuring myself that there’s really nothing there, at least nothing that I’m clever enough to get. I decide I’ve given enough of a chance to the production. No one protests when I leave.

I exit the theater and emerge onto an empty street, the rain-slick asphalt reflecting streetlamps and neon signs, their brightest points of light diffusing in the mist. Across the street, beneath the dark sky, the luminous sign of SONIC DRIVE-IN beckons like warm fire in the mist. I cross the road, avoiding puddles. It’s one of the ones with the rubber tables outside, where you can sit and enjoy your meal in the open air. The fluorescent light is not what you would call transgender friendly, but so be it. Through the speaker, I order a crispy Asiago Caesar chicken club sandwich, and cold water. The red wine from the theater bar I ordered for myself was cheap, bitter, and by now was giving me a headache—that, or the dreadful show.

My sandwich arrives and I consume it at the table, in small bites. It’s very dry. Asiago is a type of cheese, reminiscent of Parmesan, and if present within the sandwich is only so at levels undetectable. This is not a good version of the grilled chicken sandwich, but my body says that it will do. Too late to do anything about it, anyway. Everything is oversalted, covering a lack of flavor and finesse. I consider what it means that I’ve spent my whole night making bad decisions. At some point, one of the high schoolers sitting at the table across from me calls me a slur word for a gay man. I’m not sure exactly what I did to deserve that.

Photo Credit: Dairy Queen

benign reasons for a burglar to be in your home

In addition to listing these reasons (comprehensively), we will also be ranking them by Level of Moral Unimpeachability (or “LMU”), with a high LMU score connoting a more ethical act, and a low LMU score the opposite.

    1. Searching for food to feed her family. (20 LMU. While the idea of an invader being in your home is undeniably disquieting to one’s peace of mind, engaging in burglary to ensure the survival of one’s family is among the more ethical reasons to do so. You may not like it at the time, but in your heart you understand and feel that you might do the same if your positions were reversed. Quite complicated, ethically.)
    2. Searching for food to feed herself. (15 LMU, following the same logic as above, but without the morally purifying factor of baby innocents.)
    3. Seeking evidence to convict a criminal of a heinous crime. (15 LMU. In police proceedings in the USA, evidence obtained illegally is typically only inadmissible if that evidence was obtained by the police, or by an agent acting on explicit behalf of the police. For evidence turned over by a private citizen, the matter of provenance is largely not an issue, so long as the evidence is legitimate. This is vigilante territory, and it could be argued that criminal justice is a matter for police. But if we assume the criminal is in fact guilty of a heinous crime, but evidence is needed to legally prove the matter, then breaking this law in service of the greater good of society is morally sound. A complex issue.)
    4. Blind drunk, broke into house under impression it was their own. (8 LMU. While understandable on a surface level, this is still unambiguously wrong, unsettling, and illegal—but with proper contrition, hard to stay too furious about.)
    5. Had to take a shit real bad. (5 LMU. Even more understandable. Reminding us that desperate times do indeed call for desperate measures. This scenario hearkens to the maritime axiom, “Any port in a storm”, relating how any land, no matter how unsafe, is safer than the open water in ferocious weather. Of course, there are consequences to docking in an enemy port, and one should be mindful that they will need to face them when the storm passes.)
    6. Curiosity + Doesn’t know right from wrong. (1 LMU.)
    7. Cop with a warrant. (0 LMU)
    8. Curiosity + Knows right from wrong + Doesn’t care. (-2 LMU. There is no reason to do this in the first place, and the very act of burgling is an assault on one’s sense of safety. Highly discouraged in almost all societies.)
    9. Stealing to support a drug addiction. (-10 LMU. Compounded when the items stolen are worth far more than the resale value they would receive on the black market, e.g., it would be preferable, and perhaps more morally righteous, to wake you and demand $40 cash than to take your expensive PlayStation 4 and fence it for the same.)
    10. Stealing just a few of your video games to entertain her children. (-40 LMU)
    11. Stealing all of your video games to entertain herself. (-50 LMU)
    12. Stealing all of your stuff, not just the video games. (-75 LMU)
    13. Cop with no warrant (-200 LMU)
    14. Wanted to touch your butt. (-250 LMU)
    15. Stabbing you to death in the course of stealing your stuff. (-1000 LMU)
    16. On a single-minded mission of killing you (-10,000 LMU)

kill me violently with a machine gun

The following is a work of fiction. Free association. When real events are described, they are moments long past. Many things in the text did not happen. It conceals no greater urgency, and is uncomfortable to read. 

Rip me limb from limb. I deserve to be destroyed.

Kill me violently with a machine gun. Everyone deserves to be killed.

Paint the commons with my viscera. Blast my guts into the wall.

The first thing you need to focus on upon waking is your own destruction. Implore to others. Stab me violently with knives. Run me through with rusted spears and polearms. Throw me off a tall building, or a short one, onto spikes. Lay me down in dark traffic. Hold me underneath the water.

“Drowning,” the psychiatrist said to me across the desk, reading back my own words, from all those years ago. “That would be a good way to go.”

My mom was twisting awkwardly next to me, unsure of how to receive the news that her creation had spoken of its own demise quite earnestly, at some point, with the woman across the desk.

“Do you remember saying that?”

I smile, not meanly. “Yeah.” It’s the only thing that I remember, the aspect that makes the memory click. I’d forgotten I had ever been here, otherwise. I was on a lot of drugs the last time I came here. I’ve remained on drugs a lot.

These things happen. I don’t remember things. I get flashes. Vomiting wood and plant matter in the headlights of Joel Wynn’s car, somewhere. Some curb, some space of land that exists only in my memory as an island, ending at the reaches of its light source, only mystery beyond.

Kill me violently with a machine gun… everyone deserves to be killed.

My body twisting in the bed beside my mother, eyes open, half here, half out. Lights up and the lack of hurt, the pragmatism of what is to be done right now, a voice on the phone that I don’t understand, words from my mouth they can’t either. It’s all so incredibly funny.

Everyone deserves to die. Especially me.

I wake up in the king bed next to my mother, turned away from me across a barrier of blankets cold and thick. The room feels like my childhood, hermetically sealed. There is a serene chill to her bedroom. There always has been, and I wake up to it now, remembering nothing. I know that she is sad. I don’t remember anything. I don’t feel anything at all.

I won’t recall this episode until some years later, when she mentions it to me, the pills that I was eating on the floor, my disorientation on the phone call. “You didn’t even know who you were talking to.”

“What? When was this?”

Didn’t remember. She carried that for two years, I never carried it at all. I left it in the bed. To this day, I don’t remember what the phone call was about.

These are what you call your medical emergencies, these little stretches where you stick your fist inside your chest and start to pick at the walls of your heart, with chipped nails. You get somewhere beyond navel-gazing. Your hand is up inside you. Pulling. Wrenching. Kill me or come loudly. What do I want? What do I want? Am I going to goddamn find it in here?

A rising heat of anxiety attack. Look up out the window, in horror, at the trees. They live peacefully. Swaying in a gentle breeze. They are watching you die.

In the coffeeshop I avoid catching my face in a reflection and ask myself if I ever think I’m going insane. And then I sip my coffee. There’s a moment of clarity. I say “yeah”, aloud.

This sort of thing happens all the time. I am always coming back from it. Back from the bathroom floor, the precipice, the haze. Hey, you should kill yourself! No, not now, later, later, that comes later… Calm down.

You’ve got so much left to do.

Photo Credit: Weapons Man

I spend a lot of money buying groceries for myself

because I eat good, bitch.

Fridge full of Powerade and nut milks. Fresh celery with a crispy crunch. I have meat. I have soda. I have beer. I eat and drink it all. When I go home to my apartment, I actually climb inside of the fridge. It’s been modified. It’s very spacious, with a chair. And then, I consume. I spark a joint and inhale. But I only eat the finest offerings. Fresh shrimp, the most delicious decapod. Frash shramp.

The rain pitter-patters on the rooftops and I while away another day. I’m reading this book and it’s frickin’ good. I gotta get this guy’s other books. He’s a history dude. But before I do that, I gotta finish this one before this comes in the mail!!

Anxiety is in your mind, most days. The lions, in reality, are rarely breathing down your back.

Youtube Rabbit Hole: Norm Macdonald

Photo Credit: You Made Me Smile

oh thank god, you are here.

I came to the coffee shop to play video games on my phone while listening to the “Heady Beats” playlist on Spotify and I got a coffee with a shot of espresso and I wanted it for here but I got it to go and they didn’t put any soymilk in it but y’know what I don’t really mind. I spent over $200 at the grocery store yesterday.

I used to be really self-conscious about typing things up at coffee houses because there was something about it that felt forced, but it doesn’t feel forced anymore—as a matter of fact, this is my most natural environment in the world, and the only thing that would make it better would be if bae was here for me to lay my head upon their lap and peacefully watch anime until I fall asleep, because I am very tired, although also wired. I work nights, y’know. It’s simply no way to live. Once this caffeine wears off, I’m going to fall into a coma and wake up in the middle of the night.

 

whither night shift

So I work the night shift now, at my day job, which I suppose you could argue can no longer accurately be called that.  This wasn’t really my idea, but neither was the attendant raise, which math suggests amounts to $0.03/hr, or an extra $1.20 per year, provided the increase doesn’t bump me up into another tax bracket. This arrangement is new, cool, good, and I’m fine with it.

Do you like how you can’t really tell if I’m into this arrangement or not? Because I might be. You don’t know if I love this. I seriously might. One day I’ll tell you what I really think about how it feels to work the night shift, in order to make money to continue to survive. The answer may surprise you.

Crazy shit happens after dark, naturally. Especially where I survey. People eating Fritos at the witching hour. A street gang called The Skunks comes out to fight with chains and batteries. If you enter a certain church at the right hour, Aeris from Final Fantasy VII flickers in your vision, as though she’d never left us. The racquetball courts are unattended and empty, which makes them fun to play games in. So are the outdoor basketball courts; I like the way my dribble echoes off of nearby buildings in the relative quiet.  The Weather Channel starts playing some disgusting botfly human flesh extraction shit. The usual grammar breaks down as we tire; communication takes place often via knowing looks. The planes seem almost at times to fly themselves. That sliver of the moon on the horizon may be closer than it appears, and when the sun rises, it rises fast. Stranglers lurk and prowlers loom. I catch catnaps on a city bus. A street sweeper once challenged me to fight, and I destroyed her.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Praise Break for a Good Song:

And then I make myself a smooooothie. Then me and wifey make a movie. Chicago to St. Louis and St. Louis to Chicago / Andale, andale mami / E.I., E.I., uh-ohhhhhhhh

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This is an extremely selfish blog post. I only came here to kill time.

I’m reading this book today and it’s good, though at least one of the contributors seems like a real asshole. He’s won many awards for his writing, but for the most part, I don’t like it. You can’t afford to be as smug as he is in his writing, considering. You’re sort of working up from a deficit of charm, when you tried to kill your entire family. I’m a pretty freaking nice person, but I don’t think I’d shake that hand.

Photo Credit: EMS Today*

*I am not an EMT. For that matter, since we’re here, I am also not a cop, a toll booth operator, a restaurant manager, a gas station clerk, or a grocery store stockperson. 

Wisdom > Power > Courage holla holla hyrule BOO-yah

Tattoo Guy: “You want to get the Triforce tattooed… where?”

Me: *v.quiet* “Uhhhmm, yes, just around my eyes, my pupils…nmnn..

Tattoo Guy: “Speak up. You have to tell me what you really want. Don’t be embarrassed, kid. Where do you want me to tattoo the Triforce?”

Me: *beginning v.quiet but my voice just rises & rises into a roar* “—my pupils & my eyes & in my ESSENCE & my SOUL!!!”

He jams the needle in my third psionic eye as my body is propelled upward into the clouds with sword in hand towards journeys most fantastic

Youtube Rabbit Hole: Boozie Bad Azz

Drunk Monkeys Anthology Volume 3 On Sale Now

Ah! You know, I suppose it’d be prudent, wise and kind for me to pimp this.

So, Drunk Monkeys is an (I believe? Primarily?) California-based web blog lit journal film crit megalith of a writing thing that I have written for that is producing works of writing that I and many more would call exemplary. I love it like the dickens; I love it with my soul!

A few months back or maybe more, the editorial staff at Drunk Monkeys was so kind as to accept a story of mine that I’d submitted, called Awake, which you may have read or heard of, for which I won an Adult Creative Writing Contest award from the Tulsa City-County Library. (This award, which I am extremely proud of, ensured the enshrinement of my story, from the day of that award ceremony forward, and henceforth into time immemorial, into their tucked-away archives, paper-clipped together, typos and all, clapped up inside a very specific and—y’know, one would hope—bulletproof binder.) This was the story about the guy that cannot sleep to death. It’s very Stephen King-y, which should surprise not many—King’s a major inspiration. The way he welds Americana with its sick, tormented underworlds, and makes it look so effortless. Who cares if his endings suck? Even if they always suck? Except for, maybe, Hearts in Atlantis, if that counts, which it should, because that book is great. Stephen King wrote a story about the American dream blooming in the Vietnam season; I wrote a sad, sad one-off about a guy that fuckin’ died.

Anyway, that insomnia story’s in this book.

And so are a lot of other things, actually. Better things—the sort of thing you maybe haven’t read before. Like Christopher James’ sexotron story; that was pretty fuckin’ funny.  And a poem by Michael Passafiume that made me sorta wanna cry, that’s in there too.

Anyway, I got the thing for free. I read it in an afternoon. A cooler me would leak it, but, y’know, well, idk. A saner me prevails.

That said, the Drunk Monkeys Anthology Volume 3 paperback (which I would happily arrange to sign and slobber on for you, should that be your bag) is available here.

And the Kindle edition of the Anthology, which costs $2.99, is available here! Shit! I bet some of you fools can even figure out how to get that for free!

All jokes aside, thank you sincerely for supporting me in what I try and like to do. And thank you, incidentally, to the editorial staff of Drunk Monkeys for supporting it. If you all didn’t seem to like it, I wouldn’t be here. So all my best to you, friends, always. Selah.

Drunk Monkeys header courtesy drunkmonkeys.us

Another Fun Thing that We Could Do, IN SPACE

I hope that you’re enjoying the occasional lunchtime sandwich thing. I get fulfillment out of writing them—heck, it’s my pretty earnest hope that we’re all getting something out of it. Hungry, maybe.

Anyway, that’ll continue. But I’ve been brainstorming this evening, yes I have… some tornadic inspiration! This most blustery eve. We’ve figured out how to make the site a lunchtime hotspot. But what about the nighttime? What about… Twitter After Dark…?

I propose we do a nocturne journey through the art of space music. I don’t know shit about it. Neither do you. Let’s discover it together…

All… freaky-like…

…In the Dark…?

Youtube Rabbit Hole (Tell Me You’re Not Down With This): And the Stars Go With You

Photo credit: pics-about-space.com

Well—How Was Your January

…Mine was okay!

I’m currently laying in the dark, trying to sleep. It’s only nine o’clock at night, but I’ve been laying here since seven. I’d really rather be asleep.

Everything is okay. Sometimes this month has felt like spring.

Get more sleep in 2016. Wake up with the sun in 2016. Be the morning jogger. Rise because you want to; commit to do what makes you happy.

Stay resolute.

Good night.

I just wanted to get home

I was leaving the Walgreen’s after work and shuffling down the sidewalk toward my car. I just wanted to get home. I didn’t have a bag with me for what I’d bought: two jugs of tea, and a sort of meat snack, bacon jerky. I was overzealous, declining a bag. As I walked, I dropped a tea. Two liters of Arizona Iced Arnold Palmer’s Half and Half Iced Tea & Lemonade Zero Calorie, cracked open at the seal and sideways, spilling out onto the sidewalk, pooling at the edge of some kid’s shoes. His mom was standing with him, looking at something else. I saved what I could of the tea. I mumbled “sorry.” I lurched out into the parking lot, having saved more than half of the tea. It was just beginning to rain.