Be it For the Better Part of Man—

Uproot yourself.

Refuse the easy path, respectfully. You may need it later. You will. But… you do not need it now.

Close your eyes and breathe. Open them again when you are calm. Watch the spider in the open window begin to weave a web that you’ll resolve not to destroy. Do not be afraid of the spider. Exist with it.

This is going to be difficult. That is the process. The process of re-wiring your mind.

The only reason you are doing this, is because you want to do this. Otherwise you would not do it. You have learned to listen to your body. It is time to listen to your mind.

Sit mindfully with your thoughts, and observe them without judgment. Let them go.

Imagine yourself from a top-down view, pretending that there is no roof between you and the endless open sky. The sky you sit beneath envelops everything. The clouds that you may watch drift slowly from your field of view in stillness are the water and the breath of the world recirculating. This breath fills your lungs as it does everybody’s. This water will become you. And soon after it will leave, becoming something else. You will remain. Always changing. Moment to moment. This is the process.

Connect the room you’re sitting in to the rooms around you. Imagine the occupants. You know they are there. They exist. You cannot feel them, maybe. Acknowledge them. They are here. So are you.

Expand the locus of your imagined, top-down view. Place yourself within the city. Place yourself amidst the trees. Place yourself in your environment. Realize where you are, because you are there.

Stay calm.

Expand the locus of your view.

There is a whole world’s worth of this. You are in it. Alive, breathing. Right now. When you think about tomorrow, do not worry. It will be here soon, and if things go well, so will you. Do the best you can in any moment. This is the process.

Re-learn the things that make you happy.

You realized once, on acid, that the reason you were not happy was because you had ceased to do the things that make you happy. You must entertain the possibility that these things will change. You may have to learn to do something new. But you’re here because you want to. That is the process.

You are in control of it. You can do anything you want to.

And right now, you are.

Image Credit: Getty

Youtube Rabbit Hole: My first experience at Denny’s (I survived)

Why I’m moving from Oklahoma to New York

One time I was at a party and I was like “anybody wanna smoke some weed?” And NOBODY SAID YES. No one said ANYTHING. All I could hear was the CRACKLING OF THE FIREPLACE.

Later that night, I broke the host’s window while trying to smoke loud in the bathroom. This is a completely true story.

That’s all

Rings: A Movie (2017)

Well it’s February, so everyone knows what that means. Time to take the old ball-and-chain out for a nice meal and then a knock-down drag-out scary as fuck horror movie, which is what I did, by myself, to witness and review the 2017 horror sensation Rings.

Rings is a soft reboot + sequel to the Ring/Ringu franchise, which originated in a country called Japan in the late 90s, based on a series of books. Though there’s a lot of media related to the franchise, the mythos isn’t that deep. You know the story. Haunted videotape, seven days, first you see it then you die. That’s fine. I happen to be on record in my belief that the American The Ring is great.

But I had some problems, watching the trailers, thinking that this one was going to be any good. My number one problem was a logical one, about the movie’s universe. See, it’s a whole new movie, but the deadly footage appears to have never changed. It’s odd to me, after all these years, considering that particular dead girl is now a real-life grown woman. It feels a little hokey, you know?

Usually I would like the fidelity to the original, but here it just feels odd. I mean, The Ring came out in 2002, so in the world of the new movie, this Ring footage has been propagating around the world for fifteen years and somehow managed not to kill literally everyone except for uncontacted tribal people and the blind. Questions surrounding this subject are literally the only reason I went to see the movie. I had to get an answer on this issue. Split was sold out, also.

So the first thing that happens is that the Ring takes down a plane. The air control panel flickers, the pilots look quizzically at each other, and then holy fucking shit a pirate feed is jacking in. Every screen on the plane starts showing the video. The plane then immediately crashes, which raises the question, seven days? It’s left unclear, but I think this entire massacre was meant to kill just one guy who watched the video on his phone in the airplane bathroom. The whole thing plays out in a very Final Destination way, which strikes me as inappropriate. It’s like Death from Final Destination is just using the Ring movie as some sort of hack, for massive damage. Anyway, thousands die when the plane strikes One World Trade Center, taking us to the title card, which I don’t have a screenshot of, but it looks like this.

Which isn’t actually offensive, when you see it in motion. Actually, it’s good.

The film then cuts to five days later. Our protagonist, Jordyn, is 17 years old and in love with College Bae. She’s sheltered and religious, and only got her learner’s permit this year. Her dad’s a truck driver who is never home, which rather aptly and with elegance informs every one of the incoming bad decisions. Her mom is also a truck driver who is never home.

After a little bit of bullshit exposition to get the character names out of the way, Jordyn gets behind the wheel of her piece of shit 2004 Acura GDX and takes off, heading some indeterminate distance toward Gonzaga University in Spokane. She’s chasing after College Bae, who has grown romantically distant. On the way, because she is a terrible driver who watches YouTube at the wheel, she strikes an apparently suicidal moose that charges her from the center of the road. Sharp viewers will surmise this as an eerie callback to a similar scene in Ring Two, which has long held an unofficial designation (in my heart) as a Roger Ebert-certified Great Movie. While inexplicable on screen, there is a long-held folk tradition in Japan that psychic schoolgirls sometimes control the minds of woodland fauna to commit violence. Keep it in mind.

Anyway. We cut to Spokane, where Jordyn tracks down College Bae for cuddles, only to find him in flagrante in the arms of a passionate lover—of course. She leaves in disgust, and stomps off to the nearby Division Street bridge, where she has hastily decided to depart this life by leaping. But she is stopped!!! At the last second, by a grungy goth teen named Kodi. “Don’t do that,” he says, gripping our hero’s arm seconds before she is to jump. “There are much cooler ways to get it over with, you know.”

This seems like a joke, until we cut to a disgusting flop house where Kodi lives with eight or nine other teens, doing heroin and nitrous balloons, on some real lowlife shit. And this part of the movie is pretty cool. Jordyn moves in, essentially. It’s like Ghost Gummo. Or Kids. They party and drink Rolling Rock. The sun never shines on their trash-strewn backyard. The sensation you get from this whole sequence is that the Pacific Northwest is demon-haunted and the oppressive cloudy weather means that self-destruction is inevitable. There is much B-roll of the overcast sky, sped up with a woosh sound.

Some indeterminate time later—maybe later that night, maybe later that year—Jordyn and Kodi huddle around a stolen iPhone 6S watching fucked-up videos on the darknet. ISIS beheadings, lethal factory accidents, suicide tapes. It’s twisted how titillated Kodi and even Jordyn get from this horrific footage.

“Enough of that nonsense,” Kodi says. “You wanna see something really sick?”

They then watch the Ring video on YouTube. You’ve seen the one. Then the phone starts ringing in their hands!!! “Seven days,” the caller says. But it’s a fakeout. “Seven days I’ve been looking for this phone you thief, I know you have it blah blah blah.” It’s a cop, or the phone’s owner. Pretty clever fakeout. Kodi cracks the phone in half with nonchalance and the rest of the night is given to inhaling duster. Outside, unseen by our protagonists, a moose lurks in the treeline.

The next day it’s back to Gonzaga, where they roll into a class taught by a famous professor of Ring Studies, Doctor Jacoby Borzze. “Yeah, I’ve watched the Ring video, like, sixty friggin times,” the professor tells them. “It’s actually lit.”

“I didn’t think it was very lit,” Jordyn says, or something like that. He takes them into a back room full of antiques from the mid-80s and shows them the original Ring videotape, an import, he says, from Japan. (Good reference.) At this point, I’m in. This is the good horror that I live for. They watch that shit. The ring call comes to the nearest phone, a payphone in the hallway that they can see through a glass door. “Remarkable,” the doctor says. “That phone hasn’t worked in years.”

Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz as Jordyn Calmabatter, Johnny Galecki as Jacoby Borzze, Alex Roe as Kodi Kodek

Jordyn answers the phone and gets the seven days shit, which was the coolest moment in the theater. I ain’t heard that shit in like fifteen years. And then, down the hall, her eyes fix on… is it… is it evil? No, it’s College Bae! Oh what is that feeling in his eyes? Does he wish to reconcile? Does he yearn for his lost love? I couldn’t tell you. Jordyn’s ear starts immediately bleeding and Kodi rushes her away. The look on College Bae is pensive, seeing this new romantic rival in the mix.

For the next solid hour the movie fucking sucks. Jordyn and Kodi catch rides and bum cigarettes. Jordyn falls increasingly into homelessness and drug use. No Ring stuff happens, even as they try to solve the mystery behind the Ringing. No one actually gets ringed, though. They go to Vincent D’Onofrio’s house and he kills himself with an axe (swings it right into his own neck, very good scene). It’s unclear why this happens. I ducked into the bathroom for a vape sesh at this point. There was a woman combing her hair in the bathroom when I walked in, just like in the movie.


It freaked me out, needless to say. It was only after I crouched hidden atop the commode for twenty minutes that I calmed enough to realize that this woman… was me. So I went back to the theater, reappearing just in time for the tail end of the final day.

Oh, yeah, it’s that good shit now. I’m glad I skipped the dull part. People are getting Ringed out left and right. Kodi opens a stolen laptop. BLAM. Ringed. Jordyn texts the video to her friends. BLAMMO. Blows up their phones like Samsung. Truck dad—shows up, gets ringed. College Bae: Ringed. No one makes it out alive. At the end of the movie, the whole god damn theater gets Ringed. Samara charges the freaking lens like she’s coming right at you. I was literally shaking when I left the theater, pale and gray and soaked in piss.

This movie is awesome. This movie is bad. I cannot wait for Rings 2: Ringu, the eleventh film in the ocean-spanning international saga, in which we’ll finally get to see the X-Men fight alongside the Avengers—or against them. I want an English language Grudge v. Ring. I want a 3D sequel. I want it all, god damn it. I’m so fucking hype right now. I waited for this film forever. I love movies. I want to see all the movies. I throw up popcorn and soda and I lay in it. I’ve never not lived at this theater. I want to fuck. I need to fuck something immediately. I reach into the movie screen and fuck it. I’m alone inside the theater. Blood is pounding in my ears like the beat of a giant drum. The entire screen is shaking. Sweat pours in my eyes and stings til I can’t see. I can’t stop sweating. I can’t stop fucking. It is the persistence of this life that makes me panic; I will fuck for seven days. No rating. No moral. I didn’t see this movie.

Photo Credits: Ring 0, The National Archives of Terrorism Science, Rings 3, Ring 0, Zelda 6.

Fun song parodies I do when on stage at karaoke

: A sampling.

“Booooorn gay—as gay as the wind, blo-o-ows. As gay as the grass groows… on a, sunny day-y-y…”—sung to Born Free by John Barry as performed by Matt Munro with meaning unchanged.

“I would. Suck you. Off”—sung to prince I would die for you.

“Keep blowing blowin blowin blowin COCK! Keep blowing blowin blowin blowin YEAH!”—sung to Limp Bizkit “Rollin'”, which accompanied the opening cinematic to one year’s edition of NHL HITZ.

“H to the -omo, Dick to the -izzay / Tickle my dickie til the tip gets jizzy” Jay Z “Homo”.

Photo Credit: Dragon Ball Super

A Journey Through the Sandwiches—Chip Butty

It’s funny to consider that throughout all of this, I’ve never told you the reason behind it all. The inciting event, I guess you’d say. So, I’ll tell you now—I’m chasing down the man who broke my father’s heart.

That man’s name is Gator Colfin, international land shark and cowboy. He’s a cool, calm con man, and thinks himself to be one sexy son of a bitch. My opinion on all that is irrelevant—I’m after the man for one reason alone.

Gator was husband to my dad until he wasn’t, and if you ask me, he didn’t need to be so rude about the exit. He was a son of a bitch before, but after the way he treated my dad, he’s a bastard, rabid dog to me, and he needs to be put down.

I had a tip that Gator was trying to return to Australia by way of England, I guess making his way into the southern hemisphere using a network of old friends and outstanding favors. If my information was right, I’d beaten him there by hours—now all that was left to do was mill about the possible points of ingress, and either catch him, or catch a hint to his next move. I’ve been hunting Gator for a while, see. The bastard is not often subtle. His OPSEC, often wack.

In my wait, I ended up gravitating toward a small sandwich shop on the sidewalk, built into a building where I could order through a brick window, very casually. You already know I’m always on the lookout for unknown sandwiches, but were you aware I also enjoy surprises? I ordered the first thing off the menu that I didn’t recognize, alphabetically down the list. “A chip butty,” I said with an affected accent, very obnoxious, stretching the words up and down like limp elastic, “a CHEE-IP butt-tee for me, bon soir.”

And in that British way of doing things, she stiffened her lip and got on with it, keeping calm and carrying me the sandwich on a darling red plastic tray, while I sat on the stone benches nearby, admiring pigeon formations in the clouds. I took a bite without looking—a blind taste test—and immediately, I spat it out. Directly on the tray, which the waitress was still holding. I looked up into her shocked expression.

“Jesus fucking Christ!” I bellowed. “Are we in austerity times here? Is this because of Brexit?”

“What?”

‘Wot?’ Lady, this is a fistful of soggy French fries squirted with ketchup on bread. You said this was a sandwich—I should end your shit for this.”

“Sir—“

“Ma’am.”

“Whatever. I’d be happy to refund to you the price of the meal, friend, if you’d just toss what’s left of it in the bin.”

“Gladly.” I chucked the wet and filthy roll into a garbage can, and scrubbed my fingers with napkin. I’d hardly even gotten a good look at it—my first impression was the portion I spat up, half-chewed French fries and white bread in a small mound, soggy with saliva and ketchup. “What the fuck.”

“Unfortunately,” the vendor continued, “while I would be perfectly happy to refund you your money, I’m afraid I am unable to. It’s a new policy. Because of Brexit.”

“I hope this island gets bombed.”

“Ma’am, please.”

“Or sinks into the ocean, more like. Subsumed in the salty depths. Hey, don’t look at me like that. Yeah, call the police. Bitch, I am an American. I’ll enter a kumite with your harmless-ass police force. Giving me a sandwich like that.”

It took me some days to negotiate my way out of the British court system, which is, as all systems are, susceptible to brute force attacks of unbearable annoyance. They could’ve ordered me deported, and matter of fact, I wish they had. It’s not like Gator Colfin would still be here. 

I took a big piss at the base of Big Ben while I pondered Gator’s widening lead. He’d felt close, days ago. I wasn’t just on his tail, I was ahead of him, damn it! Now he could be anywhere. And I was hungry as the dickens, but every sandwich felt a risk. I could not take a chance on being jailed again.

I was sitting on a bench in the London fog some hours later, smoking shisha out of a small hookah I sometimes carry around with me, holstered at my belt like a sword, and pondering the comical turns my story had taken—I was now a known British criminal, a fully-fledged hooligan, I believe they called them, outsmarted by my rival. And it had only taken one day to make that turn. The circumstances demanded a reset button. I set out for the nearest neighborhood where a fresh meal could be procured.

I found a mini-mart with a lunch counter and scanned the menu, looking for something, anything. But then I realized a way that I could perhaps salvage this horrid misadventure with a bit of casual grace. My eyes went to the special items, and their pictures, and there it was: the chip butty, second chance edition. Clearly, there were things about this nation and its people that I needed to understand, if I was going to get anywhere in my endeavor. May as well dance with the one that brought me to my knees.

“One chip butty,” I ordered, chest bowed out to feel confident. I dropped an indeterminate amount of colorful British currency onto the counter, and ordered a drink—a large one. And then I retired to an alleyway, my sandwich wrapped in hand, Diet Coke cup cradled in my elbow, condensation dripping down onto the cobblestones as I settled myself, and sat.

Okay, I said to myself. Time to reckon with this thing.

The chip butty is a sandwich a four-year-old could make, enjoyed by millions of Britons daily for some reason. The sandwich contains one technical vegetable, the potato, and one technical fruit, the ketchup. It is godawful unhealthy. It is grease, and grime, and grodyness. The sort of sandwich you could only stomach when well and truly drunk.

And that’s when it hit me. Of course! I scrabbled my way out of the alley and towards the nearest pub, the Long Cock, and I shoved my way through the small crowd in attendance, shouting to all and sundry, “I need to be extremely intoxicated immediately! And then I need a plane ticket out of the country! And do any of you know a man by the name of Gator Colfin?”

The drinks came easily. Some were bought for me, by new friends I met with understanding nods. “I’m on a quest for vengeance,” I told them, quaffing whiskey.

“Against whom?”

I opened my mouth to speak, to unspool the tale of Gator Colfin. But then it occurred to me—I had a much more immediate grudge to take care of, and it was growing colder in my coat pocket with every passing moment.

“Ah!” I shouted, reaching boldly for the Jameson to refill my shot glass on the sly. “It’s this!” I said, holding the wax-paper-wrapped package aloft for all the Long Cock faithful. To my surprise, my exclamation merited attention. The bar quieted, and I unwrapped my sandwich. The thick soft white bread slightly smooshed, it was still warm between my hands.

And so I looked down into the awkward maw, a carbohydrate atom bomb that I was about to deliver unto myself. I’m not as scared of carbs as I used to be—where once I starved myself in a single-minded pursuit of the slimmest possible physique, now I work out, and have depression. But still, this was a gnarly thing to look at. But looks aren’t everything—they’re barely half the battle. So I took a breath, and took a bite.

There was the playful texture—soft bread over crispy potato. It crunches, it flakes. And even before the catsup hits your tongue, it’s a surprisingly juicy sandie. Of course, one tries not to think about what sort of juice this is as the answer is almost definitely going to come back as heart-stopping liquid grease. But one ignores these things in the moment. Everything in moderation. It’s like that weekly cigarette—go ahead, inhale. After all, you’re only having one.

I finished it in four breathless bites, the catsup smeared across my lips and nose in an unappealing manner by the time that I was through with it. I’d inhaled the thing. I’d… loved it.

“In my country,” I stammered, from the floor, ringed by thirty-odd half-drunken Britons who had formed a standing circle around my crouching body, “They would give that sandwich to a homeless person. And feel bad about it.”

There was a general grunting of vague agreement.

“I don’t know what this means.” I looked up, and the Queen of England was on the television, drawing my attention. But then I realized that it was not the queen, but an actress in a commercial, playing the queen—a television ad for a sandwich chain. A television ad for chip butty.

There is so much, I realized then. So much in this world I do not know. So many sandwiches… So many miles left to walk… So many sandwiches… the mysteries of the world.

Photo Credit: Food Network .co.uk

names for the vape store I am opening soon at 111 S 24th St W in Billings, Mt,

the grand opening of which is in a matter of weeks.

Here’s the thing, folks—I’m down to the wire. My whole staff was so excited to get the vape store off the ground that we forgot the best part: naming it.

  • Mamma Jamma Vapor and Accessories
  • Chapel of the Holy Vape
  • Colonel Vapor’s
  • Wacky Electronic Tobacky

Holy shit this post sucks. I can’t think of anything good. What a tired premise for a riff sesh! I thought this was gonna be hilarious.

Uhh

  • Riff Sesh
  • Vape Cod
  • Cunt

Hmmmmm… Perhaps instead I should have premised this post around what to name our e-juice flavors, the flavors of e-juices for the vape. It is possible that it’s funnier to imagine flavors than it is names of places.

  • Dyspepsia
  • Arsenic and Old Ass

Oh fuck. Abandon ship! Abandon this post! Should’ve never left the fucking drafts!!

What the hell else do I have in this drafts folder? I have to salvage this. Here’s one that’s just called “man harpooned while eating bagel”—no text—just the title—wonder what was going on there.

“Ideas for saving the Republic”—no—now’s not the time—so passe—too normie at this point.

“Historically Significant Baseball Bats”—might table that one, actually…

Got an untitled post here… “think of what a melting snowman looks like? That is how I feel all of the time”

Actually, fuck this blog game. It’s time to hang this up like a… like a freakin’ dead possum. I’m gonna really open up that vape store. It’s real and I own it and it’s called Arsenic and Old Ass. The matter is settled! The deal is done. Boys—let’s hit the showers. We’ll try this all again on Monday.

Photo Credit: I don’t fucking know it’s not mine who cares.

What are you doing right now, anyway?: I’m watching The African Queen on my phone and idly shopping on the Chinese internet for a 55-inch flatscreen under $200.

list of things that the world is not

The current American moment is not, and has no resemblance to, the following things:

Star Wars

Harry Potter

The Hunger Games

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Voldemort

The Joker

The Night’s King

Final Fantasies III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, X-2, XI, and XIII

Batman

It Can’t Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis

Lego

Duplo

Diplo

The ending of Mass Effect 3

The Xbox One

The Heath Ledger Joker

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2

None of the Harry Potter books or films except perhaps Harry Potter and the Election of Donald Trump to the United States Presidency in 2016

The Avengers

The Apprentice

The Barefoot Contessa

Hamilton

Basically there’s not a single video game, cartoon, or blockbuster film franchise based on books for children that has a single ounce of relevance to the current moment, except the Mayhem album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, linked here

I am eating out my own stomach with my bare teeth. I am chewing on my organ meat. My own hot blood spurts into my mouth and the numbness I feel is transcendent. I’m touching God’s face with my fingers. I am poking Yahweh’s dimples with my thumb.

November 9

Yooooo what the fuck is up, it’s your boy Sarah reporting to you from the Worst of All Possible Realities and goodness I have so much to tell you. First off: Mexico? Yer done, bud. Women? At the whims of old men now as ever. Obama? Repudiated! On the way out. Gay conversion therapy? Back in the mix. Hell, this whole gay thing is up in the air now, even though everyone still swears they remain down with the LGBT people. Really, they are, they just voted against them for reasons too complex to explain, like “actually I don’t care” and “fuck you.”

What else, what else. Kneeling at the anthem remains more offensive than grabbing a woman against her will to satisfy your boner, which is a thing that is definitely coming back in a big way, not like it ever left. Your relationship with your grandparents? Ruined. How can you even look them in the eye? I dunno.  They did this for you.

The evangelical vote reaffirmed that this nation is a Christian nation, Christian or you get trumped. Trump that bitch. We’re all the bitch. My face is the bitch and it’s crying and it’s trumped. The Jesus vote went pussyhounding and God is alive in America again.

Starting to lose the thread, here. Your neighbors? They don’t like you, man. None of this feel-good shit about being nice to people matters. What matters is what you feel, and what you feel is that you want MORE POWER. You could say that the arts are going to go into overdrive mode due to this crisis, but real art requires free speech protections, so smoke ’em if you got ’em because that shit is getting pinched.

Women, women, women. Bitches, right? Soon the great abortion experiment will end in flames as God intended, brought to its knees by a coalition led by a man who’s most assuredly paid for one or two in his time. But that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter! This whole woman, abortion, body, rights thing? Shut your fucking mouth, whore. Billy Bush lost his job for being close to the mouth that spat the venom, and the man who said the words is King. That’s dope.

Ahhhh… okay. Press freedoms? Trampled by a hostile electorate.  Taco trucks? Toppled. Harambe? Still dead. The KKK exultant, far-right leaders and tyrants offer their congrats. Nice meltdown? No meltdown. You’re the meltdown. I’m joining Al Qaeda.

Unused titles from my drafts folder

The race for the American Presidency will end with the United States being bombed

I was recently invited into the Illuminati

My negative Yelp review of the Life in Christ Lutheran Church

world is a fuck

⌊⊇ ‘¸\,/¸’ ⊂⌋

I Am Writing the Scenario for the NEXT Next Final Fantasy Game.

EXT. BURNING RUINS OF THE SLAUGHTERED INNOCENT VILLAGE

Image Credit: Getty
Work Status: Stalled
Caffeine Status: Full
World Status: a Fuck

The snake you thought was dead uncoils

Hello, liquor store, it’s just me. Me in the parking lot, me and the homeless people who materialized from nowhere at the stroke of 10:00. I saw the first lady walk up in my rear view mirror just after I caught the flicker to life of the open sign. We all sauntered up inside, all trancelike. Like a dog whistle version of the church bells. It actually made me sort of proud. I felt real kinship. I can rationalize my own behavior by reminding you I am working the night shift, and have been awake today since 3 am. The night shift, I am discovering, justifies all sorts of strange behavior. Anyway, I’d only been waiting a couple of minutes.

I moved to an apartment they deal heroin out of. At least, I think it’s heroin. I haven’t tried to buy anything yet. But yeah, at least a few days a week, this place is Open for Business. This is good to me. The other people that live here keep dropping little portentous details, big provocative things. “Since I went bankrupt and lost my house, I’ve been living in motels and places like this.” “I moved in here six months ago—worst mistake of my life. I regret it. I’ll tell you later. *deep sigh*”

Not that I’m worried. Like I said, I like this. I’m living alone, and I prefer that a lot to living with the last guy. He had hella coke and ecstasy, but the thing was, he didn’t share. One of many problems I had with that guy. But I am beginning, after some three weeks, to feel very established at the new place. I have nails for the windows. Allies in the building. I’ve been invited to the dirtiest little parties that you ever did see. There’s also a community garden, for strawberries, and good kush. Tomatoes sprouting in abundance. An ice chest full of beer made out of golden wheat. My dad is worried; he asked me if any children lived here. I gave him the best answer that I could, based on what information that I had, and said, “Sometimes.” Hell if I know. I don’t give a shit. Rob me if you want some decent books.

I have made advances in the world of writerering, which is neat. I’m writing for Zergnet now, for a panoply of sites. It’s one of those organizations that’s responsible for the links you tend to get at the bottom of a lot of websites; lists and things you won’t believe. Good place to kill time. So if you happen to see my byline there, it’s me. We are the content creators, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

I’m also immensely excited to announce that a short story of mine, “The Killer and the Star”, will be appearing in the pages of the horror quarterly magazine Dark Moon Digest, on shelves wherever books are sold this July 1. This is a quality magazine, full of quality work, and also me. It’s available as well on Amazon. I don’t get any more money off it either way, but I encourage you to check it out. I think my story’s pretty good. It’s about this dude, who’s really fucked up? And he like, has done some shit. And he’s gonna do more. And there’s a movie involved. I don’t know, it’s among the better things I’ve written. Satisfying, not unlike a particularly bracing burp.

Thank you for reading. Til next time, I remain adrift at sea.

A Journey Through the Sandwiches—Club Sandwich

They unclip the velvet rope as you swagger in, entering a smoky anteroom beneath a purple awning that reads, in cursive, Herve’s. A song is playing with a beat that throbs, the melismatic voice of a female singer stretching out over an ethereal soundscape, like waves crashing on the shore of a cosmic beach. The bouncer looks past you, unsmiling, the knot of his tie at the height of your head, gold rings with diamond inlay on his fingers suggesting a sort of aristocratic menace. Those diamonds have had blood cleaned off of them before. So has the floor, come to think of it, invisible though it is in the dim light. You’re all but ignored on entry, but this just means that you’re welcome—the fact you haven’t already been tossed out to the curb means you are, indeed, a valued member of the club. The ease of entry is a perk. To a certain set of the elite, Herve’s is meant to feel like home.

The elevator has no buttons—it goes down if you’re allowed, a kind of second barrier to keep out the occasional fraud. Either the elevator is slow, or the club is unfathomably deep—nobody knows. Even in public records, Herve’s is an utter mystery—no blueprints, no paperwork. Officially, it doesn’t exist. Do you know the sort of price it takes to make a place like this so invisible?

At the bottom, security steps up again—three bouncers, this time, men with the stature of gorillas in custom Valentino suits. These gentlemen are more congenial—if you’ve gotten this far, the last checkpoint is a formality.

“Miss Szabo.”

You raise your Oscar de la Renta sunglasses—the ones that you found at a Florida bus stop. You tip up your chin to the trio. “What’s good?”

You are guided down a spiral staircase, ever deeper into the belly of the city, down beneath even the sewers, where the core of the earth is more deeply felt than the warmth of the sunny sky. Now the music is a flouncy thing, a throwback track, live from the main stage, now visible over the silver banister. You pause for a moment to take a pull off of your vaporizer, your prized Cloud EVO with the ruby inlay, and personalized embossing in gold ink—я не буду целовать тебя до утра; to my princess of the West.—TimurBelow, a youthful singer with a radiant glow is swinging his way across an opulent stage, bordered by a proscenium that would not look out of place in ancient Rome at its most decadent height. He is singing a brassy version of a classic tune, hypnotic to your ears, uplifting to your soul, as though it were all just for you.

Life’s a bitch, and then you die / That’s a-why we get high / ‘Cause you just never know / When you’re going to go…

She calls your name from the middle of the floor, your usual table, with an unusual crowd—save for her. It’s a typical weekday evening at Herve’s, not full, not raucous, but still with a sense of constrained menace, as though the club were really a ballroom on a supersized palatial ship, traversing dangerous seas. You recognize her by the glint of her emerald necklace, a twenty-stone antique rumored to be worth upwards of thirty million dollars—it’s Mana Hitomi, pride of Tokyo, dancer, billionaire, lover, poet.

Down on the club floor, you feel at home—through a trick of the lighting, the walls seem to stretch upwards endlessly into a starless sky. Every table is a legendary tale all to itself—some of these people are supposed to be dead. Where they go in the daytime, no one knows, or at least you don’t—there are avenues the rich may walk that most don’t know exist, even those who would like to think they’re of the flock. Many of these people have unfamiliar names—it’s been quite the challenge, they would tell you, to keep it that way. You pass by one table, recognizing a face, and simply can’t resist making a comment, starstruck and bashful. You lean in close to his ear, hoping that your intrusion will be forgiven. “I loved your last album,” you whisper, placing a delicate hand upon the artist’s shoulder. He touches his fingers to yours. “In case you haven’t heard,” you continue, “everybody else did too.”

“What did Pitchfork say?” he asks.

You wince a little, inflate the number. “You got a nine. Nine point zero. Best New Music.”

The artist winces, turns away. At least you had that fleeting exchange—even if you were to now be banished for a perceived indiscretion, that alone would have been worth it, to your beloved niece and nephew, Roya and Jim. “You’re the coolest aunt,” they tell you, in your dreams.

Mana greets you with two kisses on the cheeks, which you return, with compliments. “You smell fantastic.” She does.

Bashful, a little drunk, she lowers her head. “Aw, thanks.” She leans in close. “Sorry about last night.”

The sensuality of the moment is suddenly thick as the ocean is deep. “Don’t apologize to me,” you whisper. “Apologize to the state of Virginia.”

You both blush—Lord willing, you’re going to marry that girl someday. She introduces you around the table.

“This is Rocky Cabot, first astronaut to walk the moons of Saturn.”

You shake his hand. “I hadn’t realized we’d done that yet.”

He winks, and smiles with a set of perfect teeth. Truly, out of this world. To call him soap-star beautiful would be maybe getting at only half the truth of it. “I’ll have to take you sometime.”

Mana continues, clockwise. “Jennifer Mezzaluno—her family invented handwriting.”

You extend your arm across the table, but she only deeply nods. It’s not rude. “Is there a lot of money in that?” you ask. “Handwriting?”

The table laughs, as though the answer is obvious. You smile, proud of your accidental humor.

“And this is Malia Obama.”

“Hi.”

“Oh, I know you,” you say, shaking her hand. “You’re extremely tall.”

Music fills the awkward silence.

Pack a four-matic that / Crack your whole cabbage!

“Anyway.” You take a seat at Mana’s side. “What it do, boo?”

“We’re drinking whiskey recovered from the wreck of the Titanic,” she says. “It’s on special.”

“Cool, cool,” you remark, as she provides you a liberal pour from a crystal decanter. “But, c’mon. You know what I’m really talking about.”

She leans in again, her lips brushing against the very outer skin of your ear, tickling irresistibly. If you don’t get to do some fucked-up shit with her in the club bathroom tonight, you’ll just feel borderline betrayed.

“The waiter will bring it by shortly,” she whispers. It makes your body shiver—you’re embarrassed to be so obviously smitten in open company.

This was all you needed to hear. The stars have aligned for a perfect night. Whatever you did to deserve this is a mystery to you more than anyone else.

The singer finishes to applause, bowing deeply, and withdrawing backstage as the lights go up in deep blue tones on a silhouetted harpist, singing “Hallelujah”.

And then you catch it on the air. The smell, the synergy, the sizzle.

The sandwich.

A waiter drops it off like a silent specter, plated just so on flatware that costs more than a human life. The Herve’s Club Sandwich, described in song and story—and on the menu—as “the pinnacle of all creation.”

Nothing differentiates the Herve’s Club from the typical style, at least in regards to the ingredient selection—the simplicity is a part of its charm. Herve’s is a classy place—they know some things don’t need fixing.

Baby, I’ve been here, before / I’ve seen this room, and walked this floor / I used to live alone, before I / Knew you…

Toasted wheat, charred and blackened just to the moment before burning in the center, encasing the treasure within—chicken breast, juicy and tender, its texture contrasting with bacon just crisp enough to crunch, and break at a modest bite. Lettuce as green as Mana’s brilliant necklace, snapping between your teeth with a sound like twigs breaking underfoot in a tranquil forest. Tomatoes of the perfect thickness, uniform, sliced with atomic-level accuracy as though with a knife guided by laser beams.

“And this mayonnaise,” you say, an ecstatic, unmannered moan around a mouthful.

Mana puts a finger to your lips. “It’s vegenaise, love. With a little honey mustard in a squiggle on the top. For you.” She brushes a crumb from the edge of your mouth, where it is promptly swept up from the floor by a waiting attendant.

As fantastic as the sandwich is, you all but drop it on the plate in your haste to stand. This has become too much to bear. You take Mana by the hand. “If anyone wants this pickle,” you say as you retreat with her, “Tough shit, billionaires. Get your own.”

You sprint off to the restrooms with your paramour, and by the dictates of decorum, we politely exit here.

Youtube Rabbit Hole: Jeff Buckley—Lover, You Should’ve Come Over

Photo Credit: Delicious TV

 

all that’s missing is you

4:14 in the new apartment, morning hours with the fading sheen. Pulled a cabinet door right off its hinges, earlier—the wood that held the screws in is ancient by American standards, totally pulverized. Less wood than paper, at this point. It would’ve been old in my grandfather’s time, if he moved in here at my age.

The gas oven doesn’t have temperature indicators—I suppose in the old days, they just guessed. And it might not be conventionally possible to stop the bathtub here in order to, you know, take baths. That was one of the main reasons I moved out of a roommate situation! So I could boil myself blotto for hours in a steaming rosewater soup of me, liberally salted with Epsom, evaporating, like, nine pounds. So this in particular was a big, big oversight on my part. I’m starting to think that the lifestyle I like to describe for myself as “pragmatic and cavalier” could more accurately be described as “bleep blop bloop doop, booger eater, mouth fart.”

These aren’t complaints, I just find it funny. Smdh, as it were. I’m never gonna not be bad at the practical realities of living. I truly need some kinda keeper.

Writing from my phone for now, biding my time til I can size up the financial reality of this thing. That, at least, I’m okay at. I don’t need much. A stack of bricks, a hammock, the essentials. The rapper Jellyroll describes this type of Spartan living along the lines of whiskey, weed, and Waffle House. I can co-sign that.

One thing I am loving, though? This air conditioner is on point. Sure, it only cools one room, but you could borderline store elk meat in this room. I’m talking, like, a hotel air conditioner—you know what I mean? A human being refrigerator. It’s as loud as a dual-engine Cessna. I don’t even give a shit.

Also, if I ever want to develop a heroin addiction, I’m pretty sure I just have to go next door. It’s wonderfully convenient, man. Down on Quincy. Y’all come fuck with me in my house of pain.

Anyway, this night shift thing has made my relationship with sleep abusive. I still haven’t gotten a handle on it. There may be no routine possible. As someone who has always been on the eight-plus hour side of the sleep-I-need spectrum, I don’t think in the last month I’ve managed more than four in a single stretch, not typically. I’m still alive, still functioning, and some people have real problems, but this is definitely gonna shave a few years off of the end of things for me, at this rate. 

Again, not complaining! It’s just strange. It’s 4 am on my day off, and it’s like my body is forgetting how to fall asleep in a peaceful way. Lately I’m living the difference between shutting off your laptop and letting the battery run out—I’m running out my battery. I just go, and go, and go, getting ever more threadbare in function, power saving, until suddenly, just like that, gone. Could be in the middle of anything. Doesn’t matter. Gone instantly. For like, four hours.

I’ve got a grip of fun stories that I’m working on now that I’m looking forward for you to read—four different fiction things, never before seen. It’s gonna be a couple months, but I think you’ll like them. Some are sad, some are funny—at least, they try to be. If that’s your sort of thing, you’ll see. If that’s not your sort of thing, cool. Thanks for being here, regardless.

Hey, do you guys wanna know how much money I have? Because it’s nine dollars and twenty-three cents. I know. In one month I turn twenty-six. Some people in this world would freak the fuck out at that sort of thing, but me? I’m cool with it. I’m a REAL American—broke. 

This election makes me want to flay my skin off. I sort of feel like everyone feels that way. But please, let’s all be sure and continue to put our dumb opinions on this dark carnival in our mindless small talk every day. I’m sure it’s not horrid for our health to do that, disagreeing with each other all the time. It’s not making us want to violently murder each other at all.

You and I share an essential humanity. Our pains, our fears, are similar. The funny thing about people is, in all our infinite diversity, when it comes to the things that scare us, bring us joy, or keep us up at night, you and I are a lot closer than it sometimes feels. Stare in my eyes, connect with me. No matter what you may be feeling, you are never the first, and never alone. Be at peace. Selah.

Youtube Rabbit Hole: Eat to Live

Photo Credit: It was I—Sarah “Tooter” Szabo

entr’acte, exeunt, intracting

I am beginning to cocoon myself. Alone beneath the open sky I pull and pluck at disparate strings, thin to the point of nonexistence, barely matter, from the air, twining them between my fingers into thread. Unlike spider’s silk, my threads are coarse, peppered in color, irregularly shaped. The patterns of my weaving are rough to the eye and jagged to the touch. There is no elegance to my construction. It is miraculous, but that is all.

I begin with my torso, twining the threads about me upward and downward in turn, thickening the center of what will become my cocoon. I am protecting my most vital points; tight, but not uncomfortable, my chest and stomach press firm against the weaving when I breathe. I am beginning to imagine how the next few years will be.

I twine new threads down my left leg, straining against the bulk of what I’ve already created. Over hours I cover the limb, beginning with the fat part of my thigh. It feels less imperfect, more secure, inside the casing I’m creating. I resist the urge to tighten it; there must be room for bloodflow. I hope that time will make me smaller.

I wrap my second leg in thread and marvel at the reality of my creation. It is beginning to be difficult to imagine an alternate, prior existence. I am encased, I am myself. I must internalize the new reality, a mental readjustment proving easier, more automatic, than one might initially expect.

I begin my arms with apprehension; the more that I continue, the more difficult the work becomes to undo. There is a point that I will lose my ability to escape what I’m creating. This I consider, as I twine the tendrils down my forearm, asphalt gray and hardening.

In order to ensure that my cocoon will be impermeable, I now begin to wrap my head. I will finish the construction blind. It is the only way to ensure that my head will be protected; to secure the webs around my nostrils, ears, the fine contours of my face, I will need dexterity. It is difficult to decide what last to cover—my nose, my eyes. I seal my mouth without concern. There is nothing left for me to say.

Now I have become as like a being otherworldly, my shape wide and irregular, save for the flesh of my hands and feet, protruding from my stiffening sleeves as I commence the final step. This is the point of no return. I lay myself upon the ground and begin to bind my legs together, lashing them into a rigid plank, inarticulate. I wrap my feet to one another til they form a rounded tip. I wiggle my toes, and tighten.

The work grows harder as my body fatigues, but soon, it will all be over. I lash my left arm to my chest, and bind my fingers flat against my body. I place my right hand on my heart, using what little space remains between my other arm and chest to squeeze in my uncovered digits, these last five fingers of bare skin. The web will seal my hand, in time, inside the space beneath my other arm. The key to making it secure at all is to stay as still as I can be. The inexactness of the seal creates the weakest point of my cocoon, but is not so due to oversight. I stretch my fingers, and try to feel my heartbeat as it slows. In years’ time, I will need the space around my fingers slack, when I use my unbound hand, finally, to break free.

Photo credit: Zdzisław Beksiński

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. 

thunder clack

Low rumble overhead from clouds colliding in the night. Inside the cloud a woman hovers, naked, soaked, and screaming. She does not want to fall.

More swollen clouds butt heads adjacent to her porous vessel. The wind is swirling. The membrane tears with a great rising roar of release. She is falling down.

Bolts of lightning tear through space between the earth and sky, blasting down into barren rocks. Flashes of electric light illuminate her silhouette. She does not seem to be in motion, but each new image sees her lower still, drawing ever closer to the earth. Her hair wraps around her face and reaches for the disappearing sky. In the distance it looks peaceful; in her ears is wailing wind.

The night is cold and dark without the moonlight. Between the white-hot bolts, a plaintive rest. It’s almost not unusual, tonight, scored by rain falling in sheets dispersed.

There is no impact in evidence. No echo. Eventually assumed it must have happened. The rain continues. It becomes a violent storm. There is no body in the morning. No new pond or crater. No real witness to the end. No story to tell. Nobody clamoring to hear one. So this almost never happened. No storm. No clouds. No fall. The ripples of the impact touching no one that you know, at least. And in the morning, after all of this, the teardrops on the blades of grass that sparkle in the day’s first light are indistinguishable from dew.

Photo credit: Uh, this iPad mini case.