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I circle the block again. Three times in the past five minutes. There, 4725 Shelmire. Or was it 4785? Okay, there is no 4785. Looks the same. Still has the gnarled wood lamp in the window. They have new siding. I don't like it. Doors opening, start the car. I should stop this. Yeah, the house is the way home from "work." That was three jobs ago, five "me‘s" ago. Maybe I should just call. Did she ever follow her dreams to Altoona? She'd be 24 by now. I left my folks' four years ago. Here goes. "Is Maggie home?"
February 1993. Colleen's on the phone. "Just come over." "I don't know, it's not such a good id….," he said. "It's my birthday, jerk." "Give me half and hour,' he sighed. His older brother drove him over. 4520 Vista. "Drop me around the corner, I gotta get smokes." No store was open. Sun's been down for almost four hours. He only moved after some kids, only a few years older, sixteen, seventeen, start talking loud. He doesn't want to see her. It's only been a month, but he knows she's going to be weird. "Just go, damnit," he says quietly.
I hope no one has to go. I don't think there's a lock on this d… "Beat it!" "It's okay," she says. "Fuck me harder," she pants. She cocks her head to the left, bites her lip and grabs my shoulder with her right. I put my hands under her. The sink's dripping; her underwear's wet. She whimpers as I stretch her body out. I wouldn't mind seeing her completely naked. I won't. We met three hours ago and we're doing it in a dingy dive bar toilet. We'll exchange numbers, I'm sure. One date, maybe. Flashback; 1992, Colleen's party.
"Alex, get down!" He always liked Alex. He had a thing for small dogs. Not like that beast Stephanie had. Kahn. Rot/Dobermans were evil in his mind. She also had that Poodle/Beagel, BeeGee. Fuckers, both of them. "It's okay, Coll," he said as he stroked Alex's back. "Happy birthday." "Well you know everyone but Jeff and Mag…," Colleen said. "Hi, Steph," he said with a insincere smile. "This is my new boyfriend Jeff," Stephanie beamed. "Like I fucking care," he mumbled. It was too noisy, she didn't hear. Colleen jumped in before things got ugly. " Anyway, this is Maggie."
He keeps looking over. "No way, couldn't be," he says over and over, but he can‘t seems to convince himself. She holds herself as he remembers; arms crossed above her breasts, shoulder slanting to one side, one foot slightly in front of the other. She's listening to someone, nodding with a quiet, crooked smile that whispers, "You are full of shit, my friend." He thinks about how the subtle arrogance; it's everyone else who's odd, not her. She's standing near the bathroom. "I'll be right back," he says to his friends. He walks over as she walks out the door.
"Why are you watching basketball," he said to his mom. "I like college basketball, especially the tournament," she said with glare. Dad was away. Two weeks at Fort Dix. She knew what was up. "Oh, yeah, Michelle, Maggie, this is mom." "How are you, girls?" "They have to use the bathroom." He followed them up. Michelle went in. As soon as the door locked, they grabbed each other. It had been over year since the first and last time they hooked up. The passionate slurps between them demonstrated how much better this time was. Maybe it was just the alcohol.
Every one in this town so jazzed up about the Millennium. They've named a bridge, a stadium and a fucking ferris wheel after this non-event. Even these damned post cards say that shit on them. Okay, one for mom and dad, Jonnie, Paul, Randy. Who am I forgetting. Julie, Laura, okay, Buddy, Ilya. That's cutest fucking dog wearing a Union Jack I've ever … Patches. Maggie. I've gotta send this one now. Okay, Post Office. "I'd like to send this to the states." Dear Maggie, I'm working at a magazine in London. Whatchu been doing for the last four years?
I can't believe I'm letting her do this. "How long does it take?" "A half hour, same as it says on the package," she says kind of sing-songy. "You sure?" "What color is my hair?" "Purple," I mumble. I'm not convinced. "Don't you usually have to buy this stuff at CVS? I mean, the metal store at the mall?" "Do you want black hair or not," she says, drawing the mucky toothbrush away from my head. I nod. "Then be quiet." She smiles and then dabs my nose with the brush. "There, all in. Want to watch the Lion King?"
After rummaging through his bag, he handed Chris a CD. "Track three." "This isn't that death metal shit is it?" "Just put it in." "All right, but Onyx is going on after this." Terry harrumphed. "How do you listen to that junk?" "I don't think I like this," Chris grumbled. "Wait, wait, this is the best part," he said as the guitar stopped. "Tell me something I don't know show me something I can't use push the button connect the goddamned dots!" Towards the end of his yelling, Terry noticed another voice, a girl's voice, yelling right along with him.
"I want the freshest BLT you have with extra bacon."
"I don't think you quite understand."
"When I say ‘the freshest,' I mean bacon straight from your local butcher. Plump, juicy Jersey tomatoes cut to match the thickness of a coaster. Dewy, crunchy Romaine, NOT ICEBERG, lettuce."
"I'm not finished madam. By extra bacon, I mean as much pork belly one can possible fit between two slices of toasted white bread. HOWEVER, before putting said ingredients betwixt them, lightly kiss the loaves with a touch of mayonnaise."
"Lemme guess, Hellmans."
"Jesus, lady, I'm not some fucking snob."
The door opened. Michelle came out. Maggie bit his nose and whispered, "I'm up." Michelle crept over to him, beaming. He blushed. "What," he said out of the corner of a crooked smile. "I'm so happy for you two." "I dunno," he said as all signs of coyness disappeared from his face. "It's just, we're such good friends, she really likes that dude Ben, I'm not good enough for her." He hadn't even glanced at Michelle; more like he was airing out all the shit swirling in his head. "It feels not right, but it feels so normal, ya know?"
I'm hungry. I think I want pizza. I think I'm going to make pizza. I have a supreme meat pizza in the fridge. It's fake meat, but the idea's the same.
I need soda. I think Pepsi would be best. I think I'll go to the store. The last time I bought a two liter, my roommates drank almost most of the bottle. This time, a 20 oz. will suffice.
I want to go out tonight. I want to go somewhere cheap and close by. I want to meet loose women. I never find any. Maybe they never find me.
He spent the first hour of the party talking to Chris about music, all the while thinking of things to talk to her about. Who knew Ministry would do the trick? She was standing behind him; arms crossed above her breasts, shoulder slanting to one side, one foot slightly in front of the other.
"Are you into the Revolting Cocks too?" she asked.
He turned. "I, uh, yeah," he stuttered.
She smiled. "You've never heard of them, have you?"
"Do you have any of their stuff with you?"
"Sure, I've got a whole bunch of CDs in my bag too."
It's raining today. Again. A lot of good this umbrella is doing. Ankles to crotch; soaked. Wet denim Tuesday blues. Can't even enjoy smoking; tastes and smells of wet dog. Try to ignore water pooling in the lid of my morning beverage. Kinda hard to dismiss the realization that rain water and coffee do not play well together. Used to think living close to school was a blessing. At least those cursed saps on the Subway get to dry off a bit. Also used to think rain generally falls down. Today, it's dive-bombing at 75 degree angle before exploding upwards.
After figuring out where his train departed from and what time it left, Jeffrey decided he would have some lunch. He had less than $10 and needed to make it last until tomorrow. He found the closest sandwich counter and ordered a baloney and cheese on white with a bag a potato chips. Halfway into the sandwich, Jeffrey realized he did not exist, but this was just a paragraph in a old pulp novel sitting in a thrift shop. "Drat," he cried as the book closed and the reader moved on to find a tee-shirt of high-school he never attended.
I want to meet someone. Not just any someone. A recovering alcoholic coffee shop barista/waitress. This someone mustn't have any family that lives close by and all her friends must start thinking she's a bitch once she starts dating me. Oh, and agoraphobic too. That way, all the date/activity venues are no longer an option. That means we can only one thing ever; this someone must come over after work, take off my shoes and socks for me and rub my belly while I watch Deep Space Nine. Is that too much to ask? Is that someone you? Call me.
I have seven pronged test to see if you're the one for me. First, what is the most beautiful song ever? Okay, Yankees or Red Sox? Pick one. Uh-huh, when did you lose your virginity? Don't lie, just answer. Interesting, now who did you hang out with in high school? Have you ever seen Harold & Maude? Hmmm. Rank the following in your order of preference; Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway and Archer. And lastly, lights--on or off. I'm sorry, but the correct answers are Landside, Sox, Fifteen, Theater Kids, Over 70 times, who the fuck cares for the last two.
That's the guy. That guy right there. He's the one who did this to my face. He's the one looked at me funny and made me say "Have a problem?" Sure, he said "None at all, you just look familiar." He was asking for it. And then he made me look bad. "Sorry if there a misunderstanding. Let me get you whatever you're drinking." That fucking did it. "What, you think I can't pay for my own drinks!?" I remember taking a swing, then being on the floor, dude slamming my head by way of hair-pulling. I think that's him.
Our licks smack against one another's. We exhale wildly on each other's tender flesh. I move myself gently up your thigh, your muscles tense in restless anticipation. Mouths slightly open, forgetting how to breath normally. Gasping, aching, clawing, sighing softly. Our stomachs slap together fiercely as we writhe. I burn, but still need warmth. You give me shelter briefly, then expose me, again and again. It's not enough. It's not enough. I shove you away, lay you out and look down at you. You look up with narrow eyes and crooked jaw, grab my neck and pull us into another.
"Bridgette Fonda," I say while she's in mid-sentence.
"It just came to me. You look like her."
"The girl from ‘Singles?'"
It's funny she brought it up. She has the same haircut/color, the stripped shirt is close enough and the Docs and black tights are right on. She must've taken notes.
"Well, I would've said "Point of No Return.'"
"Ugh, that ‘La Femme Nikita' rip-off? My grandmother called me Nina. That movie ruined a precious childhood memory. " She looks disgusted with me.
"Sorry, I …"
"I‘m fucking with you. I just hate Americanized Euro-cinema. You wanna make out?"
You ain't cool.
You ain't shit.
Cool does give the dance-floor a flash of her panties.
Cool need not be attractive.
Cool does not beat box in cabs.
Cool never says, "What reality shows are on tonight?"
Cool makes time to do nothing.
Cool washes dishes.
Cool doesn't have a trust fund and whine about cash.
Cool talks to people if shit is bugging them.
Cool does not laugh like a hyena.
Cool does not say, "Damn, Brittany's body is like badunkadunk."
Cool does not even know what that word means.
Cool would dis you, but won't waste the breath.
Is she sincere? Can't argue with candor, can you?
"I'll be back," I say as I slip in a grin.
"Mmhmm." She nods and licks her teeth with closed mouth. I enter the laundry room and look out the window. Before turning, two hands shimmy their way over my back en route to my shoulders.
As I turn, they slink and come together in front of me. Gazing forward, she bites her lip then tilts her head. Her hands part briefly and meet behind me, gripping where they started.
She whispers, "I asked … you … a question."
She took me out of her and rubbed against me, her finger caressing my underside. Her hair covered most of her face, but I could see her biting her lip. She swayed side to side, lightly moaning, briefly exhaling. She leaned down, still holding on to me. Starting at mid chest, she ran her tongue up to my chin. When she arrived there, light kisses were planted on my gapping mouth. She lowered herself back in position and wrapped her arm ‘round my neck. She licked the teeth, clicked her tongue and whispered, "I asked … you … a question."
There's nothing you can do about me. I'm not leaving anytime soon. I want to sleep where you eat and not clean up. I want you to love me. I can make you. Give me a few hours. Let me supply you with copious amounts of alcohol and I assure you my charms will have you bewildered and cross-eyed. I'll hang around longer than my expiration date. We'll be miserable, but miserable together. Am I moving too fast? Well, life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop to take notice, someone like me will latch on and not let go.
I can taste my breath. I feels all hot and shit. I don't really floss enough. I sometimes smell the floss when I'm done. It's smells. Badly. I'm appalled that some part of my body has that odor. Though not as bad as my arm pits after a hot day. They don't smell awful, but it's not exactly pecan pie either. Maybe I need to get a new deodorant, but that's like finding a new barber. I like the way mine smells. I'll have to try a few out before settling on one. That takes dedication I just don't have.
No one knew much about Patches. What kind of breed, age, family and medical history; all a matter of conjecture. It was known that her family found him in a cardboard box at the bottom of the I-95 Cottman Avenue exit. It was December and Patches has very little hair left. He was missing an eye and half of his left ear. His tail had been cut recently, as it was still bleeding. The box had been laying on its side, suggesting it had been throw out a car window. He became the perfect Christmas gift for their 12-year-old daughter.
The legend surrounding Patches was that he was immortal. Being tossed out a car window at an hypothesized speed of 30 mph would at least broken some bones of a much larger dog. Patches was no bigger than a football and survived with only a few scratches. The legend went on to say he made his first home in the South of Wales in the late 1800's. His first owners couldn't keep him due to a coal-miners strike that left them barely being able to feed their own children. He ran away before they decided to literally make him dinner.
He continued to float on from port to port for the next century or so. Most immortal's paths cross the those of the rich, the famous, the legendary. Not Patches'. He found shelter with a longshoreman here, a prostitute there, a country doctor over there. His one and only brush with celebrity came in the late 1980's while living in Olympia, Washington. His owner, a record store clerk called Filo, sold him for $30 to a local dentist. The money was lent to Filo's friend, who was $30 short of the $600 he needed to record his band's first LP.
"Which is what bring us to today, your honor. The defendant standing before you is accused of pilfery. Yes pilfery. No, I'm not sure if it's truly a crime. Not very sure if it's a word. However, the state plans to detail the day the defendant decided to pilfer the plastic produce from the possession of his Portuguese professor"
"Objection, alliteration, your honor."
"Sustained. Counselor, I would suggest if you plan to use such a rhetorical device in future discourses, stick more with a more of Beowulf approach and less Shel Silverstein."
"From this time on, your honor, I shall."
begins at seven. alarm rings, snooze bar hit. turn on radio, lie back down. fall asleep, shit, I'm late again. have to use sick time or work through lunch. turn on computer, go down have a cigarette. check email. surf internet. almost lunch time, if it's allowed. look through caseload, could care less. make a few calls, shrink internet explorer when supervisor walks by. five o'clock. get home, should go to gym, take nap. get up, make dinner or get hamburger. should read, watch tv instead. can't sleep. masturbate, not even horny. eat bowl of cereal. sleep ends my day
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