Fat, Apathetic and Tepid


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When Driving in a Lemon

“One posthumous measure of a person’s life is how often you imagine his impossible return to deal with some event he never lived to encounter. You picture his reactions, his advice, his sage commentary and humorous asides. For instance, I think about Mark Twain’s hypothetical take on current events several times a week.” – Paul Di Filippo It seemed as though, the further we drove along, Norm hit ever pothole imaginable. Every hole that he hit, made the inside of my head feel as though it was finally going to give and cave in. I don’t know how long we have been driving, but I know it has been hours. It was the early afternoon and the sun was still high in the sky. I haven’t properly slept in the past day and the hunger and sleep and pain and nausea and annoyance were really getting to me. I looked over through my squinted eyes at Norm. He was calmly driving along the highway. He was wearing black Ray Ban sunglasses and this was the quietest I have heard him since he had taken me. I looked back over the road. The flat land of Illinois and Indiana was becoming hillier as we were being swallowed by Michigan. The rhythmic hum of the tires hugging the road, blended with the constant ringing that was in my left ear. My left ear that only hours before had pieces of Matt on it. My left ear that only hours before had a bullet shot right past it. I had blacked out and Norm must have gotten his way, because now we...

Mourning Skye: Chapter 3 (part 2)

The pallet of mourners was offset by the floral arrangements ranging from white to pink to red to yellow to blue. The carpet was musty. It’s base color was a deep maroon and it had gold, flower-patterned insets covering the span of the carpet from wall to wall. It was unevenly padded. Some steps seemed to be brand new and others seemed to have been neglected from years of saddened human beings. There was a coat rod to the right of the main door. It had a few light jackets hanging from it. Mostly from the elderly mourners. The female elderly mourners. To the left of the door was an area for sitting. An area for reflection. Reflecting on the departed. There were four identical chairs. Each one was oversized and  near the shade of gold that was in the musty, uneven carpet. In front of that was a coffee table. At each end of the coffee table was a box of tissues. In the center of the table was the Holy Bible. It was closed and slightly off kilter. On the other side of the coffee table, facing the four, identical, nearly gold chairs was a maroonish couch. Behind the couch was a table. On the table were two more boxes of tissues and a bowl of mints. Burke and Miles slowly made their way through the threshold, avoiding eye-contact with no real destination in mind. As they brushed past the table that was behind the maroonish couch, one of the inhabitants of the nearly gold chairs looked up and saw them. “Oh shit, Burke?” the inhabitant said....

Mourning Skye: Chapter 3 (part 1)

Burke ran his fingers through his hair to clear the strands from his eyes. His heavy eyes looked over the parking lot of Flannery’s Funeral Parlor. Miles was to his right and breathing heavily from the few minutes of walking that they had endured. In front of the parlor were your average set of mourners. Many middle-aged to elderly men and women, dressed in black, slowly getting out of cars and touching each other on the shoulder. A shoulder touch here and a shoulder touch there, followed by a nod answered with another nod. The younger mourners, mostly dressed in black were gathered around the white benches that surrounded the semi-circled entrance. Clouds of smoke escaped their lungs as they were more boisterous and awkward in their greetings to one another. Rather than grabbing each other’s shoulders, they would grab their own elbows and hold their cigarettes high in the air and smile. They would join the middle-aged and elderly in the ritual of the head nods. Burke looked at Miles. Miles looked at Burke. Burke lit a cigarette. Miles lit a cigarette. “Are you ready?” asked Burke. “No,” replied Miles. “Me neither,” said Burke. “Let’s get the hell out of here,” Miles said. “We can’t just go now.” “Why can’t we?” Miles asked. “I have no idea.” “This shit is kind of creeping me out,” Miles said. “Why?” asked Burke. “What do you mean why?” he said. “What I just said why. Why?” said Burke. “What do you mean?” asked Miles. “Seriously?” asked Miles. “Yes, seriously,” said Burke. “I don’t know.” “How don’t you know?” “I don’t know.”...

Mourning Skye: Chapter 2 (part 3)

“Then why the back story?” Angeline asked. “Did you listen to any of it?” “Great point.” “I know it’s a great point, that’s why I told it. It pretty much has soggy as hell thinking about it.” “You’re a lovely woman, have I ever told you that?” Angeline pulled Sammy into her tightly as they walked, hugging and stumbling along. “You have. But I never get tired of it.” Sammy smiled back. Angeline stopped suddenly and brought her purse back up to her face. Sammy whipped to a stop. She rustled about and brought a cigarette to her lips and reached back into the bag blindly looking for the lighter. As she pulled it out it fell to the ground and bounced three times and came to a rest at Sammy’s feet. Sammy bent down and picked it up for her and in one motion lit Angeline’s cigarette. Angeline held Sammy’s wrist as she lit the cigarette. “Thank you, love. I don’t know what I would do without you,” Angeline exhaled. Sammy softly smiled. “You would find another foul-mouthed whore to light your cigarettes for you.” “That’s probably true. That’s probably true,” she repeated. “Speaking of being such a whore, finish the story.” “Where was I?” “Jason’s dick was in your mouth,” Angeline sneered. “Yes, that glorious dick. So, I totally went down on him in the car after knowing him for like two hours. He did his thing, I wasn’t expecting it and totally spit it all over his pants.” “That shit comes out fast.” “No, duh. People really need to tell you that before the first time...


My Prepubescent Fate

I had Mrs. Stewart for 6th grade home room. She was tall and had wavy, mid 90s, blond hair. She was authoritative yet fair. Two or three kids from that class are dead. Two for sure. I’m pretty sure it’s three. Not sure that is relevant to the story, it is a mundane detail about the home room I was in. Our home room was in the basement of Lundahl, Jr. High. on the north end of the building that was closest to South Elementary. The wall separating the classrooms was removable. It was opened once or twice. This particular time it was closed. That may have been a good thing. Lunch was coming soon. This was the only time, besides Gym that we could go outside. Coming in from 5th grade, that is a big culture shock. Mrs. Stewart had a collection of sports equipment that we could check out. On this day, I got the football. It was always a big deal to get the football. I put it between my desk on the floor and the girl who sat next to me. I can’t remember exactly who that was, but she was not among the dead. To my current knowledge. The clock was approaching the lunch hour. Mrs. Stewart’s voice was starting to be drowned by my personal picture show. I was already outside, throwing the ball to Jeff or Stu or Kevin or Eric. We were playing way better than the Bears were. Not a stretch back then, though. I wanted to be Jim Harbaugh and Erik Kramer. I wanted to be a quarterback. I...

Human Bean Faucet

Shortly after I offered a peak of Laura’s boobs to Moises Alou, we were on our way to Dave’s house. He lived on Paulina, on the top floor of a four story house. The apartment was beautiful and spacious. He had an adequate deck and hardwood floors. We arrived at his house around 6 at night. Phil Tanner, Laura and I were over served, but ready to get Dave to the same point. We laughed and drank and laughed and smoked and laughed and drank and laughed and wrestled. Laura wrestled Dave in the living room. Her freakish strength was becoming apparent to Dave and the battle was getting heated. Phil was laughing and I was laughing because Phil was laughing. If you never had the pleasure to hear Phil laugh, it has a slow build. His eyes then get bright and he cackles with a throaty cough. It makes you laugh to hear him laugh. Shortly after the wrestling match, Laura decided that she had had enough. She retreated to Dave’s room and fell asleep on his hardwood floor at 7:30 at night. Dave, Phil and I started talking about food and Dave thought it would be brilliant to bring us out into public. We started the trek to get some mexican food. I don’t recall if we drove or walked. I just know that just like magic, we were standing outside of an authentic Mexican restaurant. In my inebriated, 22 year old wisdom, I transformed into a world famous Mariachi singer. I rolled my tongue and shouted and sang every stereotype that I could think of. Phil...

Helter Belcher

In 2002 I lived by myself and Banky. She was my bitch. My original girl. She was much too jealous of Laura when we started dating. She would make sure if we were watching a movie that she was in between us. Laura and I watched Zoolander holding hands, while scratching Banky’s back. Laura and I started dating in 2003 so we’ll save that for another day. I had a one bedroom apartment near campus, near the bars. All the apartments in my complex were one bedrooms with the exception of one. The one above me. It was converted to be two bedrooms with a balcony overlooking the hillside and trees. It was a rickety ass balcony. This was the time that balconies were falling out of the sky in Chicago, so I always stood near the door. It was the end of the year and my upstairs neighbors were having a party. This was the perfect party apartment. The entire upstairs was open and led to the balcony. Smokers could smoke. Drinkers could drink. Tweekers could tweek. Banky was allowed up there. My neighbors were solid guys. The following year, the girls moved in. Again, a later story, but this one involves Nick (Last name sounds like son-of-a-bitch). We were having a great time. The keg was getting murdered and we were in the midst of a foosball tournament. I was playing with Phil Tanner. We were playing Nick and one of his friends. Ericsen and Steve were there. I always played goalie. I was adequate at stopping the goals, but I could score from goal more times...


This Empathetic Song

“Depression, suffering and anger are all part of being human.” – Janet Fitch There’s a little girl who lives with me. She’s amazing in every single way that I could think of and she finds a way to make me smile every single day. I don’t know how she does it, but my head could be doing whatever my 37-year-old head is doing at any particular time and, no matter what rabbit hole I’ve entered, she can usually bring me out of it. So, when this little girl who lives with me is starting to raise questions of self-worth, a piece of me dies, a piece of me cries, a piece of me smiles, and a piece of me is warmed. The heart-strings in this empathetic song are resonant. My little roommate is going through the first change from a little girl, into a little person. Her needs are no longer animalistic and basic. Her needs are much deeper. She is beginning to wonder who she is. Not even ten years into this existence she is starting to feel the pressure with existentialism. That is something that she doesn’t know about at this time, but it brings her closer to her father than she could ever know. She is sharing in something that is so fundamentally human, and it is exciting to be a part of. She hasn’t opened the door to true existentialism, but she is knocking. She’s asking these first questions in her head. She is broaching the subject of self-worth. The gateway drug to philosophical pontifications. Like her mother before her, and her mother before hers,...

We Are Not Privileged

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama Swiftly, shakily, steadily I slide down the sleep induced slurry of the sewage spitting out of strangers mouths. I can’t seem to find my way away from the increasing idiocracy of America. My prolific posterior is becoming bruised from the constant onslaught of condescension within our communities. One idea after the other. One feeling after the other. One conversation after the other. One belief after the other is met with such hatred and delusion – but this delusion has become an allusion of elusion. We are running. We are running from everything we do not understand. We don’t understand what we don’t understand. It’s easier to not understand. For if we don’t understand we could never be held accountable. If you cannot be held accountable, then the status quo is blissfully adequate. Not acceptable – just adequate. By building these silos, we are no longer a nation of neighbors. Our faces are buried behind the screens. Our blue faces have developed a furrowed brow and our smiles have traveled south. Our thumbs mindlessly, absently scroll to the next story. The next status. The next pic. The next hashtag. And we blindly press share. We didn’t read the article. We don’t have time for that. We liked the headline. We liked the idea. We shared an idea. That idea was met with hatred and delusion. We no longer have ideas. They have been taken from us. They have been stolen from us. Ideas are subjective idioms that are becoming increasingly illegal in this industrious aristocracy....

White Lies

  “I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies.” – Pietro Aretino I’m going to the well again. Oh well, again. It’s hard to begin to explain the strain that society has put on humanity again. When nine-year-old brown eyes slowly look up at me, capillaries exploding with dubiety and inquisition, my mind melts and freezes – a verbal stroke stumbles sleepily out of my stupid mouth. Seven-year-old green eyes quickly look up at me, and asks if everything is okay in innocence and ingenuity. Another verbal stroke followed by convulsions of the heart. It’s hard to begin to explain the strain that society has put on humanity again. Through my mental seizures I question why these eyes are viewing these reddened and blackened skies, and if I should just hug them with little white lies. White Lies. White Lies. White lies beneath all of this rubble of black, yellow, and red stones. Foundations of our society – cornerstones of humanity. White lies beneath all of this demolition. Demolishing this beautiful landscape we call life. White lies decapitating discerning discourse. What happens when we can no longer sit down and listen to the traditions of our fellow humans and learn from their experiences and learn from their pasts and learn from their presence? It’s hard to begin to explain the strain that society has put on humanity again. What happens is that we begin to notice our differences – and we become frightened. We tell White Lies. We lie. We...

I Don’t Have Room in my Heart

“No guns but only brotherhood can resolve the problems.” – Atal Bihari Vajpayee So, in the past few days, I have been experiencing something that I am not used to. It started Friday for the most part. Thursday night, maybe. But definitely Friday. It was the start to a weekend where I had to work all Friday night. I’m used to being with my family every Friday. It was not a great big deal, because I have one of the best jobs around. I don’t feel that I am working when I’m at my job. In a weird sense, I feel that I am hanging out with anyone I come into contact with at work. It’s an amazing feeling. It’s a feeling. But, I also had another feeling. A feeling. A sense of impeding longing for my family. You see, in addition to being gone all Friday night, I was also going to be away all Sunday. For a good reason, though. The Chicago Cubs played the final game of the season on Sunday at, perhaps, my favorite place on the planet – Wrigley Field. It was a glorious day too. At times it was hot. At times it was cool. Beautiful. I took my son to the game, together with my parents, sister and nephew. I took Miles to see the World Series trophy – something I had waited 36 years to see and something he doesn’t understand at the age of seven. A weird butterfly-y happiness ejaculated into my stomach. There’s a picture of it on my Instagram. I follow the Kanye rules to photography almost exclusively. This...