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1. Family of four (mom, dad, son, daughter) attending an Anime Convention. Amiable, polite, and united. Hundreds of becostumed teenagers swarming, teeming, dreaming they’re their favorite character. Naruto here, Tri-Gun there, Sailor Moons by the dozens.
2. Beautiful young lady by name of Jenny. Going to her friends’ wedding reception. Quiet, mysterious… Jenny.
3. Smiling, good-natured fellow named Dana. Talked briefly about music, coffee shops and hard times. I was amazed how genuinely nice and sincere he seemed. If there were more like him, I wouldn’t have to destroy this planet.
4. James is an older, grizzled man who periodically
nods out between sentences. I crack a joke about spending the weekend in jail and he emits a hearty laugh. He refers to his apartment building as “The Land of the Numb.”
5. Older couple from Lancaster, PA on the first day of a 2-week vacation: take in the city, hit five wineries, stay on the coast. Pleasant conversation, even though the missus is a bit condescending. Her husband says very little but when he does, it’s positive.
6. Single mother of two and her friend, going to a party together. They both invite me to accompany them, I politely
decline. The girl sits next to me and she’s clearly had too much to drink. She’s happy and tantalizing but
a bit crazy. The talk goes from casting dildoes of men’s penises to the possibility of Ecstacy being provided at the aforementioned party. I really want to go but I’d end up losing my job.
7. Annie and her visiting-from-Iowa parents. They like to drink together, a lot. Her parents visit so much that they’ve run out of things to do, places to go so they drink. Fascinating…
8. Girl#1: Quiet, shy, polite.
Girl #2: Party girl, chatterbox.
Guy: Apologetic, obsequious.
9. A fey lad, whom I’ve seen before, elucidates on the finer points of living alone. I couldn’t agree more as
space at home has been recently invaded.
10. A gruff man, succinct but well mannered.
11. Two couples from Spokane (who’ve had
too much to drink) ask the same questions and say the same things that countless others have.
12. Mara regales me with a tale of seeing Elliott Smith perform in Paris: “My boyfriend and I were in Paris and I found out Elliott was playing the next night so I
tried to buy some tickets but the lady at the venue said, ‘Oh no, it is
(pronounced ee-pare) sold out,’ meaning hyper sold out, so my boyfriend, who speaks fluent French, called and said, ‘I’m with the newspaper, I’m a music critic, I need to go to the show,’ and they said, ‘No, it is
sold out.’ So I woke up the next day and said to myself, ‘I’m
to that show. I’m
to get tickets!’ So I went to the venue, the morning of the show, and I wrote a note, it said:
you don’t know me but I’m from Portland and I’m friends with Amanda
(she breaks off and says to me, ‘Bolme. Joanna Bolme’s sister’)
and she’s doing great and says “Hi!” and I was hoping you could help me come to your show.
And I wrote our contact info on it and gave it to the box office attendant and said, ‘This is for Elliott and it’s
important that he gets this.’ Well, his tour manager called me later that afternoon and said, ‘Elliott got your flowers and the note and he thought it was sweet, so how many
tickets can he help you with?’ and I was surprised and decided to say, ‘Uh… four?’ and she had them sent over. We scalped two of them and went to the show. And… we had passes to meet him after the show and he was nice and funny and my boyfriend knew Paris really well and we wanted to take him around Paris but he said he couldn’t… You know, the shows there are early, like 7:00 PM so it was only about 9:00 PM… He said he had to do a bunch of radio interviews and my boyfriend said,
‘Well, try not to repeat yourself.’ And Elliott said, ‘Well, how could I?’ and it was a very nice experience.
my Elliott Smith story.”
13. Young lady gets in my cab. She’s drunk and immediately begins to cry. After five or six blocks, I ask, “Rough night?” She says, “You have no idea. You think you know a woman and then they say, ‘You don’t know me!’” She’s clearly distraught and I’m not sure what to say so I turn the music up. Later, we arrive at her house and she runs inside to retrieve money. On her way
out, she misses the bottom step and falls, face first, and lands on the flowerpots. She wasn’t able to catch herself so her ribs absorbed the brunt of the fall.
I yelled and sprung from the car. She still hadn’t moved.
What if she was impaled on something?!
I thought. The front door was open and I ran up and knocked quickly. “Hello?!” I asked. I heard a heavy sobbing sound coming from the inert girl. I knocked again,
Finally, a beautiful woman appeared. “Hello?” she asked. “Uh, you’re girlfriend may be seriously hurt,” I said. We
both hurried down the steps. The girl who had fallen was slowly settling back on her legs, in a quasi-squat position. “You may have some broken ribs,” I said to her, “you landed pretty hard.” Her girlfriend patted me on the shoulder, “Thanks, buddy, for everything.” The last thing I remember was counting the tear-soaked money.
959686—Young man and woman moving musical equipment across town.
959756—Two young men taking groceries home.
959783—A man and his mother, going to the movies.
959823—Single guy taking his groceries home.
959902—Elderly Chinese man going home from his son’s house.
959956—Single woman taking groceries home.
960023—Two young ladies going to a local club.
960073—Young man going home from the pharmacy.
960106—Older man going from one bar to another.
960149—Single woman taking groceries home.
960257—Four “hip” twentysomethings going from bar to bar.
960338—Young couple going from one strip club to another.
960425—Four large people going home from the bar.
960467—Young couple going home from the bar.
960502—Older gentleman and young couple going home from the movies.
960645—Haughty British woman and her underling going to a designer hotel.
He ran up to my car and spit at me through the open window. Most of it missed me but some flecks of spit hit my arm and clothing. I parked the car and got out. “Why do you feel it’s okay to spit on me?” I inquired, arms outstretched.
He put his fists up, under his chin, “Native Pride,” he responded. He threw a slow, looping overhand right and I stepped back at a 45-degree angle, watched the punch go harmlessly by, then grabbed his shoulders and accelerated his motion downwards. He landed head first on the street and
lay still for a moment.
When he returned to his feet, I could see a small laceration on the right side of his forehead. Blood blossomed outwards and spread slowly down. He put his fists back up and said, “What’s up?!”
“I don’t know, what’s up?” I replied. I could tell from his body language that he was trying to save face in front of his friends. He didn’t really want to fight me, he was afraid of any further pain. He walked away and cursed at me; two of his friends were yelling at me, threatening to call the
police (even though I was already on the phone with them), threatening to sue me, to have my job. One of his friends, a saucy little blond, approached me and said, “Why don’t you do me a favor and do a swan dive off a cliff? Do me a favor and run with knives and trip! And you’re fucking cute but
“Piss off,” I responded, dismissively.
“I hope it was worth it, asshole, ‘cause it’s gonna cost you your job and you’re gonna get sued!”
“You know what?” I said,
is going to happen to me.”
This infuriated her.
“Oh, yeah?! You have no idea…”
“Oh, yeah?!” I mockingly interrupted her, “It’s
who has no idea.”
The only thing that happened was my boss laughed about how I described the altercation in the Incident Report. I had written that after the guy swung at me, I had helped him to the ground.
“That’s the funniest shit I’ve ever heard,” he said.
“What?” I asked.
“’I helped him to the ground?’ How do you help someone
“He was off-balance and it looked like he was falling so I helped him get there faster.”
Turnabout seems to be fair
I limit myself.
This cool summer night
Made for basking in the love
Of someone who’s true.
Heads will roll.
Mark my words,
Heads will roll.
Bodies will burn
And humans will mourn
The day the end comes.
There will be no escape.
All this time spent to focus the mind,
To relax the spine,
To harden flesh and bone,
And sit like a stone
Was so easily undone
Due to my pride
And weakened will
And that seductive wickedness
That seeped through me like a sponge.
And I regressed again,
Henry Foil rolled up his sleeves and plunged his hands into the warm, soapy water. He fumbled around until he retrieved the sponge and set to washing the dishes that were stacked to the left of the sink. Crusty red sauce adhered to the surface of most of the plates and utensils. Cheese that resembled petrified wood clung to the edges of the plates and was nearly impossible to dislodge. “How long have these dishes been here?” Henry wondered to himself. He put as many dishes as he could into the warm water and dried his hands on his pants.
Why does my head keep aching?
Why is my vision distorted?
Why does my neck hurt? And my chest feels like it’s being crushed slowly?
Curse? Hypochondria? Tumor? Anxiety?
And what’s with the twitching in my right forearm?
Is this what it’s like: going mad?
Being pushed, head first, into a maelstrom of despair
Are my delusions gaining ground? I used to say, “Madness looks exciting (as my left eye and right leg twitch simultaneously)! I hope I’m schizophrenic!” And my mother would pounce on me,
she would scream, “Don’t
wish for that!” And she’d begin to pray.
26W to Murray Blvd. Turn left then right on Farmington Rd.
The above directions were connected to a gentleman I picked up at the police station downtown. He was in bad shape from the start. An officer helped him into the back seat and he immediately lay on his side and passed out. He had an incision on his forehead that had been stitched up but was still welling blood. Had the police been the cause of the wound or someone or something else? Given his intoxication level, it was highly probable that he had fallen and hit his head
but one never knows especially given the Portland Police Bureau’s track record. They have a history of being heavy-handed, sometimes fatally so. At any rate, the gentleman was no trouble except for bouts of sneezing and coughing he didn’t bother to cover his mouth during. I glanced back and saw a rivulet of snot running from his nose, through his moustache, across his lips and onto the car seat. His snoring caused bubbles to appear that reminded me of boils in a river. I felt both disgust and pity for this man. He was probably in his 50s yet seemed
incapable of taking care of himself. What events had transpired in his life, what choices had he made or neglected to make to place him where he was? Was he someone’s son, father, brother, or husband? What, exactly, had occurred to make this man give up? That’s what it seemed like to me: that he had simply given up on himself and on life. A shiver ran through me – what if that was me some day? Lord knows I’ve made more than my share of mistakes regarding drugs and alcohol, jobs, relationships, family and so on. Could I be him?
I somehow found out that my best friend had been institutionalized so I went to the hospital and asked where he was. Everyone denied that he was there but I could tell they were lying. I enlisted the help of an employee who let me into the basement, where they kept the really crazy ones, and ran around checking all the rooms, to no avail. She then led me to the 2nd Floor and I found the room he was in. His name was clearly written on the chart, next to the room number. I pulled the chart off the
wall and proceeded into his room which, surprisingly, was not locked. There was my best friend, lying on his side on a thin mattress, gibbering to himself: “Buh, buh, buh, buh, buh, buh, buh… I have no way home.” He had a vacant look in his eyes and did not appear to recognize me. “Come on, let’s get out of here,” I said. He declined and I left out of frustration and a fear of being caught by someone. I returned the next day and showed the director of the hospital the room chart, my friend’s name circled by me.
The director relented and allowed me to see my friend. The visiting arrangements were similar to those of a prison: there was a small room that was divided in half by safety glass. I sat on one side, my friend the other. He seemed more lucid than he had the night before. I asked the particulars of the situation and he wouldn’t answer directly; he merely alluded to needing help. Some amount of time seemed to pass and through that time, I was the only one that ever visited my friend, my best friend. One day, upon arriving to visit,
I was told my friend was dead. I demanded to see the body. They led me to a large cardboard box and inside was my friend, lying in the fetal position. He was naked and had black leather straps wrapped ‘round his head, between his nose and his forehead. I sobbed openly, still not believing he was dead. Suddenly, my friend stirred. His legs and arms moved and he actually climbed out of the box then collapsed on the floor. I ran down the hallway to the cafeteria and asked a nurse if it was possible for dead bodies to
do what I had seen. “Of course not,” she replied. A small group of us rushed back to where my friend was.
He was alive.
Everyone was incredulous and no one had an explanation.
Then time shifted and my friend and I were on the same side of the safety glass, and a psychologist was on the other side. I was relating the entire story of my dream to my friend when he suddenly got up and excused himself to the bathroom. I spoke to the shrink about my dream within a dream. I asked him what the dream meant.
DROPPING OFF PASSENGERS DOWNTOWN
WAITING FOR THEIR CREDIT CARD TO AUTHORIZE
HAZARD LIGHTS FLASHING
NO ONE SEEMING PERTURBED
BUT THEN, THIS FAKIN’-THE-FUNK
PSEUDO-COP RIDES BY AND YELLS,
“YOU’RE BLOCKING TRAFFIC!”
I TELL HIM, “WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF”
HE SAYS, “CAB # 2031. YOU’RE NOT A GOOD EXAMPLE.”
HE SAYS IT IN A TONE THAT MEANS HE’S GOING TO COMPLAIN, THEN
HE RIDES ONTO THE SIDEWALK.
I YELL AFTER HIM:
“YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO RIDE A BIKE ON THE SIDWALK, ASSHOLE!”
SOMEONE CLAPPED AND CHEERED, SOMEONE ELSE WHISTLED.
I woke up and rubbed my forehead.
My dreams, of late, have been strange.
Her name is D.
(Her boyfriend’s friend died of cancer.)
I picked her up at B
(His deceased friend’s widow is an alcoholic and beat up the kids.)
And drove her to L.
(Her boyfriend’s brother was beaten and hospitalized by six men.)
On the way
We spoke of C,
(Her boyfriend’s brother is a paranoid schizophrenic.)
Of growing up in P,
And being free.
Also of MG.
(Her other friend got beaten up by a supposed lover.)
She works at MS
(Another friend OD-ed on heroin.)
(All in the span of three weeks.)
Goddamn, motherfucking, sonofabitch! I did it again! I forgot to end the italicization waaaaaaaaay up there in a previous post and now EVERYTHING’S frick-a-frackin’ italicized from that point on! Grrrrr! It tends to screw up the flow (if there was any to begin with) and just plain pisses me off! Pardon me whilst I rant and rave and moan and groan and complain. Hmmm, maybe I should be more fucking careful when I’m posting things, eh? No shit. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck! FUCK! You stupid corksoaking son of an ass! When will you learn? Okay, I’m feeling better now…
“Thirty days has
April, June and November.
All the rest have thirty-one
Except for February, which has twenty-eight
And on Leap Year has twenty-nine.”
I learned that stupid Days in a Month rhyme from my mother when I was a wee lad and it’s stuck with me all these years.
I’m glad you (any of you) read my thirty days this month. I hope my three thousand words of suck helped you appreciate the fact that you are not I. I’ll do my best to top my shitty “writing” next month, especially with an extra day to sicken you.
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