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The New Year started with a bang. This is because I had flown out of state to spend the weekend with a girlfriend. We spent it together, and spent it, and spent it some more, and never ran out.
In between walking her dogs and going for coffee we had sex. We satisfied her urge to do it on her pool table. We baptized her front room. We discovered I am responsive in her talented hands even if I just recently deflated. We fucked so hard she screamed and scared her puppies.
The New Year started with a big bang.
On the second day of the year, I had to leave on a jet plane. I had to go back home. Didn't really want to, but what would you?
But first, we had more sex. We watched a movie. We had sex. We went for a bike ride. We had sex. We lost count of her orgasms. We did not lose count of mine, for I only had one. It is the sweet curse of middle age that my pleasure is mostly in hers.
But I did fuck her tits, and come all over her throat, and kiss her hard.
Today was the first work day of the year. It was two days before I first wrote for 100words. It was, like every work day lately, a shitty day.
I have a great job at a great company. It has sent me to several countries. I make a decent living. I am the envy of my under-employed relatives -- those anyway with a work ethic.
But I no longer understand the environment. I cannot follow the groupthink. I do not know what is going on. I am uninterested in the technology. It seems I am too old for this shit.
Tomorrow I wrote my first entry.
Today I spent the entire day living: Working, with and without quotation marks to signify what a slacker I can be, then shopping, cooking, eating, reading, and reconciling bank accounts. I was aghast at how much Christmas cost. And then I went to bed.
I read for an hour, enthralled with a history book. I enjoy history more than fiction, for I can make my own stories, full of life and lives and their individual dramas. I only need a setting outside my own, and history's cause and effect. I fill in the blanks.
I don’t want to work. I want to bang on the drum all day.
The company cafeteria is empty late this Wednesday afternoon but for scattered couples, one on one meetings overflowing with technical mumbojumbo and management objectives dressed in quiet lukewarm tones. I'm hiding from my boss, who is too busy to come downstairs to look for me and gives up when he finds my desk unoccupied.
I don’t work well at my desk. I don’t work well here either. These days, I don’t work well at all. I just want to bang the drum.
Every day grows narrow within the gray confines of my cubicle until my brain is paper thin and slips between the keys to float aimlessly down network cables and fetch up on some distant beach of gray sand my toes cannot feel under a turquoise sky my eyes cannot see.
There is an awful lot to read on that beach and no matter what it is, it seems more interesting than anything I really can touch and really can see within this gray-walled cubicle. But that hardly matters. I have to remind myself I don't want to be unemployed.
Body said sleep. I turned off the alarm.
Body slept two extra hours. I got up at eight.
Mind said go to work. Heart asked why bother. I made a sandwich and left after nine.
Freezing fog hung over the roadway. I shivered. I sensed invisible homeless people huddling under the bridge. I felt like one of them.
Just wait, I said to them. I'll join you soon enough.
Missed a meeting at work. Tried to think what I should do next. Realized I left my sandwich at home.
This made me sad so I went home and got it.
I was sad from talking to my wife. She was angry with me. That is no surprise, as I “left her” (i.e. moved out) a few months ago. But some odd combination of sentiment combined with her relentless misunderstanding of my words and meaning combined with her passive attacks of self pity to leave me in pain. I doubted in my way that leaving had been such a great idea, and the hurt of false accusation and incorrect assumption piled on as it always does, and still I had a desire to hold her and make it all better.
My wife wanted her garage back. I didn’t take it away from her, but anyway. I went over and took out a full truckload of stuff. Mostly the National Geographic collected that dates back to 1946. My father’s old chemistry glassware. Some metal strongboxes I found once by the side of the road. Now these things are in my truck, where they will stay until I figure out where to put them.
I also installed some lighting for her, and moved heavy things around, and swept the floor. Now she can park both her cars in the garage.
I woke immediately when the alarm went off. It was my cell phone, as I don’t own an alarm clock. I sat up, opened it, exited the alarm function. I stared into the corner between the floor and the wall for a moment, rejecting all thought of slipping back into bed. I only had five hours of sleep, but it was Monday, and six in the morning, and time to get going.
Even though I dicked around on the internet a little and did not go in early to restart my exercise regime, I'm glad I got up early.
One eleven eleven; or eleven one eleven, if you number dates as they ought to be numbered. Why do us Americans signify the date in the arbitrary month slash day slash year order? Day month year not only makes more sense, but is a more universal standard. When dealing with my European colleagues and written dates, I can never be sure whether or not they are accommodating my quaint American ways. Thus a milestone date might be February 3rd or March 2nd but at first glance I have no way to know.
Don't even get me started on going metric.
He knocked on my door late at night, his fedora dripping from the rain. His eyes smoldered with unspoken news, and with nary a word and barely a thought I let him in.
I pointed at the mat, and he stood on it to wipe his feet. I held out an arm and he removed his hat and coat and with an elegant gesture, handed them to me.
"Thank you," he said. His was a smooth baritone, a singer's voice. He regarded me intently.
I placed them on the kitchen counter and faced him.
"I," he said, "am Bourne Toulouse."
"You," I said, "are Bourne Toulouse."
"That is correct," he said. Still he regarded me with a look of meaning unrevealed.
"I'm sorry," I said.
He smirked and hitched his hands into his belt, like a gunfighter. He wore tweed and a tie, all slightly worn. His tie clip glittered in the light from the kitchen.
"Come in," I said, and he followed me to the kitchen, where I pulled a chair out from the breakfast table and opened the fridge.
"Thank you," he said, and sat, watching me. I got two and opened them, handed him one.
He took a swig and dropped the bottle on the table with a loud clunk. He looked up at me where I leaned against the counter.
“You look terrible,” he said.
“Bad cold going around?”
“It didn’t go around me. Hit me straight in the chest.”
“Anyway,” he said, “about the one you call Skeezix. He’ll be here tonight”
His words hit me like a block of ice.
“Really,” I croaked.
“Really.” He took another drink, watching me.
“On the train.”
“The midnight train.”
“A midnight train for Georgia?”
“Don’t be an idiot.”
A man sat at my table who said he was Bourne Toulouse. He looked it. His clothes were worn and unfashionable, as if cobbled together at a thrift store. He looked like a nineties version of a thirties private eye: tan fedora, brown sport coat, violet cloth tie; yet a pastel pink silk shirt that looked new. He hadn’t ironed out the creases.
His tie clip was in a peculiarly intricate pattern with a gem in the middle that threw the kitchen light back in rainbow colors.
“Tell me more,” I said.
“You won't like it,” he said, smiling.
He wheeled around in his chair to face me directly and fix me with his hard brown eyes.
“The one you call Skeezix,” he said, “is on the
. The train left Bakersfield at six twenty and will pull into town at eleven thirty.”
He paused. He paused for a long time.
“I don’t know.”
“What’ll he do then?”
Toulouse looked at me blankly.
“Well, “he said, “I suppose he'll get off. Exit the train. Disembark.”
“And come after me.”
“One presumes so.”
I felt like a rag thrown in ice water.
Toulouse straightened his tie and took another drink.
“This is the information you contracted with me to provide,” he said.
I thought that was unnecessary. We both knew that. His saying so was a trifle patronizing.
“Some of it,” I said. Take that.
“I have to presume he will be here within an hour of the train’s arrival. I need a description.”
“If someone shows up at one in the morning, you can bet it is probably him.”
“I still need a description, in case he waits until tomorrow.”
“That is reasonable.”
Toulouse looked at my bookshelf.
I stared at his tie clip. It shone unnaturally bright. He put his hand over it, as if holding it in place, and rose out of his chair to stand by my bookcase and peruse titles. I was annoyed by this. Clearly he did not have all the information I had contracted him to get, and the subconscious covering of his expensive tie clip represented an unintended admission of the fact.
“How did you learn about Skeezix’ train trip?” I asked.
“Long story. Lots of internet traffic delving. Hacked his credit card. Followed a few hunches. Detective work.” He smirked.
“In other words,” I said, “you could be making everything up.”
“I could,” he said, and scanned my bookshelves. He pulled out a volume of the Durants’
Story of Civilization
and riffled through the pages.
“Careful”, I said. “That was my grandfather’s.”
Quickly, Bourne Toulouse thumbed through the early pages of
The Age of Reason Begins
, found what he sought, put his finger on it, and held it out to me.
I put on my glasses and read what he was pointing at. I looked at him. He looked at me. I read it again, and felt a chill.
Years of battle, of subterfuge, of rage and humor and idiocy crashed together in this moment.
My self-appointed adversary, a geek who called himself Skeezix, had tousled with me in some internet forum, gotten enraged, gotten obsessed, stalked me from newsgroup to bulletin board to social networking site, anywhere he could get around privacy walls. In truth, I let him, because he amused me. Stupid people sometimes do.
What’s that they say about hiring the handicapped?
But then he got serious. Met me on my own battlefield. Caught me out. Slammed me between the pages of a book.
When lightning parts the sky and the sky closes again in its wake, you hear a thunderclap. Your heart stops for an instant. When a book is opened and then slammed shut again, you might feel nothing; or you might feel your world contract like a butterfly caught between the pages.
Depends on the book. Depends on who’s doing the slamming.
For one brief inglorious moment in our relentless battles of politics and history and morals and intellectual who’s-got-the-bigger-dicksmanship, I got lazy, and Skeezix got the upper hand.
How doesn't matter.
I needed revenge.
I don't feel like continuing the story today. I'm sure no one will notice or care. I may continue it later. Maybe not. The surprise ending wasn't going to be very surprising.
I envy my self-employed friend who took the week off to go to Baja Sur where he's kiteboarding, partying, and burning things. Sort of a Burning Man in the small down there. We go to Burning Man at the end of summer and it's an unimaginable blast, but I really could use a winter version in Mexico right about now.
There's a woman I miss right now.
Interesting how a good time can crash into the ground.
We had fun watching the football games. There was food and drink and impromptu dance parties and naked swimming.
At the end I was asked if I wasn't too stoned to drive, but it had been hours, I was fine, I wanted to get home.
The further I drove, the sadder I became. I was the one who left her, she did not leave me. I have friends and girlfriends and prospectively more of the same.
But there was something warm and solid at gut level and I miss it.
She called shortly after I got home to my apartment.
"Those brown spots on my arms? They were skin cancer. Today the doctor burned seventeen of them off. Now I'm covered in blisters and it HURTS!"
Women are tough. When this one says something hurts, it hurts a lot. When I got to the house, her knuckles and forearms had big angry red blisters, stretched to the limit. She was stoic but she didn't want them to burst and leak all over the sheets.
I carefully wrapped them in gauze tape and brushed her hair and read her to sleep.
I've felt as though I were missing my wife lately. I get sad and lonely and call her to see how she's doing. She keeps her distance and rightly so, as she doesn't want to be teased.
"I know we're not getting back together," she says.
And I know that, too. I left so I could explore, and I have much to explore. I have barely begun.
I think when I miss her, I don't really miss her. I'm just lonely. Sometimes I want someone around I can trust and respect. That, it seems, is a hard thing to find.
The meeting started at seven in the morning. Participants are in India, Finland, Texas, and California. Seven in the morning CA time is a good compromise time for all those locales. I meant to take it in the office but I didn't get going quite early enough to make the commute by then, so I am taking it at home, listening via cell phone and watching via a popular networked meeting software product.
I wish I hadn't been invited and the inconvenience annoys me. But it is my job as a customer-facing engineer. Can I buy some motivation, please?
Last year my new girlfriend went to Florida to spend a week with her boyfriend. No, no worries: His wife knew all about it.
If your head is spinning, you ain't seen nothin' yet.
I was blue about it, because though I understood and agreed to these arrangements, my newly unmarried heart was not. I was blue even though I knew she was happy to be with him, and that my love for her could allow me to be happy that she was happy. All I had to do was decide.
Incubus' song "Wish You Were Here" kept me afloat.
What does it mean to love someone? Our society and our youthful passions teach us it means they must be ours and nobody else's.
Fortunately we can learn this is false.
I love my wife and I want her safe and happy in the house I moved out of.
I love my girlfriend and want her with me right now.
I love my girlfriend and want her to be with her other boyfriend body and soul when she is with him and not worry about me at all.
She is so perfectly honest in this unusual situation, it simply works.
Shortly I will change to go to someone's birthday party. She's turning 40 and is a Burner and her friends are Burners so basically it will be a kick ass party.
I'm really not in the mood at all but that will change. After all: Steak dinner for all (courtesy of her husband), fire dancers, several DJs, dancing, free booze, oddball costumes ... and if experience is any guide at all, a reasonably-sized population of attractive single women.
Oh yeah: Burners know how to party.
I'm really not ready yet to chase wimmins, but they're awfully nice to have around.
The question is whether to blog -- not here but in a real blog -- the story of last night's party.
I fear I'm not up to it. It would end up being about my insecurities and it takes some skill to keep that both truthful and interesting.
It also takes skill to be brief about my insecurities.
Maybe I can find a single moment in the night that tells the story. Probably not the moment when I found myself naked in a hot tub next to two chicks making out and wondering if it would be impolite to just get out.
End of the line. Month. Batch.
This has become a strict wordcount blog without known readers or comments. I like the brevity it forces, and the thought that someone might read it and appreciate something. Otherwise it's fairly pointless.
100 words though is too short not to do. Especially if just a few more today allow me to finish the batch and share it out.
So this is to you. I'm loving everything I learn about you, and I love your loving everything you learn about me. I miss you, yet am content. Tonight I fall asleep thinking of you.
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