Archive | December, 2009

Community Service

14 Dec

Christmas is a time of giving. It’s a time of taking. Don’t tell me it isn’t, because if people are giving things, somebody’s got to be taking them–unless we’re all just throwing our gifts into the ocean, but even then, Aquaman could get it.

Hell no.

Sweet underwater blessings!

Summary: Christmas is a time of giving and taking. This year, I decided to give a little more than usual and spend a few days doing some community service work.

I didn’t want to  go alone, though, so I asked my friend Derek to accompany me. This is his favorite time of year.

Happy Holidays.

The first place we went to was a homeless shelter in Denton, TX. We can’t name what shelter it is because of A.) Legal reasons and B.) Neither of us remember what it’s called.

The building resembled a large, aluminum box. It had glass doors at the front and the faintest or faint odors wafted around us–a slight, acrid passenger riding along in the air.

“Derek, do you smell that faintest of faint odors? The slight, acrid passenger riding along the air?”

“Why do you always talk like a gay person when you’re around me? Why do you do that? Are you writing this down?” I was. I was taking notes for this blog. “Give me that paper. This isn’t for your blog. This is for humanity and the ten bucks you promised me when all this was said and done. Now, zip up your pants and fix your hair. You look like one of them.” Derek pointed to a few gentlemen standing outside the building, who were now only a few feet from us. One particularly homeless gentleman pulled out a small stick that he’d fashioned into some sort of primitive weapon. I prayed. God turned his back to me.

Once in the doors of the facility, we were received by the organizations coordinator, Mary Fielder.

“Hello, guys! We’re so thankful to have you.”

“We’re really excited,” I said.

“I’m not excited,” Derek said, turning to look at me. “Please don’t speak for me.”

She leads us to the kitchen area. We’re outfitted with hair nets, rubber gloves, and aprons. Derek almost immediately removed his hair net and gloves. Mary Fielder almost immediately told him to put them back on. He did.

We began serving the homeless their food. It wasn’t so bad–turkey, cranberry sauce, rolls, green bean casserole, something the color of khaki pants and with a similar texture. We serve for about half an hour, then noticed a lot of the patrons looking sick, holding their stomachs and complaining to senior staff members.

“This doesn’t look good,” Derek said.

“I know,” I scanned the cafeteria. “They look like they’re in a lot of pain.”

Derek, who was looking over the sneeze guard, seemed to hardly notice my words. “There are, like, no hot girls here.” He turned to me. “None.” He reached into the green bean casserole, grabbed a handful, and stood eating it like a gelatinous apple. An older homeless gentleman in a ratty brown jacket approached Derek, mumbling of stomach pain. Without a word, Derek reached over the sneeze guard and, using the man’s beard, wiped the remaining casserole from his hands. He then directed the man to Mary Fielder.

“Man, you can’t do that. You can’t wipe your hands on people’s beards. That’s horrible.”

“No,” he said. “This, this lack of chicks. This is horrible.”

Mary, almost running, approached us. “What did you serve them?” she asked.

“Exactly what you laid out,” I said. Derek removed his hair net again. Mary shot him a look that promised a thousand different kinds of pain and Derek put it back on.

“They’re all in horrible pain. Show me how you prepared everything.”

I showed her. I went down the line, explaining the cooking temperatures and times of everything I put out. When we got to the final item, the khaki-colored dish, her face turned a marble white.

“You fed them this?”

Confused and a little scared to answer, I said “Yea, this was next to the green beans.”

“THESE ARE CLEANING RAGS! YOU FED THEM CLEANING RAGS!”

Derek began laughing hysterically. He removed his apron, hair net, and gloves, and walked away, waving apathetically as he strode to the exit.

“Thank you for the opportunity, Ms. Fielder.” I go to shake her hand.

“Get out.”

I got out.

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Kylelight

9 Dec

Something is definitely off. Something feels distinctly wrong. But what?

I look around the class room I’m tutoring in. What could it be? A touch of cold air brushes my back with an eerily powerful depth of sensation, like an icy finger running against my spine. Slowly I turn and whisper to myself, enunciating each word with the delicate and deliberate care of a man in deep, fearful angst.

“What the fuck was that fucking shitty ass cold air shit?” What indeed.

The source of this unease soon made itself apparent or, should I say, himself apparent. Him.

Yes. Him.

“Balls…” I whisper.

“Balls…” Edward whispers.

“Balls!” Rodrigo Salizar yells from across the room.

“Shut up and get back to work on that crossword puzzle, Rodrigo! Jesus Christ!”

Edward’s eyes are as cold as ice but as welcoming as the warmest of holiday fires. His shirt is as tight as a runner’s buttocks and his skin the faintly cerulean color of a sock that got washed with a load of blue clothes. Maybe a shirt much like the one he’s wearing. Maybe a shirt like the one I am wearing. I look down to my shirt. It’s red. Never mind the part about my shirt. My shirt would have been more appropriate for this guy’s skin.

I approach Edward, waves of restrained passion exuding every inch of his frame–like tendrils of creepy-vampire-hotness reaching out, pulling me toward him, yet still pushing me away. The feeling made me want to hurl. I did.

“Excuse me…” I say, wiping spittle from my chin.

“Yes?” Edward says, averting his gaze.

Jesus, will you fucking look at me?

“Are you…” I pause, trying to collect myself. “Are you in this class?”

“Yes…” Edward says, still only showing me the crest of his forehead, staring blankly at the table.

I then hear the door knob click and turn to see who’s entering. It’s her.

“Bella!” I yell.

“Bella!” Edward yells, getting to his feet. All the other children have stopped working and are now looking at the tutor and the two students who look kind of older than the tutor.

“What–uh, what–ugh!” Bella says, running her hand through her hair.

“Bella, you don’t–” Edward reaches out to her. She pulls back. Not to be left out, I pull back too. I trip over a desk and knock a student’s work to the ground. Bella scrunches her brow, which I will later understand means she’s about to make talk-words.

“No, look I–what if–I–you can’t–meh!” Edward looks hurt. I look from Edward–to Bella–then back to Edward.

“Wait, do you–do you understand what she’s saying?” I ask.

“I never really have to say anything. I just hold out my hand, say ‘no,’ or ‘you don’t have to,’ then unzip my pants and get to screwin’.”

“That’s terrible,” I say. “If she has this much difficulty speaking, she could be retarded. I mean she could have some serious mental illness.” Edward purses his lips and lowers his head, once again averting his gaze from my own. “That isn’t a response, Edward. Edward!” He just rolls his head around and tries his weird puppy dog thing on me. A chilling gust envelopes me and I’m filled with anxiety and frustration. “That’s it,” I say, and reach into my pocket and pull out my cell phone.

“No cell phones, Mr. Kyle! Put that thing away!” Rodrigo yells, pointing. I turn and slap Rodrigo across the face. He’s unconscious. I speed dial #3.

Into the phone, I plead. “Can you please come help me? It’s that Edward Cullen guy. Yea. Yea. Yea he is really dreamy. Oh god, I know, his eyes are like two pools of some magical liquid that can reflect all of my most hidden and true desires. What? No, I’m not–I’m–stop laughing. Yea, I like Queen, what does that have to do with anyth–okay, this conversation’s over. Just get here.”

“You’ll be okay, Bella,” Edward says, taking her face in his hand. Bella looks up to Edward, her face vacant. I think there’s some Oreo in the corner of her mouth.

“Bella, do you have a piece of paper with your mom or dad’s phone number on it?” I ask.

“What? My parents? But–They don’t–Edward–” She runs her hand through her hair again and shakes her head, looking at nothing in particular.

“Why can’t any of you make eye contact with anybody? Bella, I think you should come with me.” I hold out my hand to no reaction. I scramble for a solution. “Okay, Bella, look!” I remove a piece of candy from a student’s desk. The student protests for a moment, but remembering Rodrigo, stops. Bella runs to me and I hand her the candy bar. Edward stands in the background, furious. He steps forward, fists clenched. I think he actually hisses at me for a second. Believing this to be way too  strange or pathetic to have actually happened, I write it off as post-mortem flatulence. Then he does it again.”Did you just hiss at me?” He nods solemnly. “Do you think that scares people?” He nods again, but with more trepidation than before. “To be honest, that just kind of pisses me off. Kind of makes me want to fight you more.”

Undeterred, Edward maintains a fighting stance and utters “She’s going home with me.”

“I don’t think so,” I respond, pointing to the door behind Edward, which now stands open. “Looks like my guest arrived.” An arrow is fired from a crossbow and finds its home in the half-living heart of Edward Cullen. A gurgling sound escapes his throat as he falls to the ground, transforms into Lady Gaga, then vanishes into ash. I tip my hat to my friend. “Thanks, Buffy.”

“You got it. Should I take her home?”

“As long as you promise not to fall in love with her,” I say, winking. Bella has fallen asleep on the ground.

“I won’t fall in love with her, I promise. I still only have one love.” She leans close to me, then pulls out a wrinkled picture of the Hamburglar. Confused, uncomfortable, and now a little hungry, I allow her to pick up Bella and leave the school.

As they walked out the doors and into the winter chill, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d done the right thing. Then Bella drooled from over Buffy’s shoulder and I knew I had.

The End.

My Play: “Science Bless Us, Everyone.”

6 Dec

Grayson (on phone):

Yea, yea. I’ll probably miss the first few minutes of the first quarter. I’m at this Christmas church thing Rose wanted me to go to. What? Wh—Jesus is really important to her. They’re just friends though, nothing serious. I’m kidding. No, I don’t think me being an atheist has anything to do with me being able to date this girl or not. She’s religious, I’m not, no big d— oh, no, I haven’t told her I don’t believe in god. Probably gonna hold off on that one for awhile. Well it’s not like I have anything against it, it just isn’t for me. Hey man, service is about to start. She’s here now. I gotta go. Yea, I’ll get there whenever this is over.

(hangs up)

Rose:

Hey, Grayson. I need to talk to you.

Grayson:

What’s up?

Rose:

Hey, I know this is short notice, but can I ask you a huge favor?

Grayson:

Of course.

Rose:

Well, I was talking to Mrs. Schultz, you know the little elderly woman over there?

Grayson:

(Almost to himself, looking in direction of Mrs. Schultz) There are a lot of Mrs. Schultzes over there.

Rose:

She just told me that the special speaker for the children’s time got sick and can’t tell them the Christmas Story. I remember you told me you worked with a lot of missions in the middle east and Africa and Asia and south America…and in central America, and then Canada and Greenland and Belgium.

Grayson:

Yea, well…

Rose: (interrupting Grayson)

And Michigan.

Grayson:

(Sighs) Yes. Yes, Jesus was on fire in all of those places. (Rose looks at Grayson, perplexed by the bizarre phrase.)

Rose:

Well, I told Mrs. Schultz about all your experience, and she thinks you’d be a great fill-in. I told her you’d be thrilled. You don’t mind, do you?

Grayson:

Pft, no. Of course not. I’m…psyched.

Rose:

OK,  Just come this way, the class room is over here.

Grayson:

Jesus Christ, there are so many kids here.

(Rose glares at Grayson for using the Lord’s name in vain. Grayson sees this.)

 

Rose:

Grayson!

Grayson:

I mean, (As if addressing Jesus, looking to the sky.) Jesus Christ, there are so many kids here.

Rose:

(Speaks up to address the class) Okay everybody, this is Grayson. He’s going to tell you all the story of the birth of Jesus! Everybody pay attention. This is really important. Go ahead, Grayson.

Grayson:

So, hey kids! Merry Christmas! Yes, Christmas is a very old holiday. People have been celebrating Christmas for a long, long time. As we all know, Jesus is the reason for the season. He’s why we celebrate Christmas. Jesus was our gift from God, so, to be like god, we give each other gifts, like iPods and sunglasses. See? So Jesus is like God’s iPod—wait. Wait, no that isn’t right. Jesus is better than an iPod. All I want is to wake up to find Jesus under my tree on Christmas. Ah! No. No, not that. So—

So thousands of years ago, a (pauses to think, continues, unsure) paunchy pirate th—

Rose:

Pontius Pilate?

Grayson:

Yes! Pontius Pilate. A Pontius Pilate decided that he wanted to take a census. He needed to take a census because he was the best Pontius Pilate and the rest of the Pontius Pilates needed to add to their fleet. So, it was decreed that a census be taken to find the best possible Pontius Pilate in the land. But Jesus’s mom, Mary, and his father—(draws a blank) Jesus, senior—decided that they needed to get away, because piloting a Pontius is really, really dangerous.

Rose:

Grayson, I think you—I think you mean King Herod. King Herod ordered the census. Pontius Pilate was the man who ordered Jesus’s crucifixion.

Grayson:

(Epiphany) Oooh. King Harold.

Rose:

Herod.

Grayson:

Harold?

Rose:

Herod.

Grayson:

(Unsure) King…Harold.

Rose:

Herod!

Grayson:

So, wait, are you saying it wrong or am I?

Rose:

What? You’re saying it wrong, Grayson. You are.

Grayson:

(Whimsically suspicious) Are you sure?
Rose:

Yes, I’m sure.

Grayson:

B—

Rose:

Sure. I’m absolutely, one hundred percent positive.

Grayson:

Fair enough. King Herod.

(Rose sighs, defeated)

So then, Jesus and his family hide out in a barn for a really, really long time, surviving by eating hay and drinking rain water. Really Jane Goodall and all that.

(Looks to back of house as if a someone is asking a question) Yes, young man, you have a question? (pauses) Who is Jane Goodall? Jane Goodall was the woman who lived among the gorillas for a few years to understand their ways—much like Jesus lived amongst us for several years to understand our ways. Gorillas aren’t as smart as us, though, so they couldn’t build a cross to put Jane on. Lucky for her, right kids? The answer is yes, she was very lucky. I’ll go on.

Now, the night Jesus was born, an angel appeared to three shepherds. The angel told the shepherds about Jesus and the barn. The shepherds really wanted to see a baby that could eat hay, so they told all their flocks to “stay,” and went on to see the hay eating baby. It would be a Christmas day miracle. (Clasps his hands together warmly and surveys the children, smiling.) At the same time, three magicians were doing tricks in a wood shed when an angel came to them too. The angel told the magicians that it had also come to a group of shepherds, and that kind of hurt the magicians’ feelings. “Wait, why did you talk to them first?” the magicians asked. One of the magicians was crying. This made the angel a little uncomfortable, but he answered them. “Well, it was just easier. If I had come here first, it would have taken me way out of my way.” The magicians didn’t understand this. The angel told them of his route. The magicians told him that if he had taken the toll way instead of the highway he could have saved ten or fifteen minutes and got to the magicians first.

The angel thanked them for their advice and then said unto them: (in a booming “angel” voice) “A child is born who is the Christ, but his friends call him Jesus.” The magicians were frightened and they trembled before the angel, because they weren’t totally sure if they were on a friend level with Jesus or not. They didn’t want to offend the Christ with informal behavior—calling him “Jesus,” before it was appropriate—so they decided to win Jesus over they’d bring him presents. Each magician brought him a present. They brought him gold, myrrh, and Frankincense, the—Is there a question? (Motioning to the back) Yes, you. (pauses) That’s a good question. Frankincense is the plural of Frankenstein. They brought him several Frankincense. Understand? And all these Frankincense the magicians brought would soon become the men known as Jesus’s disciples.

Rose:

What?!

(GRAYSON holds his hand out to ROSE, steadying her. He continues.)

Grayson:

Please save your questions for after the story, Rose.

The Shepherds and the magicians both asked the angel the same question: “But how will we know where the barn is?” The angel told them to look to the sky, that a great star hung there that would guide them to the Jesus barn. “Wow,” they all said. “Wow.” One magician stepped forward and asked the angel if they would need sleeping bags. “Yes,” the angel responded. Another asked if they should pack for three or more days. The angel said “yes.” Finally, the third stepped forward and asked if the angel could just give them a ride or something. The angel looked down on the magicians, and all of a sudden, an expression of terrible wonderment appeared on his face and he pointed behind them. They all turned to see what the angel was looking at. There was nothing there. When they turned back around, the angel was flying away, and all could hear his mischievous laughter echoing through the dark night.

So the three magicians and the three shepherds set out to find the barn. They eventually crossed paths and decided to unite. To unite and form a fellowship. The fellowship of the King. The six walked bravely through the lands of…(lost on what country this all occurs in)…the land of…(mixing up the names to sound ambiguous) Jerusalemnazarethbethlehemrometexas. They had to fight harsh terrain, harsh weather, and harsh language from that one shepherd with the drinking problem and all the body odor.

Finally, they came upon the barn. It stood proudly on the great…hill. The magicians said “We must go first to give him our gifts.” The shepherds responded “Wait, were we supposed to bring gifts? Can we just give him money?” They all got (using baby talk kind of voice) veeeery nervous that Jesus would banish them aaaall to Hell. Hell is where all the mean people go. But Jesus didn’t banish them to Hell, because they were sincere in their desire to see him eat hay and he trusted them that they would never, ever put it on YouTube.

Jesus wants us all go to Heaven so we can hang out with him for eternity. Jesus likes to party. (very serious) Jesus. Likes. To party. BYOB. Thank you, kids.

Rose:

What was that?!

Grayson:

What was what?

Rose:

That story!

Grayson:

Oh that old thing!

Rose: (Stands, staring at Grayson, waiting for him to continue. He does not.)

Well?

Grayson:

Well what?

Rose:

Grayson! You told me you had done mission work all over the world! You should know this story like the back of your hand.

Grayson:

And I do!

Rose:

First off, you said that Pontius Pilate was a pilot that flew Pontiuses. What is a Pontius? Did you really think they had aircraft in 2,000 bc? Then, you said the “magicians,” who were actually magii or wise men, brought Jesus a bunch of Frankensteins and that those Frankensteins became the twelve disciples! You said that Jesus was born in Jerusalemnazarethbethlehemrometexas, which doesn’t exist, and you capped it all off by saying that Jesus requires everybody to bring their own booze to his party.

Grayson:

(Feebly)

He wants everyone to share.

Rose:

Grayson!

Grayson:

(Struggles to find his words) Okay. I don’t know the story.

Rose:

How do you not know the story?

Grayson:

I’m an atheist. I was raised an atheist. I faked being a Christian because you seemed really into the whole religion thing and I really like you. All I know about the birth story is what I’ve picked up second hand through the years.

(Rose seems amused)

Grayson:

What? What’s funny?!

Rose:

Grayson, I’m agnostic!

Grayson:

Egg-nog-stic? What, are you a worshiper of seasonal dairy-based beverages? (Winks at Rose, proud of his corny joke) You get it? Because people drink egg nog…(Rose stares back, face like slate.) Sorry. You’re agnostic—please continue.

Rose:

Yea, I’m just not sure if there’s a god or not. So I’m hedging my bets with all this church stuff. I figure if when I die I find out there is a God, maybe He’ll give me participation points.

Grayson:

Participation points?

Rose:

Yea, like, in kindergarten when you’d get a ribbon on field day just for competing. I’m hoping that kind of thing happens when I die. Like god will just look at me, knock me on the chin a little, call me a knuckle head and let me stay in the low-rent section of heaven.

Grayson:

That seems like a gross distortion of the Christian ethos.

Rose:

It absolutely is, but it gets me through the day. We should probably get out of here before the parents arrive. And I should probably start looking for a new church. You want to go look at Christmas lights or something?

Grayson:

(Sigh of relief)

Yea, sure. How close to the story was I?

Rose:

Not close at all.

Grayson:

Oh well, I like mine better anyway.

Rose:

Me too. Let’s go.

Paper Darts Fan Fiction II: “Corny” and “Dog”

2 Dec

It’s the second month of Paper Darts’s Flash Fiction contest. The two words that must be used this month are “corny” and “dog.” They don’t have to be used in any specific order, but you gotta use ’em. You just gotta. Here’s my submission below. If you love me, take like two minutes, got to the Paper Darts Facebook page and “like” my entry. Here’s a handy link! LINK!

——

This Thanskgiving, my grandfather attempted to prove to me that his lawn mower was amphibious by driving it into a lake. The mower wasn’t amphibious, and neither was my grandfather, who sank like a rock immediately after hitting the cold water.

“Jesus, was that gramps?” my brother asked.

I sighed heavily. “Yes, that was …gramps.”

“Should we do something?”

“Save him?” My brother and I stood on the dock for some time weighing this possibility.

“He was kind of a bastard,” my brother said. He was right. Our grandfather was kind of a bastard.

“Here. I’ll jump in, swim around a little bit, then crawl out and look all disheveled. You run to the house and tell everybody that gramps drove into the lake but we couldn’t save him.”

“What about Thanksgiving dinner?” This we also weighed heavily.

“We can just make some corny dogs when we get home,” I say. “I don’t want to eat a big meal surrounded by mourners.”

“Fair enough. Let’s do this.”

Shanksgiving Day.

2 Dec

I’m drunk. Does that give you any clue as to how great my Thanksgiving was? YEA YOU DON’T KNOW! *swings wildly with right. falls down. starts to cry. apologizes. mentions about being friends forever.* Anyway, You wanna hear about my Thanksgiving? Of course you do.

I wake up to the familiar smell of turkey. I love turkey. Every Thanksgiving I sleep with a turkey on my head. Another Irion Thanksgiving tradition is for my family to spend much of the night prior trying to find my turkey-helmet so they can keep me from sleeping with my head in it. The next day, I wake up and try to get my dad to put my turkey in with the one we’re already cooking.

“Come on, there’s room for both!”

“Kyle, that turkey smells rotten. You smell horrible.”

“You smell horrible.”

“Throw the turkey away or I’m going to purposely burn this meal and blame it on you.”

“But dad! You can’t!” My father reaches over to the temperature knob on the oven and slowly starts to turn it.

“Okay, okay! I’ll throw it away.”

I throw it away.

Next up on my Thanksgiving agenda is a lovely time watching the parade. The Macy’s Parade never ceases to entertain me. I love watching B-list celebrities lip sync songs I’ve never heard from Broadway shows that I’m not even sure exist. Like this, Perez Hilton singing Forever isn’t in My Lunch Box, from his upcoming musical Cut-off Overalls Make My Butt Look Happy.

After a few hours of that stuff, I usually take a shower and get ready for my family to come over. This year, though, my family is doing something a little different. This year, we’re to my grandmother’s to have Thanksgiving dinner with my extended family.

A natural showman, I love to enter rooms with a bang. I have my brother go in a few minutes before I do in order to warm up my family with a few jokes. He also sets a small boom box on the living room end table. As he walks in, I think someone sees me and waves. I act like I don’t see them, pulling out my phone and pretending to answer a call.

“Yes, Mr. President,” I say.

After the crowd is sufficiently warmed up and ready to be wowed, I give Nick the signal (Banging loudly on the front door and screaming the word “Now”). He flips on the stereo to our pre-determined entry-track, Clay Aiken’s If I Was Invisible. I turn the knob and the door and push it forward a few inches, then kick it open.

“Give some thanks for ROCK!” I scream, covered in feathers imitating a turkey’s plumage. I also have a waddle under my chin, but it just looks like a pair of fire-red testicles, so I take that off pretty soon after entering the room. Everyone claps unenthused, appeasing me in an attempt to get me to stop. A fan of any kind of applause, even the fake kind, I bow graciously and remove my costume.

Lunch was delicious. My family was delightful company. The day was beautiful and the Cowboys won. Also, dad didn’t hit anybody this year and grandpa didn’t try to convince everyone how his lawn mower was amphibious by driving it into a lake when no one was looking.

Happy Late Thanksgiving.

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