Archive | February, 2010

My Trip to the Doctor

24 Feb

For whatever reason, God hates us. God hates Texas. He throws wave after wave of unpredictable weather our way, leaving it up to us to tough it out as our allergies and seasonal sicknesses run rampant, to keep our own chins above the sea of mucus that we all must ride for the winter/spring/summer/you know what really all the seasons.

I’ve been struck by the big, heavy hand of the congestion monster. I went to the doctor.

“I don’t feel so good,” I tell the woman on the phone. The woman is a receptionist at my doctor’s office.

“All right…” she says. “Who is this?”

“This is Kyle. When can we meet?” Every time I make an appointment, I like to use the question “When can we meet?” It’s much more intimate, and so unabashedly audacious that it intimidates the person on the other line into immediately meeting my needs. They’re afraid. They’re afraid of when we can meet.

“Doctor Earnhart wants to–” She’s interrupted by a voice in the background. It’s a man’s voice. He’s asking who she’s talking to. I hear him reference “That guy who’s always asking when he can meet with people.”

“Hello?” I say into the receiver.

“Yes. Mr. Irion, Dr. Earnhart is only available at his Ovilla Road office now. Would you like me to make you an appointment at that office?”

“Are you going to be there?” I ask, crossing my legs and blushing into the phone. My coyness is all over the phone.

“Um, no. I don’t work there. I work at the Main St. office–here–here at the office you called just now.”

“You’re such a sassy little ferret,” I say. I’m horrible at pet names as well as come-ons, as displayed with this next remark: “Why don’t I come down there and let you tape me to someone’s head?”

I hear the nurse sigh. “Dr. Earnhart will see you at nine thirty tomorrow morning at 874 Ovilla Road. Can you make that?”

“Oh yea, corn-ears. Can you let me slip my cotton gin into your–” There’s a click and dial tone. So playful.

The next day is blanketed in whiteness as flurries of snow flakes fall. I walk out of my door, trot to my car, and drive to the veterinarian’s office.

I reach the Ovilla office and pull into the parking lot. I’m surprised to see stables in the back of the new office. I approach the entrance and pull back a thin, battered door to see  a waiting room that is filled with a staggeringly high population of blind people–all holding tight to their seeing-eye dogs and their seeing-eye cats and their seeing-eye rabbits in boxes. There’s a woman in the corner cooing to her seeing-eye lizard, which is staring blankly at her from a plastic container. She has wispy gray hair and her skin seems to hang from her frame as if it were made for a much larger woman. I sit next to her.

“Where’s your animal, young man?” she asks me.

“My animal? I didn’t bring an animal. I’m not blind,” I say.

“Obviously not–you see me.” She smiles to reveal only a handful of decaying yellow teeth that run along her gums like old gravestones.  I jerk to the back of my chair as a pang of fear erupts in my gut.

“How do you know I’m looking at you?” I ask. I reach my hand out and wave it in front of her glassy, cataractous eyes.

“Oh young man, you’re so silly. These eyes may not be brand new, but they still serve me well enough to see you.”

“To be real honest with you, lady, I think you’re full of shit, but since you kind of look like a scarier, dead version of my grandma, I forgive you for lying to me without you even asking.” I stand up and go to sign in with the receptionist.

A few minutes later, I’m called into the back by a burly, tomato-shaped man I’ve never seen before. His eyes point in different directions and his mustache has the frantic appearance of steel wool. “Hey-lo young man. Earnhart told me I was supposed to see you today. Come on back!”

I follow him down a rank and poorly-lit corridor. The floors are of linoleum and as I step across it I feel a thin layer of grit scraping my feet. We enter a small examination room with a large metal table at its center. More linoleum counters. There’s a small scale in the corner of the room. He lifts it and places it on the table.

“Hop up,” he says.

“No?” I say.

“Oh, come now,” he says, stepping forward and placing both hands on the table.

“Yea…Still no. Yea, I’m not getting on this ta–”

He reaches out and grabs me by the scruff of my neck. I hate being treated like an animal, and I start to tell him so, but ruin any case I have when I inadvertently hiss and claw at him.

He weighs me.

“Well, you’ve maxed out the scale!” He laughs a phlegmy, wheezing laugh. “Looks like I’m just going to have to guess your weight.” He writes down 8 lbs. and pulls me down off the scale, but doesn’t let me get down from the table. “It’s time to take your temperature,” he says.

I open my mouth.

“No sir, this ain’t that kind of temperature. Now drop ’em.”

All is darkness

All is cold.

He puts a thermometer in my butt hole.

I walk out into the cold February air feeling hollow–feeling as though I’ve been gutted of something precious and essential. I turn my face to the sky, then pop two or three of the heart-worm pills the doctor gave me.

The End.

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KYLE IN SPACE

20 Feb

“Lieutenant Taglund! Turn thrusters to full gitty-up!” I scream from my ivory throne (Don’t read anything into this. It isn’t racist. Once or twice a day, I have either a black person or a really tan white guy sit in it so everybody knows my ivory throne is racially cool.).

Taglund, a man of average height and average looks and less-than-average importance in this story turns a small knob then presses a handle to the peak of its capacity. There’s a slight push as the craft picks up an incredible amount of speed–everyone’s heads tilting back just slightly, as if we were all talking to someone that was standing way too close to us.

“Sergeant Taglund! Return us to cruising speed.”

Taglund looks back at me, then back to the control panel. There he presses a few buttons and lowers the handle to the middle of its range.

“I thought I was a lieutenant,” Taglund says once we’ve slowed down.

“So did I, private.”

“Wait, what? How did I become a private?”

“That’s enough outta you, wash boy! Get back to the kitchen!” I grab Taglund by the shirt and lean so close we’re almost nose to nose. “And you best make-uh my floors clean. You got that, Mr. President?”

“Wait, so am I the President now? Am I the President of the Ship? What is that?” I brusquely push Taglund away.

“President of the Ship is the same thing as lieutenant. Get back to your post.”

As captain of the U.S.S. Tickle Me, Mister, I have to constantly maintain a clear hierarchy of power. If I don’t, I could lose my crew’s respect or fear or, even worse, both. The U.S.S. Tickle Me, Mister, has been journeying through the Narculon galaxy for three years now. We’re a young crew. Young, but wise–and talented. Taglund can play the harp. I can jump on a pogo stick for five minutes straight, and my second-in-command, Lieutenant Colonel Editor can find a way to repulse almost any female he meets. [Editor’s Note: You’ve made me hate the wonders of space.]

We cross through one of the universe’s most treacherous stretches of terrain, practically clawing our way through the Xanthalon asteroid-belt. When we reach the other side, we are presented with brilliance.

It's like a box of crayons blew its nose...and then let us all look at it.

Our intel has reported that Earth’s most distant outpost, outpost 451, which is located on one of the moon’s of planet TG41, has in recent months been the victim of countless raids by the inhabitants of TG41. We came to lend diplomatic, and if necessary, political aid.

My communications officer, T.K. Shakura, sits at his console. “Sir, should we send outpost 451 a communication request?”

“Yes,” I say, sitting down in my throne. “Send away.” There’s a few seconds of silence, the only sounds in the cabin being the faint murmurs of conversation and the various clicks and beeps of the ship itself. “Have they accepted it yet?” I ask.

“No sir. They haven’t accepted our request yet.”

“That’s odd. Are you sure you sent it?”

“Yes sir. I’m sure.” Shakura stares at his screen for a few moments. “What should I do now?”

“Try poking them.”

“Poking them?”

“Yes, poke them.”

“Yes sir.” Shakura clicks a few buttons on his console.

More silence.

“Have they accepted it yet?” I ask, growing increasingly frustrated.

“Um, it seems they haven’t, Captain Irion.” Shakura says. I look to Editor.

“You think we should message them, maybe? Ask why they haven’t accepted our request?”

“You don’t want to look desperate,” Editor says, shrugging slightly.

“You’re right. I didn’t even think of that! Damn it!” I slam my fist down on my throne’s arm rest. Not realizing that that’s also where most of the ship’s weapons triggers are, I accidentally launch two or three dozen rockets at outpost 451. The cabin explodes into horrified gasps and panicked wailing. “What?!” I scream, looking down at my throne. “Why would they put the triggers there?! THEY KNOW THAT’S WHERE I SLAM MY FIST!” I sit for a moment, thinking over all my options. “Editor, fire someone.”

“What?”

“Fire someone. Somebody’s got to take the fall. Just do it.”

Shakura, his eyes still on the communications screen, calls to me. “Captain! It seems they’ve responded to our request.”

“And?” I ask, leaning over my throne’s arm, awaiting Shakura’s response.

“They denied it.”

“Snickerdoodles,” I sigh. Exasperated, I rest my head against the back of my throne and, forgetting that there’s a button back there too, inadvertently activate Shakura’s ejector seat, sending him into the inky vacuum of space. More screams. There’s something new in this chaos, however–anger. “Well that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” I say to myself as I look from the back of my throne to Shakura’s now vacant console. “Why is there an ejection seat in a space ship?

Several of the crew members now wear expressions of hard contempt. They’ve risen from their control panels and have begun to approach my sweet, Casper-white throne. A cold sweat breaks out on my back and along my hairline–my armpit hairline. My pits are drenched.

“Everyone needs to calm down,” I say. “There’s clearly a flaw in my throne’s design that is compl–” I try to get out of my seat, but trip, sprawling to the floor. “–Completely  not my fault.” I scramble to my feet.

You designed the throne!” A voice from amongst screams.

“Maybe I did, but how can you blame a man for designing something?”

“What?” Editor asks, clearly puzzled.

I shoo him away. “Listen,” I say, raising my hands to the level of my chest, as if to gesture everyone to a halt. “We can still work this out, okay? There’s no reason we can’t be civil. It was an accident, pure and simple. How ’bout we just throw the ol’ engines into overdrive, jump through a worm hole into another galaxy and I’ll buy everyone pizza. How does that sound?” Exultant cheers and laughter meet this, and I once again hear the familiar sound of free pizza washing innocent blood from my hands. “Good, then let’s move on to the matter at hand. Who wants beef?”

I Visit Stephen King Again

18 Feb

“Editor!” I yell, throwing my coat onto the secretary’s desk. “Editor, I need you!” I begin to spin around, my arms outstretched. “Editor!” I scream again. “I’m a hurricane of anger and I need you to come be my low pr–” Just at that moment, the door at the rear of the small office flies open. Editor races through it.

“He needs me to be his  low pressure system,” Editor says under his breath. He brings his arms in tightly across his chest and begins to spin in the opposite direction as me. “Here I come! I’m a low pressure system of calm. Here we go.” We start to collide, my fists pounding Editor at shoulder-level. Editor cringes slightly at the first, heavy blows, but as I slow down, we break into a warm, subdued embrace.

“I’m a cool autumnal breeze,” I whisper in Editor’s ear.

“I’m a leaf breaking from my mother tree and returning to the Earth,” he whispers back in mine.

“I’m completely erect,” I whisper back. Editor pushes off, grabs me by the arms, and briskly moves me back.

“What can I help you with, Kyle?”

“Editor, we need to talk business,” I say.

“By all means. Let’s go to my office.”

We go to Editor’s office, and I sit in the padded chair in front of his desk. “Editor,” I say, “I need to talk to Stephen King and I need to do it now.”

Editor seems none surprised. He simply opens his small, leather-bound datebook and points to a date close to the front cover. “Here. King is doing some press for his new book, Under the Dome. I could probably get you in later today if you’re ready.”

“Ready?! I was born!”

Editor sits quietly. The room is completely silent. “You were born what?”

“I was born! Let’s do the interview.”

“I don’t think you finished the expression, but I just don’t think you care anymore,” Editor sighs. He then closes the datebook and slides it next to a pile of papers on his desk. “I know you and Stephen have a fairly close relationship,” he says, “but I feel like you aren’t really as ready as you may think you are, and that maybe you and I should go over some questions for you to ask Stephen in your interview.”

“Ah, come on!” I yell, waving my hand at him. “Who needs questions when you’ve got born?!”

Editor furrows his brow and tilts his head slightly. “Are you all right?”

“Am I all right?! Why do you ask?”

“You’re talking weird. And for the last three or four minutes you’ve been just pointing at different things in my office with no real rhyme or reason.”

“I’m feeling good. I just had a mix up this morning.”

“Mix up?”

“I tried to get loaded on a bottle of Dayquil thinking it was Nyquil, realized my mistake, then drank the Nyquil too. When’re we getting started?” I reach out and throw Editor’s pencil cup against the wall, scream my mother’s name, and leave the room.

By the time I reach Stephen’s home, I’m bubbling over with excitement. When I say bubbling over I mean I threw up a little bit and hid it under the cabbie’s seat.

“I love Stephen King!” I tell the cabbie.

“What smells like Ted Danson’s balls back there?” he asks me.

“Ted Danson’s balls,” I say, calmly pointing to Ted Danson’s exposed scrotum. Ted Danson and I were sharing a cab. He raises his hand to the cabbie sheepishly. He then tucks his balls back into his pants and quietly apologizes to both of us.

I give the fare to the cabbie and step out to King’s estate. It is exactly as I remember it from the last time I was here. I breathe in the crisp Maine air. “Honey, I’m home!” I yell, pushing the gate open. I skip all the way to the front door.

When I press the button on the right side of the door frame, I’m greeted by the refreshing, rustic sound of an old-time door bell. “How delightful.” I say. The door opens. In it stands Stephen King.

“Stephen!” I say opening my arms for a hug. He reaches out and slaps me flatly across the face. My head jerks back from the force of the blow. Lightly touching my cheek, I look up at Stephen with tears in my eyes.

“Hey there, boy!” Stephen exclaims, taking a step forward and hugging me tight. His mixture of violence and affection fills me with both anger, confusion, and deep, devoted love. He’s just eccentric, I think. He’s just an artist.

He leads me down the entry corridor and into his living room, where two chairs sit facing one another. One is large, pecan-colored, and leather. Its arms are heavily padded and it has a very nice worn-in look. The other is a fairly standard recliner with a cloth, paisley covering. Before I’m able to sit down in the cloth chair, Stephen reaches out and grabs my arm.

“No, no, no. Allow me.” He lights a match and sets the chair ablaze. “Please,” he says, gesturing toward the burning chair while settling into its leather counterpart, “Please sit. Sit in the hot seat!” He laughs wildly, the pitch ascending to a tittering shrillness.

“Stephen, I’m interviewing you. Shouldn’t you be in the hot seat?” I ask, smiling nervously, gripping my pad with white-knuckle desperation.

“I suppose you’re right,” Stephen says, epiphany dawning in his eyes. He leaps onto the chair and is almost immediately on fire.

“Oh God.” I say. Quickly, I run to a pitcher full of water. Stephen is fidgeting and flailing about like a man in the midst of a seizure.

“YOU SEE?!” he yells. “YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DARE AMERICA’S MASTER OF HORROR TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE?!

“Oh yea,” I say, leaning slightly to the left to get a different vantage point. “Oh…Hey, do you want me to put you out?”

“NO! NO! THAT’S WHAT MY BATS ARE FOR. BATS!” Stephen calls out. From the chimney, several hundred bats flood the room. They douse Stephen King in guano. When the bats leave, America’s most prolific lord of ghouls and bumps-in-the-night sits, one leg crossed over the other, hands clasped and resting on one knee, his head tilted slightly. His face is held in a position of aloof coolness and his entire body–head to toe–is covered in bat shit. “So what’s your first question?” he asks.

He MIGHT be That Into You. I Really Can’t Tell.

13 Feb

Hello and welcome to romance. Welcome to love. It’s almost Valentine’s Day and most likely, if you don’t already have a special someone to buy things for or eat food with, you’re desperately clamoring for one–searching through your phone’s address book, trying to find a contact that would be easy enough to go out with you at a moment’s notice, but not so easy that, after you make reservations with your restaurant, you’d have to make reservations with your doctor.

In the spirit of love and all that, I decided to write my own self-help book on relationships. Here’s the pitch for the cover:

I thought I would take out a few notable passages in order to not only help you with your relationship woes, but to also plug the shit out of my book.

Kyle,

So the other day me and my boyfriend were on the couch and we were watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It was a really emotional episode, so we were both starting to get a case of the sniffles. It was the first time I’d ever seen my boyfriend cry. He told me that I was the only person he felt safe crying in front of.

Here’s my question: Is my boyfriend gay?

Thanks for your help,

Anna

Anna,

You’re a horrible person. Be single forever.

Happy to help,

Kyle.

Boom. Problem solved. See? Sometimes, certain people need to be single forever so as to not sully our gene pool. This woman is painfully intolerant. Do you want your child to go to school with the child of someone as ethically short-sighted as this? No. This woman is unfit for breeding. Once she comes to grips with this, she’ll never have to worry about dating again. You could be one of those people that don’t have to worry anymore! You! Right there! So take refuge in the fact that your solitude and your heart-breaking loneliness are harbingers of great joy and progress to the rest of us. Don’t try to call us about it, though. We’re all busy having sex.

This book isn’t just for women, though. There are a few chapters directed toward men.

Men are simple creatures. Women, you’ll find that all it takes to get into a man’s heart is to care for him, stand by him–love him. Men love love and most men love loving women. Some men love loving other men. There are also some men who love God’s more romantic animals–like horses, goats, and dogs in people-clothes.

No matter what men love, though, understanding that love is a constant source of confusion. You want to know why your boyfriend forgot your anniversary? Because he has spent the previous 364 days trying to figure out a mathematical quantity for how much he loves you (it’s in the bazillions of gallounces).

In light of this confusion, I’ve created a number of sports analogues to help your man make sense of the love he has for you.

When to know how to ask a girl out. When to know when to give a girl some space. All of these are tricky, tricky issues. I’m here for you, though.

When trying to figure when it’s right to move in or back off of a girl, imagine Peyton Manning.

Imagine him.

All you need is poise. Don’t rush the throw. I know you’re going to feel the defense moving in on you, rushers crowding in. You want to get the ball out of your hands–you feel like you need to make a play–but beware, brave warrior. If you let go of the ball too fast, you could throw an interception or an incompletion. If you wait too long, afraid to make a move, you could get sacked.

So, don’t throw it too fast or too slow. Read the defense, take your time, but don’t be afraid to act when the time comes–like when you both bump into each other in line for beer or when she glances at you after you sneeze.

When you’re in a relationship, resist all temptation to tell your partner he/she/it is “the one.” Doing this before you’re actually married (or absolutely positive you’re going to get married) is like predicting a no-hitter at the bottom of the fifth. It’s bad luck, it’s not necessary, and it just makes it so when/if the relationship/pitcher fails, everybody’s a hell of a lot madder at you.

Too much celebration after sex, much like after a touch down, is at times off-putting and, in the least, ill-advised. Get past the goal line, hand the ball to the ref, and walk back to the side-line like scoring touchdowns (and hot chicks) is just another day in the office for you.

Oh, and one more thing: it’s always safe to steal second. Just go ahead and do it.

With that, I bring my brief tutorial on love to an end–any more, and I’ve have to ask you to pay me. I hope your Valentine’s Day, whether spent in romance or with friends or in bitter self-loathing, is fun, safe, and fortuitous.

Good luck, space man.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day

10 Feb

February 11, 2010. Denton, Texas. 3:58 pm. Wesley sits on the couch, using his laptop. I sit at the dining-area table a few feet to Wesley’s left.

“What’s Valentine’s Day?” I ask my friend, Wes.

What’s Valentine’s Day?” he responds, looking up from his laptop.

“Yea. What’s Valentine’s Day?”

“What’s Valentine’s Day.” He looks at me, his face emotionless as slate.

“Yea. What’s Valentine’s Day?”

“You don’t know what Valentine’s Day is?”

“What is it?” I ask.

“No.”

“‘No’ what?”

“I’m not doing this anymore.” Wes’s eyes shift back to his laptop screen.

“What’s Valentine’s Day?!” I hit the table with my fist for emphasis.

“Shut up,” Wes says, raising his hand to me. “Shut up. That isn’t a real question and you know it. That’s a question that’s just meant to be silly and I don’t want to be silly with you.”

“What is it, though?” I ask, my lip shaking, my eyes red with coming tears.

Wes closes his laptop and looks up at me. “I’m getting worried about how needy you’ve become.”

I perk up. “Valentine sounds kind of like venison,” I say.

“Yes. Yes, it does.”

“Is there a Venison’s Day?”

“No–at least I don’t th–”

“I love meat,” I say, pressing my hands together and smiling with childlike exuberance.

“I know. You wrote that on my birthday card last year.”

“I can’t wait for Venison’s Day.”

Wesley sighs and massages the bridge of his nose as a man does when he has a head ache. “That day doesn’t exist, Kyle.”

“Eh…” I squint at him and give a wry smile. “I don’t know…”

“I hate it when you do that.”

“When I do what?”

“When you do that ‘eh…I don’t know…’ thing when you’re wrong, then just change the subject.”

“Did you watch Lost on Tuesday?”

“And there it is.”

“Did you, though?”

“I watched it with you.”

“Do you think they’ll have a Valentine’s Day special?”

“Please, please, stop.”

Training Day.

5 Feb

Did you know that I work? I have a job. I have a job I go to in the daytime. It’s physically demanding, emotionally straining, and–I’m kidding. It’s really easy. I could cut both my legs off and still perform this job like its nobody’s business.

Bet five.

No matter how easy I may think this job is, though, there is still a certain level of formal training that’s required of me.

Before I begin, let me say this–I’ve had a lot of training days. These things usually revolve around terribly-produced VHS films from 1997, telling me about the joys of working for ____ and the exciting opportunities awaiting me at _____.

When I was training with Wal-Mart, I had a woman who told us that–no joke–we then had two birthdays: the day we were born, and then the day we were born into the Wal-Mart family. I would describe my reaction as “horrified disbelief.”

A little over a week ago, I went to a training session for my new job as a tutor for kids who aspire to attend college after graduating high school.

Slightly hung over and running on about three hours of sleep (My birthday was the day prior, and to celebrate, I helped a friend dig his/her/it-was-definitely-a-her car out of a muddy ditch at 4am. Happy birthday, Kyle.), I stumble into the training room. I am at least five to ten minutes late. I look like either a homeless person. Lacking time for proper cleaning after getting my friend’s car out of the ditch, there are still traces of mud and silt on my palms. On top of that, my shirt has a hole in it and my hair looks like this:

This...but like on my head.

I lumber quietly to my seat at the circular table as my boss begins speaking.

“Today, we’re going to really focus on what makes this program so special and how–”

I fall asleep, and my head hits the table with a deep thud, halting my boss in his tracks.

“Oh Jesus!” I yelp, jerking myself upright.

“Is everything all right, Mr. Irion?” Mr. Cook, my boss, asks.

Rubbing the spot of impact on my head, and little dazed, I respond. “Good. I’m good.”

Our first activity of the day is to go around in a circle and say one success and one failure from the year.

My friend Will speaks first. “Okay, for my success, I’d say helping a few of the students get all A’s, and for my failure, I’d say me not being tough enough on the kids.”

The group then turns to Lauren, the next in line. “My success is helping Taylor work through some hard math problems she had and my failure is…I guess whenever we couldn’t find an answer to Javier’s chemistry problem.”

Now, it’s my turn. “I would say, as far as success and failure go, that Ray Leeden is a success and Loren Stills is a failure.”

What follows is a silence so sudden it’s as if the room itself is gasping. Then a girl across the table actually does gasp, as if the girl across the table is gasping–because she is. She is gasping. [Editor’s Note: Are you even trying anymore?] There’s a gasp from the other side of the table.

I turn to Mort, who’s sitting next to me. It’s his turn now.

“It’s your turn, now,” I say. I wait a few seconds, then look around the table with a look of “What’s up with this guy?” plastered across my face. I then ask them, “What’s up with this guy?” jerking my thumb in Mort’s direction. Mort simply reaches up and, without saying a word, grabs my thumb and lowers my hand to the table.

“Mr. Irion,” Mr. Cook says in a slightly hushed tone. “We don’t talk about the students that way. They aren’t ‘successes’ or f–”

Mr. Cook goes on to explain how the kids shouldn’t by typified as “successes” or “failures,” because by doing so we run the risk of pigeon-holing them mentally–the result being that we don’t try as hard to push them, because to us, they already are what they are. At the end of his speech, I nod quietly, turn to Mort and tell him it’s his turn now. Mort just shakes his head “No,” and we move on.

Next, we outline our goals for the next few months. Here’s what I wrote:

A few hours in, I start to really grind. I’m constantly fighting the seductive temptation to sleep.

Go ahead, Kyle. Sleep is natural. Everyone needs it, Sleep calls.

Stop it, Sleep! Stop it! You know very well that I can’t go to sleep right now.

Oh? But I don’t. I see a jacket you could easily roll up into a ball and–

Are you serious? If you say “Sleep on the floor,” I’m going to wait until midnight tonight, then drink three Monsters and start chasing stray dogs until 6am. We’ll see how good you feel then.

No! No! Don’t! Can you imagine how tired you’d be after chasing all those dogs, though?

I…I suppose I’d be very tired.

Stray dogs are very fast.

Stray dogs are very fast. And they always know the best hiding spots.

They have to be fast–because the world doesn’t slow down for vagabonds.

No…no it…doesn’t… I fall forward and my head smacks the table again.

“Salt and pepper!” I yell and sit back up, holding my head. “Damn it.”

“Kyle, seriously,” Mr. Cook says.

“Bruise City!” I say, pointing to my forehead, which will soon be renamed Bruise City. I start to eye the coat that Sleep showed me. I then allow my vision to drift to a shady spot under a table on the far side of the room. “Mr. Cook, may I ask a question?”

“Go ahead,” he says, completely exasperated.

“Will there be a nap time today? Because I am very tired and I–”

“–Get out.” Mr. Cook interjects.

“Get out?”

“Get out. Get out of here.”

“Am I fired?”

“Get out.”

“Okay, so I’m not fired. I’m not fired, right?” I gather my things and begin to make my way to the door. Mr. Cook is standing at the head of the table with a clipboard holding our agenda for the day.

“Please leave, Mr. Irion.”

A little concerned now, “Okay, well, I’m just going to reach my arms out here–” I open my arms to hug Mr. Cook “–and I’m just going to let ’em fall where they fall, and if they land in a place that makes us best friends then that’s just fantastic–and we don’t fire best fr–”

“Oh my god, Kyle, get the hell out of here before I call campus security.”

“Okay, okay. I’m out.” I grab some pens off the table and turn to address everyone before I walk out. “These are my birthday presents, understand? These are my birthday presents from all of you since you didn’t get me anything else.” Will looks like he’s about to say something, but Mrs. Rodriguez holds her hand to him to gesture silence. “Goodbye, everyone,” I say. “I’m sorry you didn’t get to say your successes and failures today, Mort.”

Mort stares at me blankly then then puts a few pens in his right hip pocket.

I really hope I can make the football team.

Paper Darts Flash Fiction

3 Feb

Here’s what I submitted today at the Paper Darts facebook page for their monthly “Flash Fiction” contest. By tomorrow, you have to have submitted a piece of fiction small enough to fit in a facebook wall post to the Paper Darts facebook page. The premise this month was to write an obituary for an inanimate object. Here’s what I wrote. If you like it, go to facebook.com/paperdarts, find my entry, and “Like” it.

Kyle Irion’s childhood dreams died in a freak accident on January 5, 1997.

On January fifth, Kyle’s Dreams, still young, nubile, and full of hope,
were dashed into oblivion when he found out that the profession of
“Dragon Slayer” wasn’t only non-existent, but that if it DID
exist–according to his new, super-cool, older fr…iend–the senseless
murder of an endangered creature would most likely be illegal and, at
the very least, morally reprehensible.

Although he would never admit it, Kyle Irion’s belief in dragons clung
to life for several minutes after the conversation before he mournfully
removed life support and let the childish conviction pass on.

Kyle’s Dreams are survived by a bitter sense of disillusionment and a
large, empty spot that will almost certainly be filled with alcohol,
promiscuity, and a futile attempt to make any regular career seem even
mildly interesting.

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