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Job Hunt: Austin

23 Jul

“Editor,” I say, as I stroll into my editor’s office. He looks up at me from his computer. He is doing a thing with his computer.

“I need a job.”

“I’d say so,” he says, so. “How’s the hunt going so far?”

“Well, I’m running into a familiar problem.”

“Which is?”

I hold up a piece of paper with “Resume” written on it and nothing else.

Editor leans back in his desk. “I see.”

“Here.” I put down a business card with my name on it and contact information. “I’m going to start using business cards to legitimize myself. Maybe that’ll help.” Editor picks up the card. “Now turn it over,” I tell him. He does. On the back is a close up of my eyes and the phrase “Are you ready?”

“Are they ready for what?” Editor asks.

I raise my palms into the air and shrug, my expression one of total defeat.

“Well, I don’t know if this is going to help much,” Editor says, “Since you have to be in front of someone to give them this. Someone who has the power to hire someone, and if you just hand them a business card, they still won’t know what your qualifications are.”

I think on this. I walk out of the office without saying goodbye.

I sit at my desk, looking out the window. “What can I offer the world?” I ask myself. “What is there for me to give, to sell?”

I look at the old halter top and fishnets hanging in my closet.

“No,” I say to myself, pulling my gaze away. “Never again.”

I stand and pace the room. I pick up a half full tumbler on my desk. I take a sip and cringe. “Oh, my god!” I say. “Editor!” I call. “What is this?”

“What?” he asks, appearing in my doorway.

“This, in my glass. This is not Wild Turkey.”

“Sir, that’s um, that whiskey you brewed yourself the other night–‘Ky Turkey.'”

“I don’t remember making this whiskey,” I reply.

“You had been drinking a lot of that whiskey.”

“Well, what is it?”

“It’s apple juice and rubbing alcohol.”

I glance at the glass, drink its remaining contents, dry heave over my desk, then stand up straight.

“Editor, this cannot continue. I cannot live this way. I need to drink real bishby!” I try to pick up the tumbler to throw it at the wall, but I miss and my hand sort of flops around on the desk for a few seconds.

“Kyle?”

“I think that Ky Turkey is getting to me,” I say, now covered in a light sheen of sweat.

“Steady yourself, my Lord,” Editor says, putting a hand on my shoulder.

“I need work. And I need it now. Like right now.” I get in my car and decide to go out and find a job.

I drive down street after street looking for “Help Wanted” signs. I see one, but it’s outside of a cage with a bunch of hungry dogs pattering around inside and I turn away.

As I turn, I see a man in the middle of an intersection accepting change from strangers. He’s holding a sign, but he’s too far for me to read what it says. I park at the Sonic parking lot, jog through the traffic and approach the man.

“The End!” he says, holding his hands up to me, his eyes communicating true fear.

I hold up my shirt, smell it. “You were able to pick that up? I thought I’d covered up my End-ness.” I’m trying to maintain a strong atmosphere of intimidation, so the man doesn’t try to befriend me, intimidate me, or worse, ask me for money. “Anyway, yes, I am the End. And as the End, I’m going to give you an opportunity to look back on your life before we move on. First off, what is this you’ve been doing for the past several minutes?” I point at his sign.

“Panhandling.”

“Which is?”

“I take this sign, walk about, and people will give me money.”

I look at him skeptically.

“Really and truly! Just try it. Now you’ll have to dirty yourself up, but if ye–” the man rubs his leathery, chicken-foot hands in the dirt and then brings them up to my face. His rheumy eyes are far away and his mouth is slightly open, focused intently on whatever he plans on doing to my face with that dirt.

“The End!” I cry, putting my hands up. There’s  moment of confusion long enough for me to run back to my car.

I find a spot of my own. Unfortunately, there’s already a panhandler there.

“Mind if I shadow you a little bit?” I ask the woman.

She looks me up and down and does not respond. This feels like Shawshank Redemption but I don’t know why. She sits on a plastic crate.

I look at the woman’s sign and my heart breaks. It’s pure nonsense. Scribble and mess. I see this woman, illiterate, and feel like I’m looking at one of the most damning exposes of our American system of education that could be mustered.

“Ma’am,” I say softly. She looks up at me.

“Your sign, ma’am, it doesn’t make any sense. Those aren’t real words you have written there.” I take the sign from her. “You see, no one knows what you mean by ‘necesito comer.’ Here, let me make you a new sign.”

I take out a sharpie and write on the back of her sign. “Please give all the money to Shia LeBouf.” I then stand close to her side, holding my sign that says “I am Shia LeBouf.”

An hour later, I’m rolling in it.

The End.

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PILOT: “Meet the Bubs!”

11 Jul

Last weekend, while celebrating the birthday of my roommate Alex, this photo was taken.

alexkyle

This sparked off a firestorm on the worldwide web (three comments on facebook [six if you include my comments]). Demand for more of this pair of idiots skyrocketed. Alex captioned the photo as “Bubs.” One commenter, singer of Savage of the Big Beat and racist, Max Brown, suggested that the Bubs be adapted into a new series–“Meet the Bubs.”

Well, here’s the pilot.

The scene opens with Kyle Bub sitting on the couch, reading a book entitled Literature Book. He seems to be deriving zero pleasure from it. The fan above him is going, the lights are on. The television is set to a music channel, and light classical music can be heard twinkling from its speakers.

Suddenly, the front door flies open. Alex Bub stands in the doorway, her shirt pulled up to reveal her belly, which is smooth and white. She has pushed it out so that it looks like the horrible eye of a sick frog.

“MAMA’S HOOOOME!” [Audience hoots and hollers] She stands there for several seconds, smacking her tummy. Her face downturned, eyeing Kyle. Kyle grimaces.

“Hello, Alex.” Kyle’s voice comes out draped in a smooth-as-silk British accent. Think of a more confident Niles Crane. Think of Frasier Crane.

“Hello, KYYYYYY!” Alex’s voice is like a Cookie Monster falsetto.

Kyle raises his book up so it covers his face, attempting to communicate his desire to not be disturbed.

Alex throws her purse outside and shuts the door. [Audience laughs softly] She looks at Kyle for reaction. Kyle’s eyes remain on his book. She then takes off her shoes and throws them straight into the air. They smack the ceiling and fall back to earth. One of them hits her in the head. [Audience laughs] She walks into the living room. Kyle slumps further into the couch. She removes her belt and swings it around her head. She then puts it at her rear and starts to meow.

“I’m a kitty,” she says. “Mrrrowww!” [Audience laughs]

“Oh this is just dreadful,” Kyle says, putting the back of his hand to his forehead.

[Audience laughs]

Derek Bub hobbles in using a walker. “What’s all this commotion?”

“Oh, Alex is just doing that thing that she does,” Kyle says.

“You mean nothin’?” Derek asks. [Audience laughs]

Alex crosses her arms and scowls at Derek.

“I’ll have you know that I just got back from working a double at my job. What did you two do all day?”

Kyle and Derek exchange looks.

“We uh,” Kyle starts.

“Well, we,” Derek starts.

“Das wha’ mama thought!” Alex points at her head, leans toward studio audience. Winks. [Audience goes wild]

[Kyle waits for audience to calm down] “Well, if that’s true, it’s the first time you’ve thought in some time.” [Audience laughs]

“Why I oughta!” Alex pulls a large piece of cheese from her pocket and starts to eat it. Kyle rolls his eyes. Alex puts the cheese behind her ear.

“That’s enough, you two,” Derek grumbles. He makes his way to the couch and sits down next to Kyle. “Now who’s gonna get me a beer?”

“No one,” Kyle says. “Unless the cat is feeling generous.”

A man dressed in a skin tight tabby cat suit slinks out from behind a corner. His eyes are glassy and dead.

“Mr. P!” Alex squeals. She chases Mr. P off set.

Now just Kyle and Derek sit together.

“Well, you gonna get me that beer?”

“And inflame your condition? Not likely,” Kyle says, lifting his book back to his face.

“Come on, boy, just get me a beer,” Derek says. He folds his hands like he’s in prayer. [Audience chuckles]

“Oh you can go get your own if you want it so badly,” Kyle says. He gets up and walks down the hall and off stage.

Derek wrestles his way upright and looks to the kitchen. “I’ll get my own damn beer.” As he makes his first steps, he trips and falls. A terrific crack echoes through the set and Derek yowls in pain.

“Is that you, Mr. P?” Alex asks, her head poking from around the corner. [Audience laughs]

“I need help. I believe I’ve broken something.” He looks to the studio audience. “No gout about it.” [Audience laughs] “I have gout,” Derek can be heard muttering under the raucous laughter.

“Oh Derek, you old drunk,” Alex says. “I knew you’d try to get your own beer and hurt yourself.” She cocks her hip out and points to her head. “Das wha’ mama thought!” [Audience goes wild]

Derek lay on the ground, shaking his head, amidst the laughter and applause. Suspended by unseen cables, Mr. P scurries across the ceiling, pulling Kyle, who is wrapped in webs, also suspended by cables.

THE END

Dad Goes to the Hospital

3 Jul

From my pocket comes the sound of Ice-T falling down a flight of stairs. I look at my phone. I have a text.

“Your father is in the hospital,” it says. It’s from my mom.

“Why is dad in the hospital? Is dad a doctor now?” I ask. “Is he building them a deck?”

My mother doesn’t respond.

I go to the hospital to see what kind of deck my dad is building and if it has an awning or not.

“Looking for Mike Irion,” I say to the nurse at the triage station. “Looks like me, but he’s building a deck and has a goatee.”

“Are you a relative?” the woman asks me. Her hair is stringy and poorly held together by an intricate system of bobby pins, hair clips, and sweat.

Parenthood has taught me that family is a difficult thing to define,” I say, smiling into the camera.

“Are you a relative, though? Are you his family?”

“I am.”

She lets me through. As I walk down the hall, I hear the sounds of those in pain.

I look for a doctor to ask of the whereabouts of my father, but can find none. The nurse’s station is empty. Strange. I begin opening doors to random rooms.

I open the door to room 305. In it is a solitary old man on a solitary bed, a cabinet, an IV unit, a heart monitor. The room is bereft of any decorative element. I see the dry erase board that lists the physician on duty. I walk to the board.

“Hello?” the old man on the bed asks. His voice is like balsa wood. “Are you the doctor?”

I turn to him.

“No. No doctors.”

I drop the marker. Under “Physician on Duty,” I have erased the former name there and replaced it with one word: “Chaos.”

“What? Who are you? What have you done?” The old man asks. I try to think of something smart, but all I can do is wave and then walk out.

I continue looking for my father. I find a nurse and she directs me to a nurse’s station with people at it. They look him up and tell me he’s in room 432. I head that way, and by that way I mean a direction. I have no idea where I’m going. I start calling out for papa, but there is no reaction. Apparently that’s something that happens a lot in the hospital.

I poke my head in another door. There is an older Jamaican woman laying on her side and when I walk in she turns to look at me.

“Can I hep you?” she asks.

“I don’t know if I can help anyone,” I respond.

She sits up. The color leaves her face.

“Who ah you? Ah you evahl?”

“Ah, no. I not evahl.”

“Who you ah, den?” she asks, her eyes scanning me cannily. “Are you he who’s gahn to tek me to dat next place? Like ah bus drivah?”

“No, I on ‘olliday,” I respond.

“Some spot you pick fo’ yo ‘olliday,” she says, smiling, looking away for a moment. For a moment, she winces. “Pain, pain bad. Bad.”

“I don’t have nahting to do wit these things.”

“Make it go away,” she says. “Take me to dat next place.”

“It not yo’ tyme yet.”

“Well mehk it tyme, den.”

“I cyan’t, sistah. You cyan’t fool wit deez tings.”

“Oh, but da pain go troo and troo. When will it be my tyme, mistah?” her eyes are wet and her lower lip quivering. I lean down to her ear. In the few seconds between my upright position and me being bent over her ear, I try to think of something poignant to say, something brilliant and comforting, perhaps from a film. I cup my hands around my mouth.

In a low, raspy, British accent, I say “The fire rises,” then turn to leave. I have just watched The Dark Knight Rises and am in a very strange place emotionally. I consider writing “Christopher Nolan” on her Physician board, but don’t. I’ve done enough here. I give her a hearty wink.

“Ma’am,” I say. “You will surely die, but not yet. For life is long and it only gets longer. But do not fret. Because dying is something men have done since the beginning of time and will continue to do until the end of time. Your pain is temporary, but its respite will last forever. Perhaps you will be healed, even, and know the joy of health, if only for a short time more–the joy of the sun’s warmth as it hits your arm through a car window, that glorious sound of fall leaves sliding across concrete, the shine in someone’s eyes when you make them laugh. Yes, I am afraid of dying, but I know I will l–” just then a single note issues from her heart monitor and she is dead. I turn and leave.

I find my father. He has something called a kidney stone. I tell the nurse that for Irion men, all of our organs are made of stone, and I don’t understand what the problem is, but she doesn’t like that or agree with the science behind it. I call her a name and tell her that listen if you think you’re so smart why don’t you cut me open and look at my heart because it feels like it’s made of stone for damn sure and she gets out a scalpel and I fart because I’m scared and say maybe I should just go and then I go and I tell my dad I love him and he tells me to let the dogs in when I get home and I do.

Love,

Kyle

Big Al’s Graduation Day

14 May

I wake up.

“Morning,” I whisper to me. “Mourning,” I moan, then pull the covers up to just below my eyes and look around to see if anyone heard my wordplay and did they like it.

I pull the blanket down to my chin. “I’m-a eat breakfast,” I say. Huey and the News starts to play and I spin around, my feet hitting the carpet. I get a little dizzy and barf onto my lap. The smell is just awful and I toss my head back and the sudden movement pulls too much blood into my brain and I get sort of dizzy and fall backwards off the bed and onto the soft carpet. My voice muffled by being pressed to the ground, I apologize to no one in particular then get to my feet.

Today is the day that my roommate Alex is graduating college. She majored in film. There was a radio portion of her degree too, but I’m not sure how seriously anybody takes the radio classes anymore; I think that most likely what happens is the students come in on the first day of class and the professor stands up and draws the Spotify logo on the blackboard and then a frowny face and everybody gets an A if they agree to just be real quiet while the professor weeps softly into his his hands at his desk.

Alex’s friend, Jill, is in town for the occasion. Jill is a lot like Alex. They’re both shorter than me and white and make a lot of shrill yowls and beeps like if you put a cat’s brain in a woman’s body and the cat has a human voice box but still has a weak, tiny cat brain incapable of true, effective communication. The first thing Jill did when she arrived yesterday was to make one long “Eeeeee” sound that I thought was a smoke alarm going off in the kitchen.

I eat my cereal in my room, reading articles on the internet (GoogleImage Searching “Sable WWF”). I hear the rustling sounds of life from Derek’s and Alex’s rooms and open my door. Alex is coming out of her room at that very moment. She rubs her eye and waves at me. I wave hello back.

“Excited?” I ask.

“Mrrrrow,” she says softly.

I nod.

She walks down the hall toward the kitchen.

“Meow meow meOw?” she asks. “Jill meow meow.”

“Yeah, she can have some coffee. I actually already made some.”

“Mrrrrow.”

We all get ready to go. I put on a tie. Derek puts on a shirt. Alex and Jill get “Dressed Up,” which is a term that I made up for when girl’s put on dresses. Dressed Up. Get Dressed Up.

We all pile into Derek’s car. He is driving because my car is too small. 😦

The graduation ceremony is about as interesting as you’d imagine a middle-aged woman reading the names of 200 strangers is.

Now the fun stuff.

Alex’s mom and dad and brother all came to celebrate. Derek, Alex, Jill and I arrive at the house first. When the parents arrive, Derek and I head out to the driveway to help them bring everything in. Alex’s father, Craig, a large bald man with a surly disposition, hands Derek, another large man with a surly disposition, a large tray with a blue plastic lid on top.

“What’s in here?” Derek asks, hefting the container.

“Tacos,” Craig says.

Derek freezes and just looks at Craig for three or four seconds before mumbling something about an embrace and then he tries to left the pan up over Craig’s head and Craig grabs him by the arms and tells him what are you doing what is wrong with you and Derek just laughs with this really sad face and takes the pan inside and doesn’t say a whole lot for the next hour or so just sits at the kitchen table eating tortilla chips with no salsa and drinking a lot of the girly pink booze drink that Alex’s mom brought.

Alex calls her mom Beak as a play on her mom’s real name, Becky. Beak brought some girly pink drinks that’ll getcha drunk. We all enjoy these. She also brought some beans and some shrimp salad. It is all absolutely divine.

Jill is making these strange Crafty Snacks that are grapes wrapped in cheese and then rolled around in pecans and bacon bits. When I look at them I think why on earth. I think why not just give everyone bacon and pecans and leave out the cheese and grapes? I start to suggest this, but then Jill drops her knife and emits this wild squeal that throws everyone in the room onto the floor. Craig screams out the name David and no one is sure who he’s talking about but later we find out that he actually meant Derek but he had forgotten what Derek’s name was. When Craig screams this, Derek looks at him with wide doe-eyes. Craig clears his throat and opens a Stella Artois.

Alex plops down at the kitchen table with a large glass of her mom’s booze.

“Meow. Meeeeow. Meow meow meow.”

Craig and Beak laugh. I shake my head.

“Meooooww,” Alex says, eyeing me. She always does this. I roll my eyes, smiling.

“Okay, Alex. Okay.” I make her a plate and set it in front of her. “But only because this is your special day.” She looks up at me and grins. Suddenly, her head jerks forward and her eyes bug out of their sockets. She does this two or more times, then throws up a hairball onto the plate I just made her.

“Meow…” she says meekly. No on in the kitchen makes a sound. Jill is trying to figure out a way to discreetly butt-chug a Shiner Redbird without anyone noticing.

When Jill notices me looking at her, she hisses at me and keeps doing her little grape snacks.

“Oh what a bore it all is!” Beak says, then puts the back of her hand to her forehead. She stays like that, frozen, for some time.

“What do we do?” I ask. Derek shrugs his shoulders. Alex licks her hand then runs along the side of her head. She then opens her mouth and makes a sound from the back of her throat like she’s trying to hock a loogie, but there’s no climax, just an extended sort of glottal clapping. It’s awful.

“Truly, this world!” Beak yells, still posed dramatically. She does not move her head, but slowly reaches down to the table and takes a drink of the first drink her hand hits.

Footsteps and Craig is in the room. “Gin and tonic,” he mumbles. He hands Beak a tinkling glass of clear, bubbling liquid.

She downs the entire glass in one gulp. Ice and all.

“Oh mother of my wet sleepy shits that was goo!” She actually says ‘goo.’

A cabinet opens from above the kitchen’s island. Alex’s brother’s head appears in the opening. His mouth is covered in Ovaltine and barbecue sauce.

“What did you just say, mom?” he asks. “Did you say ‘goo’?”

Beak makes a face at her son and then shakes her glass at Craig. He takes it to the fridge. From the fridge he pulls out an old water jug that appears to be full of already mixed gin and tonic and even ice. He pours it into the glass and hands it back to Beak.

“This is just so nice,” she says.

I put on my tuxedo. We are going to the screening of Alex’s advanced film class’s short films. There are 8 of them.

“Eight films to rule them all,” Derek whispers as we approach the Lyceum.

Nobody laughs except for Craig and at the end he calls Derek son and puts his arm around him and Alex’s brother, Logan, gets real quiet and hangs back next to this tree as everyone else keeps walking. That’s the last that I see of him for the night.

In the Lyceum, it’s Jill, then me, then Derek and Alex and her parents seated in a row.

“Ready for some movies?” I ask Jill. She nods and then laughs and smacks my arm playfully. I am confused by this reaction. I turn back toward the screen. From the corner of my eye, I see her lift her butt up off the seat and pull a Shiner from under her dress. It’s already open and she drinks from it and my stomach turns.

We watch one movie about two sisters who never smile or move their faces, then another about an old man who refuses to learn English because if he does he will become bad at tango and maybe even fall in love. There’s another film sort of like ‘O Brother Where Art Thou. 

“This reminds me of O Brother,” I say to Jill.

“I have brudder,” she whispers, then points to the seat next to her. Her brother Ned is sitting there. I’m a little startled to see him.

“How long has he been there?” I ask. I didn’t notice him come in.

“Long time,” she whispers, her eyes becoming slits.

A chill goes up my spine and I turn back to the screen.

After intermission, I squeeze past Ned and then Jill and take my seat. Derek and Alex have switched spots. Derek and Craig are hunched over his phone, trying to find an app for putting Derek in all the family pictures instead of Logan.

“This is fun, Alex,” I say.

She smiles at me for a few seconds, then her mouth drops open and she starts doing that weird throat noise again.

“What is that?” I ask. “My god, my god what is that?”

“She purrin’,” Jill says. She then reaches down under her dress and removes a handle of SKYY vodka. I look at her, then at the bottle, and her again. Then I turn back to Alex. She’s spitting on me now.

“Alex you have to stop doing that, I hate it.”

The next round of films starts. This one is about a future world where the best way to be incognito is wear a full body, banana yellow jumpsuit and fighting is done by waving your limbs around in stiff, staccato bursts, like a blind guy trying to do the YMCA dance based on the instructions of a half-blind two year old.

The next film is Alex’s.

“The big moment,” I say, turning to Jill.

She doesn’t respond, though. She’s making out with someone seated next to her. I lean back and see that the guy is seated in Ned’s lap. I look at Ned and he looks at me and smiles and gives me a “Whattaya gonna do?” masked in an extremely pained smile. I see the guy get to second base. I shake my head and consider saying something, but then there’s a piercing pain in my back and Alex is biting me in the spine and I know that that means that the movie is back on.

It’s very good.

Later that night, we’re joined by Angela and Lanny. We go out to a party and house show out in a barn.

We reach the party and I take out my whiskey bottle. I find a private place in the woods, open the bottle, sit down and set it in front of me.

Softly at first, and then louder and louder, I chant the names: McNulty, Morrisson, Vedder, Hemingway–the Drunken Fathers.

From the bottle sprouts a hand made entirely of light and that hand gives me a big thumbs up and then morphs into a very drunk and very handsome man, glowing with the same light, half-transparent.

“Whiskey Kyle,” I say.

He nods then does a pelvic thrust.

“Let’s go,” the man says. I get to my feet and he steps forward until we have merged.

I find this only somewhat secluded spot back behind the barn that’s like a tree stump graveyard. I take Jill back there.

I say something extremely smooth and it’s all she can do to not throw up from excitement when we start making out. I’m sitting on a stump and I’ve pulled her onto my lap and things are going very well when I suddenly hear the crunching of dead grass not three feet from us. I pull away from Jill and look. It’s Ned.

“Ned?” I say, surprised.

He looks at me says sup and takes a drink of his beer.

“BRUDDER,” Jill says. I whisper for her to be quiet for a second.

“Ned, I’m not trying to be rude, but I’m about to get my grope on here and it’s hard for me to do that to the fullest of my abilities if I’ve got it in my head that my grope-recipient’s brother is standing there nodding his head silently like a guy at a dance party who does not like to dance or has no partner to dance with and is satisfied to just stand there nodding his head silently drinking his drink and checking his phone and stuff like that. Please. Please go.”

He nods like he gets it then walks back to the party. Before he totally merges back into the group, he looks back at me and his eyes hold a sadness that is so black and so bottomless that I almost throw Jill off of my lap to go comfort him, but then my hand accidentally brushes one of her boobs and I’m totally snapped out of that.

After I finish my work at The Stumps, I go to find Lanny. I ask his wife where he’s at. He’s over by a trashcan doing a J with some people who, when I introduce myself, act like I just pulled a dead frog from my pocket and waved it in their faces. Lanny’s scene is a little too Hunter S Thompson for me, not enough Hemingway, so I go elsewhere. I meet up with Alex. She has crafted a large pile of dead grass and is treading in it.

I reach around her waist and pick her up.

“Alex, you can’t do this out in public. People are getting disturbed.”

Just as I say this, a man composed of roughly 20 or 30 percent chemicals takes the microphone and begins to sing some I Believe I Can Fly and somehow relating it to pussy. Everyone laughs except me, because I take R. Kelly very seriously.

“He is an American treasure!” I bellow.

After I speak up, Angela makes a loud fart sound and everyone turns and laughs and points at me. Afraid, I look for the faces of my friends and fine none. Only Angela remains. Cackling wildly she takes a photograph of me from her pocket and sets the photograph ablaze. The party howls with delight and I pull my whiskey bottle very close to me and close my eyes and then…

Later that night. We’re in Lanny and Angela’s car, riding to the next party.

This one is just for film people. When we get there, they’re giving out awards. A lot of people I don’t know yelling and screaming and laughing and making jokes that I don’t get. I love it, though. There’s a lot of joy in the room, and it’s contagious. I’m filled with happiness.

We go outside and I talk to a film girl about my book and when she asks me to describe the plot, I get really self-conscious that it’s going to be shit, so I describe the plot to Stephen King’s Dark Tower, pawning it off as my own, but I forget that the plot of that series is also shit but I don’t realize this until I get to the end of the fourth book and I still have three to go and I can’t just quit on it then, I’ve already committed so much time to the description, so I finish it out, describe to her all seven books.

Soon after, Angela tells me that it’s time to go. They’re going back to Waxahachie. I get up and Her, Lanny, Derek and I stand waiting for Alex and Jill. They aren’t coming with us.

When we leave, Alex is trying to climb along a fence but keeps falling off.

Happy Graduation, Alex.

I Go Back in Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime

20 Apr

I lay on my back, staring up at the ceiling. The popcorn ceiling. I’m topless. My milky white breasts show for all the world to see. All the world is a stage and here look at my tits bounce around on it.

I roll onto my side–my right side. There lay Roman Brown, brother of Max Brown, singer for my band, Savage and the Big Beat. This is Roman. 

“Roman,” I say, “You ever just–want to get away?”

Roman, who is also topless rolls onto his right side. I stare into his back, confused.

“Like how?” Roman asks, still not facing me.

“Roman,” I say. Roman seems startled, then rolls back onto his back then onto his left side and looks at me. Our faces are inches apart.

“Our faces,” Roman says, “are inches apart. We could kiss.”

The realization hits both of us like a ton of bricks. Are we gay? Are we two gay men in a room together? Neither of us speak for what feels like a long time.

“Roman,” I say. “Do you think we might be gay?”

“I don’t know, man,” Roman says. He is trembling. He looks as if he may cry.

“Let’s check.” We get up and walk to my room. Roman shuts the door. “Ready?” I ask.

Roman stretches his neck out and nods. “Ready.”

“Okay. Here we go,” I say. I open my laptop and open the internet to WebMD. I type in “gayness” to see if trembling or having black hair is a symptom. I also look to see if GoogleImage searching “Queen” at least once a week is also a symptom.

“It doesn’t even have it here,” I say, pointing at the screen. I punch the air.

“Then how will we ever know?!” Roman asks. He’s sitting at the edge of my bed, looking at his hands. He keeps dropping them, letting them go limp, then he kind of waves his limp-wristed hands around. “Does this look normal on me?” he asks. His voice is shaking. “Does this look like how my hands should always be?”

We go into the kitchen. Roman takes a seat at the kitchen table.

“Okay. How about this–” I begin, “What if we just pretended to make out with each other, just to, like, see how it feels–see if it feels weird or not.”

Roman nods.

“Okay, so stand up.”

He stands up.

“Now pretend to make out with me and I’ll pretend to make out with you. Let’s get a little space.” I take a few steps back and wrap my arms around an invisible Roman.

I start my makeout miming, then glance over at Roman. He’s practically doubled over, his lips pursed tightly, his face twisted as if in pain. He starts to kiss his invisible partner for a second, then recoils, wiping his mouth, pulling a hair off his tongue. Over and over and over again.

“Is that how you make out with someone?”

“What?” Roman seems startled, like he forgot I was in the room.

“Is that how you make out with someone, I said.”

“That’s how I make out with you.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re so…” he does this thing with his hand that signals that I am little to write home about. “And you have all these cats running around.” He gestures around him.

“There aren’t any cats in here! And anyway, we only have two. That’s less than one per person.”

“You’re also a small person.” He bends over really far and embraces an invisible me that looks to be around three feet tall.

“I am a normal-size person. You’re a fucking giant.”

“Oh I’m a giant? Rather be a giant than a hobbit.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah!”

“Well why don’t we go ask them how they feel about it.”

“Who?!” Roman asks.

“Hobbits! Giants!” I respond.

“Looks like we’ve got quite a drive ahead of us.”

Roman and I both look at the camera. “Everytime” by Britney Spears starts. Roman shakes his head at the camera. The music stops. “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC starts. Roman nods, then turns his head to another camera I was unaware of. I try to turn to it but then Roman turns his head again back to the old camera. He makes a face at me, then rolls his eyes, then smiles smugly. I try to look into the camera to make a face like “Oh that rascal,” but Roman turns his head again, then gives the camera a thumbs up. All you can see is the back of my head and even from behind you can tell that I am profoundly sad.

Soon enough we find ourselves in my Civic. Roman puts his hand on my leg. I swat it away.

“Stop,” I say to him. “We’re not doing the gay thing anymore.” Roman nods like he understands, but I can see his hand start inching back to my leg. I glare at him.

“Okay, okay,” he mouths, then puts his hands in his lap.

I put in Permission to Land by The Darkness.

“Jesus, man. Can you change the station?” Roman bellows.

“Fuck you, man! You don’t like my music, get your own fuckin’ time machine.”

“I’ve had a–“

“I’ll pull over and kick your ass out, man!”

“I’ve had a rough night, and I hate the fuckin’ Darkness.”

I would have pulled over, but we were going though a worm hole in the space/time continuum and I couldn’t pull over without my molecules splitting into the infinite and my consciousness evaporating and vanishing as if it had never existed at all.

We arrive in the past. In the alternate past. In Middle Earth.

“I like it,” Roman says, stretching his massive frame as he exits the car, “but they have better restaurants in upper-middle earth.”

“And better schools.”

“Less riff raff.”

“Mail men are nicer.”

“Landscaping is better.”

“Less of them.

I stop.

“Less of who, Roman?”

Roman gets very red. He starts scanning Middle Earth for a distraction.

“Of who?”

“Gollums.”

“Less Gollums?”

Roman swallows hard.

Years later I would look back on this day as one that changed my friendship with Roman forever. It was a day that changed my life forever. Because it taught me that racism doesn’t always come from where you think. Racism doesn’t always come from underneath a Lynryrd Skynryd (God what a fucking stupid band name. How do you even fucking spell it? I hate Skinnerd) shirt. Racism doesn’t always throw bottles or insults, isn’t always so–obvious.

And maybe that’s the worst kind of racism, because it’s the racism that is so subtle that it can almost feel normal or accepted.

Roman never got over his racism, and took it to his grave. He never left Middle Earth, either. When it was time to go back to regular Earth, he bent down, picked up his little hobbit wife and said that he had all he could ever want in this tiny place. I smiled at him and told him I’d miss him and never forget him. I went to hug him. He doubled over and pursed his lips very tightly and tried to give me a make out. I pushed him away and said a cuss and that he ruined a really nice moment with his typical, horny Rome-Dog behavior. His wife seemed nonplussed by the whole thing.

Then Roman got down on all fours and crawled into his hobbit house. I never saw him again.

The End.

Savage Plays for Birds of Night

17 Apr

I get to the show at eight to load my gear in. It is dark when I get there and a man with a mustache that hugs his face asks for my ID.

“ID? haha.” I actually say “haha.” “Here’s my ID. I don’t know who you are, but I know who I am. And I’m…” I check my ID. “Robert Kyle Irion.”

I look at my ID for a second.

“Irion?”

“Can I see your ID please, sir?” he asks me, now holding his hand out.

He checks my ID. He gives me an artist wrist band.

“I wave it in the air,” I say as I wave it in the air.

“Okay, that’s enough” the man says, trying to shoo me on.

“It wants it!” I scream. I swat his hand away. I turn and hold the wrist band close to my big sexy body, petting it. I then scurry to the bar.

Behind the bar is a pretty young thing that clocks in at a sober 6 but a drunk 9 so i decide to holler at her.

“Can this be love?” I ask. My voice is drowned out by house music. I look up at the speakers blaring Danzig or Stevie Wonder or Emmylou Harris. I can’t tell.

“What?” she responds, horny.

“Gimme a little bit of everything,” I say, twirling my finger toward the bar. Before she can protest, I lift my arm onto the bar and point to the artist wristband. “You know what this means?” I ask, this time making sure my voice is loud enough to be heard. “This means I’m a princess, understand? And princess always gets what she wants.” I smack the bar then turn away, leaving her to pour The Drink.

She hands me a double whiskey and coke in a plastic cup and I look at it and frown, anger and limitless grief taking hold of me. I had hoped to be handed a gallon jug of mixed booze–straight alcohol–but instead I am handed the drink of the commoner–the drink of the peasantry–the drink of…

“Did someone say Pageantry?” Roy Robertson of Pageantry asks. Suddenly he’s behind the bar. The female bartender seems surprised and then agitated and pushes Roy out. “I think I heard someone think the word Pageantry. Was that you?” He asks me in total falsetto.

“I thought the word ‘peasantry’.”

Roy levels his gaze at me and somewhere in those deep brown, vaguely ethnic eyes I see a glimpse of a human person who is as lost and scared and yet valiantly hopeful as I. Then he blinks, his eyes cloud and he hisses at me like a snake.

Startled, I spill a little of my drink on my hand. It’s cold.

“Haha, you gonna drink that?” Max Brown, singer of Savage and the Big Beat asks as he walks up. “Drink off yer hand?”

He’s about to collide with Roy and I call out to stop him but then Roy gets this very serene look on his face and whispers “New EP out this summer” and Max passes right through him. I shake my head, blink, and look all around me. Roy is nowhere to be found.

“Are you going to drink that, I asked,” Max says, bending down so to make sure that I can hear him. Then he points one gargantuan finger at my hand and laughs his ass off. He straightens his backpack on his back and continues on to the stage area. Ryan, our drummer, walks up and stands in the spot Max just vacated. He makes sure his feet are just where Max’s were, then looks up at me.

“What’s up with Max?” I ask.

“What’s he doing?”

“He’s being sort of…” I do an elaborate, full-body gesture that signifies a person being a jerk.

“Oh, that,” Ryan says nodding. “I let him watch The Simpsons today. That’s my bad.”

We get our gear put up on the stage and people slowly start to arrive. So many young, happy faces I think I could vomit.

I hold my hands out to my side like Bruce Willis does in that one scene in Unbreakable. “Their youth,” I whisper. “It’s filling me up.” I pause. “And feeling me up.” I wink at the camera and glance over my shoulder, but there is no one there. My arms drop and suddenly I feel terribly, terribly, terribly alone.

Our set is loud and glorious and full of memories. And mammaries. Max’s breasts flop around wildly, like the fish drawn up into the floor of a boat, the nipples like the footprints of twin infants on their mother’s stomach. I’ve never seen such breasts in my life.

And I doubt I ever will again.

The End.

The Origins of MacGregor Eddie Mercury–My D&D Character

7 Apr

My friends and I started a campaign of Dungeons and Dragons this past Saturday. Dungeons and Dragons is like a live-action Choose Your Own Adventure Book. The Dungeon Master (in our case, Lanny,), sets up an adventure for the group (or ka-tet, as I so lovingly ripped off of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series) and presides over it as a sort of indifferent God. He narrates the action, gives us our options, lets us know of the consequences of our actions. There are also some dice involved, but now we’re getting into a sort of Wikipedia level of information depth and I’d rather just move along.

Each player has a character that they invent themselves. Last night, we had a mermaid, an orc, a monk that “Investigates the mysteries of the human body through his fists,” a magical seductress, and a bard.

Below is the bio I wrote up for my character, a ranger named MacGregor Eddie Mercury.

Born inside a hole in the dirt, MacGregor Eddie Mercury, or “Mr. Mercury” is a hunter and warrior and performer of the lethal arts. He also will also occasionally bust out a ribbon dance on you. Mac was the spawn of a boar hunter known only as “Locke.” He never met his father. Some say he died in a shipwreck in the great Orc War. Others say he just got boared. Either way, MacGregor was raised by Butterlips Hogan, a surly dairy farmer.

One dark night after playing King of the Castle (a game where you eat bugs while smacking cows on the rear and yelling “More cream in my coffee, you heifer!”), a band of dark cloaked raiders called The Oakland Raiders, ripped through the tiny farm, slaying Butterlips Hogan in the process.

“Oh gosh, we’re really sorry,” one of them said as they rode off with a cow in his satchel.

So these are the words that echoed in Mercury’s ears as his world fell apart. And they are the words that he promised himself he would whisper into the ears of the men he killed in his path to purge Areola of evil.

It was there, in that dew-wet field, lit only by the burning farm, that Butterlips told MacGregor the hard truth of his origins.

“I am your father,” he said.

“But I thought Locke was my father.”

“He is too. We. We. We are your two gay dads.”

MacGregor looked out into the distance.

“But so both of you were gay? Not like one of you was gay and the other was just looking for a nice place to store his d—”

And then the old dairy farmer let out a howl that pushed the birds from the trees and sent the cows bawling long into the night. He was dead.

Now MacGregor Eddie Mercury carries a knife made from the femur of his fallen, less cool gay dad. Through his travels, he visited a traveling circus. In the circus was a monkey that the local strongmen would pay a pence to wrestle and measure their strength against. The ape never lost a match.

MacGregor thought this was downright wrong, because of his liberal, two gay dad upbringing, and liberated the ape.

He now loves that ape more than anything in the whole world. He has lots of loveless sex and sings all the time, especially when he is thirsty for battle, because in the forest, a singing man is sure to draw attention to himself. His favorite anthem of bloodletting is:

Bring out the charge of the love brigade
There is spring in the air once again
Drink to the sound of the song parade
There is music and love ev’rywhere
Give a little love to me
Take a lotta love from me
I want to share it with you

Then he stabs them.

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