Savage and the Big Beat 35 Weekend

30 Mar

For Savage and the Big Beat, the 35 weekend starts on a Thursday. We are set to play at Sweetwater Grill and Tavern with Biographies, Senor Fin, and Black James Franco. Telegraph Canyon was supposed to close the set, but someone at 35 told them they weren’t Wilco and couldn’t play on the main stage after Sarah Jaffe, so they quit the festival altogether and went back to drinking cheap champagne in the greenroom of Trees, talking about how great 2010 was. Telegraph, you can go fuck yourself.

Before we play tonight, though, we need to practice.

I wait for Max to arrive.

He does.

He is as tall as I remember him. I inhale deeply, looking out my window as the musical beast approaches.

“Ready to practice?” I whisper. Max stops and peers into the window. He sees me standing there and mouths a curse word.

“Unlock the door,” he says.

“Ready to make music?” I whisper.

“I can’t hear you. Open the door.”

“Will we make sounds, then?” I ask.

He starts banging his keyboard against the front door. It’s frightening the cats, so I run down the hall and unlock the door.

“Savage and the Big Beat!” I yell as I throw the door open. The door hits my foot and I yell for a second really mad and by the time I shut the door and calm down, Max is in our practice space getting set up.

Ryan shows up and gets behind his drums. We all get our gear red-e 2 go.

“You guys ready to make some music?” I ask.

Suddenly, there’s a sort of hissing sound coming from under the desk in the practice space. Slowly, toes and knees come into the light, then a shock of thick black hair.


It is Roy Robertson of Pageantry fame. He hits his head on the desk, but does not react.

“Did someone say make some music?” he asks. He gets to his feet like a cartoon snake being charmed. He continues to wiggle around like a snake as he makes his way around the room.

“I said that,” I say.

“Who said that?!” Roy asks, spinning on his heels toward me.

“Me?” I say.

“How long have you been there?” He asks.

I look at Max and Ryan.

“The whole time,” I respond. “I’ve been here the whole time. I’m the one that said ‘make some music.'”

“Well isn’t that cute,” Roy responds. He does a little twinkly gesture with his fingers, then turns the twinkles into claws and takes a swipe at Ryan and makes a soft growly sound. Ryan makes a face and is confused.

“You guys set to open for us?” Roy asks, turning to Max and I.

“We’re not opening for you. We’re closing our own showcase,” I say.

Roy rips his sunglasses off of his head. His eyes are wide and terrifying. He takes a deep breath and begins to bellow “YOU. ARE.  ALWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW–”

I’ve never heard anyone extend a “w” sound like this, but Roy does it, his mouth pursed into a tight, lower-case “o.”


Max gets his phone out to see if his fiance cares if Pageantry plays at their wedding.


“Well, okay,” Ryan says. “Thank you for letting us play with you guys.”

“Oh hey, no problem. No problem. You guys got merch? You can sell it next to ours if you want.”

“Oh that’d be great,” Ryan says.

“Yeah, no problem, hey good luck tonight,” Roy says. I reach my hand out for a shake and he steps past it, getting very close to me, my hand now on his hip. “Shall we dance?” he asks. His voice smells like steamed vegetables.

“Sure, if y–” I start to do the Charleston, but my guitar falls off. It hits the ground with a terrible clang. Disgusted, Roy puts both this hands in the air, does a couple of bird sounds, and trots out of the room and out of my house. I don’t hear a car start. I look out the window. Roy is jogging down my street, hands still in the air. He turns right onto Wisteria and then he’s gone.

“Ready?” I ask, picking my guitar up.

Max and I head to where the artists pick up their wrist bands. It is in a parking lot in a poorly-lit part of town. As we pull into the lot, Max’s headlights dance upon the gravel and chain link, then on a security guard who waves the light away and yells something like “So bright.”

Max stops the car.

“Leave it running,” I say. “In case we have to get out of here in a hurry.”

Max nods solemnly. He is covered in sweat. “Reach under your seat.”

I do. I feel something cold and heavy. I pull it out.

“My god, Max, why do you have this?!”

“Keep a gun in your car, keep a soul in your body,” he says, then does a little kiss thing at me.

“Lord,” I mumble, then carefully put the gun back under my seat and get out.

“Do you want the gun?!” Max calls out to me from the driver side window.

“What?! No!” I whisper yell. “Don’t say that.”

The security guard is still blinded by Max’s headlights, so I walk by him without explaining why I’m here. I hear him say something about the eyes of God.

Beyond the gate are food trucks and a table stocked with youthful volunteers and a box of wrist bands.

“Savage and the Big Beat,” I say. They give me my wrist bands and I return to the car.

When I get there, Max is dancing around next to the car, singing “Defying Gravity” from Wicked and waving his gun around.

“Max, what are you doing?!” I ask. Then, softer, “You can’t have a gun out here.”

“Bossy” He whispers, pouting. He tosses the gun in the backseat and gets into the car.

We reach the venue and unload our gear. It’s all next to the fajita station, so we won’t lose it. We’ll just smell our way back to it.

We have a tremendously sexy show for like eight people.

This post is too long

The next night, Savage is set to play a houseshow. An UNOFFICIAL 35 SHOW.

There was so much sweat and a we played a Queen cover and the whole room shat at once and the shit made the room foul and  Max became ill, contracting dysentery, and Ryan said why did they do that and I couldn’t get the heart to tell him that they did it because they love us because I was afraid Ryan would come to fear love and the great tragedy of this world are those who are afraid to love.

It was rainy and stormy. I saw a car accident.

The end.

The Car Men

16 Feb

This is a sequel to my post about my accident, but also an excerpt from my novel, which should be done sometime next month. 

I was in a wreck a few weeks ago. The wreck destroyed my car, my hope, and my desires. It destroyed my happiness and my joy and it made me feel ugly and painfully, painfully mortal. I have only been able to listen to Fleetwood Mac since the accident because the silken, medicine-woman voice of Morraine Goobenstein is the only voice that can soothe me now, as if it were the sound of life itself.

God what is that woman’s real name.

I lost that woman’s name in the accident.

The entire week after the accident, I struggled at work. I would be processing a vehicle title, leave off part of the address. My supervisor would ask me to void out the transaction, tell me that I’d made a mistake.

“I’m sorry,” I’d say. “I just can’t focus.” I’d then look into the monitor, totally vacant. “I’m not here today.”

Truth was, I was there, you see. I was in my seat. But I meant like my mind was far, far away. My mind was by the Valwood exit on 35, looking for change that might have fallen out of my car because damn it that is still my money and every bit counts.

Other times I’d get caught staring at a woman’s bottom and she’d make a face and maybe even rebuke me a little and I’d just look up at her with this hangdog expression and whisper “I was in a wreck,” and I’d be granted immediate forgiveness.

Once, I was sitting at a table at Jupiter House and a very stinky man asked me if he could share my table since it was the only one available with a lamp. I looked at the seat he wanted, then turned my body in this very labored way and pulled my legs out from under the table with my arms and said “I need to be alone. I was in an accident. And while my hands and my mind are fine…” I look down at my penis. “Other things might not be. And I don’t know if you want to be around when I figure that out, whatever the results may be.”

“Why do you do that with your legs?” He asked me. “I saw you walk in here. I was behind you in line.”

“Then you are first in line to get your ass kicked,” I said, acted as if to get up, then crumbled to the ground. “My legs!” I bellowed. “This man has stolen my legs from me!” I looked around for support. I looked at him. “Were you the other car?!” I clawed my way over to his feet and started hitting them as if I were playing a very boring version of Whac-a-Mole. “Take my legs from me,” I muttered. I heard a peculiar hissing sound then looked up. A man with a wheelchair was rolling by on his way to the register.

I cleared my throat, then stood up and nodded to the stinky man whose feet I had been hitting.

“No you cannot share with me.”

All this is to say that I now am in need of a new mode of transportation. I need to move on. I need a fresh start. I need a new beginning. I need to be born again. I need to hit the Refresh button on my life. I need to turn myself off and then turn myself on again ( 🙂 ). At some point during the accident, I lost my glasses–or I thought I lost them. I actually found them a few days later when I went to the tow yard and took all my belongings from my car. But before I got a chance to find the old ones, I bought some new ones to replace them. The new ones look better and more adult and make me look like a young, happy software engineer that has two kids and carries his groceries home in paper bags.

The next step is to purchase a new vehicle. I have tried this several times on my own.

The first time, I met with a diminutive, leathery imp who told me that he was working hard for me and would sell me a used Civic for what I later found out was almost a grand more than new ones were going for. I told him “I’ll think about it,” then left the shit out of there.

The second time, a man of indiscernible nationality took me on a test drive of a slightly nicer used car. He smiled a toothy smile and when he did he looked like he was hungry. His teeth were the color of limestone and looked slick like fish fresh out of water. His eyes were beady and set like they were hiding behind his glasses. He had curly hair that looked like pubes.

Once in the car, I tried out the sound system. No matter what station I turned it to, the man would close his eyes, bite his lower lip, and wag his puffy olive-skinned finger along to the beat like some deli metronome. It was sort of rainy that day and he kept telling me to “Gun it,” and I was still a bit shell-shocked from my wreck less than a week past, and so I didn’t want to gun it, hardly even wanted to take it out of the parking lot to be honest, and so instead of gunning it, I would instead accelerate almost imperceptibly then press myself against the back of my seat and say stuff like “Woohoo” and “She’s a spicy taco, isn’t she?” The man looked at me and I could tell I was making him sad. I asked him how to get back to the dealership and he led me there.

When we got back from the test drive, he and another salesman sat me down and took out a bunch of papers, all with different numbers on them. The other man was a large African-American man named Wayne and I felt like I could trust Wayne because his accent was mine and he smelled like Old Spice aftershave, unlike the other man who smelled like he bathed by standing around in a public fountain then doused himself in a basket of body spray. Wayne had a big belly like Santa Claus and a tiny mustache that traced the top of his lip.

“Now John,” they said to me, in unison. They laughed and looked at one another, then bumped knuckles and looked back to me.

“We always do that,” Wayne said. The ethnic, who to this point I do not believe has told me his name, nods. “It’s just from working together for too many years.”

The ethnic tries to do the unison thing again, trailing Wayne, muttering “Too many years,” a half beat after Wayne says it. Wayne looks at the ethnic with a hard look and for a moment I think he is going to hit him.

From the way the ethnic’s face falls after saying that, I wonder if maybe the phrase held more meaning for him than he had anticipated.

“We have set up an offer sheet for you, John. Now this financing could change depending on the down on the length of the lien and what sort of interest rate we can get for you, but that’s just something we’ll have to check on once we get all that set up.”

“Of course,” I say. I do not know how to apply any of what he just said to me. I just assume he’s lying to me about something and get my guard up.

“We’d like to make you a competitive offer–and this is our lowest price possible. It gets no lower than this.”

He slides a paper across the table to me, his cocoa brown hand skin covering up a great swath of the middle of the page. I try to take the page from under his hand, but the hand does not move. It is resolute. I look at the hand, its slight gloss showing it to be well-moisturized, the tiny pores that seem to hold no hairs.

I tug again.

“May I look at this?” I ask Wayne. Wayne lifts his hand.

“This is more than the sticker price,” I say.

“The sticker price is a fluid thing.”

“A fluid thing?”

“Yes. Liquid. Malleable. It can change at the drop of a hat.”

“Yeah, well then I’m liquid too,” I say, then slither to the door, swaying wildly as if I were made of a liquid.

“Wait,” they both say in unison. They glance at each other and scoot in their chairs until their thighs touch.

“Too late,” I say. “I’ve been insulted.”

I get in my car and hit the highway going 35 mph. A veritable rocket, I was.

I Get in a Wreck

26 Jan

Okay, I’m going to control the spin of this story. It’s come to light recently that Max Brown and I were in a wreck this morning. I’d like to share the events of the wreck so there is no misunderstanding of what happened.

Max and I drive down I-35E, soon to be the Kyle’s Civic Memorial Highway. We’re playing our favorite car game, where Max makes tiny mouse noises and I make tiny cat noises and we try to decide which noises we love more, then we name the mice and cats.

Ahead of me, roughly ninety feet or so, a man has parked perpendicularly
across the HOV lane to take night time photographs of himself and the bluebonnets. It is dark and the vehicle is unlit and there are no street lights. There is no way to avoid it.

I can remember just before I strike the vehicle.

“Max,” I say. “There is no way to avoid this.”

Max sighs and looks into my eyes. I look into his, deeply, as a dog does its owner while being given an unwanted bath.

“I know, bud,” he says. “You think I have time for a quick nap before impact? I have to go to work in the morning.”

I look up at the approaching vehicle. The driver waves at me from the median. I shake my head.

“Why don’t you just shut your eyes for a bit?”

I watch as the man skips across the HOV lane and gets into his truck.

“Looks like we’re about to have an ‘Armageddon’ moment,” I say.

Max’s eyes pop open.

“What do you mean?” he asks.

“You were always like a son to me, Maxy,” I say.

“Oh shut the fuck up,” he says, sitting up in his seat.

“Take care of Evan for me.”

“Bull shit don’t make me Ben Affleck. I’m Bruce Willis and you f–”

We slam into her vehicle with tremendous force.

“OH GOSH!” Max says, waving his hands in the air wildlly as our vehicle spins out of control.

“M-O-O-N THAT SPELLS MOON!” I scream, my brain misfiring from the shock.

“This is just awful!” The man from the other car screams from my backseat. Max and I turn around simultaneously.

“AHHHH!” We scream.

“AHHHH!” He screams back.

“AHHHH!” Max and I scream, now looking at one another. We turn back and the man is gone.

The vehicle comes to a stop.

“Oh my,” I say. “Oh my.” I am gingerly patting the stinky pillow in my lap. “Where did you get that stinky pillow?” I ask him.

“I think it’s the air bag.”

I look down at my bag and scoff. “Should have these on the outside. Could have turned that very bad experience into quite  a comical one.”

Max and I laugh hysterically, holding each other tightly.

“Oh,” Max says. “Smoke.”

There is smoke coming from my dashboard.

“Time to get out, I guess,” I respond.

Just then, an ambulance pulls up. It’s a convertible.

“Somebody in need of some emergency men-ical teet-ment? He asks, eyeing Max. We are all of us confused. 

“I am!” the man says. The ambulance driver rolls his eyes and says “No chicks allowed” and pulls out.

“No chicks allowed,” I whisper as he drives away. “Well Max–ready to get out of here?”

“God, yeah,” he says. I pop a Blue Monster, pour it down his gullet, pick up my guitars and hop on his back.

“Yah,” I say. “Into the abysmal night.”

And on we went.

The End.

*This is in no way intended as an actual statement of the events of that night. In reality, they were much sadder and more painful and there was a ton more bloody snot than shown in this post. Please pray for the soul of my Honda Civic, which is now in the most beautiful wing of that great parking garage in the sky.*

I Go to Fort Worth

19 Jan

I start my day with some light exercise.

Today, I’m employing a tactic I heard about in the grocery store last week:

“Anyway, so I’m starting this new plan this week. It’s supposed to really super-charge growth,” I hear a man with black hair say. His hair is black and straight and gelled without seeming stiff at all. It bounces as he speaks and never moves freely without ever compromising its appearance. I am immediately seething with something like rage. Seething with gayness.

This man and his compadre stand on the other side of this produce island. Melons on one side, oranges on the other. I am looking down at the cantaloupes, pretending like I’m scrutinizing each delicious, vitamin-rich orb. I don’t know what the Hell I’m doing.

“What’s it called?” his friend asks. His friend must be very short, because I can’t see him beyond the island. I hover back and forth in front of my side of the island, like if they had grandparent’s day in the NHL.

“It’s called muscle confusion.”

Muscle confusion. My muscles tremble at the phrase. I stand there and jiggle for a few seconds. I walk around the island to where the two men are standing. The man’s friend stands up straight, and ends up being the taller of the two.

“Oh, well that makes sense,” I say, looking at him. They stand one in front of the other (Beautiful hair in front of Suddenly-tall friend), totally silent.

“I heard you talking about a new workout plan,” I say.

“Oh,” the black-haired man begins. He seems surprised, but his hair seems totally cool, totally collected. He acts like he didn’t know other people could hear what he was saying if he wasn’t speaking to them personally. “It’s called muscle confusion. It–”

“Muscle confusion?” I ask.

“Yes, it’s a–”

“Stop,” I say, holding up one muscular index finger. I turn it a bit in the light so that he can see that I am no novice to fitness. I smile smugly and bring the finger down. “I know about muscle confusion.” I don’t know about muscle confusion, and want to know desperately, but I can’t give any ground to these behemoths.

“All right. So–is that all?” his tall friend asks. I clench my fists. Then, I unclench my fists, thinking why did I come around the island and oh yes I came around to ask about what muscle confusion is. It’s too late now, though, I can’t ask them after showing them my finger’s mass and saying that I know about muscle confusion.

I stammer a few glottal phrases. I start flexing my fingers and toes. I am holding a cantaloupe in my left hand and suddenly want to throw it up in the air and run off.

“You want to know about it?” the black-haired gentleman asks.

“Oh, sure!” I say. I throw the cantaloupe in the air and run off.

I’m sure I got the gist of it from listening to them say what it’s called and from looking at the way they moved in their jackets and jeans.

I go to my closet to get my workout clothes. I take out a white oxford button up, a pair of running shorts, a boot, and three socks. I put all three socks on one foot, the boot on my hand, and walk out.

Fully dressed to perplex my muscles, I get in my car and go to the gym. I walk in, swipe my ID card. Hit the weights.

I start running in place, then with one arm I start waving frantically, as if to someone setting sail. I begin whooping and I throw the boot on the ground. It hits my foot . I know my body would expect me to respond by bending down and rubbing the toe, so to confuse it, I do the opposite.

“Get away!” I scream in a big, loud Old-South accent. I stretch my foot away from me as far as it will go. I begin hopping around.

“Be quiet!” I yell at my biceps. “Now what are your names?!” Their confusion is palpable. I go pick up a two 25lb weights, start to do a curl then bend over, letting the weights dangle limply from my arms. I hang like that, completely still for what feels like a minute.

“HOURS HAVE PASSED!” I scream at my hamstrings. Totally baffled, my hamstrings tense and relax, tense and relax. Then they tense. I smirk into the mirror.

I rack the weights, then skip until I’m roughly ten feet from the cable machine, then break down and crawl the rest of the way, whispering the phrase “Holy Bible baby” over and over again.

I stand up, say, “I’m not gonna do this,” put my hand on my hip. “Not gonna do this.” Then I do it. I grab the rope that hangs there and begin doing tricep pushdowns. My triceps are aching.

“This is a fantastic lift for your glutes!” I say to a passing stranger. My glutes overhear this and, confused, begin to twitch wildly. I smile and wink at the stranger, then glance down at the shuddering hams in my shorts, demonstrating the power of Muscle Confusion. He seems put off and jealous and walks off, his muscles totally sure and totally bored and tiny.

I throw back my head and laugh loudly, deeply, from my belly, tensing my abs, choking off the laughter after a few seconds. Sounds like I’m being pummeled.

“Sounds like I’m being pummeled!” I say, grinning like an idiot.

Totally exhausted, I grab a protein shake from the vending machine and head home.

Oh god damn it, I didn’t even mention Fort Worth.

Science Bless Us, Everyone

24 Dec

In the spirit of Christmas, I am regifting to you all this old Christmas play I wrote. May the indifferent universe look kindly upon you this Christmas (even though it can’t look, as it has no eyes and, even if it did have eyes, would less than not care about your troubles and successes). Happy Holidays!

Eat This, Internet.

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)


Hey, Grayson. I need to talk to you.


What’s up?


Hey, I know this is short notice…

View original post 1,869 more words

My Rejects

22 Dec

I like to think of my work as my babies and I an unfit mother; I want to pawn my beloved ones off on the kindest, most gentlest, first person who is willing to take them, so that they have a chance at a better life.

Below are a couple of my most recent rejects. I think they deserve a good home. So, if you’re reading this, and you want to publish them, just let me know.

This one was submitted to a magazine. It was rejected for not being uplifting enough.

The New Year’s Party at a lull, David decides that something needs to be done. He suggests the game “He’s Perfect But.” The rules are simple: one person asks a group if they would date a hypothetical man (or woman, really) if that person were perfect save for one tremendous, often bizarre defect. David goes first. “Okay girls,” he says. He takes a sip of his beer. “He’s perfect but—no matter how long he showers, he always smells like peanut butter.” Courtney, Jasmine, and Alyssa all vote that yes they would date him. Hailey, who has a peanut allergy, says that she wouldn’t, as long as the smell is somehow rooted in real peanuts, which David claims it is. Everyone agrees that this caveat makes it less fun. David is too embarrassed to change his mind.

“Okay, I have one,” Chad says, drunk. He looks at David’s sister, Amanda. “He’s perfect but—” He scans the room. “His skin is made of dead leaves.” A seemingly bottomless silence falls over the room. David shakes his head. Somebody says the word “asshole,” thereby proving that the silence is much more shallow than previously thought. Amanda says nothing, but nods her head in the affirmative, north/south manner. Gasps. Grins. From the back of the room, a sound arises like tissue paper being wadded up. Jason, a figure silent until now, stands. No one can tell if he is angry or sad or jubilant. He is totally unreadable. No one can figure out where his eyes are. Or his mouth or nose holes. All sit in silence, awaiting his response. Amanda stands, her eyes pleading. As if on wires, the two  leap toward one another and embrace. Amanda starts to kiss Jason, but she can’t find his mouth, so she kisses each inch of his face with identical passion. She starts to speak, but is silenced when Jason raises one leafy hand to her lips. A bug flies out. Wordlessly, the pair walk out of the apartment and into the night and when the winter breeze comes just blow away, away, away.

This piece was rejected for the same reason:

You’re standing there, your hands folded at your crotch. It smells like someone is wearing too much perfume in lieu of taking a shower. Overhead, red and teal bulbs shine in their sockets and onto the body like some stage show caught in stasis.

It’s crowded but quiet, everyone speaking at a whisper or just above that, everyone in tiny circles that seem to drift aimlessly through the room like flotsam. There is a boy there, standing in front of the coffin and you want to pull him away, tell him that things are all right, comfort him as though this is some minor and rare misfortune that he has no reason to concern himself with. You put your hands in your pockets and examine the scuff marks on your shoes.

Earlier this year, I was working with a member of the KERA staff on a podcast for young, aspiring writers in North Texas. We had met several times, gone through round after round of edits on my piece, even recorded (then re-recorded) my reading. The theme I was writing for was “Stalking and Social Media” or something like that. Anyway, one day, the whole thing fell through, killing any chance I had at meeting/marrying Diane Rheaume or sitting on Garrison Keillor’s lap.

Here it is, though.

I go to your page and see a picture of you, smiling. It is night time in the photo. I can see street lights in the background and you’re wearing a toboggan and your cheeks are red. It must be cold. From the position of your shoulder and the way your head is turned, it appears you took this photo yourself. Were you alone? It looks like you were. Alone outside on a cold winter night. What were you doing? And why did you take a picture of it? Did you step outside, realize it was night and think ‘I better get a shot of this’ or ‘When’s the next time I’m going to see a street light?’?

You Like so many things. You Like 196 things. Gosh. I feel like I only like like four things (my girlfriend, whiskey, jeans and the Game of Thrones books). You’re so much more diversified than me—so much more worldly. How do I do that? How do I grow to be the type of man whose life philosophy is so broad and sweeping that he can Like the pages of both Kenny Powers and the Dalai Lama? You must be tremendous.

Your taste in films and music is impeccable. You are the best at culture and open-mindedness and everyone needs to know it. Please list the music a real human is allowed to listen to.

As for your favorite books, it’s clear that you know your stuff there as well. Your book list begins with the most serious of Serious Literature—The Bible. Next, you’ve listed On the Road by Jack Kerouac—the undergraduate’s bible. You admire the protagonist’s sense of adventure, and you see that in yourself. You want other people to see that in yourself too. You also quote the book in your “Quotes” section—the line about how you only have time for people who are mad for life, or whatever he says. You long to be around those who live life to its fullest—people who grab life by the belt loops and dry hump it until it faints from exhaustion. That novel has done so much for so many people by allowing them to believe they’re looking into a reflection of themselves rather than a portrait of someone else.

Your quotes could be verses. Most are, in fact. The best ones are the ones you wrote yourself, though. Your wisdom will echo through the halls of my mind forever, helping me in my times most dire. I wish I had read “Life is a beer: Drink it” a few weeks ago. It could have helped me get over my breakup. And man, do I wish I would have had “Life’s hard, but so are diamonds” when my sister died. I have it now, though, so it’ll be a lot easier when my other sister dies. I’m ready.

You have a lot of pictures up of you and your girlfriend other kissing each other. This makes me uneasy, because these pictures are only a few clicks away from pictures of you with your last girlfriend.

What makes it worse is how similar the photos themselves are. Your smile in each is identical; their smiles in each are identical. Even the two women look similar—it is clear that you have a type; in both shots you’re holding the camera yourself, and in the same way.

Here’s what bothers me, though: you seem no happier with one woman than the other. And they seem happy, too, but it’s sort of sad because they’re the ones being swapped out and you’re staying the same, which I know doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to be upset about, since if I were on their page, I’d probably be only a handful of clicks from them and their previous partner, and you’d be the one being swapped, but still; something about this is weird. I feel like your ex is glaring at me as I look at you and your new girl together. I feel like we’re in a big room and she’s somewhere in it, pissed as hell.

I ignore the feeling as best I can and continue to comb through the pictures of you and your new love at Epcot Center. Your last girlfriend isn’t as pretty as your current one, and I bet you think so too, and I bet that’s why you haven’t deleted the pictures of the old girlfriend. So people can see how you’ve elevated yourself. Maybe so your ex can too.

I see that your mother has posted on your wall. My mom writes on my Facebook wall sometimes. I used to never respond. Then I saw a movie with a line about a woman who has no one to talk to and it reminded me of my mom and made me sad, so now I respond, because typing “haha” below one of her posts is just too simple a thing not to do. But your mom has posted a comment on your wall and you haven’t responded. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a bad person, it just means that you’re busy; you’re busy Facebooking other things—more pressing things. I see you Liked “Diet Pepsi” forty-five minutes after your mother posted a comment on your wall, notifying you that she loves you and that she hopes you have a good week at school. I imagine the forty five minutes that followed her posting were all spent in exhaustive research and soul searching as to which diet cola to throw your support behind. People were depending on you for that.

But I can’t help but wonder if your mother could have used a “Thanks” or “Love you too” under that comment more than the Pepsi Corporation needed one more “Like” to go with the 670,000 it already had.

After I’ve read everything in your Facebook, I pause and reflect. You’re out living your real life somewhere right now. And here I am, knee-deep in my own life, catching the snapshots, the super-edited director’s cut, the highlight reel of yours. Is this who you are? Surely not.

So what else is there? Things feel missing. They feel hidden.Where is your sad day? Did you cry at the end of Marley and Me? Have you ever peed and it smelled weird and you thought you had diabetes? Did you have a sandwich for lunch?

And why do I care?

Music Night in America

13 Dec

Hey, sorry I’ve been gone so long. I’ve been working on a novel and that takes up pretty much all the strength in my fingers/brain/writing muscles. I need to start multi-tasking, though, pushing myself a little more creatively, so here this is.

I park my car outside of Hailey’s. I turn my hazzies on. I open my door and look up and down the street. I see a girl. She looks just like one of the musicians we are set to play with. I accost her.

“Will you help me load my stuff in?” I ask her, my hazzies poppin’ like flash bulbs.

She looks hesitant, afraid, reluctantly aroused.

“I just need you to please hold the door for me.”

“Oh, all right,” she says. She opens the bar’s side door and holds it open with her back.

“Tremendous!” I shout, trying to sound like a southern gentleman, but instead sounding like Shredder. “Tremendous,” I try again, this time sounding instead like a gay Australian.

She seems confused and now a little put out. She smiles with no teeth and puts her hands in her jacket pockets.

I heft my amp and my guitar and waddle up to the door she is now holding. I pause in front of her–do a squat. This is something I do alot. Squat for people. Squat at people. It seems to put them at ease.

“Thanks for the help,” I say, once everything is loaded in. I’m standing inside while she still stands with the door to her back. “Here’s something for your trouble.” I reach into my pocket, smile wryly, and flip a quarter to her. It’s trajectory is a little too straight, though, and it beans her right in the eye. She turns away from the door, and it shuts in my face as I step forward to see if she’s okay. “My car’s out there!” I cry. I push the door open. When I get outside, she is walking around to the front of the bar, holding her eye, saying a cuss. My car is there, though. I park it.

“So do you play with Savage now?” A young white man asks me once I make my way back to the bar. He has that unmistakable look of someone who watched a lot of Seventh Heaven even after it went off of the WB.

“I do,” I say.

“What do you play?” he asks.

“I play guitar,” I tell him, doing an air guitar. He doesn’t seem very impressed, so I do a squat. He seems startled. I do another one to calm him down. He tells me he needs to go see his friends.

He walks about ten or fifteen paces away and starts messing with his phone.

My musician bud, Roy Robertson, shows up. He brushes my ear with a moist finger. It scares the shit out of me.


“Please don’t do that,” I tell him.

“Please don’t do that,” Roy says, snarling, leaning in very close to my face.

“Do what?”  I ask.

“Fear what you don’t understand.” Then he reaches out and tries to touch my ear again. I duck away from it. He smacks his lips and gives me a dismissive look. “Listen, when are you guys going on?” he asks.

“In like an hour. We’re the second band.”

“Is that pretty accurate? Are you really sure you’ll be starting then?”

“Yeah, why?”

“I’m going to be reading my poetry from a tree outside, wanted to make sure our sets didn’t collide.”

“Afraid of a little competition?” I say, giving him a playful elbow. He yelps like a child who has hit its head.

 “I don’t compete!” he says, his voice suddenly very high. “I don’t compete! I perform.” He does a spin, smacks the ground, stands and blows me a kiss. “See you in an hour.” He smacks his ass and walks away.

I go to the bar and get a drink. Double Wild Turkey and Diet Coke. While I’m sipping it, the first band starts. They sound a lot like a first band always seems to sound like. I see the girl who I struck with the quarter. She is eyeing me in a way that appears to be pretty unfriendly, but I can’t be sure that it’s not her eye still freaking out from having a quarter in it, so I decide to play it safe and leave her alone.

A lot of my friends show up to this show. They will love it. We are a good live band, and I’m a fairly adept stage performer, like Neil Diamond if he didn’t act like such a fucking fairy all the time and had some fucking talent to speak of, my god. (Neil, if you’re reading this, I’m just kidding. I love Sweet Caroline.)

Derek, one of said friends, approaches me. We talk for a while.

“When’re you guys going on?” He asks.

“Soon,” I say. I decide to head outside to check on Roy, to see if he’s done. He is hanging upside down from a tree, meowing long, painful meows then screaming different women’s names. This is his closer, if I remember correctly.

We go on stage and rock out. Max, my singer, sings and bounces on his keyboard with the rhythmic frenzy of a Charlie Brown character. Ryan beats his drums with the raw energy of Animal from the Muppets. I play my guitar like a guy masturbating in his Halloween costume.

The music is powerful and dripping with positive energy. Between songs, guys keep trying to come on stage and propose to their girlfriends. From behind my mic, I see a father and son reconnecting after years of conflict. A North Korean and a South Korean embrace, realizing finally that they are not so different after all. A young black man offers his seat to an old white woman. Two neighbors, locked in a competition over who has the best Christmas lights on the street, realize their folly, that it’s really about the spirit, and shake hands. Stephen King winks at me and raises a pint. I squint, trying to see more clearly past the stage lights, not believing my eyes. Stephen laughs, takes a sip of his beer, then fades into nothing. I miss him still.

The show ends well, and we all go straight to bed afterward.

Happy Holidays.

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