Archive for Short Stories

The Cantina 2/22

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2013 by JC

After what seemed like no time I made it to the whistle-whetting spot, which can be conditionally modified that way depending on my intentions. My intention was to continue rhapsodizing upon the rhapsodies around and within me and there were likely to be some unmistakably living sources of music to reinforce the roll I was on at the Cantina, so I yessed while outside the door the notion that the Cantina was consistent with abstracting cadences and songs—which I was especially inclined to abstract now—and moving in space and moving above thought accordingly. I can think about it now because I really felt it and really drank it and really became it then—felt and drank and became the music abstracted, became the field capturing all the piping-hot, underappreciated delight around and within me.

Buttressed of course by my bright-green, orange-laced shoes I swagger-shuffled into the Cantina like FOOSH-FOOSH-SHICKA-NOW-HOOSH—THICKA-HOW and all eyes converged on me.

I was not that handsome, I was not that tall, I was not popping an obvious erection, I did not have a sweat-stain resembling a urine-stain on my pants; I was just the only one FOOSH-FOOSH-SHICKA-NOW-HOOSH—THICKA-HOWing and so the other patrons did not know how to respond—a single note of confusion was all I picked up for a moment. There was a band, and that propped up my momentum; their leader blasted his trumpet as if it was the world’s only recourse.

I stopped playing sounds mentally to allow for the trumpet solo, to be here, now, for the enlightened man’s contribution: he knew what he was doing, and my gratitude couldn’t wait. I danced all the time, though, “In the land of Mars…” I slithered up and down for the solo’s benefit and benefit it did because everyone started dancing along—electrified by my influence sure but ultimately by potential energy going active, kinetic, as it should when the context conduces; the context conduced so the moment arose and potential went actual and that’s how “should happen” became “did happen.”

I got a fez-tip from the enlightened hornist probably for catalyzing what he’d envisioned or at least progress toward what he envisioned when staring himself down in the green room, staring down those eyes, that face; the prayer “let me come to the fore tonight,” was answered with more than a little help from me. I’d helped him reach in and channel what was most deeply there—perhaps his make-up; perhaps his buried, primordial, metaphysical character; perhaps the pinnacle of his then-current self.

Part I (2/20)

Part II (2/21)

Advertisements

In Love on a Boat

Posted in literature, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2013 by JC

I

It’s fun, being in love and on a boat. I was, a long time ago. That was when I knew a woman who was happy to be in love and on a boat. Now I do not, and I do not know where I will find another, but I know where it is most likely to happen.

By the sea there is a boat on which I have been and seen women in love with men. I cannot be sure that the women on the boat who do not appear to be in love or who are in love but unhappy would be happy if on a boat and in love, and so I will horn a man or I will steal his woman without horning him on this boat if she looks happy and in love and I would like to be with her.

II

I am on the boat and we are in the water. I am approaching a man and a woman who appear to be in love with each other and happy. I would like to be with this woman but she is currently with this man and so I will separate them or wreck their home.

“Quite a view, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is,” says the woman I would like to be with.

“Yes, it is. Rick Shaw.”

“Rick Shaw? But we’re already on a boat!”

She laughs and I can see that Rick Shaw feels threatened but does not want to project that emotion. We shake hands and the woman looks at me with attraction.

III

It is now dinner time and I have been with Mr. Shaw and the woman for several hours. The woman continues to ask me questions as Mr. Shaw continues to buy me drinks.

“So you said you are from the port city?”

“Yes. I used to be a fisherman but now I am retired.”

“You look fit. I would not have guessed you were old enough to be retired.”

“Margaret!”

“That’s still my name. So, Mr. Coyle, are you married?”

I imagine Mr. Shaw did not feel good by this point.

“No. I have several children but I have never been married.”

“We do not have any children because Richard is sterile and I do not enjoy having intercourse with him and I do not want to marry him. I am glad you are here.”

THE END

Mutual Noninterference

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2013 by JC

The moon bowed like a fishing line if you could remember its trajectory. I watched it all night and didn’t do much else. No one was around. Good. No noise. Good. It took a lot to surround myself with nothing but nature those days. It took a lot to get away at all. But there I was, where I wanted to be. Now that I was there I didn’t have to think about where I was, or where to go. If you’re doing what you want to do and you’re where you want to be, there’s not much room for anxiety about such things.

“Sir.”

I jumped. I had no choice in the matter.

“Yes?”

“What are you doing?”

“Sitting.”

“And?”

“I would rather be alone.”

“I would rather be sitting where you’re sitting than standing where I’m standing.”

I stood and turned around.

He was a short man, about five-seven. I am a tall man, about six-four. He was thin. I am not.

I sat back down and I do not know what he did next.

Natural Mess (companion to Only What’s Real)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2013 by JC

Dishwasher-bound glasses crashed chinkily. It wasn’t a wine bar—it was a coffee shop, The Drippery. I was sitting alone by the half-octagonal window outside which the city awaited me, or would have awaited me if I were that type of guy or it that type of city. The city was doing, that city of people and their projects. About seven cyclists rode by self-righteously in competitive gear, stopping traffic, prompting HOONs, BEEPS and, of course, as this is The City and its people are so important, bird flippage and a dissonant chorus of fuck-yous interspersed with at least one “this isn’t fuckin’ Westchester!” The hot-dog man brazenly pitched his stand at 9 AM and hid his lower face behind a newspaper as he scouted for incredibly eager business. Business men, like my father, talked their way to work cellularly or otherwise.

Inside the dark-wood-paneled-and-floored, red-brick-faced affair, typists typed—soul-patched guy, eyes crimped behind heavy frames; hemp-hatted, moon-faced co-ed girl versus a daunting cup of plain oatmeal, the latter was clearly winning; guy who resembled the lecturer who made me fall in love with philosophy, the cupid of discourse I might say if I were desperate enough to quip. There was a sexy, exotic-looking mocha-skinned lady behind the counter that day. I’d never seen her. I took a shot.

How to go about this, I wondered? Was it different? No—that’s racist. Just be natural. Just go. Just do. Just man up.

So I went up to the counter and ordered another coffee.

“Hey, I’ll take my regular.” I thought that was funny.

“This is my first day. What are you having?” She said, deadpan.

Ouch! Strike one, or was she playing? I called ball one—I pitched too high (low?) and she didn’t swing.

“I’ll have a medium Costa Rican and a formal introduction, pretty lady.” Nailed it!

“Okay, one Costa Rican coming up and then you should leave.”

I’m not a ten. All things considered I’m probably an eight-and-a-half. They say a confident male seven can bag an unconfident female ten. What does that say about a confident male eight-and-a-half and a confident female nine-and-a-half? Any case, I was undeterred and, frankly, falling in love with every further bit of data I gathered about this precious beauty—every bit of evidence suggesting towering self-respect and –esteem; restraint and skepticism in matters of love; oh-so-endearing and oh-so-deadpan coyness; and, of course, the sight of her made me gaga.

“You’re right—I have to go to work. But I’ll be gentlemanly calling again tomorrow and the next day and the day after that and so on. You’re a gem, lady, and now that I’ve discovered you I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to coax you out of your native mine. Have yourself a good first day.”

She overfilled my coffee cup. Nailed it!

Donovan’s Cents

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2013 by JC

I’m an old, rickety man, and that means I know more than you do.

Don’t mistake: I’m not just old. I used to be a banker, and I used to be sinewy and tall and make everyone either desirous or jealous.

Now, why does that qualify me to tell you all what’s what?

My younger self–an exceptional combination of earning potential, earning actuality, and manliness–had a window into everyone: their reflexive vulnerability. Yes they shook. Yes they stared. Yes they stuttered. And yes, I managed them all, managed their fears, managed their stuttered, tentative compliments with “Oh, I’m not that great,” or “Oh, everyone has the same potential,” or “Oh, stop,” or “Oh, your forehead-to-lower-face ratio is looking good today.”

Problem now: I set out to teach you how to manage your insecurities, but now I realize I’ve never had any of my own and I’ve always played on others’ fears of social slippage when talking them out of their pathetic states.

I sincerely wish you a good night.

Don’t Forget, Boy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2013 by JC

Tuck stopped. The hills rolled with no end in sight before and behind him. He’d been moving twelve hours and now the sun was about down. He didn’t care. He’d wittingly gone a path he couldn’t replicate and tried his best to ignore the sun all the way. He struggled to forget the date. How old am I? I know but no matter. To be free was to be lost now.

He was unfettered,  scrapped by the foreman–the formidable foreman who always stopped for  who? what? where? when? why? how?–hours ago. The only thing was: what now? Immediately, that is.  He was tired, but restless. His brain buzzed bzz bzz like the caricature of a dying television and his body promised “I’ll give out shortly!” in its ineffable ways. He naturally sat down Indian style in a trough between two crests and fished for an apple. Even a timeless man acts like he wants to live.

No apples left. Jerky–dried, salted umami–did fine.

First reading lesson at age four, out on the creaking-eeking porch: couldn’t make sense of the symbols on the page but he saw their beauty and wanted to know the rest. Grandpa lowly rumbled as he moved his finger across the page. “The fox, f-o-x, jumped over the fence.” said it, sung it,  tapped it with gravity. He picked it up quickly and deeply, and respected it because he respected beauty and he respected grandpa. Ma and pa were proud. Grandpa was so proud of and confident in the boy he fantasized about beating the hell out of him for it. He reckoned Tuck would take it at first like a child, ow ah stop, and then like a stone, a silent, stoic stone who knew what happened was right and reasonable. The boy was ready for a real education, having mastered letters. But the old man never really thrashed him. Ma and pa wouldn’t have sanctioned it.

Grandpa respected people insofar as they could handle the vicissitudes, the abuses of life. Must have been that frequent ah shit, that “Ohp, no corn this year; weather didn’t allow,” that kept him on the balls of his ass, his life. A lifetime of manual labor had rendered the elder’s hands raw at first and then rugged. Love, loss, and onward was just callous following abrasion. Hardening by abuse—life’s flames looming, swarming, testing, burning the fat, moving on—was tried-and-true; he suspected his son’s tender approach, flame retarding in his view, would foment nothing to write home about. Nonetheless, he respected his son and daughter-in-law for going through life and resumed a semblance of the parenting they’d started. He knew Tuck would encounter abuse organically but, sensing the boy’s precocity, grandpa yearned to share what he knew without delay so they could be men together; he didn’t have much time left, he thought, and he wanted to know this man. Restraint here, holding those hands back, would be the last iteration of grandpa’s method.

Dried, dead, nourishing flesh reminded Tuck that at seven death called when the farm’s failure was imminent; accustomed to multi-day fasts, he knew too well the processes wasting him now. Grandpa told him “Don’t waste this and don’t forget this.”  Tuck reluctantly internalized the old man’s old sentiment. His next meal was his best up to then. It was like that.

Still dully hungry, Tuck wrapped the leftovers in the tattered cloth grandpa had left for him and put it away. Seated still, he straightened his back and closed his eyes. The aural buzz, the bodily crying, softened and then stopped, along with his hunger.

He went on, stuffed with wisdom and just enough just-fine jerky.

The Beginning

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2013 by JC

Note: I wrote this two-and-a-half years ago and just published it. I got a gas guzzler handed down—nine months later I think it was.

Today is a pivotal juncture in my life. I’ve decided it’ll no longer pay to take shit from anyone–including myself. Assertiveness is my new robe; fuck forbearance. Fuck meekness. This is my time to initiate the actualization of what I want. I’m only twenty, which is pretty encouraging; most people, in all age groups, are beholden to the whims of others. I’m not–at least not anymore. Yes, I’m still dependent upon my parents to some extent; however, I’m confident in my ability to convince them that their participation in my becoming independent, while perhaps detrimental to their near-term bottom line, will save them quite a bit of both money and regret in the future, and may even pay dividends! They’ll naturally resist, but I’m confident that even in the lowest people, reason trumps emotion, given ample time to do so. Just because I’ve committed to no longer taking shit doesn’t mean I won’t help people when given the opportunity. I’m convinced this is the threshold of manhood; perhaps my prefrontal cortex has undergone some significant development overnight. In any case, promise is evident, and only if I seize upon it will my potential be fulfilled.

Concretely, now’s the time to ask for a car.

“It’s an investment,” I’ll say, “not a net drain on your wealth. In order to get and do justly a meaningful job, I’ll need a consistent, ever-available form of transit. No such transit means inconvenience for any prospective employer–i.e. they’ll need to coordinate their schedule with mine instead of just catering to their own needs. Employers are likely to be rational, at least with respect to fulfilling their need for help; if one’s availability is inconsistent with their needs, they are not going to make room for them simply out of philanthropic impulses, at least not at a rate such that my meeting that sort of employer would justify the search costs. The purpose of opening a business is to make a profit, and if the slots within which I’m available are already fully occupied, then hiring me would detract from that quantity. Thus, in order to maximize my chances of finding work, I’ll need to be available, barring no hour. If you’re impervious to this argument up front, I’ll give it time to seep into your subconscious mind, the seat of all basic understanding. Believe me, this is going to stave off costs I can already foresee, costs you’ll bear if we don’t act swiftly. Suppose you’re to spend four-thousand dollars on a car, and the requisite monthly sum for insurance.”

Thanks, Ayn, for the kick in the ass I so desperately needed. I won’t forget you when I strike gold.