Whale Watching

Posted in Really Short Stories with tags , on September 23, 2010 by spottings

The greatest moment of my life came last Saturday during a whale watching event off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island. I was with a group of friends, but it wasn’t the friends that made it great. It was my complete annihilation of Spiderman.

For the record, I didn’t want to go. The whole thing just sounded like a huge environmentalist money-sink. But my friends persisted and I finally broke down and agreed.

We got out to the dock and there was this rinky-dink boat waiting for us. There was a crowd waiting for the captain to let them on, so we all stood around and mingled for a bit.

It was cold and I didn’t really feel like talking. To make it worse, there was this little kid – maybe five or six years old – wearing a Spiderman costume, complaining and screaming about everything. “Dad. Dad. Dad. Dad.” This kid went on and on. “You’re fat. You’re skinny. You’re a man. You’re ugly.”  And then he’d yell.

After about an hour of this screaming kid fiasco, the captain let us on the boat, but there weren’t enough seats. Thinking I could dodge the crowd, I made a straight bee-line for one in the back.

Who did I end up losing it to? That Spiderman flesh spawn. He popped up out of nowhere, yelling, “Losers weepers!”

I turned around and all the seats were taken, so I sat on the floor toward the back of the boat, where the engine fumes were somewhat bearable. At some point I got sea sick real bad and threw up over the edge. Spiderman was there, yelling, “Gross! Do it again!”

Eventually the captain told us we reached our destination and that there was a pod of whales swimming toward the front of the boat. I got up and meandered my way across the deck. I tried my hardest to stand among the crowd and act normal, but the sea sickness got the best of me. It was either run to the back of the boat or throw up in the crowd, so I turned and sprinted across the deck. And that’s when it happened – the perfect moment.

I was so focused on reaching the rail that I didn’t see Spiderman crossing my path like a deer on a dark highway. He stopped, or they tell me he stopped, and he just stared at me. And then my knee met his face, shook its hand, and blew it into a whole new galaxy.

His limp body soared through the air, resembling a whale breaking the surface of the ocean, and my eyes grew as big as my smile. I felt like a wizard learning how to levitate an object for the first time. Everything about that moment was perfect. I had destroyed Spiderman.

Then I threw up all over the deck and the father punched me in the face. And I was banned from whale watching.

Best trip I ever took.


Taming A Shrew

Posted in Really Short Stories on September 16, 2010 by spottings

“My name is Katherina, but everyone calls me Katrina, like the hurricane,” she said. “I don’t normally come to these things. Men aren’t really my specialty.”

This was the opening line to my first speed dating experience. This was my response: “So what is your specialty?”

A strap of her black dress fell off her shoulder as she shifted her weight. She was wearing flip-flops and no makeup, and she had sharp jade eyes. There were only brief moments of eye contact between the two of us.

“Web design,” she said. “I’m a technology free-lancer.”

She had soft lips, black hair, and a voice that could drag a sailor to his death. She enjoyed giving everything else in the room her attention, and I realized that I had to grab hers, capture it and give it a nickname. It was clear that I was in the presence of a worthy opponent, a female czar, a hellacious looking Hitler. And the game was set, the pieces were in place.

“A web designer,” I echoed. “That’s a male dominated field, I thought men weren’t your specialty.”

I turned my attention away and stared at a blond woman eating a pork sandwich at the bar. The sandwich screamed with grease as her teeth played against its flesh over and over. Her red dress gripped to her plump body like a man falling over the side of a cliff. She was the worst looking jealousy tool in the room.

Out of my peripheral I could see that Katrina’s attention had snapped back at me. It was clear that I had sunk one of her mental battleships. I had to strike harder if I wanted to gain some ground though. She was not going to give up this fight so easily.

“And what exactly does that have to do with anything?” she asked.

Those jade eyes were transfixed on me, causing sweat to invade the pits of my shirt. The blond woman began to walk away from the bar, away from me. Her backside resembled two large cats fighting in a small bag, and she had cellulite growing on her legs like barnacles on a boat.

“I just figure a gorgeous woman like yourself would be better suited in a field where your beauty could be seen,” I said, “like an artistic field or something in public relations.”

Katrina leaned forward and rested her elbows on the table. “Something where the woman is an image and not a person, right? Something where the man rules the business and there’s a Girl Pool in the basement doing the bitch work, right?”

I straightened my tie and cleared my throat for my response – a habit I picked up during my college debate years – but it gave her an opportunity to strike again.

“Because it’s men like you that caused this whole gender system, this whole back-and-forth battle, the reason people need this speed dating event to get by. People don’t just accept each other anymore. We’re all pigs-in-a-blanket now.”

“You’re gorgeous when you’re angry, you know that?” I responded.

She stopped talking at this point, but it didn‘t matter. I was too focused on her beauty. She had pointed cheek bones, thick thighs, and a frame that could melt ice-nine. And there was no doubt about it, she was something of fiction brought right into the reality of life, the reality of this world. I felt like at any minute I would find out that this was all just some dream of a retarded child shaking a snow globe.

“Are we almost done here?” she asked. “I thought these things were timed. How much longer do I have with you?”

I’ve heard of women playing hard to get, but this women was a master of it. It didn’t matter, though, she was mine and I knew it. She was caught in my charm and there was no escape. She was to be my wife and I was to be her husband. We would dance in the moonlight in our lakeside gazebo and our children would bring home straight A report cards. We would drive around town, showing off our Honor Student bumper stickers, buying our groceries from local farmers.

I got down on one knee.

“Katrina, hurricane, dear, will you marry me?” I asked. “Will you take me to be the man you have always craved, the man you have sought so hard to find, the man you came here tonight to find?”

This would be a good time to state that I am writing this from the comfort of my hospital bed. I was admitted for a knife wound to the thigh that hit an artery. I nearly bled to death on the floor of my first speed dating experience. It wasn’t anything too major, but it was enough to make me realize that hurricanes can cause some serious damage. I wasn’t even hit with a real one, I can’t imagine what New Orleans felt.

Andrew Styles

Posted in Really Short Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2010 by spottings

Andrew Styles suffers from manic-depression, which is a bipolar disorder. It’s been with him since he was nine years old when he witnessed his father hit his mother with a boot. The boot belonged to Andrew – it was a gift from his third grade teacher for winning a spelling bee. Andrew has always been an excellent English student, and witnessing his mother struck with his boot destroyed the childhood veil covering his fragile mind. Thus began the downward spiral that led to all the mistakes and regrets in his life.

A perfect example of this manic-depressive spiral would be the time he purchased a sailboat in hopes of leaving his job and sailing around the world. He never did end up sailing around the world, but he did quit his job and purchase a sailboat. Instead, he moved to Michigan and lived on the Great Lakes for sixteen days. During this time he fell in love with a woman named Henrietta, and he was convinced that she was the love of his life. Andrew sold his sailboat and used the money to purchase an engagement ring, but Henrietta pawned it for drug money and left him for her heroine dealer, Fred McGuliver.

Andrew lost everything he owned in the span of those sixteen days, but this is the life of Andrew Styles. One month he is depressed and hopeless, the next month he is full of dreams. It is much like the bouncing of a rubber ball – high, low, high, low; end. There are even months where the manic-depression subsides and Andrew is lost in a state of confusion, but those are very rare occasions. Andrew usually follows a strict month-to-month schedule for his mania and depression. This last month had been his manic month, and Andrew decided to become a professional comedian.

It took Andrew three weeks to finally score a gig at a bar across town. The bar is named Buck Down, Glass Up, and it only serves hard liquor. It is the sort of place that holds comedy nights every Wednesday. It has enough seats for thirty-eight people, but only three ever show up, not including the bartender. These three are the regulars that aren’t there for the comedy – they’re there for the Glass Up. In fact, these three are there every night. They sit in silence, and sip their whiskey sours, and listen to songs from their better years. But this is the life of the Buck Down, Glass Up regulars. And they love it that way.

Stage fright:

There is absolutely nothing worse than standing in front of a crowd, staring off into a wall of faces and misguided judgment. Fear sets in and your body freezes. The sensation starts in your stomach and surges toward every extremity. Like a pack of wild rats searching for a hole, it infests you, overwhelms you. Then your memory lapses and you’re speaking – words; sounds that mimic drunk drivers. The mouth opens and the brains fires, yet they do not work together. The normal synaptic bond is torn apart, leaving sentences that end too soon or drag on too long. This is exactly what happened to Andrew Styles. He stood among the sounds of the jukebox, saying not a single joke, but lots and lots of senseless words.

He was then punched in the face by a drunk.

One of the regulars decided that Andrew was killing their favorite pastime, which was drinking hard liquor at the Buck Down, Glass Up. Her name is Rochelle. Rochelle grew up leading a life of gang activity. She was thrown in jail after stealing a car. In jail, she was reformed and became a Christian activist. She was released early on good behavior and started working with the local church, volunteering her time and giving back to the community. This led to her being raped by some local choir boys after a Saturday night mass, which then led to Rochelle giving up her Christian faith and taking up the alcoholic one. Now, Rochelle spends her nights drinking with the other regulars of the Buck Down, Glass Up. And Rochelle hates watching people in awkward situations – it started in prison when she watched illiterate people trying to read. The sight of Andrew Styles standing on stage, saying nonsensical sentences and sweating under the spotlight, threw Rochelle into an alcoholic frenzy.

Here is a list of Rochelle’s nicknames:

  • Rhino
  • Deer Hunter
  • Rock Shell
  • Bull
  • Crete

To put it plainly: Rochelle is a large, muscular woman. She is not one to mess around with, as she would say, “Words and all those sissy bitch languages.” That last part, “sissy bitch languages,” was picked up when she got into a fight with a French poet in prison. She thought the French poet was insulting her with words that Rochelle had never heard before. It turned out that the French poet was actually complimenting her figure. Rochelle responded, “Cut your sissy bitch languages out,” and then blew out the poet’s kneecap with a swift kick. Rochelle thinks of herself as a true romantic. And she loves it that way.

Andrew Styles and his newly formed broken nose moved outside the bar after Rochelle’s fists informed him that his comedy was terrible. The bartended gave him a rag and a shot of bourbon on his way out before telling him, “Sometimes you just have to bite the big one.” Andrew didn’t know what big one the bartender was referring to, but he responded, “I’ll keep on chewing.”

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My Deaf Girlfriend

Posted in Really Short Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2010 by spottings

I started dating a deaf girl a couple weeks ago. Her name is Michelle and she’s gorgeous. She’s the first deaf girl I’ve ever dated, but I honestly thing she is amazing. She has this flaming red hair that reminds me of the chum I saw fishers throw in the ocean during those Shark Week shows. It even has blond patches that look like fish chunks. Yeah, she’s beautiful, smart, talented and deaf, and she might be the girl of my dreams. There is one strange thing though: she has some odd fetishes.

My dad used to tell me about how girls can get turned on by strange things. This one time, when mom wasn’t home, he said, “I dated a woman who loved snow. I’d push her in the snow and her body craved it. She never came out and said it, but you could see it.” I found out later what he meant by that – it’s all in the nips.

Michelle’s nipples get hard every time we enter the frozen food section of the grocery store. She must have some wild fantasies about someone eating frozen peas and carrots off her body. I’ve seen some videos of people using chocolate, so veggies can’t be that strange. It’s really hard to tell which frozen vegetables turn her on the most – she’s deaf and I don’t know sign language. Last week it was corn and then this week it was spinach. I try to talk slowly at her to figure it out – “Would. You. Like. Some. Frozen. Green. Beans?” – but she just stands there, holding the freezer door open, with those perky love buttons pointing at me. And I’ve noticed that it’s not just the frozen veggies that get her going either.

One of my favorite things is being caught in the rain. The cool water on the skin really makes me feel alive. Michelle loves the rain, too. We went outside to jump in some puddles over the weekend, but I got so distracted by her lustful love for the cold rain water. She loves the stuff, like it really gets her in the mood. Her t-shirt looked like two tents pitched on dirt mounds. When she saw me staring she got embarrassed. I told her, “You. Have. Nothing. To. Be. Ashamed. About. I. Love. Rain. Too.” That’s when she went inside. I followed her into the house, but nothing physical ended up happening. It seems odd for someone to get so turned on and then not want sex, but it actually happens all the time with Michelle. Such strange fetishes – frozen peas and rain water.

I sure am one lucky guy to get a girl like Michelle. She has trouble talking, and her deaf ears annoy me at times, but she sure is good looking. And that sign language stuff is fun to watch. It’s like shadow puppets, but all the time. Yeah, I sure am lucky to have such an awesome deaf girlfriend.

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Posted in Really Short Stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by spottings

It’s not even about escaping anymore. Reinventing would be a more appropriate term. Escaping insinuates I stay the same. It’s not about staying the same. Metamorphosis might be closer to the truth; I am in the state of change. I am me, but I am also not me. I am not the me I dream of being; at least, I am not the me I hope to wake up to each day. Every time my eyes open it’s just another failed attempt at achieving my personality, my essence, my true existence. That’s why I log in every night. I need to in order to reinvent, change, inhibit metamorphosis of my being.

My parents are a generation away from understanding me. There have been moments where they tried, but those are only scratches on the surface. Their techniques are dated and poorly timed. Asking a boy why he has never had a girlfriend during a stroll through a public park is bound to end in disaster. Trying to then take that boy fishing after you have spent years tormenting, chasing, leading, disapproving, judging, misinterpreting, diagnosing, questioning, pushing, shoving, and loving him in ways he does not respond well to, he is surely going to deny your plea to understand him. I have spent too much time finding emotional and mental hiding spots that it would be a waste to come out now. They are good people with good intentions, they have tried their best to crack my shell, but sometimes you simply have to accept failure.

I escape to the Internet because I can become whoever I want. In fact, I can become more like me. Gone are my physical restraints. There are no handicaps like the one I must endure daily. No one even knows what I look like. I am only a voice among millions of other voices. My charisma becomes textual; name, fake; form, digital. My avatar is more me than I could ever hope to be. He’s tall and handsome. He slays dragons, casts magic, and has full use of his legs. That last bit is something that only memories can remind me about.

My father enjoys telling me stories about his own struggle to overcome his handicap. He used to spend whole dinners talking about it when my accident first happened. He lost an eye as a kid when a friend threw a soda bottle at him. One of those freak events that no one ever expects to happen. His eye filled with blood from internal tearing. His parents couldn’t afford fixing it, so they had it removed. Now we have whole dinners dedicated to his glass eye. I’m not sure a glass eye is comparable to a broken spine, but he certainly tries.  He eventually gave up giving these dinner speeches after my mother yelled at him to stop. He’s always been the kind of guy to take anything my mother shovels at him.

My mother and I have never been close. She drinks all the time, and nothing ruins a bonding experience like belligerent yelling. It has become a family practice to pretend not to notice. We all just sort of close our eyes and let her ride her alcoholic wave. She tries to hide it, but it’s hard not to hear her stumbling around in the basement looking for her stash of vodka. As I got older it was easier to notice when she was just a little buzzed or completely gone. I’m not too sure why my father sticks around, but he seems like a decent guy for doing it. I’ve read about fathers running away from their families, so it’s nice to know he at least wants to stick around for us.  You can see that my mother’s drinking has really taken a toll on him. He’s not as cheery as when I was younger. He used to smile a lot, but it’s always that same emotionless face now. It might also be the antidepressants.

My mother and him got into a huge fight a couple years ago about my brother’s drug habits and he had an emotional breakdown. Started crying, yelling, throwing stuff, and then something just snapped. You could see that his brain just couldn’t handle it anymore. The next day he went straight to a doctor and picked up some pills. That’s when he stopped smiling; rather, he stopped showing all emotion. No frowning, smiling, crying or any other expression. You look at him and you can tell he isn’t there. He’s somewhere else, in a world of his own creation, where my mother doesn’t drink, my brother is still alive, and I’m not at the mercy of two dead legs. I suppose we all have our own way of escaping reality though. My mother drinks, my father sedates, my brother overdoses and I log in. Speaking of which, it’s time for me to head online.

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A New House

Posted in Really Short Stories with tags , , , , , , , on June 30, 2010 by spottings

I never would have purchased this house if I’d known that I’d have to share it with a unicorn. Michael is his name. He showed up a couple weeks ago. I had never met a unicorn before, but there is a first time for everything, I guess. Michael said that I wished on a star when I was a child and that the Universal Wishing Department was a little backed up at the time. Twenty years later, I open my door to find a unicorn standing there. He said, “Your wish has been granted,” and then shoved me out of the way. This all happened only a month after I finalized the purchase on my first house.

Michael doesn’t seem like the unicorn I had envisioned as a child. Frankly, he’s an asshole. He drinks, stays out too late, smokes in the house, and questions my sexuality. He says the fact that I don’t have a girlfriend qualifies me to be called a sissy. I used to think that having a fantastical creature as a friend would be fun and involve adventures. The only adventure Michael ever wants to go on is to the strip club. He enjoys calling the women derogatory names and pointing out their poor lifestyle choices. I have never hated an animal as much as I hate this unicorn.

I woke up one morning to the fire alarm going off in my house. I ran out to the kitchen only to find Michael singing and burning pancake batter. He wasn’t even putting it in a frying pan – he was just throwing it on the burner. We ended up getting into a huge fight. I tossed a plate at him and he flung a rainbow at me. The sensation of having a rainbow chucked at you can only be compared to getting sand in your eyes; it was a terrible experience. Firemen were called to investigate the alarm. All they found was a madman yelling about a unicorn. This was when Michael told me that I was the only person that could see him. This was also the time when I ended up as the lead story in the newspaper. This little fiasco cost me my reputation and my job.

I started searching for jobs, but all of my attention is taken up by this unicorn. Most of my time is spent cleaning up after him. He stands around all day and watches television. He yells at daytime talk shows and spits on my carpet. My fridge runs out of food faster than I can stock it. I bought this house to settle down and start building my life, but then this unicorn shows up and tears it all down. He broke a window yesterday because he wanted a breeze in the living room. A breeze! I have no job, I’m running out of money, and all of my friends have taken up the habit of calling me insane. And this unicorn is worried about keeping cool in my house! Thankfully, I bought homeowner’s insurance to cover the –

That’s when it hit me: the master plan to get rid of Michael.

Michael may be fantastical and all, but he is the most irresponsible creature I have ever met. There was one time when he left the oven on and almost burned the house down. What was he doing? He was drunk, passed out on the couch, completely wasted from a night at the strip club. The whole house could have gone up in flames and he wouldn’t have known it was even happening. But that’s exactly my plan. You see, Michael has a routine schedule of going to the strip club every Thursday night. Today’s Wednesday, which means he’ll be out for another night tomorrow. He’ll go out, get plastered, stumble back here, and pass out on the couch.

I wished and wished for a unicorn when I was seven. I wanted one more than anything else in the world. I dreamed of riding through fields and over rainbows on it. If I got into trouble, my unicorn would have been right there to save me. But this was all when I was seven and I had never met an actual unicorn. Now he is here, in my house, living with me. Michael thinks he owns this house, but I own this house. I bought it, I live in it, and I decide what happens to it. That’s why tomorrow I’m setting it on fire.

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Bold. 2.0

Posted in Really Short Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2010 by spottings

My stomach lurches and I throw up macaroni and cheese. I throw up carrots and peas. I throw up milk and cereal, and I drop to my knees. I throw up again and again. I throw up so much that I feel like I’m being punched in the stomach over and over; throwing up is like being in the worst fist fight with yourself – no one wins. Tonight has been one of the worst experiments of my life. Everyone kept saying how fun this would be, but I’m not having any fun. I’ve had my head dangling over this damn toilet for hours. I’ve already thrown up six or seven times, and it keeps getting worse with every passing spasm. My arms are shaking. My fingers are cold. I can feel my hair stuck to my forehead from my vomit induced sweating. This damn bathroom is too hot.

The last spasm passes, and I rub the mucus and regurgitated food off my chin with my shirt. I stopped worrying about getting puke on it after I spewed pork and gravy during my second series of convulsions. I love this shirt; orange has always been my favorite color. It’s a bold color that mixes well with other bold colors. My first girlfriend knew I loved orange, and she gave me this shirt as a gift. It was the first time anyone had done anything nice for me. Most of the people in my life just passed me by. I really miss that girl. I think about her a lot. I scared her away with the same bad habits that scared every other one away. Normal individuals show love and affection for the people they care about. Normal individuals also do not spend the night spewing out the contents of their stomach for hours. There is no one else to blame for driving her away. It was solely my fault and I know it. Believe me, I know it. No one ever told me that being alive was this difficult. But I suppose that is just the way life goes. Everyone needs an escape sometimes.

I rub my chin and remove myself from the bile and food filled porcelain bowl. I rest my aching back against the bathtub and breath deeply. My whole body is shaking and shivering, and this bathroom is still too damn hot. I feel like I’m burning up on the inside, and I have this nagging feeling that the world is sinking around me. It’s a nuisance that needs to stop. This room also needs to stop tightening around me. It’s closing in and making it hard to breath. I feel like I’m fighting against it just for the simple act of pulling air into my lungs. It keeps tugging against me and I don’t know how much longer I can fight against it. This whole bathroom is annoying me right now. The walls are too close together. The tiles on the floor are uneven. The light on the ceiling is too bright. These damn walls are too tight. They keep sinking in on me. It’s causing my whole body to shake.

I feel my stomach cringe again and I make no move toward the toilet. My body is exhausted. I can barely lift my hands off the ground. I look down at my shirt. It’s covered in stomach fluid and food chunks. I can feel the warmth of it soaking through the fabric. I really do love the color orange. It always makes me feel warm and comfortable. I wish this bathroom was more orange. Maybe then I would be having a better time. Maybe then I would have a better life. Or, maybe then I would not be doing this to myself every weekend. It started out as a learning experience and now I have no idea what you would call it.

One last violent spasm and it all comes up. It comes up all over my chin and my shirt. I have no energy left to clean myself off. The sink feels like a lifetime away, and the door seems even further than that. I would love to see what I look like right now. I can feel my hair in tangles, matted from leaning against this bathtub. This bathtub has been my savior. Resting against it is the greatest thing in the world. The walls keep tightening around me but this bathtub makes me forget all of that. It soothes me. It is the anchor for my sea of misbehavior. How silly it is that a bathtub is to be the hero of my night. I will never forget this fine specimen of a bathtub. None have ever shown such sympathy for me.

I suddenly feel a cool liquid forming on my top lip – it’s refreshing. I feel it creeping its way downward. It has a slow and steady pace. It starts at the nostril and works its way down to my lips and then my chin and then my neck and my chest. This is something completely new that I have never experienced before. My muscles ache as I try to reach up and touch it. It takes me a minute or so to steady my hand. The liquid is deep red – blood. There is blood running down my face. I rub my hand against my chin and it is covered in blood. I blow air out of my nostrils and my orange shirt becomes speckled with thousands of red dots. This is no simple bloody nose. This is a lot of blood.

My eyes get blurry and I feel my heart palpitate. My mouth is drier than it has ever felt before. Even my breathing feels odd. It is slow and erratic. I look over at the puke covered toilet and try to laugh. It hurts to move. I look down at my hand and I cannot see it. My eyes hurt. I look down at my orange shirt and I smile. I really do love this shirt.

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