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Category: Fiction (page 3 of 6)

25 – His Blood Was Boiling

His blood was boiling.  He could not take his eyes off them.  Everywhere.  Every unrestrained jiggle.  Every poorly padded nipple.  Every sweet, shapely ass.  Every curve, every bulge, every stolen glance down the shirt.  His blood seethed right behind the eyeballs and his lizard brain screamed its primordial mating call in the subconscious recesses of his self.  There were beautiful women everywhere and he felt utterly powerless to resist them.  The streets were a minefield of libidinous hazards.  He had to hide or he feared his head might explode, hormones rushing through him, torrential, violent, powerful.  

Yet, sitting there alone in the cafe sipping his tepid coffee and staring at the buxom brunette with the fancy Italian-named drink he could never hope to pronounce correctly, he suddenly felt very old.  His suit felt like shackles, the unfulfilled dream of his squandered youth.  His graying hair another reminder of his drained virility.  His belly hanging over his 15 dollar belt a harbinger of the end.  His sad, useless life in decline.

He wanted so badly to bury his face between the young supple breasts of the brunette he had been staring at for almost an hour that he could almost feel the warmth of her breath on his threadbare scalp and smell the secret drop of perfume he suspected she placed in her cleavage, a reward for any man lucky enough to find his nose there.  But not for him.  Never for him.  His days of unrestrained lust were behind him, memories of the way things should have been but were not.  Now he was relegated to the role of suffering silent observer.  There was not a woman in the whole world that would look upon his tired paunch with desire and he knew it.  And he felt it.  He felt it in the very core of his loins.  Everything was lost. Read more

24 – The Day I Met a President

I stood at the corner by the diner lost in thought waiting for the stupid red hand to turn into the stupid little man.  I thought about something that seemed really important at the time, but that I’m having trouble recalling now.  It was work, or a girl, or something.  Normal stuff, really.  The kind of utterly regular garbage a person spends so much of their life obsessing over that is, in the end, completely unimportant.  It’s funny what your brain thinks is important in the moment.

Anyway, I was at this corner, waiting to cross so I could go down into the subway and then to work, which was really exciting.  The air was crisp with the onset of autumn and I was wearing a jacket.  Morning was bustling with people on their way to work.  Garbage trucks roared down the street collecting the diverse refuse of the neighborhood.  The day was starting like thousands of others had.

And then behind me I hear a man’s voice say, “Excuse me, sir?”  I turned around because I am, apparently, one of those people that always looks like he knows how to get everywhere and so am asked regularly for directions.  Prepared to tell this guy that Grand Street is four blocks down, he just has to keep going, I was shocked to see him standing there in what I thought at the moment was one of those Renaissance Faire costumes, but which I would later learn was formal wear of the late 18th Century.

“Uh…”  I couldn’t say anything I was so shocked by this guy’s appearance.  I lived in a particularly funky neighborhood in Brooklyn and I was used to seeing people dressed up in all sorts of crazy shit—dudes in dresses, chicks like they’re from the 1940s, people riding those weird tall old bicycles.  But this guy in his crazy history outfit had me dumbfounded.  I eked out, “Yeah?” after a moment. Read more

23 – These Fists

These fists.  These fists have known such discord as I cannot begin to recount.  In times before men lived upon this land, I rode across it, aimless.  I knew neither form nor consciousness, yet I was.  I remember those times, but I do not remember being.  And then the first men crossed the ice bridge in the north and spread down, adapting, changing, learning to live in this hostile, giving land.  And they told stories of the wind and the night and the lightning and the thunder.  They told stories of the great tusked beasts that roamed the land, of the fire that burnt the forests, of the place they went when they died.  They sought to make sense of so many things they knew nothing about, so they used what they knew—the animals, the birds, the seasons, the plants.  Each little group of these men created a web of stories, of belief, about the genesis of this place.  They created symbols to explain the inexplicable.  They gave names to the things and places and moments and stars that had no names, never knew they needed to be named.  It was then that I took form, though I was and am known by many different names to many different people.  As the years progress, I am known less and less.  My form has become a blending of so many cultures and traditions and ideas, the sum of so many thoughts, that I have become hard to recognize to all except the most attune to the natural world.  The modernization of the world has drained my once vibrant colors.  So few still believe, but I shall never cease to be for deep within them they know I am there.  To some, I am a benefactor, bringing with me change and growth and development.  To others, I am a malefactor, ushering in the end of an age, the death of what they had always known.  To be fair, I have never been either of these things.  My role is subject to their interpretation, to the context of the situation.  I only am.  I will only be.  I will continue to ride as long as the sun rises and sets.

And though I am impartial, my time amongst the people has imbued me with something like what they call emotion.  I have found myself taking part in their struggles, often against my better judgment.  When I have had time to stop and think about it—such a strange thing thinking—I recognized that my role is only to lead the change, not to fight for or against it.  Yet that is what I do.  I take sides.  While so many people thought I was preventing change from taking place, I knew that change would happen regardless.  Nothing can stop the change once it begins.

And here, again, I embarked on this cycle of change and rebirth, the cycle of death and destruction, leading the vanguard of discord to welcome an era of concord in my wake.  But on whose side shall I fight?  Whose blood shall I spill?  What shape shall the future take when my role, for the moment, is done?

22 – Jacob Donner, Apt 23

It was Spring after a long, cold, dark winter, so I never noticed when the apartment across the hall from me was filled.  January and February had been particularly cruel and I spent most of it inside, alone.  I’m not entirely sure how it was that I missed something as noisy and drawn out as someone moving in.  I guess I was asleep that day.  Or hung over.  Or drunk.  Or something.  It didn’t matter.  The point I’m trying to convey is that it was March (or was it April?) before I discovered that the apartment across from me, long vacant since the old woman who previously lived there disappeared, she must have died, was filled by someone new.  New blood in my apartment building was refreshing.  A nice change from the old ladies who live here on pitifully tiny rents their sons pay for them.  They were nice, but quiet and shy.  A little fire never hurt.  

I was coming up the stairs from somewhere, the liquor store around the corner probably, cradling a fifth of Turkey in my jacket pocket.  I like Jim Beam, but when a man is faced with the prospect of nothing to drink versus something to drink of maybe not the exact preferred brand, then he has an easy decision to make.  I was going up the stairs with my Turkey, when beside me I noticed a tall, soft Asian boy, maybe 21, dressed nicely I guessed.  He smelled like a woman without a doubt.  I never trusted a man who smelled like anything other than a man, but this kid looked harmless enough.  He looked at me like I was the boogie man.  It’s not good to be scared of neighbors.

“You live here long?” I asked him.

“Oh, no, we just, uh, moved in, like, maybe two months ago?” he said.  Light in the loafers, this kid for sure.  Definitely light in the loafers. Read more

21 – Piss Poor Taste

“This wine is terrible,” I said.

“No, it’s fine,” Donny said.

“You can’t taste.  This is swill.”

“I’ve had worse.”

“This wine is terrible.  Waiter!  Waiter!  This wine is terrible.  I demand another bottle.”

“But sir, you’ve drunk most of it already and…”

“Are you calling me a goddamned liar?  Are you calling me a liar?”

“No, sir, it’s just that…”

“Just drop it, Phil,” Donny said.

“You will bring us another bottle, young man, or I will speak to your manager.” Read more

20 – The Subway Singer

When he woke this morning with the sun in his eyes he knew that today would be a fruitful one for him, for his art.  His guitar tuned, his song rehearsed, he was going to sing his poet’s heart out for the people on the downtown C local train.  Their souls would lift and swell and fly like an eruption of butterflies from the end of a rainbow when they heard his uplifting words, delicate fingering of his instrument, and unique take on “Lean On Me.”  He closed his eyes as the train approached the platform and imagined their admiring faces beaming with the pleasure he’d brought into their day.  Singing was never for the money; it was always for the love.  Always for the heart. Read more

18 – The Girl on the Subway

A Mexican girl on the subway flitted through inexpertly taken photos of herself on her little red camera as she stood in front of a taxi cab in her ill-fitting black dress, her features erased by overpowering flash.  A child stared out the window as the train passed over the bridge, the city glowing indistinctly in the distance, hazy, uncertain.  A sleeping man’s head bobbed as the train shook but failed to wake him.  Something was eating away at my stomach, a memory trying to push its way through, a half forgotten shame that I felt but did not recall, and my mouth tasted like cigarettes and wine.  

The descending major third told me that it was time to get off the train out into the night sky sickly orange with failing street lights.  I told a man I did not have any money for him.  A dog barked in the distance.  I felt my pockets to make sure I had my wallet, my phone, my keys.  I checked my phone for messages, but there were none.  I realized I was hungry but there was no money in my wallet and no food at home.  My hands ached.  One eye was blurry and I thought I should clean my lenses in boston rewetting drops when I got home.  Couples were sitting at tables in front of a restaurant chatting merrily, eating, loving each other, a rise in their cheeks a prelude.  One woman made eye contact with me and quickly turned away.  I told her I was sorry.  She didn’t reply. Read more

17 – Goodbye, Arturo

Is it wrong to feel so little when so many people are mourning?  If it had been me, would these people be feeling the same things?  Would it be fewer people balling their eyes out?  More?  None at all?  If the tables were turned, as they say, and I was the one laying in the casket, grisly, grey, dead, would anyone care at all?  Would they be glad to have Arturo back?  I suppose they would never have known if I was the one up there and he was sitting here, but would they trade me for him?  Many of them seem like they would give anything, anything at all, to have their precious, handsome, gifted, kind, loving, wonderful Arturo back.  Well, he’s not coming back, guys, so get used to it. Read more