Friday, April 30, 2004

Road Trip Day!

Your sister's wedding's tomorrow and she don't wanna go through with it. You've been living back at your parents' house long enough to wanna put a bullet through your thirty-one year old head. Get your mom's keys, get your sister in the car, and start driving west. Your parents are gonna be pissed that you stole their car, but that will be quickly overshadowed by the 200 people showing up tomorrow afternoon for a wedding that ain't gonna happen. In the end, the groom's gonna track you down and your sister's gonna change her mind and they'll have a small private ceremony out in the middle of nowhere. You won't be surprised. She's been with the guy for eight years already. They're perfect together and you knew your sister was making a big mistake when she got in the car. But you'll be sad because the road trip will have been way fun and your sister getting married only means you're gonna have to go back to being thirty-one and living at your parents' house.

Happy Road Trip Day!

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Shut Up About The Dildo Up The Ass Already Day!

His ejaculate flew clean off the bed and landed in one oblong puddle on the carpet without cutting free a single stray droplet. Perfect.

"My God that was perfect."

"Mmm. Let's go to sleep."

Just perfect. Just such an authority contained in the strength of your bicep. With every thrust and every tug it felt like you were changing the very course of the blood in his veins. Absolute surrender to you, his wife. His lover.

"My God I love you so much right now. I want you so much right now."

"I love you. But I'm spent. Just go to sleep okay baby?"

In your mind you replay his frame rocking fore and aft on all fours again and again. His howls shook the room, scrambled down the hall and woke the baby. He was a beast tamed by the pleasure you gave to him. Every muscle in his body was clenched tight for attack. He was pure primal exertion of strength, awaiting the next command from the electronic device held tight in your fist.

"Are you embarrassed about it?"


"Can you tell me about it? How it felt? While I..."

"For God's sake. The baby."

He's in the crib by the bed. You went and got him to stop his crying when the two of you were finished. The baby is calm, but awake and occasionally cooing.

You think it's just an excuse. You think that your husband is ashamed that he got such pleasure from receiving a dildo in his ass. That he won't give you what you crave to spite himself. But you're cranky because you're going to bed dissatisfied. With a cooler head you'd know that your husband relishes his surrender to you. He has no problem with you shoving a dildo in his ass. And he has no problem talking about you shoving a dildo in his ass. He just doesn't want to talk about it in front of his six month old son.

Happy Shut Up About The Dildo Up The Ass Already Day!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The Eyes Don't Work Like They Did Yesterday Day!

Today you can't see nothing. The best you get is a world through a gray veil. The worst, absolute and suffocating darkness. This is permanent. You're blind and with every step you take you're either going to bang your shin on a table or stub your toe on a raised curb. And you'll never see a pretty face again.

Happy The Eyes Don't Work Like They Did Yesterday Day!

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Linda Is In Love With A Bullfighter. Linda Is In Love With A Race Car Driver. Day!

Linda sits in the bath, her cigarette hand dangling dry over the edge, trying not to ash into the glass of wine standing on the tile floor. On the surface of her bath there floats a carpet of flower petals. Daisies.

"I must choose," she says aloud to the faucet.

Linda is in her bathtub in her apartment in New York City, washing away her 700th day as a marketing firm's accounts payable administrator.

Her love, Javier, is in Madrid, and this afternoon he murdered four bulls in her honor, according to his answering machine message. One of the bulls was beheaded, as he said, "with only three thin swords and the strength of my love for you, my Linda."

And her love, Beaumont, is in South Carolina, and this afternoon he won a sponsorship from Penzoil, according to his answering machine message. He'll be paid $46,000 in one lump sum, which he will use, as he said, "To slide a big rock up that pretty little finger of yours."

The wine was intended to wash the confusion from her mind. But by her fourth glass and the seventh answering machine message, she was as bewildered as she was drunk. Linda lifts the glass from the tile, her sixth, and slowly pours it into the water, parting the petals to let the red wine billow out into the bath like a specter born from her body. She enjoys watching the wine cloud through all that clarity.

How did she end up in such a mess? In the same year, without leaving New York, she gave her heart to two men on different parts of the globe. Both with a passion for danger.

Beaumont showed up at her office when Nascar wanted his face run by some focus groups before they signed an endorsement deal. Linda showed him to the elevator, and he showed her to a late night-drink and an offer to be the lady wringing her hands at the race-track, hoping he'll cross the line without a scratch.

As soon as Beaumont left town with a promise to return, Javier arrived with a promise of forever. He was the conversation piece at her boss' Christmas party, brought by a friend of her boss' wife and introduced over and over again with the words, "And this is the bullfighter I was telling you about." But it was late in the evening when Javier introduced himself and invited Linda to join him on the balcony. "At home," he said, "I am only comfortable on verandas." They kissed there in front of the city and for the next four days she gave to him her every waking moment.

Linda picks up another daisy from Beaumont's bouquet splayed out in the sink. She rips the petals off one by one, dropping them into the bath.

"I love the bullfighter," she says.

"I love the race car driver," she says.

I love the bullfighter.

I love the race car driver.

She had no choice but to fall in love with Javier. He is a bullfighter. He uses cunning and stealth to slay wild beasts while wearing magical outfits. Additionally he has a Spanish accent.

But the romance of Javier has a formidable opponent in Beaumont's crude charm. Boisterous and vulgar, he barged into her life like it was the home he'd mortgaged three times over. She could refuse him no more than she could refuse her own father.

I love the bullfighter.

I love the race car driver.

Had only one of them stayed in town long enough to force her to say no to the other. She would be set free of the dueling bouquets and long-distance serenades. Now she can only listen to the answering machine and feel the storm of confusion stir inside her. She can only wait until it is finally demanded of her that she say yes. And that she say no.

I love the bullfighter.

I love the race car driver.

I love the bullfighter.

The final petal is ripped from another daisy and floats to the surface of her bathwater. Linda says, "I love the race car driver."

She stares at the naked stem. The phone rings again. Javier says into her answering machine that he is calling her from his veranda, one last time before he goes to bed, to tell her that tomorrow, she will be there with him in the ring. His belief in Linda will protect him from the bulls.

Linda tosses the stem to the tile and sinks her head through the blanket of petals into the cloudy red water below.

Happy Linda Is In Love With A Bullfighter. Linda Is In Love With A Race Car Driver. Day!

Monday, April 26, 2004

Homeless Fred Shot The Bag Day!

Dead silver rain has your head down between your shoulders, walk-sprinting to get indoors as fast as you can. Middle of the block, gotta get past Homeless Fred.

Homeless Fred's rooting into the trashbag somehow fastened through his beltloops and up around his neck. There's a foot of space on his right. You watch his elbow jutting in and out of that space as he rustles through the bag of everything he owns in the world (everything he found today). You watch the elbow seeking out the rhythm. You catch it and take a one-two quick jump through the foot of sidewalk space. The elbow stops moving and Homeless Fred whips up in front of his face the treasured item he was searching for.

You pass untouched. You catch sight of Fred's hand. You think, "Was that…?"

About thirty steps later the night behind you goes KRACK. You stop in your tracks at what you know wasn't thunder. You turn to see Homeless Fred beaming a brown grin through the curtain of rain. Smoke billows out of the trash bag. Smoke slinks from the barrel of the revolver in his hand. There's garbage strewn out in a circle where it landed when the bag blew. Homeless Fred just shot that trashbag. Keep walking. He might wanna shoot something else.

Happy Homeless Fred Shot The Bag Day!

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Girl Called Kitten Day!

I want to make love to you tonight.

Kitten scurries across the banquette when Kevin, Janet, Richard, Mona and Helen get up to dance. The first words she's spoken to you since saying hi the night you were introduced two weeks ago.

I want to make love to you tonight.


Your place.

But I'm crashing on Richard's couch right now. The lease on my apartment was in my former roommate's name and he let it lapse while I was in Canada. When I came back, the landlord told me he had new tenants moving in in three days and I had to scram. We can't make love on Richard's couch.

How about my place then?

But you live with Helen. She's my ex-girlfriend and though we're both over it and we're pretty good friends, I'm certain she wouldn't be cool with me having sex with her roommate in her apartment.

I like hotel rooms.

No cash.

I like bathrooms.


My name is kitten and I wanna get fucked in an alley behind some trash cans like a proper kitten.

Like…standing up?

Mm hm.

So you'd be like…bent over leaning on the rims of some trash cans with your skirt up and your panties around your ankles and I'd be…

Behind me, yes. Yes. Let's go.

Jesus. Ew. No. What if there are rats or other people having sex out there? There could be like a bouncer out there having sex with an underage girl who he's decided to make his "regular Saturday night thing."





I've got some coke.


Just then, everyone comes back from the dancefloor, sweaty as hell. Richard makes out with Mona, then Helen, then Mona again. Kevin and Janet, in unison, say to you and Kitten, What the fuck's your problem dicks?

We were trying to figure out where to have sex. Then I found out she does drugs.

Don't tell them that.

I think they deserve to know what kind of person you are.

What the hell are you talking about?

You do drugs. That's not cool.

It's not. (Richard)

Really, you should have told us about this before we agreed to go out on the town with you. (Janet)

You're disgusting. (Kevin)

Big asshole. (Helen)

(Mona doesn't say anything)

Look cocaine's groovy. You're all just chickenshit.

Tell Kitten to go so you all can enjoy the rest of your evening without being around losers who do drugs.

Happy Girl Called Kitten Day!

Saturday, April 24, 2004

The Hair Model With A Dead Aunt Day!

Another day at work. Lights flashing. Harsh white backdrop soaring twelve feet high. A bitch of an uncomfortable stool that you swear is gonna fuck up your knees within another year. Your head's cocked out on your neck like you're a pelican listening to some juicy gossip. Your cell phone's ringing.

"What is that cocksucking noise?" shouts the photographer. "My ears are to bleed?"

The seduction in your smile doesn't waver in the slightest when you shout, "Loosen your thong Guillaume. It's my phone and I'll turn it off as soon as you snap something remotely usable."

Guillaume reloads the camera and mutters something about a cunt. You smile, you hold your head where it doesn't wanna be. With every ring, you repeat in your head, Baby's dead. Baby's dead.

Tonight you'll be making good on the plane reservation you've kept standing for the past two weeks. You'll hop off the stool at 4 o'clock no matter how loud Guillaume wants to shout about complete cooperation. By 4:40, the packed bag at the foot of your bed will be in your hands. At seven, you'll be on a plane to Milwaukee, a drink to your lips and your hair in a muss.

They gave Aunt Baby less than a month six weeks ago. You told your brother you had work. No, you would not call. No, you would not stand by the bedside of the lady who raised you in your mother's stead. The lady who gave you most of her life for eighteen years. And who for the past twelve expressed nothing but disapproval at every decision you made. Aunt Baby, who would accept nothing less than your absolute surrender to her church. Aunt Baby, the embodiment of selflessness and selfishness all at once. No, you would not come and say goodbye to your mother's sister.

"I'll see you at the funeral," you told Jake. "Make the arrangements when there are arrangements to be made and call me. I'll pay for everything."

Your cell phone again starts shouting from inside your bag. Guillaume takes his eye from the view-finder to shoot you a look. The seduction in your smile turns to menace for a pause as you meet his eye. Guillaume goes back to taking photographs. You hold still and mourn from behind a hair model's smile.

Happy The Hair Model With A Dead Aunt Day!

Friday, April 23, 2004

The Bicycle Game Is Over Day!

Mike's eyes barely flutter open when the man with slick black hair by his bed starts talking.

"So here's the deal. What went down between you two went down, there's no changing that. But Katie's been through a lot this year. Her brother's suicide fucked her way the hell up and she doesn't really do anything so much as the things she does just kind of happen. Like you two. It just kind of happened. But you shouldn't think it was because of some insatiable need for you or anything. You might as well have been fucking a chick in a coma. What was it like to be in a coma by the way?"

The walls are white. There's a window looking out at a beige parking structure. And there's a curtain parted halfway that separates Mike from someone in a hospital bed. A bed just like the one Mike is in. Mike's in a hospital. The guy with the slick black hair is…


"Did you dream? Do you remember?"

Mike remembers what he thinks was yesterday. He remembers asking his Mom to get three hundred dollars out of Frank. He asked her face to face. She never sees his face anymore, she feels too guilty. When she sees it, she gives him whatever he asks for.

He remembers saying "Fast" to the guy in the bike shop who muttered "Somethin' to prove." He remembers riding up next to Katie at the intersection of 19th and Broadway and shouting "Race ya."

He tries to remember Katie's face. He knows he touched her hips and kissed her breasts, but he can't place them right now. He knows that sweaty strands of her hair would fly out wild when she'd pull ahead of him. He remembers gloating a smile at her when he passed, but all he can remember of her face is the horrible uncertainty he saw in her eyes. He remembers two cars. One blue, the other without color.


"Here's the deal. She's not visiting you. She called me up screaming about comas and cheating and bike rides. Screaming that she didn't know what she was doing anymore. I told her I'd take care of her, take care of everything. So here I am, taking care of everything. That's what me visiting you is about. In her stead. Katie's not coming. She's coming with me."

Mike remembers Mary. She drove him to the airport. They'd spent the night together the night before. Not fucking, just staying up and saying goodbye to each other as husband and wife. Katie's gone from his head like she was never there. When he remembers the bike rides, in his head he keeps putting Mary on the bike.

"You think we're fucked right? She cheated on me and now we're gonna go and move across the country together. Fucked right? But like I said, she doesn't know what she's doing since her brother died. Maybe she's hanging on to me because of that. Maybe I'm just giving her a pass because I don't want her to have to lose nothing else. Whatever, we're staying together. We're leaving."

Mike says, "You're a musician?"

Jeff is surprised. He brightens a little. "I'm a guitarist, but I'm mostly playing keyboards lately. My friend's a junior record executive. He gets me a lot of session work. Do you play?"

Mike shakes his head. Says, "Katie."

Jeff turns into a tough guy a little. "Look pal. It's over. She's not gonna come and visit. She's way too fucked up over this. She thinks she got you killed. So I'm gonna go home and tell her you're alive and all's well and then I'm gonna get her the hell outta this town."

Mike says, "Okay." He wants Jeff to go.

Jeff waits for more, then stands up. "So, okay man. Katie's sorry about all this. But like I said, she's not really doing what she's doing right now. It's all just happening."

Jeff steps from foot to foot for a second before offering one more, "Okay man." He almost offers a handshake to Mike's broken arm before he hastens out of the room.

Mike keeps his eyes open and on the ceiling. He wants to remember all this. Everything is still. He's in a body cast, locked still. He has no choice but to simply lie there while absolutely nothing happens.

Happy The Bicycle Game Is Over Day!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

The Bicycle Game Day 3!

The next day, Mike doesn't find Katie. He scours the city, uptown and downtown, riding for eight hours straight on bike paths and avenues to no avail.

"I've only known her for less than a week," he thinks. "Perhaps she takes a dance class one night a week and this is that night. Or maybe she mentors to inner city youth one night a week. And this is that night."

He gives up at midnight and goes home to plot his route for the following evening, choosing neighborhoods whose scenery might appeal to Katie, based on what little he knows about her.

Three more days pass without any sign of her. And Katie doesn't find Mike either. Unless, as he imagines, she is covertly tailing him. "Maybe she just likes to watch me ride," he thinks. The thought of Katie trailing him, admiring his calf muscles from afar, helps Mike to keep his growing panic at bay. He envisions her a block and a half behind him, sighing when he weaves in between cars. He tries to avoid looking back over his shoulder, instead making a point to spray water into his face at stoplights, shaking his wet hair with a cinematic grace. Also, he often rides with no hands. Katie might dig that.

At night, he retraces his route, drawing up an alternate path for tomorrow's bike ride. Or he'll lie on his bed imagining Katie phoning him up or knocking on his door (she'd have looked him up, though he's not sure if he's listed).

"I couldn't wait any longer for you to find me," she'd say, stepping into his apartment and pasting her body to his.

"I looked everywhere," he'd say, peeling her dress (she'd wear a dress) from over he shoulders. "I wanted to just knock on your door, but that would've broken the rules of the game."

"Let's stop searching," she'd say. "We've found each other. I don't want to let you go again." Then she'd say something about leaving her boyfriend and they'd fuck in Mike's New York apartment. Mike hasn't fucked anyone in his New York apartment yet, and he's quite anxious to do so.

Entertaining this fantasy usually sends Mike to his bed to masturbate to memories of sex with Katie and far more vivid memories of sex with his ex-wife (the good sex, not long after their wedding).

The next day, Mike starts his bike ride at 8 AM. He rides for ten hours straight, taking short brakes for fruit smoothies and defecation in public restrooms. At six PM, he parks by the curb across the street from Katie's apartment. Two hours later, Katie comes walking up her sidewalk with a man in his mid-thirties by her side.

Mike puts all of his strength into the clench of his fists on the handlebars as he watches her kiss him on his cheek. The stranger continues walking down the sidewalk and Katie opens her door. Then she turns around and faces Mike. Mike rides across the street.

"This is quite forward," she says.

Mike sits on his bike. He sprays his face with some water to try to wash the hysteria from his eyes. "Who was that?" he asks.

"Jeff's friend," Katie says. "My boyfriend's friend. He took me to a movie."

Mike says nothing, just stares at Katie. She takes a step into her building.


"You didn't find me," she says.

"You haven't been bike-riding," he says. "You couldn't have been. I've looked everywhere."

"I've been riding. You didn't find me."

"You have not!" He instantly regrets the whine to his voice.

Katie's eyes close just a bit, then she steps into her vestibule. She stops when Mike says, "Wait."

She turns to him.

"I looked everywhere," he says. "Every day. I never stopped looking."

Katie's shoulders fall. She steps aside and says, "One last time." Mike carries his bike past her and up the stairs.

They lay in bed after they fuck. They don't touch. They lay with their arms by their sides. The sex was as brief as the first time, but far less urgent.

"Do you take a dance class?" Mike asks.

Katie doesn't say anything. She stares at the ceiling.

"You're really going to dig bike riding in California," he says. "There are so many pretty places to ride."

Katie keeps quiet.

"Why are you moving to California with your boyfriend?"

She responds in a quick monotone, like she's offering a rehearsed answer during cross-examination. "He's my boyfriend. I love him."

"Are you gonna marry him?"

Katie says, "If he wants me to."

Mike stays quiet for a bit. Katie rests her forearm on her forehead.

Mike says, "This just doesn't seem like the behavior of someone in love."

"This is just bike rides," Katie says. "And this wasn't even that."

She gets out of bed and ties herself into her robe. "This was it. You have to go."

Mike sits up. "Wait. I'm sorry. It can just be bike rides."

Katie says, "I don't think you're a compatible bike ride companion for me."

Mike doesn't move.

"Really. You could never beat me in a race. Just go."

Mike stands up, gets dressed, and leaves Katie's apartment. He doesn't know what to say, but he knows exactly what to do. He has to go and buy a better bike."

This'll end tomorrow. Swear.

Happy The Bicycle Game Day 3!

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The Bicycle Game Day 2!

The next afternoon, Mike gets on his bike at 4 PM (Mike doesn't work). He sits by the curb at the intersection of 23rd and Seventh until around 5:30 with no sign of Katie. Mike takes off up 23rd to 3rd Avenue where Katie lives. He rides slowly past her apartment, doubles back and rides past again. And again. He parks by the curb across from her door for twenty minutes, staring up at her window. It's six thirty and the sky behind her building is amber. The breeze chills the patch of sweat on his neck and he remembers when she put her mouth there just under a day ago. A black girl who couldn't be more than ten years old rides past Mike. He pedals after her.

The little girl takes him on a diagonal trip West into the forties. Mike couldn't care where she takes him. He's used to being led around places. It's how he got to this city in the first place. His mother got her divorce from his father in the same year he got his divorce from Mary. "Let's be a team, you and me," she said. "Let's go to New York." They'd barely crossed the tunnel into the city before his mother had a new man and 800 dollars held out in her hand.

"To help you find your own place. I can give you more next week. Frank said he'd help." Frank's the new man. Frank wanted to use Mike's room as his study. Frank came through. He's handed Mike five grand so far over the past four months. Mike's just fine with taking the cash. His divorce cleaned him out of both money and pride. Now he'd just like to have a few friends in town.

Mike's about to give up when he feels a spray of water on his back. Katie pedals up beside him. "You found me," she says. "Good work."

Her laugh says that they both know it was her that found him. Mike watches the little black girl pedal the length of the block and turn a corner. He wonders how long Katie rode behind him, how long she let him hunt for her.

"Race ya," says Mike. "To the park."

Katie says, "To my place."

Katie wins. Mike takes the lead once or twice, and while it could not be said that he lets her win, Mike is relieved when he loses. He's unsure of the rules of this game. Yesterday, he lost and Katie fucked him. He doesn't want to find out what will happen if he wins.

They fuck standing up in the kitchen. Face to face, with Katie's shorts off all the way and her ass pressed up against the fridge. When they finish, they take an awkward walk into the bedroom, remove the rest of their clothing, and lay down next to each other in the bed, like a couple ready for sleep.

"Remember when if you didn't know how someone died you were supposed to assume it was AIDS?" Mike asks.

"Guess so," says Katie. "With celebrities at least."

"I was thinking about that, because I don't know how your brother died," says Mike.

"You assumed AIDS?"

"No, it just made me remember when I would make that assumption."

Katie rolls over and faces Mike. "It was suicide," she says. The inflection in her voice makes Mike think she's joking. The way she's searching his eyes for a reaction makes him realize she isn't. The only thing he wants to know is how.

"Boring," she says. "Pills. Xanax even. Pills he was prescribed. He didn't even make himself a special cocktail for the big blowout."

Mike wants to say something like I'm sorry or whatever, but he is struck with the reality that Katie is going to leave town at the end of the summer to go and be with her boyfriend. His breath goes short. He knows then that he has to get her to stay somehow.

"You're not supposed to be able to OD on Xanax. That's what the doctors said at least. Which lets us think he was half-assing it, just making a cry for help. But he lucked out."

Mike has to say something that will let her think he's someone worth leaving her boyfriend for. He settles on, "What was his name?"

Katie's face turns a little gray. "Georgie," her voice is clipped. She gets up from the bed and steps into a robe from her closet. She knots the robe tight and stands at the foot of the bed. "You have to go now."

Mike's stomach turns, but he speaks calmly. "I'm sorry, did I…"

Katie shakes her head. "I'm not doing this. I'm not laying in Jeff's bed and talking my heart."

"I was just curious," Mike says. "We don't have to." He looks down at himself and jumps out of bed when he sees himself naked, sitting Indian style. On Jeff's bed. He walks past Katie into the kitchen and starts to pull his clothes on. Katie follows him.

"I'm sorry," she says.

"Don't worry about it," says Mike. His stomach is turning over and over. He feels like he could faint. "You have a boyfriend. I understand."

Katie says, "This is still just bike rides."

Mike's blood slows. He pulls his sneakers on, then stands up and kisses Katie's mouth. "I can still come find you then?"

Katie doesn't smile. "How can I help it if someone finds me?"

To be continued… (something interesting will happen eventually)

Happy The Bicycle Game Day 2!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The Bicycle Game Day!

At the intersection of 23rd and Seventh, he rides up beside her and says, "I bet I could beat you in a race."

She smiles. "To the river."

They storm side-by-side through 23rd Street five o'clock traffic, heading east. At a red light, he nearly collides with the rear end of a cab. At a green light, she cuts off an ambulance with flashing lights. They're getting closer and the traffic's getting thinner. More playgrounds. More people waiting in line outside of parked buses changing drivers. More sunshine blaring at their backs as they gain speed down a long stretch between second and first, pedaling as if they're gonna try to ramp it into Queens.

She wins. Of course she wins.

"I lost," he says. "I'm Mike."

She's Katie. They chain up their bikes outside of an Irish Pub and drink five pints each in the backyard. Mike learns that Katie's brother has been dead for a year now. Katie finds out that Mike's divorce was an amicable one. Katie doesn't mention her boyfriend, Jeff. Instead, she mentions that she lives a block away.

"Race ya," says Mike.

Katie wins, primarily because Mike doesn't know her address so he kind of has to follow her. They don't kiss on the stairs because they have to carry their bikes up with them. Once inside, they wheel the bikes into the living room and let them clatter to the ground when they slap into each other and begin to kiss. Mike pulls Katie's tank top over her head before he even gets his tongue into her mouth. She's wearing a sports bra underneath, which when tugged up off her chest makes her bare breasts squish out at strange angles. Mike slides the plain of his tongue into the muck of sweat on her breasts. Katie's right hand crawls up the leg of Mike's shorts and chokes his cock in her fist. They fuck on Katie and Jeff's bed with Katie's bicycle shorts down only to her calves, her knees bent out and her ankles bound with the spandex. They fuck for only four minutes, just long enough to soak the sheets through to the mattress. Then Katie mentions her boyfriend, Jeff.

"He's in LA. He's a musician and he's working. I'm moving out there with him in September," she says.

Mike doesn't argue. "Can we still ride bikes?"

"I ride my bike all the time," Katie says. "All you have to do is find me, just like you did today."

To be continued...

Happy The Bicycle Game Day!

Monday, April 19, 2004

Bull's Eye Day!

As you sit and drink your coffee by the window to the courtyard, you'll look up at the roof across the way to find a man in a plastic bicyclist's face guard pointing a rifle at you.

Say, "Hello?"

The masked gunman will say, "If I made it so, you'd be dead right now."

Ask, "Who are you?"

He'll get a little haughty and stretch out the words "Never you mind."

"Okay, what now then?" say.

The masked gunman will hold the rifle trained on your chest for a moment longer, saying nothing. Then he'll lower the rifle and look around the roof, you won't know for what. He'll try to scratch his nose underneath his mask, but he'll give up and slide the mask up over his head. You won't recognize him.

He'll pull his mask back down and point the rifle at you again. You'll stiffen, certain you're about to be killed. But the gunman will lower the rifle again and hold out his palm to the sky like he's testing for a drizzle. Then he'll flap his cape over his shoulders and run slowly out of sight.

You'll finish your coffee and gather your things before heading to work, your spirits buoyed not in the slightest by the fact that you've just cheated death at the hand of an ambivalent gunman.

Happy Bull's Eye Day!

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Give Him A Reason Day!

Tell him when you were six you picked the lock on your father's locker cabinet and you found several different whiskeys and aperitifs and a jelly jar of preserved women's index fingers. Tell him you didn't ask your father about the jar because you were too scared to tell him you'd broken into his liquor cabinet. You spent most of your teen years harboring an anxiety that you couldn't pin down. Suffice to say, any time your father came home late from work, you took to chewing at your fingertips but you couldn't say why. A child therapist chalked it up to a separation anxiety. Considering that your mother had run off when you were young, it only made sense that you'd fear for the disappearance of your father as well. Tell him that as you grew up, you always had a vague memory of finding the jar of index fingers, but you'd assumed it was a memory of a dream you'd had.

Tell him you never took a drink until you were 28, the year you said to your father, "I once found a jelly jar full of index fingers in your liquor cabinet. Was one of them Mom's?" Tell him that your father said nothing. Just turned his head to look out the window of his hospital room. You sat an hour staring at the back of his head, then you left. Tell him that you never went back to visit him and a week later you got the call that he'd passed away. Tell him that three hours before his funeral, you got on a bus out of town and started on a six-year bender. Then tell him that you eventually made peace with yourself and have since tried to live a good life as a kind man, but sometimes you get mixed up still.

"That's why I forgot to return your power saw. Sorry Kenny."

Tell him you just want to be a good neighbor.

Happy Give Him A Reason Day!

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Replace All The Working Light Bulbs In The House With Light Bulbs That Have Burned Out Day!

You should have been saving up light bulbs that have burned out of natural wear and tear over the past three or four years. You can't just shake some light bulbs until they rattle loose, he'll be able to tell. All of the light bulbs have to look as if they burned out simply by reaching the extent of their half-life.

When he's working second shift at the plant, tour through the house replacing the working bulbs in every lamp and fixture with the burnt out bulbs you've collected. When he returns, he'll flick the lightswitch in the kitchen and nothing will happen. He'll go into the laundry closet for an replacement bulb and pull the chain on the overhead light and nothing will happen. He'll say goddamn. He'll replace the bulb in the kitchen, then the bulb in the laundry closet, then he'll go into the living room, flick the switch on a table lamp and nothing will happen. As he makes his way into the bedroom to find you asleep, flicking impotent switch after impotent switch, he'll come to believe that all of the bulbs in the house extinguished themselves in one simultaneous moment. I have no idea what you stand to gain by doing this.

Happy Replace All The Working Light Bulbs In The House With Light Bulbs That Have Burned Out Day!

Friday, April 16, 2004

Burning Man Day!

Man On The Street just got set fire. He was walking along, on the street, minding his own business, when a reporter for a publication with a very small readership asked him if he had time to give his thoughts on the presidential race.

"Gladly," said Man On The Street.

The reporter asked who he plans to vote for.

Man On The Street said, "I think they should both be strung up by their ears in the town square and flogged with a studded—" but he was interrupted when three teenage boys flanked the hem of his overcoat with the flames of their zippo lighters and ran off.

One of the flames was immediately extinguished of its own course. The flame in the middle caught, but held to a small circle at the low bottom of the coat, just behind the man's knees.

But the flame by his right leg soared up to the pocket and seemed to pay no heed to Man On The Street's flailing umbrella whacks. The cub reporter did what he could, slapping at the flame with the notebook, but most of the blows landed on Man On The Street's own hand. Ultimately, Man On The Street jerked himself from the coat and let it puddle on the sidewalk so that he could stomp out the flames with his Docksiders.

Man On The Street and the cub reporter looked around for the hooligans who started the fire, but they were nowhere to be found. They stared down at the lump of smoky overcoat on the sidewalk for a moment. Then Man On The Street said to the cub reporter, "Now, where was I?"

Happy Burning Man Day!

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Young Couple In Love, In Space Day!

Jimmy and Gina fell in love just before their high school graduation. They spent their entire summer mooning at each other over the rim of a milkshake with two straws. By midsummer, they started to get scared because Gina was going to be going off to college in the fall. So when the president asked for a young American couple in love to be launched into space, they applied. Because of Gina's grades and all the AP classes she took, they were accepted.

Now, Jimmy and Gina spend 8 hours a day floating in each other's arms. They spend another 8 hours trying to repair the heat shield of an errant satellite. They're having sex now too. They both lost their virginity in zero gravity. Gina got pregnant, she can tell already. She's due to stay up there for another 5 months though. But it's going to be okay. She spoke with Ground Control and she was assured that when she comes back to earth, she'll be pardoned if she wants to do partial birth. In fact, she was told she could get the procedure performed for free by a real NASA doctor!

Happy Young Couple In Love, In Space Day!

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

It's The Alcoholics Day!

It's 1:30 AM and the alcoholics want to have sex with each other. But they don't know how to leave the bar.

"Right now I'm sober enough to maintain my erection," says the boy.

"And the state I'm in right now," says the girl, "I probably wouldn't fall asleep if you went down on me."

They order another round.

"You should really make that your last. I can see the fire in your eyes. You want to make love, but if you drink much more and stay here much longer, you're not gonna be able to," says the bartender.

The alcoholics nod their thanks and tip well. They drink their drinks while he strokes her thigh underneath her skirt.

"Is there anything left in that bottle up on your fridge?" she asks.

He stares sadly into the mirror behind the bar. Shakes his head. "Not enough," he says. She believes him. She doesn't want to go.

They order another round and start to fall into each other. Up on their stools, each with a glass in one hand, they do like they start to do at 2:20 AM. They smoosh up at the bicep and breathe in each other's hair. They kiss when their lips bump into each other, kiss in excuse me. They lean at the cheek, his hand goes all the way up her thigh, the heel of his hand grazing in the warmth of her crotch. They sip from their drinks and breathe quicker with the same speed that their eyes start to gray. They calculate how much money they have left in proportion to how much time before last call.

It's 3:10 AM and the alcoholics don't want to have sex with each other, but they're almost ready to go home.

Happy It's The Alcoholics Day!

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Missed Opportunities Day!

Back when you were still a plumber, before you won the lotto, you were fixing the shower head in an apartment shared by two attractive young women.

When you stepped out of the bathroom and said, "Shower's good as new," the two girls jumped out of their chairs and threw off their tops as they ran past you into the bathroom.

Once they were completely naked, they jumped into the shower together and started giggling and hooting under the hot water. One of the girls looked at you and said, "Now that you've proven yourself so handy with the plumbing, let's see how good you are at soaping our backs." The other girl giggled.

Because you'd never soaped someone else's back before, and because you wouldn't have known how to bill for it, you said, "Sorry, I only do the job indicated on the work order." Then you left.

About six years later, you were driving your van down down a suburban street when it occurred to you that those two girls were inviting you to have sex with the two of them at the same time underneath running water. You became so enraged at your own stupidity that you floored it into the thick of a group of pre-teens playing stickball. Twelve were killed.

Because you weren't drinking and because it happened so quickly that there were no witnesses to prove it wasn't an accident, you were charged only with vehicular manslaughter and you are currently serving the second of you four and a half year sentence. When you get out, you'll still have 69 million dollars of your lotto winnings to play with. But every single day you're going to wake up thinking about those twelve kids you ran over, and you're gonna wish you had had the sense to fuck those two chicks in the shower that day.

Happy Missed Opportunities Day!

Monday, April 12, 2004

The Football Players Day!

The Football Players are simple folk. Strong and violent, yet kind-hearted. Go to them for help.

"Football Players, the mafia is threatening to burn down my store and murder my sons if I don't pay them 10 percent of my income every month. Can you help me?"

The leader of the Football Players will say, "Yes?"

Say, "You sound unsure."

The leader of the Football Players will say, "We're not?"

Make sure you're doing the right thing here. "Okay Football Players, what will you do to get me out of this situation?"

The leader of the Football Players will look around at his teammates for some answers. Then he'll say to you, "We'll beat them up?"

Say, "Who?"

The leader of the Football Players will say, "Mafia?"

Say, "Good. Let's do it now. I'll give you each a six pack of beer."

The Football Players will then jump up from the bench, shouting and hitting each other on the shoulder pads, before charging off the field to follow you to the Mafia.

Happy The Football Players Day!

Sunday, April 11, 2004

After Your Father Was Murdered By Dissidents, You Turned To Graffiti Day!

But we're skipping a few chapters of course. First you turned to Clara, who you loved. Clara turned you on to a truck that could take you out of Nicaragua. The truck driver turned you on to a boat to the coast of Florida, and a woman named Pilar turned you on to a whorehouse where you could get work pulling drunks out of beds once their pockets were turned out. Freddy, a junk dealer, turned you on to Heroin.

You don't know who turned you on to New York City. You just woke up there one morning. Bobo, your new girl in New York (she dug junk too) put the spraycan in your hand and told you to declare your love for her on the security gate of a drug store. You wrote, "Bobo Is Mutts."

You meant to write "Mutt's" but you missed the apostrophe and you put the S too close to the T to try to squeeze one in. Bobo gave you the nickname "Mutt" because you have a pug nose. Because she gave you the name very loudly at a party, it stuck.

That night you went home and made love to Bobo and when you woke up the next morning you saw the word "MUTTS" spraypainted on the wall beside the bed with an arrow pointing down at you. You laughed and made a point of putting the spraycan in your bag before leaving her place.

You were awake for twenty one hours that day. Within those twenty one hours, MUTTS was spraypainted on five apartment house doors, the brick wall of a hospital, two bus sidewall posters, and the stump of one tree. Within three months, you'd stopped shooting up (Bobo split) in order to have more time covering the city in your moniker. The word MUTTS was by this point as ubiquitous as the scaffolding. You were everywhere.

And then one day, that overlooked apostrophe started finding its way home. But it showed up after the S instead of the T. Old tags you'd forgotten about were being extrapolated upon. The first one you saw was scrawled across the boarded up windows of a condemned building. It read MUTTS' father was assassinated 1981.

You knew that. You hadn't thought about it because your father, and any bearing he had on your life, was dead as far as you were concerned. You knew he was assassinated, probably by one of his own men. But who else knew.

MUTTS' father dreamed of free Nicaragua was on the back of a bench in Riverside Park. You let go of Nina's (girlfriend, pretty, straight) hand and crouched your knees to read it real close, trying to find some identification in the loop of the scrawl. You used to worry about being spotted by the cops. But now, clearly, someone in the city knew who you were, what you were doing, and who killed your father.

MUTTS' father saw the bullet of Miguel Maya's gun, found on the post-board wall of a construction sight one Friday early evening. Your father was the son of a revolution for which he cared more than anything in the world. You were the son of a revolutionary and you couldn't have cared a damn. But someone either assumes you care, or needs you to care. He's in the city, and he's drawing you to him. You only have to decide whether or not you're going to answer. He clearly knows who you are and might be following you right this very minute, so he's apparently not going to walk up and tell you what he wants. Perhaps he's giving you the chance to decide whether you give a damn.

Happy After Your Father Was Murdered By Dissidents, You Turned To Graffiti Day!

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Don't Eat The Cupcake With The Green Icing Day!

boogie snot

Happy Don't Eat The Cupcake With The Green Icing Day!

Friday, April 09, 2004

The Human Pincushion Day!

Another girl is gonna walk out on The Human Pincushion today. Right before she drops her keys on the kitchen counter and walks out, this one will say the same thing as the previous four.

"I'm really…Oh Jesus Christ I'm just so, so sorry."

They all say this, because towards the end of a relationship, The Human Pincushion diverts his attention from the impending doom by focusing all of his energy on his craft. In other words, he sits around all day sticking pins in himself.

Can't we address this?

Sideshow auditions are in May. I need to rehearse.

And then he sits in the middle of the Persian carpet on the living room floor and stabs himself with small metals. Every prick a distraction from the seething glare piercing the back of his head.

By the time they split, he's where he is right now. On the carpet, in a pair of white boxers, covered in needles from head to toe. When he looks up at the one who's gonna leave today, it'll be the first time in a month that he's looked her in the eye. And the pins sticking out of his temples and cheeks will bob just a bit with the movement of his head. The bobbing of the needles and the pathetic plea in his eyes is what's gonna make her say, "I'm really…Oh Jesus Christ I'm just so, so sorry."

Then she'll run out the door, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, trying to shake off the memory of that pitiful sight by slamming her weight down on every step.

Happy The Human Pincushion Day!

Thursday, April 08, 2004

The Waiter's Not Moving Day!

You like it here. 11:10 AM outside Bona Cucina, just behind the menu in the window with a view of the waiter with the shaved head.

He's got the lunch shift at a restaurant that doesn't get a lunch rush. Doors open at eleven, giving the staff plenty of time to settle in before the first customer arrives at 12:50, if at all.

The waiter with the shaved head is guaranteed to walk out with forty dollars in shift pay. If he doesn't seat a single soul, he'll be handed forty dollars when he returns that evening for the dinner shift (he's only 25, still a few more years of working doubles without a shudder). If he makes eight bucks in tips, which is usually how it works, he's given thirty two.

The waiter with the shaved head views his lunch shift as a chance to be paid forty dollars to sit and listen to a restaurant CD collection full of CD's he enjoys but would never own. Jewel's Pieces of You is always the first up in the changer. The Romeo+Juliet Soundtrack (Leo and Claire Danes) is second. The waiter with the shaved head comes here to listen to saccharine music until he gets to take a two-hour walk at 3 PM.

You come here at 11:10 AM to watch the waiter with the shaved head sit in a chair. In order to avoid worrying him, you try to look like you're perusing the menu, and your glances at him are furtive. You can't hear the music outside. From where you stand, he is only physical inertia and thought.

What sort of memory could strike a man so still? Is that contentment in there? Is that what that looks like? Or resignation?

You come here at 11:10 AM because your boyfriend got rich and said you could quit your job and paint. You don't paint, but you do go for walks in the early afternoon and fantasize about the screaming-and-throwing-shit fight with your boyfriend that you hope to have one day. But at 11:10 AM you get to take a break and wonder who's getting screamed at inside the shaved head of that waiter that sits so still.

Happy The Waiter's Not Moving Day!

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Melvin Is A Magician Now Day!

With the flowers in your left hand, you use your right to push the doorbell for the first time in 13 years. His mother answers:


She's in a bathrobe. It's new. Or at least, it's not the flowered one she used to wear when you were in high school.

"Mrs. Ames?" you say.

She puts her reading glasses on and squints into your face. She says, "Alicia? Is that you?"

"It's me Mrs. Ames," you say. "I've come back for Melvin."

Go on. Do it just like you rehearsed on the drive down.

"Mrs. Ames, when Melvin and I broke up after prom, it seemed like a good idea. In fact, it was a good idea. I didn't know who I was when I was seventeen. I had a lot of growing up to do, as I'm sure you can understand."

Mrs. Ames can understand. This is evident by the nod of her head.

"I've been with a lot of men since Melvin, Mrs. Ames. A lot more than I ever thought I'd be with. I don't know statistics, but I'm pretty sure I've been with a lot more than might be considered average. In fact, considering only my immediate circle of friends and acquaintances, way more than average."

You start to drift with some rather delicious memories. Mrs. Ames is uncomfortable. Stay on target.

"These men, Mrs. Ames, they taught me many things. Things that it would be unseemly to go into right here and now. But the most important thing I learned from them was that not a single one of them could ever measure up to all that I received from your son, from Melvin. I'm in love with your son Mrs. Ames. And I want him to be mine. I drove three hundred miles today to give him these flowers and ask if he'd like to have dinner and perhaps a life with me. Could you go get him?"

Mrs. Ames looks so thrown you'd think you just proposed to her. She removes her reading glasses and drops them back into the pocket of her robe. Then she wrings her hands and says, "Melvin is a magician now. He moved out of the house about ten years ago."

The hand holding your flowers drops slowly to your side. "Oh," you say.

Mrs. Ames is done wringing her hands. "He's doing two shows tonight at Lem's Lobster and Dinner Theater off of Route 80."

You look up at her with a question in your eyes. Mrs. Ames grabs your shoulders in her hands and she says, "Go."

Happy Melvin Is A Magician Now Day!

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Scuba Divers In Wet Suits Day!

Ron is a scuba diver. So is Susan. They've seen each other underwater sometimes, but never on land.

Susan looks great in her wet suit. Her breasts look rounder than they should, as does her rear end. Ron looks strong in his wet suit. Like he could bend metal as if it were rubber.

Ron sees Susan swim past him one day and they wave to each other. Ron would like to ask Susan on a date, but he's learned in the past that when you date someone you met on a dive you're bound to be disappointed because when she takes off her wet suit her body's contours are less rounded.

Susan gets caught in some coral. Ron rescues Susan, severing her right leg at the knee when he jerks her free. Ron swims to the surface with Susan and her severed leg in his arms. Atop the boat, she is revived. At the hospital, the leg is reattached.

Ron is glad he thought twice about mixing love with diving. Getting hurt's too easy.

Happy Scuba Divers In Wet Suits Day!

Monday, April 05, 2004

Powdered Cream Donuts Day!

The last guy who broke up with you brought a dozen donuts with him when he did it. He was good enough to come to your apartment to do it, and he called ahead to let you know by his tone that he was coming over to do it, which is cool. But when you opened the door you saw him with a resolute look in his eye and a pink cardboard box in his hand. You let him in without saying anything.

All the way upstairs you were thinking, "Did he bring a cake? Cupcakes? Maybe I was wrong. Maybe he just wants to…is it my roommate's birthday?"

You got him all the way to the couch and then you went to the bathroom to ponder what the fuck could be in that box.

A hat? A kitten? Um…a hat?

You were determined to not primp in the slightest for this, but when you thought that, instead of breaking up with you, he might be about to give you a hat or a kitten, you put your hair in a clip.

A deep breath took you back out to the living room, where you sat down next to him on the couch. You let your left arm spread across the back so your hand was near his hair.

You asked, "What's in the box?"

"Donuts. Look this just isn't working out. I think you're great but you're stuck in a part of my life I left behind a long time ago. I think I've just grown past you is all."

Nothing happened for a long time. Then you said, "Donuts?"

"I'm sorry but I've made my decision," he said. "I'm going to be causing you pain no matter how I do this, so I'm just going to get out of here now to avoid drawing this all out. This way you won't say anything you might regret saying later. Goodbye."

He got up and left. You stayed on the couch, staring at the pink box in the middle of the kitchen table.

You took a walk. Met a friend at a bar and got a little drunk. When you came back it was nighttime. Your roommate was sitting at the kitchen table. The donut box was open.

"Did you eat some of those donuts?" you asked.

"Yeah," she said. "They were great."

"Jeff brought them," you said. "We broke up."

The lid of the box was open. There were probably nine donuts left. You wondered if any of them might be jelly.

Happy Powdered Cream Donuts Day!

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Hide The Heroin At The Bottom Of The Hamper Day!

Now that the baby's been born, you've decided to start selling heroin to set some money aside for his schooling and braces. To do this, you're going to have to manipulate your heroin so that it has that special flavor that keeps people coming back for more.

"I don't want to sell the kind of heroin that people buy just because they ran out, like laundry detergent. I want people to crave my heroin," you tell your wife while the two of you lay in bed.

"Like Krispy Kreme," she says.

"Exactly. But how can I get people to crave heroin?"

Your wife lets her eyes drift up to the ceiling. "This won't put us in danger will it, honey?"

"Just keep the heroin at the bottom of the hamper and no one will ever find it."

She says, "Maybe the stink and the filth of dirty clothing will give your heroin that special flavor that keeps people coming back for more."

She might be onto something. "How long has the heroin been at the bottom of the hamper?" you ask.

She smiles. "Since you bought it. A week ago."

You look at each other.

You say, "You never know."

She says, "Only one way to find out."

You shoot up and it feels pretty good.

"Did you notice anything different?" you ask your wife.

"Not really."

Me either, you think. You want to say it, but you forget how to say things.

"When did we last feed the baby?" your wife asks.

You want to say you don't remember, but you just can't.

Happy Hide The Heroin At The Bottom Of The Hamper Day!

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Bonfire Breakup Day!

Tomorrow's homecoming, and he needs to have his head, and his heart, in the game. Many would say that you're letting down the whole school by breaking up with him tonight. But you know how his heart works. You know that by sending him to bed with heartbreak, by letting him sleep with the knowledge that he's lost your admiration, his pain will turn to rage and tomorrow morning he will pull himself into his uniform with a pant to destroy.

Coach Deke will grip him by the faceguard. "How you feeling, Richards," he'll bark.

"My heart's pumping so fast my blood's running outta places to go," he'll respond. "I ain't got enough veins in me coach."

His coach will nod his head, not quite understanding what his player is talking about, but he'll assume he's ready to hurt something.

Do it tonight at the bonfire. Pull him away to the woods by his hand, making him think you want to break his no pre-game nasty rule. Then tell him you think you should call it quits because he's not very exciting. It might just make him open someone's neck without using fingernails tomorrow.

Happy Bonfire Breakup Day!

Friday, April 02, 2004

Gas Pump Day!

Make a friend.

"1.89 a gallon. You believe that?"

"You said it."

Stare at the meters on your pumps.

"You wanna get together later?"

"You said it."

Order another pitcher.

"16 bucks for a pitcher of beer. Where do they get off?"

"You said it."

Sip from your beers.

"Wanna help me kill my wife? I'll split the insurance."

"You said it."

Sprinkle lyme into the shallow grave.

"70 bucks for a 20 pound bag of this stuff. Highway robbery."

"You said it."

Lean on your shovels.

"I'm moving to Tahiti when the money comes through. Wanna come along?"

"You said it."

Sip daiquiries inside your rented cabana.

"Twelve bucks and hour for a goddamn linen tent. Nice racket huh?"

"I feel like I could tell you anything."

Sip your daiquiries.

"Let's just live. Huh?"

"You said it."

Happy Gas Pump Day!

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Bang Goes The Drummer Day!

Jonny, your band's new drummer, blew his head off in his car last night. He was only your band's drummer for a week and a half and, all told, you only spent a total of seven hours in his presence (two practices, couple beers). Come to think of it, you don't remember Jonny's last name (Rich knows. Rich hired him).

What this means is you gotta hit the coffee shops this weekend and post some drummer wanted ads. You might have some copies left from the last time, but those ads might be cursed now that Jonny blew his head off. You know how hard it is to keep a drummer from quitting/dying and you don't need a cursed flyer's help thanks much.

Just make a new ad. Use the template that comes with the later versions of MS Word. And don't forget to check in with Rich to find out if he thinks you guys have to go to the funeral.

As a side note, Rich is very organized. But letting your bass player be your manager is asking for big trouble when the record execs come calling. Hire Boz Rondell. He made Buffalo Tom what they are today, and he's still living in town (works at the Video Venture).

Happy Bang Goes The Drummer Day!