This morning I saw it
Casually making its way down
one side of the street
Determined and earnest,
I almost didn’t know what it was
until I noticed the bristles
Ah, the black bristles
The street looked no different
One certainly wouldn’t call it clean
This is what we pain ourselves
to wake up for in the morning
two days out of the blasted week?
I am not impressed.
When I left the kitchen
I approached the
placed the plate of nigiri
in front of him and
said the speech I am
“We recommend no soy on anything that—”
he cut me off
“Could you take this?” he asked,
holding an empty plate
expecting me to
“We recommend no soy on anything that already has sauce on it.”
I finished my statement
“Well I recommend you take this plate away.”
The lady sitting next to him laughed
I glared at him and
my butterfly knife I keep
taped to my ankle,
hidden under my black socks.
I gutted him
sliced off his nipples
pulled out his tongue through his throat
and the whore next to him
I shot in the
with my glock I keep
taped to my other ankle.
I shoved chopsticks up
both their asses
and dragged them to the
back of the restaurant to
dispose of them
before I bit off all of my
fingertips during my
jolly walk home.
Did I really?
Did I really do that?
I grabbed the plate
away from him
and went back
to the kitchen
and grabbed more plates
and ran them to
until my shift ended
five and a half hours later.
Once you exit the freeway you will take Pico all the way down before you hit Ralph’s and there you will be near my apartment. It is a small, pink building, very quaint. The street is very quiet except for the occasional Los Angeleno having an obnoxious phone conversation outside, and throughout the day you can find groups of Jewish families skipping along the street. Birds chirp in the morning, kids laugh and play during the day, and Mercedes pull up into driveways at night.
Inside my apartment you will immediately be inside my living room, whereupon you will be greeted by a moderately faint smell that can best be described as a combination of musk, fresh shit and piss, and dog puke. Just ignore it; you’ll get used to it. Under no circumstances are you to take off your shoes during your stay here for the dusty hardwood floors have been permanently soaked in dog shit, piss, and puke, and the reaction that were to take place if your skin made contact with the thick layer of bacteria on the ground might end in your death. No, just keep your shoes on. Don’t make yourself comfortable. You can’t anyway, since the couch you were thinking about sitting on is littered with pillows and clothes and maybe even a couple of pairs of underwear and I think I saw a heel wedged in between the seat cushions the other day and some more pillows. My roommate and I are sitting on the other couch, so you can just stand.
As you are standing you may observe and admire the overall motif of the apartment which can best be described as Great Depression era design meets time traveling heroin addicts from the 2000s meets the apocalypse. Yes, there is dog fur scattered across the dull hardwood floors and in every crevice, and yes, the coffee table and end tables and rocking chair and stools are cluttered with books and coffee mugs and jewelry and empty In N’ Out bags and other trash from last year, but that is at the core and heart of this apartment. Without it you would just see the maroon walls and framed vintage posters and the piano and oh hey there’s a chair there, and would come to the conclusion that a couple of normal, hip, cute girls lived here, but my home has more of a personality than that. You are standing in the midst of it all, you don’t need me to tell you that.
Look yonder and you will see a space for a kitchen table, no doubt suggesting where the dining area should be. But my roommate and I rebelled against this design by putting in a stripper pole and a statue of Buddha’s head. Also more trash and clothes scattered around, but hey, that’s everywhere and you are already used to all that by now.
Let us explore the kitchen, shall we? From the “dining room” take a left and enter the kitchen. If you thought I was joking about keeping your shoes on in the living room, please do not fail to take me seriously now when I say that you must keep your shoes on no matter what, and acknowledge that I—nor my roommate—are liable for whatever may happen to you if you walk on the kitchen floor barefoot. If you enter the kitchen wearing only socks, you probably won’t be able to lift your foot once you step down. I cannot give the exact reason as to why the kitchen floor is so sticky, but it has been that way since I moved in and I never asked any questions. Once entering the kitchen you will be greeted by trash bags on the floor, maybe even a banana peel on the ground as well, which actually seems perfectly at place there, and pots and pans being soaked with an unidentified brown substance that should have been washed last week. Open the pantry and you will immediately gain excitement over the plethora of snacks we have, but grab any box of Kraft mac n’ cheese or Graham crackers and you will find that they expired back when Bush was still president. My roommate and I will throw them away eventually.
You have been here a while, why not relieve yourself in the bathroom? Exit the kitchen, brace yourself through the “dining room” and take a left into a small room that leads you to three doors. The door on the left leads to my roommate’s bedroom. That stays closed. The door on the right leads to my bedroom, where you can safely take off your shoes and let out a deep breath. The musky smell is thankfully absent in this part of the apartment. The middle door is to the restroom. Upon entering you will be instantly ambushed by a strong scent of fresh diarrhea, but that is only because I had just unleashed my diarrhea moments before you arrived here. You’ll live. Close the shutters before you use the toilet lest you want the wholesome Jewish families walking along the sidewalk to see your genitalia squirt out urine. Look around and you will notice the wallpaper peeling and the bathtub which seems like it belongs at an abandoned building in Poland during World War II. If you stay the night and need to use the shower in the morning, be sure to be quick about it, for the hot water only lasts about five minutes.
Well, come on back into the living room and enjoy your stay! We can light a candle and watch a film together courtesy of HBO. We do have HBO, you know. We aren’t bloody savages for chrissakes.
Jackie sat in her ‘97 Ford Escort and sighed. She arrived thirty minutes early for her interview at 11 AM, anticipating traffic would be much worse than it was. This was her fourth interview for a server position that week. At this point she was no longer anxious or nervous or stressed about any of it. Jackie knew the deal; she’d get a job eventually. While sitting in her car she stared ahead at the Mercedes parked in front of her and thought about her life, her writing, her parents, her upbringing, her future, her love life, and successful writers and their lives. After about four minutes of thinking she decided to wait inside the diner for her interview and avoid bringing herself down from her own thoughts.
Jackie entered the diner and greeted the young man behind the counter.
"I know I’m really early, but I’m here for the open interview at 11," Jackie said.
"Oh, right! Did you want any water or coffee or anything while you wait?" The young man asked.
"Just water is fine, thank you."
The young man handed her a cup with water and lemon.
"Just go ahead and take any seat," the young man replied.
She grabbed the last booth with a window to her right, her back against the front entrance of the diner. She sat sipping her water and looked over the menu that was already at the table. Her mind was blank and she felt neither nervous nor anxious.
"Excuse me, I don’t mean to bother you," a woman’s voice coming from Jackie’s left appeared. She looked up and saw a blonde woman, probably in her mid to late 30s. "But you are a writer, correct?"
Jackie was surprised but delighted at the attention. “I am!”
"Yeah see I just have a gift in seeing things in people," the woman began, "and I knew you were a writer and God wants me to tell you that you’re on the right path and He blesses you and encourages you to continue and not give up and hopes you keep at it and you’re doing amazing things and He wants you to never stop writing."
"I, thank you, that’s really, thank you so much!" Jackie replied.
"Yeah you know He just wants me to tell you that He hopes you keep continuing with your writing and God blesses you and loves you and wants you to never give up and hope you expand your writing to new heights and learn and grow as a writer and keep at it."
"Thank you, really, that’s… that’s exactly what I want to hear," Jackie laughed. "You’ve just made my day. What’s your name?"
She held out her hand. “Trish,” she replied.
"Trish," Jackie said, shaking her hand. "I’m Jackie."
"Jackie, nice to meet you!"
"Nice to meet you!"
"Yeah, I just flew in from Ohio so I’ve been exploring the area and have been meeting new people. It’s really great, I love this place." Trish looked around inside the diner and touched the World War II decorations on the wall. "It’s just so nice and cozy in here, I love it."
"Yeah yeah, me too, me too."
"Well it was nice meeting you!"
"Yeah, definitely, thanks so much again!"
Trish exited the diner, leaving Jackie with a permanent smile plastered on her face. Even if I don’t get the job, Jackie thought, at the end of the day I will still be incredibly happy.
Jackie managed to give a great interview and left the diner feeling confident and happy and content and loved. On the drive home she was aching to write and work on her stories and develop new ones and create more and more. Once she got home she sat down to write, but realized she had yet to eat lunch so she made herself a tuna sandwich. After she ate she sat down to write, but then remembered she had recorded Primal Fear, starring Richard Gere and Edward Norton, in her DVR and was excited to watch it for the first time. After she watched it she finally got her pen and paper ready to begin writing. She stared at the blank page before her, yet no words came out. She tried to write her stream of consciousness, just to get something flowing, but no words came out. She stared and stared at the blank page. Nothing. No words. She put on some music and danced a little to warm up and let loose, but once she sat back down to write, no words came out. The next morning she tried to write her dream she had that night, but nothing came out.
Jackie never wrote another word for as long as she lived. Three years later she got married and had three children with a loving husband who on rare occasion got drunk and beat her, but overall they were moderately content. She did eventually get a job at Ralph’s and fifteen years later became General Manager. She remained married and employed until the day of her death, at the age of 55 from breast cancer.
(A short story by yours truly)
She counted her cash and set her purse and resume folder against the foot of her bed. She sat at the corner of her bed with her legs crossed, arms in her lap, staring blankly at the floor. She had been in this situation before. All the familiar feelings and thoughts came rushing back.
"You’ll be okay," she thought. "Just keep doing interviews. You’ll get something eventually. Don’t tell them you were fired. They don’t know. They don’t need to know. You’re a good worker. Someone will notice. Someone will hire you. You’ll be okay. You’ll get a job by Christmas. You’ve got a cushion of money and rent isn’t due yet. You’re smart. It’s okay, you’re not going to be homeless. I won’t fall into the same habits this time. I’m going to work hard to get a steady job and I won’t get fired again. No, things are going to be okay."
She got up from her bed and shuffled to the bathroom where the toilet awaited her. She turned on the faucet to conceal the probable noise that was to take place out of courtesy for her roommate taking a nap in the next room. Normally she didn’t need to turn the faucet on but she had eaten a machaca burrito that morning and didn’t want to take any chances. She plopped herself down on the toilet and began pushing. In the blissful three minutes that followed she didn’t think of job interviews or rent or unemployment or parking tickets or injustice or death or the meaning of life or the fact that honesty gets you nowhere or of her youth that won’t last forever or that she’ll die alone or of her car that needed to be serviced or even of the dishes that needed to be washed. She leaned back after it was done and sighed. After wiping herself and washing her hands she shuffled back to her room where she slipped on her mocassins and grabbed her purse and resume folder.
"You’ll be okay," she thought again. "You’ll get a job by Christmas. Don’t worry. Rent isn’t due yet. You’ll be okay. You have your health and your sanity. You’re smart. You’ll be okay. You’ll get something eventually."