Thursday, February 21, 2013

20. Back and Forth

You beat yourself up over talking too much - and then tell yourself you shouldn't feel bad about who you are and fuck people who don't like it - and then you realize you don't want to be alone - but isn't being alone better than feeling like a fool - no, it isn't - but ...

To love and be loved. That's the goal. Tough to get there.

Monday, February 18, 2013

19. Sharing

Jake was spent before he knew it, but she wasn't finished with him. He threw himself back on the bed, sweating and happy, and she climbed on top and had her way with him. That was when she frightened him. He liked her - really like her - but looking up into her flushed face, he could see that even though her eyes were closed, they were looking far away. She wasn't with him now - he didn't know where she was. She was no more his than Angela was.

But when she was finally sated, she snuggled close to him in bed and kissed his face and whispered sweet nothings in his ear and looked into his eyes and smiled. She was his, but he was going to have to share her with something or someone - past, present or future, he didn't know. Still, they went downstairs to the diner and talked and laughed and he felt certain that he loved her and she loved him. Maybe it was the big set-up, but what the hell. You need love like air or water.

Friday, February 15, 2013

18. Community Service

As cars whizzed by the on highway, Ralph McGubbin could have been staring at the thousand sparkling motes of light reflected on bits of broken bottles on the side of the road and imaging them as the stars in the sky or thousands of flash bulbs popping at a Hollywood gala or even the sparkle in the eye of a beautiful woman. But he wasn't, because he couldn't, and that was among the reasons he was standing on the side of the road in a day-glo vest collecting garbage. He'd never had much imagination, or any desire beyond what his heart desired at this very moment. Worst of all, what he wanted, he grabbed, like an infant.

There were six other Ralph McGubbin's on the side of the road taking a half-hearted stab at telling society they were sorry (they weren't), as well as a Bob Trout. Bob was able to see those bits of bottle as a galaxy of lights, and the juxtoposition of Shelia Frank against those glinting lights and the mauve mountains beyond struck him as especially lovely. Sheila was, in his opinion, too pretty to be collecting garbage on the side of the road, despite what she had done to that unlucky pedestrian, and as he mechanically picked up discarded cans and hamburger wrappers, he plotted his next move.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

17. The Bullet

The well-groomed man lie on the floor, leaking life, eyelids flickering, lips quivering. He was going to die, and nothing in the world would prevent it. Jake couldn't help but feel sorry for him. He took the bullet for the lady in the black coat, the lady whose face remained a mystery. Some detective he was - didn't remember to get a good look at her face.

It got Jake thinking. A friend of his once told him the Jake was the only guy he knew who would take a bullet for someone. Jake had never had to test that theory, so he didn't know if it was true. In fact, he'd never even thought about it, but apparently his friend had, and it stuck with him and made him proud in a way. Over the years, he'd never had to take a bullet, but he'd had to take lots of other things, and it always made him proud. But, walking on the shady side of 40, he now realized the one problem for people who take bullets. Nobody takes bullets for them. When you're always taking what other folks have to dish out, you tend to attract the dishers, not the dishees. That little blonde waiting outside in the car was probably another dishee. It was just a matter of time.

As that thought echoed in his skull, he snapped to attention and got down to the business of searching the soon-to-be stiff.

Monday, February 11, 2013

16. Engine

I'm an engine

People use me to get where they want to go

They give me what I need to move

When I'm fast and strong, they love me

When I'm slow and weak, I'm a piece of shit

When I cost too much to fix, they say "Too bad - it was a good little engine" and they find a new one

A new engine to get them where they want to go

I don't want to be an engine anymore

And I don't want anyone else to be my engine

15. Living Vicariously

Over coffee.

"Have you ever had one of the those days where you longed to hear somebody's fantastic news? Just wanted to bask in the light of somebody's day - share in the wonder for a moment - like your own day needed a jump start?"


"No. Is that all? I'm about to go on break, so I'm going to leave the bill with you - you can pay up front."

"Yes. Thank you. Going on break, huh?"

14. Reflection in a Bowl of Soup

You think the trick is getting somebody to tell you they love you. Earning it, inspiring it - whatever. That's the prize in all the movies and books - the moment when the words pass from her lips and her soul through your ears and to your soul. That's the end of the story, whether they all live happily ever after or better to have loved and lost - whatever the future, the story ends with "I love you."

They're wrong.

The words have to come. The eyes aren't enough, the bed isn't enough. It has to be spoken. But it has to be believed. Words and eyes and the bedroom are easy. Love is not. It's rare. You have to believe they love you. So what if they do love you, but you can't believe it? Or what if you believe it, but it isn't true? How could you know?

That was what I thought, staring into a bowl of chicken soup, following the path of a bit of carrot as it circumnavigated it's little world. Do I believe it? Can I believe it?