Monday, December 14, 2009


“How do you feel on windy days?” The lady with the needles stood over me like an amateur tower. She picked a tiny knife from a fistful of plenty and tossed it into my shoulder skin, aiming for tightly bunched freckle patch.
“Depends on the wind speed, air temperature, and cloud scatter patterns,” I answered. This formless response, of course, was rewarded with a spike to the back. She proceeded to grill me with questions of a similar spice, and I continued to respond with answers of a complimentary flavor. I originally scheduled the visit to deal with a numb shoulder, the end harvest to a proudly planted field of means: two dislocations and a handful of throwdowns. She suggested acupuncture and I couldn’t say no to a lady with a wall-sized map of the circulatory system and a head full of sneaky questions.
Her final question for me was the only one that caught me in surprise. “What’s your co-pay?” After answering, the question repeated and reverberated through my braincage until I finally decided to tell Zhang it! about the entire event. I thought getting his opinion on the ancient medical practice would be as quick as getting Chinese takeout. Instead, since then, anytime one or more Carbamas gets detonated, Zhang it! will jump on my back and scream “WHAT’S YOUR CO-PAY?!” It can be quite shocking, but is not nearly as much as when she attached electricity to the needles.

As an act of solidarity to all that is homegrown and familial, I joined my family in Kentucky to watch my sister dominate her last collegiate game on the volleyball court. On the way home, chilled and confused by the beasts of West Virginia after a spectacle at a gas station, I smashed my fist into a window.

I was thinking of nothing but escape. While in the store buying cranberry juice after refueling, I felt the frustration of a passenger on a foreign-facing flight. I had to wait as a family of three, led fearlessly by their matriarch, placed orders for myriad lottery tickets and candy bars. It was clear that either no thoughts on ordering were formed prior to their approaching the counter or that all preemptive planning was erased by an electrosalivic pulse upon smelling chocolate. An exhaustive three minutes later, a dozen candy bars were stacked near the register and a small mountain of lottery tickets was clutched in their leader’s good hand.

The entire transaction was (insert word for the opposite for catalyzed) by the family’s ordering process: either the husband or daughter would ask the mom if what they desired was appropriate, and then the mom would nod and relay the wishes to the store clerk. The clerk could easily hear everything, but would stand at inaction until the mom confirmed the order. Then the father/daughter would reconsider, and take back the order. It was like an underwater scene shot with a radioactive camera directed by a blind waffle.

The scene was replaying in my mind as I rolled up to a toll station on a mountain highway. I had my two dollars in hand and my music player on pause. I was even mentally prepared to smile and say “Good day.” I stopped, turned my head, and noted the beckoning palm and the toothless wonder that wanted my toll. I wanted badly to give her my money and speed away. I wound up and smashed my knuckles straight into the driver’s side window. Her lips tried to capture her surprise, but failed, presumably because her teeth were on strike. My shocked hand slid down the window like an unfastened scoop of expensive window dressing. I elbowed the power window, and handed her the money with my bad hand. I miss the people there. I mean, I missed the people there; I only saw creatures.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dreams that Pretend to Come True

I have been very busy: travelling home for the holidays, returning hastily bought items, and doing some authoring activities. I am hoping to come out with a book that binds sometime in 2010. If sales exceed 40 copies, I will celebrate by sacrificing my audacity to hope. You have my word. I came across an old essay from high school, in which I was asked to do causal analysis. The essay in no way met the requirements, is poorly written, and never edited. It is slightly entertaining, and I am not able to put up a new post, so this will buy me at least 24 hours, I'm hoping, to get a real post written.


Two beads of Poseidon's favorite soldiers air dive in a kitchen in Birmingham, Alabama. Hitting the stainless steel with the plooshing sounds we have all come to know and love, they regret little and take back nothing. Friends since the early afternoon, they had chatted about life goals while coalescing on the sink faucet. “Water polo at Hydro Jen's house tomorrow, four or so, bring a friend and a good attitude,” drips drop number one, “there are no rules save for a Ph between six and eight.”

“I’m a liquid asset,” quips the second droplet whilst maintaining a double flop move. The two globules of H2O slide and slip to the edge of the chasm and peer down for only an instant before keeling headlong into the drain.

Paul Simonson, son of Simon, wakes up from his post-lunch napping to the sound of dripping water. The sink has been leaking periodically for the last week, and he makes a mental note to check it as soon as he gets back from the bookstore. He decides that since he has woken up twenty minutes ahead of schedule, he will check his e-mail. Scanning through the latest junk in his Inbox, he spots a message offering him any and all men to his liking. Highlight. Delete. The next message sports an enticing content line promising a chance of maybe being in a drawing for an almost free Nascar lunch box. Clicking the link, (who wouldn't,) Paul is assaulted with images of all of his favorite drivers hauling around snazzy lunch boxes with their names on the sides. At the bottom of the page, he spots some text telling him to call immediately. Paul dials with shaking fingers, Thad Thyroid bailing adrenaline as fast as he can from his boat into Blood Stream. An automated voice at the other end of the line tells him that his prize is waiting for him at the downtown office. Paul tells the voice to let the prize know he is coming.

Half an hour later, lunch box in hand and happy smile on his face, Paul weaves a path down the sidewalk. He pauses to stare at his beautiful new object in the reflection of a store window. Squinting his eyes tightly, he can just make out the sexy figure of Earnhardt II plastered to the side. What a steal! He is so cool now; he just knows he will be able to get that raise at work. Caught up in elation, he fails to notice the black S-Class Mercedes pull up to the curb beside him. The driver's door opens, and all of the people on the other side of the street gasp and shrink as far back into the mid-afternoon shadows as allowable. A blue jay screeches and sails back up to her nest, covering her chicks' beady eyes. Paul is shaken out of his jubilation by the commotion, and turns toward the woman he has dreamed of his entire life, Dale Earnhardt Jr. A quirky southern drawl comes from behind obsidian sunglasses, “Look ya'll, a fan!”

Recovering quickly from his initial shock, Paul extends a shaking hand. In the myopic world of the sweaty-eyed, no race car driver has ever looked so good. Dale pulls a hanky and dabs the sweat from his biggest admirer's eyes.

“I can see how much of an impact I have had on your life. Here, take an autographed pencil,” states Dale, haughty hottie that his is.

“Would you be so kind?” inquires Paul. “You don't know how much of an honor this is to me. First I get your lunch box, now I meet you in person.”

Dale motions Paul closer, slips the pencil out of his pocket and into Paul's palm, and whispers into his ear, “I want to be your manager.” Paul murmurs in acceptance, and Dale adds that it would take too much money to involve other people, and suggests he and Paul do it themselves. Dale buys Paul the one thing every racer must have: a fire-proof jumpsuit.

From that point on they do everything together; they bathe with each other in the ocean, they make pottery, they hopscotch, they knit, and they make fun of those less fortunate. Paul frequents the amateur Nascar circuit and before long is invited to race in the “pros.” He and Dale discuss racing with each other over take-out sushi and each promises to let the other win. This inevitably causes trouble on the racetrack. Their friendship struggles, and before long, breaks apart, the final straw being when each looks accusatorily at the other one night after both fail to remember to bring home Bacon, their borderless collie.

To some extent, we live our lives in expectation that one day our wildest dreams will come true; that we will all be the Queen of England, or the King of the Court. Paul's dream was to be a Nascar driver, but in the end, what did he gain? Because Paul awoke twenty minutes earlier than was fated, his dream came true. At any given moment we are a lucky roll of the dice or drip of a droplet away from our dreams. Just remember that if you have a chance to fulfill yours, take it and don't share the glory with pussies like Dale Earnhardt Jr. Sleep lightly, and don’t trust racers.