Smoke Out Free Excerpt


(March 2003, Manhattan)

I’m dressed in black as I exit the taxi (which is another story in itself) and walk into Molly’s.

Today has been pretty typical. I hit the snooze button a hundred times, cut myself shaving, was unable to get a taxi (it’s raining), and arrived at my corporate job where in the elevator I was greeted by an ex-Winston Lights smoker wearing a red jacket whom I’ve never met before who announced to me and all willing to listen “It’s Friday” like that is supposed to make me feel better.

All day long I deal with people who know how their day is going to go based on the day of the week. Today, I heard the phrase “It’s Friday” fourteen times. Tell me it’s Saturday and I’ll be happy.

It’s dark and smoky inside Molly’s and a man dressed in gray smoking a Camel Light is talking with an Irish bartender wearing a black tie and smoking a mini-cigar. They’re discussing the new anti-smoking law scheduled to go into effect Saturday at midnight and neither seems pleased with the new legislature about to be forced on entertainment establishments across Manhattan.

Both are drinking whiskey on the rocks. The bartender is explaining the law to the man smoking a Camel Light who just continues to reply “How can they do this, it’s a bar?” The man smoking a Camel Light smokes only when he drinks. He never has a cigarette in the morning, never in the evening, and never during stressful situations, unless there’s a drink in front of him. Then he smokes non-stop.

The news is on a small television hanging in the far corner and the headline stories are center around war, terrorism, and violence. The bartender puts down his cigar onto a glass ashtray shaped like half a football, says to gray shirt “I know”, and walks over to me. I light a Marlboro Light and order vodka on the rocks. The bartender brings over my drink and asks me if I’m going to be there Saturday night for their “Smoke them if got them” party and I tell him I’ll try even though I have nothing planned and will definitely be there. “We’re flying in authentic cigarette girls from the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas” says the bartender and I wonder for a second what makes them authentic and then I’m side tracked by a woman wearing an orange tank top who is sitting next to me annoyed by my smoke.

Apparently I look illiterate to this woman who for now we’ll call Dawn because she is quick to inform me that smoking cigarettes is bad for you and that she can’t wait for the new law to go into effect. I smirk and say “I know.” We talk for five minutes which seems like four hours (not in a good way) and I find out that she is from Long Island and smoked Newports for several years, finally quitting two years ago. Now during Dawn’s off hours she goes around informing people how bad cigarettes are for people. We all know Dawn We don’t enjoy Dawn’s company. We wish Dawn would just go away.

I light another Marlboro Light, Dawn leaves, and I check my messages on my cell phone. There’s no messages so I call Rachel who isn’t answering her phone and hasn’t returned any of my calls the last few days. I leave a message telling her about the party on Saturday at Molly’s and that I hope she’ll be there. Then I call Trent who also isn’t answering his phone, but don’t leave a message because Trent may in jail, and I’m guessing you’re not allowed to retrieve messages if you’re doing time for possession with intent to deliver. I order another drink, smoke another cigarette, and then I leave.

A sticker on the dividing window reads NO SMOKING ALLOWED IN THIS TAXI as we move toward Union Square. The taxi reeks of cigarette smoke and both front windows are open despite it being only forty degrees outside. The taxi driver is wearing a dark blue (almost black, maybe an old Yankees hat with the NY removed, I’m not sure) knit hat and is having a conversation, with someone unknown. I remove my pack of Marlboro Lights as I empty my pockets while looking for my wallet and the driver (who is watching me as he almost rear ends a yellow Honda) stops, turns around, and points to the sticker. I hold up my wallet that I’ve found and say “I know.” The taxi pulls up outside Kelly’s Tavern and as I exit the taxi I hear the driver lighting a Parliament Light. Don’t ask me how I know the brand, I just know.

I don’t see Rachel or any ashtrays as I walk into Kelly’s with my pack of Marlboro Lights in my right hand. I order a vodka rocks and then see a sign that reads: We’re one step ahead of the city, NO SMOKING ALLOWED.

I look over to a woman wearing a green shirt with a pink bow who is watching me read the sign and shake my head in disgust. “You know, each cigarette takes three minutes off your life.” Sitting to my left is a man dressed in a black suit smoking a clove cigarette. Comedian smoker. He’s telling jokes to the bartender and using his cigarette to accentuate the joke by jerking it when he hits the punch line. I leave.

On my way out as I’m finishing my drink I eavesdrop on a conversation happening by a cigarette machine where one man who is smoking and wearing a black T-shirt that reads SUPERSTAR is saying to a man not smoking wearing a white T-shirt that reads LOSER how his friend Jamie is “Bigger than Mark.” A second later he is discussing an exam and describes a professor he has at NYU as “Smaller than Mark.” This is too much for me, and I need a cigarette so I step out into the street where two bartenders, the bouncer, and four others from the kitchen are smoking cigarettes. All of them are one step ahead of the city.

Trent calls as I get into a taxi and he tells me to meet at a bar called THE SMOKEHOUSE in Midtown. I tell him I’ll be there shortly and then ask the taxi driver if he knows where the bar is and he says he does and asks me how my night is going. I say it’s going all right and we continue a pleasant discussion mostly about the weather and I’m enjoying myself (partly due to the vodka) despite a sticker on the dividing window that reads ABSOLUTELY NO SMOKING. Oh. Absolutely. Got it. I ask the driver what he thinks about the new non-smoking law and he says he’s trying not to think about it because it makes him mad and wished I’d never brought it up. Then my taxi is cut off by a black BMW being driven by an Asian man, who is smoking a Kool, and my driver screams “Kung Fu motherfuckers!” and then hits the gas hard. We proceed to almost hit four more vehicles with the driver yelling the following phrases in an Arabic accent: “Learn to drive you dumb mother fucker!” to a woman eating Yogurt while driving a red Jeep; “Die motherfucker” to an elderly ex-smoking woman driving a white van; and just plain “Motherfucker!” to another taxi being driven by a man wearing a black tie smoking a Raleigh. The taxi driver in the black tie flipped us off, and mouthed something with the word motherfucker in it. The new law hasn’t gone into effect yet and I’ve already almost died.

Checkout Smoke Out at Smashwords today!

Is This Crap?

Here’s my idea fro an app: You know all those piles sitting around the house and you ask “hey, is this crap?” and your family member, roommate, etc… says “no.” Well, what if it is actually crap? The app will work like this. You take a picture of the pile of crap, upload it and people can vote. They either vote, “YES, it’s crap” or “NO, this is good stuff.” Think of it as a crap arbitrator. Looking for an app developer that works for free. Once I secure this I’ll be well on my way to distributing “Is This Crap?” to everyone…
P.S. Should “Is This Crap?” take off I plan to create “Is This An Asshole?” This one is more straight forward, just upload a head shot and people vote YES or NO.

Thanksgiving NFL Betting and More!


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10 Tips and Tricks To Get You Through College


For many, their college years are the greatest time of their life, or at least that’s how they look back at their time. However, many don’t feel this way when they are actually attending college.

After 12 years of predictable school, you are thrown into a major change. College often means a new city and all new people. You are now living on your own, possibly in a dorm or with several roommates. There are parties and the social anxiety that goes along with fitting in. Oh, and there is the actual school which consists of exams and pressure to succeed. One more thing – how are you paying for this?!

We have 10 great strategies for how to cope with it all, and also one honorable mention: exploring your new city or hood. Hey, it’s a new place so why not embrace it and make it an adventure? It’s not like you know anyone anyway, so go out and see what your new city has to offer. Most colleges are surrounded by parks, lots of food options and, of course, bars. Make a day of it, or hell, make a week of it.

This list includes classic ways to cope such as alcohol and girls, but is also about available options. Failing at college is not the end of the world, but let’s try and see if we can get you through this. Here are 10 tricks to help you get through your college years.

Read the full list at

The Devil Wears Black Leather Excerpt #5


Chapter 8

Jagger calls and asks what he should wear to Vegas. “I’m really the last person to ask”, Is my response to which he replies, “So you’re wearing Chuck Taylors? That’s Interesting.” Lucy then sends a text to call her so I do and she tells me she has a publisher “one of the big ones” she says interested in my novel and any short stories I may have. She also says they want me to write a screenplay. “Isn’t that the devil’s work?” I ask. She laughs (more of a snort) and then tells me I just have to tell them I’m working on a screenplay, I don’t have to actually write one. She says they want to add me to their catalog of writers. Being called a writer makes me feel uneasy, sort of like someone does one adult movie and refers to themselves as a porn star. In my mind being “in porn” is different than being a “porn star”. Why do they want me? Do they think I can write a screenplay? My palms begin sweating. Lucy asks me if she can take me out and I agree and then she says she has something “VERY SPECIAL!” planned.

Still in my sweatpants from sleeping I strip my clothes and then do pushups. I get to ten, stop and then put boxers on because I’m feeling self conscious, and continue my pushups. After I stare at the MAKING IT RAIN manuscript for twenty minutes I experience a slight bout of writer’s bloc. I scan my daily journals looking for a story or situation or even a word to inspire me and instead come away with nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true; I come away with a feeling of boredom, raising my anxiety. I walk to the door, planning to go to the deli to buy cigarettes, but stop and go back to my computer.   In college I had a writing instructor that used to tell me that the journey of writing was the reward. I contemplate this and then wonder what the point is. I browse the internet looking for writing jobs, finding nothing. I open up my work folder, open up my document for XXX Vegas Girls and type “GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS – all types – WANT TO MEET YOU TONIGHT.” The journey of writing. I check my latest blog entry, scanning the comments that range from hurtful to embarrassment. I bring my knees up to my chest, sitting at my chair in the fetal position. I text Lucy to ask what I should wear tonight and she responds with a text that reads I’M GOING OUT WITH A BOTTLE IN ONE HAND AND A BABY IN THE OTHER! I guess I’ll wear Chuck Taylors.


I go for a walk to clear my head. I walk William Street and am at the corner of Pearl when an elderly woman approaches me. She points to the cap of her water bottle unable to open it. I take the bottle and unscrew the cap for her. “Oh thank you, thank you so much” she says. She reaches into her purse for a pill. I feel good, helping her with her medication. “I can never wash down these pills”, she says and I nod. She then says, “I’ll never make it through the day without my Ambian.” She walks away, leaving me standing. I watch a cockroach with a racing stripe along its side dart across the sidewalk. Across the streets two Wall Street guys give each other a high five. There should really be a rehab program for quitting high fives, maybe not give out chips, but there should be a reward of some kind.

I continue to Battery Park where there is a lone “hippie” playing a guitar. Why is it they are always the worse guitar players? I grab a seat on a park bench to think. I am deep in though over my book, my lack of Twitter followers and hippie guitar players when I get a text from Jagger that reads: 911 IZZY BLOOD.

I jog over to Jagger’s apartment and he is out front waiting for me. He shows me the escalating texts from Izzy that range from TIME FOR BLOOD to THE END STARTS NOW to STICK IT TO ME, I’M DONE. Jagger thinks we should first check the hospitals. I ask which one and Jagger looks at me strange and then grins, “Downtown, of course.” We go to the downtown hospital and it takes thirty minutes to find out he is not there. While we are there we witness a man who comes in screaming “MOTHER FUCKER’S SHOT ME! MOTHER FUCKER’S SHOT ME!” over and over. Paramedics rush over to the man, but it turns out he is just crazy and was not actually shot.

Next we go to Tribeca, to the club BITE where the “vampire” crowd is known to hang. It is dark and strange and no one has seen Izzy all night. On our way out someone runs out of the club and asks us if we’re looking for Izzy. We nod and they tell us to check the tattoo parlor at 6th Avenue and Bleeker. We hop into a taxi and are there in ten minutes. With ten tattoo joints on the block we split up. I run first into VILLAGE TATTOOS and then into NY PIERCING and then PINS AND NEEDLES and that is where I hear someone in the back discussing the latest vampire show. I peek my head into the back room and there is Izzy getting a vampire bat tattoo on his arm. I sigh, relieved and text Jagger. I talk to Izzy and he seems okay so I grab a seat next to him and ask one of the artists to touch up the sun tattoo on my left shoulder. I don’t think he speaks English so I point and he nods and says “thirty dollar” and then I turn and try to talk to Izzy, but since I don’t watch True Blood he’s really not interested. Jagger shows up and sees Izzy and smiles. He looks at me and then walks over to look at my shoulder and his eyes light up. I look down at my arm and see that the artist is not touching up my sun as requested, but rather he is putting a vampire tattoo around it. He has already completed one wing. I scream and stand up, cursing at the man and looking at the guy who is working on Izzy. He shrugs his shoulders and says, “Hey man, it’s Vampire night.” We wait for Izzy outside and then leave. On our way out a guy wearing a bow tie walks in and Izzy leans over and says he’s a vampire. We ask how he can tell and says all vampires have a tell – it’s in their eyes, it’s their Oreo cookie.

Exhausted after chasing down Izzy, I meet Lucy at El Cantinero’s Mexican restaurant. There is a brief wait for a table so we have a drink on the second level. The music continues to get louder and the bar area is turning into a club and then Lucy kisses me and says she’s not hungry and we should go. We jump into a taxi and arrive at the Four Season’s hotel. “You got a room here?” I ask. “I know people”, she says and then I notice the room is hot and say, “You must know someone important”, and she says, “Something like that, stop asking so many questions”, Lucy giggles, “I told you I have a surprise for you!” This all happens very fast and there is a door man that winks at Lucy and she winks back and then tells me “He got his last night”, and then giggles. I’m about to ask what she means, but then realize it (probably) doesn’t matter and I’m (probably) not going to like the answer anyway.

We walk into a suite that has three rooms, two bathrooms, a living room, and hot tub. Lucy stares at me and sighs, “Like I said, I’m not who you think I am”, looks around the suite, “You should really use me for your own good, your own fame!”

Lucy goes into one of the bathrooms and tells me to open champagne. There are three buckets containing champagne so I grab to one closest to me and open up the bottle. I find two flutes on top of a dry bar and fill them to the brim. Lucy comes out of the bathroom and she is completely naked. She walks up and grabs a flute from my hand and even though she is nude I stare into her beautiful green eyes. She takes a sip of champagne and then moves closer, kissing my lips. She tells me to get undressed and walks over to her purse. I take off my clothes and then ask which bedroom and she says, “All of them!” Again I pick the closest bed and she follows, carrying her flute of champagne in one hand and a small black case in the other.

I sit on the edge of the bed and grab her legs, pulling her in. She squirms and whispers, “Just a second, we’re not quite ready.” She opens the black case and pulls out two small bottles and two needles. “What the fuck is that?” I ask. “Just a little insulin”, she whispers. I move backward, crawling away from Lucy to the top of the bed. She stops and smiles, “Oh come on, you’ve never?” She winks. “Never what?” I ask. Lucy laughs and moves to the bed. She puts one syringe into the top of the bottle and fills it with clear liquid. “Just the right amount of insulin increases the orgasm ten-fold.” I don’t believe I’ve ever actually gasped in my life. For the first time in my life I gasp. An actor gasp. A full on Oscar worthy gasp. “Insulin?” Lucy kisses my neck, I’m watching her hand holding the full syringe. “Insulin shock at the moment of release is the greatest gift the world of medicine ever created.” Lucy’s tongue runs down my neck as her arm comes down hard, pressing the syringe into her ass, releasing the liquid inside her. “Of course, it takes two to tangle”, she backs up and loads the second syringe. “What do you say?” I look into her eyes and say nothing. She reaches between my legs with left hand and uses her right to plunge the needle into my right ass cheek. Lucy pulls out the needle and says, “Don’t go too fast, we have ten minutes until it peaks.” Lucy kisses me and we are just getting started when I black-out. My last image is Lucy’s eyes.

I wake up an hour later and Lucy is getting dressed. I ask what happened and she seems very satisfied so I get dressed and walk over to my glass of champagne and drink it down. On our way out of the room Lucy grabs my arm and says, “I need to talk to you.” I ask “What, I didn’t know, I-“. Lucy puts a finger up to her lips, “No, I want to ask you about your arm.” I look blankly, not sure what she is talking about and then she asks, “Is that a vampire wing on your arm?”

Check out The Devil Wears Black Leather at Smashwords

Economy Airline Seats Are The Worst


The ability to fly from point A to point B in an airplane is amazing! I’m still blown away by how this works. Initially it was too expensive for the average person to experience this, but now most can at some point afford a trip via plane. In fact, discount airlines have lowered the prices so low it’s sometimes cheaper than other modes of transportation. Unfortunately this has caused airlines to cut back cost in certain areas. One area is seating, especially in the economy cabin.

The seats keep getting closer and closer together. Sometimes I would be more comfortable standing for the entire duration of a flight versus cramming myself into a middle seat between a woman eating a rotisserie chicken and a toddler that wants to kick me in the head every minute. Dishonorable mention goes to the now defunct AirTran. They were a discount line that was bought out by Southwest Airlines. I realize the concept behind a discount airline, but if you are buying an economy ticket, there is no difference between the small and big airlines. It’s not like either have perks anymore. Cape Air also deserves mention despite not making the top ten. Granted this is a smaller airline, but the seats are only 17 inches wide and only 27 inches apart. If that gives you anxiety, you probably don’t want to know about how you may get weighed prior to boarding.

We are looking at pitch, width and general pain factors. Big and small, they are all represented here. Here are the ten airlines with the worst economy seats.

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Elvis Is Alive and Dead, Again


This past weekend I was dressed as Elvis, pushing an empty stroller. Remember, this was Halloween, it’s not like I’m Nic Cage. The empty stroller was because it was decided as an afterthought; hence I was trying to catch up with my group (and son).

With stroller in tow, I only had seven blocks to go. I enjoyed the first “Hey Elvis, forget something?” joke that was hurled my way, but three in one block was getting old fast. I picked up the pace. I was in a hurry as I arrived at a stop light. I contemplated crossing against the light, thinking I had enough time. Then I took a second to think about it. What if I miscalculated? My pending obituary…

Man, dressed as Elvis Presley (or Nic Cage) died crossing the street on Halloween night. He was wearing sunglasses and left behind an empty stroller.

This is sad (maybe pathetic) on many levels. I decided to wait for the WALK sign.


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